Tag Archives: recipes

Anatoli Cookbook dishes up Turkish cuisine recipes and history of Anatoli Mediterranean Restaurant!


Former Anatoli owner Tayfun Aras published his ‘Anatoli Authentic Turkish Cuisine’ Cookbook in 2018, containing a collection of recipes of dishes served at Anatoli, many still on the menu, and his kitchen secrets. His culinary journey From Turkey to Cape Town is penned as well. Anatoli is one of Cape Town’s longest-established  restaurants, still trading on Napier Street, where it opened its doors in 1984. Continue reading →

‘Around my Table’ by Denise Cowburn-Levy a mouthwatering Food Travel Book to Cape Town, the West Coast, Greece, Italy, and Thailand!


At the launch of the first book by Denise Cowburn-Levy at Bokeh Creative Space in Sea Point last night, I was lucky to win a copy of her book ‘Around my Table’, for knowing the answer to a question relating to Chef Liam Tomlin, described by Denise as her mentor.  The 260 page book is part memoir, part travel book to the West Coast, Greece, Italy, and Thailand, and part recipe book, with food associations with each region and country of her travels, including those of Cape Town. Continue reading →

Bestseller ‘Temptations’ Cookbook ‘fattens the curve’, launch celebrated virtually with a High Tea on Sunday 12 July, features top Cape Town restaurateur!


Well-known and highly respected restaurant owner and Chef Prim Reddy of Cape Town based Indian Chapter Restaurant with Prim Reddy is the writer with Durban-based baker, hotelier, and chef Niranj Pather of the ‘Temptations: Exquisite Tastes with an exotic Touch’ Cookbook. The book is described as ‘fattening the curve’, the launch of which will be celebrated this coming Sunday at 15h00 with a Virtual High Tea.

Temptations’ is a lovely name for a book dedicated to Food, and contains 83 recipes from the two writers’ travels, dishes which they have experienced, and their own dishes. The Cookbook has already made the Exclusive Books Bestseller List.

Continue reading →

Toffie Food Festival: ‘Julie & Julia’ highlight, mix of conference, workshops, mystery meal!

The Toffie Food Festival and Conference, to be held at the City Hall on 3 and 4 September, attracted my attention due to its low-key marketing, odd as it is run by an (unknown) communication agency The President, and as its organisers have had no prior visibility as bloggers or ‘foodies’.  Information about the event has been scant, yet I booked immediately when I saw that Julie Powell, of the movie ‘Julie and Julia’ , is the key speaker. 

The movie ‘Julie and Julia’ ran in Cape Town in my early days of blogging, and I loved it, for its humour in presenting the trials and tribulations of blogging. Julie Powell’s blog ‘Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen’ was published as a book in 2005, and that led to the movie being made, and released in 2009.  Ms Powell has written a second book ‘Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat and Obsession’, which was published two years ago.

I asked Hannerie Visser of The President why they were organising the Toffie Festival, with no credentials in the food industry.  This was her reply: Toffie is a series of conference festivals and because food is so linked to cultural heritage it allowed for an interesting conference that everyone can relate to”. Other speakers are:

*   Kobus van der Merwe, chef/owner of Oep ve Eet in Paternoster, and previous web editor of Food24 and Eat Out.

*   Eloise Alemany, ex-editor of ID magazine and now cookbook specialist, from Argentina (leading a Toffie food tour of Buenos Aires in October).

*   Dr Anna Trapido, editor of ‘Hunger for Freedom’, the book that documented Nelson Mandela’s food likes and dislikes in the different phases of his life, is organising a lunch inspired by the book, in association with Woolworths’ TASTE magazine.

*   Lin Tung-Yuan of Café GABEE, ‘multi-award winner of the Taiwan Barista Championship, who is renowned for the delicacy and finesse of his coffee and coffee-inspired dishes’

*   Renata Coetzee, winner of a 2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award for her book  ‘Koekemakranka: Khoi-Khoin Kultuurgoed en Kom-kuier-Kos’

*   Tammy Frazer, a perfumist (an odd link to a food conference!)

*   Wolfgang Koedel of Paulaner (a last minute addition, only announced on Twitter yesterday)

Running alongside the Conference are a number of events (oddly this programme has only just been finalised, a week before the Festival), which are free of charge, unless otherwise indicated below:

*   Spier vertical tasting

*  a SAB beer and food pairing led by Chef Pete Goffe-Wood of Kitchen Cowboys and Denis da Silva

*   a workshop by Eloise Alemany (R250)

*  a perfume workshop by Tammy Frazer (R350)

*   Tung-Yuan Lin barista workshop

The Toffie Festival, with a price tag of R 1710, also includes a Braai lunch, as well as a ‘secret home dinner’, breakfast and two Woolworths coffee vouchers.  The home dinners will be held on 3 September, and one will be allocated to dinner at the home of one of the following:

*   Cameron Munro from Superette

*   Gerhard Greyvenstein and Herman Lampen of Grey Lamp, a ‘pop-up’ supper club

*   Sumien Brink, editor of Woolworths’ TASTE magazine, and Cara Brink

*   Callie Maritz and Mari-Louis Guy of Cakebread boutique bakery

*   Alma Viviers, managing editor of VISI magazine and Kobus van der Merwe, chef/owner of Oep ve Koep in Paternoster

*   Tina Bester of Queen of Tarts

*   Cleon and Kate Romano of Maria’s Greek Café/Restaurant

*   Philip and Lisa Key of African Relish

*   Laureen Rossouw, editor of ELLE Decoration

*   Will Hobson of fieldoffice, a sandwich-maker

*   Aletta Lintveld, food editor of Weg magazine

*   Fabio and Luan Lauro of House of Pasta

*   Brendon and Suzette Bell-Roberts of art south africa magazine.

Toffie Food Festival and Conference delegates receive a copy of Cape Town ‘MENU’, an interesting book of restaurants and recipes, and is a listing of the Toffie Festival’s ‘guide of the best meals in Cape Town’. Included, for example, is:

*   Greek and African food: recommending Maria’s, and Bebe Rose

*   Portuguese and Italian food: recommending The Villa Tavern, Giovanni’s, Pizzeria Napoletana, House of Pasta, Hildebrand Restaurant, Chop, Fork Tapa, Meloncino, and Il Cappero.

*   Asian food: recommending Hesheng Chinese Takeaway, Chef Pon’s, Yindee’s, Mr Chan Chinese Restaurant, and Takumi

*   Cakes and desserts, recommending C’est La Vie, Keenwä, Arno Arpin, Biesmiellah, Queen of Tarts, Cassis Paris, Bird’s Boutique Café (may no longer be relevant with new chef opening with new menu on 1 September), Cakebread, Giovanni’s, Willoughby’s, fieldoffice, Lindt Chocolate Studio, San Julian, and Il Cappero.

Worrying is the low key marketing of the event, which is not yet sold out, and that speakers are still being added to the programme.  The printed programme delivered on Friday looks different to the one on the website, and some international speakers seem to have fallen off the programme. There appears to be no theme to the Conference, and it looks like a randomly thrown together collection of speakers.  Surprising is that no local foodies are on the programme, be they food bloggers or journalists.

POSTCRIPT: The Toffie Food Festival was all about over-promise and under-delivery.  Read our report.

Toffie Food Festival and Conference, City Hall, 3 – 4 September. www.toffie.co.za

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage

Bitchy bashing of bloggers: response to Mail & Guardian!

Food bloggers furiously re-Tweeted a link to a Mail & Guardian story on Friday, entitled rather meaninglessly “Going to the Blogs”, and posted angry comments on the newspaper’s site, yet no blogger has stood up to defend the reputation of bloggers attacked in the article!  Not everyone in Cape Town was happy with the article, written by print journalist Mandy de Waal, who has no experience of and interest in the food/restaurant industry, and who appears to have been a once-a-month blogger, who last blogged a year ago on her two blogs MandydeWaal and MandyLives!com.

De Waal is best known for her political and business stories that she writes for Mail & Guardian and the Daily Maverick blog.  What she did not disclose in her article is that she is a friend of Rosanne Buchanan, editor of Food & Home Entertaining magazine.  Clearly Buchanan was the inspiration for the article, in being quoted extensively, and she shared with De Waal her experience at a recent lunch to launch the new winter menu of Reuben’s at the One&Only Cape Town, which was attended by bloggers and print journalists. Surprisingly for a journalist, who should get a balanced view for the story she is writing, no print journalist other than Buchanan was interviewed by De Waal for the article!

De Waal shows her anti-blogging bias throughout the article, with the following loaded utterances:

*   “Bitter tension between established food writers and the new food media…” – This does not apply in South Africa, and obviously only is the point of view of Buchanan, who De Waal quotes (unnamed) as saying sneeringly (De Waal’s word) “I truly resent being lumped in with them. They are treated like the media but they have absolutely no ethics. Why are we giving voice to these freebie-mongers who cause such damage?”.  What a loaded and discriminatory statement, obviously indicating that Buchanan’s publication could be under threat, and may go the same way as WINE magazine, which is closing down in September!

*   “Instant publishing and social networks dealt the industry (unnamed, but probably the publishing industry) a cruel, culling blow”.  Any print publisher who did not see the growth and resultant threat of blogging and on-line publishing deserves the inevitable.

*  Gourmet (magazine in the USA) brought epicure to the people – but only some people.  Bloggers took it to everyone else, robbing food elitism of its elitism”– another loaded statement, and completely off the mark!  The trend is far away from food elitism, given the recession.  There is nothing to stop bloggers from writing at the same standard or better than their print colleagues.

*   “Perhaps it’s what bloggers write that’s so difficult to digest”, and she quotes an excerpt out of a Real Restaurant Revelations blog review of the Warwick’s tapas lunch Persian love cake – its inclusion in her article is not meant as a compliment to the blogger, one senses!

*    “To publish, bloggers only need a free meal, a computer and the will to write.  Journalists have to contend with crabby editors, deadlines, ethics, research, a declining market and … miserable pay. Small wonder they’re annoyed at having to rub shoulders with bloggers at elite restaurant openings”!  This statement reflects that Buchanan and De Waal have no idea what blogging is about.  Most bloggers do not get their meals for free.  Most have a day job, and blog for fun, sharing their passion for food and writing with their readers.  They burn the midnight oil to stay up to date in publishing their posts.  Most do not accept advertising on their blogs, so there is no financial benefit in it for them at all.

*   Buchanan magnanimously sees a role for bloggers only in posting ‘comments on food or publishing online recipes’.  When De Waal called me and spoke broadly about Food Blogging, I had to explain to her that in my opinion a food blogger is predominantly a recipe writer, and I gave here some examples, such as Cooksister and Scrumptious blogs.  What she was focussing on was Restaurant reviewing, and that is why her article included a reference to AA Gill. Clearly, Buchanan sees no role for bloggers as reviewers.

*   Buchanan continues: “But is their sudden and authoritative voice, which is too often vindictive or ingratiating, that has become an issue.  Although I think everyone is entitled to an opinion, it is integrity and professionalism that is at stake”.  She could not be further off the mark – it is print journalists that publish a photograph with a short write-up about a restaurant, supplied by the PR agency, and is never critical.  Bloggers who write reviews with honesty, as they have experienced the restaurant, have far greater integrity than magazines do.  Honesty in blog reviews shows up the bla bla freebie magazine write-ups.

*   Buchanan has a further blast at bloggers, saying her publication has been around for 20 years, and that bloggers cannot have her level of ‘understanding of the food industry’– Buchanan and De Waal clearly have no understanding that bloggers are not 18-year olds without a past, but are writers that have (or had) careers in and a passion for food.

*   Contentious is De Waal’s broad swipe at bloggers’ ethics (“Then there’s that trifle called the truth”), but more fairly does so too at ‘leisure journalism’.

*    “But some do rise above the sticky sweetness”, she writes, when restaurant reviewer JP Rossouw disparagingly refers to blogs that can be ‘playful and fun’, but ‘what is essentially candyfloss’!  De Waal writes that Rossouw said that he started a blog nine years ago, but there was no blogging that long ago.  He is quoted as arrogantly looking down on bloggers, in saying that he has stopped blogging because “I felt the ethics that bloggers were following were dubious.  Bloggers love going to launches, restaurant openings and having free luxury experiences but, unlike experienced food journalists, who understand the industry, do significant research and are modulated by ethics and experience, blogging becomes much like ambulance-chasing” Rossouw was hauled over the coals by bloggers for a controversial review he wrote about La Mouette last year, and changed his blog to a website thereafter, with registered screening of commenters. This may explain his disparagement of bloggers.

*  “In an ocean of quantity, only the few, the differentiated and the excellent will eventually rise to the top” is the closing sentence of the article.  De Waal does not understand that this is not a race or a competition for bloggers.  The only measurement bloggers have of their success is unique readership, but if they do not accept advertising then it is just an academic measure.  Making the Top 10 in a category of the SA Blog awards would be another measure of success for some.

I told De Waal about the blogging bitchiness in Cape Town, and told her what price I pay for my honesty in reviewing, resulting in a disparaging Twitter campaign, which she read while we were chatting, and was horrified about.  She captures some of this bitchiness in quoting her conversations with Andy Fenner of the Jamie Who blog, and Clare “Mack” McKeon-McLoughlin of Spill blog:

    *   Fenner points a finger (or is it his knife?) at who only can be McKeon-McLoughlin when he says “There is definitely conflict with online media because certain bloggers see themselves as ‘Erin Brockovich’ types who want to be first with the scoop.  There is this constant battle about who breaks the story first, and it can get catty and malicious”! 

    *   McKeon-McLoughlin refused to have her name mentioned in the article ‘if the blogger’s name appeared in this piece, or if an interview with the blogger was included in this article’, clearly a reference to myself, given her calls to PR agencies to tell them to not invite me to their functions, and her threat to them to not attend functions if I attend.  De Waal describes her as a ‘former BBC journalist’, but this does not come up when one Googles her real name – she was a chat show hostess on Irish TV station RTÈ.  She and her husband Eamon McLoughlin are part of the team driving the malicious Twitter campaign.  A wine blogger put McKeon-McLoughlin in her place with a post he published in response to the article.   While she claims to only write the truth, she is often cited by fellow bloggers as one who never declares her numerous free meals and bottles of wine on her blog!  

So, from the lengthy (and libellous) Mail & Guardian article we read the threat that Food & Home Entertaining faces of potential closure, and that Buchanan is an arrogant journalist who thinks that she is better than bloggers, whose work she probably has not read extensively, yet who may be readers of her magazine.  There is less of an issue between print food journalists and bloggers, than there is amongst bloggers themselves, some of whom have become so arrogant that they think that they can stand in judgement of others, seeing themselves as being superior.  It also demonstrates that journalists are not to be trusted in a telephonic interview, especially when the discussion has a hidden agenda, and the questioning is dreadfully vague, turning out to be a waste of time, when none of it was published.  One wonders why De Waal allowed herself to be bullied by McKeon-McLoughlin, in not allowing my input to be quoted, given the reputation of independence of the newspaper that she writes for!  It also indicates that the blogging community needs to collectively improve its image, if a respected writer such as De Waal can write such drivel about bloggers in such a respected newspaper! 

What De Waal does not reflect is that both new and traditional media have benefits for the restaurants that are reviewed – bloggers can write almost immediately, with an added benefit of posting comments and photographs whilst at the launch on Twitter, giving a new restaurant instant visibility, and it is therefore no surprise that most entries for restaurants on Google are from blogs, alongside listings on Eat Out and Food 24, and often achieve a higher Google ranking than the restaurant’s own website.  Googling is the way the world finds its information.  Traditional media has far better reach in terms of its audience size in readership, the average newer blogger not achieving more than 5000 – 10000 unique readers a month, but the magazine story takes three to four months to appear, its major disadvantage.  Clearly PR agencies value the benefit of a balance of both new and traditional media to obtain coverage for their restaurant clients.

POSTSCRIPT 20/7:  Respected and long-established blogger Jeanne Horak-Druiff today posted her impressive response to the Mail & Guardian article. 

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com  Twitter:@WhaleCottage

The Restaurant of the Future will be your second home!

I met the dynamic ‘warrelwind’ interior curator (not designer!) Neil Stemmet from KONCEPT for the first time at Decorex about two weeks ago.  There he stole the show with his amazing BOS Tea House that he designed for the ice tea brand, and the stand won an award for the best Green stand.  It was here that Stemmet started talking to me about his vision of the Restaurant of the Future, which he had embodied in his BOS stand design, but it was too much for me to comprehend in the busy and noisy exhibition hall, so we agreed to meet at Hemelhuijs with Sonia Cabano, highly respected chef, cookbook writer, and now Twitter fan.

Neil told me that he grew up in Upington, and Hemelhuijs owner Jacques Erasmus did too, and it was at Neil’s Le Must restaurant in Upington that Jacques cut his first chef’s teeth.  Neil’s restaurant made the Style Top 10 restaurant list in 2004, unheard of that a restaurant so far from the Cape Town and Winelands could achieve this.  He says that his was the first restaurant to introduce “Afrikaanse kos” in Upington. Neil started a blog called ‘Sout & Peper’, a blog solely in Afrikaans, and he is proud in documenting the recipes and stories about food preparation of up to 200 years ago, which he is transforming into a book.   ‘Sout & Peper’ food preparation is based on the ‘keep it simple’ principle, a good design principle too he says, and he gives the example of Karoo lamb, which should be prepared in the local way by just popping it into the oven with salt and pepper, and one should not make a Greek lamb out of it.  Neil’s book will be called “Sout en Peper”, and will be a collection of stories about the origin of South African food, and it will only be published in the ‘volkstong’ Afrikaans, being a ‘kos storieboek’.  It will explain how to cook local dishes, and more than one recipe may be provided for a particular item.   Neil said his book will be ‘sout en peper’ too in containing both sadness and humour.   He will also include recipes from South African cookery icons from many years ago, such as Hildagonda Duckitt and Louis Leipoldt.

Neil is so avantgarde that he put up a sign on his BOS stand to say “Decor is dead”.  He explained this as not being the slavish following of design trends, but rather ‘anything goes’, he said, with a focus on sustainability and heirlooms, utilising timeless classics.  His mantra is “curate, not decorate”.  He is somewhat of a trend setter, and therefore he recently read the work of Dutch trend forecaster Li Edelkoort, who spoke at the Design Indaba earlier this year.  He was so excited that she forecast the colours purple and green as the new trend colours, and these two colours are the ones he chose for a project to be launched this evening at the new Freeworld Design Center on Waterkant Street, next door to Hemelhuijs.  Green symbolises the heart chakra, he said, and stands for universal love, while purple represents the 7th chakra of spirituality.  He calls these ‘heirloom colours’.  Green is going back to a shade with a black tone added, as it was used 200 years ago, he said.

Neil proudly says that ‘curation’ comes from the heart and the soul, and it is not pre-planned or pre-designed to scale.  It just happens. The curator trusts his/her mind, and one should not ‘theorise’ the process.  There must be an ‘altar’ as the focus point the restaurant, on which the food is displayed – in the BOS Tea House this was a lit high table, and the food was presented on large platters, Neil getting the Cape Town International Convention Centre to serve food in these that he felt suitable.   He became very serious when he talked about the use of purple in making an “anti-Roman Catholic/papal statement”, in retaliation to how this religious group “has raped the world for money”, his view contentious to many, no doubt.   But Neil speaks his mind, and has done so for many years.  Food is blessed by those eating at the ‘altar’, but it does not mean prayer necessarily, but rather is a sharing and connecting with those that one is having the meal with.   Vitally important is what is served – it must be fresh, real and imperfect (in other words, it is no longer the perfectly round tomato from Woolworths, but an odd-shaped one fresh from the farm).  ‘New food’ is roasts, and pies for the left-overs.  Woolworths is a no-no to shop at, he says, as its products are too perfect!  He told Sonia and I that he could feel a shift in energy amongst the people who ate at the BOS stand, due to his curation, which was focused on “designing a space to accommodate and enhance human life”.   “Altar Music” is vital too, and he often uses film scores (e.g. from ‘The English Patient’), ‘chakra music’, or Lebanese music, as he did on the BOS Tea House stand.

I ordered the pork and chicken liver terrine with the most unusual accompaniment of orange preserve at Hemelhuijs, and Neil was very envious of my choice, saying it embodied ‘food of the future’.   Neil said that the restaurants can no longer be run as currently, and he sees neighbourhood restaurants springing up, which are supplied by the residents in that neighbourhood, and supported by them too as customers.  This creates a relationship with one’s social community, and waiters must know their patrons, and serve them accordingly.   Neil also talks about ‘lardering”, using fruit and vegetables of this season for next season, by preserving them, and making relishes, keeping all of this in the ‘spens’.  “Real’ bread will be baked at home again instead of supermarket bread being served, simple cuts of meat will be served, and gas will be used as a means of cooking to conserve electricity, and all one’s baking will be done on one day for the week ahead, to save time and energy.   Consumers will become more independent in their supply, growing their own vegetables and herbs, and turning them into long-term sustenance.  Restaurants will not have menus any more – the chef will decide on the day what he can prepare, given what fresh supplies he has.  Clients will learn to be brave in trusting the chef in his food preparation choice, and clients will be in the kitchen inside the restaurant, with the chef, while he prepares their food. 

Restaurants will have chairs, couches, or even beds in them, with music, books and children – they will no longer be elitist.  Good examples of such restaurants are Pierneef à La Motte, Towerbosch  (for which Neil did the interior), Babel (seven years ahead of its time, Neil says), and Hemelhuijs.  The food served in such restaurants is elementary, honest and sustainable as far as possible (e.g. in New York restaurants grow vegetables on top of city skyscrapers, Dash restaurant is growing vegetables and herbs on top of the V&A Hotel roof, and Dear Me is growing its herbs in special containers hanging from its ceiling).  Restaurants are no longer places at which to just eat, but also serve as a replacement of one’s office and home, a ‘connecting space for like-minded people’, our ‘home away from home’!  This trend will spread to accommodation establishments too, with guest houses and hotels becoming ‘non-guest houses’ and ‘non-hotels’, making the guest feel at home but in which one’s privacy is not compromised. As customers we will become ‘excessively open’, Neil says, becoming so ‘naked’ that all can ‘see’ one, and one can say “here, this is me”!

It was the accolades and attention that his BOS stand created that led Ravi Naidoo, the organiser of the Design Indaba, to invite Neil to create a pop-up store in the very fashionable Fashion Mall of the V&A Waterfront, for an as yet unannounced project.

POSTSCRIPT 16/5:  Neil Stemmet was one of four curators/designers invited to present their interpretation of “Openness to Explore” at the Freeworld Design Centre on Waterkant Street.  Each designer designed a pod.

Neil Stemmet, KONCEPT, Cell 082 373 3837. www.konceptdesign.co.za

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com  Twitter: @WhaleCottage