General Musings


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.

After the first three weeks of spring were cold, wet and miserable, this week arrived with plenty of sunshine, slightly balmy days and the sensation that beach days are back. We were elated! So elated that we (finally!) bought garden chairs and lots of white wine and soda water to enjoy with dinner out on the balcony again.

But we awoke this morning at 5:30AM (to climb Lion’s Head again) to an overcast city. Despite a slight crispness in the air that was not there yesterday we went ahead with our climbing, enjoying the mist that enveloped us on the way up and down and the new flowers in bloom all over the mountain. The weather would clear as soon as the sun is out, I told myself.

Well, it’s much later in the day, I’ve checked the weather forecast for the weekend and I have shut all windows to keep the chill out. Spring has been taken from us! And this on the day my northern sister is coming to visit us from Gauteng. I’ve been so excited to show her what she’s missing by not moving here; lazing at the beach, picnics in the Gardens, sunshine shopping sprees at Milnerton Market and a lazy cheese and wine tasting at Fairview.

I wish I had one or three of these to enjoy now… 

salted cashew cupcakes

…salted cashew cupcakes.

I made these a while ago, tweaking a recipe from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook for maple walnut cupcakes. They tasted incredible, especially after Alexander decided to throw pinches of sea salt on each to balance the decadently rich frosting. They were incredibly good, so much so, we had to give some away as we were risking eating the whole giant batch ourselves.

Yes, one of those would make me feel better now. But instead I’ll be baking banana and strawberry muffins for sis’s arrival and prepare cookie dough for Saturday nights dessert with friends. Hopefully all of that will lift my spirits and I’ll be sharing the recipes with you in sunnier weather.

An announcement I have wanted to make forever but kept on forgetting to. It feels a little unreal, like when you know something is real between you and someone else, why even bother with tradition. But it won’t be traditional…

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…it will be special, intimate, and it will be our wedding. And deep down I actually know it is a very big deal, and that makes me very happy and very excited!

The worst thing about 2009, worse than Sarah Palin, was the Sex and the City movie. I cannot remember the last time I was so totally disappointed in something. I was not anticipating greatness when we went to the theatre, but having watched several old episodes ahead of the movie made me hopeful that some of the wit and inteligence of the show would carry (sorry for that) onto the big screen. From the moment those clips from the show started floating across the screen I knew I was in for something awful. The highlight of all the stupidness in the movie was the toilet humor in the following 76 seconds of pure torture.

Goodness, what were Michael-Patrick King and Sarah Jessica Parker thinking? Everything leading up to this was poor, what followed did not get any better. Hopefully 2009 will not bring the anticipated (what???) sequal, that would be too much for me.

For 2009 my wish is lots and lots more Lady GaGa, the most exciting new musical discovery I’ve made this year. I say discovery because I was not aware of her in Bangkok until right at the very end.

Happy 2009 from me and Lady GaGa!

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On Phra Arthit in Banglamphu there is a really cute store selling some fun handmade ladies clothing and accessories, postcards and this, a fridge magnet paper doll. The first time I saw her I knew I had to have her. She brought back memories of childhood holidays on my grandparents’ farm, where my mother grew up.

Why memories of the farm? Because aside from it being a great time to play hide-and-seek in massive mango trees, swimming in rivers and chasing giant bugs it was also a time when we went through all my mom’s old toys. There was a kitchen set complete with tiny oven, her porcelain dolls and, my favorite, paper dolls with lots of outfits to mix and match. I would spend hours and hours playing playing stylist with them.

I’ve been back to the store many times since that first time and finally decided to buy her on our last visit to the area. She came in her own little bag, complete with outfits and accessories.

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Now she has a new home on our fridge and I get to play dress-up again. With my fridge magnet paper doll.

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I was going to do a recipe blog of this fabulous and decadent South African treat, but between a cat lost and found oceans away from here, a bag that needed finishing and preparing for a visit and two days on Ko Samet I did not get to any of that. So for the recipe I followed, go visit Jeanne’s site, Cooksister. She did a fine job of blogging about it and to her goes all the credit for how great mine came out (my boyfriend’s words- not mine!).

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I made two tarts, but there was not enough dulce de leche for the second tart, so I whipped up some more cream and mixed in some peppermint essence and peppermint crisp for a truly sinful topping.

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Now we are off for two days on Ko Samet. All this holidaying recently have kept us busy and we need a break! I finally finished my sister’s bag that I’ve been promising her for about 7 months and will take it with for a shoot. Expect some pictures next week.

I’m back from a pretty relaxed trip to Cambodia. Despite some long bus journeys and time spent at embassies and border control, we still had lots of time to enjoy fabulous Khmer food and good cocktails.

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In a kind of big move both of us have resigned just before we left for this trip and we are now kind of unemployed/freelancing. It was not exactly an impulse decision, but also not something we mulled over for weeks. It felt like the right thing to do though and I am looking forward to having more time to spend on sewing, cooking, baking and writing. So expect to see some more regular entries here. Starting with some on our trip to be published very soon.

Before I get to that though. Can anybody spot something different in the picture below?

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I was tagged, quite some time ago, by fellow South African food blogger, and winner of TWO! South African Blog Awards, Jeanne of Cook Sister! for a Meme. Now I think I’ve mentioned before that I feel a bit awkward about doing these, but at the same time I think I get a little bit of a kick out of it. If only because I really like talking about myself.

So I’ll try to stick to the original as much as possible, but I’ve decided to veer of track a little too.

What were you doing 10 years ago?

Working at my first full-time office job and trying to finish my BA degree. Neither of the two made me very happy.

What were you doing 1 year ago?

Living in Koreatown, LA and exploring the city with Alexander.

5 Snacks you enjoy.

– Meang kham, a Thai snack of palm sugar paste, ginger, lime, chili, peanuts and toasted coconut wrapped in betel leave.

– Raw peanuts and cashew nuts.

– Brie on pear.

– Beskuit, A South African version of biscotti, only way better.

– Chocolate, if it can be considered a snack.

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire

That I guess would depend on the currency. But mainly I guess I’d probably end up spending it all on one thing and that is travel-travel-travel. I’m not good with money. And yes I will try not to be selfish and donate to some good causes.

Five things you like doing

– travel

– lounging around in cafes

– cooking and baking

– travel (not a mistake)

– shopping

Five things you would never wear again

-rugby shorts

-waist coats (probably)

-turtleneck shirts

-piercings

-long hair

Five personal bits of information (here’s where I veer off)

-I wanted to be princess Diana after I saw the wedding on television as a 5-year old

-I played dress-up with my sister’s Barbie when no one was home

-I was constantly sneaking into my Mom’s jewelry box and putting on her bracelets as a kid

-I was the first one of my friends as a teenager to get hair under my arms, I was mortified (if you take the above points into consideration)

-I am… a GUY.

Yep, you heard me. I decided to come out of the guy-closet publicly as I’ve come to realize that there may be some confusion as to my sexuality! The confusion resulted in lots of laughter for me and Alexander (he’s also a guy) and if you have at any point addressed me as a woman, please know that I am not at all offended and must admit to getting a bit of a kick out of the confusion I may have caused.

I know the name of my blog is probably the biggest cause of the confusion so let me explain. Marita is my mother. I’m not sure if she’s completely aware that I partially named my blog after her, but anyways. She’s Marita and I am Bordeaux. Her son.

That’s me (the guy, not the notebook or fort) and that was my Meme. Sorry for not being good at tagging, if you read this consider yourselves tagged and then you can choose to either do a Meme or not.


In between everything else that’s been going on I’ve had some time to sew. Here is a sneak preview. I’ll be able to reveal more once I know my friend has received her package.

And now I really have to go. We’re leaving for the airport in 30 minutes and I (yes, me!) have not even packed yet!

My Valentine’s gift to Alexander came a week late in the form of a night spent at Luxx near Silom.

They were fully booked the previous week, so I decided to move the date, which worked out fine because Thursday was a public holiday. We left home around noon and checked into our sexy room early, before going out to explore the neighborhood around the hotel. It was beautiful tree-lined area with lots of neat old architecture and a variety of restaurants serving all kinds of cuisine, from Thai to Iranian.

For dinner, Alexander took me to the incredibly hip and stylish Eat Me. The setting was perfect for a romantic dinner for two and the menu was incredible. Begin with a cocktail menu with items like Bloody Mary made with saffron infused vodka and continue from there. It was the perfect dinner to compliment our stay.

We enjoyed a hearty breakfast in bed the next morning before checking out and heading back to work. It was unfortunate that we had to work Friday, I would have loved to sleep in some more, but it was going to be an easy day with just some grading. Only a couple of hours.

My pleasant mood was spoiled by the discovery that the fee for a re-entry permit for Thailand has gone up by 2000 Baht. Ridiculous and ludicrous. I was shocked and enraged and I still cannot understand some of the buerocratic nonsense we have to put up with to be legal workers. It’s almost as if they encourage people to work illegally and do regular visa trips to pretty destinations like Vientiane in Laos. Ugh!

To top that, my students are doing horribly in their exams, really just terribly. One after the other paper I graded was either a fail or just passed. And I thought this paper was going to be way to easy for them! Luckily all the other teachers I spoke to complained of the same thing, so hopefully I won’t get fired!

We left school at around noon, both of us feeling gloomy and in very bad spirits. While at Tops to pick up some groceries, Alexander began insisting that I bake some treats this weekend, and I could not think of a better way to rid myself that came and clung to me after our pleasant inner-city getaway.

So after lunch, a nap and an old Sex and the City episode I got out a bunch of ingredients and went baking-mad.

First item was a mango bread/cake. I used this recipe (mostly) on Barbara’s blog. I did change the quantities a bit, dividing everything in half. I also did not have any nuts or raisins around so I just added a lot of toasted coconut to the mixture. I divided the batter between two pie dishes and decided to turn the whole thing into a cake. And this was the wonky result…

I know, not very pretty. I do believe I have said before that I am no food stylist, but who cares when it tastes good? And I can assure you, this is very-very yummy. Thanks Barbara! The frosting is a broiled coconut frosting. What you do is you mix 1/2 a cup dessicated coconut with 1 tablespoon melted butter, a tablespoon brown sugar and a tablespoon of whipping cream. Spread this on top of the still warm cake a few minutes before it should be removed from the oven. Obviously it should be watched closely so it doesn’t burn. I spread a layer of lytchee jam between the two cakes, so it’s all very tropical and real tasty.

While that was baking I started on some banana muffin batter, throwing in a handful of poppy seeds just for fun. As soon as the cake came out the muffins went in and here is the result (which we enjoyed for breakfast the next morning)…

And after that, I rested. Enjoying a big slice of cake with some tea while the scent of freshly baked goodness hung around the apartment.

(The pictures of Luxx and Eat Me were taken by Alexander.)

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