Just thought I should share a link to my interview with the fabulous Edward Chamberlain Bell from Jozi Style! http://jozistyle.joburg/yudhika-sujanani/
There has been a lot on my mind recently. And for those of you that follow me on Facebook and Twitter, I am sure that you know that I have been asking Investec some questions. The purpose of my blog is to share not only recipes but information and experiences too. This is the common thread amongst all bloggers…we share! I have shared some of my most intimate memories on my blog…some of those memories have made me feel wretched and others have been ones that uplift the spirit. This is one that should raise a few questions around your financial security with banks.
The story with Investec began with me blocking a user’s access to my business account last year. Whether its a main account or an additional account – the user was blocked! I also moved some of my funds into an First National Bank account. P.S – I am loving FNB…banking with them has been an awesome experience! Somehow, and this part really boggles my brain, is the blocked user gained access to the Investec account and transacted through their call centre facility. Things get slightly more complicated when the blocked user is an employee at Investec and has been at the bank for decades, holding a senior position too. Surely after 30 years you are well versed in banking regulations? Is the senior management team of Investec miraculously not asking the same questions and opting to soft soap the person in question? An age before integrity stance, perhaps? Is this what is known as Banksterism?
For the record, it hasn’t actually created the business and personal hurdles intended but it has blown the lid on what seems more than just a random banking mistake! Questions around favors and privacy have been posed to the bank! The can of worms is open….and I intend on getting answers from Investec. The Ombudsman for Banking Service has also been hugely helpful in understanding procedure and the irregularities in this matter.
I would have thought that the bank would have called a meeting as a starting point to understand the issues with their employee and although there are many questions being raised, they still haven’t and prefer to claim to have exhausted all avenues in answering. My response to this was ‘the lack of a response has not gone unnoticed’. I did receive further communication with mentioned a mistake and an apology but I read through it and was left thoroughly confused. The next question posed was, ‘Exactly what are you apologizing for and what exactly is the mistake?’ There has been no response to my questions except a claim that my statements are factually incorrect and that Investec’s rights as a bank remain reserved if I make any factually inaccurate or defamatory statements. A veiled threat or is that just more generic letter writing? And why would they apologize if my statements were incorrect – surely, I should then be apologizing! Amazing how Investec never tells you what your rights are and that they also remain reserved at all times, of course! The bank now claim that they will not respond directly to me – and I should approach them through a mediator or the Ombudsman. Is it a stalling tactic and the bank assuming that I will be deterred by the admin intensive process? I have addressed this issue on social media and spoken to consumer journalists, – if it wasn’t for social media, there would actually be no response at all! Does this institution allow bankers to become banksters?
We all have bank accounts…here is some food for thought!
Do you actually think about the bank employees that access your personal account details and for what purpose? What stops somebody from asking a pal at the bank to check out his competitors account…if you find out where the payments come from, surely you find out who the clients are? How should a client feel about not being allowed access to what they call employee records? If an employee record logs queries on your account, surely the bank and the client should have access? Is this to cover up employees that actually have nothing better to do that play banking Peek-A-Boo?
Do you hold an account where your spouse is employed and have you considered what would happen if the relationship turned sour? Maybe you should consider what happens to your business and how this would affect your personal circumstances?
What regulations are in place to prevent cronyism? The ‘do me a favour and check on this account’ phenomenon? Should an employee use privileges at the bank to wage their personal wars especially in a divorce?
How do you feel about being tracked via credit card transactions? I may be completely wrong but is the moral of the story that you are not safe at a bank that employs your spouse or is it just that you’re not safe at Investec?
I requested information from Investec – a report on who accessed the account and would like to compare it to the dates of legitimate queries I have made. I want to know how many additional queries were made and if cronyism comes into play. They have refused to supply this information which in my book says plenty. Investec are aware that the reason these questions are raised is to find out if there has been an abuse of power but also, ‘What’s with the fiddling?’. If there wasn’t an issue, I wouldn’t be asking. Or am I not allowed to ask? Does Investec question the mental state of the employee and the desperate bid to fraudulently transact? And how could this employee be adding any value when they have clearly embarrassed himself and the bank by obviously focusing on his personal agenda and not his work? A case of setting the cat amongst the pigeons?
If you are an Investec ‘citizen’ as they call it and happen to be reading this, I hope that you have not indulged a staff member access and information to something he was blocked from in the first place. This applies to anyone who has worked at a bank really and after a few discussions with senior staff at other banks, one thing is really clear – insider information and meddling is a dismissible offense and so is taking a chance and transacting after an employee has been blocked from an account. It does not only bring the ‘blocked user or Investec employee’ into question, it questions the integrity of the entire Investec team and makes them accomplices too. My queries to the call centre have been discussed with the blocked user – what does ‘blocked user’ mean at a bank or is it not possible for an employee to be blocked? Shouldn’t this be made clear if it was not possible?
Who actually cares about the bank’s status or positioning and what is exclusivity without integrity to back it up? When I made queries about opening another bank account with Investec, I was given the whole nine yards with their rules, requirements and for not much in return! It got me thinking where are the rules when the back of house staff break the rules! Another instance where the rules are for the clients and but what about the citizens of Investec? Let’s get one thing straight, a bank is not doing you a favor by opening your account! And to treat a client like they are privileged is foolish and arrogant. Based on my account and previous history with FNB, I actually got a whole lot more than I was looking for! Shop around – and find a bank that will work with you and not against you! We all have our experiences…good and bad…but if you have a bad one, just move on to find the one that’s right for you! I certainly have and enjoying my banking pleasures at First National Bank.
If you are in the banking world, I would love to hear from you….and for those of you who have had similar experiences, please feel free to share them in the comments section!
I looked at a pack of bangers and it made me think of dodgy bankers…plump and arrogant…It’s no secret and not my original thought that bankers don’t have great reputations but they have much in common with a banger, chose the wrong banger and its also a whole lot of bad ingredients minced together and disguised as a tempting treat. I won’t prepare them in the same old way, grilled with a heap of buttery mashed potato. Not in the mood to flatter a banger, I chose to grab the bangers and squeeze out the sausage meat and turn them into something extraordinarily delicious…sometimes you need to squeeze the bankers, but let’s get on with a recipe that squeezes the bangers! The banger squeezing was most therapeutic!
Meatballs can be quite tasteless not unlike a bad banking experience. A combination of sausage meat and beef mince works really well and I have used some chilli flakes to spice things up. Fresh herbs also add lots of flavour and aroma to these meatballs. If you want the short version…just cook up the meatballs and serve with spaghetti! My kids love meatballs and my son, Rushil, said he could pretty much handle the meatball making on his own! Rushil has obviously been paying too much attention during my tv shoots – love the way he talks about wine and AMC Cookware! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oq9YRwG8Qd8&list=UU-twiG9NWyVR9OH9F7gSbMg
Meatball Macaroni with Squeezed Bangers
700g beef mince
700g bangers, I used deli bangers from Broadacres Superspar
1 onion, chopped
Sunflower oil to fry onion
1 egg yolk
4 cloves garlic, crushed
Handful chopped coriander
Handful chopped parsley
6 sprigs fresh thyme
10ml chilli flakes, optional
Salt and black pepper to season
250ml red wine
For the meatball sauce:
50ml sunflower oil or cooking olive oil
1 bay leaf
1 onion, finely chopped
3 x 400g tins chopped Italian tomatoes
Salt and pepper, to season
For the sauce:
150g cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to season
500g macaroni, cooked as per packaging directions
Heat a little sunflower oil in an AMC 28cm Chef’s Pan. Saute the chopped onion until translucent. Remove the onion from the pan and place it into a mixing bowl.
Place the beef mince into the mixing bowl with the onions. Squeeze the sausage meat out and discard the skins. Add this to the beef mince and then add the garlic, chopped herbs and thyme leaves, egg yolk and chilli flakes. Lightly season with salt and add black pepper.
Mix the ingredients together and then mould into meatballs.
Reheat the 28cm AMC Chef’s Pan and add a little oil.
Fry the meatballs in two batches until they are browned.
Remove from the pan and then pour in the red wine to deglaze. Stir the wine around and scrape the base of the pan.
Reduce the heat and simmer until the red wine is reduced by half.
In an AMC Paella pan, heat the sunflower oil and add the bay leaf.
Add the chopped onion, salt and saute until light golden brown.
Stir the chopped tomatoes into the sauce and add the reduce red wine.
Simmer until the tomatoes dissolve, using the back of a wooden spoon to break down the lumps.
Season with salt and pepper.
Add the meatballs and reduce the heat.
Simmer until the sauce thickens.
Prepare the sauce:
Heat the butter in a 24cm AMC pot.
Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon.
Cook the flour for 2 minutes and keep stirring with a wooden spoon.
Gradually pour in the milk and keep whisking to prevent lumps from forming.
Once the all the milk has been added, continue whisking with the meat on medium.
Add half the cheese and reserve the rest for the topping.
Once the sauce has thickened, remove from the heat.
Place the cooked macaroni in a casserole dish.
Top with the meatballs and sauce and ensure the meatballs are evenly placed.
Pour the cheesy sauce over the meatballs.
Top with the reserved grated cheese – you can add more cheese if you like.
Bake in a hot oven until the cheese is melted and golden brown – the sauce should bubble around the edges of the casserole dish.
I love spending time with the kids and we always end up in the kitchen whipping up a batch of something special. The Easter weekend was no different and over the last few days, it’s been choc pudding, snowballs and doughnuts too! While making these doughnuts, I remembered the old saying….Keep your eye on the doughnut and not upon the hole! It just makes sense, doesn’t it? We just can’t stop fixating on the hole to see the luscious doughnut sometimes! It reminded me that through all the admin around the ‘hole’ in my life, there is still a doughnut!
The other saying that also came to mind was…The optimist sees the doughnut, the pessimist the hole! How often in life we spend our time with people who only see that hole and don’t have a word of encouragement to share? I am guilty of just that, and recognizing now that some of the best years of my life were spent with an aging playboy who was definitely the hole in my world! When you are compared to past lovers, accused of not bringing home enough bacon and never good enough for anything…when you are ridiculed and humiliated amongst friends and family, life begins to feel like the hole in the doughnut! Feeling unloved and tormented, the feelings of hopelessness and helplessness can dominate your existence. These negative experiences can turn any relationship into a black hole!
A hole can abuse the human spirit. Holes sometimes carelessly define themselves by what they did twenty years ago….the wild parties, the corporate one night stands and how stupid their spouse was to not catch them cheating or maybe it was put in a slightly different way…I was so smart that I never got caught! I cannot understand how ego replaces good judgement and leads to emotional casualties. While most choose to add meaning to their lives by building careers and family relationships, a hole chooses to revel in frivolity. Casual flings, corporate incest…this is what I describe as those people that often become the ‘office bicycle’, and heavy boozing….it’s a tale not meant for the faint hearted but of a hole. The moral is a hole never grows up!
Some people thank me for the honesty and for sharing my thoughts, other so called public figures (not friends I might add, just opinionated fools) say that thoughts on politics, people and relationships should be zipped but in my opinion that is what only a coward would do! We all have our story and I share snippets of mine with you, hoping that it takes you out of your comfort zone, making you ask different questions. I have had to say my goodbyes, turning my back on things that were clearly toxic and damaging. The war still rages and unnecessarily so.
Such intense thoughts while making up a batch of doughnuts…I always say that cooking and baking is therapeutic and while you bang out a batch of these…keep your eye on the doughnut but find the hole that troubles your soul and keeps you up at night! Once you identify the hole, life starts to change and it can only be positive!
My last thought is that life is much like a doughnut, it can be plain and simple…just dusted with sugar, embellished with decadent toppings or filled with lashings of cream…the basic dough recipe however, remains the same! You can choose the toppings and sides like you did at ‘Just Doughnuts’ back in the old days. If your timing is off and you procrastinate, the doughnut turns stale! Seize the moment and enjoy. Celebrate the doughnut and mourn not a hole!
500g cake flour
50g castor sugar
15ml dried yeast
300ml warm milk
3 egg yolks
100g butter, melted
Sunflower oil, to deep fry
10ml ground cinnamon
Place the cake flour, castor sugar, dried yeast and salt into a mixing bowl.
Using a KitchenAid with a dough attachment, mix the dry ingredients on a low speed to evenly distribute the yeast.
Add the warm milk and eggs yolks.
Once the dough starts to come together, pour in the melted butter and continue mixing for 5 minutes.
If you are kneading the dough by hand, this should take about ten minutes.
Grease the mixing bowl with non stick spray.
Place the dough into a mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
Leave aside to rest and prove for 90 minutes or until the dough doubles in size.
Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and deflate, kneading the dough for 2 – 3 minutes.
Work the dough into a smooth ball and roll out until it is 1,5cm thick.
Use a round cutter and cut out the doughnuts and a smaller cutter for the hole in the centre. Use as little flour as possible or only if necessary when doing this to prevent the dough from becoming dry.
Place the doughnuts on a greased baking tray and cover with plastic wrapped that has also been greased with non-stick spray.
Gather the dough offcuts and once again roll into a smooth ball and repeat the process.
Leave the doughnuts to rise for 15 minutes.
Combine the cinnamon and the sugar in a mixing bowl and stir well.
Heat the sunflower oil on medium in an AMC Paella Pan – this pan has a smaller base and is wider at the top so it uses less oil than a normal pot.
Once the oil is hot, test using a tiny piece of dough – the dough should hit the oil, bubble and come up to the surface.
Fry the doughnuts in batches until golden brown.
Remove them from the oil and dab slightly.
Toss the doughnuts in the cinnamon sugar and serve.
When I chat to people from my hometown, we inevitably end up time travelling through reminiscing about our childhood treats. The were wealthy families and poor ones too, but the one thing that they had in common was a love for all things delicious. Some of us look back and for sure, we feel like we were deprived of so much but we also take note of the things we had then that our kids will never experience…and childhood friendships are the first thing that come to mind. I don’t feel so bad about having so much less than most people did…it was just my perception at the time and without my so-called hand, my life could have turned out differently….but thinking back on those days, there was an unspoken reality that most of us from Isipingo faced…so many talented people thinking….I don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell!
Without money, a troubled secondary education or a chance at tertiary education, there was a sense of hopelessness that hung over the town like an unspoken destiny. It was only much later that I realized that we never actually needed to leave to make it…growing up in Isipingo taught us the lessons we needed to succeed. It frustrated some to the point that they became the most driven people who have succeeded not only in South Africa but abroad too….a few names that pop into my mind…Nanda Soobben, the political cartoonist, and a missile aerodynamicist who’s name I care not to mention! That’s a story for another day….but the children of Isipingo made it to the big time….Doctor’s lawyers and accountants…not to mention entrepreneurs…the common thread amongst us was that we learnt to hustle! We did after all have a chance in hell, we just didn’t know it at the time!
People who left South Africa to holiday were celebrities and those who left to study abroad had super stardom status….hardly anyone ever got out so it was really newsworthy! We grew up in a time when we went to the Old Louis Botha airport to bid farewell to a person going on holiday. I can still remember my uncle leaving to London and my mom wearing her best silk sari to the airport. She pulled out an old leather suitcase from under the bed and in it was a treasure trove of saris…they smelled almost religious to me, with a faint hint of incense…also they were old which reminded me of how little she had and how much she treasured her little stash of silks. I remember burying my face in the pleats and pissing her off, but she had no idea then that the scent of her would live in my memory forever! She had incredibly long hair and she pulled it into a ponytail and in seconds almost like a magic trick, she coiled it into a fashionable bun…it was my job to pass her the hairpins and she got really irritated when I was a bit slow from day dreaming. How many of you remember this ritual….the sari, the makeup, the bun and lastly….the hairspray that made us choke….and then of course, she would cover her hair with a handkerchief to control the fine, wispy strays!
These were the days before new age cakes and baking…no red velvet cakes and croissants or chocolate ganache anything! Wareings Bakery was a name that every kid knew…they made pies, mock cream doughnuts and the amazing snowball too. On a school sports day, each kid got a doughnut or sometimes a snowball with a Coo-ee to go with it…it was tradition and something our kids will never experience! Snowballs and doughnuts from the corner shops around Isipingo were incredibly popular…Uncle Goolam from the Curry Tray, or Colleen’s Tearoom across the road from the Isipingo Beach Library or Jeena’s in Isipingo Hills…or the Busy Bee on Old Main Road…they displayed the doughnuts and snowballs on the counter, sometimes behind glass, but always on newsprint! They were fresh and delicious and we never tired of them! Anyone knows what happened to Wareings? I haven’t spotted their stuff in years and why is it so hard to find a good snowball???
After numerous requests, I finally got around to making up a batch…there is always some hesitation around a recipe that isn’t just a recipe…it’s so much more than that! It’s a memory of a time that life was a lot simpler, friendships were real, and no one real cared if you got the snowball coconut all over the back seat of the car! For some that don’t know what a snowball is, I can best describe it as a delicious whoopie pie, sandwiched together with an icing paste, dunked in a syrup and then rolled in tinted coconut! Keep them in an airtight biscuit tin for a day or so….if they last that long! I got the kids to help with weighing, measuring and coconut tinting, snowball syrup dunking too so click here to watch the clips…https://youtu.be/GgCqH2GL35s and here for how my kitchen helpers, Rushil and Tanvi, finished up their task so watch for their theatrical ending in this clip, https://youtu.be/vn8KBCAiGmQ
Lastly, I dedicate this recipe to all those ‘Snowballs’ from Isipingo!
Makes 10 – 12
400ml desiccated coconut
Few drops pink colouring
2 large eggs
5ml vanilla essence
375ml self-raising flour
Pinch of salt
For sandwiching the cakes…
200ml icing sugar
20ml boiled water
For the syrup…
150ml smooth apricot
7ml red food colouring
Place the desiccated coconut in a mixing and add few drops of pink food colouring. Rub the colouring into the coconut to tint the coconut until evenly coloured.
Cream the butter until light and fluffy, then gradually add the sugar.
Continue creaming until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Whisk the eggs lightly then gradually add this to the creamed butter, add a 2 teaspoons flour with the eggs to prevent curdling.
Add the salt and vanilla essence.
Add the flour and work the mixture into a soft dough.
Divide the dough into portions – I weighed them into 25g balls.
Roll each one until smooth and place on a baking tray lined with greased paper.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 170°C for 12 – 15 minutes. They should be pale in colour with the bases turning light golden brown.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.
Make the syrup – heat the sugar and water in a 24cm AMC pot. Bring the syrup to the boil once the sugar has dissolved. Add the apricot jam and simmer until the syrup is slightly thick – not too thick as it will prevent the syrup from penetrating the snowball. Tint the syrup with red food colouring.
Once the snowballs are cool, mix the icing sugar and boiled water into a thick, smooth paste, then sandwich the snowballs together.
Leave to harden slightly – this takes a minute or two, then dip the snowballs into the hot syrup and toss them a few times to make sure they are coated. I used tongs for this as the syrup was quite warm.
Place them into the coconut and toss to coat evenly.
Dust off the excess coconut and place on baking paper.
These are delicious eaten fresh but may be stored for up to two days.
I have a strange sense of humour and drive my kids and my mom crazy with the songs I sing! One of my favourite singers was Julio Iglesias and his song, ‘To all the girls I’ve loved before’….what sounded romantic to me as a child, just sounds completely ironic now.
My version of the song, is ‘To all the chops I’ve loved before’…
To all the chops I’ve loved before,
Who marinated in and out my store,
I’m glad they came along…
I dedicate this blog….
To all the the chops I’ve loved before!
I am not shy to say…but boy, have I loved a few chops in my time! I am kind to myself and know that it’s a part of growing up and sometimes a part of growing old! I should write my memoirs and share some of my giggles but that would be telling, wouldn’t it?!
So, I like most of you have had my share of ‘boy trouble’ and the problem with boys is that they grow into bullies which is most unattractive and unacceptable! So from the cheats, to possessive freaks to older men and aging playboys…I have seen and experienced my fair share!
Has it made me bitter…absolutely not…I have learnt to laugh about it. And once you laugh, the tears never fall. Life is beautiful so why should we define it by dodgy relationships!
I do love lamb chops and marinated ones are my favourite. I prepared these on Mela a while ago and thought that if you have a love of chops, like me, then this recipe will not disappoint like some other chops do!
A message to all the chops I have loved before, your time has passed, I have grown from my experience and thank you for the education, the lessons learned and experience. I won’t look back and haven’t…there are no second chances or third ones and sorry won’t do! I guess if some of those chops walk past my work in a book store, they must be surprised and possibly kicking themselves for judging me by everything I did not have… where I come from, girls from wealthy families were taken seriously and money talked, while the rest walked! I don’t have regrets for it has shown me that some people lack character! For those of you who have had your heart broken, smile for you are free from what could have caused you a lifetime of pain! There is a reason why people don’t make a book and just have a chapter in your life! Love yourself and be kind during the hard times and heartbreak! And I wish you much happiness and love on your adventure!
If you missed the episode on Mela, click here, https://yudhikayumyum.com/sabc-2s-mela-videos/mela-spicy-lamb-chops-and-pavlova/
Masala Lamb Chops
12 lamb chops
Salt, to season
45ml crushed ginger
15ml crushed garlic
2ml black pepper
25ml fresh cream
25ml greek yoghurt
10ml ground cumin
15ml red chilli powder
10ml garam masala
50ml lemon juice
Sunflower oil, to baste
Lemon wedges, to serve
Season the lamb chops with salt.
Mix the marinade ingredients together until smooth.
Rub the marinade over the chops and leave to rest in a refrigerator for a few hours.
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Place a wire rack over a baking tray.
Arrange the chops on the wire rack and drizzle with a little sunflower oil
Bake for 12 – 15 minutes depending on the thickness of the chops.
Serve with lemon wedges.
The first part of 2015 has flown by and I can’t believe it’s Easter weekend already! I worked on an Easter recipe supplement for the Post Newspaper with Yogas Nair and her team which is always a delight! And this time, I was also lucky enough to work with my favourite company as the sponsor, AMC Cookware!
So while the Post Newspaper and AMC cookware keep me really busy, I have not blogged much but hopefully this recipe makes an appearance on your Easter table! And for those of you who love a hot cross bun, here is my recipe for Lindt Chocolate Hot Cross Bun, https://yudhikayumyum.com/2013/03/18/lindt-choc-chip-hot-cross-buns/
Spinach and Prawn Pilau
1kg prawns, shelled and de-veined
40ml sunflower oil, to fry prawns
Salt, to season
50ml sunflower oil
1 small cinnamon stick
5ml mustard seeds
5ml cumin seeds
1 onion, finely chopped
5ml coarse salt
4 garlic cloves, crushed
10ml red chilli powder
400g tomatoes, skinned and chopped or tinned
5ml ground cumin
5ml ground coriander
300g cooked brown lentils or 1 x 400g tin lentils drained
400g baby spinach chopped
750ml cooked basmati rice, cooled
125ml boiled water
Handful of crispy brown onions, to garnish
Fresh coriander, to garnish
Heat the sunflower oil in a 24cm AMC gourmet pan.
Add the cinnamon stick and fry until fragrant.
Add the mustard and when the seeds pop, add the cumin and fry for a few seconds.
Stir the onion and salt into the oil.
Saute until the onion turns light golden brown.
Add the crushed garlic cloves and saute until fragrant.
Stir the red chilli into the oil and heat for a few seconds.
Add the chopped tomatoes.
Add the ground cumin, coriander and turmeric.
Simmer until the oil separates from the sauce.
Layer half the brown lentils and spinach over the cooked tomatoes.
Layer the rice over and then layer the remaining lentils and spinach.
Pour the boiled water over the rice.
Reduce the heat and simmer until the rice heats through and the spinach wilts.
Heat a 28cm Chef’s Pan.
Add the 40ml sunflower oil when the pan is hot.
Saute the prawn in the oil until they turn pink and the tails curl.
Place the prawns over the hot spinach pilau and garnish with crispy brown onion.