Thursday, March 31, 2011

Life and its Changes

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass… It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

You might be wondering where I have got to and why I am suddenly not blogging as much as I used to.

In one of my previous posts, I alluded to changes happening in my life – the biggest change being that my boyfriend and I broke up after 5 and a half years and I landed up moving back home. I am not one for change, so this has been a rather large adjustment and blogging seems to remind me too much of my “previous life” that I have been finding it hard to get back into.

"Everything in life happens for a reason.”

The Food Bloggers Indaba has probably had the most profound effect on me this year and these are a few memorable moments for me from the day: (Colleen outshone by creating an excellent day for us all! Thank you, thank you, thank you!)

• Nerves almost got the better of me at the thought of meeting the people behind the blogs that I had held in the utmost regard. This was until I saw Tandy’s face beaming at me from behind the registration desk and I knew everything was going to be ok.

• As I sat at a my chosen table I was amazed to notice that it was filled with such highly esteemed people including Abigail Donnelly, Editor of Eat Out Magazine, Anelde Greeff, Eat In Magazine, Bernadette le Roux, writer and Linda Harding from the blog Squashed Tomato. Fate had brought me to this table, to be close to the people that I aspire most to be like in the food world.

• Jeanne Horak-Druiff from Cooksister proved to be a witty and thoroughly entertaining MC and her talk entitled “Getting started, keeping going, getting good – 10 tips for bloggers” was beneficial and inspiring on so many levels. One of the points that stuck in my mind was the question, “Are you a cook who writes or a writer who cooks” – I have come to realize that I am definitely a writer who cooks.

Jane Anne Hobbs’ talk on recipe development and writing was thought provoking and interspersed with quirky comments and side splitting laughs.

• While Michael Olivier’s useful wine tasting was an amazing journey into the flavours of wine.

• And Nina Timm and Sam Linsell’s photography workshop helped me immensely in improving my camera technique.

As I stood on the deck of the photography workshop looking out to the sea, with the breeze in my hair and the happy chatter of the other participants behind me; something stirred within me – Cape Town was where I was meant to be.

The excitement that I felt for this blogger’s conference and the fact that I saw it as a step closer to my destiny (A cliché maybe, but all clichés are based on truth) culminated in my decision to move to Cape Town.

I will start my new journey on the 22 April 2011.

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

While I was making all the plans for my big move to Cape Town, I received an e-mail from CLEO Magazine asking if they could do a feature on my blog for their June edition. I was over the moon! My photo shoot was yesterday and I loved every moment of it! I could definitely get used to this :-)

“There are many things in life that will catch your eye, but only a few will catch your heart… pursue those.”

Writing and food are my passions – nothing brings me as much joy as when I am writing and cooking. A calm comes over me and I feel like I am home – no matter where I am.

I hope Cape Town provides me with the platform that I have been searching for and I look forward to getting to know all of my fellow bloggers on a much more personal level. I’d love nothing more than to have you all over for dinner sometime. :-)

“The best things in life are free.”

I know that the friendships I make along the way will stay with me for the rest of my life.

“Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.”

So here is to the new chapter in my journey of life – I hope it is filled with many occasions to be celebrated!

Photos were taken at the Indaba

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Foodbarn

A whitewashed barn, glowing from within, welcomed me as I surrendered to a magical evening of intoxicating food and wine at The Foodbarn in Noordhoek.

This was the start of my journey at the Food and Wine Bloggers Indaba, to be held at Monkey Valley Beach Nature Resort, the following day and I couldn’t have asked for anything better.

We were greeted with smiles and were whisked up to our table in the eaves of the barn – the table elegantly set with white linen and complimented with an eloquent arrangement of flowers.

Our waitress reminded me intensely of Vanessa from Gossip Girl, which I mentioned to her and we both laughed, setting the tone for the evening – animated elegance.

The first thing that caught my eye was the fact that all the wine on the menu could be ordered in carafes – 10 points scored already!

There were three food menus to choose from, the a’la Carte, Bistro and Degustation Menu. I chose to order from the Bistro Menu and my dining companion chose the a’la Carte.

After much deliberation as everything sounded temptingly scrumptious – I settled on “Fresh tuna tartare with lemon and chives, served on avo pulp with aioli, finished with minute fried prawns and pickled ginger.”

This may seem a mouthful, but in fact it was light and buzzed with clean flavours. The prawns were melt-in-the-mouth, smokey deliciousness – I couldn’t begin to give their magnificence justice. The tuna was paper thin, with the subtle flavours of the lemon, chives, avo and aioli complimenting its freshness. The surprising finale was the little red fish balls popping in my mouth, while the ginger left a refreshing aftertaste.

My friend’s starter was a duck extravaganza entitled, “My way around a free-range duck”: Homemade duck breast ham served with ripe melon and baby mesclun (assorted young salad leaves), Duck parfait brulee, Duck confit spring roll, finished with Port and citrus vinaigrette.

This can only be described as art on the palate.

And speaking of the palate, our palate cleanser was a boozy mango drinking sorbet – a brilliant idea and delicious.

My main was “spicy pork belly and chitterling sausage, wrapped in a crispy spring roll, served with roasted plum tomato, potato fritter and finished with a cream of mustard and fresh herbs” The unusualness of this dish caught my attention and didn’t disappoint as all the flavours worked in unison. I especially enjoyed the Christmassy spice of the pork belly encased in the crunchy spring roll.

The other main was “grilled free-range Namibian beef fillet served with potato fondant with cep (a type of mushroom) tapenade and fresh rocket, finished with a cream of cep and morel”

Although I couldn’t eat another bite; the selection of cheeses proved too much of a temptation and I just had to squeeze in a few cheesey biscuits, topped with tangy preserve.

Gluttonous bliss!

It was a lovely evening, made all the more amazing by the polished and friendly service, great company and of course excellent food.

I was now ready to embrace the Indaba!