Recipe For Gluten Free Nut & Seed Loaf

I have a very methodical way of dealing with my emails. I reply to them as soon as possible first and foremost. If they need further attention I leave them in my in-box, and if not, I move them to the appropriate folder. My friends send me recipes to try quite often and those go straight into the folder marked Lavender and Lime. I must admit I’m nowhere close to making my way through them. The other day I decided to tidy up this folder as it is overwhelmed with recipes, event invitations and book reviews. I’m so blessed by the abundance, but it needs organising. The timing could not have been better as I was actually stumped by this months’ challenge and while I was tidying up I came across an email from my friend Kim with the subject line ‘nut bread recipe’. I opened the attachment and printed out the recipe titled The Life-Changing Loaf of Bread. This recipe had obviously been waiting for me and completely matched this month’s brief. The first time I made it, it failed, and I turned the nuts and seeds into rusks for Dave. I then clicked on the link to the actual site and noted that her cup measurements did not yield the same weight measurements as mine did. It has made me rethink my express measures which I am going to delete off my blog. This Gluten Free Nut And Seed Loaf is not to my taste but Dave and Nico loved it. Kim describes it as follows

This is the most delicious ‘bread’ – Sandy’s been making it and its sensational. One can “go savoury” by adding finely diced olives or snipped sun dried tomatoes or simply, say, tarragon….. or “go sweet” by adding finely chopped dates and lemon zest or a small handful of raisins. Substitute the rolled oats with spelt flakes and one table spoon of raw honey.

I might make it again using olives as it was the texture I did not enjoy and maybe with a few soft morsels to break up the nuts and seeds I will enjoy it more.

"Gluten Free Nut & Seed Loaf"

Gluten Free Nut & Seed Loaf

5.0 from 3 reviews
Recipe For Gluten Free Nut & Seed Loaf
This 'bread' makes a great replacement for a traditional loaf, and can be made sweet or savoury, depending on your palate
  • 135g sunflower seeds
  • 90g linseeds
  • 65g whole almonds
  • 145g gluten free rolled oats
  • 25g chia seeds
  • 20g psyllium husks
  • 5g fine salt
  • 45g coconut oil, melted
  • 15mls maple syrup
  • 375mls water
  1. Spray and line a loaf pan
  2. Place all of the dry ingredients into the pan
  3. Place the coconut oil, syrup and water into a bowl
  4. Whisk to combine
  5. Add to the dry ingredients
  6. Stir until the liquid is completely absorbed
  7. Smooth the top and leave to bloom for 2 hours
  8. Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius
  9. Place the loaf tin into the oven for 20 minutes
  10. Remove the tin from the oven and carefully tip the loaf out
  11. Return the loaf to the oven, upside down, directly on the rack
  12. Bake for 40 minutes
  13. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack
  14. Once completely cooled, you can slice the loaf

Click on the links for conversions and notes.

Blog-checking lines: For the August challenge Susan from The Kiwi Cook dared us to make Seed & Nut Loaf – a super-healthy and gluten-free alternative to standard wheat-based bread.

What I blogged August 28:


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Recipe For Pickled Cucumbers

A few weeks ago I popped in to my local shop to get food for supper. There was a woman in the store, pushing a baby pram, answering a lot of questions from one little girl, while trying to keep the two other girls with her while she shopped. I really admired her patience with all the questions, and because the girls were all over the show. She and I got talking after I overheard her saying she was on her way to fetch her son from school. I could not help but ask her how many kids she had! 4 with her and at least one at school meant 5 kids, and that’s a handful. Turns out that only 2 of the girls were hers, and the other little girl was her god daughter. The baby was a child she was fostering. She and her husband take on orphaned and abandoned children until they are adopted. She had the tiniest 9 week old baby with her who was being placed with her forever parents the following week. I asked her if her heart broke a little each time she said goodbye to a baby and she told me no matter how hard it was, the nurturing of these children gave her far much more. And I really admire her, and am in awe of how adaptable her children must be to this flux in their lives. Change is not something I go out and look for. But, I had to adapt my pickled cucumber recipe as a set of circumstances arose which necessitated this. I must say, I am quite glad, as the new recipe is so much better than the old one, and these are the crunchiest pickled cucumbers I have ever made.

"Pickled Cucumbers"

Pickled Cucumbers

5.0 from 3 reviews
Pickled Cucumbers
These are the crunchiest pickled cucumbers ever!
  • 250mls water
  • 90mls vinegar
  • 10g salt
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • 4 all spice berries
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 10mls dill seeds
  • 10mls mustard seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 Mediterranean cucumbers
  1. Place all of the ingredients excluding the cucumbers into a sauce pan
  2. Bring to the boil and set aside to cool
  3. Place the cucumbers into a sterilized glass bottle
  4. Top with the pickling liquid
  5. Leave for a week to pickle
Cooks Notes
These will keep in the fridge for as long as you can resist eating them.

Click on the links for conversions and notes.

What I blogged August 27:


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The Restaurant At Gabriëlskloof, Bot River

"The Restaurant At Gabriëlskloof"

The Restaurant At Gabriëlskloof

I am more observant of what is happening around me when we eat out at a restaurant when the owners know we are coming in to do a review.

Dave and I arrived at Gabriëlskloof in Bot River, earlier than our 1pm booking and we were warmly greeted by Mariaan who was expecting us, as Leanne from Random Hat Communications had facilitated our booking. I watched her greet each person that entered with the same warmth and enthusiasm, and I must say that the smile did not leave her face for the entire time we were there. Dave and I walked around the Deli, which Mariaan runs and stocks and at the end of the meal I bought some Gabriëlskloof olive oil to take home with me.

"The Deli At Gabriëlskloof"

The Deli At Gabriëlskloof

After being shown to our table, Bradley (our waiter) brought us menus and told us that Frans wanted us to please make ourselves at home and order anything we wanted. Bradley’s service was impeccable and he spoke about menu items with true passion, making recommendations as to what we should try. I could hear his banter throughout the restaurant and service overall from everyone who dealt with us, was a pleasure.

The restaurant serves breakfast until 11h30 and has two of my favourites on the menu – grilled kippers and eggs Benedict. The menu is seasonal and small, which I really like. With just 6 starters and 6 main courses to choose from, there should be something to suit your palate, and freshness is guaranteed. One of the main courses is the plate of the day – rolled pork belly when we went – and is priced SQ. The average price of the main courses is R121 and includes fish and a vegetarian option. Most notable, vegetables come standard with main courses and Dave and I were served a plate between us of lightly pickled beetroot, carrots and kale. You may add a sauce to your steak for R20. Out of the 7 desserts, including ice cream at R20 a scoop, I really wanted to try the souskluitjies (R55) but after our main course there was no space! We have told Frans we will stop for that part of our meal when next we return from Sedgefield after seeing Dave’s mum. For the not so hungry there is a deli menu, and the hamburgers we saw coming out of the kitchen looked amazing.

"Bread And Wine At Gabriëlskloof"

Bread And Wine At Gabriëlskloof

Wines are sold at cellar door price with an addition of R15 per bottle. We chose The Blend (R100), a Bordeaux style wine with hints of cinnamon on the nose and dried peach on the finish. As soon as Bradley had brought the wine, we were served a choice of bread – I had the vetkoek which was not oily at all, and Dave had the whole wheat bread. For those of my readers who are not familiar with vetkoek, they are deep fried bread balls. They were served with a choice of two home made butters – herb and sun dried tomato. The sun dried tomato did not overpower the butter which is a plus point in Dave’s opinion. I loved the herb butter and had we wanted, more bread would have been brought to the table.

Our amuse bouche was a thick, silky potato and artichoke soup that was garnished with truffle oil and deep fried proscuitto. You could smell the oil as soon as the bowl was set down, and the soup made a great start to a winters day meal, together with the fire burning in the fireplace.

"Amuse Bouche And Starters At Gabriëlskloof'

Amuse Bouche And Starters At Gabriëlskloof

Dave started with the bone marrow and oxtail combination (R60) which was succulent with a rich beef smell. I had the Patagonian calamari (R50) which came with an egg yolk rich aiolli which was lightly curried. It was the taste of this aiolli that led to my purchase of the olive oil, as Frans uses this in his kitchen. The calamari was divine and the lemon zest was the perfect addition to the dish.

For mains, Dave chose the slow roasted Overberg lamb (R130) which looked like a shank, served off the bone, and it was moist and delicious. My main course was the free range duck “au vin” (R130) which was so soft, and had a deep red wine flavour. It was served with dauphinoise potatoes which were exquisite. Both the main courses were very generous, and served with vegetables, over and above the side dish.

"Our Main Course At Gabriëlskloof"

Our Main Course At Gabriëlskloof

To end the meal, Frans came over to chat and brought with him his signature Irish coffee. It was a single espresso sized coffee, served in a tall liqueur glass with a hint of alcohol and a dash of cream. That and the amazing chat we had with Frans and Mariaan was the perfect way to complete our visit. We left 4 hours later with happy hearts, a full belly and a new place to visit again.

Contact them on: 028 284 9865

Disclosure: The review of this restaurant was facilitated by Leanne of Random Hat Communications. The meal was on the house and for this we thank Frans and Mariaan. This post is in line with my blogging policy.


On the 30th of August, Dave and I went with Eric and Bev for lunch. We skipped starters so that we could enjoy dessert. This time we had the Shiraz to drink. The amuse bouche was a spring roll and for my main course I had the lamb rump which was the plate of the day. I had the souskluitjies for dessert and they were soft and sweet and a great way to end our meal. Frans kindly did not charge us for desserts, and we had another round of his signature mini Irish coffees on the house. Service again was brilliant and we are looking forward to a return visit.

"Going Back For Dessert"

Going Back For Dessert

What I blogged August 26:


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Recipe For Roast Potato Wedges

I am partnering with Avalanche Potatoes in their “Perfect Partners” Campaign to tell you more about why these potatoes are perfect for all types of cooking, especially roasting.

TuberTek, the true potato company, is the exclusive representative in South Africa for Irish Potato Breeders and its varieties. TuberTek’s Head Office is located in Durbanville in the Western Cape of South Africa. Its principal activity is the production, marketing and sale of quality certified seed potatoes.

The TuberTek team are a group of individuals with a passion for the potato industry who do not merely provide seed, but also technical advice and assistance where required.

One of the varieties that they grow in South Africa is the Avalanche. Avalanche is well established as one of the main cultivars in the fresh potato market.

Potatoes have long been an important and economical source of energy, nutrition and satiety in the South African diet.

Currently, in South Africa, production sits at a staggering 2.18 million tons and consumption per person continues to grow irrespective of the bad reputation potatoes have gleaned over recent years. Without a doubt potatoes are one of South Africa’s most loved food products. Not only are they versatile, quick and easy to prepare but they are full of vitamins, minerals and fibre, making them the perfect addition to a balanced meal.

The Avalanche, which has a very uniform, round-oval shape, is a white fleshed potato with a slightly russet skin. Its russet skin is tough, and because of that the potato doesn’t bruise easily, which gives this tuber an excellent shelf-life. The Avalanche is produced deep in the ground, with the result that no greening occurs.

Avalanche potatoes grow well in hot climates, which makes South Africa the perfect place to cultivate these tubers.

They have a distinctive flavour, reminiscent of new potatoes. The principle culinary use of the Avalanche is as a boiling potato. It has a waxy texture that does not disintegrate or discolour when boiled, making it perfect for homemade chips, mash potatoes, roast potatoes and gratins. It’s because of its immense versatility that they are the perfect varietal for all South African households.

Avalanche potatoes are available at all leading retailers in South Africa, including Pick ‘n Pay, Woolworths, Checkers and Food Lover’s Market. They are easily identifiable by a sticker on the packaging which will indicate that they are the Avalanche varietal. (Note that the sticker may be on the bottom on the packaging and not always in full view).

As part of this campaign, I was given a standard recipe with some variation ideas for Avalanche Roast Potatoes. Using olive oil, garlic cloves, and rosemary, the aim was for my own twist on the perfect roast potato. I could have gone with roast potatoes with pancetta and sage or roast potatoes with onions and truffle oil but instead I decided to go with roast potato wedges using baby Avalanche potatoes, duck fat and thyme.

"Roast Potato Wedges"

Roast Potato Wedges

5.0 from 2 reviews
Roast Potato Wedges
Crispy on the outside with soft flesh, these are the best roast potato wedges.
  • 120g duck fat
  • 75g - 100g baby potatoes per person, quartered
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 whole head of garlic, cut in half across the cloves
  • 10 sprigs thyme, plus extra picked leaves for seasoning
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
  • Truffle salt to season
  1. Place the duck fat into an oven proof dish
  2. Place into the oven
  3. Preheat the oven to 200° Celsius
  4. Place the potatoes into a large pot
  5. Cover with water and add a teaspoon of salt
  6. Add the rosemary and bring to the boil
  7. Once the water starts boiling, turn it off and leave the potatoes to simmer
  8. Once the water stops bubbling, drain the potatoes in a colander
  9. Give them a good shake
  10. Season generously with salt and pepper
  11. When the oven has preheated carefully remove the oven proof dish
  12. Add the potatoes, taking care as the fat will spit
  13. Add the garlic, exposed side down, and the thyme
  14. Put back in the oven for 15 minutes
  15. Remove the dish from the oven and using a slotted spoon, remove the potatoes and place them into an oven proof dish
  16. Season with truffle salt and return to the oven
  17. After 10 minutes take the dish out of the oven
  18. Give the potatoes a good shake
  19. Return the dish to the oven for 5 minutes
  20. Remove and season with a little more of the truffle salt and some fresh thyme

Click on the links for conversions and notes.

Further to this, two readers stand a chance to win one of these hampers:

"TuberTek Avalanche Potato Perfect Partners Hamper"

TuberTek Avalanche Potato Perfect Partners Hamper

How to enter to win one of two TuberTek Avalanche Potato Perfect Partners Hampers:

Click to tweet!

I read how to make Roast Potato Wedges via @tandysinclair and am entering to win with #avalancheperfectpartners
Tweet: I read how to make Roast Potato Wedges via @tandysinclair and am entering to win with #avalancheperfectpartners

Terms and conditions:

The competition is open to readers of this blog who reside in South Africa only and closes at midnight of of the 30th of August.

The prize is 1 Avalanche shopping bag; 1 Avalanche oven gloves, 1 Baking sheet, 1 Nomu salt grinder, 1 500mls olive oil and 1 Potato peeler

The prize may not be redeemed for cash.

The prize will be sent to you from Lorena Gastaldi of Storybook Communications

I will not be responsible for the delivery or the non-receipt of the prize.

The terms and conditions of this prize are not interchangeable.

The winner will be the first randomly selected entry chosen after the closing date.

If the chosen winner has not responded within 24 hours of being notified of their win, an alternative winner will be selected.

Anyone who has won something on Lavender and Lime will not be considered as a winner again for the next competition.

The winner is required to accept the prize as described. No correspondence will be entered into with the prize winner relating to the terms on which the prize is offered.

Disclosure: I have been compensated for this post. The copy was provided to me and I was asked to host this give away on my blog. This post is in line with my blogging policy.

What I blogged August 25:


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Rating: 9.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Recipe For Orange Herbal Infusion

"Aniseed And Orange Winter Warmer - Extracted from Tea, Margaret Roberts (Struik Nature)"

Aniseed And Orange Winter Warmer – Extracted from Tea, Margaret Roberts (Struik Nature)

When we were in our twenties a friend’s parents moved quite often over a short period of time. The reasons are not that important to the telling of this story, but what is key is the answer to the question asked by one of the guys in our group. “Mrs D., why are you moving again?” To which she replied “The carpets need cleaning“. Dave feels that my car is to be treated as a lease agreement and when the service plan is used up, the car is worth trading in. My standard answer as to why I got a new car is that the tyres need replacing! So, I was very spoilt to get a new car last month. The service plan was not quite used up, but the car really did need 2 new tyres. The funny thing is, despite the fact that I have never caused an accident, for the week I had to drive my old car knowing it was being traded in, I was a bit road nervous. And this time with reason as I was nearly taken out twice by drivers who did not look before reversing! And of course, the first week of having a new car is also quite something as you get used to all the new features and hope that no-one opens their car door into yours. If you are a regular tea drinker, it might take some time getting used to using herbs, fresh ingredients, spices and flowers in your teas. This orange and aniseed herbal infusion is a great place to start. Orange juice is something we are all used to drinking and the aniseed adds a great flavour dimension.

"Aniseed And Orange Tea'

Aniseed And Orange Tea

5.0 from 1 reviews
Aniseed And Orange Herbal Infusion
This winter warmer tea will be sure to relieve the symptoms of the common cold.
  • 10mls aniseed
  • zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 250mls boiling water
  • 20g honey
  1. Place the aniseed and zest into the infuser holder
  2. Place the juice, boiling water and honey into the pot
  3. Leave to infuse for 5 minutes
  4. Pour into a cup and stir
  5. Sip slowly

Click on the links for conversions and notes.

Disclosure: I was sent the book to review by Penguin Random House South Africa and this recipe formed part of the review and is published with permission. This post is in line with my blogging policy.

"Tea, Margaret Roberts"

Tea, Margaret Roberts

What I blogged August 24:


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Pretty Girls, Karin Slaughter

Pretty Girls opening line: When you first disappeared, your mother warned me that finding out exactly what had happened to you would be worse than never knowing.

"Pretty Girls"

Pretty Girls

And it was! Julia’s disappearance tears her family apart in more ways than one. Julia’s father leaves the family home and becomes obsessed with finding out the truth. And when he gets close he commits suicide, leaving his family even more bereft. Julia’s mother moves on in the stoic manner she is best known for. Lydia falls into a life of drugs and crawls her way back to normality, without the love of her family. And Claire finds love in a man she believes to be perfect. But when he dies, her life starts to unravel and with it, the truth of the amount of abuse she has endured for years, without even realizing it.

When this book landed on my desk I decided to save it for our overseas trip. But then I thought I would slowly read it, so that I could be just starting a new book the day of our first flight. But, once I picked Pretty Girls up and started to read it, I could not put it down. Strength comes in many forms, and the truth will shock you.

First published in Great Britain by Century in 2015

ISBN number 978-1-78089-356-3

Paperback – 533 pages

Disclosure: I was sent the book to review by Penguin Random House South Africa. I was not required to write a positive review. This post is in line with my blogging policy.

What I blogged August 23:


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Win Tickets To Winestyle Winter Winedown

The Winestyle Winter Winedown have found a new home in the heart of Jozi – come and unwind and relax with us on The Rooftop in Kramerville. It is not just another average wine show – we are offering you the opportunity to taste some of the ‘Best of the Best’ and to rub shoulders with the wine professionals involved in creating your favourite wines.

"Winestyle Winter Winedown"

Winestyle Winter Winedown

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

The Winter Winedown, will be hosted at The Rooftop, 3 Desmond Street in Kramerville. Come and experience unparalleled views of the city, listen to live music and enjoy a variety of food from our locally sourced vendors. The Winedown is taking on a new urban edge, so come for after work drinks on Friday evening – or spend all day Saturday with us!

A ticket gets you entrance and a tasting glass, to roam around and taste for free, buy wine by the glass or bottle, order some delicious food, grab a spot on the balcony or around a fire basket and relax with friends and family for the day.

Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to warm up this Winter!

Venue: The Rooftop, 3 Desmond Street, Kramerville

Date: 4 & 5 September 2015  (Friday 5 – 9pm & Saturday 12-6pm)

Tickets: R150.00 per person attending, including a glass

Tickets available at Webtickets and at the door

How to enter to win one of 2 sets of double tickets to Winestyle Winter Winedown


Competition now closed!

Terms and conditions:

The competition is open to readers of this blog who can make their own way to the Winestyle Winter Winedown only and closes at midnight of the 27th of August

The prize is one of 2 sets of double tickets to Winestyle Winter Winedown

The prize may not be redeemed for cash.

Kalinka Lombard from Wine Style will ensure that the winners names are on the guest list at the door

I will not be responsible for the delivery or the non-receipt of the prize.

All extras associated with the attendance at the event are for your own account.

The terms and conditions of this prize are not interchangeable.

The winners will be the first randomly selected entries chosen after the closing date.

If the chosen winner has not responded within 24 hours of being notified of their win, an alternative winner will be selected.

Anyone who has won something on Lavender and Lime will not be considered as a winner again for the next competition.

The winner is required to accept the prize as described. No correspondence will be entered into with the prize winner relating to the terms on which the prize is offered.

Disclosure: I was invited to this event and asked to host this give away on my blog. This post is in line with my blogging policy.

What I blogged August 21:


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Recipe For Fish Pie

South Africa recently upgraded their visa requirements to be more in line with other countries around the world. One of these requirements is that all minor children who travel have to have a copy of their unabridged birth certificate with them. If they are travelling with only one parent, they also have to have a copy of the other parent’s passport and a letter of permission to travel. This is all in aid of curbing child trafficking. I am sure that it will not stop it. People who reside in China and India are up in arms about this requirement, but according to reports from Lufthansa, their customers are not that concerned about it. And that is because it is common in Europe to have these documents to hand. And had the British laws been the same, maybe so many teenage children would not be able to leave the country to fight in wars! Judgement aside, I was listening in at our UK Visa Interview to the lady in the cubicle next to us. The British High Commission were asking her for the same papers as she would be asked to provide were she coming to South Africa from another country. So why are our requirements being singled out. What is so fishy about wanting to make sure a child is entering and leaving South Africa with the knowledge of both parents? Something that should be fishy is fish pie. It should be all about the fish and the sauce that binds it together. Serve as a meal with a side order of peas and a glass of wine.

"Fish Pie About To Go Into The Oven"

Fish Pie About To Go Into The Oven

5.0 from 2 reviews
Fish Pie
This fish pie can be made using any fish you have to hand, but the smoked fish to me is what makes it perfect
Makes: enough for 6 adults
  • 4 large potatoes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
  • 500mls fish stock
  • 400g baby spinach
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 300g salmon or any pink fish
  • 500g hake, or any firm white fish
  • 150g haddock
  • 450g lightly smoked fish, we used angel fish
  • 65g butter, divided
  • 40g flour
  • Paprika for sprinkling
  1. Cut the potatoes into quarters and steam until soft
  2. Mash using a ricer and add 25g of the butter
  3. Place onto a low temperature and mix the butter in using a spatula
  4. Season to taste and set aside to cool
  5. Place the fish stock into a saucepan
  6. Place over a medium temperature and bring to a simmer
  7. Blanch the spinach and remove
  8. Set aside in a colander to drain
  9. Simmer the carrots until nearly soft and then remove and set aside
  10. Lightly poach the fish, in batches
  11. Remove using a slotted spoon and set aside to cool before flaking
  12. Pour the poaching liquid into a measuring jug
  13. Top up to 500mls with boiling water
  14. Place the saucepan back onto the heat
  15. Add 40g of the butter and allow to melt
  16. Make a roux with the flour and cook out for one minute
  17. Add the stock slowly until you have a nice thick sauce
  18. Reduce the heat and leave to simmer for 5 minutes
  19. Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius
  20. Press the excess liquid out of the spinach
  21. Place it on the bottom of an oven proof dish
  22. Season to taste (do this for each layer)
  23. Add the carrots
  24. Top with the flaked fish - for a pretty effect, do each fish in its own layer
  25. Top with the mashed potatoes
  26. I piped mine on, but you don't need to
  27. Sprinkle the top with paprika
  28. Bake for 30 minutes and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving
Cooks Notes
If you do not have a potato masher then remove the skins from the potatoes and mash using a potato masher or fork
"A Slice Of Fish Pie"

A Slice Of Fish Pie

Click on the links for conversions and notes.

What I blogged August 20:


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Rating: 10.0/10 (2 votes cast)

Wine Blending With Zonnebloem

I have been extremely privileged to have learnt so much about how wine is made, from viticulture, all the way through to bottling. But, other than knowing that blends exist, I’ve never been a part of the process. So, when Jani-Mari of De Kock Communications invited me on behalf of Zonnebloem to come and blend wine, I could not say no. And I am so glad I went, not just because my team won, but because I learnt so much!

"The Craft Of Blending With Zonnebloem"

The Craft Of Blending With Zonnebloem

20 of us attended this media event and we were split into teams to try and copy the Lauréat blend. Each team was given a sample of the 2013 Lauréat and we were told that the blend was made up of 45% cabernet sauvignon, 40% merlot, 10% shiraz and 5% petit verdot. Each year the recipe itself will change and the 5% component might come from cabernet franc grapes instead of the petit verdot used for the 2013 blend. We were told that petit verdot can rescue any blend and adds backbone to the wine.

"Our Blending Station'

Our Blending Station

The sample wine we tasted was a deep red colour with ripe plums and berries on the nose and a hint of spice and black pepper. The wine is fruit driven, meaning it pairs well with food and is full bodied and dry. The flavours of dark fruit stood out for me, with a hint of dark chocolate in the background. The tannins were not overpowering and the cigar finish was long with the wine lingering delightfully on the palate.

"Some Of The Wines"

Some Of The Wines

The winemakers create the Lauréat blend by starting off with a tasting of 30 different single varietal wines. They will choose the ones that will best give the characteristics that they want and discard the rest. The chosen wines will then be blended until the perfect blend is achieved.

"Blending Equipment"

Blending Equipment

We were only given 8 wines to sample for our blend and the first cabernet sauvignon tasted like dark berries with oak spice. The second sample was more dark fruit and cigar and the third was the cedar component we needed, with a hint of mint. Our first merlot was plum and “yum” and for this reason it went to the top of our list. The second merlot was more ripe berries with a taste of Christmas and very dry. We then tasted the first shiraz which was dry and full of spice and tannins and the second shiraz was plum and black pepper with dry tannins. We only had one bottle of petit verdot which was dry and fruity and this made our blending slightly easier.

"Wine Tasting In Progress"

Wine Tasting In Progress

As a team we immediately discarded the first cabernet sauvignon bottle. I wanted to highlight the second sample but my team felt that the third one was more dominant. We set about making our blends and this was our first attempt:

5mls petit verdot – the given

20mls cabernet sauvignon sample 2

25mls cabernet sauvignon sample 3

40mls merlot sample 1

10mls shiraz sample 2

"My Tasting Notes"

My Tasting Notes

Not 100% happy with this effort, we decided to only change one thing for the second blend. This is a habit I have picked up from Dave who as a race engineer always tells people to only change one thing on their race car to see if it works or not. Our second glass was as follows:

5mls petit verdot – the given

25mls cabernet sauvignon sample 2

20mls cabernet sauvignon sample 3

40mls merlot sample 1

10mls shiraz sample 2

"Our Yet To Be Filled Bottles'

Our Yet To Be Filled Bottles

We were much happier with this blend and Tessa de Kock said it was good, but not perfect. James (one of the winemakers) was quite impressed with this sample. We then made our third glass from:

5mls petit verdot – the given

25mls cabernet sauvignon sample 2

20mls cabernet sauvignon sample 3

30mls merlot sample 1

10mls merlot sample 2

10mls shiraz sample 2

"Calculating Our Blend"

Calculating Our Blend

and straight away we could tell that the merlot was not right. We decided on one more blend:

5mls petit verdot – the given

25mls cabernet sauvignon sample 2

20mls cabernet sauvignon sample 3

40mls merlot sample 1

10mls shiraz sample 1

"The Blending Process Is Complete"

The Blending Process Is Complete

I thought that this wine was the winner, and as a team we nearly went with it but James was not as convinced as we were. We then made up our 2 litre sample of glass 2 and called our wine James Says because James said it was better. And, it won! Bonnie (the head winemaker) was not convinced we had only used 5% of the petit verdot, but I can assure you (and her) that we had. My friend who owns a wine farm got to sample the wine that I took home, both the original and our team blend, and he was most impressed with our efforts.

"James Says'

James Says

I could not have done any of this without my team members, Marlise Potgieter from De Kock Communications, Danielle Le Chat from House & Leisure and Danie Keet, who writes for Die Burger and Eikestadnuus. I would also like to thank everyone involved for including me in an amazing experience that I will never forget.

"The Winning Team - photgraph supplied by De Kock Communications"

The Winning Team – photgraph supplied by De Kock Communications

Disclosure: I was invited to attend this function without being required to blog about my experience. This post is in line with my blogging policy.

What I blogged August 19:


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Recipe For Coconut Banana Loaf

I must say, I don’t usually handle winter very well. In the past I have tended to overeat, do less, and snuggle up under the blanket with my 3 Jack Russell’s. But this winter I have been determined to not put on weight. We are heading to Scotland next month and I want to be able to eat anything I feel like, and drink a few wee drams each day, without worrying about my clothes not fitting me when we get back. The best way to do this is to make sure my body is not sluggish. Thermogenics has a way of speeding up metabolism and usually we see this principal in the form of supplements, such as fat burners. But, you can go the healthy route and incorporate ingredients into your diet that will warm you up from the inside. Black pepper, coconut oil, green tea, cayenne, cinnamon and ginseng all have thermogenic abilities. I have increased the amount of pepper we use in our seasoning and I am cooking more and more with coconut oil as I love the flavour it imparts, especially when I fry mushrooms. For our every day soup I am using cayenne and turmeric to add both flavour and keep the common cold at bay. I also want to have treats in winter without feeling guilty and so when I was asked to test a recipe for coconut banana loaf that uses these warming principals, I did not say no.

"Coconut Banana Loaf"

Coconut Banana Loaf

5.0 from 2 reviews
Coconut Banana Loaf
Perfect healthy treat, with a distinct coconut flavour.
  • 230g bananas
  • 8g Canderel with sucralose
  • 230g self raising flour, sifted
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 48g coconut oil
  • 60mls milk
  • 85g Canderel crispy almond chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 40g desiccated coconut
  1. Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius
  2. Grease a loaf tin
  3. Place the bananas into a large mixing bowl and mash with a fork
  4. Add the sucralose and mix in
  5. Add the flour, eggs, coconut oil and milk and mix until completely incorporated
  6. Add the chocolate and desiccated coconut and fold to combine
  7. Place the batter into the tin and bake for 50 minutes
  8. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes
  9. Turn onto a wire rack and serve warm

Click on the links for conversions and notes.

What I blogged August 17:


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