Howzit? How are you? Kunjani?

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Nestled in Devon Vale, Stellenbosch you take the turn on Blumberg Drive taking you up to Kunjani Wines.  This little place boasts a huge heart and I cannot help wondering where I should start, doing justice to my experience at Kunjani.  First of all, their contemporary look that boasts deep greys and vibrant reds is an oxymoron in itself.  The region is known for its established, old, premier wine farms and estates that speaks of yesteryear splendour and luxury and then there is this new kid on the block.  Well, THIS kid is not one that should be underestimated.

Walking up the steps you get why they chose the name Kunjani.  Their greeting and heartfelt hospitality translates from the first smile at reception, “Hi, How are you?”.  Chris and the team quickly showed us (Stefan Schrage @Steffmerlot and Zelda @rhubarb_riesling) around and the decor and setting was a precursor to what was to be expected. Seated outside on the balcony, the surrounding vista flooded our sights with greens, ambers and reds emulating from the small vineyard in front.  It’s almost winter after all.

Kunjani’s goal to your dining experience, is to make it a fun dining experience rather than a fine dining experience.  Their food is whimsically prepared, tastefully plated and their variety is beautifully selected especially for their patrons.  Take note that you can have each order expertly paired with one of the Kunjani wines.  Enough with the shilly-shally and let’s talk about the good stuff. Their awesome wine!

We quickly were introduced to lovely baked bread-bites with savoury cream and beetroot-butter.  A good entrance to what was to come and I was already salivating.  We opted for à la carte dining and I started off with a lovely ensemble of West Coast style fresh Mussels prepared in a fragrant Portuguese sauce.  To match this course Kunjani Chenin Blanc 2017 was the perfect companion.  Tropical nose of Papaya and Lime that is fruity and fresh.

Main course consisted of a beautifully prepared “Stolen” Chicken Curry.  A lovely red curry prepared with chilli & ginger served with fragrant rice, sambals and papadums.  The “Stolen Chicken” Pia-noir was the perfect varietal of Rosé, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Merlot, an absolute joy to taste and enjoy with notes of berries and apple.  Furthermore the Sauvignon Blanc was not standing back at all with crisp freshness, cucumber and coriander. 

Moving over to their prime red selection we enjoyed their ready to drink Shiraz that exhibited remarkable notes of spice, red fruit and plums.  My personal favourite you might ask?  The Kunjani Red Blend, an easy and multi-dimensional red with 46% Cabernet Franc, 46% Merlot and 8% Malbec. This beautiful blend was my ultimate favourite and it contributed well to the stunning sunset over the mountains and vineyards.

Being a very young winery and only established in November 2017, Kunjani is surprising.  Surprising in the way that their wines speak to your palate, their food speak to your eyes but even more so, their story of love, passion and friendship (old and new) that makes every visitor and wine-lover feel they entered a place where they can be at ease, breathe and enjoy.  To Pia and Paul, thank you for an experience that will stay imprinted for a long time and Chris for your hospitality that was unmatched and off course. Dear Gracie, who so passionately made our experience around the table one that seriously need to be repeated.  To you all, I say: “I am well thank you!”.

PS.  Make sure you check out the Kunjani Cottages you can book to make your experience even more memorable.

Fermier for more!

fullsizeoutput_4f21There is a saying that  states:  “Good food is equal to a good mood” and I’m a true believer that a love for food is both in the art of preparing it, but also in enjoying it.  In recent years Pretoria have seen a plethora of gastronomic experiences peek out from under the kitchen counters and we, the citizens of this great city, are reaping the ever-tasty rewards.

Award winning Fermier (Farmer in French) is unique in every sense of the word.  They pride themselves on being a self-sustainable restaurant where they incorporate everything around them, from the ground used to build their restaurant, to the garden that offers fresh produce, to the pottery shop on the premises that makes the beautiful vessels to serve delicious meals in.  Everything works together to make the Fermier experience one to remember .  Adriaan Maree chef and founder has got quite the reputation when it comes to good food and brings not only local, but also International experience to the table.  He sure raised the bar in Pretoria, when Fermier opened it’s doors not so long ago.

Arriving at Fermier, I was greeted by a lovely young lady when I parked my car.  I walked up the foot path and it felt like I was leaving the city every step I took in the dark.  Dimly lit lanterns showed the way and I arrived at a contemporary structure that resembled a barn.  It was rustic, yet classy, old charm, yet with a modern twist.  Ambience were created by perfectly chosen lighting and no more than a dozen tables nestled perfectly in the cozy space.  Clearly the space and layout were carefully planned and designed.

First things first and I had to glance over their very impressive wine list and menu that offered 9 set courses for the evening.  One thing is for sure, you are not going to get Butternut & Spinach on the sides.  (ok, I chuckled at myself when I wrote this).

 

After a glass of bubbly, we enjoyed a lovely Elands Rivier, 2014 Pinot Noir.  Delicate, with berries and rose notes with a beautiful garnet colour.  This was a good start to the evening. The menu boasted surprise, esthetic enthrall and bursts of flavour.  The food was the entertainment and the line up was impressive.

First course saw an introduction with freshly baked bread, with Duck liver parfait and canapes.  Beautiful and tasty!

 

Second course in line, was a bundle of Kingklip with black radish and smoked tomato coulis/sauce.

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Third saw an ensemble of Mussels, Squid Sea Vegetables and a light foam. perfectly prepared. (Could’ve sworn I was at the beach with every bite).

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4th Course offered Tuna on a bed of Almonds, Grapefruit, Black Garlic and Olives.

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Course 5 was surprising with Pork Neck with Summer Apple, Celeriac and Samphire.  Soft, oozing flavour and I wanted a second plate (just kidding, 4 more courses to come).

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We enjoyed Duck for our 6th course with Turnips, Verjus and Grapes.

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Lucky number 7 arrived and Springbok, tender and sliced perfectly with Porcini mushrooms, Cauliflower, Daikon and honey.  The balance between savoury and sweet was a dance of perfection.

 

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Course 8 was lighter with an good selection of fine cheeses.  Huguenot, Karoo Crumble and various fruits to compliment.

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The last course rounded things off beautifully with White chocolate and Miso. Sweet and everything you can hope for after 8 courses of utter gastronomic bliss!

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So there we have it fellow food fans! Do not be fooled, although the portions are small, they pack a punch when it comes to flavour.  Adriaan Maree and his team, don’t prepare food, they create art that is absolutely super sensory!  I would seriously recommend you make this spot, one of your top ones as it’s a game-changer when it comes to haute cuisine here in Pretoria.  Their menu also change from time to time, so it will be great to see what’s on the menu in a few month’s time.  Be sure to book your table since they offer limited seating. I believe this enables them to pay careful attention to detail and give you the best experience possible.

I will most certainly go back to Fermier, for more!

Market @ the Sheds… a day of beauty!

One of the stigmas our South African city centres, especially in Gauteng suffers from, is that they tend to be negative.  People tend to think about grey, hard and unfriendly structures and can so easily tag the city centre of Pretoria as a “dangerous” place.  I work in the city centre of Pretoria and I can by personal experience say, it is definitely NOT a “dangerous” place.  It is rather a place filled with rhythm, people awesome food and lots of beauty.

The Market @ the Sheds is one of those jewels that you will not find, if you don’t look for it.  So, my fellow readers, be brave enough, put on your big girl tights and brave a trip to the city centre.  This “dangerous” place may just surprise you in ways you least expect it.  Colour and taste awaits the moment you set foot in the heart of our capital city.  Parking is available at the 012 precinct but can be a bit of a challenge. With overflow and easy access to the parking lot at The State Theatre, makes a short walk (300m) to The Market @ The Sheds a comfortable one. 

Urban rejuvenation saw a lot of new initiatives pop up to beautify, artify (if there is such a word) and magnify the beauty we so often don’t think exists in the city centre of Pretoria.  Market at The Sheds is surely one of them!  Taking place usually every last Saturday of the month, this exciting event draws crowds from near and far and caters for young and old. 

Market @ the Sheds is a hub oozing food, colour, art, rhythm, fashion and more. Explore your culinary side with pulled pork burgers, Mexican cuisine, divine confectionery and so the list goes on.  Fine wines, craft beer and even cocktails are available and the only problem you’ll have, is choosing the right treat to your tastebuds.

Shopping is a joy as you have access to local fashion designers, jewellers, leather products and lots more to jazz up your fashion portfolio.  Enjoy the live entertainment and experience tones and tunes from jazz, pop and even a bit of opera if you find yourself in the right spot at the right time.  I want to urge you to explore your city.  Pulling an Indiana Jones isn’t necessary at all, but as Confucius says: “everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it”.  Come experience the beauty of the city centre and why not start your first adventure, at The Market @ the Sheds.   Go check out their website here and go follow them on social media to stay up to date with the latest events and opportunities and ready yourself, to be amazed.  Go! Now!

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!

 

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**

 

Visited the new Pachas yet?

Located in the green and tree-filled neighbourhood of Waterkloof in the capital called Pretoria, you will find Pachas.  They have moved the new development and very trendy area called The Club on the corner of Pinaster Avenue and 18th Street.  From the get-go Pachas is elegantly inviting with decor, service and crisp clean tables to match.  Their menu offers a variety of dishes carefully selected and crafted for the discerning diner. 

Swiftly (off-the-menu) offerings were introduced and starters were ordered.  One thing is for certain, when it comes to swift service, they are on top of things.  I enjoyed Smoked Marlin Carpaccio with deep fried Capers on a Rocket and a bed of micro-herbs with a Wasabi dressing.  Beautiful, aromatic and tasty.  To accompany the meal I opted for a 2015 Laborie Merlot which worked wonders with my palate.  Please check out Laborie Wines after reading this post.  Main course saw a special medium-rare beef Fillet topped with Halloumi, a green salad and potatoes that were pan friend with bacon that is crispy golden brown bliss personified.  Naturally the side dishes offered a familiar face in the form of creamed Spinach and Butternut.

I must say, I glanced at the dessert menu and resisted temptation due to the lack of space in my tummy.  They do offer lovely “traditionals” like Crème Brûlée, Italian Kisses, Cheese cake and lot’s more.  So my my overall experience at Pachas was positive and very memorable.  Food was delicious and beautifully prepared.  Pachas is priced to the higher range in terms of their menu and be sure to fork out a little bit more but the food and experience is well worth it.  You will definitely see me back again and thank you for a delightful evening.

Braai broodjie? Or side broodjie?

As per some of my previous posts, having a Braai (or BBQ) in South Africa is quite a huge thing to us.  We love spending time around the fire, reminisce around stories, joking away and obviously enjoying lovely eats and treats from the table close by.  When having a Braai, there are always an array of side dishes to compliment the main feature of the social gathering, which is of course the grilled meat.

One thing most people enjoy is a grilled sandwich that is filled with onion, tomato and cheese, grilled on the fire and oh boy, when you start eating it, the braaibroodjie (yes, that’s what we call it in Afrikaans) oozes cheesy goodness that exceeds all expectation.  Well, I have never had a bad braaibroodjie, but some love it and some loves it less.  So if braaibroodjies are not your thing, how about a good side broodjie on the table?  I have a good broodjie you can whip up,  where everyone can slice a piece of it, spread some good butter on it and enjoy.  Good, easy, simple and delicious.  Here goes:

  1.  Get some lovely bread dough from you local supermarket.  Dust your surface with some flower, using a rolling pin, roll out the dough in a rectangular(ish) shape.
  2. Spread some crushed garlic and a bit of olive oil on the rolled out dough and spice to your heart’s content.15095574_10154768753558573_5689207793028686102_n
  3. Now you can add some lovely goodies to this, sundried tomatoes, olives, capers, onion, salami, chorizo or ham.  Anything you like really.  Just make sure that the ingredients you add here is drained and not watery.  Add some cheese, because why?  Because you CAN! 15037096_10154768754558573_538250758643546157_n
  4. Roll it up very carefully and put it in a greased bread pan.  You can score the top of the bread in what fashion you like  and pop it into the pre heated oven. (180 degrees celsius) for 1 hour until it’s golden brown on top.
  5. Take it out and coat the bread with butter to give it a lovely glossy feel.  Let it rest (if you have the strength to resist).15037144_10154768754993573_1171543595008857302_n
  6. Slice away and serve.  This is a sure winner!15073303_10154768755118573_5117999690620997802_n

So next time you are having friends over for a weekend braai and don’t know what to serve as a side or just to enjoy as a precursor to the feast, whip up this bad boy and have the spoils of their gratitude!  You are welcome, don’t clap, just throw money!