Have you noticed how a trend just sneaks up on you and you think you are on to things but you realize you aren’t really?
Food trends in particular. From one day to the next, or that’s how it seems, every magazine, blogger, Instagram and FB post is talking about Pulled Everything. Pulled pork, lamb , chicken the list goes on. You race back to check your mags, bloggers Instagram and fb to see if you were out of the loop for a while. And you weren’t – and now everything is pulled. I do some quick reading only to find that nothing has changed, only the vocabulary- what is now pulled was Slow Roasted or Fall off the Bone.
Whew, sigh of relief, the food world didn’t change without me.
Don’t get me wrong, I love nothing more than a Slow Roasted leg of lamb, now a Pulled leg of lamb, with delicious Slow Roasted veggies ( I am guessing that veggies can’t be pulled?) with a rich sticky sauce with creamy Parmesan mash potatoes. Same goes for Pulled Pork on crispy thick white ciabatta.
What happened to Sun Dried? We had Sun Dried tomatoes coming out of our ears and now they are a thing of the past, up there on the grocers shelve with Sun Dried Olives. I do suspect that they were likely to have been Oven Dried but somehow that’s not so appealing.
Another new Food Trend you can’t avoid right now is Salted Caramel. Apparently it is so wonderful you can have it on practically anything. I’ve seen it on popcorn, which I don’t mind, on cheesecake and even on savory dishes like quiches. And of course it is not just any old salt – it must sea salt or volcanic salt or something equally exotic sounding.
The one trend I am looking forward to its quick demise will be the Balsamic Glaze one. And I am ready to spearhead the campaign. Single handly if I must.
It seems that the sole purpose of this product is to turn your plate, your meal, your meal and your napkin into a huge sticky mess. Why? Chefs seemed to use it liberally as a garnish – “may I please just have a radish rose?”
Corny and out of date but the radish rose doesn’t make me want a shower after my salad. Or my breakfast.
I hope I see the next Food Trend coming, I don’t like things sneaking up on me.
I feel Christmas is about to do that quite soon…
Roll on Spring, we’ve missed lunches outside but not the mosquitoes.
Food Stations have become an entertaining staple over the past few years. And why not? We love the idea of having foods on display for guests to help themselves to. Food stations also work brilliantly with almost any party or theme. We’ve done a ‘food market’ for a wedding, a curry bar for a corporate year end party and even a live action sushi bar for a birthday.
When creating your food station there are definitely a few things you should focus on
You want your guests to have a great idea of where in the world they are. Food stations work brilliantly with one genre of food per station. Don’t worry too much though if you can’t make up your mind. Rather have a ’round the world’ series of stations and take your guests on a culinary adventure.
Once again, this should really tie in with what you are serving. Food markets look great with black boards and gingham tablecloths, use piles of spices (think cinnamon sticks!) for Morocco and really bright flowers (and chillies) for Mexican
You can’t do a food station without food! This is the easy part, because you probably already know what you want to eat. The important thing here is to ask yourself how your guests will be eating. If they are sitting around then make-your-own tacos is perfect. STanding? Maybe a bowl of chilli con carne with guacamole and nacho chips is better.
One of our favourite ways to get a stand out station is to have a signature drink per station. Think Tequila shots, bottled ginger beer or even steri-stumpies with cookies for dessert.
All in all a food station is a really fun and quirky way to get your guests talking and to bring a theme into your party or event. The possibilities are endless. Go wild!
All pictures in this post were taken by Charles Johnstone
When you’re in the party business it becomes something you learn a lot about.Which is great, because every now and then we have to throw one too. This year Nikki put together an unbelievable 40th Birthday Party for her husband Sean. So, how DO you ensure a flawless party every time?
LOTS of food!
We love mezze type platters. Think chicken and lamb skewers, pita bread, dolmades and dips. These work well, you can do so much with them and everybody loves them. Another option is to cook a huge gammon (or grab one from the butcher), clear the dining table and lay out a make-your own feast. Bread rolls, different cheeses, potato salads and pates can all be added on to this and everybody can decide what they would like to eat.
Again, lots of it. For an interesting feature hire a bartending service or a mixologist and get them to invent a signature cocktail for when everyone arrives. Most bottle stores have a service where you let them know how many people you’re having and the work out what you’ll need. There are a few that will offer to take back what you don’t consume – which make it so much easier.
Just remember the ice! The last thing you want to be doing in the middle of the party is running out for more.
Without music a party is just a gathering. Get a playlist of old favourites together – make sure you include the classics you love to dance to. Otherwise hire a DJ. They’ll be able to read the crowd for you – and they’ll have everything already. Set up a meeting beforehand to ensure that you like them and you won’t be disappointed with their choices on the night.
Parties can be stressful, but if you focus on these 3 elements it’s guaranteed to go well. Just remember to have fun!
I have just had a wonderful week in the Cape and just wanted to share my thoughts on a few restaurants and, well, just life in general!
Babylonstoren is an absolute treat, regardless of whether you like farms or not. The accommodation is superb and the food sublime. Most of what you eat comes from their gardens, even the pigs, chickens and beef! Not to mention the delicious wine from their own vineyards. It rained a lot, which was dream for me because I just wanted to be curled up in front of a blazing fire with my book and a glass of wine. Perfect.
(Image taken from Babylonstoren)
We had many meals in the bakery at Babylonstoren, delicious pizzas and risottos and their soups were wonderfully hearty.
We did venture into Franschhoek which is very different in the winter months – so many restaurants are closed for a break so while we weren’t spoilt for choice, we weren’t overrun with tourists either. We drove through torrential rain to Café Bon Bon, one of the nicest restaurants I have been to in a while.
We had a table in front of a blazing fire and had the best pork belly imaginable. And more wine.
The sun started to come out on the day were leaving for Cape Town – I was happy to see some sun by then so we drove to Cape Town in high spirits.
Restaurants in Cape Town have always been better than those in JHB – I try hard not to admit this, but it is true!
The highlights were :
Tigers Milk in Muizenberg – it has feeling of Katy’s Palace Bar with a sea view. Great music, great food, great evening.
Black Sheep on Kloof Street – delicious food and great service – great new find for us.
Four and Twenty – Chelsea Village Wynberg – owner run ( as so many places in CT are) for a delicious breakfast.
Do you remember when going to Cape Town meant you could go to Melissa’s?
Well, not any more. What a huge disappointment! Sad food and bad service and an attitude of not caring. It’s a pity that this brand that was at the top of its game has lost its way…
I couldn’t write this post about Cape Town without mentioning that we did go the Memorial Service for Jenna Lowe. She was the most courageous 20 year old and achieved great things in her short life.
It was an absolute privilege to be part of such a moving memorial, no parent should ever have to make such speeches about their child but they did. And they did so with great courage and with admiration and humility.
Their lives will never be the same ever again, but they will carry on with Jenna’s legacy and will continue to champions of her cause : to get more organ donors signed up in South Africa.
R I P Jenna Lowe.
(Image courtesy of Jenna Lowe Trust)
(All images were taken from the websites of the restuarants)
Winter is here and looks set to be a cold one! When it gets cold like this everyone immediately reaches for the warm drinks, and nothing quite hits the spot like Hot Chocolate.
This hot chocolate recipe is delicious and satisfying – managing to warm up every part of you. It’s made with only 4 ingredients, so it’s really easy to make and adjust to your own tastes. We’ve also added some variations for you to try!
Ingredients – makes 2
2 cups milk
1 tablespoons cocoa powder
4 teaspoons brown sugar
4 blocks dark Lindt chocolate (we like the 85%)
Pinch of salt
Heat the sugar, milk and cocoa in a pan on the stove with whatever variation ingredients you feel like. Mix all together. Once the milk is heated stir in the chocolate and remove from heat. Serve topped with whipped cream for extra decadence.
Add a pinch of crushed chilli for extra heat
Add some orange zest for an interesting twist
Throw in a cinnamon stick to get that fragrant winter warmth