Restaurant Review: Buitenverwachting, Constantia, Cape Town

Citrus Tartelette with Chocolate

And now for something a bit different (for me anyway)… Although restaurant reviews aren’t something I usually do, the other day I had such an amazing experience that I just couldn’t help myself. Before I knew it, I was taking pictures of the food, and then I was piecing together a review in my head. So here it is…

From the moment I arrived at Buitenverwachting, I was treated like royalty. I’d had a particularly stressful couple of days and was in the kind of mood where I didn’t feel up to achieving very much, so I resorted to my usual fall-back plan under such circumstances i.e. go out for a nice meal. I was actually about to take a spontaneous drive to the Winelands but as I was getting in the car, it occurred to me that we have wine farms right here in Cape Town. Buitenverwachting popped into my head and I somehow ended up there instead. Looking back, it seems clear that some Divine hand was gently shepherding me to where I needed to be.

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Olives Two Ways – Part 1: Brined

Who doesn’t love olives? Actually I know some people who don’t but I can’t understand that at all. When I was growing up, we used to count them out on to everyone’s plate when serving up salad with dinner, to make sure no-one got more than their fair share. A sad but true story.

A happier story is that not only are olives delicious, but they’re also really good for you, being high in healthy fats as well as a multitude of vitamins and minerals, not to mention anti-oxidants. For more on their health benefits, see here, here and here, just for starters.

The thing with olives though is that they’re very more-ish and a bottle really doesn’t last very long, plus they’re expensive (here in South Africa anyway). So years ago when a friend told me she could get fresh olives direct from an olive farm, I jumped at the chance to make my own and ordered 5kg.

Since then, I’ve made a batch every year I’ve been able to get my hands on some, which sadly hasn’t been every year but certainly many of them. Those years I enjoy eating them till they’re coming out my ears and they also make great gifts to give away.

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Baked Chicken, Tomato and Yoghurt Casserole with Broccoli Rice

Chicken, tomato and yoghurt bake with broccoli rice

This is one of the easiest and most delicious recipes to make when you only have a few minutes to spend on preparing dinner. It’s fresh, tasty and healthy, and only takes 5 minutes to put together. Then it cooks for about 45 minutes, while you go off and do other things, before needing another 5 minutes at the end to finish up and serve.

It’s also versatile in that you can serve it with many different options of “starch”. If you’re going low-carb, it works really well with cauliflower or broccoli rice, as I’ve served it here, or cauliflower or broccoli mash. You can also go more traditional and serve it with mashed potato or sweet potato, or rice of any description and/or lightly steamed green beans.

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Pink Zebra Cake

Animals galore

The other day my friend Lynda asked me if I would make a birthday cake for her daughter who was turning 3. She was going with an animal theme and had come across the idea for a zebra-striped cake – the first time I’d heard of such a thing. Needless to say I was excited to experiment and after some research on the method, I came up with a variation that I thought worked.

Overall, I was quite pleased with the way it turned out – and of course you can’t really go wrong with chocolate icing on top! (Excuse the messy cutting here, by the way. We had 10 three-year olds running around like maniacs at the time.)

Stripey cake

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Homemade Face and Body Cream

Homemade face and body cream

This recipe is a slight detour from food into the territory of homemade skin care. I’m a big believer in avoiding preservatives wherever possible and generally try to buy natural and/or organic in both food and toiletries. So when my friend Diane from Naturally Green Pets gave me some pure beeswax and emulsifying wax (thanks, Diane!), I was very excited to try my hand at making homemade face and body cream.

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Potato Rosti

Potato rosti with roasted fennel and smoked trout

Rosti go by many names – rösti, potato pancakes, hash browns and latkes, to name just a few – and come in many variations. At heart though, they are simply grated potato mixed with a little salt, and whatever other flavourings you choose to add, like onion, herbs and/or cheese. I’ve been wanting to try them for ages and when a friend bought round some smoked trout, I decided it was the perfect opportunity.

After doing some fairly extensive research on Pinterest (there are quite a few methods out there, believe me), I decided to keep the base very simple and rather go wild on the toppings.

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