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
New subscribers and everyone else, get your freebie at the
freebie section below. Some
Festive recipe books to download.
We have just
returned from trips to Caribbean Estates on the Natal South Coast as well
as Hole in the Wall in the Transkei.
photo albums here and the stories
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.
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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,
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still free overseas Lotto tickets available. If you have not yet
registered to play you will get a free ticket as a first time
email me, and I will give you the details.
I happened to find this really nice
Blog, please click on the link below and go browse around.....
Following with thanks from Brian at
I'm a rapacious recipe reader. I've read many thousand more recipes than
I'll ever cook in my life. Wherever there are recipes there you'll find
me, in bookshops browsing through glossy cookbooks (all written by glossy
cooks), books which I have absolutely no intention of buying, standing in
line at supermarket checkouts reading those little recipe cards that they
display in racks and which litter everyones car dashboards along with
unsolicited traffic tickets and on wet afternoons sadly lurking in
newsagents in a flasher's overcoat, leafing through the gastroporn
magazines - if there's a recipe to be read it seems I just can't resist
I read recipes that I don't need to and I don't know why. Maybe I think
that I'm going to find some great new idea, some previously un-thought of
way of preparing racoon, maybe I just feel I want to be au fait with "
Delia having fun with souffles ", I really don't have an answer. However
this silly little habit has taught me one or two things about recipes, I
can recognise the ones which will work, the ones which might work and the
ones which have been written by a committee ! And every so often I come
across a real gem which screams out at me "Why the hell would anyone want
to do this?"
"Chicken grilled under bricks" is a perfect example of one of those really
dumb recipes. Hailed as a so called Grill Master, a Barbeque King, author
of several barbeque cookbooks, the bozo who came up with this lulu and who
shall remain anonymous, purely in case any of you might be tempted to rush
out and buy one of his books, has created one of the dumbest recipes I
have come across in a long time. He recommends you take some skinless
chicken breast and sprinkle with salt,pepper and chilli flakes. Then you
douse them with lemon juice and olive oil which sort of defeats the object
of sprinkling with the spices because now you wash them all off. Next you
place the chicken breasts on a hot grill and position a brick wrapped in
tinfoil on top of each breast........why???? to stop them flying away
????, to keep the flies off ???? No, he reckons it keeps the chicken from
drying out (you've lost me there pal) and it makes just dandy grill marks
on the breast, that is if you can pry them off the grill bars with a
hammer and chisel!
I'm going to keep this one for when I get around to writing a cook book in
the style of "Gourmet Cooking for Dummies". The title I'm working on a the
moment is "Gourmet Dummies for Cooking" .
"The World awaits - Go Explore!!"
For competitive quotes on all your travel
012 425 1000 (option 3) Alicia
103 Club avenue
PO Box 35580
086 592 1311
Waterkloof Heights shopping centre
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.
A different type of
Child abuse has been in
the news continually: sexual, physical and emotional abuse. But there is
one type of abuse that happens everywhere (even in your home) that I have
seldom heard anybody addressing-"material abuse"
or also known as "the-giving-of-stuff".
I see it often in my practice: students who flap around with no ambition,
drive or meaning in life. They look for consistency and warmth in all the
wrong places: sex, drugs and partying. I see adults who are addicted to
plastic surgery, internet pornography, prostitutes, cigarettes, diets,
alcohol and work in order to fill a hole in their psyches. Everywhere one
looks there is a craving for MORE and because the maintenance of human
relationships is so draining for most people-they rather BUY
"stuff" in the attempt
to "full-fill" the
Many parents are driven by "stuff"
and when their children beg for human contact, communication and intimate
relationships-they pay them off with buying them more "stuff".
Consequently a vicious circle is created which is passed from generation
I have observed this behaviour in wealthy families but also in
single-parent and problematic families-where parents are driven by
emotional exhaustion, worry and guilt to rather buy stuff than to
communicate honestly, to invest time and emotional energy in their
children’s needs. This buying of "stuff"
can range from junk food to the latest electronic game. What do children
learn from this capitulation? That "stuff"
can fulfill emotional needs temporarily?
I shall never forget the advice of Sister Lillian, our local breastfeeding
and birthing guru: "A child can be successfully
raised in an old drawer as a crib and secondhand clothes but if he does
not receive regular human contact, loving touch and creative play, one can
easily be raising a psychological misfit."
And now we are nearing the time of year of the biggest
"material abuse": Christmas. Kind of
ironic, isn’t it? Are you going to give? And give? And eventually give in?
Or are you going to give yourself time to rethink, research and re-plan
how you are going to give more of YOURSELF to your family next year? Maybe
rather to make gifts with your children and not simply buying some? To
give a tenth of your Christmas expenditure to the poor and downtrodden?
Instead of being in the kitchen or the couch most of the holiday to walk,
plant, bake or play WITH your children? To next year teach your children
consistently and patiently values and ways to benefit humankind and our
Then you are giving the GREATEST GIFT –of which Jesus was our example:
then you give love-as-an-action. Then you give of yourself.
Blessings from heart to heart.
You are welcome to comment or send
questions to her at
Find it hard to get quality
children’s stories? Join the popular Anna Emm Story Club in Afrikaans or
English, and start adding to your child’s CD collection at an early age!
Collect al 96 original stories (on 48 CDs!) over 2 years, or join for a
minimum of 3 months - you decide! Receive 2 new CDs with original
children’s stories every month! Anna Emm Productions has already produced
more than 500 new children’s stories on CD.
to join . Ideal gift for children and grandchildren.
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
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.
iSimangaliso (Greater St Lucia) Wetland Park
Cradle of Humankind
uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park
Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape
Cape Floral Region
Richtersveld Cultural & Botanical Landscape
Year inscribed: 1999
Core zone: 239 566 hectares
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
-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
"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
Come join me on
Facebook, my Facebook email is firstname.lastname@example.org
you ever wanted to know about your birthday,
How to stay young - good advice
HOW TO STAY YOUNG
1. Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight and
height. Let the doctors worry about them. That is why you pay 'them'
2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.
3. Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening,
whatever. Never let the brain idle. 'An idle mind is the devil's
workshop.' And the devil's name is Alzheimer's.
4. Enjoy the simple things.
5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.
6. The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person, who
is with us our entire life, is ourselves. Be ALIVE while you are
7. Surround yourself with what you love , whether it's family, pets,
keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge.
8. Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable,
improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.
9. Don't take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, even to the next
county; to a foreign country but NOT to where the guilt is.
10. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity.
AND ALWAYS REMEMBER : Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the
moments that take our breath away.
I am a member
and it works, it is not a get rich quick scheme but with patience it can
build up to a useful extra monthly income, it does require a little bit of
marketing as well as a low monthly subscription, but, bottom line, it
This company is definitely not a
scam. Be Motivated Today provides a motivational service and has great
motivational products. The CEO, Arnfried Klein-Werner, is an International
Motivational Speaker. He has tried and studied many systems that don't
work and after 13 years developed a system that actually does work and is
creating wealth for many South Africans already. He understands people's
fears and therefore offers a 100% money-back guarantee, if you don't make
money after 6 months.
You have nothing to lose. I encourage you to visit the website and
register to try the products and service out for free.
Click here for more
information. Register as a free trial member then upgrade to start your income
For those of you who haven't got it yet,
right click here to download the FunkyMunky Festive recipe collection
Another oldie but goodie is this eBook, just in time for the Festive
Season - Great Gifts in a jar.
Right click here to
And one more book for you,
right click here to download A Homemade Christmas
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:
BEE-STING…Before you go and take out honey…first drink a tot of
brandy. If you get stung by bees…drink bicarbonate of soda and
water. It will prevent you from feeling ill from the stings.
BITES…Mix a little human urine and vinegar and give to the patient to
BLOOD…High Blood Pressure…Eat raw potatoes…do not add salt. It
tastes terrible…but it works wonders.
BLOOD…If you are out in the veld and get cut just look for a spiders
web and take the web and put it on the cut to stop the bleeding.
BLOOD…Take a thimbleful of gun powder and add to a glass of water.
Stir well to mix and drink on an empty stomach. It will purify your
BLOOD-POISONING…Mix some cattle dung and vinegar and apply to
a piece of linen and put on abscess and wrap and tie well. Replace
every 4 hours.
BOIL…If you continually suffer from boils…go and roll where your
dog has rolled. As soon as the dog has finished rolling…go and roll on
the same spot. The contact with the ground works wonders.
BOIL…Remove the pip and pus from a boil onto a piece of cotton-wool.
Cut a deep cut into a prickly pear leaf and push the piece of cottonwool
inside the cut. You won’t get boils again.
BOIL…Slice 1 medium-sized potato in half and put the pip from the
boil on one half. Put the two halves together and plant the potato. As
soon as the potato starts growing…the boil will be healed.
Just in time for the holiday baking season, just
click on the links
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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)
to take a look. (that works out to about R2 per recipe book! sheessshhh!)
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..........
Glenacres Superspar Recipe
Glenacres Superspar sends out a
really nice newsletter full of super recipes. To subscribe,
click here and send the
50 g butter
50 ml oil
8 large potatoes, sliced
2 large onions
2 cloves garlic
250 g fresh brown mushrooms
1 green pepper
1 red pepper
250 g broccoli florets
175 g tuna chunks
salt and pepper
5 ml mixed dried herbs
chopped chives, to garnish
1. Heat half the butter and oil in a pan and fry the sliced potatoes.
2. Remove and set aside.
3. Fry the remaining vegetables in the remaining butter and oil and set
4. Layer the vegetables and tuna in a well-buttered saucepan, starting and
ending with a layer of potato, and sprinkling seasoning and herbs over the
5. Cover with a well-fitting lid and cook over a very low heat for 8 to 10
6. Garnish with chopped chives.
Giraffe / Giraffa camelopardalis
Photo by Anna Eksteen
Click the image to see an enlargement
- The name giraffe is derived from the Arab word "Xirapha", which
means "the one who walks very fast".
- Giraffes are very vulnerable when they drink and always look around
carefully and make sure they have a firm footing before bending. The
brain is protected by a special system of blood vessels from the
sudden changes in blood pressure that come when raising and lowering
- Luckily, giraffes have elastic blood vessels in their necks; this
makes it possible for them to drink water from a stream, without
- When a giraffe splays its legs to drink water, it not only gives it
more secure footing, the difference in height between the head and the
heart is also reduced.
- All the veins and arteries in the giraffe's legs are situated close
to the bones and the capillaries that reach the surface are very
small. This prevents severe bleeding from superficial cuts and wounds.
- A giraffe can run at a speed of 56 km/h (35 mph). They have also
been known to jump up to 1.8m (6 feet) high.
- A giraffe's heart is 10kg (24 pounds) in weight and 60cm (2 feet) in
- The hooves of an adult giraffe are about 30cm (12 inches) wide.
- If the giraffe had to breathe at the same rate humans do, the 3.5m
(11½ feet) windpipe or trachea will suffer from windburn. Giraffes
breathe at only a third of the rate that we do.
- Giraffes have exceptionally long tongues that are blue-black in
colour, and about 45cm (1½ feet) in length. It is covered with thick
saliva and is used to pull twigs and shoots into the mouth where it is
held between the lower teeth and the thick hard pad in the upper jaw.
Their tongues are prehensile which means that it can grab and hold
- A giraffe's mouth is quite hard and also horny to enable them to eat
thorny bushes with ease.
- Giraffes don't have upper front teeth or incisors but a hard pad
where teeth would normally be. The leaves are then stripped off the
twigs with a backward pull of the head. Up to 45 kilograms (99 lb) of
leaves per day can be harvested this way to sustain its great bulk.
- They have a four chambered stomach and will regurgitate their food
for additional chewing – similarly to a cow.
- They spend between 16 and 20 hours a day feeding.
- Extreme care must be taken when scientists catch giraffes for study
or for capture for a zoo exhibit. If the scientists run the giraffe
too long, the giraffe will suffer a heart attack due to its high blood
pressure. Scientists typically target younger giraffes for this
- Giraffe have seven neck vertebrae, each 30cm (1 foot) long. Because
of their height they make a difficult kill for lions. A lion can die
if kicked by a giraffe.
- Giraffes sleep for no more than 5 to 30 minutes in 24 hours. A
giraffe seldom lies down; it can sleep as well as give birth while
- Giraffes are blessed with excellent eyesight. This helps them keep
an eye on each other from a distance and are able to perceive colour.
- A female giraffe gives birth to a single offspring after a gestation
period of approximately 15 months.
- A baby will fall approximately 1.8m (6 feet) during birth before
hitting the ground. A baby will begin nursing within 1 hour, and will
generally also begin walking within 1 hour.
- A giraffe is one of the animals that are born with a horn.
- Each giraffe has unique markings that distinguish it from others. No
two giraffes have exactly the same makings. A giraffe's age can be
calculated from its spots, as the darker the spots, the older the
- Giraffes can go for weeks without drinking water but even so they
still usually seek water every few days. Giraffes derive much of their
water from the plants they eat.
- A male giraffe can tell if a female is fertile by tasting her urine.
Male giraffes perform a type of dance to impress fertile females.
- The average life span of a giraffe in the wild is 25 years.
- At one time it was believed that giraffes were mute but they do make
sounds. A form of communication used by giraffes is called infra sound
and cannot be heard by humans. Giraffes do grunt and snort and sounds
like the bleating of calves, and the bellowing of cows, have been
- They have no tear ducts, although they have been seen crying.
- They have never been observed bathing.
- Giraffes are amazing animals. They are the tallest animals on earth.
Even with their extreme height these animals are incredibly graceful
and agile and are described as the most peaceful animals on earth.
Find your way around South Africa
With this really informative map, just click here:
The all-in-one official guide
and web portal to South Africa.
to my Afrikaans newsletter .
Afrikaans website. Recipes and freebie with each newsletter.
There was a man who worked for the Post Office whose job was to process
all the mail that had illegible addresses.
One day, a letter came addressed in a shaky handwriting to God with no
actual address. He thought he should open it to see what it was about.
The letter read:
I am an 83 year old widow, living on a very small pension.
Yesterday someone stole my purse. It had $100 in it, which was all the
money I had until my next pension payment.
Next Sunday is Christmas, and I had invited two of my friends over for
dinner. Without that money, I have nothing to buy food with, have no
family to turn to, and you are my only hope. Can you please help me?
The postal worker was touched. He showed the letter to all the other
workers. Each one dug into his or her wallet and came up with a few
By the time he made the rounds, he had collected $96, which they put into
an envelope and sent to the woman.
The rest of the day, all the workers felt a warm glow thinking of Edna and
the dinner she would be able to share with her friends.
Christmas came and went.
A few days later, another letter came from the same old lady to God.
All the workers gathered around while the letter was opened.
How can I ever thank you enough for what you did for me?
Because of your gift of love, I was able to fix a glorious dinner for my
We had a very nice day and I told my friends of your wonderful gift.
By the way, there was $4 missing.
I think it might have been those bastards at the post office.
Make your Garden a Haven for Wildlife
Leave a small patch of your garden untended to attract various wild
creatures to your home.
A garden alive with wildlife is a never-ending source of pleasure.
Provide a little bit of food and shelter, and even the smallest of flat
balconies can become a haven for creatures.
A welcome refuge: An old wall attracts butterflies, while birds nest in
the natural holes or nesting boxes, if you provide them. A dense coverage
of vines provide shelter for smaller birds.
Rockeries: In a corner of the garden, a pile of rocks, or a rockery set in
leaf litter serves as a hideaway for lizards and frogs. Take care not to
build this where there are a lot of snakes.
Feeding: An old tree stump makes an attractive bird feeder, and a charming
point of interest. This encourages a great variety of birds, especially in
winter. Set out a selection of seeds, nuts, cheese and fruit. Some birds
prefer to eat off the ground, so scatter a little seeds and nuts on the
ground. A birdbath placed nearby provides a spot for bathing and drinking
and can become a focal point in your garden. If you have a cat, remember
to put a bell on it's collar.
Berried border: Closely planted trees and shrubs offer birds safety to
nest and eat. Butterflies, and other insects love this vegetation too.
Include some prickly shrubs, such as grevilleas, which will attract
nectar-eating birds and also make access more difficult for the cat.
Water: A pond provides a home for frogs, fish and aquatic insects. A plant
that offers food, shelter and oxygen is the curled pondweed, while the
leaves of waterlillies provide shade and control algae. Waterside plants
complete the picture. Dragonflies, beetles and pond skaters will make
their way to the pond naturally, though amphibians might have to be
introduced. Birds and lizards will also come to quench their thirst.
Meadow magic: Create a summer meadow in a sunny corner of your garden.
Plant grasses and meadow flowers as a magnet for birds and insects.
Butterflies and bees will feed on the nectar of clover, cornflowers,
dandelions and poppies. Insects and small animals will stay in the
grasses, as well as ground dwelling birds.
Nectar bed: The sight of bees is a sign of summer. Butterflies collecting
nectar is beautiful to watch. Nectar producing flowers include verbena,
buddleia, most daisies, honesty and many native shrubs.
Encourage birds and small animals to your garden. It is really a
worthwhile exercise, and greatly rewarding!
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
You can also see some more photos
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
We also had a really nice stay at
Hole in the Wall
and Caribbean Estates
The word 'dill' comes from the ancient Norse word dylla which means 'to
soothe' and bunches of dill were hung over the door to protect the home and
ward off evil spirits.
A soothing syrup was made from dill by the monks during the Middle Ages to
ease colic, indigestion, coughs and colds, flu, headaches, spasms and as a
diuretic. Modern day research proves all these properties, and dill remains
a popular crop throughout the world.
Dill is better as a cool weather plant, needing frequent watering, so it is
best to sow as a winter annual.
Leaves and flowers can be picked at any time. Leave seed heads to ripen on
the plant, then tie a brown paper packet over them to catch the seeds.
Plant alongside lettuce, cabbage, mealies, cucumbers and tomatoes. Don't
plant near fennel, as they cross-fertilize and don't let it flower near
carrots as it reduces their yield.
Chewing dill seeds sweetens the breath, and the seeds were once chewed
during long boring sermons in church to allay hunger pangs, ease digestion
and to keep alert.
Dill tea is excellent for tension, upset digestion, hiccups, whooping cough,
flu, colds and insomnia.
Dill tea will also increase milk production in nursing mothers.
It is a natural antispasmodic, a mild diuretic and will soothe menstrual
pains, ease bloating and flatulence.
To make the tea, use ¼ cup of fresh leaves, pour over this 1 cup of boiling
water, stand for 5 minutes, strain and sip slowly.
The faint aniseed-like flavour of dill, combines well with other flavours
and a scattering of dill seed over cheese, egg and fish dishes seems to
impart freshness to the dish.
Add chopped leaves at the last minute or sprinkle over fish, chicken,
mutton, pasta, stir-fry and vegetable dishes just as you serve it.
Chopped flowers are delicious in stir-fries.
Flowers and seeds can be added to bread dough and in biscuit dough. It can
also be sprinkled onto desserts and salads, and added to soups, casseroles
Dill is also added to cucumber pickles.
In Middle Eastern cuisine, dill water and dill liqueur is served at the end
of a heavy meal to aid digestion.
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
For the latest on happenings in Zimbabwe, go to:
http://www.sokwanele.com/thisiszimbabwe/ and subscribe
to their newsletter, a really good source of current information
Cathy Buckle has started writing again from Zimbabwe, her letter
Here is Cathy's letter:
Dear Family and Friends,
If you think things are back to normal in Zimbabwe, just walk into
a bank. Its something I haven't done for many months and flipping
through my last cheque book reminded me of the mayhem of our banks
less than a year ago. My cheque stubbs look like something from a
crazy kindergarten. There's a payment for a telephone bill of four
hundred million dollars, another to a dentist for forty one
billion dollars. There's a deposit of four trillion, six hundred
billion dollars and another page showing a balance on hand of
fourteen trillion dollars. One page is slashed through in
red ink with the words : "NB: Aug 08: 10 zeroes removed by Gono."
And then, in October 2008, also in red ink on a cheque stubb are
the words: "Can't get in bank, queues of thousands."
It seems like a lifetime ago but in fact its just a year ago that
this was happening and now of course Zimbabwe doesn't even have
its own currency - thanks to Zanu PF and Reserve Bank Governor Mr
Gono. Zimbabwe's much talked about sovereignty is long gone when
it comes to the economy and now we buy and sell in US dollars and
South African Rand. Having been taught since childhood to save,
save save, I decided it was time to get back into the banking
I was the only customer in the newly refurbished international
bank in my home town last week. Yes I still have an account, they
told me after tapping in my numbers, but it's no longer valid. The
balance left there in January 2009 of trillions, or was it
quadrillions, is gone - apparently eaten up by devaluation and
ledger fees, not converted to 'real' US dollar money. A new
account number has been allocated to me, the bank said but it's
dormant and requires a deposit of 20 US dollars to bring it to
life. No, the bank say, the money left in my account doesn't
qualify to activate the new account, you must deposit REAL money
they insist. Once this has been done I enquire about a cheque book
- oh no we haven't got any yet I'm told. And an ATM card - oh
please, what planet am I on to be asking such an insane question!
A week later with the account open and activated I take a deep
breath and embark on the first withdrawal. I am the only customer
in the bank and my shoes click loudly as I cross the polished
floor. The lady at the enquiries desk is applying her make up and
doesn't stop as I stand in front of her. She won't tell me if my
expected transfer has arrived. She says I have to fill in a slip
before she can tap the number into the computer. She doesn't have
any slips, I've got to get them from a man sitting at a desk back
at the entry door. I walk back across the banking hall, the man is
busy chatting and laughing to someone on the phone. He ignores me
until he is finished. I fill in the slip back at the enquiries
desk while the lady carries on with her face decorating, mirror in
hand, lips pouted.
Finally with a completed cash withdrawal slip in hand I approach
the only teller on duty. I am still the only customer but have to
wait because the teller is busy - chatting to a friend. At last
I'm noticed, the friend steps aside and I am served. My greeting
to the teller is ignored. My slip is checked, ticked and stamped
and then all the information is copied, written by hand into a
ledger. This fools me completely because the electricity is on and
the computer screen at the tellers side is working. The teller
takes my ID, withdrawal slip and ledger book and disappears. When
he reappears he says : 'What about my commission?' What commission
I ask, saying I wasn't informed there would be a commission and
saying that I know the depositor paid bank transfer fees and
commissions at the other end. "No," he says, you have to pay a
commission." I am then told to deduct the amount and change and
counter sign all the amounts written in words and numbers on the
now stamped and signed withdrawal slips to allow the bank its
Finally after 17 minutes and now with one other customer in the
bank, the money looks like it may be forthcoming. The teller
shouts out through the bullet proof glass to someone in the back
to bring him bank notes. They only have small denominations it
turns out and finally these appear in a locked steel box. Checked
and rechecked below the counter, the teller finally pushes a pile
of notes across to me. No, I say, I wish you to count the notes to
me. "What?" he says. I repeat my request and he rolls his eyes and
with an audible sigh, the bank notes are counted to me. 26 minutes
later and again the only person in this very well known
international bank, I leave.
Will I be back soon - I don't think so. This is the face of
Zimbabwe for investors and tourists, what a shocking disgrace both
for a country and an international bank. Until next week, thanks
for still reading,
Copyright cathy buckle 14th November 2009.
. For information on my new book: "INNOCENT VICTIMS" or my
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Looking for a specific South African recipe?
and I will do my best to find it for
8 chicken pieces, cleaned
salt and pepper
60 gcake flour
5ml curry powder
1 onion, finely chopped
125ml tomato sauce
30ml Worcestershire sauce
125ml sultanas or currants
Preheat the oven to 180 ºC (350 ºF). Spray a large ovenproof dish with
non-stick spray. Season the chicken pieces well with salt and pepper.
Combine the cake flour with the curry powder and roll each chicken piece
in the mixture. Fry in heated oil until brown. Arrange in the prepared
dish. Sauté the onion in the oil until soft. Add the remaining ingredients
and mix well. Pour over the chicken pieces, cover with aluminium foil and
bake for one to one and a half hours or until tender and done. Remove the
aluminium foil and bake for another 10 minutes or until the chicken pieces
are nicely browned. Serve with rice and a salad. Serves 6.
200g sponge cake
200ml medium-cream sherry
410g peach slices, drained
100g whole blanched almonds
80g port wine jelly
250ml boiling water
25ml medium-cream sherry
750ml thick custard
2ml almond essence
500ml cream, stiffly whipped
50ml medium-cream sherryglacé fruit, such as watermelon, pineapple and
Cut the sponge cake into pieces and arrange in a pretty glass bowl. Place
the peach slices and almonds on top, reserving a few almonds for
decoration. Add the port wine jelly to the boiling water and stir until
the jelly has dissolved completely. Add the 25 ml sherry to the jelly.
Cool and pour over the ingredients in the bowl. Chill until set. Mix the
custard and almond essence and spoon over the cake layer. Chill. Mix the
cream and the 50 ml sherry and spoon on top of the custard layer,
reserving some cream for decoration. Smooth and pipe cream rosettes on the
trifle. Cut the glacé watermelon pieces into holly leaf shapes with a
biscuit cutter and cut the other glacé fruit into shapes of your choice.
Decorate the trifle with the glacé fruit and almonds.
Festive ox tongue
1 fresh ox tongue
2 onions, coarsely chopped
2 bay leaves
6 whole peppercorns
2 whole cloves
2 sprigs parsley
30ml cake flour
250ml chicken stock
1 small lemon, juice and rind
2ml ground cinnamon
5ml mustard powder
65ml sweet sherry
250ml prunes, stoned and chopped
125ml seedless raisins
125ml almond slivers (optional)
sugar to taste
salt and freshly ground
black pepper to taste
Place the tongue, onions, lemon and other seasonings in a large saucepan.
Cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Simmer gently until tender
and cooked, about three to four hours. Cool slightly, remove the skin and
slice thinly. Set aside. Melt the butter and stir in the cake flour. Heat
for about one minute while stirring. Remove from the stove and stir in the
chicken stock. Heat while stirring until the sauce come to the boil and
thickens. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to the boil once more.
Add the sliced tongue, cover and simmer very slowly for about 30 minutes.
Stir every now and then to prevent the mixture from burning. (The tongue
can also be baked in the oven.) Serve with mashed potatoes and buttered
500g dried fruitcake mix
100g glace figs, roughly chopped
100g pitted dates, finely chopped
100g dried apricots, roughly chopped
200g red glace cherries, halved
100g glazed pineapple, chopped
100g chopped pecan nuts or blanched almonds
grated rind of one orange
200g brown sugar
5 large eggs
15ml smooth apricot jam
3ml ground nutmeg
5ml ground cinnamon
5ml mixed spice5mlground ginger
1ml ground cloves3mlbicarbonate of soda
1. Mix cake mix, figs, dates, apricots, cherries, glazed pineapple, nuts,
orange rind and brandy together and leave to soak overnight.
Grease and line a 20cm-square cake tin with two layers of greaseproof
3. Cream butter and sugar together and add eggs, beating well after each
addition until light and fluffy. Add jam and fruit mixture. Mix well.
4. Sift remaining dry ingredients together and add to the fruit mixture.
Mix well. Pour mixture into the prepared tin and level cake with a
spatula. Bake for 2 to 2 ½ hours at 150 °C.
5. Allow to cool completely in the tin. Turn out and remove baking paper.
Sprinkle with brandy, then wrap up in aluminium foil and store in a
tightly sealed container. Open and sprinkle with extra brandy once a month
until ready to serve.
If you would prefer an iced fruitcake, spread a thin layer of apricot jam
over the entire cake and cover with marzipan an plastic icing.
Festive fruity mince tartlets
225g flour, sifted
125g cold butter, cut into small cubes
2 egg yolks
100g dried figs, chopped
100g prunes, pitted and chopped
50g dried nectarines, chopped
1 apple, chopped
2ml mixed spice
1 orange, grated rind and juice
1 lemon, grated rind and juice
1 cinnamon stick
250ml sweetened grape juice
250ml red wine
Place the flour into a bowl. Mix the butter in with your fingertips until
the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and mix in the egg yolks,
beaten with 30 ml (2 tbsp) iced water, with a sharp knife. Bring the
mixture together with your hands, wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for 1
hour. Roll pastry out thinly onto a floured surface. With a small cookie
cutter cut out rounds to fit 2 patty pans trays. FILLING: Place all the
ingredients into a saucepan. Simmer for 20 minutes or until fruit is soft.
Cool. Spoon mixture into pastry cases and bake at 180 ºC for 10 minutes or
until the pastry is light brown.
12 prunes,soaked and stoned
100g walnuts, coarsely chopped
50ml honey, melted
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
450g pork sausage, casing removed
7ml lemon rind, grated
50ml butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 160 ºC (325 ºF). Remove the giblets and set aside for
the gravy. Remove feathers by scorching them and pat the turkey dry with
paper towelling. Season inside and outside with salt and pepper. Stuff
each prune with some of the chopped walnuts. Dip the prunes in the melted
honey. Sauté the onion in the oil until soft. Blend all the ingredients
for the stuffing. Stuff the turkey cavity with the mixture and secure the
opening with needle and thread. Ensure that the legs of the turkey are
tied together and place the bird in the oven. Blend the butter and honey
and brush the turkey with the mixture. Cover with aluminium foil and bake
for about 3 hours or until the turkey is done. Remove the aluminium foil
about 40 minutes before the end of the cooking time. Baste with the pan
juices every now and then while baking. Simmer the neck, liver and kidneys
together until tender. Remove the bones and mash the meat and add the pan
juices to the saucepan. Thicken slightly with a little cornflour and serve
the gravy with the turkey.
Festive fruit loaf
125g dried apricots, quartered
200g whole red glacé cherries
100g whole green glacé cherries
75g seedless raisins
125ml stoned prunes, halved
200g brazil nuts, coarsely chopped
100g pecan nuts, coarsely chopped
100g ground almonds
2ml baking powder
3 extra-large eggs
10ml vanilla essence
2 drops almond essence (optional)
whole glacé fruit (optional)
Preheat the oven to 150 ºC (300ºF). Line a medium-sized cake tin with wax
paper or aluminium foil and spray well with non-stick spray. Mix the fruit
and nuts in a large mixing bowl. Add the ground almonds and baking powder
and mix gently. Beat the eggs until light and creamy. Add the honey and
essences, beating well. Add to the fruit mixture and mix well. Turn the
mixture into the prepared cake tin and firmly press into the tin using a
spoon. Bake for about one to one and a half hours or until the loaf is
done and firm. Ensure that the sides of the loaf do not burn. Cool the
loaf in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack. Remove the aluminium
foil or waxed paper. Store in an airtight container. Dust with a little
icing sugar just before serving and decorate with glacé fruit if desired.
Makes a medium-sized loaf.
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Then I came across
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software and you can practice with fun money to your heart's content
before you play with the real thing.
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