Fairview Homestead | Philda Benkenstein
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[caption id="attachment_16327" align="alignleft" width="300"]Alex and Desmond Alex and Desmond[/caption] Today I would like to share the following, written by our son Alex: "We headed out from a launch near the Cape Town Waterfront to hunt for snoek, those nasty looking wolves of the sea – to most people the quintessential South African fish. We must have looked rather comic as we chugged out of the launch site, four big guys perched on a tiny, pink rubber duck. After cruising about for a while we spotted a group of boats floating together about two kilometers off shore and we immediately knew they were into the snoek. The adrenalin was pumping, but we had to keep to a pretty moderate speed as the small boat climbed up and down the swells. Eventually we joined up with the other boats and rushed to get our lines in the water.

I love a good cup of coffee...Remember, we lived in Namibia for 13 years and there we were introduced to a European style cafe culture. Often the coffee there is served with milk enriched with evaporated milk. We could buy imported coffee brands long before our coffee taste buds were developed to the degree that they are today in South Africa. At the breakfast table I will often have guests express appreciation at the good coffee I serve. We buy our coffee, freshly ground, on a weekly basis from a local roaster. Which also means that I can order coarser ground coffee to go with the plungers that I put out in the rooms and finely ground for my Bialetti pots - my preferred method of serving the coffee at breakfast.

Our son Eckart is a spear-fisherman of note. His dad and brothers are not too shabby as sea-hunters either. When the Benkenstein men bring home  fish we eat fish for three days in a row. This is one  recipe that I can honestly claim as my own and it works perfectly with frozen fish too.  I've even substituted fresh fish for tinned tuna and it is still fool-proof - let's face it: every fish brought home represents 3 that 'got away'! This is just one of those recipes you are going to write and thank me for sharing...

This December I've had a guest make the booking and then mention as an afterthought that she had a little Yorkie;  surely I would not have a problem with that? My reply : " If your little Yorkie can handle my big Bull Mastiff then we do not have a problem... ". I've had guests threatening to sneak our one year old Bull Mastiff into the bedroom and I've had guests reeling back in horror at the sight of a dog. Bull Mastiffs turned out to be perfect guest house dogs : they are non territorial , not unnaturally aggressive and hardly ever bark.

(Text and photographs by Alex Cremer) Because it was partly hidden behind high boundary walls, the true beauty of Fairview only became obvious once I drove through the new gates. Then the regal proportions and straight-lined design of the double storey dwelling, built around 1865, could be properly viewed. To me, the old place had a rather Georgian flavour that was further enhanced by the symmetry of the quite formal front garden, or perhaps I simply sought a scenario where traditional European elegance blended with the typical colonial style of the Victorian era.

dwarf-chameleon-2-1024x682 This morning I found an envelope with 2 photo's of the Knysna Dwarf Chameleon that were taken in our garden in 2004 by British guests - herpetologists Alan Francis and his wife Heather. I could not resist adding the recent photos of the bright green Chameleon that my son found on the same day as he spotted the tiny little frog hiding in a agapantha flower.

As the proud owner of a 1958 Volkswagen and belonging to the local Old Car Club, I am forever encouraging guests to visit the local Railway Museum just up the road, where private vintage car owners can display/store their vehicles amongst the Railway exhibitions. I chanced upon the following passage in the delightful book by Victor Smith called 'Open Cockpit over Africa' in which he tells of his adventures flying more than 13 000 miles from George to London and back. Arriving back in George he was welcomed back as a hero by the locals. (Fairview is of course the Mayoral home mentioned...)

Older residents of George still remember raids into the apple orchards at Fairview -when it was finally decided to develop the suburb of Bergsig there was much debate whether to call the suburb Appelboord or Bergsig! Wwe still have one apple tree left. I would like to share the easiest apple crumble recipe you will ever try. Foolproof , with such basic ingredients that you'll be able to whip it up in a flash.

The following article appeared in Tourism News. "Beer is made of barley and hops. But why is a hop called a hop? No-one on the Hop Route in George was able to tell me, and even a dictionary of etymology (the history of words, Miranda) was tantalisingly vague. Seeing that hops were first grown about a thousand years ago in the area of Europe now called Bavaria, it is likely that it comes from a Teutonic word 'hoop' (heap) which indicates the way in which hops were left to dry.

appel-150x150Secrets first: we cook apple slices in a small quantity of water with one heaped teaspoon of sugar. These apple slices go into the bottom of the cake tin. This is how Probst Bakery used to do it in Walvis Bay and the Benkies love cheese cake this way. Bake a day before you want to serve it to allow the flavour and texture to develop. Geheime eerste: ons kook appelskywe (so 2 appels) in bietjie water met 1 opgehoopte teelepel suiker in en sit dit onder in die koekpan. Dis soos Probst Bakkery in Walvis dit maak by en vir die Benkies net 'n lekker ekstratjie. Bak dit ten minste een dag voor jy dit wil bedien sodat die geure/tekstuur kan ontwikkel.