Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

‘Cornflower’

Oil on canvas 76cmx102cm

A grey of Cobalt Blue and Burnt Sienna, lightened with Zinc White and then mixed with French Ultramarine Blue for the cornflower colour. The striking architectural forms of the leaves, Green Oxide with the grey and white against the Magenta Grey background colour of the painting.

I used a different technique to keep the petals from becoming heavy blocks of paint, wiping the paint from the canvas with tissues. A tad messy.

After far too long nursing my troublesome Achilles , a run to East Head. Fabulous. Grumpy with my throat closing and a head full of cold.

The mozzarella ‘pastry’ proving versatile for a chocolate French tart crust, as well as an upside down tomato tart. The tarte-au-chocolate, simply scrumptious. Although diabetic-sensitive, seriously good French food, even in small portions.

Opening of the new Philemon Hlungwani exhibition at Knysna Fine Art underwhelming, which made me take a harder look at my paintings. While his craftsmanship has improved over the years, from the raw, hostile charcoal marks on paper, to assured, crafted works, everything looks the same. Same subject. Same technique. Still unique and instantly recognisable, it’s less honest and more contrived. To please the market?

TARTE AU CHOCOLAT

Chocolate Tart, a crisp buttery tart shell made with the mozzarella cheese ‘pastry’, filled with a velvety-smooth dark chocolate ganache.

Ingredients

For the base

170 grams grated mozzarella cheese

1 tbsp butter

½ cup fine almond flour

¼ cup coconut flour

1 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

1 large egg

Ganache filling

225 grams (8 ounces) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

2/3 cup (160 grams) heavy cream

2 large egg yolks, at room temperature

2 tablespoons (30 grams; 1 ounce) unsalted butter, at room temperature

½ moist, plump vanilla bean, split lengthwise

For the crust

· Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).

· 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, and salt.

· 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.

· 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.

· Line the pie dish with parchment paper underneath the crust to keep it from sticking.

· Cooking time for the crust 7-10minutes.

· Rest in the fridge overnight if possible.

For the filling and assembly

· Place the finely chopped chocolate in a heat-resistant bowl and set it aside.

· Ensure that the butter is soft but not oily and set it aside in a small bowl. If necessary, work it with a spatula or the back of a spoon to soften it some more.

· In a small bowl beat 1 tablespoon of the heavy cream with the egg yolks until the mixture is just smooth.

· Place the rest of the cream into a saucepan along with the split vanilla bean and bring to a boil. Remove the vanilla bean and pour the hot cream over the chocolate pieces. Let sit for 30 seconds. Using a whisk, delicately blend the cream into the chocolate. Allow the mixture to cool for another minute or so. Add the egg yolks, followed by the butter.

· Pour the mixture into the baked tart shell. Jiggle the crust lightly to even out the filling and leave on counter until mixture is set. This should take around 20 minutes. Alternatively, you can place the tart in the refrigerator for no longer than 20 minutes, then keep it at room temperature after it has set.

· Serve the chocolate tart at room temperature. If you plan to serve it the next day, store it overnight in the refrigerator and remember to let it stand at room temperature for two hours before serving.

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https://www.thespruceeats.com/chocolate-tart-recipe-1375153

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventure

Our part of paradise being transformed with building next to us undergoing a massive rebuild. A modern update to what has, to-date, been constrained architecture along strict low-impact guidelines. As with the rebuild of Ile de Pain, the building itself is set to become a destination. A year of chaos and noise ahead!

Not the best, for a sensitive Border Collie.

Stopped playing with the portrait of ‘Ben’, the racehorse. The muscles of the horse a guide for the direction of my finger strokes to add power and breath life into the painting. Constrained by the small 50cmx60cm canvas.

Ben is beautiful mixture of dark brown, gold and red. Indigo (Ferrario No.57) for the iris of the eyes with Mineral Violet Light (Ferrario No.46) highlights. Raw Umber (Ferrario No.76) for the dark brown. Cerulean Blue and Cadmium Orange for that touch of sparkle.

A gap before a world turned crazy. Storms ripping across the estuary. Insides turned to mush on Homtini Pass cycle. Not much time to enjoy the stunning indigenous Forest, as keeping going forward was all consuming.

Small elephant painting sold, and the new silk scarf samples of the dolphins and King Protea have been shipped. While most are already pre-sold, it will be fascinating to see how they have turned out

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

The chance to do a commission of ‘Ben’, a beautiful retired racehorse, immediately making me think of the equestrian art of Alfred J Munnings. However, in portrait format, a contemporary composition for the painting rather than the landscape format that characterised his paintings.

Croustade de Canard with blueberries on the menu with eggplant and a herb and Parmesan flat bread starter.

Slow roasted the duck on the Kamado Jan for a 7 hours, which was a few hours too long. Fortunately it wasn’t dried to leather and fell apart which was perfect for the pie filling. Didn’t read the recipe correctly either, so had to cook and add the bacon at the end. The cheese-based flatbread made a great topping for the pie. Logistical juggling to get the chargrilled eggplant ready, made easier by crisping the duck pies in the oven.

The annual Art Society ‘Unblocked’ Exhibition opening. 20cmx20cm wooden blocks on which to create anything that used the Pantone colour of 2019 ‘Coral’. I used my silk scarf for my submission, which was displayed by Ricardo on a stand in the center of one of the galleries. As has become the norm, the curating was professional and the exhibition engaging.

When risotto is good, it’s delicious. A pea and mushroom risotto with lamb the highlight of the Baleia wine pairing evening at the Turbine. Served with their Pinot, it might not have been the best course for a diabetic, but at least it was delicious.

Croustade de Canard

INGREDIENTS

• 1 whole duck, deboned

• 45ml (3 tbsp) olive oil

• 1 red onion, sliced

• 6 strips rindless back bacon, chopped

• 250g portobellini mushrooms, sliced

• 15ml (1 tbsp) fresh thyme, chopped

• 500ml (2 cups) chicken stock

• 60ml (¼ cup) port (optional)

• 410g blueberries

• salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

In the studio, a mush of paintings. A small painting of the yacht opposite the studio, while the underpainting for the painting ‘Princesses for a Day’ dries and the wooden block gets its gesso primer.

Sugar levels too high. The Achilles reappearance cause? Wine season? Summer dehydration? The riding and running seeming to keep them from blowing into the stratosphere. Summer temperatures keeping the chilled fingers and frozen toes manageable. The higher levels also reducing the persistent headaches. However, the trend a concern. Eliminating the after insulin berries and yogurt and increasing the amount of water I drink during the day to see the impact on fasting blood sugars.

Despite the wind, a fabulous ride through the farmlands above Phantom Pass. The wind bringing a cooling, salt laden, boost of marvellousness.

Cola beach, Sedgefield with its weathered sandstone cliffs. Endless miles of blue seas, skies and soft sand. A play ground for dogs designed in heaven. An instant holiday vibe at Pilipili for breakfast, where it doesn’t matter that the coffee isn’t the best in the world, or that the service was a tad slow. Even the specks of sea-sand on the plate felt acceptable. Great service and we left with a smile.

Wind howling. Grated Parmesan spread across the four corners of the earth, as I tried to put the toppings onto the mozzarella focaccia on the Kamado Jan.

Border Collie with an upset stomach, in an apartment, not the easiest to manage.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

A series of small paintings of various rowing boats, yachts and fishing boats against the backdrop of the Knysna Heads to replace those that have been sold.

A pleasant lunch under umbrellas, protected from the wind, at the Girls on the Square, in Wilderness, before taking Kirsten to start her long trip back to the States. The wine list takes a bit of time to sort through as it’s interesting and extensive. While many of the dishes aren’t suitable for a diabetic, we shared a bunch of stuff from different parts of the menu. Interesting flavour combinations and delicious.

New Year celebrations in China. The new sample designs from my paintings of the King Protea and dolphins now only expected towards March. A tad frustrating and something I will need to factor into our unpredictable tourist season.

Achilles sort of behaving. Zooty red Kinesiology Tape stripes up my leg that sort of mach my running shirt, holding things together. Bunches of overnight rain making for fresh, beautiful rides through the Forest. A gazillion shades of green between sweat, and mud stained glasses.

From Lucy’s kitchen, roasted nutmeg cauliflower from a Levi Roots cookbook, with a surprise delivered by the addition of chilli powder. Served with Filet Au Poivre (the bacon tied with nifty silicon ties) and oodles of wine. Mouthwatering

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Terry’s dad, and my friend, passed away in the Montagu hospital he once was so passionate about and worked so hard to restore.

He was in such pain and the relief for him was prayed for.

He died, at a similar hour, in the same hospital, and on the same day, as Mum Sterley’s Birthday. I’m sure she called him home.

The number of lives he has impacted, almost impossible to imagine.

I remember when my Dad died and I was stuck amidst the evacuation of Jalalabad. Touched by the number of my Afghan staff who came into my office to pray for the soul of departed. Whom they had never, known, but still respected.

‘King’ acrylic on canvas 2mx0,7m A soft approach for the painting of a King Protea and Cape Sunbird

Summer visitors in the studio. Roger and Marie here from Switzerland. Kirsten here from the States and Aly heading back to France

One of my favourite paintings, ‘Dancing Zebra’s’ from Botswana sold and heading to its new home in Switzerland.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

New Year

Beach play before a day of bubbles and laughter. The ‘pizza’ base getting better. A humongous number of empty bottles, probably adding to the, somewhat, bizarre decision to hold an e-bike Challenge up Phantom Pass. With the proceeds to Animal Welfare, a more than expected bunch trundled up the pass. The Challenge, somewhat lost in the enjoyment of a fabulous day to be out riding in paradise.

Rain bringing holiday makers into the studio. Humbling, and thrilling to have paintings heading to new homes in Oslo, Rome and London. The silk scarves, a popular option.

Backup hard-drive crash. The gazillions of photos from our travels, which I use as reference sources for my paintings, the major loss. Perhaps a data-recovery company can retrieve them? Or perhaps. It’s one of those. Clean-slate. New-year. Start-afresh. Moments.

Friday market. A Cheloist that touch of amazing with the last of the daylight and the storm moving in.

Diabetic Sensitive ‘Pizza’ Recipe

Ingredients

170 grams grated mozzarella cheese

1 tbsp butter

½ cup fine almond flour

¼ cup coconut flour

1 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

1 large egg

Instructions

• Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).

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

• 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, and salt.

• 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.

• 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.

• Spread olive oil, salt and herbs over the dough before putting in the oven to co

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

‘Come-Along’

Oil on canvas 76cmx104cm

The latest painting in my ‘Humanising the Homeless’ series of portraits. Peter and his constant companion, ‘come-along’. He is rough sleeping street dog, so I used the crumpled finger ends of the gloves to produce a rough texture for his fur. His eyes, full of his ‘Yoda’ like wisdom. The magical Monaco Madder colour adding depth and richness to the painting.

Amazing that strangers are stopping Peter in the street to ask him if he is the man in the portrait bring painted by the ‘finger-painter’!

Terry’s Terrine de campagne and an impromptu dinner with friends. Scrupdellicious. A memorable evening. Fortunately, that one extra glass of red wine, rye bread with the terrine, followed by bûche de Noël didn’t blow my blood sugar out of the water.

Beach play with Prince and Rico. The pure joy of summer madness.

Slow jog to test my bothersome Achilles. Nothing seemingly problematical, other than legs that were still a tad wobbly after their ride through the forest to the Italian church.

A simplification of Heston’s roast chicken in brine. Slow cooked (4 hours @ 90 degrees), after it had sat overnight in brine. A melted butter topping during the cooking. I struggled to keep the temperature of the Kamado Jan that low and took the chicken off after 3 hours, basting it every 40 minutes or so. Succulent, tasty and definitely morish. The only downside, being that you eat far more than you would normally eat!

https://tenplay.com.au/channel-ten/masterchef/recipes/heston-s-roast-chicken

Town buzzing with holiday makers. The seasonal traffic chaos eased by traffic officers at the major intersections, with their white gloves doing Michael Jackson type impersonations.

Diary of an Adventure

Kommetjie Adventures

‘Surfers’, my painting of dolphin taken from a photo out along Brenton beach. Movement to capture their joyful play the essence of the painting on a large canvas (2mx0,7m) that allowed me to indulge in the different colours of the sea.

I used the high translucency of phthalo blue and green as the primary colours in the water, adding lemon yellow to get a turquoise tint that was still transparent. Smudges of permanent magenta and cobalt blue gave a grayish tinge for to assist in the contrast of the sea spray.

The Forager in Scarborough our lunch stop after struggling to find shade parking for Prince and wanting to be out of the weekend afternoon traffic chaos that Cape Town ties itself up in. Pleasantly surprised that it was dog friendly. A Rosé from Steenberg, with a fillet wrap of some description. A tad dissapointing that the coconut wrap described on the menu is no longer available, which meant most of the meal had to be discarded.

Surrounded by a group of cyclists on the last stage of their Cape tour. All done on ebikes! We noticed that a couple of them were wearing nifty mirrors on their glasses to keep track of what was happening behind them. When I queried as to where they are available, the guy unclipped it and handed it to me. Amazing.

Beach walk in the sunshine. Prince still terribly afraid of the crashing surf. Border Collie mayhem once he was coaxed onto the beach, into a world of dog craziness. Watching the flow of the sea and surfers for my painting of the dolphins.

Live Bait at Muizenberg, simply fabulous. Distracted by the changing light on the sea. Gentle flavours from the ‘92 Boschendal Lanoy from somewhere in Alan’s stash, with the yellowtail, which was grilled to perfection. A quick trip through the village that continues its transformation from the rundown, shambolic, to quirky, interesting.

Blue tape making a reappearance on my leg as I seem to have strained my Achilles at some point. Nothing crazy in my daily running or cycling. Still, a nuisance.

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.