Tastes of Memories

Summer seems to have finally arrived in the Mother City. We have had so many false starts and empty promises so I am very happy to see it!

Last week was a rather busy week, I am currently juggling multiple clients, multiple projects and of course life. By the time Friday arrived I was ready for a bit of down time, however like all good intentions, we had little or no rest on the weekend.

Saturday I had a ridiculously long list of errands to run. I normally send the kids or Norm, or go with them, and I realised just how long it has been since I toddled off on my own to do anything!

To be fair I did kick off with needing Caitlin’s help to choose the platters for the party. We normally always order from Pic N Pay, but their deli order process is so disorganised and it is such a pain in the arse to get over to Constantia and park our car on a Saturday that when a friend mentioned that our local Spar does party platters I thought it worth a try. I often hear people talking about the hot deli there so figured it can’t be that bad! I’ll let you know next weekend. We ordered about 6 platters and then I went off to finish my shopping.

I got home just in time for Norm to do a quick change then off we went to a braai at Darryn and Kerri-Ann. They have a lovely home on the other side of the valley; it felt so private and secluded. We took Navajo with us as he still cannot be trusted home alone. It took him a few minutes but eventually the dogs all settled and had fun together. Kerri-Ann’s rescue dog initially kept baring her teeth at Navajo, but he was oblivious of any tension and kept just licking her snarling face. She eventually gave up and decided he was harmless despite his size.

We had a few glasses or wine there (well I did as Norm was driving of course) and a chat to the Shepley’s whom the braai it was in honour of. We then had to shoot off home and get ready for the next stage of the evening.

We were meeting some twitter friends and Caitlin and her new fella. It was his first time to meet any of the family and it was both Caitlin and Justin’s first time trying the food at La Mouette. There were 10 of us and the host asked if we were happy sitting outside, or whether we would be happier upstairs. It was the most stunning evening, the weather was perfectly balmy and warm, with no gusts of wind which is normally the spoiler in Cape Town so we opted for the courtyard. The tables were all set with crisp white linen and each chair had a bright blue throw in case we were chilly. The accents were all blue and it looked fresh and stunning.

We had some delicious Professor Black Sauvignon Blanc from the Warwick Wine Estate. It is my go to wine at La Mouette and I seldom even bother with the wine list. And yes I know if I am having red meat I should have red wine. But I should do a lot of things. I generally don’t do as I am told.

I coached Caitlin and Justin to try and not over analyse the contents of the items on the menu. If you do read the fine print of the course description you will think, what is THAT? And why would I eat it with THAT? Welcome to the La Mouette rooky mistake….don’t think, just experience.

The spring tasting menu consisted of the following:
Mezze Goats cheese croquette, falafel, tabbouleh, smoked aubergine puree, grilled baby marrow and sumac.
Next, Caramelized onion soup Brioche croutons and fontina tortelinni. This had tons of flavour and a perfectly cooked little tortellini.
Next you could choose between: Soft poached egg Grilled asparagus, barley, crispy onions, béarnaise relish and parmesan broth
Pan-fried line fish Chick pea puree, red pepper emulsion, raisins, calamari, baby spinach and smoked paprika.
The main consisted of a choice of: Sweet corn risotto Salt and pepper vegetables, smoked butter, chilli and lime dressing
Confit lamb shoulder Spiced yogurt, pea puree, carrot emulsion, salt baked carrots and gnocchi
The cheese course was a sort of ‘deconstructed’ ‘Waldorf’: Gorgonzola croquettes, celeriac puree, marinated grapes, radish and pickled apples.
Dessert was Spiced coconut panacotta Coconut crumble, passion fruit gel, pineapple foam, tamarind grante and toasted cashew nuts.

I chose the fish option
and the lamb, even though I often say I do not eat lamb, when I am at La Mouette I make an exception. It melts in your mouth and is so full of flavour, I just can’t pass it up.

The ‘Waldorf’ cheese course was heaven.

Don’t get me wrong, it is all pretty damned heavenly, but that course was un-freakin-believable. And the one I looked forward to the least! I’m not a fan of celeriac (actually just WTF is celeriac? I thought that was that disease of the intestines which meant wheaty stuff made you ill….or is that celiac?) I do not like fruit in savoury foods, so the apple sounded a bit too appley. Add in a radish and what you smoking in that kitchen Chef Henri? Whatever it is, smoke some more because wow!

You had to try and get a morsel of each of the ingredients into your mouth at once and the combination of the flavours was simply perfection. The crisp tart apple, the bitterness of the radish, the smooth creamy cheese…and there were these candied walnuts on the plate which were the perfect finishing taste.

As we were sitting outside it became difficult to snap pics as it was all romantic and candlelit – add to the fact I am blind as a bat and then you won’t criticise my artistic endeavours quite as viciously as you might have otherwise.

We did manage to get a decent snap of me, Retha and Diane.

We had a brilliant night, a lot of laughs, amazing food and a bit too much wine. As a result, on Sunday I woke feeling a bit tender compliments of the Professor. But we had plans to entertain that evening, so I managed to persuade Norm to shop for me and I made a huge pot of very spicy chilli con carne and rice.

It was a stunner of a day, so I spent most of it lying in the shade by the pool, playing candy crush while dangling my toes in the water. We brought out the paddling pool for Navajo and he had a blast running and jumping in, getting soaked and then running round the garden like he was possessed.

Later that evening we had our DJ for next week, Baz and his GF Candi round. We all hit it off as if we’ve known each other for years, not just met. We chatted and munched and sat outside in the garden until they left. This was the 1st time we had entertained this year as the weather has been so erratic. It is the 1st time we have sat comfortably in our back garden since our home invasion. I have to confess I was still probably a bit jumpy on occasion as my back was the wall where the guys entered our property. But that in itself is progress, I wasn’t able to even sit with my back to the garden for months. Slowly slowly we get back to normal.

Today I decided to have left over chilli con carne for lunch and I had a strong craving which even to me sounds bizarre. When I was a child at school they would serve chilli con carne with peanut butter sandwiches. No lie. Now this is another one of those things which sounds like it could never make sense but it really does. Or maybe this is just that my taste buds stored this memory under the category of ‘home’? I heard the other day that if a puppy is exposed to most things before it is 11 weeks old then it will not be spooked. So maybe peanut butter and chilli is my childhood dog training? Whatever the reason, it makes me feel comforted.

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