Archive | November, 2010

oops…

16 Nov

Apologies readers, Limestone House can cost as little as R180 per person a night. I was obviously distracted while doing the maths! I’ve also added the email address to the original post. Go get some sunshine on the West Coast 🙂

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Limestone House

15 Nov

Booking a rental house for a weekend away is often a dodgy business; you’re never quite sure what you’re going to get for your money. Online photos can be deceptive and exorbitant prices often lead one to believe that the place “must be good.” None of this is so with Limestone House in Paternoster.

It was time for a break. A friend and I just needed to get out of Cape Town for a weekend and we hit the internet, thinking of idyllic Paternoster as just the remedy for our troubles. The first search came up with Limestone House, which almost looked too good to be true. I called Rita, the lovely owner, and badda bing, we booked our weekend away. Simple.

We left Cape Town on a sunny Friday afternoon, zipped through traffic (yes, teachers do get to leave work early!) and found Paternoster. The clear sea and glaring but sweet white cottages were immediate balm to my soul. Next we had to find Limestone House. Luckily, Paternoster isn’t exactly big and getting lost is not easy.

After driving past some of the locals’ cottages, my friends were starting to doubt my judgement on just what kind of house I could have been talked into. But the house was beautiful! It is a large house, with a separate upstairs apartment with its own entrance. The main house has three double bedrooms, two bathrooms, a huge dining room table, an open-plan kitchen, dining room, sitting room and a courtyard. The upstairs has its own kitchen, sitting room and two bedrooms and one bathroom.

This makes it perfect for small and big parties because you can choose to rent out only the main house or apartment, or both. The rooms are clean, with quirky decor of oil lamp lights, shells and some interesting prints. The kitchen is well stocked, with only wine glasses running a little short (to me, a big problem!). My only complaint is that all the rooms only have double beds (no twins) so if the house is full, everyone needs to share a bed, whether a couple or not!

The house is 50 metres from the beach and easily within walking distance of all the restaurants and shops (not that there are many!) The incredible part of this lovely house was the price. The main house is R600 a night for the first two people and then an extra R100 per person (the house accommodates six people) and the apartment is the same (but sleeps four people). This means that for ten people, each person only pays R180 a night.

If you are heading to Paternoster, you need to book at restaurants before; it is only a “klein dorpie” and has become very popular but the restuarants are all still fairly small. Read on tomorrow f0r reviews of the Noisy Oyster and Voorstrandt Restaurant!

email: Rita, limestone@mweb.co.za

Home Made

6 Nov

Cooking has grown on me slowly. It started with my mum’s easy peasy quiche when I started university and had to cook for myself. Then the baking bug bit me and has stayed under my skin ( see Cupcake Magic). Now I consider myself a competent, if somewhat nervous, cook. Combine this with my love of books and you have a recipe book junkie.

I stumbled across Home Made in the Exclusive Books sale and I had to have it. Not only is the name appealing to me, but the gorgeous cover design, photos and the fact it’s written by Gordon Ramsay’s wife, Tana, all convinced me it would be mine!

And so the book sat on our house’s beautifully cultivated cook book shelf. Until I decided enough was enough and it was time to invite the girls round for a dinner. The dinner would be entirely from Tana Ramsay’s Home Made  (and Woolworths) and I would roast…gasp… lamb!

This only deserves a gasp because I had never done it before. And how easy it turned out to be.  Home Made  lives up to it’s byline – “Good, honest food made easy” My menu for the evening was:

  • Leg of lamb with pancetta, rosemary and tomato sauce
  • crushed new potatoes with feta
  • green salad
  • Woolworths plaited bread with feta, spinach and mushroom (buy it – it’s delish!)
  • Peach cobbler
  • Itatian kisses (Woolworths again!)

The lamb was incredibly easy to make, asking only a few minutes attention before popping it into a hot oven for 20 minutes. After this the oven must be turned down and I had to get making the pancetta and tomato sauce. I used bacon instead of pancetta but I don’t think it compromised the taste at all. Again, the sauce was very simple. A few hours in the oven, alongside the potatoes and the lamb was ready.

I was nervous for the girls to taste my first attempt at lamb, but I needn’t have been. I was greeted with ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ which are very gratifying when all I did was follow an excellent recipe! The best part was when I took the left over lamb to work (2,2kg fed seven girls, plus five hungry teachers the next day!)  One of our lovable Maths teachers is a respectable Greek gentleman and he asked for a second helping of lamb. Tana Ramsay – you have given me a reputation for great Greek lamb!

But I haven’t mentioned dessert – the best part of any meal! Ramsay’s baked peach coobler is the most gratifying baked dessert for the least effort I have come across. I have just eaten another helping while writing this because, three days after my dinner, I had to make it again to show my mum 🙂 This needs to be tasted, not described, so here it the recipe below, (the way I made it, which is a little different)- please make it yourself soon, even if it is summer!

Ingredients:

2 – 410g tins peach halves

115g self-raising flour

50g castor sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

60g butter

1 egg yolk

60 ml buttermilk

Put the peaches and syrup in a sauce pan and bring to the boil. Once boiling, turn down the heat and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. In the meantime, sift flour, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Rub in the cold butter until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Stir in the yolk and buttermilk. Put the peaches and syrup in a flat ovenproof dish. Dollop spoonfuls of batter around the peaches. Bake at 180C for 30-40 mins or until golden brown with bubbly syrup. Serve with anything. WOW!

Tana Ramsay

I am so glad I bought Home Made. Tana Ramsay writes very clear instructions and the ingredients are easy to get hold of or easy to replace. I say this because the fish section is dominated by typical English fish, like cod, monkfish and sardines, but one can easily find a South African equivalent.

The only difference I had to make to the recipes was to cook everything slightly longer, but I have a very small oven, so as soon as lamb and potatoes are both in the oven, the temperature is sucked up very quickly.

Now I will hold my head with pride as I say, “Why, yes, I can make a leg of lamb. Can’t everyone?’ And I’ll know I have Ramsay on my side.