SA Food and Wine Blogger Indaba 2014

February 11, 2014 in NEWS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

Good afternoon dear bloggers, I trust that you are all well and happy this side. It has been awhile since I blogged, life and all it’s twists and turns happen! Life is crazy busy and very full but I am hoping that 2014 will be the year that I can finally make time once again to start blogging regularly. I do miss it a lot!

The 4th SA Food and Wine Blogger Indaba is taking place on Saturday 22nd February at the beautiful and trendy DoubleTree by Hilton Cape Town Upper Eastside Hotel. It is going to be a wonderfully informative event and we invite all our fellow bloggers and anyone interested in learning more about social media, writing, food styling and photography, editing photographs etc. to pop over and take a look at the agenda and if it something that you feel you would like to attend then please book as tickets are selling out quite fast now. This is a limited seating event with just 130 seats.


We have amazing sponsors once again this year and our goodie bags are going to be overflowing with awesomeness. All information is available on the website and more is being added daily.

We look forward to welcoming you to #FBI2014! Please follow on facebook and twitter to keep up to date if you aren’t already doing so.


Easy Comforting Mushroom Soup

August 20, 2013 in SOUP, VEGETARIAN

Mushrooms! One of my absolute favourite ingredients to cook with. They are so versatile and there is so much that you can do with them. For the two years that I was undergoing my reconstructive surgeries I was unable to eat anything with a particular texture and mushrooms were just taboo…I did have some in bought cream of mushroom soup – most of it tasteless white stuff in a bowl or cup that I could not really identify with any mushroom….that deep earthy umami flavour was just missing and I longed for mushrooms, big brown ones stuffed with yummy delights and braaied outside over the coals, or delicious little marinated buttons that I could just pop in my mouth and taste the burst of flavour….whole baby mushrooms in a lively rich Boeuf Bourguignon or in a creamy beef stroganoff, or sliced porcinis and exotics in a delicious creamy mushroom and blue cheese risotto… ..Stir fried shiitake and exotics in an Asian Stir Fry! Oh I could go on and on! I have had my fill of mushrooms in all kinds of dishes since I have been able to eat them again these past 3 months or so and I am not tiring of them….last week, during the incredibly cold winter snap where the snow was falling on the surrounding mountains and we here at the coast were shivering in the bone biting accompanying wind and rain, I suddenly had the yearning to be holding a steaming bowl of homemade soup in my hands. I managed to get hold of my son who happened to be working locally that day and he went via the shop and bought me some fresh mushrooms and leeks and I set about picking thyme and parsley from the garden during a break in the rain. The aromas that filled the house were amazing. When hubby got back home from work he was very appreciative of the homely delicious smells that wafted out to meet him on the driveway.  I put a phone pic up on facebook of my saucepan full of sauteeing mushrooms leeks, thyme and garlic and got a lot of reaction out of it with friends asking for the recipe.

With all the rain and storms we have experienced our telephone cables got wet, as they do, so I was without internet for the better part of last week and the weekend. So I am excited to get onto my blogs, it is a very welcome and bright sunshiny day and I have 3 loads of laundry flapping in the slight breeze! And here I am in the dashboard of my blog finally and hoping for enough time on the interwebs to be able to write up my recipe and publish it…..a perfect meal for vegetarians and for Meatless Mondays!

Please click here for the recipe


browniegirl xx

Old Fashioned Custard Creams

August 12, 2013 in BAKING, Cookies and Biscuits

Comfort food. A lot of foods fall into this category for me…..steaming soups, stick meat on your ribs stews and casseroles, a bowl of delicious pasta, risotto, a roast leg of lamb or pork or whole chicken with all the yummy trimmings……and cookies, or biscuits as they are better known to me. Especially the biscuits that take me back to my childhood and these custard creams sure do that. The custard creams were one of my favourites out of all the biscuits that my Mom baked. She used to bake a lot….partly to make a living and partly for us 5 children.  I can close my eyes now and smell the aromas that greeted us kids as we neared our home after the long walk home from school. I can see the colourful row of biscuit tins (some with such pretty animal pictures on the lids) on the top pantry shelf  where we were not supposed to be able to reach, each one filled to the top with a different flavour and shape of cookie. I can see the old cast iron Welcome Dover wood stove in the kitchen, fire crackling in the grate and my Mom slaving away pulling batch after batch of perfect biscuits from that oven. And cakes….and Christmas cakes! Oh my! Only in later years, as a baker myself with a wonderful electric oven and an accurate oven thermometer, can I really appreciate how difficult it must have been to create such magnificent cakes and baked goodies using that old stove. But my Mom had it waxed….must have taken years of practice surely.

With the miserable weather in Cape Town lately I have had a sudden yearning to bake biscuits. I had been paging through my recipe book with some of my favourite of my Moms recipes in it and wondering which biscuits to bake. During one of my brief blog reading sojourns I came across a blog post about custard biscuits and I suddenly knew I had to bake my Moms custard creams. I used to bake them regularly when my children were young but I suddenly realized I had not baked them in years…certainly not in the last 15 years or so! It was time to remedy that! Delicious nostalgia!

These are wonderful cookies to make as a project with your young children or grandchildren. They have a lovely texture and are fun to roll between your palms and then press with a fork.

The dough is also highly addictive;)

Please click through to my browniegirlblog for the recipe 


browniegirl xx

Grilled Avocado with Prosciutto Parmesan and Pinenuts

July 31, 2013 in LIGHT MEALS, SALADS

It feels really good to be back blogging again after a lengthy hiatus. It has been exactly one year today since I blogged here on Kitchen Diary and Food 24 (not so long on my other blog) so it feels right that I post here on this day! What better recipe to share with you on this glorious sunshiney Cape Town day than this delicious Grilled Avocado with Prosciutto Parmesan and Pinenuts that I entered into the #Afrikado challenge run by ZZ2 Farms this month?

The smokiness from the griddle pan adds such a wonderful flavour to the normally mild tasting avocado. This recipe was inspired by the winter menu at The Red Herring Restaurant in Noordhoek. We went there for our recent 35th wedding anniversary and I had their grilled avocado starter which I really enjoyed. I took the basic elements from their dish and adapted it to suit my tastes, adding the chilli, prosciutto and parmesan. Of course using my homemade secret recipe ClemenGlaze added a delicious warm spicy, citrus touch!

Serves 2 as a starter


  • 1 Avocado sliced in half and stone removed
  • 1 Lemon or Lime – cut the cheeks off and reserve for serving
  • 2 Slices Prosciutto – at room temperature
  • 1 Red Chilli – finely sliced (remove seeds if you can’t stand the heat)
  • 5-10ml Olive Oil
  • 30ml Pinenuts – Use Walnuts roughly chopped up if preferred
  • Rocket or mixed baby lettuce leaves
  • Parmesan shavings
  • Coriander leaves
  • Balsamic Glaze

Heat a griddle pan until smoking hot

While that is heating up quickly dry toast your nuts in a non stick pan over high heat until lightly browned. Watch them carefully and toss every couple of seconds then allow to cool

Brush the cut surfaces of the avocado with a little olive oil and lemon juice then place cut side down onto the very hot griddle pan. Push it down gently onto the ridges so that all the surface gets nice charred lines across it. It takes about a minute at most.

Flip the avo over onto the skin side using a spatula then turn off the heat and leave it on the griddle pan to heat up nicely while you prepare your plate

Arrange a layer of rocket or lettuce leaves onto the plates

Using a piece of paper towel to hold the avocado halves gently peel off the hot skin – it comes off quite easily, then slice a thin layer off the rounded ends so that it can sit on the leaves without wobbling

Sprinkle over the pinenuts and the finely sliced chilli

Drizzle with the Balsamic Glaze

Tear the Prosciutto into long strips and place them decoratively on the plates putting one strip into the hollow of each avo half

Scatter over the Parmesan shavings and the coriander leaves. Use parsley if you prefer

Grind over some black pepper and sea salt flakes and serve immediately with the lemon or lime cheeks


Pinenuts are very expensive in South Africa so these can be substituted with walnuts which you toast whole then chop roughly once cool

A tip to easily remove the stone from the centre of the avocado – hold the avo half in one hand, smack the stone with a sharp knife, give a little twist then lift it out easily!

You can check out all  the buzz and recipes on twitter at #Afrikado or follow@ZZ2Farming  I also submitted these delicious brownies using avocado as a healthy fat instead of butter in the recipe, as well as my sneaky MORE than just guacamole and Nachos tart

browniegirl xx

Pumpkin Pops

July 30, 2012 in DESSERT, VEGETARIAN

About a week or so ago I was trawling the net, as one does sometimes, and came across a recipe for pumpkin poppers that I rather fancied. My mom used to make the most fabulous pumpkin fritters when we were kids and the memory of those had me scrambling to try out this recipe. Of course I pimped and adapted it to suit my needs and seeing as it is my favourite season….ClemenGold time I added some of those magical citrus fruits in and this is what I came up with…..

These were totally addictive and my two grandsons loved them…….the citrus cut through the spicy sweetness and I will definitely be trying them again. I would also like to try and bake some which is how the original recipe said they were done but I didn’t have a small muffin pan at the time. 

Please pop over and find the recipe for these delicious little pops of flavour here

Tyler and Jay are getting so big. They went fishing yesterday and Jay caught his first fish. So much excitement. Ty is already a regular fisherman :)

Have a great week,

browniegirl xx

The Indaba that was…….June 2012

July 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

Well, finally here I am with a report back on the SA Food and Wine Blogger Indaba that was held on Sunday 24 June 2012. WOW! What an epic event! I am still overwhelmed by the great success of the day. During the final few weeks of the run up to the event I was inundated with companies suddenly waking up to the fact that the Indaba was taking place and offering to sponsor products for the goodie bags. This started taking over my life to a large degree, writing emails, getting logos, trying to do the html code (my worst!) and organizing for delivery, some here and some directly to the venue thank goodness. My little house looked kind of like a warehouse, we never saw the dining room table the last couple of weeks. But the excitement rose as all the delicious products started filling up spaces.

The Indaba really started for us in earnest on the Saturday as my wonderfully supportive family, together with a team of key workers from Pick n Pay and a group of lovely blogger friends, all got together at the Conference Centre to start setting up and filling goodie bags……and when I say filling goodie bags I really do mean filling goodie bags….the products just kept on coming and the production line got busier and busier….eventually after a few hours we all sat down exhausted and cracked open a bottle of delicious sponsored wine while we chatted and stuck lables onto A4 pads for all the delegates. Each delegate would be going home with not one………but THREE goodie bags!

During the morning I got a text message from my friend Jeanne from Cooksister that said simply: “The beagle has landed” I breathed a sigh of relief knowing that my keynote speaker and presenter of workshops had safely arrived on the flight from London. We carried on working madly and eventually Jeanne arrived and jumped in with both feet to help pack goodie bags! A short while later I noticed her hunched in the corner over her bags scratching around furiously….the air turning blue above her head:) Turned out she’d lost her flash drive with her entire presentations for the following day!! After momentarily panicking we set to work and thank goodness for her hubby Nick at home in London we managed to download the presentations safely onto my pc later in the day! That was the beginning of the saga’s……….late Saturday night I got a message from Alida to say “don’t panic”………what do you do when you get a message like that?? You panic!! Of course, like one does!! Her laptop had died!! Thereafter ensued some late night calls with my son who promised to be at the venue bright and early with his laptop, a copy of lightroom and his tool kit. Jeanne and I eventually went to bed after we had everything done and ready to roll.

Sunday dawned dark, wet and cold and we arrived dozily at the Pick n Pay Office Park conference centre at 7am to be greeted by some very eager bloggers already waiting! I love that! We set the registration table up quickly and soon the arrivals started coming in earnest, being welcomed by the tantalizing aromas of the coffee being served by Source Management, amazing caterers for the day.

Saga #3 happened when I got a call from Alida to ask if there was a staircase or lift…..ummmmm both I replied, WHY? “Because I have had a very bad fall and can hardly walk” So son in law Damon and I rushed down to the parking lot to meet her and help her up to the auditorium where we seated her along with my son Devin who helped to get her presentation sorted out on a laptop. Mark Jennings the wonderful PR and marketing dude from Pick n Pay turned out to be the emergency paramedic on duty and soon was down on the floor patching up Ali’s foot! I did not even realize that until I saw photos afterwards. Thank you Mark!  Fortunately, with the help of anti-inflammatory and pain medication she was able to give her presentation in the morning and her workshop presentation with Jeanne in the afternoon. What a trooper!

The morning progressed rapidly thereafter with Paul Raphaely from the fabulous food company NoMU, my chosen MC for the day, taking up his duty as sheepdog and herding everyone into the auditorium to be seated by 8.30am sharp so that the conference could begin.

We were all welcomed by Pick n Pay representatives and also Paul and then the excellent presentations began with a short talk to bloggers by Paul Galatis from the amazing online kitchen tool company and co-headline sponsor Yuppiechef. Interesting, to the point and valuable, these presentations included ethics, etiquette and why we blog, monetizing your blog, building your blog brand with social media, writing for the web and pinterest for bloggers, all very apt, relevant and important topics to bloggers and social media people.

Paul Raphaely, Linda Harding, Jeanne Horak-Druiff and Paul Galatis

The morning flew by in a haze with much tweeting and counter tweeting going on in between listening to the wonderful presentations. We trended that day, first in Cape Town and then in South Africa :) Half way through the morning we broke up for a fabulous and very welcome spread for the tea break. Amazing how hungry you get when you sit around doing nothing but listening on a cold day!

After the last presentations Paul Raphaely then wrapped up the morning plenary session with instructions on the afternoon workshops and a few words of introduction were said by Yehbaby representative Ronelle Louwrens on the newly launchedTangled Tree wines, exclusively served with the amazing lunch spread from the team at Source Management, the caterers chosen by Pick n Pay for the day……

Food photos courtesy of Sybil Doms

Photos courtesy of Candice at Gorgeous Gourmet

After lunch everyone proceeded to their workshop of choice, the selection being food writing, food styling and photography, photography basics, WordPress and Plugins, Writing and Publishing a Cookbook (Sarah Graham Bitten) hands on Cake Decorating, Basics of Food Styling and Props, SEO and Live Blog Audit, Photoshop, Grappa and Food Pairing and Gorgeous By Graham Beck Bubbly and Canape workshops. Quite a fabulous choice wouldn’t you say? To see the full agenda with presenters you can pop over here 

Photos courtesy of Angie from Pretty Little Thing

Photos courtesy of Jeanne Horak Druiff Cooksister!

MC for the afternoon was my wingman, my right hand man, my best friend, my confidante, my husband Donald without whom I would not be able to do what I do. I thank him from the bottom of my heart and am so grateful to have a man of his calibre by my side, supporting and strengthening me. The day was wrapped up with a fabulous prize giving and auction courtesy of the fantastic sponsors for this event. My son in law Damon did the honours as auctioneer once again with the assistance of Donald and my son Devin adding to the fun. An awesome amount of R15,600 was raised during the auction for the charity project Lavender in Lavender Hill and CEO of the charity Marcelle van Zyl was in the audience to see the amount raised. Excitement was high as the prize giving got under way with the fantastic Banquet in a Box giveaway from Pesto Princess which was won by Tandy from Lavender and Lime and culminated with the Kitchen Aid Mixer sponsored by Yuppiechef and won by an ecstatic Roxanne.

The amazing table of prizes and auction items, Damon, Devin, Donald, Roxanne

All in all, a wonderful day and enjoyed by everyone. Thank you to everyone who participated and who came to make this such an amazing event. Until next time…..

browniegirl xx

And now for the girls and a sweet sponsor Food and Wine Blogger Indaba 2012

June 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

Finally, Indaba 2012 is here. I cannot believe that tomorrow we will all be sitting in a filled auditorium listening to exciting speakers talking about their favourite topics. I am not quite there yet, still got a few things to do but my first chore is to introduce the last of said exciting speakers to you, the public and readers of this blog. At the moment Jeanne (cooksister) and I are sitting here together working on different things, her on perfecting her dog entertainment skills presentations for the day and myself tying up all the loose ends.  The day was fraught with nerves and difficult times but also wonderful times filled with cameraderie and fun while a team of wonderful folk all gathered together to pack all the stunning goodie bags. Oh my word…..the delegates are going home with not one bag each but THREE!!! Loaded full. What amazing sponsorship we have received for this Indaba. Be prepared to carry heavy when you leave the conference centre. For that reason the bags will be handed out at the end of the day and not the beginning…..there is no way anyone will be able to lug those around with them for the day! Thank you so much to those who came and gave up the most part of their Saturday to help us with all the heavy work. It is so appreciated.

In the midst of all that Jeanne arrived from London and it was discovered soon after that her entire presentation, that she was working on on the plane last night, had been left on the plane….YIKES!! So much phone calling and to and fros before a way was found for her hubby in London to send an extra large file to a website where we downloaded it once we got home earlier so she is all smiles and relaxed again and working madly….well trying to. Tasha the hound is having so much fun with her.  Now let me introduce you to some fabulous ladies who all have a lot to say about things they love…..


Alida , author and owner of the fabulous blog Simply Delicious lives in Pretoria, South Africa with her husband Chris and their twins, Aidan & Abigail. She started her blog, Simply Delicious, as a way to share her simple yet delicious recipes with friends and family and it soon gained a large following. After winning awards in two categories in the South African Blog Awards 2010, she has made a move into the food world and is now a freelance stylist, photographer and writer. She has a cookbook being released in September 2012 (published by Penguin Books SA) It has been such a pleasure to watch this ambitious young woman develop her fledgling blog into the beautiful site that it is today and it is just such a pleasure to welcome her aboard as a speaker this year. Alida will be speaking on how to monetize your blog and more importantly how to make your blog look beautiful and attractive to companies looking for blogs from an advertising point of view. This is such an important topic in these difficult times.


Carine Visagie is a journalist, lecturer and digital editor from Cape Town, South Africa. After completing a post-graduate degree in journalism at Stellenbosch University, Carine joined the group as content editor at – a position she held for 7 years. However, a love for decor & design prompted her to join design magazine VISI in 2009 as online editor, shortly after she was awarded the Galliova prize for best health writer in South Africa. Her work on the redesign of VISI’s online and mobile platform, along with digital agency Native and advertising partner 140 BBDO, earned her team 3 Loerie Awards as well as a Silver Bookmarks Award in 2011. Carine is currently the Pick n Pay & Fresh Living digital editor at John Brown Media South Africa, and also lectures part–time at Stellenbosch University. Carine will be sharing with us about her favourite topic, Writing for the Web.

Now for something seriously delicious and sweet……and tempting

last year at the Good Food and Wine Show in Cape Town I tasted my first Sweet Tempations toffee and my love affair with the sweet rich decadence, that just melted in my mouth, began. I couldn’t get enough of these stylishly wrapped bars and I have been stalking Anita every since…..during that time this industrious and lovely young woman has built her toffee empire and this year has  scooped no less than SIX awards……..and it is only June! From the  DSTV Food Network, Eat-In Award for Best Small producer Confectionery in March (where I witnessed her absolute delight at winning) to the latest two –  Mercury Trophy Award for the Best stand overall and Gold award for beautiful display at the Royal Show in Pietermaritzburg in May this company so deserves the recognition that it is getting. GO ANITA! Sweet Tempations have generously sponsored a beautifully boxed assortment of toffees for every goodie bag, as well as a stunning hamper to be auctioned off for the Lavender in Lavender Hill charity auction tomorrow. I am definitely taking MY purse with me  

And onto still more sweet things………….


The delightful Sam is a freelance journalist who considers herself really lucky to have landed a column in food magazine, Taste.  She is the complex, greedy, needy creature behind Confessions of a Hungry Woman. She once edited entertainment magazines ( Cape ReviewCape etc) relating to life in Cape Town – a city which she adores and she was also the founding editor of Time Out Cape Town.  But obviously she likes the food writing gig the most. I love these words on Sam’s blog header:


I found this excerpt from the final paragraph of her very first blog post and just loved it….it so resonated within me and I know it will with so many of you too……and this is the reason that I asked Sam to speak about Food Writing at this year’s Indaba……………

“And in the winter sunshine, surrounded by those I love, and who will me to do well, I have my picture taken. And I feel good. And beautiful. And hopeful. And I want to lose weight. And I want to learn to cook. And I want to live fearlessly. Because I am a Hungry Woman. And that implies an appetite for life and experiences. An appetite unhampered by insecurities.”


Zimbabwean-born Sarah started her blog while living in Noordhoek, near Cape Town in May 2010 (and before having seen the movie Julie & Julia) and from the very first blog post, was unashamedly hooked. Firmly of the ’live to eat’ category, Sarah loves bringing both new and old recipes to life with ingredients that are as fresh and kindly-sourced as possible. Sarah put forward a proposal for a ‘blog-themed cookbook’ to RandomHouse-Struik Publishers in late 2010, and was awarded a contract to publish ‘bitten.’ which went on sale here in South Africa in February 2012.

The journey from her online blog platform to the bookshelf involved a huge amount of time and effort, but Sarah loved every step of the exciting journey. Now living in Bryanston in Johannesburg with her 9 month old daughter Sophie and husband Rob, Sarah is enjoying exploring the culinary world in Gauteng. Sarah’s blog and book have been featured online for and, on air with 2OceansVibe Radio, Talk 702, and also in the Woolworths TASTE, Food & Home, Garden & Home, Good Housekeeping and Fresh LIving Magazines as well as the Sunday Times and the Citizen Newspaper. When she’s not blogging or cooking, Sarah can be found watching cooking shows on TV (and, some might say, indulging a not-so-secret crush on Gordon Ramsay), or having fun with family and friends. Sarah will be sharing this journey in her workshop Writing and Publishing a Cookbook. She will also be doing a cooking demonstration using one of the recipes from ‘bitten’

I thank all those who have booked tickets, we have an almost full house and I hope that everyone has a wonderful Indaba experience.

We need to get to bed, we have a conference to run in a few hours :)


Lets hear it for the Indaba Boys and Sponsors

June 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

Here we are in the final countdown to the South African Food and Wine Blogger Indaba. FOUR more sleeps people! It is crunch time and I am frantically looking for all the lost balls and trying to field them into the net….in other words tying up loose ends, finding last minute products to stuff into the goodie bags! This is the most exciting time for me, when I see all the fruits of my many hours of labour coming together, I see and hear all the excitement from you who have booked a seat and it gives me so much satisfaction. My little house is looking like a mini warehouse…I am so thrilled by the wonderful and generous response from those companies who have come on board as sponsors. And there are a LOT of them….slowly I am managing to do the html code for the logos and slowly the list of them is growing down the side bars of the blog. Please do take a look at them and click on them to go and visit these generous people who will be making you all happy on Sunday! Those of you who are flying in to Cape Town for the Indaba do please take into account that you need to travel light and bring extra space for goodies…….just saying!

Before I introduce some more presenters for the day I would just like to ask one last time if there is anyone attending Indaba 2012 who has specific dietary requirements to please contact me today and let me know what those are. I am speaking specifically about Halaal or Kosher meals and allergies if you have them. If you are vegetarian I also need to know and rather urgently please. Thank you to those who have already given me their requirements. 

Early this year when I started thinking about the Indaba and speakers I naturally also had to think about who would be standing on the podium to welcome everyone, someone who would be able to jump up and tell everyone to shut up quieten down, someone who would be able to tell a joke or two with aplomb and remember the punch line…someone who would make the running of the day a smooth one in other words… thoughts kept turning to ONE person…..if only I could convince him to accept my proposal and see it as as an honour!! HAH! Score one to me………….I give you the main man the MC for the day, PAUL RAPHAELY – NoMU

Paul Raphaely really should have been an animator, or a professor of military history or maybe a writer….instead this gentleman with the naughty boy smile and great sense of humour is one half of the executive team making up NoMU Brands, arguably one of South Africa’s leading trend and innovation food companies. As Marketing Director  Paul manages the creative and strategic direction of the brand while also playing foil to Tracy Foulkes’ endless stream of invention. With a degree in Political Philosophy and a background in advertising and then Brand Management (his job description at Seagrams Africa literally read: ‘You will be required to consume alcohol, professionally and responsibly’) both locally and internationally, Paul’s focus and approach has always aimed mostly towards the trick of extracting maximum value for minimum investment. With NoMU’s continued growth and development, his techniques have been visible to anyone and everyone who has ever worked with him, referring endlessly to his favourite saying: ‘If you aren’t breaking through the clutter, you are just adding to it.

Paul is a true Cape Town local, born and bred, proudly referring to himself as Lawrence of Suburbia. He lives in Newlands surrounded by dogs, goldfish, children and reasonable catering. Not quite animation or military history but the food he admits, IS pretty good…I have no doubt that Mr Raphaely will break through any Indaba clutter to help us all enjoy a relaxed yet stylish event.


I met John Gardner recently at the Taste of Cape Town where he introduced himself to me and prompty told my husband that I am his latest stalker :)  A thorough Mr Nice Guy, with a great sense of humour to boot, John will be covering the very interesting and new  topic to the Indaba agenda, Pinterest. According to his bio he has over 15 years experience in digital marketing both in the UK and South Africa and can be considered a true digital native. John has worked across all major digital platforms and has a deep understanding of the interconnectivity of the digital web and how to tweak it to get the best results.
After working for 2 years in the UK, John started his own digital company which he ran successfully for 3 years. In 2010 he joined The Publishing Partnership as Digital Director, where he successfully worked on Jet, Legit, RCS, Private Edition and BankMed, to name a few. He joined John Brown Media as head of Digital in March 2012.

John has the ability to cross over from print challenges to digital solutions in a way that’s both seamless and eloquent in its simplicity.

When not focused on digital projects you can find John quizzing baristas on how to make a perfect cup of coffee or converting friends and colleagues to the joys of iPhone photography. Instagram has one billion reasons to be pretty cool, after all!

And for that ad break……………….

One of the very first sponsors that I acquired in 2010 was Le Creuset South Africa. It has been such an honour working with the lovely folk of this iconic company. Who doesn’t desire to boast about owning just one of their beautiful cast iron or stainless steel products? I know that mine permanently live on the hob in my kitchen, always on show for everyone to see! This year once again, Le Creuset has given generously and two very fortunate delegates will be leaving the Indaba with one of these

and one of these………..

Isn’t that awesome? Thank you Le Creuset South Africa for your very generous sponsorship once again this year!


London-born Mark Forrester is half English and half South African. He completed his tertiary education in Cape Town, graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of Cape Town and a design diploma at a local design agency.

Mark is a proud co-founder of – a leading WordPress theme & plugin company. With a team of 21 members spanning the globe they offer premium off the shelf WordPress products serving a community of 200,000+ active users. He heads up the product design and development from their headquarters in beautiful Cape Town where he lives with his wife and baby son Max. In his previous life this ever evolving digital designer turned online entrepreneur was a mobile disc jockey, a part owner of an IT company called Gravit8 and the designer behind the South African social media aggregator Afrigator.

Mark will be speaking about how to improve your blog by taking advantage of some of the very powerful functionality available today in WordPress themes & plugins. He will cover design and what you should consider before choosing a theme; the merits of choosing a commercial theme as a building block; customising your theme; and plugins that help you promote, sell and display your content.


Ricky van der Walt has always been interested in what makes people tick. Why we make the choices that we do, why we react to situations in a certain way – and what the implications are.

He arrived in the world of the web after making inroads into the print industry, with a few detours on the way along all paths of marketing.

Since 2003 Ricky has been the marketing and client relations director of Shapeshift Interactive, a full service design and development studio situated on a wheat and lavender farm on the Durbanville wine route. His role gives him the opportunity to interact with a range of different clients and personalities, from multinational financial service providers to local artists and radio celebrities.

Ricky loves nothing better than getting to know his fellow human beings, discovering and exploring all their intricacies and idiosyncrasies. The latest Malcolm Gladwell book and a decent chilli con carne is a close second!

Ricky will be talking on the subject of web design and usability

I am so grateful to each and every one of these fabulous people who are supporting me in various ways and assisting us all to learn new things. I cannot wait to hear more about these subjects.

Looking forward,


EDIT: Sadly Ricky will not be able to speak as he has taken ill. But never mind…….it will give you all a bit of time to ask some questions during the other topics! Get well soon Ricky!

Introducing Jeanne and Linda

June 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

Time is my enemy right now, it seems to be galloping away from me and I have so many interruptions that it is difficult to stick with any deadlines. The Food and Wine Blogger Indaba is taking place next Sunday….that is 9 sleeps away as I am being reminded all the time by those who are really excited to be attending. And I don’t blame them at all. This is going to be a fabulous event.

It is time that I start introducing some more of the wonderful, talented, delightful speakers and presenters that will be participating in this year’s Indaba.


Well known and well loved Jeanne Horak-Druiff is a born and bred South African who has been living in London since 2002. She qualified as a criminal lawyer and lectured commercial law for eight years, but her real passion remains writing. She is a freelance writer and columnist whose work has been published in The Digital Dish, National Geographic’s 500 Food Journeys and 500 Secret Journeys; the BloggerAid Cook Book; and the forthcoming Creating a Meal You’ll Love and Foodies of the World. She is a regular columnist for the online publication We Magazine for Women and South Africa’s most popular food website, Food24. Jeanne started her award-winning food blog CookSister! in May 2004. This internationally respected blog was named as one of the Times Online’s Top 50 Food Blogs in the world and is also a four-time winner of the Best South African Food Blog Award title. Her individual and distinctive writing style and love of teaching has led to her being sought after as a conference speaker both at Food Blogger Connect (London ‘09 and ‘10) and the South African Food Blogger Indaba (Cape Town ’10 and ‘11).She is also part of a team of 4 bloggers who present From Plate to Page, a series of hands on, intensive foodwriting and photography weekend workshops in Europe. Cooksister has recently been named in the number one position on the Foodies100 Index of UK Food blogs.

Jeanne, a very entertaining speaker and wonderful friend to the Indaba,  will present the topic – ethics, etiquette and why we blog and then later in the day she will present two workshops – one on photography basics and the second one on photoshop and how to read a photograph she will co- present with Alida Ryder. Can’t wait to welcome my friend and confidante back into the home fold! ;)

And just like on telly we can go straight to a short ad break…….

Golden Sturgeon Marketing Corporation has very generously donated a few of this most awesome product as give aways for the Indaba this year.

How fabulous that you are now able to make delicious frozen popsicles for yourself or your kids in 7 minutes. And if you are creative and innovative the sky is the limit! A very big thank you to Sanjai and Golden Sturgeon Products for this generous sponsorship.

And if you happen to book for the Indaba today or this weekend you stand in line to win one of these awesome packages (with a further very fabulous mystery gift included) just for yourself. 


The Squashed Tomato was founded by Linda Harding in 2011. The business provides clients within the food and wine industry with the edge to succeed in the world of social media. After identifying a gap for companies that have neither the time nor the resources to be active in social media on a daily basis, Linda decided to establish a business that would meet this demand.

Whilst The Squashed Tomato was originally started as a personal blog in May 2010, Linda soon realised that the food and wine industry was where she would find career happiness. As a graduate of the University of Cape Town, with an Honours degree in Economics and Statistics, and with a few years of work experience in the research and economic strategy industries, she decided to leave the corporate “rate race” behind and follow her passions. After experiencing the power of social media in building her own successful brand over a short period of time, as well as independently running the social media profiles of one of South Africa’s leading restaurant and food directories, Linda saw an opportunity to offer the same experience exclusively to South African restaurants and wineries eager to grow their own brands and client base. Today, The Squashed Tomato boasts a prestigious client list that includes some of the most prominent and exciting brands in the food and wine industry. It also offers consulting and design services to a wider target market, putting social media success within reach for any brand.

Linda’s FBI2012 session - Socially Active Blogs ‘n Brands – will focus on using social media to support and promote blogs, and how to create and build relationships with readers, in this dynamic and often unpredictable environment. Expect an interactive session that will help your blog to manage the risks, and reap the rewards, in the world of social media.

With a bio like that there is obviously no need for me to introduce Linda’s topic is there? But I will anyway….building your blog brand with social media :)

I am so looking forward to hearing these lovely ladies speak. Thank you Jeanne and Linda for giving of your time and expertise to share with us all at the Indaba.

TO THOSE WHO HAVE ALREADY BOOKED PLEASE INBOX ME IF YOU HAVE ANY SPECIAL DIETARY REQUIREMENTS….ie Halaal, Kosher, vegetarian, vegan, and if you have food intolerances. Thank you. I need to let the caterers know urgently! 


A fantastic Giveaway Food and Wine Blogger Indaba

June 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

 There is so much happening on the Indaba front that I rarely find the time to pop in to visit blogs or even to come and blog on my own blogs these days. But this is so important and special that I absolutely have to share it in case someone here has not been over to read the official SA Food and Wine Blogger Indaba blog lately. And if you haven’t I would encourage you….nay….URGE you to go and read the Agenda and if you would like to attend this very exciting event then book immediately. There are only 20 seats remaining. If you are on twitter (and once again I urge you to open an account and tweet if you own a blog) then follow me @Collywolly or the official Indaba account @SAFWiBI – there are AMAZING giveaways happening over there. You can also follow on the official Facebook page to keep up to date. I am sad to see that this event, the only one of it’s kind in Africa, is not well supported and advertised over here on this forum.  Subscribing to the Indaba blog posts will keep you totally abreast as well. I hate to think that anyone who has a passion for blogging will miss out because they didn’t know about this event.

I look forward very much to seeing some of your fabulous bloggers there……

Until then,

browniegirl xx

PS This competition closes midnight Friday 15 June 2012

Who DOESN’T want their blog audited right? I reckon every blogger should be clamouring for this particularly wonderful prize, valued at R5000 and available to only one lucky winner. Closing date is Friday evening, so get cracking on twitter if you would like to win this…..

One of the sessions at the Indaba that we are most excited about is the search engine optimisation workshop that will be run by Neil Pursey.  Most of you have probably heard of the term SEO but have no idea how to apply it to your own blog – and yet there are many fairly simple tips to make it easier for search engines to find your blog which Neil will share with you at his workshop.

Neil is the owner of WebGrowthFoxyTonic and co-founder of the GROW Academy. He is passionate about search and website usability and discovered his interest in SEO by chance while trying to generate more traffic and sales for one of his previous businesses.  Neil identified a need for SEO in South Africa and so he founded WebGrowth and started researching SEO. Since its inception in 2006, WebGrowth has evolved into a software and education company and uses its platform to educate South Africans in SEO.

During the course of Neil’s workshop at the Indaba, he plans to cover:

  1. A brief introduction to SEO and where we are at today
  2. Basic techniques to improve your site’s search visibility
  3. How to track your progress
  4. Live site audit
  5. On-site optimisation
  6. Competitor analysis
  7. Strategies to improve on SEO

And point number 4 is where you come in! Neil has offered that bloggers attending the Indaba and who are curious to know how well their site is currently optimised for search engines are going to be given a chance to find out during a live site audit on the day.  If you would like your site to be considered for this live site audit, here’s all you have to do:

Tweet “I want my site audited!” and include the hashtag #seobloggerindaba as well as the url of your website/blog

It could not be simpler!  Also, if you have any questions relating to SEO, you can tweet the question at any time before 24 June using the same #seobloggerindaba and Neil will (time permitting) try to answer your questions during the workshop.  From all the submissions, Neil will choose the website best suited for the SEO case study on the day of the Indaba.

And as an added bonus, those of you who tweet and enter the competition will be placed in a lucky draw that will be drawn at the Indaba.   The winner will receive a full month worth of reporting stats on their blog, together with a 1hr consultation with Neil at the end of the month. The winner will also receive a full strategy and action plan to improve on their site’s search visibility. The prize is valued at R5000.

The competition closes on Friday 15 June, so you’d better hurry and get Tweeting! Good luck!