Caperitif – a Cape revival

Ideas are born out of desires to change the world. Not necessarily to improve it, since you cannot really improve it – it runs as it runs – as good as it comes – but to bring something new or the forgotten old into it again. To add style, comfort, chic …


Ideas rise from early morning heaviness of sleep – when night fades out and light of day has not quite come – and are imbued with dreamscape stuff of earth and honeyed dust.

At Kalmoesfontein in the Swartland district of the Western Cape, home of the Badenhorst wine making family and place of the official “Caperitif” launch.

The idea was to resurrect an old product – Caperitif – a Vermouth type aperitif which had been produced at the Cape of Good Hope early in the twentieth century.


The reception. At the Badenhorst’s farm in the Swartland district of the Western Cape.In the middle background Cornelia Badenhorst.


The presentation.
Adi Badenhorst, rebellious winemaker  and Dave Hughes, well-loved, witty, widely respected booze expert.


The address.
Dave giving a jolly if not somewhat quirky historical overview over the Cape drinking landscape.


The proclamation.
Wim Tijmens – profound botanist and irrepressible raconteur.

The product. Instead of the original “Vermoed” now “Kaapse dief” a vermouth with a preponderance of Cape fynbos.
The mixing, with a great splashy indulgence.
There it is – the Cape classic ingredient to a variety of cocktails.


The jolly crowd.

The luncheon.
The setting.
Adi Badenhost  … man with entrepreneurial enthusiasm ….
… Lars Erik Lyndgaard Schmidt who thought it all up and had the vision …
… and someone who couldn’t give a hoot about the fuss.

Thank you, Lars, for inviting us. We thoroughly enjoyed the presentation.

With love as always
Colleen & Walter
Stellenbosch, 08 March 2017


Stellenbosch 2015 Vintage

View of the Hottentots Hollands mountain range from Annandale Road.
Rows and rows of cultivated land.
Against the Helderberg mountain range.
Entrance gate to a farmstead and vineyards on Annandale Road.
Pin oaks turning their colour with the vines.


Simonsberg and Stellenbosch mountain range behind.
Strong reds already in the barrel.
A homestead with Table Mountain in the distance.
Polka Drive. Vlottenburg.
Stellenbosch Kloof.


Rising the dust on our ride home.
Shadows fall and mountains turning blue.

Stellenbosch, 13 May 2015
With love from
Colleen & Walter

Eastern Food Bazaar, Cape Town

Entertaining the mogul
A festive gathering of nobles at court. Painting decorating a wall in the Easter Food Bazaar, Cape Town.

Cape Town is just a good hour’s drive away from Betty’s Bay and it leads along one of the most attractive routes in the country. The views over False Bay are always inspiring and apart from weekends and holiday peak times the road is surprisingly open. A troop of baboons gathering in the morning sun might slow you down but otherwise it is a sweeping drive making you feel almost airborne.

Coastal Road near Gordon's Bay with the Hottentots Hollands mountains in the background.
Coastal Road near Gordon’s Bay with the Hottentots Holland mountain range in the background.

We were doing a few errands in town and had arranged to meet with friends for lunch at the Eastern Food Bazaar, which had been recommended to us by Adam and Thekla. Eastern Food, tasty and truly affordable – a feeding place for the people. If you want to know more about it and see their menu, click here.

The Easter Food Bazaar in Cape Town, with entrances from both Longmarket and Darling Street.


Samples of the wall display menus.



Friendliness and efficiency combined.


Rich antique decorative elements give the space an air of authenticity.



The street level area. There is an upstairs section as well. – This is genuinely Cape Town – people of all walks of life eat here – workmen, students, backpackers, politicians, shop assistants, professors – the cosmopolitan multitude of true Capetonians.

Rastafarians – part of the multi-facetted clientele.
On our way home passing the Strand beach front promenade.
She –  a Cape angulate tortoise (Chersina angulata) – was attempting to cross the road to the sea front side where a continuous stone wall does not allow further passage. We picked her up and re-directed her to the mountain side from where she had come. She appeared pleased, we thought.

Looking back over False Bay.


We love our Cape Town sojourns and we enjoyed the Eastern Food Bazaar experience. It’s a place for the people, meaning rushed and noisy, queuing at the till points, not a place to have a quiet conversation, but the food is good, the price is right and every one around you appears to be happy and satisfied.

With love as always from
Walter & Colleen
Betty’s Bay, Sunday 27 Jan 2013

A nostalgic evening in our Dorp Street home

Our daughter Thekla was invited by Retha, tenant at our Dorp Street home, to cook for a secret dinner of about 35 guests. Secret meaning you as a participant of the 2012 Spier Secret Food and Wine Festival were invited to one of the 16 secret venues and you as one of the 16 hosts only knew about the numbers you might expect. We were called in as family, friends and landlords to lend a hand and to bring an additional touch of nostalgia to the occasion. We gladly obliged to help with the preparations and to welcome a jolly crowd of diners in good old Stellenbosch style and tradition – see what Thekla has written about it in her latest Food Blog.

The Victorian houses in Dorp Street – South Africa’s oldest residential street still in existence – hold secrets of their own: artists’ studios in their attics, libraries and enchanting gardens behind their gabled street frontage.

Pierre Henri Wicomb and Leonora Bredekamp – Jazz Duet of note.

It was a nostalgic night for us thinking of the many meals we shared here with family and friends some of whom we can only invite in our memories – especially Dora Steyn, Paul Cillier and now Wolf Amelung.

We salute you all!
Colleen & Walter
Betty’s Bay, Tuesday 6 November 2012

A visit to Babylonstoren

“Babylonstoren” is the name of one of the oldest farms in the Cape. The name tower of Babylon or Babel refers to the ziggurat of Etemenanki  and the photograph below of Bruegel’s conceptualization gives you the ziggurat type mountain side on the farm Babylonstoren.

Pieter Bruegel the Elder, The Tower of Babel, 1563, oil on panel, 114 x155 cm, Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna. (Courtesy of Wikipedia)
The “ziggurat” mountain on the farm “Babylonstoren”.

However, there is more to it than just the about shape of a hillock. After the Cape had out-run its purpose for the Dutch East India company to simply serve as a revictualing station for their East Indian trade and was eventually “colonized”, farms were established on the land and to run these enterprises Khoikhoi and slave labourers from the East were employed bringing with them a symphony of languages.

Layout of the farm.
Colleen, Rood, Retha and Mia.
Entrance area with the ziggurat mountain in the middle field.
Fish ponds with waterblommetjies (Aponogeton distachyos) – also called Cape pondweed – indigenous Khoikhoi food.

Fingerlunch outside the Conservatory.

The Conservatory …
… made in France.

Alongside the river you walk through a shaded shrubbery housing some nine thousand clivia plants with an amazing range of flower shapes and colours from pale yellow, yellow, to orange and deep red.

The “tower of Babel” in the background.
The homestead.

This was our first visit to Babylonstoren. Thanks, Retha and Rood for your invitation to lunch and Mia for charming companionship. We will come again and spend more time in the gardens and report in more detail.

With love
Colleen & Walter
Betty’s Bay, October 30, 2012

Snoek Run and Sushi

Last week the snoek (pronounced: snook!) [Thyrsites atun] were running in great shoals in the coastal waters off Kleinmond and plenty of fishing boats went out for a catch.

Coastal waters between Betty’s Bay and Kleinmond.

The local fishermen enter the sea with their basic ski-boats without fear and often enough without adequate safety equipment. Strong currents created by two oceans merging at the Cape, create freak waves which can easily capsize one of these boats and the water is too cold to survive for any length of time, testified by all the crosses along the coast. But these men are brave albeit out of sheer necessity to feed their families, real men, proud men, no holding back in catching the fish where it swarms and plenty of it.

Kleinmond harbour slipway activity.


Transferring the catch.
Already gutted on board and quite a specimen –  in appearance much like a Barracuda, but not of the same family.
Gutting, cleaning, selling snoek.
Luke’s Sushi offering.

Our grandson Luke visiting from France and spending his school holidays with his cousins and family in Hout Bay, stayed with us for a time and one day while shopping with Oma, decided on a small Sushi offering.

Oma showing Luke some fundamentals.

A non-fishy sushi – we shared it and loved it. Thanks, Luke! – As for the snoek, there are basically three ways to skin this cat: straight-forward: salted and smoked. Traditionally: butterflied, spiced, covered with smooth apricot jam and quickly barbecued over hot coals (it must be nicely brown and crips on the edges while staying juicy) and served with sweet potatoes. And then, also a traditional dish, made with leftovers from the barbecued snoek, if any or smoked snoek – “smoorsnoek”: layers of fried potatoes, lots of fried onions (sometimes with shredded cabbage added) and snoek flakes baked in the oven – an economical dish and rather delicious!

With love from
Colleen & Walter
Betty’s Bay, Friday 21 September 2012

After the storm, again

Seafront at Strand.

Taking life at face value – the wind, the rain, the hailstorm – and then the quietness throughout the night, not a single sound, and the next day with sunshine throughout – is that okay? How does one approach life? Do I look at things as they appear to be taken for what they are? What agendas are there, if any?

Betty’s Bay beach after the storm.
Brunch on the deck.
A plate of steamed Pak Choi, steamed sugar snap peas, fried exotic mushrooms on a bed of creamed potato and sweet potato puree and governor beans with pepperonis, with a Charlie Trotter inspired sauce on the side.

Having had a day of utter perfection and enjoying the company of a dear visitor, Colleen prepared a dish of utter perfection.

With love.
Colleen & Walter
Betty’s Bay, Sunday 19, August 2012

Cape Winter Food and Caribbean Girl

“I quickly glanced at my watch; 4:45 a.m. Zulus have a word for this time of the morning – uvivi – which means the darkness before the dawn. And it’s true. In the Zululand bush, the darkness is most intense just before the first shreds of haze crack the horizon.” (Lawrence Anthony, The Elephant Whisperer. Learning about Life, Loyalty and Freedom from a Remarkable Herd of Elephants.) In similar ways it is with the tides of the ocean and other phenomena such as the Cape Winter: we have passed the time of mid-winter and are now going into the depth of it. The vineyards are lying bare, we have seen and felt the first snow on the mountain tops, the wind is increasing its strength and vast regions of semi-desert veld of the Karoo are flooded – possibly a foreboding of things to come. Now is the time to huddle together in whatever abode is yours, hoping not to be swept away by wind or rain and warm your hearts with good company and good things to go with it …

… such as Waterblommetjies, found in ponds in the Western Cape, ready to be used in a stew or Waterblommetjiebredie …

… a basket full of pine rings (lactarius deliciosus) freshly picked in the morning …

… pears done in white wine …

… and captivating company …

… while having a fresh visitor with us – our Caribbean girl:

One of our acquired daughters – now semi-permanently settled in the Caribbean, not terribly happy about the Cape winter weather, but here, happily, basking in a moment of winter sun at Betty’s Bay.

Naomi has chosen a life of wind and surf, diving and flying with kites … stuff movies are made of.

With love from a wintery Cape
Sunday, 1 July 2012
Colleen & Walter

Riebeek Kasteel afternoon

Riebeek Kasteel

Many artists, culinary, of craft and fine art – have chosen Riebeek Kasteel as their place to work and be, away from the city – Cape Town.

The neighbouring town of Riebeek West has brought forth two sons of the nation: Jan Smuts and David Francois Malan – both Prime Ministers of South Africa: the former a brilliant international statesman, the later, one of the architects of South Africa’s pernicious policy of apartheid.

That aside, the countryside with its vineyards, olive plantations and extensive wheat fields,   generously holds your gaze with ever changing aspects of scale in space, of vistas, colours, patterns.

Soccer game on a rugby field adjoining labourer’s cottages.

Exhibiting separately from her home studio, Hannetjie de Clercq has recently established an Art Studio in which she and her son Van Wessels, ceramicist and sculptor, exhibit their works. Daughter Naomi, graphic designer and artist in her own right, is looking after the gallery as well as doing freelance design work from there. One of her projects – a book about Hannetjie – has gone into its final phase, with the launching of the book scheduled for August 2012. The subscriptions have been so overwhelming that the publishers have increased the first print edition threefold.


First draft of the front cover of the forthcoming book about Hannetjie.


Hannetjie, Walter, Naomi.


Entrance to the Art Studio. Colleen and Naomi in the doorway.


The quote is from a well-known German novelist within the Romantic period.


The Studio space. Paintings by Hannetjie de Clercq and sculptures by Van Wessels.


Van Wessels, “KoeiKat”.


Van Wessels, “Angel”.



Good food, lovely companionship with lots of laughs and endless banter will always be with Hannetjie.


Hannetjie’s paintings do not have titles. They speak for themselves and the artist leaves it to you to listen to them.

Thanks, Hannetjie and Naomi for a lovely afternoon with you and friends.
With love
Colleen & Walter
Betty’s Bay, Wednesday 16 May 2012