Letting Cape Town’s best kept secret out the bag…

When you first mention that you live in/are moving to the Western Cape, folk-not-from-these-parts treat you with suspicion. They’ll always end a grudging comment on the sunny summers with something along the lines of “But the winters? No thanks. The wind howls and it doesn’t stop raining for months and months and months…”

Truth is, they’re wrong. I’ve only lived in Cape Town a few fingers’ and toes’ worth of months now but I know Capetonians are excellent secret-keepers. Because the ‘months and months and months’ of solid rain and howling wind those folk from ‘Up North’ speak of? It’s more like a few days here and there. Broken by days of the most wondrous blue skies, sparkling seas and light breezes of excitement and hope that blow away any grey-thought cobwebs still hanging around.

This past weekend was one such weekend. The kind you think of when you hear the lyrics to ‘June Afternoon’ by Roxette (that’s pretty old school, I know). It was the “Wah wah, here comes the sun, playing in the park, never getting dark…” kind, with the magical sunset glow adding a special filter to everything. (I wasn’t the only one to think so – click here for proof).

And of course, this winter wonderland is when all the whimsical ‘winter specials’ come into play that are long forgotten when the December hoards grace our lovely seaside towns – when it comes to Blouberg beachfront alone there’s two for 1 sushi and more on offer at Catch22half-price pizza all day on Monday at Col Cacchios in Big Bay (click here for a reminder of how much I love this special)… and the list goes on, stretching as far afield as Stellenbosch if you’re so inclined.

And so, frolic in the winter sunshine we did. You’ll see there’s a natural sunny ‘haze’ in most of these photos, that’s what I’m talking about – sometimes a picture really is better than a thousand words when describing something.

Sun-dappled head of my dear, sweet girl in the car on the way to the beach
Sun-dappled head of my dear, sweet girl in the car on the way to the beach
Doggies running up the beach path ahead of their dad
Doggies running up the beach path ahead of their dad
And run they did! If you squinch up your eyes you can JUST make out a little doggy-shaped dot on either side of hubby in this sunny shot
And run they did! If you squinch up your eyes you can JUST make out a little doggy-shaped dot on either side of hubby in this sunny shot
Bassie baby noticed I hadn't kept up the frantic jog so turned back to keep me company
Bassie baby noticed I hadn’t kept up the frantic jog so turned back to keep me company
Later that day - a beer on the sun-drenched patio of the Big Barrel pub at Mountain View Farm, while the crowds cheered on SA vs. Wales rugby inside
Later that day – a beer on the sun-drenched patio of the Big Barrel pub at Mountain View Farm, while the crowds cheered on SA vs. Wales rugby inside
Later still - soaking up more sunshine at the lovely outdoor eating bit of our local Food Lover's Market in Sunningdale - had a delicious nut-brittle type slice of cheese cake and pot of spicy cinnamon tea. Divine weekend treat.
Later still – soaking up more sunshine at the lovely outdoor eating bit of our local Food Lover’s Market in Sunningdale – had a delicious nut-brittle type slice of cheese cake and pot of spicy cinnamon tea. Divine weekend treat.
Even the plain white teapot was positively glowing with sunny goodness - probably because of the hot liquid sunshine it held. Silken teabags are always a win
Even the plain white teapot was positively glowing with sunny goodness – probably because of the hot liquid sunshine it held. Silken teabags are always a win
Sunday dawned even warmer than Saturday, if possible - here is the friendly local cat at McPherson's Garden Centre, where we tried out the Sunday lunch special
Sunday dawned even warmer than Saturday, if possible – here is the friendly local cat at McPherson’s Garden Centre, where we tried out the Sunday lunch special
Not sure of his real name, but I've named the cat 'Furry McPherson' because he lives at McPhersons :) He reluctantly hopped off the bench when our food arrived
Not sure of his real name, but I’ve named the cat ‘Furry McPherson’ because he lives at McPhersons πŸ™‚ He reluctantly hopped off the bench when our food arrived
See what a wonderful view we had? Hard not to relax when there's such a picturesque sight on offer
See what a wonderful view we had? Hard not to relax when there’s such a picturesque sight on offer
And then the food came! I am always at my most excited in food pics - this plate of 3 meats, rice and veg was R59, but that's not all...
And then the food came! I am always at my most excited in food pics – this plate of 3 meats, rice and veg was R59, but that’s not all…
The price also included this tasty block of malva pudding and creamy vanilla ice-cream drenched in custard. Tabasco sauce an optional extra
The price also included this tasty block of malva pudding and creamy vanilla ice-cream drenched in custard. Tabasco sauce an optional extra
Bassie sat proudly on her Grampa's knee that afternoon as they told each other about their recent walks
Bassie sat proudly on her Grampa’s knee that afternoon as they told each other about their recent walks
And later still we collected coal from the beach. Yip, that's genuine coal washed up with all the mussel shells, perfect in the fireplace... makes the house smell like a steam-train
And later still we collected coal from the beach. Yip, that’s genuine coal washed up with all the mussel shells, perfect in the fireplace… makes the house smell like a steam-train
A very curious seagull followed me along the beach as I added more coal to our collection
A very curious seagull followed me along the beach as I added more coal to our collection

See? Winter in Cape Town’s really not about gloomy grey skies and rainy moods. Well, not all the time.

Advertisements

Father’s Day 2014: Birdy breakfasts, baked camembert and Godzilla

I think it was AA Milne’s Winnie The Pooh books that first introduced me to the technique of capitalising non-naming words (especially if ‘Very’ is involved) for emphasis. And it’s time to put those sad capitals that lie around waiting for the beginning of a sentence or an important person to show up to use, as it’s been a Very Busy Week.

But finally I’ve squeezed in time to blog about last weekend. It was a wonderful one all round as it encompassed Father’s Day and the Youth Day public holiday, so we had three days of relaxing, resting and relishing good food while the weather stayed wet and blustery. We even put to use the lovely big camembert cheese wheelΒ my minion recently gifted me with. Yay! As if that’s not enough, Husband took off the two days leading up to the long weekend, so he actually had a jealousy-inducing five-day stretch off of work.

And jealousy-inducing things he/we did. Here are a few of my favourites…

First up - a dog walk on the beach. Little Bassie looks even smaller roaming an empty beach. She steers clear of the water
First up – a dog walk on the beach. Little Bassie looks even smaller roaming an empty beach. She steers clear of the water
Bertiekins, on the other hand, must have 'Adult Supervision' at all times as he gets Very Excited. Here he is seeing the sea
Bertiekins, on the other hand, must have ‘Adult Supervision’ at all times as he gets Very Excited. Here he is seeing the sea
And a few minutes later he was in it. As one does, if one is a dog.
And a few minutes later he was in it. As one does, if one is a dog.
With the dogs walked and safely deposited back home, Husband met my parents for lunch at Col Cacchio in Big Bay, which has a half-price pizza lunchtime special. I was such a jealousy custard that he promised to take me there on Monday. And also got me 'Chirese' take aways for dins that night. Chirese being how you say 'Chinese' with a Chinese accent, of course.
With the dogs walked and safely deposited back home, Husband met my parents for lunch at Col Cacchio in Big Bay, which has a half-price pizza lunchtime special. I was such a jealousy custard that he promised to take me there on Monday. And also got me ‘Chirese’ take aways for dins that night. Chirese being how you say ‘Chinese’ with a Chinese accent, of course.
We ventured out in the rain on Saturday between admin type chores for breakfast at  McPhersons garden centre. The weather was foul/'fowl'. Aptly, here is a chicken contemplating new pots for his/her garden
We ventured out in the rain on Saturday between admin type chores for breakfast at McPhersons garden centre. The weather was foul/’fowl’. Aptly, here is a chicken contemplating new pots for his/her garden
More birdies! These curious geese stuck outside in the rain were Very Interested in us and kept tapping their beaks against the window to attract our attention
More birdies! These curious geese stuck outside in the rain were Very Interested in us and kept tapping their beaks against the window to attract our attention
Finally able to join in the long weekend festivities, this is me Very Excited about my toasted bacon, feta and avo with wedges at McPherson's on Saturday morning
Finally able to join in the long weekend festivities, this is me Very Excited about my toasted bacon, feta and avo with wedges at McPherson’s on Saturday morning
And the birdy theme even continued after breakfast. Husband saw this lilac balloon owlie and next thing it was mine. It is watching me type this, asking 'Who, who?' (Not really but it would if it could)
And the birdy theme even continued after breakfast. Husband saw this lilac balloon owlie and next thing it was mine. It is watching me type this, asking ‘Who, who?’ (Not really but it would if it could)
Husband having a much-needed banana milkshake (large) at Wimpy Bayside later that day
Husband having a much-needed banana milkshake (large) at Wimpy Bayside later that day
Bassie baby neatly munching her rib bones from Granny on Sunday
Bassie baby neatly munching her rib bones from Granny on Sunday
Bertie boy making more of a mess with his - he likes to remove each one from the bowl and eat it off the floor
Bertie boy making more of a mess with his – he likes to remove each one from the bowl and eat it off the floor
The girls having Father's Day brunch - me, mum and Bassie in this photo in front of my Wall of Weird, with some of the brunch we munched
The girls having Father’s Day brunch – me, mum and Bassie in this photo in front of my Wall of Weird, with some of the brunch we munched
Baked camembert with figs, syrup, crushed Crunchie and toasted nuts. Quite spectacular
Baked camembert with figs, syrup, crushed Crunchie and toasted nuts. Quite spectacular
Bertie snuggled between his bescarfed granny and mom
Bertie snuggled between his bescarfed granny and mom
Me with the nicest, kindest, sweetest dad a girl could ask for.
Me with the nicest, kindest, sweetest dad a girl could ask for.
Husband getting cuddles from his own little girl
Husband getting cuddles from his own little girl
Monday! Promise fulfilled! Husband took me to Col Cacchio - that's a Very Delicious Bar One milkshake
Monday! Promise fulfilled! Husband took me to Col Cacchio – that’s a Very Delicious Bar One milkshake
Pizzas! Husband had a half-half effort (ribs on one half, butter chicken on the other) while mine was my favourite, Nacho Libre - jerk chicken, avo (well, guacamole really) and sour cream.
Pizzas! Husband had a half-half effort (ribs on one half, butter chicken on the other) while mine was my favourite, Nacho Libre – jerk chicken, avo (well, guacamole really) and sour cream.
As a belated Father's Day present, grubby puppy coins paid for us to watch Godzilla at the cinemas. Here is Husband examining the Transformers scary poster thing and looking suitably, um, scared.
As a belated Father’s Day present, grubby puppy coins paid for us to watch Godzilla at the cinemas. Here is Husband examining the Transformers scary poster thing and looking suitably, um, scared.

That’s all for now, folks – next weekend is so close you can almost smell it. As Winnie the Poor would say, that’s Very Good indeed. πŸ™‚

Going back to comfort food to beat the winter chill

Ah Cape Town. Most locals know that the beautiful, steamy November-to-March months of solid summer sunshine are followed by months of wet, grey winter. The kind where you dream of steam and can’t get enough of it from long soaks in the tub and an endless supply of coffee cups filled to the brim. That would explain why the view from my office window, which normally looks like this – magically sunny and ‘get outside’ inspiring:

Sunny view of CBD and Table Mountain
Sunny view of CBD and Table Mountain

Has been more like this for the past few weeks:

Overcast and drizzly - that's rain, not tears on the glass
Overcast and drizzly – that’s rain, not tears on the glass

Or worse, like this:

View completely morphed by rain
View completely morphed by rain

Some days it rains, some days it pours. Most days the wind is so bitterly cold that your eyeballs ache and your nose zings each time you venture out (Note: Having your nose sing is different to having your nose zing. The former is amusing. The latter, not so much.)

And so, we’ve not been out and about trying many new things of late. Instead, it’s comfort that appeals – the comfort of going back to a treasured memory or a tummy-filling meal that you know will do well again and again.

Popcorn weather! Using an owlie salt shaker! Happy to finally be home and dry...
Popcorn weather! Using an owlie salt shaker! Happy to finally be home and dry…

That’s why last weekend, instead of trying anywhere new, we revisited a few of our local favourites, namely Inside, the intriguing Indian bistro/cocktail bar/sports lounge in Eden on the Bay where we had one of the best value-for-money breakfasts a few weeks ago, as well as the Brazen Head Irish pub, at Seaside Village. Both in Big Bay, both on the same day. Yes we did.Β 

Here’s breakfast at Inside…

I didn't properly document the meal last time - here we go with big bowl of yoghurt and honey to start, as well as glass of Coca Cola, flute of orange juice and pot of tea...
I didn’t properly document the meal last time – here we go with big bowl of yoghurt and honey to start, as well as glass of Coca Cola, flute of orange juice and pot of tea…
Nonchalantly sipping on one's breakfast Coke, as one does. This is the rest of the meal - all this AND everything in previous photo came to less than R80. For realsies. Pick your jaw up off the floor.
Nonchalantly sipping on one’s breakfast Coke, as one does. This is the rest of the meal – all this AND everything in previous photo came to less than R80. For realsies. Pick your jaw up off the floor.

This is lunch at the Brazen Head with mum and dad…

We were so full from our breakfast still that Hubby was happy with the cheesy snails starter and a Castle Draught to wash it down
We were so full from our breakfast still that Hubby was happy with the cheesy snails starter and a Castle Draught to wash it down
Dad was very pleased with his freshly made snake and pygmy pie (OK OK, it was steak and kidney) and handful of chips
Dad was very pleased with his freshly made snake and pygmy pie (OK OK, it was steak and kidney) and handful of chips
Mom and I shared these wonderful vege side orders - she didn't have the super large breakfast I did but had been very ill with ear infection/dizziness for a fortnight, so dry food was the order of the day. And these were delicious! Crumbed mushrooms, delicate sweet butternut and garlicky spinach. Mmm
Mom and I shared these wonderful vege side orders – she didn’t have the super large breakfast I did but had been very ill with ear infection/dizziness for a fortnight, so dry food was the order of the day. And these were delicious! Crumbed mushrooms, delicate sweet butternut and garlicky spinach. Mmm

And the deliciousness continued the following day, when a fried-food craving hit so we went to Ilha at Woodbridge Island for this lovely meal…

That's an iced coffee/coffee shake in front of me, three large feta-and-bacon stuffed jalapeno poppers with sweet chilli dipping sauce, and a basket of prawn tempura and chips. Not pictured - Hubby and his Castle Draught. Apologies to man at next table pondering his newspaper
That’s an iced coffee/coffee shake in front of me, three large feta-and-bacon stuffed jalapeno poppers with sweet chilli dipping sauce, and a basket of prawn tempura and chips. Not pictured – Hubby and his Castle Draught. Apologies to man at next table pondering his newspaper

That’s all, folks… I sense more comfort food coming my way as the temperature’s set to drop further, so watch this space for more!

Supporting the local rugby scene… surprisingly

I’m not really sports-inclined. This is ‘funny strange’, not ‘funny haha’, as my workday is filled with curating, editing and publishing sport news. But in my personal life? Not so much.

I was never the top athlete at school, in primary school the closest I came to it was attending a few gymnastics classes at the local recreation centre – I was young enough to think it was called ‘gym-elastics’. Then in high school, where sporting is expected of you, I was one of the herd of hockey bokkies and shooting enthusiasts when forced to pick a sport (those tight shooting jackets that keep the rifle close to your body are something else!) and a ‘social tennis’ player… meaning we were not on set teams or even coached in any way. Rather, we walked down to the tennis grounds twice a week and lobbed a ball over the net at our friends before buying those Take 5 sachets of frozen orange juice from the tuckshop.

So it’s always surprising to me and those around me when I take an interest in sport. There was the short-lived jogging stint when we lived on Jozi’s West Rand a few years back, the hiking phase when we first moved to Cape Town, and numerous attempts by hubby at getting me into exercise through the Xbox Kinect – I enjoyed the dance games the best though, attempting log slalom race things in your own lounge with dogs hopping about is just asking for injury.

But then there are live sport matches. That’s a different story altogether. Live sport, I love.

Some of my fondest memories are of watching the Highveld Lions devour their T20 opponents at Wanderers while doing the Mexican wave, singing along loudly to whatever music was being played, due to the inherent excitement of the short format of the game. And you can’t NOT watch on TV when the Bokke play any other team. Like this. And this.

In fact, this picture sums it up best:

It's the framed photo our besties presented us with before we moved to Cape Town, showing all of us in our Springbok supporters gear.
It’s the framed photo our besties presented us with before we moved to Cape Town, showing all of us in our Springbok supporters gear.

That’s why this past weekend’s highlight was watching various teams from our local rugby league – Union Milnerton or ‘Uni Mil’, as their red socks so aptly dubbed them – defeat the travelling teams from Strand on home ground.

We didn’t even set out to do so, deciding on a whim to stop and check it out when we saw how packed the field was at the Theo Marais sportsground. The wind was nippy and I was JUST recovering from a cold but it was still jolly good fun. While there weren’t any wors roll stands as expected, a trestle table selling homemade Cape Malay delicacies like koe’susters, samosas and salomies did a roaring trade. So we ate, we drank, we cheered; we giggled at the reactions of the true fans around us (“Teckle TECKLE,” shouted the one old lady, “You’re playing kak,” said another, and “Smile, shit-head”, commented a tired player to one of his sour teammates as we walked back to the car.

All in all an enjoyable few hours – I’m sure we’ll be back. Seems my sporting calling was simply to be a cheerleader all along:

Watching the rugby! With a big storm brewing in the background!
Watching the rugby! With a big storm brewing in the background!

I even loaded the short video Husband took of the players getting a warm welcome onto Youtube for your viewing pleasure, click here to see it.

Can't watch rugby without a beer or two going down the gullet
Can’t watch rugby without a beer or two going down the gullet
So cold I had to make sure only littlest bits of face were exposed
So cold I had to make sure only littlest bits of face were exposed
Giggling at some of the comments from the fans watching around us
Giggling at some of the comments from the fans watching around us
Thick socks and pretty pumps were in order
Thick socks and pretty pumps were in order
Sort of selfie with the sky behind us
Sort of selfie with the sky behind us
Better shot of the pretty cloud-flocked sky
Better shot of the pretty cloud-flocked sky

Who knows what we’ll get up to next weekend… watch this space!