In as much as Austria has a variety of nationalities, its capital city, Vienna is characterised by a presence of different modes of transport. What is most interesting is that one still sees a range from Middle Ages vehicles through to the most recent innovative electric buses plying the city center (the ring). Despite transportation improvement throughout the years, the oldest horse-drawn carriages popularly known as tangas, are still one of the most popular vehicles in Vienna. If you are touring the city and you haven’t ridden in a horse-drawn cart, you need to do so. They park in Stephansplatz next to Stephansdom. Grabbing one of these makes touring the first district a novel experience for visitors…
Most of us spent the last 4 weeks buying presents for family and friends. Some werre decorating their homes and shopping for special ingredients. While others planned for activities for the big day – Christmas.
There were also parties in homes, work places and public places, all in honour of Christmas. Finally, Christmas Day is here, and for those who have a tradition of opening presents on the day are busy doing so. wea re also opening ours today!
Merry Christmas to you all! May the joy, peace and hope of Christmas fill your homes and hearts now and in the New Year to come. May true meaning of Christmas be a reality in your lives:
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,… And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6
Enjoy your Day!
Russian Blinis: My first attempt!
Recently, we learned how to prepare Russian Blinis and it was a lot of fun! This is a simple recipe that dates back to 1892 in the Russian history of food. It is popularly known as ‘four – three – two – one’ recipe because of the ingredients involved. Although blinis were traditionally baked long ago, nowadays they are mostly fried.
You will need: 4 eggs, 3 Tbs (Any other oil will do), 2 glasses milk, 1 glass flour (use the same size glass as the one for milk). – hence the name!
For seasoning – salt and sugar. For stuffing you will need ground beef, onions, black pepper and garlic. Another choice of stuffing can be cottage cheese, jam or Nutella. This is good when you are making dessert.
Brown onion and garlic in a pan. Add meat and fry until golden brown. Season with salt and pepper.
For batter: Blend or mix the 4, 3, 2, 1 ingredients well. The batter will be runny. Heat a nonsticky pan that has been greased with oil. When there is a hint of smoke from the pan, indicating it is very hot, reduce heat to low and scoop the watery dough using a spatula, and pour gentle inside. As the other hand is pouring, the other one is rotating the pan so that the contents fill the whole base. Avoid pouring too much to make one blini. About 4 to 5 Tbs of dough is enough. When it has browned to your liking, flip the blini and do the other side. Turning it too early can deform the blini!
Wrap cooked stuffing inside your Blinis. You may drizzle with fresh herbs like dill or parsley.
Enjoy and have a good weekend.
Never refill and reuse plastic bottles! Refilling plastic bottles with water or any liquid could be harmful.
They can encourage bacteria to breed. Moreover, they can keep germs. We also tend to rinse these bottles instead of washing them thoroughly. There various ways to reuse plastic bottles that make more sense than refilling them with liquid.
Plastic bottles made into jewellery vases and hangers. This is one cool way of reusing plastic bottles.
Instead, I am now in the habit of using glass bottles/jars and I feel they are safer than their counterparts.
I love the curvy look of this honey jar!
Throwimg them away will be a waste, I think. Some yoghurt jars are too beautiful to put into a trash! Some shops allow you to return the bottles for a fee although it’s very minimal. I opt to use them to store dry herbs I buy from various markets. Above are some of my latest repackaging of the latest collections of herbs.
Things to remember:
1) Clean the glass bottle properly
2) Towel the bottle and leave it to dry gor more than 24 hrs on a drying rack.
3) Whatever you are refilling in the bottle must be dry stuff (We shall come back here with info. on how to repackage liquid safely. Yes!)
4) Label the bottle to avoid confusion in your cupboards. You can use stickers or whatever you have to stick labels.
Enjoy Christmas markets, different kinds of punch and glückwein.
It is difficult to measure the size of informal busines sector in Zimbabwe just as it is the same for the taxman and ministers who are now seeing a source of revenue through taxes. No matter the government stance on this sector, many Zimbabweans now survive as small scale traders although they are not affiliated to the Small Scale Medium Enterprises and Co-operative Development plan. They run independently, just trying to make ends meet in a dire situation. According to research, about 67% of this steady and fast growing sector are women.
On my recent visit to visit that country, I met Nokuthula Siziba-Mguni and her business partner Siphathisiwe Dube. They run a decoration, catering and wedding gowns ‘company’ that is engaged in planning and organising parties. Designing wedding dresses is easy as Nokuthula is professional designer. However, she could not make a signaficant profit from designing and selling her dresses because of the influx of second hand clothes mostly from Mozambique. These were and still selling at a ridiculous e.g one US dollar for two! She therefore partnered with Pathi, who has expertise in cooking and catering, to start a Deco. Catering and Gown company and it operates mostly in the high density suburbs of Bulawayo. They can also take the business anywhere around town, even the posh parts of Khumalo, Hillside and the like. What they need is just an invitation as they are very flexible.
“Business is very slow these days as many civil servants have been laid off through downsizing. Many big companies have also closed down,” said Nokuthula.
I asked them why they were cooking over an open fire.
“Electricity is not reliable here. We can be cut off anytime even when busy preparing for a function,” she said.
“What about the heat from the fire, can you stand that?” I asked Siphathisiwe.
She smiled and said,”As you can see, we’re used to that now. At first it wasn’t easy.”
The resilient women also had round belly three-legged pots as part of their kitchen utensils. Washing soot off these pots is a challenge.
Every one of the helpers looked happy and grateful to be employed and able to take something home. The problem with the informal sector in Zimbabwe is that the government does not want to engage with them or create a conducive environment for them, although there is funny talk to start taxing them.
No matter what conditions they face, Nokuthula, Siphathisiwe and other small scale business women need to work and sustain their families, they say. The income from such projects go a long way to supplement whatever income their spouses bring home – and it can’t be much considering the overall economic condition of that country.
It all got me thinking. If only the government would not interfere adversely with such courageous providers including vegetable and second-hand ware vendors. A meaningful dialogue with them may be the only win-win situation.
Eyes of a daughter differ from those of a mother. Those who know my lovely teenage daughter will confirm her sound taste for beauty. However, I recently brought home a flower that caught my eye to grace our living room.
The first thing she said when she saw the new decoration was that it looked like a creepy creature sitting in a flower pot ready to pounce at anything that interfered with its space.
I understand it’s a matter of taste: what do you think of my flower and her imagination?
A Man From Ranchet – a limerick
There once was a man from Ranchet
Who moved around with a machete
His Black horse named Botched
Galloped into a wide deep trench
Then the man missed the market
The Haiku is a traditional form of Japanese poetry. It consists if 17 syllables with 5 used on the first line, seven on the second and five on the third line. The following poem is my first attempt at writing a haiku:
As the golden sun rises
Above the hills, I gaze at
Birds chirping on branches.
I sit alone to watch
As those young ones
Gap above, high above.
Flying up above them
Is their caring mother carrying
Prey in a busy beak,