Garden Update – May 2015

It has been quite a long while since I have shared a garden update so here are a few close ups of our wintery garden for you.

Garden May 2015 19

A little rusty but still works a treat

Garden May 2015 17

Young and tender Brazilian pepper corns

Garden May 2015 5

We have planted spekboom around the perimeter of our garden – can’t wait for it to fill out – need to do a post on this incredible plant

Garden May 2015 12

Pete’s protea keeps on growing and growing

Garden May 2015 8

Our very first and only olive

Garden May 2015 2

Poor pot has been waiting forever for something to be planted in it

Garden May 2015 1

The last of the fig leaves

Garden May 2015 3

Love how ferns are green all year around

Garden May 2015 4

Quite normal having coral in the garden

Garden May 2015 6

Water tank tap is nearly hidden

Garden May 2015 16 Garden May 2015 15 Garden May 2015 14 Garden May 2015 13 Garden May 2015 11 Garden May 2015 10 Garden May 2015 9 Garden May 2015 7

Garden May 2015 18

A lot of cat claws have been sharpened here

 

Teavivre Tea take 2

The lovely Alison at Teavivre sent me a second batch of teas to test.  I had so much fun with the first lot that I couldn’t believe I didn’t find time before now to try these.

Teavivre tea

As with my first review, 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.

First up was the Tie Guan Tin Oolong Tea (Anxi Monkey Picked Ma Liu Mie)

Anxi Tie Guan Yin Oolong Tea 1I loved how these leaves opened gently when I poured the water over them.  The aroma reminded me of jasmine but softer and slightly sweeter and had a lovely light refreshing taste.
Anxi Tie Guan Yin Oolong Tea 2

Second up was the Goddess Oolong Tea (Tie Guan Yin Iron)

Goddess Oolong Tea 1This was quite similar in smell and taste to the first tea although I would have to say had a very slight bitter taste at first.
Goddess Oolong Tea 2Then it was onto the Milk Oolong Tea (Taiwan Jin Xuan)

Milk Oolong Tea 1This tea has a slight grassy nose with a flavour which I would kin to black tea – I did not really pick up a milk aroma.  Might have to try this one again.

Milk Oolong Tea 2

Next up was the Tie Guan Yin Oolong Tea (Taiwan Monkey Picked Ma Liu Mie)

Taiwan Tie Guan Yin oolong Tea 1

The leaves of this tea didn’t seem as tightly packed as the others and had a beautiful smooth soft taste – I think this may be my favourite.
Taiwan Tie Guan Yin oolong Tea 2
Finally it was the Wuyi Rock Oolong Tea (Da Hong Pao Big Red Robe)

Wuyi Rock Oolong Tea 1The leaves of this tea were very different to the others and was the only one which had a slight brown tinge to it once brewed.   It is regarded as the king of Oolong among all the Chinese Oolong Teas and one of the China’s Top Ten Teas.Wuyi Rock Oolong Tea 2I  am not sure my palette is sophisticated enough for these teas but I thoroughly enjoyed doing my own little tea ritual all the same.

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.

In My Kitchen – May 2015

Even though it is my birthday month, all the gifts below were just because gifts and thank you gifts.  Very special!

Celia over at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial must spend hours linking all of the instalments of IMK every month as there are so many wonderful blogs to visit.  Thank you Celia for the fun of being able to pop in around the world to see what everyone has to share every month.

In my kitchen…

Is the most thoughtful gift from my sister in law Elmien.  When I was last up in Johannesburg visiting and seeing their new home for the first time, I commented on how much I like one of her plant pots and how I cannot find the gift tags she uses down here and next thing, when the folks were here visiting, along came a gift for me.  Dankie Elmien, ek waardeur dit baie!

Pot and gift tags

In my kitchen…

Along with the pressie from Elmien was a gift from my brother Chris (Elmien’s husband) – aww, they miss me.  Thank you Honey Bunny.

candles gift set

In my kitchen…

Is a big bottle of my dad’s favourite spice which has also become mom’s favourite and all my siblings.  It’s a good spice.  Thank you for brining one along for me too daddy. Love you. xo

Worcester Sauce jumbo

In my kitchen…

Is some fabulous tea from the UK and some home grown olive oil.  Friends of Pete’s from varsity days, now living in London came home for a visit and made time to come and visit with us and brought along the most thoughtful gift for me!  Thank you Ian & Ruth.  It was wonderful finally meeting you and here’s to us coming and visiting you in the UK soon.

tea olive oil

In my kitchen…

No sooner had Ian and Ruth left that my brother in law and sister in law from Plettenberg Bay came to visit for a weekend and brought Pete and I a beautiful gift bag filled with loads of treats.  Don’t tell Pete I managed to finish the Lindt chocolate all on my own.  Thank you D and Trishy.  Missing you – come back for another weekend soon!

Trishy goodies

In my kitchen…

Are two nunu mini sauce jugs.  Can’t believe I forgot to share these with you last month.  My friend Yolandie sent them down with her son who was here doing swimming trials.  She said she saw them and bought them for me because she knows how I love little things.  So sweet of you Yolandie, thank you so much!  Hopefully we can use them later this month when you are here.

Mini sauce jugs

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 and please note Celia needs all IMK posts submitted by the 10th of every month.

Grilled Sweetcorn with Sweet Chilli, Coriander & Lime (The Cake the Buddha Ate)

This is the first recipe I tried from my by birthday book, The Cake the Buddha Ate and it is divine!  An absolute must make!  Pete and I  did the corn on the braai  but you could easily grill them in the oven too.

sweet chilli coriander corn

Ready to go on the braai for 5 minutes

Grilled Sweetcorn with Sweet Chilli, Coriander & Lime

Ingredients

1kg sweetcorn ± 6
50g butter
¼ cup olive oil
½ tsp cumin seeds, bruised, crushed
½ tsp coriander seeds
¼ cup sweet chilli sauce
1 tbsp garlic, crushed
1 tbsp lime juice – you could substitute with lemon
½ cup fresh coriander, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Precook the sweetcorn in the microwave for 5 to 7 minutes until tender alternatively boil in water for ±15 minutes.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan with the oil.
  3. Add the spices and sweet chilli sauce and bring to the boil.
  4. Add the garlic and cook while stirring for 5 minutes until thick.
  5. Add the lime juice and chopped coriander and add seasoning if required.
  6. Pour the sauce over the sweetcorn and braai for 5 minutes turning while basting with the sauce.
  7. Alternatively place in a preheated oven at 220°C and place on the highest rack in the oven.  Turn the mielies when they turn brown and grill to finish off.

On a Hiding to Nothing

Do you ever feel like you are on a hiding to nothing?  Feel like you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t?

I think we all go through times like this when no matter what you say or do, it will be misconstrued and quite often completely blown into something it is not. Some people also just hear what they want to and say one thing and do another.  These people are incredibly deceptive; they too are incredibly manipulative, masters at it!  I REALLY don’t like people like.

When though is enough, enough.  When do you say, to this point and no further!

What are the consequences of saying that?

Some people are going to continue to live in their vile worlds which for the most part is okay but not when they make it part of your life.  They want you to live in their drama with them, because that is what they enjoy and thrive on, drama, and they continue to spiral out of control all the while holding onto you trying to pull you down too.

I find it all very tiring and ageing and so unnecessary.  How can you just exclude these people from your life when it is not that easy to do.  Do you just ignore it and hope it will go away, when you know it won’t and the sad eventuality will come to pass when you will have to be in their company again which makes you sick to your stomach at the mere thought of it.

How many times must you hit your head against a wall before you explode, before you get sick, before it’s too late!

Why do some people not hear its enough now!  No more!  Will they ever stop  placing guilt on others and suctioning others into their miserable indignant sorry lives!

How do you find the switch to implement knowing the only way forward is its not worth dealing with people who have distorted perceptions, making sense out of nonsense.

I wish it was as easy as people say and to turn the switch to put these kind of people into perspective, accepting they are just inherently horrible people and to not let it worry you.  If I had that magic wand, I would use it to heal our whole world.

Addo Elephant National Park – Picture overload

To celebrate my 5 year Blogoversary, I bring you lots of photos from the past few months which I snapped in our beautiful National park, Addo.  As you know though, camera has been misbehaving but thanks to a friend, it is all better now.  So, moving forward we should have sharper images.  Thank you Luc!

Addo 2015 704 Addo 2015 631 Addo 2015 581 Addo 2015 568 Addo 2015 559 Addo 2015 541 Addo 2015 531 Addo 2015 497 Addo 2015 487 Addo 2015 461 Addo 2015 380 Addo 2015 373 Addo 2015 348 Addo 2015 331 Addo 2015 318 Addo 2015 255 Addo 2015 244 Addo 2015 381 Addo 2015 225 Addo 2015 221 Addo 2015 212 Addo 2015 183 Addo 2015 168 Addo 2015 165 Addo 2015 137 Addo 2015 136 Addo 2015 119 Addo 2015 110 Addo 2015 107 Addo 2015 74 Addo 2015 68 Addo 2015 51 Addo 2015 35 Addo 2015 31 Addo 2015 28 Addo 2015 27 Addo 2015 18 Addo 2015 7 Addo 2014 718 Addo 2014 712 Addo 2014 698 Addo 2014 697 Addo 2014 681 Addo 2014 666 Addo 2014 655 Addo 2014 602 Addo 2014 634 Addo 2014 633 Addo 2014 605 Addo 2014 553 Addo 2014 646 Addo 2014 511 Addo 2014 507 Addo 2014 491 Addo 2014 494 Addo 2014 497

Maputo, Mozambique

It’s been so long since our return so here is a quick synopsis of our trip before I forget!
The start of our road trip to Maputo, was a 10 hour drive mostly in the rain to my folks home in Johannesburg for a quick braai and sleepover before hitting the road again early the following morning for the 6 hour drive to the border.
My folks xo

Love my mommy and daddy SO much xo

Another day spent in the rain and mist although, the drive was still very pretty.
Maputo 9

Not quite the long and winding road

Not sure why I was worried about all the horror stories I heard about the border post,  especially seeing as I had quadruple checked all our papers were correct beforehand, turns out all we needed were the papers for our car – must have been our lucky day.  Getting through the 2 border posts was a walk in the park.  Getting Pete’s local sim card took longer than both crossings.  Our return into South Africa at the end of out trip was equally as easy, all African style harry casual.

Maputo 370

En route to the border post

The drive through to Maputo from the border was a bit of an eye opener. I thought living in Mauritius seasoned me to the wild driving of Africa but alas. When I say there are no rules, I really mean there are NO rules. When Pete stopped at a red traffic light he very quickly had to pull to the side as a local coming up behind us would have smashed into us as he sped through the red light along with others.  My nerves! What is wrong with these people!  Why can’t people obey the rules of the road and why are there never any traffic officials in sight!  All I hear is Pete echoing in my ears, “Welcome to Africa.”  There is no respect on our roads anywhere in Africa.

Maputo 34

The quality of public transport is clearly not an issue – maybe they should seat everyone on the right hand side to try and balance the shot suspension

It is incredibly sad to see how people are living on a rubbish dump on the side of the road, sifting through the rubbish for anything of value and the thought of breathing in the  toxic fumes every day as they burn everything is frightening!  I wish I could say there was no rubbish anywhere else but the streets and beaches are riddled with non biodegradable items.  Makes me so angry.  If everyone could just pick up one piece of rubbish every day, it would make a huge difference.
Maputo 27

Rubbish, rubbish and more rubbish

Driving through  Maputo to the hotel reminded me a lot of the Port Louis, Mauritius, just dirtier and the buildings made me think of what the derelict buildings look like in Beirut.

Maputo 37

Beirut possibly…

If driving in the traffic isn’t bad enough, there are television screens at the traffic lights!  Where is there any logic in that?  There is definitely better and safer ways of advertising.

Maputo 45

Wonder if my favourite sitcom will come on while at the red traffic light…

There are strange contraptions on the side of the road, again more traffic hazards but anyhoo, enough about the negatives, there are vendors making sugar cane juice by squeezing lengths of sugar cane through rollers and into a bucket with ice.  It is very popular as there are a number of vendors dotted every few hundred meters.  Must be most refreshing with the all year around summer weather.

Maputo 49

Juice on the run

Then step into the hotel. Hello first world and to be spoilt with an ocean view room. Woohoo!  What a treat.  Looking out onto the beach and ocean stretching as far as the eye can see took all the stresses away from the drive.

Pete and I enjoyed room service for our first evening, eating our dinner on the bed no less in front of the telly. I felt like a kid apart from the fabulous glass of wine. What fun!
Maputo 313

Perfect sunset and or sunrise :-)

The extent of my Portuguese learnt while in Mozambique…
Hello – bom dias
Please – por favor
Thank you – obrigado
Although for some strange reason I kept wanting to use my French words

Maputo Hotel room

What a magical view to wake up to

I’m so pleased calories don’t count when you are on holiday otherwise I would have put on a truck load of weight (cough, cough) with all the calorie laden meals.  After all it is perfectly normal to have 5 rashers of bacon every morning with waffles and a croissant – not forgetting the healthy intake of fried eggs on brown bread toast after all it wouldn’t be right to have white bread as that would upset the healthy well balanced carb intake all this while enjoying the wonderful “as far as the eye can see” ocean view. One naturally also makes a gluttonous attempt to ingest as much smoked salmon and tropical fruit as possible especially as it is all peeled and sliced waiting for you.  I have never seen honey being served on the comb before – it was beautifully light and runny, normally I can’t eat raw honey but this was fabulous.  I forgot to ask if the hotel keeps its own hives.

Maputo 103

Sweets for my sweet, sugar for my honey

We ate a few local dishes which were all great but Mozambique is known for its prawns and I was not disappointed. We enjoyed the most wonderful prawns I have ever eaten in a local restaurant, a 2 minute walk from the hotel.  It is worth a visit just for the prawns alone!  Sadly I did not have camera or phone with me that evening to take a photo to share with you.  Sorry.

It was so nice to see the beach being cleaned every morning although sadly it doesn’t stay that way.  As with the streets, the beach is full of rubbish in the blink of an eye.

Maputo 121

To quote Barney, “Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere, clean up, clean up, everybody do your share”

It was lovely swimming in the rim flow pool while watching various ships passing into or out of the harbour, although I wasn’t expecting to see a construction vehicle come past.  You can see in the background of the photo they are construction breakwater barriers of sorts or something like that.

Maputo 181

It broke my heart to see local women with babies on their backs for hours on end digging for clams, their only source of income.  It seems all other locals won’t swim in the ocean as it is very brown and if you want blue water, you need to drive 5 hours further north.
Maputo 264

Something that stood out to me is how many people smoke. Thought it was out of fashion and forbidden in public places but it was definitely very popular throughout every corner of Maputo.

Had we stayed longer, we could have enjoyed a number of tours to see more of Maputo, most of which left at dawn including a trip across the border to Swaziland and Kruger Park.  Maybe next time.

In My Kitchen – April 2015

Eek, I have not posted since my last IMK post.  Clearly the weather has been too good to pass up on.  Oh I wish!  I have been knee deep in Neighbourhood Watch everything.  It has become somewhat of a full time job.  Must say though, we are still enjoying summerish days.  Long may it last. :-)

I, along with so many others are so grateful to our friend Celia over at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for her wonderful idea of sharing what’s in our kitchens every month.  It makes the world a little smaller and brings us all a little closer together.  Thank you Celia for the fun of being able to pop in around the world to see what everyone has to share.

In my kitchen…

Is my first attempt at icing a cake using my favourite Ateco 852 nozzle.  I made the cake to share with friends and my aunt for tea. While all the girls were thoroughly impressed, I was left a little disappointed.  No matter as I can decorate plenty more cakes.

Rose iced cake

Jasmine tea

In my kitchen…

Is an early birthday gift from my sister in law Karin and brother Greg.  I often quote Karin and what she has shared with me from this wonderful book and recently asked for her help with a few recipes for folk who were coming to stay who are vegetarian which resulted in receiving my very own copy.  Thank you Karin!  I LOVE my book.  I can highly recommend getting a copy of your own The Cake the Buddha Ate if you need inspiration for vegetarian recipes. ISBN 978-1-77009-772-8

The Cake the Buddata Ate

In my kitchen…

Was a great new find at Woolies.  I have never been able to purchase panko crumbs unless from a Chinese Store and ridiculous premiums so was thrilled beyond bits and piece when I saw this pack the other day.

Woolworths panko crumbs

In my kitchen…

are more flower decorations for cupcakes.  I cannot help myself when it comes to buying anything for cupcakes.  Yellow seems to be my favourite colour.  I’m not much of a pink kind of person and don’t really think you would use blue flowers so yellow it is.

cupcakes decoration flowers

In my kitchen…

Was a brilliant find when I was visiting with my folks in Johannesburg.  Mom took me to a new baking store which opened just down the road from home and lo and behold there was exactly what every other store to date in South Africa has not been able to provide me with – various sizes of icing nails.  I have only been able to source a size 6 which does not work for me.  Now to get practising with make perfect roses.

Rose icing nail set

In my kitchen…

Just in case, you know, just in case 3 spares isn’t quite enough, I got another spare icing/frosting bag – the day might come when I want to frost using different coloured icings at once, so now I am fully prep’d.

Icing bag

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 and please note Celia needs all IMK posts submitted by the 10th of every month.

In My Kitchen – March 2015

I’m not quite home yet from my trip away with Pete.  I will catch up with you all this coming week. :-)

Thanks to our friend Celia over at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial who hosts our monthly IMK event, we are able to peek into kitchens all over the world.  Thank you Celia for the fun of being able to pop in and see so many wonderful things that everyone shares.

In my kitchen…

Were chocolate cupcakes with my first attempt at icing roses.  Up to now, I have had the incorrect nozzle.  What a different having the correct one makes. I am looking forward to practising a little more with my new favourite Ateco 852 nozzle.

Rose iced cupcakes Ateco 852 rose nozzle 1 Ateco 852 rose nozzle 2

In my kitchen…

Is a new 2 tier cake stand.  It had a gold handle which I didn’t like so sprayed it white until I can get hold of some silver paint.  It was ridiculously cheap.  Not sure why I never bought more!  They make fabulous gifts.

2 tier cake stand

In my kitchen…

Are the cutest mini sauce bowls – I REALLY don’t need them but couldn’t resit buying a set.

Mini sauce bowls

In my kitchen…

Are pictures of our three cats.  I have been trying forever to get decent shots for Kim but alas this is the best I can do.  They are the most uncooperative four legged felines I know!

Fur babies photos

In my kitchen…

Is rhubarb seed, a gift from our friend Wayne after he heard how much Pete loves rhubarb.  Now, the pressure is on me to get these lovely little seeds growing and eventually to make a pie. :-)

Rhubarb Seed

In my kitchen…

Is a second batch of lovely teas to sample, sent to me by Alison over at Teavivre.  I am looking forward to doing another degustation.

Teavivre tea

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 and please note Celia needs all IMK posts submitted by the 10th of every month.

Road Tripping

I am thrilled to bits and tickled pink to tell you I am on a road trip with Pete and we are currently in Mozambique so will not be around for a short while.

Mozambique map

Image sourced from Google

I will update you with (hopefully) loads of pics on my return.

Until then, au revoir

Green Bean Vinaigrette

In keeping with my tradition of quick and easy recipes, this is another qualifier.  I can quite comfortably polish off all the beans by myself in one sitting.  It does help that Pete says they are squeaky and steers clear of them. :-)  If you want to get fancy, you could throw a few toasted flaked almonds over the top.

Green Bean Vinaigarette 1

Green Bean Vinaigrette

Ingredients

350g fresh green beans
45ml olive oil
30ml red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove crushed
¼ tsp brown sugar
Ground salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Blanch or steam the beans until tender.
  2. Mix all of the other ingredients and pour over the beans while they are still hot.
  3. Allow to marinate for an hour or more spooning the vinaigrette over the beans a couple of times.
Green Bean Vinaigarette 2

So tasty with a tender piece of steak

 

Baked Sweet Potato with Philadelphia, Dates & Coriander

Quite frankly this is a meal all on it’s own and I have been known to enjoy it more than once for lunch and is another fabulous recipe I inherited from my sister-in-law Karin.  I am also hooked on serving these for guests and they accompany everything from a braai to a roast dinner, well I think so.  If I bake the sweet potato in the oven, I brush them with olive oil before baking but when I do them in the microwave I don’t bother.  There are no real quantities as you can stuff in as much or as little of the cheese, dates and coriander as you like.

Baked sweet potato

Baked Sweet Potato with Philadelphia, Dates & Coriander

Ingredients

Sweet potatoes
Philadelphia cream cheese cut into chunks
Dates cut into pieces
Coriander chopped

Method

  1. Baked the sweet potatoes in the oven set at 180°C until soft alternatively cook them in the microwave.
  2. Slice the sweet potato lengthwise and place all the other ingredients in the opening.

Baked Sweet potato 2

In My Kitchen – February 2015

I am so far behind that I started typing January in my title.

Thanks to our friend Celia over at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial who hosts our monthly IMK event, we are able to peek into kitchens all over the world.  Thank you Celia for the fun of being able to pop in and see so many wonderful things that everyone shares.

In my kitchen…

I honestly squealed with delight when I opened our post box to find Celia’s envelope with my sourdough starter Connie, South African cousin of Celia’s Priscilla.  I have just bought some bread flour and will get cracking and report back on how I am getting along.  Can you believe loaf after loaf will be baked from that wee packet of dried starter.  So exciting!

Celia's starter

In my kitchen…

Is a pair of herb scissors.  I have wanted a pair for the longest time and found this pair at a very reasonable price.  For the most part, I have used them every day for the past 2 months.

Herb scissors

In my kitchen…

Are 2 homemade cupcake separators.  I was taking two dozen birthday cupcakes to a friend’s party and only have a holder which holds 12 and couldn’t find another the day I was in town so into the garage I went and found 2 pieces of wood, used Pete’s round hole cutting thingy with his drill plus a little bit of spray paint et voilà I now have dividers which fit perfectly into an old Tupperware which has a handy carry handle.  I can’t bare the thought of having cupcakes bump into each other en route somewhere and have the icing all messy so this was the perfect solution.  Now, here’s hoping Pete wasn’t saving the wood for something else.

cupcake holders

In my kitchen…

I have been searching forever for mini wooden spoons and came across these which were dirt cheap in a store I never frequent as its not in my normal stomping ground.  The shape wasn’t quite right so back into garage for some sandpaper and a few minutes later I had just what I wanted, although the handles are a teeny bit short.

Mini wooden spoons

In my kitchen…

Is some beautiful olive oil and balsamic vinegar from the Tokara wine estate.  They were part of a Christmas gift from my cousin.

oil vinegar

In my kitchen…

See, now this just goes to prove how far behind I am… Pete brought this  Pret orange and cardamom chocolate back for me from the UK last year.  It was fabulous!  I loved how both the orange and cardamom came through in the flavour and very true to their natural taste.  Probably just as well we can’t get these chocolates here otherwise I would eat far too much of it.

Pret chocolate

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 and please note Celia needs all IMK posts submitted by the 10th of every month.

Watermelon Salad

Finally!  I am back in the swing of things, well, sort of, I am getting there.  I have missed you all so much and feel I have missed out on so much news.  Please do fill me in if there is something I should know. :-)

Sorry to all you lovely folk in the northern hemisphere, its going to be a while before you can enjoy this lovely salad but can tell you it is well worth the wait.  Simplicity at its best.

Our summer dining is often enjoyed al fresco with not much time at all spent in the kitchen which makes this super easy three ingredient salad the perfect accompaniment for a braai (barbecue) and actually fits nicely into my un-recipe category.

Watermelon salad

Watermelon Salad

Ingredients

Watermelon chopped
Sliced onion
Feta cheese crumbled

Method

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

See, it couldn’t be easier. :-)

Run, Run, Run

It’s been 3 months since I last gave you an update on my running so just in case you thought I forgot…

Things have improved slightly and I say slightly because there have been far too many days of no running which is not good, especially around this time of year with all the festivities and celebrations with family and friends.

Dogs, oh give me strength, are still a problem.  I do not understand what the problem with some dog owners is.  I know I get all frothy about dogs and carry on a bit but it really is a problem.  I recently rang an owner after having nearly been attacked by his dogs 3 times!  The last time it happened his labrador chased after me like a rabid monster – I stopped dead in my tracks and put my arms up in the air with a questioning gesture at the owner as he casually stood in his driveway and watched his dog nearly knock me off my feet.  I honestly believe he found it amusing.  I was petrified as I am inherently scarred of dogs I do not know.  He claims they have never bitten anyone before or is it yet!

Interestingly, I spoke with a doctor and he said considering my heart condition, he is amazed I am running at all.  Seeing as my pulmonary stenosis (murmur) which I was born with is mild I thought it would not affect my running at all but clearly it must so I don’t have to beat myself up about my improvement or lack thereof any more.  Well it’s a great “legitimate” excuse.

A quick medical lesson…

Image sourced from Google

Pulmonary (valve) stenosis is a condition in which a deformity on or near your pulmonary valve, the valve that influences the blood flow from your heart to your lungs, slows the blood flow. Adults occasionally have the condition as a complication of another illness, but mostly, pulmonary valve stenosis develops before birth as a congenital heart defect.

Medical lesson over.

Other than that, I am enjoying my running when I can get out and have changed my route slightly to avoid as many dogs are possible.

Has your exercise regime also taken a knock this festive season?

Just in case I don’t chat with you all before Christmas, let me wish you all a wonderful, blessed and happy festive season with my annual Christmas message:

What is Christmas?

 

It is tenderness for the past,

courage for the present,

hope for the future.

It is a fervent wish

that every cup may overflow

with blessings rich and eternal,

and that every path may lead to peace.

 

– Agnes M. Pahro

Mandy’s Tempura

The festive season is well under way so you may have noticed my lack of visiting your blogs – sorry about that.  Things may be higgledy piggledy until the new year before I am back in the swing of things – I will pop in periodically though just to keep up to speed with you all as I hate missing out on things. :-)

I love when I can put something together that really works, especially the first time and this tempura is one that has jumped right to the top of my favourite list.  I call it Mandy’s tempura as I am sure it is not a traditional recipe and has a slightly thicker consistency, although you could thin it a little by adding more club soda.  This recipe doubles very well too which works well for sharing these light crispy morsels with family and friends.

Mandy's Tempura 1

Mandy’s Tempura

Ingredients

½ cup flour
1 tbsp cornflour
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp salt or season of choice
1 egg yolk
½ cup ice cold club soda

Method

  1. Combine all of the dry ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Add the egg yolk and club soda and mix until just combined – leaving lumps.
  3. Dunk any julienne vegetable or protein (I used chicken) and fry in medium hot oil until light golden brown on both sides.

Mandy's Tempura 2

Spicy Roasted Chicpeas

With the festive season here and all the extra eating and celebrating we do, a healthy tasty snack is always welcome.  Even if you aren’t a chicpea fan, I urge you to try this easy recipe, the crispy light nutty result is well worth the time in the oven.  I would suggest doubling or even tripling this recipe and use any combination of spice you would prefer.

Spicy roasted chick peas  1

Spicy Roasted Chicpeas

Ingredients

1 tsp cumin seed
2 tsp coriander seed
1 tsp paprika
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tin chicpeas – drained and rinsed
Salt to taste

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Grind all the spices together and place in a bowl, add the oil and stir to combine.
  3. Rinse the chicpeas and mix through the oil mixture to coat.  Add salt to taste.
  4. Bake for approximately 30 minutes until crispy.

Spicy roasted chick peas  2

 

In My Kitchen – December 2014

Well, the end of the year jumps on you before you know where you are.  Just a few more sleeps and we will be at the beginning of another new year.

As always a big thank you to Celia over at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for hosting this fun monthly event.  It’s great fun peeking into so many beautiful and different kitchens each month.  Please remember Celia needs all IMK posts submitted by the 10th of every month.

In my kitchen…

A full month ago (I really do need to keep up to speed) were cupcakes for our neighbours.  Their beautiful little daughter Jasmine was born after mommy went through 2 days of labour so I thought celebratory cupcakes were in order.

Jasmine's cupcakes

Love the detail on the teddy’s

Jasmine's cupcakes 1

All pretty in pink for baby Jasmine

In my kitchen…

Is a red quinoa salad.  Not sure the red is any different to the white and would probably mix the two just for colour effect.  I keep saying quinoa on its own is very bland but in this salad is an absolute winner!

Red quinoa salad

In my kitchen…

Well, actually in my bathroom but I wanted to share with you the beautiful hand crafted ebony candle stick Pete brought back from Malawi for me.

Malawi ebony candle stick

In my kitchen…

Is a new kettle.  Our old one suddenly gave up the ghost and was I in for a surprise to see how expensive kettles have become.

kettle

In my kitchen…

Is a new shelf in the spice cupboard.  What a difference a little extra space makes.

spice cupboard

Things are still skew from the water damage we had. Oh what a memory, something I hope never to endure again.

In my kitchen…

Is some raw honey Pete and I bought on a trip away and on reading the label comes from just down the road from where we live.

Raw badger friendly honey

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.

Addo National Elephant Park

We are loving being able to pop into the park on a whim, especially now that we have registered for our Wild Card which gives us unlimited access to over 80 parks and reserves  in South Africa.

We have tried to find the 3 lion cubs but alas, it seems they are spotted the day before or the day after we have been into the park.  There may be more cups in December.  We were however graced with the presence of a lion and had him all to ourselves for a good 30 minutes.

Addo October 21

I believe a lioness gave him his scars.  Poor boy.

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I love his two tone mane.

He kept calling his mate, sadly she was nowhere to be seen though.  His call echoed and vibrated through the air and carried far and wide.  It is amazing how loud and deep his call is.  It was an incredible experience to hear it.Addo October 2014 6

He made sure to mark a bush just in case anybody wanted to come into his territory uninvited.Addo October 20

Poor boy was exhausted after all the calling and marking so had a wee rest at a watering hole.Addo October 2014 5

Addo October 2014 1

There are loads of baby elephants and we spotted a couple of little fellows who were no more than a couple of days old.

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Staying safe near mom.

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I didn’t notice the little guy on the right while I was taking this photo of another ellie having a drink – funny little thing.

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It was lovely to see jackal after so many were poisoned a while back.Addo October 2014 16

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Not sure what the kill is but they were having a wonderful breakfast all the while wagging their tails non stop.

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A little afternoon grooming.

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Settling in for an afternoon nap.

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A young kudu bull with his new horns.

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Can you spot the hole in his right ear. Wonder if he went through a rebellious stage and pieced his ear after his parents said no.

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This caracal graciously sat still for me to get a quick photo before heading off into the thick of the bush.

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It was lovely to watch this new family. They were very relaxed and not at all perturbed by our presence.

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The baby still has a fuzzy coat, not all smooth like his mommy and daddy yet.

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This little fellow was lighting fast to cross the road to chomp on some grass.

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Mr Ostrich was also enjoying a grassy snack.

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I wonder if buffalo can get a cold because this guy hat a lot of snot flying about.

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This starling has the most brilliant yellow eye and beautiful shiny peacock coloured feathers.

I tried to capture this guy shaking off his dust bath.

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I’m sure this Franklin was trying to play chicken with us.

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I love the colouring on red hartebeest. Both male and females have horns unlike kudu where only the males have horns.

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Fascinating horns and leaf like stripes in pointy ears

Now, if we could just spot leopard, rhino and hyena…

Pop Bite Popcorn Giveaway

Since embarking on the Neighbourhood Watch and Patrolling exercise, I have met some wonderful people and made new friends along the way.  Community initiatives are always supported by lovely people.Popbite white ceddar

One of the people I made the acquaintance of was a gentleman who I thought only had one business.  Turns out Wayne has a couple with one of them being Pop Bite popcorn.

Popbite salted

To date, Pete and I have been the old fashioned, oil in a pot and popcorn kernels kind of people.  Then, Wayne asked if we would sample a few of his Pop Bite flavours; in return all he asked for was honest critic.

Popbite salt vinegar

Pete’s first reaction was how he liked the good quality packaging and eye catching labels.  We instantly noticed no MSG and no Tartrazine.  How awesome to see a modern product with no artificial additives.

Popbite garilc feta

Wayne shared the intricate process involved in finding the right balance between oil, kernel and developing the spice mix all the while ensuring a good sealed package for enhanced shelf life.  There has been a lot of research and hours in getting this product to fruition.  Time well spent.

Popbite spicy chicken

Pete and I both enjoyed the White Cheddar, Salted, Garlic & Feta and Salt & Vinegar flavours.  We are still undecided on a favourite though so we will just have to keep at it until we find a winner.  There was a lot of repetition in the house while taste testing – “We will definitely be buying this popcorn.”  Clearly making our own is now a part of history.

Popbite Fruity Chutney

I love how you can comfortably give this popcorn to your young’uns’ without worrying about them ingesting anything artificial.  Great for birthday party eats.

Popbite popcorn

Currently you can purchase Pop Bite popcorn at local Spar stores in the Eastern and Western Cape.

Now as promised, the giveaway.  To win a Pop Bite popcorn hamper, leave a comment below.  For additional entries, like this post on facebook or retweet the link.  The winner will be decided by random selection and will receive their hamper directly from Pop Bite.

Popbite popcorn 1

Sadly the giveaway is only available to South African residents.

Good luck. :-)