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 PHOTO SHOOTS IN THE GARDEN we charge a small fee that goes toward a charity of our choice

 

 

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If you are not as lucky as I am to be married to a fisherman and to have two sons and a son-in-law not too shabby with a fishing rod either, then hake from your fishmonger will have to do. Over the years I have tried many traditional recipes, but I promise you that we have now honed it down to the best.

Both Desmond and I grew up with mothers who made Ginger beer and Grenadila cordial as a summer cool drink.The drink was only allowed to brew to make it fizzy and non alcoholic (although I do remember becoming quite tipsy once because I scoffed down the delicious swollen raisins that I was supposed to discard!) Desmond's mother often made Grenadilla Cordial and looking at our harvest this year the guests will be treated to Grenadilla cordial in a big way: For every 2 cups of Grenadilla pulp, you add the juice of 3 oranges and 1 lemon. Heat 3 cups of water and dissolve 2 cups of sugar to make a thin syrup. You then add the fruit to the syrup and bottle it. It is very good diluted with soda water and ice. And a shot of Vodka and a mint leave will turn it into a summer Cocktail!

In 1994 we moved from Namibia to a town called George on the Garden Route in South Africa - we found this wonderful property, first registered in 1861. The place was very neglected, but I undertook to start a guest house so that the house...

 

It is countdown to the annual Garden Route Open Garden Festival this Saturday and Sunday. Desmond is gardening before work and I hardly get greeted before he is off into the garden again after work (he jokes that he actually goes to rest in his air conditioned medical practice during the day as the real work starts when he gets home!)All the hard work shows - our garden is looking spectacular. I am excited about a little collaboration with Of the Earth Catering  -  delicious French pastries and healthy lunches will be served at Fairview Historic Homestead's Pop-up Tea Garden.

Our garden is graced by big trees - most were here when we bought the property 20 years ago, some were lost in storms over the years and some were planted by Desmond from small cuttings and now stand proudly and tall. Desmond's father was a forester and their 6 Benkenstein boys grew up on Forestry stations and learning about trees and forests from their dad.

Much excitement - first when we realised that the owl house that the Benkenstein boys built last December had occupants and this week the Fluff-Ball made his/her appearance:

We feed the hard outer leaves to the chickens and find that the egg yolks are very yellow - I always feel I need to explain to guests that these are eggs from chickens fed on Kale and Spinach leaves. For nutritional value you can google kale and come up with a million sources of information.

(Guest Blogger is our son Alex Benkenstein) This past December when I returned to my family's home in George I had an overwhelming urge to take on a project. I'm all for lounging at the pool, trips to the beach, boozy lunches, extended dinners and afternoon naps, but this holiday season I wanted to produce something tangible, some kind of material proof that my holiday had consisted of more than an extended hedonistic haze. In a moment of inspiration it came to me: an owl house!

  At Fairview the food is home-made and often home-grown, sourced from our own garden and we keep our own chickens for the freshest of eggs.  In recognition of our responsibility to the environment we also use 'green' products for housekeeping, laundry and cleaning. Desmond has...

Luella-se-truitjieKnitting is the new yoga,but actually the inspirational topic for this blog post is : an issue with toilet seats... I doubt there is anyone out there who is not yet aware that I can now claim the title GRANDMOTHER. It is with the greatest of self-discipline that I do not insist that every guest look at photos on my mobile phone before they are allowed to enjoy breakfast. I became a champion knitter overnight - shortly after Luella's birth I woke up with tennis elbow pain and suddenly realised: I just finished my 6th jersey for 2 month old Luella - no wonder!! But back to toilets...