video: Courtesy YouTube

How do you know when you’ve not had enough sleep? Well for me the signs are pretty darn obvious, with this morning being toothpaste on the wrong side of the brush, and knickers on inside out.

With that in mind my best remedy is to turn my car into a moving juke box, as in crank up the music and hit the tarmac. I have one song – Tears for Fears – Everybody wants to rule the world – that I blast myself awake with, and before you know it my steering wheel is a drum set, my seat becomes a bit of a trampoline and the paintwork seems to beam with happiness. Singing happens, but the less I say about that the better.

No doubt many, many people who live close to Newlands Rugby Stadium will have heard it as I pulled up to swipe my tag into the parking this morning, music still blaring. If you did, I can only but say, hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Sleep deprivation and knickers inside out

a trifle mess

At this very moment I am watching Oz Masterchef contestants making Heston Blumenthal’s Jubilee Trifle. And boy, are they having some trouble.  That blast chiller is sure going to be in great demand . . .  and between you and me I’m egging on Kelty and Noleen to be shipped home . . . even before their jelly is set.  Shame man, I don’t dislike them, I just don’t want either of them to win. 

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photo from: tenplay.com.au

The magic Heston puts into this dish is amazing. I think if given the chance to visit and eat at one of his restaurants I would do so.  He is so clever, and he also seems like a nice bloke, which can’t be all that bad. If anybody has eaten there, I’d really like to hear about it, if not only to weep and turn green with envy.

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photo source: Sydney Morning Herald – on line version

My memories of trifle are Christmas based. A whacking big glass bowl of sponge, tin fruit, red jelly, bright yellow custard, whipped and thick fresh cream, and at times either cherries or hundreds and thousands to decorate.  I can still hear that glug, that sound of suction as the spoon lifted a portion out, dolloping it into a bowl.  Pure delight.  

I can’t remember making one myself, but I’ve certainly had a few over the years, and most of them have not been good. Runny custard, not enough jelly, no fruit, and artificial cream – yuk!

How about you, any tips for a great one, or stories of a bad ‘un?  What about sherry, do you put it in? I think we had it in ours, but I can’t be sure. 

All these memories have me thinking about other childhood puddings I loved to enjoy, mostly for sunday lunch, after a plate of roast meats and divine roast potatoes.  Here are a few of my favourites:

  • Spotty Dick
  • Bread and Butter Pudding
  • Lemon Meringue Pie
  • Apple and Blackberry Crumble
  • Apple and Blackberry Pie
  • Baked Alaska
  • Arctic Roll
  • Treacle Pudding
  • Egg Custard
  • Bakewell Tart

         —————————————————— fill in the blank please

A-ha, Yellow team won the Heston Trifle challenge.  Tomorrow they cook-off against Heston himself. If I was them I’d phone in sick

Kalk Bay, chilled coffee and a whole lot of clutter

In my previous post I mentioned hubby and I would be taking a trip to Kalk Bay on Sunday.  And who’d have thought we could have picked such a beautiful day?  Stunning blue sky, major heat, vibey shops, amazing eateries, and as expected plenty of good folk just generally enjoying a special Sunday Morning.

I took some photos and thought I’d share a few things that caught my eye. Who knows, maybe this coming weekend you’ll take a trip there yourself. And for those far, far away, maybe keep it in mind when you visit Cape Town one day.

This is a lovely little deli, open about 5 months now, forming part of the Kalk Bay Books building

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These don’t need a lot of introduction, other than to offer a thought of where they may have travelled

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A whole lot of who knows what

 

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Located next to Kalk Bay Train Station

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Question time

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Can you see the sea beyond the train station?

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Peering down a side road

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Bit more clutter

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Stopped off here, sat at a table on the pavement for a chilled coffee

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Pretty nice place to be

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And finally, how about having this little man in the house?

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what you doing?

Anybody doing anything nice this weekend? Heading off hiking, wine tasting, shopping, wedding, sharpening your teeth or finding a way out of not eating haggis for Sunday lunch?

So far I’ve hit the shops this morning and almost purchased an Apple Mac Air, could well be heading back tomorrow to do so. Anybody have thoughts on this lightweight piece of hardware? Then tonight hubby and I are out for supper to 95 Keerom.  Not been there before, but have heard good things. For a change I think I’ll pull on something nice to wear and splatter some makeup on my face, not that either will make eating any easier that is. 

Tomorrow (Sunday) we are heading to Kalk Bay for a mooch around the shops, my main interest being the junk, err sorry, Antique shops where I can have a good old giggle at some of the things on sale. Aren’t you constantly amazed at the price of items that must have originated from the ark, but are now labelled as distressed?  Distressed being a euphemism for if you want to be chic you need to buy this NOW. Might even stop off for a bit of breakfast if I’m lucky.

What’s your favourite Kalk Bay place to visit?  I used to really enjoy the Brass Bell, but feel the vibe has changed with the many additions been added. There was something really wonderful about watching the sea crash against the rocks as you sat in the main restaurant munching.

Cape to Cuba, been there a couple of times, really love the quirky décor there, the food is not bad either, but hubby isn’t mad on it.  Oh yes and what about Harbour House. Spent several evenings there enjoying the winter special, and a few weekend lunches too I might add.  And of course who could forget Olympia Café, one of the most popular places on the planet. 

Ok, this is starting to feel like a tourist guide to eating places in Kalk Bay, so I will shut up now and end with a final place I like to visit Kalk Bay Books, one of the few remaining independent book sellers who don’t seem to mind you browsing.

So that’s me then, what you doing? Maybe I’ll bump into you somewhere?

 

 

 

 

 

Figaro and the need for a nudge to the shins

Have you ever been to the opera?  Pre November 2013 if you’d asked me the same question I would have responded rather physically by falling off my chair amidst laughter of note.  You wouldn’t be far wrong picturing me amongst  oxygen tanks, masks and extremely large vessels of smelling salts.

Post November though I can tell you I finally experienced that which I have been avoiding for longer than I have been able to walk unaided. Yes it is true, minus armfuls of popcorn, boiled sweets and cool drink with loads of ice and a very long straw, and fully at my own free will, I crossed the opera threshold.  I sat amongst those who can translate without sub-titles, and joyously managed to almost fall asleep only once. I sum this up with one word. Pride.  Come on now, you can’t fall asleep all that easily with several folk belting their hearts out a mere few rows before you!

My first experience then was to watch a local Cape Town production of what I like to call Figaro, but I think is really called The Barber of Seville. Please correct me at your will.  And before you ask, no I did not purchase a program to refer back to. I never do, much preferring to strain my neck to read over the shoulder of the person in the row before me.

This production was set in Cuba with the era being pretty modern, if you consider the days of Downton Abbey modern that is.  There was a distinct colonial feel to everything, but I’m prepared to accept this as a subjective interpretation. I don’t know why, but a drawing room full of greenery with folk sitting around in suits and waistcoats always gives me a stiff-upper lip in the tropics feel.

Well blow me down, if they hadn’t set up sub-titles for dim-wits like me to follow. And even better they were in English.  Very clever for those not versed in the old Italian lingo. It was sort of along the lines of the supermarket system where a streaming line of text advises you which teller to use, or provides hints on opening times etc.  The only difference being you didn’t shift seats every ten seconds or so.  Retrospectively that could have been quite fun actually. Imagine moving to the right every time somebody on stage sung “Figaro”. You could be out the door before the second act.

Despite the brilliance of the scrolling sub-titles, I did have one little problem with the system.  Yes, quite a few times the same words were repeated over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over . . . and over again. There was a point when I was tempted to seek out the maintenance man, or log a call with the opera help-desk to get the darn thing fixed.  I mean it seemed rather odd for e.g. “yes he did” to be repeated about twenty times, didn’t it?

Well clearly no it wasn’t, because I learnt during the interval this was in fact correct. And yes, the performer was supposed to be repeating the same line at different levels of decibels, while perfecting multiple arm extensions for far longer than is really needed to get a point across.  Jeepers, for those who could actually understand the words, it must have been akin to a stylus being stuck on a record.  You could imagine the need to leopard crawl onto the stage, your intention being to provide Figaro with a hefty nudge to the back of his shins.

Jokes aside, I actually quite enjoyed it. The highlight for me being an elderly character who was either a drunk old codger, or a sound asleep one. Either way he never seemed to move far from one chair to another, his head constantly slumped, and/or eyes floating around their sockets. Despite his non-staring role, he was hilarious, barely singing a word while brilliantly flopping here and there, completely in sync with the other characters, moving props as and when needed to work with the story.

Would I go again then? Yes I think I would, but maybe a more traditional version to see how they compare. I can’t say I was bowled over by the experience, but equally I wasn’t put off for life. How about you, ever been, liked it, loved it, hated it or indifferent? 

Are you flicking or staying around for the finale?

Anybody watching Masterchef Australia – season 5? Well I am. I love it. Well, I used to love it. Now I like it. What about you? Are you finding yourself flicking channels while sweat pours off the contestants brows? Or are you still glued, notebook at hand, compiling notes on how to produce some fine-dining in fifteen minutes flat? I’m flicking a bit, not quite sure if I’m ready to swap it for yet another repeat of repeat of repeat of Friends, or Jag if hubby takes hold of the remote.

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image: Masterchef

So here we are then. Faced with the final ten. The crème de la crème. The ones with gravy running through their veins. The ones whose hearts were formed from  chocolate mousse made with thick full cream. The ones born with a chef’s knife in their mouths – you know what I mean.  Or as Gary often tells us, the top ten amateur Chefs in Australia.

Well I’m not going to argue with him over that, because I’ve not sat at many Oz dining tables in my time. But if those ten are the top ten, then the remaining gazillion Aussies must really serve up some codswollop.

No, I’m afraid this season the contestants have been lacking some serious kitchen skills, and that comes from somebody with no skills of her own I hasten to add. There is also glaring evidence of inability to drive, read a map, milk a goat, wrestle with a mortar and pestle at alarming speed, or even record an individual 100 meter sprint record when faced with moments in the fully loaded, or should that be laden, pantry. Honestly the things these contestants have to do, you’d think they were on  a combined Amazing Race and Survivor show.

What happened to people competing against each other using their kitchen skills? Now all we see are contestants crying and or sobbing when the pressure gets tough, which to be fair is not unreasonable when staring wide eyed at a two hour recipe that in real life would require three days prep and several anti-depressants.

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photo: Masterchef

There is no favourite this season either. Well of course there is some eye-candy who at this stage of my life could just walk around my kitchen and I’d be happy. Err, sorry, I digress. Favourite I was saying. None of them actually. But there are two who make my teeth grind and who I switch the volume down on, or often than not fast forward to remove their cheeks from my screen. Kelty, the stay-at-home Dad who should have stayed at home and not been given so much TV time. And then of course there is Noleen who has come across as quite nasty at times but with clever editing these days is often found to be patting her watery eyes with a dishcloth. Y

With all of that in mind, In the coming weeks, when life slows down a little for me, I’m thinking about having my own mini-Masterchef Cape Town in my kitchen. I’m going to let Hubby find the trickiest recipe he can find, cut off about 10% of the cooking time, and then have me let loose with appliances and sharp knives to produce something he may quickly learn to regret choosing when he settles down to taste.

What do you think? 

My lovely Charlotte got married

My lovely daughter Charlotte was married on 1st March 2014. It was a day full of love, laughter and specialness. And as the mother-of-the-bride I was honoured to give a speech. Thought I’d share it  here with you.

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photo courtesy Dearheart Photos 

Life’s a funny old thing don’t you think? Takes you places you never imagined, puts you into situations to learn from, and just in general shakes the living “sweetness” out of us all.

Today, 29 years and 1 day ago, Charlotte Louise came into the world.  And as many of you may or may not know, Charlotte’s emergence was problematic, requiring the kind of strength that until then I had never imagined, or indeed knew existed.  Now while technically Mike and I shouldn’t really like each other very much any more, today I would like to raise my glass and offer him thanks for providing the three of us with that strength.  Cherish this moment, Mike, because I’m not going to say this again, but honestly, I don’t know if we’d have gotten through those days without you.

So what is with that 29 years and 1 day reference? Well clearly it refers to Charlotte’s birthday. Yesterday Charlotte turned 29, and once again I raise my glass to say Happy Birthday, Charlotte! 

Over the 29 years and 1 day of your life, there have been many, many days when I’ve not seen you. But there is only 1 day I have missed that carries and will continue to carry great sadness and regret in my heart.  And that day was the most important day of your life, the day of your birth.  Now while of course I understood, and will always understand the urgency for medical attention to save your life, being denied the chance to see your little face, or have your fingers curl around mine until the following day. . . there are no words.

It seems pretty ironic then that the second day of your life, 29 years ago today, would have been the very first time I not only saw you, but could also fully and completely, welcome and absorb you into my life.

Today then I find myself in a slightly different position. Yes, of course I can see you, but this time far from welcoming you, I’m metaphorically letting you go.  It’s hard to believe that the little girl who I first met in an incubator is now before me, so beautiful in her wedding gown, about to go out to form her own family, to build a life, and grow old with the man of her dreams.

Remembering you concealed in a plastic box, tubes attached and oxygen directed towards your face, affirms for me how you have learnt to fight and survive from day one, not just to live, but to become part of this great society we call life. And boy, was it hard at times.

Yes, we’ve laughed together, we’ve yelled together, and at times we’ve even cried together. And while those moments were at times down to a battle of wills, equally they were heightened as you gave everything you had to not only win gold when representing Western Province Cycling, but also to complete the Argus cycle tour, something I would imagine very few of us here today would even contemplate doing, let alone know what to do with an inner tube!

It is so hard to believe that the little girl in the plastic box who went onto wear splints, and who only learnt to walk when she was almost 5 – or was it 6? – could achieve such amazing highs. You deserve those medals, Charlotte, and oh so many more.

So here you are now, amongst your friends and family, no longer Charlotte M, now Charlotte G Advice, well I can offer you little. Other than to remind you to keep dreaming, keep achieving, keep writing, keep trying everything and anything that is sent your way – legally of course! – but mostly to always stay in touch.

Al, now it’s your turn. Traditionally I understand it’s the father of the bride’s job to threaten your life if you do anything to hurt his daughter. I am today putting forward a new tradition that I have no doubt will be embedded into Google search engines for centuries to come.

And that tradition, Al, is the mother of bride’s right also to threaten the groom’s life should he ever hurt her daughter. No pressure there then. Message delivered. Mother of the bride happy.

Charlotte and Al, today you begin a journey.  A journey of who knows what, that will take you who knows where.  There will be times when you will want to pummel each other into the ground, and you know what that’s fine. It’s how you deal with those moments that will create the bond and strength of your marriage.

A wise person once said – clearly I missed this meeting – that going to bed on a bad word should be avoided at all costs. Maybe that’s something to remember.  

I’ll end with one final piece of advice.  The mistake many couples make is not presenting a united front when dealing with their children, peers or family. Without doubt by being united you will overcome much, but always try to remember that being united requires that all important compromise.

One final time then I ask you all to raise your glass with me as I stand here today, unbelievably happy, probably uncontrollably emotional, but oh so very, very proud of you, Charlotte Louise.

To Charlotte and Al!