Christmas For A Makoti In Bushbuckridge  

The silly season is upon us and so is the season for giving and sharing.

It is during this time that women also get together to share stokvel savings as well as celebrate another successful year.

Men get together to catch up around the braai or over a soccer match.

I am a makoti and just like many other makotis, holiday time means chores, chores and some more chores. Oh and maybe a nap here and there.

See, my husband is from a large family. That means lots and lots of cooking for yours truly (myself) and my two sessies (hubby’s brothers’ wives).

A small rant…
So like, Bushbuckridge is unbelievably hot, I mean 42 degrees kind of hot — now imagine cooking a breakfast, lunch and dinner for over 16 people while juggling two small kids. You guessed it, it becomes a helluva lot and trust me, 6 years in I still have not figured a better way to do this Christmas thing. I could (rightfully and selfishly) make this time of the year more about my immediate family but that would be taking this moment away from my husband who gets to reunite and catch up with his brothers.
As you were.

I remember my first Christmas at my in-laws after getting married…

Myself and my sessie woke up at 5am to start cooking.

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Come 2pm, we were still on our feet.

We vowed from that day that we’d never do that to ourselves.

We were so tired we even felt sad for ourselves.

So the following year we made a change. We planned ahead and it worked.

I have since become huge fan of meal planning simply because it saves me from over working and cooking too little or too much food.

I’ve listed a few survival tips that can come in handy for any makoti out there who’s looking to impress her in-laws and their neighbours (lol, I know the neighbours are just much of family).

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Regardless of the size of your family, the following should be able to assist you (It worked for me):

  1. Prepare yourself mentally. Know what’s in store for you and plan ahead as to what is you’re going to do and cook on each of those days.
  2. Save money. Yes it’s the silly season, but January is around the corner. Spoil the family, but shop wisely.
  3. Give your best. You don’t need to be a world-renowned chef to be able to deliver healthy, yummy meals. That said, please don’t just throw that 7-colours meal on a plate for them, make it memorable. If it’s from the heart, they will appreciate it.
  4. Surprise them. Whether it’s a homemade ice cream on Christmas eve or a trip to the Kruger Park on New Year’s Day, make your stay exciting and memorable.
  5. Enjoy yourself. Be genuine. Life is short. We only have one shot at this. Give your family the best YOU. After all, Khisimusi Rita kanwe lembeni. (Loosley translated; Christmas comes once in a year).

 

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One-pot Wonders

Not sure about anybody else out there, but preparing supper just before grocery shopping can be a pain. This is usually some days before payday where fresh supplies in the pantry have either run out or almost wilted.

One could easily grab some pizza or fried chicken on the way home, yes. But I prefer to still cook supper for the family.

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I love Basmati rice and it’s one of the things I never run out of (most of the time). I love how it works so well with many dishes and adds a bit of pizzazz to any dish with its fragrance as well as light texture.

I used beef patties [home-made], yellow peppers, red onion, very little carrot and sun dried tomatoes. And I had some Boerewors in the freezer, so it also came to the party.

I seriously believe that had I put the ingredients together and threw in a bowl not many would want to eat it despite the aroma from all the spices inviting you.

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I had initially planned to make meatballs, but am glad I didn’t.

I’m comfortable making and learning from my own mistakes in my kitchen. It’s a great way to learn.

xoxo, MrsM.

 

My love for Salmon

I can’t really say I love seafood.

In fact, as far as seafood goes, I am very picky.

And of those that I do eat, I still prefer it to be home cooked, by myself. LOL, weird right. I know.

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When eating out, I hardly order seafood because at times the stuff is not cooked to my taste anyway.

I feel like am expected to eat it because the chef believes it is how it must be enjoyed.

At times I just want to have stuffed calamari with without worrying about all the fancy shandis that are supposed to come with it. At times I just want to eat my fish the way I want, maybe with a cucumber and mango salsa and no lemon butter sauce.

Take Salmon for example.  My all-time favourite [fish].

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I can have salmon grilled, steamed and baked, anytime of the day.

I love to cook food that looks great and tastes delicious. So I make up my own rules and cooking methods that work for me.

I baked this salmon in foil seasoned with some black pepper and chili beef flavoured Aromat.

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I served my fish with Parmesan cheese and cream potatoes, mashed and slightly pan-fried it with a fresh salad. Also made a stock reduction to go with accompany such.

As always, I do hope the post inspires you not shy away from exploring with your dishes.

It is after all, your kitchen..

xoxo, D

Meal planning

I love planning and managing events. I successfully planned a few weddings in the last five years including my own.

I am no different when it comes to food. I plan every meal that comes out of my kitchen. By Monday morning I already know what will be for supper on Thursday.

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My home made pie with fresh salad.

It’s a habit I inherited from my mother.

In the days leading up to my wedding anniversary I served food that is light and filling at the same time. The intention was to eat myself stupid on the actual day which didn’t happen – After a piece of steak and veggies I just could not carry on.

One of those meals was a (deconstructed) sausage pie.

No, I didn’t make my own pastry. I took a shortcut.

There is always a Fresh salad on my plate. I don’t always eat it, but it always makes its way way onto my plates. After all, salad does make for pretty presentation and that’s what I like, a great-looking plate.

Lettuce is my least favourite thing so I keep coming up with ways to make salad without it and I think I have succeeded.

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Some carrot, red onion, fresh parsley are just some of the ingredients that gave me this fresh salad.

My 18-year-old little sister has beef with one thing when it comes to my cooking, the dishing up.

She says I take too long. In fact, she refuses to wait for me to make the plate look pretty. She just wants her food on the plate. No “styling or stacking”, which according to her, is what I do. No truth in that by the way. Well, at least I don’t think so.

Hope this inspires you to try out something new in your kitchen tonight, or tomorrow.

xoxo, D

 

 

How I made chicken work

One of the reasons I decided to go into catering is that I love cooking for people.

The thing though, about cooking for people, is that they all love different things and have differing tastes when it comes to what they like to eat.

Take chicken for example…

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Personally, when I think chicken [breasts] two dishes come to mind; butter chicken and sweet/sour chicken strips.

I recently decided to make a dish that kind of resembles the two, but would also be enjoyed by my husband, who is not into either of those.

Thanks to the sun-dried tomatoes, amasi and mayonnaise I added halfway through the dish, It was a hit.

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I actually regretted not having made more.

I served the dish with Basmati rice and fresh salad for my husband. I had mine on a ciabatta roll. We all went to bed happy.

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For me cooking is about giving people everyday food that taste better than they expected. Taste that will stay with them for sometime after they have eaten.

I had ordered butter chicken at a number of restaurants serving Indian cuisine, but because it is not to the taste of my family I knew I had to find a compromise. This dish represents that for me.

I am more than happy to make this for you and your family. Call me up. Anytime.

xoxo, D