Tuesday, January 31, 2012

the difference between copy editing and writing

Having settled into my new copy editing position at H&G, I found myself comparing how different it is to the writing position I had at Horizons and khuluma.
I do still write of course – Travel pages for H&G and this blog and other tidbits – but spend most days editing, and so here is a list of comparisons for these two roles in the magazine industry:

As a writer, I have the ability to churn out stories while hungover and sometimes produce the best stuff with a glass of wine in hand – this is what I at least believe... until I reread those stories in the light of sober day.
As a copy editor, my hungover lazy-eye doesn't do so well with spotting mistakes, and I only copy edit during working hours, so I wouldn't dare bring wine to work (while my colleagues will notice)
Churning out a winning piece of writing gives me a thrill.
Spotting a crucial mistake just before we go to print – that could have resulted in condescending comments from other copy editor friends – gives me a jolt of adrenaline.
As a writer, if you write a crap story (or if your editor wants you to change the angle etc), you have to do it again and again until its right.
As a copy editor, you have to edit crap stories and read them again and again until they are right.
To face a complicated brief I need a strong cup of coffee
To edit complicated pieces of writing in a brief amount of time, I need a strong cup of coffee
As a writer, I spend time waiting for people to get back to me with information and images.
As a copy editor, I spend time waiting for writers to send in their info and images.

So really... there are loads of similarities.... and I'm bored of making these comparisons now. So back to real work... that pays

Bree street Middle eastern lunch spot

With the change of jobs and recent food allergy results, I am on the hunt for foodie places that offer coffee with Soy milk (I'm training myself to drink coffee black, but it's really hard) and dairy-free, wheat-free foods.

As anyone can imagine, this is quite tricky and sometimes rye sandwiches can get a bit boring.
The other day I literally phoned all the coffee shops within walking distance of my office (there are a few – it is Loop street in Cape Town), and funny enough, the one closest to me offered a 'soy milk' option, Sababa.
They froth it up and produce a delicious flat white. Today was only my second time I walked in to order coffee and they immediately said 'soy free, right?', and I was like 'Yes! I love you for paying attention and remembering me (Okay... the rest of the sentence I said in my head).
I needed a double shot (after all that Diemersfontein pinotage last night), which cost R21 for a soy milk flat white – it's R18 for a regular double flat white.

But besides the coffee, they offer an awesome array of dishes, many of them dairy- and wheat-free.
The lunchbox option is awesome: R40 for a medium lunchbox, which includes your choice of meat plus three sides.
Today I chose the chicken kebab with spicy aubergine, dill and pea rice and roast vegetable salad with loads of rocket – just bursting with flavour!

Sababa – which only opened at the end of November 2011 – offers a variety of middle eastern dishes, each made on site on the day. There is also a pastry/ baked goods stand. But I sadly can't touch those babies any more. Besides, I have a wedding to lose weight for.

PS - they do catering, so check out their website to order your platters. www.sababa.co.za

Fork - Long Street Tapas

I had been meaning to visit Fork – a tiny tapas restaurant in Long Street – for years. But everytime I went out for dinner, I seemed to forget about it. That is until recently when I made a conscious effort to book a table with some friends and check it out.

The first thing I noticed is that it is much bigger inside than I realised, and the upstairs inside section has a warm, romantic atmosphere.
As it was a lovely summer's day, we chose to sit on the upstairs balcony outside. It was a bit noisy and there aren't really views to speak of, but it was pleasant with a street-cafe style vibe.

As I arrived early (before 6), I took advantage of the day-time special, which includes 5 mixed tapas and a glass of wine for R60.
Once my friends arrived we settled into order a number of dishes, under the guidance of Mr Fabulosity who is a very regular customer.
The dishes range from R35 for four tapas to R55, and then there are things like fries and small salads on the side for R25. While it seems all affordable, I was actually quite surprised at how much it all added up to in the end.
The little portions of food are delicious and beautifully presented, but not really filling, so don't go if you're starving, unless you can 'fork' out the dosh for it :-)

Some of the tastiest tapas in my opinion:
-Aubergine, sweet potato and chickpea coconut curry (R35)
-Raviolione with beef and poached egg served with rosemary butter and crispy pancetta (R40)
-Deep fried goats cheese with sundried tomato biscuits and port and onion marmalade (R45)
-Mini kudu fillets with chilli and potato puree and garlic spinach with a citrus reduction (R55)

I can easily eat all of this (and I did)... plus wine, so expect to spend about R300 a person for dinner. We drank the Warwick First Lady – a cabernet sauvignon from Stellenbosch, which cost R140 a bottle or R35 a glass.

I totally recommend it for a first date or a romantic dinner as the interior is is cosy and there is nothing like exploring and sharing tasty little foods, good wine and good company.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wellington Weekend away

For the first time in as long as I can remember, my fiance and I went for a weekend away together, where neither of us had work or work-related projects of any kind.
I had also been lucky enough to win a voucher from Diemersfontein wine estate (www.diemersfontein.co.za). So without a doubt, we made for Wellington – an area I don't usually venture into unless I'm going to Pinotage on Tap, which happens to be at Diemersfontein anyway.

We stayed in a lovely garden cottage overlooking the garden and pool area. Thank goodness there was air conditioning because it was well into the 30s, and not a breeze to sooth the heat.
The shower was large enough to comfortably fit two ;-) and as there was no TV and the cottage was set away from the manor house, it made for a romantic weekend indeed...

On the Friday night we ate at the estate's restaurant. I had peri-peri chicken livers to start followed by grilled line-fish and vegetables, while my partner had stuffed mushrooms followed by a steak (they only had sirloin). The highlight was the malbec 2005, R195 per bottle - it was so delicious!! I bought another bottle to take home with me... and of course some of their famous pinotage.

The next day we went in search of wine farms we'd never been to before. First stop was Ridgeback (www.ridgebackwines.co.za), a boutique winery just 6km outside of Wellington. It was such a pleasant surprise. the setting was like an oasis in the middle of the dessert. We had lunch overlooking the pond, watching the swans gracefully glide about while we sipped on excellent viognier and my favourite: His Masters Choice shiraz. It's R15 per tasting of five wines (R25 for 10 wines).

We then had some great advice and help with planning the next few stops, the only problem was that most of the wine estates close at 2 or 3pm, so we only managed to visit one other, Underoaks (www.underoaks.co.za). they have an incredible little pizzeria, although we had already eaten, so we stuck to sampling the wine. I really enjoyed their chardonnay, so we added a couple more bottles to the increasing 'clinking' boot.

Mr fabulosity and G-star had joined us by this point and so we all missioned back to Diemersfontein for further wine tasting (they stay open til 5pm on Saturday) and a swim in the pool.
As there were so many delicious wines to try, the tasting room kindly stayed open an extra half and hour to accommodate us. The tasting was free, but we were staying over, so I'm not sure if it would be free for all visitors. The pool was heavenly though, and we swam for about 2 hours, sipping on pinotage every now and then, before deciding to venture off into the town for dinner.

Driving out of Wellington we stopped at Oude Wellington (www.oudewellingtonrestaurant.co.za), where they offer brandy and wine tastings. Although we had missed the times. We ordered a bottle of their cabernet sauvignon, which was very average, and fairly sharp (R130). However, the food was excellent. My fiance and I shared a starter and a main: a watermelon salad things, which I can't remember much about, except that it blew my little taste-buds away and a pepper-crusted beef fillet with straw chips.

After a english (hangover-cure) breakfast on Sunday we sadly left Diemersfontein (with bottles of pinotage) and started on our way home. The first stop, just a few kilometers away was Rhebokskloof (www.rhebokskloof.co.za). It was R15 for 4 wines, and we particularly enjoyed the sandstone chardonnay and the shiraz/grenache blend.

We stopped again in Paarl at Laborie (laboriewines.co.za), starving and hot as hell. We opted to sit indoors, simply because of the aircon. The newly launched Harvest restaurant was fairly impressive. I had a lovely rump steak and my fiance had a delicious calamari dish. The view from Harvest is lovely and the restaurant is charming. Although the chardonnay didn't blow me away.

Finally it was home time. We could hardly carry all the wine we bought back into the house, but it was well worth it, and I hope it won't be too long until I visit Wellington again.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Honest Chocolate

To some people, the idea of eating raw food is mostly unappealing and images of soiled carrots just pulled from the ground comes to mind.

But if you stumble upon Honest Chocolate (honestchocolate.co.za), whether at the Stellenbosch Slow market (www.slowmarket.co.za) or at the Biscuit Mill's Neighbourgoods Market (www.neighbourgoodsmarket.co.za) on a Saturday morning, or if you happen to be strolling around town on Wale street to be precise, you will find their cutesy vintage shop – do yourself a favour and just try some!

It would seem almost impossible that a tiny morsel of raw, organic, dairy-free chocolate could be so good!
But it is. I also recently found out that I am allergic to dairy, wheat, nuts and egg whites - so this chocolate made my day.

They sell slabs, truffles and this super delicious chocolate spread. they also don't use nuts, so any friends with nut allergies will surely thank your for a box of truffles from this establishment.
Slabs at R45 each come in the following flavours:

72% with nibs:
pure raw organic cacao and agave with pieces of crushed cacao beans (called nibs) sprinkled onto the slab. Illustration of the bar by Jean de Wet

72% with maca:

pure raw organic cacao and agave with a bit of maca root from Peru. Maca is a source of natural energy and vitality (it also enhances the libido...) and gives the chocolate a very subtle malty flavour. Illustration hand stamped by Honest Chocolate.

72% with Coffee:

pure raw organic cacao and agave with cracked organic coffee beans sprinkled on the back. Illustration of the bar by Marsi

72% with Kalahari Desert Salt:

pure raw organic cacao and agave with Onyx Kalahari Desert salt. Illustration of the bar by Toby Newsome


pure raw organic cacao and agave, the darker side of chocolate.. 'Don't be afraid of the dark'. Illustration of the bar by Michael Taylor

There are no preservatives or emulsifiers used and they don't use any dairy or artificial sweeteners. Ingredients: Organic, raw cacao; Organic coconut oil; Organically grown agave nectar and fresh vanilla pods.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

L'ormarins Queen's Plate 2012

For the third year in a row, I attended the L'ormarins Queen's Plate (http://lqp.co.za/). But it was my very first time in the VIP STUD CLUB. The tickets were worth R800 per person (general entry was R250), and it included lunch, dinner and free beers and wine throughout the day. That is until 7pm, when they start charging.

For the first couple hours there were also brutal fruit slushies available (blended with ice), which was most satisfying as it was a scorcher.
I thoroughly enjoyed bumping into old friends and taking in how beautiful the horses were.
Although I didn't bet. I'm not a gambling type.

The event is definitely more formal than the J&B Met, this year being the 151st one held. The theme is always blue and white, and formal attire is required.

Before I could really get into the party vibe, my phone got stolen :-( and so with mood and vibe down the toilet, we went home. I missed seeing the Kongos – a band I have been dying to see perform live. But it's not too much of a train smash as they will be playing at UP THE CREEK in february (www.upthecreek.co.za).
Although I had report backs that they were really good.

The other band I missed was Spoek Mathambo, but caught Tumi and the Volume. I have seen them a number of times and always enjoy their vibe.
However, the Style loung and Caprice tents had their dance music blaring at the same time the concert started, which made for an interesting remix...

The next day I also found that another girl in our group had also had her phone stolen.
So we all suspect there were some thieves about at the larny affair, which was quite disappointing.

As usual though, the crowd looked gorgeous, and a highlight for me was the Elizabeth Arden make-up stand. They did a make-up touch-up for me in the early evening and what a great job they did ;-) Love their products.

Wild Oats farmers Market

This December I was lucky enough to stop by the Wild Oats Farmers Market (www.wildoatsmarket.co.za).

We were staying in Knysna for one night on our way back to Cape Town (about 4.5 - 5 hours drive up the coast). We were at the market when it opened on 31 December at 7:30am, just outside Sedgefield.... and it was already packed!!!
It is very popular and totally worth visiting if you happen to be in the area.

I personally love markets, and all the fabulous foodie finds.
I went straight for the coffee as I love buying beans from various boutique roasters that I come across. All variations sold at: R37/250g. I went for the 'Smooth' option (honduras).
They have an awesome farmer's breakfast available – so go hungry – it will surely cure any hangover.

One of my highlights was the juice stand - freshly squeezed pomegranate juice (no additives, no nothing - just the juice). Icy cold and full of nutrients (R20 for 250ml).

The mini cakes were truly spectacular and make for lovely gifts if you can withstand eating them all yourself. Plus they only sell for R15 each.

They are open every Saturday morning come rain or shine, from 7:30 in Summer and 8:30 in winter til 11:30.

Oh, and if you happen to be there, go past garage and head to the craft market area, where this amazing cheese shop is. You won't regret it.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Brandy and Coke Gammon glaze *Christmas Lunch*

We decided to go all out for Christmas, even though there were only four of us.

My fabulosity (my partner in crime) and I did most of the cooking, while our partners: G-star and my fiance braaied a good piece of steak and lamb ribs.
I was in charge of the gammon and roast veggies. I had never cooked a gammon before, and so for some truly SA inspiration, I followed a recipe from a fellow South African food blogger.

See it here: http://whatsforsupper-juno.blogspot.com/2010/12/christmas-gammon-glazed-with-brandy-and.html

Mr fabulosity cooked the most delicious roast chicken with more-ish stuffing and he made the traditional pudding - well, Woolies made the pudding, but he poured enough brandy on it to make it his own. There was also a potato bake thrown in the mix somewhere...

We sipped on Pimms and lemonade and drank good red wine with our late lunch, before promptly flopping down on the couch like a bunch of breached whales, tummies bursting at the seams, with AbFab in the background. *bliss

Fresh Pasta - the best way to eat it.

This past Christmas and New Years went by way too quickly... With only a week's break and a crammingly busy first week of work, I finally have a moment to do a few updates.
I had such fun making my own home-made pasta for the first time the other day.
One of the presents my adorable fiance had gotten me was a pasta machine – on my foodie list.
So I had some fun experimenting with different doughs and pasta shapes and sizes.
Needless to say, the kneading was the hardest part, but otherwise its super easy, cheap and fun.
I used 375ml of flour and two extra-large eggs for the most basic dough, which turned out to be the best.
Make a well in the centre of the flour, add the eggs and stir slowly and then work at the dough until it forms a nice ball, not sticky or wet. I added occasional drops of water during the kneading process.
Set the dough aside, covered in a cloth, for 15 minutes to let the moisture absorb, then start rolling and and creating your pasta of choice.
The best part is that the pasta takes 5 mins to cook in boiling water. It's lighter and tastier than shop-bought, dried pasta.
As I'm a real novice, I would appreciate any tips and variations :-)