Robyn’s Kitchen has always been open to family and friends to share meals, food and wine ideas! Many of you have been urging me to write a recipe book. As I have so many ideas and tales to share, and they are constantly evolving, I have decided to rather bring these to you via a blog.
Currently my husband and I share our home on the slopes of the Helderberg Mountain, on the outskirts of Somerset West, with 3 beautiful Burmese cats – you may occasionally see them in my photos! Somerset West lies to the East of Cape Town, South Africa and is surrounded by a beautiful mountain range and the famous Cape wine producing areas. We also boast some of the best restaurants in South Africa.
My interest and enthusiasm for good food was embedded in my formative years when my late Mother, Magda always presented every family meal with finesse. My parents entertained graciously. Beautifully laid tables, exquisite flowers, fruit and vegetables from the garden and a pantry filled with home-made goodies are part of my DNA.
After a 40 year career in the food industry including product development for major retailers, and in later years specializing in food safety, I have hung up my ‘corporate heels’.
While earning my keep in the food industry I never lost touch with beautiful, delicious food. I have had the privilege of travelling extensively, and eating at many fine and diverse restaurants. I have also had the privilege of spending time with chefs in their kitchens, observing and learning their skills.
In the late 80’s and early 90’s I bravely entered the most prestigious food competitions in South Africa at the time, the Sarie and Fairlady Magazine’s versions of today’s Masterchef. I won the Fairlady competition one year in the 80’s, and was runner up in Sarie 3 times! Winning a motor car in a national braai competition was also a talking point!
Between my years in the corporate world I took a gap and opened a cookery school in the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town. Some of you may have met me at the Lifestyle Studio during the 3 years that I owned it.
My experience working as a Food Technologist, in the Corporate Retail sector enables me to speak to you or comment with some authority, about ingredients, packaging, shelf-life, general food safety and issues such as genetically modified organisms, organic, irradiation and food additives.
I have always had a personal interest in nutrition, and healthy eating is usually top of mind, despite my body not always being a testament to that! I try to opt for the healthiest alternative, and my recipes often have a healthy eating suggestion.
Cooking demonstrations & dinners in our home
As many friends and acquaintances frequently implore me to share more information and my kitchen secrets (there really are no secrets!) with them. During 2016 I started sharing my recipes, cooking skills and entertaining ideas by presenting cooking demonstrations followed by a dinner or lunch.
The advantage of attending a demo is that you are able to observe all the correct techniques and methods, plus benefit from several hints and tips to vary or perfect your dish. During ‘hands on’ classes you normally prepare only one dish and if a variety is offered, you only taste the other dishes prepared, thus missing out on all the valuable information that is shared regards those recipes. And after all, you can read, stir, chop and slice…… rather sit back and take in the information.
As Rustic Rose develops I will be scaling the demo/meal programme down, but I welcome private bookings for intimate Corporate Team building events or special occasions such as a girl’s Sweet Sixteen party or a group of friends or a club just planning a fun outing. Please contact me to discuss your requirements.
My garden is an extension of our kitchen and home. The vegetable and herb garden often dictates what I will cook and the flowers dictate the colour or theme of the table setting.
Whenever I have the opportunity, I visit beautiful gardens. They may be a Chateau garden in France, a public garden in Asia, such the Singapore Botanical gardens with their magnificent Orchids.
We are managing to handle the water restrictions during the severe drought during the summer of 2016/17 by fitting a hose to the waste water of the washing machine and using a plastic bowl in the sink to catch every drop for the vegetable garden. Buckets in the showers serve some of the flower garden. Hopefully the winter rains will give us some relief.
My enthusiasm for beautiful gardens and outdoor areas has awakened my interest in another field. During 2017 I will be launching a garden and patio décor business, Rustic Rose, specializing in importing second hand garden and patio furniture and accessories from France. I will keep you posted as this develops.
Food and travel
We have travelled to several countries including South East Asia, India, Europe and to many areas in Southern Africa. We regard every occasion as a cultural, culinary and creative adventure. We grasp at opportunities to visit beautiful and interesting places and will share these with you.
My husband, Mark and I have completed our Cape Wine Academy Diplomas and are very active wine club tasters. The most revered room in our home is our rather quirky, baroque wine cellar! It is temperature controlled to maintain a cool 16°C, old worn Persian rugs adorn the floor and deep pink walls show off the collection of interesting wines.
I will enthusiastically share our tasting and travel experiences with you. I have devoted a section to our wine tasting and related travel experiences.
Occasionally I will review a restaurant, winery, travel destination, a publication or a product. My opinions on these are personal with the objective of sharing the positive rather than criticizing or reporting personal dissatisfaction. If I have been asked to participate in a review and I am dissatisfied, I will express that to the supplier or service provider.
If I have received a product or service free of charge I will clearly acknowledge this in my blog.
Photographs on these pages are all taken by Mark or myself. We use various cameras, but my ‘go to’ is usually my Samsung S7 phone. The food styling reflects how I cook and present my food, rather than creating a magazine image.
My blog aims to share some of our personal lifestyle experiences with you. I hope that I will encourage you to cook, travel, garden or simply to try a new wine or restaurant.
I sincerely hope that you enjoy reading the various posts and will value your comments, questions or suggestions.