Shrove Tuesday, anyone?

It’s almost that time of the year again, when we dine for the solemn religious observance that is Shrove Tuesday. I must admit, my family was not so big on all the traditional Christian rituals, we only celebrated Easters and Christmas. But, recently, I had the urge to create a warm home full of traditions and since I am straddling between the African tradition and Church, I am not short of any traditions to imitate and/or revamp.

I am so excited about the mix-masalas I’m going to make from my cupboards for Shrove Tuesday, I have become quite a creative cook.

Pancakes will obviously be the talk of the day at my house – I actually haven’t made Pancakes in a long time.

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While I am excited about all the food I am going to make, it’s also important to note that Shrove Tuesday is not only about food, but a deeper spiritual observance for Christians. For those who may not know, Shrove Tuesday is the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday; It is the first day of Lent. It’s a day of penitence, to clean the soul, and a day of celebration as the last chance to feast before Lent begins. But there’s more to Shrove Tuesday.

Originally, this ritual got its name from the ritual of shriving which Christians used to undergo in the past. In shriving, a person confesses their sins and receives absolution for them. When a person receives absolution for their sins, they are forgiven for them and released from the guilt and pain that they have caused them.

This is in the Catholic or Orthodox context, where the absolution is pronounced by a priest and quite frankly, this tradition is very old. So, I am revamping it in my house. I want to make it more of a celebration with a twist. At a given time, each person who has come to the feast will get an opportunity to write down the sins they want to work on in their lives, or even bad habits that lead to sin. Each person will then write down how they want to change that habit, as in what they are willing to give up for the next 40 days in order to clear their souls.

So, some ideas I am thinking for my dinner are;

  1. Pancakes and roasted fruits (Desert)
  2. Wine
  3. Iced Tea (My recipe will be Rooibos, ground ginger, lemon, Watermelon and sugar)
  4. Mixed Vegetables with lentils
  5. Chicken
  6. Whatever else my guests are bringing!

 

 

Five Cheap Weekdays Meals

I love cooking! I love the kitchen. While I love finding different ways and things to cook, I also love going back to basics for those budget-friendly meals that carry me through the month, and here they are directly from my own kitchen.

 

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  1. Pap and Pilchard

I always keep 1Kg of mealie-meal and about four tins of Pilchard because this is a meal under R50, which you can stretch for the last two days before pay day. I make the meal interesting by adding mixed vegetables to the pilchard and sprinkle cheese around the plate. You can use your discretion in how you sprinkle the cheese.

 

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2. Salads and Chicken

So, for R100, you can buy potatoes, carrots and chicken and twist and turn the ingredients around for those last three days. You can roast the chicken with the carrots and potatoes on the first day. And then steam the carrots and make the good old potato salad with roasted chicken on the second day. You can cook your chicken with the carrots and potatoes for a stew situation on the third day, and perhaps add rice or pap to the meal.

 

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3. Black beans (and or chickpeas)

Most people hate salads because salads aren’t filling, right? Well, I have not been eating meat for a whole month and was forced to be a little innovative with salads. In order to make a filling salad, add proteins like beans or chickpeas. Use half of the tin, and you’ll feel the difference! By the way, they go for under R20 per tin.

 

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4. Potato Bake and Salad

We all know how filling potatoes are. For R30, you can get quite a number of them from your local supermarket. And, cheese sauce is about R12. Spinach and tomatoes will cost you another R30, and then you add whatever you have at home in the salad. I used tuna and eggs because I always have those to throw in whatever I am making.

 

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5. Breakfast Food

When I still stayed in Cape Town, there was a restaurant from downstairs which served breakfast the whole day (literally until 9PM) and I always ordered breakfast when I was broke because it was filling and always under R100. So, I use the same trick at home sometimes – I make a bowl of fruits, two eggs and Mayo, two slices of Low GI bread, jam, juice and chakalaka or salad. This is obviously perfect when you want to have a big breakfast, but trust me, when you have too much month at the end of the money, this can be brunch or an early dinner.

Birthday on a budget!

My year has, now, officially begun, compliments to all of you! I celebrated my birthday from the 1st of February until 11th, yep, I am an Aquarius baby. I always take advantage of the fact that my birthday is at the beginning of the year, because whenever I fail at any resolution, I can say; “Oh well, I’ll officially start after my birthday.”

Although being born at this time of the year is fantastic, it can also be stressful because I am always still recovering from December’s festivities and after the feasts we hosted back home, I had close to no budget for a massive birthday. So, I want to share with you how I celebrated my birthday in the cheapest way possible.

 

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On the weekend of the 1st, I hosted a few friends here at home for some tripe and samp – a meal that cost me R100 and could serve ten people.

 

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Then, on the day of my actual birthday, which was the 5th of February, I made my way to Duke’s Burgers in Greenside and had some finger foods with wine. The meal cost me and my cousin about R350. The spot is absolutely nice and cosy with some Jazz music – and I could totally see myself having romantic date nights there during the week.

 

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And then, for the final Get together on the 10th, we baked muffins from home which served as desert with strawberry jam as a topping.

My starter was simple; an old school pasta and tuna salad (with Mayonnaise). I added pieces of viennas, tomato, mixed herbs and peppers. Light enough to keep my guests’ stomachs intact until we served the main course. We grilled beef, we cooked tripe, pap and steam bread. So people had the option to choose whatever meat and starch of their choice.

 

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Our homemade cocktails were devine! It was blended Watermelon, Russian Bear, Berries flavoured juice and ground ginger. The ginger definitely added a twist to the taste. I must say, the cocktail was a little thick, so I’d suggest you add little Watermelon and more juice for a thinner version.

So, there is absolutely no excuse not to have a fantastic birthday – the food served a total of ten to twelve guests who couldn’t stop eating, compliments to the chefs! We didn’t even cook the next day because there were plenty of leftovers, and all the food on the day cost me just under R1K.