Monthly Archives: December 2016

End of Another Year

Well today marks the end of another year. Like everyone I am sitting thinking where has it gone?

We have had good times and bad times just like everyone else. My husband retired this year and like any one who suddenly has a partner around full-time it is really taking a lot of adjusting. He has lived and worked away from home all of our married life. With being in the Royal Navy and a chemical cleaning engineer he has seen many parts of the world and been an absent parent for much of our kids lives. we will adapt but it takes time.

This year saw Simone, our eldest daughter take part in the Mrs South Africa Pageant. I am not a lover of pageants but she grew so much as a person and was involved in so many amazing fund raisers. It was also exhausting and after the final she slept for a couple of days. We are so proud of her.  At the age of 43 and with 2 grown up children she works very hard at keeping fit as well as being involved in numerous businesses.



Our fur family expanded with another dog bringing our total to 8. With one cat it takes a lot of stamina to look after them. This morning SAM BAM thought it a good idea to wake me up at 04:00 to play. I didn’t but then you don’t have a choice when he ignores your pleas for sleep.


In Novemeber I spent a night sleeping with the pugs at Pug Rescue. This is an amazing place based in Benoni and they do so much for the pugs and honorary pugs. I had 3 pugs that I slept with in their little hut. The was Miss Piggy, Zenovia and Bonka. Miss Zinovia had been  puppy mill and starved and abused by someone who should have know better. She lost an eye because they ignored the infection in it. She is so timid and scared that after two years she still does not trust people. Miss Piggy was fed so much rubbish such as cookies and chocolate that she is on a strict diet. Bonka has epilepsy and to keep it under control he is on constant medication, unfortunately this makes him lick the air all the time especially when excited. He kept around quite a bit and eventually spilled the water bowl all over the floor where my bed was. Coffee at 05:00 was a welcome relief. These are the pugs at the annual christmas happy hour where people bring their own pugs and dress them up etc.

An eventful year with so much need in our country and we have tried to help where we can. We have lost friends along the way and we are sad over that but we have so much to be grateful for. All it remains to say is HAPPY NEW YEAR and a gid Hogmanay. May your New Year be blessed and filled with abundance.

Lofty Peak

The cover page

My mom had this book for years. In fact it was there for most of my life and when she died I inherited it. Yes it was made for the Scottish Co-operative Society and contains real traditional recipes with a whole section using oats.

One I use all the time is one for afternoon tea scones. I use my Thermomix to make it simple and I find a couple of minutes of dough function kneads it very nicely. I often make them first thing in the morning as I think there is nothing better than a scone straight from the oven with lashings of butter and even with cream and jam in the traditional cream tea version.

Basic recipe is

8 oz Lofty Peak Self Raising flour
2 oz Copex cooking fat
1 1/2 oz Caster Sugar
5 oz milk
1 leve teaspoon salt

Modern version I use in metric:

600 gms flour with 5 teaspoons baking powder
150 gms butter
125 gms sugar if for sweet scone or omit if making savoury scone such as cheese scones at the end add 125 gms grated cheese and a teaspoon of mustard powder
375 gms of milk or a combination of yoghurt / buttermilk / egg and milk
1 teaspoon of salt.

I put dry ingredients in Thermomix and mix on speed 3 for 7 seconds just to incorporate the butter. I then add wet ingredients and mice for 3 seconds then put on dough function for a couple of minutes.

It is a soft sticky dough and you need to have a well floured cool surface. I have granite tops. I shape into a circle using my hands and pat down to just under 2cm. I actually use my cutter and when just under the top rim it is right.

Use up all the dough and put onto a floured baking tray. I then brush with egg and bake to 180 degrees (fan oven)

What is a high tea without a scone? I have made with chopped fresh herbs such as thyme and they are also delicious.

Bom Bom Beans

The other day I told you I had a new cook book and I have been going through some more recipes and came across one for Vetkoek and Bom Bom Beans by Ntombenhle Mtambo who works with the Mpophomeni Conservation Group.

Vetkoek is a fried bread dough and is well loved here in South Africa. I just loved the name of the filling though which is a white bean stew.

Ntombenhle’s ingredients are

1 cup dried white beans (bom bom beans)
2 onions chopped
2 carrots chopped
1 medium butternut peeled and chopped into bite size pieces
2 potatoes chopped
vegetable oil
1 tsp curry powder
stock or water

If in a hurry you could use tinned beans but remember this add to costs so I would soak beans overnight in cold water but would make a whole pack of them which I can then cook and freeze in portions.

In fact Ntombehnhile  also starts the beans cooking, after soaking, on the stove bringing them to the boil and cooking for 20 minutes then places the pot in a wonder bag and leaves them to cook all day in this. Check my previous post on the Wonder bag which really is great for rural communities or the urban cook who likes slow cooking.

a picture of a wonder bag from the cook book I got with my bag

So you then take the onion, carrot, butternut and potato and cook them in the oil until softened. Add cooked beans and curry powder, water or stock and simmer for around 15 minutes before serving in the Vetkoek with a green salad. Use any salad vegetables you may have in the garden or fridge.

I will post a separate Vetkoek recipe in another post.

This is great as it is vegan and a great low cost meal.

What’s In Store For Today

Well woke at 04:30 by my dogs who don’t care if it is rest time. They want out when they want out no matter where we are. Do I mind? Not really as I love early mornings and hate late nights.

Well it looks like we might get more rain as sky is looking quite dark.  So my plan is to spend the morning doing that essential thing called cleaning. Having a home in the trees and by the water means lots of creepy crawlies around. So good clean and cupboard sorting will take most of the morning.

Ladies you know we don’t get rest or days of without some payback.


How bout some help guys? Domino the collie, Winston the peke, Harry the sausage and Izzie the foxy don’t seem to be all that much up for it.

That Time of Year

Well it is that time of year . Christmas has been and gone, we have been working hard making food. We had a great Christmas spent with friends and family and now we are at our small holiday home at Bronkhorstspruit. With all the normal stress and chaos I have not blogged for so long but my resolution is that this will stop. I will blog something everyday.

This year my husband bought me a new cookbook. The Great South African Cookbook. It includes recipes from various cooks chefs food lovers forgers farmers bakers etc. One recipe really caught my eye though was one by Anna Trapido and Josiah Goode. It is Boeremeises with Maas Curd cheese and Nartjie sauce. Now south Africans will know that a Boeremeise is a farm girl but in this recipe it is apricots covered in maampoer and sugar. Maas is a soured milk which is mostly drunk by Blacks and coloured people and of course not growing up with it I thought yuk.I knew nothing about Maas until I started a cheese making course. Buttermilk ,  cream, cheese and maas all share the same ingredients but are just made slightly differently. The first time I tasted fresh Maas it was amazing like the best ever yogurt you have tasted and just tastes healthy and good for you.

So of course the recipe now sounds really good to me. With Nartjie or mandarin sauce I need to seriously make this. Only problem is the apricots need a couple of months, but I promise I am making that cheese this week and serving it with some fresh fruit. and maybe some nice biscuits.

I am really feeling inspired.