Monday, September 16, 2013

Come Wine With Us dinner evenings


Come Wine With Us dinner at Rococoa

Come Wine With Us dinner at Rococoa- chocolate appreciation

When I got an invitation saying 'Come Wine With Us', I couldn't think of anything more enticing... I'm always keen to 'wine' with people and meet people and that is exactly what this event is all about (with some good food thrown in the mix too, of course).

Come Wine With Us (CWWU) is a new and exciting food and wine social platform... think long tables of people eating, drinking and socializing (and tweeting for prizes). It's a great opportunity to break out of your comfort zone and join a jovial crowd of people with the similar interests – predominantly good food and good wine.

Come Wine With Us dinner at Rococoa

Come Wine With Us dinner at Rococoa

The CWWU event I attended recently had a 'chocolate' theme and was hosted at Rococoa at The Palms Centre in Woodstock. Rococoa is a chocolaterie-cum-cafe with cosy tables and posters with chocoholic slogans such as: 'If it aint chocolate, it aint breakfast'. They had a whole display table of antique chocolate and dessert-making tools, a presentation on the history of chocolate and chocolate sculptures that were a (decadent) sight to be seen.


Come Wine With Us dinner at Rococoa with Nederburg Wines

Come Wine With Us dinner at Rococoa

Come Wine With Us dinner at Rococoa

Come Wine With Us dinner at Rococoa

Come Wine With Us dinner at Rococoa

Once we'd been offered a glass of Nederburg Winemasters Reserve Chardonnay 2012 (they were the wine sponsor for the evening), we headed downstairs into the cellar-style room where our dinner was to be served on one long table. It felt a bit like entering a medieval feast, but the projector screen showcasing the guests tweets from the night quickly brought you back to the present.

The dinner started off with an introductory speech and a chocolate appreciation, where we tried six pieces of local and Belgian chocolate, from white to dark, to test our palates and get us in the mood for the evenings offering.

Come Wine With Us dinner at Rococoa

Come Wine With Us dinner at Rococoa - Nederburg winemasters reserve chardonnay

Come Wine With Us dinner at Rococoa - chocolate tasting
The idea of the dinner was to tie the chocolate into each of the three courses. Our first course was a salad served with white chocolate shavings and pomegranate seeds. Our second course was chicken with a savory chocolate sauce and root vegetables. Our third course was undoubtedly a chocolate dessert, followed by a demonstration on how to create the wonderful chocolate truffles we had just consumed.

It's always at dinners like these that you realise how small our world in Cape Town is. The sweet guy who sat next to me knows a good friend of mine. The girl who sat opposite me I know from the bloggersphere (and many wine-consuming events). The girl who sat opposite my husband was in fact at one of the Matric dances he went to back in the day. So you just can imagine the jovial conversations and the recounting of stories that went around the table.


Come Wine With Us dinner at Rococoa



Come Wine With Us dinner at Rococoa

For more info on the next Come Wine With Us event, visit: http://www.come-winewithus.com/

(The next events - beauty, bubbly and baking - takes place on the 21st and 28th September. Each CWWU event is different, with a different focus and venue based in and around Cape Town.)

For more info on Nederburg wines, visit:   http://www.nederburg.com/za/
For more info on Rococoa, visit: http://www.rococoa.co.za/

Click the link below to watch a video of the night's event:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEnRufzler0

Friday, September 13, 2013

New Gourmet Braais at Hidden Valley


Head out into the winelands for an afternoon of gourmet braaiing and wine tasting with famed Overture chef, Bertus Basson.

Hidden Valley Wine Estate hosted the first afternoon gourmet braai on the 31 August, which I was lucky enough to attend with my dear friend Seth. Even though the weather was drizzly and chilly (Spring had not yet sprung), we had a lovely afternoon cosying up to fireplaces, sipping great Pinotage and Shiraz and enjoy course after course of fabulous foods cooked over the coals.





My dear friend Ilse (whom many know for her blog The Food Fox) was also there with her beautiful and energetic little toddler, but thanks to the great 'kiddies' section and child minders on hand, she was able to sit back, relax and enjoy the afternoon as much as any of us.

The spread of food on offer was simply sumptuous and course by course platters of steaming sweet potatoes, calamari, breads, pates, fish, beef, salads, steamy puddings were all plonked down on our tables. There was far too much to consume. But we did our best... And I tried something of everything (it was rather difficult to hold back).










The next braai day takes place tomorrow 14 September, with the final event on National Heritage Day on 24 September.

Details:
R350 per person (R50 for kids), which includes a gourmet braai feast cooked by Bertus Basson; a special barrel wine tasting as well as a tasting of Hiden Valley wines currently bottles; a bottle of Pinotage or Sauvignon Blanc per couple; entertainment for kids; live music for adults.
Lunches start at 12noon and go until 4ish.




For more information, visit: http://hiddenvalleywines.co.za/
or call: 021 880 2646

Monday, September 9, 2013

Candied Beetroot and Cream Cheese tart

Candied Beetroot and Cream Cheese tart

If you're looking for an interesting way to present your root veggies, candy them and make little tarts – perfect for dinner party starters. You can do this with fennel or beetroot. Enjoy!

Candied Beetroot and Cream Cheese tart
Candied Beetroot and Cream Cheese tart

5 beetroots
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1 roll puff pastry
butter for greasing
cream cheese
fresh thyme

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Boil whole beetroots, skin on, for 30 minutes. Place three of the beets into cold water (keep the other two for later use in the main course). Peel and finely slice the three beets into half-circles. Place the water and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar and add the sliced beets. Roll out the puff pastry and cut four tart rounds. Place the tart rounds on a greased baking tray and bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown. During this time, the sliced beets should have candied and the liquid will form a red syrup. Remove the pastry rounds and set aside to cool slightly. Mix 2 Tbs of cream cheese with 1 Tbs of fresh thyme leaves. Spread this mixture on each of the tarts. Place the candied beetroot half circles around the tart and serve with a drizzle of the red syrup.
*Cook’s note: thaw your puff pastry in the fridge overnight the day before.

Thanks to Seth Shezi for the styling of this dish!

Candied Beetroot and Cream Cheese tart

Homemade ricotta pesto beef burger with potato latkes and crispy onion rings

home made pesto and ricotta burger potato latkes and crispy onion rings
You hardly meet anyone who says they don’t like a good, juicy hamburger. My husband would eat a burger every day if he could! Creating the ‘ultimate’ burger and potato side dish for a recipe-development challenge took some thought and inspiration.
With all the Jewish holidays - Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur - I was inspired to make some Jewish cuisine, and thought that potato latkes would work well (although these are normally served at Hanukkah) !

I also very recently lost a dear cousin. He died very suddenly and unexpectedly at the tender age of 15. He was such a vibrant character, who called a spade, a spade and who loved to cook. He dreamt of becoming the next Jamie Oliver and often wowed family members with culinary experiments, one of which was his famous burger recipe. He put the success down to a secret ingredient he used in the patty. I never got to find out what that secret ingredient was, and I thought about him constantly while making this dish – hoping that he would have approved of my wacky combination. So I dedicate this recipe to him and to the memory of his greatness.
pesto burger patty with a ricotta surprise centre

Tomato-pickle relish

1/4 onion, finely chopped
oil
3 tomatoes, roughly chopped
1tsp chilli (1 added grocery item)
3 Tbs sugar
1Tbs Spur basting sauce
salt
pepper
2Tbs finely chopped pickles

Chef’s note: Start making this first, as the relish will need to cook down while you make all the other items.
In a pot, fry up the onion in a little oil. Add tomatoes, chilli, sugar and Spur basting sauce. Season with salt and pepper and cook until liquid has reduced and tomatoes have softened. Add pickles and check sugar levels, adding more if necessary. It must have a sweet-sour taste. Total cooking time should be about an hour.

Pesto burger patties with ricotta surprise


500g beef chuck, minced
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 extra-large egg
2 Tbs Spur basting sauce (plus extra for basting)
3 Tbs Basil Pesto (2nd grocery item)
Ricotta cheese (1 fresh ingredient)

Combine all ingredients (except for ricotta) in a bowl and set aside. Make 8 flat patties (about 7mm thick). Set four down onto a tray. Take 1 Tbs of ricotta cheese, squeeze out moisture, and place onto the centre of one patty. Repeat with the other three patties. Place four remaining patties on top and squeeze edges together to seal, so that patties have a ‘surprise’ ricotta inner. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes. Once done, heat a griddle pan to medium-high. Cook the patties 4 minutes a side. Remove and baste with a little Spur Basting Sauce and allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before assembling burgers.
Chef’s note: patties will shrink slightly
 
Crispy onion rings


1 onion
1 cup flour (you can substitute with gluten-free flour)
pinch salt
pepper
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk
1 extra large egg
1 Tbs canola oil, plus more for frying

Slice 1 brown onion into rings about 5mm thick. Place into ice water for 30 minutes. In the mean time make the batter by sifting dry ingredients together and then whisking in milk, egg and oil. The batter should be slightly thick, which is what you want. Remove onion rings from water, place on a paper towel to dry and then transfer to the bowl of batter. Place 1.5cm of oil in a pan and heat until hot. Using tongs, place battered onion rings into oil and cook 10 seconds per side (or until golden and puffed). Place on a paper-towel-lined plate to drain excess oil.

Potato Latkes
potato latkes

3 to 4 potatoes
3 eggs
1 Tbs finely chopped onion
2Tbs flour (you can substitute with gluten-free flour)
pinch salt
1/2 cup canola oil

Grate potatoes and set aside in a colander to drain. Pat grated potatoes with paper towels until the majority of the moisture is gone (you made need to do this a number of times). Beat the eggs in a separate bowl to combine. Add onions, flour and salt to the egg mixture and beat to combine. Add grated potatoes to the egg mixture and stir to combine. In a large pan, heat 1/2 cup of oil to hot. Take spoonfuls of latke mixture and drop into the pan, squashing down to form ‘patty’ rounds. Fry until crispy and golden in colour. Remove and drain on a paper-towel-lined plate. 
 
To assemble the Burgers:


Cut burger buns in half. Place a little tomato pickle relish on the bottom half of the bun. Place a lettuce leaf, a slice of tomato and top with the patty and the other half of the burger. Stick a sosatie stick through the centre and pile some onion rings ontop. Serve latkes on the side with tomato relish and halved pickles. For added crunch, place one latke on top of the lettuce, before the tomato on the burger buns – Yummy!!

ultimate home made burgers with crispy onion rings and potato latkes

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Anniversary dinner at La Mouette - NEW Spring Tasting Menu

Dinner at La Mouette in Sea Point
I can't that I've been married for just over a year! And I surprised my husband with a little anniversary dinner... He always spoils me, so I booked a table at La Mouette – I confess that this was because I selfishly dying to try their new Spring tasting menu – and kept it all hush hush. Yesterday evening I convinced him to walk to the shops with me, in the direction of La Mouette, and then I just pulled him inside. He held me back saying 'But aren't we making homemade burgers tonight?' and 'I don't have my wallet with me'. I had to assure him that it was all planned and it was his turn to be spoiled.

Snack  Salty crisps, ‘Marie Rose’ espuma, sweet corn arancini
Anyway... let's move on to the food. See the September tasting menu below:

Early Spring Tasting Menu
6 course tasting Menu R185 With wines R320

Snack  Salty crisps, ‘Marie Rose’ espuma, sweet corn arancini
_______
Green pea soup  Goats cheese, confit onion, mint oil and lavoche
_______
Smoked potato and truffle salad  Smoked potato puree, salt baked potatoes, thyme, truffle dressing, onion and brioche crumble
Or
Fritto misto  calamari, artichoke puree, spring vegetables, rocket, chilli and lime dressing
_______
Roasted chicken  Crispy pastilla, parmesan gnocchi, baby gem lettuce and pea puree
Or
Fontina tortellini  Butternut puree, baby spinach, parmesan and chestnut sauce
________
Rhubarb crumble  Vanilla panacotta, custard, orange meringue, black pepper crumble and rhubarb espuma
_______
Petit fours
 
Green pea soup  Goats cheese, confit onion, mint oil and lavoche

 
Fritto misto  calamari, artichoke puree, spring vegetables, rocket, chilli and lime dressingle

We both went for the Fritto Misto and the Roasted Chicken choices for our two 'main courses'. Overall, my favourites were the pea soup, the chicken and the rhubarb crumble combination took me by surprise with it's delightful balances of flavour and texture. We had a stunning table right next to the fireplace – intimate and cosy!

Roasted chicken  Crispy pastilla, parmesan gnocchi, baby gem lettuce and pea puree



Rhubarb crumble  Vanilla panacotta, custard, orange meringue,
black pepper crumble and rhubarb espuma



Petit fours
Truly divine dinner!

My husband was super happy and this morning was still going on about the lovely surprise dinner. It was well worth it!

*The Tasting menu is available for the whole table only

To Book and for more information, visit:  http://lamouette-restaurant.co.za/
021 433 0856
twitter: @Teamlamouette

anniversary dinner at La Mouette

Monday, September 2, 2013

Upfront Food News pages in Conde Nast House & Garden Gourmet magazine

The second issue of Conde Nast House & Garden's Gourmet magazine is out on shelves, but will soon be making way for the Spring issue - out on 16 September.
It's such a great magazine to be a part of and I absolutely love working on the recipes and researching articles for this fabulous foodie mag.

It's also about time I share my pages with all you lovely people... so here they are!
Meet some cool chefs, check out some great new restaurants, get your kitchen gadget eye candy and try out these quick recipes... 

Enjoy! And please send me any feedback!