Award-winning Durban restaurant, 9th Avenue Bistro, is run by husband and wife team, Graham and Gina Neilson. Joining chef Graham in the kitchen is UK chef, Charlie Lakin. Together, they form a formidable trio offering excellent food and first class service. We caught up with chef Graham on his favourite Easter memories and how he plans to make this holiday memorable for his daughter.
What is your earliest / favourite Easter memory?
It would have to be Easter egg hunts with my sister which were all over very quickly. But, she’d share with me at the end when I found nothing!
If you could identify one flavour / aroma that most epitomises Easter in South Africa, what would it be?
The restaurant (9th Avenue Bistro) is above the Spar bakery, so definitely the smell of hot cross buns baking for a few weeks leading up to Easter. It’s wonderful.
You’re a young dad. What is the one recipe that you would want to leave as a “legacy” for your daughter?
Not too sure about a legacy recipe because she’s still very young and I’d see what she really likes as she gets older. A good curry recipe and a Spag Bol recipe got me and my hopelessly inept at cooking digs mates through varsity!
Lamb is a pretty traditional Easter dish but it can go disastrously wrong if not cooked well. What is your fool-proof tip for getting it right – every year?
Either get a small temperature probe and cook your lamb until it is about 63°C inside, then rest it and it will be medium and perfect. Or add a good splash of wine to your roasting dish, cover the lamb and slow roast for a couple of hours until it is soft and pulls apart (works best with a shoulder). Use the liquid to cook veg or make gravy.
What will be on your Easter table this year?
I’ll cook lamb but will keep it lighter in the Durban heat. Roasted and sliced over a salad of bulgur wheat, mint, spinach and yoghurt.
So, take Graham’s advice and ensure you have a Quick Read Digital Pocket Thermometer available this Easter to make sure your lamb is just right!
You can catch chef Graham’s Big Green Egg review here.
Durban EGGheads can look forward to more EGGcademy cooking classes at 9th Avenue Bistro this year. Keep an eye on our Events Calendar for more information.