Number 174

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November 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. 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. See the photo albums here and the stories here.

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

Free Lotto Tickets

There are still free overseas Lotto tickets available. If you have not yet registered to play you will get a free ticket as a first time registration.

Just email me, and I will give you the details.

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

Dumb recipes
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 it.
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" .


ACT Travel
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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.

A different type of child abuse

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 emptiness.
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 to 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 planet?
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

Children's Stories on CD

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. Click here to join . Ideal gift for children and grandchildren.

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

Robben Island


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


Come join me on Facebook, my Facebook email is

Birthday facts

Everything you ever wanted to know about your birthday, click here

How to stay young - good advice

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 alive.

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.
Additional income

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 works.

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 stream.


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 download

And one more book for you, right click here to download A Homemade Christmas

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:

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 drink

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.

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.

Bread recipes

Just in time for the holiday baking season, just click on the links

Apple Bread

Applesauce-Raisin Bread

Banana Bread

Banana Nut Bread

Blueberry Nut Bread

Brown Bread

Caramel Pecan Rolls

Carrot Tea Bread

Chocolate Bombs

Chocolate Chip Muffins

Christmas Morning Cranberry Muffins

Christmas Shortbread

Cinnamon Buns

Cinnamon Rolls

Cranberry Banana Loaf

Cranberry Muffins

Date & Nut Bread

Double Chocolate Chip Muffins

Gingerbread Delight

Irish Soda Bread

Italian Sausage Bread

Maple Walnut Sticky Buns

Pecan Sticky Rolls

Pumpkin Bread

Southern Style Biscuits

Povatica (Walnut Bread)

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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. 

Potato Bake

50 g butter
50 ml oil
8 large potatoes, sliced
2 large onions
2 cloves garlic
250 g fresh brown mushrooms
6 courgettes
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 aside.
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 layers.
5. Cover with a well-fitting lid and cook over a very low heat for 8 to 10 minutes.
6. Garnish with chopped chives.

On the wild side 

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 the head.
- Luckily, giraffes have elastic blood vessels in their necks; this makes it possible for them to drink water from a stream, without fainting.
- 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 length.
- 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 onto objects.
- 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 reason.
- 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 standing up.
- 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 giraffe.
- 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 heard.
- 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:

 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

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:

Dear God,
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?
Sincerely, Edna

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 dollars.
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.
It read:

Dear God,
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 friends.
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.
Sincerely, Edna

Tips 'n Tricks

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 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

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 and stews.
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
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,

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 habit.

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 commission.

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.
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Recipe Requests

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The Recipes

Festive chicken

8 chicken pieces, cleaned
salt and pepper
60 gcake flour
5ml curry powder
1 onion, finely chopped
30ml oil
125ml tomato sauce
125ml chutney
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.

Festive trifle

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 cherries


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
1 lemon
2 bay leaves
6 whole peppercorns
2 whole cloves
2 sprigs parsley

30ml butter
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 French beans.

Festive Fruitcake

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
125ml brandy
250g butter
200g brown sugar
5 large eggs
15ml smooth apricot jam
280g flour1mlsalt
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 paper.
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
125ml sugar
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
60ml sugar

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.

Festive turkey

5kg turkey

12 prunes,soaked and stoned
100g walnuts, coarsely chopped
50ml honey, melted
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
15ml oil
450g pork sausage, casing removed
7ml lemon rind, grated

50ml butter, melted
60ml honey

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
30ml honey
10ml vanilla essence
2 drops almond essence (optional)
icing sugar
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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