Friday, September 30, 2011

Events in Cape Town this October

October is literally packed with events, and my social calendar is full!
Here are some suggestions of what to do this month from my events pages in the khuluma and horizons magazines:

FILM

The Shnit! International Short Film Festival, in Cape Town from 5 to 9 October, is
a showcase of themed local and international films incorporating talks by filmmakers and a competition.
‘Each film runs from one to 20 minutes,’ says festival director Sean Drummond, but several are combined for screening – at the Labia Cinema in Gardens – in themed blocks of 90 minutes.
Themes this year include a specialised focus on black and white films, movies dealing with death – comedy, horror and drama – plus a block of films from the Middle East called ‘Hummus’. There’s the ‘Feel Good’ screening on Sunday afternoon, as well as ‘Kaapse Bobotie’ (works by local filmmakers, including Focus, pictured above, by Ari Kruger).
‘There is also Hook-up, Break-up and Peeping Shnit, which is basically tongue-and-cheek erotica, that will be shown late at night at the alternative screen at
95 on Hout Street,’ says Drummond.
There are 75 films in competition, selected from 4  000 submissions from all over the world. One South African film (by Oliver Hermanus) and one from Tunisia made it through; the rest are mostly from Europe and the US, with a few from Iran, Russia, Iceland and Argentina.
There will also be a real-time competition, in which three chosen filmmakers make and edit a movie over the length of the festival – to be screened at the final event on Sunday evening.
Tickets R30 per block viewing, or R75 day pass, R180 weekend pass. shnit.org

BEER

This year Paulaner Bräuhaus at the V&A Waterfront celebrates its 10th birthday and 10th Oktoberfest, from 14 to 30 October. Nine-thousand litres of Paulaner Oktoberfestbier, brewed on site according to the Rheinheitsgebot (Purity Law) of 1516, have been maturing in the storage tanks below sea level in preparation. www.paulaner.co.za

WINE


Red-wine blending with Steenberg winemaker JD Pretorius is one of many activities on offer at the Spring It On Constantia festival (14 to 23 October). There’s also food and wine pairing at Constantia Glen, bubbly and oysters at High Constantia, classical music at Klein Constantia, and a Grape Run through the valley. spring-it-on-constantia.com

A charity golf day kicks off the Helderberg Wine Festival, taking place from 20 to 23 October at 40 participating wineries along the R44 between Somerset West and Stellenbosch. There will also be port tastings, live music, food and craft markets and a Big Walk. A festival pass costs R100. helderbergwinefestival.co.za

Following the success of the first Cook Franschhoek festival in winter, the summer edition takes place from 7 to 9 October with a host of culinary activities throughout town and on wine estates. Enjoy personal tutoring by acclaimed chefs in their restaurants, such as Mange Tout, L’Ermitage, Huguenot Fine Chocolates and Ryan’s Kitchen. Also stop in at the Ingredients Kitchen, Speciality Foods Kitchen and Festive Cooking Kitchen. franschhoek.org.za

8-9 October – The Green Mountain Eco Route hosts its inaugural Blossom Festival in the Overberg region. Events include a mountain-bike race and trail run, and an Amazing Race with prizes. There will be brandy, wine and apple tastings, markets, live music and kids’ activities.
www.greenmountain.co.za

14-16 October – Head to Goudmyn Farm on the banks of the Breede River, between Robertson and Bonnievale, for this year’s Wine on the River festival. Taste more than 300 wines from the region while enjoying live music, boat trips and country food. Tickets from R90; shuttles are available. Wear a funny hat and you could win a two-night stay in the valley. www.wineonriver.com.

22 October – Sip on as much Diemersfontein coffee pinotage as you want at this year’s Pinotage On Tap at the estate in Wellington. Tickets cost R285 and include a wine glass, unlimited access to the wine barrels, plus a picnic lunch, dessert, games and music from Evolver One, Hot Water and Albert Frost. www.diemersfontein.co.za

COMEDY:
Bafunny Bafunny’s new show, The Odd Shaped Ball, is touring SA. The 2011 team – John Vlismas, Nik Rabinowitz, Trevor Noah, Loyiso Gola, Mark Banks, Barry Hilton, Eugene Khosa and Stuart Taylor – are a must-see for rugby fans. Catch them on the 5th & 6th in Durbs, 14th & 15th in Jozi and 20th & 21st in Cape Town. Tickets R120 at Computicket.

From 21 October – Written and directed by David Kramer, Some Like It Vrot at the Baxter Theatre (until the end of the year) stars comedians Marc Lottering and Christo Davids as Smiley and Fuad, taxi operators who have to flee from mean crime boss Big Bucks. Tickets from R90
at Computicket.

MUSIC:

7-9 October – Slip on your wellies, top up your wine glass and jam to the latest music on a wine estate, nogal. Rocking the Daisies is back at Cloof Wine Estate in Darling, with a line-up that includes Civil Twilight, Gazelle, Yoav, Lark, Tumi and the Volume and the UK’s Band of Skulls. Plus The Lemon Tree Theatre will feature comedy stars and other interesting acts. Tickets for the whole weekend cost R450. www.rockingthedaisies.com

***interview CIVIL TWILIGHT***

Rich Wouters, drummer

What are you looking forward to most about Rocking the Daisies?
Just playing in SA again will be awesome! We love South Africa and we love playing in South Africa. Performing there last year was one of the highlights of the year for us. It was very special to feel so much love from the South African people, even after we'd been away for so long. We've also heard a lot about what a great festival Rocking the Daisies is so that makes it even more exciting. It's a real honour for us to be asked to play this festival.
Are you going to stick around watching other bands, roughing it with the festival folks or are you being whisked off straight after your show?
We will definitely stick around on Saturday. There are a few bands we want to check out and we always enjoy the festival atmosphere and hanging out with old and new friends.
Where is the most obscure place in South Africa you have ever played?
Man, it was a long time ago now, but when we were kids living in Cape Town, we once did a small tour up the South Coast. We played places like George and Knysna, and I think we even played a high school in Oudtshoorn once... That was probably the most obscure one.
What has been your favorite venue/festival that you’ve played at world wide and when was that?
We did a lot of festivals in America this year but I think the highlight for us was playing Bonnaroo, in June, with Arcade Fire, Eminem, The Strokes, Mumford and Sons, Florence + the Machine, Neil Young... just a ridiculous line up of bands and an amazing festival. Like nothing we've ever experienced before. The size of it is just mind-blowing. It's like an entire city that they build for this thing out in the middle of nowhere Tennessee. It's crazy.
What are things you miss most about South Africa?
The beauty. The wildness of South Africa. The ocean down there is like nowhere else. In America the ocean seems tame in comparison. The colourfulness of the people and culture, the vibrancy and energy and organized chaos of it all. The food. The people. There are a lot of things we miss.
And least?
Probably the crime and the disorganization of certain things. The US definitely has a good, established system of doing business that works well. It's comparatively easy to tour here because everything is set up for it and we have a team of people that we work with who are really good at what they do and have been doing it for a long time. It's great to be a part of that.


ART


Throughout October, Franschhoek will be hosting its first Ceramics Festival: Art in Clay. What is the connection between SA’s gourmet capital and pottery? Organiser David Walters says he has been ‘making pots for SA’s top three chefs – Margot Janse, David Higgs and George Jardine [all Franschhoek based] – for several years and because of this we decided to encourage local chefs to cook meals and serve them in art galleries’. This will take the form of ‘pop-up’ Sunday lunches during the festival – for example, Neil Jewel of Bread & Wine will be at Ebony Gallery. Works by top SA ceramicists such as Catherine Glenday and Hennie Meyer will be on show at galleries around town, and a Pottery Fair will take place on the grounds of the Dutch Reformed Church on the last weekend. Walters says he is most excited about a number of historic pieces, ‘normally locked away for safety’, that will be donated by Iziko SA Museum. ‘And the best of the dead potters will be exhibited at the Pierneef Museum at La Motte.’ Call 021-876-4304 for more info.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Come and support us!


Super-organised, awesome baking queen, Zoe, from zoesemasekoek.com will have a stand at this Friday's night market at the Labia on Orange street (www.youmeandeveryoneweknow.co.za).
After much wine over dinner at place a couple weeks ago I decided that I would join her, to keep her company and to sell some goodies of my own. While you can expect decadent treats from her, I will doing a couple gluten-free and sugar-free items such as cheesecake and quiches...
Here are the deats:

Here’s everything you need to know:

What: You & Me & Everyone we Know Night Market
Where: Labia on Orange, CBD
When: Friday the 30th of September 2011
Theme: Neon Spring, so dress the part. It makes it even more fun.
Time: 5:00pm to 10:00pm
Bring: Lots of money. It’s like 5 days after payday people. You have no excuse.

Please come support us :-)

Awesome weekend away spot in the winelands







Alluvia wine (www.alluvia.co.za) estate in the Banhoek valley just outside of Stellenbosch (en route to Franschhoek) offers awesome self-catering guest houses complete with an incredible view – said to be the most photographed vineyard in Africa – dam for fishing, a driving range, a swimming pool and wine tasting of course.

We stayed in a three-bedroom house called Tukulu. Comfortable for two couple and two kids, or three couples or friends - you name it. There is DSTV, a fireplace, all the kitchen equipment needed, a braai and a great outside table overlooking the vineyards.

The rates per night in summer are R2800 excluding breakfast / R3100 including - breakfast Sleeps max 6. If the cost is divided between 6, it's less then R500 per person per night - making it really worth while.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

quick caramelised onion tart




I was bored of the usual potatoes, rice etc… so decided to make a tart to compliment the grilled rump steak I had bought, and it was such a hit with my fiancé.
It’s also so easy and affordable to make.

Ingredients:


Wax/baking paper

1 puff pastry sheet, defrosted

1 roll of Fairview chevin (soft, goats milk cheese, 100g)

Olive oil

1 egg

2 medium brown onions, sliced

A few sprigs of thyme

A dollop of white wine (about 4Tbs)

A drizzle of balsamic vinegar (1Tbs)

1 heaped Tbs of sugar

Salt and pepper

Half cup grated Parmesan (or more… depending on your taste)


Instructions:


-Set oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

-Grease and line a baking tray with wax paper.

-Roll out the puff pastry to fit the baking tray and place on wax paper. Stab a few holes in the pastry with a fork and lightly score the pastry along the edge of the rectangle, but without cutting all the way through to the bottom (this let's the steam escape).

-Beat the egg and the goats-milk cheese together. It might not seem like enough, but it will be. Spread this over the puff pastry and then top with most of the parmesan, saving some for later.

-Drizzle the olive oil into a pan on medium heat and add the onions, thyme, white wine, balsamic vinegar, sugar and salt and pepper. Let this cook until onions are sticky and caramelised.

-Spread the caramelised onions evenly onto the tart. Top with the remaining Parmesan.

-Cook for 25-30 minutes until pastry is golden and the tart smells delicious.


I added a rocket, basil and watercress salad on the side, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar – it just worked so well with the tart.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Braai4Heritage








This past weekend we celebrated Heritage Day/ National Braai day, by well, uhm, braaing.
On the menu was nicely aged rump steak in Jack Parow's signature marinade, lamb chops, my super easy potato bake, green salad and the usual chips and dips.
I hope all you fellow South Africans did the same. The weather in Cape Town was just too perfect, no wind, super warm – it really felt like summer :-)

Picnic in Wellington









Just outside wellington is a lovely estate called Kleine Valleij (www.kleinevalleij.co.za) – we went there for a Sunday afternoon picnic on their rolling lawns and live music, which was provided by the talented blues singer, Gerald Clark and Prime Circle.


When we left Cape Town, the temperature was mid 20s and when we reached Wellington, an hour away, it was 35 degrees C, so always bare this in mind when visiting the area.

It was extremely hot, not a breath of wind, and as long as I had a cold glass of water or wine in my hand, I was fine.


I first visited the farm abut a year ago, and since then – in fact, only two months ago – did they open the Festa Restaurant. Because of the masses of crowds, they were only doing pizzas and cheese platters.

We ordered a Regina (R65 large), which was delicious. As pizzas go, it had a thin crust, enough toppings and the flavour was well balanced.


We then moved down to watch the bands.

It’s great for an afternoon/ day out, so check the website for future events and make a plan to get there this summer.

Advice: sun-block and hats are a must!


Directions from Cape Town N1:

Travel on the N1 towards Paarl/Worcester from Cape Town.

Take the R44 turn-off.

When you enter Wellingtong drive along Champagne Street until you reach a T-junction.

Turn left towards Wellington (Bainskloof Pass)

When you see the church on your left-hand side, turn right into Church Street.

Continue on this busy road until you are out of the town and in the agricultural area.

Pass Bovlei Wine Cellar on your right hand side.

Just carry on towards Bainskloof Pass for approximately 1 kilometer till you see Kleinevalleij on your left hand side.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

shop for quality South African design


The article below is from the shop pages in the September issue of Horizons magazine.

A ‘dedicated follower of sophistication’, interior decorator Sarah Ord decided she needed to ‘show the world what we can do, and how to live with incredible colour and design’. A few months ago she opened her small, very colourful store, which offers a unique range of patterned fabrics, linen, tableware, art and furniture.
Ord had always worked from a home studio, ‘but one really needs to have your name on a wall so people can pop in, put a face to a name and engage with your brand’. A showroom was available in a row of old slave cottages at the top of Bree Street, – ‘a blooming design district [see Sarah’s picks, right]. It was so me, I had to have it!’ she says. Ord has travelled extensively and this has been the greatest influence on her work. ‘I know it sounds clichéd but you have to see different cultures, taste different tastes and walk through places steeped in heritage to really expand your mind.’
Her favourite destinations evoke sensual memories: Venice – ‘espresso, garlic, Vin Santo, fur coats and felt hats’; the Greek Islands – ‘honey, yoghurt, goat bells and sizzling lamb or octopus’; Kenya’s East Coast – ‘where you can sit, feet buried in beach sand, stirring your dawa cocktail
and wondering what took you so long’.
She loves African cultural design. ‘I don’t mean ethno bongo beads, but true saturated colour and quirky pattern and the way it is lived with.’
All cotton and linen at Sarah Ord Interiors is sourced locally and then milled abroad. ‘We’re purists with regards to using 100% cotton and linens in their most base form. I love the way the dyes work on a textured surface,’ says Ord. Furniture and accessories are handmade by local artisans, artists and ceramicists.
Ord’s signature is bright colour combinations. ‘Deep, rich hues always resonate for me. I’m a huge fan of red and yellow. These applied in rich hues on fabrics or in a glossy sheen on a picture frame finish a room.’ Mixed with layers of other styles, she says, it’s very easy to live with bold colour.
• 215 Bree Street, CBD, Cape Town, 021-422-3218, sarahord.com

Sarah’s picks in the area:

• Rhubarb Room (gifts, cafe and clothing),
227 Bree Street, 021-424-2004
• Madwa (textiles, tableware and homeware), 221 Bree Street, 078-800-7616
• Pezula Interiors (lifestyle and decor), 17 Buiten Street, 021-424-2661
• Jason Bakery, 185 Bree Street, 021-424-5644

Cover Up
Known for his beautiful leather wallets, SA designer Mathew Neilson, aka MatBlac, has created a new line of felt iPhone covers. The iSlip and iPouch can hold any iPhone or similar sized device, plus a bank card, cash or headphones. The ecofriendly felt is imported from Germany, and is stain resistant, hard wearing yet soft, and won’t pill. matblac.com, 083-516-6232

Natural design
Sea-urchin shells wash up on the isolated beaches on the southern tip of Africa, which is where Grant Hattingh found the inspiration for his African Urchin jewellery collection. The ‘sea jewels’ are plated in precious metal (24ct gold, rose gold, white gold or silver), ensuring prolonged life and creating a lovely pendant. As the shells are sculpted by nature, no two pendants are the same. They are collected on the beach – no harvesting is done – and the jewellery is made to order and shipped world wide. africanurchin.com, 087-808-7064/5

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Cape Town's coffee culture

A couple months ago, my colleague Wanita and I decided to do a story on Cape Town's growing coffee culture for the Horizons magazine. As a coffee lover, this was the perfect excuse to go visit all the coffee places I love. And discover some new ones. One of my new favourites – as featured in the story – is Anthony's Golden Cup. Great quality single-origin coffee, rustic cute atmosphere and what a nice guy Anthony is. He has been importing and roasting his own beans for nearly 50 years now and is knowledgeable and passionate about his trade. Tell him the type of coffee you like to drink and he'll blend some beans for you.
Then there are the regular favourites: Origin, Truth, Haas coffee cult, Deluxe coffeeworks and so on....
My mom was recently down from Harare for a visit, and so i took her to some of these places to try her first single-origin coffee and learn the difference between a flat white and a cappuccino.
And I thought, well perhaps this article could serve as a guide to people starting their coffee adventures in the mother city.

My article below:

Ten years ago, the difference between ordinary coffee and fancy coffee was the cost of Ricoffy versus that of Nescafé. But sometime between then and now, Capetonian coffee-drinkers started becoming more particular about their caffeine fix and the ever-trendy Mother City had
a new flavour of the month to be snobbish about.
Brad Armitage, who, along with Rui Esteves, founded the very successful Vida e Caffè, reckons the global explosion of Starbucks had a profound effect on coffee drinkers. ‘Espresso became the benchmark for experiencing coffee, whether in its purest form or as the base for a flavoured or iced coffee,’ he says. ‘We didn’t feel that ripple effect in South Africa until the late 90s,
once we had been exposed to it through travel or mainstream media. The “revolution” was a slow build, and 10 years ago, when we opened the first Vida e Caffè [in Kloof Street], the South African coffee scene was generally characterised as cafe culture that meant scrambled eggs and milk tart.’
So was Comrade Vida the trailblazing leader of the revolution? ‘Vida e Caffè had a role to play, but essentially it was the consumers that led the revolution,’ says Armitage. ‘They demanded better, real coffee. Now there must be at least five new roasters in Cape Town alone.’
Roasters go a step further than traditional coffee shops in that they buy raw beans sourced directly from farms and plantations and roast the beans themselves. The roasting method and how soon after roasting the coffee is consumed have a profound effect on the flavour. According to David Donde of Truth.Coffeecult, one should allow 36 hours between roasting and
drinking and then consume the coffee within two weeks to appreciate its optimum flavour. As for the roasting process, it’s a science that in some cases borders on obsession.
Espresso Lab has invested in state-of-the-art equipment in their attempt to perfect the art, while Truth.Coffeecult boasts: ‘We roast coffee. Properly.’ The quest for perfection has intrigued a Cape Town public already accumstomed to questioning the origin of their food and wine.
Although Armitage will argue that Capetonians are more discerning than they are snobbish, he admits there will always be a mass segment of the market that is driven purely by price over quality. But that hasn’t prevented purveyors of ‘real’ coffee from opening shop across the City Bowl to satisfy the demands of the growing coffee set.
Jon-Paul Bolus, owner of The Loading Bay coffee shop and restaurant in Green Point, agrees that the launch of Vida e Caffè was what set off cafe culture in South Africa. ‘Basically Vida grew the market and demand, but then as it grew people became more aware of the actual product,’ he says. ‘Hence other smaller establishments started opening up with local roasters and so on. As more speciality roasters and coffee brewers educate the public about what coffee is really about, palates will change.’
‘Coffee has been grown and brewed for hundreds of years. I don’t expect this to go out of fashion. However, people do get caught up in the actual trend … smaller coffee shops are the hip and happening place to be now,’
says Hanno Schwartz, who established Strictly Coffee in 2006 – at the time only the second speciality coffee roaster in the Western Cape. Recently he caused a stir in coffee circles when he became the first local importer of kopi luwak, aka civet coffee. Made from beans extracted from civet droppings, it is one of the world’s rarest and most expensive coffees at R780 for 250g.
Schwartz believes the fact that there are more and more roasters making a living in the Western Cape is an indication of the growing appetite for speciality coffees. ‘In a way, people are going back to basics and that means going back to the land,’ he says. ‘People want to know more about where their food and drink comes from and how it is being produced.
That’s why coffee consumers are immersing themselves in the story of coffee. This makes them interested in terroir and the unique taste profile a geographical growing area can impart. They want to explore different regions, different coffee varieties and discover what makes them distinctive.’
Is coffee becoming the new wine? Talk on the streets of Cape Town seems to indicate that it is, with coffee tastings growing in popularity as converts learn to identify varietals and flavours.
‘Coffee is certainly a topic of interest in the way that wine is,’ says Schwartz. ‘Just like with wine, people want to know … how it has been grown and treated, how it is roasted and
blended, who is making it and something of their personal story and their passion for coffee.’
But he reiterates that not everyone is snobbish about coffee, and the public is genuinely showing a preference for speciality coffee over mass-produced alternatives. According to Schwartz, people can taste the difference and are prepared to make a change, even if it means having fewer cups.
Ironically, just as the fledgling culture of ‘real’ coffee is becoming more established, it may already be under threat. Coffee prices are going up and the public can soon expect to pay considerably more for a cup of joe than they’ve become accustomed to. Bolus predicts the going rate for a good cup of coffee to be between R25 and R30 in the not-too-distant future.
‘There are a variety of factors pushing the coffee prices up,’ he says. ‘One of them being climate change, and how the footprint of ideal growing locations is getting smaller. We should ask ourselves the question about other necessity things we consume regularly. When bread prices go up, it’s due to various factors, like transporting costs and labour prices. We seem to adjust to this but when it comes to coffee, people don’t see what goes on behind the machine: where the raw coffee comes from, who’s farming, how it’s getting here, roasting, right up until it gets in your cup.’
So what makes a good cup of coffee?
Schwartz says it starts with the green bean – how it is cleaned, dried and roasted – and that the barista plays the critical role of preparing a cup to perfection, a science in its own right. Bolus says it’s about working with the correct roasters who source their green beans from speciality farmers. Perfect knowledge of how to brew espresso and the correct attitude are also key
for him. For Armitage, it’s simply about having a good bean, a clean machine, and a barista who really cares about each and every shot.
As for whether this is the start of a national cultural revolution or just the latest Cape Town craze, the jury’s still out. Schwartz says ‘coffee culture is not only a Cape Town thing, but it
seems the boutique coffee roasters are. We found it very interesting that you don’t find very many boutique roasters in Johannesburg and Pretoria. The way Capetonians go to a coffee shop to drink coffee is not the way the people in Joburg and Pretoria do it. Capetonians are more cosmopolitan that way and indulge in coffee for the sheer pleasure of it, whereas up north coffee is more about something to drink over a meeting.’
Armitage, on the other hand, believes the phenomenon is spreading. ‘Bean There in Johannesburg is doing some great stuff. People everywhere are coffee drinkers. Durban has
a fierce scene too.’
But they all agree on one point: there are certain things you never say to a barista.
‘No flavours! No hazelnut, caramel concoctions,’ warns Armitage.
‘Decaffeinated coffee – the process of decaf coffee is harmful to your body. Please do your research,’ says Bolus.
‘Asking for a cup of tea’, says Schwartz with a smile.

Six coffee shops to visit in town:


Your uncle in the coffee business
Nearly 50 years before speciality coffee became cool, Anthony’s Golden Cup was serving imported single-origin coffee and blends roasted and freshly ground in a tiny Loop Street bolt-hole. There are just five small tables in the shop, with bottle-green tablecloths and buckled metal sugar bowls. A diverse display of coffee pots and plungers, press clippings, flags and coffee beans – raw and roasted – are crammed into limited space, along with plastic jars of rusks and biscuits. Celebs in town could while away the afternoon at the table behind the door without anyone knowing they were there. First-time patrons marvel at the selection of beans from Africa and South America, as well as flavours such as hazelnut and Irish cream, all served with friendly conversation. It’s like drinking really good coffee in your gran’s kitchen.
Cost of a cappuccino: R12
021-426-1268, goldencup.co.za

The regular
Tucked up the narrow alley that is Church Street, Deluxe Coffeeworks is so small one could miss it. But once inside, the soundtrack of 50s-style rock ’n’ roll coupled with the smell of fresh coffee made it a welcome escape from the cold. No surprise, then, that caffeine fiends who work in the area call it their second home. The sitting options are few – four stools around the bar, an armchair and a couple of high chairs looking onto the street. Half of these were occupied
by solitary customers engrossed in novels, notepads and Wallpaper magazine, while the three skater-boy types behind the bar did a brisk trade in takeaways – more than one patron ordering their usual.
Cost of a cappuccino: R12
082-681-5740, deluxecoffeeworks.co.za

Where the cool kids go
There’s a sizeable parking area opposite Origin Roastery in Green Point, with an hour free for patrons, yet most of the crowd look like they arrived on Vespas. The windowless restaurant has
the industrial warehouse look that has become so popular in the inner city, and the vibe is San Francisco basement-level eatery meets New York coffee hub. There is a courtyard, and a more tranquil tearoom in the back. Fifteen minutes before closing on a Saturday every table was occupied by well-dressed little groups engaged in animated conversation. No lone, bookish types here. Fast-paced beats added to the buzz, as did the coffee – the house blend packs a punch. But there are other options displayed in aromatic sacks lining the counter. Homesick New Yorkers will feel at home.
Cost of a cappuccino: R20
021-421-1000, originroasting.co.za

Sidewalk cafe
Next door to Origin, The Loading Bay opens onto Hudson Street so patrons get a faceful of Table Mountain with each sip of their creamy cappuccino. The openness and natural light give it an airy feel although the space is actually rather small. The crowd is likely to be wearing snoods or jeans with sandals, and as likely to have a demure golden Labrador dozing at their feet. Older patrons share long tables with 30-something hipsters, all intent on their own business with not a glance at what anyone else is wearing. The staff’s warm smiles invite one to linger and order lunch, even though that was never the intention. Several lone patrons mess about on Macbooks or page through a Monocle magazine from the stack provided. The clothing store attached has a great collection of denim.
Cost of cappuccino: R17
021-425-6321, loadingbay.co.za

Crazy beautiful
If the Mad Hatter opened a coffee shop from home, it might be something like Haas. Friendly, informal and a little off-the-wall, it was the first SA coffee shop to add rare kopi luwak (civet coffee) to its extensive menu of speciality coffees. We mistakenly entered the chocolate-brown building in the Bo-Kaap through the kitchen, and the staff ushered us through without batting an eyelid. They were, in fact, wearing hats. Patrons perch on ottomans and couches in what can only be called a lounge, or settle into a nook in the courtyard out back. Connecting the
two is the design part of the collective, where local artists such as John Bauer and Francois Irvine have their work on display. Collectors will find quirky contemporary jewellery, paintings, ceramics and potentially even the artists themselves.
Cost of a cappuccino: R18
021-422-4413, haascollective.com

Experimental coffee
The clinical white walls of Espresso Lab Microroasters resemble those of a science laboratory, and that’s what it is, in a manner of speaking. It has invested in state-of-the-art roasting equipment, which is used to experiment with different roasts and blends. The ‘lab rats’ are beans imported green from farms, estates and cooperatives around the world. These guys love coffee and all the intricate processes that go into producing a great cup, and while they’re happy to share their knowledge, novices are not made to feel ignorant and there’s no eyebrow-raising from the purists when a layman adds milk and sugar. Located in The Old Biscuit Mill in Salt River, it’s a good first stop for early risers hoping to beat the crowds at the Saturday market.
Cost of a cappuccino: R16
021-447-0845, espressolabmicroroasters.com

Khuluma food pages September issue



For those of you who haven't had the chance - or will not have the chance to fly khuluma this month. Here are my September issue food pages.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Been there, downed that, got the T-shirt







Below is a copy of my article on the Cape Town annual pub crawl, published in the September khuluma magazine. Definitely a must for next year!

It’s 15 minutes after noon when I squeeze through the doorway
of the Olimp Sports Bar in Loop Street. It’s way too hot for the end of March. And I’m dressed for winter. I can hear my boyfriend’s voice in my head: ‘Rookie mistake.’ But he’s not here today. At least I’m wearing takkies.
There are at least 100 people about to embark on a boozy adventure. I head to the bar and sheepishly order a Coke while no one’s looking. I was full of bravado, but I’ve been here five minutes and already I’m chickening out of drinking at every stop. Barman Justin Breach has his hand confidently on a draught tap, measuring just the right amount of head. I ask him what he thinks of the brewing madness.
‘Looking at the way they’re starting, they’ll make it to four to six venues,’ he reckons.
I scope the crowd for familiar faces, but instead I see a lot of boobs. Rubbery boobs attached to the bodies of men. I squint to read the hand-written Koki-pen text: National Cleavage Day.
I don’t see any women showing off their lady lumps.
Ulrich, the photographer, and I grab our party packs: for R20, we get Mini Cheddars, peanuts, a Fizz Pop, a route map and a sticker saying ‘Cape Town Pub Crawl 2011’. I attach it to my dress. Let the mayhem begin – we’ve got 10 pubs to visit in 10 hours…
At Ivy League I meet two pretty blondes. Robyn’s hitting the Hunters and Nikki’s cradling a Castle. But their choice of shooters is tequila. ‘So is this the first Cape Town Pub Crawl you’ve done?’
‘Yes. So far, we’re good – ask us how we are doing in an hour!’ says Nikki.
‘We’re going to make it the whole way,’ says Robyn. ‘Even if we need to be carried. We have a wheelbarrow.’
Ulrich and I decide to move off early to the next pub. In the road a distressed-looking man in bright-pink spandex is begging for money. Then I see his mates sitting under a tree in the
shade, and realise it’s his stag party.
I wasn’t planning on having a drink until at least the fifth pub, but at the Fireman’s Arms I crack and order an ice-cold draught. The regulars – old pommy guys – look on with disdain
as our crowd starts pulling in.
‘Do you know that you are number three on the list?’ I ask the barman, Kevin Phelan.
‘I didn’t know that. But I think these guys will be fine. There’s only about six or seven of them I’d be worried about.’
I’ve spotted a pizza sign, so I don’t bother asking him to point out the six or seven. I want to get my order in – a New Yorker with bacon, avo and garlic – before the rest of the gang arrives.
I look up and see the pub is now packed. Donovan, a veteran of last year’s pub crawl, hovers near to order a pizza too. ‘Last year it was hectic! I made it to the end, minus two pubs. I skipped the last two and just came back to Fireman’s.’
‘Is that a rock shandy you’re drinking?’ I ask.
‘It’s a rock shandy with vodka – it’s called a sneaky puff adder. It’s refreshing and you’re not cheating.’
‘But you’re eating now … isn’t eating cheating?’
‘No ways, dude. The older you get, you realise you have to eat. Eating gives you energy.’
A merry couple hanging onto each other approaches me and I want to know if they’re as experienced as Donovan.
‘No, we’re virgins … I mean, yes, sorry, I’ve had too much to drink,’ says Kent.
‘Today we’re officially breaking our virginity,’ says Leche.
So far they’ve had two drinks at each pub. ‘Ja, it’s unfortunate, but they had two-drinks specials … two Savannahs for R25 at the Ivy League – I mean, you can’t beat that!’ says Leche.
‘Unless there’s a really good special, like R22 for a Fosters here. We only drink foreign beers … Heineken, Amstel, Kilkenny, Guinness.’
The organiser of today’s all-consuming escapade, Damien du Toit, is nursing a cold beer while comparing war stories from the previous year with veteran crawlers. ‘We’ve had about
140 arrive so far, we had 90 last year, so the turnout is pretty good. I think everyone’s still getting their drinks on time, yeah, so pretty good so far.’ Pub crawlers are allowed an hour in each pub. ‘It’s a hot day. I think they’re going to be drinking a lot,’ Damien adds knowledgeably.
‘And what about you?’ I ask.
‘I’m mixing it up. I’ve had a cider and a beer so far … I’ll drink whatever I get.’
Jess ‘the creative minx’ – her words, not mine – explains the beginnings of the pub crawl a bit more clearly to me when I arrive outside O’Driscoll’s Irish Pub. ‘I think it started in 2007 – Damien and I were in London together and we all went on a Monopoly pub crawl. There are a lot of pub crawls in London. And he thought, well, there’s nothing like that in Cape Town, let’s do that!’
‘So, what have you drunk today?’
‘Wow … Savannah, Jägermeister, brandy and Coke and a vodka, lime and soda. I also had some water somewhere along the line.’
Rounds of applause erupt as I’m the first to step inside O’Driscoll’s. I blush and smile at the group of noisy lads, then notice the big-screen TVs and realise the Stormers have just scored a try.
‘I dropped my wife off at the spa for the whole day,’ one guy is saying.
‘You should’ve dropped her off for two days,’ replies his buddy.
Ulrich’s ready to order his first glass of red wine, but I’m back on the Coke. We discuss the ‘boob’ thing and decide to find at least one girl sporting her bits.
And I do. ‘Did you intend to support National Cleavage Day?’
‘No! And I’m the only one,’ she says.
Donovan comes to check up on me, to make sure I’m not ‘drinking on the job’. Next to me a guy starts blowing a vuvuzela up a girl’s skirt, and I realise the wheels are starting to come off when I see that she willingly let him do it.
‘They’re a very fun crowd,’ says barman Mike O’Brien. ‘But when it gets to stop number nine, that’s when it’s going to start getting interesting … never mind who makes it to stop 10! Those are the real hardcore guys.’
Ulrich and I set off for the half-way mark. A group of people chase us down, shouting, ‘Follow the photographer. He knows where he’s going!’ One guy hugs a building. Apparently it’s where he went to college.
Dias Tavern is quieter, the only sound the rhythm of hungry, tipsy people chewing. Soon all the burgers are sold out.
The pressure to drink is getting too much. I order my second beer. But we don’t stay long and I have to down it. Ulrich is attracting followers like the Pied Piper – it must be the size of his lens.
As we reach the Kimberley Hotel, Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds come hurtling down the street. Again. And again. Maybe I shouldn’t have had that second beer. But when I blink, they’re still there. Turns out they’re filming a car-chase scene for the action-thriller Safe House.
One of the pub crawlers jumps into an extra’s car. Ryan and Denzel smile at the crowd they think has turned up just to see them. Someone next to me shouts: ‘Ryan, show us your tits!’
To great applause, the star lifts his shirt to expose his sculpted torso, while the more experienced veteran, Denzel, admonishes him from the back seat.
They reverse away, so I focus my attention on the ’fro boys, Joshua and Taariq. ‘And what are you drinking today?’
‘Black Label,’ they answer in unison.
‘So this is pub number six. Are you guys feeling strong?’
‘We’re going to finish this off and still party some more… You can’t end off on a pub crawl. That’s just weak,’ says Taariq.
‘Who goes home after a pub crawl? asks Joshua.
I leave them arguing about whether they did, in fact, drink Black Label all day, or whether they had Fosters at Fireman’s Arms.
I’ve lost Ulrich but I’m greeted with joyous screams from the blondies at Perseverance Tavern.
‘You’re the pretty girl!’ says a guy I don’t know.
Shirts are being torn off, or into pieces, shooters are being
lined up and I’m starting to suffer from a severe dose of FOMO (fear of missing out). I order my third beer of the day.
Much better.
The blondies introduce me to their friends Chris and ‘Dan the American’. Dan asks whether I’ve ever played the penis game.
I look confused.
He tells me to say the word ‘penis’, but quietly. A loud brunette comes to my rescue by popping her head into the conversation and saying, ‘Happenis!’
To which Dan responds, saying ‘penis’ even louder. ‘See, I said it louder, so I win! If you say it louder than me, you win,’ says Dan.
I tell them I’m not playing this game.
They say it’s great to play it in church, when everyone is quiet.
I leave them to out-penis each other and head to the bar, where barman Nicholas Mynhardt reports: ‘All has been good, no complaints. It’s all in a day’s work.’ Savannah and Castle Lite have been the biggest sellers. Not what I expected.
It’s just after 7pm when I order a beef and Guinness pie at pub number eight, the Dubliner in Long Street. And a Coke with a sneaky shot of vodka. Both hit the spot and I’m feeling
inspired to bring out my Irish party animal.
At the packed bar I’m bombarded with Jägermeisters, and questions. ‘Are you still working?’ ‘When are you going to party with us?’ ‘You’re the pretty girl!’ Oh no, he’s back…
I down my shot and duck in the opposite direction, only to bump into an old varsity acquaintance who happens to be one of the torn-shirt trio. ‘Sshtay right there, I’m going to buy you a shhrink, don’t move’, he says. Someone – I suspect it was him – had written on his face: ‘Kiss me here’, with an arrow pointing to his mouth. As soon as his head turns, I pull a ninja bomb.
Our followers from earlier are parked on the floor of pub number nine, Zula Sound Bar, and the vibe is definitely more subdued. There’s no electricity. It appears we have arrived just in time for Earth Hour. I do get an honest Coke this time and find a candle. Ulrich is looking slightly worse for wear and says he’s going home. ‘It’s this flu,’ he mutters.
It’s clear by this stage that many a soldier has fallen and the pace has indeed slowed down to a crawl… As much as I’m into saving the Earth, I’m going to fade fast in the dark if I don’t make a move. I wander up the narrow staircase to number 10, Neighbourhood Pub, proud that I’ve made it all the way.
To my delight, all the MIAs are out on the balcony – the ’fro bros, the blondies, the boob boys, Dan the American and the rest. The loud brunette and I have a drink together and discuss the night’s activities. We’re disappointed that we haven’t seen anyone throw up or strip down. Capetonians clearly aren’t that wild, but they do have staying power. This is not the end of the road.
‘Amy, we’re going to this house party, you should come!’
‘Hey, journalist lady, are you drinking real drinks now?’
‘Look, it’s the pretty girl!’…
Oh s**t!
I’m at a crossroads.
I can delve deeper into the night and wake up with Gandhi’s flip-flop in my mouth and the wrath of grapes hanging over my head, or bow
out graciously, name and reputation still intact. I take out my phone. Who to call? Beep, beeep, baap beep, bip, baap.
‘Hello, Excite Cabs, how can we help you?’

Lemon cheesecake – Gluten-free, wheat-free, sugar-free and egg-free




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Due to her allergies, a very good friend of mine cannot have sugar or wheat and as it was her birthday, I decided to try make a gluten-free, wheat-free, sugar-free and egg-free cheesecake.
I didn’t know this at the time, but lemon cheesecakes are one of her favourites, so I was in luck – as lemon was a key ingredient.
I was quite nervous at first about how it may taste and I based my recipe on another one I found online, with some adjustments.
Thankfully, it was very well received!
:-) And it's pretty easy to make.

Here is the recipe:
Crust:
1 pkt (about 200grms) of wheat-free, gluten free ginger biscuits (available at Spar)
60grms of butter, melted
Cake:
1 tub low fat cream cheese (240g)
1 regular size tin evaporated milk
2 large lemons
1 lime
6 Tbs of fructose
1 sachet gelatine (80grms)
6 Tbs room temperature water
2 Tbs boiling water
1 tsp vanilla essence

I use a springform cake tin, but any dish will really do.
Step 1: Make the crust – crush biscuits in a food processor (or place them in a tea towel and smash them with a rolling pin), pour butter over and press into the bottom of a greased cake tin. Pop the cake tin into the freezer while you make the cake mixture.
Step 2: Squeeze the lemons and limes and set the juice aside.
Step 3: Place gelatine powder in mixing bowl, add room temp water and let it absorb.
Step 4: In a separate bowl, whip up the whole tin of evaporated milk until it’s almost double in quantity.
Step 5: Pour 2 tbs boiling water over the now ‘jelly like’ gelatine to loosen it up and then add the lemon and lime juice. Add in the Fructose and stir dissolving it in the liquid.
Step 6: In a separate bowl mix the cream cheese and vanilla essence together. Spoon this into the lemon and gelatine mixture and mix well until all bound together (no lumpy bits remaining).
Step 7: Fold the evaporated milk into the lemon and cream cheese mixture, keeping it light and fluffy.
Step 8: Take the tin out of the freezer and gently layer the mixture on top of the ginger crust. Refrigerate over night.
Step 9: The next day take the cake out and add some fresh fruit for decoration. I added sliced up kiwi and granadilla. Serve it with love :-)