Thursday, April 23, 2015

Launch of the New Bacon Bar on Bree Street

Tonight I was invited to the launch of the brand new bacon bar on Bree Street (where else?).
The bustling spot, previously home to Sarah Ord Interiors, was packed with journos, local foodies, a giraffe and the fabulous Roger from Jorgensen's distillery – who was there launching his new hibiscus pink gin. (For more info, visit: http://www.jd7.co.za)


The decor is minimalistic, but rustic-chic, as most Bree-town spots are. I loved the wallpaper downstairs, next to the room that acts as an art gallery. 

The bacon bas is the brainchild of Richard Bosman – well-known for his charcuterie around South Africa – and will feature a menu of sandwiches and a selection of his meats for tasting and for sale to take home. They do not yet have a liquor licence, but are awaiting approval.





With the success of the bacon bar in Franschhoek, it's no surprise that Cape Town would want its own taste of piggy, although one of my favourite things tonight – besides the crispy crackling, also for sale – was not made from pig at all. I loved the chicken wings, basted in bacon sauce. I mean, who does not love a sticky chicken wing (as long as no one is watching you getting down and dirty, looking like The Bone Collector)?

The bar is a daytime spot – but it will stay open at night for #firstThursdays – so make sure to grab some lunch when you're in the neighbourhood.


Wine and Food Winter Weekend Getaways at Bushmans Kloof

Planning a getaway this winter? Look no further than the Cederberg! Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Wellness Retreat is the go-to destination for delicious signature Food and Wine Weekends held in June, July and August.


Executive Chef Floris Smith will be teaming up with respected local winemakers from four top wine farms, to create inspired culinary creations that perfectly capture the tastes and flavours of the Cape Floral Kingdom.
All weekends will include special presentations, talks and tastings, nature drives, rock-art excursions, all meals, wine and lodge activities.

The dates for the gourmet weekend getaways are as follows:

Glen Carlou 29 – 31 May 2015
Bouchard Finlayson 26 - 28 June 2015
Cederberg Private Cellar 24 – 26 July 2015
Constantia Uitsig 21 – 23 August 2015




From R2 635 per person per night, sharing and including all meals and lodge activities
Follow these guys on twitter for more info:
@BushmansKloof
@FiveStarPRZA

New Cape Town City Walk Saturdays

The first ever City Walk Saturdays was launched by the Cape Town Partnership last weekend on the 18th of April.



The event featured Capoeira, tango and swing dance sessions, a tranquillity zone with meditation and yoga, jumping castles and kids storytelling time. Skateboarders whizzed through the space and curious squirrels watched as giant scrabble and pavement chalk unfolded. Onlookers were treated to special sound effects of the Sound Project and puppets entertained people along the route... just imagine the colourful, cultural circus...

The City Walk is a new storytelling route that encompasses the Company’s Gardens, St George’s Mall and the Fanwalk. It will be activated every third Saturday of the month – expect events, installations, experimental ideas and art. The next ones take place on 16 May and the one after on 20 June from 10am to 2pm.

Locals and visitors will be able to access the City Walk area’s cultural, architectural and historical landmarks through the route map, available at outlets along the way and through Cape Town Tourism.

For more information follow the Cape Town Partnership on Twitter @ctpartnership and use #walkcapetown, or visit http://www.capetownpartnership.co.za or call 021 419 1881.

Monday, April 20, 2015

New Monthly Good Night Market at the V&A Waterfront Watershed

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Make sure you're free next week Wednesday for the launch of the inaugural Monthly ‘Good Night Market’ at the V&A Waterfront's newly revamped creative space: The Watershed.

The market is expected to run every last Wednesday of the month. Entertainment will run from 6pm to 9pm: a celebration of local creativity. Expect live music, artsy food trucks, stylish drinks bar, exhibitions and a general good time!

A large-scale photographic exhibition called “Unordinary” will be housed in the east wing of The Watershed on the evening of the first Good Night Market, with visitors free to explore all The Watershed has to offer.

Entrance to the Good Night Market is free.

South Africa's First Pinotage Lounge



L’Avenir wine estate in Stellenbosch has unveiled its exclusive Pinotage Lounge... Enthusiasts of the varietal can experience exclusive tastings hosted by the winemaker, Dirk Coetzee. Not only can the space be booked for intimate events and corporate functions, but visitors now have the opportunity to taste and purchase rare older vintages dating back to the 1970s.

Pinotage, a blend of the notoriously fickle Pinot Noir grape and the hardier Hermitage (commonly known as Cinsault), has been cultivated exclusively in South Africa since the early 1940s and is recognised for its red-fruit characteristics often showing notes of chocolate and tobacco with soft tannins on the palate.







Book your vista by emailing info@lavenir.co.za or contact Hantie Smit on 083 627 5551.  For more information about the wine estate, visit http://www.lavenirestate.co.za/legal

Friday, April 17, 2015

Wheat-Free Vegan Super Salad

Getting bored of the usual cucumber and lettuce, but trying to get enough greens? Salads don’t need to be boring. Liven yours up by swapping iceberg lettuce for baby spinach or rocket and kale. This will also boost your nutrient count! Don’t want to lose the protein? You don’t have to. Swap out that smoked chicken or bacon for a few tablespoons of quinoa. It’s healthier too.
When I’m on deadline, I need easy-to-make desk lunches that can keep me feeling energised throughout the afternoon. I mostly stick to salads because they’re light – so I don’t get that 2:30pm lethargy – and I can cram in extra veg.



What You Need
1 handful kale
1 handful rocket
1 handful baby spinach
3 to 4 tbsp quinoa
2 tbsp mixed sprouts
2 tbsp chopped sundried tomatoes
2 tbsp thinly sliced carrot
2 tbsp shredded cabbage
A few Kalamata olives
1 tsp goji berries
1 tsp dried cranberries
A drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil
A squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Method
Toss all the ingredients together and serve. If you’re packing it for the office, don’t dress the salad until you’re just about to eat.

Gluten-free, dairy-free dark-chocolate tart


This recipe is a classic that I make regularly for dinner parties. 

It doesn’t require any oven time and your vegan buddies will love it too! But this recipe does come with a disclaimer: warning, very rich! You can leave the sugar out, I only add it in to take the edge off the bitter chocolate. Alternatively, you can use 75% Lindt instead of the 85% or 90%. You can add extra raspberries as desired. 



What You Need
SERVES 8 TO 10
1 cup desiccated coconut
3 tbsp coconut oil, plus a little extra
1 tin coconut cream 
2 large slabs 85% or 90% Lindt chocolate (Lindt 70% and above does not contain dairy)
2 tbsp icing sugar or two sticks of sweetener, plus extra for sprinkling over afterwards (optional)
1 tub (125g to 150g) raspberries

Method
1/ Mix the desiccated coconut with the coconut oil. Press firmly onto the bottom of a springform tart tin. It should just be enough to cover the bottom so that you cannot see the base of the tin. Depending on the size of your tin you may need to add some more desiccated coconut. Grease the sides of the tart tin with coconut oil too. Place the tin in the freezer while you prepare the mixture, so it firms up and hardens instantly.
2/ Place the coconut cream in a saucepan over low heat. Stir until warm. Break the chocolate into pieces and add them to the coconut mixture. Stir until the chocolate has melted and a ganache-style mixture forms. Add your icing sugar or sweetener and stir to combine. Pour mixture into the chilled tart tin and leave in the fridge to set over night (or for at least 4 hours).
3/ Remove the tart from the fridge and gently remove the sides of the tart casing. Slide a spatula under the tart to remove the bottom from the base and place the tart on a serving tray. Sprinkle fresh raspberries over with a dusting of icing sugar and serve.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

New JC Le Roux Packaging

JC Le Roux have updated their packaging for winter! In the name of the Winter Solstice, which takes places on 21 June (shortest day of the year), JC Le Roux have created packaging inspired by the night sky. Please note: the limited-edition bottles will only be available from the beginning of June.

Who says you can't pop some sparkling wine in winter? Make a yummy punch to get the party going by mixing two bottles of JC Le Roux Le Domaine with 1 cup fresh pomegranate juice. Slice up two oranges and add pomegranate arils for garnishing. Serve over ice!








Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Winter Food & Wine Pairing Evenings at the Twelve Apostles

The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa has launched its Winter Food & Wine Pairing Evenings. I attended one of these wine-and-food pairing evenings in 2013 with De Wetshof and it was fantastic. It's really worth the spend and the opportunity to chat to the winemakers.

The first one is taking place next week, so get your bookings in now!
The dinners are R545 per person, which includes a four-course dinner with wine, water and gratuity.



Here are the dates:

Friday 24 April: Stellenzicht Wine Estate
https://www.stellenzicht.co.za/

Friday 29 May: Morgenster Wine & Olive Estate
http://www.morgenster.co.za/

Friday 26 June: Simonsig Estate
http://www.simonsig.co.za/

Friday 31 July: The Drift Wines
http://thedrift.co.za/wine/

Friday 28 August: Rudera Wines
http://www.rudera.co.za/

Friday 25 September: Shannon Vineyards & Wines
http://www.shannonwines.com/

To book, call The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa on 021 437 9255 or email them at reservations1@12apostles.co.za

New Restaurant on Bree Street: IYO Burgers

Last night I was invited to the launch of a brand new burger bar on Bree Street (yet another cool and quirky addition to the #Breestreet food scene), which boasts locally sourced organic ingredients. 
They cook with coconut oil, have herb planters in the centre of their tables and they use recycled glasses and tins. Even their takeaway boxes are biodegradable and, if you return the used boxes to the eatery, they will gladly dispose of them in the correct way, for you. 

But the first question on everyone's lips was: "What does IYO stand for?" It's an acronym for their full name: Inside & You're Out. The entrance to the restaurant is right next to La Parada. You enter through two large red doors, up a stairwell and straight into a environmentally-friendly designed restaurant space.

The entrance to IYO Burgers on Bree Street
IYO burgers on Bree Street
The ordering system, once you get the hang of it, is quite simple. You grab a pencil (made with recycled paper) and a menu card and tick off the orders you'd like to place. You hand these in at the kitchen and then await the arrival of a variety of starters, burgers, desserts and drinks.

They have a cool wine selection too, with options like Waverley Hills Rosé and SMV (both organic), Quando Mourvèdre Rosé, wines from Hartenberg's Alchemy Range and Miss Molly Bubbly – all of which I love! They also have four craft beers on tap. I drank the Woodstock IPA last night and it was awesome!

Woodtsock IPA at IYO Burgers


Herb planters sent in the tables at IYO burgers

The space at IYO Burgers
The food philosophy is built on four pillars:Delicious Food, Local Community, Enviro-Impact and Ethical Accessibility. And I can attest to all of these principals, based on the delicious meals I ate last night.



But I bet you're all wondering what I ate last night, so let me give you a taste...
For starters my husband and I shared the pulled pork served with gluten-free crumpets and a whisky-honey sauce and the pork belly cubes. Everyone at the table actually had a taste of my pork crumpets and decided they were the bomb! I would go back just to eat multiple portions of this starter!

pulled pork on gluten-free crumpets at IYO burgers


Pork belly cubes at IYO burgers
Options for mains consist of burgers. There is a vegan burger and a vegetarian burger among the other beef, pork and chicken burgers. I chose the Whisky Braai-Q burger sans the cheese and I wnet bunless too. Now, most burger places that offer a bunless or naked burger in Cape Town present you with a patty and some a few scatterings of lettuce or rocket. Here, the serve bunless up in style: sprouts, rocket, lettuce... it was delicious!! And, even though my hubby had the same burger bun-and-all, he actually preferred my combo. I got sweet-potato chips on the side, which which excellent and overall, the meal was quite filling.


bunless burger and sweet-potato fries at IYO burgers
For pudding I went with the vegan cheesecake! Vegans out there can do a happy dance: this cake is so goooooood! A little too sweet to finish the whole slice on my own, but really yum! The flavours will change up regularly. My cheesecake contained pomegranates and radish – an interesting combination, which created this vibrant colour!

vegan cheesecake at IYO burgers

Me and Seth at the IYO Burgers entrance on Bree Street

The restaurant is open for lunch 12-3pm and dinner 5-10pm. They are planning on getting Wi-Fi for the worker bees to make the most of this setting

For more info on IYO burgers, visit http://iyoburgers.co.za/

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The History of the Finalyson Winemaking Family

 Here is a story I wrote for Gourmet magazine just before I left. It was one of the most interesting articles to research and write about, firstly, because I'm a big fan of the wines from all these different farms and, secondly, because I love history! I was very privileged to speak to these great winemakers who have made their mark on the South African wine industry. Cheers!




Wine pouches perfect for music festivals

One thing I always struggle with: taking bottles of wine to music festivals. Glass is usually not allowed on the festival grounds, so I end up filling plastic bottles and mugs with vino to take down to the festival area.

Van Loveren have created a brand new product called Unplugged62, which consists of two wines which come in 1.5-litre pouches. The first is a crisp, fresh Sauvignon Blanc and the second is a fruity Merlot. Pouches sell from R70 per pouch.

Green peeps will delight: the carbon footprint is up to 80 percent lighter than two glass bottles. As no outer box is used, the reduced packaging material further shrinks the impact this range has on the environment.



For more info, visit http://www.vanloveren.co.za/

Taste of Cape Town 2015 #TOCT2015


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Three times! they said. Only you would go to Taste of Cape Town three times! Yes, I admitted on Monday, feeling mildly hungover, but overall like Id had an absolutely bloody marvellous weekend! 

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I normally go twice every year – and that was the original plan for this year: Friday night for wine tasting and party time, Sunday afternoon for serious food indulgence. I just happened to get invited on Saturday afternoon as well, by a friend who had an extra ticket – I couldnt refuse! And why would I? After attending three days in a row, I still felt that I hadnt tasted everything! Its impossible! But I did try

My first stop on Friday night was at the Idiom/ Whalehaven wine station. For more info on Idiom, visit http://www.bottegafamilywine.co.za/ and for more info on Whalehaven, visit http://www.whalehavenwines.co.za/. It was one of the most informative wine tasting sessions Ive ever had. We spoke at length with the experts at the stands about different varieties, correct ways to wine taste, who the 2014 harvest had gone and so on. And then we wine tasted our way through the imported Italian wines. All the wine helped because it was freezing!


Some of my favourite wines from #TOCT2015

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Afterward, we continued on our Italian streak and went to a cooking demonstration by Galbani. They prepared a risotto with their Mascarpone cheese and a puff-pastry tart with their Mozzarella. #ShareGalbani. Both of which were delicious. Before we knew it, it was time to rush off to our Ultimate Burger-Making Class and demonstration at the Robertsons tent. This was awesome because we were feeling quite hungry and we got to take home some lovely Robertsons spices too.


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After venturing off to find more wine we stayed for almost the rest for the evening at the Ernie Els wine stand getting bits and bobs from food places across the way. We drank a lot of their red blend before calling our Uber home. For more information on the Ernie Els range of wines, visit http://www.ernieelswines.com/.


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Saturday afternoon I introduced my friends to the Idiom wine range again, before we went off in search of ribs, more wine from Wildekrans, tequila-cured trout, more wine from Waverley Hills, then the Sichuan fried calamari
 

And thats how the afternoon proceeded until we realised the venue was closing to prep for the later session and we were asked to kindly leave. I had a live-music concert to go to after all. I think Uber profited a lot from me this weekend. 


 
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Then came Sunday. Luckily I had the morning to sleep in and recover from my shenanigans over the previous two days. I thought Id skip starting with wine straight away and headed for the BeerHouse beer tent for a Blockhouse IPA. Then to decide what to eat first I went for the oxtail from Azure first, which was quite rich, so I shared it with a friend and, since Beluga was right next door and Id heard ravings about their calamari, I ordered that next. Both were delicious in their respective ways – one hearty, rich and heavy, the other fresh, light and crispy.



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We went on a mission to find the pop-up restaurant of the day, which was Ernie Els, and I ordered the sweet/sticky pulled-pork wrap, which I tried to keep all to myself, but ended up having to give tasters to my friends.




My favourite dish of the weekend was the duo of Yellowfin tuna by Kitima Restaurant. The tuna tartare with quails egg and fish crackers is just the type of food you want to eat in morsel size. Its enough to give you the rich umami flavour and excite the taste buds. 



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Overall it was a fab festival! The vibe was excellent, the toilets were super-clean and the service by all the stands I visited was really great.
For more information on the TASTE festivals, visit http://www.tastefestivals.com/