Joburg’s vegan deli Free Food* Diner & Take Away is more than just that: it’s a celebration of life, offering original and unique products that will make you smile. All of the ingredients are carefully sourced, without harm or inconvenience to animals. The products are gluten-wheat-sugar-dairy-preservative-additive-free. This inspired the name Free Food*.
Ariel Cohen, owner and a vegan for nearly two decades, has been vegetarian since the mid-Eighties, and adopted a vegan lifestyle in 2000. When Ariel started Free Food* people were familiar with vegetarianism, but not so much with veganism. This has all changed recently, and social media has contributed to exposing cruelty, and building a positive message around veganism.
Ariel Cohen: “We want to make delicious and healthy food available and accessible to anyone considering an ethical and cleaner lifestyle. The entire menu is plant-based and vegan. Choose from our freshly prepared menu at the diner, or grab a take-away. Free Food* also offers a convenient frozen range that includes ready meals, burger patties, wraps (made from rice flour or Banting-friendly organic flaxseed flour) & vegan ice creams too! The deli offering includes a range of vegan cheeses, falafel, hot coriander salsa, hummus, tofu mayonnaise, basil pesto, ginger jelly, and loads more.”
Free Food* also offers an impressive catering menu to serve healthy and original food and snacks at your event.
Offering all these options, it’s clear the kitchen is busy, and the OmniBlend blenders are working hard to keep up grinding and blending ingredients for all these tasty options. Free Food* works with multiple 2 litre jugs, to keep jugs for food and drinks separate. The jugs are interchangeable, and it’s much more efficient to work with multiple jugs per OmniBlend base.
Visit the diner for a delicious milk-Free* shake, or for lunch and try the amazing Quinoa, Tofu & Shitake salad, the Roasted Chickpea & Brinjal Pizza or one of the flavourful big bamboo bowls. Just don’t forget to keep space for dessert: Free Food* proves that dairy- sugar-wheat-gluten-Free* still leaves plenty of room for deliciousness.
Free Food* uses the OmniBlend V - 2ltr Pro
A commercial blender makes it possible to add a variety of drinks, smoothies and iced coffee options to your menu. The best blender is capable of crushing ice, frozen fruits and nuts. When buying a blender for your restaurant or coffee shop, it’s essential to consider both price and performance. Look for the power of the motor, the materials used for the moving parts, the jug, and other features that contribute to the durability of the machine. All these are critical to the lifespan of the blender, and therefore your return on investment.
OmniBlend blenders are trusted by South African coffee shops and restaurants, because of the 3 horsepower motor with 2238 Watt peak performance, the stainless steel drive socket and blade assembly, polycarbonate jug that is virtually unbreakable and easy to clean, as well as the overload protection mechanism, which prevents the motor from overheating. All this is packaged in the best value for money blenders that you find in the market (find our range and pricing here).
We’re often asked for smoothie recipes. Smoothie recipes can vary from fresh or frozen fruits blended with vegetables, yoghurts, milk or dairy-free options, to smoothie pre-mixes that offer a high quality convenient alternative. Readymade re-mixes contain flavor and nutritional value, and offer the ease of use by blending a smoothie mix with ice and liquids. This enables you to add various flavours to your smoothie menu, with low inventory. OmniBlend blenders crush ice cubes with ease, making it possible to use these smoothie packs with ice cubes and blend a high quality smooth drink, time and time again. For smoothies and iced coffees that use a lot of ice cubes or frozen fruits, we recommend the 1.5ltr jug, which has a wider base. You can opt for either the OmniBlend I – 1.5ltr or OmniBlend V – 1.5ltr. You can opt to add a sound enclosure when operating the blender in your shop front.
Contact us for suppliers of such smoothie and iced coffee recipes.
Irene’s Gourmet has become an iconic brand in South Africa’s vegan food market. The plant-based range includes sauerkraut, kimchi, coconut yoghurt, Mozzarella, Gouda, Cheddar, Meltme, pesto, vegan butter, patties, falafel and more. All products are developed by Irene herself, and made with love by the team that strives for making vegan food accessible to all South Africans.
Irene has always been a foodie, trying out new dishes and spending a lot of time in the kitchen to develop new ideas. An artist by profession, she started applying her creativity fully on food in 2014 and so Irene’s Gourmet was born. Irene has been vegetarian since the age of 16 and became fully vegan about 10 years ago. Back then it was disappointing how few options were available for vegans. Though over recent years the vegan food market has been booming, some products are highly expensive, and that’s where Irene and her husband Jason aim to make a difference: “We want everybody to have a choice to eat vegan, and within the boundaries of using natural plant-based and natural ingredients without adding a lot of commercial additives, we aim to offer a range that is reasonably priced so that eating vegan is not only for the well off.”
Starting small, finding the right equipment that was strong enough to endure long production days and still affordable, posed a challenge. “After looking at many power blenders we decided to try an OmniBlend blender as the value for money looked promising. Well, I can assure you that we were definitely not disappointed! We now have 3 OmniBlend blenders; They run for hours every day making everything from plant-based milks, cheese mixes and even the occasional smoothie. I recommend OmniBlend blenders to everyone needing power blenders as I find them to be super strong, reliable and fantastic value for money. Furthermore, the service from the OmniBlend team is truly commendable! Whenever I have had any problems, they get dealt with promptly and efficiently. I also love that the spare parts and extras are readily available and affordable. So if you need a power blender, look no further! OmniBlend is your blender! They are super strong and reliable with infinite culinary possibilities.”, raves Irene about the blenders.
The jump from being a small-scale food production business to producing products for the commercial market and making it available through retailers is a challenging one. Irene is adamant about the quality of food and avoiding the use of chemical preservatives commonly used in processed foods, keeping it as natural as possible. She has therefore spent a lot of time researching and developing techniques to improve the shelf life of the products, while keeping it as close to nature as possible and with great taste.
This has enabled the business to distribute through large retailers nationally, and now Irene’s Gourmet products can be found in selected Spar and Dis-Chem stores in Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban, as well as health shops throughout South Africa. Or opt for vegan cheese on your pizza at Col’Cacchio, Andicchio 24, Balducci’s, Fussy Vegan, Leafy Greens and many more, also supplied by Irene’s Gourmet.
Once a month Irene and Jason can be found at the Vegan Hippie Connection Market, which they both love as it allows them an opportunity to meet and connect with people who have questions about vegan food and share their passion for making the change. Irene: “We see a lot of people are moving towards vegan food for health reasons. They don’t necessary not like meat, and that’s why we offer meat replacements too that have the same flavor and texture to offer an alternative for the meat cravings. We want people to know that you don’t have to give in on flavor and taste when eating vegan, we love making food that tastes great.” The Vegan Hippie Connection Market is held on the last Sunday of every month at Pirates Sports Club in Parkhurst from 9h00 to 15h00. Follow the market on Facebook to keep up to date with dates, times and more info about the market.
Irene's Gourmet is using the OmniBlend I
Lufefe Nomjana, also known as the Spinach King,started his business with just R40 and turned it into a Health Food Café and Bakery that supplies restaurants and shops in the wider Cape Town area. The Spinach King opened his restaurant right next to the Kayelitsha train station, and supplies low-GI and gluten-free spinach bread to local Spars and Wellness Warehouse stores. In the process he is also helping to transform the community he is located in.
Lufefe Nomjana is the owner of Espinaca Innovations, known as the Spinach King. We had the opportunity to visit his café in Khayelitsha, to get to know more about the Spinach King. As we walked towards the restaurant, the beautiful vertical spinach garden against the wall caught our eye, and is a perfect representation of what the business is all about.
The philosophy behind the Spinach King is to empower the community and make a positive change in their eating habits. To create better awareness about nutrition, and diseases that are linked to unhealthy food, and how to eat and live healthier. At the core of the business is creating opportunities in the community, through micro farming and social development. Lufefe is closely working with micro farmers in the area, making sure they grow top quality spinach to ensure consistent supplies for his breads, pastries, 7-veg burgers, and smoothies. Next is to utilise the land next to the restaurant for social development micro farming, to show the farm to table concept.
Lufefe’s journey doesn’t come without obstacles: the many available fast food chains in the area smell appetising to the local community, and it takes stamina to keep telling the message about the importance of healthy food. The Spinach King is innovative in how to approach these challenges: he’s developed a healthy 7 vegetables burger that satisfies the cravings without the processed meats.
The response from the community is positive, which is encouraging to continue with sharing the message through schools and the different micro entrepreneurs he’s working with.
We were there to deliver the Spinach King’s new OmniBlend V - 1.5ltr, and take the opportunity to get to know him. We’re proud to partner with Lufefe and his team, as they’re working tirelessly on positive change in the community.
When you hear him speak, it’s clear that a healthy lifestyle is very important to Lufefe, he is very passionate about promoting and living a healthy lifestyle, making better choices and changes.
The main focus is on spinach because it grows fast and it has excellent health benefits: spinach contains all six major classes of nutrients. Lufefe also incorporates other vegetables into the food served at the café, like the delicious 7 veg patties used in the sandwiches, and in their smoothies.
Why use spinach in bread, we asked: “Incorporating spinach into a loaf of bread, is the perfect way to increase nutrient intake, especially because most people are on the go and always busy. People don’t have time, and since forever they’ve been eating bread. So the easiest way is just to add vegetables to the bread.” Explains Lufefe. Lufefe is responsible for the development of recipes and the quality control. He’s hands-on, handling deliveries and management of the cafe and farming relationships as well. He’s working hand in hand with his wife who heads the production team.
It’s clear the Lufefe is a busy man: over the past couple of years the Spinach King has expanded with a second bakery in Khayelitsha, and a partner restaurant opened its doors in Amsterdam. “I loved Amsterdam! I cycle here in Kayelitsha and being able to cycle around Amsterdam was awesome! The restaurant is doing very well, the Dutch seem a little more health conscious and that makes it somewhat easier to bring the message across.” There are plans to reach out to the Langa community as well, and he’s planning to branch to other provinces in South Africa. Keep a look out for the Spinach King: there’s still more to come!
You can get yourself a spinach bread at a few local stores and delis in Cape Town, or take a drive to Khayelitsha and meet the King himself.
For more about the Spinach King: http://www.spinachking.co.za
Peter Tempelhoff, Executive Chef of Greenhouse in Constantia, chose an OmniBlend blender for his restaurant kitchen, and we chatted to him to hear what makes it the right blender for him as a chef, and about how he keeps his team motivated to run a world-class kitchen.
Having been in the forefront of fine dining in South Africa for many years, Peter Tempelhoff hardly needs any further introduction. Peter’s career started 20 years ago, and since has earned many accolades and has worked in some of the best kitchens in the world. He is currently the Executive Chef for The Collection by Liz McGrath, comprising a trio of 5-star Relais and Châteaux hotels (The Marine, The Cellars Hohenort Hotel and The Plettenberg), with four restaurants across these properties. The most acclaimed of these is Greenhouse at The Cellars Hohenort, which has just been nominated again as South Africa’s top restaurant as part of the Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards.
Peter has been using his OmniBlend I – 1.5ltr blender for a year, and shares what he thinks sets OmniBlend blenders apart: “I love the OmniBlend, as it does exactly what I need. It allows me to fully control the speed, where some other brands have all kinds of programs that I don’t want to use, or 1 single speed. It’s much better value too: jugs of other brands come at the same price as the OmniBlend blender, and with the OmniBlend you don’t have to replace the full jug if only the bearing goes. I’ve been using them for a year now and I won’t go back - they blend bloody well, and that’s all you need in a blender.”
If you’ve been lucky to visit Greenhouse, you’ll know that the menu is ingenious, and Peter tells us that he and his team are drawing their inspiration from nature, nurture, culture, and contemporaries. As simple as that may sound, each of the dishes of the tasting menu showcase talent, dedication and effort to present the most beautiful plates with an array of flavours and textures. We were blown away by the Mozambican Prawn that is steamed at your table while you’re watching, and served with a Dill Mayonnaise, Fresh Coconut, Lime & Crispy Chicken Skin. It’s the components of dishes that Peter is using the blender for, such as a puree or a pesto, and even for grinding fish or chicken for a smooth sausage.
When you opt for the wine pairing with the tasting menu, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy top class wines from some of the less obvious wineries in the Western Cape, all carefully paired with each dish. One creative sidestep is made with the bread platter (a mielie bread with popcorn butter and bacon brioche with banana cream) that is paired with a Devil’s Peak Brewery craft beer.
The team is what completes the dining experience at Greenhouse, being incredibly knowledgeable and professional, yet warm and welcoming. Observing Peter Tempelhoff on the job, you notice how respectful and constructive he is in leading the team. So what’s his secret in leading a team? “I find that I get better results and that I have a lower staff turnover when the kitchens are calm learning environments,” Peter explains. “If you want great staff you have to continually train, inspire and encourage - it is just the way it goes as not everyone sees your company the way you do, it’s up to you to show them. Once your team sees you are willing to teach them, and give them the personal time, they will make an effort.”
As one would expect, a restaurant at this level is always striving for perfection, and the menu is constantly evolving. The current menu can be found on their website.
Whoever thought that Banting was a hype, soon to be replaced with just another diet, has probably missed its long-term health benefits. Banting for many is a diet that has resulted in incredible weight-loss stories for many that started the journey.
Most importantly though, what Gail Van Niekerk of Banting Blvd stresses, is that there’s so much scientific research about carbs and its relation to the development of diabetes type 2. In South Africa, the diabetes rates are alarming as so many of us have developed diabetes type 2 already, or are at risk of developing it, and therefore it’s critical that we come with alternatives.
That’s what’s Banting Blvd has been doing, developing a range of LCHF (low carb high fat) products, for home use to bake or add to breakfasts, salads, soups, and pastes. It’s been an exciting journey for Gail Van Niekerk, who’s been joined by her daughter Lizanne Van Niekerk who is responsible for the branding and strategy. The Boulevard symbolises how healthy eating isn’t a quick fix but rather a long term journey. Banting is about reducing the after-meal blood glucose spikes that in the long-term increase the risk of developing diabetes, so it’s about keeping your glucose level balanced, on the boulevard.
The Banting Blvd range consists of premixes for breads, breakfasts and treats, flours, seeds, and a few other LCHF basics. Banting Blvd has tried out different methods to optimise their production process, to keep the products as pure as possible without the need for additives. Gail Van Niekerk: “The OmniBlend blenders grind the nuts for the premixes better than any other grinder that we’ve tried, and contrary to the large industrial mills, we don’t need anti-caking agents when we grind in the OmniBlend.”
Apart from the Banting Blvd range that can be purchased online through their website, a highly nutritional range has been developed as an alternative for traditional staple foods. This HEBA (healthy banting) pap, is a good source of protein, high in dietary fibre, low in sodium, grain and gluten free with no added sugar, and this means you can eat less and stay fuller for longer. The HEBA pap was developed to combat poor nutrition, as it can replace maize meal, wheat flour and rice which have lower nutritional value. HEBA contains a mix of ground seeds and coconut flour and is much lower in carbohydrates when compared to common staple foods. It is available at R29 a pack, and can be used to make bread, porridge and krummelpap. Banting Blvd is working alongside the Noakes Foundation in the community outreach around this product, educating communities in low-income areas on healthy eating through the Eat Better South Africa! Programme.
How revolutionary HEBA is, became apparent in August this year, when HEBA received 1st place for Most Innovative Ingredient at the Global Food Industry Awards. The award was presented by the International Union of Food Science and Technology (IUFoST) which represents over 300 000 members across 65 countries making it the world voice of the industry. “It’s incredible to think that a low-carb, basic product is receiving international recognition,” says Gail van Niekerk, product developer and owner of Banting Blvd.
HEBA was developed with personal identity in mind stemming from South Africa’s rich diversity of tradition, ethnicity, culture and religion. “For individuals suffering from conditions such as diabetes or obesity, healthy lifestyles can’t be a luxury,” explains Gail. “Diets most often unravel at social occasions and celebrations where food is central,” says Lizanne van Niekerk, who conceptualised HEBA, “Our dream was that HEBA, and all our Banting Blvd products, would allow people to stay true to their identity and participate in social situations without ever having to compromise their health.”
A portion of all Banting Blvd products sold (all of which in the Real Meal Revolution’s green list), will assist Eat Better South Africa! Programmes.
Banting Blvd is using the OmniBlend I - 2ltr Pro, as the 2ltr jug is ideal for grinding seeds and nuts.
More about Banting, and some great recipes can be found here.
The Tables at Nitida is an all year round favorite, for it’s big lawn where kids can play till they drop, and a cosy fireplace in winter to warm up and escape the winter chill. In a relaxed setting, The Tables makes for the ideal restaurant to bring your family, or host birthday parties and baby showers. Where The Tables sets itself apart from the crowd, is that while being a family restaurant, it doesn’t take shortcuts on the menu. An original menu that changes every season boast dishes that will appeal to foodies, and that’s where The Tables is hitting the sweet spot of offering a creative tasty meal in a relaxed ambiance.
The woman behind the creative menu is Shani Kleynhans. Shani grew up in a small town in the beautiful Baviaanskloof in the Eastern Cape. She always dreamed of being a chef, and is making her childhood dream a reality at The Tables. After having travelled around the world for a year, she joined Three Fat Fish in Jeffrey’s Bay to study in-house under Brent Mills, who taught her the tricks of the trade. She counts Heston Blumenthal amongst her favorite chefs, and describes her passion for food as her way to travel the world whilst being in her own kitchen.
We asked Shani a few questions to get to know her better:
Which flavours did you pick up on your travels that you love using in your dishes now?
In general I just love bringing together something that people know traditionally how to eat, and then adding something they would never expect from a meal to compliment it.
Have you been experimenting a lot with flavours recently?
We are in the process of changing our menu to our new winter menu from end April for beginning May 2016, so definitely a whole lot of exciting flavours and combinations to look forward to!
Your restaurant is popular with families. What’s your trick to make kids love their food?
We are indeed a firm family favorite with many, I think the trick here is our lovely big lawn next to us, kids run all their energy out on the lawn, and then are hungry and ready to eat up all their food, while mom and dad can just sit back and relax and enjoy a lovely glass of wine and a great meal :-)
What is your favorite food & Nitida wine pairing?
With our new winter menu, many of the hearty dishes we are planning the make will pair greatly with the Nitida wines, you have to come and see what we up to and enjoy for yourself :-)
Many of our OmniBlend customers are foodies themselves; would you be willing to share with them how you prepare your meals?
Customers are welcome on the day if they enjoyed something, to ask how it was made, I’m happy to share so that they can go and try and make it at home. Our Nitida cellar is just around the corner from us, they can grab a nice bottle of wine to go with that :-)
What are you using the OmniBlend for?
We use the OmniBlend for making our salad dressings, purees, pestos etc, and it really does work great for that. Then we also use it for milkshakes and cocktails. It’s an all-rounder!
What is your experience with the OmniBlend so far?
OmniBlend is a really good, high quality product, it’s strong and durable, and the after sales service you get from OmniBlend is great no matter how old or new your blender is, their service is always prompt and good.
Bread & Wine, a name as pure and down to earth as its chef longtime chef Neil Jewell. Behind the simple name goes one of Franschhoek’s favorite restaurants, with an ever changing menu of creative dishes and daring flavours. The combinations of ingredients of the dishes reveal that despite it being hard work, Neil Jewell hasn’t lost any of his great passion for cooking, driving the success of the restaurant.
Seventeen years ago, Neil arrived in South Africa with his wife Tina. Tired of the fast-paced life in London, they decided to travel and eventually settled in Franschhoek. Driven by passion and his love for food, he remembers the aroma of the fresh herbs being delivered to his kitchen from just down the road that made him realise he’d found the right spot. Neil loves South African flavours, which he describes as big, bold and fresh. It provides for a great playing ground to experiment with flavours and different ingredients. A new dish on the Bread & Wine menu that is not to be missed is the risotto of patty pan, almond and mint.
Behind the beautifully plated dishes goes real craftsmanship, and the use of fresh local ingredients. In the kitchen Neil’s OmniBlend is a great helper. He’s applying the blender to prepare Caesar salad dressing, sweet potato red curry, salt baked kohlrabi puree, parsley puree, mebos and carrot chutney, fermented red cabbage gel, popcorn dust, grinding seeds for breads, smoked almond puree, gazpacho… “She works hard!”, he adds, speaking fondly of his blender. Where most blenders process high volumes of smoothies and iced coffees, Neil’s OmniBlend has even been used to make a Trout Boudin Blanc, which turned out to be a winner!
One thing he hasn’t tried as yet, is to use the OmniBlend to create a drink with Môreson's Miss Molly Bubbly, the bubbly with the same passion for life, so we gave that a try. Check this classic Bellini with the Môreson Miss Molly Bubbly.
A real classic, this Bellini cocktail was invented in 1948, in Harry’s Bar in Venice. As the story goes, Giuseppe Cipriani, the owner of Harry’s Bar, was inspired by the 15th century Venetian painter Giovanni Bellini. The pink drink reminded him of the color of a saint's toga in a painting by Italian Renaissance artist, so Cipriani named the cocktail in honor of the painter.
Where some cocktails can leave you confused about what you’re actually drinking, this Bellini is a combination of pure peach puree and sparkling wine. We’re using the Miss Molly Bubbly for its delicate flavor. It matches the sweetness of the peach perfectly, without overpowering, and creates deliciously soft sweet cocktail.
To serve: champagne glasses
Add the peaches to your OmniBlend, and blend on low to a smooth puree.
Add a tablespoon of the puree to a champagne glass and poor the the Miss Molly on top, while stirring slowly. You should ideally have one third peach purée to two thirds Miss Molly.
Elegant, scented and gently sparkling, a good bellini is a fine drink. This cocktail would certainly do well on a special occasion breakfast, or you could serve as a pre-dinner drink.