Monday, October 31, 2011

Here's Something To Look Forward To...

Cooking Lessons For Boys: Recipe 1 - Neill Anthony's Baked Mash

In the very first Cooking Lessons For Boys post, I took you through some basic kitchen terms. Now it's time to have a look at our first recipe. The first few recipes are all going to be for basic staples like mashed potato, rice and pasta.

Today's recipe is by a very special guest, Chef Neill Anthony. Neill has been a chef for the past 10 years and has cooked in some of the world's best kitchens and with some of the world's most famous chefs-including Gordon Ramsey (eek!)

"Hi! I am a chef and I want to show you boys how to cook."

Here he shares his recipe for the world's most delicious mash.

Chef Neill Anthony's Baked Mash

You will need:

8 potatoes (this makes quite a lot but it works out to around 1 potato per person)
1 coffee mug measurement of milk
3 or 4 table spoons of butter (try to use real butter-not margarine. It won't kill you as quickly and it tastes way better!)
salt to taste (it's better to add too little than too much. Taste it as you go)

-Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Turn it on about 15 minutes before you're ready to cook.
-Place the whole potatoes in the middle of the oven and bake at 180 for about 20 minutes
-After 20 minutes poke them with a knife, and if it goes straight through them with out any resistance  they are ready. If they still feel a bit hard, leave them for another 8 minutes and try again
-One the potatoes are cooked, heat the milk in a pot on a low heat - about number 4 on your stoves dial with half the butter, season this with salt now  
-Cut the cooked potatoes in half and scoop the flesh into the warm milk. You have to do this while the potatoes are hot so be a man and burn your hands or wear gloves 
-I use a strong whisk but you can use a potato masher to mix them into a smooth mash and while mixing it add the rest of the butter 
-You can use this as a topping for a cottage pie or fish pie, but that will come later in the series so for now serve it on the side of steak or some good sausages  
- always season your food at the beginning so that the salt actually enhances the flavour of the food 
- if you cant chop things like onions and carrots finely, just grate them on a cheese grater

Boys, cook this tonight and let me know how it goes! I'll be running a competition with Chef Neill where you can win a lesson for you and one of your friends at one of his Masterclasses so make sure to take a pic of your finished product.

Ps. Imagine how impressed your lady/mom will be if you cook her the world's most delicious mash AND win her a spot with you at Neill's class. I know.

Cooking Lessons For Boys: Lesson 1 - Kitchen Terms

This is the first lesson in a series aimed at boys (and girls) who have absolutely no idea how to use their kitchen, but would like to be able to cook something delicious if only someone would show them how.

We're starting off with the absolute basics today, like how to use your oven and what certain "kitchen terms" actually mean. In the following lessons I'll be guiding you step-by-step through some delicious recipes that use actual food that isn't from a packet or a tin (I know!). Throughout the series, if you have any questions about anything food related, just drop a comment in the comments section and I'll be happy to answer them.

So, let's get started with Kitchen Terms For Boys:

A cup

A cup of something is 250ml. A cup is not a coffee mug that you have next to your bed right now. Its one of those little tea cups that your gran likes to serve tea in. Unless you live with a girl, you are unlikely to have one of these in your kitchen. When a recipe calls for "a cup of" or 250ml of something, you're safe with using 3/4 of a coffee mug as measurement.

Pots and Pans

Boys get these two confused all the time!

Pots are deep and are used to boil things like water and soups and sauces.

Pans are shallow and are used for frying things like eggs and bacon and steak.

Herbs and Spices

I understand how boys could get totally confused by these two terms. Basically, herbs are plants and spices are powders. Herbs are mostly green and are mostly used fresh although you can also use them dried. I will mostly be using fresh herbs in my recipes as they are much healthier for you and also taste much better. But don't worry, I'll always explain them to you in the recipes and if you can't find fresh, its OK to use dried.

"Put the oven on"

If your mom/girlfriend/neighbour says to you "please put the oven on for me" it means that you should put the oven on at 180 degrees Celsius. 180 is the temperature that pretty much everything is cooked at. Baked potatoes, roast chicken, mac & all cooks at 180 degrees.

"Oil" and "Olive Oil"

"Oil" refers mostly to sunflower oil which is made from sunflower seeds, is pretty cheap and is used for frying things like eggs and chips and for baking with. Sunflower oil has little to no taste, and reaches high temperatures without burning which is why we use it for deep frying.

"Olive oil" is made from olives and has distinctive flavour that it adds to food. It's used in much smaller amounts than sunflower oil. You use it on salads and for dipping bread in and for oiling up your chicken, fish, meat etc. If you ever deep fry your chips in a bottle of you girlfriend's olive oil, you can expect to be banned from the bed for a night.

"Sweat" "Sautee" "Blanch"

These are quite complicated to explain actually, but I'll do my best to keep it short and simple.

"Sweat" means to cook something at a very low temperature with the lid on, so that all the moisture stays inside and creates like a food sauna. This way, the food cooks through and becomes really tender and moist. Usually refers to chopped onions.

"Sautee" basically just means to shallow fry. Which means that you're using only a little bit of oil and quite a high heat. Because the temperature is high, you keep stirring the food so it doesn't burn.

"Blanch" means to very quickly cook something in very hot water. You bring the water to the boil, quickly dip the food in for a couple of seconds, remove from the heat and dip into ice cold water. This is usually done with vegetables. It cooks the food but ensures that the colour remains and doesn't go yucky brown and keeps them nice and crisp.


"Brown" means to fry your meat/chicken in a hot pan on all sides until it is brown. You would usually do this before making a stew, a soup or a casserole. The pan should be on a medium heat and you should use a little oil. Cook the meat on one side until you think it is about to burn, then start on the other side. This adds flavour and keeps all the juices inside the meat.

Those are a few basics that I could come up with right now. If you're confused by any "kitchen terms" that you hear thrown around willy nilly, drop a comment below and I'll explain it to you.

Loving These Two Products

A couple of weeks ago I was invited by ghd to an intro session at their offices to get some expert tips from their Pro, Debi. I walked away with two products that have actually changed my life.

There were products and brushes and ghd stylers of every size all over and it felt like I'd been invited into Girl Heaven. Debi showed me all kinds nifty (yes, nifty) tricks, like great ways to get lots of body into my hair with my ghd and how to make beautiful curls. She also introduced me to this:

ghd Straigh & Tame Cream

This product smells amazing and has all the heat protection you need to stop your hair from getting damaged. It helps to untangle your hair and locks in moisture and shine to make your hair smooth and silky. The best part is that it's really light weight so it doesn't weigh your hair down at all. I only wash my hair every third day, so the fact that this product doesn't make my hair look or feel dirty is very imprtant!

The next product Debi introduced me to was this:

ghd Total Volume Foam

This product, is incredible. It gives you all the volume of a heavy mousse-without the heavy mousseyness. My hair has the most amazing lift right from the route with this foam, and it doesn't make my hair sticky or difficult to blow dry, as a mousse can sometimes do. The great thing is that it also works on dry hair, so when I get to a shoot I can use it on the models without having to wet their hair. What I really love about it, is that it lasts- the next day I just use my Tangle Teezer to very lightly back comb a big section of my fringe and it has instant body.

For more information on ghd's new Style range, click through to their website.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Nando's Tangy Tomato For Those Who Like It "Not Hot"

If you don't know how much I love Nando's, then you don't know me at all. I am a Nando's fiend. I love Nando's so much that I once wrote a letter to Helen Zille asking her for more conveniently placed Nando's in Cape Town. But then I just moved closer to one.

"Spicy rice & strips lemon & herb with two packets of salad dressing please" - me, every day.

But now, stuff might be changing up. My usual might have a new flavour. Nando's has launched their new Tangy Tomato flavour just for me. Well, I like to think it's just for me. Because my sensitive taste buds can not yet handle the full extent of their peri-peri flavours. (Even if I do sometimes live a little loco and order the mild)
I had my usual in Tangy Tomato flavour the other day at the movies (shhh) and it was delishus! Sun ripened tomatoes, aromatic basil and a splash of balsamic vinegar...yum. And not burny. Not even a little bit. Not even at all.

Check out the Tangy Tomato TV ad if you want some stats on how people have received the new flavour:

"9/9 people LOVE it!" - Scientists

Have you tried the new Tangy Tomato flavour? And what is your "usual" at Nando's?

And have you seen this video?

Those guys get it. They get my love for Nando's. And they probably love the new Tangy Tomato flavour too.

Try the Tangy Tomato flavour and let me know what you think.

Try me! - Tangy Tomato

How To Do A "Big Concert": Advice From Natalie

Last night was my first time at Cape Town's Greenpoint Stadium. I've been to shows at The Dome, Grand West and other, equally shit venues and I have to say that Greenpoint Stadium is the best. The acoustics are infinitely better than at The Dome, the parking is not a problem, since there isn't any to start off with and it's nice a centrally located (I'm talking to you, Soweto Stadium).

I did come across a few issues though. A few issues that next time, won't be allowed to be issues. Not with "Natalie's Comprehensive Guide To Surviving Greenpoint Stadium".

You're welcome South Africa.

Natalie's Comprehensive Guide To Surviving Greenpoint Stadium

1. Park far, far away

And I don't mean a couple of hundred metres. I mean &Union far. And don't park in that Bree Street parking lot like I did last night. It will take you an hour to get out of there and you'll have chewed off all the nail polish on your right hand and your boyfriend will be asleep in bed by the time you get home. I mean park on the street in Buitengracht.

2. Arrive early

Aim to arrive at your parking spot around 3pm. That way you'll pay the car guard R10 for your two hours and you can walk to Greenpoint for pre-drinks.

3. Get pretty drunken in Greenpoint

Book a table at El Burro. I am serious about this. That place gets as busy as a Joburg steroid dealer's house in Spring. Here's the number for you: 021 433 2364. Get there around 3,30pm and start drinking their margaritas. And don't stop till its time to walk over to the stadium. The q's at the stadium bars are a torture method-don't attempt them at all. Just fill yourself up at El Burro and hope for the best.

4. Don't try take food stuffs in with you
No, not even a toasted sandwich. I saw mounds and mounds of confiscated food and drinks. And who do you think is going to benefit from that confiscated food? That's right, our president and his wives. (Don't argue. It's probably true)

5. Wear comfortable shoes

If you don't enjoy standing on thousands of golf balls in barely-shoe'd feet for several hours, make sure to wear shoes that have thick soles. My feet hurt so bad last night that I became violently enraged and wanted to throat-punch various teenagers. But don't be stupid. Running shoes are, obviously, never acceptable.

6. You cannot leave and come back

I don't care if you've been waiting at the front of Golden Circle since before your little brother was born. Once you have left your spot, you have left it forever. No coming back. Ever. And especially, especially not with several of your pre-pubescent friends. Absolutely under no circumstances is it ok to push in front of hundreds of people holding the hands of your friends shouting "my friends are keeping our place at the front!".

7. Just because you're 18 and blond, does not mean you will be allowed to push to the front

I cannot tell you how many girls still try to get by on their looks. Have you no brain, woman? Cause men are like, totally liberated these days and have stopped using their pants to navigate through life. I promise you that boys no longer think that if they let you and you gaggle of gigglers through, they'll get your bbm pin.

8. Don't be tall

I am not kidding here. As a normal sized human, I can tell you that there are hundreds of people behind you sending you bad vibes. But shame, if you absolutely have to be tall, its probably not your fault. You're a human too. What can you do? Well, actually, you can be kind and thoughtful and look behind you. If you happen to spot a normal human, offer them the spot in front of you. Its the least you can do. Plus, it will save you from hours of bad vibes.

9. Don't pee

Are you kidding me? Peeing is for the weak. Plus, refer to item 7 if you're unsure of whether place keeping is/is not acceptable.

10. Take photos of yourself at home, in your bathroom

Actually little woman, a crowd of thousands is not an appropriate place to take photos of yourself.  I don't care what the girls on Jersey Shore say. Self shots are for the home. Its very unfair to blind those behind you with your incessant flash. Some people are actually there to watch, you know, the band. I'm sure your Facebook friends will understand that you had a good time. Even without the hundreds of pictures of you, pouting.

11. Shoulders are for crying on, not sitting on

Oh my word. I cannot tell you enough how much I hate those girls who insist on climbing their boyfriends during a show. First of all, I find it mildly uncomfortable watching you bump and grind a grown man's neck for hours, and second of all, refer to item 8. And don't even get me started on men on other men's shoulders! WHAT ARE YOU THINKING, MAN?!

12. My personal advice to you: Stand at the back of Golden Circle

We did the first few songs up at the front. We tried to see the stage. Well, we tried to see anything at all. We tried not to hate the tall people in front of us. Everywhere. But eventually, we moved to the back and my word...

Print this list out. Stick it somewhere safe. Refer to it whenever you feel afraid. Use it. Share it.

Make Greenpoint Stadium a better place.

Kings Of Leon

Last night Kings Of Leon were phenomenal. Take my word for it. Don't listen to other people, because the majority of other people are undeniably, stupid.

They were amazing. Vocally, the performance was flawless. The guitars sound even better in real life that on the album. I though the sound was pretty good. I liked the big screens. They made me happy.

My only complaint is that they didn't interact with the crowd enough. A crowd is like a needy girlfriend. They have repeatedly heard "South Africa! We Love you!" "Cape Town, you're the most beautiful crowd we've ever seen!" "So, we've tried some of your food and we love it! How do you say koeksitter? Koeksister?" "We wanna come back real soon so we can ride some lions!" but, they want you hear it again. They need to hear it again. In my opinion, you cannot interact with the  crowd too much. Kings Of Leon should have a little look at that.

Getting back to stupid people. The reason I say people are stupid is because, well, they are, and then also; Twitter proves it. Last night, whilst sitting in traffic I was going through the #KOL on Twitter and laughing at dumb people. I read things like; "Hands down, David Guetta was so much better than #KOL" and "The crowd was so awesome! They made the show!" Then, THEN someone Tweeted "David Guetta was much more energetic on stage! You can't compare apples and oranges." Honey, exactly. So if you're a big lover of apples, what exactly are you doing at a show where they're giving out oranges?

People who love David Guetta are not people who should be at a KOL concert. They obviously have no appreciation for music and can endure all sorts of terrible things in their ears. That's my problem with Big Concerts; their concerts are too big. Look, I don't know every single Kings Of Leon song ever written. And I wasn't a fan before I heard Only By The Night. But once I'd heard it, I went back and fell in love with their old stuff. I don't think its a moral sin if you were there to hear your favourites like Sex On Fire and Use Somebody. But goodness me, if you didn't enjoy the rest, I think you should go home and play David Guetta while you lay down in a dark room for a little while.

My issue, my real gripe, was with the people around me. It was like every person who'd ever listened to 5fm and who's mom could afford a ticket was there. Just jumping up and down on my toes. Repeatedly going to the bathroom and bringing back several of their friends to push in front of me. Breaking in their "concert virginity" in a most annoying manner, 10 cm from my poor eyes.

I'm not sure the teenagers in front of me were even there to see KOL at all. I think the real reason they were there was to photograph themselves in a crowd. I was actually blinded by the continuous flashing from their self shots. I can just imagine them today, "How was KOL?" "Oh, it was cool. Look at all these photos of me and my friends having fun! Look at this one! And this one! Aaah, we are sooooo fun!"

And then, OK I know this is a small complaint, but can anyone explain to me why the floor felt like i was standing on a thousand golf balls? By the end I was actually willing them to wrap their encore up so that I could stand on solid ground again. That shit is painful to stand on.

So aside from those two things. Aside from the golf ball floor and the teenage hatred, I had an amazing time. I would pay to see them again any time. In a smaller venue. With a real floor. And no teenage douchebags.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Diemersfontein Pinotage On Tap 2011

What an awesome weekend! So much good stuff. Friday night we had a chilled braai with Nash's folks and took things easy in anticipation of an event we'd been looking forward to for months: Diemersfontein Pinotage On Tap. I've been a passionate lover of Diemersfontein Pinotage since the first time I tasted it, so the thought of a full day of as much of it as I could drink was enough to keep the butterflies in my tummy awake on Friday night.

Saturday afternoon we headed to Wellington, arriving at about 1pm. We were given our goodie bags stuffed with a Diemersfontein wine glass, a roast beef ciabatta, chocolate brownie, information booklet, and meal ticket for later.

The organization was awesome and barrels of the good stuff were all over, close enough for filling up no matter where you were. We'd arranged with 1 For The Road to come collect us, so we were free to enjoy the endless supply of purple red goodness till we could enjoy it no longer.

We settled on a spot conveniently located right next to a barrel, and relaxed against the hay bales, enjoying the music from the amazing Albert Frost. When hunger struck, all we had to do was find the nearest food stations and decide what we were keen on first: curry, tagine or pasta.

The awesome thing about Pinotage On Tap, is that once you've bought your ticket, you're not likely to spend another rand for the rest of the day. Wine, food, entertainment, chocolate fountain, its all there. Trays of snacks are constantly being brought round by the Diemersfontein staff, and even if you're not a fan of red (who are you?), there's a barrel of white too. The only thing you might be tempted to spend some cash on is a case of the good stuff to take home, or a couple of Darling Brew's.

Once we'd entered the chocolate fountain room, there was no turning back. I tried to control myself. I tried to stand back and only enjoy the sights and smells. But I couldn't control my desires. The mounds and mounds of strawberries, and the hot, melty fountain of Lindt chocolate was just too much for my senses to bare. For a brief period in there I lost all control of my mind, body and spirit.

All around me, girls were going mental! Men were standing back, too afraid of the carnage to attempt their hand at the skewers and fountains. There was chocolate everywhere! Faces! Clothes! It was beautiful.

The day's focus was on relaxing, having a rad time, drinking and eating. That was all there was to it. The vibe was so chilled, the music was real good. Nash won us a case of wine in the chipping competition. We got home safely... I'm already dreaming of next year.

Hey! Wanna Die Of A Heart Attack??

I have a long-standing love/hate relationship with American FOOD Network chef, Paula Deen. She's American (hate). She's from the South (love). She has hair the size of Turkey (love/hate). And she's not afraid of copious amounts of butter streaming through America's veins (hate/love).

You  might know her by her famous shout "HEY YA'WLL!"

I once saw an episode where she was throwing spoon fulls of cream cheese into her adoring audience! These American food/butter lovers were catching the cream cheese mid-air in their barely gloved hands and shoveling it into their mouths! Unashamed! Squeals of glee escaping their mouths between the cream cheese. It was one of the best moments of my TV watching career. And by far one of the worst.

I've been going through a few of Paula's recipes after my friend @lizetheunicorn posted this on my Facebook wall:

Strawberry & Pretzel Salad

"Strawberry & Pretzel 'salad'. Because butter is everything" -Lize Kay via Facebook

Apparently this is a very popular dish in the South over Christmas time. I'm contemplating making it for my family this Christmas. Maybe I could do my entire Christmas menu from Paula's recipes. We could turn it into a game called "Let's see who is killed by cholesterol in January".

If you're interested in playing, here is the recipe:

• 2 cups crushed pretzels
• 3/4 cup melted butter
• 3 tablespoons sugar, plus 3/4 cup sugar
• 1package cream cheese
• 1 container whipped topping
• 2 packages strawberry gelatin dessert mix
• 2 cups boiling water
• 2 cups frozen strawberries
• 1 can crushed pineapple
• Whipped topping or whipped cream, to garnish

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
For the crust, mix the pretzels, butter, and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Press this mixture into a 9 by 13-inch pan and bake for 7 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool.
In a mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and 3/4 cup of sugar. Fold in the whipped topping, and spread over the cooled crust. Refrigerate until well chilled.
In a small bowl, dissolve the gelatin in the boiling water, and allow to cool slightly. Add the strawberries and pineapple, and pour over the cream cheese mixture. Refrigerate until serving time.
To serve, cut slices and serve with a dollop of whipped topping.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hello, Ben Green? I'll Have Them All, Please.

I have been searching for a great pair of brogues for months. Months I tell you. And nowhere could I find them. Either they were too expensive, too ugly, too cheap, or too orange. I have two pairs that I got from Mr Price and I adore them, but shoes really do only last a couple of months when you're only spending R80 on them.

I think if anyone ever writes a book about my life, I'd like them to call it "The eternal search for the perfect pair of brogues". That or "A life spent in search of hair pins". But I prefer the brogues one.

My sweet and lovely friend @missjellykelly was kind enough to pass on the link to a man that will change my life as soon as I get back to Cape Town. I can see myself spending many rands on this man. Hounding him for pair of pair of his gorgeous, hand made leather brogues. A pair in every colour. Then a pair in every leather. Then, I don't know, a pair for my hands!

Ben Green shoes are locally produced, are made to last and try not to harm the environment as far as possible.They are designed to get better-looking the more you wear them, and because they are leather, they last and last so you have to shop less often.

These beauties go for just R550 per pair for guys, and R399 per pair for girls!

I know, right? I know! Now you want them all too! Well, get in line mister.

Check them out on Facebook here and follow their blog here.

Good Housekeeping SA Launches

Yesterday I popped into the media launch of Good Housekeeping South Africa. I was on the way to my Jip shoot, so I couldn't stay for too long unfortunately, but I did manage to grab a copy of this fantastic new publication.

I SO wish I'd been able to stay, since the attendees all got to cook two of the recipes from the first issue's recipe section in the amazing new Pick 'n Pay Good Food Studio on William Nicol rd in Joburg- and we know how much I enjoy a bit of cooking.

AND my "extremely good lucky draw luck" (if there is a lucky draw in the building, I will win it) continued and I won a hamper full of kitchen goodies but couldn't claim it since I'd already left.

I devoured the magazine yesterday and I must say, I loved it. The recipe section (ahbviously), the awesome competitions (I may or may not have entered every single one) and especially the affordable decor stuff sourced from all over, which I love! There is nothing worse than paging though a home magazine and every item is completely out of your budget and sourced from Zanzibar.

Good Housekeeping has been around for 126 years! And their "tried, tested, trusted" tips, ideas and great affordable buys show exactly why women around the world read this magazine.

Personally, I'm just relieved to have a magazine in my house that doesn't offer the same "kinky sex tips to keep your relationship hot" that I've been reading since before I knew what "kinky" even meant.

Good Housekeeping is simplifying South African women's busy lives by offering content that is relevant and easy to digest that covers everything from health, fashion and buying tips to career, money and a recipe section that has been tested three times to make sure the recipes are reliable.

At just R24,95 I'm sure I'll be enjoying the next couple of issues on the beach in Mozambique.

Friday, October 14, 2011

More: What's In Other Girls Bags?

If you haven't seen them yet, I did a post called "What's in your bag?" and then I did one called "What's in other girls bags?" because I am nosy like that and because its so fun. Basically, you empty out the contents of your handbag, snap a photo and list the items. I find it incredibly interesting to see what you all have in your bags so please send me the links to your posts and I'll feature them here!

I've got two more girls to feature right now. Have a look:

Miss Jeanri from Jeanri's Sparkles

My favourite item: Tape measure
                                Curtain hook

I love this because it just goes to show that girls all share handbag weirdness! Sian from Pink Made It Punk also has a tape measure in her bag, my Mom carries a curtain hook in hers, and I carry a moustache in mine!

Miss Elza from The Girl That Tumbled

My favourite item: French words & phrases cards (???)
                                Voice recorder

Share yours! Share yours!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

What's In Other Girl's Bags?

The other day I posted the contents of my bag. I asked for other girls to do the same, and I've gotten some really fun and interesting replies. Here are some of them:

Click on the links to their sites to read what's inside. Especially the link to Dorothy's, since she was too scared to photograph the contents, so she just photographed the whole bag!

Miss Robynne from Bobbylicious

My favourite item: The Twilight keyring

Miss Sian Ashleigh from Pink Made It Punk

My favourite item: The tape measure (???)

Miss Dorothy Black from The Dot Spot

My favourite item: The olive pip (?!?)

My Mom :) (no blog)

My favourite item:The curtain hook
                               KFC Ketchup

What's in your bag?? I'd love to see!