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In search of biltong and music in the Hantam Karoo

A greying manageress sauntered over, sensing my distress, and asked what was going on. Between sobs I managed to tell her the whole sorry story.
“My dear,” she said, “this is Calvinia, we don’t go in for music here.”

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When you’re so cool you’re chilli-hot hey bru

Hipsters are cool, but are they hot? The right hat, worn at the right angle, up above a five o-clock shadow face – like I’m so cool I don’t always feel the urge to shave dude – and just 12 cms, give or take, above the jargon-spouting lip that sips the Vida E latte ‘cos like all the other coffee places are s**t bru and like they don’t chirp hey. How cool is a hipster? Really? It’s cool to conform, to copy the uniform? Nah.

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Pear tarte Tatin, step by step

This French blessing of a dessert is one of life’s greatest pleasures. And I wonder what the Tatin sisters would think if they could see, today, the continuing success of their creation, even in the finest restaurant kitchens of the world. And that is one of the marvels of a tarte Tatin: a great chef can make it, and have his gourmand customers swooning. And so can you and I, because it really isn’t all that difficult to make.

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Old Salts and salmon pasta

Deep in his cobalt blue eyes were recesses where were stored the memories of battles long fought and won by Viking ancestors, and images of great creatures of the frozen deep his antecedents had wrestled with their bare, rope-muscled hands.

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Laboring under a misspelled apprehension about Americanisms

We cringe when we see or hear them. We have hot flushes. We come out in pimples. We sweat at the brow and our hearts pound. There are subs who have died of Americanisms, one too many causing them to clutch their breasts and fall to the floor gasping.

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Butternut lasagne on the cheap

In towns throughout England there are markets once a week where you can buy anything from fresh vegetables to electrical goods or dubiously cheap shirts and jerseys, or jumpers as they’re called there. I say dubious because the bloke who sold them at our weekly market in Chichester was a decidedly dodgy looking fellow. He […]

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A crackling way with simple pork chops

Some meats are contrary by nature. They’re the unpredictable element in the kitchen repertoire, the Mr Hyde which may suddenly show itself as a Dr Jekyll, when you least expect it, or the smiling, sweet vicar who turns out to harbour a dark secret of the kind the church hierarchy would rather ignore.

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It was Daisy de Melker, in the kitchen, with a knife

RACK of lamb is the spurned lover seeking revenge, which is not to say it is a dish best served cold. Neither should rack of lamb be served overly hot for that matter. Unlike revenge, it is a dish best served warm, just as its colour should be neither a virulent red nor a tired […]

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A beef shortrib stew for the Rising Sun

This was to have been a column about oxtail. I went along to Pick n Pay, as I am wont to do these days (my old Woolies-or-death approach just was not working any more, said my bank manage in hard tones while fixing me with That Look). I have seen packs of oxtail in Pick n Pay every day for the past two months. But this is where that other haphazard law comes into play, the law that decrees: “The day that you want to cook the item you keep seeing in the store is the day they won’t have any more.” You know the law.

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Best news yet: butter IS better, after all

Out of the wings comes the butter, out of the sin bin, out of the dunce corner, butter with a get out of jail free card while yellow margarine gets a do not pass Go card. Out of the attic, out of the dusty old suitcase in the corner, out of the cellar comes butter, shaking off the years of neglect, shucking off the shackles of hate like a dignified dissident who has always known he was right, who made a stand, who stood his ground, and who knew that one day, this day, would come.

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