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eGullet Society staff emeritus
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Everything posted by gsquared

  1. Beans- Thankee kindly, ma'am!
  2. Regrettably the stove will have to stay. The agents that will sell the house reckon it is worth a lot in terms of generatiung a good offer. It is an area of the Cape coast on the Indian ocean with long stretches of unspoilt beaches, indigenous forests, lakes, lagoons and rivers. The climate is temperate and the many scenic attractions has made it into one of the most-visited coastal areas in the country.
  3. I am not sure whether I will be able to. The climate is temperate with an average summer hi/lo of 25C/15C and a winter (June-Aug) of 19C/9C, but I do not know what effect the sea breezes will have on flower baskets. Annual ave rainfall is 715mm.
  4. Thanks, Tana. I may just take you up on that. Alas, no. We are going to sell it. Immediately. Indeed they do. Thanks for the input, Linda. Interesting thoughts. Corn meal is a staple down here and will for sure find its way onto the menu. And of ours. Realising it still seems unreal. And scary, as we are betting the farm on the venture. But then how do you place a value on a dream? Thanks all for the good wishes. I shall keep you informed of our progress. Maybe a B&B blog recording the adventure?
  5. Thanks for all the good wishes! Yes, it is a running B&B with a good occupancy rate. The guests are split around 30% local, 50% European and 20% business (reps and such). They currently do a fairly simple breakfast - fruit, yoghurt, scones, toast and an English plated breakfast. I would have thought that the large % of Europeans may call for the option of a more European style breakfast, but we intend to settle in first, get a feel for what the guests want and then do a total revamp of the breakfast menu. One needs, I think, to get an idea of food cost first and then see what can be done without jacking up the standards to such an extent that the additional cost mandates putting up the rates. That said, I am sure that we can do a lot better within the current cost structure.
  6. We will indeed manage it ourselves, hence, I guess, much of the apprehension. Tying yourself down to that extent is daunting, but living there will have, we hope, its compensations.
  7. Of course eGulleteers that book via PM will get a deep discount!
  8. The place is on the garden route on the east coast of South Africa in a town called Wilderness near Knysna. It is called Mes Amis (go figure!)
  9. How does one decide whether to grasp an opportunity that involves a serious lifestyle change or to let it go by? Lists of pros and cons, endless calcs, but in the final analysis, you listen to your gut. That, in any event, is what we did when we bought a B&B at the coast this week. We saw this place on a dune next to the sea with steps leading down to the beach, looked at each other and decided that this is where we want to be. When a large school of dolphins (200 or so) went by, frolicking in the waves, we were finally decided. Largish B&B - 10 en suite bedrooms, all facing the sea. View from the property Another view The house on the right. Breakfast area. The kitchens (there are 2), both need lots of attention. We are apprehensive, excited and determined to have a lot of fun!
  10. Should one in timing boiling eggs, not take account of: 1. The temperature of the eggs 2. The local altitude (where I live water boils at 202F)
  11. Thanks, Ludja. The place we visited focused on "fireside" dinners, conducted in a boma (enclosure traditionally made of thorn trees). Mostly BBQ with the odd dish prepared in a three legged cast iron pot on or above the fire. The food was generally quite edible, and the athmosphere tremendous. I wanted to take pics to post for you but the camara batteries gave up (again) on me. We will go again as soon as it is slightly cooler and I will be sure to take pics to show you.
  12. Melkor has been tagged for next week's blog.
  13. The wife read my last post and insisted that I correct the impression that the bush contains only nibbling giraffes. Being a peacable fellow, here are three pics from our last outing.
  14. I have to end my blog today. We will be trundling off to watch animals for the weekend. The wife is great on game watching. I have to confess to a lesser enthusiasm. If you have seen one giraffe nibbling on a bush, subsequent sightings seem to be deja vu. I shall, however, do my husbandly best and make a fist of it. At least there is the prospect of quiet evenings in the bush, sipping something and simply revelling in being an African. We will also be going to a place with flushing toilets. Now there is a sine qua non. Do not go anywhere where you are required to trundle into the bush bearing a spade and a toilet roll. Processes that normally proceed placidly can be severely disturbed by the grunt of (what you imagine to be) a toothed beasty eyeing your bare behind. It was fun doing the blog. I will postpone tagging next week's blogger until Sunday night when we return. This in the hope that more volunteers will PM me.
  15. Dinner is done. Here is the menu: Prosciutto Cappalletti with a parmesam cream sauce and coriander leaves. I found the pasta in the back of the fridge - bought it fresh two days ago and thought it would go well with the parmesan sauce. I could not french the chops. The damn butcher cross-cut the bones. I did not watch him doing it. I will speak to him earnestly from Leviticus. Decided to extract the loin medallions, flash fry and serve with sweet peppers and mint. The butterfish needed very little done. Made a sweet potato mash with chives and paprika. The sauce was a roux based veloute with a hint of curry and some coriander. For dessert I still had six fresh figs left. Poached them gently in the skin in port until soft. Blended the port with bitter chocolate and a teaspoon of ground coffee beans. Drops of cream to get a colour contract. Coffee. And Hennesy. Getting low on Hennesy.The wacky neighbour has a commission to produce a play at an annual arts festival in June. He has three actresses and was looking for a play. The Hennesy helped us to come up with a contemporary and off the wall version of Waiting for Godot. So, all in all a good dinner.
  16. Indeed. A guest, including the feathered kind, is a jewel to be treasured on the cushion of hospitality. (Who said that?)
  17. We also get little tails. One more reason to rather buy fresh.
  18. We put a sisal trunk up against a birch tree in an attempt to lure a woodpecker family to the garden. A day later, a woodpecker decided that he liked the accommodation, moved in and started pecking a hole. A few days later his missus moved in and they went about propagating the species. Two days ago we saw the chick peering out. Today he gathered his courage and tried to fly. He fell heavily to the ground. The cat pounced and ate him. His parents left. No sense getting upset at the cat, I guess - he simply did what is in his nature to do.
  19. The crayfish idea did not pan out - no fresh crayfish available today, only frozen tails. I contemplated going with those, but the live ones are so much better that I abandoned the idea. The 6 flavours will have to wait for another day. I did find some wonderful butterfish fillets and a chunk of tuna loin, though. Should be able to do something with that. Seared tuna with 6 flavours? Hmmm....The butcher offered some splendid lamb rib chops. Do I want to french chops? Maybe one each. So, chop, tuna, fish, dessert. Or tuna, chop, fish, dessert.
  20. No problem, Monica! As long as you will volunteer to make some of your wonderful Indian bread......
  21. There is nothing better than a good night's sleep to clear the cobwebs. Up early today and ready for the world. First light: Today is, I think, a day for fish. I will trundle off to the fishmonger and see what they have that speaks of dinner to me. I have for a while wanted to do crayfish tails poached in olive oil and served with 6 flavours. A tail in the middle of the plate, with the 6 flavours in a half moon around the top - coconut cream, citrus dust, 5 spices, garlic-infused EVOO, avo and red onion salsa and maybe a beet sauce. Or something. Served with a crisp Chenin Blanc, methinks. Perhaps they will have some fresh tuna.... We shall see. I will report back.
  22. Thanks, Melkor. We'll wait to see whether anyone else steps up to the plate.
  23. The general idea is to produce a liquid with as strong a mussel/briney taste as possible. It will work with clams, but not with oysters. Cook the mussels in 500ml good unsalted fish stock at a low simmer for around 15 - 20 minutes. Shell and put the meat into a blender. Strain the liquid in the pot into the blender. Blend well. Press through a sieve. Bag and freeze the sieve contents. You can use it for making mussel fritters or something. Put the sieved liquid in a pot and reduce over very low heat to about a generous cup. Remember that the end product, being a gel, will not release the taste as quickly as the liquid does. The liquid should therefore be almost too pungent. If it seems wishy washy, probably because you did not use enough mussels, you can add a dash of Thai fish sauce. Adjust the seasoning (salt only). Add gelatin, dissolve and place in a container large enough so that the liquid is around 1/2" - 3/4" deep. Chill to set. To serve, cut into rectangles that will nicely fit in a dessert or soup spoon. The wine jelly is a good precursor to prepare the palate for the mussel. Ah, yes, Cusina. I had forgotten that "jelly" has a different connotation in your neck of the woods.
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