Frozen Fish Fingers

Today’s fascinating, and utterly useless, food fact:

On 14 April 1927 Clarence Bridseye of Massachusetts received a U.K. patent for frozen fish fingers.  This make the tradition of these “delicacies” ninety years old.  They only really became popular in the 1950s.

Fish fingers.jpg


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Giving Back Childhood

I fell in love with this book just from its cover – so much for not judging a book by its cover – but seriously, what’s not to love about a book in aid of funds for the Red CrossWar Memorial Children’s Hospital in Cape Town.  Additionally, fifty childhood memories of prominent South Africans is, in iteelf, marvellously interesting.

Closer study of the book proved to be informative.  Nearly all the recipes are for very basic foods, one for pap, three for samp and beans, many vegetable dishes.  Some are for easy dessserts and one for Christmas pudding and one for Christmas cake.  People who lived on the coast contributed recipes for mussels harvested fresh.

Most of the recipes are easy to recreate, although there are some that left me uncertain how to construct them.  The pictures and recipes don’t always match up. However, the overwhelming impression is of recipes that are South African staples, using ingredients available throughout the country, and at an affordable price.

The publicity blurb says “In Giving Back Childhood, celebrities from the world of sport, music, media, academia, business, politics, literature, food and entertainment, as well as unsung heroes at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, share some of their own personal memories of food and childhood, as well as the recipes that are the on-going connection to those memories”.

Professor Adam Habib shares his recipe for Dokra, an adaptation of an Indian dish, no longer recognisable to its Indian origin, but a unique South African Indian dish.   Max du Preez gives us the very traditional Pampoenkoekies of his childhood, while Whilbur Smith gives us ideas for stuffing a whole chicken and cooking it outdoors on hot coals – Smith does say to cook it for 45 minutes, but I am not sure that is long enough for a whole chicken on a braai.  Raymond Ackerman gives us instructions for a Golden Syrup Steamed Pudding.  Amy Kleinhans-Curd, the first Miss South Africa of colour, shares recipes which Madiba loved, as she was a personal friend of his (he had an eye for attractive women).

The pictures don’t always match up and Evita Bezuidenhout gives us a recipe for a children’s cacktus partie with bread made to look like cactus plants, but the picture is of pear micc (also a memory from my childhood).  Baked apple clowns made me smile.   Gareth Cliff gives us tomato and avocado pear salad.  Barry Hilton gives us Frikkadels (meatballs) in a tomato smoor.  Pieter Ferreira, the cellar master at Graham Beck Winery, known as “Bubbles Ferreira” brings us one of the mussel recipes and Jenny Morris gives us a recipe for Pickled Fish – a Good Friday staple in South Africa.  Kamini Pather shares her recipe for Vegetable Bhajia,  Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen, a Michelin star  chef,shares his recipe for banana, sour cream and poppy seed bread.  Yvonne Chaka Chaka shares her recipe for Gogo Special, but forgets to mention that the evaporated milk must be chilled and whipped.  Schalk Burger, the Springbok rugby player, shares his recipe for Game Bobotie. Gary Player tells us about green juice.  Emeritus Professor Heinz Rode shares how to make bread.

This is a truly delightful cookbook and an excellent cause to support. Apparently, if I read correctly, all the proceeds from this book will be donated to the Red Cross Children’s Home in Cape Town.

Giving back childhood.jpg

  • Title:  Giving Back Childhood
  • Sub-title::  Choldhood memories and recipes from 50 well known and big hearted South African Heroes.
  • Foreword:  HRH Prince Henry of Wales
  • Publisher:  Struik Lifestyle, an imprint of Penguin Random House
  • Year:  2016
  • Food Photographer:  Warren Heath
  • Format:  Paperback
  • Recommended Selling Price:  R230.00
  • ISBN 9781432306984
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Today’s Grand Cru – Warwick The First Lady Unoaked Chardonnay 2016

The main course at the InterContinental Johannesburg’s Chef’s Table was Chicken Ballotine stuffed with pistachio nuts, chorizo and a medallion of chicken, smokey pork belly lardons accompanied by autumn vegetables, Pomme William and rich chicken jus.

Chef Yoshan 1

Chef Yoshan Naidu of the InterContinental Johannesburg Hotel at OR Tambo

The food and beverage manager, Themba Mpofu, gave us a choice between a white wine and a red wine for this course.  Being me I sampled both.  Both were good.  I preferred the white.

I don’t like wooded drinks at all – they make my face pucker and leave me wanting some sweet juice, so I was pleased to learn that the chardonnay selected for this course was unwooded.  I agreed to try some despite the chardonnay appellation. I was delighted that I did.  It was, in my opinion, by far the best wine of the luncheon.

The tasting notes say “Warwick The First Lady Unoaked Chardonnay displays an intensive scent of peaches and melon. On the palate, it is surprisingly fresh and features a crisp acidity.”


The theme of the luncheon was peaches and we had just had a sweet palate cleanser of peach and apricot sorbet.  I thought I was having tastebud flashbacks with the peachy taste of the wine.  The Warwick The First Lady Unwooded Chardonnay 2016 is a stunning wine.

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Hot dogs – Moon food

Today’s fascinating, but utterly useless, food fact –

13 April 2013 – John Galardi died (born March 4, 1938).  Founder of Wienerschnitzel (originally Der Wienerschnitzel) hot dog fast food chain.

Hot dog

I told you it was useless.  Now here’s the fascinating –

1.  American Hot Dogs are every bit as unexciting as South African ones.  (I had one in the USA specifically because I couldn’t believe that Americans actually liked these things).

2.  They like them so much that on Independence Day (4 July) Americans consume more than 150 million hot dogs.  That’s not much given the population of the USA.  But still, it seems that people like them.

3.  Hotdogs were invented in 1484 in Frankfurt, Germany.  That is really not surprising.  The sausages are called frankfurters for a reason.

4.  The most popular sauces are mustard for adults and tomato sauce (ketchup) for children.  This is not surprising when one considers that the other toppings include mayo, pineapples, cottage cheese, shrimp, coconut flakes and more (I shudder to think of the more).

5.  Hot dogs sometimes use sodium nitrites to preserve the sausages against bacteria.  Sodium nitrites have a carcinogenic effect.  Some don’t.  Read labels or buy from a good butcher and ask questions.

6. Hot dogs were of the first food eaten on the moon. Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and “Buzz” Aldrin Jr. ate hot dogs on their 1969 journey.

7. The world’s longest hot dog was 60 meters long?

8 World’s most expensive hot dog was sold at a price of $145.49.  Yes, some people are crazy.

9.  Hot dogs are traditionally paired with beer for adults, or fizzy drinks for children.





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The Shack (2017) – movie review

I watched “The Shack” (2017) USA today.  Written by John Fusco based on the novel of the same name by William P Young, it is directed by Stuart Hazeldine.


Sam Worthington plays Mack Phillips, while Papa is Octavia Spencer (turns out that God is a black woman) and the male Papa is Graham Greene.  Nan, Mack’s wife, is played by Radha Mitchell and Aviv Alush plays Jesus.  Sumire is Sarayu, the third person in the Trinity.  Tim McGraw is Willie, Alic Braga is Sophia, Megan Chapentier is Kate Phillips and Gage Munroe is Josh Phillips.  Ameilie Eve is Missy Phillips and Ryan Robbins is Eil Ducette.

The plot summary is as follows : “After suffering a family tragedy, Mack Phillips spirals into a deep depression that causes him to question his innermost beliefs. Facing a crisis of faith, he receives a mysterious letter urging him to an abandoned shack in the Oregon wilderness. Despite his doubts, Mack journeys to the shack and encounters an enigmatic trio of strangers led by a woman named Papa. Through this meeting, Mack finds important truths that will transform his understanding of his tragedy and change his life forever.”

It is a movie told about a Christian man/family and told from a Christian perspective.

The reality is that it is a philosophical treatise on the problem of a good God and bad things happening. Theologically somewhat simplistic, but focusing on the love of God for humans at all times.

It deals with forgiveness and letting go as well.

If the blatant religious bias doesn’t irritate you, it is probably worth seeing. But it doesn’t give all the answers to the meaning of life.

Christians may find the concept of God as a woman too much to bear.  They may also struggle with some of the theology presented.

Overall I enjoyed the movie, but do point out that I am a practicing Christian.

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American Honey (2016)

The fourth European Film Festival  will kick off at Cinema Nouveau on the  5th to the 14th May 2017.

The first move selected for media to see before the festival was American Honey.


Brief synopsis:  Star (Sasha Lane), an adolescent girl from a troubled home, runs away with a traveling sales crew who drive across the American Midwest selling magazine subscriptions door to door.

The movie is very, very long and nothing much happens so it seems even longer.  The acting is good.

I am curious as to why a Britsh film would make a movie about Americans in America.

The movie won awards, but it is not my cup of tea.

If you are one of those people who hate movies I love, and love movies I hate, then this movie can be seen at Cinema Nouveau in Johannesburg on 6 May at 20:30 and 12 May at 17:30.



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Jazz at Wits

I love seeing musicians heading into a concert hall to hear other musicians – the Wits faculty were out in droves at the recent concert by award- winning jazz pianist, Andre Petersen, one of their colleagues.


Andre Petersen, Jazz Pianist

The Andre Petersen Quartet played a concert at the Great Hall together with Kesivan Naidoo (percussion), Sisonke Xonti (saxophone), and Romy Brauteseth (bass).

Much of the material in the concert was new, original material by Petersen himself. Words of Perception, Vow to Praise, Cape Doctor, Djulle Ons en Julle were all interesting, but it was his gentle and unusual Time Watchers which will linger on in my aural memory.

Farlane by Ravel, Evidence by Thelonius Monk and Joy by Bheki Mseleku completed the programme.

All about Jazz wrote about Andre Petersen “…a compelling writer and lateral-thinking pianist…contemplative…playing both inside and outside the box, his delicate lines like gentle raindrops…”  They sum it up well.

I thoroughly enjoyed the concert and judging by the enthusiasm of the audience and the standing ovation, it was a pretty general feeling.

TheWits Music Concert series for 2017 will see a variety of student concerts between now and the next profesional concert which is the Wits Trio with Malcolm Nay (piano), Zanta Hofmeyr (Violin) and Maciej Lacny (cello) on 20 August 2017 in The Atrium.  The Wits Trio can also be heard at the Johannesburg Musical Society recital on 22 April 2017 in the Linder Auditorium.

The Andre Petersen Quartet concert was spoonsored by SAMRO Foundation and Concerts SA.

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