Number 155

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March 31st, 2008

     
 
 

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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 letter is going out a bit early as we are leaving for about 10 days to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, hope to be back with some nice photos!

What about some Easter recipes? Scroll down to the recipe section and enjoy!

Everyone who loves chocolate, put up your hands! OK, you can all lower your hands now. The freebie this time is a 51 page eBook with chocolate recipes! Sorry for those of you on diet! It s a matter of priorities :-) Scroll down to the Freebie section and download it!

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.

We usually go to Carnival City, our local entertainment complex about twice a month for a movie, a good meal and a flutter at the tables or machines. Most times it is crowded and my favourite machines are taken. Then I came across Silversands online casino. You simply sign up, download some software and you can practise with fun money to your heart's content before you play with the real thing.
Give it a try,
  Click Here

Do you have a website?

Become an affiliate and earn commission and incentives from sales made through your website. Simply place some code on your site and sit back!. You earn commission from any sales resulting from the link on your site. Just click below to join (free)  OfferForge South Africa . A great way to make your website pay!

Appeal for Maggie

Maggie, a dear friend of mine living in Melbourne, Australia, had an unfortunate experience and I am trying to get some assistance for her through the internet community. Read all about this special and brace person on her website. After taking a look at her website, see how her dreams have been shattered, click here to read about her current predicament.

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

Wurst story of the year

Who says the Germans have no sense of humour ? Just look what these two comedians got up to recently. Zwei Dumkopfs who are German air force sergeants are facing a court martial due to their self confessed " interest in cookery ". Following a family recipe handed down by the grandmother of one of these bozos, they were caught on camera siphoning off their blood to mix with onions, bacon, spices and breadcrumbs to make traditional blood sausage and this was in Munich not bloody (pun there somewhere ) Transylvania.
The men had plans to mass-produce the sausages using the blood of comrades and family members they wanted to let in on their scheme but strangely enough one of the intended donors scuppered their catering sideline when he complained to officers,: "I have been asked to give blood for sausage-making and I vant to know if this is against regulations." Of course it's against bloody regulations you halfwit. The men, aged 25 and 29 and identified only as B and G, were suspended immediately last December, the German defence ministry confirmed yesterday. Just in case you're interested in the recipe it says : "Make sure the blood is fresh and the bacon cubes diced finely with a nice proportion of fat to lean. Do not use too many breadcrumbs but if the blood starts to curdle stir in a teaspoon of wine vinegar." Oh, and don't go using human blood, I've got an idea that it may be unconstitutional.

Freebie!!

Right click here to download a recipe eBook with chocolate recipes!

One Ticket is All It Takes

Not lucky in the SA Lotto? Why not take a chance on the UK Lotto? Minimum jackpot is Three million pounds (R45 million!) Click here for a chance to win BIG!

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,
LC

Glenacres Superspar Recipe

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

Mangoes are in season, pork is lekker, so here we go!

STUFFED POTATO DUMPLINGS

1 kg potatoes
1 egg, lightly beaten
salt
flour
FILLING
1 medium onion, chopped
15g margarine
250g minced beef
2 level Tbsp finely chopped parsley
5 level Tbsp fresh white breadcrumbs
salt & pepper to taste
50g extra margarine

1. Peel and wash the potatoes and cook half of them in boiling salted water until soft
2. Grate the remainder of the potatoes and wipe dry in a tea towel
3. Mash the cooked potatoes and combine with the grated raw potatoes
4. Stir in the egg, salt and sufficient flour to form a stiff dough - leave to rest for 30 minutes
5. Prepare the filling by slowly frying the onion in the marg until soft but not brown
6. Stir in the mince and parsley and fry briskly for 3 minutes, breaking up the mince with a fork
7. Add 1 Tbsp breadcrumbs and seasoning and mix well
8. Take about 4 Tbsp potato dough and roll out flat on a floured surface
9. Put 1 Tbsp of filing in the centre and work the dough around the filling, pinching edges well together to form round dumplings
10. Repeat using the rest of the dough and filling
11. Drop a few at a time into a large saucepan of gently boiling salted water and cook until dumplings float on top - about 15 minutes
12. Carefully lift out using a draining spoon and put into a warm bowl
13. Melt the extra margarine in a small pan, add the rest of the crumbs and fry gently until golden, turning
14. Spoon over the dumplings and serve with a salad

Some Easter facts

Easter is early this year. Easter is always the 1st Sunday after the 1st full moon after the Spring Equinox (which is March 20). This dating of Easter is based on the lunar calendar that Hebrew people used to identify passover, which is why it moves around on our Roman calendar.

Based on the above information, Easter can actually be one day earlier (March 22) that is rare.

Here's the interesting information. This year is the earliest Easter any of us will ever see the rest of our lives! And only the most elderly of our population have ever seen it this early (95 years old or above). And none of us have ever, or will ever, see it a day earlier! Here's the facts:

1) The next time Easter will be this early (March 23) will be the year 2228 (220 years from now). The last time it was this early was 1913 (so if you're 95 or older, you are the only ones that were around for that!).

2) The next time it will be a day earlier, March 22, will be in the year 2285 (277 years from now). The last time it was on March 22 was 1818. So, no one alive today has or will ever see it any earlier than this year!

Creed of the white kid

We are sorry that our ancestors were intelligent, advanced and daring enough to explore the wild oceans to discover new countries and to concur and develop these.

We are sorry that those who came before us took you out of the bush and taught you that there was more to life than beating drums and chasing animals with sticks and stones.

We are sorry that they planned, funded and developed roads, towns, mines, factories, airports, all of which you now claim to be your long deprived inheritance so you have full right to change and rename these at your discretion.

We are sorry that our parents taught us the value of small but strong families, to not breed like rabbits and end up as underfed, illiterate shack dwellers living in poverty.

We are sorry that when they provided you with schools, you decided it looked better without windows or in piles of ashes. We happily gave up those bad days of getting spanked in our all white schools for doing something wrong, and much prefer these days of freedom where problems can be resolved with knives and guns.

We are sorry that it is hard to shake off the bitterness of the past when you keep on raping, torturing and killing our friends and family members, and then hide behind the fence of "human rights" with smiles on your faces.

We are sorry that we do not trust the government. We have no reason to be so suspicious and short sighted seeing that there has never been a case where any of these poor hard working intellectuals were involved in any form of corruption or irregularities.

We are sorry that we do not trust the police force and although they have openly admitted that they have lost the war against crime and criminals, we should not be so negative and just keep on hoping for the best.

We are sorry that we basically flung open our border posts, and now left you competing for jobs against illegal immigrants from our beautiful neighboring countries. All these countries that have grown so strong after kicking out the "settlers", you should follow their excellent example and grow big and strong like them!

We are sorry that we don't believe in witchcraft, beetroot and garlic, urinating on street corners or trading woman for cattle, maybe we just grew up differently. So sorry that when we are forced into sharing the same establishments, sometimes we lose our temper, that is totally uncalled for.

We are sorry that your medical care, water supplies, roads, and your electrical supplies are going down the toilet because skilled people who could have planned and resolved these issues had to be shown away because they were of the wrong ethnic background and now has to work in foreign countries where their skills are more needed.

We are so sorry and should really try harder to be more tolerant and learn to get along with EVERYBODY around us, one big happy family.

The Dumb White Kid

The Optimist Creed

I Promise Myself ....

To be strong enough that nothing can disturb my peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person I meet.
To make all my friends feel that there is something worthwhile in them.
To look at the sunny side of everything and make my optimism come true.
To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as I am about my own.
To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful expression at all times and give a smile to every living creature I meet.
To give so much time to improving myself that I have no time to criticize others.
To be too calm for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.
To think well of myself and to proclaim this fact to the world, not in loud words, but in great deeds.
To live in the faith that the whole world is on my side, so long as I am true to the best that is in me!

Christian D Larson

Another Wacky Sarmie

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

My name is Lia and I'm from Strubens Valley in Roodepoort.I know most of your sarmies are from all over the world but here are two lekker South African Sarmies, especially for those on diet.

Take two rice cakes ( the diet part ) spread them liberally with butter and top with Bovril and then, here's the twist, slice up a lekker ripe banana and pile it on top of the butter and Bovril and sprinkle with a little brown sugar. Voila!
OR
Take two rice cakes ( again, the healthy bit ) spread with butter and set aside. In a bowl, mix up sliced ripe banana, condensed milk, mayonnaise and lemon juice. This mixture should be nice and gooey. Pile this mixture onto the rice cakes and enjoy!

Alternatively, chuck the rice cakes and just use all the above ingredients to make a banana salad, very morish with braai meat!

A Blast From The Past

Source: Sunday Times

1958:  Hendrik Verwoerd becomes SA premier, the US launches its first successful satellite, stereo LP's are introduced, Elvis Presley joins the army, American Express launches its credit cards. Nasa is founded.

Really, really old recipe

Bredasdorp Pudding

Soak 1oz. gelatine in cold water for an hour. When quite soft add 1 cupful of boiling water, half pound white sugar, juice of three lemons and the beaten yolks of 6 eggs.
Stir over the fire till it begins to thicken. It must not boil,  Remove it from the fire, and have ready the well-whisked eggwhites. Stir all together, pour into a mould, and stand in a cool place to set.

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 Ground Squirrel

Whenever we visit the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park we spend many hours watching and photographing the Ground Squirrels in the restcamps, here is some squirrely info:Appearance:

The Cape Ground Squirrel is a rodent endemic to South Africa. It measures 450 mm in length and weighs up to 1 kg. Upper parts are cinnamon coloured with a lateral white stripe on either side of the body. White underparts and the distinctive bushy fan-like tail have black based, white tipped hairs. The coat is coarse with little underfur. Winter coat is usually longer than the summer coat.

Diet:
Predominantly herbivorous, and feeds mainly on roots and bulbs excavated with claws and front teeth. These hard food items are gnawed in typical rodent fashion with the sharp incisors. Always feed on the juiciest plants available. They occasionally take termites during summer.

Breeding
Although females are reproductively mature at six months, only the ones older than one year are allowed to breed. Females have two pairs of mammary glands and normally give birth to two to six young per litter, each baby weighing 20 grams. Young are altricial and naked at birth. Caring for the young seems to be a community duty, since this task is shared by various females in a colony. Only one adult male as main breeding partner is tolerated by the dominant females, who are normally accompanied by their young of the previous two years. Dispersal of offspring to colonies in adjacent territories only takes place after two years. This dispersal pattern allows for the formation of new groups and enhances gene flow.

Habitat:
Inhabits intermittent shrubby grassy plains. Where Cape Ground Squirrels occur the substrate vary from coarse sand to the harder, fine clay soils of pans and river beds.

Where they are found:
Distributed throughout the Kalahari, Free State, Northern Cape, North West and Southern Cape Provinces towards the Beaufort-West/Graaff-Reinet district.

Click here to view my squirrel photo album taken in the Kgalagadi

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.

Mutton Potjie

Ingredients
45 ml oil
1 kg mutton chops
12 baby onions peeled
1 bunch spring onions, sliced
4 carrots, sliced
10 ml mixed dried herbs
250 ml dry white wine
12 baby potatoes, peeled
250 ml beef stock
65 ml flour

Heat oil in a large heavy based saucepan or drie-voet, fry mutton until browned, season to taste while frying, remove and keep warm.
Add flour to remaining fat in saucepan, making a roux. Add the beef stock to make a sauce and pour over the chops.

Arrange potatoes, baby onions, spring onions and carrots in layers over the meat, sprinkle with herbs and pour white wine over.
Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer gently for about 1 hour.

Smile a While

To get fit: Begin by standing on a comfortable surface, where you have plenty of room at each side.
With a 5-Kg potato sack in each hand, extend your arms straight out from your sides and hold them there as long as you can. Try to reach a full minute, and then relax.
Each day, you will find that you can hold this position for just a little bit longer.
After a couple of weeks, move up to 10-kg potato sacks.
Then try 50-Kg potato sacks, and then eventually try to get to where you can lift a 100-Kg potato sack in each hand and hold out your arms straight for more that a full minute.
After you feel confident at that level, put a potato in each of the sacks.

When I got home from work last night, my wife demanded that I take her out to some place expensive...............
So I took her to a petrol station !!!!!!!

THE BEST COMEBACK LINE for 2007..

This guy is really amazing.

For those that don't know him, Major General Peter Cosgrove is an "Australian treasure!" General Cosgrove was interviewed on the radio recently. You'll love his reply to the lady who interviewed him concerning guns and children. Regardless of how you feel about gun laws you gotta love this! This is one of the best comeback lines of all time. It is a portion of an ABC interview between a female broadcaster and General Cosgrove who was about to sponsor a Boy Scout Troop visiting his military headquarters.

FEMALE INTERVIEWER: So, General Cosgrove, what things are you going to teach these young boys when they visit your base?
GENERAL COSGROVE: We're going to teach them climbing, canoeing, archery and shooting.
FEMALE INTERVIEWER: Shooting! That's a bit irresponsible, isn't it?
GENERAL COSGROVE: I don't see why, they'll be properly supervised on the rifle range.
FEMALE INTERVIEWER: Don't you admit that this is a terribly dangerous activity to be teaching children?
GENERAL COSGROVE: I don't see how. We will be teaching them proper rifle discipline before they even touch a firearm.
FEMALE INTERVIEWER: But you're equipping them to become violent killers.
GENERAL COSGROVE: Well, Ma'am, you're equipped to be a prostitute, but you're not one, are you?

The radio went silent and the interview ended.

My neighbor found out her dog could hardly hear so she took it to the veterinarian. He found that the problem was hair in its ears so he cleaned both ears and the dog could hear fine.
The vet then proceeded to tell the lady that if she wanted to keep this from re-occurring she should go to the store and get some "Nair" hair remover and rub it in the dog's ears once a month.
The lady goes to the drug store and gets some "Nair" hair remover.
At the register the druggist tells her: "If you're going to use this under your arms don't use deodorant for a few days. " The lady says "I'm not using it under my arms."
The druggist says: "If you're using it on your legs don't shave for a couple of days.."
The lady says "I'm not using it on my legs either; if you must know, I'm using it on my schnauzer."
The druggist says: "Stay off your bicycle for a week."

I am putting the following in the Smile section because its so laughable!

South African health minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang tells those with HIV to eat garlic and beetroot.

The former deputy president, Jacob Zuma told the Johannesburg High Court that he took a shower - after having sex with the HIV-positive complainant without a condom - as he believed this minimised his risk of
contracting the disease.

"Go to sleep earlier so that you can grow and be cleverer" - Minister Of Minerals and Energy Buyelwa Sonjica unveiling a 10-point plan to encourage South Africans to change their electricity usage habits.

"It is one of the things that would make it (the tournament) a success because we hear of many rapes, because people don't have access to them (women)" - ANC MP George Lekgetho on the benefits of legalizing
prostitution for the 2010 world cup.

So there you have it ladies and gentlemen. To be cured from aids, eat garlic and beetroot. If you don't want aids, take a shower, and all we have to do to stop the electricity crisis is to go to bed early so we can be cleverer and rapes only occur because people don't have access to prostitutes.

Sleep tight South Africa. Your government has everything under control.

Herbs
 
Grow your own herb garden


The rewards of growing herbs are far greater than with other plants. Other plants in the garden are mostly planted for their decorative value. Herbs, on the other hand, can also be used for a myriad of other purposes that stretch from flavouring your food to curing your flu to ridding your home of insects.

Herbs are some of the easiest, most grateful plants to grow. If you follow the following basic guidelines for setting up your own herb garden, they will richly reward you with their flavours and aromas.

Herb Garden Location
The ideal site for a herb garden is a sunny, open but sheltered spot with well-drained fertile soil. As far as possible it should be free from weeds and overhanging trees and have good access to the house so that the herbs can be harvested in all weathers.

Most of the herbs that we can successfully grow in our country originated in the warmer climates of the world where they grow in the warm sun. It is these conditions that we must create for them. The minimum requirement is four to seven hours of direct sun per day.

Remember that your herbs will grow well even if they get less sun. They may tend to grow scraggly and will be more susceptible to diseases, but with a little extra attention they will still be successful.

Herbs are like most people: they do not like to have ‘wet feet.’ It is very important that your soil have good drainage. Most herbs will survive in poor sandy soil, but few will tolerate wet clay soil.

Culinary herbs should be planted away from possible contamination by pets, roadside pollution and agricultural sprays.

If you would like to find out more about selecting the best site for your herb garden read my Herb Garden Site Selection article.

Herb Garden Design
The appeal of a small formal herb garden remains timeless. Formal designs are based on geometric patterns, which are framed by low hedges and paved paths. For maximum impact each bed is planted with one kind of herb, giving bold blocks of colour and texture.

Paving is an essential element, accentuating the formal lines and geometric design. Natural shades, like sand, terracotta or grey, contrast beautifully with the herbs, adding to the design element. The pathways and stepping stones also provide access to the herbs for ease of harvesting.

Planting Tips
Prepare the ground well in advance, remove weeds (they compete for nutrition), fork in organic matter, such as compost, and rake the soil so that the bed is level. You don’t need to add large amounts of manure or fertiliser because that produces soft growth. My free article on site preparation will give you some additional tips on the preparation of your herb garden.

Before transplanting herbs out of their "nursery" pots into the ground, water the pots well because a dry rootball is difficult to wet thoroughly once it is in the ground.

Because "nursery" pots are small, herbs tend to become root bound. To encourage new root growth gently loosen the root ball before planting in the ground. Pinch out the tips of shrubby herbs, like thyme, to encourage bushy growth. Add some bone meal or fishmeal at the bottom of each planting hole.

If you are using a planting plan, first set the herbs in their positions. It is easier to move them around while they are still in their pots, rather than having to transplant them later. Space them according to their expected height and spread so they have room to develop.

After planting firm the soil gently around the plant and water thoroughly to settle the soil and give the herb a good start.

Some herbs, like the spearmint, can be invasive. Restrict their spread by planting them in sunken containers. Remove any spreading material immediately. Repot them yearly with fresh soil.

Caring for Your Herb Garden
Water newly planted herbs regularly but once they are established, they are naturally drought resistant. Watering and drainage goes hand in hand. Rather give your herbs too little than too much water. After a good soaking, allow the water to drain away and the soil to dry off. Water again when the top 2 or 3 cm of soil is dry to the touch.

Mulch your herbs once a year with bulky organic material, such as shredded bark. Inorganic fertilising and heavy composting is not recommended because this produces sappy growth that’s more prone to disease and pests.

Fertilizing is very important, especially if you intend to use your herbs on a regular basis. During the growing season (August to April in the Southern hemisphere) fertilize at least once a month. During the winter months one or two doses will be sufficient.

Use any balanced fertilizer like 2:3:2. Always half the dosage given on the packaging. The reason for this is that the essential oils of herbs that ‘suffer’ a bit are more concentrated, increasing their flavour, aroma and medicinal value.

If your herbs get too much fertilizer they will grow scraggly and be more susceptible to pests and diseases. Please note: If you are growing herbs for medicinal purposes do not use artificial fertilizer. Use organics. You can also try your own compost tea.

Pruning is essential to encourage healthy, bushy growth. Remove dead leaves and flowers on a regular basis. Should you frequently use your herbs, pruning may not be necessary as you would be pruning automatically.

Herbs are not very prone to pests but if you do have an infestation (aphids, red spider, white fly) either cut back the herbs or use an organic pesticide.

Harvesting Your Herb Garden
Collect small quantities of herbs at a time and handle them as little as possible.

Do not cut herbs at random. Take the opportunity to pinch out or prune the plant at the same time, removing unwanted shoots and encouraging bushiness. Use a sharp knife or scissors, do not break, bend or tear off the branches. Always harvest from clean, healthy plants in peak condition

Herb Gardening in Containers
Herbs can be grown very successfully in containers and can be an attractive addition to any garden or patio. Apart from their aesthetic value, they are a practical solution for people who have limited gardening space at their disposal.

Most garden centres and nurseries stock a large selection of containers. They come in many shapes and sizes and are made from various materials like plastic, concrete and real clay. Finding the right container is a matter of personal taste, as almost any container can be used for planting herbs.

Herbs can be planted on their own or in combination with other herbs. When planting more than one variety in a container, care should be taken that there will be ample growing space for all the plants.

Prune the faster growing varieties regularly to ensure they do not overgrow their slower companions. Also, competition for space and nutrients will result in some varieties flourishing while others will suffer and, in most cases, eventually die.

It is never wise to plant any of the mint varieties in the same container as other herbs. In most cases the mint will overgrow the entire pot.

Proven mixed herb containers:

An Italian chef’s selection
·Sweet basil
·Italian parsley
·Oregano
·Marjoram
·Thyme

A perfume pot
·Lavender
·Rose scented geranium
·Lemon balm
·Lemon thyme
·Pineapple sage

A salad bowl
·Garlic chives
·Rocket
·Salad burnet
·Parsley
·Celery

A French chef’s selection
·Tarragon
·Chervil
·Parsley
·Chives
·Sage

Indoor Herb Gardening

Ideally herbs are meant to be grown in full sun, in well-drained soil. Most come from the Mediterranean where they grow wild on barren mountainsides. So they will grow best in the garden or in pots outside the kitchen door or on your balcony, if it is sunny enough.

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t grow them on your windowsill.

You just need to adjust your expectations. Don’t expect them to act like perennials. Treat them like any other flowering pot plant that you buy for the house and discard when it has finished flowering.

The same applies to herbs – use them and when they start looking sickly, turf them out and buy a new pot. It doesn’t mean you have failed as a gardener. The reason is that the windowsill pots are actually too small for sustainable growth and they are probably not getting enough light.

Extend their life by feeding with a liquid plant food at half the strength.

Also, don’t over water. Once a week should be enough. Keep the soil feeling slightly damp, but not sodden or bone dry. Check that they aren’t sitting in a saucer of water. This causes the roots to rot and the plant to die very quickly.

Herbs work really well in outside containers and the advantage is that the pots can be moved around as the sun moves from season to season.

The container should be a minimum of 20 cm in diameter with drainage holes in the bottom. With a big enough pot you can plant a combination of herbs, like oregano, Italian parsley, thyme and basil if you love making Italian sauces for your pasta.

Other good combinations are a salad mix of dill, rocket, sorrel and chives or a Thai mix of chillies, coriander, lemon grass and garlic.

One tip: keep your mint in a separate pot because it overruns everything.

Here are a few pointers for potting up your own herbs. Use a reputable commercial potting soil that drains easily. You don’t need to put stones or gravel at the bottom of the pot. Contrary to belief, this does not promote drainage but has the opposite effect.

Herbs in pots need more regular watering than those planted in the ground. Check the moisture daily, especially in hot or windy conditions. Water in the morning or early evening and give the pot a thorough soaking.

If you find the herbs are infested with aphids or red spider, just cut the herbs right down rather than spray with pesticides.
 

With thanks to: Timeless Herb Secrets - the herb newsletter for those that love good food, good health and good fun
 

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

This is the regular newsletter from Cathy Buckle:

Dear Family and Friends,
A Zimbabwean in the Diaspora phoned me this week and told me how desperately she longs to come home. She misses everything so much: familiar faces and beautiful places, old friends and casual acquaintances, the
overwhelming friendliness of people and of course the glorious climate and magnificent countryside. She asked me how things were now in Zimbabwe and I replied that they are very bad, and still getting worse. You cannot really describe what a hundred thousand percent inflation looks like, or shops without food or hospitals without medicine. My friend, like so many others that have been struggling to survive these years in exile in foreign countries, wonders when she will be able to come home. She says she meets Zimbabweans all the time and always the talk is of home and plans for the day when they can return. Everyone wonders if it will be soon, asks if March 2008 will finally see an end to the need for exile.

My friend asked if anything was as she remembered it at home and I looked out of the window. On the surface and for a few minutes nothing at all had changed. The sun is still bright and the sky blue; babblers and bulbuls splash in the birdbath; the Msasa trees are covered in new pods and the wild orange trees in hard, green, cricket-ball fruits. In the canopy of trees overhead the voice of an Oriole sings out again and again and a Paradise Flycatcher, still with its long orange breeding tail, flits backwards and forwards. Children still play on the streets with home made footballs and roll bicycle rims along dusty paths. On the roadside women still sit selling tomatoes and avocadoes that they've carefully arranged into pyramids. Some even have a few ground nuts for sale but like most things they are a luxury - an enamel cupful for two and a half million dollars tipped into a newspaper cone. The ordinary people are still the same too, friendly, courteous, smiling, welcoming and generous.

After the conversation with my friend, I felt so sad about this great extended family of Zimbabweans now living away from home. Such trauma we have all been through these past nine years - those of us who have stayed and those who have gone. But we still have one thing in common and that is that now, after nine years of struggle, we have all had enough. Now it is time for families to be reunited, communities to be rebuilt and for Zimbabwe to stand straight, tall and proud again. It is not too late.

I close with a quote from Mahatma Gandhi: "When I despair I always remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall, always."
Until next time, thanks for reading,
with love cathy.

My books: "African Tears" and "Beyond Tears" are available in South Africa from: books@clarkesbooks.co.za and in the UK from: orders@africabookcentre.com
To subscribe to this newsletter, please write to: cbuckle@mango.zw
 
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

H is for Handicrafts
No doubt about it - South Africans are a crafty bunch. The country's people produce a remarkable range of arts and crafts, working from the pavements and markets of the big cities to deep rural enclaves, with every possible form of traditional artwork - and then some.
The country has a wide range of craftwork styles: tribal designs, Afro-French wirework, wood carvings, world-class pottery and bronze casting, stained glass, basket weaving, clay and stone sculpting, paper from elephant dung and ornaments made from waste.

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and web portal to South Africa.  
 
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The Recipes

Chocolate Easter eggs
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Ingredients
200 g dark chocolate
100 g hazelnuts
100 g almonds
100 g sugar
100 g melted dark chocolate
1 ml vanilla essence

Method:
Melt 200g dark or cooking chocolate. Pour the chocolate into a set of small egg- shape moulds. The chocolate should fill the moulds. Tap gently a couple of times to release any air bubbles.
Turn the moulds upside down and allow the chocolate to run out, leaving a coating of chocolate in the moulds. Turn the moulds onto their sides (vertical) and allow the chocolate to harden.

Prepare the praline filling:
Heat the oven to 240°C.
Place 100 g blanched almonds in a roasting pan and roast in the oven until golden brown.
Remove from the oven and rub the hazelnuts between two clean dish clothes to remove the skins.
Blend nuts in a liquidizer with 100g sugar to form a smooth paste and stir in 100g melted dark chocolate and 1ml vanilla essence.
Pipe the filling into the chocolate shells, which should be three- quarters full. Allow the filling to set in the fridge for a few minutes.
Pour melted chocolate over the set filling and scrape off excess with a palate knife. If you want to make filled half-shells instead of eggs, allow to set properly and remove from the mould.
Press two prepared moulds together, making sure that the shapes are lined up and matching. Press together and squeeze out excess chocolate. Allow to set properly before pulling the moulds apart.
Pull the moulds apart carefully. If the chocolate sticks, twist the moulds carefully to release the chocolate. Cover chocolates in coloured aluminium paper or wrap in cellophane as a lovely Easter gift.

Easter crumpets

Ingredients
2 extra-large eggs
400 ml milk
1 instant crumpet mix
100 ml currants
50 ml seedless raisins
50 ml shredded citrus rind
2 ml cinnamon
1 ml nutmeg
1 ml mixed spice

Method:
Beat the eggs and milk together and add to the instant mix, mixing to form a smooth batter. Add the remaining ingredients and stir. Prepare as described on the pack. Serve hot with butter and honey. Serves 6-8.

Easter egg trifle
Preparation time: 20 minutes

Ingredients
6 mini Swiss rolls (or a large one)
1 x 410 g tin fruit cocktail
4 chocolate marshmallow Easter eggs, chopped
250 ml readymade custard
125 ml cream, whipped
20 mini chocolate Easter eggs

Method:
Thinly slice the Swiss roll and place at the bottom of a trifle bowl or in individual glasses.
Pour over some of the fruit cocktail.
Cover with a layer of marshmallow eggs and a layer of custard.
Repeat the three layers and top with whipped cream.
Garnish with Easter eggs and a sprig of fresh mint. Chill until ready to serve.

VARIATION
Make Easter egg pancakes.
Buy readymade pancakes and fill them with custard, mini Easter eggs, fruit cocktail and cream.
Serve with a dollop of vanilla ice cream and a dusting of cocoa powder.

Easter ring bread
Preparation time: 40, Cooking time: 45

Ingredients
260 ml white bread flour
20 ml instant dried yeast
50 ml brown sugar
15 ml grated lemon rind
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
200 ml lukewarm milk
200 g icing sugar
60 ml lemon juice
75 g filling: chopped glacé cherries
50 g candied fruit
50 g sultanas
100 g flaked almonds
60 g brown sugar
10 ml ground cinnamon
5 ml ground mixed spice

Method:
1. Combine the flour, yeast, 3ml salt, sugar and lemon zest in a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs and milk and stir until everything comes together to form a smooth dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until the dough becomes smooth and elastic, or use the dough hook on a food processor.
2. Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size, then knead again for a few minutes. Mix the filling ingredients and add half the mixture to the dough. Knead until the ingredients have been incorporated into the dough.
3. Divide the dough in half and roll into two tube shapes of the same size and length. Press two of the ends together and then twist the two pieces together until you get to the other end. Bend to form a circle on a greased baking tray and press the ends together. Leave to rise again until the dough has doubled in size. Bake in a preheated oven for 35 to 45 minutes until golden and cooked through. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
4. Mix the icing sugar and lemon juice. Drizzle over the bread and sprinkle with the remaining filling mixture. Serve sliced with butter.

Spicy cheesecake Easter muffins

Preparation time: 20 Cooking time: 15

Ingredients
75 g smooth cream cheese
30 ml castor sugar
10 ml finely grated orange rind
1 large Granny smith apple, finely grated
150 ml fruitcake mix
155 g sugar
2 extra-large eggs, whisked
100 g butter, melted
200 g cake flour
5 ml mixed spice
3 ml ground cinnamon
5 ml baking powder
5 ml bicarbonate of soda
1 ml salt
Icing
50 g soft butter
140 g icing sugar
65 g smooth cream cheese
5 ml orange juice
10 cherries or nuts, to decorate

Method:
1. Grease a 12-cup Prestige muffin tin or six-cup Prestige jumbo muffin tin.
2. Beat the cream cheese, castor sugar and half the orange rind together until well blended and set aside.
3. Mix the apple, fruitcake mix, sugar, eggs, melted butter and the remaining orange rind and set aside.
4. Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Add the fruit mixture and mix lightly until just mixed. Fill the muffin tin up to halfway with the batter and spoon 5ml of the cream-cheese mixture on top. Spoon more of the batter on the top, filling the muffin pan cups three-quarters of the way.
5. Bake in a preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes (25 minutes for jumbo muffins)or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
6. Icing: Place all the ingredients in a bowl and beat until creamy. Refrigerate until needed. Just before serving, ice the muffins and decorate with cherries or nuts.

Hot cross buns

Ingredients
375 ml milk
60 g butter
480 g cake flour
65 ml castor sugar
10 ml mixed spice
5 ml ground cinnamon
10 g instant dry yeast
1 egg, beaten
250 ml sultanas
CROSSES
125 ml cake flour
75 ml milk or water
GLAZE
30 ml milk
30 ml castor sugar

Method:
1. Heat milk and butter together, leave to cool slightly. 2. In a large mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, spices and yeast. 3. Stir in lukewarm milk and butter, egg and sultanas. Knead well until smooth (10 minutes), cover and leave in a warm place until dough has doubled in size. 4. Knead dough for a few minutes until smooth. Divide into 18 small balls and place on a greased baking sheet. Cover and leave to rise until double in size. 5. CROSSES: Mix flour and sugar, add enough water to form a smooth paste. Place flour paste in a piping bag and, using small plain tube, make crosses on buns. 6. Bake in a 180 ºC oven for 15 to 20 minutes. GLAZE: Heat milk and sugar together, without boiling. Turn buns onto wire rack, brush with hot glaze and cool.

Hot-cross muffin buns

Ingredients
2 cups cake flour
5 ml salt
5 ml mixed spice
60 ml sugar
60 g butter or margarine
1 10g pkt instant dry yeast
374 ml lukewarm milk
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
125 ml luxury mixed dried fruits
Crosses and glaze
125 ml cake flour
80 ml water
30 ml golden syrup to glaze

Method:
Pre-heat oven to 200?C. Grease a 12-muffin tin. Sift together flour, salt and spices. Add sugar and mix. Rub butter into the flour using fingertips then mix in the dry yeast. Add milk, egg and dried fruit mix, mix well. Knead on a lightly floured surface intil smooth and elastic. Cover and leave to rise in a warm place for 15-20 mins.

Divide dough into 12 pieces, knead each piece into a round shape and drop into a muffin tin. Set aside in a warm place for 25 mins or until double in size.

To make cross

Mix all ingredients to a smooth paste. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a small nozzle and pipe crosses onto buns. Bake for 20 mins. Brush tops with syrup while buns are still hot.

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