Keep on Swimming ..

I’ve been playing with what to write for my 3rd Blog for a while, I have no particular “trend” or “topic” in mind, all I know is it’s going to have one of my curry recipes at the end for my friend. In honour of my dad I’ve decided to go for one of his favourites: Lamb Korma!

So Major Trends in Africa this week?

  • First of all EVERYONE has been talking about the man that got bitten by a white shark  on Fish Hoek Beach yesterday in Cape Town. I have a weird fascination with all things gory, I always have. Things like Sharks and Snakes I am obsessed with. I devour any programme or bit of news on these creatures.
  • One of the things I love about Cape Town is the fact they have “shark spotters”. I LOVE THIS! Instead of damaging the ecological environment they have these dedicated spotters who sit at strategic points and keep their eyes out for sharks, the second a shark is “spotted” the white flags go up and the beach is closed. So the beach was closed yesterday when this man decided to go swimming, he knew the risk. I also follow “SharkSpotters” on twitter (follow me on BecksMCWilson) and you can see on their tweets at 09h25  it read “sharks spotted in FishHoek, Beaches Closed”, then at 12h20 “Beach still closed” then at 12h35 “shark attack confirmed on Clovelly beach, Fish Hoek”. Why would you swim KNOWING there have been sharks spotted?BUT did you know this shark was literally 15 m off shore?? that is so close.. Big Ups to the Shark Spotters, they do an amazing job. I would love to go and spend a day with them!

 

  • The other thing that’s made the news is Kim Kardashian! No suprises there, but she voted as most annoying celebrity! (It’s still Paris Hilton in my eyes). There’s no denying that the Kardashian’s are extremely famous, with their faces plastered almost everywhere you turn. Yet I am one of those peoples who catch the omnibuses and have the Kardashian book. Kim, in particular, has been even more so in the spotlight with her recent wedding and honeymoon. Is there such a thing as over-exposure? Perhaps, as Kim as been voted the Most Annoying Celebrity around. Out of 60,000 people polled, she earned a whopping 29% of the votes.
    Charlie Sheen was a close second with 27% of the votes. Except this poll is just another piece of publicity so it can’t hurt?
  1. Kim Kardashian 29%
  2. Charlie Sheen 27%
  3. Snooki 21%
  4. Lindsay Lohan 16%
  5. Donald Trump 5%
  6. Brad Womack 1%  – (WHO IS HE?)
  • Rumor has it Jessica Simpson is pregnant. But who really cares?

 

  • Trends popping up everywhere seem to be Celebrities releasing books! From Cook Books to “kiddie’s books” the latest to jump on this band wagon is Taye Diggs! (Bet you never would have guessed that)
  • “Chocolate Me” is about fitting in and excepting those who are different. Diggs said he wants kids to know that, “You should be proud and embrace your differences regardless if its race or religion or if something is looked upon as a handicap.”

 

  • 3 of Nelson Mandela’s grandchildren are also set to star in their own “reality show”. “This is about three women… breaking away from the (Mandela) legacy to find their own feet,” said director Graeme Swanepoel. I think this is what you call “riding on a wave”.

 

  • The last thing I want to mention this week is “staying young”. Not in the mind-set sense (I think I’m one of those eternal 17 yr olds). But more in the “body and aging” sense. I recently started Gym again after taking a 10 month “sabbatical”. I can never understand, I LOVE gym when I go back, I love that I can feel results after 1 trip (that’s not in my head, I can seriously feel a difference J ), so why then do we stop going? It’s the million dollar question I never have the answer to. I put it down to the laziness of getting in your car and driving there.
    Its simple! Work. Out. More. – A lot of young people get plenty of exercise but if you’re one of those naturally skinny types that doesn’t need exercise you’ll want to start now.  They “say” a person should walk 4 days a week. These walks should take a person around 40 minutes to complete because this is sufficient for losing weight and increasing energy. A person should maintain a brisk speed when they walk. Getting into a daily exercise routine tends to be easier when a person exercises daily with another person. This will help them stay motivated, energized and make the workout go by a lot faster than if they were doing it all alone. This year both gym “spurts” I’ve had a gym “buddy”. Yoga sessions were the best with my friend as together we would walk out in fits of laughter in the way the instructor spoke in her “soft” “sexual” voice… you are the light, and the light is you”

 

  • OH BY THE WAY! Good Food and Wine Show was AMAZING, so glad I went! Came back a little bit “broke-r” than I intended on being  but I did come back with some very cool tools. I bought a potato-miller! Those Food puree thingys they used on Masterchef to make super fine mashed potato (amongst other things). A super cool Jamie Oliver Knife (I have a thing for good knives), a pan, and a very cool cupcake “Core-r”. See pictures below:

 

Filling the Core with Caramel

 

Iced Cupcake with "Hidden" Caramel Core

Recipe of the week

Kormas are typically made by marinating the main ingredient in yogurt and spices like ginger and garlic. It is then cooked in its own juices and a gravy made of onions, lots of tomatoes, green chillies and whole spices like cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, coriander, cumin, etc

  • 1/4 cup (60g) ghee
  • 3 brown onions, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 4 green cardamom pods, crushed
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 8 black peppercorns, crushed
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds (or powder, i sometimes prefer powder)
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbs finely grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tbs smoked paprika
  • 3 ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 1kg lamb shoulder, cut into 3cm pieces
  • 2 cups (500ml) water
  • 1 cup (250g) natural yoghurt
  • Toasted flaked almonds, to serve ( I add a about a handful of diced ones to the dish as well)
  • Naan bread, to serve
  • Steamed basmati rice, to serve
  1. Heat the ghee in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until lightly golden. Add the turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon, peppercorns, cloves, cumin, garlic, ginger, coriander seeds, chilli and paprika and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until tomatoes are pulpy.
  2. Add the lamb, water and yoghurt and bring to a simmer. I then add the diced almonds. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until lamb is very tender and sauce thickens slightly. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Spoon lamb in bowl and sprinkle with flaked almonds. Serve with naan bread and steamed rice.
 

 Fare thee well friends, if there are any suggestions or you want any recipes. Until then one step closer to living your dreams ……xx

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Sognare in Italiano – Dreaming in Italian

OK. Blog Number 2. Now what? Thanks for all the support for “Talking on Corners”; at least I know I can write.

The theme for this Blog is TRAVEL and my recent trip to Italy. Even though it feels like years ago it was actually only 2 months back.

Where to begin? There have been numerous movies made about Italy (most of them funnily enough have to do with middle aged women going to “find themselves”). It’s thanks to my sister that I’m doing a blog about Italy; when I came back she asked that do a travel blog.

One thing I never expected was to completely and utterly fall in love with a country. Yes, it’s true, it does happen! I thought it was some cliché but alas, it’s in my blood and I’m already planning the trip back for next year!

Let me also add we did the trip in Italian Summer – July. Now I’m born and raised in Africa, so I thought I could handle heat, haha, have you ever heard of someone of Africa ending up with a heat rash???? That was me! Putting as much foundation on my arms as possible to try to combat the redness, which was probably increased by the fact we were walking everywhere.

 SO where did we go? Rome (of course), Capri, Sorrento, Amalfi Coast and Rome again.

We had 3 full days in Rome in Total and I would suggest that 3 or 4 days is perfect. The 1st day alone is ALL about the sight-seeing and filling up at least two memory cards of your camera. Taking pictures of the Trevi Fountain and the Colosseum at every single possible angle (you can delete and edit at home).

Our first day there was just that. Sightseeing.

We ended up getting the “Green Light Tours” Hopper Bus (Similar to London’s sightseeing buses). Except I think we travelled a mere 3 Km’s or so and jumped off, but, it was worth it though as it takes you through the Vatican City which is a little bit out. Most of the famous sites in Rome are all within walking distance of each other.

We were fortunate to stay in the Grande Hotel Palatino which is literally one block away from both the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. From there hit a right and you have one LONG street (Via dei Fori Imperiali). Your jaw will be open and your camera clicking for the next 40 minutes literally. This street takes you into the heart of the city where behind every corner is another landmark. The Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps are so hidden they seem to “jump” on you. MUST DO is to buy a nice big gelato at the Trevi Fountain.

And then there’s the food, I think I need a separate Blog just to go into all the detail. The area just south of the Spanish Steps is full of gorgeous cafes on picturesque cobbled streets. When we sat down you literally had to pull in your feet when cars drove past. The food is simple, fresh and delicious, and even the restaurants that seem to be tourist traps will still feed you well. Without fail every place I ate at had the most amazing food, and the staff, friendly.

BEST parts of Rome? Without a doubt, the feast for your eyes. Every single street, every single building is absolutely breathtaking. On our last day there we actually just “roamed” (pardon the pun). We got lost a couple of times but the aim was literally just to explore. We stumbled across the changing of the guard in front of parliament as well, a big ceremony with LOTS of yummy Italian men in uniform. Navy, Police, Army were all present and marching.

Bad parts of Rome? If any? The only thing I would complain about literally is the fact that all of the clothes shops are ridiculously expensive. I had grandeur dreams of going to Rome and coming back with Gucci, Versace, all these Italian brands but I could not part with 400 Euros just for one top. The second thing is the fact that every single souvenir store was not owned by an Italian? Yes, mostly Chinese.

Next Part – Capri

Known for its Celebrities and Lavish shops Capri may be Italy’s version of Monte Carlo. Extravagant yes, and deservedly so. Capri is possibly one of the most beautiful places I have seen. We ended up taking a bus to Napoli and catching the Ferry to Capri. Not only does it have the beauty of an “island” it also has the “drama”, with sheer rock cliffs and beautiful sea beneath it. It is also “Pretty”, the buildings are quaint, every single balcony has flowers hanging off it, the streets are cobbled and lemoncelli is available at every corner. The name Capri can actually be traced back to the Greeks, the first colonists to populate the island. This probably explains all the white washed buildings. I will however warn you in advance of the roads, I thought I had seen it all with driving in the Caribbean, but no. Capri tops it all. I cannot even begin to explain the number of times I closed my eyes.

Picture the scene, driving on winding roads in a “mini” mini bus, on a single lane road with about a sheer 500 foot drop to the ocean below, crashing onto lime scale rocks. Then add another mini “mini” bus coming from the opposite direction, with a couple of scooters overtaking every now and again. It was an experience in itself. Enough said.

It was Also in Capri that I had the best pizza of the entire trip, walk down the main street just off the Piazza and your nose will direct you to a little Bakery. It was a mini Margherita with fresh basil on top and the dough was so fresh it felt like a pillow!

That evening we took possibly the biggest ferry I’ve ever seen from Capri to Sorrento to settle down for the next few days.

Sorrento and The Amalfi

Sorrento is beautiful, again, breath-taking with its sheer cliff’s. Probably the friendliest of the towns we went to. It is centred around tourists and is the perfect place to make a base while you tour the Amalfi. It also has cheaper shops (I finally got to buy clothes). I bought some hilarious kitchen tea towels with recipes for lemoncelli that had spelling errors all over it. Sorrento was also the place where we truly got to experience proper Italian nightlife, found a jazz café on a side street courtesy of a local.

We did a tour of the Amalfi coast; every corner we turned, the views had all of us going wooooow! Indescribable views! Favourite towns? Postiano and Rafello without a doubt.

Postiano is the cutest cobbled town nestled in the hills and leads to the coastline. Filled with ceramics and a gorgeous café that has fresh buffalo mozzarella. Most of the ceramics have fruit, scroll work, or scenery painted on them. They consist of decorative pieces such as plates, tiles, bowls, and figures. The lemon, by far, was the one object used as the focus on most of the pieces. Mostly due to the fact that the Sorrento and Amalfi coastlines are famous for their lemon groves and lemons that grow to be the size of small watermelons.

Massive Lemons in Amalfi

Postiano Ceramic Artwork

Amalfi has two larger beaches on either end of the town, the long and pebbly Marina Grande beach (where we swam) and the rocky Le Sirene beach behind the port. For African Skin the water is cold! Not what we are used to. We ate at the Ristorante Garden in Ravello, possibly the best view I have ever, ever, ever seen in my life! A peaceful area with a small population, Ravello offers stunning views of the Mediterranean. Food was good, not exceptional but good, but with the view overlooking the entire Amalfi Coast it was top class!

 And that was Italy!

Must Do’s? Ceramics from Postiano, A dip in the Mediterranean Sea, A tour of Capri (no matter what) and Gelato at the Trevi Fountain.

Now onto the next trip….

Woah almost forgot !Recipe of the day?

Roast Italian Fish

 1.      Preheat the oven to fan 180C/ conventional 200C/gas 6. Take the fish fillets with the skin on, and season with salt, pepper and a dash of chilli. Heat the olive oil in a large pan and cook the fillets skin side down for 2-3 minutes until just crisp. Transfer to a large roasting tin, skin side down. 2.      Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and scatter around the fillets. Cut the olives in half and scatter over the tomatoes, followed by the pine nuts. Season.  Put a tablespoon of Pesto on top of each fillet.

3.      Put the tray in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, until the fish is tender. Remove from the oven and scatter the tomatoes with a the basil leaves. Spoon onto four warm plates and top each with fish. Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil.

Talking on Corners – dedicated to Michelle

Ok. This is it. My first ever Blog. Breathe. I’ve been threatening to do this for months now, and last night when I was falling asleep the words were all streaming through my head and I made up my mind, today’s the day.

What’s it gonna be about? Current Events, Celebrities, Recipes, Event Organisation tips.
All the things I love. But who am i? And why would you want to read my blog?
Complicated question……Zimbabwean Born, Botswana Raised, British passport holder, living in South Africa. Confused yet? I’m also a white Muslim.
That sums it up. Executive Recruiter, Current Events Fundi, Masterchef wanna-be and mostly a typical Leo, trying to find my piece of spotlight in this world.

I consider myself to be somewhat of a ‘know it all’. My friends refer to me as “Nancy Drew” (and I even have a coat to go with it). This blog is a way to share my wisdom, and my valuable opinion on matters (I know you want to hear them).

So where to begin? Perhaps a summary of the past week? Or year?
Let’s start off with the fact that I’ve been to 5 weddings already this year, 3 of which I was a bridesmaid for. Yup. Combine that with the fact I was born into an “event organisation” family, which means I’m pretty much your go-to person on any function matters.
Birthday Parties, Corporate Events, Baby Showers, Engagement Parties, Bridal Showers, Weddings; whatever you want I can organise. I keep abreast with current trends and design ideas and I’m seriously considering making a career out of it.
Where do you draw the line? When do you give up your “job” and live your “dream”?
Ok I have had COUNTLESS trainers/guru’s/psychologists telling me that you just need to drop everything and “do it”, but it’s not that simple, is it?
I’m at that stage in my life that all I want to do is going home and be a teenager again, but how can a self-respecting 25 year old go home to live with mummy and daddy again? Or can I? I also have this mentality in me that no matter what I do I will succeed? Is that an Ego or arrogance? Or is it just positive self-belief?

OK. Topics of the week:
Troy Davis execution is number 1 on my list right now. Your views? Until about a week ago I don’t think I knew who this man was but last night I was rallying like he was my brother to prevent his execution (this is coming from someone who generally supports the death penalty too). WAY TOO MUCH DOUBT to kill that man, there is much much more to the story there and I’m waiting for a mountain of shocking stories to arise now.

Number 2 on my list? Charlie Sheen / Ashton Kutcher. Personally, 2 ½ men is my favourite show of all time (I think) and I was an AVID Charlie supporter (possibly because my boyfriend aspires to be like him – Charlie Harper is his Hero, literally). Is there a show without him?
I highly doubt ratings will be so good. Maybe the first 3 episodes yes, the world wants to see whether Ashton Kutcher can match Charlie. I do feel slightly sorry for him, all that pressure but in my honest view point they will bring in on board to “wrap up” the show properly.
Your thoughts?

Number 3 I think would have to be “The Good Food and Wine Show” happening in Johannesburg at the moment.
I AM SO EXCITED! Gordon Ramsay and Master Chef Contestants, Adam and Alvin will all be there.
If anyone has a spare ticket to Gordon Ramsay’s dinner on Friday night let me know, I would happily be a seat filler! As for the event on Saturday the first thing I’m going to do is buy the Master Chef recipe book, the second thing it to ask Alvin or Adam what was the dish they made for the auditions? I want to enter, no doubt, but I think that dish is the most crucial out of the whole contest. You have to impress the judges, out of possibly 5000 dishes yours must be the one to stand out. No “roast chicken” will do that.
So what’s the creative/ unusual dish that you would make? I NEED HELP. When I get through, I will thank you personally, I promise!

The other topic I wanted to mention this week is social media. #iloveit!
Not only that but how it’s changing our language completely. Notice the #? I had had to restrain myself about 6 times already in this article from inserting # into thoughts. Pretty soon we are going to be SAYING hash tag before comments  words like “unlike” and “defriend” have entered our speech as legitimate verbs, Example? “Re-tweet” is now in the Oxford Dictionary,
• Pronunciation:/riːˈtwiːt/
• verb: (on the social networking service Twitter) repost or forward (a message posted by another user). Noun: are posted or forwarded message on Twitter”

Ok… So to summarize:

Top trends for weddings?
*) NO ORGANZA! Go for more luxurious, expensive feeling table linens, Crisp Lines, Bringing in the colour through Flowers and Linens. NO ORGANZA!
*) Chinese Lanterns – LOVE THESE. Releasing a lantern into the sky and making a wish together is a MUST!
*) Cute, personalised “quirky” things – Having your guests take Polaroid’s during the night and writing messages on them for you. Having “Props” for your guests to take funny pictures through the night (you can send these to them after the wedding as favours)
*) Brides are choosing Flowers for the tables that are in the same colour tones, but of different sizes. They are also changing the shape of the tables, mixing round with square. These trends give the reception tables a more interesting look and a less “coordinated” feel.
*) An increasingly popular trend is the “Candy Station” or “Biscuit Bar” This consists of a variety of candies or treats placed in varied sizes of glass containers and grouped on a table. Pretty silver spoons in each container allow guests to fill small boxes or bags as take-home favours.
Whatever you go for just make sure its Personalised to you as a couple.

Recipe of the day?
Lamb Shanks served with dauphinoise potatoes  Easy dish BUT takes time to cook!
The low down:
4 lamb shanks – approx. 1kg bone in
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon flour
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 tin chopped peeled tomatoes
3 celery sticks chopped
4 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/3 cup chicken/ Veg stock
a pinch of fresh oregano
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon dry rosemary
A Pinch of Chilli Powder to taste
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Parsley to Garnish
The process
Salt and pepper the shanks, in a large pot brown the shanks in oil on all sides, then remove and set aside.
Soften the garlic, chillis and onions on a medium heat, add the meat and then add all the other ingredients, stir and simmer for 10-15 minutes until liquid has reduced by 1/2.
Pour everything into a casserole dish and cook in a 180 Celsius oven for about 1 1/2 hours, turning the shanks every 20 minutes.

The Potatoes
300mldouble cream
75ml milk
1garlic clove, crushed
1lbpotatoes, sliced
S&P
Nutmeg
A Pinch of Chilli Powder
Gently heat cream, milk, chilli powder and garlic. Pour over seasoned potatoes. Put into a dish and bake at 150 Degrees Celsius for an hour.

Serve and Enjoy 

That’s me! First Blog done! SHEW! Now to establish some sort of order for the next one! Perhaps my dream will be fulfilled and some magazine like Glamour/ Heat or Cosmo will notice my talent and snap me up! Until then……one step closer to living your dreams!
x