The best gift ideas for foodies: handpicked by Reinée of Tamatiestraat Cooking School

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Reinée Terreblanche-Brand from Tamatiestraat Cooking School & Catering in Stellenbosch is a human manifestation of the word ‘generous’. Her laugh is generous, her portions are generous and her sheer infectious spirit is the most generous of all. This is exactly why there could not be anyone better to help you out with festive season gift ideas for your passionate foodie friends and family.

The quirkily named Tamatiestraat is a thriving demo cooking business and custom catering provider based in Stellenbosch. “In Afrikaans there is a saying, ‘jy is in tamatiestraat’, which loosely translates to being up the proverbial creek without a proper paddle.

My husband Deon and myself found ourselves in exactly this kind of jam in 2011 after a 10 year personal struggle with infertility treatments. This is when we decided it was time for a blank slate.

I’d always loved cooking and Deon and I adore to entertain, so I threw caution to the wind, sold my IT business and started cooking with a few girls in my home kitchen every week, mainly as a creative outlet and to have a bit of fun again after a whole lot of tears,” explains Reinée.

“It turns out there was a real interest in these types of cooking sessions and it became a source of therapy. After two and a half years we decided to build a new kitchen so we could accommodate more people per class.

Shortly thereafter, Deon, who has navy chef’s training, joined the team full time to specifically handle the catering side of the business that grew organically from our cooking class clients.

Seven years down the line, we now welcome 180 people at our kitchen counter each month and many more enjoy our food at functions around the Cape Peninsula. We feel so privileged to be able to live our passions.”

So here is Reinée’s definitive list of the best gift ideas that is sure to delight all the foodies and lekkerbekke in your life:

EDIBLE GIFT IDEAS

“Summer holidays are a busy time for our catering business, so we only take a short break over Christmas to spend it with family,” says Reinée. “We have the traditional Christmas Eve with the carols, tree and Santa visiting.

On Christmas Day we do the huge lunch with the tables groaning under succulent meats, traditional sides, the ubiquitous trifle, as well as a cheeky little gooseberry tart. I also adore making and giving edible gifts over the holidays, so my ultimate list of gift ideas will just not be complete without it. It’s such a lovely way to spread cheer.”

Super simple ginger biscuits

“Very few things says ‘I love you’ as effectively as a hand-made gift. People ofter forget that they can make simply make something delicious when they are trying to come with gift ideas. I love to bake cookies and gift it in a stunning bottle or tin. The classic ginger biscuit is my go-to. For me personally, this particular biscuit brings back a lot of nostalgia – my grandmother used to start baking a full month before our family would arrive at Kleinmond for our shared summer holiday.

The resultant mountain of baked goods spoke of her love, generous spirit, and excitement at our arrival. I have adopted that tradition and I bake her ginger biscuits every year to keep her memory alive, ” says Reinée.

Ouma Mollie’s Kleinmond Cookies

Ingredients

  • 185 g butter
  • 250 ml golden syrup
  • 5 x 250 ml flour
  • 20 ml baking soda
  • 20 ml cream of tartar
  • 50 ml fine ginger
  • 5 ml salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 625 ml caramel brown sugar

Method

Combine butter and syrup in a pot over medium heat; let it rest until lukewarm. Sift together baking soda, cream of tartar, ginger and salt. Mix the eggs into the syrup mixture, add sugar and mix until combined. Mix the dry ingredients into the syrup mixture.

Cover and allow to rest for 30 minute. Roll the dough into balls and press flat with a fork onto a greased baking tray. Bake at 180 °C for 10 – 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack

A DIY gingerbread house (or family!)

“Our son is now six and I started a tradition with him of building a gingerbread house each year, specifically emphasising the importance of family and love in the home. It is so precious to relive these traditions and family holidays through his eyes,” says Reinée. She is particularly fond of this DIY Christmas range by Harck & Heart.

Interesting ingredients

When thinking up gift ideas, artisanal products might not be top of your mind but we all need a little push to get creative in the kitchen sometimes and there is nothing better way than getting inspired by amazing ingredients that have been tested by a food expert.

Funky Ouma is a local brand with a lovely story and wonderful products. It’s affordable and easy to find. Simply pop a few of their lovely spices in a gift bag, add a recipe to spur on further kitchen experiments, and you have all the makings of an exceptional festive gift,” says Reinée.

GIFTS IDEAS FOR THOSE NIFTY GADGETS THAT MAKE LIFE EASIER IN THE KITCHEN

A truly great roasting pan

A good roasting plan will change your life and it’s is must-have in any kitchen. Reinée recommends the Scanpan Medium Roaster (39x27cm).

A fabulous egg pan

Did someone say late breakfast or lingering brunch? Summer holidays are all about taking it easy, and a fabulous egg pan is just the ticket for those lazy late-morning repasts. The Scanpan 26cm Frypan is induction friendly.

A zippy little hand blender set

Whether you want to whip up mayonnaise or béchamel, or need a little extra blending power to dress a festive harvest table in hummus, tzatziki and pesto, a reliable hand blender is a must. The Severin Hand Blender Set is real work horse, and includes a blending bowl, stainless steel chopping attachment, stainless steel whisk attachment and blender jug.

INSPIRING EXPERIENCES – WHAT BETTER GIFT FOR FOOD LOVERS?

Ed’s note: Naturally Reinée is too modest to recommend a Tamatiestraat encounter as one of her top festive gifts ideas for foodies, but it goes without saying that we cannot recommend it highly enough. A Tamatiestraat cooking class and social dinner experience is something every fun-loving foodie should experience at least once in their lifetime.

If you have a friend or family member who has always been a bit intimidated by the thought of formal cooking classes, Reinée and Deon’s relaxed, friendly vibe and fresh, innovative approach to cuisine will be right up their alley. In fact, they’ll probably end up laughing as much as they’ll sharpen their cooking skills, thanks to the foodie couple’s quirky kitchen chemistry and never-miss-a-beat comedic timing.

TIPS TO KEEP FESTIVE FOOD HOT AND HAPPENING AND THE VIBES COOL AS A CUCUMBER

As a parting gift from Reinée, here are her top four rules to keep things simple in the kitchen when the pressure is on over the holidays:

  1. Fabulous ingredients not only make great gift ideas but also tasty food of course, making your life a whole way easier in a busy time. Get the best ingredients you can and don’t faff around with it too much.
  2. Planning in advance reduces the stress of cooking. Stay organised and prep ahead as much as you can.
  3. Less is more. You don’t have to make a million complicated dishes to create a lovely meal.
  4. Only a cake develops at 180*C. Everything else needs heat to turn into something with a bit of spark (often including the chef!).

Happy holidays one and all – we hope your festive season is filled to the rafters with love, laughter and tasty things to eat.

 

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Writing: Anna-Bet Stemmet | Photographs: Jenni Elizabeth, Scanpan, Severin, Harck & Heart, Funky Ouma, Tamatiestraat

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