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.