Monday, August 29, 2011

Things that make you go "Hhhhmmmm....?"

This email arrived in my In Box this morning. Just your run-of-the-mill scam email. I just found Category 11 interesting. All the other categories seem to include things which logically go together, but number 11? Any thoughts?


The Government of Ghana under the auspices of ECOWAS, in West Africa , has published a bill recently inviting all reputable foreign contractors/manufacturers of high and good quality product which few of the needed items are mentioned below.

Please get back to me if you can handle any of the below mentioned items in a large quantity and if your product that your company are manufacturing did not fall in the scope of the few mentioned items below,please kindly send us your website and complete company details so that we can go through your website to check if you have any of the 72 needed items withing the range of your product in your website.

1. Hospital Wheelchairs,Bed sheets and Pilow cases

2. Lawn Mowers/Knapsack Sprayers

3. Pharmaceutical products

4.Aniaml Feeds/ingredients

5. T-shirts/Caps

6. Rugs and Carpets.

7. Medical and Laboratory Equipments.

8. Analytical scales

9. Surgical instruments:Syringes,Needles,Scissors etc.

10.Fishing Equipments/Tackles.

11. Condoms and breakable plates.

12. Treated mosquito net.

13. Water Purification Equipments.

14. Agrochemicals Products.

and many more other products not listed please send us your website.

Note that Tender is open to all eligible foreign contractors from eligible source countries as defined in the guidelines of the procurement Board of the Republic of Ghana.If you can handle the supply of any of the above items, get back to me for more detail, i am a commision and accredited agent.


Mr.Koffi Mensah
No:23 Airport Road,Cantonment

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Cyber Dinner Party at Chez DKG

Since I'm suffering from total writers' block and don't want to be bothering you with my anti Climate Change bollocks, anti Labor government rants (enough of that on FB) I thought I'd write about my other favourite subject right now: food.

So here are the two recipes I'd make if you were popping over for a quick Sunday night dinner. Strangely these were the two things I did actually make today; the former for our dinner, the later to bring to playgroup.

Pasta with Chorizo Seafood Tomato Sauce

500g packet of curly fettucine (or pasta of choice)
Big dash of olive oil
500g green medium prawns, peeled and deveined
400g firm fish fillets (I used red snapper), cut into 3cm cubes
2 chorizo sausages medium diced
1 clove garlic finely chopped
6-8 tomatoes peeled and chopped or 2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes or combination of both
1 large mushroom or 4-6 button mushrooms finely sliced
Dash of GOOD balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
3/4 cup vegetable stock or water
Zest of 1 small lemon

Cook pasta and set aside.
In a large pot (I use pasta pot) heat oil and add garlic and chorizo. Cook on low-medium heat for a couple of minutes. Turn up heat to medium and keep stirring. Add mushrooms.
Cook until chorizo is becoming crispy and mushrooms have cooked down. Be careful that garlic doesn't burn.
Add tomato, stock, vinegar, herbs and cook for 10 minutes or so, until the sauce thickens and tomato cooks down.
Add prawns and fish, mix through the sauce and simmer for about 5 minutes. Be careful not to overcook.
Once prawns turn pink and curl it's ready. Mix the lemon zest through sauce. Then the cooked pasta. Keep on the heat for a minute or two.
Serve with a sprinkle of parsley or coriander.

Chocolate Orange Tart

1 quantity Almond Shortcrust Pastry (I use the Thermomix - doh! - recipe)
125g Philly Cream Cheese, softened
300ml Thickened Cream
120g Chocolate (I used good quality dark chocolate)
2 Tablespoon Caster Sugar
2 large Free Range Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla essence
Zest of 1 Orange
Optional: Pear Jam or Marmalade

Roll out pastry and line an oiled tart tin (20-22cm).
Place baking paper on the pastry and fill with baking beads (??) for blind baking.
Bake at 200deg for 10 minutes. Remove beads and paper. Bake for a further 10 minutes.
Turn oven down to 170 deg.
While the pastry is baking make filling.
Melt Chocolate in the microwave - in 30 second bursts at 80% power.
When chocolate is melted whisk through sugar until smooth.
Add soft cream cheese and whisk until smooth.
Add cream, eggs, zest and vanilla and whisk until smooth.
At this point I spread the pear jam in a thin layer over the base of the tart, then pour in the chocolate mixture. If you're not using the jam just pour in the filling.
Don't over fill. You need a couple of millimeters of visible crust at the edge.
Bake for about 25-35 minutes. You want it to be set but not dry or cracked, it should still look a little wobbly in the centre. Remove from the oven and leave to cool, then chill.
If I have leftover filling I bake in oiled patty tins or muffin tins. It's yummy.

There you go. I hope you enjoyed dinner.

If you give these recipes a whirl let me know how they turn out. The tart is a bit fiddly but I love the Jaffa flavours. The pasta is a real winner, those flavours really zing along.

Bon appetit.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Moving forward

It's easy in the day to day organised chaos of our lives to overlook the small things. I'm very guilty of this. We're so busy getting through each day, ticking the multitude of tasks off our mental lists, rushing from A to B and back again, that sometimes we don't even SEE each other anymore.

So it's beautiful when something stops me in my tracks and forces me to focus on my children and see them clearly.

I had such a day last week. Nothing ordinary day. When we got into the car that morning Marianna got in, did up her own seat belt and closed the car door. She's never done that before. It gave me a little jolt; she's growing up. Of course she's growing up but I'm usually too busy to notice. It's so easy to fall into the trap of racing through each day, reacting to the negatives (with my own negatives), putting out the grass fires, meeting my family's daily needs but not really connecting.

The small act of doing up her own seatbelt made me look at my daughter, think about her as the little person she is and who she is becoming. She might drive me to drink most days but she is so bright, so feisty, so brave. She is no pushover and hopefully never will be. She is a little firecracker who will go so very far if she learns to harness her emotions.

That same day Will told me he wanted a mohawk. My instant (unsaid) reaction was "no way". ... and then I remembered who I used to be and what I used to dream about my own future and the biggest wave of pride flooded through me. My baby boy, my fragile, vulnerable boy, who I spent so long worrying about...would he ever walk, would he ever talk... is bravely and confidently facing high school next year and wanting a mohawk.

Before our eyes he is discovering who he is, developing a mind of his own, separating from us, becoming his own person. It is scary for me, there's no doubt about that that. But there's also a huge sense of pride and gratitude and relief. How far he's come!

Almost thirty years ago I dreamed about my very own punk baby and now I have one, sort of. Mohawks are hum drum these days, more Becks than Sid Vicious. But that's ok, it's not the haircut that's the real point. It's what his request represents.

Above all else a parent's job is to help their children become independent in the world, to find themselves and their place. Last week I had a few glimpses of my children's progress along the long and difficult road to adulthood. I don't know what the future holds but I'm filled with optimism and hope and a terrifying amount of love for the little people whose lives have been entrusted to my dubious care.

Today seat belts and mohawks, tomorrow the world.