Saturday, January 21, 2012

Lunch, with flowers (and a few chickens)

Flowers in a bucket mean...

Lunch under the tree. My mom had invited some guests.

She cooked every single thing except the chocolate rolls. I took care of ice, drinks, and flowers. 

Lots of flowers.

Our ancient metal cooler used to sit between the two front seats of our pale blue, and then neon yellow "Kombis" - flowerchild-style Volkwagen buses. It was the best seat in the house on holidays. We had not heard of seatbelts.

The weather has been steamy in Cape Town and we brought in extra bags of ice to keep wine cold. Before we moved under the green coolth of the tree I sipped a gin and tonic. There's a delicious lemon cordial sold at Melissa's - mix that with some gin and tonic, smother the glass with ice cubes, and you have something wonderful.

An under-the tree-classic: tapenade, aioli, pesto, caramelized tomato sauce, layered and eaten by dipping toast fingers into the cups.

My mom succeeded in outdoing my last chicken effort. The dish must have weighed a ton. The baby birds were ordered from another good little shop: Gogo's (check this link for a brief overview - but they don't seem to have a website. I never understand this). They are not butchers, but purveyors of specialty meats and poultry (and eggs). They told me that they had just received their order of goat. Goat! Also a lot of interesting venison. Worth a return visit. I am really impressed by Cape Town's changing food markets.

Barley and pomegranate salad from Plenty.

More flowers.

Mushrooms a la Grecque. Make in advance, chill.

Herb roasted chickens, barley salad, tomatoes, mushrooms...

Below, luminous Graham Thomas,  a gorgeous rose, if you have the space for it. 

On the lawn there was a whole other party going on.

Summer fruits in their own juice. Strawberries, cherries, blueberries and Cape gooseberries.

The roulade.

Yee ha! 

By late afternoon well-fed guests had drifted home, dogs had calmed down, undrunk wine had been returned to its cool room off the garage, and I had begun to wonder what was for dinner. Well, sort of.

Above, the rose is Sharifa - super-fragrant. Take a deep breath.


  1. The table looks so inviting. The flowers and water in separate lovely. I wish I had your touch with flowers and tablescapes.

  2. Hi,
    Dit lyk so lekker. Ek is bly jy geniet jou tyd "by die huis".

  3. Ellen - still can't believe you're coming. Whee!

    Kath - thank you :-) There are no rules. An art teacher - Lindy Solomon - at high school taught us to analyse paintings by isolating small sections of them in a viewfinder to see if they 'worked' in their own right. I think that approach influenced the way I cook and set tables. I dress a table to make it practical but also to give pleasure aesthetically to everyone sitting at it. Anyone, anywhere, should have something good to look at. Small parts make the whole. And the more functional it is, the better. Decorations per se don't do it for me, with the exception of fresh flowers. But a clear jug (does not have to cost a lot) with water and mint and lemon - it serves a purpose while being easy on the eye.

    Dankie Petro - :-)

  4. Lord, just read my comment and it sounds so stupid. Gr.

  5. Forget the boating party, THIS is a lunch.

    Beautiful, clearly delicious, and yes, very easy on the eyes.

    xo jane

  6. I just love your pictures. They seem to peek in on an idyllic life. Looks like you're having a great visit. Those tiny chickens are wonderful - I want some.

  7. Again, divine, joyous :)

  8. I've just double checked. There is absolutely nothing that looks at all like that under any of my trees. Clearly, I live in the wrong place! Simply lovely.

  9. I'm experiencing severe lifestyle envy...

  10. I think I gain 10 lbs just by looking at the food. Unfortunately the hikes do not take it away.


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