Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Bartholomeus Klip

The weather was wild but of course, that did not deter us...

 After all, Skye had just arrived in time for a weekend away from 'Bara'.

And what better reason to head for Bartholomeus Klip, and to rejoice in the beauty of all that is good.

Noo Noo sips from a cup of steaming hot chocolate, as we take a break on our 'game drive' surrounded by Bontebok, kwagga and wildebees!

Then, back to the elegant homestead so beautifully preserved by the Parker family, and just in time for tea.

Everything at Bartholomeus has a quiet refinement, even the lake seems an exercise in careful consideration, and we find ourselves rowing its calm waters on a winter's morning.

Then it is off to Tulbach, to admire its charming heritage architecture, indulge in some vintage treasure hunting and imbibe a few fine refreshments.
 And admire the peacocks too!

Till next time then,

xxx elle

The Spice Spoon

Shayma is the beautiful economist of Pakistani-Afghan descent ( with 'a hint of Iranian') who seduces readers with her exquisite tales of culinary heritage.

Her blog The Spice Spoon, takes you on a cultural journey into a world of 'loose estimation', or in Urdu 'andaaza', a way of cooking that is both intuitive and joyful.

Shayma's words are a temptation, so evocative that you find yourself almost there, at the table of her beloved grandmother, in her kitchen in Lahore.

Here is Dal (lentils) in the Afghan manner, scented with tarka; a cumin and garlic oil infusion, just the way her Baba likes it.

Go here and taste for yourself.

xxx elle

A right royal feast

With all the hype over the royal wedding, I was hard pressed not to a give it a nod at the Shabbas dinner table.

It was Friday after all, and so I gave in to temptation, and dished up a right royal feast complete with home made British 'flags' and yorkshire puddings!

My own ideas about the monarchy are hardly flattering, and I can't help feeling it's the British answer to the absence of an English Hollywood, and every bit as shallow and self serving.

Still, for Diana's sake I can't help hoping that love rules the waves...

xxx elle

"See Paris first."

Suppose that what you fear
could be trapped
 and held in Paris.
Then you would
have the courage
to go everywhere in the world.
All the directions of the compass
open to you,
except the degrees east or west
of true north
that lead to Paris.
Still, you wouldn't dare
put your toes
smack dab on the city limit line.
You're not really willing
to stand on a mountainside,
miles away,
and watch the Paris lights
come up at night.
Just to be on the safe side,
you decide to stay completely
out of France.
But then the danger
seems too close
even to those boundaries,
and you feel
the timid part of you
covering the whole globe again.
You need the kind of friend
who learns your secret and says,
"See Paris first."

Fearing Paris by Marsha Truman Cooper

xxx elle


Somewhere in our collective DNA is an affinity to tent making.

It seems almost instinctive for a small child to create a comforting shelter, with the use of a few sheets and the sides of a well placed chair.

Who hasn't fashioned a little hideaway under the bedcovers, by which to read a book by torch light, late at night.

And mothers everywhere, know to leave well alone, the tented paradise created out of what once was the living room floor.

I wonder sometimes, when I look out at the sprawling mansions that hug the hillsides of our beautiful city, if something very essential has been lost in the boundless echoes of 'important' rooms.

What if the small child that yearns for the womb-like embrace of a smaller space, must needs be find comfort in some other less gentle way.

I love the childhood memories that are conjoured by these romantic images.

They make me want to pitch a tent in the front garden, like my beautiful friend Cathy does, away from the distractions of domestic life.

(It is a sobering thought of course, to remember the homeless out there right now, trying to secure their shelters against the coming winter.)

For the rest of us, a little bit of magic under which to dream...

xxx elle

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Singing the Pesach Blues

This Pesach we all piled into the car, and made our way to Blue Gum Estate in Stanford to begin a new tradition with some of our loveliest friends.

In the car, travelling with us were several pots of soup and kneidlach, and assorted terines of a dubious Peisadica nature! Such are the joys of the layered soaked matza 'lasagne'.

Even Baxter our faithful hound joined in the spirit, traveling in convoy with his canine colleague, Diesel in the back of Benji's car.

A communal Seder had been planned down to a not so fine detail, and so certain imperfections will be ironed out in time for the next one at Blue Gum, same time next year.

For that is what Pesach is about, after all.

Ironing out those imperfections. Looking for the 'chametz' that rises inside of us. The old hurts and resentments that bind us to the past, and keep us from moving forward. Enslaved. Bitter. Looking outward, instead of inward at the ego from which all outrage stems.

As I cleaned out my drawers and cupboards, packing away the utensils that are used all year, and replacing them with the familiar Pesachware used only for these 8 days, I felt a great sense of relief that transformation is always possible. If we come from a place of love, then even the very 'waters' themselves will part for us , and we will see a way forward.

At this festival, more then any other, the energy of transformation abounds, so that if you are ready and willing to do the work, your time is NOW...

xxx elle