Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Ginger Biscuits

Made by: Simeon

Recipe: Adapted from Jamie Oliver's "Jamie" magazine, December 2013, pg 54.

Allergens: Milk (in the butter)

Makes: 22 - 24 biscuits

Takes: About 30 mins from start to first batch out the oven.

Smells like: Christmas

  • 300 grams gluten-free cake flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice (or just nutmeg, if you prefer)
  • 125 grams butter
  • 100 grams sugar
  • 1 Dsp honey
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Line two baking sheets with baking paper and dust them with a little extra flour.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
  4. Melt the butter, sugar and honey together over low heat.
  5. Stir the butter mixture into the dry ingredients.
  6. Use a tablespoon to measure out balls of the mixture, which you then press flat(ish) on your palms.
  7. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes, or until a little golden brown at the edges.
P.S. These taste like Christmas too.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Cute *PRODUCTS* and cool *READING*

Useful for what Nigella Lawson calls "the cook's treat".

The Nibble Cake Taster - Talia Wiener - available on Superbalist here.

Who wouldn't want to go camping in one of these?

VW Campervan Tent - The Monster Factory - available on Superbalist here.

A short, beautifully written piece on transformation and flow, written by the handcraftedtravellers here, whose motto is:

Live simply, live well.

Good advice.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

*Upcoming Event*

Would you like to meet some local cookbook authors?


Reader’s Warehouse (Tokai branch)
Block 1, No 1, South Palms Centre,
Corner Bark and Main Rd


Saturday, 30 November 2013

Contact details:

Tel (021) 701 0632

About the event:

All eight authors will be signing their books (personalised Christmas gift for someone, perhaps?)

The book signing event is officially from 12 noon to 1pm.

Coffee, tea and biscuits will be served, courtesy of Peacock Coffee and Mantelli’s bakery (wonder if there'll be any gluten-free yummies?)

There will also be some braai sets as giveaway prizes, courtesy of Penguin Books.

So if you happen to be in Cape Town next weekend, and feel like popping in, now you know where to be!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

*Sponsored GIVEaway* and *Recipe*

I've been watching Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's River Cottage to the Core, in which Hugh "wants to sow the seeds of change and revolutionise the way [people] use fruit in Britain." He reckons that Brits have a fairly solitary view on the use of fruits, and wants to shake things up a bit. 

Watching these episodes has got me to thinking how my own tastebuds have changed of late, and in the past few months (especially in this hot Summery weather), I find myself craving fruit and savoury pairings.

A slice of Italian smoked provolone cheese on a bed of peppery wild rocket with slices of juicy, tangy nectarines.

Roast chicken with sweet, fresh mango pieces.

Salads with salty feta cheese, radishes, bell peppers and golden delicious apples.

I do so love a good apple. 

Sadly, apples are a Winter fruit, and are a little past their freshest and crispiest best at the moment. However, they are still available to buy and are still fantastic for cooking with!

Favouring the sweet and salty, I prepared this recipe based on what I was craving for lunch.

Apple-licious sautéed Onions with 
wilted Baby Spinach on
Basmati Rice, served with
fresh Radish slices and
home made Yoghurt

Steps to follow:

Step 1: Pick your cooking apple of choice. For savoury dishes, I prefer Granny Smith apples, as their tart acidity and subtle sweetness holds up admirably against stronger savoury flavours such as cooked onions.
Step 2: Sauté three small onions and one large Granny Smith apple, chopped, on medium heat in some fruity olive oil until the onions are soft and transparent. Sprinkle lightly with salt and set aside to cool.
Step 3: Wilt some baby spinach in a pan (with a lid) over high heat. Season with a little salt and set aside to cool.
Step 4a: Simmer some Basmati rice with some coarse sea salt and a fresh bay leaf until ready (follow the instructions on the packet as cooking times vary according to brand).
Step 4b: Dish up some Basmati rice in an individual serving bowl.
Step 5: Add some wilted baby spinach leaves.
Step 6: Spoon on some sautéed Granny Smith apple and onions.
Step 7: Garnish with a few thin slices of fresh radish.
Step 8a: Serve with some fresh plain yoghurt (buy your favourite or try making it at home - it's a manageable and rewarding experience)...
Step 8b: ...and a sprinkle of black pepper.
* All fresh produce used in my recipe courtesy of Spar's Freshline range of produce, and all ingredients were bought with a two-hundred rand (R200-) voucher kindly provided by Spar.

Voucher giveaway:

Spar have generously donated a three-hundred rand (R300-) voucher which one lucky South African reader can win and enjoy in any of the many, many branches of Spar spread across our country.

To enter, simply leave a comment (or a simple "me too" if you don't feel like being verbose) in the comments section below. Please include your e-mail address so that I have a way of contacting you should you be the lucky winner!

Entries close at midnight on 30 November 2013. 

The winner will be drawn on 1 December 2013.

Good luck! 

Update: And the winner is...

Congratulations to commenter Yoga ist Toll on winning the Spar voucher. I'll be in touch to organise your prize getting to you.

Friday, September 20, 2013

*New Section: Q and A*

I've received a lot of questions regarding allergen-free living, products and recipes specific to the South African context over the years of this blog's life. I don't know why it hasn't occurred to me to start a Q & A section ages ago (?!) but now that has been rectified and here it is:

The questions and answers listed here are directly related to my recipes listed on this site. I will add questions I've been asked on a broad range of foodie topics in the coming months. 

Friday, August 30, 2013

*Coffee*Banana*Sun Seed*Ice-cream*

  • 500ml cream
  • (handful) sunflower seeds
  • 100ml (cooled) coffee
  • 1 banana
  • agave syrup
  • (pinch) vanilla seeds
  • half-teaspoon cinnamon powder
  1. Toast the sunflower seeds in a dry pan and then toss them in a bowl to cool with half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder.
  2. Beat the cream till soft peaks form. Add a pinch of vanilla seeds, a mashed banana and 100ml coffee. Mix in agave syrup to your sweetness preference.
  3. Add the mixture to the ice-cream maker (I bought an excellent Krups ice-cream maker from
  4. After about five minutes in the ice-cream maker, add in the toasted sunflower seeds + cinnamon. The paddles will mix it through.
  5. Homemade ice-cream is always best served straight out of the ice-cream maker. Sprinkle with a couple of sun seeds to serve. 
Vanilla powder from Woolworths and Agave nectar from Spar.

Krups ice-cream maker (1.6L).

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

*Iceland* is green and Greenland is icy

"We come from the land of the ice and snow,
From the midnight sun where the hot springs blow." 
- Immigrant Song, Led Zeppelin.

Iceland is a mind freak.
I would highly recommend it.

Reykjavik is unlike any European city I have visited.
Plain grey or white buildings interspersed with strange and colourful corrugated tin-walled buildings. Viking church architecture interspersed with some of the most unusual artistic grafitti I have seen.

And man, when you rent a 4 x 4, leaving the city behind to travel to some of the most untamed and unreal nature I have ever witnessed, your mind boggles!

Helping the state of "boggling" along is the weirdness of the sun "setting" at 23:00, remaining a strange twilight hue till about 1 AM, when it gets dark. Then the sun starts rising again at 4 AM. You see kids leaving their homes after dinner to go out on their push scooters with friends at 22:30. Weird.

So, if you ever find yourself in Iceland, here are my suggestions:

Places to visit:

These recommendations are centred around Reykjavik. Most can be visited by on any of a number of so-called "Golden Circle" tours. But not being one for keeping to other people's schedules, I would suggest doing what we did, which is hiring a car and driving about at your own pace. With so much daylight in Summer, you never really have to worry about timelines. Going off the beaten path and taking little side roads leads to such fun finds!
  • Thingvellir National Park. A massive crack. Some old buildings. Beautiful space. Historical prominence as the beginnings of Iceland's parliment.
  • Geysir. The origin of the name belongs to this massive water spout. Hot. Stinky. Amazing. Prepared to be dazzled by a large spout of water.
  • Gulfoss Falls. Awe inspiring to the max. So much water! So much wind! So much cold! Stop at the wooden restaurant alongside for some warm-you-up beverages. Despite it being Summer when we visited, the daytime temperature never went above tend degrees Celsius, and the wind chill factor dropped that temperature well below zero. Don't expect the sun to warm you up, so pack carefully when visiting if you are from warmer climes. 
  • Blue Lagoon Geothermal Spa. The coolant water coming from the nearby geothermal energy plant makes for a pleasant way to spend some time if you can get your mind to say yes. I will say, though, that this doesn't even come close to the awesomeness of the hot springs in Rotorua in New Zealand. BUT there is something uniquely Icelandic about this experience, so why not.
Things to see:
  • Icelandic horses. An isolated breed famed for their genetic purity. Once a horse leaves Iceland, it can never come back. In this way, diseases stay out and the bloodline remains pure. These friendly dog-like horses will pull up to any random road-sode fence and say hello to you. They are also famed for having a fifth gait which allows the rider to trot exceptionally fast while remaining exceptionally stable so as to continue drinking one's mead.
  • Rock piles. They're everywhere. I don't know why. I guess when you have a country that has large parts which look like the moon, you stack rocks.
  • Architecture. A church shaped like a viking helmet. 'Nuff said.
  • The coastline. Pretty, pretty.
  • The Sagas. The historical documents telling of Viking history. They came. They saw. They conquered.
  • A show. Get thee hence to the massive glass building sitting on the water. We saw: "How to become Icelandic in 60 minutes". It was funny, if not a little disturbing (tips such as: walk like a zombie, give vague directions, eat sheep's testicles and have sex with as many strangers as possible in a club because what else is there to do in the dead dark cold of Winter don't go over so well with me).
  Things to try: 
  • Coffee! The Icelanders have a serious coffee culture. If you don't have a love of java already, this is the place to cultivate one.

  • Tap water. I am serious. The cold water tap pumps pure, icy spring water. The hot water tap pumps geothermal water that smells like sulphur. This is good for your skin, but pretty much guarantees that your entire bathroom and kitchen smells like a rotten egg ALL THE TIME! 
  • Sushi. Just don't expect it to be cheap (ironically). The Icelanders are into cured and dried and fermented foods. This is not a pleasant exprience for one's tastebuds (or nostrils) unless you are REALLY into that sort of thing. Salmon is also very, very expensive. Although it is plentiful, the permits required to fish for it are very, very expensive too, so you don't find it on menus easily.
  • Pakistani cuisine. People laugh when Sim and I say that we ate Pakistani food in Iceland, but that is because they are not looking at travel through the eyes of a person with severe and numerous food allergies. Iceland is NOT a gluten-free friendly city. Bread is a big feature on all menus. Salads are practically unheard of (and buying imported cucumbers and tomatoes, as most common vegetables can't grow in Iceland, makes for a verrrrrry expensive supermarket outing). So unless you are content to spend your holiday eating fresh fruit, plain rice cakes with cheese and really bad dark chocolate, find your way to Shalimar for excellent and allergy-safe food. The chefs make everything fresh, so leaving out any ingredient is something easily done.

    Other cool things:
    • Icelandic is close to impossible to parse, so thank your lucky stars for the excellent English spoken as a second language by all Icelanders. I have never been in a country where English is spoken so fluently as a second language, not even the Netherlands (which is famed for their education system).
    • Heated side walks. Hot water, being the plentiful thing it is due to geothermal heating, is pumped through pipes in the sidewalk to prevent ice.
    • The wind. It blows away fishy and sulphury smells. 
    • The lunar landscape. About as close as you'll get to walking on the moon I suspect. In fact, Askja was used to prepare Apollo program astronauts for studying geology prior to their lunar missions.
    • Graffiti. Interesting and abundant.
    • The knitting culture! Expect to have some knitting needles and wool handed to you at certain coffee chops instead of newspapers to keep you entertained. Expect to see many lamp poles and trees with knitted accoutrements.

    Sunday, March 24, 2013

    Art & All Things Wes Anderson

    Being fans of all things Wes Anderson, we recently went to an art exhibit at the Pretoria Arts Association by a local artist, Wayne Vivier. The exhibit was called: "Out of the life aquatic with Steve Zissou".

    The artist painted a beautiful version of the Belafonte, which can be seen at Wayne Vivier's site.

    An article on Tilda Swinton (of "Moonrise Kingdom") putting herself on display as living art at the New York Museum of Modern Art piqued my interest.

    Full article and more pics at Daily Mail.

    Here follows my favourite song from "Moonrise Kingdom": Benjamin Britten's "Cuckoo!". It is hauntingly beautiful. It was recently used to excellent effect in an episode of "Bunheads", choreographed as a gorgeous solo for Jeanine Mason.