Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Summer's brightest: Melons! Woolworths chopping board chit chat

I was lucky to have another chopping board chit chat with Woolies. It was right on the back of COP 17 and in line with my philosophy of eating seasonal and local as far as possible, except for the Lindt chocolate of course.

 I have used melons and made basil, feta, watermelon salad these past two weekends and stumbled across a wonderful dressing.
White balsamic and pomegranate dressing:
3 parts olive oil
1 part white balsamic vinegar
2 parts pomegranate juice (fresh from the pomegranate, give it a squeeze)
salt and pepper to season

It's plain simple and really enhances the flavours in the watermelon salad.

Happy seasonal eating!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Jozi Foodie Fix in Taste mag December issue

For those of you who don't usually buy a copy of the Woolworths Taste magazine, I'd recommend you grab the  light blue, muscadel granita cover December issue. Why you ask? Well one reason is that yours truly is featured as the Blog Star. My copy has now taken up permanent residence on our dark couch, for all passers by and tv watchers to peruse.


At home with Eat Out chef of the year, Luke Dale-Roberts 
20 foodie things to eat, taste, touch and buy this month
Mariana Esterhuizen's Ouma's Christmas mince pies
Kobus van der Merwe's new-look crayfish salad
The best food markets around South Africa
Allan Mullins' favourite bubblies
Christmas shortcuts with Woolies' ready-to-serve products
The magical combination of blueberries and gooseberries
Tina-Marie Malherbe's adventure as a waitress in the Greek isle of Paros
Meet Thando Moleketi, one of SA's most popular food bloggers

Happy reading! A big thanks to Taste!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Trying something new: Caramelised onion lamb shank

Never one to admit that the cupboard is too bare to whip up a roast, I used what I had to make a wonderful (if i must say so myself) lamb shank. If ever you thought that onion marmalade has limited uses, you are mistaken.

Lamb shank served with seasonal vegetables
6 Lamb shanks
2 medium sized red onions sliced
2 tbsp onion marmalade
500ml liquid beef stock
1 tbsp chutney
1 tomato peeled and chopped
cloves garlic (to preference)
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 180 - 200 C depending on oven, roast for at least 2 hours

Placed sliced onions on the bottom of a baking tray. Combine beef stock, onion marmalade, chutney and tomato, pour over the onions. Season lamb shanks with salt pepper. With a knife and strategically poke holes in the shank and stuff with garlic. Place shanks on top of the sliced onion and sauce mixture and roast covered for an hour - turning the shanks once.
Uncover and cook for the second hour, turning to ensure that all sides are browned. Roast until the shank is soft and cooked to you liking.

What I ended up with was a depth of flavour only caramelised onions can give. Perfect sweet savoury combination.

I added mushrooms to the roasting juices and cooked them on the stove top, then added some baby spinach just to wilt. I served the spinach with mushrooms as a vegetable side. The caramelised onion flavour totally cut through and eliminated the irony flavour of the spinach. Wonderful!!!

I have to say it again onion marmalade is a household must!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Perfect morning pick me up: Vanilla Latte

Despite the Johannesburg heat, it's been upward of 30 degrees this entire week, I just needed something sweet with a caffeine kick to lift my spirits this morning.In comes the Vanilla latte!

Nothing peps me up quite like a vanilla latte, I'm not too fussy where I get it from.
I find that Seattle Coffee Co. has an extra kick so their coffee tends to be quite strong for me. My favourite is a cuppa from Vida e Caffe, it's a mild single shot with sweet vanilla syrup and followed with a Hola Majimbos! Obrigado! Love it!
But some days just call for something strong and sweet, so Seattle it was! 
The barista even gave me his heart xoxo

Friday, October 28, 2011

Something BitterSweet at Wolves

I wasn't much, actually I wasn't a beer drinker at all before my Eurotrip earlier this year. But when in Copenhagen, do like the Danish and have a Tuborg. I now find I have acquired a taste for a beer that is bitter, slightly strong but still light.

I do enjoy the Brewers&Union and the StephWeiss (yellow label) beers. Though the Weiss is very light so definitely a girly beer. Because I'm all about balance it definitely needs something sweet to go with it, like a slice of cake. A moist slice of rich, deep, dark, chocolate cake with ganache icing to be exact!

Lucky for me Wolves (on Corlett) was more than happy to oblige. 
I love the Wolves! It has a great hipster, kinda kitsch but not, feel. With their mismatch cups, saucers and side plates. During the day bring along your laptop and do a couple of hours work over a good coffee or beer, and a great slice of cake.

 I'd recommend the chocolate cake, the chocolate vanilla layer cake with marshmallow icing and the hummingbird, which is a great surprise, of banana pineapple walnut cake with cream cheese icing.

Wolves does get busy on Thursday and Friday nights, when they stay open late, as the hipsters come out to listen to live music.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Thursday night quickie: Carbonara

I'm sure we've all had a craving that just won't be shaken. For me it's been spaghetti carbonara this week. It came to me on Monday and the smokey, salty flavours just whirled around my head till the end of the week.

So yesterday I said enough was enough and carbonara for dinner it was! The great thing about it is that it's one of the quicker pasta dishes, but there is the trick of not making scrambled eggs.

Super simple boil spaghetti as normal, while that's on the go fry pancetta or smoked streaky bacon till crispy and set aside on paper towel.Then mix eggs, double cream with grated pecorino chopped chives and parsley olive oil salt and pepper.
When the pasta is done with super quick hand motion place in a bowl and stir in the egg mix, quick as you can. Or else you'll end up with a breakfast pasta spaghetti ala scrambled egg, bacon and cheese.

We served it up with a green salad and heat& eat olive loaf, totally satisfying! I love the salty smokey-ness of the cheese and bacon just cut by freshness of dill and parsley. One of my favourite favourites. And it tastes good reheated for lunch the day after.

Maybe next Thursday's quickie will be spaghetti Puttanesca (literally means whore's style spaghetti in Italian) wink

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Must have: Onion Marmalade

This weekend I realised, after running out of it, that Onion marmalade has become one of the most used and loved item in our pantry. Why you ask? It has that balance of flavour that  we all crave; the savoury, sweet deep caramelised onion flavour.
Although it's exterior probably does not look as appealing, as it is to a foodie like myself who likes all things preserve, it is a gem in the kitchen.
  1. Great accompaniment for beef, lamb and pork
  2. Uplifts most left overs, especially roast beef sandwiches with rocket and tomato
  3. Cheese accompaniment, camembert or brie and even a cheddar
  4. Adds a depth of sweetness to salad dressings - olive oil, balsamic, mustard, salt, pepper and teaspoon of onion marmalade
  5. Topping cheese tartlets
Do yourself a favour and get some onion marmalade, it's stocked at your nearest Woolies

Friday, September 30, 2011

What's for dinner? Ramen tonight but NEVER AGAIN from Ramen Braamfontein

It's official, well been official, Jozi has a dedicated Ramen eatery, Ramen in Juta str Braamfontein. Tonight as a pick me up I'll be grabbing myself a bowl of ramen and knowing me probably a little something more to go with it.
No what is also official is that Ramen doesn't have a clue of what Ramen is! Firstly, the ramen options were only vegetable or chicken. The broth tasted like tomato paste mixed with some hot water.No soya, or miso options, no nori, no spring onions. Which to me means no ramen!

The dish they served was ramen blasphemy!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Must do! Neighbourgoods market

This last weekend I went to the launch Saturday at the Neighbourgoods Market in Juta street Braamfontein (affectionately know as Braamies), and I just have to say it's a MUST MUST DO! 

Braamies had a wonderful energy and vibe with hipsters, families and cool kids all heading to the market.

Now for the warning it is pricey overall with plain cinnamon sugar crepe/pancake going for R30 but it is well worth it. Especially if you go early, get a table + bench on the rooftop and enjoy brunch or lunch with friends.

Be prepared, come with cash and shopper bags for everything you'll be buying. There are stalls for everyone; Beer brewers, South Africa's own Buffalo Mozzarella, charcuterie, lemonade (that's fantastic in a caipirinha), Belgian waffles, pastries galore and I could go on and on.

There is also a clothing/fashiony section I saw some really cute baby clothes that I must get for the kiddie winks I know.

Last and not least some fantastic morning cocktails! Damn that bloody mary

Diarise the Food Wine Design at Hyde Park

I see the Food Wine Design Fair sponsored by Sanlam is back at Hyde Park this November the weekend of the 25th.

Although I found the design pieces quite quirky and some too rich for my blood last year, it is a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Last year I had great luck and found Belle's Patisserie, they have the prettiest and tastiest bite sized brownies ever. And they're topped with honeycomb chards - too chic!

Friday, September 9, 2011

The perfect tea time snack: Choco Pie

I didn't realise that they were still around, but while in a meeting this week I spotted choco pie on a colleagues desk. To which I said "Oh I didn't realise they still exist" to which said colleague said "go ahead have one" What a sly minx I thought to myself.

Nothing like a mug of ceylon tea accompanied by a soft cookie filled with marshmallow and covered in chocolate, s'mors have nothing on this! They're the perfect tea time snack not too sweet , yes even with marshmallow, and not too filling Just Right!

And they're individually wrapped so it's like opening up a tea time pick me up pressie, now all I need to do is find some more.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Did someone say bacon and food truck? BaconBaconSF

Those who know me know I'm a sucker for a food truck and have a penchant for bacon. So when foodspotting appeared on my twitter timeline with LOVE bacon? LOVE food trucks? I knew they could only be speaking to me. And then this food truck happens to be in San Francisco, to which I have a trip in less than a month, I knew it must be kismit!

Foodspotting led me to Thrillist

Here's to eating to my bacony heart's content in San Fran
Also love the cheesy shirts, ooh bacon and cheese yum!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Quick pick me up from Patisserie - Lemon loaf!

One of the places I frequent just to have a look at what sweet treats they have to offer is The Patisserie in the post office centre Illovo. Last Wednesday was my birthday and uncharacteristically I hadn't ordered a cake, so off to the Patisserie I went.

I walked out with a lemon loaf, topped with lemon drizzle/icing. The loaf was a hit in the office, even with those on diet. It's moist, bright, sharp and tart but also slightly sweet. Seriously, a taste explosion to quote my colleague.

For anyone who has a sweet tooth, do yourself a favour and pop into Patisserie. Treat yourself to something new each time because I guarantee you'll go back for more. I can personally recommend the carrot cake it's the best in Jozi followed closely by the Tasha's carrot. The red velvet cupcakes are unrivaled, trust me on this one! The apple cakes, the are mini-ish cakes, and word of advice always buy two. The heart shaped mini chocolate cake is decandent, devilish in fact. Then of course either the lemon or the orange loaf, absolutely lovely.

The Patisserie
+27 (0) 11 268 0044
Post office centre, Rudd road, Illovo (behind Thrupps centre)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Conquering the Ramen craving at Japa

After trying to fight my massive craving for ramen, i finally gave in last Friday and on a recommendation from a friend tried out Japa in Rivonia. I ordered the Cha Syu Ramen, which came in a seriously big bowl!

The broth was wonderful and salty, but salty in a good way. The noodles were fresh and perfectly cooked, slurp slurp. The thin slices of pork were soft and tender, but I must say i felt my pork to broth and noodle ratio was a bit low.

It's served with pickled ginger, nori and spring onions. The trick is always loading up your chop sticks and spoon with the noodles, broth, pickled ginger, nori and spring onions. Without a splash and broth in my face, I'm still working on that.

The BF ordered the Katsu Don which in terms of flavour outshone the ramen. But Ramen I still love you. It was served with a side of miso broth that was super tasty and mildly salted. The Katsu don is rice topped with pieces of porkbelly, shiitake mushrooms and scrambly egg. The depth of the flavour in the rice was amazing, salty slightly porky with earthy mushroom tones. Wonderful! although the bf said the rice wasn't sticky enough - semantics i say!

A side note portions are meant to be shared and are definitely not for one. Overall verdict Japa is super authentic and I'll be back for sure!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Today's craving - ramen

I have found that of late I have Asian inspired cravings and today is no different. I am craving pulled pork ramen. I haven't mastered the art of eating it, but trust you me I get through it.

Momofuku ramen

Slightly salty soy broth, with soft melt in your mouth pork belly and strands of pulled pork. Chinese mushrooms,spring onions, pickled ginger. And to top it all off a soft poach egg and on wonderful ramen noodles. My heart is warm just writing about it, and my tongue tingling with excitement.

So I'm searching for the best ramen in Jozi, so far on my list the Duck Ramen at So Yum in Hyde Park and then the Miso Cha Shu Ramen at Yamato, although Yamato's Nabeyaki Udon seems more along the lines of the Momofuku ramen that first sparked my love for this broth dish.

On the hunt for best ramen in Jozi! All ramen on the brain

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Jam Restaurant - Eggs Benedict with bacon jam on the side

I was at the Durban July this past weekend, and had an eggs benedict lunch before driving back to Jhb on Sunday. Although it was lunch, the team at Jam did oblige and made my order of eggs benedict. I mean it is simpler than making a lunch dish no?!

The hollandaise was creamy just slightly sharp with a good helping of dill, although just a smidge on the thick side. The eggs poached soft to slightly medium as ordered. Topping a toasted english muffin with smoked salmon.

I noticed bacon jam on the menu so I asked for a side to try. Honestly, this bacon jam tasted like onion marmalade with a slightly smokey bacon flavour but it's super subtle. A big thanks to Miss Nomi for the recommendation.

So Jam restaurant's bacon jam is a sweet, smokey onion marmalade. The hunt for bacon jam continues! Next stop Jozi foodmarkets

Friday, July 1, 2011

New discoveries - Bacon Jam

Just came across Bacon Jam on Oh Joy! blog, yes you guessed US based. Did someone say Bacon Jam?

I can't judge, the maker of bacon jam, because I too am a lover of bacon in any shape or form. Bits, bites, crisps, tender back bacon or crispy rashers.

So I will searching for bacon jam in Jozi. I am totally on it my next free weekend, because this coming weekend is the Durban July, trawling the Jozi food markets. If I don't have any luck, I'll put it on my San Francisco to do list when I'm there in August.


I can imagine it already, a slice of ciabatta spread with bacon jam topped with a slice of camembert and a poached egg, yum o!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A slice of Martin Senekal decadence - can you say mini cakes?

I have no idea how I stumbled across this, this morning at work. Considering the my work is not at all foodie related. But since coming across it, I can't get the miniature cakes out of my mind. Unfortunately, it's not on the Jozi foodie fix track but in Cape Town.

It's Martin Senekal confectionery designs and what wonderful designs they are. Also with some interesting flavour profiles and combinations. As soon as I can work out a same day delivery service I'm ordering what looks like a piece of heaven.
The fact that they're mini make them all the more appealing, it packs some serious eye candy with only mini cake size calories, Oh yeah!
These are my top picks of cakes I'd try based on the picture alone on the website.

I love lemon cake! Lemon cake with italian meringue & sugared lemon slices

To try something new! Green tea cake with black sesame &cream cheese and candied pineapple

Because the raspberries channel Marie Antoinette Vanilla cake raspberry frosting, belgian white chocolate and fresh raspberries

For the chocaholics Chocolate cake with cocoa frosting, ganache and pistachio truffles

If these live up to the way they look, I would for sure have them at a wedding. Actually who am I kidding, I'd even create an occasion to have them on display. I mean just looking at them don't you just die?

Channelling my inner Rachel Zoe "I Die!"

Monday, June 27, 2011

Today's craving - seared duck breast

I have actually had this craving for over a week. Duck breast with crispy skin on a bed of bok choy. My first restaurant stop would either be OyO in Bedfordview or The Orient in Melrose (they're part of the Thai Africa group so basically the same menu), for the duck breast with plum sauce. However I have a secret weapon at home my brother, who does restaurant quality duck breast, well any meat in fact!

I found this recipe online (I love google!) and will be trying it out this week sometime. I live next to Cyrildene, so I think I should be able to source my ingredients in our little Chinatown.


I just love the way slightly salty bok choy compliments duck. I also think the famous blueberry reduction may go well with it. I still can't edit myself, so the options will be tamarind and lemongrass sauce or blueberry reduction.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday lunch in The Attic

Just had sunday lunch at the Attic in Parkhurst, for the bf to meet the best friend. I thought somewhere cosy like the attic would be appropriate. And if I needed a drink, which thankfully I didn't, the Attic can do those well too.

 I ordered the Sunday roast which was a pork roast and crackling with an apple sauce and gravy, young seasonal vegetables and potatoes. The pork was perfectly cooked and tender topped wonderfully with a tart apple sauce. The potatoes were crispy outside and soft inside, although a large helping by my standards. But the older man next to me had no problem polishing them off. The vegetables were perfectly cooked, carrots still had a slight crunch.

Although the service left a lot of wanting, it was made up for by the perfect piece of crackling. Compliments to the chef! But the waiter was less than attentive and distracted, which meant I ended up walking to the entrance to pay the bill and he says "I hope you enjoyed the afternoon" to which i replied "It was fine" but I doubt he read between the lines.

What I loved about this lunch is that it's home style comfort food made to perfection. Nothing could pale the comfort I got from the crackling that needed both hands to break in half and crunch, crunch, crunch!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Today's craving - Lemon Meringue

I have just developed a craving for a slice of lemon meringue. One that has the right balance of sweet and tart, the condense milk-esque sweetness cut by the tart lemony-ness.

My first stop for this would be Tashas, although I have heard that there is a place in Craighall that has the best lemon meringue in town.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Cape Town Coffee Chronicles

I happened to have a day of meetings in Cape Town today and luckily got to fly in last night. Which meant I could get a coffee run in, well coffee bean run, this morning before my first set of meetings at 08:00am. I was in search of Ethiopian coffee for the bf and a few bags for a colleague. Today was a lovely slightly chilly Cape Town morning but surprisingly dark at 07:00am.

My first stop is Truth, which has an industrial feel, with a art gallery on the one side, then barista and huge bags of beans stacked on the other.There is one other customer sitting outside coffee in hand and I am welcomed by the friendly baristas and the strong, chocolatey smell of coffee beans.

On the pick up at Truth were the Resurrection beans and the antithesis blend. I also managed to squeeze in a caffe latte as well, piping hot and smooth with a kick, which was well needed. The barista asked me if I had seen anything like it, referring to the barista foam art. I said no, because I have no idea what this is, I guess a sea horse?! 

Next stop is Haas coffee which is two blocks up and three blocks across in Bo Kaap. It has a very cosy feel and is coupled with the Haas store (Haas design). My pick up here was a The Jailbreak, which is a strong Ethiopian blend. I also had another latte, this made of the Malawi blend which is stronger than the Truth latte but lovely nonetheless, a real kick in the ***.

So by the time I got to my meeting at eight I was all abuzz!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Copenhagen Pt 2 (Hotel brunches)

I checked into what was/is dubbed as one of the hip and trendy hotels in Copenhagen, First Hotel Skt Petri. I was told lady gaga had stayed there, obviously not in my standard suite but she was there nonetheless. Yes I'm really a monster in the closest!

Skt Petri breakfast crowd

So I think Copenhagen is an expensive city to eat in, well off of the hotel room service at least. A hamburger on the menu cost DKK195 which is R258, yeah I know! So based on that I found that the breakfast buffet was a steal at DKK195 and the Sunday brunch, which allows for eating from 12:00 to 15:00 at DKK235.

Brunch is served with a Mimosa (champagne and OJ)

Muesli and Yoghurt with fresh sweet melon to start. Followed by a selection of cheeses with sundried tomatoes, marinated artichokes and charcuterie. I always go for a camembert and then the cumin cheese.
I do have one warning: beware the herring, it is a danish delicacy, but it tasted like pickled fish that had gone off to me. Perhaps my palate isn't as developed as I thought. Feel free to try it and let me know what you think.

For dessert I had the carrot cake and tiramisu, yes on one side plate!Very african of me, no?!  the carrot cake was topped with a wonderful lemon icing with orange zest, I loved the zing!

 I spent the entire allotted three hours at brunch in the Copenhagen sun, not for the food but mostly because there was a hottie at the table next to me. I mean they had to do something to compensate for not having the eggs benedict on the brunch menu.

Then it was off to walk the streets of Copenhagen! sigh how I miss Euro tripping