Coq au Riesling

It’s at times like these when it’s vital that we all stay very calm and make sure we do exactly the same thing – nothing.

Not making the final of the VB Series is not a disaster in itself and losing a ‘must win’ game to Sri Lanka by 77 runs is mightily disappointing.

No doubt there are issues surrounding selection, team preparation, coaching, captaincy and injuries to be discussed, but for the next few days it is vital to stay extremely calm and not to overreact.

Let the team arrive home and recover. Let Mickey Arthur and Graeme Smith report back to Gerald Majola and Ray Mali. Allow the selectors to explain their decisions and, for goodness sake, let’s avoid the easy way out by making anybody scapegoats, least of all the young and the innocent – Dale Steyn and Monde Zondeki. They, like everyone else, tried their hardest.

So for the next 48 hours let’s not jump to conclusions or make assumptions – let’s think of something else and enjoy the start of the Super 14 season. Just for long enough to allow the dust to settle and for those whose job it is to make decisions, to make them.

A celebrity recipe book arrived on my desk approximately two hours after South Africa’s sad demise in Hobart. It was a coincidence, of course, but it was exactly the pleasant diversion needed after the numbing collapse that saw Graeme Smith’s men lose 7-68.

It was compiled by SARDA (South African Riding for the Disabled Association) to raise funds for a magnificent cause, one of the most worthy imaginable. “All you need is patience, a lot of love for children, plenty of common sense and a little time,” the book says at the end. Wow! Perhaps its arrival wasn’t a coincidence afterall. That’s exactly what the SA cricket team and its supporters need, too.

Anyway, Jacques Kallis is a contributor (Chicken and Ham Carbonara) as is Andre Nel (Chicken Breast stuffed with Herb Butter and Feta). So that’s what they’ve been doing while recovering from injury. Shaun Pollock could be in the kitchen soon, too, with the recurrence of his chronic ankle injury allowing him time to make his ‘Thai Green Curry with Chicken’ contribution.

There are favourite recipes in the book from as far and wide as it is possible to reach in the world of professional sport. Springbok centre De wet Barry offers his take on cooking the very best Springbok fillets. You need three ingredients. Springbok fillets, French salad dressing and…a hot fire!

Javelin thrower Nicholas Newman likes Summer Pudding while Springbok Sevens coach Paul Treu prefers vegetable lasagne. Natalie du Toit opts for ‘Quick Fudge’ while champion weight lifter Portia Vries reckons her Spaghetti Bolognaise is the best in the business.

Race horse trainer Mike de Kock offers ‘Mushrooms with Herbs and Sherry’ while hockey international Kate Hector suggests something which sounds like a contradiction in terms, ‘Scrumptious Cabbage Salad’. SA baseballer Brett Willemberg is a Peanut Crunchies man.

Moving to the sweet stuff, Ryk Neethling tells how to make ‘Jan Ellis Pudding’ (it’s alright for him) while famous sports dietary consultant Shelley Meltzer, who has worked with the United Cricket Board, drops her guard completely by providing a recipe for Buttermilk Pudding that must pack around 4000 calories into a single helping!

It’s a lovely book and I will definitely try some of the recipes, although definitely not World Dressage champion Bongani Mvumvu’s ‘Island Chicken’ (Ingredients: 1 x Chicken, 1 x bottle of Thousand Island dressing, 1 x jar of Apricot Jam, 1 x Packet of Onion Soup mix.)

But it was Nick Mallett who brought me back to reality. Having lived and worked in France for so many years it was inevitable that the former Springbok coach should have learned how to cook there. I was going to read how to make his favourite dish but the title just sounded a bit too much like what happened in Hobart.

Coq au Riesling.

Copies of SARDA’s “Galloping Gourmet” are available by writing to SARDA, PO Box 235, Constantia 7848, Cape Town. Or by calling 021 794 4393.


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