Bean and Butternut winter warmer, in the magical Tankwa Karoo

Another lazy weekend at the Tankwa Tented camp…..

The drive is far, but we see it as a “road trip” and stop along the way. From Cape Town I suggest you take Friday half day and plan to be at the Tankwa Farmstall at around 4, just in time for late afternoon coffee or early sundowners, don’t miss this Farmstall, it is all part of the Tankwa Magic. You also want to get to the Tented Camp before dark and drive in “combo” with someone else, just in case you need some assistance with those dreaded flat tyres.

The last part of the trip from Ceres is really beautiful, long long long flat straight roads with absolutely nothing ….

Pit stop no one..

Pit stop no two..

The Tankwa Tented Camp is a self catering campsite, with tents with bedding on request.

I’ve decided to make this lovely bean and butternut bake as side dish to our chicken braai, it is easy packing, none of the ingredients needs refrigeration, except for the parsley, a real “out of a tin” dish which works for me on weekends away. You need an oven for it, but there’s one at the Tankwa Camp kitchen.

click on the link for a printable recipe cardBean and butternut winter warmer ………. RECIPE CARD
For the Bean and butternut bake you will need:
No 13c. tankwa
2 tins drained butter beans
2 tins peeled tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 onions
olive oil
1 butternut cubed
5 garlic cloves, chopped
4 bay leaves
1 tablespoon sugar
baby carrots – optional
1 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
salt, pepper and a squirt of lemon juice
(recipe adjusted from the Halfaampies Celebrates , Gigantes Plaki recipe – what a lovely book)
Pre heat the oven to 160 degrees. Saute the onions with the garlic and a bit of olive oil, add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 3/4 cup parsley and bay leaves and simmer for +/- 10 minutes.

Add salt and pepper.

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Drain the butter beans and add to a +/- 6cm deep oven proof dish. Add the optional baby carrots and top with the cooked tomato mixture, cover with foil and bake for one hour.

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Roast the cubed butternut, drizzled with olive oil on the bottom try of the oven (in a flat oven tray) while the beans and tomatoes simmer on the top try.

After on hour, remove the cover from the bean and tomato mixture, (don’t mix) and add the roasted soft butternut on top of the bean and tomato mixture. Bake uncovered for another 30 minutes at 180 degrees. Serve hot and top with the rest of the chopped parsley just before serving.

No 13f. tankwa

Campsite braai...

Campsite braai…

This warm soothing bean and butternut bake goes well with any kind of braai as a side dish, I prefer chicken….

At the Tankwa Tented Camp you are supposed to unwind and relax, BUT if you want to you can always….

HAVE FUN and go for a run…

RELAX in the hammock…

As long as you don't swing 2 together and break it like Abby did...

As long as you don’t swing 2 together and break it like Abby did…

Go for a 3 – 4 km cycle with the kids to the Africa Burn site…

ALWAYS but always take your camera with…

Me and my bike... strangely I did not crash as I was taking pics while cycling....

Me and my bike… strangely I did not crash as I was taking pics while cycling….

AFrica Burn fixtures

No 52. tankwa

And Sunday morning, make sure you get up before the sun and go for a walk…

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And if you are planning to get married, stroll over to the “wedding” site..

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A pic from our last trip..... a wedding...

A pic from our last trip….. a wedding…

And when the sun comes out the smell of coffeeeeeee will draw you back to the camp…

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And then it is time to go home, as I said a weekend can work, and if you make a “roadtrip” of the driving it is not too short, in Friday, back Sunday…

Make sure you take an extra tyre…

As this road eats tyres…. and

No 67. tankwa

inspire your kids to also take lots of pic’s ….

A helping hand..

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And you know it was a GREAT weekend if you feel TIRED…. luckily the long drive home will give you enough time to “recover”, just make sure you are not the driver…..

We need to explore the hidden treasures in our area…. like the beautiful Tankwa Karoo….

Crimplene Pudding at the De Hoop Nature Reserve, and a fathers day concert on the dunes..

I now wonder why I have not visited the De Hoop Nature Reserve before, it is a real outdoor experience with lots of class, a photographic paradise and lots lots more….

We visited the De Hoop Nature Reserve during the Fathers day long weekend in June, and stayed at the De Hoop Village. It is not often that you walk into a self catering cottage and am completely blown away by the high standard and quality of the unit, white puffy duvets, a fully equipped kitchen with lovely crockery, platters and bowls, (yes that is what’s important to me), a beautifully set table and views that goes on forever… and when you open the back door, you see Bontebok grazing in your back yard.

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Our lovely De Hoop Village cottage

Our lovely De Hoop Village cottage

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Hans, Carey and Isabella joined us for the weekend, and sorry guys but I just need to post this pic to explain the friendship…

A special friend...

A special friend…

Hans was on “food duty” on Saturday night and cooked up a storm to impress the “blog girl” with his food… Hans from now on you are on permanent “food duty” whenever we go away together…

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Hans had lists, printed recipes and loads of ingredients… and Thyme… in a tin, yes you add water and it still needs to grow…. Hans, that was very funny… we should have started the process and left the “herb garden in a tin” in the kitchen windowsill for the next guests.

Thyme in a tin, oeps it still needs to grow...

Thyme in a tin, oeps it still needs to grow…

And the “baby potato” mash, not sure if it was meant to be baby potato’s, but it showed us the strong friendship bond you share with Bruce, as he got up and without giving you “lip”, helped you peel the little baby potatoes for the mash.

The lovely “laid back” dinner served by Hans and Carey… I am impressed… Oven roasted salmon on herby mash with roasted baby tomatoes and a homemade vinaigrette.

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Bruce's happy dance while Hans cooks our dinner...

Bruce’s happy dance while Hans cooks our dinner…

Fathers day started with a 3.5 km Vlei walk, with a couple of moans from the little ones but it was beautiful, a floral and fynbos explosion, birders paradise, lots of buck and a stunning view over the “Vlei”.

The 3.5 km Vlei walk..

The 3.5 km Vlei walk..

Hans Carey and Isabella

Hans Carey and Isabella

A nice view of "die melkkamer" accommodation

A nice view of “die melkkamer” accommodation

Fathersday fun

Fathersday fun

I was in charge of the fathers day lunch, a slow roasted leg of lamb with baby potatoes, sweet pumpkin fritters, roast vegetables and pesto tomatoes…
No 45. de hoop

And for dessert, I thought I need something traditional, and what better than a delicious dessert from my new cookbook, HALFAAMPIESKRAAL CELEBRATES, the Crimplene Pudding….. we will visit Halfaampieskraal later this year in September..

It is important to select the correct serving dish for this dessert, either a flat serving platter or individual clear glass bowls…. I could not find a clear glass platter, and stopped in Bredasdorp at a lovely pottery shop and found this beautiful white platter with a light blue protea print, just perfect for De Hoop.

My Mothersday gift and my new Cookbook, a beautiful book...

My Mothersday gift and my new Cookbook, a beautiful book…

For the Crimplene Pudding you will need:

half tin condensed milk
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
125g cream cheese (a soft type)
1 large bottle or 2 small tins guavas in syrup
some water
1/2 tablespoon custard powder
1 x readymade swiss roll thinly sliced
1 teaspoon of icing sugar
Click on THIS link for a printable recipe card in PDF format:Cimplene pudding ………. RECIPE CARD

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Line the serving platter with thinly sliced swiss roll. Mix the condensed milk, lemon juice and cream cheese until smooth and spread over the layered swiss roll slices.

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Add 150 ml water to a saucepan with the juice from the guavas and the custard powder, simmer until thickened and let it cool.

Layer the guava halves onto the cream cheese mixture and pour the cooled custard mixture over the guavas. Refrigerate for +/- 2 hours. Serve with dusted icing sugar.

Emma liked it with loads of custard...

Emma liked it with loads of custard…

After lunch it was time to visit the De Hoop Dune area and beach, the De Hoop Nature reserve is one of the best coastal areas to view whales from June to December each year. It is a marine reserve and a World Heritage Site. The high dunes gives a great viewpoint for spectacular whale sighting. We will be coming back in early November to walk the five day Whale Trail, and after our short visit I know it’s going to be whale watching paradise.

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The children decided to surprise the “dads” on Fathers day with a concert on the dunes with the whales flapping in the background. It was stunning with the sun setting in the distance, magic hour, with the sky turning from blue to any colour pink you can imagine and the violin stings playing on the dunes…

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The surprise Fathersday concert...

The surprise Fathersday concert…

Thanks to Hans, Carey and Isabella for a great weekend,… I now cannot wait for our five day De Hoop Whale Trail walk in November… and we will be back to try out all the other cottages in the De Hoop Collection..

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Scotch eggs, a roadtrip picnic, the Magical Tankwa Tented camp, a wedding and so much more…

A road trip to the Tankwa Karoo and the Magical Tankwa Tented camp will not be complete without something profound like “scotch eggs” and a picnic breakfast on the flat Tankwa “vlakte”……

I’ve been wanting to visit the Tankwa Tented Camp for a couple of years, and grabbed the opportunity for a quick 24 hour in and out to take venue pics for our host at the Tankwa Tented Camp, Henk van Niekerk, after a very late night invite one Friday evening, over a pizza, at their restaurant Bodemloos Kombuis in Elgin.

The Tankwa Tented Camp is situated 150 km from Ceres towards Calvinia…. a very long tyre eating gravel road.

Many stops along the way...

Many stops along the way…

For the Scotch Eggs you will need:
Desired amount of eggs, small size, room temperature
1.5 flavoured pork sausages (bangers) per egg
2 raw eggs mixed with salt and pepper
fine bread crumbs
2 – 3 cups of canola or sunflower oil

Click on this link for a printable recipe cardScotch Eggs ………. RECIPE CARD

The eggs – add the room temperature eggs to the water and bring to the boil, boil for 3 minutes from when the water start to boil. Crack the shell and rest in cold water for a couple of minutes. (I prefer to use the oldest eggs in my fridge as they peel easier)

Peel the eggs, you want them as soft as possible. Dry the peeled eggs, this will help the meat stick onto them.

Flatten the meatball in your hand...

Flatten the meatball in your hand…

Push the pork meat out of the sausages and shape into meatballs, use the meat of 1.5 sausages per meatball. Press the meatball flat in the palm of your hand and put the dry cooked egg on top of the flat meatball.

It is important to use flavourful sausages, I use Oak Valley Pork Sausages with peppadews and rosemary. You can also add capers ect to normal pork bangers to add to the flavour.

Wrap the egg in the sausage meatball

Wrap the egg in the sausage meatball

Close your hand and shape the meatball around the egg, don’t panic, the sausage meat will feel sticky, don’t stress, work with both hands and keep on pressing the meat around the egg, it will come together at the end…

Keep on working the meat to cover the egg..

Keep on working the meat to cover the egg..

Carefully place the meat covered egg on a plate, prepare all the eggs. Brush the eggs with the beaten raw egg, brush both sides, work carefully. Roll the eggs in fine breadcrumbs and let them rest in the fridge.

Brush the meatball covered eggs with beaten egg.

Brush the meatball covered eggs with beaten egg.

I prefer to rest the prepared eggs in the fridge until just before we leave the house, these eggs I fried while we packed the car at 4 in the morning.

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Use a wok if you have one, it will use less oil and works well, the eggs should be covered halfway with oil. Slowly fry the crumbed eggs as you want the meat to cook and the crumbs not to turn too brown.

Lovely light brown scotch eggs...

Lovely light brown scotch eggs…

I drained the excess oil and transported the freshly fried scotch eggs wrapped in foil. Ready of our very early morning breakfast in the Tankwa Vlakte…. It was COLD, luckily we had steaming mugs of coffee to warm our hands…

Our Tankwa picnic table..

Our Tankwa picnic table..

Serve the Scotch Eggs cut in half, with course salt and black pepper, and don’t forget the tin mugs of steaming coffee to warm your hands.

Me and my photo buddy, Evelyn Rust, always game for lots of adventure

Me and my photo buddy, Evelyn Rust, always game for lots of adventure

After breakfast we stopped at the Tankwa Padstal, (a small café between nowhere and nothing). You have to stop here, it is a real treasure chest.

Thanks for the Pic Evie...

Thanks for the Pic Evie…

Tankwa Padstal décor...

Tankwa Padstal décor…

Our destination, THE TANKWA TENTED CAMP, in the Stonehenge Nature Reserve. With an annual rainfall of +/- 80 mm it’s one of the driest areas in South Africa.

Fellow road users.. locals on their way to the Tankwa Padstal for their weekly shopping

Fellow road users.. locals on their way to the Tankwa Padstal for their weekly shopping

The Tankwa Karoo is BEAUTIFUL no picture can really do it justice, it is covered with black stones as far as the eye can see…. nearly pre-historic…

Nearly there..

Nearly there..

After 150 km’s from Ceres, turn right….

The wedding venue at the Tankwa Tented Camp

The wedding venue at the Tankwa Tented Camp

We were invited to take a couple of pics for Henk of the “wedding venue” at the Tankwa Tented Camp, little did we know what we will find in this barren piece of land… it was beautiful, …. dreamlike and unreal…

What a VENUE...

What a VENUE…

Surprises for the guests...

Surprises for the guests…

This venue is magical, different as can be and stunningly beautiful….

We had a wonderful evening, running around in the dark taking pics for Henk and Maryke….

Lazy bones Evelyn... sleeping on the "veranda" under the stars and waking up to the smell of coffee...

Lazy bones Evelyn… sleeping on the “veranda” under the stars and waking up to the smell of coffee…

And then… Henk surprised us with a sneak peak at this years Africa Burn statues…. just +/- 3 km from the camp….

No words can describe the hugeness of this wooden man…

An early morning surprise visit to the Africa Burn site..

An early morning surprise visit to the Africa Burn site..

Thanks to Henk and Maryke for giving us a sneak peak into this new wonderful wedding venue… we liked our 24 hours so much that we’ve decided to book a full weekend in two weeks time…..

So off we go again, I cannot wait…

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And to the 3 TANKWA girls joining me next weekend, we are going to have a ball…. Ann I expect scotch eggs with herbs…

Smoked Salmon tagliatelle and bunny paw prints, Part 3 of 3….. EASTER at Bosbokfontein Nature Reserve

I’ve waited eight months to post this recipe, it was the first one I thought of when I started my blog…. Now at last, 56 posts and eight months later, Shannon cooked it for me and I’ve managed to capture the process at this very special Easter venue…. Bosbokfontein Nature Reserve, a little piece of paradise….

After a long afternoon on the beach, collecting driftwood sticks for our silhouette bunnies and playing with my polariser ring we climbed up the hill and started cooking….

Collecting beach treasures...

Collecting beach treasures…

Early evening view from the deck...

Early evening view from the deck…

Shannon, first enjoying a glass of bubbles before hitting the kitchen….the one thing we missed, the champagne glasses….2 x boxes WILL be delivered , to say thanks…

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It was time to light the candles… with no electricity, the house gets lit by flickering candles…

The lighting of the candles..for earth hour, we had EARTH weekend, no electricity for 4 days...

The lighting of the candles..for earth hour, we had EARTH weekend, no electricity for 4 days…

For the Salmon tagliatelle you will need:
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+/- 150g smoked salmon
1 small bunch spring onions
butter and olive oil
5 large red tomatoes
1 teaspoon sugar 200ml cream
2 tablespoons old brown sherry
200ml milk mixed with 2 teaspoons Ina Paarman white sauce powder or flour
salt and pepper to taste
3 shakes of tabasco
1 teaspoon grated parmesan per serving
2 handfulls chopped flat leaf parsley

Click on this link for a printable recipe card Smoked Salmon tagliatelle ………. RECIPE CARD

Peel the tomatoes

Peel the tomatoes

Cut a cross on one side of the tomatoes and dunk them in boiling water for 1 minute, this will make the peeling easier without loosing any tomato flesh.

Finely chop the spring onions.

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In a heavy based pan or wok, saute the finely chopped spring onions in butter and a bit of olive oil. Cut the peeled tomatoes into small chunks and add to the spring onions. Fry for +/- 5 – 8 minutes to soften the tomatoes.

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Add one teaspoon of sugar to the fried tomatoes and 2 tablespoons of Old Brown Sherry. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes.

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Add the cream and milk mixed with 2 teaspoons of Ina Paarman White sauce powder OR two teaspoons of flour. Cook through. Chop the smoked salmon into smaller pieces and add to the pan with one tablespoon of chopped flat leaf parsley.

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Add black pepper and salt to taste as well as 3 shakes of tabasco.


Serve on tagliatelle with one teaspoon parmesan and more chopped parsley.

Food for angels...

Food for angels…

Emma, my “tea please” little one, first had to have a tea party with Lara…

Think it is bed time...

Think it is bed time…

Early morning, Sunday… Bunny masks done, part 1 of 3, black silhouette bunnies, part 2 of 3, and now the bunny flour paw prints….

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Cut out the paw prints and “stencil” them with flour….

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We could not have asked for a better EASTER weekend, thanks to great friends and magical venues……

ps…. add a squeeze of lemon… just before serving..

Chilli Chicken Liver Pancakes and Bunny Silhouettes, Part 2 of 3….. Easter at Bosbokfontein Nature Reserve

Waking up at Bosbokfontein Nature Reserve is a magical experience, the light through the huge windows gives a blue haze and the wooden house feels like a big ship floating on the open sea….

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Evie treated me to a real coffee experience and we downed huge cups of steaming coffee discussing the menu’s of the day…

The real coffee experience WITH a view...

The real coffee experience WITH a view…

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We moved inside, to the kitchen with the “best view” I’ve ever cooked in and Evie spoiled me with these lovely baked pancakes filled with chilli chicken livers…and more coffee….

A kitchen with a GREAT view...

A kitchen with a GREAT view…

For the Baked Pancakes filled with chicken livers you will need:
1 x batch of pancakes- see recipe on recipe card
500g free-range chicken livers
1 onion and 1 clover of garlic chopped
Black pepper and Ina Paarman chilli and garlic salt
Dash of Wellingtons Hot Sweet Chilli marinade
2 tablespoons rosemarie leaves
200 – 250 ml cream
Lemon juice and grated white cheddar cheese

Chicken liver pancakes ………. RECIPE CARD Cut on this link for a printable PDF recipe card.

The process...

The process…

We asked the girls if they wanted some Chicken Liver Pancakes as well…. look at the faces we got…

Lips in spasm...

Lips in spasm…

Evie busy in the kitchen… it took her about 45 minutes to get this dish on the table… nice chat time for the two of us …

Evie busy spoiling me ....

Evie busy spoiling me ….

Suite the onions and garlic in a little bit of olive oil and butter. Once soft add the roughly chopped chicken livers. Fry until cooked and nicely browned. Add black pepper and 2 good shakes of Ina Paarman Chilli and Garlic salt. Add a dash of Wellingtons Hot Sweet chilli marinade and +/- 250 ml cream. It should not be too runny. Add 1 tablespoon of rosemarie leaves and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and cook through.

Fill the pancakes and add a thin line of mayo over the chicken liver mix before you close the pancake.

Add grated white cheddar and bake for +/- 20 minutes until crisp on top.

Yum yum...

Yum yum…

Ready for the oven... bake until crisp..

Ready for the oven… bake until crisp..

After our BIG breakfast it was time for a quick walk on the beach…

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And then, Evie and Albert went to show me the farm… Evie, apparently is the “better” driver and in the loose sand we needed a GOOD driver. At one point we went up a very steep hill and could not see the road going down, Albert shouted “sharp right” which was what Evie did…. but it was not as sharp as what we thought….

A view of the Nature Reserve..

A view of the Nature Reserve..

Our very capable driver..

Our very capable driver..

A quick damage check...mmm not tooo bad...

A quick damage check…mmm not tooo bad…


We’ve decided to cut out 20 black silhouette bunnies for the easter egg hunt. We did not want to disturb the vegetation and decided to do the hunt all along the access road, and marked the “nests” filled with chocolate eggs with our black bunnies on a stick.

Evie busy cutting out the bunnies...

Evie busy cutting out the bunnies…

Bunny silouette

Print the bunnies on A4 white paper and make photocopies on the darkest setting, roughly cut them out and stick them to cardboard. Cut them out and tape a small stick to the back…

Midnight creative fun by candle light..

Midnight creative fun by candle light..

Evelyn woke me at around 6 on Sunday morning… mmmmm it was drizzling outside but we had to get this done before the kids wake up…

Early morning fun, think we had more fun than the kids..

Early morning fun, think we had more fun than the kids..

WE also had some mmmmmmm bunnies for the adults…

Bunnies for the Adults..

Bunnies for the Adults..

Let the HUNT begin…



A little bit of hassle, a HUGE lot of creative fun…

Full of smiles...

Full of smiles…

To follow in part 3, Shannon’s Smoked Salmon Tagliatelle and bunny paw prints…

Velvety quick MILK TART and BUNNY MASKS, Part 1 of 3……. Easter at Bosbokfontein Nature Reserve


38. Friday

The invite said “come and celebrate Easter in Stilbaai”, little did I know how magical this place would be, the house gave me the feeling of a HUGE pirate ship on the open ocean, all you can see looking out of the windows is the rolling ocean for 180 degrees, even from the loo window……

The view from the Stoep...

The view from the Stoep…

Menu planning for weekend’s away are easy, everyone gets a turn and it makes for easy packing and you only need to focus on 2 meals over 4 days, and every one was just nicer than the one before….

I will post 3 recipes in this EASTER Blogpost, the first will be a really easy velvety quick milk tart, then Evie’s baked pancakes filled with creamy chilli chicken livers and end with Shannon, the Princess’s smoked salmon tagialtelle….. I will also add templates for quick Easter fun for the kids, Bunny Masks, Black bunny silhouettes and flour bunny paw prints…

40. friday

For this Quick Milk Tart you will need:

3 x XL eggs
250 ml sugar
30 ml soft butter
250 ml cake flour
5 ml vanilla
5 ml baking powder
1 ml salt
1 l milk
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 cup sugar mixed

Click on this link for a printable recipe card Velvety milk tart , quick and easy ………. RECIPE CARD

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Grease a deep “lasagne dish” with butter. Cream the egg yolks, sugar and butter till pale and light yellow. Add the cake flour, baking powder and salt to the yolk mixture. Add 750ml of the milk and mix well.

39. Friday

Whisk the egg whites till stiff and fold into the remaining 250 ml milk. Add the egg white mixture to the yolk mixture and fold until combined, the mixture will look very runny.

Pour into the greased dish and bake at 180 degrees for 55 minutes until golden brown and slightly wobbly in the middle. Remove from the oven and dust with the cinnamon sugar. Cool for 1 hour 30 minutes and serve slightly warm but set.

41. Friday

After lunch it was time to hit the beach…. down the dunes and we have the beach to ourselves for as far as the eye can see….

Girlie time with a bottle of bubbles…

51. Friday

54. Friday

Late afternoon it was time to start making the Bunny Masks for the easter egg hunt on Sunday Morning…. A nice holiday craft for the kids. See template attached Easter Bunny Mask click on the blue “Easter bunny Mask” to open the template.

95. Saturday

Cut out the template and trace the outlines onto A4 White cardboard. Cut out.

96. Saturday

Cut out two smaller pink pieces to form the inside of the ears, and paste to the white mask. Glue around the pink area on the ears and around the eyes and stick cotton wool to the mask. Let it dry.

97. Saturday

Cut 30 cm long strips 5 cm’s wide out of white cardboard and stick to the left and right inside of the mask to form the bands around your head.


Leave the 2 bands loose in order to fit it to size once you are ready to do your hunt, then stick the two banks together to size.

READY for our Easter Egg Hunt!

READY for our Easter Egg Hunt!

Not too sure who had the most fun, the adults or the kids…

123. Sunday

What a setting for an Easter Egg Hunt…. we’ve kept to the road and marked the eggs with black silhouette bunny’s, to follow in the next post…

126. sunday

The find…

115. Sunday

To follow…. Baked pancakes filled with chilli chicken livers and black bunny silhouettes….

Peanut noodles at Black Rock….

Umtendwe Beach Cottages, situated 1 hour from East London between Haga Haga and Double Mouth…. at Black Rock….

I cannot recall how we found this spot but it is a real gem. Black Rock consists of 5 houses on the beach, in a Private Nature Reserve one hour from East London, a bit of a bad gravel road, especially after the rain and with roads knee deep full of mud, but that was soon forgotten, it ensures that you go in and only come out once you are ready to go home, so pack and plan well as the shops are FAR away…..

One of the privately owned, holiday rental houses at Black Rock is called Umtendwe Beach Cottages, it consists out of two fully furnished and well equiped units that opens up in one unit if needed. With six on-suite bedrooms and two fully equipped kitchens it was the ideal place for four families to have a little bit of a winter holiday break.

We took turns cooking for all 15 of us during our five day stay, and I made Peanut Noodles for one of my Lunch turns.

For the Peanut Noodles you will need:(recipe for 4 portions)
4 free range chicken breast fillets – I use Elgin Freerange
6 cups of chicken stock – I use Ina Paarman chicken stock powder
200g (1 packet) of egg noodles – the red packet at Spar in the Chinese section
2 carrots, finely sliced
1/2 cucumber finely sliced
1/2 lettuce finely sliced
2 handfull’s of salted peanuts
2 x sprinkles of chilli flakes

For the dressing:
3/4 cup of peanut butter
1/4 cup of sesame oil (a must)
1 tablespoon soya
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
One cup of the chicken stock used for poaching the chicken

The method of the Peanut Noodles is a bit strange, but it works and ensures really soft and tasty chicken fillets.

Bring 6 cups of chicken stock to the boil in a big saucepan.
Slice each chicken fillet in 5 flat smaller pieces.
Slide the cut chicken fillets into the boiling stock, make sure they are completely covered by the stock, bring back to the boil and immediately remove the saucepan from the heat, cover with a tight fitting lid and leave to cool for about 1 hour, keeping the lid on.

Fillets busy “poaching” in the stock, off the heat.

Make the peanut sauce by mixing together the peanut butter, sesame oil, soya sauce, honey and rice wine vinegar.

Peanut sauce

The Sesame oil and Rice wine vinegar is a must, it lasts for very long in your cupboard so please don’t attempt the recipe without these very important ingredients, believe me, once you’ve tasted these noodles you will make it quite often….

After poaching the chicken in the hot stock for about an hour, gently lift the chicken from the stock, but KEEP THE STOCK.

I usually slice the chicken pieces even smaller at this stage. Add ONE cup of the chicken stock to the peanut sauce to get a more liquid consistency. Bring the chicken stock to the boil once again and add the egg noodles, cook for about 5 minutes till “al dente” and drain.

Add the chicken pieces to the cooked noodles and mix with the peanut sauce.

Sprinkle with chilli flakes, even just a little bit if you don’t like chilli, it really works with the sweet peanut sauce.

Serve on a flat platter and add the thinly sliced carrots, cucumber and chopped salted peanuts….

Peanut Noodles served at Black Rock….

These noodles works very well as leftovers for lunch the next day, also ideal for a packed picnic.


Take a walk to Haga Haga hotel for a drink….it will take you about 2 hours to reach Haga Haga

Mandy organised the horses with one of the locals, lots of laughs with the bicycle helmuts…and a couple of tense moments down the hill…

The open plan kitchen ensured hours of “relaxation” with friends, reading, others cooking and the kids playing outside…

It is a small world, meeting friends from our “hometown” about 900km’s away, who was also on holiday in one of the other five houses at Black Rock, A VERY SMALL WORLD….

The kids playing on the beach till very late in the evening… hours of fun even though it was quite cold..

Our walk to Double Mouth, passing “black rock”

Passing “black rock” , believe me this looks worse than what it was…

Double Mouth, the second river on the right

Entering the “double mouth” river mouth…. with no one around for kilometers …

Our picnic spot at Double Mouth

A little bit of a long walk back, but really worth the effort…

The last day, always a bit of a low point on any holiday….. we’ve decided to walk up the small riverbed next the Umtendwe Beach Cottages, looking for a picnic spot to braai the steak for our steak rolls, a very rocky riverbed with overgrown forest on both sides, carrying the braai, coolerboxes and chairs, well the riverbed just had to do for our braai….

Picnic spot on our last day…steak rolls…

Umtendwe Beach Cottages, Black Rock…

I can really recommend Umtendwe Beach Cottages for a family and friends getaway, it is a bit of a “pack and plan” but really worth the relaxed atmosphere and close to nature holiday break…. we will return of Black Rock, with good friends for days filled with cooking and laughing….

1. Peanut noodles RECIPE CARD

(Double click on the above RECIPE CARD to open the short printable recipe, only available on MS Word)

Sunday night’s creamy mushroom risotto….. at Linga Longa Cape Point…. Part 4 of 4

At Linga Longa guests sometimes decide to “Linga Longa” and we had to stretch our Sunday night’s quick creamy mushroom risotto.

For the Mushroom risotto you will need:

2 onions finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic sliced
1 T butter
4 T olive oil
2 cups chopped wild or brown mushrooms
2 cups risotto
1 T finely chopped thyme
200 ml white wine
6 cups hot chicken stock (+/- made with 1/2 teaspoon of Ina Paarmans chicken stock powder per cup)
50 g cubed butter
1/2 cup finely grated parmasan
juice of one fresh lemon
(T = tablespoon)

Prep, prep…..

Saute the onions, mushrooms, tyme and garlic with the olive oil and 1 T of butter until soft. In a seperate saucepan bring the chicken stock to a slow rolling boil, keep this bubbling while making the risotto. (I use Ina Paarman’s chicken stock powder, 1 teaspoon per cup of water)

Add the risotto to the mushroom and onion mixture and stir to evenly coat all the grains with a thin layer of olive oil and butter from the mushroom mixture. At this stage, take the pan off the heat and let it rest for about 3 minutes.

Put the pan back on the heat and add the white wine, bubble until all the wine is absorbed while stirring the risotto with a flat sided spatula…..

Add the chicken stock, one cup at a time, stir until all the liquid is absorbed before you add the next cup, do this over a medium heat.

Continue adding the stock until the risotto is cooked. You will have to taste it, there is no specific time, but it should take about 30 minutes. You might even need more stock, depending on the type of risotto used.

At the end, once the risotto is cooked, add 50g’s of cubed butter and grated parmesan and stir vigorously, this will form a creamy consistency……

Serve immediately with a squeeze of fresh lemon….

Stir vigorously while adding the butter and grated parmesan to form a creamy consistancy….

The squeeze of fresh lemon at the end, is a real must, it breaks the richness and just works….

We served the Creamy Mushroom Risotto with “braaied” chicken pieces…. risotto is a meal on it’s own, but remember we had guests that “linga longa”…..

And on Monday morning, when all the “working guests” had to leave at 5 in the morning to be at work by 8, we “linga longa” and I made our host a quick cheats eggs benedict…and used the leftover grated parmesan over a soft boiled egg… with fresh tomato…

And while we packed up, they came to show me their baby…

At last, a close-up of the little baby…

A very big thanks to our hosts for inviting us to this SPECIAL place deep inside the Cape Point Nature Reserve, we feel very privileged ……..

And I still need to be there during a BIG storm…

Tangy Lemon Loaf….. Linga Longa Cape Point….. Part 3 of 4

A simple luke warm tangy lemon loaf, just what the kids needs after a swim in the icy cold Cape Point sea…..the ideal holiday bake, we’ve baked this loaf in a gas oven, with a door that did not want to close, mixed by hand as we did not have electricity….easy easy…

Freezing waters of Cape Point Nature Reserve….

For the Lemon Loaf you will need:
340g cake flour
pinch of salt
1t baking powder
180g very soft butter
500g castor sugar
1t vanilla
3 eggs
rind of 2 lemons (finely grated)
juice of 1 lemon

For the syrup:
100g sugar
peel and juice of 3 lemons
380ml water

For the lemon icing…
125ml icing sugar
lemon juice and water about 5 tablespoons…

Mixing by hand…

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees and grease a loaf tin. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt. In a different bowl beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, I mixed it by hand as we did not have electricity…. it came out perfect, just make sure your butter is very soft.

Add the eggs one at at time to the buttery mixture, add the vanilla and lemon rind. Stir in the milk, lemon juice and flour alternatively until just mixed.

Pauline giving me a helping hand …

Bake for about one hour until a skewer comes out clean and the loaf is nice and brown on top.

While baking make the syrup, simmer together the sugar, lemon peel, lemon juice and water for at least 15 minutes. I’ve peeled the lemons with my potato peeler, try not to get too much of the white bits under the skin…. Spoon the hot syrup and lemon peels over the WARM turned out cake as soon as it comes out of the oven, and let it cool a little bit.

The smell drawing the kids into the kitchen, note the “plan” we had to make to close the gas oven’s door…

At this stage I heard lots of screams of laughter outside the kitchen window, Ben and Emma, the two little ones…. I just had to go and look…

Ben and Emma having fun…

Quickly make the icing to drizzle over the cooled cake … stir together the icing sugar and lemon and water mixture by adding the liquid spoon by spoon to the icing sugar. One spoon at a time until you reach a thick runny consistency… drizzle the lemony icing sugar over the cake.


It took us 5 minutes to polish this little tangy sweet number with some hot tea…

You can keep this lemon loaf for up to 3 days in an airtight container, IF you can keep your fingers out of it…

And tonight, we will be making a quick mushroom and thyme risotto….

Creamy Fish Pie….. at Linga Longa Cape Point ….Part 2 of 4

I’ve always wanted to make a fish pie, not too sure why I have not made one before…..

When inviting us to Linga Longa, Bruce asked me to make a Creamy Fish Pie, after several discussions with my “cheffy” friend Shannon we’ve decided that I need to combine two recipes….. out of experience I know that when it comes to food, Shannon knows best… so here we go.

For the Creamy Fish Pie you will need:

10 Medium size peeled and quartered potatoes – for the mash
100g butter – for the mash
125 ml warm milk – for the mash
1 pinch of salt – for the mash

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
4 finely sliced leeks
1 finely sliced clove of garlic
1 teaspoon of sugar
5 peeled and pips removed medium red tomatoes
1 shake of nutmeg
3 shakes of white pepper

1 cup white or bechemel sauce – not thick
1 tub cream
1 box frozen or fresh hake (about 4- 5 pieces)
1 box frozen or fresh salmon (about 4 – 5 pieces)
1 box frozen or fresh haddock (about 4 – 5 pieces)
1 punnet peeled and deveined prawns (about 1 1/2 cups full)
1 punnet calamari rings (not crumbed and optional)
6 – 8 SOFT boiled peeled eggs
1 handfull of finely chopped dill
2 handfulls of finely chopped flat leaf parsley
1 x LARGE oven proof dish

To make the mash, boil the quartered potatoes until soft, add the butter, warm milk and salt and mash until a creamy consistancy, don’t make the mash too long in advance as it will become “stodgy” if it cools down too much before you pipe it onto the pie.

Cut a cross at the top end of each tomato and pour boiling water over to cover completely, let it rest for about 2 minutes, pour the water off and peel the tomatoes, the peels should slide off…. slice each tomato in 4 and spoon the pips out. It is important to de-pip the tomatoes as it will make the pie too liquid if not removed…

Add the olive oil, butter, garlic and leeks to a hot pan and fry until soft, don’t brown the leeks, add the peeled tomatoes and sugar and saute for about 4 minutes over a medium heat. Add one shake of nutmeg and three shakes of white pepper to the tomatoes.

Then add the tub of cream to the tomatoes and bubble for 2 minutes, add the cup of runny white sauce and mix well, this should give you quite a runny liquid that will be poured over the fish.

Arranging the fish and seafood…

Arrange the raw fish in the oven dish (i’ve cut the fish into +/- 4cm x 4cm blocks and remove all skin if any, then add the prawns and calamari on top of the fish. Slice the SOFT boiled eggs in half and arrange evenly inbetween the fish. Add the dill and parsley. Pour the hot creamy tomato mixture over the fish….

Cover the fish with the warm mash, I’ve piped the mash with my “icing tube” but that is really not necessary as the liquid of the fish “flattened out” the mash into an even layer, so just spoon it on and even out….

We baked the fish pie for +/- 45 – 50 minutes on 180 degrees until golden brown…

This pic should tell you why I love this place so much, the view, the kids and adults playing cards in front of the fire, the smell of the creamy fish pie bubbling in the gas oven…. I just love it…

I served the Creamy Fish Pie with a green salad made from, shredded lettuce, cucumber, feta, 2 x soft avo’s, shavings of parmasan and toasted pine nuts…. and drizzled over a red wine vinegar sweet syrup. There’s something about the smell of bubbling red wine vinegar that takes your breath away… I am a bit addicted to it…

For the Red Wine Vinegar salad dressing:
Bubble together half a cup of red wine vinegar and 1/4 cup of brown sugar for at least 10 minutes, let it cool.

It should form a syrupy sweet / sour yummy salad dressing…

And loooong after dinner, when everyone sits in front of the fire, and just before SOME of us wants to go to bed, I quickly made them hot chocolate….. for 6, bubble together 2 x 90g slabs of chopped DARK chocolate, one cinnamon stick, 150ml cream and 4 cups of milk…..

Homemade HOT chocolate… serve in smallll espresso cups…

Time for some of us to go to bed now…..