Tuesday, April 30, 2013

On the Bookshelf - Confessions of a Hungry Woman

Despite not having finished reading it yet, I just had to share my latest cookbook purchase because I am enjoying it so much. I'm having a tell someone, well tell everyone, moment. Introducing Confessions of a Hungry Woman
My nose is firmly in this book
I happened to have the privilege of meeting Sam Woulidge last year after winning a bloggers and foodie dinner invite to the One&Only. We got the chatting about our shared love of "trashy" tv, I will not expose us by naming the said Brit reality tv show. I can attest that Sam is as warm, friendly and funny in person as she sounds in her book and on her blog.

Confessions of a Hungry Woman is (based on the 60 odd pages I've read) a compilation of stories and recipes by Sam's friends including Kamini Pather, Reuben Riffel and Karen Dudley (of A Week in the Kitchen and The Kitchen in Cpt see review here). I love that it's not just a cookbook it's pages of insights into Sam's life. I feel like I'm peeping through a window watching a friend busying in the kitchen in anticipation of my arrival. It's honest, humorous and sometimes heart wrenching and tear jerking (read the prayer of the passion fruit).

It's a book that I will be gifting in abundance, starting with my friend Thithi (of teeteeiswithme) who will appreciate this style of cookbook. Reading it makes me crave travelling and savouring new flavours. Thank you Sam!

I know that Confessions of a Hungry Woman is available at Exclusive Books and online at Yuppiechef. Happy reading!

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

If you're in Braamfontein - Daleah's

The new kid on the Braamfontein De Beer street block is Daleah's. 

It's situated opposite Post, my Braamfontein breakie favourite, see full Post review here. Daleah's is a casual chic eatery with a combination of wood tables,  a face brick wall, black and white accents and vintages touches. The service is friendly and very attentive with Daleah on hand spreading her enthusiasm.

The daily menu is up on a chalkboard along coffees, speciality teas and pastries on pastries. Yesterday's daily menu seemed Tashas inspired with the two mini beef burgers and a texas salad on the menu.
I ordered the beef burger, the mini burgers were made medium. My second patty however was quite rare, I'm a fan of steak tartare so I didn't mind. It was day 2 after all, so I let it slide. The mini burgers were topped with a deliciously creamy mushroom and caramelised onion sauce. It's a get your hands dirty and tuck in kind of burger. Along with that I ordered a strong flat white and two chocolate chip cookies to go totalling R62.

Mini burger lunch for one

Mini beef burgers

Once again the eateries in Braamfontein stay winning with their price point. I will give them some time to get on with it and get comfortable before I do a full review.

6 De Beer Street, Braamfontein

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Istanbul Calling

As I mentioned in my first post of the year (see it here), I will be celebrating my 30th birthday (July baby) in Istanbul. I have been sending out the official email invitation this week and I'm soooooo excited!
Courtesy: Pinterest.com
Why Istanbul? Because it is rich in history, architecture, leather goods and culinary delights! I have asked my friends to come along with me, share a few laughs, toast a couple of drinkies, eat good, learn a few things and most importantly feed the soul!

I, as you would guess, am particularly looking forward to the eats. On my must do list is the IstanbulEats walks, have a look at them here.

Courtesy: Pinterest.com and IstanbulEats.com
I'm going to keep you all up to date on my planning and will have a full debrief and article on the adventures of a Jozi girl in Istanbul when I get back. Two and a half months and counting!

If you have any Istanbul tips for me, feel free to share them.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Afternoon snack - Chocolate cake

I have been in a serious baking mood these days and it started with the Baklava, which you can see here. After leafing through the Elle (the South African one) I came across Sam Linsell's (of Drizzle and Dip) ultimate chocolate cake, you can see it here.

So I succumbed to the craving and decided to bake the ultimate chocolate cake. It's seriously chocolatey, rich and oh so moist. What I learnt is that it needs patience, make sure the cake is all the way cooled before icing it. I couldn't wait and the result was a slightly lopsided cake. It still tasted amazing!

If you start right now the cake will be ready by tea time, afternoon tea, evening tea or midnight tea. If the kettle is on the boil it's tea time in my house.

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Have you heard of Zomato?

Zomato is the newest entrant in the Jozi, well South African, online restaurant guide sphere. Zomato is an online restaurant guide with a presence in India, the UK, Sri Lanka, Qatar and now South Africa. It offers menus, ratings, reviews, maps and contact details.

It launched last week and I'm acquainting myself with it as I write. I have set up a Jozi Foodie Fix profile which you can go ahead and follow here.

It's Johannesburg database has approximately 2000 restaurants, it covers take away spots along with restaurants from cheap and cheerful to high end fine dining.

The feature I like in particular is that it is super interactive, I can follow specific Foodies & Super Foodies. Basically you can create your own go to guide within Zomato by following specific Foodies and Super foodies and make restaurant choices based on their reviews.

Zomato also has a top "foodies" tab which is a leader board made up of Zomato users that have the most followers and have contributed the most reviews. We are all ranked as foodies and work towards the ultimate, which is a Connoissuer, described as "The Ultimate snob. Knows his/her food. Widely respected in the Zomato community." Onward with the pursuit of ultimate snobbery lol!

Just when you thought this was it, theres an App! The App detects your city and your current location and offers suggestions in your proximity. You can of course explore restaurants by location and cuisine or search for something specific you're craving.

Add Zomato to your online restaurant go to guides. I have because I like to have as much information as I can at my disposal.

For updates on blog posts go ahead like the FB page and follow on twitter JoziFoodieFix.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Afternoon snack - Homemade Baklava

Baklava is the perfect afternoon snack pick me up, it's sticky sweet jam packed with pistachio nuts. Bite sized crispy, crunchy, sweet and protein filled what more can we ask for. I made these myself, I was channelling my inner Greek self.

I had phyllo pastry, Mediterranean Delicacies, in the freezer and decided it was time to put it to good use. For these baklava I used a Nigella Lawson recipe, which you can see here. Honestly, the recipe is straight forward but working with phyllo pastry requires planning, being organised and having nimble hands. I have to admit that I consulted twitter to find out whether I pour hot syrup or cold syrup over the Baklava. I was told col, cold, COLD! This is the end result! 
Next time I plan to try Baklava with a South African twist and I think Alida's Baklava with Pistachios & Fynbos Honey recipe would be perfect. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Tea for two at 54 on Bath

Last Friday myself and my friend Thithi (of teeteeiswithme) were treated to tea at 54 on Bath. It seems that we had tea on the Level Four restaurant terrace just in time because the chill has hit Jozi this week. The terrace is a little rooftop garden haven in the centre of Rosebank. I absolutely love the contrast of a perfectly manicured garden against the surrounding cbd.

As soon as you're seated the waiter(s) explain the English tea tradition and ask whether you will be having the traditional tea or the royal tea. The traditional afternoon tea offers tea sandwiches, an assortment of afternoon pastries and scones of course with premium tea leaves of your choice. You can spend the afternoon eating and sipping on tea to your heart's content. The royal tea is the traditional afternoon tea with an added glass of kir royale. As Thithi said what's afternoon tea without a few bubbles?!

We opted for the Royal Tea and spent the afternoon sipping on a glass of Vueve Kir Royale along with a five minute strong English Breakfast tea. I have to be honest the tea is filling and Thithi &I were convinced that our tea stand for two was meant for four. But we were assured by our waiter Bruce that it is for two and we should feel free to request more items should we like some more.  The tea stand offers an assortment of sweet pastries and afternoon tea sandwiches including cucumber sandwiches and smoked salmon cream cheese sandwiches. But that's not all a small selection of quiches were brought out next, warm from the oven. The scones were spot on and my favourite item of the day.

Thank you to Thithi for all the wonderful images!

Dilmah English Breakfast steeping
Assortment of sweet pastries
Individual asparagus &salmon quiche
An afternoon well spent
It was the perfect way to wrap up a long week, thank you to the 54 on Bath and Tsogo Sun team.

Level Four High Tea
54 on Bath, 54 Bath Avenue, Rosebank
Tea is served from 15:30 - 17:00
Best for: The Royal tea, what's tea without a few bubble?! And the house champagne is Veuve Clicquot
Traditional Afternoon Tea R165
Royal Tea R245

Photography by Thithi Nteta

The High Tea was sponsored by 54 on Bath, Tsogo Sun.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

On the Bookshelf - Cooked in Africa

A couple of weeks ago I was part of the blogger judges that were invited to judge the Jo'burg auditions of Ultimate Braai Master. It was a great morning tasting the good, the bad and the phenomen giblets & chicken feet. As a thanks we received a goodie bag which included Justin Bonello's Cooked in Africa

Cooked in Africa is a chronicle of Justin's cooking journey through Southern Africa. It offers a blend of traditional South African dishes and continental cuisine. I am keen to try Justin's take on some of the traditional dishes I serve at home like the crab curry. But living in an apartment in Jozi means I won't be making a pit oven, but there are still recipes for  those in the comforts of their own home like the Tom Yum Goong Risotto.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

If you're in Cyrildene: Gangnam Korean BBQ

My friend Amy (of Littlemissconceptions) invited me to dinner at Gangnam Korean BBQ in Derrick Avenue, Cyrildene. As you expect from Derrick Avenue, don't judge a book by its cover or by it's lumo green sign in Gangnam BBQ's case.

The restaurant is filled with sets of wooden tables and chairs. Each of the tables have a special centre feature, all the better to barbeque with. Amy was designated barbeque lady for the night.
Once seated and orders made, the waitresses brings out hot coals and sets it inside the table centre and then we're ready to barbeque. Next the waitress sets an assortment of pickles on the table along with lettuce leaves. The assortment of pickles includes pickled cucumber, potato pickle and a small serving of kimchi (pickled vegetables).

We ordered three meat items; the marinated beef short ribs, marinated pork rashers and chicken wings. The meat is marinated in a salty, umami, slightly spicy marinade.  The marinated pork is served with two dips; a spicy chilli sauce and a salty poppy seed dip. If you eat pork I recommend it highly. The idea is that once the meat is cooked you take a lettuce leaf and fill it with pickles, meat and the dipping sauces. The lettuce is a wonderful neutral cold element that balances the warm, spicy & salty meat. As our side we ordered beef noodles, these are no ordinary noodles but translucent sweet potato noodles. There are splendid and unexpected.
I enjoyed the evening, it's great for interacting and the restaurant is perfect for a quiet one on one dinner or for a group dinner. My next trip will be with a group, so that I can try a larger variety of dishes. 

Step out of the ordinary and instead of your usual spot try something new this week. I would suggest making a booking if you plan to go over the weekend.

Gangnam Korean BBQ
28 Derrick Avenue, Cyrildene

Best for: A group dinner. The fish balls are a MUST try.
Going back for: The outside bbq night, where skewers of chicken wings & skewers of fish balls are barbequed or braaied on site. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Loving - Le Creuset whistling kettle

I have just moved into my new apartment, all I could offer you right now is a cup of tea or coffee and a choc chip cookie. The first thing I did after unpacking was buy tea, coffee, milk and sugar. I could finally unwrap my Le Creuset traditional whistling kettle which I had bought on sale in December already. Hearing the whistle as the water boilt it was worth the wait for sure!

It's my favourite item in my kitchen at the moment. I chose the 2.1l traditional kettle in flame because I'm fiery and I drink more than my fair share of tea. English breakfast tea to be precise.

Now for the specs; it's super sturdy, suitable for all heat sources including gas, ceramic and halogen.Oh and the handle moves to allow for easy refilling and cleaning.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Getting to know - Yang of the Beijing Opera dim sum pop up

I am looking forward to having a dim sum meal at the Beijing Opera pop up this week. I thought I'd share a little bit on who the lady behind Beijing Opera is and how it came to be. Introducing Yang Zhao
Courtesy: Food Jams taken by Irene Kim
1.Tell us about your journey to opening the Beijing Opera
I have always liked feeding people, and one day I decided to quit the day job and travelled for a few months, while traveling, I thought to myself, I need to find something to do that is on my own terms! So I can afford more time in the future to travel more. So I joined my friend's day Market in Cape Town, called You, me & Everyone we know Market at the Labia on Orange Street. Our Potstickers got loads of love from people, and I was encouraged to feed more people, especially by the owner of the Market, Adel Snyders and Foodjam's Jade De Waal, who had both later became great friends of mine.

2. Why the pop up concept?
My pop ups started when a place I wanted, to open as a permanent Dim Sum Bar, fell through. I had caught the momentum, and was too excited to let it go. I had to keep going. 
Luckily, at that time, I was asked to curate a food Market for the Spier secret Festival in October last year, as a part of the promo events, Hannerie Visser, of President Design and Toffie events offered me the great opportunity to host a series of pop up dinner at their gift shop. Beijing Opera grew into the pop up/mobile life pretty organically. Now we're at Side Street Studio, 48 Albert Road regularly. 

3. What is your vision for the Beijing Opera?
To become a place for someone to slow down their day, enjoy a cup of tea or a glass wine, listen to music and chill out. 

4. What has been your biggest success and what has been your greatest learning or challenge?
To me the biggest success has been a personal journey, I feel incredible when I get to feed people. To see people's happy faces and to know that there aren't much more to life than to be with good people, eat, talk, laugh and share ideas, that has been the greatest success I feel. 
The greatest challenge has been learning patience, Dim Sum is a part of a very refined and sophisticated dining culture. The greater the effort you put in preparing it, the better it will look and taste. In a sense that, you have to pay much attention to detail. For me, it's a lesson in life, and I'm still learning. 

5. What's the Bejing Opera approach to food: sourcing produce, cooking and eating?
We try our best to source organic veggies and free range when it comes to meat products. 
I believe that while appreciating the privileges that are given to us to be able to consume and enjoy good foods, we have to sustain a culture of thrifty cooking. To not waste food, to be conscious of where our foods come from; it is not a cosmetic concept, but directly concerns our wellness and health. Good food is good health care, there's loads of room for us to build on a solid knowledge base on food. The better we know, the better we'll eat. 

6. What items are a must for you on a Yum Cha menu?
I love some congee to start with; then the "pearl chicken" rice dumplings wrapped in lotus leaves, I also love cheung fan in bits and pieces of barbecue pork…I always want to have everything when I go Yam Cha with family, but never get pass 3 or 4 small baskets of food before getting really stuffed. 

7. What is your favourite eatery?
I've always loved Royale Burgers, Sidewalk Cafe, Woodlands Eatery and most recently, Durban's Finest Curry in Cape Town.

8. What is on your foodie must eat before I die bucket list?
Wow, mm there're too many…I love seafood, there're loads of seafood dishes that I'd like to eat more than once before I die..I'd probably end up living in Mozambique lol

9. If you had to pick one meal to eat for the rest of your life what would it be?
I have no idea…I don't think I can manage that at all.

10. Describe yourself in a dish
A Chippies Prego samie. Go have one and call me :) 

Now I just have to go to chippies!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Foodies and Beefcakes

I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I received the invitation to join a couple of foodies for dinner at Beefcakes in Illovo. Lucky for me I was having dinner with Hasmita (of Jozilicious blog) and Leila (of Pass the Salt blog) who I happen to know via twitter, so I was keen. I mean it's always wonderful to be able to put faces to the names and seem like less of an interwebs stalker.

My first impression of Beefcakes was kitsch OTT, I think it's that Beefcakes' pink. Appropriate given it was inspired by 50s Miami South Beach. The restaurant has a large bar area, sets of  six seater booths flanking the central table seating of course all facing the stage. Scooched into a booth, we started the evening with cocktails, which are yum! I suggest you go with the scantily clad, muscle baring waiter's recommendations on cocktails.

Courtesy: www.beefcakes.co.za
Beefcakes' original Pink Tea
We then moved onto burgers, the menu filled with suggestively named items allows you to choose the patty you'd like on your bun. Which means you're spoilt for choice whether you're up for foreplay (starters) or a threesome of nibbly bits (starter trio) to share. The burgers come with a choice of patty options are beef, lamb, chicken ostrich and vegetable.

I'm an all beef burger girl done medium, throw in a side of crispy onion rings & I'm happy. I ordered the beach boy which is your patty of choice topped with a spicy salsa, guacamole and sour cream. The patty was medium to perfection and the onion rings were tossed in a sweet slightly spicy coating and deep fried in a light, crispy batter.

Dessert was absolutely decadent, deep fried twinkies and choc banana spring rolls. Sinful!

On show that Tuesday night was Bitchy Bingo hosted by "No frills, bitchy trolley dolly". I don't remember her name maybe it was Dolly, but she sure does put on a song and dance. It was a hoot, but I still don't know how to play bingo.

Courtesy: www.beefcakes.co.za
Warning, if you are trying to have a quiet conversation then it's not the night to try Beefcakes. Go for a boisterous girls' night out, it'll be filled with giggles, screeches, drinkies, shots and burgers for the lining lol.

Illovo Muse, 198 Oxford Road, Illovo
011 447 5266
Best for: Boisterous night out or a ladies night out or a cocktail fest
Going back for: Apple pie shooter, it's so yum!