Thursday, December 22, 2011

Basil Martini

When Arwen celebrated her 30th she did so at Gin in Greenside. There she introduced me to an AMAZING cocktail: the Basil Martini. I have been hooked since. Until recently I have had neither martini glasses, nor cocktail shaker, so the only cocktail's I made were the ones that didn't require fancy tools.

For my birthday I received a lovely voucher and eventually found what I wanted to spend it on. Gorgeous martini glasses (8) and a shaker. So for Christmas I decided that I would make Basil Martinis and started looking for recipes online. There were so many variations it was hard to choose one. The first recipe I tried was horribly sour and did not remind me of the ones I had at Gin. I then decided to combine receipes and I hit the Jackpot. Not bad for a second attempt. 

Being the lovely person that I am I have decided to share the recipe with you.

Basil Martini


Sugar syrup
1 cup sugar
1cup boiling water
Lemon rind (optional)

The following quantities are for one glass so adjust for more.
Basil leaves (lots)
1 tot dry vermouth
2 tots gin
Juice of 1 lemon (fresh!) (approx 2 tots)

1. Make a sugar syrup my adding the boiling water to the sugar. Stir until all the sugar has dissolved. At this stage you can add some lemon rind to flavour the syrup. Allow syrup to cool. The great thing about the syrup is you can make it in advance and keep it for ages in the fridge.
2. Take basil leaves (5 big ones or so) and place in the shaker. Add 2 tots of gin and muddle.
3. Add the vermouth, 1 tot of syrup (if you want it sweeter add a 1/2 to 1 tot extra), the lemon juice and ice cubes (5-6).
4. Close the shaker and shake it shake it baby!
5. Strain into your martini glass and serve with a sprig of basil.

Drink and enjoy!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Looking stupid in the cinema

It has become the new movie gimmick. Nearly every movie released has been subjected to it. Some movies tack it on and some are designed around it. Not having the choice to watch a movie normally drives me batty and has reduced the number of times I head off to the cinema.

Yes, you've guessed it. I'm talking about 3D.

The Oatmeal sums it up beautifully.

There are very few movies I want to watch in 3D and those are usually animated movies. I loved How to tame your dragon in 3D, especially the scenes where they are flying through the clouds. But as for other movies, thanks but no thanks, I want to watch them normally. The 3D glasses generally give me a headache and never fit right and the 3D effects are not that great.

Why can I not choose how I want to watch my movies. Some movies to give you a normal option, but to find a cinema that screens the normal version is like finding a needle in a  haystack. I realise that cinemas want to make more money, as if normal movie tickets weren't expensive enough. I think however, that they are driving many clients away. I have spoken to many people and they are all getting annoyed at the 3D phenomena.

Oh and now they are making...GASP!...3D TV. Seriously? Why? Go away 3D. Shoo.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Artist of the week: WOODKID

My friend Bast introduced me to a new artist: Woodkid. His real name is Yoann Lemoine and he's a French music video director, film director and musician. His first album (which I'm currently listening to) is called IRON EP.

I don't know how to describe his music. Definitely indie, with piano, violins, trumpets, drums and orchestration.  His French upbringing definitley comes throughin the melodies. I'm not talking about acordeon java style French music, but the French balads I grew up with. The music will grip you and not let go.I heartily recommend you listen to it.

And watch the music video for Iron. Oh! My! It is stupendously exquisite and haunting. It features Agnes Deyn, an owl, wolves, gorgeous men and mind-blowing cinematography. This guy is damn good at what he does. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

2011 in review

2011 has been quite an interesting year for me. Let me look back on it.

It didn't start off very well. I was suffering quite badly from depression and had to have my medication upped. Work was not going well either and I was struggling to perform. The fact that I was working for a company that did not value its staff did not help. It was hard walking into a building with such negative energy.

I was in a relationship for a while, which although was great at the beginning, fizzled out. I felt used when he told me that he just wanted a “fun” relationship. I wish he’d told me this upfront.

I then started seeing a shrink. It was the best thing I ever did! I have learnt so much about myself and how I deal with difficult situations and why I make the choices I do. I’m healing and I’ve been off my anti-depressants for 4 months now, with no relapse into depression.

I got a new job, which has been highly satisfying. Not only from the point of view that I am being paid way better than at my previous place, but also that I am doing challenging work and learning so much. I also get to travel all over the country and discover places I have never been to.

I have been able to kill off my credit card debt and increase my home loan repayments. And to add a glorious surprise: I got my first ever Christmas bonus and a raise! I wasn’t expecting either, seeing how I’ve only been with the new company for 4 months. So that bonus will probably go towards my UK trip in September next year. And will be able to afford getting a new set of wheels. It’ll be sad to trade in my darling red Fiesta, But I need a car with safety features and efficient fuel consumption, considering all the travelling I’m doing. I’m thinking getting a Honda Jazz, Hyundai i20 or Mazda2. Of course a Nissan Juke would be quite awesome, but I think it’s a somewhat out of my budget. I’m going to start my research and test driving before I make a final decision.

I also started going to the gym on a regular basis. It has improved my sleep patterns. Although I haven’t lost any weight yet, I am confident that I will shift quite a few kilos next year. And it will help with toning and help me improve my body image. I’m still quite hung up on how I look and I know that it is an issue that will take me quite some time and a lot of therapy to sort out.

I’m glad 2011 is coming to an end. I am looking forward to my Christmas break, even if it’s only 9 days. I’m excited for 2012. It will be a great year!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Reading, Writing, Arithmetic...

Does anyone remember watching Kindergarten Cop all those centuries ago? I’m a massive Arnie fan, so I’ve actually got the DVD and watched it recently.

Today the office fire alarm went off. So down we all traipsed, two by two. And I couldn’t help think of Kindergarten Cop, how at the beginning of the movie the kkindergarten kids run around screaming during the fire drill while the other kids leave the building quietly and two by two. By the end of the movie, when there is a real fire, the roles are reversed.

And I think, will we also be running out screaming if there is a real fire in the building?

All together now:
Reading, Writing, Arithmetic
Kindergarten does the trick!
When it comes to past the test
Kindergarten is the best!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Blue Velvet Delight

Since Bast is coming up I've decided to make my infamous Red Velvet Cake. She's never had it before and I think it is high time to introduce her to the decadence that it is. I have however decided to make it with a twist. It will be a Blue Velvet Cake (blue being Bast's favourite colour after all).

Miss ADHLAS sent me a link a while back for a Blue Velvet version. Now I don't know where I'll find violet food colouring, but I'll see how it turns out with just the blue food colouring.

For those Americans reading this blog (if any), the Red Velvet Cake has only recently appeared in specialist cake shops in South Africa. And to date I have yet to find one that is as moist and decadent as the one from Joy of Baking. Mostly the ones here are dry (I think they are baked too long), may not have buttermilk in it and do not have a mascarpone, cream cheese, whipped cream icing.

Every single person who has tried my Red Velvet came back for more. A LOT more. I hope the Blue Velvet will meet with the same success.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Manners maketh the man

Never have words been truer.

My friend Bast is coming up from PE for a few days before Christmas. She's had a very rough two years and I thought it would be really cool to get all her Joburg friends together for a bring 'n braai. So I got all their email addresses from Bast and sent out invites 2 weeks ago for an event that is taking place this Friday. I requested that they RSVP by last Friday, which would give me time to plan food. 

3 people responded the day I sent out the invites. Since then, nothing! So today I sent out a message, that I needed RSVPs. Slowly the responses are trickling in (all apologies that they can't make it).

I swear there are so many South Africans (OK, maybe you get them all over the world) that have absolutely no manners. And it grates my carrot. How hard is it to RSVP? Did these people's parents never teach them that it is very rude to not respond to a host? Do they not realise that not replying to an email does not constitute as no? The host(ess) wonders if they have received the invite, or if they will respond. It's a limbo response.

These are also unfortunately the type of people who will consistently cancel at the last minute or always come late. It shows a complete lack of respect towards other people. Can you just imagine what they must be like in the work environment?

Woosaaah...Breathe in....Breathe out... This should not get me in a tizz the way it has, but it still manages to get under my skin. I guess that's what happens you get a superior upbringing. You can never hang out with the plebs.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Am I fussy and full of shit?

Yesterday evening I went out for drinks with some of my colleagues. We had a great time and it was perfect to help us unwind. We talked about many things, and one of the conversations ended up revolving around relationships. My one colleague said to me "Stop being so fussy and full of shit and you'll find a man". Now it was said in jest, but it made me think about whether I am that fussy or not.

Now I know that the "perfect man" does not exist, just like God, Father Christmas, Unicorns and the Easter Bunny. But, having been around the dating circuit a bit, I know what pushes my buttons and what just doesn't work.

So yes, I do have a list. Let's see:
  • Atheist (or non-theist). Dated the spiritual and religious guys. Never again thank you very much. They just didn't respect my point of view.
  • Must have a similar cultural upbringing to me. If I make reference to Cthulhu (the guys in the office didn't understand why I was so chufed to see a reborn Cthulhu sticker on a car in the office basement. They had never hear of him) or Modigliani I would like the guy to get it. And in SA it can be quite hard. I look at my colleagues, sweet, smart people, but they tease me for my general knowledge. More than half the time they don't know what I'm on about. Now I'm not saying I need daily intellectual conversations, but run-of-the-mill topics get boring very quickly.
  • Not a computer nerd. Dated a couple of guys who were so deep into their bloody PCs that it became a nuisance. Playing some PC games is fine, but living WoW, and spending every spare second you have in front of your machine? Thanks but no thanks. I want a relationship where I actually go out and do stuff (see my bucket list).
  • Should enjoy reading, on a variety of topics. Sci-fi and fantasy don't cut the mustard. How about science, history, travel...
  • Should enjoy cooking. It's awesome if a guy can cook. And not just one or two staple recipes.
  • Taller than me. I've dated shorter guys and it's just weird and awkward.
  • Preferably fit. A bit overweight is OK (yes I may be judgemental but fitter guys generally means better sex). I know I'm not the slimmest being out there but at least I'm doing something about it.
  • Not clingy or jealous. Just trust me. I'm not going to cheat on you, so chill.
  • Must have/rent his own place. I've decided that no man will move in with me unless he is serious about the relationship, and I mean SERIOUS as in wants to spend the rest of his life with me serious.
Of course all these prerequisites are all fine and good, but the most important thing is to have a deep connection. If the connection is there then all the rest is just an added bonus.

So until I meet  man with whom I "connect" on a deep and meaningful level then I will happily remain single until I do (though there will always be that element of jealousy at all my friends who are with someone with whom they've connected on a deeper level).

Then again, maybe I am fussy and full of shit. I don't know. You tell me.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Satan's Scatter Cushion

I've been having an email discussion with Miss ADHLAS regarding the cat she inherited (Mr. Chen) from the Matthews. They couldn't look after him anymore because of W's Allergies. So Miss ADHLAS took him over.

She told me today that she's found out that Mr. Chen had been fed by three different people in the block of flats. So now she's the only one feeding him and he's getting 2 cups of kibbles a day. I thought to myself that that is a LOT of food for one old cat. It turns out she forgot to say taht they were half cups! I had an image of an exploding Mr. Chen a la Monthy Python (After dinner mint?).

This is the response I got back:

"He's big, but not that big. I call him Satan’s scatter cushion, not Beezlebub’s beanbag chair."

Bless my heart! I fell out of my chair I was laughing so much. Only Miss ADHLAS would describe a cat that way.

I hope it made you laugh as much as me.

Monday, December 5, 2011


In today's news: Greenpeace activists arrested at COP17. For trying to illegally hang a banner off a hotel in Durban. This clearly shows the level of intelligence of the people who join Greenpeace. Had they gone through the right channels to get authorisation they would not have gotten arrested and would have been able to put up their banner. Idiots!

Now I am an environmental consultant.  That means we're environmental risk managers (snazzy sounding isn't it).  Our purpose is to ensure certain activities have legal authorisations to take place. We set up systems in place that must be implemented to mitigate negative environmental impacts and enhance positive ones.

We work with the principles of sustainable development and the Triple Bottom Line (People, Environment and Economy)  in mind. We look at activities from the moment of conception to the moment of decommissioning. ALL THE WAY! We don't just look at one tiny facet.

Greenpeace, on the other hand are like a gnat. A nuisance. Sure they have made people aware that there are environmental issues, but that's about it. They offer no solutions and they never look at the bigger picture. Close down the coal mine but take no consideration for the people earning a living from such an operation. That's their attitude.

Greenpeace seem to take people on who don't have a working knowledge about the environment (natural and human) or the economy actually works. They are Eco-Terrorists and that's about it. So I'm always filled with glee when they get apprehended.

On another thought, what was that banner made of? From the picture some kind of cloth membrane. But an artificial fabric it seems (i.e. derived from petroleum?)? And what will they do afterwards with that banner? How environmentally conscious of them.

Friday, December 2, 2011

No Sympathy

Awwwww, poor Jackie Selebi collapsed at his home when he heard he had to go to jail. People are reportedly concerned taht he can't walk. Poor corrupt baby. Hear the sarcasm dripping from my voice? Seriously people!

He's corrupt, was caught and fairly trialed and convicted and has a 15 year jail sentence. He's gotten his just deserts. Let him rot in jail!