My toothbrush continues to conspire. After having endless issues with the charging of our holiday toothbrush I have now made sure to charge it the day before I pack. This means that it should work on the plane, and for the first few days of our holiday. When we were on the barge the battery went flat. This was to be expected so I plugged the charger in, and it did not work. I do not like using the electric toothbrush without the vibration. So the next day I went looking for a new one. The shops in Auxerre had the Oral B Children’s brushes, but not one for adults. Settling for second best, I purchased two ordinary, cheap toothbrushes for Dave and I to use. None of the shops I went into had stock of the adult toothbrushes.
I did a Google search and discovered that FNAC sold them, but at €99 I was not going to buy one. And then, in a large supermarket, I found it for €29! I didn’t have to think twice about buying it. Not only was it cheaper than in South Africa, it is lighter and smaller than the one we are currently using. As soon as we got back to the apartment I put our toothbrush on charge. I must say I was quite pleased to use it again after 1 week of brushing the old fashioned way. I have put the toothbrush into the bottom drawer for when Dave’s finally stops working. And the charger is with our holiday electronic things. I have also put the two cheapies into our carry-on luggage for in case (no pun intended). This should ensure the electronic one does not fail again.
This whisky cake was inspired by our visit to Glenfiddich. There we met a very friendly young man. After we had espresso and cake, he did a great tasting for us. We had a single malt unique to the tasting room and spent some time chatting to him.
Dave and I attended an evening with Pernod-Ricard. I intend on writing more about it at a later date. But first I want to tell you about Matthew. Dave started chatting with this young Scottish man. He is from a small village near Dufftown. Dave was telling him about our trip around Scotland. I joined them and we got talking about all the places we have visited. Matthew mentioned he studied in Edinburgh and Tom Kitchin and his restaurant came up. We were reminiscing about our visits to the city. We have eaten at both The Kitchin and at The Scran & Scallie. Matthew told us he lived upstairs from the pub and he could not believe it when I showed him a picture of his front door.
We told him that we had been to Glenfiddich and started our afternoon with coffee and whisky cake before doing an amazing tasting. The coincidence grew when it turned out his brother had conducted the tasting. As an ode to our visit and to make good use of the Jameson’s Caskmates we were given by Pernod-Ricard, I decided to make whisky cake. I am serving it today. My parents are visiting from Johannesburg. My mom did the fondant topping and I sprinkled on some glitter. We have friends joining us for lunch. I need to go and get organized but first let me wish all of you that celebrate, a very blessed Christmas.
Given years of poor infrastructure maintenance and bad choices the Western Cape is in a dire situation with a lack of water. At the time of writing this post we have had very little rainfall, and even less snow. A local company has made the offer to install desalination plants at no cost to the local Government. Within three months our water problems could be at an end. But to date no decision has been taken which would see the start of these facilities being implemented. The water would be sold to the City of Cape Town and we in turn would be charged for our consumption. This would be a far better proposal as to what we have at present. We are on level 4B water restrictions which have all sorts of implications for households. Our water usage is restricted to 87 litres per person, per day.
I am battling to find ways to come up with using less water. We absolutely refuse to not shower each day. I just cannot imagine waking up and not washing. So we have buckets placed all around when we shower. The fall off water is being used for cleaning and for flushing the loo. That is another thing I cannot just ignore. We are flushing less, but still doing so as I don’t want my drains to become blocked. We are using as much grey water as possible for the toilet but we still need fresh water for the laundry, to cook and to drink. I have been buying drinking water but that still has to come from somewhere. Do you have any great water saving tips to share? And for that, I will virtually share these yummy gluten-free soft chocolate cookies.
Our telephone number at work is one digit different to the local taxi service. Because we often have issues with the line we have a cellphone number listed on the outgoing message. Early one morning the cellphone rang and it was someone telling me he did not need a taxi as he had made another plan. I explained that he had not called the taxi company. After a lengthy discussion he realized that the land line number he had orginally called was not the correct number. However, he did not work out from that conversation that the cellphone number he had dialled was also not the taxi service. Just before I hung up he told me he would call the cellphone next time he needed a lift somewhere. I then had to try and get him to understand that the end result would be the same as today.
To make this gluten free chocolate cake I substituted regular cake flour for cassava flour. I have never tried it with the cake flour so I am not sure if I got the same end result. I don’t often bake gluten free as it does not always work well with sucrose free. But this worked fantastically well. The cake is a chocoholics delight. I am also very impressed with how the cassava flour worked and I will be showcasing more recipes soon. I want to play around with gluten flour substitutes as my parents are coming to visit in December. Is there a particular gluten free flour you use?
Since February 2001 I have been seeing the same massage therapist for my bi-monthly treatments. We spend most of the 90 minutes talking about what has been happening in our lives. The week we got back from overseas I caught Nadia up on what we had done on our holiday. Once my 16 day story was told she let me know all about her upcoming plans. Together with friends, they were heading to Mozambique for a short break. Nadia gave me a rundown of their overnight stops both there and back. It’s a good thing we spend the time talking as their original plans would have seen her back at work the same day as my next appointment. Together with gym, these massages are keeping my knee away from the surgeon’s knife. I would have sat outside her rooms waiting for her as my appointments are scheduled months in advance.
This conversation ensured I was not let down or upset and luckily for me my alternate therapist could see me that day. Caroline offers a completely different treatment to Nadia which is also a good thing for my muscles. Having two choices is always a plus. I have made milk tart before but I have been searching for a recipe that replicates one I made at school. This traditional recipe for Melktert was not a let-down. Dave thought it had far too much cinnamon on top, but I thought it was perfect. My pastry shrunk so if I make it again I will not trim it before blind baking. This meant we had left over milk tart filling which we ate with poached guavas that night.
I have many friends and family members who are on a gluten free diet. Whether for celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis or diabetes. As a sweet offering for them I make gluten free brownies.
In the good old days, before an ATM had been invented, we used to buy our foreign exchange in the form of travellers cheques. I can well remember standing in line at the bank in Jerusalem to convert my Dollar cheques into Shekels. The exchange rate was so volatile it changed from the person in the front of the queue to the person at the end. I have changed Dollar notes in Dubai to Dirhams and in Bali to Rupiah. This of course all equates to double commission as you pay the bank here for the pleasure of changing your Rands, and then you pay again overseas when you change your Dollars. Since our trip overseas in 2003 I have always taken cash with me.
That means only paying one lot of bank fees. And in the small towns this makes life easier. Funnily enough, our budget has been the same amount per day for our spending money since then as well. Hotels that were costing us €100 per night for the two of us including breakfast are still charging the same. Which is a good thing as the Rand is not the strongest currency around. I would not recommend getting a card preloaded with cash as the small towns do not have ATM’s. Many market store holders do not take cards and in Germany for instance you may not pay for groceries on a debit card. Also, I would not take €100 notes! In the villages in rural France they will tell you that is money only for Paris. I cannot tell you how to work out a budget for daily expenses as that really depends on too many factors. Rather what I can tell you is to try these gluten free brownies!