30 July 2009

Time out bath

To truly indulge in taking care of yourself, you need to set the mood. Turn off your cell phone and grab some scented candles. Light the candles and take in the ambient light.

Create your own face mast. Facial mask make from peaches and egg whites help tighten your skin. So get a ripe peach, peel and pit it and take one egg while. Blend these two ingredients until smooth and apply onto your face; leave on your skin for approximately 30 minutes.

Run a bath and add a few drops of essential oil to your bath to relax you; the steam from the bath with work wonder for opening your pores. Lavender oil is best for relaxing in.

Once out of the bath, you can carry on with your manicure and pedicure routine.

Don't forget to lather on your favorite lotion to seal in the moisture and keep your skin soft and smooth.

To truly indulge, make yourself a cup of hot chocolate and sip it in the bath.


Napkin know-how

Dinner Party

Winter is a great time for winter parties and entertaining friends. For your next dinner party, why not dazzle with perfectly polished napkin technique.

* Name It: Fold the napkin length ways, and then double it over. Buy "letter beads" from your local bead shop to spell out your dinner guests' names and thread them onto a thin piece of string. Cince at the "waist" of the napkin.
* Spoon It: Cut a piece of fabric band and attach it to the napkin using double-sided tape (if you're like us and are too lazy to sew!). Fold the napkin into a rectangle and slip in the spoon. Dress it up.
* Bead It: String a few pretty beads and lucky charms together or take an old necklace and wrap it around the napkin. The napkin is simply rolled and you create a tight "waist" using the necklace of beads. Fan out the bottom of the napkin to make it look like an A-line skirt.

Put a few chocolates on your place settings for a special treat.


Wine Tasting

Are you not really up for going out to meet friends for a drink. Not a problem, here is how to pull off a great wine and chocolate tasting party in the comfort of your own home:
* Invite friends over and ask them to bring a bottle of wine.
* Once everyone has arrived, pass the wine around in the group.
* Ask your friend to add notes as they taste each glass of wine.
* Create a marking sheet: You will need a sheet of paper. Make five columns and as many rows as the wines you taste, plus a "header" row with these fields: Products, Appearance, Aroma, Taste and Comments.
* For each round, have a handy crackers or biscuits as well as water as palette cleansers.
* Lastly, enjoy!

Remember, for your palette cleansing crackers, use an unsalted type.


Look After Yourself This Winter

Juice has a number of antioxidants to keep you energised too.

Chamomile tea is a nerve sadative that also eases depression, insomnia and migraines, and helps calm you for meditation.

Lavender tea dispels depression and brings feelings under control because lavender is soothing and relaxing and promotes balance.

Peppermint tea is great, especially when you feel mentally drained as it alleviates mental fatigue.

Sage and Alfalfa are both powerful immune stimulants to help you get over any cold and flu this season.




Vegetarian food has never tasted so good!

Serves 6

500g (1 medium-sized)
butternut, peeled and sliced
1 cup (250ml) cherry tomatoes, halved
1 red onion, cut into wedges
Olive oil
Salt and milled pepper
2 rolls puff pastry, thawed
½ packet (75g) baby spinach
1 cup (150g) diced feta
1 egg, beaten

Preheat the oven to 200ÂșC.
Place butternut, tomatoes and onions on a baking tray.
Toss with a glug of olive oil and season to taste.
Roast vegetables for 20-25 minutes or until butternut is tender. Set aside to cool completely.
Place a sheet of pastry on a greased baking tray and top with cooled roasted vegetables, feta and spinach, leaving a 2cm border along each side.
Brush border with water and top with a second layer of pastry. Crimp with a fork.
Make a hole in centre of pastry for steam. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden.


15 July 2009

Recipe: Aloo Gobi


Aloo Gobi

This Indian potato and cauliflower stew can beserved as a main course or side dish.

Serves 4

1 onion, quartered
4 cloves garlic
4cm knob ginger, peeled
Vegetable oil, for frying
1 tsp (5ml) brown mustard seeds
2 tsp (10ml) cumin seeds
1 Tbsp (15ml) garam masala
Salt and milled pepper
5 - 6 medium potatoes, cut into chunks
1 cup (250ml) vegetable stock
3 cups (about ½ a head) cauliflower, broken into florets
1 bag (80g) baby spinach

Blitz onion, garlic and ginger in a blender to form a rough paste.
Heat a glug of oil in a pan and fry onion paste and spices until golden.
Add potatoes, stir-fry for a few minutes and add stock. Cover and
cook for 10 minutes.
Add cauliflower and continue cooking, adding more stock if necessary, until potatoes start breaking up and cauliflower is
Stir through spinach and allow to cook for a few more minutes.
Serve with rotis, yoghurt and plenty of fresh coriander.


Recipe: Classic Coq au Vin


Classic Coq au Vin

Originally made using cockerel meat – nowadays a good free-range
chicken will yield equally delicious results.

Serves 4

¼ cup (60ml) butter
1 - 2 (about 150g) smoked pork rashers or bacon, chopped into ½ cm strips
Salt and milled pepper
1 large country-reared free-range chicken, jointed into 6-8 pieces
2 Tbsp (30ml) flour
2 onions, sliced
2 carrots, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, sliced
¼ packet (8g) thyme
3 bay leaves
1 bottle (750ml) full-bodied red wine
1 - 2 cups (250ml-500ml)
chicken stock
12 baby onions, peeled
1 packet (250g) button mushrooms
Mashed potatoes, to serve.

Heat half of butter in a heavybased saucepan and fry rashers until golden. Remove and set aside.
Season chicken, dust with flour and fry until just golden on both sides. Remove and set aside.
Add onions, carrots and celery to saucepan and fry until golden. Add
garlic and cook for another minute.
Return chicken and rashers to saucepan, tuck in herbs, add wine and enough stock to cover chicken.
Season and allow to simmer for 15 - 20 minutes.
Heat remaining butter and fry baby onions and mushrooms until
Add to stew and cook for about 40 minutes, until chicken is soft and
Remove chicken and vegetables from sauce and set aside.
Boil sauce to thicken slightly.
Return chicken and vegetables to sauce. Heat through before serving.
Serve with mashed potatoes.


Recipe: Osso Bucco


Osso Bucco

Keep it classic and serve with gremolata to cut the fat.

Serves 4

¼ cup (60ml) flour
Salt and milled pepper
8 (about 1.2kg) thick slices beef shin
Olive oil, for frying
1 onion, sliced
6 cloves garlic, sliced
½ cup (125ml) white wine (or replace with extra stock)
1 can (400g) whole peeled
tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 cups (500ml) beef stock

2 cloves garlic, chopped
½ cup (125ml) flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Grated peel of 2 lemons Season flour with plenty of salt and pepper and use to dust meat.
Heat a glug of oil in a heavy-based saucepan and brown meat on all sides. Remove and set aside.
Add onion to saucepan and fry until soft. Add garlic and fry for another minute.
Return meat to saucepan, marrow bone side up, add remaining ingredients and season.
Cover and simmer for 1½ hours, adding more stock from time to time if necessary, until meat is tender and sauce has reduced and thickened.
Mix gremolata ingredients together and place in a bowl.
Serve stew with rice, pasta or mashed potatoes and a side dish of gremolata for sprinkling.


Recipe: Stuffed calamari stew


Stuffed calamari stew

Ask your Pick n Pay fishmonger to clean the calamari tubes for you.

Olive oil, for frying Serves 4
1 large onion, chopped
2 peppers, chopped
2 chorizo sausages, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp (5ml) smoked or regular paprika
3 ripe red tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 cup (250ml) white wine
Salt and milled pepper
8-10 large calamari tubes
½ cup (125ml) chopped flat-leaf parsley
Portuguese rolls, to serve

Heat a glug of oil in a saucepan and fry onion, peppers and chorizo until they begin to soften.
Add garlic and paprika and fry for another minute.
Add tomatoes and wine, cook for 3 - 4 minutes and allow to cool slightly. Season.
Spoon mixture into calamari tubes, straining liquid into saucepan as you go. Secure with a toothpick.
Place all stuffed calamari tubes back into liquid, cover and simmer for 30 - 45 minutes, adding more wine if necessary, until calamari is tender.
Serve with rolls to mop up juices.


Recipe: Spicy pear, nut and cinnamon pudding


Spicy pear, nut and cinnamon pudding

Bring some health into your puddings with seasonal blueberries!

Serves 4

¼ cup (60ml) butter
½ cup (125ml) brown sugar
1 tsp (5ml) vanilla essence
1 extra large egg
1 cup (250ml) freshly
grated pear or apple
cup (80ml) fruit mince
packet (30g) walnuts, chopped
¾ cup (180ml) nutty wheat flour
1 tsp (5ml) baking powder
1 tsp (5ml) ground cinnamon
¼ cup (60ml) milk

½ cup (125ml) brown sugar
1 cup (250ml) boiling water

Preheat oven to 180°C.
Grease a 25cm baking dish.
Cream butter, sugar and vanilla
with electric beater until pale and fluffy.
Add egg beat and well.
Stir through pear or apple, fruit mince and walnuts.
Mix remaining dry ingredients and fold into creamed mixture.
Stir through milk and pour batter into baking dish.
Sprinkle with brown sugar and pour over water.
Bake for 15-20 minutes for individual portions, or a little longer for a large pudding.
Serve warm.


Recipe: Old-fashioned sago pudding


Old-fashioned sago pudding

Bring some health into your puddings with seasonal blueberries!

Serves 4-6

4 cups (1L) full-cream milk
Pinch of salt
1 cup (250ml) sago, rinsed
½ tsp (3ml) ground cinnamon
1 tsp (5ml) vanilla extract
1 cup (250ml) sugar
cup (80ml) butter
4 eggs, separated
cup (80ml) apricot jam

Preheat oven to 160°C.
Grease a large (1.2L) baking dish.
Heat milk to just below boiling point.
Add salt, sago, cinnamon and vanilla and simmer gently until sago turns transparent (about 20 minutes).
Add half of sugar and butter and stir well.
Quickly beat egg yolks into sago mixture and set aside.
Whisk egg whites until soft peaks form, then add remaining sugar
gradually, until all sugar is used.
Fold egg-white mixture through sago and pour into baking dish.
Dot with apricot jam and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until just set but still slightly wobbly in middle.
Allow pudding to cool for 20 minutes before serving.


Recipe: Eve’s pudding with blueberries


Eve’s pudding with blueberries

Bring some health into your puddings with seasonal blueberries!

Serves 4-6

2-3 large cooking apples, peeled and thickly sliced
1 cup (250ml) sugar
1 Tbsp (15ml) water
½ cup (125ml) butter
2 extra large eggs, beaten
1 cup (150g) self-raising flour
1 cup (200g) frozen blueberries
Icing sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 190°C.
Place apples in an oven-proof dish.
Toss in a third of sugar and add water. Cover loosely with foil and
bake for about 10-15 minutes.
Cream butter and remaining sugar, mix in eggs and add flour.
Mix to a soft batter (add water or milk if it is too thick).
Fold in blueberries.
Spread batter over top of apples.
Return dish to oven and bake for about 30 minutes, or until top is
golden brown.
Dust with icing sugar and serve with a steamy cup of Freshpak
Rooibos Tea.


Recipe: Steamed syrup sponge


Steamed syrup sponge

If you don’t feel like something traditional, try something new.

cup (85g) butter Serves 4
cup (100g) castor sugar
2 extra large eggs, lightly
cup (100g) self-raising
1 Tbsp (15ml) milk
3 Tbsp (45ml) golden syrup

Cream butter and sugar until pale.
Gradually add eggs and beat until smooth.
Sift in flour, add milk and mix until well combined.
Pour syrup into base of a wellgreased heatproof pudding bowl and spoon over pudding mixture.
Cover bowl with a double layer of greaseproof paper. Tie into place with string.
Place bowl on a trivet or steaming basket in a large saucepan with a tight-fitting lid.
Pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up bowl.
Cover and steam for 1.5 hours (adding more boiling water occasionally).
Remove from bowl.
Serve with cream or ice cream, and for an extra special treat, add a few blocks of Beacon chocolates with the dish.





500g fettuccini Serves 4
3 chicken breasts, bone-in, skin removed
¼ cup (60ml) chicken stock
¼ cup (60ml) dry white wine
1 punnet (250g) button mushrooms, sliced
1-2 garlic cloves, crushed
cup (80ml) cream
Salt and milled pepper
2 Tbsp (30ml) chopped Italian parsley

Cook pasta in salted water until al dente.
Drain, rinse and set aside.
Poach chicken in stock until cooked through.
Remove from pot and reserve a little liquid.
Allow chicken to cool, then shred.
Heat stock and wine together in a hot non-stick pan.
Add shredded chicken, mushrooms and garlic and cook for about 3-5 minutes, or until slightly brown.
Add cream, seasoning and parsley and cook for a further 2 minutes, or until sauce has thickened.
Add cooked pasta to sauce and toss to combine.
Serve with a green salad.





You can also ditch the rice if you prefer and toss in a handful of lettuce to serve as a starter.

1 cups (330ml) brown rice Serves 4
1 packet (500g) chopped butternut
3 Tbsp (45ml) olive oil
Salt and milled pepper
½ cup (125ml) finely sliced biltong
3 Tbsp (45ml) Pick n Pay onion roasted seeds
1 cup (250ml) cucumber, shaved into chunks or ribbons
2 Tbsp (30ml) parsley or mint, chopped

Preheat oven to180°C.
Cook brown rice according to packet instructions.
Drain and set aside.
Toss butternut, olive oil and seasoning into a roasting pan.
Roast until cooked through and slightly charred.
Stir through rice, butternut, biltong, onion roasted seeds, cucumber and herbs.
Serve tossed with your favourite vinaigrette dressing or honey mustard.





The trick here is to slice the liver as thinly as possible.
Buy a chunk rather than ready-sliced portions and use a very sharp knife.

2 Tbsp (30ml) olive oil Serves 4
2 Tbsp (30ml) salted butter
1 onion, finely sliced
600g calves’ liver, thinly
Flour, for dusting
¼ cup (60ml) medium sherry or balsamic vinegar

Heat oil and butter in a large non-stick pan.
Fry onion until softened, remove from pan and set aside.
Lightly dust liver with flour and sear in pan for about a minute on each side.
Remove from pan, set aside and fry in batches until all liver is cooked.
Deglaze pan with sherry or balsamic vinegar for about a minute.
Return liver and onion to pan, toss to combine and heat through.
Serve with creamy mashed potato.





500g fettuccini Serves 4
3 chicken breasts,
bone-in, skin removed
¼ cup (60ml) chicken
¼ cup (60ml) dry white
1 punnet (250g) button
mushrooms, sliced
1-2 garlic cloves, crushed
cup (80ml) cream
Salt and milled pepper
2 Tbsp (30ml) chopped
Italian parsley

Cook pasta in salted water until al dente.
Drain, rinse and set aside.
Poach chicken in stock until cooked through.
Remove from pot and reserve a little liquid.
Allow chicken to cool, then shred.
Heat stock and wine together in a hot non-stick pan.
Add shredded chicken, mushrooms and garlic and cook for about 3-5 minutes, or until slightly brown.
Add cream, seasoning and parsley and cook for a further 2 minutes, or until sauce has thickened.
Add cooked pasta to sauce and toss to combine.
Serve with a green salad.


The Handiest Household Tips


Try these handy tops

* To remove old wax from a glass candle stick holder put it in the freezer for a few hours. Then take the candle holder out and turn it upside down.

* Immerse a damp cloth in wine vinegar to wipe any chrome surfaces clean.

* Spray a bit of perfume or scented essential oil on the light bulb in any room to create a lovely light scent when the light is turned on.

* Polish and protect your furniture by creating your own polish. Mix 1 teaspoon of olive oil in half a cup of lemon juice. Put mixture in a spray bottle, spray and wipe with a dry cloth.

* If there is a horrible odour in the fridge, leave some dry Bicarbonate of Soda in in, the Bicarb should remove the smell.

13 July 2009

Friend Makin' Monday


Tis that time of the week again. I'd previously taken part in "Friend Makin' Monday" on my Homeschooling blog, Monsters Ed.

Here is this week's challenge:

List 5-10 of your favorite things! These can be things you think everyone must have, a collection of things you have, or some product or miracle invention that has changed your life...it's YOUR list of favorite things...HERE are a SOME of my "can't live without" products. Can you tell there is a little baby in the house, LOL!!

1. Boon Squirt Spoon
2. Captiva Diaper Bin
3. Electric Steamer
4. Braun Hand blender
5. Avent Isis Manual Breast Pump
6. Bright Starts Bounce Bounce Baby
7. Bumbo

02 July 2009

Just a mom...?

A woman, renewing her driver's licence, was asked by the woman at Registry to state her occupation. She hesitated, uncertain how to classify herself.

'What I mean is, ' explained the woman at Registry, 'do you have a job or are you just a ...?' 'Of course I have a job,' snapped the woman. 'I'm a Mum.' 'We don't list 'Mum' as an occupation, 'housewife' covers it,' Said the recorder emphatically..

I forgot all about her story until one day I found myself in the same situation...

The Clerk was obviously a career woman, poised, efficient, and possessed of a high sounding title like, 'Official Interrogator' or 'City Registrar.'

'What is your occupation?' she probed. What made me say it? I do not know. The words simply popped out. 'I'm a Research Associate in the field of Child Development and Human Relations.'

The clerk paused, ball-point pen frozen in midair and looked up as though she had not heard right. I repeated the title slowly emphasizing the most significant words. Then I stared with wonder as my pronouncement was written, in bold, black ink on the official questionnaire.

'Might I ask,' said the clerk with new interest, 'just what you do in your field?' Coolly, without any trace of fluster in my voice,
I heard myself reply, 'I have a continuing program of research, (what mother doesn't). In the laboratory and in the field,
(normally I would have said indoors and out). I'm working for my Masters, (first the Lord and then the whole family) and already have four credits (all daughters).

Of course, the job is one of the most demanding in the humanities, (any mother care to disagree?) and I often work 14 hours a day, (24 is more like it)...

But the job is more challenging than most run-of-the-mill careers
and the rewards are more of a satisfaction rather than just money.'
There was an increasing note of respect in the clerk's voice as she
completed the form, stood up, and personally ushered me to the door.

As I drove into our driveway, buoyed up by my glamorous new career, I was greeted by my lab assistants -- ages 13, 7, and 3. Upstairs I could hear our new experimental model, (a 6 month old baby) in the child development program, testing out a new vocal pattern.

I felt I had scored a beat on bureaucracy! And I had gone on the official records as someone more distinguished and indispensable to mankind than 'just another Mum.'


What a glorious career!

Top Tips to Keeping warm this winter


When it comes to winter, layering your clothes is one of the best things you an do. Start with soft layers such a cotton and end with synthetic materials to insulate you from the chill.


If you can't seem to win with cold feet, why not try putting some cayenne pepper on them and then pop on a apir of warm socks?


Pus some rice into a sock and close the top of the sock off with an elastic band. Put it into the microwave for a minute or two. Pop it in bed or on your lap to warm you up for a while. Its a great alternative to a hot water bottle.


When boiling food, leave the top off the pot to create a humid atmosphere in your home. You can also leave the oven door open after baking to heat up the house. Be sure to mind the children and pets.


Graphic Credits