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Launch: Mynhardt’s Kitchen at Cathedral Cellar, KWV

16 Mar

The remarkable Cathedral Cellar at KWV is now the home of Mynhardt’s Kitchen.

Yesterday, I attended the launch of Mynhardt’s Kitchen at Cathedral Cellar, KWV Wine Emporium. Chef Mynhardt Joubert is no stranger to the Paarl community and he’s been acting as brand ambassador for iconic Paarl wine producer KWV for numerous years. He has just fitted the breathtaking Cathedral Cellar at KWV with a state of the art kitchen and the venue is now open for functions.

In celebration of KWV’s 100 year celebrations in 2018, from today onwards anyone will be able to book a memorable dining experience in Cathedral Cellar, for groups of 20 up to a 100. Guests will be seated at long tables, flanked by imposing, 12000 ℓ stuk-vats, some showing historical wine making scenes carved by father and son, Karl and Karl-Heinz Wilhelm in 1969 and 1970. On either side of the impressive hall are large coloured windows – in tones of blue and green on the one side, and red and orange tones on the others side, resembling the Paarl mountain in the east and the setting sun in the west.

To celebrate the launch of this unique facility, Mynhardt treated us to a vegetarian menu with a “roots” theme, serving a visually striking, colourful starter course of root vegetables on paper (which was rolled up after – no washing up, very water wise). For mains we enjoyed deep fried risotto balls (arancini) on a creamy mushroom sauce made with a rich root vegetable stock, and for dessert he served cheesecake mousse with fig ice cream. All plates were made of paper and thus compostible. The food was accompanied by impeccable wines by KWV and Laborie.

The drama of this space is just unrivaled, and I can only imagine what evenings in this space must look and feel like with the added lighting that they’ve installed to make the most of the cathedral’s vaulted ceiling and massive wooden vats all around.

Enquire about Mynhardt’s Kitchen at Cathedral Cellar for your next dinner or function at or 076-033 1839. Thank you Jeanri Tine van Zyl of Feed That Bird Communication for the invitation. Thank you to Chef Mynhardt, KWV, Laborie, Montagu and XTN Family Farm for the fabulous lunch and the beautiful gift box.

Chef Mynhardt places the finishing touches on his root vegetable starters.

Bubbles all around, courtesy of Laborie.

A series of iconic KWV wines were served as part of the lunch.

Our colourful starters, plated on paper.

Lots of wine glasses (and beautiful fresh flowers, roots attached) ready for various wines to pair with our multi-course lunch.

Red, yellow and green food art – almost too beautiful to eat!

Fig, rosemary and pine nut focaccia. This was dreamy!

The red section of the starter – roasted baby beets, fresh candy beets, goats cheese balls, raspberries, pomegranates, cranberries, microherbs, strawberries, beetroot mayonnaise.

A long table of colours and flavours.

Arancini, creamy mushroom sauce made with root veg stock, pan fried mushrooms, lattice pastry crust.

Cheesecake mousse, fig ice cream and fresh figs.

Back home, I unpacked this gift box, courtesy of Laborie, Montagu and XTN Family Farm. I now have a little vine in my home!


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Review: Coffee, cold brews and pastries at Coco Safar

12 Mar

The entrance to Coco Safar Café in Sea Point, Cape Town.


On Saturday I visited Coco Safar, a unique luxury café, espresso bar, (compostible) capsule emporium, couture pâtisserie and brand new cold brew facility. After relocating their flagship store from Claremont to Sea Point in January 2018, they are also proud to announce the opening of another store in New York later this year.

If you haven’t been to Coco Safar, prepare to be dazzled by their luxury approach and impeccable attention to detail. Sit down in the plush café for great coffee ranging from espresso to syphon to iced latté, and take your pick from their selection of immaculately crafted French-style pastries and chocolates. If you’re in the mood for something savoury, try the hearty yet refined breakfast options that include bobotie croissants, pulled lamb an poached eggs on bao buns, and buttery savoury galettes.

Across the isle from the espresso bar, a chocolate & coffee laboratory is visible where they work on creating new offerings almost daily. On the other side, yet another Coco Safar facility displays cold brew infused rooibos and coffee, bottled or on tap, all alcohol-free. These brews are deliciously refreshing and a must-taste experience.

If you are serious about coffee, tea and luxury pastries, then this place will be your slice of heaven. The consistency of quality and attention to detail are truly incredible. Coco Safar is a beacon of what constant innovation and a quest for excellence can become: “a journey beyond the ordinary.”

About the founders: Wilhelm Liebenberg and Caroline Sirois are passionate food and coffee specialists having spent the best part of 20 years traveling the world in search of the finest coffee and culinary experiences. These experiences lead to many creative endeavors including opening several restaurants and café’s around the globe including Montreal, Toronto and New York.

“Coco Safar is a natural evolution of this journey and their extraordinary vision to make the luxury experience, not just the domain of the privileged few, but an everyday experience for everyone.”

Here is my experience in pictures:

The friendly espresso baristas at Coco Safar.

My flat white. The coffee was fantastic.

Couture pâtisserie section at Coco Safar.

Some of the chocolate bonbons on display at Coco Safar. I tasted four of them, my favourite was by far the truffle with lamb bacon in it! Yes, lamb bacon in chocolate (they’re the speckled ones in the middle).

More sweet indulgence at Coco Safar.

Some of the exquisite looking pastries at Coco Safar.

I’ll be back for these creations. There was a salted caramel bomb with my name on it…

One of two (world-first) coffee machines of their kind – this one located in Coco Safar’s coffee lab.

The cold brewing section at Coco Safar.


Tasting cold brewed teas and coffee. These were my favourite drinks of the day. I’ll take anyone, anytime. So refreshing!

Bottled sparkling citrus coffee, cold brewed by Coco Safar. Such beautiful branding. And look at the colour of the coffee!

The syphon coffee master at Coco Safar.

Watching a syphon demonstration – it’s a coffee brewing method that involves a vacuum, using two chambers where vapor pressure produce a clearer coffee with a complex taste.

Some of the coffee capsules for sale in boxes at Coco Safar. Their capsules are 100% compostible.

Taking a look at the retail offering at Coco Safar: books, coffee gadgets, ceramics, leatherware and more.

Savoury galettes with brussels sprouts & mushrooms. So buttery!

The legendary bobotie croissant – absolutely delicious!

Raspberry croissant and plum galettes. I’m a sucker for croissants and theirs are really top notch. My favourite was the plain croissant.

Sticky bun and more fruit galettes. That sticky bun will chase me in my dreams – it was incredible!

The unique wall art at the booth next to the window pane at Coco Safar – go take a selfie for Insta! So beautiful. Also, leather chairs all around. Such a pleasure to sit on.


The Coco Safar flagship store is accessible at street-level at Artem Centre, which is located at 277 Main Road Sea Point, Cape Town, including secure onsite parking facilities.
For more information, visit Coco Safar at, email or call 021-433 0490.

Thank you to owner Wilhelm Liebenberg for the personalized tour, it was an inspiration. Thank you to Natalie Jardine of Vivid Luxury for hosting me.

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Pilchard & spinach shakshuka – breakfast of champions

8 Mar

Lucky Star recently launched their fourth cookbook in a series of cookbooks published by Tamsin Snyman Publishers, Seven Colours with Fish. This book captures a sense of colourful occasion without being too fine or too fussy, and presents a variety of quick and easy dishes that are nutritious for the whole family.

Lucky Star is such an iconic South African brand and their range of canned fish is good enough to eat straight from the tins – from pilchards to middlecut, tuna, mussels and sardines. Canned fish is readily available in most supermarkets throughout the year, making it an accessible source of affordable protein on a daily basis. All Lucky Star pilchards are caught and immediately frozen at sea before being brought back to the factories to be cooked with the seal on – no preservatives or artificial colourants needed. You shouldn’t remove the soft bones either, as they’re a great source of calcium.

Seven Colours with Fish is available countrywide for only R85.50 countrywide at selected bookstores or directly from

Here is my take on Tamsin’s fabulous cover recipe for pilchard shakshuka, omitting the beans and adding a few more spices. This is such a stunning, flavoursome, bright and bold breakfast (or anytime meal), especially after a late night! And so easy to make.

Ingredients:  serves 3-4 (adapted from Seven Colour with Fish)

  • 1 x 400 g can Lucky Star Pilchards in tomato sauce (or in hot chilli sauce)
  • 15 ml olive oil
  • 1 small onion, peeled & chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 5 ml (1 teaspoon) smoked paprika (or regular paprika)
  • 2,5 ml (1/2 teaspoon) ground cumin
  • 2,5 ml (1/2 teaspoon) ground coriander
  • 1 ml (1/4 teaspoon) cinnamon
  • 1 ml (1/4 teaspoon) chilli powder (optional, or more if you like it hot)
  • 1 x 410 g can whole tomatoes, roughly chopped (or use a can chopped tomatoes)
  • 5 ml sugar
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • two handfuls baby spinach leaves
  • 3-4 eggs
  • toasted bread, to serve (optional)


  1. Separate the pilchard fillets from their tomato sauce and set both aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a standard skillet (23 cm) and fry the onions until golden brown. Add the garlic and fry for another minute, stirring.
  3. Add the spices and stir for a few seconds, then add the canned tomatoes and sugar as well as the reserved tomato sauce, and season generously with salt & pepper. Stir and bring to a simmer.
  4. Add the spinach and stir, then cover with a lid and let it simmer until spinach is wilted (about 2 minutes).
  5. Crack the eggs into the simmering tomato mix (make little wells for them), then cover with a lid and simmer over low heat for about 5-6 minutes until the whites are cooked and the yolks are still runny (or however you prefer your eggs).
  6. Serve hot with some fresh spinach leaves (if you want to) and toasted bread for dipping.

Note: If you are making hot shakshuka, serving it with some fresh coriander leaves work very well.

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Baked risotto with chicken, broccoli & blue cheese

7 Mar

This is the first time I’ve attempted to make a baked risotto, after being quite skeptical about a non-stir method of making one of my favourite dishes on earth – one that many people feel quite sacred about. And I have to admit: for this little effort, the results are fantastic.

I’d say the texture is more like that of a beautifully “wet” paella, than a classic risotto. It’s all in the timing, so remove this dish from the oven when it’s still slightly saucy – it will continue to thicken on standing.

For the chicken, I’ve used a packet of free-range, deboned, skinless chicken drumsticks from Woolworths – a stunning product that is economically priced compared to deboned thighs and so very versatile and convenient.

Also featured in this recipe is the brand new extra virgin cold pressed canola oil from Cape Canola – a stunning new product with the most luminous deep yellow colour that I drizzled over the risotto just before serving. It’s also fantastic on salads, dips like hummus or even over pasta. It has a buttery, nutty flavour, and I’m sure it will make killer roast potatoes and dreamy mayonnaise. It is available from Pick ‘n Pay in 1 liter glass bottles, as well as 3 liter and 5 liter tins.

Ingredients: (serves 6)

  • 15 ml extra virgin cold pressed canola oil (or extra virgin olive oil)
  • 700-750 g boneless skinless chicken, cut into large chunks
  • 1 small head of broccoli, cut into florets
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 cups arborio rice (or other risotto rice)
  • 125 g blue cheese, roughly crumbled
  • 125 ml cream
  • 1 liter chicken stock, warm
  • a handful fresh parsley, roughly chopped, to serve


  1. Preheat oven to 200 C.
  2. In a large, wide, ovenproof dish (about 3 liter capacity), brush the base with oil, then arrange the chicken & broccoli in a single layer and season generously with salt & pepper.
  3. Pour the uncooked rice all over evenly, then arrange the blue cheese crumbs all over.
  4. Mix the cream and chicken stock, then pour most of it over the arranged ingredients (if your dish won’t take all of the liquid, leave some to add later when some of it has been absorbed). Gently press any ingredients down that stick out, to be covered by the liquid.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes or until the rice is just al dente (still a gentle bite in the centre). If the top becomes too dark, cover it with foil. If it becomes too dry, add more liquid. You should remove it from the oven when it has not absorbed all of the liquid, because it will continue to absorb liquid apon standing.
  6. Let it stand for 5-10 minutes before serving. Serve hot with a drizzle of extra virgin canola oil (or olive oil or melted butter),  scattered with parsley.
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Review: Merino lamb terroir tasting with Bertus Basson

3 Mar

Yesterday I attended the first merino tasting session hosted by well known Stellenbosch Chef Bertus Basson and Cape wine master Bennie Howard of Veritas, in collaboration with Agri-Expo and Lamb & Mutton SA as part of the Woordfees 2018 in Stellenbosch.

Four legs of lamb, taken from animals of the same age, farmed in different areas (Hamtam, Kamdeboo, Overberg and Boland) were cooked at 68 °C sous vide for 12 hours, with no salt/herbs/spices and served at room temperature. This way the unique terroir of each of the meats can be identified, tasted and appreciated. In case you didn’t know, most of the mutton that we find in SA is free range. Along with the four meats, a tasting of four Veritas awarded wines were presented by Bennie Howard: Holden Manz Big G 2013, Ridgeback Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Diemersdal Pinotage 2016 and Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Shiraz 2013. All four incredible wines could be paired with your choice of meat, and the differences in tastes in the audience were interesting to see.

Some notes on the terroir of each of the meats:

1. Hantam (Calvinia, Great Karoo): hard, sun scorched, dry, biodiverse hotspot, winter rainfall, animals mainly eat karoo bossies.

2. Kamdeboo (Graaf Reinet, Eastern Cape): succulent Karoo, grass lands, cold winters, summer rainfall.

3. Overberg (Swellendam): fynbos territory, the heart of merino territory, winter rainfall, cold winters.

4. Boland: animals feed on “stoppellande” after harvest season, receive additional feed because of current drought, very hot summers.

When you taste lamb or mutton meat, you’re looking for the following qualities: herbaciousness, minerality, fat content and grain. It was eye opening to taste and experience the unique differences in each of the meats and to see the differences in grain (like they say in Afrikaans: “Daar’s ‘n skaap vir elke smaak”). According to Bertus, his personal favourite mutton cuts are neck, rib and shoulders. He also said that mutton chops should be braaied crispy and seasoned only with salt. This way you can really appreciate the taste of the meat and enjoy the unique fatty edges. No fancy-shmancy pink chops for him! I like that.

Get your tickets for the upcoming exclusive merino tasting sessions with Bertus & Bennie from Computicket – next sessions on Thursday 8 March 12h00 and Sunday 11 March 12h00, R160 pre-bought or R180 at the door. #CookingWithLamb #Lambassador #WeLoveLamb #TheWayNatureIntended

Here is my taste experience in pictures:

The tables at Die Khaya, Woordfees 2018, almost ready for a merino tasting session.

Tasting notes and more information about the Veritas wines.

Our four Veritas wines as part of the tasting experience, to be paired with four different marino lamb meats.

Paper plates with four different lamb meats for the tasting session, served at room temperature with no flavourings or seasonings.

My tasting station at the merino tasting session.

Bennie Howard of Veritas tells us more about the four red wines that he has selected for the tasting.

Chef Bertus Basson tells us more about his love of South African mutton and lamb.

Bertus listens to Bennie’s expert wine tasting notes.

Marina Bester of Lamb & Mutton SA takes a picture of Bertus for social media. It’s always great to see a few behind-the-scene shots! What a great afternoon in the company of experts!


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Review: Lunch at Cavalli

27 Feb

Chef Michael Deg (center), head of the kitchen at Cavalli.


On Sunday, my family and I had the privilege of visiting Cavalli Estate for lunch. We’ve been for a few gallery visits and wine tastings there before, but never for lunch. After receiving an invitation to experience the restaurant at Cavalli’s new “One at Cavalli” menu, where the shining ingredient for the month of February is beetroot, I was intrigued to see what recently appointed head chef Michael Deg had up his sleeve.

Stretched across 100 Hectares of pristine land located in the picturesque Helderberg region of Stellenbosch, Cavalli Estate boasts 26 hectares of vineyards, 10 hectares of indigenous fynbos gardens, a contemporary restaurant, 350-seater function venue, wine-tasting facility, retail contemporary art gallery, luxury boutique and a world class equestrian facility.

Chef Michael Deg’s focus on quality rather than quantity is apparent in his small à la carte menu with 6 starters, 6 mains and 6 desserts, for lunch and dinner. He likes to change one or two dishes every week to ensure the menu keeps evolving with the seasons. His aim is for vegetarians and vegans to feel appreciated at Cavalli (see vegan menu options) and he now also offers two tasting menus for dinner – both are 8 courses, with one of them completely vegetarian.

Here is our lunch experience in pictures. The beautiful food and the surrounds will speak for themselves, but a special mention needs to be made about the fantastic service. From the front gate security to the various waiters, sommeliers and the restaurant manager that looked after us (and the kitchen staff that came out to explain their dishes) – the team at Cavalli seamlessly displayed their calm professionalism and friendly knowledgeability. We were served by a team of waiters (not just one), always receiving our courses at the same time, with incredible wine pairings by head sommelier, Farai. Truly a premium atmosphere all round.

The food at Cavalli was bold in flavour, beautifully plated and pure pleasure on the palate. From bright green silky pea gazpacho to perfectly flame grilled cauliflower, pale pink beetroot meringues and dewy garden salads (and that umami dumpling!) – the food was simply incredible from start to finish. Watch out, this restaurant will draw a lot more attention within the fine dining arena in the near future.

Check out our experience below:

The magnificent view from the restaurant entrance at Cavalli, when you look to your right.

On our way to the entrance at Cavalli.

The entrance sign amongst steel and stone – architecturally, Cavalli is already a must visit.

The contemporary restaurant interior at Cavalli.

More of the restaurant interior and the terrace at Cavalli. The restaurants seats more than 100 guests.

Adjacent to the terrace at Cavalli, there is a tranquil pond with this incredible view.

The brand new release of Cavalli’s first MCC.

Some beetroot meringue kisses with a savoury filling from the kitchen as a welcome snack.

Beetroot salt and other flavoured butters to go with the bread board.

Bread board (tomato & feta flatbread, ciabattini & mini seed loaves).

Farai – the friendly, knowledgeable head sommelier at Cavalli.

Amuse bouche: pork dumpling in umami broth. I could eat a very large bowl of these, they were absolutely incredible. Very punchy in flavour.

SPICED CARROT TARTAR (VEGAN) | pickled shimeji, onion ketchup, shallot cups, crispy ginger. Great combinations of textures in this dish.

One of the many wines we enjoyed as part of a wine paired lunch journey. Cavalli has a very long list of wines that you can order by the glass – something that is very rare these days (and such a great way to taste through a wider variety of their wines with the many menu items).

GRASS-FED BOBOTIE KROMESKIES | kale pesto, mustard crème fraîche, crispy potato, apricot, curried crumble. A modern take on a classic South African favourite. The bright green crispy kale was delightful.

CHILLED PEA GAZPACHO | yoghurt & lemon ice cream, pea salsa, goats cheese. The goats cheese ball was deep fried, and the contrast in temperatures with the cold soup and very cold ice cream was delicious.

My daughter’s “fish & chips” with a fresh garden salad. It was delicious! Kids also have an option to order “chicken nuggets” and, if I remember correctly, a “beef burger”.

We were very impressed with Cavalli’s stainless steel reusable straws – very cool!

CAULIFLOWER STEAK (VEGAN) | tempura, cauliflower puree, macadamia nuts, capers, sultanas. The macadamia nut crumble was the perfect accompaniment to the soft and creamy cauliflower.

My main course red wine pairing: the Valkyrie by Cavalli.

GRASS-FED BEEF FILLET | pomme purée, creamed spinach, pickled baby beetroot, bone marrow crumble. You cannot see the inside of the meat on this picture, but it was absolutely perfectly cooked.

Pre-dessert: yoghurt, beetroot puree, tangerine granita, freeze dried raspberries. So fresh and cleansing!

MANJARI CHOCOLATE MOUSSE | blondie, dulcey ganache, mint ice cream, cocoa nibs. I’m a sucker for chocolate mousse AND blondies, so this was right up my alley.

BANANA & PISTACHIO GALETTE | salted caramel ice cream, peanut tuille, pistachio crème. One of the highlights of the dessert menu offering.

A final sweet gift from the kitchen to end off our lunch.

The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner 5 days a week, from Wednesday to Saturday. Sundays lunch only.
Restaurant bookings: (021) 855 3218 (8am – 5pm)

Starters range in price from R85-R120.

Mains range in price from R170-R250.

Desserts range in price from R85-R120.

Visit for more info. Menu changes seasonally.

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Broccoli, kale & spinach salad with parmesan and toasted seeds

20 Feb

Green, greener, greenest! Roasted kale & broccoli salad on fresh baby spinach with a soy dressing, shaved parmigiano and toasted seeds. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.


I know a lot of people that don’t like kale. It’s a relatively new thing in South Africa (although much better known in some other parts of the world) and part of the cabbage family. Although it resembles spinach, it doesn’t wilt or shrink like spinach and can be baked in the oven until it turns crispy. And I have to say, I love it!

Last year I was invited to Longridge for a media event. One of the courses was a broccoli and kale dish with parmesan custard and an umami rich dressing that was just incredible. So this is my spin on it – roasted veg on a bed of fresh baby spinach, with an Asian-style dressing, some shaved parmigiano and toasted seeds. It’s packed with flavour and such a great alternative to regular green salads with lettuce and cucumber. And it’s fantastic served at room temperature, which means you can make it ahead. Greens for the win!

Ingredients: (adjust quantities to your liking)

  • a few broccoli spears
  • a few kale leaves
  • olive oil, for drizzling
  • salt & pepper
  • a handful baby spinach leaves
  • parmesan cheese, shaved
  • mixed seeds, dry toasted
  • for the dressing:
    • 30 ml soy sauce
    • one teaspoon grated ginger
    • 15 ml olive oil
    • 10 ml lemon juice

Preheat oven to 220 C. Place the broccoli and kale on a roasting tray. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt & pepper, then roast for about 15 minutes until the kale starts to go crispy on the edges and the broccoli is just starting to go tender. Remove and let cool. (You can do this the day before, if you like.)

Arrange the salad: baby spinach, broccoli, kale, parmesan, toasted seeds. Drizzle the dressing over right before serving.

Note: This is also a brilliant side dish to a more elaborate main course.

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10 water wise recipes that’ll help you save

8 Feb

Never leave a running tap unattended. Use a thin stream of water with great care and intent, and only when necessary. (Photo by Kaboompics // Karolina from Pexels)


We’re all looking to gain smart new habits for coping with the little water left in the Western Cape. Hoping to avoid “day zero”, let’s adjust to a new normal of being truly water conscious and saving every drop that we can.

When we were struggling with power outages a few seasons ago, Private Property wrote an article, Energy savings will be crucial this winter. With the current water shortage they asked me to put together a few dos and don’ts of foods/recipes to embrace and to avoid. Check out Private Property’s houses for sale, and remember these handy tips: Keep a water-less hand cleanser in the kitchen and bathroom to minimize rinsing your hands under running water. Keep the plug in the basin plugged in (or use a larger bowl/bucket) to reuse grey water as far as you can.

Water wise foods to welcome:

  • anything braaied/grilled (remember to serve these on paper plates that won’t require any washing up)
  • oven roasted vegetables instead of boiled vegetables (remember to use a sheet of foil or baking paper on your tray to minimize dirty trays)
  • roast chicken (or other meat) that can double up as leftovers on a sandwich the next day, limiting more cooking and washing up
  • salad, fruit and vegetables that can we wiped with a damp cloth (that don’t need extensive washing)
  • “hand food” that doesn’t require plates or cutlery (minimizing dirty dishes for washing later)
  • one-pot dishes that can go from oven/stove to table to fridge (minimizing dirty dishes for washing later)

Water unwise foods to avoid:

  • foods that need to be cooked/soaked in a lot of water, like rice, legumes and pasta
  • foods that need lots of water for rinsing, like sandy mussels or spinach (unless you can minimize the rinsing water and reuse it later as grey water)
  • foods that require large amounts of stock, like soups and risottos
  • food that will dirty various bowls/pots/trays (unless you use baking paper or foil on your trays that can be discarded) and will use more water for washing up than usual

Here are some of my favourite recipes that don’t contain any water, are made in one pot/pan, or require very little (or no) washing up:

Spinach, mushrooms & cheddar frittata with sage butter. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

  1. Mushroom, spinach & cheddar frittata: this is a one-pot recipe that is perfect for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner, and also as leftovers for the office the next day. It can be eaten hot or cold, so no reheating required, and no extra dirty dishes gained. And yes, you can ditch the sage butter!

    Delicious buttermilk rusks with various seeds, nuts, oats, coconut and pecan nuts.

  2. All-in-one breakfast rusks: limit your tea/coffee intake by filling up with these “waterless” rusks – dip 2 or 3 in your one cup of daily coffee, and you might not require another cup soon.

    Freshly toasted granola with cranberries. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

  3. Granola with almonds & cranberries: made with no water, this granola recipe is so delicious topped with a dollop of yoghurt. To minimize dirty dishes, add a few tablespoons directly to your plastic yoghurt tub (and not other way around).

    Freshly braaied ciabatta sandwiches with fior di latte, tomato, basil and chutney. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

  4. Afritalian braaibroodjies: these can be assembled anywhere without using any water. Eaten with your hands straight from a plankie, they’re the perfect waterless food items.

    My ultimate caprese salad with soft mozzarella, an array of tomatoes, fresh basil, pesto and toasted pine nuts. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

  5. Ultimate caprese salad: no rinsing necessary (unless you want to wipe the tomatoes with a damp cloth), easy to assemble, and the juices can be mopped up with crusty bread straight from the plate.

    Baked tomatoes with feta, garlic, thyme. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

  6. Baked tomatoes with feta, garlic & thyme: add a sheet of foil or non-stick baking paper to the tray, which you can pop in the bin afterwards. No pre-rinsing, no washing up.

    Roast garlic prawns served with fresh limes. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

  7. Roasted garlic prawns: another roasted favourite that can be done with a sheet of foil and eaten straight from the pan!

    Panzanella: a traditional Tuscan bread salad. Photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius.

  8. Panzanella with smoked chicken: what a delightful, meaty, summer salad with oodles of crunchy croutons – perfect for entertaining a crowd. Make the croutons in the oven on a baking sheet lined with foil and save on washing up!

    Fresh, crunchy, beautiful to look at and oh-so-delicious Vietnamese vegetable spring rolls (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

  9. Vietnamese chicken & vegetable spring rolls: although these paper rounds are made of rice, they require no cooking – only one minute of soaking in a little cold water (you can use a wide bowl with 1cm deep water for the whole batch and still reuse the water left for rinsing anything that’s dirty etc.) It’s hand food at its best, dipped in a fabulously salty peanut sauce.

    Braaied lamb chops make the ultimate shawarma topping. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

  10. Quick braaied lamb shawarmas: marinate in a plastic bag, braai, assemble on chopping board, eat with hands, wipe with kitchen paper – almost no dirty dishes! Perfect for outdoor entertaining.
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The easiest, cheesiest cheese sauce for cheesy fries

8 Feb

This is the stuff dreams are made of: a super silky cheese sauce made with Dalewood’s award winning Boland™ cheese (and only 2 other ingredients).


I’ve been having this craving for golden potato chips covered in cheese sauce ever since we returned from our annual holiday early in January this year. I restrained these thoughts because of good intentions as part of a new “exercise and under-indulgence regime” (it was a brand new year, after all). And then I received an incredible cheese hamper courtesy of Dalewood Fromage about two weeks ago. And then Eat Out published this video about Bertus Basson’s burger joint, De Vrije Burger‘s cheesy fries. Well folks, I think the universe was trying to tell me something…

Needless to say, I immediately did some research on making the easiest, cheesiest, fuss-free, silky smooth cheese sauce. I came across a fantastic feature on Alton Brown’s site (one of my favourite resources for researching recipes) by J. Kenji López-Alt where he uses evaporated milk instead of a milk/butter/flour roux as a base, ensuring an incredibly smooth end result with a slightly sweet milky tinge to it. Using a really good quality cheese is at the centre of this recipe, because it only contains 3 ingredients, the last being a tablespoon of neutral tasting corn flour. So I chose Dalewood’s Boland™ – a semi-hard cheese with a hard rind made in the style of a Port Salut. It has a relatively mild and nutty flavour; savoury and slightly sweet. With its smooth, velvety texture, it was going to make my cheesy dreams come true.

Last night I finally put the recipe to the test. At first I thought I was going to add a little Dijon mustard and perhaps a little squirt of hot sauce and a pinch of salt. But the flavour of the Dalewood Boland™ was just perfect – strong and complex enough to ensure a deep, nutty, cheese flavoured sauce without the addition of anything else. The texture was velvety, indulgent and inviting. It was even better than I could have imagined.

I’m a little hesitant to admit that my husband and I finished the whole pot of sauce (and about 650 g of fries, loaded with chopped salami and chives) by ourselves. OK, I finished the last bit by myself with a spoon, straight from the pot. It was THAT good.

So give it a go. Also incredibly good on burgers, schnitzels, broccoli, macaroni, nachos, steak etc. Watch how to make it:

Ingredients for cheese sauce:

(based on a recipe featured on

  • 250 ml (1 cup) evaporated milk (canned)
  • 250 g Dalewood Boland™, rind removed and coarsely grated
  • 15 ml (1 tablespoon) corn flour / Maizena

Pour the evaporated milk into a small saucepan and place over medium heat on the stove. In the meantime, toss the grated cheese and corn flour together. When the milk starts to boil, add the cheese & corn flour, lower the heat, and stir until the cheese has melted fully and the sauce is silky smooth. Remove from heat.

To serve: Pour over freshly made golden fries (potato chips), seasoned generously with salt flakes. Optionally top with shredded salami (or crispy bacon) and chopped chives, or sliced jalapenos and guacamole.

To reheat: Place the saucepan back on the heat and stir until runny and smooth. Alternatively, heat in a microwaveable container, stirring every 15-30 seconds until runny and smooth. Store in the fridge, covered.

Substitutions for the cheese: Substitute the cheese for any other cheese that is punchy in flavour, like a mature cheddar/gouda or a slightly milder Gruyere etc. The colour of the sauce will also be affected by your choice of cheese, so if you like a yellow sauce, choose a darker, yellower cheese.

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Chocolate fondant for two with my LG Neochef

31 Jan

This recipe makes two large chocolate fondants. Serve with ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream – it’s the ultimate indulgence! (golden teaspoons by Hertex HAUS)


There are very few recipes out there that are written for two people only. As a standard, most serve four or six. So when you’re planning a special dinner for two, it can be very frustrating to sit with more leftovers than what you actually served, or worse – paying for ingredients for a party of six when you’re only hosting one guest.

I’ve made things easy for you by creating a recipe that saves you money time and energy. These chocolate fondants were baked in my LG Neochef microwave oven that also doubles up as a Smart Inverter oven. It heats to 160 C in only 2 minutes 50 seconds (!), using far less energy than most conventional larger ovens, perfect for cooking smaller batches. Melting chocolate with it’s microwave function is a breeze, as it only takes 30 seconds (read the recipe method below, you’ll see).

I have a massive sweet tooth and dessert is usually a huge priority when I serve a special dinner. If you feel a 250 ml dessert will be too big for you, make this recipe in four smaller ramekins and freeze the extra two for another time (the mixture freezes exceptionally well, just add 5 minutes to the baking time and bake from frozen).

Over the past few months I’ve explored more and more functions of my LG Neochef. I’ve even defrosted, proofed and baked croissants in about 35 minutes in total, with incredible results. This machine makes the impossible possible, using little energy and saving space. Find more info, see my recent review post.

Ingredients: (makes 2 large or 4 smaller fondants)

  • 15 ml butter, melted, for brushing
  • 10 ml cocoa powder
  • 60 g good quality dark chocolate, roughly chopped (preferably 70% cocoa)
  • 60 g butter
  • 1 XL egg
  • 1 XL egg yolk
  • 75 g caster sugar
  • 15 ml brandy/whisky (optional)
  • 15 ml brewed espresso or very strong coffee (optional)
  • 60 g cake flour, sifted
  • a pinch of salt


  1. Using 2 x 250 ml size ramekins (or 4 x 125 ml ramekins), use a pastry brush to brush the insides with melted butter, then place in the freezer for 2 minutes. Brush the ramekins again with butter and dust all over with cocoa powder, tipping the powder all around the insides and into the next ramekin as you go. Refrigerate the ramekins until ready to use.
  2. Place the chocolate in a large deep mug and place the  butter on top. Place in the Neochef and press “start” (it microwaves automatically at max strength for 30 seconds) then remove – the butter would have melted and the mug would be heated, so tip the mug from side to side to cover the chocolate all over with the warm butter. Leave to stand for at least 5 minutes before starting to stir with a spatula. Leave to stand further until fully melted and smooth.
  3. In the meantime, place the egg, yolk and sugar in a mixing bowl and mix well with electric beaters until creamy and light. Give the chocolate mixture one last stir to make sure it is completely melted, then fold it into the egg mixture.
  4. Place the low rack in the Neochef and preheat to 160 C (press the “cook mode” button until it shows 180 C, then turn the knob down to 160 C and press “start” twice).
  5. Add the brandy, espresso (both optional, but adds great flavour), flour and salt to the mixing bowl and fold in carefully. Divide the mixture between the two (or 4) ramekins.
  6. The Neochef should play a tune to let you know it is heated to the correct temperature. Press the “stop/cancel” button, then turn the knob to the right until it displays 18 minutes (for smaller ramekins, turn to 12 minutes). Put the ramekins on the low rack, close the door and press “start”.
  7. When the time is up, remove the ramekins with oven mitts, run a knife along the edges and turn out carefully on 2 plates. Dust with more cocoa powder and serve with ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream. I’ve also added some chopped pistachios, but that is totally optional. Serve immediately to enjoy the full lava-ish effect – absolutely heavenly.

Note: Chocolate fondant is meant to have a lava-like melted interior. Do not overbake this dessert, as it won’t have the same charm. If you’re nervous about turning it out, rather underbake it slightly and serve inside the ramekins – no stress!

PS: If you are baking these in a conventional oven on fan mode, reduce the baking time slightly as oven fans tend to heat a little higher than regular ovens. All ovens are different, so it might take more than one take to get it perfect!

(I have received an LG Neochef as part of a collaboration project, which I am enjoying fully. All views and opions are my own.)

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