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.
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Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

‘Chubby Unicorn’

Oil on canvas 80cmx80cm

Submission for the David Shepard Wildlife Artist of the Year finished. A dramatic gold background that contrasts with the turquoise in the painting. Will be interesting to see how the jury reacts.
Year end. Holiday season. Delish food. Great company. Laughter. Rest demanded of my abused body. A tad too much wine, probably not helping.
On the easel. Riotous friendship. A sea-scape of ‘Ladies in the waves’ on the beach at Sedgfield. Trying hard not to go down the path of the successful painting of the ‘Wild Oyster Collectors’, or the more abstract Pringle Bay sea-scape. Rather letting the painting dictate its own path.
The ’creative theater’ of the studio, part of the holiday business, with holiday browsers, returning collectors and fellow artists.
“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, paint, & fingers. 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.”

Robyn Heenan

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

’Chubby Unicorn’s’ (Thank you Kirsten), the commission and Wild Life Artists of the Year submission, on the easels in the studio. The fiery, Indian Yellow background to the paintings generating a host of comments. Particularly as it relates to the – ongoing – destruction of rhino’s, and their extinction, which the paintings signify.  

Delicious chevre and Proscuitto. For out 36th Wedding Anniversary, Terry made her ’Terrine de Campagne’, which, with a salmon main made for a scrumptious dinner. Phillepe Mallet, Cuvee prestige brut champagne and Crozes-Hermitage, balanced with Black Rock and a delicious Cederberg Blanc de Blancs MCC.
Happy, family holidays with sticky fingers across the studio windows. The thunder of powerful engines for the inevitable drag racing between speed humps. Early morning revealers driving Prince crazy. Cyclists and runners everywhere, and – fortunately – sales from the Studio.
My father’s Olympic athletic career was ended by a combination of a broken foot from running on a cinder track, and being declared a ’professional’ for accepting payment for transport to the Olympic trials. Certainly, I have no Olympic career, and sponsorship is the cornerstone of successful athletes, yet – while I have struggled with a trashed Achilles interrupting my running enjoyment – I’m facing my fathers foot weakness. In my case, arthritis. At least it’s not in my hands, so it doesn’t impact my painting!
For now, it’s summer. Endless days, of beach, forest, sea, wine, food and laughter.
Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

SOLD

’Oyster Pickers,

Acrylic on canvas 200cmx70cm

Bum and legs, stiff after a Buffs beach walk, between rain showers. Of more probably, from all the bending down to find stones for Prince to chase through the surf. Shoulder screaming at the abuse.
Stellakya wine dinner evening, with large quantities of red wine to replace the blood I lost from the scratch on my arm. The lamb main dish was a tad disappointing and the dessert out of the question. However, the Springbok carpaccio was delicious and the snoek spring rolls tasty.
I have started a small rhino painting, based on my painting ’Unicorn’ in preparation for the large commission work. The last tube of Ferrario Turquoise Blue (No 80), from my magic paint ox, is almost finished, adding uniqueness to the works. Certainly giving my shoulder a workout, covering the large areas of the big canvas

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Amazing that it’s been four years since we opened the studio on Thesen Harbour Town.
First light. Fabulous cycle through the Forest and up Homtini pass. Legs struggling to turn the pedals on the steep, rough sections. Shoulder complaining at the abuse. Shaking hands not the best for a finger painter
Etosha. Cobalt Blue and Burnt Sienna grey mixture to soften the edges of the animals that felt as they were shouting from the canvas with the darker Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Umber grey. 
Striving for the balance between a line that says so much and detail that kills it.
The perfect end to a summer’s day. Walk and play on the beach with Prince and Ricco before a sunset picnic high up on the Brenton cliffs overlooking the sea. Didn’t expect the mozzies to be out hunting!
I never knew that the best way to store tubes of oil paint in not with the caps up not is it with the tubes on their side. The best way to store artists oil paint is with the caps downward. This way the linseed oil can rise to the top and when you open the tube you get the pigment you need, without the extra liquid. I have some sorting to do!
Thanksgiving dinner at the Worroll’s. Made a diabetic-sensitive chocolate remoulade, with blueberry and thyme juice. 

bûche de Noël


CHOCOLATE YULE LOG

AUTHOR: ANGELA COLEBY


INGREDIENTS

SPONGE

  • 6 eggs separated
  • 1/3 cup 38g coconut flour
  • ½ cup 107g erythritol (or sugar substitute)
  • 1/3 cup 28g cocoa powder, unsweetened
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt

FILLING

  • ½ cup 60g heavy/whipped cream, (whipped into stiff peaks)
  • 2 tablespoons cranberry chia jamoptional

TOPPING

  • 4 oz 112g butter unsalted, softened
  • ¼ cup erythritol or sugar substitute
  • 6 oz 168g cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup 22g cocoa powder, unsweetened

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F degrees.
  2. Grease and line a long rectangle baking tin with parchment paper. My tin is about 8 inches by 12 inches.
  3. Whisk the egg whites until stiff.
  4. In another bowl whisk the egg yolks and erythritol together.
  5. Add the remaining cake ingredients to the egg yolk mixture and combine well.
  6. Fold in the egg whites to the cake mixture.
  7. Spoon into the baking tin and smooth evenly.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes until firm.
  9. Remove from the oven and place a piece of parchment paper over the cake whilst still warm (be careful not to burn yourself!).
  10. Remove the cake from the tin, keeping the parchment paper on the bottom of the tin so that the cake has parchment paper either side of it.
  11. Gently roll the cake from the smaller edge into a swiss roll shape. This will make it easier to unroll and fill later.
  12. Set aside to cool.
  13. Once the cake is cool, gently unroll the cake from the parchment paper and spread with the cranberry chia jam. Add an even layer of the whipped cream.
  14. Gently roll the cake back into the swiss roll shape.
  15. Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to help keep its shape.
  16. Make the topping by blending the butter and cream cheese together until smooth.
  17. Add the erythritol and cocoa powder and beat until smooth and blended.
  18. Smoother the topping all over the cake.
  19. Keep in the fridge to firm up the topping.
  20. Eat and enjoy!

RECIPE NOTES

Makes 8 slices

Nutritional Info per slice: 272 Calories, 24g Fat, 8g Protein, 9.6g Total Carbs, 4.3g Fibre, 5.3g Net Carbs

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Beach walk at Sedgefield before a quick stop at the market for blue skies organic salt. Studio busy with holiday tourists and the canvas for the Etosha commission on the easel. An underpainting of two blue-grey mixtures. Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Umber, as well as Cobalt Blue and Burnt Sienna. Dashes of Cerulean Blue adding depth.

Fabulous dinner. J9. Chef Coreta. Amuse-bouche of Chev, melon, Parma ham and dill served with Ghost Corner Bowline. Grilled halloumi, roast tomatoes, on a bed of butter lettuce served with ‘Courageous’, dry land barrel fermented Chenin as the starter and a main of Kingklip, pancetta, Parmesan, dill in a Champagne and cream sauce. a selection of wine that included Colmont MCC, Miss Lucy, Radford Dale Chardonnay,  Driehoek, Oak Valley and Newton Johnson Family Vineyard Pinot Noir. Tarte au Chocolate as a dessert served with Doran Vineyard Shiraz. 

Via’s are hosting my art and painting demonstration as part of the Greyton Art Walk. I have a collection of my small paintings, as well as a few of the silk scarf wearable art range for something different.

‘The Walk the Experience’ gives access to various artists studios and homes, providing insight into working methods, techniques and inspiration.
My early run took me out onto the trails through the hills outside the Village. Taxing in the extreme!
Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

‘Princesses for a day’, oil on canvas 60cmx90cm in its new home.

The wonder of cortisone that enabled me to run at times that were maddingly quick. Scary. Blood sugars surging into the stratosphere. For now, sticking with the low insulation dosage, with copious amounts of water and exercise to bring them down into something mangeable.

A small study of a Springbok, the scale of the Etosha commission. If not quite the abstract effect I had in my head. Also managed to get the painting of Hana on Onrus beach finished, before head into Jozie to see my Mum.

Jenny did a delicious diabetic-friendly zucchini noodle and halloumi stroganoff, with a spicy cream sauce, cashews for that bit of crunch, and served with a green salad. A light Italian style wine ‘Bella Vino’ perfect on a warm evening.

Modderfontein hills run with the sunrise glinting off the hurtling Gautrain. A carpet of purple Jacaranda blossoms. My shoulder a tad unhappy with the effort of getting me up the hills to say nothing of my wobbly legs.

The ‘Cornerdeli’ in Modderfontein definitely worth a stop. You do have to get past the tempting pastries that showcase their Portuguese heritage to get to the mouthwatering cheese and charcuterie selection.

Learned that the wax bit of the Parmesan cheese should be included in the food dish and the wax falls a small lump that can be removed while the cheese melts into the dish.

‘Springbok’

Oil on canvas

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

‘View to the Heads’ 20cmx20cm

It’s been awhile since I did the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge. Normally a calendar month thing, a middle of the month start doesn’t seem to be too out of place. The focus, the popular 20cmx20cm canvases, which have my fingers in weird contortions. However, I’m happy to let each day dictate what gets painted.

While my visit to Mossel Bay, and the gardens of Protea and Cape Sugarbirds provided the initial inspiration, I’m going to try to produce a series of black and white paintings that mimic charcoal sketches, with hints of colour. The works of Michèle Nigrini my reference point.

Fun movie outing that included a surprisingly good salad lunch at Mugg&Bean, of all places. The glass of wine was generous, and the helping enormous. The movie, ‘Fiela se Kind’, slow and achingly beautiful.

Spinach and Ricotta gnocchi. Diabetic-friendly, and tasty on their own, Scrumptious with a bolognaise sauce. If not what a traditional Italian would associate with gnocchi.

Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi

Ingredients

2 cups Spinach cooked

1 cup Ricotta cheese

2 Egg yolks beaten

6 tablespoons Parmesan cheese grated

1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1/2 teaspoon Black pepper

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F degrees.

Cut the stems off the spinach and cook in a large pan of boiling water for 1 minute. Remove and plunge into a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.

Drain the spinach leaves well, and squeeze out any excess water. Chop the leaves very fine.

Put the spinach, Ricotta,Parmesan cheese, egg yolks and seasoning into a bowl. Mix well.

Shape the mixture into balls about the size of walnuts. Or make them gnocchi shaped.

Lightly butter a casserole dish and place the gnocchi in it.

Bake for about 20 minutes.

Serve with your sauce of choice.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

‘Irises and Foxgloves 1’

Oil on canvas 76cmx104cm

Stopped fiddling with the first painting of Irises and Foxgloves. Wiped some of the paint from the canvas where it felt too heavy, and darkened some of the edges of the various shapes creating the journey through the composition.

Sounds of Spring while out jogging. Burchell’s Coucal calling from the bushes, and Fish Eagle’s against blue skies. Not that the rain has forgotten us, the wind continually trying to tear the doors from the studio.

A dash up to PE to deliver the painting of the Montagu Wild Garden. Stopped at Brioche for breakfast, which was every bit as good as the recommendation. A pulsating atmosphere that has you feeling as though you are in the heart of the kitchen, surrounded by happy, smiling faces. My shoulder not particularly happy with the five hour road trip and I was glad that Craig was with me to drive.

With the new work Terry has taken on for Madison, our days are starting much earlier, which Prince isn’t that thrilled about.

A serious J9 dinner

Eben Sadie Skerpion (Chenin) served with chili salmon, grilled halumi and spek boom

Grilled rashers with hand selected wild rocket, bocconcini and cherry tomatoes with Eben Sadie Pofadder (Cinsaut) 2015

Grilled fillet steak, sweet potato gratin and green salad with Black Oyster Catcher Triton

Almond and orange diabetic chocolates with Black Forest 2014

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Builders, and my shoulder being out of action, turned the patio garden into a sad, neglected, forlorn bunch of pots. Water pond cleaned out. Jasmine balls pruned into shape. Old plants replaced with new herbs. Transformed.

Rowing Boat

Acrylic on canvas 20cmx20cm

In the studio, a canvas for the larger painting of irises and foxgloves. A peach colour underpainting of Indian Yellow and Quinacrine Rose, with touches of Permanent Carmine, in bold sweeps. The blue of the Iris flowers seemingly beyond grasp. In my box of magic paints, Indigo Blue. (Van Dyk Ferrario No. 57) and Mineral Violet Deep (No 47) that touch of inspiration. For the foxgloves, I used a mixture of Alizarin Crimson (Winsor&Newton Artists) and Violet Rose Madder (Ferrario No 48)

Some dishes are surprisingly tasty. Certainly, the Yotam Ottolenghi Eggplant, Lamb and Yogurt Casserole is one such meal. ‘ … noisy yet peaceful, lip-smacking yet warm, simple yet daring.’ The flavours, definitely moreish. Particularly on a chilly evening, with the wind still howling. The heavily wooded Chardonnay from Constantia Uitsig a much better food companion than the young red I had.

With the sunrise, first 10km run after the collar-bone surgery. Nothing too crazy.

Yotam Ottolenghi Eggplant, Lamb and Yogurt Casserole

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Total time: 2 hours

For the eggplant and lamb mixture:

2 or 3 eggplants (aubergines) (about 1 1/2 pounds/680 grams), cut into 1-inch/3-centimeter cubes

1 pound/450 grams ground lamb (lamb mince)

1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced

1/2 cup/15 grams fresh oregano leaves, roughly chopped

1/3 cup/80 milliliters olive oil

1/4 cup/65 grams tomato paste

6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes

Kosher salt and black pepper

1 (14-ounce/400-gram) can whole, peeled plum tomatoes with their juices

3 cups/700 milliliters chicken stock

1/3 cup/20 grams roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley

For the topping:

2 cups/450 grams plain Greek yogurt

3 large egg yolks

1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose (plain) flour

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 lightly packed cups/70 grams finely grated Parmesan

1 cup/100 grams roughly crumbled feta

Scant 1/3 cup/40 grams pine nuts

2 packed tablespoons roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley

1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes

1. Heat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit/240 degrees Celsius.

2. Add the eggplant, lamb, onion, oregano, oil, tomato paste, garlic, cinnamon, allspice, red-pepper flakes, 1 3/4 teaspoons salt and a good grind of pepper to a 10-by-13-inch/26-by-34-centimeter (or similar) roasting pan (tin) and mix well to combine. Bake until the mixture is well browned, stirring twice throughout and breaking apart the meat with a spoon, 30 to 35 minutes.

3. Remove from the oven and continue to break apart the meat very well (don’t worry if you break apart some of the eggplant, too). Add the canned tomatoes with their juices, lightly crushing the tomatoes by hand. Stir in the chicken stock and parsley then return to the oven and bake for another 35 minutes, stirring twice throughout, until the sauce is thick and rich and the eggplant is very soft. Remove from the oven and turn the oven temperature up to 475 degrees Fahrenheit/250 degrees Celsius.

4. While the casserole is in the oven, prepare the topping: Whisk together the yogurt, yolks, flour, garlic and half the Parmesan with 1/4 teaspoon salt and a good grind of pepper. Once ready, spoon the yogurt mixture over the lamb and eggplant, gently spreading to cover. Top evenly with the remaining Parmesan, feta, pine nuts, parsley and red-pepper flakes.

5. Bake until golden and bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool for about 15 minutes before serving.

And to Drink …

This variation on moussaka calls for a lively red wine that won’t be drowned out by the dish’s assertive flavors. Why not a Greek red, like a xinomavro, if it’s not made in too oaky and tannic a style? Limniona is a rare red grape that’s been resurrected; from a producer like Zafeirakis, it would be ideal. You could try a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo from the Adriatic coast of Italy, or a frappato or Cerasuolo di Vittoria from Sicily. If you happen to have an older Château Musar around, from the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon, this may be an ideal time to serve it. Or, if you want to be bold, why not try one of the new wave of retsinas, Greece’s traditional white infused with pine resin?