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!

Bohemian Themed 18th Birthday

I did this a while ago…realized today that I never posted photos…so thought why not…

The Green keeper from the previous Golf Estate I worked on approached me one day, asking me to do something special for his daughters 18th…she picked a Bohemian theme…and you all know how I absolutely love themed things…

And this is how the evening turned out…one of my best…and probably my most fave themes I did

Mezze platters consisting of:

Pitta bread
Assorted feta Cheese
Calamata Olives
Tsanziki
Houmous

Dolmades
Spinach leaves stuffed with rice, spice & ground beef

Mini Lamb Souvlaki
Greek style skewered lamb kebabs

Mini Chicken Kebabs
Greek style skewered chicken kebabs

Keftedes
Spicy Meatballs, served with tomato & onion sauce

Mini Spanakopita
Phyllo pastry filled with spinach, feta and onions

Dessert Platters

Hot Mud pudding
Turkish delight
Fresh fruit in season platters, served with sorbets

Siamese Pineapple Mussel Curry

Firstly, let me start off saying that this is not my recipe, credit goes to the Head Chef I work under, otherwise known as the Drunken Chef.

It is very interesting, every Wednesday night we have a curry night, for R80 pp you have 4 different curries and 1 non curry dish, poppadoms, rice and home made naan.

So over the last 7 weeks I have learnt so much more about curries, and every week its something new. I absolutely love it! This week one dish we did was a Siamese Pineapple Mussel Curry…its goes something like this….

Mussels (half shell)
Fresh pineapple
Coconut milk
Green curry paste (home made)
Fresh Coriander
Onion
Ginger

Now, the actual recipe I can’t give, but looking at those ingredients I am sure you will figure it out.

Your end result is a beautiful fragrant Thai like curry that has a quick sharp bite on the tongue, with a linger of subtle ocean like flavors. The pineapple and mussel combination is really interesting on the palette, which takes my mind to the Vietnamese Jungle.

I was absolutely amazed at how good this was. Try it out!

Tequila Marinated Chicken with Mole Sauce

Janice and I spoke about this a while ago, so I thought this will be my contribution to the Mexico vs South Africa game on Friday, 11th June. That, and I have been meaning to try this…so without further ado…here I give you my:

Tequilla marinated Chicken with Mole Sauce

Ingredients

Chicken cuts of choice – I used drumsticks and wings
½ cup tequila – I used silver, but feel free to use gold tequila
1 lime, juiced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
¼ cup finely chopped cilantro
2 tbsp brown sugar

For the Sauce

2 large tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
10 cloves garlic, unpeeled
5 Chillies (add more if you want more heat)
¼ cup sesame seeds
1 tbsp black peppercorns
1 stick cinnamon
4 whole cloves
¼ cup fresh oregano leaves
¼ cup fresh thyme leaves
3 cups chicken stock
4 ½ tbsp vegetable oil
25g dark chocolate, chopped
1 can tomato puree
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soad
¼ cup chopped cilantro

Method.

To make the marinade mix tequila, lime juice, garlic, cilantro and brown sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Leave in fridge overnight for the best results, or for at least an hour (if you are in a hurry)

The Mole Paste

Place the tomatoes, onion, and garlic cloves on the baking sheet and bake until slightly caramelized around the edges, mix up the garlic, tomatoes and onion so that the other side can caramelize too. Set aside to cool.

In a large pan over high heat, toast the chilies until lightly browned and the aroma fills the air. Place in a bowl, cover with hot water and allow to sit until softened.

In the same pan, toast sesame seeds and toast until light brown and fragrant. Set aside
Do the same toasting method with the peppercorns, cinnamon stick, cloves, oregano and thyme for a few seconds, just until their fragrant is released. Place in bowl with sesame seeds, set aside

Once the roasted garlic is cool enough to handle, peel add, along with the charred tomatoes and onion, to the bowl of a food processor. Add the seeds and spices. Drain liquid off of the chilies and add these to the processor as well.

Add 1 cup of the chicken stock and puree the mixture until very smooth and thick, scraping down the sides.

In a large deep pot, heat the vegetable oil until very hot. Carefully pour the pureed mixture into the pot and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat so that the mixture simmers, and add chocolate. Cover and cook, stirring frequently, for about 1 hour, or until the mole paste is very thick and flavorful.

The Mole Sauce

Hat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until very hot.

Add the tomato puree and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add half a teaspoon on baking soda to puree and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Add the a cup of mole paste and the remaining 1 to 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock and stir to combine well. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the mixture is a nice sauce consistency, add the salt and cook another 2 minutes, and the sauce is thick, smooth and flavorful. Keep warm while you cook the chicken.

Preheated oven to 160 C

Place all the chicken pieces on a lined baking sheet, Cook for about 5 minutes Turn the chicken and continue to roast for an additional 5 minutes, or until the second side is charred.

Reduce the heat to 140 C and continue to cook the chicken until the juices run clear

Serve the chicken immediately, with some of the mole sauce drizzled over the top.

Its very similar to making Green Curry paste…in the sense that its a long process. But let me tell you, so worth it!

Enjoy

Portuguese Trinchado

Ingredients

About 1kg of Rump, cubed

3 tbsp of Worchester
3 tbsp of soy sauce
Salt & Pepper

3 tablespoons Margarine
2 large Onions, chopped
3 small Hot red chili peppers, stemmed and chopped (whether you use the seeds or not depends how much of a bite you want it)
3 tsp minced garlic
3 tablespoons Flour
1tsp Cheyenne powder
2 tsp Paprika
½ Liter Beef stock
½ cup brandy
2 Bay leaves
1 tablespoon Sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method

Marinade the cubed beef in a mixture of Worchester sauce and soy sauce. Leave it for a min of 60 mins, to being left over night in the fridge. Rinse marinade off before you brown it.

In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon margarine When the margarine is melted and sizzling, add about ¼ of the beef and brown well. Remove the beef cubes from saucepan, place in a bowl and set aside. Repeat with the remainder of beef. Do not add to much beef at once to the pan as this will cause to much moisture and the beef will boil instead of fry. Once all beef is done, remove and set aside to rest.

Reduce heat and add the onions, sugar and chili and cook for about 5 minutes, or until soft.

Add the garlic and cook for another minute or so.

Add the Cheyenne powder and paprika

Add the flour over the mixture and stir around until thick

Add the stock, brandy and bay leaves. Stir until the sauce thickens and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Add the beef cubes together with any juices that may be in the bowl.

Leave to simmer for about 20 minutes or until beef is tender and cooked. Season with salt and pepper.

Now, you can use red wine instead, but we all know how much I love cooking with brandy, I was also looking for a golden colour in the sauce, and with red wine, you may need to add more sugar as it will go bitter. But each for their own.