As I perused the menu at Benguela Brasserie and Restaurant and saw that each dessert was served with a different ice cream, I knew I was going to get on just fine with the chef, Kelly-Anne Pietersen. I was there to photograph her food and you are aware that you are stepping into someone’s domain. What I was not prepared for was her incredible eye for colour and how she combines it with such beauty and ease on each plate. Bonus was walking away with her Churros with Dark Chocolate Sauce recipe which I have recreated for the blog.
I spent some time chatting with Kelly-Anne and she mentioned that the menu changes very often, in fact as often as possible. It is built around what is fresh and available. I mention that there is a distinct familiarity in ingredients and a feel of comfort in each dish. “We’re on the Garden Route so exotic ingredients are not that available and if it is, it’s expensive. Plus I have to listen to what my diners want. It is a mix of locals plus foreign visitors so we have to find that balance in keeping everyone satisfied.”
“Food is supposed to be enjoyed and be comforting”, says Kelly-Anne. But comfort does not mean old fashioned. She looks at trends but guests want classics and familiar dishes. She will tweak the classics with elements of the latest trends and modernity.
Kelly-Anne’s influences range from Michel Roux Jr (who she would love to cook with one day) to Liam Tomlin and Gordon Ramsay whose books she own. When I ask Kelly-Anne what her favourite ingredient is she quickly says an onion. “It is a base ingredient that changes flavour depending how you cook it. It can go from harsh to sweet, all depending how you cook and want to use it”.
Elimination of wastage is an important element in running her kitchen and she has one of the best solutions I have heard. She incorporates it into ice cream. Brownie cutoffs, marmelade made from left over orange peel and syrup, even pink butter icing find its way into interesting and delicious combinations of ice cream to go with the desserts on the menu.
The best part of being a chef? “I love seeing guests eating my food in silence, almost in awe and keeping it as a memory.”
Kelly-Anne graciously gave me her churro recipe as I don’t have one on the blog yet. On the day she served it with a white chocolate ice cream, covered in a chocolate dome which collapsed into a sweet and creamy pool with the drizzled hot chocolate sauce. I decided to make a spiced caramel sauce as variation and have included it in the recipe or you can make a spiced dulce de leche from this recipe of mine. It makes enough for a dipping sauce for the churros. You can halve the chocolate sauce quantities if you want to serve it as just a dipping sauce with the churros.
Below is a gallery of my day :
- Churros( Choux Pastry):
- 250g Water
- 100g butter
- 125g flour
- 2 Eggs
- Cinnamon sugar:
- 100g Sugar
- 5g cinnamon powder
- Chocolate sauce:
- 1 shot espresso coffee
- 200g 70% dark chocolate
- 500ml cream
- Vanilla ice cream - optional to make or buy:
- 1 Vanilla pod
- 250ml milk
- 250ml Cream
- 125g sugar
- 5 Egg yolks
- Spiced Caramel (by heinstirred):
- 1 tin caramel treat (dulce de leche)
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp sweet paprika
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- In a sauce pan bring water and butter to a boil until the butter has melted.
- On a medium heat add the flour and stir with wooden spoon until mixture forms a ball.
- Remove from heat and place into a mixing bowl and allow to cool.
- Once the mixture is room temperture, mix in the eggs one at a time.
- Mixture will be soft and can be placed into a piping bag with a star nozzle
- Place in the fridge to chill for about 1 hour.
- In a medium saucepan fill the pot half way with oil and put on a medium heat.
- Once oil is hot, start frying off the churros into any shape desired.
- When golden and crisp, toss them into the cinnamon sugar.
- Chocolate sauce:
- In a saucepan place chocolate, espresso and cream over a low heat and whisk while chocolate melts.
- Reheat when serving.
- Vanilla ice cream:
- Split the vanilla pod in half and remove all the seeds.
- Place seeds and pod into a pot with the cream and milk and bring to a boil.
- In a mixing bowl whip up the eggs yolks and sugar until ribbon stage.
- Slowly pour the warm milk mixture onto the egg mixture, whisking continously.
- Allow to cool down before placing into an ice cream machine and churn
- Too serve:
- Warm the chocolate sauce and place into a milk jug.
- Top the churro with vanilla ice cream and pour warm chocolate sauce over.
- To make the spiced caramel, add about 1 -2 tbsp hot water to the caramel treat and mix to soften the caramel to a sauce consistency. Mix in the spices and let it stand for 30 minutes to infuse. Serve as a dipping sauce for the churros
Benguela Brasserie and Restaurant is situated at the Lakeside Lodge and Spa in Sedgefield. They offer a 2 and 3 course lunch and dinner menu every day.
Disclaimer : I was an invited by Red Carpet Concepts to visit Lakeside Lodge and Spa and photograph the food for heinstirred.com