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Month: March 2015

Hotter than hell – Myths and facts about hot flashes

Posted in Health, and Women's issues

volcanoIn one scene half-way through the last season of “House of Cards”, Claire (brilliantly played by Robin Wright) is seen pausing pensively in the dim light of an open fridge. When her husband Francis (Kevin Spacey), walks in and asks her what she is doing, she replies “I was feeling hot. It will pass.” Claire was actually pondering bigger problems than menopause but I found interesting, and a bit refreshing, that to deflect attention from her state of mind, the writers chose to briefly introduce hot flashes.

Things we love….#44

Posted in Things We Love

Life is in the details. Have you ever wondered how to chop an onion perfectly? Maybe not but I am going to have Jeremy Fox show you anyway. Dicing neatly is one of the first lessons for any professional cook – most home cooks don’t really need to bother – the onion gets cooked anyway, right? – but it’s a nice trick to know, especially if a compulsion towards perfection runs in your genes.
Jeremy Fox was the chef behind the best vegetables restaurant in the country, Ubuntu in Napa Valley, now closed. Luckily for me, Jeremy now practices his perfect dicing at Rustic Canyon in Santa Monica.

Cucumber – two cool ways.

Posted in Food, and Food & Entertaining

My pall Willie Engelbrecht flying his way up the side of a mountain during the Two Oceans Ultra-Marathon
My pal Willie Engelbrecht flying his way up the side of a mountain during the Two Oceans Ultra-Marathon

Every year I scan the horizon for the Two Oceans Marathon. As it sails into view and sends thousands of runners on a 56km/ 35-mile ultra-scurry around the Cape Peninsula – I know it is bringing new weather with it. The race happens over the Easter weekend, winter starts on Easter Monday.

Cape Town winters can be fierce beasts – weeks of the sweeping, howling rain that comes straight off the sea, bangs into a mountain, is rebuffed, regroups and swats at the peninsula again. It can rain for days, weeks – the clouds completely obscuring the scenery. Land here during one of those storms and you’d swear there were no mountains. Wake the next morning and you’re sure someone moved you overnight. But Cape Town winters can also be gentle – April and May have some of the best days of summer. The ideal time to head down to our beaches – no wind, no traffic and no tourist police: so our dogs can gambol and sniff while we eat non-crunch picnics.

When heartache strikes, cookies call

Posted in Baking, and Food & Entertaining

Pistachio raspberry cookiesThis started as a happy post about cookies. Cookies that found their way to C&S in a serendipitous manner. The day after I experimented with them, took photos and ate enough to have them morph into a brick in my stomach, while getting ready to write the happy story on why I was sharing this particular recipe, the unexpected news reached me, and the cookie brick in my stomach was replaced by hollowness and panic.

Life in tree fall.

Posted in Life & Love

FullSizeRender 7On Sunday night at midnight, our tree broke. At least a century old and over 150 feet high, it simply tore at a massive joint and collapsed … falling with a muted scream and blue explosions – taking down the power lines and shorting out our electric fence. Its branches touched my bedroom windows, shocking Jack and me from sleep.

That tree has history for me … the first day I saw it was when sofabrother was looking for somewhere to live in CT. I was still in New York and had interrupted a return flight home from Sydney to lend a hand. At the time I was trying to make sense of a career that felt like it was disintegrating and he was starting anew after 18 years in London. As we pulled up, there it was – this big, bright green reassuring presence, gently leaning over the road, softening down the sounds of the trains that pass every half an hour. We knew immediately the house was right. And the tree has watched over us for almost a decade. Always changing but always there.

Taking a vacation from myself

Posted in Life & Love

Rainbow by house“I wish I could do that, sometimes. Escape myself” says President Francis Underwood, in a dark and intimate moment of Season 3 of House of Cards.
I can relate, Mr. President. Not that I have many complaints about my life – as lives go, mine is pretty pretty pretty good (to borrow from another tv icon, Larry David). Blame it on nature coming alive at this time of the year, but, in a familiar rite of spring, I find myself wishing I could take a vacation from being me, from the roles I inhabit day in and day out: wife, friend, step-mother, caretaker, middle-aged woman, chef, dog-walker and, yes, even blogger.

The Perfect Peanut Butter Cookie … for HDW.

Posted in Food & Entertaining

IMG_0895My rather fabulous niece Hannah Darcey tried to make peanut butter cookies the other day. She got the recipe from her pal Taya, having tasted them at T’s house. We were having a big get-together at our place to celebrate the arrival of Granny Sally, Margo, Wendy and James (the kids’ Dad’s family) who are over from the UK on holiday. Her other Granny (sofamom) was bringing ice-cream, cones and crushed peppermint crisps to make ice-cream cones, and HD (who loves peanut butter) thought her biscuits would be a good add.

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