A South African Christmas

23rd of December: Eating chocolate and rum-raisin ice cream in the sun. Temperature: 28°CChristmas feelings: None

24th of December: Getting up very late after a busy week, taking a shower. Making a fruit salad of apples, oranges, bananas, pineapples, and raisins. In my family fruit salad is one of the traditional desserts for Christmas Eve even if nobody knows why. Later in the afternoon: Making a Stollen (traditional German Christmas cake) adapted to South African shopping opportunities. For two Stollen take: 500 gr flour, instant yeast, 100 gr sugar, some salt – mix it. Add 20ir0 ml hand warm milk, one egg and 50 gr margarine (I couldn’t get unsalted butter) – stir very good and let the dough raise for something like 50 minutes. Cut the peeled skin of a lemon and an orange very fine, add finely cut candid cherries and raisins to the dough and, if you like it, some chopped almonds. Make two stretched cakes (can’t say this better) and spread margarine on them. Bake at 180°C for 40 minutes, let cool down before covering with icing sugar and decorating with candid cherries. Evening: Helping one of my neighbours, Xoliswa, preparing several salads for the following day. Coming home late.

25th of December: Having breakfast with Stollen and fruit salad. Slight Christmas feeling. Going to Xoliswa’s house for a traditional celebration her son is having. He wants to thank his ancestors for guiding him through the process of becoming a man, for being an adult now, and for having a good job. The whole family comes together to spend the day chatting, laughing, eating and drinking. The drinks: a lot of alcohol, among them the traditional African beer Umqombothi, which you can enjoy the fifth time you try it (acquired taste). The food: a lot of salads – bean salad, beetroot salad, rice salad, noodle salad, and, of course, meat. Very nice feeling to be with a family and other neighbours but getting tired of Xhosa after some hours. Spending the rest of the evening in front of the TV.

26th of December: Getting up late after waking up several times at night because one neighbour is playing music very loud throughout the night… Shower, eating the rest of the fruit salad… Ironing, cooking, writing these emails and posts I should have written last week, still some sewing to do… Nice day.

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