Cooking up a storm at Quo

We had our first Thyme with Tanya gastronomic herbal event on 27 October at Quo in Kloof.

Talented chef and Quo owner, Jonathan Jones, was there to share some really amazing tips with our guests. His food is simple, yet delicious. We were shown how to make everything we ate! Now that’s the way I like it. The highlight for me was his yummy recipes for three different salad dressings. Folks, you’re going to love these – they rock!

Click here to download the recipes

3 Salad Dressings:

Perfect for Seafood, Chicken, Salads or in a wrap
Won’t last in the fridge – so use it the same day

Mix together:
1 Cup Hellman’s Light Mayonnaise
Mango Juice (enough until it pours consistently)
A handful of fresh, chopped coriander
A knob of finely grated ginger
Add chilli to taste (optional)

Will last 2-3 weeks in the fridge
Try Basil or Chives instead of Thyme

Mix together:
1 Cup Hellman’s Light Mayonnaise
Teaspoon of finely chopped Thyme
Salt and pepper
A medium clove of fresh garlic
4 x tablespoons of olive oil
Half a lemon – squeezed
Add water til pouring consistently

Mix together:
1 Cup Hellman’s Light Mayonnaise
A knob of finely grated ginger
Half a lemon – squeezed (brings out the favour of the Wasabi)
Black pepper
Wasabi paste to taste
A dozen chopped fresh basil leaves
Add water to pouring consistently
Add garlic to taste (optional)

We finished off our mains with my yummy-any-day lamb chops
– try them out sometime!

Tanya’s Famous Lamb Chop Marinade

Mix together:
A squeeze of a lemon
A few sprigs of thyme – squash, pummel and chop
Coarse salt
Black pepper
A touch of balsamic vinegar

Marinade your chops for 24 hours before getting them on the grill.

I then got stuck in with the basics of herb gardening.
Here are my 5 golden rules for getting it right:

#1

Herb and veggie gardens must get no less than 5 hours of sunlight a day.

#2

Most herbs originate from the Mediterranean so ensure that your soil is well drained: In pots, always use drainage pebbles at the bottom of the container and use a mix of one bag of potting soil to one block of coconut husk.

Coconut husk has turned my gardening journey on its head. Basically, it’s created out of the outer husk of a coconut that has been removed from the shell. It’s then put through a crusher and milled to a fine consistency. This fine, soft, dry husk is then pressurised to form a block, which is what you and I end up buying. It’s so easy to use – all you do is pop it into one of my Tubtrugs with about two litres of water, and leave it for about 20 minutes. You’ll be astounded by how it expands – one block will end up giving you just under five litres of awesome coconut husk. So what’s the fuss?

  • It’s pH-neutral – plants love this!
  • It’s light which helps when you’re moving pots around your garden.
  • It holds huge amounts of water so when your plants need water they can get it on demand, voila! That’s especially useful for busy people like us when we’re at work and it’s a hot day.

#3

Don’t overfeed your herbs as this often leads to long, lanky, soft plants. Use a liquid seaweed plant food that’s got just enough to keep them fit and healthy. I use Seasol ready-to-use Power Feed. It toughens up plants and provides the right nutrients for strong cell growth – much like a good dose of vitamins does for us!

#4

This may sound silly but only plant what you eat, at least for starters. Please don’t go wild, especially if this is going to be your first herb garden. Remember we eat the elephant in bite-sized chunks, bit by bit! And back to the eating part – if you have no idea what you are going to use it for, then don’t plant it. You are going to be too nervous to use it. So get confident with what you actually cook with and use, and then you can get more adventurous!

#5

Always plant more than one of the same herb. One parsley plant just isn’t going to do it – that’s one cup of parsley tea! I recommend planting in threes, depending on the size of your family. For my little family of two, three of any herb is ample. Pick from one herb and then move onto the next, giving the first time to recover. Remember that picking herbs is just like pruning so it encourages new growth and the spreading and bushing out of the plant.

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