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Newsletter #95 - March 11 , 2005

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Greetings everyone! And a special HI for all the new subscribers!

We have just returned from a short holiday at Ukuthula Lodge in the town of Rooiberg in the bushveld. Click on the links to go take a look!

I am still busy with Easter and Easter recipes. This time the recipes were sent to me by Annie from Middelburg, thanx a lot, Annie!

I am doing this letter slightly in advance. When I send this out we should just be back from a week at Ukuthela lodge. More about that later with some of the pics I took.

To me, in South Africa, an Easter egg is chocolate coated marshmallow. I was very surprised when, years ago, a friend of mine, JoAnn in Michigan, said that they decorated REAL eggs as Easter eggs. To me that would take the chocolate out of Easter!

Here are some more Easter facts for you:

Source: www.easter-traditions.com

The Easter Bunny: Beloved Easter Symbol

Easter Bunny playing a ViolinOf all the symbols of Easter, none is more beloved than the Easter Bunny. And, of all the symbols of this season, none has a more varied, unique and universal background than this floppy-eared chocolate confection deliveryman. With his place—and yes, for some reason, the Easter Bunny is always referred to as "he"—in the traditions of many cultures, Rabbit can most certainly answer the question, "What's up, doc?" (after all, what would Elmer be without Bugs?).

The Advent of The Easter Bunny

The first documented use of the bunny as a symbol of Easter appears in Germany in the 1500s; although the actual matching of the holiday and the hare was probably a much earlier folk tradition. Not surprisingly, it was also the Germans who made the first edible Easter Bunnies in the 1800s.

The Pennsylvania Dutch brought the beneficent Easter Bunny to the United States in the 1700s. Children eagerly awaited the arrival of Oschter Haws and his gifts with a joy second only to that brought about by the winter visit of Kris Kringle.

Easter Eggs: Decorating, Hunts and Bunnies

Easter Eggs are an important part of the Easter tradition. Learn about their history, and about Easter Eggs around the world.

Easter Eggs

Group of colored eggsThe association of eggs with the Easter Bunny is actually a recent one. It seems to be the result of an ad campaign (believe it or not) by European candy makers who wanted to advertise their product. The egg, long a symbol of fertility, had long been a traditional staple of Easter celebrations. The pairing of the Easter Egg and the Easter Bunny at the end of the nineteenth century was not only a stroke of marketing genius, but also well-founded in the traditions of the past.

Decorating Easter Eggs

While no one can say when the practice of giving eggs actually became associated with Easter, the decorating of eggs is as diverse as the cultures that engage in the practice. It is known that the eggs were painted with bright colors to celebrate spring and were used in Easter egg-rolling contests and given as gifts, a practice that predated the advent of Christianity. Medieval records note that eggs were often given as Easter gifts to servants by their masters. What is known is that the egg, like the rabbit, was a symbol of renewal of life and therefore a logical symbol for the celebration of Easter.

The methods of decoration are as varied as the peoples who practice it. Some of the most elaborate are the Ukrainian Pysanki eggs. These ornate objects are truly works of art. First, melted beeswax is applied to the white, unblemished shell using a brass cone mounted on a stick; this tool is known as a Kistka. Then, the egg is dipped into the first of a series of dyes; this process is repeated numerous times. The wax is then melted off the egg to reveal the ovoid masterpiece.

Easter Eggs Around the World

The Greeks dye their Easter Eggs red to symbolize and honor the blood of Christ, while in those in Germany and Austria, traditionally give green eggs on Maundy (or Holy) Thursday—the day commemorating Christ's Last Supper. In Slavic countries, decorating eggs in special patterns of gold and silver adds luster to the shell and to the sharing. The Armenian tradition is to decorate hollowed out eggshells with religious images significant to the holiday.

The Easter Egg hunt itself has also taken many cultural twists and turns. In America, of course, the colored Easter Eggs are hidden and then children search for them. In the northern counties of England, children act out the "Pace Egg Play" and beg for eggs and other presents; the term Pace itself is a derivative of the ancient Hebrew verb posach (to pass over), which has evolved into the better known word and holiday title Pesach, or Passover.

Group of colored EasterPennsylvania Dutch children believed that if they were good, the Oschter Haws would lay a nest of brightly colored eggs. And, in a far-removed invocation of the egg's primal symbol—fertility—Polish girls used to send eggs to their beloveds as a token of their feelings. Even more interesting is the fact that a roasted egg can take the place of a lamb shank (which mirrored the traditional sacrificial lamb) on the Seder plate at a Jewish Passover celebration.

The egg, like the Rabbit, has become fused into the spring festival of Easter throughout the world. Whether colored, hollowed or made of candy, the source of a child's delight or a symbol of faith, this image of newlife and renewal certainly has made its own nest in the human cultural psyche.

Easter Sunday

Chocolate Easter EggAlthough taken as a given, one question that is rarely asked, but should be, is why Easter has to fall on a Sunday. In 325 AD, the council of Nice issued an edict that read, in pertinent part, "Easter was to fall upon the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the Vernal Equinox; and if said full moon fell on a Sunday, the Easter should be the Sunday after."

The Easter celebration was coordinated with older, pre-Christian celebrations of spring. The direct relationship to Sunday as the day sacred to the Sun, the ultimate symbol of life, is obvious; yet the subtle connections to the earlier celebrations of the time of planting and the Moon are of equal importance in determining the day of the Easter celebration.

The cross and the lily are both Christian symbols relating to the religious significance of the season and the renewal of faith. Similarly, the lamb has a religious basis, both in Christianity (Christ as the Good Shepherd) and in Judaism (the Paschal Lamb). The view of a lamb as a symbol of new life is the foundation for both religious images.

I asked last time for the real meaning of the words of the Afrikaans children's lullaby, Siembamba.  Well, I got quite a few responses and put them all on this page. (In Afrikaans, sorry)

One lucky person recently won over £8 million in the UK Lotto.
(That;s nearly R90 million!!!) Why not take a chance on the next draw?

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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



The following excerpts are from the electronic newsletter Insider Secrets, distributed by Personal & Finance Confidential . You can subscribe to this free newsletter by clicking here. Recommended by FunkyMunky as a worthwhile read!

The easiest way to tell if someone is lying to you

When someone is remembering a scenario, their eyes naturally move to the
right. When they're lying, their eyes tend to move to the left. This is due
to different parts of the brain being used to remember/deceive. So, the
next time you suspect someone isn't telling you the truth, watch the
movement of their eyes carefully.

3 nerve soothing tips for the nervous flyer

I haven't flown for a while but I am a nervous flyer! So I will remember these tips! - Peter

There are three things I advise these nervous fliers to do.

1. Avoid sugars and refined carbohydrates on the day of the flight. They
will give you too much nervous energy. Eat lightly and nutritiously.

2. Arrive in plenty of time. If you travel to the airport at a leisurely
pace and give yourself time to relax before the flight, you will decrease
your anxiety.

3. Always take a really good book. Think of the easiest-to-read, most
entertaining, most page-turning author on your shelf. Then take one of his
books with you. There's nothing like it for making the time fly by.

Unexpected expenses? Get your Barclaycard online!

Reduce your monthly short term insurance premium, click here for a free online quotation! And while you are busy, click here and apply online for your Barclaycard or Manchester United card!

The Herb Section -  Violet

Violet is not usually regarded as a herb, but it has so many culinary and medicinal applications, it deserves a mention.
The violet has been cultivated for years because of it's lovely scent. It is an asset to every garden.
The Greeks considered violet to be a symbol of fertility. The Romans made wine from violet.
Violet is a perennial plant, low growing, and makes a lovely ground cover. A violet plant grows to about 15cm in height.
The leaves can be picked all year round, and the flowers on opening. The more you pick, the more they bloom.
Violets make an excellent edging, and are undemanding. They also attract butterflies to your garden.

Violets are a lovely addition to small flower arrangements, and can also be used in potpourri.

Add violet leaves to a facial steam.
Crushed violet leaves and flowers in almond oil soften callused skin on the feet and hands.

Violets have a calming effect on the nervous system, act as a gentle laxative and help relieve colds and coughs.
Chew the flowers or leaves to relieve a headache. Chew 5 at first and then 3 an hour later.
Make an infusion of leaves and flowers to alleve post nasal drip and whooping cough. The tea is also effective for mucus in the throat, nose, chest and lungs.
Bruised violet leaves make a soothing poultice for skin infections and inflammations.
Use a strong violet tea as a wash for eczema and rashes.

Violets are best used on their own in cooking because of their subtle taste, but combine well with lemon balm, bergamot, allspice, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and mint.
Add the flowers to salads and vegetables for a dash of colour.
Crystallised petals make a beautiful garnish for cakes.
Make a violet vinegar by half filling a jar with fresh violets, then covering with a good white vinegar, adding a stick of cinnamon. Let it stand in the sun for 10 days, straining twice during that time, and adding fresh flowers and leaves. Bottle in a screwtop jar, adding a few flowers for decoration. Use for salad dressings, in the bath and as a hair rinse. 

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


Free Message Forum from Bravenet Free Message Forums from Bravenet

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!


Click here for Properties

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The Recipes
See Links for Metric Converter


Easter Treats

Decorated Biscuits

makes about 24

625ml flour
25ml icing sugar
5ml cream of tartar
2ml bicaronate of soda
pinch salt
25g butter...softened

Sift together the dry ingredients ..then work in the softened butter...forming a stiff dough...rather like the consistency of shortbread.

Lightly flour a surface and roll out the dough...about 5mm thick then using a cookie cutter or template, cut the biscuit shapes.

Place on a lightly greased baking tray.about 1cm apart and bake in a preheated oven of 180c for about 10 minutes or until golden.

Cool completely before decorating with royal icing.

Royal Icing

250g icing sugar
1 egg white
a squeeze of lemon juice
silver balls
hundreds and thousands
or any other decorations you like

Sieve icing sugar...place egg white and lemon juice in a bowl...and gradually add the icing sugar...mixing with a fork until peaks can be formed.

Colour the icing as required.,,,then ice and pipe decorations on the biscuits.

Kids Easter Treats

Mini Easter Nests

Use any type of chocolate...any type of cereal and prepare for some bowl-licking.

Makes about 12

100g butter
30ml golden syrup
200g milk chocolate (white or dark) broken
500ml wheat flakes (breakfast cereal)
250ml hi-fibre bran (breakfast cereal)
mini eggs to decorate

Place butter...syrup and chocolate in a pan over low heat....melt.
Add cereal to mixture. Mix well.
Allow to cool.
Line a muffin tin with 12 muffin cases.
Line cases with the mixture....forming nests.
Remove cases and fill with mini eggs.

Easter Toast

Brighten up your Easter breakfast by serving toast shapes.
Simply toast slices of bread ..and use cutters or your own templates to make shapes.
Spread toast with your preferred topping or serve with scrambled eggs mixed with chives and chopped fresh tomato.

Sweet Dough Bunnies

These are great fun for children to make...and they will disappear in no time at all.

Makes 8

500g (4 X 250ml) flour
5ml salt
45g margarine
10g (15ml) dry yeast
25g (30ml) caster sugar
250ml lukewarm water
1 large egg...beaten
50g dark chocolate
175g mini chocolate eggs

Preheat oven to 200c
Place flour and salt in a bowl and rub in margarine add yeast and castor sugar...mix well..and add enough lukewarm water to make a soft dough. Knead until smooth and elastic.

Divide dough into 8
From each piece...using one-quarter to form legs...make a sausage shape and bend in half. Use half to form a body and arms and a quarter to form head and ears. Join pieces together with beaten egg and place on a lightly greased baking sheet.

Press a small ball of foil onto each bunny and fold arms over ball. Cover bunnies loosely with oiled clingfilm...and leave until well risen.

Brush bunnies evenly with beaten egg and bake for 10 - 15 minutes until pale golden. Leave to cool...Remove foil balls.

Melt chocolate and use to paint on features. Secure the eggs on the bunnies with melted chocolate. Leave to set




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