Saturday, July 31, 2010

Life's too short not to eat steak fried in butter.

 Why is rib eye steak so underrated? Mention it to most people and they don't know what you're talking about. Well. It's a steak cut from the rib section (sometimes called the "Scotch fillet") and it is a marbled meat - this makes it succulent and especially flavourful. It's also way cheaper than fillet or rump.
Cook it in a very hot pan with a slice of butter. Do that thing the chefs do on tv - tilt the pan and spoon the hot butter over the steak until everything sizzles. I cook it medium rare, about three minutes a side, just enough to form a lovely brown crust. Let it rest for a few minutes after cooking - otherwise all the juices will ooze out when you cut into it.
Last night I deglazed the pan with a dash of Ponzu (citrusy soya sauce) and served it with sweet potato mashed with nutmeg, pepper and a bit of the steak's caramelised butter and a salad of watercress, avocado and fresh orange segments.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Jazzed With My New Jean Pant.

If, like me, you have been searching for two years for jeans that aren't already worn-in or bleached by someone else, have no cat scratches or sequins or gold embroidery or bizarre rips and rents, search no further. Ronald Sassoon is back in town. Found these yesterday at Scoop in the Gardens Centre.

 Indigo denim. No sh*t.

Two Woodstock Gems.

People have been saying I'm too skinny (is there such a thing?). So I'm making an effort to eat well. This is an easy thing to do at The Kitchen and decidedly one of the best deals in town. A vegetarian lunch plate is R40.00, add meat or chicken for R10.00 extra. I had: mustard & honey grilled pork sausage, lentil salad with courgette ribbons & peas, beautiful young green beans, two discs of perfectly roasted aubergine and a salad of grated beet, apple and coriander. There was a wealth to choose from, service was friendly and the whole experience is absolutely without pretense.
The Kitchen: 111 Sir Lowry Rd, Woodstock.
Two doors down, an old friend of mine has opened up a new shop. He stocks a pleasing assortment of old refurbished pieces and commissioned metal work.
The Treasury: 107 Sir Lowry Rd, Woodstock.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Home Boy Makes Good.

At the exhibition opening last night, there were lovely paintings to look at, interesting furniture, good snacks and copious amounts of wine, many familiar faces and the spinning of yarns. I was there for hours, but this is the only photo I took:

 As one of her students told her earlier in the day: "Ma'am, your shoes are the bomb!"
Shoes by Errol Arendz.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Church, Bread, Milk, Honey.

This morning I felt I had to go and try out an egg & bacon pastry at Bread, Milk & Honey, after reading about them on The Foodie. He waxes lyrical. And yes - it was darn good. But teeny. I could have eaten four. The banana & berry smoothie helped to fill my growling belly.
I read the Afrikaans newspaper for the first time in years. The word "soesjikroeg" had me puzzled for a moment, until I read that it was in the "ontkleeklub". Sushi bar in the strip club. hm.

 I popped in at Church, the little shop next door, to talk to that dude with the afro. The entire place is papered with painted cardboard and brown packaging tape. Had a good browse - there are interesting things from here to Bueunos Aires. Lovely wooden inlay work with unexpected subject matter. Chunky wooden rings and bracelets. Books. And, of course, the piñatas...
Predictably, I liked the panting dog.

 But was swayed in the direction of the Batmen when I was told that you get an adult and a children's version. The one is filled with sweeties and the other... well, he wouldn't say.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Sea Point Days

Okay, so I stole the title from my talented friend, F.V., the documentary film maker. I always think of him and the beautiful S. when I walk on the Sea Point Promenade. I spent three hours there on Saturday afternoon, with Lou Reed's "Perfect Day" going around in my head. Everyone was out enjoying the sun.
I veered off and walked through Green Point Park. The Biodiversity Garden is going to be wonderful in the Spring. The Linguist told me the other night that his father told him that the water in the lake comes from the Molteno Reservoir, where I run every day. To know this fills me with an obscure happiness.

 Back on the Promenade, it's an unexpected pleasure to come across more outdoor sculpture.

 Read about the artist and her process here.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A weekend in the week.

There's something so appealing about playing hooky... leaving the mad rush of town on a wednesday morning and coming back on a friday evening. We went to Arniston - the Production Designer, the Architect, his Dog and I.

 On the drive there, I thought about the previous time I'd been there. It was the Architect's birthday and George J. cooked a suckling pig on a mechanized spit, over a huge fire. It took hours and was exciting in a primal kind of way. I can't remember exactly what was in the stuffing - apple, prune, rosemary, ginger? It was grand.
This time we stopped in Bredasdorp for provisions. The new Checkers has some exotic fare: grapples ( looks like an apple, smells like fanta grape.) Also some very misshapen peaches from Micronesia. (really Mr O'Hara? this is what the people want in the platteland?)
But alas, no cumin seeds. When I asked the lady packing the shelves she said to me: "dis 'n teer puntjie, mevrou." (that's a sore point madam) The lamb and lentil soup was pretty good nonetheless.
We made fires. We laughed a lot. Someone did some drawings. We made big plans.
We went for a walk and had a glass of wine on the grass in front of Willeen's.

 Went to see the catch of the day in the harbour.

 Windswept walks along the cliffs of Waenhuiskrans.

 and I lost my heart to the Collie.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

R30 for you darling.

The boot sale was on top form this morning. I broke the little deal I recently made with myself about not buying more stuff. (Well I did sell my leather couch the other day, with profit, so there's a hole to fill) Anyway, the sweet gentleman on the far corner had this pocket-sized Chinese cloche. Inside it is a variety of plant life, a pagoda on a craggy cork cliff and two cranes wading through the rushes.

 My companion today was the foxy Fraulein M, fresh back from a sojourn in Stuttgart. A while back I asked for her help in decoding the German website of the Hagemann Company. I've been looking for an old botanical chart for the longest time and she kindly brought one back for me. Hagemann continues to make these charts in the 1950's way, printed on thick canvas, with wooden supports, top and bottom. I chose chart #36, the Drosera Rotundifolia or Flowering Sundew, including it's dinner of a fly. I can't stop looking at it.

 After a lovely lunch facing Lion's Head with flocks of swooping birds in the sky, I came home to find that the butterflies were back on the honey bushes. Hundreds of them.

 (Butterfly: ORIGIN Old English , from butter + fly 2 ; perhaps from the cream or yellow color of common species, or from an old belief that the insects stole butter.)

Friday, July 16, 2010

"Everything you need is already inside." - Superette Dinner Plate

I went to Superette shortly after they opened last year. I ordered a sandwich to go and was told that take-aways had an extra charge of R5.00 for wrapping and a brown paper bag. I said I'd take my sandwich in my hand with a paper napkin. I got a dirty look and was told that that was against restaurant policy. I told them in a courteous way to stuff their sandwich and left.
So it was with some scepticism that I joined the Rowdy Bunch there for Supper Club last night. 
The menu was vegetarian and my plan was to take notes and write a proper grown-up review, but I was way too distracted by the fun we were having to do that. Things became really interesting after the asian noodle bowl. The second course was a grainy purée of cauliflower topped with small medallions of I knew not what. The hearts of some divine vegetable encased in a crisp batter (palms, I was later told), scatterings of chopped nuts and tiny morsels of al dente cauliflower.

  Next a risotto of quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) and smoked carrot (!).
Dessert was an ethereal chocolate panna cotta with cinnamon ice-cream, served with frothy little glassfuls of macchiato.
The only thing I ended up making a note of was the wine. Vrede & Lust 2005 SIMOND, a shiraz / cabernet sauvignon / merlot blend. It was smoky plummy burnt jammy good.
I loved the crockery with handwritten quotations and the linen napkins. The portion size was perfect for me, but probably not enough for a hungry man.  ✰ ✰ ✰ ✰

 Before supper I went to the Book Lounge for the launch of Henrietta Rose-Innes' new collection of short stories, "Homing".  Henrietta is known as the queen of the South African short story and she was in conversation with the winsome Diane Awerbuck. Their repartee was relaxed, witty and bright.
Looking forward to some reading this week-end.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Kings of Patina.

I'm on the hunt for retro props for a commercial. When I arrived at Braam's house this morning he told me it was "Airline Carrier Day" and led me to the patio table.

 Braam is a legend in the film industry in South Africa. He's a collector extraordinaire. Over the years I've seen his house get fuller and fuller, until lately it's become quite a feat to go there without knocking something over.
Nothing new here - everything is gently worn by time. He's notoriously unsentimental. He's quite likely to rent out the pot his long-suffering wife is busy cooking the supper in.
He has various properties, all of them stuffed to the rafters with stuff. We know them by street address. Now, after all these years, there's big news: the rentables are all being moved to the new house, which will function as a prop house proper. 
I popped in at Indwe to see the progress. It's wonderful to see everything spread out.

 I think most of Glynville Terrace is in, but the whole of Impala still needs to come over. I heard a mumble that there wasn't enough room.

 Later I went to Mister Music in Long Street, with the usual words ready on my lips: "I know you don't rent out, but... ", only to have the man say to me: "Today you may rent anything in my shop - R50."
I fell in love with a blue guitar.

 My other desire is this fringed dress at Theatre and Film Costume Workshop.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Netherlandish |-ˌlandi sh | |ˈnɛðərˈløndɪʃ|


 I saw this on my way to watch the match yesterday. I have never come across a nation with such gees. I'll miss seeing them around town.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Reservoir days. And dogs.

I've been waiting for a quiet day to take pictures at the reservoir. Today is that perfect Cape Town day, with no ripples on the water. Even the smog looks picturesque. At this time of year there is always a pair of goose parents and their brood. Father Goose sits up high making a ruckus when you run past. 
I go at different times of the day and it's never crowded. I see girls with i-Pods, guys with long loping strides and last week I did a few laps with a charming bunch of Spaniards. There's a very old man who shuffles around a few times. He wears a blue track suit and knitted hat, very flash nikes and he always says "good morning, lovely day!", then he stands under the palms and does his calisthenics.

 The East-African guards told me today that taking pictures is "not official", so I had to shoot from the hip. Luckily I have lots of experience from all my years of taking photos of props in shops that don't allow it.
On my way back home, I pass a house that belongs to two of my favourite dogs. They are always guarding the stoep and when the vacuum cleaner is being used indoors, dog on the left does a perfect 'howling at the moon' stance and yodels. I kid you not. Today the gate was open and they came out to greet me with much shyness and tail-wagging.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


 My lovely friend is very upset that the newspaper headline wasn't "Die Kaap Is Weer Hollands". Because it was. I was so pleased to see them all again. They are filled with an outrageous bonhomie. Last night: the ubiquitous sea of orange and much laughter. The funniest little moment: a guy came out of a bar, intent not to spill his big glass of beer, but looked straight up into the eyes of a horse and got the fright of his life. (There happened to be two mounted police going by on the pavement.)
The best part: going to the lovely friend's house, fire going, ordering pizzas, watching the game with a bunch of madcaps and having a little boogie afterwards.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Germany and Argentina.

 Sublime weather and more people together than I've ever seen anywhere in Cape Town. Much louder, much more garbage, but still a great feeling in the air. Optimism, I think. I do feel the whole experience subsiding, though. People are trying to jam the last bit in, but the car flags are becoming tattered and fewer. I've seen a few being blown off cars on the highway, probably not to be replaced.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Facebook delights:

I found this message in my inbox. It's from my long-lost Polish friend in Stuttgart.
Hi Lily , U.'s page has many suprices for me. You are my best luck.
Your´s smiles are like yesterday, but most colourfuly.It is nice to see you again.Salute R.