Family & Kids, Food

Can’t Stand Prosperity

Trader Horn spoke of a fellow down-and-out in the Joburg doss house – a traveller who “made good money but couldn’t stand prosperity”. Whenever he made a commission, he’d go and get foolishly inebriated.

My TomTom has a problem with prosperity. Jess will hoard her pocket money but Tom must spend his with urgency. But how lucky am I that his idea of a splurge is to take his Monday pocket money and walk to the shops and return with a thick steak, fresh herbs and rocket, a brick of butter and coarse salt? He’ll hurry home with his loot, cook up a storm and sit down and eat it happily. He may not finish it and he definitely won’t eat our supper after that, but he’s as happy as larry.

This time it was pasta with a freshly-made herb and tomato sauce.

– Tom and the pasta packet –


Family & Kids

Home Brew, Bru

Aitch had lots of stuff. She had two huge clear glass vases containing coffee beans and golden spirally sticks with bronze woven balls stuck into them, sticking up about a metre tall in all. I dunno.

I hadn’t looked at them for ages, and when I saw Tom up a ladder in the study I vaguely thought what the . . but I knew I’d find out sooner or later.

Home brew, bru (3)

Sooner. He had the beans between two layers of the tablecloth and was hammering them with a silver ladle, a wooden rolling pin and a cast-iron pot.

Home brew, bru (1)

Rather crude? I questioned him.

Jamie Oliver does it like this, Dad. Watch, it’ll be the best coffee you’ve ever had!

I’m looking forward to tasting it, fella (grabbing the camera to record another instalment of living with a short chef).


Postscript: Dad, it’s not so good, he says a few days later. The beans are stale.

True, fella, they’ve been out in the open air for about five years, and you really need fresh beans, sealed airtight. We’ll get some and you can do your Jamie thing with them, OK?


Birds & Birding, Travel, Travel Africa, Wildlife, Game Reserves

Culinary Tour de Force

Ndumo – Camping aloneExtract from my diary:
Tonight I decide to cook rice, lentils, green beans, potatoes and chicken washed down with a fine claret in a silver goblet. Mug. OK, it’s actually stainless steel.
If you must know, the meal was actually a KOO tin (chicken biryani), but you can read the label, all those ingredients are there. But I added the green beans. From
a separate KOO can.
And the better news: There was two whole litres in that fine claret box.



Soon after, KOO wins SA’s Best Brand Award. Coincidence? I think not.

Brand_Koo 2



Books, Family & Kids, Food

My Pasta Chef

Dragging the juicer out of the pantry, TomTom looked at me.

And now?

I want to mix some pasta dough, Dad.

That’s the juicer, boy, here’s the Kenwood chef.


Mixes the stuff, whips it up, then kneads it by hand;

Next thing he has a pasta machine clamped to the kitchen table. It has never been used before. Or not that I have seen, anyway! Rolls out the dough, puts it through the machine to cut tagliatelli or penne strips.

Tom pasta1

I need to dry these out now, Dad, where can I put them?

On the granite, fella, and we’ll cover them with a dry cloth.

All gleaned by his own self from the “Techniques” chapter in one of Aitch’s books “Pasta & Pizza Presto”. He’s going to cook it for lunch after school tomorrow, he informs me. I’ll taste it, fella.

He did, I did, It was delicious!