"To begin with my name is Abby, but many of my friends had nicked named me Abbalicous or Abbalish for short. The reason they call me this is because of my natural passion I have for cooking. I love food and I really enjoy cooking more so with wine. Sometimes I do put it in the food. Spending time in the kitchen cooking up a storm, is a huge stress reliever for me. Experimenting with flavours and different spices is for me the ultimate thrill for me. From 2008 to 2013 I had a blog, where I shared recipes and cooking tips. The main reason was to inspire people to cook and assist beginner cooks. Due to other reasons, I just didn’t have the time for my blog and sadly that blog had come to an end. During my dormant time, in the back of my mind I felt something was missing and I really missed blogging. November 2017 I was so inspired I just could not help myself but to start blogging again. For the first time ever, I had finally found my niche and its something that I am super passionate about. Being in the liquor and wine industry I learnt so many things, tying this up with my passion for cooking its the perfect combination. Well for me that is... I recently moved out to Worcester and was taken back by how many stunning wine farms are out in this area. They produce some fantastic wines and many of them are major award-winning wines. This I just had to share with people, coming from Cape Town I was actually amazed that there is more to life than Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek. I just have to share this. My blog not only discusses some amazing recipes, some with booze and some are healthy, but I also share my knowledge of the wine industry. How to pair wine with food, different types of cultivars, reviewing some wine farms, discussing events, and any other local gems in the area."
1. What inspired you to write about food?
I just love food and I love cooking. I am bursting with excitement, that the only way for me to release this energy is for me to blog about it. I want to share my passion. I want people to read my blog and then either feel totally starved and drooled all over their keyboards or that they also want to go and cook. Cooking doesn’t have to be a scary thing. I want people to know that it is easy to cook a meal that is restaurant quality. You can be a chef at home.
2. How would you describe your site to new readers?
My blog is all about cooking, providing tips, recipes and general advise. I also discuss my second biggest passion and that is wine. Most of my recipes will include wine or some alcohol in it. I also discuss wine farms, my knowledge on wine, the history of wine, the different types of cultivars, how to pair wine with food. In my blog I will also discuss local gems. I strongly support local – Local is lekker! So if I find a place that I feel could be a huge contribution in finding ingredients or something really amazing I will blog about it. It maybe a local farmers market, or a butcher or a bakery etc... I want to create an awareness and to get people excited about cooking, drinking wine and supporting the local community.
3. What is your take on organic food, is it a big deal for you?
Ideally I would love to go organic, however my budget doesn’t always allows me to go that route. Finding the freshest and best ingredients is key to any cook. You want quality cooking you have to use quality ingredients and that includes your vegetable, herbs and wine.
If I do come across organic vegetables at a farmers market I am always keen in purchasing. It is my dream is to have my own organic vegetable garden, and my own hens for the freshest of eggs. I would love to have my own cow so I can make my own organic butter, cream and cheese. Sadly, I am a plant mass murderer, I can’t even keep my lemon tree and rosemary herb plant alive. Sigh!
4. You try a new recipe and it does not turn out the way you had planned, what do you do?
Yup – this is me and baking. We just not friends. Maybe because I struggle to stick to the rules. I am a little bit of a rebel. Normally If my recipe flops I am not proud to say but I do have a little mini tantrum, as I am a perfectionist in the kitchen. In the end friends and family loves flops they say its the best. Other times depending on how seriously bad the flops are – my dogs are my other guinea pigs. They love anything I give them no matter how bad it turned out.
5. What are your three favourite ingredients?
Wow this is a super tough one as there are many ingredients I just love. Let’s see, what can’t I do without:
Smoked Paprika – I just love this stuff I almost add it to everything. It just gives your food that extra something special and a slight smokiness to your dish.
Dijon Mustard – so much you can do with this wonderful condiment. Adding it to meat or vegetables or a dressing for a salad.
Butter – Good Better Butter. You just can’t go wrong with butter. It just makes everything taste so much richer.
6. What are you 3 worst ingredients?
Anything that is overly processed. I hate products that contain MSG and Aspartame.
Aubergines – no matter how hard I try. I just can’t get to eat Aubergines or even get to cook it. I normally experiment with a number of items but this vegetable I really struggle. It is really just an awful vegetable.
Anything that offal related from Livers/Kidneys/Pens/Tongue/Trotter etc. Or any other ingredient that if I can’t look at an ingredient, can’t handle the smell don’t expect me to cook it.
7. What is your favourite local restaurant? Why?
I have only been 3 months in Worcester and I still have to discover an ultimate favourite place. So far Jason’s Hill does have a fantastic Bistro and they do make a mean pull pork sandwich. I would also have to say the “Ou Stockery”. They do a beer and gin experience and their food is really good.
However, I did stay for 15 years in Stellenbosch and there are two of my all time favourite places.
1 – Spier’s Restaurant 8. Farm to Table... what more can I say. They use only the freshest ingredients (They have their own organic vegetable gardens and use only organic chicken and beef) The quality of the food is just really amazing. You can taste the difference.
2 – Steam. If you are looking for something really different and quirky then this is the place to go. The entire restaurant and staff is pimped out in a Steam Punk Theme. I just love steam punk. (I still want a steam punk kitchen) The food is really amazing and the staff are super awesome.
8. Give your top food blog that inspire you the most?
I have a few -
www.cookbook.co.za (I have been following his blog since 2009)
www.closetcooking.com (Some amazing recipes and easy as well)
www.bbcgoodfood.com (man if I need inspiration for supper or not to sure what to do with an ingredient you will find something on this site. This site is almost like my bible – LOL)
9. What’s the one super power you wish you had?
To be able to teleport. I would love to teleport to different countries to experience their cuisines. Or buy ingredients and come home to cook. For example teleport to Spain and come home with Spanish Chorizo and Smoked Paprika or go to Switzerland and come home with copious amounts of cheese’s.
10. What is the most memorable dish that you have made?
There is so many Slow Roasted Lamb shanks cooked in white wine or old fashioned pork chops with apple sage and blue cheese (these recipes are to follow on my blog soon)
The most memorable will have to be my Tiramisu. This dish has become almost my signature dessert dish. Friends and Family know that they will have to fight tooth and nail with my hubby in order to get a piece.
But that is not the reason why it’s memorable. The first time I made Tiramisu, I was a little too heavy handed in the brandy. Yes I know, stick to the recipe but I always rebel in that. I might have used a little too much, that it completely knocked my 10 year old sister, that she fell as sleep at the dinner table.
*Thank you Abigial for appearing this guest feature.