#CTMeetUp and a Giveaway

#CTMeetUp, Cape Town, blogger, event, Cape Town bloggers, Lifestyle, Food, Parenting, I love my Laundry, dim sum, out and about,give away, iPhone 5 cover, tami magnin, rumtumtiggs

Want this IPhone 5 cover? Willing to collect in Cape Town? Comment below!

As I mentioned in my previous post, I was pretty sure my next blog post would be about #CTMeetUp. After debating backwards and forwards for a while I decided not to take my camera along as I was going to use public transport into Cape Town CBD after most stores had closed for the day and I was wary of the SLR making me a target. I chose to rather travel light and it was a good thing I did as I was accosted (not touched though, thankfully) by a man who wanted to tell me his life story so that I would give him some money. Thankfully I had nothing valuable with me to draw more attention to myself and got away safely.

The other reason I didn’t take my camera along was because I sometimes find my approach to events like this is less about having fun and meeting people and rather being “the photographer”. I’m trying to find a balance here and it was an interesting experiment as to how different my experience was when I wasn’t seeing the opportunity as “work”.

Since there were around 50 bloggers at this awesome event at I Love My Laundrythere will be loads of blog posts going up within the next few weeks so I’ll keep this post short. My fellow bloggers Se7enRobyn and the organizer Cindy have already put together lovely posts and you are welcome to go and read about the event some more. This will probably give you some serious FOMO if the #CTMeetUp hashtag didn’t already on Saturday so I look forward to seeing you at the next one.

The goody bag was amazing. The sponsors were generous. And the event was loads of fun. It was great to put faces to Twitter handles and it was so nice to chat face to face rather than over the internet. We are a great bunch of people. Super nice and friendly and we are ALL approachable. No egos allowed here thank you very much. It would actually be great if loads of brands and PR people can attend the next one…not to schmooze but to see how nice we are in real life. I think a lot gets lost online depending on how well we write and brands would see a whole other side to us that would make them want to partner up with us for campaigns. We are a friendly, fun and a little crazy (we are “creatives” after all) and we don’t bite, I promise.

**GIVEAWAY** Out of all the wonderful things in the goody bag, the only one I couldn’t use was the iPhone 5 cover you can see in the picture above. I am an HTC girl through and through and this is highly unlikely to change anytime soon. So, if you have an iPhone 5 and you would like the cover, so the 1st person to comment that they want it will get it :). Since you would have to come and collect it from either Tableview or Cape Town CBD, this offer is available for Cape Town readers only. There is also a complete goody bag up for grabs on Cindy‘s blog so be sure to enter ASAP.

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All the Cookies

#cookieswap4, cookie swap, bake stars, good housekeeping, #GHBakeStars, Cape Town, coming up, bloggers with integrity, blogging, freebies, tami magnin, rumtumtiggsAll the cookies

I’m typing this while wearing a brace on my wrist thanks to a Jiu Jitsu injury. I can’t tell you exactly when and how it happened as you tend to get so involved learning a new technique that you often don’t feel it until later but now I’m not allowed back on the mat for 3 weeks. Meh! When I started out I found it a little hard to believe when the trainers told stories of guys who broke their arms in competition and didn’t notice until after they won the fight. Hardcore!

#cookieswap4, cookie swap, bake stars, good housekeeping, #GHBakeStars, Cape Town, coming up, bloggers with integrity, blogging, freebies, tami magnin, rumtumtiggs

L to R: Zirkie, Jasmine, Teresa, Me, Jessica, Nicola

#CookieSwap4 went very well. We raised close to R30 000 for Learn to Earn and this money will hopefully go a long way to help those who are trying to claw their way out of poverty. People who apply to go on this course need to raise R200 by themselves in order to show their commitment and desire to learn new skills. The ones who show initiative are then accepted into a training course worth R9000 where they learn how to bake for profit. I love this idea and wish everyone all the best in this endeavor.

We are still working through the box of cookies we swapped over the weekend and doing our best to make it last so I won’t be putting up a recipe post this week. I also went to collect a box of cookies from Royal Dansk at the post office yesterday and will be reviewing these delicious Danish butter cookies shortly.

#cookieswap4, cookie swap, bake stars, good housekeeping, #GHBakeStars, Cape Town, coming up, bloggers with integrity, blogging, freebies, tami magnin, rumtumtiggsI took a day’s leave yesterday to attend the Good Housekeeping Magazine #GHBakeStars event yesterday and got to learn some icing skills with Alex and Jackie from Charly’s Bakery“Gourmet Sisters” Sue Ann Allen and Ilse Fourie also demonstrated how to make a decadent chocolate swirled cheesecake that I’m hoping to try over the next few weeks. I am so grateful to be invited to attend these events. Knowing how well these events are arranged and how much fun is had; it’s a great way to spend R295 for a morning of fun and laughter with some of South Africa’s top food celebs who are willing to answer any burning question you may have about food and cooking. This year’s goodie bag was a treasure trove of everything you would need for baking and the value of the contents alone justifies the ticket price.

#cookieswap4, cookie swap, bake stars, good housekeeping, #GHBakeStars, Cape Town, coming up, bloggers with integrity, blogging, freebies, tami magnin, rumtumtiggs

The value of the hair/grass nozzle. A worthwhile investment. Cupcake done by Alex from Charly’s Bakery.

#cookieswap4, cookie swap, bake stars, good housekeeping, #GHBakeStars, Cape Town, coming up, bloggers with integrity, blogging, freebies, tami magnin, rumtumtiggsAugust is a crazy month for our family. It’s lovely to have something exciting to do almost every weekend and my next post will probably be about #CTmeetUp that is happening at I Love My Laundry this weekend. The following weekend we are going to Day of the Dinosaurs at Cape Town International Convention Center and at the end of the month we are looking forward to a trip on a steam train to Vrendenheim.

#cookieswap4, cookie swap, bake stars, good housekeeping, #GHBakeStars, Cape Town, coming up, bloggers with integrity, blogging, freebies, tami magnin, rumtumtiggs

The decadent chocolate swirled cheesecake made by Sue Ann Allen which I will be trying for myself shortly.

Before you start thinking that these are all “freebies” that I’ve been given let me stop you there and let you know that all of these events were paid for. I’m sorry that I even have to say this but there has been so much hatred for bloggers in the media lately about how much we get “given” and how few of us disclose this when we write a post, it seems that it needs to be said. I will always disclose. ALWAYS!

#cookieswap4, cookie swap, bake stars, good housekeeping, #GHBakeStars, Cape Town, coming up, bloggers with integrity, blogging, freebies, tami magnin, rumtumtiggs

I loved this Brownie kit done by Kenwood and placed into the goody bag amongst loads of other things.

Before I start writing an entire blog post on whether the freebies are really free let me sign off for now. If a blogger has to say they have integrity then they probably don’t have any. It’s one of those things you should be able to see clearly in the way they write their blog and manage their social media accounts. While brands are still falling for flattery and bloggers who suck up so they can get free stuff I will quietly carry on with the job at hand and hope that one day my value gets recognized.

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Rocky Road Bites

rocky road, rocky road bites, cookie swap, recipes, recipe, #CookieSwap4, brownies, blondies, cape town, south africa, cookie swop, tami magnin, rumtumtiggsWe are celebrating the 4th Cookie Swap  this year and I’ve been attending since the very first one.

It has been great to see it evolve and develop into an event where someone less fortunate benefits and sponsors like Nomu, 12 Apostles Hotel and YuppieChef have really come to the party with awesome donations for both prizes and auction items.

Every year it gets a little bit harder to outdo myself when it comes to baking. I mean, how does someone who has a blog about baking bring something mundane to the table? I didn’t think I could beat the Slutty Brownies I made for the second cookie swap but these Lemon Crinkle Cookies went down a treat last year.

After loads of searching I finally found something that sounded good and challenging enough to make it to Cookie Swap. I found this recipe for Rocky Road bars on Delish.com and once I had converted everything from pounds and ounces to grams and mls I could start on making it my own.

rocky road, rocky road bites, cookie swap, recipes, recipe, #CookieSwap4, brownies, blondies, cape town, south africa, cookie swop, tami magnin, rumtumtiggsI found that adding the topping when the blondie was already baked meant that everything fell off when you tried to cut it and it got cold. I’m not sure how to fix this though because the marshmallows burn super quickly which means adding it at the start of the baking process will be a disaster. Maybe I should just mix everything together and bake the topping into the blondie. What do you think? Let me know.

Rocky Road Bites

Ingredients

  • 200g butter, melted
  • 500ml brown sugar
  • 10ml vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 400ml cake flour
  • 15ml baking powder
  • 125ml marie biscuit crumbs
  • 100g walnuts, finely chopped
  • Topping/Filling
  • 300ml marie biscuits, broken into small chunks
  • 250g milk chocolate
  • 100g mini marshmallows

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius and line a 30x20cm roasting pan with baking paper.
  2. Beat hot, melted butter and sugar together until fudgy and add extract.
  3. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition then turn off the electric mixer.
  4. Sift flour and baking powder onto the egg mixture then add biscuit crumbs and walnuts.
  5. Stir through gently, scraping down the sides and continuing until everything is mix through well.
  6. If you want to add the topping ingredients as a filling do this now and stir through carefully.
  7. Pour mixture into prepped roasting pan and bake for 20 minutes.
  8. If you haven’t added the topping ingredients yet remove from the oven and sprinkle biscuits, chocolate and marshmallows on top.
  9. Bake for another 10 minutes until marshmallows are toasted.
  10. Watch carefully because they burn easily – you might not need the full 10 minutes.
  11. Allow blondies to cool in the pan but make slices into the cake before the marshmallows and chocolate have become hard again (about 20 minutes after you have removed it from the oven).
  12. You shouldn’t need to add extra baking time if you have made the topping a filling. Fudgy brownies are the best and once they have cooled the residual heat will make sure they are done to perfection.
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Dinner at Caffe Villagio with TableOfATE

caffe villagio, restaurant, sable square, cape town, south africa, review, meditteranean, greek, eatery, eateries, catering, conference, eats, tami magnin, rumtumtiggsI’m not sure if I mentioned it before but I don’t have satellite TV and we just recently got given a flat screen for my husband’s birthday after the tube in our 8 year old TV went “poof” in February. My son didn’t have any TV at all for the first 2 years of his life and was only introduced to Barney when his sister came along a year later.

People often ask me where I find time to blog despite being fairly busy at work, church, gym and blogging events and I guess a big part of the answer is that I rarely watch TV. My husband and I will go through a series box set in the space of a week once in a while but as far as watching TV shows I find it to be a waste of time and rarely worth it.

caffe villagio, restaurant, sable square, cape town, south africa, review, meditteranean, greek, eatery, eateries, catering, conference, eats, tami magnin, rumtumtiggsSince so many of the cooking shows in South Africa require a satellite dish I am often completely out of the loop when it comes to Masterchef, Chopped and the rest and I think I completely missed the gastronomy trend because of it. I’m not much of a cook book reader and rarely rely on anything else but the internet for recipes and I’m not even much of a magazine consumer. Every now and then I wonder if this makes me a failure at being a food blogger. I fell into this community more or less by accident when I started posting recipes that I had baked and I’m at a point now where I am questioning if I should even call myself a food blogger any more.

caffe villagio, restaurant, sable square, cape town, south africa, review, meditteranean, greek, eatery, eateries, catering, conference, eats, tami magnin, rumtumtiggs

Songstress Auriol Hays and Acoustic Element

I am all for trying new things and would happily eat something weird (not Fear Factor kind of weird!) and wonderful but whether I would try my hand at making something I can’t find at my local supermarket, I would probably not do so in my own kitchen. Recipes that require a trip to a specialty market or different town would probably also be steered clear of and I often find that foodie goody bags received at events are amazing when it comes to this. Talk about bringing the unusual straight to my grubby paws! LOVE IT!

caffe villagio, restaurant, sable square, cape town, south africa, review, meditteranean, greek, eatery, eateries, catering, conference, eats, tami magnin, rumtumtiggs

Falafel, dolmades and croquettes

Which brings me to restaurant reviews… Now, if I wasn’t the sole provider to my family of four and had a bit more money lying around I would definitely make new eateries a priority as I love eating out. My kids are incredibly well behaved and we have left “Spur-type” establishments behind a while ago now. Evening events are still a bit troublesome, especially during the week when they have school the next day, but this will improve as they get older.

There is a wealth of those “in between” kind of restaurants where the relaxed atmosphere makes it easy for families to enjoy a meal together without the limited franchise type “Kiddies meal” options on the menu. Caffe Villagio in Sable Square is one of those places.

caffe villagio, restaurant, sable square, cape town, south africa, review, meditteranean, greek, eatery, eateries, catering, conference, eats, tami magnin, rumtumtiggs

Main course

I was invited to dine with TableOfATE with IntertwEAT last night and when they announced that Caffe Villagio was the restaurant on Twitter last week, I was over the moon. I celebrated my 30th birthday at Caffe Villagio but haven’t really been back since. This Mediterranean themed restaurant ALWAYS brings quality food to the table. They have a real talent of packing punches of flavour into bite-sized foods, tapas style, which means you can try more dishes and you don’t have to debate for ages over which delicious item on the menu will get your attention that day.

Last night we could sample prawn and feta phyllo baskets, savoury cheesecake and mini aubergine cashew & avo hummus wraps as roving canapés with the most delicious sparkling wine (I know we’re not allowed to call it champagne unless it comes from France) I’ve ever had. We then sat down and were introduced to the jars of sundried tomato and chilli pesto, tzatziki and aubergine and feta dip that was placed around the table. Baskets of mini pita breads were placed on the table and we were invited to tuck in. The sundried tomato and chilli pesto never made it to the other side of the table as two diners claimed it as theirs for the night and spread it on EVERYTHING! The main course was a plate of treats that many claimed has the best chicken and leek pie they had ever tasted. I was a fan of the mini lamb shwarma and the marquee burger. The smoked salmon wrap was also really delicious but I couldn’t really finish it all as I was so full by that stage and dessert was still coming!

caffe villagio, restaurant, sable square, cape town, south africa, review, meditteranean, greek, eatery, eateries, catering, conference, eats, tami magnin, rumtumtiggs

Dessert plate

Dessert was another plate of treats that encompassed a decadent chocolate brownie which was amazing with the fresh strawberry they served it with and a pistachio nut baklava AND a white chocolate salted caramel cheesecake that went home with me because I just couldn’t eat anymore. This promptly got eaten by my husband when I got home but I was allowed a teeny, tiny taste ;). DELICIOUS!

I could go on and on but I’m pretty sure this is one of my longest blog posts EVER and at the end of the day, all you need to know is that if you are in Cape Town, get your butt down to Sable Square (down the road from Canal Walk) and have a meal at Caffe Villagio. Tell them Tami sent you …you won’t be sorry ;).

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Oat and Chocolate Cookie Bars

baking, chocolate, oats, lunch boxes, treats, recipe, recipes, cookie, bars, chocolate oat cookie bars, tami magnin, rumtumtiggsChocolate is the answer…it doesn’t matter what the question is. I’m thinking about making that my motto because chocolate is definitely what I turn to when I’m stressed or need to forget about my worries for a while.

Yes, I know chocolate isn’t good for you but it must be better than drugs or alcohol so I’d happily be a chocolate addict any day. Work and life in general has been frantically busy recently so I have stepped away from Writers Boot camp for the moment and I will hopefully get back to it if things calm down in time.

biltong, soup, recipe, nestle, good housekeeping, advertorial, rumtumtiggs, tami magnin

This is the biltong soup of awesomness. It tastes even better than it looks. Go buy Good Housekeeping August 2014 issue now!

The August issue of Good Housekeeping hit the shelves on Monday and you will find me, Lexi and Emma on page 122. There isn’t actually a page numberan advertorial so find page 120 and then go another 2 pages to your right. I had such a blast doing that shoot (despite being camera shy) and met loads of awesome people. Bianca Comer is a lovely makeup artist and Neville Lockhart is a fabulous photographer (who gets a little twitch every time he is asked to shoot in a chrome filled kitchen).

I made these Oat and Chocolate Cookie Bars over the weekend because I NEEDED to bake (to make me feel sane again) and they turned out great. The recipe was originally seen on Table for Two blog but I swapped out one cup of sugar for coconut and it turned out great.

Oat and Chocolate Cookie Bars

250g butter, at room temperature

250ml sugar

5ml Nomu vanilla extract

2 eggs, at room temperature

80ml milk

625ml flour

250ml coconut

750ml oats

5ml bicarbonate of soda (1 level teaspoon)

Filling

397g condensed milk

200g dark chocolate

80ml butter

5ml vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius and line 20x30cm roasting pan with baking paper leaving enough around the edges for the paper to hang over the sides. Beat butter and sugar together until creamy before adding eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl between each addition. Sift flour into another bowl and stir remaining dry ingredients into it. Add vanilla to milk and set aside. Scoop dry ingredients into butter mixture, alternating with small quantities of milk. Repeat until both the milk and the flour mixture has been incorporated into the butter and eggs. Press two thirds of the oat mixture into the bottom of the roasting pan and set aside while you make the filling.

Place all the filling ingredients in a large microwave safe bowl and microwave for 2 minutes on 100% power. Remove from microwave to stir well then microwave for another 2 minutes. Stir again then pour chocolate mixture onto uncooked oat mixture in roasting pan. Crumble remaining oat mixture over the top (there will be small areas that won’t be covered but mixture will spread) and bake for 25 minutes until golden brown and done. Leave to cool in the tin as it will fall apart if you take it out while still hot. Lift paper out of roasting pan and cut into bars or squares and store in airtight containers for up to 2 weeks. Makes 30 squares.

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