Sunday, November 24, 2013

Introducing: The Giemba's Guide To The Best Take-Aways In Cape Town

After a lot of encouragement from my boyfriend, Rameez, I have decided to do a series of reviews of little-known take-away places and hole-in-the-wall "eateries" in the Cape Town area. No, I am not going to review the "Gourmet Boerie"s of this city, but rather, the places that aren't plastered over Eat-Out and listed on Rossouw's Restaurants. And don't worry - this won't become another damned food blog either (not dissing that one - I love it). Rameez likes to take me to these places and I thought that I should share it with you guys, because honestly, Steers burgers are totally overrated and how many McD's burgers do you have to eat to be fully satisfied?!

For each post, I will upload a pic of the shop exterior, review the product and state the price. The rest is up to you.

I will not be blamed if you start to develop a muffin-top or if you can't fit into your Cotton On stretch jeans anymore. Like the experts say, everything in moderation...

Dagwood from Al-Falaag Take-Aways in Ottery

We drive past Ottery quite a lot, as it's on the way to my boyfriend's house. For some reason we are always stopping by at the Hypermarket there (which is officially the hugest Pick 'n Pay I have ever been in).

You can find Al-Falaag in the food court in the Ottery Hypermarket shopping centre. I (nor Rameez) had not had a Dagwood before. Sure, I'd heard of the term before, but little did I know that it was few slices of heaven put together to make an awesome sandwich. (PS: This is the real Love Sandwich, Karen).

This pic does not do it justice at all. I know it really looks like dog's breakfast but I swear it is one of the most divine tasting take-away foods I have ever had.

You get:
A monstrously large sandwich: 2 lightly toasted slices of bread with layers consisting of steak, fried egg, cheese, polony, chips, burger patty, tomato, lettuce, onion and sauce for R60. This really is the real deal, guys. 

The sandwich was so filling that I had a little left over for the next day (hey - no shame in that).

I will be posting more of these reviews so please keep your eye on the blog :)

Friday, November 15, 2013

I got sunshine in a bag

So I've decided to do a short-ish post on my absolute favourite feel-good songs. You know, those tracks that make you scrunch your eyes up, grin from ear to ear and sing along, with chills running up and down your spine? Yeah, well, these are my faves, and in no particular order.

New Radicals - You Get What You Give (1998)
This is what I listen to when I want to get really amped for something. That first line "Wake up kids, we've got the dreamer's disease" is the perfect lyric for a teen anthem!

Tears For Fears - Closest Thing To Heaven (2004)
I'm sure you'll recognise a familiar face in the music video. It makes it a little more poignant, I think. It's the chorus in this song that gets me, and I truly love anything with violins or cellos in it.

Bombay Bicycle Club - Shuffle (2011)
I think Bombay Bicycle Club is a severely underrated band. I got their 2011 album A Different Kind Of Fix from a friend last year (the first time I'd heard of them) and I loved every single song. This song has such a diverse arrangement of instruments and beats but it all comes together to form a little masterpiece. Lights Out, Words Gone is my second favourite track on the album.

The Zombies - Time of the Season (1967)
I've always loved the sexiness of this song but recently heard it play in the horror movie The Conjuring (this was way before anything scary happened in the movie) and couldn't help singing along to those cheeky lines "What's your name / Who's your daddy / Is he rich like me?" Also, my boyfriend couldn't wait to play me a new song by Eminem - he has covered the track. Listen here.

Foster The People - Call It What You Want (2011)
Foster The People's Torches album always brightens my mood. The lyrics aren't always as happy as the beats, but I've begun to realise how much I actually love synth and keyboards, and there's a lot of that in this song.

Smashing Pumpkins - 1979 (1996)
I used this song in a birthday playlist I made for my boyfriend, and when I listened to it, for the first time in a long time, I got a lovely little shiver. 

Stevie Wonder - Ma Cheri Amour (1969)
A soul classic! How could you not love a love song like this?! I feel all warm and fuzzy whenever I hear the beginning. La la la la la la...  

MGMT - Electric Feel (2007)
I think all my friends that really know me well know that I LOVE this song. It doesn't matter where I am - if it's playing, I will get up and dance. It's got so much soul for a band that produces music under the genre "psychedelic rock".

Franki Valli - Grease (1978)
I'm really not a fan of most musicals but there's no way I could say no to Grease. This is my favourite song in the movie and I feel like it totally sets the mood. I specially picked this video because I thought it was a great representation of what was going down in the 70s, that disco era!

Grouplove - Tongue Tied (2011)
I can't remember how I discovered this band but their music is so fun! I really dig this music video as well. Colours is a another gem.

Jamiroquai - Cosmic Girl (1996)
I know Jay Kay is a total weirdo but I have always had a soft spot for him and his band. My mother had Travelling Without Moving and I used to play this song, as well as Virtual Insanity, over and over until she got sick of listening to it. Acid jazz - I'm so glad they coined this genre!

The Verve - Bittersweet Symphony (1997)
When I was younger, my parents used to take my younger sister and me on road trips through the country. They had a few mix tapes, and one of them had this song. Although the lyrics are a bit cynical (but true), I have a penchant for string instruments so this was right up my alley... :)

Robin Thicke - When I Get You Alone (2002)
I always laugh when I think about what Robin Thicke used to look like. At least his husky voice hasn't changed! 

So, that's it. There are more, but if I carry on I won't be able to stop...

Tell me, what are your favourite feel-good songs?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Green Mile at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

Last night I went to see one of my favourite movies, The Green Mile, with some friends at Kirstenbosch. I had heard and read about these movie screenings, courtesy of the Galileo Open Air Cinema company, and was really eager to experience one of them for myself.

I only took a few pics because I didn't have my camera with me, but the vibe was fantastic. We arrived just after 7, and the movie started as soon as the sun set completely.

We walked towards the screen, where lots of people had already made themselves comfortable with blankets, chairs and food. What a great initiative for Galileo to rent out chairs and blankets! You can bring your own, but our friend who booked the tickets choose the ticket + blanket option. When we got there they had a few chairs available so we got those too. Those chairs are such a great invention, so easy to set up and  they give you great support for the duration of the movie. They sell them for R20 and blankets for R10 for the evening.

There are also some gourmet food stalls that sell stuff like paella and nachos. My friends bought some paella but I thought R60 was a bit steep for such a small bakkie. There was pre-packaged Act II popcorn on sale that was DELICIOUS. The Sweet & Salty flavour tastes like salted caramel popcorn - yum!

It was really cool that throughout the duration of the movie, there were no rowdy people or trouble-makers. Like my boyfriend said, everyone who was there came specially to see one of their favourite films and to enjoy an evening outdoors with like-minded people.

We have all agreed we are going back to see The Breakfast Club in February, but what I would like to see most is practically my favourite Christmas movie ever, Love Actually (23 December). Oh, and I just know Rameez will want to see Fight Club!

Be sure to follow @Galileo_Cinema on Twitter to get updates, and also to be notified if the event is cancelled due to bad weather. They will refund you if this happens. They also screen movies at the Waterfront and Hillcrest Quarry in Durbanville (I saw that the Afrikaans comedy Semi-Soet will be playing there ;) Do yourself a favour and check out their entire programme here.

Monday, November 11, 2013

DIY jewellery holders

I have developed a slight obsession with collecting fruit containers as I saw some DIY potential in them. They are really nifty for keeping small items of jewellery or stationery.

Like this:

It's a plain old styrofoam container from Woolworths. I think it had nectarines in it.

I went hunting for hooks to hang my necklaces on and found a pack of plastic hooks with double-sided tape in China Town, Ottery. It was like R10. Effortless!

Le boyfriend made me this. He just glued Dominos to cardboard and incorporated a little drawer into the tray. 

I don't want to sound like an eco-freak (I really am not) but I just want to encourage people not to waste everyday packaging like this - that we actually pay money for.

Friday, November 8, 2013

The best Red Velvet Cake recipe in the world

I usually prefer using recipes that have been tried and tested by chefs or bloggers. I made this Red Velvet cake a while back and it came out so beautifully that I felt I HAD to share it.

The best Red Velvet Cake recipe in the world


 For the cake:
120g unsalted butter, diced
300g golden caster sugar
2 large eggs
300g plain flour, sifted
230g buttermilk
1 teaspoon fine salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
20g cocoa powder, sifted
½ teaspoon red food colouring paste (or small bottle of Crimson Pink liquid food colouring)
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

For the frosting:
180g unsalted butter
150g icing sugar, sifted
450g full-fat cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 170°C fan oven/190°C electric oven. Butter two (or three if you have them) 20cm cake tins with removable bases, 5cm deep, and line the bases with baking paper.

To make the cake, cream the butter and sugar together for 3–4 minutes in a food processor until really light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl between each addition. Add the flour in three batches, alternating it with the buttermilk so you start and end with the flour. Next mix in the salt, vanilla and cocoa. Start to add the red food colouring, a knife-tip at a time, until the mixture is a dramatic dusky red – I find it needs about ½ teaspoon in all. Mix the vinegar and bicarbonate of soda together in a small bowl, they will fizz, and add to the batter. If using three cake tins,* divide the mixture between them, weighing them for accuracy to ensure you get evenly thick sponges at the end. 

Bake for 20–25 minutes or until shrinking from the sides and firm when pressed in the centre. Leave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto a wire rack, remove the paper and leave to cool top upwards.

To make the frosting, place the butter and icing sugar in the bowl of a food processor and cream together. Transfer to a bowl and blend in the cream cheese and vanilla extract, beating with a wooden spoon until smooth.

Use about one-third of the buttercream to sandwich the three layers and the rest to coat the top and sides. Place the finished cake on a plate or board, cover with clingfilm and chill for 1 hour until set. If chilling it any longer than this, remove from the fridge 30 minutes before serving. It keeps well in an airtight container for several days.
*If using two tins, add a third of the mixture to each one, bake these, and then bake the third sponge while the other two are cooling.

Extract from Annie Bell’s Baking Bible, by Annie Bell, published by Jacana.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

DIY birthday lucky packet

It was my boyfriend's birthday on 26 October, and as per usual I tried to think of something thoughtful and creative to give to him. I've been making cards since I was a child. My parents always encouraged my sister and me to make things instead of paying money for something we didn't put much thought into. I'm so glad they instilled this quality in me because it's made a lot of people close to me really happy on their special days.

I usually start off by creating a folder for them on my PC. I then Google things that they like (and ABUSE Pinterest), save the pics or ideas in the folder and once I've decided what would work best, I print them out. I also search for pics and words in magazines to make collages.
Hmmm... I wonder if I could turn this into a business opportunity... :)

Here are some things I gave him last year:

I folded an A4 piece of card in half and printed a cool pic of him, plus characters and scenes from some of his favourite movies and series like Iron Man, City of Angels, Edward Scissorhands, The Inbetweeners and The Big Hit. On the inside of the card I wrote a personal message and stuck some memorabilia from dates we had been on like ticket stubs and flyers. On the back cover I included some more movie pics - Fight Club and Trainspotting and of course one of his favourite directors, Quentin Tarantino. I also had to add a  pic of us that was taken at Flamjangled Tea Party (you know, just in case years from now he can't remember who this "Emma" person was...)

Then, I also decided to compile a "mix tape", or rather, CD. I wanted to customise the CD holder as well.

Since he has an obsession with 90's bands and the Motown music genre (weird combo, I know), I decided to print a few icons and symbols of his favourite bands like Green Day, RHCP, Blink 182 and Foo Fighters.

I also included his idol, Steve McQueen, the Star Wars cast and the guys from the 80's movie The Princess Bride (which is my all-time favourite and now one of his - this was basically the first time I showed him an old movie he hadn't seen before!)

Cue cheesy pic...

I just HAD to add the Motown element.

And now, for the playlist:

This is just a snippet to give you an idea of what I chose. The playlist is 132 songs long... I know what you're thinking: WTF. To tell you the truth, I'm the most indecisive person on the planet so trying to narrow it down was impossible for me.

ANYHOO, I just remembered I was actually writing about what I got him this year.

His lucky packet contained:

  • The Snatch movie screenplay and Ghostbusters novel and National Geographic published in the year he was born (all of which I found at a second-hand book store. Believe me, it took some searching)
  • Some movie snacks and his favourite cooldrink
  • A booklet of "Love Coupons" (which I found here). Things like: Date Night, Breakfast In Bed, Back Rub, Homecooked Meal, etc. There's also a blank one to create your own coupon ;)
  • A shaving kit - one of those old-fashioned shaving brushes and some nice (read: pricey) after shave balm
  • A mug with a personal message (Pinned here)
  • And, of course, a card made by me with some cool quotes about life 

"People never grow up. They just learn how to act in public."
- Bryan White

“Don't you find it odd," she continued, "that when you're a kid, everyone, all the world, encourages you to follow your dreams. But when you're older, somehow they act offended if you even try.” 
― Ethan HawkeThe Hottest State

Hope this gave you some inspiration for when you can't think of what to get for that special someone.