Friday, October 19, 2012

'THE HEALTHY HEART', AN URBAN FEAST


No pressure when your guests arrive in Rolls        Mans
It just so happened that, ‘The 2 Peter’s’ (Peter Long and Peter Shepherd) kindly offered us the use of their beautiful Belair Manor House and it’s extended property, as a venue for our second ‘Urban Feast’, just when the avos were avoing, the waterbloemetjies were bloemetjieing (water flowers were flowering), the snails were purging, the nettles were stinging, the artichokes were choking and the hearts were loving. So a spontaneous decision was made, ‘LETZ GO FOR IT’.

The Nasturtium Pesto was flattened in no time           Mans
Avos from the estate needed to be picked in advance, so as to ripen in time for the feast, and once they were, there was no turning back. Together Stef, Harry and I planned a daring menu that featured mostly foraged food, but the main event was ‘The Healthy Heart’, which was stuffed lamb hearts and for the vegetarians, artichoke hearts. Lamb hearts basically chose themselves, coz Peter Long told me how he treated his beloved dog Chart who was suffering from an advanced stage of cancer, by only feeding him free-range lamb hearts. Today Chart has no trace of cancer and still enjoys a lamb heart everyday. It seemed obvious, that the hearts should be the main feature; Stef the genius came up with the idea of artichoke hearts as the vegetarian option. Harry our wine guru, selected all the wines from Constantia Glen, whose vineyards virtually neighbour the Two Peter’s Estate, once again the obvious choice.

John & Celeste doing The Rumba                                 Mans
So this is how the evening unfolded – When the guest arrived in the early evening, they were welcomed with, a pomegranate and lemon cosmopolitan. The pomegranates were foraged (with permission) from my neighbourhood and made into a reduction, while the lemons came from my beloved lemon tree. There was also homemade ginger beer and lemonade for those who wanted to take it easy. After their cocktails the guests were then taken up onto the magnificent upper terrace of the property, where they snacked picnic style on artisanal breads, with an avo dip and nasturtium pesto. From where the guests lounged they could not only see the amazing views of Table Mountain and the ranging city, but also the avocado trees and nasturtium patch from which the goodies they were chomping came from. Just as the snacks were coming to an end, one of the ‘guest’, Emilie Le Louche ushered the others away from under the ‘tripod gazebo’ unwrapped the stands fabric from the supports and performed a beautifully creative aerial act, spontaneously choreographed to the sound of a squawking Harde-dar. It was then down into the courtyard outside the kitchen where top Latin American Dancers Duo Celeste Botha and John Hammon performed a fiery and sensuous rumba, all in keeping with ‘The Heart Theme’. The dance piece was concluded with a serving of my lovingly purged garlic garden snails on crostinis with a sprinkling of parsley, all racked up on a rustic platter.



Lamb Hearts on the way                                                                  Mans

All on an Aga, wot a pleasure      Mans
It was then off to a three course sit down meal on the veranda with the sparkling reaches of the city below. The first course was stinging nettle ravioli, the mains were the hearts accompanied with Waterbloemetjies (indigenous seasonal Water Flowers) garnished with foraged Cape Sorrel, potato cakes and glazed carrots, and finally to finish off, was Harry’s Sour Fig (an indigenous succulent) ice cream served in a brandy snap basket and a drizzle of sour fig syrup.



Sour Fig Ice Cream                                                                          Mans

A monumental thanks needs to go to ‘The 2 Peters’, Celeste and John, Emilie and Eric and finally, thanks to our daring guest for stepping outside of today’s culinary norms and for their faith in our madness.



Emilie doing her stuff                 Mans

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