Stress.In large volumes.It’ll eat out your insides until you feel like an empty, emotionally incontinent shell. And then, when it finally lets up, and your psyche begins to accept nourishment again and to heal itself, they (your insides) don’t grow back quite the same as before. You don’t see life through the same lens. You are changed, as if some pranksters broke into your brain while you w
All couples have their idiosyncrasies; ways of evening out the power balance that might seem a little... odd... to others.Maybe you hide the good chocolate.Or maybe you switch the mosquito repellant plug off after your partner falls asleep (against their express wishes, and that partner wakes up in the night and can’t go back to sleep because she’s covered in mosquito bites).Or maybe you fib that
Here it is: the McCormick's 2013 Flavour Forecast!Warning: May induce salivation and overwhelming desire to masticate.The forecast highlights globally relevant themes brought to life through 10 flavor combinations, shaping the way we eat in the year ahead and beyond.
You know those crazy mornings? The ones so chaotic and rushed, that instead of pausing for a second to pour a glass of water and swallow your magnesium supplement, you stash the pill in your bra and hope you won’t forget about it?Mornings like this are also the ones I’m most likely to be caught staring at someone’s crotch on the train. I’ll be innocently lost in a daydream, or wondering if I’ve go
Apple Sage Tarte TatinIt’s pretty widely accepted that, the way things are going, humankind is going to shag itself into one big caramel coloured race eventually. Nordic genes will meld with African, Chinese with Brazilian, Indian with Russian... you get the picture. It’s only a matter of time really, unless some kind of apocalyptic event throws us back into the stone age. ?For me, this theory app
I have discovered mushrooms, people. I know that's a bit like saying I've discovered 'The Internet' ... or Downton Abbey. But allow me to explain.Last week I decided to buy some of those monstrously large mushrooms — you know, the ones that look like they could jump up at any moment a suction themselves to your face (now that I think of it, that's actually quite close to reality).This was unusual
Ever have weird dreams? You know, the kind that make it easy to believe the government is pumping hallucinogenics into our water supply?I had one of those last night.I was at DVD Nouveau in Newlands, down the road from my house. If you’ve never been, it’s a ‘boutique’ DVD store, with chandeliers and upholstered furniture that gives them permission to overcharge. They do let you keep DVDs for two d
I know you think of me as family. Since I don't know you, that's really kind of creepy.But I suppose that's how Will and Kate feel most of the time. (Yes, I just compared myself to royalty.)I know you've put your life on hold awaiting my next blog post, because that's how important I am in your life.So I feel it's only fair to let you know that I've put this blog on the back-burner (on a simmer, a
Isn’t it nice when people offer to lend you their cookbooks?Really? I don’t think so. In fact, I can’t stand it.‘Oh, you’ll love this. Take it with you! There’s a pork ragu in there I know you’ll go berserk for.’I accept the proffered tome with a brittle smile and the usual pleasantries (‘No, I couldn’t. Are you sure? Oh well, If you insist...’) — all the while thinking, ‘Oh. Great.’You see,
This time of year, for me, usually entails a trip to Calitzdorp — a sweet, not-too-pretty-but-filled-with-character dorp in the Klein (small) Karoo, just outside Oudtshoorn — to visit my folks. They retired there from Jo'burg about six years ago, and since then I've come to look forward to my visits, not just because I get to spend time with them, but because it always means lots of fun in the kit
La ParmigianaThis pasta factory in Dean Street, Newlands, offers expertly made fresh and freshly frozen pasta so you can plonk it straight from the freezer into boiling water, and their prices put Woolies to shame. Their Napoletana and arabiata sauces make me want to take up poetry. If you take a baking dish to them they’ll fill it with virtually anything (pasta-related) you desire. 021 448 8852Yo
I am completely obsessed with red cabbage at the moment. Its crunch. Its colour. Its versatility (mostly in the salad department). On a nerdy note, it contains 36 different varieties of anthocyanins (or ‘thingies’), which have been linked to cancer protection. Plus, a large, violet, delicately veined globe placed artfully on a kitchen shelf is a viable décor item.This vibrant salad screams summer.
My bathtub is a death trap for ants.For the few unfortunate ant-souls who find their way up the legs (it’s a ball & claw) and over the lip, there’s no escape.In fact, the sight of them scrabbling up the sides, tumbling down, then starting all over again, is so existentially traumatising that I am compelled to rescue each and every one before I open the floodgates at bathtime. (I get the ants t
I went a little nuts at Woolies the other day. They had a promotion on: a giant bag of butternut for R30, but you could buy three for R60. So of course I had to buy three — about 25 butternuts!When I got home and stumbled through the front door with my booty, the Guinea Pig just looked at me and said, ‘Uh-oh.’ And he was right to be wary. The bags sat under the kitchen counter for a few days, unto
I recently took up hot yoga.It was a tactic to cope with stress, because as effective as drinking several tall jugs of wine every evening is, I was finding it unsustainable.Hot yoga, if you’ve never tried it, is yoga in a large room heated to about 40C — or, as some prefer to describe it, hell on earth.It involves ingesting large volumes of your own sweat through inverted nostrils while your muscl
I have a few strategies for cheering myself up when I feel a little blue, a little uninspired, or when I just want to plak a smile on my face.The most effective is to sing Eminem songs to myself in a Punjabi accent (‘The Real Slim Shady’ is a favourite).A stroll on the mountain is also a reliable way to lift my spirits. Summer arrived in Cape Town this weekend (and then swiftly departed on Monday)
Russel Wasserfall and his wife Camilla Comins are probably going to have to take out a restraining order against the Guinea Pig and I. We are their NBFs (New Biggest Fans).Set in an old farm house to one side of a lush vineyard (De Meye, a family-owned boutique winery in Stellenbosch), it seems somehow misleading to describe The Table as a restaurant — it feels more like visiting old friends for a
I debated (and debated and debated) about whether to share this recipe — because, frankly, the pic I took isn't all that.And nothing makes me click away from a food blog faster than an ugly-ass picture.Thing is, god-damn it tasted good. It had the Guinea Pig and I licking our plates and groaning indecently (and not for the usual reasons).Apart from Pernod, the ingredients are all kitchen cupboard
I find the people’s adoration of beetroot utterly mystifying.It tastes like earth, but not in a pleasant way, like oysters taste of the sea. I mean it tastes like soil, to me. Ground. With a little sugar added.
Sies.It gives everything else on your plate a reddish tinge (which inevitably reminds me of the Mercurochrome my mom used to dab on our scraped knees).It also makes your pee go p
For us working stiffs, there is no indulgence more achingly longed for — and, when the time comes, languidly savoured — than the Saturday morning lie-in. Particularly in winter.
Ensconced in fluffy duvets, I open my crusty peepers (woken by natural light — what a luxury!), and then it washes over me: the realisation that I don’t have to get out of bed; that for the next 48 hours (if I’m l
I love food. Love it.
‘Well duh,’ I hear you say, but bear with me.
The thing is, even though I own a teetering pile of cookbooks, and have perused hundreds, nay, thousands of online recipes over the years, I still draw a blank when considering what to have for dinner on week nights.
The only explanation I can come up with is that, at the end of a busy work day, my poor brain jus
I like to think I have above-average willpower. (Despite evidence to the contrary.)I mean, I can resist flying into a rage when DVD Nouveau has rented out the next instalment of True Blood/30 Roc/Sons of Anarchy to someone else.I can (occasionally) resist shouting ‘**nting retard!!’ at those who cut in front of me in the morning traffic.I can even resist the (often quite powerful) urge to have scr
‘I hate restaurant critics. I hate restaurant reviews. I hate food bloggers. I hate all foodie commentators with their boring bloody opinions about everything, and their “accurately judged bisque” and their “uncertain seasoning” and their “muddled flavours” and their “distracted service”. It’s all bollocks! Do you hear me? It’s all total rubbish. You know nothing. Nobody cares. Your wretched
Everyone tells you (well, the ‘experts’, anyway) that risotto is one of the easiest dishes in the world to make — once you know how. And, of course, the kicker lies in those last four words. Unfortunately risotto is one of those dishes that refuses to be pinned down by a recipe. As with all things in life, experience is the secret ingredient. It is one thing to fling together one of Jamie’s salads
Oysters with radish sorbet (and little radish 'halos')Here are some pics from a recent visit to Babel restaurant at Babylonstoren. Exquisite food, magnificent location, reasonable prices.Highlights included fresh oysters served with radish sorbet. The taste was so strange and interesting that all conversation at our table halted while we tried to analyse what we were experiencing… Not exactly deli
I wonder if I am alone in finding it curious when a cookbook is described as ‘the only one you’ll ever need’. I’ve seen it fairly often, and it always occurs to me that the marketing brain behind such a claim must have precious little understanding of how the average cookbook-buyer’s mind works.The idea of only ever owning one Indian cookbook, say, depresses me enormously. Gordon Ramsey said that
Last night I had the strangest dream. I was in the studio audience of a (fictitious) Australian TV talk show called ‘Doug’. I’m sure you can guess the name of the host; a portly, silver-haired man (if you’re interested, he looked a lot like the actor who played Muriel’s father in Muriel’s Wedding). Before he appeared, the audience started chanting ‘Doug, Doug, Doug’, Jerry Springer style.Not a lot
Autumn. It gets me every time.I will be going about my business, and then it happens. Perhaps the light catches a vase of flowers just so. Or a break in the clouds illuminates the world so exquisitely that I can’t help but inwardly gasp — and then comes the intense, hollow longing; an unidentifiable nostalgia so acute that I tear-up, for no reason other than the autumn light is so beautiful, so tr
This is a recipe I’ve wanted to try for ages because I found the flavour combination so intriguing, but never got round to because it seemed more complicated than it actually is — and I’m rarely in the mood for anything complicated in the morning. I made it for breakfast yesterday, though (and again today), and kicked myself for not trying it sooner.I admit I was also wary of yogurt and a fried eg
When pomegranates burst onto the foodie scene a few years ago in South Africa, I’m sure most food stylists peed in their pants, because the seeds are just so gosh-darned purdy. I remember one particularly beautiful autumn spread in Taste magazine that had me longing for the fruit, but I held off buying it because I was indignant about the price.Also, I just wasn’t entirely sure what the seeds were
I am actually not much of an entertainer. And by that I don’t mean I’m bad at flame-throwing or playing the accordion, but rather that I don’t do my best work in the kitchen when I have to feed more than two people. Maybe it’s to do with volume, maybe it’s because I try too hard to come up with a dish I hope will impress guests (but which I inevitably can’t work up much enthusiasm for).I’m not sur
Time passes very slowly here in blogland. (Or is it very quickly? I’m never quite sure. Either way, it is of an elasticky, chewing gum nature.) I know I’ve been gone a while, but then I’ve been redesigning my blog.And changing jobs.And getting hitched.Yes, that’s right — the Guinea Pig decided to make an honest woman out of me. (Or so he thinks.)Now, before you go thinking, ‘Oh crumbs, this post i
Alas, I don't have time this week for a longer post, but I would like to share this fabulously convivial spread with you. I made it over the weekend for friends, and it went down a treat. It's a very simple, throw-together meal but it’s tasty andsatisfying. The deep savouriness of the lamb is balanced by lots offresh lemon juice and creamy mint yoghurt, but be warned if you’resqueamish about garli
Do you ever get the sneaking suspicion that you’re an unwitting guinea pig in some sort of sophisticated sociological experiment? (I think that’s actually pretty close to the truth about Life, but you don't need to hear about my Views On the Nature of Reality right now).I like to go out for dinner on a Monday night, just to take the edge of the jolt of starting yet another week; to distract myself
There are no waiters at the Cedar restaurant, only the owners, David and Marlene. And although they charge corkage, it's advisable to bring your own wine.It's not a glamorous spot by any stretch of the imagination. You will park outside a very drab building (that always puts me in mind of my local police station) right on busy Sommerset Road in Sea Point, ring the buzzer and then climb a grotty st
Warning: those sensitive to a little gratuitous self-congratulation and shameless link-love should avert their gaze.The 2nd Food Blog Indaba SA happened on Sunday, and I must say it was jolly good. Idyllic venue Monkey Valley provided a meeting place for about 150 (I’m guessing) food-obsessed bloggers and Tweeters, and it was fun watching folks connecting with people they’d previously only had onl
Sunday morning I innocently paid a visit to Cassis (Kildare Centre) to procure some of their addictive bread — two blocks from my house, and half-price on Sundays, don’tcha know. I was pleased to discover that they’ve taken over the premises next door and now offer a proper café where you can sit and eat a meal, rather than having to scoff the spoils from their patisserie at home. I was jus
The terrace at MarianasYou know those mornings.Your mouth tastes like it has been used in a series of illegal chemicalexperiments. Your face feels like a Picasso painting. You wake up withan urgent, insatiable craving for Coca-Cola. And, as you begin to moveyour body to assess the damage, aches and pains draw your attention toseveral UDIs (unidentified drinking injuries). You need a long weekendto
I used to worry a lot about the books I read.A great deal of my late teens and early twenties were spent reading the sort of books I thought I ought to (i.e. ones that gave myself and, I secretly hoped, others the impression that I was thoughtful, sensitive, deeply intelligent and avant-garde). So I ended up ploughing through a lot of Milan Kundera, Ayn Rand, Carlos Castaneda and Aldous Huxley. Do
We were just outside Wellington, on the edge of the desert, and the beers were still cold.We were on our way to the Tankwa Karoo National Park. About 60km back the road had curved sharply to the left, leaving behind lush vineyards and green hills, taking us into the bleached, eternal landscape of the Karoo.The Guinea Pig and I were elated — starting, as we were, on our second ice-cold Tafel lager.
I have been making this salad all summer, and my obsession with is still growing. It’s incredibly fresh-tasting, perfect for feeding a crowd, and just unusual enough to impress. I used to make it fairly often years ago, but somehow I’d forgotten about it — until I started going through the Ottolenghi cookbook (a gift from my Guinea Pig). Old Yotam is a big fan of fresh coriander, and seeing his cr
When, dear reader, did life get so hectic?It happens when you're not looking. When you're putting out fires, trying to calm down to a panic and just catch up with yourself.Between moving (and renovating) house, going to an overseas wedding, insane deadlines, visiting the family for Christmas and doing the Whale Trail over New Year, it feels as though I've been running about 10 paces behind my own
I don’t really go in for chocolate cake. Or chocolate in general.I know.To be a woman and not care about chocolate is tantamount to admitting you don’t like puppies. I mean, what kind of freak doesn’t like chocolate?It has been my secret shame for so long now. I haven’t deliberately tried to mislead anyone, but the above-mentioned confession has been met with reactions of disbelief, disdain and&nb
We interrupt this blog to bring you a briefreport on some stuff I ate in Melbourne. Okay?My brother recently got married to aMelbournite (the lovely Bethany), so I got to spend eight days in thisbeautiful city. I’m not going to blather on about it because, unless you areplanning to actually go to Melbourne some day, I don’t see why it should be ofany interest to you. But the pics are pretty (I thi
I'm not really into writing restaurant reviews, but I've built up a little collection of pretty pictures and wanted to share them with you. These are all great places to while away a sunny Sunday afternoon with friends.Café MaxThis is a charming, dreamy little spot in quiet Waterkant Street. The food is reasonably priced, and they sell an incredible wooded rosé made especially for them (it matches
Unfortunately I don’t have time to write a proper post, but I made this lovely pasta over the weekend and I just have to share it with you. It’s really very simple (as most good recipes are), and its success relies on the quality of ingredients (as most good recipes' do).Buy decent ricotta (the kind that comes in its own little ‘basket’) — Woolies do a nice one. And try to buy fresh peas still in
I have always adored artichokes, even as child — which is fairly unusual, I think.About once or twice a year (which may as well have been once or twice a milennia, as far as my preteen self was concerned), my dad would arrive home from work in the evening with a large, bulging brown paper bag under his arm, and my heart would leap, because I knew that evening we were in for a treat.My mom would bo
Spring is a good time to stop and smell the rosebuds. I’m not going to warble on about renewal and the joyous mystery of the seasons (yea Gods woman — ‘joyous mystery’? Spare us!), but man, you’ve got to admit that visiting farmers’ markets around this time of year is like letting a kid with low blood sugar loose in a candy store. Especially if you’ve committed to buying more local and seasonal pr
I need a break.You know, to stop and smell the roses (and the jasmine, and the frangipani), feel the sand between my toes, shoot the breeze, etc.When this blog starts to feel like work, I know I'm doing something wrong, and that I need to take a step back and figure out what that is.Because I don't want here — this beautiful space where I've connected with so many of you wonderful, crazy peeps (I
Don't try an pretend you don't love Dr Phil...He is the man.Yes, he is.I have a telepathic connection to Dr Phil (it's true), and he wanted me to tell you all that you did a good thing by voting for me in the SA Blog Awards — you're all emotionally sound, balanced individuals. Don't act like you didn't need to hear that.Dr Phil says you're welcome.I just want to say a big personal thank you if you