Friday, December 17, 2010

Holiday fun at the V&A

Can you believe 2010 is almost over?

As much as this time of year is a festive and fabulous, it also involves a lot of stress… gift buying, loads of parties (which means loads of outfits and shoes to buy), trying to meet deadlines at work while everyone is going on leave and, of course, the money worries on top of that.

So, over a cheeky Thursday night bottle of vino (which, due to the stress, was very necessary), my friends and I were discussing how fast the year has flown by… and of course one of the main topics of conversation was ‘the event that may not be named’…

[Okay, realistically I’m sure FIFA won’t be reading this, so I’ll safely call it THE WORLD CUP].

Did you know that during the World Cup, more than 3-million football fans and shopaholics visited the V&A Waterfront.

If you were in the area (like I was) you would have remembered packed-to-the-brim pubs and masses of dressed up vuvu-blowing fans blocking the walkways as you were trying to do your 8pm PnP run.

Who am I kidding... I was drinking with them in the pubs most of the time anyway…

It was such an incredible vibe!

And after the games were over Cape Town, particularly Green Point, went back to its annual winter hibernation mode. It was a sad time. Suddenly there was this feeling of – ‘I don’t know what to wear on Fridays anymore’ or ‘What excuse do I have now to walk into a pub by myself and drink tequila with tourists on a Tuesday night’.

The truth is that the influx of tourist had a real positive effect on our local market and saw a lot of fabulous new brands opening their shops at the V&A (lucky for me as it’s my local shopping haunt).

New stores include places such as: Poetry, Forever New, Bench, Penguin and Hurley (The first of it’s kind in South Africa – see images).

They also opened the first Nespresso retail store and a flagship Sony offering plus foodie venues such as the Grand Beach and Buena Vista. (You gotta try them out this summer!)

There are already a fabulous list of luxury hotels at the V&A, and two more developments are on their way: The Queen Victoria – a five-star luxury boutique hotel due to open in March 2011 and the three-star Holiday Inn Express to be built on the roof of the Breakwater parking garage (scheduled to open early 2012). So whether you are going budget or splashing out, you’ll definitely find a bed during a visit to the Mother City…

Another awesome reason to visit the V&A this month is the super cool temporary outdoor ice rink that opened up last week. The 200sqm instant ice rink is encapsulated by a 25-metre-long, five-metre-high inflatable cube-like structure, offering a proper ice-skating experience to visitors – what better way to stay cool this summer? And – According to the manufacturers – this particular design is 40% more energy-efficient than similar rinks elsewhere in the world. Open from 10am – 10pm daily.

If you have been hiding under a rock and haven’t yet noticed the large spinning ‘Wheel of Excellence’ – you may be wondering where this apparent ‘wheel’ has disappeared… It’s found a new home on Market square and will remain there until Feb next year.

For some Christmas festive fun, go check out the 15m Christmas tree and the biggest Christmas cracker in Cape Town… fight the temptation to see what’s inside and just admire it’s beauty.

Our very own Santa is by now settled on a comfy cushion somewhere, so go find him and take pics while checking out some of the live music and entertainment this holiday.


Did you know?

Cape Town Routes Unlimited’s latest Tourism reference panel survey this week also indicated that 79% of visitors to Cape Town will prefer the V&A Waterfront as their favourite tourist destination this summer.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

what to do in Cape Town this December


Did you know? Apples are more efficient than caffeine at waking you up in the morning. Burn off some energy with the whole family at the Jolly Jester Adventure Rumble (Lourensford Wine Estate, Somerset West). All entrants are encouraged to bring picnic baskets and wear fancy dress – there will be prizes for the best-dressed teams – and can choose between the Bush Kids adventure trail, the mountain-bike adventure race and an obstacle course. 021-789-0188, entry R20pp.

6 & 7 December

Did you know? Mozart was five years old when he composed his first work. See other ‘old-school’ music legends The Beach Boys in their endless summer tour as they go surfin’ SA with their good vibrations at GrandWest. Expect all their good-time hits from the 60s and their passionate love songs from the 70s. Also catch the dudes in Durban at the ICC (4th) and the Sun City Superbowl (10th & 11th). Tickets from R220 at Computicket,

7–31 December

Did you know? Birds can learn music while they are
still in the egg. For a uniquely Cape-flavoured show of great, toe-tapping music by homegrown talents, book to see David Kramer’s latest musical production, Breyani (Baxter Theatre). Expect folk songs complemented by banjos, mandolins, accordions guitars, saxophones and more. Tickets from R95.

11 December

Did you know? Marilyn Monroe is said to have once taken a bath in champagne. Summer is a splendid time to indulge in bubbles. Head out to Tulbagh for Summer Elegance at the House of Krone, a celebration of the estate’s 300th birthday and its Méthode Cap Classique sparkling wines. There will also be vintage cars, a couture fashion show and foodie treats – think sushi, oysters, olives and nougat. Tickets R120.

17 December

Did you know? The first CD pressed was Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA. American music stars Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer (our fave Castle Lite guys) will be rocking the party at GrandWest in Cape Town. They will be joined by German Eurodance group Snap! (think Rhythm is a Dancer…). Or see them at Carnival City in Jozi (15th and 16th) and the ICC Arena in Durbs (19th). All together now: ‘Ice, Ice Baby…’ Tickets from R200 at Computicket.

16–19 December

Did you know? You burn more calories sleeping than watching TV. Switch it off and head out instead to Kirstenbosch for traditional carols by candlelight, accompanied by the Cape Town Concert Brass and Cape Town Male Voice Choir. Tickets R50/adults, R30/kids at Pick n Pay stores or the gate. Also playing the summer sunset concerts this month are Mango Groove (5th), Freshlyground (12th) and Johnny Clegg (31st).

18 December

Did you know? When Madonna was 15 years old she was grounded for the whole summer for sneaking out to see David Bowie in concert. It’s worth sneaking out to the Sonic Summer concert, featuring Jax Panik, Locnville, Die Antwoord and Goldfish at Backsberg Wine Estate. Also catch them in Durban at The Wave House (15th) and at Emmerentia Dam in Jozi (18th). Tickets from R150. www.sonicsummer.coza

Thursday, November 11, 2010

November events

24 November
Did you know? The ‘decimal system’ was developed in 100BC in India. But who cares about decimals when they can be surrounded by decibels, watching the music composer behind Slumdog Millionaire, AR Rahman, on his Jai Ho! World Tour (Grand West). The Bollywood superstar is here to commemorate the 150-year celebration of the first Indian settlers in SA. Tickets from R240 at Computicket. Also see him in Durban at the Moses Mahbida Stadium (26th) and the Sun City Superbowl (20th).

13–30 November
Did you know? Mick Jagger wanted the role of Rooster Hannigan for the 1982 film Annie, which ended up going to Tim Curry. Meet despicable Miss Hannigan, millionaire Daddy Warbucks and a redheaded orphan who steals everyone’s heart, as the characters take to the stage in the Tony Award-winning musical Annie (Artscape). You can bet your bottom dollar on this show. Tickets from R115 at Computicket.

30 November
Did you know? Fergie’s parents are both devout Roman Catholic school teachers. For other funky chicks, catch Vanessa Harris, Lucy Holgate and Shannyn Fourie at On Broadway in the hilarious comedy–cabaret show, Big Girls Don’t Cry. It’s the story of three sassy girls – jobless and desperate, who sing and dance their way through the recession and their problems, from boys to bank accounts. R90 at Computicket. Show ends 4 December.

20 & 21 November
Did you know? Dozens of spacecraft have been sent to Mars by the Soviet Union, the USA, Europe, and Japan to study the planet’s surface, climate, and geology at a transport cost of about R2 683 278/kg. It will cost a lot less to see international music sensation, 30 Seconds to Mars (Jared Leto, Shannon Leto and Tomo Milicevic), who have sold over 3.5-million albums worldwide. They hit the Mother City for two shows at GrandWest. Also see them in Jozi for one night only at the Coca-Cola Dome on 19 November. Tickets from R215.

19–21 November
Did you know? A dog’s sense of smell is more than 100 000 times stronger than that of a human’s. Enter an animal wonderland at the World of Dogs and Cats and Pet Expo (Good Hope Centre) and check out beautiful creatures surrounded by Christmas-themed attractions. See the latest in pet toys and treats, fashion accessories and grooming products. Tickets from R30 at Computicket.

26-28 November
Did you know? Termites chew faster when there is heavy metal playing? Expect a whole lot of dancing, jamming, swimming, picnicing, camping, wine tasting and just generally 72hours of summer fun at the Synergy Live Music Festival (Boschendal wine estate). Expect to see the likes of Van Coke Kartel, aKING, Flash Republic, Prime Circle, Feeder, Die Heuwels Fantasties and Plush. Tickets from R150 at, for more info visit:

27 November
Did you know? Table Mountain has over 1 500 species of plants, more than the entire United Kingdom. For a fun family day out filled with awesome guitar riffs, cool okes and smoking-hot women, head to The Table Mountain Blues Summit (Bloemendal wine estate, Durbanville) – a celebration of the best of SA’s blues music, featuring the likes of the Blues Broers, Boulevard Blues, Gerald Clarke, Albert Frost and Dan Patlansky, plus some international guests. There will be plenty of food, drinks and wine tasting too. Tickets R180 at Computicket.

Albert Frost (The Blues Broers) says:

The Table Mountain Blues Summit is a great festival because it showcases all of SA’s blues acts in one place. I’ve performed there a few times and people have such a jol – it’s a really great vibe.
The crowd is a total mix of people – I’ve seen entire families, kids and everything. But generally, it’s a bit of an older crowd. It’s surprising how many blues lovers there are out there.
Blues is such a cool style of music because it leaves a lot for improvisation and it’s a very emotional, so you can feed off that. It always makes people feel better when they hear the blues.
Three things I recommend people bring to the festival are sunscreen, extra money to buy some CDs, and Essentiale.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

David and the Dokter

David West/Dokter and Misses

113 Long Street, Cape Town CBD

A haven for quirky furniture and classic designer wear

In the midst of Long Street’s trendy boutique stores is the two-month-old David West/Dokter And Misses designer shop, showcasing the best of quirky Dokter And Misses furniture and accessories complemented by David West’s latest 50’s inspired summer collection: ‘How to Find True Love and Happiness in the Present Day’. Co-owner, Elmi Badenhorst has been with the David West brand from the beginning and describes his latest collection as ‘more feminine and wearable, summery and playful’ in comparison to his previous work.

Elmi Badenhorst (shop co-owner) previously worked as a stylist and in film production and set design before deciding that she wanted to branch out.

‘David and I met 10 years ago when he asked me to model for him, so I did and I fell in love with what he does. When David decided to re-launch himself after working for Truworths for two years – which was the most difficult time of my life because I had nothing to wear – I said to him, let’s get together and make it work. So we opened the first shop last year November, called Weekend Special in Woodstock, which is where we do the launches of new the collections. However the store is only open on a Saturday, which is a bit of a joke, and we had been looking to open a shop in town that operates daily. I’ve also always liked Dokter and Misses, who are based in Johannesburg and while we were looking, they were also wanting to open a store in Cape Town – so we thought, why not join forces?’

The store itself has a beautiful Victorian-style glass shop front with a small interior and a very unique Masonite and chip foam fitting room. Scattered around the store are chairs, stools, tables, shelves, lamps and mirrors all by Dokter and Misses. Guests are welcome to take a seat and people watch or relax while their partners try on the clothing. There are four clothing rails, equally dedicated to women’s and men’s wear – all David West designs. Accessories such as belts and pendants as well as office stationary items by Dokter And Misses can also be found.

‘We designed all the shop fittings and Dokter and Misses ended up making them for us. Clients that like our work, also like their work, and I think the brands work well together. We are also learning a lot from each other,’ explained Elmi. 021-801-4733

This article was featured in the Khuluma magazine

recipes on TASTE website

Two of my quick pasta recipes made it onto the TASTE website reader's recipe list. Check it out.... visit for the full page

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Kirstenbosch summer concerts 2010/2011

Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concerts 2010/2011 line-up:

21 November 2010 Just Jinjer

28 November 2010 TKZee with Khuli Chana

5 December 2010 Mango Groove

12 December 2010 Freshlyground

26 December 2010 Civil Twilight

2 January 2011 Prime Circle

9 January 2011 The Parlotones

16 January 2011 Jack Parow, Heuwels Fantasties and Francois van Coke

23 January 2011 Farryl Purkiss,Dan Patlansky, Inge Beckman

30 January 2011 Lira with (tbc)

6 February 2011 Isochronus and Kidofdoom

13 February 2011 Zebra & Giraffe

20 February 2011 Jesse Clegg

27 February 2011 Loyiso with Chad Saaiman

6 March 2011 Goldfish

13 March 2011 Jamali

20 March 2011 RJ Benjamin with (tbc)

27 March 2011 The Cape Philharmonic Orchestra

3 April 2011 aKING

Beer time at &union

October = beer drinking season, and if you’re looking for an awesome spot to try out delicious weiss, lager, cheeses, prego rolls or sausages... then head to Brewers & Union Beer Salon and Charcuterie ( They have an indoor and awesome outdoor section on the bustling street of Bree, plus they offer an exclusive red wine, to be found only at this spot, and available for sale at R120 per bottle – it’s yummy!
It serves as a trendy after-work-drinks spot, or a relaxed fun first date spot. It offers a variety of locally brewed artisan beers under the &union label. These go for an average of R40 per 500ml bottle... which is a bit pricey, especially to the average castle-lager drinker, so don't bring that person with unless you can deal with indignant outrage and grumbling chatter about how SAB makes better products for affordable prices.
Brewers & Union also hold beer tastings and pair beer with foods (guidance lines are on the beer labels).
Check out more information on this video clip featuring Paul Snodgrass at

Crowded House in Cape Town tonight

Tonight has finally arrived…

Some of you 20-somethings in Cape Town might think that Crowded House are waaaaay old-school and not your thing, but I beg to differ and have sung their songs at many a karaoke or at a drunken 80’s (90’s) jol… I know you know what I’m talking about…

Plus it’s always cool to see some international musicians that ‘made it big’, who aren’t from the States… if these kiwis can do it, then so can the saffas!

Tonight’s show starts at 8pm (Grand West), and there are still some tickets available on Computicket (R263 – R518).

Now we’re getting somewhere, so don’t dream it’s over and even though in Cape Town there are Four seasons in one day, and work makes you fall at your feet, and your spouse nags you saying ‘you better be home soon’… just chill and take the weather with you…

Thursday, October 14, 2010

In Search of Good Wine

Over the past couple of weeks I have discovered a few really yummy wines!

A lot of people forget about the Durbanville area when they think of going ‘wine tasting’, but there are three fabulous farms right next to one another that have incredible wines!

D’Aria wine farm ( has an delicious and affordable red blend (Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot) called: MUSIC by D’Aria.

It goes for about R35 and won the 2009 double gold Michelangelo International Wine award.

They also do a fabulous Saprano Shiraz, which is a bit pricier at R120 but totally worth it for a special occasion.

Just next door is Bloemendal (, which has an incredible sauvignon blanc. I spent the whole day drinking the semillion – which is fine – but when I tasted the Sauv-blanc, I wished I’d bought a bottle of that from the start. The Bloemendal 2006 goes for about R60 at the cellar, and has also been awarded a Michelangelo gold.

De Vallei Boutique wine farm ( just a bit further down the road sports one of my most favourite reds: The De Vallei Syrah at R75 (Michelangelo gold)

I don’t normally drink rose, but I found the wine that made an exception to my rule: De Vallei Annerose at about R65 (Michelangelo gold)

In my books it’s not really a rose, and is more similar to another one of my favourites: the Haute Cabriere Chardonnay/ Pinot Noir – but I would say better!

And that’s because it is a Chardonnay (55%) and pinot noir (45%) blend.

Stock up your shelf with these and you’ll have a wine for every occasion – promise!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

what to do on a sunny sunday afternoon

Looking for something to do on a sunny Sunday afternoon?

Walking on the promenade in Mouille Point – Sea Point is a fabulous way to take in that sunshine and get some fresh air… After your walk and maybe a round of putt putt (There are two 18-hole courses, 021-434-6805) stop for some live music and cold beers at the lovely eatery La Vie Café (205 Beach Road, 087-808-2456/ 021-439-2061). Dave Ferguson starts his gig at about 4pm. This is a perfect place to be entertained by while you sit back and watch the sun set over the ocean.


record breaking art sale for SA

ON the 11th of October, at the Cape Town Strauss & Co 43 M Art Auction, a new world record for the highest price paid for a South African painting on auction was set.
Irma Stern's Gladioli was sold for the price of R 13 368 000.
According to Strauss press the sale of the whole auction totalled over R43 million bringing Strauss & Co’s total for the year thus far to over R120 million rand confirming the underlying strength in the South African art market and Strauss’s leading position in the market
For more information see Strauss & Co's website at

Retro style

For those who used to trek to the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock for late nights of awesome 80s music and now find themselves wondering ‘whatever happened to Deco Dance’?

Well, I found it! At 120B Main Road, Sea Point.

Admittedly it took a while because it’s so easy to drive past it. If you go long the Main Road and you pass Nando’s… well then you have gone to far.

Right next door to Nando’s is an entrance with lumo writing saying ‘Deco Dance’. The new club has two dance floors, one in a smoking area, and the other in a non-smoking area. Like the previous one, no drinks are allowed on the floor so that girls (if they get the urge) can dance barefoot.

I know it sounds grotty – but after fiver hours of dancing and having been in heals all day (plus 2 or 10 tequilas) the temptation to take your shoes off and dance like a fairy at a trance party sounds like an awesome idea!

For more info check out

And if you are dying for a snack at say 3am, head across the road to Café Erte (256A Main Road, 021-433-0726). They serve delicious gourmet burgers until 3:30am as well as a variety of other delicious simple meals.

They also serve Jack Black beer on tap, cocktails and equally dangerous fishbowls.

for the love of vino.. and food

La Boheme Wine Bistro & Bar (341 Main Road, 021-434-8797) is a real Sea Point gem, and can be easily missed, unless you know where to look.
It's shares property with
La Bruixa Espresso and Tapas Bar, which opens from 7am.
It gets very busy, so do book to ensure you get a table, or just arrive early. They have quite a variety of wines by the glass, and an interesting list of dinner menu including ostrich mince balls, chicken roulade (a must!) and tasty peppered fillet.
I love the cosy romantic cafe-style vibe complemented by bursting bookshelves and large wooden board menus.

If you're like me and wine is your thing –
head out to the cosy Harold’s Wine Bar (021-439-5363, Ritz piazza, Main Road), which offers more than 60 different wines by the glass at reasonable prices. They don't really do food, but you will be able to find delicious olives and snacks to go with your (many glasses of) wine.


Looking for a whole new way to see the mother city, need someone else to drive while you go wine-tasting, or maybe you just love bikes, history and a bit of adventure…

Book a tour in a WWII-style side-car with Cape Sidecar Adventures (021-434-9855, – make sure you book at least a day in advance). They will create a package to suit your needs including and drop-off from a hotel or where ever you may be staying and supply jackets, helmets and gloves. I went on a Peninsula type of tour including a trip up to Signal Hill. I went at 8am ride and it was a bit chilly, but totally worth it!! The views are spectacular (have a peek)… Two people can go, with one in the sidecar and the other riding pillion. I would really like to give the wine tour a try sometime… at least that solves the DD problem.

Friday, October 1, 2010

More October events

26 October
Did you know? Tokyo, with 33.8 million citizens, is the world’s most populous city. Don’t miss multi-platinum band Crowded House (Grand West), on their world tour with new drummer Matt Sherrod and new songs, plus the all-time favourites such as Don’t Dream Its Over and Better Be Home Soon. Also catch them in Durban at ICC on the 28th and Joburg at Carnival City on the 29th & 30th. Tickets from R260 at Computicket.

27 October

Did you know? After Chris Daughtry came fourth in the 2006 American Idol (2006), he was offered a record contract. His was the fastest-selling debut rock album in history. Daughtry will be performing in SA for the first time this month. Hear his crowd-pleasing hits such as No Surprise and It’s Not Over plus many more at the Grand West. Also in Jozi on the 29th at Coca-cola dome. Tickets from R220 at Computicket.

8–10 October

Did you know? The male jawfish collects all the eggs laid by the female, holding them in his mouth for protection, and doesn’t eat again until they hatch. Luckily you can chow down any time on oysters, potjiekos or skaapkop during the Breedekloof Outdoor Festival. Stop in at wine estates in Rawsonville, Slanghoek, Goudini and Breede River for fun activities such as quad-biking, fishing contests and adventure challenges, plus loads of delicious wine. Festival passes are R30,

17 October

Did you know? The world’s strongest man, Žydrūnas Savickas, can squat 425.5kg, bench press 285.5kg and deadlift 407.5kg. Get ripped at this year’s SA MUSCLE EVOLUTION GRAND PRIX (Artscape Theatre), a bodybuilding-and-bronzing-oil extravagana of the country’s muscliest men and women. R20 pre-judging, R120 for the finals later in the day. 021-976-6191.

15–17 October

Did you know? Alcohol leaves the human body at a rate of about 0.015% of blood-alcohol content per hour. Bear that in mind when heading to WINE ON THE RIVER at Goudmyn farm (Robertson) for a weekend of wine-tasting (over 300 local labels), live jazz, food stalls, lazy riverside lunching, a farmers’ market, arts and crafts and more. From R90,

8–10 October

Did you know? A shark has a sixth sense that can detect electrical fields. Feel the pulse at this year’s ROCKING THE DAISIES (Cloof Wine Estate, Darling), with more than 65 bands as well as 13 comedians, an abundance of food and clothing stalls and more. Expect to see the likes of Zebra & Giraffe, The Dirty Skirts, BOO!, Springbok Nude Girls, Jesse Clegg and Brit rock band New Young Pony Club. Day passes from R150, Jozi folks can catch similar acts at Rocking the Gardens at Emmarentia Dam on 9 & 10 October.

28–31 October

Did you know? Halloween (1978) was shot in 21 days on a budget of $320  000, and became the highest-grossing independent movie at that time. Get ready for spine-chilling film thrills at the South African HorrorFest (Labia Theatre, Gardens). The programme includes new movies, cult classics, sneak previews, short films, Halloween dress-up prizes, horror DVD collections, plus dark art and photography exhibitions. A highlight not to be missed is the live- music soundtrack performance to the screening of a classic silent horror movie by The Makara Ensemble (members of Terminatryx, Lark and violinist Matthijs van Dijk). The festival ends 5 November. Tickets from R30, call 021-424-5927 or visit

23 & 24 October

Did you know? The Edmonds Community College kite team holds the record for flying a single-line kite for 180 hours and 17 minutes in 1982 in Washington, USA. ‘Uplifting Mind and Body’ is the theme for the 16th Cape Town International Kite Festival – Africa’s biggest, which attracts pros from around the world and over 20  000 visitors for kite-making, kite-flying, food stalls, kiddies’ rides, an eclectic craft market and live entertainment on the lawns of Zandvlei (Muizenberg). Entry is R15 adults, R5 children – and all profits go to Cape Mental Health.

It's already October!!!

I can't believe how this year has flow by…

I’ve already seen a TV Christmas ad, facebook posts about Christmas and count-downs, last year’s decorations and cards in big SALES counters – it’s come way to soon!

But before we get too ahead of ourselves, October is an awesome month for Cape Townians.

Firstly, there is Oktober fest at Paulaner Brauhaus – so head there for some beer tastings on a sunny Saturday afternoon (

October is also the month for music! Maybe it’s the spring in the air, but I’m super keen to go chill out and watch great local bands jam all day.

Like this weekend: It’s the Season of Sauvignon and a number of wine farms in the Durbanville area are celebrating by having live entertainment, picnics and of course loads of wine for tastings.

The Forbidden fruit music festival guys ( are hosting ‘Rockin’ in the vineyards’ all weekend long at D’Aria wine estate ( Tonight the likes of Karen Zoid, Dean Fuel, Ballyhoo are performing, followed by DJ’s late into the night. Saturday offers bands such as Ashtray Electric, Anton Goosen, Van Coke Kartel, The Pretty Blue Guns, while Sunday gets grooving with the likes of aKing, plus other blues and jazz bands.

I’ll be heading there tonight for some fun.

Bloemendal Wine estate ( is also hosting a Farm Fest on Saturday and Sunday where bands such as Bed on Bricks, Boulevard Blues, Gerald Clark Trio.

Food stalls will range from, various potjies, like kerrie affal, lamb, bredies etc, to traditional braai, lamb spit, with rooster brood, stywe pap, farm breads and lots more. Celebrity chefs will be holding cooking demonstrations and comedians will be will be keeping us tickled.

Hooray for fun times!

See you there!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mamma Mia

Here I go again...

BEST SHOW EVER, or at least the best show I've seen in a while.
And it ends on 26 September, so if you haven't yet gone to see it, book your tickets now for Mamma Mia at the Artscape.
The singing was amazing (loved the mom and her mischievous friends) and the dancing was incredible (hot young and vibrant).
The play will seriously have you tapping your feet and singing along to those well-known tunes (much to the demise of my dearest partner-in-crime who kept saying 'shhh baby').
Usually I get get pretty tired watching theatre, especially if it's midweek, on deadline, lasts more than two hours and I've has a glass of wine (case in point: CATS) – but this was not the case when I went last week to see the mamma of all mias.

Be warned – you may want to take your kids, but this performance has quite a few 'naughty' bits (sexual innuendos and very suggestive gestures) in it.

Tickets are from R180, but it's really worth paying R330 for the better seats. Show moves to montescasino in JHB from 1 October - 12 December. Book on

You will truly feel like a dancing queen, going mad after midnight, and you shouldn’t care if your mother knows if you’re out - take a chance on me

interview Jan Scannell Braai 4 Heritage

Below is the unedited interview I did with Jan Scannel, the man behind Braai 4 Heritage

* This is an unedited version of my interview that was printed in the Khuluma magazine

ME: So Jan, you are the man behind the Braai4Heritage initiative?

J: Yes

ME: What qualifies you as being the king of the braai?

J: I dont really view myself as the king of the braai. In his own backyard every man is the king of his braai. However, due to the nature of my involvement with Braai4Heritage I probably braai more than the average guy. So along the way I've picked up a few tips and tricks. I did pick up the nasty habit of talking on another man's hand when he braais, and again, due to the braaiday connection I find that instead of attacking me, the guys tend to listen to the advice. But I only do this to good friends. And it’s more a case of pulling their legs.

ME: Does it have something to do with your wors…?

J: [laughs] [pauses] Boerewors is a prime example of how fantastic South Africa really is. Sausage making skills from Europe, Spices and the knowledge of how to use them from the east, and high quality South African meat, off the South African lands combine to produce one of the truly magnificent culinary experiences in the world.

ME: Agreed, nothing like a good boerewors… So many people around the country have bought into the idea of braaing on heritage day – not that it was a hard decision for South Africans – but how does that make you feel?

J: I really love South Africa. The fantastic thing about braaiday is that you are just asking people to have fun with their friends and family. Nothing more. And by doing that, we are uniting a nation.

ME: Too true…

J: Of course we are not selling a product, we are just asking you to have a braai, so resources are limited. There is absolutely no way to reach 50 million people all by myself with this message. So a large part of the current success is thanks to members of the media (journalists, DJ's) who also love the country, and help me spread the message. A typical example is an interview like this.

ME: You stay in Cape Town is that right?

J: Yes. I stay in Cape Town. Originally form Stellenbosch where I still regularly go to have braai4heritage strategy sessions in De Akker with my friends.

ME: De Akker is Awesome… Which side of the boerewors curtain do you stay?

J: … the combination of walking and trail running in Table Mountain, as well as paddling my surfski in seapoint, just makes it a more attractive place for me to stay. I live in Seapoint, which I think is being infiltrated more and more by Afrikaans people these days. Its part of my ‘Soutie outreach programme’ where we teach English people how to really braai.

ME: [laughs] Is it true that southern suburbs braaiers are inferior to northern suburbs braaiers in general?

J: No, but its still nice to tell them that

ME: [Laughs] Braais are a powerful thing; we often solve the world’s problems around the flames…

J: Yes, that to a large extent is also the braai4heritage message. In African culture, the fire is traditionally the place where people gather. For light, for heat, to prepare food and to exchange news and ideas. Someone also told me that the orange light of a flame releases some chemical in your brain that makes you feel good. So there is actually a scientific reason why one feels so good staring at flames.

ME: Then again it could just be the wine?

J: Possibly. Whatever it is, we need to get the guys in charge of Springbok rugby around a fire. Cause they have problems that they need to solve…

ME: I agree with you... eish! And now we even have an awesome braai song thanks to Die Heuwels… Have you adopted it as your theme song? Perhaps the springboks should listen to it too...

J: Yes, I went to a birthday party of a common friends at Beluga about two yeas ago. Jaco Venter, the polisiekar drummer and me started talking about our alternative careers. I asked him about doing a braaiday song, and in the end it was decided that Heuwels will project manage it. We then got JR and HHP to rap, and Soweto GC to do the choir parts.

ME: I really like it.

J: Thanks. The song is pretty successful. One of the highlights of my year was when all the guys were together in one room to rehearse it for a live performance at SAMA's (South African music awards). So you basically have grammy winners, heuwels, JR in one room, performing this song to a crowd of one – me. I was really proud of SA that day (yet again) and also really wished all my friends could be with me.

ME: So what’s your favourite meat to braai?

J: Tough one. Lamb chops, good quality boerewors, pork neck chops – I don’t really have a favourite cut of steak. It’s more dependant on the quality of the butcher, and the quality of the braaier, whether a steak is good.

ME: And as an avid braaier, is there a secret spice that you use, that you could share with us?

J: If the meat quality is good, I think that some normal sea salt from a grinder should be sufficient on a lamb chop for example. I regularly use soy sauce when in a pinch at the last minute. For a last-minute steak, just applying mustard, as you would apply butter to bread, it does the trick. I think the word for people that put too much spices on, and basically kills the taste of the meat is auto-condimental.

ME: Too much spice can definitely ruin the taste of the actual meat. Have you successfully done the beer-can chicken braai?

J: Yes. Some advice on this: The idea is obviously that the beer will steam and boil the meat. So, the warmer the beer is to start with, the quicker it will boil, and the more will end up evaporating into the meat. This also works really well with coke. You can also drink some of the coke, and fill the can up with Klipdirft.

ME: But who wants to waste klippies like that? How do you think someone came up with the idea to shove a beer or coke can in a chickens bum and put it on the braai?

J: Probably in Australia. This chicken and can is obviously in a man-oven. And not on a real braai. (man-oven = kettle braai)

ME: Those Ausies… Do you think vegetarians have a place at the braai?

J: Yes

ME: What tips would you give them?

J: Stop your nonsense [Laughs]

ME: [Laughs]

J: No, on a serious note, braaibroodjies is one of my favourite things to braai. Mielies with butter and salt and then possibly one of the best things about South Africa, a black cast iron pot full of putu pap. These are all things that vegetarians can enjoy at a braai. I really dont see any problems there. But every now and again some or other vegetarian writes a nasty letter about braaiday to a newspaper. This is ok, as most people, other vegetarians included, enjoy braaing as much as I do. But these letters are free publicty, and as mentioned earlier, we need it.

ME: I enjoy all those things at a braai... So, what drink goes best with a braai?

J: The classic really is Klipdrift and Coke. With our national beer, Castle a close second. If you look at those guys braaing on the new Caslte ad, that is just fantastic. Coming from Stellenbosch, I admittedly drink quite a bit of wine when I braai as well.

ME: And the guys in the Southern Suburbs?

J: They sip on a Gin&Tonic when their friends are there, but I suspect secretly drink brandy as well.

ME: [Laughs] If you had to make a three-course meal – that includes a desert – on a braai for your friends what would you do?

J: I find steak a great starter on the braai – the coals are still very hot, the fire is just finished, so braai a few steaks medium-rare and cut them in strips.

ME: Yum!

J: Alternatively boerewors – thin boerewors, that cools quickly and can be eaten with the hand around the braai. For the vegetarians, a whole cambert cheese each. For mains it would be some or other form of lamb either loin chops or a whole leg, butterflied and marinated for a day. And chicken for the vegetarians [laughs].

ME: [laughs] Because chicken is a vegetable right?

J: That’s what the guys in DeAar tell me…

ME: [laughs] and desert?

J: A banana for each person, braaied whole and in the peel until the peel is completely brown. Served on a plate, with some vanilla ice-cream. After all of this, when I am sure all my friends are stuffed, I would go and get a galjoen that I have hidden somewhere, and braai that for myself.

ME: [Laughs] You’re a great friend! I love a fish braai… What in your opinion is the most ideal way to braai – over coals, wood or gas and why?

J: Wood, I dont think anyone would really differ on that one. Making a real fire, standing around it, the smell, the sound… The question relates to constraints, coals are quicker and maybe a guy does not have wood, and the pertol station is sold out. Gas is not really a braai, but perhaps you are living on the 20th level of a flat, with a very small balcony… so I understand what there are reasons why not every braai happens with wood, but don’t think many will disagree that its the preferred way.

ME: And what is the best type of actual braai, a weber, a built-in braai or a drum?

J: A Weber is a brand of kettle braai. Now a kettle braai, when used with the lig [light] on, is not really a braai. That is effectively an oven. But a manly oven. So I have a drive going that we start calling those man-ovens. So you can say for instance ‘I baked this chicken in my man oven’.

ME: [Laughs]

J: Built-in braais usually have a chimney, so that helps with the smoke but then you cannot stand around a built in braai… A drum is best, but not those flimsy little ones. They have no heat retention. My favourite braais are a fixed built ‘altar’ type of braai.

ME: So would you say the southern suburbs people are mostly manly bakers?

J: No, they are usually frustrated-with-the-M3-traffic men

ME: [Laughs] So, do you have a ‘braai room’ at home?

J: Yes, its called ‘garden’.

ME: [Laughs] How is it kitted out?

J: I have some grass on the floor, and then all along the walls there are various herbs. In two of the corners there are lemon trees. There is a sink and tap and a bar fridge with emergency stock. I sometimes drink Gin & tonic during lunch braais, so I need the lemon trees for that.

ME: Nice! So what crucial steps guarantee making the best braai fire?

J: Enough wood, and the wood needs to be dry… I usually get one of those old derelict bakkies full of wood you see on the roads sometimes to deliver a whole load of wood, then the wood can age, and become dry. I don’t think there is anything else crucial to a fire. Please be careful if or when you start your fire with petrol.

ME: What would you do if faced at the last minute with wet wood?

J: Wet wood takes much longer to burn out, so allow more time when you need to braai with wet wood.

ME: Okay

J: Also, per piece of wood, you end up with fewer coals. I don’t know why this is, but assume that a scientist will be able to explain it.

ME: Are there secret tips like one of my friends uses teabags soaked in paraffin instead of blitz…

J: [Laughs] My father also does that!

ME: [Laughs]

J: I use normal firelighters, and normal matches. If I ran out, or was at some strange place where this is not available, I would use candles and newspaper. Sometimes the woman of the house is upset about her candles, so I try and get the candles from an area in the house where one will not immediately notice.

ME: [Laughs] What different braai cultures have you experienced around SA?

J: These days going to a township for chisa nyama becomes more and more popular. When I saw that for the first time at the tender age of 17 I could not believe that there is such a great idea, and it isn’t more widely available. I also really like snoek and crayfish on the west coast. The strangest braai I have seen must be some freestate farmers who make their fires with the dried cobs of maize, but the coals are so fickle, that you really have to time your braai well, otherwise the meat will not get done. Potjiekos ranks right up there for me.

ME: I love a good Potjiekos... So, could people find you hanging out at Mzoli’s?

J: I frequent it yes. Mzoli is also one of the Braai4Heritage ambassadors. In 2006, the second year of braaiday, I gave him an apron with our logo. Last year, when I got there late afternoon on 24 September, he was busy making a lamb on a spit, in that same apron.

ME: Awesome. Someone once told me that the difference between a Chisa Nyama and a braai was the chicks and salad – what do you think?

J: Admittedly, a chisa nyama does not really have salad.

ME: [Laughs]

J: In terms of chicks, I think the quality of South African meat on display at both is of a high standard.

ME: [Laughs] That’s so cheeky!

J: Just for your uninformed readers. In Zulu, Chisa means ‘burn’ and Nyama means ‘meat’. Literally…

ME: Got it… Do you really believe that chicks get the day off when men braai?

J: No… They still need to look pretty

ME: That generally doesn’t require much work though…

J: [Laughs] Also, if you are really running a tight ship and want to serve a quality meal to guests you need to co-ordinate the side dishes to be ready the moment the meat comes off the braai…

ME: So people are always going on about how healthy braaing is, but when you look at the braai masters and their boeps, is it really?

J: Absolutely. I don’t think that the braai can be blamed for the boep. When you fry food in a pan, you are adding fat. When you steam food, you are not adding fat, but you are not taking fat out of the food either. But, when you braai, the fat drips out, onto the coals. Also, meat is high protein. And fat is caused by carbs. There is also no sugar in meat the last time I checked. We already mentioned it, fish is fantastic on a braai, and extremely healthy.

ME: Blame it on the snacks and drinks before the meal then…

J: And lastly on this health matter, a cow is eating grass and leaves and plants and vegetables all his life. He converts this into meat. Eating meat is like eating vitamin pills.

ME: [laughs] What is the funniest thing that has happened to you while at a braai?

J: I am sure there are better stories but what I can remember now is last year on 24 September I was doing an interview over the phone, with some or other very serious lady on one of the radio stations. It was pretty late in the day, and I was attending a braai at a friends house. The interview was live and after a few seconds his dog started barking. And it would not stop. It’s not so funny when I think of it now, but we really had a good laugh at the time

ME: What is the worst thing that anyone can bring to a braai?

J: Frozen chicken. I don’t think chicken should share a grid with other meat, the way you need to braai it is too different and frozen chicken just makes it worse. It will be burnt outside, and raw inside.

ME: [Laughs] Have you ever had people over for a braai and accidentally burnt all their food because you got too caught up the rugby score or something?

J: Never, but one December holiday, just after braaiday started to become big, every single day, the father of whomever friends house I visited would say ‘Aah, you are the braaiday guy, so you will braai for us tonight’. With a little smile thinking he is the first guy to make this joke. So one night I horribly burnt the food, to make sure I don’t have to braai again at that house.

ME: Oh no... Im sure that worked though! And what should never – no matter the circumstance – be said to the person in charge of the braai?

J: ‘Sorry, the klipdrift is finished’.

ME: [Laughs] When someone invites people to their house for a braai, what are the three things that must not run out?

J: Ice, wood and electricity or satellite signal – the things needed to watch whatever sports game is on…

ME: No braai is the same without them... and finally... what are your plans for this year’s heritage day?

J: I will probably start in Soweto the morning. I ordered 100 live sheep that I will hand out there. Then head to Durban around lunchtime, and finish the day in Cape Town.

braai day

Friday is Heritage day, also known famously as our Braai 4 Heritage Day ( !

I’ve just been listening to the Die Heuwels Fantasties ft SGC Braai song to get me in the mood… Woolies has a special on all their steaks. (R30 less per kg), so I got my juicy rump all ready for the big day! Plus they’ve got a comp where you can win R20 000 (

Most people I know are actually all heading North where the best burgers are Jo-burgers… but I’m quite happy to stay in the mother city.

After all, I was just up North in the wonderful Kruger National Park staying at the exceptional Rhino Walking Safaris.

That’s right – WALKING safari.

And we had a couple close encounters with a white rhino and an inquisitive-turned-angry ellie. So if you need an awesome bush break, check out (see above pics of us braaing at SLEEP OUT and the flames at RHINO POST). **sigh** I miss it so much!

It may sound wrong talking about beautiful wild life and braaing in the same blog post, but there’s so much to say in so little time.

I hope you’re all gearing up to get your braaivleis, or veggie kebabs on those hot coals. Look out for my next post – interview with Jan Scannel, the man behind Braa 4 Heritage…

we love real beer

It has been a solid month since I last wrote, and this, I must confess, is because I took a good three weeks off to explore a couple islands in Indonesia.

And what better time to leave Cape Town than during August-September when the wind is known to howl and the rain to pellet down…

So instead of shivering in a rain-soaked jacked, I was drinking cold Bintangs on the beach and tanning my beer-filled belly.

Speaking of beer, tomorrow night is the We-Love-Real-Beer festival at the Old Biscuit Mill (Woodstock), which I am super keen to check out ( They’ll be sporting a variety of local breweries and beers such as Jack Black, Beers&Union, Mitchells brewery, Paulaner waterfront brewery, Napier brewery and many more. Also check out their blog at

See you there!