Lazy Days

It has been rather exceptionally lucky to end up with 2 4 day weekends in one month. Even the work week flew by this week. 

Last Saturday we decided to nip out for dinner to Papino’s in Hout Bay. The Rugby World Cup has kicked off and SA were playing, so we tried to time it before the rugby viewers left the pubs and hit the restaurants. We were lucky that Caitlin was free and joined us. Especially as Norm heard a fellow scots on the other side of the restaurant and wandered off to join them.

Charming.

  
Norm and I ordered our usual, Hollandse Biefsteak.

  
That ^^ is from their website. Just for laughs, here is mine of my actual plate.

  

We ordered mushrooms to go with it and for a change I had Portuguese chips and loved them.

Pescatarian Cait had the calamari with salad and steamed veggies.

  

By the way, the SA Springboks got their arse kicked by Japan. The less said about that the better. We won’t even draw attention to the fact that later in the week my beloved Scotland caused some cherry blossom damage. 

We won’t mention it. 

   
 
Not a word.

Norm and I got up and out of the house early last Sunday. We headed off to The Riverway Cafe.

  
We grabbed a quick Retro Roll before we did our shopping.
   
Such attention to detail, I do love it here.

Then once our hunger was sated we did a quick run round Pic N Pay and that night for dinner I cooked a yummy pot roast with carrots and potatoes. For Caitlin I made giant black mushrooms baked with Camembert cheese and walnuts. She threw together some salad. 

  
It was all rather delicious. 

The next night I shredded the rest of the beef roast and added lots of spices, made refried beans and corn and Cait made up all the toppings. Mmmmm.

 Pulled pork or beef tacos are my fave thing. 

 
Trust me they were better than they look.

I had another letter left on my car by my crazed religious stalker. This interaction on Twitter when I had a whine about it all made me laugh.

  

I hope my crazy church stalker doesn’t have Dexter tendencies. 

Tuesday night was my book club evening. It was hosted by Chris and as it was my birthday month I was given chocolate cake and a lovely voucher to a local spa. I felt very spoiled and Chris made a delicious dinner for us all. 

I went to sleep quite late so I struggled a bit on Wednesday. But it was worth it.

As Thursday was a public holiday we treated Wednesday as a holiday and had takeout pizzas. As a family we are divided in our tastes so Norm did a visit to Cassarechio as well as Mimmi To Go. Lily and Norm love the ravioli at the former and I love the unique toppings from Massimo’s via the new take out spot. 

Thursday was National Heritage Day in South Africa.  

 We had a laid back relaxing day doing not much of anything.

We had our morning coffee on the bedroom balcony.

  
I did make dinner that night but we didn’t do the traditional braai I just threw together some bits and pieces as Norm hates to braai. 

Friday we had plans to meet up with some friends of Norman’s sister who are over on a holiday. We collected them at their hotel in the foreshore and drove round the city to Constantia. Norm wanted to get me fed as my blood sugar was low and I was being a pain in the arse. He suggested Green’s as the food is always good there, but I thought regardless of the food, we couldn’t take overseas visitors for lunch in a strip mall and instead suggested Groot Constantia Vineyards. There are a few different restaurants there and we stopped at Jonkershuis to see if we could get a table in the sunny outside area. We were in luck and settled in and ordered a bottle of wine and perused the menu. As I knew we were going to the market later I didn’t want a big meal so both Linda and I ordered the Caesar salad.

  
It tasted as dismal as it looks. There was no anchovy present (nor boiled egg which usually accompanies a SA version of a Caesar) it even had ranch dressing. The lettuce was past its best and was chopped so tiny it was more like slaw in texture. The bacon was overdone, the chicken underdone. It really was dreadful.

I was so embarrassed that I had taken the mickey out of Norm for wanting to take our visitors to a strip mall and they ended up eating that?!

The only saving grace was that the men had decent food, Norm had a burger and John had the dorado.

  
Luckily the wine kept us smiling.

 

After lunch we strolled around the beautiful vineyard. 

   
 

We even saw a guy propose to his girl.

  

So cute. I hope she said yes.

As it was Heritage Day we were allowed to tour the winery museum for free! That was cool, we have done it before but every time I notice new things. 

After we finished our walk about we went off to Hout Bay. We drove down along the beach while we waited til the market opened at 5pm. We then parked up and wandered round to The Workspace and saw the amazing sculpture there then headed to the Bay Harbour Market and had a wander round all the lovely little stalls then grabbed a cocktail and went outside. 

   
 

I love how they have made art from nothing all all. 

  
The painting of Mandela is surrounded by an old drain cover. 

We hung out here for a few hours then we headed off for dinner. Linda wanted seafood, but as John had dorado for lunch he fancied a steak so we decided Pescarne would be perfect.

There was no musical accompaniment thank god, our last visit was a nightmare. We settled in and ordered more wine (poor designated driver Norm). 

The men decided to go for the special on the Ribeye, R129 for 2 350gram steaks. What a bargain!

I had the 12 queen prawns on special for R109. 
  
My regular readers will know that Pescarne have had an identity crisis about serving their prawns. This time there was no lemon butter on the prawns, they were a bit dry. I wish they would settle on their preferred method so I know whether to ask for butter or not. But they were nicely cooked.  Just dry.

Linda had the baby platter which she loved. Hake, mussels, calamari and prawns.

  

I’ve had it before it is divine, just too much for me. 

Norman had malva pudding for dessert which the others fancied so much once they tried his they had then ordered another portion.  It was beautifully and ornately presented but my phone was uncooperative and I didn’t get a pic. But they all loved it.

We had ordered takeaways for the girls and Lily came to collect them so they also had a queen prawn treat, we had home heroes come to take our friends back to the CBD and we ended up home rather exhausted from a long, fun filled day.

Saturday morning Caitlin went climbing and Lily and I hit the Pic n Pay sale, I got a shirt, some cute men’s PJs with a warm fuzzy top and 3 new pairs of pumps for work. I had a huge bag full of goodies all for R350!

We hadn’t stopped home to have breakfast so we popped into Brot the newish bakery in Mainstream mall in Hout Bay. How cute is the presentation of their product when you buy it? 

   
 

We chose the peach cake and 2 donuts. We thought the donuts would be best so ate the cake 1st. We were so mistaken, that peach cake was so moist and soft and rich. Really divine! The donuts were ok, but oh that cake! Taught us both you can’t trust appearances, we should know that,  look at my own food! 😉

We chomped away on our way off to Sable Square where we went from one end of china town to the other. I was exhausted! I did manage to find all of my bits and pieces for my Halloween outfit. We then went to Sake Sushi for the R139 all you can eat sushi deal, however every timeI go I forget that I cannot eat that much sushi and I bloody hate seaweed. I couldn’t get the attention of the chefs and the waitress didn’t come near once we were seated. Otherwise I would have ordered what I like. I didn’t fancy a lot of the stuff on the conveyer. 

Meh. I didn’t enjoy it. But it was a lovely day spent with Lily. 

Last night we stayed in and rented Unfriended which was just dreadful. A really horrendous pointless movie. Don’t bother watching it.

We ordered pizzas again (don’t look at me like that I like pizza) and of course I had Mimmi. I had the salame with jalapeños instead of the mushrooms. 

  
We just had a relaxing evening at home, I was too exhausted for much more!

Today Norm was sweet enough to do a run round the shops for me. I am off now to roast a gammon for dinner and then put a curry into the slow cooker for tomorrow. Enjoy the rest of your weekend all I’ve had a brilliant one!

The Natural Progression of Things

I can’t believe 2 weeks have gone by since my birthday celebrations. Work is still intense even with my hours reduced. I’ve been slack about keeping to my determination to keep cooking at home. We missed shopping 2 weekends and Caitlin was away. We were rather disorganized but we thought as our resident pescatarian was away we would indulge our carnivorous sides so Norm popped into Hout Bay and did a mini shop. I made a Chinese beef dish in the crockpot. It was just stewing beef from woollies but a night in the slow cooker and we had a tasty, rich, tender dinner ready. I made rice and steamed broccoli and it was sorted. 

I made a pork fillet and mushroom dish with cream and mustard sauce. We made mash to go with and a sticky red cabbage. But the rest of the week was just meals grabbed on the go and what seems like hours of my day sitting in traffic due to all of these road works.

On the 9th we heard a loud bang which we thought was the Noon Gun which is in actuality a cannon, except it was only 11! 

  

Our project manager came in from outside and said it was gunshots being fired into the air. There was a protest at the City of Cape Town offices which we could just see from our offices.
  
Apparently the construction workers were protesting not having permanent jobs. I thought that was the nature of that type of work? Never mind, I’m sure the gunshots helped win their argument.

That weekend I was surprised with a generous gift from our employers, a gift voucher for the Waterfront. 

 
There are loads of restaurants and shops there so it will be fab. I desperately need some decent black work trousers as mine are all very faded from the African sun. Electricity is far too expensive to use the tumble dryer here. 

We went out to our fave spot Ragafellows for dinner last Saturday. We love it there.

  
Unless our plates are empty and then we are sad. 

  
Once these arrived he perked right up. 

We had these divine, plump prawns.

  
As well as the crispy calamari.

  
And of course I had the Baylock burger with pickles, jalapeños and bacon. I stole this off their page.

  
We all know my pics are crap. I don’t know why and it doesn’t bother me enough to make me take a class. So. 

Whatever.

Here’s my pic.

  
See?

Whatever.

At least the weather has been warming up, after all September 1st is Spring Day in SA. My clivias are all in bloom. 

  
We were invited to a braai at our friends’ the Efftings, they are such a lovely couple and have a stunning home. My bestie Retha was there too. 

  

Alison and Andy managed to make feeding an army of people look effortless but I know there must have been hours of prep done before we all even arrived. 

  

We had a lovely day acting silly and chilling out with the crazy scarecrows designed to keep the herons from eating the koi in the pond.

   
 
It was a lovely day with friends. A great way to spend a Sunday. But as we had such a big late lunch we didn’t eat dinner. Between this fact and the margaritas  consumed I needed a proper breakfast that Monday morning so I popped into Cocoa for the Eggs Benedict special at R39. A bargain! 

  

On the 15th Retha collected me after work and we headed to Atlantic Imbizo at   V&A Waterfront to attend the Girl Geek Dinner. We haven’t been in ages, it used to be that we never missed one. But we were attending up to 3 events some weeks and got a bit burned out. It was a good one to return for. The speaker was Andre Hugo the co-founder of Money For Jam which is a site where various ‘jobs’ are posted, from doing a check in at a specific spot, to taking a survey. You fill the job requirements and money is added to your wallet. Build up enough in your wallet and you can cash out.

It’s a great way for marketers to do virtual crowd surfing and to get info and data quickly. 

It was a stunning evening by the sea.

  
We had a nice dinner, nothing spectacular, typical event food. I went with the beef. For the low price they charge per head they do a bang up job.

  
   
   

The GGDCPT event always has great gift bags

.   

And I won a voucher from Dermalogica for R150 off of a facial and I desperately need a facial. 

  

Caitlin popped in this morning to collect the pottery we painted recently. I didn’t have time to do 2 coats so it could be better but it’s ok.

  
I’m building up a collection of entertaining pottery.

Umm… Not ‘entertaining pottery’ as in the pottery will sing and dance to amuse you, but rather you fill it with tapenade and chips when you are entertaining and have friends round for drinks.

All I painted has a theme of colours and effects.

  
Norman finished renovating the old cupboard we bought a few weeks ago. He did a brilliant job. The knobs we bought in Kalk Bay are perfect. Now I have my dressing table back and Norm has a bit of storage. 

  
Lily has gone to George for the weekend and today Caitlin went to view some flats. She decided at 27 years old she should be more independent and is hoping to buy a flat. I hate to see her go as I love having my girls with me, but I see her point. 

It’s the natural progression of things after all.

The Path To Redemption

I always think one should spoil themselves on their birthday, especially if no one else is going to. This year both my husband and my daughter were going away and were not here for my birthday. My other daughter Lily works late so I decided to organize my own itinerary of happiness, starting with booking 2 days off of work so that I had a 4 day weekend. 

Last week on Tuesday night Norm had left for Namibia but Caitlin and Lily were home. Cordelia was working so I made sure to drop her before dark as the township can be dangerous. When she got home, Caitlin and I made the breakfast cups she has been dying to try, I googled a recipe but it was so overwhelming as there are millions so I just read a few and winged it. I precooked the bacon for Lily and I and we cooked mushrooms, fried onions, and homemade guacamole and potato rostis to go with it. We layered the mushrooms with the grated cheddar cheese and poured over the whipped eggs to which we had added fromage frais and a dash of milk. It was so delicious.

  

On Wednesday Caitlin flew to Joburg and I had Vanessa coming to the house to do my pedicure so I left work at 4. The weather was sunny finally. 

After Vanessa left I made tacos and beans and heated some corn for Lily and I for our dinner. We stayed up far too late as I was off the next day. 

I woke up early on my birthday to my usual furry faced friends.

Lily came through singing Happy Birthday and carrying a stunning black lily from Norm in absentia and a card.

  

Lily also made a cute pic collage for my birthday.

  

I got dressed and headed off for breakfast with a couple of the book club girls. 

  
We met at the newly relocated Earthworx Garden centre in Hout Bay. It’s about 5 minutes drive from my house. I chose the fried eggs with bacon and tomatoes.     

It was simple and good. I finished my coffee and then needed a drink so I asked the manager for water. She asked didn’t I prefer juice as it was all fresh squeezed so I asked for orange juice. She went away and came back to say she had bought it fresh at spar on Monday but it now appeared to be off. Yuck. I would rather not know that. I asked for water rather. 

I finished my food and still nothing came to drink. Because of my hernia my food often sticks and needs to be washed down. I went into the inside part of the cafe and found the manager sitting reading the paper and I asked again for water. She said “oh didn’t you get it? I told her to bring it” while pointing at the girl running round serving the busy cafe. I wanted to ask why she didn’t bring it herself rather than sit down to read the paper, but never mind it was my birthday so I did not want any aggro. 

We decided we had to have cake and they had conveniently just iced one so we asked for carrot cake with 3 forks. There was no candle so I pretended to blow out the pretty flower. As you do. 

   

We had a lovely morning and Dawn gave me chocs and Louise a gorgeous koi decorated platter and home made lemon marmalade made by her Mum from Louise’s own trees. 

  
I had a lovely morning and came home to chill out in the sun with the pups. We all enjoyed the beautiful weather.  

 
That evening Pierre came to collect me and drop Retha and I at Kitima. It is also about a 5 minute drive from my house, but the roadworks mean we have to go all the way around town so it’s a pain. Still less than ten minutes, but a pain.

Our friend Elmari joined us.

  

We had lots of cocktails and lots of dim sum and sushi.

  
  
  

I will try and remember what all we ordered. We had:

– Salmon Roses 2 portions at R70 for 4 pieces of thinly sliced salmon delicately wrapped around a core of sushi rice topped with salmon caviar,

– Golden Prawns (2) @ 55, Golden fried prawns wrapped in kataifi pastry served with homemade lemongrass and chilli jam,

– Duck Spring Rolls (2) – 50, Golden fried spring rolls filled with crispy duck, spring onions and carrots served with homemade duck sauce,

– Chicken Satay (3) – 50. Pan grilled skewers of chicken fillets marinated in coconut milk served with peanut sauce,

– Geaw Za (3) – 55, Pan fried dumplings filled with minced pork, garlic and ginger,  

– and my personal fave, the Prawn Balls with Smoked Dutch Gouda, Retha and I each had 2 of them at R60, crunchy fried prawn balls stuffed with smoked Dutch Gouda and served on a wasabi avocado mousse. I am sure they were previously stuffed with mozzarella?

For dessert I had chocolate fondant.

  

And Retha had the creme brûlée. 

  
Both were divine.

We had a lovely relaxed evening then headed back to mine as it made it much easier for Pierre to collect Retha without having to go right round town. Elmari kindly dropped us.

We sat outside on the back patio in the warm evening air with Lily until Pierre arrived. It was a stunning evening. Lily gave me the gift she and Caitlin had bought together, they tried to get Mumford and Sons tickets which had gone on sale that day, but they sold out in minutes. Instead we got tickets for the family to see Rodriguez which will be good I hope. His demons sometimes get the best of his performances. Such a sad story, if you never saw the documentary Searching For Sugarman then you should, it’s poignant and sad but very interesting. 

By this time it was about 11pm and Norm still hadn’t phoned to wish me happy birthday. 😕😢 he is in big trouble. 

Friday morning Lily and I were of course woken early by the dogs. We made breakfast of an omelette stuffed with the leftover taco meat and cheese. We headed off to Chapman’s Peak Drive to get over to Kalk Bay.

  

 We stopped at one of the picnic spots in the shade to enjoy the view. 

  
We sat in the shade of a huge tree and drank in the stunning view. 

   
 Eventually we toddled off to Kalk Bay. There are roadworks all over and we spent ages sitting in the sun at stop and goes. We went to the far end of town and parked. We dandered down the sidewalk popping into antique shops, clothing shops, garden shops and all sorts of cool unique little spots. We bought ice creams at the Ice Cafe, known among locals as one of the best ice cream spots in Cape Town. We climbed up on the stools and looked out of the big bay window and enjoyed a few minutes out of the glaring sun. 

We finished our ice creams and then hit the shops on the opposite side of the road, we had a lovely day and bought some charming bits and pieces. I treated myself to a pink Quartz necklace and some nice Moroccan style jewelry.

  

We also bought a gorgeous unusual houseplant.

  

And the cutest little birdbath type garden ornament.   

We had such a nice day out and got home just a few minutes before Josh arrived from George. They headed off to town to join friends for dinner and Norm finally got home about 9pm. He had a big bump on his head and a sore back and knees as he managed to trip and land on his noggin when leaving the airport. He was being hassled by a so called security guard at the airport. Nice. I’ve tried to convince him it had nothing to do with me that he fell just after he told me he had arrived in Cape Town…..like I would send bad juju to cause him harm just because I’m angry? 🔫💣🔪

We spent the rest of Friday evening at home, I was tired from my busy day in the boiling heat, and he was sore from bouncing round the car park on his head. 

Saturday was a scorcher of almost 30degrees. I sat by the pool in the shade with the pups mooching round the garden.

  

We spent a relaxing day and then that evening we went to Cheyne’s in Hout Bay. 

  
Again – another gem 5 minutes from my front door. I love Hout Bay. 

 The concept here is tasting sized servings. You choose and share or sample various items on your own. 

  

As usual my pics are rubbish. I’m sorry Cheyne but it was damned dark. 

We had the firecracker crayfish.

  

The steak.

  

The chicken.

  

The Mombai chili beef.

  

Norman had the cheese plate.

  

And I had the peanut butter shake.

  

It was all so divine, my fave was probably the Mombai chili beef. We came back home and relaxed after, we were so stuffed!

The final step in Norman’s attempts to redeem himself was the jewel in the crown of a rather amazing weekend. He had booked us in for lunch at La Colombe. This venue has recently moved to Silvermist Wine Estate and has been named on the S.Pellegrino’s World’s Top Restaurants list. It is easy to see why. Today I think I had the best meal I’ve ever eaten. 

The view was stunning.

  
We had seats right by the window on the bright veranda. Note new necklace getting an outing. 

   
Norm chose a carafe of the Silvermist Sauvignon Blanc. As it was midday we didn’t want to get too tipsy.

 We were presented with a complimentary amuse bouche in the cutest little container. There was a big chunk of bread, a layered glass jar of hummus, tapenade and sun-dried tomato. A separate dish of ‘virgin butter’ and a divine wee tuna tin.

  
I have never heard of virgin butter and was afraid to ask if it comes from virginal cows or virginal churners? 

We opted for the tasting menu at R595 each. We were torn by the ala carte fillet special so the charming waiter offered to change the lamb for beef if we chose the tasting menu! Decision made!

We were served the Poached oyster, lemon, caviar, seaweed and apple course. It was so delicious the seaweed light and crispy, the oyster fresh.

  

There was a mini course of bread and some sort of butter but it’s not on the menu so not sure what it was. It came with their own cured chorizo. Very yummy! 

  
Next we had QUAIL AND CELERIAC: Pan seared quail breast, confit leg, celeriac and truffle espuma, smoked goat cheese. The quail was tender and not overwhelming with gaminess. The espuma had a gorgeous almost nutty taste. 

 

FOIE GRAS AND LANGOUSTINE: Foie Gras, langoustine, hazelnut, caramelized endive, jasmine tea.   

This was incredible. I wanted to lick the plate. So delicious! 

Next we had a course of a palate cleanser of little balls of frozen Passion fruit and thyme. These are little works of art.

  
The sorbet is frozen into balls, speared with a toothpick, rolled in cocoa butter and refrozen. You pop the whole thing in your mouth and the warmth of your mouth melts the butter, filling your mouth with a delightful sweet slush. We watched another diner try to be posh and spear his delicately with a fork only to have it disappear. Oops. Get yer fingers in there!

Next we had the SCALLOP AND PORK BELLY: Pan fried scallop, Asian style pork, kimchi, sweetcorn, lemongrass and ginger velouté. 

  
Scallops are one of my all time fave foods, and the combo of scallop and pork is always a winner. This was hands down the best pork belly I have ever had. Rich, sweet, full of flavour yet no gelatinous slabs of fat. The thin little slivers of light crispy crackling was amazing. 

BEEF FILLET: Grilled beef fillet, crisp sweetbreads, wild garlic purée, tender stem broccoli, bone marrow, black pepper and truffle café au lait.

  
We had a coffee and then the dessert arrived. RHUBARB, STRAWBERRY AND ELDERBERRY: Rhubarb financier, strawberry purée, elderberry ice cream and pea pudding. No idea what a ‘financier’ is in regards to an edible object? Okay some rude jokes about hookers come to mind, but who knows?

  
I’m not a big rhubarb fan but this was divine! Sweet and light and refreshing. A perfect end to a faultless menu. 
When they bring the bill they bring a little box of La Colombe Petit Fours. There is a truffle, a piece of hard fudge and a fruity jelly one.

  
 We had such a wonderful day and Norman has more than redeemed himself for his neglect. I feel very spoiled. 

Now it’s time to tuck away my tiara of specialness and go back to reality. 😋