Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson - dead - really this time.. ???


So even though Wikipedia says he died in 2007 at the age of 65 (totally untrue)
He infact died last night due to a cardiac arrest at the age of 50.

Admittedly he was a bit of a weirdo, but he was also legendary in many ways and his impact on the musc industry was one which only people dream of making.

Here are some quick facts on what happened last night:

Pop singer Michael Jackson was reported to have died on Thursday in Los Angeles, California. Multiple sources confirmed the 50 year old Jackson died. He had been rushed from his home to UCLA Medical Center in what a source said was a coma, and was later pronounced dead at the Hospital. Authorities said they were called to Jackson's home at about 12:30 PM Pacific Time.

Well... i know some people who were planning to go to these concerts... they are in mourning today.

Is it just me, or does anyone else get the sneaky feeling this is all one media ploy... or a jackson ployy.. so MJ can live out the rest of his life in peace?????
you never know...

Monday, June 22, 2009

Cheese and wine pairing - what goes with what


Cheese and wine pairing – for those of you who have always wanted to know…

Personally I think a good Shiraz of Cab-Sav or wooded Chardonnay go with most cheeses. I am not a sweet wine or port person, so I tend to leave those out of the equation and replace them with sweet fig preserve or something like that instead. But check out the guide. It has been put together by Checkers, who stock wines from the all around the Cape.

Blue Cheese:
Sweet Sherry
Dessert Wine

Blue Stilton:
Mulled Wine

Boerenkaas:
Chardonnay
Cabernet Sauvignon

Brie:
Chardonnay - unwooded
Chenin Blanc
Cabernet Franc
Pinot Noir
Blanc Fumé
Dry Riesling
White Port
Brandy
Port - White
Cream Liqueur

Camembert:
Cap Classique
Chardonnay - wooded
White Wine - dry
Cheddar with chillies:
Vintage Cider
Real Ale
Cheshire:
Red Wine - with sweet oak character

Cream Cheese:
Cabernet Sauvignon
Rhine Riesling

Edam:
Chardonnay
Sauvignon Blanc
Port
Emmental:
Sauvignon Blanc

Farmhouse Cheddar:
Vintage Cider
Shiraz

Feta:
Shiraz
Red Wine - flavourful
Sauvignon Blanc

Goat’s Milk Cheese:
Merlot
Chardonnay
Semillon
Chenin Blanc
White Wine - neutral, low-acid
Mulled Wine - sweet

Gouda:
Pinotage

Gruyère:
Red Wine - fruity
Port
Cabernet Sauvignon
Merlot
Shiraz
Chardonnay

Hard Goat’s Milk Cheese:
Cream Liqueur

Harvati:
White Wine - flavoursome, delicate
Chardonnay - unwooded

Herb Cheese:
Sauvignon Blanc

Mature Cheddar:
Dry Stout
Pinot Grigio
Chardonnay - unwooded
Cabernet Sauvignon
Merlot
Shiraz
Chardonnay
Maasdam:
Shiraz

Ricotta:
Red Wine - full-bodied
Chardonnay
Parmesan:
Chardonnay
Shiraz
Pinotage

Roquefort:
Sauvignon Blanc
Riesling

Stilton:
Dessert Wine
Mulled Wine
Wheat Beer

Taleggio:
Red Wine - lightly wooded
White Stilton with apricots:
Medium Sherry
Classic English Ale
Pinot Grigio

White Stilton with cranberries:
Classic English Ale

get to know your cheeses better....



I am a really big cheese fan and often wish that I lived in a giant wheel of cheese that I could munch on all day.
I also do a lot of cooking with cheeses. I came across this list, which I found very useful, and recommend that those who are wanting to put together a cheese platter, have a look at it.
There is nothing worse than buying an expensive bloc of cheese that tastes like plastic and smells like your grandfathers toe jam.
(It’s happened to me!)
Always insist on trying cheeses before you buy them, so that you can familiarise yourselves with them.
This list was also courtesy of Checkers.

Your guide to our wide selection of cheeses

Blue Cheese - A rich cheese that is ideal for flavouring a wide variety of foods due to its pungent, peppery taste. Crumble over salads and soup.

Boerenkaas - An ideal table cheese with a distinct nutty flavour that becomes stronger and somewhat fruity as it matures. Can be enjoyed on sandwiches, in soups and fondues.

Boursin - This soft, garlicky, little cheese is well-flavoured with herbs and was created by Monsieur Boursin in 1957. Serve with fresh baguettes or as a canapé topping.

Brie - Also known as "The Queen of Cheeses" and best enjoyed with light- to medium-bodied red wines. Try deep-frying it and serving it with fresh figs, or wait until it’s perfectly ripe and enjoy it on crusty croissants with preserves.

Camembert - The rich, strong flavour of Camembert deserves to be savoured. Try baking it whole and serving with French bread.

Cheddar – This is a firm cheese with a smooth texture - ideal for everyday use on sandwiches, snacks or for cooking purposes. Try it matured for a stronger flavour.

Cheshire - Cheshire is firm in texture and slightly more crumbly than Cheddar. It is rich, mellow and slightly salty with an excellent aftertaste. Add it to a fluffy soufflé or omelette.

Cottage Cheese - This is one of the most versatile cheeses around. It is low in fat and an excellent source of protein. Use as a dip for fresh veggies or enjoy it on a sandwich with cold meats and leafy greens.

Edam - A semi-soft, mellow and nutty cheese that is famous for its distinctive red wax coating.

Emmental – The famous holey Swiss cheese has a very tasty, nutty character that makes for a great table cheese. Wonderful in savoury pastries or with fruit and relish.

Feta - The distinctive, tangy taste of feta adds zing to salads, pasta, pizza, burgers or even potatoes.

Goat's Milk Cheese - Goat's Milk Cheeses are mostly soft in texture and can be eaten fresh, blue veined or with natural mould on the rind. Superb crumbled over salty baked potatoes.

Gorgonzola - A mild and creamy, pale yellow, blue-veined cheese from just outside Milan in Italy. Excellent in salads and dips.

Gouda - Named after the Dutch town, this sweet and mild cheese is delicious with bread and pickles.

Gruyère - This firm, fruity, dark yellow cheese has a wonderful complexity and is best appreciated with a full-bodied wine. Also delicious grated over French onion soup.

Halloumi - This semi-hard to hard cheese has a mild, yet tangy flavour that is best shown when it’s melted. Coat slices in flour, pan-fry them in butter until they ooze, and serve with lemon juice and freshly ground black pepper for an irresistible snack.

Harvati - A semi-soft, mildly sweet and creamy cheese that can be enjoyed on its own, or in a sandwich with cucumber and fresh dill.

Maasdam - A sweet, buttery cheese that is ideal for serving as a snack. Also lovely on grilled sandwiches.

Mascarpone - A creamy cheese that can be used to enrich a variety of desserts and sauces. Also used to make the famous Italian dessert, Tiramisu.

Mozzarella - This semi-soft cheese melts well, making it great on pizza. Its subtle flavour is best savoured with tomatoes and basil in a Caprese salad, especially when using the traditional and coveted mozzarella di bufala, which is made from buffalo’s milk rather than cow’s milk.

Parmesan - A hard, straw-coloured cheese with a thick crust and strong flavour - often finely grated and sprinkled over pastas, or shaved into slivers and scatted over salads. Authentic Parmigiano Reggiano comes from a single region of Italy, and is adored worldwide.

Pecorino - This favourite grating cheese has a distinctive salty taste with a fruity tang and is a great wine companion. Try it as a stuffing for tomatoes or mushrooms.

Raclette – It’s characterised by an authentic, rich, full flavour and is produced on both the Swiss and French sides of the Alps. A very good cooking cheese, delicious with ham.

Ricotta - A mild, crumbly, versatile cheese that can be used for filling sweet or savoury tarts. Ricotta is also often used in classic Italian lasagne. It is low in fat and its subtle flavour works well with ripe salted avocado.

Roquefort - The "King of Cheeses" is intense and complex with a thick and creamy texture. Delicious in a lunchtime salad with a sweet Riesling.

Stilton - A great after-dinner cheese that goes especially well with a glass of Port. Stilton also makes an excellent topping on baked potatoes.

Taleggio - A characterful cheese with a wide range of flavours and a strong aroma. Serve as the hero of the cheeseboard, on walnut bread or with fruit.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Kirstenbosch winter concerts

Its that time of year...
Yes we all loved the summer Kirstenbosch concerts – something quite unique to our beautiful city. Nothing like spending an afternoon picnic-ing on a lawn with a few thousand people on the largest grass bank known to man (ok, known to me) with a great sound system and a cool live bands. And lets not forget being surrounded by picturesque mountains and greenery in the botanical gardens (picturesque is a word i use to often – lucky me!).
But now its winter and lets face it – the scenery just insnt good enough to keep us outdoors.
So Kirstenbosch hosts a winter deal – more like a dinner with great big fire places, equally good bands and if you are me – lots of wine :-)
I will be going to the event this weekend: Bed on Bricks

Below is the lineup for this season:

May
  • 31st: James Stewart – ex-The Usual singer, songwriter, producer and musical
June
  • 7th: Jac Sharp - ‘acousticharisma’ – mix of styles, instruments & vocals
  • 14th: Bed on Bricks - pop, rock, jazz combo
  • 21st: Hot Water - upbeat SA beats, hopping blues, modern folk & world music
July
  • 26th: Taxi Violence - Music inspired by Jimi Hendrix and the Rolling Stones.
August
  • 2nd: Coda - Van Loveren Concert - one of the hottest SA bands at the moment.
  • 9th: Captain Stu - Van - juxtaposes jazz & reggae tones with traditional African influences.
  • 16th: Kolo Novo Movie Band - known for playing wild balkan music parties, now quieter
  • 23rd: Claire Phillips – Fresh new vocalist & songwriter - jazz, funk, soul, folk
  • 30th: Verity - SA singer/songwriter & inspirational speaker
September
  • 6th: Boulevard Blues - rock classics, light jazz, soul and funk.
  • 13th: Sterling EQ - sensational all-girl electric quartet creating a classical revolution
  • 20th: Rudimentals - best Reggae and Ska band in the country.
  • 27th: Southern Gypsy Queen - old school rock band entice with Bluesy undertones
October
  • 4th: Josie fields - singer songwriter who supported James Blunt last year
  • 11th:Napalma - interaction, between Brazil and Africa
  • 18th: 7th Son – they exist on the sharp side of ‘rude, rock, reggae’
  • 25th: Flat Stanley - modern rock with exceptional song-writing, beautiful melodies
Need to Know

Friday, June 5, 2009

It's wine tasting time...

It’s definitely a wine evening in Cape Town... Then again wine evening is every evening for me!
But for particular night, I was given two tickets to the Old Mutual Trophy Show 2009. For those who don’t know – this is an evening where the winning wines are on display for tastings at the CTICC (Cape Town International Convention centre).
I was there last weekend for the Good Food and wine show, which was great. I have never tried so many pesto’s, relishes and oils… and of course plenty glasses of wine. I was determined to try every Shiraz on offer hence a slight headache the next day.
I did end up buying strawberry champagne from Italy, just because I had never had anything like that before. It tastes like a strawberry-tiser (If Appletiser were to make a strawberry drink) with alcohol. 14% of it ☺
But back to this evenings events!
Below is a list of the award winning wines, which I am going to taste.
A very well done to Kleine Zelze for their achievements. I ahve been to the wine estate for tastings and they do have a fabulous collection!!
I will write a brief note detailing which ones my favourite were, and what I think is great value for money.
Aaaaaaaand the winners are:

Best Red Wine Overall and Best Shiraz
Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Shiraz 2007

Best White Wine Overall and Best Chenin Blanc
Simonsig Woolworths Limited Release Chenin Blanc 2008

Discovery of the Show (Best Value) and Best Unwooded Chardonnay
Ashton Unwooded Chardonnay 2008

Best Port
Bredell’s Cape Vintage Reserve 2003

Best Cabernet Sauvignon
Kleine Zalze Family Reserve 2007

Wooded Chardonnay
Tokara Stellenbosch Chardonnay 2007

Best Bordeaux-Style Red Blend
Saronsberg Nick & Forti’s Epicentre 2005

Best Unwooded Sauvignon Blanc
Lomond Sugarbush Sauvignon Blanc 2007

Best Wooded Sauvignon Blanc Semillon White Blend
Vergelegen White 2007

Best Wooded White Blend
Fleur de Cap Limited Unfiltered Viognier Chardonnay Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2007

Best Noble Late Harvest Dessert Wine
Nederburg Noble Late Harvest 2007

Best Natural Sweet Dessert Wine
Nederburg Private Bin Eminence 2008

Best Fortified Dessert Wine (Red)
Monis Wood-matured Muscadel 2001

Best Museum Class Wooded Sauvignon Blanc
Tokara White 2005

Best Museum Class Wooded Chardonnay
Chamonix Chardonnay 1999

Best Museum Class Fortified Dessert Wine
Nuy White Muscadel 1986

OTHER GOLD MEDAL WINNERS:

* Axe Hill Cape Vintage 2006
* Fleur de Cap Unfiltered Sauvignon Blanc 2008 (unwooded)
* Haskell Pillars Shiraz 2007
* Kanu KCB Chenin Blanc 2006 (wooded)
* Kleine Zalze Vineyard Selection Shiraz 2007
* Lomond Pincushion Sauvignon Blanc 2007 (unwooded)
* Nederburg Noble Late Harvest 2008
* Raka Biography Shiraz 2007
* Vergelegen Red 2004

Thursday, June 4, 2009

'Gay penguins' rear adopted chick


My new flatmate is German, and as much as he is lovely, he doesn’t speak English that well… yet. So I thought I’d make an effort to look up where he was from on the net and bring things up in (lack of) conversation. But whilst looking up Stuttgart and Germany, this article called 'Gay penguins' rear adopted chick popped up, which immediately caught my eye because it was so bizarre.
Everyone has their different ideas on why people are gay, what it means to be gay etc etc… anyway I thought penguins were one of the species of animals who had heterosexual life partners. Guess I was wrong!

But this is old news! Apparently this zoo made headlines in 2005 about its gay penguins. The real treat is that the ‘gay penguins’ have now matured and adopted a baby, which they hatched and are now raising.
Here is a snippet from the article:

Two ‘gay’ male penguins have hatched a chick and are now rearing it as its adoptive parents, says a German zoo.
The zoo, in Bremerhaven, northern Germany, says the adult males - Z and Vielpunkt - were given an egg, which was rejected by its biological parents. (Gays are so accepting)
It says the couple are now happily rearing the chick, said to have reached four weeks old.
Since the chick arrived, they have been behaving just as you would expect a heterosexual couple to do.

The zoo had previously flown in four females in a bid to get the endangered penguins to reproduce - but quickly abandoned the scheme after causing outrage among gay rights activists, who accused it of interfering in the animals' behaviour.

Well done to Germany for being so modern in their thinking… gag… bunny hugging gay activists

Homosexual behaviour is well documented in many different animals, but it is not understood in detail, says Professor Stuart West, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Oxford.
"Homosexuality is nothing unusual among animals," Bremerhaven zoo said on Wednesday.
"Sex and coupling up in our world do not necessarily have anything to do with reproduction."

I'm sure certain people living in our 'pink' city will find this article quite interesting.
Picture and article snippet from BBC

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Rand weakens as Zuma gives state of nation address



For those of you who don’t know (aliens, coma patients and ignorant non-South Africans) today was a day made in history as our (shower-head) president Zuma made his first state of the nation address.
There were some Cape Townians I dare say, who groggily got out of bed this very cold morning and ‘forgot’ that today was the momentous day – and for a few moments wondered why traffic was ‘the worst ever’.
But seriously, some people arrived almost two hours late for work – and we aren’t living in Joburg!
The luxury of living in Cape Town is that we don’t spend three hours a day driving to and from work.
But anyway, back to my previous point – I know that at least some people out in the world were waiting and watching with baited breath for the speech.
How do we know this?
Besides the fact that we are a great country for the press to have a dig at – lets face it, our bunch are entertaining!
But thats not all...
Our Rand weakened...
Reports said:
South Africa’s currency traded 1.1 percent weaker at 8.0375 per dollar as of 11:07 a.m. in Johannesburg, from 7.9477 yesterday.
It slipped versus all 16 most-actively traded currencies monitored by Bloomberg, losing 0.7 percent against the euro to 11.4225.

Most importantly: “The rand is waiting for direction from the state-of-the-nation address, which is widely expected to give an indication of economic policies going forward,” said Kay Walsh, an economist and currency researcher at Rand Merchant Bank in Johannesburg. “Investors are hoping for some reassuring signs from the new president.”

Our premiere Helen Zille said that she was positive about Zuma’s proposed job creation plan, but warned of the risk of the plan becoming an “ANC patronage network”.
She lauded Zuma’s recognition that social welfare should encourage people to become self-reliant, ultimately “weaning them off grants”.
She said that it was crucial that Zuma kept his pledges, particularly relating to the independence of the judiciary.

Anyway, I am not going to go into all the details of Zuma’s speech – check it out yourselves at: http://www.politicsweb.co.za/politicsweb/view/politicsweb/en/page71619?oid=131843&sn=Detail

The Charlie gives you wings



Cocaine found in Red Bull
No wonder it gives you wings!!!
After certain tests were conducted last week, the Hong Kong government found there to be traces of cocaine in Red Bull produced by an Austrian company.
But don’t send out those mail orders now – the amount of coke is barely noticeable.
News reports say:
Because of "the extremely low level of cocaine found in the products, normal consumption" was unlikely to cause health problems or have any psychotropic effects, the Department of Health and Centre for Food Safety said.
"Red Bull Cola", "Red Bull Sugar-Free" and "Red Bull Energy Drink" were found to have between 0.1 microgrammes to 0.3 microgrammes of cocaine a litre, said the Hong Kong government statement.
What is more interesting, is that Six German states told retailers to stop selling Red Bull Cola energy drinks after the incident. The bans started Friday last week after a sample test conducted by authorities in North Rhine-Westphalia state found 0.4 micrograms per litre in the drink – a bit more than the ching-chongs found.
And of course Red Bull is totally denying giving out (almost) free amphetamines.
Red Bull moved quickly to deny the findings and said independent tests on the same batch of drinks had found no traces of cocaine.

Monday, June 1, 2009

What happened to Flight 447 – Air France?

What happened????
An aeroplane mysteriously disappeared whilst flying over the Atlantic today. This is pretty scary since I have two friends about to do some serious cross-Atlantic travelling. The main thing that worries me is that no-one seems to know what happened yet? I mean how do you just disappear? How do 288 people just disappear?
Air France Flight 447 which dropped off the radar three hours and less than 200 miles into a flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris.
The Brazilian air force mounted a search and rescue operation for the Airbus 330-200k in the waters around the archipelago of Fernando de Noronha. But to no avail…
Air France said that the aircraft had sent a message reporting an electrical "short circuit" after strong turbulence.
The company said the plane had probably been struck by lightning. But Planes get struck by lightning all the time and cope just fine – are in fact engineered to sustain through a lightning storm… So that’s crap if you ask me!
It was 190 miles north east of the coastal Brazilian city of Natal when it was lost contact three hours and 20 minutes later.
It is a mystery.
My heart goes out to all of those who have lost family and friends.
But who knows, maybe the passengers and plane got pulled off course by some magnetic force unknown to us and landed stranded on an island with 'the others'…