Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Houtbay Bay Harbour Market

I finally went to visit the Bay Harbour Market (bayharbour.co.za) in Houtbay two weekends ago.

When I had previously attempted to visit the market it had been closed due to some fire hazard or some such thing. But you can all be reassured that it's safe now :-)

The market is mostly craft/clothing with a fairly large food section, about 1/3 of the market, I'd say. We beelined straight for that end of course. Our first stop was at Cape Mountain Charcuterie and the bread corner, where I found a nice loaf of 100% rye for R20. Next door is a selection of olives, sauces, pickled onions, pestos and so on. We sampled some bits and bought a tray of mixed olives for R30. The kalamatas were some of the biggest I have ever seen.

While trying to decide what to have for lunch, my fiance gobbled up a mini cheesecake (R25). He seems to live by the 'eat dessert before dinner incase we die before we get to have the good stuff' philosophy.

I tasted some amazing soup by Zoop, the coconut chicken broth is just divine. And the soups can actually be ordered from Cape Town. Contact Linda 082-223-7677. She makes a great dairy-free vegetarian soup too. I'll be getting stuck into this in winter for sure.

We wanted to have fresh tuna steaks, but they weren't available sadly, but you can be sure there are lots of seafood and chips options and a great looking paella.

We opted for a good old favourite: Kitchen Cowboys steak roll for lunch, at R60 a roll, which might seem steep, but they pile beautiful slices of medium-rare matured sirloin on, making it totally worth it. (www.kitchencowboys.co.za).

Before leaving we grabbed coffee from za Cafe – great organic coffee and they do soy milk options too.

All in all a good day trip to the market. I'll go back again soon for some zoop.

HQ – the kings of sirloin

I went to HQ Restaurant for the first time last night. Which may seem like a sin to do on meat-free mondays. But HQ makes it so much more tempting to visit on a Monday with their sirloin 2 for 1 special.

Here is basically how things work at HQ:

They have a saying written on their recycled paper table covers that says something along the lines of: 'You can order anything you like, as long as its salad, sirloin and chips.'

That pretty much encompasses what is available on the menu.

For starters, an iceberg and cos salad with toasted pinenuts and generous shavings of parmesan cheese is served, followed by a main of french fries and a 250g organic, matured Namibian beef sirloin steak, which they recommend served medium rare. The steak is drizzled with a buttery, garlic, herby kind of sauce, very Parisian style, but this can be served on the side. Waitresses offer extra chips and sauce to all patrons throughout dinner at no extra charge.

Delightfully, on a monday, we ate two of these for just R160.

There are a fair amount of wines by the glass, we had the marklew 2006 cab sauv (R45), and two cocktails, which are also on the 2 for 1 special.

7pm is a good time to arrive as the place is packed by 8pm and orders will take longer.

We thoroughly enjoyed it, and I do recommend it for a Monday night meaty treat.

Another awesome aspect is that they have a live reggae band every Monday too, playing awesome covers, so you can be jamming while you eating too.

100 Shortmarket street, cape Town, 021-424-6373

*I recommend going here on a first date... and if you go on Monday, at least there won't be any split-the-bill awkward vibes.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Home-made mayonnaise recipe

Making home-made mayonnaise is just so satisfying.
Yes, it does require a bit of wrist work, but then again there are electric whisks!
Here is a really basic recipe for an awesome home-made mayo. It is thick and rich, and gorgeous with steak or in a potato salad.
I've made it twice now, to rave reviews from friends.

Here is the simple recipe:
-1 egg yolk
-1 heaped teaspoon dijon mustard
-1 and a half teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- half a cup of vegetable oil

In a clean dry bowl, whisk together the yolk, mustard and lemon juice, then gradually add the oil, whisking fervently to get the consistency thick and well blended.
Then serve :-)
It makes about 2/3 of a cup.
If you want more, just double the quantities.

Friday, February 17, 2012

South African Garagiste wine

The Garagiste wine movement began in South Africa in the mid 90's with pioneers like Cathy Marshall (now Barefoot Wine Company, and no longer Garagiste) and Clive Torr of Topaz Wines.
For wine to be considered garagiste, it has to be certified with the Wine and Spirits board, totally funded garagiste, made in a garagiste style and have no more than 9000 litres maximum for total production.
Garagiste, by definition means something like this: 'A micro-n├ęgociant specializing in very limited-production wines, often known as "vins de garage," or garage wines, because their production size is such that they could be made in a garage.'

But if you truly want to find out more, do Clive Torr's workshop in March. Here are the deets:

Clive Torr is a Cape Wine Master, international winemaker and a renowned wine judge who is one of the foremost authorities on Pinot Noir in South Africa and who pioneered the garagiste movement in this country.

He uses his vast experience of making wines and teaching others the art of winemaking in South Africa and France to ensure that participants experience a fun-filled hands-on experience in the vineyard and cellar.

The next Topaz Garagiste Workshop takes place on 3 March 2012 at the Topaz Garagiste Wine Cellar at the DelVera biodiversity estate in Stellenbosch.

The cost is R 1200 per participant (incl VAT) which includes the following:
• 12 bottles of each participant’s OWN WINE with personalised labels of their own design if so required (after the final bottling)
• a Winemaker’s Apron, plus 2 tasting glasses in an embroidered carry case for each participant
• a prestigious Certificate of Accomplishment and a photo of each participant with Clive
• a blog on the Topaz website about the wine and its progress
• a picnic lunch during winemaking and a braai at the bottling party
• the sourcing and transport of grapes, provision of fermentation tank, barrel, winemaking equipment, chemicals, laboratory analyses and use of a registered cellar
• all wines used for tastings and for the lunch
• the cost of bottling, packaging and bottling party participation OR delivery of wine to those not attending the bottling

Excluded are: transport to and from the venue, accommodation and insurance.

Please click here for more information. If you are interested in attending please email Tanja Beutler at tanja@topazwines.co.za.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Brilliance at the Bombay Brasserie

Most of you will know how hectic Cape Town restaurants get on V-day. Over-priced set menus and most of the time fully booked two weeks in advance. To avoid the hustle and potentially bad service due to understaffing, this year we decided to head out for dinner the night before Valentines day, and then on the actual day, have a picnic and rent a dvd.

I am a big fan of Indian food and love cooking curries etc. I even completed a one-day Indian cooking class at Masala Dosa (www.masaladosa.co.za), so now I can roast and make my own spice blends. But nothing I've eaten in my entire life could have prepared me for the bursting, aromatic flavours, textures and creative quality that is served up at the Bombay Brasserie, at The Taj in Cape Town.

We did the Maitre D tasting menu, which goes for R395 per person. To complement our dinner we had a bottle of the Marklew 2005 Cab Sauv, upon recommendation of our waitress.

A tray of Indian snacks is presented as guests sit down, and after we have ordered, we received an amuse bouche – a deep fried dumpling.

The first of our several dishes was a roasted yellow corn soup, poured over Turmeric Popcorns. A really interesting combination, but scrumptious too.

A tray of more starters was next, with a succulent, creamy chicken breast, char-grilled brocolli head with mustard and pickle spices, and lastly a spicy tempura prawn, which went excellently with the mint chutney. I'm still dreaming of that chutney...

After a tamarind sorbet – to cleanse the palate – the three main dishes arrived. We were served a helping of each, with basmati rice, fresh naan bread and an interesting spinach-like-pate – which was actually sauteed spinach with golden fried garlic – before they set the rest of the food down on our table.
The mains consisted of: Black lentils and kidney beans simmered overnight; a lamb biryani and line fish (Kingklip) in spiced coconut curry, which was possibly the most succulent fish I have ever eaten.
The flavours were all exquisitely different and complementary.

We were so full at this point already... but I always enjoy how uniquely different Indian desserts are compared to what we commonly eat.
We were served a Malt and Cocoa flavoured Indian Ice Cream with a deep fried doughnut-type ball in a super-sweet syrup. The idea here is to put a little of each on one spoon and taste them together as they balance each other out.

What's interesting to note is that the head chef hails from North India, and his assistant exec chefs are from the North and West respectively.

It was such an incredible meal, I would absolutely do it again and recommend it to anyone who is a fan of Indian cuisine.

The Bombay Brasserie
Corner Wale Street and Adderley Street, 021 819 2000.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Less yadda yadda... more Tjing Tjing

Just off Long street, up Longmarket Street (no. 165 to be exact) is a rooftop lounge/bar called Tjing Tjing (tjingtjing.co.za). They opened last year as a rooftop bar, housed in an almost 200 year old building above a day-time restaurant called Dear Me.
I have been three times now, and really enjoy the vibe, especially if the weather is great and I can sit at one of the tables outside. Media/hipster types frequent the bar for after-work drinks, and it can turn into quite the party spot later into the night.
But more of a reason to visit this spot, if you haven't before, is their Wine-tasting Wednesdays.

Last week I ventured up the narrow stairs at about 5:30 and was offered some Sauvignon blanc to taste. A few people were gathered around the central outdoors table, where a wine expert was introducing three wines, two of which were from the Badenhorst family in Swartland and the third, a Sauvignon blanc from Ceres.

I ordered some snacks and pleasantly tasted wine while waiting for Mr Fabulosity to arrive.
Here are the deets for the next events:
The wine tasting starts at 5pm and lasts until 7pm or until the wine is finished. The wine tasting is free and I tasted all the wines at least twice :-)
The next event is this week Wednesday (15 February), where Eagle's Nest will do an informative tasting of their wines. Other events this month include: The Drift Farm (Bruce Jack) on 22 Feb and The Winery of Good Hope on 29 Feb.
Its so worth it, and I'll definitely pop in this week again :-)

165 Longmarket Street

Up the creek 2012 wrap up

I took quite a few videos this year at Up The Creek Music Festival, so I don't have as many photographs. But promise to sort the vids out soon and post them. I managed to capture the much spoken about 'wedding ceremony' on camera. Which was actually more of a 'renewing vows' ceremony.

I must say that this year's festival has been my best so far. There was a new layout, and the weather wasn't as hot as previous years, which made hangovers more bearable in general.
I also witnessed my fiance catching a massive barbel, and found an interesting looking eel/snake thing that we thought was dead... but turns out it was actually alive and started swimming when we poked it.

The river was very low this year, but people still gathered by the hundreds with their lilos in tow and spent the day swimming. There was a bit of wind, and every now and then an unattended lilo or tube would be swept up into the air and blown down the river... while someone burnt half drunk person chased after it. Needless to say, some weren't caught.

A few people complained that the line-up wasn't of the standard it had been the previous year, but I thoroughly enjoyed myself and particularly enjoyed Jeremy Loops, aKing, Taxi Violence and Southern Gypsey Queen on Friday night and Shadowclub, Karen Zoid and The Kongos on Saturday night.
Comedian/musos Deep Fried Man and Tall Ass Mo entertained the crowds on the river with their random witty improv work in between awesome sets by the likes of Peachy keen and Sterling EQ.

It's always great to catch up with the musos backstage – and get in with the goss. Although one of my funniest moments was something I witnessed out front: It was the Kongos second song, and the lead singer from Shadow Club (smashed out of his mind) came up on stage and proceeded to take over the guitarists microphone and mumbled some random crap befor ehte guitarist told him to get off... the kongos didn't make a big scene, but i think there was a lot of WTF??? expressions on people's faces. Perhaps next year a bit of backstage quality control should be in order ;-)

All in all, awesome times :-) Will definitely go next year again - for my fifth time in a row :-)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Treat your loved one to a dessert-making course on Valentine's Day

Treat your loved one to a dessert-making course on Valentine's Day, or buy your special lady a voucher to attend a future course of her choice.

Book for a special Valentines dessert-making course at the Lindt Chocolate Studios in Cape Town on Valentine's Day (14 Feb). The two hour course (from 5:30pm) includes a glass of bubbly on arrival, and the making of three indulgent, Valentines-inspired desserts (two of which will be made to take home and the third to be enjoyed in class). R220 per person, visit chocolatestudio.co.za or contact 021-831-0360 to book.

Get behind the scenes on chocolate making at CocoaFair, at the Old Biscuit Mill, Cape
Town. Chef and chocolatier Antonino Allegra will be running three-hour courses on
bean-to-bar artisanal chocolate, including a welcome glass of wine, factory tour, the
opportunity to make and temper your own chocolate from carefully roasted beans and
creating a selection of truffles to take home. Courses run every Wednesday at R450 per
person, contact 076-454-1025 to book or visit www.cocoafair.com for more info. Private courses can be arranged on other days for groups of at least six.

Specialty hand-made truffles are also available for purchase at the Lindt Studio shop and Cocoa Fair, so if you're buying chocolates as a V-day gift, be a little more original and get the artisanal kind. they will go down better than Quality Streets, promise.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

One & Only wine and dine events

Here is an updated list of the monthly wine and dine events taking place at The One & Only Cape Town at Reuben's signature restaurant.

I attended one of these in November and they are so worth it! We had a four course dinner paired with wines from boutique Paarl winery, Veenwouden. And we tried about five wines – the first one was a 'pre dinner drink'.

The next event in March costs R345 per person, and totally worth it. I happened to sit across form the winemaker and he was very informative about the wines. The sommelier, Luvo, was paired them amazingly with the various courses. And of course the dishes are prepare with the wines in mind by the famed Reuben Riffel.

28th March 2012-Groote Post Wines
25th April 2012-Glen Carlou Estate
30th May 2012-Graham Beck Wines
27th June 2012- Boekenhoutskloof Wines
25th July 2012-La Motte Estate
29th August 2012- Steenberg estate
26th September 2012- Ken Forrester Wines
31st October 2012- Kanu Wines
28th November 2012-Nitida Estate

To reserve a seat, call 021 431 4511

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

@seoul - authentic South Korean Food in Sea Point

A South Korean restaurant opened in Sea Point last year, called @Seoul and a friend of mine and I happened to eat there by accident for the first time in December.
We were pleasantly surprised by the clean, simply decorated space.

We ordered vegetarian dumplings (five for R29, steamed or fried) for starters and for mains I had a beef and vegetable stir fry with spicy rice dish called the Dolsot Bibim Bap (R79). It came in a sizzling hot stone pot, which kept the food at a high temperature. There was also a raw egg yolk in the middle, which you stir into the dish as it arrives, mixing up all the ingredients - DELICIOUS!!
My friend had the vegetable stir-friend rice covered with omelette (R55), which was not spicy at all, but had a more tomato-flavoured sauce.

Starters are not necessary unless you are really hungry though. Side dishes with interesting items such as cabbage, spicy horse raddish, mini omelettes and thin potato slices are complimentary when ordering certain mains.
The second time I went, I ordered the same dish I had the first time, simply because it was so tasty, and I had to show it off to my partner. He tried the Korean sweet and sour pork (R75), upon recommendation of our waitress, who moved to SA from South Korea two years ago (and is in the process of learning English). The pork was cooked in a tempura style, with sweet and sour sauce poured on top. It was mush more flavourful than I anticipated, and nothing like a typical Chinese sweet and sour dish.

Mains average out at about R75 each. The wine selection is small, and guests are welcome to bring their own.

On both occasions that I have been, the crowd included visiting Koreans and families and couples.

77 Regent Road, Sea Point, Cape Town, 021-439-3373

*Apologies for the poor quality of photographs - only had the terrible cellphone camera at hand*

Monday, February 6, 2012

Brilliant Winelands deli at Vrede en Lust

After an awesome weekend at Up The Creek, we headed to Backsberg yesterday afternoon for the evening picnic concerts (http://backsberg.co.za/picnicconcerts/). However, what we didn't realise was that the picnics had to be pre ordered, and no food was for sale, save some lamb burgers.

So we went off in search of some picnic fare, and just down the road on our way to Franschhoek, we stumbled a big sign that said 'deli', at Vrede en Lust (www.vnl.co.za).
The deli falls under the Cotage fromage country bistro and deli at the entrance of the estate.
Relieved that we didn't need to mission very far, we went inside to check it out.
I ended up spending R220, which got us the following delectable local produce: goats milk chabris, fresh rye loaf with citrus bits, Bos ice teas, olives with chilli and garlic, a packet of Richard Bosman's salami vino, pickled onions and flavoured water. It was more than enough food for two people.

Other items found in the deli include olive oils, local specialty chocolate and various relishes.

Do yourself a favour and get in touch with Richard (richardbosman.co.za). His superb quality cured meats won't let you down.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Simply delicious Coq au Vin recipe – my way

Essentially, this fancy sounding French dish translates simply into cooking chicken in wine. What a fabulous idea I thought – and let's open some to drink too....

It makes for a great dinner party as it can feed plenty, depending on how many chicken pieces you add in, and what size pot you have.

I normally do 8 pieces: 4 legs, 4 thighs but last night I had 4 wings, 2 thighs, 2 legs... and too much wine to drink...

After making this dish a couple times, I've found what works for me, and here it is:

(Remember to set aside about an hour or more for cooking.)


-Olive oil

-8 chicken pieces

-12 baby onions peeled, whole

-5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

-Half a pack of rindless back bacon, chopped roughly (This can be left out if anti-pork punters are around)

-Half a 250g tub of white or brown mushrooms, halved or quartered (You can use a whole tub if you wish)

-A 750ml bottle of red wine – pinotage, merlot or a bourdeaux blend works well (not the cheap and nasty stuff mind you, or else your dish will come out cheap and nasty)

-1 cup of chicken stock

-2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

-Fresh thyme

-Bay leaves

-Salt and pepper

Step 1:

Heat oil in a large pot and brown chicken pieces. Once slightly golden, remove and set aside

Step 2:

In same pot, add a touch more oil and the whole baby onions. Watch that they don't burn. Add the bacon and garlic, and stir until bacon is cooked, but still soft.

Step 3:

Add the chicken back into the pot, plus the mushrooms. Pour in the wine and the chicken stock, and make sure the meat is basically all covered. Add the balsamic vinegar, a few sprigs of thyme and about 5 Bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper, and bring the pot to a rapid boil.

Step 4:

Turn the heat down to medium-low, cover the pot and let simmer for a further 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step 5:

Remove the chicken pieces and set aside. Bring the sauce to a rapid boil and reduce by about half, adding a bit of thickener if desired (cornflour).

Step 6:

Add the chicken back to the sauce and let simmer for a few minutes before serving. Garnish with thyme.

I served mine last night with Basmati rice and grilled courgettes, but it also goes beautifully with buttery mash and green beans.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

New on Long Street: South China Dim Sum Bar

If any of you have been to the Hope Street Market (check out my post on it here: http://20-somethingincapetown.blogspot.com/2011/04/city-bowl-market.html) you may have come across Edmund Hung and Clinton Ho-Win's stand. These two South African-Chinese guys hailed from Jozi to live out their epicurean life in the mother city.

Just a few weeks ago they opened a permanent establishment: South China Dim Sum Bar, right at the end of Long street, before the Baths.
Mr Fabulosity had checked it out the previous week and so I decided to venture out and try it at lunch time with a few colleagues.

The menu is very simple with a few potsick options (R28) – we tried the beef and vegetarian – Vietnamese Summer spring rolls (R30), noodle salads and so on. We also tried a very interesting turnip cake (R28) and the homemade lemon ice-tea (R15), which is just scrumptious.

There are no card facilities, so make sure you have cash, and as there is no liquor license, patrons are encouraged to bring their own booze.

It was bustling with trendy City Bowl working types and other touristy types.
The decor is very simple, with recycled crates as stools and Bruce Lee movie posters.

It's definitely worth a pop in for after work snacks and a drink (provided you bring your own wine). But don't go super hungry unless its pay day :-)


Dinner: Tue-Sun 6pm ’till late.

Lunch: 12 – 3pm. Wed – Fri.