Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Markets, mist and mountains and of course some baking

These last few months had been hectic and the reason again was the Christmas market that I organized with the help of a few wonderful friends and family membersYou can see some pictures here on the ever amazing Lauren's blog.

I love the creative process of putting it all together, meeting all the amazing crafters and purveyors and seeing all the happy faces of customers.  But it does take its toll on family life and normal day to day living.  

So now, life is back to normal and the phone is not constantly glued to my ear as it had been for who knows how long.  I can think and breath and be a mom and wife and accountant again.  And of course the time spent in the kitchen increases too. We get to sneak away on weekends to the mountains too and have spend a lovely, misty afternoon in one of our favourite spots looking for flowers this past weekend.

Enough with the excuses and babbling and back to the real reason for my reappearance around the blogosphere - apricots and financiers.  I don't get cravings for anything sweet very often, but maybe because of the energy draining activities of the last while or maybe because of the beautiful rays of sunshine that broke through the clouds of the last few days, today I craved something sweet.  And something with apricots, just because I happen to have had a punnet of the sweetest apricots right there on the counter.  And these fit the bill exactly.  They are not sweet, but not sour either and the contrast of crumbly almonds and feather light egg white batter with the sour-sweet fruitiness of the apricots are just divine.  

None left, not one.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A promise kept - Almond and strawberry roulade

You know the first time you make something, that the recipe will become a staple, one you'll make over and over again.  This roulade is one of those.  It is so simple, and yet so delicious.  The sort of thing you whip up in no time at all, but then it surprises you by being so yummy. 

And everytime I make this, everybody wants the recipe. The surprising thing is that I then realize how few of my staple recipes are actually on this blog.  Probably the reason being, that they are so second nature, so easy to fall back on to, that you forget to take pictures, forget to write them down.

Well, no more.  I have promised this recipe to all and sundry and here it is.

Monday, March 19, 2012

A french tea in a lemon orchard

The husband of a very good friend phoned me a few weeks ago and asked if I could help him to organize a surprise party for his wife.  Of course, how could I resist?  And he emailed me a photo of a table in an orchard with little bunting flags whisping in the wind.  Not everyday you receive a brief from a husband....

And so the planning started.  The logistics were a bit daunting, as it meant EVERYTHING had to be transported there and if something was left behind, we'll have had to manage without.  I packed the car to the limit and stacked boxes of cakes and sweets on top op plates and straws.

But wow, what a morning!  It rained the night before, but when I peeked outside early on saturday, the cloads were gone and in their place were the bluest sky and the lightest mist just touching the mountains.  The sort of morning you wish you could touch and keep in a special place for later.  The orchard was the perfect setting for us friends to mingle.  The props felt as if they were meant to be there and we lingered as long as the fierce Lowveld sun allowed us to.

Happy birthday Marique!!  I loved being part of a special day for such a wonderful person.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A new year, orchid hunting and litchis

This past year past in a blink of an eye.  It was one of great excitement and looking back, I could never have anticipated everything that happened to me and the family.  But that is the joy of life is it not?  We can never control everything that happens to us and yet we always end up a little stronger, a little wiser and a little surprised at the journey that is life.

We are still on holiday for a few more precious days.  Nothing beats a December holiday - sunshine and warm days around the pool, eating fresh fruit and ice-cream!  Pure bliss!  And of course orchid hunting trips to beautiful places.  

Friends invited us to dinner and afterwards we waited for the Masoyi fireworks spectacular to ring in the New Year last night.  The villagers of this remote area close to Hazyview has a tradition of purchasing some fireworks every month of the year.  Our friends have a veranda overlooking the village and we had ourselves the best seats in the house to enjoy it.  It really is something special.

And today we followed a little tradition of our own and went for our New Year's day picnic looking for orchids.  Nothing beats a little picnic under the trees near a little stream, surrounded by beautiful flowers and butterflies.  

And of course we took lots of litchis.  

Our trees are just dripping litchis at the moment.  We collect them by the bags full and eat them in a shady spot in the garden.  We canned some too for the winter months when we crave a little taste of summer.  Canning is a family activity where we all come together to peel, cut and chat.  It reminds me of growing up and helping my mom and grandmothers with the jam or preserves.  And now my children help too.

I made a little salad with litchis too.  Very simple, with butter beans, litchis and a dressing of mint, chilly, fish sauce, lime and sugar.  Delicious.

Best wishes for 2012!  Here's to the journey that is life and all the surprises installed for us around the corner.