A dunking in the estuary, on a beautiful autumn evening, not the greatest thing to do to your iPhone. There was, one of those moments, where I had one leg caught on the boat while one tried valiantly to find solid ground. Failed dismally.
Studio after the holiday. A bunch of admin sorted. A bit of blood on a shin that lost a bunch of skin on the step-stool reorganizing paintings. Plasters to protect the linen.
Achilles seemingly content with its gentle jog, bum less sure about being back on the bicycle. At least I didn’t fall off!
Initial stages of the rhino commission, with an under painting of Indian Yellow for the sky of the painting. I’m trying to get the rhino skin texture different to the sky, by using the under painting to add luminescence. Also using Venice Red for one shade of grey and Burnt Sienna for the other. Naples yellow, rather than white for the grey tones. I have a couple of differ turquoise options with the Van Dyk Turquoise Blue (No. 80) completely different to the Charvin Intense Turquoise. Will need to see which works better with the deeper grey’s of the painting.
First outing of a recipe from ‘Plate’, by Marlene van Der Westhuizen. Steak with Gorgonzola sauce, with bok choi the surprise. Scrumptious.
Beach play before a day of bubbles and laughter. The ‘pizza’ base getting better. A humongous number of empty bottles, probably adding to the, somewhat, bizarre decision to hold an e-bike Challenge up Phantom Pass. With the proceeds to Animal Welfare, a more than expected bunch trundled up the pass. The Challenge, somewhat lost in the enjoyment of a fabulous day to be out riding in paradise.
Rain bringing holiday makers into the studio. Humbling, and thrilling to have paintings heading to new homes in Oslo, Rome and London. The silk scarves, a popular option.
Backup hard-drive crash. The gazillions of photos from our travels, which I use as reference sources for my paintings, the major loss. Perhaps a data-recovery company can retrieve them? Or perhaps. It’s one of those. Clean-slate. New-year. Start-afresh. Moments.
Friday market. A Cheloist that touch of amazing with the last of the daylight and the storm moving in.
Diabetic Sensitive ‘Pizza’ Recipe
170 grams grated mozzarella cheese
1 tbsp butter
½ cup fine almond flour
¼ cup coconut flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 large egg
• Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
• Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner. Lightly grease the liner.
• In a large saucepan, melt the cheese and butter together over low heat until they are melted and can be stirred together. Remove from heat and add almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder, and salt.
• Add the egg and stir everything together until a cohesive dough forms. Use a rubber spatula to really knead it up against the sides of the pan. It may still contain some streaks of cheese.
• Transfer to the prepared pan and knead a few more times until uniform. If your dough is very sticky, work in another tablespoon or two of almond flour. Cover the dough with another piece of parchment and roll out to a 12-inch (30 cm) circle.
• Spread olive oil, salt and herbs over the dough before putting in the oven to co
Seven Passes road to Wilderness makes for a fabulous 75km morning ride. Twisting down through the gorges, the light filtered through the indigenous Forest. Didn’t see any elephants, although that could have been due to the sweat staining my glasses. Legs finished. Bum, complaining.
Flava restaurant the meeting point for the support crew that assembled the bits of cyclists, gear and bicycles for the trip home. Despite being confronted by a hord of hungry, dirty cyclists, our food was amazing, and the cappuccino perfect.
Quick trip to see Lesa and Mark in Kommetjie.
Harbour House at the Waterfront. The menu, for a diabetic, a list of impossible, delicious sounding food. Settled on the starters as they had the most manageable, but still exotic, options. The Seafood Stack with salmon tartare, crushed avo, tomato bits, prawn tempura and caviar with pea shoots tasted as amazing as it looked. Spicy grilled calamari with olives, lemon and capers a tad less exciting.
Walk out to the wreck of the Kakopo, which ran aground on Long Beach in May 1900 en route from New Zealand to Cape Town. It mistook Chapman’s Peak for Cape Point in poor visibility. Lots of warning signs about muggings. The beach, stunning.
The pizza quest that is tasty, diabetic friendly and can be done in the Kamado Jan. A tad more challenging than the holy-grail. A galette recipe the inspiration for a trial dinner. Tasty. The fire too hot. Cooked too long. Still, much better than any commercial alternative we have experienced. Definitely, to be repeated!
Just in time for Christmas, the new silk scarves arrived. Orders couriered to their new homes and the studio display, luxuriantly decadent.
Low-carb spinach mushroom galette
Have you ever made pizza dough out of mozzarella cheese? Made famous by the people behind the Fathead movie, it really is quite revolutionary. Try your hand at my magic mozzarella dough and make this spinach mushroom galette. You won’t regret it!
• 170 grams grated mozzarella cheese
• 1 tbsp butter
• ½ cup fine almond flour
• ¼ cup coconut flour
• 1 tsp baking powder
• ½ tsp garlic powder
• ¼ tsp salt
• 1 large egg
• 3 oz. cream cheese, softened
• 1 garlic clove, finely minced
• salt and pepper
• 8 oz. frozen spinach, thawed and drained
• 2 oz. mushrooms, sliced
• 2 oz. grated mozzarella cheese
• 1 oz. grated parmesan cheese
• 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
by Carolyn Ketchum (Recipe, Photo)
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner. Lightly grease the liner.
3. In a large saucepan, melt the cheese and butter together over low heat until they are melted and can be stirred together. Remove from heat and add almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder, garlic powder and salt.
4. Add the egg and stir everything together until a cohesive dough forms. Use a rubber spatula to really knead it up against the sides of the pan. It may still contain some streaks of cheese.
5. Transfer to the prepared pan and knead a few more times until uniform. If your dough is very sticky, work in another tablespoon or two of almond flour. Cover the dough with another piece of parchment and roll out to a 12-inch (30 cm) circle.
1. Spread the dough with the softened cream cheese, leaving a 2-inch (5 cm) border around the outside. Sprinkle with the garlic and salt and pepper.
2. Squeeze as much moisture as possible from the spinach and layer over the cream cheese, then add a layer of mushrooms. Sprinkle with the grated cheeses.
3. Fold the edges of the crust over the filling and brush with the beaten egg yolk. Bake the galette for 25 to 30 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted.
4. Remove and let cool 10 minutes before serving.
Carolyn’s tips and tricks
Because the cheese creates a flexible dough that stretches like pizza dough, it’s useful for so many other things. Consider it for stromboli, calzones, and even sweet pastries. It can be rolled out thinly and used for crackers or even pie crusts.
I modified the basic Fathead dough, which is just simply grated cheese, cream cheese, almond flour, and an egg, to be a little sturdier. A combination of almond flour and coconut flour means it holds up better and doesn’t spread as much during baking. A little baking powder gives it a bit more of a rise, and some garlic powder gives it a great savory flavor.
A galette is tart or a pie that isn’t baked in a pan, but formed by hand with the crust folded partway over the fillings. Fathead dough makes a perfect galette crust because of its flexibility. This savory galette is filled with mushrooms, spinach, and cheese and makes a nice alternative to meat based keto recipes. It can be the whole meal or served as a side dish or appetizer. It
The Zeitz MOCAA
See for yourself. All things being equal …
I was expecting the sensational architecture, but not the genius of contrasting raw concrete and polished edges. While the ‘rawness’ of Africa is palatable throughout the museum exhibits, the quality, craftsmanship and creativity of the artists, sensational.
Nothing restful. Death. Mayhem. Despair. Greed. Exploitation. In abundance. Strength, there is. Wisdom? Not sure. Colour, everywhere!
Perhaps, I have spent too long in the Africa where a child soldier holds an automatic weapon in your face, or men are pulled from a vehicle and beaten with rifles, boots and clubs because he is the ‘wrong’ ethnic tribe.
Yet. A woman sits in quiet contemplation in one of the most arresting galleries. Evocative, black and white, photographic portraits by Zanele Muholi – The South African artist and activist.
Loved, the sculpture garden. That spot of magenta inside a rusted pipe. Gazillion reflections in the iconic multifaceted windows. El Loki’s ‘Now and Then’. Nine discs forming the roof of the silos, and floor of the sculpt garden. Covered with his ‘cosmic alphabet’. Amazing.
Lucky enough to stumble across a young performing poet (To the lost??) standing amongst Kendell Greer’s Hanging Piece (consisting of an entire room filled with clay bricks hanging from bright-red ropes, tied noose-style, from the ceiling). Quite brilliant.
Too much for one visit.
See for yourself. All things being equal …
Fleurs de La Motte
Paula van Coller-Louw
Deceptive simplicity that I so admire in Japanese art. Something that in my paintings, I strive to achieve and fail at, miserably.
Compositions crafted by the delicacy of the wild flowers that are the subject of each work. The use of tonal shadow creating sculptural elements from the flowers that resonates with the central sculpture in the gallery.
A starter of smoked salmon terrine and orange glazed prawns followed by prawn bisque cream, line fish, salt and pepper calamari, salmon caviar and baby marrow spaghetti.
Dishes that were exquisitely crafted and delicious, with amazing service.
Still, a favorite
Review of the studio‘Obsessed with this gallery. The man with the yellow shirt is the artist and the paintings are done with his magical fingers. I bought a postcard printed with his paintings to support him It’s been like he was living in his gallery’
The Forest is asleep. An unnatural quiet. Drought. Sun relentless. Tentative shoots after the last rain, crisped. Fungus dried white. Streams of pebbles. The ascent through the Forest, ‘bum hurting’ steep. A gazillion stairs on the board-walk path. Tree tops shimmering with Knysna Lorie’s in their brilliant plumage.
For my painting ‘Band of Brothers’, based on the team heading back after their 3 week Odyssey experience, I pushed the figures down into the lower half of the painting to give them more prominence. I wanted them to dominate the canvas, yet still highlight that they are still growing into their individual personalities.
Clare made remarkably tasty Spinach parcels with feta. (Loose it recipe), which while working with the Pinot I was drinking, would probably work better with a great Chenin. Certainly, a ‘wine tasting’, or ‘pairing’ sort of dish.
On a perfect autumn evening, the braai, a must. Ensuring all those in passing boats salivated with envy. To finish, a decadent dessert of roast nuts in dark chocolate.
A bit of fun with the underpainting of the portrait using both hands to cover the area as quickly as possible. Without creating a mess, the real challenge.
French country pate and red wine for lunch, after spending the morning messing about with paint.
Thunder and lightning over the distant mountains. Tempranillo from Baleia Estate excellent with the bolognese sauce, which I managed to keep off my shirt!
Portrait of Johannes completed with a few touches of pure white to catch the light. The burnt sienna colour from Charvin giving the painting a rich luster. The contours of his face responding well to the cooler grey of ultramarine blue and burnt umber. The portrait is defined by his red hat which I did with an underpainting of French yellow. The rose and raw Sienna mix balanced the face with the yellow tones of the red hat.
Hugh and Clare cooked a Walnut and mushroom, with a hint of lemon zest, crusted chicken in the Weber. A recipe from Taste that was delicious. Butternut and goats milk cheese salad sprinkled with pomegranate seeds looked great and for a salad was pretty good.
Even the wind seemed to settle and enjoy the jazz, with the blue neon lighting of the turbine creating a perfect backdrop. The wine certainly seemed to flow easily.
Struggled through the soft sand and rocky sections of the forest. The bicycle, my legs and my bum all going in different directions. This after the climb up Simola turned my legs to pulp.
Sunshine Coast. Leg and bum muscles complaining their abusive treatment as we make the most of the pristine beaches that stretch to the end of the world. The sea gentle and cool enough to bring relief to sweating bodies. Even my skin has a sort of golden, beach holiday, sheen to it.
It was the moons fault. Evaporating my wine. The bright light ensuring that sleep wasn’t an option. The view from the deck mesmerizing.
Gourmet meals with wines selected by each of the four chefs. A mouth full of bones the result of my smuching my whole grilled sardine. A tad challenging The spanakopita and slow grilled lamb much easier to manage. Kourabiedes and date balls to accompany that last glass of wine.
The House Kitchen, a magical find. Fabulous for browsing, or merely surrendering to the view. I did find that I needed a double shot of coffee in the cappuccino. A few bits of interesting art, with the dramatic forms of the giant quiver trees, aloes and euphorbia the most interesting subjects.
A trip out to the oldest licensed pub in South Africa, the Pig and Whistle in Bathurst. It’s an old style English pub which even has ancient me ready with a story about anything as you wait for your drink. The 40 degree temperatures made beer attractive. Taking the back roads, we passed Southwell, where a cricket match was in progress. The whites of the players amongst the bush as incongruous now as it was when this was the Frontier.
An ancient guitarist almost managed to stay upright as he strummed his tuneless melody outside the Wharf Street Brew Pub in Port Alfred. I managed to get a few photo’s as a reference for a painting before he was gently escorted into the back of a police van for his trip home before the storm arrived. The food was delicious, the beer (brewed next door) could have enticed us to become regulars.
Evening sky, a seething mass of clouds, flecked with thunder charging the air. One of those ‘Turner’ type skies, both brilliant and ethereal. Spots of rain bringing some relief to a super-heated day.
For now, the lights are reflecting across the still waters of the estuary, and I have a glass of wine.
Marilyn’s Diner, in Storms River Village must be one of the best road trip breaks imaginable. Situated under the canopies of the Tsitsikamma Forest, a world of Cadillacs, rock and roll, neon, jukeboxes, chrome and mirrors. Somehow, despite its out-of-reality craziness, it’s sits comfortably in this alternative universe where Elvis may be alive. The burgers are ordinary, by today’s gourmet-burger revolution, and the coffee unremarkable. Pure fun.
New Year. The sun coming up above the lagoon for a short cappuccino walk, which I did manage to launch across the table!
Baked Camembert with slow roasted pork belly and Terry’s fabulous terrine de campagne our New Year lunch.
Good music, a tad too much red wine (?) with the rain bringing relief from scorching summer days. The owl chick, or more correctly an ‘owlet’, which is actually a fledgling as it has left the nest, sitting on the rail of the patio, silhouetted against the wall of the apartment, seemingly oblivious to our presence.
Aviva Maree’s exhibition at the Lofts Boutique Hotel. A small designer spot that has started to host select artists in their atrium. All very chic and certainly not tailor made for me after a day in the studio. Shorts, t-shirt, unshaven. Although I did wear slip-slops, rather than bare feet! But then, they know that I’m that ‘finger painter’ from down the road!
Her work, beautifully executed with masterful tonal control over her colour pallet. Whether influenced by Gregoire Boonzaier (1909 – 2005), or not, to me there is a disconnected romanticism to her work, which has as its focus working, rural women. Nothing in the paintings depicts their harsh lives and the back-breaking toil of manual labour, or the uncertain, subsistence existence of seasonal workers.
Coiled frustration that made me reflect on the honesty of my paintings.
I used the Mediterraneo colours from Malmeri for they eyes of the portrait ‘Life’s a Bitch’. The turquoise green colours of the estuary in summer. ‘Grittiness’ of the paint adding sparkle to the portrait of a man in the sunset of his life.
Cycling ‘Master Class’ following Craig up Phantom Pass. His efficient use of energy, body still, effortless pedal rhythm, a stark contrast to my ‘wrestling the bicycle’ style up the Pass. His ability to accelerate leaving me frantically searching for gears, breath and energy.