Seafood & Soul food for Artists

Madeleine Baumgarten. Photos: Facebook

Art and good food go together. But getting the latter in the remote west coast town of Hondeklipbaai is not easy, says landscape painter Madeleine “Madz” Baumgarten. Originally from the Free State, her preferences are for Boerekos. But since settling in Hondeklipbaai with her partner and fellow artist Deon ‘Villain’ Venter in 2013 she’s learnt to appreciate the harvest of the sea.

The couple enjoy making food. But getting good ingredients can prove challenging. Their vegetable garden struggles due to the drought and the snails. Fresh fruit and vegetables are also not readily available in Hondeklipbaai. They have to buy this when they go on their monthly visit to Springbok.

Deon fishing at Alexander Bay.

Sea harvest
And so Deon’s fishing skills are a life-saver. Although he spends all his time painting, there comes a point where he is exhausted and the weather is perfect.

On such a day he’ll take his fishing gear and take off in his Landy for Alexander Bay. He will stay there for up to two days. When he’ll return it will be with “lots of fish.” An old photo shows a banquet prepared with sea food; but Madeleine reminds one that it was taken before the quota became strict!

The photo was taken before the quota became strict…Nowadays the harvest looks different.

Snoek à la king
Raised on a Free State farm Madeleine’s preferences lean towards red meat. But she’s grown fond of snoek. She likes it prepared “with apricot jam, butternut or sweet potato, in foil over a fire.” Sometimes Madeleine and Deon prepare mussels with garlic butter; or lobster with a white cheese sauce. And although Madeleine finds the tail delicious the hairy legs give her the creeps.

One of Deon’s soulful landscapes.

“It will take a long time before I forget my Free State origins!” she protests. She still prefers Boerekos. “Lamb shank, when we can afford it, baked potatoes, sweet potato, carrots, beans and lots of onions.”

Madeleine painted this lyrical seascape.

Soul food
Talking about food leads to thoughts of another kind of food. Soul food. Madeleine, who is a soulful woman, has written a book in her spare time. She did not write it to make money.

She started to write after her divorce, when a therapist advised her to write down her thoughts. Having done that she joined a writers’ group on Facebook.
“And this is how my dream became reality,” she says. “Deon wants me to write more, but I’ve got to think it over. Because it is a big thing to put one’s heart and soul on paper.”

For more information about Madeleine Baumgarten and Deon Venter visit their Facebook page Villain & Madz Art Hondeklipbaai.



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