In this issue I
have some more great festive recipes for you. I have also started a page
Herbs with the featured herbs from my newsletters.
Please give me some ideas. Christmas in South Africa is mid summer, so no
chance of snow. Where in the world do you think I could go to experience
the perfect white Christmas? Also state why you say so. I have some
ideas already but would love to hear your suggestions. Please
Do we have South
African cocktails? I have started a
Cocktail page but the recipes all seem rather "foreign" to me. If
anyone can let me have some seffrican cocktail recipes I would be
very grateful, just
email me please. Do we have cocktails with Afrikaans names?
Are you a "dunker"?
Would you dunk slap chips in vanilla milkshake? Believe me, some people
Click here to go take a look at my Wacky Sarmies and Dunking page.
Why not share you wacky sarmie with us?
season in SA! Following recipe was sent to me by Elzeth:
25ml lemon juice
Use a deep dish.
Pour lemon juice over strawberries & microwave on high for 5 mins
Dissolve sugar into syrup.
Continue cooking at 5minute intervals until setting level - +/- 18
To test if at setting level, put a little jam onto a saucer of ice-cold
water. leave till cool & press. If it is "wrinkly" then its ready.
Here's something a
little different, Christmas is a very special time of year for me and
there are many good Christmas stories floating around on the Internet.
Here is one I hope you will enjoy as much as I did:
A Gift from the
A Christmas Miracle.
Helen. Dear, sweet, elderly, Helen.
Such a beloved lady, and friend to all who knew her.
Helen had belonged to the same church for almost all her adult life.
She saw many members come and go, bond and feud, but she had always
remained faithful to her beliefs, and she was highly respected, and
cherished, among all the other parishioners.
Poor Helen. She wasn't a young spry chicken anymore.
She was well into her 90's, and not quite as energetic and bubbly as when
she first visited the church so many years ago.
Christmas 1998 was not destined to be a very kind year to Helen.
She had suffered many losses.
She lost her beloved husband six years before, but this year she seemed to
have lost it all. After her dear husband passed away, she had moved in
with her daughter, Becky, and her young grandaughter, Jennifer.
They saved her from the loneliness she would surely have visited without
They grew closer every day, and each new day, life brought them more to be
grateful and appreciative of.
They knew they were blessed, and always remembered their blessings in
Jennifer was only two years old when Helen first came to live with them.
Cute as a button, rambunctious, outgoing, and always joyful and singing.
She made a house a home.
Becky and Helen used to kid how it took the two of them to even half keep
up with the whirlwind they nicknamed "Sunshine".
Jennifer was curious as a cat, and filled the day with endless questions -
some deep, some comical, and each one needing answers!
Her mother, and her grandma were careful never to carelessly brush her
questions aside, or grow impatient.
They answered each and every one, if not with wisdom, then at least with
Jennifer grew into a brilliant young lady, and everyone predicted a bright
and sunny future for the special little girl.
Life is funny.
Predictions sometimes don't come to pass.
Future's sometimes only last today.
One night, driving home from the store, Becky and Jennifer were hit, head
on, by a drunk driver.
It was a mistake.
A horrid mistake.
If it weren't for a flat tire, they would have been home long before the
intoxicated man drove down their street.
Nobody can predict the future.
Their shiny future ended that night.
Their dreams, and plans and goals scattered among the broken glass, and
the shredded steel.
They were gone - forever.
Once again, Helen was alone.
The sorrow and remorse that lived in Helen's heart surely should have
killed her, she thought.
The agony of losing those closest to her, the loneliness of being all
alone, in a house as quiet as a tomb, and the emptiness of having nothing
more to live for were more than she could bear.
Every Sunday she continued to go faithfully to her church, pray to her
God, and she was always polite, but oh so sad.
She had changed - withered, deflated, crumbled.
She seemed to hardly be able to put one foot in front of the other.
Her joyous laughter was seldom heard, her excitement and zest for life was
simply no longer a part of who she was.
She was no longer inflated - just completely deflated - flat.
Zombie-like instead of lifelike.
Just waiting for her turn to go be with her loved ones.
Naturally, all the other parishioners saw the change.
They felt her sadness, and loneliness.
She had always been such a pillar of strength, a friend in need, someone
who could be counted on when the rest of the world had checked out.
She was always there, in every way, for everyone.
But now, she wasn't there at all, and nobody seemed to know how to comfort
and help her.
But everyone saw.
And everyone knew - from the oldest members, to the toddlers.
They all saw the change, and the grief, and the pain.
Months passed. It was now December, and the holiday season was proving to
be harder than Helen imagined it would be - and lonelier.
She still went about living, kept up appearances, prayed, and was kind to
everyone she met.
Yet she felt like she was melting - disolving - dying, slowly inside.
She wondered if she would see Christmas this year, or go to spend it with
those that went before her - the ones she loved.
Then, the second Sunday of December, the Sunday School Teacher came to her
with a special request.
Would she be kind enough to help with trimming the tree that stood in the
middle of the children's classroom?
Each child had handmade a special ornament, to place on the tree, and they
needed assistance, and adult supervision.
Helen tried to gracefully decline, but the teacher smiled, and said that
the children had requested that she be the assistant this year.
It was important to them for some reason, the teacher whispered.
The night of the special event, Helen was present.
She was dressed as immaculate as always, and wore the best smile she could
The sight of the young children was bittersweet.
The laughter and playfulness were refreshing, but they also held memories
of her dear, grandaughter, Jennifer, who had passed away just four short
For the first time in months though, you could occassionally see her eyes
shining, through a veil of tears.
She decided she was happy that the children had thought to invite her, and
thankful that she had decided to come join in the merriment.
She felt more alive than she had since that dreadful day in August 1998.
Most of the ornaments had already been placed on the tree when an excited,
almost giddy group of children came to her and took her by the hand.
They led her to an ornate, red velvet chair that the teacher must have
pushed into the center of the room, and they begged for her to sit down.
Curious, and a little aprehensive, Helen obeyed, goodheartedly.
You could see a tiny smile light up the corner of her mouth as she
wondered what the little gremlins were up to.
A group, of five girls and four boys, sat in front of her splendid chair,
smiling up at her with eyes moist with tears of happiness, and mouths
trying not to prematurely babble the secret they were about to share with
In the middle of the group sat a magnificent gold, gift-wrapped box
addressed to: "Our Grandma, with Love."
Eight year old Christine stood before Helen, tears overflowing, smiling
from ear to ear, eyes dancing at the speed of light.
Christine had always been special to Helen, for she had been Jennifer's
best friend ever since she could remember.
They had spent much time together over the years, and they had grown
She placed the box in Helen's tiny lap and the whole group rose in unison,
and began to sing just for an amazed and delighted Helen, who seemed to be
crying and laughing and praying all at the same time!
With pride in their eyes, and love in their voices, and their notes
sometimes off-key, they musically told her the reason that she was there.
It was easy, yet touching to see that the children had written the words,
and the song just for her.
A gift to be cherished.
Wonderful memories to last forevermore.
Each of the nine small children either had no grandmother any longer, or
had never even known theirs.
This was a very special celebration and union - a new family meeting, and
bonding, and growing and loving - and sharing a very special Christmas.
One by one, they unpacked the special ornament they made, and proudly
showed her their surprise.
Each ornament was addressed, "To my special Grandma, with Love - on our
Every ornament was unique, special, splendid, and every one was a miracle
beyond belief, to a heart so desperately in pain.
Once again, proving that predictions, don't always come true.....
Xmas 1998 wasn't unkind to Helen whatsoever.
No, Christmas 1998, was a new beginning, a brand new start, and nine new
reasons to celebrate many more Christmas's to come.
The next two weeks Helen became a human dynamo!
She baked, she decorated, she sang and filled her house with so much cheer
until at last it warmed up again, and became a home.
She invited her nine special grandkids over and celebrated a Christmas as
only a very special, wonderful grandma knows how to do, filled to the brim
with magical memories that only the nine most special grandchildren on
earth could ever have provided.
You see, dear sweet Helen wasn't the only one in need that Christmas.
She wasn't the only lonely soul who felt the emptiness and a void which
The children in their infinite wisdom saw her need, and in filling her
need, they filled their own.
There is no love as pure and unpretentious as a child's love, no mind as
wise and true as a child's mind can be when given the opportunity to
flourish and grow.
Every single child is a miracle you can mold and design.
Parents have the power, the opportunity, and the responsibility to teach
their children love and compassion, peace and kindness.
The future is in the hand's of our children, but our children are first
placed in our loving arms, and under our tender guidance.
Teach them love.
Teach them the true meaning of Christmas.
Not only one day in 365 days, but 365 days each and every year.
Each new day providing an opportunity to celebrate, and rejoice, and give
the gift of love.
The gift of abundance that only grows, with no chance of diminishing in
Christmas is magical.
You can see it, feel it, smell it, hear it, taste it.
Christmas is a blessed event, that makes believers out of the staunchest
cynics at times.
It's wishes being granted - dreams coming true.
But most of all, it has to live, all year long, deep within your heart.
Christmas isn't for a day - it's all year long.
Christmas is a lifetime affair.
Merry Christmas to all....today, tomorrow, and forevermore.
sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall."
Iíll bet you could tell me the rest of that little ditty, if you remember
it. Most people in this country can without hesitation. Itís one of the
great nursery rhymes that we all learned as children, but did you know
that almost all our little nursery rhymes had a real and true beginning?
Like old Humpty, for example. It was during the English Civil War. Humpty
Dumpty was the name for a powerful cannon. It was mounted on top of Saint
Maryís Wall, a church in Colchester, to defend the city against siege in
the summer of 1648. The church tower was hit by the enemy and the top was
blown off. Humpty Dumpty fell off and tumbled to the ground. The kingís
men tried to fix him, but to no avail.
Or how about this one?
"Baa baa black sheep, have you any wool? Yes sir, yes sir, three bags
Well now, this little ditty isnít about sheep at all, not originally
anyway. It refers to taxes. During the Middle Ages, peasants were required
to give one third of their income to their "master" (the king), aka IRS,
one third to the "dame" (the nobility), aka State & Local, and the final
third was for themselves, (the "little boy") aka US.
But thereís one more that caught my attention because of its origin. Itís
not a rhyme, but rather part of a story. Remember "Alice in Wonderland?"
Of course you do. And the Mad Hatter? Well, that wasnít as far fetched as
you might think.
You see, mad hatters were more common than you could ever imagine. In some
communities, they were the rule rather than the exception. It was believed
that only crazy or mad people would go into that line of work. Some people
thought it was having to come up with all the new and creative designs,
and only a crazy could do that. But thatís just because they didnít know
the real reason. And it was years and years before we found out what was g
Itís a little known fact that many of the hat makers of old did go mad,
get sick, or well, they just acted a very contrary way. But the reason?
It was the hats!
You see, in order to make the hats stand up and behave in shape the way
you wanted them to, they used mercury to treat them. Mercury is a potent
toxin that can make people go crazy. The term "mad hatter" is a result of
hat makers using mercury for years and years on hats.
A seven year old
South African boy was at the centre of a courtroom drama today when he
challenged a Pretoria Supreme Court ruling over who should have custody of
The boy has a history of being beaten by his parents, and the judge
awarded custody to his sole aunt. The boy protested that his aunt beat him
more than his parents and refused to live there. When the judge suggested
that he live with his grandparents the boy claimed that they beat him more
The judge dramatically allowed the boy to chose who should have custody of
Custody was today granted to the Springbok Rugby team, as the boy firmly
believes they are not capable of beating anyone.
(Don't get me
wrong, I still support them - Peter)
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
worked hard this past year, spoil yourself!
Click below to apply online
A candy cane is more meaningful than just a sweet at
It can remind us of Jesus.
Its shape is like a shepherd's staff.
Its wide red stripes remind us that Jesus shed his blood for our sins.
Its narrow red stripes reminds us that
"by His stripes we are healed"(Isaiah 53:5).
Its white stripes stands for purity - by his death we were made pure.
The peppermint flavor is similar to hyssop, which was used in Biblical
times for purification.
Its taste is sweet, as it is sweet to walk with Jesus.
Turn the candy cane upside down -- it becomes "J" for Jesus.
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
Herb Section - Mustard
Mustard has had a multitude of uses since prehistoric times -
medicinal as well as culinary.
The name derives from the Roman word "mustus", the new wine they
mixed with the seed, and "ardens", meaning fiery. The Romans
believed the herb had an aphrodisiac effect.
Today ground mustard powder is found throughout the world. Most
sauces, vinegar, chutney and savoury dishes require a dash of
mustard. It is an easy herb to grow and very worthwhile to make
your own mustard.
Mustard likes a sunny spot in well-drained soil, but enjoys some
shade in summer.
You can grow mustard sprouts by sprinkling seeds over damp cotton
wool. Keep them moist and within 3 days the seeds will have
sprouted. When they are about 5cm in height, cut them off at the
roots and use for cooking.
Seeds should be sown in spring for a seed crop. Add a spadeful of
manure and compost to an area 1m square, sow seed thinly, rake
over and water well. Plants will appear within ten days.
The flowers are edible and can be picked as they open. The seed
pods should be picked before they open.
Don't plant mustard near cabbage and cauliflower. They will become
an aphid playground.
To clean very dirty pots, put in a few bruised mustard seeds, add
a little vinegar and water, stand overnight and rinse well the
Pulverised mustard seeds can be rubbed into the hands as a
deodoriser. Rinse off after a few minutes. Not for sensitive
Mustard is used in the treatment of flatulence, poor appetite,
colds, catarrh, chest and bladder ailments.
Add mustard to a foot bath to relieve fatigue.
Make a paste of crushed seeds, whole-wheat flour and hot water.
Spread on a cloth and apply hot to an area to be treated for
rheumatism. If the skin is sensitive, add a beaten egg white to
Chewing mustard leaves can help avoid colds.
Grind mustard seeds to a paste, add cider vinegar and honey to
make your own mustard.
Ground seeds can be used in cooking as a condiment.
Fresh mustard sprouts can be used in a salad, or sprinkled over
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!
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
Sarmies - add your fav sarmie (some great
sarmie ideas here!)
Animal Facts - Some interesting stuff
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
PUNCH WITH FRUIT ICE RING
1 x 750ml Sparkling Wine
FRUIT ICE RING
2 cups crushed ice
Fresh or Tinned Fruit
500ml Fruit Juice
1. Mix brandy, curacao and wine together in a punch bowl
2. Just before serving add the following:-
3. Ice and as much soda water as desired (the more you add, the weaker the
4. For the fruit ring, place the ice in a 1.5L ring mould
5. Arrange the fruit over ice in a colourful display (Choose your fruit
6. Pour fruit juice over and freeze till solid (Preferably overnight)
7. Dip mould in warm water to loosen ring
8. Place carefully in punch bowl, fruit side up and serve immediately
Ham (with or without bone)
5ml Dry Mustard
5 Whole Peppercorns
2 Bay Leaves
2 Bottles of Beer or 2 Cans of Coke
250ml Apple Cider or Apple Juice
30ml Brown Sugar
30ml Honey or Golden Syrup
10ml Dry Mustard
1. Coat Ham with mustard
2. Put into a roasting pan and add peppercorns and bay leaves
3. Add beer or coke (I have tried it with both. I prefer the beer, but the
coke is also good)
4. Bake at 160 C for 20 - 25 min per 500g
5. Remove from oven and drain off liquid
6. Remove the skin and score the fat in diamond patterns
7. If desired, put a whole clove into every diamond point
8. Combine glaze ingredients and spoon half over the ham
9. Bake at 160 C for 30 - 45 minutes basting with remaining glaze whilst
10. Serve glazed ham hot or cold
ROAST SADDLE OF
1 Saddle of Venison
8 rashers streaky bacon
100 - 125ml Port (optional)
2 Tsp Cake Flour mixed with 25g Butter
300ml Red Wine
300ml Red Wine Vinegar
1 Sprig of Thyme
2 Bay Leaves
1 Piece of Orange Peel (about 2.5cm square) pith removed
1. Trim hard skin from the meat, being careful not to cut into the flesh
2. Combine all the marinade ingredients and pour over the meat
(the meat must be covered with marinade)
3. Leave uncovered to marinade for 2 days in a cool place You can cover
the dish with muslin as the air must circulate. Turn the meat from time to
4. Drain the meat and pat dry
5. Arrange the bacon on top of the venison
6. Place in a roasting pan and cover with foil
7. Cook at 200 C for 30 minutes to seal the meat
8. Reduce to 180 C and cook for a further 2 hours, basting with some
marinade every 15 min
9. You can add the port, if desired, to the roasting pan when temperature
10. Remove the foil and bacon from the meat and return to oven for 10 min
at 200 C to brown
11. Remove the venison from the pan and keep warm
12. Add enough boiling water to the pan juices to make 300ml of gravy
13. Thicken with the flour and butter
14. Venison may be served with quince or red current jelly
WITH CHESTNUT STUFFING
50g Softened Butter
300ml Chicken Stock
1 Chopped Onion
500g Sausage Meat
240g can Whole Chestnuts Chopped
1 Grated Apple
100g Fresh Breadcrumbs
2Tsp Fresh Sage
1tsp Orange Rind
1tsp Lemon Rind
1. For the stuffing, melt the butter and cook the onion till soft
2. Mix in the rest of the stuffing ingredients and season with salt and
3. Stuff the turkey and secure with a skewer
If preferred, the stuffing may be rolled into balls and cooked alongside
the turkey, but I suggest you then stuff the neck of the turkey with a
little of the stuffing
4. Loosen the breast skin of the turkey and smear the butter on the flesh
5. Season the turkey with salt
6. Place turkey in a large roasting dish and pour over the stock
7. Cover loosely with foil and cook at 190 C for 20 - 25 min per 500g
8. Remove the foil for the last 30 minutes to brown the turkey
9. Turkey can be checked for perfect cooking by piercing the thigh - there
should be no traces of pink in the juices, if there is, return to the oven
for a while
10. Put the turkey on a platter and allow to rest for 45 minutes
11. To make the gravy, skim off fat from the juices and to this fat add
3Tsp of flour
12. Stir over a low heat for 2 - 3 minutes
13. Add 60ml Madeira or brandy to flour mixture and stir
14. Add juices from roasting pan and stir until smooth
15. You want about 500ml of gravy, so if there is not enough liquid add
some more stock
16. Boil for a minute and check seasoning
PEAS AND ONIONS
15ml Butter or Margarine
375ml Peeled Baby Onions
375ml Frozen Peas
25ml Butter or Margarine
1ml Grated Lemon Peel
1/2ml Dried Tarragon Leaves
Pinch White Pepper
1. Place 15ml Butter in a 1.5L casserole dish
2. Microwave on high for 45 seconds till melted
3. Add onions and cook on high for 5 minutes till tender stirring once
4. Add peas
5. For sauce, place butter in a 1L jug and microwave on high for 45
seconds till melted
6. Stir in all the remaining sauce ingredients, except the cream
7. Blend in the cream and microwave on high for 3 - 4 minutes until the
sauce thickens and bubbles, stirring occasionally
8. Pour sauce over the onions and peas and stir to blend
9. Microwave on high for 1 - 2 minutes until hot
1.2 kg Large Potatoes
3 Tsp Olive Oil
2 Cloves Garlic, Finely Chopped
2 Tsp Chopped Fresh Rosemary
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1. Peel the potatoes and cut them into chunks (3 x 3 cm) and pat dry
2. In a bowl mix together the oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and half the
3. Place potatoes in a roasting pan and drizzle with the seasoned oil
4. Stir to coat, and sprinkle over the remaining rosemary
5. Bake for 1 - 1.5 hours at 180 C until crisp and golden
1.25 Cups Milk
1.25 Cups Pouring Cream
1 Vanilla Pod Split Lengthways or 1 tsp Vanilla Essence
2 tsp Cornflour
1/4 Cup Caster Sugar
2 Punnets Small Strawberries
4 Tsp Sweet Sherry
6 Tsp Sifted Icing Sugar
300g Madeira Cake (Sponge Cake)
175g Strawberry Jam
2 Cups Thick Cream
1/4 Cup Flaked Almonds Lightly Toasted
1. Pour the milk and pouring cream into a saucepan, add the vanilla and
bring slowly to boil
2. Whisk the eggs, cornflour and sugar together and stir in the hot milk &
3. Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water, making sure the bowl does
not touch the water, and stir until custard thickens
4. Remove from heat and cover with cling wrap to prevent a skin from
5. Allow to cool
6. Keep a few strawberries for decoration, cut the rest in half and add
the sherry and 1/2 the icing sugar
7. Mix together and set aside
8. Cut the cake into 3 horizontal layers and sandwich together with jam
9. Cut into slices and arrange in the bottom and slightly up the sides of
a glass bowl
10. Cover with the strawberries and their juice
11. Pour in the custard and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight
12. Whisk the thick cream with the remaining icing sugar until it forms
13. Spread on top of the trifle
14. Decorate the top with the remaining strawberries and the toasted
15. Chill until ready to serve
115g Self-Raising Flour
1 Level tsp Mixed Spice
1 Level tsp Ground Ginger
1 Level tsp Salt
175g Chilled, Unsalted Butter
115g Whole-wheat Breadcrumbs
115g Ground Almonds
115g Seedless Raisins
115g Crystallised Pineapple, Chopped
75g Crystallised Ginger, Chopped
75g Crystallised Apricots, Chopped
75g Glazed Cherries, Chopped
75g Chopped Mixed Peel
Grated Rind of 1 Orange and 1 Lemon
175g Dark Brown Sugar
6 Tsp Cointreau
200ml Sweet White Wine
1. Sieve the flour, spices and salt into a large mixing bowl
2. Grate in the butter
3. Add the breadcrumbs, all the fruit and rind, and the sugar
4. Beat the eggs lightly with the cointreau and the white wine
5. Mix with the ingredients in the bowl
6. Grease 2 x 1-litre pudding basins and fill with the mixture
7. Put grease-proof paper over the mixture in each basin
8. Cover the basins with muslin cloths or with foil, with a pleat across
the centre to allow for expansion when steaming
9. Tie down securely
10. Steam for 6 hours, checking the level of water and filling up when
11. Leave the puddings till cold, then wrap in foil and store in a cool,
12. Before serving, steam for 2 hours to reheat
1 Cup Margarine
4 Cups Flour
2 Cups Sugar
1 tsp Ground Cloves
3 tsps Ground Cinnamon
2 tsps Ground Allspice
1 tsp Salt
2 tsps Bicarb
2 Cups Applesauce
1 1/2 Cups Chopped Pecans
1. Cream butter and sugar
2. Add eggs one at a time.
3. Mix in applesauce and spices.
4.Sift salt, flour, and bicarb
5. Add to applesauce mixture and mix well
6. Add nuts.
7. Pour into muffin pans and bake for 25 - 30 mins at 180 C
8. Leave to cool in tins
9. To decorate spread top with vanilla butter icing and roll in slivered
1 fresh ox tongue
2 onions, coarsely chopped
2 bay leaves
6 whole peppercorns
2 whole cloves
2 sprigs parsley
30 ml butter
30 ml cake flour
250 ml chicken stock
1 small lemon, juice and rind
2 ml ground cinnamon
5 ml mustard powder
65 ml sweet sherry
250 ml prunes, stoned and chopped
125 ml seedless raisins
125 ml 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