Spotlight on Spice4life

Spice4Life Another enthusiastic food blogger from the Food24 stable is Aisha from Durban who blogs at Spice4Life.  From recipes, to traditional housewives' remedies, to words of wisdom… Aisha is your one-stop shop for all of it.  Let's take a closer look:

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

In South Africa – Durban.

2. How long have you been blogging? 

Since January 2009.

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

My passion for cooking and baking.

4. Any downsides or frustrations? 

No – simply enjoying it!

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

My family and friends, my daughters inspire me to write.

6. Where and when do you like to blog? 

I blog from home and anytime, whenever possible.

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

Roasts and vegetables – all kinds.

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

CookSister

9. Favourite restaurant? 

Ninos in Westwood Mall – best service and best food.

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

Chicken and mayo trammezzini and a mango smoothie.

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Spotlight on Fairy Food

FairyFood Who would have thought it would take me nearly five years of food blogging to finally find another foodblogger from my hometown of Port Elizabeth?!  Well, here she is – Debra of Fairy Food!  Clearly we share some roots, because for her last meal, one of the things she'd order is a childhood favourite of mine:  fgazed gammon with pineapple rings & cherries :)  Here are a few more interesting snippets about Debra…

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

I live in one of the most beautiful cities in SA – Port Elizabeth. 

2. How long have you been blogging? 

I’ve only started my foodblog in January this year, so I’m quite a newbie

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

I love how it keeps me on my toes!  I’m constantly looking for new ideas and it really inspires me to be more creative in the kitchen.

4. Any downsides or frustrations? 

Nothing, it is pure joy all the way

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

Well… I’ll say my inspiration is my hubby, it is for him who I’m cooking for after all!  I just love how he enjoys every meal I prepare for him and it motivates me to better myself even more.  But to tell you the truth, I love cooking and I love food and that is inspiration by it self. 

6. Where and when do you like to blog?  

I usually blog from home whenever I can find a little time.

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

Not really sure what my signature dish is, think it might be my Smoked Ham & Mushroom Lasagna, but I think my hubby might tell you it is my Spaghetti Bolognaise… although I enjoy cooking any form of pasta.

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

Oh there is just too many to name them all.  I like to read as many as I can – I’m like a sponge when it comes to food blogs, I can just absorb and absorb!

9. Favourite restaurant?  

I’ve got two – firstly I fell in love with Boer’geoisie situated in Pretoria.  Their venison pie is just to die for.  My second favourite is the Oystercatcher in Port Elizabeth – their seafood is really good

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

That’s a real tough question!  They’ll have to warn me a week ahead of time so that I can have all my favourites like Bacon Carbonara with fresh crusty Garlic Bread, Calamari, good old traditional Lasagna, a real good quality fillet steak with a creamy mushroom sauce, loads of veggies like Butternut, Peas, Greenbeans… oh and Gammon decorated with cherries and pineapple…. you see there’s just too much food and so little time 😉

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Spotlight on Scrumptious South Africa Blog

ScrumptiousIt's always lovely to come across somebody who shares your passion - and there is no doubt that a passion for good food and good writing practically radiates forth from Scrumptious Blog.  But it's even nicer when you meet the person behind the blog and find them to be as warm, funny, caring and interesting as their blog would lead you to believe.  I was lucky enough to meet Scrumptious Blog's Juno earlier this year on a flying visit to Johannesburg and she was all these things!  Although you may not be lucky enough to meet her in person, you can follow her gorgeous recipes on the blog, and find out more about her in this short interview:

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

I live in Forest Town, so close to the Johannesburg  Zoo that we can hear owls hooting in the morning, and the lions roaring at night.  But not for much longer - we are moving to Cape Town at the end of 2009 and I am looking forward to a whoe new chapter in my cooking and eating career.
 
2. How long have you been blogging?

In May 2007, I was researching a magazine article (I'm a freelance writer ) about blogging and I wanted to find out how easy it was to create your own blog.  It was an incredibly quick and simple process.  Once I had set up a blog, which I called Salmagundi , I thought I might as well put something in it.  A year later, when recipes were starting to crowd out the other posts on the blog, I started a second, off-shoot blog, entirely devoted to food and cooking.  It was first called 'What's for Supper?' and  some months ago I changed its named to 'Scrumptious Blog'.
 
3. What do you enjoy the most about food or wine blogging?

I love inventing dishes and writing about food and cooking: it's fun, interesting and a good creative outlet. In particular,  I  enjoy writing recipes.  I am hopelessly pernickety when it comes to how recipes are worded and structured: I try  to make my own  ecipes accurate and concise, but at the same time entertaining and informative.  It is a real challenge for me to write an original recipe in plain English that is clear enough for any beginner cook  to follow with confidence, yet not so detailed that it annoys and patronises experienced cooks and foodies.  Another particular joy of writing a food blog is that there are none of the normal limitations set by magazine editors: no restrictions, no word counts, no fears about offending sponsors or advertisers. I can say what I like, and bang endlessly on my drum.  
 
4. Any downsides or frustrations? 

My biggest frustration is that, because I usually cook in the late afternoons (I make an evening meal for my family every day) the light fades before I've had a chance to take good-quality photographs.
 I'm also very annoyed that my ancient double oven has no knobs, and that someone (who shall remain nameless) keeps pinching the pair of pliers I use to turn the ovens on.   
 
I used to get very frustrated about not having the right ingredients on hand to make any recipe I fancied, on impulse, but since I've bought a new, fast, brutally cold freezer, I've taken to quick-freezing virtually every flavouring ingredient I might ever need, with considerable success. I have a good supply of exotic ingredients in my freezer, including every sort of nut, spice, herb, leaf, paste, stock and sauce you can think of.  Okay, there are a few ingredients that don't freeze well (bananas, cream and line-fish, for example) but anyone who tells you that  frozen food is rubbish hasn't explored the possibilities of a freezer, or is just being a snob.
 
5. What or who are your inspirations to cook, drink and write? 

My mum,  Jenny Hobbs, is both a wonderful cook and an accomplished writer and novelist, and I learned the basics at her elbow.   I am a devoted fan of of the cookery writers Jane Grigson, Claudia Roden, Richard Olney, Marcella Hazan, Maddhur Jaffrey, Simon Hopkinson  and Elizabeth David.  I don't much like TV chefs when they are cooking on camera – they always seem so terribly pleased with themselves, and they hardly ever admit it when they're ripping off other people's recipes -  but I do have great admiration for those TV chefs who are thoughtful, original writers and who espouse good, fresh, non-fussy home cooking:  Nigella Lawson, Nigel Slater, Delia Smith, Rick Stein, Heston Blumenthal, Rachel Allen, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Jamie Oliver.  My favourite cookbook is the 
brilliant Lady Elinor Fettiplace's Receipt Book, by Hilary Spurling, which is a scholarly and inspiring  treatise about Elizabethan food.  I have also learned so much about cooking from South Africa's wonderful but largely unsung women cookery writers, who, through their magazine and newspaper articles and books over the past four decades, have inspired generations of South African cooks:  Philippa Cheiffitz, Annette Kesler, Lynn Bedford Hall, Abigail Donnelly, Ina Paarman, Carmen Niehaus and the various cook-journalists who've been The Star's 'Angela Day'  since 1964. 
 
6. Where and when do you like to blog?

I usually blog in the evenings , in my home office, once homework is done and supper is cooked, using notes and photographs I've taken over the previous weekend.   A glass or three of wine helps.
 
7. What's your signature dish or favourite wine? 

I don't really have a signature dish but if I  had to choose one it would be probably slow-cooked roast lamb with garlic, oregano and lemon juice, served with crunchy golden roast potatoes.   Or braaied beef fillet with mashed potato, topped with rocket, lemon juice, olive oil, shaved  Parmesan and flaky sea salt. I  am mad - utterly besotted – about salads and vegetable soups, and make one or the other every day. I have an insatiable passion for  deep-red, freshly made tomato soup, and I adore strong, salty, pungent flavours. My favourite ingredients are garlic, olive oil, lemons, cumin, cheese, plain white yoghurt, chillies, biltong, pork sausages, rare beef and all types of fresh and smoked fish.  If I had my way, I would put anchovies into everything, but I'm the only person in my family who likes them.
 
8. What other food or wine blogs do you read?

I haven't really got round to reading other food or wine blogs, but since I've discovered the South African Food Blog Directory, I'm looking forward to connecting with other South African food bloggers. 
 
9. Favourite restaurant?

We don't eat out a lot because we have a limited budget and no babysitter on hand (my mom and sisters inconsiderately moved from Johannesburg to the Cape and to Sydney a few years back).  And, to tell the truth, I almost always end up feeling ripped off when we splurge on a good meal.  I just loathe cheffy food, especially if it's dished up in a vertical stack, or with foamy sauce that looks like spit, or served on a square plate with little dribbles of sauce or frizzled twirls of this and that.  For down-home, inexpensive meals, I love the pub food at my local (the Zoo Lake Bowls Club); fragrant mutton curry and crispy samoosas from Johannesburg's Oriental Plaza; and the truly sublime, faintingly good Eggs Benedict at Salvation Cafe at 44 Stanley Avenue, Auckland Park.  If I were as rich as a troll, I would fly to Franschhoek every weekend to eat at  Reuben's Restaurant and Bar.   
 
10. For my last meal on this planet I would order…

Beef or venison carpaccio with rocket, shaved Parmesan, olive oil, lemon juice and Maldon sea salt,  then Eskort pork bangers and mashed potato with onion gravy and peas. No pud, because I don't much like sweet things – but  I would die happy to finish up with a slice of creamy Gorgonzola with melba toast, a few ripe figs or grapes, and a little glass of sweet Cape dessert wine.

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Spotlight on Kumkani Wines blog

Kumkani Kumkani is the Xhosa word for king – which tells you a lot about the high regard that this company has for its products.  The company in question is the company of wine people and their five core brands are both household names in South Africa as well as gaining market share abroad:  Thandi (the first certified Fairtrade wine), Arniston Bay, Versus, Welmoed and Kumkani.  Apart from Kukani's main website, they also operate the Kumkani Wines blog from where they aim to inform and entertain us with wine news from South Africa and around the world.  Now read on to find out a little more about the man behind the blog…

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

2. How long have you been blogging?
Just over 1 year (more or less)

3. What do you enjoy the most about food or wine blogging?
To be able to read and write about the things a like and somewhere, someone is reading my writings (thoughts).

4. Any downsides or frustrations?
It is sometimes time consuming and it is frustrating when you get no response (comments).

5. What or who are your inspirations to cook, drink and write?
My wife and close friends

6. Where and when do you like to blog?
At home, after the kids are a sleep

7. What's your signature dish or favourite wine?
Lamb shanks in a red wine sauce. Favourite wine : Kumkani Cab / Merlot

8. What other food or wine blogs do you read?
www.wineandfood.iblog.co.za
www.blog.arniston-bay.com

9. Favourite restaurant?
Pigalle – Green Point, Cape Town

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

Something that takes very,very long to prepare. Jokes!

I would order oxtail, with dumplings and a bottle of red wine, preferably a Bordeaux blend.

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Spotlight on Greedy Gourmet

GreedyGourmet I can't remember how I came across Michelle's blog Greedy Gourmet, but what I do remember is how thrilled I was.  Firstly, I love discovering new food blogs full of beautiful photographs (which Michelle's certainly is!); and secondly, I had managed to find another food blogging South African, right here in England! And having now met her a couple of times, I can assure you that she is as talented, forthright and funny as her blog would lead you to believe.  So come with me to Michelle's small village in Essex and get to know her a bit better… 

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

Canewdon, England. A village so small that if 3 cars drove through the high street it was a busy day.

2. How long have you been blogging?

My blog was launched around March 2007, but I have really started blogging for about a year and a half.

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

Eating! Trying out all the different types of dishes out there. I'm also learning constantly, if it's not about the culinary world, it's about photography and writing, it just never stops. I love being stimulated; mentally that is. Oo er, I'll shut up.

4. Any downsides or frustrations?

After I have done a photo shoot and sit down to eat, the food is stone cold.  Then I have to listen to my husband whinging, which he excels at; it's Brits' favourite pastime. If the shoot didn't deliver the desired photos I have to do it all over again, which means I'll have to eat the dish again
where meanwhile I could have tried something else. Me no like repetition.

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

We live in Essex. Unfortunately, the county's law states that restaurants must serve crummy, mediocre food at best of times, so I realised if I wanted to eat good food, I will have to make it myself. I get my ideas from cookbooks, magazines and blogs.

6. Where and when do you like to blog?

In my cluttered (I'm creative, okay?), toy-infested office, when my toddler is asleep.

7. What's your signature dish or favourite wine?
Not a big drinker, but as long as it's white and very sweet. The rest belongs in cooking! Signature dish? Uhm, I don't have one. But Oxtail braised in red wine
(http://www.greedygourmet.com/2007/07/13/oxtail-braised-in-red-wine/) is one of my favourites.

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

http://www.latartinegourmande.com/
http://101cookbooks.com/
http://chocolateandzucchini.com/
http://steamykitchen.com/
http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/
http://cookandeat.com/
http://whatsforlunchhoney.blogspot.com/
Oh, and http://www.cooksister.com/ of course. 😛

There are tonnes of others, but these are the main ones.

9.  Favourite restaurant?

Here in Essex, none. Although I'm fond of a lot of restaurants, I've actually started preferring my own cooking, simply because I can choose what I would like, when I like and prepare it how I like it. The name Greedy Gourmet didn't come from nowhere, you know. Hmmm, maybe it should have been
Control Freak Eater instead.

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

Starter: Some fresh, warm seafood medley, like crab and scallops. Main: Slow Braised Lamb Shanks in Red Wine with Roasted Parsnips and Potato Rosti with butter-fried leeks, with tonnes of sauce. Dessert: Sticky Toffee Pudding with custard….and somewhere in between raw salmon.

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Spotlight on Word Chef Says

WordChefSaysWith all the food blogs in SA seeming to originate in Cape Town, it's nice to have a representative from Jozi for a change!  The Word Chef of Word Chef Says has a professional involvement in food, and the blog is where she lets it all hang out – so to speak.  So let's find out more about the blogger behind the restaurant reviews and recipes: 

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

Jolly old Jo'burg.

2. How long have you been blogging?

Since 2005. I've had about 8 blogs, but I've only kept Word Chef Says going.

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

I work in the food and wine industry, but my blog is my private creative outlet. There are things you can say in a post that you just don't want to, or can't, say out loud out there.

4. Any downsides or frustrations?

Trying to put creative posts up regularly. Some bloggers have a natural talent for always being entertaining, but others have to really try hard some days!

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

I wouldn't say there's a specific person who inspires me, but there are so many interesting foods and wines out there that just NEED to be tasted. And those in turn NEED to be written about so others can enjoy them too 🙂 I watch BBC Lifestyle often, and read a lot of magazines and articles on food and wine, which inspire me to be more creative. Wine is one of my great passions, and apart from collecting, I am in the process of doing a wine degree (that of course requires a lot of tasting…for learning purposes of course! 😉

6. Where and when do you like to blog?

I generally blog during the week at work. There's nothing like a creative break between doing projects to really just relax your mind! I often blog while I'm eating lunch (reading all our bloggers amazing recipes makes me hungry!)

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

Probably Italian meatballs and spaghetti, with a delicious red blend. I don't have 1 single favourite wine – I have favourites from different farms. Springfield (Methode Ancienne), Warwick, Boekenhoutskloof (Chocolate Block), Cederberg, Blaauwklippen…there are just so many. Depends what food you're drinking it with.

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

There are a good handful, and most of them are talented locals.  Browniegirl, Cupcake, Kingfisher2, Tagine & Tea, Wots for lunch, Jenny Morris, Nafisa….are some of my good blogging buddies who's blogs I visit regularly.

9. Favourite restaurant?

Different one every month – January is Bistro 277 on Main in Bryanston, Jhb. I also love the restaurant at the Victory Theatre.

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

French champagne, brie and cranberry pizza starter, a good hearty oxtail main, a white choc TV bar for dessert, good cup of coffee with an amarula liqueur……then a bottle of vodka so I won't be aware of my descent from this planet!

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Spotlight on Mint Tea and Tagines

MintTeaTagine copy I always maintain that expats have an unusually high affinity for blogging – which is great because as an expat you find it easy to come across like minded people in the blogosphere that share your viewpoint from the outside of your country looking in.  And this affinity is definitely increased when the blogger in question is a fellow South African!  But this is not the only reason why I fell instantly in love with Mint Tea and Tagines, written by South African expat Wendy in Morocco.  Where to start… it might have been the lovely writing style, the beautiful photos affording us a glimpse into a foreign world, or the drop-dead delicious recipes.  Or a combination of all three!  Let's hear what Wendy has to say for herself.

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

We have been living in Morocco since March 2008

2. How long have you been blogging?

5 months

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

It is such an exciting adventure to live in Morocco, so it is nice to share experiences with people who (I hope) appreciate the food aspects of a country like this. It is also interesting to read what other people enjoy and there are some really good recipes you pick up along the way. I really enjoy taking photos as well so it is a good place to share this.

4. Any downsides or frustrations?

None as yet

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

It would definitely have to be the places I have travelled to and live in. I love the experience of being in a new country, tasting what locals eat, going into supermarkets and little shops to see what there is for sale… Morocco is great as you can really be inspired by seasonal fruit and veg, what's available for that day in the market and sometimes whatever someone has kindly given you as a gift. Spain is my other love at the moment and being just a ferry ride away is definitely beneficial!

6. Where and when do you like to blog?

I fear I am becoming a bit of a blogaholic, so pretty much whenever I get the chance! I do like to try and get as much in when the kids are still sleeping in the mornings, or later at night.

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

I cant say my signature dish, but something I do rather well (if I have to say so myself) is my homemade ravioli.

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

I keep track of the Food24 blogs, as well as a couple of others that I sort of migrate to via sites like Cooksister! I also like Foodbuzz as there are loads of really good blogs on there.

9.  Favourite restaurant?

One of the most memorable I have ever been to would be a tiny restaurant called Pique Nique in the back streets of Beira, Mozambique…the best seafood ever!

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

Butternut Ravioli in Sage Butter Sauce

Lamb Mechoui with roast potatoes

Asparagus for veg 

Some French and Italian Cheeses 

Lindt Dark Chocolate

Mint Tea

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