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Newsletter #124 - June 21, 2006


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Greetings everyone!  And a special welcome to all the new subscribers!

New subscribers (and old ones!) download your free recipe eBook by right clicking here! (Egg recipes)

We are nearing mid-winter now and therefore the recipe theme for this issue will be STEWS . Of course in South Africa, stew = potjiekos! For those of you who might not be aware, potjiekos is usually prepared outdoors over coals and in a cast iron three legged pot.  Nothing stops you from preparing potjiekos indoors in a heavy bottomed pot on the stove if you don't happen to have a cast iron pot.  The potjiekos recipes below will still be valid and ideal for those cold winter days. So scroll down and have fun!

I have started a free email penpal service for Afrikaans speakers in the Afrikaans section of my website. If you would like to meet other Afrikaans speakers just click here and leave your details. Until further notice everyone placing an ad gets a free copy of my recipe eBook with traditional South African recipes (in Afrikaans, of course!)

Never buy another recipe book again.
I have put together my South African Traditional Recipes in English and Afrikaans plus another 36 recipe eBooks on one CD. Click here to take a look and also get your free Low Fat recipe eBook

The History of the Middle Finger

Well, now . here's something I never knew before, and now that I know it, I feel compelled to tell you in the hope that you too will feel edified.

Isn't history more fun when you know something about it?

Before the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, the French, anticipating victory over the English, proposed to cut off the middle finger of all captured English soldiers.

Without the middle finger it would be impossible to draw the renowned English longbow and therefore they would be incapable of fighting in the future. This famous English longbow was made of the native English Yew tree,
and the act of drawing the longbow was known as "plucking the yew" (or "pluck yew").

Much to the bewilderment of the French, the English won a major upset and began mocking the French by waving their middle fingers at the defeated French, saying, See, we can still pluck yew!

Since 'pluck yew' is rather difficult to say, the difficult consonant cluster at the beginning has gradually changed to a labiodentals fricative F', and thus the words often used in conjunction with the one-finger-salute!

It is also because of the pheasant feathers on the arrows used with the longbow that the symbolic gesture is known as "giving the bird."


And yew thought yew knew every plucking thing!

Small Pain In My Chest
by Michael Mack

The soldier boy was sitting calmly underneath that tree.
As I approached it, I could see him beckoning to me.
The battle had been long and hard and lasted through the night
And scores of figures on the ground lay still by morning's light.

"I wonder if you'd help me, sir", he smiled as best he could.
"A sip of water on this morn would surely do me good.
We fought all day and fought all night with scarcely any rest -
A sip of water for I have a small pain in my chest."

As I looked at him, I could see the large stain on his shirt
All reddish-brown from his warm blood mixed in with Asian dirt.
"Not much", said he. "I count myself more lucky than the rest.
They're all gone while I just have a small pain in my chest."

"Must be fatigue", he weakly smiled. "I must be getting old.
I see the sun is shining bright and yet I'm feeling cold.
We climbed the hill, two hundred strong, but as we cleared the crest,
The night exploded and I felt this small pain in my chest."

"I looked around to get some aid - the only things I found
Were big, deep craters in the earth - bodies on the ground.
I kept on firing at them, sir. I tried to do my best,
But finally sat down with this small pain in my chest."

"I'm grateful, sir", he whispered, as I handed my canteen
And smiled a smile that was, I think, the brightest that I've seen.
"Seems silly that a man my size so full of vim and zest,
Could find himself defeated by a small pain in his chest."

"What would my wife be thinking of her man so strong and grown,
If she could see me sitting here, too weak to stand alone?
Could my mother have imagined, as she held me to her breast,
That I'd be sitting HERE one day with this pain in my chest?"

"Can it be getting dark so soon?" He winced up at the sun.
"It's growing dim and I thought that the day had just begun.
I think, before I travel on, I'll get a little rest ..........
And, quietly, the boy died from that small pain in his chest.

I don't recall what happened then. I think I must have cried;
I put my arms around him and I pulled him to my side
And, as I held him to me, I could feel our wounds were pressed
The large one in my heart against the small one in his chest.

I have started a Traveller's Forum (in Afrikaans). If you want to go take a look, click here.

Why not subscribe to my Afrikaans newsletter?

A  Sunday school teacher said to her children, "We have been learning how powerful kings and queens were in Bible times. But, there is a higher power. Can anybody tell me what it is?"
One child blurted out, "Aces!"

At long last my collection of South African Traditional Home Remedies (Boererate) ( nearly 2000) have been translated into English and they are now available on a CD together with my collection of Traditional South African Recipes. This will make an ideal gift or even an interesting collection for yourself! The CD only costs R96 or US$22 (payment with Paypal). Click here for payment details.

The Home Remedies are also available on their own by email in eBook format at R60 (US$15). Email me for the eBook payment details.

Here is an interesting article from www.southafrica.info   I will be using more articles from their interesting website in future letters. Do yourself a favour and go browse around their great site :

South Africa - A War Zone

Two globally important wars took place on South African soil in the 19th and early 20th centuries: the Anglo Boer War and the Anglo Zulu War. In both, small indigenous populations fiercely opposed the heavy might of the British Empire, winning important battles before the vast imperial military machine brought them to submission.
In the Anglo Zulu War, Zulu impis armed only with spears famously took on and trounced British forces armed with the most modern firepower of the time. The British were only able to defeat King Cetshwayo kaMpande's nation after British troops were rushed to South Africa from around the Empire.

The Anglo Boer War is considered the world's first modern war. Guerrilla tactics, camouflage uniforms, concentration camps and attacks on civilian targets, all the ugly signatures of 20th century warfare, were first used in that campaign. The war killed 22 000 British soldiers, 7 000 Boers, 24 000 black men, women and children, and 22 000 white women and children, many of whom died in almost 200 concentration camps.

From: http://www.southafrica.info

Check out some rusk recipes here

Ever tried Rooibos tea?

As promised, another recipe containing rooibos tea


100 ml strong Rooibos tea (use 1 tea bag)
115 g soft butter or margarine (125ml)
170 g castor sugar (200ml)
280 g cake flour (500ml)
10 ml baking powder
3 eggs, beaten

1. Preheat oven to 180 °C (350 F)
2. Rub butter or margarine into dry ingredients until mixture resembles fine bread crumbs
3. Add eggs and Rooibos tea. Mix well
4. Place paper cups in a muffin pan and spoon batter into each. Bake in centre of oven for 25 - 30 minutes
5. Turn out and allow to cool
6. Decorate with soft icing

Glenacres Superspar newsletter recipe.


8 large, ripe mangos
1 tsp salt
3 cups sugar
1½ cups white vinegar
125g pitted, chopped dates or seedless raisins

1. Peel the mangos and cut into cubes
2. Put the mango cubes into a bowl and pour the salt over, allow to stand for 15 minutes
3. Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar
4. Add the chopped dates or raisins, mix well and bottle in sterilized bottles

Glenacres Superspar sends out a really nice newsletter full of super recipes. To subscribe, click here and send the blank email. 

Another Wacky Sarmie

Go take a look at my Wacky Sarmies page, there are some great sarmie ideas!

Lynn, S Ex SA now Australian

Believe it or not...........sardines and condensed milk make a delicious sandwich. Another favorite of mine is 2 Marie or ginger biscuits with cheese spread between them, also good for dunking!!


A Blast From the Past

1978 - B J Vorster becomes State President and P W Botha is Prime Minister, the first test tube baby is born, SA's Margaret Gardiner is crowned Miss Universe, the movie Grease is released, the Garfield comic strip makes it's debut, Argentina win the Football World cup 

Source: Sunday Times.

Recipe substitutes

I regularly get asked about acceptable substitutes in recipes, luckily Ray in Australia sent me this list:

Self-raising flour - 5ml baking powder for every 250ml cake flour
Buttermilk - natural yoghurt or milk + 12ml lemon juice or vinegar
Castor sugar - finely ground white sugar
Cornflour - double quantity of cake of bread flour
Crème fraiche - plain yoghurt
Egg - 2 egg yolks + 15ml water
All spice - 5ml ground cinnamon + pinch each of ginger, clove
Honey - 315ml sugar + 65ml liquid
Pecan nuts - walnuts
Pine kernels - sunflower seeds
Sour cream - plain yoghurt or cream + 5ml lemon juice or 2ml wine vinegar
Tomato puree - ¼ quantity tomato paste or 1½ quantity fresh tomatoes, skinned, seeded and cooked till soft
Whole-wheat flour - brown bread flour + rolled/crushed wheat to taste
Herbs, 1 tbsp fresh - 5ml dried herbs
Lemon juice, 1 tsp - 2.5 ml vinegar
Mustard, 1 tsp dry - 12ml prepared mustard
Orange, 1 medium - 125ml cup juice
Tomato, one can - 500ml chopped fresh tomato
Yoghurt, plain - buttermilk; sour cream or cottage cheese + 5ml lemon juice
Bread crumbs - cracker crumbs
Carrots - parsnips or baby white turnips
Tomato juice - 190ml tomato paste + 250ml water
Curry powder - Tumeric +ground cardamom. ginger and cumin
Liqueur - non-alcoholic extract, eg, almond, cherry, apple, etc or juice from fruit preserves
Vodka - water; apple cider or white grape juice +lime juice
White wine - white grape juice; apple cider; apple juice; vegetable stock; water
Sherry - apple cider; vanilla extract; coffee or coffee syrup
Port - grape juice + lime zest or lemon juice; cranberry juice + lemon juice
Red wine - grape juice; vegetable stock; cranberry juice; tomato juice or grape jelly
Riesling - white grape juice mixed with water + pinch of sugar
Rum - rum extract
Muscadel - white grape juice mixed with a water + sugar
Methode Champenoise or sparkling wine - sparkling apple cider; cranberry juice or grape juice  

In preparation for the World Cup, the "offside rule" explained for women:

You're in a shoe shop, second in the queue for the till.
Behind the shop assistant on the till is a pair of shoes which you have seen and which you must have.
The female shopper in front of you has seen them also and is eyeing them with desire.
Both of you have forgotten your purses.
It would be rude to push in front of the first woman if you had no money to pay for the shoes.
The shop assistant remains at the till waiting.
Your friend is trying on another pair of shoes at the back of the shop and sees your dilemma.
She prepares to throw her purse to you.
If she does so, you can catch the purse, then walk round the other shopper and buy the shoes!
At a pinch she could throw the purse ahead of the other shopper and "whilst it is in flight" you could nip around the other shopper, catch the purse and buy the shoes!
BUT, you must always remember that until the purse has "actually been thrown", it would be plain wrong for you to be in front of the other shopper and you would be OFFSIDE!

ps no, I still don't understand.. why on earth would you go into a shoe shop without your purse????

Bush Buzz
Nature is wonderful. I envy the jobs of the game rangers and their wealth of bush knowledge. I have often wondered where one can read up on all the interesting facts. I would like to make this a regular feature of this newsletter, if you are able to contribute or would like to comment on the contribution below, please email me.

The Lilac Breasted Roller

One of my favourite birds, quite often spotted in the Kruger National Park and other of our parks.

Rollers get their name from their impressive courtship flight, a fast, shallow dive from considerable elevation with a rolling or fast rocking motion, accompanied by loud raucous calls.

All rollers appear to be monogamous and highly territorial. The Lilac Breasted Roller will perch on a dead tree, surveying the area for prey. One typical aspect of its behavior is that it also preys on animals fleeing from bush fires. It is a swift flier, indulging in acrobatics during the breeding season. They actually breed 'on the wing'. They live in pairs or small groups, but are often seen alone.

Their call is a loud harsh squawk, 'zaaak'. They are partly migratory, but in some areas they are sedentary. To feed they swoop down from an elevated perch next to their prey and eat it on the ground or return to a perch where they batter it before swallowing it whole. They are territorial, also defending temporarily small feeding territories; hence individuals are regularly spaced along roads. They drive off many species from near their nest hole, even after breeding.
They make unlined nests in natural tree holes or in termite hills. Sometimes they take over woodpecker's or kingfisher's nest holes. They lay 2-4 white eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for 22-24 days. At 19 days the chicks are fully feathered and grayish brown.

Grasslands, open woods and regions where palm trees grow singly.

Where they are found
The species ranges more or less continuously throughout eastern and southern Africa from the Red Sea coasts of Ethiopia and northwest Somalia to the Angola coast and northern South Africa. Lilac Breasted Rollers inhabit acacia country with well spaced trees, rolling bushy game lands, riverside areas and cultivated land, but they do not associate with human habitation.

Click here to see a picture of a roller that I took in the Etosha National Park in Namibia.


The Herb Section - MISTLETOE

 Mistletoe is also known by the names European Mistletoe, Birdlime, Birdlime Mistletoe, Golden Bough, and Goldenbough. Viscum is an evergreen shrub, hemiparasitic on the branches of deciduous trees, particularly oak, chestnut, apple or black poplar. The berries produce a sticky substance known as bird-lime (hence the alternate name). The Latin name Viscum refers to the stickiness of the seeds, a property essential to the propagation of Mistletoe, as its seed must stick to the trunk of its host long enough to germinate and insert a root into the
bark for nutrients. One of the explanations for its common name is that Mistletoe is derived from the Celtic "mil'ioc", meaning "all-heal". The ancient Druids of northern Europe and other pagan groups revered
Mistletoe, particularly when it infected oak trees (a rare occurrence).
They celebrated the beginning of winter by collecting Mistletoe (by a high ranking priest who cut it with a golden knife) and hanging it in their homes. It is also the legendary "Golden Bough" that saved Aeneas from the underworld in Virgil's poem. In Scandinavia, the God of Peace, Balder, was slain with an arrow made of Mistletoe. Romans, Celtics, and Germans believed that Mistletoe was a key to the supernatural.
Mistletoe also stood for sex and fertility. Over time, this reverence of Mistletoe was translated into the Christian ritual of hanging Mistletoe over doorways at Christmas. A berry was removed with each kiss, and when they
were gone, the Mistletoe was said to have lost its powers. The custom of kissing under the Mistletoe may be a remnant of pagan orgies held before Mistletoe altars. The young leafy twigs with flowers are used medicinally. Mistletoe’s white berries are potentially toxic and should be avoided. American Mistletoe (Phoradendron flavescens) is similar to European Mistletoe (Viscum album), but has not been widely studied, and
therefore should not be substituted for European Mistletoe until more information is available. American Mistletoe is sometimes called "False Mistletoe" to distinguish it from the European genus, Viscum album.
Herbalists use European Mistletoe to strengthen the heart and to reduce blood pressure. Combined with Valerian Root and Vervain in equal parts, it makes an excellent nervine tonic. The powdered leaves have been used
in the treatment of epilepsy. The primary chemical constituents may vary according to the host plant, but typically include glycoproteins, polypeptides (viscotoxin), flavonoids, triterpene saponins, caffeic acid, lignans, choline, vitamin C, and histamine. Test tube and animal studies suggest that European Mistletoe extracts can stimulate insulin
secretion from pancreas cells, and may improve blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Given both Mistletoe’s tradition around the world for helping people with diabetes, and these promising pre-clinical results, human clinical trials are certainly needed to establish Mistletoe’s potential for this condition. This herb is also known to relieve pain from headaches caused by high blood pressure. Mistletoe reduces the heart rate, and at the same time strengthens the capillary walls. Its cardiotonic action is thought to be due to the lignans, while the hypotensive action is believed to be due to a choline derivative related to acetylcholine. Choline derivatives bring about
parasympathetic stimulation and vasodilatation.

 More links to herbs on my Herb Page   

Thanks to everyone who has mailed us fridge magnets depicting your State, City or Country. If you collect fridge magnets, I will gladly swop with you!
email me and we can make arrangements. Thanx a lot!

My website highlights:
The Ultimate Recipe book on CD!
Visit my Afrikaans pages
South African food and products overseas? Click here!

Read the Zimbabwe Letters


Looking for a specific South African recipe? Email me and I will do my best to find it for you!


Every issue I feature an interesting website:

This month it's a new outdoor magazine!

Go take a look at the article on page 186 of the July launch issue!

When you have had a look at the recipes below, click here to visit the main recipe page on my site. 

Any comments, positive or otherwise on this Newsletter will be appreciated!

That's it for now,
Take care,

If you are ecer in the Ceres area why not take a break and enjoy a great cuppa coffee!...and send friends and family back home an email greeting!


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 Making Diabetic Cooking Easy.
The book contains 177 recipes and is available for only R65. Overseas payments also accepted via Paypal. Contact Annie at 0822946799 or by email at  anna_se_kombuis@yahoo.com
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The Recipes
See Links for Metric Converter



30ml Butter
2.5ml Ground black pepper
12 Pieces of sheep neck
500g Baby carrots, peeled
4 Medium-sized onions, diced
15 Medium potatoes, quartered
250ml Water
500g Cauliflower
6 Black pepper-corns
500g Whole button mushrooms
4 Bay leaves
6 Baby marrow, sliced
3 Whole cloves
4 Tomatoes, cubed
15ml Salt
500g Mixed dried fruit, soaked in water for 1 hour
15ml Aromat
250ml Dry white wine
10ml Dried parsley
90ml Bisto in 125ml Water

Heat the pot and melt the butter. Then brown a few pieces of meat at a time and remove.
Brown the onions until soft.
Return the meat and add the water, pepper-corns, bay leaves and Cover with the lid and allow the pot to simmer for about 1 hour.
Mix the aromat, parsley, pepper and the remaining salt and sprinkle in-between the layered vegetables (layer the veggies as they appear in the recipe).
Place the dried fruit on top and allow the pot to simmer for about 1.5 hours.
Sprinkle a little aromat over the pot, cover with the lid and allow to simmer for 30 minutes.
Finally, add the wine and the bisto solution 30 minutes before the pot is served.

2 kg mutton shank, cubed 
60ml Oil
50ml Butter
3 Large onions, diced
5ml Mustard
8 Baby potatoes, peeled
4 Large tomatoes, diced
Salt and pepper to taste
Little bit of white sugar
10ml Lemon juice
2 Medium brinjals,peeled and cubed

30ml Oil
20ml Medium curry powder
10ml Grated ginger
10ml turmeric

500ml Natural yoghurt
20ml Chopped fresh parsely
15ml Grated lemon peel

Mix the ingredients of the marinade and pour over the meat for about 1 hour.
Heat the oil and butter in the pot and then add the stick cinnamon and cloves for a few minutes.
Add the onions and simmer until soft. Remove the onions but let the stick cinnamon and cloves remain in the pot.
Brown the meat and add a little water if necessary. Add the onion mixture to the meat, cover with the lid and allow to simmer for about 1 hour.
Place the brinjal cubes on top of the meat and season with the salt and pepper.
Layer the potatoes and tomatoes and once again season with salt and pepper and a little bit of white sugar
Cover with the lid and allow to simmer for approximately 2-3 hours.
Stir well before serving and serve with rice and the yoghurt mixture over each serving.


15ml Cake flour
5ml Mixed herbs
5ml Paprika
375ml Beer
1kg Beef fillet, cubed
250ml Beef stock
15ml Butter
1 Packet of tomato soup powder
15ml Oil
1 Bay leaf
2 Medium onions, thinly sliced
15ml Vinegar
15ml White sugar
10ml Maizena
8 Greenbeans, cut up
Salt and pepper to taste
4 Carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 Garlic clove, chopped

Coat the meat with a mixture of the flour and paprika. Heat the oil and butter in the pot and brown the meat.
Remove the meat and brown the onions and sugar until the onions are nice and soft.
Add the beans, carrots and garlic, cover with the lid and allow the pot to simmer for about 5 minutes.
Replace the meat and stir in the herbs, beer, beef stock, soup powder and bay leaf. Cover with the lid and allow the pot to simmer for a final hour or until the meat is soft (stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon)


2 kg Leg of lamb
150g Dried peaches
250g Bacon, cubed
300g Baby carrots, peeled
15ml Ground Coriander
8 Medium potatoes, peeled and halved
15ml Brown sugar
300g Brussell sprouts
1 Bottle dry red wine
Salt and pepper to taste
30ml Butter
15ml Apricot jam
3ml Dried rosemary
15 ml Cake flour
250ml Sour cream

Trim all the fat off the leg. Make small cuts in the leg with a knife and stretch these cuts by pushing a finger in each cut. Fill each cut with the cubed bacon.
Rub the leg well with the coriander and the brown sugar. Marinade the leg in the wine overnight.
Melt the butter in the pot while the fire is still burning and brown the leg slightly on all sides.
Add the rosemary and 50ml of the wine marinade. Cover with the lid and allow the pot to simmer for at least 1.5 hours or until the leg is half done. Ensure that the coals are not too hot and turn the leg regularly adding some more wine marinade and not more than half of the sour cream.
Add the dried fruit, cover with the lid and allow the pot to simmer for 30 minutes.
Layer the veggies as they appear in the recipe and season with the salt and pepper.
Add the remaining sour cream, cover with the lid and allow the pot to simmer for a further hour.
When the leg is done, add the jam, cover with the lid and wait until the jam has melted. The pot is now ready to be served.
Remove the leg and carve it in slices.
Add the flour to the sauce and stir until ready.




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