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

Cape Town Adventure

The fire at Jakes on the Common welcome on a rainy Cape Town day. Books, wine, good food (grateful for the diabetic sensitive menu option) and easy company, insulated from the stormy weather. Energized, tranquility, looking through the fresh spring leaves of the ancient oak trees.

The building of the Norval Foundation is as impressive as expected. Vast gallery spaces for the large works of art. Most of which I found, disturbing.

They were changing exhibitions which was a tad disappointing as we could only access two of the galleries. The sculpture garden, impressive. My red face the proof to heed the warning about protecting yourself against sunburn. Even on a chilly spring day.

Prince still didn’t manage the crashing sea noise. Full moon. Spring tides. Howling winds. Beach not inviting. He did manage to walk to the Green Door. An achievement in itself.

The wind blew us back to Knysna. Roads busy with holiday traffic. Green, golden and yellow after the rains. We passed the ‘solar challenge’ cars – struggling into the wind – sandwiched between the hurtling steel of impatient road users.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

‘At the Zeitz MOCAA’

Oil on canvas 90cmx60cm.

A random moment. ‘Tell me your story. My name is magic fused with life purpose…” Story telling by Vusumuzi Mpofu amongst the bricks of Kendell Geers’ ‘Hanging Piece’.

Poetry transcending the horror of the hangman’s noose. Red ropes made ordinary by the red of clothing. Bricks, of terror fading into life, with purpose.

One of those evenings when I have managed to break, mess, and destroy. Nothing I can blame on crazy blood sugars. Or even too much wine.

Temperature regulation quite an issue on my Kamado Jan. Once that machine gets hot, it’s kind of impossible to get the temperature down. The monster chicken, while full of flavour was heading towards the charcoal side.

Order placed for the first batch of silk scarves. Time now an issue to finalise designs, sort pricing (exchange rate more erratic than my blood sugars) and get delivery before the holiday season.

Sold. South Sudan. Exhausting.

Stunning cheese cake that is diabetic sensitive. Tasty, and indulgent. A taste sensation amongst the week of amazing food indulgence. Chicken livers (which I don’t eat) at Chef Hirsch. Subtly tangy and perfect with the Newton Johnson Pinot Reserve, as well as the Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon blend. Beef fillet curry at Chef Coreta with a Delheim Vaaldrei Cab Franc that was better than my favourite Raats Cab Franc.

Remarkably privileged to have my painting of the migration ‘On the Plains’, hanging in its new rebuilt home after the fires. Particularly after an evening visiting a home that proudly shows its scars of the fires that tore through Knysna.

Lemon Cheese Cake

This banting friendly lemon cheesecake from Jump on the Bant Wagon, by Nick Charlie Key, R265, (Human & Rousseau), is the ultimate indulgence, without the guilt

INGREDIENTS

For the crust

1 cup almond flour

2T melted butter

3T xylitol

For the filling

680g cream cheese, at room temperature

310ml xylitol

1t vanilla extract

A pinch salt

4 eggs, at room temperature

60ml lemon juice

1T lemon zest

60ml whipping cream

Topping

250ml sour cream

30ml lemon juice

1T lemon zest

4T xylitol

1/2t vanilla extract

Try this dark chocolate cheesecake recipe

METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 190°C.

2. Prepare a springform cake pan. Put some baking paper over the bottom of the pan

1/3

and snap it into place when you tighten the sides of the pan.

3. Grease the sides and bottom of the pan (and the baking paper) using butter.

4. Mix all the crust ingredients together in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Once it’s a

doughy, crumbly and moist texture, press it into the bottom of the prepared pan.

5. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.

6. Reduce the oven temperature to 170°C.

7. For the filling, beat the cream cheese until it becomes fluffy, making sure to scrape

the sides of the mixing bowl. Add the xylitol, vanilla, salt and two of the eggs. Beat

well, then scrape the sides of the bowl again.

8. Add the remaining two eggs. Beat well and scrape once again. Add the lemon juice,

zest and cream. Beat well, scrape and pour the filling mixture over the pre-baked

crust.

9. Place the springform pan into a bigger pan that has been pre-filled halfway with

boiling water, and then place into the oven to bake for roughly 1 hour. The

cheesecake should still be a little wobbly in the centre when it comes out.

10. While the cheesecake is in the oven, mix all the topping ingredients together in a

mixing bowl.Get the recipe for the cheesecake topped with frilled honey buttered

peaches

11. Remove the cheesecake from the oven, spread the topping evenly over the

cheesecake and then return to the oven for another 10 minutes.

12. Take the cheesecake out of the oven and let it cool. Once at room temperature, pop

it into the fridge for a few hours to chill properly.

Serves 10–12 people

Diary of an Adventure

Calitzdorp Cycle Adventure

First time I have spent so long on a bicycle, with three days of cycling into the red mountains. Groenfontein. Kruisrivier and Seweweekspoort.

Beautifully restored houses from the days of the Ostrich Barron’s. Blue skies. Green valleys. Dust. Gut wrenching climbs. Legs turned to mush. Bruised bum. Exhilarating decents. Demanding terrain that challenged yet left you excited for the next day.

Soeterus guest farm. Roaring fire under the stars. Space for Prince to run. Warm showers. Comfortable beds. Breakfasts to fuel the starving and close enough to the wine cellars of Boplaas and De Kraans, an incentive at days end.

A new technique for cooking fillet from Coreta. 80 degrees for 4 min per 100 grams of the largest fillet. Stand for an hour. Then cooked over a hot fire for ten minutes, turning continuously. Delicious.

Terry, Coreta and Clair, with careful menu planning, ensured that my blood sugars over the demanding days didn’t spiral out of control. A touch of hyperglycemia as I waited too long before refueling with blueberries. Particularly on the afternoon rides when my sugar levels seem to fall quicker. Carrot cake very tempting!

Blood sugars

Day 1

Before ride 6,7 mmol/L (target 4 – 7.8 mmol/L)

After 47,9 km 3,8 (2h 11m)

2 hour after ride 5,3

Daily carbs 31 grams

Day 2

Before ride 4,8 mmol/L (target 4 – 7.8 mmol/L)

After 32 km 4,1

After 64 km 4,3 (3h 18m)

1 hour after ride 6,4

2 hour after ride 4,4

Daily carbs 30grams

Day 3

Before ride 4,9 mmol/L (target 4 – 7.8 mmol/L)

After 22 km 4,1

After 42 km 5,4 (2h 17m)

1 hour after ride 5,2

Daily carbs 30grams

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

First ‘Wearable Art’ 100% silk scarves with my paintings sold and heading to new homes. Orders for the next batch received with a few adjustments made to the art work. ‘Irises’ design painting finished, adding an additional option to the range. Working on an elephant painting that is also designed to be used as a scarf painting. The link to the website sorted and the international purchase pricing adjusted to include free shipping.

https://janraats.com/wearable-art/

Running with my shadow in the early morning before the storm made being in front of the fire the more sensible option. Getting Prince out that much more challenging, as he didn’t see the need to move from his warm bed before the birds were awake.

The painting of ‘Irises’, a simple, abstract approach. Colours clean and vibrant. The long rectangular format, challenging. Working in acrylics allowing for a fast application of paint. The course canvas trashing a couple of layers of skin on my fingers.

Bicycle cleaned, ready for the 3 day Karoo Tour in Calitzdorp. First, birthday weekend lies ahead. One of those life milestones.

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

The sample silk scarves of my ‘Wearable Art’ have arrived. Quality much better than expected and the colour saturation extraordinary. Perhaps a tad too much.

Not sure where the ‘edge’ is between a cycle that allows one to enjoy the waves, sunshine and incredible privilege of being in this part of paradise, and the blood-pumping, muscle straining, ambition to go that slight bit faster that has sweat streaming into eyes. An oblivious focus on numbers. A bit of both??

Sautéed foie-gras. Generally, I find foie gras too rich, however this slightly seared way of serving slices was delicious. As was our dinner at Le Marquis. The calamari tube starter was stunning. I might even get to like the stuff! The house speciality, duck confit lived up to its reputation, even if the cranberry sauce was too much for my diabetic constraints. Remy brought the table a duck breast in Lagrange that I hope finds its way into the menu, as it was outstanding.

Nothing Impressionistic about the top 40 Sanlam Portrait Award exhibition. I actually preferred the other portraits in the gallery to those of the competition. The quality, particularly of the draughtsmanship in the charcoal works was outstanding, and in general the exhibition wasn’t morbid or soul stealing, but rather well executed portraits. I didn’t come away inspired or with new techniques, or radical insights into composition. Grateful that the exhibition has been in Knysna, uplifting portrait painting.

Long narrow canvas (200cmx70cm) for a painting of irises based in a couple of the iris paintings I have done and the wild irises that are flowering along the route we walk Prince. Acrylics, for a minimalist, sketch style that I’m also hoping will work well as a silk scarf painting.

Hot off the easel

Oil on canvas 20cmx20cm

Sautéed Foie Gras Recipie

Sautéeing duck foie gras is not hard to do, but be careful; otherwise, you’ll end up with a puddle of very expensive melted fat.

INGREDIENTS

• 1/2 lb piece raw Grade A duck foie gras at room temperature, cleaned and deveined

• Salt and pepper to taste

• 2 tsp canola oil

• 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

. Special Equipment

• a 10-inch heavy skillet

PREPARATION

. After deveining, cut the foie gras crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick pieces, then season with salt and pepper.

. Heat 1 teaspoon of the canola oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking.

. Sauté half the foie gras until golden, 45 to 60 seconds on each side (it will be pink inside). Quickly transfer to a paper towel to drain and discard fat in skillet.

. Sauté the rest of the foie gras the same way, then discard all all but 1 tablespoon of remaining fat in skillet. Add 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar and bring to a boil. Serve foie gras with sauce.

. https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/v

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventure

August, 10km running challenge sorted. While not quite as quick as my head thinks I should be running, it’s certainly quicker than I have run in 20 years.  Of course, perfect conditions, alongside the estuary, itself a dream.
Fortunate enough to attended the opening of an exhibition of hyper-realistic charcoal work that highlighted how much talent there is around Knysna. Brilliantly executed draughtsmanship at prices were a tad scary. Even for me. Exciting to see that the market for such staggering prices exists in our small town.
Prince has a cut in his front paw, which is a bother. Keeping him quite enough for it to heal assisted by the two days in the car heading down for dinner with Dad in Montagu.
Amongst the mountains, the air still with that winter crispness, even if the sun carries the promise of summer.
Sun on the crazy rock formations. A reminder of why I find them so amazing to paint. Colours and texture in a never ending series of folds and mystery that not only captivated me, but also Francois Krige in the decades he wondered, and painted, these mountains.
wines.jpg
Blossoms on the fruit trees, a touch of delicacy.
Bergsig, Mimosa and Prevoir Wines (Chardonnay and Shiraz) the gems from our stop at Platform 62 in Ashton. Johannes, the car guard whose portrait I painted still greeting us cheerfully. Although he isn’t sporting his red hat.
Stopped messing about with my painting of the girl on her bicycle, ‘Grl Pwr’. The vibrancy of youth. The freedom of the small Karoo town, Nieu-Bethesda.
image1.jpeg
Oil on canvas 20cmx20cm
Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Didn’t do a great job of the baby chickens on the Weber. Not crisp enough and probably needed another half an hour. Annoying, as they were delicious. Fresh spring rolls as a starter, with salad, sweet potato gratin and a bunch of cheese to help with that last glass of wine.

In the forest, tracks weaving between the trees, testing the limits of my balance and coordination. No blood, which is itself remarkable. Only one steep bit in the wrong gear that had me walking after overbalancing in the sand. A tad undignified.

‘Horsing Around’, oil on canvas 76cmx102cm. My reference photos, taken outside ‘Dustcovers’, the fabulous bookshop in Nieu-Bethesda. I pushed the painting hard to bring out the youthful, movement, so full of vigour, of the horse and rider. Using dashes of paint whenever I felt the painting was heading too far down the reality slope. The two figures in the background, to give perspective, also smudged into obedience.

Keeping an 18 month old Border Collie quiet is no easy task. Prince managed to damage his eye playing and needed eye drops to clear the infection. An hourly and two hourly regime that had us all exhausted.

Soft jazz, sunshine, wine and friends. Fabulous anywhere. Next to the water, with the Heads as a backdrop. Spectacular.

Core muscles feeling bruised and battered. Cycling in the forest, or the tension of watching the TDF??

Visited the rejuvenated ‘Art Cafe’ at the Old Gaol complex and to spend time amongst the paintings of the current exhibition ‘African Wealth’. Fabulous works of Sudan by Susi Rood and fascinating urban African portraits by Thanduxolo Ma-awu.

https://www.knysnaplettherald.com/News/Article/General/knysna-art-society-in-new-location-201807251043

Diary of an Adventure

Montagu Adventure

A high-speed snake of steel. Holiday traffic hurtling homeward. Courteous, sensible. For the most part.

Unexpected, trip to Montagu to see Dad. Skies clear after the rain. Green valleys pushing into fields of yellow canola. Mountains with their snow mantel the warning that we would be looking for places with fireplaces.

Didn’t expect to be out in the early morning dark playing soccer with Prince. A soccer ball the new favourite toy, which he found in the garden at Rainbow Glen. As it belonged to one of the kids, it had to be rescued before he destroyed it. Fortunately we found one in Montagu so he now has his own ball. A treasured companion.

Prince, already exhibiting that Border Collie, wonder dog, therapy trait. His exuberance to get close to Dad not quiet what Dad needed. However, for 36 hours he has ensured that we were never alone. Exhausted he his.

Being in wine country and not able to do anything while Dad went to the specialist, we took the opportunity to stop at Esona Boutique Estate.

The light from the fire creating magic in the fabulous wines, visually stunning in Riedel glasses.

We opted not to have the tasting as we were already familiar with the wines and settled for the 2014 Shiraz and Chardonnay with a platter of ostrich pate and Mochella. A delicious ‘sandwich’ of cheddar, mozzarella and ham.

Vineyard pruned and silent. Tranquil, cosy and warm for our bruised souls and cold fingers.

Terry made a vegg laden boboti dinner that Dad could manage and had zilch sugar or carbs. Delicious comfort food that would also have worked well with eggplant included to lower the amount of meat in the dish. Not something that Dad would countenance! Graham Beck Game Reserve Chardonnay and Shiraz to ensue we didn’t dehydrate next to the fire

Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures

Afternoon run in the sunshine along the red brick road next to the estuary. Passed a bunch of picnics, with holiday makers out reading in between watching the waters of the estuary. Sun perfectly positioned. Wind, holding its breath. Immaculate.

On the easel, a horse powers from the canvas. A strong vertical composition, full of youthful exuberance. Kids at play in Nieu-Bethesda.

I can’t paint horses without a reference to Sir Alfred J Munnings. His paintings filled with free brushstrokes and great blobs of paint. Less technique, than his inability to judge distance between canvas and brush as a result of an eye injury that left him blind in one eye. “What are pictures for?” he asked. “To fill a man’s soul with admiration and sheer joy, not to bewilder and daze him.”

‘God’s little creatures’, the Figtree Blue butterfly in the garden at Ouland Royale, our lunch stop with Mum and Jenny on a glorious day. They were happy to accommodate my diabetic eating quirks, modifying their tzatziki lamb dish and adding extra avo at no additional charge! (The dressing was a tad sweetish for my taste) Chef Wilja orchestrates her dishes at the long table in the kitchen, conjuring magical dishes that have quirky twists.

My throat a scratchy mess. Not impressed. Extra grumpy.