Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Seven Passes road to Wilderness makes for a fabulous 75km morning ride. Twisting down through the gorges, the light filtered through the indigenous Forest. Didn’t see any elephants, although that could have been due to the sweat staining my glasses. Legs finished. Bum, complaining.

Flava restaurant the meeting point for the support crew that assembled the bits of cyclists, gear and bicycles for the trip home. Despite being confronted by a hord of hungry, dirty cyclists, our food was amazing, and the cappuccino perfect.

Quick trip to see Lesa and Mark in Kommetjie.

Harbour House at the Waterfront. The menu, for a diabetic, a list of impossible, delicious sounding food. Settled on the starters as they had the most manageable, but still exotic, options. The Seafood Stack with salmon tartare, crushed avo, tomato bits, prawn tempura and caviar with pea shoots tasted as amazing as it looked. Spicy grilled calamari with olives, lemon and capers a tad less exciting.

Walk out to the wreck of the Kakopo, which ran aground on Long Beach in May 1900 en route from New Zealand to Cape Town. It mistook Chapman’s Peak for Cape Point in poor visibility. Lots of warning signs about muggings. The beach, stunning.

The pizza quest that is tasty, diabetic friendly and can be done in the Kamado Jan. A tad more challenging than the holy-grail. A galette recipe the inspiration for a trial dinner. Tasty. The fire too hot. Cooked too long. Still, much better than any commercial alternative we have experienced. Definitely, to be repeated!

Just in time for Christmas, the new silk scarves arrived. Orders couriered to their new homes and the studio display, luxuriantly decadent.

Low-carb spinach mushroom galette

Have you ever made pizza dough out of mozzarella cheese? Made famous by the people behind the Fathead movie, it really is quite revolutionary. Try your hand at my magic mozzarella dough and make this spinach mushroom galette. You won’t regret it!

Ingredients

Crust

• 170 grams grated mozzarella cheese

• 1 tbsp butter

• ½ cup fine almond flour

• ¼ cup coconut flour

• 1 tsp baking powder

• ½ tsp garlic powder

• ¼ tsp salt

• 1 large egg

Filling

• 3 oz. cream cheese, softened

• 1 garlic clove, finely minced

• salt and pepper

• 8 oz. frozen spinach, thawed and drained

• 2 oz. mushrooms, sliced

• 2 oz. grated mozzarella cheese

• 1 oz. grated parmesan cheese

• 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten

Nutrition

by Carolyn Ketchum (Recipe, Photo)

.RecipesAppetizersLow-carb spinach mushroom galette

Instructions

Crust

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner. Lightly grease the liner.

3. In a large saucepan, melt the cheese and butter together over low heat until they are melted and can be stirred together. Remove from heat and add almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder, garlic powder and salt.

4. Add the egg and stir everything together until a cohesive dough forms. Use a rubber spatula to really knead it up against the sides of the pan. It may still contain some streaks of cheese.

5. Transfer to the prepared pan and knead a few more times until uniform. If your dough is very sticky, work in another tablespoon or two of almond flour. Cover the dough with another piece of parchment and roll out to a 12-inch (30 cm) circle.

Filling

1. Spread the dough with the softened cream cheese, leaving a 2-inch (5 cm) border around the outside. Sprinkle with the garlic and salt and pepper.

2. Squeeze as much moisture as possible from the spinach and layer over the cream cheese, then add a layer of mushrooms. Sprinkle with the grated cheeses.

3. Fold the edges of the crust over the filling and brush with the beaten egg yolk. Bake the galette for 25 to 30 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted.

4. Remove and let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Carolyn’s tips and tricks

Because the cheese creates a flexible dough that stretches like pizza dough, it’s useful for so many other things. Consider it for stromboli, calzones, and even sweet pastries. It can be rolled out thinly and used for crackers or even pie crusts.

I modified the basic Fathead dough, which is just simply grated cheese, cream cheese, almond flour, and an egg, to be a little sturdier. A combination of almond flour and coconut flour means it holds up better and doesn’t spread as much during baking. A little baking powder gives it a bit more of a rise, and some garlic powder gives it a great savory flavor.

A galette is tart or a pie that isn’t baked in a pan, but formed by hand with the crust folded partway over the fillings. Fathead dough makes a perfect galette crust because of its flexibility. This savory galette is filled with mushrooms, spinach, and cheese and makes a nice alternative to meat based keto recipes. It can be the whole meal or served as a side dish or appetizer. It

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

The panorama outside the window shifts daily with visiting yacht arrivals and departures. Fleur de Passion of the The Ocean Mapping Expedition, our new neighbour on the estuary.(http://www.omexpedition.ch/index.php/en/)

King Protea on the easel. Small canvases as I sort different approaches from the crazy, to the abstract.

Doing my best to look after my Achilles that thankfully has eased after a painful few days. My running shoes growing mould and my bicycle rusty as a coffee walk the extent of my activities. This does mean, with all the fabulous food and wine I have enjoyed with visiting friends that my new, super slick, high vis cycling top has a distinct ‘silk-worm’ snugness!

Silk scarf craziness as the borders seem to have changed with the file transfer of the updated images to the manufacturer. The option of including a tag that indicates that the scarves are 100% silk, and a card the tells the story of the painting, to be considered. Even for the glamorous French woman who was so thrilled with her scarf that she wore it out from the studio to dinner.

Lunch menu on the Kamado Jan. Herb crusted rack of lamb, with roasted cauliflower in browned butter. Grilled aubergine and Caprese salad. Radfordale Chardonnay. Piekenierskloof Grenache with the Colmant MCC Rose, the star. A starter of Courgette Bellini with cream cheese and salmon.

A second night of storms. The rain welcome. If not by the tourists who are having their expected sun filled holiday turned to mush.

For Prince, it’s a frightening time of noise in an energy charged atmosphere. Compounded by the storm driven high seas of the full moon. Hence, disturbed nights that have me a tad grumpy.

Roasted Cauliflower with Brown Butter

• 1 cauliflower

• 1 tablespoon canola oil

• 3 ounces/80 grams butter, at room temperature or softened

• kosher salt

1. Preheat your oven to 220˚C.

2. Cut the stem off the cauliflower as close to the base as possible and remove any leaves. Rub oil all over the cauliflower.

3. Put the cauliflower in an oven-proof skillet. Slide the pan into the oven and roast the cauliflower for 45 minutes. Remove it from the oven and smear the soft butter over the surface. Sprinkle with a four-finger pinch of salt. Roast the cauliflower for another 30 to 45 minutes, basting it several times with the butter, which will have browned. The cauliflower in the picture has about 15 more minutes of roasting. It’s done when you can insert a paring knife into it and feel no resistence. It should be completely tender.

4. delicious thing to do with the browned butter: whisk in lemon juice, minced anchovies, and whatever chopped herb you prefer

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

Streets full of athletes as the Oyster festival gets underway. Days of sunshine between the storms ensuring challenging conditions without mayhem. Magnificent beach run for the Featherbed trail run. My bum a tad unhappy after the hills.

World peace must contain a distillation of good friends, laughter, the aroma of 3-day ox-tail dinner in the apartment, with a healthy jolt of good jazz and a smidgen of fabulous 3-Graces and Radford-Dale, simmered over the fire and tempered by the rain. Terry’s magic.

‘Angel Shadows and Sunbeams’. Oil on canvas 1,5mx1,0m. Nieu-Bethesda. Shadows from the ‘Owl House’ sculpture garden and the sun motive from the windows in the house woven into a typical street scene of a typical small Karoo town.

An underpainting of Naples Yellow. Peach tones, a mixture of Indian yellow and Quinacridone Rose. Permanent Magenta and Ultramarine Blue, the purple shades with the grey, a mix of Cobalt Blue and Burnt Sienna. Lemon Yellow and Cobalt Blue for the green. Cadmium Yellow medium and Turquoise with a splashes of Raw Sienna and Cerulean Blue.

Hopefully, collectors who receive my paintings from the couriers are as thrilled as I was to get the book I ordered, wrapped in brown paper. ‘84 Charring Cross Road’ special.

Reading the list of Van Gogh’s colour demands from his brother, Theo, a tad intimidating as I wind down my paint supplies. Some of which I have had far too long and I become increasingly concerned that they will become hard and useless. Fabulous Provençal colours that haven’t been used. Scandalous!

‘My dear Theo,

Am obliged to write to you as I’m sending you an order for colours which, if you place it with Tasset & Lhote, rue Fontaine,1 you’ll do well — since they know me — to tell them that I expect a discount at least equivalent to the cost of carriage’


Urgent

10 Silver white large tubes

6 Veronese Green double tubes

3 Lemon chrome yellow

3 No2 chrome yellow double tubes

1 No3 chrome yellow

1 Vermilion double tube

3 Geranium lake, small tube

6 Ordinary lake

3 Prussian Blue

4 Emerald green

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

‘Schools Out’

Oil on canvas 20cmx20cm

A small study of the adventures that lie beyond the wall at Kuilfontein Farm in the Karoo.

Afternoon sunshine, a civilised time to be out cycling through the Forest. Particularly civilised as after the ride, it’s possible to stop for a beer. Or rather a glass of white wine. Actually, a glass of chilled red wine. What was I thinking?

Not concentrating.

One of those silly things, not concentrating while out food shopping. A special. Seemed like a good idea. Dinner. Blood sugars sky high. The contents of the sausage an unknown. Despite being from our favourite butcher, no idea what he used.

If there isn’t a nutritional information breakdown, I should know not to buy.

Border Collies turning the apartment upside down. Prince, with his leg in a plaster to sort out a ‘hot-spot’, thrilled to have his friend Ricco visiting.

A touch of rain. Puddles to stomp through.

Looking at where we need to sort gaps in the Vietnam recipe book, I have gone back, and reread parts of Colour: Travels through a Paintbox by Victoria Finlay, intriguing stories on the pigments in Artists colours.

The yellow of Hoi An Old Town, is revered in the culture of Vietnam. It is a symbol of luck, splendor, wealth and respect. A color that is identified with imagination and enlightenment, glowing with the intensity of sunlight itself. Most Vietnamese families have an ancestral altar decorated with flowers and yellow objects.

In all likelihood, the yellow pigment has its origins in Gamboge yellow, also known as Rattan or Wisteria Yellow, Gummi Gutta and Drop Gum, is an organic pigment. Well know for its transparency, the warm golden pigment derives its name from its country of origin: Cambodia, itself named after the Latin word for pigment gambogium.

Made from the resin of the Garcinia evergreen tree, found across South East Asia, trees need to be at least 10 years old before the trunks can be lacerated or the branches broken to collect the tree’s milky yellow resin. The poisonous resin is collected in empty bamboo shoots, and roasted over fire to evaporate moisture, after which the bamboo shoots are broken to reveal dull yellow resin cylinders. Only when this resin is pulverised does it become a brilliant yellow.

Excerpts on Yellow from Colour: Travels through the Paintbox:

Dipping a paintbrush in water and waved it lightly over the unappetizingly brownish rock, he released a miraculous drop of the brightest yellow imaginable, almost fluorescent.

During the horrific Khmer Rouge regime in the 1980s, and then earlier in the Vietnam War, the color was almost impossible to find. This pretty paint can be dangerous in other ways. Winsor & Newton have been receiving small parcels of gamboge from their Southeast Asian suppliers since before anyone can remember, and probably since the company started in the mid-nineteenth century. When it arrives at the factory they grind it up carefully and sell it in tubes or pans as one of their more expensive watercolors. But some of the packages that arrived in the 1970s and 1980s from Cambodia and possibly Vietnam were different: the gamboge contained exploded bullets. The company’s technical director, Ian Garrett has five of them displayed in his office now. A reminder that some of the colours that are taken for granted, come from places where people have lived through unimaginable suffering.

Knysna fires

https://youtu.be/z9vDoPJX7Xg

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.

Diary of an Adventure

Leisure Island Adventures

The house, suffused in the rich smell of oxtail in its three day stock that has everyone passing the house salivating. Craig and I, the lucky ones to enjoy Terry’s stunning dinner. Polly, didn’t miss out, and after her beach play, is groaning in dream-world.
Beach Party, a painting of girls on the beach. School is out and with the weather remaining sunny, if chilly, there are kids everywhere. The reflections in the water creating interesting pictures.

  
Polly, sympathy vote for her elbow. The pink sock she is wearing to keep it clean, ensuring that she gets extra attention from passers by. Becoming infamous in Knysna she is!
An unexpected, traditional roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, Sunday lunch at The Bell Tavern, Belvedere. A cozy space, reminiscent of an English Pub, built into the old farmhouse. The floor of Ironwood blocks, with its window into the cellar can’t be missed as the low doorway has you bending your back so as not to bash your head. The welcome from the staff was enthusiastic and warm, with their recommendations leaving little room to argue. Polly was allowed to sit with us in the garden with its views to the Estuary. We should have spent the afternoon, ensuring we booked some of the fresh scones for afternoon tea.
At the apartment, the bashing out of walls continues. The floor flooded by a damaged pipe. Neighbours, and tenants downstairs not impressed by the noise. Wardrobes for the bedroom sorted. If costly. Endless round of discussions for bathroom mosaics as we listen to horror stories of moulding grout.
Red Bench, a painting of the sea boiling through the entrance to the Heads. The painting flows, with the hypnotic motion of the sea, as you sit watching the light dance on the wave tops to the cliffs of the East Head.
The streets ok Knysna teaming with cyclists and runners. Streets, normally sedate, a flurry of activity as the ‘Ten Best Days of Winter’ start. The Annual Oyster Festival, with its food and sports action.