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The veal deal

Veal, veal, veal, at the risk of being as offensive as Basil Fawlty was to his German guests in an episode of Fawlty Towers, quite by chance the subject of this week’s column turns out to be a veally, veally good one. But not everyone will share my joy in cooking slivers of the controversial meat.

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Learning to cook at my mom’s elbow

In the chill of a Yorkshire winter in what was then the West Riding of that large northern English county, where Cathy called for Heathcliff in whipping winds on grim moors, the pretty girl with wide-set cornflower blue eyes would have to hold her hand out to be stuck repeatedly with the back of a hairbrush when the orphanage carers – for want, perhaps, of another word – would deem some wrong to have been done.

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Keith Richards and other mashed-up bangers

A banger is a clapped-out, stutter-start old car that knows the next stop is the breakers. A banger is an old rocker, a wizened Keith Richards who can’t see his fans any more but can still find his guitar chords. A banger is a heady cocktail of vodka, Galliano and orange juice, with a maraschino garnish to fool you into believing that a Harvey Wallbanger doesn’t pack a kick.

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Adding salt to the great curry debate

At such gatherings inevitably there will be somebody who insists that a curry should never be salted, and I generally shut up and leave them to drone on about it, while being tempted to say, “Why don’t you just taste the curry you’ve made and your palate will give you the answer?”

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Peasantly hearty ways with oxtail

How odd that three of the world’s greatest chefs should share a name with a preparation for thickening a sauce. A very basic preparation, which is kind of fitting, for any great chef has to know the basics in order to build both a dish and a career.

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A spicy recipe for stupid Rosbif

Anyone who writes about food and cooks the occasional beef fillet or writes about ordering one in a restaurant will have encountered this conundrum. You say, aloud, a sentence containing the word fillet, pronouncing it “fill it”, and sure as a downpour follows a warm, clear Cape winter’s day, someone within earshot will pipe up and “correct” you.

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Getting saucy with steak

As if all that wasn’t enough hard work, you’ve still got to make your sauce Marchand de Vin. I know it’s easier to buy a ready-made sauce at Pick n Pay, Daisy, but this is the stuff of the great French sauces and this amount of effort is a pretty good illustration of why it’s worth saving up to go to a seriously fine restaurant once in a while, and why chefs at that level make such exquisite sauces.

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Another way with T-bone: roasted whole

There’s something about a T-bone. (The meat-shy might like to look away at this point.) It’s a quartet of things. The T-shaped bone gives the meat attached to it more flavour. The layer of fat, which must be left on so that the meat near it can absorb its tenderising essences.

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Beef shortrib fit to feed a Carnabytian Army

IN the superficial rush to cook with only the finest and most sought-after ingredients, the most dedicated followers of food fashion can be frightfully forgetful. Eagerly pursuing all the latest foodie trends, these latterday descendants of the Carnabytian Army march on from one fad to the next, guided by gurus clothed in white who spew wisdom and profanity in the same breath.

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A perfect day for annoying the Food Police

WOKE up Sunday morning, yawned, looked out the window. Glorious day. Not a cloud in the sky, head didn’t hurt. Didn’t need an organically-brewed Fair Trade beer for breakfast, never mind one more for dessert. Perfect, just perfect. A perfect day for killing some sacred cows.

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