Friday, 31 October 2008

Foodbuzz

When I joined Foodbuzz I was totally unaware of what they were about. I guess I should have read the "About Us" page, but reading the instructions has never been my strong point!

When the first gift arrived I was floored! It was the most beautiful shopping tote bag, complete with a Homemade Heaven badge! All for little old me! I love free stuff and when it's something you can use daily - that's huge.

The second gift almost made me cry. Personalized Homemade Heaven business cards! I hand them to people inviting them to visit my blog.

I then registered for the challenge to blog 5 times a week for 3 weeks. At first this sounded daunting, because at the time I was only managing to blog twice maybe thrice a week at best. I completed the task and they actually gave me $50 for my efforts. Since then I have managed to increase the number of posts per week, and so increase the traffic to my blog.

Yesterday I received another gift - these people must really love me! It is a beautiful white apron - perfect for elegant entertaining and a much needed spatula, the old one was over due for retirement.
Here I am with my new apron and spatula!

I would encourage you to visit there site and sign up. Not for the gifts, but it is a great way to see what the thousands of other foodies around the world are up to! As they say :
"our online community is a one-stop shop for food lovers to find exactly what they are searching for without having to navigate around multiple sites or mull through irrelevant results from general search engine queries".

Thank you to Foodbuzz - you have changed my blogging experience.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Fish Friends

I insist on having either fish or seafood at least once a week, more if I can convince the carnivores. They do "like" fish, regrettably not as much as they "love" chops and wors (sausage) but I take my victories where I can get them.

I like to cook new things all the time, I'm constantly reading blogs, buying magazines and cookbooks looking for the perfect meal. I have come close, but I keep thinking there must be something better out there - perhaps I'm wrong, but that's what makes cooking fun for me - the quest.

I bought a fennel bulb on my last trip to the vegetable market. When I got home I had no idea why I bought it, I have a feeling the friendliness of sales lady had more to do with the purchase, than my desire to own it! But there it was, and I had to use it.


Fish night arrived and I had very little inspiration. It was one of those days when I would rather be at the dentist than standing in the kitchen cooking. Excuses aside, supper had to be served and I was the one who had to make it - inspired or not!

So out came the fennel bulb and 4 Gurnard fillets which I had over from my last fishmonger visit.


I thinly sliced the fennel and poured over a dash of olive oil and salt and pepper. I laid the fillets on the fennel with a squeeze of lemon and a generous sprinkling of Jenny Morris Zest Fish Spice.
This went into a hot oven for 15 minutes until the fish was cooked.

The result was very good. I loved the combination of the crunchy fennel with it's aniseed flavour and the soft flesh of the fish. It just goes to show, that not everything in life has to be planned to end up totally fabulous!

My husband sent me my quote for the day...
'The laws of nature are but the mathematical thoughts of God.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

The Meaning of Life

I was so blessed yesterday to spend an afternoon with two incredible people - Adam and James. After being in their company of just a few short hours, I really had to look at myself and see what things are important and what I miss out by simply being too grown up.

Adam is 2½ years old and James is 15 months old and they really do have a handle on life! They got me thinking about what I have forfeited over the years in order to play by the rules - who's rules? I can't even remember!

Watching Adam and James playing in the garden, running through the sprinkler, made me wonder why I don't do that any more. It used to be such fun, so why did I stop? Sitting on the swings and feeling the air rush past my ears - that was real freedom. Running into the house soaking wet, laughing and needing only one thing from my Mom - a hug, and then everything in my life was complete. Why did hugs became so scarce?

The final life lesson was when we started baking cookies.
When did I become such a perfectionist in my cooking and baking, that I forgot what it's really about?- having fun. Adam and I made cookies together. He taught me that it's okay to have a finger print in the middle of a cookie, and to eat more dough than you bake, so long as you are enjoying yourself! And when you doing the decorating, it doesn't need to look like it's shop bought, with artist squiggles you find in fancy restaurants - smiley faces are great too!

Always be very proud of what you do, whether it is mud cakes or a simple trip to the toilet by yourself - and never forget to tell every one just how clever you are.

We made these cookies from the November issue of Ideas magazine.


Melt-in-the-Mouth Chocolate Cookies

300g Flour
25g Cocoa Powder
175g Castor Sugar
250g Butter - it must soft
1 Egg yolk
30ml Cream (milk worked just as well)

Sift together the flour and the cocoa.
In separate bowl (we used the food processor) beat the butter and the sugar together until pale.
Beat in the cream and the egg yolk.
Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter mix and stir well.
Add the second third and mix and then the final third and mix until well combined.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 2 hours (we cheated and did 45 minutes in the freezer instead).
Pre-heat you oven to 180°C.
Roll the dough our and cut shapes.
Bake on a greased baking tray for 10 minutes.
While they are baking make an icing mix of 150ml Icing sugar and 5-10ml warm water.
Remove the cookies from the oven, decorate with icing and sprinkle with castor sugar.
Wait for them to cool and eat as many as you want!

Thank you to Adam and James,
I can't remember when last I had that much fun in the kitchen and
I'll bake cookies with you any time!
(So long as Mommy is there to clean up afterwards!)

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Garden of Life

Yesterday I was sitting and enjoying the sun in my garden and I started to contemplate life. I was thinking how the people in my life are like the different plants.

Some people are weeds, they spring up everywhere, choking the life out of everything around them, even though some have pretty flowers. There are beautiful plants, like my roses that need pruning and feeding constantly and hardy fruit trees that give the most divine plums every year. I even have an air-plant that asks for nothing, except a place to hang!

I don't know what kind of plant I am in the garden of life, I would like to be an apple tree with big red apples that gives lots of pleasure. I've been told recently I am thorny rose bush, where the flowers look beautiful but when you get close the thorns are clearly visible and a great disappointment!

I am a work in process, just like my bread baking - constantly trying to improve. Taking the basics and adding something, taking advice and criticism (and oh how I love that!) and then coming through at the end with something that is not bad at all and might even be good for you!

This whole-wheat bread I baked to take with to lunch with my oldest friend, Carol. She is an established oak tree in my life. She offers me shade when it's hot and never needs watering or pruning, (I say this with shame). Basically she is someone you can always count on to be there, no matter what - never judging or throwing things back in my face, even when I'm being a total thorn (pun intended)!

Friendship Seeded Whole-wheat Bread (My own creation)
Makes 2 Loaves

4 Cups (600g) Brown Bread Flour
8 Cups (1.2kg) Nutty Wheat Flour
15ml Salt
45ml Honey
20g Dry Active Yeast
± 4 Cups (1 Litre) Warm Water
½ Cup Oat Bran
½ Cup Crushed wheat
½ Cup Linseeds
½ Cup Sunflower Seeds
½ Cup Pumpkin Seeds
15ml Sesame Seeds

Mix together dry ingredients.
Add the liquid until all the flour is taken up.
Knead for about 10 minutes - this is where you really want a machine with a dough hook.
Leave in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place until dough is double in bulk.
Knead again, halve and shape into 2 loaves.
Place in well oiled loaf tins, cover and leave in a warm place until mixture rises up again.
Glaze with milk and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Bake in a pre-heated hot oven (220°C) for 10 minutes and then reduce heat to moderate (180°C) and cook for a further 30 -40 minutes, until it sounds hollow when you tap it.
Enjoy hot with lots of butter and cheese!

Friday, 24 October 2008

Every one is doing It

I have been reading how everyone is doing it, and how great it is. I've been told "try it, you'll love it" - but I heard that line from a boyfriend once and didn't fall for it then either.

I am sort of brave and believe I should try anything once, except suicide. So when the opportunity came up yesterday, I took the plunge and embraced it!

What is it?

Ostrich Fillet! I bought it, cooked it and ate it.

What did I think?

It was okay, not my new favourite food - at that price, I would rather have beef fillet. I do enjoy ostrich neck though, which I cook in winter. I do agree it is a healthy option, but there are plenty of things that are healthy that I am not found of - like wheatgrass! Having said all that, yes I would probably buy it again.

Here is how I prepared it. I got the idea from the Shape magazine.

500g Ostrich Fillet
½ cup Sweet Chilli Sauce
30ml minced Ginger
Juice of 1 Lemon

Marinade the fillet in the sweet chilli and ginger for about an hour.
Heat a non stick pan, add the fillet and the marinade - cook until done.
I cooked mine medium rare, which took about 7-8 minutes.
Just before it is finished cooking squeeze, over the lemon juice.
Leave to rest for a few minutes before serving.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Meat and Two Meats

My husband has never made a secret about his dislike for vegetables. He gives new meaning to "eating with long teeth" when faced with a plate filled with cauliflower, spinach and squash.

I have taken huge advantage of his good nature lately and have been serving lots of vegetables. I did however pick up on the not so subtle hint of, " I've eaten so many vegetables lately I'm getting cauliflower ears".

My mother taught me that a way to a man's heart is through his stomach. It is important for a wife to remember that while her husband is free to read the menu when he is out, be sure to keep him eating at home!

With these two very important pieces of advice, I set out to make a supper that I knew would always have my husband eating at home. While the path to his heart might be slightly clogged with all the cholesterol, at least I know he's happy!

This is my "Meat and Two Meats with Meat on the Side".

Mixed Grill (Everything is fried in a little olive oil)

Lamb Kidney
Steak
Cocktail Cabanosi Sausage
Bacon
Fried Eggs
White Toast
Grilled Tomato

Serve hot with lots of love and enjoy the smiles.

I can not face a plate of meat like that, so I opted for a healthier option of:

Grilled Aubergine
Grilled Tomato
Poached Eggs
Whole-wheat Toast

Which do you choose?

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Taking a Break

Even the best dieter in the world has to give into temptation occasionally. If you deny yourself too much and too often, keeping up with the lifestyle change needed for permanent weight loss becomes impossible.

After losing 7 kgs, I felt we all deserved a nice sweet treat. I say we, because when I'm dieting nobody gets cake! I finally decided on these muffins, as it is easy to control your portion size. I baked 2 batches and gave half to friends at work and my neighbour - they were grateful the baking fast is finally broken.

Basic Muffin Mix

2 Eggs
240ml of Milk
120ml Oil
200g Sugar
375g Flour
4 tsp of Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt

Preheat oven to 180°C.
Muffins bake for about 25 mins.
In one bowl mix all the wet ingredients together.
And in another bowl mix all sifted dry ingredients together.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and stir roughly.
You must not beat until it is smooth.

For chocolate mint - replace 3 dessert spoons of the flour with cocoa and add ½ - ¾ roughly chopped peppermint crisp.
For vanilla and cranberry - add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and ¾ cup dried cranberries.
Enjoy in moderation if necessary!

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Sweet Nothings

I have noticed that there are a few of us South of the Equator who are trying to slim down a little in preparation for summer. The biggest problem for me when I am cutting calories is my love for sweet things. I can think of nothing better than finishing off my meal with a luxurious dessert.

Increasing numbers of people are being diagnosed with diabetes. Lifestyle adjustments and self-care also play a large role in the treatment of diabetes over time. Never the less this does not stop people craving sweet things.

In my quest to create food that appeals to all, regardless of their dietary requirements, I started looking into baking with sugar replacements. I have used Xylitol very successfully in baking and so I decided to look into other products to see if they meet the manufacturer's promises.

This berry crumble is made using Huletts Sugalite. I am very happy with the result and will definitely use it again. It is rather expensive, but then it seems the norm that any "health" product comes at a premium.

Berry Crumble (Adapted from here)

Filling
500ml Berries (I used youngberries from Swellendam)

30ml Sugarlite
15ml Corn Flour

Topping
125ml (1/2 cup) Cake Flour
100ml (85g) Sugalite
125ml (1/2 cup) Lower GI Oats
50g Low-fat Margarine ( I used Flora Extra light)

Filling:
  1. Place the berries in a 23cm greased pie dish. Sprinkle with Sugalite and cornflour.
Topping:
  1. Sift flour, add the Sugalite and the oats. Melt the margarine and add it to the dry ingredients. The crumble should be fairly coarse.
  2. Sprinkle the crumble over the apples and bake in a preheated oven at 180ÂșC for about 20 minutes, or until topping turns light brown and crisp.
  3. Serve with diabetic custard

Friday, 17 October 2008

Pick up Sticks

You can really make a rod for your back when you experiment making things you always bought. This has become very true for me since I started playing around with bread.

Before a few months ago I used to love shop bought pita breads and naan, but now that I have made my own, I realise that they are horrible compared to the real thing!


This bread stick recipe is no different. Once you have tried them, you definitely won't be buying them any more. Luckily they are so quick and easy, it's actually a pleasure. They made a great snack, and should actually come with a warning for addiction!

I used an Alan Coxon recipe, but instead of chilli powder I used
smoked chilli flakes, a great new product I found at The Main Ingredient in Sea Point.

The Main Ingredient is a must visit for any foodie looking for that one special ingredient you just can't find anywhere else. John and Lynne Ford are passionate about food and wine and the shop's slogan is,"
if you can’t find something, we’ll do our best to get it for you! and, if you’re not in Cape Town, we can send it to you". They have been voted Eat In Guide Outstanding Outlet Award Winner 2006 & 2007.
Chilli Bread Sticks

250g self-raising flour
1 tsp Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp smoked Chilli flakes or plain if you can't find smoked
10g instant dried yeast
30ml vegetable oil
125ml warm water
30ml Milk

Preheat the oven to 180C and grease a baking tray.
Sift together the flour, sugar, salt and chilli powder into a mixing bowl.
Stir in the yeast.
Mix together the oil and water and pour into the dry ingredients.
Mix into a soft dough. If it is too stiff add a little more water.
Roll the dough into 12 thin sausages about 12cm long.
Place on the baking tray and allow for spreading. Cover with a cloth and set aside in a warm place for about 30 minutes until doubled in size.
Brush the dough sticks with milk and sprinkle with salt or leave them plain.
Bake for about 20 minutes until golden.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Pizza Perfect

My family love pizza. Given the choice they would have it every night of the week. I know without a doubt, that if I was not around, things like cauliflower and spinach would never be seen in our home.

Everyone has there favourite pizza shop. But given the price of eating out or having take-outs, living off pizza can become a very expensive addiction. This got me working and researching the perfect pizza to make at home.

The experiment was many months in the making but finally I got the perfect crust. We now have pizza often ( though not as often as the boys would like). In the beginning making pizza was a mammoth task, but after a while it has become easier.

This is my recipe for a perfect pizza base, the toppings are only limited to your imagination. I know that there are more traditional recipes out there, but this one works for us. It is a thin base pizza, which is crispy and filled with air pockets.

Pizza Perfect

400g White bread flour
200g Semolina flour
1 Packet Instant Dry Yeast
15ml Salt
50ml Olive oil
5ml Sugar
Warm Water

Place all the dry ingredients into a bowl (I use my Kitchen Aid with the dough hook).
Start the machine and slowly add the oil.
If you are working by hand it will be easier to work on flat surface and make a well in the middle of the flour mix and work the wet ingredients a little at a time.
Add the water, enough to make a firm dough.
Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic.
Let the dough rest in a warm place for at least 4 hours.

Once you are ready to start making your pizzas....

Place your pizza stones in the oven when it is still cold.
You do need to pre-heat the pizza stones (I have 2 terracotta tiles).
Heat your oven to maximum. The higher the temperature the better.
Cut the dough into 6 pieces and roll out to the desired thickness. I like mine very thin, but see what works best for you.
Once the oven is ready and you have all your toppings on hand, carefully remove the pizza stone and add your toppings.
Start with a layer of tomato sauce (they come in jars or you can make your own).
Handy tip for mushrooms - leave them for last, otherwise they will make your pizza soggy.
Bake until the base is crispy and the cheese is golden brown.
Enjoy with your favourite movie and coke!
This dough is suitable for freezing for later use.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Butterfly Award

I was nominated for two awards this last week

The first was from Nina.
I would like to nominate the following people:

1. Wots for Lunch
2. Tongue Tickle
3. Hells Kitchen
4. Brownie Girl
5. Capsicum Consumption
6. A Spoon of Sugar
7. Coffee Cup Diaries

Well done everyone, play along if you wish. There are a few "rules" so please read carefully...
1) Add the logo of the award to your blog.
2) Add a link to the person who awarded it to you (as shown above).
3) Nominate at least seven other blogs.
4) Add links to those blogs on your blog.

I also received this Butterfly Award from Yummy Flavours.
I was given the award, but she called me Nafisa, so I'm sharing this one with Nafisa.

Together with the above people I also nominate a further 3 blogs for the Butterfly Award.

1. Hijab
2. Jenny Morris
3. Add to Taste

The rules of the award are:
Put the logo on your blog.
Add a link to the person who awarded you.
Nominate 10 other blogs
Add links to those blogs on yours, and leave a message for your nominees on their blogs.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Cheese Muffins

Cape Town is buzzing with the great weather. Spring is here and summer is knocking loudly at the door - I hope I am not going to curse it now and wake up tomorrow to pouring rain.

To celebrate this wonderful weather we started painting my kitchen. I was supposed to help but it turned out, that all I did was sit and clap while by darling husband did everything! He is such a sweet heart!

I did however give him a treat after the work was done and judging by the response it was very well received. I got the idea for these scone/muffin/puffs from Nina last week. I didn't use her recipe, but one that I have used since I was a teenager (which my son refers to as "the old days!").

This is a very easy recipe, and very suitable for new bakers. It great for unexpected guests, as it only takes 2 minutes to make and bakes in a jiffy. You can omit the cheese and add 2 tablespoons of sugar for a sweet version.

Cheese Puffs

2 cups Flour
2 Tablespoons Butter or Marg.
2 Eggs
1 Cup of Cheddar cheese (leave ¼ cup for the topping)
4 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
Salt
1 Cup Milk

Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Rub the butter into the flour to resemble breadcrumbs.
Add all the rest of the ingredients (no particular order),
BUT only ¾ cup of cheese and stir until combined.
Spoon into a muffin pan and top with the left over cheese.
I used 12 mini muffins and 6 normal.
Bake mini muffins for 10-12 minutes and the large for about 15 -20 minutes.
Serve with cheese, smoked salmon, ham or eat them plain.

Friday, 10 October 2008

More Pleasures of the Sea

Growing up near the coast meant that I am not a stranger to sea food. We grew up eating things like crab curry and fried fish often. There is one sea food that I didn't get introduced to until after leaving home, but has now become a staple in my home - Calamari.

My mother near used to eat calamari, so we never had it at home. Times have changed and even my Mom loves it now. I always have a bag in the freezer and love to use it when I am looking for a quick supper. It is such a versatile ingredient. Whether you add it to a simple tomato pasta sauce or make batter and deep fry, you are always guaranteed of a quick nutritious supper.

I had a day off yesterday for Yom Kippur. I had a wonderful day relaxing and not thinking about supper until six o'clock when Markwin came through with his daily questions of "What time is supper?" followed shortly by "What's for supper?". The pressure was on!

I went to the freezer, took out "THE BAG", threw it into a bowl, poured hot water over to soften and heated the wok. But this time it was 6.05pm and I was already half way through making supper!

Calamari in a Hurry

800g Calamari (defrosted in hot water and then dried)
30 ml corm flour
15ml Jenny Morris Chilli and Lime Spice (or plain chilli powder)
Salt and Pepper
1 Lemon

Heat the wok until smoking.
In a ziploc bag mix the corn flour and spices.
Add the calamari and shake until coated.
Add 15ml of oil and then the calamari.
Depending on the size of your wok, you might need to do this in batches.
Move the calamari around in the wok so it does not stick.
Fry the calamari until done (shouldn't be more than 5 minutes).
Once it is cooked, squeeze over the juice of the lemon.
Serve immediately with a wedge of lemon, chips and a large green salad.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

New Idea on Fish

I have mentioned my fish monger before and will keep punting them as the best fish shop in Cape Town. Not only do they have the freshest fish and the widest variety but the service is exceptional. Cape Town is not known as the most service orientated city in South Africa, but Fish 4 Africa (Monte Visa) is an exception worth crowing about.

From the minute you walk in, you are treated like family. I always feel like my purchase is the most important thing they are going to do for the week! There is no rush to make your choice, they love to discuss everything on display, encouraging you to think of experimenting with fish you might never have tried before. The have 4 people cleaning and filleting the fish, so you never wait more than 2 minutes after making your choice, for your fish to be prepared exactly the way you asked.

After checking what was fresh and what was on special I decided to go for the Gurnard. It was very fresh and at R24.95 per kilo (that's £ 1.50 or US$ 2.75 per kilo) a steal in any language!

I prepared it very simply. Marinade the fish in lemon juice, garlic and Jenny Morris Zesty Fish Spice for an hour and then grill until just done. The secret is not to over cook fish, otherwise it is dry and tasteless. Served with a simple vegetable stir fry and dirty rice (white rice cooked with fresh garlic and brown lentils) - a meal fit for a king!

Strawberry Jam

I love this time of the year. Two of my favourite foods are in full season and I am gorging myself on both! Strawberries and Asparagus are foods from heaven and when they are relatively cheap, like now, it really gets me going!

The only problem is the season does not last for very long. While you can still buy strawberries in December, it's not the same and besides that they have Christmas tax added! So to beat the blues, I stock up and freeze what I can't eat and then I can enjoy my strawberries in jam, pies, smoothies and ice-cream throughout the year.

This easy jam is a great treat for any sweet tooth and it makes just one bottle, which for some families this might prove a problem. It takes only 15 minutes to make, so you can splash out often and treat them with some red gold!

I added some lavender flowers, just for fun and the slight fragrance makes a lovely change.

Strawberry Jam (with Lavender Flowers)

400g Strawberries - washed and hulled
400g Sugar - heat in the microwave for 8 minutes on medium
Juice of 1 Lemon
1 teaspoon Lavender Flowers

Simmer the fruit and the lemon juice for a few minutes until just soft.
Mash the fruit to your preference.
Add the lavender, if using.
Add the sugar and stir until dissolved.
Increase the heat and boil rapidly until setting point is reached - STIRRING ALL THE TIME.

Great served with home made white wonder bread....

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

It looks just like Bread

I am amazed at the amount of programs on TV that are dedicated to makeovers. You can have your house made over (read rebuilt) by Ty or your body changed by Gillian. I even saw a guy the other day burning some girls panties on TV, in the quest for her new body image! You get one hour makeovers and people that take their dogs to be "made over".

I have had a make over in my kitchen. It looks identical but the smells coming from the oven have been very different. Bread baking can transform any home into "Country Chic" in a matter of minutes - with out the normal dust and smelly workman!

This white bread recipe has been in my "to do file" for a few weeks now and I finally managed to arrange the time and the ingredients together. The result was very good. It is sweeter than I am used to for bread and reminds me of Kitka in taste (rather than texture).

While it was sitting on the counter cooling, my son walked in and said, " Gee Mommy, it looks just like bread!" and from a teenager that is a huge compliment!

As you know I have the bread bug. I hope it's contagious and that all of you have been infected too. Thanks to Spicy for this wonderful recipe.

White Wonder Bread
  • 1 cup water (room temp.)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup milk powder (not skim)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tsp yeast (I always use instant)

Directions

  1. Add ingredients in order given (this is for a machine, see below for Kitchen Aid / Hand instructions).
  2. Select dough cycle.
  3. When done, take out dough and on a floured surface, shape into loaf and place in loaf pan. (Work it as little as possible).
  4. Let rise in a warm place for approximately 40 minutes until doubled in size.
  5. Brush the top with a mix of beaten egg and milk and sprinkle sesame seeds. (Optional step)
  6. Bake on centre rack of preheated 180 degree oven for 25-30 minutes.
  7. Cool on wire rack before slicing.
Tips because you using kitchen aid (or by hand) add wet ingredients to dry when kneading. It is better to have a sticky dough where you can add more flour than a dry dough as it is difficult to add the moisture back and you will have a dry, crumbly bread. Use instant yeast added to the dry ingredients.

Here is a little teaser for tomorrow's post - Strawberry Jam (with a little twist), served on Homemade Heaven bread.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Walk with Me

My favourite place to visit in Cape Town is Kirstenbosch Gardens. Every time I go there I sit and think just how blessed I am to live in a city that has a place like this. It is what I imagine the Garden of Eden was like before the fall.

The peace you feel when you sit on the lawns and hear the distant laughter of children mixed with birds chirping. The back drop of the mountains and the city spread out before your feet, I wish I was Yeats so I could express the beauty better.

They say a picture says a 1000 words, so I invite you to enjoy this small sample of our beautiful garden. All these photos were taken by my very talented son Markwin (14)!








And of course there is always food.....

Professor Pearson came to South Africa in 1903 to fill the newly established Chair of Botany at the South African College. In February 1911 Pearson hired a Cape cart and, upon the suggestion of his friend Neville Pillans, visited Kirstenbosch to assess its suitability as a site for a botanic garden. On 1st July 1913 the wild and overgrown estate of Kirstenbosch was set aside by the Government with a grant of £1 000 per annum. Pearson was the obvious choice for a director but there was no money for a salary. He accepted the task in an honorary capacity.

In 1916, at the age of 46, Professor Pearson died from pneumonia. This was a severe blow to the garden. Buried in the garden his epitaph is -

"If ye seek his monument, look around".

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Grilled to Perfection

I have to apologise for being so scarce this last week. It's been one of those weeks when you don't know exactly which day it is, because the days go so fast you can't keep pace. Like usual once we hit October, everything goes into high gear and it takes a few days to catch your breath.

Even though summer is taking it's right old time in arriving, salads have started to appear back on our table. I don't usually make salads which require lots of time to prepare, but this grilled vegetable salad is a great exception.

Grilled vegetable Salad

Salad
1 large or 2 small Aubergine thinly sliced
5 or 6 Courgettes thinly sliced
12 Asparagus spears
1 Red Onion thinly sliced
1 cup Chickpeas
5 Sun dried tomatoes thinly sliced
10 Mint Leaves torn roughly

Dressing
50ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1 Garlic Clove crushed

Grill the aubergine, courgettes and asparagus. I use my cast iron griddle pan.
Mix in the rest of salad ingredients in a bowl.
Pour over the dressing and let it rest for at least an hour or over-night.

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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