I mentioned in my last post that Norm’s birthday was Sunday the 17th and that we were going for a Tasting Menu lunch at Foxcroft with Caitlin and Wes. As many ‘big girls’ do I had carefully pre-planned what I was going to be wearing: it had to be comfortable enough to eat copious amounts of fiddly food, it had to be cool enough for me and my high internal temperatures and I obviously wanted to look nice for my husband. Since my weight has been declining I am trying not to buy anything, rather make do with what I have until I my weight loss stabilises. Then the cold weather we had been having for weeks turned to sunny, gorgeous winter sunshine and I had to completely re-plan my pleather pant and boot combo and change always gives me anxiety, no matter how minor (it was cuter than it sounds, trust me).
Instead I dressed in a floor length, flowy white sun dress with a long white lightweight jacket over it and when I tried it on Norm said ‘too much white’ but I was feeling really warm and I liked how it felt so I ignored him. Once I put on some bright jewelry and a red lip I thought it was acceptable and I was out of time for faffing about.
We dropped Finn off with Uncle Mark and Hunter for a play date and off we dashed to Constantia. Norm dropped me at the entrance of the restaurant and went to find parking and when Caitlin spotted me I saw her say ‘wow!’ and she told me I looked like a Native American princess. Meanwhile, I had felt more like a cross between Stevie Nicks and the Shah of Constantia. I relaxed my paranoia and thought I must look OK and focused on my birthday boy. Norm was wearing one of his new birthday shirts and looked very handsome.
Caitlin and Wes are seldom early so I was glad they were on time since Norm and I were running a bit late.
When we went to collect Finn, Mark also told me I looked nice. I thought about how I had ignored the comments from my beloved but was buoyed by the compliments of others. Just to clarify, Norm said I looked beautiful but he was not sure about the excess of white I was wearing. He never says horrible things to me, he is always a sweetheart. I do remember before we married he told me I looked like a cricket umpire because I was wearing white trousers and a blazer, but that was justified and generally he is kind. I guess I expect him to love me?
It is the same concept that I mentioned last week about my garden, I was so delighted by a friend’s compliments, even thought that same garden pleases me on the daily. Why do other people’s opinions matter?
I like to try and understand what triggers me and I think that our ‘issues’ generally have a root that has festered since it was ‘stabbed’ into our tender little psyche. I thought back to what mine could be. I try to apply the methods that my hypnotherapist would apply to dig into my issues and often when I ask my mind to help me understand when a similar situation happened, it goes instantly back to the scene where I was pricked by that thorn. It is then a process of trying to work through that glitch.
The memory that popped immediately into mind was when I was about 11 years old, a new trend had started of wearing hot pants with a little floor length open-fronted skirt type thing over them like the one on the left on the pattern below. It was obviously not as popular as it was in my young brain when I was so desperately coveting them as I struggled to even find an image of the style!
I nagged and nagged to get my mom to buy the outfit for me and I remember walking into school wearing it and feeling like I was the bomb dot com. I had not yet discovered that I was colour ‘challenged’ and I wore a red top that did not match my new blue and grey patterned shorts and the boy I had a crush on made fun of me, he told me my clothes did not match and that I looked ‘stupid’. I felt humiliated and I do not remember ever wearing them again.
This was the same boy that started calling me ‘4-eyes’ when I got my glasses at about 9 or 10 years old. I think I had a crush on him because he was the only boy in our class who was taller than me. Or that was when I still associated abuse and cruelty with love? My only comfort now is not a very kind thought, he is NOT a good looking fellow and from what I hear he is mega controlling of his spouse.
Did that singular interaction cause me so much insecurity that it affects me still?
In addition to other people’s opinions, I’ve also been thinking about friendship. A woman posted in one of my Facebook groups about how she does not have a close circle of women friends and that she was lonely. Neither do I, in fact I do not have many close female friends in Cape Town. I have a lot of close friends from all over the world thanks to all of our moves, but local friends I could call at 2am in an emergency?
When we moved here I was so lucky to be included in a group of other expat women and we formed a book club and did all sorts of social outings together. However, most of them have now moved back to Europe. Even before they left we drifted apart as they were all very sporty and most of them did not work so they could do hikes and birthday teas and lunches midweek while I was in the city working at my client.
I had a woman that I perceived to be very close, in fact my “best” friend, who showed me over and over that our friendship was purely one sided before I caught on. I ended it after she let me down time after time, repeatedly choosing the company of others when we had planned to spend that time together. I have had other friends whom I thought were close but I felt that those communications were also pretty much one sided (i.e. always being initiated from me). I have now come to suspect the issue is with me. As an only child, maybe I just do not know how to make or maintain friendships or know what to expect from others in regards to communication? I am also easily offended, yet sometimes I am highly offensive. So there is that.
On the other hand, I am really happy being home with my actual best friend, my husband. I love my home, I love my family, I love my husband, I love my pets. What more do I need? Apparently I need to be invited to the occasional girl’s weekend!
So I reached out from within the safety of my very hard protective shell. The same Facebook group had a whole thread of other women who have hit middle age, looked up and realised they have no friends, especially now that their ‘children’ are adults. These women are planning on setting up coffee dates and I have added my name to the list. Another lady is setting up a Woman’s Empowerment group. I think howling at the moon was mentioned and that sounds far more up my alley than a coffee date. I could drum! I love howling and Finn and I do it often.
However, I hope I can overcome my usual inability to behave like a normal human when whichever group I attend meets up. I usually have a few drinks to ease my social discomfort with new people but I get drunk quickly since I do not usually drink and drunk Lisa is not someone most people want to have a coffee with. Dance on a podium with, maybe. So there is that. How to be yourself without being someone no one wants to hang out with? Also I have weird taste for an old lady. I am very liberal minded, not a huge drinker and I have a drag queen obsession!
Feck I am hopeless at adulting. And feck you Anxiety!
Today I was watching this week’s episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars and Jada Essence Hall made a great point about sexiness, that it comes from inside, that you have to be confident in yourself and feel sexy. She said you should feel that Goddess Energy, and ‘Radiate that energy outwards’. So that is probably also part of the issue, I do not feel attractive with my sharpei like body and aging face.
I am conscious of the fit of my clothing on my body but not willing to strap myself into a rubber suit (Skims or Spanx) to be bump free as I cannot bear tight clothing. It literally freaks me out. I feel like I cannot breathe.
Well Feck, that is obviously another huge festering thorn. I need to work on self-acceptance (or buy a rubber suit). So that is my two focus areas. See? It flows right like that for me, IF I choose to reflect. The hard part is changing my existing patterns of thought and behaviour to work on the issues that rise up and get identified.
Anyways. Out of the trenches and back to the foxhole….. err I think a foxhole is in the trenches? #DunnoArmyLingo. Back to Foxcroft.
We chose the full Tasting Menu to try, it is R695 p.p. for 7 courses. The food started coming out course by course, starting with the home-made bread course which had a side of pale butter topped with parsley oil. There were 2 bread rolls per person served in a cute little cast iron skillet per couple.
The next course was Grass fed Beef Tartare, Berbere, confit lemon, okra, crispy chilli, and a teff crisp. This dish was inspired by Moroccan taste profiles: Berbere is a Moroccan spice mix and teff is a tiny grass seed with a mild, nutty flavour, the flour of which is often used in Moroccan cooking. I am a bit so-so about okra, it must be fried until the slime is dead, but the okra in this dish was delicious, it was crispy and almost sweet? This dish was Wes’ fave dish of the day.
Next was the Sakura smoked Duck, parfait, roses, apple, pink pepper, pistachio. Sakura smoking chips are made from naturally dried cherry wood and Japanese oak that grows in the forests of Minakami.
This was Norm, Caitlin and my least favourite dish. Neither Norm nor I are big duck fans, however I thought it tasted a bit like gammon so the flavour was not the issue for me. The skin was a bit squishy and the layer underneath it a bit gooey. The texture of the duck was not to my preference. I think the parfait was a bit too heavy without some buttery bread to slather it on. #MaybeIAmCommon
The next course was one that did not sound very appealing to me as I am not a huge fan of cooked tuna and I detest ginger, but it ended up being one of my top dishes of the day! It was also Cait and Norm’s top dish. Never judge a dish by it’s description.
This one was described as Balinese BBQ Tuna, young ginger, coconut, cauliflower, shallot, and garlic chive. I am not sure if it is the Tuna that is Balinese or the BBQ which is Balinese? The dish arrived minus the broth which was poured over the dish at the table by Mike our charming and efficient waiter. This dish was just gorgeous! The tuna was lightly seared on the outside and the inside was beautifully pink and moist. I did toss my slices of ginger at Norm’s plate but I loved the rest of the dish.
Next was the Oak Valley pork belly, quince, celeriac, blue cheese, thyme, and chestnut. I am always concerned that pork belly will be too gelatinous or fatty for me, the weird texture aversive weirdo, but this was perfectly cooked. The various items on the dish balanced perfectly together. There was a bit of a sweet crumb on the sliced quince and the jus Mike poured on at the table was really rich. Yum yum yum.
Next we were served a cute little textured dish containing Bergamot posset, guava, yoghurt, cara cara, poppyseed, and elderflower. I thought it was very lemony and saw no mention of a lemon, but I asked Mr Google and apparently Bergamot (Citrus bergamia) is a type of citrus fruit native to Italy so that explains that! I had always thought it was a type of rose because you often see it in candles. Oops. This dish was very nice and light. I detest guava so I chucked that blob over to Caitlin. This was Norman’s second fave dish.
The last course was the ‘main dessert’ containing Millot 74% dark chocolate, cardamon caramel, pear, cinnamon berry, and buckwheat. All the ingredients included in Millot 74% are organically farmed and it is the first ever 74% organic couverture chocolate whose cocoa is sourced from just one plantation in Madagascar: Millot. I like that Foxcroft put thought into the source of their ingredients.
The caramel was not as overly sweet as caramel can often be, and the dark chocolate mousse was very bitter on it’s own, but once you combined all of the little bits and pieces into a single mouthful it balanced perfectly. I do not like pears and I felt this one could have been poached a second or two longer as all of us nearly launched our pear slice across the patio when trying to slice it with our dessert spoon. This was Wes’ least favorite dish.
We ordered coffees and they brought them along with their petit fours which were a choux pastry filled with dulcey and topped with crispy honeycomb. Dulcey is a creamy blond ‘chocolate’ with an almost shortbread flavour. I wanted to eat all 4 of them with a big bowl of extra dipping dulcey, thank you very much. They were heavenly.
We spent the entire afternoon there and it was so perfect. The weather, my people, the food, the vibe. I give the day 5 Kitten Stars but for the food I have done a family average which came out to 4.43 Kitten Stars (out of 5) ⭐⭐⭐⭐✨. We all thought the portions were perfectly sized and the presentation was beautiful, everyone said they felt like there should have been one mind blowing exceptional dish.
I mentioned that Foxcroft is part of the same group as La Petite Colombe and I found it interesting that the dishes we had recently contained very similar ingredients to those at Foxcroft and imagined all of the head chefs being given a Mystery Box ala Master Chef and that is how the menus are devised across the various venues within the company. Obviously that does not happen but I would watch it if it became a show!
Norm did a shop for us on Monday so I have been cooking at home which I prefer as I can be in control of my intake. Norm chooses and I just have to plan it all out as a single pack / serving of many things can last for 2 meals for us.
On Monday night Norm grilled fillet steaks and halloumi for us and I roasted some sweet potatoes in the air fryer, fried buttery garlic mushrooms and made a simple Greek salad. I used Avocado oil and balsamic on the salad and it was a gorgeous combination! I had not eaten all day so it tasted amazing.
I cooked chicken breasts the next night, using the same process as I had found online. Just rub with spices and coat with vegetable oil, fry for 7 minutes without shifting it about, add a knob of butter and flip them to fry on the other side for 7 more minutes and it produces perfectly cooked chicken. I fried some red cabbage in balsamic vinegar and butter until starting to crisp, it was delicious. This is my favourite vegetable. I did a few more sweet potato cubes in the air fryer and steamed some butternut, then added a spoonful of butter and some cinnamon and pureed it.
The following night I decided to make the same dish I had first tried last week as Norm had bought a big bag of brussel sprouts again. I used a cast iron pan and fried my chopped bacon, then removed the bacon and fried my chopped onion in the bacon grease. I quartered the sprouts and just covered them with boiling water and parboiled them a few minutes to soften. I added in the 2 left over chicken breasts and mixed it all in the same pan.
I made up the sauce (a container of pouring cream, one of double cream, half a wedge of finely grated hard Italian cheese, a pinch of chili and a splodge of mustard) then poured it over the mix and popped it into the oven until browned. I made more of the buttery cinnamon spiced butternut to serve with it.
We had almost a full week without load-shedding but it was implemented again on Thursday and due to shut off at 6pm so after work I raced to get dinner cooked while I could see properly. I just managed to get it out of the oven when the power shut off. At least I only had to carve the roast in the dark rather than cook!
I baked a pork fillet which I spread liberally with a tomato and chili chutney. I added some mushrooms in the pan with the pork, fried the other half of the red cabbage with butter and balsamic once again, and air-fried some sweet potatoes. The pork was delicious, the chutney gave it a delicious flavour.
Most of you know I have been doing low carb eating and some may know that I took part in a Keto group for 12 weeks which started this past January. I had only been tracking my weight loss since I started the keto group as we had to report our progress each week, however I added up what I have lost since last September when I was at my heaviest to now & I have lost a total of about 21.5kgs or 47lbs. I am feeling very proud of myself for sticking with it. I can go up the stairs without losing my breath, I can walk up our hill without feeling like I am going to have a heart attack and I just generally feel so much better.
Last week I mentioned that we had hired some of Mzudumo’s friends for the day to help us in the garden. They took the pile of earth that had been dug up when clearing the back garden, pushed it through a giant sieve that Norm rented, then moved the cleaned earth to the back of the house and bagged up the rocks, roots and rubble that were cleared out. They have now taken 4 or 5 trips of rubble to the dump.
We also had the men help Norm move a large succulent which has always lived down by our pool up to the end of the new patio. It took 3 men, it is heavy! The plant had grown inward towards the pool to try and reach the sun, but now that the trees are trimmed it should get more light. We turned it away from the sun and hopefully it will arch towards that direction and straighten up a bit. When it was by the pool it stabbed you every time you walked past.
I will add more pots in this area where the patio ends as the water meter or water pump or #WaterSomethingOrOther_IWasNotListening is there so it is not possible to plant in the ground. A few pots of different sizes will look stunning and it opens up the area by the pool so nicely. Hopefully I can make it to a garden centre soon.
Norm had the bricks delivered yesterday for the succulent garden wall at the back and the artificial lawn we are laying.
I hope that he makes some progress this weekend but the weather is a bit wet and grey and cold. I won’t nag, if he wants to chill I have no issue with that. I will keep you posted on our progress. Maybe I will drag him to the shops instead.
Until next time, keep safe. Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxoxox