Moving on!

Well, I took the plunge and went ‘.com’. It has been a learning curve getting the blog to work properly but now I can move on. I am still trying to figure out the whole subscribing thing. If you have subscribed to my wordpress blog, I would really love it if you subscribe to my new one by going to this link www.purplecalabash.com and clicking on the subscribe options to the right. I will be redirecting all the traffic to Purplecalabash.com soon.
I hope to see you there!
Take a look at my latest post on the new site…Breakfast at Gameal’s.
Breakfast at Gameal's

Thirsty Thursday #4

For three mornings of the week I teach IT skills at a primary school. I am the “computer teacher” . Anyone who is in the education sector will agree with me that it is a challenge today. Some days I come home and I want nothing more than to just “sits and do nothing”. Yesterday was one of those days. And when you “just sits”, you realize that some days you want to strangle the ‘little darlings’ and other days you just want to hug them…but no matter how ‘witchy’ you have been in the classroom, they always come and give you a little hug afterwards.
This decadent, creamy cocktail – “Teachers’ Cheeky Revenge” is dedicated to all my teacher buddies who face the same challenges everyday. This is for those days….you know what I am talking about!
Cheers Girls!


Lusito Land – aromas and sounds of Portugal part 2

This is a continuation of Lusito Land – aromas and sounds of Portugal part 1.
For the pastry lovers – Pasteis de nata (little custard tartlets) and FARTURAS ( a delicacy made from deep-fried choux pastry). In my next post I will be attempting to make the tartlets for the first time – apparently it takes some practice to get it just right. Hold Thumbs!


The most popular drink to be seen on the day was the “Caipirinha” for sure – take a peek at my recipe for this refreshing sugar cane liqueur beverage.

As always, what is a festival without the stalls? Among the stalls that caught my attention were:
Elbows up – they sell infused reductions, salad dressings and unusual sauces. You simply have to try it to believe the taste of those reductions…Yum. You can find more information on their product range here.

The Spice stall – what can I say? I am a sucker for spices. What a variety at this stall! Look at the size of those cinnamon sticks. Wow. Heavenly aromas from all over the world.

Preparing an extremely ‘hot’ curry mix at the spice stall.

These smoked meats were divine too.Try this spicyfeijoada with some chourico or smoked meats..

Smoked meats - I tasted some fine cabanossi and salamis here.

What a fantastic day we had! My feet were killing me… Walking on mud all day is exhausting. But the kids wanted to watch the very last act, Prime Circle. Soooo, we stayed….
And what a great performance it was.

I think we left at about eleven that night…I didn’t even notice the mud after a while, but my legs sure suffered the next day. Not sure why? Must have been from walking all day and dancing all night! Too much fun for my…um… age.

Till next time…happy eating!

Lusito Land – aromas and sounds of Portugal part1

Get ready for a sensory overload!

The Lusito Land Festival is the primary fundraiser for the Lusito Portuguese Association for the Challenged. 100% of all funds raised from the Lusito Land Festival go directly into the maintenance and building of the Lusito School for the Challenged in the south of Johannesburg. Currently, the school cares for individuals with Cerebral Palsy, learning disabilities, traumatic brain injury and Down’s Syndrome.
For more information, please visit the Lusito Association website at www.lusitoassociation.org.za.

The Lusito Land Festival takes place every year during the Easter period and runs for about a week.
I went to this festival for the first time about 8 years ago and I have wanted to go back every year since. Something else always came up, but this year we happened to stay home for Easter and thought we would go and indulge. When I say indulge, I mean – we feel like stuffed pigs when we return home. This year because of all the rain, the grounds were like a ‘mud pit’. So we were literally as happy as pigs in …well, MUD. I remember making comments about the fashion trends when we parked the car and everyone walking past was wearing their rain boots. When we approached the gate…I could see why. I wish I had a brought a pair of my own. Nonetheless, it didn’t stop anybody from joining the festivities.

The aroma of grilled sardines and piri-piri chicken wafted through the air and as if hypnotised by it, we followed the aroma straight into the heart of fine Portuguese ‘street food’ so to speak.


The variety of dishes was vast: from the infamous Portuguese “prego” steak roll to a mix of popular Brazilian dishes.
Where to start?

The Espetadas looked so succulent and inviting! For those who are not familiar with these….they are barbequed mega-sized beef skewers.


The sardines were beckoning…
I love freshly grilled sardines with bread.

The prawns….no words!

Also worth a mention is the Piri-Piri Chicken of Mocambiquan origin, also known as Galinha a Cafreal. The simplicity of the marinades is what makes it so special, allowing the natural flavours of the meat to be the stars.
Speaking of stars…while all this delirium of intoxicating aromas was going on, the centrally located stage was graced with non-stop entertainment; Portuguese folk dancing, singers, Latin ballroom dancing and popular South African band, Prime Circle were some of the highlights of the day. I also enjoyed The Muses – an all female rock string quartet. Nothing like good music and good food to add to the memory collection!

Read more… in part 2

Thirsty Thursday #3

This refreshing bitter-sweet Brazilian drink with a kick, looks just like lemonade, but boy it is a lot more than that. Of course it depends on how strong you make it!
The Caipirinha’s main culprit is Cachaça – a sugarcane liqueur which gives it a distinctive flavour. Traditionally, lime is used for this drink, but I used lemon.
On Sunday we had the pleasure of indulging in Portuguese cuisine at the Lusito Land Festival ( read about it in my next post) and this drink was certainly popular. I still had some left over Cachaça from last year, so I made some of my own yesterday. When it comes to food and drink….it just doesn’t taste the same at home. It’s got to go with the whole ambience!


Sunsets, islands and Mommy’s Cooking

My son has just come back from delivering a yacht to the boat show in La Grande Motte in France. They practically lived on fresh fish for the two months out at sea.
It all sounds very glamorous but too much of a good thing can become a little dull…or can it? It sure is a great way to see the world. These trips are all memories and experiences that he will one day look back on and share with his children. Doesn’t sound like a bad deal to me, but I think he was longing for some of “Mommy’s food”.

Sunset out at sea.

We were going through the many photographs that he took and I still think one could never get enough of sunsets….and islands. But yes, no man is an island and there is nothing like coming back home to loved ones and of course – Home cooked meals.
I haven’t made a chicken stew in a long time and it’s been really cold lately, so I decided on a stew for a ‘welcome home’ meal. I saw a recipe for Chicken Cacciatore – Hunter’s Chicken, on Foodista.com. It’s all about the tons of wine that goes into it….and it’s really easy to make. Again, like with any stew, you can play around with the ingredients. I chose to add button mushrooms to mine and keep it real simple. I just love biting into whole mushrooms. They always look more inviting than the chopped up version.
I have to confess that I am not a person that follows recipes by the measurement. I go according to taste and smell. Add a little of this…taste….add some more….taste…. No wonder I am not really hungry for my own meals.
So here is the recipe as tasted…and tasted….and tasted…by me. This is also one of many of my simple meals to add to the recipe collection that I am organizing for Dylan when he starts his charter business.

Welcome Home Meal
Chicken Cacciatore

Ingredients
6 chicken drumsticks
6 chicken thighs
2 teaspoons salt or to taste
1 teaspoon pepper or to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
2Tsp flour or corn starch
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green pepper chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
3 bay leaves
15 fresh button mushrooms
1 can chopped tomatoes
3 cups good red wine
1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
1 ½ teaspoons dried basil
Pecorino cheese, to taste
Green olives

Preparation

Wash the chicken and remove excess skin.
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
Sauté the onion and garlic.
Add chicken and brown on all sides.
Add green pepper and tomatoes and cook for roughly 5 minutes.
Next, add the wine, oregano, basil and bay leaves. Also add the salt and pepper.
Make sure the chicken is completely immersed in the wine.
Cover the pot and allow to simmer on low heat for further 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked.
Dissolve the flour or corn starch in some water and add to the pot to thicken the gravy.
Lastly, add the mushrooms into the pot and allow to cook for another 5 minutes.
Serve over some basmati rice topped with fresh grated pecorino cheese or parmesan and olives.

Chicken Cacciatore

This is where I wish I could be blogging from …the lovely Ascension Islands in the distance as seen from atop the volcanic rocks.

And finally – the arrival. What a relief for all!

Arriving at La Grande Motte
La Grande Motte

And lastly….a couple of restaurants.

In keeping with the theme, I also made a cocktail using the Angostura Rum that Dylan brought back from a previous trip.You can sample my Caribbean Rose here.

Caribbean Rose - An aromatic cocktail with rum and a secret ingredient.

Thirsty Thursday – pic #2


My son recently delivered his first yacht to the Caribbean. To make the dull moments at sea more bearable, the crew competed with each other to see who could spot the most ships. Dylan won – the prize was a bottle of Angostura Rum from Trinidad.

I am not much of a drinker but I do enjoy a cocktail now and then. I have looked for an excuse to mix up a cocktail with this Angostura Rum. So I raided the liquor cabinet and this is what I came up with. Some rum, coconut liqueur – Vincoco, and some rose-water which I keep for flavouring Basmati rice. It should make an interesting mix. I also spotted some diehard roses in the garden which were my inspiration for the name “Caribbean Rose”.
My daughter and I decided we will do the ‘Thirsty Thursday’ thing together and concoct tasty beverages every week – kind of a bonding girly moment. Thursdays are going to be great!
I quite enjoyed this mix, not too sweet and the rose-water added an unusual flavour.

Maybe you’d like to join us and let me know what you think of the drinks?