Farmyard Wanderings

October 9, 2018

First of all, greetings from London, I’ve been here for just over a month now and I am still busy adapting to it’s fast paced lifestyle even though I’ve been coming here for the past 10 years. It’s the complete opposite to Cape Town in so many ways which has me feeling overly excited and eager about things but at the same time anxious and homesick. I guess I’m a true gemini.

I’m a bit late in posting this look to the blog – as I am with most of my posts to be 100% honest – hashtag #priority – it’s the one major problem I face since my blog isn’t my only job, more of a hobby really to explore creative fields and learn new things about myself but I’m not going to get too deep into that topic just yet.

Throwback to our blissful stay at Bosjes Farm out in the Breede Valley in South Africa, a 2 hour drive from Cape Town offering the perfect weekend getaway filled with hearty meals, bottles of wine and plenty of peaceful bird watching. (I wrote a full blog post about it, see here.)

I packed my vacation suitcase in such a last minute flurry that I ended up with an eclectic mix of prints (polka dots and leopard print), brightly coloured jackets and plenty of straw items. It worked out well in the end, I mean maybe a bit glamorous for ‘farmyard wanderings’, but I’ll take a page from Beyonce’s book and own that sh*t.

wearing:
Me&B bodice top
Mango trousers
Gucci Jordaan leather loafers
Bo & Luca Giza earrings
Lack of Color straw boater hat
Carry Ann Gracie woven bag
Missoma mini fang necklace
Gigi Hadid x Vogue Eyewear sunglasses 

Bosjes – The perfect Breede Valley hideaway

September 14, 2018

Just under a two hour scenic drive from Cape Town situated in the Breede Valley, lies a perfect little hideaway, Bosjes. You may very well remember me spamming your social feeds a few weeks back when we went to stay there for two nights. Named after the old Bosjesman’s Valley Farm which has been owed by the same family since 1831.

The farm had a complete renovation just over a year ago and is fast becoming one of the most popular wedding destinations in the Western Cape thanks to it’s architectural masterpiece, The Chapel, and it’s breathtaking views.

The old farm barn has been converted into a guesthouse comprising of five luxury suites and a shared swimming pool overlooking the nearby mountains.

After checking in we headed straight for the restaurant (obvs!), Bosjes Kombuis. A beautiful Scandi design with high ceiling, lots of wood and large glass windows offering you the best lunchtime views in the valley. The menu, which is created by Chef Pete Goffe-Wood and Chef Kim, is a combination of various bistro-style dishes. Think refined home cooking, with dishes like apple and plum crumble that take you straight back to your childhood.

We pretty much ate our way through the entire menu during our stay. Everything from the Moroccon style spiced chicken with cous cous and apricots to the tempura duck livers with pickled cucumbers (what a combo!) however our standout meal, which I still think about to this day, would be Chef Kim’s fillet medallions cooked to absolute perfection served with potato dauphinoise, sautéed greens and (yes, hear me out) crumbed exotic mushrooms. Paired perfectly with a bottle of Syrah.

 

Outside tables spill out onto the terrace besides a rather whimsical mural consisting of 366 blue and white hand painted tiles featuring over 100 species of flora and fauna by artists Lucie de Moyencourt and Michael Chandler. The inspiration behind the design is that of the old shards of porcelain that were dug up on the farm. Bosjes’ very own Tree of Life reminding me of my Portuguese adventures around Porto last year with all their blue and white Azulejos.

P.S it makes for a perfect ‘insta-moment’. 

We spent a lot of time at the Bosjes Chapel in the mornings and evenings as it’s the most marvellous light study.

Designed by architect Coetzee Steyn of Steyn Studio, the Bosjes Chapel is hard not to gape at. Striking white curves and a seamless flowing roof that merges so effortlessly with the water that surrounds it. Once inside the chapel you are greeted by the Slanghoek and Waaihoek mountain range through the chapel’s large glass windows and a sense of serenity washes over you.

Alongside the chapel is a charming garden, complete with a meditative circular walkway and a sculptural water feature, and close by is the estate’s new sunken tea garden. Unfortunately the tea garden was closed for renovations during our stay but when it’s open you can expect to find all your favourite sweet and savoury refreshments in the garden’s amphitheatre.

TIP: Make sure when visiting to take a stroll up the hill beside the chapel for an overview of the farm. Best enjoyed at sunset. 

Mornings on the farm start peacefully, with the sun slowly rising from the mountain range as the dew clears up from the guesthouse’s windows. A continental breakfast is served in the communal dining area which comprises of freshly pressed juices, various home-baked farm style breads, meats, cheeses and fresh fruit.

A stroll around the farm in highly recommended, you may even bump into one (or two) of Bosjes’ honorary residents – the black swans – enjoying their morning sun. Bosjes is a working farm which produces wine grapes, olives, peaches and proteas, so the farm is usually buzzing with activity in the mornings.

If you feeling a little more energetic the farm also offers 5km and 12km hiking trails which is home to some tame game such as bontebok, zebra and ostrich, if you lucky you’ll even spot some giraffes.  Birdwatchers will be in paradise, the Bosjes’ website even has a full downloadable birdwatching list. See here.

If hiking isn’t your thing there are 27 wineries nearby and 4 craft beer breweries. Some of my favourites being the Stofberg Family Vineyards and Bergsig Estate and if you prepared for an hour drive, Springfield Estate in Robertson.

Overall we had the most magnificent stay at Bosjes. A true space to slow things down and take a moment of two for yourself amongst the Slanghoek Mountains.

Photos by myself and Justin Polkey

48 Hours in the Cape Winelands

July 5, 2018

Last week we headed out of town for a two day adventure in the winelands to celebrate my birthday. I’m a bit of an introvert and not big on parties but prefer getaways, particularly ones that include lots of food, as my birthday treat.

Our first stop on our mini road trip was Terroir at Kleine Zalze, a quiet vineyard setting overlooking the mountains of Stellenbosch where we were greeted by Chef Michael Broughton who has been running to kitchen at Terroir since 2004. I was completely blown away with my experience at Terroir. No fancy entrance or decor, no frilly airs and graces but rather a restaurant that serves exceptional food plated with a certain flare and refinement. The service is phenomenal with the perfect amount of small talk from the waiters and small touches like the refolding  of our napkins each time we got up to take a stroll around the garden.

It’s hard to choose a favourite dish from our four course (more like eight because Justin and I shared each dish on the menu) tasting menu however the Malay style baby squid with smoked mackerel, aioli and coconut was a definite stand out, presented as a beautiful wreath and robust in flavour, I won’t be forgetting that dish anytime soon.

Each dish on the menu was paired perfectly with Kleine Zalze’s award winning wines. The perfect opportunity to sample and savour the the farms wines. In the end we stocked up on a case their 2016 Shiraz Mourvedre Viognier, a fruity wine with allspice flavours and floral nose. They also have a range of rather affordable yet sophisticated MCC’s.

Kleine Zalze are currently running a winter special which is valid till the 30th September –  a 2 course menu for R295 or a four course menu for R450 p.p with each special including a glass of Kleine Zalze award winning wine. Booking is recommended.

Terroir’s menu evolves with the seasons and the inspiration of chef Michael Broughton however I’ve attached an example of what we experienced below in order of the images:

Starters
Comté onion soup with a poached hens egg and onion brioche
Malay style baby squid with smoked mackerel, aïoli and coconut
Prawn risotto with Broughton’s famous sauce américaine (This dish has been on the menu for 14 years!)
Lamb with parision gnocchi, kimchi, aïoli and jus

Mains
Duck with roasted kohlrabi, rhubarb jus and carrot crumble
Pan fried line fish served with coconut yogurt curry, bhaji, pak choi and confit onion

Desserts
Sacher with caramel crunch and kirsch ice cream
Vanilla bean tart with honey ice cream and almond crumble

 

With fill and happy tummies we headed to Majeka House in Stellenbosch to check in for our night’s stay. Majeka House has been on my travel wish list for years now and was voted the best design hotel in the Condé Nast Johansens 2017 awards. The hotel is situated in a small leafy suburb of Stellenbosch surrounded by mountains and vineyards and a ten minute drive to the town’s centre.

The hotel went under a major refurbishment in 2011 by designer Etienne Hanekom who created a “neo-colonial look with subtle French and Moroccan influences.”  A light and airy ambience is filled with hand crafted furniture and quirky design details such as a statue, carving or painting of a pig as a tribute to the owner’s love for the animal.

We were shown to our dreamy poolside room complete with flamingo wallpaper making all my pink and electric dreams come true. Majeka House has a total of 23 rooms spread across four room categories offering a wealth of experiences for a variety of travellers.

I spent the remainder of my afternoon between the hydrotherapy pool, sauna and swimming pool at Majeka House’s very own spa. A beautiful open space that allows for the flow of light courtesy of their sky light. With two single therapy rooms and a room for couples’ treatments, the spa offers a range of holistic facial and body treatments, unfortunately they were fully booked during our stay.

Makaron restaurant was closed so dinner was served in the cosy MLounge amongst the bookshelves of French novels where we dined on oysters and bubbles, a wagyu beef burger and calamari. We retired to our room early to watch the FIFA world cup from our insanely large and comfortable hotel bed.

I woke up on next morning a year older and a whole lot happier, the loviest of staff at Majeka House had baked me my very own birthday cake. A sort of carrot cake topped with a blue berry compote, fresh mint and layered in cream cheese frosting – yes please!

Breakfast was served out on the garden terrace amongst the mosaic tiles and Moroccan inspired cacti. If there’s one thing Majeka House do better than most hotels it has got to be their breakfast. A selection of freshly baked pastries from classic croissants to mouth watering madeleines and french caramels and a selection of freshly baked breads. Bubbles and fruit jars adorn the buffet table with too many delicious dishes to choose from the hot menu. I was torn between the warm whiskey oats and the smoked salmon rösti. I vow to return to Majeka House just to eat every pastry on their breakfast table. It’s sublime.

Majeka House lived up to all my expectations and more. Such warm and welcoming service throughout our stay and I seriously hope to return one day soon.

All packed up we bid our farewells to Majeka House and took the scenic route to Franschhoek via Helshoogte pass for our next foodie stop – Haute Cabrière.

I’ve always been a fan of Haute Cabrière’s wines, particularly their Chardonnay Pinot Noir which pairs perfectly with sushi during those hot summer days, however on this particular chilly winter’s afternoon I was craving a big glass of their Reserve Pinot Noir – a fruity wine with hints of tobacco and spice.

Lunch was served inside, an elegant setting nestled inside a stone cellar beside a majestic fireplace. We opted for a two course meal from their a la carte menu, they also offer a 6 course tasting menu which offers an explosion of flavours such as pan fried sweet bread and venison ragout. The food philosophy of Haute Cabrière is courtesy of chefs Nic van Wyk and Westley Muller who inspire bold flavours while making use of classic techniques.

Haute Cabrière’s winter prices are seriously reasonable with a full 6 course tasting menu costing R450 p.p for both food and wine. (Valid till 31 August) As mentioned earlier we just opted for the two course menu which costs R290 for a starter and a main.

Starters
Pea and chorizo soup. Fresh peas, crispy chorizo, pork puff and pea velouote
Steak tartare. Hand cut sirloin with a quail egg (Is that not the prettiest steak tartare you’ve ever seen?!)

Mains
Prawns. Fresh tagliatelle, chill, garlic, parsley and parmesan
Wild mushroom risotto. Parmesan and truffle foam

See their full menu here.

Our final stop on our Cape Winelands tour was La Petite Ferme.  “A destination for all local and international guests, offering award-winning cuisine, wines and accommodation” and the most spectacular view of the whole of Franschhoek.

The story behind this establishment is truly something quite beautiful. The 40 seater restaurant burnt down in a tragic fire back in 1996, what’s truly remarkable though is that it was brought back to life over the next 6 months thanks to the local community and staff who still work in the kitchen to this day.

La Petite Ferme offers a range of luxury accommodation with large rooms that boost the best of views. We had our own private liabary suite with (once again) our own swimming pool. Pity the weather turned on us otherwise I might just have spent my whole afternoon soaking up he remaining warmth like a lizard in the sun.

With the change in weather and the restaurant closed for the evening we decided to order some cheeky room service. My meal was outstanding and definitely the most plate worthy (read insta worthy) room service I’ve ever received which has only left me wanting to return to La Petite Ferme to experience their full on dining experience.

 

Breakfast was served the following morning in their newly renovated bright and elegant restaurant while fires blazed in each corner. Their full farm breakfast still makes my mouth water whenever I think about it. Edamame beans, foraged mushrooms and smoked bacon- simple, hearty and absolutely delicious.

After breakfast we had a wine orientation guided by a very charismatic Avron Williams to learn about the history of La Petite Ferme’s wine making and the growth of their vines. Every wine orientation is followed by a seated tasting of their beautiful wines in the bar with a story of how each wine came into fruition. We tasted a total of 6 of their wines – three reds and three whites. My favourite still being their Shiraz. It’s a truly unique and interesting experience that left me wanting to sign up for a mini wine course of sorts to learn more about wine.

The Cape Winelands are looking truly remarkable at this time of the year and most restaurants and hotels are running winter deals, it’s the perfect excuse to plan a weekend away with your loved one or friends. In my opinion Cape Town is actually more beautiful during the winter so why not embrace it and swap Netflix out for a lunch amounts the vineyards.


*All photos by myself and Justin Polkey.

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April On Film

June 26, 2018

Just got my latest roll of film back and decided to put together a mini blog post – April on Film.

April started the way all months should start – with rose picking and scones with my mum-in-law. It’s a simple act of self-love walking through a garden and deciding which rose to pick and prune and take home, a consideration for mother nature and all she has to offer. It’s a truly calming and meditative process which I highly recommend. The Chart Farm in Cape Town is open 7 days a week from 9am and serve delicious cakes and scones for a seriously reasonable price.

I woke up the following weekend craving a warm batch of scones and because I can’t trust myself to not eat a whole batch of freshly baked scones I opted for tea and scones at the Nelly (Mount Nelson). As much as I love the scones at The Chart Farm (best value for money) nothing beats a Nelly scone and it’s undeniably charming tea room interiors.

With the Elgin Cool Festival right on our doorstep we decided to make the most of it and invited our friends away for the weekend. The weekend consisted of long walks, swimming in the lake, apple picking  and countless glasses of wine. Elgin is one of my favourite places to unwind and relax and it’s only an hours drive from town. We also feasted at Elgin’s very own smokehouse – The Hickory Shack. Think baked beans and burnt ends, smoked brisket and pork ribs and old school hot chocolate topped with marshmallows. A must if you ever passing through Elgin.

Driving back from Elgin we decided to stop off in Gordons Bay to indulge ourselves further into the life of food. Seriously though, some people eat to live, myself of the other hand lives to eat!

First things first, Bikini Beach Books, my secret little heaven on earth. I’ve been shopping at this book store ever since I can remember. Growing up I spent hours (and I mean hours) scanning the rows of books piled floor to ceiling trying to decide which few would be coming home with me. When I was 17 I stumbled upon an old red vintage looking book in a giant shell that was selling for 50c, I didn’t even bother opening it to find out what it was, I simply wanted the book for it’s ornamental value. A few years later I open the book and see it’s title… Moulin Rouge! So I started reading it and was immediately engrossed, it’s still one of my favourite books to date. A novel based on the life of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, the most intriguing and peculiar artist, written by Pierre La Mure and published in 1947.

Book hunting was proceeded by fish and chips drenched in vinegar and a long walk on the beach. Bond and I decided to treat ourselves to a soft serve from Uncle Barry’s. Seaside bliss. 

My bestie from New York, Jelena, popped over to Cape Town to visit and surprised me with my dream skirt that I’ve been drooling over for the last couple of weeks. Naturally I choose to wear it to Justin’s Bday we celebrated at La Tete, paired with all the classics – stilettos, turtleneck and my Chanel WOC.

My morning drive to gym and back is the most marvellous scenic drive along the coast. Every day I drive past this palm tree and it’s sign pointing to Table Mountain and one morning I decided to take this quirky palm’s portrait. A little snapshot of Cape Town.

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