Country Cuisine HARTBEESPOORT, GAUTENG
Most people in the motoring industry know Sue Lategan. She’s the beautiful blonde and sassy wife of Derek Lategan – the man behind African Outdoors Group in Hartbeespoort. Sue is responsible for the mouthwatering dishes that often impress guests more than the vehicles being launched or tested in their grounds!
Text: Leilani Basson
Photography: Jannie Herbst
Sue Lategan has always worked with food. “I was born in the kitchen,” she says, while chatting away in the beautiful country kitchen at the African Outdoors Group – the new AOG, as many call it.
Although Derek and Sue have been running AOG for the past six years, they moved to their current location in 2010, and Sue has been able to put her stamp and individual touch on everything.
AOG specialise in hosting leisure lifestyle events, media relations management, product launches and promotions. They are one of the big players when it comes to readying vehicles for use by the media, whether it is for a trip, event or as a long term vehicle that needs to be tested by motoring journalists.
Throughout the years, Sue has worked in restaurants and had something to do with food. But when she and Derek started a family, she decided to help him fulltime with vehicle launches and conferences. And the more she got involved in the kitchen, the more the clients loved the food and the more time she spent catering – loving every moment of it.
“I enjoy being creative,” she says. “That is one of the reasons why I don’t decide too far in advance what to prepare for a function. Once I know who the people are and what they do – what mix of personalities I have to deal with – I’ll adapt something to suit the occasion.
“Sometimes I decide only when I’ve seen the people on the day of the event. That keeps it interesting and challenging for me!”
Sue learned a lot from her years in the restaurant business and adapted what she learned there – and elsewhere – to create her own style.
“I observe what others do, take what I can from them and create something new – something I like, and which my family will like too.”
Her arms are lean, toned and tanned, and the muscles show as she works the dough for the quiche she is preparing. Her hands are strong and trained. There is no hint of hesitation as she skilfully stacks the mozzarella and tomato slices into the baking ring that is lined with the pastry dough.
“My mom and grandmother were always in the kitchen. They loved baking, cooking, canning fruit, and other real home industry stuff. So that’s where I learned to love and make food – the traditional way.”
Sue’s cooking style has evolved over the years and she has moved away from the boere manier in most instances. Her cooking is very healthy. “I never use margarine, and since we are into mountain biking as a sport, I work on the taste of the meal, while cutting down on the calories.
“My quiches, served with salads, are a great example of that, ” she says. “They are always a winner, whatever the function. Many ladies from the area order my quiches for their teas and get-togethers, or just for supper if they don’t feel like making something.
“At one stage I trained just about the entire valley’s domestic workers to prepare food for their families the way I do.”
Sue conducted cooking classes for many years, but has learned the importance of balance in her life, and making time for other things – mountain biking being one of them.
“I do make a mean fillet and the men, especially, enjoy my steaks. But I often find these days that even tough guys are opting for lighter, healthier eating. I like that. With my quiches, I can create either a very manly dish, with rich sausages, vegetables, starch and grains, or I can do a more girlie mozzarella and tomato that still provides a hearty, balanced meal. Add the salads and a glass of wine, and you simply can’t go wrong.”
CHORIZO SAUSAGE, SUNDRIED TOMATO AND OLIVE QUICHE
What you need
1 commercial puffed pastry
3 charizo sausages (cut 2 ½ into blocks and cut ½ into rings)
1 cup sundried tomatoes (½ cut in half)
1 red or brown onion, sliced very thinly in half moons
2 spring onions – sliced thinly
½ cup of pitted olives cut in half
1½ cups of milk
½ cup of cream
¼ teaspoon mustard powder
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon of chopped parsley or chives
What you do
Grease the flan tin. Roll out the pastry and line flan tins. Bake blind at 180C for 20min (Cover the shell with foil before baking to prevent excessive browning). Allow to cool.
Remove skin from the chorizo, cut chorizos up in small blocks and one chorizo in thin slices. Fry in batches and leave to cool on kitchen paper towel. Fry the finely chopped onion and spring onion until soft and transparent. Let in cool down.
In one mixing bowl add the halved sundried tomatoes, pitted olives, chorizo, fried onion and spring onion. In a separate bowl beat the egg, cream and milk together.
Now mix your egg mixture to your chorizo mixture, add a teaspoon of the chopped parsley to the filling. Pour your filling into cooled down (but warm) flan. Bake for one hour at 160C or until firm to the touch.
Once cooked, leave to rest for 15min before carefully removing from flan tin. Allow to cool for about 30min before cutting.
TOMATO, MOZZARELLA AND BASIL QUICHE
What you need
1 loose-bottomed flan tin lined with puff pastry (use commercial pastry)
9 firm tomatoes cut in thick slices.
300g mozzarella cut in thin slices
1 cup of milk
½ cup of cream
3½ tablespoons of basil pesto
Handful of fresh basil leaves
Salt and black pepper to season
Spray the flan tin with Spray & Cook
What you do
Grease the flan tin. Roll the puff pastry out and line your flan tin. Bake blind at 180C for about 35min. (Cover the shell with foil before baking, it prevents excessive browning). Allow to cool..
Line the flan tin with thick slices of tomato and slices of mozzarella cheese. Slant the cheese and tomato slices so they overlap slightly. Add a fresh basil leaf after every few slices of cheese and tomato. Pack them tightly.
Mix the eggs, milk and basil pesto in a bowl and season well. Pour over the tomatoes and mozzarella.
Bake at 180C for an hour or until the custard is firm. Wait for the quiche to cool before removing carefully from flan tin. Allow the quiche to rest for half-an-hour before cutting.