The Magic of the Maghreb: Part One – Ancient Times

The Maghreb has been in the news a few times in the past couple of years and Egypt, for the second time, protested until they got what they wanted. May the Egyptian nation have better luck this time and may things go from strength to strength – just make sure you choose with your heads at the next election. This is a fascinating part of the world with history that’s equally fascinating so, if you’re planning to visit, prepare to be blown over by the incredibly good food. I love it.

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Sojourn in Abu Dhabi

Finally it’s all over and my life is beginning to take shape again. We moved out of my childhood home, spent two  months in a tiny apartment pretty close to the beach and moved into our new home. Then I went to visit my daughter in Germany and spent some time in Arabia – Abu Dhabi to be precise & now I’m back & to face life. Abu Dhabi was fascinating  & I loved it, not only because I spent time with a very old friend & family but because the country is so fascinating.

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The Idiot's Guide to Curry, Part 2: Thai Curry

Yet again we have a perfect day in the Cape but, quite frankly, I didn’t pay much attention. I enjoy winter and love the rain & the dark, cloudy skies but that’s only because I love winter food & all my favourite dishes are great in winter. Luckily I’m also nuts about Thai food and most of their curries are absolutely perfect for summer eating, even the hot Thai jungle curry that’s great with a portion of zesty fruit-something afterwards! They’re often light   and perfect for summer weather & summer moods.

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The Idiot’s Guide to Curry, Part 3: Cape Curries

There are times when you need to do something but you dread it, so you leave it & leave it and never get round to doing it; in the English language, it’s called procrastination. I’m not usually a procrastinator but this particular subject has seen me procrastinating in a big way, mainly because I’m negating popular South African beliefs which never goes down well: despite popular belief, the first curries made in the Cape weren’t created by oriental slaves when they first arrived in South Africa.

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The Idiot’s Guide to Curry, Part 1: Indian Curry

For my sins, I’m the family spice queen, probably because I loathe plain steamed food – unless I can add lemon juice, olive oil (or butter), salt or pepper to food, I give it a miss. So sue me. At this stage of my life, I’ve earned the right to toss out horrible food and this brings me to the subject of curry: I haven’t been overthrown with great curry during the course of my life & have had to learn to do it  myself – luckily it isn’t difficult & requires only love, decent spices, imagination & a little knowledge.

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Apologies

Hallo everyone. This is an apology post because for this month I will not be able to write posts because I am moving which, as you all know, is probably the most stressful time in anyone’s life. Worst of all: I’m a hoarder and have kept every single card, note and picture drawn by my children, even though most of them are no longer legible & have been destroyed by time and, for some reason, ants. It’s traumatic because  I now have to sort the illegible from the completely illegible.

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Hallo 2013!! So Let's Toast You, then.

And so the new year has started and along with that, a particularly stressful time for me which leaves me feeling as if I’m in a giant hole with no idea how to crawl out and no strength to do so when I figure it out. We sold our farm and now we  have to find a place to live by the end of the month but since it’s January down here in the Cape, nobody’s interested in doing much until the holidays are officially over. Really not the best time in to find a new home. All in all, a pretty grim state of affairs.

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La Befana

Christmas is over & quite a few of us are feeling a little deflated, disappointed that the period of goodwill has been & gone, a little miserable that the end of the  holidays are in sight & in no mood to get back to the grindstone & real life! After an eventful 2012, many of us simply aren’t holidayed out while others have spent a little too much & are skint. So what’s next? In Italy it’s not over because La Befana is in sight and she’ll visit the homes of all the small children who’ll be ready and waiting for her.

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Christmas in France

Most of the Christmas markets here have begun and they’re mega busy with Lille, Paris & Strasbourg leading the stakes. The French government, like it’s neighbours, are also busy but they’re at work doing their damnedest to save the Eurozone and halt public spending. The public, on the other hand, seem to be in no mood to have their Christmas toyed with and street lights are burning brightly so that everyone can enjoy the exquisite window displays while they munch on piles & piles of Christmas goodies.

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Christmas in Italy

Christmas begins when the cannons are fired from Castel St. Angelo and the 24 hour fast ends; eight days after the special Novena* of prayers began and right after the Church service, the feasting begins. In the days of yore  gifts were drawn from the Urn of Fate** and good wishes were exchanged; nowadays the feasting begins at this time & rarely ends until after the New year has been thoroughly welcomed. Christmas in Italy originated with the pagan traditions of the ancient Romans

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