Spotlight on Cucina Carolina

CucinaCarolinaThe lovely and vivacious Carolina, originally from the Netherlands, swapped the grey winters of Europe for the sunny shores of South Afirca where she now lives in the Strand.  Together with her wife Lee (and four-legged Rhodesian Ridgeback child Ntombi!), she owns and runs the Cucina Carolina Delicatessen and posts regular podcasts to her blog – don't know where she finds the time!  Let's get to know her a little better:  

1. Where are you – in South Africa or out in the wide world? 

In South Africa – The Strand to be exact

2. Since when have you been blogging? 

Since 2003 for carolee.co.za and since 2010 for cucinacarolina.com

3. What do you enjoy the most about food or wine blogging?  

The pictures I make with it and the comment of my wife Lee

4. Any downsides or frustrations? 

That I don't get a lot of other comments. Ha, ha, ha.

5. What or who are your inspirations to cook, drink and write?  

Beautiful pictures of other bloggers, my wife Lee, our dog Ntombi, my own inspiration

6. Where and when do you like to blog?  

In my study with our Rhodesian Ridgeback Ntombi next to me and when I make pictures that Ntombi is right there with me to lick her lips

7. What's your signature dish or favourite wine?  

My snack signature dish is  Bitterballen, my main is Ajam Panggang and for dessert it is Tiramisu. My favourite wine is Meursault

8. What other food or wine blogs do you read?  

Unfortunately I don't have a lot of time but I love the blog What Katie Ate

9. Favourite restaurant?  

96 on Winery Road in Stellenbosch and of course our own deli for the best pizza and sushi in the world

10. For my last meal on this planet I would order… 

1/2 Pizza Prosciutto with Prosciutto di Parma, rucola, Parmigiano Reggiano and chillies and 1/2 Papalina with Salami Milano, black kalamata olives, mixed peppers, springonions, garlic and chillies made by my wife Lee as she makes the best pizza's in the world

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Spotlight on Bakercourt

BakercourtLike me, Stacey is a South African who finds herself transplanted to London and loving it!  She blogs at Bakercourt (Twitter: @baker_court) and describes herself as writer, blogger, baker and crafter who'll try everything once. When not working, she is baking my way through Nigella Lawson's best recipes.  Let's get to know her better:

1. Where are you – in South Africa or out in the wide world? 

I've been based in London since 2009. 

2. Since when have you been blogging? 

I actually started my blog just before I left South Africa in 2009 as a way to record all the delicious foods and local restaurants that I didn't want to forget. Then, when I got to London, I started writing about my move there, and my transition into London life as a sort of 'journal' for my family back home. It turns out I really love food, and a blog is an excellent platform for sharing, discussing and show-and-tell!

3. What do you enjoy the most about food or wine blogging?  

Ooh tough one. I love the challenge of photographing the food, the challenge of going out and finding something to write about, and of course – cooking or baking it too. 

4. Any downsides or frustrations?

Sometimes when you are having a bit of a 'down' time you stop posting blogs as frequently and your followers simply melt away, but, on the flipside, you get some really nice friends that stick around and pull you through it. Hm, now that I think about it: no downsides! I love writing, I love food, and I love interacting with the people who visit me.

5. What or who are your inspirations to cook, drink and write?  

I've always wanted to be a writer, and now that I am, I write about my favourite things in my spare time – food, restaurants, travel, crafts and baking. My whole family has always been into food and you won't find better cooks than my mom and her twin sister, so it was a natural progression into the 'family business'. 

6. Where and when do you like to blog?  

I like to write my blogs late at night when I'm rounding up the day's progress and I can enjoy an hour or so of sharing photographs and telling all the stories that go with them. Where: at home, all wrapped up in a blanket on a chair, or snuggled on the couch.  

7. What's your signature dish or favourite wine? 

Mm. Signature dish: braised cubes of beef tossed with pesto, roasted baby tomatoes and gnocchi, with a side of freshly-made bread. 

8. What other food or wine blogs do you read?  

This is going to be a long list. I think I'll give you my favourite five to read…

  • http://www.sprinklebakes.com/ - adventurous baking with exceptionally beautiful photography. I feel like a little girl whenever I browse through her amazing baked goods!
  • http://www.therecanbeonlyjuan.com/ - charming and wonderful, Juanita is a South African foodie after my own heart.
  • http://foodsnots.blogspot.com/ - ignore the name: it's the perfect place to stop by and browse through some pretty pictures, nice recipes and friendly stories
  • http://naturalsuburbia.blogspot.com/ - Okay, a sort of mix between home-cooking, baking and knitting, but it's a lovely blog to visit and always so interesting to hear about what's going on back home!
  • http://www.cooksister.com/ - of course, how could I not? I particularly love that it is just so easy to read – you sit down with a cuppa and end up staying for two.

9. Favourite restaurant?  

Oh! Again, difficult to choose. Either The Fat Cactus in Cape Town, South Africa (the one in Town) or Giraffe in London. I like restaurants that are friendly and comfortable with an excellent atmosphere and lots to choose from. 

10. For my last meal on this planet I would order… 

My mom's lasagna served with a side of green salad topped with Greek feta and balsamic glaze, followed by my aunt's spicy carrot cake with zesty cream cheese icing and a Vida e Cafe mocha.

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Spotlight on Cooking and Eating with Polkadot Cupcake

PolkadotCupcake

Contrary to what conventional wisdom might dictate, I always find that you can learn quite a lot about a person from Twitter and their blog.  You can learn that they like cupcakes.  You can learn that they have a small dog called the Evil Puffle.  But most importantly, you can learn that they are a fellow Cheese Slut!  Of course, I am not really talking in the abstract here – I am talking specifically about the lovely Sigrid from Cooking and Eating with Polkadot Cupcake.  Despite living on different continents we have spent a lot of time chatting on Twitter and e-mail, and finally got to hang out and have a drink together (hopefully the first or many!) at the Food Blogger Indaba in Cape Town this February.  She answered some profile questions for me recently, so let's find out all the news fit to print about Sigrid:

1. Where are you – in South Africa or out in the wide world? 

I'm in Cape Town

2. How long have you been blogging? 

Since April 2008, on and off

3. What do you enjoy the most about food or wine blogging?  

The people I meet, the events and experiences and, of course, the food!

4. Any downsides or frustrations? 

Struggling to find time to blog, when work gets really frantic!

5. What or who are your inspirations to cook, drink and write?

Ingredients inspire me to cook, as do pictures, and reading other blogs, I love to drink whichever way you look at it, and food inspires me to write. Often I'll be composing the post in my head as I cook!  

6. Where and when do you like to blog?  

I prefer to blog from work, but lately… time's been thin, and so has my posting!

7. What's your signature dish or favourite wine?  

My favourite wine is Zandvliet Estate Shiraz, and my signature dish? Probably cupcakes, although I can't cook em, everyone knows I love them!

8. What other food or wine blogs do you read?

Too many to mention each, but locally I love www.thecreativepot.net, www.my-easy-cooking.com, and more (check my blogroll)  

9. Favourite restaurant?  

Ever? A tiny place whose name I never got, on the waters edge on the island of Vis, Croatia. We had black risotto, and pink Croatian wine.. It was perfect.

10. For my last meal on this planet I would order… 

Black risotto, slow cooked oxtail, cupcakes and shiraz (though not necessarily in that order).

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Spotlight on Simply Delicious

SimplyDelicious If you've ever heard me speaking at blogging conferences, you will know my strong feelings about including the words "musings" or "ramblings" in your blog title or strapline.  You know the ones: "Jane Doe's Little Kitchen – musings and incoherent ramblings on food and other things I like".  Do we care?  Should we care??  Aaargh. Which is what made it all the more refreshing when I discovered Alida's blog, the very directly titled Simply Delicious last year.  You dont have to worry about whether you will be mused at or rambled at here.  On the contrary, Alida has a knack for posting recipes that do what they say on the tin:  they are simple and they are delicious, as are her photos. Let's hear what she has to say: 

1. Where are you – in South Africa or out in the wide world?

I live and blog in Pretoria, South Africa.

2. How long have you been blogging?

Since October 2009. It started as a way for me to give my family and friends my recipes, and is now turning into a possible job! 🙂

3. What do you enjoy the most about food or wine blogging?

I think I enjoy reading other people's blogs the most. As well as getting the comments about my recipes and photography. It's really great to see people trying your recipes and really loving them.

4. Any downsides or frustrations?

None whatsoever. I see blogging as an escape from my sometimes hectic life. (I have baby twins!!)

5. What or who are your inspirations to cook, drink and write?

Raw ingredients, spices, garlic, cheese, Nigella, Nigel Slater, My kids and my family.

6. Where and when do you like to blog?

I read blogs all day long but I mostly write blog entries in the morning after I put the twins down for a nap. I blog in our study.

7. What’s your signature dish or favourite wine?

I don't really have a signature dish yet. My family and friends rave over my Risotto's and Curries and I think my Seafood Potjie is also pretty good. I don't really drink wine (shocker I know) and what's even more shocking is that I like cheap, sweet wine. I'm more of a Caiparinha's person.

8. What other food or wine blogs do you read?

My Easy Cooking, The Creative Pot, Sardines on Toast , Drizzle and Dip, and Jan Tripepi.

9. Favourite restaurant?

Oh Wow I have so many. Saint Verde Cafe in Fourways, Pachas and Cynthia's in Pretoria, Kream and World of Samoosas in the Oriental Plaza in Johannesburg

10. For my last meal on this planet I would order…

It would be a week long feast 🙂 I would have Prawns smothered in chilli sauce and garlic butter, Butternut Risotto, Prawn Curry, Lamb Korma, Bovril on Toast (comfort food my mom used to make me with a sweet cup of tea), Saint Verde Cafe's Eggs Benedict, Gorgonzola Gnocci, Creme Brulee, Waffles with Cream, Ice cream and syrup and I would finish the meal with chocolate mousse. Can you tell I'm a food addict?

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Spotlight on Kosserasie Stories

Kosserasiestories Dirk of Kosserasie Stories is a rarity in the SA food blogging world on two fronts.  Firstly, he is (gasp!) a man in a blogging scene that is largely dominated by women; and secondly, he blogs in Afrikaans – which I love.  Does the fact that he is a bloke make any difference to the content?  Well, there does seem to be a distinct preference for cooking over open fires in cast iron potjies (pots) – but there is also an inspired recipe for a soufflé in such a pot, which is one of many good reasons to visit his blog.  Here are some little-known facts about Dirk:

1. Where are you – in South Africa or out in the wide world?

Cape Town – Constantia 

2. How long have you been blogging?

Only about two years. I started the blog as a collection of the once-offs that are too good not to tell about and to have record of it to come back to. But now I keep the camera handy to take a picture or two to put on the blog if something nice comes about. I also try not to just fill up the blog with the usual stuff, there are millions of recipies for the same thing out there. I also try to impart some of my experience in and around preparing the specific dish or at least something interesting about it.

 3. What do you enjoy the most about food or wine blogging?

Getting feedback without a doubt. Finding out that friends are actually reading my scribbles. I also enjoy the writing.

4. Any downsides or frustrations?

I would love to know when somebody read the blog and enjoyed it or found something interesting, but people not used to blogging are usually too scared to leave comments, so blogging sometimes is a lonely exercise.

5. What or who are your inspirations to cook, drink and write?

For cooking it is the food itself and people that I love and that like my cooking.

6. Where and when do you like to blog?

My blogs are usually not done on a specific time or place. I might take some pictures of a dish and only weeks later write a blog about it. I do not blog as often as I would like and I do not want to write about the eggs and toast I had for breakfast, so I will only blog if I feel that I want to share this one.

7. What's your signature dish or favourite wine?

Potjiekos. I just love cooking in a potjie over an open fire. And bredies. Same thing actually. And maybe my braaibroodjies.

8. What other food or wine blogs do you read?

There are quite a few that I read sporadically. I enjoy the personal element that food bloggers put into their blogs, it is not only about recipies and they give a lot more value than just reading a recipe book. If I want to make something nice I usually do my research and reading about it on food blogs.

9. Favourite restaurant?

A restaurant for me all depend on the occation and atmosphere more so than the food. Recently I enjoyed Blond in Cape town and if I do not want to cook it is the Eastern Bazaar in Cape Town for take-aways.

10. For my last meal on this planet I would order…

I hope I do not really have to choose as it would take me a couple of days to decide. But it would probably be braaivleis. Porkrib or lamb loin chops and a nice boerewors… and braaibroodjies… and ice cream. Ok stop now.

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Spotlight on Food and the Fabulous

FoodAndTheFabIsn't it funny how you can exactly pinpoint the moment when you first decided that somebody had crossed the line from acquaintance to friend?  With some people it's such a gradual process that you can't say when the tipping point was; and with others you remember the precise moment – maybe a conversation, or an emotional crisis or a weekend away together.  I had only "met" Ishay of Food and the Fabulous on Twitter when she joined a group of my other online friends to watch a DVD and chat live on Skype about it. I had a feeling we had a lot in common but did not really know her and then during the course of conversation she said it:  "I'm also a reformed lawyer."  And that was it – the bond of friendship between us was sealed!  I have subsequently met her a couple of times in person and I can assure you that fabulous is only the half of it 🙂  So let's get to know her a little better:

1. Where are you – in South Africa or out in the wide world? 

Sunny Cape Town, South Africa

2. How long have you been blogging? 

Since September 2010

3. What do you enjoy the most about food or wine blogging?  

I enjoy sharing the simple food I make in my kitchen- it's an incredible compliment when someone tries a recipe and likes it and it's also useful when someone offers a tip/alternative way of preparing something. I feel this cooking, eating and blogging journey is a new aspect of my education and I'm very eager to sharpen and hone the knife and the cooking skills.  I find myself evolving as a writer and this is an important aspect to me. I've also enjoyed the interaction with food bloggers and food eaters immensely; engaging in events and projects also make one feel part of a living, breathing community.

4. Any downsides or frustrations?

There are some at this stage: it is time consuming, and a blog needs to be 'fed' regularly, I've heard someone say. I do have a large backlog of interesting blogs- I try to keep it fun for myself though. Who needs a hobby that's stressful?
 
5. What or who are your inspirations to cook, drink and write? 

I think cooks, like my Mother who try to offer variety within means, but never compromise on flavour are worthy of praise. I'm also besotted with Julia Child (her 1950's glory was the inspiration behind my blog design), Nigella Lawson with her 'if there's a simpler way, why strain yourself" attitude, Chef Nobu san- whom I was very privileged to talk to last year, for his humility and love of simple, clean flavours. I also take my hat off to all the food bloggers who churn out creations worthy of their own restaurants, in my opinion, and who are gracious enough to share these recipes, family secrets, images, and the know-how with us, every day. More and more I realise how travel and exploring different cultures inspires my love for food, drink and words. Hunger is also a good motivation.

6. Where and when do you like to blog? 

Inspiration is a funny creature, it strikes at any hour and I either make a mental note or reach for some paper to make a few scribbles- this could be at any time of the day. Most times, I'm a night owl, which the rest of the house (read: my husband), is well familiar with.
 
7. What's your signature dish or favourite wine?  

It's incredibly hard to chose one signature dish, it also depends on the season. Chances are if it has a bit of garlic, ginger, coriander and chilli in it, it's my style.  My Sri Lankan Crab Curry has gotten rave reviews.

8. What other food or wine blogs do you read?

I keep stumbling on new, quirky and creative blogs. I regularly enjoy Scrumptious SACooksisterWhat's for lunch HoneyLifesaFeast, and Tiny Urban Kitchen  
  
9. Favourite restaurant?  

Ohh, it's not possible to pick one. For good homestyle meals any day of the week: Societi Bistro, Orange Street, Cape Town hits the spot. For a dim sum fix (variety is staggering here) but respectably fancy too: Haiku, Church Street, Cape Town, for Moroccan (also fancy dining out): Pasha in Kensington, London and for a romantic and very special night out: Gramercy Tavern, New York or de Librije in Holland. Barcelona can't be beat for sea food and Molecular Gastronomy genius: Tickets and Commerc 24 right up there.

10. For my last meal on this planet I would order… 

Mother's lamb breyani, with all the trimmings: raita, pickles, tomato sambals.

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Spotlight on Deelishuss

Deelishuss It's always interesting meeting somebody on the internet – some of my friends still think my body is going to be discovered in a ditch one day because of my obviously deranged habit of meeting people in this way!  But it adds that extra layer of surrealness when you chat extensively to somebody on Twitter, and then realise that they are the very same person who writes a blog that you already know – when two social media worlds collide ;o)  Or maybe this only happens to me?? Anyhoo, this was pretty much what happened with the lovely Ms Kamini of Deelishuss.  I knew her by one name on Twitter but didn't connect her to Deelishuss blog until I read the fine print and saw that she was in fact the Deelishuss blogger.  D'oh.  To help you make the connection faster than I did, let's catch up with her for a little Q&A: 

1. Where are you – in South Africa or out in the wide world?  

I'm in Cape Town, South Africa. I was born and grew up in Durban, but have been here for 4 years and I love it!

2. How long have you been blogging? 

Since August 2010. I've always been a huge foodie, but have finally decided to commit to a blog just recently.

3. What do you enjoy the most about food or wine blogging?  

The way that irrespective of who you are and where you're from, food (and wine) has a way of uniting people in a truly sincere way.

4. Any downsides or frustrations? 

I have had to increase my exercise regime.

5. What or who are your inspirations to cook, drink and write?  

A few fellow foodies that I am in contact with inspire me to taste more, write better and live the way that I believe. Those people are Sam Woulidge and Andy Fenner (JamieWhoSA). Other people that I admire are Nigella Lawson and Joanne Harris who both have a way of writing about food in a way that is just simply beautiful!

6. Where and when do you like to blog?  

These days, I try to post everyday, which means that I blog whenever I can. I often have draft copies floating my brain in almost all situations. But I officially blog at my desk in my apartment in Green Point. I like to think that I am a disciplined creative, besides which, I like to hear the words as I type them, which only happens with an amount of quiet.

7. What's your signature dish or favourite wine?  

I like to experiment with a lot of different recipes, but I think my show stopper would be a Yoghurt Pannacotta with Rose Water Raspberries (by Bill Granger). I'm still bluffing my way through the wine list.

8. What other food or wine blogs/sites do you read?  

JamieWhoSA, EatOut, EatIN, Taste Magazine, The Foodie, Tasteologie

9. Favourite restaurant?  

Myoga at the Vineyard Hotel in Cape Town. I love their ode to the wing back chair!

10. For my last meal on this planet I would order… 

A chicken curry and avo sandwich on toasted sour dough bread.

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