Thursday, 26 November 2015

waiting for 
the next blow
i duck  low; 
but not too low,
because I know
as low as I bow
the hammer
will fall
and i will


grateful ungrateful
is what i must be
i have everything
but nothing
has all of me

Manuela Cardiga



1 cup Sesame Paste
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup Sesame seeds
Grated rind of one orange

For the topping:
Sesame seeds


Preheat oven to 180º degrees and line a large baking tin with baking paper.

Combine the Sesame Paste, white sugar, sesame seeds, orange rind and the egg.
Mix until smooth. then just drop spoonfuls of dough onto the prepared baking sheet.
Brush the top of each biscuit with honey and sprinkle with sesame seeds
Bake for 6 to 8 minutes.
Do not overbake,
These biscuits are best when they are still soft and just barely brown on the bottoms.
They will solidify as they cool.


1 cup peanut butter (I like crunchy!)
1 cup white sugar
1 egg


Preheat oven to 180º degrees and  line a  large baking tin with baking paper.

Combine the peanut butter, white sugar and egg. 
Mix until smooth. then just drop spoonfuls of dough onto the prepared baking sheet. 

Bake for 6 to 8 minutes. 
Do not overbake!
Yes, I know they will look as if they are underdone, but that is how they should be.

These cookies are best when they are still soft and just barely brown on the bottoms.
They will solidify as they cool. 
If they get the chance...

These cookies and a big glass of milk are just what Santa ordered,


Wednesday, 25 November 2015



110 g of butter at room temperature
60 g of sugar
180 g flour
1 egg white

Butter to grease  the tray and the paper
Baking paper
Sugar to "toss" the biscuits

Preheat the oven to 180º C.
Grease the tray with the butter and line it with a sheet of baking paper,  also greased.
Mix the 110g of butter, the sugar the flour and the egg white together, all by hand, until it is homogeneous.
Divide the dough into walnut size portions and roll them into balls in your ands. Flatten them and lay them out on the tray.

Bake them in the oven for 12 minutes..
Take the biscuits out of the oven, and while still warm, toss them in granulated white sugar.

PS: As an alternative, add a drop of almond essence, and a generous handful of ground almonds to the dough.


Monday, 23 November 2015



For the Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter
1 1/3 cups white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 eggs
2/3 cup milk

For the Cinnamon Sauce 
1/2 cup white sugar
6 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Preheat oven to about 180 º C/ 350ªF. 

Grease and lightly flour a 25 cm  cake tin (with the hole in the middle!). 

Sift together the flour, the baking powder, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and the salt.

In a large bowl beat 2/3 cup of butter, 1 1/3 cups white sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for at least 1 minute after each egg. 
Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk. 
Pour mix into prepared pan.

Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into  the cake comes out clean. Let it cool in the tin for 10 minutes. 

While it cools, make the Cinnamon Sauce:
In a saucepan, place 1/2 cup white sugar, 6 tablespoons, the butter, water, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon. Heat and stir until butter melts, the sugar dissolves and startes to thicken. 
You might also like to add a dash of Port or Brandy to the sauce...

Turn the cake out of the tin while it is still warm and poke holes around the top of the cake with a fork. 
Pour the warm cinnamon sauce into the holes and onto the top and sides of the cake.

Serve warm, with coffee or tea!

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Showing kindness to those we care for is a selfish act,
it is no more than kindness to our better selves.


Friday, 20 November 2015

What rough beast, its hour come at last, slouches towards Washington to be sworn?

(With abject apologies to WiIlliam Butler Yeats)

Tell me, kind kindred,
If you can, or if you will
What rough Beast
Did we invite
To our Feast?

What shadow flight of delight,
What ritual of doubt
Did we drown
Before Heaven's Throne?

What fell apart?
Was it our hope,
Or just the courage
Of our sickly heart?

Did we dry our
Tears with a sweet,
Sweet needle
Or a vial of pills?

Tell me, kind kindred,
What have we loosed
Upon the world?

What lazy dreamer
Invented these
Vapid toys
For men of war
Or murdering boys:
Exploding drones
Nanotech soldiers
And vampire-clones?

Even now
A gauntlet hand
Reaches to summon
The sibilant
Scimitar of feathers.
Descending to spy
Screams in fright
And takes wild flight
Into the lowering sky..
So the Old Gods
And the New
Eschew our table:
Odin is gone,
Ceres unable,
And even that God
That taught Cain
To hate Abel
Turns away
In disdain.

Tell me, kind kindred,
I beg you explain
What rough Beast
Did we invite
To slouch
On our couch
Guzzling our pain,
Devouring our heart?

Oh light us a candle
Or maybe a star
Cause this year
We are further,
Much further
Than far.

That Rough Beast
Is closer, it's drawing near
Its ultimate intent
As yet unclear;

So do we fall into
Darkest night,
Or will you light us
A candle tonight?

Manuela Cardiga
The difference between justice and revenge is so defined: justice is dispensed in a civilised manner; vengeance brings you down to the same level of barbarism.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Theocracies breed atrocities like rats breed fleas.

Anywhere the Rule of Clergy is set over the Law of Man, the authorities believe they have a Mandate from Heaven that frees them from guilt; and an automatic clause of forgiveness from all and any sin.

This is true of all religions, with the possible exception of Buddhism. This maybe because Buddhism sees salvation, or enlightenment as something to be achieved by the individual through meditation and meritorious deeds, not attributed in trade for worship by a Divine Agency.

Maria Manuela Cardiga

Sunday, 15 November 2015


Everyone is commenting on Paris' dark night, offering comfort and I have no words.

Everyone of us who has lived through violence knows the numbing sense of unreality and violation; the destruction of confidence in ourselves, and in the safety we took for granted as our right.

There are no words, and no comfort to offer.
This is why there are moments of silence, to echo that frightening void that opens inside us at the loss of light.

A few years ago, the Basque Nation sent ETTA a clear message. They marched in the streets in their hundreds of thousands in absolute silence carrying placards that read "BASTA JA!"

We need to see the Islamic communities of Europe on the streets, marching in silence with the words they cannot speak held high: ENOUGH!

We need that so we can continue to believe that those other words the French gifted the world - liberté, égalité, fraternité - really do apply to every man, woman and child, of all nations, races and creeds.
We beg you, cry out ENOUGH! or we shall.

How sad.
It seems I did have words after all.
But none of them of comfort.

Manuela Cardiga

Thursday, 12 November 2015


I think the mythical oracles - and others depicted as afflicted with foresight - were blind not by accident or disease, but by their own hand in a desperate attempt to extinguish their visions.

From Conversations with Ivan Shapiro


IVAN: There is only one "us", one self

ME: That is not true at all. There are myriads spinning and blossoming, and the shine and the sparkles of others in the dark is what gives us hope

IVAN: So it appears, But its all the same "self"

ME: That would be sad, because then all the precious gift of love would be only selfish self-love after all.

IVAN: You right

ME: We are many. We long to be one only. That is what divides and unites. It is the tragedy and the comedy of life

IVAN: The whole thing is, we wanted to taste steak.

ME: Exactly! With pepper sauce.

IVAN: Yep! Even better.

ME: God wanted to be not-alone, you see.

IVAN: That's true, and so he made us lonely.

From Conversations with Ivan Shapiro

Monday, 9 November 2015

Today we start again, 
Free of past and stain:
Nothing, and no pain, 
Is foreordained.

Manuela Cardiga

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

And the difference between a "refugee" and an "illegal immigrant is...THE ENVELOPE PLEASE!

Everyday Southern European countries turns away boat-loads of starving, terrified people from war-torn North Africa, calling them "illegal immigrants". I'd like to know what is the difference between these people and the Syrians refugees?

Just asking.


Monday, 2 November 2015


There is a man sleeping in a bus stop near my daughter's school, 200 meters from my home.

You must understand that we live in a priviledged residential area, in what is considered the very best munincipality in the country, with the highest level of education, the best infrastructures and the highest income bracket.

I am not wealthy, alas, very far from it, and sometimes (often) struggle to make ends meet, I don't own a home here, I rent-share one. I know how close I walk to the edge. I and a lot of other people just like me and I am ashamed to say I flinched. I wanted to look away. His poverty embarrassed me. It seemed out of place there. Surely there is somewhere more appropriate to be homeless? I though that. I did. I thought this ugly thing,

But I made myself lift my head, smile and greet the man who had laid out his blanket on the bus-stop bench, just as I would anyone else from the neighbourhood who might be sitting waiting for the bus.

I told myself that it could be me, with the neatly packed bags and the blanket. All it takes to be destitute and alone is a slip on the banana-peel of Fate.



Ok, this a day for revelations as to the less agreeable side of my nature.
Europe is taking in hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees.

That is so COOL, right?
We are opening our arms to people fleeing from turmoil and pain and the horror of a civil war!
What could be more humane?
Now bitchy shitty me has a question.

Excuse me?
Isn't Syria in Asia?
Why aren't the frantic and desperate Syrians seeking refuge in the neighbouring countries that actually share the same (similar) culture, religion and language?

Why are they crossing a continent to come lay their weary heads on the comforting breast of Mother Europe?

Aren't we the despised and depraved infidels?
I don't get it!

Why not go to Saudi Arabia, Arab Emirates, Iran, Kuwait, Egypt?
Hey! Go north and you can even cross Afghanistan?
Get to China? Or Russia?
Why drag themselves this far?

Another question is, shouldn't Europe be saving up their resourses to help their OWN needy? Or are we pretending we dont have any?

Just asking why our citizens are sleeping in the streets and Syrians get brand new apartments and jobs.

You want to help the Syrians?
Fine, but do the same for our own ciitizens.
Charity begins at home, and if we cannot look after our own we should certainly not be playing Lady Bountiful.

Sorry guys, but this is how I feel.



Just in case anyone wants to know? I was a political refugee. South Africa took me and my family in, and we respected the laws, religion and customs of our benefactors. South Africa became our country.

Refugees do not vandalise, demand or despise.
We truly were grateful for the opportunity to start new lives.

I prophesy that in six months time you will see these new refugees on TV bemoaning the lack of "conditions" they have been given...

That the housing is bad, their culture is not respected, they want this or that condition of their religion observed in public schools even though it may infringe on our code of human rights...
Just saying.

BTW I wanna get a Suite at the Ritz like Rushdie and a coterie of those muscular yummy MI5 agents to protect me...


Sunday, 1 November 2015

Modest pain
Brings no gain,
Only a sense of
Being the fool
Yet again.