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THE ART OF SMOKING

Smoking food is a finely calibrated art.

Smoking food is a finely calibrated art and Sean Hormann is our very own maestro in the craft of traditional hot and cold smoking. Sean is the owner of the Aphrodisiac Shack Smoke House Deli based in Villiersdorp and has been smoking ORYX DESERT SALT for many years now.

Smoking Oryx Desert Salt

Foods can be either hot or cold smoked depending on whether you want to only flavour the food with a smoky taste or if you want to both flavour and cook/preserve the food. Cold smoking means infusing food with a smoke flavour at below 14°C and is used for foodstuffs such as butter, chocolate and olive oil. Typical foods that are hot smoked are fish, bacon and poultry.

Our salt is cold-smoked and takes many hours during which time the salt grains are regularly moved around to ensure they get evenly smoked. “You’ve got to be able to see what you’re smoking when you open the door of the smoking oven,” says Sean. “If the smoke is too thick, it means the ventilation is wrong. Smoke has to move through the food, it’s not a case of just letting the food getting saturated in smoke. If that happens, the smoke will ‘settle’ leaving a bitter tasting sediment. Smoking is a very subtle process. These days I just know when a food has been smoked enough by the look of it. It’s something I’ve learned to develop a feeling for,” he adds.

It took a considerable process of experimentation to figure out exactly how long Oryx Desert Salt should be smoked for and which wood would impart the best flavour. The most common woods used for smoking salt are alder wood, apple wood, hickory, mesquite and oak. The smell and taste is deliciously savoury, the aroma of fragrant ashy wood smoke mingling with the crystal tang of salt.

Why use smoked salt?

Smoked salt both enhances the inherent flavours of a dish while at the same time imparting a subtle smoky taste. We think it adds a magic twist to all sorts of dishes such as eggs, aubergines and hummus.

While we mostly think of smoking meats and cheeses, it turns out that many other foods such as olives, lemons, mustard and even yoghurt can be successfully smoked to great effect. Perhaps most unusual is smoked water! Smoke loves moisture and water holds the smoky flavour exceptionally well. Freeze into ice-cubes and add to cocktails for sublime flavour.

Speaking of which, try our smoky Margarita. You may just want to keep our smoked salt in your kitchen for this reason alone.

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WHAT HAPPENS WHEN BATMAN RULES THE KITCHEN

This one is for our furry four-legged companions and comes from our wonderful friends at Sense of Taste Chef School.  They’re introducing a dog called Batman!  Batman is the mascot for the Sense of Taste Chef School and is Chef Peter’s Baby Boy who goes everywhere with him. And Batman wants to be a Chef when he is big 🙂

One of the dishes  Batman likes Chef Peter  to make for him is Turkey, Lentil, Spinach and Butternut Meat Balls. (one of Batman’s favourites) And as Chef Peter would season all his dishes for 2 legged folk – he seasons Batman’s dishes with Oryx Salt. After all the flavour and seasoning of any dish is paramount.

This recipe makes enough for 3 to 4 meals

Ingredients

  • ½  Cup Brown Rice
  • 2 ½ Cups Turkey Mince
  • 2 Cups Finely Chopped Spinach
  • 2 Cups Brown Lentils
  • 2 Cups Shredded Butternut
  • 1 ½ Cups Pearl Barley
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Oryx Desert Salt to season all ingredients
  • Sprinkle of Oryx Desert Salt when serving

Method

  • Cook the brown rice, lentils, barley – as per instructions on packet – and allow to cool
  • Cook Spinach and Butternut in some water until tender – allow to cool
  • Season Turkey meat as well you barley, brown rice, spinach, butternut with Oryx Desert Salt
  • Combine all ingredients together with olive oil
  • Roll mixture into “meatball shapes” – not too big – not too small
  • Place the meatballs onto baking tray and bake in the oven at 180’C for about 20 min – until Turkey is cooked
  • Allow to cool – sprinkle with Oryx Salt and serve to your 4 legged children

Chef’s Tip: You can make a bigger batch of these meatballs – double the recipe – roll into meatballs and freeze before baking. When needed simply defrost and bake!

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WHERE IT ALL BEGINS

Have you noticed how already, the days are flying by?  Sometimes in the mad crazy hustle of our busy lives, it can be a relief to stop, even if for only a moment.  In the midst of the whirlwind of our  to-do lists and appointments,  as we find ourselves running to keep up with our own lives,  rushing into the shops to buy our groceries, flinging foodstuffs into our trolleys, we rarely stop to think about where everything comes from.

That’s why we want to talk about going back to the source this month.  When we don’t know the origins of our food, it’s easy to feel disconnected from it, as if where it comes from has nothing to do with us – all we have to do is buy it and eat it.  We take a very different approach.  We think there is something deeply grounding and nourishing about knowing where the food you eat has been grown and produced.

You may have felt the  satisfaction of growing your own vegetables, fruit and herbs in your garden. But it can be almost as rewarding to shop at farmer’s markets, getting to know the people who make the cheese and bread you buy,  meeting  the different  farmers who sell you fresh eggs, asparagus, gourmet mushrooms,  saying hello to the producers who cure the bacon you love and make the best pies.

We want you to feel just as good about knowing exactly where our 100% pure and natural Oryx Desert Salt comes from. We’d like you to know that it has its origins in the 50 km2 salt pan situated in the remote pristine unpolluted pristine Kalahari desert. The source of our salt can be found in the ancient Dwyka rock formations, through which the underground streams flow, geo-scientifically tested to be 250-300 million years old.

These underground streams converge and replenish an ancient underground lake of 55 million tons from which the salt water is pumped, laid out on the pan under the hot Kalahari sun and naturally sun-dried. This cyclical process lives in harmony with the natural rainfall and the surrounding environment.

We believe Oryx Desert Salt is so much more than just a product on a shelf. It’s a journey that we take over and over again. And it always begins at the source.

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ORYX SMOKED SALTED & SESAME CRUSTED BAGELS

We love bagels with Smoked Salmon, Cream Cheese and Capers. But there are so many sumptuous fillings… like Camembert Cheese, Parma Ham and Caramelised Onions….or Peppered Pastrami and Gherkin  Relish!  Bagels are different and not your everyday bread roll, so a nice treat to have with a decadent filling of your choice. And bagels are so easy to make!

Recipe by Chef Angie Boyd and Chef Peter Ayub of Sense of Taste Chef School  Continue reading ORYX SMOKED SALTED & SESAME CRUSTED BAGELS