pasta and bean soup | pasta e fagioli

July 29, 2014 in Soup

SONY DSCI made this lovely pasta e fagioli (pasta + bean soup) the past weekend. This is the best-known peasant dish in Italy and Antonio Carluccio’s recipe. He says that every Italian region, sometimes every town, has a pasta e fagioli, which is a charming and warming cucina povera (“poor kitchen”) dish. It can be very thick or more soupy according to the area of its origin.

Antonio sees this soup as the benchmark of every restaurant! If a chef cannot make it properly, then he is not a good, nor conscientious chef.

Its easy and delicious. Enjoy!

For recipe go to

#pork fillet with cumin apples + crushed potatoes

July 25, 2014 in Pork

Pork is such an economical yet extremely tasty cut of meat. I bought 5 fillets at the deli in Joostenberg the other day for R60. It was those thick cuts with the minimal fat on. This is one of Rick’s favourite dishes and this is comfort food at its best. Enjoy.

For recipe go to

Pork Fillit

pumpkin + sweet potato + pear bake with orange olive oil

July 16, 2014 in Vegetables, Vegetarian


I grew up with sunflower oil and butter but these days I have five different extra virgin olive oils next to my stove. Ordinary olive oil for frying my chicken breasts, truffle olive oil that I add to my mashed potatoes, orange olive oil that I sprinkle on my pumpkin before I put it into the oven, parmesan olive oil to be added in good measures over hot pasta and then lime olive oil for dressing my salads. Olive oil is a completely natural oil (straight from heaven, I would say) with no preservatives added.

To read more about olive oil and to get the recipe go to


cookie swap 2014

July 14, 2014 in Uncategorized

Please join us baking and exchanging some cookies at Cookie Swap 2014 on the 2 August 2014 at Dear Me in Cape Town and at Happy Me in Greenside. Its fun! Bake some cookies, bring them to the venue and swap your cookies with the cookies of the other participants.

Entry fee: R50 for bakers and R100 for non-bakers
Charity to benefit: Bake-for-profit – a programme
All swappers should let the organisers know of their intention to participate via Facebook: RSACookieSwap
CPT Venue: Dear Me | Cape Town
JHB Venue: Happy Me | Greenside
DBN + PTA: tbc
Hashtag: #CookieSwap4

For more information: Ishay |

CookieSwap4invite 2014

lunch at the purple house in the bo-kaap

July 7, 2014 in Travel

Last week I had lunch at The Purple House in the Bo-Kaap with La Carmina (CNN TV Host) and Cape Town Tourism. Faldela Tolker prepared an authentic Cape Malay lunch for us in her purple house. For more images of this wondrful day and Lanice Snyman’s Koesister recipe go to

Beautiful Faldela Tolker in front of her bright purple house.

Beautiful Faldela Tolker in front of her bright purple house.

These Koesisters were to die for!

These Koesisters were to die for!

Matt Preston’s no knead bread

July 1, 2014 in Baked Goods


Who bakes bread these days? Not me. I buy the best bread on Saturdays at the market and I actually do not have the time for the kneading and proofing. The other day I was watching Masterchef and saw Matt Preston making his no-knead bread. This is definitely my kind of recipe. Simple ingredients, simple techniques (if any, that is) and when Matt Preston says it will work who am I to argue? He took flour, yeast, salt and warm water – mixed it all together, put the whole lot in the fridge overnight and baked it the next morning. ..and hey Presto!

I did the same and it turned out to be the first perfect bread I have ever baked. For people like me and for whom baking bread is a big challenge, I want to encourage you to try this recipe. It is simple, delicious and just impossible for it to flop.

Recipe on


breaking bread with the two greedy italians

June 24, 2014 in Zoo Talk

During the recently held Good Food and Wine Show I had the amazing privilege to meet and interview two of my all-time food heroes, Gennaro Contaldo and Antonio Carluccio (Two Greedy Italians). With a freshly baked Matt Preston bread, fresh farm butter, a bottle of South African red wine and soetkoekies I sauntered off to meet these two larger than life icons.


Two Greedy Italians - 500_edited-1

What do you think of Matt Preston’s bread?
G: Mhhh delizioso. I am mad about this. It is brilliant. Grazie! I just love the cloth that it is wrapped in – just like a good Italian mamma would serve it.
A: Ahhh, this breod is fantastic, but I do think it could have been baked for a little while longer. (Thank you chef)

Butter on bread?
G: I personally do not like butter on my bread but I am crazy about butter in my espresso. The next time you have an espresso add a tea spoon of butter to it. So good. You have to try it. (I shall, I shall!)
A: Ahhh, ok Gennaro stop it now, try a piece of bread with some of this fresh butter on it. Mmhhh, magnifico!

About South African soetkoekies
G: Mamma Mia, this is fantastico! I am tasting so much love. Antonio, dunk your biscuit in the wine! Don’t be shy.
A: It is absolutely lovely, mmhhh, I can taste the cinnamon, cloves and ginger and the wine brings out the spicy flavours. Mhhh! Wow bellissimo!

my two new zoobiscuit fans

my two new zoobiscuit fans

Would you drink wine with breakfast?
A: Oh yes, definitely. Did you know that Leonardo da Vinci enjoyed a glass of wine with his breakfast? In Venice, I saw an old menu that belonged to him and there was wine being served with the breakfast.
G: Yes, my father is 96 and each morning he has a small glass of wine with his coffee. Genuine. He has coffee with milk and right alongside it is a small glass of red vino.

What will each of you cook if you wanted to seduce a lady?
A: Something exceptional, but not complicated because one needs time to seduce her (says Antonio with a broad and mischievous grin). Mhhh, I think I would prepare tortellini served with shavings of truffle. Then for dessert some lovely white strawberries, with a few drops of lemon juice and a sprinkling of fine sugar. (Oh, Antonio!)
G: Antonio, you must please serve a good Rosé with that. I shall make something decadent with lots of chocolate in.

bread and wine with my two food heroes

bread and wine with my two food heroes

For which famous people have you cooked?
A + G : Prince Charles, Princess Diana, Luciano Pavarotti, Robert De Niro, Princess Margaret en just recently Pippa Middleton.

Antonio, are you a chef or a cook?
A: A cook cooks with passion and a chef cooks because he must. I believe a chef has more fun in the kitchen with food. I see myself as a cook because I cook with passion when and how I want to, and I enjoy myself thoroughly.
Gennaro, who is your food hero?
G: Antonio of course! (Shows with a big hand gesture to his friend of thirty years). He taught me a lot and when you eat his food, you eat part of Antonio!


so chuffed

so chuffed

breakfast + wine – i say yes!

June 13, 2014 in Eggs, Vegetarian

I am not a breakfast person. I would rather choose any other meal where I can drink wine. You are probably thinking I am stark raving mad, but to raise a glass of wine with a meal and to toast to life, happiness, health or whatever, is to me an appropriate way to dine.

These days, very few breakfasts in my house are served without a glass of good red wine! One of the better breakfasts to enjoy …along with a tipple is John Whaite’s Lebanese Lone Wolf Eggs! Try it, its spicy, warm and a perfect dish with a good glass of red and a friend.

For recipe go to

easiest + most delicious sprite scones = revolutionary + unconventional

June 3, 2014 in Baked Goods

I don’t like scones.   Yes, there you have it … I have disliked this dry tea time treat for years.  For me a scone is only edible the moment it comes out of the oven, spread with an even layer of butter that must be permitted to soak into the dryness of the scone. Then I add an unashamed serving of apricot jam paired with an equally generous serving of cream.  I also have to wash the whole lot down with at least two cups of freshly brewed tea!

sprite scones

But a few days ago I decided to ask Tannie Poppie for her unique scone recipe.She was quick to comply: “Take self raising flour and add some fresh cream and a tin of Sprite. Mix the batter and scoop in cupcake baking tray.Bake for 12 to 15 minutes at 200 °C until done. This scones just melt in your mouth … try it out and do let me know what you think”.

Naturally, I could not hold back my surprise and excitement.  It is so simple and in less than an hour I had a Tannie Poppie-sprite-scone in my mouth (that hour included my time going to the shop to buy Sprite)!  It was not dry and had a feather like texture that just melts in the mouth.  All that I can say is that it is revolutionary and unconventional.  Tannie Poppie…you rock!

For recipe go to

salty lamb ribs + wheat and green bean risotto

May 22, 2014 in Red Meat

Salty lamb rib

For recipe go to

Like scenes from the iconic movie, Thelma and Louise, Errieda and I let out an excited whoop as we saw the signboard “Vanwyksdorp Mall”.  We never saw “the mall”, but rather found ourselves in the midst of an Easter market in the middle of the Little Karoo.  Who would have thought?  It was like stepping into a live film set of the locally produced Faan se Trein.  “It is as if a production crew was specifically instructed to make this Easter market wonderland for the two of us”, said Errieda with contented surprise.  We were in our own food and people Utopia!

Van Wyksdorp Teken 500_edited-1

Our first stop was “The Barking Frog”, for a cup of coffee.  Henry informed us that the “Barking Frog” was open 7-days a week and sometimes an entire tour bus would make its way over the mountain pass and long gravel road all the way from Mossel Bay.  A cup of coffee would set you back R15, a milk tart, toasted sandwiches and pastries could stretch the budget by between R15 and R22.   Errieda had the chicken pie with a crunchy salad with fresh raw baby corn.  What a marvellously, refreshing surprise – right in the middle of this isolated town.

The Barking Frog

Just in front of The Barking Frog, we met Pam Du Toit, selling her home-grown bok choi and deep purple eggplants along with her fresh herbs and purple cauliflower plants.  I found myself wondering again in awe “… bok choi and eggplant in Van Wyksdorp?” Well, yes … I found it in the middle of the Klein Karoo.

Many hours later, with the locals still lingering in the beer tent with their ice-cold beers and music we made our way back along to our mountain retreat.  We may have left our footprints in those very dusty tracks but it was the people, the food, the barking frogs that left their prints in our hearts.

As the sun set over this beautiful part of the world, I decided to it would be fitting to make an oven roasted lamb ribs with a wheat and green bean risotto.

Where is Van Wyksdorp?
Van Wyksdorp is located on the R327, 42 kilometers from Ladismith

The Barking Frog
Henry Jones 083 653 8009 | 028 551 2597

Van Wyksdorp

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