Competition – Win These Beautiful Flowers

My Mom, Monica went on a course to learn to make sugar flowers – and I could not wait to get her to show me how to make them. You have to be very patient but I must say the end result was worth having to start over a few times. My one flower was no where near as good as my mom’s, and she has really impressed me with her work.

c2a9 roses Competition   Win These Beautiful Flowers

© roses

You can order flowers or a cake for a special occasion by contacting Monica via email If you live in the Johannesburg area you could win a single layer, 20cm round cake iced and with flowers.

c2a9 sweatpeas Competition   Win These Beautiful Flowers

© sweatpeas

In order to win this you have to participate in one of the challenges I set this month. I will decide who the winner is and let you know. Please just drop a comment here if you do a challenge.


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Regional and Seasonal

The regional and seasonal challenge is based on produce that is in season in the Southern Hemisphere. It was inspired by the volcanic ash disruption to flights in 2010. One of my first aims is to use produce that is in season, and farmed locally. I choose these food items over organic. The bonus to me is if I can find organic produce that is locally farmed.

The challenge for this week is to use pumpkin or squash. There is no end date to the challenge as this is about challenging yourself to make use of a regional and seasonal product, hopefully in a way you have not done so before.

If you decide to take part in my weekly challenge, please link back to my blog in your post and leave me a comment to let me know you have done so. I will do a weekly round up of all posts.

This month I am going to be giving something away to one Johannesburg based blogger – watch this space!


Hayley has provided is with an asian slaw, and a write up on ethically sourced products! Cindy has made meatballs using the spices I set for the ingredient challenge. Hayley has made a buckwheat and butter bean soup. My challenge had the idea of chermoula!


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Recipe For Granadilla Cake / Passion Fruit Cake

Maxine was still a puppy when we moved into a house a block from the beach in Gordons Bay. The house was run down and neglected, but part of the lack of attention had resulted in a wild granadilla vine at the bottom of the garden. We did not get to eat many of the fruit from the passionflower plant, as Maxine developed a taste for them. If she could not open them herself she would bring the treat she had picked for me to open and spoon feed her. She still has this love and to date we have not seen one granadilla from our vine at home. I know there is fruit as I have seen the flowers and the green start to what Maxine considers hers. So, when I want granadilla’s I buy them. I decided to use them instead of milk to make a cake, and the taste was extremely refreshing – and no, Maxine did not get a taste.

Granadilla Cake Recipe For Granadilla Cake / Passion Fruit Cake

Granadilla Cake

Granadilla Cake / Passion Fruit Cake


  • 125g self raising flour
  • 125g sugar I used fructose
  • 125g softened butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla purée
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup granadilla pulp


  • preheat the oven to 180? Celsius
  • butter and line a cake pan
  • mix together all the ingredients
  • pour the mixture into the pan and bake for 30 minutes
  • allow to cool before removing from the pan
 Recipe For Granadilla Cake / Passion Fruit Cake


For conversions click here


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Crayfish Curry Recipe

I love the scent of spices slowly warming in a pan. They remind me of walking through the Souk in Jerusalem. When I was 16 a group of friends and I went to experience the wonders of the Holy Land. Cooking was not on the agenda, and as it was not something I loved or wanted to do, the Souk was a sight experience, not a shopping experience. I was fortunate enough to visit the spice Souk in Dubai and that was all about shopping. I went to spend the millennium in Dubai, with one of my oldest and closest friends. She was working there, and I went to see her and the country. It was the middle of Ramadan and so the Souk’s were open late and we could walk through at night. The sights were something to behold and as I type this I regret not having taken photographs of the colours of the spices laid out for people to buy. I bought some saffron and I still to this day look for the same packaging, as I know the quality was excellent. I usually make my curry blends fresh and if you have the time, do so yourself as well. This crayfish curry is a great use of spices.

Crayfish Curry Crayfish Curry Recipe

Crayfish Curry

Crayfish Curry


  • 15mls coconut oil
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 piece ginger (2.5cm), peeled and finely chopped
  • 5mls curry powder (add more if you prefer your curry hot)
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and sliced
  • 1 small handful fresh coriander, chopped
  • 5mls paprika
  • 1 star anise
  • 5mls cumin seeds
  • 125mls white wine
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
  • 125mls water (if needed)
  • 2 crayfish tails, sliced


  • in a pan, heat your oil
  • sauté the onion until soft
  • add the garlic, ginger, curry powder and chilli and cook until you can smell the spices
  • add the coriander, paprika, star anise and cumin
  • once you can smell the spices, add the white wine
  • cook until the alcohol has burnt off
  • add the seasoning and loosen the sauce with water if necessary
  • add the crayfish and cook until done (about 5 minutes)
 Crayfish Curry Recipe


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Chicken Tagine Recipe

There is a fine line between drinking and being a drunk. I love my glass of red wine with supper but I can just as easily go without it. When we are socializing the glass may turn into a bottle but I know when to stop. Not knowing when to stop is when the problem starts. For some people they should never have the first drink. You hear “I don’t drink at lunch time” from a person who has two beers with lunch. Or “I only had one glass of wine” from someone who keeps topping up their glass. These people lie to themselves and hurt the people around them. They rely on the alcohol to get through the day and their behaviour ruins relationships. These people become sneaky and defensive and their company is not something you would seek out. This becomes a problem when their partner is someone you get on with and whose conversation is interesting. Do you put up with the drunken antics for the sake of a friendship you treasure? Do you even risk cooking with alcohol for the person with a problem? Well, thankfully you can always burn off the alcohol and use the flavour of the wine. This makes it safe for both alcoholics, people who do not drink, and children alike. Before using alcohol bring it to the boil and take it straight off the heat for use in your recipe. I love making a chicken tagine for a lazy Sunday evening meal, to accompany a glass of wine.

c2a9 chicken tagine Chicken Tagine Recipe

© chicken tagine

Chicken Tagine


  • 15mls lemon infused olive oil
  • 4 chicken pieces
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 2 potatoes, halved
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2.5cm root ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 tin cherry tomatoes
  • 125mls white wine
  • 5mls arrow root
  • 1 handful flat leaf parsley, chopped, for garnish


  • in the base of the tagine, heat the olive oil over a medium heat
  • brown and season your chicken pieces
  • add the onion, potatoes, garlic, ginger and tomatoes
  • when the tomatoes come to the heat add the wine
  • cover and cook for 40 minutes to ensure your chicken is cooked
  • remove the lid and add the arrow root to thicken the sauce
  • stir in the parsley before serving
 Chicken Tagine Recipe


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The Versatile Blogger Award

Rita over at The Culinary Taste has awarded me a versatile blogger award - la ringrazio molto. I love Rita’s blog as I am in love with most things Italian. Here is my award:

 The Versatile Blogger Awardand the conditions attached:

  • You must thank the person who awarded you by linking back to their post
  • You have to list 7 interesting things about yourself
  • You have to pass the award on to 15 other new or newly discovered blog

Please go and read Rita’s very interesting facts about herself – and here are mine:

  1. I have my birthmark in my eye – which means my blue eyes have a brown spot
  2. I was paralyzed in my right arm for nearly a year, and I use my left hand for some simple tasks
  3. I have never cooked a Greek dish in my life and I suppose sometime soon I should try one
  4. I have had a passport since I was a couple of month’s old and my first trip out of South Africa was the Lesotho – knowing my mom, she still has the blankets from that trip
  5. I have a brave palate (according to my friend Cams) and I think I would try almost anything
  6. I live in a converted garage and my kitchen is tiny!
  7. I have an amazing husband who plans our annual overseas trips years in advance, and so I can tell you that in 2012 we are going to Scotland, and in 2013 we are going to Italy!

Passing this award on is not going to be easy for me as I love all the blogs I read, these are not new so I hope they count. I am not giving reasons as to why you should read these blogs – I do because they are great!

  1. The Only Cin
  2. The Complete Cook Book
  3. Unlimited Inspiration
  4. Homemade Heaven
  5. Browniegirl
  6. The Intrepid Foodie
  7. One Perfect Bite
  8. Fired Up Cooking SA
  9. The Squashed Tomato
  10. Science, Sightseeing and Sustenance
  11. Confessions of a Hungry Woman
  12. Mangetout and Other Stories
  13. Sweet Artichoke
  14. My Custard Pie
  15. The Gorgeous Gourmet
  16. Indigo Girl

Earlybird has asked me to make another award – and so that is why there are 16 people on my list!


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Rich Tomato Pasta Recipe

I had a big UP weekend and an equally big DOWN weekend and so comfort food seems like the best option. On the down side, my darling Boxer spent the entire weekend at the vet as she was too weak to stand or eat. The infection is clear but they still do not know what was wrong with her. They do know that her kidney function is good, her liver function is normal, she does not have a cancerous tumour nor does she have diabetes. They do know that her platelet count is low. So, even though she is now home she has to go back for more blood tests on Friday. Dave was away for the weekend so I had to deal with this on my own, but not alone thankfully as my lovely twitter friends were there for me. Another aspect of this was that my Jack Russell was bereft – her ‘daddy’ and ‘sister’ were not home. It was also the weekend for the Good Food and Wine Show and I was not home Friday night until very late, and all day Saturday into the early evening. So, she slept in the bed with me – which did not please Dave to hear. Another down was my masterclass experience with James Martin – which you can read here.

On the up side, my mother flew in from Johannesburg for a conference and I got to spend Friday night and Saturday morning with her. We had a lovely prawn dinner and a fantastic deli lunch together. It was nice having her to myself even though for such a short time. My friend Sidey had a weekend challenge of comfort food – perfect theme for my meal.

c2a9 rich tomato pasta Rich Tomato Pasta Recipe

© rich tomato pasta

Rich Tomato Pasta


  • 15mls olive oil
  • 4 rashers bacon, sliced
  • 6 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 75mls tomato pasta sauce
  • 25g Parmesan, grated


  • while your pasta is cooking:
  • heat the olive oil in a large frying pan
  • fry the bacon until the fat has rendered down
  • add the mushrooms and when soft add the garlic
  • add the pasta sauce and bring up to a slow simmer
  • add your pasta and toss through
  • garnish with the Parmesan
 Rich Tomato Pasta Recipe

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


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Ingredient Challenge To Use Cumin, Onions And Coriander

The ingredient challenge is one of my favourites as it is like a mystery box on Master Chef – each person gets the same ingredients, and usually we end up with a great selection of dishes.

The challenge for this week is to create a dish using the following ingredients:

  • cumin
  • onion
  • coriander

You can use as many other ingredients as you need to complete your dish. There is no end date to the challenge as this is about challenging yourself to make use of a set of given ingredients.

If you decide to take part in my weekly challenge, please link back to my blog in your post and leave me a comment to let me know you have done so. I will do a weekly round up of all posts.


Mandy made a great use of cabbage by preparing tarts.


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Review: Good Food and Wine Show: Master Class with James Martin

Before I can tell you why I was so disappointed and let down by my experience at the Master Class I am going to go back to 2008 and tell you about my experiences to date.

In 2008 the Good Food and Wine Show offered a hands on workshop with Anthony Worrall Thompson which I participated in. If my memory serves me correctly, the cost of the ticket was R350. (It may have been R380 but the R30 makes no difference to my memory). The R350 included entry to the show as well as entry to all Chefs In Action Theatre shows I wished to attend on that day. The hands on workshop was behind a glass screening wall which meant that the general public could watch, but not hear or participate in the workshop. Anthony was placed at a workbench in front of us, and we could clearly see what he was doing as there were cameras focussed on him at all times. Furthermore, as the general noise from the show could not be heard, we could clearly hear what he had to say. We made a three course meal and got to take it home with us.

Unfortunately, Anthony was not at his best that day, he was hungover, had not slept enough and cut the workshop short as he had a flight to catch, and I complained. The organizer offered me a free workshop for the following year which I took up. In 2009 I attended the hands on workshop with Brian Turner and I believe that the tickets were the same price. Once again, the ticket included entrance to the show as well as the Chefs in Action Theatre shows for the day. The class was again behind a glass screen – with Brian in front of us. We could hear every word and he was fantastic. We cooked a three course menu and took our food home with us. Brian was so good that I decided not to miss another opportunity to do a hands on workshop. Unfortunately I could not attend the one with Gordon Ramsay last year as I was in Johannesburg.

I have been a proud owner of James Martin’s recipe book The Collection for a number of years now and so when I saw that he would be at this year’s show, giving a master class I sent an e-mail to Kate to make an enquiry. The e-mail correspondence took quite some time but eventually Kate replied and I booked on the 1st of April. I did not hear back from Kate but realized my booking had been accepted when I got an SMS notification from Nedbank that my credit card had been debited.  It was only after I had made the booking that I asked whether the R1500 included an entrance ticket? It did not. So, over and above the R1500 I would have to pay to get into the show. I could attend the Chefs In Action Theatre shows on the day – and pay for them if I wanted to see them. The cost of the ticket to see James Martin in the Chefs in Action Theatre was R150 or R300 for a VIP experience.

I arrived at the show well in time to spend some money and then made my way 15 minutes early to the area where the BBC Lifestyle Hands On Workshops were taking place. The area was open to the public and when I got there over 100 people were sitting on the chairs and the floor waiting to see James in action – this was a cooking demonstration they got to watch and listen to free of charge! There was no clear indication of where the 12 people who had paid R1500 were to go and so I fought my way onto the stage and then to the area that looked like people were waiting. The ‘head chef’ from Capsicum Culinary Studio who was in charge of getting the people onto the stage was most rude. There were no official tickets for the James Martin Master Class as the organizers had not printed them. He had to check our names off a list and he was not at all pleasant about it.

c2a9 james martin and the audience watching him Review: Good Food and Wine Show: Master Class with James Martin

© james martin and the audience watching him

James’ workbench faced the audience and we were placed on the sides of the area – with no clear view of James at all. I was shown to a workbench and then rudely asked to move! The attitude of the ‘head chef’ was so bad that I would not move. I could not see James from where I was standing and moving further back would only make it worse. In fact, the lady who was at the bench where they wanted me to be had most of her ingredients missing and fell way behind.

c2a9 james martin doing sugar work Review: Good Food and Wine Show: Master Class with James Martin

© james martin doing sugar work

This was advertised as a master class – but it was nothing more than a cooking demonstration with a few people following along. The audience were noisy and commenting the entire time. James was cooking for them and there were no cameras focussed on what he was doing so that we could see what to do. The ambient noise intruded so badly, and the microphone system James was using was so poor that we could not hear him give instructions. The sous chefs had no clue as to what was going on.  The ingredients were not all there, they were not clearly marked and as the sous chefs did not know what to do in the recipes, errors were made using their instructions! There were not enough bowls, pans, whisks, spoons etc and each time we realized we did not have what we needed off a sous chef ran to the back to get it. It was a shambles.

We started with the batter – and not being able to hear James I put all my flour in the bowl – I was told off like a school girl by James! As an accomplished and published chef, this has never happened to me before. I managed to make a great batter, even though I poured all my tonic water into it at once. Thankfully I did this, as the lady behind me had no batter and I gave her the rest of mine to use.

After the batter we made the sponge – and mine was no problem. My workbench partner, Heleen, did not have the same experience. She did not fold in her flour, as she could not hear what James was saying, and so knocked back all the air. We had to mix our batters together into the sponge tin and then that was placed in the oven. The oven for the lady behind us had not been turned on, and so our oven door was opened  for her tin to go in. I asked the sous chef to set the timer but he was not interested. I then had to closely watch the sponge which meant I was not really paying attention to anything else. James showed the audience how to flip the sponge out of the tin, but our sous chef decided he knew better. Heleen had dusted kitchen towel with icing sugar instead of using parchment paper. The sous chef then took the sponge out of the tin instead of flipping it. He was not going to listen to me! This resulted in the sponge breaking and our swiss roll failing!

Our sous chef also decided that instead of each of us making a ganache he would make one – which was not too bad, but it did not come off the heat soon enough. He told Heleen to do the same thing with the white chocolate – which was the wrong instruction. White chocolate mousse is not made by melting cream and white chocolate together! We then had to get more ingredients to make the mousse but as our white chocolate had not been melted in time and then allowed to cool, we had to be extra careful to make sure the mousse did not split. Our assembly of the swiss roll was not going to work from the start as there was a huge crack down the middle and Heleen would not cut it in half. The still warm ganache was placed on the sponge – which soaked it up. Then the mousse, and the strawberries and then disaster stuck. The whole thing fell apart as soon as Heleen attempted to roll it. Heleen had to parade this disaster to the audience!

It was then time to make the mayonnaise – now, I know how to do this and it was simple and easy. So was making the tartar sauce to go with the fish. The fish needed to be floured – and so I floured and battered mine and got it into the oil – no utensils were provided and I had to wait for a slotted spoon. The batter was awesome – the fish however was not!

And, after a two course meal James did some sugar work – which the non paying audience got to see, but I did not. I was most disappointed by this, as I had asked him on Friday night to please include this in the master class!

We could not take our food home with us and I left there feeling so let down and flat. I could have paid R300 for the VIP show and had a far better experience, watching James cook without an audience of talking people, without the public announcements and without feeling like an inadequate home cook which I am not.

Frankly, I would say that the organization was diabolical and I feel that I should be refunded for what was a very bad experience. This was not a master class, it was not a R1500 personal experience and it was totally wrong that our extremely expensive experience was marred by poor organization and lack of knowledge by the sous chefs as to what was cooking. I spent 5 minutes watching Atul Kochhar on the Friday night and no wonder he was so openly frustrated – it could not have been easy trying to get 12 people to follow your instructions if they could not hear you or see what you were doing.

c2a9 atul kochhar Review: Good Food and Wine Show: Master Class with James Martin

© atul kochhar

I have no idea what James thought of the whole experience but I personally found it to be a shame that such an amazing chef thought he was giving a cooking class. I also wonder how the people who paid to see him in the chefs in action theatre would feel knowing that their VIP experience could be had for nothing as they could have watched our master class and come onto the stage afterwards to have their photograph taken and a book signed! This master class was not even worth the R300 VIP experience.

c2a9 james martin Review: Good Food and Wine Show: Master Class with James Martin

© james martin

Disclaimer: in no way do I feel that James Martin, or the BBC is responsible for the shambles of the hands on workshop – he is a great person who did his best under extremely trying conditions. The situation was out of his control and it was completely due to the way in which it was organized.


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Friday’s Food Quiz Number 54

My friend PinkPolkaDot has posted her weekly quiz, and here are my answers. You too can participate – just let her know.

1. Where does authentic Hungarian Goulash get its reddish colour from?


2. What is Cataplana?

I am sure we have had this question before! It is a dish used to cook seafood in from Portuguese origin

3. If I talk about Royal Gala, The Starking and Cripps Pink, what am I referring to?


4. What is Bigné and when is it traditionally eaten?

this sounds like Beignets – which I have eaten in New Orleans around Mardi Gras time. They are the holes of the doughnuts

5. What is saladito?

I have never heard of these and so used wiki to learn more! Click here to see the answer

6. What are the main ingredients of Tomato sabayon?

a sabayon is made from egg yolks and sugar and usually alcohol, so I would assume you replace the alcohol with tomato water?

7. What is Pimento also known as?

chilli pepper

8. Ricci di mare is the Italian name for Sea Urchins. What is the best way to eat them?


9. What type of tuna is mostly marketed locally as Musselcracker or butterfish?

this confuses me, as both of these species actually exist. However, we do not always get proper butterfish at restaurants or the markets. As long fin tuna is the most common of all tunas and it is what goes into our tinned tuna, I am going to guess this is the answer.

10. What are traditionally the main ingredients of Parmigiana?

aubergine, cheese and tomato sauce


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