If you can’t stand the heat…


So I am a self-confessed Bikram yoga addict, I have been practising for just over two years now and it is my little obsession and stress-outlet. For those of you who are not quite on the same page as me; Bikram is a one and a half hour class where the studio is heated to 40 degrees. The practise is great, it really allows you to experience a deep awareness within your body whilst at the same time granting you humility, boundaries and patience.

Our class yesterday evening was taught by Sally (the owner of the studio) who has been the sole inspiration for me to continue and grow to love yoga. Sally is currently 7 months pregnant and looks incredible, she was prancing around the studio in minute hot pants and a crop top with this gorgeous protruding belly, too cute!

For those of you interested in trying out yoga, I practise at Bikram Yoga Jozi, an awesome studio in Illovo in the Thrupps centre, click here for details.

Cooked dinner after class last night, with my fellow yoga class-mate and bride-to-be best friend! We made ourselves roast chicken with a baked ricotta, chickpea, basil and pepper salad, was delicious and healthy (definitely “yoga-approved”). so for those of you interested, see the recipe below:

INGREDIENTS:
 – 1 can good quality chickpeas
 – 1 chopped red pepper
 – 1 block ricotta cheese
 – 1 handful shredded fresh basil
 – 1 lemon
 – dried chilli flakes and origanum
 – olive oil and red wine vinegar for dressing

METHOD:
 – Preheat the oven to 180 degrees; crumble the ricotta onto a baking tray, sprinkle with chilli flakes, origanum and S&P and bake until browned for approximately 15 minutes.
 – In a salad bowl; drain the chickpeas and add the chopped pepper and basil, mix well.
 – Make a quick dressing of freshly squeezed lemon juice, olive oil and red wine vinegar and pour over mixture.
 – Finally add the baked ricotta and mix well.

Trying out the Wolves music evening tonight, can’t wait for some good music, a few drinks and a catch up with the night-hawk, will report back tomorrow!

Tuna, mushroom & roasted cherry tomato pasta with rocket


This pasta has to be a winner for the simplicity vs taste factor. It can be whipped up in a matter of 20 minutes and it’s super easy. Its fresh, healthy and delicious, see below for pics and the recipe. Enjoy ♥

INGREDIENTS:
 – 1/2 a packet of pasta (penne or shells)
 – 2 tins solid tuna (in oil, Woolies has tuna in soya oil which works well)
 – 1 large punnet cherry tomatoes (halved)
 – 1 punnet mushrooms (sliced)
 – 1 packet wild rocket
 – 1 lemon
 – garlic (optional)
 – white wine for cooking

METHOD:
 – Preheat the oven to 200 degrees, when ready, place the halved cherry tomatoes under the grill (add garlic if want) and roast until the skins have softened (~10min)
 – Whilst this is on the go, get the pasta ready, cook as per cooking instructions. Meanwhile, heat up some olive oil in a large frying pan & start to fry up the mushrooms.

 – once they have started frying, add some squeezed lemon juice from half a lemon, some grated lemon zest & some white wine. I go on taste for quantities, just don’t drown your mushrooms!

 – When the majority of the liquid is absorbed by the mushrooms, add the tinned tuna (do not drain all of the oil, as it is nice to have a bit of the oil in the pasta to prevent it from being too dry) and add the roasted cherry tomatoes.

 – Finally add in the cooked pasta and rocket and toss quickly. Serve immediately.

Ciao Bella xxx

Texas does Hermanus


Ok sorry have been a little quiet of late, but what with the long weekend, 5am flights and being back at work I have not yet had the chance to touch base with myself, let alone my computer… So all-in-all the weekend was an absolute blast, spent it in Hermanus at the Whale Festival, Hermanus as always was on best form, with buzzing streets, packed bars, festivals, markets and of course frolicking whales everywhere. There was enough on show to keep anyone entertained, from train rides to music to acrobatics, you name it, it was there. Lots of eating, drinking and fun was had and am now completely knackered, a lot of sleep and rest is very much needed at the moment!

The local acrobats doing their thing, amazing!

Spent a large part of my Saturday day sitting in one of the local tapas bars, sipping on some chilled Sauvignon and being highly entertained by what the crowd had on offer; I was most bemused by the local fashionista’s doing their thing and noted that a common theme slowly started emerging throughout the day – TEXAN STYLE, clearly Hermanus locals have hit the checked shirt, cowgirl craze, not quite sure what was going on here but Texan style is clearly the way to go in this little town, yeehah! Have a look at some of these beauties that I spotted.

Cause you never know when you are going to need that black leather moon-bag?

 

 Very strange happenings to say the least – and no, this is not a joke?

Choc-chip, walnut & oat cookies


Felt like a real house-wife this Sunday, but I just couldn’t resist baking these delicious cookies that I found on Farmgirl Fare’s blog… I baked choc-chip, oat and walnut cookie’s and the trick with these is to bake them quickly and keep them raised, ie: do not flatten the batter before you bake it, keep the batter bunched into a ball, this ensures a perfect blend between a typical choc-chip cookie and a crunchie, hmmm yummy… See below for the recipe and some pics, happy baking  

CHOC-CHIP, OAT & WALNUT COOKIES 
1 cup butter, melted*
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch-flavored chips**
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1/2 cup flaked coconut***
 

   

 

  

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place the melted butter in a large bowl and stir in the granulated sugar and brown sugar. Stir in the eggs and vanilla, mixing well. Stir in the flour, salt, and baking soda (combine these together before adding in if desired), mixing just until combined. Stir in the oats, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, pecans, and coconut. The dough will be soft, and the cookies will spread while baking. For slightly thicker cookies, chill the dough for about 30 minutes. Use a 1/4-cup scoop or measuring cup to form cookies and place on a heavy baking sheet. (Six cookies will fit on a half-size sheet pan.)
Bake at 350 degrees until the centers are set, about 15-17 minutes. For crunchier cookies, increase baking time. (You can also make smaller cookies; just reduce baking time.) Cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature with glasses of very cold milk. Personally I think they taste even better the second day. And, as with nearly all cookies, they freeze beautifully. Just put them in a zipper freezer bag and toss it into the freezer. Makes about 18 large cookies (recipe may be doubled).
  

**If you can’t find butterscotch chips, you might try substituting peanut butter chips or white chocolate chips. Or probably anything else you can think of–this recipe is versatile! 

***I use unsweetened, organic coconut in any recipe that calls for flaked or shredded coconut, and have always had great success. It is tasty, inexpensive, and can usually be found in the bulk section at natural foods stores. 

 

 

 

 

Some Salvation Please…


Woke up feeling utterly shattered on Saturday morning…my body has decided that it is not into sleeping-through-the-night mode of late, very frustrating and tiresome, to say the least!! And so it was that a strong cup of coffee & some sustenance was in order, to get me through the day and sleeping again. Went on down to 44 Stanley; this little quarter is just blossoming at the moment, every time I go to this place another little oasis seems to have popped up, offering patrons more variety and drawing in new crowds. I took a peek into Vovotelo, a beautiful, new, artisan bakery that has opened up, the aroma’s of freshly baked bread mingled with coffee can’t help but draw one in. Both the vibe and the produce looked great, can’t wait to give this little place a try.

For brekkie I opted for the quirky Salvation Cafe, where they serve delicious homemade, soulful and down-to-earth food, which is exactly what I needed. I had the homemade granola with fresh fruit. My usual, but I adore muesli’s and granola’s (weird I know, but I do get excited when I see such things as homemade granola on the menu as I despise those pre-made, flavourless muesli’s that you get in supermarkets). Anyway mine was delicious and very tastefully presented.

F had their parmesan & basil open omelette with toasted beetroot ciabatta – also very good, plain and simple. Could have done with a little something else, maybe some bacon or caramelised onions? something to add a little fat and flavour??

 

Yet still this cafe is still an all-time favourite, draws a great genre of people, instills a relaxed atmosphere, provides the standard service and delivers great and wholesome food. Always a pleasure, Thanks

LOCATION: 44 Stanley Avenue, Milpark

In true colonial style


Had the most exquisite dining experience at Wombles in Parktown North on Saturday night. Everything was truly splendid and executed without a foot being stepped wrong. The service was impeccable and possibly the best service I have ever experienced; slick and calculated with an engaging, friendly edge that made one feel at home and perfectly comfortable.

The setting is a colonial old house situated behind leafy bamboo stalks – giving it a secluded and intriguing first impression. On welcome one is greeted by a roaring outdoor fire and friendly waitrons. The verandah is the place to sit, with tables done up using candles, large wooden armchairs and heavy white tablecloths, all placed in a dark and intimate setting.

And to top it all off, the food is superb, all dishes are very traditional and there is nothing here that is going to leave you wondering what the hell it is that you just ate, the portions are generous and all dishes come with a delicious variety of side-dishes. Wombles is recognised as the best steak house in Joburg, so if you are a meat-eater I would recommend you stick to ordering this. I am not of the red-meat-eating calibre and thus had the duck, done in a mandarin and orange glazed sauce. It was outstanding and I will most definitely clock this restaurant into my top-rated restaurants for two reasons; namely the service and the food.

Mandarin & Orange glazed duck served with mash

LOCATION: 17 3rd Avenue, Parktown North, Joburg

Bottega


Dined at my local, all-time favourite restaurant last night; Bottega in Parkhurst.

I just luurrve this restaurant, as always, it exudes a constant charm and buzz, with packed tables arranged in the cosy & stylish face-bricked interior. And most importantly the food is always brilliant, simple and classy! I had the West Coast Sole, which was delicious and I succeeded in polishing off my entire, very generous, serving. The sole is crumbed and dry-grilled to perfection, with a side serving of a delicious lemon-butter type sauce, the key to Bottega’s food-success is their simplicity, they do not bother with the fine garnishes and frilly finishes, which are deemed unnecessary given the simple and fresh approach they have with their food. The others had lamb, rump, chorizo and calamari which all looked and smelt great. Needless to say, we all managed to roll our way out of there and trundle on to the Attic, where a little nightcap was much-needed; just to settle the food… All in all, a great night! Thanks team…

LOCATION: 4th Avenue, Parkhurst

Candied Pancetta, Goats Cheese & Aged Balsamic Salad


This recipe is taken from the gorgeous, What Katie Ate blog. The blog is done by Katie herself, who is a food photographer. Her recipe’s are so simple, yet so effective. Exactly the style of cooking I love; keeping things fresh and simple but using unique and quality ingredients with small touches that accentuate flavours and colours. I love her salad featured below, a great one for a Sunday lunch, just serve with some warm, crusty ciabatta, mmmm…

 

RECIPE: Candied Pancetta, Goats Cheese & Aged Balsamic Salad

You’ll need:
2 x bags ‘leafy-style lettuce’ aka not the stalky bitter stuff or such, try and get two or three different types (no iceberg!) Or as would be a more preferred option – one of two heads of fresh lettuce.
1 x punnet of cherry tomatoes sliced in half, I like to mix up whatever ones/colours are in season.
1 x bunch of spring onions/scallions, sliced (optional)
1 x large handful of cashew nuts
1 x ruby red grapefruit (Note: this variety is less sour, I wouldn’t recommend using a reg. grapefruit if you can’t find a ruby red one, omit is no ruby varieties are to be found).
1 x block of good goats cheese (or you can use Persian feta)
12 very thinly sliced, good quality pancetta
1 x tbsp runny honey or maple syrup
Method:
1. Wash and dry lettuce, slice tomatoes into halves or quarters, break feta or goats cheese into chunks (size is up to you). 2. Peel and de-pith your grapefruit, slice into segments. 3. Into a large serving bowl, place the lettuce, tomatoes, spring onions, cashews, grapefruit, goats/feta cheese (I normally do it in 2 or 3 layers so all the good stuff isn’t just sitting on the top) and set aside. 4. Place the pancetta into a baking tray and drizzle a tablespoon or so of honey (or maple syrup if you prefer) over the meat. 5. Grill the pancetta (keeping a good eye on it as the honey can cause it to burn easier) and when cooked, cool slightly then crumble all over the salad.
For the dressing:
4-6 tbsp good aged balsamic vinegar 1 large dollop (large tbsp) wholegrain mustard
Combine and drizzle all over salad.

Salad results: 19 Sept 2010
My gorgeous sister made this salad for her boyfriends parents on the week-end, apparently it did the trick and impressed…See below for her pic.

Well done Woolworths


The new Woolworths Essentials range has been featured on the international “the dieline” website which is the worlds #1 package design website – click here to see the post!

The article features the new Essentials range which is the brainchild of internationally acclaimed designer Vince Frost, who was recently appointed as the companies Creative Director. Managing the execution of the Essentials range packaging is Quan Payne, a Design Director seconded from the Frost* studio in Sydney. He is working alongside the team based at the Frost designed in-house studio, at Woolworths HQ in Cape Town and a number of established local agencies.

According to Frost, the strategy behind the work is not only about contemporisation, but ensuring the packaging communicates the quality which defines the very essence of the Woolworths brand too.

 

Congrats to WW, for pioneering new ideas, both locally & internationally!