happiness, dance!

Friday, 21 August 2009

For Bibba

Sunday, 16 August 2009

It was recently my birthday and a very special person gave me a very special book. A book called Cakes, subtitled; To Celebrate Love & Life. Could there be a more perfect title. This book was made for me.

So this weekend I decided to take it for a spin. Delving first into the Chocolate Cupcake recipe. Instead of using the normal buttercream icing I was challenged to try the Meringue Icing. Never one to back down from a challenge I went full speed. And the result was delightful.

2 cups sugar
1 ¾ cups flour

¾ cup cocoa powder
1 ½ tsp baking powder1 ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs at room temp
1 cup milk
½ cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup boiling water

Preheat the oven to 180 C
Prepare muffin pans with 18-24 paper cups

In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix together all dry ingredients. Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla essence.

Beat for 2 minutes on medium speed. Stir in the boiling water, the batter should be runny. A bit like chocolate soup.
Pour the batter into the paper cups equally.

Bake for 10-20 minutes. Leave to cool completely before topping with icing.

Meringue Icing

4 egg whites at room temp

1 cup sugar
A pinch of salt

A drop of food colouring if desired

In a heatproof bowl of an electric mixer, combine the egg whites, sugar and salt. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water and hand-whisk continuously for 3-5 minutes until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is hot to the touch.

Attach the bowl to the electric mixer with the whisk attachment, and beat on low for 2 minutes. Add a drop or food colouring, then beat on high for a further 5 minutes until mixture has cooled down and stiff peaks form. pipe immediately.

Maritz, Callie & Guy, Mari-Louis. Cakes, to celebrate love & life. Cape Town: Struik Lifestyle,


PS. The chocolate shavings made it!


Manna Epicure

A place where white is your favourite colour, a teapot is a decoration and cupcakes are fine art, Manna Epicure is a place where patisserie dreams come true.

It has the elegance of an upmarket art gallery. The clean white exterior reaches out to you when you drive past it due to the complete contrast to the rest of the bustle and grey of the concrete street. Simple yet beautiful decorations of cream, or should I say crème on white, create a gentle and cheering feeling.

The other people there were enjoying complimentary bread and dips. Others indulged in cocktails and breadsticks and tea and biscotti. Some were peacefully reading newspapers in the sun and the table behind us were discussing silk threads and gallery openings. A ménage of diners, all with one thing in common, their love for Manna.

Manna is not only a patisserie thought, the menu is separated into divisions for unique taste sensations: sweet, bitter, sour and savoury. They have a variety of scrumptious tapas, a selection of farm breads and of course the artistically ornamental cupcakes.

Of course I had to delve into a cappuccino and a cupcake. There is nothing that makes my heart sing louder than a perfect cupcake with the perfect company at the perfect place. This was one of those moments. Between 3 of us we each had a cappuccino and shared two cupcakes. And of course; one vanilla, one chocolate.

When the two little beauties graced us with their presence we could do nothing but “Ooooh!” and smile at each other with delight. They looked like two dazzling little gifts of glory, who had come to light up our eyes, and our tummies!

My new favourite cupcakes were hugged in brown paper cupcake holders. The vanilla one was sprinkled and dusted with powdered sugar and crowned with a striped, fabric ribbon. The butter cream icing actually looked like fresh piped cream and was surprisingly dense and sweet to the taste. There was also a pleasant surprise of rosewater.

The chocolate cupcake was dark and lustrous. A perfect brunette from the brown of the paper to the tip of the silky icing. The adorning ribbon matched the rest of the outfit in dark brown with light brown stitching. The two together were magnificent.

Manna is owned by Maranda Engelbrecht who works at Taste magazine. Taste magazine is one of my favourites so finding this out made it clear why I have such an attraction to Manna.

Manna is heavenly and bright. There is not one person I know who would not have a most wonderful time. Alone with a book or with friends and family, Manna is sure to make you’re day that much more special.

PS. Go hungry! You’ll want to order everything on the menu!

Manna, 151 Kloof Street, Cape Town. Tel 021 426 2413.


I want to go back to Stelle

Thursday, 6 August 2009
I like little dinky places where you can go and forget about the city that you are dragging in. You can imagine that you have escaped for one evening into another world. It goes without saying that a place that changes its menu everyday, only takes bookings (which are usually hard to get unless you book at least a week in advance) and use simply fresh and natural produce will always be a hit. And Stelle is a huge hit!

It’s a petite place at 62 Tyrone Avenue, Parkview. It is rather strange when you walk in. the peachy orange wall’s re not exactly ‘Italian-Chic’ and the loud, colourful art is peculiar and a little daunting yet the restaurant itself is homey and personal.

The menu is brief and probably only has about 7 things to chose from for each course. I love this. It means you know that everything is going to be insanely delectable, perfectly cooked and above all fresh! They make all their own pasta and believe that flavour is key.

For starter I had the crab, mayonnaise and potato mille-feuille. It was exceptionally flavoursome. The crab was soft and sultry and the sharp lemony mayonnaise was the perfect contrast. The presentation was also gorgeous, the little stack looked strong yet as though it could float away on its lettuce leaf at any moment.

For mains I had a beef strip and porcini mushroom dish. Served with pretty little roast potatoes and zucchini. Although the crab had filled me up I had to eat as much as possible as it was so moreish. The meat was tender and juicy that the porcini mushrooms… well what can I say, I love porcini’s so I was in heaven! Some of the other meals included; meat ravioli with walnut sauce, chicken pasta in a lemongrass soup and four cheese ravioli, all tasted and recommended!

Desert is chef’s choice for the night. (Yes!! love a surprise!) There were two, something that looked like a little custard profiterole but then she said chocolate and orange and I made my order, with haste.

It was a little mini dark chocolate cake with warm melted dark chocolate with orange syrup and orange rind. Holy moly! Worship is a word that comes to mind. It was loving and tender and might have stolen my heart if I hadn’t shared it.

Stelle is an awe-inspiring restaurant. I highly recommend it not just for its amazing food but also to have a little slice of real Italian bliss!

P.S. you must book! It’s full 100% of its time and for good reason I might ad. Stelle 0116466996
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