Treat Cafe at Talloula

Thursday 28 May was my Mom’s birthday and it has become a tradition to go somewhere to either have tea/coffee and cake or to have a full meal. My parents stay in Botha’s Hill so I wanted to go to a place that was fairly close to them. Just a few kilometres down the road from them is Talloula. I had not been to Treat Cafe before even though I had been to Talloula twice for their annual Christmas Fair.

 
Outside eating area
 
We arrived at 11am (the time I made the booking for) and were shown to our window table. Treat Cafe is beautifully decorated and has wonderful and restful music playing in the background. It was a very, very warm day (28 degrees when we arrived) so I decided to have a glass of homemade lemonade, Mom had cranberry juice and Dad had a glass of wine.
 
We perused the menu and perused the menu and .... you get the picture. It was going to be difficult to decide what to have. Mom found it easy and decided what she was going to have almost immediately – Roasted butternut and feta quiche with salad and homemade dressing.
 
Dad and I were trying to decide between a hamburger, mutton curry or the beef steak pie. Eventually I decided to have their hamburger (it was hamburger day) with their homemade patty, caramelised onions, salad and chips. Dad went with the mutton curry with rice and sambals.
 
While waiting for our meal Mom and I took a walk to the toilet and then looked around the cafe. There are beautiful decor items and stationery for sale. I saw stationery from Origin Stationery and MillaMae.
 
It was time to eat and even though it was a very warm day we found that we were hungry. The meals were wonderfully presented. My hamburger patty was thick and juicy and I loved the homemade dressing on the salad. Mom enjoyed the flavours of her butternut and feta quiche and her salad with the homemade dressing. Dad’s mutton curry had a bit of a bite to it but he really enjoyed it. Mom gave him some of her salad to help cool it down a bit.
Our delicious meals
 
After our plates were cleared away Mom and I ordered cappuccinos and a slice of their lemon meringue pie. Very good cappuccino and Mom and I enjoyed the lemon meringue with its creamy filling and crisp meringue. I only realised after having the cappy and pie that I hadn’t taken a picture.
 
We had a wonderful meal and very relaxing time at Treat Cafe and I look forward to returning and sitting on their big white couch. I think I shall take my sister there for a cappy, cake and chat.
 
Here are a few photos of the amazing interior :
Love this :)
Comfortable looking white couch
Beautiful decor

 

 

Décor on the way to the bathroom and inside
Talloula
Wedding venue, event planning, flowers and decor, conferences, functions and restaurant
61 Old Main Road, Bothas Hill
 
Monday – closed
Tuesday – Sunday 8:30am – 4pm
 
My parents and I

Neill Anthony's Roasted Tomato Soup

I have been watching Neill Anthony Private Chef on SABC 3 Sunday’s at 4:30pm from the first episode and really enjoying the way the program is filmed, the locations of the meals (those houses and kitchens!) and of course the food.

Neill Anthony is running a competition on his Facebook page in conjunction with Wellness Warehouse. You need to choose a meal off his website, make it, take a photo of it and then post it under the competition post with #RevealLikeNeill. Once his Facebook page reaches 2000 likes he will draw a winner. You can enter as many dishes as you like. I have made Chicken Thighs with Penne and Cherry Tomato Mayo and Roasted Tomato Soup so far.

Hubby and I have always been fans of butternut soup and I do also like tomato soup. Since it is nearly Winter (what a laugh as I am typing this in 33 degree heat) I decided to make it for supper to have with a delicious farmstyle bread. I can say that this soup is a winner! Hubby couldn’t stop exclaiming how much he was enjoying it and he even had a second bowl. The recipe is very easy to make and is definitely going into the make again and again file.
Beautifully presented photo from Neill Anthony's website
 
Ingredients
10 roasted plum tomatoes
2 cups tomato juice
splash hot sauce (careful! I added a bit too much)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
80ml olive oil
4 cloves peeled whole garlic
 
Preparation
1.      Add olive oil to hot pan
2.      Roast garlic in olive oil
3.      Add roasted tomatoes to garlic then add tomato juice and hot sauce
4.      Simmer till warmed through (5min)
5.      Add to blender and blend, add olive oil and sugar whilst blending
6.      Season to taste then pass through sieve
 

The tomatoes are roasted at 180C for approximately 45 minutes. Make sure you sprinkle with olive oil and season before putting into the oven.

My ingredients (I peeled my tomatoes)

 

Ready for roasting

 

Roasted tomatoes

 

All ingredients warmed

 

Ingredients in the blender

 

The tomatoes blended

 

Tomatoes after been blended and sieved
 
Enjoy!
Read an interview with Neill Anthony on Megan Deane’s blog Stuffed Feeling.

Madame Macaron Baking Classes : Media Launch

I was very excited to get an invitation to the media launch on 14 May for Madame Macaron’s, macaron making classes. The classes are held at The Dirty Fork Ginja Kitchen Studio in Durban North and attendees can learn to make and fill macarons.

Viveshni Joseph is the baking genius behind Madame Macaron and on 11 April she held her first macaron class which was a great success. She is also offers classes on macaron fillings, novelty macarons, cake baking and cupcakes. Viveshni’s sister came up with the name Madame Macaron which embodies the fun yet classy spirit of the business. All the macaron baking is done in her home kitchen but she has recently also started using the Dirty Fork Kitchen Studio.  She is not formally trained so a great deal of her knowledge has been gained from practical experience. Besides the normal macaron size, Viveshni also makes mini (2cm) macarons and a giant (20cm) macaron that can be used as a birthday or wedding cake.

Classes

Full Macaron Class R580 – Tools (silicone macaron mat, piping nozzle, branded apron and notebook), 12 macarons to bake, decorate and take home, tea/coffee, cupcakes and cake, a demonstration on packaging your macarons as gifts and fun giveaways

Macaron Demo Class R420 – Tools (silicone macaron mat, piping nozzle, branded apron and notebook), 12 macarons to fill, decorate and take home,  tea/coffee, cupcakes and cake and fun giveaways

Follow-up Macaron Class R150 – This class is for those who have attended the Full Macaron Class and the Demo Class and want to troubleshoot their macaron making and perfect their shells using their own ingredients

Bake Your Own Cake& Eat It R520 – Learn to bake a cake from scratch and make a delicious buttercream to ice it with. The class includes a branded apron and notebook, piping nozzle, tea/coffee, sweet treats and fun giveaways

Decorate Your Cake& Eat It R350 – Bring along your own un-iced cake and learn different piping techniques to ice it. The class includes a branded notebook, piping nozzle set, tea/coffee, sweet treats and fun giveaways

Beginners Cupcake Class R360 – Make 12 cupcakes from scratch and learn how to pipe on buttercream using different techniques and nozzles. The class includes a branded notebook, piping nozzle set, tea/coffee, sweet treats and fun giveaway

The Dirty Fork Studio is a fantastic venue and has everything in it that you would want in your own kitchen. There is lots of space to move around so you are able to add ingredients, stir, beat and cook to your heart’s content.

I arrived with Inge Loker (Snap, Sizzle and Cook) at the Dirty Fork Studio just before 6pm. The event was to be from 6pm till 9pm. We were warmly greeted and ushered through to the bar area where delicious snacks were set up. Lots of kissing and hugging as our friends and fellow bloggers arrived. Of course when you get a bunch of bloggers and media together for an event the flashing cameras are to be expected. We mingled and chatted and then chose snacks and what we wanted to drink before making our way through to the kitchen. I chose a spot near the front of the room and at my place was a branded apron and notebook and the macaron recipe. Also there was a small box that contained macaron shells which we would get to fill and put together late.

 image1
Beautiful set up by The Candy Buffet Company
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Delicious savoury eats by the Dirty Fork Studio
 image3
The Dirty Fork Studio kitchen
 image4
Branded apron and notebook and the macaron recipe
 image5
Empty macaron shells
 image6
Sweet treats made by Madame Macaron

Viveshni welcomed us all and thanked us for coming. She explained to us what we would do and see that evening and asked us all to have fun. We put on our fab branded aprons and made our way to the front of the room so that Viveshni could show us all how to make macarons.

Before I explain what she told us I must state that the word macaron is the correct one not macaroon.

“A macaroon is a type of small circular cake, typically made from ground almonds, coconut and/or other nuts or even potato, with sugar, egg white, and sometimes other ingredients such as honey, vanilla, spices, glace cherries or a chocolate coating (Wikipedia)”

“A macaron is a French sweet meringue based confection made with egg white, icing sugar, granulated sugar, ground almonds and food colouring (Wikipedia)”

I am looking at what I tweeted so I can tell you what she told us about making macarons :

 image7
Macaron ingredients
 image8
Viveshni (Madame Macaron) in action

Take care with the quality of the almond flour that you buy. Sieve it when you get home and grind up any coarse bits in a spice grinder. Add icing sugar to the almond flour if it is too oily.

Egg whites need to be aged for 24 to 48 hours or you can cheat by giving them shorts bursts (6 seconds a time for a total time of 1 min) in the microwave.

Sift your icing sugar.

Make the mixture and pipe it immediately because if you let it stand for too long it will form a skin.

Use a whisk to mix the almond flour, icing sugar and colouring together.

image9

Beat the egg whites briefly, add the sugar and then finish beating until a meringue forms.

Add the meringue to the almond flour mixture and mix together. You do not fold the mixture you stir and push it against the side of the bowl. It needs to be very well mixed.

image10

image11

Place the mixture in a piping bag and pipe rounds onto a piece of baking paper. It is not easy to pipe a macaron and I had to use two hands to do it.

 image12
Viveshni pipes one handed!
 image13
Me using two hands

After piping bang the tray to get out the air bubbles and then let the piped macarons stand for about 15-20 mins to dry.

Macarons are baked at 135C for about 20 mins or until the shells can be lifted without sticking.

They can be filled with buttercream, jam, chocolate ganache or any other filling of your choice.

It is best to eat a macaron the day after baking and filling as the flavours take time to develop.

After showing us how to mix and pipe the macarons (we also had a chance to try), we could then choose from the wonderful buttercream flavours to fill our own macarons. We could also choose from the various toppings to make ours extra special. It was such fun piping a blob of buttercream onto one half of a macaron shell and then sticking them together.

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Flavoured buttercream fillings and pretty sprinkles
 image15
My masterpieces

Once we were all done we made our way through to another room to sit down and have more savoury and sweet snacks and of course chat, tweet and instagram. Viveshni then announced the winners of the prizes – first was Verushka (Spice Goddess), Second ........ Me!!!! And third was Faeema (Sparkling Labyrinth).

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My fabulous prize

We all left laden with our beautifully filled and decorated macarons and other yummy sweets and eats. 

Thanks to Madame Macaron, Viveshni for a wonderful event and if you want to learn how to be a macaron master I really recommend that you attend her classes as she knows what she is doing. Quote #MMacaronClass when booking and get 10% off.

Madame Macaron

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Dirty Fork Studio

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 image17
Love this decal in the kitchen

Twitter Blanket Drive #TBD2015

Twitter Blanket Drive #TBD2015

It is that time of the year when Winter starts to reach out its icy fingers, although here in Durban after Tuesday's over 30 degree heat we wonder when Winter will come. We haven't had to take out our blankets for Winter as yet but there are people all over South Africa who already need the warmth a blanket can bring. If we all donate just one blanket we can make a big difference in someone's life. So find out today where the drop off point in your city or area is, and if there isn't one why don't you arrange it, and also get involved on Twitter by tweeting the official hashtag to encourage others to donate.

Media Release for Twitter Blanket Drive 2015

Since 2010, the Twitter community in South Africa has been moved by compassion and has engaged the social media platform to collect blankets for some of the country's most vulnerable people. Over the past 6 years, thousands of blankets have been collected in the weeks leading up winter to provide some relief and, of course, warmth to those in need.

"For us as a Twitter community, social responsibility is a serious business," says Merentia van der Vent, one of the spokespersons for the Twitter Blanket Drive (TBD). "As winter's bite fast approaches, we are aware that charities are under a huge amount of pressure to meet the demand for blankets. In today's digital world, we have the power to make significant change, in the area of social development, harnessing the power of social media."

The TBD started 6 years ago, as a single tweet by Melanie Minnaar, as she contemplated the cold winter ahead and in true Twitter style, tweeted the following thought: "what if each person on Twitter donated a blanket?" Since then, the TBD movement has exploded and now has a national footprint with campaign drives taking place in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban and for the first time this year, Pretoria. Also smaller towns host blanket drive events. This year the official hashtag is #TBD2015.

In today's fast paced world, using social media to increase community awareness is not only smart, but essential. According to the founder of the campaign, Melanie Minnaar, the Twitter Blanket Drive has injected a true sense of community into the South African Twittersphere, as the number of Twitter users involved with the TBD has grown exponentially since 2010.

The team would also like to thank the Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! group of hotels that have thrown their weight fully behind the Twitter Blanket Drive campaign. With a new Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! Menlyn having recently opened its doors in Pretoria, collections are set for a boost.

Last year Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! Cape Town and Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! Melrose Arch together collected more than 4000 blankets. These were distributed amongst four charities. They included, in Johannesburg, Seeds of Africa, Ark Animal Centre and Soul Food, a charity that collects and distributes supplies to approximately 30 shelters in the Witwatersrand region. In Cape Town, Operation Shoebox, which supports more than 15 000 children, benefited from this blanket drive.

This year on Instagram the Igers are also getting involved by posting pictures on Instagram to create awareness of TBD. You can track their involvement and get involved on Instagram using the hashtag #TBD2015.

Corporates are encouraged to help out with donations this year.

Companies, Coffee Shops and Venues that would like to become a drop off venue for blankets should not hesitate to contact us.

Drop off venues around Durban:

St St Clements, 191 Musgrave Road, Durban.

For more information or to become involved in this year's drive, please visit the official TBD Twitter page: @TBDAfrica. You can also contact the Durban representative Fred Felton on: +27 76 977 5788 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Twitter Blanket Drive Hashtags for 2015 - Our Official Handle @TBDAfrica

#TBD2015 – Our official hashtag

#twitterblanketdrive – A support hashtag, to be used for explanatory purposes, when asked what TBD is.

#Blanketeer/s – Everyone involved in donating a blanket to the drive is called a blanketeer.

#BlanketAmbassador/s – Our blanket ambassadors host mini-events/parties/functions, to collect blankets, in the run-up to final event night. These blankets will then be dropped off at the main event, before or on the final event night 28 May.They must co-ordinate with the national organizer or hosts of each city before hosting their event.

#BlanketBash – This is the event/party/function hosted by a #BlanketAmbassador (can be a birthday party, a support event at a sports game etc)

#BlanketElves/#BlanketFairies – People who help out during the campaign and on event night.

tbd 2015a

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