Christmas Tradition # 2

We have a few traditions of our own, over the last 37 years of living in sunny SA there may have been some changes to the old ones, and new traditions were adapted to fit in with the South African theme and weather and all of us. At some stages we were about 20 sitting at the dinner table and lying lazily the day after around the pool or in the cool of the garden.

I don’t like cooking, don’t care much about the kitchen but if I’m baking then the kitchen is a good place to be.

My boys love these cookies, this is something they gobble up while we are busy being distracted with something else. There are a few variations to this recipe, most of them are made with sweet potato. Our recipe is of a real cookie that will last in the cookie jar for a while if you can hide it that long from the children.

IMG-20121217-00317 (2)Broas de Natal or Aniseed Christmas Cookies – Christmas Tradition #2

250g of flour

125g of mealie meal (maize)

125g of sugar

1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of aniseed, pinch of salt

10 ml of port wine

2 eggs

1 cup of oil (I don’t fill the cup right to the top)

1 teaspoon of baking powder

2 table spoons of honey


Let me warn you it can get messy, that’s normal. Everything gets mixed together in one go in one bowl. Then you need to use your hands and shape into little balls then flatten them a bit into oval shape. You might need extra flour for dusting. Brush cookies with egg yolk and bake until golden.

Sprinkle with glitter edible fairy dust of course and hide them away from the boys ♥

😀  ♥

Christmas Tradition # 1

It is time to start baking and preparing for Christmas so here is our Christmas tradition #1

This is a traditional sweet from Algarve, it has been adopted as a Christmas tradition for us because it is rare, sort of extinct. You don’t find this anywhere here is SA.

Oh and it is so easy to make, all you need for this is cake is…..well you need to have a sister-in-law living in Algarve, Portugal. Then you need to wait for her to send you one. Maybe that is not so easy…sorry if you don’t have a sister-in-law in Algarve, it’s a pity really this cake is delicious!

We all love this cake, all of us, I have no idea how to make this and have no plans in trying it our either.

Bolo de Figo or Dried Fig Cake

Don’t use Google to translate it, it is so bad it’s embarrassing, I will quickly explain the process.

Basically you need 500g of dried figs and 500g of almonds, this is roasted then it’s cut into tinny little pieces (minced) and put in pot with 500g of sugar (eeu that’s a lot) and some chocolate powder, cinnamon, aniseed and grated lemon. It cooks for about 5 minutes, then you let it cool down a bit and pour it on a wooden surface (chopping board) and mould it into a round shape or heart shape. Decorate with icing sugar (dusting over the cake) or just the almonds.Picture1

We lucky to get a parcel every once in a while with this treat and sometimes we received the dried stuffed figs – another delicacy, they wrapped like sweets and we save this all for a special occasion like Christmas or Tigs birthday tomorrow. I have taken this one out to celebrate his special day.

Thank you Candida for spoiling us, mwah xxx

To Santa, from painting Elf

elfHello Santa

I received a letter from one of our blogging peeps (for that big 2012 project) I read her wish list over and over again. This is what she says in her letter:

My Xmas wish list

I am your typical girly girl, love all things beautiful and bright. Christmas period is my favorite time of the year, the glitter, the bling and the glam of this period is the best. I love beautiful smelling things (potpourri, bath stuff and the like), cute little frames, costume jewelry

Seeing that we have a budget of R100, I went out looking for as much as possible within that amount to make this lady happy this year.

I hope I’ve done a good enough job with the shopping. Are you happy?

Anyway I have sent it to her with one of the reindeers; this parcel is going to Pretoria.

Best wishes from your helper

Painting Elf

PS – just checking, did you get my letter?

When the meaning of Christmas changes

What does this holiday season really mean for you?

It was filled with so many meanings for me in the past but it has changed a bit over the years.

Six years ago my house was filled with Christmas decorations, all over the house, each room had something in it.

Porcelain candles with little chimneys. The huge tree. Imported nativity scene and home-made stable. The front door red and green wreath. The back door a smaller gold one. The lounge was decorated with large wreath separating the dining room with red candy canes. Little African angels in the lounge. Wire Xmas trees everywhere. Two dancing father Christmas’ that I’ve had since the boys were little. The kids rooms had miniature trees, porcelain candle, a beautiful Xmas boot (stocking) hanging in the cupboard door. Permanent red table-cloth on the dining room table. Christmas carols. Growing pile of presents under the tree. Xmas crackers. Those silly hats. Tinsel just about everywhere. Numerous phone calls about where we were spending Christmas evening this year. Lots of debate around the food!

Then six years ago my dad passed away – that was 23 December 2006  – and when that tree came down it went straight to Avril Elizabeth Home along with most of the decorations.

The happy silly season was officially over for us, especially for me.

All I know is that in 2008 we sort of had Christmas again because my sister was visiting from Italy and that is when I met my ten month old nephew – there was a tree of some sorts and a bit of fun and laughter around the presents and dress up of Father Christmas. Still no tree in 2009 we traveled to Cape Town for the holiday and then in 2010 we went to the bush and spent the holiday with lions and the camel thorn tree instead of the one with shiny lights and baubles. That was the new normal for us.

I did buy a small fiber-optics-tree somewhere in the last six years but it’s awful. The boys hate it, and so do I but I just can’t get myself into the mood of standing on chair and reaching the top to put the star and decorating the house like I used to.

Time passes and the wound has healed but when we get to this month it still does not feel right. The meaning of Christmas has changed for me.

Its 2012 and we are going down to Kenton-on-Sea we are back in the early new year so there really is no point in decorating. No one will see it, we are not home to enjoy it anyway. In the mean time I am preparing for the great big baking marathon, there are gifts neatly wrapped and Xmas crackers and pretty serviettes and the red table-cloth is going with.

But for now I’m left with the memory of the last Christmas my boys had with granddad in 2005 DSCF0215

Dear Santa

There’s a Christmas genie out there called Stiletto Mum full of good cheer; she has decided to create a Secret Santa project for bloggers!! Thank you for your initiative Charlotte. I’m sure this is going to be great fun. We the secret Santa’s don’t know each other but a plan has been put in place to find the perfect gift for your Secret Santa Friend. This is how-it-works: secret-santa

Here is my letter to Santa ….

Dear Santa
I’ve been a very good girl this year. Actually maybe you should define the word ‘good’. I’m not sure anymore, there were some days when I might have been a bit impatient and maybe I went a bit overboard and….oh maybe I should just start this letter with ‘Let me explain’
Anyway I have a secret friend somewhere in the blog world that is going to reward me this year, for being good. So if you can help her find something from my wish list that would be really nice.
  • I don’t wear any jewelry
  • I paint so anything arty is always good see my gallery  
  • I like Body Shop creams and things (cocoa butter, coconut, vanilla scents)
  • I like hearts (home decorations, carved ones etc)
  • Nice smelling goodies like soaps, bubble baths and salts in any scent except lavender. I especially like lemon grass
  • Summer scarves 🙂
  • Wind chimes, butterflies & dragon flies
  • Chocolate! Brown or dark chocolate, not white. Cadbury’s and Lindt none of that other stuff
  • Magazines (Country Life & SA Artist) and books (Francine Rivers & Spud – I’ve read all of them, they are hilarious
Santa will you please get the little elves to deliver my secret Santa gift this December?
Much love, Paula
PS: May I ask for one more thing? I’d like a new blogger friend, that’s the point of this isn’t it? To make new friends…and the real meaning of Santa and Christmas. Here’s to friendships everywhere ♥