Cooking at Malplaas Farm with guest writer & old friend ‘Star Walker’

Malplaas Cottage

Star Walker:

Swanking around in her hipster cut jeans, Whipping It Up turns all the gas plates on, enveloping the room in heat. She closes all the doors. Standing in front of her I feel aroused by the process of creating life from flour. There seems to be one essential difference between bread and pastry – temperature.

Whipping It Up:

Pastry likes a cold environment because of all the butter.  Bread needs warmth because of the yeast.

Star Walker:

Whipping It Up gives the dough life with heat and tepid water, bringing it into the world like the primordial time of earth when all vegetable life sprang into being, a room with a womb. It is hot and sexy. This is the era of Ciabatta.

Dough

Whipping It Up:

Which we’re having tonight with Star Walker’s brown mushrooms steeped in a shallot brandy infused reduction and baked with strips of camembert. He thinks half the culinary world is invisible to me because I don’t eat meat.

Star Walker:

So I am creating a steak substitute – a dish precisely equal in flavour and texture to steak frite.  My primary mission is to break this malaise in her.

Whipping It Up:

Sounds frightful, Star Walker. Okay, the bread dough is ready. Pastry next!

Star Walker:

When Whipping It Up makes puff pastry, the room goes cold. She opens up the cottage doors and a chill wind blows in. I watch as another piece of alchemy plays itself out.

Baking at Malplaas

Most of you will not have personally witnessed the procedure involved in making butter puff pastry but let me tell you, it is a process.

She is making croissants for tomorrow, both chocolate and normal, and providing the roof for my banana, cinnamon, lemongrass and lemon tart tartin.

Whipping It Up:

We’re here to experiment with different dishes. And this cottage is the perfect place to do so. It’s an original labourer’s cottage with a wood stove, a fireplace and a gas stove. The gas stove is from the 1950’s which means we’re also experimenting with temperatures. No numbers on the dial!

Besides that, it’s colourful and zany and full of surprises.  Like our over the top and remarkable hosts, Lil and Mark, who call it the ‘wonky’ cottage.

Malplaas Baking

Star Walker:

We are getting into the swing of things after a lazy day of wine and wild mushroom risotto in Hermanus which was surprisingly good, considering that the sleepy seaside town was so overpopulated by tourists.  I felt like I was in a pinball machine.

Whipping It Up

Not unusual for Star Walker!  Here comes Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential…

Anthony Bourdain Kitchen Confidential

Star Walker:

Want to read Whipping It Up the part about his pastry chef while she rolls and folds the puff pastry… and what a dance it is.

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