Hardly Strong

I was watching a series this week where a mother and daughter were having a bit of a disagreement and the mother said to the daughter ‘You think you are so strong, but it only comes off as hard.’ I have heard this myself many times, I know that I am strong. I am also hard when the occasion warrants it. I wonder what is the tipping point from one to the other? I guess I ride that fence in between the two, falling into one direction or the other depending on my need for self protection.

I had 3 days off last weekend as it was my birthday and I try to always book off work for my birthday. I think it should be illegal to have to work on your special day. Norm and I had discussed what I fancied doing weeks ago but the discussion did not stick in his head and what I planned and what we did ended up being completely different, however I was happy with the way the weekend panned out. I had asked Norm to book for the whole family to go to Hogshead as I knew that their food is a generic people pleaser and we have a few fussy eaters in our family. I had asked Norm to book for just he and I to go for a fancy lunch at La Mouette on the Sunday or even on Monday which was my actual birthday. The Hogshead somehow fell off plan completely and we ended up taking the whole family to La Mouette on Saturday night. A lovely, however pricey expedition.

Friday after I got in from work Lily arrived down from Mossel Bay. It was lovely to see her and catch up with what all is going on in her life. Josh did not come with her this visit as he has been traveling back and forth for months and just needed a bit of a rest. Friday night we just chilled at home, ordered pizzas and cozied up in front of the fire as it was quite cold again and the rain was pouring down.

Saturday morning Norm was up early as he had to take Navajo to David, the doggy chiropractor. Navajo’s ankle seems better but he has so much strain to his lower back and hips from hopping on 3 legs and hauling his weight around on his front legs. Just touching the middle of his back makes him cry. It is breaking my heart watching him struggle. However after seeing David on Saturday and the doggy physio on Monday he actually managed to pee while standing on his bad leg today, something he has not done for months. Fingers crossed he is on the road to recovery.

After Nav and Norm got back home, Norm had to quickly shower and change and he headed off to a business meeting in town where he was presenting to 2 different groups.

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❤️

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Focus on how cute he is and not my messy kitchen in the background please.

Lily and I decided to head into the village as I need to buy new eyeglasses and I needed some advice on what style suits me. I tried on dozens. I narrowed my faves to these 4.

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Help! Which ones should I choose?

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I posted this pic on both Facebook and Instagram asking for votes and I got loads of responses. Most votes seemed to be for either 1 or 3. Some people really did NOT like the red glasses, but I love red and I love cat eye glasses so I am not sure if I can be persuaded to not take them. I go back in 2 weeks for an eye exam and will decide then which ones I want. If I can get number 1 in a black frame, I will definitely take those.

After we finished at the optometrist Lily and I drove down to the Hout Bay harbour as we wanted to have a nibble and go for a walk along the harbour and pier. As we got into the car at the optometrist we were hit by a wave of stench. We have a fish processing plant in our village and when it is in operation the entire village reeks of a horrid smell which makes you feel nauseous. We decided to drive down to the harbour and see what it was like but once there we opened our car and decided it was unbearable so we turned around and headed back into the village and settled on Deli Delish. We sat inside as the weather is so unpredictable and we hoped that meant we would not smell the stinky fish factory.

The stench had made us a bit nauseous and we were conscious that we were eating a big meal a few hours later so we decided to just have a scone and a bit of pineapple tart.

I also had an iced coffee which was divine.

After we finished we headed home to get ready for our dinner at La Mouette. Caitlin and Wes came to our place first and I opened the birthday gifts from the children. They gave me 2 gorgeous warm long cardigans and a low carb cook book.

Wes gave me a bunch of lilies which are my fave flowers, they will last ages and look gorgeous as they bloom.

We had a photo shoot on the balcony outside our bedroom before we left. (Ummm what is going on with my one weird skew boob?!)

We then all drove together into the city in my car and were lucky enough to get parked right by the venue. We asked the doorman to take a pic of all of us outside on the patio on our way in.

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My lovely family @TeamLaMouette

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We were seated in a cozy corner booth with lots of room to stretch out. We were treated to a gorgeous glass of champagne as we were handed our menus. The champers was compliments of our host Mari. Such a thoughtful gesture!

They served us with 2 different types of home made bread and a bowl of warm dipping sauce. The sauce was made up of garlic and various gorgeous flavours in a hot beef fat broth. Sounds odd but it was very tasty, smoky and meaty.

We all decided to go for the Winter Tasting Menu which is R295 for 5 courses.

To kick off, the table was served some ‘snacks’ which were described as:

  • Mushroom gyoza, fermented cabbage and apple slaw
  • Truffle and cheese croquettes, roasted garlic aioli
  • Crispy beef short rib bao, pickled cucumber, crispy onion and chipotle mayonnaise.

These were all fabulous! The cheese croquettes are always a favourite and a meal at La Mouette would be incomplete without them. We all moaned with happiness while devouring them. The bao was rich and meaty, really gorgeous flavours. The gyoza was divine as well and I am not really a fan of the texture of dumplings, but the gorgeous flavours made up for the texture.

Next came the leek and potato soup described as ‘Smoked mash, leek oil, ash and velouté’. This was served with a bit of theatre. First they brought out a bowl with a pile of fine mash with a glistening puddle of leek oil sitting in the centre.

Then they bring around a little container and pour on the creamy soup which you then stir all together.

The soup has such flavour and I loved the way that they presented it.

For the next course you had a choice of either spicy vegetable kofta:
Cauliflower crumble, green tea and parmesan oats cracker. Norm chose this and he said it was tasty and he enjoyed it.

The other choice was the West coast mussels: Curry, compressed apple, burnt chard and onion bhaji powder. All of us except Norm had this dish. I am usually a big mussel fan, I found the delicate mussels to be a bit overwhelmed by the intense flavours of the dish. I enjoyed it but it was not my fave dish of the night.

The next course was a choice of two offerings as well, the choice that most of us went with was the cured pork belly: BBQ carrot purée, red chicory and crackling.

This was so good! The pork belly was tender and had an amazing flavour. The crackling was thin as paper and ever so crunchy. It was beautifully cooked. I loved this dish. I wanted to lick my plate.

The other main option was Herb gnocchi: Parmesan crème fraîche, pickle butternut purée, mushrooms and sorrel. Caitlin had this and she seemed to enjoy it and ate it all up quick sticks.

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Herb gnocchi

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Dessert was lemon meringue:
Mascarpone, lemon leaf snow and wood sorrel. Ohhhhh yummy yum yum. Lemon meringue is one of my fave desserts and this one did not disappoint. It had such flavour. I loved it.

After we finished and asked for the bill we were served some of their homemade macarons. I missed the description but I thought I could taste passionfruit, but the girls thought they were blueberry! Whatever the flavour they were oh so good.

They made our tongues blue but our already full tummies even happier!

We had a lovely evening and Lily drove us home as she was our designated sober driver.

In the middle of the night that night the house alarm went off and Norm looked all around the house to see if he could see anything out of the ordinary but assumed it was just the wind and we eventually went back to sleep.

Sunday we were all up early as always, it is impossible to lie in with a houseful of hungry beasties. Norm went down to the kitchen to feed them and discovered a bird with an injured wing. It was a tiny little bird and Lola had obviously been torturing it and had damaged his wing. Norm caught him and took him down to the green and released him, I am telling myself that he recovered and is now fine.

Then today when I was coming home from work I saw a guinea fowl running frantically along the side of the road and then noticed that there was a bird knocked over and dead in the road and the frantic one was trying to get to its partner. I found both of these experiences so upsetting as I love birds.

Sunday morning Lily and I sat in the sun on the balcony drinking coffee and enjoying the nice change in weather.

The dogs hung out with us as they are always happy to be outside.

Lily had a long drive ahead and so she showered and packed up and headed home late morning. It was so lovely having her here.

Norm and I decided to go out for lunch later that day and headed across Chapman’s Peak toward Jake’s. It is the most stunning drive.

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Road trippin ❤️ #ChapmansPeak

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We were given a fabulous table in a spot of sunshine right by the door so we also caught a bit of fresh air.

I wore one of my new cardigans and it was lovely and toasty warm.

They had a different guy singing than the previous time we were there but we really enjoyed him, he had a great voice. He sang some great tunes and had a wide variety, he did Under the Bridge by RHCP and even King of the Road by Roger Miller which always reminds me of my grandmother.

Norm chose the fish and chips. It was beautifully presented but the fish was undercooked and full of bones. Norm never complains at a restaurant but he actually called over the manager and showed him the raw gooey dough and the piles of bones. The manager said we were the 3rd to complain about the fish that day and I wondered why did he not pull it off the menu? However the manager was very nice and apologetic and took the fish off of the bill.

I chose the Tasting Platter as I fancied picky things. It had panko prawns, yunan ribs, chili poppers, chicken pot stickers and parma ham and cheese balls. I had expected cheese croquettes but these were cold, spicy cheese balls, filled with a soft cheese and were not cooked. They were tasty but just not what I expected. The rest of it was very nice.

Norm felt deprived after his unsatisfactory meal and so we both ordered the Chocolate fudge brownie for dessert described as ‘white, milk and dark chocolate, bar one chocolate sauce and ice cream.

However only 1 portion arrived so we just shared it.

As an American I have high standards when it comes to brownies. Don’t give me a dry ass piece of cake, shove a nut in it and call it a brownie. I think the sauce was not made from a bar one but other than that I have no complaints. The brownie was moist and full of yummy chocolate chunks and was really good. I will be having this every time I visit Jake’s.

We drove the long way home and it had started raining while we were at Jake’s and it became a torrent of rain and it is a very windy road so we made our way slowly. We stopped off and did a little shop of bits and pieces and then headed home and built a big fire to stave off the freezing cold.

The next morning Norm gave me his gift as he had saved it for Monday as he wanted me to have something to open on my actual birthday. I badly needed a new handbag as mine was literally falling apart. He chose this one as it has a separate removable section for containing my iPad. It is simple and elegant, I love it.

Norm had to go to a meeting for work early that morning so he dropped me off about 10 at Cait’s. First we popped into Martins Bakery which is right by Caitlin’s flat. It is owned by Wes’ aunt and uncle so I am always happy to support them. The fact that they make such nice food is a bonus! I bought some donuts and muffins and we headed to Caitlin’s. We had a coffee and a pastry and then we headed to Kalk Bay. I have always loved Kalk Bay, it is a special little place. We parked at one end of the village.

We walked along the main road, hitting all of the cute quirky shops. We trawled through the china shop and realised that it used to be a tattoo parlour and this is where Caitlin and Trevor  got their first tat, we all 3 had one done there together about 12 years ago. Here is a throwback pic of me getting mine.

Caitlin bought some little china figurines to go into her printer tray and some other items and I bought a cowboy hat as mine is falling apart.

We shopped until we were exhausted and hungry and we headed off to Live Bait to see if we could get a table and we were in luck! We were given a lovely table right by the window overlooking the pier.

We settled in and ordered a drink and some lunch.

We both ordered the prawns which came with chips, rice or salad. I chose chips and Caitlin chose salad.

The prawns were perfectly cooked and were ever so tasty. We both loved this dish and scarfed every bite. They were in a buttery, slightly spicy sauce. The chips were home made and delicious.

After we finished eating we went for a walk down the pier to help with our digestion. The wind was howling!

We walked down to the lighthouse and back.

After our walk we stopped for an ice cream at the Ice Cafe as Kalk Bay is infamous for their ice cream. We walked along the road munching and staring at the sea and then when we finished we headed back to Hout Bay.

Caitlin dropped me off at Retha’s so that she and I could have a birthday drink together. Retha gave me Pierre’s steam punk hat for our dress up box which I put on so that I would not forget it. The kitties seemed perplexed by it all.

Norm came to collect me and when we got home I discovered that Trevor and Amber had sent me some Ferrero Rocher chocolates and a stunning bouquet of flowers.

Norm had bought a chocolate brownie to stick a candle in so that he could sing to me and wish me happy birthday. I made a wish that my ex-husband has good results from his biopsy this week. As I made the wish and blew out the candle I smugly thought ‘how virtuous of me to use my wish for the good of my children’ and the candle relit!!! I looked at Norm and he said ‘that means you get an extra wish’ and so I wished another wish. I thought that was a rather spooky experience. But I won’t look my gift wish in the mouth.

I really feel self indulgent wishing for anything as I have all that I could ever hope for – a roof over my head, an interesting career, a lovely family, a loving, handsome husband and wonderful children. I wish there was more money and less crime and that my mother lived closer and then my life would be perfect, but then who ever expects perfection? Even a Virgo would never be that greedy.

I am so blessed.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x0x0

 

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Worlds Apart

I had such a stressful day at work on Thursday. I am usually part of a team, working with a technical resource who does the data extraction and performs the assessment and I get the output for Quality Assurance. However my current client does not have anyone to fulfill this role and I spent all of Thursday trying to download their analysis tool, connect to the database and get extracts for analysis. It was incredibly frustrating as no one was willing to help me or give me the info I needed to be self sufficient. I left work with my data eventually but my stress levels were off the chart. 

When I got home Norm told me he had shopped and was cooking for us all and I was so relieved, 

He made us a tasty low carb dinner. He made fillet steaks, grilled halloumi, roasted veggies in the oven, steamed cauliflower and then topped it with cheddar cheese and popped it under the grill. It was so delicious.


It was so delicious I didn’t have any left for my lunch on Friday. There is no canteen on site and it was pouring with rain so I decided to stay put and use OrderIn delivery service to get some lunch. The closest place to me was Fat Cactus. As I love Mexican food I decided to order the pulled pork quesadillas and some chilli poppers. 


It arrived hot and relatively quickly. I’m so impressed with their service. The food was really yummy. The pork was full of flavor and not at all fatty. 

We had a quiet night in on Friday and just stayed home and wrapped up to avoid the cold and rain and Norm built us a big cozy fire. 


We have finally finished all of the episodes of our addiction Breaking Bad and now we are watching the spin off ‘Better Call Saul’.


When we woke on Saturday morning Norm saw on the local security group that there was chaos in Hout Bay. The weather is freezing cold and damp and the people who have been displaced by the recent fire in the informal settlements were blocking the roads and hurling bricks and setting things alight to protest the fact that no progress has been made in returning them to a more permanent home. They have no electricity or water in their temporary shacks. They have to use portable toilets and communal showers. They are saying that some of the plots in the area recently cleared by the fire have been given to people who are not even on the list of original residents who were fire victims. The City of Cape Town had asked for patience while they reblocked the area but the field where they are housed is now flooding due to the recent rain. According to someone who spoke to a person at the scene, the protesters were setting up for a demonstration early Saturday morning when some guy trying to drive through swore at them for blocking the road and apparently pulled a gun. The protesters threw rocks at him and things escalated from there.


Photos sourced from the HBO group on Facebook.

We did not have to go out that morning so we stayed in, listening to the sirens and following it all on the Neighborhood Watch radio. 

Later around lunch time we heard the roads were open and Caitlin headed out to the northern suburbs to a friend’s baby shower. 

I decided to make pancakes and bacon for brunch for Norm and I. There is no stressful situation that can’t be improved by pancakes. 💕

Norm and I were booked to go out last night to one our favorite Cape Town restaurants, La Mouette. We were not sure if the road was open via the village so we took the long way out via Constantia. 

We were seated in the front room near one of their roaring fires. 

We ordered the Winter Special at R295 per person.


Norm was happy with the carafe of wine which came with the Winter Special as was I. I didn’t catch what label it was but it was a really tasty Sauvignon Blanc and wasn’t too acidic.

They served fresh homemade bread with little dishes of hummus spread, rendered beef fat and pickled onion.

The first course was the infamous cheese croquettes with a smoked aioli. These are so heavenly. The cheese is warm and liquid, the coating crispy and the aioli the perfect accompaniment to the smoky cheese filling.

The second course was Butternut Soup. It was served with a bowl of the accent flavours and the soup is then poured over the Parmesan, shiitake mushrooms, croutons and beurre noisette crumb by the waiter. The flavours all popped and it was such a gorgeous combination.


The Main Course was Roast Chicken, served with purée of root vegetables, crispy kale and triple cooked potatoes. A little pot of chicken jus was poured over at the table when it was served. This chicken was so tender it melted in your mouth.


Dessert was Beignets served warm with hazelnut praline butter and a dark chocolate sauce.

You opened the pastry and spread it with the praline cream and then dipped it in the sauce. I could have eaten a dozen of these they were light and the flavours so tasty. The meal was perfect for a cold winter night. We had a lovely evening.

When we left we reminisced about all of the parties we have attended there sitting around the lovely old fountain in the courtyard.

Driving home we decided that we would take the shortest route as we had heard the roads were all clear. However we saw lots of debris from the fires and lots of broken glass and rubbish littering the roads. As we passed by the main protest area our car started making a very odd noise, like it was dragging something. It was too dangerous to stop there so I was panicking that our tire was punctured but we kept driving. When we went over a speed bump the noise stopped. When we got home we could see nothing untoward so we are unsure what the sound was. 

We saw later that night that there was a group of 20 or so people out throwing bricks and stones in that same area where our car had issues and a guy had his side mirror knocked off his car when they tried to put a brick through his window. We were lucky we got through safely.

I woke at 3am last night and could not get back to sleep. The medication I am on for my ears makes me quite nauseous and once I was awake Navajo was making so much noise moaning and groaning I could not get back to sleep so I am rather tired today. I managed to go back to sleep at 730 but after Norm fed the dogs Panda came up and barked to get back into the bed. I love my dogs but sometimes I want to kill the wee buggars.

Today the protests started back up causing the village once again to shut down. There are only 3 routes into our village. One is shut due to landslides from our recent storms, in the protest the traffic lights were all damaged and the roads blocked on the coastal side of the village and the other was also blocked by protesters so all routes in have been compromised for two days. For those of us who have contributed to helping the victims of the recent fire by donations or financial contributions it is hard to understand. But then we have never had to sleep in a cold, damp metal box for months on end. I don’t think we ever can understand it. Our lives are worlds apart. The meal we had last night is more in cost than many people make in a day’s wages. We are part of the privileged few, educated, employed and earning a decent wage to enable us to buy our own warm, dry homes.

I hope the city now speeds up the rehousing of the fire victims, these people have suffered so much already. 

Late this morning I made brunch for me, Norm and Caitlin. I made cheesy zucchini fritters.


I made bacon and eggs and served it with avocado and rosa tomatoes.


We are now relaxing by the fire and Norm is busy on a bid for some work and Caitlin is painting her tables for her new flat. We have a busy week ahead so I’m having down time.

I wish you all a safe week ahead. 

Music & Cocktails

This weekend we really enjoyed watching Glastonbury live via our BBC iPlayer. We try to catch the key acts every year, however until this year it was only available once they were on YouTube. We can now watch real time via streaming. On Friday evening we  loved the set by The Pretenders, it is hard to believe that Chrissie Hynde is 65 years old, unlike many aged artists she has not lost any of her vocal abilities.

chrissie

We also really enjoyed Radiohead. They sound exactly the same as they always did too they just look a bit older (as do we all).

Saturday we watched some new artists and a few others, but my fave was Katy Perry. Her shows are always so fun to watch. Her dancers were dressed in all manner of silly headdresses which made it interesting. Sunday night we watched Ed Sheeran. I do love Ed Sheeran but am not a fan of his ‘rapping’. It does not sit nicely on him. I prefer his folky / pop songs.

It was freezing cold and I was wearing about 5 layers of clothes, a furry blanket and snuggling an animal or 2 while watching in front of a roaring fire. It felt funny to see people who were attending the festival in shorts and t-shirts looking hot and flustered.

Saturday I had a busy schedule. First thing that morning I had a follow up session at Skin in Hout Bay for the laser treatments I am having. It was a small area we are working on so I was in and out and back home quick sticks.

I had a bit of time before my next appointment so I made a HFLC breakfast for Norm, Caitlin and I. I added feta, cheddar and cilantro to the omelette. I love salsa even though it is not banting if store bought, but I added it to mine. The bacon was preservative free.

Norm was busy painting the pantry ceiling & Caitlin has been busy renovating some tables for her new flat so our house has a lot of painting going on. She had bought the tables on a local Facebook group where people sell off their bits and pieces of furniture and used clothing. She got them very cheap and they are solid wood. She sanded them down and is busy painting them white. She has replaced the glass tops with adorable wall tiles. Her furniture is all white, grey or blue so these will be perfect.

Cait Tables

Excuse my big boot in the pic, oops. They are not finished so this is a pic of them in the garage.

I then had an appointment at the hairdresser Saturday afternoon. My hairdresser Leandra has moved to a new venue in Cape Town city centre and I was not 100% sure where it was so I gave myself an hour to get parked and find it. I am glad I did as the street signs were very misleading. I cannot parallel park so I parked up a few blocks away from Church Street and walked down. I knew I was looking for number 66 and the street sign pointed towards the mountain for numbers below 84 so off I trudged in that direction. I got into the 1st bit of road which was quite dark as the sun was blocked by the buildings and I came face to face with a dude with his penis in his hand. I think he was having a pee, however I did not stop to find out. I crossed over to the other side of the road but he had already seen me and he shouted out to me and waved his willy in my general direction, looking rather disappointed that I was not keen on a close up. This was rather frightening as we were the only 2 people anywhere to be seen. If he had pursued me I would have been in a spot of bother. I kept moving quickly and he went off in the direction I had just come from and so we went our separate ways. I got to the main road and realised that I had ran out of buildings and was obviously going the wrong way, so I turned around and headed back in the direction I had come from but luckily he had moved out of sight.

Eventually I found the spot for the new salon and climbed upstairs and settled in.

 

I had my hair coloured and trimmed and then I offered the hairdressers assistant Thembi a lift home. Thembi shared with me that she is so excited that her daughter was coming soon for a visit. She has been living in the Eastern Cape with her grandfather and aunts. She had been getting in with a bad crowd when living here in Cape Town and so Thembi sent her off to school there. It is so hard for parents who work to keep an eye on their teens and all it takes is getting in with a bad crowd and then there is trouble. We discussed how her kids have been so much more privileged than she was growing up and how they take this for granted. I think if you have never been hungry, you cannot conceptualise it or appreciate how blessed you are to not have to worry about your next meal.

Norm and I had a date night on Saturday and went out for dinner to Papino’s which is one of our faves in the winter. They had a roaring fire and it was nice and cosy.


We both ordered our usual, the Hollandse Biefstuk which is a pan-fried beef fillet with mushrooms flambéed with brandy at R172. We had Portuguese chips with it which are like thick home made potato chips (or crisps to you brits.) We shared an order of their fried mushrooms.

We even had a bit of dessert and squeezed in a cheeky Malva pudding. Described as ‘Served Home-made, warm Cape pudding served with vanilla ice-cream or cream’ it costs R45.

On Sunday while Norm was continuing working on painting the kitchen I lazed about and finished the last few episodes of OITNB which left me emotional and wound up so I then watched a couple of films while slow cooking a pot roast for dinner that evening. I picked random films I thought would not interest Norm as I prefer to save those we both are keen on to watch together.

First I watched Brain on Fire which is based on a real life event.

brain on fire

It was pretty good, if a bit intense. I give it 3.5 Kitten Stars.

Next I watched Captain Fantastic just because I was intrigued by the cover pic.

capn fantastic

I did not even look at the cast list beforehand and I only realised the lead was played by Viggo Mortensen when he shaved his beard about 3/4 of the way through the film as he is thin as a whippet in this film and far from his usual handsome self. I really loved this movie. I laughed out loud, I sobbed with heartbreak and I sat amazed and breathless. It was riveting and very emotionally gut-wrenching.

I give it a full 5 Kitten Stars.

Once Norm finished painting he joined me in the lounge and he built us a big cosy fire.

By then my beef roast was ready.

I had cooked carrots in the sauce with the roast and to go with it I steamed broccoli and made fondant sweet potatoes. It was rather delicious if I say so myself.

The following night I started our dinner before Vanessa arrived to do my pedicure to save a bit of time later. I cleaned the fat layer off of the roast from the previous night and shredded the meat, chopped the carrots and put it with the sauce from the pot roast into a casserole dish and heated it in the oven. Norm peeled and thinly sliced the remainder of the sweet potatoes and layered with cream and mozzarella cheese and we baked this too. It was delicious and perfect for a cold night.

Roast 2nds.png

It even stretched until lunch on Tuesday!

Monday morning I had an appointment to see the ENT specialist my GP had recommended. She is in the new Christian Barnard Hospital at the foreshore so I walked over from my office. It is about a 10 minute walk so was very easy. The new hospital is stunning, bright and clean. I hope it stays that way.

I liked the ENT. She was very approachable and seemed to find me funny. She did an ultrasound check of my ears and discovered my middle ear is full of fluid. She sprayed a bit of anaesthetic up my nose followed by a scope and discovered I have a deviated septum. She could see the scar tissue from all of my childhood issues with my ears. I missed so much school as a child due to chronic ear infections. She also noted the scarring of my oesophagus from acid reflux. It was like a psychic doctor asking about stuff from my past which I had not mentioned. She has given me a list of things to do twice a day. First I have to wash out my sinuses with a salt water solution, followed by a nasal spray to open my sinuses, then turn my head upside down and drop in a steroid and antibiotic mix which is actually eye drops. Then I must do the Valsalva manoeuvre. The Valsalva manoeuvre is performed by moderately forceful attempted exhalation against a closed airway, usually done by closing one’s mouth, pinching one’s nose shut while pressing out as if blowing up a balloon.

Valsalva_maneuver.jpg

All of this will be done twice a day for 2 weeks and then I must go back to see if it is resolved. It is a mission and rather awkward to achieve in the mornings before work as I leave so early.

After work last night we were invited to a cocktails evening at Retha’s. She has a friend Jennifer who is working on the yachts in Europe who wanted to practice her cocktail skills. Here is our lovely bartender with a round of cosmos.

bartender

I was willing to be a guinea pig as I love cocktails.


We got to choose a few different cocktails for Jennifer to make and I asked for a pina colada. They were divine!


She made a few different ones. I am not a fan of mint so I skipped the mojito round.

We had been nibbling on cheese and nuts and homemade bread but eventually we decided we needed proper food and we ordered Thai food on OrderIn.

We ended the night on a round of chili chocolate tequila drinks.

chili choc martini

It was so delicious.

cocktails me.jpg

Dunno what Norm is up to in the background? Trying to drag me off home most likely as he was driving and not cocktailing.

We did not stay late but all those different cocktails meant I suffered a bit on Wednesday morning. But it was worth it as it was a fun evening.

I have a few fun events coming up this weekend. We are going to the winter warmer special at La Mouette on Saturday so I am very excited about that.

lamouettefood

lamouette.JPG

It is one of our favourite restaurants in all of Cape Town.

Sunday I have a drum circle to attend. I have booked to attend a workshop late July to make my own drum which I am so excited about. I have asked for a hartebeest skin rather than a goat skin as the colour is much richer. I thank the animal who shall give his skin to my drum.

I hope you all have a wonderful week and weekend. Much love.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

When I received the notification that La Mouette had implemented a new menu I was of course front of the queue to try it.

We had thought that Caitlin and I would be home alone this week with Norm off in Scotland so we booked for the 2 of us to celebrate starting her new job, but then Lily was summoned home to help us all cope with the animals and everything else that Norm usually takes on, so we increased the booking to 3. Lily is a very fussy eater so I wasn’t sure if she would cope with the adventurous menus that La Mouette usually produce but was willing to take the risk.

I had been lucky that the drama I have been having with a rather rubbish service provider had resulted in a thousand rand being reimbursed to me that day, so it funded the majority of our dinner. Thank you universe!

We arrived and were seated in the front of the courtyard, by the front gates. My girls are so stunning aren’t they?
cait
lilyme

The gardens and the fountain are so lovely, it is such a gorgeous venue. However the problem with sitting at the front table is that you get constant cigarette smoke wafting in from the diners who have nipped out the front for a fag. So I will make sure to ask for a different table in future. I really hate cigarettes especially while trying to savour fabulous food, it taints your taste buds.

The new Mid Summer Tasting Menu was 6 courses for R295 or with wines R495.

They brought out a platter of the 3 varieties of bread and the girls got stuck into that, I did warn them that there were 6 courses to follow and to go easy but they were hungry and made a rookie mistake. But damn that is some good bread.

For the 1st course we had:
Tomato salad which consisted of Basil oil, olive powder, smoked aubergine, buffalo mozzarella and tomato essence.
tom starter

As I am not a fan of basil I was a bit worried about this one, but wow!!! The flavours were just divine! Sweet, yet tangy, the tomato essence brought an acidic cut to the mix of textures and flavours. It was gorgeous. Even fussy Lily ate every bite and then soaked up the sauce with her remaining bread. I couldn’t blame her as it was too lovely to waste a drop.

The next course was called ‘Salt and pepper mushrooms’ which was described as having Mushroom ketchup and burnt onion panna cotta. We were all expecting just crispy salt and pepper mushrooms like you get a Chinese restaurant, but there was much more going on here.
mushrooms

The dish was topped with 2 of the crispy mushrooms but it also had a variety of other mushrooms, these were a bit too ‘slimy’ for Lily and as she does not eat onion in any shape or form the burnt onion topping put her off as well. But I did really enjoy this one, the panna cotta was gorgeous and the burnt onion gave it the kick it needed.

As Lily did not eat hers she sat playing with it and in doing so noticed that her mushroom had a rather rude shape.
naughty mush
Oh dear.

On that note we shall move onto our next course. We each chose a different option for this course.

Lily had the Smoked duck with Gorgonzola croquettes, celeriac puree, confit fig and candied walnuts. She really enjoyed this, she thought the candied walnuts were the bomb. I remembered those from the last visit as they topped the amuse bouche so I felt her pain when she launched the largest one off her plate while trying to spear it with her fork.
duck

Caitlin chose the Seared tuna Asian salad which came with Pickled cucumber, shaved vegetables, charred mango, nam jim dressing and peanuts. It was quite a large portion and as she was full of bread she only finished half of it, so Lily and I halved the other bit and got a taste too. The tuna tasted very fresh and was perfectly cooked, crisp on the outside and very pink in the centre. As a share Lily and I both gave Cait half of a cheese croquette in exchange.
tuna

This pic also highlights that the Samsung seems to take much better pics than the iPhone, however my friend Retha takes amazing pics with her iPhone so maybe it is the fault of the photographer haha.

I ordered the Truffle and cheese croquettes which are served with Mushroom pesto, truffle dressing and shaved parmesan.

I would walk through a desert for those croquettes. Luckily no desert was involved, just more dark iPhone pics. 😀

croq 2
I loved the sharp tang of the parmesan served with the croquettes and the various other sauces were just perfect with it. It was probably my fave dish of the night.

The next course also had 3 options, I really expected my Pescatarian daughter Caitlin to order this one, but she is also a big mushroom fan and decided to try the mushroom option instead. So I am sad to say no one tried the Bouillabaisse which consisted of Line fish, crispy prawn, mussel, confit tomato, smoked leek, potato, parsley puree and croutons.

Lily and I both chose the Beef rib eye with Buttermilk mash, watercress emulsion, caramelized shallot and horseradish. There were 2 nice sized chunks of rib eye which were rare and perfectly cooked. Lily doesn’t like shallots so I got a double portion and they were brilliant with the meat and mash. I did really enjoy this course.
ribeye

Caitlin had the Mushroom Pot Sticker served with Satay, charred endive, pickled mushrooms and white bean puree. She thought the filling of the pot stickers to be a bit too intense to serve as a separate item, she thought it might be better as a side dish with something less intense. I didn’t taste this so I only have her feedback to go on. However I am not a huge fan of foam and I had seen this dish before so it did not appeal to me.

mush potsticker

The next course of Gin and tonic described as Lemon curd, lemon sorbet, juniper meringues, tonic jelly and foam had sounded lovely and refreshing as I love lemon curd and I love lemon sorbet. However I do not love either gin or tonic and the tonic jelly was incredibly bitter. None of us could eat this course, we took one bite and sent it on its way. Not a fan at all of that one. Maybe people who do like gin and tonics might like it but not for either of us.

The next course sounded like a strange way to end the meal, more like breakfast than dessert but this was one that Lily was very keen on.

The ‘Muesli’ came with Malted milk ice cream, honey comb, oats, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, raisin puree, cranberries and vanilla milk.

They bring the dry ingredients first:
pourng cocmilk
Then they pour on the vanilla milk and voila, dessert!
muesli

I love the taste of malt and this was such a lovely ending, very sweet and crunchy and so yummy. We all 3 licked our bowls with this one!

We chose a great night to be out as Load shedding is at stage 2 so all of Hout Bay was without electricity, by the time we got home power was restored and we could chill out a bit then head to bed. This morning when I got up Lily came in to tell me she had been ill all night. I’m not sure if it was the food or a virus, the only thing she had that neither of us had was the duck, not sure if it was too rich for her or what happened but she looked dreadful when I headed off to work.

This week we started receiving organic veg from Harvest of Hope. The Harvest of Hope organic vegetable box was started as a solution to Abalimi Bezekhaya’s micro-farmers, providing a reliable market for their organic produce. Each week we will pick up a box of freshly harvested organic veg suitable for a family of 4. It forces us to try new things and it means we are eating gorgeous fresh goods. Our 1st night Caitlin cooked and we had crispy red cabbage, fried potatoes and onions cooked in coconut oil and a big salad of the most divine crispy lettuce – the freshest I have ever had.

The following night I made eggplant/Aubergine Parmigiana and for my sauce I added in a huge bunch of parsley as it was in the box and I don’t like it but as I was whizzing up the onions and peppers and tomatoes in the blender I thought it was a perfect time to use some of it up. It made such a difference to the sauce. Was really gorgeous. However we thought the aubergine tasted a bit underdone as we hadn’t done the breaded option as we are trying to eat healthier so there was no precooking and the cheese was getting overdone so we took it out. But it looked perfect 😀

egg parm

It was oozing with tons of mozzarella and ricotta and tasted delicious but after we finished we noticed on the little recipe inserted into the box that it had a warning to never eat uncooked aubergine as it has a toxin which can make you very sick. Oops. The aubergine was not raw, just undercooked so not sure if it was that or the excess of cheese but we all ended up with a bit of a dodgy tummy. I think this just left Lily a bit vulnerable on a digestive level so that combined with the richness of the food at La Mouette is what set her over the edge. Poor girl, I just checked on her and she sounds as if she has perked up a wee bit.

We girls are all at home tonight so we will just chill out and watch a movie, I love these special times with my girls. We all miss Norm though.

Today is Mavis, my mother in law’s funeral in Scotland. I wish we could all be there to support Norm but he has a big family who are all very close, I am glad they will be there for each other.

RIP Mavis. You were a wonderful lady.

Tastes of Love and Life

We have been so busy I have not blogged in a week and it was all go, so bear with me if I cover a lot of territory.

It was my turn to host bookclub this month and the girls all came to me last Tuesday. My friend Chris has her father in law Pops visiting from the UK so he came as well. As I had been at work I had no time to cook so sent Norm off with a shopping list. I just got 4 ready made roast chickens from Woolworth’s and made a potato salad with chopped boiled eggs, a big green salad and had some French loaf and olive loaf. Thank goodness for Woolies. We bought our desserts however from Oakhurst Spar, they have such divine cakes and pies. I would not have been able to pull it off without Norm or the shops, I certainly did not have time to cook. We had not had a domestic here in 6 weeks so the house was a mess, we had also taken the couch covers and cushions off for a spring clean and Norm had rented a carpet cleaner and done the carpets so the house was in a bit of a tip up until the moment they all arrived. But we pulled it off.

Last weekend was a fabulous weekend full of friends and fun.

I had an early appointment at my hairdresser Leandra from Mop on Bree Street so I dashed off, it was such a hot day and this led me to decide to chop off about 6 inches of my hair. Here is a before and after pic.
hair before

hair

What do you think? I am still not convinced, it seems so short. I was afraid it would make me look matronly but my family all think it makes me look younger, and we all need a bit of that magic.

After my hair appointment I came home and had a swim as it was very hot. It was so refreshing. I feel so lucky to have a pool in the summer. It gets so hot and has been in the high 20s & low 30s all week.

That evening we went to our friends Chris and Jeremy for drinks. We had planned just to pop in for a drink and then go out for dinner but we were enjoying ourselves so much we stayed til late. Jeremy made the most amazing home made scotch eggs, oh they were yummy. They put on some light snacks to tide us all over and we all got stuck in.

Sunday I had a long lie in which was nice and then Norm drove me out to Kalk Bay to meet up with the George escapees book club for lunch. Ironic that I had so many bookclub gatherings and have not read a book in ages.

We met at Live Bait which is part of a group of restaurants right on Kalk Bay harbour. I have been to the other venues many times but this was my 1st at Live Bait. We decided to order a few platters to share and were very pleased with our choices.

We had the fried calamari for R90, which was tender and delicious:
photo 1

a big plate of grilled prawns at R140, nice and plump and firm and easily peeled:
photo 2

and the seafood platter special for 2 people which was on for R330 which contained mussels in a gorgeous white wine and garlic sauce, grilled prawns, line fish, pan friend calamari cooked with chorizo and peppers and a whole crayfish. I adore chorizo and it really gave the calamari a gorgeous flavour.
photo 3

We washed it all down with a few bottles of Brampton Sauvignon Blanc at a very reasonable price of R122 per bottle.

We so seldom see each other so we talked and talked and talked. In fact we talked so much that we were still there at 6pm – 4 hours after arriving – when the dinner service started and the manager came over and told us we had to go as the table was booked. I found this a bit rude as there were plenty of other tables sitting empty and we had certainly spent a good bit of money, it wasn’t as if we had all shared a hot water with a spoon of tomato sauce in it and pretended it was soup.

I loved the venue and the view and the food, but that put me off a bit.

We had a few days of relaxing and on Wednesday we had booked to go to La Mouette, owned by my fave chef and his wife and one of my favourite venues. I have too many blogs about it to link them all but feel free to search for the fabulousness.

Norm had some former colleagues over from the UK and this is our go to place for all visitors. We collected Norm’s friends from The One and Only Hotel and headed off to Seapoint. The evening was very hot and windy, but the lovely thing about La Mouette is that the high glass walls keep the wind out but let all of the light in. We were seated on the balcony and were very pleased to see that there were multiple options for vegetarians. We opted for the Summer Tasting Menu of 6 courses for R295 per person.

The lovely owner Mari sent over a round of champagne for us on arrival and we sipped this and munched on the various breads and spreads while catching up.
norm mouetteme mouette

After we selected our choices for each course we were served the amuse bouche which was quite large in itself. It was a carrot puree topped with 2 of Henry’s delicious gorgonzola cheese croquettes and crunchy walnuts. Such gorgeous flavours!

amuse bouche

The next course was Burrata Gazpacho Verde, with Burrata, grilled crouton, kombu and parmesan crust. Kombu is kelp and burrata is a cheese for those scratching their heads. It was served in an interesting way, the bowl arrived with the ‘bits’ in it and the waitress then poured the soup over the top.
course 1a

course 1b

The next course was a modern ‘Vichyssoise’ Smoked leeks, leek ash, crispy potatoes, leek and potato panacotta. The thick bottom was so delicious and beautifully flavoured and the crispy potato topping was perfect.

course 2

For the next course I had the ‘Roast pork dinner’ which consisted of Triple cooked potatoes, mustard, pickled turnips, apple and fennel. The pork was done in little bite sized cubes and the roast potato bites were so divinely crispy.

pork

Norm and his vegetarian friends opted for the Truffle and cheese croquettes with mushroom pesto, truffle dressing and shaved parmesan. Norman must really love me as he gave me a croquette and they are just the most wonderful things, not sure I would have done the same for him. 😀
croquettes

Norm and I both ordered the Namibian lamb Loin, croquette, chick pea puree, pistachio crumble, shanklish, apricot and saffron for our next course. I had this before so I knew it was going to be wonderful. The loin was rare and the croquettes were full of tender pulled lamb. I could eat my weight in those, they are just wow. Shanklish is a Lebanese and Syrian blue cheese made from sheep or cow’s milk.
lamb

This and the pork were my fave courses but the vegetarians also enjoyed theirs.

Mick and Jasmine had the Mushroom Pot Sticker which was satay, charred endive, picked mushrooms and white bean puree.
mushroom main

There was a fruity dessert of Tropical fruit salad with Meringue, mango sorbet, passion fruit jelly, roasted pineapple, coconut and lime leaf foam. It was light and refreshing. I wasn’t too crazy about the chunks of jelly in the mix but I am a texture freak, I can’t take different textures in my mouth at the same time. But fool me once with the sneaky jelly baby cube and then I knew to move it out of the way and finish the rest of the fabulousness.

dessert 1

The final course was a contrast to the lightness of the 1st, it was rich and heavy and a perfect ending. Chocolate course was warm brownie, smoked caramel, coffee cream, hazelnut ice cream, and amaretto jelly. Again I was watching out for that jelly and kicked it to the curb to devour the rest of it. It was getting quite late by this stage so the pic is a bit dark, apologies for that.

dessert2

We finished off the meal and headed back to drop our friends, only getting to bed after midnight and I was rather tipsy so I struggled the next day at work. Lucky that I had a friend Gillian come meet me for lunch and a steak burger and wedges all washed down with many many giggles seemed to transform me. I went back to the office perky and refreshed.

After work I shot off to get my monthly pedicure and then straight from there went to collect Norm so he could drop me at my friend Cath’s drinks evening. It was in Noordhoek at her sister’s house and we had never been there, we followed the GPS and drove up the drive to be greeted by a strange man hanging out of the window, he said ‘Hi’ and I said ‘Hi’ back enthusiastically but then he asked me who I was and told me I was at the wrong house just before Norm drove off. Oops. Apparently the street we wanted was in 2 halves and we were on the wrong half. We started over and found our way there. There were lots of ladies there to support Catherine as she is going into hospital for an op. One of the girls made a sign for her and we all brought snacks and wine and had a lovely evening. We have such a great group of girls.
girls 2
Debbie has such a stunning home.
girls
The evening was very cloudy but the view from the balcony of Deb’s house is just amazing, I can imagine what it is like on a clear evening, you can see the entire beach from there.
view

We all toddled off quite late and Norm came to collect me from Camilla’s house as she had given me a lift. I was glad the next day was a Friday as I was taking strain from too much social activity.

I had a doctor appointment on Friday so I had to leave work early. I have been suffering with nausea and heartburn for months and I finally decided I had to do something about it. The doc is hoping it is just gastritis so he has given me meds to take and if that does not sort it out I will need to get referred off for a scope. He then gave me a list of foods to avoid, chocolate, wine, alcohol, spicy foods and rich foods. Basically everything that I normally eat. Fabulous. This depressed me so much that I had to go for a drink. Yeah, I know. Not only that but I had to try the delicious sounding chilli poppers at the lovely Julie Ragavelas’ new venue The Riverway Café.

cafe
As always Julie has outdone herself, the venue is charming and quirky and the menu is many of the usual things you find, but as always there is a slight twist.

It was incredibly hot, over 30 degrees Celsius so we had to have a refreshing cocktail and so I had a Pimms. I had just left the docs and I didn’t follow his orders very well.
poppers
The chili poppers are not breaded, they are wrapped in bacon and stuffed with pulled pork, and are hands down the best ones I have ever eaten.

Today I have done nothing at all. Norm bought a used concrete table and chairs from a friend and we had that delivered and set up. Our top had broken and we were unable to find a replacement so I am very pleased. It is so windy the concrete is great as it won’t blow away. It may not be the most attractive choice but it is sensible. So we set up our new brolly and tried it all out.

table

We can now dine out front where we have such a lovely view of the back of Table Mountain. We do have an entertainment area at the back but there is no view there so we tend to use it at night. It is nice to have a place to lunch when we are swimming as this is right by the pool.

We are having a relaxing weekend after a week of social frenzy. The girls are both away so we only have ourselves to look after. I intend to spend all of tomorrow lying by the pool and maybe having lunch under my new little gem of a spot.

Mop Hair: https://www.facebook.com/mophaircapetown
Live Bait: http://www.harbourhousegroup.co.za/livebait
The One & Only: http://capetown.oneandonlyresorts.com
La Mouette: http://lamouette-restaurant.co.za/

Under The Stars

This week was still intense at work, we had a data load which means stress and tension and late hours, but we hit our delivery.

Norm had his old friend Rowan come over from Belfast this week for a wedding, this was a guy Norm had coached over 20 years ago and had not really seen since then. Rowan’s wife is Cathy and we made plans to go to one of my favourite restaurants which is owned by an amazing chef. La Mouette is run by the lovely couple Mari and Henry, the food they conjure up is a treat to the taste buds.

Rowan and Cathy were lucky enough (or rich enough hahaha) to stay at the stunning Mount Nelson Hotel and we offered to collect them, so we drove through the gorgeous entrance and up the winding drive towards the big pink hotel to collect them.
mount-nelson-hotel

hotel n mountain

We arrived at La Mouette just before the sun set and the courtyard was all ready with the tables beautifully set, the fountain tinkling in the centre, and fairy lights strung in the trees. It is such a lovely oasis in the centre of busy Seapoint, but it somehow feels as if you are off in the countryside, you are unaware of any noise or chaos nearby. As the sun went down the candles were lit and the light was from the periphery of the courtyard.

We opted for the Spring Tasting Menu which consists of 6 courses for R295, or if you opt to have the wine pairing it is R475. Instead of the wine pairing we chose to go with the Warwick Professor Black Sauvignon Blanc at R225 a bottle.

The 1st course was Roasted cauliflower soup accompanied by Gruyere cheese scones, truffle Chantilly and red onion jam.
1

The soup was creamy and tasty, the cheese scone was gorgeous with the truffle cream and onion jam. A lovely way to kick off the night.

Next was the course I was least looking forward to as I am not a fan of celery or celeriac. But I have now learned to not question Henry’s seemingly bizarre combinations as somehow the chemistry just elevates the food to another level.

The Celery panacotta was creamy and smooth and only lightly flavoured with celery and it came with Hazelnut crumble, Grilled asparagus, and an apple and celeriac remoulade and it was all just divine. The nuttiness of the hazelnut was a perfect balance to the other flavours. It was light and refreshing and perfect for the heat of the evening.

b

Next was a choice of either:
Peas, ham and eggs: Glazed pork belly, lomo, peas, parmesan cream and egg yolk emulsion.
d
Or
Salt and pepper squid: Roasted corn, puree, pickled cucumber and caramelized onion ketchup.
c

I opted for the squid. It was breaded with a light crispy coating and the combo of the corn and the other items was perfect, but then I have a slight corn fetish, I blame my Native American heritage, we invented that stuff didn’t we? 🙂
Native-American-Deities-Atina-310-x-240-600-x-493

Or was it the pilgrims? Whatever the history, it was damned good.

Norm had the pork, he has a bit of a pea obsession. Not sure why, did the scots invent peas?

The next course also had 2 options:
Either the Springbok ‘pie’ Bitterballen, medallion, spring baby vegetables, smoked mash and crispy pastry,
e

Or the Franschhoek trout Tartare, cauliflower cous cous, quinoa, crispy calabash, pickled pumpkin seeds, spiced chicken jus.
f_0

All of us had the springbok other than Cathy who tried the trout. The springbok medallions were really tender, the bitterballen like mini schnitzel balls, crispy outside, tender and delicious inside. The mash had a delicious flavour, maybe truffle oil? Not sure but it was so creamy and flavourful. It was so delicious I wanted to lick the plate.

The trout looked very nice and Cathy polished it all off and said she enjoyed it.

The next course was Eton mess which consisted of Meringue, lemon curd, strawberries, vanilla cream, cassis gel and strawberry sorbet.
Clever Cathy called it Eton tidy as it was so delicately arranged on the plate, it was a visual treat as well as one for the taste buds.
eton

It was tart, and very refreshing. I really enjoyed it.

Memories of sweets by the seaside was the final course, this consisted of a donut, ice cream and a mock up of a bit of rock which had a jelly type outside and a creamy filling.
h_0

For you Americans, rock is a traditional British seaside treat,and this is what we always just called hard stick candy, we used to always buy it when we went to Gatlinburg for some reason.
history-british-rock

The evening was fabulous, it was a hot evening, the food was perfect, and I really clicked with Cathy, we had such a giggle over everything, she seemed to get my odd sense of humour and we chatted the entire night while the fellas caught up. It was just magical.

10734277_10152775699051136_5893288652412392778_n

We only got to sleep at about 1am which was a killer for a Monday. It didn’t help that I had bookclub on the Tuesday and another late night, but it was good to see my girlies and catch up. We celebrated Camilla’s birthday and chatted and laughed for hours, it was lovely.

Norm and I attended the CPF (Community Policing Forum) meeting on Thursday evening and there was a new board elected, I am looking forward to the changes they will implement, they are all young and as devoted to Hout Bay as Norm and I are and we anticipate a lot of energy coming in to make a difference.

Last night after work I went for a cocktail with 2 of the lads on my team. We went to the Park Inn at the Foreshore, they have a lovely lounge on the roof, it has a pool and a DJ and cocktails with a view of the mountain. Did I mention cocktails?
me park

As I was driving I just had 1 and made it last for 2 hours 🙂 that meant I avoided brain freeze so it’s all good.

We had a lot of laughs talking nonsense and then we all headed home.

Tonight we have 2 events to attend, so it is definitely the end of year craziness starting. I hope you all have a fabulous weekend, the sun is shining and life is pretty fabulous.

http://www.lamouette-restaurant.co.za
http://www.belmond.com/mount-nelson-hotel-cape-town/
http://www.parkinn.com/hotel-capetown

Tastes of Memories

Summer seems to have finally arrived in the Mother City. We have had so many false starts and empty promises so I am very happy to see it!

Last week was a rather busy week, I am currently juggling multiple clients, multiple projects and of course life. By the time Friday arrived I was ready for a bit of down time, however like all good intentions, we had little or no rest on the weekend.

Saturday I had a ridiculously long list of errands to run. I normally send the kids or Norm, or go with them, and I realised just how long it has been since I toddled off on my own to do anything!

To be fair I did kick off with needing Caitlin’s help to choose the platters for the party. We normally always order from Pic N Pay, but their deli order process is so disorganised and it is such a pain in the arse to get over to Constantia and park our car on a Saturday that when a friend mentioned that our local Spar does party platters I thought it worth a try. I often hear people talking about the hot deli there so figured it can’t be that bad! I’ll let you know next weekend. We ordered about 6 platters and then I went off to finish my shopping.

I got home just in time for Norm to do a quick change then off we went to a braai at Darryn and Kerri-Ann. They have a lovely home on the other side of the valley; it felt so private and secluded. We took Navajo with us as he still cannot be trusted home alone. It took him a few minutes but eventually the dogs all settled and had fun together. Kerri-Ann’s rescue dog initially kept baring her teeth at Navajo, but he was oblivious of any tension and kept just licking her snarling face. She eventually gave up and decided he was harmless despite his size.

We had a few glasses or wine there (well I did as Norm was driving of course) and a chat to the Shepley’s whom the braai it was in honour of. We then had to shoot off home and get ready for the next stage of the evening.

We were meeting some twitter friends and Caitlin and her new fella. It was his first time to meet any of the family and it was both Caitlin and Justin’s first time trying the food at La Mouette. There were 10 of us and the host asked if we were happy sitting outside, or whether we would be happier upstairs. It was the most stunning evening, the weather was perfectly balmy and warm, with no gusts of wind which is normally the spoiler in Cape Town so we opted for the courtyard. The tables were all set with crisp white linen and each chair had a bright blue throw in case we were chilly. The accents were all blue and it looked fresh and stunning.

We had some delicious Professor Black Sauvignon Blanc from the Warwick Wine Estate. It is my go to wine at La Mouette and I seldom even bother with the wine list. And yes I know if I am having red meat I should have red wine. But I should do a lot of things. I generally don’t do as I am told.

I coached Caitlin and Justin to try and not over analyse the contents of the items on the menu. If you do read the fine print of the course description you will think, what is THAT? And why would I eat it with THAT? Welcome to the La Mouette rooky mistake….don’t think, just experience.

The spring tasting menu consisted of the following:
Mezze Goats cheese croquette, falafel, tabbouleh, smoked aubergine puree, grilled baby marrow and sumac.
lamouettemezze
_______
Next, Caramelized onion soup Brioche croutons and fontina tortelinni. This had tons of flavour and a perfectly cooked little tortellini.
_______
Next you could choose between: Soft poached egg Grilled asparagus, barley, crispy onions, béarnaise relish and parmesan broth
Or
Pan-fried line fish Chick pea puree, red pepper emulsion, raisins, calamari, baby spinach and smoked paprika.
_______
The main consisted of a choice of: Sweet corn risotto Salt and pepper vegetables, smoked butter, chilli and lime dressing
Or
Confit lamb shoulder Spiced yogurt, pea puree, carrot emulsion, salt baked carrots and gnocchi
________
The cheese course was a sort of ‘deconstructed’ ‘Waldorf’: Gorgonzola croquettes, celeriac puree, marinated grapes, radish and pickled apples.
_______
Dessert was Spiced coconut panacotta Coconut crumble, passion fruit gel, pineapple foam, tamarind grante and toasted cashew nuts.

I chose the fish option
lamouettefish
and the lamb, even though I often say I do not eat lamb, when I am at La Mouette I make an exception. It melts in your mouth and is so full of flavour, I just can’t pass it up.

The ‘Waldorf’ cheese course was heaven.

Don’t get me wrong, it is all pretty damned heavenly, but that course was un-freakin-believable. And the one I looked forward to the least! I’m not a fan of celeriac (actually just WTF is celeriac? I thought that was that disease of the intestines which meant wheaty stuff made you ill….or is that celiac?) I do not like fruit in savoury foods, so the apple sounded a bit too appley. Add in a radish and what you smoking in that kitchen Chef Henri? Whatever it is, smoke some more because wow!

You had to try and get a morsel of each of the ingredients into your mouth at once and the combination of the flavours was simply perfection. The crisp tart apple, the bitterness of the radish, the smooth creamy cheese…and there were these candied walnuts on the plate which were the perfect finishing taste.

As we were sitting outside it became difficult to snap pics as it was all romantic and candlelit – add to the fact I am blind as a bat and then you won’t criticise my artistic endeavours quite as viciously as you might have otherwise.

We did manage to get a decent snap of me, Retha and Diane.
girls

We had a brilliant night, a lot of laughs, amazing food and a bit too much wine. As a result, on Sunday I woke feeling a bit tender compliments of the Professor. But we had plans to entertain that evening, so I managed to persuade Norm to shop for me and I made a huge pot of very spicy chilli con carne and rice.

It was a stunner of a day, so I spent most of it lying in the shade by the pool, playing candy crush while dangling my toes in the water. We brought out the paddling pool for Navajo and he had a blast running and jumping in, getting soaked and then running round the garden like he was possessed.

Later that evening we had our DJ for next week, Baz and his GF Candi round. We all hit it off as if we’ve known each other for years, not just met. We chatted and munched and sat outside in the garden until they left. This was the 1st time we had entertained this year as the weather has been so erratic. It is the 1st time we have sat comfortably in our back garden since our home invasion. I have to confess I was still probably a bit jumpy on occasion as my back was the wall where the guys entered our property. But that in itself is progress, I wasn’t able to even sit with my back to the garden for months. Slowly slowly we get back to normal.

Today I decided to have left over chilli con carne for lunch and I had a strong craving which even to me sounds bizarre. When I was a child at school they would serve chilli con carne with peanut butter sandwiches. No lie. Now this is another one of those things which sounds like it could never make sense but it really does. Or maybe this is just that my taste buds stored this memory under the category of ‘home’? I heard the other day that if a puppy is exposed to most things before it is 11 weeks old then it will not be spooked. So maybe peanut butter and chilli is my childhood dog training? Whatever the reason, it makes me feel comforted.