Friday, 4 March 2011

Onion Tart Cook-Off: I take on two talented South African food bloggers

My hungry VelvetI've never cooked in front of an audience in my life, let alone given a demo of any sort.

Actually, that's not quite true, because sometimes a small crowd gathers in the kitchen an hour or two after the sun goes down. A crowd of seven, usually, comprising my husband, our three children, our cat Alice, and the two queens of our household, the bassets Velvet and Akamaru.

The latter few in this list are the most attentive. The basset hounds watch my every move while their tongues and ears fall floppily to the floor. Alice flicks her tail and glares at me with her moon-size topaz eyes.  Others (the humans) stand around the kitchen counter rudely drumming their fingers.

So this isn't exactly what I'd call an appreciative audience.

My fortunes are about to change, though, because I've been invited to compete in a real cook-off, in front of a proper audience. The challenge is to make and bake an onion tart - using my choice of secret ingredient - for Paarl's Ommiberg Festival on 12 March 2011; the cook-off will take place at Rhebokskloof Estate.

Linda Harding of The Squashed TomatoI'll be pitted against two clever Cape Town food bloggers I've recently met: Matt Allison of I'm No Jamie Oliver, and Linda Harding of The Squashed Tomato.

I'm nervous, to be honest. Both Matt and Linda are somewhat younger than I am (which counts in my favour, I reckon, when one takes into account actual hours spent sweating at the kitchen coal face) but they are also smart, talented and rather scarily motivated (which definitely counts against me, a middle-aged couch-loller of note).

But, then again, I'm glad that these new friends will be my companions on the day.

I don't know Linda well -  I met her for the first time only a fortnight ago, at the South African Food and Wine Bloggers' Indaba - but I'm a big fan of her blog and her beautiful food and photographs, and she's earned many brownie points in my Little Secret Brownie-Point Book by regularly posting encouraging comments on my blog. (See how easy it is to make me happy?).  She's a livewire, Linda is, and  I'm looking forward to getting to know her better.

Matt AllisonAnd as for Matt? We struck up a cyber-friendship last year, after he emailed me about his blog. (Or I emailed him about mine: I can't remember.) After a few months of the usual Twitter and Facebook banter, we met, and now I'm lucky to count him as a friend.

Matt Allison is one of those slappable people who can do everything well. He's a qualified sound engineer, a gardener, a cook, an environmental activist, a designer, a stay-at-home dad and - as I recently discovered, when he performed a few dizzyingly beautiful songs at the Food Bloggers' Indaba - an award-winning musician, singer and songwriter.

So this is what I'm up against. Wish me luck, will you?

I'll be cooking the best onion quiche in my repertoire, and I hope you'll follow the festivities on Twitter on Saturday 12 March 2011 (look for @ommiberg, and the hashtag #mytart).

Here are more details about the event, and about how you can win some nice prizes, and possibly a place as a 'wild card' entry in the cook-off, by nominating a winning secret ingredient.

Press release from Ommiberg: 

A fluent food blogger can use more than onions to make an opponent cry. Armed with secret plans and taunting tweets, four food bloggers are pre-heating the oven for the Ommiberg Onion Tart Cook-off, set to take place at Rhebokskloof, 2pm, as part of the Ommiberg ‘Round the Rock’ Festival, March 12th, 2011.

Three well-known and vibrant food bloggers and a wild-card entry will compete to make the best Zweibelk├╝chen (onion tart) using only a provided list of ingredients, a recipe – which they may choose not to use – and a secret ingredient of their own. It’s votes that count at the end of the bake, from a panel of judges including the chef and the team at Rhebokskloof, the Ommiberg CEO, two members of the public, and as many of the tweeters and Facebook users as the participants can persuade.

The three food bloggers are:
Matt AllisonMatt Alison of I’m no Jamie Oliver
- “@Jane_Anne62 @squashed_tom all I’m saying is less time on Twitter, more time in the kitchen. @OmmiBerg #mytart”
Jane-Anne HobbsJane-Anne Hobbs of
Scrumptious South Africa
- “They have no idea who they are dealing with. *evil snicker* @squashed_tom @imnojamieoliver @ommiberg #mytart”
Linda HardingLinda Harding of The Squashed Tomato
- “@imnojamieoliver Practising is for amateurs. Prepare for certain annihilation! Hahahahaha (evil laugh again) #mytart @OmmiBerg”
Who will the wild card be?

The public is invited to suggest their ‘secret’ ingredient on Twitter or Facebook. The most creative and delectable sounding suggestion will win the originator the (perhaps daunting) prize of competing against the three foodies listed above.

If you’re up for it, tweet your suggestion, including the term @OmmiBerg #mytart; or post your idea on the Ommiberg Facebook page.

Honour, glory, and the chance to gloat could be yours! And of course the prize – a voucher to use with Yuppiechef, wine tasting with the Windmeul winemaker and tickets to the Nia Nel concert.

For more information, contact

Text and images supplied by Ilanda of Meles PR.
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Kitchenboy said...

You get MY vote Jane-Anne! Best of luck and show'em who's boss!

Linda Harding said...

Thank you for the wonderful compliments, Jane-Anne! You make me blush, smile and then feel sorry that I am going to have to beat you at the cook-off! Heehee, let the best and biggest tart win!

Marisa said...

All I know is this is going to be a lot of fun to watch! The competition is pretty stiff, I don't know who the heck to support. Maybe I'll decide afterwards, when the winner has been announced? :-)

Jane-Anne said...

@ Kitchenboy: Thank you very much. I hope I don't let you down!

@ Linda You are so very welcome. Can't wait to see you on Saturday.

@ Marisa You have to decide now! Pin your colours to the mast!

Rose&Thorn said...

I saw a great onion tart using different onion family ingredients - Chives, Leeks, Onions, Shallots and Spring Onions.

Ingrid said...

Oh this is SO much fun! I'm SUPER put out I won't be there on the day, but the rest of MelesPR, i.e. Ilanda and Erica, will be there, supporting you and cheering you all on.
I simply can't vote for any of you ... but I vote that I get a doggy bag comprising a little bite of each tart!
Ingrid aka @kungfukittypow

Kit said...

Good luck, Jane-Anne.
My kids love zweibelkuchen, except that I have to leave the onions off one end for my son -- onion tart without the onions is what he likes, a secret missing ingredient...!
Hope it goes well on the day!

Colleen said...

Awesome stuff. What a great post. I've missed out on so much while being laden down with all the lead up and follow up work that I missed all of this going down....exciting to see it happening for all my fave food bloggers! Good luck! May the best (wo)man..or :) xx

Jeanne @ CookSister! said...

Sounds like hilariously good fun!! Love all three of yo and wish I could be there :)