Drinks, food, Recipes

darkest hour

Hein von Tonder

Sleek cocktails and simple yet sophisticated snacks set the scene for a noir soiree with a difference. Experiential food and drink artist Caro de Waal, known for her immersive settings and installations paired up with inimitable food photographer and stylish Hein van Tonder for a taste of the dark side.

ALSO READ: Black magic: House and Leisure designs a botanical wallpaper inspired by Hendrick’s Gin

botanical gin fizz

60ml helichrysum gin* (or botanical gin of your choice)
Juice of 2 limes
300ml soda water
300ml tonic

Mix the gin with the lime juice. Pour the mixture into four glasses filled with ice. Add 75ml soda water and 75ml tonic to each glass. Stir with a cocktail mixer (or spoon) and serve immediately.

Serves 4

*Helichrysum gin is a small-batch handmade fynbos gin made with helichrysum flowers. (Contact Caro de Waal for further details; eatdesign.co.za)

endives with blue cheese and a balsamic vinegar reduction

100ml balsamic vinegar
30ml honey
200g fresh endive heads
100g creamy blue cheese, cut into thin slices
10g fresh baby salad leaves, such as red and green sorrel

For the balsamic reduction, bring the balsamic vinegar and honey to the boil in a small pot, then lower the heat to a simmer and reduce the mixture for about 10 minutes until the consistency is as thick as runny honey. Set aside to cool.

Carefully separate the endive leaves and arrange on a serving platter. Place slices of blue cheese in the inner curves of each endive leaf and sprinkle the salad leaves over the top. Drizzle balsamic reduction over each portion just before serving.

Serves 8-10 (as a snack)

hot and sour fish ceviche

2 green chillies
6 spring onions
Juice of 3 limes
A pinch of white sugar
1 large (400g) fresh hake fillet
10g fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped
10g fresh baby salad leaves
Activated charcoal squares* (or plain crackers), to serve

Slice the chillies and spring onions as thinly as possible. Combine the lime juice and sugar, and add the chilli and spring onions. Dice the fresh hake into small blocks. Add the lime-juice mixture to the fish and mix well, with care. Allow to stand for 10 minutes to steep.

Add the coriander and salad leaves to the ceviche. Serve in a bowl with activated charcoal squares on the side.

Serves 8-10 (as a snack)

*Available at Woolworths.

beetroot and blackberry vampire vodka

400ml fresh beetroot juice
200ml mixed-berry juice
Juice of half a lemon
60ml vodka
100g blackberries
Black pepper, to serve

Combine the beetroot, berry and lemon juices with the vodka in a large jug, and refrigerate for about half an hour.

Place two blackberries into each of four small wineglasses. Mix the juice well and divide it between the glasses. Grind a little black pepper on top of each drink just before serving them, with extra blackberries on the side.

Serves 4

t-bone steak slices with thyme butter and roasted garlic

1×500g, thick-cut T-bone beefsteak
1 garlic bulb
2t honey
1t ground black pepper
6T olive oil, for frying
6T butter
2T fresh thyme leaves
Black salt, to serve

Remove the steak from the fridge so it reaches room temperature. Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Cut the garlic bulb in half lengthways, place on a baking tray, cut-side up, and drizzle a teaspoon of honey over each half. Roast the garlic for about 25 minutes until golden and soft.

Season the meat with black pepper and heat the oil in a pan until almost smoking. Sear the steak for 5 minutes on each side. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the butter. For a medium-rare steak, cook for a further 3 minutes on each side (this also depends on the thickness of your steak). Add the thyme leaves after turning (3 minutes before the end of cooking) to infuse with the butter.

Remove the steak from the pan, place on a board or serving platter and allow it to rest for 10 minutes. Cut into slices, each about 3-5mm thick, and arrange them next to the bone on the serving platter.

Push the roasted garlic cloves out of the bulb and distribute evenly over the top of the steak. Reheat the butter for 30 seconds until hot and spoon over the top of the slices.

Sprinkle a little black salt over the steak and serve immediately with a small pile of black salt on the side.

Serves 8-10 (as a snack)

activated charcoal and basil cocktail (non-alcoholic)

500ml activated charcoal juice*
Juice of 1 lemon
100ml freshly pressed apple juice
10g fresh basil leaves
4t tukmaria (sweet basil) seeds
Basil flowers, to serve

Combine the charcoal, lemon and apple juices. Roughly tear the basil leaves, drop them into the mixed juices and set aside to infuse for about an hour. Pour the mixture through a sieve to remove the basil leaves.

Decant the juice into chilled glasses and sprinkle half a teaspoon of tukmaria seeds gently over the top of each glass.

Allow the drinks to stand for 10 minutes to allow the tukmaria seeds to swell (they will form opaque ‘skins’). Garnish with the basil flowers and serve immediately.

Serves 4

*Available at Woolworths.