May 30, 2011

Yummy *Bran Muffins*

For something really yummy (and guilt free!) try these Bran Muffins:

Makes 12 muffins

1/4 cup dark brown sugar (or honey)
1 1/2 cups oat bran (Snowflake "Digestive Bran" works well) 
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (Snowflake "Nutty Wheat" works well)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs (or 4 egg whites)
1 1/2 cups chilled applesauce
5 tablespoons fat free vanilla yogurt (or vegetable oil)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 cup raisins (or anything else you would like to add)

Step 1: preheat oven to 205 degrees C. Line or spray muffin tins, including the top of the pan, with cooking spray.

Step 2: In a mixing bowl, add the brown sugar, oat bran, and cinnamon. Sift in the flour, baking powder, soda, salt & raisins.

Step 3: In a separate mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, chilled applesauce, yogurt, and vanilla. Add this wet mixture to the dry ingredients. Mix until everything is moistened. Use as few strokes as possible (lumps are okay). Spoon batter into the prepared muffin cups, each 2/3 full. Let stand 10 minutes (important for softening the oat bran).

Step 4: Bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean..and enjoy!

Thanks to Versagrain for the recipe!

May 28, 2011

Renewing your *Drivers License* in SA

Even the thought of having to renew my drivers was enough to give me a headache. I mean, you couldn't pay me enough to redo it (what with the hassle of having to make a booking, failing and having to fork out more money for another test date, the stress of having to do an incline start while not putting the car in gear, and of course all the money that went into lessons) let's just say I would rather do without a car than have to do the test again today, I'm sure you feel the same :)

So, when I was pulled over the other day for a routine check (I was not speeding however hard you find that to believe!) I was politely informed that my drivers would expire in the next few months. Ok, so I'll just head to a station and get it renewed, easy peasy right?? Wrong.

30 minutes standing in a queue of 20 people, with one person on duty while everyone is on tea break is not my idea of a nice day out. So, to make things easier for you, I've got all the info on what you need right here:

You will need:
  • green application form (you get this at the driving license centre...fill in parts A & D)
  • your current driving license
  • your ID book
  • photocopy of your current license (Someone at the centre made a copy for me. I'm not sure why you need this but take one just incase)
  • two black and white ID photographs (they seem to have a very snazzy new system in place and only require 1 photo, but take 2 as you never know!)
  • R220 (you can pay by cash or credit/debit card at most places, but have the cash on hand just in case)
Before your licence can be renewed, you will need to have your fingerprints taken and you will have to undergo an eye test. If your sight has deteriorated since your licence was issued, new restrictions may be attached to your licence. For example, you may be required to wear glasses when driving. Should you fail the eye test completely, your driving licence will not be renewed.

The eye test took me bout 30 seconds, and fingerprints about 1 minute. BUT I did go to a very small centre (I would definitely recommend in Jo'burg is Bedfordview, the service was 100 times better than Edenvale and I was in and out in 15 minutes...truth!)

I was then told it would take about 4 weeks for my new, renewed license to arrive. 

Driving License Testing Stations:
click here for Cape Town
click here for Johannesburg 
click here for a more comprehensive, all over South Africa directory of testing stations

Hope you find that helpful, and good luck :)

May 22, 2011


"It began with a fateful encounter in the early 1990s, when two students in Vienna, Austria, stumbled upon the Lomo Kompakt Automat – a small, enigmatic Russian camera. Mindlessly taking shots from the hip, and sometimes looking through the viewfinder, they were astounded with the mindblowing photos that it produced – the colours were vibrant, with deep saturation and vignettes that framed the shot – it was nothing like they had seen before! Upon returning home, friends wanted their own Lomo LC-A, igniting a new style of artistic experimental photography that we now know as Lomography!" Lomography

If you still have no idea what the title of this post means, check these out:

All of the above pictures were taken with this little guy...
I bought this for Farmboy in South Korea where these camera's are a whole lot cheaper than here in South Africa. BUT if you can afford to spend R600 on a new toy, you won't be disappointed! Click here for the Exposure online store where you can get your hands on everything Lomo. 
The actual Exposure store is located in Cape Town at the Old Biscuit Mill: 375 Albert Road, Woodstock.

May 19, 2011

Me Tarzan, you eat???

For something a little different, why not try out this very strange but uber yummy way to roast lamb. It's called a Tarzan Roast, you'll see why :)

Thanks a whole bunch to Justin Bonello from CookedinAfrica for this recipe, we just added/took away one or two things here and there.

*sorry for any vegetarians or vegans out there!*

about a 2 ½ kg fatty leg of lamb, with the shank intact – very important (which feeds +-10 people)
a sprig of rosemary
10-15 cloves of garlic, peeled and cut in half
3-4 bunches of spring onions
a handful of dried oregano
2 onions, sliced
the juice of 2 to 3 lemons
**optional: veggies to roast**


a baking tray
about half a metre of galvanised wire
2-3 metres of rope
a forked stick
a basting brush
a sharp knife
a small stool
a wheelbarrow
orange wood – any hard fruit wood will do, but do not use ordinary firewood
an accessible branch on a tree that is not too close to your house (we used a hook on the patio but it did leave lovely black marks on the roof)

Cooking Instructions:

1. Lay the leg of lamb on its side in the baking tray and, using a small sharp knife, cut slits 3-5 cm deep at a 45 degree angle all over the lamb. Force rosemary sprigs and garlic slivers into the slits, then force the spring onions in as well – the green leaves will jut out, a bit like a porcupine :)

2. Mix together the oregano, the onions and the juice from the lemons and pour this all over the leg of lamb. Leave to marinate while you make the fire.
The meat actually cooks by radiated heat and is gently smoked at the same time. I usually use orange or apple wood because of their aromatic properties and I make the fire in a wheelbarrow. This is useful because the cooking time is somewhere between 4 and 6 hours, and during that period of time Mother Nature could blow hot and cold and change her tune a number of times. But with a wheelbarrow you can adjust the position of the fire and take full advantage of the prevailing wind CookedInAfrica

First, slip the wire through the shank and twist it so there’s no chance of the meat falling into the fire. Attach the wire to the rope with a slipknot (we used a very large metal hook attached to some more wire...the possibilities to hang this thing are endless...get creative!)
3. Once the leg is attached to the wire and the rope you need to find a nice strong branch in a tall tree from which to hang your meat. (Be sure that it’s far enough away from your house and any dry tinder. You don’t want to end up chasing a runaway fire.) Balance the baking tray with the left over marinade on a stool and position this directly under the joint. Wheel the fire in next to the stool and place it so that the prevailing wind is blowing towards the lamb. You should be able to hold your hand between the fire and meat for just a few seconds without burning it. If it’s not hot enough chuck a couple of extra logs on the fire to really get the heat going.  
For the next 4 to 6 hours, you need to keep basting the lamb with marinade and the fatty juices that drip into the tray. Every 10 to 15 minutes turn the meat about 45 degrees and secure its position with the forked stick.
4. Get yourself comfy, with a good book and a glass of wine. (Don't forget some roast veggies:

Start preparing at about the 3-hour mark. Chop all the veggies into pieces about the same size so that they will all be ready at the same time. Use:

baby potatoes
sprigs of rosemary
olive oil

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Blanch the various vegetable types separately in boiling salted water for 10 minutes. Place on a baking tray, add the rosemary and drizzle with olive oil. Slow roast for between 40 minutes and 1 hour, turning occasionally. Once they’re cooked, reduce the heat of the oven to its lowest setting to keep them warm.
While the roast is resting make a sauce by pouring all the drippings and scraps of lamb in the baking tray into a pan, mix a teaspoon of cornflour in a cup of milk and add this to the pan. Keep stirring on low heat for between 5 to 10 minutes until the sauce begins to thicken. To serve, place vegetables and slivers of roast lamb on a platter and drizzle the sauce over the meat).

5. And there you have it. Your very own Tarzan Roast. Now just get yourself  a nice group of people to share it with :)

Municipal Elections 2011

What not to do:

Wake up at 6:30 and think about maybe getting to the voting stations early for this little baby:

Then go back to sleep till 8:30 and have to deal with this:

All for the sake of checking you get one of these:

To put your mark on this:

*and not forgetting to check that one of these was on the back*

My advice to you would be to get there MUCH later in the day after having a lovely long relax in bed and a nice breakfast with your family :)

For some great tweets (*and lots of other cool stuff!*) about the Elections, check out my awesome friend's blog by clicking here...and there you have it. Another bout of elections done and dusted, and now we wait and see...

May 17, 2011

2011 South African **Voting Day**

So, Wednesday the 18th May is not a Public holiday here in South Africa for free. It's our Municipal Elections, so we won't be trying to shake up good old Zuma's rule just yet. So here is some helpful info to keep you clued up...In case you've forgotten who is running, click here
To check your voting status, find out where your voting station is and who your candidates are, just enter your ID number in the box by clicking here. Or you can do the following:
  • SMS your ID Number to 32810 (R1.00 per SMS sent or received) OR
  • Call toll-free (from a landline)  0800 11 8000 here for an interactive map to help you find out exactly how to find your voting station, cool hey!

For any other info, check out this site :)

Cute take on the recent **Royal Wedding**

A friend of a friend posted this on her facebook profile, thought it was just too cute to keep to myself :)

May 4, 2011

Playing up your *eye's*

Found this article and thought i'd share it with you :) The following colours will help to make your eyes stand out:

For Blue Eyes:
Shades of brown, camel, and taupe will help blue eyes appear even bluer. The darker the liner, the more your blue eyes will pop, like with dark browns, blacks and charcoal. If you choose a green liner, choose a darker green like dark golden green or forest green. Too light of a green color will not accentuate blue eyes, but make your eyes fade. Also avoid blue liner unless it is super dark navy blue.

For Brown Eyes:
Shades of slate blue, gray, and plum will help brown eyes stand out. Brown eye girls are very lucky. Brown is a neutral color. Thus meaning almost any makeup shade look great on brown eyes.  Choose "warm" toners like golden browns, deep red plums, Bronze to make eyes look warmer and softer. Choose "cool" tones like black, deep navy blue, cool dark browns, dark metal grays to make your brown eyes look cooler, and sometimes darker. Avoid light colored liners like light pinks and light purples. 

For Green Eyes:
Shades in Plums, purples, dark gray, blacks and charcoals, all shades of brown and brownish-pink will help green eyes look even greener. The darker the liner, the more your green eyes will pop, like with deep purples, dark browns, blacks and charcoal. Choose "warm" toners like browns, golden browns, red plums to make eyes look greener and lighter. Choose "cool" tones like deep navy blue, blue purples, deep teal to make your green eyes look bluer.  Avoid light colored liners like light teal, light blues if your green eyes are lighter and darker shades if your eyes are darker green. 

Thanks to Style101 for the great tips!

May 3, 2011

London in a Day...

Being the self elected South African representative at the Royal Wedding left me with a few days to myself. And what did I get up to I hear you ask?? Well, I decided to explore some of the sights of good old London town! With temperatures peaking in the high twenties, it was a lovely sunny Saturday here in the UK.

Meeting up with a good varsity friend led to a very late night of catching up on the latest scandal, as well as getting the 411 on each others plans and dreams for the future. As you may well be aware, late nights are not conducive to early mornings and these 2 sleepy Saffa's (nickname given to South Africans living/traveling abroad) managed to crawl out of bed and hit the high streets of London before it got too chaotic.

Here are some great places to see if you only have a few days to spare and want to get the most out of your trip:

1. Portobello Market
antiques, food stalls and other odds and ends

Directions: By tube: Notinghill Gate, then follow signs for the market. 
By Bus: 7, 12, 23, 27, 28, 31, 52, 70 & 328, the driver should let you know the right stop to take.
Opening Times: 
Mon-Wed & Fri: 8:00am- 6.30pm
Thu is a half day closing at 1.00pm
Sat 8:00am- 6:30pm 

2. Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace has served as the official London residence of Britain's sovereigns since 1837 and today is the administrative headquarters of the Monarch.
Just for just's you have to check this place out (you might even be lucky enough to see the 'changing of the guards')

By Tube: Green Park Station is to the North, Victoria & St James Park are to the South and Hyde Park Corner is to the West. You can get to the palace from wither of these stations.\
Buses:  2B, 3, 9, 14, 16, 19,, 22, 25, 30, 36, 38, 52, 73, 74, 82, 137, 509, 510
Changing of the Guard: 11:30 May through August. September to April, the frequency changes to every other day.

3. St James Park
St James's Park is the oldest Royal Park and is surrounded by St James's Palace, Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament.
The park is one of the prettiest in London with spectacular flower beds, a lake with two islands and fountains. 

By Tube: 
St James's Park - 

The Park is also easily accessible from Charing Cross Station, Westminster, Green Park, & Victoria
By Bus: 3, 11, 12, 24, 29, 53, 77A, 88, 91, 148, 159, 211, 453

5. Big Ben & the  London Eye 

After walking through St James Park, just follow the crowds and soon you'll find yourself staring up at Big Ben :)

By Tube: Westminster

Once you've seen Big Ben, it will be hard to miss the London Eye. It's  located within easy walking distance from several London Underground stations: Waterloo, Embankment, Charing Cross and Westminster. 

Waterloo is the closest tube station to the London Eye and  is about five minutes walking distance. Exit the station following signs for the South Bank.

Embankment and Charing Cross stations are close together on the north side of the River Thames. Both tube stations are a ten-fifteen minute walk to reach the London Eye. From the station, cross over Hungerford Bridge.
Westminster tube station is the closest station to Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. From Westminster tube station, take exit one and follow signs for Westminster pier.

Tickets: Standard ticket prices for the London Eye are about 17GBP 

Opening Times: 
  • January - March: daily 10.00am - 8.30pm
  • April to June: daily 10.00am - 9.00pm
  • July and August: daily 10.00am - 9.30pm
  • September to December: daily 10.00am - 8.30pm

So there you go! Just a short review of some great touristy places to see while you're in London. But remember, its a *HuGe* place, so make sure you get yourself an underground map, and do lots of research on other places you want to check out.

P.S. A few other places are Hamley's (the biggest toy shop in the world-Regent Street, Piccadilly Circus & Oxford Circus Tube Stations) and Oxford Street for all of its big brand stores (Oxford Circus Tube Station).