Sunday, January 26, 2014

Solms Delta Wine Estate

Solms Delta is a beautiful wine estate situated near Franschhoek one of my favorite places. I visited the farm with a group of friends to do the picnic in the forest by the Berg river for a birthday celebration. We had perfect Cape Town weather packed and ready to relax.

They have preserved the history of the farm in many different ways and it is fun exploring the estate with it's breathtaking views of the mountain and acres of vineyards. On arrival you collect your picnic boxes which are prepared if you ordered them as we did upon making our booking. 

After collection and the long drive you are allowed to have a free wine tasting which I suggest you do, the wines are all really delicious as each one became better than the next as well as a Pear cider which went so well with our picnic packs. They also offer the Chenin Blanc at R30 a bottle if you are attending the picnic served nice and cold on this hot day, all the wines have a story behind them and the reason they are called their unique South African names. They then drive you to the river in a tractor which was a fun treat, great for kids.

The Picnic Package is R145 per person and includes biltong and droe wors, bread, butter and crackers.

Assorted cheeses, onion marmalade, potato salad, broccoli salad, coleslaw with chorizo and a greek salad.

Mains were marinated ribs, meatballs, chicken pieces, salsa, fish pate' and cheesestraws. Finally for dessert was caramelised pineapple tarte tatin, mascarpone cream and fruit salad. All washed down with our wine and pear cider made for a great day out. The river is shallow but nice to hear it while you lay on the grass and the tractor collects you at 4:15 to return to the farm. You can buy wines to take home and there are many more events that take place here, concerts, food and wine pairing, trail runs etc.

I suggest everybody visit this estate but its a really nice idea to take your international guests to give them a feel of Cape Town.

Solms Delta Wine Estate
021 - 8743937

Pictures and article copyright by Tamsyn Wells

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

La Parada

La Parada is a new tapas bar/restaurant on the buzzing Bree Street in Cape Town. The restaurant is beautiful just like I would imagine the buildings to look like on the streets of Spain with a bar under ground called Bunker it is the new place to be.

We went for an early dinner on Christmas eve so it was fairly empty still but I am sure it picked up later, we were happy and got to sit at the window seats. All dishes come in a small (R15-R25) or large size (R35-R45).

We started off with lighter choices, the first was called spicy steak on the menu and was a bit plain for me, tapas should be small bites and big flavour, steak on toast with a spicy sauce under the steak just not wow. Second was calamari and potato with smoked paprika, calamari was tender and it was moreish but still lacked a bit of lemon zing.

The next two dishes were the best of the day, ham croquettes with pesto, crispy outside and soft centre, we fought for the last one. I was hesitant to order the paella but it was so tasty and the rice perfectly cooked with lots of different seafood bits.

The chickpeas in a tomato stew were also very good and has made my brother an avid fan of chickpeas requesting them all the time now. The Patatas Bravas were a deep fried potato cube covered in a tomato sauce, they forgot to add the chorizo but it was still a good flavour and went well with the fish.

The last two were line fish topped with a red pepper relish, it was light and fresh flavoured and the finally we tried the beef cannelloni topped with potato crisps which was well made with a pulled beef centre but had strong flavours of clove and nutmeg so if you not a fan of clove try the other meat dishes rather.

Overall a great night, we washed it down with artisan beers and its always fun to share food and chat while tasting different flavours. I would definitely go back we were really full after all this and chose the large size of each dish, the bill was R500 for 3 people with 2 beers each.

La Parada / The Bunker
107 Bree street
021-426 0330

Pictures and article copyright by Tamsyn Wells

Friday, January 10, 2014

Chia Seeds

I decided to buy these after seeing a recipe for a chocolate dessert on Pinterst, almost discouraged by their price at R89 for the small pack 200g and R220 for the bigger one, I though they better be good... well they definitely are good for you. Labelled a super food which means the most nutrients are packed into such a small seed, comprising mainly of seed based Omega 3 (ALA). Originating from the mint family native to Mexico.

Known to boost energy, aid digestion and lowering cholesterol. They also contain calcium, phosphorus, manganese and fibre. They may be eaten raw, milled or soaked and have very little flavour so may be added without affecting the dish and actually have a thickening effect which could be used in soups and pie fillings.

My main meals of the day are breakfast and dinner, being lactose intolerant I get bored of my options sometimes and am also in a hurry. This first dish is a great breakfast option and with a few changes works great as a dessert too. Dairy and wheat free you will be addicted.

Chia Seed, coconut and fruit pudding / porridge
Serves 2 - 3

1 tin coconut milk / almond milk
4 tbsp chia seeds
honey / agave to taste
cubed fruits of your choice

Soak the chia seeds in the coconut milk / almond milk for about an hour or over night, stirring to loosen the seeds.
Add honey to taste and then go wild with the flavours.
1. I added chopped peach, orange segments and chopped chickpea fudge
2. Blend a banana into the coconut milk then soak and add chopped coconut and passion fruit.
3. Raw cocoa 
4. Vanilla and nuts
5. Savoury style lemon grass, chilli, ginger and lime
6.Use them in cocktails

This was delicious and so simple to make and reminded me of the street drinks in Vietnam or bubble tea as once swollen they have a tapioca texture.

I also as shown below made a salad of rocket, cucumber, tomato, rotisserie chicken, mustard and anchovy mayonnaise, topped with chia seeds and parsley. The dressing is just mayonnaise, mustard, anchovy, lemon juice and olive oil blended and seasoned to taste Also really good.

The other reason I wanted to try them was for their benefits when it comes to running which is my newish passion at the moment, apparently making you run longer and faster and with a nickname "the running food" I wanted to look into using them on my next race. The Aztecs mixed it just with water for hydration but they are being used in plenty of energy bars now. The ALA (alpha linoleic acid) also helps keep energy levels high and will assist with inflammation. I will report back once I have tested it but in the meantime I am going to enjoy trying a few recipes.

I bought mine from Wellness Warehouse but I am sure they are available at ant health shop.

Pictures and recipe copyright by Tamsyn Wells.