Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I'm sorry for my unplanned hiatus

I am sorry! No, really, I am!!
I know I've been a bad little blogger for the past few days, 9 days without posting...it's getting on my nerves, but I just haven't had a break! It's been crazy! What with work and family commitments. Since it was so busy I have quite a bit to say so this post might end up being a bit of a long one...I'll try my best to keep it short and sweet!

Last week was hectically busy!

On Sunday we spent the whole day on set shooting a car advertisment, we were supposed to be background people but Riaan ended up being put front and centre which is pretty cool! It's all pretty top secret because the car hasn't been released yet, so we couldn't take pictures, but it was so interesting! I was fascinated and in awe, by the time we left I was convinced that I could totes have an on-screen day job!!

On Tuesday we had team building, we went for breakfast in Hyde Park and then we went to Acrobranch in Melrose! Acrobranch is an outdoor sort of obstacle course up in the trees, it starts off about a meter above the ground, and gradually gets higher and higher. About half way through you find yourself at least four meters off the ground standing on a ledge, hooking your zip line mechanism to a cable spanning about 10 metres across the grass to another tree, silently convincing yourself to jump of the ledge and zip over the grass to the other side, there is after all no other way down!! With walk ways, chain bridges, cargo rope nets and zip lines to name a few, linking you from tree to tree, it takes about an hour and a half to complete the entire course. At one point I found myself feeling like Jane of the Jungle, I had to take hold of a really think rope and swing from one ledge to a rope net spanned between two trees *insert Tarzan-like yowling sound here*, after grabbing hold of the net I had to climb it to get to the next ledge about 1.5m above. They also have a 200m zip line across a field of grass, it's super fun and quite fast!! This course was a great upper body workout, and we had great fun but if you're afraid of heights and not able to do physical activity for at least two hours then I don't recommend this. If you're an adrenaline junkie and up for a challenge, DO IT!!

Wednesday was National Heritage Day over here in Sunny SA, and the traditional thing to do on NHD is BRAAI of course!! Haha, this year we did not follow tradition, the original plan was to head down to Hartebeesport Dam, ride the cable cars up the mountain and enjoy a late brunch, unfortunately the cable cars were down for maintenance. Oh well, next time right! So we ended up going shopping and after that we met with Riaan's Mom and her sisters, for a catch-up session complete with tea and scones. It was unplanned but a great way to spend a day off!

During the week I also managed to whip up some delicious diet friendly "Ice Cream" which I will post the recipe for tomorrow, I found it on The Londoner's blog, its really delicious but I have altered the recipe a teensy little bit, just to make it easier.

On Friday morning I was up bright and early to catch a flight to the Mother City, although I was going for work, I was excited because I love Cape Town! It's easily my most favourite place in SA!! On arrival we were met with grey skies and a drizzle, but by the afternoon it cleared up and we went for dinner at Shimmy Beach. It's an awesome hot-spot with the locals and the food is divine, not to mention the vast selection of local wines, which is right up my alley!!

On Saturday morning we woke up the most pathetic drizzle, it was fine but the wind was blowing and everything was wet, resulting in our plans to hike Table Mountain being foiled! Luckily in Cape Town we are spoiled for choice when it comes to activities, so off we went to The Old Biscuit Mill, for a morning of Gourmet food, Craft beers, lots of people watching and browsing the dozens of stalls of unique hand made goodies.

Craft Beers
Fresh Oysters
Colourful and very busy dining area
Fresh fruit juices
Delicious Fritata with Smoked Salmon, Poached Egg and Hollandaise Sauce!!
American Style Crepes with Banana and lots of Nutella - These were so so good!!
More Craft Beers
Seafood Paella
Vintage style swimwear

Wooden Jewelry
Pretty Necklaces
Wooden Sunnies and Watches - Pretty Funky!!
Afterwards we went to watch the rugby, SA vs Aus, Rugby isn't really my thing but there is nothing quite as special for me, as a nation that can come together to support their sportsmen the way South Africa does. It literally gave me chills!

On Sunday morning I was off again, back to Jo'burg, Riaan and I had a delicious breakfast at Nice, it's a rustic cafe in Parkhurst 4th Avenue. Their food is fresh, bursting with flavour and well presented.
As you can see we had a hard time making up our minds on what to order!!
We couldn't decide, so we shared!
Open croissant with scrambled egg, avocado and smoked salmon
Left: Toast basket with a poached egg, crispy bacon and tomato relish
Right: Crumpets with crispy bacon, mascarpone cheese and strawberries drizzled with syrup
I promise not to be so quite this week, I am thinking of starting a weekly blog topic, I have a few ideas but if you have any ideas or anything you'd like me to write about, please let me know in the comments!!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

A note about Wanderlust

Definition: A strong desire for or impulse to wander or travel and explore the world.

I think wanderlust is both a blessing an a curse.
It not only takes you to the most beautiful of places, but also away from your home and your family.
Thanks to modern technology the missing home and FOMO can be reduced substantially, but nothing will ever quite replace actually being there.

My innate wanderlust has landed me in some interesting places. I have never said no to travel, be it for work or pleasure. I long to see the world, be immersed in different cultures and experience different lifestyles.

Here are a few (unedited) snaps of the places I have travelled to.
Wine Tasting in Cape Town.
Selfie at a stop in The Kruger National Park.
The sun's reflection on the ocean, view from Table Mountain - Cape Town.
Southern Sun Maputo - Mozambique.
A Baby Hyena in the Kruger National Park.
Sunset at a dam in The Kruger National Park.
My Favourite Animal - A Giraffe at sunset in the Kruger National Park.
The Pinnacle - Mpumalanga.
God's Window - Mpumalanga.
Bourke's Luck Potholes - Mpumalanga.
Saint Lucia.
Saint Lucia.
Umhlanga - Kwa-Zulu Natal.
The spot where we got engaged! Wild Coast Sun - Kwa-Zulu Natal.
Kayaking in Cape Town.
Wild Coast Sun - Kwa-Zulu Natal.
The Marginale - Angola.
Jumeirah Lake Towers - Dubai.
Scottburgh - Kwa-Zulu Natal..

We live in a beautiful country and I have been lucky enough to have seen quite a lot of it.
Having said that, I can happily tell your that I am excited for our impending adventure.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Chocolate Fondant with a South African Twist

Firstly I'd like to say "Bonjour!" to my newly acquired French readers! It's so exciting to see that my blog is reaching all corners of the globe!!

So, ever since my first trip to Mozambique in February 2013, I cannot get enough of chocolate fondant.
We went to a restaurant called Zambi and we had the most amazing prawns for dinner, followed by an even more delightful dessert...Chocolate Fondant.

Alot of people confuse chocolate fondant with your normal fondant that is used for decorating cakes. There's a major difference though, Chocolate Fondant is easily 1000 times more tasty than fondant icing, and blatantly put - it's your diet's worst nightmare!!

When I got back to Jo'burg I searched high and low for a restaurant that sold chocolate fondant that was as unashamedly chocolatey and downright delicious, as the one I had had in Mozambique, but NONE came close.

I had no choice but to find a recipe!! So I went digging through our recipe books at home, and as usual Mr Ramsay never disappoints!

If you're a chocolate lover like me, then you are highly likely to fall in love with this quick and easy recipe, if you're not then I think you need to pay a visit to your doctor because there's obviously something wrong with you!

Unfortunately we can't live off of these decadent little desserts, well, technically we could, but it isn't recommended! So, just as it goes with all the finer things in life, when trying to stay healthy, moderation is key!

This recipe yields 4 servings and is best served straight out the oven, otherwise your gooey chocolate centre disappears!

What you'll need:

4 7.5cm ramekins (you can also use muffin pans)
50g unsalted butter, plus extra, softened, to grease the ramekins
2 tsp cocoa powder, to dust
50g good-quality dark, bitter chocolate(minimum 70% cocoa solids), broken up in pieces - I use Lindt
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
60g caster sugar
2 tbsp Amarula - this is a delicious South African liqueur (Any other liqueur such as Tia Maria/Frangelico will work)
50g plain flour, sifted
Vanilla ice cream or crème fraiche to serve

How you'll do it:

1. Heat the oven to 160°C/325°F/gas mark 3. Butter your ramekins and dust liberally with cocoa powder. Make sure you cover all the nooks and crannies so your fondants don't get stuck!Place in the fridge while you prepare the fondant mixture.
2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a small bowl set over a pan of hot water, or in the microwave. Take it off the heat and stir until smooth.
3. Using an electric whisk, beat the whole egg, the egg yolk and the sugar together in a separate bowl, until pale and thick, then fold in the chocolate mixture. Fold in the liqueur, followed by the flour.

4. Divide the chocolate mixture evenly among the ramekins and bake in the oven for 12 minutes.
5. Run a knife around the edge of the dishes and turn the chocolate fondants out onto warm plates. Alternatively you can leave them in the ramekins. (But then your amazing chocolate river will not ooze out the middle when you break it open for the first bite!)
6. Serve immediately, with a dollop of crème fraîche or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

And ENJOY your tiny taste of heaven!!