Cointreau & pomegranate fizz

19 Aug

Classy and classic: a Cointreau fizz (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Classy and classic: a Cointreau fizz (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

It’s Friday! Celebratory weekend drinks at sundown are pretty standard in my house and I couldn’t be happier about it. Although a glass of wine or a nice gin & tonic are my usual go-to drinks, I sometimes crave the fabulous glitz of a cocktail.

One of my absolute favourite cocktail ingredients is Cointreau orange liqueur – an iconic triple sec imported from France. While attending a launch event at the Somerset Mall some time ago, the brand team from Cointreau South Africa taught us how to make a classic Cointreau fizz using their product, lemon juice, ice and soda water. It is one of the most refreshing drinks on this planet.

I’ve just added a squeeze of fresh pomegranate juice to this classic cocktail, to turn it a delicate hue of pink. If you don’t like pink drinks (I know a few people), rather substitute it with a shaved ribbon of cucumber or a thinly sliced round of fresh orange.

Cheers everyone!

Ingredients: (for one cocktail)

  • about 4-8 blocks of ice
  • 2 shots of Cointreau (50 ml)
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  • a squeeze of pomegranate juice (optional)
  • some soda water to top if up with

Pour in a festive glass and top off with a straw. Voila!

Credits:

Recipe, food preparation, food styling & text: Ilse van der Merwe

Photography & styling: Tasha Seccombe

This recipe has been featured on The Pretty Blog.

Smoked trout terrine

11 Aug

A beautifully laid-back yet elegant starter for your special occasion (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

A beautifully laid-back yet elegant starter for your special occasion (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

There’s just something about a beautiful terrine that looks like it’s time to celebrate. This festive loaf is lined with smoked trout ribbons and filled with a creamy mixture of flaked cooked trout, fresh cream and lots of herbs.

It is not cheap to make, but it will feed a crowd and I promise that they’ll ask you to make it again. I love serving this as an elegant yet laid-back starter with crips melba toasts or crackers and some lemon wedges.

Although this terrine is such a summer stunner, you can make it all year round – all the ingredients should be available in a good supermarket. If you prefer a smoky flavour, use hot smoked trout for the filling (if you’re a progressive cook, you might even have the tools to smoke the fish at home!), but for a milder flavour you can opt for poached/steamed/grilled trout.

A slice of pale coral trout terrine and melba toast (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

A slice of pale coral trout terrine and melba toast (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Ingredients: (serves 10-12)

  • 15 ml oil (for brushing inside of terrine tin)
  • 200 g cold smoked trout ribbons
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 20 ml gelatine powder
  • 3 cups deboned flaked trout (cooked or hot smoked, skin and bones removed)
  • juice of 1 medium lemon
  • 250 g plain cream cheese
  • a large handful of chopped herbs (chives, dill, parsley)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 125 ml cream, whipped
  • lemon wedges, for serving
  • capers, for topping (optional)
  • pea shoots, for topping (optional)

Method:

  1. Use a pastry brush to oil the inside of a classic terrine dish or a 30 x 11 x 7 cm loaf tin. Line the inside of the tin with plastic wrap – leave the excess to hang over the sides for later.
  2. Use ribbons of cold smoked trout to carefully line the inside of the tin, slightly overlapping to create a continuous effect (leave 2 or 3 for covering the top at the end).
  3. Pour the cold chicken stock in a small sauce pan, then add the gelatine powder and stir to combine. Leave to sponge for 10 minutes, then heat gently on the stove top and stir until the gelatine has dissolved completely – do not boil. Set aside to cool slightly.
  4. In a food processor, add the trout flakes, lemon juice, cream cheese and herbs. Now add the still slightly warm gelatine mixture and process to combine. Season generously with salt & pepper, then mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  5. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl, then add the whipped cream and gently fold it in until thoroughly mixed. Pour into the trout-lined tin and use a spatula to smooth the top.
  6. Cover the mixture with the remaining trout ribbons, then carefully fold the overhanging plastic wrap over the terrine. Use another sheet of plastic wrap to cover the top of the terrine, then place in the refrigerator to set for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight.
  7. To serve, remove the top layer of plastic wrap and fold the sides of the wrap open. Turn out onto a serving board, then carefully remove the tin and rest of the plastic wrap. Sprinkle with more chopped herbs or pea shoots and a handful of capers, and serve with a few slices of lemon wedges and your choice of toast or crackers.

Credits:

Recipe, food preparation, food styling & text: Ilse van der Merwe

Photography & styling: Tasha Seccombe

This recipe has been featured on The Pretty Blog.

Top 10 Winter Winelands Taste Adventures

3 Aug

The spectacular view at Jordan, as taken a few weeks ago at a brunch. Beautiful winter's morning.

The spectacular view at Jordan, as taken a few weeks ago at a brunch. Beautiful winter’s morning.

It is mid-Winter in the Winelands and it’s one of the coldest ones in a long time. But the locals aren’t moaning, they’re smiling. Why? Because we’ve been looking forward to this: the magical comfort of a dreary, rainy, icy Winelands winter. “Kaggel-en-rooiwyn” weather, we call it.

I’ve put together my list of the top 10 places in the Winelands to visit this winter, specifically because they make us love winter even more. Places where you’ll find roaring fire places, more than enough of the very best red wine and the most delicious winter fare in the district. So get your car insurance quotes online, make sure your vehicle is covered and get out there!

  1. Boschendal – Pniel Road, Groot Drakenstein
    • The Werf Restaurant is super cozy with a fire place that roars like a dragon. From wine tastings to visiting the deli or even staying over in one of the cottages (also with fire places and heaters), this is a winter haven.

      The fireplace at the Werf Restaurant, Boschendal (image from www.boschendal.co.za)

      The fireplace at the Werf Restaurant, Boschendal (image from www.boschendal.co.za)

  2. The Bakery @ Jordan – Stellenbosch Kloof Road
    • There’s just no substitute for a late morning breakfast in a place that smells like freshly baked bread all the time. And just in time for a wine tasting afterwards, because hey, wine in the morning is fair game in the Winelands. And did I mention they now also have luxury accommodation facilities?
  3. Cuveé Restaurant @ Simonsig – Kromme Rhee Road, Koelenhof
    • Ever had oysters and Kaapse Vonkel in the middle of winter next to a crackling fire? These guys will show you how.
  4. Glen Carlou – Simondium
    • The red wines at Glen Carlou keep me coming back for regular tastings during the cold months in the Winelands. Their huge glass doors leading to the stoep keeps the cold at bay (with breathtaking views right through the year) and a fireplace oozes warmth right through the tasting area and restaurant.
  5. Terroir @ Kleine Zalze – Strand Road, Stellenbosch
    • Heaters are placed around every corner of this understated gem of a restaurant. Winter specials include 2 or 3 courses with a glass of wine and is excellent value for money. A must-visit.
  6. Tokara – Helshoogte
    • With a massive fireplace in their tasting area and views to die for, this is also one of my favourite wine tasting venues during winter. Stay on for lunch at Tokara Restaurant or move a little further along to Tokara Deli for more roaring fires and kid-friendly zones.
  7. Terra del Capo @ Anthonij Rupert – R45, Franschhoek
    • Ask for the private tasting area on the first floor that has a fire place – just magnificent. Don’t miss out on the tapas downstairs, as well as a beautiful drive to the motor museum and a second tasting at the Anthonij Rupert tasting area. A full day of wonderful wine-induced activities.
  8. Makaron @ Majeka House – Paradyskloof, Stellenbosch
    • With a fire places in the lounge and heaters in the restaurant, you won’t even feel the chills of winter. Remember to try their Sunday roasts for lunch, or opt for one of the best breakfast experiences in the Winelands over the weekend. They always have Winter stay-over specials at their hotel, so check out their website for more info.

      M Lounge at Majeka House (picture from www.majekahouse.co.za)

      M Lounge at Majeka House (picture from www.majekahouse.co.za)

  9. Waterkloof – Somerset West
    • With a crackling log fire all winter long, you’ll feel right at home at Waterkloof. They offer delicious platters at their wine tasting lounge, or opt for a cheese and wine tasting. The restaurant is spectacular and a must-visit destination.

      The tasting lounge at Waterkloof (image from www.waterkloofwines.co.za)

      The tasting lounge at Waterkloof (image from www.waterkloofwines.co.za)

  10. Clos Malverne – Devon Valley
    • One of the best value for money three course meals with wine pairings in the Winelands, but don’t forget the magnificent views through the glass panes as well as the fireplaces and the authentic Devon Valley hospitality. Bring the whole family – you’ll feel truly welcome.

This post was written in collaboration with Dialdirect.

WIN 2 tickets (plus wine and a cookbook) to the Unplugged62 Festival weekend

29 Jul

Unplugged62 poster

Every year the Joubert-Tradauw Vineyards open their farm in true Klein Karoo hospitality style and welcome visitors from all over to join them for a fun-filled weekend of good live music, food and wine. The organizers, Red Hot Events, bring you an array of popular SA musicians throughout the weekend of 7-9 October 2016, including the blues rock phenomenon Albert Frost, the enigmatic Majozi and SA’s favorite instrumental dance band Nomadic Orchestra. Add to that the gypsy jazz sounds of Manouche, the raw melodic rock of Slow Jack and Hatchetman, Hezron Chetty and DJ Dirtroad’s “50’s,60’s,70’s,80’s, and some 90’s beats”. The weekend promises to be one of the best parties the Klein Karoo has ever seen.

All ticket options include a full weekend of festivities. The Joubert-Tradauw Vineyard will play host to nine bands starting Friday evening at 19:00 and ending Sunday morning at 11:00. Tickets also include access to camping facilities, as well as a Deli Alfresco Klein Karoo lunch on the Saturday from 15:00-17:00 along with a glass of Unplugged62 Sauvignon/Merlot (your choice).

Van Loveren have come on board as a sponsor for the event and will be hosting a ‘Breakfast with Christina’ on the Saturday morning. MCC classique style – a delicious plate of food and glass of bubbles in the garden. Tickets available at an additional R120 per person.

There will also be a market style tasting area on the farm with all sorts of delicious local fare to enjoy. Think cheeses, olives, freshly baked goodies, biltong and more. Wine on offer for the weekend will be plenty and a fully stocked bar will be set up next to the stage where visitors can enjoy tastings of Joubert-Tradauw’s wines as well as Van Loveren’s much loved brands.

Unplugged62 is a great weekend away for the whole family – all ages are welcome. Kids 12 and over can take advantage of the discounted ticket rate, while kids under the age of 12 are allowed free entry.

The enigmatic Route 62.

The enigmatic Route 62.

For those who don’t fancy setting up camp themselves but want to stay close to the party, check out Cherry Glamping and book yourself a pre-pitched luxury tent. Price of R3 500 is for 2 adults sharing, kids stay for free (just bring their bedding!). Email info@cherryglamping.co.za

Ticket prices:
Adults Weekend Pass: R750 (Joubert-Tradauw’s Deli Alfresco Saturday lunch included in the ticket price.)
Kids 12 & Over: R375 (Joubert-Tradauw’s Deli Alfresco Saturday lunch included in the ticket price.)
*Kids under 12 – free entry.

Link to buy tickets: http://www.unplugged62festival.co.za/tickets-buy-now.html
Link for accommodation options: http://www.unplugged62festival.co.za/accommodation.html

Want to have your meals sorted before you arrive? The R62 Deli run by Beate Joubert is conveniently located just meters from the stage and will be catering certain meals during the weekend. It will be wonderfully worth your while to experience Beate’s dishes. Her cookbook “Taste the Little Karoo” won the 2015 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in the category “Best Local Cuisine book in South Africa.” She is also well known for having been a contestant in the second series of Kokkedoor on kykNET

Pre-book your meals along with your tickets or buy from one of the local vendors in the market area. Meal ticket prices apply for all ages. Please note that the deli will not be open for normal business, so pre-booking is essential.

Meal ticket prices:
Spitbraai (Friday): R90
Champagne Breakfast (Saturday): R120
Farmhouse Breakfast (Sunday): R80
*All prices exclude booking fees.

Buy tickets here.

Accommodation:

Access to campsite on wine farm is included in the weekend pass this year. If you don’t fancy camping then check out the website’s accommodation page for some local hotels, Guesthouses and B&Bs we recommend.

Website: www.unplugged62festival.co.za
Facebook: /Unplugged62Event/
Twitter: @Unplugged62Fest
Instagram:  @unplugged62fest


WIN:

WIN two weekend passes for Unplugged62, as well as two bottles of Joubert Tradauw wine (Pinot Noir and Chardonnay) and a signed cookbook by Beate Joubert (“Taste the Karoo”).

How to enter: Leave a comment below and name one of the live music acts performing on the weekend. The winner will be randomly drawn from all correct entries (competition also on Facebook) and will be announced on 26 August 2016. Good luck!

Note: Winner must attend festival to collect wines and cookbook.

Beate Joubert's book cover.

Beate Joubert’s book cover.

(All info and images supplied by LK MediaBook.)

A midweek family getaway at Boschendal

25 Jul

The beautiful centre of Boschendal, surrounded by the Werf Restaurant, the deli, farm shop, butchery and manor house.

The beautiful centre of Boschendal, surrounded by the Werf Restaurant, the deli, farm shop, butchery and manor house.

Stellenbosch is an amazing town to live in. We’re spoilt for choice when it comes to restaurants, coffee shops, wineries, sights to see and views to enjoy. But escaping this bustling town is sometimes just what you need.

I was invited to Boschendal Farm for a midweek dinner and stay-over with my family. Boschendal is situated off Pniel Road in the Groot Drakenstein between Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. Over the past two years the new owners have revamped the farm, historical buildings and restaurant to establish a more contemporary and ethical destination that offers one of the best quality all-round experiences in the Cape Winelands.

Only a few kilometres across the Helshoogte Pass lies a working farm destination fit for royalty, but accessible to many. With a choice between many different cottage accommodation options adjacent to the main farm buildings or higher up in the mountain (closer to the bike trails), you’ll certainly find something to suit your pocket and your needs. Starting from R700/p sharing, the cottages offer between 1 and 4 bedrooms.

Our beautiful accommodation for the day: Brinkhuys Cottage.

Our beautiful accommodation for the day: Brinkhuys Cottage.

Brinkhuys Cottage, one of the Werf Cottages at Boschendal.

Brinkhuys Cottage, one of the Werf Cottages at Boschendal.

The three of us stayed in one of the Werf Cottages – one bedroom with a double bed (and a day bed), fire place, self-catering kitchen, dining area, stoep with shaded seating and breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. The beautiful Le Creuset cookware was a nice touch for an avid cook like me.

Upon arrival on a Thursday afternoon we couldn’t help but explore the breathtaking gardens – a paradise for children and adults alike. After a drive amongst the massive farm’s fruit orchards, we checked out the accommodation options further away from the main buildings (perfect for mountain biking enthusiasts), then headed back where we settled into our cottage with a cozy little fire and a complimentary bottle of wine. After dark we took our seats at the Werf Restaurant next to a roaring fireplace where we were treated to Boschendal’s famous “farm-to-table” shared eating experience and some of Boschendal’s best wines. Although executive chef Christiaan Campbell was on a well deserved holiday, his professional team operated seamlessly. All ingredients are ethically sourced and produced (mostly directly from/on the farm). It was one of the best meals that we’ve shared as a family and the friendly staff left a lasting impression on all of us.

Entrance to the Werf Restaurant.

Entrance to the Werf Restaurant.

Inside the Werf Restaurant.

Inside the Werf Restaurant.

The Spanish interior of the Werf Restaurant.

The Spanish interior of the Werf Restaurant.

The second starter:

One of our starters: grilled octopus, pork sausages, oyster emulsion, parsley and lemon preserve.

Our shared beef platter with marrow bones, aioli, potatoes and much more.

Mains for two: Our shared beef platter with fillet, marrow bones, boerewors, aioli, salad, potatoes and much more.

After dinner we walked back to our cottage (with a provided flashlight) and snuggled into our luxury beds – pre-heated with electric blankets.

For breakfast we opted for the packed basket which came brimmed with charcuterie, cheeses, fresh orange juice, bread, butter and preserves, muesli, yoghurt and more. Ground coffee and a large plunger sorted us with a proper caffeine fix for the day. Breakfast can also be enjoyed at the deli – just book when checking in at reception.

This one night stay-over on the other side of the mountain felt like a much longer break-away adventure in one of the most beautiful places in the Cape. There is so much to do and see and experience at Boschendal, and all of it is great: the best droëwors I’ve ever tasted at the butchery shop, horse rides for kids, fly fishing, hiking trails, wine tasting, farm shop with fresh veggies and meat from the farm – the list is endless. It is truly accessible to locals (not only international guests) and is highly recommended for people and/or families who are keen to explore the majestic Groot Drakenstein outdoors. Boschendal’s honest approach of “local, seasonal, ethical” is a shining light in a very competitive market.

Thank you to the Boschendal team and to Atmosphere PR for making our stay possible.

One of the roads on the working farm side of Boschendal Farm. Magnificent scenery.

One of the roads on the working farm side of Boschendal Farm. Magnificent scenery.

The Orchard cottages on Boschendal Farm, perfect for outdoor lovers and mountain bike fanatics.

The Orchard cottages on Boschendal Farm, perfect for outdoor lovers and mountain bike fanatics.


Book your mid-winter farm retreat now on 021-870 4290 or accommodation@boschendal.co.za and profit from the winter-warmer special at one of the Boschendal Orchard Cottages, valid 1 May to 30 September 2016: 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom at R1500 per night B&B for 2 adults and 2 children under the age of 16 or 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms at R1900 per night B&B for 2 adults and 2 children under the age of 16. Please use the reference Bosch002 when booking.


The Werf Restaurant: +27 (0) 21 870 4206 / werf@boschendal.co.za

Winter opening hours:

Lunch: Wednesday to Sunday 12:00 to 14:30  (Seated by 14:00)

Dinner: Thursday, Friday & Saturday 18:00 to 21:00 (Seated by 20:30)

Booking is essential. Download the Winter 2016 menu here.

(Review) The Ooh! Box

24 Jun

Hundreds of South Africans receive The Ooh! Box at their doorstep every month. Each box is filled with boutique wines and must-have, gourmet goodies. More specifically, each box contains 4 high-end wines (2 red and 2 white), a hot drink (a gourmet coffee or tea), a condiment, a gourmet treat, and a sweet treat. This box can be bought as a once-off option – R759. Or one can sign up for a subscription, starting at R554 per month. So basically, the Ooh! team travel the country sourcing the best South Africa has to offer in terms of wine and artisan, gourmet items. And their members get to experience a new batch of hard-to-find deliciousness every month, without even leaving their sofa.

They’ve just launched The Little Ooh! Box (2 wines and all the gourmet foodie goodies for R450) and The Gourmet Ooh! Box (just the gourmet foodie goodies for R350), which are already proving to be popular options.

Get R50 off The Ooh! Box by providing this discount code to enter at checkout for R50 off ANY Ooh! Box: The code is JOINTODAY50.

Arancini with aioli

20 Jun

Golden deep tried stuffed nuggets of risotto served with garlic mayo (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Golden deep-fried stuffed nuggets of risotto served with garlic mayo (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

The Italians have a wonderful way of using up leftover risotto. They shape the cold rice mixture into balls, stuff the centres with cheese, cover the balls with breadcrumbs and deep-fry the lot to make arancini.

These little golden nuggets are just delightful. I prefer to use smoked mozzarella for the centres and serve the arancini with thick homemade garlic mayonnaise. It’s a great snack for welcoming guests at your festive dinner party this season, because you can prep them beforehand and drop them in the hot oil just before serving.

If you’d love to serve them on a flat board or slate tile, pipe some mayo on the board and place the arancini on the mayo to prevent them from rolling off.

One warning though: these are super addictive! Prepare to eat more than you think you will.

Ingredients: (serves 6 as a snack/canapé)

  • about 2 cups prepared left-over risotto, cooled (any flavour will do, but I love using saffron risotto or wild mushrooms risotto)
  • 100 g smoked mozzarella, cubed 1 x 1 cm
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • salt & pepper
  • 3 eggs, lightly whisked
  • 2 cups fresh bread crumbs
  • 750 ml canola oil
  1. Take a small tablespoon of cold risotto and fill it with a cube of mozzarella. Shape the risotto to cover the cheese and roll it into a neat ball (cold risotto is easier to shape). Continue until all the risotto is used.
  2. In a shallow bowl, mix the flour with some salt & pepper. Place the bread crumbs in another shallow bowl, and the eggs in another.
  3. Dip each risotto ball into the seasoned flour, then into the egg and then into the breadcrumbs, covering it all over. Place on a clean plate and repeat.
  4. Heat the oil to about 180 C, then fry batches of arancini until golden all over – about 3 minutes.
  5. Serve with aioli.

For the aioli:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 30 ml lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
  • salt & pepper
  • about 180-250 ml canola oil

In a blender or food processor, add the yolks, garlic, mustard and lemon juice. Season with salt & pepper then blend well. With the motor running, add the oil in a thin stream until fully incorporated and thick and creamy. Transfer to a glass jar and refrigerate until ready to use.

Tip: Use a small plastic bag to pipe blobs of aioli onto a serving board, then “stick” the arancini onto each piped blob to keep from rolling around.

Credits:

Recipe, food preparation, food styling & text: Ilse van der Merwe

Photography & styling: Tasha Seccombe

This recipe has been featured on The Pretty Blog.

 

Feature: A timeless watch from Daniel Wellington

3 Jun

My brand new DW watch, fastened onto my wrist with an Italian calf leather strap.

My brand new DW watch, fastened onto my wrist with an Italian calf leather strap.

The last time I bought a watch was in 1995 – 21 years ago. It seems fair that I need an upgrade. The team from Daniel Wellington sent me this beautiful Classic Sheffield watch yesterday and I feel like royalty wearing it. It is timeless (a little ironic for a time telling instrument, I know) and so elegantly minimalistic with a round white face, beautiful rose gold trimmings and a black Italian calf leather strap to match my daily black leather jacket “uniform”.

So it’s only apt to consider time at this point in my life, without being too sentimental. Apart from running a tight ship with my daily schedule from hour to hour, especially when I’m prepping for shoots and dinners, I’ve made an effort to make more time for myself and for the people around me since the beginning of the year. A month ago, I’ve started to make time for reading at night before I go to bed – a few minutes of silent page-turning me-time each day – no smart phones or laptops in sight. I read The Alchemist again, reminding me that life can take you on many different roads and that you should always trust your instincts.

It was also time for me to simplify my life – we moved into a smaller space in the heart of town a few weeks ago and got rid of all the things that gathered dust in our garage. Because of our new location, I now had more time in the morning to spend with my family. I traded rushed mornings and sticky traffic for slower breakfasts and swift commutes.

It is already the beginning of June and soon we’ll reach the shortest day of the year. Winter is upon us and I cannot wait to embrace the dark and dreary comfort of a my old friend: the cold and wet winter in Stellenbosch. If I’m lucky, I’ll still be around in November to celebrate my crazy 39 years on planet earth before hitting the big four-oh in 2017.

2017? Really? Where has the time gone? Nowhere. We’re in it. We’re here. We’re doing this.

They say the only two luxuries in life are time and silence. As I’m writing, I realize I have both in this moment. Smiling. Thankful.

Note: The friendly people from Daniel Wellington are offering you a fabulous 15% discount on your next purchase. Go to www.danielwellington.com and use this code: thefoodfoxDW

Al fresco with Daniel Wellington. Image from www.danielwellington.com.

Al fresco with Daniel Wellington. Image from www.danielwellington.com.

Dining with Daniel Wellington. Image from www.danielwellington.com.

Dining with Daniel Wellington. Image from www.danielwellington.com.

Wearing your DW with style. Image from www.danielwellington.com.

Wearing your DW with style. Image from www.danielwellington.com.

Review: Philips Saeco Poemia Manual Espresso Machine

30 May

I had the opportunity to test the Philips Saeco Poemia Manual Espresso machine over the past few weeks. I’m a dedicated coffee lover by nature, so the idea of making my very own espressos, Americanos and cappuccinos at home was just thrilling.

The machine is compact and easy to use. With its sleek black face it slotted nicely into my food prop cupboard. I love design elements that are slightly more masculine.

You can make an espresso in one minute from scratch. The crema that the machine produces is really superior to anything that you can create with a plunger or filter machine and the closest that I’ve been able to get to a professional barista-made coffee.  I struggled a little to make two similar coffees at once as the machine filled up the one cup faster than the other – seems like this is quite a common thing when I discussed it with other coffee machine owners. It wasn’t a big problem, as my husband and I prefer our coffees differently anyway, so we made our separate ones as a rule.

I now want one of these for my home and can really recommend it to anyone who is serious about making and drinking good coffee. We tested it with three different brands of ground coffee and the taste differences were pronounced and easy to identify. Our favourite coffee brand tasted even more delicious with the Seaco machine.

The Philips Saeco Poemia Manual Espresso machine is available from Pick ‘n Pay Hypermarkets, Yuppiechef, Takealot, Hirsh and other selected independent outlets at a recommended retail price of R2,499.

White anchovy, asparagus & parmesan salad

27 May

White anchovy salad with asparagus & parmesan (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

White anchovy salad with asparagus & parmesan (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

I’ve always loved dark little anchovy fillets in oil, salty as hell with a strong fishy flavour. But last year I discovered white anchovy fillets – larger, silky in texture, tender, more delicate in flavour. These days you can buy them “ready for tapas”, marinated in a fantastic garlic & herb vinaigrette that is good enough to use as is over bruschetta or salad.

This white anchovy salad is such a simple yet fabulous starter. I came across fresh white asparagus and used it here because of its strange pale beauty, although you can easily substitute with regular green asparagus.

Tip: To create a slightly more bulky main course, top with softly poached eggs and serve with toasted bruschetta.

Ingredients: (serves 4 as a side dish or starter)

  • a medium/large bunch of rocket leaves
  • a handful of white or green asparagus, poached in water (or grilled) for 1-2 minutes
  • about a cup of white anchovy fillets in garlic & herb vinaigrette (reserve liquid for dressing)
  • chunky shaved parmesan cheese
  • salt & pepper
  • fresh lemon wedges

Method:

  1. On a large salad platter, arrange the rocket leaves, cooked asparagus, anchovy fillets and parmesan cheese. Season well with salt & pepper, then drizzle with the anchovy vinaigrette.
  2. Serve immediately with lemon wedges and (optionally) toasted ciabatta.

Credits:

Recipe, food preparation, food styling & text: Ilse van der Merwe

Photography & styling: Tasha Seccombe

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