Every Drop Matters

Last week was such a crazy busy week full of work related stress. Our team is most likely finishing at our current client at the end of March, but this has not been confirmed as yet. That is always a bit uncomfortable. We were very behind in our delivery due to the client being unable to assist us with technical design issues we were having but last week the consultant who does technical support for the project was over from Germany and he was able to offer some suggestions for our developer to try and we finally appear to have cracked it late on Friday. Progress!! I was ready to celebrate that night.

I had booked at Cheyne’s on Friday evening for dinner with friends and it was a great way to kick off the weekend. Norm and I arrived first.

I ordered a Passionate Buddha Cocktail to get me started. It is described as ‘belvedere vodka, fuji apple juice with toasted cardoman, ginger, fresh mint leaves shaken with passion fruit, star anise and mandarin puree and topped with MCC.’ I loved that it had a few visible whole star anise, a fig and various other bits to add visual interest as well as flavour.

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Passionate Buddha #Cocktails

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But be prepared mentally as the drinks took on average 30 minutes each to arrive. I ordered one on arrival and then another one as soon as I sipped down that one and I only managed to get 2 down me all night. So much for my desire to celebrate our work successes by imbibing in copious quantities of vodka cocktails.

Our friends Andy and Alison arrived shortly after we did.

And our friend Nicola who is over from Bath at the moment arrived just after.

Once we all chatted a bit and ordered some wine for the table we all perused the menu and the waiter told us what was on the specials list for the night. We opted for the Yum Cha Experience which is R260 per person for any 4 items on the menu.

Several of us ordered the Firecracker Crayfish which is an additional R25 per person.

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Firecracker Crayfish ❤️

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It was perfectly cooked and really divine. I have had this before and if it is on offer I always order it.

For my other sea choice I picked the Chilli Salt Squid with sesame mayo, green chilli caramel. There were some lovely pickled red onions on top which I also enjoyed. The squid was crispy and not at all chewy. However it arrived while I was still eating my crayfish.

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Chili salted squid ❤️

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So I had 2 dishes in front of me at this point, yet Norm had not been served anything as yet. I find that this is where Cheyne’s has shortcomings, not ensuring that people are all being served at least one dish at a time. Either the dishes ‘pile up’ and you cannot appreciate them slowly before they get cold or alternatively you sit watching everyone else eat with an empty plate in front of you. It happens almost every time but we go back again and again as we love the food.

The third dish I was served was the Mumbai Chilli Beef: soy, cardoman and ginger syrup with toasted coconut. This is one of my all time faves and it did not disappoint.

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Mumbai Chilli Beef

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Norm was delighted when his Hake arrived. Described as ‘Kombu roasted hake, miso, mirin, sake and pickled Japanese turnip’. Several people at the table had this and all said it was a lovely piece of fish.

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Hake

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Norm’s next dish arrived from the Earth section of the menu almost at the same time, he had ordered the pan fried tender stem broccoli, sweet garlic miso and bonito flakes. Norm loved this dish.

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Broccoli 🥦

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We had a break while everyone finished up their courses and we chatted and laughed and had a brilliant evening.

Finally those of us who had a remaining course ordered our dessert and I stuck with my fave, the double thick peanut butter shake topped with toasted peanuts and 70% chocolate soil.

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Peanut Butter Shake 😍

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We all headed out just after 10pm and finally got in the car after a long South African goodbye in the car park. It was a great night of amazing food and good friends.

On Saturday Norm and I had a lazy day as Josh, Lily and David were off at the track as Josh was racing that day.

It was really hot so we settled in downstairs with all of the doors and windows open to let in the stray breeze.

Norm was reading an article on his iPad and when I asked him what he was reading about he told me the story of Sarah Baartman whose name I had heard before but about whom I knew no background story. The story he told me horrified me and when he said that there was a film called Black Venus about her life we decided to try and find it on YouTube.

The version we watched was multilingual with English subtitles. It was a two part video and the links are here for PART ONE and PART TWO. It is difficult viewing but I think it is required viewing if you wish to understand some of the challenges that women and people of colour had in that time in history.

Sarah, or Sara, or Saartjie as she was re-named by the slave trader who took her to Europe, was a Khoikhoi woman born in 1789 in the Eastern Cape to a nomadic family of cattle herders. She spent her childhood living on a colonial farm where her family most likely worked as servants and after her parents both died she was engaged to marry a Khoikhoi drummer. He was murdered and their baby died and Sara was later taken into the slave trade by Pieter Willem Cezar and sent to work for his brother’s family in the Western Cape.

While Sara was working for the Cezar family the brothers Cezar came into an agreement with a man named William Dunlop and Cezar and Dunlop transported Sara to London for the purposes of displaying her and her ample bottom as a freak show anomaly.

They had a flesh coloured bodysuit made and displayed Sara in a cage in Piccadilly Circus and in various private parties where the guests were invited to touch her buttocks to prove they were so large and round due to legitimate flesh and not just stuffing. Sara allegedly objected strongly to being touched in such an intimate manner by strangers as you can imagine anyone would.

Sara also had what has been called a Hottentot Apron or Khoisan Apron. This is an extended labia. This was a source of great fascination.

After 4 years Sara was transported from Great Britain to France where the social scene was less prudish by nature. Rumours are that Sara was prostituted to raise more money, money which most likely never even made its way into Sara’s pockets. From what I have read it seems that Sara was victimised or abandoned by everyone who was in her life.

The French naturalist and zoologist Georges Cuvier (a.k.a Jean Léopold Nicolas Frédéric or Baron Cuvier) met Sara in Paris and was fascinated with her and wished to study and document her anatomy. Sara’s body was studied by French anatomists, zoologists and physiologists from March 1815 after which Cuvier concluded that she represented a link between animals and humans. Cuvier was convinced that Sara was proof that her race had descended from the mating of her ancestors with orangutans.

Sara Baartman died in 1816 at the age of 26. It is unknown whether she died from alcoholism, smallpox or pneumonia. Cuvier obtained her remains from local police and dissected her body after he made a plaster cast of her full body. He pickled her brain and genitals which were then displayed at the Musée de l’Homme until 1974. The story of Sara Baartman resurfaced in 1981 when Stephen Jay Gould, an American palaeontologist wrote about her story in his book “The Mismeasure of Man” where he criticised racial science.

When the African National Congress (ANC) took over as the ruling party in SA, President Mandela requested that the French government return Sara’s remains so that she could be laid to rest in her place of origin. The process took eight years as the French had to draft a bill that would not allow other countries to claim treasures taken by the French.

Finally on the sixth of March 2002, Sara Baartman was brought back home to South Africa where she was buried. On 9 August 2002, Women’s Day, a public holiday in South Africa, Sara was buried in the Eastern Cape Province where her family originated.

Sara lived a tragic sad life where she was treated as property of the men who traded off her offerings. I was really saddened by her story but it is a story that needs to be told.

Norm and I decided that as we were on our own for dinner we would cheer ourselves up and treat ourselves to dinner out so we headed down to the local venue Papino’s for dinner.

Norm was happy to get an icy cold glass of sauvignon blanc.

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❤️

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I had a wee vodka.

We love their steaks and so we had our usual. Hollandse Biefstuk at R172.00, Pan-fried beef fillet with mushrooms flambéed with brandy. It comes with a side of fresh steamed veggies and your choice of potato. Norm had normal chips but I had the Portuguese chips. I love the crispiness of them.

We ordered a side of extra mushrooms and a portion of onion rings.

We had a lovely relaxed dinner and then headed home. Josh won his races and they arrived back home just after 10pm. They were knackered though and were off to sleep soon thereafter.

The next morning Norm was kind enough to pop down to the shops for coffee, milk and pastries for the crowds. I made up a tray with fig preserves, soft butter and grated cheese for those eating plain croissants and we all settled outside with frothy coffees and pastries. I chose a chocolate croissant and a muffin, both of which Panda had his eye on……

After they finished breakfast they showered and packed and Lily and David headed out to make the long journey down the coast to the Garden Route.

I decided to potter about in the garden and I nipped a few offshoots from my thriving succulents and planted them in some pots at the back of the house. Everything else has died due to the drought. I added some little pans under the pots to catch what water they do receive and I will just have to hope for these to take root and grow like the many succulents at the front of the house I have planted.

When Norm had gone down to the shops that morning he also bought us some food to braai for dinner as it was very warm so we did not want to turn on the kitchen stove. He cooked it all on the gas grill. He grilled chicken thigh kebabs, chicken sausages stuffed with feta and herbs and halloumi. To go with all that goodness he did a mix of sweet potato, onions, green beans and baby broccoli.

We had a lovely relaxed evening.

There have been several global outbreaks of Listeria recently and SA is no exception. There have been at least 180 deaths here which have been linked to listeria and this weekend they announced the culprit. It was due to polony which is similar to American bologna (i.e. some nasty assed stuff). The outbreak in Oz was traced to a sexy, round juicy  melon. Ours to plastic horrid meat. Typical.

Tonight Norm cooked for us again. He made chicken breasts stuffed with Brie cheese, mushrooms and sweet corn on the gas grill and I sliced fresh figs and coleslaw to go with it.

I read on social media about an initiative that the local community centre Workspace have started. It is a feeding scheme which they are calling “Workspace Cadets”. Every Friday, Workspace offers a meal to the indigent youngsters who hang out in the harbour instead of being at school. The people who run the Workspace have gotten to know some of the kids and are attempting to understand the reasons why these children dropped out the system with an aim to help them change their attitude and to persuade them to go back to school. Today I set up a monthly debit order to buy 4 of the tokens each month. That means that every week when they do the feeding scheme one extra child will not go hungry. Some of these children in the harbour are living in horrific conditions, many of them due to drugs or alcohol in the home. If I can assist just a little with this then that makes me feel a bit better. Even though it is literally a drop in a very large bucket.

But as we are learning with living in a drought, every little drop matters.

kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

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Setting the Bar

Many of the schools returned this week for the start of the new school year and it made the roads all full of chaos again. If I did not know better I might assume it was the children doing the driving.

I still find a January to December school year odd having grown up with the American system of starting the new year in September after the 3 month summer break.

It was Lily’s birthday on Tuesday. She had a lovely dinner out down the coast with friends and family. This pic came up as a memory for me – I know where I was in 1991 as I stayed in the hospital for a full week! Lily was a huge baby at almost 5 kilograms and she was face down with the cord around her neck. She was purple when she finally emerged. The gynecologist had noted that her stats were low and they raced off to an operating theatre and he literally reached in with his giant basketballer sized hands and grabbed her and yanked her out. Luckily I had previously agreed to an epidural after the nurse had said to me that the baby was the size of a baby calf. If I had not had the epi the doc said I would not have been able to cope with the pain.

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#OnThisDay in 1991

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Lily was the only one of my 3 babies who was a wee chubster. We called her Buddha Baby as she had rolls of baby fat on her arms and legs. You can certainly not guess that by looking at her now she is such a slender, stunning girl.

Norm was great about keeping us fed all week despite the ongoing heat. He has become a master on his braai. He cooked fillet steak, mushrooms and roast veg for us on Monday night. The fillet was nicely crusty with a bit of char on the outside but very pink inside, just the way I like it.

There was even enough for me to take for lunch the next day as my appetite has lessened now that we are doing low carb again.

On Tuesday we have Cordelia in to clean and she leaves quite late so we just got a take away that night, however we both avoided the chips and we had veg and salad with our protein.

On Wednesday night Norm also cooked outside as it is still very warm. He grilled pork sausages, mushrooms and halloumi and I cooked red cabbage on the stove. Pork and cabbage go so well together.

Thursday he got very adventurous and made the sauce for a lasagna. I emailed him the instructions and he did the shopping and cooking. The sauce was divine and we layered it with chunky cottage cheese, sliced zucchini and topped with mozzarella and baked for about 30 minutes.

I had an odd experience on Wednesday morning. I was deep asleep and I heard someone calling ‘Lisa, Lisa, Lisa, Lisa’ over and over in my ear. I finally emerged into full consciousness and turned over to face Norm, except he appeared to be sound asleep. We are the only ones home at the moment. The dogs were not disturbed, despite Norm saying that he had heard me talking to someone just before I woke up. I never remember my dreams. I do have recurring incidents where I am sure I am astral travelling as I am partially conscious but unable to move. I am always ‘dreaming’ of someone on the other side and I do believe I am there with them in that plane and that is why I cannot move here in this plane. But this was not one of those incidents, I have no memory of the incident other than of waking and hearing the voice.

I had that same experience once before when we were living in a very old house that was full of spirits. But then the voice said ‘Mom, Mom, Mom’ and I knew in my heart that it was the baby I had miscarried prior to Trevor. That house had a lot of spiritual things going on, from seeing shapes out of the corner of my eye to the lights blinking on and off when I tried to communicate directly with the spirits I felt and saw in the house.

This experience was different. I have no idea what this one was……I have to confess that it really spooked me.

That night as we were cuddling before falling asleep I told Norm he was the ‘Best Husband in the World’ and he said that was not correct. He said that if he were the best in the world then he would be taking us around the world on holidays every few months and I would be able to retire.

I guess it depends on what you see as a priority in a relationship. I dated very wealthy men when I was younger and I did not choose them, I know my idea of what mattered to me in a husband and a relationship changed after my divorce. I wanted a good, kind, loving man who treated me like I was a goddess and who would love my children as if they were his own. What I got was exactly that and I will always be thankful for him in my life.

Even when I want to kill him I cannot imagine my life without him.

The fact that he is also handsome, sexy, Scottish (oh that accent) and has an MBE were just gravy on my already overflowing plate of luck. He also is proud of my intelligence, he would never try to diminish me or ‘dumb me down’ just to make himself feel superior as some men do. He is also a feminist and believes as I do that women should be who they are, not what the man in the relationship wants or needs them to be in order to not threaten their fragile male ego. He would never try to change me.

Even when he wants to kill me.

I tried out the Banting on the Go ‘Crackling Crisps’ this week that I mentioned in my last blog.

They were OK but I won’t buy them again. I could not finish the packet. They have a funny sort of chemically aftertaste which is pretty ironic as I had assumed that they were just your normal pork scratchings but without the chemicals. They definitely needed more salt.

And less of the aftertaste.

Pixie has been somewhat off her food, she did not want to eat her dinner at all on Tuesday night and she seemed so tired. But she is always smiley.

But it was very hot that evening and she did go for a walk. Of course now that the vet has said she is fine, any concerns I have are discredited by Norm the eternal optimist.

I do hope she is OK and that I am just overly paranoid. I so love this little girl.

Regular readers will know that the Western Cape is suffering from a severe drought. It was just announced this week that from the 1st of Feb the government will be implementing Level 6B water restrictions. This means that Capetonians will be expected to keep our water consumption to less than 50 liters per day per person.

This is an unachievable target as 60% of the people could not reach the previous target of 87 liters per person and most of us have no hope in hell of meeting the new targets. The City has sat on it’s hands and done nothing to proactively deal with this crisis and now they are all in a panic as the day when the taps in the city are turned off looms ever closer. April 21 of this year has been set as the estimated target of when we will run out of water (aka Day Zero).

This is all rather terrifying and yet I still see trucks being brought into the suburbs to fill people’s swimming pools. There were 2 in my suburb alone on the weekend. Where do the idiots buying this water think it is coming from?? I find some peoples lack of community and even common sense rather shocking.

The lack of action by the DA government is shocking and the mayor has been under review for multiple reasons. I hope she is removed from post as I think she is almost as bad as Zuma when it comes to doing what is best for her own interests rather than the interests of those she has been appointed to represent. The fact that they were trying to raise the rates everyone pays each month to compensate for the lack of forward planning has enraged most people. Under the proposed drought levy, some 52 510 Capetonians were set to temporarily pay a fixed rate of R150 a month to make up for the City’s R1.6bn loss in revenue from reduced water consumption. Rather penalise those who exceed the targets rather than try and recover the additional revenue needed by using the value of one’s property to drive the levy.

This afternoon the City of Cape Town voted to both limit mayor Patricia De Lille’s powers to handle the drought crisis, and to introduce punitive tariff measures for residents. The idea to add a levy to our rates based on our property value was voted down.

I’m delighted on both fronts.

Josh came back to Cape Town today. We all got a curry from Indian Oven in Hout Bay. It was delicious as always.

We have been relaxing tonight listening to the mad winds that are howling outside. It has at least cooled things down a wee bit.

I hope you all have a good weekend.

Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

Holiday Squared

We continued our Sunday tradition last weekend and I made a gorgeous roast beef for dinner. I cooked it American style as a pot roast rather than baking it. I cooked it in broth, onions and garlic. Once cooked I strained the sauce and added cream to the rich broth. I made crispy, buttery fondant sweet potatoes and steamed long stem broccoli. 

 

That meant the next night was destined to be Tacos. I shredded the left over beef and seasoned with cumin, paprika and whatever else was in the El Paso spice packet. Haha. 

I made my own salsa however so at least that contained no sugar or carbs. We served with a simple, crispy salad.

We bought sliced smoked provolone at woollies this time and that is the magic bullet to the cheese taco success.

  
After my previous attempts it made such a difference in both the effort it took as well as the consistency of my results. I overlapped two pieces of cheese and popped onto baking paper and baked til bubbly and it worked perfectly!

  

I even had leftovers to take for lunch on Tuesday.

Tuesday was a pseudo-Friday as last Wednesday was a Public Holiday. I arrived home and sat on the balcony outside my bedroom to destress. The sunset was amazing! 

  

We got take away crispy calamari squidlets that night for dinner from a local restaurant but they must have changed their supplier as they were not nice, they were very rubbery and chewy. Neither Lily nor I could eat them. Normally they are tiny and crispy and delightful but these were the size of a flippin tarantula and wouldn’t even fit in your mouth. Meh.

The public holiday which was on last Wednesday 27 April commemorates the day in 1994 when the first democratic election was held in South Africa. South Africa celebrates Freedom Day to mark the liberation of our country and its people from a long period of colonialism and white minority domination (apartheid).

But are we free? We have an uneducated, embezzling, unethical government led by a buffoon. Corruption and crime is at an all time high. 

As a result we residents have to do all we can to defend ourselves. We have several groups of men in Hout Bay who are unwilling to allow the underbelly of society to win the battle. They patrol our streets at night.

These are the pics of the highlights of one of these groups’ Freedom Day morning.

  
A knife of considerable size was taken off of a man who was spotted skulking about in the wee hours of the night.

A car was stolen and crashed by the thieves into another person’s house while racing away, catching the house alight. 

(But damn that house has some stunning doors!)

Some mornings we hear of 4-5 families being attacked in their homes at night. One family spent 2 hours tied up and locked in their bathroom. Another lady lost 5 teeth and suffered a broken jaw. People will say ‘Thank God you are safe’  to the survivors but I get so angry that it even happens. 

This country has such potential, but it has so many challenges. I don’t see the infrastructure put in place to support the change needed to address those challenges. 

Many African women especially still suffer from years of suppression both culturally and politically. I see this in many young women who have not yet found their voices. They are hesitant to speak up in a group until they gauge the temperament of their audience. Racism and sexism and bigotry can be hidden behind smiling faces. That is the worst racism or bigotry, the kind so ingrained the bigot is unable to see it. The people who put people into stereotypical boxes of their own narrow minded views. Those who say “I love gay people” or “I don’t like Germans” or generalise any stereotyped characteristics of a particular group or race. 

There are fabulous people who also happen to be gay. There are plenty of miserable arses who are gay. The same as any group of humans.

Even Germans. *giggle*

There was another protest at the City of Cape Town offices next to my office on Tuesday. It was the residents of Dunoon protesting over lack of housing. We have on average a protest a week. But people keep voting for their oppressors and those oppressors keep blaming history. At what pace should change happen? I have no doubt that the DA led Western Cape is better managed than the ANC led provinces. But even in the Western Cape change is slow.

On Thursday I hurried home at 4 from work as I had Vanessa coming round to do my nails. We had a good chat and a giggle as always. 
On the holiday I had been a busy bee and prepped food for a few dinners, so after Vanessa left I heated up the chicken curry I had made.

  

To go with it I made normal basmati rice for the girls and cauliflower rice for us low carb peeps. I just chopped up onion, cucumber and tomato and mixed in a bit of fromage frais. I had all manner of veg in the curry and in my bowl I added lots of green chilis as well.

 On Friday Lily and Caitlin got up early and went to the courts for a bail hearing of one of the alleged murderers of their childhood friend. Carl’s mom Carla needed support and my girls went. I am so proud of what kind thoughtful girls they are. 

They chatted to the bounty hunter who had managed to track down and catch accused Juane Jacobs. He was the size of a wall, a huge bear of a man bulging with muscles. He also captured a recent well publicized rapist, word on the streets is that the raper has become the rapee.

Karma is a bitch.

After court Lily had to go to SARS to sort out her tax number and as it is right by my office she joined me for a quick lunch. The weather was overcast and grim all week. 

After I got home from work we were all having a wander round the garden and Norm was working on the pool, but we were not outside for long and when we came in we saw that cheeky Panda had jumped onto the couch he normally pretends to be too feeble to reach on his own. Then he had opened my bag and gotten into a zipped compartment and opened up a closed box to steal my sugar free gum and was subsequently whisked off to the vet. The vet made him vomit. He brought up tons of gum. 

According to the vet the issue with xylitol is that the dog has a blood sugar drop and their body can’t regulate it, so the vet said after 4 hours to keep an eye on him and if he seemed especially tired to give him honey and take him to the 24 hour vet. Except 4 hours later was his bedtime and little dogs sleep lots.

We watched him and kept waking him up and making him walk sleepily around the room like a movie overdose victim.

He was fine thank goodness!  
That night we had the third of my midweek holiday prepared meals, bolognaise sauce. Norm picked up Butternut ‘noodles’ and we had those with my bolognaise sauce and fresh grated Parmesan.

  

We had a lazy morning on Saturday then headed out to Easy Life Kitchens in Tokai. We booked for them to come and give us a design and quote for a kitchen refitting.

  
We ran our errands and finally got a new clock for the kitchen.

 We need bedside lamps but I didn’t find what I wanted. We hit Builders Warehouse for various bits and pieces as welł as the chemist. By then we were starving so stopped on our way home at Greens in Constantia.

I had Eggs Benedict which was cooked perfectly other than a single strip of almost raw bacon.

  
But the eggs had perfect runny centers, it was topped with a rich hollandaise,  it was yum yum.

Norm had a cheese and bacon frittata.

  
On Saturday I hit 14kgs down in weight since I started the low carb lifestyle in January. Just over 30 pounds in U.S. terms. Amazing to me still to lose it so easily if I only make the right food choices. Fat is good but sugar is bad is a new concept. I’m still having a big bowl of Banting ice cream every night. We stock up every week at Ice Dream in Hout Bay.

We eat well and yet we just keep losing, it boggles my mind.

Saturday evening Norm and I decided to go out for dinner and went to local venue Papino’s.

 We had a bottle of Diemersdal Sauvignon blanc which was delicious and crisp,

 
We both had the same main, Hollandse Biefstek with extra mushrooms and vegetables. The steak was so tender. The veg was al dente and fresh.

  

We were not out late and when we came home Caitlin wanted to rent a film and we decided on The Hateful Eight by Tarantino.

Thanks to the fact my brain doesn’t shut off I had been awake since 5.30am and having had a few glasses of wine I passed out, missing the end of the movie.  

 This morning I woke at 4 and could not go back to sleep due to passing out mid movie last night. So I lay in bed playing games on my phone until the dogs finally forced Norm up to give them breakfast. 

I got up and made a giant milky coffee with our new machine and settled in to watch Hateful Eight again. This time with my eyes open. 

I loved it! I am such a fan of Tarantino’s films. The acting was great. I can see why Jennifer Jason Leigh was nominated for both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe. Michael Madsen is one of my faves and he brought his sexy back in this film. The last film I watched him in he was rather bloated and corpulent. But he was sleeker and less red faced, or just potentially had better makeup in this one.

Norm made breakfast and I had a mooch round outside with the dogs, happy to see a bit of sun.

  
  
My flowers are finally blooming from all this rain.

  
Today is crisp and sunny. I’m pleased to have an extra day off as Monday is Workers Day, I hope you have a great weekend. I’m enjoying the fact that I have no obligations! 

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.

A Consistent Approach 

When Norm and I lived in Europe we made a real effort to take the kids to a new city every year. As I was the one who did the bookings and it was summer, we always stayed somewhere near a beach with a pool. Now that we live in Cape Town we have those things year round. We live a 5 minute drive to several stunning beaches and we have our own pool. Hence when my annual break comes we tend to just stay in Cape Town. After all, we would just be paying to go away somewhere else to experience what I am so blessed to have at home. 

Most businesses in SA shut down for at least a part of the holiday. It makes sense for an employer if staff take their holiday then so I tend to take 3 weeks off. This year I took just over 2 as I want to save some time off for my Mom’s planned visit in October next year. 

The first week is always Christmas preparation, shopping and various other things. But this year was relaxing as I was organized. 

In my last blog I talked about how serene it was on Christmas Day and Norm pointed out that this was the first year the kids all pitched in voluntarily. Normally they help if asked but this year it was volunteered. Such a difference it makes to share the load. 

I decided that this week I would do nothing other than ‘be on holiday’. So I’ve spent my mornings out back chilling on the patio and my afternoons right by the pool.

  
Norm has been productive and hung my new Buddha on the front porch.

  
The butterfly that was there before is now on my crazy blue shed.

  
And my new dragonfly is now hanging on the wall out back.

  
I had such a lovely Christmas. The family outdid themselves with some fab gifts and my home looks so cozy.

After everyone left on Boxing Day we relaxed for a bit then went to Woodcutters Arms pub.

My handsome hubby rocking his Xmas clothes.    
  We had driven down to the beach but the wind was howling so we moved into town. We thought Woodcutters appropriate as we took Mom there last year on Boxing Day. 

That night Hout Bay has had another horrendous fire in Imizamo Yethu the informal settlement predominately made up of shacks. On Boxing Day, the 26th, a day symbolic of giving, so many instead experienced devastating loss. Many of the shack owners were away for the holidays and may not even know their homes are gone. 

   
We had just given away so many clothes as Thula Thula had no space. Norm managed to find several boxes of decent condition men’s clothes and some sleeping bags. He did a wee shop for food donations too.

Every bit helps.

Last night we decided we were so over turkey and stuffing and went out for dinner. I fancied prawns and Norm a steak so we went to Pescarne.

We often dine at Pescarne & have done so since they opened, however last night was like being in an episode of Fawlty Towers. It was a long list of issues, the staff appeared to all be in training. Norm had to get up and find the waiter himself on multiple occasions due to lack of service and his steak arrived blue, or almost raw instead of medium rare.

  
We sent the steak back. When it arrived it was dropped off with no cutlery. He had to ask twice for a fork while his steak got cold. The second steak tasted great as did mine. I ordered the Pescarne Special at R185.

  
It was faultless, perfectly cooked, the prawns were fresh and the sauce was light and slightly lemony.

We ordered a round of drinks which we chased up three times as they took forever to arrive. We also had to finally get up to find a waiter to chase up the bottle of water we ordered and once it finally was dropped off we were given no water glasses. It literally took 20 minutes to complete the process of ordering water. 

Despite multiple complaints to our waiter and then later to another waiter when ours disappeared yet again and we wanted to pay, the owner could not be bothered to come and apologise or have a word with us. Even after our waiter went to speak to him about our complaints. You cannot treat locals so poorly and expect them to support you in the winter. Simply shocking service. 

In their defense, when I complained on their Faceboook page their representative contacted me immediately to offer a free return visit. So will try again. The issue isn’t the food it’s the service. The waiter treated me as if I was invisible. The owner did too so that is the precedent he sets. 

Today my friend Retha came round for a chat. I then spent the afternoon by the pool relaxing. I’m having a fab holiday! 

Lights, No Camera, Action!

I seem to have slipped into a pattern of hurtling through life for a week, then blogging on the weekend and this week I will be adhering to that same pattern.

I did try to keep to my vow to cook at home this week but had mixed results. On Sunday I had sliced up the fillet left over that night after I grilled us each a steak as I had bought a huge whole fillet. It’s expensive but it serves us for at least 2 meals to buy a whole roast. I fried onions and peppers and liquidized it for Lily, and fried the mushrooms and left over fillet cubes. I mixed in the pepper and onion mix and some cream and served with pasta. It was divine. A vegetarian can leave out the fillet and it would be just as yummy.

The next night I took fat boneless chicken breasts and wrapped each in two slices of back bacon and cooked in a deep glass dish. I rolled them halfway so they semifried and they were delicious, the best I’ve ever made, the chicken was very moist yet the bacon was crispy. I made baked potatoes and a simple salad of raw baby spinach, avocado and feta. So easy after working.

I had my manicurist Vanessa around to do my monthly pedicure on Wednesday. As we finished so late Norm picked up takeaways for us all. We had Thai Cafe. Norm said they have a new guy front of house and he is fabulous. That makes all the difference,

I finished early on Thursday as I had an appointment with David King the guy who does my Body Reactivation technique treatments. He is brilliant. He worked on my shoulders, low back and did a lot of energy clearing. I felt like I was walking on clouds after.

As I was so late we had pizzas from Mimmi To Go they are just so delicious, thick with real creamy mozzarella and this time I had my latest obsession, the meaty salame with olives and instead of mushrooms I substitute jalapeño. 

  
Rooowwwrrrr it makes the kitten purr.

Friday rolled around quickly and we had take aways again (oops) from Spiro’s. We decided to rent a movie and chose Life Of Crime with Jennifer Aniston. I chose it as it said it was a comedy. 

It was mayyyyybe at a stretch a comedy noir. The twist at the end generated a legitimate guffaw, I laughed a few times…all in all it was just odd. And the evil protagonist nazi dude is one of the most revolting humans imaginable. 

So…..yeah, don’t bother. 

Saturday we were all looking forward to an evening at Kalk Bay Theatre where we were dining and then seeing Dragging 30. Lily and I had a lazy day but Norm worked hard with Mzudumo all day. He pressure hosed the back patio and they took a giant clump of agapanthus and divided them up and planted them on the little hill of bare earth. 

  
There was a little clump of something there until last summer but it died and has been looking sad. Our new gardening consultant Melodie gave us some suggestions.

We had our garden cleaned of overgrowth this week by Melodie’s company Ladybird Landscapes it took 3 days to get rid of it all but it is now stripped back to the basics. Now we can see where we can plant things and what is thriving. We will just fill the gaps with some color. I’m hoping Melodie will suggest some things to fill the gaps. 

Everything is blooming already.

  
After Norm dropped Mzudumo we all watched Scotland and Samoa in the Rugby World Cup. Scotland won which put us all on a high! 

We were unsure how dire the traffic might be as Kalk Bay has had road works forever and I’ve spent hours there previously, so we left ourselves an hour to travel as we were also not entirely sure where it was. Just as well we did as we went to the wrong theatre in Muizenberg. Not sure why some of us thought the Kalk Bay theatre would be in Muizenberg, but well, I wasn’t driving. 

We ended up at the right place finally which is right on Kalk Bay Main Road by Artvark. I love that little spot, it was closed of course as it was evening but it is full of lovely little pieces and some stunning art.

Anyway we arrived at 6.10pm as there was no traffic as we came from the Muizenberg side instead of the Fish Hoek side. We were advised to come at 6.30 to give plenty of time for dinner. 

We took selfies.

   
 
And then it started raining so we trooped inside only to be told it was too early to be allowed inside.

So we stood in the lobby and took more selfies.

  
The host let us pick our seats as we were so early. I think he just wanted us out of his hair.

It’s a charming, rustic little theatre. We nabbed front row centre.

  
Finally just before 630 we were told we could be seated and we climbed up the stairs to the upstairs dining area. There was a charming little area and I wondered why they didn’t seat us there and offer us a drink when we arrived early, especially as it was raining. But never mind. 

  
We instantly spotted our table.

  
I loved that personal touch.

The tables filled up quickly and the place had a great buzz of energy as it was booked solid. 

  
  

  
We were seated and given drinks and the menu to peruse. 

   
We all 4 ordered the Camembert to start, it was really delicious, but could have used another second or two in the oven as it was not that hot. I like mine melting and oozing. But the fig and sticky syrup were the perfect accompaniment.

   
 
All the carnivores had the fillet steak. 

  
The steaks were so delicious! The meat was tender and cooked to perfection. The potatoes were thoroughly cooked (that’s my pet peeve is underdone potatoes) and the sauce was divine, just a touch of chili balanced perfectly by the cream. The fresh Roma tomatoes and the spinach were perfect with it.

Caitlin had the fritters which looked delicious and she really enjoyed it. It’s nice to see an interesting vegetarian option on such a small menu. 

  
Usually when you dine at the theatre you only dine there because it convenient as it is at the theatre. The food is a necessary thing to do quickly before the show. This is different entirely. The food really was amazing. 

After we finished we dashed down to our seats as the show was starting. The show was about 2 thirty something women played by Genna Galloway and Natasha van der Merwe who stumble onto a fabulous drag queen. It was funny and well played. The drag queen Cadenza Jones played brilliantly by Alain Fleischmann is fabulous. 

  
All 3 have great voices. 

  
We all really enjoyed it.

 The theatre and restaurant is in such a gorgeous old building, it obviously was originally a church.  

  
We left before 10pm and as Lily hadn’t had a drink she drove us all home. I really had a great evening, we will definitely try this gem again. The theatre tickets were only R125 each so it’s a reasonable night out. The dinner was about R250 per head for 2 courses and a few rounds of drinks.

They had no coffee machine so we were all unable to have a coffee, that was the only disappointing thing about the whole dinner that night. And those who read my blogs know how critical I am and how easily I’m disappointed so that says a lot. 

All in all the whole night was definitely a 4.99 stars so it is to be recommended for sure. I think the shows change frequently so keep an eye out for something that intrigues you. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. 

If you are not a southern suburb dweller (sorry for you) then you could always make a day out of it and shop, and hang out all day then have dinner and the show before trudging back over the mountain but for us lucky enough to be in Hout Bay it was pleasantly easy and a brilliant evening. 

Take Me To The River

Another week rattled by. Work is still intense but as it was school holidays this week, the morning traffic was much less. I left a bit later and therefore got a few more minutes of sleep. 

I do love the morning light, the mountains all lit by the dawn, the sky just starting to pinken. The sea so dark, reflecting the sky. It makes my heart swell. I use that drive time to ponder. One day this week I was thinking about the fact that it is Norman and my 18 year wedding anniversary tomorrow. 

I’ve done past life regression and know that we have been married before in our most recent lives. This made me think about the souls that stay in our presence life after life. I thought about how my Grandmother pays me visits, makes her presence known, touches me, speaks to me. I know she watches over me. I’ve not really felt that from my Father who passed when I was in my 20s, but I do feel that my son has my Dad’s soul. So I guess it’s logical that only when you are ‘between’ earth lives can you appear in spirit form. I then thought “I wish I had more visits from my Dad” and I instantly felt this warm feeling wash over me. I did feel him so strongly, it gave me such comfort.

He loved the 4th of July and died at this time of year. It always brings him to mind. I wish he knew my kids and Norm, I would love to hang out with him again.

I mentioned in my last blog that I bought Mom a surprise for her birthday and promised to show you her gifts. I found a website Fairy Garden Store and ordered some cute little pieces for her fairy garden.

   
 
She really seemed to love them all. I can’t wait to see the pics now that she has figured out how to send a photo. 

I have not been out all week other than a brunch and lunch both at The Riverway Cafe. I love that they have a delicious breakfast menu, lunch menu and a divine dessert table. It suits any time or occasion. 

Last Sunday Norm and I had a few errands to run so we popped in for a quick retro roll for sustenance. 

  
We had woken to load shedding from 8-10am so we were desperate for a coffee. 

   
 
The place was packed and buzzing. We still got served quickly and were soon off to shop. I got a lovely pair of black boots cut to my knee at Woolworths which were 20% off. We picked up some fillet steak for dinner and ran our other errands. 

We have shifted fully over to winter eating now, we had homemade soup made by Caitlin one night this week – made with our last box of veg from Harvest of Hope project. It was so delicious and to go with it Norm got some fresh breads from Oakhurst Spar which is often our go to shop. Later that week we got their gorgeous steak pie and I made baked potatoes and baked beans to go with it. So simple and easy after working all day. 

Last night we stayed in and watched some of the Glastonbury performances on Chromecast. It’s such a pleasure to sit on the comfort of our own couch and see the bands so close on our big Telly. Norm just queues the ones we fancy and a few new ones. It’s a great way to get exposed to new artists. Of course I slept for part of it. But enjoyed what I saw.

Today I had lunch with my bestie Retha. We seldom see each other lately as we are both so busy with work we don’t have much energy for social things. 

Of course we went to Riverway Cafe. We had Pimm’s Cocktails, 

  
Then we shared the Piggy Poppers. 

  
I had the steak sandwich and chips.

  
The steak sandwich was served on a crispy baguette, had loads of sweet caramelised onions, crispy bacon and thick slabs of cheddar. It was so yummy.

Retha had the bunny chow.

  
We both bought dessert to bring home.

Tonight we are relaxing at home as tomorrow we are out to Silvermist Eatery for our anniversary so I’ll take some pics for you.