Food

Fruit wheels from Cecilia's Farm

As a small and local business who loves other small local businesses, we've build some fulfilling relationships with inspiring people throughout the lifetime of Hello Pretty. One such business is Cecilia's Farm.

Cecilia's is on a farm near Ceres called Koelfontein. They do fruits, nuts and wine and believe that nothing but the best fruit and nuts should go into their products and we can attest to them being true to their word.

A couple of weeks back we tried out a new product they've released, called their fruit wheels. We bought all of the cheese in Cape Town, and a few other treats to have with them, and had our friends over and all stuffed our faces. And obviously wine. Obviously.
 

They have an online store over here so you can get yourself some of their delicious things. When you place your order, we highly recommend trying a bottle or two of their 2011 Shiraz. It's a beauty. And the nougat is from another talented South African artisan called Ma Mère and we bought ours from Fabricate in the Gardens Centre.

Bento Monsters Takes Food Art to the Next Level

Stay-at-home mom, Ming, makes the most incredible lunches for her two boys. Trust me; they are something to be jealous of! It all started when her first child went to primary school and he was having trouble adjusting. She wanted to pack a cute lunch with notes, so that he can have something to look forward to when break time came.

The charabens, which are decorative bentos, have now become a hobby. Ming started taking photos of her food art and decided to start a blog; www.bentomonsters.com. Her blog has many recipes and tutorials, so there’s no excuse for you not to try it out! She also posts many photos to her Instagram account and she has brought out a book with some amazing recipes and ideas.

How adorable are the piglets and the sleeping bunnies? To all the moms out there, are you up for the challenge? 

Source: Bored Panda
Images: Bento Monsters

Spier Werf Market

Spier Werf Market
Spier Werf Market

This past weekend we popped through to Stellenbosch to visit the new Werf farmers market at Spier, and we're so glad that we did!

It was packed full of delicious ready to eat food, as well as fresh fruit and veggies. And of course, amazing wine!

Spier Werf Market
Spier Werf Market
Spier Werf Market

"Curated and run by Studio H, this weekly farmers market is focussed on bringing together lots of artisanal everything. The offerings include tasty treats, ethical and sustainable produce and products, indigenous plants, happy silk worms, and more. We'd love for you to stop by for a relaxing day outdoors in the shade of the ancient oaks on Spier's newly-restored historic werf. "

Spier Werf Market
Spier Werf Market
Spier Werf Market
Spier Werf Market

See all of the details on their Facebook pagewebsite or Instagram feed - we can highly recommend the trip!

Zestly Box!

Zestly Box! on http://hellopretty.co.za
Zestly Box! on http://hellopretty.co.za

So from time to time, Team Hello Pretty ingests things that aren't wine, cheese and coffee - and recently, Zestly Box has made our kitchen endeavours infinitely more enjoyable.

As the new kid on the subscription box block, Zestly Box is all about gourmet snacking, so we were naturally thrilled when one landed on our doorstep. AND! Because there are glass bottles and jars in the package, there is also lots of shredded paper padding. What's that thing about how you give a child a gift and they play with the packaging?

Zestly Box! on http://hellopretty.co.za

Jokes aside, I am possibly the least domestic human alive. In my mind, I'm Bree Van der Kamp herself (sans the drama), but in reality I am a flailing mess in  the kitchen. I'm happy to report there have been no fires as yet, but I am still new in this life.

SO! What better way to become more kitchen savvy than to have someone send me things to try out? Everything in the package is delicious and I develop mad skillz.

Zestly Box! on http://hellopretty.co.za
Zestly Box! on http://hellopretty.co.za
Zestly Box! on http://hellopretty.co.za

Each box comes with a detailed "meet the makers" page, so you know exactly who the gourmet wizards are that have created such droolworthy items, with every item carefully selected by the Zestly duo, Gino and Tamlyn.
 

Zestly Box! on http://hellopretty.co.za
Zestly Box! on http://hellopretty.co.za
Zestly Box! on http://hellopretty.co.za
Zestly Box! on http://hellopretty.co.za

In this particular box, the slab of lavender white chocolate was the first to go, with the olive caviar hot on it's heels. (Yes, they are already finished. #sorrynotsorry)

You should definitely get in on the action, at http://zestly.co.za/get-started/ - say hello to many delicious days in your future!

Image Source

Lunch at The Table with the Hello Pretty team

Lunch at The Table with the http://hellopretty.co.za team

Towards the end of last year, we were lucky enough to spend one lazy Sunday together, drinking wine and absolutely gorging ourselves on the most incredible food.

It was a pretty great opportunity just to be together outside of work, unplugged, to reflect on our year. It just gave us a rare quiet moment (or like, three hours worth of lunch) to talk about what we had achieved, and what we wanted to achieve in 2015. Because we are all constantly moving and travelling, to be able to do that together is really rare, and we couldn't have asked for a better setting.

We headed out to The Table at De Meye on the most beautiful day with the top down, wind in our hair, Taylor Swift blaring. (Shame. Our one male team member has ZERO say in our music choices.)

We were welcomed with a complimentary wine tasting, and obviously all left clutching new bottles - the wine is delicious, easy to drink almost any time (our favourite) and super well priced. What a win.

But then the food. Oh the food. I don't even know where to start. Actually just look for yourself:

Lunch at The Table with the http://hellopretty.co.za team
Lunch at The Table with the http://hellopretty.co.za team
Lunch at The Table with the http://hellopretty.co.za team
Lunch at The Table with the http://hellopretty.co.za team

That my friends, in amongst the vineyards, under the trees, is a beetroot tarte tatin with sour cream and "magic greens" (a mix of over 20 micro herb, vegetable and salad leaves). I DON'T EVEN LIKE BEETROOT! And there I was shoveling it in my face like a fat kid with cake.

Jess Shepard, you are a wizard.

Other amazing treats on the menu included

  • Homemade ricotta whipped with lemon and thyme
  • Pickled grapes
  • Broad beans (from Spiers biodynamic garden) mashed with goats pecorino, garlic and olive oil
  • Schoon de Companje bread and Hjike real farm butter
  • Slow braised pork neck with crackling and roast potatoes
  • And then the most beautiful desert: rhubarb ice cream with strawberry compote and rose geranium jelly
I had so many feelings you guys. I just want to go back. I actually just want to move in. Gush much? Yes. Sorrynotsorry.
 
Lunch at The Table with the http://hellopretty.co.za team
Lunch at The Table with the http://hellopretty.co.za team
Lunch at The Table with the http://hellopretty.co.za team

...

Sorry, I just had to take a second there. I was having a minor saliva situation.

But basically, the point of this post is to highly recommend going there. The people are kiff, the venue is drop dead gorgeous, and the food is basically art. It's fancy without the fuss, laid back without skimping on quality or details.

The folks who run the place are husband and wife team Luke and Jess, and they're really lovely people - I emailed back and forth about changing bookings and increasing table sizes and all sorts of nonsense beforehand (Ja I was *that* person), and they handled it with incredible grace, and welcomed us like family when our windswept selves finally arrived. (Driving with the top down has its pros, but also it's cons.)

Lunch at The Table with the http://hellopretty.co.za team
Lunch at The Table with the http://hellopretty.co.za team

And the dog is a real sweetie too!

Treat yo'self. Email jess.chef@gmail.com for bookings. Thank me later.

Pretty chocolates

Pretty chocolates on http://hellopretty.co.za
Pretty chocolates on http://hellopretty.co.za

I spotted these lovely, tasty looking bits of chocolatey goodness on the interwebz last week, and felt that it was compulsory to share: Chocolates That Represent Japanese Onomatopoeic Words To Describe Texture. I mean. Just look at them.

 

Pretty chocolates on http://hellopretty.co.za
Pretty chocolates on http://hellopretty.co.za

'There are many factors that determine our experience with chocolate: the type of cocoa, the percentage used, and the flavors. But when Maison et Objet, the pre-eminent design show in France, told Oki Sato that they were naming him Designer Of The Year and asked him to design a set of chocolates, he had to pause. The head of the Tokyo and Milan-based design studio Nendo needed to rethink the concept of chocolate.

Nendo has created “Chocolatexture,” a series of 9 chocolates, all the same size, but each representing a Japanese onomatopoeic word that describes texture.
“The 9 different types of chocolate are made within the same size, 26x26x26mm, featuring pointed tips, hollow interiors, smooth or rough surface textures,” says Sato. “And while the raw materials are identical, the distinctive textures create different tastes.”'

Pretty chocolates on http://hellopretty.co.za
Pretty chocolates on http://hellopretty.co.za
Pretty chocolates on http://hellopretty.co.za
Pretty chocolates on http://hellopretty.co.za
Pretty chocolates on http://hellopretty.co.zaI spo

Delicious as well as beautiful? I am definitely in favour of that idea!

Source.

Sometimes we're fancy and get invited to launch events for new online stores.

The launch was hosted in a very beautiful art gallery called Rust-en-Vrede in Durbanville, and Simone from Yellow Papaya did all the catering, as well as putting out the decor and gifts, on her own because her partner Yolandi wasn't well and unfortunately had to miss the event that she'd been working her butt off for, what a shame. Hope you're feeling better, Yolandi.

Cecilia's Farm operates on the same principle as many of designers, summed up on their website:

"Here on the farm we believe that the best tasting fruit and nut products are made from only the best fruit, and then crafted using a blend of traditional skills and modern know-how. We search the world for the best quality ingredients and then bring them back to the farm where we craft each Cecilia’s Farm product by hand to ensure that it is the best quality possible."

If you want some inspiration for what to buy, this is what Scott and I ordered last week: two cranberry almond nougat bars, two bags of roasted & salted mixed nuts, two bags of smoked almonds, a bottle of their Koelfontein 2011 Chardonnay (we had this at the launch - delicious!), and a bottle of their Koelfontein 2010 Shiraz.

Our order hasn't arrived yet but I'm looking forward to when it does so that we can get nut-drunk.

Dinner at Rust en Vrede

I recently had the good fortune to be taken for dinner at the phenomenal Rust en Vrede restaurant, as a belated birthday gift. The friends who invited me treat birthday gifts like interest - the longer you leave them without claiming them, the more valuable they get! Since my birthday was in January, I got treated to a meal at an award-winning restaurant that was quite easily one of the best dining experiences I've had in my life.

I didn't take many photos, as it's the sort of atmosphere and service that makes you want to lean back (in one of their incredibly comfy armchairs) and take it all in. The restaurant is housed in a national monument, and they've done the edifice justice by making sure that every single aspect of the meal and the service has been considered, right down to the smallest detail.

Someone offers you a blanket in case you get chilly while sipping your glass of Champagne (yes, the real stuff, with a capital C) on their porch, before offering to carry that glass inside, where a beautifully appointed table is laid out for you. Your seat gets pulled out. Buttonholed napkins (who says bibs can't be classy?). Riedel stemware. Laguiole knives. Orchids in Roederer buckets. Crockery monogrammed for the restaurant and hand-fired by the wonderful David Walters from Franschhoek. (As a side note, my new life goal is to be successful enough to afford a set of monogrammed crockery.)

And that's before I've even begun to talk about the meal. There's a reason Rust en Vrede gets awards practically thrown at them. We settled on the four course menu, but were so enamored by the look of a cheese soufflé on the six course option, that they agreed to do five courses for us.

The wine pairings were taken care of by their extremely talented sommelier, whom I may or may not have flirted with egregiously. (Spoiler alert: I did.) Their wine list is a heavy and comprehensive tome, with wines by the bottle and by the glass from all over the world, and chosen to suit every pocket.

The world's tiniest egg on toast - poached quail egg on rye croutons.

What followed was one of those meals where no one at the table talks, so absorbed are they by what's on their plate and in their glass. Conversation happens solely between courses, unless it's to say "You must try this" to your neighbour. 

Throughout the evening, I had so many questions about the restaurant's amazing local produce, that when we were presented with our bill (handwritten on monogrammed paper and sealed), I was given a handful of things to take home: Names and contact details of their suppliers, and a tub of the goat's milk butter that I'd raved about at the start of the meal.

It's rare to have a meal (or any experience) where you cannot fault even the smallest part of it, and Rust en Vrede went over and above that. I've already warned my friends that we're going back next year, but pretties, you should get there as soon as you can.

You can find Rust en Vrede online, and follow them on Twitter.

Subscribe to RSS - Food