Archive for March, 2012


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Hot Cross Bun Superstitions

Hot Cross buns are synonymous with Easter and there are a few old and  interesting superstitions surrounding these sweet buns.

English folklore includes many superstitions surrounding hot cross buns. One of them says that buns baked and served on Good Friday will not spoil or become mouldy during the subsequent year. Another encourages keeping such a bun for medicinal purposes. A piece of it given to someone who is ill is said to help them recover.

Sharing a hot cross bun with another is supposed to ensure friendship throughout the coming year, particularly if “Half for you and half for me, Between us two shall goodwill be” is said at the time. Because of the cross on the buns, some say they should be kissed before being eaten.

If taken on a sea voyage, hot cross buns are said to protect against shipwreck.

If hung in the kitchen, they are said to protect against fires and ensure that all breads turn out perfectly. The hanging bun is replaced each year

Read more…

I found a great recipe for hot cross buns on food24 but honestly I’ll rather buy it fresh on the day.


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Wine Tasting Tips

Wine tasting is not the same as drinking it. To experience the true flavor of a wine requires that you pay attention to your senses of sight, smell, touch, as well as taste.

Sight: Look at the wine — in daylight if possible. The best way is to tilt the wine in the glass and look at it against a white background. What do you see? Is the wine clear or cloudy? The color will vary according to what wine it is. Red wines vary greatly in color — a Merlot, for example will usually be an intense ruby red while a Cabernet Sauvignon will be a darker, deeper red. As red wine ages, you will see hints of reddish-brown around the edges. White wines become more golden as they age.

Smell: Through our sense of smell, wine reveals its pleasures to us. To determine the aroma, swirl the wine vigorously in the glass. As the wine coats the sides of the glass, it releases its bouquet. The aromas can be quite different depending on how far into the glass your nose goes. At the top of the glass, they are more floral and fruity; deeper in the glass, they are richer. Try to detect the full range of scents from berry to floral to spicy to woody … and so on. Consider intensity and appeal.

Touch: This does not mean you dip your finger into your wine glass! When tasting wines, the touch is the feel of the wine on your tongue. Is it soft or brisk? Does it have a refreshing zing around the edges of your tongue? Or is it flat and flabby? Tannins (used in red wines to keep them from spoiling) will feel sort of prickly on your tongue. Younger red wines are usually more tannic. The ideal touch is a mellow softness — a velvety feeling in your mouth.

Taste: This is the final step and should be taken only after you’ve used your other senses. When tasting a wine, take a small amount in your mouth, swirl it around lightly so all your taste buds are exposed; then keep it there for a brief period. Does the wine taste the same as its aroma? Is it sweet, acidic, crisp? Is it light or full-bodied? At this point you can either spit it out (especially if you’re tasting several wines) or simply drink it, but be sure to experience the aftertaste (the finish). What is the memory of the wine on your palate?


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Chardonnay is America’s fastest growing varietal. Considered to be a low maintenance grape, is grown in a multitude of climates and produces high yields. But what should we know about this renowned white wine?

Chardonnay is probably one of the most renowned white wines, followed by its cousins, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Gewürztraminer , Pinot Grigio, Semillon Viognier and Chenin Blanc. Serve these wines in glasses that have a smaller bowl that tapers in at the top. This will help concentrate their more subtle aromas.

Served at a cool 9-10 °C, Chardonnay features quite a separate range of impressive flavours, from its expected buttered, oak overtones to fresh, fruity flavours of apple, pear, citrus and melon. Chardonnay that has undergone malolactic fermentation will yield diacetyl, giving it a big buttery taste. The Chardonnay is then transferred to oak barrels where it will develop that signature oak flavour. These wines will pair excellently with pork, seafood, and chicken dishes that also have heavy cream or buttery bases. Lovers of Italian food will be glad to note that Chardonnay goes very well with Pasta carbonara, alla vongole, lobster, crab or scallops.

The more citrus, unoaked Chardonnay is stored in steel containers which impart the more citrus, fruity flavours. This version of Chardonnay goes better with lighter meals, smaller dinners or appetizers. Think Caesar salad, omeletes and quiches, ham and bacon.

Unoaked Chardonnay goes especially well with grilled or roasted salmon. These are merely suggestions for pairing some foods with Chardonnay. Although the often quoted rule of thumb is “red wine with red meat, white wine with fish or fowl,” a better rule is “A good paring is when the food and wine do not overshadow each other”.

Source: examiner.com

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Sweet and Sour Pork

Sweet and sour pork is a Chinese dish that is particularly popular in Cantonese cuisine. Follow this easy step-by-step recipe and impress your guests with an unusual but delicious dinner.


700g pork tenderloin
1-2 tbsp vegetable oil
¼ – ½ cup water
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tbsp Maizena mixed with a tbsp of water
1 tsp salt
¼ cup vinegar
1 cup pineapple juice
1 ½ tbsp soy sauce
¾ cup green pepper, chopped
¼ cup onion, thinly sliced
1 cup pineapple chunks

  1. Cut the uncooked pork tenderloin roughly into strips 5cm long by 1.5cm wide.
  2. Brown meat slightly in oil.
  3. Add the water and vinegar.
  4. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cover the pork until cooked and tender.
  5. Combine brown sugar, corn starch, salt, pineapple juice and soy sauce into a separate saucepan.
  6. Cook until slightly thick, stirring continuously.
  7. Pour mixture over the pork and simmer for five minutes.
  8. Add green pepper, onion and pineapple chunks and simmer for another 2-3 minutes .
  9. Serve over fluffy white rice or noodles to complete the meal.

Have yourself a treat, enjoy!


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One of our ‘Month of Romance’ competition winners, Hester Maritz,  chose a restaurant voucher from Adego Restaurant in Pretoria .

Enjoy your dinner Hester!

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