Tuesday, July 31, 2012

White wine and lemon roasted chicken pieces

This is a great mid-week meal, not too much stress or fuss, with good results... Now lets get to the story of how I came upon it:

One of the many Cape Town Foodie people I love is the genius chef, Tina Bester, behind Queen of Tarts – a cute lunchtime eatery in Woodstock. Queen of Tarts runs basic cooking classes on Saturday morning at the Queen of Tarts Test Kitchen upstairs. She also does catering, so order your next birthday or office cake from her :-) 021 448 2420 http://www.queenoftarts.co.za

Back to the story:

So, while looking for a dairy-free, yummy/easy chicken dish, I came across one of Tina's recipes. I've made it many times now and have adapted it slightly to suit my needs.
So, here's how it goes:


  • Chicken pieces, such as thighs, wings and legs are good (between 6 and 10, depending on how many people you are cooking for)
  • About a cup of good white wine, use the rest for drinking over dinner
  • 1 large lemon cut in thin wedges
  • 2 red onions cut into thick slices
  • 8-10 cloves are garlic, whole, in skin
  • A few twigs of fresh thyme
  • Chilli flakes (optional), salt and pepper for seasoning
  • a good dollop of extra-virgin olive oil
  • a handful of pitted kalamata olives, halved

In a large roasting pan, place the chicken pieces, wine, lemon wedges, red onions and garlic cloves. Make a bouquet of thyme add this on top, season with salt, pepper and chilli flakes. Drizzle olive oil all over. Bake at 200 degrees Celsius for about 45 minutes. Remove roasting pan, add olives, bake for a further 10 minutes. You should be left with a thick lemony sauce – spoon this over the chicken pieces while serving. Squeeze out the garlic cloves – they will be soft, juicy and delicious. Serve with a big salad.

Official Olympic White and Rose wine is from South Africa!

Did you know that South Africa is the largest producer of Fairtrade wines in the world with over 5,6 million litres of Fairtrade wine exported in 2011?
I only learnt that today...
Well even better news is that South Africa is supplying two of the three official wines for the Olympic Games: A Chenin Blanc and Pinotage Rose from Stellenbosch's Stellenrust Wine Estate (the largest local fair-trade certified wine estate).
Good on us :-)

Just another Winters day in cape Town

This is what I spent Sunday afternoon doing... you have to love those gorgeously warm days in between the cold-fronts. Holding thumbs I get a day like this for my wedding in 3 weeks time!

Gluten-free cupcakes with 'Zoo-biscuit' icing


I tried out a new gluten-free cake mix that was sent to my office the other day, and it was superb, better than the cake flour I normally use.
It is available from selected Fruit & Veg City or Dischem health pharmacies.

It's super easy, all you do is whisk together 3 (room-temperature) extra-large eggs together, add in cake mix and ½ cup or water and ½ cup of canola oil.

Pour into cupcake trays – it makes 18 large cupcakes. One tray of cupcakes bakes for about 25 to 30 minutes at 160 degrees Celsius, until slightly golden and the sponge springs back when lightly touched.

'Zoo-biscuit' icing:

Named so, because when I passed these cupcakes around to my colleagues, they decided the icing tasted exactly like zoo-biscuits do. A total coincidence I tell you...

So here goes:
100g of butter, softened
50ml of milk
a teaspoon of rose essence
a teaspoon of rose food colouring
seeds from one large vanilla pod
400g of icing

Mix all the ingredients together and add icing sugar bit by bit, until desired icing texture is reached.

Hmmmm delish!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Guilt-free chicken pie (dairy and wheat free)

Wheat-free, dairy-free pie crust:

1 ½ cups white rice flour
¼tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
¼ cup margarine
2 large eggs

Mix dry ingredients in one bowl. In a separate bowl, mix eggs and melted margarine. Join together to form a dough. It won't be easy to work with, in fact it's a pain, but at least dairy-free, wheat-free people can still eat pie!
Bake base crust for 20 minutes at 220 degrees C, or until golden.

Chicken pie filling:

olive oil
1 brown onion finely chopped
1 large clove garlic finely chopped
4 diced skinless chicken breasts
1 ½ cups of white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
1 cup chicken stock
1 bundle of thyme
400g of mixed mushrooms (brown and button), roughly chopped
1 deseeded chilli, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
corn starch

Cook onions and garlic in olive oil, add chicken. Cook for a few minutes, then add wine, thyme, chicken stock, chillis, mushrooms and salt and pepper. Simmer for about 45 minutes. Scoop out a couple spoonfuls of juice, add about 2 tablespoons corn starch to this, in a mug, to make a paste. Add back into the chicken mixture. Stir and cook for a further 10 minutes.
Pour into pastry dish. Add a thin crust topping from remaining pastry.
Cook for a further 30 or so minutes at 200 degrees C.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wine Gem Wine Safari

A couple weeks ago I sent in tons of  photos of myself drinking wine in a 'wild' fashion, in hopes of winning one of the golden tickets to the Wine Gem Wine Safari day... little did I know I would leave the trip with more 'wild' wine photos from one day than I had managed to accumulate over the past year.
It was an awesome trip, organised by T from Siris Vintners (@SirisVintners) and Gem from AndUnion's Wine Gem tasting sessions (www.andunion.com).
We started with Weiss and unfiltered lager for breakfast, or a Bavarian Breakfast as Wes and Victoria called it. They were sneakily disguised (from the cops) in robot party cups, which started getting slightly soggy, only meaning we had to drink the beer faster. It was cold though, and we were thirsty – so this was no problem. 

The rest of the story is best told through these pictures...

let the games begin!

sobriety was soon overtaken at Haut Espoir (www.hautespoir.com)

our wine blending stations at Haut Espoir

love this office space

"This is what real skating looks like Richard!"

showing off some serious Sabrage skills

ideal paparazzi hiding spot

Vic: We're laughing now, but my wine blend is going to kick your blends ass!

some of our wine blend judges - they weren't a big fan of 'Tits & Ass'

braai boys

sexy couple getting married in one month today - eeeek!

getting to know Sam Merlot (girl)

oooh girl!

balancing act

I'm just not letting go of this bottle

tim was quite popular with the ladies

"I should have gone for that manicure!"

"fascinating ear Richard"

cheers to great boobs

I'm sure we fell about 0.5 seconds after this photo was taken

red wine stain much?

friends through wine

"well hello!"

hiawatha joined in the tasting
Tim looking rather flushed

Wes pulling a zuma


bubbly tasting at Moresson http://www.moreson.co.za/

I think it was: Gunther Gunther Gunther!!
pouts all round

drink your weight in wine

T - legendary safari host

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Lammershoek first-ever open day

I had the privilege of tasting wines from Lammershoek – a winery in Malmesbury – the other day at Tjing Tjing wine tasting wednesdays (tjingtjing.co.za)

I simply love the labels of their LAM range, which is their “everyday drinking range”...

from left: Lammershoek LAM Pinotage 2010; Lammershoek LAM Syrah 2010; Lammershoek LAM Rose 2010 –100% Syrah; Lammershoek LAM White Blend 2010 – 60% chenin blanc, 40% viognier

*Good to know: the wines are farmed organically*

They are also having an open day this weekend, where for the first time, the farm is open to the public for tasting and showcasings of the LAM, Lammershoek and Cellar Foot ranges, as well as the wines from Testalonga and Intellego.

It will be a casual affair (less talking more drinking), with a walk around tasting and light snacks served, all on 28 July.

Visit their website for more information: http://www.lammershoek.co.za/
Call Carla on 022 482 2835 for more info.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Comfort cookies

I once found a recipe a couple years ago in a Pick n Pay fresh Living magazine, which – after a couple alterations – has become my staple cookie recipe.
I make the basic cookie recipe, divide the dough in half to make one chocolate and one plain, roll them together and create beautiful swirly cookies.
All my good friends know them well, and in a way they have become my signature biscuits.
They're also quite easy to make and cost effective.

Here is the recipe:

180g or room-temperature butter
300g caster sugar
1 extra-large egg
1 extra-large egg yolk
pinch salt
380g flour
2 heaped tablespoons of cocoa powder

First, cream the butter, then slowly add the sugar and mix until well blended. Stir the yolk and whole egg in with a wooden spoon. Add the pinch of salt and add the flour in 100g bits. If you see the mixture is a bit dry after 300g additions, add only another 50g of flour (making it 350g of flour). Divide the dough into two. Work at both of them with your hands until they form a nice ball of dough.
Coat counter with flour.  Roll out one half with a rolling pin.
Place the other half back in the bowl with the cocoa powder and knead it in with your hands until evenly distributed and dough is chocolate brown.
Add more cocoa powder if desired.
Roll out the cocoa dough. Once flat, wrap it around the rolling pin and place it over the rolled out plain dough.
Roll the doughs up to form a long dough sausage.
Cover in cling film and refrigerate for half an hour.
Remove from fridge, slice into 5mm slices, place on buttered baking tray.
Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes until slightly golden in an oven preheated to 180 degrees Celsius.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Painting Sundays

with flash

Since the awful winter weather is conducive to spending more time in doors, to help avoid cabin-fever syndrome, I have been a lot more painting on the weekends. Particularly on Sunday afternoons. Here's what i finished this past weekend.

without flash
 What do you guys think?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Tamboers Winkel

Have any of you heard about Tamboers Winkel yet?
It's an awesome little deli-cum-coffee shop just off Kloof Street.

They have a variety of salads, sandwhiches and lunch meals such as home-made chicken pie or roast chicken and soup of the day for take-away as well as a great selection of local cheeses (from The Real Cheese, Fairview and Forest Hill Cheesery) and charcuterie (Twelve Pigs and the Black Forest Butchery) and delicious deluxe coffee (local boutique roastery)...

Other deli-style items on offer are freshly baked breads from Manna down the road, free range eggs and free range chickens (from Elkana Poultry Farm outside Montague), olives, olive oils, balsamic vinegar,

Theo - the owner - also boast about the berry ice tea... in terms of other drinks, visitors are welcome to bring their own wine (although wine and craft beers will be available as soon as the restaurant obtains its liquor license).

It's great to know where all the food comes from, and it's especially awesome that it's local :-)

The decor is also very quirky, filled with vintage items, recycled crates and so on...

Try it for your next lunch... and they stay open 'til about 7pm, so it could wrok for an early dinner spot too... Cheese boards and snack plates work well