Mediterranean Fowl Play

I have entered an exciting competition, which I am hoping everyone will vote for!

Pick ‘n Pay and various sponsors have launched a food photography and blogging competition, which requires participants to make a meal either from the Fresh Living magazine or the Pick ‘n Pay website.

I have chosen the “Between the Slices” category, as my passion is in making delicious sandwiches and I thought this would be a great platform to showcase a little bit of that.

The grand prize is a spectacular kitchen makeover from Bamboo Warehouse and DNG interiors, as well as a chance for my recipe and photograph to be featured in Fresh Living and Kook en Kuier magazines.

One of the rules of the competition is that you HAVE to use the main ingredient from each category, and for my choice it was I&J Crumbed Chicken Fillets.

 

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I used the Ultimate Chicken Burger recipe from the Pick ‘n Pay website as a basis for my burger, but I only used it as a guideline. My recipe is as follows:

 

Ingredients

2x I&J frozen crumbed chicken burgers

1x large brown braai mushroom

2x Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1x seeded bun

1x Tbsp garlic mayonnaise

3 cocktail tomatoes, sliced

3 cucumber ribbons

pickled red onion (mine was homemade)

a handful of fresh rocket

salt and pepper

Ina Paarman’s Garlic and Herbs

a quarter round of feta cheese

 

Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius and prepare a baking sheet with Spray and Cook. Place the frozen chicken fillets and mushroom on the baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, and season with herbs and salt and pepper.

When the oven is ready, place the baking sheet in the middle shelf and bake according to time on the I&J packaging. While the fillets are baking, split the bun and toast each side lightly. Generously salt the tomato slices and allow to rest.

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Spread the garlic mayo on the bottom half of the bun and layer the rocket, cucumber and pickled red onion. Place the mushroom on top, and half the fillets and layer it on top of the mushrooms. Drain the liquid from the tomatoes and arrange on top of the fillets, with the crumbled feta cheese to finish.

Serve with hot potato chips, condiments and a cold beverage.

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Please vote for my picture at http://www.instacook.co.za/?contestants=mediterranean-fowl-play, and please share on all social networks. Voting closes 28 February 2015.

You can also find me on twitter and Instagram @booksbakesbio. Please follow and share.

 

Thank you ❤

“Please tell me why the fuck Beyonce is influential?”

The title of this post is a direct quote from a twitter user who tweeted this after it was announced that Beyonce is featured on TIME magazine’s cover as one of the most influential people of 2014.

As an avid Beyonce fan (a stan even), my immediate response was outrage. Well, not outrage. Rather disbelief. If you are a human being who has a television or access to the internet or to any source of media outlet, you know who Beyonce is. Whether you are a fan or not, whether or not you approve of what she does or who she is, you cannot argue that Beyonce Knowles is NOT influential.

If, like me, you have been a fan since her Destiny’s Child days of sultry R&B and verbose pop songs and ridiculous outfits, you have seen Beyonce transition from a talented teenage pop star to one of the most powerful women in the music industry.

However, after thinking about the question, I realize that it’s a valid one. Influential  to whom, exactly?

She influences fashion; she is one of the best dressed women in the public eye.  Her Mrs Carter World Tour saw costume design by Versace and Tom Ford and Jean-Paul Gaultlier, among others. I don’t know much about designers, but those who do, those who care, know that this is a pretty big deal. From the Mrs Carter tour costumes, people draw inspiration, clothing lines are influenced, it’s that exact thing that Miranda Priestly was talking about in The Devil Wears Prada. Yes, your top from Mr. Price and your fully sequinned blazer from Forever New may have its roots in a Beyonce costume.

Celebrities fangirl/stan for Beyonce. U.S. President Barack Obama stans for Bey. That is all.

With the recent release of her non-hyped up, non advertised, self-titled visual album, Beyonce Knowles launched the world into a frenzy. She nearly broke the Internet. After casually releasing her album on 13 December 2013, she casually posted pictures of herself baking vegan cupcakes on Instagram. Ok Beyonce. Ok. (Check the user comments. People are hilarious)

I got iTunes on my Windows PC so that I could buy this album. This album is for the grown Beyonce fan. For those of us who watched her evolve from Destiny’s Child, to falling Dangerously in Love with Mr Carter, to becoming Sasha Fierce, this album opened up a whole new dialogue for women. For men, too. For the music industry. For marketing strategies.

She opened up a new way of looking at feminism. She opened up a dialogue about owning your sexuality, being a mother, women’s rights. How to balance a career and a family while maintaining privacy in the very public eye. The internet exploded with think pieces analyzing each song off this album, relating back to past albums and songs.  There’s the interlude on ***Flawless, by Nigerian-born writer and feminist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The song excerpts the author’s TED Talk on feminism:

We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller
We say to girls: “You can have ambition, but not too much
You should aim to be successful, but not too successful
Otherwise, you will threaten the man.”
Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage
I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is most important
Now, marriage can be a source of joy and low and mutual support
But why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same?
We raise girls to see each other as competitors
Not for jobs or for accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing
But for the attention of men
We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way boys are
Feminist: a person who believes in the social,
Political, and economic equality of the sexes

Beyonce declares herself as a feminist on this album. We are in a time when many are reluctant to claim the title ‘feminist’. I was one of those people. Maybe she is making the statement that maybe women really can have it all? My point is, when Beyonce sings, a whole generation listens.

She influences the way we speak or use language. I am a firm believer in the power of words. ‘Bootylicious’ is an acceptable word to use and has been inducted into the Oxford Dictionary. We know what a Bugaboo is, we know when we need a Soldier (Thanks Kelly and Michelle), we know what it means when we say ‘to the left’ twice in succession. We know that if he liked it, he should have put a ring on it. We know that 1+1=3. When we’re fresh from a heartbreak, we know that some day he’ll wish he were a better man. We know who runs the world (Oprah and Beyonce. Waaah.).

Flawless, Serfbort, Cigars on Ice, Monica Lewinskyed, Dranking Watermelon, I woke up like dis. We know that all the fives have to be quiet when a ten is talking (thanks Drake). THIS IS JUST FROM ONE ALBUM.

Which brings me to her talent. Beyonce is an entertainer. Some people argue that you don’t have to wear skimpy outfits and sing provocative lyrics if your’re talented. Your talent will speak for itself. People argue that this is no type of role model for young girls. By all means, monitor what your children are listening to/watching. That’s YOUR responsibility toward your child.

Bey has redefined the definition of entertainment. I won’t go to a Beyonce concert to watch Beyonce sing. I will go to a Beyonce concert to watch Beyonce PERFORM. She is genuinely talented. She is a legit singer who has honed her talent, along with her work ethic into something phenomenal. No entertainer on this planet works as hard or is as huge as Beyonce is at this point in time.

Whether you are a fan or not, whether or not you believe or approve of what she’s saying, there is no argument that Beyonce Giselle Knowles belongs on that list. We live in a celebrity culture. That’s the reality of the world. As the biggest pop star in the world, what Beyonce says, does, sings about or wears has an impact.

That’s why the fuck Beyonce is influential.

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Planting Olive Trees

When you plant an Olive Tree

don’t sing to it,

don’t sing songs of stars and moons

and distant galaxies, don’t lean

into its leafy ears and whisper

honey words, don’t even mouth

‘I love you’, don’t recite poems

of open valleys and journeys

don’t talk.

When you plant an Olive Tree

plant it away from other trees

and then: don’t visit it,

don’t entwine your arms through

its branches, don’t place your

face against its patterned bark

or reach out your tongue and taste,

don’t rub your back against its trunk

don’t stroke it.

When you plant an Olive Tree

don’t water it or shower it

with drops of dew, don’t sprinkle

it with the watering can of your

love, don’t pray for rain,

don’t snake a hosepipe

over sheer mountains or

climb treacherous rock

to bring relief

When you plant an Olive Tree

find the stoniest ground, don’t

prepare the planting with

fertilizer and soft soil, don’t mulch,

let its roots feel the harsh bite

of the earth, let it scrape

against jagged rocks, don’t dust

rose petals on fresh white linen

before you bed it down.

Let it lie in sharp gravel.

When you plant an Olive Tree

don’t cover it,

let it bend in the wind,

let its leaves crackle in the sun,

don’t build a boma of comfort,

don’t try and protect it with

your manly intentions,

let it struggle to find its own shade

let it shrivel.

Then it will bear fruit

for you.

I am not

an Olive Tree.

-Kerry Hammerton from These Are the Lies I Told You.

Kerry Hammerton is a poet, writer and alternative health practitioner. These are the lies I told you is her first poetry collection.

I burned down the spinster club

Ugh guys, listen, there are only so many times you can complain about being single until you start to annoy even yourself.

UNIVERSE I AM READY TO BE IN LOVE.

I have burned down the spinster club and revoked all memberships. Let’s not be sad whiny losers, ok? There is this book by Iyanla Vanzant called In the Meantime and basically it’s about how to be patient while waiting for love and how to make yourself a better person and it’s very deep and stuff and I have nothing against any of those things but I am not here to be deep and stuff so here is a list of things to do (and some things to remember) while you’re single:

1. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING. ARE YOU READY?

If you have someone who tells you they love you at least once a day, hell, once every few days, you are lucky. If it’s your best friend, your parents, your cat’s imaginary whispers or your dog who is happy to see you, remember that you are extremely lucky and some people really are all alone. The world is not kind to everyone. Be grateful.

2. Find someone to have a crush on and then follow these simple steps by the legendary Anja van der Spuy. It doesn’t even have to be a real person. I know someone who loved Mufasa from The Lion King for a very long time.

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Look at that handsome face. That beard. So regal, so majestic.

3. Collect as much Tupperware, kitchen items and linen as you can. Even if you’re not domesticated, this is a good idea. One day, you’ll want to move out of your parents’ house or get married and move out and then you’ll have an amazing amount of things to take with you but ALSO for your house-warming registry (this should be a thing, I’m making it a thing right now) or wedding registry you can request ridiculous things like Windsor cake forks and bamboo salt pots and an avocado slicer and salt and pepper shakers that hug each other and your rich friends can buy you a Kenwood chef.

4. Find a hobby. YOU CAN DO WHATEVER YOU LIKE. Whether it is sand boarding, helping out at an orphanage/old age home/charity over weekends, helping kids to learn how to read, bedazzling things, scrap-booking, learning how to decorate cakes, learning how to surf, learning how to use power tools, spending time with your loved ones, going to a spa every weekend, WHATEVER…do it for you. You deserve it.

5. Be ridiculous. We all have that one friend who likes themes. His/her birthday party is always themed. You feel like an idiot and hate costume parties but you do it anyway because you love your friend. Take funny pictures and actually post them on ALL YOUR SOCIAL NETWORKS, print some of them and frame them. Life is too short to take yourself seriously all the time. When you go out to events, dress up. Movie premiers? Please dress according to the theme of the film you’re going to see. Going to high tea? Best believe you’re wearing your pearls today.

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6. Learn to take good care of yourself. You won’t be young forever. Invest in a good skin regiment. When you’re 40 and getting ready to start dating the 27 year olds, you’ll be grateful.

7. LAUGH AND LAUGH AND LAUGH AND LAUGH. Laugh yourself into hospital. This really happened.

8. Spend some time alone. This is not something everyone is comfortable with. To quote Oriah Mountain Dreamer (I can be deep and cheesy):

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

No matter how lame you think this is, it’s a truth that holds so much worth.

9. If you don’t enjoy reading, stop your tomfoolery and get to a library or a book store. There is so much wealth in books. You learn something new all the time. Read whatever you like, even the entire Mills and Boon section.

10. Embrace the lame and uncool things you love. Be unashamed of your love for Justin Bieber or trashy romance novels and your terrible taste in movies. Why yes, I WILL watch Coyote Ugly for the 5th time, thank you very much. Excellence is a habit, and by the time the Universe sends you the love you deserve, you will be accepted with all your geekery and foolishness.

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When Jersey starts singing on the bar, oh you better believe it’s on.

11. When you are out of the “forever alone” slump and are ready for the world and to receive good things and you feel like giving everyone CareBear attacks, shooting rainbows out of your tummy and shit, focus that energy on something that you’ve been putting off. Something important. Finishing that Masters thesis (ahem), starting a new project, whatever it is, that energy can be put to good use to change you life if you want it to.

12. Find a balance between being selfless and selfish. One extreme is not healthy, we all know this. Take time for yourself and make time for others. People really appreciate small gestures. Call your mother if you haven’t spoken to her in a while. Text your best friend just to say hi. Book yourself that Groupon you were looking at earlier for a luxurious spa day.

13. HAVE A SAVINGS PLAN. If you have a job and you have investments and all that, good for you, you have your shit together. Some of us are still trying to adult here. Save a little bit each month, consistently. Ask advice from people you trust and who are good with money. Ask advice at your bank. Educate yourself.

The point of all this is that being single is not the end of the world. We’re in our 20s (some of us later than others) and the concern about our biological clocks and being forever alone is real, yes. I get it. I live it. But there is more to life than waiting for a man to marry you.

Reluctant Spinster no more.

xxx

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Book review – The Shining Girls :: Lauren Beukes

Why hello there. I haven’t done a book review in AGES.

I have a good one for you:

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The Shining Girls

Lauren Beukes

It has been a long time since i have read anything as good as this. I have, for the past few months while writing my thesis, been reading trashy romance novels that I can start and finish in a day.

I was invited by my ex-colleagues at Exclusive Books to attend a talk by Lauren Beukes about her new book. I went even though I knew nothing about the book, nor have I read any of her previous books. The talk was fascinating and I got immediate book envy because I wanted to read it IMMEDIATELY and it had not been available in store yet. I spent the next few days thinking about it, as you would think of a boy you had a crush on.

I had a book crush.

This was based solely on what I had heard from others and the author herself (which I think is pretty cool). Anyway, skip ahead to 19 April and finally acquiring my book and attending the launch (still not having read it) and spending the Saturday thereafter in my pajamas reading the one of the most amazing stories I have ever read.

Harper Curtis is a time-travelling serial killer. Call it luck, call it fate, he finds a key that unlocks the door to a House that allows him to travel back and forth across time. This allows him to be probably the best serial killer I have come across in any book I have ever read. I have read lots of crime fiction but never anything like this. Beukes’ portrayal of this man is both charming and vile (mostly vile) at the same time. There were times when I wanted to throw the book against the wall because of this horrible man.

 

Kirby Mazrachi is the girl who got away. She encounters Harper once when she is a little girl, and then again when he tries to kill her. She spends most of her time trying to find Harper.

I was very impressed by the speed of the events and particularly the extensive research that went into the book. The historic accuracy and details is simply amazing and transports you through the decades into Harper’s journey. Lauren Beukes is a masterful storyteller.

The timing of this book could not have been more perfect. Recently in South Africa, there has been a very bright spotlight on violence against women in this country. Beukes’ work gives a face to the victims. She said in her talk, and at the launch that one of the aims of writing the story was to tell the story of the victims; who they were, what they did, who they loved. Harper Curtis’ mission is to snuff the burning light, the potential of his victims. By the author’s own account, the book is a commentary on the beautiful young women who are killed every day in this country. Women who have ambitions, goals, dreams. Women with the potential to be a driving force for change in our country.

Not only is this work a beautiful, fast-paced thriller that straddles genres and engrosses you completely, I believe it raises important issues at such a crucial time in our country.

All in all, this book gets 5 stars from me for just being so excellent.

Find out more about The Shining Girls and Lauren Beukes on her website and blog:

http://laurenbeukes.bookslive.co.za/blog/

http://laurenbeukes.com/

 

Have a great week, everyone.

Muneera xoxo