JENNY MORRIS and I go way back, to when she was doing Monday night cooking classes at Jan van Riebeeck High School in Tamboerskloof. And now she has books, she has TV shows, heck she even has a Wikipedia page – and that’s quite something.
There were also restaurants and her own CooksPlayground ™ where she hosted classes, courses, corporate events, launches and parties. Those doors have closed for the moment, therefore Jenny – like so many others in the food, hospitality and entertainment industries – has had to reinvent her offerings. Allow me to introduce the Cook-A-Long.
These are online cooking classes hosted by Jenny via Zoom on Saturday afternoons. How it works is you buy a ticket, you get the recipes, shop for the ingredients and join the fun. A while back, Jenny invited me to join a media event but I balked – a direct result of isolation which has had the effect of making me even more introverted than I was before, exacerbated by the fact anxiety can strike at any unexpected time. People? No thanks! Not even on a computer screen. I’ve chatted to my therapist about this, who said I have to do it sooner or later (she’s hardcore like that, so I said I’m not paying for the answers I didn’t want).
Luckily, Jenny is very understanding. “Don’t worry, my darling,” she said. “I’ll send you all the goodies anyway and you can do whatever you like with them.”
And thus it came to pass that some super deliveries arrived. These included fabulous pork sausages, chicken thighs and breast fillets from Rich Meats, two six-packs of non-alcoholic lemon Savanna (now you know how long ago this was), and a box crammed with fresh veggies from Cool Guys (the biggest carrots I’ve ever seen and I can only imagine what naughty Jenny would say about that), as well as butter, cream, eggs, Willowcreek lemon olive oil and green olives.
The first thing I did was chill the cider to have with a braai. The pork sausages were divine. Over the next while I made all sorts of different dishes with the booty, a lot of which comprised complementary flavours and ingredients. Among them was a chicken, leek, cider and cream dish; braised red cabbage (a family recipe dating back several decades); colourful coleslaw with cider mayo dressing; roast potato wedges with the lemon oil to accompany some fresh hake pan-fried in butter; and green olives are a must for a classic extra dry gin martini.
“It could be dinner, or lunch, and it takes about 90 minutes max,” says Jenny. ” The reason I’m doing this is because I’ve had to convert my business, and earn a living like everyone else in this industry. So we decided to take what we do well, and do it online. So going forward, until we know exactly what is happening, we will be cooking along by Zoom.”
It’s been a lot of fun for me in the kitchen, but if you need some help, drop Jenny a line for more information about her Cook-A-Longs. The next one is this Saturday, June 27, at 12pm and is titled Unda Da Sea. The menu includes a cheat’s Asian crab meat salad, seared tuna poke bowl, and deep-fried sesame-crusted chocolate and banana rolls. The cost is R200 per person, and booking is through Quicket., and space is limited.
There’s also the option of booking private parties or events like this, and Jenny has something planned with comedian Mel Jones in the very near feature, for which spectators can buy tickets for R50 for what will no doubt be a hilarious evening of entertainment.
PHOTO CREDIT: BIANCA COLEMAN ©