Sunday, November 30, 2008

Yoga on Camps Bay Beach

Every Sunday morning in the summer, Shanti Cape Town has a yoga class on Camps Bay Beach. It's the most brilliant idea - if you can get your arse to the beach by 7.15am, before the rest of Cape Town wakes up, that is!

I hauled my ass out of bed this morning to do just that and am I glad I did it. There were 6 of us on the grassy patch just by the beach, in front of Caprice, and we went through a Mysore-style class up till Navasana. Mysore-style is basically when you go through the Ashtanga series on your own, without a teacher leading the class. But the 6 of us were instinctively keeping a similar rhythm with each other, since we all started at the same time.

I can't even begin to explain the feeling of practicing in the outdoors, with the dramatic natural backdrop of Cape Town... In front of me was the Atlantic Ocean, and every time I came to Downward Dog I had the 12 Apostles mountains behind me to gaze at, and with Upward Dog or Backbend prep, I was staring up at the blue, blue African sky. Not to mention the sound of the waves gently soothing me till I almost fell asleep in Savasana. It was such an awesome experience. I'm feeling connected and ready to start my Sunday!

It happens every Sunday if the weather's good, and Ulrike sms's you the night before to let you know if it's on or off. Contact Ulrike from Shanti Cape Town if you want to be on the list!

Friday, November 28, 2008

...and then I Yearbooked Kelly!

This is even more hysterical. Only coz he's got that silly moustache for the office competition.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I Yearbooked Myself!

It's the funniest thing to do when you've got time to kill. Just go to, choose your gender, upload a passport-sized photo of yourself and off you go!

(Argh! Triple chin galore!)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Vegan Brownies

A colleague who's allergic to everything under the sun shared this vegan brownie recipe with me. Egg-free, wheat-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, yeast-free. And still pretty tasty!

I used Carob instead of cocoa, xylitol instead of sugar, and brown rice flour instead of all-purpose flour.

The final brownie loaf looked like this:

But then I thought I'd try and do another icing on the top - and found a recipe for vegan ganache. Warning: this ganache was CRAP. Maybe it's coz I couldn't find bittersweet chocolate and used Nestle's Milk Chocolate for Moulding & Baking (OK, this was the only thing in the brownie that's not sugar-free and vegan friendly, but it's only in the ganache!)

Boiling the soy milk for the ganache:

Firstly, the ganache was a really runny texture:

And secondly, it came out very runny and tasting kinda crap (but this could be because Nestle Moulding chocolate is probably crap quality.)
It also wouldn't harden again, even after cooling down:

It's a pretty tasty brownie block, but next time I'm gonna use 100% cocoa instead of carob. I'm sick of the taste of carob already.

* 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (I used brown rice flour)
* 1 1/2 cups white sugar (I used 1 cup xylitol since carob powder is sweeter than cocoa)
* 1/2 cup + 1Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (I used 1 cup carob powder)
* 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup water
* 1/4 cup plain unsweetened almond milk or soy milk (I used 1/2 cup soy milk since I used more carob powder)
* 3/4 cup vegetable oil
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350F or 175C.
2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
3. In another bowl, pour in water, vegetable oil and vanilla. Mix dry & wet together until well blended.
4. Spread evenly in a 9x13 inch baking pan.
5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until the top is no longer shiny. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting into squares.

* 1/3 cup soymilk
* 4 oz (or 114gm) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
* 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

In a small sauce pan, bring the soy milk to a light boil.

Remove from heat and add the chocolate and syrup.

Mix with a rubber spatula, continue stirring until the chocolate is fully melted and the icing is smooth.
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