Archive for the Friends Category


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.


    Posted in Cooking, Family, Friends, People, Random, Recipe on October 4, 2010 by Mandy

    I’m always looking for an easy, healthy, recipe that don’t skimp on flavor, so when I saw this recipe for a Roasted Eggplant Spread on Ina Garten’s show, Barefoot Contessa, I was sold. The title is a little misleading though, as I find that the peppers and tomato paste are just as important here as the eggplant.

    Semantics aside, the recipe is wonderfully easy and I wouldn’t change anything about it except to perhaps double it so you have plenty!

    Just chop up some eggplant, red peppers, onion, and garlic, roast them off, and puree in a food processor (or strong blender) with some tomato paste.  Roasting takes some time (about 45 min.) but it is worth it with the intensified, caramelized flavors you get from the veggies.

    Toast up some homemade pita chips and you are in shape! Just cut store-bought pita into wedges, drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper and oregano, and bake in the oven until golden brown. I however, prefer the pita bread fresh!!!

    Perfect for parties or a healthy snack to have on hand .


    Lamb Salad ~ Thai Style

    Posted in Cooking, Family, Friends, Random, Recipe on October 1, 2010 by Mandy



    2 lamb eye of shortloin/backstraps
    100 g salad leaves
    1 punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
    1 cucumber, sliced
    1 red salad onion, thinly sliced
    2 fresh mangoes, sliced
    1 tbsp sweet Thai chilli sauce
    2 tsp fish sauce
    1 tbsp sesame oil
    2 tbsp lime juice
    2 tbsp chopped coriander or mint


    1. Brush the lamb lightly with a little oil. Season each with salt and pepper. Preheat the char-grill pan or barbecue to hot before adding the meat.

    2. Cook on one side until the first sign of moisture appears. Turn lamb once only.  Rare is soft, medium feels springy and well done is very firm. Remove lamb from heat, loosely cover with foil and rest lamb for 2 minutes before serving.

    3. While lamb is resting toss salad leaves, tomatoes, cucumber, onion and mango slices in a salad bowl. Combine all remaining ingredients in a screw top jar and shake well to make a dressing. Slice lamb thinly on the diagonal. Toss the sliced lamb in the dressing, then with salad. Serve immediately.
    Tips: Replace the with lamb eye of shortloin/backstrap with lamb fillet/tenderloin or lamb round or topside steaks.

    You can use a brush to lightly oil the meat. Or you can use a light spray of oil.

    Always rest meat after cooking. This gives the juices in the meat a chance to redistribute, giving a moister and more tender result. Transfer the roast to a plate and loosely cover with foil, stand the meat to rest in a warm place.

    Chicken Breast with Pumpkin and Orange Butter

    Posted in Cooking, Family, Friends, People, Random, Recipe on September 29, 2010 by Mandy

    I once believed Pumpkins only came out on a Halloween night and with a glowing candle shimmering through the holes of its scary cut out face. Now I couldn’t imagine life without it, I love Pumpkin… is so easy to cook with, it cooks quickly, and has to be the most versatile vegetable of all!!  This recipe’s easy to make, absolutely juicy and tender and goes perfect on a bed of pumpkin.  Try it, you’ll love it!!


    Finely grated rind of 1 orange
    1 bunch tarragon, finely chopped
    30g unsalted butter, softened
    1 chicken breast, skin on
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    400g butternut pumpkin, diced
    30g tablespoons butter
    1 onion, thinly sliced
    Juice of 1 orange
    2 tablespoons honey
    100g green beans, steamed to serve


    1. Preheat oven to 220’C.

    2 Combine orange rind, tarragon and butter in a small bowl until well combined. Gently pull skin away from the chicken breast and stuff with 2 tablespoons of orange butter, reserving the remaining mix. Place in a baking paper-lined roasting dish, drizzle with olive oil and bake for 15-20 minutes or until cooked to your liking. Remove chicken from pan and allow to rest. Reserve pan juices.

    3. Cook pumpkin in a medium saucepan half filled with boiling water for 7-10 minutes or until tender. Drain well, return to saucepan and mash. Add butter, season with salt and pepper and mix to combine.

    4. Heat a medium frying pan over a medium heat, add pan juices and onion and panfry until golden. Add orange juice and honey and reduce by a quarter. Add remaining orange butter and stir until butter has melted.

    5. To serve, arrange a spoonful of pumpkin mash in the centre of a serving plate, top with chicken and drizzle with orange sauce. Serve with green beans on the side.


    Posted in Dreams, Emotions, Friends, Life, Musings, POETRY, Random, Reflections on September 24, 2010 by Mandy



    Numb to the pain

    and the rain

    in my soul

    to the strain

    to maintain

    just a bit of control

    in my mind

    where I find

    nowhere to hide

    a place to unwind

    a place that’s still kind

    a place for me to hide

    but my heart

    torn apart

    wants to bleed


    Every poem has a special meaning…this one has more.


    Pumpkin and Walnut Damper by Yvette

    Posted in Cooking, Friends, Musings, People, Random, Recipe on September 22, 2010 by Mandy

    Today I am honored to introduce you to my Australian girlfriend (now living in beautiful Italy).  Yvette has so much passion for cooking and creates the most interesting and mouth-watering culinary delights. Please visit her here and share in her stories about their vineyard, her love for roses and recipes.

     Each and every season has its colour palate and Autumn is no exception. Vivacious oranges and reds, yellows and burnt ambers…

     With all these wonderful warming hues, I couldn’t resist buying some fresh butternut pumpkin and making this recipe of pumpkin and walnut damper.

    This recipe is one of our favourites, piping hot with a little melted butter. The original recipe is for a covered barbecue but works well in a hot conventional oven.

    Recipe: Pumpkin and Walnut Damper 

    3 cups self raising flour

    50g butter

    1 cup chopped walnuts

    1 1/2 cups mashed pumpkin (about 600g pumpkin)

    1/3 cup natural yogurt (approximately)

    Line a 20cm round cake pan with oven proof paper. Place in a mixing bowl,sifted flour and rub in butter.Sir in nuts, pumpkin and enough yogurt to mix to a soft ,sticky dough.

    Turn dough onto floured surface,knead until smooth.Place into prepared pan and cook in high oven for about 30 minutes or until damper sounds hollow when tapped.

    The outside layer should be crusty.

    This damper isn’t bread so the texture isn’t light, but delicious the same.Serve on it’s own or a great compliment with cheeses, dried fruits and nuts.Tasty-!

    Have a look  at A Beautiful  Mess, pizza it is…and Beauty and Bedlam. who host Tasty Tuesday’s a great way to  bloghop, and catch up with some of the recipes and favourites around  our world.

    Enjoy! Have a great Tuesday…


    Thanks Yvette 🙂 xxx

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