Posts Tagged ‘food’

The ego was still intacked here!

The ego was still intact here!

Christmas sparkle!

Christmas sparkle!


 My world is changing……      

The tinsel has lost some of its sparkle and there are baubles lying around the bottom of the Christmas tree. It is time to remove the wreaths from the staircase and to toss the tree out in the road for collection. There has been laughter, good food and friends and we have indulged in all that is Christmas.  So ‘after this Lord Mayor’s Show’ there certainly needs to be a clean up cart! This involves the unraveling and packing up of all things Christmas.Our second Christmas in Canada has been and gone…..

I know I have found you…….

  I begin by about sorting through the decorations and packing them into boxes. I always add a few to the collection each year. The camels from Dubai, the hand crafted angels from South Africa and the wooden raccoons from this Canadian Christmas. They all remind me of the Yuletides past. There are wreaths to unravel from the front door and all the Christmas lights around the house too. This ‘packing away ritual’ used to evoke pensive thoughts as I contemplated the end of the festivities. Instead, as I systemically place each shiny bauble back, I allow myself the time to indulge in the happy moments of the last few weeks. It is almost as if I have to put them ‘all to bed’ so that I can start the new chapter. All too quickly the New Year will be staring me in the face and I will get sucked into the hustle and bustle of every day life.

You never fade away……

The big snow dump has been part of this Christmas too and our surrounds have been transformed into a winter wonderland. Kids are out on their toboggans and young and old delight in the white covering.  Temperatures have dropped significantly and some brave souls even took part in the polar bear swim in the Ontario Lake! Definitely not my cup of tea! I landed up the other day next to the lake on my backside ‘met bene in die lug!’ The slippery snow got the better of me! It left me with a bruised ego and an aching rear end! So I have come to realize the merit of the ‘penguin walk.’ This unflattering geriatric gait allows you to tackle a slippery pathway with ease. Although I think I need to add some ski poles to the mix for added stability.

It will feel like Christmas all the time……

The boxes are packed and stored away for another year. But all is not lost! Christmas will have to linger in the Morkel household for a little while longer. It is just too cold to get up on the roof to remove all our Christmas lights. They are going to have to twinkle for a couple more weeks. At least they will let us down gently……….

The Joy of Christmas stays inside us …..






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“Give the girl correct footwear and she can conquer the world.” Bette Middler

If shoes could speak.......


They were slipped off at the front door and stacked neatly in a row as this was the custom in Canada. No shoes were allowed in the house!

They sat there like faithful hounds waiting patiently at the door for their owners. There were a few that frequent daily lectures; others sprint off to the Go Train each day and one pair had recently walked the streets of Rome. Some of their owners had their feet firmly planted on the ground, while others drifted about in their search for answers. All were in various stages of ageing, but still managed to go about their business of protecting the human foot with dignity and dedication.

You might have gathered that I have a shoe fetish and made sure that I renewed my stock before I left the South African shores. When you know shoes, you also know exactly what you like and where to find them. So thank goodness for Queen Victoria who invented the lady’s boot, way back in 1840. I was going to need every colour and style I could find for those long Canadian winters. I did not need any encouragement to go out and acquire a few more pairs. This time I had to make sensible buys encompassing the attributes of being durable, waterproof and glamorous. So if I had to trudge around in the freezing cold, why not do it with a bit of style? I did manage to fulfill two of the criteria but the melting snow managed to leak through and soak my already cold feet. So much for the glamour part! But in true form I went into the `boer maak `n plan’ mode and a can of waterproof sealing spray did the trick. We were back in business.

The shoes at the front door were being gathered up by their owners as they ventured out into the cold night. It had been a wonderful party. The warm South African spirit of our hosts prevailed as we mingled and were treated with fine food and music. It was time to slide our feet back into our shoes and make our way home.

 This girl has her correct footwear and is ready to conquer the world!


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It had been a rough day, the icy wind had been blowing, the ironing was piled up in the laundry and the job hunting escapade had not been fruitful. How do I comfort myself in times like this? I reach for the FOOD….. But not just any food, it has to be food that conjures up the comfort of the familiar.


My familiar foods have passed the test of time and have been savoured without boredom coming into play. Now we all know that the concept of time is relative to one’s age. So if I had the urge to comfort myself with a familiar food that had passed the relevant criteria, it would have to hail from South Africa! The comfort of Ouma rusks with a cup of hot tea after a long day of teaching or a packet of salty chips as a meal in a bag when time is of the essence. My mouth just watered at the mere thought of these simple comfort foods.


That was it, I had to satisfy my stomach and calm my jaded being. I reversed out of the garage and chased down the road to my wonderful find of 2 weeks prior…the South African shop. There was no sighing as I pushed this trolley and the memories of trying to do this ‘job’ as fast as I could were in the distant folds of my cortex. I pushed my tiny trolley around the isles and drank in all things familiar…..boerewors,  rusks, Oros juice and Romany Creams to name a few.  The cheerful shopkeeper rang up my goods and as I handed over my dollars I thought about how important it is to keep things constant when one is dealing with change. If it means a 10 kilometer drive for a bottle of mayonnaise and a packet of biltong, so be it. We all cope in different ways and for us as a family, our South African foods and treats put a spring in our step when the going gets tough.


Did you ever think these would be comfort foods?

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Watch this just to get into the ‘gees.’

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjnhjM80rjU by Briana Haynes 2010

Ontario’s rich harvest has tempted me back into the kitchen, much to my family’s delight! The supermarkets are full of the summer produce as nature churns out the last of its season’s bounty before it shuts down and rests for the winter. It is the time for apple picking, corn roasts, hay rides and more!

Comfort foods start to beckon as the nights become longer and cooler and as we start to plan the Thanksgiving Dinner or just a soup and sandwich evening with friends. Free magazines and newspapers abound with recipes reflecting the glow of Fall, like roasted garlic and pumpkin soup and toasted almonds and quinoa pilaf. I have to study the recipes intently as some of the ingredients are totally foreign to me; it is almost as if there is a gap in my culinary exposure.

In the past I had to churn out in the shortest time a high carbohydrate meal for hungry men! There was no time to fiddle-faddle, it was just good wholesome food that was required! What can I say? It has been a long time since I have really been able to put some thought into what I serve up to my crew of in-house food critics! Watch out, you ain’t seen nothing yet!

It is definitely pumpkin time. This colourful vegetable appears on front door wreaths, graces table decorations and is in every recipe you could imagine. There is my favourite, roasted pumpkin soup with heaps of garlic but I am also keen to try pumpkin cupcakes with brown sugar frosting and pumpkin pecan bake. My mouth waters at the thought of this!

I still have to get my head around a cocktail made with pumpkin! It does tempt me as it is made with rum and amaretto and the warming spices of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves. Yes, after a long day in the kitchen, one of those might just go down well. Cheers!

Josh is a willing participant in the Thanksgiving preparation….he loves the scraps!

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