Saturday, December 7, 2013

Annual White Celebration

We wait in anticipation the whole year for this event, The Annual White Celebration held on Molenvliet Wine and Guest Estate along side Karla Oetlers Absolute Collection Events and Staffing to see what new ideas and concepts will follow through into the following year as far as events and Weddings go. All dressed in white 350 guests, suppliers and friends gathered for this year end event 2013.

I have been to a few of Karla's parties now and she pulls out all the stops, from being at the most beautiful wine farm I have ever seen to the endless props, tents, statues all in white, even a white popcorn stand, white writing in the fields and dancers. 

On arrival you walk down a long table with crisp vegetable chips, olives and nuts to eat with the sparkling wine under a drape tent in the middle of the vineyards, we all got to hang out a bit and have some fun during the busy season for the hospitality and event industry.

Keeping us constantly entertained we moved down to the venue where we received our branded wine glasses and three tokens to try a white, red and rose' wine while DJ Chopper started to play the music to get us started with a party vibe.

In the courtyard was something I have never seen before, beautiful chandeliers surrounded by a construction scaffolding dotted with antipasti, cheese boards, breads, dips, charcuterie of cold meats laid out on platters and all the accompaniments that go along with it.

As if this was not enough inside we were offered endless assorted canapes like mozzarella rolled with pesto, smoked salmon on macaroon, chilli tempura prawns and duck pancakes with hoisin sauce. I found myself stationed at the oyster tower for a while enjoying them traditional style with my sparkling wine, professional photographers were capturing every moment and you could even get a Caricature drawn of yourself to take home.

After my oyster frenzy I visited the burger bar which was filled with different toppings like, caramelised onions, home made mustard, tomatoes, relishes and mayonnaise. They also had the flat pizza guy from the Old Biscuit Mill topping mini pizzas with his usual Parma Ham, Parmesan, rocket and balsamic reduction.

We ended the night dancing our feet off to DJ Rene, The Frenchman with his can't stand still music and drums, he gets even me onto the dancefloor. The sweets for the evening were cakes and petit fours from Cakes by Wade which came out on silver platters with big glowing sparklers attracting everybody's attention. All the guests were enjoying themselves so much that for a thursday night I only left after 1pm, luckily off the following day. Well done to Ockie and Karla for an amazing evening, can't wait for the next one.

Pictures and Article Copyright by Tamsyn Wells

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Falafel lettuce rolls

I make these very often and I almost prefer it rolled in lettuce to the pita style version as it is lighter and fresher for summer. A Falafel is a chickpea fritter originted from Egyptian street food,  normally served with pickles and tahini sauce which is made from sesame seeds. Here is my version, Falafels, sesame wilted spinach, carrot, mushrooms, smokey tomato relish and tahini rolled in lettuce.

Chickpea Falafels
Makes 18
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 chilli, seeded and chopped
1 tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 egg
flour / chickpea flour to thicken
3ml cumin
3ml coriander ground
2ml paprika
10ml lemon juice
salt and pepper
oil for frying
Pinch of sumac

Fry off the onion, garlic and chilli until softened, place everything in a blender except the oil and blend until smooth with 100ml of flour. Add more flour if necessary to make a thick paste that comes away from the sides of the blender, adjust seasoning and heat to your liking.
Heat oil in a pan and either roll balls of falafel mix or quenelle with 2 spoons into the hot oil and fry until golden.
Drain on kitchen paper and sprinkle with sumac a tart flavoured spice (optional).

1 head of Iceberg lettuce 

Handful of english spinach
Squeeze of lemon
sesame seeds

1 Tomato, seeded and diced
1/4 onion, finely chopped
2ml chipotle chilli (Smoked Mexican chili found at V&A Waterfront, Pick n Pay)
5ml white vinegar
10ml Olive Oil
salt and pepper
few sprigs finely chopped celery leaves

sliced raw mushrooms
1 Carrot julienne
Tahini ( found at V&A Waterfront, Pick n Pay)

Separate the lettuce leaves carefully so as to keep them whole, rinse and dry.
Toss the spinach in a dry pan to wilt, add sesame seeds and a squeeze of lemon, season.
Mix the tomato, onion, chilli, vinegar, oil, seasoning and celery to make a tangy relish.
Serve all on a platter with the falafels, lettuce, spinach, carrot, mushroom, salsa and tahini. Take a lettuce leaf, top it with all the ingredients and roll up then eat, use loads of napkins.

This recipe is wheat and dairy free if you use the chickpea flour as well as vegetarian.

Recipe and picture Copyright by Tamsyn Wells.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Launch of Pick 'n Pay V&A Waterfront

I was happy to be invited to this launch from the beautiful gift I received as my invite to the actual event. Cordials on arrival, Bean There coffee's, Moet Champagne, canapes and biscuits, we mingled awaiting the doors to open.

The Pick 'n Pay has moved to a below sea water level in the parking lot of the Waterfront, all part of the R140 Million upgrade it has just gone through in time for the festive shopping season.

This new store is most definitely a "Superstore" it has the widest range of products I have seen in CT, from the basics to the unusual like Kobe style beef, duck eggs, quail eggs, gelato, imported oils, teas and coffee's to name just a few.

I also bought a squeezie of tahini a sesame based sauce used in falafels and a jar of chipotle chillies which I was searching for not too long ago and now know where to get it.

Chatting to my Silwood Kitchen teachers where I studied, we mentioned how nice it would be to be a student now, in my day I had to drive to all corners of CT to find some of these products for our practicals, now they right on our doorstep.

There is over 400 different varieties of cheese and a large selection of imported Charcuterie, very easy to cater a cheese and wine party from these deli counters.

All sorts of fresh fish, smoked, peppered and I even saw crab legs, massive tiger prawns and whole crabs.

They have all the normal meats from organic to halaal and once again some of the unusual making an appearance like duck fat, duck legs, rabbit legs, Kobe style beef and ostrich tenderloin as well as this well stocked biltong bar at R150/kg.


There is also a large variety of prepared meals that you can buy paid by weight to enjoy with the goodies you have bought.
This will definitely be my go to store from now on with its 1.5hrs free parking as long as you spend R150 its well worth a visit.

Article and pictures copyright by Tamsyn Wells

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Middle cut Fishcakes, Quinoa salad and Smoked Paprika mayonnaise

I did not even know about middle cut until my friend told me about it and then the freshly blogged challenge had lucky star as one of its items, I bought a tin to try. Yesterday I also received a wonderful VIP invite to the launch of Pick 'n Pay Waterfront and it was a basket filled with foodie goodies and decided to use the Shogun Tricolour Quinoa as the accompaniment to my Lucky Star Middle cut.

Quinoa is a super food if I have ever heard of one, not every body's taste, a little bit of a weird texture but I treat it like cous cous, you really can add anything to it, and even eat it in place of oats for breakfast or as a pasta topped with your favorite sauce. It is a super food because you can live on Quinoa alone as it is a complete protein containing all 9 amino acids, it is a classified as a seed and not a grain so may be eaten with all meals on all diets. Normally I buy the white one which is fluffy but I received the tricolour in my gift pack which I found much nuttier than the white version, if you have not tried quinoa before I would go with the white one.

Paired with Mackerel middle cut fishcakes for their omega 3 and calcium properties very important to my no dairy diet.

Middle cut Fishcakes and Quinoa salad
serves 2

Tricolour Quinoa Salad
serves 2

2 cups boiling water
1 cup Shogun Tricolour quinoa
salt and pepper
1 tomato, seeded and diced
1/2 stick celery finely diced
1 small carrot finely diced
1/2 chilli seeded and chopped
1 lime juiced
20ml extra virgin olive oil

Simmer the quinoa in the boiling water with 1/4tsp salt for 15 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed.
Dice the other ingredients and add to cooked quinoa, season and add the olive oil and lime juice to taste.
Serve with fishcakes and mayonnaise

Middle cut Fishcakes
serves 2

1 tin Lucky Star Middle cut
2 slices brown low GI bread soaked in water
1/2 onion chopped
piece of ginger chopped
celery leaves chopped
juice of 1/2 lemon
grind of pepper

In a bowl squeeze the water from the bread and place in a bowl, clean the fish by draining off the water and removing the central bone and the skin if you feel you want it removed.
Fry the onion and ginger in a little oil.
Add to the fish mix with the other ingredients and shape into fishcakes.
Fry both sides in as little oil as possible in a non stick pan until golden on both sides.
Serve with quinoa salad and smoked paprika mayonnaise.

Smoked Paprika Mayonnaise
serves 4

1 egg yolk
10ml Dijon mustard
10ml white vinegar
125ml olive oil blend
smoked paprika
lemon juice

Using a hand blender, add the egg, mustard and vinegar, blending continuously add the oil drop by drop until all has been combined. Season with other ingredients and add a little water if it is too thick.
Serve with fishcakes as above.

Pictures and recipes copyright by Tamsyn Wells

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Paleo meal ideas

Here are a few Paleo meal ideas to help you get started if you are keen on trying this way of eating, it improves digestion, varicose veins, acne, gout, osteoporosis, cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity as back in the day the cavemen or hunters and gatherers were free from chronic illness.

The diet consists of eating meat, fish, seafood, fruit, vegetables, seeds, nuts and healthy oils. Not included in our ancestors diets were dairy, grains, legumes, refined sugars and processed foods which makes sense as we are all becoming intolerant to these products.

I have been following the diet again when possible to see if I begin to feel as good as I did before when I tried it.
Here are a few meal ideas I will post as I go along.

I crave oats some mornings, warm and filling, beneficial for varicose veins, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and digestive issues. Here I made it with only water, allowed to cook then I added natural honey, cinnamon, flax seeds adding omega oils and strawberries a powerful cancer fighting antioxidant. Cinnamon helps with muscle spasms and fungal infections to name just a few of its benefits.

Most mornings I must admit I really feel like a nice crispy piece of toast but if you read the benefits above and the lack of benefits in a slice of toast there is almost no competition. So for this breakfast you need to add texture with the sliced cucumbers which prevent water retention and have anti tumor properties, hard boiled eggs a great source of protein, good for heartburn and indigestion. Sliced avocado which boosts the immune system and plumps the skin and smoked salmon for its omega 3 topped with lemon juice for a boost of vitamin C.

This is a Patagonian calamari stir fry with steamed potatoes, bok choy, chorizo (not part of the diet as it has preservatives but I had it in the freezer and wanted to use it up), onion, ginger, garlic, lime juice and smoked paprika. The onion is great for circulation, ginger for colds and muscle cramps, garlic is a natural antibiotic and fungal cure, bok choy protects your joints from arthritis and detox the liver. Calamari / squid is very low in fat but a rich source of zinc, ridding the body of harmful metals.

This is a chicken, bok choy, pineapple, baby marrow and green bean stir fry with oyster sauce, sesame oil and lime juice. The chicken is another low fat protein, pineapple is good for digestion and inflammation, baby marrow is loaded with vitamins but to effectively absorb they must be eaten with avocado or olive oil. Sesame seeds and oil reduce anxiety and give you your recommended folic acid. Topped with lime juice a supplier of flavonoids.

After writing down all these benefits for you I am amazed at what good vitamins and minerals I have fed myself and I have only given you an abbreviated version. It must be good. Keep at it, more meals and nutrient advice to follow.

All these meals are wheat and dairy free.

Article and pictures copyright by Tamsyn Wells

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Beef and Vegetable Bobotie with Almond and Coconut Topping

I have decided to cut down on wheat in my meals since summer has begun and my drink of choice is mostly Artisan beers loaded with wheat and also following the Paleo diet again which I have posted about before which is not really a diet as much as a way of eating inspired by my friend David Grier and his recently released book, The Real Meal Revolution made with Professor Tim Noakes from the Sports Science Institute. When I receive my copy I will post a few recipes.

I have not made curry in ages and tonight I decided to make this Bobotie, a Classic South African dish with a twist mainly because I like vegetables and I prefer the coconut almond taste to the topping (dairy free), Bobotie is basically a spiced mince with an egg custard topping found in recipe books in the early 1600's already.

Beef and Vegetable Bobotie with Almond and Coconut Topping
Serves 4

30ml Sunflower oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled and grated
1 dried chilli, halved
300g lean beef mince
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
2 baby marrow, rinsed and cubed
1 tbsp tomato paste
5ml curry powder
2ml garam masala
2ml cumin ground
2ml coriander ground
3 ml Turmeric
10ml white vinegar
20ml chutney
Squeeze of lemon
10 fine beans cut into 1cm long pieces
2 potatoes cooked and cubed (optional)
5ml cornflour
salt and pepper

2tbsp coconut powder
2 eggs
350ml almond milk
10ml chutney
pinch of salt
few toasted almonds

Heat the oil in a medium sized pot, fry off the onions, garlic and ginger.
Add the mince and fry until the liquid has evaporated and it starts to fry again.
Add the tomato paste and spices and fry off for a few minutes.
add the vinegar, lemon and chutney, cook for 20 minutes.
Add the beans, cooked potato cubes if using and season.
Cook for another 5 minutes then thicken with cornflour slaked in water.
Place in a 25cm casserole dish which has been sprayed with spray and cook.
Mix all the ingredients for the topping except the almonds.
Put the mince mixture in the casserole dish and smooth the top.
Gently pour the topping over and Bake at 180 - 200°c for 20 minutes.
Serve with chopped tomato and onion flavoured with vinegar, salt and pepper, banana's and chutney.

This Recipe is wheat and dairy free.
Picture and recipe copyright by Tamsyn Wells

Friday, November 15, 2013

Potluck Club

I finally got to eat some of Luke Dale Roberts food, his restaurant, The Test Kitchen wins best restaurant on Eat Out every year and he has won since his days at La Colombe so I made a booking for myself and my foodie friends at The Potluck Club and Gallery as it serves Tapas and we love tasting and sharing.

I am not entirely sure but I think they moved from downstairs at the biscuit mill to the top floor of the Silo Building so not only is the food, atmosphere and well pretty much everything amazing, you are also surrounded by one of the most beautiful views I have seen in Cape Town, millions of lights and the Mountain of course.

The Menu is laid out as Salty, sweet, bitter, sour etc aiming at all the taste buds which the chefs achieve perfectly although Luke Himself was not there the chefs do a great job and they are interesting to watch pushing out plate after plate of perfection, we started with Edamame beans to nibble while we waited for each dish to arrive. First was seared tuna on a tomato salad with radish and micro herbs, the tomato dressing was so tasty and the tuna perfectly seared.

I have tried Wagyu burgers before but we had never tried it as a cut of meat, this one was served with Argentinean Chimichurri and costed a rather hefty R140 cooked to perfection and the herb sauce was delicious although we all thought maybe to over powering for the delicate Wagyu and I would have been happy with just a slice of fillet, it did not have the melting soft texture you would expect from Wagyu but tasty nonetheless and now we have tried it.

This dish looks very simple, battered hake which you can get anywhere in Cape Town but the harissa mayonnaise on the side made it the best fried piece of hake I have ever had with crispy baby potatoes and mayonnaise.

The dishes come from the kitchen in order from light to heavy, next was fall off the bone Moroccan Lamb with yoghurt and flat bread and sticky beef shortrib with asian flavours both these dishes I would have again.

The two pork dishes were my favorite but all the other dishes were very close, the pork belly topped with grated Halva and a baked salted apple won the night but the pigtails were really interesting and happy I finally tried it served with a honey mustard dressing.

The desserts were light and fresh, Champagne, strawberries and cream with a difference and the other was passion sorbet, tapioca and fresh fruits with a delicate sugared tuile biscuits.

We ended off the evening with a cheeseboard served with my new favorite cheese accompaniment, honeycomb and a final glass of Peter Bailey Port, 11 dishes later we were a happy bunch, with 2 bottles of wine and four Gin and Tonics the bill came to R1300. Potluck has really been amazing so much flavour in such small dishes I will definitely go back.

Potluck Club and Gallery
375 Albert Road (in the Biscuit Mill)
Top of the Silo Building
Tel: 021-4470804

Pictures and article Copyright By Tamsyn Wells