I spent the day working on my menus for the next two weeks, which found me sitting at the computer desk, on the couch and in the kitchen scrolling through my cookbooks and racking my brain for the comfort food that I grew up eating.
While doing this though I was transported back in time, back to my childhood, back to when we lived in Portugal and South Africa, to the times when we went on vacation to the beach or to the Kruger National Park, the restaurants we stopped at, the meals we ate and the sights we saw.
So I went searching for photos that would show you all a little more about who I am, where I've been and what I LOVE
......you may want to grab a cup of coffee and tell everyone to leave you alone for a while, I do have quite a bit to say and lots of photos to share.
I have to start with where I was born, which was in the beautiful city of Maputo
formerly known as Lourenco Marques
, Mozambique. Gosh do I miss that country, on my few trips back home when I still lived in South Africa, I remember walking through these beaches or driving by the main road lined with palm trees and merchants selling their freshly caught fish.
All you need to do is take a walk along the beach and browse the amazing seafood readily available and just brought off the sea. There is nothing like fresh crab or prawns, clams, mussels etc.
I also vividly remember taking a trip to Catembe
(if you click on the link it will take you to a YouTube video of Catembe and Maputo) , hopping the ferry and then once on the other side, you are surrounded by the ocean on one side and a river on the other. You can sit at the restaurant right in the middle of both and whatever you order off the menu, you can see the men go out in the boats to the river to fish. I can almost smell the fresh air and the ocean and feel the smooth beach sand in my toes.
That's Catembe above!
So now that I've shown you a little of my birth country, I want to take you for a quick trip to another place....Zimbabwe
also formerly known as Rhodesia
. We lived there for a little right after the whole Mozambique independence war broke out, just like many other families who fled, we also had to leave our beautiful home behind.
For me as a young 2 year old girl, the ONE
thing I can never forget were the Jacaranda trees that used to abound in the city of Harare, again formerly known as Salisbury.......boy do I feel old when everything starts changing names LOL
The trees were breathtaking when in bloom, it took everything out of you not to just stop and admire them everywhere you went.
I thought this picture would better show you the Jacaranda lined roads....
After our short stay in Zimbabwe we left for Portugal and THIS was really my second home. I have been pretty lucky I must say, there's a lot of countries I have called my home but I think South Africa is definitely the one I would call that closely followed by Portugal, maybe because that is where I grew up, where I first went to school and had friends and really became aware of everything around me.
Portugal will always hold a special place in my heart, I love it dearly and I miss it almost as much as I miss South Africa. You know as the years go by we tend to loose loved ones along the way, it's just the natural course of life, but Portugal was the one place where I truly remember EVERYONE still being alive and together, both my grandfathers and my greatgrandmother and my dear Uncle Carlos. Wonderful memories.
We lived in Povoa de Santa Iria for quite a few years, this is where my brothers and I made good friends, got into tons of trouble and had the best time ever. The buildings above are just like the ones we used to live in, we actually lived in a cul de sac which was perfect as a kid, we had the run of the neighborhood and did whatever we wanted to. In the summer I remember it being 10:30pm and we would all still be outside playing Hide and Seek and Tag....I miss those days.
That was my school, I LOVED that school and the teachers, as a matter of fact after we left for South Africa I still kept in touch with one of my teachers through letters.
We didn't always stay in Povoa, right before we moved to Johannesburg, we also lived in Forte Da Casa, though I can't seem to find any good photos from it. But what I mostly remember is that we lived in these apartment buildings right by a railroad track and just beneath the apartments were little stores.....my greatgrandmother used to send me there to buy wine for her "vinho branco sem agulhas
I still remember, and to this day I have no idea what she meant by that, but it was like I was programmed to say it LOL
While in Portugal we did go on vacation to different spots.....one of the most visited by us was Odeceixe. We would rent a house and go for a week or so, I still don't know how the heck we all managed to fit in a small car LOL
Meet the Mini Metro....and really the name does it justice it really was MINI
. But we managed to fit my dad and my stepmom, 4 kids and my greatgrandmother and even my mother at one point. Though the whole way there my poor Bio was complaining that there was a bag hitting her on the back of the head LOL
Oh and we did take the dog one time too........hahahahahahahahahah How the heck did we fit everyone in there???? Dad???? Nela????? Care to try and explain this one???? LOL
Praia de Odeceixe was the beach we went to, it was gorgeous and the huge rocks you see created small caverns alongside the beach, perfect for kids to play in LOL Now don't worry, they weren't big or long caves, just small indentations in the rocks but they provided cool shade which in the summer heat was very welcomed.
*sigh* how I miss those little roads and look at the stunning colors hanging above.
We also vacationed in Algarve with some friends, I remember that we stayed at this beautiful house, it was 2 or 3 families, I am not completely sure right now, I was after all quite young.Vila Moura
, isn't it beautiful? I only wish my husband and kids had gotten to see these places, who knows maybe one day??
And then one day we went to Sagres
and that place became engraved in my memory and in my heart. There was just something magical about it, maybe because it's the most southern point of Portugal. The views are breathtaking and the food.....oh the food. I still remember the BEST Caldeirada de Peixe
(Fish Stew) I have ever had. OH.MY.GOODNESS
the freshest seafood and fish and eating it at this quaint restaurant overlooking the ocean.
Look at those beaches????
Typical portuguese streets.....there were times that we would be in a taxi in Lisbon and the streets we traveled through were only big enough for ONE car at a time, and it was a close fit too I tell you LOL
There's places where neighbors can just open their windows and shake hands across the street...how neat is that???
This picture above makes me happy, everything about it, the small street, the clothes hanging, the pretty yellow of the buildings and then the way the photographer caught the ship in the center. Beautiful!
So now that you've seen a bit of Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Portugal, I think it's only fair that I take you to my other home, South Africa.
I kid you not when I tell you that from my house in Johannesburg, this was the view from the front porch. No, really, I'm not joking, at night it was amazing with all the lights on in the city.
South Africa, wow, what can I say that I haven't already said in the past almost 2 years of having this blog. This country is one of the most beautiful in the world and also one of the least understood and KNOWN. It boggles my mind when people ask me where I'm from and I tell them, only to be met with "did you live in a hut?" or "were there wild animals running around?". LOL
It's a country, a well developed country, I promise you, I did not live in a hut and I did not have to cross the veld (bush) to get home from school nor was I ever attacked by lions or elephants roaming the streets. Everything in it's place and a place for everything!
We lived in Johannesburg and my family still does......in one of the Southern Suburbs that were prominently portuguese. Some areas were even named Little Portugal because the stores, the restaurants and the neighborhoods were all Portuguese people.
The first place we lived was called Regent's Park and the house kinda looked like this one, I can't find one of the actual house, it's something I'm going to make sure I get when I visit South Africa in May. Believe me, you will then get to see everything, the houses I lived in, the places I went to, the schools the food the restaurants....you name it, I'll have it to show you :)
We also lived in Turffontein in a very haunted house, though my father will tell you over and over that he LOVED
the house and it was not haunted. I beg to differ, I saw and heard things that still make my skin crawl. So did my grandmother and my stepmom AND
my poor Uncle Carlos who was house sitting for us when we went to the beach and after one day he was ready to never return LOL
I also remember a HUGE
house in Towerby, we lived there with my grandparents and my greatgrandmother.....AND
my Uncle too at one time. We still laugh about the morning that he was fast asleep in his bed and a cockatiel flew in through the window and landed on his head hahahahaha
It became our bird, Amadeus, named after that crazy 80's song "Rock me Amadeus
" remember that????
But all this led to our home in The Hill, where my oldest brother Paul still lives today. My dad and stepmom moved to a new house a few months ago after 20 plus years of living in our home and my brother feeling much like we did "this is HOME
" decided to move in with his family.
Again no photos.....dagnabit! LOL
But I can tell you this much, it was just up the road from our High School and just a bus or car trip away from Rosettenville........the little shopping mall I worked at, the offices for the radio stations we owned and worked at too, and the restaurants we owned (come to think of it, we did quite a lot LOL)
So what do I most miss about it other than my family of course???? Well I miss buying fresh portuguese bread daily at the Four Seasons Shop, going next door to the Rio Douro Peixaria (fish market) and buying fresh fish........I miss the breakfast or the lunch that my grandmother and I used to enjoy at Wimpy's
.......the portuguese food at Piri Piri Portuguese restaurant, they had the BEST barbecue chickens ever, well, other than Nando's Chicken
which was amazing too.
Do you want to read a little more about Rosettenville and why I love it so much??? Read this article
, the writer describes perfectly what this suburb is all about.
I know this has been a long post but I like sharing my favorite things with you and I think this way you also learn a bit more about me......if anything my family will enjoy this trip down memory lane and I'm sure they'll have plenty of stories to add to this.
I can't leave without showing you my favorite food can I? Be prepared, you may just want to go eat lunch now OR use these next photos as motivation for your meal?
Here are some Koeksisters, which I'll be making probably next week and I'll be sure to have the recipe and the photos for you on my food blog.
Chourico assado....grilled chourico, I'm actually making this for a snack this coming week and I'll show you how we do it in Portugal, it's SO good.
Bifes a cavalo........oh the many times I had this steak at a portuguese restaurant. A yummy steak with a fried egg on top, served with the little mound of rice and a salad, I always had mine with fries too :)Boerewors
on the grill.......YUMMY! One of the things I most miss about South Africa and the Braais (BBQ's). This delicious
How about a Catembe to drink? This popular drink from Mozambique is one of my favorites....all it is, is red wine and coke together. Or you could do a Penalty, which is white wine and sprite. Both Yummy!
And to finish off, here's a huge platter of seafood, straight from Mozambique to you. Now just close your eyes and imagine you're sitting at a beach front restaurant, hearing the waves crash on the sand and savoring an ice cold beer while eating this gorgeous platter. Yeah, you KNOW you want to go there :)
NOTE: These are NOT my photos, so full credit goes to the wonderful people who took them.