A Birthday party under the big tree

Last weekend I was lucky enough to pack my bags for a long weekend in the Cape. The excuse was my sister’s birthday party. It was a family affair, with my parents also in the Cape from the Karoo, and to complete the picture my brother was in town working on an advertisement shoot. So, in a setting that seemed designed for a 'highlights of 2012' album, all of my own family, my 89-year old grandmother and my sister’s in-laws gathered on their fabulous patio under the gnarled old pine tree.

Rising fabulously to the occasion, Elanie then proceeded to lay out a seven course meal. It started with a lovely seasonal watermelon salad with mint, feta and olives followed by a wild mushroom tart served with truffle oil. A cold cucumber soup with yogurt and honey found its way in there as an intro to the main act. Only after all of that, the main course was served. My grandmother’s face when she realised there were more food to come, was priceless! It was a beautifully grilled fillet, with rosemary and lemon potato wedges and a green salad. Sorbet followed just before the chocolate fondant served with vanilla ice cream on a bed of honeycomb. The menu was completed with a cheese platter.

Now, Elanie’s sense of occasion is already legendary, and if it’s not, it should be. Her husband remarked, very proudly, that the thing he will remember is with what ease she served a seven-course meal. It was as if a few friends just suddenly popped in for tea. And I will certainly remember her fabulous hospitality too. What I will treasure most, though, is how the unseasonal cold was beaten back by the warmth of the friendship, the conversation, the togetherness. I will remember the occasion of having my family, usually spread out over distance and time, together in one place again. I am grateful that we were lucky enough to enjoy the very best there is to life for an evening, and do it with people we love.

Image credits: Elanie Fourie and me


  1. Where does the gorgeous crockery come from?

    1. They are from Tapenade Olive Shop in Cresta (http://www.facebook.com/tapenadeoliveshop)