Air Show

The Silver Falcons Aerobatic Team is the official display team of the South African Air Force, based at Air Force Base Langebaanweg on the South African West Coast. DSC_0058 (1)

Today they had a show not far from my house.
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They flew over my house!
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Animal Friend of the Week: Blue Crane

Raewyn of decocraftsdigicrafts   started her own weekly challenge. She wants to showcase the animal kingdom.  It runs from Tuesday New Zealand time and is weekly.  You can join in anytime  over the week. DSC_0021

The blue crane (Anthropoides paradiseus), also known as the Stanley crane and the paradise crane, is the national bird of South Africa. The species is listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN.

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Blue cranes are birds of the dry grassy uplands, usually the pastured grasses of hills, valleys, and plains with a few scattered trees. They prefer areas in the nesting season that have access to both upland and wetland areas, though they feed almost entirely in dry areas. They are altitudinal migrants, generally nesting in the lower grasslands of an elevation of around 1,300 to 2,000 m and moving down to lower altitudes for winter. Though historically found in areas of low human disturbance, the blue crane is currently thriving in the highly transformed agricultural areas of the Western Cape. DSC_0026This is the only portion of its range where the population is increasing, though they still face threats such as poisoning in the region

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Animal Friend of the Week: Steenbok

Raewyn of decocraftsdigicrafts  have decided to start up her own weekly challenge. SheI wants to showcase our animal kingdom.  It runs from Tuesday New Zealand time and is weekly.  You can join in anytime at all over the week.  You can post your furry friends (babies), wild animals, birds, insects and butterflies.  Even reptiles are welcome.

The steenbok (Raphicerus campestris) is a common small antelope of southern and eastern Africa.

It is sometimes known as the steinbuck or steinbokDSC_0234

Steenbok resemble small Oribi, standing 45–60 cm at the shoulder. Their coat is any shade from fawn to rufous . The underside, including chin and throat, is white, as is the ring around the eye. Ears are large with “finger-marks” on the inside. Males have straight, smooth, parallel horns 7–19 cm long. There is a black crescent-shape between the ears, a long black bridge to the glossy black nose, and a black circular scent-gland in front of the eye. The tail is not usually visible, being only 4–6 cm long.DSC_0235

This little fellow loves visiting my garden and to sample on my plants!

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Onion Salad

Christmas dinner is the primary meal traditionally eaten on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.  Christmas dinner around the world may differ and the traditions can reflect the culture of the respective country it is being celebrated in. Turkey is present in a fair number of these meals. We as a family are celebrating Christmas with cold meat and salads, which are more suitable for our hot summer days.
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Here is one of my mom’s “traditional” salads she  used to make for Christmas.
Onion Salad
1 kg small onions                1 cup (250 ml) brown sugar
1 cup brown vinegar          1 t mustard powder
1 egg, whisked
 Peel the onions, taking care to keep them whole.
  1. Boil the onions in salted water for 15 minutes or until just tender. Drain.IMG_8226
  2. For the sauce combine the  mustard powder, sugar and vinegar  over heat until the sugar is dissolved and then boil for 5 minutes.
  3. Let the mixture cool down add whisked egg into the cooled mixture.
  4. Slowly bring it to a low simmer over low heat while whisking.  Heat over low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens. IMG_8228Remove from the stove immediately, pour over the onions and leave to cool.IMG_20151228_100418

Making a Babette

When I finished my Granny square blanket last year I still had a lot of experimental squares of different sizes and colours and was not even sure what to do with it. I posted a photo on Facebook to ask for ideas and they suggested a Babette blanket.

Goodwood-20131108-00209I have never heard of a babette blanket!  I searched on the internet and found a lot of interesting facts and stories. They’re crocheted blankets based on granny squares in different sizes and colour combinations, which create a unique pattern and a very beautiful “mosaic effect”.

I love them because they remind me of Klimt paintings.

http://craftykitty.wordpress.com/2012/03/31/pattern-of-the-week-thinking-of-babette-blanket/

It was also inspired by the work of designers Kaffe Fassett and Liza Prior Lucy This blanket offers a journey in color for the crocheter. The modules are all based on the same motif pattern; they vary only in the number of rounds worked.

In the following blog http://gingerschatz.blogspot.com/2011/09/tutorial-crazy-patchwork-klimt-blankets.html

the last sentence was meant for me. “But … if you have a basket of scraps that look kind of nice together and you’re willing to experiment a bit, then read on!”

My babette does not have the the same motif blocks! I used all the blocks with all the different patterns to make up this blanket.

Back to the drawing board! I did not  have enough blocks! After I have drawn the pattern and calculated the number of blocks needed, I had   to crotchet even more blocks.

Diagrams to help with the  layout of the blanket
Diagrams to help with the
layout of the blanket
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Every day the pile of blocks grew bigger!

It was a big relief when I eventually finished the last block.

Putting it together was quite a job!

babette1 Now that it is finished, I am very happy with the end product!

My Babette!

My Babette
My Babette

Home-Style Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni with chunks of Cheddar cheese is baked until bubbling for a soothing and satisfying supper.

200 g  uncooked elbow macaroni
50 g butter or margarine
45 ml plain flour
500 ml milk

225 g  softened cream cheese

2 ml salt

2 ml pepper

10 ml country -sty le Dijon mustard

225 g  cubed 1 cm Cheddar cheese

125 g  fresh breadcrumbs

30 g   butter or margarine, melted

30 ml chopped fresh parsley

Heat oven to 200°C . Cook macaroni according to directions; drain.  Meanwhile, in a saucepan melt 50 g butter; stir in flour. Cook over med. heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth and bubbly (l min.). Stir in milk, cream cheese, salt, pepper and mustard. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened (3 to 4 min.). Stir in macaroni and cheese. Pour into casserole dish.

In small bowl stir together remaining ingredients; sprinkle over macaroni and cheese.
Bake for 15 to 20 min. or until golden brown and heated through.

Microwave Directions:

Cook macaroni according to  directions; drain. Meanwhile, in casserole dish melt 50 g butter on HIGH (50 to 60 sec.). Stir in flour.

(I used a packet of creamy mushroom soup to make the sauce and did not use salt or pepper .)

Microwave on HIGH until bubbly ( about 1 min.). Stir in milk, cream cheese, salt, pepper and mustard. Microwave on HIGH, stirring after half the time, until thickened (4 to 5 min.). Stir in macaroni and cheese. ( I added  pieces of bacon too!)Macen cheese

In small bowl stir together remaining ingredients; sprinkle over macaroni and cheese.

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Microwave on HIGH until heated through (8 to 10 min.).

Home-style macaroni and cheese
Home-style macaroni and cheese

Not so traditional Christmas Cake

As I said in a previous post I personally prefer a dark richer Fruitcake. I have searched to find one that I liked and here is my rendition of a not so traditional Dark fruit cake.

Dark Christmas Cake

500 g mixed dried fruits

250 g dates, cut up

125 g butter

200 ml soft brown sugar

250 ml strong coffee

200 g cherries

Put all the ingredients in a large pan set over a medium heat. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 3 mins. ( I boiled mine in the microwave for 8 min on high.)

IMG_0999Add 5 ml Bicarb of soda and 100 g chopped pecan nuts into the hot mixture and stir well. Leave to cool for  about 30 mins.  IMG_1005Pre-heat the oven to 130 C.                                            
Then add :
500 ml plain flour
5 ml baking powder
2 ml mixed nutmeg
2 ml ground cinnamon
2 ml ground cloves
2 ml salt
2 large beaten eggs                                                          
Add the remaining ingredients to the fruit mixture and stir well, making sure there are no pockets of flour.  and tip it into  prepared tins, level the top with a spatula and bake in the centre of the oven for about 1 hour 15 minutes.IMG_1006Remove the cake from the oven, poke holes in it with a skewer and spoon over 15 ml of your chosen alcohol. Leave the cake to cool completely in the tin.IMG_1015To store, peel off the baking parchment, then wrap well in cling film or tin foil.chritmas 

Summery Chicken Salad

I made this easy chicken salad which is perfect for  a hot summers night!

Fry Onion, garlic, green peppers and mushrooms in a bit of olive oil and butter.

Add about 500g of chicken pieces  and balsamic vinegar , herbs, salt and pepper to taste. ( Can use Balsamic Crema too)

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Cool the chicken, make a salad of your own choice, adding whatever you have available. I  put some green peas  (frozen), pineapple chunks , carrots and feta in, too.IMG_0949

Serve with honey mustard  salad dressing and fresh bread!

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Roasted Beetroot and Feta Salad

Beetroot

The beetroot, also known in North America as the table beet, garden beet, red or golden beet, or informally simply as the beet, refers to any of the cultivated varieties of beet grown for their edible taproots.Wikipedia

Ingredients

600 gr  beetroot  peeled and trimmed

3-4 tbsp olive oil

6-7 tbsp balsamic vinegarIMG_0913

 Preheat oven to 180°C.

Method

  1. Halve or quarter the beetroot, depending on the size. Place on a baking tray.
  2. Add the balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Roast for 1 hour or until tender. (Here I have used a blueberry infused balsamic vinegar)
  3. Transfer to a serving bowl to cool, then cover and chill.
  4. Combine with rocket , spring onions, gherkins  and  feta.
  5. Serve with a vinaigrette of your choice. I have used the pan sauce (olive oil and balsamic and mixed it with a pomegranate reduction.IMG_0915
  6. I served it with a pork chops and a  Pineapple and Savoy cabbage salad   my sister made.IMG_0918

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