Literally translated, baharat means ‘spiced’ in Arabic. Apt indeed, because spice is what it contains, loads of it. Cumin and coriander (always a match made in heaven) star, along with the likes of cloves, cardamom, black pepper and mint. It’s a heady perfumed mix with a certain earthiness that’s somehow deeply comforting. A perfect foil, I thought, for the earthy quality of beetroot.

I happened upon baby beetroot with their pointy roots and leaves still on (I have no idea why shops insist on removing them) and got terribly excited. They were too pretty to resist so into my basket went two bunches. Back home I roasted them with olive oil, a touch of honey and a generous sprinkling of baharat. Onto peppery leaves they went along with cooling mint and feta. It called for something more I thought, so I added some salted caramel walnuts too.

This is a marvelous lunch or light supper and the perfect addition to a buffet table for festive season entertaining.


10 baby beetroot
extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling pink Himalayan salt
2 tbs Middle Eastern Baharat spice
1 tbs runny honey
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup sugar
½ cup walnuts Cyprus flake salt

packet of watercress
packet of wild rocket
large handful of mint leaves
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
1-2 rounds of feta
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 tbs red wine vinegar
pinch of pink Himalayan salt

To make the beetroot:
Wash the baby beetroot very well, especially the bit where the stem meets the root – that’s where the beastly grit hides. Trim off the leaves and most of the stem, leaving just 4cm of it on. Use a vegetable peeler to peel the beetroot. Toss beetroot lightly with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with’s pink Himalayan salt. Place beetroot on a baking tray, cover tray with tinfoil and roast in a 180 degree Celsius oven (on normal setting, not thermo fan) until beetroot are soft when pierced with a skewer. If the beetroot are very small, this will take about 30 minutes, longer if they are bigger.
Once the beetroot are cooked, remove from the oven. Turn the temperature up to 220 degrees Celsius. Mix the 2tbs olive oil and honey and coat the beetroot, then sprinkle with‘s baharat spice. Return to the oven, uncovered, for another ten minutes. Remove beetroot and set aside to cool to room temperature. (I leave the stems on as they’re all chewy, which I love. You can simply cut them off at this stage if you prefer.)

To make the caramelised nuts:
Line a baking tray with a sheet of non-stick baking paper. Place the sugar in a small deep saucepan over medium heat. Do not stir it! Just leave it alone to do its thing. Once the sugar has melted, allow it to cook until it is amber in colour, then toss in the nuts and cook for a minute. Remove saucepan from the heat and use two forks to lift individual walnuts out of the caramel. Place walnuts on the lined baking tray and crush a teeny-tiny bit of Cyprus flake salt over each walnut before it cools down and the caramel hardens.

Assembling the salad:
Make a simple vinaigrette by whisking the olive oil and red wine vinegar with a pinch of salt. Pour it over the watercress and rocket and toss through lightly. Tumble the leaves onto a lovely large platter. Spoon over the beetroot and crumble over the feta. Scatter over the mint leaves, pumpkin seeds and salted caramel walnuts.

Written by: Lizet Hartley

Lizet Hartley is a freelance stills and reel food stylist, food photographer and recipe developer. In her spare time she – rather predictably – cooks. Get more of her recipes on her blog at


Mexican Fiesta Chicken Wings



This time of year means lots of entertaining with family, friends and fellow work colleagues. Often when we have a bunch of people over, I go the Mexican Fiesta route. Margaritas, enchiladas, fajitas, chilli poppers, nachos and most importantly, spicy chicken wings. I usually spice them myself until I tasted’s Mexican Fiesta spice blend. It is delicious with just the right amount of heat. If you are looking for a bit more zing, try’s Jalapeno & Coriander sauce from their ‘’Chilli Addict’’ range. It’s a 4/10 kind of heat, “a walk in the park” as the bottle states. Love it.

Free range chicken wings (as much as you like)
wooden skewers soaked in water for 15 minutes
olive oil Mexican Fiesta spice blend

To serve:
grilled corn
grilled lemon
ready-made guacamole
sour cream
fresh coriander
nachos Chilli Addict Jalapeno & Coriander sauce (optional)

Preheat the oven to 220°C.
Stretch the wings open and skewer them onto the sticks.
Rub with olive oil and as much Mexican Fiesta spice as you like.
Roast for 30 – 35 minutes or until they are “blackened” and crispy.
Serve with grilled corn, guaco, sour cream, fresh coriander and nachos.
Season with grilled lemon and’s Jalapeno & Coriander sauce.

Pimp the sour cream up by adding some chopped tomato, spring onion and coriander.

By Carey Erasmus

michelleparkinphotography_careyerasmus-1885Carey is a freelance development chef and food stylist with a ND: Food Science and Nutrition. With over 12 years of experience in the food industry she has established an impressive portfolio and creates recipe or foodie content for various clients. She also has a popular food blog called Bits of Carey where she shares fuss free recipes and collaborates with like-minded brands and campaigns.

Flatbread with Harissa–spiced Lamb Kofta and Sumac


flat-bread-with-lamb-optimisedWhether you call them kofta, köfte, kufta or keftedes, there’s no escaping that these tiny, spiced meatball morsels are utterly moreish. Kofta can be found in various guises stretching all the way from North Africa, to the Med, and all through the Middle East.

Beef is used, goat too, and of course my all-time favourite, lamb. Now you could use store-bought lamb mince, but I prefer making my own. It’s so easy – and you get to feel just a teeny-tiny bit smug. Simply pop prime leg of lamb cubes in your food processor and give it a whirl. I turn up the heat by adding a generous helping of’s spicy North African harissa. Once fried, the warm, juicy koftas get piled high onto freshly-baked flatbreads. To offset all that lamb richness, I give it a loving dusting of marvelously tart Turkish sumac to end.

2 cups bread flour
½ tsp Himalayan pink salt
1 tsp runny honey
1½ tsp dry yeast (5g)
⅔ cup (175ml) lukewarm water
extra virgin olive oil

500g lamb leg cubes, minced in your food processor
1½ tsp North African harissa
1 large clove garlic, finely minced
2 tbsp very finely diced red onion
¼ tsp Himalayan pink salt
extra virgin olive oil, for frying

1 tub full cream cottage cheese
micro rocket leaves
packet of radish, finely sliced Turkish sumac Cyprus flake salt


Add all the flatbread ingredients together in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly. Tip out onto a surface generously dusted with extra flour and knead for 10 minutes. (If it is very tacky, dust with a bit of extra flour.) Place the dough ball in a large bowl painted with olive oil. Cover with cling film and allow to prove for 30 minutes. Knock back, divide dough into two balls and place them on a baking sheet painted with olive oil. Paint dough lightly with oil as well, cover with cling film and allow to prove for another 20-25 minutes. (Preheat your oven to 210 degrees Celsius while it’s proving for the second time.)

Place dough balls on a flour-dusted surface and roll out into two large circles. If you like the flatbread chewy, roll it out to about 1cm thick. I prefer it crisp, so I roll it out as thinly as possible – about 3mm.

Place each dough circle on a baking sheet lightly painted with olive oil. Paint the top of the dough with oil as well and pop them in the oven for 10-15 minutes until baked through and golden. (If you rolled it out thicker, it may need a few extra minutes.)

To make the kofta, simply mix together all the kofta ingredients. Use a measuring spoon to scoop out even amounts of meat (I think tablespoon-size is perfect) and roll into little balls. Fry over medium heat in olive oil. I like them a little bit pink in the middle, but this is once again personal choice.

When the flatbreads come out of the oven, spoon over the cottage cheese. Top with the kofta, the radish and the micro leaves. (This really is at its best if the kofta have just come out of the pan, so try to plan your prep so they fry while the flatbread is baking.) Crumble over a pinch or two of Cyprus flake salt, and dust the lot generously with Turkish sumac. A drizzle of those lovely harissa-flavoured olive oil pan juices is not a bad idea either. Tuck in straight away.

This recipe makes two generous flatbreads and should serve 4 as a meal, and more as a snack. The operative word here of course is ‘should’!

Written by: Lizet Hartley

Lizet Hartley is a freelance stills and reel food stylist, food photographer and recipe developer. In her spare time she – rather predictably – cooks. Get more of her recipes on her blog at



Tandoori Spiced Chicken Kebabs

Featured’s Indian Tandoori spice is so fragrant and perfect for grilled chicken or lamb kebabs. I opted for chicken this time. The trick is to marinate strips of chicken breast fillets in tandoori spice, lemon juice and zest, crushed garlic and a little olive oil. By doing this, the flavour permeates the chicken and the lemon juice acts as a tenderizer. 15 minutes of marinating is more than enough time.

I served these kebabs with raita (yoghurt combined with grated cucumber, garlic, mint and coriander), garlic butter grilled naan bread and a basic tarka dhal (get the recipe on Jamie Oliver’s website). It was incredibly delicious and moreish, the perfect summery Indian meal. I cannot wait to use this tandoori spice again for lamb kebabs!

Tandoori Spiced Chicken Kebabs

4 large chicken breast fillets, sliced into thin strips
30 ml (2 Tbsp) Indian Tandoori spice
1 large garlic clove, crushed
zest and juice of ½ a lemon
a drizzle of olive oil
freshly ground salt and pepper

5-6 wooden skewers, soaked in water for 10 minutes to prevent burning

To serve
2- 4 naan breads, heated in the oven or grilled*
raita (or cheat and use ready made tzatziki)
fresh coriander, chopped
dhal – optional

Combine the chicken strips, tandoori spice, garlic, lemon juice, zest and a little olive oil. Season.
Allow to marinate for 15 minutes.
Skewer 3- 4 strips of chicken onto each kebab stick.
Heat a griddle pan until smoking hot. Grill the kebabs for 4 – 5 minutes per side until charred and cooked through. Tip: If meat is sticking to the griddle pan, it means it is not ready to turn yet.
Serve hot with warm naan bread, raita and optional dhal. Garnish with coriander and serve with optional extra lemon.


*To take your naan bread to the next level, spread one side with softened butter and crushed garlic, grill both sides on a griddle pan until charred, buttery and delicious!

By Carey Erasmus


Carey is a freelance development chef and food stylist with a ND: Food Science and Nutrition. With over 12 years of experience in the food industry she has established an impressive portfolio and creates recipe or foodie content for various clients. She also has a popular food blog called Bits of Carey where she shares fuss free recipes and collaborates with like-minded brands and campaigns.

Moreish Mediterranean Yoghurt Bowl



Move over breakfast bowls. Savoury yoghurt bowls are fast becoming the latest craze. Serve them for breakfast, lunch or supper. The perfect addition to a tapas board. And oh-so-cute packed in little jars to take along to your next picnic. The options are endless.
This particular savoury yoghurt bowl has a Mediterranean feel to it. Double thick yoghurt adorned with roasted vegetables (marinated in garlic, lemon juice and fresh herbs), some pickled red onion, crumbled feta,’s Eqyptian Dukkah (for texture and spice) and grassy extra virgin olive oil.  Delish served with crispy pita bread toasts.  Add other ingredients to this vibrant bowl such as honey roasted chickpeas, fresh herbs, hummus, pesto etc.  Mediterranean vegetables can also be swapped out for roasted butternut. Ooh, to ring the changes, try goat’s cheese instead of feta.

By Carey Erasmus


Carey is a freelance development chef and food stylist with a ND: Food Science and Nutrition. With over 12 years of experience in the food industry she has established an impressive portfolio and creates recipe or foodie content for various clients. She also has a popular food blog called Bits of Carey where she shares fuss free recipes and collaborates with like-minded brands and campaigns.

Smoky Fennel Pork Scratchings with Maple Syrup


The salt that caught my eye from the get go was definitely the Applewood Smoked. The thought of seasoning pork rind with this smoky salt really excited me. With a salt this delicious I wanted to keep it simple, so it had to be Smoky Fennel Pork Scratchings with Maple Syrup. YUM.

+- 200 g pork rind (ask your local butcher and make sure they are happy pigs), rinsed and dried well Applewood Smoked Salt
15 ml fennel seeds
maple syrup for drizzling (optional)

Preheat the oven to 220°C.
Cut the pork rind into +- 2cm strips and lightly score.
Season generously with smoked salt and fennel seeds.
Place onto a baking tray with a lip (make sure there is some space between each piece of rind to allow even roasting).
Roast for 15 minutes, give them a good shake, turn temperature down to 200°C and roast for a further 20 minutes or until crispy and golden (depending on thickness).
Remove from the roasting tray and place the scratchings on paper towel to absorb excess oil.
Serve immediately drizzled with maple syrup.

If cooled and wanting to serve later, simply heat in 60°C oven for a few minutes.


By: Carey Erasmus



Carey is a freelance development chef and food stylist with a ND: Food Science and Nutrition. With over 12 years of experience in the food industry she has established an impressive portfolio and creates recipe or foodie content for various clients. She also has a popular food blog called Bits of Carey where she shares fuss free recipes and collaborates with like-minded brands and campaigns.


Salts of Origin


salts has a variety of cool gourmet salts to play with in the kitchen. Get to know them a little better…

Cyprus Flake
This Mediterranean flake salt has a pyramid shaped crystal. The texture and mild flavour makes it a versatile salt to have in the kitchen. Perfect for cooking, baking and garnishing.

Persian Blue
A noble rarity among salts. The intriguing blue salt is harvested from an ancient salt lake in Iran which contains unique colour compounds. This salt is stunning used in pinch pots to add a bit of sophistication and wonderment to any table.

Applewood Smoked
Hand harvested Atlantic sea salt that is cold smoked with apple wood and oak chips in’s very own artisanal smoker. Add a generous sprinkle to meat, chicken or fish for a salty, smokey flavour and aroma.

Hawaiian Black Lava
A dramatic mix of sea salt and purified Hawaiian volcanic charcoal creates a striking appearance and smokey undertones which make this a perfect finishing salt.

Hawaiian Red Alaea
An authentic mix of sea salt and red volcanic clay found on the island of Kauai. It has a crunchy texture and earthy flavour adding vibrant colour to any dish. Great mixed with herbs and used as a roasting salt for red meat.

Kala Namak
This is an Indian volcanic rock salt. It has a distinctive sulfurous flavour and aroma. Perfect for adding a unique, somewhat funky flavour to creamy and tangy salads, condiments and other Indian inspired meals.

By: Carey Erasmus

Carey is a freelance development chef and food stylist with a ND: Food Science and Nutrition. With over 12 years of experience in the food industry she has established an impressive portfolio and creates recipe or foodie content for various clients. She also has a popular food blog called Bits of Carey where she shares fuss free recipes and collaborates with like-minded brands and campaigns.

Creature Comforts at Creation Wines


June is a very exciting time for my family and friends as we have the pleasure of celebrating a multitude of birthdays.  June 2016 was no different and saw six of us (including three June babies) heading for the beautiful Hemel en Aarde Valley (translated to Heaven and Earth Valley) near the seaside town of Hermanus.

menuWhile most of our celebratory weekend was spent on the picturesque High Season Farm, we did manage to tear ourselves away from the awe-inspiring beauty to visit Creation Wines, an exceptional Wine Estate on the Hemel en Aarde Wine Route.

With offers of cheese, charcuterie, wine & chocolate pairings, to name a few, our table opted to indulge in the Tapas Pairing menu; an eight course tapas and wine pairing for an astoundingly affordable R270.00 per person.

During the four hours that followed, we were introduced to flavours we had only ever dreamed of: Pickled seabass with sweetcorn, coriander and a home-made poppadum; Cauliflower soup with hazelnut, thyme and blue cheese….each dish that was set down in front of us seemed to blow the previous dish away.  The experience was truly otherworldly.

Our Wine Ambassador, Jo-Ann, ensured that our afternoon was spectacular.  The wine never ceased to flow, our youngest member (a strapping young lad, all of one year old) was spoilt with creamy mash and buttery peas (yes, we all tasted his ‘dish’) as well as Nutella pancakes with ice cream.  No request was too much for the Creation Team and we all felt a little gob-smacked at the outstanding service and value for money.

It was with great delight, that on leaving, we found that recipes for many of the dishes we had tasted were available on the Creation Wines website.  It was decided then and there that the cauliflower soup would be recreated at our next Dinner Club, and that we would have to be back for the three course lunch pairing.

If you are tempted to try your hand at one of the Creation Wine dishes, you will find a whole host of scrumptious recipes here:

And should you be looking for unique ways to season your new creations, try one of the Salts of Origin tubs.  Dishes cannot help but make a statement when sprinkled with a little Hawaiian black lava salt or decorated with a few Cyprus salt flakes.

Written by: Tamsyn Lombard for

Warming the Cockles with Cooking with Kelly


With Cape Town’s nights at their longest and coldest, Shelley Barnard went in search of a comforting refuge…a place where she could curb her craving for warm, exotic dishes and fill the air with fun and laughter.  She found all of this and more at the recently launched Cooking with Kelly cookery school.


On arrival at Kelly’s beautiful home in Diep River, the avid cooks were introduced to the spacious kitchen where they would be creating their masterpieces.  [The modern kitchen has been designed to accommodate a large central island ideal for teaching small classes of between 6 and 8 people.  It is also here that you will find two exquisite SMEG cookers…every home cook’s dream!]  Each guest was allocated a dish, along with the recipe and ingredients needed to make it.  On the menu for the exotically-themed Moroccan evening:

  • Succulent lamb cutlets marinated in ras el hanout with spiced cous cous and oven roasted vegetables
  • Chermoula marinated prawns with spicy sweet potatoes
  • Honey & date chicken tagine
  • And most importantly Shelley’s amazing zucchini & feta fritters!

In order to introduce the group to the flavours of Morocco, deliciously zingy finger snacks were served… divine dukkah and chickpea flat breads, heavenly baba ganoush and a superbly seasoned beetroot hummus.  For those of you who enjoy a wee tipple in the evening, you’ll be pleased to know that Kelly served the perfect winter drink on arrival, a glass of sherry!

After some intense focus (and much laughter) the ravenous cooks proudly placed their dishes on the table and sat down together to enjoy their well-deserved, hard-earned meal.  With the fresh lemons and herbs originating from Kelly’s garden, and both the lamb and chicken coming straight from the farm (organic AND free range nogal) the meal tasted that much sweeter.  And on the topic of sweets, the meal was rounded off with a tasty dessert…a truly scrumptious apple and almond flandoni!

It is also worth noting that for those dishes that you don’t cook yourself, an easy-to-follow recipe is provided and Kelly is happy to talk the group through each one to ensure that they feel comfortable attempting them at home.

So should you muster the courage to venture outside this winter, the team can highly recommend the gracious hospitality of Cooking with Kelly.  Cooking classes are themed and perfectly suited to the chilly weather with both Indian and Thai classes (coming up this July) an absolute must!

Telephone Kelly on: 082 3974443
Email Kelly on:

Group Shot

Should one of Kelly’s exotic cooking classes inspire you to further explore a foreign cuisine, or perhaps you would simply like to attempt some winter-warmers in the comfort of your own home, why not try one of the exotic spices, such as Egyptian dukkah, Arabian za’atar and Moroccan ras el hanout?

Written by: Tamsyn Lombard for

Cosy up to a Warm Winter Salad This Easter Weekend


So, winter is around the corner and the usual call of order is soup and starch to chase away the winter chills. I thought, why not keep it healthy and go with a warm winter salad, which tastes great and will impress your guests? I’ve been waiting for a good opportunity to try out my Black Lava Salt and this was just the dish. The salad consists of roasted aubergine, smokey garlic mushrooms and grilled courgette ribbons with wilted wild rocket and a mint and cucumber raita to add colour and freshen it up. Of course the perfect finishing salt, Black Lava, adds amazing contrast to the dish, which is ideal as a light meal or a sumptuous starter to kick off your banquet!


I cut the Aubergine into nice fat rounds and roasted them, with a little olive oil, in the oven. The mushrooms I sautéed in butter with smoked garlic (regular garlic is fine too but I recommend using the fresh variety. Tub garlic simply isn’t the same!). The courgettes were done briefly in a grill pan. The idea is to get a bit of colour on them but to keep a firm texture. The raita consisted of yoghurt, lemon zest, mint and cucumber with coarse black pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.

The aim of this dish is to give it as much height as possible – you want to get all your components prepared before stacking (the order is up to you!). I went with a round of aubergine followed by a flanned half avo and thin slices of tomato, drizzled with balsamic reduction. I then added another slice of aubergine and piled the mushrooms on top, followed by the wilted rocket (just flash-fried in a hot pan with some olive oil). The raita is added last, with a sprinkle of black lava salt for the pièce de résistance!


Written by: Brian Gomes ( Chef/Food Tech)

Hawaiian Black Lava Hawaiian Black Lava Salt of Origin is a dramatic mix of sea salt and purified Hawaiian volcanic charcoal. The striking appearance and smokey undertones make it an unforgettable finishing salt.

Picnic-Perfect Muffuletta


Make the most of late-summer days with this picnic showstopper. More than a simple sandwich, this is a meal on its own. Although the name muffuletta has Italian roots, and refers to the shape of the bread, it was New Orleans that turned a simple bread into the stuffed loaf it has come to be known as. I’ve used mine to celebrate vegetables in season, but you are welcome to add shaved ham, leftover roast meat or anything that catches your eye.

A word of warning – as this loaf is pressed with a heavy weight afterwards, don’t be scared of overfilling it, as everything will sink down before you eat it.


1 round bread
1/4 cup olive oil
2 aubergines
3 baby marrows
2 peppers
1 large onion
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp Italian Caprese spice mix
2 tbsp pesto
2 tbsp aubergine dip or spread
salt and pepper to taste


Slice the peppers into long, thin strips, discarding the seeds and white spines. Slice the onions into strips and the garlic into thin slices. Place the olive oil into a pot and place on a medium-low heat. Add the peppers, garlic and onions and allow to simmer very gently, until the peppers are soft, but not disintegrating. Stir in the 2 tbsp Italian Caprese spice mix before removing from the pan. Do not colour the peppers or onions.

While the peppers are simmering, cut the tops off the aubergines and cut into long slices, approximately 5mm thick. I used this grill to cook the aubergines and baby marrows, but you can fry or grill until tender.

To assemble, cut a large circle out the top of the loaf of bread, and carefully separate it from the loaf to remove it. Using your hands, scoop out most of the bread, leaving approximately 1cm attached to the crust. Place 1 tbsp of the aubergine dip at the bottom of the loaf, and spread until evenly distributed. Top with a single layer of aubergine slices, spread with a thin layer of pesto and season. Top with a layer of peppers and onions, the courgettes, and repeat the process until you reach the top of the loaf. As the muffuletta will be compressed overnight, rather err on the side of over stuffing than leaving a gap at the top.

Once filled, wrap tightly with clingfilm and refrigerate overnight, with a heavy weight on top – I used my Le Creuset cocotte, but you can use a plate or tray topped with tins. Slice into wedges to serve.Caprese-ETCHED

Written and photographed by local food blogger Candice Bresler

Source Africa Hits Woolworth’s Shelves!


Woolworths has just launched the mouth-watering Source Africa range by Kalk Bay Foods and the team couldn’t be more excited! This weekend head down to your local Woolies store and immerse yourself in the flavours of Africa….

-Cape Malay Curry-

In the 17th century, slaves from Malaysia and Indonesia settled in the Cape Peninsula of Southern Africa and became known as Cape Malays. Their cuisine is an unusual fusion of Asian and European tastes – a sweet and spicy mix of meats, fruit and spices. The Source Africa curry mix is a typical Cape Malay dish, incorporating a blend of 11 exotic spices to make a fragrantly delicious dish.


-Rooibos Chai Tea-

Redbush tea (Rooibos) is fast becoming one of the world’s favourite sweet herbal teas. It is grown wild in the mountainous terrains of the South Western Cape of Southern Africa, requiring no fertilisers or pesticides. Well known for its anti-oxidant qualities, our blend is totally natural and completely herbal. Here we blend Rooibos with traditional Chai spices to create a deliciously infused brew with a complex aroma and rich taste.

-Mixed Pepper Cooks’ Salt-

This is an ideal cook’s aid – A blend of the purest African sea salt and aromatic peppercorns, flavoured with flaked African red chillies! Add to all your favourite dishes during cooking or as a fragrant all-purpose seasoning at the table.

-Karoo Smoked Salt-

Bring the magic of the Karoo into your home with the flavours delivered by this sea salt, infused with karoo-bush smoke. It adds a subtle smokey flavour to everyday dishes and is particularly good with mashed potatoes, eggs and fish.

Written by: Tamsyn Lombard for

Basil Pesto Pasta


After spending a romantic Valentine’s Day with that special someone, you might be feeling too loved up and full of great food and wine to want to spend your Sunday evening slaving away making dinner.  That’s why we’ve brought you a quick and easy pasta recipe that will get you back onto the couch in 20 minutes (and you’ll have lunch for the following day too!)



1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
4 free range chicken fillets, sliced into strips
1/2 pack of baby marrows, sliced at an angle
150g basil pesto
40g parmesan cheese
250g spaghetti
1 tbsp Applewood Smoked Salt
Black pepper to taste


Fill a medium sized pot with water and bring to the boil. Add a glug of olive oil and a teaspoon of salt to the water before adding your spaghetti. While your pasta is cooking, sprinkle Applewood Smoked Salt over your chicken strips. Using a non-stick frying pan, fry the chicken in batches in a little olive oil. Once browned, remove from the pan and add the baby marrow slices to the chicken juices. Fry for a couple of minutes ensuring that the marrows remain slightly crunchy. Remove the pasta from the stove once al dente. Combine the chicken, baby marrows, pasta and pesto sauce in the frying pan, ensuring that each element is well coated. Sprinkle over the parmesan and add black pepper to taste. Applewood Smoked Salt

Written by: Tamsyn Lombard for

Find Your Perfect Valentine’s Day Gift Here


Valentine’s Day provides us with the perfect excuse to spread a little extra love and cheer.  Here at, we have found the gifts that will do just that.  Take a look at these fun and quirky gift ideas and get shopping!

If it’s an original Valentine’s Day card you’re after, look no further than Tidy & Co’s hilarious range of gift cards. We’re certain that an ‘I like you and naps’ card will win you an instant smile, if not a few extra brownie points!

Gift card - Tidy & Co

Spoil your partner with delicious foodie treats from Melissa’s.  From ‘Love Bug’ biscuits to heart-shaped meringue nests, Melissa’s has everyone covered this Valentine’s Day.


If your partner enjoys interesting and exotic flavours, take a gander at Yumporium’s online shop. They’ve put together unique and thoughtful gifts that will appeal to everyone. We particularly love Yumporium’s Coffee Tea Box Selection including fragrant flowering tea balls from, as well as the Braai Master hamper which includes mouth-watering Argentinian Chimmichurri spice from the Exotic Spices range.


And if you feel like the average Valentine’s Day gift is simply too predictable, why not adopt a hot blooded desert rose for your true love? The adoption of these and other succulents forms part of the Giant Flag Project based in Camdeboo in the Karoo. Your sweetheart’s plant will be around long after any of us; for hundreds, if not thousands of years and you will have made a positive impact on hundreds of lives as well as the planet!  What’s not to love?

Giant Flag

If you’re still not feeling inspired, head down to the Factory Shop in Westlake Business Park.  We’re holding a Valentine’s Day SALE on Friday the 12th of February only, with savings of up to 50%!  Treat that special someone to exotic salts and spices from around the globe; spoil them with our range of BAKE ART gifts and tantalise their taste buds with unique and flavoursome loose leaf teas.  This is an opportunity not to be missed!

Written by: Tamsyn Lombard for

Scrumptious Cupcakes


Our calendars will soon be overflowing with birthday parties, baby showers and more. When your turn comes to host an event, we help you wow your family and friends by displaying the prettiest, most delectable-looking cupcakes around.


For the Vanilla Cupcakes

Makes 10 standard size cupcakes

250ml cake flour
7ml baking powder
A pinch of salt
70g castor sugar
1 extra large egg
80ml milk
60ml cooking oil
5ml vanilla essence

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add sugar. Whisk together the egg, milk, oil and vanilla essence. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix until smooth. Place BAKE ART cupcake cases in a muffin pan and divide batter equally between them. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 oC for 15 minutes. Once golden (and smelling delicious!) remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

For the Butter Icing

200g butter or margarine, softened
500g icing sugar, sifted
5ml vanilla essence
30ml milk
Food colouring of your choice (I channelled my inner princess and used pink)

Cream together the butter and icing sugar. Add the vanilla essence and milk and mix to a lovely smooth consistency. Add a few drops of food colouring and mix well. Pop the butter icing into a piping bag (supplied in your BAKE ART kit) and get creative! Once you are satisfied with your piping skills, decorate with flags and sprinkles until you’re left with a collection of cupcakes that could pass as art.


Written by: Tamsyn Lombard for






With trend-forecasting well underway in the New Product Development studio, it has become apparent that 2016 will also feature a significant presence of meat-orientated food products and gifting!

Is this because of the popular global movement towards LCHF eating plans? Nonetheless, in order to help our meat fiends along…I thought I would investigate the top five meaty restaurant’s in Cape Town. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised – take a look!

Nelson’s Eye

Old school? Yes! But there is a reason why this well-loved steakhouse has been around since the 60s, having now become something of a landmark in Gardens in the CBD. Nelsons Eye has perfected 21-day wet aged steaks that are test the limits of succulence and are available in whopping portion sizes for the carnivores who scoff at anything smaller than a 500-g portion. Perhaps a little on the pricey side – but then, they have deserved it.

#93 - Nelsons-Eye-Restaurant-and-Grill
9 Hof Street | Gardens | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 423 2601 |

Brad’s Grill 

One of Harfield Village’s gems and named as one of SA’s top steakhouses – Brads Grill is situated on the buzzing 2nd Avenue. Its star attraction, the pepper steak, has won the “Best Pepper Steak in the Country” award for two years’ running. Brads offers more than meets the eye in the form of generous portions, impeccable service, and award-winning meat treats. Be certain to book before pitching up – this restaurant offers a myriad of specials throughout the year, which attracts a consistent, loyal customer base.

#93 - Brads Grill

62 2nd  Avenue | Harfield Village | Claremont | +27 (0) 21 671 2527 |

The Hussar Grill

Another veteran on the block, this award-winning restaurant group has over 45 years’ experience in preparing meat dishes of a sublime standard. Those who are regulars to the Hussar will sing the praises of their signature Hussar Carpetbagger – a fillet mignon stuffed with smoked oysters and cheddar cheese and topped off with a brandy and wholegrain mustard sauce. Need I say more – and, patrons are ‘encouraged’ to bring their own wine sans any corkage fees – a rarity in Cape Town!

#93 - Hussar Grill

10 Main Road | Rondebosch | +27 (0)21 689 9516 |

Carne SA
An ideal post-work meeting spot featuring a mod bar dotted with quirky paraphernalia reminiscent of a traditional Italian butchery, and as its name suggests – Carne is all about the meat! Carnivores paradise, perhaps, but the best part is that owner Giorgio Nava, is obsessed with ensuring that most of the fine, free-range cuts of Romagnoala beef, Dorper lamb and game that the restaurant serves up come from animals that are ethically reared on his own farms in the Karoo.

#93 - Carne

70 Keerom Street | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 424 3460 |

Endorsed by the likes of DJ Fresh and Jamie Oliver, who have claimed that Mzoli’s dishes up the best meat in Cape Town, it’s a no-brainer as to why we have included it here! Mzoli’s in Gugulethu is where it’s at – for the most South African of steak and meat experiences.

The popular township butchery will surprise you not only for its festive “local is lekka” atmosphere and fantastically inexpensive fare – but with portion sizes fit for a king. Their meat dishes are succulent and dripping in their famed secret sauce, be sure to pay a visit to Mzoli’s on Sundays from 11am onwards for the ultimate ‘shisa nyama’ experience.

#93 - Mzolis

NY115 | Gugulethu | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 638 1355 

Pic refs:

Nan_blog piccy Hoepner – Magpie: Creative Marketing, Design and Lifestyle

Mother-of-two delicious girls, lover of food (fine and fast), purveyor of all things pretty and Jill of all things ‘creative’…Nancy has a background in the visual arts, design and marketing and is the owner and Creative Director of Magpie as well as a co-owner and partner of The Magpie and The Owl – Signature Events. Having worked with the team for some time, she is thrilled to take time out from juggling and add some spice to the blog. Don’t get us wrong….it’s not that it needs it….it just wants more…and she is happy to oblige.

Mexican Lentil Lasagna


Goodness. Some recipes are good. Some you’re quite pleased with. And others – others take you completely by surprise.  This is one of them. When I was invited to play with’s New Mexican Fiesta spice mix, this was the first recipe that I wanted to try with it. A new take on the dish, with a spicy lentil mix instead of beef mince, topped with salsa and sour cream, it was even better than I expected.  Reminiscent of nachos, but with pasta, it’s comforting, spicy, fresh, zingy and all-together fantastic. I’ve made this twice – once with lasagna sheets and the second time baked with penne-style pasta. Both fantastic.

Serves 6 – 8


  • Cup cooked or tinned lentils
  • Tins chopped tomatoes
  • ¼ cup diced red onion
  • Cloves fresh garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, coarsely grated
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 – 4 tbsp art Mexican Fiesta Spice Mix
  • 2 tbsp sugar, to taste
  • 6 sheets dried lasagna pasta

For the white sauce:

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp cake flour
  • 650ml full cream milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups mature cheddar
  • 1 cup mature cheddar to top

For the salsa:

  • Handful cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • Handful fresh coriander leaves
  • 1 large spring onion, finely sliced
  • ¼ cup diced cucumber

Sour cream to serve



Preheat your oven to 180°C. Place a pot on a medium-high heat, add the olive oil, onion and garlic and fry until starting to soften but not yet golden. Add the carrots and fry until softening and garlic and onion is golden. Add the tomatoes, lentils and spice mix. Reduce heat to medium and allow to simmer until slightly reduced. Add sugar to taste.

To make the cheese sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium-high heat. Add the flour and stir with wooden spoon, off the heat. Add ¼ cup of milk slowly, stirring all the time with the wooden spoon, until it forms a thick paste. Add the rest of the milk, salt and pepper and return to the heat. Whisk while bringing to a boil. Reduce to a medium heat and whisk in 2 cups of cheese until melted and thick.

To assemble the lasagna, smear a thin layer of the lentil mixture on the bottom of a large rectangular baking dish. Top with a layer of lasagna pasta, then a layer of the cheese sauce. Continue until all ingredients are used, finally topping with a layer of cheese sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining cup of cheese and bake for approximately 40 minutes until cooked through and golden. Mix all ingredients for the salsa together in a small bowl. Serve lasagna topped with the salsa and a dollop of sour cream.

The Flying Pan – PART 2


Well, this is the kind of ‘test’ that I would undertake any week on the month! And, after the testing The Flying Pans new ordering system, as well as a few selections from their “Low Carb” menu – my hunch has been affirmed…this team gives Woolies a run for their money! (No offense Woolies!).


Cutting straight to the chase – there are three underlying factors that set The Flying Pan aside from the rest…


  • Their humble approach – they want your feedback because this indicates that their customers are engaging with their product! They are forthcoming and honest in their response, and keenly implement where practically possible.
  • Their ‘special’ is fresh! Every lid lifted reveals the likes of a fresh sprig of basil, or a generous sprinkling of chopped dill. They want you to fall in love with what your prospective meals looks like – and then meet this equally with flavour. If it’s not fresh – it’s not in your meal. From freshly garnished, to freshly prepared, to freshly concocted, in the ‘original’ sense….
  • Finally, my question to you is, how often does your burly hubby say to you “but I’m still hungry” after tucking into a ready-made meal? Well, The Flying Pan lifts value to a new level with their portion sizes! Accompaniments, sauces, garnish, meat…your meal is portioned beyond generously and delivered in a healthy-sized, microwavable, recyclable PET container with branded tamper seal. Some might say the portion sizes are too large, but this speaks of the teams’ commitment to delivering value for money in every aspect including via their free delivery service (for all customers in the Southern Suburbs).


Part of my little investigation included testing the system, and whilst having just re-launched their website with new ordering processes, which always results in a few teething issues…they are the first to admit they are fine tuning things. This is where Bridget is an invaluable part of the team and she heads up admin and orders to allow Mat spend more time concentrating on menu design and cooking! Despite still teething, they are managing to stick to the consistent and timeous delivery of their meals to your doorstep – what more are you asking for. Online is the way forward – and they are headed there at a pace, but without losing the personal touch and connection to their customers’ needs that is missing from so many of their competitors.

As a customer, you will receive personal weekly emails including news, relative info and up and coming menus for ordering. And, you are not tied in to any tedious meal plans – a once off when needed is perfectly acceptable as long as its 24 hours in advance.

If you haven’t done so yet, do yourself and your family a favour and pay a visit to Give them a try – you will be inspired, at the very least!

Written for by: NanNan_blog piccy Hoepner – Magpie: Creative Marketing, Design and Lifestyle

Mother-of-two delicious girls, lover of food (fine and fast), purveyor of all things pretty and Jill of all things ‘creative’…Nancy has a background in the visual arts, design and marketing and is the owner and Creative Director of Magpie as well as a co-owner and partner of The Magpie and The Owl – Signature Events. Having worked with the team for some time, she is thrilled to take time out from juggling and add some spice to the blog. Don’t get us wrong….it’s not that it needs it….it just wants more…and she is happy to oblige.

The Best Vegetable Bruschetta


This is my attempt to recreate a fantastic dish I had at a hotel for lunch. Not eating meat, options can be limited when dining out – and this was one of the more inventive options I’ve come across. Truly celebrating vegetables – marinating, pickling and frying – it’s simply delicious, for meat-eaters and vegetable lovers alike. I’ve called this a bruschetta, but you can serve it on any bread you like – or even easily turn it into a closed sandwich for lunch.



Serves 2


  • 1 carrot
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 2 baby marrows
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 red pepper
  • ½ red onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tbsp Dukkah

To serve:

  • Rocket
  • Bread of your choice
  • Pesto
  • Hummus


Place a pot on a medium heat and pour in the cup of olive oil. Slice the peppers and red onion into long strips, ½ cm wide and place into the olive oil along with garlic. Allow to cook gently until tender and sweet – this could take between 15 – 25 minutes. Mix the vinegar and sugar in a small bowl.  Peel the carrots and slice them into thin, long strips with a vegetable peeler.  Place them in the pickling liquid and allow them to sit while the peppers and onions cook.

Once the peppers are tender, remove from the oil and place in a bowl. Keep 1 tbsp of the oil used in the pot, slice the baby marrows into long strips with a vegetable peeler and fry for 2 minutes until just tender.

To assemble, spread the bread of your choice with a layer of hummus mixed with Dukkah and dollop with pesto. Top with marinated peppers and onions, baby marrows and pickled carrots, before sprinkling with rocket. Enjoy immediately.

The Flying Pan – PART 1


What started out as humble beginnings fuelled by a big heart for a quality food service, has driven this Cape Town food startup to become a local success story with just the right measure of zest.


The Flying Pan opened its doors in March 2013 after identifying a growing need for a healthy dinner delivery service in Cape Town’s southern suburbs. Chef Mats’ aim to prepare healthy, home-style food delivered straight to your door began in the literal sense – in his home kitchen, prepared by himself on a daily basis. And it is from this humble beginning that The Flying Pan has developed into a local love-mark with a loyal and ever-growing customer base of regulars. The positive and helpful feedback provided by his customers over the years’ has seen Mat identifying that not only is great food a must – but the convenience aspect is the essential ingredient in taking his business to the next level. And so, The Flying Pan expanded to include Bridget Hoepner, and this dynamic husband and wife team are now delivering upon the markets need – not only for great and affordable food – but for a service that offers complete convenience from the point of ordering, to the point of payment and daily delivery. The Flying Pans’ aim is to offer the complete package!


The 31st September 2015 marks the re-launch of The Flying Pans’ streamlined ordering and payment process along with their bold new brand, a reflection of a food business that is “less of a homely kitchen and more of a business that customers can rely on for consistent, contemporary, high quality food and every day convenience”. Their meals are prepared fresh daily by qualified chef Mathew Hoepner and his small team, using high quality, locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. The variety of weekly menus speak for themselves, and are inspired by the couples travels as well as local trends. In addition to their ‘classic menu’, customers can now choose from their ‘low carb’ and ‘vegetarian’ menus with complete flexibility i.e.: no minimum orders or subscriptions. Order and pay online a day prior to your desired delivery! Simple, easy….yummy!


Having collaborated with in various experiential marketing endeavours in the past including experimenting with recipes incorporating our Exotic Spice mixes through their recipes – and The Flying Pan are a pair with potent potential! And so, I thought I might go undercover and test their newly launched ordering process with a few of this weeks’ new “low carb” meals on offer.

I begin today on the first day of their re-launch…on the menu tonight is a Cape Malay Chicken Curry with Coriander. I must say – I love their new packaging and can’t wait to tuck in!!!

Watch this space for my honest feedback…to follow at the end of the week…or do your own sampling by visiting:

Written for by: NanNan_blog piccy Hoepner – Magpie: Creative Marketing, Design and Lifestyle

Mother-of-two delicious girls, lover of food (fine and fast), purveyor of all things pretty and Jill of all things ‘creative’…Nancy has a background in the visual arts, design and marketing and is the owner and Creative Director of Magpie as well as a co-owner and partner of The Magpie and The Owl – Signature Events. Having worked with the team for some time, she is thrilled to take time out from juggling and add some spice to the blog. Don’t get us wrong….it’s not that it needs it….it just wants more…and she is happy to oblige.

Myoga Magic!


A recent cause for celebration led us – sans kiddies in tow – to Myoga Restaurant situated in the Vineyard Hotel in Cape Town.

Now, as a food and wine lover – there is only one real reason to head to Myoga……a food-lovers phenomenon worthy of mention across the globe, one that we have promised to ourselves for some time now. And what better celebration than a wedding anni to utterly indulge in food finery through their signature seven-course tasting menu.


This menu has been in circulation for some time now, changing and adapting to seasonal trends and inspirations, having seen a shift away from their original east west fusion style to incorporate more contemporary ideas from around the globe.


Available as a tasting meal option at R325 per person or including a wine pairing for R565 each – we opted for the menu option without the wine pairing – easier on the liver – and given that it was a school night!


Introducing the Four Corners’ Myoga Menu~

 *TICKLER: a bite-sized selection of four treasures for the tongue, to “tickle those taste buds” as it were…

CHICKEN PISTACHIO BOUDON turmeric cauliflower

AGED CHEDDAR potato cigar, chimacurri

SQUID INK ARANCINI smoked hake, aioli

GAZPACHO SHOT artisan pepper labneh

*BEGIN:  a choice of one out of four – we chose…

CARAMEL SOY PORK BELLY, star anise apple puree, Sichuan pepper dipping sauce, phyllo potato cigar

ALL WHITE SCALLOP, macadamia buttered root vegetable puree, refried white beans, horseradish cream served with orange gastrique

*SUMMER:  a choice of one out of four – we chose…

BUTTERNUT STINGING NETTLE NAARTJIE RISOTTO, blue vein clotted cream, toasted pistachios

CRISPY FRIEND HAKE, XO sauce, lemon apple gel, braised baby gem lettuce

*FASHION:  a choice of one out of four – we chose…

SHRIMP OMELETTE, band bang foam, braised mussel veloute gem lettuce

SOFT BOILED SPANISH EGG, totopos crust, green herbs, blackened tomato pablano salsa

*CLEANSE:  the palette with a choice of one of the following sorbets…

KALAMANSI strawberry pearls

LIME LEMONGRASS balsamic pearls

DARK PLUM yuzu pearls

GREEN APPLE rose pearls

*THE EVENT:  a choice of one out of six – we chose…

HOISIN BABY KABELJOU bok choi exotic mushroom stir fry, black bean anglaise, shrimp crackers, coconut smoked cucumber, edamame beans

BOER SPICED BLACKENED OSTRICH, smoked butter spinach phyllo parcels, tomato pomegranate salad, curried apricot puree

*FINISH: a choice of one out of four – we chose…

COCONUT SPHERE, coconut molleaux, coconut panna cotta, butternut churros, burnt orange sauce, coconut marshmallow

NO BAKED CREMALAT CHEESECAKE, beetroot pickle, heirloom beet puree, dried beet ciabatta crisps, gorgonzola snow, pink beet labneh

Need I say more food lovers? Booking is essential, as is an Uber taxi to and from! |


Written for by: NanNan_blog piccy Hoepner – Magpie: Creative Marketing, Design and Lifestyle

Mother-of-two delicious girls, lover of food (fine and fast), purveyor of all things pretty and Jill of all things ‘creative’…Nancy has a background in the visual arts, design and marketing and is the owner and Creative Director of Magpie as well as a co-owner and partner of The Magpie and The Owl – Signature Events. Having worked with the team for some time, she is thrilled to take time out from juggling and add some spice to the blog. Don’t get us wrong….it’s not that it needs it….it just wants more…and she is happy to oblige.

Creatively Clarens


When last were your expectations blown right out of the water!?  Well, I recently escaped for a little getaway up to the Northern Freestate on the border of Lesotho – expecting snow, frost and little else – and was more than pleasantly bowled over by a) the raw, desolate beauty of the area, and b) the creative richness of the local arts and crafts.


One of the highlights was a day spent in the quaint town of Clarens close to the Golden Gate National Park, where we scoured vintage shops, art galleries and little homeware boutiques – until we had reinvented “retail therapy”.


There must be something in the air, or water at the very least, because everything in this part of the country appears to be artisanal – from the carved giant beaded necklaces to the stone hearts standing alongside rock angels in every size imaginable, on the side of the road. I have to say (and I did more than once) that I was in heaven!


I simply loved the prominence of the up-cycling culture, which seemed richer than ever in the Freestate. From the old meat cupboard covered in rust for which a small fortune was being asked, to the vintage garments made new with an intricately beaded brooch or floppy flower…or the playgrounds, which were masterfully put together with rusty old tractors or merry go-rounds made of old car parts – ingenuity reached all levels of creative! And it seems reviving the old fetches a tidy sum as people are willing to pay for a little historical adage.


Treasure-hunting most certainly fuels the appetite and a good amount of hearty Freestate fare was enjoyed during my stay. Some of the highlights feature the likes of: some pretty fabulous pizzas, an Eisbein stew, frilly eggs and free range bacon (to die for!), pannekoeke (pancakes) with the traditional accompaniments, delish homemade onion and chilli chutneys, the creamiest cheeses (definitely owing to happy, healthy cows)…and of course far too much red wine! Those that were enjoyed in restaurants or cafes were always artfully presented, and service was always delivered with warmth and a smile.


In fact, the appeal of Clarens for all of the above reasons, reaches far and wide and the little town has become well known for hosting many popular annual cultural festivals including the Harley Davidson Open Road Fest.

Worth a mention, was my coming-of-understanding of the wonder that is encapsulated in the simple iconic image of the windmill, and thanks to my time in the Freestate, I feel that I now finally understand…


The icon of the windmill is relatively flat on paper or fabric, but when standing upright in real life against a backdrop of blue sky that meets a field of wintery white grass – the silhouette is pure romance. And, all I want for Christmas is one in my back garden!

I highly recommend a wholesome injection of crafty culture, which lies waiting for you in abundance up in Clarens, in the Freestate…knock yourself out – I did, and came back inspired!

Written for by: NanNan_blog piccy Hoepner – Magpie: Creative Marketing, Design and Lifestyle

Mother-of-two delicious girls, lover of food (fine and fast), purveyor of all things pretty and Jill of all things ‘creative’…Nancy has a background in the visual arts, design and marketing and is the owner and Creative Director of Magpie as well as a co-owner and partner of The Magpie and The Owl – Signature Events. Having worked with the team for some time, she is thrilled to take time out from juggling and add some spice to the blog. Don’t get us wrong….it’s not that it needs it….it just wants more…and she is happy to oblige.

Mushroom Stuffed Peppers


I adore peppers, and having them stuffed is one of my favourite ways to eat them. The options are almost limitless! In this version they are carb-free, vegetarian and filled with fried mushrooms, aubergine cubes, spring onion and topped with dollops of creamy feta. This could make a delicious main dish served with a salad, or a spectacular vegetable side dish with dinner.Blog#85 The Dukkah adds sweetness, crunch and an extra flavour dimension that works well with the somewhat subtle flavours of the mushrooms and aubergine. Ingredients:

  • 1 red pepper, sliced longways, seeds removed
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 150g mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1 small aubergine, diced into 1 cm pieces
  • 1 tbsp Eat.Art Dukkah
  • 2 tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp feta, crumbled

Method: Preheat the oven to 200°C. Place the red pepper halves, cut side up,  in a baking dish and drizzle with 1 tbsp coconut oil. Roast for 15 – 20 minutes until tender and starting to colour. While this is roasting, place the remaining tablespoon of coconut oil in a frying pan and fry the mushrooms and aubergine until tender and golden. Sprinkle with the sage and Dukkah, and stir through. Once the peppers are out the oven, divide the mushroom mixture between both halves and top with the crumbled feta.

Living Life – A Station Café


Another little gem discovered whilst romping around in the Freestate, is the magic “Living Life Station Café” situated on the outskirts of Ladybrand on the original tracks of the (now haunted and derelict) train station.

#86.4Aptly renamed by my 7 year old daughter as “Loving Life”….this little station café is pure, unadulterated whimsy, in its ram-shackled beauty and delightful approach to food and décor that is all about romantic, wholesome, arty living…


Living Life is set on a small holding that boasts a herb and veggie garden of note, alongside roses to die for…a cosy indoor function venue complete with fireplace, quaint indoor and outdoor patio dining areas with lounging pockets, food and homeware deli, spa, cottage accommodation, and a kiddies playground including retro antique caravan, trampoline, and rope swing – paradise!


Their menu is small, but well considered using fresh, seasonal ingredients – as many out of the garden as possible – including a super selection for the kiddies. I enjoyed a couple of excellent rectangular pizzas made all the more flavoursome because of their genuine clay oven in which they also create the most wonderful breads for daily soups, Ploughmans platters and saucy dishes requiring mop up maintenance (the mussel starter is truly sublime and very saucy!).


I could go on and on about their attention to detail from their daily fresh table flowers to the cosy fireplace which burns throughout the day in winter, and the hand crafted wire chandelier in the bathroom…the truth is that I am a sucker for details – and Living Life has it all down to the “t”!


Lastly, on the first Friday evening of every month, Living Life hosts a Moonshine Market boasting all kinds of hand crafted bits and pieces and yummy treats. In the winter months, the market is indoors in their function room – and in the summer – where-else but under the stars in their beautiful garden with strings of bare bulbs for extra light.

So when you find yourself passing through Ladybrand – don’t forget about this little place of pleasure, which lives up to its name in the best ways possible!

Nan_blog picWritten for by: Nancy Hoepner – Magpie: Creative Marketing, Design and Lifestyle

Mother-of-two delicious girls, lover of food (fine and fast), purveyor of all things pretty and Jill of all things ‘creative’…Nancy has a background in the visual arts, design and marketing and is the owner and Creative Director of Magpie as well as a co-owner and partner of The Magpie and The Owl – Signature Events. Having worked with the team for some time, she is thrilled to take time out from juggling and add some spice to the blog. Don’t get us wrong….it’s not that it needs it….it just wants more…and she is happy to oblige.

Exotic spices and their uses


Spices can be intimidating! Even though they come in a pretty Eat.Art tub, with suggested usages and interesting stories, by simply stating ‘Indian Rogan Josh’ or ‘Spanish Paella’ on the label, you may look past it as it might not be something you’d make or know how…


This post is going to try to encourage you to think a little differently about how we view these little tubs of flavour. My favourite way to look at them is as ‘inspiration’ – a way of injecting a lot of flavor into any dish, very quickly. Below I’ve included a few family favourites and suggested a few spices mixes to add. I love playing around with these spices – one of my favourites was using the Goan Fish Curry spice to make pickled fish. Let us know if you try any of these twists on a favourite – or if you discover something new!

Spaghetti Bolognaise

Brazilian Gaucho Mix

Indian Vindaloo


Italian Caprese

Moroccan Ras el Hanout

Oven Roasted Fish

Arabian Za’Atar


Beef burgers

Brazilian Gaucho Mix

Argentinian Chimmichurri

Macaroni Cheese

Moroccan Ras el Hanout

Indian Vindaloo

Fish cakes


Spanish Paella

Roast Chicken


Argentinian Chimmichurri

All Roads Lead to Root 44!


Is your weekend excursion list looking a bit sad now that winter has crept into the bones? Well, believe it or not – markets are busier than ever, especially if the sun is shining, regardless of the wind chill factor!And what better way to spend a lazy Saturday or Sunday, than eating and drinking seriously yummy home-made nosh in a valley surrounded by mountains and vineyards?

pic 1

For what seems like ages, I have heard rumours about the Root 44 market in Stellenbosch…and just recently did we decide to venture a little further than normal and give it a try. Root 44 prides itself on being an all-weather market, and for a chilly winters’ day it certainly hived and hummed…and although it took some time to find an indoor table with a view of the many kiddies play place options – we eventually did, and parked ourselves off for the rest of the day, partaking in as many of the tasty treats on offer that we could manage.

Falafels, pizzas, ribs, vegetarian, wraps, schwarmas, mini doughnuts….you name it – Route 44 has it! And plenty of Audacia wine and craft beer on tap to appease the palette and do a sufficient job of warming up the coldest of souls!

Choose from the many dining spaces available, indoors and out, some set in the trees, others in view of live music and entertainment or flanking bustling playgrounds. Order your drinks from one of the many rustic bars complete with friendly staff and decent glassware (R20 deposit is required per glass – refundable of course), then, scour the food section for exactly your flavour fancy for the day…

Lastly, walk off your indulgences, through the indoor home ware and clothing market packed with local arts and crafts (large and small)…or spend some time with the kiddies in the indoor “adventure” section boasting a mini putt-putt range amongst other kiddie delights.

Truly a family-friendly market, you’ll find Root 44 opposite the giant strawberry along the R44 between Somerset West and Stellies – open every Saturday and Sunday from 10h00 to 16h00 – be sure to don your wellies and head out for a memorable frolic in the vineyards.

Nan_blog picWritten for by: Nancy Hoepner – Magpie: Creative Marketing, Design and Lifestyle

Mother-of-two delicious girls, lover of food (fine and fast), purveyor of all things pretty and Jill of all things ‘creative’…Nancy has a background in the visual arts, design and marketing and is the owner and Creative Director of Magpie as well as a co-owner and partner of The Magpie and The Owl – Signature Events. Having worked with the team for some time, she is thrilled to take time out from juggling and add some spice to the blog. Don’t get us wrong….it’s not that it needs it….it just wants more…and she is happy to oblige.

For more info, visit:

Pic courtesy of:

Farewell Sue!


This past Friday we bid farewell to Sue Gillespie who has been the Account Executive at Kalk Bay Foods for six and a half years! Her dedication, wicked sense of humour and undeniably gracious and endearing personality has made it a sad one indeed. Everyone who has had the pleasure of working with Sue agrees that her soft yet surprisingly sassy nature will be sorely missed, and she not only leaves behind a legacy, but also a big hole in our team.

On the positive side of goodbyes and whilst we bid a sad farewell to Sue, we welcome Delia O’Reilly to our team. Delia has confidently taken over as from Sue and her evident determination and perseverance leaves us with no doubt that she is able to take over with ease.

(Left: Sue, Center: Shelley, Right: Delia)20150626_173523

We bid farewell to Sue at a warm and slightly raucous send off at Tigers Milk in Muizenberg – a laid back, rustic restaurant boasting delicious food and creative cocktails. And, to the envy of most in our company – Sue was presented with a well-deserved Le Creuset casserole dish – with love from Shelley our MD.


We wish Sue oodles of happiness and every success in her relocation to Port Elizabeth she will be greatly missed!

Dark Chocolate and Orange Cake


This past Friday I had a cake craving. I didn’t care what cake it was, except that it had to be a proper cake, cut into proper slices – no Swissroll or cupcake would do. Relinquishing control, I asked my husband to choose the flavour – dark chocolate and orange it was. This was quickly whipped up, and promptly devoured. Exceeding all expectations, this was definitely a cake I’d make again – moist and chocolaty, not too sweet, it ticked all the boxes. A definite regular in our household. . .


For the cake:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp Persian Blue salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 tbsp fresh orange zest
  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour

For the icing:

  • 350g milk chocolate, melted 3 heaped tbsp cocoa powder
  • 80g butter, softened
  • 2 tbsp fresh orange zest

Heat oven to 180°C. Smear two 20 cm round cake tins with butter and dust with flour. Stir together all your dry ingredients – sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, orange zest and salt in large bowl. Add the wet ingredients: eggs, milk, and oil before beating on a medium speed with a stand mixer or hand mixer, until the batter is smooth.  Divide the batter equally between the tins.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out cleanly. Allow to cool in the pans for 15 minutes, before turning out on to wire racks.

For the icing, add the melted chocolate to a bowl, with the softened butter and orange zest. Sieve in the cocoa powder and beat the mixture with a wooden spoon or stand mixer until smooth. Divide the mixture equally on top of each cake – place them on top of each other if you prefer for a double layered cake, or invite friends over and enjoy each separately!

Dads’ the Dude


Needing some inspirational tips for treating the coolest dude in your life, a.k.a. DAD? Well, we did some digging and came up with a few top tips for treating dad this Sunday, 21st June:


  1. It seems that not all dads are vying for the rough and tough hero role – but rather appreciated for needing some of their own pamper time in the form of a massage or facial. You will need to choose the location carefully, and definitely ensure the package you select is fit for a man! Don’t let your cool dude dad be asked to slip into silky hot pants – and it may be worthwhile doing some Clueso-style digging beforehand to check exactly what and who he would be most comfortable with in terms of the therapist. If budget is not too much of an issue, take a look at “The One and Only – De-stress for Dad” packages on offer.

  1. For the manlier man – have you taken dad down to the Springbok Rugby Museum down at the V&A Waterfront? Hailed a shrine to one of SA’s favourite pastimes…kids of all ages are welcome…and I have it on good ear that this museum is a fan zone, field test and history lesson all rolled into one including a ‘Springbok Trials Area’ where guests get to test their own athletic abilities. And best of all, Dads and adults (over 18 of course) get a free Castle Draught at the nearby Quay Four restaurant. Score!

  1. The Protea Fire and Ice Hotel in the Cape Town CBD are rolling with the popular “Who’s Your Daddy?” catch phrase this Sunday by launching their brand new Who’s Your Daddy Burger that is a monstrously incredible tribute to dads. One thing…come hungry and afraid, this burger is constructed from four musky paprika beef patties, with layers of beer battered onion rings, smoked mozzarella, spicy Mexican guacamole AND slivers of biltong, PLUS fries and a complimentary sauce of your choice WITH 500ml Castle Draught. Say what!?! Yip…and all for R150pp! Hard to digest? Be sure to pre-book…and ditch breakfast in bed beforehand.
  1. Did you know that the 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa, always a firm favourite (and perhaps just the right option for the more mature dads day celebration), is offering a Gents High Tea at the Sea just for Father’s Day? Dad can tuck into specially selected favourites such as mini boerie rolls, biltong scones and an array of yummy sarmies, and that’s aside from the sweet treats of course! Then, to ensure maximum levels of relaxation are achieved, the eatery will offer whiskeys, cocktails and cognacs – should the idea of tea not appease. Priced at around R195 pp – booking would be recommended.

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  1. And finally, this one should come as no surprise – and really should be at the top of your list. We all know the way to a dad’s heart is through his braaivleis…so fire up the coals. Our choice selection for the braai this Sunday would be pork ribs. The sweeter, spicier and stickier, the better! Tuck a napkin into dad’s collar, set a bowl of warm water to the side and let him dig in, fingers, toes and all. You could tuck a bottle of Chilli Addict Sauce under his pillow in the morning with a note to say “For later…” to be used as a smokey sauce accompaniment. Or, alternatively, what about an Exotic Spice dry rub option to flavour those ribs: Caribbean Jerk/ Brazilian Gaucho/ Argentinean Chimichurri….either of these would be sublime – happy dude guaranteed!


Whichever you choose, don’t let this Sunday the 21st slip by without letting your dad or your kiddies’ dad know just how cool he is – the dude of dudes! And to all you dads and ads-to-be out there, lap it up – you deserve every minute of being his “Royal Dadness”.

Photo courtesy of

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Written for by: Nancy Hoepner – Magpie: Creative Marketing, Design and Lifestyle

Mother-of-two delicious girls, lover of food (fine and fast), purveyor of all things pretty and Jill of all things ‘creative’…Nancy has a background in the visual arts, design and marketing and is the owner and Creative Director of Magpie as well as a co-owner and partner of The Magpie and The Owl – Signature Events. Having worked with the team for some time, she is thrilled to take time out from juggling and add some spice to the blog. Don’t get us wrong….it’s not that it needs it….it just wants more…and she is happy to oblige.| |

Spiced chickpea and sweet potato bowl with coconut and peanut dressing


I’ve never been fond of legumes. Chickpeas, lentils, beans – just never been my thing. However, since becoming a vegetarian I’ve had to learn how to make friends with a food group I’ve never liked. It’s been a challenge, but every now and then I come across a complete winner of a recipe – and this is definitely one of them. An absolutely delicious combination of ingredients – including sweet roasted onion and crunchy broccoli – all covered in a more-ish coconut and peanut dressing. If you feel you need a little extra protein, or can’t imagine a meat-free dish, I’d suggest roasting chicken pieces in the same spices as the chickpeas, and serving them alongside.


For the vegetables:

  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, sliced into wedges
    2 large sweet potatoes, halved and cut into chunky strips, skin on
  • 400g tender stem broccoli broccoli
  • 200g spinach of your choice (English or Swiss chard)
  • art Murray River Flake salt, to taste

For the chickpeas:

  • 1 large tin of chickpeas, drained, rinsed and patted dry
    1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp Ras El Hanout spice mix
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp Eat.Art Murray River Flake salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

For the dressing:

  • 2 tbsp smooth peanut butter (heaped)1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp lime juice


Preheat the oven to 200°C. Place the sweet potatoes and onion on a roasting tray and drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil and salt. Roast until the sweet potatoes and onion are soft and start to colour.

Place the remaining tbsp olive oil in a large pan over a high heat. Add the broccolini and pan fry until starting to char and soften. Remove from the heat and stir through the spinach, using the residual heat to wilt the leaves.

Place the chickpeas in a bowl with the salt and spices. Place the olive oil in a pot or pan over a high heat and add the spiced chickpeas. Fry for approximately ten minutes, or until the chickpeas start to colour, stirring frequently. Add all the dressing ingredients to a bowl and whisk until smooth.

To serve, dish all ingredients into two bowls and drizzle with the dressing.

The Graze Craze


There is a new little hot-spot in the cosy suburb of Kenilworth in Cape Town, on the corner of an old building that’s recently been paid some attention…many of you Capetonians will fondly remember Banana Jam Jamaican Restaurant for its daily happy hours. Those were the good old days, but Banana Jam moved on (or across the road anyway) and a host of half-hearted affairs tried to fill its shoes…unsuccessfully…until a few months ago, when someone recognised the locational potential and gave it a face-lift, allowing for a conveniently situated host of new restaurants including a little corner establishment run by young husband and wife team – Graze!


Seeing as it happens to be situated at the bottom of 2nd Avenue (Harfield Village), which is literally at the top of our road – it is perfectly positioned in walking distance as a mid-week dining spot…and hence, has quickly become our firm family favourite! With its living garden wall of home-grown herbs, minimal décor, funky, bold accents, friendly staff, open kitchen and small but fantastic menu and wine list – Graze deserves its craze….as it seems the locals have cottoned on. It is now preferable to book, especially in the evenings as they only cater to one sitting with the kitchen closing around nine. (The owners have young kids)

Graze is a little home-away-from home, and a great place for family dining with their clever kiddies menu (you can see it has been put together by a mommy). Our kids have never eaten so well in a restaurant and have come to crave their home-made chunky fish-fingers and meatballs. Additional portions of fresh fruit and veg, cut and prepared just as a mom would do in her own kitchen, means that your kiddies will leave with happy, full tummies! Happy kiddies equals happy parents, and Graze welcomes yours!

And as for us big kids, we have never had a meal less than delish. Whilst the menu is small, and acclaimed more on the breakfast front – we have found the burgers to be sublime, especially their fabulous Banting Burger. Meat and eggs are sourced locally from Farmer Angus himself and each item on the menu is innovatively conceptualised and expertly prepared with an approach to good nutritional value. Trust me – you can taste the difference and every item we have tried has been quality, with resounding flavours of overall goodness.

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Even the wine list is personally tasted and selected, and again whilst small – it is clear that the owners have a knack for food, wine and overall attention to detail in the combinations of ingredients presented; and there’s more – the menu really does accommodate all tastes and dietary requirements.

Lastly, the warmth and friendliness of the staff deserves a special mention and once you have returned more than once, you will be greeted (all of you) by name and ensured a warm, hearty, dining experience that is all about family and greatly good food.

“We believe in cooking and producing real food, bold and full of flavour, simple but done well, with a nutritional value that complements.” Graze

Photo courtesy of:

Nan_blog picWritten for by: Nancy Hoepner – Magpie: Creative Marketing, Design and Lifestyle

Mother-of-two delicious girls, lover of food (fine and fast), purveyor of all things pretty and Jill of all things ‘creative’…Nancy has a background in the visual arts, design and marketing and is the owner and Creative Director of Magpie as well as a co-owner and partner of The Magpie and The Owl – Signature Events. Having worked with the team for some time, she is thrilled to take time out from juggling and add some spice to the blog. Don’t get us wrong….it’s not that it needs it….it just wants more…and she is happy to oblige.| |

Festive Rush


Welcome to winter! This is the time when we tend to slow down and dive into winter ‘wonderfuls’ such as giant mugs of hot chocolate with melting marshmallows, extra long tub soaks, spicy gluhwein…you get the picture..?


While most of us are settling into the slower pace, winter at Eat.Art means that we doing just the opposite. It’s the busiest time of the year for us as we are in full swing on preparation for festive season gifting production. The company’s efforts are focused on the provision of the perfect gifting products for our local and international clients.


Like Santa’s Elves, our production team is in full swing ensuring orders are processed and stock is available for any last minute gifting requirements. All products are conceptualized, designed, sourced and handed over to an amazing team of local ladies who take great pride in their work to be hand-packed. Like most people, Christmas shopping tends to be done at the last minute…therefore a ready-made gift ticks many boxes


Interestingly, during this busy time of year, not only are we responsible for producing excellent quality, custom gifting – but our team doubles in size, meaning that we are able to offer employment for women who are breadwinners in their families. I took the liberty of interviewing two of our fantastic production team members and here’s what they had to say…


  1. What do you enjoy most about the busy time of the year?

Caroline [Production Supervisor]: I would have to say the atmosphere and the ladies I work with.

Janine [Production Manager]: The organised chaos! I enjoy planning and ensuring everything runs smoothly.

  1. What is your favorite music to listen to while packing?

Caroline: Mostly R&B because it keeps me moving and entertained.

Janine: I don’t physically pack, I oversee everything. I prefer Jazz.

  1. Do you use any of our products at home or to give as gifts?

Caroline: I’ve given the Art of Tea Slide to a friend a while ago.

Janine: At home I use the Pizza Pasta grinder and I use it on almost all my meals.

  1. Which gift or spice would you recommend to a customer?

Caroline: We have so many nice products to choose from, but it would have to be our Curries of Origin Spices.

Janine: Mhhhh! It has to be the Hot n Spicy which is a collection of hot spices from around the world.

  1. What do you enjoy packing the most?

Caroline: (Laughs) It will have to be our Salts of the Earth, they are a lot less dusty.

Janine: Well I don’t really pack, but when it gets extremely busy I would prefer to pack any of the teas.

Don’t judge a bottle



I am discovering that the age old saying “don’t judge a book by its cover”, is NOT the case when it comes to wine. In fact, I openly admit to recently selecting a bottle of wine entirely because its label was pretty, regardless of the fact that my varietal preference is usually not for Shiraz. I do know a teeny bit about wine seeing as I drink so much of it, and I happen to have been partial to previous wines from Solms Delta in Franschoek – but this was an afterthought. Yes, I chose this sneaky 2013 Shiraz because of its label including caption pertaining to the estate reading: “Creating wine, music & hope”.

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Spicy Moroccan Chicken Livers


This is one of the love-it-or-hate it dishes. You’ll rarely find someone who is ambivalent about chicken livers. Before becoming a vegetarian, it was one of the dishes I most loved – the earthiness of the livers, the creamy spiceness of the sauce – and of course, the fresh bread to mop up the sauce. This version has a little twist in the form of Moroccan Ras el Hanout spice –adding heat, but with more fragrance, and the addition of coriander and feta, for freshness and added creaminess. Easily a meal on its own, it also keeps wonderfully for leftovers.

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Loves of Autumn


With the days becoming shorter and sharper; and the sun seemingly more sparkling, I forgot how much I love this betwixt season of autumn. A quick glance at my Facebook feed over the weekend confirmed my thoughts in that most seemed to be similarly revelling in the beauty of a crispy, crackly, blue-skied Cape Town in all her shimmering glory. All the inspiration needed for some words inspired by my loves of autumn…

Love #1 // Firstly, one cannot ignore the growing needs to snuggle in this season, and what better way than with a soft and cushy pair of bed socks and a cup of steaming red chai tea! Using South Africa’s own Rooibos leaves, which are famed for being rich in anti-oxidants and aromatically soothing – a cup of red chai boosts the spirits and warms the inners. Add a stick of cinnamon to your cup and a dollop of honey and you have an all-round soul soother of delicious proportions. Have a look at your local Wellness Warehouse for a variety of Chai’s.

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“Green” Soup


As we head towards cooler months, meals become more warming and comforting. This soup was created after a week of particularly bad eating – I craved vegetables and something deeply nourishing. I love spinach in soup, but as it cooks down to barely nothing, I needed something to give the soup body (and protein) and decided on white beans. Blended, it gave just the right texture, with all of the green goodness that you’d expect from spinach and baby marrows – teaching me it is possible to have a green soup made of something other than peas!


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The best roast chicken


I love spending time in the kitchen – experimenting, playing and creating. While I can easily whip up a chocolate fondant, I’ve only recently learned how to create the perfect roast potatoes. Following from this, I’ve also learned how to make my perfect roast chicken. Crispy skin, with clean flavours and tender meat – I can highly recommend using chicken pieces instead of a whole bird. Not only does it make it easier to brown each piece but for all the splendor of a whole bird being taken to the table, individual pieces does make dishing up so much easier – especially if your carving, like mine, leaves room for improvement.

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The Café Hoppers


With South Africa’s coffee culture as strong as ever, it’s not surprising that most frequenters of coffee shops are not actually stay-at-home moms on coffee dates whilst the kids are at school, but rather moving and shaking small business owners and self-employed professionals who partake in the religion of café-hopping. The two pre-requisites are simply decent Wi-Fi and good coffee…and as such, many experience a different ‘office’ each day of the week.

Many of my most favourite clients are exactly this, café hoppers on the quest for great coffee and a paperless working environment, which makes meeting them always a pleasure, providing an excuse for me to get out of the studio and into the coffee shop buzz that is such a prevalent part of many people’s daily lives.

So, after a quick client survey – I am delighted to be able to uncover (our opinions of) the best coffee shops in Cape Town; rated on a) the quality of their coffee, b) their Wi-Fi; and c) of course, the view from the “office”.

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Nowhere like the Nelly


The wedding bells are certainly ringing in 2015, and with four weddings (and hopefully no funeral!) coming up we are swimming in bachelor/ -ette brazenness. I have to admit, and hopefully this doesn’t make me seem old before my time, but the thought of travelling via open-topped Pink Piggy Bus playing spectacularly bad music hopping from bar to bar…gives me the willies, uh hum…I mean the heebies! Never mind the current trend (it seems) for kinkily shaped straws.

In the last two weeks I have attended two of the four bachelorettes on the calendar, both with trepidation at the thought of the above ensuing – and both resulting in a pleasantly surprised crowd of attendees and for completely different reasons.

The first certainly provided its share of razzle and lace, and yes, although the above-mentioned straws graced us with their presence – the experience was one filled with so much laughter and love that it lived up to its “Kitsch Kitchen Tea” in the most gracious sense!


Image source here

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Courgette and Marscapone bake


You know when you sometimes surprise yourself at your own brilliance? Without meaning to, this is one of those recipes. Made out of a selection of delicious elements found in my fridge one evening, it has quickly become one of my favourite vegetable dishes.

It begins with slicing courgettes with a vegetable peeler, into ribbons. Then tossed with mascarpone and topped with gruyere, croutons, lemon and dukkah – it is packed with flavour and ridiculously easy to make. Keep this on file for your next dinner party, or if you’re entertaining a vegetarian – it will make a delicious main course or starter too!

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Stuffed pepper recipe


This recipe was the result of one of those weekly veggie box deliveries I received. I’ve been eyeing them for months – but then was put off as you either had to commit to a full month (and couldn’t opt for week-by-week) or the collection times and locations were a little impossible. I recently found the ‘holy grail’ in my corner of the ‘burbs – Think Organic in Kenilworth. I walked out with a brown paper packet filled with fresh, organic vegetables – and a heap of inspiration.

Unpacking it is a bit of a Masterchef mystery box challenge – with a few ‘what do I do with this?’ moments when confronted with a yellow pepper almost the size of my head. I decided stuffing it was a good option – and could also use some of the other vegetables in the stuffing.

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4 Adored spots to dine


So in seemingly simple task of attempting to make a dinner reservation last week, and the many rejections that I was met with – it occurred to me that this had actually become an exercise in discovering the current hottest spots on the Cape Town restaurant block! Some have been around for an age and have therefore honed their expertise and developed a fiercely loyal, long-lasting clientele and others are still in the teething stage. The resulting info was too good not to share, so here we go….the restaurants that get are getting a big thumbs up at the moment are~


A family owned and run eatery that claims to be laid-back whilst dishing out a fair portion of swag…this restaurant is contemporary and hugely respectful of excellent food and wine. You’ll find exciting items such as “Sticky char sui pork ribs with quick cucumber and daikon kimchi” for starters or “South Indian Kingklip coconut curry with rice, sambals and poppadum’s” for mains, on the menu. This is a blackboard restaurant, thus besides the small set menu of favorites, the menu changes daily to accommodate trends, experiments, seasons etc.

Situated on trendy Kloof St, visit their website for more info and BOOK WELL AHEAD to avoid disappointment!


Image sourced here

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Bite size comfort pies


Ah, pies. Surely the jewel in the crown of all comfort foods – with rich, buttery pastry, a creamy packed filling – appropriate for almost any occasion, pies are pretty darn special.

This is my take on the classic chicken and mushroom pie – and it’s a winner. You’ll be making your own pastry- but once you’ve done it, you’ll never go back to store bought again. Made with sour cream and butter, it’s rich, flaky and decadent. Filled with a thick sauce (again, with sour cream) and packed with chicken, these are lovely enough to serve at a dinner party, and economical enough to make for school lunch boxes or picnics. Whoever you serve them to, they’re guaranteed to be impressed. While you can make one large pie, I love serving them individually.

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Right, so if you have been chomping at the bit (who am I kidding right?) for PART 2, here goes…where were we – oh yes…

So with the pasta on the boil and the mussels opening on the grid, (toss all unopened mussels away!) you are preparing the sauce as follows~



  • Finely dice a couple of onions and a load (the more the merrier) of freshly chopped garlic and sauté in a good measure of extra virgin olive oil (Rio Largo is our favourite), to which you add a couple of finely chopped chillies for flavour, not scorch (less is more where chillies are concerned)!
  • Add a generous sloshing of decent white wine and stir on a medium heat for about five minutes before removing and adding the cream with a large handful of grated pecorino cheese and a sprinkling of Goan Fish Exotic Spice for a feisty flavour perk


  • You may want to return to the lowest heat for a short while so that the final flavours can infuse properly…keep stirring though
  • Bring your cooked mussels in from the braai and de-shell into a colander through which you run warm water, and finally add them to the sauce
  • Once your pasta is ready mix everything together in a large wok with an “afterthought” splash of white wine for luck, a healthy finishing of chopped fresh parsley, and a sprinkling of Course Sea Salt and serve.

The best setting for this kind of meal is of course ‘on the rocks’, but my family happily settles for second, which is an al fresco table laid in cheerful nautical blues with fresh flowers and a sunset background.


I would recommend some extra grated parmesan cheese for the table and a basket of ripped ciabatta to dunk in the sauce. Also, place an empty mussel shell on each plate to use as a spoon so that not a drop goes to waste…and enjoy the slurping chorus that ensues.

Oh…and don’t forget to stop and breathe in the moment in the midst of the flurry of preparing the food and laying the table and, and, and….

One of my resolutions for the New Year is just this, find the “pause” moments.

PS: It would be advisable to get yourself a fishing permit before you start lobbing mussels off the rocks. Your permit will guide you on exactly how many per person are allowed and the National Parks Board is pretty strict on this – for good reason. Permits are obtainable from the post office, and Knysna’s one is on the main road heading out of town in the Plett direction.

Nan_blog picWritten for by: Nancy Hoepner – Magpie: Creative Marketing, Design and Lifestyle

Mother-of-two delicious girls, lover of food (fine and fast), purveyor of all things pretty and Jill of all things ‘creative’…Nancy has a background in the visual arts, design and marketing and is the owner and Creative Director of Magpie as well as a co-owner and partner of The Magpie and The Owl – Signature Events. Having worked with the team for some time, she is thrilled to take time out from juggling and add some spice to the blog. Don’t get us wrong….it’s not that it needs it….it just wants more…and she is happy to oblige. | |



So when a holiday to Knysna presents itself, the first thing we start to plan is which beach to go to to pick mussels! This simple seafood treat is for us, the B-all! For those of you who are kindred Knysna lovers – you will know all about Coney Glen beach on the back of the Eastern Head. Accessible only via the Heads Viewpoint of the lagoon, this is a beach that is not only quiet and relatively private during the town’s busiest season, but it is truly gorgeous AND best of all – is home to some sizey live mussels (what am I doing giving this information away!?).


Needless to say we spent a lot of time on this beach during our Christmas break and one of the most memorable dishes of the holiday was undoubtedly this entirely home-made/ sublimely fresh mussel pasta…

Firstly, upon arrival home from the beach, just as we like to jump in the pool to get the sand off – so too do your mussels like to soak in a bucket of cold water with a few healthy dollops of bicarb for a couple of hours.

Now as my brother was keen to test his new fancy Jamie Oliver pasta machine out, we decided to stick to Jamie and prepared our dough according to his recommendations (sans that fancy flour he likes to use).


  • Pile 400g of fine flour with 75g fine semolina into a bowl and create a well in the middle
  • Separate 12 free range eggs and add the yolks to the well (don’t throw your whites away – keep calm and make meringues!)
  • Add 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and 4 tablespoons cold water to the well…
  • Using a fork, whip up the eggs and slowly work in the flour until it becomes too tough and clean hands are needed to bring together your ball of dough
  • Knead on a flour-dusted surface until stretchy, wrap in plastic and let it chill out for 30 minutes.


  • Fix your pasta machine to a clean counter top and divide your dough into four (keep all waiting dough covered with a slightly damp tea towel to avoid drying out)
  • Flatten your dough slightly before running it through the machine on the thickets setting, then reset the rollers two settings closer before repeating the process with plenty of flour…working it into thinner sheets as you go, which can be hung over a (clean) broomstick to air dry slightly before cooking
  • Your kitchen will begin to look like a Chinese laundry but this is part of the fun unless you are obsessive about a clean kitchen, which sounds strangely familiar!
  • Once your dough is finished and your pasta sheets are hung at-the-ready bring a large pot of water to the boil with a dash of olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt (perhaps I need to remind you here to ensure you have stocked up your pantry with Eat.arts Gourmet Salts of Origin range – 2015 in the kitchen won’t be the same without it!)….once your pasta sheets move through their final setting into ribbons, this pile of pasta goes straight into the pot, where it takes only a few minutes to cook to al dente.

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Of course, in the background, the G&T’s have been poured, the fire has been lit – the coals readied and the mussels placed onto a hot grid to open….in preparation of being tossed into that fabulous sauce you are about to prepare for the dish…but for this recipe you’ll have to wait for PART 2 for this I’m afraid…


If you are in the lucky position of still being on holiday in Knysna, and want a “quick fix” to the above – of course you could always place a small heavy-based saucepan on the coals, melting a large dollop of butter to which you have added copious amounts of chopped garlic and a dash of Chilli Addict sauce. Now there’s a thought….

Nan_blog picWritten for by: Nancy Hoepner – Magpie: Creative Marketing, Design and Lifestyle

Mother-of-two delicious girls, lover of food (fine and fast), purveyor of all things pretty and Jill of all things ‘creative’…Nancy has a background in the visual arts, design and marketing and is the owner and Creative Director of Magpie as well as a co-owner and partner of The Magpie and The Owl – Signature Events. Having worked with the team for some time, she is thrilled to take time out from juggling and add some spice to the blog. Don’t get us wrong….it’s not that it needs it….it just wants more…and she is happy to oblige. | | products in Woolworths


We were so proud to work with Woolworths last year and have the largest range of products in their stores yet!  We created an offering exclusive to WW and were thrilled by how well they were received by the Woolies shoppers.

Heres a summary of the range  in case you missed some of them.  We’re already looking at options for 2015 Xmas!

Chilli Duo – An essential for the chilli lover.  A set of two jars of pickled chillies: Fiery Thai and Lethal Habanero.


Beer Bread – A locally made ceramic bowl with Olive, Garlic and Rosemary beer bread mix.


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A taste of Salmon


Happy 2015! We’re at the perfect intersection – where the festive season’s feasting is not quite over – but New Year’s resolutions are beginning to itch on your mind. I’d like to think that this dish combines the best of both these worlds – special enough for a celebration (it was our starter for Christmas) – but carb free, sugar free and packed with healthy omegas and avocado – you’re guaranteed to feel quite righteous and healthy afterwards.

With a generous sprinkling of Himalayan pink salt – beautiful rosy pink crystals – they complement the colour of the salmon perfectly, while offering the perfect amount of ‘saltiness’.

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Egg nog recipe


Following on from last week’s post, it’s all about ‘festive’ at the moment. Egg nog is something a little unfamiliar in our South African context, but a British tradition I’d like to try and introduce to more friends. Originally meant to warm you up as you come in from the cold, this is effectively a relatively thin custard, with a kick of brandy added.


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‘Tis a time to decorate


My favourite thing to do… is to make things pretty, and perhaps this is why I have a love affair with Christmas which involves so much of this. From decorating the tree, to wrapping the pressies, to setting a gorgeous table – making “pretty” fuels my soul, and right now…its’ moving into its’ element!

So, in amongst “menu talk” with mom – I am also looking into fabulous ideas for table décor. Decorating the table is always left to me – and years of practice serves me rather well.


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The Turkey Alternative


It’s so close now that I can smell it! What do your holidays smell like? Mine are a combination of the creamy vanilla and salt aroma of the combination of beach and melting sun cream with old fashioned vanilla ice cream cones. Oh, and of course minty lime in an icy G&T with a dash of bitter pink….hmmm, one week to go – yip, I can smell it!

In my world, this is time when Mom and I start to call each other to “discuss the menu”, and whilst we are doing Christmas eve this year and tend to steer towards a lighter, seafood meal – it got me thinking about the usual Christmas fare and how we could change it up…on the back of an interesting dietary year with banting in first place!

After a bit of searching from matronly Martha Stewart, via Jamie, Gordon, Nigella – to Pick ‘n Pay’s closer to home suggestions, I would say the below are my top five TURKEY ALTERNATIVES for your Christmas table~

  1. Smoked Salmon on the Coals – seasoned with a healthy sprinkling of Murray River Salt Flakes – and served with a reduction of citrus peel, orange juice, dill and a sprinkling of sugar (Mom….note: this may be the hero for our menu!).

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