Snap, Sizzle & Cook

Sharing my love of food

Classics Perfected Launch at Fairmont Zimbali

This article contributed by: Vernon Loker

To the layman, a cocktail is little more than a tasty drink found in up-market restaurants, at plush bars or at other elite gatherings, in which patrons consume liquids fit for a very special occasion.

image courtesy of Fairmont Zimbali

image courtesy of Fairmont Zimbali

However, to the connoisseur, cocktails are hand-crafted brews requiring a delicate touch of blending various flavours of beverages, both natural and alcoholic together with, if called for, exotic spices to round off nothing short of a sensation to the palette. Granted, these drinks are commonly found at special celebrations, but interestingly for me, they also feature when conversations are light and topical at the end of a business day or the gathering of friends and family during a meal at a favourite eating or drinking establishment over the weekend. Fairmont Zimbali’s launch into this dimension of socializing at their Resort on the North Coast of Kwa-Zulu-Natal nearby Ballito has introduced me to this previously unknown world.

image courtesy of Fairmont Zimbali

image courtesy of Fairmont Zimbali

I was recently introduced to this form of social drinking when accompanying my wife to Fairmont Zimbali Resort launch of their exclusive cocktail menu called Classics Perfected.

image courtesy of Fairmont Zimbali

image courtesy of Fairmont Zimbali


image courtesy of Fairmont Zimbali

image courtesy of Fairmont Zimbali


Little was I aware of firstly the training that Mixologists (the title for a master of his/her trade) undergo, together with the painstaking experimentation and recording of cocktail recipes prior to the final product passing the lips of the discerning tippler. Fairmont Hotel’s South African Mixologists have attended specialist training courses with a fortunate few having gained overseas experience to fine-tune their craft.
image courtesy of Fairmont Zimbali

image courtesy of Fairmont Zimbali


I was further intrigued, when given insight, into the flavours that Mixologists are able to produce when blending a cocktail. To successfully combine mint, pomegranate, cucumber, fresh lemon, coconut, plus a variety of other fruits, along with herbs and spices with recognized drinks such as Champagne, Tequila, Vodka, Gin, Cointreau and the likes was the equivalent to introducing me to another universe of drinking pleasure.
Cocktail names such as “Right Word”, “VSOP Boulevardier”, “Veuve Clicqot” had me spell bound.
Of particular interest to me were the demonstrations of the Hotel’s resident Mixologists in the preparation of a cocktail. This at a specially prepared glass counter with colourful lighting, a crystal clear sound system and big screen, all combining to optimize patrons viewing the coming together of the final product.
image courtesy of Fairmont Zimbali

image courtesy of Fairmont Zimbali


My attention was gripped by one of the evening’s Mixologists, Patrick, as he produced his personal creation, Pomegranate Paloma . A cocktail of Patrick’s own engineering and one that hitherto had no equal in the cocktail world. I sat enthralled as he combined pomegranate juice, grapefruit juice, and fresh lemon juice with Angostura bitters. He then added Casamigos Reposado Tequila to Cointreau plus Half kosher salt to the juices and rounded off with a rim of lemon.
In short – a refreshing cocktail and one to warm conversations.
All-in-all, an evening well spent in the company of Fairmont Zimbali’s staff and guests.
image courtesy of Fairmont Zimbali

image courtesy of Fairmont Zimbali

Banting Meatballs

I should really picnic more since it’s such a wonderful outing to enjoy with friends and family plus the added feature of delicious food (and wine).
Banting meatballs
I remember as a young girl doing road trips with my grandparents. We would often make a trip to the beach or visit family who lived inland. My grandfather drove an enormous chocolate brown valiant which was so spacious inside that I could quite comfortably stretch out on the back seat to sleep. My gran always had a delicious assortment of picnic food such as boiled eggs, vetkoek stuffed with savoury mince, meatballs, milktart and her very delicious ginger beer. Picking up from this fond memory, I have made a few picnic friendly foods HERE, HERE and HERE. This particular dish is another favourite to add to the growing list of “mobile” foods.
Because so many people are following the Banting lifestyle, I’ve adapted this recipe to cater for those LCHF (Low Carb, High fat) eaters.
Banting meatballs
You will need:
1 onion (finely diced)
2 medium sized courgettes (grated)
2 cloves garlic, minced
50g grated cheese (you can use any type of cheese)
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
500g mince (lamb, beef or chicken)
Salt and pepper to taste
Method:
Preheat oven to 210 degrees Celsius.
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
Roll into golf ball size balls and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper
Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Banting meatballs
Cook’s notes:
Serve with caulimash or courgette noodles.
You can swop the 2 grated courgettes for a cup of grated sweet potato.

Peanut butter and coconut cookies

A debated topic in the running world is the subject of eating breakfast, especially when waking at the crack of dawn on a Saturday morning for a long run.
For me personally I battle to eat so early in the morning yet I know my body needs nourishment to cope with pending hunger pangs and excessive exercise conducive to distance running. I’ve tried many different forms of breakfasts, namely muesli, yoghurt, fruit and protein shakes but these have only left me with extreme cramps and a general sense of feeling uneasy while out on my run.
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Peanut butter has been hailed as one of the favourite food sources for athletes in sustaining satiety. It keeps one full for longer, is full of nutrients and maintains the all important glucose levels. Every runner who has experienced it (including myself) will tell you that “hitting the wall” because of glucose levels crashing is no joke, one’s dignity goes crashing too.
In my endeavor to find the perfect breakfast for those early morning runs, I decided to try a Peanut butter and coconut cookie. Not only is it simple to make, but it’s extremely delicious. You can size them to your own convenience, so putting 2 or 3 into a small packet, carrying in your running shorts for those long runs or when you just can’t eat something so early in the morning is very convenient.
You will need:
3 cups self raising flour
1 cup coconut
½ bottle peanut butter
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
125g butter
Pinch of salt
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Method:
Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and beat well between additions. Add peanut butter to egg mixture and combine well. Add flour, coconut and salt together in separate bowl. Add flour mixture to peanut butter mixture till dough has formed. Roll mixture into small balls and place on a greased oven proof pan. Press lightly with a fork and back in a preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 15-20 minutes.
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Chocolate Cream Pie

WARNING!
Unlike some of my previous recipes, this one is NOT BANTING FRIENDLY!
Despite all the warnings on social media (which I HAVE taken note of) regarding the dangers of sugar consumption and the addiction properties paralleled with that of cocaine, as an avid runner, I personally feel the need to indulge every now and then in something sweet. Not only does my body need it, but deserves it. Besides gulping down a few litres of Energade or Powerade after a long run, I do enjoy a large chunk of cake or pudding every so often. This particular dessert pie is extremely sweet resulting in only a small piece needed to satisfy those sugary cravings.
DSC_0012 (627x418)
You will need:
150g marshmallows
200g milk chocolate
1pkt Romany creams
1 cup cream
1 cup milk
75g butter
1 chocolate flake
Glazed cherries
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Method:
Combine marshmallows and milk in a saucepan. Stir until marshmallows have melted. Add chocolate and stir until melted and mixture is smooth. Allow to cool.
Crush Romany Creams and stir in the melted butter. Press into a greased pie dish and chill.
Whip cream and fold into the cooled chocolate mixture. Pour into the prepared crust. Decorate with flake and cherries.
DSC_0015 (627x418)

Tuna Mould

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In my opinion, a can or two of tuna is a store cupboard or pantry necessity. From whipping up a quick tuna salad, tuna pasta or making a tuna quiche, it is an essential ingredient for every home kitchen.  I always ensure I have a few tins in my cupboard for making a meal in a jiffy especially in the hot summer months when you really don’t feel like cooking a hot meal.  This particular recipe is just another way to using a can of tuna.
You will need:
1 can tuna is water
1 tub smooth cottage cheese
1 finely chopped onion
4-5 finely chopped gherkins
Salt and pepper
30ml tomato sauce
6 tsp lemon jelly power (dissolved in about 3 tbsp of boiling water and allow to cool)
Method:
Drain tuna and mix together with cottage cheese, onion and gherkin. Add tomato sauce and cooled lemon jelly. Season and pour mixture into a mould and set in the fridge till firm. If you don’t have a mould then just place mixture into a bowl to set in fridge. Turn out onto a platter and garnish. Serve with toast or crackers

Zucchini and Sweet Potato Slices – Banting friendly

This recipe is a fabulous alternative to the usual meal addition of either roast vegetables or salad. What I like about this dish is the convenience of serving it either hot or cold which makes it ideal for a picnic lunch. The zucchini and sweet potato make a perfect pair to be enjoyed whether you are and avid Banter or not.
Zucchini and Sweet Potato Squares
You will need:
6 eggs, lightly beaten
500g Zucchini, finely grated
250g sweet potato, finely grated
1 bunch of spring onions, chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
200g grated cheddar cheese
40g grated Parmesan cheese
100ml Coconut oil
5ml dried basil
5ml dried sage
Zucchini and Sweet Potato Squares
Method:
Combine eggs, zucchini, sweet potato and spring onions in a large bowl.
Mix together oil, cheeses and herbs
Combine egg and cheese mixtures and stir well.
Pour into a greased ovenproof dish
Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 30-40 minutes or until mixture is firm to the touch
Remove from oven and cut into squares
Serve hot or cold

Coronation Chicken Salad

If there’s one meal that I like to prepare and just pop in the fridge for “whenever”, it’s a chicken coronation salad. It can be enjoyed as a snack, in between meals or as a complete meal served with homemade bread or a personal favourite of mine, use as a filling for a wrap or pita bread. This particular salad lasts for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
.Chicken Coronation Salad
You will need:
600g Chicken breasts, cubed
1 onion
30ml olive oil
5ml coriander
2.5ml cumin
10ml medium strength curry powder
60ml seedless raisins
30ml slivered almonds (reserve for last)
1 stick celery, sliced (reserve for last)
125ml original chutney
1 cup mayonnaise (reserve for last)
Salt and pepper (seasoning)
Method:
On medium heat, add the olive oil and onions to a pot and sauté for about 3 minutes. Add the cubed chicken breasts, cumin, coriander, curry power, seasoning, chutney and raisins. Stir together and sauté until the chicken is cooked through. If the mixture becomes too sticky, add a half cup of water and stir through. Set aside and allow to cool completely. Add the sliced celery, almonds and mayonnaise and place in a serving bowl and refrigerate until needed
Chicken Coronation Salad

Onion and Cheese Bread

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I rely mostly on an image to give me an idea of what the end result of a recipe will be. I love the beautiful food illustrations captured in modern recipe books and magazines, they give me inspiration and of course make my mouth water.
A few years back I was given a batch of recipe books which originate from various Churches in and around Durban. These little recipe books are great in that they are meals directly from a home kitchen. They are someone’s family favourite so they are also very personable. The idea behind these recipe books which are usually for fundraising purposes (School’s have them too) is that each woman who partakes in putting the book together contributes their personal favourite recipe. The downside of these recipe books is that there are no images I guess to save on costs so one is going in “blind” when trying a recipe.
What I’d like to do with all these books is to pick a few recipes, try them and share the successful, no flop ones with you. The first recipe that I am sharing is an easy, 5 ingredient Onion Bread which was so simple to mix together.
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For this recipe you will need:
500ml self raising flour (small packet)
1 packet brown onion soup
1 egg
1 carton Inkomazi or buttermilk
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
Method:
Mix all ingredients together except the cheese. Place in a small pre greased loaf tin. Sprinkle with the cheese and bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Lindt Boutique Launch

There’s a sweet delight in store for Durban chocolate connoisseurs, as LINDT opens the doors to its brand new LINDT Chocolate Boutique in Gateway Theatre of Shopping. Following the successful launch of its first retail store in Sandton City earlier this year, LINDT is raising the bar once again, with the new Chocolate Boutique set to be the largest of its kind in South Africa.
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Offering customers a highly customised and fully immersive brand experience, the new LINDT Chocolate Boutique will afford chocolate lovers the chance to explore a wide selection of international LINDT flavours, as well as the full range of well-known favourites. The store will also play host to Africa’s largest-ever LINDOR Pick & Mix station, from which consumers will be able to select custom combinations of their favourite LINDOR flavours.
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“The new LINDT Chocolate Boutique is sure to be Durban’s ultimate chocolate destination,” explains Nicolas Thoenen, CEO of Lindt & Sprüngli South Africa. “Not only will it be our largest South African retail store to date, but it will also offer Durban consumers full access to the authentic LINDT experience, allowing them to truly immerse themselves in the brand and gain a greater appreciation for the art of chocolate making.”
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Founded in 1845, Lindt & Sprüngli is a global leader in the premium chocolate category, offering high-quality products in more than 100 countries.
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Lola’s Bistro

If you are looking for a fine dining experience in a relaxed, friendly environment, then Lola’s Bistro in Florida Road, Durban is the perfect venue. With a warm, gracious welcome, trendy décor and a fabulous bar area, your meal experience will be unforgettable. Situated in the beautiful Quarters boutique hotel, this eatery will not let your hunger pangs down. Owned by the very sociable and gracious Lisa Morel, this childhood dream of providing fine cuisine and creating community within a community has come to fruition in her successful eating place.

Lisa welcoming the bloggers and giving us some of her background

Lisa welcoming the bloggers and giving us some of her background

Cath Jenkins welcoming us

Cath Jenkins welcoming us

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I had the pleasure of attending an evening of “menu tasting” recently with a group of fellow bloggers. On arrival, we were instantly made to feel welcome by Lisa and were ushered to the bar area where we ordered our drinks. After some welcoming and background information, we were served a delicious Smokey Bacon Soup topped with shaved biltong. Delicious is actually not the right word, it was out of this world scrumptious. Next to arrive was seared tuna with a sesame seed crust served with the most amazing deep fried wasabi mash ball. It was something different and very flavoursome. A very juicy Chicken Breast wrapped in bacon and served with butternut cubes and deep fried zucchini arrived next. I was in foodie heaven with all these delicious flavours. As the menu rightly states, “The Grande Finale”…….. Dessert arrived. Lisa and her team set up a buffet style dessert table which was truly the cherry on the cake. The Crème Brulee with an expresso kick was my best. Incuded on the dessert table was Panacotta pots, Chocolate Bomb Lava Cake and Peanut butter Short bread Balls. And so a memorable evening of fantastic food and great company came to an end…….. for now.

Seared Tuna with a sesame seed crust served with deep fried wasabi mash

Seared Tuna with a sesame seed crust served with deep fried wasabi mash

Juicy Chicken Breast wrapped in bacon and served with deep fried zuccini

Juicy Chicken Breast wrapped in bacon and served with deep fried zuccini

Rich Chocolate Bomb Lava Cake

Rich Chocolate Bomb Lava Cake

Contact Details:
101 Florida Rd, Durban, 4001
031 303 5246
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LolasBistroDbn/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LolasBistroDbn
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lolas_bistro/

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