A trio of summer spreads – hummus, tzatziki, tuna pâté

Greetings and Happy New Year everyone! I have had a lovely break, albeit a busy one packed with get togethers with family and friends, bits of admin that we did not get to during the year and plenty of feasting. We even managed to end off with a few days away in beautiful Franschhoek – just my little family, which was a perfect way to end off a busy holiday. It almost made up for the administrative portion of the holiday – because nothing screams “holiday fun” more than having to queue for five hours to renew your car licence and another eight hours for passports! Hey ho.

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Date and nut balls (with video)

Date balls for snacking.

Warning: parental ramblings ahead! I am sure parents everywhere are breathing a collective sigh of relief as school resumes for the third term. If I am honest I actually quite enjoyed the 3 week break from lunchboxes, school runs and most of all the dreaded “lurgies” that always make their way home from the playground. Yes, the holidays can push any parent’s patience to the limit at times, but all too often I am reminded of how quickly time goes and that this chapter in our family journey is really so fleeting and special. Even when I am knee deep in stuffed toys, picking tiny bits of muesli off the soles of my feet (did I not just sweep that floor 5 minutes ago?!?) and answering the same question for the tenth time whilst pureeing a chicken and veggie concoction for the babe. All to the soundtrack of the washing machine and Disney radio. Special times, chaos and all!

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Cheese and rosemary stars

 
As we hurtle towards Christmas I am once again left wondering where the time has gone! I always love spending time in my kitchen at this time of the year – preparing food for friends or edible gifts for the family. This time last year I was preparing to host a big family Christmas feast, but this year will be a lot more low-key.

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In my kitchen … Christmas 2013

Tarte au chocolat
This post, my first for 2014 is a little indulgent, but hey ho, it is holiday season and I thought it would be fun to do a round up of some of the things I have been cooking over Christmas. Just in case you haven’t seen enough food over the last week or so!

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Sugar and spice Christmas pecans

 
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… the tree is up, the presents are wrapped, the Christmas album has been loaded onto the iPod (a necessity) and I have a stash of these in the cupboard – crunchy, candied Christmas pecans!

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Cheese croquettes

Bruges, Belgium

 

You may be wondering why I have included one of my travel photographs at the top of this post. I have not had much opportunity to hop abroad since moving back to S.A. but I love reminiscing about the incredible cities I have been lucky enough to visit over the years. So I have decided to combine two of my favourite pastimes – food and travel – and put together a collection of recipes inspired by those special places. Just to tide me over until the next trip you see.  (These recipes will be hiding under the “Traveling Foodie” tag.)

 

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