is a very short biography and if you want more information
you can visit the contributor's website where you
will usually find contact details. If you wish us
to pass a message on email
HANGING OUT AT THE HOTCH POTCH
you love cooking, or even just enjoy food for food's
sake, chances are you've happened upon Henrie's Hotch
Potch, Highlife's regular recipe column at www.iafrica.com.
food guru if ever there was, our Henrie does not supply
us with just any old kind of recipe, randomly pinched
from the yellowing pages of Your Average Cookbook. Rather,
the wondrous menus that grace these pages each week
have come to exist through endless experimenting and
tasting, night after night of gleeful peeling, chopping,
stirring, stuffing, straining, baking, grilling, frying
and braaiing - wooden spoon in one hand, glass of wine
in the other.
of course, the music turned up sufficiently loudly to
be able to hear it from the kitchen.
truth is that Henrie's recipes, full of evocatively
descriptive words that make you almost smell that freshly
crushed garlic or simmering curry, really make you want
to cook . . . or, at least, very, very hungry!
all happens at Henrie's home, a charming cottage tucked
close to the mountain near the harbour in Hout Bay -
the Republic of Fish country.
feel truly delighted to be a guest in the kitchen not
just of A Man Who Cooks, but also an interesting
fella, a journalist who's been there-done that, with
a wacky sense of humour and whose fun-lovin' reputation
precedes him. And what better way to conduct an interview
than over lunch.
have, though, been warned by one or two other, older
journalists who've survived the wars with Henrie (back
in the days when all self-respecting hacks spent their
lunch hours at the nearest bar rather than the sandwich
deli), to keep an eye on his roving...oh, never mind!
There are stories, yes, but all of which merely illustrate
his love of life, or more specifically, as they say,
of "wine, women and song".
is, it must be said, the very same Henrie Geyser who
once (late '70s?) graced the glossy pages of a leading
local society magazine as their Most Eligible Bachelor!
Though no longer eligible (he's married to the glamorous
Penny), he does still have the same twinkle in his eye
and swagger in his step that might have been the downfall
of many a female admirer during his wild single years.
I arrive my host is already hard at work in his kitchen-with-a-view.
The exotic aroma of spices hangs heavy in the air. A
glass of chilled Chenin Blanc is thrust into my hand
and I'm ushered onto a chair in the corner, out of the
way - and no, I'm not allowed to help, not even chop.
the kitchen is filled with the heady steam of flash-fried
strips of calamari steaks. This is our starter. I'm
glad I stuck to coffee for breakfast. Another bottle
of wine is opened, my glass filled to the brim. I'm
glad, too, that I don't have to go back to work - it's
going to be a long lunch.
Henrie in action in the kitchen is almost as much fun
as watching the Naked Chef (a.k.a. Jamie Oliver) on
the telly. There's no measuring or weighing or pondering
over just what exactly the recipe means by the occasional
vague instruction. He cooks with flair and passion,
tasting as he goes along, picking up the lid of a pot
to check that all looks as he hopes it should.
experimenting today, playing with a variety of Asian
flavours I so adore. Sweet teriyaki sauce, feisty Japanese
wasabi paste, Chinese Five Spice, pickled ginger. He's
also creating a right royal seafood spread - apart from
the delectably tender calamari we polished off, there's
crayfish too. Lots of it. Simmering away on the stove
in a hot Thai sauce. Fortunately, we both love chilli.
the empty shells of the crayfish have been discarded
- and a few more glasses of wine later - it's dessert
time, though there's little space left for anything
more to be ingested and the afternoon sun is sinking
low in the sky.
watching Henrie pour lashings of Crème de Cassis
over fresh mango, with a little thick Greek yoghurt
added, it's impossible to resist!
self-taught culinary skills that could put any kitchen-proud
woman (not to mention a handful of professional chefs)
to shame, Henrie gives home cooking an excellent name.
Forget the notion of the New Man, Men Who Cook are,
in my opinion, definitely the Next Big Thing!
is an attractive option compared to powdered egg and
instant mashed potatoes!"
GEYSER FEATURED RECIPES
in Gin Sauce
Red Pepper Soup
and Chilli Soup
with Mustard Sauce and Jansson's Temptation
- Bandit's Style or Arni Kleftiko
with Garlic and Pepper
- Traditional Cape Style
and Orange Butter
Girl in a Veil
IS HENRIE GEYSER
just who exactly is Henrie, that enigmatic figure who
graces the food-stained pages of Kitchen Life every
week? Read the Q & As of Leigh Robertson and Henrie
to find out . . .
your star sign?
Aquarius - what else? Mad dreamers, creative, kind,
experimental, kinky and often considerate lovers,
impatient, intolerant of fools, anti-establishment
. . .
your favourite food in the whole world?
Depends what mood I am in, who I am with and where
I am in the world. Ultimately probably a toss up between
prawns/crayfish or a good lamb curry.
did you first discover the joys of cooking? And who
introduced you to the kitchen?
I was lucky to grow up in a house where boerekos ruled.
Nothing fancy, just plain, well prepared, simple food.
I started cooking when, as a young know-it-all reporter
(with absolutely no culinary skills or knowledge),
I used to tell my then-wife what to put into her food
and how to cook it, until one day she said: "If
you're so damn clever, do it yourself..." And
that's where it all started. Since that day I have
cooked every day of my life.
you like to be the one in control in the kitchen?
Are you the kind of cook who finds it difficult to
be "cooked for" without wanting to leap
up and add more salt / hide the salt?
I am not a control freak. I do itch to become involved
when I watch others cook, but it is because of my
passion for food, not because I think I can do it
better. When we visit friends I invariably end up
doing the braai or helping in the kitchen. I am resentful
of people who say: "Oh, we can't have Henrie
over for dinner because he cooks so well?" I
am not a fussy or fancy eater. A simple meal, prepared
with love, laughter, lots of wine and good company
is equal to the finest meal in the most expensive
restaurant. A pity so few people understand this?
rain or shine, what ingredients do you think every
wannabe chef should keep in their kitchen - and what
would you never ever do without in your own fridge
Potatoes, bread, butter, onion, garlic, pasta, canned
tomatoes, fresh, dried or pickled chillis, dried
beans, dried lentils, rice and always at least one
fresh herb such as basil, rosemary or mint, and at
least one fresh vegetable. And stock cubes - chicken,
beef and veg.
your favourite chef, if any? And what's your favourite
I don't really have a favourite chef. I like Jamie
Oliver, not because he is the trendy foody, better
known as the Naked Chef, but because he makes good
basic food without fuss. I find most modern chefs
terribly pretentious. And as for so-called fusion
cuisine? Nope, give me Mrs Beeton's "All About
Cookery", or Mrs Roy Hendrie's "Ouma's Cookery
Book", or C Louis Leipoldt's book on old Cape
cooking, or "Carrier's Kitchen". I own hundreds
of recipe and cookery books with recipes from all
over the world and I derive great pleasure from reading
and adapting traditional recipes, tried and tested
over many years.
you a restaurant person? What kind of restaurants
do you enjoy going to, and what's your favourite restaurant
in the world?
Yes, I am a restaurant person. But I prefer small
and cosy. Nice vibe, caring owner, chef and staff,
rather than plastic and chrome "have-to-be-seen-in"
expense account joints where staff are picked for
their looks, not their knowledge of food and wine,
or their commitment to diner satisfaction.
my all time favourite [restaurant] is Beit Eddine,
a superb Lebanese restaurant tucked away in Harriet
Street, Knightsbridge. But once a year, at most, is
all I can afford. If I was wealthy and lived in London
I would eat there once or twice a week.
Cape Town I dine with great pleasure at the Dias Tavern,
Tsakaris, Europa, Theo's and Saigon. In Gauteng, a
little Greek joint in the not so fashionable part
and, in Durban, the little downmarket hotel on the
beach about 40k's from Durban (and I won't give you
the names of either, otherwise too many people will
discover it and spoil it for the regulars!)
there anything you won't eat?
Having tasted many things, from snake, to scorpion;
wassabe to whale and porcupine to pickled pomegranate,
unless I am starving and close to death I would not
eat brains, frogs legs, chicken "a la King",
cottage pie, haggis or that green, generally mucky,
pasta awfulness called lasagne. And suicide is an
attractive option compared to powdered egg and instant
an obviously passionate man, what do you think is
the link between food and sex? Is the way to a man's
heart really through his stomach?
Food is sexy - but not if you are dining alone. The
right partner, the right vibe, the crackle of electrical
lust, the occasional touch, the look, the music, the
wine and the...ah, yes, the food. Certain foods are
sexy - snails, oysters, smoked salmon, caviar, prawns,
crayfish, Greek desserts, champagne, all things chocolate.
The way to a man's heart may be through his stomach,
although I believe there is a more crucial area, a
little lower down than the stomach. And it certainly
leads to a lot of fun, if not to undying love, maternal
bliss and eternal happiness!
your view on food as aphrodisiac? What works?
Given the right time, the right place and the right
two people, anything from a cold pie and a lukewarm
Fanta, to French champagne and caviar. Sex is like
golf - it's 90 percent in the mind, and it takes more
than a glass of good wine or a succulent slice of
fillet steak to get it right! Although, I do believe
in crispy bacon sandwiches and a mug of hot cocoa
served in bed on a cold and rainy Sunday morning .
Robertson is the Highlife Editor at iAfrica.com - click
here to visit the web site
All rights reserved