Morgenster Wines….

Whilst at the Good Food and Wine expo at the CTICC last weekend we had occasion to try…(actually we were force fed, we didn’t want to do it !!) Morgenster Wines. They are in the Somerset West area,where they have been producing wines since 1711 !! What absolutely delightful wines they are too, trust me…..We were particularly taken with the Giulio Bertrand three Italian blends of Sangiovese and Nebbiolo grapes. The Bordeaux style wines from this Estate are also a delight.

They have a new label that is currently being launched called Nu Series, watch out for these interesting and well priced wines at your favorite wine merchants.

Morgenster also produce beautiful Extra Virgin Olive Oil from the Estate, a must for any kitchen and at very acceptable prices too.

We have promised ourselves a trip out to the Estate to experience it first hand and……sooon !!!

Be safe people and (if its Winter where you are ) keep warm. xx

A review……….South Hill Wine Estate, Elgin.

I have, (for reasons best known to myself) long been intrigued by the Elgin and Grabouw area. I think this is largely attributed to the wonderful scenery , its close proximity to Cape Town and (of course) the wonderful wines and fruits that are produced in the area.!!

I don’t usually go along with the word coincidence , its really a place that you’re at mentally whether you are aware of it or not ! Its an easy statement ‘what a coincidence’ when in fact you’ve been putting it out there for ages (probably) and its now the time! O.K. O.K. all this stuff is a little profound at this time of the day, especially from yours truly….

I digress from my original path….We took a couple of days out last weekend to take a look at the South Hill Estate that has been ‘popping up’ in different blogs, tweets, conversations lately and not being one who like to take other peoples word (God forbid Tony!!) for it, I made the arrangements, told Paul (its best that way around trust me) and so last weekend on a bright sunny Winter morning we packed our bags and headed for the hills. Now, those of you that know me will know (and understand?) why even the act of ‘popping a few things in a bag’ can be a major production, por moi !! Anyway dear reader, we made it and in less than an hours drive from the Moeder Stad.( You’re impressed with the Afrikaans aren’t you, I can tell ???) we arrived, hat boxes and all !!

South Hill is a wonderful place to be, an elegantly designed and furnished Guest Lodge , the rooms are all beautifully appointed and all with stunning views of the Elgin Valley. There is a particularly inviting pool  as well as the inevitable braai area.!!  There is also a self catering cottage available a little away from the main house and more intimate shall we say……..The Gallery restaurant is a beautiful space, light and airy with a lovely eclectic mix of furnishing and (when we had lunch ) clients as well. I love that whole South Africa vibe, its exciting always. We had the most delicious food from a varied and ‘constantly changing’ menu, Our chat to the expert Chef, Damian Dearlove, was a delight. He is such a well traveled Man and having worked in some of the major Cities of the World his art and abilities are highlighted in his food.

The Gallery has (as the name suggests) exhibitions of local artists, both well known and ‘currently undiscovered”. This month has a superb collection of Paula Van Coller Louw, a local Lady (Stellenbosch ) and her artwork is well worth the drive if you are in the area.

The Owners/Managers of South Hill are husband and wife team Kevin and Sandra (Sandie) Kent. Kevins ‘babies’ are his particularly good wines,  I especially loved the Sauvignon Blanc, which is an absolute first for me trust me !! I don’t really go for that particular varietal from any label, cheaper end or high end but…..this one is stunning, fruity and smooth. (Now..smooth is not a word I would ever consider using in connection with a Sauvignon Blanc ) with lots of green undertones, but this one is, trust me, I’ve tried a few, all in the name of science I assure you !!

Also the KK Michah (named after Kevins grandchild) is a stunning blend of Syrah, Mourvedre and Barbera grapes all from the Estate of course. …we invested in a few bottles I can assure you…if drinking delicious wines by a roaring fire is an investment, that is ???

Now….Sandie on the other hand is a delightful hands on Lady looking after the guests and their accommodation needs.Extremely welcoming, very chatty (“I could talk to a brick”) and  very knowlegable about the Elgin Valley and surrounding areas. Our whole weekend was a most pleasant experience and soon to be repeated, (its Pauls birthday in July and it’ll be a nice ‘surprise’ for him…..won’t it ??? ) Onward and upward Tony, it’ll be fine really !

Have a good week dear reader, be kind to people but don’t take any crap !!! xxxx

 

The reasons…………….for my ever expanding waistline !!!

I’ll be interested to hear from you, dear reader, how often you eat out and more especially your comments and thoughts on your chosen venue.

This last week has been quite a marathon even for us.;

Firstly I must say that since the Easter weekend its been a bit of a culinary roller coaster here in Cape Town. Our new favourite place to eat is Mondiall in the Waterfront. The choice of perfectly cooked and inventive food is amazing. I very rarely get past the ‘World tapas’ section of the menu, its both mouth watering and varied. I think my personal favourite in this area must be the fish tacos, spicy and plump with fish (often a second helping is important!) Mind you the belly pork is stunning and that crackling !!!!!

They also have daily lunch specials such as fish and chips (no no NOT just fish and chips believe me ). with home made tartare sauce and gorgeous mushy peas ! Plus a freshly made burger and hand cut string fries. Both these come with a half carafe of red or white wine all for R95 !!   The wines are divine, both from the fabulous new Marvelous Wines range……..they open every day, see you there ??

Giovanna (my surrogate wife) and I, ‘popped in’ to see Jason at Frere’s Bistro on the Foreshore in the City Bowl a couple of days back too. The food is, as always, very inventive but still full of the French flair that the name suggests. We decided on a beautiful rabbit terrine (sorry Natalie) to start (con partir) which was lovely.  … I really like rabbit, even simply roasted as a main course. Maybe its a trip down memory lane, taking me back to my childhood, who knows ? It is very seldom seen here in Cape Town on menus and I think that is a shame. I love Lamb too ……. so call me a philistine !!

We then had soups ( can if we like !) mine was a take on that good old Irish ‘delicacy’ bacon and cabbage !! I couldn’t resist it (another flashback ?). Jason had added delicate herbs plus a dollop of creme fraiche, it was perfect really. Giovanna had the roasted tomato and red pepper soup which was (tried it) hearty and warming and extremely tasty. Always a good place to spend an overstretched lunch ‘hour’ !

A couple of days back I met up with an old aquaintence  (she’s not so old its me I’m the old one ) at the fabulous New Mannabay Boutique Hotel for high tea ……WOW !!!  doesn’t cover it really. If you thought the ‘old’ place was stunning, well brace yourself boys and girls ! The property was previously a elegantly designed private home but now is so much more, the furnishing, decor, rooms, terraces, in house gym will leave you breathless trust me… if you love orchids (hands up) you’re going to be in seventh heaven. Tell them I sent you, see what happens, but don’t call me please !!!

Friday evening Paul and I went with Giovanna and her ‘proper’ husband to the infamous Pot Luck Club !!!  It takes an age to get a reservation,( unless you don’t mind eating at 6.30) , we made ours about three weeks ago. Well worth the wait people, trust me !! Lets just say that with Luke Dale Roberts in the driving seat its has to be special and it is. Luke has another restaurant, The Test Kitchen,close by Pot Luck Club in the Biscuit Mill Woodstock that has just been named number ONE in South Africa, and very well deserved too. He’s a wizard that Man. Having said all that I feel that his second in command Wesley Randles is a star in his own right, he too is destined for great things, trust me I’m an optician !!

My favourite dish has to be the Thai infused kingklip with oriental veggies. I didn’t want it to end !! However everything we ordered was superb of course,its that kind of restaurant sort of upmarket tapas. The fish (tuna if I recall) in crispy tacos were superb. Paul and the assembled company all enjoyed the braised garlic with pesto and olives with home made breads and crispbreads. Me ??? not soooo much, its the garlic I cant deal with !! One would have thought that with my travels around the World and eating my way through them I would be able to cope with the stuff,but I can’t, what can I say boys and girls? I know its good for me but…..so is red wine, so I’ll stick with that if I may.

You all have a lovely week (its Election Day here on Wednesday ) another public holiday and all the restaurants will be open……whats a girl to do ??

Keep safe and be nice to people. xxxx

 

Glamour !!!

I have followed fashion, fashionable people,elegance whether it be interior design or clothing, for as long as I can remember…….and trust me I can go back a long long way, if pushed sometimes, back to when I was three or four !!! Other days I don’t know what I had for breakfast or, if indeed I’ve actually eaten at all !!!

I was recently looking at press cuttings and old photos and articles I have had since “Kitchener was a lad”.and its amazing to me how some Women can wear a cheap (ish) T shirt and an old pair of jeans and they still manage to look a million dollars, whilst others can couture themselves up to the eyeballs and manage to look like they dressed quickly and from someone elses closet !! Now….in the run of things these observations and comments are not exactly Earth shattering or, indeed, a revelation and “there are people dying out there” !!However, “its my party and I’ll cry if I want to”. !!

My ex wife (Carol) for example has that style and elegance about her that is, in my opinion, an art form. My daughter (princess) Natalie has also inherited this style. She can put on most anything, shush it up, tweak it here and there and she looks stunning. The only difference here being that Carol is extremely tidy (a Virgoan trait I understand) and……Natalie , not so much !! Unless, of course, she has changed drastically over the years, in which case I stand corrected. But when she dresses her bedroom/dressing space/closet always looks(ed) like an explosion in a frock shop !! Sorry dahling if you’ve turned over a new closet door since we last discussed this but, for whatever else it makes for good copy !!! Love you xx

Over recent history if you look at some of the Icons of the silver screen, Audrey Hepburn (of course) Bette Davis, Grace Kelly and also (more laterly) I love how Nicole Kidman looks ( not the acting though sorry ) and the often maligned Gwyneth Paltrow.

It appears that nowadays (boring old fart speaking now )  to be a successful singer you have to look like you just stepped of the cover of a magazine. Sometimes its the Motor Mechanic weekly but you get my drift, I hope.   Rhianna is in my humble opinion a classic case in point. There are times when she looks as grungy as she sounds and then in the next photo shot she’s singing properly and looks a million dollars, metamorphosis I think is the word. I have to say here that the late and extremely fabulous Amy Winehouse (bless her memory) is a classic example, she hadn’t got a clue. I can’t ever recall seeing her looking good, even in the modern idium. Loved her hair tho’ and she stole that from Ronnie Spector from the1960’s group, the Ronetttes……worked a charm Amy, way to go !!

My favourite singer of all time, I’m sure you must know by now unless you’re deaf dumb and blind, was (and still is ) Dusty Springfield. Well……her ‘fashion sense’ at times left an awful lot to be desired. Don’t know if that was because she was both short sighted AND colour blind  (bless her heavily mascaraed) eyelashes).??  But then there were times when she looked absolutely stunning, the glittery frocks, the hair, the whole showbiz Diva ensemble. You take a look at some of her 60’s You tube stuff and her BBC T.V. series footage. NOBODY, but NOBODY could touch her either vocally or visually. Even towards the end of her career and life she took to very simple elegant trousers and tops as befitted a Diva of her age and public personna……..how did I get on to Dusty again……stop me someone, stop me quick !!!

I’ve just had a five year old child flash back……!!! stop this Tony you’re not a young Man any more (don’t know if I ever was actually !). There was a school teacher when my Mum used to drag me screaming to school every morning (honestly dear reader I used to hate school with a vengeance) in Buckland Primary in Staines, by the name of Miss Brown. I suppose to be p.c. these days it is Ms. Brown, who cares she’s probably no longer around and if she is, no offence Miss…..I digress again !!. Well Miss Brown, I recall used to wear the most divine checked cotton (sometimes paisley) summer dresses with full stiff petticoats, I kid you not here boys (and bi’s I guess) and girls, I can remember all this like it was yesterday….HOW SAD IS THAT ??? She had short cropped ‘brown’ hair and wore bright red lippie. I can’t remember the cologne though…….what do you want BLOOD ??

My, late and VERY GREAT ‘big sister’, Pat had a great sense style even as a far  back as her teens. I can see her now in skin tight skirts and those  6 inch stiletto heels and my Dad calling after her “you’ll be an invalid by the time you get to thirty “, well…… she wore them forever (not in bed as far as I know !!) and her legs were fine, funny toes…. but whats a girl to do ???

Just to set the record ‘straight’ I love looking at and helping Women buy/choose clothes but have no desire (yet) to wear them but……never say never I guess !!!!

Keep smiling, it makes people wonder what’s going on in whats left of your mind . xxxx