carrot and coriander soup

Summer looks set to be well on its way here in Cape Town, but we must not forget all the storms and cold snaps that pass through as late as November. I know this because when I moved back to Cape Town nearly seven years ago, I arrived on the fifth of November to a rainy and cool Mother City. I rented a flat in Bantry Bay for the month, and during that time a violent storm ripped a tree out the garden. I remember needing an extra duvet on my bed for a lot of the time and even turned the heater on.

carrot and coriander soup with cumin and orange

I’ve noted over the years since my return that we do get cold stormy spells and it even snowed on the mountains one Christmas. So this recipe is for then. [click to continue…]


the nederburg wine auction 2014

by Sam on September 15, 2014




I attended the 40th Nederburg Auction on Saturday and its always such a fun and glamourous day. Held at Nederburg Estate in  Paarlthis years auction hit a new record.

Whilst I didn’t sit through all the bidding, a record average price per litre of R597.36 was achieved at this year,  a 68.5% increase on the previous year.

“This is indicative of strong demand for premium South African wine, underpinned by a record average price per litre achieved and no unsold lots,” says Auction Manager Dalene Steyn.

I was pleased to see the Nederburg Edelkeur go under the hammer in a very exciting bid. It fetched R6,444 for 12 x 375ml bottles of 1979, the best price ever for this varietal. This sale took the Nederburg Auction to a total of just over R7 million as the last item in the line-up to be auctioned over the two days. I still have my bottle bottle of 1985 Edelkeur (signed by Gunter Brozel) in my cellar waiting to drink one day. Im just waiting for hte right occassion.

SA’s top buyers this year were: Tsogo Sun taking top honours (with R 723 900), followed by Juric Imports & Exports and the Spar Group. Singita, last year’s top buyer, was in at fourth place. Taiwan, one of several new international countries on the buyers’ list, came in at number three.

I love the Charity auction at the end, its always quite exciting, and this year the sale raised R209 000 for the beneficiaries, Hope Through Action and the Breytenbach Centre, with charity auctioneer Ken Forrester knocking down amongst other items, 12 x 750ml bottles of Nederburg Vintage Cabernet 1975 for R47 500 and the Van Ryn’s Charentaise Collection of 10-year-old potstill brandy for R25 000. [click to continue…]


lemon and thyme mini bundt cakes

by Sam on September 11, 2014

lemon and johurt cakes with lemon and thyme icing

lemon and johurt cakes with lemon and thyme icing

When I saw this Lemon yoghurt cake on Donna Hay the other day I knew it was the precise recipe I would use to test out my new silicone mini bundt cake pans.

lemon and thyme mini bundt cakes

The best part about this recipe is the one bowl, made by hand and its super quick and easy. The flavour is delicious. The texture is moist, and it has a wonderful light crumb. I also found it lasted a good few days in a sealed container. In fact, was better the day after and the day after that.

The thyme is wonderful with the lemon glaze icing so don’t leave this out. I makes it super sophisticated and aromatic. [click to continue…]


strawberry cheesecake with a nutty crumble

by Sam on September 9, 2014

strawberry cheesecake with nut crumble

This is a delightful strawberry cheesecake recipe that is more like a mousse than a dense fridge cheesecake. The filling is dolloped onto a fabulous nut crumble base and finished off with a drizzle of strawberry syrup and slices of fresh strawberry.

strawberry cheesecake with nut crumble

It originates from executive chef Phil De Villiers from 54 on Bath in Johannesburg. His is a way more elaborate and sophisticated dish that is made with elderberries, layered with meringues, honeycomb, vanilla jelly and served with strawberry filled ricotta dumplings on the side. They serve this in the fabulous Level Four restaurant at the hotel. I dumbed the recipe right down to ensure it was super easy to achieve for the home cook, and left out the extra components (sorry Phil). I used strawberry syrup because it so happens I made it recently. Also, elderberries are not available in South Africa at all. [click to continue…]


pineapple and ginger mint julep

by Sam on September 5, 2014

pineapple and ginger mint julip

I added a twist to a classic Mint Julip, a cocktail I have recently fallen in love with.

I took a pineapple that was on the verge of over ripe and about to be tossed, and cut it up into small chunks. I added it to 2 cups of water and a cup of sugar and boiled it for about 30 minutes. I then allowed this syrup to cool and strained it into a jar. Infusions are such a stunning way to add flavour in a subtle way.

Mint julip with pineapple and ginger

Ginger adds a little kick, but all in all its still intrinsically a mint julep. [click to continue…]