Home Sweet Home- Daily Prompt

Daily Prompt: Home Sweet Home

by michelle w. on October 19, 2013

When you’re away from home, what person, thing, or place do you miss the most?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us HOME.


As a pastor, I live in a house that the church provides, on our church terrain.  And I am extremely grateful, as it is a house I could never afford to buy….

The one thing I love the most about our house is the Lapa. It is an African word for a place where you relax with your family and friends. In this Lapa we Braai (hold barbeques) and make Potjie (food in a Cast iron pot). When I am home, it is our ritual to relax with family and friends on Friday evenings, with a nice fire going, and some outdoor style food. A lot of South African relaxing revolves around food…

But let me show you some photos of Home:

2013-10-19 16.17.22

The Lapa is just above the swimming pool, and in sight is also 3 large avocado trees, they are just a bit lazy in providing Avo’s… in front is a cycad,

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Above the fireplace is my old Army helmet…


The start of a Potjie…


Family times in the Lapa- that is what life is all about! This is what I miss when I am away from home!


So there you have it: a part of my home…


Daily Prompt: Standstill

by michelle w. on September 24, 2013

For a moment today, time stands still — but you can tweak one thing while it’s stopped. What do you do?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us STILLNESS.


Today is a national holiday in South Africa. It is “Heritage day” and for a good explanation why- read Tracy’s blog. Some people are quite emotional about Heritage Day. Relax Boet, I can choose how I celebrate my heritage in my own way… Me- I confess to being part of the Braai Day mentality in our country.

Today, I have read a few blogs. I have read a few hundred pages of the 3rd book of Game of Thrones, (A Storm of Swords by George R.,R. MArtin) Arya and Bran are still missing, Jon is still confused and Sansa still the most irritating character in a novel ever… Must I scroll through all 5000 pages of the 5 books to eventually get some satisfaction? ( I see my post is the exact opposite if Uncle Spike’s of today- he likes Game of Thrones and rolls up his irrigation pipes for winter… )

This afternoon I have planted 8 Green Pepper plants and 8 Aubergine plants in containers. Now I am doing the Daily Prompt, then it will be time to start preparing for the Barbeque (Braai) of tonight.

My wife and eldest son has gone to fetch Mother -in- Law and will be back tomorrow. My Daughter does not have holiday at the moment like the rest of university students… it is just me and the 2 youngest sons at home. So I do not really wish for a standstill in time today…

BUT: I would love it if it could start raining- still no clouds even in sight at the moment.  If time could stand still today, I would wish to tweak our weather- my Cape Town friends wish the rain would go away… we would love to take it off their hands…

Another piece of stillness I would wish for today, as it is a week school holiday as well, was to be in a camp site with my whole family. That would be a lovely tweak to be beside still waters… like this- at Golden Gate South Africa a few years back- this is stillness for me:


A day at the beach would also be so welcome, as the sea inspire stillness within me:

IMG_0851So as I am miles and miles away from the ocean, I will have to find stillness in another place than water.

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With a small fire in my fireplace, a few chops and a bottle of grape juice, slightly fermented in the Cape…

But then, the true stillness I would wish for tonight, was to be with YOU…


Change- Today’s Project- VW Beetle seats for my Barbeque

After 3 long days of working with tons of meat, today was finally my day off.  I should be working on 2 sermons for Sunday. But there was an idea that was building up in my dark and stormy subconscious.  And the matter is like this:

Years ago I got an extra set of seats from a friend for my VW Beetle. But they didn’t fit- the seats was from a model a year or two later than my 1968 1500 model. And the rails on these seats were more than 15 millimeters narrower than my Beetle’s. So these seats were just laying around under the awning in my backyard.

This morning, when I woke up, I just had this inexplicable urge to create something. There is lots of old scrap iron in my back yard as well, maybe I am a hoarder. So this afternoon, seeing that it is my day off, I decided to put an old plan into action.

This is the state of the old VW Beetle (Bug) seats: Image

They were just looking for the junkyard. So I started cutting some scrap metal up with my angle grinder, and this time I used the necessary eye protection!  And then I started welding. A Professional welder would weep at the quality of my welding!

ImageI also had some seat covers I bought a while ago for my Pickup. They didn’t fit so good. So I welded 2 base sets for the Beetle seats, one with little castor wheels and the other without, that I can sit on the grass next to my barbeque fire- a true South African dream- and here is the end result of this afternoon’s efforts:

Seat # 1 has little wheels to move around between the fireplace and the table…

Seat #2 does not have wheels, to sit comfortably next to my bbq fire on the lawn…

These seats were test driven tonight, better than Top Gear style! And they passed the test! What a barbeque! And the Boerewors we made yesterday tastes great! (Sausages! )

So today was creative, and now I am more than extremely tired after 3 hard days of working with meat, and today’s working with iron.  I think it is now time for bed! Enjoy your weekend!.

I indeed changed something worthless into something extremely valuable for me,.,, Change!

Daily Prompt: Freaky Friday

by michelle w. on August 16, 2013

You experience your own Freaky Friday, and switch bodies with someone you love/hate. Tell us what happens.

Photographers, artists, poets: show us CHANGE.

Smoked Rider Eisbein- sorry, not kosher or halaal

I sincerely do not wish to offend anyone, so if you observe kosher or halaal food restrictions, this would be a good time to scroll back to a previous post and enjoy that… 

Daily Prompt: You, the Sandwich

by michelle w. on July 23, 2013

If a restaurant were to name something after you, what would it be? Describe it. (Bonus points if you give us a recipe!)

Photographers, artists, poets: show us DINNER.


I am from German descent- so my surname tells me.  When a dish must be called after me, it must be something that I enjoy cooking, and eating.  So I give you- the Smoked RIder Eisbein…

If there is one meal that I really enjoy, it is a good Eisbein. With Sauerkraut of course. But not mash, please. I love potatoes in any form, except mash. Why? I do not know. So… you can serve my dish with potato wedges or chips (fries for my American friends…)

When I prepare an eisbein, or most other meat, I love to BRAAI it (barbeque for all you non Saffas!) in a Weber kettle bbq.  When we buy it, it usually is smoked already.

Otherwise- you go to the local filling station and you rub your hands horizontally in front of any petrol attendant. They will then rush behind the station, and come back with a plastic bank bag, filled wit something looking like GRASS. You proceed to smoke it. Purple Turtles start swimming in front of your eyes. When you see the pink elephant, you light the fire. By the time the orange unicorn trots by, the coals are ready. Then you are smoked, and you can bbq (BRAAI) the meat…  For all my church elders reading this- I have never tasted grass before…

We are fortunate in that Eisbein can be bought for good prices at our favourite Food Lover’s Market. (about US$ 2.95 or R29.50 per kilo). When you order that in a restaurant, you would expect to pay 4 times that price.

When you light the fire, you also prepare a coffee cup, with  woodsmoke shavings poured into water in it- we can buy shavings of oak wine barrels that has been grinded to powder, to use in our Webers.

The Eisbein gets wrapped in tin foil, and put in the middle of the Weber, with two mounts of charcoal to the sides- the indirect cooking method. Some of the wet smoking powder gets put onto the charcoal and the lid stays on.  It is very important to have a meat thermometer nearby. After about 2 1/2 hours, you inject the thermometer into the meat, and when the core temperature reaches 80 degrees Celcius, it would be cooked through. You open the tin foil and let it brown off beautifully.

Like so:

Last Friday evening on my Weber… it was GOOD!

The Germans eat Eisbein with mustard, sauerkraut and mash, and lots of beer. Good people, the Germans…  Of course, if you continued to read till here and you are halaal or kosher… you might try it with lamb shanks instead…

In South Africa we all (except the Capies) love PAP- when maize (corn for American friends) gets  milled into a powder, and this is prepared with salt and water and love. Onto this we serve a tomato and onion sauce called sheba. Some veggies are fried in olive oil, and served as a side dish. ROunded of with a good Cape wine, like a Nederburg Cabernet Sauvignon.  Or Slanghoek Camerca…  Remember the mustard!

And there you have it- smoked leg of Rider pork… (or lamb…no jihaad today…)

Another recipe that you might try for it, the German way (I just hate peas in any form…) :

Eisbein – Recipe for Simmered Pig Knuckles by Jennifer McGavin

Eisbein” is a salt-cured pig knuckle which is simmered for several hours in broth and served with sauerkraut and pureed peas. It is a specialty in Berlin and is a favorite for tourists in restaurants. Because it is simmered, it is not crispy on the outside. Eisbein can be made at home with simple ingredients and great results.

See larger image

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours

Total Time: 2 hours, 40 minutes

Yield: Variable, 1 hock per person


  • ***For Brining***
  • 120 grams (1/2 c.) of kosher salt for each liter of water
  • 12 grams (1 1/2 tsp.) pink salt or DQ Curing Salt per liter water
  • 1000 milliliters of water (about 1 quart)
  • Pig knuckles or hocks with rind or skin still attached
  • ***For Cooking***
  • Use any or all of these ingredients in the simmering broth
  • Marjoram
  • Bay leaf
  • Allspice
  • Black Pepper
  • Coriander
  • Juniper berries
  • Garlic cloves
  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • Sugar


Curing the Pork

If you can find fresh pig’s knuckles you will want to cure them before eating. Salt curing them infuses the pork with salt and removes some of the water, concentrating the flavor of the meat. Try a local grocery store with on site butcher services or an ethnic grocery store and order ahead.

If you buy salt cured hocks or knuckles, skip ahead to the next section on cooking them.

To make the brine, use a 12% salt solution by weight. Dissolve 120 grams of kosher salt and 1.2 grams of pink salt per liter of water. Make enough to cover all your pork and chill the water thoroughly before continuing.

Use a non-reactive container to brine (cure) the pork. Plastic, including plastic zip lock bags will work as will any other glass or enamel pans. Place the pork in the container and add the brine to cover. Refrigerate.

Leave the pork in the brine 1 – 5 days in the refrigerator. The longer it sits in the brine, the saltier it will be. If it is in bags, turn over once or twice a day to redistribute the brine.

Cooking the Eisbein

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Rinse the cured pork under running water and place in the boiling water. Bring it back to a boil, remove the scum from the surface, and turn the heat to low.

Add the spices and vegetables for flavor. You can add about one teaspoon of each of the spices, one or two onions or carrots and 2 teaspoons of sugar per liter/quart of cooking water. You will not usually need salt, since the pork will salt the water.

Simmer the pork for 2 to 3 hours. When the rind starts separating from the meat, the pork knuckle is done.

You may choose to crisp the skin (rind) by placing under the broiler for 20 minutes or so, but don’t cook it too long or the skin will be too tough to chew.

A winter evening in the South African Bush…

When I see friends in the northern hemisphere posting in winter time, I see snow and extreme weather. No one dare to be outside.

So let me share some of the South African experience. It was the winter solstice last week. It is supposed to be cold…

Yesterday the day turned at 34 degrees Celsius…   I am so happy that some of my Cape Town friends stayed over last night.  Our European friends would not understand. I live on a rather huge piece of land, with many trees. These trees drop branches or get pruned every now and then.  What happens to the dead branches? Image

I have this stainless steel drum from our very first washing machine- a Speedqueen toploader. And it is making such a wonderful heater in winter… Remember our context- This Is Africa!  We had these two lovely fires going last night, the upper one to keep us warm. And the second- we had a fantastic BRAAI (barbeque), one of South Africa’s favourite ways of cooking!


Having a Braai, with some excellent export quality KWV wine (Merlot) and good friends sitting around the fireside… MAN, it is hard living in Africa… Not!

Tomorrow President Barack Obama is visiting our country- he will hear sad stories from the ANC– but just look at the parking lot… not all South Africans are poor anymore…  A better life for all politicians… the ANC slogan…

Our prayers are still with Nelson Mandela, but we fear the end is nigh…

The Big Bang theory proved to be… (Daily Prompt)

Daily Prompt: Ripped Into the Headline

by michelle w. on June 10, 2013

Write about something that happened over the weekend as thought it’s the top story on your local paper.

Photographers, artists, poets show us something from your WEEKEND.


From our correspondent in The Bushveld Times

This Friday evening, the Big Bang Theory proved to be:

  •  True-   ImageThe Rider family was having their usual Friday evening Braai (Barbeque for non- South Africans). As they also wanted to watch a very special episode of Australian Masterchef, Season 3 (2011- only now reached South Africa), they decided to do things a little bit differently. They took the cars from out of the carport, and dragged their Weber Kettle BBQ there, to also have a view of the telly. Some nice Bushveld firewood were stacked and lighted with the gas pipe as seen in the photo, by their eldest son. He lit the fire, and then wandered off to do something else (like having a small crash with his dad’s pick-up…) The fire got bigger and bigger, and The Rider thought his trustworthy son was busy overseeing it. The family first heard a soft explosion. The gaspipe got soft in the heat, and the lighting device popped out of the gaspipe. Gas now flowed freely out of the pipe, ever closer to the open flames. It was a 9 kg LPG bottle, so the Rider feared for his family’s safety, sitting very close to the leaking gas bottle. He ran outside, and dived to grab the gas bottle and bring it to safety away from the flames. He intended to close the valve while doing so, but he was too late… the flames reached the spewing gas, and the bottle ignited in his face. Mr Rider is now through the river Jordan, playing harp in G mineur on a cloud above Clifton Beach. His family escaped unhurt but badly shaken. The church also needs to build a new house for the new pastor who will have to be called soon…  Both cars and both motorcycles also exploded in the Big Bang,  and is currently residing in the local junkyard…
  • Plausible–  As the Rider travelled through the air, he managed to reach the LPG Bottle in time. It did caught alight, but he managed to close the valve. In the process he got badly burned, and is recovering in the local hospital. Fortunately his family escaped unharmed, and no property was damaged.  The community wishes him a speedy recovery, and hope he gets some sense in his foggy brain…
  • False-  The Rider had one of the biggest frights of his life. He knew that his family was sitting in the television room just 3 meters away from the leaking gas bottle. When he heard the POP he immediately knew what happened. He jumped outside, grabbed the LPG bottle and ran a safe distance while frantically closing the valve of the bottle.  In this instance he was protected by grace, and nothing happened, except having a huge scare, a sore knee and his two new Cat boots suffering from scratch marks he picked up in the dive for the bottle. Things could have gone badly wrong, but it did not. It was quite a few hours later that the adrenaline left his body and the shaking started when thinking what could have been…

Well, I am writing this from home. So the Big Bang Theory, in this instance, proved to be _______________

Lessons to muleheaded self:

  • get a gasflow regulator on that bloody LPG Bottle.
  •  do not trust even a 17 year old to get your bbq fire lighted, do it yourself…
  •  tape the telly and enjoy a Friday evening without any other distractions when you BRAAI…
  •  Remember to black sam the oldest for the bump on the front fender of my bakkie… (Only Afrikaans people will get that one- sorry…)