Friday, May 27, 2011

Mozambique Holiday: The restaurant that saved the day!

I have to say I greatly missed writing lately, I've been focusing on quite a few, also very important matters, but unfortunately to the misfortune of this blog. I can't promise it won't happen again, but I will certainly make a scheduling effort to avoid it from happening often. 
So one of the things that has kept me from writing lately, was that my husband and I took a very "looked-forward-to" holiday to Mozambique! And yes, we ate prawns and chicken peri peri and I'd like to share that here with you.

We went to a small village called Praia do Tofo, famous mainly for its Scuba diving and great records of Whale Shark and Manta viewing. We're very fond of Scuba diving, activity which we hadn't done for a while and hence the main priority around this trip became to dive. However, food lovers as we are, and after all the Mozambican-Portuguese-Ascendance great food that is common to find in South Africa, we were expecting to indulge in some very tasty Mozambican specialties. 

We stayed in Bamboozi Lodge, a rustic lodge with a certain charm and a very privileged location, on top of the dunes and with a beautiful view of the bay but very badly managed. The bad management was felt all across, but specially in the restaurant, where almost everything was fried and very expensive, at least for Mozambican and based on its quality standards, that is. We were eager to head into the village for some real Mozambican food experience, and a good chance to practice my evolving portuguese, but since it was a good 25-minute walking distance, well paced, we were derailed from our plan to do so various times, until, on the 4th day, we succeeded. 

And what a success it was! After asking around we came to the conclusion that the restaurant Tofo Tofo was the place to go, good, unpretentious, yet tasty food and what's even better at very good prices! We arrived in between meals, at say, 4:00 pm. Hence the kitchen was of and it took them a while to get going, but it was certainly worth the wait. I was very happy to see "Mandioca Frita" on the menu, which means Fried Cassava (yam). It's a very typical side dish or snack in my country, but I have never been lucky enough to find Cassava in South Africa. I got excited with the Peri Peri, which did not smell to be very hot, but we found out it really was soon enough, after I soaked the Mandioca "chips" in peri peri and the chili started to come out through our sweat and tears. For mains we had what the waiter recommended "Peixe com alho e Manteiga com Arroz de coco" and "Frango Assado com batatas fritas". The first was White Fish Steak with Garlic Butter sauce and Coconut Rice and the second Grilled Chicken with potato chips, and they were both DELICIOUS. I have to admit that the effect of these tasty dishes on us, may have been heightened by how tired we were of the dreadful oil-drenched food at the Lodge, but they were, nonetheless, nicely prepared and tasty as can be. 
The next day was certain to be one of much exercise as we budged not to allow the long walk to deter us from having a nice meal again, even after swimming a good couple of hours in the ocean, and now, in the company of two other couples we befriended, we headed for the local food gem we had been at the previous day: Tofo Tofo. This time around, having learnt my lesson the previous day, we ordered the "Mandioca Frita" again and used the Peri Peri indeed, but sparingly. Although we really enjoyed our meals from the previous day, we decided it made sense to try something new, and we went for the "Camarao com alho e Manteiga com arroz de coco" and the "Caril de Caranguejo". The food was once again phenomenal, taking a bit less time this time around. My husband's meal, the Prawns in garlic butter sauce with Coconut rice was tasty and cooked just right and mine, the Crab Curry was delicious and rich, but also very different from any Curry we had ever tried as the used a great amount of Almonds to make it.

As part of our Mozambican exploratory experience, we poured down our meals with 2M and Laurentina Beers and finished it off with our fair amount of Tipo Tinto (a local Vanilla Tasting Rum) and Coke.

We thank the staff at Liquid Adventures, the diving centre at Bamboozi Lodge, for recommending Tofo Tofo, the local authentic culinary adventure that saved the day!

Love, iSa

Sunday, May 8, 2011 Bar & Restaurant Review

  • Food: Cafe variety, mostly light meals. 
  • In a Nutshell: I don't know if you can even call that food! Went in for a light meal and had to return my dish not only once, but twice! I can't say much for their drinks as I went for lunch and only had juice, the service wasn't too bad though. Please if you come this way, never ever, ever, order food.
  • Where: The Firs Shopping Centre (Hyatt), above Piza e Vino. Rosebank,Johannesburg. South Africa.

Full Review Coming Soon!

Isa's Food Addiction: Bar One Chocolate Cake - Moist, Rich and Decadent ...

Isa's Food Addiction: Bar One Chocolate Cake - Moist, Rich and Decadent ...: HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY! Make her happy on her day with this indulgent cake!


Desserts by iSa
Cooking Time: 3 Hours
Very easy!! It just takes some time though.

Place one sealed can of Nestle Condensed Milk (I have tried other brands and it doesn't come out as good), in a pot lying on its side and cover fully with water. Boil in medium heat for 2.5 - 3 hours, adding water to maintain always fully covered and turn the can from time to time. If you leave it the 3 hours you're bound to get a very rich and nice treat with a nicer color and deeper flavor.

Open can and place content into a container with lid. Place in the fridge for at least 1 hour and enjoy! If you don't use it all, make sure to store the remainder in the sealed container in the fridge, keeps well for up to 1 month.

What to do with Arequipe:
  • Eat a Spoonful
  • Spread on Bread or Crackers
  • Use as a filling for Cakes
  • Stir into vanilla Ice Cream and serve
  • Dilute slightly with milk for a thinner sauce to pour over cakes, ice cream, etc.

Be creative!!! But watch out, it can be addictive!

Love, iSa

Bar One Chocolate Cake - Moist, Rich and Decadent Chocolate Cake

Desserts by iSa

Type: Cake, Bake at home
Prep Time: 30 min
Cooking Time: 50 - 60 Min
Servings: 10 Slices (depending on portion size)

  • 400 g Dark or Milk Chocolate (I prefer dark)
  • 75 ml water 
  • 175 g soft butter
  • 250 g light brown sugar
  • 4 Large eggs
  • 100 g self raising flour
  • 50 g cocoa powder
  • 150 - 200 g Arequipe, Dulce de leche or "Caramel Treat" (from Nestle)
  • 2 Bar One Chocolates chopped (MilkyWay can also be used)
  • 6 tbsp milk
How to make the best Chocolate Cake ever: First of all I have to say, I'm not bragging, I have to admit that I based this cake on 2 different recipes that were extremely helpful, as I'm very much an amateur when it comes to baking and don't really know my proportions very well. However, given the bases I proceeded to add my own twists to make it more appealing to our taste buds.

Start by pre-heating your oven to about 160 degrees C, then butter the inside of your Cake tin and lightly dust it with some flour (will prevent your cake from sticking).Chop 300g of the Chocolate and add it to the water, just after it has reached boiling point and as soon as you move it away from the heat. Stir nicely and patiently until melted (make sure you have moved away from the stove, you don't want to burn your chocolate!)

In a separate bowl, beat the sugar and butter until pale and creamy (electric beater allowed). I have to make a pause here and insist, please make sure that the butter is nice and soft, otherwise is going to take you much longer than expected to arrive at the desired state. Add the eggs 1 at a time and beat them into the mixture. 
Note 1: If you notice the mixture is curdling, beat in one or two tablespoons of the flour.

Take the previously melted chocolate (which should now be cool enough) and stir into the mixture (by hand). Sift the flour and the cocoa in and the ingredients together gently. Do not mix with full arm strength, just fold it into an even batter!

Pour this rich Chocolate Cake Batter (yes, you could it off the bowl!) in the Cake Tin and place into the pre-heated oven for between 50 to 60 min. The length of time will depend on how fudgy you want your cake; although it should not be wobbly to the touch, stick in a skewer or knife gently and it should come out slightly wet, but not doughy. Turn off the oven and open the door, but don't take it out immediately, allow it to rest for about 5-10 min and then let it cool outside the oven on a heat resistant surface. 

Allow it to cool for at least 20 or 30 min before even attempting to remove the tin. Then let it cool for at least another 30-60 min prior to slicing into halves. The slicing part has never been easy for me as I tend to go skewed or the cake tends to break on me while attempting to separate the halves and place back together, so please be gentle and don't be discouraged if it doesn't come out perfect. Sandwich the two halves with Arequipe, Dulce de leche, Caramel Treat or some sort of Milk Caramel/Butterscotch spread; although it takes much more preparation and time, I would suggest to make your own Arequipe ahead of time and use it for this an many other treats! Please click here for the recipe.

How to make the Bar One Chocolate Topping and final touches: This is a piece of cake! Just chop the Bar One or MilkyWay chocolates an place in a small pot with the remainder of the dark chocolate and the milk. Melt in medium heat while stirring, as soon as is melted, take away from heat and pour all over your cake. Then decorate with some nuts (if you like them) and here you could get creative, although with such a rich cake I'm thinking, please don't go too wild. I also diluted about two teaspoons of Arequipe in about 1 shot of Amarula, to make a nice sauce and poured it here and there all over the cake, it was easy, it looked nice and it tasted even better! 

You can eat the cake freshly made or to eat over various days, store it in the fridge cover very well with cling wrap and cut out slices as you wish, sticking them 15 to 20 sec in the microwave to warm up the cake and make all of its flavors come to life once again.

Enjoy for a special occasion or a celebration with the best company, a nice coffee or a glass of milk! 

Special Thanks for their helpful recipes to:
CII Broadcasting

Love, iSa

Monday, May 2, 2011

boy interrupted: New kid on the blog: Isa's Food Addiction

boy interrupted: New kid on the blog: Isa's Food Addiction: "Have you ever sat at home frustrated and needed some guidance on the newest places to see, and be seen…. Got some nice compliments, thank you Pieter! Love, iSa