Weald Smokery – Great Lunch Stop

It’s always good to find somewhere different to eat, especially when it’s not the usual “pub grub” style of food. And so it was at the Weald Smokery near Flimwell in Sussex. We spotted a chalkboard sign advertising the food, on the main road heading towards Hastings, so stopped to check it out for our lunch

Smoked Seafood Lunch

Common to many bistro style cafes Weald Smokery offers a selection of sandwiches along with a few meals. All looked tasty and interesting. Following the “smokery” theme we opted to share a fish pate and a Fish Sharing platter.  Service was quick and very polite, and we didn’t have to wait long for our food, sitting outside in warm sunshine.  We were definitely not disappointed and enjoyed a tasty and ample fish meal.  The pate was served with salad leaves and toast. The sharing platter included salmon, trout, smoked prawns (which I had never tried before) accompanied by taramasalata, a dill sauce, salad leaves and olives, and an assortment of artisan breads.  Sitting in the sun in this countryside spot it is easy to think that you are in the countryside, and forget that it is only 17 miles to Hastings, at the coast, and a good source of fresh fish, as we discovered on our visit to Robertsbridge on a previous trip. 

A Bit More about the Weald Smokery

The Weald Smokery is one of a limited number of smokehouses in the UK producing smoked foods by traditional artisan methods. It has been family owned for 30 years, and has received awards for its products. Do check out the website

Why Visit this Part of Sussex

Flimwell is a village on the A21 route between the M25 London ring road and Hastings and St Leonards-on-Sea, both on the coast and popular in the summer holidays. The village is situated in an Area of Natural Beauty, and is inside “1066 Country”, near the site of the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Medieval Bodiam Castle is nearby. 

Pay The Area a Visit

Travelling down towards Hastings? Stop in and have a look around.  Or just take a day trip…. 
Bunny Chow - Home made in the UK.

Bunny Chow – A Durban Speciality

 

One thing that has to be a part of any trip to Durban is a Bunny Chow. But Durban is far away, so I had to make one at home. There is something really delicious and comforting about a serving of good curry in a hollowed out loaf of bread with the gravy soaked into the bread! That’s my latest attempt above. A lamb curry garnished simply with coriander leaves. A bunny chow is, of course, eaten with fingers, using the bread.

 

History of the Bunny Chow

 

The bunny chow appears to have originated in Durban in the 1940’s, though there are different stories about how it came to be. One way or another Durban, and for that matter a good part of kwaZulu-Natal, has a large population of Indian descent. Durban is known for its curries.

 

The bunny chow is basically a curry in bread, with the bread used as a bowl. Originally the curry would have been vegetable, but over the years mutton and chicken have become common. I have also eaten beef curry in a bunny. And, of course, it is unusual to find a mutton curry in the UK, so lamb it is!

 

Typically it comes, in Durban, as a “full” (i.e. 800g loaf), “half” (half an 800g loaf) or a “quarter” (typically half a small, or 400g loaf). The middle of the bread is carefully removed as a single piece, leaving the crust as the bowl. The crust is filled with curry, and the bread removed from the middle used to top the filling. Sambals can be added as necessary.

 

Bunny Chow in the UK and Making Your Own

 

There are a number of places in the UK advertising bunny chow in various forms, though I have only once sampled a local version, from a South African kiosk in Camden Market in London. I have heard that it is popular in some places, with pubs offering it on one day a week, then two, then all week.

 

If you are making your own bunny chow, there are two parts to remember:

 

  1. Bread which can form a bowl;
  2. Curry which has plenty of rich gravy. It can be meat or veg.

 

Personally I prefer to make the curry to fill the bread, but you can buy the curry from your local Indian takeaway. The do look at you sideways if you don’t order rice or naan, though.

 

Simply remove the centre of the bread, fill the crust with your chosen curry, and enjoy!

 

A Google search brought up a few UK based bunny chow restaurants. Not surprising as there are a few South Africans around:

 

 

My Bunny Chow Recipe

 

I have a big family, so this is intended to feed 8 people. Curry freezes well, though we rarely have any leftovers to freeze.

 

Play with quantities and spice mix as you wish, using this as a base.

 

This recipe has been used for mutton and beef, and, with a couple of variations, chicken. In the UK i use it with lamb.

 

Ingredients

 

  • Cooking oil
  • 3 large white onions
  • 12 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • Ginger – I use about half of a ginger root from the supermarket
  • 4 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 6 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 3 or 4 chillies – depending on how hot you like it. I use 4 supermarket chillies
  • salt to taste
  • 2kg meat
  • 3 tins tomato
  • Coriander leaves
  • Bread – 4 x 400g loaves, farmhouse, split tin or small sandwich loaves

 

Method

 

Brown the onions. add the garlic and ginger and fry it all together for a minute.

 

Add the coriander, cumin, cinnamon, salt and stir it all up together.

 

Add the meat, mix it all up and mix it all up well. Let it cook for ten minutes.

 

Add the tomatoes and chillies, turn the heat down and let it simmer slowly for about an hour. It’s cooked when the meat is tender and the oil is rising to the surface.

 

Cut the loaves in half and carefully remove the bread from the centre in one piece. Fill the crusts with curry, garnish with coriander leaves, put the removed bread and top and enjoy.

 

 

 

 

Boerewors on the Braai on a UK winter's day

Boerewors on the Braai (Even in the English Winter)

 

The Saffa influence is clearly here in England. The boerewors in the picture was sourced from our local butcher in England. And good ‘wors it was too. I’m told that his first 20kg production of boerewors sold out in 2 hours, based solely on word of mouth and facebook!

In fact, the sun dared to come out on a Sunday afternoon in late January. Winter or not, we lit the fire and cooked up a sample of the sausage. Great way to spend a Sunday.

About Boerewors

Boerewors on the braaiIf you have visited South Africa, or been to a South African braai (barbecue, but no hamburger allowed 🙂 ) you may have eaten boerewors. If not, it was almost certainly offered. It is commonly eaten in the Southern African region, largely in South Africa and Zimbabwe, and also common in Botswana and Namibia. As people have migrated from those regions they have taken their favourite recipes with them, so it is available in many parts of the world where you will find South Africans. In fact the name comes from the afrikaans “boer”(farmer) and “wors”(sausage).

Boerewors is made primarily of beef, often with pork or lamb, sometimes with a mixture of both, with a mixture of spices. Each boerewors maker has his/her own preferred mix, so it can be a challenge to find the ideal taste.

Cook boerewors on the braai for best results, but cook like any other sausage in the oven or on the stove.

#braai #braaitime #barbecue #boerewors #uk #winterbraai #braaiinwinter #englishbraai #food #foodonthefire #boereworsbraai Posted on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/p/Bef_1b4F75k/@hairy1travels.
Golden Coffee Mug - Vilankulos Sunrise on a Coffee Mug

Golden Coffee Mug

A Golden Coffee Mug On Holiday in Mozambique. It’s Christmas and I have my camera (why wouldn’t I?). There’s just one problem. The sun rises at 4:30 a.m. I didn’t make too many morning golden […]

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That Was 2017

That was 2017

2017 is one of those years where we can say we did a lot and enjoyed ourselves. Some of it has been blogged, some not. Read my next post for more on that.

Here’s a quick look back at 2017

France

Our first trip of the year was to France. the first time I have been to France. It was really a great get together with friends. Eating good food and sitting ’til the early hours near the beach drinking wine and enjoying ourselves.

Blue Bayou

We stayed at Blue Bayou, with the beach just a short walk away.

A view of Beach and sky with Valras Plage on the horizon. Near Blue Bayou.

A view of Beach and sky with Valras Plage on the horizon.

Carcassonne

Flying in and out of Carcassonnne, La Cite, the old Citadel was a must for a visit.

Outside the old walled citadel, La Cité, at Carcassonne.

Outside the old walled citadel, La Cité, at Carcassonne.

Agde

Known for its naturist beach, which we didn’t visit, we had a short time there and took a boat trip, then experienced a bit of local take-away cuisine.

Boats and a big wheel in Athe Harbour at Agde.

Boats and a big wheel in Athe Harbour at Agde.

Valras Plage

We visited the market in Valras Plage and then enjoyed cocktails with a beach view.

A busy Market Street in Valras Plage.

A busy Market Street in Valras Plage.

GreatFood

As always we found great food, and even tried that French delicacy, frog’s legs.

South Africa

With family ties in SA, a long planned visit came together exactly as planned. That was a mixture of hectic days and relaxation by the sea.

Hermanus – Whales and Prawns

Having been in Hermanus once before, we had a long standing plan to visit. We were not disappointed!

Hermanus is in South Africa’s Western Cape area.

A sea view from Bientang's Cave Restaurant in Hermanus

A sea view from Bientang’s Cave Restaurant in Hermanus

Hermanus – Winelands

A day trip into the Hermanus Winelands was a surprise find. A great day out.

In the winelands near Hermanus, this was our view over lunch.

In the winelands near Hermanus, this was our view over lunch.

Umdloti

Umdloti, north of Durban on South Africa’s kwaZulu-Natal coast provided a few days of tranquil getaway.

Rough seas on the beach at Umdloti, looking towards Durban.

Rough seas on the beach at Umdloti, looking towards Durban.

Durban

Visiting Durban while staying at Umdloti, we had a few good days in the area, visiting the beachfront, harbour and the Valley of a Thousand Hills.

Durban Beachfront Bay of Plenty

 

Closer to Home

Of course it is not all about long trips. There’s a lot happening closer to home. Have a look.

 

And 2018?

Who knows. There are a lot of changes coming our way, so watch this space.

Wishing you all a very happy and prosperous 2018

Bottles of wine on our Hermanus Wine Hoppers trip

Hermanus Wine Hoppers

Wine tasting in Hermanus with Hermanus Wine Hoppers

Hermanus. Sea, whales and great seafood. But wineries? I had never connected the two. While planning our trip we came across Hermanus Wine Hoppers. Put simply, they get you to the wineries, you do the rest.

Here’s how it works:

  • Hermanus Wine Hoppers picks you up from your Hermanus accomodation at 10:30 a.m.;
  • Until 4:30 p.m. They take you to up to 6 wineries;
  • The driver ensures that you can get into the winery, I.e. Not sitting around waiting. If the winery is busy, they simply take you to the next winery and come back later;
  • A driver comes to pick you up after half an hour. If you are not ready he simply moves on and another comes half an hour later, continuing until 4:30, or you are ready to leave;
  • They deliver you back to your accomodation at the end of the tour;
  • You pay the cost of the wine tasting at each winery;
  • A couple of wineries offer food, so you can get some lunch, with one, Creation Wines, needing pre-booking.

Our Wine Hopping Trip

Well, we managed three wineries and lunch. And then it was 4:30. One thing that has to be said, when you taste wines you are supposed to spit out the sample. Probably like most non-aficionados, we swallow!

I am not going to try and critique all of the wines we tasted. You’ll need to do the trip to do that. Here are the wineries we visited.

Hermanuspietersfontein

Hermanuspietersfontein Wine Cellar takes its name from the original name of the village of Hermanus, shortened by the postmaster in 1902. The wines are produced on their farm, Sondagskloof. Read about it on their website.

True to their Afrikaans heritage, all Hermanpietersfontein wines have Afrikaans names.

Very professional in their approach, we were offered 4 wines to taste of a selection of 7 for ZAR30.

Our favourites were the light Kaalvoet Meisie Sauvignon Blanc and the Shiraz blend Skoonma.

Whalehaven

Whalehaven were very laid back, and, in our view, the best ambience of all of the wineries.

For the wine taster Whalehaven offer just wine to taste or, for ZAR60 a wine and chocolate matching taste session. This was our choice and well worth it. The chocolates, with their specific flavours are produced exclusively for Whalehaven, who boast a number of awards received for their efforts.

Our favourite combination here was the Pinot Noir matched with the Rooibos and rose chocolate.

Other flavours:

  • Abalone Chenin Blanc matched with orange blossom white chocolate. The wine is named for the support which the winery gives to the prevention of poaching of abalone along the Hermanus coast.
  • A Merlot matched with lavender chocolate. The combination delivers and interesting mint flavour which would go well with a roast lamb dinner.
  • Pinotage with a dark chocolate.

Bouchard Finlayson

Bouchard Finlayson wineryThe Bouchard Finlayson winery is situated in the beautiful Hemel-en-Aarde (translated as Heaven-and-Earth) valley. It comes across as old, but at the same time modern and sophisticated. Bouchard Finlayson claims to be the most awarded boutique winery in South Africa.

Bouchard Finlayson offered 3 wines to taste for ZAR20, or 6 for ZAR40.

My thoughts on their wine:

  • Galpin pinot Noir – very smooth. I could drink that regularly.
  • Hannibal – a unique blend of Italian and French styles. Not bad at all.

Crocodiles Lair Chardonnay – I am not a fan of Chardonnay, but this was my favourite at this winery.

Creation

Creative Wines on our Hermanus Wine Hoppers tripNot far up the road from Bouchard Finlayson, on the Hemel-en-Aarde ridge, we came to Creation Wines.

At the beginning of the tour we had been asked if we wanted lunch, and it was pointed out that we would need to book. Hermanus Wine Hoppers sorted out the booking for us. So this was our lunch stop.

Creation offer a few choices of wine and food matching. The biggest one being “The Story of Creations”. This is a 7 course, small plate meal, each plate being matched with a sample of appropriate wine. cost is ZAR 395.

As we were hungry we chose the larger plate, 3 course meal, again with matched wine samples being served. The diner does, of course have the option to buy the wine by the glass.

Carving for sale at Creative WinesThis really was fine dining, with superb food and matching wine served with a very professional chat about the wine. The wine samples were small, but there was no hesitation in providing another sample when a glass was empty. Cost was on enquiry, but came to about £25 each.

Heading Home after an Excellent Day Out

The meal at Creation Wines was a great experience, in a beautiful setting. We took our time, and spent spent 3 hours there, finishing and being picked up by Wine Hoppers at 4:30. No time to do any more wineries. I think we were all “wined out” at that point anyway.

Hermanus Wine Hoppers deliver top class service. They are very attentive, but unobtrusive, not interfering with the pleasure of the day. Transport is safari style in a bakkie (light pickup) properly set up with seats and canvas canopy. When we hit some cold and Windy weather on the Hemel-en-Aarde road the driver was very quick to ensure that we were all dry and had blankets to keep warm.

Definitely a tour I would do again, and highly recommend.

Burgundy Restaurant Hermanus

Burgundy Restaurant Hermanus

Breakfast under the trees by the bay in Hermanus

Hermanus Burgundy Restaurant

Breakfast Under the Tree

A lasting memory from my 2010 Hermanus visit is walking into town and eating breakfast under a tree looking over Walker Bay.

Of course, in 2017, we had to find that tree. It wasn’t hard, it is in the Burgundy Restaurant right on the edge of the bay.

Our group enjoyed a varied selection of breakfast dishes and club sandwiches. All well served and very tasty. Highlight of the meal seems to have been the eggs benedict, served, unusually, with chicken livers instead of ham or bacon. That’s a dish that none of us had ever tried.

All, of course, sitting in the open air with a view over the bay. hard to beat that.

Breakfast view from Burgundy Restaurant

Breakfast view over the bay

The “after breakfast” part was also interesting, but at this point it is necessary to add a side comment. In our family, on weekends and holidays, “breakfast” is typically any food eaten before about 2:00 p.m. In fact the Burgundy Restaurant stops serving breakfast at 10:00 a.m., but agreed to serve us a good hour later. so the drinking of alcohol immediately after breakfast was quite acceptable.

Gin Tasting

The restaurant was running a gin tasting promotion for a brand called “Three Dogs”. A couple of the group sampled three different gins, with tonic. Not to outdone those who preferred beers washed down breakfast with beer shandies.

I’m told that rosemary and blueberry gin is not great, but pomegranate, and mandarin and thyme are pretty good.

Gin tasting at the Burgundy Restaurant

Gin tasting with a sea view.

Verdict

True to the memory of my earlier breakfast, it was a great breakfast experience and one I would happily repeat.

The menu looks interesting, and the restaurant is popular, judging by the number of people there. I would certainly like to try out a few other meals here. Next trip maybe?