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.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

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.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Cold fingers, despite higher than usual blood sugars after a Christmas lunch of pâté de compagne and Il de Pain bread, with trifle as a dessert.

Black, mud-stained feet from playing with Prince at low tide. The noise of the waves still too much for him.

Vietnamese flavours for the Christmas Eve dinner. Fresh spring rolls with pork and prawns. Duck breast with Asian salad. Fish simmered in ginger and caramel sauce. My spring rolls, defined as ‘clumsy’. The wooded Chardonnay the best wine for the various flavours in the Vietnamese food. Minimizing the sugar used in the caramel sauce did mean that there was none of the ‘stickiness’ that we had in the meal inHanoi, but it didn’t kick my sugar levels out of kilter either. Another three weeks before Terry’s cast comes off!

The end of a quiet day, with the street outside the studio busy with holiday traffic and the alcohol fueled chatter of people walking home. Oodles of pink flesh on display after a perfect, sun filled day.

‘Crumpled’, my portrait of a 92 year old women in Hoi An, Vietnam. The simplicity I was striving for being lost in the contours and crumpledness of her face. The complexity of the years driving the painting? Raw Sienna, permanent magenta, Ultramarine blue and Naples Yellow with Alizarin crimson the key colours. I did include touches of Cerulean and Cobalt blue.

Became part of the ‘mechanical’ mountain bike family, managing to trash the crank assembly on the way up Phantom Pass. Did find another reason to be ‘flat-pedal’ cyclist, in that wearing trail shoes you can jog with your bicycle. However, I was glad it wasn’t too far before Coreta rescued me.

Messing About with Paint

Vietnam Adventures

‘Cards’, and the companion painting, ‘Another hand’

Acrylic on linen 40cmx50cm 

Hanoi, Vietnam. 

From Terry’s photo, ladies playing cards next to Westlake. 

Frenetic, expressive smearing of paint onto the linen canvas. Craziness after a heart-beat walking through the traffic? 

Raw Sienna, and Alizarin Crimson for the face, with a darker mixture of Ultramarine Blue and Cadmium Red. Naples Yellow for the background. Quinacridone Rose and Cobalt Blue for the clothing.

‘Another Hand’

Acrylic on Linen 40cmx50cm 

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

Prince is thrilled with himself, having learned how to open the front door, by bashing the handle down with his paw and using his shoulder to open the door. It does make leaving him alone in the apartment that extra bit trickier

.

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Across the Generations', a painting of Aunty Helen's and Kelly's hands. Rich Madder red with Ultramarine blue providing the anchor for the pallet. A delicate mix of Indian Yellow and Quinacridone Rose for Kelly’s hands, with Raw Sienna and a grey of Cobalt Blue and Burnt Sienna as highlights. For Helen’s fingers, I used white with the darker purple to create contrast. My eyes, frustrating, if making for interesting painting!

Sunshine, if still chilly, and hardly a breeze, perfect for the beach. Prince not at all sure about the waves or the water, which were both far to scary.

Cut back the star jasmine in the patio garden to the metal ball support as it was starting to look a tad wild. Hopefully this will result in a mass of summer flowers.

Nose a shade of pink after a walk at Steenberg Park with Prince running crazy circuits through the water, slithering across the wet board walk and into the marsh. Happy dog days.

Managed a cycle up Phantom Pass and a spin out to Leisure. Nothing too crazy, but quick enough to elevate my heart rate so as to get reference points for my blood sugar levels. Dietitian happy with my insulin management and cleared up what is critical to stay alert for, as well as the eating before and after exercise issues that should help to stabilize my blood sugar. At least my BMI and other markers are where they should be!

Still no ice cream, and in another lifestyle whammy, nearly as serious as the no-wine, no bare-feet. Even on the beach. Crazy.
Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

First dinner out as a diabetic, gently managed by Clare and Terry. Tablets and insulin injection packed with the mineral water. A tasty starter of salmon with a spot of grapefruit and crème fraîche (designed for pairing with Steenberg Sauvignon Blanc) on segments of cucumber to accommodate my carbohydrate intolerance, with a fillet on the braai and salad. A handful of blueberries my desert allowance.

Wind, blowing off the snow covered mountains, unpleasantly cold for the walks required by a Border Collie ball of energy. Our days defined by his needs. Morning walks at first light, with an afternoon stint in the dog run on Thesen. The RAV, again a mobi-kennel, his safe haven

Without wine to drink, there are suddenly a gazillion tea bags in our lives, which I'm tearing up and using as a soli supplement for the patio garden pot plants. This no wine life is going to take a bit of getting used to.

Lesa and Alan visiting for a few days, forcing me out of the studio, where I have become a tad hermit like. 'Phantom Ride'. the approach to Phantom Pass at first light, named for the exquisite brown and grey moths which appear again and again each year in spring.

Knysna artists exhibition at the Mall for a couple of days. Quality, artistic interpretation, and relative value part of the endless questions by the knowledgeable elderly who spent time engaging with the various artists works.

Sugar levels responding to the care Terry is taking in searching out the hidden sugars in many of the standrad foodstuffs we eat. Tolerant of me bouncing off the walls of restrictions.