Imagine the perfect summer getaway – all white sand, warm sunshine and azure ocean. Walks on the beach in the pearly dawn, languid afternoon naps and evenings spent sipping on flinty white wines as dusk falls over the dunes. Enter the ultimate in beach house bliss found in at Casa Blu’ on the Cape West Coast.
Nestled in a quiet cul-de-sac in the seaside town of Dwaskersbos, Casa Blu’ is the kind of place that makes one rethink one’s priorities and consider becoming akin to those people that go off on holiday and just never return. A multi-level space that houses three bedrooms, three bathrooms, a double volume lounge, open-plan kitchen and a sprawling verandah with an infinity pool, Casa Blu’ is made for entertaining – even if there are just two of you. Facing an endless stretch of bone-bleached beach and the Atlantic Ocean, the house is a culmination of the beach properties of my dreams. Quintessentially West Coast at it’s core, the contemporary design and clever use of space has resulted in a holiday home that feels at once welcoming. One twin and one king-size bedroom upstairs share a loft bathroom, with the latter bedroom opening up on to a rooftop terrace that overlooks the beach.
The master bedroom makes use of the same heightened ceiling as the lounge, with a shell chandelier and driftwood touches bringing the beach inside. For a more literal interpretation, double doors open out on to the shaded poolside terrace, with drapes of the most diaphanous linen catching the warm Berg wind. In the en-suite, a twin shower makes shared ablutions after a day on the beach all the more appealing, while a large bathtub fringed with candles makes Casa Blu’ as welcome an option for couples wanting to escape as it does for weekends with friends. Nothing could be more blissful – or more romantic – than falling asleep to the sound of the sea.
Finding the kitchen utterly irresistible, I immediately began devising a recipe for the bag of beautiful Blue Ocean Mussels molluscs that I had purchased from the factory shop in Velddrif. Featuring a gas hob built directly into the centre island, the kitchen gives chefs the opportunity to engage with their guests or simply allow themselves to be occasionally distracted by glimpses of the sea. Pots and pans suspended from a ceiling bracket makes for easy access, as does a handy pantry cupboard and wine fridge. Speaking of wine, I had brought along my favourite West Coast white – Groote Post’s Seasalter Sauvignon Blanc – for the weekend and planned to put together a dish of the aforementioned moules for dinner that evening. Made in my new Le Creuset enamel-on-steel Mussel Pot, I could easily brown the ingredients for the sauce before steaming the mussels in all their briny brilliance.
Wanting to lend a Mediterranean twist to my usual preference of cream, wine and garlic, I decided to add in some piquant sun-dried tomatoes and flatleaf parsley. Enjoyed out of doors with a loaf of crusty bread and bottle of chilled white wine, mussels have to truly be the epitome of summertime feasting.
Mussels in a creamy Sun-dried Tomato Sauce
Prep time: 10 mins /Cook time: 20 mins /Serves: 2-4
You will need:
- 2-3 kgs of fresh Mediterranean mussels, cleaned
- Olive oil
- 2-3 medium sized shallots, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 5-6 large sun-dried tomatoes plus 50ml of their liquid
- 250ml of rosé wine (I love Groote Post’s Pinot Noir Rosé)
- 250ml fresh cream
- Coarse ground sea salt and black pepper
- a generous handful of flatleaf parsley, finely chopped
Using the mussel steamer or a large lidded pot, fry the shallots in a little olive oil over low heat until they are soft and translucent. Add in the garlic and sun-dried tomatoes and sauté until soft and fragrant. Increase the heat and deglaze with the rosé. Pour in the cream and season with a crack each of salt and pepper, going easy on the salt. Leave the sauce to simmer and reduce by half before adding in the cleaned mussels. Cover the pot with it’s lid and leave to steam for 8-10 minutes or until all the mussels have opened. If necessary, season the dish once more and sprinkle over the chopped parsley.
Serve the rosy creamy mussels immediately with crusty bread, lemon wedges and a West Coast sunset.