Restaurant review: Dash restaurant

It is not often that hubby and I get out on our own for a meal (the closest we get to a date night these days seems to be on school parent evenings, ouch!). So we were thrilled to be invited to Dash restaurant for an elegant meal, just the two of us.   

Dash is situated inside the Queen Victoria Hotel at the V&A Waterfront. The first thing I noticed as I walked in was the view of Table Mountain, and what a view it is! After a warm and friendly welcome we settled down at our table to peruse the three course set menu. 

The meal started with some fresh ciabatta and a glass of chilled Dombeya chardonnay while soaking up the views and eagerly anticipating our first course. I enjoyed a starter of smoked salmon salad with grilled pineapple, salsa and asparagus. I would thoroughly recommend this dish as it was so fresh and flavourful, absolutely delicious! I am rather fond of my smoked salmon and this starter did not disappoint. My husband chose the soup de jour which was a creamy mushroom soup served with veggie crisps and toasted ciabatta which he enjoyed. 

Onto the main course, and there were five scrumptious sounding dishes to choose from. After much deliberating I opted for the lamb burger with shoe string fries. The burger arrived with a sesame seed bun instead of ciabatta as per the menu but this was not a problem and I suspect actually made it easier to eat. The burger was topped with halloumi cheese, tzatziki, hummus and tomato jam – a feast! The flavours were great but I was put off by the temperature of the food. The bun had not been warmed and the patty was not hot. The shoe string fries were totally moreish and despite feeling rather full at this point I could not help crunching my way through most of them. Hubby decided to have fish of the day, dramatically presented salmon which was cooked perfectly. The salmon was served with small, crunchy fish cakes which were also delicious and an apple chutney.  

Next up was dessert. I ordered the pineapple and sage tarte tatin with beurre noisette ice cream and decorated with almond praline, and it looked positively sublime when it arrived at the table. The ice cream had an unusual flavour and was not to my taste, but the rest of the dessert was very tasty. My husband’s vanilla crème brûlée was gorgeous and incredibly creamy, and was served with a shortbread round and black cherries – definitely a winner.

Overall we had a lovely lunch at Dash. The dishes were beautifully presented with generous portion sizes, and together with the decor made us feel like were having a sophisticated fine dining experience, yet it still felt relaxed. The manager told us that the evening atmosphere is fantastic with the fireplace going, candles on the tables and a pianist. Add the night time view of the mountain and twinkling lights of the harbour and your romantic dinner is complete. 

Dash is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week and you can book a table via their website by clicking here. In the meantime, I am going to be dreaming about that smoked salmon salad… 

Disclaimer: We enjoyed our lunch as guests of Dash restaurant. All opinions and images are my own. 

Salted caramel chocolate truffles and a food demo in Bloemfontein

Two weeks ago, after months of planning and anticipation, it was finally time to hop on a plane and fly to Bloemfontein where I had been invited to demonstrate some of my recipes to the lovely ladies of Bloemfontein Fynproewers. Exciting times! When I landed I was met at the airport by Alma, one of the committee members who took me straight to the demo venue where the other committee members were all busy in the kitchen preparing my dishes for the audience to taste the following day. I had a chance to get my bearings, check the recipes and also familiarise myself with the demonstration area. At this point the excitement and the nerves were really starting to kick in!

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Out & About: Food Photography Workshop

Last week I had dinner with two of my oldest and best friends, and while we were catching up on family, work, the usual stuff, I mentioned that I had attended a food photography workshop the previous weekend. It was then that one of my friends rehashed a story about how the two of us had been sitting in our high school French class one day and how I had mentioned that I would love to be a food photographer one day. I always knew I would be involved in the food world one day, but it was amazing to hear her story as I had completely forgotten saying it! Life is a funny thing eh?

When I look at photographs from some of my earliest blog posts two things usually happen. Firstly – I cringe! (And then I cringe some more.) Then the second thing happens, which is that I am reminded of how much I have learnt in two and half years. I see my food photography as a journey, one where I am continuously learning and (hopefully) improving.

Feeling in need of some inspiration and new knowledge I did not hesitate to sign up for a workshop hosted recently by blogger and photographer Hein Van Tonder of Heinstirred, photographer Francois Pistorius and stylist Isabella Niehaus. The venue was Isabella’s stunning Langebaan beach home with the waves crashing just metres away and no shortage of beautiful surfaces and props to experiment with. 

The workshop started with a few short talks on lighting, composition and styling, and then it was time to get shooting! I loved being able to take my time and experiment with different camera settings to get the best shot, and as a result I feel much more confident with shooting manually which is something I have not done much of (oh the shame!). After a delicious lunch we moved onto sweet dishes in the afternoon, and practised some movement shots – so much fun!

I quite literally took hundreds of photos at the workshop, but here are a few of my favourites from the day. I am so glad I went along and look forward to putting what I learnt into practice and really using my camera to its full potential. Being a perfectionist I do not think I will ever feel as though I am “there” when it come to my photography, but I will resist the urge to delete my early blog photos and keep working at it! 

If you are interested in attending a workshop keep an eye on Heinstirred for details of future dates.


Walnut, pecan and cranberry cake

A few years ago on my birthday I visited the Cape Town Good Food Show where I was fortunate to meet Gordon Ramsay. Gosh, as I sit here listening to the washing machine whirring away in the background, princess stickers strewn on the floor under my desk and my baby boy napping down the passage, going to shows and meeting celebs seems like another lifetime! Gordon was doing a book signing and this is where I picked up a copy of “World Kitchen”. The book is a collection of recipes from all over the world including France, China and America. It is one my favourites in my collection and everything I have tried so far has been delicious.

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Out & About: Sedgefield and Wild Oats Market

The last few weeks have flown by and I have found myself up to my ears in all sorts of preparation – organising the nursery, stocking up on newborn nappies and cooking extra meals for the freezer. Are you noticing a theme here? Last week though we managed to escape for a long weekend in Sedgefield with the family, just the relaxing, sun-kissed and sand-coated short break we needed! 

One of the places we visited whilst there was the Wild Oats Market, on every Saturday morning. This was my second visit and we arrived on a mission to find breakfast. I was amazed to see how many people were there – considering how quiet the town of Sedgefield seemed! The place was buzzing and there were a large number of stalls selling all kinds of hand made produce. 

The Farmer’s Breakfast stand seemed to be the most popular spot, judging by the long queue (which did move quickly actually!). There was a good selection of food and drinks to choose from, which we enjoyed at one of the tree stump tables with the sounds of classic Elton John in the background, nice. We sampled some very tasty pancakes, an indulgent chocolate waffle, cooked breakfasts and delicious coffees. And in our shopping bag to take home we had a spinach and feta quiche, decadent fudge, Russian sausages and steak pie.

Other products that caught my eye were fresh juices, rusks and biscuits, dried fruit and nuts, fresh flowers and herbs, biltong and preserves. It was lovely to see visitors and members of the community meeting up for a bite to eat or bumping into each other by chance. The market has a very rustic feel and the atmosphere was lively but relaxed. Being a recycling enthusiast I was also impressed to see recycling stations dotted around the market for refuse. 

A short walk from the market you will find the Mosaic Outdoor Market, with various crafts and more food on offer. My husband and I picked up two beautiful framed photographs by Keith Moore and I found some excellent deals at a new book stand. Right next door is the Scarab craft market so allow lots of time to peruse the area! 

Just out of interest and completely unrelated to food, if you find yourself in the Plettenberg Bay area near to Sedgefield do visit Birds of Eden and Monkeyland for a chance to get up close and personal with some beautiful creatures. We had a fabulous day visiting the parks, well worth it. 

For more market details you can visit the Wild Oats Market website. The market is open every Saturday morning from 7.30am to 12pm in summer, 8am to 12pm in winter and is situated on the N2 a stones throw from the town of Sedgefield – look out for the big green sign! 

Cookie Swap 4 and chocolate orange sugar hearts

Cookie Swap 4 took place on the 2nd of August, and once again it was a national event that saw cookie lovers from around the country gathering together to exchange treats, socialise and most importantly raise money for Learn to Earn and specifically their Bake For Profit students who are in dire need of more kitchen equipment to assist with their training. Do have a look at the website to see how this fantastic organisation gives people “a hand up, not a hand out”!

The Knorr Flavourful Goodness Experience

Last Thursday I was invited to attend the Knorr Flavourful Goodness Experience at the SA Chef’s Training Academy in Observatory. Food bloggers, nutritionists and members of the media were invited to “rediscover the joy of simple family cooking” along with familiar face Chef Wendy and the Unilever team.

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