VINE – the 6 second video app you need to know about

April 7, 2013 in People, social media & gagets

Vine – an amazing tool for the food bloggers, cooks and eaters

(To be clear: I am a semi-technophobe but, miraculously, an ardent Social Media Advocate. Read my piece on Social Media and the Food World here. I’m Food and the Fabulous on Vine)

“Hi, I’m Ishay. I cook, I eat, I speak a lot about food culture and nostalgia and sometimes I blog. I am utterly enamoured with six second videos too.”

Six second videos,  you ask?

I’m speaking about Vine App, Twitter’s video application for iPhone and iPad. You’ve got six seconds to present your message and while at first you’ll be tempted to pan from one end of the room to the next, and consequently ‘spend’ your six seconds, what can be achieved is incredible! And, these videos play on a loop.

If they say a picture tells a thousand words (a concept, as a writer, I accept but don’t leap with joy at the thought of), then imagine what a combination of visuals, words and music, if correctly placed can do!

I’ve been using Vine for 57 days now and I believe it launched in mid January 2013. I have much to learn and am looking for a gadget to hook the iPhone to a tripod – steady hands make all the difference.

This is an example of a Vine video; I’m braising the spices for a yellow split pea dhal and show a few shots of the ingredients and preparation process.

For sound on the videos, open in separate window and unmute

In this video I share some of the ingredients I was using that evening: butter, chocolate, coffee granules, flour – I was testing about five different brownie recipes. It’s a spontaneous process in my case, and how it’s filmed evolves as I press go (which is the screen in case you wondered)

I am inspired by the visionaries, creatives and comedians who have found themselves a new outlet for expression, and who are gathering followers and fans like it’s going out of style. Except, it’s only beginning. More about these inspirationals in a bit.

Twitter’s CEO Dick Costolo in an interview about Vine, told the Wall Street Journal, “We all agreed that this is the next thing down the road.”

Bigger than Instagram?

For three months I’ve been saying a little yes on the inside when I’ve interviewed local digital leaders, hoping their answer would be the same.  Mashable reported:

“Vine’s secret weapon is a combination of being simpler to use than most video apps and the fact that it has one of the biggest social networks in the world as a parent company and platform. “It’s really beautifully integrated with Twitter and there’s a new level of simplicity around video capture that they hit on that has made it intriguing to people,” said Pam Kramer, president at Lightt and a former VP of consumer marketing at Twitter. “I think it moved a step ahead from integrating a still photo to integrating something more dynamic.”


How’d they do that?

Without fail, Meagan Cignoli, has me cooing at her eye for the beautiful, her exquisite timing and perfectly lit Vines. She’s also most gracious about compliments and interacts with other users. Alright, end swoon now.

Meagan is one of the Viners entering the Tribeca Film Festival, which has opened a section especially for these six second videos.

One of my favourite vines, melting popsicles.

Jason Coffee and his very photogenic family live in Hawaii, with their beautiful pup Bean and are winning hearts over with their perfectly timed lip-synching, wholesome skits and ‘puppetman’ Vines, where Jason’s hand seems to maneuver the kids like puppets. It’s amazing to watch – I haven’t yet figured out how it’s done. A magic lens, a special app, an old ‘blind spot’ trick. I know Jason isn’t the only one doing these now. Maybe someone will email me the answer? I’ll be a’waitin’ by the phone!

Lip-synching – a reference by Jason’s daughter to Sweet Brown, bless her

For more on some very interesting Viners and a Vine for Food 101, click here

Love that sizzle! – My lamb belly with sriracha and black sesame seeds sizzling

Promote your love for your city!  - Love Cape Town


Roasted Nectarine & Rose Falooda

April 3, 2013 in Drinks, Recipe

Falooda (Bombay Crush)

roast nectarine and rose falooda

Falooda or Bombay Crush is a sweet drink popular in South Asian countries and is made using the following ingredients: milk or ice cream, or both, rose syrup, vermicelli or sago (tapioca) or both, or neither, squishy subja or basil seeds and sometimes fresh cream. It’s popular in Indian communities the world over and mine was no exception, when I lived in Natal.

It sounds like a mouthful! And is. After a day of fasting, many Muslims break their fast with a glass of nourishing falooda. It was the wedding welcome drink of note when I was a teen. It’s also wonderfully cooling after a bite of fiery hot curry. Maybe without the vermicelli and tapioca, though.

It certainly isn’t an everyday beverage. I occasionally order one when I visit Indian restaurants back home or if I’ve heard the falooda is good. At this juncture I must add, while I believe you can swap a little ice cream or kulfi for milk or yoghurt, remove the vermicelli and that sort of thing, two essentials must remain.

subja seeds in falooda

  • The Rose flavour. Yes, I do know of the less popular fig and mango flavours. But not on my watch. Rose makes this drink distintive. In this recipe it compliments the mild, sweet-tart white nectarines. Plums and raspberries would also go well.
  • The Subja Seeds. I ordered a falooda at a popular, inexpensive Indian restaurant in Piermaritzburg in January.

“Oh, you mean Bombay Crush,” the waiter corrected me.

I mean whatever you call that sublime drink that I need to temper this very hot lamb mince roti roll, I thought.

It arrived. No spongy, squishy subja seeds suspended in baby-pink clouds. I lifted the glass up and took a look under. I poked the straw in every corner. Slurped half of it before I realised….the rose flavoured Nesquik was an impostor! I was inconsolable.

Moral: don’t mess with the subja


Click here to be taken to the recipe


Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Tomato Jam

March 18, 2013 in Chicken & Poultry, Food & Travel, Recipe

Speaking of travel, and Fear

chicken tagine with tomato


It’s mostly fear

It’s fear, isn’t it?

How to make the money to get there, how to pay the bills that need paying while you’re gone, the cat and dog at home,  these are major considerations too. But I was thinking about the reasons we don’t all jump at the opportunity to live with and among the people whose lives we love observing on television. Or reading about in the great travel books.

It takes more than a plane ticket and booking a place to stay to walk among people whose ways are foreign, whose foods and dress, abodes and customs are achingly different to your own. It does take courage too.

market scene Fez

The culture shock, the smells, the lack of the familiar – it can seem overwhelming. Or, you can find yourself falling desperately and intensely in love with a place. This has happened to me a number of times. I could imagine living in Lisbon or New York or Paris. I could see myself living in a small riad, in some part of Morocco. Perhaps Fez or even further north, away from the bustle of Casablanca.

But, then in 3 out of four cases I would have to face my fear of learning a new language, sounding odd speaking it, struggling with poor tense and ill chosen words, in order to enjoy the country like a citizen would. It comes so easy to the tongue for some. My Polish friend Gata (have you heard or tried to read Polish or Hungarian?) says that growing up learning Polish prepares you for ready absorption of any other language. They are all easy by comparison. I still think it involves courage.

woman in red, Fez

Image on instagram

But the thought of buying fruit at the market, asking the butcher for a specific cut of meat, glaring at a vendor knowingly when he’s trying to offer me the ‘tourist’ price, making friends with non-English speakers and reading signposts, notices and books (oh, let’s be realistic: booklets) in that language, has an appeal all of its own.

man smiling, sharpening knives, Fez

Well, apart from catching a deadly virus in a place that you can’t speak the language or having no internet signal, what do you fear when you venture abroad? I think even the most seasoned travellers must harbour some fear, though keeping on the move all the time is a sure-fire way to have no time to address them…a superb strategy too.

vases and urns, Fez

I share my thoughts on Fez in the next post, and a recipe for a beautiful chicken tagine, made in a tagine pot I bought at the market in Fez, here.

This recipe is based on Paula Wolfert’s Chicken smothered with Tomato Jam from her marvelous book, The Food of Morocco. She understands Morocco, the people and the food so well.

  • tip_smallI’ve adapted the method to prepare the tomato jam separately from the tagine, because I found removing the chicken part way through cooking, cumbersome. The sauce will only cook down once the chicken is removed, so I do it in another pan.
  • Using chicken pieces with the skin on, will give a richer dish.
  • Read the instructions set out – you should  have the chicken and tomato going at the same time. I used a medium sized tagine (bought in Fez).
  •  Don’t let an old fashioned glazed tagine come in contact with an open flame or even an electric stove. Use a diffuser. It’s an inexpensive pockmarked metal disk, with a wooded handle and available from most down-town household goods traders – try Oriental Plaza in Johannesburg, for example.

Click here for the recipe

chicken tagine with sesame seeds

Tapioca (Boba) Pudding with Coconut Cream and Figs

February 26, 2013 in Desserts & Baked Goods, Recipe

A reflection on 14 February 2013 in South Africa


boba coconut pudding


“Perhaps when we find ourselves wanting everything, it is because we are dangerously close to wanting nothing.” 
― Sylvia Plath

 Click here for my Valentine story

coconut sago pudding



tapioca and coconut cream

Click on any image to go to the recipe


boba coconut pudding


fig and coconut milk pudding

Creamy Lemon ice cream with Limoncello

January 31, 2013 in Sorbet & Frozen Desserts

Lemon Ice cream image

I asked on Twitter and Facebook, which of two ice creams you’d prefer the recipe for first, a White Chocolate and Raspberry one (my husband’s choice) or this Creamy Lemon ice cream with Limoncello. The lemon was is the lead by a mile!

I wonder if it has anything to do with the addition of the popular Italian liqueur. Feel free to leave it out or substitute with good lemon syrup available at some delis if you want an alcohol free version; add a few tablespoons less sugar if you use the syrup.

Possibly, the scent of lemons, that invigorating, crisp fragrance released the instant you pierce the waxy skin, is the pleasure trigger. It makes me think of glasses of ice cold water, the ice cubes clinking against the sides or cola with slices of lemon in summer, of green salads, grilled fish and calamari and lemon curd served on light crepes. There’s something about lemons and summer that makes them natural partners, don’t you think? Come to think of it, there are a hundred gorgeous applications for them in winter too. Shall we just agree that lemons are most agreebale?

Go on, enjoy a scoopful or three…

 Click here for the recipe…

lemon limoncello ice cream

 For more ice creams, coconut milk ice cream, Dutch speculaas, Cucumber Gin Sorbet, click here….

lemon limoncello ice cream


Herby Quinoa & Hake Dolmades with Sultanas and Pine nuts

January 24, 2013 in Food & Travel, Mediterranean Delicatessen, Recipe, Seafood

Mediterranean Holiday Series –5. Mikrolimano, Athens


Mikrolimano piraeus. Image via
Mikrolimano piraeus. Image via

About 15 kilometers from the centre of Athens, lies the Piraeus, or port and Mikrolimano, the second largest marina in the area. Here you find yachts and recreational boats, fishermen and a strip of seafood restaurants, loved by locals and visitors.

I was brought here by super food blogging trio Pandespani where we enjoyed a wonderful afternoon of food and conversation. Eating Greek seafood with Greeks is an incomparable experience. And yes, I’d like more ouzo on ice, please.



The Piraeus is worth venturing out of Athens for, and if I had more time I’d have liked to spend the afternoon exploring and taking pictures – fishermen casting rods, families coming out for lunch, waiters in starched whites, the fleet of yachts and little fishing boats bobbing on the blue waters.

image Wikicommons
                                                                                                                       image Wikicommons

Non-Conventional Dolmades


quinoa and fish dolmades


My recipe for dolmades, the Greek and Turkish rice stuffed vine leaf snack, is not traditional at all. In fact it breaks a few rules and after all the taste tests, I can confirm it tastes scrumptious. If you are a fan of the classics, you may need to stand back for this one.

Instead of rice, I use quinoa – the health carb, high in protein that has had the world in a frenzy over the last few years. Also, quinoa cooks far quicker than rice and has a lovely, slightly crunchy texture that I enjoy. Use it as a starch, in salads and stuffings – it is really versatile.

Sultanas are not as sweet as you may think in this recipe, they give a needed contrast and lose some of the sweetness during the cooking process. The herbs are essential to add freshness. In fact you can add a little more after the quinoa has cooked and cooled. Toasted pine nuts are a wonderful Mediterranean ingredient, they add contrast and a buttery nuttiness. Lemon zest adds sprite and white fish is the perfect ingredient for summer.


dolmades with fish

Usually dolmades are cooked in a pot, covered in a lemony water for 40 minutes or longer, until the water evaporates. Using cooked quinoa and a delicate fish would not work with that long cooking time, also it would strip the seasoned quinoa of all that lovely flavour. So, I experimented with the less agressive steaming method. The leaves do not turn to mush this way, and I prefer the slight bite to them. Al dente vine leaves! Do use the old fashioned method, if you prefer.

dolmades on bamboo steamer

I used a bamboo steamer, suspended over a wok of simmering water, allowing the water to get to a slight roll and topping it up as needed. 25-30 minutes is long for a little fish strip, but the leaves need the time to soften; the fish still has a lovely texture as the steaming is gentle.

I used a double steamer and rotated the layers halfway through the cooking (saves time), you can do it this way or one at a time, as per my method below.

When the dolmades are ready, brush with olive oil and serve with tzatziki.

Want the recipe? Click here

steamed dolmades recipe


Greek Dolmades

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dolmades with pine nuts


This post forms part of the series of recipes I am preparing for Mediterranean Delicacies. It is a Food and the Fabulous Endorsed project and I will be remunerated for it.

Olive Oil and Polenta Cake with Cherries

January 22, 2013 in Desserts & Baked Goods, Recipe

Jangy-Spangly January to you!


Too late to wish you a Happy New Year?

(I haven’t posted on Food 24 in a while, but catching up now.)

I may sound a little over-enthusiastic in my greeting – it is that time of the year when many of us are a little relaxed from time spent with family (mind you we returned to Cape Town three weeks ago), the air is filled with promise as you etch those blank diary pages with entries and what’s this…dinner dates with friends? I recall December when I couldn’t honour most non-work appointments.

I’ve been busy, the year is zipping by already but it hangs ripe with promise. And I’ll stop before I wax Janu-lyrical.

Seriously though, don’t you just love this time of year? All those triumphs (and disasters) yet to arrive.

What do you see the year holding for you? *crystal balls a go-go!*

This cake was meant to be posted on New year’s day. I took a teeny hiatus, and so here it is now!

This cake has a lovely slightly grainy texture from the polenta, similar to semolina or mielie meal and the sweet summer cherries make it a special tea-time treat.

 Click here for the recipe



Visit the Food and the Fabulous Facebook page for more and

   come say hi anytime on twitter: @Foodandthefab

or take a peek at a slice of my day on Instagram.

Decadent Layered Savoury Cheesecake – for your Cheese Board

January 3, 2013 in Desserts & Baked Goods, Recipe

Happy New Year!
I hope twenty-13 is the year for sharing deliciousness, supporting dreams, spreading a little kindness and activating those BS detectors. I think the year of the sheep is over (unless the Chinese calendar says so!), this is the year for bravery.
Stand up for what you believe in bravely, read between lines, only do what resonates with your core and forge your own way. And if this is you already, bravo and keep going!
I hope to treat more people with kindness this year, get bloggers together more often to go good with their skills, to simplify life even more (I finally donated all the clothes and shoes I have been clearing up and collecting for over a year). It’s a small start but it lifted a weight off my shoulders.
May you realise your dreams, fabulously. I wish you all the luck!
Christmas and New Year celebrations may be over, but there is no reason to not treat yourself. A layered savoury cheese ‘cake’ makes a wonderful dessert for holiday celebrations and average days alike.

Earlier this year, I was invited to participate in the Women and Wine of the World International Competition 2012 (Femmes et Vins du Monde Concours International) in Monaco. It was an amazing experience, and you can read about it by clicking on this link.

I mentioned that as the appointed ‘god mother’ I would be preparing some dishes to pair with the winning wines. I received the wines last month and set about testing, tasting and testing again.

The Wine



This French sweet wine is rich with notes of honey, apricot and citrus. I was a little stumped about finding a perfect food pairing for this and I turned to the twitter hive-mind for discussion.

Friends Di Procter and Christian Smit had a number of suggestions. Of all of them, making a savoury cheesecake or a mini ‘cake’ made from layers of cheese really appealed to me.

Mine isn’t a cheesecake in the traditional sense, but rather layers of cheese – a creamy blue from my local cheesemonger and a neutral cream cheese, with dates and walnuts in between.  A wonderful alternative to all the rich puddings and cakes we eat during the holidays. And if you were wondering what to serve on a festive or celebratory cheese board, this would be my top pick. It’s also so easy to put together.

I am rather pleased with this pairing  In fact, I could not stop myself from devouring both the cheesecake and goblets of the wine, immediately after I shot the images. A perfect pairing and I do hope you enjoy it if you try it.

The tasting notes, as provided:

” One very clear pale yellow color, this wine exudes notes of acacia honey and mead. The start is elegant and fresh. Mouth, meanwhile, remains sweet and delicious, with aromas of citrus, pomelos, including grapefruit and orange zest. The finish is fresh and aromatic. ”


Click here for the directions


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I think this savoury layered cheese ‘cake’ is the perfect way to ring in the new year. I hope it’s a delectable one!

Note: I am not remunerated to create these dishes.

Tomato ‘Caprese’ Stacks

December 20, 2012 in Recipe, Salads & Soups, Vegetarian

exotic tomato selection

It’s only very recently that there has been conversation (and excitement) about heirloom tomatoes in the local food circles. Heirloom or heritage tomatoes are an open-pollinated, non-hybrid cultivar. The term ‘heirloom’ is often misunderstood; you can read more about heirloom toms  here.

A bigger local food store – the shame, it should have been a farmer’s market, I know,  assembled small boxes of what they labelled ‘exotic’ tomatoes – coeur de boef, tiger stripe, pink, marmade, yellow tomatoes. Such exquisite visuals and for those not accustomed to the variety, like us, an absolute treat. I’m not claiming these to be strictly heirloom, but they did look and taste marvelous, Mavis.  The tomatoes actually taste of tomato, with differing characteristics – a little bit of umami (savoury), some sweet, others fruity.

beautiful summer tomatoes

The first thing I did with them, was to make these stacks, using a basil infused boerenkaas (farmer’s cheese) from my local cheesemonger at the market, ripe avocado and basil leaves. Fresh buffalo mozzarella would be the traditional choice of cheese, and a perfect one. I also slow roasted the some of the smaller tomatoes, used a very ripe marmande in a barely cooked pasta sauce and the others in salads.

tomato caprese stacks

We enjoyed these tomato ‘caprese’ stacks sprinkled with sea salt for lunch. Serve on a large platter as a starter or with a main course of chicken or fish. I can imagine these on a generous summer tapas board too, especially if made with the smaller tomatoes.

I’ve gone for a slightly moodier look with some of the photographs. Think it showcases the deep  reds, green and orange of the tomatoes better.

tomato and avocado stacks

 Click to be taken to the recipe

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twitter: @Foodandthefab

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Cucumber and Gin Sorbet with a hint of mint

December 13, 2012 in Desserts & Baked Goods, Recipe, Vegetarian

cucumber, gin and mint sorbet


This particular sorbet is refreshing and sweet, with a lovely hit of gin and mint.  I love cucumber in salads and fresh juices and have been tempted to make a sorbet with cucumber in it, for a while.

Don’t add the mint to a hot sugar syrup – it wilts and tastes a bit odd. Wait for the syrup to cool down a bit before you steep the mint in the liquid.

Hot, sticky days? You need a scoop or three of this, enjoyed in the shade and or served pool-side. Hello Summer!

cucumber gin sorbet


Click here to be taken to the recipe 

cucumber sorbet image


Visit the Food and the Fabulous Facebook page for more and come say hi anytime on

twitter: @Foodandthefab

………………….or take a peek at a slice of my day on Instagram.

cucumber mint sorbet image