Spicy Mulled Wine

Spicy Mulled Wine

Growing up I though that mulled wine was just plain and simply very wrong. Then I moved to the UK ten years ago and I discovered that I was the one in the wrong!

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Quail Scotch Eggs

Quail's Scotch Egg

Lady Gregory once said:

“Our curses on them that boil the eggs too hard! What use is an egg that is hard to any person on earth?”

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6 Things I loved in South Africa

Giant avocados!

You often see these extreme health and safety picture meme’s with the caption ‘Only in Africa’ (Read: Only in Africa) and truth be told some of these (if not all) are very true.  On the other hand there are times when the South Africans are totally ingenious and I’ve identified 6 things I truly love about South Africa.

 

Wet Wipes for your shopping trolley

You read correctly. Nearby my parents’ home is a really big Checkers Hyper (Sort of like a Tesco Extra) and at the entrance you pick up your shopping trolley.  As you enter the store there is a Wet Wipe station where you can take a Wet Wipe and wipe the trolley’s handle bar before continuing into the store.  I thought that was a truly ingenious brainwave for germophobes like me!

 

Butcheries

For the carnivores out there:  you haven’t seen a butchery until you’ve seen a truly South African butchery.  They have sections for everything: a rump section, sirloin section, a boerewors section, a cocktail sausage section, a ribs section, the list goes on.

For me, the most favourite part of these butcheries are the fact that they have massive crates of mince and whole pieces of different cuts at the counter and you can ask the butcher to cut you a piece or weigh out an exact amount.  You can even buy whole, half or quarters of carcasses and get the meat processed exactly how you want it.

Vegetables

Vegetables in South Africa are just insane.  It is not strange to see a guy with a bakkieload (pick up truck) of tomatoes selling it by the crate-full.  The same goes for anything that is in season: oranges, naartjies, avocados.  And don’t think you just buy one or two pieces of fruit; they come by the case!

Oh, and they’re huge too! In fact, farmers struggle to sell things like cabbages since they are so big that people don’t buy them…

Giant avocados!

 

Personalised Corner Shops

In South Africa, if you live in a relatively small town you seem to know everybody.  The same goes for the local corner shop.  They do everything!  Apart from the usual sweets/bread/milk, they take it one step further by baking their own bread!  They make fish and chip take aways, they sell emergency supplies like firewood, gas and ice and last, but not least they bake fresh pancakes, vetkoek and make boerewors rolls.

Independent Coffee Shops

In the UK drinking coffee is part of your morning ritual.  Stop at Starbucks/Costa/Nero and pick up your cup of Joe.

(Read: The Perfect Cuppa)

In South Africa you will find that independent coffee shops is part of the culture.  Starbucks only recently opened a branch in Sandton in Johannesburg, but thus far it has not spilled down to the rest of the country as people love their independent coffee shops full of character!  Each little shop has its own little USP, the thing that makes them different from all the other coffee shops in town.

Each coffee shop is a true experience!

(Read: Coffee Shop Gems in NorthWest, South Africa)

Job creation

The one thing I can say about South Africans is that most are not lazy to work, but jobs are very hard to come by as unemployment is really high.  Their ingenuity to create a job for a breadwinner to bring the bacon to the table is truly remarkable.

I’ve seen people creating ornaments out of beads and wire, carving animals out of wood and selling them next to the road.  People even sell fresh fruit and vegetables next to the road.  I’ve seen people whose sole job is to wave a flag to indicate the start of road works.  There are even petrol attendants that not only fill up your vehicle, but wash your windows, check your water and oil levels and pump your tires whilst you wait!

One of the very best ideas is a Tuisnywerheid; a rented shop where home bakers and crafters can sell their products to the local community.  They will bake cakes, biscuits, milk tarts, koeksisters and other yummy goodies and the shop owner will sell this on their behalf.  Depending on the rules of the shop you can also sell your homemade handbags, tea cosies,  pot warmers etc.

Handmade wire figurines

 

Do you have unique everyday things where you live that foreigners might find out of their ordinary? Let me know in the comments below!

Smokey Barbecue Chicken and Potato Bake

Meat and potatoes.  That is what life is all about.  Meat and potatoes.  If you chuck in some cheese then life would be perfect!

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Green Thai Chicken Curry

Thai Green Curry

When you have allergies some foods sometimes seems like it is beyond reach.  This is especially true when it comes to Asian Cuisine that uses a variety of great ingredients, but some of which will actually kill me.  It is for this reason that I’ve adapted the recipe for a Green Thai Chicken Curry.

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B-A-N-A-N-A… bread

Banana Bread

Every time I watch Despicable Me I have to chuckle when Dave yells: ‘B-A-N-A-N-A!’  It is at that point that I realise that the bananas I’ve bought at the start of the week are about to grow another life if I don’t rescue them from the fruit bowl before the week is out.

To me there is only one solution to the problem…  Let’s bake!

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The best steak sandwich ever!

Steak sandwich

Who doesn’t love a good steak?  Put the steak in-between two pieces of (homemade) bread, add some bits and bops and you have yourself the best steak sandwich ever! Read More

Freshly baked bread

Is there anything more comforting than having the rich smell of freshly baked bread waft through the house?

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Homemade Tomato Sauce for Pizza

Homemade pizza with homemade tomato pizza sauce

No pizza is complete without a little red sauce to pave the way to a culinary taste explosion – here is my version… Read More

Homemade pizza dough

Homemade pizza

Can you smell it yet?  That rich bready smell that wafts through the air as scorching heat gradually transforms it into a crisp golden hue of forbidden deliciousness…

Can you hear it yet?  The shove of the peel as it slides effortlessly under the golden circle; the  crackling of the crust as the cutter scratches against it in a bid to pry the circle apart to form slices that will ooze of cheesy delight as you pick it up…

Can you taste it yet?  Probably not.  You’ll have to make it first!  Read More

My top six eateries in London

Oscar Wilde said:

The man who can dominate a London dinner table can dominate the world.

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Minty potato salad

Minted potato salad

I once posed a question to my students: What would you do if potatoes become extinct? Read More

Watermelon, feta and mint salad

Watermelon, feta and mint salad

With summer time I’m always on the prowl for something that is light, but tasty at the same time. With an abundance of mint in our garden it is inevitable that I have to incorporate it into my cooking. Read More

Buttermilk Lasagna

Buttermilk Lasagna

I had a glitch with my online shopping today.  The result?  I had to be very resourceful with what I had in the fridge, freezer and cupboard when it came to making dinner tonight!

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A Pasta Lesson at Jamie Oliver’s Cookery School

Filled Pasta with Italian-inspired nail art at Jamie Oliver's Cookery School

Our best neighbour’s moved.  Far away.  Now we actually have to make appointments to see each other!  Today was one such get together; we decided that it would be really a lot of fun to do a cookery class together at Jamie Oliver’s Cookery School.  It really was a lot of fun!

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Buttermilk Chicken Katsu Curry

Buttermilk Chicken Katsu Curry

I am sure that there are as many recipes for Chicken Katsu Curry as there are people in this world.   Read More

The Ultimate Potato Salad

My Ultimate potato salad

There are a few staples that you will always find at a South African braai: pap, sous, greek salad, garlic bread and potato salad.  This is my ultimate potato salad recipe.  Even my German friend loves this and we all know that Germans know a thing or two about a great potato salad!

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Sweet potato bake

Creamy Sweet Potato bake

Summer is upon us!  And with great weather, comes spending a lot of time outdoors.  If you are like me, you love a good summer time braai (Afrikaans for BBQ) with lots of salads and quick side dishes.  My sister-in-law’s sweet potato bake hits just the right spot!

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Chicken Pasta bake with Cream of Tomato Soup

Chicken pasta bake with Cream of Tomato Soup

This used to be my most favourite Tuna and Spinach tagliatelle dish of all time.  Then I became allergic to fish and moved to the UK where spinach tagliatelle are hard to come by so I had to adapt…

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Nail fail: Now 3 years later…

MoYou Polishes

I’m a Numbers girl.  I loved accounting so much that I got a degree in it.  Then the teaching bug bit and I became a Maths teacher.  It is only natural that, as a Maths teacher and nail art enthusiast, I combine the two for an art explosion that is literally at the tip of my fingers.

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Unconventional Spaghetti Carbonara

Unconventional Spaghetti Carbonara

Everything you see I owe to spaghetti.

Sophia Loren


 

I feel the same way.  I can (and often do!) eat spaghetti for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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Quote for the day: Monday 7 January

“Character is the ability to carry out a good resolution long after the excitement of the moment has passed.”

Cavett Robert.

Quote for the day: Sunday 6 January

“Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, do it. Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”

Neil Gaiman.

Quote for the day: Saturday 5 January

“Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach.”

Tony Robbins.

Quote for the day: Friday 4 January

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”

C.S. Lewis.

Quote for the day: Thursday 3 January

“Celebrate what you want to see more of.”

Tom Peters.

Quote for the day: Wednesday 2 January

“Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.”

Benjamin Franklin.

Quote for the day: Tuesday 1 January

“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.”

Oprah Winfrey.

Quote for the day: Monday 31 December

Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365-page book. Write a good one.

Brad Paisley.

Quote for the day: Sunday 30 December

“When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things—not the great occasions—give off the greatest glow of happiness.”

Bob Hope.

Quote for the day: Saturday 29 December

“Like snowflakes, my Christmas memories gather and dance—each beautiful, unique, and gone too soon.”

Deborah Whipp.

Quote for the day: Friday 28 December

“Peace on earth will come to stay when we live Christmas every day.”

Helen Steiner Rice.

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