Thursday, May 28, 2015

Happy Burger Day Healthy Recipe

Yes, you can make a healthy – and super-tasty burger. Try this gluten-free recipe that I made and if you want to keep it dairy-free, just ditch the goat's cheese. Although just a small amount of it will go a long way! Serve with some sweet-potato chips on the side!

Make 8, serves 4.

What you need:

500g ostrich mince
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 small red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 jumbo free-range egg
1 tbsp gluten-free rice flour
Finely chopped fresh herbs, like basil and parsley
Ground coriander
Salt and pepper
16 large brown mushrooms, stipes removed
Extra-virgin olive oil
Butter-lettuce leaves
Two tomatoes, sliced into rings
Chevré, for serving (optional)
Chilli sauce, for serving (optional)

1/ Combine the mince, onion, garlic, chilli, egg, flour, herbs and spices in a large bowl. Make eight small patties.
2/ Sprinkle some extra-virgin olive oil onto a hot griddle pan and cook the patties in batches. Set aside to keep warm in the oven.
3/ While the pan is nice and hot, add a little more olive oil and sear the mushroom caps in batches until slightly browned and cooked.
4/ Assemble the “burgers” by laying down 8 mushroom caps, topping with a piece of lettuce, a slice of tomato, a patty and some goat’s cheese (optional), plus a drizzle of chilli sauce for those wanting extra zing. Top with the other mushroom halves and serve.

Vegetarian Bibimbap Recipe

I received a box of fresh produce and rice from Spekko with a tag saying: inspiration. I had to come up with a recipe using the rice and fresh produce, which included 1 purple cabbage, 3 peppers, 2 bags of Spekko rice, baby fennel, mushrooms and spices. Heres what I did:

The first thing that popped into my mind was to make stuffed peppers, but I thought that would be a bit boring, so I decided to make a vegetarian version of a Korean dish that I like, called Bibimbap, meaning ‘mixed rice’. Its essentially fried rice served in a warm (or hot stone) bowl, with sautéed vegetables arranged in separate sections (usually including ground beef) on top with chilli paste and a raw egg in the centre. The dish is served like this and just before you eat it, you take chopsticks and mix it all together. The egg will scramble with the rice because of the hot temperature, but, if raw egg freaks you out, just gently fry or poach the egg and pop it in the centre before serving.

What You Need
1 cup of spekko brown basmati rice
Extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil
1 clove garlic, very finely chopped
10-12 mushrooms, roughly chopped
2 handfuls of baby spinach
1 large carrot, finely sliced (or julienned)
1/3 head of purple cabbage, finely sliced
1 head baby fennel, finely sliced
Sriracha sauce (traditionally, gochujang is used)
1 red pepper, finely sliced
1 handful of fresh sprouts
2 extra-large free-range eggs
2 spring onions, finely sliced
Toasted sesame seeds

1/ Cook rice according to packet instructions.
2/ Get your sauté pan hot and ready – youre going to cook the veggies in individual batches and then set them aside in different bowls.
3/ Add a drizzle of oil, then add the garlic, cook for 30 seconds, then add mushrooms. Once mushrooms are cooked, remove from pan, place in a bowl, put the pan back on heat with a drizzle of oil and cook the spinach. Once the spinach has wilted, remove, place in a bowl and set aside. Do the same with the carrot, cabbage and fennel. You want the carrot, cabbage and fennel to be cooked, but they must still retain a crunch.

4/ Once the rice is cooked, add some oil to a wok and start frying the rice. After a few minutes, add a few squirts of Sriracha sauce. This adds a great garlic/chilli flavour. Add more if you dont mind a little heat. Stir into the rice and fry for another few minutes.
5/Spoon rice into hot stone bowls, or, if you do not have the correct bowls, simply assemble the ingredients in the wok as follows: place each of the vegetables on top of the rice in segments, including the fresh peppers and sprouts. Leave a space in the centre for the eggs.
6/ Break the eggs carefully into the centre of the vegetables. Top with spring onions and sesame seeds and serve. Mix at the table and eat. Add extra Sriracha sauce if needed.

Gluten-free fig, honey & almond tart

This is a really simple gluten-free, dairy-free tart. If you prefer things a little more on the savoury side, then just leave out the xylitol. I made it for the WH ed for her birthday a couple weeks ago and it's a winner!


What You Need
6 tbsp coconut oil
3 jumbo free-range eggs
3 tbsp xylitol
2 cups almond flour
1 pinch salt
1/4 cup honey
10 to 12 fresh figs, quartered

1/Preheat oven to 180. Grease a spring-form cake tin or tart dish with coconut oil.
2/ Add all the ingredients and mix well until there are no lumps.
3/ Pour into the greased cake tin. Add fig quarters in concentric circles and bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until golden, but the interior is still soft and moist.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The truth about olive oil – a visit to Gabrielskloof

I was lucky enough to be invited out to a boutique wine and olive oil farm in Bot River called Gabrieldskloof to learn about how extra-virgin olive oil is made and about all its nutritional values and properties.

The timing of this visit coincided with the fact that lately a few people have been asking me what I think of olive oil and the (new) fear that it might be carcinogenic. Calm your panties people – there are some facts to get straight here. AND IT IS GOOD FOR YOU!

Here are 10 very important facts I learn't about extra-virgin olive oil:

1. Extra-virgin olive oil has a smoking point of 207 degrees Celsius, this means that for your general roasting (180 - 200), extra-virgin olive oil is ideal. Don't use it for deep-frying (who can afford to anyway?). Best for drizzling over anything: pastas, salads, pizzas and used in dips.

2. For an olive oil to be classified as extra-virgin, there are strict processes and measures taken in SA. To make sure you are getting quality-assured extra-virgin olive oil, always only buy olive oil with the SA OLIVE stamp. And only buy bottles that say "extra virgin".

3. For an olive oil to be classified as extra-virgin, it has to be pressed (or, more accurately, cold-extract) within 12 hours of picking. Gabrielskloof does theirs within six hours.

4. You must consume extra-virgin olive oil within 1 to 2 months of opening. Oxygen interaction and light will make the olive oil go rancid and olive oil loses nutrients as it ages. Store it in a dark, cool cupboard and never decant it into those colourless glass bottles you so often see on local restaurant tables. In fact, never use olive oil from said glass decanters at restaurants.

5. Want to know how you can tell that an olive oil is going off/has gone off? It has an oily, buttery smell. Fresh extra-virgin olive oil will smell like earth and artichokes (indicative of the fruit).

6. Olive oil only has a shelf life of two years and will often only reach supermarkets four months after pressing. This is why it's important to check the SA OLIVE stamp as it will also have the vintage of the olive oil. Do not consume a olive oil older than two years, i.e: no 2012 vintage in 2015.

7. Always buy olive oil in antique (green) glass bottle or a tin instead of a colourless glass bottle, this will help preserve it.

8. Most olive oil producers no longer 'press' olive oil, but instead use cold extraction. This is a more hygienic practice and it is done in a room with a cool temperature (very important in SA, where our temperatures are high). Gabrielskloof extracts their olive oil in a room set to 18 degrees Celsius.

9. Extra-virgin olive oil is packed with nutrients and very high in monounsaturated fatty acids and is a really healthy alternative to other vegetable oils. You can also rub it into your skin as a moisturiser.

10. South Africa produces excellent quality extra-virgin olive oils and many local producers have won big international awards. Always rather support local (not only for the carbon footprint), but because you can be assured of the quality of local oils (remember the SA OLIVE stamp).

For more info on Gabrielskloof, visit:
For more info on SA OLIVE, visit:

Homemade gluten-free pizza with bacon jam and goat's cheese

After a sweaty SWEAT 1000 workout tonight I was craving salt and some carbs. I'd had a low carb day: bananas for breakfast, leftover roast chicken and avo for lunch, so I decided to cook up some gluten-free pizzas.

Normally I would make the bases from scratch, but – sweaty gym gear in tow – I needed a quick fix and found these awesome gluten-free pizza bases at my local SPAR. The brand is Mom 'n Ty's (a local Cape Town gluten-free food company) and the pizzas are pre-baked, so just need 10 minutes in a super-hot oven (230 degrees C) and you're done.

I also received a jar of Melissa's The Food Shop's Bacon Jam to try out, so I killed two birds with one stone and whipped up some quick pizzas – my husband was only too thrilled to be getting pizza on a week night ;-)

I bought some Karoo goat's milk cheddar (I already had chevré in the fridge), grabbed some tomato paste out the cupboard and set to work.

I spread a 1 tbsp tomato paste thinly on each base, sprinkled over some chevré and grated cheddar, dolloped bits of bacon jam over and shoved the pizza bases in the oven. Out and on my plate all in less than 15 minutes! Now that's quick eating! I sprinkled some fresh home-grown basil over, a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of dried chilli flakes before serving. YUM! Definitely a new quick-and-easy fave. I'll just add some fresh ago on top afterwards next time.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Paleo-style banana-nut muffin recipe

This recipe is #grainfree, #glutenfree and #dairyfree. To make it vegan, simply whip up some flax seeds with water to replace the eggs. There is absolutely no sugar or sugar replacement added, making them a great breakfast for diabetics.

The bananas and coconut flour give off some sweetness, although these are definitely more savoury and nutty. You can add a touch of honey to the mixture if you prefer a sweeter treat. The muffins are also very light and fluffly, unlike some other gluten-free recipes, which tend to be pretty dense.

What You Need

Makes 12 muffins

3 ripe bananas
4 free-range extra-large eggs
¼ cup coconut oil
½ cup coconut flour
¼ cup almond flour
1 tsp baking soda
Seeds from a vanilla pod (or 1 tsp vanilla essence)


1/ Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
2/ Mash banana, mix in eggs and coconut oil until well-combined.
3/ Add in the rest of the ingredients and mix until fairly smooth.
4/ Pour equal amounts of batter into the muffin tray.
5/ Bake for 15 minutes until golden and set.
6/ Remove from oven and allow to cool in muffin tray, before serving.

Gluten-free, dairy-free pancakes

When I was about 10, my dad’s mother taught me how to make the simplest pancakes with the Number 1 recipe. It’s called “Number 1”, because you only need one portion of each ingredient, so as a 10-year-old, I memorised it and still use it today. However, I’ve tweaked the ingredients to make the pancakes suit my gluten-free, dairy-free lifestyle.

What You Need

1 cup of soy milk
1 cup of gluten-free cake flour
1 egg
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbps of oil


1/ Mix all the ingredients together and gently fry dollops of batter in a pan over medium heat. 

2/ Serve a stack of flapjacks with fresh fruit (blueberries, strawberries, pomegranate arils) and honey and a sprinkling of cinnamon if you like.

Azure food and wine pairing dinner with Stellenzicht Wines

A couple weeks ago I attended one of Azure's Food & Wine Pairing Evenings hosted by Stellenzicht winemaker, Guy Webber and Azure Executive Chef, Christo Pretorius. 

After being shown to our table with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc in hand, I found myself luckily placed next to the winemaker. He explained that the Golden Triangle wines that we were tasting got their name from the "golden ratio" (2:2:1), which indicates perfect balance, which he feels is also reflected in the wines he makes. We also spoke about his love of Pinotage and he was determined to change my not-the-biggest-fan-of-Pinotage mind. He succeeded.

 After our amuse bouche and delightful breads (yes, they have gluten-free breads available!!), the chef introduced the rest of the meal and Guy got up to talk a bit more about the wines.

 We started with a sous vide salmon trout with oyster soup, which was paired with the Stellenzicht Sémillon Reserve 2009. It was probably my favourite wine of the night! You don't often find a 100-percent Sémillon and the wine had a lovely complexity and full-mouth flavour that had me asking for a second glass in, well, seconds.

Next up was the hanger steak tartare with sourdough toast, mustard mayo, egg yolk, crispy capers and pickled onion. This was paired with the Stellenzicht Rhapsody 2007, a Cape Blend (Yes, that means it contains more than 30-percent Pinotage), which was a rich, robust blend. Spicy and fruity.

We then had a rather impressive palate cleanser (just look at this pic!), before moving on to the Char Sui Blesbok with barbecue glaze, mushroom ragout, potato espuma and gremolata sauce. This was paired with the Plum Pudding Hill Syrah 2009. I'm a big Shiraz-lover, so I was looking forward to this one! An elegant, fruity, spicy wine that left me wanting more... But it was a pretty even toss-up between the Rhapsody and the Plum Pudding.

Our dessert consisted of a black sesame cake with port ice cream, coconut crumble and cured lemongrass. Paired with this was the Cellarmaster's Release Chardonnay, which contains no sulphates – something else Guy is very passionate about. The wine was buttery, yet fresh and clean. I thought it worked nicely with the dessert, but it was a bit tricky for my palate to go from two big reds back to a white and perhaps I didn't appreciate the Chardonnay as much as I would have if I'd tried it before the reds.

We left soon after the petit fours were served as we were tired and had probably had too much wine at this stage! All in all it was a fantastic evening and I definitely recommend it for anyone who has an interest in food and wine pairing – and great conversation.

The next one: Friday 29 May: Morgenster Wine & Olive Estate
Based in Somerset West and dating back to 1711, Morgenster produces internationally acclaimed Bordeaux-style wines and award-winning extra-virgin olive oil, with four Bordeaux cultivars grown on the Estate: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.

For more info on Stellenzicht wines, visit

What else is new at Azure:

The Dinner & Movie nights make for an ideal winter date night or evening out with friends or family. For only R475 per person, movie fans get to combine the pleasures of a three-course menu at Azure with a VIP silver screen experience, courtesy of the hotel’s very own 16-seater cinema. The hotel’s monthly movie schedule meanwhile features something for everyone, from recent blockbusters (The Hunger Games – Catching Fire) and comedies (The Internship), to classics (Casablanca), dramas (Black Swan) and chick flicks (Sex and The City).

Visit for more info.