Silver Orange Bistro Bliss! Almost :)

Silver Orange Bistro! What a surprise!  The word “bistro” mostly refers to a small eatery that serves simple food, but in this case, it’s a small place that packs a huge punch.  Silver Orange Bistro found its feet in the early 2000’s and is situated in the Hartebeespoortdam region just a 30 minute drive from the capital Pretoria or a 50 minute drive from Johannesburg.  Nestled in between the bushveld and orchards  (yes you read right) surroundings, you almost feel like you have just arrived at your mini holiday.

The setting is very laid back and relaxed, and with adequate seating that offers you inside and outside dining, you can take your pick where to enjoy your meal.  One thing is certain, please book before you drive all the way out to Hartebeespoortdam as Silver Orange Bistro is quite popular and you don’t want to be turned away on arrival.  (so be clever – BOOK!).

They have a lovely menu that offers you culinary delights with European and African influences.  Be sure to ask them about their special offerings.  My favourite?  I enjoyed their Pork Belly with Balsamic Mash potatoes and roast peppers and aubergine.  It was well prepared and executive chef Leon Nel sure knows how to balance his flavours and marrying your palate to visual presentation.  Please visit Silver Orange Bistro’s website, to see what their standard menu offers.  Take note that they updated their menu, so you might find more items when you open their menu on arrival.

Now for the Almost part…. (yes, you thought I was going to be impolite?)  Almost Orange is just a short walk or rather stroll down the orchards just beyond the Bistro.  You are greeted by a scene I can swear is straight out of Tuscany!  Platters, Tapas and premium drinks your thing?  Then this is the place for you.  Where the Bistro offers you a great setting that suits families and individuals alike, Almost Orange caters more for adult patrons and children under 16 is not allowed.  Once again, book your spot well in advance.

So! If you find yourself looking for an adventure outside the hustle and bustle of the city perimeter, then jump in your wagon and take a drive to Harties and experience a wide selection of Gin, MCC, craft beer, wine, etc while enjoying superb food.  Well done Silver Orange Bistro and Almost Orange, this was an excellent experience.

Ok, so what about my YES, NO & MAYBE? Here goes:

YES – They offer a unique experience, good food and well rounded relaxed dining with a killer (and award-winning wine list).

NO – The service was a bit slow to my liking, but as always, when the food is good, I’ll tolerate some ‘slowness’ to my experience.

MAYBE – It gets quite hot during the summer season, so if you find the heat unbearable, please book your spot inside.  The road to Silver Orange Bistro is not in good condition and maybe you should take it slow driving there, you don’t want to ‘not arrive’ at your reservation and leave a bit earlier.

All an all, I was impressed, they will most certainly see me again.  Well done Silver Orange team! Itsfoodoo likes you a lot, no, we love you!

 

Freestate beauty in Clarens!

South Africa is most probably the best country to live in when it comes to scenery, beauty and places to visit.  (Yes, I am South African and might be a little bit biased, but bare with me).  It can be very vast when traveling by car, but all special and popular cities, places of interest and holiday spots are easily accessible by a 2 hour flight (and tickets can be bought at a bargain when your timing is right).  We have deserts, the Karoo, the Bushveld, Game Reserves, tropical beaches, mountain ranges that takes your breath away and then there is the Freestate.   A very VERY underrated and unappreciated patch of earth, smack bang in the middle of our country.

Being born in the Freestate I do know that there is little happening, apart from agriculture and farming, but there are a few gems that’s just waiting to be discovered.  Clarens is most certainly one of them.  I have visited this quaint little town quite a few times and every time, I feel like I’m greeting an old friend and also learning something new with every time I set foot in this booming town.  Only 3 hours (by car) away from the capital Pretoria, this town sees a lot of weekend visitors from mostly Johannesburg, Pretoria and surrounds.  It’s just a beautiful place to spend a weekend and plentiful options for accommodation.  December last year, a few friends and I  took a trip down and we enjoyed every moment of it.

Take note that winter times can be very VERY cold and you should plan for possible snow, but in warmer months, you can have lots of fund river rafting, hiking in the Golden Gate Nature Reserve or just spending time in the town shopping.  I would like to share my top picks of Clarens with you.

1.  Accommodation

The choice is yours to stay outside of the town or in the town itself and it really comes down to what tickles your fancy.  This time around, we opted to stay in town at the Golden View Luxury Self Catering in their Oak on Church unit that’s got a view to die for!  Tastefully decorated and affordable, it’s close to town and a quick walk will take you right to the square, where all the action takes place.

2.  Dining at Clarens

When it comes to dining, the options are endless.  Breakfast spots that you should give a go, is The Post House, The Courtyard and Artists Cafe.  My personal favourite?  The Courtyard.  Their fresh baked artisan breads are pure dough magic and tastes amazing. (Don’t forget to check out their bakery section, sweet tooth heaven!).

Lunch time is always a great treat when visiting the Clarens Brewery, they’ve got amazing beer tastings, gin offerings and charcuterie, cheese and bread platters that is a killer lunch pick.  Make sure to visit the RED STONE GIN distillery when you are there.  Love it!

Dinner in Clarens offers you a variety of options, from the local Pizza spot, to Pub dining or you can take a turn and head off to Clementines and enjoy amazing food, prepared well and never disappoints.

3.  So? What to do in Clarens?

Art Galleries in Clarens are quite bespoke and when you set foot into one of them, you can see why.  Art and artists alike find their spot there and paint on canvas is not in short supply.  The art is quite high-end and beautiful!

Shopping isn’t getting the backseat as I like to take a few souvenirs home.  Anything from lamps, doorknobs (the artistic ones), carpets, jewellery, pastas, pickled goods and jams are to your disposal.  They even have an Eco friendly shop that sells functional items, go check them out.

Do you see yourself as an extreme sports junky?  Then horse riding, biking, hiking and river rafting might be added to your list.  You can even go dinosaur hunting (take note, they are extinct and you will be chasing fossils and bones LOL!).

Ok, so this town is exceptional and you just have to make time to get yourself to visit Clarens whenever you can.  They have numerous wedding and function venues as well and the mountainous backdrop creates magical photoshoots.

Ok, so my YES, NO or MAYBE for Clarens are the following:

YES?  This town is an awesome experience and I will go back there again…. and again but do so in warmer months as the cold can sometimes be a bit of a mood damper.

NO?  The roads around the town is not in the best shape and if you aren’t careful, you  might loose a tyre in one of those gigantic potholes.

MAYBE? Check their online calendar for town events.  If there is a MTB race or Beer festival or some big event, KNOW that the town is going to be very busy, so plan your trip well if you are not much of a social animal and rather book outside their peak times.  Visit the Clarens website here to plan your visit.

Now there you have it! I do hope you visit Clarens soon and I look forward to hearing from you and your experiences in the beautiful and picturesque town in the Freesate!  The gem is waiting for you!

 

 

Maple & Cinnamon Butternut dreams!

Veggies are a good thing, not only are they healthy and nutritious, but they should always be fun too.  I always catch myself in the kitchen busy preparing food facing this conundrum of rather healthy vs rather tasty.  Sadly, I still have a lot to learn in that department.  One thing is definitely for sure, I like…… no I LOOOOOOVE tasty food and sometimes healthy eating get the back seat.

Recently I posted my side dish of Roasted Maple & Cinnamon Butternut on Instagram (please follow me there @Janthinus) and received some requests on how to go about making it.  So here it is.  Ready yourself glorious Butternut Bi… (ok, I’ll not get carried away) ….. this is going to be awesome and super easy to prepare.

Let’s proceed.  Let’s do this y’all! (apologies for poor accent there). You will need:

Step 1

Butternut (I used about three medium ones) – Place in oven dish, sliced or as you wish

Olive Oil – Drizzle and toss them to coat them well

2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar sprinkled evenly over

Salt & Pepper to taste.

Chuck them in the oven at 200 degrees Celsius for about 30-40 minutes until tender.

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Step 2

A few little blocks of Butter (NOT MARGARINE…… How very dare you?! Hehehe! Scatter them around in the dish.

Sprinkle some Cinnamon over the Butternut, not too much.

Drizzle 2 Tablespoons of Maple Syrup over them and put it back in the oven.

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Put it on maximum heat and switch to Grill.  Keep your eyes on them the whole time…. THE WHOLE TIME!!!!  Like a hawk y’all!

They should caramelize in roughly 3-5 minutes until golden brown.  Take them out of the oven and taraaaaaaaaaa… you’re done.

Boooyaaaaaa!  Have yourself some merry little Butternut now.

Enjoy!  **drops the mic**