Number 172

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September 30th, 2009


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Greetings everyone!  And a special welcome to all the new subscribers!  Why not ask your email contacts if they don't want to subscribe as well?

New subscribers and everyone else, get your freebie at the freebie section below. The freebie is part of my chocolate theme for this letter. Scroll down to the recipes section for some decadent chocolate recipes!

Most of my newsletters contain downloadable freebies, if you missed out on previous ones, go to the Archive and download those you missed.

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.

Our Lotto has increased their ticket prices, more good reason to get your entry to the UK Lotto or Euro Millions. Just click on the banner to the right and start dreaming BIG! You can now get tickets for the UK Lotto , Superena, Powerball, MegaMilions and Euromillions. some paying up to the equivalent of R1,830 million . Get a ticket and dream BIG!!! Just click the banner to the right, its easy and safe to play.

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

Danger, low flying biscuits
I’m delighted to see that in the midst of all our financial woes there are still people prepared to spend their money to research the more important things in life. Research company Mindlab International were commissioned by Rocky, a chocolate biscuit bar, to conduct research concerning the health threat to British adults from popular biscuits. A table of 15 generic types of biccy was formulated whose potential dangers were calculated by The Biscuit Injury Threat Evaluation, BITE. These were not health risks caused by consuming too many sweet confections.
An estimated 25 MILLION adults have been injured while eating during a tea or coffee break - with at least 500 landing themselves in hospital, the survey revealed. The custard cream biscuit was found to be the worse offender to innocent drinkers. Hidden dangers included flying fragments and being hurt while dunking in scalding tea through to the more strange such as people poking themselves in the eye with a biscuit or having fallen off a chair reaching for the tin. One man even ended up stuck in wet concrete after wading in to pick up a stray biscuit. It found almost a third of adults said they had been splashed or scalded by hot drinks while dunking or trying to fish the remnants of a collapsed digestive. It also revealed 28 per cent had choked on crumbs while one in 10 had broken a tooth or filling biting a biscuit. More unusually, three per cent had poked themselves in the eye with a biscuit and seven per cent bitten by a pet or "other wild animal" trying to get their biscuit. In the interests of ensuring you have a relatively safe tea break today here are the biscuits to avoid.
The full list of riskiest biscuits:
Custard Cream 5.64
Cookie 4.34
Choc Biscuit Bar (eg: Rocky) 4.12
Wafer 3.74
Rich Tea 3.45
Bourbon 3.44
Oat Biscuit 3.31
Digestive 3.14
Ginger Nut 2.99
Shortbread 2.90
Caramel Shortcake 2.76
Nice Biscuit 2.27
Iced Biscuits/Party Rings 2.16
Chocolate Finger 1.38
Jaffa Cakes 1.16


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Mirna van Wyk

Mirna is an educational psychologist from Stellenbosch. She taught at several schools, amongst others Stellenbosch High School, Bloemhof Girls’ High and Jan Kriel School for learners with barriers to learning. She is a mother, loves art, the ocean and children.

You are welcome to comment or send questions to her at

Part 1 - HOW PARENTS CAN SERVE AS HOMEWORK CONSULTANTS (see previous newsletter)

Today I complete the list of tips to help parents cope with homework headaches within the OBE educational system.

8. Encourage your children to write down long term goals (related to class requirements) on a calendar, short term goals (related to weekly assignments, immediate tests and projects) on a schedule or “goals” sheet, and daily goals (related to homework and study tasks) on a “to do” list;

9. Encourage your children to relate new information to their affinity areas, or topics/activities of high interest, to promote sustained attention. For instance, when solving multiplication problems, help your cricket fan relate the problem to runs per inning or buying hot dogs at the cafeteria;

10. Encourage your children to recognize patterns. For instance, when writing an essay, remind them of the structure used to write a previous essay, or point out a keyword in a math word problem and ask what that word meant for them to do in the last word problem;

11. Teach them to keep their working surface clean of trivia-many children need to cultivate a taste for neatness; it’s not a natural instinct for them;

12. Help your child to brainstorm ideas and how to look at all the topics before choosing one for an oral or essay. Very often success starts in making a good choice of topic. Teach your child research and summary skills. They need to grow in these skills so that they would be able to do it independently eventually.

13. Teach your child to type. There are few skills as important today than this. Private lessons or computer software can also help.

14. Provide work incentives. Children should learn that effort pays. They come to believe that they can influence the outcome if they put enough focused effort into it. Kids who believe that they CAN succeed will try harder; which would increase their chances to succeed anyway;

15. Reinforce and praise output. Display and express abundant pride in their results. Be proud of how she improves and how she works. Admire what is now and stop saying: “But you can still do better …” Your true pride and admiration will serve as enough motivation to continuously do better. Pressure and negative talk might just stall their efforts; and

16. Reward productivity and not grades. A child should get special recognition for handing in every assignment, working independently, keeping to deadlines and reaching goals-not good grades.

If it is to do their homework; then there should be consistent work time. If it is to install new work habits; consistent reminders and practise of those habits are vital.
These tips have been tried and tested. Children are not necessarily born “clever”; they seem clever when they are taught clever tricks and they consistently display beneficial habits. If these are not taught and supported by their parents, they have a slim chance to ever be successful.
Blessings from heart to heart on your important task.

Next week I conclude on tips on how to be a homework consultant to your children, until then -
Blessings from heart to heart.

 S A Food and Goods all over the World

Click here to see a list of countries and shops that sell S A goods. If you own a shop overseas that sells SA stuff or if you know of one, let me know and I will add it to the page


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Jerry's Joburg
By Jerry Bailey - article from the newsletter, click here to visit their website

Me not Romeo!
Johannesburg has a very vibrant and fairly new past, with many colourful characters. Two of these were Colonel John and Josephine Dale Lace. Josie, as she was known, was my grandfather’s favourite customer but, complained my grandmother, she never paid!

John was one of the Randlords, a speculator in mining shares and had taken part in the Jamieson Raid. Josie had started out as an actress and, it is believed, was the mistress of King Edward VII, and of the Second Baron Grimthorpe, and had been proposed to by Cecil Rhodes. They commissioned Herbert Baker [whose bust in the garden looks longingly towards the front door] to build a house for them in Parktown, and the 40 room mansion Northlands was the result – high on the Parktown ridge, looking north forever. Here Josie arranged and hosted extravagant parties, entertaining on a lavish and spectacular style. All was well until about 1908, when John’s fortunes began to change. After a fire in the house in 1911 they left, and had to adapt to a far more modest way of life.

One night, Josie was practising her role as Juliet on her balcony. In response to her impassioned, “Romeo, Romeo,” a voice from the dark garden responded, “Me not Romeo Missus. Me night-cart boy!” His job was to change the sewerage buckets for the Council.

Most toilets, in those early days, were placed outside of the house –some at a distance away. One night a lady was quietly occupied, when a sudden draft made her aware that the rear flap had been opened. In response to her exclamation of horror, a calm voice said, “Not worry. I wait.” History does not record whether or not she worried, as he waited!

Those days were very different for most people. There was no electricity so water was heated on coal stoves, and lamps had to be cleaned and filled daily. Gardens were watered with buckets from the large rain water tanks. Bath water was directed into the garden, but kitchen water went into a slops tank that was emptied by the Council workers two or three times a week.

With no ‘fridges people depended on the ice-carts which came round. Large blocks were bought and placed on top of wooden chests, where they dripped down into a basin at the bottom. Because of the problems with dust, water carts were drawn along the roads to dampen them. Children loved to follow the carts and kick over the wet earth for the simple enjoyment of the clean smell – and, of course, the water and the wet sand!

Many businesses would send out agents to collect orders, and the butcher, grocer and bottle store reps were a common sight. In fact, even in the late 1940s, the man from Thrupps would arrive at our home on his motorcycle, and take our order over a cup of coffee in the kitchen. A few years later this changed to their telephoning us, punctually, at a set time on a set day, for the same purpose. The baker’s van called regularly, and selected loaves were spiked with a nail at the end of a broomstick and lofted out. The ‘Sammy’ with his truck festooned and laden with fruit and vegetables also called, to bargain and supply what the garden did not produce. Milk delivered in bottles, with flat cardboard seals, was rich and creamy. We depended on them all.


In keeping with the chocolate theme, right click here to download a recipe eBook with Cadbury Recipes

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Never buy another recipe book again!

My Recipe CD has now been updated and now includes 55 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. 

Choc Nut Pears (yes, more chocolate!)

4 large, ripe, firm pears
50g dark chocolate
50g peanut brittle
250ml orange juice

1. Preheat oven to 180 ºC.
2. Halve pears at the bulge.
3. Scrape a little flesh out of the inside of each lid, set aside.
4. Scoop out pips and a bit of flesh – enough to make a 2 cm hollow from each pear.
5. Roughly chop chocolate and brittle – either by hand or in the food processor - note they must be chopped separately or the brittle will end up like glass
6. Fill each cavity with the mixture.
7. Replace pear lids and secure in place with a toothpick.
8. Pour orange juice into a baking pan.
9. Place pears in orange juice and bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through but still firm.

On the wild side 



Photo by Anna Eksteen
Click the image to see an enlargement

Don't be fooled by the comical trot or the short-sighted and nervous disposition of this silent member of the pig family. Behind the tusks and ugly wart-like lumps on its face lies a tough and courageous spirit that has put wild dogs, cheetahs and even formidable leopards to flight. (I've recently seen a video clip where a warthog even made a lioness pay for having the nerve to attack it. Probably the lioness attacked not out of the need to eat, but merely out of playful curiosity, just because it happened to stumble upon the pig, but the lioness made a bewildered and amusing retreat once the warthog attacked back and struck her a number of times with those deadly tusks).

A warthog is easily recognised as it trots through the veld with its tail held erect, the warthog is a gregarious forager that uses the upper surface of its snout as a spade, constantly digging for food in the hardest soils. Going down on its front knees, which develop large, protective calluses, the warthog keeps its nose to the ground as it walks, rooting out bulbs and tubers.

Home to the warthog is the abandoned burrow of an aardvark, which it uses as a place of refuge when predators are around. Enlarging or modifying the burrow to suit its needs, a sow in season will line its burrow with grass, creating a cosy nest for her litter.

When running for shelter, young warthogs will scamper into their burrow head first, but adults do a remarkable about-turn at the entrance and reverse in, so as to present their formidable tusks to an attacker.

Family groups, numbering between 5-10, avoid other warthogs that may stray into their home ground, and maintain group contact with soft grunts.

Taken from: Animals of the Kruger Park and Lowveld - Heritage Publishing.

Find your way around South Africa

With this really informative map, just click here:

 Source: The all-in-one official guide and web portal to South Africa.  
Afrikaans Newsletter

Subscribe to my Afrikaans newsletter . Visit my Afrikaans website. Recipes and freebie with each newsletter.
Smile a While

A blonde woman competed with a brunette and a redhead in the Breast Stroke division of an English Channel swim competition. The redhead was a close second.
Much, much, later, the blonde finally reached shore, completely exhausted.
After being revived with blankets and coffee, she muttered, "I don't want to sound like a sore loser, but I think those other two girls used their arms!"

Our supermarket had a sale on boneless chicken breasts, and a woman I know intended to stock up.
At the store, however, she was disappointed to find only a few skimpy pre packed portions of the poultry,so she complained to the butcher.
"Don't worry lady," he said. "I'll pack some more trays and have them ready for you by the time you finish shopping."
Several aisles later, my friend heard the butcher's voice boom over the public-address system.....
"Will the lady who wanted bigger breasts, please meet me at the back of the store !!!"

Beach Bum!
Once upon a time, there were two guys who wanted to pick up women on a beach.
One was Italian (Vito) and the other was Russian (Vladamir).
Vito had no problem picking up gorgeous women; he was the most popular guy on the beach.
But Vladamir had no success.
Vladamir: "Vito! How do you do it?
How do you attract so many beautiful women?"
Vito: "Well, I'll tell ya! But it's a secret . . just between you and me. I don't want my system to become too public."
Vladamir: "OK. Its a deal.
Vito: "You see those potatoes over there? Well, every time I come to the beach I take one and put it in my Speedos. When the women see it they come running from miles around."
Vladamir: "That's it? I can do that."
The next day, Vladamir went over to the produce stand and picked out the biggest, most perfectly shaped potato he could find.
He then went into the changing room and slipped it into his Speedos.
As he walked out onto the beach,he immediately noticed that women AND men began to take notice of him.
"Its working, he thought."
But soon he began to realize that they were not looking interested but rather upset, almost disgusted by the sight of him.
He rushed over to Vito and asked
"Vito, what's the problem? Why isn't it working?"
Vito: "Because your supposed to put the potato in the front !!!"

A Burglar's Poem
A story I'll tell of a burglar bold
Who started to rob a house;
He opened the window, and then crept in
As quiet as a mouse.....

He looked around for a place to hide,
'Till the folks were all asleep,
Then said he, "With their money
I'll take a quiet sneak"

So under the bed the burglar crept;
He crept up close to the wall;
He didn't know it was an old maid's room
Or he wouldn't have had the gall.

He thought of the money that he would steal,
As under the bed he lay;
But at nine o'clock he saw a sight
That made his hair turn gray.

At nine o'clock the old maid came in;
"I am so tired", she said;
She thought that all was well that night
So she didn't look under the bed.

She took out her teeth and her big glass eye,
And the hair from off her head;
The burglar, he had forty fits
As he watched from under the bed.

From under the bed the burglar crept,
He was a total wreck;
The old maid wasn't asleep at all
And she grabbed him by the neck.

She didn't holler, or shout or call,
She was as cool as a clam;
She only said, "The Saints be praised,
At last I've got a man"

From under the pillow a gun she drew,
And to the burglar she said,
"Young man, if you don't marry me,
I'll blow off the top of your head"

She held him firmly by the neck,
He hadn't a chance to scoot;
He looked at the teeth and the big glass eye,
And said "Madam, for Pete's sake, Shoot!"

Little Johnnie
Little Johnnie was in class while the teacher was giving an oral quiz on History.
"Who said 'Give me liberty or give me death" stated the teacher.
No one answered.
Finally a little Japanese exchange student piped in: "Patrick Henry, 1776"

The teacher was a little miffed that an exchange student would answer and her American students couldn't.

So she tried again: "Four score and seven years ago..." and again no one answered until the little
Japanese girl replied: "Abraham Lincoln, 1863"

Again the teacher was miffed. So, she gave out a challenge.

The next right answer would get the rest of the day off.

"F*&K THE JAPS!" was yelled from the back of the room.
"Who said that?!!" screamed the teacher.
Little Johnnie replied proudly,"Gen. Douglas McArthur, 1941......See you tomorrow!"

Tips 'n Tricks


A grungy awning or canopy can mar your house's street appeal, which is how real estate agents refer to the impression your house makes on a passer-by. Even if your awning is not visible from the road, keeping it clean will help it last longer.


This is usually easy because most have a soil- and stain-resistant finish. Where necessary use a stepladder to reach the awning. Spot-clean by applying a solution of warm water and mild dishwashing liquid with a sponge. Rinse thoroughly with clean water and air-dry. For stubborn stains, use a fabric stain remover, following the instructions on the container. Again, rinse well and air-dry.

Mildew on an acrylic awning is usually found not on the fabric itself, but on dirt, leaves and other materials that are not removed from the fabric. Acrylic awnings themselves don't promote the growth of mildew. To remove mildew, mix 1 cup of bleach with a squirt of mild dishwashing liquid in 4 litres of warm water. Apply to the entire area and allow it to soak in (but not to dry). Scrub with a sponge. Rinse thoroughly and air-dry. Avoid using bleach on logos or prints on the awning as it may damage or erase them.


This is usually done with commercial cleaners that work best if you don't wet the awning before cleaning it. Apply a vinyl and fabric cleaner evenly in a saturating mist. Start from the bottom of the awning and work up. Before it dries, scrub the awning, scrub the awning with a sponge of soft-medium bristled brush. Brushes work best on fabric awnings. Never use abrasive cleaners or scrubbers. Rinse by spraying with a garden hose until the run-off water is clear. You'll want to remove all the cleaner, because leftover cleaner will leave a chalky film once it dries. Don't use a pressure washer to clean your awning. It's ineffective and can cause permanent damage.

Mildew on a vinyl or fabric awning can be removed using a solution of 1 cup of bleach per 4 litres of warm water. Before using the solution, however, test it by rubbing a solution-soaked cotton bud on a hidden section of awning to make sure it does not cause the colours to fade or run. Don't let the bleach solution dry on the awning. Rinse thoroughly with water, then air-dry.


Remember to always let your umbrella dry properly after rain. A damp umbrella will cause mould and mildew.

To remove dirt and bird poo from a patio umbrella, which is usually made of either vinyl or a coarse fabric such as canvas, spray it with a garden hose. Then scrum it with a nylon-bristled brush dipped in a bucket containing sudsy solution of warm water and dishwashing liquid. Rinse by spraying with a garden hose.

Protect a patio umbrella's metal rods by polishing them with car wax. Wax also makes the metal easier to clean in the future. Take care not to wax the umbrella covering, as it can stain fabric and make a mess of vinyl mesh.

If your umbrella has wooden parts, condition and protect them with wood oil, rubbed in with a clean, soft cloth. Again, take care not to spill it on the canvas.

Thanks to Glenacres Superspar.

Some great resorts we have visited

We have just returned from a week at Ekuthuleni, click here for my report and some pictures.
You can also see some more photos here

Since Ekuthuleni we have also been to Hazyview Cabanas, for my write-up and pictures click here

We are just back from a really nice trip to Mozambique - Morrumbene Beach Resort

We have just returned from a glorious week at Mnarani Club, Kilifi, Kenya


The most popular beverage in the world, but so many people don't recognise it as a herb.
Green tea has been used in Chinese medicines for 5000 years.
Scientists, in the 1970's, discovered that people who drank green tea, were less prone to heart attacks, high cholesterol, strokes, cancer, infections, and high blood pressure.
Today, and tea that contains flowers, bark, buds, leaves, or seeds, is called tea, but real tea is Camellia sinensis, and can be either black or green.
Tea loves acid soil, with lots of leaf mulch dug in. Their leaves like to be kept moist, with a mist sprayer system. The top 3-4 leaves are nipped off the top sprig of every branch.

Green tea is an excellent skin refresher. Pour cooled green tea into a spritz-action bottle and use as a cool, refreshing toner.
Mix some green tea into your aqueous cream to use as a cleanser and make-up remover.

Green tea is a powerful antioxidant. The powerful antioxidant phenols boost the immune system and ease chronic coughs and colds.
These antioxidants help prevent and repair cell damage that is in the beginning stages of cancer, heart disease, cataracts and macular degeneration.
Green tea is also a stimulant, antibacterial, diuretic and astringent.
Green tea helps reduce blood cholesterol levels, has anti-tumour properties, and is a general tonic.
Dentist believe that gargling and rinsing with green tea helps reduce tooth decay, as it is rich in natural fluoride.
** Please note that people with irregular heart beats, pregnant woman and nursing mothers should not take more than 1-2 cups of green tea daily.
Cooled green tea can be used as a lotion to treat skin cancer.
If you are overtired and aching all over, sip a cup of green tea in a hot bath, to which a big pot of green tea has been added, for instant revival.

Two teaspoons in a cup of boiling water, makes a delicious, refreshing cuppa. Add a squeeze of lemon juice, or a teaspoon of honey if desired. Cooled tea can also be added to fruit juices, jellies, syrups, cakes, jams and iced teas. Add to stocks, stews and even soups for extra nourishment.

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

For the latest on happenings in Zimbabwe, go to:  and subscribe to their newsletter, a really good source of current information

Cathy Buckle has started writing again from Zimbabwe, her letter is below.

Here is Cathy's letter:

Dear Family and Friends,

Zimbabwe is breathtakingly beautiful this spring. Everyone is talking about the spectacular colours of the new leaves on the trees. Perhaps its because we are all just so utterly worn out after a decade of
decay and horror or maybe we are finally allowing ourselves to see beauty again and begin feeling hopeful about the times ahead. One friend who is back in the country for a month after having spent 3 years in exile in the Diaspora, said that just sitting under the Msasa trees was enough to decide her.

'I'm coming home,' she said.

The wide blue sky and warm sun, the open spaces and rugged beauty and the calls of hoopoes, sparrowhawks and bulbuls is enough to weaken the hardest of Zimbabwean hearts.

Coming home will not be easy. The flush of saved money doesn't go far in these times when every American dollar that we have buys food and pays bills with nothing left over for the other essentials necessary for life and health. It will not be easy learning to negotiate the flood tide of officials in every government department and building who want, need, demand, a bribe in order to do their job. For many
who come home it will be a bitter pill seeing the evil still walking free amongst us: the men (and women) who beat, burnt, raped and murdered us and our families, friends and relations this last decade.
Perhaps hardest of all for people coming home from democratic countries will be accepting that lawlessness still exists depending on your political affiliations and that mayhem and thuggery continues in farming areas where "land" is still used as a smokescreen for theft, looting, arson and murder.

Events of this week are likely to put paid to thoughts and plans of coming home for many Zimbabweans in the diaspora. Hardly had the fire died down and the ash settled from the suspicious fires which destroyed the farms and homes of Ben Freeth and Mike Campbell when yet more dire news came. These two farmers who have endured so much and fought so hard for their legal rights - and who have won their cases in Zimbabwean and SADC courts are now bereft. The farmers and their farm workers and all of their families have lost everything - homes, jobs and futures. Listening to Ben Freeth talking on an independent radio programme this week, the tears filled my eyes.

"I told my workers I'll be back. I promised them we'd rebuild," Freeth said.

They are words that many thousands of commercial farmers have said to their faithful and loyal employees as they've been evicted, dispossessed and lost everything this last decade. Promises that farmers have been unable to keep as Zanu PF have changed laws, amended the constitution and disregarded rulings made by their own courts. This week legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa hammered in the last nail. Zimbabwe, he said, will no longer appear in front of the regional SADC courts, will not recognise their
rulings or respond to any actions or suits instituted by the SADC tribunal.

As beautiful as Zimbabwe is this spring we are still a long way from being free of the clique who cling to power and fill their pockets. But, as every day passes, we are closer to the day when this arranged marriage of inconvenience can be over and we can hold free, fair and democratic elections and start again. Until next week, thanks for
love cathy

Copyright cathy buckle
. For information on my new book: "INNOCENT VICTIMS" or my previous
books, "African Tears" and "Beyond Tears," or to
subscribe/unsubscribe to this newsletter, please write to:
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

Z is for Zulu
The Zulu people are South Africa's largest population group, with isiZulu the most common home language. They also have the country's largest monarchy, headed by King Goodwill Zwelathini, and a rich and enduring culture going back centuries. Shaka, who ruled the Zulu in the 19th century, is possibly their most famous leader, an almost mythical figure and the stuff of legend - not to mention a fair amount of colonial fabrication.
In the 19th century, the Zulu nation took on the British Empire and, armed only with spears, won stunning victories before succumbing to the relentless might of the empire. The war was the subject of the 1964 movie Zulu, starring Michael Caine. The nation has also given its name to a revered New Orleans social club: the 100-year-old Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club.

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! 
The Recipes

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake

Ingredients (serves 8)

* 200g plain chocolate biscuits
* 80g butter, melted
* 1/3 cup cold tap water
* 5 teaspoons gelatine
* 500g cream cheese, softened
* 1/2 cup icing sugar
* 1/2 cup milk
* 150g white chocolate, melted
* 150g dark chocolate, melted
* 1 1/2 cups thickened cream, whipped
* 100g milk chocolate, grated
* cocoa powder, to serve

1. Grease and line a 24cm (base) springform pan. Process biscuits in a food processor to fine crumbs. Transfer to a bowl. Add melted butter. Stir until well combined. Use your fingertips to press into base of prepared pan. Refrigerate for 20 minutes or until firm.
2. Place water into a heatproof microwavesafe bowl. Sprinkle over gelatine. Stand for 1 minute. Microwave, uncovered, on HIGH (100%) power for 20 to 40 seconds or until gelatine dissolves. Set aside for 15 minutes.
3. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, sugar and milk until smooth. Stir in gelatine. Divide cream cheese mixture between 2 bowls.
4. Stir white chocolate into 1 cream cheese mixture. Stir dark chocolate into other.
5. Fold half the cream through white chocolate mixture and half through dark chocolate mixture.
6. Pour dark chocolate mixture over biscuit base. Freeze for 10 minutes or until firm to the touch. Carefully spread white chocolate mixture over dark. Cover. Refrigerate overnight.
7. Release sides of pan. Place cheesecake onto a serving platter. Sprinkle with grated milk chocolate. Dust with cocoa. Cut into slices with a warm knife. Serve.

Blackforest Cheesecake

Preparation Time 15 minutes
Cooking Time 50 minutes

Ingredients (serves 8)

* Melted butter, to grease
* 200g plain chocolate biscuits
* 125g butter, melted
* 200g good-quality dark cooking chocolate, chopped
* 1 tbs boiling water
* 1 tsp gelatine
* 2 x 250g pkt cream cheese, at room temperature
* 70g (1/3 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
* 1 x 670g jar morello cherries
* 2 tbs caster sugar
* 1 tbs cornflour
* White chocolate curls, to decorate

1. Brush a shallow 10 x 34cm (base measurement) fluted tart tin, with removable base, with melted butter to lightly grease.
2. Place biscuits in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely crushed. Add butter and process until combined. Transfer to prepared pan. Use a glass to spread and press mixture firmly over base and sides of pan. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.
3. Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (make sure bowl doesn't touch water) and stir until melted.
4. Place water in a heatproof glass. Sprinkle with gelatine and stir with a fork until it dissolves.
5. Use an electric beater to beat cream cheese and brown sugar in a bowl until smooth. Add chocolate and gelatine, and beat until combined. Spoon into base and use a knife to smooth the surface. Place in fridge for 1 hour to chill.
6. Meanwhile, drain cherries and reserve syrup. Combine sugar and cornflour in a saucepan. Gradually add the syrup. Cook, stirring, over medium heat for 5 minutes or until sauce boils. Remove from heat. Add the cherries. Set aside for 30 minutes to cool.
7. Slice cheesecake. Serve topped with cherries and chocolate curls.

Bowls of Hot Chocolate

Ingredients (serves 2)

* 600ml milk
* 4 tbs (1/3 cup) drinking chocolate, plus extra to sprinkle
* Whipped cream, to serve


1. Heat the milk in a saucepan over low heat and stir in the drinking chocolate until well combined. Pour the hot chocolate into 2 small bowls with deep sides, top with whipped cream and sprinkle with extra chocolate.

Chocolate Mousse Cake

Ingredients (serves 4)

* 500g dark chocolate
* 2 tbs golden syrup
* 125g unsalted butter
* 4 eggs
* 1 tbs caster sugar
* 1 tbs plain flour, sifted
* Melted chocolate, to decorate
* Chocolate sorbet, to serve
Coffee mascarpone
* 200g mascarpone cheese
* 2 tbs instant coffee
* 2 tbs pure icing sugar

1. Preheat oven to 220°C. Grease and line the base of a 20cm round spring-form cake pan with non-stick baking paper.
2. Melt the chocolate, golden syrup and butter in a bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Set aside to cool slightly.
3. Place eggs and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer or use an electric hand beater and beat on high for 10 minutes until very thick and pale. Gently fold in the flour then fold in the chocolate mixture until combined. Pour into the cake pan and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and run a knife around the edge of the cake. Remove collar from cake pan and transfer the cake to the fridge for 1 hour to cool (this step is important as it sets the middle of the cake).
4. Meanwhile, to make the coffee mascarpone, dissolve coffee in 1 tablespoon of boiling water and set aside to cool. Beat together the mascarpone, coffee and sugar in a bowl until stiff.
5. To make the chocolate leaf, brush non-toxic leaves with the melted chocolate. When cool, peel the leaf off.
6. Slice the cake and serve with a dollop of coffee mascarpone, a chocolate leaf on top and a scoop of sorbet on the side.

Chocolate Hazelnut Cake

Ingredients (serves 12)

* 200g dark chocolate, chopped
* 200g butter, softened
* 1 cup brown sugar
* 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
* 2 eggs, at room temperature
* 1 3/4 cups self-raising flour
* 1/4 cup cocoa powder
* 3/4 cup milk
* 1 cup choc-hazelnut spread (such as Nutella)
* 80 small solid chocolate Easter eggs

1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Grease and line a 20cm (base) round cake pan. Place chocolate into a heatproof, microwave-safe bowl. Heat on MEDIUM (50%) power for 2 minutes, stirring every minute with a metal spoon, or until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar and vanilla essence until creamy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Add cooled chocolate. Mix well.
3. Sift flour and cocoa powder together. Fold half the flour mixture into chocolate mixture. Fold half the milk into chocolate mixture. Repeat with remaining flour mixture and milk.
4. Spoon cake batter into cake pan. Smooth surface. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Stand for 15 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely.
5. Spread choc-hazelnut spread over cake. Top with Easter eggs. Serve.

Bittersweet chocolate mud cake

Preparation Time 20 minutes
Cooking Time 120 minutes

Ingredients (serves 6)

* 3x200g blocks good quality dark chocolate
* 375g butter, chopped
* 1 cup (250ml) water
* 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
* 1 1/2 cups plain flour
* 1/3 cup self-raising flour
* 4 x 55g eggs, lightly beaten
* 1/3 cup (80ml) marsala
Chocolate glaze
* 1/2 cup (125ml) cream
* 150g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
* 20g unsalted butter
* 1 tbs liquid glucose

1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Grease and line base and sides of a deep 20 cm cake pan with baking paper. Ensure paper sits 4cm above the top of pan.
2. Break chocolate into pieces. Combine with butter, water and sugar in a heavy based pan. Stir over low heat until melted and sugar has dissolved. Cool for 20 mins.
3. Stir in sifted flours, eggs and marsala. Pour into cake pan. Bake for 1hr 50 mins, covering top of cake with foil after 1 1/2 hours to prevent a darkcrust. Cool in pan.
4. Place glaze ingredients in a saucepan. Stir over low heat until smooth. Cool for 15 mins until thickened. Spoon over cake. Stand until glaze has set. Serve with thick cream.

Notes & tips
* Prep: 20 minutes + 1 hour 20 minutes standing time

Broken heart chocolate puddings with mocha sauce

Ingredients (serves 6)

* 300g good-quality dark chocolate, roughly chopped
* 200g unsalted butter
* 4 eggs, separated
* 3/4 cup (165g) caster sugar
* 1/4 cup (60g) almond meal
* 3 tbs plain flour, sifted
* 1 tbs cocoa powder, sifted
* 100g white chocolate, chopped
* 1/2 cup (125ml) strong espresso coffee

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease six 1-cup (250ml) dariole moulds and line a tray with baking paper.
2. Place 200g of the dark chocolate and the butter in a saucepan and stir over low heat until melted. Cool slightly.
3. Use an electric mixer to beat the egg yolks and 1/2 cup (110g) sugar until light and fluffy. Add melted chocolate mixture, almond meal, flour and cocoa, and fold with a metal spoon until combined.
4. In a separate bowl, use a clean electric mixer to beat eggwhites to soft peaks. Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup (55g) sugar, beating until firm peaks form. Fold a little of the eggwhite through the chocolate mixture to lighten, then gently fold through the remaining eggwhite until combined.
5. Divide mixture among the prepared moulds, place in a baking dish and pour enough boiling water into the dish to reach halfway up the sides of the moulds. Bake for 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centres comes out clean.
6. Meanwhile, melt white chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water (make sure bowl doesn't touch the water). Using a palette knife, spread chocolate thinly (about 2mm) over prepared tray, then chill for 10 minutes or until firm. Use a small heart-shaped cutter to cut six shapes from chocolate. Chill until ready to serve.
7. Place remaining dark chocolate and coffee in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water (ensure bowl doesn't touch water). Stir until chocolate is melted and sauce is well combined.
8. Invert puddings onto plates. Pour over sauce and top with chocolate hearts, which will melt onto the hot puddings.

Chocolate and hazelnut mousse

Makes 12 small serves


* 300g good-quality milk chocolate, chopped
* 3 eggs, at room temperature, separated
* 2 tablespoons caster sugar
* 1 cup thickened cream
* 1/3 cup roasted hazelnuts, finely chopped
* grated dark chocolate, to serve

1. Place milk chocolate in a large, heatproof, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave, uncovered, on MEDIUM (50%) for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds with a metal spoon until melted. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly.
2. Add egg yolks to chocolate and stir until well combined.
3. Using electric hand beaters, beat eggwhites in a bowl until soft peaks form. Sprinkle sugar over eggwhites. Beat until thick and glossy. Using a large metal spoon, fold half the eggwhite mixture into chocolate mixture until combined. Gently fold in remaining eggwhite mixture.
4. Whip cream until soft peaks form. Fold cream and hazelnuts into chocolate mixture until combined. Spoon mixture into twelve 1/3-cup capacity glasses. Place on a tray and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 4 hours or until firm. Top with grated chocolate just before serving.

Chocolate and blueberry mousse

Ingredients (serves 4)

* 1 punnet fresh blueberries, 200g frozen
* 200g dark chocolate
* 300ml thickened cream


1. Scatter fresh blueberries, or some thawed frozen blueberries, over the base of 4 small-sized serving glasses and set aside.
2. Melt chocolate in a large heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (making sure the bowl does not touch the water). Remove and cool to room temperature.
3. Beat cream in a bowl to soft peaks, then fold into the melted chocolate.
4. Spoon the mousse among serving glasses over the blueberries, and serve immediately.

Chocolate & cinnamon flan

Chocolate and cinnamon are a favourite combination in Mexico, so this tart is the ideal winner of this week's Mexican food fight.
Preparation Time 20 minutes
Cooking Time 60 minutes

Ingredients (serves 8)

* 215g (1 cup) caster sugar
* 60ml (1/4 cup) water
* 500ml (2 cups) milk
* 100g dark cooking chocolate, coarsely chopped
* 6 eggs
* 1 x 395g can sweetened condensed milk
* 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
* 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
* Strawberries, washed, hulled, quartered, to serve

1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Line the base of a large baking dish with a tea towel, folded to fit.
2. Place the sugar and water in a medium saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until the sugar dissolves.
3. Increase heat to medium and bring to the boil. Cook, without stirring, occasionally brushing down the side of pan with a pastry brush dipped in water, for 7 minutes or until golden. Use an oven mitt or tea towel to hold a round 20cm (base measurement) cake pan with one hand. Pour in the caramel and swirl to coat the base and 2cm up the side. Set aside to cool completely.
4. Meanwhile, place the milk and chocolate in a medium saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, for 4-5 minutes or until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth.
5. Whisk together the eggs, condensed milk, cinnamon and vanilla in a large bowl. Gradually add the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Place the cake pan in the lined baking dish. Pour the custard mixture into the pan. Pour enough boiling water into the dish to come halfway up the side of the pan. Bake in oven for 40 minutes or until just set.
6. Carefully remove the cake pan from the baking dish. Set aside for 40 minutes to cool. Place in the fridge for 8 hours or overnight to chill.
7. To serve, run a flat-bladed knife around the edge of the pan. Carefully turn the flan onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve with strawberries.

Choc-a-block trifle

Ingredients (serves 6)

* 4 good-quality chocolate brownies (about 85g each)
* 1/4 cup (60ml) Kahlua (or other coffee liqueur)
* 275g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
* 3 egg yolks
* 1 1/2 tbs caster sugar
* 1 tsp cornflour
* 600ml thickened cream
* 150g white chocolate, roughly chopped
* 1/4 cup (30g) toasted chopped walnuts
* Dark chocolate curls (see note), to decorate

1. Break up brownies into small pieces and place in the bottom of a 1.5 litre dish or 6 x 1 cup (250ml) serving glasses. Drizzle over the Kahlua, then set aside.
2. Place dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of gently simmering water (don't let the bowl touch the water). Allow to melt, then stir very gently until smooth. Remove from heat and add 225ml boiling water, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring to make a sauce (don't add water more quickly or the chocolate will 'seize' and become grainy). Pour sauce over the brownies, then cover and chill for 2 hours.
3. Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour together in a bowl with electric beaters until thick and pale.
4. Heat 300ml of the cream in a saucepan over medium heat until just below boiling point. Pour the hot cream mixture over the egg mixture, stirring to combine. Transfer to a clean saucepan and place over low heat. Stir for 2-3 minutes until a thick custard forms.
5. Place two thirds (100g) of the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Pour the custard into the bowl, stirring until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is well combined. Cool completely, then pour over the chocolate brownie base. Chill for 2 hours.
6. Place the remaining 50g of white chocolate in a food processor with the walnuts and pulse until fine. Whip the remaining cream to soft peaks, stir in the walnut mixture, then spread over the trifle. Chill for at least 2 hours until set, then serve decorated with chocolate curls, if desired.
Notes & tips

* To make chocolate curls, melt good-quality chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water not letting the bowl touch the water. Spread evenly on a flat board or baking tray, then refrigerate until set. Use a sharp knife to carefully shave off curls. Refrigerate until needed.

Chocolate cake with caramel frosting

Preparation Time 20 minutes
Cooking Time 45 minutes

Ingredients (serves 12)
* Melted butter, to grease
* 200g butter, at room temperature
* 155g (3/4 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
* 1 tsp vanilla extract
* 2 eggs, at room temperature
* 265g (1 3/4 cups) self-raising flour
* 35g (1/3 cup) cocoa powder
* 185ml (3/4 cup) milk
* 70g (1/2 cup) pecans, coarsely chopped
* 100g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
*Caramel frosting
* 250g butter, at room temperature
* 100g (1/2 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
* 2 tbs golden syrup
* 1 tbs milk

1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Brush a round 22cm (base measurement) cake pan with melted butter to lightly grease. Line the base and side with non-stick baking paper.
2. Use an electric beater to beat together the butter, brown sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition until just combined. Sift the flour and cocoa over the butter mixture. Use a large metal spoon to fold in the milk until well combined.
3. Spoon the cake mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from oven and set aside for 5 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely.
4. Meanwhile, to make the caramel frosting, use an electric beater to beat together the butter, sugar and golden syrup in a medium bowl until light brown and fluffy. Add the milk and beat until well combined.
5. Use a large serrated knife to cut the cake in half horizontally. Place the bottom half of the cake on a cake stand or serving plate and spread with half the caramel frosting. Top with the remaining cake and spread with the remaining caramel frosting.
6. Sprinkle the top of the cake with pecans. Place the caster sugar in a medium frying pan and stir over low heat for 3-5 minutes or until sugar dissolves and caramelises. Remove from heat. Set aside for 2-3 minutes or until bubbles subside and toffee cools slightly. Use a spoon to drizzle cake with toffee.

Chocolate & mint tart with creme de menthe cream

Ingredients (serves 6)

* 3 eggs
* 160ml thickened cream
* 60g good-quality dark chocolate, melted, cooled
* 2 tbs cocoa powder, plus extra to dust
* 40ml (2 tbs) creme de menthe, plus extra to serve
* Whipped cream and mint leaves, to serve
* 225g plain flour
* 40g icing sugar
* 125g unsalted butter, chilled, cubed
* 2 egg yolks


1. To make the pastry, place the flour and icing sugar in a food processor and mix for a few seconds to combine. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolks and process until the mixture comes together to form a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and use to line a 23cm loose-bottomed tart pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
4. Line the pastry shell with baking paper and fill with rice or pastry weights. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove paper and weights and return to the oven for five minutes until dry and crisp.
5. Place the eggs, cream, chocolate, cocoa and creme de menthe in a bowl and beat to combine. Pour into the tart shell and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until just set. Set aside to cool (don't refrigerate).
6. Swirl a little of the extra creme de menthe through the whipped cream. Slice the chocolate and mint tart and dust with cocoa powder. Serve with the cream and garnish with a few mint leaves.

Choc-chip pudding with jam and creme fraiche

Ingredients (serves 4)

* 120g unsalted butter, softened
* 120g caster sugar
* 1 tsp vanilla extract
* 2 eggs
* 120g plain flour
* 60g cocoa powder
* 2 tsp baking powder
* 60g dark chocolate, finely chopped
* 1 cup raspberry jam, warmed
* Creme fraiche or mascarpone, to serve


1. Grease a 1-litre pudding basin.
2. Cream butter and sugar in bowl of an electric mixer, add vanilla, then add eggs, one at a time, beating after each until just combined. Sift flour, cocoa and powder and add to mixture with enough water (about 1-2 tablespoons) to make a dropping consistency. Stir in chocolate, then spoon mixture into basin. Make a pleat in the centre of a sheet of baking paper (to allow for expansion) and use to cover pudding. Secure with string, then cover with foil.
3. Place basin in a saucepan and add enough water to come halfway up the sides, then bring to the boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low and steam for 2 hours. Remove basin from pan and set aside for 10 minutes. Turn out, cut into slices and serve with warmed jam and creme fraiche.


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