I adore my mother. Nobody could ever replace her. Nobody could love me more than she does and nobody can compare to her. Every Mother’s Day I try to repay for the grey hairs I put on her head during my capricious teen years. The older I get, the harder it is to find inventive. At 23, a hand-made card and flowers I picked from HER garden stopped being adorable.
So I asked the mothers in my life for ideas, to get it from the horse’s mouth so to speak. Would you like to know what to give Mommy Dearest this Sunday? Give Mommy a break. That’s all she wants, a break from playing chauffeur, housekeeper, homework assistant, chef, doctor, personal ATM and all the other roles that come with being a mother. And by a break, I don’t mean a Kit Kat.
Here Mom, have a Break.
Cook (or cheat and Buy) her Favourite Restaurant Meal. Does she love the Wolves Meatball Sub or the Alabama Chicken Sandwich and Mugg & Bean? Why not ask the restaurant for the recipe and cook it for her at home. She’ll appreciate the effort it took for you to make her favourite meal. If you’re not a Master Chef in the kitchen, you could cheat and buy it. Either way she’ll appreciate not having to play chef and housekeeper for one night so when you’re done, wash the dishes.
Take her to the Movies. In the Living Room. Rent a few of her favourite films, provide snacks and set up your very own cinema in the living room. Then kick back and relax with Mom on the couch. There’s no need to drive so she’ll appreciate not having to play chauffeur and personal ATM at the movies. Don’t forget the popcorn. And to clean up when you’re done.
Mani, Pedi, Facial Anyone? What woman doesn’t like to be pampered like a princess? And your mother is no exception; she is a woman after all. Book her into a day spa: Camelot Spa at Villa d’ Este in Johannesburg and at The Table Bay in Cape Town are exceptional and Mangwanani Spas are peppered all over the country and are internationally renowned. Many spas offer Mother’s Day specials, so book your mother in for a few treatments and she’ll come out feeling a serene goddess. But remember she’s on a break so play chauffeur and ATM for her on the day.
There are plenty of other things you can do for Mom to show her you love and appreciate her; Mother’s Day picnic at the zoo, walking through the trails at Melville Koppies or Tygerberg, cook her breakfast in bed or organise drinks date with her girlfriends. Remember though she deserves it so give her a break. And a Kit Kat chocolate wouldn’t hurt either.
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY MOMMY
I’m in constant pursuit of something new and exciting in my life. And in a spur of the moment decision, I attended Nandipha Mntambo’s exhibition for her work entitled Faena at the Standard Bank Art Gallery. Mntambo is the winner of the 2011 Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Visual Art.
Faena refers to the final dance between a matador and bull before the matador delivers the death blow.
It’s is obvious that Nandipha has a deep-seated fascination with cows and I would assume their importance in African society. She alludes to man’s enchantment with the allure of a woman’s body by using her own body as the mould on which she sculpts her cow hides.
Now I am by no means an art aficionado, in fact I failed art in high school. I do, however, love works of the 19th Century Impressionists; Renoir, Manet, Pissarro, Sisley and Monet. Faena has no Impressionist susceptibilities and I cannot tell you what genre of art it is, but I can tell you that it was an exhibition worth viewing. And not just so we can be pseudo-patriotic by “supporting local artists blah blah blah” but because there are some beautiful art pieces that use an ingenious medium and it’s an exhibition that is bound to “speak to you.” You will leave the Standard Bank Art Gallery so imbued with culture that you will stink of it and hopefully it will stir your consciousness as it did mine.
Faena opens at the Standard Bank Gallery in Johannesburg on 3 May 2012 and runs until 9 June.
The long lazy summer afternoons are soon to be nothing but a distant memory. As we say tata-for-now to pool parties, beach days and watermelon, we usher in a new season. The weather might be a little cooler but that doesn’t stop us South Africans from having a good old braai, because let’s be honest; nothing comes between us and our meat. Why not try a different spin on a summer braai this Autumn it and go to a good old kasi Shisa-Nyama.
Shisa-nyama is a proudly South African, Zulu word that literally means, “burn the meat.” These Shisa-nyama spots aren’t really restaurants, just open plan courtyards where, on most days but especially Sundays, all the young people hang out. The young, hip Mzansi crowd that a Shisa-nyama draws, makes places like Panyaza in Soweto or Mzoli’s Place in Gugulethu the coolest Sunday afternoon hang-out spots.
Mzoli’s Place (Gugulethu)
There is no formal address so you’ll need directions.
Directions to Mzoli’s Place:
Take the Modderdam Rd exit off the N2 out of Cape Town, turn left when you get to Klipfontein Road, Cross the railway line, pass a petrol station on your left, but carry on down Klipfontein.
Turn left at about the second road after the intersection, and you will see Mzoli’s immediately on your left.
This is a pap and braai restaurant, the kind of place where you eat with your hands. It’s also a nightclub, playing the best of local house music and Kwaito.
Address: 707 White City, Jabavu .
Other Shisa-nyama places include Ace’s place in Khayelitsha, Amadoda inWoodstock, AmaZink in Stellenbosch. Durbanites braai at Max’s in Umlazi.
The beauty of a Shisa-nyama is the informal setting, you’re encouraged to feel at home and even eat with your fingers. When you arrive, you select your meat from the mini butchery, where it gets weighed, you pay andy carry it to the outside area where it gets braai’d for you. R 85 will get you enough meat for 3 – 4 people and another R 15 – R30 gets you a plate of pap with chakalaka and atchar. You then sit around a plastic table and enjoy this uniquely South African cuisine.
There’s a reason why international tourists flock to these places, you need to try it for yourself. It’s like living in Johannesburg all your life and never going to Gold Reef City Theme Park. A shame. It’s a truly, proudly South African experience. And what self-respecting South African says no to a braai and meat?
I was born in the city of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo but I have lived in Johannesburg since I was two years old. I’m a Joburger, not born, but definitely bred. I’m proud of my heritage, but I get a little envious of those who can say that they’re Joburgers, born & bred.
Although this city did not birth me, she did adopt me as her own. I love her like the adopted child loves her adoptive mother. I’ve travelled all over the South Africa and to all SADC countries and I can emphatically say, that there’s no place else like Joburg.
I randomly take shot of the different parts of my city on mycameraphone. Often they don’t quite capture the beauty my eyes can see, but they do an adequate job. All these pictures have been taken by me, unless otherwise specfied.
This is Joburg, my Jorburg.
Friends, Romans & Fellow Wine Lovers, lend me your ears. I’d just like to share with you one of my new favourite things.
We all know that I love wine and recently out to dinner with my best friend Visoni, I had a specific Cabernet Sauvignon that reminded me why I love this stuff so darned much.
The wine in question is created in a magnificent Estate set on 1786 hectares of prime land in the beautiful Elgin valley, renowned for its fruit, cutflowers, beef cattle and increasingly for its high quality cool climate wines. I’m planning my next break here. Imagine waking up to these awe-inspiring views every morning.
Looking at these pictures it’s easy to imagine why Gaileo said, “Wine is sunlight held together by water.”
It’s no wonder that my new favourite Merlot Cabernet Blend is made in such glorious surroundings. The Blend is mostly Merlot and Cabernet Franc & a hint of Cabernet Sauvignon. A classically styled blend with layers of red and black fruit and a perfumed spiciness. Medium bodied with a good tannin structure and balance. Absoluely DELICIOUS!
Now imagine my surpise when I discovered that Oak Valley, in partnership with WineStyle Magazine, is offering a ONCE-OFF promotion for its 2 ultra-premium wines; Sauvignon Blanc 2010 and Merlot Cabernet Blend 2006. Six bottles of each wine is offered to you in this special and limited stock is available.
At the risk of sounding like a Hallmark advertisement, this incredible offer is valued at R 1440.00 (excluding shipping costs) but if you order now at the WineStyle website http://www.wine-style.co.za/deal/8/oak-valley-sauvignon-blanc-2010-and-oak-valley-merlot-cabernet-blend-2006. You’ll be getting a 35% discount and a total saving of R 504.00. Sounds superb doesn’t it? It only gets better.
Oak Valley is also offering a 2-night stay in the exquisite, 1-bedroom, beautifully furnished 1902 Cottage on Oak Valley. I’ve ordered my twelve bottle because I want to frolic in the Elgin countryside, ride mountain bike trails and taste award winning wines. Needless to say, I’m feeling lucky.
So for R 936.00, I’ll be getting twelve bottles of “sunlight, held together by water,” a saving of R 504.00 and the possibility of a weekend away at Oak Valley. That’s a Big Deal.
If you’re in Argentina, dining at La Bourgogne at the Alvear Palace or in Manchester at Asian-fusion restaurant Australasia or at Per Se in New York at you ask the sommelier to pair your meal with the suitable wine, you will not be brought a traditional “on-paper” wine list.
Fine dining has now gone hi-tech with restaurants offering wine lists on iPads. Aureole in Las Vegas, can claim trendsetter status here. At Aureole, the contents of their four-storey, stainless-steel-and-glass wine tower can be browsed via an ‘ewinebook.’, Now this simple idea has become international with many more restaurants embracing iPad winelists everyday.
Several of Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants have iPad wine lists. London’s Rib Room, and the Vineyard,which has one of the most comprehensive American wine lists in the UK do as well.Italy, Spain, Ireland and even Brazil have adopted the iPad.
Not everyone is enthusiastically zealous. Several high-ranking professionals have expressed their doubts including Andrew Connor, of Luytens restaurant in London, is one. ‘Too many times technology has let me down,’ he says. ‘Air-conditioning broken, reservation systems crashed, lights gone crazy – I prefer a low-tech solution where possible.’
Personally, I think iPad wine lists are a brilliant idea, and bring on the iPad menus too. Soon paper and ink will be extinct, so let’s roll with the times people.
I can still remember the first book I read that wasn’t for school. It was Sweet Valley High: Bitter Rivals by Francine Pascal. I was in Grade 3, had moved to a new school and kept seeing the “cool girls” walking around with these little books. So went to the library and took out four Sweet Valley books. I sat in my reading spot at home that afternoon (up the plum-tree in our garden) and read them all – in one afternoon. Needless to say, I got into trouble the next day at school for not doing my homework, but I didn’t care much. I was too excited to get another four Sweet Valley’s that afternoon. And that’s how Suzanna the Bookworm was born.
I’m a little older now and my tastes in fiction and non-fiction have expanded, I’m a regular at Exclusive Books and have a Joburg library card. I was thrilled to discover that the Friends of the Library organise a book sale at the Sandton Library once a month.
All the money is used to buy books at the Sandton Library. Altogether Friends of the Library raised over R 45,000 in book sales in 2011, which enabled the Library to purchase many new books., both fiction and non-fiction, to satisfy not only the novel aficionados in Sandton, but those who require study books for their education.
For more information on Friends of the Library or to get the dates of their next contact the Sandton Library at Nelson Mandela Square
Tel.: 011 282 5911/15
Fax: 011 282 5916
I went over yesterday and bought six books for R50. Incredible, I know. On my way home I picked up some Häagen-Dazs ice-cream at the Sandton store. I sat poolside, eating Häagen-Dazs and sipping on an ice-cold drink, lost in Georgina Howell’s Daughter of the Desert, absolutely content with life. *sigh* This is what summer is all about.
I enjoy good food and living in a cosmopolitan city like Johannesburg, finding a restaurant that serves good food is like finding a needle in a needle stack, child’s play. However, finding a restaurant that uses organic produce is no easy feat and convincing my family that organic food tastes just as good if not better than processed food, is nigh impossible. Thankfully, Salvation Cafe at 44 Stanley has made that endeavour a little easier.
44 Stanley, situated in Auckland Park, is a district of renovated industrial buildings and warehouses. It definitely is Joburg’s best kept secret. The 1930’s architecture, aloes and eclectic speciality boutiques of 44 Stanley, is the perfect backdrop for Salvation Cafe’s shabby-chic decor. Picture mismatched tables and chairs, colourful throw pillows and antique candelabra.
The diverse menu is inspired by owner/chef Claudia Giannoccaro’s travels. Claudia sailed the world onboard private yachts cooking for the elite and wealthy, making them feel at home. And at home is how my brother, sister-in-law and I felt curled up on the sofa style bench in the courtyard, munching on our Salvation Burgers. A giant ground beef patty with sweet milk cheese and bacon, served with a side of crunchy wedges and a sweet-savoury tomato salsa. The food at Salvation Cafe is organic wherever possible and they use using organic milk as well as free-range chicken and eggs. All the meat is free of any growth hormones and the wine list also has organic and biodynamic products.
I’m pretty sure that when I mentioned organic to my brother and sister-in-law, they expected bean sprouts and celery sticks. The Tempura Five-Spice Calamari and the Thai style fishcakes with Asian greens and a sweet-chilli dipping sauce made converts of the self-confessed food snobs.
The menu itself hasn’t changed much over the years, but make sure to ask the friendly, knowledgeable waiters about the day’s specials. If we had the whole afternoon, we would have eaten our way through the entire menu, but we decided to exercise a little self-control so that we had an excuse to come back another day. But the promise of mouth-watering food in a cosy, relaxed ambience is excuse enough to have me coming back time and time again.
Salvation Cafe is open for breakfast and lunch daily. Catering and evening venue hire available. For bookings or enquiries call 011 482 7795, but no bookings on weekends.