Friday, December 26, 2014

Feastival (2)

our Christmas-eve menu


pilchard and olive bread rolls

salted butter


picked beef rolled in black pepper corns

smoked pork layered with peppermint leaves

chicken breast slices

mustard sauce

pepadew sauce

françoise cream cheese sauce


variety of salad leaves





mission olives

coconut flakes

cherry tomatoes

glazed pineapple

dried banana


sweet potato & butternut bake in cumin & cream custard

marinated mushrooms (uncooked)



fruit salad

soft serve ice cream

My co-chef & daughter Emmy

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Feastival (1)

In South Africa, the Christmas and New Year holidays fall together with the extended summer holiday, various public holidays and the academic year end. This is a time for reflection, relaxation, recuperation and indulgence.

We indulge in what the added leisure time offer us: FEASTING. Long hours filled with family & friends & food & fun.

We take the time needed to cook good food properly and recognizing that reliance on fast food damages our health, social fabric and cultural food traditions.

We create menus and shopping lists with ingredients suggested by our recipes. Some traditional and trusted. Some elaborate and exotic. Others modest and momentous. Then, at last, we pamper ourselves by enjoying being in the kitchen. Alone or with partners, children and grandchildren. We go slow, we sip wine as we cook and bake, we wear our aprons, we go the extra-step by soaking the cherries in liquor, we stuff the roast with dates, beacon, basil, thyme and some of the soaked liquor, we make tiramisu in the timely way, we daily add one layer to the trifle.

The glorious trifle

The earliest use of the name trifle was for a thick cream flavoured with sugar, ginger and rosewater, the recipe for which was published in England, 1596, in a book called "The good huswife's Jewell" by Thomas Dawson. Sixty years later eggs were added and the custard was poured over alcohol soaked bread.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Things can change in a day.

 Mary Elizabeth, Crown Princess of Denmark, Countess of Monpezat, is the wife of Frederik, Crown Prince of Denmark. The couple met at a pub on 16 September 2000 in Sydney.


Mary, Crown princess of another well-to-do family of the middle-class family, is the wife of Vincent Kenneth Rowe. The couple met at a pub in Ugie.


Perhaps it's true that things can change in a day.

That a few dozen hours can affect the outcome of whole lifetimes.

The Day Before You Came


Must have left my house at eight, because I always do
My train, I'm certain, left the station just when it was due
I must have read the morning paper going into town
And having gotten through the editorial, no doubt I must have frowned
I must have made my desk around a quarter after nine
With letters to be read, and heaps of papers waiting to be signed
I must have gone to lunch at half past twelve or so
The usual place, the usual bunch
And still on top of this I'm pretty sure it must have rained
The day before you came

I must have lit my seventh cigarette at half past two
And at the time I never even noticed I was blue
I must have kept on dragging through the business of the day
Without really knowing anything, I hid a part of me away
At five I must have left, there's no exception to the rule
A matter of routine, I've done it ever since I finished school
The train back home again
Undoubtedly I must have read the evening paper then
Oh yes, I'm sure my life was well within it's usual frame
The day before you came

Must have opened my front door at eight o'clock or so
And stopped along the way to buy some chinese food to go
I'm sure I had my dinner watching something on tv
There's not, I think, a single episode of dallas that I didn't see
I must have gone to bed around a quarter after ten
I need a lot of sleep, and so I like to be in bed by then I must have read a while
The latest one by marilyn french or something in that style
It's funny, but I had no sense of living without aim
The day before you came

And turning out the light
I must have yawned and cuddled up for yet another night
And rattling on the roof I must have heard the sound of rain
The day before you came

What was with the bird's beak?

Named after scientist and scholar Nicolas Steno (1638-1686), the Steno Museum is located in the southern part of the Aarhus University park (or campus). The Steno Museum is dedicated to tell the history of science and medicine. I took these pictures on 7 May. To illustrates, apart from the fear of contracting the Black Death that killed 2 million people, the superstitions of our ancestors.




This Beak Mask was filled with vinegar, sweet oils, and other strong-smelling chemicals to mask the stench of death and unburied bodies. In addition, herbs like garlic, was added to fight off the plague in the air before the doctor could breath it in. Phew!

The Glass Eyes protected the doctors against evil (aka the deadly disease).
The Black Overcoat minimized skin exposure. Doctors tucked the neckline of their long overcoat behind the mask. The coat extended down to the feet and was often completely coated with suet (a hard, white fat on the kidneys and loins of cattle and sheep, usually used in puddings and pastries) or wax. Doctors thought the suet could draw the plague away from the flesh of the infected or the wax could repel it.
The Leather Breeches protected the legs and groin from infection. Because the infection tended to attack the lymph nodes first, doctors paid close attention to cover and protect their armits, neck and groin.
The Wooden Cane directed family members on how and where to move infected patients and to examine them without direct contact.



"Is the Black Death Coming and Who's to Blame?"
asks Stephanie Ocano.       

The country of Madagascar is known for its tranquil beaches, exotic wildlife and rich culture. But something else also inhabits the island that is now making headlines: The Black Death. Perhaps best known as the Bubonic Plague that is generally associated with the Middle Ages when rats, fleas and poor hygiene resulted in the deaths of approximately 200 million people.

Madagascar has been one of the world’s last remaining hotspots for the plague but the illness has been mostly isolated in rural villages and self-contained... until now.

On Friday, Nov. 21, the World Health Organization announced an “outbreak of the plague” in Madagascar. Cases have been reported in 16 districts of the seven regions.

Now that the disease has made it to a densely populated area, a major outbreak seems inevitable. The capital of Madagascar, Antananarivo, houses the prime conditions for a disease such as the plague to spread, similar to those in 14th century Europe – garbage is dumped in the streets and public restroom conditions are terrible. Black rats, which were the primary vector for the disease in the Middle Ages, also roam freely between buildings.

Whichever variety of the plague, as the disease progresses its victim lapses into recurrent seizures, Alzheimic confusion, coma and internal hemorrhaging. Death can result in as little as 24 hours
"Belief in old practices, rampant misinformation, and apathetic, corrupt politicians have combined to make the current outbreak much more widespread than it should be,"

For now, the World Health Organization does not recommend any travel or trade restriction based on the current information available. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

To be in a shoe . . .

There was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe

A fold-up greeting card.

The most common version of the rhyme is:
There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.
She had so many children, she didn't know what to do;
She gave them some broth without any bread;
Then whipped them all soundly and put them to bed.

The original illustration of Mother Goose Rhymes.

The Jell-O version of the rhyme.

The earliest printed version in Joseph Ritson's Gammer Gurton's Garland in 1794 has the coarser last line:

She whipp'd all their bums, and sent them to bed.

Many other variations were printed in the 18th and 19th centuries. Marjorie Ainsworth Decker published a Christian version of the rhyme in her The Christian Mother Goose Book published in 1978:

There was an old woman
Who lived in a shoe,
She had so many children,
And loved them all, too.
She said, "Thank you Lord Jesus,
For sending them bread."
Then kissed them all gladly
and sent them to bed.

When in Adelaide earlier is year, I was in a shoe. Machtild, my Ozzie daughter, said she never thought she would saw me in public in slip-slops!

Friday, November 14, 2014

WABI-SABI - nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect 4

There was a Christo man and he ran a Comrades race,
He worked for a bag of coins in a Chemical lecture room.
He married a Kimberley girl, which had a cheeky cat.
And they all lived together in a cute house.*

But wasi-wabi, nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect,
therefore the builders who finished our home just more than two winters ago,
had to come and fix wall-paint and floor-tiles in a jiffy,
but took three weeks and a day.
*These type of rhymes were popular in the times of William Shakespeare (1564-1616).

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

WABI-SABI - nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect 3

Millions of South Africans have physical disabilities, but often the biggest foe they must overcome to lead happy, fulfilling lives is the stares of the able-bodied – the social stigmatization that exacts a terrible toll on their outlook and wellbeing.

In my PhD thesis ( I  referred to Look at Me, the book in which Marlene le Roux sought to change perceptions by
showcasing the sensuality, strength and courage of 23 disabled women.

Some were born with their disability; others got it through an accident or illness later in life. Lucie Pavlovich took the photographs in Look at Me. Each model is perfectly imperfect; just like every human on earth.

Bonita Blankenberg was born in 1982 and has been visually impaired since birth. She matriculated at the Athlone School for the Blind in Cape Town and is today a qualified journalist.

 I am Bonita, a woman made in God's image, born to be different, a reflection of perserverance, an echo of the power. He gave me to claim my right to be.

I was blind, therefore I was deemed unable to experience red-hot passion or breathless ecstasy. My feminine instinct to want to feel loved, treasured and desired didn't matter.
WABI-SABI - nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

WABI-SABI - nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect 2

Wabi-sabi (侘寂) represents a comprehensive Japanese world view or aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is "imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete". It is a concept derived from the Buddhist teaching of the three marks of existence (三法印, sanbōin), specifically impermanence (無常, mujō), the other two being suffering (苦, ku) and emptiness or absence of self-nature (空, kū).

Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetry, asperity (roughness or irregularity), simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy and appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes.

"Wabi-sabi is the most conspicuous and characteristic feature of traditional Japanese beauty."

This camel bag, that I bought a decade ago at an auction, brings about a sense of serene melancholy and a longing to know where it has been, who owned it and what was transported in it.

"Wabi-sabi nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect."

Wabi now connotes rustic simplicity, freshness or quietness, and can be applied to both natural and human-made objects, or understated elegance. It can also refer to quirks and anomalies arising from the process of construction, which add uniqueness and elegance to the object. Sabi is beauty or serenity that comes with age, when the life of the object and its impermanence are evidenced in its patina and wear, or in any visible repairs.

In art books, it is typically defined as "flawed beauty." Wabi and sabi both suggest sentiments of desolation and solitude.


A collection of Raku items I made in 2004: Perfectly imperfect.

From an engineering or design point of view, wabi may be interpreted as the imperfect quality of any object, due to inevitable limitations in design and construction/manufacture especially with respect to unpredictable or changing usage conditions; then sabi could be interpreted as the aspect of imperfect reliability, or limited mortality of any object, hence the phonological and etymological connection with the Japanese word sabi, to rust. 
Wabi-sabi describes a means whereby we can learn to live life through the senses and better engage in life as it happens, rather than be caught up in unnecessary thoughts. The idea is that being surrounded by natural, changing, unique objects helps us connect to our real world and escape potentially stressful distractions.

In one sense wabi-sabi is a training whereby we learn to find the most basic, natural objects interesting, fascinating and beautiful.
 Wabi-sabi can change our perception of the world to the extent that a chip or crack in a vase makes it more interesting and gives the object greater meditative value. Similarly materials that age such as bare wood, paper and fabric become more interesting as they exhibit changes that can be observed over time.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

WABI-SABI - nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect 1

Kintsugi (金継ぎ) (Japanese: golden joinery) or Kintsukuroi (金繕) (Japanese: golden repair) is the Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with lacquer resin dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. As a philosophy it speaks to breakage and repair becoming part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise. Lacquerware is a longstanding tradition in Japan; since the late 15th century

Satsuma ware tea bowl, 17th century, Edo period

As a philosophy kintsugi can been seen to have similarities to the Japanese philosophy of
wabi-sabi or embracing of the flawed or imperfect.

Japanese æsthetics values marks of wear by the use of an object. This can be seen as a rationale for keeping an object around even after it has broken and as a justification of kintsugi itself, highlighting the cracks and repairs as simply an event in the life of an object rather than allowing its service to end at the time of its damage or breakage.

Kintsugi as a general concept of highlighting or emphasizing imperfections, visualizing mends and seams as additive or an area to celebrate or focus on rather than as absence or missing pieces, the artist project dispatchwork by Jan Vormann can be seen as a modern take on kintsugi. Other modern artists experiment with the ancient technique as a means of analyzing the idea of loss, synthesis, and improvement through destruction and repair or rebirth.

Kintsugi can relate to the Japanese philosophy of "no mind" (無心, mushin) which encompasses the concepts of living-in-the-moment, non-attachment, acceptance of change and fate as aspects of human life.

Embrace imperfection. Nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect

“ Not only is there no attempt to hide the damage, but the repair is literally illuminated. The existence over time, to which all humans are susceptible, could not be clearer than in the breaks, the knocks, and the shattering to which ceramic ware too is subject. This poignancy or aesthetic of existence has been known in Japan as mono no aware, a compassionate sensitivity, or perhaps identification with, [things] outside oneself. ”
—Christy Bartlett, Flickwerk The Aesthetics of Mended Japanese Ceramics

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The day God created the world. 5775 years ago.

Today, 24 September, is National Heritage Day and National Braai Day in South Africa. A day of remembering our heritage. And feasting on meat in a way that reminded us of the Old Testament sacrificial practices.

Today,  24 September, at sundown, 1 Tishrei on the Biblical calendar, is also the start of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and the anniversary of the day God created the world. 5775 years ago.

The festival of Rosh Hashanah is observed for two days beginning on 1 Tishrei, the first day of the Jewish year. It is the anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, and their first actions toward the realization of mankind’s role in G‑d’s world.

Rosh Hashanah thus emphasizes the special relationship between G‑d and humanity: our dependence upon G‑d as our creator and sustainer, and G‑d’s dependence upon us as the ones who make His presence known and felt in His world.

But this is also the day we proclaim G‑d King of the Universe.

Rosh Hashanah observances include:

a) Eating a piece of apple dipped in honey, to symbolize our desire for a sweet year, and other special foods symbolic of the new year’s blessings.
b) Blessing one another with the words “Leshanah tovah tikateiv veteichateim,” “May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.”
c) Tashlich, a special prayer said in evocation of the verse, “And You shall cast their sins into the depths of the sea.”

Biblical Calendar
The rules for the Biblical Calendar and discovered that they are simple and logical:
1. Start and end days at sunset (Genesis 1:5).
2. Start weeks at day one and end on day seven, the Sabbath. (Leviticus 23:15-16). Sabbath end at sunset on Saturday.
3. Start months with the sighting of the new moon (Deuteronomy 16:1).
4. Start years in the month barley will be harvestable by the middle of that month (Leviticus 23:4-14).
These suggestions invite you to observe God’s creation – sighting a sunset or a new moon and looking at a barley crop. Psalm 33:8 says, "Let all the earth fear Yahweh: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him." Is there a better way than to get outside and look at some of these awesome, timekeeping sights of creation?

Written in Paleo-Hebrew, the Gezer Calendar dates from the 10th century BC,
the time of the construction of Solomon’s Temple. It contains the following text:
Written in Paleo-Hebrew, the Gezer Calendar dates from the 10th century BC, the time of the construction of Solomon’s Temple. It contains the following text:
"Two months of harvest
Two months of planting
Two months are late planting
One month of pulling flax
One month of barley harvest
One month of harvest and feasting
Two months of pruning vines
One month of summer fruit"
This calendar lays out the fundamental importance of the agricultural cycle in King Solomon’s day this can be seen in the temple festivals of Shavuot  ("Feast of weeks") or First Fruits in early summer (the "month of summer" fruit in line 8), and the Feast of Ingathering (the harvest) in the fall which culminates to the Feast of Tabernacles. The mention of feasting reflects the pilgrimages festivals which involved feasting.

Thursday, September 18, 2014


Tonight while my mom, Lenie, and daughter, Emmy, baked cupcakes, I wondered where the concept originated.

The first mention of the cupcake can be traced as far back as 1796, when a recipe notation of "a cake to be baked in small cups" was written in American Cookery by Amelia Simmons. The earliest documentation of the term cupcake was in "Seventy-five Receipts for Pastry, Cakes, and Sweetmeats" in 1828 in Eliza Leslie's Receipts cookbook.

In previous centuries, before muffin tins were widely available, the cakes were often baked in individual pottery cups, ramekins, or molds and took their name from the cups they were baked in. This is the use of the name that has remained, and the name of "cupcake" is now given to any small cake that is about the size of a teacup. While English fairy cakes vary in size more than American cupcakes, they are traditionally smaller and are rarely topped with elaborate icing.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

I admire . . . Corrie ten Boom

Cornelia "Corrie" ten Boom (born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 15 April 1892 and died on her 91st birthday, 1983) was a Dutch Christian who, along with her father and other family members, helped many Jews escape the Nazi Holocaust during World War II and was imprisoned for it. Her most famous book, The Hiding Place, describes the ordeal.

The ten Boom family were devoted Christians who dedicated their lives in service to their fellow man. Their home in Barteljorisstraat (in Haarlem when Holland) was always an “open house” for anyone in need. During the Second World War, the ten Boom home became a refuge, a hiding place, for fugitives and those hunted by the Nazis.


The Ten Boom home on the corner of Barteljorisstraat and Schoutensteeg, Haarlem.

Ten Boom family members were eventually betrayed by informants and were sent to the Ravensbrück concentration camp where most died, except Corrie ten Boom, who went on to tell the story of the family’s work with the Resistance movement. Her autobiographical book, The Hiding Place, was published in 1971 and made into a full-length feature film of the same name in 1975. 

The Corrie ten Boom Museum tells the extraordinary story of the Ten Boom family which saved 800 Jews in the "Hiding Place" from Nazi death camps in WWII.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Tea with a queen.

While reading "Good morning, Mr Mandela", I also visited Buckingham Palace with Zelda and Madiba; to have tea with the queen!

With the possible exception of the Duke of Edinburgh,
Nelson Mandela must have been the only man on Earth
 who called the Queen “Elizabeth”. He was certainly the first and last human being to greet her with a cheery, “Oh Elizabeth, you’ve lost weight!”
Mandela in old age could get away with just about anything. As he travelled the world in his ninth and 10th decades, doing good works, dispensing homilies and sprinkling stardust over all he met.


Monday, September 1, 2014

From Bloem to Bordeaux

Tonight I went to the first ultra-local event since I'm back in Bloem:
the annual PnP wine-tasting!

And there I met John X Merriman 2007

Winemaker: R. Christian
Variety: Bordeaux Blend

A Bordeaux wine is any wine produced in the region around Bordeaux, France
. Average vintages produce over 700 million bottles of Bordeaux wine, ranging from large quantities of everyday table wine, to some of the most expensive and prestigious wines in the world.
The vine was introduced to the Bordeaux region by the Romans, probably in the mid-1st century. Red Bordeaux is generally made from a blend of grapes. Permitted grapes are Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec and rarely Carménère. The vast majority of Bordeaux wine is red. The 60 Bordeaux appellations and the wine styles they represent are usually categorized into six main families, four red based on the subregions and two white based on sweetness:
  •  Red Bordeaux and Red Bordeaux Supérieur.
  •  Red Côtes de Bordeaux.
  •  Red Libourne.
  •  Red Graves and Médoc.
  •  White Dry.
  •  White Sweet.

  • Vintage demijohns

    Sunday, August 31, 2014

    Heatlh & rejection

    Today, during ABC (Apply Bottom to Chair) or RESEARCH,
    I found this interesting information on REJECTION.

    This scene of the Admonitions Scroll shows an emperor turning away from his consort,
    his hand raised in a gesture of rejection and with a look of disdain on his face.

    Social rejection has a large impact on a person’s health. An unsatisfied need to belong would inevitably lead to problems in behaviour as well as mental and physical health. Numerous studies have found that being socially rejected leads to an increase in levels of anxiety. Additionally, the level of depression a person feels as well as the amount they care about their social relationships is directly proportional to the level of rejection they perceive. Rejection has an impact on the emotional health and well being of a person as well. Overall, experiments show that those who have been rejected will suffer from more negative emotions and have less positive emotions than those who have been accepted or those who were in neutral or control conditions.

    In addition to the emotional response to rejection, there is a large effect on physical health as well. Having poor relationships and being more frequently rejected is predictive of mortality. Also, as long as a decade after the marriage ends, divorced women have higher rates of illness than their non-married or currently married counterparts. In the case of a family estrangement, a core part of the mother’s identity may be betrayed by the rejection of an adult child. The chance for reconciliation, however slight, results in an inability to attain closure. The resulting emotional state and societal stigma from the estrangement may negatively impact psychological and physical health of the parent through end of life.

    The immune system tends to take a very impactful hit when a person experiences social rejection. This can cause severe problems for those with diseases such as HIV. One study investigated the differences in the disease progression of HIV positive gay men who were sensitive to rejection compared to those who were not considered rejection sensitive. The study, which took place over nine years, indicated significantly faster rate of low T helper cells, therefore leading to an earlier AIDS diagnosis. Interestingly, they also found that those patients who were more sensitive to rejection died from the disease an average of 2 years earlier than their non-rejection sensitive counterparts.

    Other aspects of health are also affected by rejection. Both systolic and diastolic blood pressure increase upon imagining a rejection scenario. Those who are socially rejected have an increased likelihood of suffering from tuberculosis, as well as dying by suicide. Rejection and isolation were found to impact levels of pain following an operation as well as other physical forms of pain. Rejection and exclusion cause physical pain because that pain is a warning sign to help us survive. As we developed into social creatures, social interactions and relationships became necessary to our survival, and the physical pain systems already exsited within our bodies.

    Tuesday, August 12, 2014

    I met him at the Dead Poets Society in 1989.


    Robin Williams

    (July 21, 1951 – August 11, 2014)

    Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan, and everything in between. But he was one of a kind. He arrived in our lives as an alien – but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit. He made us laugh. He made us cry. He gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most – from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalized on our own streets. The Obama family offers our condolences to Robin’s family, his friends, and everyone who found their voice and their verse thanks to Robin Williams.

    - Barack Obama

    Monday, August 11, 2014

    Sister's Day.

    On the first Sunday in August, we celebrate being or having a sister.

    Sister's Day is a day reserved to the sister or sisters
    whom you distinctly love although you also fairly fight with sometimes.
    My two granddaughters Nina (27 months) and Gweni (15 months) are  citizens of Australia and are living an idyllic life with their stay-at-home mum Magi and dad Michael. They are expecting their new sister, Elli, early in November.
    Making faces in the mirror of the grannies' room;
    A room with visitors twice a year.

    Water-fun in the notorious heat of the Australian Outback.

    A sissy-hug op the trampoline.