Thursday, May 31, 2012

#ThinkThai Tonight

The day has finally arrived! 

After weeks of planning, shopping and tasting, our #ThinkThai dinner is finally here. Tonight, Nash & I host the Greatest Thai Dinner Mankind Has Ever Seen EVER with Simply Asia. We have been taking this all very seriously - there is a trip to Thailand on the cards, after all - and have spent countless hours painstakingly going over the menu, selflessly taste-testing meal after meal and gallantly finding the right venue and decor to make this night an extravaganza.

We've spent long hours, deep into the night, pairing local wines with these delicious Thai delicacies - finding the perfect synergy between the local (wine) and international (Thai food) to create a Thai Taste Sensation that our friends will never forget. We've got entertainment, we've got an awesome group of friends and we've got enough alcoholic beverages to form our own mini-tsunami in Dunkley Square.

I don't want to give too much away, but we have got some seriously rad things planned for tonight. We've got everything Thailand has to offer, under one Capetonian roof. "What does that mean?" you ask...

Will there be live tropical fish and sea sand on the beautiful beaches of Koh Samui? 

Will there be naked girls, shooters and ping pong shows in the streets of Phuket? 

Will there be glow sticks and buckets of vodka & Red Bull 
at Koh Phangan's famous Full Moon Party? 

Maybe... You'll just have to wait and see. 

Don't forget that YOU can win a trip for two to Thailand with Simply Asia. All you have to do to enter is purchase a main mail, fill out the entry form in-store, and pop it in the entry box. Details on their website


Lindt: A Hint Of Wasabi

Lindt recently invited me to "spice up my chocolate life" at their stand at this year's Good Food And Wine Show. To celebrate the launch of a brand new addition to their Excellence range, we were treated to an exceptional tasting where NOBU's Head Chef Fred Faucheux and Lindt Master Chocolatier Dimo Simatos blew our minds with their combined forces. Pairing sweet, spicy and savoury to create interesting, delicious dishes incorporating chocolate and spice.

Adding to their existing Excellence range of Touch of Sea Salt and Dark Chilli, Lindt introduced us to their new flavour; Hint of Wasabi. I have to admit to being pretty sceptical about this new "flavour sensation" at first. I'm all for a little salty surprise in my chocolate treat, or a slight bite to my  sweet chocolatey goodness... but wasabi? That all-important accompaniment to chocolate?

However, as soon as I tasted Chef Fred's incredible beef fillet with wasabi chocolate, I was sold. Before that though, we started off with a whitefish sashimi and dry miso enhanced by the Lindt Excellence Dark with a Touch of Sea Salt chocolate, topped off with olive oil, yuzu juice and Maldon sea salt. It was a mouthful. Eating it, and typing it.

This was followed by Prawn yuzu anticucho, treated with a Dark Chilli chocolate sauce and vegetable shavings. You have know idea what that means, do you? Me neither. But it tasted provocative.

And then it was on to the star of the show, the beef fillet with a white sesame and Lindt chocolate dressing accompanied by Sake Green Vegetables and Lindt Excellence Dark Wasabi chocolate shavings – which incidentally, will also be available as part of NOBU’s Winter Menu for 2012. 

We ended it all off with a desert so incredibly decadent, I can hardly stop my mouth from watering as I write about it. A chocolate sponge served with a caramelised white chocolate sauce (made by baking a slab of white Lindt chocolate at 160 degrees for around four minutes and adding some cream), a wasabi chocolate ganache, Lindt thins and a little whipped cream.

It was SUCH a treat. I'm not sure how I got lucky enough to be invited, but I hope this won't be my last Lindt event. Also, I can't not mention the flipping fantastic gift bags Lindt always spoils us with.

The Hint Of Wasabi will be on sale from July. Perfect for winter recipe experiments. I'm going to be attempting this incredibly complex one: Wasabi Chocolate Maki Roll, which entails things like confit ginger, wasabi chocolate dipping sauce, poached pineapple, caramalised pineapple, wasabi ganache and coconut sushi rice...each with their own recipe to make cook them from scratch.

WIN! WIN! WIN! Current Competitions On TOAM - CLOSED

There are a few very rad competitions running on this here blog at the moment and I really don't want you to miss out. So below, find the links to WIN either a VIP soup & wine pairing experience for 4, a pair of amazing shoes or a rad pair of denims and a T for your BF/husband/lover. 

... Or, enter them all and win one giant MEGAPRIZE!





Wednesday, May 30, 2012

WIN! Some Wrangler Fashion For Your BF -CLOSED

What do you look at first in terms of what a guy is wearing? Shoes? Clothes? Matching shoes and clothes? Matching (or lack of)socks? For me, it's how comfortable he looks in whatever he's wearing. Some guys can pull off the above dungarees with shirt open to the navel, other guys...not so much. But it doesn't matter that this guy above seems to be falling to his death. He looks comfortable doing it. And that makes what he's wearing hot. Very hot.

Wrangler's Fall 2012 campaign: Find Your Edge is all about finding your own vibe, pushing your own boundaries, living on your own edge. All guys want to live on the edge...but not all guys "edge" is quite as extreme as fall out boy up there. In 1947, Wrangler was designed to fit the bums of hard-riding cowboys. And that's pretty much who they're still designing for today. Cause every man is a cowboy in some way - whether it's the way he drives, the way in which he ropes in the ladies, or the way he handles his slow steady style in the boardroom. 

One of the three biggest denim brands in the world, Wrangler's Menswear range is now available in Stuttafords stores in Sandton, Eastgate, Canal Walk, Gateway, Pavilion, Gaborone and Cresta. Modern cowboys who have been known to don a bit of Wrangler include David Beckham, Caleb Followill and John Lennon.

What better way to show your manfriend how much of a cowboy you think he is than by winning him some awesome cowboy gear from Wrangler?

WIN! A Wrangler T and a pair of denims for your cowboy

How to enter:
- Like Wrangler SA on Facebook
-OR follow Wrangler on Twitter
- Comment below, telling me why your boyfriend is a cowboy
- Don't forget to leave your Twitter handle and email address so I can let you know if you're the winner

Good luck x

*Competition will close on Friday, the 8th of June
*Competition only open to SA

Gluten Free Baking

I recently received this awesome hamper of Gluten-free baking pre-mixes from Wellness Warehouse. They sent me the self-raising flour, choc-chip muffin mix, chocolate brownie mix and flap jack mix. I am allergic to gluten and as much as I try to stay away from it, it is actually really hard as it's in pretty much everything! So this was a delicious little treat for me to play with over the weekend.
About Gluten Intolerance:

Gluten is a composite of various proteins. It's found in wheat and other grains like barley and rye. Gluten adds texture and chewiness to baked goods and is used in lots of other foods as a thickener/binder and can be found in almost all foods including soups and broths, gravies and sauces like tomato sauce, salad dressings and marinades. Since it enhances flavour, it's used in spice blends and even coffees, dairy products, vinegars, and liquors.

Gluten Intolerance is actually quite common. According to research, between 5 and 10% of people suffer from one of the three allergies associated with gluten: wheat allergy, non-celiac gluten sensetivity and celiac disease. Lots of people go undiagnosed and are not even aware that Gluten is the cause of many of their health issues.

Most forms of Gluten Intolerance cause the body to produce an abnormal immune response in the presence of wheat or its proteins. An allergy to wheat can produce symptoms such as hives, difficulty breathing, and digestive problems; in serious cases, a person with this allergy can experience anaphylaxis. People with celiac disease, which causes damage and inflammation in the small intestine, can suffer from bloating, weight loss, fatigue, and headaches as the body has difficulty obtaining all the nutrients it needs from food.

Symptoms of an intolerance to gluten include bloating, abdominal discomfort, pain, or diarrhea; or it may present with a variety of extraintestinal symptoms including headaches and migraines, lethargy and tiredness, attention-deficit disorder and hyperactivity, muscular disturbances as well as bone and joint pain.

This weekend I baked the brownies and they were so delicious and ridiculously easy. All you need to bake them is two eggs and 100g's of melted butter. I added a few pieces of broken up Lindt for good measure. So delicious.

two eggs, 100g butter, gluten free pre-mix

add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients

mix well and add the chocolate pieces

bake for 25 minutes and try to hold back once they're done

People Please, I Better Never Get A Proposal Like This

Not because it's so romantic and sweet that it makes me want to just kiss a stranger's baby. And not because that girl's laughter and excitement makes my heart feel like its on a happysad rollercoaster of emotion. And not because that guy looking so shy and dapper in his suit is just the sweetest thing in the whole wide forever.

Purely because I don't think I am emotionally strong enough to utter the "yes" at such a tearful moment. I am an emotional wreck at my desk right now for crying in a bucket! And it wasn't even my proposal. I imagine that if something like this ever had to happen to me, I would just be so full of happiness and emotion that I'd probably choke on my own tears and fall off the back of the truck or something.

So please, future husband, hold back on the romance, if only to give me the opportunity to keep my emotions in check.

...on a side note, how camera ready are Americans? Those guys are like a walking reality talent search of a country.

If I were this couple, I'd edit out the girl in the red. She was a bit distracting. This is their moment, honey.

WIN! With Lulla Belle Boutique - CLOSED

I have something very exciting to share with you today. Lulla Belle Boutique is an online shoe and handbag boutique, based in SA. They literally sell some of the most amazing shoes and handbags on the whole wide internet and... by far in SA.

The variety is amazing and there is so much stuff on the site that I want. They deliver within 14 days (free in Joburg) all over SA. Their payment options are rad and allow you to pay via either credit card, eft or even cash. Since I don't have a credit card, this is pretty awesome news to me.

There are just a few of my favourite items on the site:

You could win a pair of shoes to the value of R1000 from Lulla Belle Boutique!

How to enter:

- Follow @LullaBelleShoes on Twitter
- Like Lulla Belle Boutique on Facebook
- Then, head on over to the website, get sucked into the awesomeness for a little while. Once
  you've managed to resurface, comment below telling me what your favourite item on the site is.
- Don't forget to leave your Twitter handle and email address so I can contact you if you're the winner.
- For an extra entry, Tweet the following: "Awesome @LullaBelleShoes competition on @NatalieRoos's

*Competition closes on Wednesday, 13 June at 12:00
*Competition only open to SA

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Frequently Asked Questions About Cats

As you may or may not know, I recently became the mother/slave of a tiny kitten I call BABYCAT. She is my first cat and I had no idea what to expect. Over the past couple of weeks I've learnt a lot about this cattie in particualr, but also about the species as a whole. If you have cats, you probably know all this already, in which case I wouldn't have minded a little heads up from you before I stepped into my catmom role. If you've never had a cat but are thinking about adopting one, it's my pleasure.

Where can I get a cattie from?
I adopted BABYCAT from DARG in Hout Bay. DARG is an amazing organization that cares for cats and dogs of all sizes and breeds and places them in loving homes. They are such an amazing bunch of people and really care about the animals they look after. I paid R500 for the adoption and this includes the kitten's first 2 inoculations and neutering.

Should I get a boycat or a girlcat?
Well, that largely depends on whether you are a boyhuman or a girlhuman. What people neglected to tell me before I got my cat, was that girlcats will probably definitely love your boyfriend more than they love you. All I wanted was a cat who would insist on sleeping across my face and/or not be able to leave my side ever. What I got was a cat who merely tolerated my presence while cuddling/sleeping next to/sitting on Nash.

How do kittens "go to the pottie"?
If like me, you've only ever had dogs, you're probably imaging sleepless nights of cleaning up poop and wee and running outside with a puppy in your outstretched arms getting dew on your socks. Kittens are a completely different story. Many of the kittens at DARG spend their first 8 weeks with their mom, who teaches them how to use the litterbox. No one told me this though, so on the first night I put BABYCAT in my bed, hoping she'd wake me to "go pottie". Of course, she didn't. She just used the bed. The next day, my keen catmother instincts the internet told me to show her where her litterbox was, rake my fingers through it to show her what I want her to do and make sure it was in her reach. And just like that, she was potty trained.

Tell me more about litterboxes?
Well, cats are super clean animals, so you need to make sure their litterbox is clean at all times. The litter itself only needs to be changed every couple of weeks, but you need to scoop out the dirty bits a couple of times a day. The litterbox should be in a relatively quiet area and away from cattie's food and water bowls. Also remember that your cat should be able to get to it at all times. If they can't they will punish you by going on your bed and/or laptop keyboard. They are funny like that.

How much milk is ok to give to my cat?
No milk. Cow's milk is not even that great for humans, let alone cats. You should really never give them cow's milk, but if you must, make sure to water it down. Apparently some pet shops also sell cats milk replacement formula.

How do I make my cat love me?
Be a dog person.
But seriously though, I actually Googled this very question out of desperation a few nights ago and came across a variety of not very useful answers. Basically, make sure you are a constant source of food for your cat...and don't seem desperate. So pretty much, exactly the way you make a man love you.

Why is my babycat not interested in its toys?
I thought that BABYCAT might be too intelligent for toys and was therefore ignoring them in an act of displeasure. But it turns out she was actually just a bit too young for them. My friend Angie, who is a seasoned catmom, brought to my attention that if the roles were reversed, and I was being encouraged to play with stuffed mice that matched me in size just 9 weeks into my life I too might be a little intimidated by them.

BABYCAT is ten weeks old now and it's been amazing to watch her grow and develop. On Friday night she suddenly started responding to her name and coming when I call her. It seems like she's also figured out what her toys are for and what exactly the point of her scratch pad is. Unfortunately, she's also caught on to the fact that there is a whole other world right outside the front door and on Friday night we spent what like five hundred hours (but could have been anything from 4 to 40 minutes) looking for her in the bushes in Nash's garden after she bolted. She is the most amazing little thing and everyone who meets her loves her immediately - even Nash, who is a life long cater (cat hater).