Ahhh... You know when you have one of those those amazing meals, the kind that has you salivating for days to come, thinking about the moment when you can finally eat your leftovers or the next time you can go back? I had one of those last night. A few of the other interns and I, fresh from a long day of dive training, finally got around to trying Cafe Ganesh, which is a little hole-in-the-wall place right down the street in Obz that I'd honestly completely overlooked nearly every day for the last few weeks (and which, I just found out, thanks to Google, was recently reviewed by the New York Times!). It's a small place, sort of a bar-cum-restaurant, that has all its offerings, mostly modernized Indian and South African fare, posted on the wall in the bar. Candlelight flickers off the off-kilter pop art covering the walls, and every step puts you in danger of tripping over the uneven floor -- well, that's actually fairly common here. Exhausted, desperate for protein, and having been turned away from Pancho's, Obz's apparently classy response to Mexican food, we were ready to settle for anything, so, in finding Cafe Ganesh, we got lucky.
I went for the umngqusho with bredie over the lamb and ostrich burger, and I'm glad I did (although I'll probably go back for the burger). I was expecting more of a stew, but what came was a sort of mutton curry (the bredie) poured over a huge plate of maize kernels and beans (the umngqusho) with a side dish of sweet chili sauce. That, with an Amstel Lager, after a long day of work and half-drowning? Carb heaven.
We all agreed: we're definitely going back. It's only down the street!
Obz is awesome.
So that scuba training I mentioned? Seven hours. And the weather was terrible, so we drove to this indoor pool a bit out and unloaded an obscene amount of gear. Dad was right -- all in all, it was probably well over 50 lbs. of equipment that I was dragging around. We had to swim 400 meters and tread water for ten minutes, then immediately struggle into our wetsuits (which is HARD when you're wet and tired), kit up with boots, goggles, fins, BCD, regulators, weight belt, and air tank and get into the water. We then spent the next several hours in the water, being taught and tested on skill after skill. I think my blood sugar got really low on one point because we didn't break for lunch and I didn't bring any food, so I was feeling pretty frustrated and tired. The breathing is especially hard; everything is already so cumbersome, and then you add the ability to only breath shallowly, as though you're on top of a mountain? But it was fun, and we learned a lot. On Sunday, we have a real sea dive, which should be cool! Just a couple more classes, and I should be certified. All in all, the entire course will cost me R2200, or about $245 at today's ridiculously good Rand-to-USD conversion (9.1!). That's much cheaper than most anywhere, as I understand it, so I'm happy to pay now.
So what else? I've finished my first few days of work, and it's been a bit slow since the office doesn't yet have any jobs in production. Some work we'll possibly be doing in the next few months include an Irish cookie commercial and a cool one for a British travel agency (they can film and complete a sunny beach commercial here just as summer comes in the northern hemisphere, so it's perfect!). But my coworkers are fantastic and friendly, so in the meantime, I've just been hanging out, waiting for something to do. They make adorable Stillking gift packages for clients, so I'll be stuffing hand-beaded keychains, wine, and knitted scarves into bags soon!
All right, I'm going to leave you with a Googled recipes for umngqusho -- I think the beef stew would go well with it?
Umngqusho (Samp and Beans)
1 kg samp and bean mix, rinsed and soaked overnight -- add salt to taste
2 onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed (optional)
2 ml whole cloves
5 ml all spice oil
2 ml nutmeg
50 ml butter (optional)
Pour off the water after soaking and place the samp and bean mix in a large saucepan. Cover with water and simmer slowly until the samp and beans are nearly soft and most of the water has evaporated. (Add extra water if necessary.) Season well with salt. In the meantime sauté the onion and garlic in a little oil until soft. Add the cloves and allspice. Add the onion mixture and continue to simmer until the samp mix is completely soft.
Season with nutmeg and black pepper and extra salt to taste if necessary. Stir in the butter. Serve hot with meat and gravy if desired. Serves 10-12.
30 ml oil
500 g beef, cubed
6 tomatoes, grated
250 ml coconut milk
dhania chillies, chopped
salt to taste
Heat oil and brown the beef. Add remaining ingredients and simmer gently until meat is cooked - about 45 minutes.