Our Getaway to the Drakensberg

We packed our bags, the kids, the kids’ bags, the kids’ pram, the kids’ toys, the kids’ snacks, the kids’ day bag and …. off we went passed Clarens, passed Sterkfontein dam to Cayley Resort near Winterton. Cayley Resort looks over the Cathkin Peak and Champagne Castle ranges of the Central Drakensberg.

We had an amazing view from our unit, number 33. Cayley Resort is similar to Kiara Lodge in Clarens. There was also a big jumping pillow and a play area for the kids. Although it’s still winter we wandered down to their “beach area” and were amazed to actually find a guy working there although it seemed empty. Could be fun in summer and if one had a babysitter.

We had lekker chats and ate lekker snacks… and learnt a lot about what vegans eat. When our beer ran out on our last evening Marc had the guts to go and ask our neighbours if they were willing to sponsor us a six-pack! And they did!

We explored the Winterton area a bit. On our first day we went to The Pig and Plough. They have good craft beer! On another day we ate at Waffle Hut and Pizza Shack which are next to each other. We also went to Drakensberg Brewery (where we also did some chocolate tasting!) and The Valley Bakery. All we did was eat and drink! Björn and Sarah live a few kms from Drakensberg Brewery. Lucky them! So we got to see them too which was nice.

I think Leo, Nathan and August also enjoyed the getaway. Although August took a few knocks to his head. We ended the weekend with a cherry on top at the Clarens Brewery. Thank you to Ansuné and Godfrey for a really memorable weekend.

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1,2,3 Let’s Blaze Birthday Party

1,2,3 Leeet’s Blaze! That was the theme of Leo’s 3rd Birthday Party we held this year. I made a Blaze chocolate mud cake which you saw on the previous post. When he saw the cake for the first time his eyes lit up and he studied the cake with an amazed smile on his face for about 15 minutes.

Ouma Jane bought Blaze cookies! Leo cherished those cookies. Luckily he didn’t have a problem letting his friends also have a cookie each. He even took one to school for his teacher on the Monday. The last cookie he held in his hand like it was a precious treasure.

Another highlight was our homemade Blaze Piñata! Leo, Marc and I made the piñata 2 weeks before his party and Leo just couldn’t wait to smash his piñata. Thankfully we had another piñata which my sister gave me so that Leo could smash his piñata by himself and his friends could smash the other one. He did share the sweets which fell out when it was eventually totally bashed.

Leo had a big helium Blaze balloon and a big number 3 balloon which were still floating around our house until yesterday. Ouma Dakkie managed to find a Blaze banner at China Mall. We also had party packs and served boerewors rolls and Dakkie’s yummy milk tarts. It was a really fun birthday weekend.

Now Leo is already counting down the days to his 4th birthday!

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Chocolate Blaze Sponge Cake

We had a blazing good time celebrating Leo’s birthday this year. I used Daleen’s chocolate cake recipe to make a “Blaze and the Monster Machines Mud cake.” It is really a yummy, fluffy cake. It tasted really good with the chocolate cream cheese icing I made. Marc got the little Blaze characters online. Leo really liked his cake! Will post some more pics of the party and our Blaze piñata in next post.

Daleen’s Chocolate Sponge Cake recipe:

Chocolate sponge cake:

Turn your Oven to 180’C

You will need:

8 eggs seperated

1/2cup cacao

1cup hot water

2 cup cake flour

2 cup sugar

4 tsp + 1 tsp baking powder

3/4 cup cooking oil

Pinch of salt

5ml vanilla essence

Method:

Mix hot water and cacao and let cool.

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder(4tsp) and salt.

Add egg yolks, oil and cooled cacao water.

Mix well for about 10 min.

Beat egg whites until stiff peaks can form. Add 1 teasspoon baking powder and fold into chocolate mix.

Bake for 40min

(Until you can smell the cake and it’s no longer wobbly. Or until a knife/toothpick comes out clean.)

Really yummy! Thanks Daleen.😊

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Best Play Dough Recipe

Leo enjoys playing with play dough. And when it’s not on his head (see pic) or in the carpet it makes for a fun activity.😊

This Play Dough is easy to make, feels nice, and lasts long. I originally got the recipe from Milene. Here it is:

1 cup Flour, 1/2 cup salt, 1 cup water, 1 tablespoon Cream of Tartar, 1 tablespoon oil

Add ingredients in pot and heat on stove, mixing until it is the right consistency. (Mini arm workout!)

He had two separate colours for about 2 minutes.

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Let the Party be Gin!

We held a small Gin Tasting event for Marcus’s birthday this year. I’ve been wanting to post this for a while now… but election day is probably a good day to post about gin!

Gin is clear alcohol + juniper berries + other botanicals and spices. Nobis bought some juniper berries for us to taste. They are more like cones than berries. Even the word “gin” comes from old french for juniper.

What we did was buy a few different types of gin and a few different types of tonics. Some guests also brought gin. We had cucumber, lemons, rosemary, mint, tea-bags, lavendar, castor sugar, Angostura bitters and candy floss. We also made round ice balls. Everyone mixed and match some gin, tonic and whatever else tickled their fancy. I wanted to play some sort of queen’s hat game but Antonie looked so good in the hat he ended up wearing it the whole evening.

I found the research of gin very interesting and it was quite exciting tasting different pairings. Our favourite is currently Gordon’s Gin with Fitch & Leedes pink tonic.

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Lekker Butter Cookies

Peek-A-Boo here are some cookies for you!

Here’s an easy cookie recipe. Similar to the one my mom used to make with us when we were kids.

Ingredients:

250g butter

1 cup sugar

1 large egg

1 tablespoon vanilla essence

2 cups flour

Method:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius

Cream together butter and sugar

Add egg and vanilla essence and mix well.

Mix in flour

Mould into desired shape (about half to 3/4cm thick depending on how thick you want the cookie to be.)

Bake for 10-15 mins depending on cookie thickness and desired crunchiness.

You are one smart cookie!😊

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Pork Belly with Gooseberry Glaze

We made pork belly for our annual “Christmas in July” this year. The meat was soft and succulent and the crackling was very crispy. It was delicious! (And it wasn’t just me who thought so.)

Ingredients: 2kg pork belly; salt; 375mls white wine; 8 garlic cloves; thyme; for the glaze: +/-250g Gooseberry and Ginger Jam (but any jam should do); 250g Maple syrup (or maple flavoured syrup)

Method:

Place pork belly in roasting tray. Rub generous amount of salt on the skin and leave for 15mins. After 15 mins dab excess moisture with paper towel. (Recommended: Cut the fat into your serving strips because crackling is difficult to cut when it’s done.)

Put oven on high (230-240 degrees celsius).

Put pork in oven for 30-40 minutes until skin feels hard.

When skin has hardened put oven on grill so that skin puffs up. Watch that it doesn’t burn! (About 15mins)

Take pork belly out of the oven; put grill function off; and allow oven to cool down to 180 degrees.

Add white wine, garlic cloves and thyme to roasting tray. Put pork belly back in the oven for 1 and a half hours.

Mix Jam and syrup together. You might need to slightly heat mixture just to make it runny enough. Spread mixture over pork belly as soon as it is out the oven.

Cut the pork belly and spread any remaining jam and syrup mixture over the pieces.

Geniet hom!

“Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas means a little more.” Dr. Seuss

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