Celebrate – Best Of Bloemfontein

Tipples and toasts

The New Year is almost here, and that said it’s time to get into the spirit of things and polish up those party tricks. Cocktails are a great way of easing into the evening – and expressing a little creativity as you do it. We have no doubt you’ll have some specials up your sleeve, but here are a few extra just for fun…


The Mojito


Photo courtesy www.bigoven.com

The traditional Cuban highball, a mojito is one of Cuba’s oldest cocktails and one of the world’s favourites.

60 ml white rum

1 lime/60 ml lime juice

1 tsp powdered sugar

4 mint leaves

club soda

crushed ice

Muddle the mint with the sugar and lime juice in a long glass. Add ice (preferably crushed), then rum and stir. Top off with club soda. Garnish with a mint sprig.


Candy Cane Cocktail


Photo courtesy www.colonywinemarket.com

Not only does a Candy Cane Cocktail look festive, but it tastes festive too with hints of Christmas stocking peppermint candy!

1 T crushed soft peppermint candy

40 ml vodka

20 ml brandy OR Kahlúa

splash of white crème de menthe

30 ml cream

Crushed ice

Peppermint stick for garnish

Mint sprig for garnish

Combine the vodka and crushed peppermint.  Stir to dissolve.  Add the remaining ingredients, stir and garnish.


Elderflower Cooler


Photo courtesy www.turntablekitchen.com

40 ml gin

20 ml St. Germaine Elderflower liqueur
20 ml dry vermouth
20 ml lemon juice
1 bar spoon honey syrup (1 part honey : 1 part boiling water — let cool)
Optional absinthe rinse

Cucumber garnish

Add all liquids to cocktail shaker. Fill with ice and shake until chilled, approximately 15 seconds. If you’re a fan of absinthe, rinse the glass with it. Using a vegetable peeler, peel a long slice of the cucumber lengthwise. Place the garnish around the outside of the glass. Fill the glass with ice and add cocktail mixture.


Whiskey Sour


Photo courtesy liquor.s3.amazonaws.com

The lemon in this whisky recipe rounds off the alcohol and gives it an edgy sharpness. Simple and sophisticated:

2 parts bourbon

1 part lemon juice

½ part sugar syrup

½ part egg white

Cubed ice

To garnish: 1 cherry and an orange slice

Put ice and all of the ingredients into a shaker and shake hard for about 20 seconds to chill the liquid really well. Strain the mix into a glass filled with ice and garnish with the cherry and orange slice.


Blue Lagoon


Photo courtesy www.liveinstyle.com

Blue Lagoon is a popular summer cocktail featuring blue Curaçao. One variation adds a dash of lime cordial to the mix. Another variation with a dash of raspberry cordial is known as a “Fruit tingle”.

1 part Blue Curacao

1 part Vodka

4 parts Lemon juice

Pour vodka and blue curacao in a shaker with ice, shake well & strain into ice filled highball glass, top with lemonade, garnish and serve.



While some of us may be planning a trad New Year’s party, there are many who’d love something a little different. We loved these ideas from Marie Claire on not-so-typical streamers-and-sparklers shindigs.


One Last Hurrah


Getty Design by Jennifer Chalet

Many amongst us use the New Year as an excuse to sign up for gym memberships, start diets, and throw out our cigarettes. Take the sting out of New Year’s resolutions by throwing a One Last Hurrah party where guests—you guessed it—get to indulge in their vices before diving into next year. Make sure to ask your friends what their resolutions are so you can plan accordingly AKA get all the cakes and fried foods your hearts’ desire. (Plus, alcohol. Obviously.)


A Black and White Ball


Getty Design by Jennifer Chalet

Truman Capote’s infamous 1966 Black and White Ball is recognized as having been the party of the century, so what could be better inspiration for your own fête? Capote’s venue was the Grand Ballroom at the Plaza (#casual), but while you may not be able to rent out an actual ballroom, that doesn’t mean you can’t emulate the party. Copy Capote and have guests wear black and white clothing with masks, only to be removed at midnight. At Capote’s soiree, women were also encouraged to carry fans, but carrying a fan means one less hand for holding a drink, so…this rule is more flexible.


Glitter Party


Getty Design by Jennifer Chalet

New Year’s Eve is all about adoring yourself with the shiniest clothing and accessories possible, so it only makes sense that glitter and NYE should be combined in a full-out glitter party. Have guests dress in as many sequins as possible and hand out glitter-covered and bedazzled hats, sunglasses, and bow ties as party favours. The best part: Glitter decorations are super easy to DIY. The amazing photos of your party will be well worth the headache of trying to clean up all that glitter afterwards.


Midnight in Paris


Getty Design by Jennifer Chalet

First of all, if you haven’t seen the excellent movie, do so immediately. Once that’s done, you can start planning your Midnight in Paris party, with the actual theme of Paris in the 1920s. Sure, you’ve probably been to a dozen Gatsby-themed parties in the last few years, but the Parisian angle keeps this one fresh. Guests will dress accordingly and you can serve the most popular drinks of the day (mostly gin-based), crank some jazz, and try your hand at the Charleston.


Out-With-the-Old Party


Getty Design by Betsy Farrell

If your idea of a great New Year’s Eve get-together is more about relaxation and good company than staying up at an all-hours event, take the “out with the old, in with the new” mantra literally and arrange a relaxing spa party for your girlfriends. You can get in some exfoliation, set up a nail bar, and recharge while you enjoy comfort food and marathon Gilmore Girls.




Whatever kind of party you’re having, nibbles are more or less a must-have. Serve them early to help line those stomachs and your friends will love you even more.


Say cheese


Photo courtesy Ten22 Studio

An array of paired cheeses served on standing stylish forks, styled by The TomKat Studio.


Ricotta Crostini


Photo courtesy HonestlyYum

Slice loaves of French bread into 2cm slices.  Toast in oven. Once they have cooled a bit slather them with ricotta and garnish with a selection of combinations below – or your own.

hardboiled egg and chives; cucumbers, mint and dill; smoked salmon and dill, leeks caramelized in butter; strawberries and aged balsamic vinegar; extra-virgin olive oil, lemon zest and sea salt; radishes and sea salt; smoked salmon and dill; blueberries and honey; cucumbers, mint and dill; hazelnuts and apricot jam; tomatoes and basil pesto


Bacon-Wrapped Apricots with Sage


Photo by Con Poulos 

24 small fresh sage leaves

24 large dried apricots

8 slices bacon, cut crosswise into thirds

2 tablespoons maple syrup

toothpicks, for serving
Heat oven to 180°C. Place a sage leaf on each apricot, wrap with a piece of bacon, and place seam-side down on a baking sheet.

Bake until the bacon is beginning to crisp, 6 to 8 minutes per side.

Remove from oven and brush with the syrup. Serve with toothpicks.


Pears with Blue Cheese and Prosciutto


Photo by Mikkel Vang


3 pears each cut into 8 wedges

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 cup rocket

Block blue cheese, cut into small pieces

100 mg thinly sliced prosciutto, cut in half lengthwise

In a large bowl, toss the pears and lemon juice.

Layer a slice of pear, a rocket leaf and a piece of cheese on a piece of prosciutto and roll up.


Something a little more substantial

Because you just may need it later on… Two quick dishes you can serve straight from the pan.


Gnocchi with sundried tomatoes and white beans


Photo and recipe courtesy www. sweetpeasandsaffron.com


500g gnocchi

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper

¼-1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

2 cups mushrooms, sliced

⅓ cup sundried tomatoes, diced

4 cups loosely packed spinach

540ml white beans, drained and rinsed

Parmesan cheese


Heat oil in a medium pan over medium heat.

Add the gnocchi and separate them. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and red pepper flakes, and cook, stirring occasionally for 8-10 minutes, or until golden and slightly crispy.

Remove from pan.

Add the mushrooms, and cook for 3 or so minutes until soft (add additional olive oil if needed). Return the gnocchi to the pan and add the sundried tomatoes, spinach and white beans. Stir until spinach is wilted and everything is heated through.

Add additional salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste.

Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.


Penne Arrabiata with Mozzarella and Chorizo


Photo and recipe courtesy www.kitchensanctuary.com


500g penne pasta

1 red bell pepper

1 yellow bell pepper

1T olive oil

1 onion, peeled and chopped

200g chorizo, sliced

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 T tomato puree

2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes

1 t dried thyme – or 3 stalks of fresh thyme

1 heaped tsp of dried chilli flakes (to taste)

1 t sugar

1 ball mozzarella (approx 250g)

3 T finely grated parmesan cheese

Freshly ground black pepper

2 T chopped fresh chives


Cook pasta until al dente.

In a large pan, heat oil, fry garlic, onion and peppers until soft. Add chorizo and cook for a further few minutes until it starts to darken. Now add garlic, tomato puree, and after a minute add canned tomatoes, thyme, chilli flakes and sugar. Bring it to a gentle bubble and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Mix the drained pasta into the sauce when ready to serve. Stir in the mozzarella chunks, heat for a further minute and then turn off the heat. Sprinkle with a little parmesan, freshly ground black pepper and some chopped chives.


Get the party going

Families that play together stay together!


– a point-and-shoot camera with a flash and a self-timer. Ideally use a cheap one.
– a bunch of friends

Set the self-timer and the game begins. Each player must hold the camera at arm’s length and point it at themselves very briefly (like a selfie), before passing it on to their left. Keep going, until eventually the camera goes off with a flash of light, and much laughter. Check out the shot before starting again. Great for FB and for sharing.


Photo via wpengine.netdna-cdn.com




Photo and recipe courtesy deliciuoslyyum.com


Perfect partner to a late night coffee – slices of naartjie dunked in chocolate… with sea salt sprinkled on top.


5 naartjies, in segments

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate or dark chocolate,

sea salt or coarse salt

1 tsp butter


Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper.

In a microwave safe bowl melt chocolate slowly. Add teaspoon of butter.

Dip each naartjie segment halfway into the melted chocolate and place on prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and repeat until all slices are evenly coated and sprinkled with salt. Refrigerate for 10 minutes or until chocolate has hardened.


Morning after SOS – how to feel human again


Indulged a bit more than you intended too perhaps? Too late to cry over spilt milk, but before the milk is completely spilt, the golden rule:

Have a glass of water between every glass of alcohol, and have a jug of water before going to bed.

If that didn’t help quite enough, here are a few more ways to make 1 Jan a good one.

  • Water
  • Sprite
  • Bananas and Pretzels
  • Coffee and an Aspirin
  • Greasy Grub


Shop at these best of bloem winners for your supplies:

Best bottle Store to buy beer and wine – Delta Bottle Store

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