Thursday, March 29, 2007

Gourmet Guzzling

I’ve been catapulted into a gourmet heaven this week.

Brie with green figs and fresh ciabatta, blue cheese with a preserve of figs in balsamic syrup drizzled over, smoked kudu, smoked snoek pate, my home-made rye bread, salad, grapes and lemon meringue tarts to finish. This was the picnic I put together for my clients on their walking holiday last Friday.

I set up a folding table in a grassy spot at the edge of the beach in the Cape Point Nature reserve, views of the ocean and mountains all round. A grand tent with tables and chairs has been erected further along the beach, expecting a group of cyclists for lunch. They have taken ‘our’ spot, right by the sheltered sea pool. Here in South Africa we reckon the beach is crowded if there is anyone else there at all. The morning was cloudy with a sprinkling of rain so I’m on tenterhooks until it is obviously clearing, the sun comes out and then I’m wishing for some shade for the food table.

I keep most of the food in the back of the car to stay cool until the last minute, then when the walkers come into sight I quickly magic the lavish array of local specialities onto the table and whip off the covers.

Everyone had plenty of time to sample different combinations of flavours and enjoy a leisurely lunch, before the baboons showed up on the dot of one o’clock, rather annoyed with us for having started without them. This was the signal for us to clear away the lunch rapidly. Bags were piled together and a protective cordon formed around me as I put away the rest of the food. Even so a lightning raider managed to whisk off with the rubbish bag as I put things into the back of the car. Every so often a curious head peeked out from the bushes to assess his chances, but the bigger ones came right up to the cars to try their luck. They are part of everyday life if you live close to the mountains here. Friends in Simonstown tell of going upstairs in their house, to meet two baboons on their way down.

The leftover Cape figs in balsamic syrup came home with me to add to the taste sensations of our weekend lunches. Our every day lunch table now groans under its load of delicacies, as we also made a foray to Riebeeck Kasteel as promised to taste wines and olive products, returning with a fine selection to last me the rest of the year.

The sun-dried olive paste is stunning with avocado on bread, my children unfortunately also like the green olives in lime infused brine so we are rationing them to two at any one meal!


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