Thursday, March 31, 2011

Master Class Cooking Experience with Neill Anthony at Kia Ora!

It's amazing that I interact with all these wonderful people on Twitter, but even more so when I actually get to meet them in person and do projects together. Like Robert Miller who I met last year and ended up doing a lingerie photo shoot with. And Michelle Dickman who I started following randomly and now she's done my hair and make-up on two photo shoots. Then earlier this year I came across chef-to-the-stars, Neill Anthony with whom I recently had a very cool cooking lesson. Twitter is really amazing and if you're not on it, you better make a plan!

I just thought I must share my master class cooking lesson with you I had with Neill. When I found out he's a chef, I knew this was only going to end well. When we finally agreed to put in some effort to make everything happen, I decided to make the most of it. The idea was a cooking lesson with a few friends, initially, but then we wanted Neill to work his magic in a really stunning kitchen. Mine just doesn't cut it. Then SA model and business woman, Tanya Fourie, was kind enough to let us use her absolutely gorgeous villa, Kia Ora (which means 'be well/ healthy) for the evening. Breathtaking, eh?

Then we invited some cool guests over, but it was hard deciding who, because we could only be eight to keep it intimate and prevent a huge party from happening. Neill and I were joined by one of my best friends, and fellow-blogger, Johlene; radio presenter, Evox Cape Town and South African Blog Awards owner and sports enthusiast, JP Naude; brand activation manager at Kfm, Denver Apollus (he's becoming quite a regular on my blog); Kfm presenter, Theo Esau; 7de Laan actress, Sulette Winterbach and her boyfriend, Jaco van Wyk, who does the marketing and communications of the Boland Rugby website.

Neill starts with all the preparations before the guests arrive.

Once everyone arrived, we started off with champagne, sponsored by Villiera Wines, while waiting in anticipation for Neill to start with our lesson. I must admit, the only thing I really paid attention to, was how to make basil pesto from scratch. I stepped out of the kitchen for a short while to have champagne and mingle, and when I got back, everything was ready. Sorry Neill, but at least I grated some cheese.

Starters: homemade linguini, basil pesto, shaved parmesan and herbed ricotta. This was my favourite dish! The ricotta just complimented the basil pesto and when I added some chili oil, it just tied everything together so deliciously. I loved this dish so much, that I attempted it the next night again. Ok, so I didn't make everything from scratch, but I felt creative and added baby-marrows and chicken fillets to mine. From starters to mains in no time!

Neill, me and Sulette, hard at work.

And I am still grating cheese!

Keeping the guests entertained!

Yes, Theo, that is the cheese I finally managed to finish grating!

Neill, how come you gave me all the crap jobs? Huh?

Neill brought Hello Kitty plasters. He's forgiven.

Homemade linguini!

Sulette helped make the basil pesto and couldn't wait to try it!

Neill and Johlene

Neill dishing up. Oh now I'm hungry all over again!

Mains: smoked chili braised leg of Karoo lamb, spiced white bean cassoulet, salted cucumber salad with cumin camoulla. The bean cassoulet and lamb topped with the cucumber salad worked so well together! The meat was so soft and absolutely great-tasting. Aah, I have to stop talking now.

Checking up on Neill as he dishes the bean cassoulet. Biggest beans I have ever seen!

The bean cassoulet. Mmm!

The Karoo lamb placed on top of the cassoulet.

Topped with salted cucumber. It doesn't taste salty. More pickled. And it's amazing how these three completely different flavours just perfectly compliment each other. Well done Neill.

After dinner I chilled with JP. Awesome guy and (almost) talks as much as I do.

Dessert: Caramelised peaches, coconut dust, crème freshe, hazelnut espuma.
Denver watches as dessert's being prepped...

... while the girls explore and appreciate this, beautiful, all white, villa! Kia Ora will definitely be my villa of choice for my next romantic getaway or girls weekend. Ooh, that's an idea!

Before we knew it, the evening was over. Not only have we had the most wonderful eating experience, but we made new friends, spent time in Kia Ora, had loads of wine and champagne, but we also left with a few cooking tips and completely stuffed.

Neill Anthony - Thank you so much for the wonderful evening and for spoiling us with your talents and cooking skills! It was the best food I have tasted in a long time. I especially loved that you paid attention when I said how much I love basil pesto and chili, and worked it into the menu. Thanks for the lesson and for answering all our weird questions.

Now, people, if you don't know this about Neill, he has worked with Gordon Ramsey and has cooked for big names, such as U2, Madonna, Kylie Minogue, The Beckhams, Elton John and Paul McCartney.

Tanya Fourie - A special thanks to you for allowing us to use your magnificent villa, Kia Ora. It truly is beautiful and all the guests loved it!

Thank you Villiera for the champagne! It went down really well with the cuisine!
Then another big thank you to Johlene who helped with all the arrangements! You have been a big help. Thanks to JP, Sulette, Jaco, Theo and Denver for the wonderful evening. Again soon!


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Monday, March 28, 2011

K-Day 2011 presented by Santam and Kfm!

Yes yes, rather late than never, so here it finally is! The spectacular music fest that is K-Day, held at Val de Vie in Paarl. If you weren't there, you missed out on a serious event! Great artists, beautiful venue, spectacular performances, fabulous celebs and the best party I've been to in a while! K-Day, you will definitely see me again next year!

Hundreds and hundreds of people arrive for the much anticipated event! It was blazing hot that day, so some came prepared with umbrellas, cooler boxes and some even in swimwear!

Pretty useless for the first hour after arrival! 44 degrees is no joke!

Luckily we were just a few steps away from the beer tent!

After an ice cold drink, I suddenly had some life in me again and decided it was time to go roll with the cool kids in VIP. Here I'm pictured backstage and loving the vibe!

Pictured here with my blonde beauties, Ashlea and Natlie.

I only have blonde babes in my entourage, it seems. Pictured here with the awesome musician and SA's finest export, Arno Carstens.

Backstage was the place to be!

Ash, me, Esme and Natlie pictured here with musician Lloyd Cele.

Goldfish baby! Ah, we're such groupies!

Terence Mentor from Kfm. Awesome 'fro!

Pictured here with Tamara Dey from Flash Republic. Wow, she is just so unbelievably nice!

There were hundreds and hundreds of people! This is the view from The Polo Club

Kfm, you did good!!

Sometimes the simplest of sweet treats are the best dessert! Marshmallows, nougat, brownies, jelly beans, sour worms... it brought back some memories. Very creative idea!

VIP section was in The Polo Club.

Spotted Tammy-Anne Fortuin in VIP too. She's a model and Roer presenter.

Pictured with the girls from La Vuvuzela. Very nice girls and very talented!

Backstage again!!

Elana Afrika, radio and television presenter, is proof that dynamite comes in small packages. She is very sweet and extremely bubbly!

Hangin' with radio personalities, Mark Pilgrim and Ryan O'Connor. Great guys! I think Ryan is kinda hot! And the fact he's uber nice and liked my 'hot pants', scored him some serious points.

We also got to meet radio and television prankster, Darren "Whackhead" Simpson.

On stage with Ross Learmonth, lead singer of Prime Circle, seconds before he has to give a show. And boy, what a performance it was!! I'm in love with the band all over again! Ross is amazing and so down to earth.

Grabbed Prime Circle drummer, Dale Schnettler, before their live perfomance too.
The Kfm cabs chauffeured VIP guests to and from The Polo Club and backstage. Not a detail left out.

I also met Xolani from Freshly Ground. Loving her new hairstyle!

I wonder which artist arrived in the limo...

Danny K's trailer

Arno Carsten's trailer (left) and Flash Republic's trailer (right)

Gold Fish's trailer


Flash Republic on stage! They were absolutely mind-blowing and the energy was amazing!

Back at The Polo Club we bumped into SA's R&B artist, Loyiso Bala. Very chilled dude!

Freshly Ground was absolutely amazing!! When they sang Waka Waka the crowd went insane! Definitely one of the best performances at K-Day. Hands down!

Pictured here with the man of the moment, Kfm presenter, Denver Apollus. He ran around all day to help make the event the success it was. Well done, D!

Whackhead and Ryan taking a breather. Everyone worked really hard!

The view from the stage.

The Kfm team on stage. Ryan was very popular!

Prime Circle was definitely the highlight of the evening! They gave an out-of-this-world performance unlike anything I've ever experienced!! I love these guys and it was so cool to mingle with them after the show. Really down to earth.

That's it!! My wonderful K-Day experience will not be topped soon. As you can see, I was all over the place, up and down between The Polo Club and the stage and met so many wonderful people. Thank you to Santam and the entire KFM team for pulling off such a well-organised event! It was such a big treat and I cannot wait to attend it next year!


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