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


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


  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


Watermelon chopped
Sliced onion
Feta cheese crumbled


  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


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


  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


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


  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.


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.

Addo October 2014 3

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.

Addo October 2014 8

Staying safe near mom.

Addo October 2014 9

Addo October 2014 10

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.

Addo October 2014 7

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

Addo October 2014 12

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

Addo October 2014 15

A little afternoon grooming.

Addo Sep 2014  168

Settling in for an afternoon nap.

Addo October 2014 13

A young kudu bull with his new horns.

Addo Sep 2014  59

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.

Addo October 2014 2

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

Addo Sep 2014  74

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

Addo Sep 2014  76

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

Addo Sep 2014  82

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

Addo Sep 2014  96

Mr Ostrich was also enjoying a grassy snack.

Addo Sep 2014  107

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

Addo Sep 2014  128

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.

Addo Sep 2014  158 Addo Sep 2014  159 Addo Sep 2014  160 Addo Sep 2014  161

Addo Sep 2014  184

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

Addo Sep 2014  197

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

Addo October 222

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. :-)

Millet and Grape Salad

I wanted to call this Millet, Grape, Coriander, Toasted Almond and Spring Onion Salad because all of the ingredients are stars but alas, it’s too long.  Millet is a great alternative to quinoa for a summer salad and is somewhat cheaper too, which is great.  If you can’t get hold of millet, couscous will be a perfect substitute.

Millet Salad

Millet Salad


3 cups cooked millet
1 cup red grapes halved
1 cup coriander chopped
¼ cup red spring salad onions sliced
½ cup almonds toasted


30ml apple cider vinegar
60ml olive oil
⅛ tsp sesame oil
1tsp honey
1 small garlic clove crushed
Salt and black pepper to taste


  1. Combine all of the salad ingredients in a bowl
  2. Mix the dressing ingredients together and pour over the salad and mix through.

Your ideal all in one cook book

If somebody had to ask you the question, “What is in your ideal cook book?” what would your top 3, or more if you like, things be?

Blog Book Cover

I ask because I am in the process of revising my Complete Cook Book and will be fluffing up the kitchen guide as well as the recipes.

So, if you could have an all in one complete kitchen book, what would you like to have featured?

I really would appreciate your input and if there is anything I can credit you for, I certainly will.

Thank you for your valuable input and hope you are as excited about the prospect of an improved complete cook book as much as I am.


As you know Pete does a lot of travelling and has everything well organised, down to booking his seat online 24 hours before flying.


On a recent trip home a few changes had to be made and the only return flight Pete could get was on Mango.  Problems started when neither of us could book his seat online.  The travel agent had equally as much of a problem but was finally able to email confirmation of Pete’s seat.

With the sad reality of his weekend at home coming to an end, we were back online to book a seat for his flight back to Johannesburg for a connecting flight to London.  On finally being able to log on, Pete’s flight had been changed from the morning flight to the afternoon flight, evidentially due to one of the airlines flights being cancelled the day before; so they put all the people from the cancelled flight onto Pete’s flight and pushed him to the later flight without any notification!

How can they NOT notify you of any changes!  Urgh!!!  What is happening to the service in this country.  We are going from bad to worse with SO many things.  Urgh!!!  Right, vent over.

Seriously though, how can they not notify you of putting you onto another flight!  What about folk who don’t book their seats online and arrive at the airport for the flight they booked but the airline decided to change it.  What about the ripple effect of all the changes involved?  Honestly, it is beyond me!

Pete and I both gave comment on their shocking service on facebook and twitter.  Seems nobody has anything positive to say about them – I am not surprised!

Have you ever had problems with flights before or with Mango specifically?

In My Kitchen – November 2014

How did we get to the second last month of the year so quickly!  Clearly there is truth in time passing quicker the older you get.

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…

Are the most magnificent mini roses from our garden.  I bought 2 new rose bushes seeing as I killed our best rose bush when I transplanted it a couple of months ago.  My sadness of losing the other bush is quickly forgotten with these beautifully coloured roses.

Garden roses

In my kitchen…

Is millet.  For the life of me, I cannot remember who’s blog I saw millet on so my apologies for no link love.  I will post a millet and grape salad recipe next week.


In my kitchen…

I found 2 new varieties of Pete’s coffee pods, up to now I have only been able to find the Foreign Ground Brazil Single Origin.

Cofee pods

In my kitchen…

Is our new 56 litre LG Mirror Microwave.  Sorry it is not a picture of ours but I ran out of time so quickly got this one from the brochure.  I am not entirely convinced this new modern “metallic” look works for me as each item (fridge, dishwasher, washing machine etc) is a different shade of “silver” even within one brand so its’ awfully difficult to match items.  Bring back classic white which doesn’t date and matches everything.  I have two complaints about this new edition to our kitchen.  Even though I only use it to reheat and make the odd gravy, I still want to be able to see inside the unit when it is on – some genius thought about the aesthetics (not sure why you need a mirror on a microwave – possibly do your hair while heating lunch?) and not the functionality so you are left guessing when something is going to boil over!  It doesn’t have a kitchen timer either which was so handy on our old microwave.  My suggestion to you would be not to buy a mirror unit, unless you want to sit in front of it to do your hair or make-up.  I have also had many unsuccessful calls to LG, their service is shocking – they are useless!  Right rant over.

56l lg mirror micro

In my kitchen…

Are “Nigerian” from Lebanon ice cream powders.  Pete, like me, loves finding something different on the shelves in supermarkets and he came across these.  Albeit they are instant – mix powder with milk, he says they are really very nice.  I will report back on what I think.

Ice cream powder

In my kitchen…

Is the smallest tin of condensed milk I have seen – 78g.  Pete knows how I love small, what I call “nunu” things so when he found this he couldn’t resist buying it for me.

78g condensed milk

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.

Ballerina and Batman Party

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

Becky invite

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

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

Becky 6 bday  2

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

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

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

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

Becky 6 bday  60

Becky 6 bday  74

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

Becky 6 bday  104

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

Becky 6 bday  177

Love you all, high as the sky.

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


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

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

Neighbourhood watch logo

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

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

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

On with the apron!

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

Old cookery books

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

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

On with the apron

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

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

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

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

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

Apron economy 1 of 3

Apron economy 2 of 3

Apron ecomomy 3 of 3

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

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

What did you learn in home economics at school?

Women’s Home Library – Practical Cookery For All

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

Women's Home Library Cookery

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

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

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

spoon measures

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

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

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

counter top oven

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

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

Parsnip wine recipe

Who would have thought a parsnip can hiss

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

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


All very formal this picnic preparation

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

In My Kitchen – October 2014

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

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

In my kitchen…

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

Napkin rings 1

napkin rings

In my kitchen…

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

Small serving dishes

In my kitchen…

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

birthday tray

In my kitchen…

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

serving trivets

In my kitchen…

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

Food cover

In my kitchen…

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

Pete rusks

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

Running slow

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

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

Zanzibar tortoise

I feel like this fellow – slow and tired

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

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

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

Kristy’s Tea Taste Test

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

Kristy's tea

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

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

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

Lemon Green organic tea Lemon Green Organic tea 2

 Next up was the Wild Blueberry Organic White Tea.

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

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

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

 Then there was the Dragon Well Green Tea.

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

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

Dragen Well green tea Dragen Well green tea 2

 Next in line was the Rose Oolong Tea.

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

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

Rose Oolong tea Rose Oolong tea 2

 Then it was onto the White Chai Tea.

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

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

White Chai tea White Chati tea 2

 Last was the Jasmine Pearl Organic Green Tea.

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

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

Jasmine Pearl organic green tea Jasmine Pearl organic tea 2

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