Duck in Orange

I have just woken up on day 5 of 9 (if you count weekends) of a week off work that I’m sharing with Charlotte. Sometimes, between her being a rugby-playing-therapist and me being a two-jobs-Joe, we’re a bit like ships in the night and don’t really get much time together. So this week is all about doing nothing, together!… Or, almost nothing!..

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Marinated Grilled Aubergines

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I’m not normally one to be publically mushy, but here it is.

 Almost one short year ago, I had quite honestly the best date of my life. All I did that evening with Charlotte was laugh and laugh until my face hurt! I have continued to laugh with her since, and have no plans to stop.

That fateful night we also spontaneously enjoyed a selection of tapas and a friendly serving of wine. What better way to celebrate a happy year, this Thursday, than with the same such delights!

 At Charlotte’s suggestion, we will be preparing a number of tapas to share, but one had to be prepared a little early. Grilled Marinated Aubergines! A delicious snack and something I’ve always wanted to try my hand to. What a great excuse!

 I’ve left it just a little later than I had intended- but then time really has shot by me this year. But, with two days to go I’d say I’m right in the nick of time! Here’s what I used…

Ingredients

  • 1 Aubergine
  • 6 teaspoons of dried oregano
  • A big pinch of salt
  • A few sprankles of crushed black pepper, plus about a teaspoon more
  • A sprinkle of chilli flakes
  • A sprinkle of Garlic Powder
  • A sprinkle of Onion Salt
  • 1 Fresh Red Chilli
  • Half a bulb of Garlic
  • Sprig of Thyme
  • About 500ml of Olive Oil

 

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Cappuccino Cake

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After a somewhat long working week, I’m pleased to be entertaining for a few friends this weekend! As much as I love cooking though, I don’t want to spend the entire time in the kitchen, so want an easy dessert that would last the few days. What else but cake?

First visit is this evening from my friend and colleague Steph, and my girlfriend Charlotte- both huge lovers of coffee! I’ve no doubt that Cappuccino Cake will go down very well indeed, and with any luck enough will be left for when Scott and Simon visit tomorrow!

Ingredients

  • 125g of Self Raising Flour
  • 125g of unsalted butter
  • 125g of Caster Sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 40 grams of Instant Coffee (Nescafe Gold Blend would be best!)

NOTE: The are ingredients per tier. I expect you to do at least two tiers. One tiered cakes are a pointless waste of space.

For icing two tiers:

  • One vanilla pod or a teaspoon of vanilla concentrate
  • 500g of Icing Sugar
  • 250g of Unsalted Butter

And finally:

  • A handful of Cocoa Powder

 

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Strawberry Rum Cheesecake

Well, it certainly has been a long time since posting though not for the lack of cooking, eating and making memories but more for the uncontrollable business of life!

Since last writing, I am so excited to announce that the fresh start on life I’ve been aiming for these last two years has finally arrived! I have now left the home of my lovely parents and moved into a little place of my own- and, if I may say so, it’s lovely!

I’ve already gone cooking crazy since living here! I’ve indulged in old favourites such as Thai Red Curry and Chicken Pathia, naturally had Josh and Stephen to visit for Wholegrain Maple Gammon, and on my first weekend here I had my parents to dinner to show my gratitude for everything they have done to support me, where we had a starter of Mojo Chicken, a main course of Beef Bourgignon and a dessert of Retox Pie.

But all those recipes are to follow soon! Last, I had my cousins Sarah and Samantha to stay and we indulged in a simple favourite- Chicken Fajitas! Sarah’s birthday passed recently on 31st May so I thought it would be nice to treat her to a favourite for dessert. Having exposed her more than once as a psychotic cheesecake thief, a strawberry cheesecake seemed the only option! And then there was this bottle of rum just lying around…

AND SO STRAWBERRY RUM CHEESE CAKE WAS BORN!!

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Coconut Milk

Thursday 25 June 2015

Each day, between volunteering tasks, we have a lovely lunch  that we all help to prepare. As a result, I’ve been learning lots of Thai cooking tips and techniques and here’s a particularly nifty one- making coconut milk!

Like many fools before me, I assumed coconut milk just came from inside a coconut easy peasy no process required… Even though I have seen, for myself, that coconuts actually contain coconut water AND have glugged much of this under the hot Thai sun while chopping down trees and the like! But, here is the step by step guide of what I now know better!

Ingredients

  • A couple of coconuts
  • Boiling Water

 

Let’s Go Coconuts

1. First you will need one of these things:
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Thailand: The First 24 Hours

20 June 2015

I’m. Hungover.

After a long, long journey to Bangkok from Botswana, I took a good sleep for what remained of the morning, and then sprung onto the Khao San Road with a few others I’d met in the hostel. Here, you’ll find plenty of good market stalls selling clothes and snacks which you can buy for fair prices, or if you’re good at haggling, VERY low prices! There’s also a number of nice restaurants and bars.

I was starving and heading out with the intention of finding some gooood Pad Thai, but got distracted by this:

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What kind of woman would I be if I didn’t try it?

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It was like really, really, really crispy fish.

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Livingstone Museum

Tuesday 9 June

Today, after two weeks of being here alone, we had two more volunteers arrive; Will from Wolverhampton UK and Becca from New England US. As Paula was driving to Livingstone to collect them, I decided to jump on board and use the opportunity to post a few letters from Livingstone Post Office (following a few issues with the Post Office in Mwandi).

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I completed my errand almost immediately by 10:00, and wasn’t due to meet Paula and the others until 12:30! This created the perfect opportunity to check out the Livingstone Museum of Zambia.

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At just 30 Kwacha entry, it’s well worth a visit! It takes you right through the various traditions from the various tribes in Zambia, right from the beginning of time!

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Beans with Mary

While in Mwandi, I was lucky enough to receive cooking lessons from both Mary and Berry, the cooks on the camp!

Not long after Berry taught me Nshema, Mary was also kind enough to teach me the traditional way of preparing the dried beans I’d bought on the market!

Unfortunately, this recipe was noted on my phone, which I’ve recently broken!! So until I’m able to retrieve it, you’ll just need to make do with the pictures!

Ingredients

  • Two cups of dried beans
  • Water
  • One onion
  • Two Tomatoes
  • A little salt
  • A little oil

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Nshema with Berry

Back in South Africa, when I went to the marvellous Mzoli’s in Cape Town, I had something called Papa, a strange kind of starchy fake mash side dish!

As it turns out, this is a traditional side dish all over Africa, but goes by a different name depending on where you go. In South Africa and Botswana it’s called Papa, in Zambia its Slozi name is Wahobi, but it’s Zambian English name, somehow, is Nshema!

In my quest to take on as many new recipes as possible while on my travels, I tentatively approached Berry to ask if she might teach me how to cook this. Every night, after cooking for Paula, Dan, Matt and myself, Berry cooking Nshema for herself and the rest of the staff, so I’m confident she’s the expert. And lucky me, she very kindly agreed to show me!

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