Monday, April 30, 2012


So I made these as a healthy "sweets" for my daughter as she can't have any gluten or corn (most sweets contain corn syrup or glucose syrup which is often made from corn). Go ahead read the sweet packaging - you'll find corn, maize, corn syrup, glucose syrup or wheat in almost EVERYTHING! *sigh*

Anyway I had seen this idea around the web last year. Bloggers were using cooked fruit and gelatine to make jelly fruit squares. I have not used anyone's recipe but storing this idea at the back of my head but never really using the idea until now. I just tried to make them how i thought the recipe should go and did not use anybodies recipe as a guide. So this isn't copied or stolen but the original idea isn't mine.
These aren't like sweets so much as they are like cooked sweetened apples in jelly form. Easy to put in lunch boxes and healthy. A nice snack.

apples - 3
pears - 2
vanilla pod
2 -3 Tablespoons Agave Syrup (you could use sugar instead)
1 Tablespoon Honey
a sprinkle of cinnamon
2 - 3 teaspoons agar agar
1/4 cup of water
a small amount of coconut oil

Make sure you buy organic fruit - wash and place all of them in a pot that they can lay in a single layer in the pot. I removed the stems from the apples and pears and cut out any spot or blemishes. Then add water till about 3 cm high in the pot.
Split open the vanilla pod with a knife and scrape out the seeds into the pot and place the empty pod in the water too.
Turn on the stove and allow to come to a slow simmer with the lid on.
Simmer for 20 minutes then take the lid off and allow the fruit to continue to simmer slowly turn the apples and pears so that the hardest parts are moved into the water and whatever is soft and fleshy is above the water.
Squish down with a back of a large spoon every now and then.
After another 30 minutes start to check that the mixture isn't starting to stock or  burn at the bottom. Watch as the fruit becomes really soft and almost all of the water has evaporated.
Turn off the stove and allow to cool.
Push all the fruit through a sieve into a clean pot and discard the seeds and bits that won't go through the sieve and the vanilla pod.
Pour in the agave and the honey - sweeten to taste as it depends how tart your apples are and how sweet you would like it to be. You can use sugar if you prefer. (I wanted the sweets to be as healthy as possible)
Add a sprinkle of cinnamon to taste. 
Stir and add 2 teaspoons of agar agar and a quarter cup of water.
Stirring slowly bring the heat up and keep stirring
After a few minutes of thick bubbling liquid place a saucer in the freezer and put a teaspoon of the mixture on it and leave there for a bit. Check to see if the mix has set by pushing it around the saucer with your finger - if it isn't squishy and hard add another teaspoon of agar agar to the pot and stir and boil for another 5 minutes. Continue this process every 5 - 10 minutes adding more agar agar and testing in the freezer until your mixture sets nicely. (if you add to much agar agar it will go very hard! but is still edible)

Grease a dish with coconut oil or oil of your choice
Allow you mixture to cool a bit and pour into your dish
Leave to set in the fridge and then slice with a knife

*optional roll in powdered/icing Sugar or granulated sugar and serve immediately

Can be kept in the fridge for up to a week covered

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Taste of Cape Town

On Thursday evening I attended an event called Taste of Cape Town in Green Point.

(Tents backed by the Green Point Stadium in the distance)

Taste of Cape Town happens over 4 days once a year. The event has an array of stall holders and restaurants that come together to show how delicious they are! ;)
(Tents in every direction)
For those of you who have never been or don't live in Cape Town I would describe taste of Cape Town as: An outdoor event with rows of tents placed around a design for you to walk around - you can see,buy and taste various foods, drinks and yummy things.

After the sun set much fun and EATING was to be had! Every stall seemed inviting with the sides open ready for you to browse and taste.

I didn't only eat but cooked a little too at the canape and wine pairing tent. My cooking partner was Colleen of the blog Brownie girl. We had fun preparing canapes under the guidance of Chef Chart who was very entertaining.

Then off to some food tasting:

Dishes on offer from Taj Cape Town
Braised rib eye of Beef from The Westin Executive Club

In all my wanderings I really liked some of the stalls decor and vibes.

The San Pellegrino/Aqua Panna water stall had fresh herbs and flowers and this gorgeous vintage bicycle as well as wooden crates and a fountain. I thought is was  the PRETTIEST stall. I mean isn't that bicycle just so unique and pretty with the wicker basket?

The JimmiJagga stall (a wine spritzer drink brand) had their staff faces painted and wearing hats galore. they also had a great vibe with a live band playing and a photobooth with photographer for lots of fun! Plenty of seating and bar area for everyone to relax to their pure Cape Town vibes... They were definitely the BEST DRESSED and VIBEY-IST

The Fine Brandy by Design had a beautiful lit up bar and a cool concept of pairing brandy cocktails with their dishes. They paired up with a restaurant and the food paired with their brandy cocktails were very delicious! With their barmen dressed in white and waiters neatly dressed in black. Fine Brandy was in my opinion tasty, TRENDY and UNIQUE.

One other little stand stood out with yummy looking delights called Ma Mere Maison. Unfortunately which I did not sample their goodies but I couldn't resist taking photos of their stall. I thought their design and decor was so cute. They had a red and white chevron background (cool) and pretty macarons as well as nougat etc...  They definitely looked the YUMMIEST!

It is often hard to know where or what to focus on with big events, especially with lots of stall holders... You can't highlight them all and even if you picked your BEST there would be so much that you would miss out telling you the reader!So next year do yourself a favour and go. It is yummy, I promise.

NOTE: I was given a media pass courtesy of Fresh Living Magazine, Pick n Pay and Taste of Cape Town. My Media pass allowed me to taste some of the food and drink on offer and a goodie bag. Many thanks to these sponsors. This post is purely my own thoughts of how I found the event.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

How to plan a budget friendly party

Everyone wants to give their child or someone special in their life a beautiful birthday party. But if you have tried to plan one you will know how much it can ALL add up... and quickly!
Just cause you have a budget doesn't mean your party won't be fabulously stylish and fun.

Here are a few tips I use when planning a party or get together. 

Bake things that go far but don't cost very much like
  • Meringues which require 2 eggs and 100grams of sugar to make roughly 12 - 15 meringues. 
  • Jelly/jello - you can use fresh fruit juice and gelatine place in molds and they look super cute when molded into shapes. 
  • Fresh fruit chopped up into cubes and then threaded onto kebab sticks. (seasonal fruit would be cheapest and healthy) 
  • scones - bake a big pile and place on a pretty plate then place beaten fresh cream, butter and 1 or more types of jams nearby in cute bowls for people to help themselves.
  • Potato wedges - take fresh potatoes rinse and slice up and cover with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and roast in the oven until tender and crispy - serve in jars or teacups and servewith sauce

EXTRA TIP* Make a lot of one or two things instead of having a bit of this and that as most people like to try everything. Rather they can have their fill on something than you run out of somethings making you look like you under catered.

Playing games instead of hiring entertainment! For kiddies there are games like:
  • Pass the parcel
  • scavenger hunt 
  • dunking for apples
  • hide and seek 
  • statues 
and many more just do a search on the internet
EXTRA TIP* Get a family member or friend to help you with the games and maybe do some face painting. **Extra hands ALWAYS help**

Table centre piece for an Oriental themed Party - it was a thrift find (bought at a 2nd hand store)

Pick a theme where you don't have to buy branded merchandise... like mickey mouse or hello kitty. Rather pick a country (eg chinese, Italian, French) or a colour theme like a rainbow party, or pink and white polka dot party,  or an item (eg mustache, circus, ranch or farm, horses, kittens, puppy etc). Anything really and expound on it! This applies for adults parties too.


Glitter and double sided were used to make these flags on straws for a Bling Party

Make you own decorations... coloured papers, off cuts of fabrics, beads, glitter, paint and fake flowers (optional) can make:
  • cute bunting
  • flags 
  • cupcake toppers
  • thank you tags
  • pretty bands to go around cups
  • party boxes

Try to make your own party packs: make them out of things you have like:
  •  recycling jars or containers that you can collect over a few weeks or months before the party then paint them or cover in scrap book paper or fabric. 
  • fill with a few sweets, tie with a ribbon and a thank you :)
  • for adults a cupcake in a small jar, box or recycled (washed) plastic container and tie with a ribbon 


Sew your own felt purse
Use things that you have..or are cheap to buy.
  • Felt to make purses to sew or glue
  • Colouring - Print out pictures on paper (cute colouring pics can be downloaded from the internet) for them to colour and glitter. 
  • Cheap beads to make bracelets
  • Cardboard crowns to cut out and decorate
  • Tye dying - ask each child to bring an old t-shirt to breath new life into
  • clay modeling and painting (make little jewelry bowls) or your own clay beads - then have fun dipping in paint and glitter!
EXTRA TIP* Don't forget to ask someone to take some photos for you as you will be busy and the party will be over before you know it and you will have fun seeing all your work afterwards in the photos - plus they make for GREAT memories

Have an idea or plan of the order of things and a rough idea of how long things take (write it down and see if it will all fit in and if you need to add anything)  This way you hopefully won't run out of time or have kids asking what they should be doing. Allow extra time for people to arrive as some maybe running late.
Remember to make time for singing Happy Birthday and cutting the cake :)

There are extra little things you can do to make your party extra special and run smoother whether for big or small!
  • Adding some theme appropriate music softly in the background can add a nice vibe
  • bubbles make everything pretty -bubble machine even better 
  • Have some cups with tea, coffee, milk, sugar and a kettle laid out for adults at a kids party for them to help themselves - add a little cake or biscuits nearby for them too
  • If you can ask a teenager for help with your party for the activities things can run more smoothly for you and be a bit more stress free
  • make sure to have one or two extra party boxes available in case one gets dropped or goes missing or a sibling comes to fetch the brother or sister
  • Have a few extra prizes and hand them out if you need to ;)
  • Have a photo taken with the birthday boy or girl and use as a thank you a week after the party can be fun! (but only if you can make the time) don't stress!
Remember you don't have to provide a jumping castle or clown if its not in your budget.  
Children like to have fun and as long as you have things for them to do and eat with their friends it will be GREAT!

What would you add to make your party budget friendly and easy to organise?

Friday, April 13, 2012


I am not a major food blogger, I haven't won any awards and I don't think I am the BEST! but I do feel after blogging for a few years that I have noticed a few things and this blog post is a pep talk to me for the days I feel like Im just not cutting it! 

1) Your Blog matters
Even if you only reach one person it IS OK! (If I only effect the life of one person then my blog has done its job...) Your writing mattered to someone out there

2) You are cool enough
There will ALWAYS be someone bigger than you. Suck it up. And Always be kind to someone smaller than you (blog wise or twitter wise) you were once there too.

3) Stats suck but look how far you've come
Don't judge yourself against Mr or Mrs big blogger, take a step back and go look at your stats from a year ago - really do it!

4) Pictures are worth a thousand words...
ALWAYS work on your picture taking. We live in a media based world where graphics and photos are throw at us daily.. just think of blogs, facebook, twitter, pinterest... etc... photos, photos - this is what people judge your blog in seconds flat so make it pretty for them. This includes your layout *(note to self - declutter blog layout)

5) Sometimes you post won't be perfect
Sometimes they just won't be - and thats ok. We all have creative slumps - its about the keeping at it! GO GO GO - you can do. Go for a walk and go photograph something... It WILL help.

6) Not everyone will be kind...
People will steal your photos or your content or both! fight for your stuff - YOU ARE WORTH IT!
and likewise don't steal people stuff - ITS NOT COOL!

7) Your regular readers count
Its not only about  getting new readers and more numbers. Think on the kind readers that keep coming back. They are sometimes more important than some fly by night follow and unfollowers.

8) Don't over tweet or facebook your links
Its not cool to keep repeatedly tweeting or updating your time line saying look at my post! its ok to remind people but air on the side of caution. You will put them off and they may even unfollow you

9) Comment
This goes both ways: comment on the blogs that you visit = Every blogger loves to know there is someone on the other end reading.
Comments on your blog: Reply to peoples comments = its polite and lets your readers know you care that they read your work and took the time to write something to you.

10) Copyright
Don't steal people recipes or content (even magazines) EVER - it doesn't matter if others are doing it. Clearly give credit where credit is due. Link, state and thank your source and even drop them an email or comment on their blog stating you would like to use their work with credit etc...

Hope this has made you feel a little better about your blog... I shall be back to read this again next week when I need a pep talk ;)


Would you add anything to this?

Sunday, April 8, 2012


Wishing you a Happy and Beautiful Easter filled with Meaning, Love and Life :) 

Whatever your reason for celebrating I know it will be stunning. May you be blessed and loved


Thursday, April 5, 2012


We all want to have a stress-free Easter weekend with whomever we spend it. And with family (or friends) popping in its nice to make an easy breakfast for everyone. You could even start making it while the kids are searching for Easter eggs! It only takes a quick checking on stove and oven to keep an eye on  breakfast - its that easy. Start by putting the little tomatoes in the oven and once they are looking almost done then mix all the ingredients for the eggs together and place in the pan and only stir every now and then... and you're done.

Make sure to brew some really good coffee to finish this laid back breakfast off. It will feel luxurious while you put your feet up and relax - not having to slave over the stove. (be sure to put a kiddy wink on toast making duty).

5 - 7 Rosa or Cherry Tomatoes per person
Fresh basil (a few leaves)
2 eggs per person
1/3 Cup of Milk per person
a splash of cream for extra decadence (optional extra)
Salt (pinch)
Olive Oil

Start with putting the little tomatoes a size appropriate oven dish and drizzle with olive oil, salt and scatter some fresh basil over. Place in the oven at 170 degrees celcius and leave to cook away - keep an eye on it every 7 minutes or so.
When the tomatoes are almost ready crack all the eggs and milk (add cream for decadence) and some salt into a jug or bowl and whisk with a fork to mix through. You should have yellow milk.
Heat a frying pan, add some olive oil and pour in the whole mixture.
Place on a low to medium heat and resist the urge to stir.
Wait a while but do make sure its not burning and then with a flat edged wooden spoon or egg lifter stir/ push the egg across the bottom of the pan to move- allowing the runnier egg to move into the gaps and the cooked egg to be moved to the sides.
Once most of the egg is cooked take off the heat - don't over cook/ dry out the egg (the egg will carry on cooking as it sits)
Dish up with the cooked tomatoes and serve.

ps the gold in egg the photo is spray painted and I would never condone eating anything that has come into contact with paint - it was just for picture fun!