November 24, 2021

New beginnings – there is always a reason to return




Meeting fellow food lovers and writers in Harvey’s Bar at The Winchester Hotel for a glass of bubbles, before a guided tour and lively lunch at their Shoreditch House restaurant, got my silly season off to a joyous beginning.

A generous budget is always helpful, but not a guarantee that a restoration project will be done well. Hats off to Newmark Hotels, whose R90 million was well invested – the refurb of The Winchester, formerly Winchester Mansions, is a resounding success. Half was an invisible investment (plumbing, electrics) giving the grand dame a strong foundation. The décor and details, like cascading bougainvillea in the courtyard, some original fittings lovingly restored, sumptuous bathrooms for the 70-plus rooms and suites, tell a vibrant, visual tale. There is a definite nod to nostalgia and respect for the heritage, against the black-and-white palette. She is sure to continue being the first lady of the Sea Point Promenade.


The kitchen boasts open and closed hot-coal cooking, giving an added flavour dimension to the selection of uncontrived, tasty dishes. Chef Tim Pick, formerly of Foxcroft, was warm and welcoming in his very hot domain. Guests then gathered around a long table (how joyous!) in the pretty courtyard, under the boldly striped umbrellas, to tuck into the full menu. The background noise was local lingo and a few international dialects – they are so welcome! Small plates of oysters, charred edamame beans, seared tuna tacos and punchy teriyaki-glazed chicken wings created a good first impression. Big plates of beef short rib with teriyaki glaze, dirty rib eye with chimichurri, charred line fish, peri-peri baby chicken then took centre stage. A few sides, a nibble of the sweet churros and I was sated.

To return? The pool and spa beckon, and I can see myself sitting on the terrace overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, watching adrenalin junkies land after paragliding, or dog walkers and sprinters passing by, while I enjoy leisure and pleasure over the rim of a glass.


Returning to my youth! Many moons ago Rosemarie Saunders hosted me, with fellow food students, in her home for a cookery demonstration. It’s a vivid memory. I probably still have the notes and recipes somewhere! We were in awe at how she created French masterpieces with aplomb, effortlessly. Push fast forward, and now I have a copy of her recipe book called ‘A Sprig of Rosemarie’. It’s a legacy for her family and friends, in thanks for their support. It includes her original photographs that illustrate a repertoire of recipes that have stood the test of time. Some tasty tales of her successful career add spice! She was brought up in England by a Welsh mother and German father and has worked and lived home and away. Corporate and catering, she has cooked for many. Expect classics like coq au vin, crème brulee, salad Nicoise and chocolate meringue galette, with a few surprises in between. 

In her inimitable spirit of generosity, she has ensured that you too can enjoy her recipes.

To buy your copy online visit  


I recently returned to BOSJES and enjoyed a light lunch at the Spens. The working farm was hard at work, hosting a wedding in their incredible ‘Kapel’. The vast, breathtaking gardens are worth a visit. So are their wines! I discovered that this farm in the Breede Valley has collaborated with wine guru Tinashe Nyamudoka, who is following in the footsteps of the legendary, late Allan Mullins, who blended the BOSJES maiden range. The 2021 range includes a Merlot and a Chardonnay Reserve, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Cinsault Rosé, and a red and white blend. I tried the classic range, produced by Tinashe, with the rosé having been declared my new best friend for the Summer ahead.


One of the joys of being immersed in the world of food, and being editor of a food magazine, is being asked to try new ingredients and products. Whilst I am one of those who likes the challenging process of long recipes, layering flavours and the fresh route, I am always asked by readers and friends for fast options. A hamper that arrived from Goldcrest included a few speedy solutions for those short on time. It also whet my appetite for baking. It included Cook ‘n Bake flavoured sugars in handy shakers (salted caramel, sweet cinnamon, decadent cocoa and French vanilla), plus non-stick sprays – one reduced fat, the other olive oil-flavoured. Robertsons baking powder, three coulis dessert toppings (granadilla, berry and mango) plus a cupcake baking tray made me don my apron. I checked the Eskom schedule, then mastered a smoked chocolate tart (thanks Yotam for the recipe) and some lemon cupcakes (thanks to my late Mom for this one). I still need to try the Robertsons pineapple essence…perhaps in a yummy rum cocktail this weekend?

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