Last Thursday evening, on the slopes of Sea Point, and overlooking the mist rolling into the harbor, UCOOK hosted an evening of food and wine at the CEO, Millie’s glamorous apartment. They had kindly asked us at CyberCellar to join forces with them and pair up some of our favourite wines with the menu that they had carefully selected.
Hosting a bevy of bloggers, the event hoped to inspire a passion for cooking, even in a busy life and wanted to spread the word about the ingenious solution they have to offer busy home chefs. UCOOK, if you are not familiar with them, allows you to select your diet plan, and creates your menu for the week and delivers all of the ingredients to your door for you to cook up when you are home from your busy day.
We arrived to find two long tables decked out in fresh food, cooking instruments, bright menus, and naturally, a selection of wine. While waiting for all the guests to arrive, we all breathed in the fresh misty sea air on the balcony, looking over the darkening Sea Point below us. Little had we known, but we were all to be split into teams and challenged to a cook-off. The two dishes that we were to prepare were a gorgeous tomato soup with pesto and chorizo sausage, and the second, a doughy pizza with fresh rocket, mozzarella and cherry tomatoes.
The cook off began and mass chaos ensued. The two teams frantically began the tasks of chopping, mixing, cutting and peeling. Soon the stoves were on and the raw ingredients began to take shape into the cooked, final products illustrated on the cooked menu. Glorious smells of the soup bubbling on the stove, and the pizza dough that had been laboriously rolled out, in the oven soon overtook the kitchen. We all popped back and forth from the working stations to the wine side. Cybercellar, after being pre-sent the menu chose to bring along three wines and the BloedLemoen Gin. The red, the gorgeous David and Nadia 2015 Pinotage, with its captivating nose of red and black cherries, olives and spice paired perfectly with the chorizo and pesto in the soup.
The white offering was the Swerwer Chenin Blanc, 2015. Its light crisp taste on the tongue and smooth palate made it an easy drinking opener and offset the flavours of the pizza when it was finally done and out of the oven. A light pink, bubbly MCC was also cracked open. This gorgeous 2013 L’avenir Brut Rose MCC is the perfect blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinotage and Pinot Meunier. Flaunting a delicate pink colour and berry-scented mousse of fine bubbles, this sparkling wine offers the traditional dryness of a MCC but had a slightly sweet aftertaste that perfectly balanced the initial first dry sip.
Back at the cooking tables, the pizza had taken shape (some in some very questionable ways), and as the last of the basil was sprinkled onto the top of the cheesey dough, a heavenly smell descended on everyone gathered and as it was plated, it was quickly picked off. No sooner had the pizza board been emptied, the soup team announced that the soup was ready. Leading the team was the competent chef and foodie, Sue-Ann Allen. Her participation in MasterChef South Africa had led her straight into the finals and this confidence was perfectly evident as she lined up the bowls of freshly scooped soup, and delicately placed the crème fraiche and pesto onto the top. We all lined up for a bowl to taste and were certainly not disappointed by the warm, spicy and hearty flavours the soup had to offer. A delicious Parmesan crusted chicken and goats cheese and fig salad with strawberries was set out to cater for those who were still surprisingly peckish and the kitchen area transformed from a scene of pure chaos to warm, full happy guests.
As we all sipped on the last of our wine, and made our way outside to share stories and mingle, the winner of the cook-off were announced. Unsurprisingly, Team Soup, consisting of Dylan, Tracy and Dean and of course Sue Anne took the top honours, although the pizza team was highly applauded for their fantastically tasty product. This team consisting of Anna from The Health Vixen Blog and Sabine from I Love Foodies, had really put their efforts into rolling out the dough, even using one of the emptied wine bottles.
The gin, a Bloedlemoen (Blood Orange), was opened up toward the end of the evening to seal the palate after the hearty and delicious food. This gin a handcrafted, small batch, triple distilled Gin from a meticulous selection of nine natural botanicals including Juniper, Blood Orange, Orange Peel, Grains of Paradise, Coriander, cassia and Nutmeg. The evening drew to an end and we all swapped details and sauntered off into the night after a great night of cooking, meeting new friends and sipping delicious wine. It was great meeting @, @, Dylan from Mr. Cape Town, I Love Foodies and the ladies from The Pretty Blog, I hope you had as great of a time as we did.