These past few weeks I have taken somewhat of a respite from my ever-busy blogging exploits. But now with the body and mind rejuvenated after the festive break, I feel both rested and at peace and am enormously excited at the wonderful year that lies ahead. Yes, I am sure it will have its challenges, but think of the opportunities to be grasped, the friendships to be made and of course the many food adventures that beckon….!
2015 started with the most awesome adventure… I travelled to the incredible city of Shanghai in China! What an amazing city and food culture. Spending two weeks in the East gave me a completely new perspective of this amazing world we live in. And the week that I spent with my hubby in Shanghai just blew me away. I have to admit this is the first time that I have been so overwhelmed, astounded and just simply in awe of a city – it left me speechless and so much richer for all the incredible experiences. Did you know there are more than 24 million people living in this one city? People, that is almost half the population of South Africa in one city! It is a bedazzling place, almost like a well-orchestrated ant’s nest. Everyone has a place to stay, everyone has a job they need to do…there seems to be some kind of military management of things that keeps everything running in its proper order.
Shanghai is a food paradise. I am sure you can imagine the amount of food and the variety of food that needs to be prepared to satisfy the tastes and stomachs of 24 million people. Street food or rather street buffets are BIG and fabulous and it would be difficult to find a stronger food culture than in China. The food is affordable, fabulous and fantastic – a festival of oriental flavours that enriches both body and soul…
Here are a few images for you to feast on …
A friendly street chef preparing delicious squid tentacles on a stick
Fried tofu in the making – food is always served with fresh spring onions
Food is made with honesty and pride and the recipes are handed down from one generation to the next over thousands of years….
A street chef busy with Rick’s favourite oriental breakfast – a pancake with egg and spring onion. 4 Yuan – about R8
Beautiful fresh green vegetables.
Soup dumpling with the most delicious warm soup inside that you drink with a straw
Dried fruit and nuts anyone?
Rick with a caramel strawberry kebab
This time of the year for me is all about fresh, fast and simple food. But also food that still make your taste buds go … Pow-Wow! This absolutely scrumptious salad was mentioned to me by Kokkedoor 2 Winner, Johnny Hamman and I decided to make my own blue cheese dressing. Well needless to say my husband orders it at least once a week from my kitchen. It is summery and just simply splendid! Give it a bash…it is wow!
for a healthier option | replace the sour cream with yogurt like i did here
Lettuce wedges with blue cheese dressing
1 large iceberg lettuce , cut into six wedges
125 ml sour cream
3 T mayonnaise
2 t dijon mustard
1 T white wine vinegar
50 g good blue or gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
Combine all the dressing ingredients then scoop generously over the lettuce slices and garnish with micro herbs.
Let me be totally honest, I am not the best of a bakers however when December finally comes around I invariably find myself caught up in a pre-Christmas baking frenzy. There are baking tins everywhere with me measuring, beating, whisking and tasting. I do not think I am alone in this festive baking bedlam. Whether your preference is for ‘soetkoekies’, ginger biscuits, “ystervarkies” (lamingtons), Hertzoggies or just your regular oats biscuit – for better or for worse we are all participants in the annual, global cookie bake bonanza.
Dine’s “Pon’s ystervarkies”
I chatted to Dine van Zyl, SA’s very own “boerekos” queen. Her favourite cookies at this time of year are “ystervarkies”. But these are not your traditional chocolate and coconut ‘ystervarkies” (lamingtons)but a delicious mix of dates and nuts rolled in cornflakes. Once prepped and baked, these enticing nibbles look like small porcupines (ystervarkies) that have just rolled in dried leaves and crept out from under a tree. To cute and such a treat…
It was her father’s favourite, and hence the name, “Pon ‘s ystervarkies”. These are utterly delicious and adorable! Thank you Dine.
250g soft butter
½ cup sugar
2 cup flour
1 t baking powder
1½ cup walnuts , chopped
½ cup dates, chopped
2 ½ cups cornflakes
Beat the butter and sugar and mix in the egg. Sift the flour and baking powder and fold it into the butter mixture. Add the nuts and dates and mix well. Take teaspoons full of the dough, roll these in corn flakes and place the cookies carefully on a baking tray – be cautious not to crush or break the cornflakes. Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes at 180ºC .
For the soetkoekies recipe click here.
If you are still looking for something to do this coming Sunday (30 Nov) pop in at the annual Christmas Weekend Market at the Stellenbosch Slow Market. Christmas trimmings, Christmas lights, lanterns and slowflake orgami will pave the way for the ideal Christmas shopping experience. Bakes, cakes, gammon, chicken, mince pies, nuts, sparkling wine, topiaries, boutiques of ladies’ designer goods and other one of a kind gifts are just some of the fine foods, décor items and unique gifts available on Sunday.
The Slow Market has teamed up with Public Benefit Organisation FORCE4GOOD (www.force4good.co.za), which will allow those attending to write their very own Christmas wish on a Christmas card – these cards will be displayed on a festive season tree (at a cost of R10 benefiting the organisation).
DATE: Sunday, 30 November 2014
TIME: 10h00 – 15h00
VENUE: Stellenbosch Slow Market, Oude Libertas Estate, Stellenbosch
ADDRESS: Corner of Oude Libertas Road & Adam Tas Road, Stellenbosch
Facebook (SlowMarket), Twitter (@TheSlowMarket), Instagram (SlowMarket) and Pinterest (SlowMarket)
Yesterday the sun was out, and I decided to make this most delicious grilled nectarine salad. The rocket and the edible flowers come out of my garden and seemed to be a perfect combination. In celebration of the onset of summer, I jazzed it up with a fennel dressing. Taste the summer season. Beautiful.
3 medium yellow nectarines, halved with stone removed
1 T olive oil
1 t caster sugar
50 g baby rocket
4 bocconcini balls
Salt and pepper
½ t salt
¼ t fennel seeds
¼ t chilli flakes
½ t finely grated lemon rind
2 T olive oil
1 T white balsamic vinegar
1 T lemon juice
Combine salt, fennel seeds, chilli flakes and lemon rind in a snap-lock bag. Pound with a rolling pin until finely ground and fragrant (You can also use a pestle and mortar). Combine with the other dressing ingredients and set aside. Heat a griddle pan. Drizzle the cut side of the peach or nectarine with the olive oil. Sprinkle cut side with sugar. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, cut-side down, for 3 minutes or until caramelised. Turn. Cook for 1 minute or until heated through. Transfer to a plate. Cut each of the fruits half in half. Set aside. Arrange rocket on a large plate. Tear each bocconcini ball into 2 pieces. Top rocket with the bocconcini balls. Top with the slices of griddled nectarine. Season with pepper. Whisk dressing and drizzle over the salad.
Abigail Donnelly (Eat Out Editor) and Luke Dale-Roberts of The Test Kitchen
I attended the Eat Out 2014 Restaurant Awards last evening. It was a massive event – more than 800 people in attendance…definitely too large an affair for my liking. This is a pity as this prestigious occasions seems to have lost its intimacy and charm. The food too disappointed but that did not deter of the excitement of the evening…
The Test Kitchen took the title of Best Restaurant – for the third time in a row! Congratulations Luke you are a well deserving winner.
The 2014 Eat Out Top 10 Restaurants:
1. The Test Kitchen
2. Five Hundred
3. The Tasting Room LQF
4. Mosaic at The Orient
6. Overture Restaurant
7. Rust en Vrede
8. DW Eleven-13
9. The Restaurant at Newton Johnson
Other 2014 Award winners:
Eat Out S.Pellegrino Chef of the Year: Chantel Dartnall of Restaurant Mosaic
Best Steakhouse: The Local Grill in Parktown North
Best Everyday Eatery – Chef’s Warehouse
Best Italian Restaurant – La Sosta in Swellendam
Best Country-Style Restaurant – Café Bloom
Best Asian Restaurant – Kyoto Garden Sushi
When people hear the word cabbage I often see them cringing – thinking of how they were forced to eat cabbage in school and varsity hostels. Even between kale, cauliflower and brussels sprouts it was often seen as the poor cousin of the vegetable. Today I have taken the often disregarded, humble cabbage and turned it into a five star dish.
Cabbage + pancetta with peas and mint
250 g pancetta, cut into small blocks
350 g shredded cabbage
30 g butter
1 cup frozen peas, cooked for 2 minutes
6 mint leaves, chopped
Fry the pancetta in a non-stick pan (no butter or oil) until crispy and golden. Remove the pancetta and add the butter and cabbage to the same pan. Fry until cooked. Season the cabbage with salt and pepper. Add the peas. Taste again for seasoning. Add the mint and serve immediately … with love.
My four-year old niece Luka asked me to make a birthday cake for this year. This is not an easy task as she wants a Tinker Bell cake of all things. You see I am a cook but definitely not a cake baking or cake decorating person…. Baking for me is rather a tedious, scientific and boring affair as you have to follow the recipe 100% otherwise your recipe is going to flop – like most of my cakes I might add! And let it be known that when it comes to decorating I have two left hands.
So I had to make a plan somehow in order to get me started – I did not want to try my deal with Luka’s Tinker Bell cake first time around so I decided to make a simple Blue Monster cupcake to start with and in some way then prepare myself for the fairy monster ahead. Well, I had so much fun ….
Blue Monster Cupcakes
Cake food colouring # E133
Grass nozzle # 234 (ask for this at any cake decorating shop)
Eyes – you can buy them or make your own with white and black plastic icing
Mouth – chocolate chip cookies, broken in half
Mix the buttercream icing with a little blue food colouring until you get the real “monster” colour. Spread a thin layer of blue buttercream icing over the cupcake. Place the grass nozzle in your piping bag and fill-up ¾ with icing. Press the icing on top of the cupcake and then pull it up to get the effect of hair. Place the eyes and the mouth in place.
This dish is inspired by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall who loves the combination of warm bacon, lettuce and tomatoes. I turned it into a salad by adding mozzarella, basil and vinegar. This is utterly delicious and with a good piece of bread makes a perfect meal for this in-between season time of year.
Preparation and cooking time: 20 min
250 g bacon
1 T olive oil
400 g baby tomatoes, half some and keep some whole
3 gem lettuce heads, cut in half length-ways
1 T olive oil
2 T good red wine or sherry vinegar
150 g bocconcini (fresh mozzarella balls), torn into pieces
Handful of fresh basil
Freshly ground black pepper
Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and fry the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Set aside and keep warm. Put the tomato and lettuce in a bowl, add the other tablespoon of olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss together. Add the lettuce and tomatoes into the bacon pan and fry for about 5 minutes until the lettuce halves are wilted and browned and the tomatoes are warmed through. Add the bacon and the two tablespoons of the vinegar for the last minute or two. Turn everything onto a flat salad dish – add the mozzarella and basil. Sprinkle with a bit more of the vinegar and season with salt and pepper.
This easy Asian-style mussel recipe combines fresh mussels with a pungent coconut cream sauce consisting of fresh ginger, garlic, chillies and lemon. The whole process is so speedy that the total cooking time may be less than 5 minutes, depending on how fast your mussels cook!
Five minute Asian mussel pot
Cooking time: 5 min
250ml coconut cream
1 large thumb fresh ginger, grated
1 big clove or two small cloves of garlic, grated
2 green chillies, chopped
½ T freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ t salt
400g fresh mussels (I used the Woollies frozen mussels and just defrosted a bit under warm water)
Handful of fresh coriander
Bring coconut cream, ginger, garlic, chillies, lemon juice and salt to a boil. Add the mussels and simmer for 4-5 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh coriander and serve hot.
It’s never too hot for a lovely fondue …
The worst of the winter cold is possibly over but there is still a chill in the air on some nights. So wanting to beat off the crisp cold, my friend Leonard and I decided to pop in at the Belmond Mount Nelson’s Planet Restaurant for Chef Rudi’s Cheese Fondue for two. We had the Cheese Fondue as a starter – but let the truth be known this is really a main made for sharing – it is deceptively filling and utterly delicious. Made with local gruyère, emmentaler and mature cheddar cheese with a hint of garlic. Our dipping condiments were homemade breads, croutons and grissini – all complimented by radishes, apple, celery and gherkins. To boot, this little spring warmer is a treat at R260 for two people.
the delicious mushroom tortellini
I then indulged in one of the best mushroom dishes that I have ever tasted in my life. They brought me a red plate with mushroom tortellini, mushroom terrine and a giant mushroom. The balance of the dish was spot on and with a glass of chilled Pinot Noir … utter perfection.
The Planet is to be recommended … remember to have a drink in the garden before retreating to the talented culinary pampering of Chef Rudi.
+27 (0)21 483 1000
Each time my man goes away on business, I get a little spring in my step. You see it is not that I won’t miss him, but it is then when I get a chance to indulge myself in one of my favourite dishes of all-time – curry tripe and trotters! I am just mad about it, but hubby runs a mile as soon as he gets a whiff of the stuff. I was raised in the Free State on offal. In later years I remember thinking how strange it was for people not to like tripe and trotters. I still don’t quite understand. Anyway, those who want to pull their noses up at this delicious treat, means that there is just that much more for the rest of us … And amen to that.
My curried tripe and trotters
1.1 kg sheep tripe and trotters, cut the tripe into blocks
1 bay leaf
5 black peppercorns
1 ½ t salt
½ t coriander seed, finely ground
2 cups of water
3 t curry powder (medium or hot)
1.5 table spoons white vinegar
3 large potatoes, peeled and quartered
Place the tripe and trotters, bay leaf, lemon leaf and peppercorns in your pressure cooker. Mix all the other ingredients (except for the potatoes) together and add to the offal. Steam for 45 minutes. Add the potatoes and steam for another 15 minutes. Taste for salt if needed. Serve with rice or pap or a thick slice of bread.
South Africa’s leading olive oil producers were honoured with gold medals at the annual SA Olive Awards last night. A total of 17 exceptional extra virgin oils received gold medals in three categories.
1. Delicate olive oil: Cederberg Olives, Muiskraal and Porterville Olives.
2. Medium olive oil: Tokara and Willow Creek clinched 2 gold medals each while Gabriëlskloof, Groote Vallei and Rio Largo Olive Estate each won one gold.
3. Intense olive oil: L’Ormarins, Marbrin Farm, Morgenster Estate, Mulderbosch Vineyards, Rio Largo Olive Estate and The Ou Pastorie.
Fudge brings back so many childhood memories. I have such fond recollections of standing with mom in the kitchen making these sweet treats and then sitting somewhere quietly nibbling away on a few blocks. This is such an easy recipe I have been making it for years – you just throw everything into a pot and let it cook until the mixture turns into a soft sludge. To make things even easier I use an electric whisk to get it to that lovely fudgy consistency.
easy rich + real #fudge
Author: anél potgieter . lifeisazoobiscuit.com
- 250g butter
- 1 can of condensed milk
- 175ml full cream milk
- 2T syrup
- 800g sugar
- 2t vanilla essence
- Sugar thermometer
- 30 x 20 cm tin or bowl, greased
- Put the butter, condensed milk, milk, syrup and sugar all together into a heavy bottom pot or pan and bring to boil, stirring constantly. Boil until the mixture reaches 118 °C or the soft-ball stage. When the fudge is at soft-ball stage, remove the pan from the stove and stir in the vanilla. With an electric whisk beat for about five minutes, by which time the fudge will have thickened to the texture of stiff peanut butter. Pour into prepared baking. Smooth the top of the fudge as well as you can. Allow to cool and then cut into squares.
Last Thursday I had an exclusive peek into the new Banting Kitchen in Green Point, 47 Main Road (in front of Cape Royale Hotel), Cape Town. Tim Noakes and his many Banting fans will be extremely happy about this new eatery. The entire menu is based on Banting ingredients, ranging from home smoked salmon (delicious!), mussels in cream, lasagna, steak to the always popular cauli-mash through to dessert. As is to be expected, the dishes are obviously very rich given all the cream and butter – and as you know where there is cream and butter – it is always delicious.
Two things stood out for me – the bread and the dessert. On our arrival we were offered bread and butter and I have to admit that I was somewhat sceptical about the bread – I’ve have tried to bake Tim Noakes’s bread – and it was not pleasant. But the bread I had at The Banting Kitchen was surprisingly good and tasty. Banters who miss their slice of bread will find this a real treat.
And then the dessert, it’s just so hard to get a Banting dessert without that awful xylotil (sugar substitute) taste. Yet, I had the most wonderful-lemon panna cotta and baked cheesecake. I could not taste the xylotil and both were absolute winners. Our waitron, Brilliance was, well just brilliant … his friendly face and his knowledge of the menu was refreshing and he certainly lived up to his name.
For more information, visit www.thebantingkitchen.co.za or contact via telephone on 021 – 430 0506. Join The Banting Kitchen on Facebook (TheBantingKitchen) and Twitter (@bantingkitchen).
main | oriental spiced cream cheese chicken supreme
starter | home smoked salmon