So back in early September the PR Company for the BBC Lifestyle sent me an invitation to enter a blog competition. I got a box of ingredients, a recipe, and instructions to complete it all in four days. The prize was a trip to London and to eat at Bill Grangers restaurant Granger & co in Nottinghill. I did not hesitate for a second.
The recipe I needed to make was Bill’s Lime and Coconut Delicious – enough motivation on its own. I went to town and spread the message about Bills new TV series ‘Bills Kitchen: Notting Hill’ as far and wide as I could, and a week or so later I heard that I won.
Since I have never won anything on this scale I was thrilled beyond speech. I had also not been to London in four years and was feeling worn out after years of hard work with few breaks and certainly no proper holiday. I needed a change of scenery.
My trip to London was too short, but I added on a few extra days to visit friends and generally spend some time in a city I love and used to live in. I also turned it into an opportunity to write about a few hotels and restaurants, and generally immerse myself in all things food while I was there. I really packed it in.
I wrote about my stunning stay at the Great Northern Hotel on Kings Cross Station and my night of luxury at the Halkin. I even squeezed in a rushed trip to Warwickshire and spent a night at the gorgeous Fuzzy Duck Pub near Stratford upon Avon.
I ate as much as I could for such a short stay and these are my restaurant highlights from my trip: (in the order that they were experienced) [click to continue…]
I’m in such a good mood I could jump up and down with joy. I have managed to plough through a series of deadlines and can now see light at the end of the tunnel. This is the home stretch to Christmas and the end of the year, and I think we are all ready get our holiday on. In cape Town this means gorgeous Summer days on the beach, sunset picnics and plenty of parties. This delicious strawberry mojito with an infusion of ginger, basil, mint and black pepper is just the thing to get you into the swing of things. [click to continue…]
I stumbled across Jamie Oliver’s recipe for the best cauliflower and broccoli cheese the other day and felt compelled to give it a go. What struck me as interesting was the method he used to make it. He incorporates the broccoli into the cheese sauce and doesn’t pre blanch the cauliflower which I always do. It takes longer in the oven, but I like the idea of one of my favourite vegetables roasting under a blanket of sauce for an hour. Adding broccoli just somehow makes it seem healthier.
* Cooks notes ~ I used a combination of Gruyere and mature Cheddar and I sprinkled some Parmesan on top of the crumbs instead of almonds. This crunchy topping totally makes this dish. The cauliflower was lovely and firm even after an hour in the oven, and I found it less watery than a pre-blanched version. I liked the broccoli, but next time I will make it without. use whatever cheese you fancy and in whatever quantities you like. I used less cheese than the recipe and it was still very tasty. [click to continue…]
I have fond memories of eating something similar to this at pancake place in Mowbray many years ago. I can’t remember the name. When I refer to pancake, its in the South African context which is along the European lines of a crepe, and not an American-style thicker pancake. Pancakes are pretty versatile and are wonderful served simply with cinnamon sugar and a squeeze of lemon, but I love the combination of fresh banana’s with caramel, and rolled up in a pancake its pure heaven for me. Warmed even better. A dollop of vanilla ice cream to finish off this dish is a must.
As far as pancakes (crepes) go, I have been on a mission to find the perfect recipe. With only 4 ingredients, how hard could it be? I found my moms recipe but it had such huge quantities which were difficult to divide, so I turned to 2 well-known international celebrity chefs for their recipes and was dissaponted in both. One was too fluffy and the other too eggy with crisp edges. I just wasnt winning, I tweeted about my dilemma and a friend of mine @BigBigJoe1 alerted me to his favourite recipe by well known South African foodie; Peter Veldsman from his book ‘Food of the Century’. It is one of the best tasting crepe recipes I’ve found with a lovely texture that holds a filling very well. [click to continue…]
Summer has hit Cape Town with full force and I love a fruity iced tea to help me through the hot days. As much as I love fruit juice, I rarely drink it. Loaded with sugar and calories, I prefer iced tea instead. I love my Rooibos iced tea with honey, ginger mint and lemon which can be made with few calories, and I pretty much have a jug of this at all times in my fridge. I also prefer to make my own. Abundantly cheaper and sans all the preservatives and colorants, its the only way forward for me.
I have discovered that apple juice is a fabulous way to sweeten ice tea, it also adds a lovely fruity dimension. For this variation, I wanted some tropical flavour too, so added passion fruit pulp to the mix. Garnished with a few sprigs of mint, and poured over a tall glass loaded with ice, it makes a very refreshing drink. [click to continue…]