04 Feb 2011
in Slightly Insane Tags: Cake, Husband, Turning 40
It’s true. You did. And here is why…
You didn’t faint with amazement at the sight of my new haircut.
I am looking at you shop assistant with whom I have casual greeting acquaintance and with whom I exchange pleasantries. I look amazing. You should have said so. Next week I buy my bagel from someone else.
I did a whole 25 minutes on the step machine this morning, someone should have taken one look at me and gone, “I wish I was her.” Nobody did. That is why I am upset.
Elle, Marie Claire, Cosmo – not one editor strolled past me in my hurly burly urban life and asked me to be on the cover of their magazine because (and I quote), “You look fantastic for your age and no, it doesn’t matter that you don’t wear make-up.”
An agent hasn’t read my blog and offered me a book deal.
I discovered a new facial hair. One lonely bugger of a follicle sprouting quietly From A Mole. Like a bloody witch. Husband, yes, you, Husband, why didn’t you tell me? No sex for a month. You upset me with your failure to ensure that I don’t look like someone about hijack a broom.
Most of you are thinner than me. I understand that you don’t understand the art of eating cake but it isn’t that hard. Thin people let my cuddly self down. If we all ate cake then there would be no size zero to compare us to. It upsets me that none of you are noble enough to take responsibility for yourselves.
That is all.
27 Jan 2011
in Bedraggled Mum, Slightly Insane, The Blob Tags: Cake, Fat, Husband
I am, quite frankly, crap at dieting. I can’t walk past a bakery display without wanting to bury my head in the pecan tarts and go, “Whooobbble whoobble whooobbble“. Seriously.
I am also starting the very first chapter of CMA – Chocolate Mothers Anonymous. To be a member of this club you need to suffer the following symptoms.
- You eat really well during the day. In fact, you approach 6pm with a level of smugness that can only be seen on yoga instruction videos. You are The Master of Your Cravings.
- You collect your kids, you make dinner, you do a rudimentary tidy/dish wash/polish, you listen to The Husband’s day (your husband, not mine), you place your offpsring in bed, you sit down on the sofa and your entire body goes, “OOOFFF”.
- You sit on the sofa/chair/bed for approximately fifteen minutes. Then it starts….
- After twenty five minutes the desire for chocolate has reached the same level as a nagging itch in a place you just can’t reach.
- You prowl the kitchen. Nothing. Your smug shop during your smug day saw no fattening foods enter the trolley. Your house has fruit, nuts, vegetables and healthy snacks.
- You don’t want these but you manage a half-hearted nibble of a piece of fruit. The itch intensifies.
- An hour later you’re back on the sofa with a packet of chocolates, sweets, fudge which you bought from the nearest open shop.
- You may or may not share this packet with your husband.
- You will go out as late as 10pm to satisfy this urge.
So far there doesn’t appear to be a cure for this, ahem, disease but I’ve found that talking about it with other afflicted humans helps a great deal.
We have three members and have achieved nothing more than a level of competitiveness over who went to the shop the latest. 10:45pm is the winner. The winner chooses to remain anonymous.
21 Sep 2010
in Saffa Tags: Cake, Koeksisters, Saffa, South Africa
This IS a blog about a Souf Efrican in England so it’s about time I actually did something that was native. I thought that I would kick things off with my favourite South African food of all time – the koeksister.
This utterly blissful cake/sweet treat is quite a demanding thing to make, but if you do it right you will think you’ve died and gone to heaven. I’ve put a great recipe below for those of you who are adventurous in the kitchen. Those of you who prefer to just get them made for you can order them using the links below.
So what IS a koeksister exactly? To describe it I would say that it is a combination of a doughnut and those cookies that Silky used to make in Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree series – the ones that you put in your mouth and then exploded so warm honey ran down the back of your throat.
Koeksisters (or Koeksusters) come in two cultural flavours. The Afrikaaner Koeksister is the one I’ve described here, then there is the traditional Cape Malay Koeksuster that is slightly thicker and softer, rolled in coconut and a bit spicy. Personally, I prefer the Afrikaaner version but either will do!
The perfect koeksister has to be crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, and dripping with honey or syrup. A stodgy, thick, gooey koeksister just isn’t done right. There is an art to it and they can’t be whipped up in a day.
If any of you live near Brighton you’ll find a lady selling fantastic koeksisters at Brighton Pier. Or you can sidle into the South African food shop at Victoria Station in London.
If you like cakes then please, please do yourself the biggest favour in the world and try one of these. While not for everybody, they are a little slice of South African heaven…
For the syrup:
2 pieces fresh green ginger peeled and crushed
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
Pinch of salt
Grated rind and juice of ½ lemon
For the dough:
1/2 tsp salt
2 tablespoons baking powder
55g butter – chopped into fine pieces or grated
250-375ml milk or water
Make the syrup by sticking all the ingredients into a saucepan and heating until all that sugar has completely dissovled. Then let the mixture come to the boil for about a minute (cover), then remove the lid and keep it sizzling for another five mins. Don’t stir.
Once everything is syrupy and gooey stick it in the fridge overnight. OVERNIGHT. Ignore the two hours here and there from other recipes. This needs to be cold, cold, cold for the next stage.
Then sieve the dry ingredients together and rub in the butter with your fingertips. You can either grate the butter or cut it into very fine pieces before doing this. Beat the egg, add 250ml milk and mix it with the dry ingredients – gradually adding the liquid until a soft dough is formed.
Keep adding the milk if the dough is too thick, stiff or cracked. Knead the dough thoroughly until bubbly and soft and then leave it under a damp cloth for about an hour. Once this has settled nicely, roll out the dough to 1cm thick and then cut it into 1cm strips. Twist the strips together so they look like the picture, and pinch the ends together. Make each koeksister about 5-8cm long. Look, as long as they fit in your pan you can have fun with the sizes.
Now comes the fun bit! Keep all children AWAY!
Heat about 7-10cm of oil to 180-190 degrees centigrade. Test it by dropping in some bread – if it goes golden brown then the oil is ready. Fry the koeksisters for one to two minutes, or until they turn that yummy golden brown, on both sides. Lift them with a slotted spoon, pop them onto a paper towel for a second or two to absorb the excess oil, and then drop them into the cold, cold, syrup for about a minute.
One problem you face is keeping the syrup cold as you plunge all your hot koeksisters into it so either keep it in the fridge between fries, or put it inside a bowl/sink of ice.
Lift your koeksisters out of the syrup with a ladle wif holes in so the excess syrup drips back in, and then pop them onto a wire rack to cool down.
Enjoy with tea, after supper, for breakfast, with lunch, on the way to school, in front of the TV, and while exercising.
Saffas Wot Sell Them:
Disclaimer: I haven’t tried these koeksisters (just ordered some from Ouma’s Kitchen) so will keep you updated. Certainly Ouma’s Kitchen is the cheapest of those I’ve found and just the name inspires trust. Will HAVE to review her stuff!
The SANZA Shop
St. Marcus Fine South African Foods
03 Sep 2010
in Parenthood, Slightly Insane Tags: Cake, Child, Squidge
I desperately wanted to write about this yesterday. It was too funny. SoI am finally squeezing in a couple of minutes because this is one news story that I have to share.
In the Guardian this snappy headline, “The New Kind of Sex Party Sweeping the US” appeared. Obviously I had to read it. Obviously.
Apparently the new thing is to invite all your mates over for a party where you will then announce the sex of your baby.
Apparently this is starting to sweep the UK (not with a broom, mind, but like a bona fide phenomenon).
Really? I don’t see that happening. Just look at the conclusion to that article. He wants to ban costume parties and baby showers too. The British are not fans of dressing up or baby showers. Well, not the ones I know. I am aware that I don’t know a huge percentage of the British population, but all the ones I’ve met have looked nervous and faintly hunted when I’ve suggested a baby shower.
It’s very different in SA. A baby shower is, well, normal. I’m not sure if it happens for the second baby, but definitely the first. Anyway, I am wandering off the point.
So, I really do not see a “find out the sex of the baby” party taking off over here. I can already hear the conversation. “You invited me here to WHAT?”
My personal favourite is the story about getting a mate to make a cake with the icing in the gender appropriate colour (not so sure about a blue cake, but anyway) and everybody waiting in breathless anticipation for the first slice to ooze out and reveal all.
In the UK all I can picture is my trying to cut the cake while simultaneously sorting out the beer and trying to get everyone off the Xbox long enough to just look at the damn cake.
And what happens if your mate is a crappy cook and gets the colour wrong?
Although, as I said, this could just be my friends.
If I have another (and if I have my way, I will) I am SO going to hold this party just for the shock value. I wonder what design I’ll put on the invites?
17 Aug 2010
in Slightly Insane, The Blob Tags: Cake
I can swim it off tomorrow! Woo hoo!