So today was Heritage Day in South Africa, a significant day in the South African Calendar and synonymous with Braai Day. I thought I would post our recipe for Stokbrood, or stick bread… is there anything better than cooking in the great outdoors.
I have been making bread on a stick my entire life and it something that my kids really love doing… and it is the easiest thing in the world to do, while cooking over a fire. We begin with our basic bread recipe…
Basic Bread Dough
Place a kilogram of flour in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the flour and put a Table spoon of sugar and a packet of yeast in the well. Then pour a cup of warm water into the well and leave covered for about ten minutes. Your yeast will froth up… After ten minutes add enough warm water and a pinch of salt so that you can pull the flour into a ball of dough, then knead your bread for about ten minutes.
For stick bread you need to have a slightly firmer dough than usual. Cover your dough and leave it to rise for about an hour. While your dough is rising send everyone off on a walk to find a suitable stick. Once your bread has risen you can break it up into enough chunks for everyone to make their own bread.
Let everyone knead their little ball of dough a little bit and then roll it into a rope… and carefully wrap it around their stick.
And then patience is key… twisting and turning and waiting… and chatting.
There you go… fun times on the fire… you can eat it plane off the fire, or add lashings of freshly made butter and honey.
Add some corn on the cob and some mushrooms and you have a ready made feast…
That’s it… have a fun weekend and happy cooking in the great outdoors.
So it was my birthday this past week… and we celebrated in style, my kind of style. It has taken years, literally, but I have finally figured out how to do the birthday thing. I know when you have many small people to take care of that often your birthday is the last thing on your mind… but if not for yourself, but for the people that love you… they really do want to celebrate you and we can all get a little more gracious regarding receiving their blessings…
Se7en tips for a Great Birthday
Tell your Friends: They love you dearly, and just have forgotten your birthday… the year I didn’t mention my birthday to anyone, and the father person was away traveling, was the loneliest of all. It was the year no-one said happy birthday. I realised too late that it was self-induced misery, and now I will say to friends something like, “It’s my birthday next week.” Really, your friends want to know…
Invest in a Calendar: You can go one step better than telling folks it is your birthday, and get yourself a pretty birthday calendar and fill in all your friends’ birthdays so that you can say Happy Birthday to them when the time comes.
Get to See Your Friends: You don’t need to have a massive party, you don’t need to co-ordinate a million schedules, just ask a friend or two over for coffee and then enjoy it. If all your friends are on the far side of the world and a lot of mine are… then at least chat with them… you will feel better for it, there is a reason that the people we love dearly are our friends…. they uplift us.
Decide on a Non-Negotiable: You will have to do things on your birthday that you may not like to do… that’s life, especially life with many small people, but there are many things that can be avoided… no housework on your birthday (for the win)… the world will not fall apart if for one day you don’t do housework. Make sure there is absolutely one thing that you can do that makes you happy and make sure it is on the to-do list for the day. It may be a bath, a hot cup of coffee, it may be a nap, for me it is a play on the beach, make sure it happens… everything else can actually be caught up later. Also, Tell Folk What You Need. Once you have decided what it is you need, make sure your family know what it is… if you need a cup of coffee and they secretly plan a banquet then things are not going to run smoothly for you… just saying!!!
When folks Ask How You Would Like to Celebrate: “Nothing” is not the best response… I told my kids that I didn’t think we needed to do anything for my birthday… turns out they really wanted to do something to celebrate and persisted… they rephrased it and asked, “What would be my favourite day?” That was easier to answer: Time on the beach, a lingering lasagne lunch in the great outdoors, and friends to catch up with. They made it happen.
Let Folk Spoil You: I don’t normally drink cream soda floats, though they totally remind me of my childhood. When my kids wanted to spoil me with cream soda floats, I didn’t refuse, I let them get totally onto it. They had such fun spoiling and what mother wouldn’t enjoy their crazy joy!!!
Don’t Get sucked into the Whole Gift Panic: So many folk, myself included battle with finding and thinking about the perfect gift, so much so that by the time we have thought of every possible gift scenario and like none of them, the day has arrived and it looks something like: Too little too late. We can all fall into this panic. The father person is brilliant at spoiling me and yet recoils in horror at the mention of my birthday… this year I told him to totally remove “birthday” from his plan for this week… and he totally got it. Not every gift has to be the best gift on earth… sometimes a bunch of flowers or a chocolate are the most perfect treat, and say happy birthday far better than discovering that the gifter anguished for months.
Don’t Ignore it, it Won’t Go Away: Trust me on this… if you leave it until the day or worse the day after, then chances are that you will have regrets. Avoid those regrets. Birthdays are meant to be enjoyed and sometimes circumstances can make them seem like the pits… but often times there is something to be said for just accepting it and making a plan of action. Even a teeny tiny little plan in the middle of a long day, can turn an ordinary day into a birthday of note.
So yesterday, with a late night celebrating of Hood #1’s birthday the night before we all might have managed to miss, if not sleep right through, our slot on breakfast TV. But I have a link… If like us you might have missed it, you can watch it again over here…
Did I ever mention that blogging can take you to some interesting corners of the world… well a couple of weeks ago the breakfast show, Expresso, contacted us. They were looking for a blogging family who didn’t mind sharing their dirty laundry. With a family of ten we sure do have laundry… but to be honest, we are just a little too busy with life to spend our days doing laundry.
Luckily they weren’t after our actual laundry, just a lifestyle that creates laundry… hiking, great outdoors, volunteering… we fitted the bill and they came and shot their snippet last week. We will be on the Expresso Breakfast show sometime, maybe tomorrow morning (Wednesday)… When you see a slot, with a popular laundry detergent, then look out for us!!!
For months I have been saying that we need a massive tidy up and then for months we have been putting it off, well… there is nothing like knowing that you will have a few TV cameras in your home to make you do something of a cleanup. We had a grand scale clean out of galactic proportions… sorting, tossing, tidying… surfaces cleared, closets sorted, and even the garden got a “it must be spring face lift.” By the time the film crew arrived we were all a little bit spent in the neatness department… the first thing they asked was, “Could we get a bit dirty, maybe some baking?” There was a hushed silence from the gang… and they headed outdoors to do a little gardening instead, and a bit of hiking on the mountain behind our house.
The Truth About Laundry
I know that with a family of ten, folks think that we spend our lives doing laundry… we don’t. In fact the green person inside of me can’t do laundry every single day… just the thought of all that water and all that electricity, means that we make a conscious effort to do the least possible laundry that we can. (And if we are talking about green detergents, then I also want the least packaging and eco-friendly chemicals… why would I want to pour the water down the drain, when I can use it as greywater, but that’s a whole ‘nother blog post.)
We do have the biggest washer we could find when we bought it and only ever wash a load when it is completely full. So when someone has laundry they pop it into the washer, there are no laundry baskets around the house. I usually check the washer before I go to bed and if it is full I turn it on. Nope I don’t spend hours sorting it into lights and darks, just everything in (sorry mom). I am fairly convinced that our modern washing detergents are quite capable of coping with the figuring out which clothes need more of an effort than others.
It is really only once the washer is finished it’s load that the real work of laundry begins for us and then I have a team of laundry elves. The first person up checks the washer and if there is a clean load ready to hang then they take the washing out the washer and sort it into piles of tops, bottoms, socks and so on… and then one person hangs the shirts, one person hangs the trousers and… it is a well oiled machine!!! At the end of the day, the same team brings the laundry in, and our shirt person folds all the shirts, the trouser person all the trousers and… This all happens on our dining table, so all the piles of laundry have to be packed away before we can set the table for dinner.
That’s it, in a nutshell… I have a feeling laundry for a family of ten is a whole lot easier than laundry for a small family, simply because we have a team of helpers. Not to mention that after spending a week or two in Lesotho a couple of years ago I became very grateful for my first world washing machine… if you had to take all my appliances away, except one… then I would keep the washer. I’d live without a stove, a fridge, in fact I would love to live without a toaster… but I never ever want to live without my washing machine.
We decided to make the very most of last week’s free week with SanParks and head to the West Coast National Park to see the spring flowers… It has literally been years since we were last there and I am so thrilled that we had the opportunity to go again. The West Coast spring flowers are a phenomenon not to be missed.
On a very cold and wet Friday morning we headed out in the dark, way before dawn,… I was determined to miss the traffic in the city… the excitement was palpable and sleepy wide eyed faces feared at me from the back of the car.
The first thing we did when we got there was head for the dunes and have a good long look at the Atlantic, not to mention the rain pelting down. You need sunshine for the flowers to open and so we bided our time…
We took a look around the information centre…
We stopped to look at the houseboats in Kraalbaai…