I’m searching for the spirit of the great heart To hold and stand me by I’m searching for the spirit of the great heart Under African sky I’m searching for the spirit of the great heart I see the fire in your eyes I’m searching for the spirit of the great heart That beats my name inside
Johnny Clegg, Great Heart
News headlines enter and leave my mind as I drive through the morning traffic, my eyes focused on the row of blinking lights ahead of me.
Rarely a news headline catches my full attention, extracting me from the traffic, my mind searching for all the info it has on the subject.
Johnny Clegg, musician and activist, pioneer, anthropologist, dancer, songwriter and all-round South African past away on 16th of July 2019.
What was so special about the music of Johnny Clegg?
It was simply infectious, a spirited blend between Western pop and African Zulu rhythms.
In France Johnny Clegg was fondly called Le Zulu Blanc – the white Zulu.
Johnny Clegg, musician pioneer
Johnny Clegg was born in the UK, to an English father and Zimbabwean mother who later moved to South Africa and remarried.
It was Johnny’s stepfather, a crime reporter, who took Johnny into the townships of South Africa at an early age thus exposing Johnny to a different cultural perspective.
Johnny formed his first band, Juluka, at the age of 17, with Sipho Mchunu.
Later, Johnny Clegg was one of the first South African musicians to perform in a mixed-race musical performance – this would have been the ’70s. His music received ovations in Europe and America.
Johnny Clegg’s song Scatterlings of Africa was his first entry into the UK Charts. This song was also featured on the soundtrack to the 1988 Oscar-winning film Rain Man.
Copper sun sinking low Scatterlings and fugitives Hooded eyes and weary brows Seek refuge in the night They are the scatterlings of Africa Each uprooted one On the road to Phelamanga Where the world began I love the scatterlings of Africa Each and every one
Johnny Clegg, Scatterlings of Africa
A live history lesson with Johnny Clegg:
In the video above South African Legend Nelson Mandela joins Johnny Clegg on stage during the rendition of Asimbonanga, a song written by Johnny Clegg about Mandela’s 27 years of incarceration.
Johnny Clegg has performed on all four of Nelson Mandela’s 46664 Aids Awareness Concerts in South Africa and in Norway.
Johnny Clegg’s passing away was two days ahead of the Mandela’s 101 years birthday anniversary.
1988 The Mayor’s Office of Los Angeles Award: For the promotion of racial harmony
1988 Le Victoire French Music Industry Award for biggest
International record album sold in France between 1987 and 1988 (1.3
1989 Honorary Citizen of the town of Angouleme, France
1990-1991 French Music Industry Award for the biggest selling world music album in France
1990 Humanitarian Award: Secretary of State of Ohio, USA
1991 Awarded the CHEVALIER DE L’ORDRE DES ARTS ET DES LETTRES (Knight of Arts and Letters) by the French Government
1993 GRAMMY AWARD nomination for best World Music Album (Heat, Dust and Dreams)
1994 Billboard Music Award Best World Music Album
1996 Medal of Honour – city of Besancon
1998 Kora Awards: Best African Group
2004 Mayoral Medal of Honour from Mayor of Lyon, France, for
outstanding relations between the people of Lyon and South Africa
2004 Medal of Honour – Consul General of the Province of Nievre
2004 Medal of Honour – Consul General of the Province of L’Aisne
1986 Scotty Award : Master Music Maker 1987 Communication Contribution Award 1987 The Autumn Harvest Music Personality Award 1988 OK TV Best Pop Music Award 1988 CCP Record Special Award : In recognition of exceptional achievement in promotion of South African music internationally 1989 Radio 5 – Loud & Proud Award – South African Music Ambassador of the Year 1990 FOYSA Award (Four Outstanding South Africans) Junior Chamber of Commerce 1999 Avanti Award – Best Music Video “Crocodile Love”
Johnny Clegg’s passing will leave an immense gap in both local and international musical and cultural scenes.
My new book “Silent Heroes, When Love and Values Are Worth Fighting For”, a work of fiction two years in the making and inspired by the lives of the brave US Marines fighting in Afghanistan, of their faithful Military Working Dogs and the lives of the unbelievable Afghan people, will be released very soon.
COVER REVEAL coming soon. Watch this space!
Here is a very short sample of my thoughts on war, dogs, life and love. The passages below might or might not be included in the book.
“The Marine’s chest was a vacuum, as if no oxygen was left for him. Leaning over the dog’s warm neck he allowed the clouds that loomed all day to seal away any reasoning left and he let it all out, failure, anger, fear, the dog’s body shivering with his own.”
“In a life threatening war situation, a dog handler cannot just stop caring for his dog. He cannot remove his heart from his chest just like the dog cannot stop looking at his human friend without love shining through his eyes. Trust is their bond. “
“War memories linger past the healing of a scar or the mending of a bone. They creep from the depths of your sleep with the roar of a gun or the face of a departed friend. Only his dog understood him, she’d been there too. “
” When a dog watches you, your suit or hairstyle don’t matter, but the smile on your face and the love in your heart. A soldier sharing his food with stray dogs in Afghanistan. “
“Dogs need so little to be happy: food, water, good shelter, love. Humans too.”
“Feeding him was a mess, his eager tail and paws ending just as dirty as his mouth, half his food spilled. But he was worth his weight in gold, the puppy was. For he was a bundle of love and giggles and bedtime bliss that overshadowed the dad lost at war.”
” The great fortress of Bost, Qala-e-Bost, overlooked with pride the Helmand River for centuries. Able to resist a sun spitting yellow venom, it yielded to a war-cursed history.”
Over 12 millions tourists visit Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris every year. It may seem like a vast number, but compare it to the billions who haven’t even heard of this breathtaking, this époustouflante church nestled on a tiny island in the City of Lights and you can consider yourself lucky to be one of those few millions. We were. We are, went through my mind as we dumbfounded witnessed her (for the French consider their monuments of art to be of feminine genre) burn on in the evening of Monday 15 April 2019 during a LIVE TV broadcast . We’ve visited the Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris in August 2018. I want to share with you a tiny fraction of the marvels we saw.
To visit “Our Lady of Paris” or The Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris on Ile de la Cité (one of the two Parisian islands on Seine) you can take the Line 4 metro (M4 purple) or use one of the five bridges that connect the island to the rest of Paris. Do use the metro (Métropolitain, Métro de Paris) when in Paris, it is super fast, reliable, easy to use and super fun.
The Ile de la Cité metro station (stop for the Notre Dame Cathedral) was opened on 10 December 1910 .
Here is the first sight of the Paris Notre Dame Cathedral, the precious 300 foot (91.44 meters) spire lost in the fire that engulfed most of this magnificent church in April 2019.
The Notre Dame’s spire was a key component of the Paris skyline and it one of the first things you see as you search for this medieval cathedral. Perhaps not many know that this spire, first erected in 13th century, was damaged before, at the end of 18th century and replaced in 19th century using a design by architect Eugène Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc.
From the metro station, as you hurried footsteps take you along Rue de Lutèce thenRue de la Cité and you round the corner towards left, you are suddenly rewarded, faced with a beautiful square bordered by shady trees and behind it, closer than it might appear and so modest in its centuries-old fame, awaits, always awaits, the Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris.
Icon, Gothic bride,
Graced with long lines, rose windows.
Awaits your prayers.
(Notre Dame of Paris, a haiku by Patricia Furstenberg)
The Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris is a place of worship before being a historical landmark.
Front facade (west facade):
As in any Christian church, the altar faces east, away from us. The main entrance will therefore be through west. As you stand in front of the cathedral, left hand side is north, right hand side is south.
Notice the two 69-meter (228-feet) tall towers and the spire (at the back) raising between them. The famous bell sounded by Victor Hugo’s Quasimodo is the North Tower (left side and slightly bigger). The South Tower (right) houses the cathedral’s famous and oldest bell, “Emmanuel” (recast in 1631). This bell was the only one that was not melted down to become a cannon during the French Revolution.
Also worth noticing are: the “Galerie des Chimères” or Grand Gallery – it connects the two towers. Here is where the cathedral’s legendary gargoyles (chimères) are found and the King’s Gallery (a line of 28 statues of Kings of Judah and Israel – placed right above the three arches or portals).
Right in the middle of the west facade is the beautiful West Rose Window dating from about 1220. It is 9.6meters in diameter and its glass was recreated in the 19th century.
A rose window is any circular widow, especially used in Gothic style constructions and depicting a detailed design like a multi-petaled rose. Why a rose? Perhaps because the rose flower is a symbol of balance, of hope and new beginnings.
All along the front of the west rose window is the balcony of the Virgin with the statue of the Virgin with Child guarded by two angels Do you notice how the rose window forms a halo behind the statues of Mary and those of the angels?
On the main, west facade of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris one cannot miss the three (west) portals (not identical), magnificent examples of early Gothic art. They were sculpted in the 13th century with the purpose of teaching bible lessons to the peasants that could not read, but came all the way to this church to pray to God.
This is the largest of the three portals. The space between two portals is called a buttresses. Each buttress has a niche that houses a statue.
The sculpture above depicts the Last Judgement. Above the sculpture thee are archivolts with lots pf saint sculptures.
The Right Portal – Portal of St. Anne (the Virgin Mary’s mother)
The Left Portal – Portal of the Virgin
Notice the three parts of the tympanum. On the top part there is a scene depicting the Coronation of the Virgin, with an angel crowning Mary.
Underneath, the top lintel depicts the Death of the Virgin – Mary lies on her death bed surrounded by Jesus and the 12 Apostles. Underneath is the bottom lintel with three Old Testament prophets (left) and three Old Testament kings (right) holding scrolls with Christ ‘s prophecies.
At the very left of Virgin Mary’s portal (the left portal) is the Statue of Saint Stephen.
Here is a view at the King’s Gallery (a line of 28 statues of Kings of Judah and Israel) – above the three west portals. The original statues were placed there in the 13th century. Sadly, during the French Revolution they were mistaken for kinds, pulled down and decapitated. New statues were later sculpted by Geoffroi-Dechaume. In 1977, 143 remains of the decapitated statues were discovered and can now be seen at the Middle-Ages Museum (Hôtel de Cluny).
Inside the Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris before the April 2019 fire
A view along the enormously tall and long nave (130 meters long, with double isles left and right), towards the altar, while standing in the (west) entrance. The nave can accommodate 6500 worshipers.
All the columns that support the vault are identical, although they reach different parts of the six part vault. Because of this our eye is led all the way to the altar.
Right above the altar rose the Cathedral’s flèche or spire that sadly collapsed in a mass of led and charred wood in the April 2019 fire.
Left and right of the high altar are the kneeling statues of Louis XIII and Louis XIV. At the back we have a glimpse of theouble ambulatory.
In front of the cross found on the altar is the Pietà statue by Nicolas Coustou. They both escaped unharmed from the April 2019 fire. How unbelievably amazing is that, considering that the spire that collapsed rose right above them? Did you know that pietà means “pity”, “compassion’? A pietà is Christian art sculpture depicting the Virgin Mary cradling the dead body of Jesus.
The Rose Windows
The North rose window, 12,9 meters in diameter, has almost all the original stained glass dating back to the 13th century. Its central medallion is dedicated to Virgin Mary.
The South rose window, 12.9 m in diameter, 84 panes ( donated by King St. Louis and installed around 1260) was affected by the French Revolution and both World Wars. Its stained glass window dates from 1845. The south window is dedicated to Christ as south receives the most sunlight, more illumination (in the northers hemisphere) – associated with the coming again of Christ thus being the most alight between the two rose windows of the transept.
After multiple repairs throughout the centuries its panes are now out of order. The architect Viollet-le-Duc rotated the entire rose with 15° to create horizontal and vertical axes for stability in the masonry.
The Stained Glass Windows
Beautiful lighting through the stained windows. The lighting inside the Notre Dame Cathedral is never the same as the outside daylight plays different shades on its stained glass windows.
The elegant stained windows of Notre Dame Cathedral depict religious stories. Although some of them were destroyed during the World Wars, some are even originals from the Middle Ages.
Above the isle there is a (with windows as well) and above are the clerestory windows. Notice there is one arch on the bottom level, then three arches above, then the windows.
The original clerestory windows were just a rose window and up above was just wall. The cathedral was much darker. So below, the left bottom image shows an original clerestory window (except that above the round window it would have been wall).
Lighting with color through the stained glass windows of the Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris.
The clerestory windows are the little windows right at the top. They have no crosspiece dividing the light.
The light pouring through a stained glass window always differ – with your distance from the window, the angle you see the window at, the time of day or season. It is always a good idea to revisit a church, if time permits. It will be a whole new experience. Spiritually too.
Each stained glass window has a biblical story to tell.
Is this statue looking away from us or is he absorbed by something small, at his feet?
There are 27 chapels inside Notre Dame of Paris, their entrances marked by chandeliers. These chandeliers are a symbol of the light of God and were know as “Crowns of Light” during the Middle Ages.
Lighting up a candle is such a personal, spiritual experience.
The transept, perpendicular on the nave, forms the big body cross of a church. Notre Dame of Paris has a rather narrow transept as it has been built after its nave. At each end of the transept we find a big, rose window, the North and the South.
If memory serves me right, this medallion mural of Mary and Jesus surrounded by gold stars on blue sky was in the middle of transept, above the altar. The great spire would have rose above it.
The area where the choir members sit is located behind the transept and shielded by this Gothic wood screen.
Medieval wood sculpture on the chancel screen in Notre Dame de Paris depicting biblical scenes – below.
Great image standing in the ambulatory, looking up through one of the arches, looking up into the vault. Have you ever tried to steal an unconventional peek inside a cathedral or museum? See things from a different perspective, literally.
This would be a view from the North ambulatory. You can see the North Rose Window and the stained glass windows of the north aisle.
The Vaulted Ceiling
Notice the six part of the 12th century vault. The clerestory windows are 13th century.
One lesson I learned from our visit to France: always look up. The ceilings, the vaults are often overlooked and are simply magnificent. A work of art in their own right. Just think of all the forces that keep them together. Right above your head.
On each side of the vault notice the isle, above it the galley (with windows as well) and above the clerestory windows. What a beautiful elevation.
The Pipe Organ
I love the space above my head when I sit in a church.
Did you know that your entry in the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Paris, is blessed by this Angel placed atop the entry doors?
Bless those near by,
Hear their prayers, see their hearts.
Sings the Angel still.
(Notre DameAngel, a haiku by Patricia Furstenberg)
The Notre Dame Cathedral Great Organ was one of the world’s most famous musical instruments consisting of almost 8 000 pipes, playing five keyboards, parts of it dating back to medieval times. It has been often renovated over the years but it still contained pipes from the Middle Ages before the April 2019 fire.
Christ on cross-great bronze crucifix was a gift from Napoleon III. Napoleon III (Louis-Napoleon) married here Empress Eugénie de Montijo in 1853. He was 45 years old, she was 23 and would not succumb to his charms without a marriage. Later Napoleon III restored the flèche, or spire, of this Cathedral, a work carried by architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc.
It was Napoleon I, Napoleon Bonaparte, to be crowned King in Notre Dame Cathedral on 2 December 1804.
A painted wood sculpture in scenes from the life of Christ, the risen Christ appears to the holy women, Wood painted panel inside Notre Dame Cathedral
So much dedication and work goes in a sculpture. Dare I compare it to the work that it is poured inside a novel?
Cloister detail in Notre Dame Cathedral, interior -Statue and stained glass window
Hopeful stretching towards the sky.
A different view of the Notre Dame Cathedral: from atop the Eiffel Tower.
“But noble as it has remained while growing old, one cannot but regret, cannot but feel indignant at the innumerable degradations and mutilations inflicted on the venerable pile, both by the action of time and the hand of man, regardless alike of Charlemagne, who laid the first stone, and Philip Augustus, who laid the last. On the face of this ancient queen of our cathedrals, beside each wrinkle one invariably finds a scar. ‘Tempus edax, homo edacior,’ which I would be inclined to translate: ‘Time is blind, but man is senseless.’” (Victor Hugo – The Hunchback of Notre Dame)
Embedded in the stone and concrete outside the Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris is this geographic marker. It is used to measure all distances away from Paris. It is Paris Point Zero.
A useful detailed floor plan of Notre Dame Cathedral, source Wikipedia. When visiting a monument or a museum having a detailed floor plan is an excellent idea.
In 1914, three years
before New York state constitution granted women
suffrage and only eleven years after the Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Factory first
opened its gates in a small shed in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Della
Crewe, a 29 young woman with a flair for adventure, took a trip around the
world (or around the United States) on a Harley-Davidson bike with a sidecar.
With her travelled her beloved dog, Trouble,
a Boston bull pup.
“Trouble is the only trouble I will have with me on this trip.”
It all started the year before, in 1913,
when Miss Della Crewe bought a new 1913 Harley-Davidson single-cylinder bike that she
enjoyed riding around her home town, Waco,
Texas. Next year she traded the Davidson single-cylinder for a twin, and added
a sidecar to it. And she took off.
First she stopped in Dodge City, Kansas for a motorcycle race. We need to consider the state
of roads in 1914, muddy and sandy and with hidden stumps and rocks. Needless to
say, she received a hero’s welcome. It took her eight days.
From Kansas she headed for Oklahoma City then headed north, through Missouri, to Chicago. Further to the Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Factory in Milwaukee where she picnicked with the female workers of the motorcycle factory.
Further south she departed, to Indiana. Here the authorities stopped her twice along the road because of hoof and mouth disease cases in the area. Della had to promise that her dog wouldn’t leave the sidecar. Then on to Goshen, Indiana she went. Here Della and Trouble took part in a city parade before heading to the East Coast to New York. It was winter, 12 December and -10F (-23C!). While Della Crewe had to wear all the clothes she traveled with in order to keep warm, her dog Trouble was cozy in a specially knitted sweater, curled on the bottom of the side car, on his pillow.
According to Google
Maps, this trip would take 43 h without traffic (2,734 miles) today, driving via
US-287 N and US-283 N. We are advised that this route has tolls and that the
destination is in a different time zone.
It took Della Crewe
from spring till autumn 1914 (and many stop overs along the way) to travel from
Kansas to New York.
“I had a glorious trip. I am in perfect health and my desire is stronger than ever to keep going.”
She didn’t stop here.
Since World War 1 already started in Europe, she couldn’t take her Harley-Davidson and her beloved dog Trouble across the Atlantic so
she headed south, booking passage to Florida.
Then she booked passage further to Havana,
Cuba where she toured the island, still on her Harley-Davidson. She sailed further
south, over the Caribbean Sea to Panama where she visited the newly open Panama Canal, “America’s master
work.” Further she visited the island of
Jamaica, still part of the British
Empire back then. Here she motored to the top of the highest peak. From Jamaica
she then hopped to the island of Puerto
She then sailed back home to Florida, then motored to Tampa, then to Atlanta, Carolinas, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia before reaching New York City again.
Here she didn’t stop for long, motoring across the US to Los Angeles – where she settled in 1916 for a while longer, working as a manicurist and a shop clerk.
I was pleasantly surprised to learn about Della Crewe’s biking adventures and about her beloved dog Trouble, especially since I, too, know a few stories abut a different dog, a Great Dane, that was enrolled in the Royal Navy and even flew planes during World War Two: Joyful Trouble.
Weather it is Michael Ende’s “The Never Ending Story” (“Die Unendliche Geschichte”), Erich Kästner’s “Emil and the Detectives” (“Emil Und Die Detektive”) or Grimm’s “Hansel and Gretel”, German storytelling reveals a rich culture and a millennial tradition. But did you now that this country produces over 1200 different types of sausages? Surely the opulent German cuisine would have also infiltrated the expressive Teutonic language, as we can see from the following German idioms.
Kein Schwein war da
Translation: There weren’t any pigs there
Meaning: Not worth
going, a bad place to be (to understand this idiom you need to keep in mind the
German’s love for sausages.
Das ist mir Wurst
Translation: That’s sausage to me
Meaning: That doesn’t matter
Alles hat ein Ende, nur die Wurst hat zwei
Translation: Everything has an end. Only the sausage has two
Meaning: All good things must end (but said with a lot more feeling)
Sie spielt die beleidigte Leberwurst
Translation: She’s playing the insulted sausage
Meaning: She’s all
worked up (said with lots of gusto)
Eine Extrawurst haben
To get an extra sausage
Meaning: To ask for special treatment
Er muss zu allem
seinen Senf dazugeben
He has to add his mustard to everything
Meaning: Give his two cents
zusammen noch keine Schweine gehütet!
Translation: We haven’t
kept any pigs together
Meaning: We don’t know
each other all that well
Translation: To have a
Meaning: To be lucky.
Obviously to Germans having a pig means a lot more that having a cow means to
the English speaking world.
Mein Englisch ist unter aller Sau
Translation: My English is under all pig
Meaning: My English is
Wie die Kuh vorm neuen Tor dastehen
Translation: Like a
cow standing in front of a new door
much like someone faced with a new situation
Da liegt der
Hase im Pfeffer!
Translation: There’s a
rabbit in the pepper
Meaning: something that
is depressing, a catastrophe.
Da steppt der Bär
where the bear dances
Meaning: A great party
Jemandem einen Bären aufbinden
Translation: To tie a
bear to someone
Meaning: to deceive
someone into accepting something false
Meaning: An outrageous
behavior (Its origin lies back in the 19th century and the ambulant animal fun shows)
Sie hat ein Kater
Translation:She has a tomcat
Meaning: She’s got a
Das ist ein Katzensprung
Translation: That’s a cat jump
Meaning: Something is very close, a stone’s throw
Das Leben ist kein Ponyhof
Translation: Life is no pony farm
Meaning: Life is not
Vogel friss oder stirb
Bird eat or die
Pretty straight forward. It’s a do or die situation.
Der Fisch stinkt vom Kopf her
Translation: The fish starts stinking from the head
Meaning: Problems always start at the top (so very
true in politics)
Sie hat einen Vogel
Translation: She has a bird
Meaning: She is
Wo sich Fuchs und Hase gute Nacht sagen
Translation: Where fox and hare say goodnight to one another
Meaning: in the middle
of nowhere, in a remote location (and surely not in a story book)
Da liegt der Hund begraben
Translation: That’s where the dog’s buried
Meaning: That’s the heart of the matter – when you want to show that you know
what the situation is about
Katze in Sack kaufen
To buy a cat in a sack
To buy something without inspecting it first
Drie populêre kinderboeke, nou beskibaar in Afrikaans. Helder en kleurvolle illustrasies en beminlike karakters wat opwindende avonture deel. Vir kinders en ouers om saam te geniet.
I am a big fan of Patricia and her style of writing. She certainly knows how to capture the imagination.
Mandie Griffiths, Book Reviewer
Die Leeu en die Hond
Hierdie gedig was geïnspereer deur die ware verhaal van Bonedigger, die gestremde leeu en Milo die vriendelike worshond wat bewys het dat vriendskap geen grense ken nie.
“Ek hou van die mooi boodskappe van vriendskap, geloof, optimisme, en vriendelikheid oorgedra deur middel van hierdie verhaal. Die illustrasies is wonderlik en hulle gee duidelikheid aan die konsep en die outeur se woorde. Wat ‘n pragtige storie vir ouers om voor te lees vir kinders en kinders te help om die ware betekenis van vriendskap te verstaan en hoe dit geen grense ken nie!”
Die Olifant en die Skaap
Hierdie gedig was geïnspereer deur die ware verhaal van Themba, ‘n ses- maande-ou weesolifant wat aangemeem is deur Albert die skaap. Die twee vriende woon in ‘n natuurreservaat in Suid Afrika.
“We both liked the illustrations. They are colorful and cute.I really liked the message that Furstenberg put into this story. It is one that children need to learn at an early age. I recommend this book for anyone with young children.” 5* Readers’ Favorite Review for the English Edition
Die Jagluiperd en die Hond
Hierdie gedig was geïnspereer deur die ware verhaal van Kasi, ‘n wees jagluiperd mannietjie, en Mtani, ‘n Labrador tefie, wat ‘n merkwaardige vriendskap gesmee het en lewenslank vriende gebly het…
“An important and beautiful story for little readers. A book parents should read to their children, not only because it’s pretty and cute, but to also encourage children to learn about the little things that matter from our four legged companions.” 5 Stars Review of the English Edition by Rebecca Evans, Reviewer
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Cozonac is not only a culinary tradition , but a lesson in history as well. First baked in Ancient Egypt, sweetened with honey and filled with nuts, it soon appealed the Greeks – plakoús, πλακούς – who added raisins and walnuts into its filling. Next, the Romans loved it, adding their own spin to the recipe, dried fruits, and sharing it all over the Roman Empire – Romania included.
NOTE: this recipe makes 4 loaves (and 3 baby ones, please see below). Half it if you want to make less.
The cozonac is a sweet bread with filling, so having a filling is crucial for an all rounded taste.
TIME: preparation alone, between 3 – 4 hrs with baking time (because the cozonac must be allowed to rise twice). To reduce this time you can prepare the nut filling the day before).
The recipe for cozonac consists of two parts:
the filling (this is a nut filling, but if you are allergic to nuts or prefer not to use nuts, you can skip this part and use 250 g small cut Turkish Delight or plain chocolate spread instead);
the sweet bread dough.
Nut filling recipe (for 2 loaves):
250 ml milk (I used a lactose-free coffee creamer)
425 g ground walnuts (TIP: you can put the walnuts in a sandwich bag and roll them over with a rolling pin – please see below)
170 g white sugar
40 ml rum extract (you can substitute with 10 ml vanilla extract)
10 ml lemon extract (or lemon juice)
1 Tbsp lemon zest
2 Tbsp good cocoa powder (even 3 Tbsp if you love cocoa)
How to prepare the nut filling:
Melt sugar in milk over medium heat.
Add ground walnuts and stir for 10 minutes, until mixture is thickened.
Remove from the heat and add cocoa, rum extract, lemon extract, and lemon zest. Set aside and let it cool.
Sweet bread dough recipe (makes 4 loaves):
1 l milk (I used a lactose-free coffee creamer)
2 kg white flour
12 Tbsp white sugar
2 Tbsp lemon zest
40 ml rum extract (or use 5ml lemon juice + 10ml Vanilla)
6 -9 eggs at room temperature (depending on the size, e.g. 6 XL or 9 small). Use the freshest eggs you can find. The yolks will also give the cozonac, when cooked, a lovely light-yellow tint.
300 g butter (at room temperature)
1 tsp salt
3 packets fast rising dry yeast (3×10 g)
1 beaten egg for brushing the top of the loaves (or milk)
TIP: you will need a mixing bowl big enough to accommodate both your fists and still to give you enough space to knead the dough. A big cooking pot can also be used.
Mix butter, 1/2 of the milk and sugar in a saucepan and place it over medium heat until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved. Add the other 1/2 of the milk and let it cool until just warm.
Beat the eggs and blend them in the lukewarm milk mixture. Add lemon zest and rum / vanilla essence. Mixture should be +- 35 Degrees before adding it to the flour (too cool and the yeast will not be activated; too hot and it will kill the yeast).
In a large bowl place the white flour, sprinkle the salt and the dry yeast and give it a little mix. Make a hole in the center, like a well. Add the butter-milk-sugar-egg-essence mixture in this well. Mix with a wooden spoon until all ingredients are blended together – see images below.
Next you need to knead the dough with your fists for about 15 minutes. Knead then fold it over, turn the bowl 180 degrees and repeat. This will get the yeast to work. If the dough sticks to your hands pour a little bit of cooking oil (a teaspoon the most) over your hands and rub them, then knead again.
Just when you are done (15 minutes later) tug the dough in all around turning it into a nice, flat ball, rub a little bit more cooking oil over its top and all around the walls of the bowl. This is important as the dough will rise, you don’t want it to stick to the walls of the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic and a clean tea towel and place in a warm spot. Allow the dough to rise until double in size. (about 20 – 30min)
Meanwhile, oil and flour your loaf pans and sprinkle your working area with flour. You can feel like a kid again and draw something…
Once the dough doubled in size kneed it down the dough once or twice, then divide it into the number of loaves you decided to make.
Pick one of the balls of dough and, while holding it above the working surface, stretch it a bit. Lay it flat and roll it with the rolling pin until it is about 3-4mm thick. In lengths, it has to be a little bit longer than your cooking pan. With a butter knife divide it in three.
TIP: consider how many loaves you will make and divide the nut filling or the Turkish delight accordingly.
Fill each of the three strips with the fillings desired. Roll each strip, pinch both ends and pinch along the rolled edge. Plait the three rolls together into a loaf. Carefully pick it up and place it in the pan.
Repeat for the remainder loaves.
Place each cozonac into a greased and floured loaf pan, brush with egg or milk and cover with a lightly greased plastic and a clean tea towel.
Allow the loaves to rise for another 20-30 minutes in a warm place.
Switch on the oven at 170 degrees Celsius or 340 Fahrenheit (Gas 3-4).
Bake for about 45 minutes or until light brown.
Set the pans on their side for 5 minutes.
Remove from the pan using a butter knife and then allow the cozonac to cool completely before serving – if you can resist it.
Serve with milk, coffee, tea, ice cream, red wine or with hard boiled egg and spring onion for breakfast!
Merry Christmas! Craciun Fericit!
What about you? What is your favorite Christmas meal?
If you decide to make cozonac using the recipe above, do send me a picture of your cozonac. I would love to post it here!
Christmas Tree and Saint Nicholas, two Christmas Haiku
So tall for small child,
Only Dad reaches its top.
Christmas tree promise.
6 Decemberholds a special place and my heart, it brings the first thrills of Christmas joy and of small miracles.
You might not know, but in Christian Orthodox tradition 6 December is the day we celebrate Saint Nicholas (Saint Nicholas of Myra, Nicholas of Bari or Nicholas the Wonderworker), who was an early Christian bishop of the ancient Greek city of Myra in Asia Minor (now Demre inTurkey). It is said that he was legendary for his secret gift-giving. Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors, merchants, archers, repentant thieves, children, brewers, and students.
How Saint Nicholas became the patron saint of children is quite an astonishing tale. Now remember that all the written records of his life were made on papyrus or parchment, less durable than present day paper, thus had to be re-copied by hand in order to be preserved for future generations. One story speaks of a wicked butcher who, during a dreadful famine, lured three little children into his house, killed them and placed their remains in a barrel to cure, planning to sell them later as ham.Nicholas, who was visiting that region to care for the poor and the hungry, saw right through the butcher’s white fabrications and resurrected the pickled children by making the Sign of the Cross.
Saint Nicholas Haiku
Clean shoes and bright hopes-
Children go to bed smiling.
Mom’s a child at heart.
Welcome to Christmas Haiku!This December you can enjoy a winter themed haiku each day until Christmas Day. From the 25th of December I will post a super-special series of haiku on a humorous theme. My Christmas prezzie for YOU! Subscribe to my blog (newsletter sign up on the right column or beneath this post) and never miss a haiku with your morning coffee or favorite cuppa! MerryChristmas!
You can enjoy more haiku on this page of my website or in my brand new haiku book: Christmas Haiku:
An inspirational collection of winter and Christmas themed haiku to help you relax.Enjoy a daily haiku paired with gorgeous seasonal images as well as haiku for “The 12 Days of Christmas”
Movie Music Monday, “Flying Over Africa”, music by John Barry, from “Out of Africa” via @PatFurstenberg #OutOfAfrica #quotes #moviemusicmonday
“When you have caught the rhythm of Africa, you find out that it is the same in all her music.”(Karen Blixen, “Out of Africa”)
It has been many years since I first watched “Out of Africa”, yet what made a big impression on me then stayed with, helping me outline an era, sketch what it takes to be a resilient woman in unfamiliar land and remember that nature’s beauty as well as people’s surprising humanity are everlasting treasures within reach.
“When in the end, the day came on which I was going away, I learned the strange learning that things can happen which we ourselves cannot possibly imagine, either beforehand, or at the time when they are taking place, or afterwards when we look back on them.”
Memorable aspects: John Barry’s music, Meryl Streep’s flawless Danish accent (she practiced her accent by listening to recordings of Isak Dinesen reading her own stories), Karen telling the story based on Denys’ first line:
“There was a wondering Chinese named Cheng Huan living in Limehouse and a girl named Shirley…”
the breathtaking views of the African game, the greatness of Ngong Hills, the coffee plantation with its noble Kikuyu people.
“Where did you get it?”
“Mombasa. Get in!”
“When did you learn to fly?”
Isak Dinesen (the pseudonym of Danish author Karen Blixen) lived for seventeen years in British East Africa (now Kenya). Her autobiographical book “Out of Africa” together with additional material from one of her subsequent books, “Shadows on the Grass” adapted into a screenplay and directed by into what we know as the magnificent movie we all know.
Below are a few of my favorite quotes from “Out of Africa”.
Karen’s precious memories of Denys shining a light on how deep their relationship was :
“He even took the Gramophone on safari. Three rifles, supplies for a month and Mozart. He began our friendship with a gift. And later, not long before Tsavo, he gave me another. An incredible gift. A glimpse of the world through God’s eye. And I thought: ‘Yes, I see. This is the way it was intended.’ I’ve written about all the others, not because I loved them less, but because they were clearer, easier. He was waiting for me there. But I’ve gone ahead of my story. He’d have hated that. Denys loved to hear a story told well.”
Perhaps one of the most widely known movie quotes of all times:
“I had a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong Hills. The Equator runs across these highlands, a hundred miles to the north, and the farm lay at an altitude of over six thousand feet. In the day-time you felt that you had got high up; near to the sun, but the early mornings and evenings were limpid and restful, and the nights were cold.”
A concept I try, how I try every day, to live by:
“Difficult times have helped me to understand better than before how infinitely rich and beautiful life is in every way, and that so many things that one goes worrying about are of no importance whatsoever.”
I may not dream that much, but I acquire the same joy through writing:
“People who dream when they sleep at night know of a special kind of happiness which the world of the day holds not, a placid ecstasy, and ease of heart, that are like honey on the tongue. They also know that the real glory of dreams lies in their atmosphere of unlimited freedom.”
Is this quote below unveiling an optimistic side of Karen Blixen, or a life-long, concealed, low self-esteem?
“Now take back the soul of Denys George Finch Hatton, whom you have shared with us.
He brought us joy, and we loved him well.
He was not ours.
He was not mine.”
The movie ends with this heartbreaking quote by Karen Blixen:
“If I know a song of Africa, of the giraffe and the African new moon lying on her back, of the plows in the fields and the sweaty faces of the coffee pickers, does Africa know a song of me? Will the air over the plains quiver with a color that I have had on, or the children invent a game in which my name is, or the full moon throw a shadow over the gravel of the drive that was like me, or will the eagles of the Ngong Hills look out for me?”
I like to believe yes. Did you know that the Nairobi suburb that emerged on the land where Blixen farmed coffee is now named Karen?
“Out of Africa” quotes are property and copyright of their owners. “Flying over Africa” movie clip is provided for educational purposes and personal use only.
Read more poems inspired by the force of sea and the bravery of animals in my latest books:
Vonk the Horse: Spark, the Bravest Stallion of the 18th Century. Sail the high seas to the end of the 18th century, the middle of winter in the southern hemisphere. When a ship hits a bank of sand near the Cape of Storms (Cape Town), all spectators on land fear for the lives of those on board for the waters are frigid and currents strong.
Jock of the Bushveld, Africa’s Best Loved Dog Hero. Jock, the runt of the littler, the smallest of puppies, lived to enjoy a full and adventurous life at the side of his master. Even those overlooked and picked on can grow to become brave and reliable dogs, deeply loved by their owners. Jock and his master shared a life of adventures in the African bush, transporting goods for a living, hunting their food together and sharing the warmth of the fire under a blanket of stars at night. Happy to have each other. eBook, 99c/99p/0.99EUR or read free on Kindle Unlimited:Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Australia, Amazon Canada, Amazon Germany.
Huberta the Hippo, Amazing Adventures of a Happy River Horse. Read about the adventures and misadventures of a real African hippopotamus that, one day, at noon, decided to migrate south: “The moon sees all from way up high, I wish to also see the world go by.” It took Hubert many years to travel 1 600km south, along the South African coast. Along the way Hubert made many friends and enemies as he was a friendly hippo but with a rather large appetite and he didn’t quite followed the human rules. Nobody knows why Hubert migrated, but we do know that he was happy when he reached his final destination and that only after his death was discovered that he was, actually, a girl. eBook, 99c/99p/0.99EUR or read free on Kindle Unlimited:Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Australia, Amazon Canada, Amazon Deutschland.
“It is uplifting, positive and a pleasure to read and as a dog lover it warmed my heart, some made me laugh, some made me think, some made me smile inside.” (Donna’s Book Blog)
“A beautiful, uplifting and endearing read – I loved it!” (5* Amazon Review)
As Good As Gold is also available in Large Print, colorful pictures, a dyslexia friendly edition: get it on Amazon UK, Amazon US
I chose the name Haiku-San as it derives from Haiku, meaning unusual verse in Japanese (hai=unusual, ku=verse, strophe) and San, the honorific Japanese title when speaking about people. San is also the phonetic transcription of the first syllable of the English word Sunday, Sun-day hence Haiku-San, a Sunday feature on Alluring Creations involving Haiku I write.