I like eating food at nice places with good service, a great wine list and a cosy atmosphere. I recently went to a restaurant here in Cape Town called “Simon’s”. It’s situated at a beautiful wine farm called “Groot Constantia” and during the day, the views of the vineyards are heavenly. My mom and I ordered a steak with cooked veggies and our friend ordered the duck. Together we shared a bottle of Merlot and it was the perfect evening. The food there is very good and I can highly recommend it! For dessert we had a cheeseboard. I must say, it’s my new all-time favourite. It got me thinking about some of the best places I’ve been for dinner here in Cape Town, South Africa. If you live here, here’s a list of places I would recommend (I also include some coffee places that offer light lunches because we all love a good coffee and it’s nice to try somewhere new):
Here is a great recipe from one of my favourite websites, BBC Good Food. I made “Fruitburst Muffins” which are low-fat muffins with cinnamon, honey, cranberries and blueberries.
225g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 large eggs
50g butter, melted
175ml fat free milk
100ml clear honey
140g fresh blueberries
85g fresh cranberries
140g seedless raisins
140g dried apricots, chopped
1 tsp grated orange zest
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 200C and lightly butter a 12-hole muffin tin. Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl. In another bowl, lightly beat the eggs, then stir in the melted butter, milk & honey. Add to flour with the remaining ingredients. Combine quickly without overworking. Spoon mixture into the muffin tin. Bake for 20-25 minutes until well-risen and pale golden on top.
I am very pleased with my successful muffins. One of them came out with what I call a ‘snout’! I have no idea why the mixture does this, it looks hilarious. I couldn’t resist snapping it off for a snack 🙂
Even though I now live in the U.S, I was born in South Africa. I try visit as often as possible. We are surrounded by so much beauty there everyday! I thank God for the wild + exotic marvels he provides for us in that part of the world.
I don’t think tourists realise just how beautiful it is there. I don’t think they understand the similarities there with where they’re from. When they book their trips to South Africa, I’ve heard they expect to find mudhuts all over the place with animals walking through dirty streets in a 3rd world pocket of nothingness. That’s simply not true. Of course they’ll always be poverty wherever you go, but the picture they have in their head is completely innacurate. I remember back to when I lived in New York. People didn’t think South Africa was developed at all. I hope to change that misconception!
When they land, tourists are always surprised to find that we have a very normal lifestyle there with bars and nightclubs just like them. We have attractions, schools, universities, businesses, buildings, highways and entertainment just like them. We have a well-developed and working infrastructure. I’ve been all over the world and our international airports are the best I’ve seen.
They gasp at our beauty. They enjoy our top-class hotels, our polished service and our commercial culture – just like they have. They see our world-class education facilities, our safe amenities, our well-spoken citizens, our clean streets, our modern households, our friendly attitudes, our quirky sub-cultures and our huge fashion scene.
They recognize our healthy lifestyle in amidst stunning settings. They love the open space, the land, the people, the views. They marvel at the Cape Winelands, the game reserves, the nature, the beaches, the rolling hills and the mountains. They toast to our sunsets and drink wine under our starry skies. They visit heritage sites of our world leaders like Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu.
Our greatest assets are our minds. We as a people are very forward-thinking and cosmopolitan. What I love about us is that we’re also down-to-earth and mindful of those less fortunate.
Our wildlife is part of our beauty.
In South Africa, you can get up close and personal with our animals. It’s unlike anywhere else in the world. Around where I grew up on the east coast of the country is a lion park. It’s called “Seaview Predator Park”. If you’re planning a trip to South Africa, this is definitely a place you want to go.
Even though all the animals are in cages, trust me, they are well-looked after. They are tame and sociable with tourists. Check out Seaview’s Facebook Pagehereand scoot over to Pinterest to see myAfrica board.
Each and every time I watch the video my business filmed of them, my passion for my homeland grows stronger. Cape Town and Johannesburg have made their names famous internationally, but don’t underestimate the lesser-known places off-the-beaten path such as Port Elizabeth (5 hours from where Nelson Mandela was born!).
It’s a worldwide event organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and held towards the end of March annually, encouraging households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights for one hour to raise awareness about the need to take action on climate change.
It’s so awesome my work behind the camera takes me all over. One place we filmed that really stands out is this cool coffee shop at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront. I love that it’s right by the harbour. Watch the video we did to get a glimpse into our beautiful waterfront here in Cape Town!
I have been going crazy for orange anything lately. Papaya, spiced orange hot chocolate, orange muffins, orange cakes! If it has anything to do with orange, chances are I’ll be eating it. Why this sudden obsession? I have no idea. So what I decided to do was get to the recipe books and find the perfect orange muffin recipe. The great thing about these is that they are only 322 cal each 😉
Here it is, Enjoy!
Prep: 15 min. Bake: 20 min.
Yield: 12 Servings
1 orange, quartered and seeds removed (with peel)
1/2 cup orange juice
1 large egg
1/2 cup butter or 1/2 cup margarine
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
Preheat oven to 400 F (200 Celsius) ; spray a muffin tin (12) with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
Put orange quarters in food processor (or blender) along with orange juice and process or blend until pureed.
Add egg and butter to food processor and combine; pour into large bowl.
Combine dry ingredients together in a separate bowl, then add all at once to orange mixture.
Stir to combine.
Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full.
Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes; remove from oven and let stand in tin for 5 minutes before removing muffins.
One thing I really love to do is write. I’m an expressive person by nature with lots of thoughts and ideas that spill into my head at any given time. I realized recently that I have no vehicle through which to do justice to all that. So I took myself to exclusive books and got myself a gorgeous little moleskin book and some nice pens! With the new year having started I’ve decided to journal more. I encourage you to all keep a journal or diary of some kind to keep track and record things. Going to Spain, Portugal and New York this year should see me filling up quite a few pages! I believe in balancing your life – physical, social, mental and spiritual. Journalism is a great way to achieve that balance.
After journaling for about a week, I’ve realized a few things:
I have a better idea of what 2012 was like.
I have a better idea of what I want 2013 to look like.
I take for granted how lucky and blessed I am.
I much prefer old-fashioned pen and paper to the screen and keyboard!
Do you journal? What do you use it for – to spill your thoughts? To share your fears? Recap your day?
Here are a few tips I’d like to share with you about taking great photos for your Instagram:
+ Get Close up and personal
Whether you’re eating a salad, see a cute animal or want to capture a lovely moment with someone, getting close to the subject comes across really well. Enjoy an angle you wouldn’t have otherwise tried from up close and you will see your shot becomes so much more effective. Photograph that cup of coffee or your make-up spread across the vanity in a different way that you haven’t seen done before by getting close and trying a different angle. Once you add your filter it will look like something out of a magazine!
+ Stick to the square
Unfortunately, Instagram gives you a strict option of cropping when you upload your pictures. Sometimes a stunning vertical photograph you see before you wouldn’t work on Instagram. Remember that when shooting and just ‘stick to the square’ when composing your shot!
+ Tap to Focus
This is a wonderful little feature I only just realized myself. With all of these smartphones, you can tap on a subject within your frame which you specifically want to stand out in your shot. Say you are capturing a crop of daisies, but have one in particular that you want to stand out, tap it on the screen as you hold your phone up to take the picture. You’ll see it comes into focus and the others sort of fade to the background. This adds such a beautiful and interesting dimension to your shots, and I highly recommend it.
+ Be Aware of Light
Natural lighting is the best for Instagram. Rather stay away from using your flash. Move near a window if you must. If you want to specifically take a ‘mood’ shot by shooting in the dark, leave it at that and allow your peers to see what you are experiencing.
These are 3 things I would love to do this month in my down time:
See an arty film. Now I love mainstream films with all their glitzy movie stars and action-packed storylines. They usually leave you with a satisfied and uplifting feel when you leave. You can just mindlessly watch and you’ll enjoy them so much without having to think too hard. But every now and then, I really believe it’s a treat to go and see something you would otherwise never see. Just to broaden your mind and make you think. Art movies are usually much longer than ‘normal’ films and they very often carry with them deep and profound messages. Often they are based on true stories. They don’t always have a happy ending (in fact they almost never do) and they are totally dedicated to depicting life in its rawest form. Here in Cape Town, we have a great Cinema Nouveau at the waterfront. We also have loads of DVD shops and a DVD Nouveau right near where I live. I don’t care if I hire it out or go watch it, my first goal for March is to go see something which I would otherwise never consider watching.
Bake something! Even if it’s terrible. The last time I baked something was 2 years ago when I did a short cooking course at Silwood. I challenge myself to make a decent milk tart/scone/red velvet cupcake – I’ll figure it out!
Look up interesting things to do in Lisbon. Since I’m going to Lisbon for a Rotary Convention in June, I figure it’s time I compile a really educational list of things to do while I’m there. I don’t want to wait until the last minute, I want to look up beautiful sights, foods, places and spaces I should make sure I see!
Working too hard has got me totally consumed these days. I’m neglecting the side of me that needs down-time … I’m hoping these can provide that for me. What about you? Do you have goals for March? Here are pictures of a course I recently did in cooking at Silwood School of Cookery.