Number 173

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October 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.

After all the chocolate recipes in the last letter, I thought that I had better give some health recipes, so scroll down to the recipe section and eat healthy for a change.

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

I am sending this one out a bit early as we will be off adventuring again during the last two weeks of the month.

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. If you register for the first time, you get a free ticket!

Free Lotto Tickets

I have 10 free overseas Lotto tickets to give away, yup, no joke. Can be used from anywhere in the world. If you are a first time player you get another free ticket, so what do you have to lose?

Just email me, and if you are one of the first 10 emails received, a ticket is yours!

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

Still bananas
It seems that Keith Floyd who slipped away last week will remain a foodie to the bitter end. Boozy Keith’s funeral will have the perfect ingredient for a telly chef – a coffin made from bananas. The eccentric cook’s partner came up with the plan to bring a splash of colour to his final send-off on Wednesday. He will be cremated in Bristol in a special coffin made from banana leaves.

Keith made his name cooking with exotic ingredients and he loved to use bananas when concocting his desserts. He will become one of a growing number of Brits to choose coffins made from banana leaves. Craig Cooper, whose Devon-based company Daisy Coffins will supply the casket, said: “His partner Celia Martin chose us because our coffins are stylish and made from sustainable sources. “Apparently, Mr Floyd loved to cook using leaves and she thought this would be most appropriate. “Traditional coffins can be very sombre and, from what I know of Keith Floyd, that’s the last way he would wish to go.” Time for the big banana to split I suppose.


ACT Travel
"The World awaits - Go Explore!!" 

 For competitive quotes on all  your travel arrangements.

The world awaits you – go explore!

(  012 425 1000 (option 3) Alicia

103 Club avenue

PO Box 35580

7   086 592 1311

Waterkloof Heights shopping centre

Menlo Park


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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

While I was reading a very entertaining yet informative book called ”Raising Boys” by Steve Biddulph, recently I was reminded of something very important about raising children: that parents who care allow kids to have chores and responsibilities at home.
The reasons are:
1. It prepares children for independent living. Not only will your child learn how to look after himself but he will also learn how to work in a responsible way within a team. Only cook and clean and tidy for your children if you want them to stay at home for the rest of their lives! Start as early as they can pick up toys and sort socks-it’s nearly impossible to teach it to them in their teens-when they develop serious cases of ‘kitchen blindness’ and ‘dirty laundria’ which might progress to ‘sulkimania’.
2. It boosts a child’s self-esteem. For a long time the worlds thought that to build a child’s self-esteem was a show called “I got talent”. Montesorri schools were developed upon the notion that what a child can do for himself will make him feel better about himself. It expands a child’s capabilities and teaches her new skills. Being able to lay the table, peel potatoes, mow the lawn give opportunities to learn cook, develop a feeling for beauty and learn about mechanics.
3. It allows you to know what’s going on in their lives and hearts. Teaching a child a skill and working with her allows for conversation. When hands are busy, hearts open more easily. Whether it is washing and drying the dishes, planting seedlings or folding laundry few things allows the freedom to form deep emotional bonds casually than doing chores. ‘Sideways’ talk is not as intrusive to children as a ‘face-to-face’. It is here that you will learn about the teachers, peers and fears of your child. Shut up and only LISTEN-unless you want her to stop talking!
4. Unload worries and share the joy. Relationships are built on human connectivity, which is build upon shared time and experiences. Teach by example when doing chores make it fun, make it joyful and make it a time to become a family. Not only will you children benefit, but you will grow just as much.

Start at an early age, make it a way-of-life and your family will reap the benefit over and over.
Blessings from heart to heart on your joyful task.

South Africa's World Heritage Sites

South Africa has eight World Heritage Sites, places identified by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) to be of "outstanding value to humanity".

Unesco seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world.

This is embodied in an international treaty, the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, adopted by the organisation in 1972.

Four of South Africa's World Heritage Sites are classified as cultural, three as natural and one as a mixed cultural and natural site.

They include Table Mountain National Park, with more plant species in its 22 000 hectares than the British Isles, and the Drakensberg, which has both the highest mountain range in Africa south of Kilimanjaro and the continent's richest concentration of rock art.

The sites are:
iSimangaliso (Greater St Lucia) Wetland Park
Robben Island
Cradle of Humankind
uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park
Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape
Cape Floral Region
Vredefort Dome
Richtersveld Cultural & Botanical Landscape

iSimangaliso (Greater St Lucia) Wetland Park


Image: South African Tourism

Year inscribed: 1999
Core zone: 239 566 hectares
Location: KwaZulu-Natal
Coordinates: 27º 50' 20" S 32º 33' E
Type: Natural heritage
Unesco reference: 914
Unesco selection criteria:

-to contain superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance
to be outstanding examples representing significant ongoing ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, fresh water, coastal and marine ecosystems and communities of plants and animals
-to contain the most important and significant natural habitats for in situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation

The iSimangaliso Wetland Park – previously known as the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park – has both one of the largest estuary systems in Africa and the continent's southernmost coral reefs. In granting it World Heritage status in 1999, Unesco’s World Heritage Committee noted the park's "exceptional biodiversity, including some 521 bird species".

Lying on the central Zululand coast of KwaZulu-Natal, the park is made up of 13 adjoining protected areas with a total size of 239 566 hectares. Its remarkable biodiversity is a result of the park's location between subtropical and tropical Africa, as well as its coastal setting.

Shaped by the actions of river, sea and wind, iSimangaliso's landscape offers critical habitats to a wide range of Africa's marine, wetland and savannah species. Its varied landforms include wide submarine canyons, sandy beaches, forested dune cordon and a mosaic of wetlands, grasslands, forests, lakes and savannah.

The iSimangaliso Wetland Park has its origins in the St Lucia Game Reserve, declared in 1895 and made up of the large lake and its islands. St Lucia Park was proclaimed in 1939, containing land around the estuary and a strip of about one kilometre around most of the lake shore. In 1971 St Lucia Lake and the turtle beaches and coral reefs of the Maputaland coast were listed by the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance.

"The mosaic of landforms and habitat types creates breathtaking scenic vistas," the Unesco committee notes in its assessment of the park.

"Features include wide submarine canyons, sandy beaches, forested dune cordon and a mosaic of wetlands, grasslands, forests, lakes and savannah. The variety of morphology as well as major flood and storm events contribute to ongoing evolutionary processes in the area.

"Natural phenomena include large numbers of nesting turtles on the beaches; the migration of whales, dolphins and whale-sharks offshore; and huge numbers of waterfowl including large breeding colonies of pelicans, storks, herons and terns."


 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

Biltong in Chicago??? For sure!!  I received the following from Brad Dodson:

I am an expat living in Chicago, IL and have just started and online Biltong distribution business serving the midwest.
Our address is
Manufacture and wholesale Simply African South African beef biltong. Our combination of 100% USDA beef and imported spice from SA makes this the best biltong west of South Africa!


Come join me on Facebook, my Facebook email is

Jeremy Taylor
Enjoy this classic South African song. Jeremy is if course better known for his ever popular "Ag pleez deddy", but I like this one as well.

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

We all probably have our favourite restaurants – those good friends to which we go again and again, when we feel like relaxing by ourselves, or with others, and enjoying the whole calm and restoring experience. Here are two of mine.

Probably my favourite is La Rustica in Houghton.
Italian cuisine the Old Traditional Way
Set in fairly large grounds, with ample secure parking, the walkway leads you around a fountain and up to the ‘house.’ We have been both in summer and in winter, and enjoyed sitting on the cool verandahs with a lazy drink, or inside in front of blazing log fires with something warm and inspiring. The service has always been friendly and efficient and the food excellent. I am still recovering from a delicious lamb shank, which I just had to finish.
Have a look at their website at :
Contact them at: +27 11 728 2092 (Reservations are essential)
Address: 103 Houghton Drive

Then there is a dependable delight in Franco’s Pizzeria & Trattoria in Parkview.
Experience a taste of Italy in Johannesburg
His specialities are pasta and pizza, but his menu will lead you on to lamb, veal and fish dishes, as well as something for the vegetarian, and some dangerous desserts. His staff are great and add to the joy of the occasion – as does Franco himself as he passes by to discuss the specialities and to make sure that you are happy [by which I mean pleased with everything!]
Have a look at his website at: (And see his short-stories and paintings too)
Contact them at: +27 11 646 5449 (Reservations essential)
Address: Upper Level 54, Tyrone Avenue, Parkview


Healthy Christmas recipes? Yup, it would seem so! Right click here to download the Healthy Christmas Mini eBook.

Weird remedies

I have been collecting Traditional South African Home Remedies (Boererate) for a few years now, mainly to preserve an old tradition. Some are funny but some actually work and have been in used since the 1800's when doctors were not easy to come by and people had to make do with what they had. I will be featuring some of the weirder ones in this and future letters:

ABSCESS/BOILS…Mix fresh cattle manure and vinegar to a smooth paste. Spread on a piece of cloth and apply to the abscess and cover and bandage to keep in place. This is an excellent drawing plaster.

ABSCESS/BOILS…Put a piece of snakeskin onto the abscess.

ABSCESS/BOILS…When the abscess is open…catch some of the pus onto a piece of cloth and bury the piece of cloth close to an anthill. As soon as the ants have eaten the cloth the abscess will be healed.

ALCOHOL DEPENDENCY …Eat a large orange first thing every morning…and use some willpower and you will overcome.

ALCOHOLISM…If someone is prone to drunkenness…give them 1 drop of horse-sweat (lather) and 1 drop of pig’s milk to drink.

ASTHMA…Take a piece of Scaly Anteater shell and grind till fine. Make a fire and put the fine shell on the coals. Lean over the fire and inhale the smoke…it will quickly open your chest.

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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. 

Love and marriage, horse and carriage and "pap en sous" are just made for each other. The "pap" in the aforementioned is a stiff maize porridge served as a bbq side dish togehter with a tomato-and-onion sauce. Try this as an alternative side dish:



500 ml boiling water
5 ml salt
300g maize meal
1 pouch creamy cheese sauce
salt and pepper to taste
3 large eggs, separated
410 g can mild and spicy chakalaka

1. Preheat oven to 180ºC.
2. Pour maize meal into salted boiling water and stir in thoroughly
3. Cook over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring often to a stiff pap consistency
4. Remove from the heat, and stir in the cheese sauce and egg yolks thoroughly - season well to taste
5. Beat the egg whites in a separate bowl until stiff peak stage and fold into the pap mixture gently but evenly
6. Transfer mixture into the prepared dish and bake for 20 minutes while the meat is being cooked
7. Serve soon after removing from the oven, with a bowl of chakalaka alongside as a perfect braai accompaniment

On the wild side 



Photo by Anna Eksteen
Click the image to see an enlargement

Dragonflies are an integral part of summer, flitting over ponds and skimming across rivers on balmy afternoons. But behind the beautiful colours and graceful flight lies an exciting and dramatic creature indeed!

Dragonflies and damselflies are the raptors of the insect world. Voracious hunters as larvae in ponds, rivers and lakes, they sometimes take prey as large as sticklebacks. They continue in the same vein after they have emerged as flying adults, hunting smaller insects on the wing in dashing raids. The larger dragonflies will take prey as big as the damselflies, but they are all absolutely harmless to us - they do not sting or bite in any way, and are actually very easy to handle, perching readily on a finger if trapped in a window. Their fascinating looks, amazing habits, and relatively tame manner combine to make the most exciting close-up watching experience.

Dragonflies and damselflies are in the insect order 'odonata', which translates as 'toothed jaws'. They belong to the most primitive group of insects; incredibly, some of their predecessors 300 million years ago reached a wingspan of up to 70cm, and could fly at 30mph! Odonata worldwide are divided into three sub-orders: Dragonflies (Anisoptera), Damselflies (Zygoptera) and a very primitive sub-order (Anisozygoptera) that is now almost extinct.

Unlike many insects (such as butterflies, moths, beetles and flies) dragonflies and damselflies (together with mayflies and grasshoppers) have a three-stage life cycle. They are 'hemimetabolous', having an incomplete metamorphosis. The missing stage is the pupa - hemimetabolous insects go straight from larvae to adults. The insects which do have a pupal stage are known as 'holometabolous'.

Adult female dragonflies lay eggs either on submerged vegetation or directly into water, and generally they will hatch after 2-5 weeks. Some eggs laid in late summer will go into diapause during the cold winter months and hatch in the spring. Most then remain as larvae for one or two years, preying on a range of tiny underwater creatures, although some of the larger dragonflies can take three years. The Golden-ringed Dragonfly, not recorded in the county but resident in the Midlands), can be in the larval stage for up to five years.

When they are ready, the larvae climb out of the water on a reed stem or piece of vegetation, and then emerge from their larval case (or exuvia) as adults. Careful searching in vegetation emerging from ponds, canals, lakes and rivers can often reveal an exuvia like that. Just after emergence, they are very vulnerable to predators until they have pumped their wings full of fluid and have then dried out, ready for flight. The flying adults have a short life-span - some can live for six or seven months in hot, dry climates, but typically in the UK the insects fly for just a few weeks.

There are over 5000 species of odonata worldwide, and being warm weather insects, it is not surprising that the majority are found in the tropics. Identifying dragonflies can in some cases be very difficult, even for the experts. But many, especially the mature males, have vivid colours and distinctive patterns, so everyone should be able to identify at least some of them.

Dragonflies are generally big with a thick, either tubular or slightly flattened 'tail' (abdomen) and broad wings, broadest where they meet the 'body' (thorax). They have huge compound eyes which take up much of their face. The eyes join in the middle on top of the head. A good look at the face will reveal a gruesome set of jaws!

Dragonflies almost always have their wings spread fully open, and can be found perching on vegetation, often hanging vertically. Dragonflies and damselflies can be told from other winged insects is several ways: they are large, with long, stout (or very wide) abdomens, large eyes, very short antennae, and many are brightly coloured blue, red, orange, brown, yellow or green.


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

The Poetry Competition
The Australian Poetry Competition had come down to
two finalists, a university graduate and an old aboriginal.

They were given a word, then allowed two
minutes to study the word and come up
with a poem that contained the word.

The word they were given was ' TIMBUKTU '

First to recite his poem was the university graduate.

He stepped up to the microphone and said:

Slowly across the desert sand
Trekked a lonely caravan
Men on camels two by two
Destination - Timbuktu.

The crowd went crazy!

No way could the old aboriginal top that, they thought.

The old aboriginal calmly made his
way to the microphone and recited:

Me and Tim a huntin' went
Met three whores in a pop up tent
They were three, and we was two
So I bucked one, and Timbuktu .

The aboriginal won!

A husband and wife attend a small service at the local church one Sunday morning.
The man was very moved by the preacher's sermon, so he stopped to shake the preacher's hand.
Reverend, that was the best damn sermon I ever did hear!"
The Reverend replied, "Oh! Why, thank you sir, but please,I'd appreciate it if you didn't use profanity in the Lord's house."
"I'm sorry Reverend, but I can't help was such a damn good sermon!"
The Reverend replied, "Sir, please, I cannot have you behaving this way in Church!"
"Okay Reverend, but I just wanted you to know that I thought it was so damn good, that I put $5,000 in the collection plate."
The Reverend's eyes opened wide as he remarked, "No Shit!"

Our maid asked for a pay increase.
My wife was very upset about this and decided to talk to her about the raise.
She asked: 'Now Maria, why do you want a pay increase?
Maria: 'Well, Senora, there are three reasons why I want an increase.
The first is that I iron better than you.'
Wife: 'Who said you iron better than me?'
Maria: 'Your husband said so.'
Wife: 'Oh.'
Maria: 'The second reason is that I am a better cook than you.'
Wife: 'Nonsense, who said you were a better cook than me?'
Maria: 'Your husband did.'
Wife: 'Oh.'
Maria: 'My third reason is that I am a better lover than you.'
Wife: (really furious now): 'Did my husband say that as well?'
Maria: 'No Senora...the gardener did.'
Wife: 'So how much do you want?'

Tips 'n Tricks

Put Acetone to Good Use in your Home

Acetone is the organic compound with the formula OC(CH3)2. This colourless, mobile, flammable liquid is the simplest example of the ketones. Owing to the fact that acetone is miscible with water it serves as an important solvent in its own right, typically as the solvent of choice for cleaning purposes in the laboratory. Familiar household uses of acetone are as the active ingredient in nail polish remover and as paint thinner and sanitary cleaner/nail polish remover base. It is a common building block in organic chemistry. In addition to being manufactured, acetone also occurs naturally, even being biosynthesized in small amounts in the human body.

Granite: Oil based stains on granite - pour acetone over the stain, and wipe away the excess. Stack paper towels on top of the stain. Leave overnight, then rinse with clean water. If necessary, repeat. Remember to find out if your granite has been treated with a special finish first.

Toaster: Did a plastic bread wrapper melt all over your toaster or sandwich maker? Dab a little acetone on the mess, then buff with a soft cloth. Keep the acetone far away from plastic parts, because it could eat into them.

Clothes: For oil splashes on dry clean only clothes, blot with a paper towel dampened with acetone, then launder the item in hot water.

Fibreglass: To remove glue, tar or oil-based paint stains, put a little acetone nail polish remover or paint thinner on a clean cloth and rub lightly over the glue until the spot disappears. Then wash with dishwashing liquid and water. Finally, rinse with clear water.

Iron: To clean acetate or nylon that has melted and hardened on the sole plate of your iron, use acetone on a cloth and rub the affected area until the melted residue has gone. Don't get the acetone on the plastic shell of the iron, because the acetone will melt it.

Nail Polish: To remove nail polish from fabric, blot with a clean cloth moistened with acetone until the nail polish spill has gone. If possible, lay the stain face down on white paper towels and blot from the back side to force the stain out the way it came in. Don't ever be tempted to use acetone on nylon or acetate fabrics though, as it will dissolve these fabrics. To remove from furniture and carpets, blot with a moistened cloth, but be careful not to let the acetone seep into the carpet's latex backing. To remove the acetone again, mix a solution of 1 squirt of mild dishwashing liquid with 1 litre of water.

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


It is thought that a Turkish native brought paprika into Hungary in the 15th or 16th century when the Turks conquered Hungary and allowed Bulgarian farmers to settle there.
They were the first to cultivate the new red pepper, known as Hungarian pepper. It was so mild and sweet, and full of flavour, the Hungarians started to include it in their diet, and it became so popular it was known as their national spice.
Paprika contains an unusually high amount of Vitamin C and is important in boosting the immune system to resist winter colds and 'flu.
In Hungary, children sprinkle paprika powder in their milk when suffering from a cold.
This a very decorative plant in a garden, reaching about 50 cm in height, with big elongated fruit which change from bright emerald green to the fiery red colour we know.
Paprika is a sturdy annual, bearing fruit right up to the first heavy frost.
The seed saved from the largest fruits, can be sown again next year with no fear of deterioration in quality.
The fruits must be picked when fully ripened and bright red, at the end of summer.
Paprika looks lovely when grown with tomatoes, parsley, sweet basil and strawberries.

Paprika is used to boost the immune system as it is full of vitamins, particularly A and C, minerals and beta carotene. It can also ease sore throats and stop constant coughs.
In Hungary, Russia and Czechoslovakia all medicine shelves have a bottle of paprika on hand. In rural areas it is still used to clear wounds, scratches and grazes by sprinkling into the washing water. Paprika is also taken with milk to stimulate sluggish bladder and kidney function.
Medical science has proved that the brilliant red colouring is an important anti-cancer food.
It contains a small degree of the fiery capsaicin which is present in large quantities in most of paprika's cousins, the peppers, and so helps to ward off colds and flu, and strengthen the immune system.

The Hungarians have perfected the art of cooking with this delicious spice. We sprinkle it on our grills and pastas in powdered form, but it is delicious using your own fresh paprika. It has a sweet yet pungent, rich flavour.

Paprika was once used in creams to brighten up the complexion of people living under sunless skies and long, dark winters. Girls would experiment with lip creams as well, adjusting the amount of powder in it to deepen the colour. Remember, paprika is mild enough to be used this way, but should you try doing the same with chilli powder or cayenne pepper, it will burn your skin badly.

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,

I was about 8th in a queue in a supermarket this week and kept looking to the front of the line impatiently to see why things were moving so slowly. I was waiting to buy airtime for a mobile phone and suddenly the reality of what I was doing struck home. I'd recently heard from someone who wanted "the real scoop" about daily life in Zimbabwe and in fact here it was, right in this queue.

Less than a year ago I wrote about this very same supermarket which sometimes used to open at 9 or 10 in the morning, some days it didn't open at all because it had nothing to sell. Less than a year ago huge supermarkets had only cabbages, condoms or bundles of firewood for sale. Now the shelves are brimming with goods again and if we have money there is food to buy.

This time last year if there was a queue in, or outside a supermarket, you were literally taking your life in your hands if you joined it. Queues for bread, sugar or maize meal were controlled by riot police. People were waiting outside supermarkets all night for the chance to get a single loaf of bread or little plastic packet of sugar. At opening time thousands of people would surge forward, some were injured and others even died in the stampedes.

This time last year we were still dealing in Zimbabwe dollars - worthless paper in denominations of billions and trillions which had expiry dates. We were queuing outside banks for days at a time to be
allowed to withdraw miniscule amounts of our own money. Amounts that weren't enough to even buy a bar of soap or a cup of tea. This dreadful time is also now a thing of the past and the banks are deserted places because most people don't have enough money to save and don't trust the banks who so recently treated their customers and their life savings with such casual contempt.

The reality of life in Zimbabwe this October 2009 is that the basics are back: food, fuel and bank notes. Yes the food is all imported and the bank notes are American but they have given such relief to an existence that had become almost unbearable. Everyone, without exception, knows that the bank crisis, the currency crisis and the food crisis were bought on by bad politics and bad governance and we also know who fixed their mess and what courage and determination it took.

And now, as we are just a fortnight away from the rainy season, it is time for the next battle of the basics to be fought and won. Now its time for Zimbabwe to start growing its own food again. Bad politics and bad governance forced us to import our every need and now its time for the brave and determined people who gave us back money food and fuel, to give us back functional farming and our own food on tables. We've wasted eight good rainy seasons and its time to turn the corner.

Until next time,
thanks for reading,
love cathy
cathy buckle 26th September 2009.
. For information on my new book: "INNOCENT VICTIMS" or my previous
books, "African Tears" and "Beyond Tears," or to
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This South Africa - news headlines

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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

Health bars
190 ml soft brown sugar
125 ml golden syrup
125 ml peanut butter
125 ml margarine
250 ml oats
250 ml puffed rice
4 wheat cereal biscuits, crushed
250 ml coconut
150 ml ProNutro cereal
65 ml dried apple rings, finely chopped
250 ml seedless raisins

Spray a deep 34 x 24 cm baking sheet with non-stick spray. In a saucepan, mix together the brown sugar, golden syrup, peanut butter and margarine, heating slowly until melted. Remove from the heat and cool. Mix the remaining ingredients in a separate bowl. Pour over the margarine mixture and mix well. Press into the prepared baking sheet and chill until firm, preferably overnight. Cut into bars and store in airtight containers.

Banana health muffins
Cooking time: 25-30 min

125 ml boiling water
2 bananas, mashed
100 ml seedless raisins
250 ml soft brown sugar
15 ml soft butter
500 ml wholewheat flour
100 ml sunflower seeds, toasted
5 ml bicarbonate of soda
5 ml baking powder
2 ml salt
125 ml water
150 ml bran (more if the mixture is too moist)

Preheat the oven to 180 ºC and lightly butter the hollows of a muffin tin or spray with non-stick spray. Pour the boiling water over the mashed bananas and seedless raisins and set aside. Mix the sugar and butter with a wooden spoon until well blended. Add the wholewheat flour and sunflower seeds. Sift the bicarbonate of soda through a fine sieve and add along with the baking powder and salt. Mix well. Make a hollow in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the soaked banana and raisins and the remaining water. Add the bran and stir until just blended. Fill the muffin tin hollows three-quarters of the way with the mixture and bake for 25-30 minutes until baked through. Cool slightly, turn out and serve with butter. Makes 12 muffins.

Health bread
Preparation time: 50 min
Cooking time: 1 hour

10 ml instant dry yeast
1 kg wholewheat flour
250 ml crushed wheat
125 ml wheat germ
125 ml milk powder
125 ml sunflower seeds
5 ml salt
15 ml soft brown sugar
30 ml wheat germ or sunflower oil
15 ml honey
750 ml lukewarm water

Preheat oven to 60 ºC. Mix all the ingredients together to form a soft dough. Place dough in a greased bread baking tin and cover with a towel. Place in preheated oven and leave for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and remove towel. Increase heat to 180 ºC, then bake the bread for 1 hour, or until cooked through. Makes 1 loaf.

Health bread
1 kg wholewheat flour
225 g crushed wheat
75 ml honey
10 ml salt
10 ml instant dry yeast
180 g bran flakes
15 ml oil

1. Mix dry ingredients, add 1 litre warm water to oil and honey and mix into dry ingredients. 2. Add 250 ml warm water to form a sloppy mix. Leave to prove in a warm place until double in size. 3. Put into greased loaf tins and bake in a preheated oven at 180 ºC for 50 minutes. Top with sunflower seeds. Makes 1 large loaf or 2 small loaves.

Health muffins

Cooking time: 20 minutes
125 ml oil
2 extra-large eggs
375 ml soft brown sugar
5 ml vanilla essence
250 ml milk
250 ml yoghurt
5 ml salt
12 ml bicarbonate of soda
750 ml wholewheat flour
375 ml cake flour
250 ml oats
375 ml bran

Preheat oven to 180 °C and grease a muffin tin with large hollows with oil or non-stick spray.
Beat the oil, eggs, sugar, vanilla essence, milk, yoghurt and salt together.
Dissolve the bicarbonate of soda in a little of the mixture and add.
Combine the dry ingredients and add the yoghurt mixture.
Mix lightly until just blended.
Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tin hollows to about three-quarters full.
Bake for about 20 minutes or until done.
Cool in the tin for about 5 minutes before turning out.
Serve lukewarm with butter and jam.

Health fruitloaf
Preparation time: +/- 15 min
Cooking time: +/- 1 hr

50 g coconut
140 g sugar
60 g oats
30 g bran
210 g self-raising flour
5 ml baking powder
125 ml sunflower seeds, pumpkin pips or pine kernels
200 g sultanas or shredded dried apricots or mixed dried fruit
2 extra-large eggs, beaten
375 ml skimmed milk
poppy seed for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 180 ºC (350 ºF). Spray a 23 x 13 x 7 cm loaf tin with non-stick spray. Mix dry ingredients together. Add sunflower seeds and sultanas. Mix well. Beat eggs and skimmed milk together until just blended and add to the dry ingredients, mixing thoroughly. Turn mixture into the prepared loaf tin. Sprinkle with poppy seed and bake for about 1 hour or until the loaf is baked through. A testing skewer should come out clean when inserted into the centre of the loaf. Cool slightly and turn out onto a wire rack. Serve with butter. Makes a medium loaf.

Health rusks

Cooking time: +/- 1 hour
500 g butter
500 ml sugar
3 extra-large eggs
2 litre self-raising flour
500 ml wholewheat flour
160 g bran
250 ml All Bran flakes
250 ml oats
100 g almond slivers
5 ml salt
10 ml baking powder
500 ml buttermilk

Grease a couple of bread tins or spray with non-stick spray. Cream the butter and sugar together. Beat in the eggs. Mix the dry ingredients and add, together with the buttermilk, to the butter mixture. Mix well and spoon into prepared tins. Cover tins with baking sheets. Place in a cool oven. Heat oven to 180 ºC. After 10 minutes, remove sheets. Bake for about an hour until done. Cool slightly in the tins and turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Slice and place on baking trays. Dry at 100 ºC.

Easy microwaved health rusks
375 ml brown sugar
500 g margarine
2 extra-large eggs
500 ml buttermilk
1 kg self-raising flour
15 ml baking powder
2 ml salt
750 ml All Bran flakes
500 ml bran
200 ml sunflower seeds
100 ml raisins
500 ml wheatgerm (optional)

Spray three 2 litre ice cream containers with non-stick spray. Place the brown sugar and margarine in a microwaveproof dish. Microwave for 3 minutes on full power. Stir well and microwave again for 2 minutes. Beat the eggs and buttermilk together and add the margarine mixture to the egg mixture. Combine the dry ingredients and add to the margarine mixture. Mix well and turn into the three ice cream containers. Place on an upturned saucer in the microwave oven and microwave one container at a time for 14 to 15 minutes on 70 per cent power. Cool slightly before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Break into pieces and place on a baking sheet. Dry in a conventional oven at 100 ºC (200 ºF). Store in airtight containers. Makes about 65 pieces.


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