Word Crush Wednesday – Maya Angelou Edition

Do you ever feel awkward when you eat in front of people? It could be that you’re so hungry and want to wolf down a burger but this is only your second date and, well, you want to look elegant. Or that chocolate fondant was so incredibly delicious, you want to lick the plate. Come on, it’s happened to everyone! There is something so personal about sharing a meal with other people. This week’s Word Crush Wednesday quote is by the ever-wise Maya Angelou. She was, and still is, such an inspiration.

“Eating is so intimate. It’s very sensual. When you invite someone to sit at your table and you want to cook for them, you’re inviting a person into your life.” – Maya Angelou

 

Word Crush Wednesday – Julia Child Edition

Listen, a few years ago I was an expert at burning eggs. Ex-pert. My expertise extended to roast lamb, rice, French toast, fried tomatoes and everything in between. I was awful. The kind of awful where the entire meal is unidentifiable. The dog turns his nose up and children cry. The stunned silence only broken by the cremated lamb shattering as I toss it into the bin. I was convinced (and rightly so, at the time)  that I was a horrific cook, a culinary abomination. Until I wasn’t. I slowly learnt to cook, by being entirely autodidactic, and allowing myself to fail and learn from said failures. Now, cooking is my greatest hobby and for the past six years I have not burnt anything beyond recognition. I’ve loved every second of it and the only way I learnt was by being patient and trying new things. The moment I took the blinkers off and opened my mind to the possibility that I could potentially be a pretty good cook, if I may say so myself, my world changed. That brings me to this week’s Word Crush Wednesday quote, which basically sums up my cooking experience in one tidy sentence:

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Photo 101 – Natural World and Leading Lines

I’m doing things slightly backwards. I’ve already posted the day nine Photography 101 assignment and here’s day eight.

We went for a stroll through Tokai Forest and I was struck by the symmetry and uniformity of the trees and how the rows are perfectly aligned. It’s something so simple yet striking. I like the simplicity of the second picture and how it shows we all leave footprints, be it metaphorically or literally.

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Word Crush Wednesday – Dr Seuss Edition

Today, I:
A) Turned another year older.
B) Got given several fresh sweet peppers while passing my neighbour’s garden and got roped into a very long conversation, even though I gave him the “sir, I really have somewhere to be” look several times. He finally stopped when his wife came outside and gave him a bit of a stink eye, as if to say “why are you still talking to this youngster?” (When you’re 117, a 30-something woman is considered a youngster – bless).
C) Got my hairs did. This went well; my hairdresser spoke my ear off although it was fine because she’s nice and it’s so awkward sitting in a hair salon in silence for two hours while someone makes you dumber. I mean blonder.
D) Nearly got knocked over. Apparently dude felt it wasn’t necessary to stop (or even slow down) at the humped pedestrian crossing (he must have good shocks). He missed me by literally an inch. It would have sucked dying on my birthday but at least my hair looked good.
E) Observed an incredibly beautiful woman sitting in traffic picking her nose. People, just because you’re in the confines of your car, it does not mean no one can see you. Everyone can. Ev-er-y-one.

Having said all of the above, this is my Word Crush Wednesday quote. Quite fitting.

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Tomato Bredie

Right now my butt is planted firmly on the couch with the TV on the background. Something about a family with 18 kids. My very first thought is “how on Earth do they feed everyone?”. No, really, HOW? Can you imagine cooking for 20 people? That’s a small village. It’s apt, though, that this show is on at the same time as I was planning to blog about this recipe.

Food never goes to waste in my house. Ne-verrr. The Husband is a human vacuum. It’s really quite amazing, his dedication is admirable. There have been many occasions when I’ve though we’d have considerable leftovers, only to wake up the next day and find empty bowls and containers scattered around the kitchen. However, with this tomato bredie, we did actually manage to live off this food for the next three days. This made me very happy as bredie only gets better with time.

I’ve played around with this recipe for a few months and finally feel like it’s blog-worthy.  Bredie is a quintessential South African stew of Malay origins and I feel like it’s only right that I finally post a traditional dish, this being my favourite. I used beef roast instead of knuckles or lamb, but you can use mutton or lamb. Beef is my favourite meat and I love how tender it is when slow-cooked for several hours but there are some who would fiercely disagree and insist upon only using lamb. You can do either, it’s entirely your preference.

Bredie 1

Ingredients:

1.5kg beef roast
200g bacon, cut into strips
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 onions, sliced
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
100g tomato paste
1 teaspoon paprika
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon thyme
1 cup beef stock
1 x 400g tin whole peeled tomatoes
500g baby tomatoes
8 potatoes, peeled and halved
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Bredie 2Cut the beef into inch-long pieces. Heat oil in a large frying pan and on medium heat, lightly brown the beef on all sides taking care not overdo it. You will probably need to do this in two batches. Remove the beef from the pan and add the bacon, frying until cooked.

 

 

 

Bredie 3In a large pot, heat the butter on medium heat and add the onions and garlic. Fry until the onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

Bredie 4Pour in the stock and add the tomato paste, tinned and fresh tomatoes, paprika, cinnamon, parsley and thyme and and fry for another 5 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

Bredie 5Add the beef and bacon to the pot, adding their juices too. Add the potatoes, bay leaves and sugar. Cover and bring to a gentle boil, turn down and simmer, gently and uncovered, for three hours. Season as desired. This dish is best when it’s rested overnight or for at least several hours. It’s ideal to cook the day before or put it in the slow-cooker overnight. Serve with basmati rice.

Photography 101 – Big

This is Paternoster. The views are breathtaking and I thought this first photo demonstrated today’s Photo 101 theme – ‘Big’.

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Continuing the theme of birds, when we bought our house some 12 years ago, this birdhouse came with it. Off topic: it used to have a naked mannequin tied to it. We bought the house from somewhat eccentric Russian folk and when we put in an offer, they informed us that while they were willing to part with the birdhouse, Svetlana the mannequin was going with them. We feigned disappointment and told them we’d survive. It’s become a background fixture in our garden although not many birds visit it – the cat has taken up residence in it during the day!

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