Cook Culinary & Craft Studio

Venues and Fun Places

MACAROON

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Macaroon

I am not going to dwell on many descriptive words here as the beautiful interior, products and merchandising of the new Macaroon store in Greenside says it all.

The pure pleasure of the new concept is that you can browse, feel, get inspired, touch  plus shop online in the store with help (and a cup of coffee) from the Macaroon team, with designers on hand to guide you through colour charts and choices.

Once you have placed your order, pick a stylish postcard write a love note and Macaroon will simply post it off to someone special.

Browse through their range of stylish stationery and gifts on

http://www.macaroon.co/macaroon/content/en/macaroon/home

 

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Constantia Uitsig La Colombe

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Constantia Uitsig La Colombe

I am no restaurant critic and I feel descriptive articles of award winning restaurants, master chefs and an elaborate breakdown of each marvellous component of an outstanding dish, should be left to the professionals.
So I will just say this: My lunch at La Colombe was my best meal and culinary experience, ever.

Four of us dined on different Tapas, homemade bread, homemade butter, oysters, starters, mains, sorbets, desserts and friandise.
So I feel qualified to say that after tasting sixteen spectacular dishes, it was the best meal I ever eaten.

 

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Naturally beautiful people add to the experience.
The beautiful French general manager “Jen-i-feur” allowed me to abandon my table’s red wine for French Champagne because “French champagne goes with everrr-ree-teeng”. Especially Tribaut Schloesser from the heart of the Champagne region in France, 20km from where she grew up.

The head chef, young Michael Cooke is just unbelievable. He has honoured his award winning predecessors, Frenchman Franck Dangereux, British Luke Dale-Roberts and the current executive chef, local Scot Kirton. We feasted on pig’s cheek, lambs tongue, jellies and foams plated with harmonious precision and before we ordered dessert my friend burst into tears because the experience was just so magnificent.

Then of course, there is the sweet and gentle pastry chef, Glen Williams who I would marry for his espresso pistachio dusted chocolate truffles filled with salted caramel. I have never quite tasted anything like the combinations with which I was presented at La Colombe but Glen’s guava and chamomile dessert is without a doubt, the most memorable.

So of all the magical restaurants and chefs, this is simply it for me.
It surely does not get better than this.

 

A home away from home: David Kramer and the Crystal Towers

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I spent my first child- free long weekend away, hitting Cape Town and the surrounding winelands on a culinary adventure and I would have been far more homesick were it not for the magnificent 5 star Crystal Towers hotel & Spa, where I was made to feel like family and not a guest.

What I loved most about this swish hotel were the unexpected and surprising David Kramer and Kingsley Holgate rooms. They were almost left undiscovered as I had to walk past a neon floor-to –double volume –wall bar filled with rows upon rows of Moet ( I swear it was like a shrine built for me).

The Holgate room was occupied and so I spent my final evening unwinding with a hot chocolate in front of a gorgeous crackling fire, getting lost in a journey of David Kramer’s life through photographs, a live DVD, memos, music and even a replica of his famous guitar.

The delight continued as I discovered our architect friend designed the interior of the New York loft style family restaurant or smokehouse KNIFE and my gorgeous Godchild’s face and his sister are splashed on the distinct and unusual monotone wallpaper!

Fabulous and friendly staff, delicious hospitality, faultless food and a David Kramer room, (I mean COME ON!)

http://www.africanpridehotels.com/hotel-portfolios.html

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Babylonstoren

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If I could turn back the clock (and I would only for this reason). I would get married at Babylonstoren. Maranda Engelbrecht would be the mother I never had and she would transform my day and night into something unimaginable.

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This unbelievable majestic estate comprises a cellar, a momentous vegetable and herb garden (from which the menu planning starts), Babel restaurant, Glass House, farm hotel and spa and lots of animals. Most notably it was their Shiraz I had sent back to Joburg by the caseload as it was my wine of the weekend.

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I opted to lunch at the Green House because I specifically wanted a cheese and charcuterie lunch and their selection was just perfection.

I tried not to stare open mouthed at every delicious element this place had to offer and delight me with, from the waiter’s stations on crates, the creamy gorgonzola and salmon casually served on paper to Karen Roos nonchalantly sitting among us.

My photo of the weekend was of the quirky horticulturist’s feet who’s name (Gundula I believe) is as exotic as her gardening clothes and she blushed furiously at my request for a photo.

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Babylonstoren is just a feast for the eyes and mouth. I cannot wait to go back and stay in the farmhouse (and stalk Maranda).

 

Lunch: Perfection and simplicity.

 

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The waiter’s station, ice cream cones for the kids and our new friend.

 

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Masterchef SA By Invitation Dinner

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Masterchef

When it comes to hospitality, Masterchef SA judge Benny Masekwameng’s smile and dimples are more inviting than a roaring fire and 3 course executive meal in the exclusive Hoeveld house in Inanda.

He may be gracious, humble and a soft spoken gentleman but he sure can COOK and 19 lucky guests were seated around a table for his spectacular dinner, while viewing MCSA episode 4.

Watching the show with wine, food and funny people (Egoliboy’s chirps would have made Joan Rivers wince) is so much more entertaining and I may just never resort to watching it in bed again.

Everybody was encouraged to tweet , blog and check in and celebs, presenters, bloggers, authors and the little gobsmacked cook got cracking (ok I lie, I was WAY too distracted by the food).

The food was SUBLIME, my favourite course was dessert (duh) but the lamb chops were just perfection and I was so relieved to be surrounded by people HAPPILY eating the fat! (See? happy people eat fat. Period.)

We all contained ourselves until we were gifted Chinese- style boxes and expecting Macaroons or similar, let out yelps of joy when we saw our beautiful Masterchef aprons. Even the most well turned out Diva’s could not wait to pop on their apron (in fact I was driven home in mine!).

It was one of the most memorable evenings and I am ETERNALLY grateful to MNET for the very very special invitation. #MCSAByinvitation

 

Masterchef

 

Lyton S (Egoli boy)  http://www.ourtown.co.za  , MCSA Judge and Chef  Benny Masekwameng

Lelo Boyana from http://www.justcurious.co.za/ and Mmarona Kwele

 

Mark Pilgrim

Smoking hot  Nicole Pilgrim  & her husband and Wendy Taylor

 

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Blogger and author Alida Ryder with the radiant and funny Mpeo Makape

The very suave Thato Segoale from Blackmarket Media

 

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The team of chefs assisting Benny, led by Edward Clegg, a guest judge on episode 24

 

 

Debbie Hannibal

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Award winning Actor, comedian and presenter Thomas Gumede, presenter Siyabonga Ngekwazi and Mmarona Kwele

Actor and presenter Lungile Radu

 

Birthday tea for Camilla’s 1st birthday at Kersie oppie koek

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I always host birthday parties at home. Child- friendly venues with wonderful food, AND service AND decor AND reasonable prices or value for money are really hard to come by and I refuse to pay hiring fees for a party venue only to have to do most of the work anyway. Birthdays are also special and child friendly establishments have lost their touch to the commercial rat race.

Unfortunately we have painters in our home and my dining room table is filled with a COOK craft theme and I really did not want to have a party at home this month. I spent 3 weeks searching for a venue and almost gave up until one morning my mother-in-law took me to breakfast at a little coffee shop called Cherry on top in Krugersdorp ( I mean who goes there-ok besides to the wonderful Anna Paulas) and I made a reservation immediately.

The coffee shop is in Kenmare, Krugersdorp a 20 minute drive from Eagle Canyon and is situated in a lush garden of a  beautiful colonial style home with little rooms and venues around every magical corner. In fact when we were there for breakfast a morning wedding took place with the ceremony under a large oak tree. Dog’s roam the garden, bird houses and hearts hang from every tree and the kids get lost in garden and insect adventures.

Don’t mail the venue they are slow to respond electronically, I was initially frustrated but eventually it dawned on me that the staff and owner do things the old fashioned way, on the phone, with a pen and on their word and they deliver. You do not have to follow up or double check. For the first time in my controlled life I did nothing for my party and I could not fault a thing.

Read on to see the beautiful venue and then go to http://www.cherry-on-top.co.za/ or phone Loukie on 082 820 6095 and book your birthday, baby shower, wedding or bridal tea.

Delicious Strawberry cake

 

I chose the the high tea menu, which comes with a choice of 3 savoury and 3 sweet menu items. I left the choice up to the restaurant and was delighted with the beautifully presented chocolate chip and caramel meringue but I have to say the cheesecake brownies were my favourite item of the day. We were also treated to rye “cheezas”, red velvet cupcakes and cheese scones with melted butter and  Marmite which my sister is still dreaming of.

Cook Studio South Africa

 

Cookstudio South Africa

 

This section of the garden is what sold me. The table, lanterns and bunting are all standard and  the table was  beautifully decorated when we arrived.

Strawberry Cupcakes

 

My only touch was a selection of black and white photos of Camilla, paper straws and bunting on the cake. The rest was just eye candy!

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The mini baguettes for the champagne

Cook Studio South Africa

 

I just love the doily clothes on the water and am so stealing this idea for COOK

Cook Studio South Africa

 

Relaxing on the grass with Vanilla cappuccinos and champagne

Cook Studio South Africa

 

There is play pen complete with trampoline, sand pit, and a climbing tree

Cook Studio South Africa

Bird cages and hearts hang from all the trees

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The birthday girl

Carrot Cake

 

Instead of having a traditional birthday cake I asked them to make a carrot cake and it was the best carrot cake I have ever eaten.

Cook Studio Staff

My wonderful staff and I am sure you recognise Reuben having a ride on the horse…

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happy party planning

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