A couple of small elephant paintings. The rough canvas, acting like ‘wag-‘n-bietjie’ (wait a moment) thorns, gripping my fingers as I tried to create the sketching lines of the painting, to resemble a charcoal drawing. An a usual grey mixture of Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Umber.
Wobbly legs after the trail run through the forest. Thrilled that despite the uneven footing, little additional shoulder discomfort. We did stick to open tracks, mindful that we are into snake and tick season.
Marlene Van Der Westhuizen’s beef stew synchronized with the approaching storm. The inclusion of the five different cuts of beef, marinaded overnight in red wine, olive oil and brandy, and then slow cooked was delicious. Egg plant baked with mozzarella and tomatoes were colourful and tasty. A tad surprising that the Pinot Noir from Newton Johnson Family Vineyards went better with the stew than the Cros Hermitage Shiraz.
A dark, wet world with a power outage after a couple of days of water pouring from the skies. A tad bit more red wine than necessary, to accompany the Boeuf bourguignon. Prince, bouncing off the walls.
Beach walk. Sun doing its best to heat the snow wind from the mountains. Not enough to stop frozen feet and hands. The hot-water bottles at East Head welcome after our run and toe-testing dip into the sea. Much too cold for me.
‘Family Outing’ finally finished. Grateful for the extra paint supplies that eased the constraints of my acrylic paint options.
‘Côte de Boeuf’. A monster – first – experimental dish for the Kamado Jan. As advised, I let the steaks sit for two hours to reach room temperature before starting the ‘Reverse Searing’. Which is basically doing a slow cure (based on 4min per 100gram of the largest piece of meat) at 150 degrees.
I struggled to get the temperature down, having added too much charcoal initially. The heavy bone of the cut, rescuing me, as I did the initial cook, bone side down over the high rack position.
The meat then rested for an hour before winding the Kamado Jan up to its steak searing 400 degrees temperature. The rested steaks, seared for 4 minutes on each side, plus an additional 4 minutes, or so, to render the fat.
At the high temperatures care needs to be taken to prevent combustion and that ‘charcoal’ state. Having Coreta watching the meat, a necessity, as the high temperatures also evaporated the wine in our glasses.
The grilled hunks of steak were rested off the grill for the ten minutes it took to cook the green beans. The steaks were separated from the bone and cut into slices. Bones, then grilled for an additional ten minutes, adding that last ‘curtain call’.
Sweet potato gratin. 2011 Grace Land and Black Rock, special on their own. With the Côte, spectacular.
Dad on a surprise visit for his 85th birthday. Very special.
September, ‘10-mile’ challenge, with the sunrise. Something conjured from nowhere definitive, on a beautiful early summer morning. Long time since I have run that far. That easily. That quickly.
The clock is reset. Washing machine rumbling. Empty wine bottles. Fire light. A touch of jazz, above the laughter. Smell of paint in the studio. Rain against the windows. Wind searching for gaps.
Home. Breathing life after the week away.
Wet dog smell, combined with a tinge of lagoon mud, and sea salt. The dust of the Karoo, replaced by mud.
Thrilled to receive a Special Merit Award for ‘Art of Outstanding Quality’, at the 2018 LightSpaceTime open art competition for my portrait of the Vietnamese woman in Hoi-An, ‘Crumpled’. This is the second time I have receive an award from LST, the first being in 2016 for my painting of the car-guard, ‘Jazz Man’.
Gouna river flowing strongly after the rain. Startling clear amber waters, an ancient mirror for the delicate water lilies opening in shafts of sunlight. The joys of being out on a bicycle in our paradise.
My painting of the elephants at Addo, a tad somber with the news that 90 elephant carcasses were found in Botswana. Elephants have always moved into the protected areas of Botswana, away from hunting guns of Namibia, Angola and Zimbabwe. A haven shattered by the slaughter of poachers. Incredibly sad.
Oil on linen 40cmx30cm
‘He ain’t Heavy’
Oil on canvas 2,0mx1,5m
Crazy dreams. The bunch of antibiotics to sort an abscess from a broken tooth?
‘He ain’t Heavy’, the large (2,0mx1,5m) abstract-impressionist painting of elephants at Addo Elephant Park. Although the large strokes of pure colour, applied in bursts of energy give the painting an abstract-expressionist slant, creating a large, vibrant work.
The ‘wall-easels’ flexible enough to accommodate the large painting while it dries, freeing the studio for creation of new work.
Cool, dark mornings, making that coffee far more attractive than heading out for a jog or ride. Mud fun in the forest. Increased dew, slippery underfoot. Core muscles given a work-over on the Homtini Pass cycle. Shoulders and arms trying to compensate for struggling legs.
Prince a tad ‘stone crazy’ as his latest fixation is chasing stones in the sea or waters of the estuary. While fabulous exercise for him, getting him to agree that play-time is over is a different matter.
Leaking water pipe between the water-meter and the studio a bother. A waste of water and money with the solution somewhere between lifting all the paving to search for the pipe route and not washing! The added complexity of monstrous Coral Tree roots.
Spectacular sunset on a still evening. The early mornings shrouded in mist. Silence. Nespresso. Magical.
The ‘theater that is art’, the largest canvas I have painted on at 2mx1,5m, set on two easels. Surface preparation with a diluted matt glaze medium. Burnt Seinna, Cadmium Yellow medium and Primary Magenta. A grey from Cobalt Blue with Burnt Sienna the underpainting for the two elephants.Not sure about the composition which I think is too low on the canvas.
Feel like one of those collapsing ‘push puppets’, with none of my parts working together, but rather collapsing in an uncontrolled heap. The result of a charging cycle up Phantom Pass that turned my legs to mush and a day of painting the large canvas in the studio that turned my shoulders and arms to jelly.
Beach isolated, the brilliant sunlight at the studio hidden by a bank of mist. Prince, brave enough to face the noise of the menacing waves, throwing themselves at the beach.
Last of the summer flowers along the roads through the farms of Rheenendal. Blue plumbago and purple sage between pink and white Erica’s.
No blood. Paintings safely packaged in their crate heading to their new home. Special.
He Ain’t Heavy
Oil on canvas 2,0mx1,5m
Straight lines and dodgy eyesight. Not that I was ever any good at putting up things in straight lines! However, with my ‘diabetic trampoline’ blood sugars these days, I’m not actually sure I’m able to even see when they are skew.
Wall-easels up in the studio with the paintings surviving the first onslaught of wild weather. My shoulders not enjoying the ‘Sistine Chapel’ contortions at the top of the ladder putting up the new track lighting. No blood involved and only one case of having to back-track the connections to find my incorrect wiring.
Terry’s modifications to what I thought would work, resulted in a cleaner look without the old overhead fluorescent panels. A mix of warm and cool white LED globes at 60 and 120 degrees giving energy efficient light that is gentle without compromising effectiveness.
A gazillion different ideas about what to paint for my demonstration slot at the Arts Festival Gala Night. Acrylics for a crowded auditorium with a bunch of other stuff going on, the sensible choice. Didn’t expect to be doing so much of the painting with the palette in the dark! The abstract-impressionist subject of the macro of the pincushion forgiving to errors in selecting the incorrect colour.
‘To The Water’ heading to its new home from our private collection of paintings. An opportunity to display different work in the apartment.
Fabulous cycle down through the forest and up the Gouna Pass road. Fighting to keep upright on the loose stoney surface as the road gradient increased. Grateful that I didn’t need to worry about traffic.
Acrylic on canvas 150cmx70cm
King Arthur’s carousel horse from Disney. Music box playing in the early hours. Wind stirred memories.
‘Pushing the oars’, a dance of purple. Sampan boat rowers. Mekong Delta, Vietnam. The initial scratching on the canvas conveying so much that the subsequent painting only seems to detract.
A bowl of ripe tomatoes, ideal for the feta and tomato tart in the Taste magazine. The philo-pastry base not an option, or the flour that the recipe called for. Fortunately, aubergine an alternative, with a cream-cheese and cremefraiche filling.
Wines from the J9 collection, Newton Johnson, Walker Bay Pinot Noir and Radfordale ‘Frankenstein’, 2013, with the crispy Weber grilled duck.
A tad clumsy. Cold fingers. Headache. Slurred speech. Been awhile since my blood sugars have stayed this low.
Riding on the Jeep track above Simola, that heart-stopping moment when passing what could be elephant dung. Sweat stained glasses and a bit of imagination. Dislodged earth from the embankment.
My painting schedule thrown out of kilter to make space for the Garden Routes summer brilliance. Cascade of red. Yellow hibiscus on the patio. Purple agapanthus at Steenbok, and delicate red flame lilies, with their ‘tongues of fire’. Watsonia in dazzling shades of pink on the drive through to Nature’s Valley.
1 hour 15 mins
1 hour 15 mins
An Aubergine Quiche with roasted cherry tomatoes, and feta cheese.
Recipe type: Dinner or Lunch
Serves: serves 4
• 1 large aubergine, sliced into 1 cm slices.
• 150g halved cherry or baby plum tomatoes
• 300g feta cheese crumbled into little chunks
• 150g cream cheese
• 60 ml cremefraiche
• A good grating of parmesan
• 5 free range eggs
• Generous drizzling of olive oil
• salt and black pepper, garlic salt
• basil or parsley leaves for garnish
1. Preheat the oven to 180
2. Line a quiche or lasagne dish with foil and brush with a little olive oil.
3. Lay the sliced aubergines on the oiled foil, and brush with more oil and seasoning , making sure they get a good coating on both sides.
4. Put in the oven and after 20 mins or so, add the tomatoes, which should also be oiled and seasoned.
5. To make the quiche mixture, in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and cremefraiche together, whisk in the eggs one by one and add seasoning and a good grating of parmesan.
6. Whisk together to make a smooth creamy custard and lastly crumble in the feta cheese,
7. After another 20 minutes when the vegetables are softened and browning around the edges, remove from the oven.
8. Make sure the aubergines are covering the bottom to form a vegetable base.
9. Pour the cheesy quiche mixture over the vegetables, allowing some bits of veg to poke through.
10. Sprinkle over the fresh herbs and cook in the oven
Terry out of action with a broken wrist after being knocked off her feet by over exuberant playing dogs at Steenbok Park. My schedule now around ensuring Prince gets his exercise and we have easy to eat, one handed, meals.
Dorado with a basil-pesto crust on the weber grill. An almond flower diabetic-sensitive substitute for bread-crumbs. The fillets were a tad thin, which I cooked for 3 minutes too long, despite the fire not reaching the recommended temperature. Fortunately they were full of flavour and weren’t too dry.
Moving trucks, full-moon, owls, holiday makers, mozzies, dog patrols. All driving Prince a tad crazy. Making for disrupted nights.
Paint smeared across the canvas. A couple of studies for a larger commissioned piece. The agapanthus on the patio garden coming into flower. The most amazing shades of purple-black petals. A painting that I have had in mind for awhile, waiting for the plants to come into flower. The shadow. A mixture of Titanium white, Magenta, Cobalt Blue and Burnt Sienna.
“I feel such a creative force in me: I am convinced that there will be a time when, let us say, I will make something good every day , on a regular basis….I am doing my very best to make every effort because I am longing so much to make beautiful things. But beautiful things mean painstaking work, disappointment, and perseverance.”
Vincent Van Gogh
Porchetta. Or rather, a suggestion of porchetta-style from a pork belly, basil pesto and basil leaves, rolled and cooked on the Weber. Silver-oak wood pieces on the coals to add that slight smokiness. Served with a hint of blue-cheese and basil leaves. ‘Gorgeous, melting pork belly and blue cheese is a genius combination invented by Iain Graham of Urban Caprice to go with Mumm champagne’. No Mumm, but Kleine Zalze Vintage MCC, probably better!
Porchetta-Style Roast Pork
Like many traditional Italian foods, porchetta is prepared differently from region to region but is generally defined as a dish of boneless roast pork stuffed with filling and then rolled and roasted, usually over wood. In the town of Ariccia in the Lazio region of Italy, porchetta restaurants abound, leading to a close association with the dish, though variations of it are made across the country.
Add, a twist with the melting pork belly and blue cheese combination invented by Iain Graham of Urban Caprice to go with Mumm champagne.
Pork Belly and Pork Loin
• 1 piece pork belly with skin, about 10-by-20 inches
• boneless pork loin
• 1 Tbsp kosher salt, plus more
• 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more
• 12 smashed garlic cloves
• 12 fresh sage leaves
• Herbs (recipe below)
• Blue cheese
| Preparation – Pork Belly and Loin |
With the pork belly skin-side down, score meat in a cross-hatch pattern. Turn pork belly over, and using a sharp knife, score skin deep in a cross-hatch pattern. Turn, skin-side down, and set aside.
Place the pork loin skin-side down. On the tapered side of the loin, make a cut about 1-inch deep and then cut straight across to butterfly, continuing to make 1-inch cuts until the loin folds open like a book. Set aside.
| Preparation – Pork Roast | Season skin side of prepared pork belly with salt. Turn belly skin-side down and place flat on a cutting board with the short end facing you. Season with pepper and more salt.
Spread half of the pesto over the belly, leaving a 1-inch border around the sides.
Lay butterflied pork loin in the center of the pork belly and spread remaining pesto over loin. Arrange garlic and sage on top of loin. Season with salt and pepper.
To roll the roast, begin at the end of the pork loin where you finished the initial cut, slowly rolling and packing ingredients in tightly. When finished rolling the roast, use butcher’s twine to tie roast at 1-inch increments so it will cook evenly. Set roast on a platter and refrigerate overnight.
| To Cook | Remove roast from refrigerator 2 hours before cooking.
To estimate the cooking time, measure the roast through its thickest part, and cook for 1minute per millimeter. Hence if it’s 90mm thick, cook for 90 minutes.
An indirect fire (two equal piles of coal on either side of the charcoal grate, with a drip pan in the middle to catch the rendering fat), topped with a couple of pieces of hard wood.
Place roast on the grill, turning every 10 minutes until the skin is browned and crisp.
Reduce the temperature (325ºF) by closing the vents halfway and leave until the loin reaches 140 degrees. (1½ to 2½ hours)
Remove and allow to rest for 20 minutes before serving.
Just before serving, top with a sliver of blue cheese and a tiny button of redcurrant jelly.
• 2 Tbsp roughly chopped fresh thyme leaves
• 1 Tbsp roughly chopped fresh rosemary leaves
• ½ cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
• 3 tsp roughly chopped fennel fronds
Terry’s delectable ‘Salmon en Papillote’, which I did on the Weber grill. Zucchini, thyme, cream-cheese and salmon-trout parceled up to seal in the flavours. I heated the weber for ten minutes with the lid on, and then put the parcels onto the braai-sheet. Cooking time was 10minutes for the 2 cm thick fillets.
Striving for a limited pallet of colours to take on the trip to Vietnam has been derailed. the 8 colours (Ultramarine blue, Burnt Umber, Cadmium Red, Cadmium yellow light, Titanium White, Alizarin Crimson, Pthalo Veridian, Cadmium yellow deep) being increased with Raw Sienna, Cobalt Blue which I seem to use a bunch, as well as specific colours given the tropical colours I expect to find in the waters of Vietnam. Cobalt Turquoise, Phtalo Blue Green, Cerulean Blue and Bright Yellow. I will probably take either the bright yellow, or cadmium yellow deep and ditch the Phtalo Veidian. Naples yellow is also an option depending on how the suitcase packs.
My small cabin bag doesn’t take the pad of linen canvases which I have in addition to the tube of six larger canvas sheets that I hope to paint. My idea still being to paint in acrylic while travelling which I will stretch when I get home and finish with oil paint. Hence, I’m using the larger suitcase with the temptation to add addition stuff, but I know this has to be carried onto trains, ferry’s planes and through streets of varying surfaces.
A study, based on a painting by Joaquín Sorolla, using acrylics and permanent marker on 350gram paper showed that I will need clamps to keep the edges from curling while the painting dries.
Cuisine to be savored, or as a diabetic, to understand the impossible cravings of an addict. Perhaps Le Maquis is one of those places where magic happens, and rather than a door, you pass through a portal. Time suspended. Senses heightened. Fragrance woven in mystery.
Chef Remy was understanding at our late arrival and we were soon in discussion about the flavours of the amuse-bouche, which set the trend for an evening of scrumptious food. The coconut bite with coffee, an attentive detail.
Prince happily settled with Hachico, Jenny and Clive in the apartment. Chaos of the first hours, muted into constant play mode. Clive’s enthusiastic engagement in the studio, a small elephant painting heading to its new home in New Zealand.
Bags packed and last sorting for the trip.