The last line of defense – peanut, oat and smartie cookie giants

healthy nuts and oats hiding inside a child's dream

healthy nuts and oats hiding inside a child's dream

When you finally realise your dream and open a deli / coffee shop / bakery what is it you are really hoping for?  Time to do lots of baking ?  Loads of manolo-clad ( or ugg-booted, as it’s winter) feet stomping, shuffling and striding over your threshhold?  Someone else to do the washing up? 

All of the above would be my answer, but the reality is that loads of feet striding over your threshold inevitably means selling out of all the artisan baked goodies you’ve slaved and laboured over for hours.  But that’s good, right?  Sigh!  I think I really understand how my mom’s bakers felt for all those years when 15 waiters had already sold all the scones and cheesecake that they kept churning out all day, even before they were out of the oven.  Some times you just want to be able to bask in your domestic goddessness for awhile.  Some days, like today, in between giving thanks for the steady stream of oohing and aahing custom, you barely have time to curse the person who bought the last 10 chocolate brownies. 

I mean, I know they’re good.  I baked them.  But who can eat 10 chocolate brownies?  And more to the point, how do I stop to bake another double batch in between orders of espresso hot chocolates, free range beef burgers with all the trimmings, avocado, rocket and sundried tomato bruschetta and French toast with Parma ham and verjuice syrup?  Ever the dreamer, even I have to admit that I can’t.  Once they’re gone, that’s it.  No more until tomorrow.

  But every good baker has a secret weapon or 6 tucked inside their floury apron pocket.  These giant cookies are one of ours.  They take literally minutes to throw together, less than ten in the oven, and the smell sells them before people have even seen them.  The most difficult thing will be convincing your guests to wait until they’ve cooled before they eat them.  And kids of all ages can’t resist them.  Even the most hardened chocaholic can be persuaded to ignore the empty chocolate brownie plate when gently tempted with a giant peanut, oat and smartie cookie that takes up both hands.  Try them and you’ll see what I mean.

For the recipe, click here, (as usual I’ve posted it straight to the sidebar for easy access), and please excuse me, I’m off to bake a quadruple batch of chocolate brownies for tomorrow’s ugg-booted, baked goods addicts!  Bless them one and all…

African reflections

whales are eagerly awaited and much loved visitors in our bay

whales are eagerly awaited and much loved visitors in our bay


For 3 days the ocean and the sky have wept.  Not those  great joyous, life giving raindrops hurled at the thirsty African earth, but a slow steady leaching of sorrow, cloaking the whole peninsula in grey depression. 

We seem to be lurching from one awful event to another.  The miners who forfeited their lives to the deep dank bowels of the earth, the awful loss of the French Airbus, and the heartwrenching waste of the pod of whales that beached themselves in Kommetjie over the weekend.

My parents’ home looks out over both sides of our beautiful peninsula.  The everchanging False Bay which embraces our deli, and the wilder Noordhoek side where the resident pod of False Killer whales came to such a tragic end.

No one seems to know why they beached.  Some say the navy exercises in the bay last week could have something to do with it.  Long range sonar has been linked with whales beaching, as apparently it messes with their ability to sense magnetic north.  But the navy deny the use of any sonar or underwater manoeuvres, and go so far as to assure us that they have spotters out when they do exercises, to ensure that they do not unduly upset the local marine life.

There is also the possibility that the whales could have been ill, and exhaustive tests will be done to rule this out.

The general expert consensus, however, seems to be navigational error.  It would appear  that the gentle underwater slope of this particular coastline means that the whales may send out a sonar beacon, receive no pingback and find themselves in trouble before they realise it.  It happened a century ago when over a 100 whales beached themselves.  This time the number was 50.  50 beautiful, social, family minded creatures, who are no  more.

The pod functions as a family and where one goes, the rest follow.  This proved a massive stumbling block to the rescue attempts, as those whales that rescuers managed to get back into the ocean, turned around and re-beached themselves.  Desperate to stay with their pod, in their confusion they could not wait for the rest of the whales to be helped back into the water. 

From sunrise to sunset the effort to assist these huge creatures continued.  Humans and whales alike becoming ever more distressed.  The unaccustomed full weight of the whales’ bodies puts gargantuan pressure on their inside organs and the desperate flapping and cries of agony were unbearable.

Eventually defeat was admitted, and the decision to euthenase the distraught animals was taken.  Tears streamed down almost every cheek as the crack of each gunshot reverberated down the beach and the outgoing tide ran red with blood, for once not stained by the sunset alone.

The horror and helplessness hang like a pall over the coastal villages still, yet this morning, as stygian black gave way to dawn, the surfers were out to greet the winter wan sun, and they were joined by a huge, rollicking joyous school of porpoises, racing across the bay.

The sky still weeps, the ocean is still cloaked in mourning, but the sun rises, the world turns and Africa absorbs the sorrow, as she has for eons, and as she will continue to do. My heart will be a little slower to heal.