Curried Minced / Ground Beef and Vetkoek

My beloved baby sister, Alison, (who makes THE BEST Curried Minced Beef and Vetkoek in the world)her husband, Marius, and 2 children are now living in New Zealand which is a real bummer for me as I haven’t seen her in over 3 years. My wonderful niece and nephew, Bianca and Martius (who clearly take after me!) are also sorely missed by their crazy aunt. My darling sister suffered a bad stroke last year at the (very young) age of 38 (and yet another this week), but is pulling through with humour and charm. Headline: Strokes and sex changes. Read more to find out what this means….

Ducklings are born to us

duck Rosie on pond

It’s been a hectic week on the duckling front this week although the problems actually started three months ago when Rexie hurt his leg and couldn’t do his manly duties with the Rosie’s. Let me explain. We have 6 Indian Runner ducks comprising of one male, Rexie, and five females, all conveniently called Rosie. Now the girls started laying eggs in the early spring and I was soon getting desperate for egg recipes.

Tomato Chili Jam

Die Tomatoes, Die!!
A photo of bottled Tomato Chili Jam.

As you may remember, I mentioned in my “Asparagus time” post what a good gardener Joerg is. Our tomato production is no exception to this rule and is something that has to be seen to be believed. Currently there are only little green bullets on the bushes, but soon I’ll be up to my eyeballs in tomatoes so I thought I’d start giving you some tomato recipes so that you to will be ready when the season really gets going. Last year was the weather year from hell as it rained almost non-stop and always at the wrong times and this was disastrous for the tomatoes. With tomato blight ravaging the country, there was not a single person in our state/department with tomatoes. We had hundreds.

Corned beef is your national dish, damnit!!

Today's recipes are: Corned Beef 101; and American Corned Beef Dinner
A photo of a green beer.

We generally spend St. Patrick’s Day (the 17th of March) in the USA. For those of you who have had the (mis)fortune of receiving group mails from me over the years, you would know this. But I am relying on the fact that most of my friends won’t remember this (alcohol, age……and no, I haven’t quite finished reading “How to make friends and influence people”). We were in the mid-west for the celebrations two years ago and our barman wore a green wig, our waitress had drunk far too much of the green beer (yes, all beer is green on this particular day) and brought us warm beer, cold corned beef & cabbage, and the Irish soup (should have been stew) after the pudding….. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

Cats don't like peas

Today's recipe is: Pea Quiche

buddha with daffodils

I find it totally amazing that both of my cats refuse to eat peas. I buy them this really expensive cat food in sachets and one of the packets has Veal and Peas (no, of course they are spoilt!) and they both manage to leave all the peas licked and intact in the bowl. How do they do it?!? We have Buddha, named so for his corpulent body, and Puss Puss, who could also be named Moaning Monster but this takes too long to scream out quickly. I adore them and couldn’t live without them (mostly). Buddha is the only other male besides my husband I would be prepared to French kiss. He has one little, tiny, small fault. It’s barely noticeable really. It’s just that he seems to be getting a little cantankerous as he gets older. While on his diet, I once lifted Joerg’s pants leg and said “Bite Buddha” and he did. Such an obedient sweet baby! And it was a small bite, poor starving creature. Barely drew blood at all. Well, it is Joerg who has him on diet.

About me

ABOUT ME
My desire to try out new recipes is like my hunger – never-ending.
My cookbook collection is like my bottom – large.
Stick with me an you'll be laughing alot!!

Who am I?
Hi there! My name is Crystal Degenhardt. I am a South African of British parents, married to a German and live in France, so a typically muddled-up member of this planet.

I decided to write this blog to incorporate two of the things I love most: food and writing. I am 40 years old and continue to enjoy every faze of my life. My husband, Joerg, and I have traveled extensively (and will hopefully continue to do so), tasting our way around the world. Our first priority is mainly to eat the local food, drink the local grog, get at least one cookbook from wherever we are, and only then to enjoy the sights.

We bought our house/small farm in the south west of France years ago, but have just this year decided to “settle down” here. Well, at least for now. And we WILL keep trying the local food, here and elsewhere.

Go to Anna's for the perfect Roast Beef Dinner

Today’s recipe: Maltese carrots

A photo of a Roast beef dinner plate.

We were recently invited to Anna’s for a meal and were treated to a really super supper. Gaynor and Chris, and Eli and Pierre were there too. Anna has led (and is still leading) a very exciting life, a life that includes safaris to Africa. She has lived in Paris, Malta, Morocco, to name but a few, and always has interesting stories to tell. She went on a safari in Botswana recently with “his gorgeousness” (the “slightly younger” tour guide) and tells of going to the open air bathroom in the rain – you try and finish the paperwork with wet toilet paper!!

Asparagus time

Today's recipe: Asparagus Goulash

asparagus in vase in garden

I don’t know about you, but we love asparagus. We used to have a very prolific asparagus bed, but it had past it’s sell by date and was delivering less and less each year. And then it got overgrown and I forgot where it was and mowed over the bed a couple of days ago. Oops. You could smell the asparagus, but you couldn’t see it. So I decided to put some in a vase and take it into the garden. If you can’t make the garden come to the asparagus, then you have to take the asparagus to the garden…or something like that.

Jill's 50th and other birthdays

Today’s recipe: Sausage Pie
A photo of Sausage pie on a mixed plate.

I am absolutely terrible at remembering birthdays. A couple of years ago we were invited to one of my absolute best friend’s birthday parties and I completely forgot that it was her birthday on that day. We arrived at their home, chatted a bit and one of the other guests (who had flown from England to France for the event) mentioned that she had brought a special birthday cake with her. From another country, through 2 airports, 2 hour security checkpoint lines, with the icing still intact and no slices missing.

The 5 year old connoisseur

Today's recipes are: Artichoke 101; and Vinaigrette with capers
A photo of a Lemon Caper Vinaigrette.

“Lamb is very good in a brown sauce with figs”, Lily bluebell informed me. I was quite taken aback. She is after all, only just 5 years old – I mean literally as I was at her birthday party last month. Clearly this blog has hit rock bottom if I am getting recipes from 5 year olds. Lily and Charlotte (her 3 year old sister who as yet has given me no recipes) were very excited about visiting our new baby rabbits and I said that we also have baby lambs that they could come and see. I deliberately said see and not eat, but it seems that French children know a good meal when they hear it. I also think that she has as yet not made the correlation between the cute and cuddly lambs and the delicious meal she was describing!