A very good day
My parents have let our old family house in Stellenbosch and have moved to Betty’s Bay. They are getting in a new tenant soon so they have decided to spring clean, renovate and also to pack up a lot of our personal family stuff. Before my mother was going to pack up the kitchen stuff I asked if I could quickly pop by and see if there were a few things I could use in my kitchen. Well, my quick pop through ended up being the best part of a very good day.
I arrived to a house under siege – boxes, painters, handy men and chaos but my mother and step dad in with their usual charm showed me around and told me all the plans they had and what was going to be done. They also had a little gift for me from their recent travels of a packet of Beaver Creek, estate reserve 2010 coffee and a piece of sheep’s milk pecorino from Ovis Angelica. Since I had brought with me a jar of Chaloner’s olive and chilli preserve and guava jam, I offered to pop out and get some more cheese and bread for lunch.
My parents then advised me to stop in at Mellisa’s just up the road for some more cheese and then to go to a new bakery they had heard a lot about, called De Oude Bank Bakkerij (fabulous review by Whale Cottage). So I mozied off up Dorp Street on the most heavenly of winters days. I bought two of my old favourite cheese from Dalewood and Klein River as well as some little florentines for dessert.
I struggled to find the bakery but finally, almost by accident, I found it tucked in the back of a set of quaint shops. It was like a little hidden treasure, bustling with people in the know and wafting with the smells of freshly baked bread and the best intentions. I had just come to buy bread but the food on the tables scattered around the café looked so enticing, I was very sad that I had to leave without being able to sit and enjoy this haven. I bought two massive loaves of dark rye and something called rustica (like ciabatta with bigger holes in the dough, as well as four bread sticks filled with chunks of dark chocolate, all wrapped in a butcher paper and tied with red twine. 10 out of 10 for atmosphere, friendliness and presentation.
I rushed home and set up a rustic lunch upstairs on an old wooden kist on the floor as every other table and space was packed up with boxes and clutter. A friend of the family had also spontaneously popped in and the five of us plus our old cat who has suddenly gained about 2kgs (I think all the neighbours have been feeding her independently) sat in a pool of winter sun and enjoyed this simple feast.
The bread was light, crusty and chewy, the cheeses were all the things an excellent gruyere and camembert should be, but the sheep’s milk pecorino was something new for me and therefor special. It was very young and soft so it had a lovely creamy texture whilst still having the strong flavour and acidity which will turn into crystals with age. The cheese paired beautifully with the olive and chilli preserve (which is sweet, savory and spicy all at the same time) and the guava jam (which has something of a likeness to quince paste but is far more fruity and floral in flavour)
The mini florentines and bread sticks with chocolate were sensational. Simple goodness.
It was now time to pillage the kitchen. I left with way more than I had bargained for, but still only a 20th of what was there… oh my word my mother had collected a lot of kitchen stuff. I am so looking forward to cooking, baking and plating my next meals… where I am going to put everything is another story all together!