EAT: Hermanus

Hermanus

It’s now been a good few weeks since I returned from holidaying in South Africa with my mum, but I’m still buzzing with how amazing the whole 10 days were!

We by no means exhausted the country, or even the few places we visited, but I wanted to share some of our experiences and pass on a few recommendations for places to visit and eat

After the 11 hour flight from London to Cape Town we were picked up by car and travelled another 90 minutes to the seaside town of Hermanus

Why here you say? Because during springtime in SA it’s where you can stand on the coast and clearly see Southern Right Whales frolicking in the waves

We also thought it would be a calm location to relax into the holiday before we tackled the more touristically-demanding streets of Cape Town

So expect a post of beautiful landscapes to follow soon, but I thought I’d kick off my South Africa series with something close to my heart… my stomach!

EAT: The Eatery

When travelling I generally use two methods to find the best places to eat – search Tripadvisor for restaurant reviews and/or ask a friendly local where to eat

Beef and vegetable soup from The Eatery in Hermanus

The Eatery was recommended to us by the owner of a beautiful shop selling crafts made by regional artists

We both decided to go for vegetable and beef soup, with a thick slice of toast – delicious!

It was at this lunch that we realised just how much we were getting for our money in South Africa – two bowls of soup, two coffees and a bottle of water to share for R95 (around £2.50 each!)

EAT: The Cuckoo Tree

This was an amazing find on Tripadvisor – the kind of place you’d probably not even notice if you weren’t looking for it (in fact we struggled to find it even when we were looking – but that says more about our navigational abilities than anything else)

Lunch at the Cuckoo Tree in Hermanus

Run by a mother and daughter, The Cuckoo Tree has only a handful of tables inside and outside in their lovely courtyard, which is also frequented by lots of garden birds

We arrived for lunch, and had every intention to dedicating the next few hours to eating, drinking and chatting away

Mum went for a chicken noodle dish, whereas I went for toast topped with many of my favourite things – roasted veg, salad, goats cheese and nuts – amazing!

And for pudding mum automatically went for her favourite, lemon meringue pie, and I went for the almond and fruit tart with a side of homemade orange ice-cream for good measure

EAT: Bergundy

The fact Bergundy was incredibly conveniently located 30 seconds walk from our hotel is part of the reason we ate their twice in our three night stay in Hermanus – but the excellent food and friendly service also played a part

Bobotie at Bergundys, Hermanus

And this is where we ticked off two SA specialities from our non-existent-list – malva pudding and bobotie

Malva pudding is a little like sticky toffee pudding, but much lighter – and very tasty

Bobotie is quite difficult to compare to anything we eat in the UK – it’s basically spiced minced meat and dried fruit topped with a layer of egg, and at Bergundy it was served with a side of sweet potatoes with added brown sugar

It tasted amazing, but all the sweetness and richness soon became overwhelming and we were both forced to give in halfway through the meal – a shame, but very glad we tried it

Have you tried bobotie? What did you think…?

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Bake: Maple and Pecan Madeleines

vintage bakeware

Three weeks ago B and I headed over to Nottingham with Janet to meet up with Laura and spend the afternoon exploring Nottingham.

Blog meet ups, yes these can be a nerve-wracking experience, but we have recently found these to be one of the cheekier bonuses of writing a blog, getting to meet and hang out with our online friends in the flesh.

We had a wonderful afternoon which of course featured more than a few of our favourite activities; tea and cake, beer and (nearly) pizza, and of course a little retail therapy in some new exciting and unexplored places. Credit be to Laura’s local knowledge, we were introduced to gems such as the Treat Kitchen and ideas on paper in Cobden Chambers and of course we stopped by some of our favourite haunts, notably Hopkins – fresh off the train this was our first stop. A treasure trove of vintage and antique delights, we all came out of here with a little piece of vintage each.

My treasure came in the form of antique Madeleine moulds and the promise to my friends of a recipe sooner or (as is the case) later, and as we are all about cosy evenings at home at the moment here’s a little recipe for rainy autumn evenings

If you can’t get your hands on vintage madeleine moulds they are also available in silicone form here

ingredients

To make 14-16 Maple and Pecan Madeleines You will need……

  • 35g pecan nuts
  • 90g butter
  • 75g icing sugar
  • 35g plain flour
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon of maple syrup
  • the zest of 1 orange

…and for the glaze

  • 30g icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of maple syrup

N.B. For normal madeleines replace the pecans with ground almonds, the maple syrup with honey and the orange zest with lemon zest.

Preheat oven to 160°C and toast the pecans for 5-10 minutes until golden- set aside to cool. While the nuts are toasting melt the butter in a saucepan, once melted continue to cook the butter for 4-7 minutes to a noisette- this is the stage at which the milk solids contained in the butter separate and sink to the base of the pan, these are then toasted to create nut butter. The butter is ready when it starts to froth and the milk solids at the base of the pan turn a rich hazelnut brown, the butter will also have delicious nutty smell- hence the name. Watch the butter carefully and stir continuously as it can easily go too far and burn, set the butter aside to cool to room temperature

Blitz the pecan nuts to a powder with a blender then sift these, the icing sugar, flour and salt into a bowl. Whisk in the eggs, maple syrup, orange zest and lastly the melted butter to a smooth batter. Once mixes this batter can be stored in the fridge for one day and can be frozen for three days.

flour the moulds

To ensure the medeleines release easily from the tin  grease the mould with a little oil or melted butter then sprinkle a handful of plain flour over the mould, shake this around in the tray so the whole of the mould is covered with flour then turn the mould upside down and tap out the excess- best to do this over the sink to minimise the mess!

For best results make the madeleines with chilled batter. pipe or spoon the mix into the madeleine moulds and fill them almost to the top of the mould

before the oven

Bake the madeleines at 170°C for 14-15 minutes until they are golden brown and spring back to the touch, allow to cool slightly then turn the madeleines out of the mould onto a cooling rack

madeleine

To make the glaze combine both ingredients in a bowl and blend together to form a smooth paste. this can be spooned over the madeleines once they are turned out from the tray to give them a sheen or, as I like to, simply serve the glaze along side the madeleines and use it as a dipping sauce

madeleines

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Make: Rosehip syrup

rosehips I’m a massive fan of free food, I may have mentioned this before. Fruit, berrys, vegetables, anything that can be foraged from within a 2 mile radius of my home is a bonus, particularly when it comes to preserving. Foraging may seem an unlikely pastime for a city centre dweller but i’m constantly surprised by the amount of free pickings. So today the first of hopefully many autumnal leaps into the unknown, rosehips.

Rosehips are the seeded fruit of the Dog Rose, a scrambling shrub usually to be found amongst hedgerows. They are GB’s most prolific native wild rose. I’ve had my eye on these little beauties for some time, it was back in July that I first spotted a small unassuming bush in the hedgerow with delicate white flowers. All I had to do was wait (And hope no one else got to them first!)

Picking them was a prickly business, I recommend long sleeved clothing and good company (many thanks to my Mum for helping me collect these little fellows) and of course, always pick above hip height to avoid contamination from passing dogs/wild rambling animals

Recipe wise, the possibilities are endless as they are in season with so many other amazing fruits and berrys, Rosehip and apple/crab apple or blackberry are common flavour pairings in jams jellies and cordials, but as I’d never tried rose hip in any capacity before I wanted to make something simple that would let it’s true flavour shine through, as follows

To Make Rosehip syrup you will need:

  • 500g rosehips
  • 1 litre of water
  • Fine Muslin cloth/J cloth for straining
  • 250g sugar- caster or granulated
  • 1 litre bottle for storing the syrup

This recipe makes approximately 1 litre of syrup and can be stored unopened in a sterilised bottle for 2 to 3 monthsrosehip 1 Wash and clean the rose hips thoroughly then blitz them in a food processor. Place the rose hip pulp and the water into a saucepan and bring to a rolling boil then turn the heat down to a simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Strain the liquid through a muslin cloth to strain off all the pulp, this stage is import and as the tiny little hairs contained within the seed pod are highly irritant, rose hips can also be used to make itching powder! After about 20 minutes, once all the liquid has been strained off discard the pulp and re-boil the liquid with the sugar rapidly for around 10 minutes until all the sugar has dissolved. Store in a sterilised bottle until ready to use The syrup can be diluted as a cordial with soda water, is amazing poured over ice cream, apple pie, or baclava. Or alternatively,

Make rose hip and pomegranate martinis

  • 50ml vodka
  • 100ml pomegranate juice
  • 25ml rosehip syrup
  • a squeeze of lemon juice to taste

Place all ingredients into a Cocktail shaker along with a handful of ice, shake well and strain into a martini glass, sip slowly and enjoy! rosehip martini

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Eat: Sourdough

“I believe wholeheartedly that we can change the world by baking with ethical and sustainable ingredients… one bite at a time.” Vanessa Kimbell

This is the best argument for baking homemade bread I’ve heard in a long time

Vanessa runs bread making classes from her home in Northampton, The Juniper and Rose Kitchen Garden School, complete with an organic kitchen garden. I’m dying to book onto one of Vanessa’s sourdough bread making courses

Check out Vanessa’s Facebook page and website to learn more, there are also plenty of these beautifully produced videos available on the wild yeast Vimeo page.

I’m off to bake some sourdough!

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MAKE: Allotment Lemonade and Loaf Cake

Today we have a guest post from the lovely Ruth from Clarendon Spark – we’re a little late in posting it (oops!) but hopefully you’ll still be able to find the ingredients in season…

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I live a literal stone’s throw from Queens Road Allotments in Clarendon Park in the south of Leicester. I’ve been fascinated by the allotments since I moved to the area and couldn’t wait for the opportunity to get a peek inside, so I jumped at the chance to pop along to their open day and produce sale.

I was immediately captivated by the place and spent over an hour exploring the plots, taking photos and talking to the allotmenteers. You can find out more about this little oasis of green tranquility in my article, Queens Road Allotments, over on my Clarendon Spark blog.

I came away from the produce sale with a bumper crop of goodies and I was determined to do them justice with some tasty makes that really capture the late summer season.

These two recipes are simple, speedy, and a great way to showcase a glut of gorgeous home-grown ingredients…

MAKE: Blackberry Lemonade

Blackberry bushes were everywhere at the allotments, growing in between all the plots and bursting with glossy ripe fruit. This timely recipe is simplicity itself but the result is super tasty and seriously refreshing. Serve your lemonade in jam jars for extra hipster points and garnish with plenty of ice, fresh lemon slices and whole blackberries.

If you want to make it boozy you can add a few glugs of vodka to the mix and you’ve got yourself a homemade blackberry lemonade cocktail.

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You will need:

  • 20-30 blackberries
  • Juice from 3 lemons
  • 150g caster sugar
  • Still or sparkling mineral water.

What to do:

  • Simmer the lemon juice and the sugar together in a pan over a low heat for about five minutes until the sugar has dissolved, then leave the mixture to cool
  • Add the blackberries and blend the whole lot together then strain it through a sieve
  • Pop the ‘cordial’ in a jug along with some ice and add water until the drink is your preferred strength.

BAKE: Apple, Plum and Courgette Loaf Cake

I’m a big fan of simple loaf-style cakes which have a slightly savoury feel to them.

Using wholewheat self-raising flour in this recipe gives the resulting cake a satisfying bready quality, and a hefty slice with a mug of tea makes for a substantial mid-afternoon pick-me-up. If you prefer, you can use white self-raising flour instead and drizzle a bit of citrusy icing over the top for an altogether more delicate dessert.

The beauty of this recipe is that you can use pretty much any combination of fruits and vegetables depending on what’s in season and what you have to hand. The addition of mixed spice gives the whole cake a warm, spicy, slightly autumnal flavour.

I was a little too impatient to scoff my cake and cut it while it was still warm which is why it looks a bit scruffy on the photo – leaving it to cool completely will give you a neater looking slice!

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You will need:

  • 70g apple, grated
  • 70g plum, grated
  • 70g courgette, grated
  • 250g butter, softened
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2tsp mixed spice.

What to do:

  • Preheat your oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and grease and line a 2lb loaf tin
  • Beat the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, bicarb and mixed spice together, then stir in the grated fruit (yes – it really is that easy!)
  • Spoon the mixture into the tin and bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

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These incredibly straightforward, rustic recipes are such a great way of showing off home-grown fruit and veg, and knowing that the key ingredients I used had been loving produced just across the road made me extra proud when sharing these makes.

I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I have and that they prove a great showcase for your own home-grown hand-picked harvest.

Thanks Ruth! And just a reminder you can find more of her words and pictures over at Clarendon Spark

And for another idea about how to use up blackberries with an adult twist, take a look at E’s Blackberry Gin recipe

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