Tag Archives: Cape Town

Dinner at the Quarter Kitchen, Portswood Hotel, Cape Town

28 Jun

The exposed brick and stone wall of the original prison at Quarter Kitchen that is now a national monument (since 2994) and a restaurant. Some of the original prison bars can also be seen.


We were invited to visit the Quarter Kitchen at the Portswood Hotel at the V&A Waterfront a few weeks ago for dinner. Not only has this restaurant introduced new dishes to their menu, it has also undergone a name change (from The Quarterdeck to the Quarter Kitchen). Furthermore they are celebrating the recent publication of a little inhouse cookbook packed with authentic recipes for traditional Cape Malay meals.

Cape Malay cooking was brought to South Africa in the late 1600’s when the first group of Malaysian state prisoners landed from Java and the neighbouring Indonesian islands. The spicy and aromatic dishes prepared by the Malay people were quickly assimilated into many Cape kitchens. Today, Malay-Portuguese terms such as “bobotie”, “sosatie” and “bredie” are considered iconic South African cooking vocabulary.

The Quarter Kitchen occupies a section of what was originally the Good Conduct Ward at the Cape Colony Prison for petty crimes, which was declared a national monument and transformed into a restaurant in 1994. Among the crisp white table clothes and beautiful dark wood furniture in the restaurant, one can still see reminders of an opposite world that existed in the building in 1860. Original prison bars and sections of exposed original brick & stone walls honour the history of the setting, as does a display of original antique suitcases that once belonged to the traveling prisoners.

The Malay influence in South African cooking is best displayed in the use of chillies, ginger, cinnamon and turmeric (especially in curries) as well as the use of fruit cooked with meat, marrying sweet and savoury with fragrant spices. The Quarter Kitchen provides guests with the opportunity to taste and enjoy authentic Cape Malay favourites such as daltjes, samoosas and pienang curry, prepared by South African hands within a premium central setting in the heart of Cape Town.

Here are some pictures of our dinner at Quarter Kitchen. For only R275, you can enjoy the “Chef’s Feast” with a three course meal of starters (choose 1 of 3 options), four different curries (yes, you get four different little pots of curry, selected from a list of 7 options) and a dessert (choose 1 of 3 options). Otherwise, choose from the a la carte menu with options like a savoury Malay platter, bobotie, and koesisters. The highlight of the Cape Malay experience at Quarter Kitchen lies in the authenticity of the food and their friendly Cape hospitality. There are no “deconstructed” frilly fine dining here, only hearty, traditional fare served with true Cape hospitality and really friendly service.

Quarter Kitchen is well worth a visit if you’re looking for real Cape Malay food in the heart of Cape Town. The restaurant interior is quiet, cosy and neat with clear historical elements – not as bustling and commercialized as the rest of the waterfront. Don’t miss out on the piping hot koesisters for dessert – they were the best I’ve ever tasted.

The Chef’s Feast menu at Quarter Kitchen.

The Cape Malay starter platter for two – with daltjes, samoosas, vegetable spring rolls, crumbed prawns, minted meatballs, jalapeno rissoles, chilli blatjang, cucumber & mint yoghurt, and tomato & onion sambal.

Bobotie at the back and butter chicken curry in the front.

Penang curry at the back, seafood curry in the front.

Cape Malay seafood curry.

Roti, poppadom, white rice and yellow rice – to go with your curries.

Hot koesister soaked in syrup and covered in coconut, served with fresh strawberries.

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Exploring the MOJO Market & Hotel in Seapoint, Cape Town

1 Jun

The Mojo Market recently turned 1! These market guests seemed like they had something to celebrate too.


Sea Point’s seven-day-a-week indoor food & lifestyle Mojo Market recently turned one. I was invited to explore the market and adjacent hotel with my family a few weeks ago, and we had a brilliant time.

Based on Regent Road in the heart of Sea Point, Mojo Market is a contemporary indoor market featuring  an eclectic mix of 20 designer retail stalls, a weekend market and 35 food vendors. The 2000 square meter space unites the bustling roadside and passing pavement footfall with floor-to-ceiling views of the sea and palm-lined promenade. The Mojo Hotel is built on top of the market and features a variety of rooms – from spacious self-catering studios and apartments to compact crash pads. It’s emphasis is on keeping things accessible, affordable and real. The setting is very central (right across the street from the popular prominade) and a great base location for also exploring the rest of the Mother City and everything she has to offer.

Take a look at our stay in pictures (also featuring some of my more informal iphone snaps) and be sure to visit the MOJO Market soon. We loved the nighttime vibe of the market, featuring live music and a true bustling vibe of locals and international visitors alike. Lots of families with young kids were present, confirming that this market is an accessible place for everyone. Our comfortable deluxe sea view studio apartment had a king size bed downstairs, two single beds upstairs, a kitchenette and beautiful views of the ocean and promenade. It’s perfect for a family stay.

Mojo Market Trading Hours:


Mondays to Sundays: 8am – 10pm


Mondays to Thursday: 11am – 10pm

Friday to Sundays: 10am – 10pm


Mondays to Sundays: 10am – 6pm

Contact the Mojo Hotel:

+27 (0)87 940 7474

30 Regent Road, Sea Point, Cape Town

Our deluxe seaview studio with twin beds upstairs and kitchenette.

Exploring the stairs with wall art.

King size bed in the deluxe sea view studio.

The view towards the Sea Point promenade from our balcony, deluxe seaview studio, Mojo Hotel.

Looking out towards Bantry Bay at sunset from our balcony.

Live music at the Mojo Market.

Giant donuts at the Mojo Market. (iphone snap)

Ordering burritos from Tortilla Modern Mexican – it was fantastic! (iphone snap)

Ordering oysters from The Mussel Monger & Oyster Bar at the Mojo Market.

A plate of oysters from The Mussel Monger & Oyster Bar. (iphone snap)

Oysters up close, from The Mussel Monger at the Mojo Market. They were delicious!

Having a ball at the Mojo Market.

Fresh flowers for sale at the Mojo Market. (iphone snap)

Mint choc chip ice cream from Baskin Robbins. (iphone snap)

Such a great vibe at the Mojo Market.

The incredible sunrise view from the promenade, Sea Point, just across the street from the Mojo Hotel. What a sight to wake up to! We took a stroll and soaked up the Autumn sun. (iphone snap)

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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 http://www.cocosafar.com, email capsules@cocosafar.com 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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Lunch at Love Thy Neighbour

3 Aug

An unpretentious space at Love Thy Neighbour.


Last weekend I had the pleasure of having lunch at Love Thy Neighbour in Cape Town – the recently refurbished and rebranded space where And Union used to be. The setting is 110 Bree Street, a very central location that has been frequented by Cape Town locals for years.

I’ve always had a deep affinity for Mediterranean food. Having traveled in Greece a few years ago, I was excited to see what these guys had up their sleeves. We arrived for lunch at 12h30 while the venue was still quiet (just the way I like it). The interior was modern with beautiful stone walls and striking mini tiles on the floors. What followed was a lunch that I absolutely loved and will never forget – indulging in some of my favourite dishes prepared faultlessly by the kitchen team and the griller outside.

Here is my experience in pictures. Be sure to visit Love Thy Neighbour soon – it’s an inviting space with fabulous (and affordable) food, friendly service and a killer playlist.

110 Bree Street, Cape Town.

Friendly waiters at Love Thy Neighbour.

Food specials at Love Thy Neighbour.

The bar at Love They Neighbour.

Green walls and comfortable seats at Love Thy Neighbour’s inside area.

I just LOVED the little floor tiles at Love Thy Neighbour.

Crisp glasses of sauvignon blanc.

A seasonal menu at Love Thy Neighbour.

Saganaki, fried halloumi, pickled kumquat, walnut, basil. The crunchy nuts and soft cheese was a winning combo.

Calamari, harissa, za’atar, aioli. Meltingly soft with a fluffy coating.

Fried aubergine, whipped feta, date molasses, sesame, mint. This simple dish was my favourite of the day and I’ll be back for more very soon!

An outstanding lamb belly souvlaki, cherry tomato, cucumber, pickled red onion, tahina sauce, tzatziki.

From the fire: sardines in vine leaves, skordalia, ladolemono. I ate all 3 sardines with my hands and licked my fingers – delicious.

For dessert: Loukoumades – Cypriot doughnuts, hazelnut, chocolate. It has a soft centre and chewey exterior almost like a French canele. Outstanding! I want more…

Grilling peppers outside – most of their meat is also grilled here and you can taste the smoke and fire. This guy sure knows what he is doing.

Love Thy Neighbour on Facebook:

“We’re all about good Mediterranean style food, wine, beer, music and being good to people. Fresh, clean, free range. Wholesome and locally sourced. As organic as possible. 110 Bree Street. (021) 4222770”

Hours: Tuesday 12h30-23h00, Wednesday – Saturday, 12h00 – 23h30

See the winter menu here.

Pricing: Meze: R32-65, Mains: R70-R85, Sides: R35-R50, Dessert: R45

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(review) Chef’s Table at The Twelve Apostles

20 Apr

The view to the right from the Leopard Bar at The Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa.

Two weeks ago I have the pleasure of attending the first degustation dinner at The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa – a new and exclusive “secret menu” chef’s table experience that will be available once a month for a limited number of people all sharing a long table adjacent to the Azure restaurant kitchen.

Chef Christo Pretorius ready for action.

Chef Christo Pretorius and head sommelier Gregory Mutambe welcomed us at 18h30 in their restaurant, against an awe inspiring backdrop of ocean, mountains and sunset. The award-winning Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa is part of the family-run Red Carnation Hotel Collection and is situated on Cape Town’s most scenic Victoria Road in Camps Bay. Poised above the Atlantic Ocean, the 5-star boutique hotel is flanked by the majestic Table Mountain National Park, a World Heritage Site, and the Twelve Apostles mountain range. The hotel offers 70 guest rooms, with unique features that include a holistic spa, private cinema, and breathtaking views from the legendary Azure Restaurant and The Leopard Bar.

A quick pic with award winning sommelier Gregory Mutambe, before the start of our dinner.

The sunset view from the Leopard Bar at the Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa.

For the chef’s table dinner, you can enjoy a surprise six course degustation menu designed by chef Christo Pretorius – a menu that will change with every occasion. Starting on the 5th of May 2017, the hotel will be hosting these dinners on the first Friday of every month.
The recommended wine pairings with each course, featuring an exclusive selection hand-picked by acclaimed sommelier Greg Mutambe, is one of the highlights of the experience. Chef Christo and Greg will be on hand to guide you through the menu and the wines, but a screen with some footage of the action in the kitchen is a welcome addition (their kitchen space do not allow the chef’s table to actually be inside the kitchen).

Azure Restaurant reception area.

The interior of Azure Restaurant at The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa (picture supplied by The Twelve Apostles)

Take a look at my experience at The Twelve Apostles’s first degustation dinner in photographs. I shared the table with a few other digital media guests and their partners, as well as the GM Michael Nel and PR host Joanne Hayes from Tumbleweed Communications. I can honestly say that this dinner was one of the most welcoming, enjoyable, relaxing, luxurious experiences of my life. The unsurpassed views, the incredibly professional and friendly staff, the thoughtful interior, the absolute attention to detail, the magnificent selection of wines expertly paired with the food, the faultless service and of course the selection of scrumptious and inventive dishes from the kitchen – it was a unique all-round experience of the highest quality, one that I would certainly remember for a lifetime.

Amuse-bouche: 60 °c Saldanha Bay Oyster – oyster mayo | miso caramel | compressed cucumber ǀ passionfruit | wild rice puffs

First course: Chicken and Ham Terrine – pickled shitake mushrooms ǀ tarragon mayo ǀ honey mustard emulsion ǀ baby micro salad ǀ compressed granny smith ǀ cured egg yolk

Second course: Roast Cauliflower – cauliflower crème ǀ pickled sultanas ǀ Malay spice dressing ǀ onion dhaltjies ǀ aged parmesan

Third course: Citrus Cured Salmon – molasses curd ǀ hazelnuts ǀ pickled beetroot ǀ stem ginger ǀ fennel fronds

Fourth course: Loin of Venison – venison osso buco ǀ parmesan gnocchi ǀ roast butternut puree ǀ squash custard ǀ confit baby leeks ǀ seed crumble ǀ maple and coffee jus

Fifth course: Boerenkaas Biscuit – pickled plum ǀ plum gel ǀ watercress ǀ toasted macadamia mousse

Sixth course: Valrhona Manjari – crémeux ǀ macerated berries ǀ gingerbread ǀ vanilla meringue ǀ dulcey crème

Mignardises, served with coffee and tea.

This degustation dinner experience is limited to 6-12 guests per event and comes with a price tag of R2150/person for six courses (includes wine, water and gratuity). With 10 days notice, they can do this Chef’s Table on any date (other than advertised) for private bookings. The experience is certainly not for the budget conscious, but fits perfectly in line with The Twelve Apostles’s high end / luxury offerings. Do browse their website for other services, including spa packages, romantic getaways and even an option where kids stay free. And did you know they were pet friendly?

Contact The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa for your reservation:

Telephone: +27 21 4379000
Email: reservations1@12apostles.co.za
Address: Victoria Road, Camps Bay, Cape Town, South Africa
GPS Coordinates: 33º58’59.37” S ,  18º21’31.43” E











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Review: Dinner at Bistrot Bizerca

19 Jun

The interior at Bizerca, with their signature exposed brick wall and butterfly details.

The interior at Bizerca, with their signature exposed brick wall and butterfly details.

I was invited to Bistrot Bizerca in November last year for a preview of their summer menu for 2013/2014.  I couldn’t attend on the planned date and sadly had to decline the invitation.

The kind people at Bistrot Bizerca and Manley Communications then extended the invitation to a time that would suit me, and a whopping 6 months later I could finally confirm our booking. It took me a long time to get here, but it certainly won’t take me that long to be back. So let’s forget about the summer menu and focus on their hearty winter fare.

The beautiful butterfly detail on the brick wall at Bizerca.

The beautiful butterfly detail on the brick wall at Bizerca.

The courtyard at Bizerca, perfect for warmer weather.

The courtyard at Bizerca, perfect for warmer weather.

Bizerca is situated on Heritage Square  in the center of Cape Town (they moved from the Foreshore to the CBD five years ago). The square is a charming renovated block of restaurants and shops that form part of the Cape Heritage Hotel. As the weather played along nicely that night, we had the option to dine outside in the courtyard or inside in the cosy restaurant. We opted for inside amongst the bustling tables filled with other dinner quests. Bizerca had a full house that Friday night – a great testament to their popularity, and a chance to see how they handled their restaurant at full capacity.

Chef-owner Laurent at work in the Bizerca kitchen.

Chef-owner Laurent at work in the Bizerca kitchen.

Owners and husband & wife team Laurent Deslandes and Cyrillia van der Merwe classify their restaurant as a bistro, although Laurent’s skill and execution might easily be mistaken for fine dining cuisine. There are only six permanent dishes on their menu, with a daily chalk board for seasonal additions. For starters I ordered one of Bizerca’s signature dishes: Saldanha oysters with Cape gooseberry dressing. It was clear why this dish remains such a favourite –  a slightly sweet yet refreshing spin on a classic French favourite. I could have finished buckets full of these oysters. Schalk ordered the trio of cured fish from the chalk board menu, and it was one of the best dishes of the night – absolutely spectacular flavours, light yet intense.

Oysters with Cape gooseberry dressing.

Oysters with Cape gooseberry dressing.

For a main course, I chose the butternut gnocchi with roasted vegetables, tomato coulis & parmesan cheese. The gnocchi were large orange-coloured pillows, beautifully smooth and light, and they worked well with the peppery rocket leaves on top. I also loved the pan-fried texture on the sides of the gnocchi. Schalk had the beef fillet with stuffed mushroom and marrow and echalotte crust. It was perfectly prepared and a great option if you’re a meat lover.

Schalk's beef fillet with stuffed mushroom and marrow and echalotte crust.

Schalk’s beef fillet with stuffed mushroom and marrow and echalotte crust.

For dessert, I chose one of the most popular items on the menu: Valrhona soft centre chocolate pudding, white chocolate creme brulee and raspberry sorbet. It was generously portioned, and absolutely delicious. I also tasted Schalk’s choice of Granny Smith apple sorbet with calvados – simply delightful and so very refreshing!

Valrhona soft centre chocolate pudding, white chocolate creme brulee and raspberry sorbet.

Valrhona soft centre chocolate pudding, white chocolate creme brulee and raspberry sorbet.

Granny Smith Apple Sorbet with Calvados

The wine list at Bistrot Bizerca is hand selected by Laurent & Cyrillia, with beautiful items that I’ve never seen before. We had a bottle of Catherine Marshall Pinot Noir – a gem of a wine, made in Elgin. We had outstanding service the whole night, and our waiter had an exceptional grasp of the menu and wine list.

Bistro Bizerca seems to be firmly settled as one of Cape Town’s favourite bistro restaurants in the CBD. With their unpretentious menu, brilliant flavours and great service, they can certainly be recommended as a must-visit eatery for lunch, dinner or bites. Prices range from R80-R85 for starters, R135-R145 for mains, and R55-R75 for dessert.

Bistrot Bizerca operating hours: (Reservations: 021-423 8888)

Lunch: Mon-Fri, 12pm-3pm
Afternoon bites: Mon-Sat, 2:30pm-6pm
Dinner: Mon-Sat, 6:30pm-10pm
Late night bites: Mon-Sat, 9:30pm-10:30pm
Thank you Manley Communications and the whole team of Bistrot Bizerca for the experience, and for the use of their images due to low light restrictions on the night.
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Bo-Kaap fish curry

10 Mar

My fish curry made with exotic spices from the Bo-Kaap and fresh curry leaves (photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

Three weeks ago, Schalk and I decided to spend a day of leisure and adventure in Cape Town as part of our 10th wedding anniversary. After a seriously scrumptious breakfast at Jason Bakery in Bree Street, we headed to Atlas Trading in the Bo-Kaap – one of the best and most popular spice shops in South Africa.

The exotic aromas inside Atlas Trading were almost hypnotising. I ended up buying an array of fabulous spices and spice mixes that I usually struggle to find in my local supermarkets (like sumac, Chinese five spice, black sesame seeds, real Cajun spice mix and saffron), as well as a brown bag filled with fresh curry leaves. If you haven’t heard of fresh curry leaves, they are not related to the spice mixture we call “curry powder” but are the leaves of the Indonesian curry tree. They are best used fresh (not dried), and they have to be used pretty much straight away as they don’t keep well.

The next day, we visited my sister and her family at their farm house on Lourensford Estate in Somerset West. Her husband is a trout farmer and a very capable fisherman. He had some yellow tail in his fridge from a recent fishing trip, so we decided to make an experimental fish curry using Gerhard’s fish and the curry leaves we bought from Atlas Trading.

After about 40 minutes, our curry was ready and the house was filled with a beautifully aromatic, almost nutty, exotic smell. The curry leaves added a flavour that was totally unlike anything I’ve ever cooked with before – slightly sweet and extremely fragrant. It’s my new secret weapon for adding an extra dimension to otherwise familiar spices, and I will certainly cook with curry leaves more often.

What a privilege it is to be living in the Cape – filled with so many treasures like Atlas Trading around every corner. It makes me feel like I want to travel more around my own country before exploring other possibilities overseas!


  • 45 ml vegetable oil (I use canola)
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 30-45 ml finely grated fresh ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated
  • 15 ml mild curry powder (or roasted garam masala)
  • 6-8 cardamom pods, ground with a pestle & mortar and husks removed
  • 10 ml cumin seeds
  • 10 ml ground coriander
  • 5 ml ground turmeric
  • 5 ml crushed chilli flakes (optional)
  • about 10-15 fresh curry leaves
  • 30 ml tomato paste
  • 1 can whole tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 can coconut cream
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • about 1 kg boneless skinless firm white fish (like yellow tail), cut into bite size cubes
  • fresh coriander leaves, to serve
  • cooked basmati rice, to serve


  1. In a large heavy-based pot over medium heat, add the oil and onion and fry until translucent (not brown). Now add the ginger and garlic and fry for another minute.
  2. Add the curry powder, cardamom, cumin, coriander, turmeric and curry leaves, and fry for a minute. The bottom of the pot will become quite dry.
  3. Add the tomato paste and canned tomatoes with their juice, and stir well. Bring to a boil, then add the coconut cream and bring to a boil.
  4. Simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring, then season well with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  5. Now add the fish cubes, stirring gently to cover them in sauce. Cover with a lid and simmer for 5-10 minutes over low heat.
  6. Remove from the heat and serve on basmati rice with fresh coriander leaves.


This post was originally written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Food preparation and text: Ilse van der Merwe

Photography: Tasha Seccombe

Styling: Nicola Pretorius

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Bobotie with yellow pappardelle and poached egg

17 Feb

Yellow pappardelle with bobotie, poached egg and spekboom leaves (photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

This month we are celebrating Cape Town as the World Design Capital for 2014. One of the four themes of design month is “Beautiful Things. Beautiful Spaces.” It’s a celebration of all the beautiful things from our beautiful continent: inspiring and original architecture, interiors, landscaping, food, furniture, fashion, jewellery, craft, art, publications, illustration, film, photography and creativity. And the colour scheme: yellow.

In that light, I’ve decided to take an old classic – bobotie, and put a new jacket on it. Bobotie with yellow rice is synonymous with Cape Town and the Bo-Kaap. Most of us grew up with this fragrant, fruity beef mince dish, and it is still a favourite in so many households. Instead of yellow rice, I’ve made bright yellow pappardelle pasta, and topped it with a softly poached egg instead of the traditional layer of baked egg custard. Not only does it look beautiful, but it will certainly put a smile on anyone’s face that realises that this is their much loved bobotie with a new dress on.

My favourite recipe for a traditional bobotie comes from Huisgenoot’s Top 500 Wenresepte, called “Lekkerbekbobotie”. It contains a seemingly long list of ingredients, but every single one of them is necessary in creating a slightly sticky, fragrant, fruity meat dish that is just scrumptious. I’ve made this bobotie many many times over the past 7 years, and it is fool proof.

For this recipe twist, I don’t transfer the bobotie from the pot to a baking dish, and I don’t cover it with a layer of baked custard. I simply dish it up on the pappardelle, top it with a soft gooey poached egg and serve it with sambals as usual. The colour of the turmeric-stained papperdelle is just gorgeous, and your guests will love this new approach to a South African classic.

For the bobotie: (“Lekkerbekbobotie” from Huisgenoot Top 500 Wenresepte, compiled by Carmen Niehaus)

Serves 8 with papperdelle

  • 30 ml vegetable oil
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 15 ml finely grated fresh ginger
  • 15 ml curry powder (mild or spicy, whatever you prefer)
  • 5 ml each turmeric powder, ground coriander, ground cumin, ground ginger, ground cinnamon
  • 1 kg lean beef mince
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 30 ml lemon juice
  • 30 ml fine apricot jam
  • 60 ml fruit chutney
  • 30 ml soft brown sugar
  • 30 ml Worcestershire sauce
  • 30 ml tomato paste
  • 2 slices white bread, processed to crumbs and soaked in water
  • 250 ml seedless raisins
  • 250 ml grated apple
  • 1 bay leaf

Method for bobotie:

  1. In a large heavy based pot, heat the oil and sauté the onions until they are soft and translucent.
  2. Add the garlic and ginger and fry for another minute.
  3. Add the dry spices and fry for another minute.
  4. Now add the beef mince in small batches, breaking up any lumps and frying until it changes colour from pink to pale brown, taking care not to let it brown too much. Season well with salt & pepper.
  5. Now add the rest of the ingredients, stir well, and bring to a simmer. Turn down heat to very low, then cover and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring ever now and then to prevent it from burning. Remove from heat and set aside.

For the papperdelle:

  • 500g cake flour
  • 15 ml turmeric powder
  • 5 XL eggs
  • 15 ml vegetable oil to prevent sticking, drizzled over pasta after cooking

Method for pappardelle:

  1. Place the flour, turmeric and eggs in a food processor. Process until the mixture resembles large couscous grains, then turn it out on a wooden surface and press into a ball.
  2. Using a pasta machine, roll the dough out in batches, making long thin sheets (I roll it out to my thinnest setting). Use extra flour if necessary. Place each sheet on a lightly floured surface, then cut into wide strips. If you are not going to cook them immediately, hang the strips on a rack to prevent sticking.
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add pasta all at once, then cook for about 3-4 minutes until al dente (do not overcook). Drain and lightly drizzle with flavourless oil (like canola) to prevent sticking. NB: Don’t leave it unattended, it is best served at once.

For serving:

  • 1 softly poached egg per person
  • freshly sliced banana
  • desiccated coconut
  • fruit chutney

To serve: Place two strips of pappardelle on a plate, then top with a spoonful of bobotie, then another strip or 2 of papperdelle and another spoonful of bobotie. Top with a softly poached egg and serve with freshly sliced banana, desiccated coconut, and fruit chutney.


This post was originally written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Recipe, food preparation and text: Ilse van der Merwe

Photography: Tasha Seccombe

Prop Styling: Nicola Pretorius

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Review: Dinner at the Protea Hotel President, Bantry Bay

27 May

The terrace of the Protea Hotel President, Bantry Bay, at night.

A few weeks ago, I was invited to attend the “Chef’s Table” at the Protea Hotel President in Bantry Bay. The hotel has recently relaunched its a la carte and specialist menus, and is in the process of refurbishing all 349 of their hotel rooms. The management team was ready to celebrate with an elaborate 3 course dinner (and an overnight stay) for the group of  invited food writers / bloggers and their partners.

The hotel’s location is just amazing – literally within a stone’s throw from the beach. We were welcomed by the hotel’s General Manager, Pieter Buitendag, with a glass of MCC as we waited for all the guests to arrive. Executive Chef Norman Heath greeted us for a quick chat, before he slipped away to do what he does best in the kitchen. Norman describes his style as “globally influenced, but definitely leaning towards Asian food and spices from the Indian sub-continent”. His offerings for the new menu focus on quality local produce and bold flavours, showcasing the best of South African ingredients in dishes such as rooibos-smoked salmon with honey mustard hollandaise, agave marinated pork fillet or red wine poached baby pears filled with white chocolate and blue cheese mousse topped with walnut crumble.

The atmosphere at the dinner table was very relaxed, with fantastic service from the friendly waiters. The 3 course dinner comprised of 4 starter tasting portions, 4 main course tasting portions and 4 dessert tasting portions – all reflecting the current dinner offerings at the hotel. I was pleasantly surprised at the versatility and innovation that Chef Norman and his team showed us; it was an immensely satisfying dinner. Some of my favourites included:

  • Chickpea puree, smoked paprika, blackened eggplant, deep fried parsnip, slow roasted cherry tomato and herb salad
  • Dukkah and prickly pear marinated ostrich carpaccio, goats cheese sugar ball, fig puree and micro salad
  • Beef fillet, baby carrots coated in butterscotch sauce, pea and potato mash and thyme jus
  • Red wine poached baby pears filled with white chocolate and blue cheese mousse, walnut crumble

For all my friends that live outside of Cape Town and want to experience the Mother City in a very convenient location, this is a great central hotel to stay at. And with a restaurant this versatile, you can also experience top class fine dining at your fingertips, without even leaving the building!

Thank you to the management team from the Protea Hotel President Bantry Bay for a memorable dinner and a comfortable stay.

All pictures courtesy of the Protea Hotel President.


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Smoked snoek chowder – a Cape favourite

17 May

Smoked snoek chowder with chives

“Die snoek loop!” It was front page news the other day here in the good old Cape: it’s finally snoek season and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on one.

The “Cape snoek”, also known as “barracouta” in New Zealand and Australia (not to be mistaken with the game fish “barracuda”) is one of the Cape’s most popular exports.  […]

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