Posts in Category: Musings

South Africa’s Heritage Day – Ginger & Lime style

heritage day recipe ginger and lime

What is a weekend without a braai?!!  I know in our household, it would just not be possible.  That fire is lit for any occasion, and very often.

Something happens to a man when he stands in front of a fire and you put a pair of tongs in one hand and a beer in the other.  Not quite sure what it is, but he seems to be transported onto another level.  The chest puffs up a bit, he stands taller, he rocks from side to side, waving the tongs around and says: “ Nou braai ons lekker, boet!”

Seems to be a very happy place for most South African men.  Just watch them around a fire.  There is a code of conduct here, you never mess with another man’s fire!  You could kiss his wife, but hey, the fire!!!  No no, this is out of bounds! This is a sacred rule they learnt from their Dads when they were little kids, as when a male at a braai doesn’t have a mate around, any other male presence around the fire with him would do, so any boy children are roped in.  There needs to be a pack of them for it to be really successful, this is not a solo thing.  They are the hunters returning from the field with the catch of the day, while the gatherers are chatting over chilled glasses of Sauvignon Blanc doing the prep of the salads in the kitchen. This is tradition. Do not try to change this system, it works!

And then, when the meal is produced, so proudly:  “Now look at that, hey!  What a feast! Isn’t that amazing?” they say.  And now you must praise loudly and go into raptures about how incredible they are, and what a meal this is!

Never mind that you did the shopping, and you have been preparing the marinades and the sauces for hours, putting it all together and out at the fire, ready to cook.  No credit for that, love!  This is just what we are supposed to do!

And we grab another glass of vino and smile to ourselves, life is so simple when you know how to play it.

Enjoy this Heritage Day with two of our favourite gourmet braai recipes.


1 kg baby potatoes
2 t salt
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 jar of small capers
1/2 cup black olives, pitted
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped dill
4 hard boiled eggs, cut into quarters

1/2 c fresh lemon juice
1/2 t sugar
1/2 c olive oil
1 t Djion mustard
salt & pepper

Boil potatoes in salted water, but don’t let them get too soft.
Cool and peel, then slice in half.
Mix the dressing well, and pour over the warm salad.
Add the capers, olives, herbs (keep a few back to the top) and onion and toss together.
Check the seasoning and then let it stand to absorb the flavours for an hour or so.
If too much oil has been absorbed, then add more.
Top with the eggs and the rest of the chopped herbs.

heritage day recipe MN6A0086

(two ways)
Serves 6 – 8 people

800g firm white fish fillets, sliced into cubes (can be an assortment)
12  deveined prawns with the shells on, cut in half lengthways
400g baby calamari, sliced into thin rings
(You can also add in a cup of mussels or clams)
Tin foil to make parcels

3 thumbs of fresh ginger thinly sliced
1 cup of coriander
1 lime slices
2 sticks of finely sliced lemongrass

Chili Ginger and lime sauce for  seafood parcel
2 t grated ginger
1 t grated garlic
2 deseeded chopped red chillies
1 1/2 T sesame oil
2 T peanut oil
1 lime,  juice & zest
1 T fish sauce
1 1/2 T soy
1 t brown sugar or palm sugar, grated
1/2  t hot chili flakes

Mix these together well in a bowl.
Add in the roughly chopped ginger and lemongrass.
Add the fish to this, and coat well.
Take a double square of foil and put the fish with the sauce in the centre of the foil.
Top with the coriander and the lime slices.
Make sure the parcel is closed very well.


2 T Capers
1/2 a cup of pitted Olives
1 cup of halved baby tomatoes
1 packet of baby spinach
Handful of each: basil & flat leaf parsley
4 cloves of sliced garlic
3 T of olive oil
1 lemon, sliced
Salt and Pepper

Take a double square of foil and put the fish in the centre of the foil.
Add in the ingredients above and then drizzle with olive oil and season well.
Make sure the parcel is closed very well.

Now place the parcels on a heated Weber and close the lid.
They need to cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the fish is just cooked through.
Do not overcook the fish.

If you don’t have a Weber, you can do this on the open braai, but make sure the fire is not too hot.

You can serve these with steamed rice to mop up the juices.

heritage day beach house collection MN6A9902 heritage day fish braai ginger lime beach house MN6A0073 heritage day MN6A0135

Location: The Beach House Collection, Yzerfontein
Menu: Denise from Ginger & Lime
Photographs: Shannon Sweetman – Dog Meets Girl



Leaving Singapore was sad, we had such a good time there, but always remember, it is always great to leave wanting more, and I am sure we will be back.
The Airline lounge has a buffet of all this fabulous Asian breakfast specialties, from prawn dim sums to potsticker dumplings, edamame beans, gorgeous Asian broths where you add in your own hard boiled egg, chicken pieces, glass noodles, tofu, crispy veg, seaweed strips, and potent chilli sauces to add a whack of flavour.  Heaven!  I had to taste a bit of everything, while Gavin looked the other way, with his muesli and fruit salad.  What a great way to start the day, instead of all the sugar laden cereals, heavy breads and decadent bakes, with cured meats and cheeses that the Western world tend to favour.
Come to think of it, in Thailand, we didn’t eat bread or pastries since we left Singapore, but there is of course rice with everything.  I do feel this is better, as it is a natural product, albeit a carbohydrate.
Landing in Koh Samui, after a quick flight, felt so familiar.  How many times have we landed there at that little airport in the past, say 12 years or so, with small children, or with friends to celebrate milestone birthdays, or with clients for photoshoots. Memories of people that have joined us over the years, the good times we shared, the laughter and the fun times, all bubble to the fore of my mind, and I feel warm inside. The kids growing up here, our 3 month sabbatical, when the kids said NEVER AGAIN to home schooling, as we were way stricter than any teachers!
Moments in time…that is what I think happiness is, just a series of fabulous moments that make you happy at the time, and then again later when we recreate these in our minds.
We took the 40 minute drive past familiar places to the FOUR SEASONS property on the North of the Island.  Clouds were getting darker, and the air was thick with humidity. With excitement we hoped we would actually get to experience a wonderful thunderous tropical downpour! The property is a superb place with many one to 2 bedroomed villas, and then the bigger “estates” they call them, which have up to 5 bedroom villas, with rim flow pools, lounges both in and outdoor, kitchens and so on. We were fortunate enough to have been invited to stay at one of these, on our own.  Well, with the Chef & the butler… just saying!  We kept looking at each other, wondering what on earth we had done to deserve this magical treat!
Our Villa was perched high up, with spectacular views over the sea with different hues of turquoise water, and the sprawling manicured, yet wild thick tropical vegetation that led down to the beach area.  We just sat soaking in the view, in absolute awe of the spectacular place we were in.  Our suite was huge, simply decorated with slight turquoise highlights, light wood, bamboo and light muslin curtains and the biggest bed we have ever been in. You literally had to hop, to get onto it, the mattress was THAT thick. The best thread count for the linen, and the lightest Hungarian goose down duvet, made us feel pampered beyond belief.
This led onto a dressing room, with his and hers basins and wardrobes, and all the walls were clad in ivory speckled caesarstone. What a great idea! Light and functional! Then through to the bathroom with a huge oval caesarstone bath, a very happy sight for us from the drought stricken areas. This looked out over the sea, palm trees gently swaying in front of the window. All of this had large sliding doors opening out onto a spacious deck. Here we had a minibar, tea & coffee station, and an outdoor lounge. Oh heaven!
So, we were now hungry, so unpacked quickly, and called a buggy to take us up to the famous Sunday Brunch (from 11 to 4pm) where you literally eat until you just can’t any more! Cocktails are recommended to start, so of course I chose something gorgeous with lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves, just SO good. Like a Tom yum Soup flavoured cocktail. There was a 3 piece band playing discreetly, and maybe 10 tables or so, a quiet civilised affair. This does tend to be more of a couples getaway than a family style resort, and is seriously upmarket. We just kept going back and back, for small tasters, trying to pace ourselves to get to try it all. You could choose a hot dish as well, and I went for the Lobster with beurre blanc and avocado, which was heaven. Gav went with the New Zealand Lamb chops, which were okay. Think he had order envy!
Oh and then there is a whole room dedicated to the desserts and the extraordinary cheese platter. We had to have a sliver or two, again just for the taste, as by now, we were bursting!
The rains did come, gently while we were just finishing off our meal, and by the time we got back to our villa, the heavens really opened, and it was incredible. I ran a huge bath, with all the lovely coconut bath salts and oils provided, and just lay there, soaking it all in. How blessed are we! Had to have a short nap thereafter, just seems the right think to do. Luckily Gav set his alarm, as I think we would have slept right through.
Our wonderful personal Chef Kob and the ever efficient butler Khun Pui, were waiting for us in the lounge when we finally went through. I was going to have my first lesson with Chef, and Pui opened some delicious wine, as we know that it is impossible to cook without wine, right!
This soon became  our routine every evening for the next 6 days, we came to the kitchen around 6pm, and Chef had prepped and chopped all ready for the quick finishing off, that is so symbolic of Thai food. Do your prep, mis en place, then you are ready to eat in 20 minutes. Every evening she did 3 to 4 dishes, which you eat all together, no start, entree, main. We exchanged food tips, she shared her knowledge and talent freely with me. The lady could cook, that’s for sure!  No recipes, just like me, just “gooi”, a little bit of this and a little bit of that.
She made everything look so simple, and yet the flavours were complex and layered. She made her own pastes, and this really made the amount of ingredients added later, minimal. She really cooked the paste well in little coconut milk for a long time to release the flavours before the next steps. All stuff I know, but great to see the order she does it is. I have loads of pictures which will explain this in an easy way.  Crab curry was a hit, as was the Crab in coconut milk and lemongrass, the steamed sea bass with ginger, lime, basil etc, and a new one for me, Wingbean Salad, which we will definitely try, perhaps with substitute ingredients.
I will go through the dishes we prepped, and do my best to recreate this in our next Thai class, some great new recipes.
The beach area was just so picture perfect, and again, I think no words are needed here.  I found time to write, to read, to meditate and just to BE lying on my round bed shielded from the sun, and hydrated by endless glasses of chilled water supplied by the charming beach staff.
The water was a perfect temperature and was clean and clear, wonderful for swimming. There was a raft just off the beach, a good ten minute swim, and I enjoyed doing that, then just siting there, semi meditative and contemplating the world. So connected, so at peace…it really was heavenly. Gavin went on a SUP a few times as well as a water bike, such a funny site! Peddling away on the water.
We hired a scooter, much to the amusement of the Four Seasons staff, I mean WHO does that?  I think it was quite novel to them, and they were not quite sure what to think.  We took short rides around, went to Nathon, the local capital, and walked around the shops, went to Tescos to pick up my favourite Tom Yum stock cubes, and some other special ingredients. But to be honest, we were quite ready to get back to our haven, our beautiful perfect peaceful world, and didn’t stay out too long. You do realise the massive contrast from the real Thailand and resort Farang Thailand, a huge difference and this can be quite disturbing even for us, coming from SA!  There is such an unkempt, and rough local side with rubbish everywhere, alongside the pristine resorts of the 5 star world. Such a contrast!
We so enjoyed our massages so much, what a spoil.  Those girls just know how to do this so well, so generously giving of their calm energy, and so personal. How do they do this! It must be so exhausting. And they all treat you like you will be one of their permanent clients, knowing that you will be gone again soon.
I did the early morning Yoga at the outdoor Sala amongst the thick vegetation and palm trees, which was the teacher Sana’s own kind of yoga, called Dynamix, and this was a strengthening type of yoga which prepared your muscles for the poses that you learn. Quite amazing, and incredibly strenuous. I also joined him for Tai Chi, which we did on the beach, early morning dappled light on the sand. The gym was perched high up at the resort with incredible sweeping views and was really well equipped, and air-conditioned. They had Muay Thai boxing for those who wanted to try this, but I passed on this one.
We did venture out once to Five Islands Restaurant, on our little scooter of course, just to have a bit of an outing. We had celebrate one of my big birthdays there 11 years previously. They had moved, but the set up was identical, and we enjoyed a lovely meal there. Gav had the Duck in Red Curry, (for a change) and me…. well Crab Curry, of course! I will have to try to recreate these flavours with prawns, as we just don’t get fresh crab here, and I am not sure the frozen one will be the same. Perhaps I could make a crab stock… now there’s a thought, as this will bring in that sweetness that you find in this dish, and another depth of flavour.  Have to try this…
I so enjoyed our time in Thailand, made so special by being where we were, and looked after by our wonderful Chef and Butler.  What an incredible experience it was, and how blessed are we!  The people are as I always remember, warm, gentle and smiling.  They just can’t do enough to make your stay perfect.  They are so proud of Thailand and want you to experience the best of this.
The days went past too quickly, and on the last morning I took my early swim as usual, before the sun rose in the velvety warm water of our pool, as I did every morning. I watched the sun rise and sky change from inky black to a midnight blue, to warm oranges and then yellow. I was filled with joy, with gratitude and felt so calm and at peace. I was determined to take this feeling with me into my real world, my challenging world of busyness and endless lists! How do you maintain this calm when juggling 20 balls in the air and trying desperately not to let any of them fall! But it must be done, for one’s life to be sustainable, and we need to have this inner core strength in order not to become overwhelmed. So now in my morning meditation, I go back to that place, I feel the emotions and the connection, and it helps me to start my day off in the right way.
I am looking forward to sharing the food that I prepared with Chef Kob with you all soon!
Huge generosity of soul and spirit!

Denise Travels to Paris November 2016

If you haven’t joined us already on the England leg of this journey, click here for Part I of Gavin and my travels to Europe this month.
We were staying on the Blv Haussmann, which again was so central that we walked everywhere.  The AMBASSADOR is one of the Marriott hotels, and as Gavin is a frequent sleeper at this establishment, we were upgraded to a gorgeous spacious room, which for those of you are regular guests to Paris, will know that it is a rare thing indeed to be able to put a suitcase down, and actually get into the closet or the bathroom.  They even threw in breakfast, which was a real treat, as we never take extra breakfast at hotels, due to the ridiculous cost of around 25 Euro or so. Much better to pop out to a local cafe and experience the view of the city and the people at the same time.  Oh, those buttery croissants!!!! How do they get them just SO perfectly melt in the mouth and gorgeously flaky!  It was only with severe restraint that I managed on most mornings to stick to one of these, with the promise of lunch in the not too distant future.

thumb_IMG_9375_1024 thumb_IMG_9372_1024

 We enjoyed a great experience at the restaurant  L’AVENUE on the Champs Elysee.  It was fascinating to see the well dressed gorgeous people who frequent this very upmarket, yet laid back establishment.  Clearly a job requirement for waitresses to be employed here is to have incredibly long well shaped legs, and to be able to serve while wearing stilettos or high heeled over the knee boots, with a very short skirt, of course.  Gavin didn’t know where to look first!


 But onto the food:  I enjoyed a wonderful piece of sea bass, which had a Tom Yum sauce, which was absolutely heavenly! Gavin had a Veal chop which was grilled to perfection, with a side of buttery green beans that only the French know how to do, and seriously I have tried!  There is something about their beans that is just different.  These dishes were recommended by a foodie friend of ours with impeccable taste, so we knew we could not go wrong, thanks dear friend!

Oh Paris at Christmas time, this was a first for me… there is nothing to beat the amount of effort that these department stores went to, and our jaws were literally hanging open.  I have tried to capture some of these in the pictures, but they really don’t do it justice.  It was freezing cold, and everyone is bundled up looking like Michelin Men, you just got to love those little kids who look so cute……. not quite true of the adults though, not a great look!!!

There seemed to be a permanent light drizzle, and it was very grey.  We didn’t see the sun at all for a few days.  This of course necessitated remaining in the shops for more of the time, not a hardship to do, right!  I am a seasoned shopper in this respect, and always wear light clothing under the coat, and shoes that slip off.  A real professional!

I had not been to the food hall at GALLERIE LAFAYETTE before, and this was again a real inspiration. Homeware is 5 floors, and has everything from seafood, to seasoned salts and exotic teas, to designer linen, and the best ever kitchen department store.
We went to LA COUPOLE in Montparnasse on the next evening, being a Saturday.  We first experienced the joys of this traditional old French establishment together when on honeymoon in Paris 25 years ago.  I remember so clearly devouring the little grey shrimps, asking for extra bread and butter, proper French loaves  with the crispy outside and soft inside served with the creamiest of butters,  to stretch them further and make the experience last longer (and of course to fill us up, as our budget was rather tight in those days).   We tried the oysters back then, just a dozen to share, and we were overwhelmed with the choice, there must have been 12 different kinds of oysters.  Not wanting to seem cheap, nor ignorant, we safely chose from somewhere in the middle of the price range, as one does.
This time, we had planned to have a bit of a spoil,  and so we enjoyed a glass of champagne at the bar first, observing the goings on from a distance, before being ushered into the “inner circle” of seats.  We must have looked presentable enough on this journey to be honoured with this position, as on our first visit we were definitely seated on the periphery, clearly not the most coveted place to be! So once again we did the grey shrimps, plus a few of the larger plump pink prawns in their shells, as well as a half crab for me (Gav knows this in one of my weaknesses and spoilt me rotten!).   This is served on a bed of crushed ice, elevated on a tiered stand, and then with the lemons wrapped in those little gauze covers to stop you getting pips, and with the most divine homemade mayo/mustard  for dipping.  The temperature of the seafood was just right, chilled perfectly, and we got stuck in with our hands and devoured every morsel.  What an awesome experience!  I do hope to visit many more times in this lifetime, and would put it firmly on anyone’s list of HAVE TO DO, while in Paris.
The next day was Sunday, so a down day for us.  We were actually very disciplined and used the well equipped gym daily for a proper workout, to try to balance the amount of food that was necessary to devour, all in the name of research, right?
We ended up walking under our umbrellas from our area through the Place Vendome, with all the gorgeous designer shops, and huge Christmas trees on to the Tuileries Garden, which look amazingly bare and very different in the beginning of Winter. We walked from there to Les Halles, and sat at a cafe outside (the heating is brilliant) and had a beer while people watching.
We then headed from there to the Marais area, as once again our foodie friends had recommend a local place for a casual meal. This area is fascinating, being the Jewish Quarter of Paris.  There were queues  and queues of people waiting patiently outside these falafel and kebab places, which are clearly very well known.  This is obviously a Sunday must, and had we known how full they would get, we would have gone earlier.  We tried to get into MIZNON, and actually squeezed into the door for a peek at what it was all about, but it was impossible to move in there, so we gave up. But oh my gosh, what heaven!  There were whole roasted cauliflowers, with the edges gorgeously burnt, on huge trays, next to roasted red peppers, artichokes and zucchini.
Below see the info that I found on the web, as we didn’t stay for lunch, but this is certainly a not to be missed experience!
web 3629667994

 Cover with a lid, bring to a boil, lower to a moderate boil and cook for 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of the cauliflower. Drain. Brush the cauliflower with olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt. Place in a baking dish, place the dish in the center of the oven, and bake until the top turns golden brown.

web 7fc58157739b
The rue des Rosiers, an iconic street in Paris’ Marais neighborhood, is one of the few that remains reminiscent of the neighborhood’s Jewish community. Lined with Jewish bakeries and delis, this street is probably most well known for its falafel restaurants. Of the many choices, one falafel address reigns supreme: L’As du Fallafel, which is easily identifiable by its long lines and bright green façade. But a new kid on the block is pitting old pitas against new with the arrival of Miznon, an Israeli sandwich shop.

In the two years since Miznon opened, it has become an instant favourite. Locals flock to Miznon, where fresh ingredients come together in fluffy, homemade pita bread. Miznon has left the chickpea-based falafel fare to their neighbors while upping the game with a giant blackboard full of other sandwich selections. Fresh herbs and vegetables are heavily featured in each dish, with the restaurant’s space itself being a showcase for seasonal produce. Walking into Miznon almost feels like walking into a vegetable still life, with every shelf, counter space, and corner adorned with stacks of onions, vases of parsley, dill, and cilantro, and pyramids of sweet potatoes and grilled peppers. 

Roasted heads of cauliflower are sold as a whole, but also incorporated into one of the best sandwiches on the menu, the Chou Brisé. Another favorite menu item is the chicken salad sandwich, which sounds underwhelming, but is the exact opposite. A healthy handful of fresh parsley and thinly sliced red onion complement the tender chicken and just-enough secret sauce to elevate this sandwich from boring bagged lunch to a take-away delicacy. From time-to-time Miznon features a new item on their menu – recently adding a grilled head of broccoli – but the carte stays mostly the same, which is just fine because everything on the menu is so good that you don’t mind ordering the same thing over and over.

So from Paris, it was on to Manchester where Gavin had back to back meetings lined up.  This is one of my favourite places, and really not at all as I had imagined it would be on my first business trip there many years ago.  The food scene is buzzing, and again we stayed in the centre, so you walk everywhere.  The curries are legendary as they have a huge Indian/Pakistani population, and we had a great evening at EAST TO EAST on our first night with Gav tucking into a spicy Lamb Curry which had loads of depth, while I opted for a milder Prawn Butter Curry, with various side dishes.  This was as good as always.

The next day we had a quick lunch at Yo Sushi!, which is just always so good. They still do the conveyer belt, which is laden with all kinds of unusual sushi plates.  I was really craving greens, so ended up having 2 portions of their mixed seaweed salad (have to try doing this, as just SO GOOD, plus being UBER healthy), and some edamame beans, which did the trick.

Then on the last night we went to SAN CARLO, again a traditional establishment which has stood the test of time.  It is Italian, and specialises in the freshest of Seafood.  We started with fresh white asparagus and then as we were feeling in a pasta mood, I had my favourite Spaghetti Vongole while Gav had a spicy Arrabiata pasta.  Both were simple and authentic, and went well with a good bottle of the house Italian red wine.

So that was it as far as the culinary highlights went…….. Phew, did we eat a lot!  I now need to do a raw diet for a few days to balance it out.  I came home and hit the ground running as we were hosting a Batmizvah for 50 people (with outside catering, venue only) that evening!  Fortunately for me, my amazing team had this all ready and prepped, so there was no stress whatsoever, and the evening went off extremely smoothly.

I have come away energized and inspired to bring some of what I have experienced into our kitchen at GINGER & LIME, and to share this experience with you.


Sunday Morning Musings by Denise

Denise Levy By Cape Town Photographer Adrian Shields 00117… And my very appropriate angel card for the day!

I was reminiscing over the past few days, about the path that I have been on with Ginger & Lime, and all the fantastic things that have been happening.  The journey has been an incredible one, and has personally stretched me beyond anything I thought I would be capable of,  that I thought I would be able to do and achieve. I was taken way out of my comfort zone, to a feeling and sense of achievement that I had not yet experienced in any of my other careers.  I put myself, my passion and my soul on the line, exposed, raw and open for all to see.  I am becoming more of who I am meant to be with each challenge that is presented to me, and all it took was taking that first step, even though I couldn’t see the top of the staircase.  I know that I am only a few steps up, but I also know that I am on the right path. I am where I am meant to be, and the people that have been drawn into this amazing journey, are meant to be with me. The support I am receiving, and the people that are showing up at my doorstep are making this a fascinating ride.

I wake up physically tired, yet emotionally elated, with a sense of incredible excitement as to what the day will bring.  Every day brings new opportunities and new experiences, with people contacting us from all over the world with so many different requests.  They want to be part of the magic that we are offering, they feel our passion, and they have faith in what we are doing. What a feeling this gives us!  I go to bed, drained, exhausted and yet on a high of note as I relive the all the happy, funny or trying moments that happened during that day. I just want to give more, share more and all  FOR THE LOVE OF COOKING. Knowing that my team feels the same as I do, that they give me the back up that I need to keep going, to want to reach new heights and to take this further that we ever dreamed of, with them alongside of me.

When I think back as to how it all started, going to Liam’s place for an evening lesson, & just feeling so happy, so at home and feeling that this was so right.  I then, of course, went back to as many of his lessons as I could fit in, as that was my treat, my way of relaxing, my happy place where I could immerse myself in the kitchen with no distractions, & become part of his world for a little while.   And then, that AHA moment, when I realised that I wanted to be on the other side of the counter where Liam stood, teaching, cooking… not an observer, but to be fully immersed in it, knife in hand & showing what I could do. Sharing all the years of experience from all the hours spent in the kitchen… Finally finding an outlet for my creative foodie to come out and play. It was like a light bulb going on and illuminating my life, it just felt so right. I want to grab this, own it & do it! I decided in that moment, that I would make this happen.  And for those of you who know me, when I make that decision, I will follow through, and it will happen.

Denise Blog 1

My angel card

Then the researching other courses on offer, the way other chefs taught, ran their schools and classes, seeing what I enjoyed and what I didn’t like, where I thought we could improve on what they did, and using these as references to find exactly our niche.   Then the day coming when I had to commit to the final kitchen design, equipment choices, and the work began, and there was no turning back now.   What a project to work on!  The kitchen became real, Ginger & Lime had to now start to crawl, had to get out there, and this was probably the scariest part.  Talking is easy, but I was now put to the test, and had to learn to fly fast, and just do it. I kind of get how a baby bird felt when it is pushed out of the nest!

I am blessed to have found my reason for being here, for being able to follow my heart and my dreams,  and make them real, and for being given the support all the way along.  I have learnt courage and how to be brave, stand tall, and to be fearless in the kitchen.  I have learnt to believe in myself, my abilities, my skills and to appreciate my talent, and I have learnt how to share this with others.  I am learning how to shine my light.  I am learning how to delegate, and to help to grow those that are on this journey with me, and loving the feeling of pride that I have in them as their abilities and their confidence grow.

I watch in awe as the requests for special events, product launches, recipe development, guest chefs, TV shows and course enquiries pour in, and I feel the mounting excitement inside of me. I see the endless possibilities.   I fully embrace the knowledge that there will be a TV show of our own, and that the Recipe Books will happen, as well as a product that I will develop, and I see the how this process is also unfolding and just happening.

Denise Blog 4And most of all, despite the physical challenges of the 16 hour days, sore backs and aching knees, I love the rush of adrenalin and pure energy that seems to flow from a source outside of me, as we start our “performance”, and feel the guests anticipation of what is to come. I love the interaction both with our aspiring  “amateur chef” guests as well as with the other seriously talented professional chefs, and the fact that they love this beautiful space that I have created, and that they too want to be associated with it and be a part of Ginger & Lime.  I love the fact that they have accepted me into their world, despite the fact that they may never have actually cooked with me, nor tasted my food, and despite the fact that I do not have any formal training.  Guess they must feel that I have added value to the industry in my own way, and that makes me okay.  I feel  very much a part of something way bigger than just me, part of an exclusive club. Oh and how I appreciate the input from a giant of a chef like Liam, that he takes the time and energy to nurture Ginger & Lime, to support and endorse us, as well as to train Almo, which of course adds so much more to us all, as we learn through him and his time at Chef’s Warehouse.

Denise Blog 6

And as for Gavin, despite knowing that it would mean that he has to share not only his home, but also me and my time with so many others, has encouraged and helped connect me all the way along this journey.  He subtly pushed me when I had any self doubt, and believed in me all the way. I know I could not have ever come this far without his unwavering support.







What a week this has been!  Starting off with the SA BRANDY  at home event, finally after weeks of prep, and having our first very own recipe book printed in glossy full colour, with an influential who’s who’s as far as trend influencers go in the kitchen, and being blown away by our food creations, was a seriously  gratifying experience.  We DID it!  They loved the recipes, the food and the whole package.  We ROCKED!  I went to bed with the hugest smile on my face, and pure joy in my heart, knowing that I had done the best that I could, and that it was worth all the hard work that we all put into the project.  You get out what you put in, always.  My aim is always to overdeliver, to give people more than they expect, to WOW them.

Denise Blog 7











Then the next evening,  having the contrast with the YPO event with  youngsters (19 to 25) who took to the Masterchef Challenge and show impressed us no end with their enthusiasm, energy and the way they embraced the project and the fabulous end results.  It restores our faith in the generation to come, knowing that we have future leaders of this calibre around.

Denise Blog 8 Neill AnthonyAnd the highlight of the week,  having Neill Anthony (Private Chef), Liam Tomlin and Matt Manning here the other evening, all at the same time…..TV crew all over and cameras rolling, the A List of all A list guests sitting at my table eating the fabulous food (you should have seen the Louboutins, Chanel and the diamonds!),  drinking in the atmosphere and so enjoying it, was an amazing experience. And there we were,  hanging out in the hallway, chatting up a storm, drinking wine, sharing our stories and our lives…. I cannot put into words how that made me feel.  How it makes me want more of this, this interaction, this feeding off each other and  off our ideas!  I know this is just the beginning, and I am ready for more, so BRING IT ON!


I also love and am deeply appreciative of our team, the very real support offered on a physical and a spiritual level,  and the special dynamics and relationships between us…. Each one of these people is a vital cog in the wheel of this awesome machine called Ginger & Lime.  I know that this is a team effort, and that although I may be the one leading us, it takes a team to make the magic happen. I AM TRULY BLESSED!