Restaurant Review: JennaVIVA

JennaVIVA is situated at 206 Main Road in Somerset West. They can be contacted on 021 851 8237 and are open 7 days a week from 8am till late, except Sundays when they close at 4pm. The kitchen is closed between 3pm and 6pm and last orders are taken at 10pm. There is also a cocktail lounge which opens daily at 4pm except for Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays when it opens at 12pm. They are open most public holidays.

Daily specials are on offer and the average main course cost is R99. Corkage of R30 per bottle applies. The food showcases the best of fresh, local and imported ingredients and is rustic with a modern twist. They offer gluten free pasta which is a plus in my opinion. Freshly baked focaccia is served to each table once the orders have been taken.

© jennaviva

© jennaviva

On the 4th of October 2011 Dave and I went for a celebratory dinner. Dave chose the salmon and coriander fishcakes (R52) as his starter. They were very moist and served with vegetables. I had the calamari, chorizo and rice salad to start (R52) which was very spicy and the calamari was succulent. For mains Dave had the herb roasted free range chicken breast (R105). Dave said the chicken was very good, and rated his meal as excellent. I chose the chicken and prawn curry (R95) and I was a bit disappointed in the fact that my prawns were not cooked with the curry and were served more as an aside – head on (which I don’t mind) and not peeled. The samosas were oily and on the whole, this is not a dish I would recommend. The chicken curry portion was very spicy and tasty. Even though our service was good, I was not brought a finger bowl. I had the Amarula crème brûlée for dessert (R45) and it came to the table with an extra spoon, a nice touch! It was very creamy with grilled sugar and was served with vanilla ice cream on a chocolate dust with berries and a biscuit.

Wines are offered per the glass or bottle and this includes the champagne. I find this a fantastic idea. The wine list is very extensive and well priced across the range. The wine we chose was not in stock and our waiter recommended the Waterford Pecan Stream Pebble Hill 2008 (R95). Wine recommendations for the meals are included on the menu.

Our waiter was very knowledgeable and he asked us if we would like to wait between our starters and main course which is great attention to detail. Overall, the service was good and our waiter mostly attentive and very friendly.

The ambiance of the dining room lends itself to a fine dining experience. The music is background sound and the tables well spaced to allow for an intimate feeling when dining.

And … you can enjoy Sunday afternoon Sushi specials


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Something Savoury and Presto Pasta Nights 239

Once again I am the host for PPN next Friday and so this week’s challenge is easy – create a savoury dish using pasta, make sure you link back to my blog and the PPN blog and make sure your entry is submitted by MIDNIGHT next Thursday – no matter your time zone.

PPN 239

PPN 239


Cindy has done the rocket regional and seasonal challenge and stands in line to win! Colleen has made sure her rocket was regional and seasonal, as she picked it from her garden! How awesome is that?


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Pickled Garlic Recipe

When my copy of Taste Magazine arrives, it gets opened straight away. First I check to see if a letter I have written to the editor has been published – this has happened a few times and then I turn straight to read Sam Woulidge’s column. Sam is the most amazing person I have yet to meet. She writes about her loves, her food passions and things that make her happy, sad or nostalgic. I wanted to wipe her chin when she wrote about biting into an orange, and I have cried with her as her life has experienced some down turns. I keep her hopes in my thoughts – that she will be a mum one day, and that visits are frequent to her friend in Australia. I wish her every happiness. Her words evoke so many emotions in me that I feel as if Sam and I have been friends for ever. I know someday I will have the pleasure of meeting Sam – as soon as we can get our diaries to coincide. If you have not ‘met’ Sam through the pages of Taste Magazine, do take a look at her blog, confessions of a hungry woman – Sam may not be able to cook, but she can write. In fact, I wish I could tell a story half as well as she can. Sam is my inspiration for making pickled garlic. She wrote about enjoying these gems and so I have made some for her.

"Pickled Garlic"

Pickled Garlic

Pickled Garlic
Adapted from Preserve, page 104
  • 1.2l water
  • 300mls white wine vinegar
  • 50g sugar – I used fructose
  • 5mls salt
  • 6 heads garlic, separated into cloves and peeled
  1. bring the water, vinegar, sugar and salt to the boil in a pan
  2. reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes
  3. add the garlic to the pan and return to the boil
  4. boil for one minute
  5. remove the pan from the heat and allow the garlic to cool
  6. transfer to sterilized glass jars and top with airtight lids
  7. leave to mature in the fridge for 10 days before opening
  8. can be stored, unopened for 6 months


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In My Kitchen – November 2011

Celia who blogs over at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, has initiated a concept for us to share what is in our kitchens. Welcome to what was new in my kitchen in October:

I am starting with a picture of the inside of my fridge. This is a great way to see if we pack our fridges full of things that end up being thrown away or not. You can see a green bag in the one drawer. It was full of lemons from a friend’s tree – it still has some in them – lucky me :)

"in my fridge"

© in my fridge

This is a photograph of a lovely mustard pot from France and inside is mustard made with Guinness and the recipe is from Celia’s blog. I divided her recipe by 5 as that is how many mustard seeds I had – and it has made this pot plus another small jar!

"guinness mustard"

© guinness mustard

Next is a jar of masala made for me by my friend Ishay – this was in exchange for a jar of

my ras-el-hanout.

"ishay's masala"

© ishay’s masala

I went to the launch of Cape Winelands Cuisine and came home with these recipe cards – I will make each dish and blog about them (probably next year the way this year is rushing by)

"cape winelands cuisine recipe cards"

© cape winelands cuisine recipe cards

This is my most proud moment of the month – I am featured as the blog star in the magazine – I would love each and every one of you to buy one but as that is not possible I will upload the interview on my about page next month.

"taste magazine"

© taste magazine

I won this fantastic recipe book by entering the yuppiechef competition with my lamb shanks

"lamb shank with mashed potatoes"

© lamb shank with mashed potatoes


"jamie's great britian"

© jamie’s great britian

Have a super November everyone :)


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Sasha’s Pasta Recipe

I love cooking with my niece Sasha. Mostly because she is so enthusiastic in the kitchen, but also because it happens so infrequently. I go up to Johannesburg about twice a year and try and spend as much time with her as possible. She is nearly 5 and it is becoming a pleasure to spend time with her, playing ‘hide and go seek’, drawing, being outside at the playground and going out for ice cream.This visit we made cupcakes (from a box) and I burnt myself on my sister’s oven – this was a first for me. Sasha and I then made supper, she however was not interested in eating it. Sasha got to stay up late and have a grown up meal with Aunty Tandy and Grandpa. Kerry (my sister) tells me that Sasha thinks my name is Aunty Tandy and not just Tandy but what ever she thinks, I just love the yelling of AUNTY TANDY when she is supposed to be quietly in bed, or when she sees me driving up, or when she has had enough of me giving attention to the sister (her baby sister Nadia). She is the reason for the cookbook I am going to write this December, in collaboration with who ever wants to contribute.

"Sasha's Pasta"

Sasha’s Pasta

There is no exact recipe for this but basically we took some broccoli, sundried tomatoes, soft feta, marinated artichoke hearts and exotic mushrooms. The broccoli stalks were cooked with the mushrooms which we sliced (read Sasha sliced everything with a normal eating knife). The cooked ingredients were added to the other ingredients which were also sliced. This was topped with cooked pasta and several portions per person were eaten and enjoyed.

I am submitting this recipe to Presto Pasta Nights, which is being hosted this week by Ruth, the founder of PPN

Please see the Secret Santa post!

PS – this post was written before my sister and her husband made the decision to take a job in Australia – this month I will be cooking all sorts of lovely dishes with Sasha!


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Secret Santa – Last Call

I am away for a self imposed long weekend, and will be back tomorrow to catch up on comments and posts! I would like to say a big thank you to all the bloggers who have already indicated they want to take part in this gift giving. With just under 60 days to go, Secret Santa is nearly ready to be implemented for this Christmas. This is how it will work:

  • each blogger who is willing to send a secret gift to another blogger (in the same country) will send me their name and address
  • I will compile a list and randomly assign bloggers to each other
  • a ceiling price will be set I am thinking €10 / $10 / R100
  • each blogger who participates can ‘advertise’ the concept on their blog – the more the merrier

It would be great if we all put the widget on our blogs:

[<a href=”” target=”_blank”><img title=”” src=”″ alt=”” width=”150″ height=”150″ /></a>]

Please add your email address to the comment section!


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Getting To Know Each Other

Mandy has devised a set of questions so that we, as bloggers can get to know each other a bit better.

1.  Who would you be honoured to have cook in your kitchen?

Raymond Blanc

2.  What have you always wanted to cook or eat but never have?


3.  What is your favourite part of a chicken?

The thigh

4.  Do you use a knife or a vegetable peeler to peel potatoes?

I hardly ever peel my veggies, but if I do, I use a peeler

5.  What one item do you keep in the kitchen you know you shouldn’t use but do?

There is nothing in my kitchen that should not be used!

6.  Do you like using the new culinary foam with your meals?

I cannot see the point!

7.  What 3 meals would you take to a friend who is sick in bed?

Chicken soup, lasagna and chocolate cake!


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Regional And Seasonal Challenge To Use Rocket

As no one has taken part in the last Regional And Seasonal Challenge I am going to carry over the give away. I do not set these challenges for any other reason other than to challenge myself, so I am not at all concerned about the lack of participation. However, I will not give the recipe book away if there is only one entry! It needs to be a deserved winner of a challenge.

This month the challenge is to cook using rocket.

As I have just planted some in my garden I should manage this one :)

Don’t forget to link back to my blog if you take part and to leave me a comment here that you have done so.


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Cinnamon And Sour Cherry Bun Recipe

I had a real blonde moment when I joined Fresh From The Oven and so did not take part in the September challenge. After clearing up what I needed to do, I went to take a look at the October challenge, and it was for cinnamon buns. I had already posted a recipe for them, but this was not going to stop me from taking part. I decided to use the recipe from Things We Make that we were given with the challenge. I think if I were to make them again I would add some cinnamon to the dough and I would use my cinnamon ‘sludge’ from my recipe for the middle. These kept amazingly well and we enjoyed the treat all weekend long. I also did not do the icing but instead made a glaze with jam – and it really worked well. I used sour cherries (notice the dark bits) instead of sultana’s as I do not like sultanas but I should remember to have put them on the edge of the dough and not the middle so that when I rolled them up, they would not have been at the edge.

"Cinnamon And Sour Cherry Bun"

Cinnamon And Sour Cherry Bun

Cinnamon Buns For Fresh From The Oven
Recipe adapted from Things We Make
  • 125mls luke warm milk
  • 14g instant yeast
  • 7.5mls fructose
  • 25g melted butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 200g bread flour
  • 100g flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
for the filling:
  • 50g softened butter
  • 25g fructose
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 40g sour cherries
for the glaze:
  • 3 teaspoons St Dalfour 4 fruit jam
  1. in a jug, mix the milk, yeast and fructose and leave to stand for 10 minutes
  2. add the melted butter and egg yolk to the milk mixture
  3. place the flour and salt in a large bowl and add the milk and egg mixture
  4. using a dough hook, knead until the mixture comes together
  5. at this stage I had to 20mls milk to make a dough
  6. you can also knead by hand for 10 minutes
  7. put the dough back into the large bowl and cover with a plate
  8. leave in a warm place for 2 hours to double in size
  9. knock down and roll the dough out until it’s the size of a baking tray
  10. slather with the butter and then sprinkle on the cinnamon sugar
  11. add the sour cherries to the bottom of the dough
  12. and starting with that edge, roll up until it resembles a swiss roll
  13. cut into 2.5cm slices and place in a buttered cake tin (the deepest one you have)
  14. tuck in any sour cherries so that they don’t burn
  15. leave to rise for another 30 minutes
  16. preheat the oven to 200° Celsius
  17. bake for 10 minutes and then cover loosely with foil
  18. bake for a further 10 minutes
  19. melt the jam on the stove in a small saucepan
  20. remove the buns from the tin as soon as you take them out the oven
  21. brush the jam glaze over the top straight away


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Recipe For Almond Cake

My sister would prefer not to be in the kitchen! Not ever. She can cook, and has been known to bake, but this is not a love for her. My niece Sasha however is the complete opposite. She is a natural in the kitchen, you can see it by the way she holds a knife. She loves to cook and better still, she loves to bake. I look forward to being in the kitchen with Sasha when I go up to Johannesburg to see them. Sadly, however, these visits are not going to happen again after November. Ross (my brother-in-law) was offered a transfer to Sydney with the company he works for. The opportunity is one that cannot be turned down. Sasha’s new kitchen will be half way across the world from mine. Skype is going to become my new best friend so that I can watch my nieces grow up, and this blog is going to become a way for me to share my recipes with Sasha. As Sasha loves to eat cake, this one for an almond cake is especially for her.

"Almond Cake"

Almond Cake

Almond Cake
Recipe adapted from Le Creuset
for the cake
  • 95g butter
  • 95g castor sugar – I used fructose
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 5mls ground cinnamon
  • 5mls vanilla paste
  • 85g ground almonds
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 50g flour
for the cream
  • 80mls cream
  • 50g flaked almonds
  • 3 drops orange essential oil optional
  1. preheat the oven to 160° Celsius
  2. grease a small rectangular baking dish
  3. cream the butter and the sugar together
  4. add the egg yolks, the ground cinnamon and the vanilla paste and mix well
  5. stir in the ground almonds and the zest
  6. beat the egg whites to soft peaks and fold into the mixture
  7. sift in the flour and mix with a wooden spoon until everything is just combined
  8. pour the batter into the dish and bake for 30 minutes
  9. allow the cake to cool while you whip the cream and toast the almonds
  10. fold the toasted almonds into the cream and mix in the essential oil
  11. serve some of the cream with a slice of the cake

Click on the links for conversions and notes.


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