Monday, 24 October 2016

Short Chef Skinny Chef at the Durban Good Food & Wine Show

It is the one year anniversary for Short Chef Skinny Chef, since their debut at the 2015 Good Food & Wine Show in Durban. Short Chef Skinny Chef features MasterChef SA finalist, Claire Allen, and runner-up, Siphokazi Mdlankomo, and they will be appearing live at their own theatre at the Good Food & Wine Show, at the Durban Exhibition Centre. If you want to win two tickets to see them in action, make sure that you read through to the end.

Short Chef Siphokazi, affectionately known as Sipho, comes in at 1.3m and when one says dynamite comes in small packages this cook does not disappoint. With a full range of cooking abilities and experience to make any home-cook a little jealous, she has a fountain of knowledge and love for cooking that is enjoyed by everyone that watches her. Sipho has been a domestic worker for the past fifteen years and since 2014 has simultaneously worked for Pick ‘n Pay as well as represented Royco. She has also written a cookbook, "My Little Black Recipe Book", and just launched her very own TV show , “Let’s Eat with Siphokazi” on Thursday evening 18h30 on 161 Mzanzi Magic.

Skinny Chef Claire lives by the quote “my life is a constant battle between my love for food and wanting abs” – her cooking style is all about being homely, flavoursome and balanced, offering tips and tricks to make every meal just a little more delicious. Her earliest memories are in the kitchen cooking with her gran, watching cooking shows and trying to recreate the dishes. “I was going to study to be a chef but I changed my mind in matric and went into PR and events. However my passion and love for cooking has always been there –I expressed this whenever I could – and in 2014 my burning desire to see how good a cook I could be led me to entering MasterChef South Africa.” Being the Skinny Chef means Claire has a chance to dismiss the age-old myth that you can never trust a skinny chef. “You should trust them more! Cooking and enjoying your food is about balance and I wish to showcase that in my demos and food philosophy.” Claire’s personal brand is "The Foodie In Love", which encompasses solo demos, blogging and currently in pre-production of her very own TV show.

Claire and Sipho met on MasterChef where they were roommates at boot camp and the duo began in the reality show’s kitchen in Paarl where the two became very close friends. “We bonded immediately”, says Claire. “Short Chef Skinny Chef is rather obviously founded on the fact that Sipho is short and I’m rather skinny, it rolled off my tongue one day and the idea just stuck.” Sipho explains how the show is unique. “I'm short and Claire is skinny; it's all about having fun but at the same time teaching and giving tips and also learning from the audience, it's not all about us.”

The ladies have incredible sponsors so the starting point for creating their incredible dishes are always with the brands they are working with – showcasing affordable, delicious meals you don’t need to be a chef to prepare. They are sponsored by Selati, Handy Andy, Porcupine Ridge, Clover, Lancewood, Global Knives, SCANPAN, KitchenAid, Nomu and Natural Herbs & Spices. At this year’s the Good Food & Wine Show dishes include Crème Brûlée, Rice Pudding, Sticky Toffee Pudding and Beef Brisket.

While Sipho most enjoys the moment their dishes are served, Claire finds great fulfillment in audience members coming up to them after a demo to ask for a recipe because they now feel they can try it at home.

Watch Short Chef Skinny Chef in action at their own theatre at this year’s Durban Good Food & Wine Show. Performances will take place on Friday (28th Oct) from 11:30am until 7:30pm, on Saturday (29th Oct) from 10:30am until 7:30pm and on Sunday (30th Oct) from 10:30am until 4:30pm. 

They would appreciate some Durban love on their Facebook,Twitter and Instagram pages.

Instagram : shortchefskinnychef
#ShortChefSkinnyChef #GFWS2016

For a chance to win two tickets to the 2016 Good Food & Wine Show in Durban - enter here :

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, 17 October 2016

Fun Dining at Granny Mouse

What goes through your mind when you receive an invitation to a 5 course wine pairing dinner? Do you expect to sit round a table and listen to the wine maker drone on and on about how he/she made the wine? Do you expect to sit next to serious wine drinkers who make notes on the taste and smell of the wine and the score they would give it? Do you expect starched waiters? Do you expect to be totally bored?

Well none of that applies or is even close to a wine pairing dinner hosted by the fabulous Granny Mouse Country House & Spa. Especially when you enter the venue (The Caversham Room) and see the instabooth set up from the KZN Wedding DJ. Also when you sit at a table filled with friends and find yourself holding your sides with laughter every time the Louisvale Wines winemaker, Simon Smith speaks.

But i’m getting ahead of myself and need to start from the very beginning – it’s always a good place to start :)

On Wednesday 5 October my husband Neil and I left Kloof after 12pm to make our way to the beautiful green Midlands and to a warm welcome at Granny Mouse Country House & Spa. Check in was only from 2pm so we decided to make a stop on the way to have ..... yes you guessed it ...... coffee! We had wanted to see and taste the coffee at Terbodore but unfortunately they are not open on a Wednesday. So instead we went to Blueberry Cafe and were very happy that they had a table for us (the last time we tried they were full). It was a chilly day but it was VERY warm inside the cafe and we were seated quickly. We enjoyed our cappuccinos and also their special blueberry cheesecake and a berry pavlova. We had to buy some of their coffee beans and the guy in charge of the coffee roasting helped us make a choice. We bought Samba (Brazil) the coffee that was being used that day and Inza (Colombia). After that excellent start it was time to make our way to Granny Mouse.

It was a very warm welcome back to Granny Mouse – we were greeted by Sean Granger (General Manager) and by Mouton du Toit (Assistant General Manager). After checking in we were taken to our room so that we could unpack and rest before the start of the evening. Just opening the door to our room relaxed us; it has to be the incredible lavender fragrance that wafts out. Neil had a nap and I read one of the magazines that are supplied in the room while also keeping an eye on the TV to see how the cricket was going.

We left our room at 5:45pm and walked over to the main lounge with Inge and Vernon Loker for the welcome / pre dinner drinks at 6pm. Fires were burning in the lounge to chase away the evening chill and we relaxed on the couch and waited for the rest of the guests to arrive. We were served delicious snacks and a lovely light bubbly Louisvale Wine. Sean Granger welcomed us all and told us to relax, have fun, enjoy the food and company and don’t forget to use the hashtag for that evening #GMfood. At approximately 6:45pm we made our way over to beautifully and uniquely decorated Caversham Room.

Kirsten Rae Hughes, Carmen Barends and myself at
The Caversham Room foyer (photo : Geoff Redman)

The Caversham Room (photo : Geoff Redman)

Love the table decor (photo : Geoff Redman)

It’s time to move on to why we were all there – the food prepared by the Granny Mouse culinary artists and the Louisvale wines they were pared with.

Culinary Artists and the kitchen team

The 1st course on the *Degustation Menu was Beetroot & Beetroot Mousse, Grilled baby onion, Basil infused Deep Fried Goats Cheese, Spring Onion Sabayon paired with a Louisvale Chavant 2013.

1st Course (photo : Geoff Redman)

2nd course – Trout Fillet, Squid Ink Risotto, Orange Mousse, Wasabi Foam, Fennel Cream paired with Louisvale Chardonnay 2013.

2nd Course (photo : Geoff Redman)

3rd course - Smoked Duck Salad, Crispy Pancetta, Radish, Red Wine Black Cherries and Wild Rocket Pesto paired with Louisvale Shiraz 2013.

3rd Course (photo : Geoff Redman)

Before moving on to the 4th and 5th courses we were served a lovely light palate cleanser of Yellow Jelly, Meringue & Fruit Salad.  

Palate Cleanser (photo : Geoff Redman)

Our favourite of all the courses was the 4th course with its Herb Crusted Beef Fillet, Parsnip Puree, Honey Baked Figs, Garlic Mushroom, Bacon Crumb and Jus which was paired with Louisvale Dominique 2014. The fillet with the figs mmmmmmm. We could have happily eaten another plate of this course.

4th Course (photo : Geoff Redman)

The 5th course of the evening and sadly the final course was the dessert of a Cup of Tea which incorporated a Rooibos Panacotta and Chai Meringue, Orange & Almond Fingers, Dark Chocolate Truffle, Mini Cheese Cake with Strawberry Jelly. This was paired with a Louisvale Chardonnay Brut NV. Definitely not enough dark chocolate truffles on the plate – they were amazing. As with the 4th course we could have happily eaten the 5th course again.

5th Course (photo : Geoff Redman)

A well planned and delicious menu that was also visually pleasing. Congratulations to the two Granny Mouse Culinary Artists Kirstie du Toit and Wayland Green for a very successful wine pairing evening. Thank you also to the Granny Mouse team headed by Sean Granger for the all the fun and laughter and for the relaxing stay. Till next time Granny Mouse Country House & Spa!

As you can see there was lots of fun happening at the instabooth

It was great to have photos printed from my social media 

*Note : Degustation is a culinary term meaning a careful, appreciative tasting of various foods and focusing on the senses, high culinary art and good company. It is more likely to involve sampling small portions of all of a chef’s signature dishes in one sitting.

Granny Mouse Country House & Spa

Louisvale Wines

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Durban Good Food and Wine Show 2016

Are you looking forward to the Good Food & Wine Show? Or are you uncertain as to whether you want to attend? This year the Good Food & Wine Show is in its normal venue, the Durban Exhibition Centre but there are changes to who the chefs are and to the whole show. That’s what I love about Good Food & Wine Show in that they make changes every year and the chefs on show are always fascinating to watch and interact with.

The Good Food & Wine Show is Africa’s largest culinary event and this year the theme is FRESH. “It’s all about the prevailing global obsession with sustainability and a healthier planet, and it’s inspired by the global trend for urban farming and the gradual urbanisation of rural contexts. This is being driven by a worldwide foodie revolution and a desire to grow local and eat fresh.” Take a look at the FRESH approach in the sections of Wellness, Lifestyle, Wine, Market & Street Food, Beer & Alcohol, Gourmet and Baking.

The good/great news is that this year the entry to the chefs theatre is included in the show ticket price. Of course seats are on a first come first serve basis. Also included in the show entry is Cooking with Chefs; Eat Well, Live Well; Baking; SABC 3; Short Chef, Skinny Chef; and Cake Deco Lab.

New additions to this years show are :

·         Chefs Table : unique and exclusive masterclasses with the headline chefs.
·         Wine Theatre : leading sommeliers and wine makers teach the art of their craft.
·         Cake Deco Lab : South African Cake Decorators Guild

Now for the important part – Who are the chefs?

·         George Calombaris – judge on Masterchef Australia, chef and restaurateur
·         Jenny Morris – The Giggling Gourmet and one of South Africa’s most loved food personalities
·         J’Something – leader singer of Micasa and a great foodie
·         Neill Anthony – talented private chef and recently seen as a judge on SABC3 Top Chef
·         Sarah Graham – well known cook, food writer and TV show host
·         Siba Mtongana – host of her own show Siba’s Table
·         Claire Allen – took part in Masterchef season 3, food blogger, event coordinator and the skinny chef in Short Chef Skinny Chef
·         Siphokazi Mdlankomo – 2014 Masterchef runner up, cookbook “My Little Black Recipe Book” and the short chef in Short Chef Skinny Chef
·         Sherwyn Weaich – The Gourmet Bushie who offers live cooking demonstrations and classes. Look out for his soon to be opened restaurant

Tickets (from Computicket or at the door)

Early bird - R85 (on or before 25 October)
Adults - R100
Students - R70
Age 13-18 - R50
Under 12 Free
Senior R70 and free entry on Friday 28 October
Weekend Pass - R150
International chefs table  - R800 (George Calombaris)
Local chefs table - R300 (Neill Anthony and Siba Mtongana)

Wine Tasting

Wine combo ticket - R130 (includes entry to show, wine tasting glass and 5 wine tasting vouchers)
Wine glass and tasting - R50 (GFWS glass and 5 wine tasting vouchers)

Show Times

Friday 28 October and Saturday 29 October 10am – 9pm
Sunday 30 October 10am – 6pm

For more information and to see when and where your favourite chef's are, please visit the Good Food and Wine Show website.

Another exciting event happening at the Good Food & Wine Show is the 2016 KZN SCASA Regionals. What?? The Speciality Coffee Association of South Africa!

Coffee professionals, Baristas and aspiring Home Baristas are going to compete in the catagories of Barista, Latte Art and Cup Tasters to find the winners for KZN. SCASA runs the competitions as per the World Coffee Events formats.

This is the schedule so far :

Friday 28th Day One
10am : Semi-finals Barista Championship
5pm : Cup Tasters semi-finals
7pm : Almond Breeze Barista smack down

Saturday 29th Day Two
10am : Semi-finals Barista Championship
5pm : Latte Art semi-finals
7pm : Almond Breeze Barista smack down

Sunday 30th Finals Day
10am - 3pm : Barista Championship finals
3pm - 4pm : Cup Tasters finals
4pm - 5pm : Latte Art finals
5pm : Monin Minute
5:30pm : Prizegiving