It’s festive season and the Cape Town Table Bay Hotel’s Chef Keshan Rambarun says, “go wild in the kitchen over the holidays”.
The Western Cape in South Africa boasts a diversity of landscapes where an exciting array of native plants can be discovered to experiment with in cooking, and the Table Bay Hotel’s culinary team regularly forages for wild gems to add differentiating, indigenous flavour to their dishes.
Edible flowers like hibiscus blooms, with their cranberry-like flavour and citrus overtones, are used as a colourful and delightful addition to salads, while nasturtium blossoms, with their sweet yet spicy flavour, are an ideal ingredient for open sandwiches and savoury appetisers.
Num num foraged from the nearby V&A Waterfront are innovatively used in a compote for the Camissa Brasserie’s seasonal dishes, while dune spinach, with its interesting, meaty texture and sea flavour, which is foraged in Sea Point, can be used to draw out flavours in a variety of meat and fish dishes.
The Christmas holidays offeran opportunity to explore Cape Town’s surrounds and also for locals also offer the chance to entertain at home. The Table Bay’s Executive Chef Keshan Rambarun encourages experimenting with indigenous plants in cooking over the festive season.
He shares his recipe for Maple Glazed Roast Beef with handpicked num num as a starting point for creative cooks keen to try cooking with wild plants. “It is an exciting twist on a familiar favourite and has a decidedly festive feel. Go wild in the kitchen over the holidays.”
Maple Glazed Roast Beef recipe
350g Green peas
100g Salted butter
80g Num num (or plums)
1kg Beef fillet
120g Pearl onions, peeled and halved
15ml Maple syrup
12 medium prawns, cleaned and shells removed
50ml Olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
- Blanch peas in salted boiling water until soft. Blend until smooth with 50g butter and 1g salt.
- In a small saucepan, place the num num and 50g sugar with about 100ml of water. Cook the num num until soft and mushy. Remove the seeds and blend until smooth and thick.
- Preheat the oven to 1800C. In a cast iron pan, sear the beef fillet and pearl onions with the remaining 50g of butter, salt and black pepper. Drizzle with maple syrup and roast in the oven for 7 minutes. Remove and allow to rest for 3 minutes before slicing.
- Cook the prawns for 2 minutes a side in a pan with the olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper.
- To serve, garnish each plate with a smear of pea puree and num num. Top with slices of beef, prawns and pearl onions. Drizzle with the pan juices of the beef and serve.