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Savory Lassi Shooter and what really happened behind the scenes in Dinner Divas!

Posted on January 16, 2013 by in Dinner Divas, rsg

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Diva, according to Wikipedia, is a celebrated female singer. The term is used to describe a woman of outstanding talent in the world of opera, and, by extension, in theater, cinema and popular music! If that is true, how do I bring Anel Potgieter, Dinner Divas and the Ultimate Dinner Diva together in one sentence?

It is quite simple actually, this cook and blogger extraordinaire sings her own tune and composes edible symphonies and sonatas  in her kitchen and therefore the term “diva” fits her like a glove, or shall we say and oven glove!


The Ultimate Dinner Diva – Anel Potgieter

This diva walked into my kitchen for the first time last year in June and through a lot of chit-chat and getting to know  one another, she created the most amazing tomato sauce that I have ever tasted. If you find that hard to believe, this is what a reader said about the sauce  last week, after she found the recipe on my site:

Sheena Mathew 6 January 2013 at 2:08 pm

We just enjoyed the most amazing pasta ever!!! My husband, who is fussy when it comes to food and quite demanding, announced this is the best pasta dish he has ever tasted and wants this dish as a regular. I used Mini Penne Regata. Wow, we have never had better pasta ever! Thank you so much!!!!!!

Since then diva Anel and I have cooked many meals together, she was invited as part of  a group of ex-Masterchef girls to do a housewife challenge here in Nina’s Kitchen, she helped me with a few cooking classes and she also participated as a judge in the Meatball Challenge between Caro de Waal ( Food 24) and Aubrey Ngcungama!

Anel and I then both entered the Dinner Divas competition and all of a sudden we were no longer just friends…..we were competitors! Rivals! I think this is the point where I should tell you what really happened behind the scenes in Dinner Divas and this is the truth, the whole truth….my truth!


Dinner Diva Season 1 Crew

On a specific  Saturday last year 12 bloggers were ushered to the Upper Eastside Hotel In Woodstock Cape Town to be briefed about Dinner Divas, what was and was not allowed once the competition started! At this stage, may I tell you that I was fashionably late, which seldom happens, but  I had a cooking class earlier in the morning (with sous chef Anel)! So upon my arrival all the divas were already there!  It was the first time we could see who the other 11 in the competition were! To be honest, many of the bloggers I did expect to see there, but there were also many bloggers who I expected to see there,  who weren’t there! When I walked in, a few of the bloggers wanted to leave, because “if Nina cooks, why do we even bother!” ( I am only telling you this to prove a point!) So the pressure was on! May I at this stage just say that with the exception of  Kate, Tammy and Usha, all the bloggers present have either cooked in my kitchen or featured in my RSG radio show! Awesome stuff!


Mama Diva – Anne Myers

In the middle of this room, was our Mama Diva, Anne Myers, orchestrating this meeting like a pro, even disciplining a few of the rowdy ones! As I allowed my eyes to wonder around in the room, without Anne noticing, I saw such fear, excitement and such trust in all the faces around me! Immediately, I was overcome by an immense sense of pride  and gratitude to be part of this selected group……we were  not  the best chefs, nor the best bloggers in the world, but people who were not afraid to put their hearts on a plate for the world to see. That was lesson #1 for me….. behind every blog, how good or bad it may seem to you, there is a person who is trying their best to cook a decent meal while at the same time trying to run a life, a career and …..more importantly …a family!


“Remember the meatballs!”

Then the elimination rounds  started! We were  allowed to prepare in these rounds, practice our meals at home, bring our own ingredients etc, but we had to put our blogs on a plate! We made checklists, memos on phones and iPads, just not to forget something and lo and behold I forget my meatballs in the oven in Round #1 of the competition. You have no idea how stressful it was, having three cameras, a huge crew and a producer who took no nonsense, up your nostrils for 3-4 hours at a time! This is when I learned Lesson #2 in the competition! Everybody has an off day in the kitchen, even Nina who everybody thought would sail through this competition. Let me tell you, if you cook a meal that your family and friends love, you are already a winner, a diva in your own kitchen  and you should feel so proud of yourself!


Barry cooking under pressure!

I dare anybody, big time bloggers and chefs included to come and do the same, but we had to put our fears, insecurities, issues and careers in the capable hands of our producer…. who changed us all into Dinner Divas and we all did just that!  We cooked our hearts out, we cried, laughed, lost our tempers, but more than anything else, we created a bond between us that will last a lifetime. It does not matter where life takes us from here, the crew, contestants and judges of Dinner Divas Season 1 will always have a special connection with each other!

To my dearest friend, Anel, YOU are such a deserving winner! I knew from the beginning that you were a force to be reckoned with and I was right! Well done, I am so proud of you! To the crew and my fellow Dinner Divas, I feel so honored to be part of you! To have learned so much about myself in the safety of your company, was an amazing journey, thank you! See you in  Dinner Divas Season 2!

Back to food! During Anel’s semi-final episode agains Kristy Snell from The Foodmonger and Jan Tripepe, she cooked  and Indian feast and her main meal, the Goat Curry, blew the judges away. It was rated by them as the best dish of the whole Dinner Diva Competition! It even made it to the Beeld, a national newspaper!


Part of her meal, she made lassi to firstly cleanse the pallet, but also to kind of announce the next course in her meal. Lassi is a traditional yogurt-based drink which originates in India and Pakistan. It is made by blending yogurt with water and Indian spices. Traditional lassi is a savory drink often flavored with ground cumin while sweet lassi is blended with sugar or fruits instead of spices.  I have never tasted the savory version, but I do make sweet lassi often. Here is my papaya lassi!


Savory Lassi Shooter ( recipes by Anel Potgieter)

Preparation and blending time: 10 minutes


1 cup plain yogurt

2 t chopped coriander

1/4 t chili powder

pinch of cumin and coriander powder

pinch of salt squeeze of lemon juice

20 g crushed pistachio nuts


Put all the ingredients except the pistachio nuts in a blender and blitz until smooth. Pour into liqueur glasses and sprinkle with pistachios.


Pineapple Lassi Shooter

Preparation and blending time: 10 minutes


1 cup plain yogurt

115 g Rhodes Pineapple crush

½ t chili powder

1/4 t dry mint

pinch of coriander and cumin powder

pinch of salt

crushed pineapple for serving


Put all the ingredients into a blender and blitz. Pour into liqueur glasses, top with crushed pineapple and serve!


Tomorrow morning just after the 9 o’clock news, I will be in my seat on RSG ready to share the recipe with you. I will also take you into the kitchens of other bloggers, chefs and interesting South Africans this year. So buckle up, it is going to be an awesome ride. Tune in 100-104FM or listen online here!

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7 Responses to “Savory Lassi Shooter and what really happened behind the scenes in Dinner Divas!”

  1. anel 16 January 2013 at 5:55 am #

    loved reading your experience – dinner diva was a life changer for all of us! we became a very close family – we will be part of each others lives forever! Nins , thank you for standing by me, believing in me and encouraging me all the way – you are an amazing mentor, friend and someone we all look up to and admire. love you madly

  2. Anne Myers 16 January 2013 at 7:44 am #

    Sensitive, sincere post, my darling Nins. You are in our hearts forever – thank you for the value you brought to the series and what you will bring, in future. May we bring the same to you and your blog and wonderful efforts to share your great food with all of us and the rest of the world xxx

  3. usha singh 16 January 2013 at 8:09 am #

    Nina this is such a wonderful post, and i feel privledged to have been part of the Dinner Diva Journey. I am sure the bond we share will last forever and now i just have to move to Cape Town to continue this amazing friendship and experiance with the
    Diva Family and our Mama Diva of all Divas

  4. tami 16 January 2013 at 9:33 am #

    Lovely post Nina. Your words made me relive all the excitement, nerves and stress but what an experience! 3 cheers for the brave divas and divo of season 1 and of course to Anne and her amazing team xx

  5. marie 17 January 2013 at 10:33 am #

    Waar is die resep vir die “papaya lassi”
    Sien net Savory en Pineapple

    • nerinatimm 18 January 2013 at 8:09 am #

      Hello Marie

      Jy kan net die pynappel met vars mango vervang…..die speserye bly dieselfde!!
      Dankie dat jy kom inloer het!

  6. Zirkie 17 January 2013 at 10:54 pm #

    Wonderlike pos, Nins!! Anel is voorwaar baie talentvol en die kroon waardig! Ek het haar nie regtig “geken” voor die kompetisie nie, maar sy het my voete onder my uitgeslaan met haar vindingrykheid en kreatiwiteit!

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