Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Tuesday Thoughts

1) I have yet to find someone in Cape Town who can cut my hair the way I want it, a la England. Over here, I say I want layers and shortness at the back and they make it a bob. Is it because the hairdressers I have been to are coloured and my hair acts white?
2) I can hold my breath for 2 minutes which comes in handy when Mr H likes to revert back to caveman tendancies.
3) "Ain't nobody got time for that", can be used at anytime when one feels overwhelmed, underwhelmed or just 'whelmed'.
4) Everyone is getting pregnant. It would seem that most of my friends/acquaintances got together and decided to all do the 1,2,3, "we're preggers" game. Now I'm surrounded by bumps, hormones and hot flushes. Does it make me broody? As I take a swig of wine and look at my toes, no!
5) Recently I developed this annoying habit of googling the plot for every movie I am about to watch. It's as though the act of enjoying character and story-line development is too much for me. I.Must.Know.Everything.Now!
6) Having Puppies seriously ruins your sleep patterns. Currently, Mr H and I are operating on two hours sleep a night for 9 days now. To say I'm irritable and brain-dead would be an understatment. Everyday I look at myself in the mirror and see a darker shade of purple under my eyes.
7) Having Puppies also brings out your slightly anal maternal side. I eye Mr H very carefully when he holds them and don't allow anyone to even breathe their way.
8) I have a marriage more beautiful than my wedding.
9) I am besotted with this jewelery range by Kallie.
10) My new favorite breakfast is double cream Greek yogurt with some tropical magic. Take one of Mr H's passion fruits (he grows them so well), a teaspoon of vanilla and golden sugar then heat it up till it bubbles, pour over the yogurt and BAM, the best smelling (and tasting) breakfast ever.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Nederburg wine is put to the test

I used to hate wine. Loathe it and file it under ‘for old, snobbish people’. Smelling it stimulated my gag reflexes and tasting it, well, I’d rather have vinegar any day.
Now I stand corrected and honestly can’t get enough of the stuff.  It took me two years and a lot of wine farm visits to hone my taste-buds and alter my previous perceptions.
One of the reasons I enjoy it, perhaps the main reason, is the relationship it has and can have with food. My love for cooking was sparked around the same time as my desire for wine. The two, in my mind, go hand in hand. I am now on a mission to convert all my friends and try and hold food and wine pairing evenings as often as we can.

Mr. H and I want to take this further and are redesigning our kitchen so that we hold more pairing evenings, as part of our Grape Teasers brand….gosh, I hate the word brand…..club….gang?

Anyway, whilst we’re working on the kitchen design, we’re also working on our pairing menus and so yesterday, we did some serious cooking in the attempt to find some killer combos for future guests.

To start with, we had 3 bottles of Nederburg wine masters reserve Merlot, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. (That’s just one bottle each, don’t panic).
We then had 4 lamb noisettes and 3 pork chops. The menu was as follows:

Mint roasted lamb on a bed of beetroot and spring onion couscous
Because of the sweetness of the beetroot, I assumed it would go well with the Merlot which in turn brought out the herbaceous quality of the spring onion.
The Cab Sav loved the mint sauce.

Pork on a bed of balsamic lentils with a cranberry jus
The Cab Sav loved the lentils, perhaps because of the earthy, nutty, taste
The Cranberry jus was divine and the Shiraz worked beautifully with it which was my prediction.

Rosemary crusted lamb with roasted carrots, thinly sliced  roasted potatoes with gravy
Cab Sav and lamb are the perfect partners. They’re like Romeo and Juliet - minus the tragic ending - they just can’t stay away from each other.
The salt on the potatoes was too much for these reds which didn’t have the acid to cope

Apricot drenched pork with pan-crisped potatoes and buttered spinach
The veggies were loved by both Shiraz and Cab

Thyme and olive pork with pea puree, carrot puree, roasted onions and potato dauphinoise.
This was my favorite dish (although by that time, you could have put eel in front of me and I doubt I would have been able to tell.)
Cream and Cab Sav is a winner. The cream in both the purees and the potato dauphinoise slipped casually into Cab Sav’s arms and had a bit of a wedding in the mouth.
Pork and Merlot are another good pairing, despite what you throw over the pork.

To finish off with, Jc le Roux's La Fleurette with meringues and a passionfruit coulis. It was glorious.

p.s, as you can imagine, the photos became less and less identifiable - but honestly, I cooked everything and we drank everything.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Food addictions

Food, glorious food. The best and only line worth remembering from Oliver Twist. And he/they have a very valuable point. Food just does something to me. When it's good, it's marvelous and right now, I just can't get enough.

Current food addictions include:

1) Nutella. I pop the jar into the fridge until the chocolatey goodness is solid and then I get a spoon. I can finish a jar easily in one sitting which makes Mr H feel queasy.
2) Popcorn. I make a batch in my popcorn maker and then heat up some butter, maple syrup and sugar. I then put the popcorn on a baking tray and then pour over the caramel mix. I pop it into a hot oven until crispy and divine. Repeat endlessly. More popcorn recipes here.
3) Frothy hot chocolate, from house of Coffees. Perfect for dipping snickers bars into.
4) Da Vinci's pizza in Brackenfell. Proper wood-fired pizza with fresh toppings paired with their own brewed beer. I can't get enough.
5) Cupcakes with yogurt. A normal batch of vanilla cupcakes becomes so much yummier and softer when you add plain yogurt. The real beauty of it, is that because of the yogurt, technically they can be classed as breakfast.
6) Boston Baked Beans. My Godmother is an American and when I was over in the U.K last month, she visited with this bean recipe that was soooo nice. Warming, sweet, slightly spicy and perfect for Winter. I would advise that you eat it alone. I will not be held responsible for the repercussions of eating beans.
7) Chocolate chip cookies. This obsession never really went away but it just intensified with the onset of colder weather. I make really gooey, chocolate-filled cookies.
8) Red wine. Okay, so it's not really a food, but it does often sustain me. My drinking habits are very dependent on the season. White was so Spring/Summer and now I need something with a red berry kick.

What are you currently snacking on?