South Africans tend to love a bit of spice in their food and some years ago, we enjoyed this dish as a light lunch after a tasting at Catherine Marshall's in Stellenbosch.
Chermoula paste is middle eastern in origin and available from good supermarkets but it's definitely worth making your own.
Not only is it great with these fish cakes, it also works wonderfully as a topping for grilled fish.
Enjoy these with a bottle of two of Cathy's fresh and zesty sauvignon blanc, now with 12.5% off!
FOR THE CHERMOULA
1 x half bunch of coriander, chopped
1 x half bunch of flat leaf parsley, chopped
3 x garlic cloves, crushed
1 x tsp toasted ground cumin
1 x tsp sweet paprika
1 x pinch of cayenne pepper
4 x tbsp olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
FOR THE FISH CAKES
800g hake fillets (or sustainable white fish alternative)
4 x potatoes, peeled and boiled
15ml chermoula paste
2 x eggs
Seasoned plain flour for coating
Vegetable oil for frying.
- Blend the chermoula ingredients in food processor and taste, adjusting seasoning to suit.
- Grill or poach the fish, then flake with a fork, being careful to remove any skin and bones.
- Mash potatoes and add to fish, mixing with 15ml of chermoula paste and enough breadcrumbs to bind.
- Shape into fish cakes about 2cm thick.
- Dip in the seasoned flour and pan fry in hot oil until golden for about 5 minutes on either side.
- Serve with a simple green salad (Cathy added mint and basil leaves to hers for extra delicious freshness).
Enjoy with Catherine Marshall sauvignon blanc, for tropical fruits and minerality that matches brilliantly with the zingy fich cakes.
This hearty vegetarian dish was first served to us by Ardi Bardenhorst back when he was head winemaker at Rustenberg.
Now he has his own estate out in the Swartland and his sumptuous 'The Curator Red' is just the ticket to accompany it.
And with 12.5% off South African wines currently, you couldn't choose a better time to try this winning combination.
TIP: This dish can be made in advance and refrigerated once it has cooled after the 30 minutes cooking at 180 degrees. Remove from the fridge an hour before you need to reheat and put in the oven at 160 degrees for a further 30 minutes before serving.
INGREDIENTS (Serves 6)
250g brown lentils, rinsed
300g mushrooms, sliced
400g tomatoes, skinned and chopped
10g brown sugar
2g ground cinnamon
100g fresh parsley, chopped
500ml salted water
25ml olive oil
1 x large onion, chopped
1 x green pepper, de-seeded and diced
2 x garlic cloves, crushed
1 x bay leaf
Vegetable oil for frying
FOR THE TOPPING
50g plain flour
375g grated cheese
2g grated nutmeg
2 x eggs, separated
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- After removing and discarding the ends, slice aubergines into 5cm rings and add these to a colander – salting them as you go along – and leave for 30 minutes before rinsing and patting dry with kitchen paper.
- Fry them in veg oil on a moderately low heat, using a large, heavy frying pan – keeping partly covered to prevent from absorbing too much oil.
- Meanwhile, boil lentils in the salted water for 50 minutes until soft, with most of it absorbed.
- Once aubergine slices are done, remove and set aside and use the pan to soften the onion, green pepper and garlic in the olive oil, before adding the mushrooms.
- When softened, add tomatoes, sugar, cinnamon, bay leaf, salt and parsley before covering and simmering for 20 minutes.
- Remove bay leaf and stir in the cooked lentils for a thick but moist mixture.
- In another pan, melt the butter and stir in the flour and cook for one minute before removing from the heat and very gradually adding the milk.
- Return to the stove and cook while stirring until thickened to make a white sauce.
- Beat eggs and add a small amount of the sauce to the eggs, whisking together.
- Add the mixture back into the saucepan and whisk constantly until combined before seasoning with salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste.
- Stiffly whisk the egg whites and fold these into the sauce as well.
- Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees.
- Cover the base of a 20cm x 30cm oven dish with the aubergine slices, then spoon in some of the lentil mixture, then repeat this layering until used, before covering with the sauce and finally topping with the grated cheese.
- Bake for 30 minutes, then turn off the oven while leaving in the oven for a further 15 minutes (unless preparing in advance, as above).
- Serve with a simple green salad.
Enjoy with AA Badenhorst Family Wines The Curator Red, an unpretentious easy drinking bottle.
We last enjoyed this delicious fish dish in restaurant overlooking the ocean in beautiful Jacob's Bay in the Western Cape, with a bottle of Bouchard Finlayson Blanc de Mer.
And with 12.5% off all South African wines, you should select a similarly fragrant fruity white to cut through the luxurious indulgence of this seafood feast.
800g monkfish fillet
125ml dry white wine
1 x bay leaf
Small handful of parsley
Half a small onion
6 x peppercorns
Half a teaspoon of salt
200g mushrooms (sliced)
25ml softened butter
50ml double cream
1.5 x dessertspoon French mustard
2 x medium potatoes (mashed and creamed)
Grated parmesan or gruyere cheese
FOR THE SAUCE
3 x level tablespoons of softened butter
250ml warm milk
375ml fish stock
METHOD (serves 6)
1. Pre-heat oven to 160°C/320°F.
2. Put monkfish, wine, water, bay leaf, parsley, onion, peppercorns and salt in saucepan and poach until the fish is just just cooked through.
3. Remove and drain the fish, cube and set aside.
4. Fry mushrooms lightly in butter and drain on a paper towel.
5. Make the white sauce by heating the butter and flour together, stirring to make a 'roux'.
6. Whisk in the milk and stock to complete the sauce, taking care not to burn.
7. Season to taste, then add the fish, mushrooms, sherry, cream and mustard.
8. Spoon into individual dishes and surround the top with a border of creamed potato.
9. Sprinkle with cheese and bake in the oven for 25 minutes.
Despite the number of strong flavours, the monkfish is tough enough to stand up for itself and really shines when complemented with a few glasses of Blanc de Mer.
Top tip: For added wow factor at the table, serve in individual scallop shells (available from most fishmongers) instead of dishes.
Pronounced 'ba-boor-tee', this protein-packed panful pairs well with robust reds like the Curator Red and is a national favourite in South Africa.
And with 12.5% off all South African wines, don't whip up this meaty treat without having a bottle or two to enjoy with it.
1 x fairly thick slice of crusty bread (white or brown is fine)
10ml melted or softened butter
1 x clove of garlic (crushed)
2 x onions (sliced)
1.5 x tablespoons curry powder
15ml smooth apricot jam
15ml Worcestershire sauce
1 x teaspoon turmeric
25ml brown vinegar
1kg raw beef mince
5 x tablespoons sultanas
3 x eggs
METHOD (serves 8)
- Pre-heat oven to 180°C/356°F and set bread to one side, soaking in milk.
- Heat the oil and butter in large pan and fry onions and garlic until soft.
- Add curry powder, pinch of salt, chutney, jam, Worcestershire sauce, turmeric and vinegar and mix well.
- Drain and mash the bread, reserving the milk.
- Add bread to pan together with mince and sultanas. and stir over a low heat until meat loses its pinkness.
- Remove from stove, add one beaten egg, mix well and spoon into a greased baking dish (28 x 16cm), levelling the top.
- Beat remaining eggs with reserved milk (you should have around 300ml), a further pinch of salt and pinch of turmeric, then pour over the meat mixture.
- Add a few bay leaves on top and stand the dish in a larger pan of water (important to prevent drying out), then bake, uncovered for 1 hour, or until set.
It's traditionally enjoyed with rice but we'd recommend also accompanying with coconut, chutney, nuts, bananas and (of course) a few glasses of Curator red.
Top tip: Get ahead by making the meat sauce up to a day in advance and chilling it in the fridge until you are ready to finish the dish off.