Category Archives: Zoo Talk



My dear friends Mari-Louis Guy and Callie Maritz from Cakebread recently took a series of pics of different woman to celebrate the women behind Cape Town`s food scene – capturing what inspired each of these women on a daily basis. I was fortunate to be amongst an amazing bunch of ladies. Marie-Louis and Callie specially created cakes to suit each person’s personality.

Photograph: Cakebread Photographer: Henk Hattingh

Photograph: Cakebread Photographer: Henk Hattingh

I got this colourful, bright pink and yellow creation – very Frida Kahlo’esque – and very much me. I loved it. A floral artist handcrafted our head pieces. How extraordinary and how beautiful! Thank you! Mari-Louis, Callie and Henk for the treasured gift of spending the day with you, the lovely pics … and of course the obligatory tequilas.

They asked me 5 interesting questions. If you want to know a little bit more about me… read on Cakebread.

#richards supper stage and bistro

#richards supper stage and bistro

I just LOVE dinner theatre experiences and really didn’t know what to expect of Richards Supper Stage and Bistro … but …. I was blown away by the performances and the sheer talent of the singers – all round it was a fantastic night out!
“Kaapse Stories from the Mother City” had me enthralled from start to finish. Poignant, nostalgic, humourous and moving. From Grandpa Joe, to the rest of his talented family, to the car guard who just floored us with his gifted voice to the two bergies. It was Cape Town in full colour. I don’t want to give too much away but the music is a mix of South African songs (English, Xhosa and Afrikaans) and dance. I was brought to tears by the very remarkable tribute to Shirley Bassey. As the curtain fell, I went home with a full and happy heart… and very proud to be a South African.
The Food
This is not a gourmet meal but a good buffet.
Starters: When we arrived there was a Greek Salad and bread on the table. So if you are hungry you can start nibbling. We were then presented with snoek pâté and a samoosa. It was really tasty and scrumptious.
Mains: I was still torturing myself with a low carb eating regime which is an absolute pain when a big pot of sexy samp and a tray of baked potatoes are staring at you. I opted for some veggies, baked fish and fillet with a sauce. It was delicious and more than enough.
Dessert: The desserts are plated and there were cheesecake with koeksisters with a fruit skewer on our plates.
The Price
R450 / head

Value for money
YES and yes again.

Who must see it
The whole of Cape Town. The whole of South Africa. And the whole world.

For Bookings
Contact 021 434 4497/021 433 1340 or go to

breaking bread with the two greedy italians

breaking bread with the two greedy italians

During the recently held Good Food and Wine Show I had the amazing privilege to meet and interview two of my all-time food heroes, Gennaro Contaldo and Antonio Carluccio (Two Greedy Italians). With a freshly baked Matt Preston bread, fresh farm butter, a bottle of South African red wine and soetkoekies I sauntered off to meet these two larger than life icons.
Two Greedy Italians

What do you think of Matt Preston’s bread?
G: Mhhh delizioso. I am mad about this. It is brilliant. Grazie! I just love the cloth that it is wrapped in – just like a good Italian mamma would serve it.
A: Ahhh, this breod is fantastic, but I do think it could have been baked for a little while longer. (Thank you chef)

Butter on bread?
G: I personally do not like butter on my bread but I am crazy about butter in my espresso. The next time you have an espresso add a tea spoon of butter to it. So good. You have to try it. (I shall, I shall!)
A: Ahhh, ok Gennaro stop it now, try a piece of bread with some of this fresh butter on it. Mmhhh, magnifico!

About South African soetkoekies
G: Mamma Mia, this is fantastico! I am tasting so much love. Antonio, dunk your biscuit in the wine! Don’t be shy.
A: It is absolutely lovely, mmhhh, I can taste the cinnamon, cloves and ginger and the wine brings out the spicy flavours. Mhhh! Wow bellissimo!

my two new zoobiscuit fans

my two new zoobiscuit fans

Would you drink wine with breakfast?
A: Oh yes, definitely. Did you know that Leonardo da Vinci enjoyed a glass of wine with his breakfast? In Venice, I saw an old menu that belonged to him and there was wine being served with the breakfast.
G: Yes, my father is 96 and each morning he has a small glass of wine with his coffee. Genuine. He has coffee with milk and right alongside it is a small glass of red vino.

What will each of you cook if you wanted to seduce a lady?
A: Something exceptional, but not complicated because one needs time to seduce her (says Antonio with a broad and mischievous grin). Mhhh, I think I would prepare tortellini served with shavings of truffle. Then for dessert some lovely white strawberries, with a few drops of lemon juice and a sprinkling of fine sugar. (Oh, Antonio!)
G: Antonio, you must please serve a good Rosé with that. I shall make something decadent with lots of chocolate in.

wine + bread with my two food heros

wine + bread with my two food heroes

For which famous people have you cooked?
A + G : Prince Charles, Princess Diana, Luciano Pavarotti, Robert De Niro, Princess Margaret en just recently Pippa Middleton.

Antonio, are you a chef or a cook?
A: A cook cooks with passion and a chef cooks because he must. I believe a chef has more fun in the kitchen with food. I see myself as a cook because I cook with passion when and how I want to, and I enjoy myself thoroughly.
Gennaro, who is your food hero?
G: Antonio of course! (Shows with a big hand gesture to his friend of thirty years). He taught me a lot and when you eat his food, you eat part of Antonio!


so chuffed

so chuffed

easy cooking with nina timm

easy cooking with nina timm

Nina_1 smaller
It is often challenging to write about someone you know very well and who has so many talents and skills – it makes it difficult deciding where to start. 🙂 They say the beginning is always a good place to start … so … it was the very same Nina Timm who was there at the very start and birth of lifeisazoobisuit. You see, I had no clue how to even begin to take food photographs, how to write recipes or even babble about food let alone blog. It was then that a friend of mine said I should contact Nina.

Out of the blue one day I plucked up the courage and emailed the food warrior and pioneering spirit behind myeasycooking. I asked her if it would be ok for me to come and visit her to just chat about food. Goodness, it was one of those days in my life that I will never forget. Nina welcomed me with open arms, with such kindness, patience, Nina took my hand and guided me, she nurtured me through the first unsettling and intrepid steps of what was to become the most amazing blogging journey. Nina taught me about photographs, she introduced me to the food world and introduced me to many of the crazy and lovely people who paint the colours across our local food canvas.

nina’s recipe book
Last week Nina launched her own recipe book, easy cooking from nina’s kitchen.

To read more click here.

Nina Timm English

i chatted to alida ryder

i chatted to alida ryder

Everyone loves Alida.

Yip, she is such an inspiration for any foodie out there. She has inspired me as a blogger and continues to astound me with all her ventures, adventures and successes when it comes to food. She started a blog, then published two recipe books, is a regular on TV and one cannot turn a page in any one of our many foodie magazines without coming face to face with this ever-resourceful and truly inspirational woman.

I had a chat to Alida to find out a little more about her, her love for all things foodie and her next great adventures.

Alida Ryder

How do you eat zoo biscuits?
I haven’t actually eaten a zoo biscuit in ages but I always used to nibble the icing off first (… with extreme care, I might add) before eating the rest of biscuit.

Where did your passion for food originate?
I grew up in a food-loving family with a gran who ran her own hotel and catering business. She taught me so much about food and cooking. It is with much fondness that I can recall the days she spent baking cookies with me, the kitchen table groaning under the weight of all her amazing foods that used to be part of our Sunday lunch family ritual.

Tell me a bit more about your latest recipe book?
I’ve have been sitting with this idea for” Cook from the Heart” for the longest time and was so excited when I could finally start working on it. I really wanted to create a book that focused on the emotions behind cooking and eating. The book is divided into 8 chapters, each chapter encompasses a certain emotion and I must say, I am so incredibly chuffed with it.

Name your three favourite recipe books?
Nigella’s Kitchen, Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries (vol 1 & 2) and Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem.

What interesting stuff are you busy with at the moment?
My publisher has already started haunting me for a third book so I’m trying to zone in on a concept (I think I just have too many ideas…). I’m also busy with lots of recipe development for Woolworth’s website which keeps me very busy. But I Have to admit, it is so incredibly exciting and such a dream brand to work with. I’m also always thinking of new and exciting things for my blog and ways to keep it up to date. I really love the fact that I have a space where I can just play and have fun and take risks. It’s very liberating.

Tell us about your involvement with Food and Home magazine?
I did a winter pudding shoot for them for their June issue. It was a whole lot of fun – as they gave me the freedom to develop the recipes (within their guidelines, of course), style and shoot. It turned out to be just one of those dream assignments for me.

Who are your culinary heroes? And why?
I have so many. I love Nigella because I think she made cooking sexy again and along with Jamie. They have seemed to have really inspired people to start cooking again. I love Heston Blumenthal for obvious reasons. He’s playful and an absolute master at what he does. Nigel Slater is my absolute favourite cookbook author as his writing evokes such emotion and finally, I’d have to say my gran. She was so patient in the kitchen (something I still struggle with daily). She taught me how important it was and is to cook with love.

Describe your perfect meal?
Wow, that’s hard as I really do love all food. My perfect meal would probably start with Carpaccio with lots of Parmesan and fresh lemon and dense seed bread with lots of butter. This would be followed by a juicy cheese burger with a hint of chilli and crisp Parmesan-truffle fries. There would have to be a cheese course and finally, a perfect Crème Brulee.

“Onthou kos” or ”moderne skeppings”?
Onthou kos with edge. 🙂 There’s nothing like food that is steeped in nostalgia.

What are your favourite flavour combinations?
I am of the belief that fresh chili, garlic and lemon can make anything taste good.

Your five favourite ingredients to cook with?
Chilli, garlic, lemon (duh!), butter and lamb …. OOoh… and bacon!! 🙂

herman lensing – a culinary wunderkind + win his new recipe book #voorskoot

herman lensing – a culinary wunderkind + win his new recipe book #voorskoot

Voorskoot cover FINAL 800{herman lensing}
What a talented and remarkable culinary persona. He is young – only 26 and yet has achieved so much in his life to date. But I do not want to talk about his many foodie accolades because you can just Google them – it’s quicker that way. What I want to share today is a few words about Herman, the person I have come to know …

{the person}
Let’s begin with “He is drop dead gorgeous… and work from there”, so smart, clever, charming and a genuinely nice guy. When he walks into a room he lifts the place with his big smile, he has this classic suave about him and a wicked sense of humour. I find myself laughing almost to tears when I am around him. And in our less intimate world of twitter + facebook ….he is the one that will not just settle for a castaway twitter or a facebook birthday wish but he will pick the phone and call you. In this day and age, this speaks volumes. Herman always manages to break through the social clutter that is the wold we live in.

Herman launched his first recipe book #VOORSKOOT last weekend. Oh boy and what a production it was – Herman style – un-freaking-be-lieva-bly fabulous! But back to the recipe book – it is an outstanding book. Page through it yourself and between those pages, you will find a culinary wunderkind and a man that brings colour to all the seasons. On my kitchen shelf is a signed copy – and every time I glance at it, I see Herman saying that food is not such a complex language as long as it is prepared with love!

Herman, I am so grateful you walked into my life, congratulations! You are a burning culinary light …shine on you crazy diamond!

{lets chat}
I chatted to him, read for yourself and let the strings of this accomplished and #VOORSKOOT inspire you too … to read the interview click here.

I am giving away a copy of #VOORSKOOT – to enter click here.

i chatted to jackie cameron

i chatted to jackie cameron

Life is full of all sorts of wonderful surprises. A couple of months back I found myself meandering through the Natal Midlands en-route to a foodie weekend when I decided to stop for lunch at Hartford House, an establishment run by a very passionate culinary persona, Jackie Cameron. I had heard much about her and this little gem of a place in the Midlands. So this was going to be my treat to myself – lunch at Hartford House. There I sat, on my ownsome on the verandah drooling over the tasting menu that Jackie telephonically said to the chefs I must taste. It was fantastic – the food the atmosphere and the bubbly. I met her 2 months later where we were sitting on the hay bales at the Biscuit mill the evening of the Eat Out Awards. She tapped me on the shoulder and as I turned around I could not believe she was sitting right behind me. She is such a down to earth lady with so much zest for life and fun. Jackie just launched her new book – Jackie Cameron Cooks At Home – I chatted to her about it and other interesting things in her life.

Jackie 800

How do you eat zoo biscuits?
I love this question. I lick the animal off with my tongue (I may add that when I was younger they actually looked like animals and not blobs and drag-lines of icing) and then eat the outer biscuit edge and then I try my utmost to remove as much of the biscuit underneath the coloured-icing as possible. And finally I savour the coloured-icing part. Haha…what does this say about my personality? (i love you even more – anél )

You just launched your recipe book, congratulations – tell us more about it …
One of my goals was to write and publish a book by the time I turned 30 … I started writing a column for The Witness newspaper years ago and these articles provided me with a base to work from. Also, from the comments sent to me, I was able to judge which recipes were the most popular – and of course, those which did not necessarily impress the readers. Everything I do is meticulously researched before I begin with a project.

I find a lot of recipe books these days are trying to prove to the world that the authors are creative and well informed regarding food, so they are presenting items that impress on paper – a ‘stewed fruit with rose syrup’ this, and a ‘lavender essence’ that… In my book you’ll find a delicious stewed-fruit recipe just how my grandmother made it. No bells and whistles just interesting and tantalising flavours. I am not trying to prove to the world that I can cook; I’m aiming to help the house cook improve her or his day-to-day cooking with a “how-to recipe book” filled with recipes that actually work. I believe if people are cooking better at home they will expect a higher level of food in restaurants and in turn the entire food industry will migrate to another level.

Where did your inspiration come from for the recipe book?
An intense need and desire to improve everyday people’s cooking at home – the book as aforementioned also provided a way of documenting some of my own favourites which we use on a day-to-day basis at Hartford House.

What is your favourite recipe from the book – or the one you are most proud of?
This is like asking a parent which child is her favourite. I have a connection with every recipe in the book and there’s a little story to go with each one! They are all special in their own way

Do you still get as excited about the homely classics as you do about your fantastic menu?
Of course I do, there is nothing better than a great home-cooked meal with friends and family … these happy childhood memories is what inspires me each day to get into my kitchen.

Where did you enjoy your most memorable meal?
I have been fortunate enough to have enjoyed so so many memorable meals over the years in some truly magnificent spots all around the world. I have been truly lucky. I could never pin-point one, each of these culinary destinations and establishments where I have enjoyed a meal or an outing has contrived to add something to who I am today as a chef.

Who are your culinary heroes and why?
Similar answer as above…so many chefs and foodie people have influenced my life without them ever even realising it. Bless them all.

What are your favorite flavor combinations?
Normally savoury combinations.
Fig and gorgonzola.
Foie gras, salt-crystals and fresh cherries.
Beef bernaise.
Buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes and home-made basil pesto.

What has been the proudest moment of your career?
No award can compare to seeing the development in my staff on a day-to-day basis. This is what gets me up in the morning.

Where will we find you in five years
Wow, I wish I knew the answer to this…pretty much so just diving into anything foodie and seeing which opportunities come my way.

How are you involved in your local community?
Besides my sous chef, Elaine Boshoff, all my staff come from the community in Mooiriver. Most of my ladies don’t have a standard 5/8 level of education and they are so dedicated and committed to me and Hartford in putting out beautiful food on a day-to-day basis. I’m using 95% of local produce and ingredients from the Midlands and even my chef jacket range is made on the midlands-meander.

twitter: @jackie_cameron
facebook: jackie.cameron.161