I am writing this from my sofa in my lovely light filled lounge on a sunny Cape Town winter day. It’s a weekend, so there isn’t that much to do – though I have a list. Some filing, some general tidying, an apricot sorbet to freeze and some dog biscuits to make. And then a bit of yoga, a roast chicken and a couple of design magazines I have kept aside for the evening. An old school-friend – one I haven’t seen for 35 years asked me yesterday: “Isn’t Cape Town a bit slow for you?”. We were having breakfast on a wine farm – 15 minutes from my house. Our view – the whole of False Bay and the mountains beyond. “Not at all.” I answered.
Just like my life my selection this week is sweetly beastly, beautiful, melodic, delicious and a little heady.
1. Man and Beast #1 – a tribute to Cecil. Men and Lions in a respectful interaction: “They make their move – self confidence is everything” Sharing is caring. Watch this clip – it will make your day …. these men know that Sharing is not murdering.
- Man and Beast #2 : Dutch artist Theo Jansen’s kinetic sculpture “Strandbeests” walk the coastline of Holland. His creatures are designed to move, and even survive — on their own. They ‘feed ‘on the wind for energy and know to avoid water, walking in the opposite direction as soon as it comes in contact with their feelers. Meet Theo Jansen here.
3. Orchids: For some reason, I have a way with these blooms. Plants that I have had for 7 years bloom at least twice a year … and all I do is water them once a week, feed them infrequently, chat to them in the mornings and keep them in a warm, sunny space. This one defied the odds – I pinched it from a restaurant bathroom where it was dying and transplanted it into the garden as a last resort when it failed to thrive indoors. The plant is hidden in a pot at the back of the courtyard and I saw the flower by accident on the way to the shower on a sunny winter day. I usually never cut them – but a bit of research told me I wouldn’t be harming the plant’s future, so I put it in a vase indoors.
- The Rocketeers: an unassuming South African duo and the first cd I have bought in … god knows how long. The soundtrack to a lovely afternoon spent sipping g’n’t and eating waffles at an outdoor market with pals in wintery Johannesburg. Sweet song, lovely sentiment. “we all should start to listen to the birds and the bees, and we all should stop to thank the stars for what we received.”
5. Baroquetail: sofaborother bought home some damson plums a few months ago and whacked them into a bottle of gin with a sprinkle of sugar. The result: Sloe Gin – a sweet tangy liqueur that works beautifully as a sipper or in a cocktail. I whipped up a gimlet last weekend, using a plum syrup I had made for some preserves, to up the fruit complement. That way it doesn’t count as an indulgence. If you want to lighten the drink up, make a fizz: use a long glass and top with lots of ice and soda water to taste.
The Damson Gin Gimlet
50ml Damson Gin
12ml fresh lime juice
12ml sugar syrup (I used the plum syrup that had star anise and cinnamon in it too)
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake well. Strain into a small wide mouthed champagne or martini glass and garnish with lime twist.
(To make your own Sloe Gin, find a recipe here. By the way Caroline Coetzee – if you are reading this, I am still anticipating my bottle of elderflower gin.)