Thursday, October 22, 2015

A Recipe...

It's already been a year since I moved to South Africa, and I think it's way past time to share a typical SA recipe with you. The first sweet treat I ate after landing here was a Milk Tart. It is a no-bake tart with a very delicious creamy filling. 
It was divine!
Of course, I had to try making one myself. You will find lots of variations, but this tart doesn't need any fancies to be delicious. I stuck to a simple and easy recipe and was very proud of the end result. Even the locals couldn't get enough of it. 
Without further ado...the recipe:

Milk Tart


  • 1/2 a packet of Tennis Biscuits (THE South African biscuit with a fresh hint of coconut) which can be substituted with digestive biscuits, crushed
  • 125 g Butter, melted

  • 500 ml (2 cups) Milk
  • Cinnamon
  • 80 ml Brown sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 45 ml (3 T) Cornflour 
  • 45 ml (3 T) Flour
  • 5 ml (1 t) Vanilla Essence
  • 30 ml (2 T) Butter
  • more Cinnamon for sprinkling


For the crust, combine the crushed Tennis Biscuits and melted butter before pressing the mixture into a pie dish. If you like a thicker crust, then use a full packet of biscuits. Set it in the fridge to cool while preparing the filling.

Add a sprinkle of cinnamon to the milk and heat it to just under boiling point. If you see steam, take the pot off the heat. 
In the meantime lighlty beat the eggs with the sugar, and then add the cornflour and flour.
Pour your egg mixture into the pot with the milk and return to the heat all the while stirring until it thickens.
Stir nicely and thoroughly to keep the mixture from catching on the bottom of the pot and to prevent lumps. Even if there are a few, don't panic. 
Once off the heat, add the vanilla essence and butter. Whisk thoroughly until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth.

Pour the filling into the prepared crust and sprinkle cinnamon decoratively on top before returning it to the fridge. Allow to set for about an hour.


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

"Gideon Smith & The Mechanical Girl" by David Barnett

Genre: Steampunk
Date of Publication: September 11, 2013
Length: 351 pages

Nineteenth century London is the center of a vast British Empire. Airships ply the skies and Queen Victoria presides over three-quarters of the known world--including the East Coast of America, following the failed revolution of 1775.

London might as well be a world away from Sandsend, a tiny village on the Yorkshire coast. Gideon Smith dreams of the adventure promised him by the lurid tales of Captain Lucian Trigger, the Hero of the Empire, told in Gideon's favorite "penny dreadful." When Gideon's father is lost at sea in highly mysterious circumstances Gideon is convinced that supernatural forces are at work. Deciding only Captain Lucian Trigger himself can aid him, Gideon sets off for London. On the way he rescues the mysterious mechanical girl Maria from a tumbledown house of shadows and iniquities. Together they make for London, where Gideon finally meets Captain Trigger.

But Trigger is little more than an aging fraud, providing cover for the covert activities of his lover, Dr. John Reed, a privateer and sometime agent of the British Crown. Looking for heroes but finding only frauds and crooks, it falls to Gideon to step up to the plate and attempt to save the day...but can a humble fisherman really become the true Hero of the Empire?

My Review:

I was given this book as a gift and I'm so glad.

After the first chapters I could barely retain myself from clapping my hands in joy, bouncing up and down. This steampunk has more than I had hoped for...
Victorian world - cool
Airships - awesome

...but it gets even better:

A mechanical girl.
Famous characters and legends I would never have expected to find in one single book.
And to top it all off: Pirates of the sky.

I was a goner.

The writing style is fluent and had me completely hooked. I couldn't put the book down; it was so entertaining and engaging. Threads were spun and I had fun discovering how they were all connected. As for the characters, they took me by surprise as well. Gideon Smith is a naive but charming gentlman despite being the son of a fisherman, and a quite heroic one at that, even though he doesn't realize it. Icing on the cake: The people he meets along his adventurous journey turn out to be as extraordinary as he is and had me smiling at the pages in front of me.

I don't want to give too much away, so I will just say this: Read it, folks!

Find or Follow David Barnett here