-  Diary of an Adventure   -  Harbour Town Adventures

Quiet streets of Harbour Town reverberate with pulsing exhausts of vintage Bentley’s. Fabulous looking vehicles passing the studio.

A woman stopped me in the street to thank me for keeping her spirits up with my vibrant paintings and to keep painting.

Straight lines the bother with my fingers, particularly as the large canvas flexes. ’Hold the Open Heart’, a William Kentridge work from his series of ink drawings on found paper. From a photo taken at his Zietz MOCAA exhibition.

In his painting, the images of the irises merge with text sourced from Chinese parables, Tang Dynasty poetry and Maoist slogans. I used text from the Action Ads Coronavirus shutdown notices in Knysna, and iris images from our trip to Japan.

Emergency lighting in the studio to ensure we still have a studio filled with light during load shedding. Not that much load-shedding expected in the next few months.

Terry used a bunch of leftover stock for the slow-cooked lamb shanks, served with sweet potato gratin. The Ottolenghi recipe worked a treat. Foie-gras starter and a spot of cheese with one of the last bottles of 2011 Radford Dale Black Rock.

Lock-down. Needing to manage by diabetes under the no movement ban. Marathon challenge over the 21 days. First jog around the apartment and down through the studio. About 6 loops per km. Prince unimpressed after joining the first loop.

Ottolenghi Sweet Potato Gratin


6 medium sweet potatoes

5 tbsp coarsely chopped sage, plus extra for garnish

6 cloves of garlic, crushed

2 tsp coarse sea salt

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 cup heavy cream

1) Preheat oven to 400°F. Wash the sweet potatoes (do not peel them) and cut them into disks ¼ inch thick. A mandoline is best for this job but you could use a sharp knife.

2) In a bowl mix together the sweet potatoes, sage, garlic, salt and pepper. Arrange the slices of sweet potato in a deep medium-size oven proof dish by taking tight packs of them and standing them up next to one another. They should fir together quite tightly so you get parallel lines of sweet potato slices (skins showing) along the length or width of the dish. Throw any remaining bits of garlic or sage from the bowl over the potatoes. Cover the dish with aluminum foil, place in the oven, and roast for 45 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil and pour the cream evenly over the potatoes. Roast, uncovered for a further 25 minutes. The cream should have thickened by now. Stick a sharp knife in different places in the dish to make sure the potatoes are cooked. They should be totally soft.

3) Serve immediately, garnished with sage.

*Note you can also use thyme in place of the sage, or use both. Serves 4-6.

Total time to prepare: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 65 minutes

In his time Jan has been an electronics, nuclear and power system engineer, a strategist, a humanitarian and an artist. A career path linked by creativity and innovative thinking. Initially trained at the Johannesburg College of Art, Jan has won numerous international awards and has exhibited nationally and internationally. He can be found in his studio ‘Jandreart’ located at Thesen Harbour Town, Knysna.

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