Posted By thecook on July 30th, 2013
Last weekend we finally fired up our wood burning pizza oven. I must confess I secretly delayed this occasion for an entire month because I was afraid my non-existent pizza skills would not live up to the aesthetics.
You see, as the chief cook of the home, I was in charge of the entire process: Measuring and plotting the foundation, the design, paint colours and techniques, work top and the African mosaic design (still to come).
While I had experts assisting me with the structure (Italoven) and landscaping (Four Seasons Gardens) I was afraid my whole look would go up in smoke with the first disappointing pizza.
Our pizza making started at 1PM on Saturday and ended at 5PM on Sunday.
The secret is a good teacher and expert pizza maker and Tony Rose from Tony’s Spaghetti was on hand to guide us from a very hot oven (400 ˚+) to pulling the dough and not rolling it.
My brother-in-laws dough recipe, my toppings ( which included 8 hour pulled lamb and Jalapeños, Labneh cheese, pancetta and gooseberry jam , Buffalo Mozzarella and freshly snipped basil) and wonderful friends and family ensured the pizza lived up to the oven!
The Dough recipe
PIZZA DOUGH (6 pizzas)
This is half the original recipe as I like to use my kitchen aid and dough hook, but feel free to double the recipe and knead it for a good 5 minutes.
500g white bread flour
300ml + water-tepid
1. Place the dry ingredients in the bowl and whisk while adding the water. If the recipe is too dry add more water.
2. The consistency is perfect when it is still sticky but dry enough to just come away from the bowl.
3. Add to a very well-oiled dish, cover with a damp cloth and allow to rise
4. When double in size knock down, knead and roll into a sausage, cut into 6 slices.
5. Roll each slice into a ball. Place on a floured tray, cover with a damp cloth and allow to rise again.
Posted By thecook on July 29th, 2013
Posted By thecook on July 16th, 2013
Last week I realised that happiness is not the result of achievement. Success lies within us, and (for me) there is more to life than competing and achieving.
Posted By thecook on July 11th, 2013
I am no restaurant critic and I feel descriptive articles of award winning restaurants, master chefs and an elaborate breakdown of each marvellous component of an outstanding dish, should be left to the professionals.
So I will just say this: My lunch at La Colombe was my best meal and culinary experience, ever.
Four of us dined on different Tapas, homemade bread, homemade butter, oysters, starters, mains, sorbets, desserts and friandise.
So I feel qualified to say that after tasting sixteen spectacular dishes, it was the best meal I ever eaten.
Posted By thecook on July 8th, 2013
THE COMPETITION: Pick n’ Pay’s http://freshlyblogged.co.za/
THE BRIEF: 6 basic ingredients, only 1 substitute allowed as well as basic pantry staples (no spices or herbs)
COMPETING: 40 food bloggers
THE PRIZE-3 part spread in SA’s number ONE food magazine, Fresh Living
THE DYNAMICS-A very busy person who hates competing and has no big match temperament
THE PROBLEM –Babylonstoren Shiraz arrives in the post same day
THE OUTCOME-My best food photo to date!
Posted By thecook on June 27th, 2013
I spent my first child- free long weekend away, hitting Cape Town and the surrounding winelands on a culinary adventure and I would have been far more homesick were it not for the magnificent 5 star Crystal Towers hotel & Spa, where I was made to feel like family and not a guest.
What I loved most about this swish hotel were the unexpected and surprising David Kramer and Kingsley Holgate rooms. They were almost left undiscovered as I had to walk past a neon floor-to –double volume –wall bar filled with rows upon rows of Moet ( I swear it was like a shrine built for me).
The Holgate room was occupied and so I spent my final evening unwinding with a hot chocolate in front of a gorgeous crackling fire, getting lost in a journey of David Kramer’s life through photographs, a live DVD, memos, music and even a replica of his famous guitar.
The delight continued as I discovered our architect friend designed the interior of the New York loft style family restaurant or smokehouse KNIFE and my gorgeous Godchild’s face and his sister are splashed on the distinct and unusual monotone wallpaper!
Fabulous and friendly staff, delicious hospitality, faultless food and a David Kramer room, (I mean COME ON!)
Posted By thecook on June 26th, 2013
If I could turn back the clock (and I would only for this reason). I would get married at Babylonstoren. Maranda Engelbrecht would be the mother I never had and she would transform my day and night into something unimaginable.
Posted By thecook on June 26th, 2013
The winner of the beautiful BABEL cookbook, personally autographed by Maranda Engelbrecht has been won by Lizelle (see the Facebook page).
Maranda and I at the glass house, Babylonstoren
Posted By thecook on June 20th, 2013
When it comes to hospitality, Masterchef SA judge Benny Masekwameng’s smile and dimples are more inviting than a roaring fire and 3 course executive meal in the exclusive Hoeveld house in Inanda.
He may be gracious, humble and a soft spoken gentleman but he sure can COOK and 19 lucky guests were seated around a table for his spectacular dinner, while viewing MCSA episode 4.
Watching the show with wine, food and funny people (Egoliboy’s chirps would have made Joan Rivers wince) is so much more entertaining and I may just never resort to watching it in bed again.
Everybody was encouraged to tweet , blog and check in and celebs, presenters, bloggers, authors and the little gobsmacked cook got cracking (ok I lie, I was WAY too distracted by the food).
The food was SUBLIME, my favourite course was dessert (duh) but the lamb chops were just perfection and I was so relieved to be surrounded by people HAPPILY eating the fat! (See? happy people eat fat. Period.)
We all contained ourselves until we were gifted Chinese- style boxes and expecting Macaroons or similar, let out yelps of joy when we saw our beautiful Masterchef aprons. Even the most well turned out Diva’s could not wait to pop on their apron (in fact I was driven home in mine!).
It was one of the most memorable evenings and I am ETERNALLY grateful to MNET for the very very special invitation. #MCSAByinvitation
Posted By thecook on June 10th, 2013
I hosted an earlier- than- planned father’s day luncheon this weekend and had to set up two tables to accommodate the crowd. I was writing to my foodie pen pal Lisa early on Sunday morning, telling her about my theme and menu and she begged me to take photos and suggested I post them just to prove I really “DO practice what I preach “(as if I don’t!).