Monday, April 30, 2012
This weekend I made my first batch of wheat-free cupcakes. The cake part is in fact also vegan ... (no animal products), but I still couldn't bring myself to not use fluffy butter icing. I was quite nervous that the recipe would flop. I literally bought gluten-free cake flour (a mix of soya flour, potato flour, brown rice flour and others...) and attempted to make the recipe on the back of the flour packet.
here it is:
500g gluten-free flour
35ml baking powder (yes a lot)
500ml water (luke warm)
160ml natural oil (I used canola)
15ml lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
Mix all the dry ingredients together, then I added half the water and mixed... the oil and mixed... and the rest of the water and lemon juice. Don't over beat the mixture though! The texture is amazing, fluffy and slightly grainy. It spoons into the cupcake holders easily and makes 24. I cooked them for 25 minutes at 160 degrees C, 12 cupcakes at a time. They were spongy and perfectly golden.
The icing recipe is:
400g icing sugar
100g butter at room temperature
about 40ml milk... just watch how this goes. I used 2%.
vanilla seeds scraped out from a single vanilla pod
Beat the butter and icing sugar together first.. add a teensy bit more butter if needed. add the milk and vanilla. Spread... I also added some edible glitter, as you can see :-)
Thursday, April 26, 2012
021 434 8797
341 main road, sea point
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
A couple weeks ago I was in the Somerset West area, with big plans for wine farm visiting, but not only was the weather dreadful, but no sooner had we started our trip when we were turned away as private functions were being held at the estates.
So we soon gave up and went for brunch. Yes, here in Cape Town we start wine tasting during the late morning.
We stopped in at a cafe called Manuka @ Southeys on the main road going into Somerset West. It's a lovely little spot with a garden and jungle gym for kids. Chickens and ducks mill around the lawn and pond and it's warm and bustling inside.
But what I love most about Manuka is the Fine Wine shop inside, just next to the entrance.
I ended up having a long conversation (not hard for me) with the wine guy inside, asking him about garagiste wines, boutique farms, limited editions etc. I walked away with some interesting bottles, including a shiraz mourvedre from garagiste winery, Osbloed (Paarl region) and some shiraz from a boutique winery called Migliarina (migliarina.co.za), both of which I had never heard of before. It was great to deal with someone who is so informative, and offers good recommendations.
Since then, I've found out that Manuka apparently hosts 'meet the winemaker' dinners (R160pp inc two courses and 8 wines). I haven't been to any, but it could make for a cool evening out if you happen to be that side.
021 851 6060
Monday, April 23, 2012
|Italian Wine Tasting|
|Queen of Tarts|
Friday, April 20, 2012
Opt for the wine pairing, which at R330, includes a carefully selected wine to match each course.
Bargain if you ask me...
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Sometimes you have those weekends when, before you know it, two days have flown by and you've spent them in your slippers on your couch, with not much to say for yourself. Sometimes they're necessary, especially when you're working in an industry that requires late night deadlines and intense concentration... editing can be a bitch.
But then again I love those weekends filled with activities, that make you feel like you have actually achieved something.
This past Saturday was one of those. I woke up early to do a trail run at Simonsvlei wine estate. It was just 5km, but it nearly killed me and I was amazed to have made it to the finish line without twisting an ankle. I'll stick to the roads from now on.
Thank goodness I packed an extra shirt, because afterwards we headed to the Stellenbosch Slow Market, where I bought some Honest Chocolate raw chocolate spread (dairy-free) and some sandals.
After we'd eaten brunch, we decided to take a slow trip back towards town, popping in at a couple wine farms.
I'd read about Spier's new wine tasting room, and as it had been a while since we last visited, we thought it appropriate timing to check it out.
Spier Wine Estate is a fairly big operation. There are a couple of restaurants on the property – although, for those who don't know, Moyo is soon to be gone – accommodation facilities, function venues, large lawns for picnicking, a deli, craft market and a massive tasting room.
There are three 'tasting' options available, some that include food pairings. We just went for the standard five-wine tasting. The signature shiraz, Creative Block 3 (red blend) and 21 gables chenin blanc were our favourites. The MCC was really fresh and crisp. Our 'wine educator', Kyle, was very informative and slipped us a couple extra tastings. We chatted in length about the wine industry and our favourite varietals.
Spier is apparently changing their whole ethos and becoming 'greener' by adopting environmentally-friendly principals and sustainable programmes on the estate. Good to know.
Other tastings include the:
- Heritage Tasting: a food and wine pairing of Spier’s 21 Gables Chenin Blanc and 21 Gables Pinotage paired with traditional South African fare (R80.00 per person).
- Frans K Smit Tasting of the two premium wine ranges plus Spier’s flagship wine, Frans K Smit (R90.00 per person).
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Just round the corner from my office is this fabulous little bakery... well, it's not that small. Marcelino The Bakery bakes a variety of fresh breads, cakes, croissants ad other delectable treats.
If they have any items not sold from the previous day, they put them in a 'half price' pile and literally you can get away with scrumptious danishes, biscuits, brownies and all kinds of goodies for cheap-as-chips prices.
The other reason I love going there – besides perving over the indulgent goodies that I can't eat – is for the lunch menu.
They have soups, sandwiches, lasagnes, roasted chickens and a salad bar – to name a few items.
And the prices are so good too. For example, you can get a generous portion of vegetarian lasagne with a salad of your choice and a roll (or rye bread if you prefer) for R30.
A quarter roast chicken, with salad of your choice and a roll is R35 – cheaper, healthier and tastier than Nando's.
The Butternut soup is also an absolute winner – when they have it.
At the moment, they have the most gorgeously huge hot-cross buns and a variety of Easter-themed punch cakes in the shapes of bunnies, eggs or lambs.
Go on, give them a try
210 Loop Street, Cape Town, 021 422 0168
PS - they also make cakes and savoury dishes to order.
Monday, April 2, 2012
I'm definitely not the type of person that walks into a regular coffee shop or coffee bar and orders the 'chocolatey one with sprinkles' – if you get my drift.
While I do still add milk (although no sugar), I am more inclined towards straight up flat whites or lattes, 'and make that a double!'.
But there is a certain spot I always head to when the craving for 'ice coffee' hits.
And it's not just any ice coffee... it's a freezochino.
I was first introduced to this wondrous, 98% fat-free, dairy-free drink a couple years ago by a good friend who (now) lives down the road in Sea Point. Every time I go back, I always think of her when I'm having one.
I hadn't had one in ages though, and suddenly got the craving this past weekend. I ended up venturing to Cattura at about 9am, and left at 12:30, after bumping into various people and enjoying an 'original coffee' freezo and then a lazy brunch. I also took pleasure in introducing Mr fabulosity to his first Freezo – he chose the hazelnut and vanilla combo. They are R30 a pop, but oh-so-worth it, and seemingly decadent, while actually being pretty friendly on the thighs.
So if you haven't tried a Cattura freezo yet, you are officially missing out – and all us freezo-fans can attest to that.
Other good things to note about Cattura:
-They stay open til late (generally about 10pm or midnight on weekends)
-They have karaoke on Thursday evenings
-With each coffee you order, you get a complimentary doughnut
-They have big screen TVs
-They have boston brewery's beer on tap
-They have regular specials*, so look out for these
41 Regent Road | Sea Point | Cape Town | 021 434 5160
Sometimes the best thing about people coming to visit you from afar is that you get to play tourist with them in your own city.
Some of the activities in and around Cape Town that seem like obvious choices are fun to experience or revisit because nothing like it is offered anywhere else.
The Grid from Grahamstown loves her wine and her chocolate, so obviously, we took her to Waterford Wine Estate.
I was last at the estate about two years ago, when I tried their chocolate and wine pairing for the first time, so it was great to see how things have changed and try some of the newer vintages.
It is very popular and booking before hand is advisable.
The hand-crafted chocolates are made by local artisan chocolatier Richard Von Geusau – find out more about him here. www.vgchocolate.co.za
If you're not interested in the chocolate, just do the standard wine tasting, or if you are already familiar with the wines, simply order a glass of your favourite, priced form R15-R55.
While they do have an French-style courtyard for sunny days, the interior tasting room has recently been revamped and offers a cosy alternative for the impending winter weather.
The tastings are prices as such:
Standard Tasting (R40pp)
Waterford Estate, Kevin Arnold Shiraz, Pecan Stream Wines
2. Waterford Estate Chocolate and Wine Experience (R65pp)
The entire Waterford, Pecan Stream and Kevin Arnold ranges as well as the accompanying chocolates.
3. Romantic Chocolate and Wine Experience (R120pp)
A chocolate board complimented by a glass of Waterford MCC Sparkling Wine 2000.
4. The Reserve Tasting (R200pp)
Vintages 2002 to current vintage. Current Library Stock of special blends leading up to the Jem.
5. The Jem Tasting (R50pp)
The Flagship Red
A newish way to enjoy their wine is via a 'game drive' of sorts. It includes a 2-hour trip through the 120ha estate, offering visitors the opportunity to learn more about Waterford's bio-diversity programme, and see some of the 'untouched' natural cape flora.
For bookings contact: 021 880 0496, www.waterfordwines.com