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Newsletter #93 - February 10 , 2005

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Hello everyone!

A great big welcome to all new subscribers!

I was wondering how popular Valentine's Day is in South Africa. I know the florists do a roaring trade and red roses and carnations are horribly expensive. ( A tip, get your loved one a white carnation or rose at half price and just tie a red ribbon around it!)

I did some research on the origin and traditions around Valentine's Day, I am sure you will find it interesting.

You can still send that special person in your life a Valentine's gift by clicking on the Netflorist banner below and let them deliver it to his/her desk or home!

After reading about Valentine's day, scroll down for some delicious sounding Valentine's day recipes!

The History of Saint Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day started in the time of the Roman Empire. In ancient Rome, February 14th was a holiday to honor Juno. Juno was the Queen of the Roman Gods and Goddesses. The Romans also knew her as the Goddess of women and marriage. The following day, February 15th, began the Feast of Lupercalia.

The lives of young boys and girls were strictly separate. However, one of the customs of the young people was name drawing. On the eve of the festival of Lupercalia the names of Roman girls were written on slips of paper and placed into jars. Each young man would draw a girl's name from the jar and would then be partners for the duration of the festival with the girl whom he chose. Sometimes the pairing of the children lasted an entire year, and often, they would fall in love and would later marry.

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Under the rule of Emperor Claudius II Rome was involved in many bloody and unpopular campaigns. Claudius the Cruel was having a difficult time getting soldiers to join his military leagues. He believed that the reason was that roman men did not want to leave their loves or families. As a result, Claudius cancelled all marriages and engagements in Rome. The good Saint Valentine was a priest at Rome in the days of Claudius II. He and Saint Marius aided the Christian martyrs and secretly married couples, and for this kind deed Saint Valentine was apprehended and dragged before the Prefect of Rome, who condemned him to be beaten to death with clubs and to have his head cut off. He suffered martyrdom on the 14th day of February, about the year 270. At that time it was the custom in Rome, a very ancient custom, indeed, to celebrate in the month of February the Lupercalia, feasts in honor of a heathen god. On these occasions, amidst a variety of pagan ceremonies, the names of young women were placed in a box, from which they were drawn by the men as chance directed.

The pastors of the early Christian Church in Rome endeavored to do away with the pagan element in these feasts by substituting the names of saints for those of maidens. And as the Lupercalia began about the middle of February, the pastors appear to have chosen Saint Valentine's Day for the celebration of this new feast. So it seems that the custom of young men choosing maidens for valentines, or saints as patrons for the coming year, arose in this way.

In the United States, Miss Esther Howland is given credit for sending the first valentine cards. Commercial valentines were introduced in the 1800's and now the date is very commercialised. The town of Loveland, Colorado, does a large post office business around February 14. The spirit of good continues as valentines are sent out with sentimental verses and children exchange valentine cards at school.

Valentine Traditions

Hundreds of years ago in England, many children dressed up as adults on Valentine's Day. They went singing from home to home. One verse they sang was:
Good morning to you, valentine;
Curl your locks as I do mine---
Two before and three behind.
Good morning to you, valentine.

In Wales wooden love spoons were carved and given as gifts on February 14th. Hearts, keys and keyholes were favorite decorations on the spoons. The decoration meant, "You unlock my heart!"
In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who their valentines would be. They would wear these names on their sleeves for one week. To wear your heart on your sleeve now means that it is easy for other people to know how you are feeling.
In some countries, a young woman may receive a gift of clothing from a young man. If she keeps the gift, it means she will marry him.
Some people used to believe that if a woman saw a robin flying overhead on Valentine's Day, it meant she would marry a sailor. If she saw a sparrow, she would marry a poor man and be very happy. If she saw a goldfinch, she would marry a millionaire.
A love seat is a wide chair. It was first made to seat one woman and her wide dress. Later, the love seat or courting seat had two sections, often in an S-shape. In this way, a couple could sit together -- but not too closely!
Think of five or six names of boys or girls you might marry, As you twist the stem of an apple, recite the names until the stem comes off. You will marry the person whose name you were saying when the stem fell off.
Pick a dandelion that has gone to seed. Take a deep breath and blow the seeds into the wind. Count the seeds that remain on the stem. That is the number of children you will have.
If you cut an apple in half and count how many seeds are inside, you will also know how many children you will have.

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Search my website, type in any key word and if that word is on my site you will see it in the results, search for recipes, ingredients, place names etc



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The Herb Section -  Bulbinella

The name bulbinella is often applied incorrectly to members of this large group of plants. There are several varieties, some with long, thin dark green leaves, and others with pale leaves. The most common one has yellow flowers, and very juicy leaves.
Bulbinella grows very quickly and easily. It is a very hardy plant, and can be planted almost anywhere, but likes full sun and the odd spadeful of compost.
Simply pull off a piece of an old plant, stick it in the ground and you will soon have a new plant. Bulbinella grows to a height of about 15cm, so will grow easily in a pot on a veranda.

Bulbinella is wonderful in a garden as it grows and flowers all year round. Being a succulent, it can withstand frost, drought, strong winds and pollution.

Extracts of bulbinella juice make an excellent bases for all skin creams.
It is known as the indigenous Aloe vera, and can be used in similar ways.

Bulbinella is described as a natural medicine chest because it is so versatile.
Apply the freshly squeezed juice from the leaves to burns, blisters, rashes, insect bites, itchy patches, eczema, cracked lips, fever blisters, cold sores, pimples, mouth ulcers, cracked skin, bee and wasp stings, and sores and rashes on animals.

Thanks to everyone who has mailed us fridge magnets depicting your State, City or Country.
If you collect fridge magnets, I will gladly swop with you!
 Please email me and we can make arrangements. Thanx a lot!

My website is interactive, there are a few pages you can contribute to:
Cocktails - I am now also collecting typically South African Cocktails, if you have any to contribute, please email me.

Elephant Stew - add your suggestion
Wacky Sarmies - add your fav sarmie (some great sarmie ideas here!)
Animal Facts - Some interesting stuff here Write a caption - new pic added
Discussion Forum - Add to a current discussion or start a new thread.


Why not post a message on the Discussion Forum. The topic can be food, wildlife, travel or photography related, or anything else of interest. Let's see if we can get some interesting discussions going


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Looking for a specific South African recipe? Email me and I will do my best to find it for you!


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When you have had a look at the recipes below, click here to visit the main recipe page on my site. 

Any comments, positive or otherwise on this Newsletter will be appreciated!

That's it for now,
Take care,

If you are ecer in the Ceres area why not take a break and enjoy a great cuppa coffee!...and send friends and family back home an email greeting!


Your Property is our Responsibility
• Letting
• Tenant Screening
• Rent Collection
• Accounting
• Inspection
• Electronically Advanced
• In-house Legal Resources
Contact us for your PROP RENT needs
Estelle (012)993-0034(w) 991-4111(h)
Cell 072 785 3935
16C Garsfontein Park Jacqueline Drive Garsfontein
e-mail address proprent@wpprok.co.za


The Recipes
See Links for Metric Converter


2 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 ounce semisweet chocolate -- grated
42 milk chocolate kisses
baking cocoa

In a medium bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Add cream of tartar; beat until soft peaks form, about 6 minutes.

Gradually add sugar, beat until soft peaks form, about 6 minutes. Beat in extract.

Fold in grated chocolate.

Insert a medium size open- star tip in a pastry or plastic bag. Fill with meringue.

On lightly greased baking sheet, pipe forty-two 1 inch circles. Press chocolate kiss into the center of each. Pipe meringue around each kiss in continuous circles from the base to the top until the kiss is completely covered. Dust with cocoa.

Bake 325° F. for 15-18 minutes or until edges are lightly brown. Immediately remove to wire racks to cool.

Yield: 3 1/2 dozen


1 Pkg. Chocolate cake mix (18 1/4 oz.)
1 pkg. peanut butter chips (10 oz.)
4-1/4 Cups cold milk, divided
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
2 pkgs. instant chocolate pudding mix (5.9 oz. each)
1 carton (12 oz.) frozen whipped topping, thawed
4 Nestle Crunch candy bars (1.5 oz. ea), crumbled

Prepare cake mix according to package directions. Pour the batter into greased 13 x 9 in baking pan. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

In heavy saucepan, combine chips, 1/4 cup milk and cream. Cook and stir over low heat until chips are melted. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Cool to room temp. Place remaining milk in mixing bowl; beat in pudding mixes on low speed for 2 minutes.

To assemble, crumble half of the cake into a 4 qt. trifle bowl or large bowl. Layer with half of the peanut butter sauce, pudding, whipped topping and candy bars; repeat layers. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours before serving.

Serves 12-15


1 can (21 ounces) cherry pie filling
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
1 cup cold milk
1 package (3.4 ounces) instant vanilla pudding mix
Whipped topping, chopped almonds and fresh mint, optional

Combine pie filling and extract; set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine sour cream and milk. Stir in pudding mix; beat on low speed for 2 minutes. Spoon half into parfait glasses; top with half of the pie filling. Repeat layers. Garnish with whipped topping, almonds and mint if desired. Refrigerate until serving.

Yield: 4-6 servings.


1 c dried sour cherries
1 c warm water
1 c flour
1 c whole wheat flour
1/4 c sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 c chilled butter -- cut in bits
1 large egg yolk
3/4 c buttermilk

Soak cherries in warm water. Let stand until softened, 1 hour. Drain and discard liquid. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium bowl, mix together all-purpose flour, wheat flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg. Using a pastry blender cut butter into flour mixture until coarse crumbs form. Mix together egg yolk and buttermilk.

Make a well in the center of flour mixture. Add egg mixture and cherries all at once to well, tossing with a fork until a soft dough forms. On a floured surface, knead dough 10 times.

Using a floured rolling pin, roll dough to a 1 in. thickness. Using a floured 3 in. heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out scones. Gather trimmings, roll dough to a 1 in. thickness, and cut out more scones. Place scones, 1 in. apart, on an ungreased baking sheet.

Bake until golden, 18 to 20 min. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Dust with confectioners' sugar.


1 C. butter or margarine, softened
1 C. granulated sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 C. uncooked rolled oats
1 1/4 C. unbleached flour
2 C. M&M's plain chocolate candy

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray 2 baking sheets with cooking spray; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine butter, sugar and vanilla extract.

In another mixing bowl, combine oats and flour.

Mix wet ingredients with dry ingredients just until moistened. Divide dough in half. Pat each half of dough into heart shape about 1/4-inch thick on prepared baking sheets.

To decorate, gently press M&M's into dough in a pattern or phrase of your choice. With a sharp knife, cut through dough to form 10 random shapes. Do not separate.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until lightly browned. Carefully cut through pieces again to separate.

Cool 5 minutes on baking sheet. Remove and cool completely on wire rack.


1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
12, 1 ounce squares dark or milk chocolate

Icing, optional
1 egg white
1-1/4 cups powdered sugar
3 drops red food coloring

Soak Popsicle sticks for one hour in a bowl of cold water; this will prevent them from burning when baked. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease cookie sheets.

Melt chocolate chips over a low heat until melted. Remove from heat; let cool.

Beat butter, brown sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Beat in egg. Beat in cooled chocolate. Stir in flour, cocoa powder and salt until smooth.
Divide dough in half.

Roll each half out to 1/8 inch thick, wrap in wax paper and freeze or six minutes.

Remove wax paper and cut out cookies with a heart shaped cookie cutter.
Re-roll scraps, freeze and cut out. Place half of the hearts about 1 inch apart on cookie sheet.

Remove Popsicle sticks from water and pat dry. Gently press one stick into each heart, leaving about 2-1/2 inches for a handle.

Place remaining hearts on top and gently press edges to seal.

Bake about 12 minutes until firm to touch.Cool on wire racks.

Line cookie sheets with wax paper.

In a double boiler melt chocolate; remove from heat.

Dip each lollipop into melted chocolate; let excess drip back into pan. Place lollipops on prepared cookie sheets.

Decorate with candies if desired and refrigerate 20 minutes until chocolate is set.

Make icing: Beat egg white and powdered sugar until smooth. Tint with food coloring if desired and spoon over lollipops.

NOTE: 3-inch heart-shaped cutters recommended.


2 egg whites
1/2 cup superfine sugar
2 T. Hot Chocolate Mix
1-1/2 cup shredded coconut
2 T. Cocoa sifted
1/3 powdered sugar
2 T. hot water

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease 2 baking sheets.

In a large bowl, beat or whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form.

Combine the sugar and hot choc. mix, then add to the egg whites very slowly. Beat until stiff. Stir in the coconut.

With a pastry bag fitted with a 1/3 in. nozzle, pipe the mixture into 2 in. lengths on the prepared pans, OR make 2" strips using 2 spoons onto the pans.

Bake in the preheated oven 35 - 40 min. Cool completely.

Mix the sifted cocoa, powdered sugar, and hot water in a saucepan and warm for a few seconds over a low heat. Dip one end of the baked macaroon sticks into the icing, then place them on a sheet of waxed paper or parchment paper to dry.

Festive looking and delicious!


4 oz semisweet chocolate
1 C butter
3/4 C espresso or strong coffee
1 C chopped pecans
1 3/4 C sugar
1 1/2 C flour
4 eggs
1 t vanilla
1 C miniature chocolate chips

Melt 4 oz semisweet chocolate together with butter in microwave or double boiler. Stir in espresso and pecans. Set aside.

Combine sugar, flour, eggs and vanilla by hand until blended. Add chocolate mixture and stir carefully. Stir in mini chips. Spoon batter into greased mini muffin pans. Bake at 325 for about 15 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.

YIELD: 36 Miniature Cakes


6 eggs separated
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tblsp cornstarch
3/4 cup milk
1/2 Tsp vanilla extract
2 large sweet oranges
1-1/4 lb chopped semi-sweet chocolate
3 Tblsp unsalted butter
Whipped cream

Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until fluffy. Add the corn starch milk and vanilla and heat gently in a double boiler until slightly thickened, stirring constantly. Finely grate the rind of one orange and add to the custard along with the chocolate. Continue to heat gently, stirring constantly until the chocolate has completely melted. Remove from heat. Stir in the butter and let cool to room temperature.

Whip the egg whites until stiff and glossy and fold into the mousse. Spoon into 6 tall dessert glasses and chill.

Use a vegetable peeler to peel thin rinds off the other orange and slice into very fine shreds. Boil with 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons water until crystallized, about 5 minutes. Remove and separate with a fork and dry on a rack.

Top each mousse with a swirl of cream and garnish with the crystallized orange rind.


1 (18.25 ounce) package devil's food cake mix
1 (3.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt pan. Have all ingredients at room temperature.

In a large bowl, stir together cake mix and pudding mix. Make a well in the center and pour in eggs, sour cream, oil and water. Beat on low speed until blended. Scrape bowl, and beat 4 minutes on medium speed. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake in the preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool.

Serves 8-10


1 (9 inch) pie shell
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In a medium bowl combine eggs, melted butter or margarine, and sugar. Stir in vanilla extract. Set mixture aside.

In a separate bowl mix together flour and cocoa powder. Pour egg mixture into flour mixture and stir until thoroughly combined. Fold in chocolate chips if desired.

Pour into pastry shell. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes. Serve hot if desired.

Serves 8


2 pkg. (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
4 squares BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate, melted, slightly cooled
1 OREO Pie Crust (6 oz.)

Preheat oven to 325°F. Mix cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs; mix until blended. Stir in melted chocolate.

Pour into crust.

Bake 40 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool. Refrigerate 3 hours or overnight.


1/2 pkg. Pepperidge Farm® Frozen Puff Pastry Sheets (1 sheet)
6 tbsp. creamy peanut butter
1 bar (4 oz.) sweet baking chocolate, broken into 18 squares
2/3 cup mini marshmallows

Thaw pastry sheet at room temperature 30 min. Preheat oven
to 400°F.

Unfold pastry on lightly floured surface. Roll into 18" x 9" rectangle. Cut into 18 (3") squares. Press squares into 3" muffin-pan cups. Place 1 tsp. peanut butter in center of
each. Top with 1 square chocolate and 3 marshmallows.

Bake 12 min. or until golden. Cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes.

Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.

Yield: 18 Pastries


1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup unsalted butter melted
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa
1-1/4 cup ground Almonds
2 tbs Amaretto or 1/2 tsp almond extract

Preheat oven to 325 F and butter a 8" square baking pan.

Beat the butter and sugar in a bowl until creamy. Add the eggs, flour and cocoa and beat until well mixed. Stir in the Amaretto (or Almond extract) and the ground Almonds.

Pour into the baking pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool in pan then cut into bite size squares.


1 cup blanched slivered almonds
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (2 1/3 1.5-ounce bars of Godiva Dark or 1 1/2 3-ounce bars of Lindt bittersweet chocolate)
1 cup dried tart cherries
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (1 regular size bag)
2 cups rolled oats
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter two cookie sheets.

In a nonstick pan, toast the almonds over medium-low heat, stirring constantly for about 5 to 10 minutes, until they have just begun to turn brown and emit a nutty aroma. Turn out onto a plate to cool. Chop the chocolate bars into small chunks, no larger than large chocolate chips, and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine cherries, chocolate chips and oats and set aside.

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add sugars and beat the butter until creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla. Beat the mixture until well combined, about a minute. Add the dry ingredients to the mixture and beat at low speed until well-combined, less than a minute. Add chocolate chips, chopped chocolate, cherries and nuts. Using a sturdy wooden spoon, mix well by hand, until all the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated. Using a 1-tablespoon scoop, measure out cookies (about a dozen per sheet). Bake 12 to 14 minutes, or until the cookies have set and are slightly flattened and light brown. Cool on sheets 2 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely

YIELD: 6 Dozen




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