Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Life is Funny like that

How the wheels of my life have turned. I look back 2 years and I hardly recognize the person in those photographs (she is so skinny). Her life was so different, she was strong in such different ways to me now.

This girl does still enjoy cooking, family and the outdoors. Although the way she enjoys them now is vastly different. I now cook with lots of butter, cream and have been know to now even add fruit and nuts into savoury dishes. Who would have thought an old dog like me could master so many new tricks!

Another change is the addition of 2 family members, Roxy and Dude and from tonight we'll have Jack too. Becoming a pack leader and doggie Mom has changed me into that person everyone laughs at in the office.  I run my life around these dogs (don't tell them I called them dogs, they think they are humans!).

So this is some of how I have changed and become a different person. I am happy. It is a different happy than before, and don't read "sad happy" into that. I am truly blessed and my heart is overflowing, but I am different - I feel things differently now.

There is a large piece of my naivety that has been lost. I have learned very hard lessons, very quickly. I know about pain, loss and being alone, I had never experienced that before. This is not a bad thing, it is a different thing and has made me different. I look at things differently and live very differently.

I embrace life a lot quicker than before. I take opportunities quicker, live on the edge and take more risks. I am aware with every decision that life is just far too short. You don't get a second chance and you never know when it's going to be "Just too late".

 I don't judge those who are different, although I do keep reminding them not to wait too long to enjoy things, because they might wait too long.

I had to take this time to share with you where I am. I don't want to be labeled as brave or strong - I was forced into an unthinkable situation and have survived.
How well have I survived? I am guessing it is too early to tell, but I am happy and for a long time I didn't think I could be really happy again.  

Thank you to everyone who has shared this journey with me. Thank you for judging me, for supporting me and loving me. Everyone of you have helped me become who I am and I hope you'll continue to do it for a very long time to come.

The biggest thing is the incredible man that I have in my life. I have embraced this happy with both hands, my life is good and am moving forward on a new adventure shortly which will bring more into my life than I could have dreamed possible.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Creamy Potato and Broccoli

"Necessity is the Mother of Invention"

The best meals I can remember making, have one thing in common - necessity. Usually it is not the necessity to eat, but the necessity to make do with the ingredients I have.

This happened to me last week - I was handed baby potatoes, broccoli, cream and bacon and asked if I could, " Just make something please". Game on, I got over to the stove and 20 minutes later we were enjoying a feast fit for the working class.

This recipe is totally adaptable, and you can add anything (but the kitchen sink). Play with the herbs, the vegetables, add smoked chicken, leave out the bacon. I would even try frozen vegetables for the "end of the month" meals.

Creamy Potato and Broccoli

This recipe works perfectly if doubled

1kg Baby Potatoes
1 head of Broccoli - cut into florets
100g of Bacon - cut into 1" pieces
500ml of Cream
45ml Chutney (I like Mrs Balls)
1 medium Onion thinly sliced
30ml of Corn flour
Salt and Black Pepper
Optional - Fresh herbs (I used sage, coriander and basil)

Boil the potatoes until soft.

Fry the bacon and onion in a little oil until soft and golden brown.

Add the chutney and the cream, salt and pepper.

Mix the corn flour with a little water and stir into the sauce.

Leave to cook and thicken.

Remove 3/4 of the bacon and set aside.

With a stick blender blend the sauce in the pan.

(If you don't have a stick blender you can omit this step).

Return the bacon and add the broccoli and cook until broccoli is tender.

If the sauce is too thick, you can add a dash of milk to thin it down.

Add the fresh herbs just before serving.

Place the potatoes on a dish and pour over the sauce with the broccoli and bacon.

I like to add an extra grinding of black pepper before serving.

Sit back and wait for the compliments......

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Route 62 Exploring

There are so many tourist venues in our lovely country. Many of them, unfortunately, seem only to be enjoyed by those who come from distant shores.

Route 62 travels through the Klein Karoo, giving you the tourist option for your trip from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth in stead of the N2. Majestic mountains, clean rivers and quaint towns will fill your trip with awe and entertainment.

We travelled to Robertson, Mac Gregor , Bonnivale and Montague all in a weekend. These towns are so diversely different - yet all within a very short drive of each other. Robertson is only an hour and half drive from Cape Town, so you can be out in the country without a flight ticket or using valuable holiday time travelling.

We stayed in Buitenstekloof Mountain Cottages, about 15 minutes drive from Robertson.  In the mountains and without any cell phone reception or Wi-Fi, yet it was close enough to jump in the car at 10pm to buy milk in Robertson (you never want to wake up to no coffee).
Beautifully appointed cottages on a farm, which remain cool even on the hottest day. The cottages are all solar and gas powered. There are lovely hikes and walks on the farm, and a mountain pool which is ideal for cooling off on a hot day.

Don't be alarmed when you have hairy visitors to your cottage, the area is very animal friendly so you are sharing your space with dassies, birds, tortoises and even a very brave and curious meerkat.

On our visit into Robertson we made a visit to Klipdrift distillery. Book for the tour and tasting, it is very informative and our guide Lenwill Lucas was excellent. Lenwill made us feel welcome from when we stepped into the foyer with welcome drinks of Klipdrft and ginger ale. The gourmet burger with brandy and coke onion sauce is on my replicate menu very soon.

The Tasting Room

Gourmet Burger 
Klipdrift Restaurant

The tour is about an hour long and it is very interesting to see how much goes into every drop of gold. There is a brandy for each taste, but perhaps not every budget, with the most expensive bottle selling at R928 a bottle. But if you are looking for a copper potstilled brandy, which would be called cognac if made in France, you certainly will be happy with the Klipdrift brandy.

There are so many wine farms in the area, you could tour from farm to farm for a month and never have to see the same place twice.

Take a short weekend break or a long holiday get away and enjoy the sights, sounds and relaxed atmosphere of country living with all the fun of city life then Route 62 should certainly be on your itinerary.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Lamb Chop Lamb Chop Lamb Chop

My sister and I had a foolproof way of weeding out the truth from each other. You had to look into the other's eyes and say "Lamb Chop, Lamb Chop, Lamb Chop".

So it wasn't completely foolproof, but it did create a lot of laughs - if not the truth. So much of life is about creating happy memories, and I am blessed to have many.

Another lesson which I also learnt, a more reliable one, from my parents, "Waste not, Want not". There is nothing wrong with using everything you have to enjoy your life, but wasting is never something to be admired. This was a trait which I found very attractive in my husband.

So in the life of a spend thrift, I would like to share a simple lamb recipe. I have used the chump chop, which is a relatively cheap cut but is bursting with flavour.

Thrifty Lamb Chop

750g Lamb Chops
30ml Chopped Mint
30ml Crushed Garlic
30ml Lemon Juice
15ml Finely chopped Lemon Zest
10ml Runny Honey
90ml Olive Oil
Salt and Black Pepper

Mix all the ingredients together in a Ziplock bag and marinade for 2-4 hours.
Remove from the marinade and either grill or braai  (BBQ) over high heat.
Enjoy with a green salad or roasted vegetables.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

How long does it take to write a blog post? A life time. This is one of those posts that has taken a lifetime of experience to write.

This isn't going to be extremely profound, but these are things I have to write about because if I don't write it down, I might lose it forever.

My New Year resolutions don't matter to me anymore. I have found myself constantly writing down things to be grateful for, least I forget how lucky I really am. I speak freely about my circumstances and have found a strengthening of my Faith. But all this certainly doesn't made me brave. It just means like you, I woke up this morning and went through the usual rituals (albeit slower than before) and life carried on.

The first lesson I learnt this year is, "Not to Sweat the Small Stuff", there really is no time to waste. Life is so short and what you think is so important a this exact moment, might be the last thought or deed you share with a particular person.

How terrible to live with your last conversation being about how much leaving the toilet seat up irritates you. There is a limited amount of time you have to be with the ones you love,  don't spend them pointing out how short they fall of your expectations. I challenge you to re-evaluate your expectations and weigh them up against the chance it might be the last thing you say.

I am not advocating not standing up for what you really believe, but the trivia of life consumes us so much,we miss out on enjoying a person for who they truly are. If that person makes your life unbearable, perhaps you should detox and detach. I have done that, the freedom in a minimalist approach to friends is liberating.

So there you have my first in "Truths I have learnt in Life". I hope someone will think twice before they speak and save themselves the guilt that could have been changed to joy in a blink of an eye.

Real Joy. Here is boy who never saw his dreams come true.                      Picture Huntshots

Jeremiah 17: 7-8

"Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. He will be like a tree planted by the water."

It is not your business to succeed, but to do what is right : when you have done so, the rest lies with God.
C.S. Lewis


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