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

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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.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

A dunking in the estuary, on a beautiful autumn evening, not the greatest thing to do to your iPhone. There was, one of those moments, where I had one leg caught on the boat while one tried valiantly to find solid ground. Failed dismally.

Studio after the holiday. A bunch of admin sorted. A bit of blood on a shin that lost a bunch of skin on the step-stool reorganizing paintings. Plasters to protect the linen.

Achilles seemingly content with its gentle jog, bum less sure about being back on the bicycle. At least I didn’t fall off!

Initial stages of the rhino commission, with an under painting of Indian Yellow for the sky of the painting. I’m trying to get the rhino skin texture different to the sky, by using the under painting to add luminescence. Also using Venice Red for one shade of grey and Burnt Sienna for the other. Naples yellow, rather than white for the grey tones. I have a couple of differ turquoise options with the Van Dyk Turquoise Blue (No. 80) completely different to the Charvin Intense Turquoise. Will need to see which works better with the deeper grey’s of the painting.

First outing of a recipe from ‘Plate’, by Marlene van Der Westhuizen. Steak with Gorgonzola sauce, with bok choi the surprise. Scrumptious.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Rose stopped past the studio to see the painting of the Oyster Collectors that I painted from her photograph

Erica’s in purple and pinks between banks of grey salt-bush alongside the paths through the Forest. Enough rain to turn trails into rivers that extra element of fun.

Colours swirling on the canvas for my painting of the Heads. Getting a tad lost in the water of the estuary.

Easter treat damage limitation with a run to the bottom of Phantom Pass. Ile de Pain, hot-cross bun with its apricot jam glaze and icing sugar crust (52grams of carbs) probably wasn’t sensible.

Bunch of people visiting which gave us the opportunity to try a couple of different places in our part of paradise. The late afternoon ferry out to the rebuilt Featherbed restaurant for their forest dinner. The building spectacular, and while the food might not be memorable there was plenty of variety, even for a diabetic.

Parmesan crusted kingklip, with a chilly/butter stuffing at Fatfish, looked amazing and was delicious. No less so than the tempura-prawn salad, with a great selection of wines by-the-glass.

Sold

Oil on canvas 20cmx20cm

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