Festivities & Feathers

There is nothing quite like a birthday to make you feel special. Sunday was my actual birthday but I had a lovely celebratory weekend with time spent with my husband, my daughters and their fellas as well as a girly morning with my bestie and my daughters. My only regret was that my son and his partner Amber could not come down but Amber has been working away and only got home this weekend. Hopefully I can see them soon.

We started off on Saturday at Chef’s Warehouse at Beau Constantia. It is a stunning relatively new wine farm with both a wine tasting venue as well as a restaurant.


Caitlin’s beau Wesley joined us.


Josh had a business meeting in Simon’s Town and by the time he arrived back to Hout Bay we were finished and he missed our lunch.

Aren’t my daughters gorgeous?


The view is stunning from the vineyard, it looks out across the valley.

The way it works is that you pair up for Tapas for Two for R650 for the full menu. The Menu for Saturday is below, it changes depending on what is fresh and available locally but you cannot make choices – you get what is on the menu.

The food arrives in 3 servings as shown in the groupings below.


The first set of dishes all arrived at the same time.

The tuna was very tasty in this dish – there was a strong cumin flavour, but I love cumin. A lot of the dishes throughout the day contained cumin. I really liked this dish it was fresh but had a deep earthy taste.

Out of the first round of dishes, most of us preferred the skirt steak with the soft taco, it was my fave for sure. The steak was tender and the spices came through nicely.

The linefish sashimi dish had a strong vinegar taste from the pickling so was a bit too tart for a few of us but the fish was very tender and melted in your mouth.

Then after they cleared away the first round of plates, the 2nd serving arrived, a risotto and a tart. I was not looking forward to either as I detest pears and am so-so about risotto. But I was very pleasantly surprised as both of these dishes were delicious and the tart was so pretty with the edible flowers decorating it.

The risotto was perfectly cooked and creamy in texture, the little cheese croquettes were divine. I loved the crispy kale and the leeks were nice and soft but full of flavour.

The pastry on the tart was light and flaky and still crisp (I hate soggy pastry). The pears were soft and full of the flavours they were cooked in, the cheese and the pears were a gorgeous combination.

The third set of dishes arrived after they cleared the 2nd round of plates and gave us a few minutes to recover.

The fish was stunning, I think the nuts were a wee bit overpowering for the delicate fish. But it was nice and the fish was cooked perfectly.

I do not usually eat lamb as it is too fatty and too gamey for me, but I did taste the lamb rib tapas and it was nice. The flavours were lovely and the meat tender, it was just too fatty for my personal taste. The blokes loved this dish and they had all 3 of our portions to share between them.

The Blesbok was divine, tender and moist. I enjoyed this dish a lot. I loved the black garlic cream.


As it was a special lunch several of us ordered dessert.

I ordered the bon bons.

They were all very complicated flavour combinations. Here is the list of fillings.

bonbons.jpg

Norm and Wes both had the ice cream which came with a delicious slab of honeycomb. I love honeycomb but the ice cream sounded too complicated to me.

I thought the day was fabulous, the venue stunning, the service excellent, but I did find the food a wee bit pretentious. If I compare this meal to a meal from Foxcroft, just a few miles up the road, I would prefer Foxcroft. I also prefer Cheyne’s. However this venue gets extra points for the venue and view.

All in all I give Chef’s Warehouse 4.5 Kitten Stars.

We went home to digest and relax for the rest of the afternoon. Norm had a little snooze before he had to take the dogs for their walk. Caitlin and Wes had gone to visit his Grandmother who was having her 80th birthday celebration. Lily and I started watching a sweet little show called Atypical.

atypical.jpg

It is predominately about Sam, a young lad who is on the autism spectrum. However it also touches on so many other family dynamics. I love Jennifer Jason Lee, I think she plays a great role in this series.

Later on in the evening we all started getting a bit peckish so we ordered sushi from K1 Sushi in Hout Bay.

It was fresh and lovely. I had salmon roses (as always) and bamboo rolls topped with prawn.

On Sunday, my actual birthday, the girls and I got up early as we had booked to go to Clay Cafe in Hout Bay. My bestie Retha came to meet us.

They have a lovely venue at Clay Cafe where you can go to paint pottery. There is a playground for the kiddies and they do meals or pastries. It is a large warehouse with lots of tables.

clay cafe venue.JPG

You choose your paint colours and your accent colours and the piece of pottery you want to paint. We chose 6 plates and 1 coffee mug for us all to paint.

First we all had breakfast. They serve their eggs benedict on a slice of sweet potato instead of a muffin or bread so it was low carb yet delicious. My eggs were perfectly cooked.

clay cafe eggs benedict.JPG

Then after we finished our food we got stuck into painting. Your table has a number and you all paint it on the bottom so they know which item relates to which order when you come to collect it after they fire it in the kiln.

The girls are so artistic.

We had such fun.


Retha is a painting machine, she can usually do 2 items to my one item!

Caitlin painted a coffee cup for me, I chose the slogan to remind me to stay in the present.

I chose the colours turquoise, yellow and white for my 6 plates, I hoped to match my kitchen. I chose the theme of feathers to go with my Native American background. We all painted our own interpretations of feathers.

The top plate is a pic of Lily’s and the bottom 2 are mine. I chose 3 feathers in one of the plates I painted. This was to represent me and my 2 mini-me daughters. And yes I know those feathers look more like fish bones than feathers. Like many things, I love to paint but have rubbish skills.

Much like my photography.


And in this pic Caitlin’s plate is at the top and Retha’s 2 are at the bottom. I find it interesting that Retha and I did very similar drawings without referring to each other.

After we finished painting Retha headed off and the girls and I all had a slice of cake to celebrate my birthday. 

It was very moist and rather divine.

Josh came to collect Lily and they headed off home to Mossel Bay around 12.30. Caitlin dropped me at home and then went over to her flat to work on her renovations. Her new floors are being laid this week so she needs to get the ceilings and walls done.

When I walked in to our house I had a big bouquet of my favourite flowers and a mystery box awaiting me.

I ripped open the box to find that Norm had bought me the metal pig I had been coveting for months.

Then Norm and I just relaxed for a bit as it was a stunning sunny day. I sat by the pool in the shade and thought about how sad it makes me to leave this house.

pool.JPG

Later in the afternoon we drove over the mountain to Noordhoek to view some show houses. One of them was perfect for us on paper, but as we arrived in Noordhoek the agent rang to say they had just received a cash offer from a UK buyer and the house was pretty much off the market.

I was sad for a moment but then I refocused myself and thought that what is meant to be will be and got over it. We then saw a different house which we both loved that was on show. All it needs is a pool to be perfect and there is space to put one in. It has a large garden for the dogs. It’s all on one level. It is in our price range but I do not think I can bear the drive in each day to the city. It would add up to 2 hours MORE commute time to my day. I would be able to walk to the beach from the house but there is no view of the sea. If I am going to drive that far every day I want to come home to a stunning sea view.

We circled around the city and viewed a few houses in Tokai and Constantia. I saw one I loved but Norm thought it was poorly built. He called it Mr Bodgit’s house. So that is a no. He is very keen on the Noordhoek home but he does not have to commute as he works from home or he travels to the client.

This weekend we are going to explore the northern suburbs as houses are much cheaper there and I can take the bus into work.

We finished off my birthday by going for dinner at our fave Indian restaurant The Indian Oven. It was a lovely relaxed birthday weekend. I felt very blessed.

I have a lovely family.

Last night Norm shopped and started dinner and then I finished it as he had a work call. We baked chicken breasts and aubergines and steamed some broccoli. For a sauce over the chicken I fried some sliced mushrooms in butter, then removed them from the pan and fried some baby spinach and then pureed it. I added the sliced mushrooms back to the pan as well as a handful of cheddar cheese and a large dollop of fromage frais and gave it a good mix together. It was rather delicious.

spinach dinner.jpg

I have been rather sporadic with my low carb lifestyle for a few months and as a result have put about 4 kgs of weight back on. My knees are killing me and my legs feel full of fluid so I need to get back onto the low carb track.

Dinner tonight was ‘noodles’ made out of spinach topped with bolognaise.  All low carb, high fat. 


So far so good this week.

Wish me luck though, this kitten has no willpower at all.

Kisses from the Birthday Kitten. xoxoxoxo

Advertisements

Soul Connections & Sinns

This week my friend Retha and I attended the Girl Geek dinner which was held at Restaurant in Wembley Square. I had never been to Wembley Square and certainly not to Sinn’s. I think it is a good test of a restaurants’ skill to see how they cope with catering an event as plating and serving over 100 people must be a huge challenge.

The theme of the evening was ‘how to find and secure a job in digital’ and there was a panel of experts to ask questions.

One of the fab things about the Girl Geek dinners is the goody bag! They have some fabulous sponsors and we were greeted with a cupcake on arrival as well as the complimentary glass of wine. I am not sure who sponsored the wine but no one enjoyed the white – it was a sauvignon blanc but was so tart and sharp that even after a few sips my palate could not tolerate it.

So I ate my cupcake 😀

20130725-213110.jpg

The starter was a choice of a tomato and red pepper soup or a garden salad. As it was bloody freezing that night as well as a bit drizzly out I chose the soup. It was really lovely, full of flavour, a bit heavy on the garlic, but palatable. I would have like a tad more chilli but some of the women found it a bit too spicy so I understand they have to cater for all taste buds.

20130725-213300.jpg

The main course was parmesan chicken on a bed of butternut risotto and creamed spinach.

20130725-213406.jpg

The chicken was crispy on the outside and still juicy on the inside, very nice indeed. The risotto was very flavourful with big chunks of butternut, except my butternut was rock hard so it was shoved off to the side. The creamed spinach was divine. I could have eaten a bowl of just that! All in all I think the main was very good.

Dessert was described as Sticky Toffee pudding with custard (or was it Malva? I forgot to bring home the menu). There was a bit of fruit on the plate and a bizarre long thingy which tasted like a macaroon….ish. But it was nice.
dessert

The next day I had a friend coming through to Hout Bay for a meeting so we made plans to meet up for a cocktail. We went to my usual fave for sushi, the Lookout Deck. I ordered my usual frozen strawberry dacquiri and we started chatting.

I always find it interesting how you can find with some people that the conversation just flows, even if you do not know each other that well. Some people I have known for years I still struggle with keeping the conversation flowing as we just have so little in common. Or is it just a soul connection that makes some people feel as if you have known them your whole life?

We talked about Brian Weiss and past life regression, hypnotherapy, the present, the past, religion, I think we covered it all! And never in a debate of who is ‘right’ or who is ‘wrong’, just in a sharing of information and belief systems. I think that we have soul sisters – those women we meet and feel instantly drawn to, who always make you laugh, who make us feel valued, and we trust with our secrets. It is not about the amount of time you spend with them, it is the quality of that time.

I really enjoyed our little visit and chat, the fact it was accompanied by sushi and cocktails has no bearing at all *wink*.