Holy cow. That felt like forever…
The events that followed the evening of 16 November 201…(the year that shall not be named) lead to a long, sordid relationship with all things (read anything) liquor. This is one relationship that we fully intend to report on.
For the sake of authenticity, allow me to share as I recall what should have been an evening of post Pilates, sugary snacks and Netflix…
That Wednesday started like any other. We enjoyed a light lunch and thought it would be a great idea to try out some of the sweet cakes and pastries on display at a local patisserie. Considering the variety to choose from, we opted to build a lucky packet to devour for dinner. As it was Pilates day, we negotiated a justification for having cakes for dinner. (Yes. I know.)
Super amped to indulge in our freshly acquired sugar high, Hans and I headed home from Pilates. En route we picked up our favourite fluffy godchild from my parents’ house. When we arrived home, everything seemed normal. We unpacked the dishwasher, and delegated duties to get to the snacks-and-movies portion of the evening promptly: Hans would manage the catering, and I would set up the entertainment. As I grabbed my trusty Belkin Hideaway, I instantly knew something was amiss… 1,398kg, to be exact. I reached into the slot where that slender, silver speed daemon typically rested. Almost expecting it to be found deep down under- as you all well know, notebook computers can shrink down to miniscule sizes, then instantly snap back to its original form when you touch it… Turns out they don’t. And they can’t.
As my alarm grew into full-blown panic, Hans casually assured me that I probably left it elsewhere in the house. I knew I hadn’t. I ran up to the office, only to find empty desks. We typically put things away before leaving the house. Hans must have stored everything safely. “Hans, where did you put the computers and cameras?” I yelled down the staircase. There was no response.
Working my way from one normal looking room to the next, nothing could have prepared me for what awaited in the main bedroom… sheer, unadulterated chaos. Every door, drawer and container opened and unpacked. The blinds askew, hiked up to expose bent window arms.
With the panic rating now at a firm 127%, a moment of relief set in, as I spotted my unpacked camera bag with scattered lenses amongst the clothes on the bed. I thought it strange at the time, but was happy to see that at least one of my most loved possessions had remained behind.
What followed, was what I assume everyone experiences when they call the police to report a burglary. My interview however, included questions on why the dog did nothing to protect his home. Turns out it is not that normal to babysit other people’s dogs =).
We were instructed not to move any of the items that had been touched or handled by the burglar/s, should fingerprints be taken at a later stage. What no-one told us, was how much later… So, we settled into the guest room. By the weekend, we decided to pick smooth surfaced items, and keep them in zip-lock bags, should fingerprints still be collected. Then the big clean-up began. Funny how your own home can seem ‘gross’. Not to mention unsafe. For days if not weeks, we couldn’t sleep. Every sound waking us up in fear of another uninvited visitor.
As time passed I decided to take out my camera, and get back into the kitchen. Comfort cooking 101.
Alas, my joy for the left-behind camera was short lived. Turns out they left it because they dropped/ banged it on their way to the bedroom to the extent that it was no longer able to function. Tilting and tipping the camera and lens exposed the trickling sound of loose bits and pieces falling around inside. After a long, hard year, the conclusion without our trusty computers or hobbyist cameras seemed bleak and grim.
And so began our journey into all things liquor…
With major flooding during the weeks preceding the burglary, there was some delay in service, but then ABSA’s iDirect insurance arrived in all its comforting splendour. The incident was assessed, and the damaged goods collected for inspection. Before long, we were on our way to replacing the things that were taken from our home.
To be perfectly honest, that was the single most depressing Christmas shopping expedition OF MY LIFE- to such an extent, that we decided to boycott Christmas in its entirety. No tree, no gifts, no fancy meal. It would be our final farewell to the year that shall not be named. Our way of saying “No. You have a seat, son”.
And here we are now. Our accessories, notebooks and cameras replaced… One lens still in the wind. But we’re getting there- no thanks to Canon for discontinuing my favourites.
It seemed fitting to kick off a whole new year with all new things with a sparkly drink. Inspired by the magnificent black figs in the fresh produce isles, I give you the fig-and-thyme-royale. An appropriately sparkling drink to celebrate new beginnings.
Serves 4 generous servings
- 1 Bottle chilled sparkling wine (MCC or Prosecco works well)
- 1 cup Simple thyme syrup
- 1 cup Fig puree
- 4-8 Thyme sprigs to garnish
- 2 Fresh figs to garnish
Simple Thyme Syrup
- 5-10 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 8-10 small fresh figs
- ¼ cup sugar
- Juice of ½ lemon
- ½ cup water
Simple Thyme Syrup
- In a small saucepan, combine the water, sugar and fresh thyme. Bring the mixture to a boil, and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Allow the mixture to cool, and strain through sieve to remove large particles.
- Quarter figs, and combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until combined and smooth.
- To remove particles (a matter of personal taste, but a smooth, strained mixture in a bit more appealing. The mixture can also be strained once all the ingredients for the cocktail has been combined. It’s also a bit easier.)
- Keep refrigerated until use.
Mixing your cocktail
- In a cocktail shaker or jug, combine ¾ – 1 cup thyme syrup, unstrained fig puree and 1 cup of sparkling wine. Mix the ingredients together.
- Strain the mixture through a sieve to remove the bigger particles.
- Divide the mixture into 4 glasses, and top with remaining sparkling wine or prosecco.
- If you prefer a sweeter drink, spoon extra thyme syrup into the individual glasses.
- Garnish your glasses with a sprig of thyme and a slice of fresh fig.
It is good to be back- Salute!