Number 135

Visit my Website

December 7, 2006


My Recipe Section

My Holidays

My Guestbook

Latest on my Website

eBooks and CD's

Letter Archive



SA Weather

SA Info



Email me


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

New subscribers and everyone else, get your eBook at the Freebie link below.

This will be the last letter for 2006. I had heaps of fun doing them during the past year, I hope you had as much fun reading them! Let me take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy Festive season and if you are going to be travelling, please drive safely!

I have some more festive recipes in the Recipe section, so scroll down and have some fun in the kitchen!

Before I forget, I have a gift for you! I reckon about 80% or more of you out there (myself included!) could benefit by the advice in this eBook, so right click here and download it, read it and try it. We will talk again in a year's time!

We offer you low premiums and a cash OUTbonus. Click Here

Kitch 'n' Zinc

I happened to find this really nice Blog, please click on the link below and go browse around.....

Following with thanks from Brian at Kitsch'n'Zinc

It's not grub, it's a bloody grub

This weekend Cape Town will be inundated with 12,000 delegates arriving for the biggest conference that the city has ever hosted. There'll be chaos at the airport, chaos at hotel check ins, not a free restaurant table to be had in the city and not a dry eye in the house as people in the hospitality industry sob with joy over this early season bonanza. I have no idea what is on the catering agenda at the conference or what arrangements have been made to introduce the overseas visitors to our South African gastronomnic heritage but I am prepared to wager big bucks that one of the hoary old favourites which will be dragged out of the culinary cupboard will be the ubiquitous mopane worm.
The story goes that the mopane worm is a favourite amongst the Venda clustered mostly in the northern parts of South Africa - there can't be too many of them because I've never yet seen a black person eat a mopane worm. However I have seen them offered to every overseas visitor, almost like a rite of passage or some sort of trial on the Fear Factor. They're thicker and hairier than most worms or is that the people I'm talking about who are pressurised into trying the great delicacy ? Also it's not actually a worm at all but a caterpillar which is lovingly prepared by having it's innards squished out, thrust into boiling water and then dried in the sun. This ensures that they last forever and have a texture resembling cardboard when they're fried up with garlic, chilli and anything else to mask the flavour. So I'm not sure if these delegates will get to taste a really great Cape Malay curry or some potbread with homemade apricot jam, or a braaied snoek or kreef or some of the beautiful cheeses from Fairview but I do know for certain that many of them will be having their jaws prised open to accomodate one of those rare delicacies that should remain forever exactly that - rare !

December is usually party month, and with parties come appetizers. Right click here and download an eBook full of yummy appetizer recipes. Scroll down for dieting tips!
One Ticket is All It Takes

The UK Lottery never pays less than £3 million every Wednesday and Saturday (± R43 million) with frequent rollovers. You can get your ticket securely by clicking here.

But that's nothing!! The Euromillions Jackpot has has been as high as £ 120 million !! That's roughly R1,740,000,000!!! You can't win it if you're not in it, so click here and get a ticket!

Never buy another recipe book again!

My Recipe CD has now been updated and now includes 50 Recipe eBooks as well as 8 Bonus eBooks (4 eBooks on making, marketing and selling crafts for profit) Click here to take a look and also download your free Low Fat recipe eBook (that works out to about R2 per recipe book! sheessshhh!)

Hello Peter,
Just to let you know that I received my recipe CD today in the mail and I'm over the moon about it.
I'm going to spread the word to others to order copies too. It's most certainly worth every cent..........
Thanks again,

Glenacres Superspar Recipe

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

After Christmas our fridge is uually overloaded with leftovers, here are some ideas for you:


30ml Olive Oil
Left Over Turkey cut into Chunks
Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper
30g Butter
4 Leeks, Finely Sliced
5ml Paprika
150ml Sour Cream
1 Red Pepper, Roasted, Peeled, and Cut into Strips

1. Brown the turkey in a little of the oil
2. Season and place in a bowl
3. Heat butter and a Tsp of oil in the same pan and sauté leeks till tender, but not brown
4. Return the turkey to the pan, and stir in the paprika and cream (do not allow to boil)
5. Transfer to a greased ovenproof dish (22cm x 15cm)
6. Spoon the polenta topping over and arrange pepper strips in a lattice fashion on top
7. Bake at 200C for 20 minutes until the crust is golden brown

100g Flour
60g Polenta or Mealie Meal
10ml Baking Powder
3ml Paprika
3ml Salt
1 Egg
125ml Milk
75ml Oil
1. Mix flour, polenta, baking powder, paprika and salt in a bowl
2. Whisk egg, milk and oil together
3. Pour into dry ingredients and mix well until a smooth batter

1. Quarter and deseed the peppers
2. Arrange skin side up on a baking sheet
3. Grill until blackened all over
4. Seal in a plastic bag for 10 minutes, then peel and slice


3 Medium Potatoes, Peeled and Diced
2 Tsp Butter
1 Medium Onion Finely Chopped
1 Small Green or Red Pepper, Diced
3 Cups Diced, Cooked Turkey Meat
1/2 tsp Dried Rosemary
Black Pepper
1/4 Cup Chicken Stock

1. Bring the potatoes to boil, and cook until tender, 15 minutes, drain
2. In a large frying pan, melt the butter
3. Add onions and pepper and sauté for 5 minutes
4. Stir in potatoes, turkey, rosemary, black pepper and salt
5. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly
6. Stir in the chicken stock, and cook for 2 minutes
7. Serve immediately

Are you crafty? Want to make your hobby pay?

Would you like to make some money out of your crafting hobby? I have five really nice eBooks all about making, marketing and selling your crafts: Profitable Crafts - Vol 1 to 4 and 20 Vintage Crochet Patterns.

Here is a list of all the chapters in the books:  Deciding What Types Of products To Create, Pricing Your Products For Maximum Profits, Selling Your Products, Exactly What Are Consignment Sales, Approaching Storeowners With Your Products, Closing The Deal, Providing Pleasing Products, A Few Helpful Tips, Getting Your Projects Published,A Few Words About Copyrights, Submitting Your Projects To Magazines, Self-Publishing Your Designs, Seeing Things With New Eyes, Simple Ways To Design Wonderful Gifts, Designing In Crochet , Thinking Tips, A Practice Project, Recommended Resources, Product Decisions, Creating Your Catalogs, Distributing Your Catalogs, The Perfect Catalog
Recruiting Made Fun, Hosting Home Parties, Online Distributors.

Here are the patterns in the 20 Vintage Crochet Patterns eBook;  Crochet Work Bag, Dahlia Bedspread, Juanita Doll, Sunlight Hat, Shell Motif, Beaded Doily, Follow Your Fancy Bag, Wedding Ring Bedspread, Oval Shell Bag, Sweet Sue Snood, Rose Ruffled Centerpiece, Lacy Crochet Baby Set, Fringed Tiebacks, Flower Holder And Candlesticks, Crocheted Flower Picture, Work Basket, Wrought Iron Wall Plaques, Sewing Susan, Vintage Purse, Heart Sachet.

When you purchase these eBook you also receive free resell and distribution rights so you can resell the books with the crafts you make.

I am selling the eBooks at the very reasonable price of R50 for the lot. Where else can you get a book like this for R10?). You can easily resell them for much more!  Email me for payment details. Once payment has been received I will email you the books so you can start at once!

Another Wacky Sarmie

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

Following from Ben Jewett, head chef Flanagans Irish Bar BERMUDA

1 egg
2 slices of your favourite bread
chopped parsley
cracked pepper
roasted peppers
cheddar cheese
sliced tomato
pesto sauce
hot sauce (tobasco or hotter)

1. mayonnaise hot sauce mix together, spread on bread place on cheese, tomato, roasted peppers, ham, then in reverse, peppers, tomatoes, cheese. Top with second slice of bread.
2. whisk egg ,add pesto sauce chopped parsley, cracked pepper.
3. dip the sandwich in the egg both sides and then place in a hot frying pan with a touch of oil
4. brown both sides and serve hot ...

The first 25 of.....

The 100 Smartest Diet Tips Ever

Got a diet dilemma? Ask a true diet pro: an RD, or registered dietitian. Her job is turning complex nutrition
research into doable plans for real people. Courtesy of the American Dietetic Association (ADA), we took our readers' eleven toughest diet problems and ran them by some of the top dieticians in the US: RDs who, in addition to their private careers, serve as media spokespersons or heads of specialty practice groups for the ADA.

Here's what they told us, in their own words. These tips are solid gold, learned from successful experience with thousands of clients. Some tips are new. Some you've heard before, but they're repeated because they work.

This treasure trove of RD wisdom could change your life, starting today.

I can only handle one diet change right now. What should I do?

Add just one fruit or veggie serving daily. Get comfortable with that, then add an extra serving until you reach 8 to 10 a day.

Eat at least two servings of a fruit or veggie at every meal.

Resolve never to supersize your food portions -- unless you want to supersize your clothes.

Make eating purposeful, not mindless. Whenever you put food in your mouth, peel it, unwrap it, plate it and sit.
Engage all of the senses in the pleasure of nourishing your body.

Start eating a big breakfast. It helps you eat fewer total calories throughout the day.

Make sure your plate is half veggies and/or fruit at both lunch and dinner.

Are there any easy tricks to help me cut calories?

Eating out? Halve it, and bag the rest. A typical restaurant entree has 1,000 to 2,000 calories, not even counting the
bread, appetizer, beverage and dessert.

When dining out, make it automatic: Order one dessert to share.

Use a salad plate instead of a dinner plate.

See what you eat. Plate your food instead of eating out of the jar or bag.

Eat the low-cal items on your plate first, then graduate. Start with salads, veggies and broth soups, and eat meats and starches last. By the time you get to them, you'll be full enough to be content with smaller portions of the high-calorie choices.

Instead of whole milk, switch to 1 percent. If you drink one 8-oz glass a day, you'll lose 5 lb in a year.

Juice has as many calories, ounce for ounce, as soda. Set a limit of one 8-oz glass of fruit juice a day.

Get calories from foods you chew, not beverages. Have fresh fruit instead of fruit juice.

Keep a food journal. It really works wonders.

Follow the Chinese saying: "Eat until you are eight-tenths full."

Use mustard instead of mayo.

Eat more soup. The non creamy ones are filling but low-cal.

Cut back on or cut out caloric drinks such as soda, sweet tea, lemonade, etc. People have lost weight by making just this one change. If you have a 20-oz bottle of Coca-Cola every day, switch to Diet Coke. You should lose 25 lb in a year.

Take your lunch to work.

Sit when you eat.

Dilute juice with water.

Have mostly veggies for lunch.

Eat at home.

Limit alcohol to weekends.

The next 25 in the next issue

A Blast From The Past

Source: Sunday Times

1938: Germany occupies Austria, Superman debits in Action Comics, the centenary of the Battle of Blood River is celebrated and the foundation of the Voortrekker Monument is laid, the VW beetle goes into production.

For a detailed description with pictures of the Battle of Blood River on 16 December 1838, click here 

Really, really old recipe

This dates from the 1890's and is from a book titled  Cape Cookery, Simple Yet Distinctive.

Brandied Figs

Take the figs before they are quite ripe. Peel them and put them in a jar, sprinkling sugar between each layer, ½ lb sugar to 1 lb of fruit. Fill up the jar with brandy and set it in a saucepan of water on the fire till the brandy begins to simmer. Take out the figs and put them into glass jars. Stir up the sugar in the brandy till it is all dissolved. Pour the syrup over the figs and screw on the tops.

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.

Honey Badger and Friends


The Honey badger or ratel is a tenacious small carnivore that has a reputation for being, pound for pound, Africa's most fearless animal despite its small size. It is even listed as the "most fearless animal in the world" in the 2002 Guinness Book of Records. Tales of their fondness for honey and the foraging association between the Greater Honeyguide and honey badgers have reached almost legendary proportions. Despite the wealth of fireside stories and folklore that surround them and their extremely wide distribution, honey badgers are still relatively unknown and seldom seen. Recently (1996-1999) a field study of honey badgers in South Africa revealed more in depth information on their social life, breeding and feeding behaviour, and dispelled some of the myths. Work on honey badgers continues with current projects including genetic research and the "Badger-friendly" initiative.
More than five species of birds have been recorded feeding in association with the honey badger. The most regularly documented of these is the relationship between the pale chanting-goshawk (Melierax canorus) and badgers.

Pale Chanting Goshawk,
Since the early 1970’s various observations of pale chanting- goshawks foraging alongside honey badgers have been made in Kenya, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, particularly the Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park. During the recently completed 42 months of badger research in the Kalahari this fascinating association was recorded on a regular basis. As many as six goshawks were seen following a single badger . In the Kalahari this behaviour can best be seen during the dry winter months when badgers spend much of the day foraging. The badgers are powerful and prolific diggers and repeatedly flush rodents and reptiles from their underground refuges, ideal prey for the goshawks.

In addition to badgers pale chanting-goshawks have also been recorded following slender mongoose, Galerella sanguinea and snakes in what appear to be similar associations. The dark chanting goshawk Melierax metabates has been observed following Ground hornbills, Bucorvus leadbeateri.

In addition we are aware of two anecdotal observations of the dark chanting-goshawk Melierax metabates (P.Chadwick pers. comm. & C. Roche, pers comm.) following badgers in more wooded, mesic habitats in the lowveld of South Africa

Greater Honeyguide
The relationship involving the badger and honey guide is often cited as example of mutualism between a bird and a mammal. Honeyguides and badgers have been observed together on a number of occasions but such an association is, however , disputed by some ornithologists. The research in the Kalahari (where the greater honeyguide does not occur) suggests that elements of both arguments are incorrect, simply because so little information has been available on badger behaviour in the wild; for instance, badgers are competent tree climbers and do break into bee hives during the day. Until a study is conducted where both species co-exist, this issue will remain unresolved.

Spotted Eagle-owl
Spotted eagle-owls have been recorded following honey badgers in the Kalahari. This association was first reported by P Steyn in 1982 who states that the eagle-owl was seen in the company of a Pale chanting-goshawk in broad daylight as they followed a badger. On a number of occasions eagle-owls were recorded following badgers at night by K & C Begg, during their study in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.

Badgers and other mammals
African wildcat, Ethiopian wolves, and black-backed jackals have all been observed following honey badgers during both the day and the night. In the Kalahari, black-backed jackals (Canis mesomelas) are frequently seen following badgers whilst they foraged. Similar to the goshawks, jackals wait to pounce or strike on fleeing rodents and reptiles that have been flushed by the badger’s considerable digging efforts. The relatively slow badger is powerless to prevent these hangers-on and seems to gain no advantage from their company. This relationship changes during the jackal breeding season when pups are potential prey of honey badgers, and during this time jackals chase and nip at badgers that come close to their den. Likewise when badgers have a young cub in the den, jackals are chased off as they are known to taken badger cubs.


Looking for Gift Ideas?

Do you have family and friends all over the world? Does it cost you a fortune to buy and mail gifts to all of them? Why not buy one Recipe eBook and email it to everyone! Just think about the savings on postage! For my selection of eBooks (and CD's) just click here.

Afrikaans Newsletter

Subscribe to my Afrikaans newsletter
Potjiekos recipe

On Saturday 2nd December, the 5th annual Central Tool Hire/Victorian Times (Fish Hoek) Potjies for Progress competition was held.

The event was very well attended and a lot of money was raised for the Joshua Flood-Rowley Trust. This was set up when 18yr old Joshua fell from 4m out of a tree. He sustained severe and possibly permanent spinal injuries.

The eventual winners were Bumper and Rory with a delicious beef fillet pot, followed by Martin and Rhona with a Springbok and veg potjie and third was Anton with his Boerwewors creation.
The wind played havoc with the gas burners but the contestants did very well to get their food cooked within the allocated times.

A great day was had by all and we expect an even better event next year.

Here is Martin's second placed recipe for his Springbok and Veg potjie

I boiled up a cup of red wine vinegar, 2 cups red wine,1 cup of chopped leeks, 1 cup chopped carrots, 1 teaspoon all spice. Let cool then strain. Add 2 tbl spoons sugar and onother cup red wine vinegar. Add 250 grams choped pork spek or pork belly strips. Fry until crisp then remove. Chop up 2 cups mushrooms and fry up with 2 cups whole peeled baby onions in pot with a little oil. Remove onions and mushrooms and add meat +- 1 kg cubed venison. Once meat is browned add all the ingredients back to pot with meat, add salt and pepper to taste then cover and cook for 2 -3 hours (depending on the cut of meat) till tender. Just before serving add Maizena to thicken. I think that is what I did but every time I do on I change it slightly but the basic recipe is here.
Smile a While

I dialled a number and got the following recording: "I am not available right now, but thank you for caring enough to call. I am making some changes in my life. Please leave a message after the beep. If I do not return your call, you are one of the changes."

My wife and I had words, but I didn't get to use mine.

Frustration is trying to find your glasses without your glasses.

Blessed are those who can give without remembering

The irony of life is that, by the time you're old enough to know your way around, you're not going anywhere.

God made man before woman so as to give him time to think of an answer for her first question.

I was always taught to respect my elders,

Every morning is the dawn of a new error.

A son asked his mother the following question:

"Mum, why are wedding dresses white?"

The mother looks at her son and replies, "Son, this shows your friends and relatives that your bride is pure."

The son thanks his Mum and goes off to double-check this with his father.

"Dad, why are wedding dresses white?"

The father looks at his son in surprise and says, "Son, all household appliances come in white."

JAMES (age 4) was listening to a Bible story. His dad read: "The man named Lot was warned to take his wife and flee out of the city but his wife looked back and was turned to salt.
Concerned, James asked: "What happened to the flea?"

The Herb Section

Check out more herbs on my Herb page.


The name bulbinella is often applied incorrectly to members of this large group of plants. There are several varieties, some with long, thin dark green leaves, and others with pale leaves. The most common one has yellow flowers, and very juicy leaves.
Bulbinella grows very quickly and easily. It is a very hardy plant, and can be planted almost anywhere, but likes full sun and the odd spadeful of compost.
Simply pull off a piece of an old plant, stick it in the ground and you will soon have a new plant. Bulbinella grows to a height of about 15cm, so will grow easily in a pot on a veranda.

Bulbinella is wonderful in a garden as it grows and flowers all year round. Being a succulent, it can withstand frost, drought, strong winds and pollution.

Extracts of bulbinella juice make an excellent bases for all skin creams.
It is known as the indigenous Aloe vera, and can be used in similar ways.

Bulbinella is described as a natural medicine chest because it is so versatile.
Apply the freshly squeezed juice from the leaves to burns, blisters, rashes, insect bites, itchy patches, eczema, cracked lips, fever blisters, cold sores, pimples, mouth ulcers, cracked skin, bee and wasp stings, and sores and rashes on animals.
South African Languages

South Africa is a multilingual country. Besides the 11 officially recognised languages, scores of others - African, European, Asian and more - are spoken here, as the country lies at the crossroads of southern Africa.
The country's Constitution guarantees equal status to 11 official languages to cater for the country's diverse peoples and their cultures. These are: Afrikaans, English, isiNdebele, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, siSwati, Tshivenda, Xitsonga.

In each issue I will feature one of the languages. The second language I am featuring is English:

South Africa's second-largest language, isiXhosa is also known as the Southern or Cape Nguni, and is closely related to isiZulu, the most common home language in the country. It is spoken mainly in the former Transkei, Ciskei and Eastern Cape regions.
IsiXhosa is one of the country's four Nguni languages. It too is a tonal language, governed by the noun, which dominates the sentence.
Famous Xhosa South Africans include former President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Nelson Mandela, and current President Thabo Mbeki.
• Home language to: 17.6% of the population
• Family: Bantu Language Family
• Varieties: The most distinct variety is isiMpondo (isiNdrondroza). Other dialects include Thembu, Bomvana, Mpondimise, Rharhabe, Gcaleka, Xesibe, Bhaca, Cele, Hlubi, Ntlangwini, Ngqika, Mfengu

Go to Source:
The all-in-one official guide
and web portal to South Africa.
Inspirational Story

"Information Please"

When I was very young, my father had one of the first telephones in our neighborhood.

I remember well, the polished old case fastened to the wall and the shiny receiver on the side of the box. I was too little to reach the telephone but used to listen with fascination when my mother would talk to it.

Then I discovered that somewhere inside the wonderful device lived an amazing person and her name was "Information Please" and there was nothing she did not know.

"Information Please" could supply anybody's number and the correct time.

My first personal experience with this genie-in-a-bottle came one day while my mother was visiting a neighbor.

Amusing myself at the tool bench in the basement, I whacked my finger with a hammer. The pain was terrible but there didn't seem to be any reason in crying because there was no one home to give me sympathy.

I walked around the house sucking my throbbing finger, finally arriving at the stairway. The telephone!

Quickly, I ran for the footstool in the parlor and held it to my ear.

"Information Please," I said into the mouthpiece just above my head. A click or two and a small clear voice spoke into my ear.


"I hurt my finger," I wailed into the phone. The tears came readily enough now that I had an audience.

"Isn't your mother home?" came the question.

"Nobody's home but me," I blubbered.

"Are you bleeding?" the voice asked.

"No," I replied. "I hit my finger with a hammer and it hurts."

"Can you open your icebox?" she asked. I said I could.

"Then chip off a piece of ice and hold it to your finger," said the voice.

After that, I called "Information Please" for everything.

I asked her for help with my geography and she told me where Philadelphia was. She helped me with my math. She told me that my pet chipmunk, which I had caught in the park just the day before, would eat fruit and nuts.

Then there was the time Petey, our pet canary died. I called "Information Please" and told her the sad story.

She listened, then said the usual thing grown ups say to soothe a child. But, I was inconsolable.

I asked her, "Why is it that birds should sing so beautifully and bring joy to all families, only to end up as a heap of feathers on the bottom of a cage?"

She must have sensed my deep concern, for she said quietly, "You must remember that there are other worlds to sing in."

Somehow, I felt better.

Another day I was on the telephone. "Information Please."

"Information," said the now familiar voice.

"How do you spell fix?" I asked.

All this took place in a small town in the Pacific Northwest. When I was nine years old, we moved across the country to Boston. I missed my friend very much. "Information Please" belonged in that old wooden box back home and somehow I never thought of trying the tall, new shiny phone that sat on the table in the hall.

As I grew into my teens, the memories of those childhood conversations never really left me. Often in moments of doubt and perplexity, I would recall the serene sense of security I had then.

I appreciated now how patient, understanding, and kind she was to have spent her time on a little boy.

A few years later, on my way west to college, my plane put down in Seattle. I had about half-an-hour or so between planes. I spent 15 minutes or so on the phone with my sister who lived there now.

Then, without thinking about what I was doing, I dialed my hometown operator and said, "Information Please."

Miraculously, I heard the small clear voice I knew so well.


I hadn't planned this, but I heard myself saying, "Could you please tell me how to spell fix?"

There was a long pause.

Then came the soft spoken answer, "I guess your finger must be healed by now."

I laughed, "So it's really still you," I said. "I wonder if you have any idea how much you meant to me during that time?"

"I wonder," she said, "if you know how much your calls meant to me. I never had any children and I used to look forward to your calls."

I told her how often I had thought of her over the years and asked if I could call her again when I came back to visit my sister.

"Please do," she said. "Just ask for Sally."

Three months later, I was back in Seattle.

A different voice answered,

"Information." I asked for Sally.

"Are you a friend?" she said.

"Yes, a very old friend," I answered.

"I'm sorry to have to tell you this," she said. "Sally had been working part time in the last few years because she was sick.

She died five weeks ago."

Before I could hang up she said, "Wait a minute. Are you Paul?"


"Well, Sally left a message for you. She wrote it down in case you called when she was too sick to work.

Let me read it to you." The note said,

"Tell him I still say there are other worlds to sing in. He'll know what I mean."

I thanked her and hung up. I knew what Sally meant.

Never underestimate the impression you make on others.

And here is a Christmas story by Louisa:

"What Does Joe Do, Nanny?"

by Louisa Godissart McQuillen

November 18 was cold and snowy. It also was my daughter Erin's birthday and her husband Tim was taking her to the Penn State evening football game at nearby Beaver Stadium to celebrate. They left me, "Nanny," in charge of my three-year-old grandson. I bundled JP into his warm jacket and we went "Christmas-looking."

Soon, we were standing in front of Philipsburg's True Value hardware store, gazing at an almost life-size Nativity display through the showcase windows. Mary, Joseph, and the Christ Child looked real enough to speak as we solemnly observed them from the opposite side of the huge glass. They seemed to overwhelm JP, who had seen
only miniature versions of the familiar Christmas scene. He stared at the Babe for a moment, and then started firing questions at me:
"Who's that, Nanny?"
I leaned down to his level and looked him in the eye.
"Why, that's Baby Jesus," I said. "Don't you remember?" He looked at the young woman kneeling before the manger.
"Who's that one?" he wanted to know. Now I was a bit amused.
". . . That's Mary, Jesus' mommy."
JP looked higher. His eyes studied the quiet scene and then paused on the bearded face of the father figure, Joseph. Then he slowly looked down, down, down-past the man's walking staff, past his long brown robe-clear down to his sandaled feet.
JP stood quietly, his mittened hands hanging limply at his sides. Hmmm, I thought, he might need some help here.
". . . And that's Joseph, Jesus' daddy!" I said firmly, knowing that I had mentioned the entire family now, and that should take care of any curiosity this child had left!
JP seemed to be thoughtful as he stared up at the tall figure standing protectively over his family. Suddenly he looked up at me, and in a soft voice he asked:
"What does Joe do?"
"What?" I asked, startled by his informal naming of Mary's husband. I wasn't sure I had heard him right!
"What?" I dumbly repeated.
"What does Joe do, Nanny?"
I laughed, but JP was serious. Perhaps he was comparing Jesus' earthly father with his own. JP's daddy wears a gun and holster, however, not a hiking staff. Tim is a Pennsylvania state policeman, whose gray uniform and tall black boots must have seemed far removed from Joseph's flowing robes and sandaled feet!

I thought about the words that sprang from an inquisitive three year old's heart: "What does Joe do, Nanny?" JP had asked.

I knew God chose Joseph to be His Son Jesus' stepfather. Yet I wondered if this biblical explanation might be difficult for a small child to grasp. So standing in front of the store's showcase window that cold night, I told JP in
simple terms how "Joe" fit into the Christmas story.

His question was as old as Mary and Joseph themselves, and perhaps as confusing to them back then as it was to JP this snowy winter night. Besides the fact that family lineage gave him proper credentials, just what did Joe do?

Could it simply be spiritual obedience that made him stand head and shoulders above other men in God's sight? God knew Joseph's heart. The carpenter was an honest, gentle, and mature man who would love and care for Mary and the child. He was trustworthy and faithful. Above all, he deeply loved God.

Joseph could have ignored the voice urging him to marry the young girl. He could also have talked himself out of the marriage, since his friends and neighbors all knew Mary's condition, and no doubt questioned his intent to marry her.

What would we have said if Joseph was our friend and told us his intended wife carried another's child? Perhaps they said it too:

"Surely you jest, Joe! Wake up and smell the coffee, man!"

Joseph must have been confused. Surely he asked himself many times: How could Mary be a virgin? Regardless, he obeyed when the angel directed him to marry her. Obeying fully, "Joseph and Mary had no sexual union until after the Child was born" (see Matthew 1:25, NIV).

Mary's beloved was so tuned in to God's voice that he later sensed imminent danger. He rushed his little family into Egypt, where they lived until it was safe to return home.

Time after time Joseph followed God's leading, straight and true, like an arrow follows an unseen path from the bow that releases it. In fact, that's how I answered JP's question:

"What does Joe do, JP? He obeys God. Joe's like a straight arrow, and we all should try to be more like him!"

My answer must have satisfied the little guy. He stuffed one hand deep into his jacket pocket. With the other, he led me, grinning, into the warmth of the store to look at the toys.

Recipe Requests

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

Add your suggestions to my Elephant Stew and Wacky Sarmies recipes.
Featured Website

Every issue I feature an interesting website with South African links.

Getting There
South African accommodation listings

The Recipes

Christmas chocolate trifle

6 egg yolks
45 ml sugar
750 ml milk, warmed
250 g plain bought sponge cake (or make your own chocolate hot milk sponge cake)
820 g stoned black cherries
60 ml Kirsch or a dash almond essence
125 g good-quality chocolate
375 ml cream, well chilled
5 ml vanilla essence
15 ml sugar
15 g chocolate, melted
45 ml almonds, lightly toasted in a hot pan

Whisk egg yolks with sugar, then add to warm milk, whisking constantly. Cook over low heat, stirring until custard coats back of spoon. Strain. Place a layer of crumbled sponge cake in a glass bowl. Drain cherries and scatter half over sponge, then sprinkle a little cherry canning juice and Kirsch over. Cover with a layer of custard, remaining sponge, remaining cherries and a little more custard. (The secret of a good trifle is to pour custard that's still hot over sponge.) Melt first quantity of chocolate and streak over custard, chill. Whip chilled cream with vanilla essence and sugar until soft peaks form. Spread a thin layer over trifle. Streak remaining melted chocolate over trifle to create a marbled effect. Pipe rosettes of remaining whipped cream on top and add toasted almonds.

Christmas loaf

450 g cake flour
100 g dried fruitcake mix
2 ml salt
125 g castor sugar
10 g instant yeast
125 g margarine
225 ml milk
2 extra-large eggs, beaten
100 g marzipan, diced

Preheat the oven to 180 ºC (350 ºF). Spray two small loaf tins with non-stick spray. Sprinkle half the cake flour over the dried fruitcake mix, set aside. Sift remaining cake flour, salt and castor sugar together in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle the instant yeast on top. Melt margarine and add milk, heating slowly if necessary, until mixture is lukewarm. Pour lukewarm milk mixture over dry ingredients and mix well. Add eggs and knead well for five minutes until dough is smooth. The dough will however, still be sticky. Add fruitcake mix and diced marzipan and knead into mixture. Mix well, cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for about 10 minutes to rest. Mix again, place in prepared tins, cover with plastic and leave to rise for 40 minutes or until doubled in bulk. Remove plastic wrap and bake for about 35-40 minutes or until done in the preheated oven. Cool slightly in the tins before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Serve with butter. Makes two small loaves.

Christmas mince tart

300 g cake flour
150 g unsalted butter, cubed
75 ml sugar
2 extra-large egg yolks
45 ml ice-cold water
500 g apples
500 g currants
500 g seedless raisins
250 g sultanas
100 g candied peel
3 leons, zest and juice
200 g blanched almonds
500 g sugar
60 ml brandy

To make the pastry, combine flour, butter and sugar in a food processor until well-mixed.
Add egg yolks and process in small bursts until mixture appears crumbly, adding water a little at a time.
As the 'crumbs' get larger, turn the motor off anc check that the pastry will come together when pressed between your fingers.
Turn mixture out onto a clean working surface and work very gently into a ball.
Chill in the refrigerator.
Wash fruit and peel and core apples.
Coarsely chop almonds.
Put apples, fruit lemon zest and candied peel through a mincer and put into a bowl.
Add almonds, lemon juice, sugar and brandy and mix well.
Cover and leave to stand for 1 to 2 days, stirring well from time to time.
Cover and refrigerate until needed.
To make tart, roll out half the pastry and line a 20 cm loose-bottomed tart pan.
Fill with fruit mincemeat.
Roll out other half of pstry to make a lid.
Cut out a few star shapes from the lid, then cover the mincemeat.
Allow to rest for at least 30 minutes before baking.
Preheat oven to 180 °C and place tart in centre of oven.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until pastry is golden.
Allow to cool completely.
Before serving, dust top with icing sugar, but cover the star shapes so they remain sugar free.

Christmas trifle

400 g strawberries
30 ml brandy
80 g port wine jelly powder
1 large OR 2 small jam rolls, cut into 1 cm thick slices
80 ml orange juice
30 ml lemon juice
15 ml brandy
100 g pecan nuts, chopped
825 g peach slices, drained
785 g pineapple chunks, drained
500 ml custard
3 fresh granadillas, pulp removed (OR 1 x 115 g can granadilla pulp)
500 ml cream, stiffly beaten

Rinse and hull the strawberries and pour over the 30 ml (2 T) brandy. Leave until needed. Dissolve the port wine jelly in 250 ml (1 c) boiling water, stirring until dissolved. Add 250 ml (1 c) cold water and stir. Leave in the fridge until set. Arrange the jam roll slices in the bottom and along the sides of a glass bowl. Mix the orange juice, lemon juice and 15 ml (1 T) brandy. Pour over the cake. Sprinkle with chopped nuts. Arrange the peach slices and pineapple chunks on top. Pour the custard over and chill. Cut the set jelly in squares and sprinkle on top of the custard. Pour over the granadilla pulp. Spoon the whipped cream into a piping bag and decorate the trifle with cream rosettes. Arrange the soaked strawberries between the cream rosettes. Chill until needed. Serves 10.

Christmas shortcake

240 g cake flour
50 g cornflour
2 ml salt
5 ml baking powder
200 g soft butter
1 extra-large egg, whisked
5 ml brandy
80 g castor sugar
150 g dried fruit cake mix
60 ml glacé cherries, coarsely chopped
50 ml preserved ginger, coarsely chopped
25 ml butter
1 ml salt
75 ml soft brown sugar
2 ml ground ginger
2 ml ground cinnamon
25 ml cherry liqueur
10 ml Van der Hum liqueur
40 g walnuts, coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 180 ºC (350 ºF). Grease a 24 cm cake tin. Sift together the cake flour, cornflour, salt and baking powder. Cream the butter and egg and add the brandy and sugar. Beat until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and mix well. Divide the dough in half and on a lightly floured surface roll into two rounds 24 cm in diameter Place one of the rounds in the tin. Place all the fruit, butter, brown sugar and seasonings in a saucepan. Mix well and bring to the boil. Add the liqueurs and simmer for about 3 minutes, stirring continuously. Remove from the heat and add the nuts. Cool until lukewarm. Spoon the filling over the dough base in the tin and spread evenly. Carefully place the other layer of dough on top and press down gently. Slit the surface of the dough to facilitate dividing the shortake into wedges. Bake for about 30 minutes or until straw-coloured. Cool the cake slightly in the pan before turning out on a wire rack and cutting it into wedges.

Quick Christmas pudding with brandy sauce

250 g fruit mincemeat
60 ml sugar
2 ml salt
2 ml bicarbonate of soda
60 ml dry breadcrumbs
125 ml grated carrots
1 egg
125 ml cake flour
Brandy sauce
200 ml sugar
125 ml butter
4 egg yolks
250 ml whipped cream
45 ml brandy

Mix all ingredients well, adding a little milk if mixture is too dry.
Turn into a greased pudding basin or 6 individual moulds. Cover with greased foil and secure with a string.
Steam for 3 hours in a tightly covered saucepan of boiling water that comes halfway up the sides of the pudding basin. If using individual moulds, cook in a shallow saucepan of water coming halfway up the sides and reduce cooking time to 1-1/2 hours.

Brandy sauce
Cream sugar and butter. Add egg yolks and cream and beat well. Mixture may curdle, but will become smooth when cooked.
Place in top of double boiler and cook over boiling water, stirring constantly until thickened. Do not boil.
Stir in brandy and serve hot or cold.

Swedish Christmas ham

3 kg pickled leg of pork
30 g sugar
1 bay leaf
5 ml pickling spice
1 egg
30 ml prepared mustard
15 ml sugar
75 ml plain breadcrumbs

Place pork in large saucepan and add water to almost cover leg. Add remaining ingredients and bring to boil. Boil gently for 30 minutes per 500 g, or until meat begins to come away from bone. Remove from saucepan and peel away skin. Preheat oven to 220 ºC. GLAZE: Mix egg, mustard and sugar and spread over pork. Sprinkle over breadcrumbs and bake for 10 minutes or until brown. Serve hot or cold.

Subscribe / Unsubscribe / Contact

To subscribe to this newsletter and view previous newsletters, , click here, to subscribe to my Afrikaans newsletter, click here.

To unsubscribe, send me an email giving your name and the email address you want to unsubscribe from.

Email me:


Click here now

Click Here Now!

Click Here Now!