Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas Blessings to you all.

...and make it last the whole year through.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Auntie Marlene's Christmas Bundt Cake

This is a recipe my Auntie Marlene gave me when we lived in Canada.  She always makes at least two cakes for herself and Uncle M (i.e. for entertaining) and more to give as gifts.  Ever since, it has been our favourite too - my husband loves it (shhh! and so do I) so I've ended up making more than one batch myself.  For those of you who do not like the traditional rich Christmas fruit cake or if you'd like to try something different this year, this is a sure winner.


Utensils to be used:       10"Bundt pan or tube pan. Two large bowls, one for the batter and one for the dry ingredients.
Time to prepare:               2 hours
Number of servings:       12
                    Measurements:                  1 cup is equal to 8 oz. or 250g
1 cup                   Butter
1 (200g) Pkt.      Cream cheese
1.5 cups              Granulated sugar
1 teaspoons       Vanilla essence
2 teaspoons        Grated lemon rind
4                            Eggs
1.75 cups             Self-raising flour
1.5 teaspoons      Baking powder
0.5 cup                  Seedless raisins
0.5 cup                  Golden raisins
0.5 cup                   Mixed candied fruit or peel
0.5 cup                   Maraschino cherries, drained /chopped candied cherries  
0.5 cup                   Chopped nuts (pref. walnuts)
0.5 cup                    All purpose flour to toss fruit in
1 tub or less            Betty Crocker icing to cover (Optional)
OR  some icing sugar to dust cake.

With electric mixer cream butter and cream cheese.  Add sugar and cream well.  Beat in vanilla and lemon rind. 
Add eggs one at a time beating well after each one.
Sift flour with baking powder and blend in.
In a separate bowl combine fruit and nuts and toss with 1/2 cup flour.  Stir these dry ingredients into batter.
Pour into greased and floured 10" bundt pan or tube pan.
Bake in 300F oven (Gas mark 2) for 70 to 80 minutes or until toothpick in centre comes out clean. 
Cool in pan for about 20 mins.  Turn out on a wire rack to cool completely.
Dust the cake with icing sugar or cover with Betty Crocker icing.


The picture is one I took of an actual cake we made.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Advent and the Advent wreath

Today we celebrate the beginning of Advent and many have already brought out their Advent Wreath.  Here is a site I have shared with you before that explains Advent and shares some lovely prayers to be said daily throughout this time of preparation for Christ's birth ... 

Visit it for interesting and useful information or better still print out the page to have the short but meaningful prayers ready to be read before your evening meal.

Blessings to all.

Picture from shared files

Lists, lists and more lists...

I am always writing lists, crossing out items and writing out some more.  Are you like me, do you like making lists?  I find it helps me focus on what I have to do. It also helps me be more productive and creative!

I make shopping lists and To Do lists and lately, of course, with Christmas just around the corner, I am adding my Christmas Card List, Baking Ingredients Shopping List, Christmas Dinner shopping List, Special To Do List (you know like, when to put up the tree, write out cards, call friends, etc.) and Christmas gift list.   Never an end it seems, but as I cross each item I do or buy I feel that at least I am getting there...

Thinking about it, I really have to add one more list...that is thinking about those less fortunate than ourselves, maybe making a hamper to add to the church drive for taking hampers to those in need, checking with an orphanage if they need gifts or food.  And why not keep doing this all through the year?  It doesn't take that much, especially that it is not only at this special time of year that there are families with special needs but every day throughout the year.

And if I find there is still that one more thing to do, well I'll start another list!

Pictures from shared files

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Chile con carne

We had Chile con Carne for dinner tonight.  It was so delicious!  Here is the recipe...

  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion or 2 medium
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 sweet red and one greenpepper
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/2 tsp mild chilli powder (or 1 level tsp if you like it spicier)
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 400g lean minced beef
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 240g can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp sugar or 1 cube dark chocolate
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée (optional)
  • 250g can red kidney beans
  • wraps and/or crusty bread
Prepare your vegetables.  Peel and chop the garlic.  De-seed and wash peppers, roughly chop into 5mm squares. Scrape and wash carrots and slice thinly.  Cut and chop onion into small squares of about 5mm. 

Put a medium pan on the hob over a medium heat. Add the oil and heat for about 1 minute.  Add garlic and stir for a minute or two, add onion and cook for about 5 minutes stirring frequently. Onions should be soft and slightly translucent. Add carrots and keep stirring for a few more minutes.  Finally add peppers and spices, giving it a good stir, cook for a further 5 minutes stirring occasionally.

Add the minced beef, turning the heat up a bit, and break the meat up with your spoon or spatula. Keep stirring and prodding for at least 5 minutes, until all the mince is in uniform, mince-sized lumps and there are no more pink bits. Make sure you keep the heat hot enough for the meat to fry and become brown, rather than just stew.

Crumble 1 beef stock cube into 300ml hot water. Pour this into the pan with the mince mixture. At this point add tomatoes and sugar (or cube of dark chocolate).  Here add the tomato puree if desired and give the sauce a good stir.

Simmer it gently for a while, then bring the whole thing to the boil. Give it a good stir, then turn down the heat until it is gently bubbling and leave it for 20 minutes. You should check on the pan occasionally to stir the contents and make sure the sauce doesn’t catch on the bottom of the pan or isn’t drying out. If it is, add a couple of tablespoons of water and make sure that the heat really is low enough. After simmering gently, the saucy mince mixture should look thick, moist and juicy. 

Drain and rinse the can of kidney beans in a sieve and then stir them into the pot. Bring to the boil again, and gently bubble without a lid for another 10 minutes, adding a little more water if it looks too dry. Taste a bit of the chilli and season. Now put a lid on the pan, turn off the heat and leave your chilli to stand for 10 minutes before serving. Leaving your chilli to stand is really important as it allows the flavours to mingle with the meat. 

When serving you can serve topped with shredded cheese, so yummy in a wrap.

Serve with crusty bread or in wraps and enjoy.

This recipe is an adaptation taken from 


Friday, November 21, 2014

Coconut Macaroons

Yesterday my daughter and I baked three and a half dozen coconut macaroons which came out so delicious...yes we made a couple extra to taste : )

We baked these to take to our Church Fair which is a fund raising occasion, kind of a Christmas Sale.  If you are in the vicinity the Centre is in Bwieraq Street, B'Kara. The Sale starts the 22nd November until the end of this month.

For those of you who'd like to try these we used Ms Ina Garten's recipe on the Food Network site...

Thanks Ina!

As an added note we used two medium egg whites since we did not have the extra large eggs.  Also to help you out with measuring, 14 ounces is equivalent to 400 grams. We used a tablespoon and teaspoon to shape into smaller shapes than the ones on the site. We baked the macaroons on Rice paper.

Do write in the comments section if you make these.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Here is another poem from my Blog, it is one of my favourites.  I had made it into a tag and I'd like to share it with you here. The picture of the birds is one I had taken myself.

If you'd like to read more of my poems visit this page...

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