Oct 122009

Okay, so Pick’nPay had frozen whole ducks for sale when I went grocery shopping this month, on a whim – I bought one, and decided to try my hand at roast duck. Yesterday, it was my dish of the day, I made up a recipe and it came really nice, soft as butter, tasty as can be – so of course, I’m posting it – especially as I haven’t posted a recipe in a while.

One whole duck
500ml of red wine, I used a Merlot but any of the less dry wines should work.
Dried bay leaves
Fresh black pepper
Whole star-anis
Ground ginger
About two table-spoons of crushed-garlic

Method: First, if the duck is frozen, it needs to be thawed, and I suggest natural thawing. I took mine out of the freezer the day before and then moved the mostly defrosted duck into the fridge overnight.
Pour the wine into a decanter and heat to just below boiling point in the microwave. Add all the herbs and spices to the wine, including some whole pepper-corns. Be liberal with the spices as it needs to be enough to soak their flavors into the duck – I added about a table-spoon of each.
Stir the sauce well and then leave to stand. Cover the duck in honey on all sides and place in a bowl.
Pour the wine-sauce over the duck, it should cover it about half-way. Leave to stand for 30-minutes, then roll it over and leave for another 30 minutes.
Place the duck in the oven at maximum heat pouring about half the sauce over it.
Roast for one hour.
Turn the duck over, pour the remaining sauce over it and roast for another hour. If you want to roast vegetables with your duck, add them to the oven-tray now. They need now flavoring as they’ll pick up plenty from the sauce.

Serve and enjoy.

Mar 032008

First recipe post in a while, and unlike most of those – not exclusively my own – this is one me and Silvia came up with together.

This recipe needs a fish, as fresh as possible (never frozen is ideal). You want an intermediary dryness, not too dry or too oily here. In South Africa, yellowtail works very well but ask your fish merchant for fishes that are good to roast on the coals.
You will also need:

1) One fresh pineapple
2) Two fresh green peppers (one red, one green).
3) Olive oil
4) A fresh lemon
5) Herbs to taste
6) Salt and pepper

Cut the pineapple and peppers into strips about half an inch wide. Once you have cleaned your fish, spread it open so you can stuff it. Drip olive oil over it inside and out, then put a layer of herbs over the inside. Put a thick layer of pineapple and pepper strips over it, add another layer of herbs and drip copious amounts of olive oil and lemon juice over all this. Add salt and pepper.
Fold the fish closed, if needed use some string to tie it shut. Now add salt and pepper to the outside, cover in a layer of herbs and drip more olive oil and lemon juice over it.

Take the whole fish and wrap in tinfoil. Now roast over a low-heat fire for roughly one and a half hour until moist, soft and tender. Done right, your fish will fall right of the bones and both the peppers and pineapple will go excellently with it. Serve the whole dish alongside rice and salads of your choosing (or if this is enough classy for you – make chips).

May 112007

Eisbein as everyone knows, is a German classic. Properly done it is crispy on the outside, and soft on
the inside. I chose to make mine my own way however, which was soft all the way through. Not very
German I guess, but very tasty for sure.

1 smoked Eisbein
2 giant black mushrooms
2 cups of wild berry fruit juice (make sure it’s real juice – not sugar water)
2 large onions
6 small potatoes
2 baby marrows
2 garlic cubes
2 bunches of parsley
2 table-spoons extra virgin olive oil.
3 chives

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees.
Slice the garlic cubes in thin slices about 2mm thick. Stab the eisbein with a pairing knife and stab
the garlic slices into it. Because eisbein is elastic it can hard to stuff, so I suggest keeping the knife in
the hole and then pushing it sideways and sliding the garlic in behind the blade.
Clean and slice the baby marrows into chunks about 4cm long. Cut the onions into quarters. Slice the
mushrooms into strips about 2cm wide.
Put the extra-virgin olive oil into an oven pan breadpan worked fine for me) and stack the onions,
potatoes, marrows and mushrooms strips around the Eisbein inside the pan.. Sprinkle with fresh-ground
black pepper, ground cloves and barbeque-spice mixture.
Pour the fruit-juice in a bowl and microwave for 2 minutes on high (this is important, never put cold liquid
on meat as it makes it tough). Pour the semi-boiling juice over the content of the pan, it should be it
about 1cm deep at the bottom.
Chop up the chives and parsley and sprinkle over the top of the meal.

Cover the whole thing with tin-foil, shiny-side on the inside.
Place in the oven and leave to cook for 2 and a half hours. At this point change the temperature of the
oven up to 220 degrees and cook for 1 hour. Finally switch the heat down to 100 degrees and cook for
another half-hour, serve hot. Be carefull taking it out – when you lift the foil, you can expect a lot of

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Mar 122007

Nando’s marketed their “chicken steaks” quite vigorously – though I had never tried one. My version may or may not therefore be in any way similiar – still, I think it’s one of the nicest recipes I have thus far come up with, and it’s definitely one of the healthiest.

2/3 Deboned skinless chicken breast fillets
Mielie-meal/Cornflour/Maiseflour (whatever your culture calls it)
Robertson’s Chicken spice mixture
fresh ground black pepper
Fresh garlic house

Peel the garlic and then cut the blocks into thin slices, you need about one whole garlic-block for each chicken fillet. Using a sharp thin knife (such as a fruit knife) pierce the chicken, and then push the garlic slices into the slits you cut. Sprinkle the stuffed chicken fillets lightly with salt, grind black pepper and chicken-spice on to taste. Coat in a thin layer of maize-flour.

Put a thin layer of cooking oil in a frying pan and heat up on the stove until very nearly evaporating. Toss the chicken pieces in and fry on very high heat. As always when frying on high heat it is important to turn the food almost constantly in order to prevent sticking or burning while maximizing flavor. The high heat will quickly seal the chicken on the outside and lock the juice and flavour in on the inside. The flour will gradually discolor through yellow to an eventual dark brown, once you start seeing dark brown spots, pour a cup of water onto the oil and close the pan with a lid right away to trap the steamcloud. Reduce the heat to 2 and leave to simmer for about 30mins or until chicken is cooked through.
Serve hot.

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Nov 252006

Thus far, I have deliberately not said anything about Novell’s partnership with Microsoft. I am after all a distro developer myself and I consider it very bad form to criticize other distro’s – I have always rather chosen to focus on what I believe OpenLab does right instead (whereas the founder of another distro actually sent a mail to the opensuze mailinglist announcing in effect ‘now that your distro sucks even more, why not try ours’).
Nevertheless, something with such a massive impact on the entire community cannot be completely ignored. Rather then, than my own opinions, I share with you the following letter, sent by Professor Derek Keats of the University of the Western Cape to Novell SA CEO Stafford Masie.
Professor Keats shared the mail with the South African anti-software patent mailing list, and gave permission to share it further.

Dear Stafford,

This is a personal email from me, not an official policy of UWC.
However, as the custodian of IT at UWC, I will be pursuing a full
investigation into a total exit strategy for all Novell products from
the University of the Western Cape.

As a non-trivial CUSTOMER of Novell, we will be looking at all our
Novell applications during the next 3-4 months, with a view to finding
the fastest possible way to get ALL NOVELL PRODUCTS completely out of
our environment. As a company that we have been customers of for over a
decade, Novell has let us down badly, and as customers, you may expect
us to vote with our feet and encourage others within the education
domain to do the same.

As noted by Bruce Perens, it is abundantly clear that Novell and
Microsoft took the time to engineer a circuitous legal path of issuing
covenants to each other’s customers, rather than licenses to each other,
in order to circumvent Novell’s earlier agreement with the community of
GPL software developers.

UWC both produces and depends on GPL licensed software, just like
Novell, and as the custodian of our work in this area, I find the
approach taken by Novell to be devoid of merit in relation to us as both
customers and producers.

As customers, you have failed to consider you ability as a company to
supply us with a quality product in the face of a significant percentage
of GPL licensed software owners moving from the GPL in its current
version to GPL Version 3, which will leave Novell products such as Suse
linux without access to upgrades and new versions of the software. This
includes important software like SAMBA, on which we rely for some key
operational functionality. Given that many other software producers are
stating their intentions to move to GPL V3, the quality of Novell
software will be compromised. As producers of software, you have forced
our hand. You leave us no choice but to consider the GPL version 3 for
our own software as well, in order to protect ourselves from
unscrupulous companies willing to betray their customers as Novell has

I cannot guarantee that I will be able to extricate UWC from Novell, but
I can guarantee that I will try.

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Nov 072006

After another many sleepless nights, ZybaCafe 4.0.1, is out. The official beta for ZybaCafe 4.
New features in this release are quite numerous. There is a load of bugfixes in there, crashes fixed (and those who have been following will have seen many additions in the user manual as well). The plugin system was improved and largely finalized. New for your enjoyment is the integrated receipt printing. All sale actions now bring up a print dialog, you can of course cancel it, but if you don’t it will print out a nice little customer receipt with the details of the transaction (very nice for handing to your new customer as it has his username on it). The output is formatted to fit on thermal printers, and the printing is done through cups so all cups supported printers will work.
A long missing feature has also been added – special offer support. Offers allow you to define fixed unit-ammounts at fixed (non-standard) prices, with optional extras. When a sale is made, the seller can either sell units the traditional way, or select an offer which will preset the units and the price – and if any extras are defined remind the seller to give them to the customer.
I hope everyone has fun with this release, that your internet cafe’s will run smoother, and better (especially zygo of course), but remember it’s a beta, there may still be small bugs in there. If you find any, please give feedback on the mailing list and the bugtracker.

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Aug 272006

Here's a recipe that, unlike most of what gets posted here, is more cuisine than quick, but the taste is well worth it – especially for a Sunday lunch. It works best when served with steamed veggies or on a bed of rice.