Garden Update

I mentioned to Norma over at Garden to Wok who does a weekly round-up of what she has harvested from her garden every Monday that I had recently spent the day in the garden tiding things, well more like ripping everything out and replanting selectively.  I promised to take a couple of photos to share what the garden looks like now before winter really settles in.

The bed below the dining room window was a mix and match of oddments, it is now dedicated to these lovely succulent roses.

Garden May 2014 5

Relaxing in the dappled shade from the fig tree branches

The aloe and succulents outside the front lounge window were getting very crowded and overgrown so much so the stones were all hidden.  Majority have been removed with a few of the bigger ones now evenly spaced.

Garden May 2014 4

Finally room to breathe

The clivia’s have all been moved to a mostly shady spot where they can thrive and hopefully flower.

Garden May 2014 9

Wonder what colour flowers they will produce…

These thing-a-ma-jigs (have no idea what they are called) have been planted as ground cover and will hopefully soon be filling in all the open spots of soil.  They also produce the most beautiful yellow flowers on long stems.

Garden May 2014 10

Having a chat with the air plant

Our lemon tree which we had to hack a while back is thriving again and is enjoying not being crowded by the roses any more.

Garden May 2014 8

Being guarded by two succulents with thing-a-ma-jigs ground cover for company

Clearly not all air plants need to be up in the air – ours slid down its wooden host and has settled nicely on the ground next to our garage.

Garden May 2014 6

Nice view up the driveway from the ground

A few odd bowls next to the front door.  Think they need a bit more attention than they received.

Garden May 2014 7

At least they are colour coded

This poor little birds eye chilli was dug up and transplanted into this pot.  Seems he wasn’t very happy about the move.  Hope he perks up soon.

Garden May 2014 14

CPR may be necessary

By the time I got to the back garden, I was exhausted so the ferns still require a little attention as you can see by all the brown leaves.

Garden May 2014 12

The wheelbarrow nursery also requires much needed attention.

Garden May 2014 13

A touch rusty but still very useful

How are things in your garden?

Pete and I are away for a few days.  I will moderate your lovely comments on our return and catch up with your posts. 

In My Kitchen – June 2014

It can’t possibly be half way through the year already!  I remember reading Celia’s IMK posts when we were living in Mauritius and promising I would join in just as soon as we got back home – that was 3 years ago!  Before any more time runs away, lets have a look at what’s in my kitchen.

In my kitchen…

Are strelizia’s aka bird of paradise, aka crane flower from the garden brightening up the cold days.

Strelitzia's

In my kitchen…

Was a fun gift idea of Pete’s which we put together for a friends birthday.  We used old tins, sea sand, plain white candles and glass lantern covers.  You can replace the tins with metal mugs, add shells or pebbles on top of the sand, use fancier candles, possibly add a ribbon.  We like the simplicity of these.

Candle lanterns

In my kitchen…

Is a lovely olive dish and forks, a birthday gift from my brother Chris and his wife Elmien.

olive dish and forks

In my kitchen…

Is an impromptu gift from my dad.  These biscuits are frightfully moreish!

Angels nougat biscuits

In my kitchen…

Is a new brand of coffee pods I found for Pete’s Nespresso machine.  I am wondering if they are a little more expensive being individually wrapped which doesn’t suit the container I keep all of Pete’s other pods in so these get forgotten in the cupboard.

Cafe Impresso pods

In my kitchen…

Is a cake stand, a gift from my cousin Renee.  I love the detail on the rim.

Cake stand

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.

Garden of Eden, Knysna

Pete took me to the most beautiful place in the world – well the most beautiful I have ever seen –  The Garden of Eden in Knysna.  If you are ever in the vicinity, I highly recommend a visit.  It costs a mere ZAR12.00 (± USD1.15) per person with all the costs going to preserving the forest.

Walking through this mostly untouched dense indigenous forest rejuvenated my soul and I will definitely return to take more photographs – for a mini retreat if you will.

Garden of Eden 46 - Copy

– A beautiful path leading into heaven

Garden of Eden 2 - Copy

– Imagine a romantic picnic in this magical secluded spot

Garden of Eden 18 - Copy

– I wonder if is hobbits live inside these trees

Garden of Eden 8 - Copy

– I love the way this fern is growing out of the broken tree stump

Garden of Eden 3 - Copy

– I was fascinated by the moss

Garden of Eden 9 - Copy

– A very tall and very old yellow wood tree – the two in our garden look very different seeing as they don’t have to fight their way through the thick of a forest to find light

Where is the most beautiful place for you?

Running and Riding

Pete has been the most wonderful PT Master / Coach with my running and motivates me to keep improving on what I have already achieved.  Just before I decided to get some viral bug of sorts, we did a couple of runs and rides – they were awesome!

First up was a 20km ride which was mostly road riding – it was wonderful to see how my stamina has improved since I started running although not having ridden for quite a while, my derrière was not very happy.

7.54km run

It doesn’t look like much from the picture but these 7.5km were beautiful!

Then we did a 7.5km trail run which took us onto old closed roads, running alongside sand dunes, had us scaling fences and climbing up and over a few inclines.  Best of all was having a family (herd) of no less than 12 kudu ran across the trail a few meters in front of us.  They are quite majestic when they run considering they are such big antelope.  It was incredible to see them.  They were quite interested in watching us run passed with their big ears listening to our every step.  Pete keeps saying he wants to get a GoPro camera – that way I could share with you exactly what we see.

Long beach ride 1

Next up was another 20km ride which started on beautiful old overgrown dirt roads full of spoor and droppings, we assume kudu, smaller buck, no doubt bushbuck and small wild cats.  The winding gravel track led us to what we thought would be a deserted (or possibly private) piece of land with kilometres of private beach.  Lo and behold there were 3 parked 4×4 SUV vehicles with the occupants spread out on the beach fishing and picnicking.

Long beach ride 28

First prize to the person who can spot what should not be in the picture.

The only way onto the beach was down a very steep set of wooden steps which were easier to descend than I thought with a bike under one arm and camera under the other.  The ride on the beach was magnificent – we were confident we would find more whale bones but alas we did not.

Long beach ride 55

We rode on the low water mark where the sand is it’s hardest and then over rocks and pebbles until we had to walk our bikes over a few dunes back to another dirt road where we have ridden before – I remember the steep hills very well, only difference now is I am stronger and can traverse them a lot easier. Yay.

Last up was a 8.2km run which was just before I realised I had a bug.  It would have been the most brilliant run had I not been so tired.  I didn’t know I was as tired as I was until I tried to keep my pace as with previous runs.

Saddest part is the viral whatever it was (yes, I went to the doctor) kept me from running for a whole week!  It was pure hell I tell you.  I was climbing the walls not being able to hit the road for my run.  I am all better now and back into the swing of things.

How’s your exercise routing going?

Chocolate Meringue Pie

Dad always keeps interesting recipes aside which he finds in his Star newspaper for me to try when he and mom are visiting.  Angela Day runs a series of recipes with chocolate being the theme for Thursday 17 April 2014.

First on the agenda with the latest batch of recipes was a chocolate meringue pie which came in as winner with a unanimous vote.  Instead of making one pie, I opted for 4 smaller ones which worked very well for halving to share amongst 8 people.

Personally I would have preferred a softer centre and would add a minimum of 50ml extra cream – possibly even 100ml.  Overall though it is a lovely decadent pudding to share.

Chocolate Meringue Pie

Chocolate Meringue Pie

Ingredients

200g chocolate digestive biscuits crushed
80g butter melted
125ml chocolate hazelnut spread – (I omitted this)
300g dark chocolate
150ml cream – (I would definitely increase this)
125ml sugar
30ml water
5ml lemon juice
3 egg whites

Method

  1. Combine the crushed biscuits and melted butter and press into a 22cm pie plate or loose bottomed quiche tin (I used 4 smaller loose bottomed tins) and place in the freezer (I think the fridge is sufficient) to harden.
  2. Spread the hazelnut spread over the biscuit base or omit like I did.
  3. Combine the chocolate and cream in a bowl and microwave on a low setting for 1 to 2 minutes until melted and smooth.  (I melted the chocolate over a double boiler and stirred in the cream until combined once melted).  Pour over the base and refrigerate until set.
  4. Combine the sugar, water and lemon juice in a small saucepan and stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved.  Turn up the heat and boil until the mixture reaches 115°C on a sugar thermometer or test by dropping a little mixture into ice water.  If it forms a brittle thread, it is ready. (I took the saucepan off the heat just as the mixture started to colour).
  5. Just before the sugar syrup is ready, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer to form soft peaks.
  6. Once your syrup is ready turn up the speed on the mixer and beat the egg whites, slowly pouring in the hot sugar syrup and beat until the mixture is cool.
  7. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag and pipe blobs over the chocolate mixture.
  8. Use a blowtorch to brown the meringue or place the pie under a heated grill for a few seconds.

In My Kitchen – May 2014

May, my birthday month has arrived and so far it has not been too cold, yippee, although I am already starting to count the sleeps until Spring…

In my kitchen…

Is a set of broad shallow pasta or soup bowls.  There were dirt cheap so I quickly bought a dozen, not that I could seat 12 people for dinner but I couldn’t resist.  Never no, I might have a soup followed by a pasta course – just so long as there are only 6 of us at the dinner table.

soup pasta bowls

In my kitchen…

Is a batch of rusks ready to go into the oven.  The kitchen has the most wonderful smell while these are baking and drying.

unbaked rusks

In my kitchen…

Is the most magnificent chicken stock powder.  I used it when we lived in Mauritius and then my mom found it at a Chinese store in Johannesburg and has been keeping me in regular supply.  I use it to make liquid stock, add it into gravies for extra flavour, sprinkle it over a chicken before roasting and quite honestly could eat it straight from the tin.

Chicken stock powder

In my kitchen…

Is an organic quinoa.  Not sure it is any different to the previous quinoa I bought as quinoa on it’s own tastes pretty much like nothing but when made into a salad using the recipe I got from my sister-in-law it is an absolute winner.

Organic quinoa

In my kitchen…

Is an unidentified bone.   I may have asked this question before, so my apologies if I have.  Do you know what it is?  We found it on the beach so assume it has to belong to a sea creature of sorts.

unidentified bone

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.

Running, running, running

A few more running bits and bobs.

5km route

This is my normal 5km route.                                                                                                                            The thicker lines are where I run the same section of road twice.

  • I have included wrist weights to my daily running in the hopes it will help the old arms a bit. *
  • I am very slowly in minuscule increments improving my times.  I was hoping I would have improved a little more by now but as Pete reminds me, at least I am being consistent.  I have managed to run 5.2km in just under 40 minutes (39min30sec)
  • Running is a really good stress reliever.  I cannot tell you how often I have been thankful I can go for a run after somebody has subjected me to their drama.
  • It never ceases to amaze me when people drive passed me or if somebody is in their driveway when I am running by, how they all seem to get a kick out of yelling “come on, faster, lift those feet”.  Why do they find it so amusing?
  • I have come to the realisation I am not a graceful runner nor do I look like a runner.  No matter as I am the one running as opposed to all those with opinions who sit on the couch, alongside those who tell me to run faster.  That sounded a little nasty, sorry.
  • I am able to munch on a few naughties without too much guilt as I seem to be running it all off, phew! :-)  I can’t quite satisfy my appetite like I used to and eat loads more and for the first time in over 40 years, I am craving carbs!  John would be so proud with the amount of pasta I gobble up.
  • For the most part I am running 5km with each run which is great and I have settled into a routine of after taking a day off, my first run is about a minute slower than my best time then my second, third, fourth and fifth (sometimes sixth) runs, I get a little faster with each run.  That’s my method, not sure if it is right or not but it works for me.

How’s your exercise programme going?

* I have subsequently bought heavier wrist weights and running with an additional 2.3kg has slowed me down a bit.  I am now running 5km in about 41 minutes, all after just cracking the 40 minute mark.  Hope to get back there soon.

PS. I will tell you soon about a 7.5km trail run Pete and I did – it was awesome!

Naan Bread

Pete and I ate copious amounts of wonderful naan while we were living in Mauritius.  Sadly I cannot reproduce exactly what we ate then but this recipe comes close.

naan

I rolled my naan a little too thin

Naan Bread

Ingredients

7g active dry yeast
250ml warm water
60ml white sugar
45ml milk
1 egg beaten
10ml salt
± 4½ cups all purpose or bread flour
60ml butter melted
4 garlic cloves minced

Method

  1. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and set aside for 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in the sugar, milk, egg, salt, and flour to make a soft dough.
  3. Knead for 8 to 10 minutes on a lightly floured surface until smooth.  You may need to add more flour if the dough is too sticky.
  4. Place the dough in a well oiled bowl, cover and set aside to rise until the dough has doubled in volume.
  5. Punch down the dough and knead lightly. Pinch off small handfuls of dough the size of a golf balls and roll into balls and place on a tray, cover lightly and allow to rise until double in size.
  6. Roll one ball of dough into a long oval. Lightly oil a heated pan and cook the dough until puffy and lightly browned.
  7. Turn and brush the cooked side with butter and garlic and cook until browned.
  8. Continue until all the naan have been cooked.

Red Lentil Dahl

It doesn’t feel like it but yesterday was my 4th year anniversary of blogging.  What a fun 4 years it has been.  I am looking forward to sharing more with you over the next 4 years. :-)

I saw this recipe over at Rufus’ Food and Spirits Guide and was immediately dashing down the passage to see if I had any lentils in stock.

I modified the recipe slightly, as listed below for the ingredients I had on hand and doubled it to serve as a main meal which I served with naan (recipe coming soon) and would definitely make it again but next time I would increase the coriander, mustard and cumin seed quantities.

Red lentil dahl

Red Lentil Dahl

Ingredients

2 tsp coriander seed
1 tsp mustard seed
½ tsp cumin seed
1 tsp cayenne powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
2 cup red lentils
1 onion chopped
3 tbsp garlic minced
3 tbsp ginger minced
400g tin tomatoes
8 cups chicken stock
Coriander chopped to serve

Method

  1. Grind the whole spices to a powder and mix with cayenne and turmeric.
  2. Sauté the onion in a little oil in a pot until translucent and soft.
  3. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for one minute.
  4. Add the lentils and stir to coat.
  5. Add the tomatoes, spice mixture and chicken stock, mix through and bring to a simmer. Partially cover and turn the heat to low. Cook for 40 minutes stirring occasionally.
  6. Serve with fresh coriander and naan.

Un-Recipe – A bowl of pasta

I cannot remember when I last shared a un-recipe and this one couldn’t be easier.  I am starting to think I am craving so much pasta because of the running as I wasn’t that much of a pasta eater before.  I must confess to not making my own pasta for this dish, I simply opened a packet of store bought, well wouldn’t be much of an un-recipe if I had.

Bowl of pasta

Un-Recipe – Bowl of Pasta

Ingredients

Pasta of choice
Olive oil
Garlic crushed
Coriander chopped
Salt and black pepper
Cheese of choice grated

Method

  1. Boil pasta as per package instruction.
  2. Stir in a good glug of olive oil with the garlic and coriander.
  3. Season with salt and black pepper and top with cheese.

In My Kitchen – April 2014

I am amazed at how quickly the year is passing by.  April has arrived and I am no closer to achieving writing a chapter a month on my book  as I had hoped.  Missing an IMK post however won’t happen. So…

In my kitchen…

Is the most beautiful Batik tablecloth which Pete brought back from Nigeria.  I love the shades of blue.

Nigerian tablecloth

In my kitchen…

Is Kenyan tea which Pete brought home for me.  I said to Pete I could move to Kenya for their fabulous tea.  I would love to share some with you all.

Kenyan tea

In my kitchen…

Is a soy moisturising body candle which I was gifted as a thank you for baking cupcakes.  The candle has the most wonderful smell, a mixture of rose, geranium and jasmine essential oils.

Soy candle

In my kitchen…

Are kitty treats waiting to be decanted.  Our little boy will not settle at night until he has had his fishy treat.  He often wakes me up in the middle of the night with a head-butt while kneading my pillow purring loudly in my ear and won’t stop until I give him another treat.

treats

In my kitchen…

Are tick and flea treatments.  A reminder it’s the beginning of the month and the fur babies need their next dose.  Quite a traumatic experience for us all!  Wish I could make them understand it is for their own good.

Revolution

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.

For Kim – Cupcake Icing (Frosting) video

Kim I am proud to say we finally managed to get the video done while Pete was home for a few days last week. :-)

Dairy free cupcakes

No points to me though as Pete did all the work – the video, editing, music (all though I did chose the song) oh and iced the cupcakes.

I very excitedly started this post to upload the video but alas I have to purchase a video upgrade so Pete suggested I upload it to YouTube instead and place the link in this post. I have such a clever husband.

dairy free chocolate cupbake 1

Click here to watch the video on how to ice (frost) cupcakes.

More Running updates

I’m sure you are quite bored hearing about my running by now, but I am still on the up and up and far to excited to keep it all to myself.

Kay's T-shirt

A very poor mobile phone selfie cooling down after a run wearing Kay’s T-shirt.  Can’t thank you enough Kim for sending it to me.  PS.  I am getting around to doing the icing tutorial for you. :-)

No sooner after my last post and remembering my own words about being able to run further than I think I can, I put myself to the test and ran 5km just 5 days later. :-D  So, I now run (for the most part) between 4km and 5km with each run.  Now to really start working on increasing my stride and speed.

Pete keeps mentioning we should do a parkrun which we have registered for and even have personalised bar codes plus we get extra brownie points with our medical aid but I am still too nervous.

I thought I might lean towards being a fair weather runner but as it turns out I am happy to run in the rain, gale force winds which really make you push yourself harder and with the few cool days we have had, I run so much easier, so here’s hoping I say the same when winter gets here.

I do much better when I take one days rest after every 4 or 5 runs and not 2 days in a row after 6 runs.  After a 2 day rest, my first run is really hard and not fun so sticking with a one day break works much better.

It seems my body has settled on 59 kilograms.  I hope I can maintain this weight through winter.  Sadly though, with the weight loss, not that it’s been much, it seems my body is looking worse for wear.  I am trying not to get too bent out of shape about it but I really was hoping to have a firmer less urgh looking body by now.  I have to keep my arms covered to my elbows and nothing shorter than knee length for now. :-(  I have increased my arm exercises to no avail.  Any suggestions?

Hope you are all still on track with your exercise routines.

All sorts

I have been wanting to put a few posts together the last while but haven’t got around to any of them, so I will throw them all together here for you.

I promised Karen over at Back Road Journal, I would put a summery garden post together as all she has seen for a while is snow.  Every opportunity I have had to get into the garden, there has either been a gale blowing or it has been raining! Sorry Karen!  Below is one of the two shots I did manage to take.

Potato bush

I also took a  quick shot of the “spare” swallows nest just outside our front door.  They have broken out the base to rebuild and it is the perfect heart shape.

broken nest

I think there are triplets in the nest in use and got a flying shot of mommy or daddy coming out the nest heading out to find more insects to feed the very hungry chirping babies.

flying swallow

I made the most incredibly tender and delicious oxtail casserole a couple of weeks ago and was going to do a post with the recipe and wonderful photographs but all I got was this shocker.

Oxtail casserole

I coated the oxtail (1.3kg) in seasoned flour and sealed and browned the pieces and set aside in a casserole dish.   I gently fried 2 large sliced onions added them to the oxtail, added a glass of red wine and about the same of beef stock, maybe a little more, covered it and let it do it’s thing in the oven set at 180°C for 3 hours, then added some carrots and a tin of butter beans in tomato sauce, covered it back up and let it do its thing for another hour and then served it with creamy mashed potatoes. Scrumptious!

I promised the lovely Emma over at Surrey Kitchens I would do a post in acceptance of the Shine On award she passed my way!  Emma in her own words: “Writer, ideas machine, literary geek, food geek, musician, lover of all animals, especially our beloved rescue cat Miles who is working hard for his cat treats as the face of SurreyKitchen.  Working in collaboration with photographer extraordinaire husband.”  Such a lovely “About Me”.  Thanks again Emma.

Kim over at My Inner Chic asked me to do a video tutorial on how I ice (frost) my cupcakes.  I promise I will do this as soon as I know how and have more than myself at home.  I see quite a few takes with lots of chuckles before we have the final video.  So far I have the tripod, the camera (never used the video function), everything to bake the cupcakes and make the icing.  Now I just need my videographer Pete to be home. 

In My Kitchen – March 2014

Here we are again at one of our favourite times of the month, sharing in Celia’s IMK Posts.  March came around very quickly.  The memories of the festive season are still vividly fresh in my mind as if it was all just last week.

In my kitchen…

Were some chocolate cupcakes.  These dairy free morsels are still my favourite and it’s just as well I don’t bake them every week as I would not stop eating them until they were all finished.

Dairy free cupcakes

In my kitchen…

Is my latest favourite indulgence.  This double cream Greek style plain yoghurt from Woolworths is FABULOUS and as addictive as the cupcakes.  Don’t think I could go a day without it and buy 2 big tubs at a time.

Greek yoghurt

In my kitchen…

Are non Nespresso coffee capsules.  Pete says these are as enjoyable as the Nespresso capsules and work out about R2 cheaper per cup.

Coffee  capsules

In my kitchen…

Are 2 new Tupperware containers.  I really didn’t need them but loved the colour and they were very reasonably priced.

tupperware

In my kitchen…

Is my ever loved fruit bowl, a gift from my Aunty Christine many years ago.  It has stood in the same spot on the kitchen counter for the past 11 years and has overflowed with  juicy sweet figs this season.

fruit bowl

Is my favourite, favourite wooden spoon.  I have put a teaspoon next to it so you can see how small it is.  I have searched everywhere but sadly I cannot find another one like it.  I am starting to think I must find somebody who can turn another one on a lathe for me.

mini woodenspoon

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.

My Running Milestones

You will be very proud to hear I now run the whole course of 3.5km to 4km.  Yippee.  Yay! Woohoo.  So exciting! It literally just happened over night.  Not long after I did my last post about how things were going I set out to reaching 1.5km non stop and did it, battled a wee bit to do it again the next day and then a few days following that I was running almost the whole circuit with short bursts of walking in between and then voilà I was running the whole lot.

Running

Even though I am slow at achieving my goals, I am now back on track to attaining my 5km goal. :-)

I have learnt a few things along the way:

  • I can run further than I think I can;
  • The first part of a run is the hardest;
  • I think up hills are easier than down, I haven’t quite decided yet although I would rather run on a flat road any day of the week;
  • It is much easier running on the road than off-road, on the gravel, grass and the like but I will stick to my trail running;
  • Running with an ipod has helped tremendously as I don’t get distracted with listening to my “heavy breathing” I rather focus on the music which helps distract me when I am feeling tired.  I still need to figure out how many beats per minute I run so I can run in time with the beat of the music with the same beats per minute.  For now I am very happy listening to Adele for the most part, KT Tunstall, John Mayer, Nora Jones and Bill Withers and running faster and slower as I go.
  • Taking shorter strides allows me to run further as I don’t tire as easily as with a long stride.  When I am fitter, I will increase my gait;
  • I prefer shorter roads, long ones just don’t seem to end;
  • Running the whole route has slowed my running down but I will pick it up again;
  • I don’t see too many people on the road but when I do, it motivates me to keep running and not maybe cheat and walk, especially when I am tired;
  • Rest days are important but I don’t like taking days off.

How is your exercising routine going?

Lack of Food Posts

As most of you know, Pete is away a lot of the time which means you will also know I get suckers on my butt and sit at the computer far too long which means supper is always an easy throw together meal.

Apple

When Pete is home, it is not for extended periods of time so we always enjoy his favourite meals and lots of braais (barbecues) so there is nothing new to share with you, very sad I know.

Every now and again I will get a sudden rush of blood to the brain and will make something scrumity like the Anchovy, Garlic, Tomato Pasta, or indulge in Sticky Chicken Wings but for the most part, I throw a chicken with some veggies and  spuds in the oven.  I have been known to get extravagant and on occasion even make gravy.  This will serve me well for at least 3 meals with leftovers to add to a salad.  A couple of other quick favourites are steak and salad or a piece of fresh fish and salad.

I will work on getting back in the kitchen to share something new and delicious with you.

We are in the market for a new Fridge and Freezer

So I need your help finding a new

fridge

and

Freezer

To cut a tedious story short, we bought a new stand alone fridge and stand alone freezer and sadly have had hassles with both.  Defy have agreed to reimburse us fully.  We don’t want to replace them with the same make as every person we have spoken to says not to buy Defy for a myriad of different reasons.

Despite all of this, I really like that Defy have a bigger load capacity on both the fridge and freezer and I can still get units in white plus the fridge allows for many different shelf heights which all the other brands don’t seem to offer when comparing the proverbial apples  with apples.

Problems is – what to get now!  The reason I want to get two separate units and not a side-by-side unit is mainly due to the odd shape of our scullery – I know we might not be in this house forever but we are here now.  If the door leading to the garage is open, the one unit is behind the door and all side-by-side units have the fridge on the right-hand side which would mean the fridge would be behind the door and that’s not very practical as I am in and out of the fridge all day and the freezer at the most once a day.  Side-by-side units also have a much smaller freezer to fridge ratio which doesn’t suit our needs.

Defy fridge frezer

There is a lot more space behind the door so 2 big units can stand side by side

I have started looking at other brands but it is quite a daunting task.

In hindsight, the stand alone units have narrow shelves and I don’t really like the French door style combo as the freezer portion is like a chest freezer so I am starting to think buying 2 fridge freezer combos where the fridge portion is at the top and the freezer portion at the bottom is a better way to go or is it? The freezer sections of these are also quite small.  Urgh!  This was meant to be fun.

Oh and we don’t need ice and water dispensers – they take up too much valuable packing space or is that just me plus these type of units cost considerably more.

What do you have?  How does it pack?  Is it user friendly?  Would you buy the same again?  Hypothetically speaking you are in the market for a new fridge and or freezer, what would you buy?

I really would appreciate your opinions and help. :-)

Anchovy, Garlic, Tomato Pasta

I have been craving pasta for the past couple of weeks.  Maybe my body is lacking something or more likely I was just wanting to eat pasta.  I finally succumbed to the craving and made a scrumptious and very moreish meal, I think even my friend John would be impressed.

Anchovie pasta

Anchovy, Garlic, Tomato Pasta

If you don’t want to make your own pasta, use your choice of store bought.

Pasta Ingredients

200g all purpose flour
2 large eggs
1ml salt
5ml olive oil

Method

  1. Place the flour on a counter top and create a mound with a crater in the middle. Put the eggs, salt and oil into the crater.
  2. Beat the eggs with a fork and gradually incorporate the flour until all the egg is incorporated into the flour.  The dough should be of a rough consistency, feel slightly sticky to the touch and moist. If it’s too sticky sprinkle a bit more flour on the mixture.
  3. Using the palm of your hand push the dough down and away from you. Flip it back towards you and fold it in half. Once again push the dough down and away from you, rotating the dough so that it kneads in every direction. Continue until the dough becomes smooth.
  4. Wrap the dough in cling film and rest for 20 minutes. Don’t put it into the fridge.  I sometimes even skipped this step.
  5. If you don’t have a pasta machine to roll out your pasta, using a rolling pin, roll dough until flat and fairly thin.
  6. Roll the entire dough up like a pancake and cut into slices. The width of the cut will determine the thickness of your pasta. Unravel the pasta into strips.
  7. Cook for three to five minutes until al dente in a generous amount of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally to separate strands and prevent sticking.

Sauce Ingredients

15 ml olive oil
20 anchovies – more if you can resist eating them straight from the bottle
1 tin Italian tomatoes chopped
5ml sugar
3 garlic cloves crushed
Salt and black pepper to taste
Fresh coriander and flat leaf parsley chopped for serving

Method

  1. Mash the anchovies in the oil  in a pan.
  2. Add the tomatoes and sugar and reduce by half.
  3. Add the garlic and salt and pepper to taste.

Add your drained pasta to the pan with the tomatoes sauce.  Once plated, top with the coriander and parsley.

A few shavings of parmesan wouldn’t go a miss here either.

In My Kitchen – February 2014

I missed out on doing January’s edition of Celia‘s wonderful IMK post as I was still having a wonderful time with my family and didn’t want to miss out on a thing, although I did miss out on reading a few of your IMK posts.  Can’t have it all I guess.

In my kitchen…

Are beautiful cupcake sleeves which I will hold onto for a special occasion.

cupcake sleeves

In my kitchen…

Are my new favourite sprinkles, pearl drops.  They are gorgeous on top of cupcakes.

Pearl sprinkles

In my kitchen…

Is a beaded whisk.  This is definitely the most sturdy and well made whisk I have ever owned.

Beaded whisk

In my kitchen…

Quite apt being the month of love, I have some pretty pink and white heart sprinkles.

Heart sprinkles

In my kitchen…

I have a wooden lemon squeezer.

Lemon juicer

All of these lovely goodies were part of a gift which I got from my cousin Renee.  I am very spoilt. :-)

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.