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Food

CAFE LA PLAGE: THE PLACE TO EAT IN UMHLANGA

KATIE HART

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If you follow my blog and Instagram, you will know that I have recently been back to South Africa for a visit. Every year, my parents and I got to Umhlanga in Kwa-Zulu natal which is an amazing (but underrated) town by the sea. The beaches are pristine and the weather is almost consistently amazing. I love this place and because it's very much a tourist town, it is full of amazing restaurants. A list of the ones you should visit will be up on the blog within the next couple of days including price point*

Cafe La Plage though, deserved its own post. We were invited to go and experience Cafe La Plage on our last night in Umhlanga which was a Friday. Wow, this place is buzzing on a Friday. Its busy pretty much any time of any day but Friday nights are insane. Its really a huge restaurant with inside and outside seating and it was packed. 

The restaurant itself is situated maybe two minutes from the beach, just off the promenade. It's decorated in over the top French style complete with gold toilets (no I am not joking). The staff are absolutely brilliant and so accommodating and kind. Really, I don't have a bad word to say about the place...its amazing! 

Starters (shown below): The first image is the stuffed calamari risotto which is what my Mum had to start. I tasted it and it does in fact taste as good as it looks! The next started is crumbed Prince prawns which my Dad and I shared. The prawns were perfectly cooked, sweet and tasty and the batter/crumbed top was extremely light. What a fabulous meal! 

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Mains (shown below):  Mum decide to go with a Mediterranean vegetable salad which included chickpeas, olives. feta. beetroot and butternut. I had a taste of that and it was absolutely delicious and Mum loved it! I had the King prawns with savoury rice which was to say the least, amazing. The prawns were big and juicy, perfectly cooked and just really insanely good! Dad had steak which he said he thought was the best steak he had ever had. It came on a bed of vegetables and with chips. Needless to say, I didn't have any steak but I'll take Dads word on it. 

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Dessert and Cocktails (shown below): The cocktails are absolutely incredible at Cafe La Plage and by amazing, I mean like some of the best I have ever tasted. I had two cocktails both at our lovely waitress' suggestion. The drinks were amazing in and of themselves and would have been incredible even if they weren't served as they are which is in PINEAPPLES!! LET ME REPEAT THAT, THE COCKTAILS ARE SERVED IN PINEAPPLE SHAPED GLASSES!!!

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I mean, can drinks be more beautiful than this? Having said that, the cocktail prices are relatively pricey for South Africa but definitely not outrageous and very well priced if you're a tourist. We also had probably the best chocolate cake ever made here. Mum, Dad and I shared one  piece between us but honestly, it was incredible. I think I may have overused the word 'incredible' in this blog post but I honestly can't help myself. Some of the best cake I have ever eaten! 

 
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I would definitely recommend Cafe La Plage to anyone who is in Umhlanga! If you're South African, you'll find the prices a bit steeper than 'normal' but definitely worth it. If you're from overseas then you'll find it as reasonable as eating at Zizzi but with much, much better food!

*Price point is relative and graded from cheapest to most expensive as in GBP all the food is reasonable in comparison to restaurant food in the UK

EAT: JOHANNESBURG

KATIE HART

THE BIG MOUTH, NELSON MANDELA SQUARE 

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This place is an absolute gem and a Joburg must visit. Situated in the ever popular and vibey Nelson Mandela Square, The Big Mouth is buzzing all day, every day. It's absolutely unmissable if you love fish and sushi. I can confidently say that I have never ever had sushi which even comes close to that of The Big Mouth in any other place. 

For South Africa, it's a relatively pricey restaurant but if you're earning in pounds or dollars and used to overseas food prices, its very reasonable. Especially when you consider the quality of the meals. I took my Mum and Dad here on a Friday night (definitely book, because it gets extremely busy) and we had three platters of sushi and two portions of calamari as well as  a bottle of wine, a carafe of white wine and coffee and the bill came to 60 quid. 

A definite must-visit in Joburg - http://www.thebigmouth.co.za

LA ROSA MEXICAN GRILLE AND TEQUILERIA 

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La Rosa is another absolute must visit when in Joburg. If you like Mexican food, this should be the place you go. Their nachos grande are amazing and great to split between a table as a starter. 

They have loads of options including meat, fish and vegetarian. I love the build a burrito that they have. 

You can either have a burrito bowl which is served without the wrap and sort of in salad form or you can have the traditional burrito. 

Another thing definitely worth trying while you're there is one of their many tequila based cocktails which you can have frozen or not and are, it must be said, absolutely delicious. 

http://www.larosamexican.co.za

TASHA'S CAFE

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Undoubtedly some of the best food you can find in Joburg can be found at Tasha's. There are a few of them, one of the most recent additions being the one in Mall Of Africa. 

Each one has a slightly different menu but the food is always great. You can pretty much pick anything off the menu and be guaranteed that it's going to be a good meal. 

The waiters and waitresses are well trained and very attentive. The restaurants themselves are sleek and modern. I had salmon fishcakes with new potatoes and it was honestly one of the best meals I've ever had. The fishcakes were extremely tasty and the potatoes delicious. 

I will always recommend Tasha's if you're in Joburg : http://www.tashascafe.com/locations/johannesburg/hyde-park/

COL'CACCHIO PIZZERIA

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If you want a great pizza, then Col'Cacchio is definitely the place to go. You can have half and half pizza's which is great for sharing. 

The salads that they make are absolutely fantastic. The pizza bases are thin and crispy and the toppings are anything but sparse. You can also add pretty much anything you want to a pizza and exchange toppings. 

The pizza is definitely on the expensive side for South Africa. However, if you are from overseas, it's going to be very reasonable. My personal favourite is Nicolway in Bryanston but there are many to choose from. 

http://colcacchio.co.za

WHOLE WHEAT GINGERBREAD PANCAKES (NOW SUITABLE FOR DIABETICS)

KATIE HART

Original Author: Cookie and Kate

Recipe type: Breakfast

Prep time:  15 mins

Cook time:  20 mins

Total time:  35 mins

Serves: 2 to 4 servings

 

Fluffy, comforting whole wheat pancakes flavored with ginger and molasses. I love to top mine with maple syrup (obviously I don't - I just top with some xylitol icing 'sugar' and berries) and a dollop of almond butter or, if I'm feeling decadent, a dollop of orange cream cheese*.

Yields 8 medium pancakes, enough to feed 2 to 4.

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SUGAR FREE SPICE COOKIES (SUITABLE FOR DIABETICS

KATIE HART

One of my all time favourite things to do when I do have some extra time is baking. I find it extremely relaxing and it always brings me joy. I can honestly say that it has always been a favourite hobby of mine. I actually took 'Home Economics' as a subject whilst I was at school and it brought me a lot of joy. I found that it felt less like a chore than the rest of school. I also had a fabulous teacher which always help

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EASY PEASY LEMON SPONGE

KATIE HART

Ingredients

1⁄2cup  butter, melted
1 cup  canderel
2 eggs, well beaten
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1⁄4teaspoon salt
1 1⁄2cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄4cup almond milk
1/4 cup fat free milk
1⁄3cup lemon juice
1⁄4cup canderel/xylitol

Method

  1. Mix together 1 cup canderel and butter.

  2. Add eggs and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice; mix well.

  3. Add salt, flour, and baking powder to mixture.

  4. Add milk.

  5. Bake at 180°C in a well greased loaf pan for 1 hour,or until golden brown.

  6. Mix 1/3 cup lemon juice and 1/4 cup sugar.

  7. Use a toothpick to make holes in top of cake and drizzle lemon juice and sugar mixture over the top of the cake when removed from the oven.

  8. Serve warm or cool.

*original recipe: http://www.food.com/recipe/easy-lemon-pound-cake-11763

*Please note: I have somehow lost the picture I took of this so image is from the original page as linked above.

 

 

STUFFED MUSHROOMS

KATIE HART

 

STUFFED MUSHROOMS

February 10, 2017

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Katie Hart

This really shouldn't count as a recipe but I'm putting it here. My reason is simple really, I am a 22 year old woman and I've just suddenly realised that I'm moving out and I need to know how to feed myself. I know, shocker...

 

I'm sure so many young people find themselves in similar situations and that my friends is why I have decided to make this a weekly thing. Once a week, I'm going to be challenging myself to come up with a recipe which is easy to cook, not too expensive (in my case it will be vegetarian but you could always add meat if you so desired) and also relatively healthy.

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STARBUCKS: HOME AWAY FROM HOME

KATIE HART

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I have always loved Starbucks. Not because their coffee is really much better than what other places offer but because for me it is the symbol of home and England. Yes, I know...Starbucks is just about as American as it gets but to me...it isn't. I first experienced Starbucks in London and it was amazing then, it's even better now. Their internet is fast and their interior is so homely and comfortable. 

I have never been to a place where more cultures and different people come together so frequently and so easily. It's one of the many things I love about it. I won't lie, I was at my most excited when they annonced Starbucks' arrival in South Africa. What I didn't know then, but I do know now is that what makes Starbucks special in the rest of the world is present here too. I love to sit here with friends or just to work...it gets me out of the house and it's always nice. The internet is so damn fast - it was the only place I could upload my Youtube videos before we got fibre at home (it took only 6 mins at Starbucks vs 3 hours plus at home). The coffee is good but the quintessential 'Starbucks' drinks are even better (I don't really rate the tea though). 

Today I came here to get my brain working again. There are only three Starbucks as well and I sit quietly and work at the bigger Melrose Arch one. I like sitting here. I like the buzz as people come and go. You know what I really like though? I really like their Lemon and Poppyseed Muffins. So damn great, possibly 'the greatest muffin I have ever had' (if you didn't imagine that in Donald Trump's voice, you've done yourself a great disservice).

Don't know what they did but the muffin itself is not too sweet, lemony in flavour without being too tart. When you cut into the middle, you get like a lemon jam/marmalade and I don't know...it's just amazing and I loved it! It really added an extra dimension. It does have that tiny bit of icing on the top (amazing) with what is possibly preserved lemon? Either way, best muffin ever - go grab one. 

Whilst you're at it, Starbucks SA has just launched their rewards system on your app store  (IOS or Android). Just click the (correct link for you) below to take you straight to those pages. Download that app and not only do you start earning rewards immediately, you can also set your rewards card up as a payment system with a pre-loaded amount of money on it. If you're and Apple user, you can send the digital card to your wallet. All you need to do to pay and earn rewards is essentially scan the barcode on your phone. 

I also love the Iced Caramel Macchiato or if its cooler a Caramel Latte (both with soy). Now you have all the info so off you go. Just remember, the correct way to order a Starbucks drink is like this:

  1. Hot or iced.

  2. Size (Tall, Grande, Venti)

  3. Decaf.

  4. Number of shots (if any extra) or the specific type of coffee (which might cost extra) 

  5. Number of pumps of syrup (if you're that specific or you want it sweeter or less sweet)

  6. Type of milk (they don't HAVE almond yet)

  7. Any extras or things you don't want (like cream)

  8. Drink type (latte, Frappuccino, etc...)