Saturday, 30 April 2016

Bobotie Recipe

Bobotie is a Traditional South African Cape Malay Dish made with minced beef and an egg "custard" topping. There is some folk who dispute the fact that it is a Traditional South African Dish, but whether you agree or agree to disagree it IS a Traditional South African Cape Malay Dish. Everyone has their own version of the recipe, but I can almost guarantee the ingredients are all the same and only the measurements and cooking time differ {ever so slightly}.

I never used to eat Boboti because .... raisins!!! I absolutely hate raisins and they remind me of squashed flies so I don't eat them and they taste vile. Funny that, because the other day I was eating a Hot Cross Bun which I absolutely love, whilst making Boboti and skipping the raisin part and this {massive} penny dropped. Hot Cross Buns are FULL of raisins!!! I have never thought about it whilst devouring dozens and dozens of them. So barring Hot Cross Buns I don't eat raisins.

Bobotie was a complete no-no until we went to Cape Town in 2009 and had dinner at a Restaurant that served Traditional South Africa Cuisine. I decided to have Bobotie forgetting the reason why I didn't eat it. I don't ever recall there being raisins in the dish but it was so good. I made it once or twice after that and never made it again until about two years ago and at one stage we were having it almost once a week. Everyone loves it. I don't add raisins because Chad and I both dislike raisins - see above. Sometimes my custard topping comes out perfectly, other times not so perfectly, but there is never ever even a teaspoon left over. Chad always goes scratching around the kitchen and the fridge late at night looking for leftovers and is always disappointed because there is never any Bobotie leftovers. The photo below is not the best example of what it should look like. It works better with a smaller baking dish - smaller but deeper so the topping is thicker. I can't credit the origins of the recipe as I don't know where I found it and I have changed it over the years to suit us.

Bobotie Recipe

This recipe serves four to five (but remember we are a family of adults with HEALTHY appetites. Adjust accordingly.

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Bobotie Is a Traditional South African Cape Malay Dish made with Mince Meat (Ground Beef) with an Egg Custard Topping, traditionally served with Yellow Rice
  • 1 Kg Lean Beef Mince
  • 30 ml Cooking Oil
  • 1 Large Onion
  • 20 ml Curry Powder (Medium)
  • 30 ml Sugar
  • 3 ml Black Pepper
  • 30 ml White Vinegar
  • 125 ml Seedless Raisins (Optional)
  • 35 ml Chutney (Mrs Balls Hot Chutney)
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 2 Slices Thick White Bread
  • 300 ml Milk
  • 5 ml Tumeric
  • 3 Medium Eggs
Preheat Oven To 180C Peel and Dice OnionHeat Oil in a Pan and add Onions. Cook over a medium heat until transparent. Approximately 2 minutesAdd the Curry Powder, Fry for 1 minute and then add the Mince Meat.Cook until lightly browned and crumblySoak the Bread in the Milk. Gently squeeze the Milk out the Bread and mash the Bread with a fork in a separate bowl. Set the Milk aside.Add the Bread to the Mince and StirAdd the Sugar; Raisins (optional) Tumeric; Vinegar; Pepper and Chutney to the Mince. Stir Well and Simmer for 5 MinutesPut the Mince Mixture into a Greased Baking Dish and put the 2 Bay Leaves on top of the MixtureBake For 20 Minutes in the Oven to dry out the MinceWhilst the Mince is in the Oven. Beat the Eggs with the remaining Milk.When the Mince Mixture is ready, remove from the Oven and pour the egg over the Mince. Removing the Bay Leaves first.Return to the oven and bake for a further 20 minutes or until the topping is set and Golden BrownServe with Yellow Long Grain Rice and Extra Chutney
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4 to 5 servings

Have you ever made Bobotie - do you manage to perfect the custard topping every time?? What is your favourite traditional recipe??


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Sunday, 24 April 2016

Desensitized or Self Absorbed

March is really not a pleasant month at all. It is the bad luck month. It started the year before Clint died when my car was stolen in March. A seriously crappy car not worth even giving away, but it was reliable and light on petrol. I took Chad to swimming lessons on a busy road with parents and children in and out during the half hour lesson. We came out and my car was gone. Lying on the front seat was the house keys and on the back seat Chad's swimming bag he forgot in the car. Chad's name and our address written in big bold marking pen all over the bag. Fortunately, it was an old bag from nursery school and it had our previous address written on it. I don't know if they ever went to the old address to try and get in with the keys, but we drove around later in the day looking for my car, never to be found and it had no petrol in it. I was supposed to fill up before swimming but we were late.

A year later in March, Clinty died and that just wiped out all the bad and nothing beats that. However, because of his death, it is hard to cope with the other stuff that happens. Two years after that Mark bought a Nissan 1400 that had been built up and cost a lot of money. He had just bought it and it was uninsured. He sent some young guy who worked for him just up the road to buy something and a woman jumped the red lights and smashed into him. No insurance payout and the car was badly damaged. I don't even know why they never pursued the woman who jumped the lights. We were also back and forth to court for the case against the person who hit Clint so that wasn't really on top of my agenda. I think there was also a debate around this kid and taking a chance in a very fast car. Anyway, he was fine, but incidentally also died in a car crash probably a year later, but he no longer worked for us when he was killed.

So we have had all these things happening in March, there have been more, but right now I can't think of them. They were important at the time because dealing with life and grieving was very difficult. We get to this March and again, it has been hell. I was involved in a bumper bashing on a very rainy grey dark cloudy afternoon - a week before Clint's death anniversary. Quite frankly it doesn't matter who was at fault, I was involved and it is still traumatic and Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome is very real. I suffer from PTSS from Clinty's death and no I don't use it as an excuse or crutch. It is real. People are so desensitised to the carnage and death on our roads or deaths and maiming through crime that now days being in a bumper bashing will get you if you lucky, a "Oh Dear" or nothing. I am not looking for sympathy, but seriously no "are you OK emotionally" seeing that physically I am fine. Not even is your car ok - nothing.

I have had a few things going on but this is the background to this post and another reason why I unpublished my blog. I was in this situation where this woman I met online through blogging had an issue at work. A fairly new job and from January, she started emailing every day about her job. How unhappy she was, what she should do. I didn't mind initially, even though it wasn't one email a day - it was a lot. This went on for the whole of January. Then it was my birthday - she said nothing about my birthday and I said nothing. At the end of the day, I said it was my birthday, we are going out for dinner I will chat, as in email, another day. I know, I am the worst at remembering birthdays. Even with a reminder, I forget. I have all the best intentions and I forget. Life gets the better of me and it is no excuse, just that I know it happens.

The next morning before I was in the shower I get an email, not how you, how was your birthday just another rant about the job. I was annoyed and let it slide, but was less enthusiastic for want of a better word when it came to replying and responding. It didn't stop the daily emails. As my life started to become more and more fraught with drama and problems I got more and more irritated and aware of how self-involved this person was. Eventually, I had enough of hinting that my life was not as stress-free as she may believe and we all have problems. I kind of lost it when again before I showered I received an email and the latest drama was not being able to use the Company's (unauthorised mind you) WiFi because they were releasing her from her resignation period earlier.

That is when I thought "is my life so Instagram cropped and filtered that it looks perfect from the outside" - oh and SO materialistic and superficial that my only problem or stress could be my kitchen. Do I not even appear to be grieved and saddened by my son's death that someone's problem of not being able to use free WiFi is more stressful and traumatic than my own life grieving for my son. My blog is for all intents and purposes to work through my grief and to journal our lives - both the good and the bad. I don't want sympathy and don't tell my story for sympathy. I tell it because Clinton is my child and will always be my child. I blog about it because it is my story and this is my blog and my life and I do indulge my grief in March when it is his death anniversary. I don't mind listening to someone's problems for months on end but have some respect for what I am going through.

Anyway, after listing some of my problems in an email I have never heard from her again. Some people are in your life for a reason and some for a season and some for no reason at all. That was another reason why I took my blog down. Although it is still cropped and filtered and there are many more reasons, I thought about it and that person is just very self-centered and self-absorbed and it is not my problem. Perhaps we do just filter down our lives too much on Social Media. No one wants to air their dirty laundry in public and document every fight and argument and ALL the drama so we filter out the bad and concentrate on the good and then some people take that happy or fairly happy place and make it ugly.

The other word I couldn't remember in this post from my course feedback was "creatively". I was enthusiastic and worked hard and creatively in my course assignments. I never see myself as a creative person. I do, however, get carried away with my blog widgets and I have days when I love playing in Photoshop. I won't lie, I did get all creative with my images with the one assignment and made them look all fancy and creative, but I am by nature and skills, not a creative person.

I have all but given up with my photo a day challenge. My Word for the year was Creative but the universe decided, nope let's rather have drama and stress. How difficult is it to take a photo of something blue, of your favourite food or a card and post it on Instagram?? Not at all, but life can suck all that out of you and a simple photo becomes a stressful chore. How damn crazy is this - this post about Life Getting The Better Of Creativity was posted on the 26th of April 2014, today is the 24th of April 2016. April is obviously the aftermath of March, but I am sucked dry of creativity and posting random prompted photos on Instagram. I do enjoy it and don't see it as random prompts on a good day, but yes life!!! Say no more.

I went and had a look around Yummly, you can find out more about it here. It is like Pinterest but for food/recipes only. There are thousands of recipes and the first page that loaded was full of recipes for crepes. We call them pancakes. It reminded me that I made pancakes last week and they came out OK. The first time I made them, I had to throw the whole bowl of mixture away, they were so bad. This time, they were ever so slightly rubbery but very edible. I didn't sign up for Yummly because you have to give your full name and I don't want my personal details online - hence my immense dislike of Facebook. I need to have a good look at it, but I am feeling so sick. About 3 weeks ago, I also got a terrible bug on a Sunday and now again. As the day progresses the more sick I feel. Just looking at the picture of these pancakes is making me feel so nauseous. I have taken Valoid but it hasn't helped.

The dogs are nagging to play and I am just not up to it. Nala is grunting at me and moaning, she makes such a funny noise. I need to record it. I have my back to her lying on the bed and she is sitting on the floor moaning. She is not happy. Shame poor girl, but I really feel awful.

That is my massive moan for this week, blogging like no one is reading... Hope yours is better!!!

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Friday, 22 April 2016

Six Years Of Blogging - Time Is But An Illusion

Today 6 years ago I made my blog public. I started my blog on the 10 of April, but only made it public on the 22nd and it had a completely different name. I can't even remember the name, it has had so many. It feels like a lifetime ago that I started blogging yet it feels like just yesterday that Clinty died - it certainly does not feel like nine years ago. We always say time flies, but it really is just an illusion. For me, Mondays have always flown by and Tuesdays drag by slowly - no matter when it is, where it is or what I am doing. Mondays go fast and Tuesdays go slowly - yet every day I basically do the exact same thing and my routine never changes. Mondays fly - Tuesdays drag both have 24 hours in the day.

I still haven't decided on what to do with my blog going forward and I am starting to sound like a stuck record and very self-absorbed or blog absorbed. I might blog every day or almost every day - I have so many thoughts in my head or I may just give up. It seems any thought I put out there, even if I just think it and not say it out aloud, the universe decides otherwise and puts a stop to it. Another illusion or reality I am having at the moment.

I have mentioned a few times that I was busy doing a writing course and initially I wasn't happy with the way things were done at the Online College. Well, I finished the course and I passed. I also completed the Game Lodge Management Course and I passed both. These courses were supposed to tie up in a new adventure Mark and I were planning for our future, but that ship has sailed and we won't be boarding it now or in the far future. I passed my Game Lodge Management course with 85% and it sounds good, but it isn't really considering that a pass is 65%. The first module, Mark and I did together and we only got 67%. He hasn't done the rest and I did better in the other three without his opinion and (incorrect) input. Economics I only got 75% - it was tough because it was figures and percentages and blah blah blah boring.

Weirdly enough I found the Game Lodge Management course more interesting than the writing course. However, I got 90% for the writing course. Apparently, I have a great respect for the English Langauge and I also have good writing skills. The tutor certainly hasn't read Chad Life Us. I feel like a bit of a fraud because I am deleting the blog I started for the course. The Tutor believes it has potential and I was very enthusiastic and something else (can't remember). The thing is, it was just for the course because I wasn't using my Personal Journal/Blog for a course.

I did learn quite a lot from the course - like, who would have known when you write (for the web) you must use simple language, not flowery fancy language. Headings must be simple and not elaborate. Images are so important. I always thought I got carried away with images. Images must have captions. I am a bit confused about that as I am not sure if it should be a caption on the images through Pic Monkey or Photoshop or captions that you add when inserting your image into your post. I think it is the former, because when I did that she said my images were fantastic and no comments about adding captions on that assignment.

I also learned, no long paragraphs and long sentences. I didn't know paragraphs should be short. Chad said at school they were taught 5 lines to a paragraph. What I learned at school was too long ago for me to remember, besides when we were at school creative writing wasn't encouraged. I went to school when we had a Government and education department that didn't encourage women (girls) to do anything else but cook, sew or type - I didn't learn to type either - hence all the typos in this blog. My course blog was checked meticulously for spelling errors and typos - no could instead of good or their instead of there or had instead of add and so on.

There was a lot more that I learned and when you proof-read what you have written, you should rather have a 15-minute break and then go back and check for mistakes. How true is that!! I can read over something a million times and not see a glaringly obvious mistake, after I hit publish, do something else then reread what I have typed and then find all the errors.

She Thinks She Is A Bush Pig - Her Favourite Pose

What I need to do is tidy up and update my blog if I don't take it down. Next Friday we will have had Nala for 7 months and I haven't added her to our Animals page even though she has been the main character on my blog for a long time. Pluto died a year and 3 months ago yesterday and I haven't updated that either. That is a tough one and sometimes I forget that he is dead. I also forget that it was last January that he died and not this January - time is but an illusion.

I also want to have a look at a new app for recipes called Yummly - you can read all about it over here. I am always searching for recipes and I always end up making the same boring food or get stuck on something and over do it. Bobotie has been the latest recipe of the year, day, month; week.

Now it is way past my bedtime, I didn't realise it was so late and I will probably forfeit the 15-minute proof-reading rule for sleep. Tomorrow I have an appointment with my son to go on a shopping expedition. I need my energy and wits about me for that.

Have a great weekend.

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Sunday, 17 April 2016

My Blog - The Way Forward & Back Again

Just after I posted this previous blog post I unpublished my blog. I made it permission based read only, but never gave anyone permission to read it. The idea was to take it down permanently, but I wasn't quite ready to do that. My reasoning for deleting my blog was always to protect Chad from being searched as a young adult and traced to my blog. I believe he will be very angry - he has hinted at that. He doesn't want anyone reading about our lives Online. However, saying that, he told his girlfriend just after they met that I have a blog. He then said he was joking. She now knows that I do blog, but she doesn't know the name of my blog. I told him he shouldn't have said anything to her. I told her I am not a blogger, I just blog random thoughts about our life and that she really doesn't want to read them.

It turns out that in the end I didn't even unpublish my blog because of Chad. I unpublished it for many reasons, but when I told Chad I deleted "Chad Life Us" a look of surprise, shock and disappointment crossed his face and he asked why. I told him why and told him I have another blog to see what his reaction would be. I don't have another blog as such, I started one for my writing course because I didn't want to use my blog for assignments. He was seriously disappointed!! It was all those issues of him living in Clint's shadow and not being good enough resurfacing. I explained all the reasons why I unpublished it, but I will never delete it and he understood why I did it.

I started this blog on the 4 April 2010 with a random post on the10th and published it publically on the 21 April 2010. It is 6 years old this year and I don't really want to say Goodbye to it and put it to bed for good. Yesterday, Sammy from The Annoyed Thyroid sent me an email and she really is the voice of reason and said that my blog is a part of me and a lot of hard work has gone into it and it would be a shame to delete all those memories. It gave me a lot to think about. The unpublishing didn't work so it is back to the think tank. Just as a side note, if you are not a blogger reading this it does take a lot of work to blog. I don't even put much effort into my blog and it takes a lot of work so you can only imagine how much work it takes other bloggers to make their blogs so fantastic.

We all love Google but what we tend to forget is that Google rules the World or at least the Online World. If you don't abide by their rules you will be unceremoniously kicked off the grid. I received a notification from them to say my blog is returning  far too many incorrect 404 redirects. That basically means (I think) when people search something my blog comes up, but with either the wrong information or a missing page. Strange that is, because Chad Googled pictures of Mini Town to show JD what it looked like and up popped a picture of him at Mini Town - he was angry - then laughed and said haha I am famous. Yes, my child is as weird as what I am when it comes to personal space. Not only could you see the photo of him, but you could also read the post - so much for making a previously published blog private.

Due to fear of having Google delete my blog ( my blog is blogger based) after receiving their notification of incorrect 404 redirects I published it again. I then saw so many "Chad" related posts coming up as most searched and unpublished it. I jokingly said last night to both Chad and JD after Chad made some witty remark about my blogging that so many old Chad posts came up on my blog as most searched. JD joked and said it was her searching him. I am wondering if the old adage "More Truth Is Said In Jest" doesn't ring true here. You have to know Chad to understand him and you have to understand him to know that it is not just a simple matter of asking him about some things. He hides most of his true feelings about life and life's tragedies and disappointments and even joys and happiness very deep down. JD gets him and sometimes we both roll our eyes at him and the things he says, but we understand and just go with the his flow.

I couldn't resist posting this photo of him even though I have gone on and on about protecting him from being found on my blog through some random unrelated Google search - he looks so smart and ready to take on the world.

So why this post today. I do miss blogging or writing more than blogging. I do feel, though, that when I first started blogging, I blogged like no one was reading - because no one WAS reading. If anyone was reading I didn't know them so I could just purge my inner most thoughts and not care or not feel as though I had to filter everything I was blurting out. My blog initially was totally anonymous and no one even knew I blogged. Now I feel as though I have to censor most of what I say.

Today's post was supposed to be uncensored and unfiltered - I was supposed to write like no one was reading. It was supposed to be therapeutic because writing is therapeutic but it isn't therapeutic if you have to filter out stuff. It reminds me of when I went for therapy after Clinty died - the first therapist I spent most of the sessions filtering and censoring my thoughts. Naturally it was a waste of time and money and it didn't help. The only thing I took from her was and it wasn't even in therapy, I coincidentally bumped into her at our local shopping centre. She said I must go and hire a movie, a comedy and watch it with Chad because comedies force you to at least smile and stops you from hitting the very bottom of the dark hell you are in. The second therapist I went to, was for the most part safe, uncensored and unfiltered and it lessened the burden a bit. It made grief acceptable and understandable and necessary. I have a post on therapists unpublished and uncensored waiting for the day I can write like no one is reading.

The reason for today's post was going to be why I deleted or unpublished my blog or some of the reasons (I went off topic) and about my writing course (I am wondering if I am learning anything - old habits die hard - going off topic) and also about when your posts are Google +1'ed - Is that a thing.

Yesterday afternoon and until late last night, I deleted the search description in most of my posts. I haven't finished as yet and they don't all have a search description. If you are not familiar with blogger based blogs - they don't have an SEO plugin or widget like Wordpress does (that I am aware of). You put in a search description in your post and that comes up in Google search results as I understand it. I went through a stage of putting in search descriptions and my thinking now, was that is the reason for my blog coming up in search results even though it is unpublished (Google owns us remember) and also maybe why my blog is resulting in so many incorrect 404 redirects. What was interesting is that my posts with search descriptions have fewer views than those without.

My most viewed post is a post with a Shortbread recipe, the second most viewed is the post about Clinty's death -  Events Of 15 March 2007. There is no search description in that post nor the shortbread post but that is the most searched term on my blog - Shortbread. The third most viewed post is about Cuticura Cream which does have a search description. What I noticed last night is that the post on the Events of 15 March 2007 has 298.989 +1's. I don't understand how +1's work - the post wasn't viewed 298.989 times - how was it +1'ed so many times. In recent years, I added my posts to Google which comes up as one +1. I stopped that now too. The other high +1's are the shortbread and Cuticura posts - I never added them to Google and they have only been viewed about 2000 times or just under.

I don't think Wordpress has  a +1 in the stats like Google stats has - not analytics but Google dashboard stats. I also don't know how one sees these 298.989 +1's posts to see who plus one'd my post. Did someone plus one it once and then 298 thousand more people see it and plus one or is the 298.989 actually 2000 odd and everyone who viewed it plus one'd it when they read it. The same people have viewed it more than once I am sure.

I had an email conversation with another blogger about the frustrations of the technical side of blogging and this is one of the things that really burns my brain - I don't understand it and it frustrates me to no end. Especially when I can't see something to figure it out.

The other night we were watching The Middle and something went wrong with our decoder and we missed it and I said to Chad can't you go back and he said "Mom!!! You always sort out our Computers and printers when something goes wrong, no matter what happens to them, you fix them but sometimes you ask such stupid questions about simple stuff"  Not being able to watch The Middle and this damn Google Plus One thing. Simple stuff I don't get!!!

So with a fried brain from trying to figure out who why or what is happening with Google Plus I am going to say Goodbye for today. I am still not sure about whether my blog will be published or not. At the moment, it is published whilst I delete all the search descriptions. Yes, it has to be published to delete search descriptions. Rolls eyes in exasperation whilst wishing you a lovely Sunday - what is left of it.

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