Secret Santa – Last Call

I am away for a self imposed long weekend, and will be back tomorrow to catch up on comments and posts! I would like to say a big thank you to all the bloggers who have already indicated they want to take part in this gift giving. With just under 60 days to go, Secret Santa is nearly ready to be implemented for this Christmas. This is how it will work:

  • each blogger who is willing to send a secret gift to another blogger (in the same country) will send me their name and address
  • I will compile a list and randomly assign bloggers to each other
  • a ceiling price will be set I am thinking €10 / $10 / R100
  • each blogger who participates can ‘advertise’ the concept on their blog – the more the merrier

It would be great if we all put the widget on our blogs:

[<a href=”” target=”_blank”><img title=”” src=”″ alt=”” width=”150″ height=”150″ /></a>]

Please add your email address to the comment section!


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Getting To Know Each Other

Mandy has devised a set of questions so that we, as bloggers can get to know each other a bit better.

1.  Who would you be honoured to have cook in your kitchen?

Raymond Blanc

2.  What have you always wanted to cook or eat but never have?


3.  What is your favourite part of a chicken?

The thigh

4.  Do you use a knife or a vegetable peeler to peel potatoes?

I hardly ever peel my veggies, but if I do, I use a peeler

5.  What one item do you keep in the kitchen you know you shouldn’t use but do?

There is nothing in my kitchen that should not be used!

6.  Do you like using the new culinary foam with your meals?

I cannot see the point!

7.  What 3 meals would you take to a friend who is sick in bed?

Chicken soup, lasagna and chocolate cake!


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Regional And Seasonal Challenge To Use Rocket

As no one has taken part in the last Regional And Seasonal Challenge I am going to carry over the give away. I do not set these challenges for any other reason other than to challenge myself, so I am not at all concerned about the lack of participation. However, I will not give the recipe book away if there is only one entry! It needs to be a deserved winner of a challenge.

This month the challenge is to cook using rocket.

As I have just planted some in my garden I should manage this one :)

Don’t forget to link back to my blog if you take part and to leave me a comment here that you have done so.


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Cinnamon And Sour Cherry Bun Recipe

I had a real blonde moment when I joined Fresh From The Oven and so did not take part in the September challenge. After clearing up what I needed to do, I went to take a look at the October challenge, and it was for cinnamon buns. I had already posted a recipe for them, but this was not going to stop me from taking part. I decided to use the recipe from Things We Make that we were given with the challenge. I think if I were to make them again I would add some cinnamon to the dough and I would use my cinnamon ‘sludge’ from my recipe for the middle. These kept amazingly well and we enjoyed the treat all weekend long. I also did not do the icing but instead made a glaze with jam – and it really worked well. I used sour cherries (notice the dark bits) instead of sultana’s as I do not like sultanas but I should remember to have put them on the edge of the dough and not the middle so that when I rolled them up, they would not have been at the edge.

"Cinnamon And Sour Cherry Bun"

Cinnamon And Sour Cherry Bun

Cinnamon Buns For Fresh From The Oven
Recipe adapted from Things We Make
  • 125mls luke warm milk
  • 14g instant yeast
  • 7.5mls fructose
  • 25g melted butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 200g bread flour
  • 100g flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
for the filling:
  • 50g softened butter
  • 25g fructose
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 40g sour cherries
for the glaze:
  • 3 teaspoons St Dalfour 4 fruit jam
  1. in a jug, mix the milk, yeast and fructose and leave to stand for 10 minutes
  2. add the melted butter and egg yolk to the milk mixture
  3. place the flour and salt in a large bowl and add the milk and egg mixture
  4. using a dough hook, knead until the mixture comes together
  5. at this stage I had to 20mls milk to make a dough
  6. you can also knead by hand for 10 minutes
  7. put the dough back into the large bowl and cover with a plate
  8. leave in a warm place for 2 hours to double in size
  9. knock down and roll the dough out until it’s the size of a baking tray
  10. slather with the butter and then sprinkle on the cinnamon sugar
  11. add the sour cherries to the bottom of the dough
  12. and starting with that edge, roll up until it resembles a swiss roll
  13. cut into 2.5cm slices and place in a buttered cake tin (the deepest one you have)
  14. tuck in any sour cherries so that they don’t burn
  15. leave to rise for another 30 minutes
  16. preheat the oven to 200° Celsius
  17. bake for 10 minutes and then cover loosely with foil
  18. bake for a further 10 minutes
  19. melt the jam on the stove in a small saucepan
  20. remove the buns from the tin as soon as you take them out the oven
  21. brush the jam glaze over the top straight away


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Recipe For Almond Cake

My sister would prefer not to be in the kitchen! Not ever. She can cook, and has been known to bake, but this is not a love for her. My niece Sasha however is the complete opposite. She is a natural in the kitchen, you can see it by the way she holds a knife. She loves to cook and better still, she loves to bake. I look forward to being in the kitchen with Sasha when I go up to Johannesburg to see them. Sadly, however, these visits are not going to happen again after November. Ross (my brother-in-law) was offered a transfer to Sydney with the company he works for. The opportunity is one that cannot be turned down. Sasha’s new kitchen will be half way across the world from mine. Skype is going to become my new best friend so that I can watch my nieces grow up, and this blog is going to become a way for me to share my recipes with Sasha. As Sasha loves to eat cake, this one for an almond cake is especially for her.

"Almond Cake"

Almond Cake

Almond Cake
Recipe adapted from Le Creuset
for the cake
  • 95g butter
  • 95g castor sugar – I used fructose
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 5mls ground cinnamon
  • 5mls vanilla paste
  • 85g ground almonds
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 50g flour
for the cream
  • 80mls cream
  • 50g flaked almonds
  • 3 drops orange essential oil optional
  1. preheat the oven to 160° Celsius
  2. grease a small rectangular baking dish
  3. cream the butter and the sugar together
  4. add the egg yolks, the ground cinnamon and the vanilla paste and mix well
  5. stir in the ground almonds and the zest
  6. beat the egg whites to soft peaks and fold into the mixture
  7. sift in the flour and mix with a wooden spoon until everything is just combined
  8. pour the batter into the dish and bake for 30 minutes
  9. allow the cake to cool while you whip the cream and toast the almonds
  10. fold the toasted almonds into the cream and mix in the essential oil
  11. serve some of the cream with a slice of the cake

Click on the links for conversions and notes.


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Recipe For Venison Casserole

In South Africa we have a blogging platform called Letter Dash. Letter Dash is host to a whole collection of blogging arena’s including the media24 stable. When I started blogging the only food related blogging platform on Letter Dash was food24. I stayed th loyally even when Taste started their own blogging platform, as I believe in loyalty. In fact, whenever I saw a blogger on the global South African platform, blogging about food I suggested they come over to food24.

Then a series of happenings started with a certain blogger being most rude about other bloggers on this platform. This resulted in a 101 series of blogs where there was not enough space for my post on ethics and copyright. That aside, I was not getting any ‘front page’ exposure on food24 as this was left to the ‘in crowd’. I was however briefly a blog of note and got a ‘heard on food24′ mention every day. Not to sound like sour grapes, but I just felt this was not enough for me.

I have been blogging on Letter Dash for over 2 years, and I have published more than 860 posts and I felt the need for some more exposure. I decided to move over to the Taste platform to see if I would get more exposure and within two weeks I was featured on the front page of their newsletter (read my post here to celebrate). But, the biggest exposure has come my way as I am the featured blogger in the Taste Magazine November issue! This issue is a readers collaboration, and goes on sale today at all Woolworths Stores nationwide. Woolworths in South Africa is the equivalent to Marks & Spencer in the UK, and Taste Magazine is their in house magazine, run under the New Media Publishing stable.

To celebrate this great accolade I have made another dish using Woolworths ingredients, namely venison and blueberries.

"Venison And Blueberry Casserole"

Venison And Blueberry Casserole

Venison and Blueberry Casserole
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 15g butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 slices streaky bacon, sliced
  • 250g venison, cubed
  • 100g exotic mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 cup red wine
  • ⅓ cup frozen blueberries
  1. in a casserole dish, heat the oil and the butter
  2. sauté the onions and the garlic until soft
  3. cook the bacon until the fat has rendered down
  4. brown the venison
  5. add the mushrooms and cook until soft
  6. add the thyme and the red wine
  7. cover and simmer for one hour
  8. remove the lid and add the berries
  9. cook until the berries are soft

Click on the links for conversions and notes.


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Recipe For Broccoli Farfalline

Today, my heart split in two. Since moving to Gordons Bay in 2001 I have never once considered Johannesburg as being far away. We live in an instant society – we can pick up a telephone, and speak to someone straight away, or use skype and actually see them. We can IM, SMS, BBM or whatsapp someone and they will get the message straight away. But, despite this, Johannesburg is still 4 hours away and the cost of an airplane ticket. I would not begrudge the expense to go up to Johannesburg but the timing is not right for me. Part of me wishes I could split in 2 and be in Johannesburg right now, while still being here in Gordons Bay where I too am needed. This hurts and tugs and pulls me in all sorts of directions. My virtual hugs, and Ethernet love will have to suffice for now.

Often during the week, pasta dishes are created as a way of using what is in my fridge. The food is made with love which is what counts. When I opened my fridge for inspiration I saw a whole head of broccoli that I had purchased from a farmer’s market. This sounded like the perfect place to start supper.

"Broccoli Farfalline"

Broccoli Farfalline

Broccoli Farfalline
  • 200g farfalline
  • 1 head broccoli florets
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 100g mushrooms, sliced
  • 250g creamed cottage cheese
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 100g cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • salt for seasoning
  • cherry tomatoes for garnishing
  • Parmesan cheese for garnishing
  1. preheat the oven to 180° Celsius
  2. cook the pasta and at the same time, steam your broccoli until just cooked
  3. heat the olive oil in a frying pan and sauté the mushrooms until soft
  4. mix together the cream cheese, the egg, the cheddar cheese and the mustard
  5. season the pasta
  6. chop the broccoli and add this to the cheese mixture with the pasta and the mushrooms
  7. spoon into oven proof dishes
  8. add some whole cherry tomatoes and grate over some Parmesan
  9. bake for 20 minutes

I am submitting this recipe to Presto Pasta Nights, which is being hosted this week by Theresa of The Food Hunter’s Guide


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RIP Marco Simoncelli

Yesterday, Marco Simonicelli died as a result of injuries sustained during the MotoGP race in Sepang. He was 24 years old, a talented rider and the previous winner of the 250cc world championship.

Growing up in Motorsport, the word dangerous is a natural part of my vocabulary. Tragedies have existed in our sport, some of which are well known and others which are obscure and remain only in the memories of competitors. Yesterday, the world of Motorsport was devastated with the second death in a week. Nothing could have prevented the accident – it was just one of those things that happen. Marco low sided and his bike, instead of sliding off the track, came back across the circuit right into the path of Colin Edwards and Valentino Rossi. From the very minute he was hit it was obvious how bad the injury was. His helmet was flung off his head and Colin was sat, dazed at the side of the track. His shoulder dislocated, for which he has received treatment before heading home to be with his family. Velentino managed to avoid crashing during the incident, but rode slowly back to the pits, and as soon as he took off his helmet, the world could see the look of utter devastation on his face as he knew how badly injured his friend was.

I first met Colin when he was racing for the Castrol Honda Racing Team in World Superbikes. He was team mate to Aaron Slight and Aaron and my friend Trevor Crookes raced together at the start of their careers. I smuggled Trevor into the pits and I got to meet these two riders. Colin is one of the nicest riders out there – always smiling, friendly and with a great sense of humour. He is extremely talented and of the age where this is sadly not the first death in a race he has competed in. The weekend I met Colin Brett McLeod, a South African rider, lost his life – a death that changed my life significantly.

Valentino is one of the most talented riders, not only of his time, but in the history of MotoGP racing. He competed in two seasons of 125cc racing, winning the world title in his second season before moving up a class to 250cc. He again competed for 2 years, winning the championship in his second season before blasting into the 500cc class. He could have won the championship in the first year had he done better at Phakisa. I met him during his second season of premier class racing and this tiny rider is full of determination, Italian temperament, and has proved himself a winner over and over again. He too has witnessed death in his category when Daijiro Kato was killed at Suzuka in 2003.

I know how these riders feel, to lose one of their own doing a sport they love and excel at. My hearts go out to each and every one of them, and the family of Marco. May his soul rest in peace – egli sarà ricordato.


PS – there will be no food post from me today!

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Enkosi Cookathon

I love a challenge and last year had an absolute blast with the Community Cookathon hosted by yuppiechef. So, I had to take part in this year’s cookathon, not only for the challenge, but because I love supporting yuppiechef.

"Enkosi Cookathon"

Enkosi Cookathon

Part of the challenge was to cook 7 dishes – and for me, where to start? Should I start with the bobotie:



or head straight for the dessert of melk tert?

"milk tart"

milk tart

or even better, malva pudding!

"malva pudding"

malva pudding

However, I decided to start with the spicy chicken livers:

"spicy chicken livers"

spicy chicken livers

and followed this up with sugar free koeksisters – who knew the sugar free syrup would be as good as the real deal!



I followed this by cooking a lamb curry over two days:

"lamb curry"

lamb curry

being truly South African it is amazing I have never made phutu pap before. Sadly the given recipe for the pap and relish were not the best of the bunch and so what you see here is a BIG adaptation!

"phutu pap and relish"

phutu pap and relish

ps – all the dishes here represent my adaption of the recipes. I will post recipes slowly but surely for what I did. The word links will take you to the original recipes, which I adapted. And some of the photo’s already have links up as I have blogged the recipes already!

For the challenge I have recooked the first three dishes!


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Ingredient Challenge To Use Cream and Nam Pla (Fish Sauce)

I have been very busy in my kitchen doing challenges – sadly, not my own. I cannot find shin for my give away challenge – but if you can and want to, enter the challenge and stand a chance to win something. I have been taking part in the Enkosi Cookathon – check back tomorrow to see what I made. This is my tenth ingredient challenge in this format – if I ever get the time I will tidy up my blog and have the format the same for each challenge.

The challenge this week is to make a dish using cream and Nam pla (fish sauce)

Once you have done the challenge, leave me  a comment so that I can link back to your blog. You have to have a link to my blog on your post in order to be listed.


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