Archive for September, 2008

A-Z of Me

September 29, 2008

I was tagged by Lightening to do this “A-Z of Me” meme:

Attached or single? Attached. C and I met in 1973 and we celebrate 30 years of wedded bliss (mostly) next June.

Best Friend?  Can I say my daughter? I will.  MissN.

Cake or Pie?  Cake. Rich brownie flat cake.

Day of Choice?  Sunday. Family day. Sleep in. Church. Sunday afternoon tea (new family tradition).

Essential Item? I SHOULD say My Bible.

Flavour of icecream? Coconut and kaffir lime sorbet (it’s dairy free!)

Gummy Bears or Worms? Neither.

Hometown? I was born in Johannesburg and lived there my first 29 years. Been in Sydney ever since.

Indulgences? Jurlique

January or July? January. It’s summer. School holidays. MissN’s birthday.

Kids? MissN who is 13, going on 23 and such a blessing.

Last Movie I saw in a Theatre? I think it was “The Other Boleyn Girl” with MissN.

Middle Name? Joy. MissN has it too. MissNJ. My mother was Dorothy Joy. Her mother’s name was Geziena (she was Dutch) and my grandfather called her Joy as she was his joy. She died in 1934 before my mother was 4.

Number of Siblings? 3. I’m the oldest. Glynis (lives in Johannesburg) is 15 months younger. Neville is next (nearly 4 years younger) and he lives in Cape Town. Derrick is nearly 7 years younger and he lives in Brisbane (he moved to Cape Town, then London, then Auckland and now Brissie. MissN is very happy to have an Aussie cousin!) It’s a pity Brisbane is 10 hours drive away.

Oranges or Apples? Apples.

Phobia or Fear?  Serious mental illness.

Quote? “These are the days of miracle and wonder, this is a long distance call…”

Reason to Smile? I am redeemed!

Season? Autumn

Tag five more…. Linda, Kat, Joyce, Melinda, Sarah

Unknown fact about me? I have studied Afrikaans throughout school (it was obligatory in South Africa), Latin (I took Latin for my matriculation), German and Sotho at university and have done a bit of Italian and French at evening college.  I’m only fluent in English maar ek kan nog Afrikaans lees en ‘n bietjie skryf!

Vegetarian or Oppressor of Animals? Semi vegetarian. I love seafood. I didnt eat any meat for almost 20 years but have been eating prosciutto again.

Xrays or Ultrasound? Ultrasound. What a weird question. But ultrasounds hurt less than mammograms do.

Your favourite food?  I will resist saying chocolate.  Vegetables.

Zodiac? My uncle had a Zodiac I think.. or was it a Zephyr? lol I steer clear of astrology.

Enjoy “my” song:


September 24, 2008

DQ is a 16 year old kid/young man, who is fostered by an internet friend of mine in Kentucky, USA.  DQ has muscular dystrophy and a bad heart.  He cannot walk at all and uses a wheelchair.  He has no family, no-one to care for him apart from his foster parents and he has had a life of abuse and neglect up till now.  He is the kindest, sweetest and dear child you would ever want to meet, says WendyB, his foster mom (who, with hubby Jim, has fostered an amazing 189 kids so far and adopted 2 of them!)  They have 5 boys at the moment – all special needs kids.  I love this anecdote she posted about DQ:

“I heard a thump in the back hall earlier this evening and I called out, “What was that?” DQ answered, “It’s OK. Ms. B., I was just practicing my back flips!” God love him…he has my heart!”

DQ and M

DQ and M

DQ had surgery on his back (he had his spine fused and steel rods inserted) at the end of June so that he could breathe more easily.  On 17 July he became very ill and nearly died when an E-Coli infection set in.  He had 3 more surgeries, his back being left open to heal “from the inside out”.  He was stitched up again on 9 September, but his back keeps leaking fluid.  He came home last week with a wound vac to suction the wound (from the top of his spine to his tailbone), IV antibiotics (which are labour intensive – Wendy is getting 3-4 hours sleep a night) and daily Home Health.

The lifespan for a kid with Duchennes Muscular Dystrophy is early to mid twenties.  Jim and Wendy hope to be able to care for him until then and to give him the best years they can.  DQ told one of the nurses that he hopes to be able to stay with them until he dies.  He always has a smile and a good attitude, even during the very worst of the pain.

He has lost most of his upper body movement and strength since his surgery and infection and has to be cared for like a baby at the moment. He even needs pillows under his arms for him to be able to eat or brush his teeth because he just can’t lift his arms high enough.  He needs total care now he is home.  He can’t start physical therapy for a year until his back heals inside.  Then he can start to build back his upper body strength if the muscular dystrophy has not already locked it out.

Wendy and Jim are saving to buy DQ a laptop, and hopefully later a keyboard.  Here is where we can help.  Can I ask those of you who can spare $10 (or $5) to send it to Wendy and Jim?  Their meagre resources have been incredibly stretched by the 84 mile round trips to the hospital (one of them was there with him continually since the surgery) and the other incidental expenses.  The B’s will need a chairlift for their van too.  There have been funding “issues” and the state cut off all funds for him, except his medical card to pay for the hospital… Sigh.  The payments should resume now he is out of hospital.

Let’s inundate DQ with cards of encouragement.  Emails would be good too.  For those of us who can afford to help with the laptop funding, let’s do that as well.

Let’s make a difference in this young man’s life!  His story has touched mine.

James 1:27

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.

Email me at wjcsydney @ yahoo dot com and I will send you the address and details for cards, emails and/or donations.

Skywatch Friday – more Mystery bay

September 19, 2008

Here are some more Mystery Bay photos from our holiday last December for Skywatch Friday.  It’s a warm day in Sydney today (29C at 2pm – which is hot for early spring!) and the weather seems summer-holiday/vacation-ish (but ironically our vacation last year was so wet that we came home 2 days early!).  So what better pics to post than of my favourite beach at my favourite vacation place?

Mystery Bay beach, looking south

Mystery Bay beach, looking south

Mystery Bay beach, looking north

Mystery Bay beach, looking north

I would love to go snorkelling soon!  But the water is cold here (New South Wales) even with a wetsuit till mid December when we get a warm current replacing the cold one.

Wondering how Mystery Bay got it’s name?
“Mystery Bay south of Narooma earned its name from a shipwreck event. In October 1880 Lamont Young, a surveyor with the Mines Department and his four companions were sailing down the south coast of New South Wales. Young and his party were on a government expedition to investigate new reports of extensive discoveries of gold. Their boat was wrecked in Mystery Bay. The story goes that a bullet was found lodged in the side of the boat, vomit was detected across the bow and the crew’s belongings were still on board. The five occupants, however, were nowhere to be found. Stories circulated of drownings or even murder. Adding to the intrigue, the crewmen have never been found and there is now no trace of the boat. It is thought that the boat was probably recovered at the time.”

The site of the wreck is on the right in the second photo.  Not that there is anything to see!  Just stingrays and kelp and anenomes.

Theological Worldview Quiz

September 14, 2008
What’s your theological worldview?
created with
You scored as Evangelical Holiness/WesleyanYou are an evangelical in the Wesleyan tradition. You believe that God’s grace enables you to choose to believe in him, even though you yourself are totally depraved. The gift of the Holy Spirit gives you assurance of your salvation, and he also enables you to live the life of obedience to which God has called us. You are influenced heavly by John Wesley and the Methodists.

Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan
Neo orthodox
Classical Liberal
Modern Liberal
Reformed Evangelical
Roman Catholic

Five ways in which blogging has changed my life

September 11, 2008

and I am flattered and pleased to be tagged by John Dobbs.  John is blog king, but to me a mentor, a friend, an inspiration (and a great chat host).  At least half the blogs in my Google Reader I clicked on to from his blog or from one of his blogging friends.

The rules for this meme are below.  L.L. Barkat created this meme, “Five Ways Blogging Has Changed My Life.”  Read to the end to see if you have been tagged!

Here are five ways blogging has changed my life:

1.  I have tapped into a supportive and affirming online blogging community, have made new friends, expanded and enhanced friendships I already had and had opportunities to touch, albeit very fleetingly, and connect with people through my words, music I love and photographs.  I am able to access the world you live in.  I can read and share your thoughts. musings, scholarly conclusions, jokes, trials, embarrassments (can I mention Trey here?), recipes, menu plans, poems, see your photos, children, gardens, quilts, stitcheries.  I can laugh with you (snort on occasion!), muse, ponder, cry, praise, pray, give thanks, be inspired, hurt, feel, learn, care…

2. I have changed the focus of my online “writing” from the argumentative discursive based writing I mostly did in the Yahoo and other discussion lists I am in to a more creative one.  Instead of being reactive, my writing is now proactive.  Instead of being focussed inward, I am more outwardly focussed.

3. I have focussed on my passions: faith, family, cooking, health – especially healthy eating, travel, reading, music, birds, quilting, friends.  I have been doing a course at my church called Significant Woman and our last session was – significantly –  “Uncover your passions” (no, not THAT kind…)  In discussion with the ladies there, I realised that I had become quite passionate about my blog (I became quite animated telling them about it) and the possibilities – for connecting with people, educating, preaching (about organic chocolate and healthy eating…), sharing my faith, sharing my life with my family and friends.   Conversely, writing about my passions has meant that I have “lived” them more.  I’m more focussed on cooking.  I am more mindful of what birds I see.  I make notes of books recommended on blogs I enjoy.

4.  Blogging has become something I do, an identity I have assumed, a part of who I am.  The writer in me has reappeared.  I wrote regularly in my teens – mostly poetry, and even had a poem published.  Studying literature at university made me critical and analytical and and I lost the incentive to write.  Teaching English reinforced that.  Some years of emailing and discussion lists did give me some confidence that I could express myself – on occasion, and blogging has been the next step.

5.  My mood has been much more positive (and this has been noted quite a fewtimes by C.)  I’m excited about blogging. I’m proud of how my blog looks (for those of you yet to venture into blogging – just do it – you don’t have to be technical or artistic or whatever – wordpress – or typepad, blogspot or livejournal- make it really easy ONCE you have fiddled with setting it all up.)

Here are the rules (L.L. Barkat)

1. Write about 5 specific ways blogging has affected you, either positively or negatively.
2. link back to the person who tagged you
3. link back to this parent post (I’m not so much interested in generating links, but rather in tracking the meme so I can perhaps do a summary post later on that looks at patterns and interesting discoveries.)
4. tag a few friends or five, or none at all
5. post these rules— or just have fun breaking them

Here are my five six TAGS:

Steve Tucker






If you are reading this, Nev, I hope you have a wonderful birthday.  My Cape Town brother is 47 today!

Malaysian inspired tofu curry

September 10, 2008

I have a lot of cookbooks.  Over 200, I think (and that’s without the magazines).  I haven’t had a less than delicious experience cooking from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, and I have made quite a few of the recipes recipes.  It’s the most amazingly comprehensive recipe book, with over 800 recipes and won the some prestigious awards, including the Julia Child Award for the best cookbook of the year.  I was first introduced to Deborah Madison’s recipes in the magazine Eating Well, and I still make a few of them.  I subsequently bought (all on ebay) The Greens Cookbook and The Savory Way, as well as Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.  Deborah Madison combines flavours and spices you would not have thought would work – and they do!  And she has some very simple combinations that astonish.  She isn’t a vegetarian herself but is the author of the best veggie book I know of (and I have a few vegetarian cookbooks and have a few more on my wishlist.)

This meal has it all, it’s quick, easy, frugal, delicious, healthy…  and exotic.   All the things I value in food. Some of you would have gathered that I like exotic.   If I find an exotic ingredient, I buy it and then search out a recipe.  But there is nothing too elusive in this one – tamarind paste can be found in most Asian stores, and HP sauce can be substituted if tamarind paste is not available.

I have spent time in Kuala Lumpur airport on the way to Europe and back, but that is my extent of a Malaysian experience.  Way back in 1982 (when South Africa was persona non grata to much of the world) C made a business trip to Singapore and Malaysia from South Africa and I wasn’t able to go with him on my (then) South African passport.  (He had a British passport – we are both now Australians).  My not being able to go made Malaysia seem all the more exotic and glamorous.  C doesn’t remember much except that it was VERY humid.  He did make a trip to the Cameron Highlands which he enjoyed.

Malaysian food is often overlooked for the more popular Thai or Vietnamese cuisines here in Australia.  But I love the combination of influences that make up Malaysian food, and nasi lemak and laksa are two of my favourite dishes.  Be brave and try this one – even though it’s not a traditional dish!

Malaysian-Inspired Tofu Curry


350g firm tofu
400ml unsweetened coconut milk
2 tsp light brown sugar (10ml)
1/2 tsp salt (2.5ml)
1 tbs ground coriander (15ml)
2 tsp curry powder (10ml)
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp cayenne or to taste
1 tsp tamarind paste (substitute HP sauce if tamarind paste is unavailable)
2 large cloves garlic; finely chopped
1 tbs finely chopped fresh ginger
4 roma (egg) tomatoes; seeded and diced
4 spring onions; including the firm greens, chopped
1 lime; juice of
cilantro (coriander); chopped


1. Drain then dice the tofu into 1/2-inch cubes. Combine the coconut milk, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, spices, tamarind paste, garlic and ginger in a medium pan. Boil for 1 minute, then add tofu. Lower the heat and simmer 10 minutes.

2. Add the tomatoes and green onions and simmer approximately 10 minutes more. Add the lime juice and salt for taste.   Vegetarian oyster sauce makes a nice addition here too.

Serve garnished with chopped cilantro (coriander) over Chinese egg noodles, linguine or rice.

Serves: 4-6
from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison

Skywatch Friday – Portimao

September 5, 2008

Skywatch Friday is hosted here.  Today’s pics are some I took in Portimao on the Algarve in Portugal in 2006.  I love the colours and the contrast of the solid 16th century church and the ethereal sky.

C was playing golf (the trip to Portugal was made to play golf with his mates – a group of 24 of us had 12 days in Portugal in Cascais, near Lisbon, and the Algarve with 6 days golf) so MissN and I spent one day walking around Portimao.  We were staying at Praia da Rocha and Portimao was a quick bus trip or walk away.  The Algarve IS touristy  but has great charm, wonderful cheap food, great beaches, golf courses, weather…  It was cool to visit the sw tip of Europe at Sagres!

Here is MissN.  We had done some shopping! Actually everything she is wearing we bought in Portugal and the bag had been bought not half an hour before!

Some more Portimao photos.  Run down never looked so picturesque!:

Dolce and Cannoli Cream

September 2, 2008

Dolce is “sweet” in Italian.

Dolce is also the cat who shares our home, our lives and our hearts.  She was MissN’s 10th birthday present.  MissN kindly shares her with us and allows me to feed her, brush her, clean up after her….  you get the idea.  MissN is very generous in a lot of ways!

2005 was not a good year for me.  My dad was dying of cancer (in South Africa).  I had health issues.  Many times that year especially I gave thanks for the little moggie who had entranced us by coming into our lives just at the right time.  We have had a few cats over the years but Dolce is the most lovable, vocal, adorable, affectionate, companionable, crazy cat we have had.

And it’s been a while since I posted a recipe.  Here is a super easy “dolce” dessert C and I make often.  (He knows how to wield the Bamix!) It’s low fat, with protein and calcium and quickly made in the food processor.

Cannoli cream is from here – a wonderful cookbook C bought me over a decade ago.

Cannoli Cream with fresh Berries

11 ounces ricotta (1¼ cups) (I buy 500g)
1/3 cup orange marmalade
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 pints fresh raspberries, strawberries, or blueberries

Process the ricotta in a food processor, scraping down the sides of the bowl from time to time, for about 2 minutes, until the curds disappear and it is perfectly smooth.

Add the marmalade and pulse just to combine; you want to retain some small pieces of pulp.

Transfer to a mixing bowl. Fold in the chocolate, Grand Marnier, and vanilla. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 2 days.

Divide the berries among 4 individual serving bowls or wine goblets. Pour the cannoli cream over the berries and serve.

Serves 4 to 6 (lol not in our house!  Leftovers, if there ARE any, make good breakfast!)

Gustav – Never let go

September 1, 2008

I have been praying for all those affected and potentially affected by Hurricane Gustav, especially for my blogging friends who survived Katrina and are now facing the terror once again.

I had not heard this song before (and the Dave Crowder band is new to me) but listened to it on Bobby Valentine’s blog this morning, and the timing seemed more than coincidental.

I believe in the power of prayer. Please pray with me.