30 December 2006

travel-inspired eating

Once again, I'm in a South Africa mood. On another site where I hang out, we're doing a Secret Santa, and a few days ago, I got my gift - South Africa-themed random items. Among these items, a CD filled with interesting South African music, including The Click Song...

Anyway, RoF doesn't care about music. Only food. So on to the recipe...

A few things first. A little warning - this is meant to be made a day ahead of serving time. I didn't do this (didn't read the recipe carefully enough before making it :). The dish was still quite delicious...

Also, the recipe says serve with pasta. I made pan-fried potatoes and salad to go with the dish and it worked out nicely.

Braised chicken thighs with red wine, sun-dried tomatoes and balsamic vinegar

(Serves 8)

16-18 chicken thigh portions (ca 2 kg)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
salt and milled black pepper
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup shredded basil leaves, or 2 tsp dried oregano
125 g sun-dried tomatoes
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Trim excess fat from the chicken. Heat oil in a heavy, ovenproof casserole and brown the chicken on both sides over a medium-high heat, in 3-4 batches. When finished with each batch, remove chicken and set aside.

Reduce the heat and add the onions, some salt and pepper. Cook gently for 5-10 minutes or until very soft but not browned. Add small amounts of water to avoid browning, if necessary. Stir in garlic, herbs, and sun-dried tomatoes. Add chicken pieces to casserole. Add stock and wine, and bake in oven at 160 C for about an hour or until chicken is done. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Refrigerate overnight.

Before reheating the chicken, remove any congealed fat from the surface. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove. Check seasonings. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, and continue reheating on stovetop (or in oven at 160 C) until chicken is heated, about 20-30 minutes.

Serve with hot small pasta sprinkled with shredded basil or chopped parsley.

Recipe source: Cape Town Food

We drank Groot Constantia's 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon with our meal and it was a lovely match.

RoF is very stuffed and happy...

20 December 2006

still obsessed *sigh* ;-)

On the first day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
A penguin in a baobab tree...

On the second day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
Two Cape turtle doves
And a penguin in a baobab tree...

On the third day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
Three Guinea fowl
Two Cape turtle doves
And a penguin in a baobab tree...

Uh... OK, OK, I'll stop now hehe...

Won't some nice random person(s) out there give us some free roundtrip tickets from Oslo to Cape Town? ;-)

10 December 2006

finished...finally... ;-)

This is the last entry for the trip we got home from two months ago ;-) So if you haven't read everything, just go through the archives for October, November, and December to read all the reports. And see the links to the photos...

I haven't mentioned where we slept. So here goes:

Accomodation in Stellenbosch: Hazelwood House. Hazelwood House is about a 15-20 minute walk from the city center, and it's safe enough to walk at night. All the rooms have a bird theme (yay!), and we got the room called roller. It is a self-catering unit with a very large living room/bedroom area, a comfortable bed, spacious bathroom, and simple but sufficient kitchen. There is a patio area with a table and chairs if you want to take your meals/drinks outdoors, something we took advantage of. There is a swimming pool for the guests, but we didn't use this. The hosts are very nice people!

Accomodation in Cape Town: Rachel's Bed and Breakfast. Rachel is a very kind and lovely lady who runs this B&B/self-catering from her private home. The style was very different from Hazlewood; there are lots of knick-knacks in the guest area. You always notice something new every time you look around. Rachel also has a nifty, crazy garden with lots of flowers, an aviary, etc. It is also possible to sit/eat outdoors if you'd like. The bedrooms/bathroom are separate from the living room and kitchen, meaning you may or may not interact with other guests (not a problem at all for us). Speaking of the bedroom, the beds are very comfortable! You definitely get a good night's sleep here! Oh, we were also able to get our laundry done here (25 R per load) which was a very good thing considering we only brought 9 days worth of clothes for a 2 week trip ;-) The location isn't very central for the city, but it's a really good location if you have a car and want to take more trips outside the city than inside.

Sooo... what else do I have to say? Let's see... some additions to the observations list...

- Over-perfumey soaps, air fresheners, etc. are widely used. Yuck. Not fun if you get allergic reactions to shit like that :-(

- co.za is pronounced coh-zuh

- traffic lights are called robots

I really miss the Western Cape. It's the first place I've ever been to where I have obsessed about going back ever since my return. I check out ticket prices almost every day, in the hopes for a sale or something... I have never done this for any other place I've been to...

And of course, someone else wants to go back, for the good wine hehehe...

I will continue to write travel-related stuff on this site. Stay tuned...

04 December 2006

stuffing the Ring of Fat - part II: Cape Town, etc.

Just what you've been waiting for! Here's the rest of the RoF food porn report. Again, stay away from this post if you're hungry ;-)

  • Seaforth Restaurant
    Lunch before seeing the penguins at Boulders'. We both had the seafood curry. It was served in one of those Little Black Bottomless Pots of RoF Doom. The curry was quite good; I would have liked it a little spicier but the spices were very nice and complemented the seafood. And the seafood was plentiful – lots of fresh shellfish and fish. Like I said, Little Black Bottomless Pots of RoF Doom...

    We also ate at Seaforth a second time, along the way to our second trip to Cape Point. The second time, we each got the grilled tuna steak with bell pepper salsa. Washed down with a Grapetiser, a carbonated grape juice. Yum. Very fresh tuna, and a huge portion of it too. Obesity on the rise in South Africa. With portions like what we've been getting throughout our whole trip... ;-)

    Oh, this restaurant is right by a big public beach... and the second time we were there there was a penguin on the beach. I wonder how often they show up, to the delight of the beach-goers ;-)

  • The restaurant at the Holiday Inn at Eastern Boulevard (Cape Town)
    No need for links. We only ate here because we arrived so late into Cape Town and it was near our bed and breakfast. Anyway, we had the butternut soup as a starter, which wasn't too bad. It was actually quite nice...

    The main course was "mixed grill" for me and grilled kingklip for boyfriend of feitpingvin. Mine was OK and boyfriend of feitpingvin's was OK but after what we got in Stellenbosch, kind of a letdown.

    I'm not going to say anymore here... not really worth saying too many negative things when for all we know it could have been a very “off” night...

  • Mitchell's Brewery (V&A Waterfront, Cape Town)
    More for the tasty beer than the food. We had fish and chips though. It was OK. Not the greatest in the world, but not bad either. Again, people go here for the beer...

  • Ikhaya African Restaurant (V&A Waterfront, Cape Town)
    We both had the "Go Wild" - a platter with kudu, springbok, and ostrich. It's the house specialty. Mmmm...meat... Oh, and we were giggling ourselves silly over having “argued” about how much we were going to spend on wine. We splurged on a R 150 bottle (the Blaauwklippen Shiraz). You will never get a wine of that caliber for R 150 (the NOK equivalent is about the same) in a restaurant. NEVER!

    This would be the last time we both had wine with dinner... we took a taxi to Ikhaya. But the whole procedure was kind of a pain and we found it was easiest just to drive to the Waterfront (as there was plenty of easy parking) for most of our dinners and then have wine back at the B&B. Yeah, kind of boring, but, well, what can you do?

  • Alpenstube (Hout Bay)
    After World of Birds, we were desperate for lunch and came across this Austrian restaurant. We got the three-course special of the day, for R 49. As a starter, we got Freittatern soup. It was the typical broth soup with some kind of dumpling in it, just like what we got in Vienna.

    The main dish was a choice of roast pork or roast lamb, so I ordered the one while boyfriend of feitpingvin ordered the other. Served with a proper sauerkraut. It was in all OK – good for a cheap lunch.

    For dessert, we had Apfelstrüdel and coffee. It was also OK but nothing like what I got in Vienna.

    In case you don't like daily specials, you can get a Curry Wurst with a roll and potato salad :-)

    The only thing missing here is yodeling and lederhosen ;-)

  • Constantia Nek Restaurant (Constantia)
    While actually just outside of Cape Town, this is the oldest restaurant in Cape Town. We came across this place on the way home from Kirstenbosch. The restaurant itself was very cosy and welcoming, and smelled good.

    As for the food... we ordered the filet of ostrich with cherry- and port sauce. It was served with mashed potatoes and vegetables. I must say... DID WE GET THE WHOLE OSTRICH? The portion was huge. It didn't look that big when we got it, but we each got three big chunks of meat. Very tender, tasty meat too. And the mashed potatoes weren't exactly something one would throw out either... dang!

    This place was so good we ate here a second time. The second time I ordered the linefish of the day, which was Yellowtail. Boyfriend of feitpingvin had the prawns. Again, big RoF-approved portion, excellent meal. We also got dessert – I got the Cape brandy fruit cake, boyfriend of feitpingvin got the apple crumble. I want to make a fruit cake like that... mmmmmmmmmm...

    Oh, and our waiter, Winston, is a really cool guy, so if you're ever at Constantia Nek, you have to say hello from us. Our second time there, he remembered us from the first time and was very happy to see us again :-)

  • lunch before the Robben Island tour
    Pizza at a fast food joint. Not only did we get a big-ass slice of pizza (and good pizza too!), we got a big serving of fries/chips/pommes frites on the side. We also had a choice of drink and got orange juice. To be healthy and all ;-)

  • Cape Town Fish Market (V&A Waterfront, Cape Town)
    We wanted to compare this one and the one in Stellenbosch ;-) I got the stacked kingklip...

    Boyfriend of feitpingvin got the "sizzler" - fish and seafood in a piri-piri sauce.

    Can't say I could complain about my meal, or boyfriend of feitpingvin's ;-)

    We both had some kind of peppermint-chocolate mousse dessert which was OK but a bit on the overly sweet side for my taste...

  • Krugmann's Grill (V&A Waterfront, Cape Town)
    We both got the grilled kudu. Very tender and flavorful (just can't get enough of the wonderful game here), and again, a very huge piece of meat. Mine was a bit more rare than boyfriend of feitpingvin's (what sound does a kudu make when you sink your fork into it?) hehe... This time I just couldn't finish my meal. It was just too much, even for my abominable RoF. The most amusing part of the dining experience here was after ordering our meal, our waiter came with a box of knives and we got to select the steak knife we wanted to use for our steaks. We had the choice of three different sizes, the largest being rather huge. I chose the medium-sized knife ;-)

  • The Orchard at Elgin
    We had some breakfast at this very charming farm/farm stall along the way to Cape Agulhas. We each had the Orchard Breakfast – eggs, bacon, sausage, mushrooms, tomatoes, toast with homemade jam, orange juice, and coffee. Very tasty and RoF-friendly.

  • Paulaner
    This was a meal we really, really wanted, as we had not eaten since the (huge) breakfast at The Orchard, except for a few oranges. I'm not sure how I managed to not have a severe blood sugar crash... maybe because of all the protein and fat... anyway...

    We each had a very large duck breast with red cabbage and a potato dumpling on the side. It was very tasty. And probably eaten within 10 minutes if anyone bothered to time us ;-)

  • "The Gift" at Imhoff Farm
    We came here after our second trip to Cape Point. We were originally thinking of going somewhere else, but they were closed (we later learned they had gone out of business). We eventually spotted this place on our map and decided to go. It was getting late and dark and the place looked kind of isolated... but lo and behold, the restaurant was indeed open! And it looked like a nice cosy place, even with the screaming peacocks in the yard (beautiful birds – though they make noises like cats being strangled), so we ventured in...

    We had escargot as a starter. The snails weren't as large as the ones we had in Stellenbosch, but they were tasty all the same. And very, very garlicky!

    We had the duck breast with orange sauce for our main course. Yes, we also had duck breast the evening before. I don't care. I love duck breast. And this duck breast was enormous, juicy, and very yummy... I barely had room for the vegetables and potatoes on the side... urk ;-)

    This place was kind of "special," more for the owner than anything else. He was a bit of character, though in a good way. He came over to our table several times, to chat with us. Already when we first arrived, he was on the phone, and while apparently on hold, he asked us if we were the ones he saw walking near this township... but then he was back on the phone again. When he came to our table the first time, he asked us again if we were the couple he saw walking near a township. We said no, we were driving... he stated the obvious – as a non-black you just don't go into townships unless you know what you're doing, where you're going, who you're going to see, etc.

    As he came over to our table back and forth, we talked about a lot of different things. Just pleasant smalltalk. Eventually, a conversation turned to wine. He asked us what we thought about the wine here, where we've visited, etc. We told him that the wine was excellent here, and very cheap compared to Norway. He asked us what the most expensive wine we bought to take home was... we answered 170 rand. He suddenly asked us if we wanted a bottle of wine, from the Scarborough region (where the farm is located or something like that). Wow! No way we were going to say no to an offer like that! :-) We were quite overwhelmed with such a gesture. We hope to be able to do something as kind in return some day...

    Information about this wine in the tasting notes...

  • Hudson's at Vredenheim Winery
    We had lunch here before returning to the airport. I had a biltong salad with sun-dried tomatoes and avocado, washed down with sparkling grape juice made of grapes from the farm, and boyfriend of feitpingvin had a “wineland breakfast” - omelette, sausage, bacon, fried mushrooms and tomatoes, a little salad, and bread with jam and cheese, and some juice and coffee.

Darn... I'm really hungry and missing South Africa now... :-/