Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Thermal burn. Not paying attention while putting wood onto the first fire of the winter season and getting my arm in the way of the hot closed combustion stove door. For a diabetic, doubly silly.

Run across the railway bridge over the Brenton hill to the sea. The trail section demanding concentration so as not to trash ankles.

Food illustrations for the Vietnamese food recipe book. Cozy evening with good food and wine. Steenberg Stately, a pairing challenge with Pho Ga, made with cauli-noodles. The Chardonnay still a better match, particularly as the Pho doesn’t have any sugar in it, which the Chardonnay balances.

Another stunning Chef Hirsh evening. His menu (all five courses) worked out to cater for my diabetic restrictions. Salmon and avocado ceviche with micro-greens and a scrumptious 2015 Bellingham Old Vine Chenin. Second course, roasted peppers soup with an unusual 2017 Rustenberg Rousanne. A third course of grilled lamb ribs, served with Newton Johnson Full Stop 2015, followed by grilled pork fillet, wrapped in bacon with a green salad and sweet-potato fries. Raats Cab Franc. Bloc A9, Cabernet from Aarendsig with a delicious cheese platter rounded out a glorious evening. Blood sugars, perfect.

Run with the sunrise. Smoke from the fires burning in the Forest creating a Turner sky. Spectacular.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Happy Easter

‘Plogging’, the Swedish craze of picking up litter while out jogging is easier on the stretch out along the lagoon as there are frequently placed rubbish bins to deposit the trash and the street lights help on the darker mornings. I don’t collect the messy stuff!

Eye tests for new glasses to adjust for the diabetic changes to my prescription. An almost 20% reduction, which may also account for the ongoing headaches. Although, my trampolining blood sugars wreck their own havoc with my eye sight. At least the eye tests didn’t show any diabetic related diseases.

Easter. An explosion of chocolate bunnies, and various types of chocolate eggs, wherever I look. The one I was given I passed in to a street kid. Delicious looking hot-cross buns also not an option. However, a diabetic hot-cross bun experiment? A quick count of the carbs in the ingredients of the recipe I found has each bun at about 5 grams.

Not a great success. Heavy, dead things that even butter and the glazed orange peel crosses I did couldn’t rescue.

Sunrise run with Prince to Seattle. He wouldn’t deviate down the red brick road, but did manage the chase around the staircases at The Quays.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Full moon jog. Sweat across my glasses lending the lights across the lagoon that ‘starry, starry night’ feel. Chilly enough in the early hours to need tea to warm my hands. Owl hooting in the stillness.

An App to track my carb and nutritional intake. Instead of a quiche for breakfast I can have a bottle of red wine. Perfect! I’m sure it’s miserly with the calories expended on my jog and cycle.

Doctor happy with the impact the lifestyle changes taken to manage my diabetes are having and I can ditch the first of the medications. Blood tests to see how far down the road of managing the disease without medication I can go.

Mark visiting for a few days. Extra special after the health issues of the past year. And within the context of the paintings displayed in the studio, ‘Overcoming Adversity’ for the Knysna Literary Festival, ‘Delicious Word Journey’.

My pair of shoes that, admittedly I shouldn’t have left laying around, made a wonderful snack for a bored Border Collie. Pleased that he chose the leather to pull apart rather than the Persian carpets! Does mean that I now have blisters from walking without socks!

On the easel, the painting of the young Hanoi woman taking shape. An usual mixture of Burnt Sienna and Indian Yellow for the skin tone as the usual Quinacridone Rose and Yellow Orcha wasn’t working.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Flame Lilie

Oil on canvas 76cmx102cm

An abstract approach to the painting of summer flowers in Steenbok Park. Responding to the abstract painting that Kirsten is doing that buzz with vitality.
The flowering coral tree reminiscent of Klimt’s painting with his ‘waterfall’ of blooms down the canvas, I struggled with dull, flat red colours on the canvas. The yellow of the hibiscus gave way to the orange-red curves of the flame-lily flowers. I softened the painting with the gentle colours of the agapanthus flowers.
Enough.
One of those perfect mornings for a run, winding up through the forest with a light rain falling. Even the hills felt manegable.
Vietnamese food preparation. Oodles of time needed for all the fiddle bits. Terry modified the pork stuffed squid to account for my diabetic restrictions. Eliminating the sugar and first reducing the pineapple and tomato sauce to a tasty gooiness that also looked amazing.
The Pho was delicious, and much easier to eat at a table with decent sized chairs on a cool day, rather than the humidity of Saigon. Tasty fried Spring Rolls (using the air-fryer rather than oil) with crab, pork and prawns. A dry version of the ‘dipping sauce’ with crushed seeds and peanuts. The first of the recipes for the Diabetic Sensitive cookbook.
Knysna Art Society. Loved the clean, simplicity of the revitalized Old Goal space. Wondering how I can replicate the feeling with the modifications planned in the studio to create a larger area, and still manage all my stuff. Far too much stuff!
Somewhere I missed recording the sweet potato gratin recipe.
Sweet Potato Gratin

INGREDIENTS
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyère cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick on a mandoline
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

2. Melt butter over medium heat and whisk together the cream, cheese and nutmeg until smooth.

3. In a 10-inch square baking dish, arrange an even layer of sweet potatoes. Drizzle with a few tablespoons of the cream mixture and season with salt and pepper. Repeat with the remaining potatoes and cream, seasoning with salt and pepper, to form 8 to 10 layers. Press down on the layers to totally submerge the sweet potatoes in the cream mixture.

4. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the cover and continue baking until the cream has been absorbed, the potatoes are cooked through, and the top is browned, 30 to 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes before serving.

 

 

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Squeaky bits on my jog from Leisure after a week back on the bicycle. Bum complaining at the sudden abuse. At least I have lost a bit of weight with my haircut. No lice, either!
Beach. Prince a bit ‘freaked’ at the wave noise. The banging and crashing of maintenance work not helping.
Terry bringing tastes of Vietnam into the apartment. The hunt for local alternatives to some of the less common bits in the recipes. The surprise as to what is available, including cashew nuts from Vietnam.
spring rolls
Diabetic sensitive, Vietnamese ‘banana flower’ salad, with shredded cabbage rather than banana flower. Grapefruit, baby marrow, carrot, a touch of pineapple, deep fried spring onion, raw roasted peanuts (crushed), coriander and a dressing with lime juice, fish sauce, zylatol garlic and chili. Served with grilled pork belly. Smoked salmon on Parmesan crackers as a starter.
Fresh spring rolls with cauliflower noodles from Woolworths. Ham, lettuce, baby marrow, and carrots. Tasty and get to look at.
Butterflies from the Mekong Delta on small canvases in acrylics. Easier to manage than oil paints with the increased foot traffic coming through the studio. Phthalo blue-green mixed with Cerulean blue for the wings.
Paintings from Vietnam on one wall of the studio settling out the kinks from traveling. No damage, fortunately. My initial concept of using oil paints over the acrylic painting doesn’t seem necessary. The paintings, their own energy, and emotion.
Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

SOLD

Wild Garden

Oil on canvas 50cmx90cm

Reflections on the water at first light. Ripples of colour drawing you into their depths. Reminiscent of the blinding light and vibrant colours in the paintings of Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida. Bold minimalist strokes of energy. My painting of the paddle boat, a metronome of the day past the studio, stilted. Waiting for the reflections to bring it to life?

After the rain, mud to squelch through. Gardens green, flowers preening in the sunshine. Forests vibrating with life. Burnt areas cleared. Openness that breaths.

That jolt of panic, as the tyre grips soft sand, throwing the bicycle towards the drop-off, and feet loosing touch with the pedals as I get my balance wrong over a bump in the road. Faster, further, lungs heaving, legs complaining. More fun, more often.

Weather variable enough that a fire is welcome, the comfort of an extra rug. Laughter, chardonnay days.

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

Harbour Town Adventures

A sunny spot for breakfast at Nadine’s on Leisure Island, with a happy dog covered in marsh mud.

Wild-side. Coffee out of the back of a bakkie. Served with a smile. The ‘Going Somewhere Slowly’ blog. Laughing wave crests. Prince charging around the beach

Strength of Women 8Didn’t quite want ’40 shades of grey’ on the studio wall that was to be the feature for the new Women’s Day exhibition. In Tokyo there is a small art gallery that only features a single painting at a time. The artwork is supported by reference reading that is relevant to the work, inviting one to engage with the particular work. In my head, this simplicity, and calmness what I was looking to achieve.

The wall a tad overwhelming for the single small painting ‘Forgotten’ from South Sudan, however, I may have included too many works. A single chair, a reminder from the Phillips in Washington DC. A spot to sit and spend time with the paintings.

The grey paint colour leaving streaks across the wall. A late decision to remove a couple of the old spot lights that were a distraction, added additional tones to the wall. Jessica and her team managing to meet the crazy deadline to get the wording in place.

Splendid sunset accompanied the bubbles for the opening Women’s Day exhibition ‘Reflecting the Strength of Women’. An evening of lighthearted merriment that flowed effortlessly. Paintings engaging. Demanding attention. Stimulating conversation

Prince, a tad stressed after his day in hospital for a biopsy on his nose. Fortunately he doesn’t seem to be bothered by the stitches making his time in his head cone protector minimal.

Surprisingly warm for a jog alongside the estuary. Stiff legs, not thrilled to be out, despite the earlier cappuccino walk with Prince.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

My times around our various cycle and running routes have been getting slower, with the ride up to the Brenton view point a slow struggle (I was a distant last). Following a series of punctures, I have been concerned about binding of the back disc brake, which would account for some of the slowness, however, this wouldn’t account for the pedestrian running.
A tad more concerning is that I haven’t been able to drink wine, as every bottle tastes corked. That damp, sweaty, cardboard taste. That, with no real appeal for food (croissants with cheese and ham don’t count. Neither do ice-creams or chocolate milkshakes), I have become seriously boring. 
With radical weight loss, increased fatigue, and drinking huge amounts of water, it was time to visit the doctor. Diabetes the diagnosis with the need to radically cut down on all sugars to bring the levels down to normal.
The meds have kicked in with shakes, cold extremities, nausea, shortness of breath, and headaches as my body comes off its sugar high. Afghan socks marvelous at keeping my feet from freezing and a tea mug keeping my hands warm.

Didn’t expect to end up in hospital as they try and sort a few complications and introduce insulin under observation. The injections less intrusive than expected, especially for someone who doesn’t like needles.
Not sure why people need to have their various beeps, whistles, tones and speaker calls of their cell-phones playing while they sit in a hospital bed. Fortunately, in a hospital ward there are all sorts of tubes, sharp instruments, drugs and plastic bags to conjure up a myriad of deaths.
Day 3 of having a Border Collie rescue pup in our lives, started at around 1am, when he decided it was play time. 
Not having any idea of his bathroom habits, as he hasn’t lived in an apartment before, with no garden access for those routine toilet breaks, we are highly sensitive to his getting up and strolling around. We have learnt that being scared of the dark, taking him out in the dark hours for a toilet break doesn’t work.
We also know that if he gets bored, then he tends to decimate the nearest fun object. Somehow I managed to scratch my arm and bleed excessively over the clean linen, which he found fascinating. His only distraction a raw-hide chew type thing that he could chase like a hockey puck across the wooden floor, in between bouts of tearing it apart. All quiet noisy!
After his cappuccino walk at first light, and that all important toilet stop, we were a tad surprised to find the apartment relatively clean and in one piece. Sunny, if chilly day. Bath time to sort any ticks and fleas.
As he has managed to decimate the three soft ‘puppy’ toys, the search was for something that would keep him occupied, wouldn’t bounce excessively, or have any toxic bits (plastic) that he could swallow. Keeping him occupied is a relative term as in reality you are the interactive play-mate.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

My stomach a tad unhappy with something, made for a slowish jog to East Head. Managed the burger much more easily!

 

On the easel, the ‘Colourful Story of Leaves’, a large 1,2×1,2 m canvas of the oak tree avenue at La Motte, in their spectacular autumn leaves. A cascade of gold, yellow and orange against blue skies. The crunch of leaves under my feet as I walked through Central Park a vivid reminder as I do an under-painting in blues and grays, with a smidgen of yellow and green left on the pallet.

 

Brothers Jan Vanessa.jpg

‘Brothers’ heading to its new home

 

A sunshine prison on Hugh and Clare’s patio that eased limbs frozen from being in the studio. One of those spots that could, with easy company and good music, become a wine consumption disaster.

 

A piece of glass slashed the front wheel of my bicycle, making for a slightly nervy cycle through some of the burnt sections of the town. We cycled through Belvedere with little sign of the flames that forced the residents to evacuate. The gardens are looking a tad sad with the drought taking its toll. My body struggling to keep turning the gears over up the hills.

 

Wind howling, with little of the promised rain. A splendid opportunity for Terry’s oxtail served with filled peppers and squash. The J9 cellar unearthed a 2007 Crozes-Hermitage. Definitely moreish. Fortunately the Black Rock was a worthy successor. Bread and Butter pudding, Liam Tomlin style, with the fire warding off the chilly night.

 

 

Liam Tomlin’s Chocolate Bread & Butter Pudding

Serves 4

3  Croissants

50g  Unsalted butter

1   Vanilla pod

300ml   Cream

300ml Milk

8  Free-range eggs

175g Caster sugar

50g   Raisins

50g  Dark chocolate broken into small pieces and chocolate

25 g Apricot jam

15g  Toasted, sliced almonds

 

Cut croissants in 5cm thick slices and spread with butter. Split the vanilla pod and place in a saucepan with the cream and milk, slowly bring to the boil. While it is heating, whisk together the egg yolks and caster sugar in a bowl. Allow the cream mix to cool a little, and then strain it onto the egg yolk stirring all the time.

 

Arrange the sliced croissant in individual ramekins, sprinkling the raisins and chocolate between the layers leaving the top clear. Pour the warm custard over, lightly pressing the croissants to help it soak in. Leave the puddings to stand for 15 minutes before cooking.

 

Pre-heated the oven to 160°c. Place the ramekins into a roasting pan and place in the oven. Pour hot water into the roasting pan to come three-quarters the way up the side of the ramekins to create a bain-marie. Cook the bread and butter puddings for 25-30 minutes until the custard reaches setting point. If it appears too runny, return to the oven for a further 5 minutes before checking again. Carefully remove the bain-marie from the oven and allow the puddings to cool slightly in the bain marie.

 

Warm the apricot jam with a little water to thin it out slightly. Brush the apricot jam over the surface of the puddings and sprinkle the toasted almonds over the top.