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Myrna Robins

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Food

News, recipes, culinary events and cookbook reviews.

Subcategories from this category: Restaurants, Events, Cookbooks, Recipes

Posted by on in Restaurants

 

DEATH CUP by Irna van Zyl, published by Penguin Random House South Africa, 2018.

 

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How could I resist? A thriller sub-titled Murder is on the Menu, set against an Overberg background dripping with fickle foodies, on-trend restaurateurs and self-important chefs, followed by a series of deadly dishes and human corpses.

This is van Zyl’s second detective novel and is translated from the Afrikaans original, titled Gifbeker. I was impressed by the author’s culinary knowledge of gastronomic contests, trends and top restaurants. Having raced through the book, I came across pages of generous acknowledgements where she listed cookbooks that afforded her culinary knowledge both trendy and basic, chefs who shared their passion and knowledge especially with regard to foraging, both seafood and funghi and techniques like open fire cooking in the kitchens.

From page one the tension is tangible, as a well-known and not always popular food blogger keels over in a top restaurant and dies – a highly poisonous mushroom provomg responsible for her untimely death. Zebardines is one of the top restaurants in the country and is gearing up for the chef of the year and restaurant awards so timing could not be worse –Zeb the chef is celebrated, awarded, young and black – with everything going for him

Detective Storm van der Merwe is on the case, helped by a couple of colleagues, some friendly, others wary. Storm has her own problems to contend with , not least of which is Moerdyk, a former policeman who had quit the force ahead of being fired. He usually turns up at Storm’s doorstep when least wanted, such as just after the first murder. He is determined to stay, and help her find a new place to rent as the owner (also a restaurateur) has complained about her three dogs.

Tracey the waitress and seducer of Zeb is found dead in the restaurant wine cellar – victim number two and the plot thickens as Zeb is attacked by unknown men but survives and is taken to hospital. And Storm has to contend with Pistorius, her supervisor, a molester with past history and now transferred to Hermanus. Two men break into her bedroom and steal her phone and iPad, and her favourite dog Purdey disappears as they run away.

Protesters outside Zebardines, rumours of a food website takeover, a smooth property developer (and old boyfriend of Storm's) add complexity to an already crowded scene. Tension reaches breaking point , as a third victim, Maria Louw, Zebardine’s maitre ‘d is attacked but survives and the glitzy restaurant awards event in Cape Town take place with heightened security in place . Storm herself is in danger before the murderer is stopped – and as in all good thrillers, not many readers will guess who this is.

Topical, fast-paced, complex and accurate when depicting Hermanus backgrounds, this is a well-executed and gripping crime novel.

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Posted by on in Food

 

Wintry weather does not mean just cocooning when it comes to wineland events. There is a fine choice awaiting winelovers during June, both in the Cape and in Gauteng.

 

Shiraz and charcuterie six days a week!

 

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Tantalise the senses with a new wine pairing experience at Anthonij Rupert Estate! They have introduced a Shiraz & Charcuterie pairing in the Terra del Capo tasting room, which is available from Tuesday to Sunday at R120 pp. Booking is essential.

This pairing is in addition to their hosting of the annual Shiraz and Charcuterie festival on the lawns of the Anthonij Rupert tasting room, taking place on Saturday May 26.

For more information and reservations, contact 021 874 9074 or email tasting@rupertwines.com.

 

 

BURGUNDIAN CULTIVARS FOR THE JULIET CULLINAN FEST

 

As this is the 28th annual event, the Juliet Cullinan Standard Bank Wine Festival has every right to announce that it is the longer running wine fest in South Africa. This years celebration takes place on June 5 and 6 from 5 – 9pm in the old IMAX theatre in Hyde Park, Johannesburg. Gauteng winelovers will be treated to a feast of chardonnay and pinot noir grown in Burgundy as a group of select boutique wineries present innovative blends. For more information contact events@julietcullinan.co.za or log onto www.julietcullinan.co.za

 

 

CHARDONNAY AND PINOT NOIR IN NEWLANDS

 

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Wine Concepts will host their 8th exclusive Chardonnay & Pinot Noir Celebration at The Vineyard Hotel in June

Guests will be treated to a fine selection of charming Chardonnay’s and praise-worthy Pinot Noir’s! This popular annual festival gives wine lovers the opportunity to taste the best offering of these two varieties from over 40 of the country’s top producers.Tempting and delicious snacks will be served with the wine throughout the evening.

All the showcased wines will be available for purchase at discounted prices from Wine Concepts on the evening.

Venue:             The Vineyard Hotel, Colinton Road, Newlands,

Date:               Friday 8th June 2018

Time:               17.00 – 20.00

Cost:                R200.00 per person – includes entrance, wine glass and light snacks

The Vineyard Hotel is offering a special of a 2 course dinner in Square Restaurant, bed & Full English breakfast for Single – R1 665; Double – R2 210

Only 200 tickets  and these can  be purchased via www.webtickets.co.za, or at any of the Wine Concepts branches. Telephone Newlands at (021) 671 9030 or Kloof Street at (021) 426-4401.

or at the door on the evening subject to availability. Email: admin@wineconcepts.co.za

 

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TASTE THE HELDERBERG AT THEIR ANNUAL SHOWCASE

 

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This fest of wine and good food takes place on Friday June 8 at the Lord Charles hotel in Somerset West from 5 – 9pm.

It offers guests tastings of the region’s new releases, chats with the winemakers, and a chocolate buffet, while local fare will be on sale.

Tickets, which cost R150 include glass, tastings and chocolate. Book online at www.wineroute.co.za. If any tickets remain, they’ll be sold at the door.

For more information visit www.wineroute.co.za or call 021 886 8275. Taste the Helderberg is presented by the Stellenbosch Wine Routes.

 

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OM WINE TASTING FOR THE TROPHY HUNTERS

 

Diarise Wednesday June 13 for the 2018 Old Mutual Trophy Wine show public tasting taking place the CT International Convention Centre from 5pm – 9pm. Meet the winning winemakers and taste their impressive wines – all of which have scored at least 80 points and been awarded a trophy, gold or silver medals. Among them will be the two best white and red wine trophy winners, the International Judges’ trophy winner, and the Discovery of the Show, aka the best value wine.

The lists of winners will be available on www.trophywineshow.co.za from about 15h30 on May 29. This year chairman Michael Fridjhon headed a panel of three international and sxc local judges plus a team of associate judges in assessing the more than 900 wines entered.

Here are the details:

The venue is the ballroom on level 1 of the CTICC. Tickets cost R180 until June 2, then R200 thereafter. Buy online or at the door. Only over-18s, no babies. Tickets include tasting glass and unlimited tastings. Wines at show prices can be ordered from the Makro pop-up store. For more info see www.trophywineshow.co.za or www.outsorceress.co.za.

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Franschhoek Winter Wines | 16 June 2018

 

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This annual winter warmer fest takes place at the Franschhoek Motor Museuem on LOrmarins estate on  Saturday, 16 June (11am to 4pm).

The Franschhoek Vignerons who will be showcasing some of their finest seasonal red wines, among them Topiary, Black Elephant Vintners, Holden Manz, La Bri, Rickety Bridge, Haute Cabrière and Anthonij Rupert Wyne, amongst others.

 Tasty comfort food,both savoury and sweet, prepared by the chefs at Terra del Capo will be on sale. The Franschhoek Motor Museum offers the opportunity to look back at more than 100 years of motoring history with its unique and exciting collection of vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles and memorabilia. Live music will round off what promises to be the perfect day out to the Franschhoek Wine Valley.

Tickets are available directly from www.webtickets.co.za at R280 per person.  This includes a complimentary wine glass, a tasting of all the wines on show, a R20 voucher (to be redeemed on the day), as well as entrance to the Franschhoek Motor Museum. Booking is essential. l For more information contact 021 876 2861 or info@franschhoek.org.za.

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Posted by on in Restaurants

 

ILE DE PAIN ANYTIME by Liezie Mulder. Published by Quivertree Publications, Cape Town, 2018.

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This is another gem from Quivertree, a sizeable hardback with a linen- feel cover, featuring a inviting plate of Mexican fish tacos on the front cover and a shot of the restaurant, shelves laden with loaves, on the back.

There can be few South African foodies and gourmets who do not know about the iconic Ile de Pain, a Knysna café and bakery that makes a major reason for some for visiting the Garden Route town.

Co-owner and head chef Liezie Mulder, together with her partner and master baker Markus Farbinger, started the restaurant in 2002 and it did not take long for its reputation for wonderful croissants and bakes and authentic coffee to spread, first among locals, then to a wider audience.

As one would expect, bakes star prominently in this collection of approachable recipes that cover every meal of the day along with a range of chutneys and sauces to have in the pantry. Appropriately, the dishes are grouped by time slots – Around 8am, noon, 6 pm and midnight, with some sweet treats and a chapter of favourite recipes from family and friends getting their own chapters. There is also a good number of recipes that will please vegetarians and even a few vegans and many that reflect the influence of the Far East, Mexico and Italy. A three-year stint in Texas during her childhood still influences her favourite barbecue sauce recipe. Meat is not a major role player in this fresh, contemporary and nourishing culinary collection.

To focus on just a few of her dishes, the superfood smoothie in the breakfast chapter offers a powerhouse start to the day, and the baked yoghurt with berries, an Indian delight, can be served to start the day or as an easy dessert. In the midday chapter, an inspiring selection of exotic, healthy, grain-based salads finishes with a Greek salad that takes the classic to new heights. Supper recipes include casual bread-based dishes, from burger to flatbread while sweet treats reflect a more classic approach – scones, banana bread and berry tart. And there is a great choice of breads – loaves, tortillas, buns – in the midnight chapter, although readers can, happily, choose their time to start kneading...

I missed out on Liezie’s first cookbook Café Food published nine years ago which probably stars croissant recipes, the only item I missed in this collection. This treasury well reflects her present philosophy of being open to possibilities with ingredients, to have fun and not take food too seriously. On the other hand she is meticulous when testing new flavour combinations and adapting dishes that inspired her while travelling to ensure they suit the restaurant menu. As usual, Craig Fraser’s evocative photographs add hugely to the title’s appeal, and Wilna Combrinck's design make it a visual delight.

 

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Posted by on in Restaurants

 

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It is one of the oldest farms in the Durbanville area, but it’s only recently that visitors, diners and winelovers are being invited to discover the joys awaiting them at this venue. Celebrating its long history, Andre and Ronelle Brink, fourth generation family owners, are marking the 320th anniversary of Groot Phesantekraal with the new vintages of their range of wines, along with a renovated tasting room where guests are invited to sniff various spices, herbs and  teas to awaken their senses. Therre’s also a restaurant that occupies a mid-18th century stable, offering fine country fare of breakfast and lunch along with a Saturday brunch.

Having recently tasted some of the wines, it was good to get an update on two of their impressive releases, the 2017 sauvignon blanc and the 2015 cabernet sauvignon.

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To start with the white, Durbanville is renowned for sauvignon blanc and this, made by Etienne Louw (ex-Altydgedacht) is as good as it gets, confirmed by its being placed in the Top 10 of the 2017 FNB Sauvignon Blanc awards and sporting a double gold from Veritas 2017.  Made from vines just a decade old, the nose offers some passion fruit and other tropical flavours with citrus and green notes being added to the fruit on the palate. But there’s also a welcome crispness without searing acidity and an  elegance with faint whiffs of the Durbanville dustiness lingering at length. Alcohol levels at 14% are a little higher than current trends dictate, but this is a wine that many sauvignon fans of all ages will sip with delight. The selling price of R72 is very reasonable for quality of this class.

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Cabernet sauvignon is not Durbanville’s  signature cultivar but the region’s winemakers produce some fine examples, and this wine, from the brilliant 2015 vintage, can comfortably  compete with its regional cousins.  Its a rich medium-bodied cab, with an agreeable freshness accompanying the berry and minty flavours, alongside a hint of the trademark Durbanville dustiness. Soft tannins mean that the wine is accessible now , but it’s sure to improve with age. Those opening it now should let it breathe for an hour or two in a decanter before pouring. It sports a gold from last year’s Michelangelo contest and sells for R100.

The rest of the range consists of a Cap Classique, a chenin blanc, and a wooded chenin named after Anna de Koning, wife of the farm’s first owner. The flagship red is the 2016 pinotage Berliet.

Call 021 825 0060 for more info or visit www.grootphesantekraal.co.za. The tasting room and restaurant are closed on Sunday and Monday.

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Posted by on in Restaurants

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Given how rapidly the upper half of Franschhoek is changing, it is as well that we get a quarterly newsletter from  Nicolette Waterford to keep us up to date. As autumn gives way to winter and the number of upcountry and international visitors diminishes, the time is ripe for locals to reclaim the village and its many culinary and vinous attractions. We are also more likely to find place to park and contemplate the magnificent scenery at our leisure, can overnight in luxurious comfort and wander down the main road the next morning, as aromas of croissants baking drift on the crisp air.

Thanks to the Leeu Collection guests can take their tastebuds a lot further than local and Gallic fare: Tuk Tuk – the popular watering hole for tailor-made brews - has just launched a new menu at its Taqueria, consisting of small snack items which make ideal accompaniments to the beers produced at the Microbrewery, unique to Franschhoek. The snack fare consists of chimichangas and croquettes while the taco selection – think corn fajitas, game fish tostadas, burritos and chicken burger – will appeal to carnivores and vegetarians alike. There is also an irresistible dessert choice based on classic Mexican and Tex-Mex favourites. Enjoy all this seven days a week from 11am onwards.

There is also a special offer of accommodation at Leeu House and the magnificent estate hotel for families staying a minimum of two nights, that is valid from now for a whole year, with exception of the period Christmas to end of February 2019. This could make a breakaway for adults and children as memorable as any destination across the planet. And that’s a personal recommendation!

For more info, see www.leeucollection.com

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