Wasabi is native to Japan and is a semi aquatic perennial with long stemmed, heart shaped leaves. Its inflorescences of white cruciform leaves reach 40cm. There are a number of varieties, but all form thick, knobbly rhizomes.

"wasabi taste test"

wasabi taste test

Grow wasabi in very clean cool, slightly acidic alkaline running water, with plenty of shade. The temperature should be between 10° Celsius and 13° Celsius. Propagate wasabi from offsets of the rhizome. Keep the wasabi well shaded, cool and watered.

Wasabi, often in paste form is served with sushi, sashimi, soba noodles and other Japanese dishes. 

information sourced from The Complete Book of Herbs


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Recipe For Pasta Al Forno Con Pomodori E Mozzarella

I, like so many other people I know, have a collection of recipe books that I have never used. In December 2010 the dogs (read Dave) bought me Jamie’s Italy. I love the way Jamie Oliver writes his recipes books, but I very seldom turn to them to make a dish from them. Because of this, I decided to set a challenge last month where you could choose a recipe book you have never used, and then choose a recipe to make. I made my recipe in time to submit it to my own challenge, but I did not have time to post it. So, as usual, I am late.

"Pasta Al Forno Con Pomodori E Mozzarella"

Pasta Al Forno Con Pomodori E Mozzarella

This recipe, from Jamies Italy page 114 is really simple. You make a basic tomato pasta sauce, add some fresh basil. You then layer this with some cooked pasta, Parmesan cheese and top it off with mozzarella. This is baked at 200° Celsius for 15 minutes .

I am submitting this recipe to Presto Pasta Nights, which is being hosted this week by  Alisha of Cook, Craft, Enjoy 


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An Evening With The Winemaker, John Faure, At Vergenoegd Wines, Stellenbosch

In 2010 Dave and I took a drive down a dirt road and discovered this lovely wine estate, surrounded by vines and beautiful old buildings. We met Chef Michael Israel who is the proprietor of Pomegranate Restaurant and after one delicious meal we booked for the harvest festival dinner March 2011. John Faure, the winemaker, hosted the dinner and spoke to us about the process of wine making. Unfortunately for us, we booked for the last Thursday of the month and the harvest was already over.

"the dinner table awaiting the guests"

© the dinner table awaiting the guests

We then booked for the winter dinner with the winemaker, and it was after this that we decided that we would have Dave’s 60th birthday party at the estate. In 2012 year we were invited by John to join him for the first harvest dinner of the season (they are held every Thursday evening in March). Unfortunately we could not be there for the first dinner, but we went for the second Thursday and had a fantastic experience.

"grape stomping"

© grape stomping

Our evening started at 18h30 with a glass of wine and a grape stomping. Dave was a great sport and stomped grapes. We were then taught about the importance of yeast in the wine making process and watched the vats being turned over, listening to the CO2 gasses escape. We watched the yeast begin its process of eating the residual sugar in the grape juice and then moved on to supper. We were given a taste of the Rosé ‘wine’ to taste – it starts off as a sweet juice, and you can feel the yeast working on your tongue. Very refreshing in a way.

"the rosé grape juice being turned into wine"

© the rosé grape juice being turned into wine

Our starter was a plate of three of Michael’s most popular starters and was accompanied by the Estate wine. This was followed by a choice of duck or game and both Dave and I chose the game. The duck was served with Merlot and the game with Cabernet Sauvignon. I of course had to sample both wines :) Dessert was a chocolate fondant, soft and gooey in the middle as it should be, and served with a Tawny Port.

"our three course dinner"

© our three course dinner

After enjoying this sumptuous meal, we proceeded back into the cellar and could put our feet into the wine vats. The cap of grape skins is so thick, and I decided that as I was wearing pants I would stick my hand in. It took some penetration, but as soon as I broke through the skins, I could feel the cold grape juice. John then proceeded to pump the ‘wine’ from the bottom of the vat onto the grape skin cap to agitate it and release any CO2 gasses.

"John Faure hard at work"

© John Faure hard at work

We loved the evening so much, that we went back again the following Thursday and again in 2013. If you want to experience the harvest dinner, contact the estate on 021 843 3248.

"Harvest Dinner March 2013"

© Harvest Dinner March 2013


ps: I have not been paid to write this blog post, even though we were invited guests, and our return visit will be paid for by us.

pps: for my non South African readers: Vergenoegd can directly be translated as ‘satisfied’

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I Have Been Tagged …

by the lovely Paula, who blogs over at Reflections From A Cloudy Mirror. Paula has tagged me to answer 11 questions, and to ask 11 people 11 questions.

Here are the eleven questions (very musical ones I see) and my answers (not very musical):

1.  Do you know the way to San José?

no, but google maps does!

2.  What do you get when you fall in love?

a lovely husband named Dave

3.  What’s it all about, Alfie?

who the (bleep) is Alfie – sorry, wrong song!

4.  Why do fools fall in love?

so that people can become grandparents

5.  What kind of fool am I?

I don’t think you are a fool

6.  How do you solve a problem like Maria?

hide her somewhere?

7.  What are you doing the rest of your life?

travelling, shopping, cooking, eating, being in love ….

8.  Do you think I’m sexy?

?? not sure how to answer that, never having seen you!

9.  What’s love go to do with it?


10. “When will I see you again?

around the blogs, ever weekday

11. Are you lonesome tonight?




my 11 questions:

  1. would you eat brains
  2. would you eat sweetbreads
  3. would you eat fish eyes
  4. would you eat tongue
  5. would you eat haggis
  6. would you eat ox tail
  7. would you eat liver
  8. would you eat kidneys
  9. have you eaten anything that is not considered a normal food group
  10. what is the strangest concoction drink you have ever had
  11. what is your most memorable meal

and I am breaking the rules, and not tagging anyone. However, if you want to answer the questions, please do and let me know :)


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ABC Award

My friend over at Blue Jelly Beans has awarded me the ABC Award – Awesome Blog Content Award:- and I am ever so grateful to her for this. I love her posts and each one is done in English and Spanish so every now and then I learn a new word :)

This award was created by Alyson and David Sheldrake over at The thought palette – do pop in and pay them a visit. To ‘accept’ the award you just add the abc award logo to your post and then you can share something about yourself with your readers and then pass the award on to other worthy bloggers – there’s no limit to how few – or how many – other bloggers you can send this to. I always find this difficult, selecting a few bloggers and not all the ones I follow for passing an award on to – but for this award I have decided to choose my top commenters:

Chica Andaluza

The Complete Cookbook

Rufus’ Food and Spirits Guide

Another Day In Paradise

Pure Complex

Zesty Bean Dog

To share something about yourself – you will need to go through the alphabet and choose a word or phrase for each letter and use that to describe yourself – it might be something about you, something you like, or a place or thing you dream about. And that’s all – no long descriptions or detail – just create a new post, add your shiny new blog award badge and alphabet words and let your readers enjoy finding out a little more about you.









In love

Jacked up

Kick A*S

Love life





Query everyting






Wedded bliss

Xtra ordinary

Yell out loud



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Recipe For Cucumber And Avocado Soup

Yesterday, I posted a recipe for flour tortilla’s that I made to serve with a cold soup. I love cold soups and this is one of my favourites. With cucumber being so refreshing, it is perfect for hot summer days. Our summer is not over, this morning it was 22°C/71.6°F at 7am and I always have these ingredients in my fridge, so I know what I will be making for lunch today.

"Cold Cucumber and Avocado Soup"

Cold Cucumber and Avocado Soup

Cold Cucumber and Avocado Soup
  • 150g cucumber
  • 50g avocado
  • 100mls vegetable stock
  • 5g coriander
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper for seasoning
  • 5mls cream
  1. place the cucumber, avocado, stock and coriander into a blender
  2. blend until smooth
  3. add salt and pepper to season
  4. swirl in the cream

Click on the links for conversions and notes.


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Recipe For Flour Tortillas

In the 21st issue of Taste Magazine I asked the team to please give me a recipe for tortilla wraps. This was way back in April 2007 and since then I have done nothing about the recipe other than file it for later use. Since then I have continued to buy my wraps from Woolworths, and they are not cheap. Mine may not have been as perfect, but they are great and I am now left wondering why on earth I waited so long to make them. They are so easy and all you need to do is make them about an hour before you want to use them. They need to rest for 30 minutes and so you can go from ingredients to a meal in an hour. I made 4 to see how they would work and the recipe I have given below is for 4 wraps. You can increase the recipe to suit you, as they have be frozen for up to 3 months or left in the fridge for 5 days, once cooled. As they are so easy to make I decided it would be just as easy to make them when I need them. I did not use my tortilla to make a wrap. Instead I decided to serve it with a cold soup.

"Cold Cucumber and Avocado Soup"

Cold Cucumber and Avocado Soup

Flour Tortillas
  • 180g flour
  • 1g salt
  • 1g sugar
  • 40g butter
  • 100mls water
  1. sift the flour, salt and sugar into a bowl
  2. rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs
  3. gradually add the water and mix into a soft dough
  4. you may need more or less water, depending on the flour
  5. the dough should not be too sticky or too dry
  6. divide into 4 balls and place on a lightly greased surface
  7. cover with a damp cloth and leave to rest for 30 minutes
  8. roll each ball into a circle as thin as you can get it
  9. cook each tortilla in a very hot pan for 1 minute per side
  10. if it puffs up press down with a spatula
  11. use immediately

Click on the links for conversions and notes.


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Horseradish is a hardy perennial that forms a rosette of long leaves. The 30 or more strains in cultivation include Bohemian, Swiss and Sass, and almost all of them are sterile. Below ground, horseradish forms a taproot that expands in diameter in the second and third year.


© horseradish

Horseradish requires a sunny position and a well dug soil enriched with rotted compost. In spring plant pencil thin sections of lateral horseradish roots horizontally, or up to an angle of 30° from the horizontal. Cover with soil and firm down. Do not let horseradish dry out otherwise the roots will become bitter.

Dig up horseradish roots and use them fresh at any time in the second and third year; they are at their peak in flavour after the first frost. Store clean roots in sealed p0lastic bags in the fridge for up to 2 months.

Young horseradish leaves can be eaten as a vegetable, but the root is the part most often used. Peel and grate it as needed, as it loses its pungency soon after grating or when heated. To make a simple condiment mix 250mls grated horseradish, 125mls white wine vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Store in a lidded jar in the fridge. Use this with beef, fresh or smoked fish.

information sourced from The Complete Book of Herbs

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Recipe For Capsicum & Tomato Sauce

I am 5’7″ (1.68m) and have been this tall since I was 13. At 13 I weighed 49kg and maintained this weight throughout high school and into my twenties. As my then unknown intolerance to sucrose became worse my weight dropped to 44kg. I then went through a stage of weighing between 52 and 44 while the doctors and naturopaths tried to figure out what was wrong with me. As soon as my blood sugar levels stabilized so did my weight. I gained a bit when I gave up smoking and lost a bit when Dave moved to Gordons Bay before I did. But then after the move and a wedding, I was a happy 54kg. Content and lax, this winter has been a shocker. Despite losing weight in France I am now close to the chubbiest I have ever been, and I know I am not fat! But I don’t feel comfortable and so it is diet time for me. My new routine is my resolution for 2012! It has been going on for two months already. I will gym everyday I can and I will start with small steps – 20 minutes of cycling until I’m back to 1 hour of training a day. I will walk more and I will pay attention to my treats. No more milky coffees, no more sandwiches and no cake. I’ll go back to being good for 5 days and letting go on the weekends. I need to be fit and feel better before we leave on our annual holiday. At the same time I am doing my own ‘no red wine and no cheese diet’, Dave is on a restricted carbohydrate diet. For both of us, the diet is working and it is not hard work. We have both lost weight and feel great. But, with no pasta and no potatoes 5 days a week, each pasta dish has to be something special. I can promise, this one is.

"Red Capsicum And Tomato Pasta Sauce"

Red Capsicum And Tomato Pasta Sauce

Red Tomato and Capsicum Pasta Sauce
  • 2 red capsicums cut in half and deseeded
  • 15mls olive oil plus more for drizzling
  • 12 baby tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper for seasoning
  • 125mls stock
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 15mls tomato paste
  1. preheat the oven to 180° Celsius
  2. place the capsicums into an ovenproof dish, skin side up
  3. drizzle with olive oil and place in the oven for 30 minutes
  4. remove and place them into a bowl and cover with Clingfilm
  5. place the tomatoes into the same dish and cook in the oven for 5 minutes
  6. heat the olive oil in a pot and gently sauté the shallot and garlic until soft
  7. remove the skins from the capsicums and slice
  8. add to the pot, together with the tomatoes and any juices
  9. season and add the stock, cayenne and tomato paste
  10. bring to the boil and blend until semi smooth


Click on the links for conversions and notes.

I am submitting this recipe to Presto Pasta Nights, which is being hosted this week by Simona of Briciole


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Shellfish Bar, Kleinmond

The Shellfish Bar is situated at the bottom of Harbour Road in Kleinmond. As I cannot recommend this establishment for more than the view, I am not going to give you their contact details or tell you their trading hours.

They serve seafood and sushi, and with a limited menu, they should not get one dish wrong! The average price of a starter is R45 and for a main course R77. They offer 6 starters and 5 main courses and there were no desserts on the menu. The wine list is average and being a seafood establishment, heavy on the whites.

"Shellfish Bar"

© Shellfish Bar

Dave and I took a drive along the coast with the idea to stop and have lunch here. We had been before, and were not disappointed at all by our lunch. We chose a table with a view, and Dave ordered the Dish of Mussels (R45) which came in a broth which resembled water and was tasteless. Moreover, the mussels were tough. I ordered the Creamy Garlic Mussels (R53) which was bland even though the onions were raw. The curly parsley added more flavour to the dish than the garlic and my mussels were overcooked as well. I was amazed when the plates of food arrived that there was no bread, but it arrived eventually, a slice each of what we call Government bread. Plain brown loaf bread.

The waiter did not add or detract from our experience and as I said before, the only thing worth going for is the view. I would not mind sitting at the wooden tables on a bench to have an ice cold beer and watch the sea.

And … sadly, there is no and value!


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