Best Holiday Reads; Holiday Kisses

As we’re slowly creeping towards our summer holidays, I just read an article in the UK Guardian about the best holiday books, a list that I have been saving since June. A compilation of nostalgic entries from a number of different authors and playwrights’ most memorable reads, in reading this wonderful article from which I have copied a list of books that sound enticing, my mind started to wander to which of my holiday novels stood out the most. Bear with me, as this is a long post - but probably an entertaining one.

I spent my entire childhood reading anything I could get my little hands on, and when I wasn’t reading, I was writing all sorts of nonsense in my journals. We spent almost every holiday in Plettenberg Bay on the South African Garden Route Coast, in a little village just outside the main town called Keurbooms. Everything, as one can imagine when an entire childhood of holidays is spent in one setting, is a blur. A flurry of novels read, magazines scoured for information about boys, diary entries, hot sand burning my feet, getting dunked by waves, sparberry soft drinks, magnum ice creams, sand in every possible crevice, standing on crabs while swimming: resulting in my running out of the water screaming, rainy days, winter holiday log fires, Christmas trees stolen from the side of the road… so much of that sort of wonderful happy holiday blurriness.

I remember always being the last one up, reading in the lounge and eventually dragging myself to bed where I would continue reading well into the following morning, until I had finished that day’s book. I went through all the phases of Goosebumps, James Patterson, James Herriot, trashy romance novels from a best friend, Ayn Rand, Chuck Palahniuk, Hunter S. Thompson, J.D. Salinger, Roald Dahl, Tolkien (The Hobbit over and over), Dickens, all sorts of other classics, CosmoGirls, Metalhammers, Archie Comics and a pile of other comics which I read on repeat. I remember well the white bedsheets with red ladybugs all over them and the way they felt, reading on the beach, reading at restaurants (to my parents’ dismay - they always wanted us to chat to them), in the car on the trip down (with my discman on full volume blaring angry teenager nonsense like Slipknot, Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park), on the way to the grocery store – probably also with my discman in tow - all the while getting weird looks in the condiments aisle because of the din emitting from my headphones.

But among all those mingled memories of holiday reading, the only book that really stands out to me with its own time and place on holiday was when I was fourteen. I was about to turn fifteen, and there were several boys from Johannesburg in town that I had mad crushes on. One was a blonde surfer dude with freckles, gorgeous golden white curls on his head who offered to put sunscreen on my back every morning. Another was a darker, shorter, but strikingly handsome boy who was staying in a house on the strip where all the really wealthy people build their houses – Beachy Head Road.

I kissed both of them that holiday! The blonde one was one of the greatest disappointments imaginable, he told all his friends that I’d let him kiss me straight afterwards, about which I was terribly embarrassed. The following day on the beach I wouldn’t speak to him, couldn’t look his friends in the eye as I was mortified that they had made fun of me, and I lay there, next to him, reading Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (getting ahead on the following year’s school reading – terribly nerdy).

In retrospect it was such an appropriate companion to that holiday! All the drama of kissing boys and my father’s great irritation that all I wanted to do was to see my friends on the beach. I was a little more like insensible Lydia, less like Elizabeth, but imagining myself much more like the latter! I wanted a love story! The blonde not only made snarky comments about my reading at the beach while everyone else was smoking and being sociable, but he also left me to drown in the ocean (not to negate how strong a swimmer I was at that point) when three huge waves tumbled upon us consecutively. Every time I managed to come up for a breath, I’d breathe in the next tsunami-like wave instead of air. Luckily I somehow managed to save myself, only to realize that the boys I had been swimming with were tiny specks on the beach looking for me nonchalantly, flattened hands raised to their brows in a stance that says ‘we’re looking for hot girls in bikinis – any one will do!’ Part of me, at that moment, wished that I had drowned!

I was very pleased that I hadn’t though, as the day before our departure from Plett I met said dark and handsome boy. He was much more kind, sophisticated and intelligent than the previous mishap and he invited me back to his holiday home for dinner with his family after a day of friendly banter at the beach. I was thrilled, but lamentably had no time to go home and change, ineluctably I worried terribly about the way I looked and smelled. Straight from the beach in a wrap and a strappy semi-transparent pink blouse, his lovely mother leant me a cardigan, while their personal chef made dinner (like nothing I’d ever experienced!). His seemingly much older brothers amicably teased me about all sorts of things, and taunted him about me. He had a shower while I listened to music in his bedroom, Liquido – Narcotic on repeat, and I felt my entire body tingling with the anxiety of being in his room (with the possibility of seeing his freshly showered, sporty torso), at his house, about to have dinner with his folks! He eventually emerged from the shower, fully dressed (to my great but very innocent disappointment) smelling wonderfully of clean boy.

After dinner I got a grand tour of the place, a tiny architecturally placed patch of grass in the middle of the patio which overlooks the beach that the house is built practically on top of, a personal movie theater underground, a billiards room… We watched Blade, which immediately became one of my favourite movies – one my parents had never let me watch no matter how obsessed I was with vampires. We attempted to play billiards for a brief period alighting instead upon a long, romantic, moonlit walk on the beach. He held my hand, we stopped to kiss, we walked a little further, sat on some flotsam log, kissed a little while longer until we suddenly realized our phones had no signal and it was WAY past my very leniently extended curfew for that evening. We had a very brisk walk back to the house, which took immensely longer than it felt on our way out until we ran into his family whom had been searching for us with flashlights! My father had somehow got hold of his mother and he was beyond furious, and on his way to fetch me. I was in a flat panic! Needless to say I was grounded and my phone was removed from me briefly, but for long enough to be incredibly painful. In spite of the drama, however, the boy and I carried on a long distance romance for a couple of months while he was on exchange at Eton in the UK. It was a delightfully romantic and eventful December, all of it, punctuated with the adventures of the Bennet family and my misadventures with my own family.

The following holiday, a winter holiday, there was a new boy that I had a crush on. Ending my relationship with the dark and handsome boy, an absent and lackluster romance by April, I started a new romance that lasted until the following holiday, in August. Mr April to August was my first real broken heart, but I don’t think he even read his schoolbooks. He was a rugby jock that destroyed the English language every time he opened his mouth, but a wonderful kisser, so we just didn’t speak much. By the end of August, heartbreak survived; there was a new guy, an Italian who played the lead guitar in a band. Fickle? Perhaps, but nobody can accuse fifteen year old me of wasting my time!

My only love affair from those days that well and truly lasted, however, was with Jane Austen and her fictional mastery. I can always pick up an Austen and disappear into nineteenth century England, but I will never again want to immerse myself in the drama of being fourteen.

Rage for Order - Breakfast

So I haven't written lately, not because I haven't been eating, but because I've been studying! I thought I'd just pop in a quick post about what I was up to for breakfast this morning, simply because I can't believe how healthy and carb free my breakfast was, that I seemed to have chased away a Monday morning head cold with a grapefruit and that I was studying by 8AM! Things are looking up for sure! A productive weekend of studying, only three beers but some regrettably oily and carby food lead to what is looking to be a great Monday!

So yay for the most amazing combination of vanilla chai tea, dried apricots with raw almonds, a whole grapefruit and my banana that I am yet to indulge in!

Dried apricots and raw almonds together create the most spectacular flavour that I've tasted in a long time. An ex housemate used to combine the two - what a discovery! Those are complementary flavours if I've ever found any! The vanilla chai is also perfect with it, as it adds a bitter alternative to the dried apricots that can prove to be almost too sticky sweet.

I've just finished reading 'A Rationale for Collecting' by G. Thomas Tanselle sitting at our wonderful new acquisition - a beautiful Danish dining set with my blossoming white irises. You can also see how much our grass has grown outside, all the better for a happy puglet! Life is great!


Waverley Hills Organic Vegan Wines

I was thrilled to find a new brand of Organic wines yesterday while I waited for a shop to open. (how is it that the bottle store is open at 8:30 but the appliance store isn't?) They're all priced under R200, some under R50 and they seem to have a variety of wines to choose from! They even have a sparkling wine! (a little more pricey...)

Waverley Hills farm is in Wolseley, South Africa and you can contact them on this email address for your nearest stockist.

We tried the Rosé tonight at Girls' night and it's a lovely wine! Fresh and sweet, but still dry. Totally drinkable! I'll report more once I've tasted the others. In the mean time, go to the Dunkeld West centre in JHB to get your hands on this wine!

Happy Breakfast!

Ryan has just rushed out of here, a little late for work because we overslept - so badly that I was still sleeping when he ate breakfast! So amidst a loving farewell and a dancing pug, I made myself something delicious to eat and drink.

Apple & Cinnamon Muesli with Vanilla Chai Tea
(And perhaps some grapefruit for dessert!)

I feel like breakfast this morning is a real treat, I even opened a box of Alpro Unsweetened Soya Milk, something usually saved for special occasions, like béchamel. I used to LOVE the Woolworths Organic Rice Milk, it was fantastic! It was everything I had dreamed that boxed milk alternative could be! I'm so upset that they've replaced it with the disgusting and artificial tasting Rice Drink. Chocolate cereal will never be the same again! They went together perfectly. So instead Ryan and I have started mixing milk alternative from powders, which is much better than the very expensive box alternatives, except for the grainy sediment that you can't seem to get away from. The best brand we've found so far is the Nature's Choice Rice milk, available from most 'health' stores and wholefood stockists. It is working out a lot less expensive than our box a day habit before, lamentably, Woolworths changed everything.

Cereal has somewhat lost its appeal to me since, but I have a new found love for Muesli, and I can't seem to stay away from them but Woolworths has a bunch of sugar and honey free options, for example the Apple and Cinnamon Muesli I'm eating this morning. It's delicious but I don't like buying it because there is way too much packaging involved. It's separated into little serving parcels, of which one is not enough for me by a long shot, which are convenient if you need to keep them in your desk drawer for yogurt topping. I don't have that requirement, but it isn't available in a bigger box so I end up buying it and tormenting myself about all the plastic unnecessarily used in the packaging.

The Vanilla Chai Tea is also from Woolies, and as much as this article displays my love-hate relationship with this completely overpriced convenience store, they have unbleached teabags for most of their house brand teas. Nothing warms me to a product more than when they choose not to put harmful chemicals into products, customers, or the environment. Also, the tea is highly addictive and delicious! The ingredients are black tea, spices and no strange ingredients - wonderful!

All the while, listening to the Top Ten XX Covers that awesome JHB DJ Duchess and music blogger Slightly Single posted - some super cool stuff! My favourite so far is the Gorillaz cover of Crystallized!


Vegan Gnocchi

I love a plain pasta dish - Olive oil, salt and Italian flat parsley are my most common ingredients with any pasta, and that's it. Maybe I add a little of Ina Paarman's Chicken Flavour Stock Powder for some variation and flavouring, but more often than not it's only three ingredients.

Woolworths has amazing Vegan Gnocchi for sale in their Fresh Pasta section. I usually skip it because everything contains egg, but I like to explore every now and then anyway, just in case!

I grew up in Italian Restaurants, especially one called Cortina in the Hyde Park shopping centre which was a little family run affair. At four years old I knew what I wanted and that was Gnocchi Napoli. No exceptions on the Gnocchi. The waiters stopped asking what I wanted and just brought it, so often my family ate there. We basically became family with the lovely owners we were there so often. Nonna used to make the most INCREDIBLE little dessert biscuits as well, dusted with icing sugar... I remember it all so well.

When I was 9 years old we went to visit Cortina in Italy, and it was ironically the only town we had been to where my parents could not find a plate of gnocchi for me. Ten hours of driving through the mountains of Italy in heavy snow without chains on our car's wheels, we arrive back at the hotel famished because my father couldn't find a satisfactory restaurant and we find out that the hotel serves Gnocchi! I was thrilled, but I think it was a real palm to forehead moment for my parents.

I made the Woolies gnocchi for us a couple of nights ago and it was soft and lovely, fluffy - just the way fresh gnocchi should be. Ryan and I both loved it, but I think that it's my new favourite dish. Apparently it freezes well and also keeps in the fridge for about a month.

Another little family owned Italian restaurant in Oaklands, Johannesburg called Tortellino D'Oro (on my JHB restaurant list) makes amazing vegan gnocchi. Just ask them to hold the cheese and the butter. Katterina, the manager and owner is very well informed about vegan requirements.

Amazing Grapefruit!

I never used to like grapefruit - the bitterness, the taste, nothing about it was appealing to me until about a year ago. I have become increasingly addicted to the wonderful pink flesh of this citrus and I absolutely crave it in the mornings!

I make myself a grapefruit salad of some sort most mornings around ten, just to have something in my tummy. I'm super grumpy if I'm hungry at any point of the day, so I'm always munching!

My grapefruit salads vary constantly depending on what is in the fridge, but the best combinations I've come across are below. I made a salad today that didn't really work for me though, so if I were to advise anyone on this, leave out the cranberries. *pulls disgusted face*

Grapefruit and Clemengold Salad

I loved this combination! It was very yummy, but Ryan isn't a huge fan of these sort of funny salads. Now I make them when he's not around to moan about grapefruit being in strange places!

Organic Mixed Lettuce
Grapefruit flesh
Clemengold peeled and chopped - no need to take the husks off, they're so soft and disappear when you eat them. If you can't find clemengolds, any variation of sweet citrus will be fine!
Vinaigrette  - I just used white balsamic condiment and olive oil
Sunflower seeds
Flax seeds
Sesame seeds
Any other seeds that contain Omega oils are great

Grapefruit and Celery Salad

I use Grapefruit and Celery as the base for this salad almost every time, and I just add whatever else I find in the fridge or pantry that seems like it would combine well with the bitterness. Any of the following ingredients (other than the main two) can be left out and you'll still have something wonderful!

Grapefruit flesh
One stalk of chopped celery with the yummy little light green baby leaves from the centre
Sweet black seedless grapes halved
Sunflower seeds
Pear or Apple slices

I love these salads, they're so quick to make, wonderfully raw and healthy - although unless you eat a big bowl, isn't enormously filling. Great snack though to take the edge off mid morning hunger.

Yum! I want another bowl now! I may just...


Jonny's Tricolore Fettucine

I love it when friends that aren't vegan cook for us! There are always such lovely yummy things that appear! I don't recall any gross vegan meals from friends - they rock!

So our lovely friend made us some pasta tonight - I gate crashed a designer meeting for his forthcoming independent cinema's poster, and so glad I did!

He made us a lovely tricolore fettucine with fresh veggies and loads of garlic!

Tricolore Fettucine with Cherry Tomatoes

I didn't ask about the ingredients, but I will. I'm assuming:

Cherry tomatoes, flash fried in garlic, seasoning and herbs with the cooked pasta, some chopped peppers, rosemary - definitely - and Extra Virgin Olive Oil!

I'm a little bit in love with rosemary at the moment - it's such a wonderful herb with so many different vegetables! I've been using it in all the roasts and pasta sauces I've been cooking recently. It's so flavourful, and deliciously crispy when roasted. Ryan doesn't eat the stalks so I get all of them to munch! So crunchy and full of flavour! I also read somewhere that rosemary is packed with nutrients, so why not?

It was wonderful! I love fun food like multi-coloured pasta! We also had a glass of Alto Rouge red wine with the meal, a gift from my father - mmm!

Vegan Cheese available in South Africa

Our aged macadamia nut cheese is made using the same procedures for making traditional dairy-based cheese and contains no preservatives, stabilizers, artificial ingredients or additives. It is a 100% dairy-free,
100% gluten free, 100% lactose free raw vegan cheese. It actually tastes like cheese, you will love it!

Our 100g TATAMOO macadamia nut cheeses are hand made. That means the weights of each piece are approximate.
Macadamia nuts are a high energy food and contain no cholesterol.
The natural oils in these nuts contain 78 per cent monounsaturated fats, the highest level of monounsaturated fatty acids of any natural commercial food. Monounsaturated fatty acids are the ‘good’ fats. These super-nuts contain no cholesterol and no trans fatty acids
They’re also a good source of protein, calcium, potassium and dietary fiber and are very low in sodium.
The protein component of nuts is low in lysine and high in arginine.
These super-nuts contain the sugars, sucrose, fructose, glucose and maltose.
They’re rich in: Iron Potassium Phosphorus Magnesium and Calcium.
They also contain significant levels of Zinc, Copper and Selenium.
The most significant vitamins are: 6 Vitamin E Thiamine (B1) Riboflavin (B2) Niacin, pantothenic acid (B5) and folate.

Free Food makes No-D Cheese - Local to the Johannesburg area, this is your only locally made vegan cheese that I can find. These cheeses and other Free Food products are available at Fresh Earth, Craighall Spar, and on vegan pizzas at The Greenside Cafe. Some of them are nut free, all gluten and wheat free, all sugar free, all dairy free and they all melt reasonably well over a pizza or in a toasted sandwich. It comes in a variety of flavours, such as Plain, Basil Pesto, Rocket Pesto, and there are two variations of sea vegetable cheeses. They're made from an agar agar type of mix, and my favourite is the Basil Pesto one! Nothing like real cheese, but who cares when it's this awesome! They're also the most affordable of the lot of cheeses available. Fresh Earth and The Greenside Cafe's pizzas use something akin to a blended up version of this, and it works wonderfully for some cheezyness!

Photos By Ariel Cohen of Free Food
Vegusto NoMuh - The most wonderful Swiss Vegan Cheese products! The Checkers Hypermarkets seem to stock them most of the time, Fresh Earth in Emmarentia is stocking it and the Craighall Spar also stocks NoMuh in a range of flavours. It doesn't melt superbly, and tastes a little different when heated, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The walnut one is my favourite, but they're all delish! These are very expensive, but probably worth it if you have a huge craving.

Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese - The only place I've found this WONDERFUL thing is Thrupps in Illovo. It's yummy with everything and anything!

Cheezly - So the Cape Town Waterfront Pick 'n Pay and the Emmarentia Checkers stocks this, but almost every time I buy it it's already expired. It's not meant to be watery or taste like yogurt, as a precaution. It's delicious when it's not off and it melts well!

Life Vegan Cheese Shakers - To be found at Pick 'n Pay or Dischem, often in amongst the real cheese. Definitely worth a try, but not really what I would call fantastic. Very powdery and doesn't taste exceptional. It's also gluten free, which is lovely for those of us who are looking for gluten free vegan products!

Nature's Choice Mock Parmesan - This Parmesan substitute is very tasty, made from nuts and spices it's very difficult not to just eat it out of the packet with a spoon. We love this on pasta dishes, it has a wonderful sweetness to it that I'm willing to attribute to cashew nuts!

Vegan Cheese Sauce

So we can live without cheese? I certainly do, but I have all sorts of tricks up my sleeve. I now only have brie and blue cheese to find replacements for! My brother is working on it!

Photo from Oh She Glows

Oh She Glows has a wonderful sounding mac'n'cheese sauce that she makes from cashew nuts. The first time I heard of cashew nut cream, I read it in Tal Ronnen's The Conscious Cook and I rushed to buy raw cashews so I could try it. It is one of the most incredible things I've made in my kitchen, and by far the best cream substitute I've found. As far as creams go, Coconut Cream is obviously also wonderful, and Orly Whip actually becomes whipped cream, but the former always tastes like coconut, and the latter has a long list of funny sounding ingredients. I like food that contains maybe one or two ingredients, I try to avoid chemical or artificial ingredients most of the time so anything else feels excessive and unnecessary.

I've tried so many 'cheese sauce' recipes and I've found out that I don't like the taste of mustard and turmeric over macaroni very much. I always hold back on those ingredients as they can be overpowering if one puts even slightly too much in. Fake cheese does not have to be yellow.

Vegan Béchamel

My most successful is my Vegan Béchamel sauce that I use for veggie lasagne. It's amazing! It's my mother's recipe for normal Béchamel that I've converted. Unfortunately it's not Gluten Free, but I'm sure it would be easy to transform.

1/2 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Vegan Butter
1 Litre Soy Milk (I like to use the Alpro Soy milk for this, the quality is unbeatable)
1 tsp Maizena mixed into a half cup of cold water (Cornflour/Egg replacer) (This isn't necessary but it helps to thicken the sauce)
1/4 tsp Marmite (Vegemite)

Mix the flour and vegan butter together to form a crumbly mix. Add slowly to the heated soy milk and marmite, stirring continuously. Only add the Maizena if it isn't thickening up - you can also add more flour and butter mix if you desire.

This Béchamel even gets a little crusty in the oven, it's great for cheese substitution.

Photo from Oh She Glows

Vegan MOFO - Peanut Butter Tofu

So I've just come across the most wonderful drive called Vegan Month Of Food - Shortened to Vegan MOFO. They've recruited Vegan bloggers from all over to participate officially in this month of posting as many posts as you can in your blog about the food you're making in October.

They also repost a lot of the awesome sounding recipes on their site - definitely something to look at! These are some that caught my attention, and sound absolutely scrumptious!

Newman Improved posted Baked Peanut Butter Tofu. (Photo from Newman Improved.)

Cupcakes and Kale posted Gluten Free, Creamy Alfredo Pasta Sauce. (Photo from Cupcakes and Kale.)

Ryan makes an amazing Alfredo Pasta sauce using Fry's Vegan Polony, spinach and mushrooms with a delicious Orly Whip Dairy-Free Cream sauce. I can never quite cook his dishes the way that he does, it's amazing comfort food and the vegan polony tastes pleasantly smoky, a great ham substitute! It's even a bit pink, for some polony realism.


Awesome Vegan Blog - Orange Soup

The Vegan Stoner: the most charming and lovely little vegan recipe blog!

They take mouthwatering photographs and draw all the ingredients of their wonderful looking food. All the recipes are really simple, so for the lazy vegan, or for anyone who thinks that being vegan requires a huge amount of effort, it's really helpful. No more excuses about how difficult it is to be vegan! It's amazing, go read it! Here is their Orange Soup recipe as an example of how cool they really are!

Masterchef Australia - British Food Invention Test

Embarrassingly, we are very excited about Australian Masterchef. We can't wait for the next episode to come on, and we're terribly sad when we've watched all our recorded episodes! We already know who wins the first season, so it has taken away some of the thrill, but it was inevitable, considering we watched the second season first.

On Saturday we watched an episode where they had to cook something British, so Ryan and I immediately started craving baked beans, mash and peas. This resulted in our Sunday night dinner being deliciously English.

Vegan English Dinner


Ryan taught me how to cook potatoes - I was completely useless with them before he came along. So anything that has a potato in it, a lot of credit goes to him!

2 large, peeled sweet potatoes
6 peeled carrots
2 regular potatoes, also peeled
Vegan margerine
Oat Milk (or any milk alternative)
Pinch of Salt while boiling

Pop all the root veggies and some salt into cold water and bring it to the boil. Always add root veggies into the cold water on the stove. While the water warms up, so do the root vegetables, allowing for even cooking. Leave to boil on a high flame until the potatoes are soft and crumbly. Pour out any water left over (I dunked into my boiling roots for the brown onion gravy's cup of water - so not to totally waste all that water). Add some margerine and milk substitute of your choice, even a splash of coconut cream is amazing! I just use whatever is already open. There is always an absurd amount of butter that goes into any delicious mash, so I did put a good spoonful of marge in the mash, along with a splash of oat milk. Be careful not to put too much of either in with the sweet potatoes though, unless you want it to be soggy mash. Sweet potatoes aren't quite as firm as normal potatoes when it comes to making mash.

When it comes to actually mashing vegetables, you can do it by hand with a masher thingy, with a fork if it's a small amount or with any blender. I don't like my mash to be perfectly smooth, so I often leave the potato peels on and just roughly mash with the hand held masher, but it all depends on your palette, who you're cooking for (obviously children love puréed foods) and what you're in the mood for.

Beans, Spinach and Peas

1 can Koo baked beans in tomato sauce - They really are the best you can do. And it's not just because the can says so.
a cup of peas

Microwave or boil the peas with a tiny pinch of salt, steam the spinach and warm the baked beans. I didn't warm the baked beans because by the time I got to that I didn't feel like dirtying any more pots or pans, but I think that it's even more stodgy if you warm them.

Brown Onion Gravy

1 brown onion diced into small pieces
1 tbs Ina Paarman Beef Flavour Stock Powder
Splash of white balsamic condiment
2 cloves of garlic crushed and sliced
cup of water
2 tsp sugar
splash of oil for frying
DO NOT SALT YOUR GRAVY - you'll be pulling funny faces when you're eating if you do.


We usually throw in a Fry's braai flavoured sausage that we pan fried with this good old British combo, but we didn't have any last night. Personally I'm on an anti Fry's strike right now. Yuck for processed food! Yum for fresh veggies! This meal is perfectly filling and lovely without adding processed nonsense.

Orange, Butternut and Carrot Roast Curry

It was the most beautifully sunny weekend! We had a pool party - although the water was too cold to swim, and we had a lovely picnic at Emmarentia Dam with friends. It was idyllic! But as it seems to go, today it's a glum, cold, grey and windy monday with the looming threat of thundershowers. I love this weather as much as I do the weather yesterday, but Ryan and I haven't had any ideas yet about where we can have lunch together when it rains! We're so happy going to look at the Zoo Lake goslings that we have completely neglected to form a back-up plan!

Today's weather definitely lends itself to something warm and comforting to eat, and curry always does the trick for me! I've also decided however that it's time to say goodbye to carbohydrates as well as I possibly can, as they've snuck into way too large a percentage of my diet for me to be happy with! And my friend Alice has cut them out on weekdays, so I'm jealous. I'm not very good at denying myself anything when it comes to food, so if I find myself really feeling like something I shouldn't be eating I'll have a little bit - like a small pack of crisps - so we'll see how well this undertaking progresses.

Orange, Butternut and Carrot Roast Curry

I love having colour themes in dishes, it looks so pretty to have a dish composed of different textures and the same colours. I've been watching a lot of the Jamie Oliver cooking and gardening program 'Jamie at Home' recently and I think he and I have very similar taste buds. He loves to make vinaigrettes that he either uses on salads or roasts. I've taken his advice and have started using citrus instead of boring vinegars. Thus, an Orange juice based roasted curry is part Jamie, part my love for curry and citrus.

Juice of one orange (and some of the pulp - yum!)
Three parts Extra Virgin Olive Oil to the one part acid, which is an Orange in our case
One large butternut cubed into large chunky pieces
Several carrots, I just added until it looked like the amount I wanted
two small onions quartered
two cloves of garlic, chopped and crushed into the olive oil
season to taste
one teaspoon of Cape Malay curry powder from Woolies (I'm too lazy to compose my own curry mixes every time I make curry, so if you want a yummy mix, this one rocks)
one teaspoon of hot curry powder (also the woolies variety)
three sprigs of rosemary (I know that isn't something traditional to curry, but orange and rosemary are such good friends, you want to have them in a dish together).

Roast until golden brown and soft! A very slow roast often tastes the best, so roast anywhere between 100 and 200 degrees depending on how much time you have. The slower you roast the sweeter the dish becomes, and always make sure it doesn't dry out! YUM! Can't wait! I may even pick up some vegan indian breads on the way at Spiceburg, when I drop off X-Men at The Majestic video shop! hehe...