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December 2017 Newsletter

With less than 7 weeks until Christmas, the countdown has officially begun and it will be here before you know it! The aim of this newsletter is to provide you with everything you need to prepare for your Festive Season entertaining – at least on the ingredient, entertainment and gifting front! It is jam-packed with everything from the latest festivals to attend and restaurants to visit, to ingredients to try and gifts to buy. I have also included a variety of mouthwatering recipes for everything from starters and mains, to side dishes, desserts and drinks.

The Gin revolution is in full swing world-wide and naturally also in South Africa, so I decided to make it the theme of this newsletter. If you are not very familiar with this juniper-flavoured spirit yet, you will be after reading this newsletter! I provide a short summary of the origin of both gin and tonic water, as well as how the classic gin-based cocktail, the G&T, came about. I also tell you more about the essential tools that should form part of any home bar. From shakers and strainers to jiggers and muddlers. Currently Gin (sometimes tonic water too!) appear in everything from home-made ice-creams to cheesecakes, so I included a few interesting dessert recipes as well as recipes for a variety of cocktails – from G&T, to Martini and Negroni, in the Recipe section of this newsletter.

It felt a little like Santa’s workshop at Cooking Up A Storm these past few weeks. In-between writing this newsletter and preparing for our Festive Season Gingerbread House Workshops, we were also busy designing our own range of culinary clothing. Our culinary clothing, as well as our brand new DIY Gingerbread House Kits, can now be purchased from Cooking Up A Storm’s on-line shop. In the process both our website and newsletter got a makeover too!

Please like Cooking Up Storm’s Facebook page if you would like to be notified of upcoming foodie events, both our own and others, interesting new ingredients to buy, new restaurants to try, etc. as and when it happens!

Happy cooking!




The Gin Revolution

The gin revolution is a world-wide phenomenon.  One of the biggest drivers in the incredible resurgence of gin over the past few years is the sheer number of craft gin distillers that have popped up.  South Africa is following suit with a growing number of craft distilleries opening their doors every other month.

Gin & Tonic Festival – JHB

It was the interest in local craft gin amongst South African consumers and spirit traders alike, as well as the versatility of gin as a spirit that lead to the idea to build a lifestyle festival around it.

The Gin Box

The Gin Box is South Africa’s first craft gin club.  According to Jean Buckham, owner and founder of The Gin Box, South Africa is experiencing a gin revolution at present.

Hope on Hopkins

After falling in love with craft gin in the Mediterranean, ex-lawyers Lucy Beard and Leigh Lisk refurbished a rundown warehouse on Hopkins street in Salt River, creating the Mother City’s first distillery, Hope On Hopkins.

The Spirit Merchant Trading Company

The Spirit Merchant Trading Company was created by two of South Africa’s top bar tenders, Denzel Heath and Kurt Schlechter.  The SMTC team boasts more than 40 years of international beverage industry experience – spanning across consulting, events and global competitions.

Essential Barware

To make cocktails like a mixologist, you need a few basic bar tools. Below is a list of a few essential tools with their uses. All of the items on the list is available from The Spirit Merchant Trading Company.

Loyalty Card For Craft Gin & Beer

Brian Leopold of Tops Radiokop is the mastermind behind an in-store loyalty card for craft gin and beer. Yes, you heard right, you will be rewarded for buying craft liquor!


Since it opened its doors in September 2017, Tonic, a cocktail bar in the popular 7th street, Linden, has become known for their exceptional craft gin cocktails and delicious tapas-styled dishes.

Cakes By Seilaz

Cakes By Seilaz is a bakery based in Blairgowrie, Johannesburg that specializes in
novelty birthday, wedding and special occasion cakes.  Be sure to head in their direction any time you need a cake or treat – be it sweet or savoury.

Boerekos met ‘n twist

It is no wonder that Annelien Pienaar’s first recipe book “Boerekos met ‘n twist”, which was published earlier this year, is flying off the shelves!  Annelien, a qualified food scientist, has more than 20 years of experience in the food industry.

Funky Ouma

The Funky Ouma range is not only fun and flavourful, it is also colourful.  It was Funky Ouma’s beautiful shocking pink Beetroot Salt that caught my eye at a market.  I just had to have it!  Their slogan “Changing people’s lives, one grind at a time” sums up the motivation behind their healthy salts.

Ouma Rooi Koeksisters

Koeksisters is a traditional South African confectionary.  It is prepared by frying plaited dough in oil and then soaking it in ice cold syrup. These sticky sweet treats have a crunchy exterior and a syrupy centre – they are to die for!

The Kitchenware Shoppe

The Kitchenware Shoppe in Parkhurst is jam-packed with everything you need to cook and bake to your heart’s content.  The shop is situated on the popular 4th avenue, opposite Coobs and a few doors down (or is it up?) from the popular coffee shop Nice on 4th.

December 2017 Recipes

The selection of recipes included in this newsletter has everything from starters to mains, side dishes, desserts and drinks!  We’ve also included a variety of cookies to bake for the upcoming holidays.

Cooking Up A Storm’s Culinary Clothing

We are very excited to announce the launch of Cooking Up A Storm’s own range of Culinary Clothing – just in time for Christmas!   The range consists of aprons with matching oven mittens.  It makes great gifts for chefs big and small!

Gingerbread House Workshops & Kits

What better way to kick off the Festive Season than with making your own edible Gingerbread House?   It is a great culinary activity for kids and adults alike!  This year, apart from our usual Gingerbread House Workshops, we are introducing Cooking Up A Storm’s very own Do-It-Yourself Gingerbread House Kits.

Mrs Claus’ Kitchen Workshop

Get into the Festive Season spirit with booking for the first ever Mrs Claus’ Kitchen Workshop at Cooking Up A Storm Culinary Experiences. During the workshops kids will get to bake and decorate a variety of Christmas-themed items, e.g. Christmas tree cookies, snowflake cookies, gingerbread men cookies, reindeer cookies, etc.

Culinary Parties For Kids

Culinary parties are still all the rage. Cooking Up A Storm can assist in creating an unforgettable customised culinary party for your child’s next birthday party.  During the party the kids learn about kitchen hygiene, basic cooking methods, new ingredients and recipes, etc. in a fun and informal atmosphere.

Culinary Lessons & Events

Cooking Up A Storm specializes in customised culinary events and lessons.  We offer hands-on culinary sessions for corporate or social groups for team building, year-end functions, special occasions, etc.  One of our most popular services is our on-site culinary lessons for individuals, e.g. domestic workers or yourself – in your own kitchen!