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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

CAPE MEDITERRANEAN BY Ilse van der Merwe, published by Stuik Lifestyle, 2019.

 

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Neither heritage nor nostalgic - the contents of this colourful hardback focus on the fare you would find on long lunch tables, set in vineyards, on patios or under beach umbrellas. The meal starts with breads and spreads, goes on to tapas-like starters, followed by generous salads and vegetable dishes around crisp roasts or grilled seafood. Such appetising scenes can be found all over our country, but are more prevalent in the Western Cape, where the Mediterranean climate calls for seasonal, sustainable al fresco feasting.

The cuisine of the Med basin incorporates that of south-western Europe, the Middle East and north Africa, and is driven by olive oil, fruit, vegetables, seafood and wine, with some meat and dairy. Many South Africans who relish contemporary fare embrace CapeMed, as it also known, while still adding more poultry and meat than the northern cooks do.

Stellenbosch- born food writer and blogger Ilse still lives in this wineland town where she also finds time to be a TV presenter and recipe developer. With this, her first book as inspiration, cooks keen to turn to a healthier and very delectable diet will find the answer, from the opening chapter – Loaves, flatbreads and pizza – to the finale of mostly fruit-driven desserts.

Delving into the contents, we find that the array of breads, both yeasted and flat, include smoky cheese sticks and olive and feta focaccia. Among the dips and spreads you will find smoked snoek pâté followed by Bo-kaap harissa paste, adding classic Cape favourites to others like tzatziki, pesto, hummus and tapenade..

Ilse dubs her chapter of starters or small plates Tapas, Terrines and Tasters, opening with panfried calamari tentacles with chorizo which precede vegetarian platters like grilled marinated sweet peppers with garlic and olive oil, shellfish delights such as roasted garlicky prawns with lemon and herbs and finishes with some beautiful terrines – free-range duck liver and hot-smoked trout.

Sustaining fare for chilly days can be found in the chapter on soups, chowders and stews. Cooks with time on their hands should love the Cape style bouillabaisse, those who want supper served in 30 minutes will be drawn to the black mussel and tomato stew. When mountain peaks are snow-capped it’s time to make her Italian-style white bean soup with Karoo lamb while vegetarians will relish leek and potato soup with mature gouda.

The salad section offers favourites that most of us know and rely on, from Caprese to Caesar, tabbouleh to roasted beetroot – and more. The chapter on Pasta. Potatoes andRrice offers no less than three recipes for gnocchi, starring potato, butternut and semolina, and they all look delicious.

Compared to the typical South African cookbook the section on roasts and grills is short, starring the ever-popular slow-roasted leg of lamb, coq au vin using local Riesling and yellowtail, stuffed and braaied.

Summer stone fruit, figs, granadillas and berries star in indulgent desserts, along with a few preserves . The index completes the text of this appetising collection, beautifully photographed by Tasha Secombe. The title is, I noticed, published by Linda de Villiers, now retired, who also proofread the text – which explains the fact that this is one cookbook where I failed to find a single error... 

“The way we love to eat” is the subtitle on the cover, to which many Kapenaars would answer “is there any other way?”

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Posted by on in Events

CHARDONNAY AND PINOT CELEBRATION

 

Four top producers – three from Elgin and and one from Walker Bay - are joining forces to present an exceptional tasting of their chardonnay and pinot noir wines, following by a five-course gourmet dinner. The owners of

Elgin Ridge, Iona, Paul Cluver and Hamilton Russell will pour gems from their ranges on Friday October 11 at Paul Cluver wines in Elgin. This will be followed by dinner created by chef Craig Cormack and his team at Salt restaurant on the farm

Date: October 11

Time 6.30 for 7pm

Venue: Paul Cluver wines, Elgin

Cost: R1 200 per head

Bookings: via www.quicket.co.za

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PAIR YOUR FOOD WITH YOUR WINE AT THESE TASTINGS

 

 

The winning wines in the Sommeliers Selection competition will feature at three tasting events, held countrywide this month. The competition, the only one judged by a panel of South Africa sommeliers attracted more than 400 wines, beer and gin from more than 60 producers.

 

The events all cost R100 pp or R175 for two.
  
WESTERN CAPE

  • Venue:  Roca Restaurant, Franschhoek
  • Date:      Wednesday, 9 October
  • Times:    11.00-11h30 - trade only

    11h30 - public admitted
      13h00 - doors close

JOHANNESBURG

  • Venue:  Pool Deck, Tsogo Sun Hyde Park
  • Date:      Wednesday, 16 October
  • Times:    16:00-18:00 - trade only

             18:00 - public admitted
              21:00 - doors close

DURBAN

  • Venue:  The Beverly Hills Hotel, uMhlanga
  • Date:      Thursday, 31 October
  • Times:    16:00-18:00 - trade only

             18:00 - public admitted
              21:00 - doors close

Book:    https://www.webtickets.co.za/performance.aspx?itemid=1494163066

 
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South Africa’ s first Mindful Drinking Festival

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The Stone Cottages at Kirstenbosch in Newlands make the venue for this one-day festival where a wide choice of alcohol-free wines, beers and health drinks will be exhibited and poured on Sunday October 20. A blind tasting, free workshops, local musicians are all on the menu, and the event is hosted by Mindful Drinking SA , a movement motivated to help make non-alcoholic drinks socially acceptable and desirable on any occasion. The three producers of d-alcoholised wines in South Africa will also be there along with health food stalls including vegetarian and vegan options. See also www.mindfuldrinking.co.za.

Tickets cost R100 through Quicket or R130 at the door. The festival opens at 11am

 

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The Franschhoek Cap Classique & Champagne Festival, ‘The Magic of Bubbles’

Kickstart the festive season on a high note at the annual Franschhoek Cap Classique & Champagne Festival, ‘The Magic of Bubbles’, presented by Sanlam Private Wealth. The event takes place over the weekend of 30 November and 1 December at theHuguenot Monument.

For those preferring a laid-back experience, Sunday’s offering aka ‘The Big Bubbly Brunch’, should not be missed.. The grand marquee – the place to be seen – will be oozing style, elegance and sophistication. Lounge style music and brunch inspired food add the final touches.. The dress code for the weekend’s fashionable affair is Blue and White. A prize will be awarded to the Best Dressed Couple attending the Saturday event

Festival goers can choose between three price packages;

DATE

FESTIVAL TIMES

COST PER PERSON

Saturday, 30 November

12pm to 5pm

R395 per person

Sunday, 1 December

10am to 3pm

R250 per person

Weekend Ticket (Saturday and Sunday)

Applicable to the relevant dates

R550 per person

Tickets include access to the marquee and tasting glass, as well as MCC and champagne tasting coupons. Additional vouchers can be purchased on the day. Food is excluded from the ticket price. Children under 18 years will be allowed free entry.

Book directly through www.webtickets.co.za, For more information and regular updates visit www.franschhoekmcc.co.za.

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Fans of Italian fare (and isn’t that nearly everyone?) should diarise October 5 and 6 when the first Festa Italiana will take place in Milnerton at the Italian Club.

The club will be transformed into an Italian street fair, such as you find in Rome, Milan, Naples, Venice and Palermo. All things Italian will be the focus, with food and cooking playing a major role. Italian cars to drool over will prove popular while wine, fashion, music, arts and crafts are all on the menu.

Author and foodie Grazia Barletta will demonstrate Italian culinary dishes, ahead of launching her third book, Delicious Italian Moments. Expect to see her produce Peperonata and Amaretti Semifreddo. Her demos start at 11am on Saturday and 14,45pm on Sunday.

Giovanni and Gabriella Esposito, a father and daughter duo will also be demonstrating cooking, while Davide Ostuni will show us how to make authentic mozzarella cheese.

The programme is packed with two days of exciting activities with something for all age groups. As the organisers say, Italian brands are highly sought after and popular in every culture. From la Scala Opera to the Florentine arts, fashion icons, gastronomic delights and automotive brands, “Made in Italy “is in class of its own.”

 

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Tickets can be bought through Webtickets or at the door on the day. Costs are R80 for adults, R55 for pensioners and children from 12 – 18. Children under 12 go in free. The Italian Club is at 16 Donegal Street, Rugby, Milnerton.

 

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Unwind, unplug, breathe deep and savour the rural scene.  You're at  one of the most popular annual wine and food festivals in South Africa, with good reason. The 14th Wine on the River festival, hosted by the Robertson Wine Valley and Nedbank will welcome visitors daily from Friday October 11 to Sunday 13th with wonderful wine, fine country fare, a host of activities and memorable hospitality.

 

As before, the lawned and shady banks of the placid Breede river on Goudmyn farm make the perfect setting for the tents, stalls and al fresco restaurants that transform the riverside into a hive of happy festival-goers.

Along with tasting your favourite white, red, rosé and sparkling wines, you are likely to find exciting new varietals to try and buy. Snack on delectable local produce as you wander along, pause for quality coffee and rusks and take your pick from a tempting selection of lunch menus savoured at tables under umbrellas. Children will gravitate to their own area where supervised activities for all ages are offered.

Go one better and indulge in a Connoisseurs ticket which makes you a VIP for the day, with entrance to the Nedbank Lounge, where all kinds of goodies and treats are on tap. Book a seat at the wine theatre for wine and food pairings to remember. And note that stocking your boot with your fine quality wine purchases from this valley makes a far smaller dent in your budget than those from many of the competition!

Travellers booking for the weekend have a wide choice of village and farm accommodation to contemplate, plus luxurious camping, or glamping, presented in a package that includes tickets and transport.

B&B hosts in Robertson, McGregor, Bonnievale, Ashton and Montagu wait to welcome you (and there will be shuttle servces available from all towns to the festival over the weekend. You can even pre-book your shuttle trips on the website.)

The sporting types, both runners and bikers, will want to head to Van Loveren Family Vineyards where the popular Java MTB Challenge takes place on Saturday 12th October. There is a great choice of routes; runners have alternative 10km and 15km trails to consider while biking families can enter for  the non-technical fun ride . Serious riders can choose from more gruelling routes, some for top riders only. Every participant will receive a medal and goody-bag! Visit www.javamtb.co.za for more info, or call Alet on 023 6151505.

 

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Festival visitors enjoy feeling good about something they do or buy, which is why three charitable organisations always book their place at Wine on the River. Those enjoying a boat cruise on the river contribute to the Breede Hospice , which will also be selling snacks from their stall. The acclaimed Thunderchild red blend will also be on sale, every cent of your purchase going to Die Herberg, an orphanage with a century of history of ensuring a loving home and well educated childhood to hundreds of less fortunate children. Look out as well for the craft stall filled with useful items created by the folks at the home for seniors in Robertson – sales of  inexpensive items that boost their funds.

 

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Tickets cost from R150 to R350 a head, with a VIP ticket selling for R750. Buy your tickets online from Howler.co.za. There will be no ticket sales at the entrance gates, so it's essential that you get yours before you go.  For further info on accommodation, transport and wine theatre bookings, visit www.wineonriver.com, email admin@robertsonwinevalley.com or call 023 626 3167.

 

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Posted by on in Restaurants

 

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Why Monica Lewinsky, I wondered as I savoured my first slice of a delectable pizza, thin, crispy, topped with capers, chopped anchovies and black olives on a tomato and mozzarella base. The flavours were so well integrated, the wedges the right size for eating with fingers, the size generous, that I could find no fault with it.

Vern and I visited Kurt and André’s new gastronomic venture with great anticipation, having heard a series of good reports about pizzas and puds.

Although they have not yet sorted out their liquor licence, the pub section of the FLA was well occupied, the long bar propping up mostly male customers and one couple preferring the sofa option. On to the spacious dining area behind, which is dotted with two long and two small pale blonde tables and trendy stick-leg 60’s-style chairs. Attractive lighting overhead was just becoming functional but there was enough daylight to take in the simple courtyard garden at the back, glimpsed through a wall of full length French windows. Al fresco dining should be popular as the weather warms up, wooden ranch type seating beckons between stone paths and the beginnings of a veggie garden.

Inside the feel is Scandinavian minimalist, with a modern fireplace emitting welcome heat at one end. At the other, Karoo aloes in tall floor vases flower either side a wall of huge butter-coloured platters on the wall. “We’re looking for five more to complete the scene...”

Settling at a small table, we were given wine glasses and a practical menu – the pizza takeaway list printed on an A4 sheet of white paper which can be replaced and updated with little expense. The pizzas start at R65 for the only vegetarian option, simply entitled Milkmaid. where the basic tomato and cheese base is topped with fresh basil. Six others follow, named after a variety of female celebrities, three of whom are deceased, and ranging in price from R85 to R95. Vern was very happy with his choice, topped with salami, feta and sweet peppadew (not pepperdew, why does no one get this spelling right?). It is dubbed Montserrat Caballe, a Spanish soprano who died in Barcelona last year, Google tells me. Ah.

Mae West lends her name to a topping of smoked chicken breast, more peppadew and smoked cheese, while nonagenarian Gina Lollobrigida is remembered with chorizo and camembert. Social media queen Kim Cardashian tweets about roasted BBQ rib and fresh rocket on her pizza and Mamma Cass’s name graces toppings of green bacon, blue cheese and green fig preserve. (I had to look her up as well – she was a member of the Mammas and Pappas pop group and died at the age of 32 in London.)

Service was solicitous and friendly. The blackboard announced the dish of the day as pork rib and mash, and the dessert was cheesecake (R45. )

And whether or not you appreciate the allure of presidential seductress Monica Lewinsky, succumb to the charms of the Fat Lady in the certain knowledge that your supper should prove to be a delicious experience.

 

A great and affordable addition to the McGregor dining out and takeout scene, The Fat Lady’s arms is open from 5 – 10pm from Wednesday to Sunday. Weekend lunches will follow soon. Find the venue in the middle of McGregor on Voortrekker street, and call them on 082 786 4888 for more info.

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