Not So Easy E’s

Sunday was Mother’s Day in SA and the USA. Norm was working and my son was in Plett for a wedding and Josh was enroute home to George, so it was just me and my daughters who were around. I had booked Cheyne’s for lunch as I have not been in a few months and was very keen on going back. As my girls are still at Uni I can’t expect them to pay for it so if I am paying I might as well please myself, so I took it upon myself to make a booking.

The morning was relaxing, I had a late lie in and Lily brought me coffee in bed and made me toast and my girls bought me a stunning pair of amethyst and silver earrings so I felt very spoiled.

We arrived at Cheyne’s ready for a feast!
me girls
We debated how to approach ordering – do we just each choose a dish of our preference and keep to that or do we get some things for the table to share, tapas style? We decided on the share option and we ordered 3 plates to share for our 1st course.

We went for the following dishes for round 1:
PAN FRIED PEPPER PRAWNS, SHIITAKE MUSHROOM, GINGER AND LIME SYRUP
prawns

This one was not my best – mostly due to the strong taste of ginger on the shitake mushrooms. The girls loved it but ginger is too intense for my delicate wee taste buds :-).

The SEA FIRECRACKER CRAYFISH, RED DRAGON SAUCE, GARLIC CHIVE QP, SHUMAI DIPPING SAUCE and last but certainly not least, my fave seafood ever, the PAN FRIED SCALLOPS, GREEN CHILLI PUREE, RED PEPPER KIMCHI, FENNEL.
scallops crayfish

I adore scallops and they are so seldom on the menu in SA, these did not disappoint. They were very tender and tasted just slightly of the sea as they should. The crayfish is always one of my picks on Cheyne’s menu when available. There is little which can top a nice fresh crayfish. That is similar to a lobster for you yanks. One would think what a waste to tempura a crayfish tail but they would be wrong.

We then had a break to digest and had quite a debate about the next round of dishes as we all adored the crayfish so much we considered having another dish of it for round 2. Caitlin was not too keen on the chilli in the beef dish so we decided on 2 vegetable dishes: potato and coconut dumplings and the aubergine tempura as well as the meat dishes. We had ordered several dishes and then had a little discussion mid-order which left the waiter confused, but we were happy with what we ended up with and we were charged for what we were served, so it’s all good.

We had the 48HR BEEF SHORTRIB, STAR ANISE MASTER STOCK, POTATO CREAM.
shortrib

I remembered the short rib from our 1st visit to Cheyne’s and so I was very keen on trying it again. The name to me is a bit off putting and I would never have chosen it otherwise, this is one of the dishes I struggled to convince the girls to try but we all loved it. The beef is so tender and full of rich flavours. It literally falls apart it is so tender. It was served with what us common folk would call mash. Cheyne called it ‘potato cream’ which has triggered off ‘Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off’ to be bouncing round my head in a continual loop. (You know the one, the potato, potahtoh song). The flavours of the stock were divine and we all liberally poured it over a variety of things (see what I mean about getting a bit cavalier with the combinations after Cheyne had most likely spent ages finding the perfect taste mix). My view is that everything is better with gravy. Or tempura batter. But not both, that would just be silly.

The other main was the MUMBAI CHILLI BEEF, CARDAMOM, GINGER, TOASTED COCONUT FLAKES,
chili beef

Lily and I have a favourite Chinese dish, often it is called Szechuan beef. This version had less of the crispy hardness that sometimes occurs when they overfry it. It was tender, spicy, and moist. The flavours were just so amazing. We all loved this dish.

And we rounded out that course with the previously mentioned vegetable dishes:
POTATO AND COCONUT DEEP FRIED DUMPLINGS, HOT AND SOUR COCONUT CREAM and the AUBERGINE TEMPURA, GREEK YOGHURT, LOCAL HONEY, TORN BASIL.
auberginedumplings

Those dumplings are now one of my favourite things I have ever eaten. It is almost donut like in texture except fluffier and lighter. The outside was perfectly crispy and the inside was like a little coconutty cloud of heaven. The sauce for dipping it in was the perfect complement, slightly curry-ish, and slightly coconut and lightly creamy.

The aubergine tempura was also nice but it definitely took 2nd place to the dumplings.

For dessert we could not decide which dish to share as we were pretty full by now, so we decided to push the boat out and go for 3 – figuring it is only a bite each plate per person (ish).

We ordered the following:
• BLONDE CHOCOLATE FONDANT, MISO ICE CREAM 65
• FRIED APPLE PIE, CHILLI JAM, SOUR CREAM ICE CREAM 55
• CRISP CARAMEL BANANAS, COCONUT AND RUM SORBET 55

banana apple pievanilla choc fondant

The only problem with sharing dishes is that you end up piling it all onto one plate and maybe lose the connectedness to the source plate. So you may not be combining properly. One of the above had a substitution of peanut butter ice cream, but as I had moved everything around I am not sure which one! But as a peanut butter obsessive, I didn’t care because it was divine.

The banana dish also had a substitution of a toasted brioche base instead of whatever it was supposed to have as a base. But it was amazing! And I am very reticent about bananas within a dish – I like bananas quite a bit but only as a banana, once you heat it up it brings out the slime and no one likes slime. Except maybe snails, I assume slime is a snail aphrodisiac.

Lily loved the blonde chocolate fondant the most, I really struggled to decide but I think I preferred the banana dessert, but the combo of all 3 sliding together into one big puddle on the plate was pretty fab too.

I feel so blessed to have my girls living with me, my only wish is that Trevor was a bit closer so we could pop over to see him more often, but a 4-5 hour drive each way makes it just a bit much for a quick weekend trip.

The girls had studying to do so after I sucked down the dregs of my lovely bottle of La Motte Sauvignon Blanc we paid up and waddled off home. I had a nice quiet evening in charge of the remote so I could catch up on American Idol which everyone else in the family thinks is cheesy.

Monday was Caitlin’s birthday so we had a quick late night present session as she was going to be off with her friends when I got home that evening and didn’t want to wake at 6.30 when I go to work. I bought her some workout clothes, and a stunning dress and some other bits and pieces which she seemed to love.

Hard to believe my babies are getting so grown up. Being a woman is a challenge and getting old is definitely not for sissies. Turning into an old woman is definitely not a bag of fun either.

It is obviously a lot more fun than being 6 feet under, which I guess is the only alternative, other than trying to preserve your face with plastics and poisons. That apparently works but is not for me.

I was watching a quiz show the other night when the question came up ‘at what age does a woman become invisible?’ to which I blurted out 50. These days 40 year old women can look damned good still. My kids looked blankly at me and I tried to tell them what it is like to be invisible. My daughters (and my son for that matter) are all very beautiful. So the idea that there is a magic age when they will no longer get stared at by every weirdo in the room seemed very appealing to them. I remember being young and getting annoyed by men staring. I was once so put off by a man dining with his wife and staring at me so intently that it creeped me out. I waited until no one was looking except him and I opened up my mouth and proceeded to show him a gob full of well masticated dinner. He looked ready to retch but at least he stopped staring at me. So I do understand the girls’ desire for anonymity. But I tried to tell them that when it is gone, even though it annoys them now, they will miss it.

My darling hubby tells me almost daily that I am beautiful and that he loves me. Is it superficial or narcissistic that we all like to know that someone finds us visually appealing and maybe even desirable?

Anyway, aging is a bitch. Men look away now if you are bothered by the words ‘uterus’ or ‘hormones’ as it’s going to get uncomfortable from this point on.

Menopause can make some women crazy. I wonder if it makes the crazy ones crazier, or whether it is just a random crap shoot of luck. It makes me crazy. It makes me emotional and erratic and easy to get annoyed. Maybe annoyed isn’t a strong enough word…..enraged. That is it – the 3 E’s of menopause. Emotional, erratic and enraged. Like a trio of psychotic dwarves.

Next week I have to go into hospital for a ‘minor procedure.’ A minor procedure to me should be the equivalent of flossing your teeth, not having tubes inserted into orifices or needles impaled into any part of your flesh.

Refer to my previous blogs about my overactive imagination and you will see why I am in a bit of lather about this whole situation. But anyway…..it is only a minor procedure right?

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