Ever been to a secret dinner? For the Toffie Food Festival, dinners were hosted around Cape Town this past Saturday night to feed and entertain all Toffie Food conference delegates. DECO editor Laureen Rossouw played host to her own secret dinner in her inner-city loft apartment. Hosts, guests, menus, and locations were all kept secret until the last minute, which caused for huge excitement.

Laureen called on the help of ELLE Features Director Annelize Visser and ELLE Fashion Editor Poppy Evans for the cooking. Here’s what Annelize has to say about a successful dinner (secret or otherwise): ‘Good ingredients, a bit of luck, friends to help, a generous hostess and very forgiving guests. This one ticked all the boxes!’

Laureen’s secret menu: Starter: Poppy Evans’s smoked salmon trout salad with new potatoes, cucumber and lemon and dill dressing. Main course: Karoo lamb pies with pea, potato and mint mash, and Balsamic roasted baby beetroot. (The beetroot recipe is by Ainsley Harriot; the rest of this dish is by Quinton van Rensburg of Samara Karoo Lodge and was featured in Sarie Kos.) Dessert: Asynpoeding (vinegar pudding) with custard. (It’s a traditional Afrikaans dessert. We used a recipe by Marinda le Roux, discovered at vlooi.co.za) With coffee: Baby toffee apples

“I think this secret dinner was a fantastic idea by Toffie Food and was a great way of meeting exciting new faces. I look forward to the next one!” says Laureen.

Get your taste of the Toffie Food Festival here.

*Photographs by Renee Rossouw & Charl Edwards