We had quite a pleasant weekend when my dad, Michael, came to visit. It was very cold over the weekend and has been progressively getting colder. Living in a stone cottage with no insulation and the standard “thin lizzy” windows here in South Africa makes for an extremely cold home during winter. I am not sure my dad wasn’t ready for this bone chilling experience. Though this was the only real snag of the weekend. In response to this icy feel we ordered wall panel heaters and installed them early this week with much hope, only to be let down. They work well enough for breaking that crisp feel in the air so the house does feel somewhat warmer. It is still cold but at least moving around is not problematic.
Anyway, my dad arrived on Friday afternoon, we started with coffee and banana bread to accompany a catch up conversation. As many of us right now seeing loved ones is either not possible or very difficult. This was the first visit with my dad in a while. We wanted to plan a fabulous menu that really gave us a chance to indulge in good food but also give us time to relax and play some games.
Some months ago Charl and I did some pressure canning and one jar of our tom yum curry mixture we had made was still available for use. We decided to go with a popcorn shrimp tom yum curry accompanied by brown rice and naan-like bread.
The meal was delicious. The brown rice was surprisingly a good pairing with the curry, it added a bit of texture that rounded off a good eating experience.
Since we live on a beautiful property just off the Magaliesberg mountain range we thought it would be ideal to go for a walk. It can be quite peaceful walking around here, especially when many of the birds are out and about chirping away. First though we had to have a breakfast fit for a decent walk. In the spirit of eating a strong farmhouse meal we had a full breakfast: fried eggs, bacon, sausages, baked beans, homemade bread, and mushrooms fried in garlic butter.
The food was delightful. A nice fill before heading out with the cats for a look around the property. I did however add a little too much chilli powder to the baked beans. I have a heavy hand with chilli and sometimes I spice up peoples food a little more than I realise. Everyone was happy though and that is really what home-cooking is all about. Sustenance with enjoyment.
Talk a Walk on the Mountain side
After eating and clearing the table we got ourselves and the cats ready to go for a walk. It was the first time my dad had gone on a walk with us that included the cats. We walk freely with them and have never harness trained them, they just come when we call. Though they have their days when they do not want to listen. Sadie, the most recent addition is not a fan of walks though. I believe my dad found the experience interesting and pleasant. It is a slow paced walk but you get to work your legs as it is mostly uphill at first. The walk sufficiently drained us while putting us all in the mood for a good coffee. Since we had such a large breakfast we skipped on lunch and had some biscuits with our coffee instead.
Charl makes amazing chicken wings which lead us to incorporate a dinner that would include wings. We went with a pick-of-the-mix sort of setup with: chicken wings, fried rice, battered aubergine (eggplant), battered cauliflower, and crumbed duck breast with a soya and honey glaze. Not being experienced with duck we were all surprised at how well prepared it turned out to be. The wings were succulent and made great snacks the next day. We were all so stuffed afterwards that a quick game of scrabble and a coffee quickly sent us to bed.
For breakfast we decided something on the lighter side would be best considering how much food we had consumed in the days before. Where we go to buy our vegetables and other bits is a dairy farm with an old windmill that has been converted into the shop, restaurant, and waffle house. The shop has an interesting combination of Dutch and German themes throughout which keeps the shopping a touch on the spontaneous side. I am not a fan of the restaurant though the waffle house has a good reputation. The fresh produce and imported items they sell are ridiculously awesome and very well priced. It is easy to see what is in season as well, making for a fun and affordable shop every time.
They have lovely yogurts, cheeses, and all kinds of dairy products. We picked up some of their double cream plain yogurt, fresh strawberries and a fruit mix muesli with granola to have as our Sunday breakfast. A staple around here as a breakfast or even a snack. It is always a light but filling dish.
For our final meal together for my dad’s stay we decided that something whimsical but perfect combination sort of dish would go well. Tomato soup with grilled cherry tomatoes and grilled cheese sandwiches. Mouth-watering just thinking about the warming flavours.
Until Next Time
It was such a pleasant visit with my dad that I think we all got to relax a bit. Considering the current state of things globally and locally it is a bit uncertain so a little familiarity goes a long way. We are looking forward to the next visit. Until then, keep well.