Winter Jazz Festival at GrandWest with Jonathan Butler and friends

This one’s for all the Mother City jazz lovers out there. Breakout Management, together with Kaya FM, Heart FM and DStv, are bringing some big names to the GrandWest Arena on 12 and 13 June 2015. The Winter Jazz Festival will feature US R&B star Musiq Soulchild, as well as legendary SA born musician Jonathan Butler, with special guests Oleta Adams and Euge Groove.

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Jonathan Butler will headline the GrandWest festival on Friday 12 June 2015, while Musiq Soulchild will entertain fans on Saturday 13 June 2015. Cape Town loves seeing Jonathan perform in the city and this time round, he’ll be joined by American soul, jazz, and gospel singer and pianist Oleta Adams, as well as smooth jazz saxophonist Euge Groove. This certainly makes for an evening of tasteful music – something for jazz fans to remember!

Tickets are available at Computicket, with prices ranging from R350 to R650. The music starts at 20h00 each night and ends around 23h00. Johannesburg fans can also look forward to seeing these fantastic musicians in action at Carnival City. Check out www.winterjazz.co.za for more information. More support acts will be announced in the weeks ahead.

I’m always happy to see some good jazz in town. Enjoy!

Red Cappuccino / Red Espresso – Rooibos never tasted so good

I’ve found my new favourite hot beverage for winter – the Red Cappuccino. Made with Red Espresso and packed with healthy anti-oxidants, it’s no surprise that many coffee shops and restaurants are offering the rooibos based drink on their menus. While I enjoy going out and relaxing with a Red Cappuccino, it’s much more cost effective if you can make one at home. With Red Espresso, you can do just that.

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There a number of methods that you can use to prepare Red Espresso which you can then add frothed milk to for a Red Cappuccino.

  • Espresso machine
  • Capsule espresso machine
  • Stove-top moka pot
  • French press / coffee plunger
  • Filter coffee machine

How to make a Red Cappuccino:

I don’t have an espresso machine at home but I do have a French press and also a filter coffee machine. Out of the two, there’s no doubt you can get a stronger flavour from the French press and that’s what I use. It’s pretty simple:

  • Make sure your French press is clean (especially if you’ve been using it for coffee)
  • Boil your water in a kettle
  • For each cup you want to make, add two tablespoons (14g) of Red Espresso to your French press
  • Add the hot water (not boiling) to the French press and stir for a few seconds
  • Add the French press lid to retain the heat but don’t press the plunger down yet
  • Allow the Red Espresso to brew for 4 to 5 minutes
  • Press the plunger down slowly
  • Pour the Red Espresso into your cup
  • Add warm frothed milk
  • Top with honey and cinnamon if you like it that way

Here’s a video so you can exactly how quick and easy it is.

An espresso machine would probably give you a stronger flavour but I’m happy with the French press method for now.

You can buy ground Red Espresso in 125g, 250g and 1kg packs. Capsules are available as well for capsule style espresso machines. I still drink a few cups of normal rooibos tea during the day, while keeping the Red Cappuccino as something to look forward to.

There are many other beverages you can make with Red Espresso. The ‘Fresh Red’ mixed with apple juice is very refreshing. See what recipes you can find here http://www.redespresso.com/drinks/. Best of all, it’s caffeine-free.

If you’d like to find out about the health benefits of rooibos, do some reading here:

Have you tried a Red Cappuccino yet? I’m going to make one right now 😉

Cell C data bundles – recharging could be easier?

I’ve been a Cell C data customer for a while now. The SmartData 2GB package doesn’t last long with today’s content heavy internet but depending on your needs, it might work for you. The SpeedStick / wi-fi router is fine to use but recharging could be a lot easier. Cell C provides an online service where you can check your data balance, invoice history etc. One thing that continues to puzzle me, is the lack of an option to buy data using that online service.

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How to buy Cell C data bundles for your SpeedStick / wi-fi router:

Instead, you have to phone Cell C customer care to process an additional data bundle (I’m sure none of us enjoying waiting on the line for a call centre) or you can:

  • take the SIM card out of your SpeedStick / wi-fi router
  • insert it into your phone
  • dial *147#
  • follow the prompts to buy a data bundle
  • then finally insert your SIM card back into your SpeedStick / wi-fi router

That’s maybe not too much of an inconvenience if your monthly data package is sufficient for the month but if not and you find yourself having to recharge, a more efficient way of buying data to use with your SpeedStick /wi-fi router would be great. And with the new Cell C data tariffs, you don’t want to be using the out-of-bundle rate.

Is there an easier way of loading data bundles without swapping the SIM card? Simply adding an additional option to the online service could be the way?

Good Food & Wine Show 2015 – Cape Town

The Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) is the place to be for food lovers from 21 to 24 May 2015. That’s when the Mother City gears up for the 2015 Good Food & Wine Show. The event will be headlined by Buddy ‘Cake Boss’ Valastro, Masterchef Australia Judge Matt Preston and Food Network’s Siba Mtongana.

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Highlights of this year’s festival include:

  • The Celebrity Chefs Theatre – note there are limited seatings, so check the schedules beforehand for your favourite chef’s timeslot
  • Romancing the Stove with Jenny Morris – live interactive cooking demonstrations, aimed at couples
  • Health Hub with Lisa Raleigh – healthy tasters, demonstrations and products
  • Speciality Street – locally produced speciality products such as chutneys, sauces, cheeses and more
  • The Art of Wine – premium wine tastings
  • Brilliantly Sweet and Decadent – cakes, bakes and sweet treats, plus Dorothy Klerck from Eat Cake Party showcasing her amazing 3D cakes

Tickets are available at Computicket, with various pricing options available for adults, pensioners, kids and groups. Visit www.goodfoodandwineshow.co.za for more info.

There’s certainly no shortage of foodie events in the Mother City these days. What do you look out for in a food festival? Is it:

  • the participating chefs / celebrities
  • size of event – perhaps you prefer smaller, more intimate gatherings
  • the location – city vs winelands
  • getting to taste and sample new dishes
  • buying food items you don’t usually find in your local stores
  • ticket prices and cost of items on sale

What checks the boxes for you?

Springboks Rugby Fixtures 2015

Super Rugby is the flavour of the month but all South African rugby fans have one thing in the back of their minds – the 2015 Rugby World Cup. The Springboks will build up to the big tournament with four tough matches in a shortened version of the Castle Lager Rugby Championship, starting in July. After this, the Southern Hemisphere teams will have to adapt quickly to Northern Hemisphere conditions, before the World Cup starts in England in September.

springbok-rugby

The form of SA teams in Super Rugby hasn’t been the best of late and the Bok captaincy is a grey area with Jean De Villiers still recovering from injury. On the plus side, a number of youngsters have put their hands up with standout performances in Super Rugby. Will Heyneke Meyer take a chance on them or will he stick with the old guard? Tough choices ahead…

Here are South Africa’s fixtures for 2015. Unfortunately, no matches at Newlands in this year’s Castle Lager Rugby Championship.

Castle Lager Rugby Championship:

  • 18 July 2015: Australia vs South Africa
    Suncorp Stadium – 12h05
  • 25 July 2015: South Africa vs New Zealand
    Emirates Airlines Park – 17h05
  • 8 August 2015: South Africa vs Argentina
    Growthpoint Kings Park – 17h05
  • 15 August 2015: Argentina vs South Africa
    Buenos Aires – Time TBC

Rugby World Cup:

  • 19 September 2015: South Africa vs Japan
    Brighton Community Stadium – 17h45
  • 26 September 2015: South Africa vs Samoa
    Villa Park – 17h45
  • 3 October 2015: South Africa vs Scotland
    St James’ Park – 17h45
  • 7 October 2015: South Africa vs USA
    Olympic Stadium – 17h45

All times are SA local time (GMT + 2 hours).

George Ezra to perform in Cape Town: 29 August 2015

UK singer/songwriter George Ezra will be treating SA fans to three shows later this year. Cape Town fans can see the ‘Budapest’ hit-maker at the Durbanville Racecourse on Wednesday 29 August 2015. He’ll also perform in Durban at the Shongweni Polo Club on 28 August 2015 and in Johannesburg at Carnival City on 30 August 2015.

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The future is bright for the young and unassuming folk singer from Hertford, England. He burst onto the music scene with his debut album ‘Wanted on Voyage’ which brought us the singles ‘Budapest’, ‘Blame It On Me’ and ‘Listen To The Man’. In my opinion, George’s sound and songwriting style reminds me a little bit of a young Johnny Cash. The songs are incredibly catchy and I’m looking forward to hearing some new material in the near future. The band’s recent performance on Saturday Night Live was also great to see.

The George Ezra SA tour is brought to you by Seed Experiences. Tickets are on sale at http://www.weareseed.co.za/. Prices range from R565 to R865 (plus booking fees) for the Cape Town concert. Enjoy!

For more music on the way in the Mother City, be sure to check out the Cape Town gig guide.

FNB Cape Town 12 ONERUN: 17 May 2015

It’s always good to see a new event on Cape Town’s busy running calendar. The latest addition is the FNB Cape Town 12 ONERUN, a fast and flat 12km run that aims to bring together runners from all walks of life. The run will see local and international running champions taking part, along with international wheelchair athletes, corporate teams and social runners who are looking for a fun event.

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The first FNB Cape Town 12 ONERUN takes place on Sunday 17 May 2015 at 09h00. The run starts in Milnerton and follows the coastline past key landmarks, eventually finishing at the FNB Portside building in the heart of Cape Town.

fnb-cape-town-12-route-map

Challenge a friend and make it more interesting or if you’re in the business world, invite a competitor to take part. There are great prizes up for grabs, including PUMA® kits, Totalsports vouchers and more.

You can enter online at www.thecapetown12.com. The closing date for entries is 1 May 2015 at midnight, so don’t be late. UPDATE: Online entries extended until 3 May 2015.

School of Rock opening soon in Cape Town

South Africa’s first School of Rock is opening in Claremont, Cape Town on 9 May 2015. Being a musician myself, I think it’s great to see this international brand establishing itself in the Mother City. The school will offer music classes and programmes for everyone from pre-schoolers, primary and high school kids, to young graduates and adults.

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With brother and sister team Keith Taeuber (managing director) and Leigh Spaun (marketing director) at the helm, students can look forward to performance-based programmes that incorporate private lessons with a group rehearsal element. Guitar, bass, keys, vocals, brass and drum lessons are on offer, all with the philosophy that the stage is the greatest teacher. At School of Rock, the emphasis is on playing the songs you love, working with incredible instructors and being part of a community of musicians that support each other’s creativity.

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Founded as a single school in Philadelphia, PA in 1998, School of Rock has become a growing international franchise and currently has 154 schools in total located in the US, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Mexico, Panama, Philippines and now South Africa. Students have gone on to play concerts at some of the best venues and the biggest music festivals around the world, including Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, Red Rocks, Summerfest, Namm, Gathering of the Vibes, Hangout Music Fest, Zappanale, BB Kings and many more.

Programmes offered include:

  • Rookies: 6-7 years
  • Rock 101: 8-10 years
  • Performance Programme: 11-17 years
  • Adult Performance Programme: 18+
  • Lessons+: all ages

The school is located at Suite 202, 2nd Floor Standard Bank Galleria, 120 Main Road, Claremont, next to Cavendish Square. It’ll be open Monday to Friday from 09h00 to 20h00 and on Saturdays from 09h00 to 14h00.

For more, visit http://claremont.schoolofrock.com or email claremont@schoolofrock.com. Rock on!

The Avenue Restaurant, Harfield Village – Best steaks in Cape Town

Harfield Village has a number of great restaurants in the popular 2nd Avenue and my favourite has to be The Avenue. It’s definitely the go-to choice for my wife and I, when we feel like a good steak. The sirloin is always recommended by chef/owner Tony and IMHO, it’s the best in the Mother City.

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The restaurant is a favourite with locals and it’s advisable to book in advance. The early bird specials (order by 18h45, out by 20h00) are  popular and offer great value for money. While I enjoy a good steak, I do look out for Cape Salmon when it’s the catch of the day and The Avenue serves it up perfectly. The calamari starter is also a favourite of ours, lightly dusted with fennel and coriander and deep-fried. For dessert, the Lindt chocolate brownie, classic baked cheesecake and crème brûlée are all superb. Just see what’s available on the day. Something else I really appreciate about this restaurant, is that mains are served with roast vegetables which you don’t have to order separately.

The Avenue has a relaxed atmosphere but can be quite bustling when packed with diners. On selected nights, you can enjoy live background music (eg. one man band tenor sax/guitar – nothing too loud so you can still enjoy a good conversation).

You’ll find The Avenue at 47 2nd Avenue, Harfield Village. For bookings, give them a call on 021 671 0623 .

Parklife Festival Cape Town: 2 May 2015

Good food and good music – always a winning combination… That’s exactly what you can expect at the Parklife Festival taking place at Green Point Cricket Club on Saturday 2 May 2015. With top international and local bands rocking out and pop-up restaurants serving up delicious dishes, it promises to be a fun day out for the whole family.

parklife-cape-town-2015Modest Mouse, American Authors and French DJ/producer Klingande headline the music line-up, with support from Jeremy Loops, Monark, PHFat and The Plastics. Food highlights include a vetkoek cafe, prego station, Greek souvlaki stall, gourmet wraps and burgers, all served up in the gourmet food village.

Tickets range from R195 (kids) to R450 (adults) and can be booked online at http://parklifefestival.co.za/tickets/.