Nectarine salad with a lovely pear and rosemary dressing at Somersetgift Farm Getaway…. part of 3 of 3

I found the dressing recipe of this salad in BABEL… a visually beautiful cookbook with the most amasing dressing recipes… and to be honest I cannot really remember how I matched the nectarines with the pecorino and the dressing, it must have been from Pinterest visuals… but IT WORKS…

Start off by making the dressing.. it can be made in advance and will keep for up to a week or more if refrigerated..


Click on THIS link for the printable recipe card: 32. Nectarine and Pecorino salad with Rosemary and Pear Dressing ……. RECIPE CARD

For the Dressing…

Make in advance or early in the morning … it needs to cool down.
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Simmer 2 peeled and cubed pears with a sprig of rosemary and 125ml white balsamic vinegar until the pears are soft.

Let it cool … remove the rosemary and liquidize… slowly add the juice of half a lemon, 125ml olive oil, 10 ml honey and 1 teaspoon smooth English mustard.

Early morning  cuddles...

Early morning cuddles…

Just by the way… think I should book Somersetgift Farm Getaway for another long weekend… such a beautiful complete relaxation spot…

Now for the salad..

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Blanch the baby broccoli and mange tout… very important to instantly cool it under running cold water once done to retain the bright green colour.

Layer the baby salad leaves on a flat serving platter, top with baby broccoli, mange tout and just before serving add the avo slices, and nectarines. Pour over the dressing and add a hand full of finely grated Pecorino cheese.

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This dressing is like a meal on it’s own, I can only imagine a platter of sliced avo, topped with dressing and some grated pecorino … if the nectarines are out of season.

Lunch was a laid back family affair…. memories in the making…

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And after lunch… time to explore the farm…

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Lunch at Somersetgift Farm Getaway…. magic moments..

Sweet and crunchy Pineapple, Carrot and red cabbage salad…sleepover at the dam….

Let me start by saying my “most used” recipe book this year is…….. A WEEK IN “THE KITCHEN” by Karen Dudley… a beautiful cookbook filled with “fresh” and “different” recipes… if I think of this book …. the words easy, GREAT GIFT, summer, make in advance, entertain, colours and over the top flavours comes to mind….

The recipe from this GREAT book that I want to share with you is the slightly revised CARROT CUMIN SLAW…

I’ve decided to serve this sweet and crunchy salad at our sleepover “braai” at the dam, in celebration of Melisse’s birthday… we are really spoilt with beautiful mountains surrounding the Elgin Valley, dams, rivers, forests and loads more…

Sleepover at the Dam...

Sleepover at the Dam…

At home: Make the Vinaigrette…
Shake in a jar…
2 tbsp creamy Dijon mustard
2 crushed garlic clove
2 tbsp castor sugar
8 tbsp white wine vinegar
16 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
a pinch of white pepper

Birthday at the dam...

Birthday at the dam…

Prepare all the “cutting” elements of the salad in advance at home, I’ve added it to a zip lock bag, ready to mix with the vinaigrette before serving.

Salad prepping...

Salad prepping…

Add to your ziplock bag:
1 tbsp toasted cumin seeds
1 baby red cabbage thinly sliced
3 carrots, cut julienne style
1 fresh pineapple, peeled and cut julienne style
Salt and pepper

Click on this link for a PDF format recipe cardSweet and crunchy pineapple carrot and red cabbage salad…. RECIPE CARD

While the adults set up camp, the children had the best party in the mud any child can dream off….

Following the stream...

Following the stream…

Kayaking on the dam...

Kayaking on the dam…

The Birthday girl...Happy happy Melissie...

The Birthday girl…Happy happy Melissie…

Leila... Abby's cuddle bunny...

Leila… Abby’s cuddle bunny…

BRRRRR time to get warm by the fire...

BRRRRR time to get warm by the fire…

After a long afternoon in the dam it was time to light the fires …but first the cake, thanks to Jacques ….



While they light the fire whip out that lovely platter, open the ziplock bag, add the vinaigrette and give it a good shake…

Serve and enjoy…

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I cannot think of anything nicer than a sleepover at the dam, the campfire, the tents and loads of fresh air..

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No 1. oakv

And the best part, is to take the dogs for an early morning walk….

Taking Leila for an early morning walk...

Taking Leila for an early morning walk…


And then, jump back into the tent, with wet muddy paws and cuddle till the sun bakes you out of the tent…

Sleepovers at the dam… memories for our children…I love it….

Crushed pesto potatoes….. Let’s cook for 50 at a good friend’s 50’th….. part 6 of 9

Let me start by saying “I can have a whole plate full of this right now….” filled with luke warm crushed pesto potatoes, topped with crunchy macadamia nuts and shavings of parmesan, sorry but have to say it, with a sprinkle of coarse maldon salt… ok, lets get back to this recipe.

We needed a “starchy” veg to bulk up our lunch, and Evelyn suggested and made these ultra yummy luke warm crushed pesto potatoes for the party.

For the Crushed pesto potatoes you will need:
(can be made up to 2 hours before the time, but still needs to be luke warm)
1 kg small baby potatoes
60 g basil pesto, or more… (we used the small tub mediteranean pesto from spar)
1/2 cup roasted crushed macadamia nuts (or roasted pine kernels)
shavings of parmesan cheese
Olive oil (+/- 1/4 cup)
Maldon salt and black pepper
Basil leaves for decoration, not really needed

Boil the baby potatoes until soft, they need to be really soft….. drain the water and add the pesto, olive oil, salt and pepper to the warm potatoes. Cover with a lid and let it rest at room temperature until needed.

Just before serving, re-heat the potatoes, and slowly stir in all the ingredients that’s been resting on top of the potatoes…. they don’t need to be heated for long, you just want them semi warm, and some of the potatoes will “crush” and break up but that is what they need to do.

Serve on a flat platter, and top with shavings of parmesan and roasted (roast in a dry pan until light brown) macadamia nuts.

Double click on the RECIPE CARD LINK below to open a pdf format printable version of this recipe
Crushed pesto potatoes RECIPE CARD

Roasted beetroot, red onion and balsamic salad…. Let’s cook for 50 at a good friend’s 50th…… part 5 of 9

We’ve “outsourced” this salad for the party, it takes quite a while to roast enough beetroot for 50 people.   An easy delicious salad that can be made in advance. This salad / veg is quite a regular in our circle of friends….

For the Roasted beetroot, red onion and balsamic salad you will need:

10 x red beetroot, washed and each beetroot sliced in 8
6 x red onions, peeled and quartered
125 ml balsamic vinegar
135 ml brown sugar
125ml olive oil
salt and pepper
2 x whole heads of garlic with the tops cut off

The table…

Put all the ingredients in a zip lock bag and give it a good shake to evenly distribute the sugary liquid around the beetroot and onions.

Bake in a flat oven tray on 170 degrees for 1 hour 15 minutes, the beetroot needs to shrink in size and well cooked with a glossy syrupy shine to them, don’t let it brown, cover with foil if need be…

Serve at room temperature

Glossy shiney roasted beetroot and red onion balsamic salad

Click on the RECIPE CARD below for a printable version of the recipe
Roasted beetroot, red onion and balsamic salad RECIPE CARD

Centre piece Caprese tomato salad…. Let’s cook for 50 at a good friend’s 50th…. part 4 of 9…

We’ve decided on this very “visual” caprese salad for our table “centre piece”…. or let me rather say the Cakestands filled with beautiful red tomatoes made themselves the centre pieces of the tables without us really planning it to be… it just worked… for us ….

Time to play with food….

For the Caprese tomato salad you will need:
1 x standard size ripe but firm tomato per person (2 x halves)
2 x fresh basil leaves per tomato
1 x slice of mozzarella cheese per tomato
1 x tub of basil pesto
Maldon salt
Black pepper
Olive oil
1 x camera to capture this visual feast….

Cut the tomatoes in half, sprinkle with Maldon salt and black pepper. Layer the halved tomatoes with one basil leave, one slice of mozzarella and half a teaspoon of basil pesto…..

Mix the remaining pesto with a little bit of olive oil to get a more liquid consistency and drizzle over the packed tomatoes…

The cakestands worked well on our full tables, it looks big and beautiful and does not take up a lot of space.

A real visual feast and very appealing on all the senses….

Green bean, red onion and rosa tomato salad……. Let’s cook for 50 at a good friend’s 50th…. Part 3 of 9…

For the Green bean, red onion and rosa tomato salad you need a “fairy” to finely chop the red onions for you, as per part 1 of 9, I demanded that a “fairy” chop the onions for me (2 bags full), as we made this salad four fold….

A very special thanks to my fairy, Evelyn Rust…

For the Green bean, red onion and rosa tomato salad you will need:
1 x bag fine green beans
1 x small punnet red rosa tomatoes
1 x red onion finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon Maldon salt
Black pepper
Olive oil +/- 4 tablespoons

This salad can be made up to 4 hours in advance….

Cook the beans by adding them to rapid boiling water, +/- 4 cm’s deep.

There is really no ideal cooking time as the beans we used at the party cooked within 1 minute, but sometimes it takes up to 4 minutes depending on the beans you use. I test them every minute as you really don’t want to “over cook” them. They need to be just semi cooked and still firm. If you “over cook” the beans they will be grey in colour and too soft and not visually appealing.

Once cooked immediately drain and rinse under cold running water until completely cooled down. This will ensure the cooking process to stop and the beans will keep their bright green colour once cooled quickly.

Add the cooled beans to a big “zip lock” bag, add the tomatoes, chopped red onion, maldon salt, pepper and olive oil.

Seal the bag and give it a good shake, leave at room temperature to infuse…

This was one of four salads that featured at Mike’s 50th, more visual appealing recipes to follow…..

Visual yummynesssssss

This salad was a real hit with the girls…

Peach and tomato summer salad………. part 4 of 5 at Nieuview, Paternoster

As part of the Main Birthday dinner at Nieuview, we made this lovely zingy Peach and Tomato salad, i will be making this a lot this coming summer, there’s something brave about the combination of a sweet peach and a zingy red wine vinegar soaked, salty tomato…. one of those taste combinations that takes your breath away, mmm or it might be the red wine vinegar that took my breath away…

For the Peach and tomato summer salad you will need:
4 Firm but sweet and ripe peaches, preferably the soft fleshy ones, don’t use yellow cling peaches…sliced with skin on.
2 cups of tomatoes, use small rosa tomatoes chopped in half
1 red chilli, finely chopped
Juice of one lemon
a handfull of finely chopped parsley
one red onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
olive oil
Maldon sea salt and black pepper

Prepare all the ingredients, try to cut the peaches over a bowl in order to catch all the juices running off, add the peach juice, if any, to the salad.

Mix all the ingredients together and serve at room temperature……

The only rule of the weekend was, “on Sunday morning, the day of my Birthday, everyone had to be on the beach at 6:30, in their costumes”, no questions asked, no matter what time we got to bed the night before, BE ON THE BEACH AT 6:30…………

I’ve arranged with Dianne Heesomgreen to take us paddling early Sunday morning as a surprise to my guests on my Birthday, it was a perfect morning and when Dianne “told” me to go and put my camera away, I told her that my camera goes where I go, and so we went off on the kayak’s with our camera’s in zip lock bags….

Surprise Kayak trip for my friends on my birthday…

Some of us have done this before…

I cannot think of a better way to start my birthday, this was truly beautifull….

And back at Nieuview, after a couple of “kayak rolls” coming back to the beach, we had a lazy sun filled day, full of laughs and yet more gifts….

Shannon, time to go and play in the kitchen…..

We’ve decided that we will be cooking a late afternoon Birthday dinner, this is what we do, we love cooking, and this house was so perfect for just that, all open plan with 360 degree sea views. I am not tooo sure how this happened, but between Evie and myself, we somehow missed capturing the prepping of the main birthday dinner as well as the meal itself, BUT I did capture the finale to this special weekend, THE chocolate tart….. to follow a bit later….

Asian Cabbage salad at Natanya, part 1 of 2

Natanya, a beautifully restored Beachhouse, on the rocks of Betty’s Bay, South Africa. Set against the fynbos rich Kogelberg Mountains. Closer to the sea you cannot get, with whales playing in the bay, this was the spot we chose for Bruce’s birthday weekend…. Me and Shannon, it is all about the food, and this setting was going to blow our socks off.

I think we’ve spend 2 months planning “the lunch menu”, (endless hours of fun over cups of tea and glasses of wine) as this house is close to our hometown, we’ve decided to invite some friends over on the Saturday to make it an extra special Birthday celebration for Bruce, well, we obviously played our hearts out, planning the menu, who to invite to stay, who to invite to come for the lunch, all very exciting…

Natanya lounge

We’ve planned to have a long table in the “dining room” overlooking the bay, but on arrival we soon realised that our space was quite limited as the lounge area did not lend itself to a long table. I told Shannon, we stick to the plan, i want a long table and we just need to make it happen. Well with Shannon, my foodie friend, we’ve managed to find this beautifull old wooden table outside and at the end we could not have asked for a more fitting visual display…. I loved the rough wood feel of the table and we presented some of the dishes straight on the table without any serving platters, just on sheets of wax paper.

Long rustic table

The recipes for our lunch that will feature in this blog post will be Sanmari’s Asian Cabbage salad. Cabbage, yes, i am not big fan of cabbage but this salad is a real crowd pleaser and got a lot of ooos and aaaaahs from the guests. In part 2 I will post the Creamy Lemon Tart …… And play we did play, in this beautifull open plan kitchen, also with a stunning view of the bay.

For the Asian Cabbage Salad you will need:

2 Baby cabbages, finely shredded we’ve used green and purple cabbage
1 cup spring onions cut into fine rings
1 cup mange tout

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tbsp soya sauce
Some flavouring, 1 tsp, in the form of chicken stock powder
1/4 cup of olive oil

200ml sunflower seeds
200ml flaked almonds
1 packed of uncooked 2 minute noodles broken into small pieces

Start by making the dressing, boil all the ingredients together for 5 minutes, until all sugar is dissolved and the dressing slightly thickens.

Then, chop / shred the cabbage finely, add the spring onions and mange tout.

Roast in an oven tray the topping ingredients, don’t take your eyes off the tray while in the oven, the nuts and raw two minute noodles needs to lightly brown, be careful as once it starts to brown it can burn within seconds, you need a light brown colour.

The above 3 steps can be done well in advance.

One hour before serving mix the dressing with the cabbage mixture.

Just before serving, give the cabbage and dressing another good mix and top with the cooled roasted nuts and noodles…

Don’t mix the nuts and noodles into the salad, it should be on top of the salad to keep it’s crunch…

We’ve served an caprese salad with the Asian Cabbage Salad, made of half red ripe tomatoes, basil pesto and slices of moserella cheese…topped with more drizzles of basil pesto… visual, visual….

The menu further included a goats cheese tart, mini aubergine and feta meatballs (served in heaps straight onto the rough table on wax paper), Asian sticky pork neck cooked for 3 hours and beetroot roasted with red onions and garlic….

Natanya was everything we wanted and expected for this lunch, how do i describe the feeling when we (me and my foodie friend) look at each other at the end of the meal, and we just know we’ve knocked their socks off…. no words needed, a passion for good food we share…


“the birthday boy and my foodie friend…”