Getting ready to serve breakfast, feta and herb muffins.

The Turkish idiom “bundan iyisi Şam’da kayısı” (literally, the only thing better than this is an apricot in Damascus) means “it doesn’t get any better than this” and used when something is the very best it can be; like a delicious apricot from Damascus. (Wikipedia)

And it really doesn’t get any better than this, a full day of cooking, and I haven’t even thought of astarting my family’s dinner yet (it’s a boneless leg of pork that I am going to roast with a new blackcurrent basting – pics in due course *wink*). I’ve been catering for crew on a film shoot and my day started early. While I got my Thai soup (part of the crew’s lunch) going on the stove, I started out on Tandy’s challenge to bake using dried fruit as an ingredient.


I started out on the challenge determined to use Turkish apricots, which my husband loves, and prunes. Pastry is my least-accomplished skill, so this was a double challenge. A threefold challenge actually, I had to get a custard that was just right and would set properly; given that my fruit had been soaking overnight, so it would hold a lot of moisture. At 5am I took the pastry shell out of the oven and breathed a sigh of relief.

The fruit went into the shell with the custard poured over and off it went, into the oven.

While it baked, I set to making 5L of fruit salad, part of the crew’s breakfast.

At 8.30, I dropped off the breakfast at the photographic studio and went to the bakery to buy French loaves.

10am: Back in my kitchen, I made fillings for the loaves: Tuna and cream cheese; Mozzarella, tomato and mixed greens; and chicken cacciatore. With these nicely wrapped up, I went back to tending the soup. At 10.30 I stopped for a cup of coffee and a slice of my fruit pie, which I had topped with whipped cream.

Verdict: This pie is absolutely sublime; the sweetness of the custard and cream is offset by the tartness of the apricots. I love it and it will be a regular from now on.

Midday: I made an enormous salad to got with the crew’s lunch; it had more than 30 ingredients, so I am not going to list them. Off I went to deliver and set up the self-service.

2pm, in the kitchen once again … time to get started on the crew’s afternoon tea. Vanilla, strawberry and cream cake. Haven’t decided yet what their savoury will be …

Cake out of the oven and half-dressed.

Ah, there … she looks far more decent with her dress on.

Another coffee break and a little time to do this blog. Oh, and I’d better get that pork roast into the marinade …


66 Comments Add yours

  1. thestonemaidendiaries says:

    Wonderwoman! (Moet tot my skaamte erken ek het vandag nog net ‘n pot yoghurt oopgemaak vir ontbyt, en ‘n veggie burger met tamatie en mozzarella op ‘n bun gesit vir lunch!)

    1. theonlycin says:

      Die veggie burger klink baie lekker 🙂

  2. Leeswammes says:

    What a great foodie day today, Cindy! Hope the day goes on as it started.

    I must say my cooking today is in line with that of thestonemaidendairies above. 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      I’m about to take a break and have a glass of wine, cheers 🙂

  3. How do you manage to stay so skinny? That all looks delicious. Xx

    1. theonlycin says:

      Hehe, I think I don’t put on weight because I love food so much … it must love me back and want to keep me as a lover 😉

  4. Tes says:

    I have never baked pie with dried apricot before. It seems like a good idea 🙂 Your pie looks gorgeous 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      It’s very tasty, Tes 🙂

  5. SidevieW says:

    you have been busy!

    1. theonlycin says:

      And now is the hour that every muscle in my body feels it …

  6. SuziCate says:

    Sure would have loved having breakfast with you! What a lucky crew!

    1. theonlycin says:

      They were mute about breakfast, but very effusive about lunch and afternoon tea 🙂

  7. Sous Chef says:

    It all looks wonderful, well done!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Sous, going to enjoy my wine now 😉

  8. That was torture, Cindy – delightful torture, though. Now I know, that come hell or high water, I am comng to SA just to eat at your home, in your kitchen, watching you cook – both of us talking at the same time, neither one of us understanding one another – even though we both speak English. I will of course try out the smattering of Afrikaans that I will have studied before getting on the plane, (and while on it), and you won’t understand that either. Then you will actually let me cook a little something-something, American style. All of this goes on while we are drinking wine (maybe I’ll bring over a bottle of that SA wine I found over here: Sebeka – and I’ll let you try it, but I will most definitely bring over a couple of bottles of chocolate wine!

    I will meet your wonderful Hubs, your Bunn (who will of course think I am quite odd, but perhaps interesting enough to stick around for the meal), and your dogs – they will love me – because I can’t go anywhere without a bit of Princess and Justin hair on my clothes. No outfit is complete without it!

    I am especially interested in the savoury mufins. Would a different cheese work as well do you think? Please send me the recipe!

    All those film shoots you cater for – are they for local films, international? Met any interesting people there? Do you ever serve, or is it all “pick-up” buffet style. How many do you generally have to cook for? Could I ask any more questions? Could I perhaps insert a funny joke, or a “that reminds me” long story? Oddly enough, your post only reminds me that I would love to eat everything you showed us here, and I’d go for the pork, too – love it with blackberry glaze! It reminds me that I am hungry, and it reminds me that I will really never be able to eat again whatever I want, but I am learning to be happy with eating only what I need. Makes the mirror easier to look at, if nothing else! What I need is sufficient. . .it is enough. . .

    Only one problem. . .you put prunes in the apricot tarte. Such a shame. . .I hate to pick things out of my food.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Oh Paula, wouldn’t we just have the best time together in my kitchen? What a dream to cling to!
      Sorry about the prunes, I won’t do it again.
      As for the question about the catering, I will answer that in a post tomorrow 🙂 xxx

  9. leigh says:

    In short, divine 😉

  10. granny1947 says:

    You never fail to amaze me…you did all that AND made home treats!!!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Well, it’s been a while, you know 😉

  11. Tilly Bud says:

    Will you stop it! My saliva glands can’t keep up! When I win the lottery, please come and be my chef.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Of course I will, can you have Colin Firth come over for dinner?

  12. Yum! Yum! Yum! I’ve just had breakfast and I’m already looking forward to the meals for the rest of the day! Never heard of a feta muffin before but I love feta cheese. I think it would be quite the treat! Looking very pretty too 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      They’re really good muffins 🙂

  13. WOW – you are incredible Cindy. What a day and you are still going to do more! Hope you can take some time for yourself tomorrow.
    🙂 Mandy

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Mandy, I have quite a wonderful day planned for tomorrow 🙂

  14. slpmartin says:

    I was tired just reading what you did for breakfast…and thoroughly in need of a nap by lunch. 😉

    1. theonlycin says:

      Hehehe Charlie, enjoy your day 😀

  15. deepercolors says:

    Beautiful stuff, girl. You should have a cooking show. 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      Wouldn’t that be nice, Caro, and probably a bit more lucrative than catering 😉

  16. souldipper says:

    Cin’s back! Cookin’ up a storm!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Indeed, watch out world 😉

  17. You are totally amazing. I never cease to marvel at that ability to experiment and take a challenge even when you have a paying audience at the end of the day; and what a result! Lucky film crew!!

  18. Pseu says:

    And to think all I did all day was a bit of nursing. What a sloth I am

    1. theonlycin says:

      You sell yourself short, I bet you were fit to drop, Pseu 🙂

  19. Tokeloshe says:


    Great post and photos, well done.

    Another hot day here, I’m thinking of making a TV dinner.
    Di’s ‘n Skande!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Ag nee, Tok, gooi ‘n vleisie op die braai 🙂

  20. colonialist says:

    Yummy yummy yummy!

    Tell me, though, why is your pastry shell full of mint imperials? Do they sort-of get blended with the apricot? 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      Hahaha, you are such a card! Them little balls are ceramic baking beans to keep the pastry from rising while you blind bake it 🙂

  21. nrhatch says:


    Hey, how come you bought the bread at a bakery? If you had gotten started at 3:30 am, you could have baked baguettes from scratch. 😉

  22. bluebee says:

    I’m starved after that! Good to see your culinary and photographic talents back to full speed 😀

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks, bluebee, I’m pretty hungry and wondering what I should have for breakfast 🙂

  23. You’re so productive! Beautiful photos! And I LOVE the saying – the only thing better than this is an apricot in Damascus! 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      Yes, Celia, I love the saying too and plan to use it a lot 🙂

  24. Keely aka The Richest Girl in Bondi says:

    Up and cooking at 4.30am? You are my hero! Wonderful effort – I’m sure the crew were in love with you by the end of the day.

    1. theonlycin says:

      The were very tired by the end of the day, that’s for sure 🙂

  25. dearrosie says:

    I hope you ate more than two cups of coffee and a piece of pie?
    Where do you get your energy? Wow I’m exhausted just reading what you did! Who would even think of making pastry at 4:30!

    1. theonlycin says:

      I had a sandwich while I was making the French loaf fillings; tuna & cream cheese on seed bread.

  26. Tandy says:

    love the tart tin – hope you have a good day today xxx

    1. theonlycin says:

      The tart tin was a cheapie, I think it was R20. Thanks, i’m back home from shopping.

  27. earlybird says:

    Busy lady!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Keeps me out of Mischief 😉

  28. Janine says:

    Cin – you are a machine! Lordy, what a busy day. I feel tired just reading about it. Well done, skattie 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      Ag Luvvie, I so enjoy myself 🙂

  29. OMG, Cindy, you BLOW my mind! The only way I can imagine you getting all of this achieved is with monumental talent and immense love for what you do – which shines out of every post. You are such an inspiration!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks, we must do another picnic this summer 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      It is great fun, Doc 🙂

  30. pinkpolkadotfood says:

    Wow!! Beautiful muffins and cake!

  31. Jamie Dedes says:

    Sounds fabulous and I like that you include lots and lots of fresh fruit and veggies – 30 ingredients in the salad – wonderful! … and such an attractive cake and pie.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Jamie, funny how they don’t buy the fruit and veg for themselves on regular office workdays!

  32. Would you like to swop lives? You sound so busy, but also happy!

    1. theonlycin says:

      I don’t get to go to the Drakensberg as often as you do 😉

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