Thursday, May 26, 2011

BOOK GIVEAWAY: Bed Rest by Sarah Bilston

The lead character, Quinn, is a successful young English lawyer, married and living in New York. Her life so far has been relatively painless, until she gets knocked-up and subsequently has to spend the last three months of her pregnancy lying in bed. As her career and personal life changes, she begins re-examining her whole life - her marriage, relationships with family and friends, and her job.

It's a fun and neurotic little read, perfect for a Summer vacation for those in warm climes, or a night on the couch under a blankie for those of us in the grips of Winter.

To stand a chance of winning, leave a comment below (even if it's just: "Pick me!"). Please make sure I have a way of contacting you (either via your profile or an e-mail address).

The winner will be drawn by a random comment picker thing. Entries close on Tuesday, 31 May 2011.

I will pay for postage regardless of where in the world you are, so don't hesitate to comment away! The winner will be announced on Wednesday, 1 June 2011. :-)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Happy Towel Day Everybody!

I asked him if he wanted a bigger towel
He said nah
He's keeping it chic and understated.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Some Curry for Comfort

The world is full of good curry. A marvelous idea if I ever saw one, perfectly welcoming to meat eaters and vegetarians alike. Most of the time, welcoming as well to those avoiding gluten, as cream is a fab thickener.

Cooking some version of curry at home is a labour of love (of sorts), where time and patience (and sometimes multiple pots) is necessary for a good end product.

Well, on a day with some time and some inclination, this recipe is what emerged. And it made me happy. For dishes that bring nourishment and contentment are always worth the effort.

What is your favourite comforting dish?

Ingredients for the curry:
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 4 small onions
  • 3 x-large potatoes
  • 4 medium carrots
  • 3 cups frozen peas
  • 1 fresh chilli (medium-hot)
  • 1 sprig each of thyme, lemon thyme, rosemary, mint
  • 2 tsp of curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp each of cumin and cinnamon
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • olive oil for frying
  • salt
  • 2 tsp coconut oil (optional)
  • fresh chives (optional)
Method for brown rice:
  • 3 cups of water added to the cup of rice with 1 teaspoon of salt, set on medium heat to simmer for 40 minutes usually does the trick!
Method for curry (use one big, flat-bottomed pot that is suitable for all the steps below = less washing up):
  1. Chop the small onions finely, and fry in 1 tablespoon of olive oil till soft and translucent. Remove from the pot, and set aside in a bowl for the moment.
  2. Chop the potatoes and carrots into even dice. Add 2 tsp of salt to the pot and enough water to cover the ingredients. Boil till soft (this will depend on how big the chunks of potato and carrot are...anywhere from 15 to 30 mins).
  3. Drain about a half of the liquid away, and then put the pot back on the stove top. Add to the potatoes the cooked onions, 3 cups of frozen peas, a chopped chilli, the curry powder, herbs, cardamom pods, cumin and cinnamon. Boil until the peas are done (about 5 - 7 minutes).
  4. Remove from the heat and season to taste with salt. 
  5. Stir through 2 tsp of coconut oil and sprinkle with freshly cut chives.
  6. Serve with brown rice. 
  7. Good eating! :-)
P.S. The inspiration for my curry recipe and post title came from drooling over this site, written by the truly inspired curry maker, Ramona.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Happiness in a frosty bowl

Have you ever noticed how ice-cream makes people happy?

The only time I have ever seen ice-cream make people sad is if it is:
1) bad ice-cream;
2) something they are allergic to.

It's a pity you can't solve the world's problems with ice-cream!

But I can solve yours in making a super simple version of it because for this recipe you do not need:
1) an ice-cream maker;
2) eggs;
3) more than two ingredients.

And thanks to blessed, anti-ice-crystal forming cream; there's also zero need for mixing once this hits the inside of your freezer.

Is there anything NOT easy about this recipe, you ask?
Well, have to try to get yourself to stop eating it!

  • 1 tin (360g) NestlĂ© Caramel Treat (or Dulce de Leche)
  • 500ml Whipping Cream
  1. Whisk the cream to stiff peak stage.
  2. Fold in the caramel/dulce de leche.
  3. Ladel into small ramekins.
  4. Freeze for a few hours.
  5. Take out of the freezer about 10 - 15 minutes before you serve it.
  6. This recipe makes the equivalent of 8 scoops of ice-cream (8 small ramekins full).
  7. You can also freeze it in an ice-cream tub, and scoop it liberally.
  8. Serve with chocolate chips or something else yummy sprinkled on top.
P.S. If you're in the mood for something a little glitzier in the ice-cream department, check out my Apricot Semifreddo post.
    The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee by Sarah Silverman (Kindle Edition)

    I think I missed the point of this book.
    Wait...was there a point to this book?
    Where did the courage and redemption come into it?
    Sure, there was a lot of pee (that part of the title was accurate).
    Also, a lot of sex obsession, balls and bemoaning.
    I don't think I liked this book.
    But I didn't stop reading it till it was finished.

    *Meep* for the day:
    OMG, has anyone watched "Moonlight"? A vampire P.I. Seriously?!?!?

    Wednesday, May 11, 2011

    Impromptu Vegan Variety...Pull Up A Chair!

    I'm a big fan of natural ingredients tasting like themselves. No cream sauce slathered limp broccoli or butterey, sugary, wilted and lifeless carrots for me, thanks very much.

    This meal reflected my wish for vegetables to taste like better versions of their raw selves, and was heartily enjoyed by three other ardent meat eaters as well!

    The Day: A rainy Sunday afternoon

    The Place: The bu and my's cottage

    The Mission: Spontaneous lunch with my parental units

    The Protocol: Vegan cuisine

    The Ingredients: Whatever was on-hand in the pantry (butternuts, baby onions, potatoes, legumes, lettuce, tomato, avocado and herbs from the garden)

    The Table:

    The Meal:

    The Method:

    Herbed Butter Bean Hummus:
    • Ingredients: 2 tins of butter beans, 1 large carrot, 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary, virgin olive oil, cumin, salt.
    • Method: (1) Strip the leaves off the rosemary and toss them in a food processor. (2) Zhoesh the rosemary, a pinch of salt, 1 Tbsp of olive oil and the carrot until fine. (3) Drain the butter beans, reserving some of the liquid. Add both to the food processor, with approximately 3 Tbsp olive oil, a pinch of cumin and salt. Zhoesh till required consistency is reached (you might want to add a little water or more olive oil if you'd like a smoother texture). (4) Season to taste with cumin and salt.
    • Serve: Dollop the bean hummus into the cavity of the roasted butternut.
    Roasted Baby Onions:
    • Ingredients: 1kg of baby onions (deskinned and cut in half), sunflower oil, fresh thyme, fresh chives, salt, pepper.
    • Method: (1) Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees Celsius. (2) Cover a roasting pan in tin foil (to make it SO much easier). (3) Add the onions, drizzling them with sunflower oil and sprinkling them with thyme leaves, salt and pepper. (4) Bake uncovered in the oven for approximately 40 minutes to an hour (till they're crispy on the outside, soft on the inside with a little bit of al-dente bite to them). 
    • Serve: Sprinkle with freshly cut chives.
    Roasted Butternut:
    • Ingredients: 2 medium butternuts (one-half per person), coconut oil, salt.
    • Method: (1) Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees Celsius. (2) Cut each butternut in half and de-seed them. (3) Cover a roasting pan in tin foil. (4) Lay the butternuts next to eachother in the pan. Rub the flesh with coconut oil and sprinkle with salt. (5) Bake uncovered in the oven for approximately an hour on the bottom rack, or until the flesh is soft and yielding when pressed with a fork.
    • Serve: Fill each cavity with butter bean hummus.
     Roast Potatoes:
    • Ingredients: 4 large roasting potatoes, coconut oil, salt.
    • Method: (1) Scrub the potatoes. (2) Cut each potato into quarters. (3) Cover a roasting pan with tin foil, and rub the bottom with coconut oil, as well as a sprinkle of salt (this help to crisp the skins). (4) Lay the potato quarters in the pan skin side down, then rub the flesh on the upper sides with coconut oil before sprinkling liberally with salt. (5) Bake on the top rack of the oven for 40 - 50 minutes, until the flesh inside is tender but the outside is crispy.
    Side Salad:
    • Ingredients: 1 medium head of lettuce (one-quarter per person), 2 medium tomatoes (one-half per person), 2 avocados (one-half per person), fresh basil (torn, not chopped), olive oil, salt.
    • Method: Self-explanatory, right?
    The Greeting: Born-up-a-tree! ;-)

    Monday, May 09, 2011

    Smiling Potatoes & GF Blog Link Love

    It's Monday. A brand new week just waiting to be filled with good things:
    food, love, laughter and life lived to the fullest.

    If anyone has been looking for Mr Potato Head, apparently he was hiding in our vegetable box sporting this silly smile.
    He must have tried his best to endear himself to us with those funny googley eyes. But unfortunately for him, he met his demise in a roasting pan, smeared in coconut oil and sprinkled with salt. And boy, did he taste good!

    If you're in need of something to cure a bad case of the Mondays, I urge you to rush your internet browser to Bernice's website, where she has created the most beautiful Lemon Zest Baked Cheese Cake, as well as Cherry and Coconut Truffles. If you, like me, are addicted to will not be sorry.

    Find these gorgeous gluten-free recipes at:

    Since it is Monday, and there's a whole five days before weekend starts again, you might need extra cheering up. That's where Nisrine's website comes in so handy, for she has also created the most divine gluten-free offering; namely chocolate pudding pie, with a very unique base (no pastry-making skills required on this one!)

    Find this delicious gluten-free recipe at:

    See you on Wednesday, when I'll share with you the valiant vegan comrades-in-arms that joined Mr Potato Head in his ever-so-tasty after-life. ;-)

    Friday, May 06, 2011

    6 May is IND Day!

    Happy International No Diet Day!
    On another diet? Not too charmed with your body image?

    Today's the day to cut yourself some emotional slack,
    look in the mirror and say:
    "Hey, you there, I love you! You're awesome!
    Thank you for carrying me around this planet."

    If you're losing weight for health reasons, all power to you.

    If you're on a diet because someone said you're not good enough,
    say: "Thou impertinent knotty-pated bugbear!"
    and slap them across the face with a glove
    (of course, then you might have to duel with them).

    Try to be kinder to yourself, and I'm pretty sure, 
    your self will try it's best to be kinder to you!

    Some links for you to check out if you're interested:

    Thursday, May 05, 2011

    Viva el Cinco de Mayo!

    Happy fifth of May!

    From Estudio Martita
     If you're in Mexico (probably the state of Puebla mostly), 
    or the United States (probably California mostly),
    you'll hopefully be celebrating the day in style with
    a fiesta!

    If you have no idea what I'm talking about,
    then it's no excuse not to be happy about
    Thursday the 5th of May 2011
    (probably unless you're French mostly)
    regardless of it's lack of

    So now I'm going to rewatch this...

    ...And wish I was eating this...
    Photo and recipe by Meagan Micozzi
     ...While I'm actually eating this...
    Photo from Delicious Magazine

    ...Because it's better for your pooper. ;-)

    Tuesday, May 03, 2011

    Nonna's Rustic Apple Cake

    Family history can be a strange and interesting thing.
    Through circumstance, I ended up with two sets of great grandparents on my Dad's side of the family. 
    One set was decidedly English, immigrants to South Africa, who were very prim and proper.
    Another set was decidedly Italian, with all the "Ciao, Bella!" and cheek pinching that came along with their infrequent visits from the homeland.

    Today's recipe comes courtesy of my late Nonna, who never failed to ply me with exotic dark chocolate mignonettes wrapped in brown paper as a child, thus igniting a lifelong love for all foods deep, dark and chocolatey!

    The original recipe (presented below) is easily made hypo-allergenic:
    • Gluten-free: Replace the all-purpose flour with rice flour, or a non-bitter gluten-free flour mix. Also make sure the baking powder you use is gluten-free, or just replace it with 2.5ml of bicarbonate of soda (tested).
    • Egg-free: Replace the 3 eggs with 1 extra-large (or 1.5 medium-large) bananas, mashed (tested).
    • Casein-free: Replace the 100g butter with 100g of solidified coconut oil (untested).
    • 500 grams (1 lb.) sweet apples, chopped into small blocks and peeled
    • 200 grams (7 oz.) flour
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 tsp (5 ml) baking powder
    • 100g (3.5 oz.) butter (room temp.)
    • 100g (3.5 oz.) brown sugar
    • 2 tsp (10 ml) lemon juice
    • 1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
    1. Peel (optional) and chop the apples. Toss them in the lemon juice.
    2. In a seperate bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
    3. Next, beat in the eggs.
    4. Add the flour, baking powder and cinnamon (entirely optional), and mix through.
    5. Stir through the apples.
    6. Put the mixture into a greased ceramic baking dish, and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees Celsius (356 Fahrenheit) for approximately 30 minutes, or until slightly golden and a cake skewer comes out clean (which is more difficult to tell if you're using mashed bananas rather than eggs, as the cake tends to remain slightly gooey with this variation).
    7. Recommendation: Serve warm with vanilla ice-cream, or whipped cream with a dash of sugar and vanilla in. It's also lovely served with evaporated milk.
    Grazie mille, Nonna! Ci manchi moltissimo!