French Cooking with Chantel Dartnall and Institut Français SA

more than a year ago
If there's anything that can cheer you up during these Corona times then it's a delicious meal and who knows more about cooking up something special than the French?

For the next four weeks the Institut Français of South Africa (IFAS) have teamed up with top guest chefs from South Africa, France and Francophone countries to share some culinary expertise and delicious recipes with a French flavour.

First up in the series is multi-award-winning chef Chantel Dartnall from Restaurant Mosaic at The Orient Mosaic. Chantel combines her classical French training with a love of nature and is well known for creating the art of nature on her plates, with delightful botanical dishes. "I want to captivate my patrons and involve all the senses, with flavour, texture, beauty and elegance, transforming the act of eating into a sensual experience" she says.  

As part of IFAS's French cooking series Chantel has shared a recipe for her wonderful autumn salad with roasted butternut, spelt and pumpkin seed and slow cooked pork belly.

Watch Chantel demonstrating how to make the recipe here on the IFAS Facebook page

Roasted Butternut, Spelt and Pumpkin Seed Salad with Slow Cooked Pork Belly by Chantel Dartnall

Roasted Butternut

1/2 Butternut – peeled, seeded and cut into small cubes
lemon olive oil ( for drizzling and cooking)
Maldon salt
Caramel brown sugar
ground cinnamon
1 garlic clove split in half
2 cinnamon sticks
1 stalk of lemon grass split in half
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

Roast the butternut squash in a preheated oven of 200 degrees celsius for 20 - 25 min - Season the butternut with lemon olive oil, a sprinkling of salt, sugar, and ground cinnamon and add 1 garlic clove split in half along with 2 cinnamon sticks and 1 stalk of lemon grass split in half

Spread the pumpkin seeds out flat on a baking sheet, and bake until fragrant and lightly toasted, 3 to 5 minutes. Allow toasted pumpkin seeds to cool and chop them lightly before adding them into the spelt


100g Spelt
500ml water
2 thyme stalks
1 clove garlic
1 bay leaf
Salt to taste

Rinse the spelt under cold running water, and soak overnight

In a medium pot add the water, thyme, garlic & bay leaf. Cook the spelt for about 15 - 20 min on medium heat or until tender. Strain and season, remove peppercorns, bay leaf and garlic.

Mix the spelt with the butternut and toasted pumpkinseeds and keep to one side until the salad is ready to me assembled.

Autumn Vinaigrette

½ cup white balsamic vinegar
1 cup oil of your choice ( I prefer lemon olive oil or pumpkin oil)
1 teaspoon Dukkah spice
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper ( optional)
½ teaspoon sugar
100 ml Orange Juice ( retain the orange segments for the salad)
Mixed salad greens of your choice

In a small jar or mixing bowl, add all ingredients and whisk vigorously with a small whisk or a fork until the dressing is emulsified (or well combined).

Toss vinaigrette over the roasted butternut and salad greens just before serving

Pork Belly

2kg piece boneless pork belly (skin on)
2 garlic cloves cut in half
Fresh sliced ginger
5 Star anise seeds
1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs lemon juice
2 liters automatic Vegetable stock

Using a sharp knife, score the pork belly skin and fat in a criss-cross pattern, without cutting into the meat. Set aside.

Place the garlic, fresh ginger, star anise seeds, chilli and some sea salt in the roasting tray and stir in the olive oil and lemon juice. Rub the marinade over the pork and stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 110°C.

Pour the two liters of hot stock over the pork, cover the roasting tray tightly with foil and place the pork in the oven for 7- 8 hours or until the pork is tender and cooked through, just before serving turn the oven to grill until the skin is crisp. Rest the pork belly, uncovered, for 20 minutes, then cut into slices and serve with the salad.


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