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October, 2009

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Cooking pumpkin stew & enjoying a ginger beer libation while dancing to the beat of Shakira

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009


(old blog www.giddygastronome.blogspot.com)

After much provocative dancing with my newly found South African friends to the beat of  Shakirah’s ” hips don’t lie”, we sat down to dinner….

“Como se llama, bonita, mi casa, su casa

N a z a r i n a , N a z a r i n a ( just kidding I meant to say Shakira, Shakira)

Senorita, feel  the conga, let me see you move like you come from Colombia.

…OMG, I still have this song ringing in my ear! Read below how I met these crazy people!

Paying homage to some autumnal classics

Bubbly, virgin pear &  ginger beer crushed ice cubes  & sparkling water with a cinnamon sugar rim libation. Sparkling water “perks”  up any drink, it is like a good fitting brazier.……you know where I am going with this!!!


And……”Pampoen bredie”( pumpkin stew with beef), mango pickle, ( you gotta have sour with the sweet & a little spicy), wild rice and brown basmati  with black mustard seeds and roasted red bell peppers.

“Brown & wild” very much like me LOL! ( Purchased  the brown & wild basmati at the  farmer’s market)


As a small child growing up in South Africa, I was introduced to this Cape Malay classic known as “pampoen bredie ( pumpkin stew with tender brown beef) by my loving mom.  I remembered not liking it very much, simply because I was a kid who disliked vegetables and was a  heck of a poor eater as well! Now, I  have come to the realization that this very infamous “pampoen bredie” was  by no means an impromptu dish prepared by my mom and her sisters, in fact,  it was slow cooked  with a “lotta” love and made only with  the best ingredients. I should have known that mediocrity had no place at their  kitchen table even if it was just this humble gourd!….Thank God my taste buds matured!

Last week while doing my weekly shopping at Whole Foods, I  ran into four South Africans. I heard them conversing in Afrikaans and well, simply  introduced myself. And then all h… broke loose!  Our handshakes were by no means flaccid, I can assure you they were firm, rapid and extremely impressive much like a well shaken  drink! ( Is this not a common phenomenon when meeting your fellow countrymen? LOL!) I decided then and there to invite them all to dinner that night  and being the gracious hostess that I am inquired  about any of their  preferences , ironically they all answered, “pampoen bredie!” Sweet! I thought, I was going to spoil myself by making this dish anyway!

And so I graciously obliged but with the intention of a little “forward thinking” of the preparation of this dish. So, in order  not to dishonor my mom’s version, I would still mirror the premise of this Cape Malay classic but with a tiny little twist. C’mon, we cannot always stay rooted in tradition!


I also  concocted this stunning little virgin  sipper with the intention of evoking  refreshing and delicious drama!


Use some of the pears to garnish the drinks and  the remainder ( peeled) blend with  the bottled  pear juice.


Method for the drink: Chill everything except the pears!

Pour some ginger beer ( Non-alcoholic)  in ice cube trays and freeze, when ready to garnish the drinks, crush some in a plastic bag with a rolling pin.

Blend 4 cups of the pear juice, the remainder of the pears( peeled) with 1 and a half cups of ginger beer until fully incorporated and then shake like the dickens. Mix some organic sugar with cinnamon for the rim( first rim the glass with a lemon wedge) and then dip into the cinnamon sugar. Fill glasses halfway with the pear mixture and top off with a scoop of ginger beer ice cubes and then fill to the top with sparkling water.


You are going to become addicted to this gingery non–alcoholic  libation!

Recipe for:

“Pampoen bredie” ( Pumpkin stew with grass-fed organic stewing beef)

Please use organic ingredients when possible!

The method is similar to this post that I wrote in January “Grass-fed organic beef cooked low and slow with fru-fru potatoes”


Follow the ingredient list and method of  that post but do not add potatoes and the balsamic vinegar. Add a quarter teaspoon of black or pale yellow mustard seeds to the onions and then caramelize. Next, peel and cube  two  small white pumpkins. Lay the first cubed pumpkin ( this is my little twist) on a baking tray and sprinkle with kosher salt, some brown sugar, cinnamon, pure pickle masala( just a tiny sprinkling), some nutmeg  and some extra virgin olive oil and roast for an hour. This should be tender but not mushy!!!

Add the second cubed pumpkin to the beef  when it is  tender and dark brown and delicious and cook for an hour until the pumpkin cubes have melted in the meat gravy. Adjust your seasoning and add a little brown sugar, two dried red chilies, two stick cinnamon to the mixture as well. Just before serving add the roasted pumpkin cubes to this pot and simmer for ten minutes. Serve in little pumpkins, rice on the bottom then the  pumpkin stew. Also serve mango pickles with this dish.

My fellow South Africans had so much fun and simply loved the meal I  prepared in such a short time. They could not get over the fact that I served it in individual little pumpkins. They are now going to inform their family and friends about coming to this blog for my version. They are also coming back next week for another dinner and hopefully dessert! Maybe they will allow me to post our  dance video….let me see whether I could convince them!

Julle mal Suid Afrikaners is lekker b…Ek moet se daar is niemand wat soos ons kan dans en n’ gekke spektakel van ons self te maak nie!!!!!

I  hope you enjoyed this post.

Thanks for stopping by,


Click here this will take you to my latest recipes!

Easy entertaining: featuring fabulous fruity drinks & a scrumptious moussaka

Thursday, October 8th, 2009


(old blog www.giddygastronome.blogspot.com)

How to make food look  spectacular  by using simple garnishes and a sense of whimsy!

There is nothing more haunting than the collapse of a souffle, bread not proofing or just any possibility of a culinary masterpiece going terribly wrong at a very inopportune time! Believe me it happens to the best of us and the only thing we can do is to try again. “Try and try again”, a saying only for the patient heart  that loves to cook!

The one thing I have going for me is the inexhaustible will to “mess” with things until a satisfactory parallel is somewhat attained. Because of this remarkable “SABR” (patience) that God has bestowed upon me, any endeavor always seem to congruently “fall into place.” I seem to struggle less and  advertently  get things right the first  time. I  amaze  myself  every time!. With that said I only had one shot at the fabulous moussaka, at least that time,  before my guests arrived! Don’t get me wrong, I do have lots of vulnerabilities, I  just don’t let them get to me!

I love to play with my food and in so doing, armed with an aubergine( eggplant), carrot, lemon, craft knife and a sense of “giddy” carved out  this penguin……apparently its fate ended up in my vegetarian moussaka below!

I told my cats, “If you do not behave then”……..I am just kidding guys!!!!

this image one of the most favorite



I swear this is the most flavorful spicy brown gravy ( i.s.o. bechamel) seeping down the sides of  this spectacular savory vegetarian moussaka made my way! It has four distinct layers…roasted eggplant, umami glazed mushrooms etc……this is a lighter version!


This is yet  another well thought out and executed  recipe in my upcoming book. This book will not disappoint! This is a melt in your mouth, no mastication needed, slightly crunchy, garlicky creation that boggled even the most unsuspecting of  taste buds!


My guests had only the most beautiful interjections for this culinary luxury! They polished off the whole thing….in fact they seemed a bit annoyed with me taking the pictures before they could finally enjoy it!


Easy entertaining!

Simple drinks  with not so complicated garnishes make any guest feel special! BTW, the orange powder on the rim of the glass is all natural and its method is  conveyed to you  step by step in my book.This citrus powder can even be used in cookies .

However,  the recipe for the “fizzy clementine & yogurt ice” is found below.


If you are a lover of refreshing ice tea, then boy! is this drink for you! This is a sweet clementine chamomile organic tea infused with the juice of a clementine,  orange flower water, honey etc…. This sparkling citrussy drink will cleanse the palate and quench a rather urgent thirst! Delicious!

If you had a crappy day at the office, then this soothing drink will definitely take care of you! Bottoms up!


Recipes ( Please use organic ingredients when possible)

Fizzy clementine and yogurt ice drink

Click here for the yogurt ice recipe( I made this last year). However, do use the zest of the clementine i.s.o. the lemon zest.

  • A bottle of sparkling water chilled
  • Squeeze the juice of 8 sweet  clementines plus the pulp
  • 1 t orange flower water ( concentrates the citrus flavor)(I use Mustapha’s Moroccan orange flower water, a cute bottle!)
  • 1 bottle of Italian  orange passion mango sparkling soda chilled from Target

Mix 1/2  of the  Italian orange passion, all the juice and pulp of the clementines, the orange flower water. Pour the glasses  halfway with this mixture, top off with the sparkling water and garnish with the yogurt ice.

Sweet clementine chamomile organic ice tea

Brew 4 tea bags,  and then add only the juice of the clemetines, orange flower water and honey to taste. Let cool. Serve with ice cubes and slices of oranges or clementines.

Thanks for stopping by for dinner!



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