What you need: 

1 cup virgin olive oil

2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms

1 small fresh chilli pepper, chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped

80 ml sherry vinegar

2 tablespoons dry white wine

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 cup Kalamata olives pitted and coarsely chopped

1 cup green olives pitted and coarsely chopped

125 ml salted capers

5 sundried tomatoes chopped

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

And what you do: 

In a frying pan, warm 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the mushrooms and saute over high heat until soft.  Add the chilli pepper and garlic and saute briefly, being careful not to let the garlic take on any colour.  Remove the mushroom mixture from the heat, let cool a little, then add the vinegar and wine.  Sprinkle with the oregano, transfer to a jar, cover, and let stand for a day.  Mix the chopped olives, capers, sundried tomatoes and the remaining olive oil.  Cover again, shake well, and taste.

 Store in the fridge. Shake well before serving.  This sauce will keep for about 2 to 3 weeks in the fridge. 


Cook pasta, drain and mix in a few spoons of the sauce in a bowl.  Add fresh tomatoes, basil, parsley and parmesan cheese.  You can also fry some bacon and sprinkle on top.


Old World Recipe: ‘Ouma Hannah’s meaty minestrone soup’

It’s really delicious:


What you need: 

500 g beef shin

30 ml oil

2 cloves of garlic chopped

2 big carrots diced

2 celery sticks diced

1 leek chopped

1 can of diced tomatoes

30 ml tomato paste

2 bay leaves

2 l water

5 ml dried origanum

5 ml sugar

5 ml salt

2 ml freshly ground black pepper

100 ml fresh parsley


What you do:

Brown shin in oil in a big pot.  Take the shin out of the pot and lightly fry the veggies.  Add the remaining ingredients plus the beef shins and cook until the meat is soft.  Serve in bowls with grated parmesan cheese and parsley.



Bloemfontein stories

South Africa has a culture of story-telling. ‘Bloemfonteiners’ are a special breed amongst the story-tellers. Esther and Jake are the previous owners of The Hobbit in Bloemfontein; it was the home of J.R.R. Tolkien in the first years of his life. Esther and Jake met all his children visiting the place of birth of their famous father and The Hobbit was once mentioned as the ‘Numero Uno’ guest house in South Africa. Every now and then people from Bloemfontein are visiting the previous proprietors of The Hobbit and when they start telling their stories ….

A Canadian Style carrot cake in Stanford South Africa; a recipe

The recipe, packed with pecans, coconut and pineapple next to carrots, serves 8 to 10 people. It’s one of those ‘irresistibles’ which customers find on the menu of YUM Eat Cafe every now and then.



255 gram plain flour, 3/4 teaspoon salt,1 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1 1/2 tsp baking soda, 2 tsp ground cinnamon, 255 gr. carrots (freshly grated), 75 gr. shredded coconut, 400 gr. chopped pineapple, 50 gr. chopped pecan nuts, 4 eggs, 350 gr. sugar and 200 ml vegetable oil.

For the icing: 225 gr. cream cheese (at room temperature), 85 gr. unsalted butter, 2 tsp fine grated orange zest, 1 tsp vanilla essence, 560 gr. icing sugar, candled organge peel (fine sliced) and ground cinnamon for decoration.

11 Steps:

1) Preheat oven to 180 C

2) Grease two 20 cm loose bottomed round tins.

3) Sift the first 5 ingredients and set aside.

4) Mix the carrot, pineapple, pecan nuts and coconut in a separate bowl.

5) Beat the eggs, sugar and oil in a large bowl with a mixer until smooth.

6) Add the flour minture to the eggs-sugar-oil-mixture and mix until equally smooth PLUS add the ingredient mix as mentioned under 4)

7) Spoon the mixture into the cake tins and bake in oven for 40 to 50 minutes.

8) Remove from oven. Leave in tins for 15 minutes before removing them/

In this stage you can decide to (or not to) wrap them in film for storage in a freezer.

9) To make the icing: beat together the cream, cheese and butter until smooth. Then add the orange zest and vanilla essence. Sift in the icing sugar and mix well.

10) Chill for 1 hour before adding the icing to the top and sides of the cake.

11) you can store the carrot cake in an airtight container in a fridge.