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!

Start, Snap, Share, Repeat!

Being up for a new adventure is like a jolt of pure energy to me.  Experiencing something new and something different can sometimes be revitalising to some, but also a bit scary to others.  I am definitely not the latter.  So when the opportunity knocked, I opened my computer, logged into Travelstart and soon the payment approved sms notification found it’s way to my phone and so I found my way on a trip to Cape Town not so long ago.  Easy peasy this Travelstart thing.  It was a “quicky” so to speak (no, don’t get funny ideas), it was not planned to perfection, but rather an impulsive weekend shared by me and my twin brother, Stef.  Our very own “bro-trip”, a dash in and dash out of Cape Town thing.

Naturally, the weekend was filled with the finest wine the Cape region has to offer and the best food to tantalise your tastebuds and senses and to top everything off, the weather played along ever so nicely!  The Cape of Good Hope, doing it’s own nickname justice!  There are a few things about me that are just the bare necessities when lavishing your way through all these experiences, and that is my trusted smartphone.  No, this is not a blog about my smartphone at all, but rather how handy this device is, capturing different dimensions, colour, beauty and experiences of my life, to savour and browse through on the flight back to good old Gauteng!

One thing is for certain, food is my passion!  I like making it, like eating it and I love taking pictures of it.  The ritual of ordering an item off a menu and just envisioning it in my minds-eye what it will look like, gives me an immense kick and yes, I do snap almost all of my food.  People sometimes  look at me very distastefully (think I just made up a new word) when I do it, but this is the same as smelling your food.  It’s all about the colour, angle of the picture, distance to the subject and off course adding the right tints and highlights when it comes to filtering.  Ok, people, let’s not be purists about automatic filters, some are just professionals when taking photos with expensive gear and others like me, quickly tucks out my little smart companion and start planning the shot.  So what are the fundamentals when taking a good food-snappy for your social media pages or platforms?  Here are my top 5 things to keep in mind, when taking that perfect photo:

  1. Wipe your lense!

There are a few things that ticks me off like someone who possibly could’ve taken the perfect picture, but instead the picture they posted was misty, filled with lines caused by light that is clearly caused by a dirty and greasy lense and dust in the photo.  So my dear food-snapper, wipe your lense, even if it’s against your sleeve or your napkin.  Make sure you don’t use tissue or paper napkins as they could scratch your camera lense.

2.   Light.

Always make sure that you have sufficient light available to take the photo.  Some smart devices have a warm flash function that softens the light when using a flash for your picture, but personally, I’m not a fan of a flash as it ‘hardens’ the appearance of your food.  Rather lift the little lantern or candle up high, get your focus right and snap the photo.

3.  Turn your plate.

Jip, it sounds silly, but rather turn your plate to find the right angle to tell the story of what you are about to enjoy.  Unlike photos of people, when it comes to food, there is definitely a good and a bad side.  Choose the side with the most colour and better placement.

4.  Don’t be shy!

Sometimes (trust me, I have been there, in a very fancy restaurant) one can get a bit self conscious when taking longer to take the perfect food pic.  It’s fine, let people say what they want, this is your Fillet Bourguignonne and you have to snap perfection.  Take your time and make your snappy count.

5.  Share it!

There is no use in going through all these motions and not sharing it with your fellow friends and followers.  Take your pic, give enough information, content and description of the venue, setting, taste and experience and be ready to change someone’s perception on the dish that you have enjoyed.

These are mere principles I employ to make sure my social media pics are above standard.  Let’s be clear, there will be some that are less desirable and if you want to, post them too.  To me, it’s all about sharing experiences, old and new, imperfect sometimes but aiming to be perfect most of the time.  So, whether you are dining at The Fat Duck in Melbourne or JAN in Nice, France or even your local eatery you enjoy frequenting, it should always be true to what YOU are experiencing.  So let’s set our sails, click onto the Travelstart Blog and find out more about taking fabulous food-snaps on your new adventure.  Make sure when we snap away at your favourite subject, whether it’s scenery, friends or food, that you capture the essence of that special moment.  So start somewhere or better yet, start now.  Snap away my fellow food-snappers!

PS.  (Images were snapped by myself, for myself and enjoyed, by myself at De Grendel Wine Estate & Restaurant).

Braai is not just braai!

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Yes, there are a few crucial things about being South African.  Having a braai is surely one of them.  Ask any South African about their favourite way of having a braai and you will most surely hear that this is almost a syndrome of elements to having the perfect braai.

Here it is not just about the meat (which is the most important part of any braai), but it’s about snacks, ambience, music, friends and off course…. the fire.  Not being a “pro” braaier (for our English friends, the word “braai” can be translated to “bbq”), I always tend to sit back and observe all the different styles and processes involved when attending a braai with friends.  My experience taught me that there are 4 distinct owners of a braai

1. The novice:

Here the person will set everything up, doing a rush job and we end up wondering whether we are ever going to get to grilling our meat eventually.  By God’s graces, the fire gets going, meat is on the grill and the braai is under way.  (a sigh of relief).

2.  The Pro:

The Pro is literally the professional here, having access to the latest trends, gadgets, firestarters and an outfit to match.  Usually here, I steer clear of ownership or assistance because they have got everything covered.  You will have your meat, bbq’d to perfection and the pro will be the talk of the braai-town for days waaaay after.

3.  The ADHD:

My brother, (love him to bits…. and sorry Stef) is a great example of an ADHD braaier.  He is all amped up, stacking the fire (very efficiently I might add), but somewhere along the line he get’s pulled into conversation and well, looking at the fire turning into an orphan, someone jumps in and takes responsibility.  No hostile takeovers on this side you know, just a small contingency! LOL!

And then we get to my type…

4.   The “let’s braai and take things as they come” guy:

I have no recipes for stacking the perfect fire, but, it’s my fire.  There will be enough heat and when everything is ready, I invite everyone to take their tongs and do their own thing.  (you see, everyone do their OWN thing, braai tongs provided).  No complaints about meat being under or overdone, because they braaied their own meat and after that, all is well in the braai-world of my life.

This past weekend I was fortunate to tackle a quick weekend away and manning the braai both evenings.  It went well and so we braaied on Saturday lunch as well.  My friend had this awesome brunch dish she prepared and I became a fan instantly.  So if you are looking for something else to put on the grill, give the “bosveld pizza” a go.  You will not be disappointed.

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You will need the following:

1. A medium hot fire.

2. Ingredients like butter, onions, , mushrooms, leftover meat (sausage works best), tomato & onion relish, eggs, foil and lots of cheese.

3. A large frying skillet or shallow pan.

4.  Here goes:  Heat the pan or skillet.  Fry your onions & mushrooms in butter and spice to taste, add leftover meat, tomato & onion relish and let it cook until it starts bubbling.  (your fire should be hot enough for it to cook/bubble).  Stir and fry till it’s all nice and heated up.  Spread the mix out evenly in the pan and make little holes in the mix.  Break an egg in each hole (depending on how many people are about to enjoy this).  Spice with black pepper and evenly top it off with lots of cheese.  Cover with foil and wait until your eggs are no longer translucent.

5.  Dish to your heart’s content!!!  And it is yummmma-yummmmmmmmaaaaa!

I love to braai and will use every opportunity especially in warmer months to have friends over, some red wine, good music, good conversation and good food on the grill. I’m always open to learning new ways and discovering new tricks when it comes to the flaming of food (ok, that was just lame).   Do you have any great braai ideas you wish to share?  Share them below or send them to itsfoodoo@gmail.com.  Would love to hear from you.

ItsFoodoo regards

Janthinus

 

Fijn Wyn: a must for winers and Whiners!

 

One thing is for certain.  Us South Africans loooove our festivals.  Glancing through your social media feeds, you are sure to spot an event, in your vicinity, hosting a get-together, tasting, feast or full blown festival.  The capital city also has it’s fair share of festivals and one of them that is a sure winner, is the Fijn Wyn Food & Wine Festival.

I was one of the lucky foodies to get my hands on a complimentary pair of tickets to the Fijn Wyn Wine & Food Festival and man was I impressed.  Just to be clear, entry is R150-R170pp (depending on which day you choose) but looking at the whole experience, you get to enjoy a lot more than the R170 you would fork out on this amazing and tantalizing experience.

With over 35 Wine Estates who boasts about their vino, you need to be careful otherwise the tipsy cart will show up.  My favourite farms like Jakkalsvlei, Beyerskloof, Wildekrans and then some other not-so-farmiliar ones (well, to me in any case) like Stellekaya and Ridgeback was a great experience.  Fijn Wyn is a wine and food festival and offer you decadent meals, treats and good things to eat.  Pulled pork sandwiches, Oysters, Paella, Nachos, Gourmet burgers, confectionery and so the list grows.

Hosted at the beautiful Shokran Events Center, Fijn Wyn is an event that caters to the hip, yuppie, grannie, mom, dad & the kleinspan and off course the wine connoisseurs.  This is an event that is popular to everyone.  Live entertainment is the glue that makes this experience work and festival-goers were treated to amazing bands and artists like Rembrandt van Rijn, Roan van As and TUIN to mention a few.  Pretoria is host to a number of festivals, but Fijn Wyn is surely one of the best experiences you can have.

Points scored here:  An amazing array of wine farms & estates on show and it’s an educational experience.  Adequate seating, outlay and flow of festival-goers between tables were good.

Points deducted: None!

My advice:  Grab your hat, grab your hand or man bag (yes, your hands are going to be full and have fun!). Follow Fijn Wyn on Facebook and don’t miss the next one! Go! Now!

 

Secret Sunrise Pretoria

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So every now and then this thing called “Secret Sunrise” popped up on my Facebook feed and I would stare at it, think a bit about it and then scroll down.  So my boss and some of my colleagues actually attended the Halloween edition here in Pretoria.  The reviews were mixed.  To some it was a moment where they could let loose and just have fun, to others it was a tad too strange.

Well the question is:  How many times do we do stuff that are strange?  My lovely friend Viljoen and I decided we must definitely give it a try.  We rallied the troops and booyaaa, we had tickets.  We showed up, kitted out and readied ourselves for this new experience.  Upon arrival we were treated to a complimentary yoga session.  It was hard….. I’m going to say it again… it was not easy, you need to know your yoga-ness to get it perfect.  Even if you are a real novice like myself, it will be lots of fun and (apparently) it’s good for you. Hehe!

The Secret Sunrise part:

After the session, you go get your earphones put them on and this is where the magic started.  The voice over your earphones welcomes you and then the music starts.  If you close your eyes you could be in a club in Ibiza.  Imagine, close to a 100 people jumping up and down in silence, energized and having a good laugh.  These are the strange things we need to involve ourselves in regularly.  You see, our lives are so routine that we tend to stick to what we know.  We are so closed off and selective in our social spaces that when we experience something so out of the ordinary, that barriers instantly are broken and a stranger becomes a friend for that 45 minutes.

Next time when you are scrolling through Facebook and you see the Secret Sunrise event peeking out at you, buy that ticket.  Yes it’s weird, yes you need to let go yourself a bit, yes it’s going to mean you have to interact with strangers….. is it going to be fun? Hell yes!!!!! Thanks friends old and new …. total awesomeness.