Category Archives: Restaurants + Cookbooks

New menu @ Reuben’s at the One & Only

New menu @ Reuben’s at the One & Only

I had a great evening at Reuben’s at the One & Only Cape Town the other night sampling their new menu.
Reuben's at One&Only CT 800
Sommelier
Probably the best sommelier in Cape Town (and SA), Luvo Ntezo, welcomed me with a glass of Rainbow’s End Cabernet Franc 2014 – which I LOVED. He also introduced me to the Noble Hill Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2014 – another fine choice.

Sommelier Luvo Ntezo

Sommelier Luvo Ntezo

Starters
Once seated we shared platters of lamb bobotie samosas (R110), the most succulent, fat mussels steamed in a Chenin Blanc (R115), octopus carpaccio with lemon gel (R140) and my favourite of the evening – beef tartar with ponzu, cured cucumber, makataan preserve, spicy ketchup rocket pesto, parmesan, mushroom marmalade and sous-vide egg yolk (R160). A mouthful … I know! But a fantastic mouthful. It was so delicious I could have consumed the whole plate of tartar on my own but had to – ever so reluctantly, share with my fellow table guests. 🙂
Starters we shared

Starters we shared


Mains
For mains we could choose between pork belly (R240), smoked beetroot risotto, kingklip with smoked carrot puree (R265) or a beef fillet with Madagascan pepper crème (R290). As I was on another eat-less, low carb food regime (will it ever stop?), I opted for the fillet – it was just absolutely delicious. The pepper sauce was intensely peppery in flavour in a really good way and the fillet was done to a perfect medium rare. The Cabernet Franc that found its way into my glass was a perfect accompaniment to the fillet.
Very yummy beef fillet with Madagascan pepper crème

Very yummy beef fillet with Madagascan pepper crème

Dessert
Reuben’s new dessert menu offered a tantalising selection of desserts … from Cape Malay koesisters to Granny Smith tarte tatin. Doing my best to evade the calorie intake, I quietly told the waiter about my low carb thingie he just said: “Not to worry, I shall bring you some freshly cut fruit.” Such a thoughtful and generous gesture. The fruit was seasonal, fresh and a lot! Happiness was plastered all over my face.

Reuben
Reuben joined us for the evening. As always, his friendly, down to earth disposition and understated charm still puts him in my books as one of our country’s top chefs…and a really great individual.

OOCT Reuben's Riffel (HR) 800

The menu reflects a continued trend for shared food. “People like sharing so we’ll be continuing with our table topper, snacky type dishes and we’re excited to be using our own spice combinations in many of these – look out for Zaatar, Vadouvan and Ras el Hanout, softer, subtle spices that make food so interesting,” said Reuben.

For reservations
Call (27) 21 431 4511 or mail restaurant.reservations@oneandonlycapetown.com

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The Top 10 restaurants in South African announced

The Top 10 restaurants in South African announced

The Top 10 restaurants in South Africa were announced yesterday at the 2015 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards.

The Test Kitchen did it again, taking top honours among South African Restaurants as the Restaurant of the Year for the fourth consecutive time. Scot Kirton of La Colombe won the coveted title of Eat Out S.Pellegrino Chef of the Year.

Restaurant of the Year_Luke Dale-Roberts of The Test Kitchen with Claudia Walters of Mercedes-Benz and Abigail Donnelly of Eat Out.

Restaurant of the Year_Luke Dale-Roberts of The Test Kitchen with Claudia Walters of Mercedes-Benz and Abigail Donnelly of Eat Out.

Franschhoek-based restaurant The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français was recognised for maintaining the highest level of service with the Service Excellence Award for the second year running and also took third place in the Top 10.

Restaurant nr 3 and Service Excellence Award winner,  The Tasting Room. L-R: Morne Wessels, Eleanor Kerwan, Margot Janse, Gerald van der Walt_Harry Rawana, Gregory Caci

Restaurant nr 3 and Service Excellence Award winner, The Tasting Room. L-R: Morne Wessels, Eleanor Kerwan, Margot Janse, Gerald van der Walt_Harry Rawana, Gregory Caci

The Nederburg Rising Star Award went to Carmen Muller of The Tasting Centre at Rupert & Rothschild in Franschhoek for her promising talent, and the Wine Service Award for a top sommelier was won by Lloyd Jusa of Five Hundred at The Saxon in Johannesburg. Greenhouse at The Cellars-Hohenort received the Boschendal Style Award.

Boschendal Style Award Winner, Peter Tempelhof of Greenhouse

Boschendal Style Award Winner, Peter Tempelhof of Greenhouse

Says Eat Out Editor and Chief Judge Abigail Donnelly: “It’s been a phenomenal judging season with seemingly endless opportunities to enjoy fantastic food. South African dining really is of a world-class quality – I am honoured and humbled to have experienced such excellence this year.”

The 2015 winners are:

1. The Test Kitchen
2. La Colombe
3. The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français
4. Greenhouse at The Cellars-Hohenort
5. Five Hundred at The Saxon
6. The Restaurant at Waterkloof
7. Restaurant Mosaic at The Orient
8. Terroir
9. The Pot Luck Club
10. Jordan Restaurant

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fondue at the mount nelson hotel

fondue at the mount nelson hotel

It’s never too hot for a lovely fondue …

Fondue04 800

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

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
belmond.com/mount-nelson-hotel-cape-town

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join the long table with lifeisazoobiscuit + nic van wyk

join the long table with lifeisazoobiscuit + nic van wyk

Every now and then the universe sprinkles us with some wonderful surprises …the kind of surprises that warms the heart and touches the soul. One such dream catcher moment was when I recently received a call from Nic van Wyk asking me to cook with him on the 13th June….! Well, it was just one of those moments where I had to pinch myself. Was this acclaimed chef really ask me to stir pots with him?

Nic is such a honey and all-round lovely guy and I may add … a real genius when it comes to food. In 2006 he co-founded Terroir Restaurant at Kleine Zalze Estate which was voted Eat Out Best Restaurant in South Africa. More recently he opened a farm eatery in an old stable on the Diemersdal Wine Estate outside Durbanville. Then again, you may have seen him as one of the co-judges on the extraordinary culinary competition, Kokkedoor on Kyknet (Thursdays, 20h00, Channel 144).

If you have not had the privilege of meeting this gifted, teddy bear of a chef with heaps of talent … then join us at our long table for food, frivolity and fun … and the occasional stirring of pots of some very intriguing dishes …

The Zoobicuit cook and the Teddy Bear Chef at Diemersdal low res

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i chat to nic van wyk from diemersdal eatery

i chat to nic van wyk from diemersdal eatery

One of my good friends, Errieda du Toit told me a long time ago that if ever she had the choice, then she wanted Nic van Wyk to cook her last meal on earth! This is a bold statement coming from one of the best food writers in this country! So it was with tremendous excitement that I had the opportunity to meet with him at the recent launch of the new Diemersdal Eatery. What an opportunity this was … I wanted to meet the man and I wanted to taste his food.

What I was to discover on this most amazing day was that Nic van Wyk was this uber humble man with the greatest love for peasant food – especially from Provence, Spain and the Eastern Mediterranean. What I loved about his food is his unique ability to take nostalgic dishes of South African food and turn them into plated modern wonders …without losing the taste of our past, our heritage and all the memories that goes with the food and days gone by in our beautiful land. My two favourite dishes of the day were the pulled lamb shoulder with white bean + truffle cream and the soft nougat rum poached peaches.

I had a chat to Nic and here is what he has to say …

Chef Nic van Wyk 2.jpg 1

Diemersdal  22R.jpg 2

How do you eat zoo biscuits?
Quickly and with fond memories

What did you eat / cook last evening?
My wife made a delicious Niçoise salad. Unfortunately we didn’t have baby potatoes and further happily bent the rules by adding both anchovies and tuna to the same salad – tinned tuna of course.

Are you excited to be a judge on Kokkedoor?
I am over the moon to be involved in this exciting new food series. Not only does it open up new avenues to explore food, the programme will also connect us with the traditions of the South African table. It is not only about the nostalgic side of food, but also about the food skills and techniques of the past; and adapting it for modern times.

I will also be working with loads of interesting and talented people – from artisans and farmers to chefs, food historians and local producers. I am especially excited about co-hosting with Hetta van Deventer Terblanche, whose knowledge of our South African food heritage bowls me over.

What does Kokkedoor entail?
It is a cooking competition with a lot of heart. It looks at heritage food and bringing it into the 21st century. The series will be filmed in the Karoodorp Prins Albert, known for its fantastic produce. The community will be closely involved, as enthusiastic cooks, hobby chefs and professionals take on challenges that are rooted in our food culture – from the school fete and church bazaar to padkos, the Sunday meal and other ways that we celebrate food and togetherness.
Kokkedoor will be aired from early April 2013 on KykNET channel 144.

Where did you enjoy your most memorable meal and who cooked it?
For me food is memorable – not only for what I eat but also who I share the experience with. So not an easy answer.
In South Africa: I’ve had some great meals at La Colombe when Franck Dangereax was still there) and now we enjoy his amazing food at the Food Barn. Another favourite is Mariana’s in Stanford. It is so simple; the consistency and flavours are so good that I will never tire of eating there.
Abroad: In London I had a terrific meal at St. John – heaven for an offal lover like myself. The best service I’ve ever experienced in my life was at The Square, worthy of its two Michelin stars.

Your idea of a Sunday meal?
Oozing care and generosity. No other meal reminds me so much of my ouma (and everyone else’s oumas) like the Sunday lunch, ideally served on large platters and ‘opskepskottels’.

What we serve on Sundays at Diemersdal is how I like to feast with my own family:
Starting with freshly baked bread and home made tomato jam, then on to a plated starter such as pickled fish with asparagus. Then it’s on to the Sunday Roast (with all the trimmings) from pork belly and crackling to chicken roasted in a clay tiled oven.
There must be roast potatoes (I love it with rosemary butter); pumpkin made into pampoenkoekies (fritters) or roasted to intensify the flavour; green beans or courgettes in butter, chilli and garlic; fresh asparagus; carrot salad with cumin and honey dressing and pearl barley to soak up the gravy. A good harvest of aubergine will be turned into small bites of melanzane.
And what’s a Sunday lunch without pud? I keep it fresh and fruity in the summer months – stone fruit and almond tart; lemon curd foam with fresh berries or a rich chocolate tart when there’s a nip in the air.

What is your most favourite cut of meat?
I’m one for the lesser cuts – short rib and even chuck. Have you put chuck on the braai? Truly delicious, as long as you use cool coals and don’t rush.

Any tips for the summer time salads and meals?
Summer time is perfect for casual grazing. Have lots of fresh things in the fridge to whip up a salad or lay out a tapas platter without effort. I have some good cheese at hand and a selection of cold meats. I keep the pantry well stocked with preserves – olives, chutneys and pickles.
I also love to turn the glut of fruit and vegetables into simple tasty dishes – courgettes slices thinly, dipped in tempura batter and flash fried – served with aioli – I find it’s what roast chicken has been looking for its whole life.
Summer herbs can be turned into delicious green dressings – I just tried it with beetroot ravioli. Heavenly and light. And don’t forget the summer dessert: the season is far too short for cherry clafoutis, so I now make this French countryside classic with mulberries.
I’m also a great advocate of tapas-style eating – you can turn literally any dish into a tapas dish, so think of it as a way of eating, rather than what you eat. Small dishes presented on shared platters make for leisurely eating in the summer heat – some of yesterday’s leftover meatballs served with smoked tomatoes, garden beans turned into a salad with barley and olive oil. Dessert can be part of a summer tapas presentation as well – small, individual portions of fruit-based puds.

Who is your foodie hero?
I have quite a team of food heroes I draw inspiration from. Chefs and food writers that make me think about food in such a positive way are Nigel Slater, Thomas Keller, Nico Ladines, Jamie Oliver, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstal.
I also tend to think of my my grandfather, walking in his vegetable garden with a salt shaker in his one hand, picking the fresh vegetables and making me taste it there and then. To this day I am probably the most content I can be strolling through a kitchen garden.

Follow Nic van Wyk on Twitter: @nicvwyk

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the winner of the masterchef south africa cookbook is … Hannie Botha!

the winner of the masterchef south africa cookbook is … Hannie Botha!

Masterchef book

The winner of the masterchef south africa cookbook is … Hannie Botha. Congratulations and cook up a storm. 

The Masterchef South Africa Cookbook is now available in all the leading book stores in South Africa and lifeisazoobiscuit is giving away one copy before Christmas! The book features the dishes of the top 18 contestants, as well as the judges’ dishes – all the recipes are beautifully photographed and written to help you to cook and plate like a pro.

 

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wheat + mushroom + thyme = delizioso risotto

wheat + mushroom + thyme = delizioso risotto

easy vegetarian spring roll recipe, easy vegetarian spring roll, easy vegetarian recipe, vegetaries, maklike vegetariese resep

I love wheat….and I love Italians. I am fascinated by the way Italians eat and the way they cook – it is the simplicity and the flavours, their history and the la famiglia. I grew up with wheat on our table and have always loved the earthy crunchiness of wheat, its healthy and nutritious in so many forms, its cheap and then of course it is also grown just around the corner from us in Malmesbury. What got me thinking about Italians and wheat was a fabulous foodie get-together with #chicksthatchow (see below)* at the Italian restaurant, Zibaldone. It was a spectacular feast of Italian cuisine and the kind of atmosphere that makes a South African like me feel part of the greater La Famiglia…

What stole my heart and took my gastronomic spirit on a wheat journey was the lamb tortellini with creamed pearl barley. Out of my endless curiosity when it comes to food, I had to explore wheat as a risotto ingredient. I went back to Jamie’s basic risotto recipe that I use every time I make risotto and tweaked it somewhat by replacing the risotto rice with wheat and added some martini and mascarpone cheese. It is so delicious and crunchy. It has such a proud and distinctive nutty undertone of flavour and can be enjoyed as a main meal or accompany any beef or lamb dish.

*About #chicksthatchow: we are a group of “taste, tipple and tweet” women who celebrate life, happiness and all things good over a serving of fabulous food and a glass or two of the best pressed grapes whenever or wherever the mood or the menu may take us. #chicksthatchow was founded by the inspiring and enchanting Errieda du Toit, aka @huiskok and now the presiding President of #chicksthatchow.

Divertiti…!

easy vegetarian spring roll recipe, easy vegetarian spring roll, easy vegetarian recipe, vegetaries, maklike vegetariese resep

 

wheat + mushroom + thyme risotto
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 3
Ingredients
  • 1 Cup of wheat – pre-cooked for 25 minutes without salt in the water
  • 1T Olive oil
  • 1 T Butter
  • 1 Medium onion – finely chopped
  • 1 Celery stick – finely chopped
  • 2 Cloves garlic – grated
  • 60ml Martini Bianco
  • 450 ml Stock of your choice
  • 40g Grated parmesan
  • 2 Generous tablespoons of mascarpone cheese
  • For mushrooms
  • 500g Mushrooms – any sort – thinly sliced
  • 2T Olive oil
  • 2T Butter
  • 2T Fresh thyme –leaves picked
  • 2 Cloves garlic – grated
  • Pinch of chilli powder
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Big squeeze of lemon juice
  • 30g Chopped parsley
Instructions
  1. Prepare the mushrooms first: Cook the mushrooms, thyme and garlic in the olive oil and butter in batches in a very hot pan – season each batch with salt and black pepper. Do not let the mushrooms become soggy; they should be a beautiful nutty and brown colour.
  2. When cooked add the chilli powder, a squeeze of lemon juice and the chopped parsley and then set aside.
  3. Melt the butter over medium heat in a pot and add the olive oil.
  4. Add the onion and celery and fry for about 5 minutes till translucent.
  5. Add the garlic and let it fry for another few minutes then add the cooked wheat. Slowly fry the wheat for a minute or two.
  6. Add the Martini – and stir till the martini has evapourated.
  7. Now start adding the stock ladle by ladle – allow each ladle to be absorbed by your ingredients in the pot before you add the next one.
  8. Continue until all stock has been added to the saucepan. Remember… your wheat needs to stay moist and creamy.
  9. Now add the mushrooms – give it a good stir.
  10. Then add the parmesan and mascarpone.
  11. Taste for seasoning – it is not normally necessary to add salt – but I always give it an extra pinch of black pepper.
  12. Serve with beautiful fresh Italian bread and a glass of good red wine.

 

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white pepper is back …viva! = steak + white pepper sauce + peppery mushrooms

white pepper is back …viva! = steak + white pepper sauce + peppery mushrooms

white pepper is back ...viva!=steak + white pepper sauce + peppery mushrooms

For some time now, some of my foodie friends and I have been wondering whether white pepper is making something of a comeback….well, I can reliably confirm that it is back. That everyday seasoning that for so many years has done duty on our mother’s and grandma’s dinner tables but somehow got lost over the past decades between her black, pink and red peppercorn brothers and sisters … Lady White Pepper … is back!

Before I share more about the return of the white pepper I need to make it clear that my aspirations for this blog are not to win favour, nor benefit from freebies.This is my journey and my experiences with food. This being said I do believe that good experiences need to be shared, and in this instance I just want to shout if from the top of Table Mountain – if you are looking for a good food and wine experience….this is it … go and experience it at De Grendel Restaurant. It is not an inexpensive outing I might add, but worth saving the pennies just to savour this culinary sojourn through amidst the Durbanville vineyards.

But without further blabbering, let me get back to that somewhat magical afternoon and the white pepper….there we were, Sue-Ann and Ilse from Masterchef and foodie doyen and all-round intriguing persona, Errieda, wine-fundi Samarie, cookbook publisher Daleen and De Grendel’s winemaker Elzette – breathing in the majestic views, soaking up the ambience from table to plate. We laughed, we ate, we drank and toasted our shared passion – we became the absolutely fabulous olympic #chicksthatchow! As Errieda said: “Some chase for gold; others chow for gold”!

Back to the white pepper … I tasted the prime rib with white pepper, pearl onions and broccolini that Errieda ordered and it blew me away. It WAS the best steak and sauce I have ever eaten – the sauce combined with the steak just melted in your mouth with a flash grilled flavour, subtle yet striking. This bite confirmed to me that the sultry Lady White Pepper is back … out of the shadows and back on the plate … she is sexy, sharp. shining and ready to take over the pepper world.

Chef Ian Bergh inspired me so much with his creation that I had to try this back at home – my version was also delicious, simple with a dash of brandy and cream. I tried my utmost to replicate the delicate balance, silkiness and sharpness of their sauce, but I have to confess despite my best efforts I fell short … but please do try my recipe – it is still yum! I served the steak with some beautiful white peppery King Oyster mushrooms.

Welcome back in our pots and on our tables Lady … Viva … Lady White Pepper … Viva!

white pepper is back ...viva!=steak + white pepper sauce + peppery mushrooms

steak + white pepper sauce + peppery mushrooms
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • Steak
  • 500 g Prime Rib (I used rump but you can also use fillet) –
  • White Pepper Sauce
  • 1 Small onion – finely chopped
  • 1T Olive oil
  • 1 Knob of butter
  • 1 Clove garlic
  • 40 ml Brandy
  • 200ml Thick cream
  • 3t Fine white pepper ( I even like a little more but be careful, I believe white pepper is deceptively hotter than black pepper)
  • Small pinch of salt
  • 150 g King Oyster mushrooms – sliced length ways
  • 2T Olive oil
  • 1T Butter
  • ½ t White fine pepper
  • Large pinch of salt
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Steak: Fry to your taste. My guidelines - hottest plate, oil, season, +-3½ minutes on each side, rest for 6 minutes.
  2. Mushroom Sauce: Plate on medium - heat a pan and add the olive oil, butter and add the onion. Sauté for about 3 minutes until nice golden.
  3. Add the garlic and sauté for another 2 minutes.
  4. Add the brandy to the pan – not too much as you do not want to set your kitchen alight - heat it up and then ignite the brandy with a match. Flambé the steak by letting the alcohol burn off the liquid. Let it burn till finished – it needs to extinguish itself naturally.
  5. Add the cream, then stir in the pepper along with a pinch of salt.
  6. Taste for seasoning. Heat through for a minute or two.
  7. Pass the sauce through a sieve to catch the onions and garlic – I normally use the sieved garlic and onions as a base for the steak and then pour the sauce liberally over the steak just before serving.
  8. Heat a pan until it is very hot - add the olive oil and butter then add the mushrooms , sprinkle with the pepper and a big pinch of salt. Fry fast for about 3-4 minutes till brown and done.
  9. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and serve hot over the steak.

 

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