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(My current profile pic is of me and my two sweet grandkids -- grandkids are always sweet! -- taken on June 9, 2013 at our Stellenbosch cottage. This university town is very sprawling now, and is the centre of the Cape Winelands).
My husband and I are retired, and live in a tiny coastal village in the Eastern Cape Province. Before retiring we spent 30 of our married years in a Johannesburg suburb.
But my real homeland where I grew up is the verdant grape-producing Hex River Valley in the Western Cape, not far from Stellenbosch. (Check out a map, Petunia! :wink:)
The seaside village where our real home is, is quiet and boring, but also very unspoilt and really beautiful. I like my own company -- but it does get lonely, which is why I can be found on Food.com often -- my cyber social life!
Our best friends live quite far away, so we need to be our own best company!
We have a small farm, with Nguni cattle -- a lovely multi-coloured African breed. There I have an organic vegetable garden, nylon-netted against the prolific bird life, the porcupines and the pesky monkeys.
I am co-host of the Food Photo Forum, the African Cooking Forum, and the Celebrity Chefs and Famous Cooks Forum. See you there!
I love cooking ... but not always cooking the daily dinner!
We like lots of fresh veggies with our meats. We are not fond of anything pre-prepared except for some very good bottled sauces and marinades.
I cook from recipes when taking part in a Tag game or a cooking competition. But from day to day I simply cook without recipes.
I like "developing" recipes, something I had to do a lot as a food editor. Many of my recipes are my own inventions, but not the old traditional ones I posted. My recipes are often a bit ... ohhh ... too "different", LOL! to be popular!
My sister and I have just had a really lovely cookbook out (published Aug 2011 by Random House-Struik South Africa). We are quite proud that we actually got through that huge amount of work -- and it IS hard work!
Preferred foods: My own well-seasoned whole roast chicken -- please, no skinless breasts! Mom's roast potatoes. Fresh asparagus, green beans, mixed lettuces, garden-ripened tomatoes ... an endless list .. I don't have a sweet tooth, and we rarely eat desserts.
And, aaah, a deeply-flavoured fish or seafood chowder in winter, with home-made bread -- peasant food. Sheep offal. (Oh, sorry about that, please don't puke!! It's actually comfort food which I never make these days, because DH hates it!!)!
Fresh Cape Rock Lobster, fresh oysters, fish just off the boats (we have a large variety). And cheeses! We have great cheeses in SA, and an endless choice of world-class wines.
HOW I RATE A RECIPE NOW:
I've learnt a lot about this delicate issue in the years I have been a Zaar member!
A very good, tasty, reliable recipe with clear instructions gets 4 stars, but a 5 really has to be an almost perfect recipe, no matter how simple. (Okay, that's according to my subjective view, but everyone is subjective when it comes to recipes, so you'll understand that statement ... )
I do tweak recipes sometimes, but in small ways, and I'll explain what I did in the review.
If it's a 3, I'll spell out exactly why, which at least gives the cook an idea why I didn't give a higher rating.
If I test recipes in a cooking or game contest, I might have to make recipes worth no more than 1 or 2 stars -- but I'll also explain exactly why -- because if the cook so wishes, she can still edit her recipe -- but normally I would pass up other Food.com recipes if I can see they will not work well for me.
But still -- ratings and reviews can be very tricky, as we on Food.com come from all over the world. I never realised how much difference there is in the cooking traditions and tastes of countries until I've been on this site for a while! Ovens, ingredients, stoves, etc. do differ, which may make a difference to the final result.