Same same, but different … itsfoodoo

 

It’s truly rare when you get to share a journey of life with a significant other.  Well, in our case, it started since the day of conception (thanks mom & dad).  The womb started our journey to self discovery, but also a sense of kin-ness of being twins and many years later that kin-ness just grew to a lot of craziness.

Apparently Stef was first to pop his head out and then it was me.  (Well, so they say).  “They”, being my mom and older sisters.  I’m sure we got mixed up a few times along the way and if I should make a call with regards to who the responsible adult is currently……. it’s me.  You see, our duo is tight.  We love food, we are passionate about wine and throw in a extraordinary experience and we are there…… like sister claire!

Being able to live our passion and experience tastes, smells, adventures and off course, a few challenges, makes this twin-ness of ours a special one.  Albeit not ours only.  We share this with our 4 other siblings, family, precious friends and off course, our social media followers whether they be facebookers, instagrammers or tweeters of note. (The whole snapchat thing is not quite working for us…….. well yet in any case).

It’sfoodoo is a dream.  It’s a vehicle.  It’s a “let’s see where this journey takes us” kind of thing and we are enjoying it every step, taste and sip along the way.  We invite you to journey with us and share some of our moments and stories.  Please take a moment to share yours with us and enrich our foodoo passion.

Yours in taste, wine and all that is good!

Janthinus (see I’m first…. LOL!) & Stef (the evil twin buaahahahaha!).

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!

 

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**

 

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.

Oh Amsterdam!

Where shall I begin.  Not only is Amsterdam one of the most liberal cities in Europe with regards to almost anything, but it’s also filled with so much history, people and amazing architecture.  Let’s rewind back a bit.  Boarding my flight on Egypt Air, I was pleasantly surprised by the spacious seating and that was it.  The air stewards were not the friendliest people and nor are their english skills up to hostess/steward standard in my opinion, I enjoyed my flight which was important.  (Oh, and remember, they don’t serve any alcohol on their planes).  Being my first trip to The Netherlands, I waited in anticipation for the plane to touch down so I can put my two feet on foreign soil and just drink everything in that was happening around me.  Yep, I’m that type of romanticist.

I quickly find my way through immigration, collected my monster of a suitcase and braved the metro.  Everything works well here.  Busses and trains arrive to the second and the people are friendly.  The Dutch language on the other hand can sometimes be tricky, even to me as a native Afrikaans speaker, I have to concentrate and listen very well not to miss anything.  Day 1 saw me being the victim of a pick pocket and so I lost my OVkaart (metro card) with E30,00 on it and had to get another one.  Visiting a new city I’m usually inclined to pack away my smartphone and try to steer clear from using  maps.  I started my walk and followed all the signs that indicated Amsterdam Centraal.  Walking along there were a few things that any visitor in Amsterdam should take note of:  1.  Stay out of the bicycle lanes and 2, watch out for the trams.  My head almost felt like it was spinning as I looked left, right, up, down, left again and then only crossing any street or lane.

The Netherlands is famous for their cheeses and naturally I visited a cheese shop to taste and see what they had on offer.  Wonderful experience and note that the more central you go, the more expensive the cheeses are (in my opinion).  As we all know, The Netherlands are very liberal and using cannabis (smoking weed) in the city is quite a common thing.  Don’t be fooled by going into a coffee shop and think you are going to get just coffee, you will be getting cannabis experience with it.  Coffee shops in Amsterdam are known for being spots where you can  comfortably light up and enjoy your joint.  Heading deeper into the city I found myself in the famous red light district and man, was this an interesting experience.  Girls prancing around in the windows, scantily dressed and trying to make eye contact with their next potential customer.  Moving on swiftly!

Canal cruises are very popular in Amsterdam and is one of those “to do’s” that you just have to tick off your list.  My suggestion to you, walk a bit to the outer canals and take your canal cruises there as they are less crowded and off course less expensive.  I went to the Bootvaart kiosk on the Amstel river and paid E11 for an hour long canal cruise, totally worth it since you get to see a lot in that hour.

Food in Amsterdam can be very expensive or it can be cheap and it totally depends on what you prefer.  I enjoyed a lovely glass of Merlot (red wine) and a pizza at Casa de Leo for E14,00 which is not bad at all.  A croissant will typically cost you around E3,00 and a take away Americano about E2,00.  The wonderful thing about Amsterdam is that you can find almost anything here, from fast food, Indonesian cuisine, Italian, Tapas, Burgers and the options are endless.

So, when visiting Amsterdam what are the things one should keep in mind:

  1. Get an OVkaarten.

This will help you to use the tram, train, bus and is reloadable via their yellow machines at most stops and stations.

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2.     Drink enough water.

Water in Amsterdam are filtered by the dunes, due to the fact that they are lower than sea level and tap water is pleasant to drink.  Stay hydrated.

3.     Watch out for pick pockets.

Make sure you keep an eye on your phone, wallet and bag.  Don’t get caught by a nasty surprise.

4.     Download the 9292 (especially developed for travel in The Netherlands) app for your smartphone.

This app will help you tremendously to navigate yourself through transport in Amsterdam.

5.  Museum visits:

Get your tickets online to skip the queue.  Really, queues can get ridiculously long. 

6.  Albert Heijn Supermarket:

Pop in to any Albert Heine to buy yourself something to eat should you get hungry.  A lot cheaper than any restaurant and a good spot to shop when you need something.

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7.  Take an umbrella:

Thankfully I packed mine and man was I glad I did.  Since it’s October here in Europe, the weather is unpredictable and my umbrella was my saving grace.  This brings me to point 8….

8.   Download the Buienradar app. 

This is so precise and shows you exactly when it will rain and when it will stop.  This is super cool!

9.   Rent a bicycle.

If walking is a bit of an issue to you, why not rent a bicycle and explore the city this way.  Can cost you between E9,00 to E13,00 depending on where you rent it from.

10.  Stroopwaffels.

This is a Dutch classic and these small sweet treats are amazing.  I bought 3 packs for E7,00 to take back home at a food market and I can’t wait to indulge.

So there we have it my dear friends.  Amsterdam is a very enligtning city and offers you experiences galore.  Don’t be afraid to take a walk, taste something new, braving the queue or spending a bit extra and your experience in the city will be one that will be rewarded with great experiences, sights, sounds and tastes.  Dank je wel! (Thank you in Dutch).