Shower power

There is something about showering under the stars on a balmy summer night and in the fresh of a summer’s morning, before the sun’s scorch.  (Or, if you prefer, on a cold winter’s…whatever.)  We have long been of the opinion that a swimming pool is a costly, time-consuming inessential, so when we moved to McGregor, we resolved to find a suitable outside space for a shower.

Finding that spot was a challenge:  the house is on a corner and is built with sandbags* which means that anchoring anything to the walls is problematic, as was finding a way of plumbing in the hot water. In addition, one had to find a way of preserving some modicum of privacy (if not modesty and the property values!).  Another challenge was that the “back” of the house is actually the front:  it’s the entrance everyone uses and it’s also here we live and entertain.  It took a while before we realised that there was a logical place to put it.  The veranda was not quite a wrap-around, and at the corner of the house, there seemed a logical and “dead” spot.  It also borders on the “pond” into which our grey water ran, and where we now have a grey water system.

ShowerCorner2012
The “dead” spot and infant fruit trees ready for planting. And the original vegetable garden (2012).

Even though we had made the decision some two years prior to doing the deed, we had other priorities, not least of which were a carport and shed-cum-workshop for The Husband.  More important, and without waterborne sewerage, a conservancy tank.  I digress, but the original had collapsed – because some twit decided that the driveway should cross it and hadn’t thrown a slab to protect it.  After finally deciding on the building material, The Husband began work on it in late 2014.  Initially, we had thought of gabion walls – we had a huge pile of shale left from the excavation of the conservancy tank.

Nope. Not a good idea.

Too many nooks and crannies for nesting spiders, scorpions and snakes.  Neither of us fancied meeting a Cape Cobra when we were in the altogether.  Ultimately, we decided on latte* with a shale floor. Shale is a sedimentary rock that’s formed from compressed mud and/or sand.  Geologically, the  region in which we live, was once an inland sea.  Here’s the evidence – a fossilised limpet. LimpetFossil The first step in the construction was the posts, then the hole in the wall, followed by the first part of the floor, which had to be level for the steps and, finally, the pan and the outlet. ShowerStepsFloor Then came the frame, the plumbing, the latte and the lining.  The lining is a non-negotiable:  the light from the stoep at night, creates a backlight, effectively nullifying the screen!  Old coffee bean sacks are ridiculously cheap from a local roastery, work perfectly.ShowerPlumbedCats Of course, as you see, The Husband was closely supervised – Pearli and Melon (no longer with us) were constantly checking things out. Quality control is critical to the finished product. ShowerDoneInteriorEven when there was still a bit of tidying up to do, that didn’t stop us from using it.  Here’s the view from inside the shower. SAM_1407From the street:  there’s a shower there?  Who would guess?SAM_1410

And since then we have put a lid on the veranda which has created a more secluded and shady spot.

Shady, more protected veranda. Photo: Selma, 2017

In the years since that shower became functional, The Husband uses it daily – even in the dead of winter reverting to the bathroom only if it’s raining.  It has also become a firm favourite with our guests – it’s adjacent to the guest room.  Recently, we hosted the editor of the team filming the Ride2Nowhere whose colleague, staying somewhere else, was so enchanted by the shower that he asked if he could also use it!

*more of this at another time

**thin wooden poles, usually made from Wattle which is an invasive exotic in South Africa

First published on my original blog in 2015 and updated.

Until next time
Fiona
The Sandbag House
McGregor, South Africa


Photo: Selma

Post Script

In addition to WordPress I blog on a number of platforms:

  • Steemit – a crypto, social network and blogging platform, to which I post from WordPress using the SteemPress plugin.
  • If you’d also like to use your WordPress blog to earn crypto, join us on SteemPress.

  • My WordPress site is hosted by fellow Steemian, @gmuxx, with fees paid in crypto currency: Steem Based Dollars.  If you want more information, join the Steemblogs Club on Discord
  • Narrative, a crypto blogging platform
  • Instagram is a mostly visual platform where I post microblogs about fluff:  usually food and the cats; posts that sometimes promise hint about future WordPress posts.

On the Steem platform, I am part of these communities

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Bloomin’ October

In addition to the bloomin’ heat, October is also the bloomin’ month for beautiful flowers, wind and hayfever (adult onset so very much resented and very ungracefully dealt with). This year, for some reason, the flowers in our garden have been magnificent.

October has always been an odd month, and one with which I have a love-hate relationship.  When I lived in Johannesburg it was characterised by a tension that was hard to describe but which was usually attributed to the dryness of the air and the seemingly interminable wait for the first rain.  Rain up there comes, usually, in the form of spectacular, short and sharp thunderstorms.  A business trip had me experiencing exactly that:  an unseasonal heatwave, exhaustion and no thunderstorm.
Living in the Western Cape, a Mediterranean climate, we rarely have the joy of a thunderstorm at the end of a hot day.  Boy, sometimes I wish we did.  No more so than this week when we had two days of heat which is normally a feature of February:  Tuesday was 37°C (98°) and Wednesday 38°C (100°F) on our shady verandah.
ViewtoVerandahOct2015
Our outside shower was put to good use.
In addition to the bloomin’ heat, October is also the bloomin’ month for beautiful flowers, wind and hayfever (adult onset so very much resented and very ungracefully dealt with).  This year, for some reason, the flowers in our garden have been magnificent.
RosesOct2015
We have had a wall of Iceberg roses which a villager enviously described as “revolting”.
IcebergWallOct2016
They are equally beautiful, gracing the veranda.
IcebergsVerandaOct2015
Another feature of late spring is that the local fowls produce a surfeit of eggs and as many readers know, I have a penchant for eggs.  My mother introduced me to my first duck egg.  I must have been about five and I’ve never forgotten either the flavour or its colour – the most beautiful, pale, almost iridescent blue.
One of the village smallholders has ducks and had some of their eggs for sale.  Well, I was possibly her best customer.  I wasn’t disappointed.  Beautiful blue and white eggs.  Huge, orange yolks.  Perfect for boiling.
DuckEggsOct2015
And for poaching, which is what I did for our supper on that really, hot day last week, with a salad (and boiled potatoes in their jackets for The Husband), and served with a simple dressing of yoghurt, a little mayonnaise and chopped fresh onion leaves.
PoachedDuckEggSaladOct2015
There are a few secrets to poaching eggs (successfully):

  • bring the water to a rolling boil with a good glug of vinegar in it (it helps to keep the white from spreading all over the show)
  • break the eggs into cups or ramekin dishes and dispense them into the boiling water from there (it’s also a good way to rescue eggs with broken yolks and identify less fresh eggs – the fresher the better – keep the less fresh eggs for other dishes like quiches)
  • give the water a gentle swirl before you add the eggs, one by one.  Four is my max at a time (and I use the trusty wok…)
  • don’t be frightened of handling poached eggs – they don’t break as easily as you think, once the white has set
  • remove them from the pan and drain them on a clean dish cloth (I don’t use paper  towel – it tends to get soggy and break up: eggs with paper bits on them are not very appetising) before plating – this way you don’t have poached eggs floating in water, or drowned, soggy toast, for that matter

PoachedEggsOct2015
Along with the end of October came the end of one of the most difficult and stressful projects I’ve worked on in more than two decades of self-employment.
Bloomin’ wonderful, that, along with other bloomin’ wonderful (really) events of this October.
© Fiona’s Favourites 2015

Versatile Vinaigrette

A vinaigrette is essentially a mixture of oil and vinegar, and the base of many salad dressings. My mother taught me to make, a French dressing at the ripe old age of eight or nine.

A vinaigrette is essentially a mixture of oil and vinegar, and the base of many salad dressings and, as I recently discovered, having “illegitimately” (or instinctively) used it as such, is also used as a marinade.
That said, it’s a fantastic base for salad dressings, including a French dressing which my mother taught me to make, at the ripe old age of eight or nine.  The receptacle in which I was taught to make it was completely un-traditional:  it was the wooden spoon and bowl of a salad set that had been a wedding present to her and Dad in 1961.  I have no idea what happened to that set;  I was quite sad when I discovered that Mum had stopped using it and had discarded it.  Effectively, the salad was dressed in situ:  a sprinkling of salt, pepper and sugar;   this was followed by using the serving spoon, and almost filling this with sunflower oil (no olive oil in those days) and a little vinegar, which were mixed together and drizzled over the salad.  The latter, incidentally, consisted largely of lettuce leaves and little else.
As we grew up, the dressing became a little more “complicated” and has become the basis of any salad dressing that I make (when we don’t rely on the ubiquitous olive oil and balsamic vinegar which is our “standard”).  The basic version, which I make in relatively large quantities because it keeps well (in the fridge), consists of the following:

  • 2 parts olive oil
  • 1 part vinegar – not white spirit – I use white wine, apple cider or tarragon vinegar (this last is the traditional vinegar used for French dressing and Dijon mustard), and sometimes even red wine vinegar
  • salt, pepper and sugar to taste
  • 1 part whole grain mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled (optional)

All this is mixed together (usually in a jam jar) and stored in the fridge for use as and when ….
“When” has happened relatively frequently of late because we’ve had a surfeit of garden produce; specifically, peas, broad beans, broccoli (going to seed) and beetroot.  Some of the vegetables have been eaten hot, but because we’ve had some gloriously warm, sunny weather, they have, more often than not, been incorporated into salads.
As you know, even after years of growing my own, I still get a helluva kick out of producing meals with homegrown produce.  None more so when an entire dish is homegrown.
It’s easy to make a mixed salad, but sometimes in a mixed salad, one loses the flavours of some of the ingredients.  Sometimes, too, the available ingredients don’t work so well together.  So, I make a salad platter.  I suppose that some would call it a deconstructed salad, keeping the flavours separate and so that people can choose what to combine with what (or not).
GardenSaladPlatter2015
In the salad, above, beetroot was resting on rocket which, as I’ve mentioned before, work well together, and the broccoli on young beetroot leaves.  Over the entire platter, I drizzled my standard French dressing including on the fresh peas, that had been brought to the boil with a mint sprig and then blanched, and broad beans.  These last had been lightly boiled, also blanched but popped out of their skins before they were spread like shiny green jewels on the plate.
So why have I been wittering on about this dressing being a good base?  Well, the other evening I decided, based on the fact that a mixed salad can be somewhat underwhelming for the ingredients, and what we had in the garden, I produced a Four Salad Platter.
FourSaladPlatterSept2015
On the face of it, this platter seems very similar to the other.  Yes, it was dressed with my basic French dressing, but each individual salad included different fresh herbs that introduced the flavours that ensured that the platter consisted of four, individual salads.  The broad beans were liberally sprinkled with chopped, garden fresh mint and the nasturtiums are a natural complement to the broccoli.  In addition to the usual ingredients in a French salad, I included (also from the garden) Pepino melon, pineapple sage, chopped chives and beautiful blue Borage flowers.
So, on the French dressing base, the fresh herbs provide the nuanced flavours that make the salad platter, according to The Husband, fantastic!
© Fiona’s Favourites 2015

Francolins, my dear, don't give a damn!

Last year we had an almost endless supply of gooseberries – notwithstanding the birds. This year, things have been a little different.

Last year we had an almost endless supply of gooseberries – notwithstanding the birds.  This year, things have been a little different.  For two or so months (June and July), there were major disruptions in the village and, particularly, past our house.  Work on installing the bulk water supply for the low-cost housing development has been underway.
On one level, and for perhaps a day, it was interesting.
MonsterDiggerJune2015
When the work began, winter had not struck, and it was warm enough, in the late afternoon, to wander up the hill to see the action and to marvel at the monsters at work.
Dusk is such a lovely time of day, and that day was particularly calm.  The light over the leiwater* dam, and over the village, was almost ethereal.
ViewDamVillageJune2015
But when we had noise and dust – almost perpetually – for twelve to fourteen hours a day, sometimes six days a week – it did get a bit much.  This machine lurked in the road and around our house for about ten days.  This from the veranda outside my office and, effectively, the view from my desk.


This beast was really quite quiet;  it was the dumpers, tractors and digger-loaders moving backwards (with the perpetual peep, peep, peep) and forwards, and up and down, that really made the noise, accompanied by plumes of dust that found its way into every nook and cranny in the house. Telephone conferences and Skype calls, all part of my day’s work, were quite a challenge.
We were not the only creatures inconvenienced by all of this.  Across the road from us is an open piece of land which you can see behind the trench-digging monster.  Although it is municipal property, it is largely unbothered and home to wildlife.  For whatever reason, it was decided that the earth removed from the trenches for the water pipes was to be dumped and spread there. So now, it looks like this.
ViewtoLongJune2015
Little creatures (and larger, I am sure) have been displaced – their shelter and food – gone.  Consequently, three Cape francolins, have become regular visitors to our garden.
Lovely.
But we have been forced to share our gooseberries with them.
They sneak over the road, and over the fence, trot nonchalantly past the beans, for all the world as though we can’t see them, and then dive into the gooseberry bush, with one keeping watch.
FrancolinsGooseberriesJuly2015
And before they leave, they occasionally deign to join us for a breakfast coffee or a sundowner before flying back whence they came.
However, they don’t share and we’ve been a bit short on gooseberries because, my dear, francolins don’t give a damn!
* leiwater – lead water – into the irrigation channels that run through the village

Postscript:

Updated as an entry into The Earth Laughs in Flowers Garden photography challenge for March: Wildlife in the Garden
© Fiona’s Favourites 2015

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Bathroom Bliss

A lovely bathroom is every (virtually) woman’s dream, When we looked at this house, I fell in love with the bathroom.
The Husband sighed.

I have a friend who’s non-negotiable when looking for a new abode, is a “Princess Bathroom”.  A lovely bathroom is every (virtually) woman’s dream and in almost every home I’ve lived in, I’ve tried to make a pretty bathroom.  When we looked at this house, I fell in love with the bathroom (among other things – for another time…).
The Husband sighed.
That bath and the view out and to the Iceberg roses;  the floor and the quirky taps, not to mention the handcrafted ceramic washbasin adorned with geckos, all appealed to me and my somewhat eclectic approach to things.  I had instant plans which began with the “bling” plug chains*, the curtains on black rods and the crystal door handle**.
Bathroom2011
This is how the bathroom stayed for a couple of years until, one Saturday, as is my wont, I was visiting a friend at her shop in the village.  Clever Girl (she really is) stocks all sorts of things from new, different clothing to second-hand items ranging from antiques to things more modern and “unwanted”.  That Saturday, she had boxes and boxes of stuff to go through:  old and new;  some items so “new”, they had never been unpacked.  One such was the pair of silver-grey, voile curtains.
My bathroom was waiting for them.
A price was negotiated and they were duly installed and tabs were added to the muslin curtains (their second makeover) and, along with the other bits and bobs I’d been adding, the bathroom was taking shape.
Bathroom_2013
I love having a long, leisurely bath after a day in the kitchen or garden and, yes, with a well earned spritzer close at hand.
Bathroom_wine_2015But the light fitting really bothered me:  it was fugly.
Bathroom_light_oldIt didn’t look right and I began thinking that a chandelier might work.  What and how, bearing in mind that although our house is Victorian Style, it’s only about ten years old and is alternative technology.  So, whatever I did needed, to “jive”.  How does one do “alternative” bling?
It took a while, and as so often happens, the answer was right under my nose.  In McGregor we have the very talented African Queen who creates work for local women, and who designs the most beautiful decor and light fittings using seed pods.
I announced that it was one of her lights I thought would work.
The Husband was skeptical, but came with me one afternoon and said light was “commissioned”.
Then the call came:  “Fiona, your chandelier is ready.  Can I drop it off?”
I couldn’t wait.  It arrived and I opened the box to find the jacaranda pods carefully painted and adorned, fixed to a beaded frame and needing to be fitted – immediately!
BoxedChandelier
The poor Husband.
Lucky me.
Bathroom_Chandelier_2015
Installed, the chandelier is beautiful and has turned, as Lorraine says, my “princess” bathroom into one fit for a queen!
*Created by the talented team at Dragon Fly Studio, McGregor
**Sourced by and from Toca Madera Interiors, Paarl
© Fiona’s Favourites

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Waterblommetjies

What on earth?” I hear my non-indigenous readers ask. I had never cooked with them, and had tasted them once, long ago, in a past life…

“What on earth?”  I hear my non-indigenous (South African) readers ask.

Little water flowers is the literal translation.  The botanical name is Aponogeton distachyos and they are indigenous to the natural freshwater ponds of the Western Cape Province of South Africa.  Often considered a weed, the leaves float on the water and then, in winter and spring, the buds and flowers pop above the surface.

Source: http://africanaromatics.com/
Source: http://africanaromatics.com/

I had never cooked with them, and had tasted them once, long ago, in a past life, in a soup.  The Husband, having grown up in a landlocked country to the north of us, had never heard of them, let alone tried them.  I’d often looked longingly at them on the supermarket shelves, always bok (game) to try something new, but desisted, not quite sure what I’d do with them.
Then, one Saturday morning in May, a fellow stall holder at the McGregor’s Saturday pop-up market, had some for sale.

McGregorMarket2015_1
What did I have to lose?

The Husband was informed that the menu for Sunday supper had changed – I was going to indulge myself by cooking one of my famous (ha!) experimental-made-up-dishes.  I consulted my South African cookery bible.  Invoked old friend, Google.  The common ingredients in virtually all the recipes included lamb or mutton, white wine or lemon juice, onions and potatoes.
Oh, dear!  No mutton or lamb in the pantry, so it would have to be vegetarian.  The dish would not include tomato – I didn’t want another strong flavour overpowering what I suspected might be quite a delicate taste.
SACoookbook
The standard procedure of soaking, for at least an hour, to get rid of the grit and other nasties took place, followed by another rinse, picking over and cleaning these pretty, but deceptively tough vegetables.

Into the trusty wok went some olive oil, chopped onion and garlic to sautéé.  These were followed by chopped red bell pepper and some diced brinjal and potato (skin on).  Finally, the waterblommetjies were added, along with some vegetable stock, a hefty glug of my evening plonk, a local  Sauvignon blanc, and some judicious seasoning with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Waterblommetjies_Wok_May2105
Aren’t the colours just gorgeous?

This mixture was allowed to cook for a goodly while, ensuring that it did not stick or dry out, and the vegetables were soft but not mushy.

We ate our (vegetarian) Waterblommetjie Bredie garnished with fresh parsley and avocado.
Veg_WaterblomBredieMay2015
Well, we were both pleasantly surprised with the flavours and textures of my first attempt at a waterblommetjie bredie (stew), particularly on a chilly autumn evening.  I will do some further experiments when I next am blessed with seeing waterblommetjies at the market.

In honour of the humble water flower, Anton Goosen, a South African songwriter, wrote a lovely ballad, which was a local hit in the 1980’s, if I remember correctly.  Here is his recording of the song, with the lyrics in both English and Afrikaans sub-titles.  For me, the clincher in this video is that it shows some of the beautiful region from which Waterblommetjies come, and in which we have the privilege of living.

 

First posted in 2015 – a subsequent wonderful encounter with Waterblommetjies is memorialised here.

PS – as I’ve not replicated this dish, I’m not offering a recipe….

© Fiona’s Favourites

Bountiful broad beans

We grow broad beans every year.  Broad (or fava) beans are another childhood memory.  We’d pick them on sunny winter afternoons and then shell them in front of the fire for supper.  This year’s crop was not great.  Thanks to the dearth of rain and water.

Our bumper 2015 crop, and when we had a “heronly” visitor.

Ever since I lived on my own and had a patch of ground, I have grown vegetables (or tried).  The Husband happily tells friends that when he met me, I had a tiny terrace cottage with an equally tiny back garden.  In it he discovered a couple of enormous tomato plants among the ornamentals.  I have yet to loose an almost childlike excitement at the first season’s picking or pulling of any bounty that privileges our garden.  Then I set to thinking about what I’m going to do with it.  Usually, the first pickings are the sweetest and most tender so they get the least “treatment”.  So it always is with our first broad beans:  lightly boiled (not to death like my English mother would have cooked them) and as an accompaniment to supper.  However, that gets really boring …

Salad with Broad Beans, Pepino, chives and mint

So, in addition to that way, I also use them in salads:  blanch the beans and pop them out of their grey skins and toss the beautiful, bright green cotyledons into the salad.  This salad, in addition to the broad beans, and as the flavours seem to work well together included mint and chives, as well as pepino.  For a little extra colour, a scattering of calendula petals topped it off.

I have mentioned my love affair with Katie Caldesi’s Italian Cookery Course, and in it, discovered a traditional Italian dip made with broad beans and mint.  I had never thought of including mint with broad beans.  Mint is for peas – or so I had been brought up to think (by that same English mother….).  Anyway, I looked at the recipe and gave it a bash.  Essentially, it’s broad beans (popped out of their skins if they’re big (I didn’t with this batch as they were still tiny), mint, finely grated Parmesan cheese, garlic leaves (or a small clove if you don’t have the leaves). Whizz or pulse together into a paste. Serve on crostini drizzled with olive oil.

Broad bean dip
I love it when my “product” looks like the picture. Both the book and the platter from the same friend. The book for a milestone birthday, and the platter, the first time she ate dinner in our home. That’s going on eleven years ago, now…

We enjoyed that dip so much, that I now make it quite often. I have also used the basic idea, to make a rustic pesto with home made pasta.

You will find the recipe here.

 

Post script:

This has been updated from the original, first saw the light of day on my first blog in 2014.  Some already appear on this site, others don’t.  Part of the update process is including downloadable copies of the recipes I write about.

Until next time
Fiona
The Sandbag House
McGregor, South Africa


Photo: Selma

Post Script

In addition to WordPress I blog on a number of platforms:

  • Steemit – a crypto, social network and blogging platform, to which I post from WordPress using the SteemPress plugin.
  • If you’d also like to use your WordPress blog to earn crypto, join us on SteemPress.

  • My WordPress site is hosted by fellow Steemian, @gmuxx, with fees paid in crypto currency: Steem Based Dollars.  If you want more information, join the Steemblogs Club on Discord
  • Narrative, a crypto blogging platform
  • Instagram is a mostly visual platform where I post microblogs about fluff:  usually food and the cats; posts that sometimes promise hint about future WordPress posts.

On the Steem platform, I am part of these communities

Designed by @zord189

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There's a mouse in the house…

Both our cats are huntresses of note, and give a whole new meaning to food-on-the-run!
Our week started in the wee hours of Monday morning.  Simultaneous with a scrabbling around behind the headboard, a cat launched herself off a rather soft spot on my abdomen and into mid-air. Pearli_mousebird
Tom could sleep on a washing line, so needless to say, he was dead to the world.
“Humph!” he responded to my, “there’s a mouse in the house!” and turned over…
I went to investigate.
Ginger Melon MP had caught a mouse and brought it upstairs: no doubt, and hopelessly, expecting coos of delight and pride from her humans.  I discovered that she and Tiger Pearl were both trying to corner Mouse: both were staring longingly into the too-small-for-them-space under the bed.  Having considered whether, realistically, there was anything I could do to corner and rescue Mouse, and bearing in mind that cats are far more effective hunters than I could ever be, particularly at 2.30 am, I got back into bed, bracing myself for the frenzy that would, inevitably, come.
Mercifully, for both the wee timorous beastie, and the somnolent humans, I soon heard a growling, a squeak and, aargh, a crunch!  A sure sign that one of the cats had caught Mouse.
Melon had, and was telling Pearli, in no uncertain terms, that it was hers!
100_3223Then began the process of herding Melon, hopefully, out of the bedroom, down the stairs and into the garden where she might eat her early breakfast, allowing me to crawl back into my warm med bed for some fitful seep before the real beginning to the week….

Eating to Live

Friday, 18 July 2014, in McGregor dawned:  a cold, blustery morning.  It was also the first Mandela Day since his death in December 2013;  he would have been 95.  Later that day I was  heading down to our local community service centre (aka the police station) to join a sandwich drive.
This, juxtaposed with my my rant, the previous evening, about dieting fads and food foibles, got me thinking about how privileged I am, to be able not just to have the pleasure of cooking, but of food, in all its glory, when there are people, literally down the road, who do eat to live – when they can.
2014-07-18 13.09.43
 
For the last two years, a young McGregorite has organised this initiative.  This must have taken Mira much more than just the 67 minutes she asked of us to give, to organise.
 
 
18 July 2014 2
So, a bunch of us, of all colours and creeds, from all walks of life, gathered at around 11h00, to make sandwiches.
By about 11h45, this happy band of volunteers had made this huge mound of sandwiches to go with the soup that came from Lord’s Guest Lodge.
10500541_10152267648817776_62249832660299760_n
I didn’t just join the sandwich drive, I also joined the convoy to deliver the sandwiches and soup.  First, to the Breede Centre which runs a holiday programme of for local children, then on to the informal settlement and the poorest parts of our village.
10410495_10152267652902776_2012252966275089697_n
 
The sandwiches and hot soup, along with the treats made a difference – at least for a short while.
 
For me, there was also a weird moment.  There was a time that it would have been inconceivable that I would set foot in a police station to be part of a community initiative:  the police represented the oppressors and meted out their orders.  These orders were usually punitive and harsh;  they certainly did not include feeding people in informal settlements.
Much remains to be done in our country and village of poor and plenty, but that I, and my fellow sandwich-makers were able to comfortably join this initiative, is a consequence of Nelson Mandela who gave 67 years of selfless service.  Halala, Tata.

Waste not, want not – I

Both my parents grew up in the UK in the Second World War: Mum in Oxford, where her mother  billeted soldiers. Dad grew up in Glasgow, and with his sister, Belle, evacuated to a poultry farm . Consequently, we grew up constantly hearing, “waste not, want not”.  Little was thrown away. Broccoli 2
So, one Friday, I when I was making quiches.  One of the fillings was broccoli and blue cheese. Having cut off the florets, I was left with this beautiful, thick but tender broccoli stem.

Compostbucket2014
My trusty compost bucket – never far from my elbow, and which is emptied on to the heap.

Too good to put into the compost bucket, I thought; and it was a cold, cold day.  Soup is always a good lunch during winter, and a vegetable soup relatively quick to make. So, why not turn the stem into broccoli soup?

Here’s what I did: chopped an onion and sautéd it in a little butter (I no longer use the onion), and then added about a table spoon of flour (you want the soup to have a bit of body – and if you prefer not to use wheat, add some cornflour at the end). Cover the chopped stalk with vegetable stock and allow it to boil. Simmer until the vegetables are soft; liquidise and then add some cheese (because I had some, I used Camembert) and liquidise again to ensure the cheese is well distributed. Re-heat and serve with sprinkling of freshly grated nutmeg.

100_2974
Broccoli Soup

Tips:

  • This is a regular seasonal soup for Suppers @ The Sandbag House and I’m now a little more particular and base my “doings” on a Creme du Barry recipe from my mother’s Good Housekeeping recipe book.
  • I use Ina Paarman’s vegetable stock powder – it’s a useful standby, and is neither too salty, nor has too many preservatives
  • Save some of the broccoli florets – steam them and add them to the soup when you serve it.
  • Of course, you can also add a swirl of cream or a dollop of Greek yoghurt to serve…

I have just made 6 litres of this soup for an upcoming weekend of suppers.  If you’d like the recipe, it’s here.

Originally posted on 10 July 2014 and updated.

Until next time
Fiona
The Sandbag House
McGregor, South Africa


Photo: Selma

Post Script

In addition to WordPress I blog on a number of platforms:

    • Steemit – a crypto, social network and blogging platform, to which I post from WordPress using the Steempress plugin.
      My WordPress site is hosted by fellow Steemian, @gmuxx, with fees paid in crypto currency: Steem Based Dollars.  If you want more information, join the Steemblogs Club on Discord
    • Narrative, a crypto blogging platform
    • Instagram is a mostly visual platform where I post microblogs about fluff:  usually food and the cats; posts that sometimes promise hint about future WordPress posts.

On the Steem platform, I am part of these communities

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