Ballerina and Batman Party

Isn’t that the most wonderful theme for a gorgeous little girl’s 6th birthday party.  Precious little Becky (my Godson Jamie’s sister) knows what she wants.  Got to love the finite decisions of this adorable youngster plus her insight of not wanting the boys to be left out with just a Ballerina theme.

Becky invite

The party invite – I removed the address and telephone details for privacy

Can’t believe it was a month ago we celebrated Becky’s 6th birthday and I am only sharing it with you now.  Pete was home that week so was able to join me for the trip to Plett to visit with family and attend this awesome birthday party.  It was a special and fun weekend.

Becky 6 bday  2

While all the final preparations for the party were under way, I snapped a few shots for the memory coffers.  Becky 6 bday  33

Becky was very happy to do a photo shoot in the garden and it seems brother Jamie also wanted in on the action, especially seeing as he was using every antic in the book not to get out of his pj’s. :-)
Becky 6 bday  35

Breakfast consisted of some yoghurt and a couple of chocolates thrown in for good measure.  You got to love birthday party day preparations.

The birthday cake was a perfect and exquisite combination of the theme Ballerina and Batman.  The top half was a wonderful vanilla,the bottom half a decadent chocolate.

Becky 6 bday  60

Becky 6 bday  74

Even Bonnie dog was adorned with decorations.  At one stage she even had a tutu on.Becky 6 bday  90The gift table quickly filled up with beautifully wrapped presents for the birthday girl.

Becky 6 bday  104

Becky had a splendid day with her friends and they all enjoyed playing pass the parcel, statues aka the freezing game, arts and crafts, creating masterpieces in the sandpit and bouncing on the trampoline.

Becky 6 bday  177

Love you all, high as the sky.

I hope we will be able to enjoy Becky’s birthday with her next year.  I cannot wait to find out what theme she will choose.

CRIME

Crime is why I have not been visiting your blogs recently.  I am sure you understand.

It breaks my heart to say we have had a huge increase in break-ins in the homes of our little village.  So much so we have had to implement day and night patrols with a few volunteers.  It always seems to be the same group of people who step up to the plate without question.

Neighbourhood watch logo

We have held emergency meetings, compiled a constitution, code of conduct, created a logo, collated emergency patrol schedules, got all the necessary indemnities and ID card requirements in place, created Neighbourhood Watch and Patrolling What’sApp groups for instant emergency communication, rallied support from our Rate Payers Association for purchasing equipment necessary for patrols and even received confirmation of donations all within a week and half – not bad going.

While we fine tune our efforts, I would greatly appreciate if you have any advice or policies to help us.

I am realy missing reading all your news, recipes and stories and promise to be over just as soon as the dust has settled here.

On with the apron!

This is the last of the books in the pile from my aunt.  It was her home economics book from school and has her handwritten notes in pencil with indications of what needs to be learnt for tests and exams.  :-)

Old cookery books

This was the only “local” book being written and published in South Africa by M.S.E. van Niekerk, Senior Inspectress of Domestic Science and M.A. Phillips, Inspectress of Domestic Science.  I never knew that was such a words as inspectress.

Dedicated to the schoolgirls of today-
the housewives of the future

On with the apron

I loved all the instructions in the 4 page introduction and how to test the temperature of an oven without a thermometer.  How easy things have become over the years!

Apron intro 1 of 4 Apron intro 2 of 4 Apron intro 3 of 4 Apron intro 4 of 4

The book is divided into two parts – Housewifery and Cookery.

The chapters under Housewifery cover The Domestic and Personal Duties of the Members of the Family in the Home; The Care of the Home; The Outside of The House; The Choice, Care and Cleaning of Household Cleaning Utensils; Metals; The Kitchen – Furnishing and Equipment; The Kitchen Sink; Stoves; The Disposal of Household Waste; Cutlery; China; Glass; The Setting of Tables; Shoes and Leather Articles; Brushes and Combs; Books; Furniture; Floor Coverings; The Bedroom; The Bath-Room and Lavatory; Household Mending; Household Cloths; Household Pests and The Household Budget.

The chapters under Cookery cover Marketing; Terms Used in Cookery; Weighing and Measuring; Foods and Nutrients; Methods of Cooking; The Planning of Meals; Soups; Fish; Meat; Vegetables; Salads; Fruit; Beverages; Milk and Milk Products; Eggs; Cereals; Raising Agents; Flour Mixtures; Sandwiches; The Preservation of Food; Sauces and Kitchen Economy.

Apron economy 1 of 3

Apron economy 2 of 3

Apron ecomomy 3 of 3

Each chapter has comprehensive information with nothing being left to the imagination – a great book for young ladies of the time.  Oh dear, now I am making my aunt sound old – sorry Aunty Christine – you know what I mean.

By the time I got to having home economics classes, all we learnt was how to cook and bake basic items, that was it, well as far as my old brain can remember.

What did you learn in home economics at school?

Women’s Home Library – Practical Cookery For All

This old book from the pile is a little worse for wear and the only record I can find on Google is a copy that is for sale, so sadly I cannot tell you  what year it was published.   I do think it is a little younger than the Rumford Complete Cook Book and Mrs Beeton’s Family Cookery book.

Women's Home Library Cookery

The book is broken up into 4 main sections: Principles of Cookery, Recipes, Balanced Menu’s and Diets and Entertaining in the Home.

The Principle of Cookery is broken into cooking equipment and cookery methods, then preparation of foods and basic cookery methods.

The cooking equipment sections has everything you will need to know about the kitchen, tools of the trade, how to store food, cookery methods, cookery terms, how to weigh and measure, how to season food and useful herbs.

spoon measures

If you didn’t know what rounded and heaped meant – now you do

The preparation of foods section cover all groups: milk, cheese, eggs, fish, meat, bacon and ham, poultry and game, salads, vegetables and fresh and preserved fruit.

The basic cookery methods cover, stocks and soups, fish and oils, sauces, cerelas, puddings and jellies, how to make pastry, bread and yeas baking, cakes, Confectionery and substitutes.  I want to try a few of the pastry recipes – I like that there is a separate recipe for each flaky and puff pastry.

counter top oven

A nunu counter top oven. A great use of a small space.

The Recipes chapter even has 5 pages on how to make your own wine. Not sure I like the idea of parsnip wine though.

Parsnip wine recipe

Who would have thought a parsnip can hiss

The Balanced Menus and Diet chapter has pages and pages on menus for all four seasons, how to eat a balanced diet, children’s diets and the special dietary requirements for illness and convalescence.

The fun Entertaining in the Home chapter has hints for the hostess, table setting for all occasions, how to choose and serve wines, picnics, children’s parties, and the art of carving.

Picnics

All very formal this picnic preparation

I want to try the recipe for crème caramel.  Best not make it with just me at home though.  Eating 4 portions myself would lead to additional unnecessary running.

In My Kitchen – October 2014

The past month has been wonderfully warm and sunny and flown by in the flash. Seems we are in for a hot summer and the end of the year is nearing – can’t believe this is the third last instalment for the year.

Thanks as always to the lovely Celia over at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for hosting this fun monthly event.  We get to peek into so many beautiful and different kitchens each month.  If you haven’t already, why don’t you share a little of what is in your kitchen.

In my kitchen…

Is an indulgent purchase of beautiful silver napkin rings.  I walked passed them in a store I hardly visit; picked them up a zillion times and argued with myself that I really don’t need them – It’s not like we entertain every other day BUT then I went back to the store and well, 12 of them made their way into my basket!  I am thrilled to say I used them for a dinner with friends and they looked fabulous on the table.

Napkin rings 1

napkin rings

In my kitchen…

Is another indulgent purchase – oops!  In my defence these lovely mini serving dishes were dirt cheap and I only bought 2.  I am sure I will regret not getting more as they are perfect for serving a starter on.

Small serving dishes

In my kitchen…

Is a much loved tray friends gave me for my birthday while we were living in Mauritius.  They both worked on the glass mosaic and made it personal with cupcakes and tea – my favourites!

birthday tray

In my kitchen…

Are yellow wood trivets which I inherited from my parent’s-in-law.  It’s been a while since I used them on the dinner table – we seem to serve everything from the hot tray lately.

serving trivets

In my kitchen…

Is a mesh food dome.  I have so many of these stashed away in the cupboard – we used them all the time when we lived on the island, not so much here any more, hence the stash in the cupboard.

Food cover

In my kitchen…

Is a fresh batch of thinly sliced rusks, just the way Pete likes them for his morning cup of coffee.

Pete rusks

What’s in your kitchen this month?  Please remember to link back to Celia’s blog Fig Jam and Lime Cordial if you partake in the fun and drop her a quick note to let her know when your post will be up.

Running slow

Humph.  I am not a very happy girl with my running at the moment.  I was doing so well and 5km was starting to be a  really comfy distance with an ever improving time and then something (I still do not know what) happened – my whole body felt like lead and tired, my legs didn’t want to move, my lungs felt like they were working at a quarter of what they should be.  So frustrating!

My times were getting slower and slower and my sub 36 minutes soon became 40 minutes again!  Shock and horror!

Zanzibar tortoise

I feel like this fellow – slow and tired

Not sure there is an exact science with this whole running thing but I have been told there are a number of contributing factors, which I understand but surely they can’t carry on for weeks at a time!

Moving swiftly along from feeling sorry for myself, I have incorporated more biking into my weekly routine until I can get over myself and back on track.

Do you also go through slumps?  What do you do when it happens?

Kristy’s Tea Taste Test

What a fun day I had taste testing all the tea’s Kristy sent me.  All the teas are from The Octavia Tea Company.  They have the most beautiful packaging.  Reckon I would buy their tea for the packaging alone. :-)

Kristy's tea

 First up was Kristy’s favourite, The Lemon Green Organic Green Tea.

Cleanse the body and relieve stress with this soothing blend of antioxidant-rich green tea and therapeutic herbs. Gentle notes of lemon-lime accented with a kiss of honey-like sweetness give this tea an exquisite, graceful flavor to be savored sip after sip.

There is the most wonderful aroma when you open the packaging.  The leaves are light and crisp.  The aroma is of fresh lemons with a hint of lime.  Once the tea had infused I felt the the aroma lessoned.  The tea has a lovely light fresh flavour and the water gets a pretty soft lime hue.

Lemon Green organic tea Lemon Green Organic tea 2

 Next up was the Wild Blueberry Organic White Tea.

Capture the deep, luscious flavor of juicy blueberries in a cup of tea. This enchanting infusion is made from an exquisite white tea blended with organic blueberries and a touch of sweet-tart hibiscus. Known for its detoxifying, stress-relieving properties, white tea has a delicate, nectar-like flavor contains powerful antioxidants and anti-aging properties.

I was hit with the most magnificent intoxicating scent when I opened this tea, the smell filled the room – heavenly!  I loved how the water slowly tinted a beautiful rosé and the scent after steeping was as strong as when I opened the packaging.  The flavour is absolutely wonderful as the berry nose came through 100% in flavour.  So far, I think this is my favourite.

Wilb Berry Organic white tea Wild Berry organic white tea 2 a Wild Berry organic white tea 2 b

 Then there was the Dragon Well Green Tea.

Dragonwell is the most famous Chinese tea, with broad, flat leaves shaped like the blade of a sword. This voluptuous tea envelops the palate with a lovely orchid-like fragrance, a delicious, roasted chestnut-like flavor and an earthy, lingering finish. Often called the national drink of China, Dragon Well is frequently given to visiting heads of state. This tea is rich in antioxidants and promotes mental alertness.

I am sure the Chinese will be insulted with my opinion of their most famous tea but in my unprofessional opinion, it smells like samp and beans, something only South African’s will understand.  The savoury aroma follows through to the taste.  I must say the water turned a lovely light bright green.

Dragen Well green tea Dragen Well green tea 2

 Next in line was the Rose Oolong Tea.

Inspired by the alluring ambiance of a rose garden after a spring rain, Rose Oolong is a smooth, soothing tea rich in antioxidants and anti-aging properties. The fragrance of crushed rose petals harmonizes with an exquisite oolong tea base, evoking a sense of calm and tranquility. Often a favorite category among tea connoisseurs, oolong tea is known for its detoxifying and metabolism boosting properties.

I love anything rose so knew I would enjoy this tea. The aroma was wonderfully strong on opening the sachet, it reminded me of a rose scented body mist I used years ago.  I loved how the rose petals floated to the top of the water which had the softest yellow glow. The tea tasted exactly like rose flavoured Turkish Delight.  Fabulous!  This tea is on an even par with the Wild Blueberry as being my favourite.

Rose Oolong tea Rose Oolong tea 2

 Then it was onto the White Chai Tea.

Nourish your spirit! Swirls of sweet cinnamon, sultry spice and playful pink peppercorns dance with white tea’s delicate, honey-like nectar. This whimsical concoction is inspired by the healing herbs used in ancient Ayurvedic medicine and blended with an antioxidant-rich white tea base, giving it a warm, soothing character. A transcendent experience.

I was excited to taste this tea after reading all the ingredients – lemongrass, cinnamon, ginger, pineapple cubes, pink peppercorns, coconut flakes, clove and cardamom.  The smell of fireballs, a sweet we used to eat as kids came to mind and the smelt exactly like they tasted.  I know, that sounds odd and this tea tastes exactly the same too.  It leaves a slight tingly peppery feel in your mouth. This is a perfect winter tea.

White Chai tea White Chati tea 2

 Last was the Jasmine Pearl Organic Green Tea.

One of the world’s finest delicacies and most prized teas, Jasmine Pearl is lavishly infused with the intoxicating fragrance of jasmine and hand-rolled into pearls that bloom in your cup.  After harvesting, the tea leaves are layered with jasmine flowers, which bloom in the cool night air. Although the jasmine flowers are removed from the final product, the sweet, soothing scent remains—captured by the leaves themselves. Jasmine tea is said to ease anxiety and promote well-being.

I grew up drinking jasmine tea after a Chinese meal so knew immediately I would like this tea.  I love the hand rolled pearls which gently opened in the heat of the water.  This tea has a strong full jasmine flavour and I found myself consistently smelling the tea as is brewed.

Jasmine Pearl organic green tea Jasmine Pearl organic tea 2

Kristy, thank you so much for sending me on a wonderful tea journey in my own home.

What’s been happening

Since being away a few things have happened.

The most important and fabulous of them all as a few of you already know was Pete’s accolade of being awarded the Business Continuity Consultant of the year from the BCI (Business Continuity Institute) of London.

awards 3

Business Continuity Consultant of the Year
In this category the judges will be looking for evidence of exceptional all round skills across the full spectrum of BCM capability. Applicants will have in depth and breadth of experience and will be able to demonstrate how they have helped clients, from a wide client base, embrace BCM techniques and embed BCM within their organisation’s culture. The winner of this category will be able to show the judges that they have an innovative approach to the discipline, are an outstanding problem solver and a worthy ambassador for the Business Continuity Management sector. All entries should include the length of time the entrant has been involved in BCM and any relevant professional qualifications they have as well as any examples of contributions made to the growth of the discipline in local territories.

This winning individual is a consummate professional, with passion and drive for his customers. His diverse background includes extensive knowledge and experience in Business Continuity, from delivering countless BCM projects, to developing customised BCM strategies. His entrepreneurial spirit and leadership has given him exposure to different sectors and verticals in business and the market.

The winner of this category has more than 5 years’ experience as a dedicated Business Continuity Manager. Judging focused on how the individual has used Business Continuity Management techniques across their employing organisation to improve overall resilience. Evidence of effective responses to individual impacts weighed to the application, which could be further enhanced by showing how BCM has influenced strategic thinking within the organisation. In this category judges looked for a unique individual who has truly embedded BCM using creative and original approaches and techniques.

Business Continuity Consultant of the Year
Peter Frielinghaus MBCI,
Senior BCM Advisor
at ContinuitySA

PJF BCI award

It was wonderful to be with Pete when he won this very well deserved award and to see how loved and respected he is by his colleagues – they couldn’t wait to come and congratulate him.  I have never seen such genuine and heartfelt respect for my husband by his peers before.  It makes his being away from home so often much easier.

Awards 9………

After succumbing to the constant harassment from my family, I cut my  hair.  I had about 9 inches (22cm) chopped off the length.  Not entirely sure how happy I am yet and think I would have preferred it all one length.  There is a small piece in the front that has been cut shorter and constantly irritates me plus the ends flick in all different directions no matter how I try and blow wave it.  Good thing is it will grow.  You can see the length in the picture above.

Clearly I am similar to Samson who lost his strength when his hair was cut as  I lost a portion of my brain for a while as I gave myself a second degree burn on the inside of my hand.  It hurt like all kinds of hell and hope I minimised the blistering by immediately putting lavender oil over the burn and sitting with my hand in a bowl of water for 6 hours!  I also took 8 aspirin over the course of the evening – probably more than I take in 2 years.  For 2 days afterwards, I had a bad case of tinnitus which I put down to perimenopause and after consulting Google found it to be a side effect of taking excess amounts of aspirin. Oops!

………

I am now an official member of our community’s Police forum.  It really is important to be part of the change you want to see and having the official member status makes my voice all that more important plus it is nice being in the know of what is happening in our village.

cpf emblem

If it wasn’t enough to burn my hand, my beater broke while mixing icing.  I am not a Kenwood or Kitchen Aid owner – maybe one day but in the meanwhile I have started pricing new electric mixers.  I must have missed a few chapters as I think they are frightfully expensive.

………

The lovely Kristy over at Eat, Play, Love and I have started a tea exchange.  Not entirely sure how the whole thing is going to work yet, we are the guinea pigs.  I am delighted to say Kristy’s “American” tea has arrived with me and my South African Rooibos has yet to get to her.  There was a mix-up at our post office which caused a 3 week delay in it leaving here! I will do a review next week Tuesday.  If you would like to be part of our tea exchange, please let me know.

Kristy's teaRight, that’s enough rambling from me for today.  What’s been going on with you?

In My Kitchen – September 2014

Yippee, it is officially Spring – days will be getting warmer and evenings will be getting longer – oh happy days.

Thanks to the lovely Celia’s over at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, we get the opportunity to peek into so many wonderful and different kitchens every month.  If you haven’t already, why don’t you share a little of what is in your kitchen with us.

In my kitchen…

Are the most beautiful napkin / flower holders.  We originally only had 3 and my sister-in-law Trish had the other 3 so I asked I could have her 3 – she lovingly obliged.  They originally belonged to our parents-in-law.  I would love to hear where they originated from.

napkin flower holders

In my kitchen…

Are an ever growing pile of matches which Pete collects from the various countries he visits.  Seems though, our Lion (not photographed) brand of matches are still the best.

Matches

In my kitchen…

Is a bacon, mushroom and leak creamy pasta – a fabulous dinner with plenty leftover for lunch.

Bacon, mushroom leak pasta

In my kitchen…

Is dried lemon grass which I found at Woolies.  I am looking forward to using it in a curry soon.

Lemon grass

In my kitchen…

Are drying peppadews – the seed with be planted soon and hopefully we we will have lots of peppadew baby plants.

Drying peppadews

In my kitchen…

Is a Mandy special – I never inherited my mom’s ability to arrange flowers.  I thought strelizia’s and red Brazilian peppercorn branches would make a nice display.  I will endeavour to get better.

Strelitias

What’s in your kitchen this month?  Please remember to link back to Celia’s blog Fig Jam and Lime Cordial if you partake in the fun and drop her a quick note to let her know when your post will be up.

Mrs Beeton’s Family Cookery

I am nearly back to normal and organised after my impromptu trip to catch up with your posts. :-) 

I was having so much fun reading through the first of the old books from my aunt that I launched straight into reading the second one; Mr’s Beeton’s Family Cookery.

Old cookery books

I really am taken back in time when I read these wonderful old books.

Unfortunately I could not find a publication date in this book.  I went to Google to see if I could find it but alas.  I did however learn Isabella Beeton wrote articles on cooking and household management for her husband who was a publisher of books and magazines – a great help in getting her books published and that she died at the tender age of 28 a week after giving birth to her fourth son.  It seems many of the recipes were actually plagiarised from earlier writers, but the Beetons never claimed any of the contents were original. The intention was as a guide of reliable information for the aspirant middle classes. “Mrs Beeton is perhaps described better as its compiler and editor than as its author, many of the passages clearly being not her own words.

Mrs Beeton's Family Cookery

The book has nearly 3000 recipes and includes sections on labour saving, household work, servant’s duties, laundry work, marketing, renovations, carving and trussing, the art of “using-up”, table decoration, table napkins, meals and menus and more.

I am so pleased they don’t write the way they used to, it was all very complicated.

Part of the Preface which is 3 full pages reads:

“Mrs. Beeton’s competitors have paid her the compliment of imitation and adaptation up to, and sometimes beyond, the limits that the lay and public alike proclaim its merits, and even the writers of romances of domestic life have recorded how it constantly rescues young housekeepers from perplexity and woe.”

I love that eggs have their own chapter of recipes and their is even a chapter dedicated to South African cooking although it was a first for me to read: “Many South African colonists consider the iguana – a large kind of amphibious lizard – a very welcome addition to the bill of faire, and say that the flesh of this reptile is anything but unpalatable.

There are so many anecdotes I want to share from this book but not sure what to include and what to leave out.  This is a whopper of a book with nearly 900 pages.

I had to giggle when I read the chapter on “The Housewife” under the organisation category: “Whether the establishment be large or small, the functions of the housewife resemble those of the general of an army or the manager of a great business concern.” Then under “A Woman’s Home” “should be first and foremost in her life, but if she allow household cares entirely to occupy her thoughts, she will become narrow in her interest and sympathies, a condition not conducive to domestic happiness.” My mouth was agape when I read in the “Management of Servants”: “Where there is a large staff or servant’s…” Clearly things have changed dramatically.

There is advice on buying a home which includes knowing what the composition of the soil is and to not be too fussy when looking for a home.  Goodness me!

When taking a house in a new locality, it is etiquette to wait for the residents of longer standing to call, thus evincing a desire, on their part, to become acquainted.  It may be that the mistress will desire intimacy with but a few of her neighbours.”  Not sure this has entirely the same connotation today.

In the event of your being invited to dinner, after calls have been made, nothing but necessity should prevent you from accepting.  If you really cannot accept, state the reason frankly and plainly.  Opportunity should also be taken to call in the course of a day or two, to express regret that circumstances made it impossible.  All so very formal and strict I’d say.

There are 24 pages as well as 4 pages of pictures covering household hints on how to clean,repair, renew and uses for anything from ball valves to tortoiseshell and velvet ribbons as well as what to do if your clothing or somebody is on fire.

Mrs Beetons mechanical laundering

We definitely have it easy now days with modern washing and dryer machines and electric irons.  All the hand-washing would not have been my idea of fun.

The Marketing chapter covers everything from where and when to purchase meats, seasonal fruits and vegetables, covers the quality of all meats, has sketches of the different cuts of beef, mutton/lamb and pork and provides guidelines on whether to buy large or small quantities of certain items as well as how to test the freshness of your larder and storeroom groceries.  There is also a guide on when foods are best, in season and at their cheapest and best.

The chapter on the cook covers very strict instructions on the importance of early rising, preparation of meals, kitchen duties, importance of cooking, how to dress and be economical and advice on how to be efficient in the kitchen.

The Kitchen chapter covered everything from the construction and arrangement of a kitchen to equipment, fittings (including the ceiling), furniture with a detailed explanation on which is the right kitchen clock, various cooking methods, and the carious ways of heating – electricity, coal, oil etc, culinary utensils and their care as well as a list of kitchen utensils.

Mrs Beetons kitchen utensils

The Art of Cookery chapter leaves nothing to the imagination as it encompasses everything from reasons for cooking, action of heat, constituents of food, the nine methods of cookery, quantities and measures, table of equivalents as well as a comprehensive cook’s time-table.

The recipes cover many chapters and I hope to share a few iconic recipes when I can.

The book even has a chapter on table decoration with all the do’s and dont’s.

The last chapter is dedicated to table napkins with 12 pages on the various ways of folding napkins:(The Bishop, The Fan, The Boats, The Palm, The Lily, and the Cactus, The Slipper, The Rose and Star, The Mitre, The Cockscomb, Fleur-De-Lis Varieties, The Boar’s Head, The Sachet and The Vase) “It must, however be remembered that it is useless to attempt anything but the most simple forms unless the napkins have been slightly starched and smoothly ironed.  In every case the folding must be exact, or the result will be slovenly and unsightly.  If not quite certain how the designs are executed it is better to practise on a piece of paper rather than to risk soiling a napkin.

Mrs Beetons napkin folding 1

Mrs Beetons napkin folding 2

Mrs Beetons napkin folding 3

The interior front and back covers as well as the last few pages of the book have advertisements.  I wonder what it cost to place an ad?

Rumford Complete Cook Book

I am away on an impromptu trip at the moment so please ignore my lack of visiting your blogs.  I will be back next week. :-)

Old cookery books

I was thrilled the Rumford Complete Book Book was on top of the pile as it is the one with all the handwritten recipes in my gran and great-gran’s handwriting!  What a nostalgic and wonderful treasure to be able to hold and read them!

Rumford Complete Cook Book

A few of the recipes make reference to measurements in teacups – not quite sure what that equates to in today’s terms.  I might find out in one of these wonderful old books.

old family recipes

I soon learnt that Rumford is a brand of baking powder and they are still going strong today.  The book was written by Lily Haxworth Wallace, a lecturer, teacher and writer on domestic science for the department of home economics of the Rumford Company.  The book was first published in 1908 – 106 years ago!

Rumford
The Wholesome
Baking Powder
Best of the High Grade Powders
Made of the genuine Professor Horsford’s phosphate, it restores to the flour the nutritious properties absolutely necessary to health, of which fine wheat flour has been deprived in the process of milling.  Professors Horsford’s phosphate is made by us solely for our own use, none being sold for use in any other baking powder.

Part of the Preface reads: “It is not claimed that these recipes are all new.  Some are original; some the gift of friends who have experimented till good results were obtained; some are old family recipes, never before printed; while others are standard rules that have stood the test of years and are still at the head of their respective lists.  However, all have been tested and may be used by the novice and the same certainly of success as when the ingredients are combined by the experienced cook.”

They must have had very small wine glasses back in the day as 4 wine glassfuls were equivalent to 1 cupful.  I reckon 1 of my wine glasses would equal 3 cups.

A common ingredient through the book was orange being used in everything from omelets to cream pies and steamed puddings with prunes also being a prominent ingredient as well as breadcrumbs and oysters and all the recipes used a minimum of ingredients and none of the recipes mentioned what temperature the oven should be set at.  Guess a moderate oven was the flavour of the day.

I love that the end of each chapter had a few blank pages headed Memoranda, similar to the idea of what I put in my book. :-)

There is a chapter dedicated to recipes for the sick and advice includes: “Have all hot beverages brought to the door of the sick room in a covered pitcher, then poured into the cup, thus avoiding the danger of spilling liquids into the saucer while carrying them to the patient.  When liquid foods are given, other receptacles than those for medicine should be used, as the association of the two is often times unpleasant.”

“Be very careful to keep such foods as milk, beef tea, etc., covered while in the refrigerator, to avoid contact with other or more odorous foods.  If the refrigerator has more than one compartment reserve one exclusively for the use of the sick room.”

What a lovely old book.

International Scone Week 2014 – Afternoon Tea Scones

The lovely Celia over at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial hosts our International Scone Week each year.  It started back in 2011 when Celia and her friends Heidi, and Joanna decided it would be a great thing to do annually and I agree.

Last year my mom was visiting and I remember us enjoying the rustic olive oil scones for our lunch.

Afternoon Tea Scones 1

I turned to the old books my aunt lent me for this years recipe.  I decided on the recipe with the least amount of converting – it was only after the fact I found out a ‘gill’ is equivalent to half a cup so may have used another recipe.

Afternoon Tea Scones 2

These are small scones and baked with a slightly raised dome.  They have a lovely light crumb and are delicious with strawberry jam and lightly whipped cream.

Afternoon Tea Scones

from Mrs Beeton’s Family Cookery book

Ingredients

125g flour
30g butter
1 tbsp castor sugar
½ tsp cream of tartar
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 egg lightly beaten
±30ml cold water

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C.
  2. In a bowl, lightly rub the butter into the flour.
  3. Add the remaining dry ingredients.
  4. Stir in the egg and water to form a soft dough.
  5. Gently pat the dough out on a floured surface to approximately ¼ inch thick and cut out 8 small rounds.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes.

Afternoon Tea Scones 3

In My Kitchen – August 2014

Yippee, just one more month to go until Spring.  I shall be counting the sleeps, but before we get there, here is what is in my kitchen this month.

In my kitchen…

Is a belated birthday gift from my folks.  I have been wanting a tier cake stand for a long while but couldn’t find a plain white one until I nearly tripped over one a couple of weeks ago, plus it was the last one in store (other than the display) so it must have been waiting for me.

Cupcake stand

In my kitchen…

Are egg cups.  These are something else I have been searching for and every person I ask seems to think I am mad and repeat back to me, “egg cups, you are looking for egg cups?”.  Clearly we are the only household left who enjoys boiled eggs with toast fingers.

Egg cups

In my kitchen…

Is some of the wine which I meant to share with you last month.  We bought these when we were at the wine estate.  I love that these are part of Graham Beck’s Game Reserve campaign.

Graham Beck game reserve

In my kitchen…

Is the best champagne sealer I have ever come across.  This one allows you to seal a bottle super tight by turning the handle.  The more you turn, the tighter the seal as opposed to the other clip on versions which don’t work quite as well.

Champagne sealer

In my kitchen…

Are tea-light stands.  They add a lovely low light elegance to a dinner table.

tealight holders

In my kitchen…

Are beautiful old cookery books which my Aunty Christine was kind enough to share with me for a while.  I want to read each book page for page – never know, I may even do a series on one of these, like I did with our very much loved Woman’s Home Companion Cook Book.

Old cookery books

What’s in your kitchen this month?  Please remember to link back to Celia’s blog Fig Jam and Lime Cordial if you partake in the fun and drop her a quick note to let her know when your post will be up.

The Value of a Smile

My Aunty Christine gave me this lovely message which she received from a friend in her bible study group.

Smile

These are my pearly whites from a shoot I did for a newspaper ad for a tile company what feels like a lifetime ago.  The companies slogan was, “The personal service of our sales consultants, our technical staff and our deliveries, will give you a lot more to smile about”.

A smile is nature’s best antidote for discouragement.
It brings rest to the weary, sunshine to who are sad
and hope to those who are hopeless and defeated.

A smile is so valuable that it can’t be bought,
begged, borrowed or taken away against your will.

You have to be willing to give a smile away
before it can do anyone else any good.

So if someone is too tired or grumpy to flash you a smile,
let them have one of yours.

Nobody needs a smile as much
as the person who has none to give.

It really is a beautiful and simple message, one which we are all capable of giving.

Teavive Tea

Please excuse my lack of visiting your blogs, I am in the midst of a few projects taking up my time.  I will catch up with you all soon again.

Alison at Teavivre in China contacted me and asked if I would like to test some of their Chinese green teas.  Naturally being the tea enthusiast that I am, I jumped at the opportunity.

Teavivre tea 1

I have had Chinese tea before with the most enjoyable being jasmine tea so was excited to receive my samples and was eager to get taste testing.

Please bare in mind the following is my layman explanation of these teas.  You can view the Teavivre website for any health benefits, caffeine content, their origin and pricing etc.

I noted these teas are meant to have a sweet undertone and mostly an orchid aroma.  I found them all to be what I would call savoury.

Teavivre tea 2

First up was the Bi Luo Chun Green Tea (Pi Lo Chun)

Bio Luo Chun Green Tea (Pi Lo Chun) 1This tea had an asparagus, lentil, bean nose and had a slightly bitter taste with faint jasmine undertones.
Bio Luo Chun Green Tea (Pi Lo Chun) 2

Second up was the Organic Superfine Dragon Well Long Tin Green Tea

Lu Shan Yum Wu Green Tea 1 I got the aroma of cooked green beans mixed with potatoes and it tasted like lentils.Lu Shan Yum Wu Green Tea 2

Then it was onto the Lu Shan Uum Wu Green Tea

Non Pareil Te Gong Huang Shan Mao Feng Green Tea 1 Only South Africans will understand when I say this tea smelt like samp and beans and tasted exactly like samp and beans too.Non Pareil Te Gong Huang Shan Mao Feng Green Tea 2

Next up was the Non Pareil te Gong Huang Shn Mao Feng Green Tea

Organic Superfine Dragon Well Long Jing Green Tea 1 This smelt like kelp and tasted like what kelp smells like.Organic Superfine Dragon Well Long Jing Green Tea 2

Finally it was The Premium Tai Ping Hou Kui Green Tea

Premium Tai Ping Hou Kui Green Tea 1 There was a very slight fishy and seaweed nose with a grassy taste.Premium Tai Ping Hou Kui Green Tea 2

I was not remunerated or asked to do a review on these teas. I did a this post as a courtesy after receiving the tea.

One foot in front of the other

Some days I feel I could conquer running 10km no problem, other days, well I just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other to finish my 5km circuit; funny how we have “on” and “off” days.

Running stuff

All my running paraphernalia minus my ipod – oops, forgot it charging

I have been doing this running thing now for 8 months – can’t believe it’s been that long.  Thought I would have been doing much better by now, then again, I’m not sure what or who I am supposed to be comparing myself to seeing as I had never run before.

My first goal was to run an entire kilometre without having to walk and then work my way to doing a 5km route under an hour.  I have successfully achieved both targets and now run my full 5km route in just over 35 and a half minutes.  Trying really hard to crack the 35 minute mark.

I mentioned previously I started running with heavier arm weights as the arms need as much help as they can get!  Seems though I may have bitten off a little more than I can chew as I start getting aches and pains in my lower back – almost stitch like plus the heavier weights have slowed my time down – updated plan is alternating between the heavier and lighter weights.

I am also changing my routine for a while to see if it will improve my times from a 6 day running week to a one day on one day off – I feel like I want to start climbing the walls when I don’t run so will see how I go with the new schedule.

The latest bit of unsolicited advice I received was, “You know you are killing yourself and you are ageing yourself with all this running.”  Well, aint that grand!  I am running 5km, not 100km!  Shame, poor old man is only trying to be helpful I guess.  He also wants to stop me running and chat for half an hour while he is out for his walk and insists on flagging me down for a chat.  I just smile and wave as I pass him now.

The strangest of things come to mind while I run and I keep telling myself to put it on the list when I get home or make the call or whatever it is and as you can guess, I don’t remember any of it when I get home, except for when I am out running again.  Might have to keep pen and paper with me – haa.

I still haven’t done a morning run – I know, can you believe it.  It will have to wait until the weather starts warming in the mornings before I venture out – great excuse to keep putting a friend off who reminds me most weeks to join in with a Parkrun – not entirely sure why I keep putting it off – don’t feel I am a proper runner yet I guess.  Geoff, I promise I will do a parkrun with you soon-ish. :-)

How is your exercise routine going?

A trip to Addo in our new SUV

The day after we got our new “truck”, we decided to head into the park.  Only thing is it was hands down the windiest day of the year, the kind of wind that shakes you to your core.  It took the better part of 2 hours to get our new chariot clean inside and out after our adventurous drive.

Trok

You can see the wind blowing on the dunes in the background in the photo below.  Seems some animals weren’t too perturbed by all the gusts blowing up and down.  They were all to happy soaking up the warmth of the sun and grazing on the long grass, no doubt tickling their noses as it blew left to right.
Addo June 2014 1

We followed a lone buffalo for a while and it was interesting to see how he walks and eats – not even stopping to take a bite – a true meal on the run.  It almost looked like this fellow suffers from alopecia with his coat all blotchy.Addo June 2014 5

We came across two “teenage” elephant bulls having a little tussle.  Not sure it was anything serious but they were testing each other’s resolve and strength and it seemed the smaller of the two was the feistiest running his mate into the bush.Addo June 2014 16

We were reminded of the true wildness in the park when we came across a kudu head and horns with the spinal column still attached.  This must have been a large bull looking at his horns.  A male kudu’s horns start to grow between the age of 6 and 12 months, twisting once at around 2 years of age, and not reaching the full two and a half twists until they are 6 years old – occasionally they may even have 3 full turns.Addo June 2014 24

On route out we went past a couple of families of meerkat.  They were all busily looking around standing up on their hind legs, scanning the horizon for any predators.  I wasn’t quick enough to get a decent photo though before they scurried back underground to safety.Addo June 2014 27

We also spotted this bottom jaw which we thought to possibly be from an elephant but aren’t too sure.  Do you possibly know what it is from?

Addo June 2014 32

In My Kitchen – July 2014

I was worried that by the time July rolled around we would be freezing.  I am pleasantly surprised  to say that for the most part we only have the odd really cold day with loads of berg winds in between.  Long may it last.

In my kitchen…

Are two fabulous Kenyan teas which Pete brought back for me on his last trip there.  It is hard to choose a favourite but like I have said before, I could move to Kenya for their lovely tea.

Kenya tea 2

Kenya tea 1

In my kitchen…

Is clearly very strong Kenyan coffee because even the picture is blurry.  The aroma of this coffee is intoxicating and the flavour is very deep and rich with lovely earthy undertones.

Kenya Coffee

In my kitchen…

Is another blurry photograph – clearly I have a little sugar rush from enjoying one too many of these wonderful little morsels.  These have been a standard Duty Free item since we can’t get these addictive chocolates in SA any more.  Sadly they don’t last very long in our home.

Daim chocs

In my kitchen…

Are mini spicy cherry liqueurs, a product of Namibia.  I keep forgetting to taste one so have no idea what they taste like.  I am sure though, they will warm the cockles of your heart on a cold Namibian winter evening.

Cherry liquer

In my kitchen…

Is my latest addiction.  I found these heavenly morsels as a treat for Pete but alas I polished all 4 packets before he even got home!  They are so good I called the company who make them to compliment them on their product and they kindly sent me a voucher for 8 more packets!  Oh dear, I see extra running in my future to compensate for the increased calorie intake!

Diddle daddle

What’s in your kitchen this month?  Please remember to link back to Celia’s blog Fig Jam and Lime Cordial if you partake in the fun and drop her a quick note to let her know when your post will be up.

Quick Coconut Chicken Curry

This is the ideal week night meal when you want a quick,  tasty and satisfying meal.  It may seem like a long list of ingredients but it all comes together and ready for the table in the amount of time it takes your rice to cook.

Quick coconut chicken curry

Quick Coconut Chicken Curry

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp coriander seed bruised
½ tsp cumin seed bruised
½ tsp chilli flakes – more if you like it hotter
½ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp turmeric
2 garlic cloves crushed
1 inch piece of ginger grated
Zest of half a lemon
1 tsp chicken stock powder
1 tsp brown sugar
400g tin coconut cream
4 chicken breasts sliced
Salt and black pepper to taste

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium heat and add the spices and gently fry for one minute.
  2. Add the ginger, garlic, zest, stock powder and sugar and fry for one minute.
  3. Add the coconut cream and allow to reduce by one third.
  4. Add the chicken and simmer until chicken is cooked through.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve with basmati rice.

 

Bits and Pieces

Apologies upfront for the bad quality photo’s in this post.

Pete and I enjoyed a lovely few days on a road trip away where I touched a 1000 year old yellow wood tree in the Tsitsikamma Forest…

Big Tree 00001

Imagine the stories this tree could tell!

and ran on a treadmill in a hotel gym for the first time.  I know, country bumpkin I am.  I haven’t had a gym membership for the better part of 2 decades and don’t live anywhere near a gym (great excuse) so until now, road/trail running has been it.

treadmill

Look at me go!

We also visited (sorry no pics) a wine estate in the hopes of getting some brut rosé bubbly but alas – it was insultingly expensive.  We thought it was due to there being a wine festival that weekend but on chatting with family and friends who have all visited wine estates over the last few years, all said that purchasing wines at local stores in all our provinces is much cheaper than buying directly from an estate!  That makes no sense.

The lovely Cristina over at The Blog Around The Corner , who writes about everything that inspires her from interior design, to travelling, cooking and photography awarded me the Versatile Blogger Award.  Thanks again Cris, it was such a lovely surprise receiving the award from you. :-)

The time had come to get rid of my beloved car as she was getting a little long in the tooth and to invest in a new one.

5 series

We enjoyed many happy miles together.  I will miss her.

Fortuner

All new and sparkly. This is a pic from the brochure – mine is far too dirty from playing on dirt roads yesterday to have her photo taken but looks exactly like this when clean.

There hasn’t been must to share on the cooking front, the cooler weather has necessitated comfort food. so we have been indulging in all our favourites – oxtail casserole, vetkoek and curried ground beef, braai’s (barbecues) and roast dinners.

I promise to share something tasty next week.