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

Recipe:

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

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Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures


’Palette Leftovers’

Acrylic on canvas 70cmx200cm

Marathon day. Singing and dancing supporters turning it into a street party, which Prince didn’t appreciate. Especially after another night of lightning storms.

The cheese-based crust (using a different recipe) for the Beef Wellington didn’t hold its shape in the Kamado Jan, resulting in a sort of mush. Fortunately, it still tasted great, but I think that had more to do with the foie-gras than anything I did. Terry did an Otto Linghi avo based salad that was simply scrumptious, served with grilled tomatoes that used a gazillion herbs. A burst of colour and flavour.

The Knysna Literary Festival provided it’s mix of weird, thought provoking, and inspiring talks.

Shoulder, doing it’s ’click-and-grind’ after the ride to Buffel’s, on a fabulous morning. Fortunate that my front tyre expired at the top of the hill and not during the decent. Two new tyres needed as both wheels now have punctures where the plugs aren’t holding.

Decided to change the tyres myself as taking it to the bike shop for something so trivial seemed unnecessary. Tyres arrived and I hit the first problem as the tyre tape on the one wheel was damaged and needed to be changed. Thisi also required a new valve, none of which I have. While the wheel was in to have that sorted, I did the other wheel. My shoulder not enjoying the strain of getting the tyre onto the rim, and neither did my hands.

The second wheel was even tougher and despite pumping like a maniac, I couldn’t get the tyre to sit properly on the rim. A visit to the garage provided the necessary oomph, however, the tyre was leaking at the new valve. Enough.

Not the cleverest thing to chose to do when I need my hands to paint with, not bruise them changing bicycle tyres.

Sunrise outer Thesen Island loop 7km run with the high tide next to us. Quite spectacular.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

’Fisherman’

Oil on canvas 76cmx104cm


Indian Yellow and Alizarin Crimson, rather than the Madder Red I used in the initial painting of the ’Fisherman’, has given it an unintended ’fiery’ glow. Somewhat poetical, given that the first painting was destroyed in a fire? Mixing the Alizarin Crimson with Burnt Umber changed the tone, creating a much more powerful portrait, and closer to what I was looking for.


The composition fits, roughly, within the Fabonacci Spiral of the hood, the eyes as the focal point, depending on whether the spiral is drawn vertically or horizontally. The calmness of the ocean, within which, the fisherman exists.


Le Marquis by Cathy and Rémy didn’t disappoint. Superb food and incredible value for a fine-dining experience. I could have shared, reluctantly, my terrine that did have a tad too much onion for my liking. Fortunately, salmon tarter and scallops starters ensure I was left alone to enjoy the terrine. Rémy worked his magic with the hunk of côté de bœuf and the seared Norwegian salmon was fabulous. Bits of magic sprinkled between courses, teased taste buds and added to the visual feast.

Sand between my toes. Beach walk at Brenton on a stunning day.


‘Sick-day rules’ for managing my diabetes that stubbornly remain high. Not the most pleasant way to go through the day. An indication of how much stress the body is under in fighting something as silly as a cold?


Recycled Nespresso cardboard for the sculpture of a rhino bust. The glue gun working it’s magic to keep the various bits in place, with only the odd burnt finger. I did find the ’cordless’ option a tad useless as it cooled down too quickly. Perhaps it would have worked better if I had all the bits initially cut, instead of making it up as I went along.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

‘Poppies and olives’
Oil on board 220cmx92cm

Painted in 2002, a client resale in the studio

Something magical about a road-trip in the early morning, as the sun begins it’s journey. Even without coffee to start the day, as load-shedding impacts our lives.


Driving three hours for a dinner may seem a tad excessive. However, the dining experience at La Sosta in Swellendam is unbelievable and should be at the top of on any foodies list.


We also had a great dog-friendly farm-stay at Heritage Huisies, a five-minute drive from the restaurant.


Uncomplicated. Clean. Honest flavours. The philosophy of the cooking at La Sosta. With seasonal ingredients, paying homage to their Italian heritage.


The 5 course menu has three eating experiences; Sea, Land and Garden, and as you are allowed to choose dishes from any of the menu’s, the choice is fabulous. Particularly for my diabetic restrictions.
The wine list has recommendations for each menu and offers great value.


Hermitage Huisies cottages are unpretentious, comfortable and everything you could want, with thoughtful touches. Like an Honesty Bar, with Olivedale wines in case you didn’t bring your own. Or simply want to try the superb regional wines. A bag of fresh veg from the garden and a spekboom for you to take home and plant, are part of their drive for organic, sustainability. The swimming pool, fabulous on a hot summer day. Not freezing. Refreshing, and close to the cottage to pop into for a midnight dip under the stars.

A tad disappointed that I’m not one of the 48 BP Award finalists. While still thrilled to be in the top 10% semi-finalists, I had high expectations. Hopefully my painting of the Pudgy Unicorn will do better at the Wildlife Artists of the Year.


Alfresco. Terry’s fabulous ‘Picnic in a jar’. Quirky, practical, delicious and loads of fun.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

’Women in the Waves’

Acrylic on Canvas 200cmx70cm

Too many conflicting ideas messing about with my painting of the ’Women in the Waves’. Decided to stop smearing paint in the canvas. Happy with areas of the painting, while other bits are a tad overworked.
Summer. Visitors fleeing to confront the start of the new job year. Weather  switched to glorious. If a tad stifling. Early Steenbok walk to get Prince wet enough to manage the hot weather.
Super yacht Katherine heading out to its next adventures. It’s stay at Thesen Harbour Town attracting a more of visitors.
Otto Lingi Simple. Nothing about Ottolenghi is ’Simple’! Preparation. Shopping. Chopping. Cooking. Exhausting. Delicious! Terry did a cauli-rice, infused with mint and parsley. Perfect with the slow-cooked lamb ribs. French-inspired slow-roasted tomatoes (with the jalapenos magic ingredient) and spinach dish, with pine nuts and pomegranate seeds. Looked  amazing and packed with flavour.
Homtini Pass ride, with fabulous sightings of Knysna Louries. Even more amazing give the sweat stained glasses, and heavy breathing as I laboured up the pass. Senses overpowered by the ’honey’ scent. Sage wood plant? 

SOLD

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Thrilled that my portrait of ‘Soli’ has been selected for the second round of judging at ‘BP Portrait 2020’. It’s the most prestigious portrait painting competition in the world, held for the 41st year at the National Portrait Gallery.

Getting it framed,and delivered to London by months end a logistical nightmare. Particularly with the Brexit mess. Still, a nice one to have!
Ladies in the Waves’, from Terry‘s photo, taking shape on the easel, between hectic waves of holidaymakers. Grateful for all the support.
Puncture cutting our cycle through the Forest short. Fortuitous that amongst us we managed to negotiate poor short vision. Sweat. Shaking hands. Tyre repair bits. Managed to get back safely, with that touch of extra bougainvillea blood drama.
Cooking with IRON! Cast Iron. Not the refined Le-Cruset, or beautifully finished      Stuab, but the, ‘muscle car’ of cooking. My Xmas present. Ultra-heavy casserole pot for the Kamado Jan. Seasoned with olive oil over searing heat, before being entrusted with a meal. Duck Confit. Bacon strips lining the bottom of the pot, and a touch of extra Chenin moisture. Deliciousness. Cleaning up after duck. Not trivial. Not something to be left till the morning!
HbA1c, my blood glucose over the last 3 months, confirming the results of my blood sugar monitor, at 5,6%. The combination of careful diet and exercise keeping them controlled to the point that I can try cutting my insulin dose in half. Hopefully, this will also reduce the periods in the day when I go ’hypo’, which should make having me around a bit easier.
Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

‘Leisure Walk’, a small painting in the series of paintings I’m doing for the Greyton Art Walk. Hijacked by Terry for her desk. ‘Forest Elephant’ the most challenging.
Slow grilled beef short rib, on the Kamado Jan, while tasty,  not fantabulous. Even with the button mushrooms and bacon, Gordon Ramsey assistance. Mistakingly having the short-rib sliced into strips didn’t help,as they cooked too quickly, without any of the anticipated  impressive sauce.
Phantom pass. Crossing the Red Bridge. Shoulder, cracking and popping as it settles into the abuse of off-road riding. Glad for the grading of the roads to reduce the corrugations. Confidence stretched, brakes working hard, on the way down.
Blood sugars struggling to handle the running, cycling and that tad too much wine. Inevitable with the World Cup rugby euphoria at J9, and Craig’s fabulous wine cellar.

Leisure Walk

Acrylic on canvas 20cmx20cm

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Small Cape-sugarbird painting and two new scarf designs based on the Irises and Foxgloves and the abstract seascape from Pringle Bay. Hours grappling with the enforced software changes as Apple eliminate third party software.

Buffel’s dune walk, beach and graffiti. Calf muscles a tad unhappy with the soft sand and steps. Not nearly as unhappy as my bum muscles after their first ride back on my mountain bike! Clavicle complaining at the abuse of the short Red-bridge, White-bridge loop through old Belvedere. 
Studio worked well for an intimate dinner at the long-table. Great weather helped.
Howling winds, and patches of rain. Perfect weather for a Boeuf bourguignon. That Julia Child favourite, but using the recipe from Plate that has the beef marinaded overnight and cooked on the bone. Not the prettiest of dishes, it was delicious. Served with a rich sweet-potato gratin and green beans, not forgetting the compulsory crusty bread for the sauce. 221 Cuve from Alvis Drift worked fabulously.
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

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

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.