Day 135 15 May – simplicity

A favorite South African condiment to any savory dish is chutney, and not any ole chutney, but Mrs Ball’s chutney. And tonight it accompanied our messy yet tasty bubble & squeak.

If you haven’t heard of Mrs Ball’s Chutney before, here is a short overview:

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Few lovers of the perennially favourite Mrs H.S. Ball’s Chutney™ will know just how close the recipe for their favourite sauce came to being buried in a watery grave! For in 1852 when the SS Quanza was shipwrecked off East London, South Africa, en route from Canada to Australia, Captain Adkins and his wife were lucky to escape with not only their lives but also the blueprint for what was to become one of South Africa’s most unique and priceless culinary icons. Making the best of their situation, Captain Adkins and his wife settled in King Williamstown. In 1865 their daughter, Amelia, was born. She was later to marry Mr Herbert Sandleton Ball, a railway superintendent from Cape Town. As part of her coming of age, the young bride was given the coveted secret chutney recipe.

When The Great War broke out in 1914, the Ball’s chutney was being made on a small scale and was either given as gifts to friends or sold at church bazaars. So popular became its wholesome, piquant and fruity flavour that the Ball kitchen was transformed into a makeshift production line. As demand continued to soar, Amelia and Herbert sought the assistance of Cape Town businessman Fred Metter, who procured both the octagonal jar and the oval label with which today’s chutney lovers are so familiar.

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Day 116 26 April – oatilicious

I am not a huge breakfast eater at home. Now I don’t mind going out to a cafè, sit, relax and eat till my tummy is satisfied but that’s a luxury we don’t have at the moment so home cooked breakfasts it shall be. I usually have egg or avo on toast, and there was a time when I enjoyed muesli, fruit and yogurt but the trend seems to wear off and I get bored with my meals.

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I’ve seen some incredible creations lately of oatmeal and/or smoothie bowls so this morning I tried making something hearty and warm for myself and the kids. Luckily my pantry is stocked with rolled oats as I often use it for baking the kids’ school treats. The rest of the ingredients I sourced from the freezer and fridge. I made a mixed berry oatmeal, topped with sliced plum, almonds and additional berries. I lightly sprinkled cinnamon sugar over as I know my kids will ask if they can add some sweetner.

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Breakfast took me 10 minutes to make and it was filling and satisfying. With winter approaching this will surely become a favorite in the house.

What is your go-to winter breakfast?

Day 68 9 March – meeting Manu

A dream come true!

Manu Feildel and Pete Evans are currently in New Zealand shooting the third season of MKR (My Kitchen Rules). If you do not know what MKR is all about, you are welcome to have a read here 😊 It is an interesting collaboration of home cooking, challenges and clashing personalities and you have the presenters/judges, Manu and Pete. We were first introduced to this Australian television show shortly after arriving in New Zealand, and I haven’t missed an episode yet!

The minute I heard of this opportunity I informed my husband and we decided we will go as a family. I am not the only MKR fan (more precisely Manu fan) in the family. I reserved our spot and kept it a secret from the kids.

We arrived early at Paper Plus in New Market. I wasn’t sure what the correct process is for an event like this. Even though they were officially closed to the public, the doors were open and the event signs up out on the sidewalk. I noticed a few people already seated. The kids had relentlessly been asking me questions  in an attempt to solve the ‘surprise’ night out. My daughter had narrowed it down to meeting an author, but it wasn’t until we approached the doors and I turned her head to the sign, that she shrieked from excitement. I bought his cook book and we took our seats. The room was filled with a buzz, everyone speaking either of MKR or of Manu himself. Every time the back door opened up my daughter would perk up, hoping that he is making his appearance earlier. She couldn’t believe that Manu will be here, in the same room as her. My son was more interested in walking around the store, looking at the books.

The moment arrived, a moment captured in memories. He peeked through the door opening and made a dramatic entrance. I don’t think there was a sound made when he walked in and then everyone clapped. Manu is calm, smiling at everyone as he quickly makes eye contact with several people. There is no denying that he is handsome, even more so in real life. His accent is soothing and he speaks with passion when he talks about his family, upbringing and cooking. He is such a casual guy and no question or comment was off limits. He is funny, witty and really knows about food (obviously).

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After the interview and questions from the guests, it was time for the book signing. As we were seated towards the front of the room, we were of the first few to have our book signed. My son was greeted with a high five from Manu and he giggled back at my daughter who couldn’t help but giggle out loud. He signed our book and we had a photo taken together as a family. My kids, bless them, then asked if they can get a ‘Manu’ cheek kiss each. Being French he does the traditional double kiss. He thanked us for being there, shook my husband’s hand and the next person walked up.

Our night finished with dessert at Movenpick. We each chose a flavour of lovely smooth Swiss ice cream; double cream meringue with chocolate sauce, mint choc with caramel sauce, panacotta, raspberry & strawberry sorbet.

Great night out in Auckland city again, cheek kisses and all.