Feeds:
Posts
Comments

It’s the start of something new and exciting, friends!  Chef Privé goes all official and sexified at it’s new home.

 

Designed by the formidable and ultra cool cat, Neal Tosefsky, with image design by Angie van Zyl & photography by Ernst Heusser, Chef Privé gets transformed into a beautiful butterfly.

 

I’m looking forward to seeing you there!

 

– Chef Privé

D’Espresso, NYC

Located in New York City, this uniquely designed coffee shop completely caught my eye.  It smacks of innovative interior design & architectural genius.  Walls, floor & ceiling are adorned with wallpaper that envokes bewildered glances, head nods & impressed smiles.  Refrigerated glass counters display the day’s food offering, and a nifty front refrigeration panel invites customers to grab their own drinks.

The lighting is fairly sterile, yet works well with the elements of wallpaper design, wooden paneling, subtle furniture & stainless steel throughout the service area.

Find D’Espresso on 317 Madison Ave at 42nd Street, NYC.

* D’Espresso is the brainchild of the architects & design gurus at Nema Workshop.  Images courtesy of & credits due to The Cool Hunter for featuring this little gem!

 

I’ve been doing a lot of research into kids & baby food recently, and came across this incredible brand.  Ella’s Kitchen is an organic baby & toddler food brand available throughout Britain & parts of Europe, with a recent foray into the American market.

As the name suggests, the focus at the beginning of this venture was for eleven year old Ella & her brother.  Ella’s parents wanted their daughter & her generation to be exposed to healthy, delicious food that also had an element of cool in it.  Food that oozed goodness, yet was convenient for the parents buying it.

The range spans the 3 stages of baby & toddler food, as well as offering a range of breakfast items, snacks, cooking sauces & smoothies.  Apart from the awesome contents, the packaging is seriously fab, as is the website.

The range has been given the thumbs up by a consulting dietician & has been developed using methods of cooking & packaging that gives the products a long shelf life, but ensures that all the nutrients still remain & is safe for little person consumption.  There are some really adventurous flavour combinations available, but none that I think a child would turn their nose up at were they fed these delightful treats.

Ella’s Kitchen definitely secure their spot in The Cool Corner.

It’s official!  Chef Privé is going viral, thanks to the cool kids over at NoMu and their hugely popular pin-up poster competitions.  If you haven’t heard about this splendid project, you must have just crawled out from under a rock. Seriously!?   For your sake, let’s take a moment to recap on some of the awesomery, shall we?

2oceansvibe got the party started with the very cheeky “Touch Me On My Poster” campaign, and along the way NoMu have featured acclaimed South African bloggers, like IWantThat, Brandslut, Beatnik Bazaar & CapeTownGirl, to mention a few.  The prizes on offer have been completely ridiculous:  decadent NoMu hampers, designer handbags, luxury hotel stays, designer sunglasses, dangerously large quantities of alcohol, vouchers for some of Cape Town’s finest eating establishments & a pile of other fabulous treats. If you didn’t enter, shame on you, but we won’t judge you, sweethearts – instead, you’re about to get another chance to redeem yourself.

Chef Privé editor, Princess Jacalini (perhaps an alias, perhaps an actual Princess…) will be heading up the next campaign, tiara and all!  The poster goes live on the 1st of February at 2 (yes, TWO) locations around the country: Club Engen in Gardens, Cape Town, and at Service Station in Melville, Johannesburg.  You’ll also get the chance to submit online entries, as well as win a spot-the-difference BONUS prize.  Can I say that again? BONUS. Lovely!

There will be some radical prizes up for grabs, in exchange for an opportunity to engage in a bit of merriment. We’re looking for creative & crazy poses next to the poster.  Make us giggle!  Make us blush! There may well be BONUS points assigned for late-night tomfoolery at Club Engen…

So make a note, create a new event on your smartphone, scribble on a post-it, or write it on your hand!  We’ll also be publishing a bunch of easy recipes for you using my featured NoMu product, so come back & visit again soon!

A while ago I had the pleasure of visiting Cornell & Pieter de Villiers in Hermanus to have a look at the only “bean to bar” chocolate production facility in South Africa.

Upon arrival, we indulged in mugs of steaming hot chocolate and platefuls of chocolate muffins. I could definitely say at this stage that the de Villiers’ style of breakfast is a mythos I could adopt! After a radical sugar spike, we headed for the bean storage facility, where each origin of bean is stored  separately.  Stored in 25kg bags, the beans are kept on wooden pallets off the floor, in order to keep any pests away from the precious morsels.

A former electrical engineer turned chocolatier, Pieter has designed & made a large portion of the equipment necessary for his chocolate production. Internationally, chocolate production utilizes very large and extraordinarily expensive equipment which, for the micro chocolatier, is simply not feasible.

Pieter’s engineering knowledge has not just been limited to converting domestic, everyday items into chocolate-friendly machinery; he also developed the computer software that all his machinery is programmed to. For example, the bean roaster (which once was a pretty standard domestic oven) has a myriad of different roasting settings, all particular to the origin or ‘personality’ of the bean it’s roasting – certain beans may require a higher roasting temperature or a longer roasting cycle. Each batch of beans that is received is tested for defects, pests, mould & moisture content and is programmed into the system accordingly. This is one well thought through operation, and you can taste it in their chocolate. For a more thorough breakdown of the chocolate-making process, take a look here.

Roasting & conching the beans, then tempering the chocolate

Cornell & Pieter tell me that their strategy is to introduce a few more lines once they have a handle on how the general public receives their chocolate. Initially, they thought that the South African consumer would struggle with the fact that their chocolate is unflavored. Dedicated to introducing SA palates to ‘real’ chocolate, Pieter & Cornell painstakingly selected a range of 5 origins from a list of over 25 different origins, based on their taste profile, and launched these just a few months ago.

For chocolate that contains 70% cocoa butter and no other flavorings, the flavour notes that come through across the various origins is phenomenal. It cannot accurately be explained in words, you simply must taste the chocolate yourself.

Currently, DV Chocolate is sold in a select few establishments around the country, but the good news is spreading fast! To see where you can get your paws on these delightful treats or become a stockist, click here.

To get in touch, contact Cornell  on 028 316 4850 or email info@dvchocolates.com or visit them here.

*All images courtesy of DV Chocolates

Happy New Year everybody!

I don’t think I’m alone when I say that I’m so relieved that 2010 is behind me.  Personally, it was a rough year and I sure hope that this new year has some nicer surprises in store for us all!

So in case you didn’t know, I went home for the holidays.  Home being my place of birth: the sleepy hollow of Bulawayo, in Zimbabaloo.  (That’s the new official name, by the way.  Write it down.)  I’ve not been back over Christmas for a number of years now, and normally miss the party bus mass exodus of Zimbos heading home for the holidays.  This results in missing special drinking time with friends from long, long ago.  There are a number of insanely awesome parties that take place (I know, right?), and I usually get to read about them over social networking channels, resulting in my achieving a non-Zen-like state of loser-dom.  It’s vicious.

Sista Bliss and I booked our tickets on a relatively new, low-cost (read dodgy & suspicious) airline called Kumba, operated by Air Namibia.  We overnighted in Jozi with family & flew into Bulawayo on a sunshiny Tuesday.  Or was it a Thursday?  I forget, mashed potato brains as a result of holiday-mode – nevertheless, unimportant.  We flew in, it was awesome, The End.  Here’s what we arrived to:

A rocking metropolis, you’ll agree?

Suffice to say that 10 days with our family consisted of a massive amount of bikini-time, good food and much needed rest. And the occasional scream through the house each day at a staggeringly earlier than normal time, “Its GIN O’CLOCK baby!”, culminating in a keen gathering at my dad’s bar.

Christmas Day was no different.  However, waking up to a very cheeky power cut at 7am and a mountain of food to cook didn’t do much to encourage our loving Christmas spirits; we bundled begrudgingly into the car and sped off to church in the hopes that whilst we were away giving thanks for all our blessings, the electricity fairies would magically come in, wave their ZESA wands, and all would be well again.  Yeah… not so much.  We had to move to Plan B, which came in the form of a Weber kettle braai and shoved the turkey and lamb in there for a few hours in the hopes that we could at least eat some meat with our cranberry jelly and mint sauce.  The power eventually came back on at 2pm, and we were able to furiously rattle the side dishes together, and enjoyed a wonderful, truly African Christmas lunch.

My mum bashed out a complete cracker of a festive punch, and I managed to smuggle the recipe out of the country to bring back and share with you all! I’m calling it Di’s Cherry Blossom Sherbet. You’re welcome!


What you’ll need: (serves 6)

4 Cherry Blossom tea bags

2 Rooibos tea bags

2 liters of water (you can substitute 1L of water for champagne at the last minute if you’re that way inclined)

100ml red berry juice

Juice of 1 lemon

Lots of ice

To garnish: sprigs of mint & miniature rose blossoms

And then…

Boil the water & allow the tea bags to steep for about 10 minutes.  Discard the tea bags and allow the tea to reach room temperature – this can be done the day before.  Add the remaining ingredients just before your guests arrive & decant into a large jug or punch bowl.

After an incredible holiday with our family, Sista Bliss and I reluctantly began the perilous trip home – it consisted of a delay of epic proportions on the first leg of our journey; our plane to Johannesburg had technical problems (read hung-over technicians) and we eventually departed Bulawayo 3 ½ hours behind schedule, resulting in our missing our connecting flights to Cape Town.  Being the silly season, there were no available seats left on any other flights that evening, and we had to again call upon our awesome family to put us up for the night until we could get back to the airport at 5am the next morning to be put on standby.  Here’s a snapshot of Sista Bliss and I two hours into aforementioned delay:

All smiles, see?  I unfortunately cannot show you smiles on the ass-end of our journey.  They simply did not exist. All I know is, by default 2011 is going to be a much happier year, I’m sure of it!

Tequila Bolognese

Tequila Bolognese with handmade parpadelle pasta

I don’t know about you, but I am a huge fan of pasta Bolognese.  When I was 5 years old my family and I were traveling to the US, and had a stopover in Rome.  That evening we dined in our hotel’s bistro; it was one of my earliest childhood memories, sitting behind a small wooden table with a large bowl of spaghetti Bolognese in front of me.   I remember being frustrated as I was struggling to pick the spaghetti up with my fork… I was 5, I could barely negotiate a knife and a fork confidently.  The waiter came over and patiently sat with me showing me how to hold the fork upright and twirl it in my fingers, picking up the spaghetti securely as well as the ragu sauce.  I believe I became a connoisseur of pasta Bolognese right at that moment.  For real!

My friend Captain Bread of Jardine Bakery fame, told me about a shooter called tequila Bolognese the other day, and I must admit that my curiosity got the better of me.  What if we made the real thing?  What if we used the finest meats around, and substituted the usual red wine for gold tequila?  We set a date and, as they say, the rest was history.   Here is our evening in pictures:

Leek flowers, sage & garlic. Pancetta, pork, veal & lamb mince.

We used a selection of fresh herbs: leek flowers, sage, thyme, rocket, fennel bulb & Italian parsley.  For the meaty part, we used 3kg’s of pork, veal & lamb mince as well as some pancetta lardons.

Sauteeing mince. Mr Fennel Head.

I sautéed onions and garlic together with some olive oil until they were soft and caramelized.  I then deglazed them with a lot of tequila.  Like a quarter of the bottle a lot.  Yeah, you know if you’re going to make tequila Bolognese you really need to embrace things and believe in your cause.

I cooked off all the mince & the pancetta separately, not using any oil, and added it all to the boozy onion & garlic mix.  Cue some more tequila, and more sautéing.  You cook off most of the alcohol, so don’t be afraid of getting boozed from this.  We’re only after the flavor of the tequila. *Winks* I then added chopped sage, fennel bulb, thyme & Italian parsley.  I also tossed in a tin of tomato paste, a tin of whole peeled tomatoes and a liter of lamb stock, thanks to NoMu and their fabulous fonds.  The lid of the pot went on, the heat was turned right down and was left alone for the next 3 hours.  Time for some in-house entertainment, folks!

Once the 3 hours were up, I finished the meat sauce off with leek flowers, salt and pepper and the secret ingredient:  balsamic vinegar reduction flavoured with black Turkish figs.  It was then time to get the pasta made. In my opinion, thick ribbon pasta is the most ideal shape for a full-flavored meat sauce.  Our pasta machine’s settings were only able to cut tagliatelle, so we hand-cut the pasta like this:

Making parpadelle pasta

A thoroughly enjoyable evening albeit fairly exploratory – during the evening we received a host of interested and indignant tweets about the meal… I’m really about pushing the boundaries with flavors and trying new things, so if this is your cup of tea, give it a go – I’m certain you won’t be disappointed!