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Number 152

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December 15th , 2007


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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 2007. I would like to wish all subscribers well over the Festive Season. Please drive carefully if you are going away! I also want to wish you everything of the best for 2008! May it be a very special year for you and your family.

Just to let everyone know that I reserve the right to use anything that arrives in my email inbox either on my website or in my newsletter, unless it clearly states that I am not allowed to do so.

Christmas in South Africa is round mid summer. Many people spend Christmas day in the open, by the seaside or camping. Lunch then usually consists of cold meats and salads. If you scroll down to the recipe section, I have some really nice salad ideas for you.

The South African Lotto is back online by now. But why not try the UK lottery, the minimum jackpot is 3 million pounds (just more than R40 million!) C'mon, give it a try! Click the UK Lottery banner to the right 

Why not try an online casino?
1. Online casino 2. R120 free! Click here to receive your bonus 3. Sign up and get R120 free Click Here

On being old

The other day a young person asked me how I felt about being old. I was taken aback, for I do not think of myself as old. Upon seeing my reaction, she was immediately embarrassed, but I explained that it was an interesting question, and I would ponder it, and let her know.

Old Age, I decided, is a gift.I am now, probably for the first time in my life, the person I have always wanted to be. Oh, not my body! I sometime despair over my body, the wrinkles, the baggy eyes, and the sagging butt. And often I am taken aback by that old person that lives in my mirror (who looks like my mother!), but I don't agonize over those things for long.

I would never trade my amazing friends, my wonderful life, my loving family for less gray hair or a flatter belly. As I've aged, I've become more kind to myself, and less critical of myself. I've become my own friend. I don't chide myself for eating that extra cookie, or for not making my bed, or for buying that silly cement gecko that I didn't need, but looks so avante garde on my patio. I am entitled to a treat, to be messy, to be extravagant.

I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging.

Whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4 AM and sleep until noon? I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 60&70's, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love ... I will.

I will walk the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the jet set.

They, too, will get old.

I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And I eventually remember the important things.

Sure, over the years my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when somebody's beloved pet gets hit by a car? But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect.

I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face. So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver.

As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don't question myself anymore. I've even earned the right to be wrong.

So, to answer your question, I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day. (If I feel like it)

Why men are happy people

Men Are Just Happier People -- What do you expect from such simple creatures? Your last name stays put. The garage is all yours. Wedding plans take care of themselves. Chocolate is just another snack. You can be President. You can never be pregnant. You can wear a white T-shirt to a water park. You can wear NO shirt to a water park. Car mechanics tell you the truth. The world is your urinal. You never have to drive to another gas station restroom because this one is just too icky. You don't have to stop and think of which way to turn a nut on a bolt. Same work, more pay.

Wrinkles add character. Wedding dress - $5000. Tux rental - $100. People never stare at your chest when you're talking to them. New shoes don't cut, blister, or mangle your feet. One mood all the time! Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat. You know stuff about tanks. A five-day vacation requires only one suitcase. You can open all your own jars. You get extra credit for the slightest act of thoughtfulness. If someone forgets to invite you, he or she can still be your friend.

Your underwear is $8.95 for a three-pack. Three pairs of shoes are more than enough. You almost never have strap problems in public. You are unable to see wrinkles in your clothes. Everything on your face stays its original color. The same hairstyle lasts for years, maybe decades. You only have to shave your face and neck.

You can play with toys all your life. One wallet and one pair of shoes -- one color for all seasons. You can wear shorts no matter how your legs look. You can "do" your nails with a pocket knife. You have freedom of choice concerning growing a mustache. You can do Christmas shopping for 25 relatives on December 24 in 25 minutes. No wonder men are happier.

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

Braai marinades

I'm always amazed at how people go about preparing their marinades for the week end braai-meat without really giving any thought to what the hell they're doing. The most popular technique seems to be a bit like Ready Steady Cook - open the cupboard , see what you've been given and whack the whole lot into the blender and give it a whizz. It's bound to turn out all right or does it ? Unfortunately what you're going to end up with is a sweet, sickly sauce which will be only marginally less disgusting than what you can buy from your local supermarket. If you really want flavour and not sugar in your marinade then sit down and think about it for a moment.
Usually people use store cupboard staples like black peppercorns, chilli flakes and other whole spices probably thinking to themselves, well if I can see it in the marinade then it's obviously adding flavour - wrong ! Flavour must be released from herbs and spices and the basic thing to remember is that the flavour is contained in the essential oils. With fresh herbs and spices it's easy to get at the flavour, simply whack with a wooden rolling pin et voila ! With dry spices it's a little bit more complicated, oil is the operative word and because it is insoluble in water or other liquids so it stands to reason that the way to get the flavour out is in an oil solution.Simply heat your spices in a little olive oil to about 92 C, hot enough to release those essential oils but not hot enought to fry or burn the spices. Add your spices to cold or room temperature oil and you'll be waiting till the cows come home to extract any flavour. Allow the heated oil and spices to cool before adding to your marinade and you'll be amazed at the flavourful results.


After the festivities are over, you might just need this. Right click here to download.

One Ticket is All It Takes

The UK Lottery never pays less than £3 million every Wednesday and Saturday (± R43 million) with frequent rollovers. Click here to play! This past weekend one lucky winner walked away with just under 5 million pounds, that's about R75,000,000. Now that's a whole lot of zero's. You can't win it if you aren't in it!

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. (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. 

An alltime favourite of mine.....


875ml milk
60g butter
750ml stale bread cubes
125ml sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
125ml sherry
5ml ground cinnamon
5ml grated nutmeg
250ml seedless raisins
125ml chopped, mixed candied peel

1. Heat milk, add butter and pour hot liquid over bread cubes - soak for 5 minutes
2. Stir in sugar, eggs, sherry and spices
3. Add raisins and peel and put into a buttered ovenproof dish
4. Set dish in a roasting pan of hot water and bake at 190°C for 1 hour or until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean

Another Wacky Sarmie

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

My all-time favourite is a roasted chicken, sousboontjies and pineapple sarmie, on any type of bread. Butter your bread, reheat the chicken in the microwave (the skin must still be crispy though!) and spread sousboontjies, chicken, pineapple and some more sousboontjies before stuffing your stomach.

Claudine van Wyk

A Blast From The Past

Source: Sunday Times

1955: The Freedom Charter is adopted by the Congress of the People, the forced removal of Sophiatown residents begins. Albert Einstein dies. Bill Haley and the Comets usher in the Rock n Roll era. The first edition of Guinness Book of Records is published. The first franchised McDonalds opens. 86 people die in a crash during the Le Mans race 

Really, really old recipe

This dates from the late 1800's

Stewed snoek
Stew some sorrel in 2 pints of meat stock. Strain it and put to the stock for every 1 lb. of fish:
1 oz. of butter
2 anchovies or some anchovy sauce
a small blade of mace
some lemon peel
pepper and salt

Put in the fish and stew gently, thicken with biscuit powder.

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.

Did you know that the Rhinoceros beetle can support 850 times its own weight on its back?

Did you know that malaria parasites carried by mosquitos have been responsible for approximately half of all human deaths since stone age, excluding wars and accidents?

Did you know that dung beetles carry tiny mites in their stomachs which eat fly eggs, thereby reducing the number of flies?

Afrikaans Newsletter

Subscribe to my Afrikaans newsletter . Visit my Afrikaans website
Potjiekos recipe

Another new feature, from now on I will feature a potjie recipe with each newsletter. For those of you who are not familiar with a potjie (cast iron three legged pot) you may use a dutch oven.

Shank and potato potjie

1.50 kg lamb shanks
5 ml salt
5 ml black pepper
1 onion, finely sliced
15 ml olive oil
15 ml balsamic vinegar
5 ml lemon and herb spice
5 ml indian potjiekos spices
3 tomatoes, peeled and diced
50 ml boiling water or stock
500 g baby potatoes, in jackets or peeled
10 baby marrows, sliced
10 patty pans, halved
500 g fresh mushrooms, halved or sliced

Season the shanks lightly with salt and pepper and brown a few at a time in a heated pot until browned all over.
Remove the shanks and sauté the onion in a little olive oil until soft.
Add the vinegar and stir through. Add all the spices and stir-fry lightly. Add the tomatoes and mix through.
Return the shanks to the pot, lower the heat, add a little boiling water or stock and simmer until the shanks are done.
Add the baby potatoes after simmering for half an hour.
Simmer until the potatoes are almost soft and add the rest of the vegetables and heat until they're just done but still crisp.
Season with salt and pepper to taste and another sprinkle of balsamic vinegar if you like.

Smile a While

Patient Information
A woman called a local hospital. "Hello," she said. "I'd like to talk with the person who gives the information regarding your patients. I'd like to find out if the patient is getting better, doing as expected or getting worse."
The voice on the other end of the line said, "What is the patient's name and room number?"
"Sarah Wells in Room 302," the woman answered.
"I will connect you with the nursing station."
"3-A Nursing Station. How can I help You?"
"I would like to know the condition of Sarah Wells in Room 302."
"Just a moment. Let me look at her records. Oh, yes. Mrs. Wells is doing very well. In fact, she's had two full meals, her blood pressure is fine, her blood work just came back as normal, she's going to be taken off the heart monitor in a couple of hours and, if she continues this improvement, Dr. Murphy is going to send her home Tuesday at noon."
"Thank Goodness!" the woman said. "That's wonderful! Oh! That's fantastic, that's wonderful news!"
The nurse said, "From your enthusiasm, I take it you must be a family member or a very close friend!"
"Not exactly," the woman said. "I'm Sarah Wells in 302! Nobody here tells me anything."


Cinnamon, Latin name Cinnamomum zeylanicum, was used in ancient Egypt for embalming. In ancient times, Cinnamon was added to food to prevent spoiling. During the Bubonic Plague, sponges were soaked in Cinnamon & Cloves and placed in sick rooms. Cinnamon was the most sought after spice during explorations of the 15th
and 16th centuries. It has also been burned as an incense. The smell of Cinnamon is pleasant, stimulates the senses, yet calms the nerves. It's smell is reputed to attract customers to a place of business.
Cinnamon is also known by the names Cassia, Sweet Wood, and Gui Zhi. The common name Cinnamon encompasses many varieties, including Cinnamomum cassia and Cinamomum saigonicum, which are used interchangeably with Cinnamomum zeylanicum. The parts of the plant used are the inner bark and twigs.
Cinnamons primary properties are antibacterial, antifungal, aphrodisiac, carminative, digestive tonic, diuretic, and stimulant.
The primary known constituents include cinnamaldehyde, gum, tannin, mannitol, coumarins, and essential oils (aldehydes, eugenol, pinene). Cinnamon is generally available as a tea, tincture, and capsules.
Historical culinary uses include apple dishes, baked goods, chocolate, coffee, curries, French toast, eggnog, teas, pickles, puddings, rice dishes, and wine.
Hot apple cider just doesn't taste the same without a Cinnamon stick. And toast, cookies, candies and fruit salads-not to mention cappuccino-all benefit from a generous sprinkling of its sweet powder. But Cinnamon's most popular work isn't as a kitchen spice.
This herb has been used medicinally for thousands of years to fight tooth decay, clear up urinary tract infections and soothe stomach irritation.
Ancient Chinese herbal references cite its uses as early as 2700 BC and Chinese herbalists still recommend it for relieving nausea, fever, diarrhea, and menstrual problems. Modern herbalists disagree on its ability to aid in menstrual difficulties; some think it stimulates uterine contractions, while others believe it calms the
Barking Up the Right Tree:
You won't find a Cinnamon tree in your backyard if you live in the United States. Most Cinnamon comes from Asia and the West Indies. To harvest the spice, collectors strip the aromatic bark form branches of trees no more than 3 years old. These strips are what we know as Cinnamon sticks.
Healing with Cinnamon:
Here's how to put Cinnamon's medicinal powers to work for you.
This fragrant spice:
Fights tooth decay: Several toothpastes are cinnamon-flavored for good reason. "Cinnamon is an antiseptic that helps kill the bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease," says Daniel B. Mowrey, Ph.D., director of the American Phytotherapy Research Laboratory in Salt Lake City and author of The Scientific Validation of Herbal Medicine. Cinnamon also kills many disease causing fungi and viruses. Cinnamon toothpastes can be found at supermarkets, drugstores and health-food stores.
Soothes upset stomach: Like many culinary spices, Cinnamon helps calm the stomach. But a Japanese study of animals revealed that this spice may also help prevent ulcers. To brew a stomach soothing tea, use ½ to ¾ teaspoon of powdered Cinnamon per cup of boiling water. Steep for 10 to 20 minutes. Drink up to three cups
Clears up urinary-tract infections: One German study showed that Cinnamon "suppresses completely" the cause of most urinary-tract infections (Escherichia coli bacteria) and the fungus responsible for vaginal yeast infections (Candida albicans).
Allows diabetics to use less insulin: Some studies have shown that Cinnamon helps people with diabetes metabolize sugar better. In adult-onset (Type II) diabetes, the pancreas produces insulin, but the body can't use it efficiently to break down blood sugar.
Researchers discovered that Cinnamon reduces the amount of insulin necessary for glucose metabolism. "One-eighth of a teaspoon of cinnamon triples insulin efficiency," say James A. Duke, Ph.D., a botanist retired from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and author of The CRC Handbook of Medicinal Herbs.
Dr. Duke suggest that people with adult-onset diabetes discuss Cinnamon's benefits with their doctor. Taking ½ to ¾ teaspoon of ground Cinnamon with each meal may help control blood sugar levels.
Safety Considerations:
The amounts of Cinnamon normally used in food are non-toxic, although some people experience allergic reactions after eating this spice.
Cinnamon oil is a different story. Applied to the skin, it may cause redness and burning. Taken internally, it can cause nausea, vomiting and possibly even kidney damage. Never ingest Cinnamon oil.
Culinary Cinnamon is on the Food and Drug Administration's list of herbs generally regarded as safe. For otherwise healthy non pregnant adults, there's no danger from medicinal doses.
Mouthwash, good for upset stomach. Simmer sticks with cloves for 3 min, add 2 tsp lemon juice, 2 tsp honey, 2 tbsp whisky – as cold medication. Cinnamon is good for yeast infection and athlete’s foot. A 2% solution will kill both of these conditions. Boil 8-10 sticks in 4 cups water, simmer 5 min, steep 45 min, then douche or
apply to athlete’s foot. Cinnamon reduces cancer causing tendencies of many food additives.
A favourite drink of mine at the moment, heat a cup of milk (I use fatfree), sprinkle over some ground cinnamon and sweeten with two low kilojoule sweetener tablets. Stir well and enjoy!-

The FunkyMunky Herb eBook is now available. 48 popular herbs, descriptions and uses with photos. Immediately available, will be emailed to you. Only R50 , send me an email for payment details.
I'm very impressed with what I've read so far. What I really like is that your book is a combination of medicinal and culinary advice, unlike many other herb books I've read.
And the format is great - thanks very much. I have an ambitious project to make a herb garden this year - so your section of herb gardens will come in very handy - Shelagh
Zimbabwe update

I used to have a regular feature on my website that I called the Zimbabwe Letters. sadly my contact "went silent" and I didn't have a source any more. I am looking for another source (any volunteers?).

The following received from Cathy Buckle:

Dear Family and Friends,
It was a rare occasion this week when the electricity happened to come back on at the same time as the main 8 pm evening news on ZBC TV. Normally at this time of the evening the power still hasn't come back on and we are grinding into the 15th or 16th hour of the day without electricity. The headline story and accompanying film clip on the local news was of President Mugabe and his wife at Harare airport preparing to depart for the EU Africa Summit in Portugal. Ministers, security personnel and VIP's were lined up on the tarmac and formed a corridor of smiles and hand shakes and inaudible little comments.

In the same week as our leader and his wife and the official delegation were heading for Europe, Air Zimbabwe announced that one return air fare from Harare to London had increased to 804 million Zimbabwe dollars. To put that price into context is the recently publicised information by the Teachers Union saying that government school teachers presently earn an average salary of just 17 million Zimbabwe dollars a month.

The same week that our President flew to Lisbon, a couple of South African visitors invited me to tea at a local restaurant. I queued at my local bank but was again limited to how much of my own money I could withdraw and was allowed to take just five million dollars. Immediately I spent three million dollars
buying one light bulb and one jar of peanut butter and so with just two million dollars left, I hoped I wasn't paying for tea. At the restaurant three cups of tea, one waffle and one toasted sandwich were ordered. The bill came to 7.2 million dollars.

Back in Portugal President Mugabe and his wife didn't have any waiting around when they landed. They were ringed by security men and hurried out of sight to their hotel. Meanwhile at home in Zimbabwe at least three hundred people stood patiently in a winding line to buy milk from a bulk tanker. Outside the banks the queues went into multiple hundreds and outside a virtually empty supermarket an enormous crowd, uncountable in size, pushed and jostled for a chance to buy a bag of maize meal. The day before a similar desperate queue had resulted in riot police, baton sticks to control the crowd and injuries.

This week as our President and his wife dine with 80 other world leaders in Portugal there are still no staple foods to buy in Zimbabwe's shops. Our schools have just broken up for the Christmas holidays and the search for food and lines to withdraw pathetically small amounts of our own money from the banks are getting longer and more desperate by the day. Roadside vendors are selling pockets of potatoes for 11 million dollars; if you can afford them, it means a gruelling three days of queuing at the bank just to put potatoes on the dinner plate. If you are a government school teacher, they will cost three quarters of your entire monthly salary.

To put these figures into perspective, or perhaps not, this week the Minister of Finance presented a 7,8 quadrillion dollar budget for the coming year. None of us have worked out how many zeroes this is yet and calculators can't help either.

Zimbabweans are facing an extremely hard Christmas this year but as always we look for hope. Many events are drawing closer and all hold the opportunity to bring relief to a battered and beaten country. The summit in Portugal will be followed soon after by the Zanu PF Annual Congress, then the result of talks in South Africa, then the MDC Annual Congress and then, in March next year, Parliamentary and Presidential elections.

I will be taking a short break to draw strength and calculate the quadrillions but wish all Zimbabweans, friends and supporters of the country a peaceful and Happy Christmas. I saw the first crimson Flame Lily of the season in the grass on the roadside this week and it heralds the end of another year and the start of what must surely be a better time for us all. Until my next letter in the New Year,
with love,
Copyright cathy buckle 8 December 2007.
My books: "African Tears" and "Beyond Tears" are available in South Africa
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From ZWNews, To subscribe, please email
This South Africa - interesting facts and information 

The A to Z of South African culture (each newsletter features a letter of the alphabet) see archive

E is for Earth
The rock formations around Barberton in Mpumalanga and Mapungubwe in Limpopo were formed in the earth's kindergarten period, dating back billions of years. The Magaliesberg is said to be the oldest mountain range on earth. The magnificent Drakensberg range of mountains, which runs the length of the country, has been named a Unesco World Heritage site.
And then there's the Vredefort Dome. Two billion years ago a meteorite bigger than Table Mountain hit the earth 100km southwest of Johannesburg, causing a 1 000-megaton blast that vaporised 70 cubic kilometres of rock and may have changed the earth's climate to make multicellular life possible.

The resulting crater, known as the Vredefort Dome, is the oldest and largest clearly visible meteorite impact site in the world. Although now considerably eroded, the original crater was probably 250 to 300 kilometres in diameter. The Vredefort Dome is also a Unesco World Heritage site.

Go to Source:
The all-in-one official guide
and web portal to South Africa.  
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 . This website gives a worldwide display of terrorism and other suspicious acts

The Recipes

Apple, nut and cheese salad

3 small Granny Smith apples
2 slices day old white bread, crusts removed and cubed
100 g walnuts, roasted
150 g mixed salad greens, washed and shaken dry
125 g blue cheese, crumbled
freshly ground black pepper
45 ml white grape vinegar
15 ml prepared mild mustard
salt and freshly ground black pepper
90 ml oil
pinch of sugar

Slice apples in small wedges. Add the juice of half a lemon to a bowl of water, add the wedges and leave for a few minutes. Heat oil in a small saucepan and fry bread cubes until golden brown and crisp. Drain on kitchen paper. Divide salad leaves (or use 1 head lettuce) between 4 plates and mix with apple wedges, croûtons, nuts and blue cheese. Season with black pepper. Mix salad dressing ingredients until well blended, sprinkle over the salad and serve immediately.

Avocado salad

1 packet mixed lettuce salad leaves
1 large avocado, peeled and diced
250 g cocktail tomatoes, halved
1 cucumber, sliced
50 g feta cheese, diced
50 g pitted black olives
125 ml salad dressing of your choice

Rinse salad leaves and spin in salad spinner, or drain thoroughly. Arrange lettuce leaves, diced avocado, cocktail tomatoes, cucumber, feta cheese and olives in a large salad bowl, toss together and refrigerate. Before serving, sprinkle dressing over salad.

Banana and onion salad

25 ml margarine
6 medium onions, sliced
10 ml hot curry powder
5 ml turmeric
pinch salt
15 ml cake flour
5 ml mustard powder
125 ml vinegar
45 ml brown sugar
50 ml smooth apricot jam
50 ml water
8 bananas
lettuce leaves

Melt the margarine in a pan and sauté the onions until soft. Add the curry powder and the turmeric and fry for another minute. Blend the remaining ingredients except the bananas and lettuce leaves and add to the onion mixture. Simmer until the mixture thickens and is cooked through. (Add extra water if necessary). Cool. Slice the bananas and add to the onion mixture. Arrange the lettuce leaves in a pretty salad bowl and spoon the salad on top. Serves 6.

Bread salad

4 extra-large eggs
60 ml sugar
15 ml mustard powder
25 ml water
50 ml white vinegar
125 ml mayonnaise
30 ml milk
10 slices white bread (crusts removed), cubed
oil for frying
250 ml diced Cheddar cheese
125 ml chopped gherkins
2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced

Salad dressing:
Beat the eggs until they begin to froth.
Add the sugar, beating well.
Mix the mustard powder with the water and add the vinegar, mixing well.
Beat the mustard mixture into the egg mixture.
Heat slowly, stirring continuously, until the sauce thickens and is done.
Remove from the heat, cool and beat in the mayonnaise and milk. Set aside.
Fry the bread cubes in heated oil until golden brown and crisp and drain on paper towels.
Mix all the ingredients for the salad and moisten with the dressing just before serving.
Serve immediately.

Dried fruit salad

250 g mixed dried fruit
100 g sugar
397 g Nestlé condensed milk
125 ml grape vinegar
50 ml lemon juice
15 ml mustard powder
pinch cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
2 bananas, sliced

Soak the dried fruit in cold water overnight, or for 8 hours at least. Drain, reserving about 200 ml of the liquid. Simmer the dried fruit and sugar in the reserved water until the fruit is soft. (Add more sugar if you prefer your food slightly sweeter.) Beat the condensed milk, vinegar and lemon juice together. Add the mustard powder and cayenne pepper and season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix well. Add just enough of the sauce to the hot dried fruit mixture to moisten it. Add the bananas and mix lightly. Cool completely. (The remaining sauce will keep for about 2 weeks in the fridge.)

Fruit and cheese salad

1 sweet melon, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks
2 ripe nectarines, sliced
2 ripe peaches, sliced
450 g low-fat chunky cottage cheese
2 sticks celery, sliced
1 red apple, cored and sliced
125 g seedless grapes, halved
75 g dried apricots, chopped
15 ml fresh parsley, finely chopped
60 ml fat-free salad dressing
mixed salad leaves, to serve

Mix the melon, nectarines and peaches together and divide the fruit between 4 plates. Carefully mix the cottage cheese with the celery, red apple, grapes, apricots, parsley and dressing. Gently turn the mixture until evenly mixed together. Pile the mixed salad leaves over the fruit on the plates and spoon the cottage cheese mixture on top. Serves 4.

Pineapple, Peach And Ham Salad

60 ml light olive oil for shallow frying
3 ripe peaches, washed and cut into wedges
1 large pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into 1 cm rings
125 g paper-thin ham slices
100 g rocket leaves
50 g pecorino cheese, crumbled
60 ml balsamic vinegar
2 ml freshly ground black pepper

Lightly brush a griddle pan with oil and heat until very hot. Rapidly fry the peach wedges and pineapple rings on both sides and drain on paper towels. Divide the peach wedges and pineapple rings, ham and rocket leaves among 4 plates. Sprinkle with the cheese and vinegar and season with a twist of black pepper.

Potato salad

4 large potatoes
2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
1 green or red pepper, chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
3 ml prepared mustard
3 ml paprika
salt and freshly ground black pepper
375 ml mayonnaise

Boil potatoes in their jackets, then peel and dice into small cubes. Place in a large mixing bowl.
Add all remaining ingredients, toss gently and serve garnished with fresh chopped parsley.

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