This week celebrity and Master Chef Steven Saunders from the award-winning Little Geranium in La Cala, entertains family from South Africa and serves Chakalaka to celebrate his wedding anniversary!
Happy Anniversary Michele….Four years!
SEVERAL years ago, I was invited to do some cooking shows and cookery demos in South Africa filmed live on stage in Johannesburg and CapeTown. I flew over with some of my colleagues from Ready Steady Cook including Antony Worrall Thompson, Brian Turner and James Martin. We had a great time, I loved South Africa it’s a truly beautiful country but I could see that it had serous political issues, a bit like Spain really!
Anyway,I met some lovely people including some of the South African Chefs and I kept in touch with them all these years. When I was back at home in London, I met up with some of the S.A. crowd from my trip and they introduced me to some of their friends. One of them was Michele who became my girlfriend and eventually my wife, we were married on September 19,2016 at El Oceano Hotel, when life was reasonably normal.
So, I have a lot to thank South Africa for! Michele was brough tup in South Africa and I was smitten when I met her and still am and as it was our anniversary,I said I would cook for her whatever she wanted. The week of our anniversary Michele ́s step sister Nadia called to say that she was flying over to stay with us for few weeks. I picked her up from the airport and then we remembered that this time four years ago Michele and I had got married and we had picked Nadia upon the same day at exactly the same time four years before.
The night Nadia arrived we were invited by the Euesdens (Euro Weekly News owners) to dinner in Elviria and we had a great time. Cocktails flowed at the exciting new look Playwright Restaurant including one that looked like a Piranha fish…Piranha Colada!
Back home and Nadia is vegetarian. Now I like vegetarians, I couldn’t eat a whole one but I do like them.“What would you like to eat tonight Nadia?” “Oh,just some vegetables please” she says. So,Michele suggests roasted vegetables with feta “it’s my fav” she says. “That sounds lovely ”I say (with a cheeky grin)“but I am a carnivore, is that all you want?” “You don’t need meat every day” Michele says and so I start to prepare the vegetables and, in the fridge,I find a cauliflower. Do you know that in the UK a cauli costs about 70p but in this country we pay at least €2.99 for it?
Ingredients are expensive over here, but the idea I had was to make a cauliflower cous cous with some spices and mushrooms and served with some roasted vegetables and the legendry South African spicy tomato-based sauce called chakalaka with a side of prawns just for me!
I would feel cheated if I just eat vegetarian, I know that sounds odd, but I am a chef, chefs like to eat! So,I cooked the small banquet of roasted vegetables, the cauli cous cous was a sensation it really was. So here it is for you to try with or without the side order of prawns! “Happy anniversary darling, of all the things in the world I could cook for you, you choose vegetables!” “Yes, but they are delicious,” she said. I hope you enjoy them too, especially good with the chakalaka!
Spicy cauliflower cous cous Ingredients for four
1 small cauliflower
250 ml of vegetable stock
1 tablespoon of chakalaka (see recipe below)
1 punnet of mixed mushrooms sliced and cooked
A little olive oil
Coriander or parsley sprigs
Maldon salt and freshly milled black pepper
To make the cauli cous cous
Pick the stalks off the cauliflower and add the florets one by one to a blender and blend.
Bring the vegetable stock to the boil and add a generous tablespoon of the chakalaka to the warm stock.
Pour into the blender and pulse.
Remove from blender and stir in the mushrooms, taste and season and add sprigs of coriander on top and a drizzle of olive oil.
For the roasted vegetables, 1 small aubergine or half a large one 1 onion peeled and quartered 1 large courgette sliced thickly (1cm) 1 small green pepper cut into even squares of approx. 3cm 1 small red pepper as above 6 portabella mushrooms (cut in halves) 8 pieces of marinated green chilli (pickled Jalapenos in a jar)
Half block of feta cheese approx. 100g
4 small red cherry tomatoes
4 small yellow cherry tomatoes
1 fresh red chilli sliced thinly
Olive oil, Maldon salt Coriander sprigs
To Cook the vegetables
Pre heat the oven to 200C.
Simply cut all the vegetables into chunky pieces and put in a roasting dish.
Drizzle with olive oil and scatter over the fresh red chilli.
Roast covered in tin foil for 10 minutes and then remove the tin foil. Return to the oven and roast for a further five minutes.
Serve with sprigs of coriander over and crumble over the feta cheese.
For the chakalaka Ingredients
1 onion chopped
1 red pepper chopped roughly
2 red jalapeno chillies chopped
2 teaspoons of chilli flakes
2 cloves of garlic peeled and sliced
1 small tin of chopped tomatoes
Approx. 200g of cooked beans from a jar
Sweat off the onion and garlic and peppers, add the tomatoes and beans and chillies and cook for about 10 minutes on a low heat.
Now blend in a food processor on pulse so that it still has some textures (not totally smooth)
Taste, season and serve.
Serve the three things together in the centre of the table as per the picture and don’t forget the prawns! Lol.
Follow Steven on Instagram ….@saunderschef The Little Geranium, Winner of Best International Restaurant Spain…2020
For bookings: Michele@thelittlegeranium.com
Thank you for reading this column, “A vegetarian feast!” For more columns from Steve Saunders, visit the Euro Weekly News website.