Oops I Did It Again

Sunday evening I joined friends for dinner and I wore my other pair of new jeans. So comfy but they fit properly. It is nice to not keep tugging at my waist.

 
We were meeting up at the V and A Waterfront to send off our friend Caroline who is moving to the UK. I am rather annoyed that I never got a pic with her! She snapped this one of the distracted group.

  

We were lucky to get the ‘Sexy Table’ at Primi which is apparently so named because of the view. But the frisky Spanish maitre de winked when he told me this table fable. The view was pretty sexy however.

  
I love the food at Primi Piatti and as feared, I made a Banting boo boo. 

Or two.

Or so.

I had 2 frozen strawberry daiquiris. Strikes 1 and 2.

Also, I saw the pic on the menu of the Pescatore Pasta described as Patagonian calamari, shelled prawns & half-shelled mussels, pan-fried with olive oil, garlic, white wine, lemon & tomato with a hint of chilli at R135. I had to have it. 

So I did. Strike 3.

 

It was divine. Worth a bit of a stumble.

As if having pasta and 2 sugary strawberry dacquiries was not naughty enough, I ended off with a divine Kahlua Dom Pedro. YOLO bitches.

It was so delicious.

Strike 4.  

  
Oh well. I guess as long as I don’t fall off too often it’s all good. 

To keep me motivated after a night of sugary booze and pasta I created a “Before & After” photo of Norm and I. Christmas was the timing of the pic on the left and our diet started in January. So this is our 3 month progress.

  

I feel much better without the extra weight so I will keep being focussed on eating ‘clean’ as often as possible and trying to make better choices.

Sunday was a public holiday in South Africa. It was Human Rights Day. We were so lazy. I had such a busy, fun filled party weekend that I needed a day to slob about. 

Norm made us a delicious brunch of cheesy scrambled eggs, tomatoes and avocado and later that day we watched a film. In the afternoon I made a Banting lasagna for dinner that evening.

  
It was so yummy. I used zucchini ‘noodles’. To cut them I use my Carrol Boyes cheese slicer.

  
I slice one side to turn to the bottom to keep the courgette flat while I slice it. It works well. Funnily however I slice the mozzarella with a knife. More proof that we are more than our labels. 😉

On Tuesday there was a bomb attack in Belgium resulting in many deaths. Another terrorist attack. It seems nowhere is safe. Who are they punishing? Women, children, all sexes, ages, races, countries, no one is above their hatred.

Why is the world so full of anger and hate? Look at how many Americans support that poisonous, mysoginistic, bigoted, racist, hamster handed psycho Trump. When I see women supporting him I cannot fathom the level of self hatred these women must have to support someone who has no respect for their gender.

Please Universe let enough people vote for Hilary. Even Bernie. I know nothing about Bernie’s politics but I love the bird communing with him on the podium.

I’m a firm believer in birds being messengers from the spirit world. That silly event coupled with the type of friends who support him have gotten my attention.

On Wednesday evening we went with some of Norman’s work associates to Ragafellows.

One of our guests had the Chicken Roulade with mushroom sauce, mozzarella & vegetable stuffing. It looked nice and she ate every bite so it must have been good. It was R125.

  

  

Norm and I ordered the Noaksy burger.

  

It is a burger but adapted for banters. Instead of a bun it is topped with a chickpea and sweet corn fritter. It comes with bacon jam and cheese. Instead of potato it comes with butternut. 

They used to serve little trays of pickled veg which Norm loves and was sulky when the waiter said they didn’t have any. The burgers were very nice, It was a lovely relaxed night. 

Often one evening each week we have a meal of whatever is left from the weekly shop. On Thursday we had one of these. After Vanessa my manicurist left I was starving and so I just started cooking with no plan or direction. I had half a spicy chorizo and a packet of bacon so I chopped them up and fried in butter then I found 2 baby red cabbages and I chopped that in with it. I figured bacon and cabbage go well, so why not? I added balsamic which went nicely sticky.

I had some zucchini and so I sliced it up, with my Carrol Boyes cheese slicer to get as thin as possible, then put the slices in a bowl and drizzled with olive oil, Himalayan pink salt and then grated on some fresh Parmesan. Then spread them over baking paper which I laid onto a large oven tray. 

I discovered a bag of sweet potatoes and boiled them whole in their skins as once cooked it’s easy to scrape off the skin. Also boiled sweet potato are lower in carbs than baked. I put in the blender with a big block of butter and puréed.

I was worried that it was enough food and that the combination was going to be revolting, but it was really delicious! It went so nicely together.

How lucky! 

 

We watched telly and relaxed and relished that we were going to be sleeping in on Friday as it was Good Friday. 

Lily was off to George on Friday but Norm and I had a lazy morning. I made 3-cheese fritters without a recipe, it had sharp cheddar, emmenthal and Parmesan all grated in, 2 eggs, milk and almond flour. I seasoned with paprika and fried in a mix of butter and coconut oil. I was proud that they were so yummy! 

  

We put our eggs on top of them and they soak up the delicious yolks. I served with bacon, rosa tomatoes and avocado. 

Friday evening Norm took his visitors to the airport and stopped and got take aways from Spiro’s. It was a cool night, I sat on my balcony enjoying my gorgeous view.

  
We rented a film and had a quiet night in. 

On Saturday morning we were woken early by the activity and noise from The Two Oceans Marathon which is an Ultra Marathon as it’s further in distance. It is billed as the “World’s Most Beautiful Marathon” and as a resident I can see why.

  

We know when the runners hit our village as you can hear the shouting of the organizers on the megaphones and the sound of the choppers hovering above us. It’s cool to watch the footage on telly and recognize the landscape and surroundings. 

  
Photo credit.

I’m not enough of a fan to go stand by the road and encourage the runners for hours even though the course is so close to us that one of the local dogs from my neighborhood joined the race and ended up several suburbs away! 

  

Eventually it all settled down and Norm took our pups out before we headed out to meet his friends Mark and Fiona who are over from Belfast. As they are staying in Camps Bay we booked Paranga. Camps Bay is a gorgeous beach lined with bars and restaurants and is very popular with tourists.

  
To start Norm had the Patagonian Calamari and the rest of us had the tempura prawns. The prawns were R120. They were fresh and nicely cooked and the sauce had a lovely chili kick to it.  

For mains 3 of us had the fillet. I had mushroom sauce and vegetables with mine.

  
My steak was underdone and slightly sinewy. Half was soft and divine, the other not so much. The sauce was rich and thick and full of flavour, Really delicious. The veg was cooked perfectly, nicely al dente. 

The steak was approximately 200-250 grams I would guess. The steak was R190 with no sides or sauce. The sauce was an additional R35 and the steamed veg an additional R40. Therefore the main meal was R265. Incredibly expensive in comparison to other local restaurants. 

The wine we had is one of my faves the Professor Black Sauvingnon Blanc from the Warwick estate and we noticed it was R75 a bottle more than it had been at Peddlars & Co! At Paranga it was R275.

That’s the problem with the tourist areas, if you are earning local currency it’s very expensive. Lucky for us Norm’s friends treated us! The service was great, the food pretty good, but you can find the same at half the price.

It started raining early Saturday evening and we had to contend with that. I washed my hair but got the frizzes from the damp. But we had a nice chat and it was great for Norm to see friends he hasn’t seen in decades.

Today is Easter but Norm isn’t feeling so well. We were going shopping but we will see how he feels, other than that I suspect this is my first chocolate free Easter!

To those of you who are Christian enjoy your holiday and thanks for the day off! 

Event Full

I’ve now lost about 11-12kgs, my clothes are swimming on me. We are still sticking to low carb. Last Sunday I cooked a silverside beef roast in the crock pot in a tin of tomato and a box of organic broth. 

  
I would normally cook my pot roast in cream of mushroom soup with carrots and potatoes added in before we started Banting, so instead I parboiled sweet potatoes, scraped off the skins, sliced into medallions and lined a glass dish with them, alternating the laters of sweet potato with layers of mozzarella. I mixed cream with half of a container of marscapone and poured this over the layers of sweet potato and cheese and baked til brown and bubbly.

  
To go with it I just steamed baby broccoli.

  
It was sooooo yummy! Sweet potato is on the orange list so I had to limit my serving. The sweetness of the potato and the bitterness of the broccoli were a nice balance. The beef was so tender. 

Monday I asked Norm to get cauliflower for caulimash cottage pie as I had made my meat mixture on Sunday so it was a breeze to just steam and purée the cauliflower and spread on top the meat. The girls love cottage pie made this way more than they do with potato. Sweet potato is better when it’s reheated. I left that morning before 7 and only got home at 7 so it was good to have been prepared.

Tuesday afternoon was the Women Against Crime Event and several of the girls from book club attended as well as Caitlin and many others.

  Photo credit Facebook.

Afterwards the girls came to join the rest of us book club girls for dinner at Massimo’s in Hout Bay. It’s my favorite pizza place. We had a lot of wine and chatted lots as always.

I had the pizza that was on special. It had pulled pork, mushrooms, basil and walnuts. 

  
It was R125. We had a lovely evening. I don’t see those ladies at all some months except for when we go to book club. 

I wrote last week about the knives I had purchased from Yuppiechef. They asked me to review them so I did!

  
I was surprised that they published it! It made me laugh. 

Wednesday I was knackered and home so late that we ordered take aways. Thursday I made dinner from the bits and pieces left in the fridge. 

  
I roasted a bag of pumpkin, sliced aubergines and baked them then once soft I topped them with mozzarella and cooked a bit longer. To go with I made a big spinach salad with tomato, avocado, and topped it off with grated fresh Parmesan. Simple to prepare and healthy after a day at work. 

We had a bit of odd misty weather this week.

  
The temperature cooled off and it was quite pleasant. 

On Friday Lily had to sort her tax at SARS at the foreshore so she came to meet me for lunch afterwards. We went to Cocoa Express right by my office. 

I had a chicken and bacon salad.

  

It was supposed to be a Caesar but there was nothing resembling a Caesar. It was nice, just not what I expected. I avoided the bread.

It started raining as the sun was setting on Friday. We are in a water scarce country and currently experiencing a drought which is resulting in water restrictions. We need the rain badly so I won’t complain but it did result in my hair looking like this:

 

Lila and Nigel flew down today.  
 

We met up with my friends whom I’ve known for about 25 years. Nicola and Lila have children the same ages as mine and we all were pals when they were very small. Nicola and I have both remarried but Lila and Nigel have endured! They live in Johannesburg and it was interesting hearing the comparison between the two South African cities. One DA led, one ANC led. Cape Town which is DA managed is clean, reasonably efficient, with good roads and no potholes, and traffic lights that function. In Joburg half the traffic lights don’t work, and people don’t often stop even when they do as the highjackings and smash and grabs are so prevalent you only stop if forced. The roads are littered with potholes.

  
The only reason the pariestatal electricity supplier Eskom (which the ANC is responsible for) has not been implementing load shedding is due to the economic downturn. This means industry production is generally down and therefore the demand on the grid has lessened.

Anyway. Will this change? We can only hope.

We went to Peddlars & Co. It’s pretty central and as we are scattered in Simonstown, Hout Bay and Newlands it seemed a good choice.

For our Starter we all had the Salad Caprese. It had a creamy mozzarella which was unusual. It was more like ricotta. But it was good. 

  

For my Main I had the fillet steak with truffle mash and asparagus. It was divine.

  

Nigel was the only one who had Dessert it looked yummy.

  

Norman ordered the Cheese platter instead of a sweet.

  
It was more of a bread platter than a cheese platter. No hard cheeses at all. It was ok.

It was lovely seeing them all again and we were the last to leave the restaurant. It was a great, relaxed evening with good friends. 

Saturday Pixie had a Chiro appointment and Lily kindly agreed to take her as I had a hair appointment in town. 

   
 

She had a blast. Cute little vixen.

While they were out I made bacon, eggs, avocado and tomatoes. After brunch I went into the CBD to Mop Hair to see Leandra. 

  
It’s such a lovely venue and Thembi gives the most amazing head and neck massage when washing. Heaven. Thembi lives in Hout Bay and I was the last client for the day and so I gave Thembi a lift home then cruised on to Pic n Pay to try and find new jeans that fit. 

On Friday I wore my smallest jeans but they were so huge! My belt was down to the tightest notch, 4 notches from its normal notch. But as I intend to lose more I don’t want to spend much on clothing. Pic n Pay was perfect. I arrived a few minutes before closing but in plenty of time to grab what I estimated my size to be and quickly try them on. Except there was a mom and daughter in the only 2 changing rooms. I waited and waited. The shop assistant told me they were closing but I told her I would hurry. The mom finally emerged, blinking and frizzy haired, clutching 1 item of clothing.

WTF had she been doing in there for so long? I’ve given birth in less time and looked less frazzled on the other side of it.

I tried on 4 pairs of jeans and 2 pair fit me perfectly! They were 2 sizes smaller than the size I wore when I started my new way of eating. This is a quick pic Lily took on our way out.

  
That evening we were invited to a friend’s birthday party but we didn’t know there was going to be food so we decided to grab a quick bite at Papino’s

  
Norm had a lot of sun on Saturday watching a footy match in case you are wondering about his rosy cheeks. 

For dinner I had a gorgeous piece of Kingklip in a lemony butter sauce from their specials board. That sauce was delicious.

 

Norm was ravenous and had the Hollandse Biefstuk at R145. It’s cooked in brandy and he said the sauce could have reduced a bit more, the brandy tasted very strong.

 But it was a nice steak and we enjoyed our food then dashed off to Spiro’s for the party. The speeches were underway when we arrived and it was very sweet to hear how much Cyril’s family adore their Dad. 

After the speeches they packed away the tables and we danced and danced. 

We also acted silly modeling the party favours.

   
 
  
I woke feeling a bit worse for wear today! I’m out to a friend’s leaving party tonight at the waterfront. Luckily Monday is a public holiday and I have a day to rest! 

The Decision Tree of Life

Sometimes nothing except a greasy burger will satisfy you. I felt like that last Sunday. To take the place of normal fries I made chips from sweet potatoes, cooking them in the oven in coconut oil. Sweet potato are on the orange list but a small serving is fine.

To make the burgers we puréed a raw yellow pepper and half an onion and added this mixture and an egg to the minced beef. Caitlin made it into a ball and inserted a thick block of cheddar into the centre of each ball, I grilled bacon and zucchini and cheese fritters. We made a guacamole and fromage frais sauce. I fried sliced mushrooms in butter then added a container of double cream and a big spoon of Dijon mustard. 

To serve I used the fritter as the base of the burger, and then layered a spoon of guacamole onto the fritter, the cheese stuffed burger, bacon and the creamy mushroom sauce. On top we popped the giant mushroom.  

I over cooked the sweet potato fries but the burgers were so moist and divine. This was about the only night this week when I cooked anything new.

On Monday there was an attack on a young girl which eventually resulted in her death and a charge of murder. She was running with her Mom and decided to run ahead.

A split second decision that ended her life. A single choice can make a world of difference. Is it destiny that determines the direction our lives go, or choice? Are we pre-programmed to make the choices which result in the interactions with our soul contracts?

She was in an area where she felt safe, with her running partners nearby. The horror this girl went through has highlighted our feelings of fear and the issues women in particular have to contend with.

With the typical ironic timing of the Universe, Tuesday was International Woman’s Day. 

  
 It should be about celebrating the fabulousness of being a woman, yet I am horrified at what life brings to some women.

For Franziska, the recently murdered young girl from the forest. For 19-year-old Sinoxolo Mafevuka whose half-naked body was discovered by a resident of Khayelitsha who found the young girl in a toilet.

Social media blew up over the former murder and barely made a peep in the latter.

The inequality and injustice based on happenstance of birth. 

The deaths in the township vs the rarity of a death in the middle class area of Tokai. 

According to the One Project, in 2016 half a billion women still cannot read, 62 million girls are denied the right to education and 155 countries still have laws that differentiate between men and women. It is an outrage that girls account for 74% of all new HIV infections among adolescents in Africa, and 40% of women on the continent suffer from anaemia, which results in 20% of maternal deaths.

Marital rape is still legal in 38 countries.

  

We have a long way to go to reach even a semblance of equality universally. I’m lucky to have a man who is very evolved regarding gender roles and human rights.

I’m leaving by 7 most mornings but I’m still only getting home at 7 some evenings. It’s tiring. 

Bloody traffic. I just sit staring out to sea.

  

Monday was one of those nights. We just got a takeaway of Banting friendly food from Spiro’s. Tuesday was another late night so I popped into Woolies on my way home and got a few roasted chickens, a bag of precut pumpkin, and a bag of baby spinach. I had a few mushroom caps and I threw them in the oven with the pumpkin and wilted the spinach while Norm carved the chickens. We have a few ripe creamy avos so I served those too.

  
Simple, colorful and healthy Banting food.

I also arrived home to find my order from my fave site Yuppiechef had been delivered. I love their packaging. You open the box to find it gently wrapped in tissue paper, a button  fridge magnet and a handwritten thank you card contained.

  

Then inside that wrapping was a well cushioned sleek black box holding my sexy steel knife set.

   
 
I love them! And now that I am cooking I need them desperately.

One night this week I made the prawn and chorizo dish I previously described in an older blog.
  
Other than that we had a Banting pizza one evening, grilled chicken kebabs and halloumi from Spiro’s another night and on Friday I had a wee Banting cheat as I had crispy squid, and to accompany I had grilled zucchini, grilled halloumi and salad so it was still low carb.

When Norm was collecting our pizzas from Casareccio a security guard came up to him and said a woman had been mugged over by Princess Beach. The woman was on holiday and didn’t want to press charges, which is why we don’t have enough police! If every crime was reported the stats might result in additional police assigned to our village!

Also on Thursday night, a car went off the road and through the barrier and the driver was lucky to escape.  His vehicle went off a cliff, sliding down a slope for 50m and stopped just short of the sea. 

  
Credit: INDEPENDENT MEDIA Picture: Leon Knipe

That’s one of my recurring nightmares, of my car hurtling off a cliff, Thelma and Louise style.

  
Luckily he appears to have survived.

Friday the girls went away for a girls weekend. They all rented a beach house for a couple of nights as one of their gang is off on her travels for a few months. Norm and I just had ourselves to look after. And the 5 animals of course.

Norm and I just chilled at home. He is working so many hours it’s crazy. So in effect I chilled, facebooked and watched telly while he worked on the other sofa.

The dogs played.
Norm was up early and off to the airport. When he got back I made us a late brekkie.

  
I love those multicolored tomatoes on the vine from Woolies.

On Saturday Mzudomo was here and he told us his friend had been murdered. The murder rate in the townships is shocking. We in the suburbs complain but we only get a portion of the crime that people who live in the townships endure.

After we dropped Mzudomo home he was heading off to Khayelitsha and we headed to Constantia Village to do a big shop. I only bought a few days meat and no cleaning products and spent over R4000. That’s about $270 USD. But that’s due to our economic crash following Zuma and his nonsense. When I moved here in 2007 a monthly shop was about R2000. The SA inflation is out of control. 

Saturday evening Norm and I went out for dinner to Pescarne in Hout Bay. 

  
We had our fave Professor Black Sauvignon Blanc wine from Warwick Estates.

  
Norm had the Prawn and Avocado Cocktail for R65.

  
It was beautifully presented and had big pieces of prawn.

I tried the jalapeño poppers at R55 but could only manage 1 as they were huge.

  
I had the 8 king prawns with veggies for R199.

  
I asked for melted butter and received a frothy, creamy divine tangy lemony butter. It was so nice, and looked so tasty that a woman from the table next to me came up to enquire what I had ordered and then chased down her waitress to change her order! 

Norm had the Hollandse Biefstek a 250g beef fillet with a mushroom, garlic and peppery sauce at R169.

  
I had a wee taste and it was delicious, the sauce rich and the fillet steak tender and juicy. We had a lovely evening and headed home.

The dogs just mooched about. Bored.

  
And hopeful.  
Next week we have book club on the same evening as a walk which has been organized in the forest where Franziska was murdered.

  

To any local Cape Town readers this is the info about the walk:
I hope the killers of these young girls get what they deserve. Hold your loved ones close and say a little prayer for the families these girls leave behind.

The Inevitibility of the inevitable

This week hurtled by again. How can it be March?? I’m still not in the routine of writing ‘2016’. I’m about 10.5 kgs down 2 months into our sugar free, low carb lifestyle change. It takes effort. There was no organization this week. We took it day by day.

Last Sunday our friends Retha and Pierre popped by in the afternoon. It was a hot day so we sat on our back patio and chatted. 

That evening Caitlin and I made eggplant parmigiana. It was a Banting version and really divine.

  
I was happy there was enough left for lunch on Monday.

Monday after work I fried chicken breast pieces and chorizo til browned, then added chopped mushrooms and once cooked added a container of fromage frais and a sprinkle of coconut.

I served it in a steamed gem squash with baby broccoli.

  
The next night I only got home from work after 7pm so we just got takeaways from Spiro’s, we can get simply prepared healthy food there.

Wednesday I was also home late so I quickly made up a zucchini noodle dish with a red pepper and marscapone sauce with prawns and chorizo.

  
Thursday I just baked pork chops, steamed broccoli and mushrooms.

Friday we took a night off and had Banting pizza take aways. But Saturday night I made a yummy fillet steak for Norm and I as the girls were out.

  
I made a sauce with fried onion and mushrooms, double cream and mustard. I baked zucchini slices tossed in grated fresh Parmesan and olive oil. I made a salad of raw spinach and multi coloured tomatoes with grated fresh Parmesan to flavour it.

Oh my. It was so good.

Now that I’m getting up earlier to try and beat the traffic, I’ve cut my morning routine down to a minimum. That means no foundation or concealer. I use dry shampoo and my hair looks better than when clean and limp. It has more body.  I would never have missed a day washing my hair when in the U.S., it was a European trait I developed and now that menopause is sucking all the moisture from my body that is a good habit to maintain. I put my clothes out the night before as I try not to wake the household and stumble round in the half light following my routine like a dozy robot. The lack of a need to think saves time. 

This routined approach appeals to my Virgo nature. Which is so not like my hubby.

My husband and I are opposites in every way. I just walked past our 2 latest books.

  
He reads deep intellectual, political or biographical books. I watch Entertainment TV and can name most of the Kardashians.

Except those that are half Jenner.

He’s calm and thinks strategically. I’m neurotic and volatile and like to examine problems microscopically, hence my love of data analysis.

However we seem to balance each other out.

I took a very cool Personality Test. It pretty much confirmed what I already know. 

  
I’m a very organized, reliable, predictable, process orientated, rigid and somewhat narcissistic control freak. 

 

I think we keep being in each cycle of our recurring lives to help each other with those weaker traits. We find each other no matter where we are born, it seems destined. 

Inevitable.

Today is the Cape Town Cycle Tour which rides through our village as part of its 109km course. It is the largest, timed cycling event in the world. Our roads are closed and local venues hold parties cheering on the riders.  We didn’t make it last year, but the year before it was good fun cheering the riders.

  Photo credit Facebook

This year several places were holding roadside vigil. Dario’s and Spiro’s both had celebrations.

  
We hung out at home. We both needed a lazy day. I gave the kitchen a good clean and made a brunch of eggs served on cheesy zucchini rostis, crispy bacon, mushrooms fried in butter, tomato and avocado. It was delicious. 

We have had a week of the most foul stench permeating the bay. It is the effect of the processing of fish meal by The Oceana Group based in Hout Bay Harbour.

  
Facebook Hout Bay groups are full of people complaining of sickness, asthma, eye infections and all manner of things. There are even dedicated groups set up on Facebook. We all complain via the apporpriate channels but we all get insulted by receiving exactly the same copy and paste response from The City of Cape Town:

“Hi, we have received the following feedback: The City’s Air Quality Management Unit has assessed ambient air quality monitoring data from the Western Cape Government Monitoring Station located in Hangberg Heights. The results show that the hydrogen sulphide levels – one of the main odorous compounds emitted by the factory was in the nuisance range and does not pose a health hazard at these levels.

The City has been engaging with the factory management about the procurement and commissioning of the new chemical scrubber. This process will, however, take some months to finalise and it will not eliminate fishmeal production odours altogether.

In the interim, the City’s Air Quality Management Unit will continue to monitor operations.”

Which means, “yeah we know but we don’t care.”

As with all things in Africa, someone, somewhere is being paid off to let production carry on unhampered by health issues or the impacts to our tourism industry. Hotels and B&Bs empty overnight, restaurant bookings are cancelled when people cannot stomach food as no one can tolerate the stench. 

Yet we pay some of the highest rates in Cape Town. 

I wonder how the cyclists coped or whether the factory ceased production for the day? We cannot detect it at our house today and I couldn’t stomach going down to the village.

So we carry on… Powerless to make a change.