Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Curried potato soup on a cold and rainy day

Caught a little sun spot for the pic, it was drizzling ever so slightly

Did I mention that it's very cold this side of the mountain... we've dropped to 10 degrees, you must understand that for us in the southern hemisphere that's quite frankly -  shocking.
Soup needed to be cooked and with lamb ribs still on my mind, there was only one choice, an old favourite adapted from an Ina Paarman recipe- Curried potato soup with lamb ribbetjies. I don't have the original recipe anymore, but here's how I do it-

500 g lamb ribs- ask the butcher to trim them in half, so you have little fingers
4 potatoes sliced
4 big organic carrots sliced
4 Celery sticks sliced
2 Onions diced
Curry power, turmeric, flour, lemon juice and cream

Firstly saute the lamb ribs until browned in some oil, then set aside, next up saute the onions, carrots, celery in a little butter and oil until soft, add the sliced potatoes, saute a bit more, then add 2 tablespoons curry power and 1 tbsp Turmeric, stir for a bit and add 2 tbsp flour/rice flour making sure to saute for another minute then add your chicken stock, and the lamb ribs, gently cook until lamb ribs are tender, add cream and a squeeze of  lemon juice.
By the way, for my little vegetarian, I did exactly the same, replacing the ribs with butter beans and she declared it yummy.
I'm thinking a nice bottle of Shiraz, in front of the fireplace....maybe winter and I should get better acquainted..

Monday, 30 May 2011

A little wood farm in Hout Bay

Entrance to the 'wood farm' in Valley Road Hout Bay
With the temperature plummeting on our side of the mountain, we needed to urgently stockpile some good wood for the fireplace. Our favourite destination is this little spot in the Hout Bay valley, just past the World of Birds. Strangely the translation for Hout Bay, is Wood bay- and you can see why we call it a little wood farm.....

Massive whole felled trees everywhere, mountains of chopped wood , so many different varieties and interesting stacks of logs that have been sawed through whole, presumably curing so as not to warp...I see some wonderful kitchen tables?

Whole planks drying
little mountains of  wonderful firewood
After explaining we wanted slow burning dry wood that flames nicely for the fireplace, the guys choose Bluegum for us and load the little Citroen to capacity, the fragrant smell of the wood is a welcome change from the usual smell of food.
Leaving the little wood farm, we were tempted to stay,  there's nothing like Hout Bay on a beautiful day...

Our little cottage is small, but it has one thing that I wouldn't trade for all the sculleries, extra bedrooms or bathrooms.....it has a fireplace in our bedroom.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

You, me and everyone we know market at the Labia

Some very serious shoppers
It was a strangely balmy evening preceding the bad weather that is expected this weekend,  the you, me and everyone we know market  must have some very good connections.
Predominantly vintage and retro clothing stalls, its home is the front of the iconic Labia theatre - great setting for a little market.
Old movies projected onto the wall creates a great atmosphere
It's 7.30 pm, the last friday market of the season and its packed with beautiful young fashionistas riffling through the clothes rails for something special. You can buy cocktails, wine and beers, but sadly very little in the food line, opportunity here for something portable and retro?
Lady Bonins gorgeous caravan
Parked at the entrance is Lady Bonin's gorgeous tea caravan- if only I drank tea....she makes the whole tea experience look so good.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Cannibals and Crocodile tears at Erdmann Contemporary

Great art and fabulous people
Those are the titles of two of the artworks we admired last night at Heidi's gallery, Erdmann Contemporary.
Our favourite gallery - Heidi's openings are always excitedly anticipated, an alchemic blend of quality art and fabulous people.
Last night was no exception- 'Present History' consisted of works by talented artists - Karlien de Villiers, Marna Hattingh, Diana Hyslop and Haidee Nel  

Karlien de Villier's ' I met history once' with hand painted wooden cut-outs
loved Marna Hattingh's  'dance'
Perfectly curated, the different artists compliment each other harmoniously . If I'd had money to spare, it would have been a difficult choice.

The sourcerer   with Diana Hyslop's work

Karlien de Villier's work
Its Erdmann Contemporary's 10 anniversary and Heidi has some great exhibitions coming up- July 6- everyone's favourite photographer Gary van Wyk, its a debut exhibition for this talented young man.
The celebrations culminate in August with Present History II- a group exhibition and street party with everyone's favourite band Time Flies- yay! See you there.........

Heidi working her magic

The rookers and drinkers spill onto newly pedestrianised Shortmarket street

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Pomegranate love potion

One of our precious fruits

Our baby tree has been growing two luscious pomegranates, we've been anticipating their ripeness for weeks now,  yesterday they started to burst revealing those ruby jewels inside.
But what to do with these two precious fruits.....
Our love affair with pomegranates started with our friend Sumien, her previous home had a great old pomegranate tree and bore abundantly, she would arrive at parties generously bearing pomegranates, bottles of pomegranate juice and once the most divine pomegranate sorbet. We now have a mini orchard in the making, with infant plants we have nurtured from the seeds of that great tree.
Which is exactly what the pomegranate is all about- an age old symbol of fecundity- fertility and abundance.
A love potion seems excitingly appropriate, this one is from The foods of love, by Max de Roche and it tastes like Halva.
2 pomegranates,  2 tbps ground almonds, 1 tbsp sesame seeds, 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds, 1 tbsp pine nuts, 2 tbsp sake- honey to bind
You remove the skin from the pomegranate and finely grate the pith, add all the nuts & seeds, grind to a paste with the sake, add 2 tbsp of the pomegranate fruit flesh- maybe more?,  and mix with honey.
I'm thinking drizzled over ice-cream, on fingers of melba toast for breakfast, hmmm.......

Another very sexy fruit...

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Skoonheid first Afrikaans film at Cannes

I thought I'd have a peek at Skoonheid (Beauty) as its the first Afrikaans film to be selected for Cannes and has just won the unofficial Queer Palm, an award which recognises films for their gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender themes.
Apparently the jury was' blown-away', the words, 'disturbing, radical and real cinema' were used. Its directed by South African Oliver Hermanus.
Did a bit of googling and the gist is ..... an Afrikaans husband and father from Bloemfontein who has to deal with his emerging attraction to a young man.
After watching this very disquieting trailer, I'm very eager to see it as well.

Monday, 23 May 2011

The lamb rib and bean curry that made me cry

Lamb rib and bean curry like my grandmother made
It was the curry from the blue bird garage market, that lovely lady at the 25 rupees stall- I should have known by the way she dished her food up, with such grace.
One mouthful and I was a little girl in my grandmothers kitchen...it was my grandmothers curry.
I could taste all her delicious bredies, green bean, tomato, cabbage,
so many curries, chicken, lamb, sugar bean, meatballs- plain and curried, often wrapped in cabbage, pickled fish- she brought all her spices with her from Cape Town to Canada.
I remember hours spent pricking watermelon skin for konfyt, the thought of the syrupy treat giving me extra strength to stab just a  little bit harder
The stinky smell of my grandfathers tripe, and the fun of collecting those long forgotten
periwinkles from the rocks, boiling them and using a needle to coax them from their shells-so tiny.
If my grandmother wasn't cooking, I wouldn't eat.
When we traveled by car, at roadhouse pit stops, it would be milkshake and buttered toast for me with tennis biscuits in between.
Mostly we traveled by ship, my grandmother said she was afraid to fly, she was a clever lady......
I would sit in the grand dinning rooms with them, reading the long menus and order milkshake with buttered toast with treats from ' high tea' in between
I know my grandmothers cooking must have been good  to have sustained me, made with love and the knowledge of the generations of cooks before her- food that nourishes a child's soul.
My tears were because in this busy life, I had forgotten her and her gift- so this Sunday I made Tomato Bredie for my family, remembering her as I cooked.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Friday nights 'secret' market in Muizenberg

From old mechanics garage to market
It turns out every Friday night, there is a market at the blue bird garage in Muizenberg, call me suspicious, but I think the locals are trying to keep this quiet.  The directions were vague- take right at the second crossing and somewhere on the right you'll find it....well....I just followed all the people, no-one walks the streets at night without a very good reason.

Mmmm smells and sound of people having fun
 The smells rushed out to welcome me, eastern smells, pizza smells and more. In smaller markets I have a strategy- once around quickly to survey the offerings (even I can't eat everything) then glass in hand, at leisure - which, by the way, was a very nice white at only R20 a glass.

Right hand side, the foods and left hand side jewellery, clothes etc with tables and benches in the middle for enjoying all on offer. With no where to sit,  I decided to take home my chosen meal -  so very much more about that curry in my next blog!
Loved the clothes by the beautiful designer Athene Knemeyer, her label Afrodite, she sources unique fabrics, lovely sleek, clean lines.
The we got stuck, at an exquisite jewellery stall, I didn't want to leave without something, but I wanted 4 'somethings' Oh dear....

love the word 'steampunk'  Samantha says on her fb page its the name of particular genre of fiction

Samantha makes unique characterful pieces from the inside workings of watches, adding other 'found' bits and pieces, cogs, locks, ancient little keys. I was mesmerized into indecision, but I'm going back next friday and  I 'dips' the ones on far right and left! You can find Samantha's fabulous steampunk jewellery on her facebook page - likeclockwork-steampunk jewellery   

Child and dog friendly

Okay, I don't blame the locals one little bit, there is only so much room in this converted garage and heaven forbid it turns into woodstocks 'neighbourhood goods market' with not an inch to move.
So forgive me, I'm just sharing with a few more very nice people......

Friday, 20 May 2011

When my garden grows up, it wants to be like this garden

They still have lush tomato plants
I've been driving past this vegetable garden, enviously watching it grown, and delighted to see it transform into an organic restaurant, which thankfully saved me the embarrassment of traipsing through their garden for no apparent reason.

I spied a bath that must be full of compost and red wriggler worms judging by the size of the red spinach
All organic companion planting- somebody had a good nibble on the cabbage

My mother lives two doors down, and this house has always been the pride of Constantia road, its on a double plot and the beautiful thatched house is now a national monument.

Welcoming Sparkly mosaic at back door
Fireplaces have a mystical way of drawing you towards them, so understandably the fireplace table was  claimed despite the sun streaming invitingly onto the patio tables.

One of the two fireplaces
We'd eyed out the cakes at the buffet table and chose lemon cheesecake and the ginger chocolate cake.
The ginger chocolate cake was wheat-free- not that wheat ever stood between me and cake- the texture was dense and moist with shreds of fresh ginger to break the sweetness, super delicious and the coffee perfect.

It was supposed to be a quick coffee, but the whole experience was so relaxing (and filling!)  it was just before lunchtime when we left- a bonus, as we got a peak at the lunchtime buffet- soups, super fresh looking salad, roasted peppers and chicken breasts in a creamy spinach sauce, looking so good that the urge to stick my finger in to have a taste was huge!
Next time we go for lunch......Organic at Heart, check out their website, love the limerick.

The front of the house, sunny paved patio with lots of shrubs

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Food flying out the back door....

Thai salmon fishcakes, rice paper wraps, prawn springrolls, roasted butternut and beetroot with balsamic blaze and creme fraiche, red onion and cheddar tarts, fruit skewers with ground vanilla sugar

Yep, its a catering frenzy for the next 2 days- grabbed a quick pic of some of the snacks on their way out (I know you're used to a higher standard, but the poor 'art teacher' is sick). Its autumn here and the leaves are falling fast and thick, as you can see by the sprinkling on the outside table.
Destination, the Waterfront River Club. It was so perfect - I had to steal another pic for you, not a breath of wind, all sunshine, seagulls and pretty yachts.

Tomorrow is hundreds of homemade scones, baby pastel cupcakes and triple chocolate brownies....

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Remedies for a heavy heart

Over the sea and far away, I know of a young heart that is aching,
freshly separated from her love,  with endless months until they are united.

I can, as a mother does,  feel the pain sweeping  towards me with the current.
What to do, to ease her journey...

Your father offers a soothing song about love and separation

and I offer the comfort of chicken soup

Start from scratch, you've got time to spare, first the stock- take the carcass from a freshly roasted chicken, keeping back the meat for later, put in a pot with water to cover, add bay leaf, onion with skin, carrot, peppercorns, salt, parsley and soup celery- gently simmer for1 hour.
You now have your stock, strain it and set aside. Back to your soup pot,  add  butter and olive oil, saute 1 finely chopped onion, 2 thinly sliced leeks, a big handful of soup celery roughly chopped and 2 big carrots thinly sliced, then add your freshly made stock - simmer for 1 hour.
Taste, add more salt and pepper if needed, along with that reserved shredded roasted chicken. Finally, sprinkle with freshly picked parsley.
A chunky loaf of ciabatta and a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc -  a  toast.. till you both meet again x

Monday, 16 May 2011

Haute Antiques- Gilles de Moyencourt

Did you notice that polka dot crockery set- hmmm

Dragged the poor 'art teacher' out of bed on Saturday so we could visit Gilles wonderful shop. We've known this charismatic french man for a very long time, his first little shop was in Pepper street just off Long street below the 'art teachers' studio way back in the 80's. Back then he was the first to spot the uniqueness and value in what everyone else overlooked- his collection is unique, large and very desirable!

The french man himself

As you walk in the shop

Eclectic paintings and prints cover the walls, on every shelf and tabletop a  homogenous collection of trinkets, glasses, lamps- I'll stop now...
It was only afterwards that I began to look at the display cabinets, shelves and tables themselves. Adored the scrubbed one in the second room with the high stack of old plates perched on it..

and that was just the front of the shop.......

Gilles office- some scary masks

Tucked away to the right- a collection of blankets and materials

The shop is the front and dancing area of  the old Albert Hall,  that fabulous venue, host to so many great gigs and parties, sadly no more.  Gilles partitioned it and added those gorgeous doors that go through to the old bar area.
I can't help showing you all the pics we took, what could I leave out? besides- maybe something special catches your eye?

The room at the back- see that table with the stack of plates- gorgeous
Wait, have to show you a close up of the ''kitchen green' chair and what's on it.....the most beautiful crocheted blanket made for Gilles, by his talented girlfriend Laura- a labour of love,  when you visit the shop you have to touch it and feel its weight in your hands.

The beautiful blanket from Laura and that table!

One last pic taken from outside Haute Antiques peeking in. In 'proper' fashion Gilles opens on Saturdays between 10 am and 2 pm or by appointment.  208 Albert Road, Woodstock- you won't be sorry and be sure to arrive early, it'll be 2 pm when you look again.

Haute Antiques window

Saturday, 14 May 2011

The Hype Machine

Party pic taken after Vaudeville show at The Fez

My husband- 'The art teacher' has been excited about  The Hype Machine for months now, so I thought we'd spread the joy.
I checked it out and its on The Guardians list of '100 most essential websites' and apparently ' the best thing to happen to music since the Rolling Stones' so who am I to argue!
Its a MP3 blog aggregator that was started in 2005- it aggregates songs from over 1500 blogs, you can search just about any musician including the fairly obscure and older tracts and you're likely to find them.
Play around with it- you can even see what songs your friends are listening to.
The 'art teachers' play lists are popular at our parties and lunches, and I'd love to share them with you, so on the right hand side- bottom of my blog you'll see 'The Hype Machines' widget, which shows his current play list of favourites. Just click and enjoy!

Friday, 13 May 2011

The Treasury Woodstock

Fantastic manager- he's just perfect
Glass in hand,  7.30 pm Wednesday night, we went shopping ..... just up, town side from Blank Projects - a treasure trove -  quite aptly named... The Treasury.

Hmm.....more Enamel ware? Tempted,  already have exact white one, sadly paid a lot more at Milnerton Market- is two better than one?

Charming Manager selling those gorgeous garden chairs, forged to order by a local blacksmith

Homeward bound-  great evening....a sneak peek down a Woodstock side street....

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