A PERFECT FAT

Diners of a certain demographic have been worshipping at the altar of fat for the last while as the Banting diet is almost mainstream.

While I could never adhere to a diet that questions bananas and beetroot, it’s a wonderful thing that fat is less demonised. But more attention could be paid to the exact sort of fat we’re cooking with. We’re throwing copious amounts of olive oil and butter into the pan, but neither is the right choice in many instances.

While butter, as a saturated fat, is more stable than most oils when heated, it burns very quickly. Olive oil has a higher smoke point than butter but is less stable, and has a lower smoke point than vegetable oil.

The answer is ghee. This is the Indian word for clarified and evaporated butter, which can be heated to deep-frying temperature without burning or creating toxins.

Originally made in order to stop butter from spoiling, it has the best combination of health and flavour you could hope for in a cooking fat, with a deep nuttiness. And it’s easy to make.

How: heat butter in a thick-bottomed pan on medium-low heat for about 40 minutes, skimming the white impurities from the butter as you go. Once butter is crystal clear and has stopped spitting, strain through a clean dishcloth and keep in a jar. Refrigerate if you like, but there’s no need.     

Originally made in order to stop butter from spoiling, it has the best combination of health and flavour you could hope for in a cooking fat, with a deep nuttiness. And it’s easy to make.

PIZZA HUT 2 — THE RETURN

“This is the best place in the world,” says my nine-year-old a few minutes into our Pizza Hut visit.

It’s not the pizza my daughter’s mad about. What we’re both gleefully relishing is the electronic board that features the names everyone must give at the till with their order. Your name comes up big when your order is ready, with “GRUB’S UP!”, “WA WINNER WENA!” and other such slogans above it. The great part is that much gets lost in translation.

I come up on the board as Angela, so I get off lightly, but — childishly no doubt — my day is made by watching people whom the board has named Slabe, Micfra, Vaogn and Meatan come up  the receive their food.

I apologise. Let’s move on to the pizza. Just as I remembered, it is in truth reminiscent of a (not bad) grilled-cheese sandwich. But that’s okay, I guess. I like a grilled cheese. What’s essential is that you eat this densely-bready, super-cheesy mass only minutes from its fairly oily pan. It has a certain hangover-cure charm. But worth driving for? Worth queuing for? Nah. I’ll still be using my favourite pizzeria, Piza e Vino, for a cheese and carb fix.

Pizza Hut: Honeydew Village Shopping Centre, John Vorster Drive, Weltevreden Park

Piza e Vino branches at www.pizaevino.co.za

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