Archive for the Family Category


Posted in Daily Life, Emotions, Family, Friends, Life, Musings, People, Personal, POETRY, Random, Reflections, Spirituality on January 12, 2011 by Mandy



fading brightness

from mountains of glory

to canyons of fate

golden shades melting

turning into brown

the stars have dimmed

in the sky once bright

shine your rainbow prism

through the rift of clouds

where my feet will follow

and my heart will hold

visions of the dark night

  this never-ending rain

full of sorrow and pain

where my hands bleed

against my aching heart


©AvdL 2011



Crayfish Salad (entree)

Posted in Cooking, Family, Friends, Random, Recipe on October 26, 2010 by Mandy

A woman should never be seen eating or drinking, unless it be crayfish (lobster) salad and Champagne, the only true feminine and becoming viands.
Lord Byron 

 Crayfish is a freshwater variant of the lobster.


  • Sea salt and pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • Juice and zest of 1 lime
  • 1.5 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger root
  • 1 tablespoon chopped coriander
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil + more to drizzle
  • 1 pink grapefruit
  • 150 g (5 ¼ oz) drained cooked crayfish meat
  • 1/4 English cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced finely
  • 1 Pink lady apple, cored and diced finely, drizzled with lime juice to prevent discoloration
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced finely, drizzled with lime juice to prevent discoloration
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion + 1 teaspoon
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds, to top
  • Watercress leaves, to serve


  • Have six appetizer plates ready. In a small bowl, combine a pinch of sea salt, pepper, the cumin, the zest and juice of 1 lime, ginger, coriander and olive oil, and whisk to emulsify.
  • With a sharp serrated knife, peel the skin and pith from the grapefruit. Cut the fruit into segments, discarding the membrane. Dice finely and set side. Dice the lobster meat finely.
  • In a large bowl, gently toss the crayfish meat, cucumber, apple, grapefruit, avocado and 2 tablespoons of red onion. Drizzle with the dressing and toss again.
  • Place the ring mold on top of one plate. Pack 1/6 of the fish preparation into the mold and remove the ring. Repeat with the other five plates. Top with chopped red onion and pomegranate seeds. Drizzle with olive oil and decorate with watercress leaves. Serve immediately.

 “Things that excite me, be they pastry, or crayfish (lobster), or love…”  Jimmy Buffett.


Posted in Cooking, Dreams, Emotions, Family, Friends, Musings, People, Random, Reflections on October 24, 2010 by Mandy

My friends, you might have noticed that I’ve not been around for a couple of days…apart from the fact that business has been very demanding this time of year,  my current situation compels me to not post on a daily basis like I have been for the last 7 months….I’m not disappearing completely…… I will continue to respond to comments made on all entries ………talk to ALL OF YOU, read your blog daily and  still post regularly…just not on a daily basis.  It has taken me a while to work this out, I have been on a spiritual journey…a lot has been happening in my life over the last 2 years and I know that I have grown and moved forward a lot.  This place, right here, with all of you, has given me so much …you have opened my eyes to so many things that I thought was not possible for a long time…..and I want to thank each and every single one of you for the part YOU have played on this journey.

All I know TODAY…is that I have a life to explore…one I want to embrace with everything inside of me….Wayne Dyer said….”Stop acting as if life is a rehearsal. Live this day as if it were your last. The past is over and gone. The future is not guaranteed.”…this is how I want to live….one day at a time…but with all of my heart and all the passion I have inside of me…..I send all of you so much love…always 🙂

On a lighter note…I’ll share with you my Sunday morning….(many of you might know that I live on the water and not at all hard to catch fresh seafood)…Late last night I’ve put the crab pots out…..when I woke this morning…….

Now who can argue that there’s not many a thing that can beat a brunch like this….

Crab omelette with Veuve Clicquot (and can have this all by yourself:)

Pottering in my garden (my favourite thing)

Ending the day with a platter and good friends…..

Love from Downunder…have a happy weekend..see you for Monday Potluck my dearest friends oxoxoxox  


Posted in Cooking, Family, Friends, Recipe on October 20, 2010 by Mandy

In my opinion, the best comfort food is everything in one dish in the most unsophisticated way.  No introduction is needed to paella.. I am sure!  For those weekend late afternoon get together’s with special friends, good wine, jazz music in the background and the best rustic meal ever!!  What more can you ask for?



  • 5 large chicken legs
  • 1 lb pork
  • 20 slices of chorizo
  • 2 lb fresh mussels
  • 1 lb fresh squids
  • 20 large shrimps
  • 1 lb + 2 oz round rice or paella rice
  • 2 large onions
  • 2 lb tomatoes
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 10 artichokes hearts
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 6 oz fresh peas cleaned (or frozen)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 7 cups + 1/2 chicken stock
  • 2 saffran capsules
  • About 1 + 1/4 cups olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper



  • Cut your chicken legs in halves.
  • Chop the pork in cubes.
  • Heat some olive oil in your paella dish (I use an All-Clad braise pan as I do not own a paella dish). When hot, brown all meats on all sides and set them aside.
  • Wash and brush your mussels and place them in a large pot.
  • Cook on high heat for a few minutes until they open. Remove them but keep the juice they give out.
  • Heat some olive oil in a pan and cook the sliced squids for 5 mns. Set aside.
  • Heat some olive oil in a pan and cook the shrimps for 2 or 3 mns and set aside.
  • Blanch your tomatoes for 1 mn. Rinse them in cold water, peel them and remove the seeds. Chop them.
  • Heat your chicken stock.
  • Slice the peppers (remove all white parts and seeds).
  • Slice the onions.
  • Heat some olive oil in the paella dish and when hot, cook the onions and peppers until softer (on medium heat for at least 10 mns min.)
  • Add the tomatoes, the saffron, the bay leave and the rice, and mix well.
  • Cook for a few mns before starting to add the broth and mussel juice. Add a few ladlefuls and then add all the pieces of meat. Stir to make sure it does not gets sticky to the bottom, and continue with the rest of the broth. Do not cover your paella.
  • Cook the chorizo in a frying pan for a few mns (no oil is needed). Place on a paper towel to absorb the excess of grease.
  • 10 mns before the end, add the peas and the artichokes hearts.
  • Chop the garlic and parsley and add them to the paella 5 mns before the end, along with all other ingredients set aside: the mussels, the squids, the shrimps and the chorizo.
  • Serve without waiting!  A good Sauvignon Blanc normally goes well with this dish.


Posted in Emotions, Family, Friends, Life, Musings, People, Random, Reflections on October 13, 2010 by Mandy


I just could not keep this to myself…for weeks I have been waiting for a certain parcel to arrive from someone VERY special in South Africa…from experience I know that it can take forever and every single day I have been listening if the “Postie” on his scooter would actually slow down and stop….about 2 hours ago, as I was talking on the phone, I heard a knock on the door, instinctively knowing what it was all about!!

My day is filled with the brightest of sunshine, as this is the best present I could ever wish for!!  I am smiling from ear to ear and thank YOU, young Lady, for making me smile and so very happy.  From the very beginning I knew you where very special…and forever you have that special place in my heart…thank you so much!!

I have a notice board in my kitchen where I keep everything that’s very important and dear to me…know that your place is set forever dear one..give hugs to your Mom 🙂 

Dedicated to ONE very SPECIAL Princess…GIVE YOURSELF CREDIT 🙂  I love you Chelsea and Cindy 🙂 oxoxoxox

Scalloped Potatoes

Posted in Cooking, Family, Friends, Musings, Random, Recipe on October 11, 2010 by Mandy

One of the tastiest things in life are made with just a few simple ingredients. Scalloped Potatoes is one of those dishes, it consists of just potatoes, cream, cheese and butter, with a little salt and fresh-cut herbs as garnish. For extra flavor and something different, I sometimes add bacon and mushrooms and it serves as a full meal.   Ok, it’s not the healthiest meal in the world but that’s why they invented treadmills. 


4 tablespoons butter, or less
2 to 3 whole  potatoes, depending on size
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup whole milk
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon salt, freshly ground
1/4 teaspoon white peppercorns, freshly ground
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
2 ounces Gruyère, shredded
1 tablespoon curly parsley, finely chopped


Preheat oven at 375°F.

I used 4 mini oval eared dishes.

Grease the dishes with butter, then rub garlic on the bottom and inner sides of each dish. Pour a little bit of cream at the bottom of each dish.

Peel and cut the potatoes into 1/16-inch thick slices.  Make a first thin packed layer of potatoes.

In a bowl, mix the cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper.

In a small pan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and saute the remaining garlic until light golden. Sprinkle over the first layer of potatoes. Sprinkle a thin layer of Gruyère. Coat the layered potatoes with the cream mixture using a tablespoon. Layer the rest of the sliced potatoes, make sure it’s tightly and evenly packed. Pour the rest of the cream on each dish. Finish with the rest of the Gruyère. Top with bits of butter.
Place 4 dishes on a baking sheet. Bake for about 50 minutes. Check for tenderness of the potatoes with a knife.


Prawns and Scallops ~ Risotto style

Posted in Cooking, Family, Friends, Random, Recipe on October 9, 2010 by Mandy

The fact is,  for as long as I can remember, I had this passionate love affair with food….by far my favourite has always been seafood!  The wonderful thing about seafood is that there’s so many ways to create a wonderful dish.  With the season changing, I am totally in my element!!  I really hope you’ll give this a try, it is one of my favourites and scrum deli licious!!!


  • Sea salt and pepper
  • 1 bunch watercress, blanched in salted water for 1 minute, then rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
  • 3.5 to 4 cups vegetable broth or chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil + more to serve
  • 1 twig thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup Arborio rice, or another risotto rice.
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 large shallot, chopped finely
  • 1 celery branch, chopped finely
  • 1 fennel bulb, chopped finely
  • 1 tomato, blanched, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 12 scallops with coral
  • 12 prawns, deveined
  • 1 tablespoon chervil, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
  • 1.5 oz Parmesan cheese, finely grated

  • Place the watercress in the bowl of a food processor. Season with salt and pepper and add the mascarpone cheese. Purée finely; set aside
  • In a pot, heat the stock; keep warm on the side.
  • In a large pot, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil. When warm, add the shallot, fennel, celery, thyme and cook for 2 minutes, stirring, until the shallot is soft but not brown.
  • Add the rice and coat for 1 minute.
  • Add the wine and let cook until it’s fully absorbed by the rice.
  • Add 1 cup stock, the tomato, bay leaf and cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally. Wait until the stock is absorbed to add more.
  • In the meantime, using a frying pan, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Saute the prawns and scallops for 1 minute on each side, until they are barely cooked; season with salt and pepper and keep warm on the side.
  • When the rice is almost fully cooked (it should be al dente), stir in the watercress and add the rest of the stock.
  • Stir in the cheese and chervil and parsley, add the prawns and scallops, season with salt and pepper, stir gently. Stop the heat and cover for 2 minutes.
  • Discard the thyme and bay leaf. Serve the risotto in deep bowls and drizzle with olive oil.
  • Scallops with Cauliflower Puree and Asparagus

    Posted in Cooking, Family, Friends, Random, Recipe on October 8, 2010 by Mandy


     Jumbo sea scallops (about 10)
    1 small cauliflower
    2 cloves garlic
    1 bunch asparagus
    2-4 tbs snipped fresh chives
    1/2 c Greek yogurt
    1/2 tbs butter
    Olive oil spray 
    Salt and pepper to taste
    Seasoning salt


    Bring a large stockpot of water to boil. Add chopped cauliflower and whole cloves garlic. Simmer until cauliflower is fork-tender. Drain and remove from heat, mash with a fork until cauliflower and garlic are completely pureed. Add chives and Greek yogurt, stir to incorporate.

    Meanwhile, heat a grill pan over medium heat. Spray or drizzle asparagus with olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill until just done and still crisp.

    Meanwhile, in a saute pan, heat butter until foam subsides. Season scallops on both sides with seasoning salt. Place scallops in pan and do not move until they can be moved freely (not sticking at all). Turn over and remove from heat. The heat of the pan will continue to cook until perfect.

    To serve, mound approx 1 c cauliflower puree in the center of the plate. Top with asparagus spears, then scallops. Garnish with chives and serve immediately.

    Fondant with Fresh Berries and Raspberry Coulis

    Posted in Cooking, Family, Friends, Random, Recipe on October 6, 2010 by Mandy



    200g dark cooking chocolate
    60g butter, chopped
    2 eggs
    2 tablespoons plain flour
    1/3 cup brown sugar


    2 tablespoons caster sugar
    2 tablespoons water
    200g frozen raspberries
    Double cream, to serve
    Fresh raspberries, to garnish
    1 tablespoon icing sugar, to garnish


    1. Preheat oven to 180⁰C. Grease four ½ cup (125ml capacity) ceramic ramekins and arrange on a baking tray.

    2. Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir until smooth. Remove and allow to cool.

    3. Place butter, eggs, flour and sugar in a food processor and process until smooth. Slowly add the cooled melted chocolate and mix until combined.

    4. Carefully spoon 1/3 cup of mixture into each ramekin and bake for 15 – 16 minutes or until cooked on the outside. Stand for 5 minutes in ramekins.

    5. For the coulis, combine sugar and water in a medium saucepan, stirring over a medium-low heat until sugar dissolves.  Add berries and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and push mixture through a fine sieve. Transfer to a serving jug.

    6. To serve, gently invert warm fondants onto serving plates. Garnish with cream, berries, a drizzle of coulis and a dusting of icing sugar.

    Chicken and Leek Cannelloni

    Posted in Cooking, Family, Musings, Random, Recipe on October 5, 2010 by Mandy


    The quality of the picture is not so good 😦


    Tomato Passata

    6 vine-ripened tomatoes
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
    ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, torn
    ¼ cup water
    1 teaspoon sugar


    1 tablespoon olive oil
     500g chicken breast fillets, cut into thick strips
    20g butter
    1 leek, finely chopped
    1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
    1 tablespoon plain flour
    ¼ cup chicken stock
    ¼ cup cream milk
    ¼ cup pure cream
    2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese


    2/3 cup plain flour
    2 eggs
    1 cup full cream milk
    Butter for frying
    ¼ cup pure cream
    ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
    Fennel, orange and radicchio salad
    ½ cup thinly shaved fennel
    ½ cup shredded radicchio
    ½ orange, segmented and cut into cubes
    ½ teaspoon honey
    2 tablespoons orange juice
    1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
    Fresh parsley leaves to garnish


    1. Preheat oven to 200’C.

    2. For tomato passata, half fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Add tomatoes and cook until skin begins to peel away from flesh. Drain, peel skin and deseed. Slice flesh into quarters.

    3. Place a medium saucepan over a high heat. Add oil and garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, basil leaves, water and sugar and season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer until sauce has reduced and thickened.

    4. For filling, heat olive oil in a large frying pan. Panfry chicken until golden, remove from heat and shred. Add butter, leek and thyme to the pan and cook over a medium high heat until leeks have softened. Stir in flour and cook for one minute. Add stock and milk and cook, stirring continuously until mixture has thickened. Pour in cream and shredded chicken and stir well to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste and set aside to cool.

    5. For crepes, sift flour into a medium bowl. Whisk eggs and milk in a jug and gradually pour mixture into flour, whisking continuously. Heat a large frying pan or crepe pan and add a knob of butter. Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of batter into pan and quickly swirl to cover base. Cook until golden, flip and cook for one minute. Repeat with remaining batter.

    6. Grease the base of a large baking dish with oil and spread ¼ cup of tomato passata over base. Place a crepe on a large board and spread approximately ¼ cup of chicken mixture down the center. Roll up and place in baking dish. Repeat with remaining crepes and chicken mixture. Pour tomato passata over finished cannelloni and pour over cream. Top with parmesan cheese and for 25-30 minutes.

    7. For salad, combine shaved fennel, radicchio and orange pieces in a medium bowl. Place honey, orange juice, oil and white balsamic in a small bowl or jug and whisk to combine.

    8. Serve cannelloni with fennel salad, a drizzle of orange dressing and garnish with a sprig of parsley.

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