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.

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.