Tag Archives: cooking

Spice Emporium

“Emporium” (medieval Latin from Greek emporos = ‘merchant’) is a term used for a store selling a wide variety of goods, and for marketplaces or trading centres in ancient cities (see emporia (ancient Greece) and emporia (early medieval).

Situated but a stone throw away from Durban’s Beachfront, standing proudly in a sturdy spacious building, we have Spice Emporium.

 

Spice Emporium was born 20 years ago as an ethnic food store and since its inception, has been world renowned for its ability to provide the complete Indian experience. The brand has become synonymous with quality and exclusivity across the entire market and as a result the flagship store has become a landmark tourist destination.

There is ample parking on the street and car guards who take their job seriously.

 

The store also offers limited off-road parking.

 

Smart and alert security guards watch over the goings-on inside and outside the store.

 

The only thing that you can get away with and steal here is a VERY GOOD DEAL!

So with the advent of the Puratassi fasting period from 17th September till the 17th of October, where else to go and stock up on essentials but Spice Emporium of course.

Read more about Puratassi here.

The store has such a wide variety of goodies and at super competitive prices.

From the image below nobody will doubt that Timol and I quickly put 4kg of kidney beans into our trolley earlier today.

Don’t kid yourself with the words “Indian experience” above. Yes, there are Indian spices but also a wide range of dried herbs, peppercorns, flour and so on. The list is endless.

 

They also have cook and kitchenware.

 

A wide variety of incense.

 

Assortment of cool-drinks and juices.

 

Frozen veggies, pastries, soya products.

 

Cookies and sauces.

 

Honey, oils, prayer goodies.

 

Happy customers and more prayer goodies.

 

Ample space to move around lots of rows of goodies with store supplied trolleys.

 

Disco mukwas and somph (saunf) sweets.

Wide variety of rices and more pots.

A beautiful display of colour and variety.

 

More tasty treats.

 

And finally the really tasty mixtures; blends of India.

A very long row of everything.

 

Even a blend for the potjie pot.

 

An interesting onion & rice mix.

 

And even some help for those who want to try their hand at Indian Delights.

 

Now all this looking in-store is certainly energy consuming.

 

So why not stop off at the Chaat Shop.

Snacks for all to eat.

 

A spacious dining area.

 

A vibey kitchen where good hygiene is obviously not-negotiable.

 

Fresh ingredients only.

 

As a retailer based in Durban, the primary focus of the business has always been to service the retail market. With the increased influence of “Bollywood” and the increase in awareness of South Africans of Indian origin to become aware of their roots, the business has seen tremendous growth. However, the growth of the business cannot solely be attributed to these influences. Spice Emporium is a family run business and the growth of the business can also be attributed to the personal touch of the husband and wife team that manage Spice Emporium. Customers are not viewed as customers rather as friends and it is this personal attention and value to customers that have attributed to the growth of Spice Emporium.

Spice Emporium is managed by Vinod Harie and his wife Chandrika, whom between them have over 50 years of experience. Spice Emporium was born from the vision of Vinod who noticed that there was a niche in the market for a high quality, speciality and ethnic food store.

Timol and I met Chandrika earlier today.

She is delightful and friendly and I am sure she will, if not in a meeting or doing something else to keep this grand emporium on track, find the time to meet you in the aisles with her smiley face.

Call +27 31 332 5888 or go to the world of Spice Emporium where you get World Food with Home Flavour.

The flagship store is situated at 31 Monty Naicker Street towards the beach in Durban City Centre.

There are two branches: one at Gateway Theatre of Shopping, a premier shopping centre in the heart of the new Umhlanga Town Centre, about 30 kms north of the Durban CBD, and at the Reservoir Hills Mall on Mountbatten Drive, Reservoir Hills.

Go pay them a visit, you will be greatly surprised at what you will find!

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Harvey’s Restaurant

It was my big day and I needed a top-spot to enjoy a great meal with my precious company.

Friends had told me of Harvey’s and I thought I would investigate. It turned out to be a very good decision.

Their “about” on the web states:

“In Durban’s bohemian suburb of Morningside, a restaurant that combined the demeanour of fine dining with a super-cool attitude and sleek modern styling that spelled instant success with its previous reputation intact and improved.

The original Harvey’s, opened fifteen years ago, has re-opened, This second incarnation of Harvey’s, has already won all the accolades the first one gathered over the years, SA Top Ten, Amex Platinum Fine Dining Awards and International Wine and Food Society best restaurant award for 2009.

Harvey’s restaurant is in a landmark building, nestled between two elegant parks in Durban’s prestigious Morningside suburb. Within its first few months it became a nationally known institution as one of Durban’s must visit venues for any visitor or local.

The venue comprising two rooms, one for dinning, named the picture room for its mass of original paintings covering the padded walls and out elegant Cocktail lounge that spills onto the veranda and pavement terrace, cheekily covered in “grass” and a pavement terrace. An open-air cigar lounge is strikingly decorated as a sort of indefinable retro-quasi-gothic-hunting lodge hodgepodge, complete with mounted buffalo trophies, padded velvet walls, gold ceilings and original oil paintings.

Consistently crowned Durban’s best since 1994, this stylish restaurant is known for its innovative flavour combinations, excellent presentation, and efficient service. The menu changes every two months, but may feature items like crisp fried spiced calamari served on marinated aubergine with an avocado ice-cream and a roasted pepper coulis or duck confit with grilled magret served on pak choi, with a sticky red currant and pink peppercorn jus, with pear infused pomme William or an assorted berry plate that includes a rhubarb and ginger crème brulee, with a white chocolate and strawberry cake, lightened by a cherry and nougat ice-cream.

Although the menu changes every two months, Timol and I did not miss the bold-printed information above as the waiter “purred” away.

We started at the Cocktail lounge that spills onto the veranda and pavement terrace.

It was lovely to just watch cars and pedestrians go by as we slowly sipped on the bottle of Alto Rouge.

 

 

They weren’t joking about the picture room

 

Timol was not the only pretty lady in that room

 

After viewing the frame below I had doubts about my gold card being able to pay for the meal we were about to have

 

The calamari was certainly crispy

 

Timol had the Dorado on mash

 

I went for the duck

 

A present was thrown in for good measure

 

We ended with more wine and coffee on the veranda

For me, it’s now a toss-up between Harvey’s and 9th Avenue Bistro. I was properly impressed with both and did not mind paying the extra Dollars for extraordinary food.

Cafe 1999, which I previously went to, is not really my cup of tea.

I will have to return to 9th Avenue for round 4 to make up my mind.

Carefree holidays, eels, motorcycles & jaffles

There were many holidays spent at aunt Norma’s house in  Zululand.

I was in my preteen and teen years at the time.

Some memories from my visit’s stick like gum:

  1. fishing with uncle Mike
  2. him sending me in the water only to be greeted by a large eel instead of a fish
  3. burning my new trainers in the fire that same trip
  4. uncle later giving me the same eel for dinner
  5. my cousin’s boyfriend’s Yamaha DT 50 motorcycle
  6. the rides allowed on this motorcycle to “give them space”
  7. my other cousin giving me a rude introduction to Tequila
  8. my aunt “exploding” food from her pressure cooker all over the kitchen roof
  9. carefree holidays
  10. JAFFLES for breakfast lunch supper and whenever else possible

I enjoyed the tasty jaffles so much that my aunt bought me my own jaffle maker, which I still have kept nestled away in my cupboard.

It’s now 30 years later. The jaffle maker is out…

Now to make a top-class jaffle you need  super hot filling. Think of it as a “pie made of bread”.

You wouldn’t eat a lettuce and tomato pie now, would you?

So to bring the jaffle maker back to life in a respectable manner, Timol and I went for a spicy chicken curry filling.

 

For the spices and other ingredients, the shop of course (where there is a large selection and bargains galore)  – Spice Emporium, who I see have an online facility. Read the metrobeat article here.

Albany Best of Both was our choice of bread.

The two slices of bread were buttered on either side, before a dollop of curry was placed in between (not too much otherwise it “blows” out the sides.

The really naughty part: grate and throw some cheese on the curry before making the sandwich.

 

Place the sandwich into the jaffle maker, squeeze it shut and attach the clip.

Remove the crusts if they don’t fall off the sides.

Place onto the hot stove.

I always turn the jaffle maker over every few minutes and open it to check progress.

The jaffle above was a little “overloaded”.

When ready (lightly browned or darker if you prefer); place the jaffle onto a plate and munch away (do let it cool down slightly first).

 

Thank you to aunt Norma, uncle Mike and their daughters for all the wonderful memories, looking after me like one of your own and never telling my parent’s all the naughty things I did.

Cafe 1999 in Durban South Africa

On Saturday the 4th of August, Timol and I felt like spending a few extra ZAR on some really tasty food.

Cafe 1999 came up on the cards.

I did some research on their website, which revealed: “Cafe 1999 offers a dining experience to excite the senses: a vibrant ambiance, gracious service and a delectable menu in the heart of Durban’s trendy Berea. Chef Marcelle Roberts award winning contemporary Mediterranean cuisine is designed around sharing”.

Next thing, to test out this claim, Timol and I ambled over to the restaurant, after arranging a “rapid reservation”.

I was armed with my faithful Canon 550D and an FNB credit card.

We settled down to our starters below; whilst deciding what to devour as a main course.

Starters (liquid) – Barista: a good deal at ZAR 125.00

Tasted just as good as it looked on paper (once in our glasses)

Starters (complimentary) – Amuse-bouche : I needed a few more to chew on

 

A friendly waitress rapped off the specials and, before she finished, we made our choices without any further hesitation.

Timol had the large line-fish at ZAR140.00 – she loved it

 

 

I went for the seared tuna; also at ZAR 140.00 – down the hatch mate!

 

The wasabi and soy sauce was thrown in – a must of course (burnt like hell but top drawer)

 

Creme brûlée to share – ZAR 38.00: well worth it

 

Irish coffee for the short drive home (ZAR 30.00) – a genuine single shot of Jameson

A total of ZAR 570.00 for two, which included a healthy tip, for a great fine-dining experience.

Directions and telephone number here.

Read the Eat Out review.

But also give the spot a try yourself!

Oh what to do with that fish (Sardines) in the tin 2…

We previously had a look at Timol’s tin fish creation with Pilchards.

That tasted great!

Now the Sardines (also a Lucky Star product) get a chance to delight the taste-buds.

 

Now before we jump into the end result, let us explore what the term “Sardine fever” means to us folk living on the East Coast of South Africa.

Read here to find out more; and also look at some lovely photographs.

Let us go back to Timol’s latest creation:

  • Mince up fish
  • Add chopped onion & green chilli
  • Toss in diced tomato
  • Add salt to taste and Dhania (Coriander) leaves if you have
  • Mix all
  • Lump generously onto toasted wholewheat bread and enjoy!

Well done Timol.

Coming soon… peri-peri chicken burger made for Timol by Andy (I had to reciprocate of course).

Mutton curry potjie

Visit Potjiekosworld and read about our South African culture.

Here is a taster from them:

“When the first Dutch settlers arrived in the Cape, they brought with them their ways of cooking food in heavy cast iron pots, which hung from the kitchen hearth above the fire.

Long before the arrival of the early settlers in the Cape, the Bantu people who were migrating into South Africa, learned the use of the cast iron cooking pot from Arab traders and later the Portuguese colonists.

These cast iron pots were able to retain heat well and only a few coals were needed to keep the food simmering for hours. They were used to cook tender roasts and stews, allowing steam to circulate inside instead of escaping through the lid. The ingredients were relatively simple, a fatty piece of meat, a few potatoes and some vegetables were all that was needed to cook a delightful meal.”

Read more here.

Guided by expert cook Timol, I set about cooking a mutton curry potjie with beans.

The images below tell their own story.

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