Good bye South Korea

And so the last day arrived. We shall be leaving the country on New Years day and to say good bye to my daughter is leaving a hole in my soul (again).Below a few of the sights and sounds of our trip.

Seoul Station: photo by Tara

Seoul Station: photo by Tara

Old market Seoul. The photo was taken by Tara early morning and it really captures the atmosphere there.

Old market Seoul: photo Tara

Old market Seoul: photo Tara

We visited the  Bulguksa Temple in Gyeongju after reading the comprehensive temple blog of Dale’s Korean Temples http://koreantemples.com/?p=245 and chose to do so on the coldest day ever! I wish I could spend time alone at this temple to absorb the tranquility.

Bulguksa Temple – 불국사 (Gyeongju)

Bulguksa Temple – 불국사 (Gyeongju)

We took a bus, trains, another bus and a taxi to get there and honestly, it was so cold I had to look down to see if I was still wearing my pants because this cold is a “nekkid” cold. I think we stood out like two blonde thumbs in a dark haired country! image This particular cold lunch consisted of dishes all unknown to me. Even the ingredients I could not decipher. Still don’t know what I ate but hey, when in Rome….or at least, when in Gyeongju…..image And last but oh so not the least! I am in love with the way the Koreans think about kitchen sinks! You can take a bath in the thing. I so want one to take home with me.

My dream kitchen sink!

My dream kitchen sink!

Happy New Year to you all. I shall be in several planes for 23h30 minutes to be exact to get home to sunny Cape Town in 2014!

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Festive Greetings from South Korea

We are feasting and travelling through South Korea. Seoul was ice cold as expected but the tastes and trimmings more than made up fot the freezing cold.

Christmas trimmings Seoul

Christmas trimmings Seoul

Definitely more Christmas trimmings than expected and beautiful decorations all over  Myeongdong, Seoul.

Korean Food

Korean Food

I will need to go and read up about all of the Asian dishes I am eating as English is very limited and I am ordering blindly! I love the food, especially the cabage salads and kimchi dumplings with chicken and pork kebabs.

Ilsan Beach in Ulsan

Ilsan Beach in Ulsan

Ilsan Beach on Christmas Day kitted out in thick coats on the beach!

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A Korean barbecue for Christmas dinner and for more heat in a very cold Ulsan.

KTX train ride to the south.

KTX Train to Ulsan

KTX Train to Ulsan

I hope everyone had as much fun for Christmas as we did. I wish you a wonderful year-end.

The flower arranging gene

Or the lack thereof in my case. I skipped that one. My sisters both got all those genes from the available gene pool. I need to be very careful which pot/vase I use for my flowers, because the job is up the the vase, not me. I so love flowers, always have them in the house. So along came the mother of a high tea which I had for my birthday a few months back and my sister came up( thankfully….) with these ideas.

King Protea in a tea pot

King Protea in a tea pot

She saw the protea in a tea pot idea in a magazine weeks before the day and I went flower hunting to get just the right size protea as they can be HUGE.

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The glass dome effect:

Flowers in glass dome

Flowers in glass dome

We shall be in faraway lands this Christmas. At last I will see my daughter’s face in real time and not skype! Christmas and New Year in South Korea will be an experience. About 35 degrees C colder than Cape Town at the moment which makes packing a funny business. Layering UP during the 23 hours travel time until the cold hits on arrival, but come hail or snow, I am excited!

My random photo taken last week in Granger Bay:

The mist came rolling in from the ocean, fog horn blaring.

Granger Bay Cape Town, misty day

Granger Bay Cape Town, misty day

Carrot Flan

This recipe posted by Sally http://bewitchingkitchen.com/2013/06/23/secret-recipe-club-carrot-flan-with-greens-and-lemon-vinaigrette/ is one of those that you see and you want to make, NOW. I have never tasted carrots prepared like this and I am smitten. Endless possibilities yet again. Such a tasty, elegant way to serve carrots and with very little ingredients.

Carrot Flan

Carrot Flan

I added shallots to the carrots and cooked it together until soft and in went n blob of butter. The rest of the recipe I followed just as posted, as it is perfect in its simplicity. Rarely will I follow a recipe in its original form but really, with this one, no need to change or tinker.

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Mine was served with a garden herb and dill vinaigrette and I am already thinking along the lines of a light curry-mayonaise for the next round! The flans are as light as feathers and will make a good souffle if cheese is added, but there I go again.

Feather light carrot flan

Feather light carrot flan

On a recent trip to Franschhoek I was so impressed and swooned so much about a carrot preserve served at Cafe Bon Bon as a condiment to a cheese platter, that the waiter sent me home with a jar of the stuff( nice people!). I am now on the hunt for a recipe to recreate it. All in the carrot theme, maybe it is the orange that does it for me.

Carrot Preserve

Carrot Preserve

Cookies and Gift Ideas

My gift idea

My gift idea

I had this bright idea to give home baked cookies to a few clients and colleages as end of year/Christmas/New Years gifts. That is as long as I did not have to bake them, not me, not cookies! I cook, but baking I do only on the odd occasion and then I like it. And I very much like other peoples baked goods of course. Enter my dear sister of http://www.nowathome.wordpress.com and the way to get her going is to give her a challenge! My other sister, the natural baker in the family got scot free on this one because she lives too far away.

Choc dipped shortbread

Choc dipped shortbread

So Aletta baked, and she dipped and she dried the most delicious shortbread choc dipped cookies and she swears she will never take up a challenge I give her again……….but I know she will, because she blogs……. image I jazzed up pretty boxes with tissue paper and ribbon and placed the cookies each in an individual ribboned bag inside. The boxes were delivered with a hand written note. The clients swooned, I am happy and my sister is tired. image Now I’m thinking, the cookie thing can become my trademark client gift, maybe flower shapes for spring or pink dipped cookies for Women’s Day all jazzed up in different gift containers!  I am trying to think of ways to convince nowathome that she needs another challege, soon…… Check out her recipe(uhm challenge) on her blog.

RIP Madiba:

We feel a profound sense of loss with the passing of Nelson Mandela. Our hero and icon. South Africa and the world will miss you. image