This Cape Town trip has been less about a holiday than it has been about trying to help sort out family matters.
But for two days I put The Matters into a box, stapled the lid down, duct taped it, put some bricks on it, pushed it under the bed and threw a lunch under the tree for friends. Two Days? Well, one for cooking, of course.
Even faraway friends were there in essence: above, Gabrielle Langholtz's delicious New Greenmarket Cookbook - which I brought to Cape Town as a New York gift for my mother - provided the herby cucumber soup (contributed by Marlowe and Sons).
One of the unexpected bonuses of Lunch is the trove of interesting and beautiful gifts that accompanies it. Here is a hand axe which Dave told me is 250 000 000 years old. Resting on a brand new tea towel printed and sewn by the lovely Lily. The striped shade cloth below came from Mustafa.
Also on the menu: Ajo blanco (sometimes called white gazpacho - recipe in my own book) made with a South African strain of garlic so strong that I had to toss half the soup and dilute it with with more broth and almonds! Wow. Even so the soup sippers' eyebrows were a bit singed.
The trestle tables and wooden chairs were given a work out, and every pillow was put to good use.
An ice bath took care of the wine.
My mom, Mustafa (visiting from Turkey), Connie and my dad.
And finally, the overcrowded pavlova. I don't like things that are too sweet, so I prefer the meringue to be subservient to the tart passion fruit, tree tomatoes and luscious prickly pears (cactus pears, for Americans).
Add autumn sunlight, and stir.