A review by Brenda Daniels
Do you know what Melanzane is? I didn’t until a recent lunch with two friends at a lovely home restaurant in Durban North. The eatery we visited was a “pop-up restaurant” run by MasterChef S.A., Joani Mitchell. It is held on select days during the month of April at a beautiful big house in Old Mill Way.
Our little round table was set for three with unmatched crockery, ivory-handled knives and an embroidered tablecloth. It was peaceful while gazing across the wooded, coloured-leaf garden, filled with plants well suited to tropical KwaZulu-Natal. And lavishly decorated as it was, even a visit to the loo didn’t diminish the charming ambience.
Back to the Melanzane; after some enquiry and a quick Google search I learnt that this Italian dish is made with brinjal (aubergine) and layered with tomato in a cheese sauce before being baked like lasagne. Yum!
And yummy it turned out to be. I vowed right away to look up the recipe when I got home so I could make it for myself. While we were enjoying our meal, the chef visited our table and explained that she used a combination of haloumi, mozzarella and cheddar cheese to make the dish more tasty.
But even more interesting was her reason for including this dish on her menu. Many patrons had asked Joani to offer meals and snacks that fitted with the new Tim Noakes diet (the controversial new one advocating high fat and protein with low carbohydrates). She obliged with the Melanzane, using rice flour instead of wheat flour to exclude the use of refined carbs.
Whether I support Noakes’ “caveman” diet or not is beside the point here. Our enjoyable luncheon, finished off with Rooibos tea in dainty china cups, was delicious, elegant and relaxing. I didn’t feel like a caveman at all.
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