Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My 30 before Thirty List


Ok, so this is a little off topic, but if you can bear with me, it might be an interesting project. I've been reading a lot about '30 before thirty' lists, and the idea is growing on me. The idea is that there are certain things we all wish we could do - life goals, small things, activities, etc. - but we never do them because life gets in the way. The idea with a list like this, and putting it out online, is that there is more pressure (and a deadline) to do these things.

Now, I'm not that old, only 25, but I have just gotten married, and I can see the way things may go, if I let life get ahead of me. There are things I want to do with my life, and things that I already wish I had done when I was younger, and I don't want to reach my old age and realise that I never had time to do most of the things I had wanted to do when I was young enough to do them.

So I'm making a list, a list to top all lists, and although I have 5 years (no, wait 4 years, it's my birthday just around the corner) until I'm 30, I think that sounds like a good enough time to get things done, wouldn't you say?

And I'm going to post it on this here blog to share with all of you, because I don't have the gumption to start and maintain another blog, and because I hope that you all (whatever your ages) will get involved and start life lists of your own, and tick them off with me.

I hope you enjoy taking this journey with me - and I promise, a lot of my goals are foodie-related, so hopefully you won't be bored!

The List:
  1. Invest in property
  2. Buy a car that I like
  3. Get a job that challenges me, that I like, that I wake up happy to go to OR freelance
  4. Grow vegetables (done! I grew tomatoes this summer, 2010-2011)
  5. Make risotto (done!)
  6. Successfully bake a cake (done!) and frost it (red velvets, no less!)
  7. Go on a foodie holiday - a holiday where the whole thing is planned around food (markets, restaurants, food blogger friends, whatever)
  8. Learn to dance with my boy
  9. Start and stick to a retirement plan
  10. Learn a new skill that will help with my career
  11. Make macarons successfully
  12. Wash my own car (don't laugh, I've never done it!)
  13. Make money from blogging
  14. Build a blanket fort in my living room and camp out overnight, eating dinner and breakfast there
  15. Buy good quality, long lasting makeup, no matter what the cost
  16. Get the brown leather handbag I've wanted for years, no matter how much it costs (leather lasts, right?)
  17. Get involved with a charity that makes sense to me
  18. Volunteer at an animal shelter
  19. Take a really amazing holiday at least once a year - adventure while you're still young!
  20. Donate blood
  21. Get published (somewhere other than my blog ;) )
  22. Read "War and Peace" by Tolstoy
  23. Take a roadtrip without planning anything - just drive, and stop wherever the road takes us
  24. Learn to take good photographs to help remember my life
  25. Pull a sickie with my boy and spend the whole day in bed, forgetting the guilt over what we SHOULD be doing
  26. Learn another language fluently
  27. Get into shape, and flatten my stomach
  28. Go away for a weekend with my girlfriends
  29. Learn to start a fire
  30. Re-upholster a piece of furniture
Ok. So that's it. 4 years is a relatively long time, so I suppose if  change some of these it's not the end of the world. I do think that though, that these are pretty good goals for me, and involve a lot of learning and growing, which can never be a bad thing, right?

I'll update and cross them off as we go, alright?

Now, who's going to do this with me? If you're keen, comment or tweet me below, and I'll make a list of people who are going through this with me!

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Potato, Leek and Blue Cheese Soup

Hi ladies!

After the veggie heaven on Sunday, I still wasn't satisfied, and while paging through the latest Fresh Living magazine, I saw a recipe for potato, leek and blue cheese soup, which looked divine! And it was easy (they recommended buying the potato and leek soup mix - and who am I to complain about not having to chop and wash leeks?)
But you know me by now, right? Can I stick to a simple recipe? No! So I jazzed it up (only slightly) with some extra cheese (you knew that, right?) and some bacon. Now, in my humble opinion, you can add bacon to virtually anything and it makes it better, right? So this was, obviously, better. Salty, crispy little bits of bacon buried in the rich melty cheese goodness of this soup, heaven!

And without further ado, I bring you the incredible, rich, cheesy delight that is this soup!

Potato, Leek and Blue Cheese Soup

1 packet potato and leek soup mix
1 triangle (100g) blue cheese
750 ml veggie stock
250 ml milk
1 tbsp blue cheese cream cheese (Simonsberg make it, and it's divine)
4-8 rashers streaky bacon
1 tsp garlic
Salt and pepper to season

  1. Heat a heavy bottomed soup pot on the stove, and fry the bacon until some of the fat melts. There's no need to go mad with the bacon now, we're going to crisp it up in the oven later, this is just to get some of the porky goodness into the soup.
  2. Remove the bacon, and set aside.
  3. Put the garlic in the hot fat, and fry for a few seconds.
  4. Add the potato and leek soup mix in, and stir in the hot fat for a bit. If it gets a bit dry, just add a little olive oil, and continue to stir for a couple of minutes.
  5. Add the hot veggie stock and the milk, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 30-40 minutes, or until the potato is cooked through.
  6. Blend to your preferred consistency (I like mine quite smooth), and return to the heat.
  7. Chop the blue cheese wedge up, and add it to the soup, stirring to melt it into the soup.
  8. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  9. Serve hot and melty, with a tsp of blue cheese cream cheese and a sprinkle of fresh parsley.

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Roasted Chicken and Veggies

Hi lovelies!

I'm back in action, and have been missing cooking so much, I leaped at it as soon as I got home, with a veggie packed roast on Sunday for lunch. After consuming my body weight in pizza, pasta and bread while we were away, I was craving veggies like nobody's business! So on Sunday, we had the hubby's (!) cousin over for lunch, and I had yet to shower. So I tossed some veggies, herbs and chicken pieces in the oven, and an hour later, voila! We had a delicious lunch! YAY!

{Image source}

Don't you just love non-involvement meals? I love that about oven-cooked meals, there's no stirring, adding, fiddling and fussing. Just put it all in, and wait (go have a shower, as I did!), and when you return, you have a lovely meal just waiting to be served - what bliss!

This may seem to be a very simple meal, and a recipe isn't really necessary, however, I know I've had trouble roasting things before (too much oil, too little heat, etc.), and I decided to share this for the uninitiated. This isn't foodie delight, but it is an enormously satisfying meal, without the guilt of a big, rich meaty meal. Unless you serve sticky toffee pudding after... which I may or may not have done...

Roasted Chicken and Veggies

1 pack chicken thighs & drummers (or whatever pieces you like)
1 pack roasting veggies or some peeled and roughly chopped butternut, bell peppers, red onion, baby marrows, baby carrots, broccoli, etc. (forgive me, it was just a day after we got home, and chop, chop, chop sounded like hell)
1 tsp Kara's Greek Herbs
1 tsp dried parsley
Splash of white wine (I had some slightly sweet wine in the fridge - Delheim Spatzendreck)
Splash of white balsamic with thyme
Sprinkle of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste.

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C.
  2. Heat a heavy bottomed pan on the stove, with just a small spray of oil. Place chicken pieces in in batches, skin side down, to brown, turning to brown both sides. Don't turn the chicken too often, what you want is that browned taste and to seal the chicken. Remove to plate, and repeat until all chicken is browned on all sides.
  3. Spray an oven dish with oil (Spray & Cook is what I use), and put the veggies in. Sprinkle the herbs over the veggies, and splash some of the wine and balsamic in. You don't need a lot, just a bit to help the food not to dry out.
  4. Sprinkle some olive oil over the veggies, and toss it all about to coat everything in all the delicious herbs and liquids.
  5. Place the browned chicken pieces in among the veggies, with the skin side up.
  6. Pop into the oven, and take out to stir the veggies every 20 minutes or so. At the first stir, turn the chicken pieces over and cook that way for a while, and 20 minutes before the end, turn them back over.
  7. Remove from the oven when you pierce the fattest part of the chicken pieces (so for me, it was the thighs), and the juice runs clear. The veggies should be lovely and roasted by this stage anyway.
Serve with rice, mashed or roasted potatoes, or baby potatoes in garlic and butter, as I did. This flavourful veggie-fest will warm your heart, and give you lots of your necessary 5-a-day!


PS. I never bought that camera I promised I would, and our point n shoot is full of holiday snaps. Soon, my lovelies, soon! In the interim, other peoples photos will need to do - much lovelier than that I can come up with!

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Thank you!


I'm back in the land of the living and the interwebs, and I wanted to thank you all for sticking with me! It couldn't have been too hard, with the amazing posts my dear bloggie friends (Nina, Marisa, Hila, The Chef, Jessica and Ash) came up with!

This is going to be a short post, I just wanted to say how grateful I was for the time off, for the wedding I originally didn't want, and had SO much fun at, for my amazing, incredible and wonderful friends, and for my new husband, and best friend.

We wanted to elope, originally, but due to family expectations and one thing and another, we found ourselves planning (and paying for) a wedding we didn't really want to have. Fast forward a few months (yes, we were engaged for 2 years, and no, we didn't start planning until 6 months before the wedding), and we were nose deep in plans, and deeply regretting not having worked harder, earlier. In jump my amazing friends, and things that I thought would remain in my dreams (handmade bright yellow beanbag handwarmers) became a reality before my eyes. My friends jumped in and made our day an absolutely wonderful, warm, caring, loving affair. Rather than a huge 'event' that related to neither of us, we had a small wedding, with just our family and closed friends.

And we had a ball. We ate amazing food - chunky tomato soup, creamy butternut soup, lamb shanks in rosemary and red wine, oxtail in a light curry sauce, roasted veggies and salad, and the CUPCAKES. We had vanilla bean, chocolate, lemon meringue and carrot cake cupcakes, and delicious baked caramel cheesecake.

And we danced and drank wine, and relaxed and enjoyed ourselves. All our weird and wonderful disparate friends and family got together and celebrated our love for one another, and the joining of two families that span several continents together. We remembered those who couldn't be there, and enjoyed those who could. We loved, we laughed (oh boy, did we laugh!) and we had fun.

And then we went away on a fabulous trip - I won't say honeymoon, because nothing about a whirlwind visitation of Rome in 3 days, and no more than 3 nights in any one place REALLY says honeymoon, but boy, do we have memories. We came back more tired than we've ever been, with better knowledge of each other, tons of stories, a tan, and the consumption of more bread and pizza than should be legally allowed. But that's another story.

For now, I just want to thank you. For sticking with me, for helping me out, and for allowing me the time and space to fully experience that incredible and unexpectedly wonderful time of our lives.

So thank you.

**All pics stolen without permission from our amazing photographer, Mitch of I Do Photography. For more photos from our wedding, visit that link.**

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Friday, August 20, 2010

Guest Post: JulyAte with a Review of Nook Eatery


As I have mentioned, while I'm away on holiday, some of my lovely blog and twitter friends have offered to guest post for me! Blown away by this amazing offer, I've given them pretty much free reign to write what they like, and just LOOK at what they've come up with! 

Here's Jessica from Tiny Oven Adventures with something amazing, just for you. Take it away!

A review of Nook Eatery

Nook Website
About Nook 

Their website says, "Nook is a cosy eatery in Stellenbosch offering light meals, pastries, cakes and daily specials.” Nook is situated on one of the oak-lined street of Stellenbosch with some tables on the sidewalk where you can enjoy the view and other tables inside the tiny colourful shop. 

Why Nook? I have been following them on twitter for a while (drooling over their lunch specials) and fantasising about what I would have from the menu if I went there (it all looks so tasty!). The prices looked reasonable enough so it just had to be Nook. 

For lunch, Nook has a daily lunch buffet that is priced according to weight; you pay R13 per 100g of food that you dish up. When I went to Nook for lunch, it was a sunny winters day and we got a tiny table outside overlooking the street. The buffet consisted of beef ragout with gremolata, roast garlic & herb potatoes, cauliflower cheese bake, organic bean & pea salad and organic lentil salad. I had the beef with the bean & pea salad as well as the lentil salad. The beef was very tender and flavourful and it was swimming in a thick dark sauce. The vegetables in the salads were still crunchy and fresh and not overcooked and, my word, was it tasty! I prefer my veggies on the crunchy side and it was refreshing to find them in a nice crispy state on my plate. The buffet worked out marvellously for me as I always find that restaurant portions are too large to finish in one sitting (I always end up with a doggy bag!). I wanted a cinnabon for dessert but to my great disappointment they were already sold out at 13h00, which leads me to…
The Beginning
The Cinnabon. I still had a craving for a cinnabon so I went and bought one the next day. Mere words cannot describe this tasty morsel sent from the heavens, so a photo will have to do.
This creation was like the result of an extreme gourmet makeover of the plain old cinnabon. The dough was light and buttery and pulled apart in light strands of doughy goodness (I believe it is called brioche). The centre of the cinnabon was saturated with a light caramel sauce that I mopped up with the other broken off pieces. Pure heaven I tell you. 

The Service 

At this moment this review sounds positively glowing, but I’m afraid that my experience was not quite that good. The location is beautiful, the food was amazing but the service did not quite measure up. In this case I was especially surprised by my experience at Nook, as I had read so many glowing reviews telling of the warm, homey experiences people have had there. I found the waiters cold and a bit unfriendly, and the staff behind the counter didn’t look like they knew what exactly to do with me. My lunch companion wasn’t too full of praise for the service either, she was pretty miffed about having to request a toothpick several times before someone brought it to us.
The End
The Redeemer 

At this point in my review I felt that perhaps I didn’t have enough material on Nook to do a proper review, so I returned there again today for lunch. On the buffet menu was free range chicken pie, gnocchi with wild mushrooms, broccolini with sweet sesame dressing, organic chickpea & roast butternut salad and organic green apple waldorf salad with toasted pecan nuts & lemon crème fraiche dressing. I had a bit of everything.

The salads were great again, fresh and crunchy and yummy, but they were not the highlight of the meal… The gnocchi with wild mushrooms was a taste revelation; the delicate flavours of the mushrooms went perfectly with some lemon thyme. The gnocchi was firm and not too gummy and everything came together nicely with a thin creamy sauce. The chicken pie was very good, so good that I might even claim that it is the best chicken pie that I have had. I have no idea what went into that pie but the insides were moist, flavourful and had a hint of white wine that went very well with the chicken. Do yourself a favour and go have the chicken pie at Nook, you won’t regret it. 

The service today was definitely better than last time, we all have off days and I guess that my first lunch just coincided with “one of those days”. 

Overall, Nook is a great place to go eat in Stellenbosch and I would recommend it to anyone. What they might possibly lack in the service department they more than make up for with the fantastic fresh food that they have on offer. 

I’ll end off the review with question to the readers; if a restaurant advertises on their website that they have a twitter feed, do you expect them to update the feed regularly and respond to tweets promptly?

To book at Nook Eatery
Phone: (021) 8877703
42 Van Ryneveld Street

Like what Jessica has to say? Visit her blog or catch her on twitter!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Guest Post: Ashleigh with Sticky Chicken Wings

Hi! As I have mentioned, while I'm away on holiday, some of my lovely blog and twitter friends have offered to guest post for me! Blown away by this amazing offer, I've given them pretty much free reign to write what they like, and just LOOK at what they've come up with! 

Here's Ashleigh (my real life and twitter friend) with something amazing, just for you. Take it away!
When I offered to write an article for this blog I hadn’t quite thought it through. You see, I’m an on-the-go kinda girl. As much as I love cooking, I just don’t have the time. Being a young professional is hard work, especially when your social life is so packed that you have 5 minutes to change, touch up makeup and prepare drinks and snacks!
Luckily for me, I live in a giant house with lots of inspiration for quick, delicious meals, especially quick meals for lots of people. And I entertain a LOT of people. One of my housemates, Anya Klaasen, is from the United States and she introduced my friends and I to the most delicious chicken wings ever made in the comfort of one’s home. And the best part? They were CHEAP to make, and I didn’t have to spend time in the kitchen checking on dinner while my friends drank wine in the courtyard!
These babies only take 10 minutes to prepare, and you only dirty 3 dishes the whole time: bowl, spoon, baking tray. Sounds like a dream, yes?

Sticky Chicken Wings

3 packs chicken wings (around 26 wings)
6 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons BBQ spice
6 tablespoons Paprika
2 tablespoons origanum
Red wine vinegar to make a paste

  1. Put the oven on grill.
  2. Mix the spices and sugar in a bowl. Add enough red wine vinegar to make a paste.
  3. Rub the paste into each chicken wing and place it upside down on a baking tray.
  4. Once you’ve done all of them, put in the oven for 15 min.
  5. Take the wings out, turn them over, and baste them with any leftover paste. Put them back for 20 min.
Serve as snacks or as a meal with salad.

Thanks Anya for such an easy recipe! We ended up serving them as a main dish with salad on the side. I love cooking elaborate meals on weekends, but during the week I rock the 10-minute-meal.

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Monday, August 16, 2010

Guest Post: The Creative Pot with Pork with Spiced Berry Pinotage Sauce

Hi! As I have mentioned, while I'm away on holiday, some of my lovely blog and twitter friends have offered to guest post for me! Blown away by this amazing offer, I've given them pretty much free reign to write what they like, and just LOOK at what they've come up with! 

Here's Marisa from The Creative Pot with something amazing, just for you. Take it away! 

Confession: I have some berry-related issues. It's weird, I know (and completely un-foodie like of me), but I can't stand the thought of pulverised berries. Berry coulis in dessert? Pass. And don't even get me started on berry jam. I'm fine with the whole berries, but then they need to be fresh and unabashedly firm. No, none of this mushy berry business for me. 

So I was a bit taken aback when the idea of pairing pork with a berry sauce started creeping into my thoughts. And refused to back down out of respect for my berry issues. My loud lamentations to TheHusband didn’t work either (he does not share my berry prejudice). And so I was forced to make this rather hideous looking berry pinotage sauce, infuse it with spices (star anise is a firm favourite of mine) and pour it over some succulent pork neck steaks. *Sigh* The things I do in the name of food. 

Despite my deep seated berry issues though, this tasted phenomenal and I found myself grinning with delight at the end of the meal, berry sauce splattered all over my front, plate and table. I am many things, but orderly is not one of them. Might be time to re-evaluate my berry-ist views though...

Pork with Spiced Berry Pinotage Sauce

1 tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil
800g pork neck steaks
salt to taste
1 small onion, chopped
2 cups assorted berries
1 apple, chopped
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup pinotage (or red wine of your choice)
3 tbsp sugar
5 cloves
2 star anise
1/4 tsp crushed peppercorns

  1. Heat  a tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Add the pork neck steaks and fry briefly on each side to brown. Season with salt and set aside. 
  2. Heat the remaining olive oil in the pan, lower heat slightly and saute the onions for 5 - 7 minutes or until soft. 
  3. Add berries, apple, water, pinotage, sugar cloves, star anise and peppercorns, bring to the boil, then lower heat and cook for 30 minutes. The liquid will have reduced considerably and the sauce will be very fragrant. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  4. Spread pork steaks into an ovenproof casserole dish and spoon the berry sauce on top. Place in the oven at 180C for around 20 minutes or until the pork is cooked through. 
  5. Serve with roasted butternut, polenta or mashed potatoes. 
If you enjoyed this, you might want to visit me over at The Creative Pot, subscribe to my feed or come join in the banter on twitter.

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Friday, August 13, 2010

Guest Post: Nina Timm with Slap Degie

As I have mentioned, while I'm away on holiday, some of my lovely blog and twitter friends have offered to guest post for me! Blown away by this amazing offer, I've given them pretty much free reign to write what they like, and just LOOK at what they've come up with!

Here's Nina from My Easy Cooking with something amazing, just for you. Take it away!

Last year some time, I posted this recipe on Food24 and got such a huge response from it that I have chosen this as my guest post recipe here on polkadotcupcake cooks.

Yesterday, when I did a cooking demo for a group of ladies, I chose this easy batter recipe to show just how versatile it is. We have teased my mom so many times over the years about this, but when she serves this "slap degie" on stewed fruit served with game, or uses it to make a hearty beef stew (that’s even more delicious!), we are all quiet and all you hear around the table are sighs of satisfaction and bliss. This "slap degie” (runny batter) changes the ordinary to the sublime and supper into a plate of comfort food.
I implore you to try this, once you've made it, try to add herbs or spices or even cheeses to it. Let me know what you think!!

Slap Degie (runny dough)

250 ml self-raising flour 

1 egg 
half a cup milk 
half a cup oil 


  1. Break the egg in a cup and fill to halfway with milk and then to the top with oil.
  2. Pour into a mixing bowl.
  3. Add the flour and salt and mix. If the batter is too stiff, add a little more milk. That is it!
Pour it over meat, stewed fruit, chicken, whatever you like. Just bear in mind, your meat or fruit has to be cooked already, this is just a topping and bakes in about 25-30 minutes. Placing onion rings onto the batter just before baking it makes the circles on top of my pie.

These are just some of the comments I received in response to this recipe


Brilliant recipe Nina, I've got a similar one from my Granny too. Works for just about anything and everything
This looks so delicious Nina! I've also read about the slap degie in my "Kook en geniet" but I've never tried it and it is so easy!
Thinking about it... I suppose one could even use polenta instead of flour in this, eh? Would be lovely on top of a chili con carne type of stew!
(Erm... would using polenta change the amounts or the cooking time, do you think, chef?)-- and one would then probably have to add maybe half a teaspoon of baking powder or so, hey?
Thanks so much for sharing this!! What a brilliant way to use up leftovers - just make a "stew" and cover with this topping! I will probably even try this tonight!!
ag dis n vrek lekker resepie! ek maak dit vir skaapskenkel pastei! pragtige fotos!
Yummy!!!Now I am soooo hungry!!

Note: Images are all Nina's own.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Guest Post: The Creative Pot with Buttermilk Corn Soup


As I have mentioned
, while I'm away on holiday, some of my lovely blog and twitter friends have offered to guest post for me! Blown away by this amazing offer, I've given them pretty much free reign to write what they like, and just LOOK at what they've come up with!

Here's Marisa from The Creative Pot with something amazing, just for you. Take it away!

When my fellow schemer, darling Twitter buddy Sigrid shared her distress with me regarding her long absence from her blog and her fear that you, her loyal readers, would run for the hills I knew I had to step up to the plate. Hell, the girl knows where I live. Plus, I had to keep our relationship in good stead, as she still has a large bottle of wine with my name on it squirreled away at her house. Clearly, a lot was at stake here. And after all, I had done one guest post before, so I figured it would be a piece of cake to do another. But I hadn't factored my indecisiveness in. What to make? I wanted to put my best foot forward, whilst also keeping an eye on that bottle of wine and adhering to the spirit of things around here, i.e. quick, easy, accessible-for-every-cook meals.

Hmmmm... Of course there was also a tiny part of me that wanted to keep all the good stuff to myself. There, I've said it. Political correctness is vastly overrated don't you think? I briefly considered cupcakes, in keeping with the name of the blog and her long-running cake-rocks joke. But when I made this soup, I knew I had to surrender the recipe. After all, it was the perfect candidate - easy, yet impressive looking. So I pinned my greedy blogger alter ego to the floor and wrestled this recipe away from my own post queue and plonked it into this one. 'Cause I'm a good friend like that. You hear that? Bottle of wine!

Um... right, so where was I? Oh yes, the soup. Looks easy right? You boil some potatoes, steam a couple of ears of corn, then bang everything together in a food processor with a good glug of buttermilk and off you go! Of course then you can get all fancy-schmancy and tart it up a bit for the all important presentation. Your dinner guests will love you. Especially if you serve it with a still-warm-from the oven bread.

Top tip: If you buy bread ready-made and gently re-heat it in the oven, no-one will be the wiser. I slathered my bread in mashed avocado which I then proceeded to dip with wild abandon in the soup. Yeah, I don't get out much. But I promise the curse doesn't get transferred through computer screens, so you should be safe.


Buttermilk Corn Soup
Inspired by a recipe from 101 Cookbooks
Serves 4 - 6

1 tsp olive oil
1 onion
1tsp garlic
1 tbsp cajun spice
2 sweet potatoes, peeled & roughly chopped
4 cups water
4 ears of corn
500 ml buttermilk
salt to taste
chopped green bellpepper, to serve (optional)
chopped red chillies (or peppadews), to serve (optional)

1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium to high heat. Add onion, garlic and cajun spice and fry for 5 - 7 minutes or until softened. Don't worry if the onion burns a little bit, I find it adds to the smoky flavour in this particular dish.
2. Add sweet potato chunks to the pot, stir to coat in the spices, then add 1 1/2 cups water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat, cover with a lid and allow to cook until soft.
3. Meanwhile, steam corn in their husks until cooked through. I normally just pop them in the microwave for a few minutes - it works a treat. Remove and allow to cool enough to handle them. Remove husks, then, using a knife, slice the kernels off.
4. Add corn kernels to the cooked sweet potatoes, then transfer everything to a food processor and blend to a smooth puree. If necessary add some more water to ease the process.
5. Pour back into the pot, add the rest of the water, as well as buttermilk and salt to taste, then gently re-heat until piping hot before serving.

PS: Happy happy honeymoon dearest Sigrid (and hubby)! Looking forward to have you back in this neck of the woods.

PPS: If you enjoyed this post, why not come and say hi over at my blog, The Creative Pot? Or drop me a witty one liner on Twitter. I promise to be on my best behaviour.

**All images are Marisa's own (and what lovely ones they are!!)

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Monday, August 9, 2010

Guest Post: The Squashed Tomato Chef reviews Jakes

Hi! As I have mentioned, while I'm away on holiday, some of my lovely blog and twitter friends have offered to guest post for me! Blown away by this amazing offer, I've given them pretty much free reign to write what they like, and just LOOK at what they've come up with! 

Here's The Chef from A Squashed Tomato, with something amazing, just for you. Take it away!
Hi everyone!

Wow, it's a great privilege to be guest-writing for polkadotcupcake whilst she is off enjoying a glorious new adventure at her wedding. Fearing stage-fright upon arrival, I talked myself out of creating some intricate recipe that might fail hopelessly and decided to rather review one of my favourite (if not all-time favourite) Cape Town restaurants. 

Jakes is a true Cape Town gem, with restaurants situated in Kenilworth (Jakes On Summerley) and Tokai (Jakes In The Village). The website describes the atmosphere as "vibrant and social" - I think this is a gross understatement! The interior, especially in the evening, is simply luxurious - with dark wooden tables, large glass windows, gorgeous artwork and perfect lighting, the dining experience of your life (yes, a bold statement but I dare you to prove me wrong!) is just waiting to be had! 

A visit to Jakes is not complete without arriving early in order to enjoy a glass of spicy red wine or a cool, tangy cocktail in the trendy bar area, seated on one of the leather armchairs. Once your table is ready, you are whisked away into the vibey dining area, where there is a delightful theatre of talking, laughing, champagne corks popping, waiters moving skillfully between tables, knives and forks clinking on plates and the gorgeous aroma of food...glorious food. Just a warning - upon opening the menu, whatever you were feeling like eating before doing so is instantly assaulted by a variety of delicious alternatives. 

Whilst I highly recommend going more than once (in order to try everything, of course!), I have come to salivate on simply hearing the following main course options: Jakes Double-Roasted Duck and Jakes Beef Wellington. The duck is wickedly crispy on the outside, whilst moist and tender underneath and is served with fine French beans and a few other side items (trust me, the duck and those beans just steal the show). The wellington is nothing short of art: Medium-rare steak, topped with a sherry-based sauce and pate, is wrapped in pastry and baked to perfection. It is also served with those crunchy, fine French beans. Just to provide some context, I first had the wellington over 2 years ago and it has remained, to this day, the best meal I have ever eaten in any restaurant. FACT. Unfortunately, both the duck and wellington are "specials" and are not available throughout the year. My sources tell me the wellington is currently available - I will race you there! 

Reading this, you might think that I am really singing Jakes' praises - well, I am! I live to eat - it's a great part of life - and I am always on the lookout for a restaurant that offers incredible food within an entirely addictive setting. Jakes has it right - and after writing this, I need my next fix! Word is that they're running a winter special at the moment - R145.00 for 3 courses! No guesses where I will be dining this weekend! Thanks to polkadotcupcake for this great opportunity! I wish you the very best with your wedding and new start in life - and I cannot wait to hear about all the food from the reception!

All the best, 
The Chef 

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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Guest Post: LadyRaven with Steak and Mushroom Pasta

As I have mentioned, while I'm away on holiday, some of my lovely blog and twitter friends have offered to guest post for me! Blown away by this amazing offer, I've given them pretty much free reign to write what they like, and just LOOK at what they've come up with!

Here's LadyRaven from Add to Taste with something amazing, just for you. Take it away!

I have been hosting guest posts for 4 weeks and I get endless joy from them. I cannot explain the joy of asking someone for a post and them agreeing to do one. So when polkadotcupcake asked for people to volunteer for guest posts while she is away, I jumped at the chance to "pay it forward"

I looked at what I had planned and what I had done and not posted, then considered the weather and some other things, then I remembered how much polkadotcupcake loves improvising in the kitchen and I had my winning dish. 

I love going to the shop with the intention of buying "something" to make for lunch then coming home and throwing together a meal. I love it even more when the meal turns out to be delicious too and that is what happened with this dish.

My partner and I were busy baking the whole day and the idea of eating something sweet didn’t fly well with us. At the shop we picked up a beautiful piece of shin, some mushrooms and dill and created a creamy pasta dish to warm our bellies, cleanse our palates and give us the strength we needed to ice the
"dead hello kitty" cake.

What you need: 
1 shin steak (or any other cut you like) 
1 punnet of mushrooms (chopped) 
1 onion 
fresh dill (to taste) 
1 tsp smoked paprika 
50ml of cream or 1 tin evaporated milk 
olive oil 
Salt and pepper (to taste) 
Pasta of choice

What to do:
  1. Season the meat and grill on a high heat to your preferred level of "doneness". Set it aside. Set the pasta to cook to al dente. Do not drain it.
  2. In a pan, sauté the onions until they start to brown then add the paprika and the mushrooms.
  3. While the mushrooms are cooking slice up the meat and when the mushrooms are cooked, add it to the pan.
  4. Pour in the cream/evaporated milk and let it simmer for a minute or 2 and then add the dill. Let it simmer for another minute.
  5. Add the cooked past to the pan insuring that a bit of the cooking water goes in with it. Stir a few times and take it off the heat.
  6. Serve garnished with a sprig of dill, and enjoy!
The Shopping List

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Guest Post: Nina Timm with Chicken Liver Pate

As I have mentioned, while I'm away on holiday, some of my lovely blog and twitter friends have offered to guest post for me! Blown away by this amazing offer, I've given them pretty much free reign to write what they like, and just LOOK at what they've come up with!

Here's Nina Timm from My Easy Cooking
with something amazing, just for you. Take it away!

Another one of my most popular recipes on the internet is this dead easy Chicken Liver Pate. You can make this in bulk and freeze or make a fresh batch every time you need one. This recipe always works well as a pasta sauce (I kid you not). For the pasta sauce you just do not blend the livers, keep them whole and stir into hot pasta. Add a few dry chilli flakes and you have them, this is just the dish to keep winter at bay!!

Chicken Livers....you either love them or you don't. Some people, like me, would sneak into the kitchen at night and eat the Chicken Liver Pate in spoonfuls from the fridge and others are appalled by the idea of eating offal. I suggest you give this recipe a try and then make up your mind. The pate is smooth, velvety and so delicious! I paired my pate with fried sage and cherries and got quite a reaction from my guests, but you can try it with crackers, rustic bread, whatever you feel like!


500gr chicken livers - fresh or frozen (if using frozen, then thaw it first)
1 medium onion chopped
2 cloves garlic - chopped
fresh thyme or oregano
125ml cream
1 Tbs brandy
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and black pepper
olive oil
2 Tbsp clarified butter

  1. Fry the onion and garlic in some olive oil in a pan until the onion is soft and translucent. 
  2. Add the chicken livers and herbs and cook until the liver is still pinkish, but not raw anymore.
  3. Add the contents of the pan to a blender and blend until it has a smooth and silky consistency.
  4. While the machine is running add the cream, brandy and lemon juice. 
  5. Taste and add salt and black pepper to taste. 
  6. Spoon the liver pate into two small dishes and top with the melted butter. Wait until the pate has cooled down, cover and refrigerate until needed!
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Monday, August 2, 2010

Ci vediamo presto and vidimo se opet uskoro!

Hello my lovelies!

By the time you read this, I'll be MARRIED and winging my way towards my holiday in Europe! As I have mentioned, this here little blog will not be all alone in my absence. No, fear not! I have arranged some killer posts for you while I'm gone - you'll be hearing from my lovely blog and twitter friends even more often than you usually hear from me! A bonus? I'll say!

When I get back, I'll be posting some photos from the wedding and our honeymoon, but let me take you on a short Google trip of where we're going...

{Image source}
Firstly, we'll be flying 19 hours to Rome, via Doha, in Qatar.

Rome {Image source}
We'll be spending 3 days in Rome, seeing the Colloseum, the Vatican City, as many churches and ruins and amazing sights as we can, then we're taking a train through to the coast, to Ancona, whereupon we catch a ferry across the Mediterranean to Split, on the coast of Croatia.
Split {Image source}

In Split we'll see Diocletian's Palace, which literally splits the city in half, hence the name. We'll visit the food markets, and the restaurants - I hear Croatia is famed for its seafood, and I can't wait!
Vis {Image source}

From Split, we take another ferry to Vis, a small island off the Dalmatian Coast. In Vis we're going to go snorkelling, reliving part of our last holiday, when we got engaged in Zanzibar, 2 years ago! Vis has a ton of history, as has all of Croatia. Having been under the rule of various conquerors since the time of the Roman's, the palaces, ruins and ancient culture are going to be enthralling. Something you may not know about me: I'm a Classics student! Yup, I studied classical history as one of my majors, and the ancient world fascinates me endlessly! I've been wanted to visit Europe for years, as has the boy, so this trip's going to be fantastic!

Hvar {Image source}
Anyway, from Vis we take yet another ferry across to Hvar, another Dalmatian island. In Hvar, we're  going to taste the wine and olives that the region is famous for (yes, Marisa, I might get you olives, who knows ;) ) We'll also be spending some quality time lounging on one of Croatia's few sandy beaches. Croatia tends towards pebbly beaches, which I struggle with, so we're heading toward islands with sand. :) Sandy beaches, FTW!

Dubrovnik {Image source}
 After Hvar, we'll take another ferry, this time back to the mainland and the ancient walled city of Dubrovnik! This is one I am SO excited about. One evening, we're going to take a walk all around the perimeter wall of the old city. The walls are so wide that you can walk around the entire old town, how incredible is that? The walls were built hundreds of years ago, to protect the town from invaders, and stands to this day, though the city has expanded beyond it's borders. Dubrovnik is known as The Pearl of the Adriatic. I can't seem to find out exactly why this is so, but I'll report back. My general impression is because it's set in the middle of a wide bay (making it look like a pearl in a shell), and because it's so old and well cared for, but I'll report back on this.

After a few days in Dubrovnik enjoying all the sights, sounds and tastes, we take another ferry, back to the Italian mainland, at Bari this time, and catch a train to Rome, and home! Thus ends our whirlwind, incredible trip to Rome and the Dalmatian coast!

I'll bring back as many memories and photos as I can, and trust that you'll be well cared for in my absence.

Take care my pretties!

PS. The title of this post is "See you again soon!" in Italian and Croatian! :)

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