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Life’s too short to mess around with cupcakes

All of a sudden one day, a few years ago, I woke up like Rumpelstiltskin and looked around to discover that, while I had been sleeping, the world has been transmogrified from a grown-up environment in which grown-ups behaved like grown-ups – give or take – into some strange parallel universe in which the adults were, with worryingly few exceptions, spending half their lives in the kitchen making cupcakes and giving them extravagant toppings.

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A slave to gonzo logic

Slavery belongs in another time. America finally got around to it in 1863, when Abraham Lincoln ordered the emancipation of slaves in Confederate states. Hard to believe, that; 1863 is just the other day on the canvass of history. Just 150 years. That’s three Johnny Depp lives since Lincoln abolished slavery. He’s just turned 50 by the way (I know, I fell over too). On a backdrop of eternity, 150 years would disappear into a black hole sooner than you could say “My body is my journal, and my tattoos are my story.” (Johny Depp said that.)

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Eric Lanlard shares his baking tips

I know how he felt. Whenever I am in France, and pass a patisserie shop window, I cannot walk by. I stop and stare, transfixed, at the beautiful things inside. You want to have them all, eat them all, just die right there on the spot. But that would be just silly, so you gather all your strength, and walk on.

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In the pink with pears and Grenadine

In the kitchen, pink is what you want in your lamb or beef, not pork or chicken. Pink is what you get if you include beetroot in a pan of vegetables and roast them. Everything else from the potatoes and onions to the carrots and courgettes will have turned a luscious crimson. It’s a worthwhile effect, and needs no fake food colouring.

Restaurants

Jazzing it up in The Crypt

St George’s Cathedral is the heartbeat of Cape Town. That it represents a particular religion and a particular denomination is beside the point. No matter who we are and what we believe, the cathedral stands there for us all, thanks more than anything else to that man I still want to hug while we still […]

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You can Bête Noire your life on it

But this was all leading to my dessert, which had to have a name of its own, so I called it Chocolate Bête Noire, because if any of them survived it they’d be after my blood fro trying to kill them off with chocolate.

Beef

Learning to cook at my mom’s elbow

In the chill of a Yorkshire winter in what was then the West Riding of that large northern English county, where Cathy called for Heathcliff in whipping winds on grim moors, the pretty girl with wide-set cornflower blue eyes would have to hold her hand out to be stuck repeatedly with the back of a hairbrush when the orphanage carers – for want, perhaps, of another word – would deem some wrong to have been done.

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The Wolftrap Steakhouse Championship: Where the steaks are a little too high

If I were the owner of a genuine steakhouse, that well-seasoned beast in which generations of South Africans have grown up, what this tells me is that none of the old-style steakhouses is likely to win one of these gongs if these big boys are allowed in the competition. The bar is set way too high for most of them, so doesn’t that defeat the object?

Restaurants

High Tea at the okay hotel

The Mount Nelson is more than okay… it’s the grandest of all South African hotels, is steeped in colonial history and since it opened its doors in 1899, when a young Winston Churchill was among its first guests, the grand old Pink Lady near the upper end of the Company’s Garden in Cape Town has played host to the world’s rich and famous. ‘The Nellie’ is also where you get the most splendid High tea. Sliver went along to find out what it’s all about.

Beef

Keith Richards and other mashed-up bangers

A banger is a clapped-out, stutter-start old car that knows the next stop is the breakers. A banger is an old rocker, a wizened Keith Richards who can’t see his fans any more but can still find his guitar chords. A banger is a heady cocktail of vodka, Galliano and orange juice, with a maraschino garnish to fool you into believing that a Harvey Wallbanger doesn’t pack a kick.

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