Monday, February 28, 2011

~ 100.000 mark ~

Woo Hoo!! I hit the 100.000 mark!! Isn't that amazing??!!

In 3 years, actually 37 months I have one hundred thousand visitors from 198 countries!! Officially there are only 195 countries in the world... but I guess this is a different way of counting countries.

That means that I have about 2750 visitors a month looking at my life here at Funky Doodle Donkey!! About a 1000 a day... impressive... for just looking/peeking into my life. I mean I don't give a service, post recipes, or free things... just rambling about my life :-) Sweet! Cool! Never thought this would happen 3 years ago... i just did it for my family and friends overseas... I got so much more than I ever thought I would get out of writing a blog. If you don't do it yet, go for it, it is fun!!

So many people stop by and only so little who comment??!! Why not more?? I don't get that, I want to know who you are, who is looking at my life?? Please try to comment more and introduce yourself, I like to know you, where you are from, what brings you back to my site all the time?? Do you have kids, twins, adopted children from Thailand, do you live in Africa, are you an expat, are we having the same common interests, what is it that brings you to my site??

I would LOVE to know!! So please ~ STOP LURKING ~ and SAY HI!!

My life has changed quite a bit since I started blogging in January 2008, still living in Connecticut not knowing what would hold for me in the near future, definitely not knowing that I would be moving in 5 months to Africa, but loving my life and sharing it with you.... hopefully entertaining you enough to keep you coming back!!

THANK YOU ALL for stopping by and coming back. I am having fun keeping up this blog, it is a great way for me to see what I did the last weeks, months, years and staying in touch with family and friends this way.

Hopefully I will be updating my blog even when I move again to another country, because I am sure that will happen sooner or later... are you staying with me and following me then too?? I hope so!!

Well friends from all over the world, let's stay in touch and come back to my little space in blog world!!

Love, Mireille

Mumbai & Delhi here we come!!

So the tickets are booked, and we are so excited to visit our friends in Mumbai and Delhi!! YooHoo!!

I am already watching Indian programs on TV, about history, travel and COOKING!! Yes, the most excited about the whole trip is the FOOD!! I just can't wait to eat BREAKFAST, LUNCH and DINNER in India... I don't want any Western food that week, just INDIAN. And as diverse as possible... so I am reading up on it, I want to be prepared!!

And another thing I would LOVE to do is, take a cooking class in Mumbai and another one in Delhi, so I am researching and asking Sucharu and Dhruv for info, because that would be awesome, to do an AUTHENTIC cooking class of the region!!

I am so lucky that my friends are into good food as well... so we share some LOVE here!!

And Dirk will be happy as well, when I come back I can try my new skills on him.... he is already looking forward to that!!

Indian food so much better than the South African... sorry guys here in SA, but it is just the truth!!

So with my research I found this website: A Perfect Bite where Rushina writes about food, but she also does her latest venture: Masala Trails – cuisine-centred food trails across the city. Perfect for me!! A guided tour through the markets of Mumbai!!

Her two hour-long Gujarati trail includes a guided tour of Grant Road market where she points out ingredients like papadi and ponkh (a variety of jowar or millet) and their traditional preparations. She also stops over at farsan, masala and sweet stores where participants can buy green chilli pickle, Surti chaas powder and farsan. Ghildiyal also offers other uses for traditional ingredients. For instance, thin slices of mango ginger and tender turmeric soaked in lemon juice with a slit green chilli makes for a great accompan-iment to Thai green curry and rice. “It’s great for expats looking to understand local ingredients and for people from the city who are interested in experimenting in their kitchens,” Ghildiyal said. The trail ends with a meal at Soam in Babulnath. Neha Sumitran

Call Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal on 98194-66833 for dates and timings. `2,500 per person, including lunch.

So this is one of the trips I am doing in Mumbai, and below I read about Delhi, anybody can confirm with me if this is a good one?? Rupali's Cookery Class, have you heard about her?

Rupali's Cookery Class in Gurgaon, Haryana. I guess close to Delhi?? The article written about her is pretty good :-)

Have a great Monday y'all!

PS: if you know some info that I would be interested in.... food wise... please contact me!!

Friday, February 25, 2011

~ Hip City Guide ~

For all my friends and readers in South Africa... click on THIS LINK and it will direct you there....

You can find the hot spots in Cape Town, Durban, Joburg and Pretoria... isn't that nice of me to give you new suggestions for eating, drinking, partying, shopping, chilling and sleeping!!

But don't forget to invite ME when you are going to PARTY!! You know where to find me ;-)

Have a lovely day,

Thursday, February 24, 2011

~ Colors of India ~

When I think of India... I think of colors! Bright, bold, funky colors!!

Colors of turbans...

Colors of Holi, thinking of the colorful powder they use for the New Year celebration....

Colors of saris... fabrics...

spices.... painted elephants... so many images pop up in my head!

colorful brides with painted hands, gold jewelry.... mystic and romance, a beautiful world!

And LUCKY me, I am going to experience it pretty soon!!

Next month the girls have 1 week off from school and we are going to India, just the 3 of us... to Mumbai and maybe even New Delhi! I am so excited to see this part of the world, which I haven't seen yet!! I can't wait!!

Magnificent Mumbai here we come!!

Thinking of all the beautiful colors, the spices, the fabrics, the food, the people, the sights... such an adventure!! I hope I can capture the beauty of it like I have in my mind!!

I want to visit the markets, eat the street food, taste and bring back the spices, feel the fabrics and be part of the millions of people in the cities. I mean the amount of people it is overwhelming to think about it!! It is a crowded area of the world, but I am excited to be part of it.... next month!! Woohoo!!

Can you tell.I.AM.EXCITED!!

I hope the girls will be as excited as I am... because when we go to Thailand and we visit the markets, most of the time they don't like it... they don't like the smells... they don't like to see the fish and meat in the open air displayed on just a bit of ice... they don't like the amount of people in small areas... BUT I LOVE IT, and guess what since they are coming with ME, they better endure it and LEARN to LOVE it as well!!

Have you been to India, Mumbai or New Delhi, what is it that I can't miss? What is your top 10 of these places?? Tell me, i want to prepare!!

Have a good day,

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

~ Waiting for Superman ~

We are a bit behind with the Oprah Winfrey show here in South Africa, and I only saw this yesterday on TV.... and I was SHOCKED!! I mean yes, I have heard about the bad school system at the moment in the USA and that the education is falling behind... but I didn't realize that it was THAT BAD!! Just to explain for everybody who did not see the trailer or movie below:

Waiting for "Superman" is a 2010 documentary film from director Davis Guggenheim and producer Lesley Chilcott. The film analyzes the failures of American public education by following several students through the educational system.

I mean MY children are going to an American school and probably will for the rest of their school life, and if this is the example than I am CONCERNED!! BIG TIME!!

So how do you feel about it??

You there, my friends in the USA?? Are your children going to a charter school or a good public school?? Are their teachers failing your children?? What is the feeling of the parents?? What are you doing about it?? I wonder, because this was shown last year November in the USA and it is almost March now, are people forgetting the Oprah show and just going on like nothing happened before, or is there something going on to IMPROVE this??

What the movie doesn't show is that actually 1 out of 5 charter school are high performing!! NOT EVERY charter school!!

I wonder, because I haven't heard anything about it besides the Oprah show, and that is a bit alarming!!

The rest of the world is improving their education system and the USA is falling behind.... that means BIG GAPS and soon the competition is so big that a whole generation will loose out!

You can read an article in the NATION here that has an interesting take on it, and of course 1 TV show on Oprah will NOT change this huge problem, but at least it is an eye-opener and a discussion starter.... but I hope that MORE comes out of this!!

Look at this info below:

Top 10 countries with best education system in the world.

Every 3 years, the PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) released its study to measure the performance of education systems in countries around the world. Are measured among students, among other things: the reading, mathematical and scientific literacy.If such a classification has the merit to exist, it also raises a lot of criticism ... especially since France is not even in the top 10 of the 2009 report that just came out. And the USA is placed 21st!!

The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a worldwide evaluation of 15-year-old school pupils' scholastic performance, performed first in 2000 and repeated every three years. It is coordinated by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), with a view to improving educational policies and outcomes.

PISA stands in a tradition of international school studies, undertaken since the late 1950s by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA). Much of PISA's methodology follows the example of the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS, started in 1995), which in turn was much influenced by the U.S. National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). The reading component of PISA is inspired by the IEA's Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS).

Shanghai (China): 599 pts (out of town for classification)

Finland: 543 pts
Singapore: 543 pts
Korea: 541 pts
Japan: 529 pts
Canada: 526 pts
New Zealand: 524 pts
Australia: 518 pts
Netherlands: 518 pts
Switzerland: 517 pts
Germany: 510 pts

... 20. France: 497 pts
.... 21. USA: 496 pts

Are you happy with the school your child goes to?? How is the education system in your country?? Can your child compete with the rest of the world when he/she finishes college, will she even be educated enough to go to a college?? That is the question now in the USA, that most high school graduates can't even go to College with their scores!! Even after graduation!! SAD!!

Let's discuss!! I am interested how you feel about this!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Cooking classes

Every month I have at least 1 or 2 cooking classes, and I just LOVE it!!

There is always something new you learn, some new techniques, some new spices, some new combinations or flavors. And then on top of that, you get to hang out with other women with like minded interests.

So I am part of DISC ~ Dainfern International Social Club that has once a month a coffee morning and we talk about events, we meet a lot of new people and we form groups. These groups can be anything from quilting, to hiking, to photography, cooking, sewing... you name it and there is a group.

One of these groups I am part of and that is.... you guessed it right :-) the cooking group. A French lady; Johana is giving these cooking classes. She went to a culinary school in France, so she knows all the techniques and methods to create classical French dishes... yum yum!! She creates a menu and if you are interested in that particular menu you can sign up for the lesson, and the best part eating of it after the class is done. And as the French do... with a glass of vino... of course!!

Last time I went we learned how to make risotto and tiramisu. I don't need to say... we had a wonderful time! Each time we meet at a different house, and each time it is with a different group of women, and each time of course a different menu... so it never gets boring, and I can do this forever. Because good food and good company is always fun!!

Pretty good life I lead as an expat wife... you don't hear me complaining :-)

Do you have such a good life as well?? I hope so!!

Ciao Bellas,

Monday, February 21, 2011

Home sweet home

There are many styles and types of houses in South Africa. For every taste and budget there is something.

From corrugated iron shacks in the townships, with no electricity or running water to huge mansions on the beach, in secured estates or in the bush veld, where you have the space and nature with the wild animals to yourself.

See below for an impression of how we live here in South Africa.

Informal settlemetns like Diepsloot, a township close to my home, has no running water. Just a pump in a central location where you can go with your bucket.

Traditional Rondavel in the rural areas, sometimes made out of mud, sometimes bricks.

Ndebele Homestead, a cluster of homes for the Ndebele tribes also in rural areas.

Human settlements. Government aims to speed up the delivery of housing for the poor and have all South Africans accommodated in formally planned settlements by 2014.

Cape Malay Quarter in Bo-Kaap in Capetown. The Islamic inhabitants of the Cape Malay Quarter have roots extending back to the original slaves brought in by the Dutch. A very colorful area in Capetown. These days it is an artsy area with lots of young profesionals.

A fisherman's cottage on the West Coast.

A beach house in Hermanus.

Cape Dutch style house, some with thatched roofs.

Although not many people live in apartments in SA, there are a few areas in the financial district in Sandton, an area of Joburg, where you will find luxury apartments and penthouses like this one. Ranging from 1 to 5 bedrooms.

Mansions in secured estates all over the richest parts of Johannesburg.

Tuscan style home in the bush veld or on golf courses, space all for yourself. Tuscan style houses are very popular here in SA. Many of my friends live in one of these in a secured estate.

So as you can see for each budget a house, but it doesn't matter in what house you live....


I have lived in many homes already, I kind of lost track but I believe that I already moved house 27 times in my life and the shell is not really important, it is what you make of the house that makes it it a home! And I am sure that people living in those corrugated shacks would love to have a better house, but are still happy to have a roof above their head and make sure that it feels like a home to them!

If you like to see in what home we live now, click here, I wrote about it in 2009.

What kind of home do you live in??

Have a great day!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

~ Gadgets ~

Kids these days grow up with so many gadgets, but there are always new ones and more interesting ones...

When Dirk is home the girls like to play on his Iphone, it has many good games!!

Mommy is so much stricter... I don't let them play with my phone! The end would not be in sight! Since I am home all the time with them, and daddy is not!

Have a FABULOUS Sunday!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Fabulous world of twins

Funny how being a twin keeps people fascinated.... The other day I heard from a mother of a boy in JJ's class that she overheard a conversation of her son and a friend from the same class. They were comparing the girls on their latest Xmas card... Who was prettier?.. Who had the most beautiful smile, eyes, etc... ALWAYS the comparison!! Must be hard on the girls, because now they are noticing that more and more... even between themselves, the competition is starting... at age 8! What happens when they are 14, 18, then it will become a fierce competition, I better prepare myself for the battle :-)

This is the picture they were comparing the girls, Jezz on the left, JJ on the right.

People always ask me if they are totally opposite, is one the shy one, the outspoken one? And a comment I get a lot is: "But they don't look THAT much alike, I CAN see differences!"
Yes, and that is normal! Because twins are not CLONES!! They are still different people, they just happen to share 1 egg (if they are identical) and look a lot alike, but it doesn't mean there are NO differences.

I find the girls looked more alike when they were babies and toddlers, since their hair was not grown yet and I also had a hard time to keep them separate... so I checked for differences in their tiny bodies... Jezz had a birthmark underneath her belly button, so I would check into the diaper to make sure. Then I started to dress Jezz into pink and JJ into blue, to this day this is what happens. The girls are so used to having either pink/orange/red clothes or the other one blue/green/purple clothes that if I buy something and it is the same outfit but in a different color, without discussion they each choose their own set. It makes it easy for the teachers, even for me who knows the difference if I see one of them across the hallway, or outside in the yard I know if it is Jezz or JJ because of the color of the dress/shirt!

Here at 3 months of age... not easy to see who is who, but Jezz on the left, JJ on the right, just like the picture above!

Here at 1 year old, their hair is almost the same so hard to see, now JJ is on the left and Jezz on the right. Did you guess correct?

Here it is easier, at age 2,5 now the color coding was done most of the time, so guess who is JJ and who is Jezz??

With twins people always like to give their 'advice'. The one I hear a lot is: "I shouldn't dress them alike, it will hinder their personality."
Well, I don't believe that clothing can hinder any personality it is more a result of the way you feel. But be honest a 2-3-4-5-6 year old is mostly getting dressed by their moms so why not twins?
Yes, there is an occasional child who really only wants to choose themselves, but in general the mom chooses.

Picture yourself in my position, you see a beautiful dress/shirt/shoes in a shop, but people tell you you HAVE to dress them DIFFERENT. So who do I give that beautiful dress/shirt/shoes to? To JJ or Jezz, there is NO other dress/shirt/shoes that I find as equally beautiful, so I just go for the easy option.... the same dress/shirt/shoes in a different color! Voila... problem solved!

Their true identity can come out when they are teenagers and they won't let mom decide which clothes they need to wear, till then believe me it is a lot easier to buy the same clothes in just a different color or pattern! A mother's life is already hard enough especially when you have twins, shopping for 2 whole different outfits... with in mind the personality of the child... makes life too complicated!! And another handy side-effect is that you will find/recognize your children in a crowd a LOT EASIER when they wear the same outfits, because believe me twins get lost all the time when you are in a mall or at a play ground or park. One cruises off in the right direction and one runs off in the left direction if you just let them loose for 1 second!!

So that 'advice' that mostly comes from friendly people, but have no clue what it entails to have twins is not always the best!

Below Jezz decided she wanted to be different.. so she cut herself some bangs ;-) Well... we had to go to the salon to make it more even...

What are identical twins?

A general stereotype about identical twins is that they are clones. They act alike, look alike, and are expected to be "identical." However, the term identical twins actually refers to a type of twinning, and describes how they form, not what they look like.

The correct term for identical twinning is monozygotic. Monozygotic twins form from a single (mono) fertilized egg (zygote). The zygote splits into two parts after conception, resulting in the development of two individual embryos. Because the two embryos are the result of a single egg/sperm combination, they have the same genetic origins. They have the same DNA.

Dizygotic twins (often referred to as fraternal), are the result of two eggs fertilized by two separate sperm. Although most women only release a single egg in an ovulation cycle, sometimes multiples eggs are released. Dizygotic twins share about 50% of their genetic traits, the same as any other siblings born at different times.

Some interesting facts about identical twins:

The causes of monozygotic twinning are generally unknown and unidentified. No one really knows why an egg splits; technically it's a malfunction of the normal development process.
There's no hereditary trait that influences a predisposition to having identical twins. Identical twins do not run in families. Although there are families with a high incidence of identical twins, it is due to chance, coincidence or plain good luck.
Identical twins represent about a third of all twins. Dizygotic twins are twice as common as monozygotic.
Birth rate statistics for identical twinning have remained stable over the years, despite the overall increase in twins and multiples since the late 1980's. The odds of having identical twins is about 3 in 1,000, whereas the birthrate for all twins is about 32.2 in 1,000.
Identical twinning is not generally influenced by fertility-enhancing treatments like drugs or in vitro, although monozygotic twins have been produced in pregnancies that were the result of such treatments.
Birth rates for identical twins are consistent across populations; it is the same regardless of race, geography or maternal age.

We adopted Jasmine Isabel (Jezz) and Juliet Janelle (JJ) when they were 3 months old, while we were living in Thailand. Our world changed from one day to another! Having twins is busy... hard work! But what you don't realize is that it becomes so much easier later in life than having 2 siblings. After the first 2,5 - 3 years the girls realized that they have a sister and can play with each other! First they just play side by side, then it is hard work. But as soon as they become a team they don't need you as much anymore and there is ALWAYS a friend to play with. Even to this day I can compare the friendship, the bond, the strong feeling they have for each other is so different than just having a sibling.

Most kids this age want play dates, friends to hang out with, YES, my girls want that too, but not as frequent as the others, they are content and happy with each other, they don't necessarily need another friend to have a good time! That makes life so much easier. So having twins is such a blessing!! The support they find in each other weighs out much more than the competition that maybe will follow later! For now they are best friends, with such a strong bond - nobody can break! or come in between!

Another plus I find in having twins is that since we are an expat family and we move every 4-5 years, the girls ALWAYS have somebody to share their experiences with. A new school, a new house, a new country, that is OK, because her sister goes through the same, is in the same grade, so they can help each other with everything!! In their short lives they already lived in 3 continents, and 3 different countries (Thailand, USA, South Africa), but it doesn't rock their boat at all. They are fine with it, because they are together!!

Do you have twins or know any twins? And how is their bond, does it change when they are older? Do they start looking more different when they become older, because their personality is different? Do people compare, do they compare themselves with school work, friends, hobbies? Tell me your experiences! I like to know.

Greetings from South Africa,

Friday, February 18, 2011

~ SA Street Scenes ~

"It is a beggar’s pride that he is not a thief” ~ Japanese Proverb

“Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime” ~ Unknown

We see these signs all the time here in Joburg. However, no matter how bad their circumstances South Africans are known for their humor. The jobless, found on street corners throughout the city, bring tears, frustration and occasionally smiles to drivers in the hope of small monetary exchange, food or work.

I need to give them credit for still being funny! I am not sure that I would still have a sense of humor if I would be in such dire circumstances... Maybe they get more money this way?? And by the way; there are indeed also white beggars here in SA. (By the way: I am not sure that any rich lady is interested in such a long beard :-)

I've read recently in a local newspaper that there are small babies for rent from a Pretoria orphanage for as little as R20=$2 a day to bring more pity upon the women on the side of the street or at the robots, in the hope that their daily 'income' gets a bit higher than when just standing there by themselves. I often wonder about these young and healthy looking women, with 'their' babies on their backs... Why are you not working?? Instead of standing there in the hot blazing sun all day on your bare feet?? I know the unemployment rate is high and even higher in Zimbabwe (as high as 95%!! at the moment) where most of these women are from. But still...

It breaks my heart to see the women, men and children standing on the side of the street, no matter if they rented the baby or not, their situation is still sad, heartbreaking... but what can we do about it, is more my question? I wish I could solve these problems for these people. Because I know for sure that NOBODY goes willingly standing and beg all day on the streets. It is definitely not a DREAM JOB for anybody!! No matter where you come from!

Here some shocking numbers!
According to the Geneva-based nongovernmental organisation, the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions, 7.5 million South Africans lack access to adequate housing and secure tenure in South Africa. At least one-third of the population lives in poverty and while the official unemployment rate is given as around 20 percent, unofficial estimates put the number closer to 40 percent.

Life is not fair, and can be so hard and cruel! It makes such a difference where your cradle was standing when you were born.

Be grateful, thankful and blessed for the situation your are in, don't judge but give instead!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

~ Street Food ~ South African style ~

Street food – it’s such a great concept. Something cheap and readily available, sold on the streets in a portable format, and eaten by the average local. Think Leberkaese rolls in Austria; grilled corn on the cob in Morocco; falafel or shawarma throughout the Middle East; frites with mayonnaise in Belgium and Holland; poutine in Canada; tacos in Mexico; chilli dogs and corn dogs in the USA; satays and noodles in Asia and arepas in Venezuela.

In South Africa, we have the usual collection of generic international street food like hamburgers, fried chicken, or fish and chips, but here and there you will find some truly South African food being sold on the streets, like Durban’s home-grown favourite: bunny chows. Which is a slang term for a hollowed out loaf of bread filled with curry, this can be either a veggie or meat curry.

Here a list of the best places to eat a Bunny Chow, they were all listed at one point or another on - a bunny chow rating site..

* Sasol Convenience Store - Mount Edgecombe, 34 Siphosethu Rd, Durban
* Some Like It Hot - 3 Umhlanga Rocks Drive, Durban North
* BP Convenience Store - 26 Palmfield Rd, Springfield Flats, Durban
* A Taste of India - 258 Florida Road, Durban
* Jalapeno Cover - 137 Jan Hofmeyer Road Westville, Durban

Concerns of cleanliness and freshness often discourage people from eating street food. Lack of refrigeration is often construed as a lack of cleanliness or hygiene; on the other hand, street food often uses particularly fresh ingredients for this very reason.

Another concern here in SA I find is the safety, you don't really see that many people walking on the street or in the city centers so the need for street food is less than say in Asia, where it is much safer to walk and eat on the streets.

But around parking lots of bigger strip malls there is mostly a vendor who sells his boerie rolls. Since there is security on these parking lots, it is safe for the vendor and his clients.
So what is a boerie roll you say? The boerie roll roll aka boerewors is possibly the best-known South African street food across all cultures. Simply a juicy piece of spicy sausage served on a bread roll with your choice of tomato and onion mix ('train smash') tomato sauce, mustard or all three.

During the World Cup Football last year, while me and the girls were in Thailand, Dirk lived off on these rolls. He just loves them with a glass of beer!

Supposedly the best boerie roll in Joburg is at Hunga Zone in Olivedale.

Another one is The Gatsby
Traditionally a Cape Town speciality, Gatsbys are especially popular across the Cape Flats and most of the take away outlets that sell them are Halaal. Basically a Gatsby consists of a baguette stuffed with hot chips, meat such as masala steak or polony, and a hot sauce or pickle such as atchar.

You can find the best Gatsby in Capetown at these places:
- Ottery Farmstall in Ottery, near the Hyper and Macro Phone: 021 7042211
- Texies - 196 Main Rd, Seapoint Phone: 021 434 9305
- Fisherman’s Basket Main Rd, Claremont Phone: 021 683 5440
- Yusra's Kitchen, corner Fort & Main Rds, Sea Point Phone: 021-4394883
- Golden Dish – Klipfontein Rd, Gatesville Centre, Rylands Phone: 021 6383796

Everybody know this one: The Samoosa.
South Africa, especially Cape Town, has a large Muslim community and the Malay influence can be tasted in many of the traditional foods on sale around the country. A zesty mixture of meat and vegetables (sometimes just veggies) in a folded, triangular pastry case, the samoosa is a cheap and delicious snack for those on the run who just want a bite to eat.

The best and most plump samoosas in Joburg you will find at World of Samoosas at the Oriental Plaza.

An then there is the The Smiley or Skop, the most unusual of them all.
Grin and bear it! This may sound rather gruesome but it's an integral part of township food - a braised cow, goat or sheep's head, charred on the braai and sold with a litre of Coca Cola and half a loaf of bread - this can easily feed up to 4 hungry friends. Brains and eyeballs are particularly tasty, according to those in the know. The name comes from the grizzly grin of death the head sports once the lips have been burned off, revealing a set of teeth.

This is how it is prepared:
Step 1: Shave of all the hair.
Step 2: Use a red hot iron and burn off the rest of the hair.
Step 3: Stick a hook through the nostrils and dip it in boiling water to cook the meat and brains.
Step 4: Pull it out and using an ax, chop the skull in half.
Step 5: Toss it in a pile of coals to smoke for a while.
Step 6: Season and rip the meat off the face and eat.

Now, I am sure that I would stay away from the brains and the eyes, but I heard the cheek meat was delicious and the tongue was great too. Some people I heard of ate the ear and said it was tasty until he hit the crunchy ear canal…YIKES ~ is anyone hungry yet?

Another heart-stopping staple is the ‘vetkoek’, a savoury doughnut-type roll that can be eaten as is or stuffed with meat, cheese or relish.
Then there is the more interesting stuff: amanqina – boiled and spiced hoof of cow, pig or sheep; mala – boiled then fried chicken intestines; maotwana or walkie-talkies – cleaned, salted chicken feet boiled then fried; umngqusho – samp and beans; mogodu – boiled tripe normally served with samp and beans.
These are all SOWETO'S local street foods which is noted for its cultural diversity. And NONE of them I have tried!! So I have my work cut out for me!! LOL! And if you are interested in these rather unusual street foods from Soweto, go to this link.

What are the street foods in your area?? Some yummy ones?
Tell me about it!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

~ South Africa's Sacred Institution ~

Any clue what that is??

As Desmond Tutu once said: "We have 11 official languages but there is only ONE word for this wonderful institution; it is BRAAI!"

A standard Sunday afternoon activity... the air is filled with the smell of burned meat, smoke arising in between the trees while the laughter, beer can clinking and kids playing is heard all over South Africa. No matter if you live in suburbia or in the country. From dusty townships to glorious sporting stadiums. The braai has earned itself its own protocol, etiquette and lingo, adorned by eager meat-turning participants everywhere!

Braai is BIG here! And if you haven't figured it out yet by now what BRAAI is... just another word for BBQ in South Africa!!

They even have a National Braai Day (April 27) and you can buy braai packs in the supermarket, complete with a can of beer in it, a standard pack for just 1 guy! Yes... guy, because BRAAI is a men's thing! In SA you NEVER see a woman around the braai area. Unless you come to MY house... because I don't believe in those 'standardisations' and we are very emancipated about it!

It's funny though, I have lived in 6 countries so far, but NEVER I have seen this division at parties like here! Whenever we meet for drinks and food, immediately the men hang around the braai and the girls hang around the kitchen table... even at MY house!! Now I know you will see this more in other countries as well... but here it is a strict division!! Almost like a silent law! Too funny!!

So the guys tell the ladies on Sunday: "Honey, this is your day off, we are having a braai!"


Let me tell you how it goes, and then you decide if we have a day off!

Braai-ing is the only type of cooking a 'real' men will do. When a man volunteers to do such cooking, the following chain of events is put into motion:

1. The woman goes to the store.
2. The woman fixes the salad, veggies and dessert. (Which most men don't eat, they just want meat!)
3. The woman places the meat for cooking on a tray.
4. The woman puts out the necessary cooking utensils.
5. The woman takes the meat to the man, who is lounging beside the grill, drinking a beer.
6. The man places the meat on the grill.
7. The woman goes inside to set the table and check the veggies.
8. The man takes the meat off the grill and hands it to the woman.
9. After eating, the woman clears the table and does the dishes.
10. The man asks the woman how she enjoyed 'her night off.'

And, upon seeing her annoyed reaction, concludes that there's just NO pleasing some women.

Do you braai/BBQ in your country?? And what are the rules, pretty much the same as here??
Have a fantastic day!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentine's Disco & Sleep Over

We have a club house at the estate we live in, and they organized a Valentine's Disco. So the girls wanted to go there with a few friends and have a sleep-over after.

They were all very excited, their first dance! Without mommy or daddy in sight! At least for the first 2 hours I let them alone and then I went over there with the excuse to take some pictures, but I was just so curious to see how it went!!

I promised the girls some pizza, since we don't eat that too often, it is still a treat for JJ & Jezz. After pizza it was time to get ready... do hair and make-up! We made little heart pouches for each girl with their own make-up kit as a Valentine's gift. So excited they were to use REAL make-up!! (Glitter eye shadow and lip gloss)

Here all dressed up and ready to go... giggling and giddy! They did their own hair and make-up, I only helped just a tiny bit and was impressed with the outcome! Very subtle make up, no big and flashy eyes, just very girly girl and sophisticated :-)
From L to R: Yuna, Jeongwoo, Jasmine, Juliet & Emma!

I dropped them off and 2 hours later (after Dirk and me had a FAB home cooked meal) I went back to check on them... ahum take some pictures. I had given them each R20=$2 to buy a drink or something to snack on. Excited to have their own money I see they bought themselves some cokes... not allowed in MY house!! One of the girls told me that they were not allowed to drink alcohol... well, I am sure they won't serve it either to you gals, but YES listen to your mom and don't buy alcohol!!

They danced a storm away! The disco was great with colored lights, disco balls and even a smoke machine! So much fun!

Jeongwoo's mom and her son Chan also came for a bit and danced with us.

The Disco was for 6-13 year olds, and there were some bigger boys (about 10-12 years old I guess) who were doing some break dancing and showing off for the girls, so Chan had to try some as well :-)

Then the dancing was finished at least that is what the girls decided, it was time for them to show off as well, so they were doing their gymnastic tricks for the audience... too funny! Soon, nobody was dancing anymore, but all doing their handstands, splits and other acrobatic tricks! LOL

Kids will be kids, what happened to be a sophisticated young lady with the curls in the hair and the make-up?? Suddenly they turned back into regular girls who like to impress their peers.... I guess being 8 years old, you can be BOTH!! LOL

After going home at 21:30 they still had so much energy that they changed into their PJ's and went back practicing acrobatic tricks, so for the next dance they will all be ready to impress even more!!

By 11 it was quite upstairs and the girls were finally asleep....

What a great Valentine's Weekend!

Did you have dances like this when you were young??

Have a good day,


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