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…

No 24. oakv

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

No 26. oakv

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….

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

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…

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…”