Thursday, 28 July 2011

Guy Tillim- Second Nature

Guy Tillim's exhibition at Stevenson gallery in Woodstock is breathtaking.

Large, vivid, detailed and at the same time atmospheric and textured- you loose yourself in these pictures of French Polynesia.

The photographs aren't all lush picturesque landscapes, most have elements of  'reality'-  they keep you lingering in front of the frame - the art teacher's favourite one above.

My favourite- the picture with only sea, clouds and birds- it was weighted, yet light and full of everything in between, it touched me.

The gallery's rooms were effervescent with Cape Town's art lovers and photographers, its been awhile since Guy Tillim has exhibited on home ground.

Guy Tillim in dark charcoal pullover

Sir Lowry road Woodstock- outside of  the gallery

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Pardon the purple everywhere

Little purple splatters everywhere- the outside tables and chairs are now a sort of purple/white camouflage, the same for most of the broad- leafed plants in the garden.

The washing, innocently fluttering on the line outside, is the ideal target for the' purple poopers'.

Best you put on a hat before you go outside....

The morning air is heavy with the chatter of little birds feasting on these purple berries, evidently they are now perfectly ripe and the neighbourhood birds couldn't be happier.

The Robins however, are looking for a more substantial breakfast - the new arrival hidden in a tree surrounded by ivy.

Speaking of purple- this is one of the flowers I picked for our blogger ' Flowers in the house Monday' which I couldn't identify, tried 'googling,' but no luck- anybody?

Monday, 25 July 2011

Flowers in the house in July

My new friend Jane over at small but charming all the way in Arlington, Virginia is hosting her 'Monday flowers in the house' party, where we get a little peek and some inspiration from the beautiful flowers in everyone's homes.

A quick dash into the garden this morning to see what looked cheerful-  its back to winter this side of the world, grey, dark and windy, can't blame the flowers for hiding.

Apologised to the bees and sunbirds as I picked what  flowers I could find and put them on the kitchen window sill......a small confession- thank heavens for Jane or that week- old parsley would still have been there!

When nothing else is flowering thank heavens for the Camellia's

Thursday, 21 July 2011

A Jacobsbaai beach house

What makes a fabulous beach house?

A picture perfect little bay with a pristine and sandy white beach,  gentle surf for swimming and body boarding, a cluster of interesting rock pools to forage in, only a handful of houses and a nearly deserted beach.

What makes a fabulous weekend at a beach house ?

A few wild and rough (in the nicest possible way) games of boules - I think its disputed, but the 'pretty boys' won and remained unchallenged for the rest of the weekend.

Delicious food in abundance, mussels picked from the rocks, fresh oysters from Saldanha, which is just around the corner.
Saturday lunch was delicious melt in the mouth lamb, we were a bit late -  sorry no pics and a breakfast salad with boiled eggs and roasted vine tomatoes, fried Ham on the side.

A saxophone in the early afternoon shadows, gently playing the sultry and sexy tones of
' Summertime, and the living is easy....."

The space for long beach walks or to practice a few challenging yo-yo techniques.
A quiet, sunny corner facing the sea, to read a good book or the warm light of a lamp to knit by.

the view from the kitchen windows on the other side of the house

Most of all, it was the gathering of good friends to celebrate the birthday of a lovely lady -
and I do believe,  I hear the distant ring of bells...........

I have to finish on this magnificent tattoo, aptly nautical for the beach house weekend, but look a little longer and you see so much more.

one of Barend's 'sea legs'

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Arabian lamb shoulder with lentils

During the time of our 'skaapie night' parties (roughly translated ' lamb night') the cut I most looked forward to cooking was the delicious shoulder.

I know you're wondering about the skaapie nights..... every 2nd month we'd place orders for whole and half lambs with a wonderful couple, Andre and Merna, who have a farm far away close to Uppington in Kennard.
They'd carefully slaughter, cut and pack all the bulk orders, load their bakkie and long trailer and drive through the night to deliver the much anticipated lambs.

That evening we would have an open house,  people would arrive to collect their orders- we'd eat and drink the evening through,  generally celebrating the thought of our full freezers packed with free-range Karoo lamb.

But back to the Arabian lamb with lentils,  from that delightful book "The foods of love' by Max de Roche.
The chapter is entitled 'On the seductive and sensual properties of meat'-  slow cook your lamb like the recipe below and you'll have few who argue.
I've adapted a bit- here's mine.....

Arabian Lamb
Whole shoulder of lamb
a few cloves of garlic
cup of uncooked brown lentils
4 celery stalks-chopped
thyme and rosemary
stock, water/wine
yoghurt and mint to garnish

Take a big cast iron pot and brown your shoulder nicely, add garlic, salt, rosemary, thyme, celery, then add wine, stock or water- I usually do a combination, to almost cover the shoulder and simmer gently for 1 1/2 - 2 hrs turning when you remember.
In another pot place your lentils, water, the rest of the rosemary and thyme, garlic and celery and cook until soft, approx 30/40 minutes.
When the shoulder has been going for more than about an hour and starting to look tender, I add the drained lentils along with the herbs etc to the shoulder pot and cook together until the lamb is falling off the bone.
Eat in shallow bowls with a spoon and fork, drizzled with yoghurt and garnished with chopped mint

Monday, 18 July 2011

21 years ago today....

at Uncle Paul's xmas party in Groot Constantia

She was lovingly delivered into our waiting arms....her name.. well, it followed a few weeks later-
names are like that.

What kind of a child would she turn out to be?

Fearless, compassionate and kind....

Just walking, barely running, she would throw herself with wild abandon into the sea, over and over again- could she see her future?

Keurbooms beach

Visiting a pet shop, she'd choose the oldest, ugliest and mangiest guinea pigs-
'Are you sure?', they'd ask, bewildered. Yes, she was very sure.

Animals everywhere- Tracy, the untrainable Beagle (she spent years trying), chickens that slept inside on top of the grandfather clock, ducks that patrolled our back door and wouldn't allow us to enter and the horses....

collecting Tracy from the kennels

those dangerous ducks

Oh the horses! from Campese, her hobby horse, (yes, that's right-don't ask us how or why, but her horse was named after the great Australian rugby player) and the parties, years of horse parties with magnificently painted horse cakes, bless her dad, the 'art teacher'.

with Campese

Resourceful, tenacious and a little bit stubborn...

With no horse to call her own,  she found one in the neighbourhood and rode daily.
Lessons and tack- either she found them or they found her.

with Pony

Boyfriends, boundaries, schoolbooks and still horses- all the while deciding her future.

Then she's 18 and its full circle, once again ready to throw herself with wild abandon into the sea, only this time I can't hold her back.


Literally just finished school and she's acquired all by herself,  with hardly any money-  a few papers, a passport and a passage to cross the infinitely large Atlantic ocean in a tiny catamaran to a future unknown.

at the harbour before her crossing

Hardworking, loyal, and generous....

Life on a magnificent yacht, exotic and affluent destinations, the places she describes - I see in my dreams.
and the parties....we'll say no more!

the Adela in Portofino

Happily, she's returning home for a visit in November,  lately when she arrives at the airport there's a definite cosmopolitan aura about her,  this time she's bringing home a young man.

Happy 21st dearest Carrie- we couldn't be more proud.

Friday, 15 July 2011

A fine day on the Sea Point promenade

A week of fresh, crisp and deliciously warm winter days drew us to the beachfront, today's choice Sea Point promenade, I was eager to see Kevin Brand's 'White horse' sculptures.

I love the inspiration behind these 5 white horse sculptures- the story goes in July 1966 the SS South African Seafarer ran aground  50 metres off the Mouille Point lighthouse, thankfully all crew and passengers were rescued.
On the ship was a large consignment of White Horse Whisky, free with the whisky was a plastic toy white horse. The following days the beach was scattered with little plastic white horses who were riding in on the crests of the huge Atlantic Ocean white horses- what a beautiful picture.

I was relieved to see that Marieke Prinsloo- Rowe's fabulous 'Walking the Road' sculptures were still there- several sculptures telling the delightful story of a little girl and a dragonfly.

A slow walk back to the lighthouse in time to catch the serene sunset, our senses sated by nature- the beauty of  the ancient rocks, the unpredictable sea, the colourful sunset and the rising full moon.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Peanut Butter cookies

The kids baked a double batch of peanut butter cookies last night- well actually my daughter did, my son's participation was in the eating.

Yummy peanut buttery smells permeated the house-so very comforting.

We've experimented with size and get a great result with these little bite -sized ones, plus you can pop a couple in your mouth and then convince yourself a few more would still be acceptable!

Thank you to the South American's for the peanuts and the Americans for the genius of peanut butter......


120g Margarine
120 g Crunchy peanut butter
125ml castor sugar
1 egg- 1 ml salt
350 ml self raising flour

Cream the margarine and the peanut butter, add the egg, beat happily, add salt and flour and have some fun making those little balls.....don't forget to lick the bowl afterwards........180 degrees- 8 minutes.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Twinkle twinkle little party lights

A fun and frenzied few days preparing for the 'art teachers' party on Saturday evening, a bit of scrubbing and cleaning...sadly happily ours is not the kind of cottage that stays in 'show house' condition for more than a few hours.

Then the food.... its always an honor to cook for friends and I loved every minute of it -  there were beans to be soaked and kilo's of pork belly to be bought, fresh fish to be found and many lemons to be picked for the ceviche, ricotta cheese and fesh fennel seeds for the meatballs, chickens to be poached that needed fresh herbs to be foraged, chorizo that is 'just right' to be sourced and triple chocolate brownies to be baked....not forgetting the pretty fragrant  flowers to be chosen......who would have thought it....and dare I actually say it- I embraced my 'inner Margaret Stewart'!

The time arrives- wonderful hours with fabulous friends, drinking, eating and laughing, its the stuff of real life.

'The art teacher' is happily overwhelmed with his well chosen gifts- trays of plants; delicious dark chocolates; olive oil & biltong; vodka, whisky, grappa and wine; candles and photographic prints, books and glossy art books, sharp knives and wonderfully original music compilations- what more could a man ask for?

The pathway to the cottage in the morning light- walk a bit further for a delightfully hedonistic display of half empty wine glasses and bottles, scraped plates, spent candles, abandoned shoes and overflowing ashtrays- it was a great party- thank you all.

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