A refreshing Summer Salad to serve on a crisp baguette.

You will need:
4 x Baby marrows
1 tsp x Sea Salt
2 x Ripe, firm tomatoes
8-10 x Baby bocconcini cheeses (halved)
4 x Basil leaves (shredded)
4 tsp x Olive Oil
1-2 tsp Sherry
Freshly ground black pepper

  • Peel the baby marrows with a sharp vegetable peeler, into thin ribbon slices (length-wise
  • Place in a bowl and sprinkle with the sea salt.
  • Toss well to coat, and leave to steep for about 10 minutes.
  • Chop the tomatoes into 1cm. diced cubes
  • Drain all liquid from the baby marrows, and pat dry, with a paper towel.
  • Arrange them on a white salad platter.
  • Top with the diced tomato and the halved bocconcini.
  • Sprinkle with the shredded basil leaves
  • Dress with the olive oil and vinegar, sprinkle with the freshly ground black pepper.
  • Serve with a crusty baguette and your favourite Rose wine.
    Bob Appetit!

Artichoke Starter

Eating artichokes are like eating oysters – not all people appreciate it.

Saucy Chef- Artichokes in a bowl

The honest way is to peel the flower – actually, a thistle, – from outside in, till you get to the heart.

Key is a good sauce, says Saucy Chef Brian

So here goes:
One third lemon juice
Two-thirds olive oil,
A scoop Dijon mustard
Black pepper & salt to taste.

Saucy Chef Artichoke hearts

Whisk till it emulsifies properly.
Halve the artichokes and boil for 40 minutes with 1tsp salt.
Drain. Let cool slightly.
Start peeling the outside leaves.
The “choke” is the hairy part. Use a teaspoon to remove this to get to the valuable “heart”.
Dress the hearts in the sauce and toss while still warm.

Eat with melba toast or as is.

Saucy Chef Artichokes

SAUCY CHEF / UPPER CRUST Home-made bread and mezze.

Another successful Saucy Chef course was held at the Upper Crust Club in Lydenburg.

The theme of the morning workshop: Home-made bread and mezze.


Saucy Chef Brian Whitehorn from Paardeplaats Nature Retreat and  André du Preez the talented, young owner/chef at Café Crust once again entertained  12  local passion chefs to a practical Saucy Chef course.


Andre shared his bread-baking skills with the enthusiastic participants who had the opportunity to craft their own ciabatta and sourdough bread. As part of the Bread and Mezze workshop, Brian demonstrated how to make an appetising, healthy “Paté Maison” or chicken liver paté, basil pesto and a hummus – a chickpea dish from North Africa. All three these dishes complimented the legendary  Café Crust ciabatta bread.


Gretli STeyn, Shelly Franke, Nicky Maartens, Nienke Nortje, Elzanda Nel, Chris Smal

Gretli Steyn, Shelly Franke, Nicky Maartens, Nienke Nortje, Elzanda Nel, Chris Smal

Paul Fallone, Shelly Franke, Hester Combrinck

Paul Fallone, Shelly Franke, Hester Combrinck

Gretli Steyn, Nienke Nortje, Nicky Maartens

Gretli Steyn, Nienke Nortje, Nicky Maartens

 Ilse de Waal, Pieter Steyn

Ilse de Waal, Pieter Steyn

Chris Smal & Stephani Roos

Chris Smal & Stephani Roos

Andre-du-Preez, Paul Fallone

Andre-du-Preez, Paul Fallone

Andre, -Nicky Maartens, & Vita Van Rooyen

Andre, -Nicky Maartens, & Vita Van Rooyen



Saucy Chef / Upper Crust Cookery Courses are aimed at those who enjoy fellowship and share a passion for food – not for food snobs or critics, but for people who derive pleasure and fun from the process of planning, preparing and presenting food, and of course, enjoying the pleasures and ambiance created around the table.

Our hands-on workshops are not only demonstrations, but rather an invite to a fun party, and easy meal, enjoying the process while learning. Participants are taught to handle the heat in the kitchen, without burning their fingers, and they also receive all the recipes relating to the course.

Day Courses are held at Café Crust Restaurant and are normally planned around a luncheon accommodating up to 30 people. This can be made up of individuals, groups of friends, birthday parties, or work colleagues, or even year-end or team building functions. Weekend Courses are held on request at Paardeplaats Nature Retreat on the Longtom Pass for groups of 6 – 8 people accommodated in 4 en-suite rooms.

Join the Upper Crust Club or subscribe to the Upper Crust WhatsApp group (0722146942) to find out more!


Crust’s Famous Ciabatta Bread

  1. Preheat oven to 230°C
  2. 2.      Mix dry ingredients together:
    1 kg flour
    12 g salt
    20 g yeast
  3. 800 ml water – must be at room temp
  4. Add water to mixing bowl and slowly incorporate flour mixture in the water, mixing either with a wooden spoon or by hand. Mix until you have a very wet and sticky dough.
  5. Oil a plastic container and add the dough. Cover with cling film and leave to rise until double in volume.
  6. Once the dough has risen, scrape out onto a well-oiled work surface. Be careful not to overwork the dough – you want to keep the air-holes in the bread.
  7. Shape into a rectangular form. Cut the dough into ciabatta shapes and transfer to a well-floured baking tray.
  8. Bake for 20 – 30 mins until the crust is golden and bread has a hollow sound.
  9. Leave to cool for 30 min and then eat.

Celebrate your success – or try again and again until you succeed!!


Burguhl & Lentil Fritters with Tsatsiki

LENTIL & BURGHUL FRITTERSSaucy Chef Recipe of the Month November 2015



A very successful Mezze or snack for the health conscious

Makes 35


Brown lentils (washed)                                                                                                       150g
Burghul (Bulgar wheat)                                                                                                      100g
Olive oil or Canola oil                                                                                                         100ml
Onion large (finely chopped)                                                                                               1
Ground cumin                                                                                                                    2 tsp
Ground coriander                                                                                                               2 tsp
Mint leaves (freshly chopped)                                                                                         3 tblsp
Garlic (crushed)                                                                                                                 1 tblsp
Eggs (lightly beaten)                                                                                                           4
Cake flour                                                                                                                             ½ cup
Sea salt                                                                                                                                  1 tsp

Greek Yoghurt                                                                                                                    1 cup
Garlic (crushed)                                                                                                                  2 tsp
Lemon juice                                                                                                                        1 tblsp
Black pepper (freshly ground)                                                                                         1 tsp
Mint leaves (freshly chopped)                                                                                         1 tblsp
Cucumber (seeds removed and shredded)                                                                    7 cm
Sea salt                                                                                                                                  to taste

  1. Place the lentils in a pan with 2½ cups water. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 30 minutes, until tender (al dente).
  2. Remove from the heat, and add just enough water to barely cover the lentils. Add the Burghul, toss with a fork, Transfer this to a bowl, cover and stand for 1 hour, until the Burghul has expanded, and absorbed all the liquid.
  3. Make the Tsatsiki, by mixing all the ingredients together, and tasting for salt.
  4. Heat half the oil in a pan, add the chopped onions and the garlic, and fry very gently until soft. Add the cumin and coriander.
  5. Add this to the lentil and Burghul mix, with the eggs, flour, chopped mint and sea salt, and toss to mix together. The consistency should be runny enough for heaped teaspoons full to drop into the pan. If it is too wet, add a little more flour.
  6. On medium, heat the remaining oil, in a clean non-stick pan, then fry heaped teaspoons full of the batter, in batches, for about 3 minutes, each side, until golden brown. Drain on paper towel, salt lightly and serve with the Tsatsiki a squeeze of lemon juice, and a garnish of fresh mint.

Artichoke & Parmesan Salad

artichoke and parmesan salad 1

Saucy Chef Recipe of the Month August 2015


Best to use fresh home grown baby artichokes if possible Then you don’t have to remove the choke.


Do yourself a favour in Spring or Summer, and plant Globe Artichokes in your garden. The foliage is very pretty and you will have fresh artichokes on hand when you need them! The plants will last, and produce artichokes for up to 5 years

Ingredients:                                                                                                                 Serves 6
Freshly picked baby globe-artichokes (trim excess leaves, peel and quarter.
Keep 5 cm of the stem on.)                                                                                             8
Lemon juice freshly squeezed.                                                                                       2 tblsp
Olive oil (extra virgin best quality!)
One can use walnut oil instead, for a lovely nutty flavour!                                      3 tblsp
Salt and freshly ground black pepper.                                                                          to taste
Parmesan shavings.                                                                                                          8-10
Fresh thyme  (for garnish)                                                                                               a few sprigs

  1. Trim and peel, then quarter the artichokes and place immediately into cold water with a little lemon juice, to prevent the hearts from discolouring.
  2. Using a bamboo steamer, steam the hearts for about 12-15 minutes until tender when using the point of a sharp knife. Salt and pepper lightly to taste.
  3. Whisk the lemon juice and the oil together in a bowl, until emulsified. Add the artichoke hearts and toss well but gently to coat them.
  4. Arrange the artichokes on a pretty salad platter pour over the excess dressing, and grind over a little more pepper. When cooled sufficiently arrange the parmesan shavings over the artichokes, garnish with a few sprigs of fresh thyme, and serve while still luke warm.
  5. They can also be served on freshly toasted ciabatta slices 2 cm thick, with garlic rubbed on one side, and drizzled with a little more oil, as a starter snack (called bruschetta)
  6. This is an ideal, light, lunchtime salad served with your favourite dry white wine.



Cabbage Gratin


Cabbage Gratin


Ideal family, winter food to be enjoyed around the fire, with a bottle of your favourite wine.



Ingredients:                                                                    Serves 6

Cabbage (shredded)                                                              ½ or more if needed
Potatoes peeled and sliced into 5mm slices                      4
Apples peeled, cored and sliced as above                           4
Onions peeled and sliced                                                      3
Carrots peeled and sliced                                                      1
Garlic chopped (optional)                                                     1 Tsp
Pork rashers cut into 3cm pieces                                         6
Bacon lardons (or minced bacon)                                        200g
Juniper berries (lightly crushed)                                         10
Emmenthaler cheese grated                                                  250g
Breadcrumbs                                                                            ¼ cup
Cream (or milk if you need to cut the fat)                          ½ cup
Dijon mustard                                                                         1 tbsp
Salt and pepper to taste
Parsley chopped (garnish)                                                     ¼ cup

1. Use a steel or ovenproof glass, baking dish (about 30cm x 45cm)
2. Preheat the oven to 160°C
3. Steam the potato slices for about 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
4. Steam the apple and carrot for about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
5. Fry the onions gently in a little butter, until soft a lightly browned.
6. Layer the potatoes then the apple, then the onion, in the baking dish.
7. Layer the bacon and the pork on top of the onion.
8. Cover with the carrot, garlic and juniper berries.
9. Sprinkle the shredded cabbage over the top.
10. Lightly, salt and pepper.
11. Blend the cream and mustard with a little salt and pepper. Carefully pour this
blended cream and mustard, down the side of the gratin.
12. Sprinkle over the grated Emmenthaler cheese and then finally the breadcrumb
13. Cover with a loose sheet of tin foil and bake in the centre of the oven for about 1½ hours.
14. Cover with a loose sheet of tin foil and bake in the centre of the oven for about 1½ hours.
15. Remove the tin foil, turn the oven heat up to 180°C,  and bake for a further ½ hour, until the cream reduces and starts to become sticky, and the top is evenly browned.
16. Remove from the oven and garnish with the chopped parsley.
17. Serve with a  Bordeaux Blend notably Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, both known for their power and elegance and can stand up to and even enhance the full flavours of  the cabbage.

A good crisp, fresh, rye bread with cumin seeds and some good Dijon mustard, will do the trick for a “lekker long kuier”!

Bon Appetit!

Risotto di Fungo (Mushroom risotto)

Risotto di Fungo (Mushroom Risotto) 

Ingredients:                                                                                             Serves 8
Arborio rice (Risotto rice) – 500 g
Onion chopped – 2
Chicken stock (Well flavoured) – 750 ml
Dry white wine – 350 ml
Brown mushrooms sliced thickly – 10
Button mushrooms sliced thickly  – 500 g
Exotic or wild mushrooms – 150 g
Dried Ceps or Chanterelle mushrooms or both – 50 g
Mushroom soup (good quality – cans are OK) – 800ml  
Lemon juice (fresh squeezed) – 2 tblsp
Chopped parsley – ½ cup
Butter – 150 g
Olive oil – 4 tblsp
Freshly grated parmesan cheese – ½ cup
Salt and freshly ground black pepper – to taste

  1. Mix the mushroom soup and the chicken stock, together. While still hot, add the dried mushrooms. Set aside and allow to reconstitute for about an hour.
  2. Wipe clean, and slice the mushrooms into fairly thick slices.
  3. Heat 50g butter in a large pan over a high heat, until a nut brown in colour. Stir fry the brown and button mushrooms, with plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Until just done. Add the wild mushrooms, and continue to fry for another ½ minute, tossing frequently. Squeeze over about 1 tblsp lemon juice , toss, and set aside.
  4. For The Risotto: In a large flat pan, like a paella dish, fry the onion in the olive oil with 50g of the butter, on a medium high heat, until soft and golden brown.
  5. Add the rice and toss well to coat with the butter. Fry gently for about 5-8 minutes, tossing regularly.
  6. Add the white wine and toss very well. It will “sigh” as all Italians will tell you it needs to do. Fold gently and regularly, using two wooden spatulas, until most of the liquid has been absorbed. From now on the risotto will need your permanent focused attention! and will take about 30 minutes to completion, until the rice is cooked a light al dente.
  7. Here goes: Working on a medium heat, and using a soup ladle, spoon in one ladle of the stock mix. Fold the liquid into the rice with two wooden spatulas and work the risotto continually until the liquid begins to run dry. Try not to stir – a folding action is required. Add another spoon of the stock, fold in and continue working the risotto.
  8. This must continue without the liquid ever running dry, until the stock is all used up and the rice is cooked al dente.
  9. Through this cooking process and up to the final serving, the consistency of the risotto must remain very moist and creamy – this is the secret of any good risotto. It must never dry out!
  10. When you get to the last ladle of stock, add the stir-fried mushrooms, toss gently and allow to cook in with the rice for about a minute, when the rice should be lightly al dente,
  11. Remove from the heat and working very carefully, toss in the rest of the butter, and lemon juice. Dust with the chopped parsley and the parmesan cheese as a final garnish.
  12. Serve immediately with a crusty ciabatta,  in good company, with a green, herbed salad and a bottle or two of good, well chilled Sauvignon Blanc or Chianti wine.
  13. A good Gorgonzola with figs, will go well after the meal.

Bon appétit!


  •  Turn this into an excellent vegetarian dish by using a vegetable stock!
  •  In our normal South African summers we often have a lot of wild mushrooms – if you know them, and are absolutely sure of yourself, use them. (Ceps, field mushrooms, ikowe – all good – much better than the commercial versions!)
  •  Woollies normally have all the ingredients needed.