Andy’s veggie burgers

After a recent visit to McDonald’s, I thought I would test how good their veggie burger is by making my own.

The rear of the Imana Chakalaka soya mince gives an easy to follow recipe, although I pretty much did my own thing.

I added curry powder, dhania, cumin, mustard seeds, garlic, ginger and mixed herbs to rev up the flavour (buy from Spice Emporium for savings and a wide selection).

Onion rings were placed in between the raw patties; all on a glass casserole dish greased with olive oil.

My old faithful Weber was used to cook the patties using the indirect method.

Hickory wood chips were used to smoke flavour the patties with an artificial bacon flavour.

 

To finish off: Portuguese rolls, a slice of cheese, tomato, lettuce, low-fat salad dressing a good helping of Veri Peri of course!

My guinea pig in chief gave me an 8 out of 10 for effort and flavour, although I don’t think she has scored any previous meal higher than 7.

The patties tasted even better the next day!

Durga Puja, the Worship of the Hindu Goddess Durga, Returns to Calcutta, India (part 1) by Ron Mayhew Photography ~ Seeing & Learning Through the Lens

Ron is my latest favourite photographer:
http://ronmayhewphotography.com/
http://ronmayhewphotography.wordpress.com

Ron Mayhew

The Durga Puja (Pujo in Bengali) is celebrated in various parts of India in different styles, but not on the grand scale of the Festival in Calcutta. This year’s celebration will be starting in a few weeks. I attended and photographed Durga Puja in Kolkata in October, 2011.

The days are long. The heat and humidity are oppressive; the crowds, claustrophobic. The sights, sounds, and smells can be overwhelming at times. In spite of and because of the difficult conditions Durga Puja was truly an experience of a life time.

Below is the first of a two part post on that event.

To be in Calcutta, now officially named Kolkata, India, for the Durga Puja was an amazing experience and a photographer’s dream. The Puja is the worship of the Hindu goddess Durga when she revisits earth for four days each year in October. The wife of Shiva, Durga has four children: Lakshmi, Saraswati…

View original post 577 more words

My first big stove

I have used a mini-stove since 1998. It is now 2012. Is that 14 years?

Timol after moving in soon “suggested” that a large conventional type stove would better suit her cooking style and needs.

Now, to avoid missing out on her next mutton curry, steamed fish, chutney chops, creamy beans curry, Marsala breakfast toast, bread and butter pudding, chicken curry… I thought it best to rush out immediately and invest in a brand new stove.

This was a frightening experience so I initially opted to only go one size up; to a large mini-stove.

However, the shopping experience got the better of me and I was soon eyeing out a sturdy black Defy 621.

As usual, I spent a lot of time trying to save a few Pounds, Dollars, Rands, Bucks.

I thought it was going to be a toss-up between Makro and Game, two major retailers.

Not to be!

Makro refused to budge on price and Game offered to beat any written quotation (by a measly ZAR 10).

I was not impressed at all. I mean, let’s face it – I was buying my first BIG stove and parting with my hard-earned money.

Luckily I then remembered Dave Ray in Sydney Road, Umbilo.

 

Before going to the store, I spoke to Kessie (031-2062038/9) about getting a “good deal”.

Kessie beat Game and Makro’s prices with ease!

Very smooth – no catch.

Unfortunately, when I arrived at the store I did not ask for Kessie and got sweet-talked by another salesman.

He gave me a good deal but I know Kessie would have done better.

 

The payment and loading at Dave Ray was quick, and it was not before long that the new stove was at home in the kitchen.

If I had purchased the stove from Game, then I would have had to pay at the store and drive a further 40 kilometres to the warehouse to collect. No thanks.

Now what to cook as the “first meal”…?

I opted for a lovely skinless chicken from Siraj Butchery in Stanley Copley Road. They are becoming really competitive on price and quality.

Some fresh garden herbs, olive oil, white wine, black pepper, lemon juice and whatever else tickled my fancy were gathered together.

 

Liquidized and then rubbed into the inside and outside of the chicken. Marinaded for about 6 hours.

 

Into the Defy oven.

 

Roasted to perfection.

 

Served with plain pasta (coated with light herbs, olive oil, pepper and salt).

 

Hints:

  1. If you need to buy appliances or lounge suites give Kessie a telephone call at Dave Ray. He will surely beat some of the major retailers in Durban on price and delivery
  2. Don’t cook the chicken too long and use tin foil to avoid it drying out
  3. Enjoy

A Tail of Dogs

John Unger just wanted a friend to take a nice photo of him and his 19-year-old dog, Schoep, before it was too late.

He (John) said: “I decided to use my energy not to focus so much on what I was feeling but to give my dog the best life I could. In the process, I helped myself, too.

We give animals as much as we can; in return, they give us their all, no matter how little or how much we give them. I have given Schoep as much as I can, although it was very little at that time. He has always given me his all.”

Read the full article here where John explains how his dog Schoep (both pictured below) helped him through a difficult patch.

Like John and many other people through the ages, I have also been blessed with some really close forgiving companions who love (loved) me unconditionally.

Whether I came home at 03h00 in the morning or even a few weeks later, I was always greeted by a broad grin and wagging tail.

The unconditional love given by a dog is not fazed by bad moods, absence, shouting or any “bad” behavior that a fellow human being would crucify one for.

Charlie, a little lady, joined me in 1999.

Photogenic from day 1.

A good swimmer in the pool.

Trips to the beach in the utility van were always appreciated.

Charlie enjoyed relaxing on the veranda chair.

When inside, she shared the couch with Tiga the cat.

Charlie was the only dog that did not annoy Tiga, who was a fussy boy that “moved out” of home after staying with me for 5 years!

Charlie enjoyed playing with plastic toys that squeaked. She loved tossing them in the air.

Brighton Beach January 2011: a few months before she passed away.

During early April 2011 Charlie was diagnosed with severe / advanced Cancer and passed away a few days later without whimper or complaint. She made her way to a corner at the bottom of the garden and lay down for her final rest.

An Angel left earth that day.

Like John, I also have my own story about how Charlie helped me through a difficult patch. That’s all for another post at another time.

Love your Angels (dogs) back while you have a chance.

The tribute to Charlie video can be viewed here.

“Our animals shepherd us through certain eras of our lives. When we are ready to turn the corner and make it our own…they let us go.” Author Unknown

Mom’s garden

During a recent visit to my mom I dropped into the back garden to see who was there.

A happy couple was seated under the bird bath.

A fierce lion was soaking up the rays.

This little fella was taking a well-deserved break.

There was also a: a lonesome swan.

A dangerous crocodile.

A cheerful little man.

A pair of frogs.

Otter with a claimed fish.

Mom otter and her little one.

Morning dew.

Last photo before home-time.

 

A more recent post on Mom’s Garden can be viewed here.

Spice Emporium

“Emporium” (medieval Latin from Greek emporos = ‘merchant’) is a term used for a store selling a wide variety of goods, and for marketplaces or trading centres in ancient cities (see emporia (ancient Greece) and emporia (early medieval).

Situated but a stone throw away from Durban’s Beachfront, standing proudly in a sturdy spacious building, we have Spice Emporium.

 

Spice Emporium was born 20 years ago as an ethnic food store and since its inception, has been world renowned for its ability to provide the complete Indian experience. The brand has become synonymous with quality and exclusivity across the entire market and as a result the flagship store has become a landmark tourist destination.

There is ample parking on the street and car guards who take their job seriously.

 

The store also offers limited off-road parking.

 

Smart and alert security guards watch over the goings-on inside and outside the store.

 

The only thing that you can get away with and steal here is a VERY GOOD DEAL!

So with the advent of the Puratassi fasting period from 17th September till the 17th of October, where else to go and stock up on essentials but Spice Emporium of course.

Read more about Puratassi here.

The store has such a wide variety of goodies and at super competitive prices.

From the image below nobody will doubt that Timol and I quickly put 4kg of kidney beans into our trolley earlier today.

Don’t kid yourself with the words “Indian experience” above. Yes, there are Indian spices but also a wide range of dried herbs, peppercorns, flour and so on. The list is endless.

 

They also have cook and kitchenware.

 

A wide variety of incense.

 

Assortment of cool-drinks and juices.

 

Frozen veggies, pastries, soya products.

 

Cookies and sauces.

 

Honey, oils, prayer goodies.

 

Happy customers and more prayer goodies.

 

Ample space to move around lots of rows of goodies with store supplied trolleys.

 

Disco mukwas and somph (saunf) sweets.

Wide variety of rices and more pots.

A beautiful display of colour and variety.

 

More tasty treats.

 

And finally the really tasty mixtures; blends of India.

A very long row of everything.

 

Even a blend for the potjie pot.

 

An interesting onion & rice mix.

 

And even some help for those who want to try their hand at Indian Delights.

 

Now all this looking in-store is certainly energy consuming.

 

So why not stop off at the Chaat Shop.

Snacks for all to eat.

 

A spacious dining area.

 

A vibey kitchen where good hygiene is obviously not-negotiable.

 

Fresh ingredients only.

 

As a retailer based in Durban, the primary focus of the business has always been to service the retail market. With the increased influence of “Bollywood” and the increase in awareness of South Africans of Indian origin to become aware of their roots, the business has seen tremendous growth. However, the growth of the business cannot solely be attributed to these influences. Spice Emporium is a family run business and the growth of the business can also be attributed to the personal touch of the husband and wife team that manage Spice Emporium. Customers are not viewed as customers rather as friends and it is this personal attention and value to customers that have attributed to the growth of Spice Emporium.

Spice Emporium is managed by Vinod Harie and his wife Chandrika, whom between them have over 50 years of experience. Spice Emporium was born from the vision of Vinod who noticed that there was a niche in the market for a high quality, speciality and ethnic food store.

Timol and I met Chandrika earlier today.

She is delightful and friendly and I am sure she will, if not in a meeting or doing something else to keep this grand emporium on track, find the time to meet you in the aisles with her smiley face.

Call +27 31 332 5888 or go to the world of Spice Emporium where you get World Food with Home Flavour.

The flagship store is situated at 31 Monty Naicker Street towards the beach in Durban City Centre.

There are two branches: one at Gateway Theatre of Shopping, a premier shopping centre in the heart of the new Umhlanga Town Centre, about 30 kms north of the Durban CBD, and at the Reservoir Hills Mall on Mountbatten Drive, Reservoir Hills.

Go pay them a visit, you will be greatly surprised at what you will find!

The Fat Croissant

My friends Natalie and Tim (little Paige too) own a lovely spot across from Sutton Park.

Located in the heart of Morningside, on the corner of Windermere and Sutton Road, you will discover “The Fat Croissant”.

Pop in before or after an early morning at the beach which is “on the way”.

Based at the Alliance Francaise, enjoy scrumptious breakfasts and light lunches in the garden area or inside the newly decorated venue with its cosy atmosphere.

The menu offers a variety of dishes, including freshly baked croissants, toasted sandwiches or health rolls, crisp salads, wholesome homemade meals and a great cup of coffee.

Although they are only open for breakfast and lunch, the Alliance Francaise arranges a list of concerts, mainly jazz, movie nights/open air cinema in the garden, art exhibitions and other events.

The Fat Croissant also caters for large bookings, takeaways, office lunches, corporate lunches and conferencing.

They provide outside catering and snacks and various functions such as birthday parties.

I really enjoy the coffee and watching Tim put great effort into each cup..

They say: “At The Fat Croissant, we are passionate about our coffee as is our supplier Colombo Fine Beverages Co, and serve a great cappuccino that is ready to drink the moment it reaches your table.

We “micro-texture” the milk portion of our cappuccino in order to enhance the natural starches and proteins in milk, making it a lot sweeter.

Our coffee’s flavour profile tends towards notes of Dutch-process cocoa and spicy accents, while its finish is full of sweet fruitiness courtesy of the carefully selected blend of three origins, Brazilian, Colombian and Ethiopian.

We provide you with one of the freshest and character-full cups of coffee possible!”

For sure I say!

Relax at the table during the week to have a break from your office. Sip on flavoursome coffees and work away on your laptop; or just sit idly in their garden. You might be able to get wireless connectivity (please ask) or at least a power point.

Read more here or telephone 031 822 8181.

I am off to go and make myself a steaming hot cup of aroma filled coffee.

Harvey’s Restaurant

It was my big day and I needed a top-spot to enjoy a great meal with my precious company.

Friends had told me of Harvey’s and I thought I would investigate. It turned out to be a very good decision.

Their “about” on the web states:

“In Durban’s bohemian suburb of Morningside, a restaurant that combined the demeanour of fine dining with a super-cool attitude and sleek modern styling that spelled instant success with its previous reputation intact and improved.

The original Harvey’s, opened fifteen years ago, has re-opened, This second incarnation of Harvey’s, has already won all the accolades the first one gathered over the years, SA Top Ten, Amex Platinum Fine Dining Awards and International Wine and Food Society best restaurant award for 2009.

Harvey’s restaurant is in a landmark building, nestled between two elegant parks in Durban’s prestigious Morningside suburb. Within its first few months it became a nationally known institution as one of Durban’s must visit venues for any visitor or local.

The venue comprising two rooms, one for dinning, named the picture room for its mass of original paintings covering the padded walls and out elegant Cocktail lounge that spills onto the veranda and pavement terrace, cheekily covered in “grass” and a pavement terrace. An open-air cigar lounge is strikingly decorated as a sort of indefinable retro-quasi-gothic-hunting lodge hodgepodge, complete with mounted buffalo trophies, padded velvet walls, gold ceilings and original oil paintings.

Consistently crowned Durban’s best since 1994, this stylish restaurant is known for its innovative flavour combinations, excellent presentation, and efficient service. The menu changes every two months, but may feature items like crisp fried spiced calamari served on marinated aubergine with an avocado ice-cream and a roasted pepper coulis or duck confit with grilled magret served on pak choi, with a sticky red currant and pink peppercorn jus, with pear infused pomme William or an assorted berry plate that includes a rhubarb and ginger crème brulee, with a white chocolate and strawberry cake, lightened by a cherry and nougat ice-cream.

Although the menu changes every two months, Timol and I did not miss the bold-printed information above as the waiter “purred” away.

We started at the Cocktail lounge that spills onto the veranda and pavement terrace.

It was lovely to just watch cars and pedestrians go by as we slowly sipped on the bottle of Alto Rouge.

 

 

They weren’t joking about the picture room

 

Timol was not the only pretty lady in that room

 

After viewing the frame below I had doubts about my gold card being able to pay for the meal we were about to have

 

The calamari was certainly crispy

 

Timol had the Dorado on mash

 

I went for the duck

 

A present was thrown in for good measure

 

We ended with more wine and coffee on the veranda

For me, it’s now a toss-up between Harvey’s and 9th Avenue Bistro. I was properly impressed with both and did not mind paying the extra Dollars for extraordinary food.

Cafe 1999, which I previously went to, is not really my cup of tea.

I will have to return to 9th Avenue for round 4 to make up my mind.