Posted by: savayla | December 30, 2011

Almond Meal Crackers

2 cups almond meal

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder granules (or powder )

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp dried rosemary or 1 1/2 tsp fresh  rosemary chopped (feel free to use any herbs )

1 Tbs olive oil

1 Large egg, whisked

  • Mix all ingredients well in a bowl
  • Must not be sticky so can add some more meal when kneeding
  • Take 1 Tbs pieces, flatten with hands and place on wax wrap, far apart
  • Place wax paper on top, and using a rolling pin, roll thin (about 2mm)
  • Remove wax paper from top
  • Bake for 10-15 minutes until dark golden brown and crispy at 180 degrees celcius .


Last week before Xmas I decided that instead of making them individual, I would just roll out the whole piece, cut into squares and then put into the oven.   WRONG !!!  The side pieces were perfect, but the middle pieces were too thick as you can’t really judge them as they are in the middle.  Might try it again, will see.


Enjoy with cheese, ham, etc.



Posted by: savayla | December 30, 2011

The difficulty of food combining

I eat a strange diet.  Not only has my diet been totally gluten free for the past 8 years, but in the past 3 years, I have also included it to be food combining.

Food combining is where you never mix your carbohydrates with your proteins.  All meals are eaten 3 hours apart, to give your body time to completely process the food, before adding another one on top of it.  And, it seems to work wonders for my body.  Yeah !!!

Some people follow this diet very strictly, and there are so many different rules and charts about what to eat with what, that for me, I found it important to follow these loosely and listen to what my body was telling me.  That is  most important with any diet you follow.  Not what the expert is telling you, but what your body is telling you.

I found that my body can take pumpkin, which is meant to be a carbohydrate, and beans.  This has been a life saver for me.  Curry with pumpkin, not rice.  Stew with pumpkin, not rice.  Pumpkin chips, etc etc.  So much so, that my husband wishes that he never sees another pumpkin in his life again.   Of course, I think the real reason is because he has to chop them up as he is scared I will chop my fingers off !!!

My next frustration was crackers, bread, and pizza base.  I couldn’t eat bread or crackers with cheese or ham. And a pizza without cheese or salami ?   I mean, what is the point of living ???  So began my quest for the perfect bread and cracker using almond meal.  Because, almonds are protein.

I now use almond meal almost exclusively for all my baking, including this Xmas’s gingerbread house, my cakes, muffins, crumpets.

I will post the recipes on another post so that it is easier to find .


Posted by: savayla | May 14, 2011

I’m Back !!

Hello, I’m back.

I am basically saying hello to myself, as I blog for myself and my family.  But I do love the fact that others do sneak in and read what I write, now and again.  And, if they can find anything useful, then it has been worth it.

I last posted in September 2010.  Why did I stop ?  Hell, I have no idea.  I just did.

Where am I now ?  The same place I was in September.  Well, a different house, about 10 minutes drive down the road. Or is that up ?  I never know.  We are now living in a much larger house.  This equates to larger mess, larger bills.  Don’t know if it is worth it.  Still a rental.  We live on a 29 hectare seudo eco park.  Our place is just under 1 acre though.  The reason I say Seudo, is that it started 1o years ago with the right ideas, but now it has become, as one of the people who once lived here said to me “A middle class wet mans dream “.  They don’t do organics, they spray with poisons, they don’t look after their orchards, their pastures are empty of animals except for 3 billy goats.  Not sure what they can provide, except for a nice smell.  And I have to pay $70 a month for this.  Oh, but we did get a bag of fruit in our letterbox in summer, and all 6 piece of fruit were still green.  Hmmmm, expensive fruit.  And they all zoot off to work in town.

Ok, so I am back with a vengeance.

Life has been up and down.  We are still loving it here in New Zealand, but we still do not have PR.  It has been an uphill battle with Kyle having to jump through many hoops in terms of medical tests.  And then the very last straw, the earthquake in CHCH.   Our file is buried in the Immigration building and cannot be retrieved.  URgh !!!!  Luckily we had made photocopies of every single paper, and they allowed us to send that.  But we are still waiting.

The ups have been making new friends through the homeschooling network, getting puppies and my pig dog, more chickens, and loving this area.

I will not blog everyday, as this is not a daily blog and no one is really that interested.  But I will blog.


Posted by: savayla | September 4, 2010

Prayer to Elvis

Yesterday was a very interesting one.  From getting our Chest X-rays done for immigration purposes, having a picnic on the banks of a duck pond in the beautiful Queens gardens where Ayla and I both had our fingers nipped hard by the ducks and we were rained out , to learning the Ka Mate Haka for the Guiness World Record attempt next weekend on Tahunanui Beach.

But the one part that sticks in my mind the most, apart from the words of the Haka which are drumming to their own beat, was when we went for a walk to the Christ Church  Cathedral.   We had our passport photos taken and had to wait half an hour for them to be processed.

We had not made a conscious or verbal decision about where we were going to go, we all just headed up the quiet street towards the cathedral.  We love cathedrals, although we are not Christians.  We also love Chinese Temples and especially Hindu Temples the most and are always drawn to them.  I think our love of Cathedrals comes from reading, 3 times already, Ken Follets novel Pillars of the Earth and now its sequal.

Christ Church cathedral is quite ugly from the outside, in my opinion.  We had been to the St. Pauls Cathedral Dunedin in April this year as it is the only cathedral in New Zealand with a stone vaulted ceiling.  It is a magnificent cathedral, both inside and out.

Girls sitting at the top of the stairs at St. Pauls Cathedral, Dunedin

Stone vaulted ceiling

Inside, the Cathedral is quite beautiful and once again, the girls were charmed with its quietness, the sun falling softly from the stained glass windows onto the wooden floors.  We were walking around, admiring all the features, the majestic arches, the organ pipes that seem to reach for the heavens, when we came to the back where there was a ring of candle holders, with one large one lit  in the middle and two lit candles in the holders.  The girls were intrigued and I told them that when a person wants to prayer for something or for someone, they light a candle , put it into one of the holders, and then say a prayer.  Ayla asked if she could please do it, so I gave her a gold coin as it is by gold coin donation, and she went to get her candle.  I asked her if she knew who she wanted to pray for and she said “Yes, Louis Armstrong.  No, actually Elvis “.  I was a bit taken aback and wanted to laugh but I managed to stifle it .  I helped her to light it and she stood there, hands in the universal prayer position and prayed silently .  Savannah then wanted to do one too, but she wanted to do a prayer to Eirikur, my grandfather in Iceland who died last week.  So both my children stood there quietly in this beautiful cathedral, heads bent , one praying to Elvis and the other to Eirikur.

I thought they were finished.  No, Savannah noticed that there is a prayer board where you can write up a note, pin it up and others can pray for you or your cause, or you can simply just write out your prayer.  Savannah wrote “Thank you Eirikur. For bringing joy to the family and for painting rocks.  I really wanted to meet you and I get the feeling that I will one day. ”  Ayla drew a picture of Elvis, saying “la la la ” and his name at the top.  Ayla loves Elvis’s singing and thinks he was a great man.

So two great men will be getting a lot of prayers sent from two little girls.

Savannah asked me when we had left St. Pauls Cathedral in Dunedin (we actually had to physically drag them out and then they still would not leave and sat on the top of the steps for at least 10 minutes.) why I did not believe in God but I always went into Churches and Cathedrals.  And I told her that these were houses built for some peoples god, that they were built beautifully and with a lot of love and that you could feel the love, and peace inside.  That I always found them very peaceful.  And Ayla chirped in “yes, that is until the preacher starts preaching ” .  I had to laugh, yes, that is right, when the preacher starts, then I walk out.

Yesterday I told them again, that by saying a prayer in the Cathedral, they could pray to their own god, whom they don’t know yet as they are too young to figure this out and it is a choice we are giving them.  To me, a church, temple, or shack is good enough to pray to your own God, and it does not have to be to that Churches God either.

Rest in Peace Elvis and Eirikur !!!

Posted by: savayla | August 19, 2010

Commercial Farming

Just thought I would share this story of our afternoon yesterday.  I took the girls to a place nearby  to play with their friends.  While I sat with the mom chatting, the kids , 6 of them, went off to the milking shed.  Which, was 700 metres, away, across a main road , across a river on a walking bridge, and then through the muddy roads.  The reason I know all this is I decided to go and see them when Jenny was going to put her baby down. I didn’t realize it was so far .  I loved the walk.  So beautiful, surrounded by mountains and green pastures,  and the weather was so sunny and crisp.  I eventually found them, only because I could see Ayla’s pink top.  What is so amazing is that it is so safe to just send your kids out into the countryside.  The oldest was Savannah at 9 ½ and the youngest 6.

Ayla was so excited because the calves had been sucking her hand.  I saw a cow with what looked like a new born calf lying down next to her.  She seemed exhausted.  Then the farmers arrived.  Two of them.  They roughly lifted the mommy cow and her calf up and then proceeded to manhandle them to another enclosure, except, they were being separated.  Mommy cow still had her afterbirth hanging from her uterus, and the baby still had the bloody, wet umbilical cord hanging.  It had not had one suck yet .  Obviously mommy cow did not want to be separated and was lowing , with the little baby trying to … well, not to low, but calling its mom.  The young farmer hit her, whipped her, even kicked her head.  Beating her.  But she was determined.  Unfortunately not as determined as the farmer and she went off to be milked of her colostrum with the other mommies that had given birth that day, and her calf was put into a shed with the calves.  Their hair was still wet and shaggy from the birth, and one calf was even trying to lick the concrete wall.

Savannah was so upset, and eventually started crying.  I asked the farmer why he was separating them so early and he simply said “Money “.  Well, that was that, hey.  The elder farmer said it was easier on them now than later.

I went into the one small paddock with a few day old calves.  They were so cute.  We would slip our hands into their mouths and they would suck hard on our fingers.  It was so sad.  They had a tiny row of pearly white teeth on the bottom.  So straight and beautiful.  To think that these babies would soon be turned into veal .  I told the girls a while ago that I won’t eat veal.  And this really cemented it for me.  Hell, I feel like giving up dairy products.  But where do you go from there ?  Eggs ?  Did you know that in commercial eggs, they kill the day old roosters .  And the hens are killed before winter as they don’t lay much due to moulting and the farmers don’t want to have to feed the hens during winter.  It is all so disgusting.

.  There has to be another way.  I thought that you lose your milk when you are depressed.   I did some research and found this one article. It shows that there is another way.

Commercial farming really sucks.    I won’t become a vegetarian, instead we will work towards eating our own meat which is raised and killed humanely.

Just some food for thought.

Posted by: savayla | August 3, 2010

Asian Dipping Sauces for fish Burgers

Here as promised.

My  favourite one, usually used for vietnamese spring rolls, but go very well with fish burgers.  I guess I should call them fish cakes, but that word just conjures the images of mashed potato filled goo.

Vietnamese dipping sauce

3 tablespoons lime juice (1 fat, thin skin lime)
2 tablespoons sugar
½ cup water
2 ½ tablespoons fish sauce

1 small garlic clove, finely minced

1 or 2 Thai chilis, thinly sliced (optional )

Mix all until the sugar is dissolved.  The fish sauce is very, very important in this sauce.

Sweet chilli Sauce

1/3 cup sweet chilli sauce

1 Tbs soy sauce

Jamie Olivers Dipping sauce

This is a sauce I got from one of his TV programmes.  He used it for dipping wild game birds into, but it works so beautifully with my fish burgers .

1 orange .  Grate 1/2 and juice the rest

1 lime , juiced.  (I also grate the rind )

5 Tbs oyster sauce

1 tsp honey

pinch salt

Mix together.  It does well with age and keeps well in the fridge.

That is all for now.  I will add some more later.  Just wanted to  get these in quickly, in case someone is wanting to try out the fish or tuna burgers.  Cakes.  Burgers.  Can’t decide !!!

Posted by: savayla | August 2, 2010

Fish Burgers

Damn, I forgot to take a photo again. Here is the fish burger recipe as promised.  As it worked out so well, I can share it.  It is more fiddly than the tinned tuna, due to the fish being more wet.

500g white fish fillet

1 egg

1 green onion, finely chopped

1/3 cup red pepper, finely chopped

1/2 cup almond meal

1/2 cup finely grated carrot

2 Tbs finely grated fresh ginger

2 Tbs chopped fresh coriander leaves

grated rind of  one lime

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 Tbs soya sauce

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp fish sauce

3 Tbs coconut milk powder mixed with 1 Tbs hot water

2 tsp thai green curry paste (You can also use red )

2 tsp sugar

Chop your fish fillet up in a food processor .  I used a knife and it worked well.

Put into a large bowl

Add almond meal

Add rest of ingredients into another bowl and mix well

Add these ingredients and mix really well with a spoon or your hands.

Shape into small balls and put onto a plate. If they are too soft, add more almond meal.  But don’t add too much.  Put into fridge to harden a bit.

Roll in some rice flour and fry in shallow oil.  Turn over with tongs, not a spatula, as they are soft and may break up.

Serve on lettuce , with some rice, and some dipping sauces

As you can see, it is almost identical to the tuna one, except for the addition of the coconut cream ,curry paste, sugar and lime rind.

I made Savannah’s identical, omitting the curry paste.

Posted by: savayla | August 1, 2010

Tuna burgers

I have always wanted to make fish burgers.   Not just those horrible, dry, smashed potato filled burgers you tend to stumble upon, but ones like they make in Thailand.  Full of taste and temptation, with a wicked dipping sauce.

I have never done it, because my stomach has a love / hate relationship with gluten, and it usually calls for about a cup of breadcrumbs.   Yes, I could do gluten free, but, my diet gets more complicated than that, as I also combine.  This means no mixing carbohydrates and protein.

The other day I had an epiphany .  Why could I not use finely ground almonds.  Almond meal.  In South Africa it was expensive, but here, in the bins, it is not.

So the search was on for a really good recipe.  Unfortunately for me, I literally missed the boat on this one.  Most of the recipes called for fresh tuna.  Whilst  living on the yacht in Hout Bay, I had them offloading fresh tuna all around me, every day, and it was super cheap.  I have not even seen it here in New Zealand, and knowing them, they will probably put a Japanese price on its head.

So I went for the next best, tinned tuna.  I had no idea if it would work as it can be dry. But I had a very large tin lurking in my cupboard, pleading for something more exotic than tuna salad.

Well, here is my recipe.  I usually comb through a few recipes, get the idea of what it should contain, then mix and match until I find something to my liking.  These were seriously good.

1 large tin of tuna in oil (not brine as these are drier, and did you know that the Omega 3 are destroyed in the brine but not in the oil ? )   Well drained.

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/3 – 1/2 cup almond meal

1/3 cup finely grated carrot

1 green onion, chopped finely (not too finely )

1/3 cup red pepper, finely chopped

1/3 cup chopped fresh coriander leaves (I know it as dhanya )

1 Tbs finely grated  fresh ginger

1 Tbs soy sauce

1 tsp sesame oil

A few good dashes fish oil   (Vietnamese or Thai is the best.  I always have this in my cupboard )

salt and pepper to taste

Simply put all of the ingredients into a bowl and mix really well.

Roll them into balls and then flatten slightly.  This made about 15 small patties.

Put onto a plate, and refrigerate.

When needed, roll them lightly in some rice flour and then fry lightly for a few minutes in a pan.

I served them on a bed of lettuce, with some home-made roti (that were not good so I won’t bother putting the recipe down .  Need to find a better recipe ), and some dipping sauces.

I will write down another post for the dipping sauces.  All can be used.

Or, you can simply do some sweet chilli sauce, mixed with a tablespoon of soy sauce.


PS.  For those of you with finicky eaters, I made a few for Ayla with just the carrot and a bit of the egg.  She hated them !!!  Ha ha .  She doesnt’ like tuna.  So

Posted by: savayla | July 31, 2010

How to get a chicken out of an egg

Yes, that is what happened to us.  After waiting the required 21 days, the egg was still sitting there .  The normal lightbulb had burnt out two days before it was due, so we put another, strong one, but rigged it up so that the heat was perfect.  But, we realised that we had messed up twice with the heat. It is meant to stay at a constant 38 degrees and have some water for moisture.  Once it went up to 42 degrees and one night Savannah had sleptwalked and opened the lid, and it went down to 32 degrees.   So we thought that it had either been fried or died from the cold.  Of course, we kept these thoughts to ourselves.  But were preparing Savannah for the eventuality that it would not hatch, and things do go wrong in the egg.

Day 24.  Time: 10:30 pm.  Place:  In bed reading.

We were just about to switch off our bedside lamps, and go to sleep when we heard a distinctive “cheep” and a small cracking sound.  We both froze, looked at the box, looked at each other, and dived out of bed.  Opening up the incubator (which is a home-made one ) we saw the little crack.  In chicken people’s language, it had pipped.   I ran downstairs to wake up the girls.  They would not believe me.  I had to force them upstairs.   We then pulled out the trundle bed, they got their pillows and we all settled down to wait for the chicken to hatch.  And we waited, and waited.  We went onto the internet, we paced, we eventually went to sleep.  Seriously, by 1:30 nothing had happened and we read that it can take between 3-24 hours from when it has pipped, to hatch.

Next morning, nothing.  Lunch time, nothing.  Dinnertime , nothing.

The egg once it had pipped

Back onto the internet.  It should have started cracking more of its shell.  It should have done more than just the original pip.  We knew it was still alive, as we would occassionally hear a “cheep” and if not for a while, I would lightly flutter my fingertips over the egg and it would cheep a few times.  We read that often a chick is too weak, or too big, or that the membrane is not soft enough due to not enough moisture .  But you should never interfere as it needs to do it by itself as it strengthens them.

After dinner, 8:30 pm and we knew that we had to make a decision.  All the sites except one, said there is nothing to do, not to even think about trying to take a chick out of its egg as there are 3 membranes, and the last one is connected to the chicks blood vessels.  If you tear it, then it can bleed to death if the chick has not cut off this flow yet.   But we could not just sit there and leave it to die.  We told Savannah that either we interfere and it lives, interfere and it dies, or leave it and it dies.  She said to go for it.

I sterlized the flat tipped tweezers, and had warm water and an earbud.  I was ready.

By grabbing a bit of the loose shell and pulling it away, I eventually had a small hole where we could see its beak.  Then I carefully grabbed an edge of the shell and pressed down to crush it , and went on slowly like that, small piece by small piece.  After 10 minutes, a large hole, I put it back into the nest, and waited for it to try again.  Nothing.  It seemed to be exhausted.  I had identified the 3 layers, the shell being the first.  There was a little trickle of watery blood once, and I stopped immediately.  But that was all.  As I was doing this, I would also keep the second membrane wet with the warm water and earbud.

Me carefully chipping away at the egg

I did as much as I thought I should, and its head, wing and one foot was free.  So put it back into the warm incubator, and once again we waited with baited breath.

Removing more of the shell

Waiting to see if it can make the final break from the egg.

It was just too exhausted after trying to get out for 20 hours.  It just lay there, breathing heavily.  And so I decided to have another go.

Here is most of it. I left the back part of the shell still on. The chick just lay there. Luckily it had absorbed the egg yolk, as you can see by its large abdomen.

I then picked it up again.  I must admit I was getting tired and would not make a  good surgeon. You can’t really stop in the middle of an operation and go home to sleep.  And then it just plopped out of the last piece of shell , totally exhausted.

an exhausted sleep after the whole ordeal.

Well, we did not know if it would survive after this.  It seemed to not be able to walk, its head was floppy, and it would just close its eyes.  We hung around for 2 more hours, transferred it from the incubator into the brooding box, and then all went to bed.  Kyle and I woke up about 3 times during the night to check on it.  The next morning it was still alive, but still not walking properly.  When we picked it up, its head would flop over.  We wondered if it was brain damaged.  But it was cute and fluffy.

Fast asleep snuggled up to its teddy bear.

After 24 hours, it did not seem to improve much, and we were like zombies, waking up a few times during the night to check on the temperature.  The temperature must be taken down a degree a day for the first week.  And one night, as we were about to go to sleep, the electricity went off.  Kyle spent the whole night until 3am awake, changing hot water bottles for the chick to keep warm.  By the 3rd day, it seemed to suddenly get a new wind, and started walking properly without flopping down, and keeping its head up.

I am happy to say, that it is now a feisty litter critter who loves Savannah, its new mama.  She walks around with it snuggled up under her neck with  a scarf.  Hopefully our zombie like state will improve too.

Chippie running up Ayla's arm

A happy mama

At the dinner table

So now you know it can be done.  Here is the link for how to do it properly

And now we have to work out how it is going to go camping with us in December !!!

Posted by: savayla | July 8, 2010


So much for my promise to myself to work on my blog.  I have no idea what it is , as I love writing.  I think I am still trying to settle down into a rhythm since we moved here.   We have been in New Zealand for 13 weeks now, in this cottage for 9 weeks.  Yet it seems to be so much longer.

School has not taken off like in Langkawi.  We are missing the rhythm too.  I think it is because we have not started a Sage yet, and have been doing Math and Spelling work, which tends to jump around.

The chickens have also go in the way.  Savannah, who wakes up grumpy and still half asleep, walks up to the heater to thaw out and get going, has a passion in her life. Chickens.  These have always been there, ever since my mom and dad gave her two Japanese Silkies for her 1st birthday when we moved onto a wine farm in Wellington, South African.  Named Bonnie and Clyde, she loved feeding them, and walking to their coop and coming back with an egg and telling me to “cook mommy”.  From them we eventually had 19 chickens.  We are wiser now and they are actually Peking Bantams. Not chickens.

Since then, Savannah has been what Kyle and I call in this houshold, chicken befokked.   Ever since we left the chickens behind , when she was 2 years old, she has targeted Chippies.  These are what she calls baby chicks.  She has chased and caught them in a rural village in Thailand, on the border of Burma, chased and caught them in Langkawi, been chased by a mother hen in Langkawi which was too funny to see.  When in Samoeng, in Northern Thailand we had to eventually tell her to shut up as she would yell out Chippies, STOP ! .  No, we are not stopping so that you can run around a persons yard chasing their chicks.  Her dream has always been to hatch a Chippie and let it think she is its mama.

Well, she has landed in heaven here where we are staying in New Zealand.  She has 24 chickens to play with.  When we arrived there were 13 of these 2 week old chicks, with their two moms.  Savannah took over the feeding for a while, until the early mornings got to her.  But she cleaned the coop, made them a playground, fed them in the afternoons, and talked to them continuously.  There were others in another paddock, but these were like her babies.  All the chickens  have since been put together and she has named all 24 and knows all their characters.  They are all different, and she has since identified them as Rhode Island Reds, Barred Plymouth Rocks, Purple Orpington, Light Sussex and I am not sure about the other white ones.

She and her dad built an incubator and she has been collecting eggs and trying to incubate them.  The problem is that none have been fertile.  We would check every 3 days, and by day 6 you should see veins, but nothing.  I told her that they would not hatch, but she was determined.  Well, yesterday they all went into Ben the pigs bucket.  She even phoned the local “fertilized egg ” lady, wanting to buy some eggs, even though the chickens are not laying at the moment.  She wisely chose 3 types of Peking Bantams, but will have to wait between 4-8 weeks for them to start laying as they are moulting at the moment.

She has a special touch with these chickens, and they trust her implicitly.

Yesterday things changed.  This was because, she had taken an egg from her favourite chicken, Googly (she has one dark eye and one light eye ) and it is fertile.  The girls were so excited, so hyped when they saw the veins and the dot, that Ayla stripped naked and went running around the house.  Reminded me of a crazed soccer fan, not that we have watched any of the soccer .

So now she is a clucking hen and I have to admit it can drive me a bit crazy.  She turns it twice a day, but is so worried it will overheat, she asks us about 10 times before she goes to bed, to remember to check the egg.  And the other night, she got up at 2:30 so she could check the egg.

I cannot wait for this little chick to be born, it will be one of the highlights of Savannah’s life and one which she has dreamed of forever.

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