Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

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Wild Garden

Oil on canvas 50cmx90cm

Reflections on the water at first light. Ripples of colour drawing you into their depths. Reminiscent of the blinding light and vibrant colours in the paintings of Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida. Bold minimalist strokes of energy. My painting of the paddle boat, a metronome of the day past the studio, stilted. Waiting for the reflections to bring it to life?

After the rain, mud to squelch through. Gardens green, flowers preening in the sunshine. Forests vibrating with life. Burnt areas cleared. Openness that breaths.

That jolt of panic, as the tyre grips soft sand, throwing the bicycle towards the drop-off, and feet loosing touch with the pedals as I get my balance wrong over a bump in the road. Faster, further, lungs heaving, legs complaining. More fun, more often.

Weather variable enough that a fire is welcome, the comfort of an extra rug. Laughter, chardonnay days.

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Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Mobi-kennel packed as though we were leaving town forever. The road down to Cape Town a ribbon between yellow and green canola and wheat fields that stretched between the sea and the mountains. A couple of stops to let Prince stretch and to see how, and if it’s possible, to get anything to eat as a diabetic at service stations.

Cafe Roux, for a Sessions evening of Cat Stevens. The ossabuco (beef rather than veal), definitely moreish, although the addition of peppers to the ‘sofrito’ (the slow-cooked holy trinity of onions, celery and carrot) wasn’t too my taste, and there were oodles of tomatoes that turned into a sweet dish. As there was no saffron risotto served with the meal, it probably should have been labeled as a ‘beef stew’. Journeys End Pioneer Chardonnay a great wine choice.

All sorts of squeaky bits from walking on the beach. Contortions negotiating the soft sand and rocks. Wet kelp posing a formidable challenge to remaining upright over the slippery surface.

A tad apprehensive (The diabetic thing again) about lunch at The Vine Bistro at Glenelly Estate, with a set menu that depends on what ingredients inspire Chef Christophe. He didn’t disappoint and while I had to ignore the delicious sounding dessert, the cheese board was no less decadent.

Montagu. Prince turning Mary’s garden upside down. The sprinklers of particular fascination. Sky full of stars. Smell of the mountains. Wind chimes.

Farewell dinner for Eugene, with a definite French slant. Foil-gras served on courgette bellini’s. Grilled duck breast with roasted vine tomatoes and green beans. Sage leaves fried in duck fat for that added touch of scrumptiousness. Tribaut Champagne and a smooth 2010 ‘Gentle Giant’ Bordeaux blend from Haut Espoir.

As expected, the bicycle groaned on its tortuous climb up Phantom Pass. I blame the wind for my wheezing and wobbly legs.

Felicity Cloake’s perfect osso buco.

(Serves 4)

2 tbsp olive oil
25g flour, to dust
4 pieces of veal shin, about 4cm thick
50g butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stick, finely chopped
1 head of garlic, cut horizontally
2 strips of lemon zest
4 sage leaves
200ml white wine
200ml good chicken stock
For the gremolata
1 unwaxed lemon, zest finely grated
1 garlic clove, very finely chopped
3 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Pinch of sea salt

Set a casserole dish wide enough to hold the meat in one layer over a high heat, and add the oil. Put the flour on to a small plate and season generously, then use to coat the meat. When the oil is hot, add the meat to the pan and brown well on both sides until golden and crusted. Set aside on a plate.

Turn the heat down and add three quarters of the butter to the pan. When melted, add the onion, carrot and celery, plus a sprinkle of salt, and cook until soft. Add the garlic halves, lemon zest and sage to the pan and cook for a few minutes more.

Turn up the heat then add the wine to the pan. Return the meat, standing it on top of the vegetables, and bubble until the wine has reduced by half. Pour in the stock and bring to a simmer.

Turn the heat right down, cover and simmer for one and a half to two hours, carefully turning the meat over every 30 minutes, until it is tender enough to cut with a spoon. Meanwhile, mix together the gremolata ingredients.

Dot with the remaining butter and allow to melt into the sauce, then serve with the gremolata and risotto alla milanese or wet polenta.

“I like to encourage people to eat this with their fingers – so much easier than fiddling about with a knife and fork!”. Napkins advisable.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Paintings in their new home in Provence

Prince had a wonderful time at J9 charging about looking for buried treasures that Diva had left about the place. Especially those hidden in dark spots under the deck and walkways. Spring high adding a water dimension to the hunt.

Coreta made Tartiflette au reblochon, with cauliflower rather than potatoes. The cheese mature enough that it walked. With steak cooked perfectly on the braai, pure hedonism. Craig opened a bottle of 2009 Radford Dale Gravity that was sensational.

Early morning busy with cars ferrying cyclists off to the start of the Seven Passes ride. It meant that my quiet cappuccino was actually chaotic. Fortunately the good humoured excitement was tolerant of a puppy that was under everyone’s feet.

Looking at blogs on traveling with diabetes, I came across one titled ‘Blood sugar trampoline’, which seems an apt expression. My morning blood sugars are within the acceptable range, however, I’m still getting those sugar-low headaches and grumpiness. Blood sugar trampoline?

Painted rocks for the ‘Knysna Rocks’ fun Facebook campaign, based on a Tazzie campaign to inject happiness into days which seems filled with bad news. I picked up my rocks from the beach at East Head after our walk and painted across six rocks, where when assembled it makes one painting, but each one is also an individual painting. Coral trees and Bougainville creating brilliant colored carpets of fallen blossoms, my inspiration merged in a zen-like simplicity.

Between the mountains and the sea, a ribbon of yellow and green, the spectacular drive to Cape Town.

‘A Touch of Yellow’

Oil on canvas 20cmx20cm

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Boundless energy released in a spray of sea sand and water. The RAV, an instant sandbox. Legs hammered from the sudden increase in walking demanded to keep Prince from bouncing off the walls.

Not quite managing the ’30 paintings in 30 days’ September challenge, however I did get a few small paintings finished, with help of a puppy in the studio.

The ‘hose-clamp’, google fix for the Weber ash collector seems to have solved the problem. Achieved without blood, quite something. Under a full moon, with hardly any wind, we sat out on the patio for our braai, with a smidgen of delicious Crozes Hermitage.

Phantom cycle after early cappuccino walk, the mist coming off the water and the air full of jasmine scent. A stop at the newly opened Café du Bois (formally Throbb) in Grey Street.

There was a simplistic beauty and freshness to the new exhibition at Avo Pomme. Radically different from the vibrancy and energy of my paintings.

The new works are hints of green on small white canvases against the white walls of the gallery. Minimalist naivety? Bernice did a magnificent job of mirroring the simplicity, different shades of green and sculptural forms of the paintings in her canapés. Artistic brilliance.

Full studio for the Tuesday movie evening. Extra chairs squeezed into random spots that will need to be repeated for the next movie being held to support the Knysna Basin Project.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventure

“As per your wonderful sense/insight of humanity Jan, you have captured emotive images of the human spirit; universally speaking your mind by way of canvas, brush, paint, palette & knife. Many of us could learn to not just “look”, but to “see” as well, by taking notice of the message you have implored here within these works. Wish I could have seen it in person!”
Robyn Heenan
One of Hirsh’s amazing dinners. Baked stuffed red pepper with whole skinned tomato and anchovies. Kingklip and bacon on rosemary skewers, on the braai. Broccoli with Moroccan spices. All cooked with oodles of olive oil. The Mediterranean flavours subtle, yet robust enough to pair well with bubbles and the heavier Bordeaux blend from Delaire Graff.
My bum stiff after the Gouna river Pass walk with Prince, his first outing through the forest. Much colder than I expected.
There seem to be a bunch of new yachts moored in the estuary. The excitement of a new cat being launched. The Southern Cross adding its magic.
On a gorgeous early spring evening, a feast for my Birthday menu. Terry’s stunning pâté de campagne. Saumon Fumee de Norvege. Sugar snap peas and cherry tomatoes. Relief that the glass of wine (excellent Black Rock 2014) to celebrate didn’t throwing my blood sugars out.
Elephant paintings from the photos taken in Addo Elephant park. My fingers contorting to the small canvases.
A Seattle cappuccino necessary to dry Prince after his Bollard beach romp. A new playground with the gentle swell less scary than the waves of Brenton.

Rosemary fish skewers

Ingredients
8 sprigs rosemary
600g firm, white fish
½ a loaf of slightly stale bread
6 rashers streaky bacon
lemon juice
garlic-infused olive oil
Method
Remove the leaves, except a few at each tip, from the rosemary sprigs. Cube the fish and the bread. Slice the bacon into 3 pieces each. Thread the fish, bread and bacon onto skewers. Drizzle with lemon juice and garlic-infused olive oil. Braai over hot coals or bake in a preheated 200°C oven for about 5 to 7 minutes.