Thursday, December 15, 2011

Rosendal experience at the start of 2011 recess

It is that time of the year again, when all Gauteng residents escape to more desirable and delectable destinations, albeit just for a moment – to soak up the sun and swim in the sea etc. etc.. Most of the Jozi (Johannesburg) restaurants, bars and local small street malls are shutdown for the festive season. The owners, managers and waiters all take a much-needed break, leaving the city deserted and traffic free. It is a time to braai (barbecue), drink and be merry (Christmas is here again). 
My holiday started with a three-day break at my favourite weekend-away spot Rosendal. Please follow link to previous post titled, The Rosendal experience is more than just another country treat.
Road to Fiksburg

I purchased a 18-200 lens for my new camera, the Sony NEX 5 and decided to shoot my Rosendal experience up close. Included are visuals of our walks round town (visits to the trading stores), our delicious food and a glimpse into the variety of animals occupying the property. 
He built a pond and maintains a fabulous flower, vegetable and herb garden that adds to the country retreat’s value adding experience. Situated in town, this man made country utopia is nestled in between other properties, and is therefore without the spectacular views of those homes situated on the edges of the town. The garden and small animals on his property therefore provides an alternative naturalistic environment to the already incredible surroundings.  

I enjoy cooking, especially at Rosendal. Having access to organically grown vegetables, salad leaves and herbs makes the experience that much more desirable. Picking your own ingredients surrounded by ducks, geese, birds and bees makes cooking an ultimate pleasure. Showcased here is a pasta dish cooked for the weekend away’s Saturday lunch. 

Prawns with French shallots cooked in an Italian Arrabiata sauce with a twist. Served with squid-ink pasta and broccoli as a side dish. The rich red of the tomato sauce and pink hue of the prawns contrasts sharply with the green vegetable; a visual feast for the eye and tasty combo.

Prawns Arrabiata served with squid-ink pasta.

Slice a few French shallots (from Woolworths).
Finely chop three green chilies (remove the seeds)  
Also chop three garlic glovesor minced (fresh and crunchy).
Heat a small quantity of olive oil in a pan. Add the French shallots and chilies and fry gently - till the shallots are almost soft and golden (sautéed).
Add the garlic and fry for just a few moments –release the aroma.

Add a tin or two of whole cherry tomatoes with the sauce (also from Woolworths). Depending on the number of guests/servings.
Add the chopped leaves of a sprig of oregano (or two) to the sauce (hand picked from Daniel’s herb garden). Alternatively add parsley – a more authentic approach.
Also add a squirt of organic Italian tomato paste (choice grade in a tube, also from Woolworths) to the cooking sauce. Cook for a few minutes.

Add the pre-cooked and shelled prawns (also from Woolworths at R69.00) to the sauce including a batch of basil leaves and cook for a few minutes.
Cook until heated through to blend flavors.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Meanwhile drop the bowtie shaped squid-ink pasta into the lightly salted boiling water. When the pasta is cooked al dente (about seven minutes), switch off the flame and add a glass of cold water (stop the cooking of the pasta). Drain and set aside.
For the lunch I also boiled some broccoli, (their stems sliced down the middle at the thicker end - to speed up the cooking time and more importantly to cook through evenly). Drain when cooked; ensuring it retains its green colour and remains firm to the bite. Serve with sprinkled lemon juice (not too much), black pepper and grated Pecorino cheese.

P.S. Some Italian recipes state that you don’t grate cheese over this seafood dish – I grated cheese over, as you can see.

Serve on a platter with a delicious wine; our choice was a Haute Cabriere Chardonnay / Pinot Noir.

Recent developments in Rosendal.

Walks through the town reveal constant changes in the local businesses. The restaurant has changed ownership and with it comes a face lift – a new style including menu revealing the owner and new chef’s personal touch. In a small town like Rosendal such change is radical and brings a new dimension to the hospitality rituals the country retreat has to offer. 

The creative touch of neo-sculptor Dahla Hulme is evident. Her bold works, although utilitarian in function, has a very strong one-of-a-kind sculptural quality.  Visit her website to view her work.

Other notable changes are that of Sandra Lemmer’s recent additions to the few noteworthy business spaces in town. She has converted another landmark into a trading store photographed here. Every angle and corner of this store is meticulously styled – her creative touch is evident throughout. 

From the very last tin at the very top of each of the stacked products to the colour coded display’s of enamel jugs, basins and pots at Enamel. Each room carefully arranged from an open-museum and or film set perspective. These authentically recreated trading stores are strategically positioned in the town and maintains the nostalgic bygone era of this very special country retreat. In sharp contrast to the very commercial and overcrowded Clarence an hour’s drive away. 

This weekend away has most certainly stirred up the holiday feelings within my blood and tomorrow morning we are on our way on my way to Cape Town. We will spend one night in Knysna – the beautiful Garden route. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Food Wine & Design Fair 2011 - Hyde Park Rooftop 25 - 27 Nov., 2011.

Botanica Products, Studio Formafantasma,
as cited in Vogue living Australia.
See more images and text below.
It is that time of the year again; the summer is upon us. Time to get out of the office and the comfort of our homes to enjoy the sunshine, the hot weather and the green grass. 

The flowers are blooming and for some of us the flesh is freshly tanned from the scorching sun on the Highveld. This weekend offer those individuals keen on good food, good wine and fine design, the opportunity to celebrate the natural goodness that life has to offer.
The Food Wine Design Fair - Hyde Park Rooftop 25 - 27 Nov. 2011. I am referring to all things natural and authentic – the Neo green as cited at Neo Green Life. Their buzzwords are ‘sustainable’, ‘clean and green’ and ‘carbon footprint sound the call for a new paradigm that will protect our planetary resources for future generations.

Goet Design
This year’s Food Wine Design Fair (Roof top Hyde Park), it would seem, the focus is on everything clean and green. Wood is everywhere to be seen. The emphasis is definitely on the natural, there is no need for heavy makeup, and don’t expect excessive glamour. Be yourself and dress freshly for the occasion, come prepared to relax, to touch and to smell. It is all good, fresh and delicious. 

Batch Design
Latest Trends as cited in Elle Decoration SA & Vogue Living Australia.

These ideas are in keeping with the latest trends as advocated by the local Elle Decoration and Vogue Living Australia. Issue no 80 revealing 42 New Ways with Flowers and Invouge focusing on Organic matters – the natural bounty.

Overberg Farmhouse interior as cited in Elle Decoration

Deco’s spring issue is packed with springtime inspiration – from clever ways with flowers to garden fresh recipes. But says Laureen Rossouw the editor, it is also about being imaginative and spontaneous, and staying open to the beauty around you, no matter the weather. 
(as cited in Elle Decoration Oct/Nov 2011, page 9)

Nic Bladen, Botanical Sculptures.
 Frozen in space to preserve a piece of nature. 

The work of Nic Bladen needs special mention here, beautifully cast jewellery and sculptural works. Demonstrating his master casting techniques. Reminiscent of botanical studies, true to life, they embody our determination to preserve nature at a time of radical climate change and global warming. Untouched and unspoilt, these plants will not fade or die, frozen in space even their roots are captured, leaving nothing to the imagination, but everything to be admired and desired.

Botanica Products, Studio Formafantasma.
As cited in Vogue living Australia.

Invouge’s Organic Matters.

Produced by Studio Formafantasma, the Botanica exhibition was a highlight of the recent Milan Design Week. The project, commissioned by Italy’s Plart Foundation, investigates Eco alternatives to synthetically derived plastics: natural -, plant -, and animal based polymers such as dammar (a varnish tapped from trees) and shellac ( a resin secreted from the Lac Beetle). 

Vase, Botanica Exhibition.
Studio Formafantasma

These faux-plastic pieces have found voice in a move to organic materials , motifs, pictured above and below. (cited in vogue Living Sep/Oct 11, page 25 and 26).

Please do yourself a favour and visit the Studio Formafantasma website, it is an inspiration. Not only are the products evolutionary organic but they beautifully designed and styled, with a strong Japanese minimalistic look and feel throughout. These are breathtakingly beautiful products and images. Bravo Studio Formafantasma.

Coffee Table, Botanica Exhibition.
Studio Formafantasma
All the goodness the Swartland has to offer.
Make your way to Hyde Park Johannesburg today for the final day of the second Food Wine Design Fair 25 - 27November 2011. The design is fine, the food is divine, the wine sublime and people awesome. Situated in a long tent on the roof-top of the shopping complex, the quirky dining tables placed down the center of the space and the products of the finest jewelers, craftspeople, winemakers and top chefs are situated on either side. The displays of furniture, ceramics, Art on paper and all things edible heightens the senses, contributing to a fabulous atmosphere. I loved the flower croquettes from the BarBarBlackSheep Restaurant. They are based in Riebeek Kasteel – 60 min drive from Cape Town on the N7. Absolutely delicious. Scaled down from last year’s fair, the reduction in craft exhibits are disappointing, but does not in anyway impact on the fantastic and fabulous food wine and design event. It needs your support as it is truly local, green and clean – what more could you ask for.

I went for a few hours in the afternoon and stayed almost the entire evening. Loved it.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Table Mountain - a new World Wonder.

Spectacular vista from table mountain

Table Mountain, the world heritage site was voted one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. As a mountain goat (born in the Western Cape) I could not resist to get all emotional and nostalgic. Brought on by the fact that it is the almost the end of a rather hectic year. 
The summer recess is imminent and I must be feeling homesick – this after migrating to the Highveld many, many years ago.  Maybe it’s the desire within to get closer to nature – or worse, to escape Johannesburg for all the right reasons. 
Dare I say, it rates as one of the ugliest cities in the world – especially during the dry, cold and colourless winters. There are no mountains (only koppies), or a major river and there is no sound of waves crushing down on sandy shores. 

Although I hated the Cape’s wet winters and the hectic South Easter (wind), nothing beats the Cape beaches, Kirstenbosch Gardens, Cape Point and the Wine Route, etc., etc., etc. An absolutely fabulous holiday destination. 
up the mountain in 1995-6
When last have you taken the cableway up Table Mountain? The images above show me on the Mountain in1995-6. I was particularly impressed with the amazing landscape architectural structures from which to enjoy the many spectacular vistas of the Western Cape. 
Beautifully designed and constructed with classical lines reminiscent of yacht’s bow. (seen here on the left). Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company was recently accredited for their efforts in environmental and social responsible tourism in Southern Africa. They were declared the overall winner at the Imvelo Responsible Tourism Awards. All drinking water, sewage and waste is transported via the cable car.

For a virtual experience visit the following site Table Mountain  - a 720 degrees virtual view from the top (scroll down on the link provided). An absolute must see if you cant get there in person.
The Amazon 
The six other new seven wonders of the world are the Amazon  in South America, Halong Bay in Vietnam, Iguazu Falls in Argentina, Jeju Island in South Korea, Komodo Island in Indonesia and the Puerto Princesa Underground River in the Philippines.
Iguazu Falls in Argentina

Halong Bay in Vietnam
Jeju Island in South Korea
Komodo Island
Puerto Princesa Underground River