Easy Boiled Fruit Cake

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It’s been a while since I’ve posted a recipe, but this is a good one! While busy in the kitchen tonight making this fruitcake it occurred to me to share this quick and easy recipe on my blog. Although it’s called “boiled fruitcake”, it’s baked – the name comes from the fact that some of the ingredients (fruit, butter, sugar) are boiled together beforehand, giving the cake a more complex flavour. It’s a lovely, light fruitcake, perfect for tea or a snack. This recipe was passed down from my grandmother to my mother and now to me.

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The Garden Route, South Africa

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The Garden Route is a popular road trip that many tourists take when they come to South Africa. Officially it stretches from Mossel Bay in the Western Cape to the Storms river in the Eastern Cape, but many people make the whole road trip from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth. ending at Addo Elephant national park.

Why is this drive called the Garden route? The simple reason is, it’s very green. This region has the second mildest climate in the world, with temperatures rarely falling below 10 degrees C or rising above 28 degrees C. The route lies between mountains and the Indian ocean; inland on the other side of the mountains it is hotter and there is another driving route with beautiful mountain scenery called Route 62.

Why is this drive so special? There are many nature reserves and coastal towns on this drive, which makes it easy to find great stopovers for exploring. For example, you can visit the forests and rivers of the Tsitsikamma national park or the Knysna forests and lagoon, where once a year there is an Oyster Festival. Activities like hiking, canoeing, surfing, sailing, wind-surfing, and fishing are all popular in this area. The area from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth is also great for whale watching, and in the De Hoop nature reserve you can walk the Whale Trail, passing through fragrant fynbos and over white sand dunes. At Addo Elephant National park you can watch families of elephants hanging out at the waterholes, and see many other animals such as warthogs, zebras, kudus and even some lions.

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Our Garden route stopovers: When we visited South Africa last year, we spent five days driving from Cape Town to Addo Elephant park and back again. We had planned stopovers for accommodation at night and unplanned stopovers while driving along. Five days is not so long and we could have spent longer in all of our stopovers, but we had a great time nonetheless and saw many amazing places. This was our itinerary: Continue reading

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Outdoor adventures

So you love the great outdoors? Me too 🙂 Here are some of the blog posts I’ve written about nature, hiking, biking, swimming, skiing and other sports. Maybe some of these places would appeal to you too?

Hiking

Table Mountain

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The Disa hunters: exploring the top of Table Mountain

 

 

 

 

 

Bavarian and Austrian Alps

 

 

 

 

 

Bavaria, Chiemgau region 

 

 

 

 

 

Namib-Naukluft national park

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The Thomas Tucker Shipwreck Trail

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Battle of the Seelow Heights and a walk near the Oder river

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Sächisches Schweiz

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 České Švýcarsko/Czech Switzerland

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Svaneti, Georgia

Snow hiking in the Harz mountains

Two late-winter hikes in Brandenburg

 

 

 

 

 

Cycling

Naturpark Barnim

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City biking for dummies

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Mein Fahrrad

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Brandenburg bike rides: Fürstenberg/Havel to Templin

Brandenburg bike rides: Potsdam to Brandenburg an der Havel

Saale bicycle trail

Biking in the Moravian winelands of Czechia

The Spree cycle trail (Spreeradweg)

 

 

 

 

 

Watersports

Lakes of Berlin

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Watersports and beaches at Müggelsee

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Kayaking at Müggelsee/ Neu Venedig

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Canoeing in the Rheinsberg lake area /Müritz National Park

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Camping and canoeing on the River Havel: Fürstenberg to Burgwall

Canoeing on the Havel river: Pritzerbe to Hohennauener See via Rathenow

 

 

 

 

 

Skiing

Cross country skiing in the Harz mountains

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Les Diablerets, Switzerland

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More cross country skiing adventures in the Harz mountains

Cross-country skiing in the Czech Republic: Hejnice/Smědava

 

 

 

 

 

Snow sports in the Czech Republic: Bedřîchov

 

 

 

 

 

Cross country skiing in the Erzgebirge (Ore Mountains)

 

 

 

 

 

Nature

Namaqualand

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March – Wildlife in the Garden

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Notes from the Czech countryside – June, the red month

The Thomas T Tucker Shipwreck trail – after the fire

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Last time I was in Cape Town, fires were ravaging the mountains. It was early March, and for days the blaze continued, spurred on by strong winds and dry vegetation. Fynbos, the indigenous vegetation in the Cape, requires fire every 15 years or so as part of its life cycle (smoke causes many seeds to germinate, and fires clear away old and dead plants), but the extent of the fires was large this year and it was sad to see the mountain burning.

At the end of August I returned to Cape Town again and went walking with a friend at Cape Point nature reserve at the southwesternmost point of Africa, where we came across part of the area burnt by the fires. There are many great walks here, and we tried one I hadn’t been on before, the Thomas T Tucker Shipwreck trail. It was a cool and windy day, but hiking is great in most weathers, I love to see how places look different in different seasons. Whipped up by the wind, the ocean looked fantastic, and you could easily image how many ships met their demise. The peninsula wasn’t named the Cape of Storms by Portuguese explorers for nothing. Continue reading

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Middle Europe Weekly Small Pleasures #10 – Changing seasons

It’s been a while since I updated on the little pleasures that make the week good!

First it was really busy at work, and then I was away on holiday for two weeks. The first week I was at home in South Africa (always a BIG pleasure, nothing small about that!) and the next week we went on holiday in Slovenia and Croatia, which was also fantastic. But here are some of the little moments I’ve enjoyed over the last weeks.

While summer was still here, swimming and playing badminton at the lakes, and a weekend trip to Cesky Raj and Prague with our friends.

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Spending time with the kitties and dogs in Czech. I miss having pets so it’s always great to spend some time with these guys.

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A trip home meant springtime in South Africa. I went on hikes, visited the beach and Kirstenbosch garden, marvelled at all the spring flowers at West coast national park, enjoyed the sunshine and most of all just enjoyed being home. It was also nice to have my car back for a few days!

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During the 2 weeks I was away from Berlin, summer suddenly disappeared and autumn arrived in its place. That means it’s time for cold weather foods such as goulash and stews, and seasonal foods like pumpkins and pomegranates. It’s also time to start doing some indoor sports such as squash and climbing/bouldering.

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To read what other people around the world have been up to this week, check out A New Life wandering. Have a lovely week!

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Show your World – Table Mountain

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Tiny expats is hosting a blog event called “Show your world“, where you can describe some of the beautiful places you have seen. If you ask almost any Capetonian to name a beautiful place, the first thing that is likely to come to their mind is Table Mountain, the mountain around which Cape Town is built. So I thought I’d kick off my first Show your World post by describing why I love this mountain, and find it one of the most beautiful places in the world.

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