Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Spier Secret Festival Sunday Braai Off

Sunday was a glorious day in Cape Town, and so we joined our friends for a 'secret' lunch at Spier, as part of the Spier Secret Food Festival. 

On the menu was the Eat Out Chef's Braai, which meant that we got to sample dishes cooked by various famous local chefs, such as Bertus Bason (Overture), Simone Rossouw (Babel), Luke Dale-Roberts (The Test Kitchen) and Tanja Kruger (Makaron).

Being four of us, we each grabbed a dish from different spot and shared all our treats... We sipped on 21 Gables chenin blanc (one of my absolute favourite chenin blancs) and the creative block 5 (which is a blend of five red varietals)....

The boys also noshed on gourmet braai broodtjies (cheese sandwhiches that are grilled on the braai).

We then spent a good couple of hours lazing on the lawns, under umbrellas, sipping wine and wasting away the afternoon. Fabulous!

Wheat-free, dairy-free fruit muffins

I went with a bit of a cranberry theme, but a variety of ingredients can be used, such as banana, apple, blueberries etc

1 cup white rice flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 egg
½ cup fruit juice (I used cranberry and apple)
2 Tbs fructose
2 Tbs canola oil
¼ cup berries or other chopped up bits of fruit and/or nuts (I used dried cranberries)

Mix all dry ingredients together, then add in liquids and mix ingredients together. Don't over beat. Place in a greased 6-muffin tray. Bake for approximately 20 minutes in a pre-heated oven around 200 degrees Celsius. Makes 6 medium-sized muffins.
The oven is fairly hot, so just keep an eye on the muffins and test them with a cake tester after 20 minutes to see if they are cooked through. Otherwise, just leave them in for another 5 minutes and text again. The cake tester should go in smoothly... without sticky sponge attached to it.
They're slighter more dense than regular muffins, but make for a great gluten-free breakfast snack.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

NEW: Gourmet Boerie on Kloof Street

Simple dishes with a gourmet twist are the in thing right now, and all over the place you'll start noticing classics like macaroni and cheese returning to menus with a touch of pizzaz... likewise with dishes such as banger and mash and hotdogs. Soon to be opened at the bottom of Kloof Street is 'Gourmet Boerie'...
The exact opening date is still a bit of a mystery, but its said to be open by the end of this month.

Run by the same guy who owns Rocking the Daisies music festival, it's sure to be quite a vibe. Instead of just Boerewors roll and beer, think: artisanal gourmet boerie roll and craft beer.

Here's what's in-store:

Customers have the choice between traditional, lamb, chicken or vegetarian boerewors, with an Ostrich boerewors in the pipeline. All boeries are available on a selection of rolls. For those with a sweet tooth they offer traditional South African desserts such as Koeksisters, Milk Tart and Malva Pudding. The Gourmet Boerie team have also developed their very own, unique boerewors recipe, available to buy and braai in the comfort of your own home

I did a small Q&A with the chef to find out more:

I see that there is a roll called the 'herbiwors' - is that the vegetarian option?
The herbiwors is a meat option that comes with various vege toppings, like tzatziki, carrots, cucumber, tomato, baby spinach and sprouts. The Veggi Vibe will be the vegetarian option / has no boerewors. 
I see that there are different meat options: lamb, traditional or chicken and ostrich in the future... I think ostrich is great! Does this mean potential other venison sausages?
Also if a boerewors is chicken or lamb, does that mean it is strictly chicken or lamb - ie: no addition of pork for example?
No it does not. 
Will you have a wheat-free roll option? or 'naked' boeries option for example?
This is something we are working on – yes.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Real Peruvian Experience

 As far as Food Trends go, Peruvian food has been the 'it' food of the year and after reading some travel stories on pisco sours and ceviche served fresh from the harbours, I knew it was a country I would love to visit. Plus they have good surf, so I know my husband would be keen.
In Cape Town we are lucky enough to have the only authentic Peruvian restaurant in South Africa, Keenwa, and last weekend, my husband and I tried it out.

The restaurant is situated in De Waterkant, between Bree and Buitengraght. Upstairs is a newly done-up Pisco Bar, so, of course, we tried a traditional Pisco Sours to ease into the evening.
The bar is beautifully bright with interesting, colourful patterns painted on the roof, down the walls and onto the floor. It was a friday night and there was a DJ cranking out some tunes. 

pisco sours

pisco bar

pisco bar

*NOTE: Pisco Sours are fairly strong and bound to get you feeling rowdy

Back downstairs, we settled in to order our dinner. The owner, German, is very inviting and chats with various customers as they arrive. A new chef, Patricio (I think) just arrived three weeks ago, straight from the North of Peru and he has loads in store for the next couple of months, such as wine and food pairing evenings and some new dishes for summer. When I have more information, I'll post about it, and I'm super keen to try one of the pairing evenings.

There was so much to choose from, and so, in order to avoid missing out, instead of just having a starter each, we had The Peruvian Platter (R140) with four different dishes to start.
It contained the Tiradito Classico (my favourite) – thinly slices fish in spicy lime juice; Ceviche – cubes of fish marinated in lime juice with chillies and sweet potatoes; Pulpo Al Olivo – Octopus served on a delicious black olive sauce alongside drunken prawns (they are grilled in Pisco); and the Causa de Pollo – Mashed potatoes with limes and chillies topped with a chicken, avocado and home-made mayonnaise. 
complimentary toasted bread with sauce

Peruvian Platter

We ordered some Peruvian beer to wash down our meals. German imports Cusquena, which is a lightish tasting beer, which goes well with the food. 

Peruvian beer
 All of them were excellent and the ceviche bursts with flavour in your mouth, with the zing of the lime and chillies. The fish used was Angelfish, for both the Ceviche and the Tiradito. All four dishes were quite different, and the octopus was another favourite of mine. Although, would order all of them again in an instant. It's quite a nice things to have even as a main course or to share with someone if you're not particularly hungry.

For mains, I ordered the Quinoa Atamalada (R115) – Quinoa made in a tamal style served with grilled scallops and my husband had the Tacu Tacu (R95) – Rice and bean mixed together served with a choice 3 toppings, beef with Anticucho sauce, chicken with spicy chimichurri. We were both thrilled with our meals, but quite full.

Tacu Tacu

Quinoa Atamalada with scallops

This however didn't stop my sweet-toothed husband from ordering dessert. He tried the traditional Picarones. They're only made on Friday and Saturday as the whole process is quite artisanal. Basically, they are 'doughnuts' made from butternut and sweet potato dough with sugar-cane honey.


It was a great night – we enjoyed the casual atmosphere, good food and the cultural journey our palates took. We will definitely go back, and hopefully soon...

Now, to start saving for an actual trip to Peru...

50 Waterkant Street
021 419 2633

Wine Pairing Evening:
Book for this Thursday!!!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Pinotage on Tap wrap-up

Pinotage on Tap was amazing this year! I think I had the most fun of all the previous ones I have been too. Everything was so well organised, the service was great. The food amazing. The chocolate fountain and kebabs just delicious...

The music was great and we were dancing up a storm in the gorgeous sunshine. The weather couldn't have been more perfect!

Some of my friends hired a bus, which is a great idea, because otherwise there always has to be a DD... although there is now a camping option for over night and for R165, a return bus from the waterfront. 

It's so worth going to, make sure you don't miss it next year! http://www.diemersfontein.co.za

Friday, October 12, 2012

October = wine festival time

October really is wine month in the Cape... 

Even though we're still a few months from harvesting season, plenty of wine farms celebrate their 2012 releases this time of year and, with the summer sun playing along, there's more than enough reason to head outdoors this weekend.

Last weekend I went to Season of Sauvignon, which takes place in the Durbanville wine valley region. I was so sad to see that one of my favourite boutique wineries had closed: de Vallei. It's a sign of the times. But determined to support these wine farmers more than ever by consuming copious amounts of alcohol, we rallied some friend together for some serious wine tasting. 

We started at Hillcrest wine estate (http://www.hillcrestfarm.co.za), where we did a vertical tasting of their sauvignon blancs. We also thoroughly enjoyed the reds (particularly the cab sauv merlot) and the rose. After lining our stomachs with some brownies and buying some olive oil, we headed off to the next wine farm, Nitida (http://nitida.co.za).

We shared a bottle of the Nitida Sauvignon Blanc, which was easy drinking without too much acidity, followed by a lunch at their Tables Restaurant. The menu offers casual cafe-style meals such as burgers, steak rolls, paninis and muscles, fairly reasonably priced.
It was a busy day and there was a slight mix-up with out order, which we didn't mind, but a woman (who we presume was the manager) came out apologized, and then said that our waiter would pay for his mistake as he should know better. We were all a bit put off by her attitude and headed off soon after to the main tasting room to try some of the other wines.
The tasting was basically finished (it was only about 1:45pm), so we only managed to try a couple things from the last remaining bottles before we headed off to our next stop.

We arrived at D'aria (http://www.dariawinery.co.za/) in time for some live music, plenty of wine tasting and festivities. We were loving the sauvignon slush puppies and sauvignon tequila shots, which only added more to our festive mood. I went on to the reds pretty quickly, as D'aria makes an amazing shiraz, called Soprano... many mores bottles ensued... 

Our friends headed back to Cape Town, while my husband and I continued on through the rugby and well into the evening – dancing to an awesome 80s cover band – before deciding that we'd had far too much fun to possibly drive home, and ended up staying at a hotel down the road...

But that's not the end of our wine-tasting activities this month...

Tomorrow is the annual Pinotage on Tap festival at Diemersfontein (http://www.diemersfontein.co.za/). Tickets are R320, but they include lunch, a separate goodie bag with water and sandwiches, a chocolate fountain (very popular) activities, games, live music (including Albert Frost, Gerald Clark and Goodluck) and most importantly, as much wine as you can drink – straight out of the barrel.... This year I see they are offering camping facilities for those who don't have designated drivers. There is also a return bus from Cape Town. Check the website for details.
021 864 5050

More contact details:

021 976 1110
021 976 1467
021 801 6772

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

crafty by nature

This newly availble craft beer will have others fooled at your ability to look fresh and stand straight at the end of a 'real music Tuesday' night at &union.
And that's because it's non-alcoholic...
Here are the deets:
&union have taken their craft-brewed Bavarian wheat beer and sent it off to remove the alcohol via a patented vacuum process. The result is refreshingly surprising and its all-natural isotonic properties make it the perfect sports drink.
0,4% ABV.
8 week brewing time.
Ingredients: Wheat, barley, yeast, hops and water.
Craft brewed in Bavaria.
Now available nationwide.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Wine Tasting in the Westerness...

Somerset West (about 45 minutes drive out of Cape Town) is known to some of us Sea Pointers as the Westerness. We spent the weekend there, visiting the beach (the water is warmer), visiting family and most importantly, wine tasting. In Somerset West itself, there is a section of land covered by vineyards and a looped road with three well-established wine farms: Lourensford, Vergelegen and Morgenster.

I had been dying to visit these farms as I've heard so much about the food market at Lourensford, the beautiful scenery at Vergelegen and I remember having wine from Morgenster once before and noting how delicious their reds were. So on that premise, we went on a mission.

We started at Lourensford, which I immediately recognized because I had done a trail run a few years back along the property. Unfortunately there was no market on, so we just headed straight for the wine tasting.

The tasting room is beautiful. We sampled some olives and cheese while we tried the various wines. They have a small deli inside and they sell delicious honey from the farm. The olives are also divine, juicy and fat with flavour.
The wine tasting was around R20-R30 per person and we tried 6 wines. They also have a brand new bubbly, so look out for that. I liked the Winemaker's Selection viognier 2010 the best.

We then popped off tho visit the estates boutique coffee roastery: The Coffee Roasting Co.
As it turns out, they'll make up a coffee (in the style you want) for free, as a tasting. So I ordered an espresso of the La Fatima, while my husband had an Americano with milk of something else that was a little too strong. We decided to buy a bag of the La Fatima (about R45 for a 250g bag). 

For more info on Lourensford, visit: http://www.lourensford.co.za/
Roastery: 021 847 0536
Winery: 021 847 2300
Opening Hours
Tasting Room
Monday - Sunday: 09h00 - 17h00
Public Holidays: 09h00 - 17h00

After feeling all warm and ready for fun, we headed to Morgenster Wine Estate, and, as I originally thought, the red wines are delicious. We ended up buying probably one of the most expensive wines I have ever bought directly from the farm. R320 (2005 Merlot Cab sauv) for a bottle - but it was so dreamy delicious, and truth be told, we've already drunk it. So much for 'waiting for a special occasion'... 
At the cellar, guests have a choice between the Italian tasting and the estate vertical tasting (the same wine from various years). 
We did one of each although I think the vertical tasting is more interesting.
021 852 1738
Morgenster Wine and Olive Estate is open to the public on the following days:
Monday - Friday: 10:00 - 17:00
Saturday & Sunday: 10:00 - 16:00
Public Holidays 10:00 - 16:00

We ended our day with a stop at Vergelegen, where we did a wine tasting and chilled out to enjoy the rest of our afternoon. We liked the chardonnay 2011 the best and are saving it for a summe rlunch (R95).
Tasting/tour fees

  • Tasting @ R30 for any 6 wines available, excluding the Vergelegen Red and White
  • Tasting @ R10 each for the Vergelegen Red and White
  • Cellar Tour @ R20 per person including a tasting of 4 premium range wines
  • Opening times
    Tastings 09h30 - 16h30
    021 847 1334

    Wednesday, October 3, 2012

    New: Harveys Deli at the Winchester Mansions

    The Winchester Mansions has been a sought after destination in Sea Point for many years and for many reasons. 1 It's right on Beach Road, with the rooms offering stunning ocean views; 2. It has a great restaurant and bar, called Harveys; 3. They have awesome Sunday brunches with live Jazz...

    Now, after much talk and work in the pipelines, they have opened Harveys Deli, and to celebrate the opening I received this package yesterday:

    I'll pop into the deli itself soon and have more feedback with other food info, opening times, pics etc...

    PS: Tonight is ladies night at Harveys Bar, meaning every lady gets a complimentary cocktail and rose on arrival :-)

    Visit http://www.winchester.co.za/ for more info