THIS week’s Leisure recipe is a mouth- watering pork-belly roast, with roast Laetitia plums and butternut wedges with honey, soy, coriander and chilli dressing from the Crossways Country Kitchen, prepared by chef and co-owner Trevor Steyn.
The restaurant is on a farm in the picturesque Crossways, about halfway between Port Elizabeth and Jeffreys Bay.
The food and condiments are homemade and the vegetables are grown in the permaculture garden run by co-owner Mika Venter.
Breads and doughs are freshly prepared in the small bakery on the property, with flour coming from his brother Nico Steyn’s Eureka Mills in the Southern Cape.
The restaurant has a “green” approach with most things in the restaurant either recycled, re-used or second hand and most kitchen scraps going back into the garden.
Crossways Country Kitchen is open from 9am to 4pm on Mondays only for takeaways and sandwiches. The rest of the week and on weekends the restaurant is open from 8.30am to 3pm but closes at 2pm on a Saturday.
How did you get interested in catering and food?
I grew up in the countryside and my mom always cooked delicious food, with great, fresh ingredients and everything was homemade. My love of food and cooking came from her.
How or where did you train?
Just after school my friend and I managed a small restaurant. Then I went traveling and started working in Manchester. But it was in Wales where I, with the help of my mentor and great chef Nigel Skinner, learnt most of what I know and also enrolled in chef school.
What do you enjoy the most about your career?
Making people happy and providing good food.
What is your personal favourite style of food?
Simple, French cooking.
If you could prepare a meal for anyone in the world, who would it be and what would you serve?
Tolla van der Merwe, and I’ll make potjiekos because I know we’ll have a very fun evening around the fire.
Any scary or weird moments in the kitchen?
In the most intense kitchen that I’ve worked, the head chef took a stab at me with a knife and threw pots and pans at me.
When you are off-duty, what is your favourite meal?
Anything on the braai.
If you could dine at any restaurant in South Africa tonight, which would you choose?
Oep vi Koep in Paternoster.
What is a customers’ favourite dish at Crossways Kitchen?
It’s a tie between the pork belly, beef Stephanie and lamb shank, but the humble fresh sourdough bread and olives is just as popular.
If you had not been a chef, what career would you have chosen?
A professional angler. – Neo Bodumela
IF YOU’RE looking to spoil your guests or family with soul food with a modern twist, you can make them homemade pork-belly roast, as shared by Crossways Kitchen (situated just off the freeway between Jeffreys Bay and Port Elizabeth):
PORK BELLY ROAST
Half a cup of soy sauce
One large red chilli
Three tablespoons of honey
Slow braise the pork belly for five hours at 160ºC.
Poach the butternut in salted water with the skin on for about 10 minutes or until soft. Then roast it on the char grill or braai until caramelised. Season with black pepper and olive oil.
Half the Laetitia plums and slow roast on the char grill until caramelised. You may add sugar, depending on the sweetness of the plum.
For the sauce, add half a cup of soy sauce, coriander, one large red chilli, 3 tablespoons of honey, 1 teaspoon of grated ginger and mix well in a food processor.
After pork belly has roasted, take it out to cool, then turn the oven up to 200ºC. Put the pork back into the oven and roast for five to 10 minutes or until the skin is crisp.
Portion the pork belly and plate to serve.