Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Soccercity at Night

Football Fever grips Jozi

I am not a big sportsfan. Watching rugby on a Saturday afternoon ( with a braai ofcourse) is so firmly entrenched in South African culture it can’t even be seen as a sport anymore. Thus football hasn’t ever featured on my radar. But it is a bit difficult to stay in Jozi and not get caught up in the frenzy that is football fever. 

The day I wanted a Bafana Bafana shirt I realized I was hooked! So watching Argentina playing Mexico on Sunday at Soccer City was an amazing experience! The atmosphere was electric and the fans out in full force. Even  though the air was a little bit nippy we all came prepared with about ten layers and then some. We used the Wits park and ride and what a breeze. You get herded like sheep onto luxury busses that wizz you off to the Calabash. As the game only started at 8:30 it was already dark when we arrived. The Calabash looks like a space ship that has landed, really breathtaking. After a brisk walk you pass through metal detectors with friendly policeman and then start looking for your turnstile.

Inside everything is well organized and there as so many refreshment stands you don’t have to wait in long queues for Beer (only downside is the beer Budweiser??) and the restrooms where clean and well stocked! We had the most amazing view of the pitch and even the Vuvu’s couldn’t dampen anyones spirit!

I am now firmly an Argentina fan (it might mainly be because I love the colours of their kit...) what an experience! I felt so proud to be South African, a world class performance by a world class African City!

Looking forward to All Blacks against the Boks at Soccer City!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Our little piece of Africa

                                               (Photo: Ryan Wienand)
Long story short.

Yes, I did fall in love with this guy I met in a bar, and yes, I won’t, but others will, vehemently say it because of the ever-present khaki fever..... we won't dwell on the point. And yes, he did end up owning a piece of Africa.

And so we got married, and with that, I also now obviously own a piece of Africa too!

Just came back from our spot in the bush – Lukula. And wow, my soul is restored, by head back in place and my body cleansed of city rat race.

Nothing like spending time out there, looking up to the clear skies at night and seeing the stars pop up in place. Nothing like the smell of a camp fire in the bush, the smoke on your hands, your dusty feet, candle lit dinners on sand banks and the low rumble of a male lions gentle roar when you lie awake listening to the deafening silence of Africa....

Come and visit us….. it’s an experience beyond words.

~desert rose~

Friday, June 25, 2010

How to be Nice & Roast chuck

Its pretty simple, most of the time.  Reflective in the great simplicity of the word - 'nice'.  But sometimes it feels like all you're doing is talking a lot of talk and walking a lot of walk and not reeeeally getting the message through.  Apart from misleading other nice walkers it can fustrate even the most patient of us.
So in order to be straight, I reckon sometimes you have to bend off the little path of nice.  And be straight.  And say it:
"Ah, (straight talk inserted here), thank you".

This is a recipe - which in my mind is straight.  It ain't no chicken in goose down - it just is.  Don't think about it, just cook it.   Although do bear in mind who you cook it for - this is a good dish for friends and Sundays.  And Mondays actually...

Roast Chuck

1 large chicken - about 2kg in weight - the absolute best your money can buy.  Organic, free range, open aired - anything close to having it come straight from your back yard
1 lemon
salt and pepper
drizzle of honey (if you can get your hands on local eg Iringa honey that has a whole lot of florally sugarness - do!!!)

2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
2 onions, sliced into wedges
garlic pieces - not peeled

1.  Preheat the oven - 160C.
2.  So take a nice large roasting tin - this bird needs breathing space - and lay down the the onions and carrots.  We'll throw the garlic pieces in later so they don't burn.
3.  Wash and dry the chicken with paper towel - its a little fussy but a dry skin cooked is a crisp skin.   Sit the bird happily on the layer of onions and carrots, and squeeze over the juice of the lemon.  If you like a lemony roast, nows the time to put those lemon halves in the cavity.  Feel free to tie the legs together.
4.  Grind over the pepper and salt, and place in the oven.
5.  Baste the chuck every 30 minutes - there should be lots of juices in the pan.
6.  After 1.5hrs, add the garlic pieces - a handful or so - and drizzle over the honey.
7.  Place the bird back in the oven for another 30 mins - a total cooking time of 2 hours at this temperature.
8.  Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving.
9.  Whilst you are waiting, make the gravy by removing the carrots and onions from the pan (if you want to eat them, if not, leave them in for a more robust flavour), then whisking in the flour.
10.  Add enough liquid to the pan to get enough gravy for your bunch, and taste for seasoning.  Whisk for about 5 minutes, then serve.  (In winter I have been known to add a bit of cream to the gravy.  'Alo soldier.)

11.  Frangipani, please test and review recipe. ;)

Right, just off to work hard and be nice.

~ hibiscus

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Diski Dance

How not to look like a parka-plegic

After three years of constant 40 degree heat and 70% humidity the Jozi winter has hit me hard. Gone are the days of sweating off make up and thinking up new creative ways of wearing the minimal whilst still looking corporate. Last week we started the days in a minus.... A MINUS!!! I woke up one morning to find ICE on my windscreen which continued to spread as the cold wind blew. And then people keep on saying its only June...

So with this cold spell (Well to me not a cold spell just generally cold) came an enormous wardrobe crisis and ofcourse a lack of funds (first month, new job you know the spiel) I did (4years ago) have some stock of previous years but my sister (bless her) have worn it all to shreds.

So, hence the strategy emerged...wear everything you own (I atleast have two pairs of shoes...) but swop the order around so it looks like a new outfit every day! (And this from someone who has shopping as their main activity on facebook) It works...but I look about 3 sizes bigger(ok maybe copious amounts of red wine has something to do with it...). Eyeing all the unsightly bulges in the mirror this morning I tried to think how this could be prevented?  Maybe latex thin long johns? Or are we destined to look like a parka-plegic every winter?

I know open shoulders and cute dresses with boots are fashion...but damn there is no way I am freezing my butt off for the sake of fashion...maybe next year!

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Offside Rule Explained

OK, so I am all for woman's rights and the rest, but even I had to admit this made me giggle... just a little ;-)
So in the spirit of the World Cup I will share my friend's little joke with you...


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Hello again!

To getting my groove back!

Frangipani xx

Monday, June 14, 2010

Harare Happenings

Just incase - on the off chance - that any of the gorgeous people in Zimbabwe:
a) have an internet connection fast enough to read Mangotree Musings
b) can be bothered to read Mangotree Musings.. ;)

Dont miss this - fine entertainment delivered by Mr Alexander himself and a glass of wine - and you can feel oh so good because its all in the name of charity.  It would be selfish not to attend and purchase at least 2 copies...

Thursday, 24th June 2010

6:30 - 8:30pm
The Parvin Residence, 14 Aintree Road
I would be privileged if you joined me at the Harare Homecoming of Fly Fishing For Sharks, the Alan Paton prize-nominated memoir that I wrote about life with OCD. Much of the book's subject matter is connected with Harare and Zimbabwe, and it means a great deal to me that we are finally able to share it with old friends, family, colleagues and school teachers.

I always wanted to have a launch in Zimbabwe but was thwarted in that regard by my publishers. Literally in the last week - and hence the unavoidable late notice - a young lady named Charlotte Haggie hatched a plan that will hopefully see us all having a fun evening and raising a few shekels for a Guiness Book of Records worthy cause - Zimbabwean orphans of parents who have died of AIDS. Charlotte will be up in the country of her birth working in this area from June of this year.

There will be some comp wine and a snack and, if all goes to plan, a cash bar later. Charlotte will say howdee to the crowd and then I promise to entertain you with a speech about the book. If you are intrigued by my words and iconoclastic views, you can pick yourself up a copy, which I am happy to sign. Most of all, Charlotte and I would like it to be an event focussed on reconnecting with people, meeting new ones and helping out those who can't help themselves.
Hope to see you soon

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Mooshi Malva Pud

Ayoba to you all!  What has grabbed (and I use the word because I find it difficult to describe it any other way) all of us here in South Africa, from townships to tea parties, is nothing short of a very infectious fever.  The maddening sound of the vuvuzela that you loathe to hate because it's drenched in patriotism, along with everything else - it's a new experience for me, for South Africa, and Africa.  I like it.  I could go as far to say I love it.
Along these lines, I was thinking of a terribly patriotic dish.  The vuvuzela of the kitchen.  Desert rose has covered the bobotie - and a fine cover that was of finger licking deliciousness - so it left me with the thought of sugar.  Something sweet to follow the spiced mincy meal... why it has to be melva...!
If you havent made the bobotie yet - do it, and then make this to follow.

  The always present in SA recipes - apricot jam - (somebody bless the stuff) in the soft, spongey mixture, which is then drowned in butter, cream and sugar.  Happy everyone?

180g sugar
2 eggs
1 tbsp apricot jam
1 tsp bicarb
pinch of salt
15g butter
1 tsp vinegar
100ml milk

For the sauce:
250ml cream
100g butter
150g sugar
100ml water

1.  Beat the eggs and sugar well in a food processor until thick and creamy, add the jam.
2.  Sieve together the flour, bicarb and salt.  Melt the butter and add the vinegar,  Add this butter/vinegar mixture to the milk, and then fold into the egg mixture alternately with the flour.
3.  Pour into an oven proof dish, and cover tightly with foil.
4.  Bake in a hot oven (180C) for 40 minutes.
5.  Melt together ingredients for the sauce and pour over the pudding as it comes out of the oven.
6.  Serve - and yes I'm sorry but you have to - with generous splashes of cream.

~ hibiscus

Friday, June 11, 2010

soccer madness.....

                       (Image from


~desert rose~

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

New Beginnings

Image (

In the last week I have turned 30,hurriedly packed my bags for Dar, got home to bubbles and balloons, unpacked my bags in Dar, started work, packed my bags again for Arusha...and this is where I still find myself, in the shadow of Mount Meru.

To all my friends and family back home - thank you, thank you, thank you for taking care of me while I was in SA.  I never expected to find myself broke and semi-hopeless at the glorious age of 30...but there I was...the way you opened your doors to me, spoiled me with treats, fed me good food and wine, took me dancing and always the never ending support meant the world to me!

To all my friends in Dar who kept my house mould free, fed my flatmate (who possibly would have staved in my absence), supported me from afar and welcomed me back in such a wonderful can not wait for another year of African adventures with you all!

This year has been tough to say the least, but I feel older, wiser and more responsible all ready! I am truly blessed for each one of you in my life!  And once again...To new beginnings!


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

vuvuzelas in dar!!


Wooohooo for Tanzania..... and vuvuzelas!!

What fun! Tanzania played Brazil last night and we decided it's time to dress the part, get the vuvuzelas and support our team!

We all piled into a local dala dala (specially arranged for us) and set off to the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam. We all had the trademark vuvuzelas that are available all over South Africa for the upcoming FIFA World Cup, with us and we took on the job of being proper football/soccer spectators!

Our fellow supporters were very impressed by the vuvuzelas and we had great fun entertaining them with the hooting and blowing throughout the game!
But I must say we did get sideward glances every now and again.......
it was like, come on guys, SHUT UP! You are making TTOOOOOOOO much NOISE!

We had a blast and even tried to see if a vuvuzela can do the job of being a beer glass.......

down down down down

Enjoy the World Cup everybody and support your teams!!

~ desert rose (with ringing eardrums!)~

Friday, June 4, 2010

Driving in cars next to boys (and girls)

{traffic into Sandton}

So its day 5 of my first work week in Jozi. 
Sjo what a rollercoaster. 
Got the job a week ago and had a week to;

1.) Find a house

2.) Buy a car
3.) Buy furniture; everything from a bed to a bottleopener
4.) Do all the grown up stuff like get insurance
5.) Move into this house (thank you the whole family for helping AGAIN)
6.) and this is a big one find a way to get to work in the infamous Jozi traffic.

For the first few months in Tanzania I didn't drive anywhere but on the Peninsula (the bubble where all the expats live). 

Tanzanian drivers are crazy!

The dala dala's (think cross between a bus and a minibus taxi) ALWAYS have right of way and you don't stand a chance. I have seen one car literally scraping past the other one (taking some paint with it) to get somewhere. And some how none of the drivers care? Driving in Dar takes a lot of balls., a strong hooter and electric windows for the 'out the window arm' telling people that yes, you are going turn here.

Obviously it was with great trepidation that I attempted the traffic on Monday morning (after having driven the road the previous night to not get lost on the way to work!) I must be crazy but what a pleasure. People are so NICE, I mean its a 'everyone has a turn mentality' even if you are turning into a main road from a side road? So so far I want to congratulate the Jozi drivers on the mature way they handle traffic! May it last

~frozen maisha out or Jozi

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Bright and early at 3 in the morning

Never underestimate the force and will of a two-year old.
Doesn't matter if they are the most beautiful monkeys you know........ I mean look at this face - who can say no to that.

~ tired and bleary eyed desert rose ~