Welcome 2013…you are going to be a fantastic year

And so 2013 has arrived.   Christmas celebrations came and went, followed by the big decision as to what one should do for New Years, all through our busy little town the big discussions of where, what and how while buzzing around and getting in your last bit of 2012 before that first day of 2013’s hangover sets in and you spend your day lazing around.

Sitting now and watching the news, you really take in all that happened last night, from the tragedy of the fires in Cape Town, to the tradition of the Annual Malay Choir Parade being cancelled due to Mother Nature’s wrath.  All this makes you really think hard about your year that has passed, and your year ahead, waiting for you to embrace it all.

I had a wonderful 2012, I started the year by marrying my best friend, my soul mate and the one person who never judges my choices, who supports me and loves me unconditionally. Babe, you bring a smile not only to my face, but also to my heart…every day I fall in love with you more and more.

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Mid-way through the year I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Food & Wine Bloggers Indaba in Cape Town, little did I know that this was the kick-start to so many new challenges, goals and dreams that will be accomplished in 2013, along with this, I spent the day with my wonderful friends, catching up, drinking wine and enjoying delicious food.  This needs to be done more often girls!

Along with these two events, so many other wonderful moments for 2012 spring to mind…

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Now all long 2012 was not always sunshine and roses, there were a few tears, a few days of feeling defeated…there were days of internal screaming and shouting in my own head, but with each one of these days, came the unconditional support and love from my wonderful family and friends, who makes even the darkest clouds have a silver lining.

I do not have any New Years resolutions…this explains it all…

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So…with this, farewell 2012, it has been great, thank you for not ending.   2013, the year of the snake, this year is the first year since 1987 to have all its digits being different numbers. I embrace you and cannot wait to experience all you have to offer.

Food Love at Meade Cafe, George, Gardenroute

Meade Cafe has been around for a while in the Garden Route.  I remember being fresh out of high scholl we all flocked there for the signature “Jamie Oliver Sandwich”.  Since then it has changed hands, turned into a more interior decorating spot, and now recently back into a cafe in its original spot and even more impressive!

Being slightly warmer, we decided to sit outside in the garden, which I absolutely love.  Looking around you would never imagine you are sitting in the middle of George’s CBD, you forget the world outside of those walls.  With Spring in the air, the flowers are starting to bloom, the smells of fresh Spring surrounds you, and you are taken into a magical world.


 

Inside if fit with a few tables, a counter full of wonderful pastries, quiche of the day, and the entrance to the kitchen simple says “the best kitchen staff works here” I absolutely love the positivity and friendliness, and most importantly the warm Meade Cafe gives you, inside and out!

The menu is small, nothing over the top, printed on recycled paper, all so simple and absolutely perfect!  They have a few adverts from different businesses in the close vicinity, so while sitting and looking over the menu, you can book a spa treatment or think about booking a photographer…

The fishcakes were highly recommended, so we had to order these!  Along with the fishcakes, we ordered the grilled polenta.  Both dishes blew me away.

The homemade fishcakes served on a baby potato and leaf salad, homemade tartar sauce and salsa

A mixture of hake & snoek, with fresh parsley and lemon zest gave these fishcakes so fresh and light!

Grilled Polenta topped with Ratatouille & olives and a touch of anchovies just had me squirming with delight.  Such a simple dish and my mouth was watering with delight!

This is a perfect example of the type of food I love.  Often you go to a restaurant and you have the restaurant classics, but nothing excites you…I love the excitement of food, of that something that really makes you think, feel and fall in love!

Mixed Berry & Granola Smoothie and wonderful ladies night out

I love surprises, and wow did I receive one last night. About 2 weeks ago, myself and J were invited for dinner, I found it rather strange but none the less accepted, last night when we got to our hosts house, I didn’t smell any food cooking nor see any tables set, and when I walked in, a great big SURPRISE was called out. All the ladies decided I needed my first “wives” dinner out. Sadly I didn’t get any photos as I didn’t take my camera with, but it was such a wonderful evening.

We went to Five Elements, and again, I really enjoyed every moment. It is the fine dining restaurant in the area, and given not a restaurant you can go to every week, it is definitely a must for any special occasion ( boy oh boy do I find special occasions!)

The atmosphere is wonderful, do pop on over to the website and have a squiz.

Again, no photos, but I can tell you what I had!

I started with a dish called Fire & Ice – seared Szechuan peppered tuna with Japanese radish and cucumber sorbet. The flavours were a magical dance in my mouth. This dish was definitely a top favourit. The sweetness and the pepperiness was such a wonderful combination, with the cooling subtle cucumber sorbet.

For mains I had a hard time decided exactly what I wanted. So many lovely choices, however, the duck jumped out at me. I had Duck Roulade wrapped in swiss chard with creamed mielies, white mushrooms & duck jus. The meal was very interesting, i have to admit I personally didn’t like the plating, but the flavours made up for it. The duck was wonderful, cooked to perfection with a play of allspice which just brought so many different aspects to the palate, you kind of all over the place, yet your flavour focus comes together in the end.

Dessert, I decided on a rooibos crème brulee, which I have to say was wonderful as well. The hard crack of sugar you break through was perfect, nothing more beautiful than that crack of sugar. Thats when I know I am in crème brulee heaven. The best part is the dessert was not overpoweringly sweet, all the flavours were subtle and worked wonderfully together.

So again, a big thank you to the wonderful ladies, it was exactly what I needed!

Today, I finally got to the Department of Home Affairs and have now officially changed my last name and applied for my new ID book. I have to compliment the DOHA in Humansdorp, what wonderful friendly service which I have never received from any officially government department. I walked in and 20 minutes later, with lots of smiles and laughs, I had dotted all my i’s and crossed all my t’s and I am now officially going by my married name, which I love!

And of course, with this, I give you one more Smoothie. I am so excited about the new challenge from Tandy over at Lavender & Lime. I am working on a great rawliciouse ideas!

Mixed Berries & Granola Breakfast Smoothie

1 cup frozen mixed berries
1 cup low fat vanilla yogurt
1 tbsp honey
1 apple roughly chopped
½ cup your favourit granola
1 tbsp chia seeds

Add all into a blender, the berries give a nice tang, just add a little more honey if you want to sweeten it up.

Books, and the great value they hold in ones life…

I have always loved books, and have a small collection which is currently growing. I find books to be the most amazing gift, and value every single one of the books in my collection.

Most of my books are all boxed up from when I went overseas, and then moved to St Francis Bay, however I always have my cooking books with me.

8 years ago I was given my grandmother’s recipe book. My gran had a sight problem and couldn’t see anymore, she would often use a type of magnifying glass to see things, however, the recipe book had become impossible to read. This book was passed down to me as my mom doesn’t cook, so I have it in my possession. It has been among my growing collection of recipe books, and will always be a valuable part of my book collection.


I have dreams of one day, when we have our own house, to have a whole room just dedicated to books, I absolutely love being surrounded by books. The 3 years I spent in the USA, I lived in a town called Highland Park, just outside Chicago, and there was this wonderful library, which I use to spend a great deal of my time. I could sit for the longest time just paging through books, I think I get some of my greatest inspiration in books, not just when it comes to cooking, but life inspiration.

I recently purchased a Gobii e-reader, so my fiction book collection is now sitting on my Gobii, however, my most recent cookbook I acquired is Cooking With Jenny Morris.

Jenny is such a beautiful person, and I love how she makes being a chef fun. The love for food is what is most important and comes through right throughout the book, not the “image” of a chef where life is hectic and all you do is scream and shout in the kitchen, she is living the passion, and everyday falling in love with food. Thank you for being such a great inspiration Jenny!! Hopefully I will see you again at the Food &Wine Blogger Indaba 2012!!

Lavender Infused Honey and wonderful friends

I am very blessed to have some wonderful friends, people who have been a part of my life, whether for a short period of time or for lengthy periods, some I speak to daily, others I speak to once a week, some, only once every month or two, but the best part about these people are the fact that even though we are so far apart, when we do communicate, it is as if there was never a gab in time.

Four of these people played a large part in the wedding, and both myself and Justin are so grateful to have such wonderful people in our lives. Our bridesmaids and groomsman. Justin had met my bridesmaids before, but it was a first time I met him groomsman, and most of his friends from Pietermaritzburg. But immediately they felt like family, like people I know will be a part of our lives forever.

For the wedding, as gift favours, I did lavender infused honey, and let me tell you, what a mission. Firstly, to obtain 8kgs of honey is a rather pricy affair, as well as logistically a mission. There is a local place here in SFB which sells honey, however, often they do not have stock, or only a certain amount, finally we got out 8kgs, of honey, a citrus flavoured honey which was delicious on its own. I however wanted to infused the lavender with it, to tie up the theme of the wedding.

I took about 2 handfuls of lavender, which I got from my lovely friend Shelley’s garden, and dried it out a little in the oven, I then let it cool and just gently crushed it between my fingers, just to release some of the oils.

I took my 8kgs of honey, and brought it up to a simmer (at this point I was on the phone with my mom and didn’t control the heat properly so I have a good lot of honey all over my kitchen floor and all over my kitchen counters) make sure you control your heat properly.

Added my dried lavender to the honey, and let it simmer for about 30 minutes, turned off the heat and left it over night to cool completely. Then proceeded to put the honey through a sieve to strain out all the lavender, and pour into the bottles. My wonderful MIL did this for me as I was running out of time!

I still have some left, and use it over my muesli in the morning, or in my rooibos tea, I love it. The beautiful scent of lavender flows through your sense every time you open the little jar, it is just absolutely wonderful!


life slowly returning to normal…as a Mrs now…

What a beautiful view to come home to…

When we got engaged in April 2011, I said that there is no ways I will be one of those stressed brides…and I was very successful until the Thursday before the wedding…but I am told that that is normally the day that the freak out happen, well it happened to me. We are very blessed to have wonderful friends and most importantly the most amazing family whom support and love us, and who can now find the humour in it all.

The wedding…was everything and more we could ever ask for. I felt like a princess and most importantly, we both felt so loved, not just love from our family and friends, but our love for each other. We were blessed to be able to share that love with everyone who attended.

I get our photos on Friday, so I will do a nice post over the weekend regarding the wedding and share some lovely photos, this post…I want to share some honeymoon moments.
I didn’t know where we were going for the honeymoon, it was kept a surprise, and I only found out where we were once we had driven for 8 hours and had taken then final turn off. Justin surprised me by taking me to Umngazi River Bungalows. What a magical place…we spent 3 days doing nothing but eating, relaxing, enjoying the sun and just being with each other…perfect.

The food was way too much, breakfasts were continental spreads and of course a few hot dishes, the best was a breakfast cruise we did, where we went up the river and had breakfast under the trees.

Lunches were spreads of salads, pates, breads, pasta or wraps with so many options of fillings, sitting on the deck over looking the pool, having lunch and drinking wine and relaxing.

Dinners were 6 courses, every night it was different, beautiful dinning room, filled with wonderful aromas from the kitchen. The one evening, we opted to have the private dinner in the wine cellar.
Of course we had to enjoy this occasion with my favourite wine…I love the 2009, bit the 2011 is just as wonderful. The meal was greatly complimented by this bottle of wine.

We started with salads, a Greek salad and a spinach & haloumi salad, with freshly baked breads and a whole grain mustard butter and herbed butter.


Followed by pan fried calamari, with a sweet chilli sauce. So tender, it was buttery, I loved it.

The main course was a seafood platter, which we could not finish, I am not a huge fan of prawns and often Justin ends up eating them all, but these were done to perfection, unfortunately the calamari was crumbed with breadcrumbs so I didn’t enjoy that too much, but what a wonderful meal.

Dessert is always the last thing I think about, I had the lemon meringue and Justin had the chocolate brownie, neither were great, not a great end to the meal, but the rest of the meal was wonderful, and eliminated the dessert part for us.

We enjoyed ourselves with back massages, and spa baths, overlooking the Indian Ocean, and wow, what a view to sip bubbly while enjoying the view.

This was the first 3 days….I will blog the rest of the honeymoon tomorrow…