Thursday, 28 November 2013

So I have literally JUST made this for lunch and its SO delicious, simple and quick. It makes a great lunch but you could also serve it in slices as canapes or even as a starter.


Makes 4 "Pizza's"

4 multi-grain wraps from Woolies.
1 large avo
250g Salmon ribbons (or trout)
1 Mediterranean cucumber- thinly sliced
One lemon
salt and pepper to taste.

Lightly grease a pan with olive oil spray and cook and cook the wraps one at a time until crispy (or you can use a grill, panini press etc). Take them off the heat and cut into 6ths whilst it is still slightly warm and 'pliable'. Leave to cool for just a few minutes.

Once its cool to the touch, layer each piece with a slice of avo, some salmon and thinly sliced cucumber. Finish with a squeeze of lemon and salt and pepper.

You can get creative with this recipe. It's so easy. My other favourite is a Caprese 'Pizza' with fresh basil, baby rosa tomatoes and bocconcini.

Serve with a crisp Chenin Blanc
- I had Rickety Bridge 2011 Chenin blanc

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Another hidden gem! Cape Town is full of them and Cheyne's is by far my new favourite.

Situated in Hout Bay. Serving Pacific Rim cuisine*. Sourcing from local as possible to bring you the most amazing and unique dining experience Hout Bay has seen.
* Pacific Rim cooking combines Pacific Island foods, Asian cooking techniques, local freshness, and a host of other cultural and culinary influences.- Cheyne.
Interior of Cheyne's

 I love Asian food- its my absolute favourite. I love all the different depths and flavours and the fact that you can pair it with a host of amazing wines. Cheyne keeps a great selection to suit this style of cooking. Almost all of them he serves by the glass- so everyone can have their favourite.

So with that, we kicked off the night with a bottle of the Arra Viognier. The nose on this wine is fresh peaches, with undertones of ripe pears and buttered toast. And it paired beautifully with what was to come...

I have a habit of sticking to starters. I love being able to try a few different things. Now I am not saying anything negative about Cheyne's mains. In fact they were actually all so good that I couldn't choose and hence stuck to starters! (Cheyne, next time I visit I will have a main. Promise!)

As there were two of us we ordered 4 starters.

Usually Cheyne does a beautiful 'Crayfish tempura with miso, QP mayo, kimchi, diakon and a shumai sauce'. It's fantastic. I have had it before. However on the night we visited they had not received their crayfish delivery so they were substituted for King prawns. We were certainly NOT disappointed. They were fantastic! 

King prawns instead of crayfish- Delicious!

One of Cheyne's Specialties is 'Deep fried milk, green chilli caramel, cucumer granita and mint jelly". Its got an ooozy centre JUST like a chocolate fondant and its like eating a Thai green curry cloud! I haven't tasted anything like it before.

Following that we went for the 'Beef tataki, mirin, english mustard, spring onion puree, coconut jelly with Kimchi and lychee'.  It was a very unique take on tataki. There were so many flavours on one plate but they all came together wonderfully. Each bite was uniquely different.

Finally to end off the night we went for the duck. 'Smoked Duck breast, date and water chesnut gyoza, star anise and shiraz syrup'. The gyoza (a type of dim sum) was exquisite. The filling was the perfect accompaniment to the smokey flavours of the duck.

The service was fantastic, the staff are knowledgeable, friendly and ready to recommend their own favourites.  We had a wonderful time. Thanks Cheyne- we'll be seeing you soon!

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

I am so glad to be able to get back to blogging. Its been such a busy few months. Its sad that when work is hectic my poor blog has to take a back seat. There are so many times I've thought- 'Oh I must post about this wine/dinner/restaurant/recipe". So now I am going to try and play catch up.

Seen as Cape Town is finally seeing a bit of summer I thought I'd share my favourite summer dessert - Lemon Meringue Pie. Its SO easy, my little nearly-4-year old cousin Grace could make it. She's a wizz in the kitchen by the way. I think I'll ask her to guest post sometime.

Anyway back to the recipe...

Lemon Meringue Pie


1 packet of tennis biscuits, crushed to crumbs with a wooden spoon
4 tablespoons of butter
1 tin of condensed milk
Juice and zest of one big lemon (must be about a third of a cup of juice)
3 eggs at room temperature.
3 tablespoons of castor sugar.

For the crust:

Preheat the oven to 180 deg C. Grease a 25cm pie dish well with butter. Melt the 4 tablespoons of butter carefully on a medium heat in the microwave. Add the crush tennis biscuit crumbs and mix together. The crumbs should stick together. Press the mixture into the pie dish and bake for about 10 mins. Keep an eye on it and take it out as it starts going slightly brown. Put it to the side to cool.

In a bowl mix the lemon juice, zest, tin of condensed milk and 3 egg yolks. Put this mixture to the side.

Get a clean bowl to make your meringue. Put the egg whites in a large bowl. Whisk to soft peaks, then add the sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking between each addition without overbeating.  

Now its time to put it all together. Make sure your biscuit base is relatively cool- it will still be warm to the touch but as long as its not HOT. Fill the crust with the lemon filling and top with the meringue. Return to the oven for 18-20 mins until the meringue is crisp and slightly coloured. Let the pie sit for 15 mins to cool and then place in the Fridge for at least 2 hours to cool it down. Serve cold! 

Saturday, 3 August 2013

This wine is the perfect partner to any spicy curry - we enjoyed it last night with my favourite comfort food, Butter Chicken.  This is a typical Weisser Riesling in that the very first thing you get on the nose is a greasy, brake fluid, turpentine smell. Some might be put off but for me that's the sign that you have found yourself a goodie.  You will also get a bit of green melon coming through on the nose too. The wine on its own is racy, with a lingering palate and great texture. As soon as you pair it with something spicy, you have a completely different wine. Round, full bodied and fragrant- delicious. I would say that this is definitely a food wine! I bought mine from the farm for under a R100.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

This is a such an easy recipe and its so delicious- also MUCH healthier than many other "Bakes". You can get creative with this but here is my recipe:

Serves 4:
1 cup of quinoa
2 cups of chicken stock 
400g Woolworths mini chicken fillets
1 tin Italian tomato mix
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon chopped chilli
1 teaspoon chilli powder (optional: for those that like it hawwwwt)
1 tablespoon olive oil for frying
4 large zucchini, grated
250g halved baby rosa tomatoes
4 large spring onion- chopped
1 cup of grated cheddar cheese (divided into two halves)
Handful of fresh coriander-chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

  • Heat oven to 190'C
  • Cook the cup of quinoa in the chicken stock- bring to the boil and then simmer for 15-20 mins until all the liquid is absorbed. Its important to keep an eye on it so that it does not catch at the bottom of the pot. You may need to rinse your quinoa first depending on the brand you buy -check the back of the pack.
  • Once the quinoa is cooked set aside in a bowl.
  • Cut the chicken into cubes and fry it off in the olive oil with the garlic, chilli and chilli power. 
  • After 5 - 10 mins at the tin of tomatoes and allow to reduce for a further 10 mins- stirring occasionally.
  • While the chicken is cooking, grate zucchini and cheese, slice baby rosa tomatoes and chop the spring onion. Spray and cook a medium size roasting dish (mine is 20cm x 20 cm)
  • Once the Chicken is read, combine all ingredients (save half the cheese) in a bowl and add the handful of fresh corinader. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.
  • Bake for 20-25 mins until the top is crisp and crunchy. 
  • Serve with a green salad.

Monday, 22 July 2013

One of my favourite areas of the Stellenbosch wine route is Helshoogte Pass. Some of the best wines I have ever tasted come from the estates high up on this mountain road. On our way back from Franschhoek we decided to take this route home, visit some of the tasting rooms and have lunch at Delaire Graff. I have been looking forward to trying it for some time now and I was blown away.

Elegant tasting lounge

The first thing to mention is their elegant and well run tasting room/lounge. The staff are incredibly knowledgeable and encouraged us to really think about the different flavours we were picking up in the wines. Their 'Coastal Cuvee" Sauvignon Blanc is definitely one I recommend you try!
The Coastal Cuvee Sauvignon Blanc was delicious!

After going through all of the wines we headed off to the restaurant. The first thing you will notice are the incredible views down the back end of the pass. It was a misty day and it literally felt as if we were sitting above the clouds.
Entrance to the kitchen

The staff were incredibly helpful and attentive. The service overall could not be faulted. They busied themselves explaining the various dishes, recommending wine pairings and telling us their own personal recommendations.

Here are some of the dishes we tried:

Crayfish, cured oysters, oyster cream, seafood broth and tapioca pearls.
I enjoyed the crayfish with the Coastal Cuvee Sauvignon blanc-  Its rich in tropical fruit flavours. Its still crisp and green with gooseberry and nettle aromas. This paired perfectly with the delicate seafood flavours.

Pork belly, slow cooked egg yolk, potato gnocchi,bacon and cheese
I thought I would be different and try this pork belly dish with the Delaire Chenin blanc - It had lovely notes of citrus and tropical fruit with aromas of honey and almonds to finish it. Similar to many Chenins in this high lying area, it had a delicate minerality. The richness of the pork balanced well with the honey and almond elements of the wine. The crisp minerality offset the heaviness of the dish. Perfect!

sticky short rib, prunes, cauliflower, hot potato mousse and horseradish

This final dish called for a red wine, The Delaire Shiraz. This wine has a spicy pepper undertone with with juicy dark red fruit elements. It has a smooth and soft palate and a savoury finish. My favourite element of this dish was the hot potato mousse- what an experience!

We are looking forward to visiting Delaire again soon, hopefully in summer so that we can take advantage of the spacious balcony outside with views that are just as magical as the food.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Woolworths Longmarket ‘Red Stone Shiraz’ 2012

Today we will be tasting one of my favourite Woolworths' Reds.

It's flavourful, easy to drink and so affordable. The first thing that
hits you is the nose: it has a very rich and smokey aroma that invites
you to "get involved".

It's medium bodied with a bit of wood to it - but not too heavy. On the palate
you will pick up your berry fruits - Mulberry & Rasberry are prominent!

It's a GREAT food wine - First pick would be a slow roasted lamb shank,
but it would compliment any red meat dish you decide to cook up for the night.
 I would even serve it with a pork or a rich tomato based chicken dish! 

This wine retails for R40 - R50 at a Woolies near you. 

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Its Bastille weekend and myself and my sidekick, Nicky, are doing what we do best over the 14th of July weekend... Drinking wine! This time of year finds us doing our annual pilgrimage into the usually sleepy village of Franschhoek. It's a weekend of good wine, good food and French flair. 

One of my favourite spots is Leopards Leap. They have recently added 'Restaurant' to their repertoire and I was keen for a peek around. We actually ended up summoning the family from Cape Town to come and join us at the Rotisserie for lunch but more about that later...

Back to the tasting room. We opted to start with the cheese and wine pairing (obviously!) and were treated to two of the Leopards leap range wines paired perfectly with some French cheeses. 
The Chardonnay was paired with a fancy pants French goats cheese called Sainte-Maure de Touraine. This is a full aft goats cheese rolled in vegetable ash to preserve it. The creamy texture of the cheese was beautifully balanced by the Chardonnay. A match made in Heaven!

Next we tasted the Leopard's Leap Shiraz paired with a hard style French cheese called Comte. Similar to a Gruyere, this cheese has a lovely nutty flavour. It was well complimented by the Shiraz. 

Another addition to the Leopards leap family is the Culinaria Collection of wines. Slightly more premium that their Flagship range, these wines were perfectly crafted to be enjoyed with food. Each as unique, flavorsome and full bodied as the last, there are 6 wines in this range. The Culinaria Collection is available exclusively at Leopard’s Leap Family Vineyards

Culinaria Brut M├ęTHODE CAP CLASSIQUE- Zesty and crisp with citrus aromas.

2012 Culinaria Chenin Blanc Grenache Blanc- Loire style- creamy with white peach and pineapple on the nose.

2012 Culinaria Pinot Noir Chardonnay-Soft and subtle, and excellent 'food'wine.

2010 Culinaria Grand Vin-Bordeaux style red, blackberries and cherries with a nutmeg, caramel tones.

2010 Culinaria Shiraz Grenache-Black pepper and cherries, smokey finish- Delicious with red meat.

Culinaria Muscat de Frontignan-Rose water and turkish delight. Soft and delicate. The perfect partner to smoked salmon.


We bought a bottle of each! 

(recipes and food pairing ideas to follow soon)



Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Today we are tasting Casal Garcia!

This delicious, relatively low- in- alcohol, refreshing white is straight from Portugal. Its the perfect summer wine. It's smooth and fresh with a delicate and fruity aroma, young and balanced.

It's ideal on its own or with a meal. It pairs especially well with oriental cuisine, light fish dishes and fresh salads. Today we are sitting in the beautiful Johannesburg winter sunshine enjoying in with our mild, chargrilled Portuguese chicken. Due to its freshness it is particularly pleasant in a relaxed and informal atmosphere. (Buy the poolside!!)Serve Chilled. 

Its very common in South Africa and can be found in most Portuguese and Mozambican restaurants. You can also find it at selected bottle stores for between R50 and R60.

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Today we are tasting the Buitenverwachting Sauvignon Blanc. 

I am a huge fan of Constantia wines as you will learn.

 Especially their Sauvignon blancs. It's the perfect cool climate region for a good coastal Sauvignon Blanc. This particular wine is one of two Sauvignon Blancs produced by this farm. The other being the more premium 'Husseys vlei'. 

This is a lovely herbaceous wine with lovely green notes of asparagus and fresh cut green peppers. Its the perfect partner to fish and chicken dishes. We enjoyed this bottle with a lovely prawn risotto. This bottle is from Tops and was R82.95.

Monday, 24 June 2013

YES! It is true and it CAN be done. I have tried it and its beyond amazing.
You can also add your own bits and pieces for example:
  • Bacon bits
  • baby rosa tomatoes
  • Sweet corn
  • Ham
  • Chorizo sausage
  • Parmesan cheese
  • The list of ideas is endlesssssss... use your imagination!

1/3 cup pasta (I like elbow pasta or penne)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup low fat milk
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

Combine the pasta and water in a large mug or bowl. Microwave on high for two minutes, then stir. Often the water will overflow while it heats up. It's OK if this happens.

If you don’t want it to overflow just make this in a very large microwaveable bowl. I also put a large dinner plate underneath if I am making it in a mug.

Repeat this for at least 2 to 4 more minutes, stirring at each 2-minute interval. The water should be completely absorbed and the pasta should be cooked through- if not cook it a bit longer (another 30 seconds to a minute) .

You may need to add one more teaspoon of water at this stage All microwaves are different so you will need to get a feel for how powerful yours is.

Remove from the microwave and stir in the milk and cheese. Microwave for another minute. Stir the cheese thoroughly into the pasta. I ALWAYS add extra cheese and other bits at this stage. Stir together and

INDULGE. Its delicious!

Monday, 28 January 2013

Grape stomping: always a firm favourite during harvest
Grape stomping: always a firm favourite during harvest

I am a huge fan of this time of year...Harvest Season! And if you are in the Western Cape there is plenty to keep you busy! Here is an article I found to keep you in the loop...


Stellenbosch Wine Festival celebrates harvest

25 January – 3 February
The Stellenbosch American Express® Wine Route will be kicking off harvest season with the Stellenbosch Wine Festival. The festival will start with a Blessing of the Harvest and a Harvest Parade on Saturday, 26 January. Enjoy watching the farm workers parade the streets with their tractors and farm animals. There will also be church services across town to bless the harvest.
Over 150 wineries will be taking part! Estate restaurants will be offering wine and food pairing menus, unique tours and tasting programmes as a part of the festival’s “Wine & Dine” sensation. Other offerings include the inaugural charity gala, a ten-day promotion at many of the restaurants, special cultivar evenings and wine farm tours. Throughout the festival the town will be hosting events, art exhibitions and musical concerts.
The Wine Expo will take place from the 1st to 3rd February on Die Braak, the grassy town centre of Stellenbosch, with over 130 wine and gourmet food producers participating.
For more information on individual farm offerings, visit: or phone (021) 886-4310.

Eikendal’s Weintaufe Harvest Celebration

3 March
Families enjoy Eikendal’s Weintaufe Harvest Celebration
Families enjoy Eikendal’s Weintaufe Harvest Celebration
Laid-back weekend vibes meet family fun on the farm at Eikendal’s Weintaufe Harvest Celebration. Eikendal is known for its fine Chardonnay and superb flagship reds and visitors will get to taste the cellar’s first wine of the 2013 harvest – straight from the barrel, after the baptism of the new wine. Other attractions include live music, craft stalls, lucky draws, vineyard tractor rides, fly fishing, barrel stomping, pony rides and lots of activities for the little ones.
Delicious food and wine will be on sale, so bring your friends, family and picnic blanket and claim your spot at the water’s edge for the perfect ending to your weekend.
Tickets cost R60 per person (includes a complimentary glass and barrel tasting of the 2013 Chardonnay for adults), children under the age of 12 get in for free. Tickets available on the farm from now or at the gates on the day. Event starts at 10h00.
For more info phone (021) 855-1422 or email

Muratie Harvest Festival

23 February
Muratie celebrates harvest with a family event that includes good food, fine wine, great company, live music, and lots of fun stomping the newly harvested grapes, all starting at 11h30. From 14h30 enjoy music, antics and comedy by The Rites (who offer something for everyone).
There is no entrance fee, plus visitors receive a complimentary glass of wine on arrival. Wine (by the glass or bottle) and cold drinks will be on sale as well as food from Muratie’s delicious new summer menu. Hamburgers and cheese platters will also be available. A vertical wine tasting for 20x people will be on offer at 12h00 at R50 per head.
For further information or to pre-book any of the above events, contact Thalia Alberts on (021) 865-2330 or


Feast of the Grape

2 – 3 March
Harvesting the bounty of the vineyards is regarded as one of the most important moments in the making of good wine.  Wineries from the Durbanville Wine Valley celebrate the harvest season at its annual Feast of the Grape, which takes place at the Durbanville Race Course over the weekend of 2nd and 3rd March from 12pm to 5pm daily.  This event marks the end of the grape harvest and the arrival of autumn with a weekend feast filled with an array of activities and an abundance of seasonal wines to taste.
This festival offers visitors the complete package. Old school games will keep young and old entertained throughout the day, and kids can look forward to a jumping castle, face painting and so much more. Adults can sip and sample superb wines from the 11 wineries on show. Try your hand at grape stomping, milking a dairy cow, be amazed at the latest and greatest on offer at the tractor exhibition or simply browse the stalls for delectable local produce on offer. Local restaurants will ensure you’re kept well fed throughout the day.
Tickets cost R100 for adults and R50 for children, which can be booked directly through Your ticket allows you access to the venue, as well as a complimentary tasting glass and tasting coupons. Additional coupons can be purchased throughout the day.
For more information visit or phone 083 310 1228.


Hanepoot grape picking at De Krans

13 February – 10 March
Grape picking
Grape picking
De Krans Wine Cellar will once again offer visitors the opportunity to pick deliciously sweet Hanepoot grapes. This experience can be enjoyed every day (except Sundays) from 08h00 until 16h00 during the above mentioned dates. Grapes cost R5.40/kg and visitors are welcome to bring their own containers. Containers can also be purchased at De Krans. The Vygieshof Home for the Aged will be offering delicious braaivleis meals on Wednesdays and Saturdays, between 11h00 and 14h00 (booking is essential). You will also have the opportunity to sample De Krans’ range of award-winning wines (such as their Cape Tawny Port and Pink Port).
For bookings and further enquiries contact Helet or Bessie at the farm on (044) 213-3314 or e-mail


Hands-On-Harvest in the Robertson Wine Valley

22-24 February
Harvest market at Robertson's Hands-On-Harvest
Harvest market at Robertson’s Hands-On-Harvest
The fourth Hands-On-Harvest Festival offers visitors a chance to partake in: grape picking, bunch sorting, stomping your own grapes, grape vs. wine tasting, a harvest market, vineyard tractor trips, a wine blending experience, wine tasting by horse cart‚. and  much more. The group sizes for activities are kept small to ensure that you have the very best hands-on experience. All activities need to be pre-booked by 20 February. We suggest that you visit Robertson for the weekend and book as many activities as you can – there are so many exciting things to do, you don’t want to miss out. Check out the extensive program here.
For bookings and more information you can phone (023) 626 3167 or visit


Grande Provence Harvest Festival

23 February
The day, which promises a great deal of fun and laughter, starts at 09h00 with coffee and fresh muffins followed by a tractor ride to the vineyard for grape picking. At 10h30 arrive back to the cellar for a short tour, wine tasting and a talk by the winegrower. This is followed by the fun part – stomping the grapes in the barrels, with a hose down of your feet afterwards! From 11h15 gather in the garden under the old oak tree for a scrumptious braai, accompanied by live musical entertainment.
Cost for the day is R295 per adult & R130 for children under 12. Included in the price, is one bottle of Angels Tears wine per adult, to be collected from the event organiser on your departure. The Harvest Festival is highly recommended as a excellent team building activity, special rates will be given to groups of 10 guests or more.
For more info or to book contact Nicole on (021) 876- 8600 or

ATKV Franschhoek Oesfees

23 March
Celebration time at Franschhoek's Oesfees
Celebration time at Franschhoek’s Oesfees
The ATKV Franschhoek Oesfees at Solms-Delta Wine Estate, now in its sixth year, is one of the highlight events of the winelands. The festival gives thanks for the end of the wine harvest and celebrates the real music and culture of the Boland, with rural music, lekker Kaapsekos and good cheer.
Artists who will be performing include Mango Groove’s Claire Johnston, Emo Adams, Die Heuwels Fantasties, Radio Kalahari Orkes, Hot Water, Tribal Echo, Tidal Waves, Hannes Coetzee and Valiant Swart and Solms-Delta’s very own musicians, the talented performers from the Music van de Caab project.
Kaapsekos favourites like chicken breyani, venison pie, beef afval curry and Cape-style braaivleis will be on sale with Solms-Delta wines.A kiddies area will host carnival games, a circus craft table, face painting, balloon animals and many more.
Tickets cost R95 for early birds during January, R120 per person if pre-booked at the farm or online from or on Pre-booking is strongly advised to avoid disappointment. A limited number of tickets will be available at the gate for R140. R20 for Children under 12 years, which includes access to the kiddie’s area. Tickets exclude food and beverage coupons, which are available for purchase at the event.
For more info visit, phone (021) 874-3937 or email


Darling Cellars Crush Day

2 March
Typical of harvest, the best time to be busy is before the heat sets in. Arrive at 7am for a breakfast of local breads, cheeses and jams. Take a tractor-ride into the vineyards where you can hand-pick your own grapes and then onto the fun part: grape stomping. The fun doesn’t stop here! Get the creative juices flowing in the label design competition. After all that hard work enjoy a Traditional West Coast Seafood Potjie or Chicken Sosaties. And don’t forget to taste the existing wines on the farm.
Tickets: Adults R220 p/p, Teenagers (13 -17) R150 p/p, Children (12 & under) R80 p/p.


Paarl OmmiBerg ‘Round the Rock’ Festival

9 March
Kick off your sandals and hike up your shorts for the unfiltered wine fest around the Paarl rock in celebration of harvest.  Grab a partner and stomp your way through a half-barrel filled with grapes, taste sweet juice in various stages of pre-wine fermentation, and chomp your way through a crisp ciabata filled with soft cheeses and deli-style meats.
Lie in the shade while tapping your foot to the tunes of a live band. Try your hand at a master class, or sample some gourmet pairings at Nederburg, the official home of MasterChef SA.
Kids’ attractions will include jumping castles and slip n slides, face painting and pony rides, with tasty child-friendly treats to eat from hotdogs to freshly picked grapes.
Pre-paid tickets cost R80 from, or R100 at the gate. Included in the price is access to live bands, a wine tasting glass, part-fermented wine, and Zweibelk├╝chen or onion tart where available from participating estates. Accompanied minors enter for free, while special events such as master class tastings should be booked in advance, and are payable separately.
For more info and a list of participating farms visit, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or phone Annelize Stroebel on 082 787 4118.


Wellington Wine Harvest Festival

16 -17 March (tbc)
Wellington celebrates the bounty of their harvest with the 7th Wine Harvest Festival. Spend the day or better yet make a wine-filled weekend of it with family and friends. You can book your accommodation for the weekend here. The full programme and list of participating farms has not yet been confirmed but keep a close eye on the festival’s website for the latest developments.
Visit, email or phone (021) 864-2479.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

  1/4 cup sesame oil
  2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  640g fresh tuna
1/4 cup finely chopped coriander
1 teaspoon finely chopped chilli
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon finely chopped spring onion (usually 3 whole ones)
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus half a lemon
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tomato—peeled, seeded and cut into small dices
1 avo, finely chopped. (optional)
Micro greens
Soya Sauce
Melba toast
  1. In a bowl, combine the sesame oil and ginger and let stand at room temperature for at least 2 hours. Strain the oil.
  2. With a very sharp knife, cut the tuna into small dices. In a large bowl, combine the tuna with 2 tablespoons of the ginger oil, 3 tablespoons of the coriander and the chilli sesame seeds, spring onion and lemon juice. Mix gently and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Stand a small round mold or a biscuit cutter in the center of a salad plate. Fill the mold with tuna tartare, pressing gently. Lift off the mold. (or use the bottom of a whiskey tumbler-fill with mixture and turn out on a plate) Repeat with the remaining tartare.
  4. Drizzle the remaining ginger oil around each tartare and sprinkle with the tomato, the remaining tablespoon of coriander, micro greens and a squeeze of lemon juice. Spoon a layer of the diced avo over the top. Serve immediately. I like to serve the soya sauce on the side and some crunchy melba toast from woolies!

    Goes down a treat with a crisp Sauvignon Blanc- I served this with the Steenberg 'Rattlesnake' 2012

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

 I am more than a bit obsessed with quinoa. 

So you can imagine my shock and surprise that something BETTER and HEALTHIER exists. Wait for it... Introducing the hot new super food...


Freekeh (pronounced free-ka) is a new super food and ingredient. It is 'roasted green grains.' Freekeh is a process and not the name of a grain variety.
"Freekeh is 100% natural. The grains are harvested while still soft, young and green, then parched, roasted and dried.  The process captures and more importantly retains the grains at the state of peak taste and nutrition. Green grains are very different in properties to mature grains. The entire process is natural and only uses fire and air. No additives or preservatives are used."
What are the benefits of eating Greenwheat Freekeh?

  • Its low in carbohydrates and high in fiber (up to four times the fiber of brown rice) 
  • Acts as a prebiotic. (keeping our intestines healthy) 
  • Rich in lutein and zeaxathin — important phytonutrients for eye health and implicated in the prevention of age-related muscular degeneration 
  • Increases concentration and excretion of butyrate which is associated with diminishing the risk of developing colorectal cancer. 
  • Good for general bowel health.
How to cook with Freekeh...
  • as a side dish (prepared and served like rice)
  • as an ingredient in soups and stuffings
  • served with greens and dressing as a salad
  • to make vegetarian burgers
  • Freekeh flour, semolina, and bran make fantastic breads, pastries, and pastas
So pretty much you can get creative!!

Here is a recipe I have tried-

Freekeh salad with blackberries and pistachios

for the blackberry vinaigrette:
  • 1/3 cup blackberries
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 small clove garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
for the salad:
  • 1 cup freekeh
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 1/2 bulb fennel 
  • 4 cups mixed salad greens
  • 1/4 cup chopped pistachios
For the vinaigrette:
Combine all the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.  The flavors should be a nice balance of salty and sweet, feel free to adjust the amount of vinegar or honey.  You may need to add a little bit more water if the dressing is too thick.
For the salad:
Prepare the freekeh by bringing 5 cups of cold water and the tablespoon of salt to a boil and cook uncovered until the freekeh is tender but still retains some bite, about 45 mintutes.  Drain the freekeh and toss with 2 tablespoons of the dressing and set aside to let the flavors develop while you finish the salad.  Thinly slice the fennel with a mandoline reserving the fronds for garnish.  To serve gently toss the greens, fennel and blackberries with the freekeh adding a little extra dressing to lightly coat everything, sprinkle with the pistachios and fennel fronds and serve.



Monday, 7 January 2013

 We are so lucky here in the Constantia valley to be surrounded by such beautiful wine estates. From the larger, more commercial tourist spot, Groot Constantia, to the smaller, more boutique wineries and of course my very favourite spot in the valley, Constantia Glen. For those of you that haven't yet visited this charming wine farm, do yourselves a favour and put it on your to do list! Its definitely one of Constantia's best kept secrets!

Its more of an experience than a wine tasting.  As soon as you arrive you are made to feel at home, and the staff go out of their way to ensure that you have the very best wine tasting experience possible. They are incredibly knowledgeable and very passionate about their wines. Home to the Constantia Glen range as well as their second label, Constantia Saddle, there is a wine for everybody. The cherry on top of the entire experience is the selection of tasty cheese and charcuterie platters perfectly designed to compliment the wines.

First wine to try is the Constantia Glen Sauvignon Blanc. This is by far my favourite! The 2012 is a typical Constantia Sauvignon Blanc - a lot of tropical fruit, and flinty minerality. Its intensely pleasant with a lingering follow through.
Next on the list is the Constantia Glen Two. Currently unavailable for tasting at the tasting room but do yourself a favour and grab a bottle to drink at home with a good prawn risotto or grilled salmon (both tried and tested!). Its a luxurious blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc, barrel fermented, with both fruit and minerality components. Drink now (like me) or keep for a few years.

On to the reds, starting with the Constantia Glen Three. This is a classic Constantia blend of the three most revered Bordeaux varieties:Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. This is a lovely cool climate red, full of flavour and delicious with a fillet steak on the braai!

The final wine in the Constantia Glen range is the Five. This is their flagship wine and its not hard to see (taste!) why. By far my very favourite South African Bordeaux style red, it contains all five of the archetypal Bordeaux varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Its smooth, smokey and simply divine. Enjoy this bottle with a lamb stew or a good blue cheese!

Constantia Glen tasting room is open weekdays from 10h00 - 17h00. Saturdays and Sundays from 10h00 - 16h00.
Tel: +27 (0)21 795 5639