Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Roast Vegetable Tart

This roast vegetable tart is healthy, tasty and so easy to make

Once again, I've made a delicious meal from a recipe in one of my favourite food magazines. I've posted about this before: a large food chain store publishes its own food magazine which contains ingredients and products sold on the shelves. Last week I served the above roast vegetable tart as light supper meal; it went down a treat.
Roast Vegetable Tart (PnP Fresh Living Magazine September 2009)

A fabulous light meal served with mashed potatoes and a crisp green salad.
(Serves 4)

1 roll puff pastry (defrosted)
1 extra large egg, beaten
1 cup ricotta cheese (I used fat-free cottage cheese)
1 bunch (200g) asparagus, washed and trimmed
1 packet (250g) cherry tomatoes, halved
½ packet back bacon, cut into strips (I omitted this; vegetarians were in the majority!)
Salt and ground black pepper
½ tub basil pesto
Rocket, for serving

Preheat oven to 200°C.
Trim edges of the pastry; this helps it to rise better
Use a butter knife to gently score a 2cm border onto pasty.
Take care not to cut all the way through.
Place the pastry on a greased baking tray
Lightly brush scored pastry border with egg
Roughly spread ricotta onto pastry, excluding border
Toss asparagus, tomatoes, bacon and seasoning into a bowl
Season and scatter on top of ricotta
Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, until cooked through and golden brown
Serve drizzled with pesto and top with rocket

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Precious Time Together

Frikkadels (meatballs) are one traditionally one of the foods for padkos
(read below)

During the past two weeks that we've been home in South Africa, we've had a wonderfully blessed time with our family. Last week we made a missions trip to Johannesburg which I'm sure Debbie will blog about. Normally when we undertake a road trip anywhere which is longer than an hour, I made food for the road (known as padkos) I've blogged about this before which you can read about here.

The family enjoying padkos and a necessary break on the way up to Johannesburg

Our younger son, Angus' six-month-old niece models his expected baby's new car seat
The littlest Hedges in her walking ring. Don't you just love the gorgeous legs?

The children above and below, enjoy the open spaces on our patio and in the garden

Tasting the powder before JoGran makes jelly for dessert

I've realised once more that the most important thing in the world is relationships. Making them, building them, nurturing them and prtecting them.

For more of other people's worlds, click here.

Monday, September 28, 2009

A True Friend

During the autumn of 2007, friend Ida and I attended a weekend photographic course in the Golden Gate area. This was the beginning of a very special friendship. Ida is my spinning instructor when I'm in South Africa; she's a fellow gardening enthusiast and we've spent many a morning wandering around our respective gardens sharing plants and ideas.
Ida is a lot younger than I am (about fourteen years). She was an excellent motivator while I was building up my fitness level. She knows exactly how to train to the maximum, taking your age and lifestyle into consideration, without causing injury or discomfort. We also share a common bond in our love for our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Ida is a wonderful young mother to her four, almost grown-up children and a perfect support to her husband who has been our family doctor for the past fifteen years.
Ida's an excellent photographer here in town. When I did reporting for the regional newspaper and had motivational talks at the school or our local garden club, Ida was always there for me, taking the photos.
Above all, Ida is the most loyal friend anyone can wish for. When she heard I was going to the Sudan to join my husband, she arrived at my home the night before with a gift; a skipping rope. How like Ida to know exactly what I needed and would use seeing I'd not be attending formal spinning classes in Khartoum. She also asked for my blog link. What a blessing it is to hear from someone "at home" on my comments.
Of course, by following my blog, she was one of the few people who knew my husband and I had come home earlier than originally intended. (You can read about this here) On the Monday evening after I had arrived home, Ida, once again, arrived at my home with a gift. She brought me fresh dates, with a spray of divine-smelling frangipani blossoms attached to the container. She also brought me a packet of Arborio rice. Once I've googled this new-to-me carbohydrate, I will use it in a recipe. Of course I will then blog about it!
"There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all." Proverbs 31:29
Ida is actually Afrikaans so I will end this post by applauding her in her own language.
Ida, jy is a spesiale persoon en ek waardeer jou vriendskap baie. Lief jou!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Enjoying the Afternoon Sun

Angie enjoys the afternoon sun on the patio

For more on pets around the world, click here.

Pastoral Scene

I came across this scene in a field just beyond our home. I stopped to watch if the foal would be allowed to suckle and of course, had my camera ready.
You can see by the foal's tail in the photo above, that he's managed to connect to the milk bar!
He was just beginning to enjoy his treat, when suddenly momma noticed me at the fence.
Notice her stance showing that she was starting to move to the side.
Just like a mother, she took up a protective stance, placing her young on the offside and guiding him away from "danger"
And there they go into the distance...

For more photos of scenes and pets around the world, click here and here.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Angel Wings

Travelling to Johannesburg this week, I managed a few photos of the early morning sun.
When our children were small, my husband used to tell them the rays pouring down were angel wings. And that is what they're still known as to our family today.
For more beautiful skies around the world, click here.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Special Times

Since being back in South Africa, I've not had much time to blog. However, we've had some special times together with our precious loved ones. Above is a photo of my two sons, a friend and our grandchildren setting up the trampoline on the lawn in the garden.
Amanda, (above) who is expecting our fourth grandchild, (second grandson) sits on the lawn with Debbie and John's littlest one. My husband can be seen in the background preparing a barbeque.

We're off, as a family, on a short trip up country (to Johannesburg) tomorrow. I'm not sure whether I'll have time to blog before then, but as soon as I return, I should be able to go online again.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Different Ride

Above is a glimpse of the pass we travelled yesterday on our bike ride into Lesotho. More about this interesting and invigorating ride later.

For scenes around the world, click here

Tigger goes to Hospital

Convalescent Cat

When we arrived home last week, Debbie, who has taken such good care of my home and pets, told me that, although Tigger's appetite was normal, he seemed to be losing condition. Together we examined him and realised he'd lost a bit of weight. Normally this is a sign that Tigger's teeth and gums were giving him trouble.
On Thursday Grant and I loaded Tigger into the cat travel cage and took him to our lady vet about 80kms/50 miles away. Dr Lienke asked us to leave him overnight and said she'd descale and clean his teeth. This is done under anaesthetic and because of Tigger's age, (he's thirteen) she wanted to keep him for post-op observation.
Once we got home that afternoon, I phoned to enquire after my cat. The doctor told me she had to extract four of his back teeth (are these called molars in a cat? Not sure) as well as a row of incisors in the front of his mouth. She had him on a drip and said we could collect him in the morning.
On Friday, once we had paid the R1200/ US$ 160 bill, she told us that he has a condition called gingivitis which is inflamation of the gums around the roots of the teeth. She said his mouth was badly infected and he suffered quite a bit of pain. We brought him home with a course of antibiotics for the infection and a syringe full of painkiller. I will administer these over the next few days.

This is a condition Tigger will be treated for at least once a year for the rest of his life.

Tonight Tigger is sitting at his normal place behind me on my office chair (while I perch precariously on the edge) At least he's on the mend and should be fine for the next twelve to fifteen months.

For more posts on pets, click here.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Off on a Bike Ride

This morning as this post is aired, my husband and I will be on our way to Lesotho. It is only 60 kms/ 37 miles from our home to the border of this neighbouring state. However, we want to cross over into that country for the day.
I will be taking many photos on the ride and will post about it soon.
Thanks to everyone who has visited my blog posts this week. I will try to get back to you all soon.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Early Spring 'n Sky

For more skies around the world, click here

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Five-a-Day (Vegetables)

It's been a while since I did a Lifestyle post. This week I browsed through my health magazines and found amazing information on the benefits of eating enough fruit and vegetables. Today I'm posting about vegetables and I'll do a post on the benefits of fruit later. (The photos are downloaded from the Internet - Debbie and Emily have just begun to plant up our small vegetable garden out back)
Delicious versatile vegetables and also part of your recommended five-a-day, like fruit, pack an awesome nutritional punch. Whether you steam them, boil them, roast them or bake them, every forkful adds colour and variety to a meal while delivering amazing health benefits.
If you want the ultimate feel-good factor, then pile your plate with vegetables. Not only are they high in antioxidants and phytonutrients, which neutralise the harmful free radicals that have been linked to cancer, but they also contain vitamins, flavanoids and fibre which have been shown to have a protective effect against coronary heart disease.

Best of all, they are a LIFESAVER if you're trying to lose weight. Vegetables contain similar nutrients to fruit but they have less sugar, and are also lower in kilojoules. Therefore they are a great way to help you feel full at mealtimes without pushing up your kilojoule intake.

Did you know?

Eating more vegetables and fruit is likely to have important health benefits including reducing your risk of developing stroke, cardiovascular disease, various types of cancers and other diseases.

All vegetables and fruit contain dietary fibre which has been shown to be a major contributing factor to loweing blood cholestrol as well as regulating bowel habits.

Vegetables and fruit lower oxidative stress (a prime factor in ageing) reduce disease risk and help maintain your body weight.

You can increase your vegetable and fruit intake by serving them in bright combinations, blending them into smoothies, or including them in cooked foods.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Garden through my Camera Lens

This afternoon I wandered, camera in hand, through my garden. I've only been away a little under a month, but when I left at the end of winter, the lawn was brown; many shrubs and trees had died down and the annuals were straggly and untidy. Debbie, in between seeing to a five-month-old baby, homeschooling the two older children and looking after all my pets, also supervised the garden spring clean: cutting back shrubs and trees, adding topsoil to the lawn, thinning and planting out the perenials.
Angie bounds through the Creeping gazanias (Gazania regens) with a seed pod in her mouth
My Banksia rose is thriving in its second season
Euryops add many months of colour to the garden
Angie again...
I was thrilled to see these beautiful Calendula officinalis thriving in my garden
The Californian poppies ( Escholscholzia californica ) add a bright splash to each bed.
Above is a member of the Sedum genus (Sedum x rubrotinctum) also popularly known as the jelly bean sedum. This is the first year it has produced these yellow rosettes in flower!
One of my "dry" garden beds is alive with colour and texture as the Aloe spp burst into bloom
The white stinkwood (Celtis africana) is the first tree in my garden to lose its leaves in the autumn and the first to sprout leaves in early spring.
Aloe spp above and below This indigenous spreading succulant, Bulbine frutescens is also known
as cat's tail
Thank you Debbie and my loyal gardeners.