Last week it was with great jubilation that I attended the South African Avocado Growers Association breakfast at Open Door Restaurant in Constantia. Jubilation because it was to officially announce the start of the new avocado season (if that isn’t a reason to celebrate I don’t know what is) and the winner of their Avocado Ambassador competition. This was one the dishes the restaurant served as part of an avocado inspired breakfast menu and I loved it. I’ve put my own spin on it and made crispy fried eggs in chilli oil instead of doing poached. This adorns sourdough toast that is covered in slices of avocado, wilted spinach, pan-fried mushrooms with walnut and rocket pesto. Utterly delicious!

I posted about this recipe for pickled mushrooms right at the beginning of my blogging days and I always remembered how delicious it was. It’s vibrant in flavour and so very easy to make. It also fits well with my healthy eating plan and I’m going out of my way to hunt down healthy recipes that pack a flavour punch. Eating salads day in and day out sometimes require exciting additions.

The Yard in the Silo District is now serving a Sunday brunch and for us Capetonians this is exciting. There aren’t a lot of good brunching options in this fair city of ours and especially not on a Sunday. The City Bowl basically shuts down, and other than venturing into southern suburbia; there are few places where you can casually eat your way through the middle part of a Sunday like any sensible person should.

2018 has been all about positive change for me and I’m in my 7th week of a healthy eating plan. I had to look at my diary because I wasn’t exactly sure if it was 7 or 8 weeks and this is a good thing. For the first few weeks it was utter torture and I was counting every day, constantly hungry and fixated on eating all my allowed foods at certain times. I’m more in tune now with what I need to be eating so things are feeling easier. This is the way I need to be eating for the rest of my life, and one thing I have to do is get better at planning. Having a tasty lean protein meal for dinner can be make or break. I’m much more satisfied when my supper tastes amazing despite being without any carbs. This healthy calamari salad is one of those dishes that is perfect for me and it’s ridiculously easy to make. The calamari take 1 minute to cook and that is it. You can eat it on the same day, but I advise making it the day before, allowing the flesh to marinate in all the vibrant flavours. It’s also the perfect salad to adapt to your taste and add a variety of other things. I’ve kept it quite simple and Mediterranean with just red onions, parsley, olives, parsley, tomatoes, lemon and olive oil.

I wanted to get the last of my Italian photos up by the end of last year, but you know how things go. So here they are now. I had a hugely memorable and inspiring trip to Northern Italy in October/ November. It was my first major solo adventure and a food pilgrimage of note. I had always been advised that autumn was the best time to visit Italy and I can only agree. In the past I had been in winter so I actually cant attest to what summer is like. Given the number of tourists that are there off-peak, I would not be keen on the mid summer months. Also the heat.

I loved my stay at the Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! by Marriott® Johannesburg Melrose Arch. Quite a mouthful but also quite a chic hotel. Located in the middle of the über trendy Melrose Arch Precinct it really is my perfect location when I’m visiting Johannesburg. It’s super central for me and near to everywhere I want to go in the city. The decor is dripping in 1950’s Hollywood bling, with sparkling chandeliers, silver leather couches and very tall high-back chairs. It’s quirky and vibrant just like all the other Fire & Ice hotels in the group.

I’m not the biggest fan of summer but I am the biggest fan of summer fruit. I start mourning stone fruit as soon as they disappear from the shelves and I know we are in for a long few apple & citrus laden months. This is a great time of year to really get stuck into summers bounty because there is plenty around, so I rounded up 10 of my favourite recipes with summer fruit. Also, this morning I could feel that first tinge of autumn in the air with an ever-so-slight chill, so we are running out of time here.

A good meal without wine is a like a day without sunshine and when I’m sipping my favourite beverage, I always imagine what food would pair with whats in my glass. When the two marry together, the symbiosis is magical. I’m starting a series of food and wine pairing articles where I ask industry experts who also know their food to offer up some opinions on what things we should be eating with what wine. I hope you find this fun and enlightening. I also want to uncover a few amazing wine gems along the way. Please leave a comment below with what your favourite pairing is too so we can all jump in on the conversation.
I am kicking this off with Sauvignon Blanc because its summer and its a wonderful wine to be enjoying right now. It’s also – in my opinion, one of the more difficult wines to pair with food so I thought we should get this challenge out the way first. I generally go to Chenin or Chardonnay when I want a white wine to enjoy with my meal, and love to quaff Sauvignon Blanc on its own. Perhaps with a few snacks on the side. I was thrilled with the amazing feedback I got from the experts here and I have a few killer recipes to match some incredible local Sauvignon Blancs.

On Monday I posted about new favourite smoothie recipe made with blueberries, banana, yoghurt, almond butter and chia seeds (which by the way is as healthy AF) and it occurred to me they would make amazing popsicles. This is a great way to get your kids to eat something incredibly healthy whilst conning them into thinking they are eating ice cream. For me, it’s a great way to divide the smoothie into smaller ‘snackable’ portions to enjoy on these blazing hot Cape Town days. I actually really can not wait until summer is over. It’s killing me.

Last weekend I went to Littlegig and was totally blown away. I knew it would be amazing because I went last year, but I wasn’t expecting to have the absolute living best time of my life. There couldn’t be a festival concept that touches all aspects of my food-loving hedonist soul more. A place where creativity, food, music and people merge in one fun-filled 24 hour pocket of pure joy.

So this recipe came about when I urgently needed to make a healthy muffin recipe for my client. I knew my blueberry & apricot muffins were a total winner, but I needed to make it simpler and healthier. The client really liked peanut butter too, so that worked out amazingly well with the blueberries. I have been adding it to my blueberry smoothie so it made sense. The oats give it some texture whilst the muffins remain light and fluffy. For this final recipe I decided to use almond butter instead of peanut butter for two reasons. It’s my latest obsession on my healthy eating plan (I buy the sugar-free one), and almonds are the healthiest food on the planet according to this report, so I eat them every day. The finely grated zest of an orange elevates things flavour wise along with a splash of vanilla extract, but this it totally optional.

This berry and banana smoothie with a almond butter, chia and flax seeds is my new favourite power drink for when I need a quick liquid meal. Divided into smaller portions it makes up breakfast or one of my snacks on my eating plan, and with protein, milk and fruit (carbs) its balanced. The almond butter is my latest obsession and adds the most incredible flavour to this smoothie giving it substance. I have also made it with peanut butter, which is delicious.