Haute n the Kitchen

Entertaining Inspired by my Travels & Traditions

I feel horrible that I have made only one measly post since my book released! I would love to say that I have been going from city to city doing signings and working tirelessly to promote the book. But that would be a lie. Rather, I have been off on an adventure that had nothing to do with the book except for the fact that I needed a break after its release and the “break” came in the most unexpected way.

Two weeks ago today I emailed my friend E to see if she wanted to have dinner the next week. She replied that yes! she would love to but I would have to come to South Africa to have it, as she would be there on work. I just stared at the email response for the longest time and then wrote back, “Are you serious?” She said “Are you?” and 24 hours later I had a ticket booked to leave for Cape Town the following day. Definitely one of my more impetuous moments, but hey – opportunity knocked!

So I was off on an adventure without the first clue about where I was going. I had 24 hours of travel to think about it however. Finally – Cape Town! I rented the smallest car I have ever seen and took to the streets to discover what this city was all about. My friend E was up in wine country working – yeah, more on that coming – so I explored Cape Town for two days solo. I went to the beaches, to Table Mountain, to the Wharf, to Constantia and all over the city’s markets. Wow! Cape Town is absolutely breathtaking. The topography is like nowhere I have ever seen. Every picture I took was literally a postcard in the next shop!

Okay lets get to the good stuff though – FOOD! I have become addicted to three things; 1) Rusks 2)Biltong 3)SA oysters and oh yes – South African wines! First the rusks. They are wonderful hard cookies, like a biscotti, that can be filled with dried fruits, nuts, seeds or just plain buttermilk. Apparently they are given to tots when they are teething but I think they are fabulous dipped in coffee or wine! I smuggled back two packages worth and am already down to my last 5 rusks. I am going to make them this weekend so I will let you know how that goes.

Second, biltong. For real this makes beef jerky as appealing to eat as your shoe bottom. Biltong is jerky for real meat eaters. Using a  similar drying process the biltong is left a bit tender on the inside rather than a tough ole piece of leather. They are spiced with chili or herbs and are available in beef, kudu or springbok (another new favorite).  Third, the oysters. Big. Seriously Big. A little bit of brine flavor and a nice sweet creamy taste. Absolutely gorgeous.

After eating my weight in rusks and biltong (the oysters get pricey to eat all day) I headed up to Stellenbosch to meet up with E for a full day of wine tasting (that is her job, for real). I am going to blog about the wine tomorrow because there is alot to tell and there was alot to taste! Stay tuned.

After a day of wine drinking  I mean tasting,  we got in our wanna -be car and headed to Paarl for a quiet weekend with some of E’s old friends. Paarl is also in the wine country and has that same quiet Dutch/Belgian design influence as Stellenbosch. Soft muted colors, clean lines, traditional design with that modern European sensibility. Trendy cafes and coffee shops, marvelous home decor shops again reflecting that Dutch taste influenced by the wilds of Africa. Africa Chic. E’s friends were fabulous and treated us to two braais. Braai is S African for Barbecue. The first night he (because its a man’s job) put big fat beef steaks on the braai and the second day we had yellowtail fish. I will have to dedicate another post to the art of the braai. Something to experience for sure.

After a long relaxing weekend in the wine country north of Cape Town, E and I headed to Jo’burg for our last three days. E lived in SA for 8 years and thus had a slew of friends to catch up with. Sounded like some fun and yes it was! More great food of course but these days were filled with something just as exciting – shopping the local markets!

Loads more to tell and out of time. I will write about South Africa at least all this week if not more. This is just a taste (we wish right) of my trip!

Buitenverwachting, Constantia

Buitenverwachting, Constantia

South Africa Wine Country - Constantia

South Africa Wine Country - Constantia

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