Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Community Carnival Maynardville park

The annual community carnival is an event not to be missed- think beer tents, carnival rides and most importantly food from around the world.

Highlight, the Dutch tent of course- crunchy, melting, oozing, hot bitterballen, rollmops, herrings and lots of genefer.

After that perfect start to your evening, stroll through the avenues, I'd recommend a visit to Mexico for a shot of tequila and chilli poppers, then take your pick of Indian, Chinese, African, etc for a main meal, visit the Irish tent for sheer roudyness. Spend an hour in the 2nd hand book tent.

But definitely finish off your evening in the Italian tent with a grappa and an espresso...oh, don't go forgetting that creamy cannoli.

I'll be running in for take-away's tonight before the ballet, spending the evening on Thursday and taking the kids for some fun on Friday- see you there!

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Flowers after the party

Our friend Jane over at smallbutcharming, is hosting her popular 'flowers in the house' party- very convenient for me this the house is brimming and fragrant with the beautiful gift of flowers....

from Kristine

from Lily
I'm not cheating including the flowers outside, as our outside is pretty much our inside.

party table

Monday, 20 February 2012

Mango magic

Look who pushed their coy tentative little head out from between a egg box and a watermelon skin, buried inside the casings of the worm farm.

Besides avocados, mangoes are by far the worms favourite food, between the kids and the catering, they have a steady supply of a few a day and as fast as we're throwing in the juicy pips, we're taking out the rooted sprouting ones-  magic.

This little chap is 3 weeks old and growing fast - all cuteness with his leaves too big for his body.

Encouraged by the vision of a mango grove, the art teacher has prepared this pineapple stalk for planting- will keep you posted on this development.

Hmm, I'm starting to feel the vibe and can almost hear the calypso rhythms......anyone got a tropical island to go with our groves?

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Auctions and Art

Stephan Welz and Co's exhibition evenings are always a treat, often an Irma Stern to admire, this time an enticing  Tretchikoff, the champagne flows and around every corner, a canape platter.

Situated in the Great Cellar on the Alphen Estate, Constantia- they have to be the most serenely situated auction house.

 John Meyer's narrative paintings caught my eye- large, very impressive, especially seeing the three together, estimated value R150 000 - R200 000 each.

I tore myself away from the antique jewellery...emeralds and conservative estimates- time to go.

John Meyer's  Don't know why1,2 and 3.

Hanneke Benade's requiem

Off to town for a different crowd at  Salon 91's new exhibition ' Something like now' by Elsabe Milandri, loved the small ink on paper portraits below, quite a few stickers on some well priced pieces.

drive by drive home

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Alfresco lunch

This is your recipe if you're dreaming of having a large alfresco lunch, but don't have the time to spend in the kitchen.

It looks sensational and is very simple to prepare, the secret is in the tomato sauce which you can happily make your own with a bit of 'tweeking'.

Find the best cooked free range chicken, grab as many as you need, work on 5 people per chicken for this dish, tear the chicken apart into nice chunky pieces discarding the bone, or if you feel that inner 'martha' stirring, keep the carcass for that perfect chicken soup, arrange the torn chicken on a large serving platter and set aside.

Now for the tomato sauce, here is the basic- 2 tins chopped Italian tomatoes, 1 onion chopped, 2 cloves garlic, 2 tsp smoked paprika, pinch of dried chilli flakes, a gluck of balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp sugar, salt and pepper and and gravy from the chickens. Saute the onions and garlic, add tomatoes, paprika, sugar etc and simmer away for 30 mins.
When your tomato sauce is cool, pour artistically over your torn chicken, dollop with creme fraiche and scatter with fresh basil leaves and maybe add a drizzle of balsamic blaze.

Tweek with any of the following additions, add more chilli, fresh chilli for a bigger bite, add bay leaves for a more Italian flavour, sliced chorizo sausage will make your man very happy, or even some sherry for a sweeter boozier edge....have fun!

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Pools and parties

If you can't take the heat, stay out the kitchen........if only!

Last weeks canape count was around 4000 with the odd lunch thrown in, all whilst simmering in the heatwave, so when I found myself in Muizenberg at 8 am on Saturday morning (bless those darling children) I pulled in at  Hassans little shop where a batch of sourdough ciabatta had just been released from the oven....aahh the smell!
Feeling much better, I rushed home with my warm treasure, the bread was begging for lashings of butter and a cup of fresh coffee.

I knew then that  it would be a good weekend.

Saturday evening we drove across town to Flamingo Vlei, the Romanian beauty had a birthday party.
I'd been looking forward to her mouth watering Sarmale all week, the main course was a Moroccan Lamb stew, slow cooked and simply divine- Romania's Nigella Lawson? I think so....

View of  Table Mountain on the way to Famingo Vlei

We weren't finished with the weekend yet, the art teacher warming to traveling, we drove along Muizenberg's coastline to Somerset West.

With the temperature peaking at 38 degrees, we were welcomed with cooling G & T's, the secret ingredient homemade bitters- a grappa bottle stuffed tight with a jungle of herbs.

In the cool dining room of the beautiful old house, we gathered, good friends and family settling in for a long Sunday lunch- Meltingly delicious stuffed lamb, the perfect contrast of a crisp Asian salad of marinated vegetables and bamboo shoots, not forgetting those grilled and marinated aubergines with garlic and parsley.

With spritz bottles and fans we kept ourselves cool whilst we reminisced over old albums, drank a little bit more wine and finally took to the road as the sun was retreating.

Friday, 3 February 2012

I knew a Lady

picture by Riaan de Villiers

So many memories......

Carefree sunset picnic suppers at the boathouse in Three anchor bay, the click- clack of the backgammon board.

Beautiful dinner parties, breakfasts and excellent coffee- carefully collected crockery, cutlery and linen from another time- so exquisitely beautiful, such attention to detail.

Hysterical cooking lessons from Manuel's mother next door- she taught us how to make a Spanish omelette without knowing one word of English.

Cookbooks and so many recipes, only the most authentic, Marcelle Hazan, Elizabeth Davids

Exotic spices and seeds smuggled back from distant markets- wow, that Asafetida was stinky.

Magical evenings at Maynardville-  herrings, genefer, so many bitterballen and always finishing with coffee at the Italian tent.

Holding a space for me in the long early morning queue - shared giggles at the voiced indignation of our neighbours- you knew your wine.

Precious tickets to fashion week, your style unique and your taste impeccable.

So many parties, thoughtful gifts and a real interest in the children.

Never an ill word, such grace, a teacher to many, a precious friend and I've heard it said- a demon on a motorbike.

Aida, the turmeric bulb has finally sprouted and is growing into a beautiful plant,

I'm so very sorry you won't be here to see it flower..
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