It had been 15 years since our last reunion, a bunch of old varsity friends getting together for a major catch up to fill in the blanks left untold on Facebook. All we had were three days in Hermanus and we needed to make them count!
Day 1: The Sisterhood gathers at La Vierge (the virgin) in the Hemel-en-Aarde valley – an irony not entirely lost on this bunch of middle-aged broads!
My favourite chocolate mousse was the one my big sister used to make. It was sugary, chewy and lumpy – exactly the type of mousse you’d buy in those frosted metal parfait cups from any café or restaurant in every Portuguese town. She’d pried the recipe from a waitress many years ago by vowing to take it to her grave which sadly (but to her credit), she did.
I’ve been experimenting with a chocolate mousse recipe of my own and being a banting babe, I use severely dark chocolate and xylitol rather than sugar. But the choice is yours, it’s delectable either way.
Garlic and rosemary lamb with cauliflower and black pepper puree
To date, Banting has taken a pounding and those of us who have stuck by it have had to endure the countless jibes and derision from skeptics who have backed the food pyramid. A few months have passed and Banters have started to visibly shrink, now many of these self-same health-conscious individuals just want to know three things: ‘How much, how soon and with how little effort? ‘
There’s more to it than just that, and so for those interested in learning about a Banting lifestyle, what follows is a list of questions I am frequently asked.
Cottage pie with wilted baby spinach and cauli-mash topping
Known for its laid back locals, breathtaking vistas and superb food, Paternoster is the perfect destination to escape the madness – which is what I did in early November last year. My mission? To eat my way through town, one restaurant at a time. What follows is my selection of Paternoster’s prime pozzies:
The Noisy Oyster: 022 752 2196 – 62 St Augustine Road, Paternoster
Dinner at the Noisy Oyster should be appreciated with company. The place is warm and inviting and the staff almost over-the-top about making you feel at home. Frayed 30 Seconds cards lie scattered on the tables, the menu is tongue-in-cheek and every scatter cushion I’ve ever discarded in a fit of modernist rage has found its way here.
What to do in the middle of winter when you have the day off, the sky is deep blue and the sun just won’t quit? You take a quiet drive along the coast to remind yourself that you live at the ocean, with all it has to offer.
It’s easy to become complacent in the cold, to embrace the rut and cuddle up in your comfort zone, but when Mother Nature gives you a sneak peak at spring, you ditch the woolly mittens and grab it with both hands. The perfect opportunity to take advantage of the Cape’s bounty sans the usual tourists, traffic and torrential downpour.
There’s a lot of hoopla on social media at the moment regarding Woolworths and their ethical and sustainability claims. I often shop at Woolies as it’s convenient, fits in with my busy work schedule and provides me with my butternut ready chopped – just the way I like it (although I wouldn’t mind if the pieces were halved again). Still, there’s no denying they’re a large corporation with a serious bottom line, so if it’s a guarantee you’re after, then you need to remove a few links from the supply chain.
When I found myself cooking for my Cape Town Clan last Sunday, I made sure to source my lamb from the one place I do trust implicitly with my carnivorous needs: Gogo’s Meat & Biltong Deli in Newlands.
These days it’s safer to venture an opinion on the Israel-Palestine conflict than it is to support Banting. I don’t know who’s annoying me more at the moment: the fence sitting foodies, the ill informed, yet exceedingly vocal skeptics or the Banting Bashers who think LCHF (Low Carbohydrate, High Fat) is KFC without the bun. What I don’t understand is, why all the drama?
I bought The Book earlier this year and it said I could still use cream, butter and olive oil in cooking and eat bacon, avocado and cheese. It also said to avoid sugar and foods high in carbohydrates — which include seed and vegetable oils. That’s it. It never said to eat any of the permissible foods in abundance and it clearly advises against too much protein.
For the past few Sundays I’ve found myself at The Creamery soaking up the clean, crisp interior, the salted caramel sauce and the overwhelmingly cheerful sense of community. I’ve queued with the kids, grans and couples for my favourite flavour and sat outside watching the side streets ooze families from their depths, sending them streaming into the cafe. Kate Scheirer’s dessert cafe is a hive of activity, drawing people in with its promise of nostalgic bonhomie and delectable classics.
James Taylor – the original Taylor ice cream churn (he now has a sibling, Taylor Swift)
The Creamery serves, in its own words: “honest-to-goodness, made-from-scratch, not-your-average ice cream”. Ingredients are sourced as locally as possible and where not, they support local, artisanal businesses. They buy chocolate from CocoaFair and coffee from Rosetta Roastery, both of whom process imported beans with home-grown flair.
Food Barn’s winter special*
I’d grown tired of hearing about The Foodbarn without having experienced it myself. My friend Julie Carter once invited me to join her there for lunch – then took her husband instead. A year on and I’d arranged to meet another friend, Clare Yeowell, for lunch in Noordhoek. I was finally going to try Franck Dangereux’s famous food and at half the price, no less. Cape Town winter specials are a beautiful thing, they’re the local’s reward for sharing the city with tourists for the other 8 months of the year.
Clare Yeowell from Classic Marmalade
As with most of my Cape Town friends, I’d met Clare via the food markets, City Bowl Market on Hope to be exact, where I regularly buy her delectable Classic marmalade, jams and preserves. Back then she’d agreed to let me spend a day with her to write about her product (which I did here) and that was all the time it took for the two of us to click. We’ve been buds ever since, despite her transcendence to the giddy heights of international acclaim for her marmalade. Clare has a palate of note and I knew she’d be the perfect companion on my maiden Foodbarn voyage.
The cosy interior
The Fish Lady from the Biscuit Mill
Julie Carter has had her Ocean Jewels stand at the Neighbourgoods market every Saturday since it first opened 7 years ago. It’s a foodie landmark and you’d be hard pressed to find someone in Cape Town who doesn’t know about her famous Tuna burger. She also does beautifully fresh things with Salmon and makes a Yellowtail spring roll that’s nigh on impossible to resist. All this, with her bubbly personality thrown in for good measure.
No introduction required
Jules sources her fish locally from around the peninsula with a guy in every port (her dad’s a commercial fisherman) and don’t try visiting Kalkbay harbour with her as you’ll never get away! Julie knows everyone in the industry, from fishermen to award winning chefs and is the tie that binds local, sustainable fishing with conscientious consumerism.
Tuna sashimi salad