Welcome to my world! I am Anna-Karien Otto, a writer living in the Boland region of South Africa. I like to think of this space as a secret library, a tea party, a welcoming kitchen or even a magic toy shop where we can explore all sorts of treasures together. This is where I share my passions for food writing, children’s books, poetry and so much more!
Why do people pity you when you dine alone? I love taking some time just for myself yet, all too often, it becomes tainted by people’s reactions. Last time, at my favourite coffee shop, the barista even said ‘Good luck’ as I left, knowing I am usually there with a man who has a much finer appreciation for coffee than I do.
The JAN Innovation Studio is one of the most inspirational spaces you will ever enter. This is where fine dining meets creativity in a myriad of forms – wine, books, antiques, flowers, art – all as stylish as South Africa’s first Michelin Star chef himself, Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen. Last week, a select group of 18 guests gathered to spend an evening Continue reading “The epitome of elegance”
One of my favourite food-related memories is a Sunday morning breakfast my mother and I used to love. We usually slept in and, still in our pyjamas, make tea and toast. Without giving it much thought, this was a habit that later became a ritual. It wasn’t a big deal, but the effortlessly chic way my mother did it is really quite memorable. Continue reading “Anchovies: a love story”
The idyllic Stellenbosch wine farm De Morgenzon has twice been named as one of the top 100 wineries in the world by Wine and Spirits magazine. But what many people don’t know is that Wendy Appelbaum, the grande dame at the helm, is the most down to earth person in the business. And that’s saying something because among her many achievements is being included on the Forbes list of the Top 10 Female Millionaires to Watch in Africa.
Can you remember what was in Little Red Riding Hood’s basket? Well, most of us are just as distracted as she was by the flowers she stopped to pick along the way. And what with the looming presence of the Big Bad Wolf, who can blame us? But you may recall that Grandmother was ailing so her granddaughter was bringing her the perfect fortifying food – wine and cake.
All across the world, millions of South Africans are digging into homemade curry or bobotie accompanied by a generous dollop of a perennial favourite – Mrs Ball’s chutney.
The first time I ever tasted basil pesto. A salad of sun-dried tomatoes and feta in a lovely sweet and sour vinaigrette. Roasted vegetables liberally sprinkled with rosemary and olive seasoning. Easy peasy tikka chicken curry. Delicious chocolate cake that even a child could make.
All this is thanks to one person – Mrs Ina Paarman.
I first made frangipane tart on the day before Valentine’s Day. I was 19 years old and had fled the nest a mere month before, to live in a shabbily charming Victorian house. To celebrate my new life, I had been collating some new recipes in an exercise book with a red spine. And this was the first one: frangipane tart with apricots. It was a sunny day Continue reading “If almonds be the food of love”