Reuben Cooks Local

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Second book by acclaimed Chef Reuben Riffel.

Text of Reuben Cooks Local

  • Qreuben cooks local

    Now with three restaurants in and around the Western Cape, Reuben Riffel leadsa busy life. He is chef de cuisine and owner of Reubens Restaurant in Franschhoek as well as concept chef at Reubens at the One & Only Cape Town and Reubens at the Robertson Small Hotel. Despite his meteoric rise from small-town boy to scooping top honours at the 2004 Eat Out Johnnie Walker Restaurant Awards with Reubens Restaurant and being named Sunday Times Chef of the Year in 2007, Riffel has never lost sight of his roots in Franschhoek. In the last few years, Riffel has become a household name in South Africa with local and international television appearances and the publication of his first cookbook, Reuben Cooks: Food is Time Travel (also published by Quivertree and winner of Best Chefs Cookbook at the World Gourmand Awards in 2009). Key to Riffels success is his unsurpassed ability to marry South African and international cuisines via an eclectic approach that always uses the best seasonal ingredients available.

    CRaig fRaseR has been working as a photographer for two decades. His long and successful career as a commissioned photographer working for local and international titles including Elle Decoration, House & Leisure, Habitat, Visi, Swedish Gourmand and Woolworths Taste as well as in advertising has been overtaken,since 2007, by his work for Quivertree Publications. Quivertree was founded by Craig and graphic designer Libby Doyle in 2002. The company has established itself as one of South Africas most innovative and award-winning boutique publishing houses, with recent titles that include Hot Afro, Prickly Pears & Pomegranates, Reuben Cooks, Bake and Modern Wineries of South Africa. Craig and Reuben have developed a great working relationship, starting with their first book together, Reuben Cooks. Craig believes they have taken their collaboration to new levels in Reuben Cooks Local. Working mostly alone at Reubens home in Franschhoek, they were free to experiment and push the boundaries.

    beRn le Roux is a food writer, stylist, food editor and blogger. She has worked formagazines including Cond Nast House & Garden, Woolworths Taste, Food & Home Entertaining and Marie Claire in various roles and capacities over the past 10 years. In 2008 she co-authored Prickly Pears & Pomegranates (also published by Quivertree), which scooped Best Local Cookbook at the World Gourmand Awards in 2009. Le Roux lives in Noordhoek, Cape Town, with her husband Paul and their two children, where she also co-owns the family-run Caf Roux restaurant with Paul and her sister-in-law Lindi Green.

    Reuben Cooks local is a celebration of South African ingredients. Acclaimed chef Reuben Riffel presents recipes that combine the seasonal ingredients and fresh flavours that reflect his upbringing and the country in which he lives and works. In these pages youll find recipes like poached guavas with Noble Late Harvest crme anglaise, port-glazed springbok with celeriac and apple pure, naartjies macerated in vanilla and rosemary sugar, and snoek fillet in apricot-soy glaze with parsley oil.Recipes are divided into chapters that honour food from the sea, food from the field, food from the earth and orchard, and food from the vine. These are dishes that laud a wide range of South African produce, from snoek, West Coast crayfish and local trout to Karoo lamb, mielies, spanspek, buchu and game. Uniquely South African ingredients the colourful, the fragrant and the forgotten, many of which are too often overlooked in the modern kitchen, are brought to the fore here.Reuben Riffel provides indispensible information on choosing his favourite ingredients and flavourings unusual varieties of vinegars and salts, cuts of game, local truffles and fynbos and about where to find the best produce. Reuben Cooks Local is for food lovers with a passion for produce and a desire to appreciate the very best that South Africa has to offer.


    The easy instructions allow you to capture the flavours of South Africa

    whether from sea, earth, field or orchard simply and successfully

    in your own kitchen, producing dishes guaranteed to become instant favourites

    with family and friends

    jos bakeR


    reubenCooKS LoCAL

    pHoTogRApHS by CRAIg fRASeR

  • I dedicate this book to Pa Isak. Its a pity how you left us, Latika missed out

    on another loving grandfather. We will keep you alive in her memory

    as you are in ours. Rest in peace.

  • I dedicate this book to Pa Isak. Its a pity how you left us, Latika missed out

    on another loving grandfather. We will keep you alive in her memory

    as you are in ours. Rest in peace.

  • reubencooks local

    photographs by craig fraser

    recipes by reuben riffel

  • foreword

    Hes the chef with local appeal. Mention Reuben Riffel to South Africans and youll find a fan

    either a regular at his restaurants or inspired by his local boy makes good story.I was editing a top 100 restaurant guide for Wine magazine when Reuben burst on to the Franschhoek restaurant scene as a home-grown talent to be heaped with accolades and awards. Any young emerging chef less sure of his roots and ability would have been totally intimidated by the thought of living up to the hype and expectations.Reuben, grounded in the warmth and affection of his family, was surprised by the attention, but not daunted. Had he reacted by putting on airs, Ive the feeling Ouma would have smacked them out of him pretty swiftly. And the numerous top culinary awards he went on to win proved that his initial success was no flash in the pan.

    From my first bite, I was struck by his instinctive understanding of cooking techniques and assured

    play with flavours. While his food has since been influenced by overseas trips and international

    experience, it retains the basic integrity and respect for ingredients he learned from his mother. Whats more, he still smiles the same slow smile, still shows the same modesty, and is still

    surprised by the large press turnout at his menu launches. Building on local is Reubens strength. Plus the fact that his food is accessible, recognizable and if not always familiar, tempts even conservative diners (and cooks) to try something new. Theres nothing in his cooking that is over-garnished, excessively fussy, or that will be stirred around a plate with suspicion. His first book, Reuben Cooks, revolved round the time-warp evoked by smells and tastes. In Reuben Cooks Local the link is more immediate. The easy instructions allow you to capture South African flavours - whether from sea, earth, field or orchard - simply and successfully in your own

    kitchen, producing dishes guaranteed to become instant favourites with family and friends. Working from recipes and mouthwatering photographs like these, what a pleasure!

    JOS BAKERRestauRant cRitic, editoR, eat out Lifetime achievement awaRd winneR and membeR of the sa seLection paneL foR the

    s peLLegRino woRLds 50 best RestauRants

  • introduction

    Produce inspires me. And theres no better place in the world to be working as a chef than in South Africa. The climate, varying soil types, rainfall, both warm and cold ocean currents, and passionate producers across the country all contribute to the best seasonal ingredients being available throughout the year. Some of my favourite ingredients are truly South African: Karoo lamb, snoek, naartjies, springbok, waterblommetjies, West Coast mussels, guinea fowl, guavas, mielies.

    At my restaurants I plan the daily menus once the ingredients arrive, fresh from suppliers and local farmers. Only then do I decide what Im going to cook. When I see the succulent flesh of the seasons first fragrant pear, I start to consider what will work best with it a sweet-potato and frise salad with brandy and blue cheese dressing; tossed with black figs, prosciutto and baked camembert; or simply roasted and served with almond anglaise.

    Growing up in Franschhoek Im privileged to have been in touch with nature from a very young age. As a small boy, Id be out picking wild watercress in the cold mountain streams or helping my Oupa harvest fruit and vegetables from his ever-expanding garden. I can look back now and smile when I remember my dread at seeing the first springtime blossoms. Blossoms meant hard work was on the way. One of my main chores after school was to help the school principal harvest the plums from his vast orchard. It was a backbreaking task of climbing trees with frail branches and stacking numerous heavy crates.

    As a family, we would eat what was available at the time. There would be waterblommetjiebredie bubbling on the Dover stove in winter followed by Mas boeber with cinnamon and moskonfyt. Stamp en stoot, a hearty dish of beans and white corn with meaty bones dribbling with marrow, was another winter favourite. Summer meant braais with juicy boerewors, chicken-and-apricot sosaties, Karoo lamb chops and sickly sweet and sticky koeksisters for dessert. And although we didnt have a car to get to the coast we were lucky enough to get a regular supply of snoek from an uncle who lived by the sea. This is the food I grew up with and that has shaped me as a chef. Reuben Cooks Local is a celebration of South African produce with recipes that nod towards our vast heritage.

    Over the years, searching for the best produce for my restaurants has led me to many local farmers and suppliers. Without them my job would be near impossible. These are people who are willing to share their knowledge because they have a genuine passion for what they do. Not only are there farmers producing the best local ingredients, like Karoo lamb,