Monday, 30 June 2014

Peach Cobbler

It was a cold Winter's day, a fire burning brightly in the fireplace -  a warm homely atmosphere. Reading magazines; watching movies and just relaxing - that is how this Peach Cobbler came about. Mark was reading the Go Magazine and showed me the recipes and of course my mouth started watering and I had to have something nice to eat. There was a Quince Cobbler Recipe with an option to use tinned fruit. I have never eaten a quince, I don't know what it is, but I did have tinned peaches and all the other ingredients. I have since changed the measurements of the ingredients and this is the only recipe that I have ever been able to tweak and change and each time I make it, it is a success. Sometimes I even add the peach syrup by pouring it over the peaches and mixture before adding the castor sugar. It is really optional, depending on how sweet you want it to be.

Peach Cobbler Ingredients

8 Tablespoons Butter
1.5 Cups Flour
4 Teaspoons Baking Powder
A Pinch Of Salt
1 Cup Of Caster Sugar
1.5 Cups Milk
1 Small Tin Peach Slices (410g Net Weight)

Hand Mix Or Use Electric Mixer

1. Preheat Oven To 200 Deg Celsius
2. Put The Butter In A 20 x 20 Oven Proof Dish
3. Place In Oven To Melt
4. Mix The Flour; Baking Powder; A Pinch Of Salt And Half The Castor Sugar
5. Gradually Add The Milk And Mix Until You Have A Smooth Batter (I Use My Kenwood Mixer, But Should Be Done With A Wooden Spoon - Makes No Difference)
6. Pour The Batter Onto The Melted Butter In The Oven Proof Dish - DON'T STIR
7. Put The Peach Slices On Top Of The Batter And Sprinkle The Rest Of The Castor Sugar On Top (Optional - Pour Peach Syrup Over Peaches And Mixture Before Adding Castor Sugar - Don't Stir)
8. Put The Dish Back In The Oven; Close The Door And Turn Down The Heat To 180 C
9. Bake For 40 Minutes Or Until The Sides Of The Cobbler Have Caramelised.
10.Serve With Custard; Ice Cream Or Fresh Cream

Sprinkle Castor Sugar Over Peaches

Bake Until Sides Are Caramelised

Serve With Ice Cream; Custard Or Fresh Cream

Peach Cobbler Adapted From The Go Magazine's Quince Cobbler

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Sunday, 29 June 2014

The Vampire Strikes Again

On Thursday I went to the doctor, not because I am sick as such, I am just feeling exhausted and physically tired and run down. Before Clint died I never went to the doctors. Other than my annual gynaecologist visit, which I was pedantic about, if I went to the doctor once a year it was a lot. Now I have not been to the gynae in years, but live at my GP.

I was the first patient and when the doctor arrived she was given a list of messages mainly for sick notes. Wow did she have a rant about sick notes and patients trying to pull the wool over her eyes to get booked off work. Note to self NEVER EVER ask for a sick note. I started feeling more and more like a hypochondriac as she went on about how the whole week she has been harassed for sick notes and now she sends the patients for blood tests and to see a specialist to see why they are not responding to the medication and not getting better. Oh my word she sent me for blood tests and she is referring me to a specialist, because neither Nexuim or Lockit has done a thing for my ulcer and GERD. Does she think I am also trying to pull the wool over her eyes, but I didn't ask for a sick note.

My GP reminds me so much of Devi from Carte Blanche. For those that don't know, Carte Blanche is an actuality magazine show  and Devi is an investigative Journalist/Presenter on the show. My GP not only looks very much like her; similar hairstyle; similar facial features; similar build, only my GP is a bit smaller, but as cheeky as ever. She tells it like it is and there is no messing with her. After our almost 20 minute chat about her patients trying to get sick notes and her staff trying to take advantage of her good nature. Ahem, I didn't think that was possible. She is really a lovely person, but don't mess with her. I sheepishly told her that she now had my neurotic issues to deal with. I just really needed to have blood tests done to check my iron levels as I do have low iron anemia and also my thyroid and cholesterol checked again. She put me on Cholesterol medication in January and our Medical Aid only paid one month supply and would not even pay for it under acute medication until I had gone for a whole battery of tests that would come from our limited savings (acute benefits). I haven't done the tests or taken the tablets and every month when I collect my Nexium from the pharmacy, the one pharmacist is always on at me about getting my cholesterol checked again. Not because she is losing out on a sale, but she is genuinely concerned. Medical aids will rather a patient die and save the fund money than pay for Cholesterol medication. Apparently the medication is really cheap, so if my cholesterol is still high, I will just buy the pills. It is really all about the principal of it. We are on the second highest plan and have savings from 2012 still available, but they won't pay for Cholesterol medication.

I could only have my bloods done on Friday, because I had to fast for my thyroid functions test. I hadn't eaten that morning, but did have two cups of coffee and apparently the thyroid loves coffee. Lancet laboratories has opened a branch at one of our local shopping centers, which is just so convenient, because I do not have to schlep to a hospital. I do not go to the murdering hospital that killed Clinton, which is the closest hospital to both home and work and the second closest is part of the same group. So it is quite far to a hospital that is not part of that group of hospitals. Having a laboratory in a shopping center right near our house is a bonus. An added bonus is the Sister who manages the laboratory. She did my bloods last year at the laboratory at Olivedale Clinic and I recognised her and she recognised me. She must draw bloods from literally hundreds if not thousands of patients in a year, yet she remembers her patients. Why, because she takes an interest in her patients and does not just jab the needle in and off you go; like some of the sisters. So no it was not a vampire this time stealing my blood, but a very kind an caring person and although my veins are barely visible she does not hurt at all.

Yesterday, the doctor's receptionist phoned to tell me that Dr S wanted to discuss my blood results with me on Monday morning. Normally they just call and say the blood results were normal or I have to collect a prescription. This is the first time that I have been told to come in and discuss them. She told me to come in at 9.15; the doctor only starts consulting at 9.30. I said it was OK, then 10 minutes later remembered that I am taking Chad to do his learners licence - yes the day has arrived faster than expected and he has hardly learnt. I could not get hold of the doctor's receptionist, she phoned as they were closing for the day. Now I am worried that they did not get my text message to cancel; I am worried about why I have to go and discuss my results - is she going to tell me to stop being neurotic and there is nothing wrong with me; is she going to tell me they have found something serious; or is it just routine - I don't know.

I have been very irritated with Chad, because he won't put his head down and study for his learners and I am going to be so angry if he fails. It will be such a waste and he is doing bike and car on the same day - one at 8 am and one at 11 am, which means I will be spending the whole morning at the licencing department worrying about my blood results and it is probably nothing to worry about.

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Thursday, 26 June 2014

I Wish I Was There

After our weekend in Durban and also even whilst we were still down there, we all wished we could move there and life would be better. There is no doubt that waking up to the roar of the sea and the sun rising over the ocean just has to be a better way of life, but can moving far from your current location really improve life. Is it really just a case of never being able to run away from yourself. Will the nightmares and stresses and strains from our current lives just follow us to our next location. I think there is truth in all those statements.

I always seem to find quotes that apply to my current life that jump out at me when I am looking for quotes for my Thursday Thoughts. This week was no different. No I will never be truly happy and no I will never stop grieving and crying for Clint. No I cannot run away from myself and moving to Durban will be both impractical and impossible, but if I could I really would.

The tears will always be there, the heartache and pain will always be there; the grief and hurt will always be there no matter where we live, but staring out at the ocean or getting swallowed up in the sounds and sights of Durban at night has a calming effect on me. It washes away all the other stresses and strains, so yes I think we can run away from ourselves.

I am off to the doctor now. Have a wonderful Thursday, we have made it over the hump and now it is just downhill to the weekend.





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Monday, 23 June 2014

Good Bye Durban - We Will Be Back

As I type this at 6.30 pm, we are back home and it is freezing cold. The ocean and warmth a comforting memory. What a privilege to wake up to this every morning.

We reluctantly packed up, put our luggage in the car and went to breakfast. The queue outside the breakfast room was crazy long and we all agreed that we would rather get food along the way. We went to check out and what a difference to checking in. The lady who assisted us with the check out asked if we had breakfast, Mark said no we are going to rather leave early. She told us to go to the breakfast room and ask for three breakfast packs whilst Mark checks out. Walking past a long line of people waiting for seats is very uncomfortable and Chad and I just left it. The receptionist asked why we did not get the packs and next thing she is calling a staff member to go get us three breakfast packs. So different to our check in experience. One of the kitchen staff brought these packs to us.

Breakfast Pack
I was so impressed. The packs each had a breakfast bar; a Yogurt; two croissants (I got to have my croissant after all) one sweet and one with ham and cheese; a muffin; a Ceres juice; a fruit salad and an apple. All was really forgiven after our less than wonderful experience when checking in. It honestly was a lovely stay at the hotel and we will go back and stay there again.

This is the first time ever that we have not stopped for food both on the way down and on the way back. Going down I had made chicken rolls. Chad was gobsmacked, because we always stop and buy food. I had taken out a chicken to defrost on Thursday morning to prepare for Friday, not knowing that we would be going away for the weekend. I roasted the chicken on Friday morning and made chicken mayo rolls for out trip. Coming home our breakfast packs kept us fueled and other than stopping to buy biltong; cold drinks and an ice cream each on the way back we didn't stop and buy the usual Steers or Nandos. It was not missed going down or coming back. The trip back was not totally uneventful. Plenty of Ferrari's; BMW's and other sports cars that where at the Festival on Saturday were all on their way back to Joburg. A whole convoy going back.

Other than being with our animals, I really wish we did not have to come back to this cold place. Shame my poor cat really misses us. She was crying and crying and although Sheila had fed her, I gave her food to Jingles and gave her more food. I tried to hold her - she hates that and then I had to just ignore her cries. I then started unpacking, because I could not find my USB Cable for my camera. I emptied bags and cases and left them lying all over my room and then found my USB cable. As I sat uploading the rest of my photos, Garfield climbed into the bag on the bed, snuggled real low down and then fell asleep for almost an hour. The crying over!! She always climbs into one of our bags or suitcases when we come back from a holiday or weekend away. It seems to comfort her and assures her that we are home

To think that this time last night I had a Summer top on with the windows wide open and now I am freezing with heaters and electric blankets. Thank you Durban and Garden Court Marine Parade for a wonderful warm weekend.

Here are some pictures of when Chad and I stayed at the Southern Sun North Beach in September 2010.

It Rained On The First Day

And Then It Warmed Up

Ocean Basket Meals

Present Chad Bought Mark

Another Present
I must say Durban was so much cleaner now than in 2010. We did not see any litter lying in the streets and it just looked so much better thus time around.

All my posts about Durban were done at some stage of this weekend. This post done on Sunday, but all posts were scheduled to be published on Monday, otherwise I publish posts and leave gaps in them or don't publish at all like our previous weekend away.

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Durban At Night

I woke up with a fright - it was dark and icy cold in the hotel room. I jumped up and wondered where Chad and Mark were - I thought it was the middle of the night. I grabbed my phone and it was only 17h30. I had left the aircon on the lowest setting and had a good sound sleep until it got just too cold in the room. I made myself a cup of tea from the complimentary sachets left in the room and then sat at the desk, laptop open looking out at the night; listening to the early evening sounds. Cars are racing up and down the beach front; ninety's music filters through the open window; the smell of cigarette and hubbly smoke permeates the air. How I wish I could just have one cigarette as I look down at the hubbub downstairs. My smoke and their smoke meet and mingle as I watch the comings and goings of strangers in the night. I pull myself out of that wistful reverie, sit down and start updating my blog.

The Queue 
I get a Whatsapp message from Mark - they are still in the queue to get into the festival. Oh My Word - I slept for hours and they are still in the queue to get into the show. Turns out that they had been walking around looking at the exhibits and the queue they were in was for the actual show with Jeremy Clarkson and Co.

These pictures Mark took speak for themselves, the show was packed.

After the frustratingly long queues they had a really good time at the show.

The outside night life quietened down to an almost eerie silence. Chad sent a message to let me know the show was over and they were on their way out the stadium about to find a taxi to bring them back to the hotel. The battled to find a taxi and walked to the closest hotel, hopped into a taxi and arrived at the hotel at around 9.15 pm. The show was totally worth it, the queues and all. They say this stadium and show was so much better and more organised than the Nitro Circus show at the FNB Stadium.

We then took a walk up to the Ocean Basket for a late dinner. We were just in time as they close at 10 pm. You would think that they would open later when there is a big festival in town. We were not even the last to arrive, quite a few people came in after us. We were told the kitchen closed at 10 pm sharp so we had to order quickly, but could then take our time to eat. The food was good though. I had the Pick Of The Ocean; Chad had a Platter For One and Mark had Three Way Calamari. We don't even need a menu at Ocean Basket, we have the same food all the time.

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