Saturday, April 19, 2003

The Wattles, Kaapschehoop

Saturday, April 19, 2003

Service: * * * * *
Food: * * * * *
Ambience: * * * * *
Babe Count: * * * * *

All right. So I overcatered. I'm Jewish. What can I say? Which is why my shoulders are sore and the ring of pain most people call their waistline is sensitive even to my underpants.

It's the second night of a three-night hike, out in Kaapschehoop, near Nelspruit. Seven buddies and I have done the heroic thing, believing we're superheroes, and walking up hill, down dale, kilometre after stinking kilometre. We've gone hiking.

And you know, it's not really all that bad. Except for the pain. And the heat. And the fact that my pack is a good eight kilograms too heavy.

Now you will have noticed that my rating for this establishment, The Wattles, is a little on the generous side. That's cos tonight is my turn to cook for the eight of us. And boy have I cooked well. And it's been service with a smile too. So send me large tips.

I cooked Lionel Murcott's famous lentil briyani. It's an incredible rice dish he taught me involving baby potatoes, herbs and spices and curry powder, ginger, broad beans, and, of course, the indispensible lentils.

Except, of course, that Wendy New -- famous Joburg/New York singer/songwriter phenomenon, Damon Berry's gorgeous babe -- decided earlier this morning that her pack was too heavy. So she ditched the lentils back at Barrett's Coaches. But that's all right. I've improvised with Troy Bentley's Soya Mince concoction and some turnips and tiny gemsquashes.

The dish turns out to be amazing, thanks to Alfred Hilton's exceptional curry powder mix. Alfred is an awesome artist. His portrait of me hangs above my study desk.

People line up, and I dish the steaming rice into their camp plates, and they invariably go "Yummy!!!" on taking the first bite. This is probably because the hike has allowed me to access my inner Hitler, and they're probably just scared that I'm going to gas one of them. (And with hiking food, the gas is very apparent, let me assure you. Yes Troy. Yes Damon. I AM referring to you two.)

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