Thursday, 15 January 2015

Load Up: Low-Sugar, High-Protein Lemon Raspberry Muffins

Back to work, back to reality.

As the summer holidays draw to a close, work starts and with it, the inevitable snack attack at teatime. Instead of heading for the vending machine for chips or chocolate, try these delicious muffins that will keep you satisfied, way past your lunch hour.


Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup plain Greek yoghurt
1/3 cup canola oil
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 & 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 & 1/2 cup raspberries

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Coat 12 large muffin cups with cooking spray.
2. Combine the zest and sugar in a food processor, pulse until the zest is finely chopped into the sugar.
3. Add yoghurt, oil and egg, pulse until combined.
4. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl, add the yoghurt mixture and fold until almost blended. Gently fold in the raspberries.
5. Divide the batter among the muffin cups.
6. Bake the muffins until the edges are golden, 20-25 min.
7. Let it cool and store in a airtight container.

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Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Winecation : Top 10 Best Wine Farms

There is no better way to show off our country, than a good old wine tour, seeing as South Africa has some of the best vino in the world. These are my top ten wine farms based on atmosphere, service, view and surroundings, food on offer, price and off course the actual taste of the wine. In no particular order and without further ado.

1. D'aria

There are a couple of reasons why I love D'aria. Firstly, it is literally five minutes from where I am staying at the moment, they have an amazing wine called Blush, consisting of crisp Sauvignon Blanc flavours and Meerlot's red berry fruits and the tasting area, stretches out onto a wooden deck, under the trees, overlooking a dam. The wine, the view and the staff there, just deliver on every level.

Perfect for: Enjoying a bottle of wine with a friend after work on a Friday.
Tasting: R 20 pp
Food: Burgers and cheese platters
Location: Durbanville region

D'aria tasting area

2. Warwick

The wide open lawns and shimmering lake make it a tough place to beat in Summer. The picnic pods dotted around the garden are  a stunning feature and ensures some privacy. The gourmet picnic for two is absolutely amazing and will leave you struggling to finish the delectable fare. They have a wide range of award-winning wines to choose from, plus you can go on a big 5 vineyard safari, where they show you the different vines across the estate. Keep a whole day open to experience all that Warwick has to offer.

Perfect for: A special date/anniversary
Picnic: R 375 per basket(gourmet or vegetarian)
Location: Stellenbosch region

Warwick Estate picnic set-up

3. Beyerskloof

Also known as the champions of South Africa's signature red wine. This top notch estate is a must-try for pinotage lovers. If do stop there to try their magnificent collection of robust red's, do not leave without grabbing lunch at the Red Leaf Restaurant, where they have items on the menu such as the very popular pinotage burger and pinotage ice cream. They also have a tasting room where you can try up to ten different pinotages.

Perfect for: Taking family/friends out to a gourmet lunch and wine experience.
Food: Ranges from R 100 - R 120 pp
Location: Stellenbosch region

Entrance to Beyerskloof Wine Estate

4. Arra

Perfectly positioned in the shelter of the Klapmuts Mountain where water and sunshine are in abundance. This smaller wine estate, has the most beautiful view, which you can admire from comfy couches on the veranda. The wine tasting experience at Arra is made unforgettable with friendly staff, a wide selection of wines all accompanied by a cheese, cracker and preserve platter. Try their Viognier  a favourite of mine,which I can only describe as tasting of Summer.

Perfect for: A family outing over the weekend.
Tasting: R 30 pp
Location: Stellenbosch region

Tasting area at Arra

5. Blaauwklippen

This wine farm has so much to offer any wine and food lover. Foreigners can have a formal wine tasting conducted in their mother tongue and the tasting room can fit up to eighty people. The informal tasting can be enjoyed indoors or outside in the idyllic gardens, complete with a duck pond. Historic wine cellar tours are also available, as well as a chocolate and wine pairing and won't you know it, if you are in the mood for something stronger, you can try their potstill brandies. They also have The Bistro, which will provide excellent food and service, or if you want to stay outside in the nice weather, they also have picnic baskets on offer.

Perfect for: Showing off our beautiful country to foreigners.
Tasting: R 20 pp
Food & wine pairing: R 150 pp
Wine & chocolate tasting: R 80 pp
Location: Stellenbosch region

Dining area at Blaauwklippen

6. Eaglevlei

A picturesque view of the Stellenbosch mountains will enchant visitors, while they enjoy a wide range of wines in the tasting facilities or whilst enjoying a culinary experience in their restaurant. I really enjoyed their Berghaan Blanc de Noir that accompanied my mushroom risotto and for the meat lovers the pork belly, is a firm favourite. They also have a jungle gym outside that will keep the young ones busy, while you enjoy your vino.

Perfect for: Keeping everyone in the family happy on a day outing
Food: Weekly specials range from R 70-R 80
Location: Stellenbosch/Klapmuts region

Eaglevlei patio

7. Delheim

There is no better place to unwind, than at Delheim's tranquil gardens, where traditional German and South African inspired cuisine is sure to revive you. Delheim has been producing internationally acclaimed wines for over sixty years, so you know it is pure quality that will be poured into every glass. Take a guided cellar tour, do a wine tasting in the quaint downstairs cellar, dine al fresco in the garden or cosy up inside next to the fire in the winter.

Perfect for: If you want to be transported back in time to an old world traditional wine farm.
Picnic: R 200 pp
Food: Ranges from R 65 - R 110
Location: Stellenbosch region

Delheim's downstairs cellar

8. Doolhof

Doolhof lies comfortably nestled in the lap of the Bovlei valley. Personally, one of my favourite picnic spots, because you can choose to enjoy your picnic on the the beautiful manicured lawns or find a quiet spot in the trees next to Kromme river. There is also a river walk, which will take you several kilometres along the river to choose your picnic spot or you can do a ten kilometre walk through the vineyards. On your walk, you may also come across small mammals in the form of buck, baboon and the odd porcupine.

Perfect for: If you enjoy some exercise with your wine & dine.
Tasting: R 20 pp
Food: picnic or light lunches
Location: Wellington region

The Bovlei valley surrounding Doolhof

9. Laborie

Laborie has been producing fine wines since 1698, making it one of the oldest operational farms in the country. This supreme estate will satisfy the senses, with breath taking views, delectable meals prepared by internationally acclaimed chef Matthew Gordon, award winning wines and the sound of nature residing in your ears. My favourite part of this estate, is definitely the different taste pairings. The chocolate from the chocolate and wine pairing is specifically made to compliment each wine.

Perfect for: Tempting the palate and gaining knowledge into the world of wine & food pairing.
Tasting: R 30 pp
Olive & wine tasting: R 35 pp
Charcuterie & wine tasting: R 50 pp
Chocolate & wine tasting: R 45 pp
Macaron & Method Cap Classique tasting: R 50 pp
Location: Paarl region

The Laborie Estate

10. Fairview

Known for their cheese, as well as, their wine. Fairview never ceases to amaze me, from the tasting pods in their wine tasting area, where a host will guide you through tasting six of their wines, to the cheese tasting area, which will leave you lusting for more, in which case you can simply purchase some of their delicious cow- and goats milk cheese or you can enjoy lunch at the Goatshed restaurant. The actual goats that are roaming around, creates a rustic atmosphere and you can watch over their antics while dining al fresco on the terrace outside the Goatshed.

Perfect for: Those who have teetotallers in the group(they serve an amazing non-alcoholic EGA drink at the Goatshed made from rooibos)
Tasting: R 25 pp
Beryl Back tasting: R 60 pp inc. 8 wines, cheeses and olive oil
Cheese tasting: R 12 pp
Location: Paarl region

If you feel I missed a particularly special wine farm, holla at me with a mail, otherwise enjoy.

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Thursday, 8 January 2015

Fashion Update: Men's Biggest Fashion Trends 2015

New year, new you, or at least trying to be.

If 2014 was the year of the slim-fit, of patterned shirts and of glasses made cool, then 2015 looks to be a more relaxed wear, comfortable, but nonetheless stylish year for the male species.

We will start at the top and take it down.

The hair:
You keep it long, keep it messy or do a side-parting. If you do shave your head at the sides, make sure the style fits your face shape as you can easily end up with a carrot-shaped head - healthy,yes/good-looking, no.

The over garment:
It's big, loose, oversized and a bit dishevelled looking, mainly in darker colours, especially blue. Off course you  can also never go wrong with a classic calf length trench coat in beige or camel.

The jacket:
Tribal and geometric patterns are still relevant in 2015, but they are getting an update. The patterned tribal jackets are chunkier and have a 3-D like edge to them. The busier, the better.

The pants:
In 2014 we saw the slim-fit pant peak, to the point where many a gentleman were taking it to a ballet dancer's tights level of leg pant fit. Luckily this season, the leg is a bit more relaxed and a good rolled up cuff at the hem, will make sure that your fit is not too baggy.

The suit:
On a more formal note, fashion is shying away from the black suit, opting for a white pant and a jacket with a bit of colour or suits in a lighter tone, such as grey or beige. That being said, a suit is one of the items in your closet that, if treated well, can be worn for many years, so make sure you choose a suit that is made from good quality fabrics and fits you exquisitely.

The sock:
Your feet will be attracting the most attention, with the very out-there prints, patterns and colours for 2015. Note, to keep the rest of your outfit as plain as possible to avoid any clown reference.

The shoe:
The sneaker remains a prominent feature on the men's fashion scene, What remains great about this trend is that there really are no rules, go big with colour, wear with your suit or go at it with shorts and a v-neck.

'Create your own visual style, let it be unique for yourself, yet identifiable for others.'- Orson Welles

Monday, 5 January 2015

Eat Well: Banana Chia Breakfast Cookies

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, blah, blah blah, you know the rest. So these chewy guys are not too sweet, they can be made in advance and I honestly don't just enjoy them for breakfast. They travel quite well, they don't get car sick, they don't ask 'are we there yet' and they enjoy taking a ride in your handbag for up to two days and they still taste great even if you sit on them, by accident off course.


2 bananas, mashed
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/4 cup raw sugar
1/2 coconut sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 chia seeds
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
2.  In a large bowl, mix chia seeds and apple sauce, let the mixture set.
3. In another bowl, combine oats, raw sugar, flour, baking soda and salt.
4. Add coconut sugar, vanilla and banana to chia mixture, mix well, then add the dry ingredients.
5. Drop tablespoon sized dollops of the dough onto the parchment paper.
6. Bake for 20 min or until they are firm to touch, let it cool and store in an airtight container or your mouth.

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Saturday, 3 January 2015

Eco-Trend: Urban Biking

As a new year dawns, I share a new years resolution with you - to join the ever growing number of people that are helping to make the earth a cleaner, greener and safer place to be. Besides factories, cars are one of the main CO2-emission 'offenders', thus by using our cars less and our feet or bikes more, we are already taking a giant step towards a greener lifestyle and lucky for us, urban biking is steadily growing as a major trend.

 The collective consciousness towards a more eco-friendly society is rising steadily and is making people think of bikes from an environmental perspective. It's a mode of transportation that represents a good alternative to CO2-emissioning cars or space consuming railway systems.

Not only are environmentally conscious citizens attracted to biking in cities, many cities want to integrate bikes in order to attract this dynamic population to bolster their economy. Those people want to live in cities that allow an easy access to cultural activities and different forms and transportation.

The main plus is the health issue. Bicycling improves your health and keeps you in good shape. Another advantage is that bikes are the cheapest form of transportation. It is accessible to a wide range of people to use as a way to get to work, school or use to go on many, many adventures.    

Not only are individuals deciding that biking is better, businesses are also stepping up to the plate. Bike delivered flowers are getting popular and PUMA Select will deliver your on-line clothing purchases via bicycle right to your doorstep.

Speaking of fashion and cycling, not sure if you can pull off the look. Well, see these fashionable eco-friendly examples.

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(Underlined info derived from crowd city)