Holiday weekend

Its so lovely to be back in Johannesburg.  Don’t get me wrong I really enjoyed my time in Durban, but wowwee no one should ever have to deal with such heat and humidity that you can’t even breathe without it feeling like you inhaled a lot of water.  This weekend was basically a family weekend, just to go visit my parents and other family, but also catch up with some friends.  I actually don’t have many photos of my actual time in Durban, but I do have photos on the trip.  So this is my trip explained with a lot of photos.

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Pretty Sunrise on the way.

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Really fat pig

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Cute goats at the one stop

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I didn’t know I was so petrified of ostriches until this lady

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Sweetest goat 😀 I just wanted to take him with me.

 

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These ducks had ducklings so they weren’t the nicest of things to see.  RUN.

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Donkey crazed

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Roadtrip kisses

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This goat just wanted the grass on the other side

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Howick falls

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The prettiest antic shop.

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Really dirty car window

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Toll road money.

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Creamy polenta with stir fried vegetables

I’m all for meals that can be whipped up in a short amount of time with basically any vegetables you have on hand, because sometimes you just don’t want to be in the kitchen for a lifetime ( and a lifetime when you feel like that can just be 5 minutes).

This polenta recipe is creamy and you can use any vegetable you feel like.

CREAMY POLENTA WITH STIR FRIED VEGETABLESserves 2

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Ingredients

Polenta

  • 1/2 cup quick polenta
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp margarine
  • splash of non dairy milk
  • salt and black pepper

Vegetables

  • 4 tbsp Olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 chillies, chopped
  • 1 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup broccoli, chopped in small florets
  • 1/2 cup spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 cup kale, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 2 tbsp water
  • salt and pepper

Directions

In a medium pot bring the water to a boil.  Gradually start adding the polenta while whisking, be careful as it does spits up and can take out an eye.

Reduce the heat to low, stirring the polenta constantly.  Cook for 10 minutes or until the polenta is soft.  Remove from heat and add in margarine, splash of milk, salt and pepper taste and adjust.

Vegetables

In a frying pan add the oil over medium heat.  Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant.  Add the chillies, broccoli, spinach, kale, carrot and water.  Stir fry for 5 minutes. Cover and allow to sit for 5 minutes for steaming.  Add in the parsley and season.  Serve over polenta with a big sprinkle of nutritional yeast.

Garden update

This weekend  was a quiet one.  It involved getting really obsessed with downton abbey, its rather funny, because I didn’t think I would like it, but I LOVE this show.  Great character development, drama, romance and suspense.  Okay, I need to stop talking about it before I start getting withdrawals.

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On Saturday night we got hit by a crazy hail storm that came from nowhere.  I was really tempted to run out and try and rescue some of my potted vegetables, but it felt way to dangerous.  It destroyed most of the garden and vegetables, but I have hope for the ones that survived. I will be heading to Durban on Wednesday to visit my parents for a little weekend trip.  I wish I could say I was excited, but I would really like to enjoy my breakaway, but I’m sure I wont, but I will try to go in with a good attitude (even if you can see my attitude is not that great right now) and make the best of it.

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Have a great Monday everybody.

Vanilla Custard

The day is finally here.  What day am I talking about?! Friday of course and to sweeten the deal for this weekend we will be having a cold front.  I’m mainly just hoping for rain I can’t even remember the last time it rained in Joburg.

I’m not the biggest fan of dessert, but when those cravings hit you got to try and make something scrumptious for that sweet craving and this is what I came up with.  This is a wonderfully smooth custard like dessert that’s naturally sweetened and just amazing.  Be sure to give it a try.

VANILLA CUSTARDserves 2

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups non dairy milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • chocolate shavings for top – optional

Directions

In a small saucepan pour in 1 1/2 cups of milk and vanilla extract.  Bring to simmer over medium heat.  Add in the maple syrup and keep whisking.  Taste and adjust sweetness.  In a small bowl mix the remaining milk with the cornstarch and slowly pour into the saucepan.  Keep whisking until thickened.  Pour into two cups and refrigerate for an hour or more.  Serve with chocolate shavings.

Self Improvement Month – Kitchen Tips

The online learning company webucator are doing a great challenge for everyone for self improvement month.  So of course I had to jump on the bandwagon and write a post about it.

With the help of webucator I’ve decided to give tips and tricks for around the kitchen.  For some people the kitchen can be a scary place that looks more like a witches potion den, rather than a place that you can relax, get all your frustrations out and create beautiful, wholesome meals for you and your family.

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KITCHEN TIPS AND TRICKS

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  1. Clean as you go – leaving everything till the last minute is a sure way to get overwhelmed really fast.
  2. Cut up everything, before you start cooking.  This helps having everything on hand and prevents a burning mess.
  3. Anyone can cook.  If you can read you can follow a recipe.
  4. Peel ginger with a spoon.
  5. Read the recipe before you start cooking.
  6. Keep knives sharp.
  7. Store herbs and greens with a damp paper towel.  This will expand the lifespan by several days.  Just roll them up.
  8. Freeze fruit and vegetables for smoothies so you don’t need ice.
  9. Taste your food before serving and adjust as you like.
  10. Fruit ripens faster when stuck together in a bowl.  Apples and bananas ripen faster together.
  11. Spray measuring cups with non stick spray before using sticky liquids.
  12. Cook with a glass of wine and music.  Make cooking fun and not a chore.  Besides recipes can always do with a splash of wine.

Webucator are also offering a free Microsoft Office training course each month which helps with the Self Improvement Month.  So be sure to check it out here.

Vegetable curry with roti

Since I was a child I’ve always been interested in Japan.  The culture, the beautiful heritage, the amazing landscapes, but at the same time its filled with modern wonder and city life.  Yes, I know this recipe and what I’m talking about does not go together well, but hey its all part of my crazy mind being filled with numerous things at one.  If you haven’t guessed by now I’m a bit of n erd and absolutely love anime ( I wont go into detail about the horrible creators that get you hooked only to say, meh, I don’t feel like making a new season), why am I writing about this.  Well I want to learn how to speak Japanese and was wondering if any of you lovely people know a good online site that can help me with this? anyone you would recommend ?  Well that was a long rant not about the recipe, so lets hop on over to the recipe….on the next paragraph.

If you’re looking for an easy, spicy, yet affordable dinner recipe that’s served with fresh roti that will make this affordable meal look like a beautiful restaurant meal this is for you.  This is a versatile recipe that can use any vegetables you have on hand.  Lentils add a lovely flavour and protein to this delicious curry.  In the words of Carl “is their any meat in this?”, he could’t even believe how great this was, so why not give it a try.

VEGETABLE CURRY WITH ROTI serves 5

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown or black lentils
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp sunflower or olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 green chilli, chopped – optional
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 2 tbsp mild curry powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 cups vegetables ( I used butternut, broccoli, kale and green beans)
  • 2 cups low sodium vegetable stock
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes

Directions

Rinse the lentils till clean.  In a large pot bring the lentils and water to a boil.  Leave the pot uncovered and cook for 20 – 30 minutes.  Let stand for 5 minutes.

Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onions, garlic and chilli.  Cook for a few minutes until softened.  Add the spices and cook for 1 minute more.  Stir in the lentils, vegetables, stock and tomatoes.

Bring to boil, then cover and simmer for 20 minutes until the vegetables are cooked. Season to taste with salt if needed.  Serve with fresh coriander, rice and roti.

ROTI – serves 10

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Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups wholemeal flour or normal flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 tbsp melted margarine

Directions

In a large bowl add the flour and oil.  Slowly add in the hot water and mix with a spoon as it will be hot.  Dust your work surface with flour.  Place dough on the work surface and knead for 5 minutes.  If the dough is sticky add a little flour until its soft and manageable.  Cover the dough and let sit for 5 minutes.

Melt the margarine on a pan and leave on low, while you’re rolling the dough.

Break off small pieces of dough and start rolling away.  Roll into a flat round disc. Make sure the roti is rolled as thin as possible.

Increase heat of your pan and place roti onto it.  Cook for 5 – 10 seconds. Flip and cook the other side for a little longer.  Remove from heat and continue.  Serve immediately.

an instant of life captured for eternity

Life lately has been filled with trying something new, fun and cheap every weekend, this is a sure way to be a happy little camper and truly experience life.  This weekend we went to Scope X.  Its a telescope expo with lots of fun things to see and amazing talks to listen to.  However, I did not expect the location it was at to be the highlight of the whole day. The event was held at the museum of military history, they had all sort of interesting things to see.

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This giant plane was right in the middle of the expo

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These are all home made telescopes

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Consol Solar glass light.  Consol is an amazing glass company that makes a lot of interesting things.

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The entrance into the museum

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After the expo we got a cold beer for a really hot day

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and made a friend

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He refused to leave and was sitting with us for 40 minutes

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Beans, beans, beans!

How was your weekend?

 

Shave time and Shave money

Have you heard of dollar shave club? Well let me tell you I didn’t even know they existed and boy do I feel like I’ve been missing out.  The dollar shave club is all about saving you money with great razors and that’s not even the best part.  Wait? what? that’s not the best part? No, its not.  How many times have you forgotten to buy razors.  Well the dollar shave club will send you the razor of your choice right to your door.  All you have to do is go to their website select the razor you want pay a monthly fee of $1, $6 or $9.  Its that easy.  They even have butt wipes for men which is probably the best invention ever, because its time to civilized guys.

Do yourself the biggest favour and watch their funny videos.

The dollar shave club inspired me and asked me to post some tips on how to shave time and shave money.  So here is my list for saving time and money.

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  1. Buy seasonal fruit and vegetable from local farmers.  This is easy and really helps with saving money.
  2. Buy in bulk.  Once a month go and do a major shopping trip and buy everything in bulk.  This saves a lot of money.  Usually you get great deals when you buy in bulk and buying little things here and there really starts adding up in the long run.
  3. Go on cheap dates.  Have a picnic in your backyard with peanut butter sandwiches.  She will most likely think you are so cute.
  4. Pack a lunch.  I’m not saying never buy take out ever again, but taking in your own lunch really saves a lot of money.
  5. Shower with your lover.  It saves time and water.  Not really, but its a fun way to pretend like you’re saving time.
  6. Stop going to the gym.  I live in South Africa and I run outside.
  7. Make moonshine.
  8. Buy Second hand.  Unleash your inner hipster and go thrift shopping.
  9. Watch movies at home.
  10. Grow some easy vegetables or start a container garden.  Its easy and nothing beats fresh vegetables.

Now.  I think its pretty clear what you have to do……sign up dollar shaving club!  Come on just do it.

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Vetkoek “fatcakes”

The humble vetkoek directly translates to fatcake and the name truly says it all.  This is not a recipe to try when you’re on a diet or any such thing, but it something you sure should try.

What is a vetkoek you might ask.  Well according to the internet  its a small, unsweetened cake of deep fried dough.  I would rather say its a traditional Afrikaans ( kind of like Dutch language in South Africa) fried bread dough that’s served with savoury mince, syrup or jam and every Afrikaans person has their own way of making this.

I’ve made this recipe without any eggs, dairy and NOT deep fried.  It still tastes great its just not that oily.

VETKOEK- serves 10

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Ingredients

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 package instant yeast
  • 1 cup luke warm water
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • more oil for frying

Directions

In a small bowl add the water, yeast and sugar.  Let sit for 10 minutes or until foamy. In a large bowl add the flour and slowly add in the yeast mixture and 1 tbsp of oil.  Combine.  If the dough is to try add in more water if its to wet add in more flour.  Kneed the dough until smooth.  Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.

When the dough is done rising, punch it down.  For a long log and cut equal dough parts you can make them as big as you want.

In a large deep frying pan heat about and inch of oil.  When its hot, place the dough in the oil, fry until golden brown and flip.  Repeat until you have no dough left.  Serve with lentil curry, jam, syrup or even make a yummy sandwich.