Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Have you seen the Gingerbread Man?

A few months ago, I came across an interesting hobby which harkens back to earlier years, where pen pals found through the Garfield monthly magazine were the norm (as was waiting weeks for a reply to any correspondence).

The fun of collecting stationery, and receiving interesting letters/postcards from around the world has surprised me. And I find it funny how hand written correspondence has become an oddity in today's world of instant messaging.

Every now and then, you come across a particularly fun project.

Take for instance this class postcard project:

Mrs Schindler's Kindergarten Class have a Gingerbread Man in their classroom. They will read stories about him, until one day he will disappear and they will discover he has run away (like in the story). The class will make a plan to get him back and try to solve the mystery of where he went.

They need people to send postcards from around the world to report sightings of their missing friend. They will map each postcard and track his journey.

If you'd like to join in the fun of Jinjee spotting, send a postcard to the address below keeping the following points in mind:
  • Begin each postcard with "Dear Madison".
  • Say that you were doing something ordinary when you spotted the Gingerbread Man.
  • Report that you tried to stop him, but he turned and shouted "Run, run, as fast as you can. you can't catch me I'm the Gingerbread Man!"
  • Mail them to:
        Mrs. Schindler's Kindergarten Class
      Nottingham Country Elementary
      20500 Kingsland Blvd
      Katy, TX 77450

Here's the one I'm sending. Don't you just love the stamps? I bought them at the Brooklyn Post Office. They ask interesting questions regarding facts (most are about South African history), and then the person who receives the postcard gets to scratch the gold ink off to see the answer (like a lotto card). How clever!

Speaking of Gingerbread Men, here's a link to a gluten-free, corn-free, egg-free gingerbread recipe:

GF Jinjee Biscuits

P.S. If you're interested in doing some writing, Postcrossing is a fun place to start, as you are guaranteed to get replies from all over the world (and writing postcards is quick and fun, as is shopping for them [or even designing your own on]).

Monday, October 17, 2011

Gluten/Dairy/Egg/Corn-free Fruit Crumble

Perfect for when you're craving a little afternoon sweet treat to accompany your tea, this gluten/dairy/egg/corn-free fruity crumble wont disappoint.

Single Serving Fruit Crumble

  • 1 sweet apple
  • 1 sweet peach
  • 3 tsp rice flour
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • cinnamon (optional)
  • hazelnuts (optional)
- Cut the apple and peach into bite size pieces, and put them in the bottom of a tiny baking dish. 
- Mix together the rice flour, olive oil and sugar and sprinkle over the top of the fruit.
- Bake until the topping is beginning to brown.
- When it comes out of the oven, sprinkle with cinnamon (optional).
- Use a dry pan to toast some hazlenuts and then sprinkle them over the crumble (optional).

In honour of breast cancer awareness month, Roanne of Ms. Veronica's is hosting a Heart the Boobies auction, all the proceeds of which will go to EmbodiWorks, an organization that educates and empowers people affected by cancer. Please stop by and bid on any items you like, knowing that good will come of any money spent in the auction.

Heart the Boobies Handmade Auction 2011

Have a grand week.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Curry Sunset

Curried Brown Rice with
Sweet Potato Purée and
Roasted Green Beans


  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 tsp salt crystals
  • 1 Tbsp crushed curry leaves
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 0.5 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 - 4 cups of water
  • 1 tsp butter (optional)
  • Simmer rice and spices for approximately 40 minutes until all the water has been absorbed.
  • Add the butter right at the end and stir through.


    • 800 grams of sweet potatoes, scrubbed
    • 3 large carrots
    • 1 apple
    • 1 tsp of salt
    • 1 tsp of butter or cream (optional)
    • Cut sweet potatoes, carrots and the apple into chunks.
    • Pour over boiling water (just enough to cover), add the salt and boil for 20 - 30 minutes until vegetables are tender.
    • Drain three-quarters of the water, then use a stick blender to zhoesh the veg all together until the purée is smooth.
    • Stir through the teaspoon of butter or cream, and check the seasoning.

    Green Beans:

    • 700 grams of green beans
    • olive oil
    • salt
    • Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
    • Wrap an oven dish in heavy foil.
    • Brush a light coating of olive oil over the bottom of the covered roasting pan.
    • Use a scissors to top and tail the green beans, and give them a good rinse.
    • Throw the beans in the pan, drizzle them with olive oil and a liberal sprinkling of salt.
    • Oven roast for 20 - 30 minutes, until crispy on the outside but tender on the inside.
    A sunset the colour of sweet potato peels and carrots, taken by Simeon from the roof of our house on the evening I made this meal.

    Tuesday, October 04, 2011

    Sunday Lunch

    The Table Setting

    The Menu


    Gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free savoury pancake
    with butter bean hummus and wild rocket.

    • Savoury Pancakes: See this recipe.
    • Butter Bean Hummus: 1 tin of butter beans (reserve half of the liquid) zhoeshed in a mini food processor with 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, cumin and salt.
    Main Course

    Baby spinach salad with fried aubergines, grilled tomatoes, 
    chickpeas and goat's milk feta; with a side
    of carrot-nut stuffed green peppers.

    • Salad:
      • Wash baby spinach well and mix with goat's milk feta and a can of chickpeas.
      • Fry aubergine slices (1 cm rounds) in a little olive oil and salt. Cut up into bite size pieces before adding to the spinach.
      • Grill tomato slices (1 cm rounds) in the oven, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. While still warm, toss tomatoes into the salad (the goat's milk feta will melt deliciously).
      • Season to taste.
    • Side dish:
      • Cut peppers along their natural lines to create little pepper bowls.
      • Use a food processor to finely chop a handful of raw cashew nuts, some carrots, wild rocket, salt and olive oil to create the stuffing.

    Gluten-free, egg-free banana bread served with
    fruit salad and double thick cream.

    • Mom's Banana Bread:
      • 125ml butter
      • 125ml sugar
      • 4 large or 5 small bananas
      • 2 cups gluten-free cake flour (e.g. Nature's Choice)
      • 1tsp bicarb
      • pinch of salt
      • 125ml milk
    • Mix ingredients together and bake at 180 degrees Celsius for one hour in a loaf pan, or 30 minutes in a rectangular oven dish.

    Monday, September 26, 2011

    Let there be wraps

    What a great weekend!

    When we woke up on Saturday morning, the wind was blowing, which is fairly rare in Pretoria (the least windy city in South Africa). So we grabbed Sim's kite and walked to the nearby veld to fly it.

    I didn't take the camera with on Saturday, so here's a recent photo of Sim flying the kite on the Rondebosch Common in Cape Town (a city where the wind practically never dies!)
     A craving for tofu then hit me (I haven't eaten tofu in years), so we whipped up a batch of eggless, gluten-free pancakes to act as wraps, after which we parked our behinds on the couch while it rained to eat brunch and watch Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory.

    The combo of potato starch and chickpea flour is magic. 
    It clings together like slime to a pond wall (that's a good thing, albeit untasty imagery).

    All you do is modify the consistency with your liquid of choice.
    So pancakes = thinner batter.
    Flapjacks = thicker.

    And the blend of flours is up to you.
    A more neutral taste but chewier texture = more potato starch.
    A heavier taste but softer texture = more chickpea flour.

    Hint: a non-stick crêpe pan is muy importante.

    Pancakes (to use as wraps)
    makes 6

    • 3/4 cup potato starch
    • 6 tablespoons chickpea flour
    • water
    Whisk the batter to the desired consistency (adding water slowly).

    Lightly oil a non-stick crêpe pan, and ladel some batter into it 
    over medium-high heat. Watch closely to make sure it doesn't burn, 
    and flip it when you see air bubbles.

    Et voilà!

    • tofu
    • aubergine
    • wild rocket
    • tomato
    Slice tofu in 1cm thick slices.

    Fry in a tiny bit of olive oil (just enough to coat the pan) 
    till golden and slightly crispy. Add a sprinkling of your seasoning of choice 
    (in this case, just a little sea salt).

    Slice aubergines into 1cm thick slices.
    Fry in a tiny bit of olive oil (just enough to coat the pan).
    Add a sprinkling of your seasoning of choice 
    (in this case, just a little sea salt).

    Amass the fillings like a grand vegan army on a plate.


    Friday, September 23, 2011

    It's not muesli - it's chewsli!

    Chewsli - a breakfast gift from my husband to me. What a sweetie :-)
     One of the great tragedies of having coeliac disease is my inability to digest oats.

    There really is nothing quite like a bowl of steaming oats porridge to warm the cockles of your heart in Winter, soaking in Irish butter and lashings of sugar.
    And in Summer, bowls of chewy oat-based muesli with rice milk.
    But alas, I am not among those blessed few inflicted with this damnable allergy that can actually digest it.

    In my search to find a palatable gluten-free muesli, I have been led astray many a time by promises of "tastes just like regular muesli" (with an exorbitant price tag to match). I think the worst experience I ever had was with a well-known gluten-free brand whose product tasted exactly like a bowl full of parmesan rice flakes with raisins, soaked in rice milk. Disgusting!

    And so chewsli was born.

    Chewsli is a healthy homemade breakfast dish which is nothing like muesli in ingredients, but whose texture and taste is like chewy oats and milky muesli together.

    Simple and filling, it's good and good for you!

    1 serving

    • 6 raw walnut halves
    • 1 tsp chia seeds
    • 1 sweet apple
    • 1 ripe banana
    • a sprinkle of cinnamon
    1. Zhoesh it together in your food processor and eat!
    Now onto some Friday link love...
    • Check out a super cool recipe in motion for Kougelhopf cake over at Food to be good.
    • Lizzy at That skinny chick can bake has made fantastic Ghirardelli caramel brownies. I love how the brownies look like a giant slab of chocolate!
    • For cake you can eat for breakfast (!!), look no further than Giulietta's Apple and yoghurt cake. You can find the recipe at her blog Alterkitchen.
    • Ruth's vintage recipe for Parmesan and Gruyère scones (or biscuits) is perfect for Sunday afternoon tea. Find it over at Bread and Milk and Blackberries.
    And now for some weekend tunes, to set the mood...

    Have a great weekend!

      Monday, September 19, 2011

      Spring Picnic

      When the weather changes and the garden blooms, early weekend mornings call to me as being an excellent chance to breakfast outside on the grass...picnic style!

      The Menu:
      Decaf plunger coffee, apples, bananas, aged cheddar cheese and raw cashews.
      The Reading Material:
      Popular Mechanics for him, and Country Homes and Interiors for her.

       Check out the cool heart my bu welded for me...
      I'm married to a a really talented fella!

       The bird feeders are a popular buffet style stop-in for a variety of bird species.

       The ranunculus bulbs I planted in Winter 2010 for Spring 2010 
      are only blooming in Spring 2011. Go figure. 
      I guess it's a lesson that things happen in their own time.

       The azalea is going loco with colour! It's super.

       The jasmine is planted close to our bedroom window.
      It's such a treat when the fragrant blooms waft their scent
      into the room in the early evening!

      The benefit of the bougainvillea next door is shared over a dividing wall.
      We get all the benefit without the pruning duties of this thorny delight.

      The calamondin orange tree is doing it's thing.
      Sour little oranges, but a great citrus smell!

      In honour of all the Spring blooms blossoming up a storm,
      I got crafty and made this flowery brooch.

      Happy Spring Southern Hemisphereans!

      Friday, September 16, 2011

      You make your own luck

      Best scene from LOST...

      Best song from Three Dog Night...SHAMBALA...

      Have a great weekend!

      Thursday, September 15, 2011

      Monday, September 05, 2011

      Bloggy Birthdays and Paper Gifts

      UPDATE: 7 Sep - Giveaway mentioned below is now live! See here.

      As of yesterday, Sunday the fourth of September, two years have passed since the inception of this blog.

      I was watching Julie and Julia for the x-th time the other day (I think Meryl Streep's performance is so striking in that movie...I mean, talk about channelling someone from beyond the grave). Simeon walked into the room at the part of the movie where Julie has just listened to a gazillion messages about people wanting to turn her blog into a book, when he remarked: "Isn't that the dream of every food blogger?"

      What do you think?
      If you're a blogger, why do YOU do what you do?

      The lovely Rebecca over at [oomph.], who is also celebrating her blogaversary this month, is running a giveaway later this week. There are a couple of heartfelt stuff items to be won, so head on over to check out the sponsored goods line-up and enter the draw.

      I was the lucky recipient of a very cool stationery hamper which I won in a giveaway from Becky the snail mailer from Leaving a Paper Trail. Check out the ooh-la-la black and white Paris greetings cards.

      The Trekkie in me was absolutely delighted to receive Spock dog cards. Thanks Becky!

      I received a surprise present from Lou of Lou La La. She makes pretty and super useful fridge-magnet-peg-holders which she sells in her Etsy shop, and she sent me some (along with a delightful letter and postcard). Thank you Lou!

      This cool paper crafting book and calligraphy how-to box came from my Mom and Dad, who have always encouraged my creative side. Thanks Parents!

      Remember the gigantic pile of dishes I was talking about in this post?
      Well, it got tackled on Friday evening...half by me and half by my hubby.
      During his time at the sink, he turned to me and said: "This is the last load of gigantic dishes we'll be washing like this."
      Et voila, the very next day, we became the proud owners of a dishwasher....YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY! Thanks Schmee :-)

      So, in summary, a GREAT BIG THANK YOU:
      to Sim, my Parents, Becky and Lou for my gifts
      to my readers for reading!

      As Julia said: Bon Appetit!

      Friday, September 02, 2011

      The dishes that go along with the food

      From my couch in the lounge, I can see a looming mountain of dishes on the counter next to the sink just waiting to be washed.

      I'm in avoidance.

      I was reading a post on one pot cooking this morning, and made a comment on the benefits to cleaning-up this allowed for. Which got me to thinking about dishes.

      Perhaps it 's the universe sending me a message, but the very next blog link I clicked on was about washing dishes (avoidance, get thee hence...)

      My initial comment on the post turned into a mini essay of memories related to dishes - you know, those things that go along with all this delicious cooking food bloggers do (always two sides to a coin, right...)

      In my past, as a chef-in-training, the nights I got stuck washing the post-dinner-rush restaurant pots/pans/cooking utensils used to drive me nuts. That was until one evening when I realised that after the insanity of the dinner frenzy, washing the dishes was actually quite zen. My mind could wander and I could think about the events of the evening, or my plans for the next day. And slowly (very, very slowly), I began to get something out of the experience...not enjoyment (I wouldn't go as far as that), but definitely a mindfulness for the task at hand.

      Not owning a dishwasher at home, I would sometimes grumble at having to do the dishes in addition to having cooked the meal, until I realised that my grumbling destroyed the spirit of the event...a meal shared and enjoyed with people I love. So I changed my attitude to see the dishes as a way to pay homage to the blessings of: having the funds to buy food and share it, the good times and laughter, the warmth infused into our home.

      I believe I have my Mom to thank for this perspective on life. As a teenager, when I walked into the kitchen and saw a ton of dishes on every surface after a day of meals for people, I would always sigh loudly, and she would always remind me: "They tell a good story!"

      Please do yourselves a favour and go and read Pam's beautiful post over at Sticks Forks Fingers entitled:
      Cleaning Up: My Postprandial Grace.
      It's a very special piece of writing.

      Have a great Friday and a brilliant weekend everyone.

      Kitchen sink, here I come...

      Monday, August 29, 2011

      Apple Flapjacks

      With the last smatterings of the Winter chill starting to abate, I've been craving the comforting taste of cinnamon-sugar before Summer arrives along with all it's lightness.

      I whipped these flapjacks up on three successive days.
      On the first two, I just tossed ingredients in a bowl till the texture seemed right. But on the afternoon of the third batch, I realised that this recipe was worth taking note of, and so put measurements to my kitchen mayhem.

      Bon appetit!

      Apple Flapjacks Recipe

      Gluten-Free, Corn-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free

      Makes 10 Medium-Small Flapjacks

      • 1 cup (250ml) chana/chickpea/garbanzo bean flour
      • 1 golden delicious apple
      • 3 Tbsp (45ml) sugar (+ extra for sprinkling)
      • 1 tsp (5ml) cinnamon (+ extra for sprinkling)
      • 50ml water
      • approx. 1 tsp (5ml) vegetable oil (for frying)
      1. Zhoesh apple + sugar + cinnamon + 25ml water in a food processor till mushy.
      2. Stir flour + 25ml water together, then stir in apple mixture.
      3. Lightly oil a non-stick crepe pan.
      4. Fry batter by the dessert spoon over a medium-low heat. Flip when bubbling.
      5. Serve sprinkled with cinnamon-sugar.
      Flip when lightly bubbling on medium-low heat
      Serve sprinkled with cinnamon-sugar

      Sunday, August 28, 2011

      Scenes from a Small Kitchen: Sunday

      Swirly Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake

      Saturday, August 27, 2011

      Scenes from a Small Kitchen: Saturday

      Wispy clouds from our kitchen window
      Anti-scarecrow friendly fountain person in the courtyard outside our kitchen