Friday, October 5, 2012

Wine and dine in Rosendal - a weekend away earlier this year.

A trip to Rosendal was planned for the weekend - a regular country retreat. I thought I would share images and recipes of my last visit - earlier in the year. As mentioned before on this blog, Daniel's home is situated in the town, nestled amongst other properties; his is a home with a well maintained flower and herb garden, including a large pond with a variety of animals - a truly unique Rosendal experience. Sadly the trip had to be cancelled for unforeseen circumstances.

This entry therefore serves as a reminder of a past weekend away and an opportunity missed to replenish the soul and energy levels, before the final push to get through a tiresome 2012. Hopefully it will encourage you to invest in quality time with fabulous friends at a welcoming and relaxing destination – a home from home.

Can’t wait for the next opportunity to sit on the ‘stoep’, drink wine and chat away or visit the local restaurant and meet up with residents and tourists - catching up with the latest developments and gossip. It is also a time to read and draw, with occasional breaks and walks, in between cooking breakfast, lunch and dinners, to view the incredible scenery, a variety of forms, shapes and textures. 

Daniel teasing the rooster.

A walk in Daniel’s garden also provides a feast for the eye, whilst the local bird life, the resident rooster, ducks and geese, provide lively farm-like activity in this otherwise quiet country retreat. The pond and lack of dogs on the property provide for an established oasis - attracting a variety of birdlife.

Late afternoon walks at sunset are particularly stunning – a variety of trees and grasses adding to the spectacular sun saturated landscapes. It is spring at the moment and everything should be growing and budding - arguably the best time of the year to visit this quaint un-spoilt Free State Town. They do have special weekend promotions – the next being The Cherry Festival 16-19 November. We often take walks to the hotel, The Rosendal, for breakfasts and or sundowners.

Breakfasts served on the backyard ‘stoep’, with a view of the garden and the pond is the best. Fruit salads with interesting egg dishes are served – an attempt to start the day healthy, before the bar opens at eleven – an excuse to wine and dine on homemade dishes and or at the local restaurant. When in doubt eat drink and be merry.

Hence the next post of a fab Rosendal dish.

Showcased here is a potato bake dish cooked for Saturday lunch. Potatoes sliced and fused with the flavour of bayleaves and baked in an onion, coconut milk/cream and cheese sauce. Served with a prawn and vegetable green salad. The combination makes for a visual spectacular and tasty meal. The two dishes complimenting each other well, in both colour, texture and taste.

Potato Bake

Slice and dice a few onions (two to three).
Finely chop three garlic glovesor minced (fresh and crunchy).
Add the coconut milk/cream to a bowl (alternatively use a broth), grate in the cheese (any cheddar cheese of your choice - *blue cheese is the best).
Add the onions and the garlic including a few sprigs of thyme.
Add a pinch of salt and pepper to your taste.
Fry bacon and add to the sauce (optional)
Mix through.

Make sure to preheat a moderate hot oven (180 degrees Celsius / 350F)

Meanwhile, carefully slice a number of medium size potatoes (scrubbed with their skins on) at regular intervals (enough to fill a baking dish)  – be careful not to cut all the way through.
Add the bay leaves (cut to size to fit the gaps in the potatoes).
*Make sure you make use of fresh bay leaves.
Arrange the potatoes in an ovenproof dish – they should support each other to stand upright, creating gaps for the rather rich sauce.
Pour the sauce over the potatoes in the dish – enough to just cover them. Sprinkle over some olive oil. Cook in the preheated oven for 45 minutes to an hour (until the potatoes are cooked though and the Herb flavours are infused into the potatoes. Make sure the sauce is replenished if need be during cooking.

Vegetable green salad with pesto mayo prawns.

For the lunch I also boiled some French green beans.
Drain when cooked; plunge into cold water to ensure it retains its green colour and remains firm to the bite.
Pick an assortment of salad leaves and herbs (preferably basil) and wash thoroughly before serving the salad leaves on a platter.

Carefully place the cooked prawns on the salad leaves, together with the cooked beans and finely chopped cucumber.
Spoon on the creamy mayonnaise, dribbled with the basil pestoover the prawns (image above).
Lastly cut ripe avocado slices - strategically placed on the salad platter.
Serve with a fabulous vinaigrette – to get the ratio of oil to vinegar right, ensure a 3-1 mix. Make sure to always stir the dressing, literally before ladling it over the salad.

Serve on a platter with a delicious wine; A Sauvignon Blanc Chenin Blanc.

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