kirstenbosch botanical gardens

24 Jul 2017

On my last full day in Cape Town I had an optimistic itinerary which began with a visit to the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, followed by Groot Constantia, penguin viewing at Boulder Beach then finishing up with lunch at Kalk Bay but I kept missing the turn off to the gardens. In the end I cut my losses and instead viewed the gardens towards the end of the day following my lunch at Kalk Bay.

It may have been remiss of me but I didn't realise the gardens only featured South African plants and flowers.

Which explains why I have no idea what this plant is called.

I do know these are a variety of aloe, which featured heavily in the garden.

I walked through an avenue of large scale sculptures.

The gardens are nestled beneath the imposing Table Mountain.

Another few images of those red aloes.

and lastly this beautifully tranquil view of the gardens.

Unfortunately I'm still struggling to get access to my images but once I do, I'll be back again with another post from my western cape wine tour.

Until then,

Bye for now,


western cape wine tour

21 Jul 2017

What do you do when you're on the road and your laptop won't start and your hard disc drive breaks and you have no internet? You don't blog very much. Until I return home I have limited access to my files so the images I'm sharing with you are ones I've posted to instagram. I hope they'll give you a taster of what's to come.

When I last wrote I was on my way to the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. I went to the gardens late afternoon so the light through the trees was just beautiful.

The next day I drove to Stellenbosch where I tasted wine at the Thelema Estate Winery

I was the first person to arrive that day so I was given a personal tasting session. I did like some of the wines but couldn't take any home as they wouldn't survive the journey home in my backpack.

I then took a wrong turn arriving here at the spectacular Delaire Graff Estate. I just had to stop and take a picture or two.

Then I took a detour to Babylonstoren for lunch and to walk around the garden. Again I have so many pictures to share with you once I return home.

I then drove onto Robertson for a 2 day stay at the lovely Robertson Small Hotel where I was treated like a princess.

I stayed in the Manor House where my room overlooked the pool and I had my beautiful meals served in the restaurant.

Instead of wine tasting whilst in Robertson I tasted olive oil at the Marbrin Olive Farm

The contrast between the wine farms in Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl were stark. It was as dry as toast in Robertson. Again as I was travelling mid week I was the only person at the olive farm so I enjoyed a personal olive oil tasting with the owner.

Soon it was time to return to Cape Town. I drove back via the spectacular Franschhoek Pass where a pea soup fog descended about 10 kms before I arrived in Franschhoek. I couldn't see a thing!

I'm about to start the long journey back home to Sydney. Once I'm back home I'll chain myself to the computer so I can bring you so much more.

Until then, bye for now


cape town - part II

13 Jul 2017

I'm writing this from Namibia where the internet is a rare and slow beast. I had so many more images to share from my time in Cape Town and the Cape Peninsula so I thought I'd quickly write a post while the internet was available.

The Company Gardens, like Bo Kaap, were just a short walk from my airbnb. During the breaks between sessions I'd walk down there to roam around. The Gardens are quite old and formal in their lay-out, which I really liked and home to many squirrels.

This beautiful fountain greeted me.

I visited Cape Town in winter when many of the leaves had fallen from the trees.

The Gardens are fronted by Queen Victoria Street where I stumbled upon an impromptu fashion shoot.

The next sunny day I decided to do the Lions Head walk. I found it pretty hard going and I blamed my still raging jet-lag.

The walk gave spectacular vantage point for views over Cape Town.

It was a hot and dusty climb at times but worth it for these views.

I found these interesting flowers on my walk down the hill to the 107 bus stop which took me back to my apartment.

Once the Conference was over I collected a car and decided to drive down to see the penguins. I drove through Constantia first and paid a visit to Groot Constantia as I was interested in seeing some Dutch Cape architecture.

The vine yards were a picture of autumnal colour.

and the early morning sun shining through the oak trees made for a lovely sight.

It was too early in the morning for wine tasting so I got back into the car and drove to Muizenberg to see the coloured bathing boxes.

It was a cold and blustery day which brought in a dense fog which shrouded Boulders Beach, home to these sweet little penguins.

Despite the fog, thankfully these little guys still came out to play.

After all that driving it was time for some lunch so I made my way back to Kalk Bay and Live Bait.

The restaurant is housed in a building overlooking the working harbour ensuring spectacular views to accompany your meal.

I also had this little guy for company. Fur seals and penguins in one day, I felt very lucky.

I still have plenty more images to share of the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, wine tasting in Stellenbosch and my trip to Robertson but no time in which to prepare the images. It's all go, go, go on this trip to Namibia.

See you all again soonish,

Bye for now,


cape town

10 Jul 2017

I have so many photos to share with you from my few days in Cape Town, so be prepared for image overload.

I had one free day in Cape Town before my conference began, then hired a car for a few days so these images were taken on just the first day. Trust me there are plenty more images and when I get time and an internet connection I'll share them with you.

My first full day I went to the V and A Waterfront area to visit the Oranjezicht City Farm Markets.

It was a lovely sunny day and there were so many lovely things on display like these beautiful roses and organic strawberries.

These eggs were so beautiful I just had to photograph them.

Some more beautiful organic produce.

If I'd not already eaten I would have been tempted by all the food stalls but I had things to do and places to see.

My apartment was just across the street from the Bo Kaap area so I roamed around with my camera.

I found this impromptu game of street soccer underway.

These three boys were having an argument. I wonder if it had anything to do with the knife in one of the boys hands?

Colour everywhere you turned.

and then just a little bit of a crumbling facade unadorned by paint.

So many more images to come but I'm about to head to Namibia so time to close here.

By for now,


tartine chocolate cake

3 Jul 2017

I'm in Cape Town at the moment struggling with jet-lag. I should be fast asleep but I'm not so I thought I'd post this recipe. There are many June babies at work so to celebrate we had a joint work birthday tea just before I flew to Cape Town. I've had this Tartine chocolate almond cake recipe bookmarked for a while so I decided to bake it.

The cake uses almond flour so its gluten free. It also eschews extra fat in the cake batter, relying on the fat from the almond meal and from a topping and filling of whipped cream.

Instead of making a double layer cake I decided to half the recipe to make a loaf cake. It meant using less jam and cream and for that reason I found the cake wasn't quite sweet enough. Maybe halving the cake and sandwiching the 2 layers with a layer of jam would be a good idea or otherwise increasing the caster sugar a little to ½ cup.

Here's the recipe for you. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. All eggs are 60 grams and my oven is a conventional oven not fan forced, so you may need to reduce your oven temperature by 20°C.

Tartine Chocolate-Almond Cake - makes one loaf tin

2 cups almond flour (sift it if there are lumps)
35 g cocoa powder, sifted
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
40 grams caster sugar
¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ tsp vanilla
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon white vinegar
¾ cup milk
⅓ cup blackberry jam (sieved)
2 tsp water
1 cup of cream, whipped and lightly sweetened and flavoured with vanilla 
Chocolate curls (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C). Grease and line a small loaf tin with baking paper.

In a bowl, combine the almond flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda and mix well, making sure that any lumps of almond flour are broken up.

Using a handheld mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs, caster sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and salt on high speed until very thick and pale in colour, about 3 minutes. When you lift up the whisk, a ribbon of beaten eggs should trail back into the bowl.

Whisk the vinegar, milk into the egg mixture. Pour the milk-egg mixture into the almond meal mixture and whisk until combined. Pour the batter into the cake tin. Evenly space dots of the jam over the top of the cake. If the jam is too thick to drop off the spoon, slightly thin by stirring in the water. Bake until the cake is set and a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean, 50 minutes to 1 hour.

Set the pan on a cooling rack and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Unmould the cake and peel away the baking paper. Allow to cool completely. When cool, place on a serving plate and top with the whipped cream and chocolate curls, if using. Serve at room temperature.

If you look very closely you can see the little pockets of jam at the base of the cake. I used blackberry jam but you can use any jam you like. Make sure you use a seedless jam though or sieve the jam first to avoid any unwanted seeds.

That will be the last food post for a while until I'm back in Sydney. Expect a post from South Africa when the conference commitment is done.

See you all again soon.

Bye for now,

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