Our dinner for the new George Escapee Book Club was held at Ragafellows last Tuesday night. We were supposed to be 7 in total, but only 5 of us could make it – but the noise we made was enough for a dozen.
We had a late kick off, and the owner, the lovely Julie came to sit with Annette and I while we were waiting. Unfortunately I had eaten very little that day to save my calories for the evening meal so waiting for 45 minutes meant drinking lovely cold white wine for 45 minutes on an empty stomach, so I was a bit loose before the others even turned up.
We all have fallen back into our friendships as if we were never ‘apart’ – chatting and rattling on, talking over each other, laughing and cackling. It’s fab to be that comfortable with people.
We shared a large Agatha salad: goat’s cheese, rocket, figs, tomato, and walnuts with pomegranate dressing. It is just divine. And for 95 Rand for the whole table I think it is a bargain!
For our mains, 3 of us had burgers and 2 of us had the fillet. I didn’t even ask if everyone enjoyed it as it was all wolfed down so I assumed they did. We ended up closing the place, the staff were hanging around looking tired and so we finally packed up and headed home. I didn’t realise just how tipsy I was until I got home and attempted to navigate the stairs.
Norman and I were due at the UK in South Africa event in Bishopscourt at the British High Commission residence to celebrate the opening of Parliament the following day but I awoke feeling not so fresh or fabulous. Oops…..
I still managed to endure the day of work and get home in time to wash my hair and put on a festive frock. It was unbearably hot and poor Norm had to wear a suit. We arrived there to find a queue of people waiting to get in, so we joined the queue and eventually passed all the security checks to enter the hallowed grounds. Aka, enter another queue. I thought that so British that we queued to be able to queue. For once I wished we were Italian.
Once we entered the actual residence we walked through a single reception room where we chatted to the High Commissioner and her husband, then out into the extensive back gardens. There were servers positioned on both sides of the walkway, holding everything from champagne to cocktails. Norm went for a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, the wine was all sponsored by Haute Cabrière and I opted for a refreshing looking cocktail which contained gin (I only discovered that after I fell in love with it as I avoid gin usually).
The bar & staff were provided by Brandhouse and the service was exceptional! And the bartenders were cute too which never goes amiss. When they ran out of cranberry the bartender was so apologetic and even made me an alternative.
The catering was done by The Test Kitchen and some of the food gave a bit of a wink to traditional British cuisine. There were divine little bite size beef wellingtons, skewers with big chunks of hake and 2 crispy wedges, tiny little cottage pies, divine little bits of polenta, wrapped in cucumber slices with a slice of goats cheese and a drizzle of tomatoey salsa on top, skewers of Caprese salad with sweet rosa tomatoes, mozzarella balls with basil leaves and a drizzle of pesto, spring rolls, and various other savoury items, and then a few different desserts to follow, one was a black forest cake and the other we tried was a Crème anglaise type of concoction with a berry compote. Both were really delicious but the creamy dessert was really amazing.
They had a few different displays, the one I was most interested in was the Fashion display, there was even some Karen Millen designs as I believe she has just branched out to SA. I had a lovely chat with a few of the designers there, one of them loved my fan which goes everywhere with me. I suggested that they should do some designs of fans with their fabulous textiles. They loved the idea, or else they were just humouring me to move me and my fan along. You never know. We were invited to the exhibition they are going to have in March; I hope they remember to send on a proper invite.
There was a variety of entertainment, a high school marimba band, a jazz singer and group, and a poet who got up and did what sounded more like a rap to me! Everything in Africa has a beat. There was even a set of pipers which always makes Norm happy. There were 500 guests of all sorts and types so I guess they want to try and please everyone.
We trudged through the congestion on the narrow side street to get back to our car – the distance home always seems so much further than the distance there. I was just glad I was wearing flats after I watched some of the other chickies hobbling along and trying to balance on grass in stilts.
Thursday night I had a mani pedi appointment so it was all very relaxing for a change. Norm sorted out take aways from Spiro’s and the girls and I shared some calamari and the Spiro’s salad. It was lovely to just have a chill out evening with nowhere to go.
Friday morning I had to go into the hospital for a blood test as it has been 1 year since my hip replacement. They do a test to check that there are no excessive levels of chromium in your blood as it is a metal device. It takes 3 weeks for the results so I am trying not to read up about it on google. That is just a Virgo Hypochondriac’s road to ruin is that old Googler. Stay away Kitten, just stay away.
Friday was of course not only the anniversary of my new hip but also Valentine’s Day. Often Norm cooks a meal for me and the girls, but I saw that Ragafellow’s was offering such a great deal that we had booked in there instead for a romantic meal for the 2 of us. Josh had come down to see Lily and Caitlin had plans to go dancing with a bunch of single pals.
We were seated by a window which opened out onto the little nursery next door, so we had all manner of plants to view and lovely scents and aromas filtering into the window.
We were given a divine cocktail on arrival – an icy watermelon and bubbly mix of lusciousness.
For each course there were a few options. Norm had our usual fave, the Agatha salad. I opted for something I hadn’t tried and went for the Prawn Ritz which consisted of battered prawns, avocado salsa and tomato mayo. It’s in essence an updated twist on the old classic of the Avocado Ritz. It was so tasty! The prawns were hot and juicy and a nice size.
For our main we had a choice of either Saffron Duck, one of their famous burgers or Kingklip. I realllly wanted the burger but as I am trying to watch my calories I had the kingklip. The kingklip was impressive it was a huge piece of fish perched on top of a bed of olive mash. The mash had a lot of flavour but wasn’t overwhelming. The fish was perfectly cooked, very moist yet firm, I did find that it might have been improved if it was served with a few veggies to give a bit more texture as soft fish and soft mash make for a bit of a monotonous chew. Ideally I would have liked some steamed spinach with it. But it was delicious, I just think it could have been ever so slightly improved as a dish both visually and texturally. But then texture is a big thing for me with food, many of the foods I avoid are due to texture. Normal people (like Norm) just gobbled it up without thinking about it. I tend to think too much.
We asked for a bit of a breather between the main and dessert as the 1st two courses were brought rather quickly and we wanted a bit of a leisurely meal. I should have mentioned this to the waiter but usually they ask if you are ready for your main so I was surprised when the main arrived hot on the heels of our starters.
We had both opted for the Warm chocolate cake. Diets be damned where warm chocolate cake is concerned. My only saving grace was that it was a perfect size for me, it was so rich I could not have eaten a huge portion, of course Mr Chocoholic Norm could have eaten about 3 portions.
It was still so incredibly hot outside so we decided to finish off our coffee and head home for a swim. It was a gorgeous evening once the glaring sun had gone down, a giant moon was hanging over Table Mountain and we could hear the sound of a blues band coming from the other side of the valley. It was absolutely magical.
The rest of the weekend was spent relaxing and recovering from my crazy week. It was incredibly hot, hitting the 40 deg Celsius mark. Norm braaied for us on Saturday evening but we waited for it to cool down before we attempted settling outside.
We spent most of the weekend in our swimming costumes, in the pool, or wanting to be in the pool. Basically, I am so grateful we even have a pool now after having had a few years here without one. I do love my life.