"let your boat of life be light, packed with only
what you need - a homely home and simple pleasures, someone to love and someone to love you,
enough to eat and enough to wear
and a little more than enough to drink:
for thirst is a dangerous thing"

Saturday, 29 September 2012

a great place to spend a friday night

The place -  a small cafe with a mix match of old tables, rickety chairs and artificial roses stuck into empty Coke bottles. Old, rusty and dusty tins line the windows, a framed charcoal sketch of the owner with his round steel rimmed glasses playing his guitar hints of days gone by and old original sign reading "Alma Supply Store" I remember from years gone by.  Seriously shabby vintage chic.  This is Alma Cafe.

The food - a simple menu which requires no menu - chicken or beef burgers and, if you want to splash out, the choice of a couple of sauces.  Bring your own wine (corkage charged), beers in the old stand up Coke fridges, bottles of water served in thick "french cafe" glasses.

The audience - the youngest, a little boy of about 4 - playing on his Dad's smart phone while moving his head in time to the music and later sleeping across 2 chairs with his head on his mother's lap.  The oldest? Difficult to say - maybe the bald headed father of the leader of the band, who also moved his head in time to the music and whose eyes sparkled with pride after every song, as the crowd applauded.  You won't be the oldest and it would be difficult to be the youngest.  A mixed crowd of university professors, students, teachers, wine merchants, hippy-like groupies and second hand bookshop owners - whoever you are you will fit right in.  

The band - 3 guys, probably all close to 40, who love making music.  The lead singer, songwriter and guitarist, writes the lyrics from his heart and talks of "trying to fix bones with mercurochrome" and "I'm 10 years old again, shiny and bold again"; the jovial drummer who uses what looks like kitchen implements to make his noise as he embraces the beat, smiling all the time;  the bassist, a funny Frenchman who plays deliberately, eyes closed and knows exactly how to use his accent to melt the ladies hearts.

Unlike other venues where people talk and eventually shout above the voices of the performers, here you have a venue where you listen to and appreciate the music while enjoying an uncomplicated tasty meal and good company.

All of the above equalled an excellent Friday night out on a chilly Cape Town evening.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

RIP andy williams

We have had a day of reminiscing in the office today.  Playing Andy Williams songs and Gill, Gail and I remembering the old days and our parents singing many of his songs, Moon River, the theme from the Godfather (Speak softly love and hold me warm against you face), A Time for Us (from Romeo and Juliet).  I had forgotten that he was the Love Story "Where do I begin?" man as well.  Nice schmaltzy stuff.

Have I told you before that my father (Who art in heaven)'s ashes are in the fireplace at our office?  No real reason other than we have been waiting for my half-brother to contact us whenever he visits Cape Town so that we can scatter them somewhere (golf course, bowls green, Alma Marist club, Melkbosstrand, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Port Alfred?).  Gill and I like having him here - we have to scrub the bird poo, that falls down the chimney, off him every couple of days and the box gets dusted every Thursday when Albertina is here to clean. We have not told her what is in the box and it is strange that she has never asked. She religiously gives him a good once over with the vacuum cleaner, then takes him out, brushes him off, wipes him down with her hot bucket of Handy Andy water and neatly replaces him.  We are now to scared to tell her what is in the box because she refused to clean Roosevelt's office for about a month because his son had left a rubber snake on a shelf!!

 Cyril Arthur Pay (in box), Clivia from the garden, 2 thoughtful (valuable we believe) wooden guards in attendance and a golfing print.

 Cyril's "Hole in One" Certificate from his estate file!!
Close-up of one of his best moments

So a good day at the office, remembering Andy Williams, listening to Gail humming along from her office and seeing who remembered the songs best (not to brag - but I did).  That happens when you were lucky enough to have a  Dad who played lots of music to you when you were young.  Now it's payback time!!

There’s a summer place
Where it may rain or storm
Yet I’m safe and warm
For within that summer place
Your arms reach out to me
And my heart is free from all care

For it knows, there are no gloomy skies
When seen through the eyes
Of those who are blessed with love
And the sweet secret of a summer place

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

best word ever

I came across this website the other day.  

Thought it was rather clever and had to look up some of the words.  I would not choose a word that I could not pronounce and the first work "kerfuffle" made me smile.  I always thought when my mother said "no kerfuffling in the back seat" she meant "no kissing and stuff like that".  I now find out the true definition:-

Definition of kerfuffle
[in singular] British informal
a commotion or fuss, especially one caused by conflicting views:
there was a kerfuffle over the chairmanship

Maybe my mother was using the Afrikaans word "gefuffeling"

Not quite sure how the "f" word could have lost out to "hornswoggle" from 1829!!

horn·swog·gle  (hôrnswgl)
tr.v. horn·swog·gled, horn·swog·gling, horn·swog·gles Chiefly Northern & Western U.S.
To bamboozle; deceive.

Our Living Language We do not know the origin of hornswoggle. We do know that it belongs to a group of "fancified" words that were particularly popular in the American West in the 19th century. Hornswoggle is one of the earliest, first appearing around 1829. It is possible that these words were invented to poke fun at the more "sophisticated" East. Some other words of this ilk are absquatulate, also first appearing in the 1820s, skedaddle, first attested in 1861 in Missouri, and discombobulate, first recorded in 1916.

"Onomatopoeia" would have got my vote (I can pronounce it, spelling it requires some thought) although "sphincter" is a very descriptive word.  As for "diphthong" - another one I had to research as it sounded a bit like a new type of g-string to me!!

diph·thong   [dif-thawng, -thong, dip-]  noun
Phonetics . an unsegmentable, gliding speech sound varying continuously in phonetic quality but held to be a single sound or phoneme and identified by its apparent beginning and ending sound, as the oi- sound of toy  or boil.

This was one of the comments on the website - Not my language, direct quote (very clever, I thought)

"It would be a hornswaggle if a scalawag like you lets a pedestrian effin' word like "fuck" win best word ever, and the ensuing kerfuffle and phlegm may make you want to fuck your sphincter with a gherkin and utter a very long diphthong."

Your best word?  There are so many....

Sunday, 23 September 2012

nothing quite like a happy late breakfast....

When Dalene, Amy, Kelly and I arrived at Manno for brunch yesterday the boys had just settled in after their run up Lions Head.  Dave and Matt were sipping on what looked like an exotic cocktail but was in fact carrot and orange juice with some berries and leaves floating in it.  Nic was sideways sipping a cold Darling Brew.  It was 11.30 and Nic's first words to us was 
"Brunch without Booze is just a sad, late Breakfast" 
(he was obviously reacting to my raised eyebrow at the brown bottle 
in front of him)
He proceeded to order Dalene, Kim and I a bottle of wine to accompany our breakfast order.  

Good choice Nic - Very yum

 Pensive brothers listening to Kelly's daily lesson

 Kelly mid-sentence (difficult to catch her not talking)
At least she is entertaining!!
 Kelly and Amy and the American Pancakes with crispy bacon and 
maple syrup, kept in line with a porcupine quill
(Leave them alone, Nic)
Eggs Benedict
Very good but Kim had the Coconut Breakfast 
(coconut bread, poached eggs, salmon and avo)
which looked fantastic
Next time

I felt quite trendy sitting on the pavement in Kloof Street with 3 hunky guys, 3 young pretty girls, my sister (very, very pretty too) and a Yorkie (yes one of those little fluffy dogs - Kim has the cutest puppy)


Ooops and Griquas did not beat WP :(, Matt is now back in Kimberley :( :( and it is cold and wet in Cape Town - but on the bright side - we put the fertilizer on the lawn at the perfect time before these rains, Mike has lit the fire, Manchester United beat Liverpool (so he is smiling (and warm)) and tomorrow is a holiday.

Maybe Tiger can make up 4 shots and win the golf tonight!! 

Saturday, 22 September 2012

karaoke, wine and avett bros....

It's 9.30 and I am up and ready to go.  Having Matthew here for only 2 days has been pretty hectic, especially when you have a quiet dinner on a Thursday night, which goes a bit pear shaped and you roll into bed at 2.45. Dalene and her family came around for some homemade pasta which Matt and I were preparing (a quiet family get together).  The pasta (which I thought I had now mastered) did not work because I was making too much and after Amy had delicately separated the strips we hung them over a line and they proceeded to re-stick together (irritating).   Well we had a delicious supper with a bottle of bubbles, had finished supper when Nic arrived from his rugby meeting with a "new" friend.  I am sure this guy must be a professional comedian, singer and entertainer because it was not long before all the cold beer and wine was drunk, Nic had his guitar out and Dalene was living her dream of being a singer in a musical.  Dalene and "New Friend" share a love of  Glee.  Kim arrived later (she can also sing).  Matt (a great back-up and chorus-loving singer) and "New Friend" sung all the boy parts while Dalene, Amy and Kim sung the girlie (Britney Spears) parts.  I clapped my hands and fetched the drinks as I did not want to break up the party.  Mike went to bed, Tom took the girls home at a reasonable hour and we carried on partying like rock stars.  Not to be repeated too often but good for the soul.

I then found this cartoon on Pinterest and it had me chuckling the entire morning because it reminded me so much of Dalene (OK, maybe me too but I don't sing but I do have the 3 children).  On this list only the "tattoo" and "robbing a bank" remain on her bucket list.  Great spontaneous fun.

No she did not give "New Friend" a body shot - That was done at Lucie's hen party!!

Now this morning my brother, Nic and Matt have gone for a run.  Dalene, the girls, Kim and I are meeting them at Manna Epicure on Kloof Street for breakfast in a bit, then watching Griquas beat WP for the first time in a Currie Cup match in 101 years at Newlands (watch this space), so today too promises to be a good one.

Hopefully there are no tattoo parlours close by.

A beautiful song to finish off with.

Load the car and write the note
Grab your bag and grab your coat
Tell the ones that need to know
We are headed north

One foot in and one foot back
But it don't pay, to live like that
So i cut the ties and i jumped the tracks
For never to return

Ah Brooklyn Brooklyn take me in
Are you aware the shape I'm in
My hands they shake my head it spins
Ah Brooklyn Brooklyn take me in

When at first I learned to speak
I used all my words to fight
With him and her and you and me
Oh but its just a waste of time
Yeah its such a waste of time

That woman shes got eyes that shine
Like a pair of stolen polished dimes
She asked to dance I said it's fine
I'll see you in the morning time

Ah Brooklyn Brooklyn take me in
Are you aware the shape I'm in
My hands they shake my head it spins
Ah Brooklyn Brooklyn take me in

Three words that became hard to say
I and love and you
What you were then, I am today
Look at the things I do

Ah Brooklyn Brooklyn take me in
Are you aware the shape I'm in
My hands they shake my head it spins
Ah Brooklyn Brooklyn take me in

Dumbed down and numbed by time and age
Your dreams to catch the world, the cage
The highway sets the travellers stage
All exits look the same

Three words that became hard to say
I and love and you
I and love and you
I and love and you

Thursday, 20 September 2012

lots to smile about today

The sun is out (or was out), the weekend is nearly here and Matthew is arrived in Cape Town today for a few days (only 2 sleeps).  

It's been a lovely busy week with lots to do and even more to think about.  My head is full of schemes and ideas and unfortunately blogging has not been on the top of my list.  Sorry.

So this is another quick posting ("Slapdash" my sons would tell me - Don't you hate it when they start using words on you that you over-used on them?).  Two things that I saw on Facebook (thanks Willouw and Pat) that made me smile today.  The second one gave me serious goosebumps. You will love it too.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

how to fix your flip flops and other useless information

I forwarded this picture in an email to Matthew yesterday.  The two things I knew he would find useful would be how to fix his favourite flip-flops (slip-slops, sloffies, whatever) and where to keep his keys and valuables when he is on the beach and wants to go for a swim.  He was suitably impressed (he said "mind blowing"), replied (he does not always do that) and thanked me (he always says "thank you"), which led me to believe that you too might find this information valuable (or useless).  Only a pity all those split flip-flops have already been turfed out.  Some more uses for those bread-tags here.

I apologise for sending you this whole list of helpful hints but I could not separate them.  Thanks Pinterest.

Monday, 17 September 2012

the history of love

Once upon a time, there was a boy. He lived in a village that no longer exists, in a house that no longer exists, on the edge of a field that no longer exists, where everything was discovered, and everything was possible. A stick could be a sword, a pebble could be a diamond, a tree, a castle. Once upon a time, there was a boy who lived in a house across the field, from a girl who no longer exists. They made up a thousand games. She was queen and he was king. In the autumn light her hair shone like a crown. They collected the world in small handfuls, and when the sky grew dark, and they parted with leaves in their hair."

“At the end, all that's left of you are your possessions. Perhaps that's why I've never been able to throw anything away. Perhaps that's why I hoarded the world: with the hope that when I died, the sum total of my things would suggest a life larger than the one I lived.”

“Except for when I was very little and thought that being an "engineer" meant he drove a train. Then I imagined him in the seat of an engine car the color of coal, a string of shiny passenger cars trailing behind. One day my father laughed and corrected me. Everything snapped into focus. It's one of those unforgettable moments that happen as a child, when you discover that all along the world has been betraying you.” 

“So many words get lost. They leave the mouth and lose their courage, wandering aimlessly until they are swept into the gutter like dead leaves. On rainy days, you can hear their chorus rushing past: IwasabeautifulgirlPleasedon’tgoItoobelievemybodyismadeofglass-I’veneverlovedanyoneIthinkofmyselfasfunnyForgiveme….

“One day she marched around the side of the house and confronted me. "I've seen you out there every day for the past week, and everyone knows you stare at me all day in school, if you have something you want to say to me why don't you just say it to my face instead of sneaking around like a crook?" I considered my options. Either I could run away and never go back to school again, maybe even leave the country as a stowaway on a ship bound for Australia. Or I could risk everything and confess to her. The answer was obvious: I was going to Australia. I opened my mouth to say goodbye forever. And yet. What I said was: "I want to know if you'll marry me.”

“Every year, the memories I have of my father become more faint, unclear, and distant. once they were vivid and true, then they became like photographs, and now they are more like photographs of photographs.”

“When they write my obituary. Tomorrow. Or the next day. It will say, Leo Gursky is survived by an apartment full of shit”

Saturday, 15 September 2012

could it be?

No need to put the kitchen light on in the morning, awake before the alarm, slippers and gown not needed, cup of tea in the garden (in nightie).  It must be Spring!!

You were waking
Day was breaking
A panoply of song
And summer comes to.....

What is the good of your stars and trees, 
your sunrise and the wind, 
if they do not enter into our daily lives? 
E. M. Forster 
When you have nobody you can make a cup of tea for, when nobody needs you, that's when I think life is over. 
Audrey Hepburn 

A bit harsh maybe?  I would add "when there is no one to make a cup of tea for you" to the quote.  You slipped up there Audrey!

Echium Candicans or "Pride of Madeira".  

I know it is an alien and it should not really be in my garden (sorry Ginny and Annie) and every winter when it looks at it's bare and spiky worst, I think I should just close my eyes and pull it out.  But then I hibernate for a bit and when I venture out to cut and prune there I find this beautiful mass of blue/violet blooms.  It also turns Matthew's bedroom window into the perfect picture frame for a natural and alive print from nature.  In his room there is a continual droning at the moment and you can almost feel the vibrations coming from the bees.

"It may seem odd that straight exposure to pollen often triggers allergies but that exposure to pollen in the honey usually has the opposite effect...
In honey the allergens are delivered in small, manageable doses and 
the effect over time is very much like that from undergoing a whole series 
of allergy immunology injections." 
~Thomas Leo Ogren, "Allergy-Free Gardening"

“Never say there is nothing beautiful in the world anymore. 
There is always something to make you wonder in the shape of a tree, the trembling of a leaf.”
 Albert Schweitzer 

I love the new green plane tree leaves which soon will provide a canopy of shade for long days and lazy lunches.

Maybe jumping the gun but this is my favourite Spring / Summer song

Here's a hymn to welcome in the day
Heralding a summer's early sway
And all the bulbs all comin' in
To begin
The thrushes' bleeding battle with the wrens
Disrupts my reverie again

Pegging clothing on the line
Training jasmine how to vine 
Up the arbor to your door
And more
Standing on the landing with the war
You shouldered all the night before

But once upon it
The yellow bonnets
Garland all the lawn
You were waking
Day was breaking
A panoply of song
And summer comes to Springville Hill

A barony of ivy in the trees
Expanding out its empire by degrees
And all the branches burst abloom
In the boom
Heaven sent this cardinal maroon
To decorate our living room

But once upon it
The yellow bonnets
Garland all the lawn
You were waking
Day was breaking
A panoply of song
And summer comes to Springville Hill

And years from now when this old light
Isn't ambling anymore
Will I bring myself to write
"I give my best to Springville Hill"

But once upon it
The yellow bonnets
Garland all the lawn
You were waking
Day was breaking
A panoply of song
And summer comes to Springville Hill
And summer comes to Springville Hill

Thursday, 13 September 2012

wine vibe....

I have never tried to sell stuff on Just Stuff - it is not really my style.  I will tell you about horse shampoo and where to buy it, I will mention, in passing, a special at Woolworths or recommend a wine but I have never used this platform to sell any products.  I am still not going to do any selling, it is all about sharing. 

Steve is a good friend, an entrepreneur, a comedian, a smous.  He sends out an email every couple of months with wines that he has to offer.  Here is his email:-

Hi Guys it's been awhile..

I have a couple excellent deals on whites for spring especially the Matumi Chenin Blanc from Lourensford (export label) which received a 4 star in the Wine Decanter. It is off dry on the palate with lots of zesty tropical fruit with a ripe floral nose..

The Cape Beach Sauv Blanc 2012 is unbeatable at R20 a bottle and something to stock up with for summer (see tasting notes).  I think the Horse Mountain Chenin with its full mouth apricot flavours brought about by the vigonier (15%) is excellent but my favourite is definitely the Knorhoek Sauv Blanc 2011.

Finally I have secured 30 dozen Neil Ellis 06 Cab/Merlot which scored 88/100 in the Wine Spectator, this is something very special and retails at around R250 per bottle.

You know the deal, money in the bank seals the deal..

Cape Beach Frizzante R20
Cape Beach Sauv Blanc 12 R20 
Herons Nest Reserve Chardonnay 11 R25
Knorhoek Sauv/Chenin 11 R25
Matumi Chenin 11 R30
Horse Mountain Chenin/Vigonier 11 R30
Knorhoek Sauv Blanc 11 R50
Horse Mountain Michelle Cab/Merlot 10 R35
Vyf Skepe Pinot Noir 10 R35
Graham Beck Shiraz 07 R40 unlabelled
Neil Ellis Cab/Merlot 06 R100 88/100 Wine Spectator 

"laughter is an instant vacation"

Lourensford Wines, Matumi, Chenin Blanc, Western Cape 
Tasting notes
Decanter Rating: 
Big, ripe, floral, zesty nose with pear, peach skin, citrus and tropical fruit. Off-dry palate with lots of tropical fruit flavour and an attractive layer of minerals. Compact, long, food-friendly style. Alc: 14%. Drink 2011-13. (16.67 points)

Tasting note: Medium red, purple in colour. Bright plum, cassis and fine minty touches. mouthful palate with plummy like fruit, balanced by firm but accessible tannins.
Variety: 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot
Origin: Stellenbosch
Soil type: Predominantly decomposed Granite.
Harvest date: As per variety. Merlot commencing 26th February 2006 and Cabernet Sauvignon finishing mid March 2006.
Yield: 6 tons/ha or 39 hl/ha
Harvest stats: Grapes harvested between 23.2ºB to 25.6ºB
Vinification: Fermentation initiated in stainless steel tanks and underwent a series of pump overs until dry. Further maceration allowed before drawing off and light pressing.
Maturation: This wine spent 16 months in French oak barrels of which 25% was new. Balance 2nd and 3rd fill barrels.
Bottling date: Bottled in November 2007.
Alcohol: 14.5%

He sells out pretty quickly, so email him - s.ackermann@mweb.co.za - if you are keen and he will send you his bank account details and you can make arrangements for delivery or collection.


Oh my word I had just found the picture above to put up on this page and my brother-in-law sends me an email with a joke (you will see the connection at the end).  He had a moan to me the other day that he is the only family member who has never been mentioned on my blog "It is like I do not exist in your life".  He had never bothered to tell me before that he reads the blog.  Now I have a chance to mention him, so mention him I will.  

His name is Tom, he is married to my beautiful sister, he has two lovely daughters and two weird, neutered, male sausage dogs (who spent the entire night last night mounting each other), he only drinks Amstel, bowls is his job and his passion (as are all other sports), loves to braai chops (nickname "Tjoppie"), he is the most laid back, chilled guy around, he loves my boys (and they him) and he signs off his emails to me "your ex"   Why "your ex"? Because........(confession time).............., I went out with him for a couple of days a long, long time ago.  Amy would call it "we had a vibe".  "Vibe-ing" is what you do these days (we had a lesson from Amy and Kelly around the family dinner table last night).  "Vibe-ing" is when you kiss a boy (maybe even a couple of times) but are really just friends and stay friends afterwards (and don't kiss anymore) and just "vibe" together (hang out, I suppose).  So that explains exactly what Tom and I had and still have "a vibe" (Right, Tom?).

Are you all shocked?  Don't be and don't worry, Dalene knows all about it and in fact when Tom asked her out (a few years later), I encouraged her ... "He kisses nicely, go for it"

Not sure why the turkey baster is between his legs (just they way he rolls)

OH and now for the joke.... a tad risque but what the hell, you got a tip for some good and well priced wine, you got a confession, you got a picture and now a joke....

Morning. You girls will enjoy this:-

"Morning Sex" 

She was standing in the kitchen,preparing our usual soft-boiled eggs and toast for  breakfast, wearing only The 'T' shirt that she normally slept in. 

As I walked in, almost  awake, she turned to me and said softly, 
"You've got to make love to me this very moment!"

My eyes lit up and I thought,  "I am either still dreaming or this is going to be  my lucky day!" Not wanting to lose the moment, I  embraced her and then gave it my all; right there on the kitchen table.

Afterwards she said, "Thanks," and returned to the stove, her T-shirt still around her  neck.

Happy,but a little puzzled,I asked,"What was that all about?" 

She explained, "The egg timer's broken."

Have a good day
Your ex

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

the week so far...

On Monday evening Nic, Lesley and I went off to the early show of Searching for Sugarman.  I am always a bit nervous about full length documentaries but this was brilliantly done.  Cape Town features prominently and for any of us teenagers of the 70's it will bring back so much of our country's history of that time.  Nic has not done "ladies" movies with his mother for awhile.  His face was a picture when as we got seated out came the cooler carrier with a bottle of perfectly iced Sophie Terblanche Sauvignon Blanc (unfortunately drunk out of polystyrene cups), a packet of savoury biscuits, biltong and droewors.   Another of the beauties of an early show when there are only 10 people in the entire cinema. We sat back, sipped our juice and got swallowed up by the movie.

Last night the remaining ball of pasta dough in the fridge was starting worrying me (and changing colour a bit).  I had now been advised of how wrong my pasta making methods on Sunday were and I was keen to try again.  It could not have been easier.  I ended up with about 8 beautifully long thin sheets of pasta which fed in through the cutters beautifully.  So proud of these strips was I that I instructed Michael to call Jan and Ellen (who are off on holiday to the Kruger Park today) to come for a quick supper.  Nic also arrived and it was a quick in and out supper and catch up.  Nice.  So the pasta machine is now the "favourite toy of the day".

The visitors had left, Michael had some work to do and I decided to catch up on some blogging.  I spent about 2 hours on a post but it just did not read correctly and needed some changes.  A little bit of cutting and pasting a "do you want to save this - yes or no" - wrong button pressed and the whole lot was gone.  What a waste of time but I was not too fussed as it was probably "meant to be".

So that is about it from me for today. A found a whole lot of wonderful pictures of Jackie Kennedy Onassis, many of which I had not seen before, so here to share:-

One of the saddest photographs ever taken

After a little bit of nostalgia and sadness, Happy Hump Day - the sun is out so it has to be!!!

Sunday, 9 September 2012

keeping up with the jones's takes it's toll...

We talk lots of recipes and food stuff at the office.  Masterchef had us all inspired and Franc took it one step further and went out to buy himself a pasta machine.  When he does something he goes the whole 9 yards - he even went so far as to buy the red checked fabric and took it to a seamstress to run it up as a tablecloth for his "Italian Vibe".  

Now he waltz into office full of tales of his pasta making and how he had 10 guests for dinner and had the pasta hanging "like curtains" on dowel sticks across his kitchen.
He buys the proper Italiano vino as well

The stories went further to give details of how you make the pasta - 500 g flour, 4 eggs, salt, tablespoon of oil and a little hot water (so easy that even Darcey his 3 year old daughter can make it!!).  So yesterday (while I was looking for energy) I popped into my favourite store @home and found myself my very own pasta machine.  A very heavy little box which seemed to mean that it was solid and well worth the R300 they were asking for it.  I nearly asked the lady behind the counter to wrap it for me when she asked if she could (but that would have been fraudulent and a waste of her time).

I set up my own little Masterchef kitchen this morning and taught myself how to make pasta - with a few desperate messages to Franc (who was in a movie).

My first try was a disaster, reams of spaghetti all stuck together.

It was now nearly 12 and I was getting desperate.  Fattis & Monis was sounding more and more attractive.
Then a phone call from Caroline to apologise profusely that she would not be coming.  I hope she did not hear the joy in my voice because I now had only 3 and not 5 portions to prepare.  This was not a job to rushed and required patience.  The clock was ticking and I had to remove my jersey.  It was one steamy and floury kitchen!!
 I mean really - You know how long they took to separate?

I decided to take a break and get the sauce started.  Ginger, spring onions, garlic, pine nuts, broccoli sauteed in the pan.

Then I add poached Norwegian salmon (on sale at Woolworths at the moment) and creme fraiche.

So the sauce for the pasta was looking and smelling good.  The pot of water was bubbling furiously and all I was needing was 3 portions of pasta and some courage.  Should I go for the F&M?  "No, Jennifer be brave".  Franc was not answering my pleas asking what number setting the machine should be on so it was all experimental.  The pasta machine did not either come with any step by step instructions (weird) (except cleaning directions).  If I had more time I should have done some googling and found out what the correct steps were to take.  Anyway, Granny needed to be fed so I tossed the calamari looking worms of pasta into the pot and crossed my fingers.  I boiled them for 5 minutes and voila, it looked al dente and ready. Drained it and threw it into the pan with the sauce.

No time for salad and very nouveau portions from me (for a change).  I was so proud I even put my signature over the dish with balsamic glaze.  Only the tasting to come.  I must say it was a tad calamari like in texture as well and perhaps if I had added some seafood essence and spices to the pasta dough we could have had a mock calamari and salmon dish.

I need not have worried though because the two judges approved (it's all in the sauce).  They probably thought it was a new calamari dish.  After lunch I returned to the kitchen to sort out the mess and the other three quarters of the dough.  Perhaps it was because it had been standing for a while or perhaps it was because I had had a glass of wine with lunch but suddenly it was so easy.

My very own curtain of pasta!!

The next step was cleaning up the kitchen and the flour which was everywhere.  Easy part compared to cleaning the pasta machine.  Do not immerse in water.  Clean with flour (and a couple of dozen tooth picks).  Hectic.  The kitchen is covered in flour again.  I have left it now exhausted with another glass of wine.  It is now 5 o'clock and I have just ventured out of the kitchen for the first time.  Kitchen is closed - it has been a marathon Masterchef session.

I wonder if I should find some red gingham fabric and have a tablecloth made for my dining room table? (Or will the pasta machine be packed back in it's box and stored behind the fancy pancy juice extractor I was so excited about a couple of months ago).