October 2009

I’ve moved here (hit on the image):

banner for maritasays

I was going to write a really long entry here but then got bored with the idea so I’m keeping it pretty short, but not sweet.

I’m dropping wordpress. After about two years of struggling with uploading pictures and adding links and generally feeling not-so-smart I decided to migrate back to blogger. Where I started out a long time ago. Yes, I know.

So to all of you who’ve faithfully followed me here you can now read up on what I’m up to at http://www.itinerantbordeaux.blogspot.com/

Oh, yes, I changed the name and the style and some other stuff. You know, it was just time for MaritaSays to go rest. And lots of people who read this blog think I’m a lady, which is very incorrect.

So thanks for reading and for commenting and do continue to do so at Itinerant Bordeaux.


meal in a cup

The other day while looking at BloggerAid’s website I came across this entry by Val in lieu of World Food Day, which will be taking place on October 16th. Here’s what Val had to say:

“As my way of raising awareness for the issue of hunger here in our own communities or worldwide I have created a recipe that can be served in a cup like the Red Cup representative of the School Meals Program. Serving food at school helps alleviate hunger among the world’s poorest children or enabling a girl to attend school rather than staying at home to help take care of her family. If even one child is allowed to go to school it provides them with not only food but with an education and the tools which are key to a better future for themselves as well as their community. If one child is educated imagine what would happen to an entire village. The future starts with our children!!!

I encourage you to raise awareness with your own voice by preparing a dish and posting it on your blog. Your dish can be inexpensive, it can be something that represents your part of the world or simply prepare something you enjoy and would like to share. Just serve it in a cup to represent feeding one child a healthy and nutritious lunch at school.”

Neat idea, right? Creating awareness by making something as simple as a meal that can be served in a cup. I never eat a meal out of a cup, my meals are always in big plates and deep bowls. there is always more than enough. But for so many, something as simple as a wholesome meal in a cup can mean an end to hunger.

I decided to do something simple, yet nutritional and filling. Something that would offer starch along with protein and that can be eaten at any time of the day. And of course, something that would be accessible.

This meal is a bit of a fusion between South African porridge made with corn meal and Chinese rice soup. I love both, but have never tried to combine them before. I used yellow corn meal or maize meal which is fairly common in South Africa and neighboring countries, but blue corn meal or rice would work as well, the preparation might just be slightly different.

For this meal you’d need:
1.5 cups corn meal
3 cups chicken stock or water
1 egg, lightly beaten
salt to taste

The process:
Put the meal into a small pot and add the 3 cups of stock/water. Bring it to a slow boil while stirring all the time. Be careful that it does not become to hot as it will burn or exploding porridge bubbles will land on your skin, which can seriously hurt. If the porridge is very tough, add more water as needed to turn it into more of a thick runny porridge. When it is cooked, stir in the egg until it combined with the porridge, add salt to taste and serve. You can also add any other ingredients at this stage like bits of cooked meat, some finely chopped vegetable or herbs to add to the flavor. I added a few drops of sesame oil and some soy sauce. Fill two large mugs (like I did) or 2 smaller cups, and serve.

* The BloggerAid Cook Book is pretty much ready to be sent to publishers. Excellent work done by all bloggers involved in this big undertaking!

Over the past two weeks we’ve been seriously jesting about packing it all up and start traveling again. Now, this might sound like it is just a temporary itch and we should just wait it out, but I’ve been suffering from a mild to serious case of the wanderlust since about June. And instead of dissipating like fog around Lion’s Head on a summer’s day it just grew and grew into the ‘dilemma’ we are in right now. I use the term dilemma even though it probably isn’t that serious. But it feels kind of serious.

We’ve been getting fairly settled into our apartment over the past few months, we finally have a washing machine and a Kitchenaid. We have furniture we like, some of which we restored ourselves. There is a nicely kitted out kitchen and we have regular magazine subscriptions. So basically, we have a home. Something we were both craving when we arrived back in SA this year after months of travel.

But, despite enjoying being pretty settled in our home, we feel something lacking. I miss going to foreign destinations on the regular, something I do not see being an option if we stay here long term. It is a very well-known fact that travel is just not cheap for South Africans. Also, our dream of opening a café does not sound so appealing anymore, it would mean a big time-investment from our side and the opportunity to just go away for a couple of weeks would disappear instantly. Even traveling within SA would be seriously limited.

So we’ve been fooling around with the idea of packing it up, putting our stuff in storage and start a journey working and traveling around the globe. Settling in a couple of destinations for a few months, working a bit and then moving again. I know I will miss having a solid home, but somehow I feel I would be happy if I can settle for bits and then travel again. So should I do the ‘adult’ thing and stay here, establish ourselves her for the long term? Or should I start saving towards those tickets calling my name and spend the next two years living itinerantly and accept that as life?

I do not even want to think about what my mother will say when she hears about these murmurings in my head! But I’d love to hear what you think.

sweet potato bread

One of the great things about this bag of organic produce we receive each week is that it forces us to use produce that we don’t always buy. Like sweet potatoes. For some reason we rarely ever buy it, even though I really enjoy it. The smell of sweet potatoes roasting in the oven or boiling on the stove- there’s something very right about it.

We received a couple in our first order from Wild and I decided to try something different with it from our usual roasted version. When Monday rolled around I felt like attempting bread and after hopping around online for a bit I found a recipe for sweet potato bread that sounded simple enough for me to manage. I tweaked the ingredients a little bit, using a mix maize meal and blue corn meal, giving it a South African/ New Mexican texture and flavour. The two kinds of meal worked together perfectly and complimented the chunks of sweet potato in the bread beautifully.

For this potato bread you need:

400g sweet potatoes

4 large eggs

1.5 cups plain yogurt

1 cup blue corn meal

1 and 1/3 cups maize meal (in South Africa) or yellow corn meal (elsewhere)

1 cup all purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoons salt

½ cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into cubes

The process:

Preheat the oven to 190C and prepare a square baking pan. Scrub the sweet potatoes clean and cook in boiling water until soft, about 20 minutes. Allow to cool and then mash it up, skin and all. Fill 1 cup with the mashed potatoes. If there’s any left you should just eat it like that. It’s delicious! Mix the eggs and yogurt together with the cup of sweet potato in a large mixing bowl.

Set aside, The next step you can do in a food processor if you have one, I did it manually. Whisk together the dry ingredients and cut in the butter with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add it to the sweet potato mixture and mix well until it all just comes together. Pour it into the prepared bowl and bake for about 45 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool on a wire rack and start enjoying.

If you cannot find blue corn meal, use yellow if available or maize meal.

We were going to give some to our neighbors, but enjoyed it so much that we ate most of it ourselves (I did give a big piece to a friend, so I was not entirely selfish!) with my dad’s kiwi preserves, butter and peanut butter.

Wild Bounty

It’s organic, it’s all grown in Western Cape and (my favorite part) if you don’t use it within a week it starts going all soft. It’s real food!

In an effort to eat better and to reduce our carbon footprint we started ordering a weekly basket from Wild Organics here in Woodstock. It’s a group of people who source and supply locally grown and organic produce to people in the Cape Town area. Every Wednesday they deliver the produce to a few select spots around the city where you can go pick it up.

Since then, Wednesday is our highlight of the week. After I’m done teaching in the morning we head over to Bird’s Café (on foot of course) to pick up our bounty. And what a bounty it is! In our first we got avos, salad leaves, baby cabbage, sprouts, spring onions, carrots, cilantro, apples, young potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas and strawberries. The meals we prepared with it were incredible, everything tasted right and fresh.

If you live in Cape Town and feel like food that’s real, get in touch with them. They deliver once a week and the prices are pretty comparable to local stores. You also support local industries and it’s a great opportunity to eat more seasonal.

We just received our new bag two days ago and already I am looking forward to the next one!

picnic site and spread

I suppose I should not really complain about the wintery weather we experienced during most of September, seen as most of our winter was actually pretty mild. Although there were some cold spells we actually enjoyed a pleasant cold season with some splendid days.

On one of those glorious Sundays we decided to pack up a picnic and enjoy the sun on Signal Hill. While Alexander prepared ginger-lemonade in Console flasks I quickly assembled some boerewors rolls (a very traditional South African meat sausage with lots of dry spices in it) with whole-wheat rolls and some of my dad’s home-made kiwi chutney. For dessert I brought along lemon meringue cupcakes I made the day before.

It was such a lovely day and if I remember correctly I even got a little bit of a tan on my arms. In winter!