Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Mother's Day Picnic @ Groot Constantia (Jonkershuis)

What a day for a picnic - sunny, crisp blue skies with only a hint of wind (it picked up later, but hey this is Cape Town we're talking about).

I was euphoric at spending Mother's Day with my mom - I had only been away from Joburg for about 2 or 3 weeks, but I was missing her a lot. The gods were smiling on us as the timing worked out perfectly (she had booked her trip before I had even decided to move to Cape Town) and the weather also played along, gamely.

Jonkershuis puts on an amazing picnic spread; when I saw our baskets, I did a little imaginary back flip and had evil thoughts of grabbing a basket, running away, hiding behind a tree and devouring everything all on my own.

I LOVE Picnics.

All the rules of eating go out the window - picnics are about getting back to the essence of food: savouring the flavours, sharing, mixing and matching and eating with your fingers!

We found a cosy spot under a giant tree, secluding us from most of the wind, spread out our blankets, removed our shoes, ordered our drinks and proceeded to eagerly unpack the baskets.

We ordered a vegetarian and a vineyard basket - some of the memorable items for me were the spinach and feta quiche - I was quite tempted to eat this all on my own (maybe I should have been an only child... hmmmm??)

The snoek pate with its creamy smokiness, offset by the sweetness from the orange marmalade, and the roasted butternut pate with its delicate honey and cinnamon flavours, both came in a close second. The pleasure didn't stop there, however, as we tucked into a variety of mini cheeses paired with a sweet and tart grape relish and a selection of pickles. The artisan french baguette made the picnic authentic for me - there is something rustic and comforting about breaking off a piece and lathering it until pate oozes off the edges. Don't you think? A creamy, wobbly milk tart with its tangy, rooibos dunked raisins was the pinnacle to this lazy feast. And in my view, the delicately yeasty Groot Constantia Cap Classique, was the perfect accompaniment; making the day extra special.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Road trippin'

"Road trippin' with my two favourite allies; fully loaded we got snacks and supplies; it's time to leave this town; it's time to steal away..."

Excitement, sadness, suspense, drama, indecision.

Mist blanketed our way to the first toll plaza, where we converged like sheep with the rest of the early morning travellers.

As dawn broke, placing the nightmare of the mist behind us, 51kms of roadworks stretched before us.

The Garmin told us of a detour on a dirt road, which we decided to take, along with the rest of the sheep - a lonely beacon in the form of a tree with brilliant orange leaves, grinned at us from the sidelines as if it knew that we were to be greeted on the other end by another stop and go, which would last an hour and a half!

Singing along to road trip songs and playing eye spy and other mind games helped pass the time, until 14 hours after departing, we arrived in Beaufort West; slightly wilted - keen for a relaxing bath, a drink and some warm food!

The following day we rose with much excitement, eager to complete our journey. The scenery was magnificent, the tunnel an excellent experience. At last we made it to my new home by the sea with its view of the "mountain", strange roads and speed limits.

In the first week, finding my way around was a challenge – I got lost in the Waterfront, (I knew I would laugh about it later, but it wasn't funny at the time as the drizzle turned me into a drowned rat) going to and from the airport and pretty much anywhere else I decided to go. I've since put the Garmin away and am using the mountain as my guide.

Now I am finding joy in the unknown – embracing the challenge.

Before long I will be a Capetonian!

P.S. My article in the CLEO Magazine is out now (June issue)