Friday, June 27, 2014

Foodie gems in the Midlands and Underberg

My brother turned thirty this month, and with the milestone came 3 celebrations. First, a family affair in the park with bubbly and sushi, then a big 80s themed bash for all his friends and finally an intimate family weekend away in the Underberg. 

Since the Underberg is about an 8 hour drive from Joburg, we decided to make a road-trip of it and visit some sites along the way. We stopped in the Midlands and discovered the most delicious handmade artisan chocolates at Chocolate Heaven. Bergamoth infused, chilli and granadilla pods, vanilla bean coconut clusters and ginger bites were just some of the flavours we chose - just delicious!  

Just outside the town of Underberg, Pucketty Farm sells free range eggs, farm fresh bread, a selection of pickles, home-made produce and and selection of trout products. Unpretentious and old world, the farm animals roam around and there is even an 'honesty' paying system - and definitely some of the best bread we've ever had! 

Some other places we visited again this time around and I have blogged about before are the Nottingham Road Brewing Company and the best Biltong shop at the Mooiriver offramp, read about them here: 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Chilli Con Carne

Hearty and delicious, this one pot dish is a winter family treat.

Chilli Con Carne
Serves 4

You will need
500g lean beef mince
2 onions, chopped
5 ml garlic
2 green peppers, chopped (optional)
Vegetable oil
1 tsp chilli flakes (or more)
½ Tbsp paprika
4 sprigs thyme
Pinch dried origanum
1 tin chopped tomatoes
¼ cup tomato puree
1 cup beef stock
2 bayleaves
1 tin red kidney beans, drained
Salt and pepper to taste
Dash of sugar

Fresh coriander and jalapenos for serving.

How to make it
Heat the oil in a heavy based pot.
Fry onion till soft and translucent. Add mince and fry until nearly cooked.
Add the greenpeppers if you are using them.
Add garlic, fry for a minute or two.
Add chilli, paprika, thyme and origanum, sauté for about 2 minutes.
Add beefstock, chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and bayleaves.
Close lid and let it simmer for a good 30 minutes.
Season to taste with salt, pepper and sugar and simmer with the lid off until nice and thick.
Stir in red kidney beans and heat through.

You can serve it on rice, baked potatoes or crusty bread for supper with jalapenos and fresh coriander, or you can serve it for brunch on toasted English muffins, with a fried egg, sour cream and well matured cheddar.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

WIN tickets to the Winter Winedown 2014

We are giving away 2 x Double tickets 
to our lovely readers!
(4th or 5th of July 2014)

Simply send an email with your contact details, where you live and your favourite wine to
* Winners will be chosen at random. * Prize does not include transport to the event. *
* Entries close 22 June *

Warm up in Jozi this winter at WineStyle’s 4th Winter Winedown.

The “Winter Winedown” is a wine party, not a wine trade show. It’s a celebration of food and wine and for people who appreciate good wine, and most of all who like to have fun. The event is unlike a traditional wine show, and encourages guests and exhibitors to engage, unwind, eat, drink and pick up a few wine tips in the process. Guests also get an opportunity to purchase these wines, at a special Winedown price.

The “Winter Winedown”, is being hosted at the stunningly beautiful, Tintswalo Waterfall hotel in Kyalami, This small intimate hotel offers unparalleled cuisine, exceptional luxury and typical Tintswalo service standards.

A ticket gets you entrance and a tasting glass, to roam around and taste for free, buy wine by the glass or bottle, order some delicious platters, picnic style tapas and find a spot on the lawn or by one of the roaring fireplaces and relax with friends and family for the day.  

•        Venue: Tintswalo Waterfall – Kyalami, Midrand, Gauteng
•        Date: 4th & 5th of July 2014  (Friday 5.30-10pm & Saturday 12-7 pm)
•        Tickets: R120.00 per person attending, including a glass
         (Tickets available at Webtickets and at the door.)

For more info, visit

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Rooibos Hot Toddy

With winter well and properly underway we are craving something warm and comforting – and something that will help sooth runny noses and stuffy chests. A boozy Hot Toddy with a South African twist is just the answer!

We are off to the (freezing) Underberg for the long weekend, and I'm thinking Hot Toddy will be on the menu :)

Rooibos Hot Toddy
Serves 2


2 Tbls Whiskey
4 or 6 slices ginger (R2 coin size)
1 Tbls lemon zest
1 Cup water
1 Rooibos tea bag
1 Tbls honey (or more if you like it sweeter)
1 Tbls lemon juice

How to make it

Divide the lemon zest and ginger between two glasses. Top with Whiskey (1 Tbls per glass) and allow to infuse while you prepare the tea.
Bring the water and tea bag to the boil.
Once it’s boiling, remove the teabag and add the honey. Stir until the honey has melted.
Pour the hot tea into the whiskey and add the fresh lemon juice (1/2 of each per glass).
Serve hot.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Great gift for dad - The Van Ryn's brandy collection

It's so difficult to buy gifts for men, but one thing that always goes down a treat is a good bottle of brandy. If you are lucky enough to live in the Western Cape you can spoil your dad with this limited-edition ensemble of the entire award-winning Van Ryn's Collection Reserve range.

The gift pack contains 200 ml bottles of each of the 10-, 12-, 15- and 20-year-old prestige brandies. The 12-, 15- and 20-year-olds are made in the traditional cognac-style, 
while the 10-year-old is one of South Africa's few vintage brandies.

It is only available from the Van Ryn's Distillery near Stellenbosch and sells for R1 110. 
(The offer is available during June only, as long as stock lasts.) 

For more info on Van Ryn’s visit or or call (021) 881 3875. 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Sweet Potato and Leek Soup with Honey Bacon

Winter has arrived! What better way to spend chilly evenings than over a steaming bowl of soup? Recipe from the Sunday Times, slightly adapted by us.

Sweet Potato and Leek Soup with Honey Bacon


3 sweet potatoes, washed
6 leeks washed, outer layer removed and cut in half lengthways
Olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1L vegetable stock
125 ml cream or full cream milk
250g streaky bacon
1 Tbsp honey
5 ml chilli flakes
Black pepper and salt to taste

How to make it

Pre-heat oven to 180°C.
Prick the skins of the sweet potatoes, rub with oil and place on a baking tray.
Bake until soft – approximately 45 to 60 minutes depending on the size of the sweet potatoes.
Place washed and sliced leeks on a baking tray, drizzle with 15ml of the oil and bake in the same oven for 15 minutes until just tender and crisping at the edges.
When the sweet potatoes are soft and cool enough to handle, remove the skins and chop roughly.
Roughly the cooked leeks, keeping some aside for garnish.
Heat a glug of olive oil in a deep pot, fry onion until translucent and add garlic for 1 minute.
Add the sweet potatoes and leeks, pour in stock and bring to the boil.
Remove from the heat and blend till smooth.
Place bacon on a baking tray and grill until crisp, remove from the oven and drain excess fat.
Drizzle bacon with the honey and sprinkle with chilli flakes.
Return to oven for about 10 minutes and allow bacon to caramelize.

To serve:
Reheat the blended soup and add the cream or milk, *You might want to add some more hot vegetable stock because it is quite thick.
Add salt and black pepper to taste.
Chop reserved leeks and bacon in to spoon size bits, dish hot soup into preheated soup bowls and garnish with bacon and leeks.
Serve with hot crusty bread.

McDonald's “Tastes of the World” burgers to celebrate the Soccer World Cup

This week I attended the launch of the ‘Tastes of the World’ burger range from McDonald's – what better way to kick off the week? :) Inspired by three countries (South Africa, Brazil and Mexico), the burgers are the perfect nod to the upcoming 2014 FIFA Soccer World CupTM. We even got to build our own versions of the three burgers.

The Mexican burger (so happy they put this one back on the menu!) is drenched in jalapeno sauce and spicy hot sauce, whereas the all new Brazilian chicken burger is a mouth-watering affair of chilli lime sauce. The South African burger offers eclectic flavours of chakalaka sauce, and a boerewors flavoured patty. I think the stand-out favourite was the South African burger, but I just know that when the golden arches are calling you in the middle of the night, the spicy Mexican burger will go down a treat this winter!

Eating, tasting and building burgers at McDonald's Craighall.

The South African burger, a crowd favourite