Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Merry Christmas

Christmas is a wonderful time for the things I love - family and food.

We have had a great day of cooking and eating.

I want to thank everyone for visiting my blog this year and I'm looking forward to getting back and into blogging about all the wonderful things I plan to make next year. But for now I am on holiday at the beach.

God bless you on this special day.

Monday, 10 December 2007

Dad's Granadilla Cake

I grew up in Durban, and everyone I knew including us, had a granadilla creeping along some fence in the yard. There was nothing special about them. The only time I would eat them, was when my Mom told me I couldn't have anything to eat because it was too close to supper. I would casually go into the garden and eat some granadilla's - that showed her who can and can't eat 10 minutes before supper!!!

My Mom and husband share a love for Chocolate cake. It goes even further with Keith, he does not classify any cake that is not chocolate as cake. My Dad and I will eat chocolate cake if that is all you are offering, but if you ask us what flavour we prefer it will always be something tangy.

It was my Dad's birthday last month, so when they came down this weekend for a quick visit, I made him his favorite flavour cake - Granadilla!

I used the Chocolate cake recipe posted before and changed it slightly as you will see....

 Granadilla Cake

Separate 4 large eggs.
Whisk the whites until they come to soft peaks.
Keep the whisk running and . . . .
Add 1 teaspoon of baking powder,
Add 1¼ cup of sugar,
Add the egg yolks and whisk for 1 more minute.
Stop the whisk

Pour 1 small tin of granadilla in a jug and top up with milk to 250ml , add 200g of soft butter and place in the microwave for 1 minute.
Sift together 1¾ cups of flour,
3 dessert spoons of corn flour (cornstarch)
3 teaspoons baking powder

Now alternatively add the milk mixture and the flour mixture to the egg and sugar mixture, stirring well after each addition.

Pour the mixture into 2 prepared cake tins and bake for 35 minutes at 180°C.

My Dad was very happy with the end result. I used some more granadilla in the icing, and just so you don't think I am over my addiction to lemons, I topped it with lemon zest!

The Will of God will never take you where
the Grace of God will not protect you!

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a common mental health condition that affects 2% of the population. It is characterised by obsessive thoughts that cause anxiety. This leads to rituals or repetitive actions.

I have a feeling that when it comes to things I like to bake or cook I have developed an obsession with lemons. Yes you read right, I have made another lemon dish.

This started out very innocently with me reading a magazine, the tart was actually an "organic lime tart" recipe. I had every intention of getting limes, but I forgot and so when it came down to making the filling, what did I use - LEMONS!!!

I was very impressed with the crust and the new way I have learnt to fill the tart tin with a thin layer, without rolling and then trying to get the thin layer of shortcrust pastry into the tin.

The pastry is made in the food processor and then rolled into a log and left to chill for an hour (I cheated and did ½ hour in the freezer very successfully). Once you take the cold log out the fridge (freezer) you slice off disks and place them in the tin. Very easy and very successful end result.

Lemon Tart

170g plain flour
50g icing sugar
90g butter
2 egg yolks
1 tbsp cold water

Put the flour and icing sugar into the bowl of a food processor, add the butter cut into chunks, and blitz for a few seconds. Stop when it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Mix in the egg yolks and the water, process for a few second until it comes together. Tip into a floured work surface and bring the dough together into a log with your hands. Wrap in greaseproof paper and refrigerate for an hour.
Cut thin slices from the log of pastry, then press them into a loose-bottom 23-24cm tart tin with high sides (3.5cm), pressing the pastry gently up the sides and over the base, prick holes in the base and freeze for another ½ and hour. Make certain that there are no holes, otherwise the filling will leak through.
Remove from the freezer, place a sheet of greaseproof paper into tart case and fill it with baking beans. Bake the tart case at 200°C for 10 minutes, then remove the greaseproof paper and bake for a further 5 until the pastry is dry to the touch.
Turn the oven down to 150°C.

5 large eggs and the 2 egg whites from the filling
250g caster sugar
the juice and zest of 2 large lemons (180ml)
175ml cream (Nigel uses double cream, I used normal cream)

Finely grate the zest from two of the lemons. Squeeze enough lemons to get 180ml of juice (this depends on their ripeness). Mix the eggs and sugar, beating lightly for a few seconds - you don't want it to be frothy - then stir in the lime juice and cream. Stir in the lemon zest. Pour into the baked tart tin and bake for 45-50 minutes. Remove while the filling is wobbly. Cool and serve dusted with icing sugar. I used my blow torch on the icing sugar and made a thin sugar crust on top.

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Lovely Lemon Loaf

As I have just finished the grade 7 exams, I am an expert at parts of speech. To prove this I am giving you a good example of alliteration - Lovely lemon loaf.

You know by now that I love lemons. Sweet and savoury they hold their own in any dish. I did a little research to prove that lemons are good for you and include here some very practical uses for lemons.
  1. They were used as ornamental plants in early Islamic gardens.
  2. In ancient Babylon they were used for enemas.
  3. Medieval Egypt introduced lemonade.
  4. The acid in lemons is a good meat tenderizer.
  5. It has no anti-biotic effects, but does have antioxidants and anti-cancer properties.
  6. It is used as a natural hair lightener, insecticide and acne treatment.
  7. The Japanese have proved that lemon essential oil reduces stress in mice (Now that is useful if you have stressed mice in your home).
  8. A good source of Vitamin C, and was what they used to prevent scurvy in the old days of sea travel.
  9. Neutralizes the odour of fish
Now if you don't feel like lightening your hair or treating yourself to an enema, you could just make this lemon loaf and enjoy it with a nice cup of tea.

Lovely Lemon Loaf
60ml milk
200g soft butter
250ml sugar
3 eggs
500ml of flour
10ml baking powder
1 large lemon - zest and juice separate (the juice is for the frosting)
80ml icing sugar

Cream the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Fold in the flour, baking powder, the milk and the zest.
Spoon into a loaf tin and bake for 55 mins, or until done.
Turn out and cool on a rack.
Once it is cool, make the drizzle by mixing the juice and the icing sugar and pour over the loaf.
Wait for the drizzle to set and serve, or if you're like me, you have a slice before it has set.

This can be frozen before frosting.
You can make this as a muffin, and reduce the cooking time to 20mins.

God doesn't call the qualified,

He qualifies the called

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Pretty Food

I often make coleslaw. It is one way I can get my family to eat cabbage without them thinking about it being what it is - Good for You!

I got a baby red cabbage in my Wild Organic box last week and knowing that making braised red cabbage was out of the question, I whipped up a bowl of coleslaw. I mixed it half and half with green cabbage and it was the prettiest coleslaw I have ever made.

Rose's Family Favorite Coleslaw

1 cup of very thinly sliced red cabbage
1 cup of very thinly sliced green cabbage
½ cup of grated carrot
½ cup of Mayonnaise
30ml of Honey
15ml of Wholegrain Mustard
15ml Caraway seeds
Lots of black pepper

Mix the cabbages and carrot in a large enough bowl.
In a separate bowl make the sauce.
You can adjust the flavours to suit your own taste. Add more honey or if it is too sweet a little vinegar will cut through the sweetness.
Blend the sauce into the cabbage mix and leave for about an hour before serving.
This is a salad which will last very well in the fridge and is even better the next day.

As fashionistas are all claiming that pink is the new black, this salad will fit very fashionable on any table.

Some things you should know about Caraway. . . .
  1. Caraway aids the digestion, good as a anti-flatulent. (Good reason to have it with cabbage).
  2. It is a member of the parsley family.
  3. It is thought to have been used longer than any other condiment in Europe.
  4. It is used in Liqueurs, perfumes and mouthwashes.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Enough Chocolate

Is it possible to have enough chocolate cake? I have tried this, and I am still not convinced that you can ever go wrong eating chocolate cake.

I have posted a fool proof chocolate cake, but I don't think having two chocolate cake recipes is a bad thing, so I here is the cake I bake most often. So far I have never had a complaint, and that it good enough praise for me.

I am writing this in the same way it was given to me, by a wonderful lady, who is famous for this cake.

My Martha's Chocolate Cake.

Separate 4 large eggs.
Whisk the whites until they come to soft peaks.
Keep the whisk running and . . . .
Add 1 teaspoon of baking powder,
Add 1¼ cup of sugar,
Add the egg yolks and whisk for 1 more minute.
Stop the whisk

Put 1 cup of milk and 200g of soft butter in the microwave for 1 minute.
Sift together 1¾ cups of flour,
2 dessert spoons coco powder (do yourself a favour and buy the expensive one -
Dutch process if you can)
1 dessert spoon of corn flour (cornstarch)
3 teaspoons baking powder

Now alternatively add the milk mixture and the flour mixture to the egg and sugar mixture, stirring well after each addition.

Pour the mixture into 2 prepared cake tins and bake for 35 minutes at 180°C.

If you don't want chocolate, you can simply leave out the cocoa and replace it with 2 dessert spoons of cornflour and add 1 teaspoon of vanilla.

Once it has cooled you can sandwich it together and frost with your favourite topping.
This is a very moist cake, and when you use the Dutch process cocoa it comes out very dark and chocolaty.

And just remember. . .
A journey of a thousand miles, begins with a broken fan belt and a flat tyre!

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Water Facts

I read this and thought it might be worth while sharing. I do not know if it will work, but what the hell.....

New research shows that drinking water revs up your metabolism helping you burn more body fat even without changing any other behaviour.

German researchers measured resting metabolism of a group of test volunteers before and after they drank 16 ounces of cool water. Within 10 minutes, resting metabolism began to rise, and after 40 minutes the average calorie-burning rate increased 30% and stayed elevated for more than an hour.

Researchers determined that if you drink the recommended eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day you can burn off almost 10 pounds of fat a year, even if you don't change your eating or exercise habits.

Just think how much more fat you could burn by adding in regular exercise.

But I do have some better advice.

Kindness is difficult to give away,
because it keeps coming back.

The Will of God will never take you where the

Grace of God will not protect you.

Monday, 19 November 2007

Pork Vinda Who

I love to make curry but I love to eat curry even more. Every mouthful tastes different. They only thing is, when I look at the recipes they seem to entail more stages than the launch of the space shuttle.

I found a recipe for Pork vindaloo yesterday. It has no less than 17 ingredients and about as many steps in the method. This certainly does not suit my life style, especially when I am in the middle of writing grade 7 exams. I actually can not think of an occasion when I would be prepared to do that amount of work for one meal, especially since the pay where I chef is very bad.

When I produced this dish, I "did it my way" (AKA Frank Sinatra). This is the reason I have called it Vinda Who curry, also because when I told my 13 year old we were having Vindaloo for diner, his first comment was - "From who's loo?" (I think toilet humour is an adolescence thing).

Roses's Pork Vinda Who Curry

1 kg Shoulder of pork, well trimmed and cut into pieces
1½ teaspoons ground coriander
1½ teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons chilli flakes
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3 teaspoons brown sugar (or palm sugar)
100ml dried onion flakes (or one large onion thinly sliced)
2 heaped teaspoons garlic and ginger paste ( mine comes from a bottle)
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 big pinch of saffron (this is optional, but I love the colour it gives)
2 tablespoons of buttermilk (you could use heavy cream)
2 cm stick Cinnamon
1 410g tin chopped peeled tomatoes
1 heaped tablespoon garam Marsala (this has a natural thickening agent it it, as well as the spices)
8 baby potatoes (another optional)

Brown the meat on high heat, and then remove from the pot.
Add a little oil and fry the onion until nicely browned, this will go quicker if you use the dried flakes.
Add the garlic and ginger paste. Fry for 1 minute, be careful not to let it burn now.
Put the meat back in the pot.
Add all the spices and fry for 1 more minute, and keep stirring.
Add the tomatoes, the buttermilk, the vinegar and the sugar. Add about 100ml water.
Turn the heat right down to a simmer and let the meat simmer for about 1½ hours. Keep checking on it and add a little water when it starts to get dry. Don't be impatient and drown the meat, otherwise you won't have a nice thick gravy.
Once the meat is tender, stir in about 100ml of water and the Marsala.
Put the potatoes in and cook for a further 20 -30 mins, still on simmer until the potatoes are cooked through.
Check the seasoning, you may need a little more salt.
Serve with plain white rice, and if you really like it, some chopped fresh coriander leaves (I don't because my family hate it).

A very impressive dish, tons of ingredients, but alot easier preparation doing it the "WHO" method. I am sure you will find a more authentic recipe but be prepared for lots more work.

There are many clever people in the world. I have to share with you some comments made by people who actually said these things aloud for others to hear and write down.

Question: If you could live forever, would you and why?
Answer: "I would not live forever, because we should not
live forever, because if we were supposed to live forever,
then we would live forever, but we cannot live forever,
which is why I would not live forever."
Miss America 1995 from Alabama
Heather Whitestone (and she won??!!)

"It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's
the impurities in our air and water that are doing it."
Vice President
Al Gore

Thursday, 15 November 2007

What lovely Plums

I have two plum trees in my garden. They were planted very lovingly by my father. Since he left the trees no longer enjoy the kind of love they should get.

My back garden is paved, with not a blade of green anywhere (except the few stubborn weeds which push up between the cracks)! So the area under the plum trees is the only place which can now be used to wash paint trays, spades with concrete on and any other toxic waste which can not go down the drain.

Would you believe that in the 5 years of total abuse, that is not counting our "scientific" approach of pruning, which is very simple - "if it sticks out, cut it off", these two plum trees have never failed to yield a beautiful crop of the sweetest red plums every year.

Yesterday while walking past them, I noticed the first signs of fruit, and so I am posting the pictures as proof to all you gardeners out there, in case you are wondering why your fruit trees don't bear the standard of fruit you long for.

I have considered publishing a book on fruit tree growing, but I know that Green Earth may lodge a protest as to the harmful effects of genetically modifying fruit with cement and paint!

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Much Work = Little Blogging

This last week has been a whirlwind of activity. None of which I would consider pleasure.
Markwin is writing exams and this means that yours truly has been learning everything she needs to know, and has long forgotten, about triangles, the American revolution, punctuation, earthquakes and volcanoes. Nothing about baking exotic cakes or preserving the peaches I bought and now are too soft for anything except the bin!

I did manage to make one of my favorite suppers yesterday, in between learning about the American Indian Wars and painting my bathroom windows.

I pause for the loud applause I am hearing from everyone reading this.

Chicken Korma is a lovely meal, and only takes a few minutes to put together and then you can leave it to simmer until you have memorised the Bill of Rights!!!

Chicken Korma - use the quick recipe as per Madhur Jaffrey

4 cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
5-6 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
6 tbsp vegetable oil
3 bay leaves
5 cm cinnamon stick
8 cardamom pods, crushed in a pestle and mortar
¼ tsp cumin seeds
130g/4½oz onions, peeled and finely chopped
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp ground cumin
3 plum tomatoes, chopped
1.5 kg/3lb 5oz chicken pieces, skinned and cut into serving portions
¼ - 1 tsp chili powder
¼ tsp salt
12 Button mushrooms (this is not authentic, but I had to use them before they went the same way as the peaches)
3 tbsp single cream
250ml/8 ¾fl oz water

Put the ginger, garlic and 3 tbsp water in the container of an electric blender. Blend until you have a smooth paste.
Put the oil in a wide frying pan or saute pan and set over high heat.
When very hot, put in the bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamom pods, cloves and cumin seeds. Stir once or twice and put in the onions.
Stir and fry for about three minutes or until the onions turn brownish.
Put in the paste from the blender, and the ground coriander and ground cumin and fry for a minute.
Put in the chopped tomatoes and fry for another minute.
Add in the chicken, chili powder, salt and 250ml/8 ¾fl oz water.
Bring to a boil. Cover, turn the heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes, turning the chicken pieces over now and then.
Add the mushrooms if you are using them.
Remove the cover, add the cream and cook on high heat for another 7-8 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. Stir gently as you do this.

I serve it with Basmati Rice. You can top it with toasted cashew nuts and coriander, but as I had neither, I just used a little parsley. This is a very impressive meal and excellent for a party as you don't have to stand in the kitchen cooking while everyone is having a good time without you.

Friday, 9 November 2007

A Picture worth 1000 Words

I got an email this morning and it had the caption "Some pictures need no words".

Because it is Friday and I know everyone needs a good laugh I am sending you the best.....

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Banana Rama

I'm a 80's kid. I have walked like an Egyptian, know the moves to "Achy Breaky Heart" and even know who Andrew Ridgeley is! So when I say Bananarama I am thinking, Cruel Summer and Love in the First Degree. When my son hears Bananarama he thinks it must be a new flavour smoothie!

I always seem to buy too many bananas. I have this idea that everyone is going to just gobble them up, long before they turn brown, and make the whole kitchen smell like a tropical island. But the great thing about really (really) ripe bananas, is they' re perfect for banana bread.

This is exactly what I made yesterday, and once again it was a success.

Banana Bread

300g Plain Flour
Pinch of Salt
5ml Bi Carb.
75mg butter
100mg sugar
3 beaten Eggs
3 ripe Banana (Less for a drier cake)
15ml Lemon juice and the zest of 1 lemon (the zest is optional, but it really is worth trying)

Grease and line loaf tin. Preheat oven to 190°c.

Cream butter and Sugar.
Add eggs.
Mash bananas and add lemon juice and the zest.
Add the bananas to the butter mixture.
Add sifted flour and baking powder and salt and vanilla.
Pour the mixture into the loaf tin.
Bake for 50 – 60mins, until golden brown.

This cake is suitable for home freezing, so you can make more than one, cover with foil and clingwrap and freeze. It is totally
delicious and can be described as health food, if you count the bananas.

I hope you all enjoy your day, and your banana bread, and if you are an 80's kid I say "Girls just want to have fun".

Monday, 5 November 2007

Chrunchie Munchie

Sometimes you want to have a biscuit that is tasty and that you can convince yourself is good for you too. This is when I make crunchies.

Sometimes I make them soft and chewy, and sometimes they are hard and crispy. They are always filled with nuts, never fruit!

They are simple (surprise-surprise) and you can add anything from nuts to choc-chips, depending on how healthy you feel.


2 cups of Oats
1 cup of Sugar
1 cup of Flour
2 Tbsp. Golden Syrup
½ cup of butter

½ cup of flaked almonds
½ cup sunflower seeds
1 tsp. Bi- Carb

Melt butter and golden syrup, add bi-carb and mix together well.
Mix dry ingredients separately. Pour in butter mixture. Mix well.
Press into baking tray. (A shallow tray makes a crispy crunchie
And a deep pan makes a chewy texture).
Bake at 200°C for about 25 minutes.

Everyone in my family likes these, which is unusual, but it does prove just how good they are.

Friday, 2 November 2007

Wild Organic

The organic food market is growing, (excuse the pun). In the beginning I thought that it was really only for people who don't wear shoes (or perhaps only moccasins) and lived in communes, where no one was quite sure what day of the week it was.

Well,the organic thing has really caught on, and I am the first to agree that in certain things you can taste the difference.

I was very excited to find a company that is now selling organic vegetables, at a reasonable price. Every Thursday they send an email telling you what will be in next week's box, and then the following Wednesday your box is delivered to a collection point of your choosing. The place where I collected is 1 block away from my office, which is very convenient.

I am very happy with the first pack I got which included :

Broad Beans
Carrot Bunch

Lettuce Head
Mixed Herb Bunch
Mixed Salad Pack
Radish Bunch
Spring Onion Bunch
Valencia Oranges
Vine Tomatoes

Everything in the bag was wonderfully fresh.

I have signed up to receive a box every two weeks, and look forward to seeing all the lovely goodies I can make with them.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Greetings in Rugby

Keith sent me this picture this morning, and I just had to post it to show everyone.

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Emergency Dessert

Sometimes you just HAVE to have dessert. It hits you just before supper and then you stuck. Now you could always reach for the ice cream, but that can become a little boring when you do it too often. This crumble is so simple and really takes no time to prepare. It served very well last night as my emergency dessert.

There is a small catch, which I suppose you could overcome but it will add time to the preparation. The catch is that everything is done in the food processor. If you don't have a food processor, I have the address for Father Christmas, whom I believe has just opened this year's order book.

Crumble Pie

The Crumble
¼ cup of soft butter
110g Sugar
110g of Flour

Cream the butter and the sugar together.
Add the flour until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. You will have to scrape the sides of the processor down, as the butter and sugar sticks to the sides of the bowl.

The Filling
410g tin Pie Apples or tin Pears (I have used both and they are equally good)
1 desert spoon of marmalade (I used my lemon marmalade)
1 desert spoon of flour

In a small bowl mix the fruit, the marmalade and the flour together.

Take ½ the crumb mixture and press it into a 8" pie dish, lining the bottom and the sides.
Put the fruit into the dish, and top with the balance of the crumbs.
Bake covered at 180°C for 20mins and then un-covered for another 15 mins until golden brown on top.

Serve with cream, ice-cream or custard.

You could use fresh fruit, but you would need to cook it first and then it would no longer be an emergency dessert, but a well planned meal!!!
A little girl asked her mother for ten cents to give to an old lady in
the park. Her mother was touched by the child's kindness.
"There you are, my dear,but, tell me, isn't the lady
able to work any more?"
"Oh yes," came the reply. "She sells sweets!"

Monday, 29 October 2007

When Life Gives You Lemons

One of my favourite things to do with lemons, is make marmalade. While the result is sure to make people think you are a Stepford Wife, the process is much easier than you should ever admit to anyone.

I have spent a lot of time perfecting my marmalade. I am always looking at other people's marmalade and comparing it with mine. Colour and consistency is very important, as well as the taste.

I like my lemon marmalade to be light in colour and have a clear jelly with thin strips of lemon peel floating in the jelly. The texture must be soft and easy to spread. I hate any jam or marmalade to tear up the toast when you spread it on.

My recipe is very easy, like just about everything I make.

Lemon Marmalade

2 Lemons cut in half and thinly sliced
1 litre of boiling water
700ml sugar

Put the sliced lemons in a bowl and cover with the boiling water.
Cover the bowl and leave over night.
The next day put the lemons and water in a pot and boil until the liquid has reduced by one third and the peel is soft. Remember that once you add the sugar the peel will not soften any more.
I warm my sugar before adding it to the lemons, this helps it to dissolve quicker.
Add the sugar to the lemons, and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
Scoop out any pips which you can find. I find it easier to do this once I have added the sugar, as the pips will float after you have added the sugar.
Bring to the boil and keep stirring.
Wash down the sides of the pot if there are any crystals.
Keep boiling until setting point is reached. This is 105°C.
The quicker you boil, the lighter in colour.
Don't leave your pot unattended, as it will burn very quickly.
Once you have reached setting point, remove from the heat, wait 10 minutes and pour into your hot sterilized jars.
The reason you wait 10 minutes after you have finished, is so that your marmalade can cool slightly and the jelly can thicken and then your fruit will not "float" to the top the bottle.
Close the lids immediately and leave to cool completely before using.

This is best served on hot toast. Makes great gifts and is sure to impress even the most difficult mother-in-law.

On Saturday we went to the Cape Town Flower and Garden Show. While I do not have a garden of my own (my back yard is paved), it really was beautiful to see what others can do.

I took a few pictures, which hardly do justice to how beautiful everything really was.

The back drop to the show.

This is an aloe made from wire and beads, the only kind of plant I am qualified to look after.
As Keith said "You talking to a woman who battles to grow her hair!".

1000 blooms. The smell from these roses was heavenly.

Friday, 26 October 2007

The Importance of being Ernest

In grade 11 I was the production secretary for the school play. This was an extremely sort after position among the grade 11 girls and many of the girls in my class were very unhappy that I had landed this job. I loved the 3 months we spent working on the play, and can still remember many of the lines.

One incident that still brings a smile to my face is an example of pure innocence. There is a line in the play were Rev. Canon Chasuble, says "I am a celibate, madam'. One evening I turned to the teacher who was the play's director and asked "What does celibate mean?". He was a very sweet, old fashioned, middle aged man, who smoked too much. The look on his face when I asked this was one of sheer terror. He never did give me the answer, and it was only much later when I found out the meaning that I blushed too.

Now, you may ask "What is the Importance of being Ernest?". Well it is actually the reason for life... How I wish to approach this forum... and especially my life... Being Ernest (actually earnest).

I looked up the word EARNEST and these are a few of the definitions I found :

1.serious in intention, purpose, or effort; sincerely zealous: an earnest worker.
2.showing depth and sincerity of feeling: earnest words; an earnest entreaty.
3.seriously important; demanding or receiving serious attention.

This blog is my way of showing my intentions, not only about the food I make but also the important things in my life. While making good food is a great way to show this, there are so many more things that are important to me, things that are deep and sincere and seriously important.

I am not a person who has a hectic social life. Happiness to me is spending time with my family and the few close friends I have made and kept over many years. Keeping in contact with these people is what I treasure most and what I most earnestly strive to work at.

My wish is that as you read, you will see the things I find important, not only how to make the best carrot cake, but the best way to share it.

I dedicate this post to those who know the treasure they have in finding true love and being able to give it freely.

Here is a family picture, which shows just what happiness is all about, the photo taken when no one is ready for the flash.....

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Silly Sickness

Last week I started to feel a little under the weather. Self diagnosis is something I do with wild abandon. While having no formal (or informal) medical training of any kind, I never lack the confidence to assess my own health. This apparently is not a terribly safe way to manage one's health care, and as it turned out, I didn't have hay-fever but instead a bad cold which subsequently resulted in a chest infection.

That said and done, I spent the last 3 days in bed. I tend to believe that your body will crave things that it is lacking. This too can seem rather strange, because when I feel sick I rarely long for health food. I can never remember being in bed with a fever and thinking "Oh, what I would do for a nice bowl of Brussels sprouts now"! My thoughts always turn to "unhealthy" comfort food.

By yesterday afternoon I was feeling so much better and decided that I would whip up something dead easy, but totally unhealthy.

Before I got sick, I came across this recipe on Homesick Texan's site.

I made a few changes, but nothing that would count as original.

Hello Dolly Bars

1 1/2 cups crushed digestive biscuits
2 cups of chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups of coconut
1 1/2 cups of chopped walnuts
1 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup of butter

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
Melt the butter in a saucepan.
Pour melted butter into an 11x7 or 8x8 cake pan.
Sprinkle digestive crumbs into pan, and mix well with melted butter to form a crust.
Layer on top of digestive crust the chocolate chips, coconut and walnuts.
Evenly pour sweetened condensed milk over everything.
Bake in oven for 25 to 30 minutes, top should be light brown.
Let cool in pan for at least half an hour, cut into bars and serve.

These are totally delicious and full of calories.

By way of explanation as to why my blog looks different every time you visit, this is not to confuse, but rather I am trying to get the set out and colours right. It's like trying on new clothes, you have to keep looking until you are perfectly happy with what you see.

Friday, 19 October 2007

Make or Break

It all started on the 7th of September 2007, Argentina played France in a thrilling opening game. The pre-game favorites walked off the field at the end, dumb struck at having lost by 5 points. We knew then this was- Game On!!!

It has been an amazing 42 days, each game better than the one before. Giants being squashed by grasshoppers. Tomorrow it all ends, the winner takes it all, the loser has to crawl.

24 June 1995, I had only been married for 3 months. I sat in the lounge with my then young husband and watched Nelson Mandela lift the Webb Ellis Trophy. Fourteen months before that, we had all stood in line to vote in the first democratic election in South Africa. Desmond Tutu walked down Adderly Street in Cape Town wearing a Springbok rugby jersey. Never before in our nation had every person joined as one to celebrate the beauty of being South African.

Tomorrow night, 15 young men will once again carry the hopes of 48 million people on their shoulders. Our democracy is no longer shiney and new. We have taken bumps and scratches, the paint work needs lots of work. But tomorrow holds the promise of joining us together again, no matter who you are or were you come from.

It all comes down to one game, 80 minutes. No matter what has gone before, this is all that counts.I will be sitting glued to the screen, watching every move, yelling at the ref when he forgets to do his job. My team will win and my country will be the champions of the world.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

I Scream You Scream

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ICE CREAM!!!! My mom always used to sing this when we asked for ice cream.

Keith bought me an ice cream machine last week. I have been hinting about it now for a year, and I could always see the questioning look in his eyes, "Why would you want an ice cream machine when you can buy perfectly good ice cream?".

Well I proved to him that the stuff you make is so much better than anything you could possibly buy. You can make it exactly the way you like it. While it isn't a last minute decision dish, things have to be prepared before so they can chill before you can freeze it, the preparation is definitely worth all the effort.

Here is my personal favorite so far -

Mint Choc Chip Ice Cream

100g Sugar
2 Eggs
250ml Milk
450ml of Cream
5ml Butter Mint Essence
2ml Green Food Colouring
40g Good quality Dark Chocolate (I use 70%)

Heat the milk to just before boiling.
Beat the eggs and the sugar together.
Pour the hot milk into the egg and sugar mixture - Stirring all the time.
Pour the mixture back into the pot and heat until it starts to thicken, keep stirring and don't let it boil.
Pour into a jug (at least 1.5l in size), or a big enough bowl.
Let it cool to room temperature.
When this custard mix is cool, stir in the cream, essence and food colouring.
Put this in the fridge for about 12 hours.
Make in your ice cream machine as per manufacturers instructions.
When your ice cream is set, stir in the finely chopped chocolate.
Serve at will and often if you wish to have a happy family.

This ice cream will definitely impress all your guests, when you humbly say "It's only ice cream for dessert" and then have your partner say "Oh Darling, this is not just ice cream, it's the one you made!" At this point you shyly blush and say "No really, it's nothing!"

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Sweet like a Lemon

I have always loved lemons. As a small child, my sister and I would steal the sugar bowl from the kitchen and hide out at the bottom of the garden by the lemon tree and eat lemons dipped in sugar.
To this day, there is always a bowl of lemons in my kitchen. It is such a wonderfully versatile ingredient, you can use it with anything from lamb to ice-cream.

Yesterday was a beautiful spring day. I just knew we had to have dessert after diner. So I tried a recipe from a magazine I have been saving for months.

Lemon Mousse

160g Castor Sugar
3 eggs separated
Juice and Zest of 2 Lemons
7g Gelatin
150ml Cream lightly whipped

Beat the Sugar, egg yolks and zest together until very thick and light. This took about 5 mins at with the electric beater.
In a small sauce pan, take the gelatin and mix with the lemon juice. Heat on low until gelatin is dissolved.
Add the gelatin lemon juice to the egg yolk and sugar mix and blend.
Put this in the fridge until it just starts to set.
Add the lightly whipped cream.

Beat the egg whites until they are stiff, but not dry.
Fold the whites into the yolk, sugar, cream mixture. I add a ¼ of the mix at a time.
Put into your ramekins and place in the fridge for 2 hours, or until you are ready to serve.

Dust with icing sugar before serving.
This is a beautifully light mousse, with the tang of lemon.

Markwin had his Grade 7 farewell party on Friday and here are some photos.

Friday, 12 October 2007

Deeply Dippy

This weekend is going to be great. According to the weather people, the weather should be nice, and to top it off the Springboks are playing in the RWC semi-final. Things just could not get any better.

On weekends I seldom (okay never) make real food. Everything is easy and perfect for eating while sitting and watching TV. One of my favorite snack foods are dips and spreads.

Here are two which I will be enjoying this weekend.


This is so easy that I find it hard to believe anyone would bother to buy it.

1 Can Chickpeas - drained (you can reserve this liquid to substitute some of the oil)
Juice of 1 Lemon
1 Tablespoon Tahini
2 Crushed Garlic cloves
Salt and Black Pepper
Olive Oil - Good quality Extra Virgin

Blend the first 5 ingredients in a food processor. Blend it to the texture you like. Some people like it a little coarse, I like mine smooth. With the blade running, pour in the olive oil, again this you must judge for yourself depending on the consistency you like. If you don't want to add too much oil, use some of the chickpea water.
This is exactly how easy it is. The great thing is you can taste it and change the mix to suit your tastes. Add more lemon, garlic or tahini and you have the best humus money can buy.

The second dip takes more time, but is every bit as easy.

Aubergine (Brinjal) Dip

2 Aubergines
2 Crushed Garlic Cloves
Juice of 1 Lemon
Pinch of ground Cumin
Salt and Pepper to Taste
1 Tablespoon of Full cream Greek Yogurt (Very optional Extra)

Roast the Aubergines in the oven (or over the coals) until they are all wrinkled and very soft.
Scoop the flesh into the processor. Don't worry if you get a little of the skin caught in, especially if you roasted them over the coals.
Add the other ingredients, except the yogurt and process on pulse until you have a smooth mix. I suggested pulse because this is not a dip that should be very smooth like baby food.
If you want a creamy finish you can add the yogurt but this is not necessary.
Serve with toasted pita breads to really WoW your guests at your next braai (BBQ).

I hope you all have a most exciting weekend. Come Monday I will be happy to tell you that the Springboks will be in the final next Saturday. Bring it home boys.

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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