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Green about the gills with dorado

Roaming the crowd, you start to get a bead on personalities. While the hake are being suitably hake-like and the sole shark is largely ignored in a dim alcove, slyly biding his time while pretending to be engrossed by the strains of the jazz trio in the corner, you notice that the yellowtail are becoming rather garrulous as the wine dulls their inhibitions, and the Norwegian salmon – still jetlagged after its longhaul fight from Oslo – is losing its air of Nordic coolth as the third vodka kicks in.

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If it’s Tuesday it must be Mom’s fish and chips

Tuesday was fish and chips day, and I looked forward to supper from the moment I woke up. The days were long and hot in Oranjemund, and sandy if there was wind, the Namib desert never far. Our house was on one corner of the town, the only buildings beyond there being the hydroponics, where a scrawny man grew vegetables in strange watery circumstances, and the cemetery where my big brother Phillip was buried. We went there once a month to stand silently and remember.

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Kingklip that can stand up to prime beef

I was thinking of a piece of kingklip having the character and guts of a hunk of prime beef, not brooking any chirp from the hoi polloi, the kind of kingkip cutlet that walks into a room and everyone falls silent, waiting for the next move.

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A green light for rainbow trout

Rainbow trout, which the Edwardians introduced to South Africa from the northern Pacific about a century ago, is the most beautiful fish, pearly on the outside, sensuously slinky to the touch – it will fly out of your hands of its own accord while you’re washing it under cold running water – and, when you slice into it once it’s cooked, offers you beautifully saffron-tinged flesh that is wonderful to eat.

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A spicy little spicy Christmas

The Cape of Good Hope is a spicy place, Christmas food is traditionally all about fruit and spices, and this menu embraces all of that in a way that does justice to the traditions of our own ancient spice route.

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Hey sesame (oil)! A kitchen eureka moment…

This little breakthrough has turned sesame oil from also-ran status in my kitchen into a key ingredient. So now I’ve gone a step further. I’ve started using it as a mainstream cooking medium, in the same way as you would use butter or olive oil.

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Avocado Savoy and Long Street madams

My friends over at Posh Galore haven’t featured in this column for a while, but I’m sure they would frown upon the thought of me dredging up a hasbeen old kitchen favourite again, on this dubious occasion the sadly lamented “Avocado Ritz”.

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Stoked on sensuous smoked fresh salmon

But perhaps the most unique fish of all when it comes to distinctive flavour is salmon. That extraordinary saffron colour is a thing of beauty in its own right, but find a good piece of Norwegian or Scottish salmon and you have one of the finest fishes you can put on a plate. There’s something of the richness and oomph of Beluga caviare about that intense blast of flavour, and yet it can, for all its taste intensity, take a surprisingly subtle sauce by way of accompaniment.

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Tiny perch, baby hake and teenage kingklip

I had ordered perch from the dinner menu without a clue as to what it was like and I was astonished to be presented with a plate of what must have been 20 or so of the little critters, flour-dipped and panfried in butter and then served with parsley and lemon. Crisp, soft and wonderful, they remain one of the most memorable yet simple fish dishes I’ve tasted anywhere.

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A cure for Norwegian salmon (and possibly hangovers)

When you’re curing salmon for a man who makes witblits for fun, you know you have to chuck in something fairly potent. I’m not sure that curing the fish actually IN witblits, a liquor of a proof so high that it may or not be on either this or that side of the law to do so (I may or may not be hedging my bets here), is entirely a good idea (or not, as may or may not be the case). In any event, what we do know, unequivocally, is that it is not illegal to include tequila in a salmon cure, and I’ll drink to that. I think.

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