We had a fairly quiet Christmas (truth be told, we always do) it was just the two of us, the hounds and Chris' folks - who came to visit for a few days - they brought the turkey and stuffing. So all I had to do was prepare the two salads we had with lunch and dessert.
Naturally some mince pies were also floating around and Chris was in charge of the bar!
I managed to prepare both the salads and the cheesecake on Christmas eve, all under my 'Recipes' tab, so I kinda took it easy on the day. I even had a sneaky gin and lemonade!
We opened a few presents, had a few laughs, ate some snacks and then had lunch.
Chris' dad manned the Weber and supervised the cooking of the turkey whilst the both of us popped in at the Durban Folk's place for a cup of tea and to give them their Christmas cake and a card from my mom.
I have been sick with flu for the last week or so (summer flu is the worst!) so hadn't had a chance to go visit leading up to Christmas - they both appreciated our visit - as much as we appreciated visiting them too.
Aunty Helen even gave Chris a huge hug and commented on how tall he was! I am glad we went to see them, they both mean so much to me - Aunty Helen managed to bake us a huge container of shortbread - she's really good like that!
So with whomever or wherever you found yourself on the day, I hope a good and safe time was had by all.
Nothing tells a story better than pictures!
Not particularly festive looking but I liked them nonetheless!
Coffee and homemade mince pies... To start the day, naturally.
The hounds also started the day off with a treat, a huge doggy biscuit - Cleo in the background anxiously awaiting hers!
Say hello to Ruby, she ate her treat quite quickly!
Tinsel down the staircase.
Santa, just chilling.
Our little nativity scene - we are not religious by any means but thought 'why not?' have it out instead of in some box packed away.
Just one more mince pie!
Aunty Helen's shortbread!
Table about to be set!
All set, ready to go.
The butternut and chickpea salad.
The mediterranean couscous salad.
Found some time to squizz through my latest cookery book, Thank You Chris!
Remember, You are loved.
and after 15 months of being engaged, I finally received my engagement ring! White Gold with 8 sneaky Diamonds along the side :)
Ended the day off with some peanut butter cheesecake!
I can't believe we're a week into 2016 already... May it be filled with all things exciting for each and everyone of us.
Now to find the energy to start packing - We are officially moving into the home we've just bought at the end of January - Yikes!
Until next time,
So I have known the Durban-Folks for well over 11 years now and for as long as I have known them, Aunty Helen has always made the most delicious prawns, ever!
I have never really thought about cooking prawns as I've never had to because I knew if I wanted some, I'd just go visit the the folks - again, Aunty Helen is known for her prawns! - but in late August, both Chris and myself found ourselves at their house, celebrating Andre, their son's Birthday and wishing both him, his gorgeous daughter Mia and Mia's mother a safe trip - they were going to visit Mia's maternal family in Greece.
Mia is a special little girl, at all of 18 months, she has her South African, Portuguese and Greek passport - what a little international toddler she is!
Andre feeding Mia, last December, when Mom and I visited Durban to see the folks
Rocking 'em shades!
Back to my story, Chris offered to do the braai'ng - he's happiest with a braai tong in one hand and a beer in the other - so whilst he was outside manning the coals, Aunty Helen was inside preparing the prawns. When we all sat down to have lunch, Chris tasted the prawns and when he went back for seconds - I thought, oh no! - low and behold, he loved them just as much as everyone else sitting around the table and as he had so kindly offered to braai for the folks, Aunty Helen ensured that he had his full of prawns - Chris even commented on how nice they were - so I mentally made a note to look out for prawns on my next grocery shop run.
I did indeed manage to find some, they've been in the freezer ever since, well up until yesterday anyhow.
This past Sunday, Chris and myself popped in to see the folks, I'd been away so hadn't seen them in 10 or 11 days and just wanted to check up on them and see if all was ok, I also had some pasta that I bought in Johannesburg to give to her - she loves Bucatini, a type of pasta that is hard to find in Durban - so whenever I buy, I always get an extra few packs for her too. A few weekends before that, Chris had kindly re-lined Aunty Helen's washing line making it easier for her to hang her washing up - he is good like that - so he is in both the folks good books.
As luck would have it, we arrived at around lunchtime - purely by accident I can assure you - but as quickly as we arrived, two extra plates were graciously set out on the table and an impromptu get together was held, laughs were had and a good catch up ensued. Plus, did I mention a serving dish full of prawns arrived at the table too?!
Everyone around the table - Vanessa, Sajeeda, Andre, Aunty Helen and myself - all agreed that Chris did an awesome job on fixing the washing line, so naturally he was offered more prawns than most. He thoroughly enjoyed them. So obviously I had to make them...
Before leaving, I asked Aunty Helen for her recipe - bearing in mind she's probably been making them for the last few decades, her recipe instructions were vague to say the least - as with anyone who has a signature dish, it's all stored inside her head but the one thing she stressed was to not overcook them.
So we set off for home later that afternoon, me with what roughly goes into making them but without any quantities as such but I had enough to get me started.
Last night I attempted cooking the prawns - they turned out brilliantly - if I may say so myself! Look out for the recipe under my 'Recipes' tab - give them a try, they are quick and easy.
Thanks Aunty Helen, I now have another go-to recipe that reminds me of you - love you lots!
Until next time,
Our gorgeous rental in Morningside, Durban has been a fantastic place to live - bar the odd noisy evening emanating from the hub that is Florida Road - which is to be expected from living in the centre of things.
She's a well proportioned home, consisting of 4 1/2 bedrooms, 3 1/2 bathrooms, a lovely upstairs balcony leading off the master bedroom and my creative, office space - upper right hand side in the photo - but she's just too big for the two of us and the hounds. There, unfortunately, wasn't any other suitable options for us at the time, so we have been very creative in decorating the rooms - two offices, a guest bedroom, a library, etc..
Don't get me wrong, Morningside is so central to everything; the office is a short 2Km drive away, the Durban-Folks are about a Km away - in fact, everything is mostly a walk away from us - which has been fun.
We've even managed to walk the hounds down to the beachfront, we just follow along Argyle Road, over the Umgeni Road intersection and boom! at the beach. One of the funniest moments was us walking the hounds past the Stables along NMR Avenue and us passing a paddock with about 10 or so horses grazing in it and having them all gravitate towards the fence, following us along as we passed by - just watching and following us. It was so random, having these beautiful animals curiously following us go by.
I have even started walking by myself again and have been doing so for about the last 6 weeks - something I would never have done in Johannesburg, after the attack anyhow - so am very pleased to see that my tan is coming along nicely, I even have my various routes all planned out (I use a pedometer, which captures the amount of steps one takes and I try to do 10 000 aerobic steps, which is essentially non-stop steps as opposed to stop start - I try as much as is possible to jog a bit too but it invariably turns into a combination of the both, which I fondly call 'wogging' - jog for the duration of one song, walk for two songs, etc. All depending on how I feel and also depending on the heat - its been super hot down here along the East Coast!
We even had to have curtains made for the lounge and dining area - our curtain drop is a massive 3,2m - which is crazy, we have never had curtains made, let alone having them the size of theatre proportions! But if we look after them, they should last us 20 or so years and at what they cost to make, they better!
It's no secret that I found this particular move very traumatic to my person - up until recently (i.e. being prescribed sleeping pills) I was on a daily basis getting up anytime from 02:00am onwards - which was starting to wear me down - as would anyone who was totally sleep deprived - but we soldier on! We've now been here almost a whole four months and I don't regret our decision to leave Johannesburg. In fact, my recent trip up there confirmed this - I naively thought I'd arrive there and immediately miss all that we had become used to - apart from Super Sconto (my go-to Italian delicatessen and pantry stock up shop - which I shall always go to when up there to stock up on pasta, chick peas, anything Mediterranean) which Durban unfortunately doesn't have - and taking a drive by our rental - I miss nothing! If anything, I had totally forgotten about the horrendous traffic, traffic lights out at every second or third intersection and the constant smell of exhaust fumes (I know it's weird but the smell of those fumes drove me mad! Aircon was always on.) Amazing what one can forget in four short months.
Our little Johannesburg home
All stocked up whilst sipping on a cappuccino in the canteen above the store - Note some was for my Durban Mom
Dawn and myself went there last year on my Birthday for a quick something something to eat and drink
Dawn - my true Italian friend - we ate a lot that day!
Later that day at Tashas with Dawn again, the restaurant where Oscar infamously fired a bullet whilst it was packed with diners!
Chris' father asked me to join both him and Chris in growing a moustache for Movember - along with a small donation to a cancer research organisation - so... both Chris and myself are 23 days into Movember, along with Totes - so look out for a mo' photo coming soon to a blog post near you!
I have added a comfort food recipe, some vintage finds and a collection of photos of Chris under my Media page - just because I can! - ok, off for my daily walk soon, then some gardening and then some baking - shall be working on our company accounts later in the week, so getting some things out the way early on in the week.
Again, really, nothing comes close to living on the East Coast!
Until next time,