Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

‘Etosha Study’

Oil on canvas 45cmx25cm

Greenish, white clay of the ‘Great White Place’. Pale-golden colour of the grasslands against blue skies. The green-grey from Cobalt Blue and burnt Seinna, mixed with Cerulean Blue. The white-grey a mixture of Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Umber. Also the grey mixture I used for the elephant.

Chef Hirsch crafted (another) fabulous dinner. Avo, pea, mint with smoked salmon, blue cheese crème fraîche and capers. Followed by ‘moqueca’, a Brazilian fish stew, served with spinach-cauli noodles and crusty bread for the delicious ‘soup’. Which I did manage to mess down my shirt and trousers. Something I couldn’t even blame on diabetic ‘shakes’, as my sugar levels weren’t totally crazy. Fryers Cove Pinot Noir served with the moqueca.

Owls hooting before dawn. Seagulls screeching in alarm. Gentle rain for my morning jog up the Welbedaght hills. Coucal’s calling encouragement from the bushes

Rump skewers with Smokey béarnaise sauce. Simple. Deliciousness. A green salad of gem-lettuce, avo, parmesan shavings and pine nuts. Added crunchiness. Perfect.

Orthopedic Surgeon happy with how the bones in my clavicle are healing. A complication with a bursa on my elbow that needed draining and is now trapped in a compression sock for three weeks. The cortisone injection a tad painful. Messing with my blood sugars.


Moqueca (Brazilian fish stew)


INGREDIENTS

1kg skinless firm white fish fillet (such as snapper), pin-boned, cut into 3cm cubes

1/3 cup (80ml) lime juice

1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil

1 red onion, thinly sliced

1 green capsicum, thinly sliced

1 red capsicum, thinly sliced

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 short red chillies, finely chopped

2 cups (500ml) fish stock

400g can chopped tomatoes

270ml can coconut milk

1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil (see note)

6 large green prawns, peeled (tails intact), deveined

Coriander leaves, to serve

Spinach-cauli noodles, to serve

METHOD

Step 1
Place fish in a large ceramic dish and toss with 2 tablespoons lime juice and 1 teaspoon sea salt. Chill for 30 minutes to marinate.

Step 2
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion for 3 minutes or until softened.

Step 3
Add capsicum, garlic and chilli, then cook, stirring occasionally, for a further 5 minutes or until capsicum is softened.

Step 4
Stir in stock, tomatoes, coconut milk and coconut oil. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook for 20-25 minutes until slightly reduced.

Step 5
Add prawns, fish and marinating juices, then cook for a further 8-10 minutes until the seafood is just cooked. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons lime juice and season to taste.

https://www.taste.c

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Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventure

Decided I wanted to do a companion painting for the Irises and Foxgloves. A square format, so not a traditional diptych. A tad concerned that the square canvas i was able to get is a tad small.

Unexpectedly the painting of the nature garden in Montagu that has been in our kitchen for years is off to its new home in Port Elizabeth.

From the ‘Plate’ cooking book, a lemongrass, sesame oil, chili, soya sauce and spring onion marinade for rump steak. Amazingly, I found all the bits amongst the various shops in our small town. Cooked over a hot fire, the flavours were subtle and delicious.

Suddenly. It’s my birthday. Incredible that 365 days have past. The wind howling, with a few spatters of rain that make the fire, and a glass of red-wine, that tad special. Of course my sister and Dad Sterley are no longer with us.

Carpets and rugs, filled with magical stories of Afghanistan. The rich madder red vibrancy of the rug from the carpet bazaar in Angoy, on the Tajikistan border. Delicate silks from Turkistan weavers. The luxurious pile of the sheep wool carpet from the market in our Kabul compound. That magical prayer-rug (that I’m sure I paid too much for) from our favorite carpet shop in Shahre-naw, Kabul. This while surrounded by my paintings from that incredible time.

From my diary …

Today the world is white! Snow is falling and this part of the world is beautiful.

Landing in Kabul through thinning cloud produced a landscape of brown and white. Snow drifts piled against buildings uniform in their drabness of the city much larger than I expected. It has some 2 million residents, 30 000 taxi’s, 200 000 cars and zillions of bicycles! Twisted aircraft wreckage lines the runway and it was with some apprehension that I stood in line to confront the fierce olive fatigued immigration officials. Certainly I did not expect the smile that greeted my announcement that I had no Visa, nor the friendliness of the driver that brought me here to my home for the next while.

The Great Masud road leaves the airport, a double lane highway along which you rocket at speeds constrained only by the fearlessness of the driver. Lanes don’t exist and where necessary the other side of the road becomes additional lanes. On one side, a single row of shops in various state of ruin run alongside the road with cultivated fields behind them. The other side has more elaborate structures long abandoned by groups such as Hoechst. There are obvious signs of repair with beautiful stone walls, interspersed with high security compounds. Unexpected colour from massive brightly painted trucks. Works of art in this mono chromatic landscape, laden with goods from Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Iran.

The UNOPS offices are in a run down apartment block. Inside, they have been renovated providing comfort enough when the electricity is working, but outside they look appalling. There is a new compound being built, the first phase of which will be ready for occupation in a few weeks. This will not include me as I take up responsibility for the rehabilitation of the University woman’s residence building. Well, that’s today’s story! From this table I can see children skating on the ice, and a few hardy people are flying kites. A landmark I was told I would find here.

The UNDP guest house (where I will stay this week) is a massive house, built on four levels with marble floors, chandeliers, a sweeping staircase and décor that jars my every sense. My room is comfortable, too hot with the heater and freezing without it, but there is a common lounge and dining room looking out to the garden.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

‘Soli’

acrylic on canvas 50cmx50cm

‘Take a deep breath, and settle yourself down.’

With grateful thanks to Soli and the many hours of companionship on our daily journeys to Worcester when Mum Sterley was ill.

The comment on the recipe (Plate) ‘the best osso bucco of my life’, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. We tried to emulate the conditions, with a night of storms and a fire warming the apartment, as well as aromas wafting down the staircase into the street. While the dish was delicious, the sauce was simply sensational. (The French part of Marlene van Der Westhuizen?) Organic rye, from Il de Pain French, an attempt not to trash my blood sugars too much!

Prince disturbed by the wind hammering the windows. A tad surprised that we didn’t wake to swamped boats in the Estuary. Storms giving way to sunshine fun.

A tad clumsy about the place with my one arm. Fortunately only messing things rather than breaking them. Left handed editing cumbersome and frustratingly slow. Must be wine time.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

‘Unicorn 2’

Oil on canvas 1,5mx1,5m

A few tweaks, and a couple of significant changes to the composition of the Rhino.

I decided to leave the tempestuous background, with its rough texture alone, as a contrast the smoother dust in the foreground.

Grateful for the collector who commissioned the painting. Loved the opportunity to work at that scale.

I. Remarkably, no blood! Hugh walked my bike out to where Clare could collect me home before Terry could get me casualty and the operation to fix my ‘properly broken’ clavicle. Fortunately, no complications, and while my blood sugars have gone crazy, they have sent me home after overnight observation. Six weeks, or so, my penance.

Hospital is not without its humorous side. The care I received was of the highest standard and professionalism.

A shared ward with a Dutch tourist who tore a knee ligament, and not only was a heavy smoker but had an absolute phobia about needles. Getting him prepped was a lesson in physiological counseling and slight of hand that was the envy of many magicians.

A nonagenarian woman, cranky in the extreme wanted go for walk outside, throwing he walking frame across the corridor as she doesn’t need assistance. Despite her recent knee surgery. She also decided on her midnight stroll, after insisting on coming into the wrong ward that I was occupying her bed and should be removed immediately.

An early morning tussle with e grumpy man who tried to leave the hospital to go home despite not being able to move unassisted and nobody at home to take care of him. Apparently he couldn’t get the USPGA on his TV screen.

I slept a bunch.

Norval Foundation

Brief shafts of sunshine through low clouds, natural spotlights highlighting the colours of ‘Wind Scuplture lll’ in the sculpture garden. Definitely best viewed from the warm comfort of the Skotnes restaurant.

Enjoyed the Collector’s Focus exhibition and wondering through the David Goldblatt exhibition, was transported back to my brief, terrifying, stint working at Grootvlei gold mine. While intrigued by the Yinka Shonibare CBE exhibition, Tradewinds’, I struggled to be engaged.

Scrumptious lunch. Beef bone marrow and sumac salsa, followed by beef flat iron with tomato Brodie and green beans. A glass of Skotnes red blend.

Rowing boats in a clients house

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Rose stopped past the studio to see the painting of the Oyster Collectors that I painted from her photograph

Erica’s in purple and pinks between banks of grey salt-bush alongside the paths through the Forest. Enough rain to turn trails into rivers that extra element of fun.

Colours swirling on the canvas for my painting of the Heads. Getting a tad lost in the water of the estuary.

Easter treat damage limitation with a run to the bottom of Phantom Pass. Ile de Pain, hot-cross bun with its apricot jam glaze and icing sugar crust (52grams of carbs) probably wasn’t sensible.

Bunch of people visiting which gave us the opportunity to try a couple of different places in our part of paradise. The late afternoon ferry out to the rebuilt Featherbed restaurant for their forest dinner. The building spectacular, and while the food might not be memorable there was plenty of variety, even for a diabetic.

Parmesan crusted kingklip, with a chilly/butter stuffing at Fatfish, looked amazing and was delicious. No less so than the tempura-prawn salad, with a great selection of wines by-the-glass.

Sold

Oil on canvas 20cmx20cm

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Beach walk with wild seas to soothe battered souls. The graveside committal for Dad, simple and sensitive. He rests, overlooking the golf course and across Montagu.

The Kalkveld Lounge at Zandvliet. Stylish, comfortable, fabulous wines and a tasty cheese and charcuterie platter (the olives were frighteningly salty), with a view to the arched gables of the Cape Dutch Homestead. There is not much to criticize. Particularly, with the excellent service from Leslie, the Lounge Manager.

The gallery space, carved from long buried concrete wine tanks creates a heightened sense of anticipation. The discovery of the amazing. Confined, intimate contact with the artworks.

Marsanne, France. ‘French Door’, a small, acrylic and charcoal on 300gram paper SOLD, amongst a bunch of paintings and scarves on a busy week in the studio. The ‘Pushing out the oars’, scarf sold out.

Our introduction to the trendy ‘Poke’ (pronounced POH-keh), one of the main dishes in Hawaiian cuisine. Poke means “to slice or cut” in Hawaiian and refers to chunks of raw, marinated fish — usually tuna — which is then tossed over rice and topped with vegetables and umami-packed sauces.

Clare did tuna and salmon, with black rice (carb clever noodles for me), carrots, peas, mushrooms, peppers, onion flakes, spring onion, avocado, pineapple and toasted sesame seeds. A light cerviche of lime and soya for the tuna and salmon bits. Tasty and colourful on a fabulous summer evening. (Photo credit: Craig Smith)

Summer. Haviananas. Cracked heels. A diabetic nightmare. Particularly for one who hates shoes anyway.

French Door

Acrylic and charcoal on paper

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Air reverberating with the sounds of helicopters heading to the fire front, the news that one of my collectors homes had burnt down. 3 generations of memories lost, and my paintings.

Blood sugars suddenly trampolining all over the place (7.8 mmol/L -3.8 mmol/L) after a month of being stable. Averaging 6.0 mmol/L with a standard deviation of 0,7. Diabetic carbs at 23grams, well within the 50 gram range. Particularly noticeable an hour after exercise, with cycling creating the biggest swings. Dehydration with the onset of warmer weather?

‘A Pair of Kings’. A small painting of the King Protea on the studio table that reminded me of Van Gogh’s ‘Still Life with Two Sunflowers’ painted in Paris, 1887.

After the contortions to create the small works my shoulders and hands are straining with the demands of covering the large surface for my painting of dolphins. The rough canvas blistering fingers already a tad sensitive from not concentrating when changing hot braai grids on the Kamado Jan for the slow cooked fillet.

The Forest. Full of magic. Roses of every hue, perfuming the world. Ghost tendrils. Air plants in the setting sun. Timeless laughter with excellent wine and an exquisite dinner under a star filled sky. Woodcutters Cottages, another gem in our part of paradise.

Diary of an Adventure

Greyton Adventures

Oak trees, lavender, roses, birds. Mist, sunshine and butterflies. Horses, aimlessly wondering along the main road in the early morning.

A surreal world beneath the mountain. Immaculate and cared for.

‘Linda’s Breasts’, not on the menu. Definitely worth asking for at Via’s. A hint of warmth in the spices used on the chicken breast, transformative. While the chips looked impossibly tempting, there was nothing wrong with my roast veggies. Except, they were veggies! The aromas from the coffee roaster, intoxicating.

I did a morning painting demonstration. A floral painting of a lily, orchid sort of flower in my Mums garden. White flowers adding that touch of mystery as to the approach. The painting was influenced by the ‘Wearable Art’ range of silk scarves I’m focusing on, which influenced the colours. The influence of Van Gogh’s almond blossoms in the turquoise background.

“My work was going well,” he informed his brother, “the last canvas of branches in blossom – you will see that it is perhaps the best, the most patiently worked thing I had done, painted with calm and with greater firmness of touch. And the next day, down like a brute.”

Interesting to have artists painting their own pictures during the demonstration. I did get tied down a tad by the delicate fingers of the flowers.

Prince still struggling with the effects of ‘salt poisoning’ from our play on the beach, chasing stones into the surf and ingesting too much salt water. Will need to carry grease water to hydrate him and keep his playing along the sand, rather than in the water.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

‘At the Zeitz MOCAA’

Oil on canvas 90cmx60cm.

A random moment. ‘Tell me your story. My name is magic fused with life purpose…” Story telling by Vusumuzi Mpofu amongst the bricks of Kendell Geers’ ‘Hanging Piece’.

Poetry transcending the horror of the hangman’s noose. Red ropes made ordinary by the red of clothing. Bricks, of terror fading into life, with purpose.

One of those evenings when I have managed to break, mess, and destroy. Nothing I can blame on crazy blood sugars. Or even too much wine.

Temperature regulation quite an issue on my Kamado Jan. Once that machine gets hot, it’s kind of impossible to get the temperature down. The monster chicken, while full of flavour was heading towards the charcoal side.

Order placed for the first batch of silk scarves. Time now an issue to finalise designs, sort pricing (exchange rate more erratic than my blood sugars) and get delivery before the holiday season.

Sold. South Sudan. Exhausting.

Stunning cheese cake that is diabetic sensitive. Tasty, and indulgent. A taste sensation amongst the week of amazing food indulgence. Chicken livers (which I don’t eat) at Chef Hirsch. Subtly tangy and perfect with the Newton Johnson Pinot Reserve, as well as the Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon blend. Beef fillet curry at Chef Coreta with a Delheim Vaaldrei Cab Franc that was better than my favourite Raats Cab Franc.

Remarkably privileged to have my painting of the migration ‘On the Plains’, hanging in its new rebuilt home after the fires. Particularly after an evening visiting a home that proudly shows its scars of the fires that tore through Knysna.

Lemon Cheese Cake

This banting friendly lemon cheesecake from Jump on the Bant Wagon, by Nick Charlie Key, R265, (Human & Rousseau), is the ultimate indulgence, without the guilt

INGREDIENTS

For the crust

1 cup almond flour

2T melted butter

3T xylitol

For the filling

680g cream cheese, at room temperature

310ml xylitol

1t vanilla extract

A pinch salt

4 eggs, at room temperature

60ml lemon juice

1T lemon zest

60ml whipping cream

Topping

250ml sour cream

30ml lemon juice

1T lemon zest

4T xylitol

1/2t vanilla extract

Try this dark chocolate cheesecake recipe

METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 190°C.

2. Prepare a springform cake pan. Put some baking paper over the bottom of the pan

1/3

and snap it into place when you tighten the sides of the pan.

3. Grease the sides and bottom of the pan (and the baking paper) using butter.

4. Mix all the crust ingredients together in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Once it’s a

doughy, crumbly and moist texture, press it into the bottom of the prepared pan.

5. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.

6. Reduce the oven temperature to 170°C.

7. For the filling, beat the cream cheese until it becomes fluffy, making sure to scrape

the sides of the mixing bowl. Add the xylitol, vanilla, salt and two of the eggs. Beat

well, then scrape the sides of the bowl again.

8. Add the remaining two eggs. Beat well and scrape once again. Add the lemon juice,

zest and cream. Beat well, scrape and pour the filling mixture over the pre-baked

crust.

9. Place the springform pan into a bigger pan that has been pre-filled halfway with

boiling water, and then place into the oven to bake for roughly 1 hour. The

cheesecake should still be a little wobbly in the centre when it comes out.

10. While the cheesecake is in the oven, mix all the topping ingredients together in a

mixing bowl.Get the recipe for the cheesecake topped with frilled honey buttered

peaches

11. Remove the cheesecake from the oven, spread the topping evenly over the

cheesecake and then return to the oven for another 10 minutes.

12. Take the cheesecake out of the oven and let it cool. Once at room temperature, pop

it into the fridge for a few hours to chill properly.

Serves 10–12 people

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Afternoon run in the sunshine along the red brick road next to the estuary. Passed a bunch of picnics, with holiday makers out reading in between watching the waters of the estuary. Sun perfectly positioned. Wind, holding its breath. Immaculate.

On the easel, a horse powers from the canvas. A strong vertical composition, full of youthful exuberance. Kids at play in Nieu-Bethesda.

I can’t paint horses without a reference to Sir Alfred J Munnings. His paintings filled with free brushstrokes and great blobs of paint. Less technique, than his inability to judge distance between canvas and brush as a result of an eye injury that left him blind in one eye. “What are pictures for?” he asked. “To fill a man’s soul with admiration and sheer joy, not to bewilder and daze him.”

‘God’s little creatures’, the Figtree Blue butterfly in the garden at Ouland Royale, our lunch stop with Mum and Jenny on a glorious day. They were happy to accommodate my diabetic eating quirks, modifying their tzatziki lamb dish and adding extra avo at no additional charge! (The dressing was a tad sweetish for my taste) Chef Wilja orchestrates her dishes at the long table in the kitchen, conjuring magical dishes that have quirky twists.

My throat a scratchy mess. Not impressed. Extra grumpy.