Tuesday, 14 July 2015

A Visit To Hemelhuijs Restaurant - Cape Town, SA

Whilst working in South Africa recently, I was lucky enough to experience some of the culinary delights of Cape Town and the surrounding area. There was never a shortage of fantastic places to eat, and I was particularly excited about having some interesting fresh food having lived in the bush in The Waterberg for the last 3 months. After trying a few, the restaurant that proved to be my favourite was called Hemelhuijs. The restaurant itself is very modern in both its menu and decor - there is a face on the wall made out of croutons, bright furnishings, and plenty of light let in through big glass windows looking out onto the street.  
The crouton mosaic! 

Their menu offers a healthy array of fresh salads, meats and vegetables. The menu itself is presented with wonderful big photos, making it very difficult to choose a dish! Anyway after much deliberation I chose their vegetable platter which was perfect having overindulged in both food and wine all week! I received a board with avocado, corn on the cob, butternut squash, rocket, beans and sweet roasted carrots, accompanied by some tasty homemade humus. It was the most delicious and fresh meal that I have ever eaten in a restaurant; colourfully presented and washed down with a delicious glass of Usana Pinot Gris. My friends enjoyed their gnocchi and kidneys too. For dessert we all decided each to try a different pudding from their freshly baked selection of sweet treats. I had slight food envy when I saw the cheesecake and apple tart - perhaps my taste has not fully adapted to the Afrikaans traditional milk tart that I chose! 

Vegetable Platter with Hummus
Traditional Afrikaans Milk Tart
The next day I had planned on climbing Table Mountain, however the weather was miserable so I paid Hemelhuijs another lunchtime visit. This time I had a maple baked parsnip salad with whipped herb cheese, navel orange and mustard dressing to which I added slow roasted duck. The mustard dressing came in its own glass container on the plate, no pre dressed leaves meant the rocket and lettuce leaves still had a nice crunch, complementing the tender duck and soft parsnips. To follow I decided to try a thyme infused hot milk with Dulce de Leche which was amazing, sweet and warm but with an interesting hint of thyme. 
Duck Salad
Thyme infused milk with Dulce de Leche 
Both my trips to Hemelhuijs were simply delicious and at a very good price too, the total for the duck salad came to only 150 rand which is about £10 for a dining experience that you would be paying well over £20 for in the UK. So if you are visiting Cape Town I would highly recommend this as a restaurant to put on your list of places to go. 
Enjoy! Z x

Monday, 23 March 2015

Hotel Chocolat Easter Treats & Toscakaka Cake

With Easter just around the corner, Hotel Chocolat offered to send me some of their seasonal treats to sample, which I obviously gratefully accepted - I'm only human! Hotel Chocolat never disappoint with their innovative seasonal chocolate collections, and this year is no different with their Egglet H Box providing a sophisticated and interesting alternative to your traditional Easter Egg.

Raspberry Supermilk
Salted Caramel
With fifteen little Egglets in ten different flavours ranging from a zingy Raspberry Truffle to a boozy Calvados Caramel, there really is something for everyone. My personal favourites were the Coffee Caramel (the ideal after-dinner treat) and the Speckled Praline - a smooth and moreish nutty centre sealed in caramel chocolate speckled with vanilla seeds - A-mazing. So amazing, in fact, that it has inspired the following Toscakaka recipe… 

Toscakaka is a Swedish cake with a vanilla and orange flavoured sponge and a chewy, almondy, caramely topping that oozes into the sponge when baking and gives the cake a praline-like flavour. It is really simple to make, and would make an ideal Easter centrepiece if you're feeding friends and family next weekend. Scroll down for the full recipe…

You will need…

3 eggs
150g caster sugar
Zest of 1/2 an orange
1tsp vanilla extract or paste
150g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt
75 ml milk with a drop of lemon juice
75 g butter - melted

And for the topping…

150g toasted flaked almonds
125g soft light brown sugar
100g butter
2 tbsp whiskey

You will need to…

- Preheat the oven to 180C and grease and line a 9 inch springform tin.

- In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla and orange zest until thick and pale.

- Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt and gently fold into the egg mixture.

- Mix together the melted butter and milk, then fold this into the cake mixture too. 

- Pour the mixture into your prepared tin and bake for 20 minutes.

- In the meantime, make the praline-like topping by combining the almonds, sugar and butter in a small saucepan.

- Bring this mixture to a rapid boil and cook for about a minute, then remove from the heat and stir in the whiskey.

- After 20 minutes, carefully take the cake out the oven and gently spoon the almond mixture on top, taking care not to disturb the partially cooked sponge.

- Return the cake to the oven to cook for another 15 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

- Leave to cool in the tin and serve with a generous sprinkling of icing sugar. 

Enjoy! C x

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Smoked Salmon, Avocado and Beetroot on Spelt Loaf

This is so simple it doesn't really warrant a 'recipe' - it was just such a delicious lunch that I felt it would be a shame not to share it on here. It also raked in a fair few likes on our Instagram page so I thought it was only fair to share the dish in full! It only takes a few minutes to throw together and - ta dah - you have yourself a colourful, fresh, healthy and tasty plateful. This would make an ideal lunch, brunch or light supper that also provides a welcome contrast to the grey January days!

For one generous portion you will need…

2 slices smoked salmon
2 slices spelt loaf or another good crusty loaf e.g. rye or sourdough 
Soft cheese (I used Philadelphia)
1/2 an avocado
1 small pre-cooked beetroot (I use the vacuum packed ones sold in most supermarkets)
Fresh dill
Black pepper
1 wedge of fresh lemon

You will need to…

- Pop your slices of crusty bread into the toaster.
- Once toasted, spread each slice with a generous layer of soft cheese.
- Top with your smoked salmon and then scatter over sliced avocado and cubed beetroot.
- Sprinkle some fresh dill and ground black pepper on top.
- Squeeze over the fresh lemon wedge and serve.

Enjoy! C x