Easter 2014: Best French Toast and how to pop popcorn

I know, today’s blogpost title is a bit of a mouthful, but so was Easter! :) And not just of chocolatey goodness, though there was lots of that, too. I could have blogged about each day of the long weekend individually but that didn’t happen, so here’s the highlights package…

Good Friday: 18 April 2014 – Best French Toast and how to pop popcorn

We started off the long weekend with breakfast at the Cassia Restaurant at Nitida wine farm on the outskirts of the Durbanville wine route. It was delicious! Smearing the toast with the tart berry compote and a bacon rasher is what made the French Toast so good, and the Hollandaise sauce on the Eggs Florentine was outstanding.

Best French Toast!

Best French Toast!

Eggs Florentine at Nitida

Eggs Florentine at Nitida

When the breakfasty goodness had worn off we went to Trologos, our closest sushi place, where it’s always half-price – and there’s more than enough on the menu to tempt non-fish eaters

ALL the half-price salmon sushi

ALL the half-price salmon sushi

Chocolate banana springroll and pink Peroni (OK, OK - it was a strawberry milkshake)

Chocolate banana springroll and pink Peroni (OK, OK – it was a strawberry milkshake)

And later, Husband taught me the secret to popping popcorn from a packet perfectly – it’s all in how well you follow the picture instructions printed on the packet, who knew?

Bertie agreed the popcorn was perfect

Bertie agreed the popcorn was perfect

See picture 4 of the instructions? Therein lies your popcorn success!

See picture 4 of the instructions? Therein lies your popcorn success!

Following the popping instructions exactly

Following the popping instructions exactly

Easter Saturday: 19 April 2014 – Bassie and the hot cross bun

Saturday was all about enjoying the sunshine, eating hot cross buns, and more sushi…

Bassie looking far more interested in my choc-chip hot cross bun than her selfie with mom

Bassie looking far more interested in my choc-chip hot cross bun than her selfie with mom

Orient restaurant, cartoonified

Orient restaurant, cartoonified

Chicken cashew nut with a beautifully cut carrot

Chicken cashew nut with a beautifully cut carrot

Delicious sweet-and-sour chicken

Delicious sweet-and-sour chicken

More sushi!

More sushi!

Easter Sunday: 20 April 2014 – Tandoori chicken at mom

Only the sweetest gardeners leave you a marshmallow egg

Only the sweetest gardeners leave you a marshmallow egg

Bertie and me post-marshmallow egg tussle. I won, as his face shows - a good thing, as chocolate isn't good for dogs

Bertie and me post-marshmallow egg tussle. I won, as his face shows – a good thing, as chocolate isn’t good for dogs

I'm a cartoon too! Lunch is served

I’m a cartoon too! Lunch is served

Mom's tandoori chicken with pale yellow rice and naan bread. Mmm!

Mom’s tandoori chicken with pale yellow rice and naan bread. Mmm!

Doggies with their granny, in sepia

Doggies with their granny, in sepia

Dad and me in black and white

Dad and me in black and white

Of course what I was trying to capture was much more beautiful than this! Tangerine and pink clouds were swirling

Of course what I was trying to capture was much more beautiful than this! Tangerine and pink clouds were swirling

Doggies waiting for a piece of granny's granadilla yoghurt cake

Doggies waiting for a piece of granny’s granadilla yoghurt cake

Wetting our whistles (and the rest of us) to make the most of the last of the summer sunshine

Sheesh, you couldn’t turn on the radio this Saturday without being repeatedly reminded that Cape Town was experiencing a heat wave, with temperatures we weren’t likely to feel again… until next summer rolls around, of course. So while there were lots of indoor chores to keep us occupied this weekend, we chose to rather spend most of our time outdoors, soaking up the summer sun.

On Saturday, we slept in then went for Eggs Benedict breakfast at our closest Café Dulce and spent the whole morning driving to the sea (I know I know, we live 5 minutes away from the Blouberg Beach, but we wanted the warm water of Muizenberg side).

And so we ended up at Strand first, where hubby swam a bit (I got in up to my knees as it was still cold, thankyouverymuch). Then we headed on to Muizenberg, which was PACKED. After a slow start I enjoyed myself boogieboarding – only got dunked once but it was necessary, came out with a clear head.

We didn’t take any photos of the boogie boarding in progress this time, but here’s one of me and my SCARY board at Kalk Bay last November:

'Hopefully the only shark I'll see in the sea', I quipped at the time

‘Hopefully the only shark I’ll see in the sea’, I quipped at the time

Next we headed to the tidal pool at St James, had a late lunch in Kalk Bay and discovered a nice outdoor pubby eatery on our way home:

Hubby's beer at the Big Barrel pub at Mountain View Farm (odd name as there is no view of the mountain. We looked.)

Hubby’s beer at the Big Barrel pub at Mountain View Farm (odd name as there is no view of the mountain. We looked.)

Holding his own beer

Holding his own beer

On Sunday we repeated the Eggs Benedict – except we made it at home and didn’t include Hollandaise sauce:

Microwave-poached egg on avo-smeared toast, with a bacon smile (or hat) and coffee on the side

Microwave-poached egg on avo-smeared toast, with a bacon smile (or hat) and coffee on the side

Then we went to our local beach with trusty umbrella to ward away sunburn-and-worse-causing rays:

Hubby just entering the scene on the left

Hubby just entering the scene on the left

The sweetest little doggie on the beach! Reminded me of Tabasco a handful-plus years ago

The sweetest little doggie on the beach! Reminded me of Tabasco a handful-plus years ago

And we ended up visiting the Big Barrel Pub again for lunch:

So nice we did it twice: Sitting in the sun together at the barrel pub place

So nice we did it twice: Sitting in the sun together at the barrel pub place

Before heading to my mom and dad for a summery supper of salad-y things:

The lovely summery spread

The lovely summery spread

You can feel the chill in the air already, so I’m glad we made full use of the summer sun this weekend…

Beautiful pink clouds, they vanished in the time it took me to go inside and bring out hubby's phone to take a better photo. Oh well

Beautiful pink clouds, they vanished in the time it took me to go inside and bring out hubby’s phone to take a better photo. Oh well

Best ribs and boat trips

Of course we did more than just eat and sightsee this weekend. But thinking back, those are two of the biggest highlights for me – and they usually are, as there’s nothing nicer than being a tourist in your own city.

Well, we partially accomplished that this weekend by visiting Lefty’s in town on Saturday – it’s only been open for a few months but is fast gaining a reputation for having ‘the best ribs and drunk food’ (words from other reviews, not mine). As I love me some ribs, we had to try them out for ourselves. And boy, were they yummy! Truly delicious, and not badly priced either, at R65 for 3 short racks of baby back ribs. I was hungry, had been looking forward to this for days, and still had to donate third rack to Husband as I was so full. He had the pulled pork sammich, one of his favourites… not quite so reasonably priced at R60 for a regular-sized roll. My other complaints? Service was lukewarm-to-tepid and there were no milkshakes on offer. Not even plain vanilla. Oh well. Will definitely go back for the ribs though, they were lip-smackingly, finger-lickingly good. Speaking of finger-licking, I may just try the ‘Kentucky chicken waffles with bacon and maple syrup’ next time. Mmm.

Sunday’s big adventure was a fantastic boat trip to the seal islands and rig wreck close to Hout Bay, which Husband has been trying to reach on his own steam pretty much since we arrived in Cape Town. I’ve always been wary of travelling by water as motion sickness usually hits me like a ton of bricks, but I seem to have found my ‘sea legs’ of late – remember I pretended we ‘lived the yacht life’ at the Waterfront a few weeks ago, and had a wonderful float on a catamaran earlier this year? Indeed.

That was the highlight of each day of the weekend for me, but of course that’s not all we did – the pics below do the rest of the weekend justice…

Saturday, 5 April 2014: Lazy breakfast at Seaside Blues in Melkbos, ribs at Lefty’s, Lagoon Beach clean up

Best thing about going out for breakfast in Cape Town? The view! I'm gazing out to sea at Seaside Blues in Melkbos here

Best thing about going out for breakfast in Cape Town? The view! I’m gazing out to sea at Seaside Blues in Melkbos here

And the food wasn't bad either! I had a 'tjoef-tjaf' and hubby was pleased with his large frittata

And the food wasn’t bad either! I had a ‘tjoef-tjaf’ and hubby was pleased with his large frittata

Aww. Best person to share a Coke with :)

Aww. Best person to share a Coke with :)

Yip, that's a Tafel on the table as we wait at Lefty's

Yip, that’s a Tafel on the table as we wait at Lefty’s

Pulled pork sammich = tasty but a bit on the small side

Pulled pork sammich = tasty but a bit on the small side

The RIBS! Look at my excited face. Look at it.

The RIBS! Look at my excited face. Look at it.

Doggies devouring the rib bones

Doggies devouring the rib bones

Jump for joy at Lagoon Beach

Jump for joy at Lagoon Beach

Doing a bit of a clean up at the beach. Playing around with colour settings on phone too, clearly

Doing a bit of a clean up at the beach. Playing around with colour settings on phone too, clearly

Sunday, 6 April 2014: Hout Bay harbour: Seal and shipwreck cruise

If you look closely you'll see the man bending over into the harbour holding raw fish in his mouth for the plump seals to grab

If you look closely you’ll see the man bending over into the harbour holding raw fish in his mouth for the plump seals to grab

Happy! On a boat! Not a selfie!

Happy! On a boat! Not a selfie!

The smelly seals at Duiker Island

The smelly seals at Duiker Island

Doesn't get prettier than this. Clear, sparkly water, lush green mountains and a bit a haze for atmosphere (lol, get it? Haze... atmosphere... OK I'll stop now)

Doesn’t get prettier than this. Clear, sparkly water, lush green mountains and a bit a haze for atmosphere (lol, get it? Haze… atmosphere… OK I’ll stop now)

The wreck at last. The Bos400 which came adrift in 1994, been nestled around the corner from Hout Bay ever since.

The wreck at last. The Bos400 which came adrift in 1994, been nestled around the corner from Hout Bay ever since.

Another mossy, sunken ship effort in Hout Bay harbour

Another mossy, sunken ship effort in Hout Bay harbour

Loved this! Seals sunning themselves on the Seal Alert

Loved this! Seals sunning themselves on the Seal Alert

Until next time, kids!

Tabasco Yoda turns 7

I know, I know, a four-legged fur-baby is drastically different to a human one. But I couldn’t be more proud of our little seven-year-old. Instead of learning her ABCs, 123s and colours she’s learning to become more patient around her adopted brother – when we first brought him home from the SPCA she really mourned the loss of her only child status. But times they are a-changing. We even find them curled up in the same blanket sometimes!

And as I’ve said before, nothing lifts the spirits more when you’ve had a bad day than the utterly enthusiastic greeting a doggie will give, complete with jumping, singing and licking.

This past Tuesday was the perfect opportunity for us to celebrate this joyful little creature, as it was her birthday. Here’s what we did…

Winking at the camera while patiently letting me hold the birthday hat over her... and eagerly awaiting the special birthday banana split I mainly ate myself

Winking at the camera while patiently letting me hold the birthday hat over her… and eagerly awaiting the special birthday banana split I mainly ate myself

Supper that night

Supper that night

Candlelit birthday supper the next night - my mom made us each an individual 'steak and ale' pie, and brought over some extra gravy to dress the doggies' dins

Candlelit birthday supper the next night – my mom made us each an individual ‘steak and ale’ pie, and brought over some extra gravy to dress the doggies’ dins

Two types of 'Tabasco' on the table at the same time!

Two types of ‘Tabasco’ on the table at the same time!

Birthday kisses for Granny

Birthday kisses for Granny

Granny recovering from the kiss, Tabby looking very proud of herself

Granny recovering from the kiss, Tabby looking very proud of herself

Birthday kisses and head noogies for Grampa

Birthday kisses and head noogies for Grampa

Eagerly awaiting a piece of the savoury sweetcorn and jalapeno scones my mom baked in Bassie's honour

Eagerly awaiting a piece of the savoury sweetcorn and jalapeno scones my mom baked in Bassie’s honour

and lastly…

I didn't blog about her birthday last year, but there's my dad holding the birthday hat over her dear little head

I didn’t blog about her birthday last year, but there’s my dad holding the birthday hat over her dear little head

The next best thing to a long weekend…

To me, the next best thing to a lovely long weekend like the last one is a lovely normal weekend that actually feels like it was two full days off. Lately it seems like I blink at home time on a Friday and suddenly find myself stuck in Sunday evening ‘Derick Watts & the Sunday Blues’ territory (real band name, I take no credit for it).

That’s why I was so pleased to wake up this past Sunday thinking it was Monday, only to discover we still had a full day of fun ahead. Maybe the weekend felt longer to me because we started the ‘festivities’ a little early, by having dinner at the local Indian restaurant on Thursday evening to celebrate payday week… The Indian Chapter Restaurant is rated very highly on EatOut and Trip Advisor, and with some blustery, drizzly weather setting in it was the perfect choice:

Thursday, 27 March: The Indian Chapter, Blouberg

Enjoying my masala chai... and the painting behind me

Enjoying my masala chai… and the painting behind me

Look at that face! Loved his hot chicken madras. Only likes curry of the 'too hot for regular people' variety

Look at that face! Loved his hot chicken madras. Only likes curry of the ‘too hot for regular people’ variety

PS: Bonus: The Indian Chapter Restaurant is run by pretty Prim Reddy, who we recognised from TV:

Prim and I outside her restaurant. Excuse the purple trackshoot - it was cold. And I like purple

Prim and I outside her restaurant. Excuse the purple trackshoot – it was cold. And I like purple

Saturday, 29 March: Cocktails at Jamaica Me Crazy; T20 cricket viewing at home with Chris and Diane (now engaged!); Earth Hour

Goodness golly gracious me. If you love cocktails and live in Cape Town, get yourself to Jamaica Me Crazy in Upper Woodstock, stat! The jalapeno poppers were OK but the happy hour cocktails for R18 were amazing (even better, happy hour is ALL DAY on Saturdays!) That's a stunningly swirled volcano (slushy mix of pina colada and strawberry daiquiri) and a blue Hurricane in front of us

Goodness golly gracious me. If you love cocktails and live in Cape Town, get yourself to Jamaica Me Crazy in Upper Woodstock, stat! The jalapeno poppers were OK but the happy hour cocktails for R18 were amazing (even better, happy hour is ALL DAY on Saturdays!) That’s a stunningly swirled volcano (slushy mix of pina colada and strawberry daiquiri) and a blue Hurricane in front of us

See how Bertie's grinning? He was plotting how to reach the chippy snack things I'd placed out of his reach. He did later get to the chips

See how Bertie’s grinning? He was plotting how to reach the chippy snack things I’d placed out of his reach. He did later get to the chips

Bassie and mommy watching the cricket

Bassie and mommy watching the cricket

Aww. Bassie holding on tight to her new best friend, Christopher

Aww. Bassie holding on tight to her new best friend, Christopher

Bertie having tickle time with Diane. He retaliated with licks - I don't know which is worse!

Bertie having tickle time with Diane. He retaliated with licks – I don’t know which is worse!

My, but we do pull funny faces when we take selfies! Lol. This is just to show we were both wearing the 'gold and green' to support our boys - and it seemed to work, we won! Woohoo

My, but we do pull funny faces when we take selfies! Lol. This is just to show we were both wearing the ‘gold and green’ to support our boys – and it seemed to work, we won! Woohoo

We lit the colour-changing candle that Clifton gifted me for my last half-birthday, it is the prettiest thing! Goes through the full colour spectrum. Even better? It's vanilla scented. Best candle ever.

We lit the colour-changing candle that Clifton gifted me for my last half-birthday, it is the prettiest thing! Goes through the full colour spectrum. Even better? It’s vanilla scented. Best candle ever.

Daddy and baby boy dog relaxing to the gentle sounds of the Band Stand in front of the fire during Earth Hour

Daddy and baby boy dog relaxing to the gentle sounds of the Band Stand in front of the fire during Earth Hour

Sweet boy all worn out, napping on the beanbag after Earth Hour

Sweet boy all worn out, napping on the beanbag after Earth Hour

Sunday, 30 March: Window shopping and froyo eating at Tyger Valley; wave watching in Blouberg; lunch at Driftwood Cafe

I've had froyo before of course, but the flavours at Smooch in Tyger Valley are amazing! Pina Colada, Milktart, White Chocolate, etc. Mmm

I’ve had froyo before of course, but the flavours at Smooch in Tyger Valley are amazing! Pina Colada, Milktart, White Chocolate, etc. Mmm

Ahoy me mateys, it's high tide! Walking along the wet rocks at the crashing waves in front of Petit Fours in Blouberg

Ahoy me mateys, it’s high tide! Walking along the wet rocks at the crashing waves in front of Petit Fours in Blouberg

Yay! The Spring Surprise burger special was still on at Driftwood Cafe, even though Spring has come and gone. Accompanied by a long Cola for him and a deliciously incorrectly labelled peanut butter shake in a Castle glass for me

Yay! The Spring Surprise burger special was still on at Driftwood Cafe, even though Spring has come and gone. Accompanied by a long Cola for him and a deliciously incorrectly labelled peanut butter shake in a Castle glass for me

That’s all, folks! Next post will be about Bassie’s birthday, which we’re celebrating today :)

Long live lazy long weekends!

There’s something so exciting about the moment when you realise a long weekend is looming. It’s not just the thought of ignoring your ridiculously early alarm so you can sleep in late and relax, giving your ‘work brain’ a rest for an extra day. There’s more to it than that. I find my excitement building for weeks before a public holiday (our next ones are roughly a month away and I have to hold myself back from doing a little jig each time my synapses spark with a happy reminder).

This past long weekend was no different. Here are a few snaps…

Thursday, 20 March – eve of the long weekend

We got things off to a silly start with some ‘doggie selfies’ in the evening after a long, tiring work week

Selfie with Bassie. She is not impressed

Selfie with Bassie. She is not impressed

A selfie with both of them

A selfie with both of them

Family selfie on the swing bench, Bassie's favourite place

Family selfie on the swing bench, Bassie’s favourite place

This one makes me laugh, looks like she is after her dad's whisky

This one makes me laugh, looks like she is after her dad’s whisky

Friday, 21 March – the public holiday itself – Human Rights Day

We had a lazy day starting with a lie in and a quick Wimpy breakfast, then caught some sun at Kleinbaai, caught some mussels at ‘Mussel Beach’ near Bloubergstrand, brought them home to soak, went off to Hout Bay for lunch, watched the giant seals being fed fish mouth-to-mouth, had a ginormous two-tone ice-cream, stopped at GrandWest casino for a spot of fun on our way home and collected coal from the beach to light our first fire of the year

I used the beach time for more important things, like reading and burrowing toes in the sand

I used the beach time for more important things, like reading and burrowing toes in the sand

If you look carefully, you can just spot Clifton in the waves, 'catching' mussels

If you look carefully, you can just spot Clifton in the waves, ‘catching’ mussels

The mussels he caught were large and delicious

The mussels he caught were large and delicious

He's actually enjoying the currywurst roll despite his facial expression

He’s actually enjoying the currywurst roll despite his facial expression

Ditto my chiproll drenched in vinegar and tomato sauce

Ditto my chiproll drenched in vinegar and tomato sauce

And then this happened! Biggest bestest two-tone soft serve, for a whopping, 12 ronts

And then this happened! Biggest bestest two-tone soft serve, for a whopping, 12 ronts

We even had the electric bus thing to ourselves at the casino

We even had the electric bus thing to ourselves at the casino

Saturday, 22 March – Saturday that felt like a Sunday

We breakfasted at the local nursery, acted like silly buggers by dancing around on the dunes near Sunset Beach, watched SA lose the T20 against Sri Lanka on TV, then took off our SA shirts and went to Woodbridge Island for our weekly chilli poppers. The evening was filled with me watching Glee (you know I love itclick here too for arb reference in a short story I wrote a while back) and Clifton cooking the most delicious Thai beef curry, so we could listen to the Bandstand of 702 (you know we love it) with tummies purring (but not too full, there was still space for a marshmallow or two from the fire…

It's a hard job keeping Bertie away while toasting/roasting a marshmallow to perfection

It’s a hard job keeping Bertie away while toasting/roasting a marshmallow to perfection

Sunday, 23 March – second Sunday, what a treat

We took the doggies for a gallop/run/song-singing session at Kreeftebaai, then had a very long lunch with my parents at the Italian Club, then spent the afternoon wandering around the Waterfront and surrounds. And ended with a gorgeous sunset

Bertie leading his dad straight towards the sea birds

Bertie leading his dad straight towards the sea birds

Bassie's telltale 'I've just been to the beach' sandy nose

Bassie’s telltale ‘I’ve just been to the beach’ sandy nose

Dad and me at Italian Club (yes, that's the ever-present coffee shake in front of me)

Dad and me at Italian Club (yes, that’s the ever-present coffee shake in front of me)

Boy and mum were also there

Boy and mum were also there

We ate and we ate! All this for 100 buckeroos

We ate and we ate! All this for 100 buckeroos

Pretending we live the high life at the Waterfront

Pretending we live the high life at the Waterfront – though I have been on a catamaran, click here if you don’t recall

Beautiful sunset sky to end the lovely long weekend

Beautiful sunset sky to end the lovely long weekend

 

There you have it :) Was it lovely? Yes. Lazy? Indeed. Long enough? Sadly not. Oh well, a month and counting until the next one…

The Delaney-Andrews family does St Patrick’s day

If you looks at my brother-on-law Spec’s Facebook profile pic, (and another of my Argus-completing father-in-law) taken at a Halloween dress-up party they held last year, you might get the hint that we enjoy St Paddy’s day in our family (here they are, for your viewing pleasure):

Spec in the rather obvious hat

Spec in the rather obvious hat

See? It fits the whole family

See? It fits the whole family

Some photos from our St Patrick's evening in 2010, when we went to the Dros in Rock Cottage for an authentic meal, complete with shamrock tattoos and hearty pies

Some photos from our St Patrick’s evening in 2010, when we went to the Dros in Rock Cottage for an authentic meal, complete with shamrock tattoos and hearty pies

And while my family’s not alone in enjoying St Patrick’s Day, it is a little more special for us as my dad’s family tree does actually wind back to the river Slaney in Ireland (that’s where our surname ‘Delaney’ part comes from… and the fact that some say it translates to ‘River of Health’ may explain why my dad’s aged so well.)

We even found mugs with the crests of both our family names on when we were in Disney World a fistful of years ago:

Andrews and Delaney family crests

Andrews and Delaney family crests

But I digress. You’re not here for a family history lesson. The more obvious reason to celebrate St Patrick’s day is that my dad’s name is Patrick. So all these fascinating facts add up to us always making a point of enjoying St Patrick’s Day. As we did yesterday…

While we were at work, mum and dad went to the Dubliner pub in town for Kilkenny and Guinness - not coloured green, thank goodness

While we were at work, mum and dad went to the Dubliner pub in town for Kilkenny and Guinness – not coloured green, thank goodness

We went over to their house for dins. Here's Dad and me, singing 'Happy St Patrick's Day to you' to the tune of 'Happy birthday to you' - excuse the very wide eyes, that's my singing face

We went over to their house for dins. Here’s Dad and me, singing ‘Happy St Patrick’s Day to you’ – excuse the very wide eyes, that’s my singing face

Mum created some delicious Irish coffees after supper

Mum created some delicious Irish coffees after supper

Mmm was delicious - you know I love coffee

Mmm was delicious – you know I love coffee

Dad and boy enjoying their coffees

Dad and boy enjoying their coffees

Mom and doggies watching TV together

Mom and doggies watching TV together

Hope you had a great one too! :) For more on the actual St Patrick and why his name day is celebrated (ridding Ireland of snakes, anyone?), click here.