Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Boug blossoms.jpgSundowner open evening at the studio, as the holiday season gets underway. Terry organized a large bowl of olives and hunk of cheese, their own focal point in the studio and excellent with our sponsored Steenberg Chardonnay. During the evening, I did a small painting of bougainvillea flowers that will be auctioned for charity.
Pestle and mortar for grinding pepper corns for the Vietnamese Steak au Poivre. The steak sauce, scrumptious. Mayonnaise dressing for the salad, a tad too rich for the dish and it didn’t have the clean, crispness of Vietnamese dressings. Will try again using the classic Vietnamese dressing. Carbonara, with spinach and cauliflower noodles and the leftover Vietnamese Steak au Poivre.
7km jog around Thesen on the time-trial route that Craig has set up, with Prince in a cool overcast day. His first run on the lead, managing cars, other dogs, kids, bicycles and my lack of coordination. The water bowls along the route helping him to cool down.

studiosteenbergbanner

Blue-black agapanthus flowering on the back patio garden. Indigo blue from Van Dyk the tonal colour with Ultramarine blue and permanent Megenta. Light lemon yellow against the pale grey background. Fighting to achieve lightness.

Orthopod happy with how Terry’s wrist is healing. No change to the cast, which will stay on until the 16th January. Christmas dinner could be a test of my dubious cooking skills!

Vietnamese Steak au Poivre

This fish sauce–spiked steak au poivre is chef Chris Shepherd’s nod to the French influences in Vietnamese cooking.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  •  1 large onion, thinly sliced
  •  2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  •  One 1 1/2-inch cinnamon stick
  •  1 star anise
  •  2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
  •  1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  •  2 cups beef stock or low-sodium broth
  •  1/2 cup heavy cream
  •  2 teaspoons black peppercorns, crushed
  •  Kosher salt Pepper
  •  1 1/2 pounds small heads of broccoli, cauliflower
    and/or Romanesco
  •  3 tablespoons canola oil
  •  1 cup mayonnaise
  •  1/4 cup yellow mustard
  •  1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  •  1/4 teaspoon hot sauce, preferably Tabasco
  •  1/2 medium red onion,
    thinly sliced (1 cup)
  •  2 tablespoons roasted unsalted sunflower seeds
  •  Four 6-ounce center-cut beef tenderloin steaks

How to Make It

Step 1

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes.

Add the cinnamon stick and star anise and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the fish sauce and sugar and cook for 1 minute. Add the stock and simmer over moderately high heat until reduced to 1 cup, about 15 minutes.

Add  the cream and simmer until the sauce is thickened and reduced by half, about 10 minutes longer. Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve set over a medium bowl; discard the solids. Return the sauce to the saucepan and stir in the crushed peppercorns. Season with salt and keep warm.

Step 2

Heat a large cast-iron skillet. In a large bowl, toss the broccoli, cauliflower and Romanesco with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Working in batches, cook over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until lightly charred all over and crisp-
tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a work surface and let cool. Cut into bite-size pieces and wipe out the bowl. In the bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with the mustard, vinegar and hot sauce until smooth. Fold in the charred vegetables, the red onion and sunflower seeds and season the salad with salt. Wipe out the skillet.

Step 3

In the skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Season the steaks with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, turning once, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 125° for medium-rare, 6 minutes per side. Transfer to a work surface and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve with the peppercorn sauce and the charred-vegetable salad.

studiosundown

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

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.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

‘Paddle Steamer’

Oil on canvas 60cmx90cm

Harbour Town Adventure

Water. Complex. Demanding. Knuckles smearing paint. Paddle steamer at sunset across the Estuary from the studio.

The paintings at the new Avo Pomme exhibition perfectly capturing the emerging growth from the ashes of the fires. Delicate life, exquisite in its simplicity. Bernice’s canapés, once again, transcending the paintings.

That fragment of a view between sweat drops on my glasses, hurtling through the forest in carefree abandon. A yellow flower against blue skies and the view out to the Heads across the black earth.

Clare made ‘Pizza’ for diabetics, with brinjal slices, which looked and tasted amazing. Fillet with a sauce that oozed the fragrances of the mysterious East. Mint, lime, chilly, ginger and garlic. A taste of the weeks ahead in Vietnam? Sutherland Pinot Noir that taste of summer.

Studio busy on the holiday week, my grumpiness sort of manageable. The painting for the antique wooden boat poster heading to its new home.

https://taste.co.za/recipes/asian-style-fillet-roast-on-rice-noodles/

https://taste.co.za/recipes/brinjal-pizza/

Brinjal pizza

RECIPE BY Rosalin Mconie

SERVES 8

DIFFICULTY Easy

PREP TIME 30 minutes

COOKING TIME 35 minutes

INGREDIENTS

For the brinjal base

• 2 brinjals

• 1 T salt

• 3 T olive oil

For the sauce

• 2 cloves garlic

• 1 T olive oil

• 1 can chopped tomato

• 1 T fresh parsley, chopped

• 1 t dried oregano

• 1/2 t salt

For the topping

• 30 g fresh basil

• 300 g mozzarella cheese

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS

Cut the aubergine lengthways into 2cm thick slices and sprinkle with salt. Lay the aubergine on paper towel to absorb the excess moisture and leave for about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180°C

For the tomato base, heat 1T olive oil and gently sauté 2 cloves of chopped garlic.

Add a can of chopped tomatoes, 1T freshly chopped parsley, 1t oregano and ½ t salt. Simmer until the sauce has thickened.

Dry off the aubergines and make sure to remove any excess salt. Place on a roasting tray and brush with olive oil. Roast in the oven for 25 minutes.

The aubergines should be cooked through but not too soft and mushy. All ovens work differently so check your aubergines after 15minutes and then every 5minutes there-after.

Once the aubergines are done, spread a tablespoon of tomato base on each slice, add layers of basil leaves and finish with grated mozzarella.

Place them in rectangular, shallow ovenproof dish then slide it under a hot grill until the cheese has melted and begins to crisp. Serve immediately.

Asian-style fillet roast on rice noodles

RECIPE BY Abigail Donnelly

SERVES 4

DIFFICULTY Easy

DIETARY CONSIDERATIONS Dairy free Fat conscious

PREP TIME

• 1 T sunflower oil

• 500 g beef fillet

• 190 ml soya sauce

• 2 garlic cloves, crushed

• 1 x 5 cm piece of ginger, grated

• 1 t fish sauce

• 2 T brown sugar

• salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

• 1 spring onion, sliced

• fresh peas, for serving

• 1 small cucumber, sliced

For the garnish

• a couple of sprigs of fresh coriander

• a couple of sprigs of mint

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS

Cover 250 g rice noodles with boiling water and set aside for 15 minutes.

Mix 1 finely chopped seeded red chilli, the juice of 1 lime and 3 T rice vinegar.

Drain the noodles and pour over the dressing.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Heat 1 T sunflower oil over a high heat.

Seal 500 g beef fillet, remove and allow to rest.

To the same pan, add ¾ cup soya sauce, 2 crushed garlic cloves, 1 x 5 cm ginger, grated, 1 finely chopped red chilli, 1 t fish sauce, 2 T brown sugar, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook until the sugar dissolves.

Return the fillet to the pan and coat with the sauce. Finish in the oven. R

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventure

“As per your wonderful sense/insight of humanity Jan, you have captured emotive images of the human spirit; universally speaking your mind by way of canvas, brush, paint, palette & knife. Many of us could learn to not just “look”, but to “see” as well, by taking notice of the message you have implored here within these works. Wish I could have seen it in person!”
Robyn Heenan
One of Hirsh’s amazing dinners. Baked stuffed red pepper with whole skinned tomato and anchovies. Kingklip and bacon on rosemary skewers, on the braai. Broccoli with Moroccan spices. All cooked with oodles of olive oil. The Mediterranean flavours subtle, yet robust enough to pair well with bubbles and the heavier Bordeaux blend from Delaire Graff.
My bum stiff after the Gouna river Pass walk with Prince, his first outing through the forest. Much colder than I expected.
There seem to be a bunch of new yachts moored in the estuary. The excitement of a new cat being launched. The Southern Cross adding its magic.
On a gorgeous early spring evening, a feast for my Birthday menu. Terry’s stunning pâté de campagne. Saumon Fumee de Norvege. Sugar snap peas and cherry tomatoes. Relief that the glass of wine (excellent Black Rock 2014) to celebrate didn’t throwing my blood sugars out.
Elephant paintings from the photos taken in Addo Elephant park. My fingers contorting to the small canvases.
A Seattle cappuccino necessary to dry Prince after his Bollard beach romp. A new playground with the gentle swell less scary than the waves of Brenton.

Rosemary fish skewers

Ingredients
8 sprigs rosemary
600g firm, white fish
½ a loaf of slightly stale bread
6 rashers streaky bacon
lemon juice
garlic-infused olive oil
Method
Remove the leaves, except a few at each tip, from the rosemary sprigs. Cube the fish and the bread. Slice the bacon into 3 pieces each. Thread the fish, bread and bacon onto skewers. Drizzle with lemon juice and garlic-infused olive oil. Braai over hot coals or bake in a preheated 200°C oven for about 5 to 7 minutes.
Diary of an Adventure

Narine Vase

Oil on canvas 60cmx90cm

Painting of a vase of pink flowers and a sugar bowl, I wanted a loose, abstract feel to the painting. The Nerine bowline flowers are made up of spikes of starry delicate petals.

A medium sized canvas (60x90cm) gave me room, without the painting needing to be viewed from across the lagoon. I used a background of predominantly Ultramarine blue, broken with Cobalt blue and permanent madder.

Splotches of paint, sculptured the vase and sugar bowl, with the delicate flowers etched against the blue background. Not quite the Japanese simplicity I was hoping to achieve.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

 

Keel boats out at play in the sunshine. Fish Eagles calling from blue skies.
My calves screaming after the never ending climb up the Pezula hill. Fantabulous burger at Easthead suitable compensation.
Forest run.jpgThe studio cold in the mornings before the sun visits. A couple of small paintings finished, and others packed and sent off to their new homes. An emotional handing over of a copy of the portrait of the ‘The Pirate’ to Anton. My objective in painting this portrait series to show that homeless people still have dignity, achieved in this instance.
Decadent, is how Fromager d’Affinois pronounced: [fromage dafinwa], is described. A French double-cream soft cheese made from cow’s milk, invented in heaven. That is, the small town of Pélussin in the Rhône-Alpes region, and sent to us by Jennie.
‘Oupa’, a portrait of a builder working at the Heads. Hard as Stinkwood, with skin the colour of tannin filled waters, it feels as though he is one with the Forest.
Monday Blues.jpg
I used the Fabonacci sequence to fix the composition within the spiral. The eye falling at the golden ratio focal point, by adjusting the angle of the face. Raw Seinna my point of departure for the face, with Permanent Madder and Ultramarine for the dark patches. A grey mixture of Venetian Red and Cobalt Blue and one of the crazy paints from my mystery box, called Indigo. I added Quadr Rose to soften areas that were looking a tad harsh.

A couple of brave souls for the dry-run  studio movies that are planned for winter. As it was a British movie, Terry made fish pie (Jamie Oliver), of which I was a tad sceptical. It was amazing and I was glad that there were leftovers! A few niggles with remote control changes from the video that runs on the screen showing my finger-painting style and the dvd player. The chairs comfortable, and the blankets unnecessary on an unnaturally warm evening.

Forest run. My legs, still stiff from the earlier hills, struggeling over the uneven surface. Coordination shot.

Promised storm has arrived. Fire warming the apartment.

Disconnected bark ….

Grown old within the forest, 

Tree stands alone

His branches touching others, reaching out

No other woody-limbs responding

Left to wither, scorned by spruces

When really, maturity brings

Strength, wisdom, stature

Dignity to withstand the loss of youthful sap.

His deeply weathered, protective canopy

Grown thin

Tree’s autumn leaves

Announce life’s natural rhythm 

Always there, seldom seen

He is alone, within a forest grown 

Silent, statuesque 

Tree’s pride awaits his fall

Terry Ellen 

June 2016

Jamie Oliver’s Fish Pie
Prep time
30 mins
Cook time
30 mins
Total time
1 hour
Serves: 8
Ingredients
for the mashed potato topping
  • 1kg potatoes, peeled and chopped into large chunks
  • 400g frozen peas
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • salt & pepper to taste
for the fish pie filling
  • 500ml (2 cups) milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 200g frozen hake fillets
  • 200g frozen smoked haddock fillets
  • 200g frozen shelled prawns
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 heaped teaspoon English mustard
  • 40g (1/2 cup) mature cheddar, grated
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
Instructions
  1. Place the potatoes in a large pot of boiling water or in a steamer and cook until soft.
  2. Pour boiling water over the peas to de-frost them then blend in a food processor.
  3. Mash the potatoes then mix in peas, butter and lemon zest. Season to taste.
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 200°c.
  5. To make the fish pie, poach the fish in the milk with the bay leaf. When the fish is cooked, remove the fish and flake into large chunks. Reserve the milk.
  6. In a large, oven-proof frying pan fry the onion and carrot in a splash of olive oil until soft and fragrant. Add the garlic and fry for another 30 seconds.
  7. Add the flour and stir then add the milk the fish was poached to create a creamy sauce.
  8. Add the English mustard and fish and stir well then add the cheese and lemon juice and stir.
  9. Season to taste.
  10. Top the fish filling with the mashed potato and create indents with a spoon which will become nice and crispy in the oven.
  11. Place the pie in the oven and allow to bake for 30-40 minutes until the top is golden brown and crispy.
  12. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes then serve.
Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

 

Forest run on the contour path with an extra loop thrown in along a piece of single track marked with green spots on trees. Fortunately it was dry underfoot so the exposed roots and pine needles weren’t a skating rink. Still tricky.
A painting of power and menace. Danger, in those life, and death moments that are Africa. I searched for the sinews, stretched across muscles, coiled with explosive energy. I adjusted the composition to increase the triangular placement of the Zebra’s. Simplified the skyline which was distracting.
Increasing the tonal aspect of the painting made it a tad heavy feeling, which I adjusted by taking out some of the harder edges. Burnt sienna added into the muscle areas of the lioness to increase her dominance.
I did need to ensure that the painting included the key characteristics of the Cape Mountain Zebra. Narrow black stripes on the neck and torso. Wide stripes on the rump. White belly, and dewlap. Striped socks down the legs and rump stripes.
A hint of the wild irises that were flowering.
A fair amount of mud walking along the hide-tide mark of the salt marsh collecting garbage. Part of the ongoing drive for awareness about the dangers litter has on the fragile Eco-system. The normal plastic, bottles, crisp and sweet wrappers, with clumps of fishing line thrown in. The box, with an engraved brass plaque that once held the ashes of a departed soul, a bit more of a surprise.
Cold paints. My fingers frozen! The studio cooler with the sun hidden behind clouds. Even long trousers with shoes and socks are required!
Admin chores consuming my days. Long neglected I know, and important. Still, not my best. Inventory of paintings completed and the website updated. Memories, and stories behind rediscovered favourites.
Morning mist lifting as the sun turned he lagoon into a reflecting pool for the vaults of heaven. The path of our running route, paved with gold as light filtered through autumn leaves. This, another day in paradise.