The Three C’s of Winter Comfort : Coffee, Chocolate, Company

What better way to bid winter farewell and welcome summer than to have one last binge with winter comfort food  shared with family.

I have the perfect and easy recipe for just such an occasion. This recipe came to me from my sister whose children aptly named it  the Coffee Toffee Pudding. I share this recipe and trust that others will also enjoy it as much as we do.

Get the Ingredients together

Ingredients :

  •  250 ml cake flour
  • 15 ml baking powder
  • 175 ml sugar
  • 25 ml cocoa powder
  • 175 ml milk
  • 160 ml cooking oil
  • 5 ml vanilla essence

For the topping :

  • 250 ml brown sugar
  • 25 ml cocoa powder
  • 10 ml coffee powder
  • 350 ml boiling water

Method:

Sift all the dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl.

Lightly beat the milk, oil and vanilla essence together and mix with the dry ingredients.

Pour the dough into an oven proof dish . The dish should  big enough to allow  space so that the sauce doesn’t bubble over in the oven.

Sift the brown sugar, cocoa powder, and coffee over the dough and pour boiling water over.

Ready for the Oven

Bake in an oven at 180C for 35 minutes.

Enjoy the three C’s Coffee Chocolate and Company

The sugar, coffee and cocoa forms a thick toffee like sauce during the baking process  which lead to the name Coffee Toffee Pudding.

I trust that you will enjoy the three C’s of winter comfort as much as we do !

Walking Update 5

Cefani Mouth at sunrise
Cefani Mouth Resort

Photos from the  website of  Cefani Mouth Resort

Five weeks ago I stared out on  my walking project and I must confess I wondered whether I would make it to Chefane. Now here I am !!! I really did stick to the walking and I learnt a lot about this wonderful part of the South African coastline. One thing I learnt about myself is that I am generally physically a bit ( yes more than just a bit) lazy. I would much rather read a book or do something creative with my hands than exercise. However the idea of  being able to research another destination to walk to, combined with my  fear of failure motivated me and after five weeks I think I have established  a pattern.

During the five weeks I covered a distance of 30 km as I made a slight detour inland in week 4. Now after having reached the first goal I decided to go to Morgan Bay and the Kei Mouth area as I saw that there are many wonderful and interesting places  to visit.In the next few weeks I will slowly make my way along the coast. I am looking forward to my next few weeks and the adventures I will experience albeit only in my imagination.

Morgans Bay and Kei Mouth Map

The L List: Wannabe Picasso

Tools of the trade

One of the things on my living list is to learn to paint. I took the plunge a while ago keeping in mind the words of a wonderful older lady. At the age of 80 plus she still paints and says: ” If I am  feeling  out of sorts I paint. After transferring all the feelings onto the canvas, I throw it away as it has served its purpose” ( In Afrikaans she said: ” Ek verf al my geite weg en dan gooi ek dit weg!” )

I thought if she could approach painting in such a way so can I.  After all it doesn’t matter if the painting isn’t perfect.  So there I was, everything ready staring at a blank canvas! What  an intimidating and scary feeling. No classes yet, just me, the paint, the canvas and the brushes.If I don’t try I will never know whether I can do it.

My youngest daughter had art as subject at school and she gave me basic ideas. The first few  canvasses did indeed end in the  trash! It looked horrible. Not only did I mix the wrong colours together, ending with sick looking greys and  greeny browns but the perspectives were quite wrong. Nevertheless, I enjoyed messing around with the paint and brushes and resolved to try again.

After many trials and stops and starts, I at last painted something which was more or less acceptible, not yet hang on the wall acceptible but at least not the throw away immediately type.

I still think I need to attend art classes and it stays firmly on my to do living list

Walking Update 2

Can’t miss the map on the wall
Week 1 and 2 marked on the map

It is  Wednesday again and time to report on week 2 of my walking project. I am happy to say that I kept to  my schedule of walking 4 times per week for 15 minutes. I must confess that I am  totally intimidated by the idea of having to report I didn’t make it. So the accountability seems to be working! Add to that the fact that 15 minutes is beginning to feel  easier, with less heartpounding and aching legs. I will try to reach 20 minutes walking by next week and will report back here.

This week I reached the Kwelera  River Mouth and  found it to be such a beautiful place that I decided to take a short detour along the riverbanks to the various resorts and fishing spots. The Kwelera River is an untouched estuarine system that holds some very big Kob and Spotted Grunter and is a popular spot with fisherman.

The Kwelera river mouth

I read that there is a 6km hiking trail between Sunrise-on -Sea and the Kwelera River Mouth.  The trail leads along the banks of the river at low tide, so timing is of essence if one wants to walk along the beach.  A footpath allows access up the western bank giving a full view of the landscape carved through the sandstone. I walked this trail on my treadmill keeping the beautiful pictures that I have seen on various websites in mind.

Upper Kwelera River

Read more about this beautiful place here:   Kwelera River Mouth       Kwelera Nature reserve 

Walking Update 1

After much thought and research I decided to go to the Wildcoast for my first stretch of walking. I will walk the Jikeleza route from Gonubie in East London to Chefane a distance of about 25 km.  Jikeleza means to wander or meander in Zulu and I intend to do just that, stopping at various places of interest along the way.

Wildcoast Jikeleza Map

It was a bit difficult to determine the exact distances, and I worked with the above scaled map, following the red dotted line along the coast. I walked 4 times this week for 15 minutes @ 6km per hour,which means I walked 6 km.  So little? you might think. For me it was quite an achievement.

So first stop was at theDriftwood Studios an artgalley and studio which offers accommodation and studio space to artists. It also offers accommodation for tourists.

The next stop was at the Albatros Studio, situated near to Sunrise Beach. In my mind’s eye, I spent time on the beautiful beach watching the sun shimmering  on blue seas. Hope you enjoyed my adventure with me  and will join me again next Wednesday.

Albatros Studio Accommodation

In Good Company?

You might remember I mentioned in a previous post that I have been dealt some very rocky and sticky chocolate days lately. My mother’s health has been steadily deteriorating and the physical and emotional stress that I experience because of this has been mounting.

To find a way to  decompress the stress and relax at night before going to bed was a very big challenge for me. Then my sister unwittingly presented me with the solution. She gave me a pair of handknitted mittens as a present and also showed me how to knit them.

The very next day found me sitting in bed knitting away just before going to sleep. The steady clicking of the needles, the feeling of the soft wool in my hands, the beautiful colours and the concentration it took not to miss or loose the stitches, were so relaxing that I continued knitting. Now I am the owner of a mountain of mittens in various colours and sizes. Well, I thought, I have presents for next winter for everyone in my family and my sanity is intact!

I was surprised to find that I am not alone in finding knitting relaxing. Go to   http://sheeptoshawl.com/famous-people-who-knit/   to see in whose famous company I find myself.

Our Daily Bread

   

Without bread all is misery” Willam Cobbet British journalist 1763

Anthropologists think that early man gathered grain and stored it for later use. Wheat grew in Mesopotamia and Egypt. It was probably initially just chewed.The first breads were made from grains and seeds harvested from existing wild plants. Later it was discovered that the grains could be ground and the ensuing “flour” mixed with water. It was moulded into cakes, which were dried in the sun or baked in coals.

Around 1000 BC, it was thought that  fermentation was discovered, probably by accident. It is believed that some bread was left outside long enough to attract wild yeast spores, causing fermentation. This caused the dough to trap gas bubbles and rise and the technique spread to all countries bordering the Mediterranean. (History of Bread. bread.com.au)

Today I am going to show you what can be done with the store bought dough of a loaf of bread. My family call it a breadbasket and it makes a wonderful Saturday night meal.

Use any vegetables of your choice,  add chunks of chicken if preferred. Lightly stirfry the vegetables  in olive oil and set aside.Don’t overcook as the vegetables will become too soft.

Stirfry vegetables

With a rolling pin roll the store bought dough to a thickness of about 2cm. Spread a thin  layer of tomato paste on the base  and add a little grated mozzarella cheese.  Roughly form a basket with your hands on a baking tray, then fill the basket with stirfried vegetables. Sprinkle seasoning over the vegetables.If the dough does’nt stay in  a basket form use toothpicks  to secure the dough to some of the vegetables.

Bake for 30-40 minutes in a preheated oven  180 C. Enjoy your daily bread.

Ready to eat