Episode 5. In the Realm of the Rain Queen
Shrieks of terror and excitement echo across a landscape ruled by an African monarchy over 600 years old as Terence and Paul go tubing the rapids of the Letaba river in the far north of South Africa. The boys have come to these legend filled valleys to seek out the mystical one at who’s command the water of these rivers flows; Modjadji, the mysterious Rain Queen; the inspiration for H Rider Haggard’s “She”, who rules over a kingdom of ancient baobab trees, sacred cycad forests and magic. After consulting a traditional shaman for guidance, they cook her a feast “fit for a queen” using the fertile region’s finest ingredients.
Terence is as entranced by Steven, the Belgian chef’s blonde looks, as he is by his culinary skills watching him bring European flair to a crocodile and avocado timbale accompanied by a salsa of peppers, tomato, cilantro and atcha, a spicy local Indian-style mango pickle.
Paul fails dismally at trout fishing but makes a brilliant DIY trout smoker using a cardboard box, a banana leaf and a lot of imagination.
Then they meet Florina, a cook from the Lobedu tribe, who shows them how to prepare a local delicacy, mopane worms. These caterpillars are served with marog (an African spinach), and the leaves of the moringa tree, a plant renowned for its healing properties.
With the feast prepared, the boys journey to the royal enclosure. Will they meet the Queen? Will she receive their gifts? Will she make it rain? Africa is indeed a mysterious continent.
Episode 6. The Cederberg: Mountain Muse
These mountains to the north of Cape Town have inspired man for thousands of years; San rock art, the poetry of C Louis Leipoldt, the paintings of Pierneef. But other more surprising “arts” have also been influenced by the land here; cooking and winemaking and even humble shoe making. The boys treat each other to what they believe the other will like. Paul takes Terence shoe shopping in the rural town of Wupperthal for good old-fashioned practical footwear. Paul is a bit more pleased by his treat as Terence takes him on a game drive and a tour of rock paintings of the same animals.
The land itself offers plenty to inspire the culinary arts; the soil gives life to South Africa’s highest vineyards, as well as aromatic herbs like wild rosemary, buchu and rooibos tea. Once South Africa’s top chef, Floris Smith combines these ingredients with lamb grazed on indigenous grass and waterblommetjies (the flavoursome buds of a plant growing in local ponds) to create his version of the traditional bredie (a slow cooked stew), the result is indeed a masterpiece.
Paul also attempts to coax the more medicinal qualities out of these herbs to concoct a hangover cure, but Terence, despite his throbbing head, is reluctant to drink it.
The boys feel the muses at work as mountains are climbed, poetry is read, wine is drunk and waterblommetjies are eaten under a 300 year-old cedar trees.
Episode 7. Sun, Sea and Chenin Blanc
Just over an hour’s drive east of Cape Town lies the spectacular Overberg mountain range, blanketed in Fynbos, the richest plant kingdom on earth. But it’s not just a bunch of tree huggers that you’ll find there. This isolated region has through the centuries attracted bandits, runaways and those who generally shunned normal society, which probably explains why Paul grew up there! It may be gentrified now, but on a whirlwind weekend of lady bikers, seedy bars, boutique wineries, lobster dives, beach barbeques, helicopter flips, 5 star luxury, baboons, penguins, wild horses, great white sharks, spas, Chenin Blanc and sand boarding, Paul shows Terence just why this little corner of the Cape is his favourite place in the whole world. It even has blondes!
Paul makes a fire on the beach and cooks his lobster rough; steamed in seaweed with mussels, ginger, garlic and chilli. Even Terence is impressed by the colourful “sushi roll” results, but then gives his lobster the smooth treatment; a helicopter ride to a sumptuous 5 star resort where the executive chef works his magic to create curried lobster ravioli on a butternut risotto with a slow cooked lamb shank tian on a pea puree served with a superb local red wine. Paul doesn’t understand the names, but wolfs down every morsel!