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Ash Heeger

Chef Ash Heeger was born in South Africa, raised in Cape Town and was inspired by the world at large. After completing her studies at the award-winning Silwood School of Cookery, Ash moved onto exciting places with exceptional people. She trained under the acclaimed Chef Luke Dale Roberts at La Colombe and then at The Test Kitchen. Hungry for international influence, she spent time abroad in Michelin 2 star kitchens.

At what would seem to be the peak of her career in the metropolitan capital, London, Ash felt the urge to return to her roots in South Africa. Inspired, Ash brought elite experience, passion and something unique to the Cape Town- her very own ASH Restaurant, Riverine Rabbit with sister Mandy van der Berg in 2018. 

Video Description

This family run business, Riverine Rabbit in Cape Town, South Africa, focuses on all things local, sustainable and ethical. In this original series, Head Chef Ash Heeger shows you how to make some of the restaurant's top dishes from start to finish.

Chef Ash makes her one of Riverine Rabbit's signature dishes - game and beets in this episode of Riverine Rabbit's masterclass.

This dish doesn't just use local ingredients, it is also done seasonally and sustainably. Riverine Rabbit also supports local hunters, who supply wild buck with a subtle and tender gaminess. 


Roasted beets:
 4 large beetroot, washed and dried

200g coarse salt

25ml hazelnut oil

10ml red wine vinegar

Salt to taste

For the game:
 600g game fillet or loin

50ml grape seed oil

Black pepper and flaked salt to season

For the poached plum:
 250ml red wine

25g brown sugar

1 cinnamon, whole

2 bay leaves

25ml red wine vinegar

50ml port

4 slightly unripe plums

Red sauce: 
200ml beetroot juice

200ml plum poaching liquid

500ml game or beef stock

2 bay leaves

5 black peppercorns, whole

For the braised red cabbage: 450g red cabbage, sliced

50g unsalted butter

250ml red wine

25g brown sugar

1 cinnamon, whole

2 bay leaves

25ml red wine vinegar

50ml port

Salt to taste

For the chip seasoning:
 50g Maldon salt

2g coriander seeds, toasted

2g all spice, toasted

2g black peppercorns, toasted

Pinch cinnamon powder

For the game chips:
 2 large potatoes

250ml grape seed oil


For the roasted beets, preheat an oven to 180°C.

Place coarse salt onto a shallow roasting tray and place washed and dried beets on top of the salt.

Use a fork to pierce the skin of each beetroot and place in the oven for 30 - 40 minutes or until the beetroots have cooked through.

Remove the beetroots from the oven and set aside to cool.

Once cooled, the skin should peel easily from the beets. Slice each beetroot into quarters and toss in a bowl with the oil, vinegar and salt.

Set aside until needed.

For the game, heat a heavy based frying pan on a high heat. 

Rub the loins/fillets liberally with grape seed oil and season slightly with black pepper and flaked 

Once the pan has reached smoking point, place the loins inside and continue to roast on a high 
heat on all sides. This should take about 6 minutes. 

Set the game aside to rest for 6 minutes then slice, season and serve.

For the poached plum, add 250ml of red wine, 25g of brown sugar, 1 cinnamon stick whole, 2 bay leaves, 25ml red wine vinegar and 50ml of port to a heavy based sauce pan, (leave out the plums.) Turn on to a medium heat and bring up to a simmer. Turn the heat off and set aside. 

Slice the cheeks off of each plum and place inside the heated poaching liquid. 

Allow the plums to cool within the poaching liquid and then remove the skins from each cheek. The 
skins should peel off easily.

Reserve the poaching liquid for the sauce.

For the red sauce, place the beetroot juice, plum poaching liquid, game or beef stock, 2 bay leaves and 5 black peppercorns into a heavy based saucepan and turn on to a medium heat.

Slowly reduce until the sauce begins to thicken slightly. At this point, turn the heat off and add the butter and thyme.

To serve, remove thyme and whisk to incorporate the butter.

For the braised red cabbage, in a heavy based saucepan, sweat the cabbage and 50g of unsalted butter for about four minutes on a low heat, or until the cabbage begins to break down and wilt. Avoid any caramelisation. 

Add 250ml of red wine, brown sugar, 1 cinnamon stick, 2 bay leaves, 25ml of red wine vinegar and 50ml of port and gently braise the cabbage until completely soft. The braising liquid should have reduced to a glaze in this time. If not, feel free to strain and reduce separately and mix back into the cabbage. 

Check seasoning and add salt if needed. 

Set aside until needed.

For the chip seasoning, simply blend 50g of Maldon salt, 2g of toasted coriander seeds, all spice and black peppercorns and a pinch of cinnamon powder together either using a pestle and mortar or a spice grinder and set aside to season the game chips once they have been fried.

For the game chips, slice potatoes as thinly as possible using a sharp knife or mandolin if you have one available there's no need to peel the potatoes but you are welcome to if you wish. 

Heat the grape seed oil to 145°C on a medium heat in a heavy based saucepan. If you do not have a thermometer handy, then just add a slice of potato to the hot oil to check if the oil is hot enough to fry. 

Add the slices a few at a time and fry until golden and crisp. Be careful to avoid over crowding the pan as this will result in the chips sticking together. 

As soon and the chips have been removed from the oil, place onto some paper towel and season liberally with the spiced chip seasoning whilst they are still hot. 

Set aside until needed.

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