An unforgettable Paper Anniversary

Unbelievable that a year has gone by

Wow a year already? Just feels like yesterday

A whole year and you two are still so much in love

I heard these statements, and the like, rephrased in many different ways over and over by loved ones for the last week.  I just have to smile because I can believe it has been a year, a wonderful year of being married to my best friend…my soul mate…the first of many years ahead.

Our wedding was small and intimate, as intimate as 80 people can be, we focused on sharing our joy and happiness with the people closest and dearest to us. With one of the best wedding teams in the country, St Francis Links Golf Estate exceeding all our expectations.

angie roux wedding 21012012

angie roux wedding shoes 21012012

But you all know the story of our wedding…now for the story of our first anniversary.

Monday past, being our first wedding anniversary, represented by paper, I had in my mind that I should expect a gift voucher of sorts – maybe to the day spa or the bookstore…but I am blessed with a very romantic husband.

Sunday afternoon, Justin arrived home from work with 3 envelopes.  I at first took no notice of them as I was very concerned he had forgotten to pick up the odds and ends that were essential to my dinner preparation.  Picking the envelopes up to move out of my way while I frantically dug in the shopping bag, I noticed the one said “1st Anniversary” which obviously grabbed my short attention span away from the shopping packet.

angie roux anniversary part 1 21012013

There in my hand were 3 envelopes marked “1st Anniversary”. The first one, Part 1 was to be opened on Sunday.  Anyone who knows me, knows I love surprises, and even more so, I love the game that goes with a surprise.  Part one was bullet point instructions to pack essentials.  This got me even giddier as not only was it a surprise but it was a going away surprise. I was in my eliminate right there!

Part 2 of my envelopes were only to be opened when Justin told me to do so.  I was dying inside as I needed to know what the next part of the surprise was. But I had to wait…I didn’t do so very patiently, asking every 5kms if I could open the envelope. Eventually the go ahead was give, Part Two was instructions to please help the driver with directions, a map was fastened to the letter.

angie roux anniversary part 2 21012013

Arriving at our destination I was overcome with such love for this man.  He knows the internal workings of my mind so well, he understands how I love being isolated and in a natural environment, yet don’t do the camping / hiking or any general outdoors type activities.  He knows just the right spots.  Our anniversary destination was Misty Mountain Lodge in Tsitsikamma, situated between Plettenberg Bay and Jefferys Bay. The resort is based on a cliff and overlooks the ocean with the most picture perfect scenes.

The afternoon of just being together –  laughing and sharing, the joys of no phones…being surrounded by peace and calmness and simply enjoying each other’s company was the perfect way to spend our anniversary.  We explored what the venue had to offer, followed by a relaxing bubble bath, building up to the delicious dinner shared over drinks and much happiness.  The staff of Misty Mountains was amazing, very welcoming and so efficient.

angie roux misty mountain lodge 21012013

Part 3 was only allowed to be opened on Monday morning, the day of our anniversary.  Justin wrote me a love letter, filling my hearth with warmth and my eyes with tears.  I am so fortunate to have the unconditional love from this man.  Every day that goes by, I count my blessing.  Along with my love letter was an “IOU” for the next time we are in Port Elizabeth to go pick out jewellery…a romantic weekend away with my amazing husband and jewellery…sorry ladies, he is all mine!  Can a girl get any luckier?

angie roux anniversary part 3 21012013

Spring has sprung in Port St Francis

Spring is in the air, can feel it, and with Spring comes new beginnings.

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I decided that I needed to clear up in the house. My closet is a mess, with the winter we are covered in layers of clothing, bulky, warm layers that fill our winter cupboards.

I like to help others, I have a beautiful friend who claims I am a giver
not a receiver, so I went on her theme and decided to give all my old clothes away to the less fortunate, all 3 bags full!

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I am currently on a little leave again, my plans are to do a little house keeping, relax, read as much as I can, try out a few recipes, I started off my morning with my book and a cup of coffee.

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Tomorrow we are on our way to Addo, my husband decided to spoil me and tske me away for the night, I can not wait, as you that know me know, I am not a camper, so a little cabin in the game reserve is the perfect get away, some away time with my favourit person.

And on that not, I better go pack! Plan in spending 2 days in jeans and a tshirt! So unlike me but so what I wsnt to do!

Oxtail, the perfect winter comfort food

My Comfort Food…I love stew type dishes, I love slow roasted, long cooking stews that takes hours and hours, with full flavoured sauces, but yet have very little work to them…that warmth and hearty feeling of a good winter meal.

I have often wondered what the fascination with oxtail is, in my opinion it wouldn’t be the best cut on the market, however, it is a delicious cut none the less.  As a child, I remember we use to eat a fair amount of oxtail, my older brother and I always referred to it as the “airplane bones” my dad would make, we would spend so much time licking the bones and giggling over the shapes.

With the really cold windy weather we are currently experiencing here in the country, I wanted something that would give me that hearty feeling I crave, my mind went all over, but settled on oxtail, I had the time, so after going to hunt for oxtail, I got into the kitchen and began the dish that brought back such fond childhood memories.

Wintery Oxtail

1.5kg oxtail
about 300g flour
2 tbsp Robertsons bbq spice
1 tbsp mixed dried herbs
oil for frying
1 tin whole peeled tomatoes
5 carrots, in large cubes
1 pk tomato paste
2 onions, cut roughly
2 cups red wine
2 cups beef stock
1 can butter beans
1 ½ star anise
seasoning

Mix the flour, bbq seasoning and dried herbs in a container.  Coat the oxtail in the flour mixture and brown in a pan.
Remove from pan and place into a deep oven proof casserole dish.
Add the onions, carrots, tomato paste, tomatoes, beef stock and red wine to the casserole dish, you want to ensued the meat is well covered.
Season, toss in the star anise and cover.
You want to cook the oxtail at 160°C for 6 – 7 hours, and then turn your oven up to 220° C for an hour, the higher heat will thicken your sauce a little more.
Remove from heat, drain the butter beans and add to the oxtail.
Let heat through and serve with light fluffy mashed potatoes.

And that, for me, is my perfect comfort food, with no mess and no fuss!

Lunch in Woodstock at Jamaican me Crazy

Our trip to Cape Town was filled with what we love to do best…try new places to eat.  My husband always tells me how he loves going to eat out with me because I always want to try new things, and I stay away from franchises / chain restaurants and of course, just how much I love food, even if it’s something simple.

I love the artisan and very much eccentric side of food.  I do enjoy a fine dining experience now and then, for me, I love quirkiness and restaurants that are unique and different.  While in Cape Town, we got to experience two of these kind of restaurants.

The first one on the list was Jamaican me Crazy in Woodstock

I learnt about this restaurant from my good friend, Blossom.  It’s her son’s place, and of course I just HAD to go!  I am freely going to admit I do not know much about Jamaican cuisine except the classic jerk chicken, so I was super excited to experience something so new with my good friend!

We started off with a few cocktails, I have to say I was very impressed with the selection of cocktails, and of course the fact that if you so wish, you could have any of the cocktails virgin style, and this brings me to my number one YES at any restaurant.  Versatility!

The menu has a little bit of everything so you have such a variety which can sometimes be a good thing and sometimes be a bad thing.

In my true style, I had to have a platter so I could taste many different things!  And wow, was this a large platter, it was for two so my husband had to help me out!  The platter consisted of a spicy mussel soup, Jamaican flatbread, calamari, jerk chicken winglet; coca cola basted ribs, meat pies and jalapeno poppers filled with feta.  To me, what stood out the most were the spicy mussel soup and the calamari.  So often you go to a restaurant and the calamari is bready and oily, this calamari was absolutely delicious!  I must find out the secret to the great calamari at Jamaican me Crazy.

My husband enjoyed a steak with blackened prawns and calamari. At first he was willing to try the goat curry, which I was very surprised about, unfortunately they goat curry was out of stock for the day.  I think it would have been such a huge accomplishment on my part, I have been trying to get Justin to eat more adventurous things…it’s working!

The waiter, Charles was very friendly and attentive; he had the sweetest smile and looked after the table with great ease.  He knew when to approach and when to rather let us be, which is such a rare treat when dinning out.

All round, the experience was wonderful, I loved the upbeat colours of the restaurant, in my mind, exactly how I would picture dinning in a typical Jamaican restaurant.

I learnt sport events are often on show on the large screen projector, you can have private parties or just spend time having a drink, with wi fi available it’s the perfect place to chill out and  enjoy a easy snack and some quiet work time, or meeting with friends after work.  A great vibrant restaurant which I highly recommend!

The second place I have to mention is Bombay Bicycle.  Watch this space for our experience which will follow soon!

Food and Wine Bloggers Indaba 2012

So it’s been almost two weeks since the 3rd Food and Wine Bloggers Indaba, and let me tell you, I still smile at the great memories, of not only the whole experience but of old friends, new friends, and of course the wonderful organizational skills of the beautiful Browniegirl aka Colleen Grove.

Before I go any further, I have to give Colleen a round of applause, I attended the first FBI 2 years ago, this year, Colleen, you have set your standards extremely high, you are going to have to pull a rabbit out of a hat to beat this experience!  You did a wonderful job, and I have to say a big thank you for not only putting it all together, and for all the hard work, but for the warm welcoming hug, and all the love you give.  As mentioned before, you inspired me not only to blog, but with day to day inspiration with your stunning desserts.

The morning started off with excited hugs and long time no see’s, and of course our lovely gifts from Yuppiechef – our knife & apron, which has a lovely space on my knife magnet between my collection of Scanpans.  After coffee, busy chattering, meeting new friends, and  buffet of welcoming cookies, off we were to the conference room to kick off the Indaba.

As each speaker enlightened us with their know how, many people where taking notes and as I looked around the room, I could see the busy fingers of fellow bloggers tweeting, causing #FBI2012 to trend.  Such an achievement for such a young event. Many things were learnt which shall soon be put into practise…which I know will only open more doors for me.

After lunch was served, a buffet of beautifully presented mezze’s of deliciousness, and wine was drank, thank you Tangled Tree, we broke up into our different workshops.  As a chef, I blog for the networking and inspiration, so for myself, the inspirational workshops were Hands On Cupcake Decorating Workshop and Bubbly & Canapé Pairing Workshop.

The hands on cupcake workshop was presented by Grace from Cupcakes by Design, and boy was it loads of fun.  Not only was Grace a wonderful teacher with her knowledge and know how, but she was so friendly and gave personal attention to each one of use that sat around the table.  We were taught about fondant, shaping, different design techniques and then left to ourselves to design away.

We could decorate 4 cupcakes which were baked by Grace, and this was my end result.

At the end of the first workshop, we enjoyed another wine break, and some lovely little pastries, which I have to just single out, the Tangled Tree Shiraz was a beautiful combination with the moist rich chocolate brownies that were served. Happiness still fills me as I remember the flavours on my palate.

The second workshop that I attended was called Gorgeous Bubbly & Canapé Pairing Workshop, presented by Pieter ‘Bubbles’ Ferreira, who had us from the first cork pop.   Chef Garth Almazan of Catharina’s cooked up a storm for the pairing.

Our first pairing was freshly shucked oysters with a Vietnamese dressing, which was paired with Graham Beck Brut Zero 2005.

I love the whole play of anything Asian influenced saucing, such beautiful fresh flavours, which just worked so very well to with the oyster.

Second up was something that really boggled my mind.  I was skeptical, but at the same time intrigued.  Malay style scrambled egg with a cured salmon terrine, paired with Graham Beck Cuvee Clive 2005.

This was without a doubt the top pairing for me.  The bubbly on its own stood out, as did the canapé, but together they complimented each other and the dance that went on in my mouth was slow and delicate with a few edgy steps and in seconds I was swaying with happiness.

Third up was a Graham Beck Brut Berry Terrine with macerated berries in a raspberry and pomegranate balsamic syrup, paired with Graham Beck Brut Rose NV and Graham Beck Bliss Demi Sec NV.

I am going to firstly admit that I am not a huge dessert fan, and I personally didn’t enjoy the texture of the terrine, but having said that, the raspberry and pomegranate balsamic syrup was out of this world.  I personally enjoyed the dish more with the Graham Beck Brut Rose NV and found the Graham Beck Bliss Demi Sec NV slightly to dry and harsh.

The day ended with a few prizes, which I never win!

And a lovely auction for Lavender in Lavender Hill Charity, and of course 3 goodie bags filled with such wonderful bits and pieces, and many hugs and kisses from old and new friends.

What a day!  Again, a big thank you to all the wonderful sponsors and people who spent hours of their times to make this all happen.  Pick n Pay, Yuppiechef, Nomu, Tangled Tree and everyone else who helped to make this all happen.  I definitely look forward to #FBI2013

30 before 30 list and new hobbies

My latest hobby, knitting. I have knitted before, don’t get me wrong, I know the 101 of knitting, however, I can’t say with pride that I have every created anything from a ball of wool and 2 needles…well until now. So far I have created a beanie, which I have to say I am madly in love with, and I am about three quarter way through a winter scarf, which I shall make a matching beanie.

But I am guessing the real question going through your mind is…why knitting. Well, I have a 30 before 30 list which I have been trying to knock out of the way. I can happily say that I am on a roll! I am currently 29 and 3 months, and only have a few items left on my list. I know one or two will be pushed onto my 35 before 35 list, but that is January’s worry.

My 30 before 30 list is as follows

Learn to play golf – Since I am married to a golf pro (and been working in the golf industry for 5 years), this is done and dusted. We go out to the driving range once a week, I now not only can drive the ball, I can keep up with the lingo and even watched parts of the Masters with my husband.

Learn to scuba dive – this needs to be done still – I have a plan in motion, when it warms up.

Experience Victoria Falls – I have been to Niagara, so I have to see Vic. Hopefully this year.

Go on a cruise ship – Again, hopefully this year

Knit a scarf – This I have completed. My Mother in law was such a great help!

Own a brand new car – This has been achieved when I bought my brand new car last year August.

Do a wine course – I often look at the Wine Academy of Cape Town…I want! I need to find a way to do this! Anyone know of a correspondence course or one in the Eastern Cape?

Own a bonsai tree – My lovely husband gave me a Weeping Boerboon last year to celebrate our 1 year of dating. She is beautiful, she is so well loved and is still full of luscious green leave

Touch a dolphin – Now I know this sounds somewhat suspect. It was originally swim with dolphins, but I really want to go to a place like ushaka marine world – I got this from their website – Meet a Dolphin Get up close and personal with one of the ocean’s most incredible mammals. You will be able to meet, touch and feed a dolphin – a once in a lifetime experience.

Plant a tree for my 30th birthday – This I will complete the day I turn 30

Go to the FBI2012 and spend time with all the inspiring foodie friends – this plan is in motion as we speak!

Be able to converse in a foreign language – I have 2 years of very basic German under my belt, I would like to carry on with this.

Complete a photographic Diary for a month – I have now done 2 of these, and I love it!

Make a scrap book – Now people who know me know that I am not very sentimental, but I would like to make a scrapbook of our wedding…maybe

Play Bingo with a crowd of “Bingoers” – This was awesome. I “bingo’ed” with the best of “bingoers”. When I was in the USA I use to watch this, and never had the courage to do so, until there was a bingo night and we went, had loads of fun. Didn’t bingo at all though

Have an inspiring blog – I like to believe that I inspire at least one or two people out there, so I feel I have achieved this!

Host a traditional Japanese tea party – For our wedding we received the most beautiful tea set from my brother & his wife, this is just about done and dusted, just need to find people who like to drink tea.

Complete 1 Open Course Program – This is important to me, open course is free online programs from different colleges in the USA which you can do at leisure. You don’t get a degree or anything, however, it’s a learning experience, and you can never take away knowledge

Cook the national dish of 2 countries from every continent – I think this would be such a wonderful research project

Write a letter to my “Old Self” – This was inspired by a book I read, and it’s so true. I want to write a letter to my old self to tell her not to worry, you have not only succeeded in your career, but in life as well, you have a wonderful husband, a lovely home, live in a great area, and have a wonderful family and FYI your parents don’t hate, they only want what’s best for their little girl.

Read more – at least 15 books this year. I have achieved 7 so far, so I think I am well on my way to finishing this one.

Start drawing & Painting again – I have done one drawing so far this year, I am not putting much punch behind this to task, however, I know I have time. I want to complete at least one painting this year, and at least 10 drawings.

Travel somewhere completely new – This has been done when my husband took me on honeymoon to Umgazi Rive Lodge. I have not experienced the Transki before, so this was such a wonderful journey, and I got to share it with him.

Eat something so different it will make other people go WHAT?!?!? – I achieved this when I ate deep fried pig brain. It was actually very tasty and I have since at it twice.

Blog for an entire month everyday – not a photo diary – would be awesome to blog like I use to, where I would sometimes post twice a day.

Be more daring with my makeup – I have always done the casual look, be as natural as possible, and being in the kitchen means I don’t often get to glitz myself up. Lately I have been experimenting with bold fun colours on my eyes and I am loving it!

Have professional photo set done – Done this when we had our engagement photos done as well as our wedding photos It was so much fun, Heather from Heather Stevens Photography is absolutely wonderful.

Visit the top of Table Mountain – I want to sit on top of the mountain and overlook Cape Town with my wonderful husband.

Pasta al Vodka

I have posted this recipe before, long ago but took it down when I deleted my old blog. However, watching Masterchef on Tuesday, and the food memory topic really got me thinking. There are so many great food memories, and I will still do the post of my childhood food memory, but this one not only brings back great memories, but my husband loves this dish!

When I lived in Chicago, I worked for a Jewish orthodox family, the mom was of Italian decent and wow could she cook. I use to watch her when she made the Shabbats dinners and learnt many way of cooking Kosher, however, when she made Pasta al Vodka, it soon became my favourite pasta sauce. I have tweaked it slightly.

The best part of this sauce is that you can make it vegetarian or you can add meat, I do the latter as my husband does tolerate my meatless moods, however he leans towards having his protein as meat, not legumes or beans that I try and feed him.

I am going to try and be as exact as possible, however, for those who are loyal followers of my blog knows that as a chef, I cook by feeling, so go with what you are in the mood for. In this dish, I like to have strong flavours that all marry together.

Pasta al Vodka
serves 3 – 4

350g chicken breasts
300ml cream
100g bacon
1 large onion, chopped
2 tbsp fresh rosemary chopped
garlic to taste
1 tin tomato puree
1 can whole peeled tomatoes
1 cup vodka
seasoning
½ tsp sugar
Parmesan cheese, grated

Fry off your onions in olive oil until transparent, add the sugar to the onions and let the natural juices release. Add the garlic and fry off a little more, the extra moisture will prevent your garlic from burning and bringing a bitterness to the dish. Add the tomato paste and fry off until the oils release, add ¼ cup of the vodka to deglaze the pot. Add the bacon, fry off and add another ¼ cup of vodka. Add the chicken, and fry until the chicken changes colour, add the whole peeled tomatoes, rosemary, left over of the vodka, season and let simmer on a medium heat for about 15 minutes. Add the cream, and let simmer for a further 10 minutes.
Serve with your favourit pasta, topped with parmesan cheese and enjoy.