When it comes to comfort food, a home baked banana bread is a firm favourite. It just fills your kitchen with the aroma of what I imagine an old farm house would smell like on a Sunday morning. This loaf is from my treasured Sophie Dahl book, ‘Miss Dahl’s Voluptuous Delights‘. The result was so perfect, I will be taking it along for tea with my mum tomorrow.
75g of soft butter, plus extra for greasing and serving
4 ripe bananas, mashed up
200g / 1 cup soft brown sugar (I use Demerera sugar, because of the treacle content – gives the bread a lovely caramelized taste)
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract (make sure it’s good quality extract, and not essence)
1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1 pinch of salt
170g (1 and a half cups of flour)
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius. Grease a normal sized bread tin.
Pour the mashed bananas into a mixing bowl. Mix in the butter (blitz in the microwave for a few seconds to soften), sugar, egg and vanilla extract. Add the bicarbonate of soda and salt, and mix in the flour last. You don’t really have to sift the flour, but I always do. Pour into the prepared tin. Lick leftover batter from wooden spoon (optional!). Bake for 1 hour, remove and cool, then serve in slices with a little butter, or even cream cheese if you’re feeling adventurous.
I have officially started my one week holiday! But as luck would have it – I start sneezing. Which means a nasty head cold is fast approaching. There are a few things I do to stop it in its tracks though. Works like a charm every time!
1. Green tea and grapes
As you know, green tea is packed with antioxidants. What I like to do is add some grated ginger to my cuppa. Really helps to unblock the nasal passages. When in season, I munch on ice cold grapes. They contain vitamin C and can be very soothing should you have a sore throat.
A natural antibiotic – down it by the spoonful! Any runny kind will do. Although I have heard that the Manuka variant is particularly good for you. Available online from Faithful To Nature.
3. Vitamin C
Plain old vitamin C tablets from Clicks. I take two twice a day.
4. Drink plenty of water and get lots of rest (good excuse to catch up on that novel!).
And last but not least, it would be a good idea to eliminate alcohol and cigarettes altogether while your body is trying to recover.
This is my food bible. Almost every Nigella recipe you’ve ever salivated over, you’ll find in here.
If you own the Feast DVD series, then you will adore this beautifully put together book. Which include some of my favourites – Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake (page 269), Chocolate Cherry Trifle (page 406), Spaghetti Alla Carbonara (page 411) and Cranberry & White Chocolate Cookies (page 82).
I love how she cooks with absolute abandon! Every dish more decandant than the last. And most importantly, the recipes are homely, which makes one feel comfortable to experiment in your own kitchen.
Available from Kalahari.com for R450.
I was reading my favourite magazine, Woman & Home – and after caressing page after page of pretty things…decided to compile my own personal Christmas wish list. Now while I may not actually receive any of these items from Santa (although I have been exceptionally well behaved this year), I certainly had so much fun putting this together!
Some indulgent, nice-to-haves. A girl can always dream…
L’Occitane Cherry Blossom Eau de Toilette
My very good friend Zuleigha (aka The Pink Mermaid) introduced me to this heavenly fragrance. With notes of cherry, freesia and blackcurrent, it is just so soft and feminine. Perfect for any occasion, and well worth the splurge. Wouldn’t mind receiving one of those hat box gift sets filled to the brim with the entire cherry range!
Italian food is my weakness, and who does not have a girl crush on Nigella? So obviously I’d want her new cook book! Probably cheapest from Takealot.com at R 318 including shipping.
I never buy expensive sunglasses because I WILL either misplace, lose or sit on them. However, these Bvlgari’s I will treasure with my life! Ultra chic and Kardashian-like. Guaranteed to up my diva status. ‘Only’ R3,390 at Sunglass Hut.
Beach Cottage Holiday
I want to fall asleep to the sound of the ocean, and wake to the smell of it. Then, take fifty footsteps down to the beach and just lie there suntanning, while reading a book. Or retire to the porch, swinging in a hammock, eating cold watermelon. My favourite website to browse whilst dreaming of my perfect getaway…is Perfect Hideaways. They have the most beautiful selection of local self catering properties.
I always feel like I haven’t really baked until the day I have my own ice blue Kitchen Aid. How can I ever perfect a Nigella cake without one of these babies? Dear Secret Admirer – if you are out there…this is sure to steal my heart! It’s really cheap (haha). From R5,990 at Yuppie Chef.
Spa Day at Mangwanani Zevenwacht
Mangwanani Day Spa is literally a five minute drive from my home, and I have never been. What a crying shame! Very often they have fantastic special offers for couples, which could be perfect for spending quality time with your bestie, or that someone special (husband, fiancé, friend with benefits…whatever). I love the African theme, and the vineyard location is absolutely sublime. Good value for money compared to some of the over-priced spas out there. Perhaps I’ll give them a try in the new year.
And that’s it! See Santa, I’m a girl of simple taste
A few years ago, I was a Sh’Zen junkie. I’m sure you must have seen their catalogues or even attended a Sh’Zen pamper party. I simply couldn’t resist ordering one or two items from their specials brochure every month. My cupboard was packed to capacity with Spa Additive, Detox Oils and Bath Crystals!
Meaning ‘natural’ in Japanese, Sh’Zen products are formulated with essential oils and plant extracts – so you’re guaranteed to be taken on a pleasurable sensory journey. When a product evokes a certain emotion with just its fragrance, that for me is what creates a pampering and personal experience.
I received a 125ml tube of the Cellular Boost lotion for Body with SPF 15. Ideally, this is a summer lotion that you’ll pack in your weekend bag when going on a trip or to the beach. Pink grapefruit gives it a zesty fresh fragrance and also has firming properties (always welcome!).
Contains one of my all time favourite moisturizers – Shea Butter, as well as Sesame and Hazelnut oils. I love using this lotion straight after a shower in the morning, when I’m not in the mood for a thick body butter. And although incredibly moisturing, it’s not overly so…where you find yourself slipping out of your sandals. This will become one of your summer staples.
Retails for about R179. Find a stockist near you by visiting the Sh’Zen website: http://www.shzen.co.za