It’s a Portuguese tradition to have a salt-cod dish on Christmas Eve. There are as many ways of cooking salt-cod as there are families. In Portuguese salt-cod is called “bacalhau”.

In our family salt-cod has a mixed reception. My Dad loves it done the uber-traditional way – boiled salt-cod, boiled potatoes, boiled onion, boiled cabbage and boiled egg. It’s presented on a large platter filled with the steaming food. Once on the plate, olive oil and vinegar is drizzled over, and some people like putting chopped garlic on as well.

Most of us don’t enjoy it like this because it’s very bland. It really is! I prefer a more eclectic dish.

My hubby made Bacalhau a Gomes de Sa. The “bacalhau” is boiled and the bones taken off. Then the bacalhau is layered in an oven-proof dish with onions, potato rounds, olives and green pepper. Before popping it into the oven copious amounts of olive oil is drizzled over. My hubby caramelises the onion and green pepper beforehand and this lends the dish huge depth of flavour.

Caramelising onions


Caramelising green peppers

He doesn’t use as much olive oil as the original recipe – he drizzles over white wine and cream as well. This then gets baked until the potatoes are cooked and the top wonderfully crispy. It’s garnished with sliced boiled egg before serving. This variation went down a treat with our very mixed family.

So as you can see today I had a boring day hence the paucity of material for my blog. Bland just like the boiled variety…

Shapes, light and shadow in Freedom Park

I recently visited Freedom Park. It is worth a visit for many reasons. It sits on a hill overlooking Pretoria and provides a spectacular view of the city. There’s a lot that I like about Freedom Park, not least of which is the acknowledgement and celebration of our heritage as a diverse South African nation.

I was struck by the naturalness of the building materials, the merging into the environment and beautiful shapes in the construction of the facility.

Freedom Park – I love these stark angles and the play of light and dark, sun and shadow


Freedom Park – natural stonework on the wall, blue sky, shade, curves and lines

It was there that I met a sangoma who had some very interesting stories to tell. We sat there, like kids, listening in fascination, as she demystified the modality. I don’t know why people are afraid of them, or why they are looked down upon as a lesser form of healing. Like all modalities, there are the good sangomas and the ones that aren’t good and prey on human fears (remember those flyers that are handed out at robots promising all sorts of improbable things). Like homeopathy, naturopathy and chinese medicine, to mention but a few, it has its protocols, processes and materials for healing (e.g. herbs). There are cultural belief systems surrounding sangomas, ancient ones. I wouldn’t hesitate to make use of one. A whole lot of us went home with her business card :-).