Do you love Alligator Pears? :)

I REALLY, REALLY love avos. They are so rich and yummy, and if finances allowed it, I would eat about 2 a day.

A few interesting things about Avocados:

  • They are also known as alligator pears (what a funky name!)
  • Brazillians mix avocado with ice-cream to make a popular dessert.
  • Filipinos puree avocados with sugar and milk for a dessert drink


If you are not eating avos as much as I do, here is why you should:

  • It contains in excess of 25 essential nutrients, including vitamin A, B, C, E, & K, copper, iron, phosporus, magnesium, and potassium.
  • Avocado is high in fat content, but it is mostly the monounsaturated fat which is a healthy fat variety. (Great for heart health)
  • The lower cholesterol! Avocados are rich in a compound called beta-sitosterol which has been shown to be effective in lowering blood cholesterol levels.
  • The potassium in avocado help regulate your blood pressure levels.
  • They have the highest fibre content of any fruit!

As you may remember, I did a blogpost about the yummy health benefits of dark chocolate. Here is a recipe that combines the two to make a super-healthy (yes, I said HEALTHY!) chocolate mousse.




Chocolate Avocado Mousse


Serves 6

354ml good quality dark chocolate, chopped

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp chili powder

1 large, ripe Hass avocado, pitted and peeled

3/4 cup light brown sugar

6 egg whites


Melt the chocolate with the cinnamon and chili powder in a double boiler over hot water and set aside. Purée the avocado and brown sugar in a food processor until smooth. With the machine running, pour in the chocolate mixture. Using a stand mixer or whisk, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Fold the chocolate mixture into the egg whites. Pour the mousse into 6 small serving bowls or wine glasses and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or covered overnight.


In My Garden…Sweet Basil

In My Garden…Basil


So I know I have been quiet for a while, but now I am back on track! This week we’re talking about Sweet Basil (Ocimum basilicum). I love using this in pastas, and of course you will know it’s the main ingredient in pesto. You can add lots of flavour to your cooking by using the fresh leaves.


…blends well with Bergamot, Clary Sage, Geranium, Lavender, Melissa, Neroli and Rosemary

…odour intensity is high

…part of the plant which is used are the flowering tops and the leaves.

…extracted by means of steam distillation

–          Basil can be used as a general tonic for the nervous system, to calm gastric spasms, for general fatigue after illness and anxiety.

–          To repel mosquitoes, rub crushed leaves on the exposed areas of your skin.

Pesto recipe:



1. Place the pine nuts into a non-stick pan and dry fry until lightly toasted. If you’re in a pinch for pine nuts, sunflower seeds can be your hero here.

2. Remove from the heat and set aside for 10 minutes to cool. Place the pine nuts, basil, garlic and parmesan in the bowl of a food processor and blend until finely chopped. You can also add your chilli here if you choose. With the processor still running, gradually add the oil in a thin steady stream until well combined.

3. Season with salt and pepper.

Basil pesto can be kept frozen for up to 4 months. Transfer half the pesto to a small airtight container and smooth the surface. Drizzle with olive oil to cover. Label, date and freeze. When you’re ready to welcome it back into your life, place in the fridge for 3-4 hours or until thawed. Don’t forget to stir it up before serving.


‘A Guide to Green Housekeeping” by Christina Strutt

‘Secrets of youth & beauty’ by Daniéle Rymans

‘The Complete Aromatherapy Tutor’ by Joanne Hoare


In My Garden…Rosemary

I recently started a fruit and herb garden, so each week, one of these plants will be featured on the blog with interesting info and recipes. This week it’s Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis).

The first encounter I had with rosemary was on a school outing (almost 20 years ago!) when we went to the “Die Kasteel” in Cape Town. We walked past a rosemary bush and the teacher said “Rosemary is very good for you hair”… and that was all I needed to get hooked!


…blends well with Lavender, Geranium, Lemongrass, Lime, Orange, Petitgrain, and Basil

…odour intensity is high

…part of the plant which is used are the flowering tops and the leaves.

…extracted by means of distillation

–        Infuse the fresh leaves in boiling water to make a mouthwash for sweet smelling breath. This also helps reduce flatulence when taken in small amounts.

–        Its anti-bacterial properties makes it a good addition to bathwater for healthy skin. Add about one cup of leaves.

–        I add dried rosemary to a basic body scrub I make:

  • ½ cup sea salt (I use magnesium sulphate, or “Epsom salts”for a very gentle scrub with health benefits)
  • 60ml base oil (I like sweet almond or olive)
  • You can add lemon juice for improvement on blemishes.
  • To this I add dried Rosemary and it smells beautiful!

And of course, the main reason I have Rosemary in my garden, it adds shine to dark hair! I steep a few sprigs in hot water, let it cool and use it as a final rinse when washing my hair.

And for those who didn’t know, it’s also useful for alopecia.

It stimulates the mind, promoting clear thought and inner vision. So I like burning Rosemary oil when I am studying or working, it helps me to focus and not get distracted by Twitter! ;)

Unfortunately due to rosemary being used in so many hair products, I struggle to use it in food. The fragrance puts me off as it remind me of shampoo!

Do you have Rosemary in your garden, and what do you use it for?


‘A Guide to Green Housekeeping” by Christina Strutt

‘Secrets of youth & beauty’ by Daniéle Rymans

‘The Complete Aromatherapt Tutor’ by Joanne Hoare

When life hands you lemons…

We recently moved into our new home, and to my delight we have a LEMON TREE! (Hopefully the “Lemon Tree” song by Fool’s Garden won’t be stuck in your head now) Anyway, it turns out that the previous owner never bothered to pick the lemons, so the tree was literally overflowing with these sour little fruits! Well, I don’t particularly enjoy eating lemons ‘fresh from the tree’, so I had to come up with a few interesting ideas to reinvent lemons. Here is what I came up with:

Beauty Treatments:

Lemon Juice is the key to lightening age spots and freckles. Its powerful acid action really does the trick. To exfoliate dead skin and diminish the appearance of freckles and age spots, gently rub a cut lemon and 1/2 teaspoon sugar granules over the skin for a few minutes. Repeat at least once a week until the darkened areas fade. Or simply sit with a slice of lemon applied directly to the area for ten minutes. Repeat once a week until spots fade.

Get Rid of Blackheads If you rub lemon juice on the area with your blackheads, it should make them disappear. Do this every night and rinse with cool water in the morning until blackheads are gone.

Make a moisturizing mask for dry skin by mixing equal amounts of honey, lemon and olive oil. Apply the mixture to dry areas on the skin and allow it to dry thoroughly for about 10 minutes. Rinse with warm water.If your skin is sensitive to the citric acid in lemons, you can dilute the juice with some water. Using a cotton ball to apply is the best way. Try not to use lemon juice on your skin before any sun exposure since it will make your skin more sensitive to the sun.

Natural hair highlights – Make a solution of ½ cup of lemon juice added to 1 cup of water. Rinse your hair with this solution and wait in the sunshine until your hair dries. Lemon juice is a natural highlighter.


Make a lemon preserve – see recipe here

Grilled Shrimp and Lemon Kebabs – see recipe here

Prevent browning – Avocados will remain green if sprinkled with lemon juice. The juice protects the avocado from oxidation and browning.


Cleaning marble – Marble is porous and can stain easily. To remove tough stains, take half a lemon and dip the exposed side into salt. Then, rub the lemon over the stain vigorously. You’ll be surprised how effective it is.

Auto-clean your microwave – If the inside of your microwave has tough-to-remove dirt, use this trick. Put 1 1/2 cups of water with 3 tablespoons of lemon juice into bowl and place it into the microwave. Heat it for 10 minutes, and the steam will make the dirt come off easily with a washcloth.

For the Home

Sweet smelling smoke – When you’re lighting the fireplace, throw some lemon rinds into the fire. It will create a pleasant aroma.

Get rid of ants – This is an easy way to get rid of ants inside your home without resorting to insecticides. Spray some lemon juice in the areas where you spot them. If you can find where the ants entering on the outside of your house, place some lemon rinds there. The ants will not come back.

So, if life hands you lemons…you can beautify yourself, clean your microwave or make shrimp kebabs…you don’t HAVE to make lemonade! ;)


More than just a pesto!







I was lucky enough to receive two gorgeous jars of pesto from the Royal Headquarters, and was really impressed from the moment I saw (and tasted) them!

Pesto Princess Foods has been manufacturing the best basil pesto south of the equator for the past 10 years. The range has expanded to include Pesto Princess exotic spice pastes, dips and relishes. The ‘princess’ herself, Kathleen Quillinan, has a passion for food, music and people. All of this passion is combines to make Pesto Princess the unique, quirky, excellent business mix that it is today. All of the products are free from preservatives, flavourants and colourants.

Think pesto is only a sauce of crushed basil leaves, a few pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil? Think again! These ladies take pesto to a whole new level!

The pesto princesses have such a nice attitude, and it is really fun interacting with them on twitter and Facebook.

They have 6 pesto varieties:

Thai (coriander and chilli)
Greek (with feta and olives)
Rocket & Walnut
Red (sweet red peppers and sundried tomatoes)
Aubergine & Olive








I received the Red and Basil pesto, and was hooked instantly. The Red Pesto has a smoky flavour, which I used with almost everything (on my provitas, pasta, plain toast…and a few bites right out of the bottle!) The Basil pesto really gave a real Italian flavour to pizza and pasta. What’s great is that the pesto can be freezed for up to 3 months, and can be used from the freezer. That means you can get one in every flavour!


PESTO PRINCESS’s secret is simple: generosity and integrity, hand in hand



Twitter: @Pesto_Princess

Palace Telephone: 021 709 0915

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What to do with pesto? Here are some tips from the princesses themselves:

1. Add a heaped teaspoon to a plate of recently cooked pasta. A little extra olive oil will help it spread easily. Serve with extra grated parmesan and black pepper. (I tried this and it is YUMMY!)

2. Pesto compliments any egg dishes like omelettes, fried or scrambled eggs or quiches
3. Pesto makes great salad dressing: simply mix a generous dollop into your usual vinaigrette
4. Pesto can be used to marinade and baste grilled meats, chicken and fish
5. Pesto makes a great dip: mix into mayo or cream cheese
6. Pesto can be baked into muffins and breads
7. Pesto makes quick garlic bread: mash pesto into butter, spread in a sliced french loaf and bake in the oven, wrapped in foil (Another winner!)
8. Pesto makes a great topping for baked potatoes (And you thought potatoes can’t get more delicious)

9. Pesto is great in sandwiches, wraps and on toast
10. Any soup tastes and looks great with a big spoon of pesto stirred into each bowl