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

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Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

‘Etosha Study’, painted as a demonstration at the Greyton Art Walk, on a wet summers day. Thrilled with the ostriches that are full of movement and simplicity.
Boulilli de boeuf. A variation on the beef short-rub, served with a spoonful of sauce vert. Despite being packed with flavour and impossibly rich, a tad underwhelming. Strawberry Fields from Graceland, mouth watering.
The aubergine tomatoes, mozzarella, fresh basil and ricotta stack that Clare made, delicious.
Tourists. Sunshine. Sparkling water. Yachts, paddle steamer and ferries. Blazing sunsets. Owls chicks, yelling. Seagulls screeching. Summer days hurtling towards the holiday season.
With the underpainting dry, and the composition on the canvas, the painting of ‘Etosha’ is in its initial steps. Not sure that the lower part of the canvas isn’t too neglected in terms of where the animals are positioned.  However, I’m pleased with the rough texture that contrasts with the paired-back sky. 
Running legs working hard and as my average pace has moved beyond the 5:30/km I have transitioned from shuffler into the jogger, runner zone. The 5:00/km being the next transition from jogger to runner. At least, in my head! This while staying injury free and managing the mountain biking within the pain threshold of my recovering collar bone. 
Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

‘Leisure Walk’, a small painting in the series of paintings I’m doing for the Greyton Art Walk. Hijacked by Terry for her desk. ‘Forest Elephant’ the most challenging.
Slow grilled beef short rib, on the Kamado Jan, while tasty,  not fantabulous. Even with the button mushrooms and bacon, Gordon Ramsey assistance. Mistakingly having the short-rib sliced into strips didn’t help,as they cooked too quickly, without any of the anticipated  impressive sauce.
Phantom pass. Crossing the Red Bridge. Shoulder, cracking and popping as it settles into the abuse of off-road riding. Glad for the grading of the roads to reduce the corrugations. Confidence stretched, brakes working hard, on the way down.
Blood sugars struggling to handle the running, cycling and that tad too much wine. Inevitable with the World Cup rugby euphoria at J9, and Craig’s fabulous wine cellar.

Leisure Walk

Acrylic on canvas 20cmx20cm

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

‘Etosha Study’

Oil on canvas 45cmx25cm

Greenish, white clay of the ‘Great White Place’. Pale-golden colour of the grasslands against blue skies. The green-grey from Cobalt Blue and burnt Seinna, mixed with Cerulean Blue. The white-grey a mixture of Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Umber. Also the grey mixture I used for the elephant.

Chef Hirsch crafted (another) fabulous dinner. Avo, pea, mint with smoked salmon, blue cheese crème fraîche and capers. Followed by ‘moqueca’, a Brazilian fish stew, served with spinach-cauli noodles and crusty bread for the delicious ‘soup’. Which I did manage to mess down my shirt and trousers. Something I couldn’t even blame on diabetic ‘shakes’, as my sugar levels weren’t totally crazy. Fryers Cove Pinot Noir served with the moqueca.

Owls hooting before dawn. Seagulls screeching in alarm. Gentle rain for my morning jog up the Welbedaght hills. Coucal’s calling encouragement from the bushes

Rump skewers with Smokey béarnaise sauce. Simple. Deliciousness. A green salad of gem-lettuce, avo, parmesan shavings and pine nuts. Added crunchiness. Perfect.

Orthopedic Surgeon happy with how the bones in my clavicle are healing. A complication with a bursa on my elbow that needed draining and is now trapped in a compression sock for three weeks. The cortisone injection a tad painful. Messing with my blood sugars.


Moqueca (Brazilian fish stew)


INGREDIENTS

1kg skinless firm white fish fillet (such as snapper), pin-boned, cut into 3cm cubes

1/3 cup (80ml) lime juice

1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil

1 red onion, thinly sliced

1 green capsicum, thinly sliced

1 red capsicum, thinly sliced

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 short red chillies, finely chopped

2 cups (500ml) fish stock

400g can chopped tomatoes

270ml can coconut milk

1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil (see note)

6 large green prawns, peeled (tails intact), deveined

Coriander leaves, to serve

Spinach-cauli noodles, to serve

METHOD

Step 1
Place fish in a large ceramic dish and toss with 2 tablespoons lime juice and 1 teaspoon sea salt. Chill for 30 minutes to marinate.

Step 2
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion for 3 minutes or until softened.

Step 3
Add capsicum, garlic and chilli, then cook, stirring occasionally, for a further 5 minutes or until capsicum is softened.

Step 4
Stir in stock, tomatoes, coconut milk and coconut oil. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook for 20-25 minutes until slightly reduced.

Step 5
Add prawns, fish and marinating juices, then cook for a further 8-10 minutes until the seafood is just cooked. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons lime juice and season to taste.

https://www.taste.c

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

A couple of small elephant paintings. The rough canvas, acting like ‘wag-‘n-bietjie’ (wait a moment) thorns, gripping my fingers as I tried to create the sketching lines of the painting, to resemble a charcoal drawing. An a usual grey mixture of Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Umber.

Wobbly legs after the trail run through the forest. Thrilled that despite the uneven footing, little additional shoulder discomfort. We did stick to open tracks, mindful that we are into snake and tick season.

Marlene Van Der Westhuizen’s beef stew synchronized with the approaching storm. The inclusion of the five different cuts of beef, marinaded overnight in red wine, olive oil and brandy, and then slow cooked was delicious. Egg plant baked with mozzarella and tomatoes were colourful and tasty. A tad surprising that the Pinot Noir from Newton Johnson Family Vineyards went better with the stew than the Cros Hermitage Shiraz.

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

‘On the estuary’

50cmx60cm

A small painting of a yacht on the estuary. The reflections in the water the focus of the painting. However, the multiple folds of the sails, entrancing. I used an underpainting of Naples yellow, with an initial painting in acrylics, before finishing the painting in oil.

A different perspective walking through town at the start of the day to start my stint at the Old Jail for the Knysna Arts Society new exhibition ‘Woman’. I had one painting in the exhibition ‘Customs Market’, painted during my time in South Sudan.

A homeless man and his dog walking along the pavement, searching through dustbins for food scraps, an all to familiar sight in our town. What was remarkable was that he picking up litter along the way and placing it in the rubbish bins.

‘Saving Kandinsky’ by Mary Basson is a fabulous read into the world of Gabrielle Münter, Kandinsky’s partner for the years he transformed into abstraction. The notes accompanying her paintings are absorbing and inspirational

Freedom! Ortho happy with the healing progress of my collarbone. No sling required, although no cycling, lifting, or anything that requires power, from the shoulder for another couple of months. Physio not required either, which is fabulous. Sleep, still problematical, with sleep time discomfort, exponential.

Cobwebs dusted from my running shoes, an easy 7km jog through the islands to start the day. The first in eight weeks. Mindful of the one-to-three days between running sessions. My wildly fluctuating blood sugars, a complicating factor.

Chef Hirsh did an amazing Kingklip fish dinner, with bacon, chili, yogurt and lemon. The sauce, fabulous. Fingers sufficing in the absence of bread. A starter of labneh and Thai pesto, zucchini spirals with salmon. Terry did a diabetic-friendly almond ice-cream that was definitely moreish.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

If bending trees weren’t enough of a warning, kite-surfers screaming across the Estuary were. Only hardened cyclists braved the roaring winds for the Oyster Festival races. The Ultimate Fitness Festival?.

Sling keeping my shoulder from moving, too crazily. The blessing of a Mungo, superb woven towel, easing the chaffing. Blood sugars back into their normal range after the trauma, and a couple of coffee walks easing bruised muscles.

Cable ties my new friend holding the canvas against the easel, as ‘wingless’ I can’t catch the canvas as it does it’s bit to escape the abuse of my fingers smearing paint about. The large number of straight lines a tad challenging for my painting of the Norval Foundation exhibition.

While we we had to eliminate the beans from the Pork and Cannellini Bean casserole recipe, the sauce of the dish was sensational. The pork a tad on the dry side, which was disappointing. However, the Eastern flavours worked fabulously with the seared Bok-Choy.

Harbour Town full of athletes as it’s Forest Marathon time. Studio busy with the registration traffic generating its own energy.

Bartinney wine dinner at the Turbine. The lamb bredie, paired with their Cabernet Sauvignon, scrumptious.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Great live music, seafood platter, a free glass of wine in the sunshine at Dry Dock. Incredible value.

A couple of rapid runs that were probably not the most sensible given my Achilles weakness. Still, it was great to be out in the beautiful winter sunshine.

Long stints in the studio on the rhino commission taking its toll on hands and elbows. Something magical as it starts to gather its own force. Will see if the comments about the too ‘human’ eye needs correction. For now, the painting is at that point where I need to decide to step-away, and let it breath, it’s own life, or mess it-up, by doing too much.

Winter is not a bad time to have a diabetic in the house as they seek out dish washing opportunities as the hot water relieves cold fingers (peripheral neuropathy).

Rain against the windows. Fire heating the apartment, aromas of slow cooked garlic infused lamb, with that magical ingredient of laughter from friends who are happy to experiment with taste, texture and the unknown.