Fashion and beauty editor

Fashion and beauty editor…freelance fashion stylist on all the major magazines for 23 years.

Moved  to the West Coast to live on a Dune in 2004…and slowly the high heels and designer outfits were replaced with Havianna’s (slip slops)…or as we call them in Afrikaans “visplakkies’  and sand on my toes. My interest in food started in 2010 when I launched a small food market in Vredenburg. This led to the opening of an amazing food market in 2012 in the beautiful Palms Centre in  the heart of  Woodstock….Market at the Palms. I managed this for 6 and a half years. It was also in 2012 that I started opening my home for Sunday lunches and my Langtafel of die Duin has become quite an institution…fabulous five course meals in an eclectic home environment  on the edge of the beach!


#capellilavita #savourlavita #savourwithbella


Isabella Niehous

Not a chef…just  a home cook with a good palate and amazing passion for combining tastes. Creating good food. Using the best possible fresh produce. And with an enormous love for fresh seafood!

In 2019 I launched my first cookbook,Duinhuis. It was awarded a first in the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards for 2020. During lockdown I did a small digital e-book on mussels…one of my most favourite ingredients: Isabella’s Mussel Feast.

There is hopefully a new cookbook in the pipeline !

I live on my Dune with four dogs and three cats…a small plantation of prickly pears bearing the most beautiful fruit and six huge olive trees….and a beautiful son, just around the corner!

Mussel and Saffron Soup

In Afrikaans there is a saying ‘jy kan my in ‘n wip vang’ translated directly: you could catch me in a trap ! And that is exactly my relationship with mussels. You could so easily trap me with any fresh mussel dish!

Earlier this year I put together a beautiful little e-book with 15 lovely and easy recipes with fresh mussels. And I’m sharing one of my favourites here with you.

I’m fortunate to have access to fresh mussels on a daily basis with Blue Ocean Mussels just around the corner in Saldanha.

I’ve created beautiful recipes with these fresh mussels: a mussel bobotie which is probably one of the best remembered dishes I make . Pickled mussels. A few different soups….and a mussel fritter!

If you struggle to find fresh mussels,why don’t you call Blue Ocean Mussels for stockist. There are daily deliveries to Cape Town and fresh mussels are also flown to Johannesburg every day! You can contact and order from Blue Ocean Directly….

Mussel farming in South Africa is sustainable. The mussels are rope-grow. They are high in protein, excellent source of omega preservatives..and absolutely delicious!

#capellilavita #savourlavita #savourwithbella


Here is the soup recipe from my e-book, Isabella’s Mussel Feast . Enjoy!

Mussel and Saffron Soup

2 kg of mussels, de-bearded
1 onion,  chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
5 sprigs of fresh thyme…or parsley
1 cup of white wine
500 ml of cream
2 generous pinches of saffron threads, ground with a pestle and mortar
1 tsp of ground turmeric
Good pinch of red chilli flakes…or a fresh chilli finely chopped
Squeeze of lemon juice
1 tbsp of butter
1 tbsp of oil


Hein van Tonder


Preheat a large pot over medium to high heat. Add the oil and butter and sauté the onion, garlic and thyme. Now add the mussels. Close the lid and steam for 8 to 10 minutes until all the mussels have opened. Now add the white wine and steam for 3 more minutes. Remove the mussels from the pot and strain the liquid.

Add the chilli/chilli flakes, cream. saffron and turmeric to the strained liquid and reduce slightly over medium heat.

Remove some of the mussel meat from the shells and add to the liquid. Stir in the chopped parsley and the lemon juice and dish into soup bowls with the remaining mussels in their shells.

Note: you can replace saffron with turmeric if need be. Turmeric is widely regarded as the best replacement for saffron . It belongs to the ginger family. Its flavour can be described as earthy and bitter and is often used in curries. While saffron has a floral and sweet flavour, turmeric is much more bold and peppery

Best served with;
Wine: A glass of Springhaas..Huis van Chevallerie
Water: Primal Artesian Water from OriginFloe

Spaghetti alla puttanesca

Puttanesca sauce originated in Naples. Many of the accounts on the origin of the name all hinge on the fact that Puttanesca sauce is easy and quick to make. It is the seductive combination of tomatoes, capers, olives, garlic, chilli and anchovies.

This is my recipe replacing the anchovies with a tin of sardines…and a mixture of fresh and tinned tomatoes.

#capellilavita #savourlavita #savourwithbella


You need:

3-4 tablespoons of olive oil
2-3 fresh ripe tomatoes cut into small blocks
1 chilli, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup of capers, drained
1 tin of sardines in oil
1/2 cup of black olives, pitted
Handful of fresh parsley leaves, chopped
Freshly ground pepper and salt
*Salt for the pasta

Isabella Niehaus

Start boiling water for the spaghetti. Add salt once it starts to boil and bring to the boil again. Heat some olive oil in a frying pan large enough to hold the cooked pasta later. Add the garlic, sardines, and chopped chilli. (I use the oil of the sardines as well)

• Cook over a medium heat .With a wooden spoon or fork break the sardines into small flakes. Cook for a few minutes until the garlic is a light golden colour….make sure not to burn the garlic!

• Add capers, a bit of parsley and the olives and stir to combine.
• Now add the fresh and chopped tomatoes, stir and let it simmer .

• Cook pasta to just under al dente (about 1 minute less than the package recommends).
• Drain pasta reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.
• Add drained pasta to the sauce.

• Add a few tablespoons of the pasta cooking water and increase the heat to bring the pasta and sauce to a vigorous simmer.

• Cook, stirring and shaking the pan and adding more pasta water if necessary until pasta is perfectly al dente.

• Sprinkle with some more parsley.
• Season with salt and pepper as required.
• Serve immediately.

Best served with;
A slightly chilled Darling Cellars Black Granite Shiraz