I am extremely honored and privileged to introduce the divine Miss Lidia! On her recent sojourn to South Africa, a mere 10,211 miles from Portland, she teamed up with her dear friend, Diane Heierli, to create this iconic Gemsbok Hash – huzzah! (Someone please take away my exclamation key!) >>>
I was introduced to the wonderful world of hash by our Twitter besties, Dave and
Lars. We attended our very first hashcapade at Besaw’s in Portland and
have been a part of Clark’s hashcapade groupies ever since.
Fast-forward to February and my annual trip to my other home, South Africa. I had
mentioned to Clark that I would be making a hash South African style and after Clark
calmed down from doing the happy OMG OMG dance, he asked if I would blog about
it. And so I did!
During my high school years I attended Rhenish Girls High in Stellenbosch, South
Africa. I mastered in the class Bitch 101 and would never have survived without my
good friend, Diane. We were both very much of the same kindred spirit except in
the world of cooking. I planned on studying to be a Chef, while Diane had planned
on being a beach bum, surfer and artist. She was good at all three. As all good girls
who are being groomed for the finer things in life, we had to take Home Economics.
It was all about cooking for our husbands, entertaining his clients and knowing
how to change a plug should he be too busy. One day we had a surprise cooking
practical and had to make scones. Diane had that panic look and I assured her it
would be fine. Her workstation faced mine and as I measured the ingredients (we
were not allowed to have a recipe) I would hold everything up high so she could see
the measurements. This was not cheating; I was just trying to get a good light on my
measuring! The practical turned out well for us both. Fast forward to 2012. Events
in my life took me down another path and Diane, the wannabe surfer, artist, beach
bum, is now the food editor for Winestyle Magazine in South Africa. I still giggle
every time I think about it.
On my trip home, I begged Diane to help me with my hashcapade and she, in Diane
fashion, took it on. Diane is a phenomenal cook and the hashcapade – South African
style – came to fruition. We had discussed what kind of meat we were going to use
and the final verdict was Gemsbok.
Before we started cooking, Diane made Gin and Tonics and Pimm’s. One must start
off cooking in the right frame of mind! It was then out to her garden to pick some
fresh herbs, Thyme and Rosemary. I envy Diane’s kitchen, which was built by her
very talented husband, Christoph, who is also a very talented photographer. As we
were collecting the herbs and sipping on our G&T’s, Christoph built the fire to grill
the Gemsbok. In South Africa a BBQ is called a “braai” and wood is burned until it
is down to coals and is ready to grill. Because we were enjoying our G&T’s and
chatting, Christoph had to build up the braai twice for us! He was such a sport and we
kept his supply of Pimm’s handy.
Potatoes were sliced, shallots were chopped, olive oil drizzled, pink salt covered and
fresh pepper ground and into the oven it went.
Next step was the mushrooms. Diane had chosen a selection of mushrooms, which were Shitake, King Oyster, Portabellini and Shimeji. Onion and elephant garlic from her friend’s farm were slowly cooked. When Diane was happy with the appearance, the mushrooms were added. The aroma was heavenly. After another look and another happy face, fresh heavy cream was added. Heavy cream in South Africa is very different from what we get in the States. The cream is so thick one almost needs a spoon.
Christoph was then instructed to put the Gemsbok on the grill for exactly 4 minutes
a side and yes, Diane did time it.
The table was set by Luca (who is the greatest 13-year-old out there) and we were
ready to eat. A typical hash is served with an egg on top, but we decided to forego
this, as I totally wanted to enjoy the gemsbok without the taste of egg. Tut-tut if you
must, but our hash, our rules!
Have you ever taken the first bite of a meal and closed your eyes as the flavors tickle
your palate and your mind is literally trying to come up with a word to describe
what you are currently tasting? The Gemsbok was amazing. There is no other word
that I can think of to describe it. The entire dish was phenomenal. Diane had put
together an amazing hash!
Thank you Diane, Christoph and Luca for making this a great day. My one regret
is that John, Trevor and my hashcapade groupies were not along to enjoy this
incredible dish. Diane has come a long way from our Rhenish days, if only our Home
Economics teacher could see her now…
>>> Thank you, Lidia, for sharing your amazing hashcapade with us! We’re looking forward to seeing you at our next hashcapade in April!