Spotlight on Fired-up Cooking

FiredUpCooking Apologies for the long radio silence – contrary to popular belief the Directory is still alive and kicking!  And today we are leaving Cape Town (for a change!) and travelling to Pietermaritzburg to meet Zabwan of Fired-up Cooking.  Zabwan of Fired-up Cooking  Expect lots of things cooked over a braai fire and the occasional lashings of flash fiction ;-).  Let's pull up a chair and get to know her better. 

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

I am in South Africa, in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal.

2. How long have you been blogging?  

 Since January 2010, but I wish I had started much sooner!

3. What do you enjoy the most about food or wine blogging?  
The interaction with other food bloggers – I love the comments, which are usually encouraging and often inspiring.  Ask other bloggers for ideas about something, and you will be deluged with info – I love that enthusiasm and generosity. Bloggers are not the kind of people who will take their recipes to the grave with them.
I am also thrilled with the new opportunities that it has opened – I have discovered a passion for writing.  Thanks to my food blog, I have been offered my own column in the Caravan and Outdoor Life Magazine. To see one’s words in print is an amazing feeling.

4. Any downsides or frustrations? 
Frustrations:  my own ignorance of the vast complexities of the internet, little things like badges still give me trouble!
 A downside is finding too little time to blog.  I have recently started another blog on camping/caravanning in SA, with the focus being on how and what to cook when camping, and I wish I had more time! This could become a full-time occupation, I begin to realise that.

5. What or who are your inspirations to cook, drink and write?  
Inspiration to cook:  well, one has to do it every day to feed the family, and I get bored easily, so I’m always looking for something new.  Sometimes inspiration comes from the blogs I’ve read, or a magazine,  a TV show,  often just from the ingredients at hand.  I usually start by thinking what I don’t want to eat! 
Inspiration to write:  writing caught me by surprise – my father was an aspiring writer, though never published – maybe it’s genetic?

6. Where and when do you like to blog?  
Wherever I can find a computer and internet connection!  I sneak in blog-time at work, but mostly write on my laptop at home, while watching TV with the family.

7. What's your signature dish or favourite wine?  
My signature dish has become a stew/casserole/potjie,  made in my cast iron pot on the fire, with my husband’s help.  I love to make things like coq au vin, chicken a la king, chicken and prawn curry,  rich mutton bredie or beef and onion casserole. We cook the entire meal on the fire, rice, vegetables, bread, even pudding.  
My favourite wine is anything dry and red, preferably of good quality.
I am also well-known for my Ouma’s rusk recipe – these are the lightest, crispest rusks, made the old-fashioned way (squeezed into balls and packed tightly in the baking tin).  They have just the right sweetness and texture for dunking.

8. What other food or wine blogs do you read?  
I have been pretty faithful to the Food24 blogging community, too many to mention there,  and I love them all, but recently I have been branching out –  I love Cooksister and Browniegirl!  I also enjoy Make your own Damn Dinner and 17 and baking although they are not SA blogs.  The amount of talented bloggers out there in the world is overwhelming.
9. Favourite restaurant?  
I love going out, but often feel let down by the food – hate to eat a meal which makes me think ‘mmm, could have made this myself’.  I do like Spigo D’oro in Durban, though it’s far for us to travel there regularly.  Here in Maritzburg, my favourite would have to be Eaton on 80, though for special occasions only – the prices make your eyes water, even though the food is worth it!

10. For my last meal on this planet I would order…  
Cheese!  As many varieties as possible, with freshly baked breads,  pickles, olives, smoked mussels, snoek pâté, hummus, nuts,  fruit, vegetable crudités and sweet mayonnaise, all washed down with a chilled expensive white wine and a rich gorgeous matured red wine (also expensive).  After that lot I would be probably be grateful to leave the planet…

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Spotlight on Wicked Food

WickedFood  Bradley is the driving force behind Wicked Food cooking school and its associated blog of the same name.  Wicked Food runs daily morning and evening classes throughout the year at their purpose-built cooking studios in and around Johannesburg.  Their classes are hands-on, where every person gets to learn new skills by participating in the preparation of the dishes, but also provide an opportunity to meet people with similar interests. Let's get to know Bradley a little better:

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

Currently in Fourways, South Africa, but somedays i wish i was on a beach in Thailand sipping cocktails writing blogs and eating the wonderful food.

2. How long have you been blogging?

About 6 months now got into it when i got back to South Africa (spent a year and a half working in kitchens in the uk) so still learning and what people like and how i can help.

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

Its such a new idea – i love food and i love teaching people how to cook so with my blog i now have the means to give people wonderful new ideas and give them a medium to ask questions and try help them with food related dilemmas.

4. Any downsides or frustrations?

Its hard getting followers and getting the name out there and getting a community together- in my ideal world the blog would be my only job and i would be writing and helping people all day.

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

Biggest inspiration is probably my parents And then guys that i have worked with in kitchens overseas they always push you on to do better and are always there with a helping hand-when you in a kitchen you become a great team and you become as strong as your weakest link so everyone is there for one another. Chefs who have inspired me: Anthony Bourdain, Thomas Keller, Ferran Adria, Heston Blumenthal, Reuben Riffel, Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

6. Where and when do you like to blog?

In a beach house in Thailand…well thats where i'd like to, but currently blog in my office in Fourways when ever i can.

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

Probably a fresh Thai green curry made from fresh (even the curry paste) with chicken, with a sweet mango rice dessert.

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

Bon AppetitBBC Good Food, Saveur

9.   Favourite restaurant?

At the moment its Seemanns (they have opened a restaurant attached to their shop in Worldwear).  They do the best ribs in town and very good value for money.  The Curry Corner in Sunninghill does really good currys with waiting staff who know what they talking about.

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

I can't remember the name right now but while spending 3 months back-packing in South-East Asia we found this great little place in Vietnam and they sold two varieties of this dish – one was in a fried wonton and the other in a rice paper form the recipe is that similar to cola whereas only one family has the recipe and it cannot be bought for love or money….  Itwas amazing just thinking about it makes me want to go and get it.

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Spotlight on Janice Tripepi

JaniceTripepi One of the charming SA food bloggers that I met when I spoke at the South African Food Blogger Conference in Cape Town in March, was Janice Tripepi.  When you read her blog, the energy and enthusiasm just seems to fizz from every page – and when you meet her in person, you find that she is just as bubbly in "real life".  So if you are in the mood for some Italian inspiration with a stop over in Durban, let's have a chat to Janice!

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

I am based in South Africa – but loooove travelling and have no aversion to change … so today it’s Durban, South Africa ….. tomorrow, who knows!!!

2. How long have you been blogging?

I have been blogging since September 2009 – so over 6 months already

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

I really enjoy telling my stories – my food is totally contextual – it fits my lifestyle and mood and always reflects my inner workings.  I invent many of my recipes – following my paritcular desires and fancies on the day.  I will also structure a particular meal around the people who will be sitting at my table.  So blogging for me is primarily a Story that has an accompanying meal  – I love writing – cooking and above all eating.

4. Any downsides or frustrations? 

Not really – I get a bit frustrated with the technical aspect of it all – for instance – badges!!!^&##  a function that I simply cannot fathom.

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

I am  inspired by  ingredients – generally I go shopping and find either a piece of meat or veggie in season – and the meal builds from there.  I do also get inspired by recipes – I am a voracious recipe book reader.   Sometimes it’s The Occasion that inspires me – a birthday dinner etc.  Oh me oh my – I guess I have many different inspirations ……. This is not an easy question to answer.  I reckon I could write an entire book on this.
6. Where and when do you like to blog? 

I looove to blog in my study in the early mornings after my swim – my mind is sharp and alert and the whole household is still sleeping.
7. What's your signature dish or favourite wine? 

I am known in the extended Tripepi family for a number of dishes – Mario loves my panetone bread and butter pudding.  Silvana loves my Oxtail, Ricardo my Mediterranean Cabbage Rolls, Crayfish Cardinale, Roast Silverside with mushrooms, Stuffed Fillet, Massimo – my Veal Marsala. Daniele – cotolette ripiene.  And so the list goes on.

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

Everyone’s – I just looove Nina’s My Easy Cooking, her recipes are awesome as are her pics – Mint Tea & Tagine's photographs transport me to Morocco -  I am inspired by Less of Me’s courage, oh gosh here I go again,  I love to read Caro’s wine blog – I am an avid wine drinker but a bit of a plonker with regards to wine knowledge and Browniegirl's – cos I attended the Bloggers Conference in Cape Town in March ….. very very exciting!!!

9. Favourite restaurant?

Well now – I have many – again it depends on my fancy for the day – Ille Maurice – Spiga d’Oro – Harveys – Wakame – Balducci’s – Baia – Sarocco ….  

10. For my last meal on this planet I would order…  
A starter that combines foie gras and caviar
A pasta dish – taglietelle with white truffle and butter
A fish course of scallops and crayfish
A meat course of oxtail and sweet breads
A dessert of chocolate – dipped in chocolate – served on chocolate and meringue and a raspberry coulis.
A cheese board – gorgonzola – straccino and parmesan with mustard fruits and grapes.
Well – if today was my last day – this is what I would order ……. Tomorrow it will probably be totally different.

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Spotlight on A Minute of Wine

MinuteOfWineI haven't profiled a wine blogger in a while, so it's good to meet Iain & Julie of A Minute of Wine.  They describe their blog as being dedicated to bringing you honest, simple, enjoyable films about some of the top South African wine estates and the personalities that make them so unique. Ian hails from Canada but both of them are now based in Cape Town – all the beter to be near the winelands! Here's the low-down on this dynamic couple:

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

I [Ian] am originally from Canada but I visited Hout Bay a few years ago, fell in love (with my now wife Julie), and never left…so Julie and I are based in Hout Bay, and spend as much time in the winelands as possible.

2. How long have you been blogging?

As our "medium" is film, we have officially been blogging for six months, but we have been producing Harvest video podcasts for the past three years (we did the worlds' first online video Harvest report in 2007 – a different film for each day of the harvest), and wine video content for the web for four years.

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

Without a doubt it is the wonderful opportunity to meet and get to know the personalities behind South African wine, from the winemakers to owners to marketers to cellar hands to viticulturists…everyone is open, inviting and willing to share, even in the heat and pressure of a harvest, which is unbelievable.

4. Any downsides or frustrations?

Living in Hout Bay means we have to drive the N2 to the winelands every day (during harvest) for content – BIG frustration….but the biggest frustration is the lack of bandwidth in South Africa. Although it is getting better, we look forward to the day when someone can download and watch 6 of our films, all at the same time (as our subscribers in North America and elsewhere can do).

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

Both Julie and I have a passion for wine which is how we started in this business (I have a banking background and Julie is a graphic designer by training). We initially wanted to learn more about how to make wine, so we thought "lets make movies about it" and learn as we go….it has since grown into a passion to promote the South African wine industry on an international stage as best we can…to show the glorious beauty of the winelands and its people to viewers from around the world who would otherwise not be able to visit our shores.

6. Where and when do you like to blog? 

We blog from home and in the evenings…I usually edit the films at night (when all is quiet) and it is easier to upload at night when the strain on bandwidth is less….

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

Our favourite everyday drinking wine is the Jordan Chameleon Cab/Merlot – it is affordable, but clearly made with love from everyone on the Jordan farm, and while I am editing I like to drink whatever wine the film is about…often we are in the cellars or vineyards during the day, surrounded by these smells and visions of amazing wine, so it is very inspirational to edit while tasting what's in the bottle, which is usually the distillation and summation of everything we experienced during that day.
8. What other food or wine blogs do you read? 

I love reading Neil Pendock, because even though I don't necessarily agree with everything he writes, it is obvious he has no sacred cows, no one he is pandering to, and he is not afraid to say something, even if it means offending his "host" and not getting an invite to the next years function! Honest writing (and filmmaking) is what I look for….Oscar Foulkes, Bruce Jack, Kitchen Cowboy…blogs written from the heart.

9. Favourite restaurant? 

We have recently opened a restaurant in hout bay with our good friend Pete Goffe-Wood called 'Wild Woods' and even if we weren't partners, our favourite place would be wherever Pete is cooking! It is honest, down to earth, amazing food…he is a magician in the kitchen…the people of Hout bay finally have a local bistro worthy of the world class views!

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

An endless plate of Sushi for my wife Julie and as many bottles of Gravel Hill Shiraz from Hartenberg as I could find….

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Spotlight on Faridah’s Flavours

FaridahsFlavours Food bloggers in South Africa seem to be so tightly concentrated in the Cape that I get quite excited when I find somebody who is blogging about food from another part of the country – and that was the case with Faridah, who is based in Johannesburg and blogs at Faridah's Flavours.  Faridah writes like the kind of person whose kitchen table you'd like to sit at with a mug of coffee and a rusk for a good chat – and her home-cooking recipes reflect her no-fuss attitude.  Let's get to know her a little better:

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


2. How long have you been blogging? 

Since March 2009

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

The friends I've made – and the platform to share my recipes and thoughts.

4. Any downsides or frustrations? 

Hmmm…seeing as I can only blog at work (shhh) I tend to have to WORK more often than I can blog!

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

My late Dad cooked superbly. My great appetite is my real inspiration.

6. Where and when do you like to blog?  

When I'm having a quiet moment at work – and when I've got something worthwhile to share.

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

Marmalade glazed bread & butter pudding.

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

As many as I can Google!

9. Favourite restaurant?  

Bismillah in Fordsburg. And Lord Prawn. And Ocean Basket. NO, don't make me choose.

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

Roast chicken with a crispy skin, roast potatoes, sweet carrots, chocolate mousse.

Posted in SA food blogger profile | 1 Comment

One week to go till South Africa’s first food blogging conference


If you are a South African food blogger worth your fleur de sel, you will no doubt have looked on with envy as your American and British counterparts attended the BlogHer Food and Food Blogger Connect conferences in the US and the UK. Reams of Tweets reported back on the excellent presentations, and websites filled up with pictures of happy food bloggers finally meeting and mingling "in real life".  Admit it – you felt left out and unloved.

But all that is about to change – the inaugural South African Food Blogger Conference kicks off in Cape Town on Sunday 21 March.  Speakers include Jeanne Horak-Druiff of the award-winning blog CookSister! , Much-loved South African food bloggers Jane-Anne Hobbs of Scrumptious and Nina Timm of My Easy Cooking, and Food24 editor Sam Wilson.  Here's the programme:

  • 09.30 – 10.00:  Registration and Champagne/orange Juice
  • 10.00 – 10.15: Welcome & Introduction by Giggling Gourmet Jenny Morris 
  • 10.15 – 11.15: WRITING – 'Finding your Blog Voice' by Jeanne Horak-Druiff and 'Effective Recipe Writing & Editorial Techniques' by Jane-Anne Hobbs
  • 11.15 – 11.45:  'Getting to know your camera' by Nina Timm 
  • 11.45 – 12.00:  Short Coffee Break 
  • 12.00 – 12.45: 'How to be a better Blogger' by Jeanne Horak-Druiff 
  • 12.45 – 13.30:  Lunch Break
  • 13.30 – 14.15: 'Social Networking – Getting Connected' by Sam Wilson 
  • 14.15 – 15.00: 'Food Styling' by Nina Timm 
  • 15.00 – 15.15:  Short Tea/Coffee Break 
  • 15.15 – 16.00: 'The Legalities & Ethics of Blogging' by Jeanne Horak-Druiff 
  • 16.00 - 16.30: 'Monetizing Your Blog – how to make money from blogging' by Nina Timm 
  • 16.30 – 17.00:  Questions & Answers with all the speakers
  • And here are the details:

    DATE:  Sunday 21 March 2010
    TIME:   9.30 for 10am – 5pm
    VENUE:   Giggling Gourmet's Cooks Playground
    COST PER PERSON: R430.00 (including a goodie bag and a buffet lunch but excluding travel or accommodation expenses)

    If you have not yet booked your place, there is still time – please contact Colleen (aka Browniegirl) of Kitchen Diary on collywolly50atyahoodotcodotuk

    See you there!


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    Spotlight on Chef Caro

    ChefCaro Chef Caro is not only Food24's nutrition and kids' food expert – she also has her own food blog on the Food24 platform!  Blogging from Cape Town, she shares her restaurant and wine farm visits with us, together with delicious home cooked recipes.  Let's get to know her a little better…

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

    In Cape Town, SA

    2.  How long have you been blogging?

    Just under a year now and i love it, it has opened up a whole new world for me.

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

    I love the comments and the community, and of course seeing what everyone else has been up to!

    4.  Any downsides or frustrations?

    Not really, just that i can't get to my blog as much as i'd like.

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

    Fresh produce always inspires me. I buy what looks good and then I 'ready, steady, cook' it from there. It can be interseting, and not always good! But I am learning all the time, you can never know everything. That's what so great about food, it keeps changing and evolving and inspiring me in different days. Who knows what'll happen next?

    6.  Where and when do you like to blog?

    I like blogging in the evening when I have time to really see whats going on and not rushed to get other work done.

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

    Hm, I don't really have one, I go through stages. My brownies are famous though, and I can make a mean steak.

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

    As many as I can!

    9.  Favourite restaurant?

    At the moment, Bombay on the Beach in Muizenburg – as good as it gets Indian. SUBLIME food in a very casual setting and completely reasonable.

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

    Mashed potato covered in a rich Porcini mushroom and garlic cream sauce. Oh heaven!

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