Words Crush Wednesday – William Arthur Ward Edition

Dreams, hope, aspirations – we all have them, and all in abundance. I’ve recently watched a deeply special friend of mine fulfill a dream, something she never thought she would do, something that took great courage, endless hours of hard work and a gigantic leap of faith. It all started a dream – “imagine if we could do this”. Indeed, imagine, and now it’s here. That dream was put into action, and it became a reality, near-nervous breakdowns and insomnia notwithstanding.

Success is a funny thing. Do you measure it by your job title? The size of your house? Your annual international vacations (oh heeey Cabo)? Or do you, like me, measure it by the type of person you are? Talk is cheap and anyone can do it, yet it takes a special type of dedication and self-belief to action it. No matter how you perceive success, there is one common denominator – it all starts with a thought, with a dream, regardless of its nature. This week I was approached with a job offer, something slightly different from what I’m used to. Initially I was somewhat daunted by it, but I started thinking about it, applying myself, imagining different scenarios where I’d be able to deliver the highest quality of work, and I accepted it with great excitement (and moderate trepidation). Nevertheless, success. I also created a new recipe, ravioli and marinara sauce, which was amazeballs. That, to me, is also success. It takes many different forms but originates in exactly the same way. Dream it, see it, do it.

William Arthur Ward

Hop on over to Rebirth of Lisa for more Words Crush Wednesday quotes.

Bar-One Sauce

Bar One Sauce 5This sauce is easy and utterly delectable and will have you asking for more and licking the bowl! Bar-One is a milk chocolate bar wrapped around a layer of malted chocolate and caramel. If you don’t have access to Bar-Ones, don’t despair. All you need to do is find a chocolate bar made with nougat and caramel. Depending on where you are in the world, your substitute could be Mars Bars or Milky Ways. Delicious on warm brownies, chilled cheesecake or ice cream, it’s versatile and takes 10 minutes!

Bar-One Sauce

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Time: 10 minutes
  • Difficulty: ridiculously easy
  • Print


200g Bar-One chocolate bars (or Milky Way or Mars Bar)
250ml cream
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Making it happen:

Bar-One Sauce 91. Cut the chocolate bars into small pieces, about 0.5cm each. In a small pot on medium heat, add a third of the cream and all the chocolate pieces and stir frequently. The nougat takes a while longer to melt, and the frequent stirring will prevent the chocolate from sticking and burning. Add another third of the cream, continuing to stir, and then the last third. The entire sauce process will take no more than 10 minutes, so you can time the cream additions accordingly.

Bar One Sauce 32. Once thoroughly melted, pour the chocolate sauce over ice cream, or brownies, or cheesecake. This sauce can be cooled and reheated in the microwave or on the hob.



Bar One Sauce 4


An Interview with Ann – Multi Tasking Foodie

Ann Spud 1

Credit Grubbs n Critters

Meet Ann, the incredibly talented, multi tasking author of Grubbs n Critters. She’s a wife, mother of two small kiddies, has a demanding full-time job, travels frequently and blogs regularly. Busy much? She came up with the idea of our Monthly Mystery Munchies, and for the past six months we’ve been challenging each other (and ourselves) to cook a mystery meal based on a theme we choose monthly. She’s passionate about cooking and intrigues me with her recipes. One of the things I love about blogging is how it brings people together, be it through poetry, humour, writing, photography, cooking… Ann seems adept at juggling it all. Amid the demands of a hectic life, she still finds time to cook. And I don’t mean throw a meal together, I mean plan one thoughtfully and then spend hours cooking it.

We live on opposite ends of the world – me in South Africa and her in Thailand, and hers is the first blog I check in the mornings. She frequently blogs about everything from food to humour, travelling to raising multi-cultural kids (Ann is Singaporean, her husband is Dutch and they live in Thailand). I really don’t know how she does it! We interviewed each other and here she discusses her culinary inspirations, how to balance a hectic life and still find time for blogging, its ups and downs, and how to plan posts.

What inspired you to start your blog?

An old buddy of mine by the name of Major Awesome got me started on a blog when I moved to Thailand. But, one of the main reasons I started blogging was the fact that I could not be bothered to email my friends and family to tell them what I’ve been up to. So, a blog became a very practical reason for them to get updates on what I’m doing without me telling 10 different people the same things over and over again. My rationale was, if they want to know, they could always read stuff on my blog! 

When did you start cooking and why? Was it from necessity, ie you had to feed the kids, or was it something you grew up doing?

I grew up mostly with home-cooked food as my mom cooks A LOT! So I was always helping out in the kitchen doing the dirty job of peeling, washing, cutting and the works but apart from fried rice, boiling eggs and frying eggs, I never really cooked as my mom rules the kitchen. She’s always particular about how things are done in the kitchen, so I try to get out of her way. My dad was convinced that I can’t cook for nuts! I only started cooking for myself when I moved to Thailand and that was when I started experimenting because I was so sick of eating out and I was missing food from home. The rest is history!

You’re Asian, your husband is Dutch and you live in Thailand. How do these different cultures influence your cooking Do you have a favourite cuisine and do you do fusion?

Oh! So many variety of cuisines to experiment, I tell you! Frankly, apart from the great and delish deep-fried stuff of the Dutch cuisine which I love, I mostly found Dutch food to be quite boring, sometimes bland with the usual meat and vegetables combination.  It’s a good thing that they have the Indonesian influence and that adds on to the variety and flavour of food. My favourite? That’s a tough one as I like variety. But if I have to choose, I’ll say the Indonesian and Indian cuisine top my list of favourites. And, Bitterballen. I love, love, love Bitterballen. And yes, I fusion! With the exception of baking, I never follow recipes to a T and I always modify.

What/who has been your greatest influence in the kitchen?

Gotta to be my mom. And no one else! OK. Maybe Nigella, and Jamie Oliver. I like that their cooking are always so simple, rustic and anything goes!

If you could ask one specific chef for a piece of advice, who would it be and what’s the question?

I’ll ask Jamie Oliver how the hell he’s able to use such a sharp knife at such great speed without cutting off his fingers! And how can I overcome the fear of big ass sharp knives as they scare the the crap out of me. 

You have a very busy life – a hectic, demanding job, two young kids, a husband and a home to run. How do you balance all of this? Are there any secrets to it, and how to you stay motivated to blog with so much going on around you? Do you have advice for fellow bloggers?

Sometimes I wonder the same and I think it’s only because I’m not quite right in the head! Finding the balance is hard. Really hard and it’s something I struggle with everyday. It helps that my husband helps out quite a bit and picks up the slack when I have to do extra hours at the office.  I don’t have any magic formula or any advice, really. My head seems to have a lot to say, so whenever I get a little inspiration, I jot down little notes and key points so I don’t forget. When I find the time, I’ll write them out – sometimes over several days.

Usually, I do a little writing during my lunch break. It helps that my kids go to bed before 7 pm and after that, I have a little time in the evening to write half a post (one whole post if I’m lucky) after dinner. When I have 3 hours at stretch, I usually try to write a few posts and then schedule them and space them out so in the event I get bogged down by other things, I don’t feel the pressure to have to write something everyday.

I think it is exactly the fact that I have so much going on around me that makes me feel motivated to write! or I’ll end up having inane conversations with myself! That would be baaad.

No matter how busy my week, the three blogs I regularly check are… because…

Apart from yours because your recipes are always mouth watering and easy to replicate and spark off ideas for me to figure out what to cook over the weekend. I love your Wednesday word crush too! (Awww, thank you so much!)

So the other 3 would be:
All in A Dad’s Work – I love reading his stories and honest account of parenting anecdotes. I like his writing.
All That’s Jas – Recipes! And her photography of her food is always so amazing!
Estelea’s Blog – She’s a good mommy friend of mine who left Bangkok and moved to the Philippines more than a year ago. She’s got a great writing style and mainly because I just want to know what she’s up to!

What are your three favourite cooking ingredients, and what are your three favourite cooking utensils? 

Ingredients: Tumeric, sage and onions. I’ll add chillies if you allow four!
Cooking utensils: Does a blender count? Otherwise, it would have to be my Circulon non-stick pan, potato peeler and super blunt knives!

Since you started your blog, what’s the most rewarding thing about it, and what’s the biggest challenge?

The most rewarding (and surprising) is being able to build a community of followers who actually like the crap I write! And I’m always amused by that. Apart from that, it really is meeting and connecting with bloggers like yourself, and I love it when people take the time to comment on my annoyingly unfriendly comment box on a self-hosted site. It’s also always nice to get the occasional knocks on my door to be a guest blogger or get featured..it’s like a little pat on the back and one that motivates me to keep on going.

The challenge for me is having the luxury of time to sit down and write whenever I want, for as long as I want to. It doesn’t happen all that often. And the result of pushing myself to write because I really want to, is severe sleep deprivation.

If you could cook a meal for three people, famous or not, dead or alive, who would they be and what would you cook?

Hmmmm..I think I would be embarrassed to cook for famous people! They’d balk at the modification of the ingredients and method I use when I cook, they probably send me off to go to some culinary school. They’ll laugh at me when they see the knives I work with (they still cut, mind you! Just not my fingers) So I’ll stick to cooking grubs for my parents, my husband, my kids and my friends. If I have the chance (and time) though, I’d really like to do some volunteer cooking for the orphanage and the less fortunate. 

Monthly Mystery Munchies #6: Waterblommetjie Bredie

Waterblommetjie bredie 8I am so excited about this month’s challenge. Not only did I have a great deal of fun creating (and tasting) this recipe, but Ann and I have reached our half-year mark of our Monthly Mystery Munchies challenge and it’s been an incredibly fun, challenging and exciting experience. Thanks, Ann, for the wonderful idea!


This month Ann chose well! The theme? Stew with beans. My take? Waterblommetjie bredie. Don’t worry if you can’t pronounce it, it’s a South African stew with an Afrikaans name; literally translated it means ‘small water flower stew’. It’s indigenous to the Western Cape region of South Africa (proudly South African, proudly Capetonian) but if you’re not in South Africa, you can substitute the waterblommetjies with green beans, as that’s what they taste the most similar to.

I added chillies to give it a bit of oomph and used the most traditional stewing meat – lamb. Expensive but definitely worth it if you’re looking to treat yourself and your guests. Of course, I’m incapable of making a stew without potatoes and I used butter beans in keeping with Ann’s theme. I’d never normally think to add beans to this stew, but it came out abslutely beautifully and bursting with flavour! Who would’ve thought flowers (more like weeds) picked from ponds would taste so good? The Khoikhoi, that’s who. They taught the early settlers how to cook with waterblommetjies. How cool is that?!

Mosey on over to Grubbs n Critters and take a gander at what Ann came up with this month. No doubt it’s delicious!

Waterblommetjie bredie

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 1hr35
  • Difficulty: moderately easy
  • Print


Waterblommetjie bredie 1500g waterblommetjies, soaked and hard parts removed
1kg lamb knuckles
1 large onion, chopped
2 green chillies, sliced (optional)
5 garlic cloves, crushed
500g baby tomatoes
1 sprig rosemary, leaves removed from stalk
1 teaspoon coriander
1 cup beef or lamb stock
1kg baby potatoes, halved
1 lemon, halved
1 tin butter beans, drained
Olive oil
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Making it happen:

Waterblommetjie bredie 21. Clean and soak the waterblommetjies in salted water for a minumum of 1 hour or overnight. Before you cook them, cut the tough parts off.



Waterblommetjie bredie 32. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan and brown the lamb on all sides. Set aside.




Waterblommetjie bredie 43. In a large pot, heat another 2 tablespoons of olive oil and fry the onion, chillies and garlic on medium for 5 minutes.



Waterblommetjie bredie 54. Add the lamb to the pot. Add the tomatoes, rosemary and coriander and fry on medium for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.




Waterblommetjie bredie 65. Add the potatoes, stock and juice of half a lemon, stirring well. Bring to a slow boil and simmer for 20 minutes.




Waterblommetjie bredie 76. Add the drained beans and waterblommetjies and simmer for an hour. Do not stir too vigorously or overcook, you don’t want the waterblommetjies breaking apart or turning to mush!


Waterblommetjie bredie 107. Serve with rice once cooked, or cook in advance as stews get better with time!

Words Crush Wednesday – Frank Warren Edition

Every news site is overflowing with images of displaced refugees, people risking life and limb to escape certain death in their home country. Ironic. I cannot imagine, on any level, being a child in that situation. My mind is literally incapable of envisioning it because my life is so far removed from their reality. Every life is worth something; may those children, and all children facing adversity and struggle, grow up and use those horrific experiences to propel them forward and be successful human beings.

Frank Warren

Check out more quotes at Rebirth of Lisa.

Gnocchi Alfredo with Chicken, Bacon and Mushrooms

Gnocchi Alfredo 7This recipe sounds shmancy and a mission. It’s not. While it will impress the crap out of your guests, or just you, it’s not difficult at all. This is the gist: fry stuff. Add cream. Mix stuff. Bake. Drool.

In this house, we are obsessed with gnocchi. And cheese. I blame myself for getting The Husband into it. We all have our crosses to bear. A few weeks ago we went out for dinner and The Husband had penne alfredo and mentioned, in passing, that I should try to recreate it, but with gnocchi. What’s that? A challenge? A pasta challenge? I’m in. I was extremely disappointed when a lot of recipes used pre-bought alfredo sauce. Really? Do you have any idea how easy it it? Don’t tell your guests, because as far as they’re concerned, based on the taste, you slaved for several hours. But really folks, it’s one of the least complicated and most yummiest recipes you’ll ever make. You’re welcome.

Gnocchi Alfredo

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 45 minutes in total
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


Gnocchi Alfredo 11 package gnocchi (500g)
500g chicken breasts, cut into chunks
1 pack shoulder bacon, sliced
400g chopped mushrooms
4 crushed and sliced garlic cloves
2 tablespoons flour for dredging
250ml cream
Fresh parsley + more for garnishing
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
300g cheddar, grated
300g mozzarella, grated
Salt and pepper

Making it happen:

Gnocchi Alfredo 21. In a large pan, heat the olive oil on medium. Fry the bacon, mushrooms and garlic for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.



Gnocchi Alfredo 32. Cut the chicken breasts into chunks, toss them in the flour and coat thoroughly. Heat the butter on medium and fry the chicken pieces for 5 minutes until golden brown.



Gnocchi Alfredo 43. Return the bacon and mushrooms to the pan, add the cream and 2 stalks parsley and simmer for 10 minutes.



Gnocchi Alfredo 64. Heat your oven to 190°C (375°F). In the meantime, cook the gnocchi per package instructions.
Place the chicken, bacon and mushroom mixture in a large dish and toss with cheddar. Sprinkle mozzarella on top and bake for 20 minutes.


Gnocchi Alfredo 8


Words Crush Wednesday – RM Drake Edition

Aah, making peace with that which has left you tattered, fractured, possibly decimated, or maybe just shaken and upset. I’ve learnt that everything in life is a process, and trying to expedite it is fruitless. The process, by its very nature, has no concept of time. Once you surrender to it, there is a lightness that comes with no longer trying to control the outcome. There is a stillness for the first time in a while, and it’s a beautiful, comforting feeling that is embraced with welcomed relief.


Image credit: Google Images

Please hop on over to Lisa’s site, Rebirth of Lisa, for more Words Crush Wednesday quotes and a host of other cool writing stuff.