Category Archives: Baked Goods

milk tart and how to zhoosh up store bought puff pastry

milk tart and how to zhoosh up store bought puff pastry

SONY DSCMy Irish husband decided the other day to compile his very own bucket list. On the list was … to swim in seven of the great oceans of the world; visit the Antarctic, take a motorbike trip through Africa – and yes, jump out of a plane. But bless his Irish soul, he also wants to take me to see the cherry blossoms in Japan and renew our wedding vows in the gardens of the Taj Mahal.

Then there was #16: To master the techniques of the world’s 50 most classic recipes…

Bouef bourguignon, coq a vin, crème anglaise, gratin dauphinous, puff pastry are on the list. As well as traditional South African favourite classics like melktert, koeksisters, bobotie and waterblommetjiebredie.

Melktert and puff pastry
Of course he is always too proud to ask for advice when it comes to his kitchen adventures, but I had to climb in boots and all when he announced he was going to make melktert and puff pastry … both from scratch! Let’s face it, to make your own puff pastry is no walk in the park and I always use bought pastry. But headstrong Rick would have nothing of this packet stuff… but I had a plan.

Rick very proud of his first milk tart

Rick very proud of his first milk tart


How to zhoosh up store bought puff pastry
I phoned Theresa de Vries of Kokkedoor and shared with me her recipe to zhoosh up store bought puff pastry. You take the bought pastry, open it up and grate 125g cold butter on top of the dough. You close the pastry by folding it from top to bottom and from side to side and roll it out. Then roll it out a second time. Perfect pastry for a milk tart.

Rick made Theresa’s milk tart filling as well. Some hours later with my nerves almost shattered, my Irishman did a sterling job and served up his first milk tart.

Melktert
(Recipe: Theresa de Vries)

Pastry
1 pack puff pastry
125 g ice cold butter, grated
For baking: 1 egg, separated and egg yellow whisked

Filling
500ml milk
1 cinnamon stick
10ml butter
2 eggs, separated
15ml flour
15ml corn starch
60ml sugar
1ml almond essence
5ml vanilla essence
1 ml salt

Pastry: Fold the dough open. Spread the grated butter over the dough. Fold in half from the bottom then fold from the top. Fold the left side towards the middle then fold the right half towards the middle. Push the dough down lightly with the rolling pin and roll out. Fold up, cover with cling wrap and put in fridge for an half an hour. Roll out for your tart.

Filling: Place 250 ml milk, cinnamon, salt and half the sugar and butter in a thick bottom saucepan and bring to the boil. Mix the remaining sugar, corn starch, flour, egg yolks and vanilla essence with the remaining 250 ml of milk and whisk until there are no lumps. Remove the milk from the heat and remove the cinnamon sticks. With a hand whisk beat the flour mixture quickly into the milk mixture until blended. Return to the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Take the saucepan off the heat and cool for 10 minutes. Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold into the mixture.

Bake: Place the dough in your baking tin. Brush the bottom of the dough with egg white and pour in the filling. Brush the edges of the dough with egg yolk. Bake at 200°C for 35-40 minutes until golden brown on top. Sprinkle with a little cinnamon sugar on top and serve.

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Sjokoladekoek

Sjokoladekoek
Foto van 80 Cakes from Around the World deur Claire Clark

Foto van 80 Cakes from Around the World deur Claire Clark

Toe ek my Ier vir die eerste keer vir ete genooi het, was my slinkse Eva-plan om hom met die mees dekadentste sjokoladekoek tot in my binnekamer te verlei. Ek was holderstebolder-onderstebo verlief op hierdie sexy wese en moes ʼn halwe dag se verlof insit om die groot bak-gedoente sonder senuwees en met mening aan te pak.

ʼn Gewone laagkoek wou ek nie bak nie en het besluit op ʼn skewe-stapelkoek (topsy-turvy cake) om te wys hoe skeef en onderstebo-deurmekaar hy my hart en kop maak. Ek het ten duurste spesiale skewe-stapelkoekpanne en die beste sjokolade aangeskaf en op die maat van Ricky Martin se “She Bangs” en ʼn glasie koue sjampanje in die hand het ek die amper onmoontlike skewekoek aangepak. Wat die volgende paar uur gebeur het, kan ek net met een woord opsom: Tragedie! Om ʼn lang storie kort te maak – teen ses uur die aand het ek gelyk soos ʼn sjokolade bedekte, verlepte en tranerige lappop en die koek moes reguit ashoop toe.

Ek moes noodgedwonge ʼn wit leuentjie vertel en het vir Rick per SMS laat weet ek voel nie lekker nie. ʼn Vrou het mos haar trots en dit was mos waar. Twee weke later het ek weer ʼn paar ander nie-koek Jesebel-taktieke ingespan en drie maande later was ek tog voor die kansel met die sexy Ier.

80 Cakes from Around the World deur Claire Clark, word uitgegee deur  Bloomsbury en kos R505.00

80 Cakes from Around the World deur Claire Clark, word uitgegee deur Bloomsbury en kos R505.00

80 Cakes from around the world deur Claire Clark
Na die sjokoladekoek-fiasko wou ek nie weer ʼn sjokoladekoek in my lewe bak nie…tot ek onlangs 80 Cakes from around the world oopmaak en al die beeldskone koeke sien. Die boek is ʼn lieflike skatkis van avontuurlustige bakgenot. Clark verken 80 koeke van 51 lande en gaan maak swierige draaie in: Italië met ʼn Torte Gianduja, Hongarye met ʼn beeldskone Dobos Torte, Indië met die interessante Bebinca, Noorweë met ʼn Kransekake, Mexiko met die soete Tres Leches, Chili met ʼn Mil Hojas en so meer. Ek het die meeste van die koeke nie herken nie, maar die boek is meesterlik geskryf, het pragtige foto’s en gee ʼn kort en interessante geskiedenis van elke koek. 80 Cakes from around the world is ʼn inspirerende kroonjuweel en as jy lief is vir bak beveel ek dit ten sterkste aan.

Baileys sjokolade-aartappelkoek
(Resep uit 80 Cakes from Around the World deur Claire Clark)
18 cm skewe stapelkoekpan
50g donker sjokolade (70 %), fyn opgekap
115g ongesoute botter
200g strooisuiker
2 medium eiers
½ teelepel vanielje essens
100g gaar aartappels, fyn gemaak
110g meelblom
½ teelepel bakpoeier
¼ teelepel koeksoda
¼ teelepel sout
120ml karringmelk
25g donker sjokolade-splinters

Sjokolade ganache
150g donker sjokolade (70 %), fyn opgekap
150ml dik room
25ml Baileys Irish Cream

Sjokolade glaseersel
6 velle gelatine
120g kakaopoeier
150ml water
250ml dik room
400g strooisuiker
Baileys room
150ml dik room
30ml Baileys Irish Cream
ʼn paar druppels vanielje essens

Versiering
300g gemengde vars bessies

Voorverhit die oond tot 170 ° C. Smeer ‘n 18 cm skewe stapelkoekpan (‘topsy-turvy cake tin’). Sien foto of jy kan ‘n 20cm ronde diep koekpan gebruik. Voer die bodem van die pan met bakpapier uit en botter en meel die kante. Smelt die sjokolade in ‘n mikrogolfoond of in ‘n bak oor kookwater. Maak seker die water raak nie die onderkant van die bak nie. Klop die botter en suiker saam tot lig en donsig. Klits die eiers en die vanielje liggies saam en klop dit dan bietjie vir bietjie by die botter en suikermengsel. Klop goed ná elke byvoeging. Voeg die gesmelte sjokolade by en meng liggies tot gemeng. Roer die aartappels liggies by. Sif die meel, bakpoeier, koeksoda en sout saam en vou dit dan om die beurt met die karringmelk by. Vou die sjokolade-splinters by en skep in die koekpan. Maak die bokant gelyk met ʼn potlekker. Bak vir 25-30 minute tot gaar. Koel die koek vir 5 minute in die koekpan af voordat jy dit op ʼn draadrak uitkeer om heeltemal af te koel.Ganache: Sit die sjokolade in ‘n klein bakkie. Bring die room tot kookpunt en giet oor die sjokolade. Laat staan vir 1 minuut. Roer liggies om ‘n gladde, blink ganache te vorm. Meng die Baileys by en sit eenkant om teen kamertemperatuur af te koel.
Sjokolade glaseersel: Week die gelatien vir ongeveer vyf minute in genoeg koue water tot sag. Sif die kakao poeier in ‘n bak en roer die water by om ‘n gladde, dik pasta te vorm. Bring die room en suiker in ʼn pan tot kookpunt, roer tot die suiker opgelos is. Verwyder van die hitte en roer die kakao-pasta

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red velvet #fig cupcakes for my #valentine

red velvet #fig cupcakes for my #valentine

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If there ever was anyone who knew how to lure a man, it would have to been the exotic and ever-seductive Cleopatra, the historic queen of Egypt. Let’s face it, she knew a thing or two about casting spells over men – even the most powerful ones. Neither the great Julius Caesar nor Mark Antony could dodge the Cupids’ arrows. The story goes that one of Cleopatra’s favourite foods was the fig and when planning her own suicide, she hid a poisonous viper in a basket of figs.

So, if the mighty Cleopatra could seduce men with her beauty and a bowl of figs, surely I too stood some chance of seducing my Irishman hubby. I decided I would tempt my man with red-velvet fig cupcakes.

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I took a smart short-cut and used Ina Paarman’s Red Velvet Cake mix. Dividing the contents into eighteen small cupcake moulds I proceeded to insert a ripe fig in each mould and then baked it. I served these with a topping of freshly, whipped cream and red peppercorns. When I sliced the cupcakes, the juice of the ripe fig oozed out like lava and with the the cream and peppercorns caused a wonderful taste explosion in my mouth!

My little experiment based on the escapades of a young, mischievous and tempting sultress may not have been as dramatic as the Queen of Egypt herself, but I think my little love potion of red velvet cupcakes, cream and pink peppercorns had a similar intoxicating effect on my Irish Valentine.

Happy Valentine’s day!

Red velvet fig cupcakes
1 packet of Ina Paarmans Red Velvet Cake Mixture + ingredients on the back of the pack
18 small ripe figs
250 ml fresh cream
5 ml vanilla essence
10 ml pink peppercorns

Preheat your oven to 190 °C. Follow the cake mixture instructions on the packet. Divide the dough into 18 small cupcake moulds. Place a ripe fig in each mould. Bake for 13 minutes or until cooked. Whip the cream and vanilla essence together and spoon on each cupcake. Round things off with a sprinkling of pink peppercorns.

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christmas baking frenzy

christmas baking frenzy

Let me be totally honest, I am not the best of a bakers however when December finally comes around I invariably find myself caught up in a pre-Christmas baking frenzy. There are baking tins everywhere with me measuring, beating, whisking and tasting. I do not think I am alone in this festive baking bedlam. Whether your preference is for ‘soetkoekies’, ginger biscuits, “ystervarkies” (lamingtons), Hertzoggies or just your regular oats biscuit – for better or for worse we are all participants in the annual, global cookie bake bonanza.

Dine's "Pon's ystervarkies"

Dine’s “Pon’s ystervarkies”

I chatted to Dine van Zyl, SA’s very own “boerekos” queen. Her favourite cookies at this time of year are “ystervarkies”. But these are not your traditional chocolate and coconut ‘ystervarkies” (lamingtons)but a delicious mix of dates and nuts rolled in cornflakes. Once prepped and baked, these enticing nibbles look like small porcupines (ystervarkies) that have just rolled in dried leaves and crept out from under a tree. To cute and such a treat…

It was her father’s favourite, and hence the name, “Pon ‘s ystervarkies”. These are utterly delicious and adorable! Thank you Dine.

“Pon’s Ystervarkies”
250g soft butter
½ cup sugar
1 egg
2 cup flour
1 t baking powder
1½ cup walnuts , chopped
½ cup dates, chopped
2 ½ cups cornflakes

Beat the butter and sugar and mix in the egg. Sift the flour and baking powder and fold it into the butter mixture. Add the nuts and dates and mix well. Take teaspoons full of the dough, roll these in corn flakes and place the cookies carefully on a baking tray – be cautious not to crush or break the cornflakes. Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes at 180ºC .

For the soetkoekies recipe click here.

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Matt Preston’s no knead bread

Matt Preston’s no knead bread

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Who bakes bread these days? Not me. I buy the best bread on Saturdays at the market and I actually do not have the time for the kneading and proofing. The other day I was watching Masterchef and saw Matt Preston making his no-knead bread. This is definitely my kind of recipe. Simple ingredients, simple techniques (if any, that is) and when Matt Preston says it will work who am I to argue? He took flour, yeast, salt and warm water – mixed it all together, put the whole lot in the fridge overnight and baked it the next morning. ..and hey Presto!

I did the same and it turned out to be the first perfect bread I have ever baked. For people like me and for whom baking bread is a big challenge, I want to encourage you to try this recipe. It is simple, delicious and just impossible for it to flop.

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matt preston’s no knead bread
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 kg bread flour, plus extra to dust
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon instant dried yeast
  • 950ml lukewarm water
Instructions
  1. Combine flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl. Stir in water until the ingredients are all well combined. Cover with plastic wrap, then refrigerate overnight.
  2. Remove bowl from fridge 1 hour prior to baking, and allow the mixture to come to room temperature.
  3. Preheat oven to 220°C. Line baking sheet with baking paper, and generously dust sheet with flour. Divide the dough in two and place the two pieces on the tray. Bake for 1 hour or until golden, and the inside sounds hollow when knocked on the base.

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breaking bread with the two greedy italians

breaking bread with the two greedy italians

During the recently held Good Food and Wine Show I had the amazing privilege to meet and interview two of my all-time food heroes, Gennaro Contaldo and Antonio Carluccio (Two Greedy Italians). With a freshly baked Matt Preston bread, fresh farm butter, a bottle of South African red wine and soetkoekies I sauntered off to meet these two larger than life icons.
Two Greedy Italians

What do you think of Matt Preston’s bread?
G: Mhhh delizioso. I am mad about this. It is brilliant. Grazie! I just love the cloth that it is wrapped in – just like a good Italian mamma would serve it.
A: Ahhh, this breod is fantastic, but I do think it could have been baked for a little while longer. (Thank you chef)

Butter on bread?
G: I personally do not like butter on my bread but I am crazy about butter in my espresso. The next time you have an espresso add a tea spoon of butter to it. So good. You have to try it. (I shall, I shall!)
A: Ahhh, ok Gennaro stop it now, try a piece of bread with some of this fresh butter on it. Mmhhh, magnifico!

About South African soetkoekies
G: Mamma Mia, this is fantastico! I am tasting so much love. Antonio, dunk your biscuit in the wine! Don’t be shy.
A: It is absolutely lovely, mmhhh, I can taste the cinnamon, cloves and ginger and the wine brings out the spicy flavours. Mhhh! Wow bellissimo!

my two new zoobiscuit fans

my two new zoobiscuit fans

Would you drink wine with breakfast?
A: Oh yes, definitely. Did you know that Leonardo da Vinci enjoyed a glass of wine with his breakfast? In Venice, I saw an old menu that belonged to him and there was wine being served with the breakfast.
G: Yes, my father is 96 and each morning he has a small glass of wine with his coffee. Genuine. He has coffee with milk and right alongside it is a small glass of red vino.

What will each of you cook if you wanted to seduce a lady?
A: Something exceptional, but not complicated because one needs time to seduce her (says Antonio with a broad and mischievous grin). Mhhh, I think I would prepare tortellini served with shavings of truffle. Then for dessert some lovely white strawberries, with a few drops of lemon juice and a sprinkling of fine sugar. (Oh, Antonio!)
G: Antonio, you must please serve a good Rosé with that. I shall make something decadent with lots of chocolate in.

wine + bread with my two food heros

wine + bread with my two food heroes

For which famous people have you cooked?
A + G : Prince Charles, Princess Diana, Luciano Pavarotti, Robert De Niro, Princess Margaret en just recently Pippa Middleton.

Antonio, are you a chef or a cook?
A: A cook cooks with passion and a chef cooks because he must. I believe a chef has more fun in the kitchen with food. I see myself as a cook because I cook with passion when and how I want to, and I enjoy myself thoroughly.
Gennaro, who is your food hero?
G: Antonio of course! (Shows with a big hand gesture to his friend of thirty years). He taught me a lot and when you eat his food, you eat part of Antonio!

Grazie!

so chuffed

so chuffed

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easiest + most delicious sprite scones = revolutionary + unconventional

easiest + most delicious sprite scones = revolutionary + unconventional

SONY DSC I don’t like scones.   Yes, there you have it … I have disliked this dry tea time treat for years.  For me a scone is only edible the moment it comes out of the oven, spread with an even layer of butter that must be permitted to soak into the dryness of the scone. Then I add an unashamed serving of apricot jam paired with an equally generous serving of cream.  I also have to wash the whole lot down with at least two cups of freshly brewed tea!

But a few days ago I decided to ask Tannie Poppie for her unique scone recipe.  She was quick to comply: “Take 500 g self-raising flour and add 250 ml fresh cream and 330ml (x1 tin) of Sprite. Mix the batter and scoop in cupcake baking tray.  Bake for 12 to 15 minutes at 200 °C until done.  This scones just melt in your mouth … try it out and do let me know what you think”.

Naturally, I could not hold back my surprise and excitement.  It is so simple and in less than an hour I had a Tannie Poppie-sprite-scone in my mouth (that hour included my time going to the shop to buy Sprite)!  It was not dry and had a feather like texture that just melts in the mouth.  All that I can say is that it is revolutionary and unconventional.  Tannie Poppie…you rock!

 

easiest + most delicious sprite scones = revolutionary + unconventional
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 500g self-raising flour
  • 250ml fresh cream
  • 330ml Sprite (1 small tin)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Optional
  • 1 egg, whisked (egg wash)
Instructions
  1. Sift the flour and salt in a bowl. Add the cream and sprite and mix well. Scoop in cupcake baking tray. Brush with egg wash and bake at 200 °C for 12 – 15 minutes until done.

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milk tart + tea cups + merry-go-rounds

milk tart + tea cups + merry-go-rounds

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Milk tart – they say that time changes everything, and everything changes with time…but does it? I think time is like a merry-go-round … it is only your view of things that changes, not the merry-go-round … … the “melktert” never changed.

I grew up with “melktert” with almond essence, puff pastry and cinnamon sugar sprinkled on top. It brings back many fond and happy memories. A kaleidoscope of “Kerk bazaars” (church fete’s) and of course the “koek en tee na kerk op Sondae” at our home (cake and tea after church on Sunday).

Watch me make this by clicking here.

SONY DSCmilk tart + tea cups + merry-go-round

The most lingering memory of the milk tart for me was custard inside the tart shell. This recipe is one of those versatile recipes that gives you the freedom to decide how you want to use it…either in a traditional puff pastry shell, or one where you create your own biscuit base or what I did … I thought I would update this age old classic without trying to change its history or heritage so I served it in my Mom’s tea cup and I added a few a Amaretti biscuits or cinnamon twirls allowing the memories of the past to dwell in the sweetness of the present. I have

My mom and I made it just the way that we remembered….I went to visit her the other day and we milled about in the kitchen, talking and laughing about those times when we were much younger … the many different stories of how to make milk tart and how to bring the best tart to the bazaar, we talked about family, we giggled like young girls as the milk boiled over and the maizina mix splattered all over the kitchen counter, we counted how many “melkterte” we had made together over the years and then we counted the blessing we have been able to share – then and now. For just a few hours I was again on that merry-go-round … me, my mom, the milk tart and a heap of happy memories….

Dankie Ma. Lief vir jou.

 

milk tart + tea cups
 
Prep time
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Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 Cups of full cream milk
  • 110 g Sugar
  • ¼ t Salt
  • 2 Large eggs separated
  • 50g Maizina powder mixed with some of the milk (mix through until it has that thick cream consistency)
  • ½ t Almond essence
  • 1T Butter (not margarine)
  • Cinnamon Sugar Mixture
  • 50ml Sugar
  • 5ml Ground cinnamon
  • Amaretti biscuits
Instructions
  1. Mix the milk, sugar and salt in pot and bring to boil.
  2. In the meanwhile beat the egg yolks slowly adding the Maizina.
  3. Pour this mixture very slowly in the milk mix - I use a hand egg-beater to mix it in - to avoid lumps
  4. Cook for 5 minutes till cooked.
  5. Add the almond essence and the butter. Stir well.
  6. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks start to form then slowly fold this in the custard.
  7. Please always taste again for seasoning.
  8. Pour in cups, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and serve with amaretti biscuits or cinnamon twirls.

 

 

cinnamon twirls
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • Cinnamon twirls
  • ½ roll puff pastry, cut into 1cm x 8cm lengths
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Cinnamon twirls - Brush the pastry strips with the egg wash.
  2. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle this over the pastry.
  3. Twist each pastry strip into a straw-like twirl.
  4. Place on baking tray and bake for approximately 11-12 minutes at 180 C – until cooked and golden brown.

 

 

 

 

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one minute #banoffee pies

one minute #banoffee pies

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{my front teeth for anything caramel}
Everyone who knows me well, knows that I would swap my front teeth for any dish that has caramel in. Whether it is the old favourite; the peppermint fridge tart or those fudge blocks that you get in those long red and white boxes… you know the one, those fudge blocks with the corrugated top edges. Or what about those Wilson’s caramel flavoured toffees that I find in my bag every time I stop at the garage shop for a litre of milk?

Then there is my all time favourite, the tin of caramel condensed milk. This is just too much for me to resist. I have to confess, I can demolish one of those tins all on my own without a twinge of the slightest guilt.

{one minute banoffee pies}
My friend Peter came to visit the other day and he wanted something sweet. I decided to take my secret tin of caramel – yes, i always hide a tin of caramel behind a wall of tinned food in my pantry – and make some quick banoffee pies.

{rick and the tinned cream}
I had a packet of digestives, caramel and bananas in my kitchen. The only ingredient that I was short was cream so I sent Rick to go and buy some cream. He came home with a tinned cream. Well, it made it even easier. This took a minute to assemble and between the three of us we polished off the lot in double time. What an absolute treat!

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One minute #banoffee pies

Ingredients
Digestive biscuits
1 Tin of caramel
Bananas
Cream

Method
Smear a thick layer of caramel onto the digestive biscuit. Add a generous dollop of cream. Top it off with a few thin slices of banana.

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cinnamon #pancakes filled with childhood memories

cinnamon #pancakes filled with childhood memories

pannekoek
{my childhood food festival}
Every year in the small town of Wepener in the Free State where I grew up there was always a big farm show. For all the “tannies en omies” in the district and surrounding towns, it was always a large and important affair.

The fair was a place to show off your best livestock or your best cookies, melktert or baked goods with everyone competing for that treasured blue rosette. For me, the show was something to look forward to – it was my food festival … like the Taste of Cape Town and the Good Food and Wine show today.

Pannekoek

{cinnamon pancake}
In the food hall, all the tannies were there standing next to their gas stoves in their frilly and colourful aprons, cooking everything from babotie, curry offal to jaffles and pancakes. Well, what is a food festival without the traditional pancake and cinnamon sugar?

Yes, the cinnamon sugar was sprinkled by the tablespoon full onto the “just-out-of-the-pan” fluffy slightly-burnt-pancakes. These featherlite, rolled up pancakes were just treat.

I remember those happy childhood memories, returning from the show late in the evening, climbing into bed with a full stomach and a happy and contented smile. I was filled to the brim with those delicious pancakes, but … the pancakes and the food fair also filled and fed my soul. The same way food feeds my soul today.

{vintage large quantity pancake recipe}
Today I want to share tannie Dollie van Heerden’s age old large quantity recipe Wepener pancakes. I found her recipe in an original copy of “Beproefde Resepte” (Proven Recipes), a local selection of recipes typed up by my mom for the school, so many years ago.

Tannie Dollie van Heerden’s tried and tested pancake recipe
I am not going to bother with converting the old measures of weight with the current metric system…as they say…you can “just google it!”.

Ingredients
30 cups of water
30 eggs
5 lb flour
1 bottle of cooking oil
3 tablespoons of salt
1 ounce of baking powder

Method
Whisk the eggs together well. Add water, little by little to the eggs whisking all the while.
Sift the flour into the egg mixture. Add the salt and keep mixing until all the flour, water and eggs have mixed together. Lastly, whisk the cooking oil and baking powder together and pour into hot frying pan. Please note that the oil is only added for the first pancake. Fry until golden brown.

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cupcakes + reach for a dream

cupcakes + reach for a dream

image . clara correia from c-magic photos

image . clara correia from c-magic photos

{meet waseemah}
Watch us bake cupcakes.

This story is not a story about a cupcake nor a cupcake recipe but it is about a beautiful young woman called Waseemah Sait. She is a living wonder, an extraordinary 16 year old who received a liver transplant at the tender age of one. She has a passion for baking cupcakes and loves to watch baking programmes on TV. A week or two back Waseemah did a school project. Her project was a poster detailing her wish list for the next five years. The poster shows that she one day becomes a famous pastry chef and then running her very own bakery in the UK! How lovely is that?

image . clara correia from c-magic photos

image . clara correia from c-magic photos

{reach for a dream}
So you may ask what does this have to do with me? Well Reach for a Dream contacted me last week to see if I could in some way assist in bringing some sunshine to Waseemah’s life who has already experienced so many challenges …

image . clara correia from c-magic photos

image . clara correia from c-magic photos

{expresso | thrusday | 20 march | 0650}
I then contacted the lovely Katelyn from Expresso and asked if it is ok if Waseemah could come and bake with me on the show. The answer was an overwhelming yes. So Thursday at 0650 I am going to be baking with this courageous young woman. But there is more, Katelyn, being the wonderful person she is did not stop there … she has organised a little surprise for the young Waseemah on Thursday after the show … but at this stage I am not letting the cat out of the bag.

Waseemah and I will be baking and creating our very own cupcake zoo on Thursday morning. Waseemah, these cupcake pics are specially for you – I hope they make you smile. 🙂 See you Thursday.

{cupcake recipe}
Ok, now for the part about the cupcakes. I am not ashamed to say that the cupcake mixture is from Woolies (it is just as good as any home baked cupcake!). The little collection of animals are from Banks in the Cape Quarter.

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robben island #christmas cake

robben island #christmas cake

robben island christmas cake

Watch me make this by clicking here.

{honour + understanding}
I was so honoured when Expresso asked me to demonstrate the Robben Island Christmas Cake on the day that Cape Town are going to have a memorial service. After reading this fantastic extract below from Anna Trapido’s book Hunger for Freedom I had to try this myself. I made my version that tasted absolutely delicious … but I am sure not as good as the real deal {see my version of the recipe at the bottom of this page}.

Please read this piece below. It will make you smile and bring some understanding of the food situation Madiba and his fellow comrades faced.

Rest in peace Tata.

{extract from hunger for freedom by anna trapido}
“The monotony of the Robben Island diet was occasionally broken by the observance of religious ritual. Those priests who were brought into minister to the prisoners were legitimately allowed to bring food items in honour of specific festivals. Many prisoners, Madiba included, developed fluid religious affiliations in order to take advantage of the temporary respite from prison food. Laloo Chiba, a fellow inmate to Nelson Mandela, recalled: ‘The authorities would come around and say, “How many people are observing Eid?” And hell, everybody was suddenly converted or Hinduism or Islam or whatever it was, including Madiba and Walter Sisulu! Madiba genuinely respected all religions and he did use to attend all types of service so it was a show of respect for other people’s religion, not just about the food. But we were all born again quite often! Muslims, Christians, Hindus: we were everything! While most of the food for ecclesiastical eating came in from the outside, there are rare examples of prisoners making their own festive food. In 1978 Laloo Chiba took on the role of Chrismas cake-maker. It was not a cake in the conventional sense of the word but all those who tasted it swear that it was delicious”. {see laloo’s recipe below}

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{laloo chiba’s robben island christmas cake}
Serves 6-8
4 loaves Sasko white bread
10 tbsp cocoa powder
10 tbsp white sugar
200g currants or raisins
750ml Phuzamandla*

Break the bread into pieces and place inside an old biscuit tin. Sprinkle with cocoa, sugar and currants. Soak in phuzamandla for at least 12 hours. After 6 hours place a food plate on top of the mixture and put a stone on top of the plate in order to weight down and compact the cake. Allow the cake to solidify overnight. Slice and serve.

Phuzamandla
Makes 1L

4 cups water
½ cup mielie meal
½ cup iron fortified sorghum
4 tbsp powdered yeast

Bring the water to the boil, add the mielie meal and sorghum, reduce the heat and simmer until cooked (about 30 minutes). Leave to cool. Add the yeast and mix well. Dilute with water to pouring consistency. Strain and drink.

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my version of the robben island #christmas cake
 
Prep time
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Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 9 slices of white bread
  • 5.5 Tbsp soft brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 3 Tbsp currents
  • 500ml full cream milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • ½ tsp salt
  • icing sugar for dusting
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180 °C.
  2. In a small non stick bread pan break three slices of bread, sprinkle with a 1.5 Tbsp sugar, 1 Tbsp cocoa powder and 1 Tbsp of currents.
  3. Repeat the next two layers doing the same.
  4. Push the bread mixture down with your hands.
  5. Mix the milk, eggs, vanilla essence and salt together. Pour over the bread.
  6. Bake in oven for 50 minutes.
  7. Turn out of pan, sprinkle with icing sugar and serve immediately.

robben island christmas cake

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whooohooo. it’s halloween

whooohooo. it’s halloween

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{halloween + 1970 in the free state?}
Halloween is not familiar to me – it’s one of those foreign American holidays that we did not grow up with in the 70’s in the Free State. It is a bizarre kind of celebration where everything dark and sinister seems to be accentuated; you know those ghoulish outfits and strange pumpkins looking at you?

{the witches’ mini cakes}
However, these days my nieces and nephews are all fired-up for that ‘trick or treat’ escapade. In the complex where I live, we also received a circular about “All Hallows Day” or the “trick or treat” street party. I wanted to be part of this street party and decided to make these cake witches which I saw on foodnetwork. They came out rather fun … I actually adore them. 🙂

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{halloween today}
And how do I feel about Halloween today? Well … I just love it … if I can make a child smile or laugh with excitement with a “trick or treat”, it will be my biggest treat of the day.

{no time – let’s cheat and buy all the ingredients}
I did not have time to bake these witches from scratch so I bought everything {shopping list below}. I also used rosemary out of my garden for the hair.

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{halloween inspiration}
If you need any inspiration for Halloween, look no further than foodnetwork. They have loads of easy Halloween recipes to treat all those youngsters who will be ringing your doorbell on October 31.

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Shopping list for halloween cakes
Chocolate cupcakes or chocolate muffens
Confectionary sprinklings of your choice
Golden syrup or honey (to use as sprinkle glue)
A packet instant chocolate mousse
Blue or green food colouring
Liquorice all sorts, the round ones
Rosemary

Method
1. For the witches’ hats – cut the top off the chocolate cup cake. Use the cut-off bit to make the hats. Cut a circle in the cut-off piece – set the circle aside. Now with the smaller cut offs use your fingers to form the tip of the hat by squeezing them together. Put the tip on the circle, take some golden syrup and pour a little bit around the bottom of the tip. Sprinkle confectionary sprinkles around the bottom of the tip.
2. Green mousse faces – follow the chocolate mousse packet instruction and add 1 teaspoon of colouring.
3. Eyes – cut the round liquorice all sorts smaller for the eyes
4. To assemble – put all the elements together as per picture.

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love + hetta’s soetkoekies + the engagement #gift

love + hetta’s soetkoekies + the engagement #gift

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{love is a strange thing}
Love is a strange and wonderful thing. Within the cycle of life, love usually takes the following course… you first want to rip the other persons’ clothes off, then you fall in love, get engaged, get married, settle down and live happily ever after … or not so happily ever after. In this day and age it seems more and more the latter – those bonds that are too often broken by not so happy divorces.

{hetta’s soetkoekies}
So you will understand my excitement and surprise when I got an invitation to an engagement! But my dilemma was what to give to this fabulous couple for an engagement #gift? I then remembered Hetta van Deventer-Terblanche’s Soetkoekies at the recent #cookieswop. When I bit into Hetta’s cookies it took me way back to my Tannie Miena op die plaas just outside Harrismith in the Free State. Tannie Miena supplied the tuisnywerheid op die dorp with baked goods. One of her most irresistible creations was these spicy cookie surprises. Every time we arrived on the farm she would hug me and gently press a few cookies in my hand – with her warm, soft bakers hands… these were Soetkoekies, made with the only ingredient she knew…love.

{the engagement #gift}
So I decided to bake these nostalgic Soetkoekies for Steve and Rebecca’s engagement. It was perhaps a small token by the measure of things these days but it was my gift for them both … made with love and tied together with the ribbons of friendship.

{the couple}
To Steve and Rebecca: May your love and life together be forever eternal, spiced with passion, fun and that special kind of love that lasts forever. Love me.

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hetta’s soetkoekies
 
Prep time
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Author:
Serves: 60 small cookies
Ingredients
  • 4 cups (4 x 250ml) cake flour
  • 1 ½ cup (375ml) sugar (I used castor sugar)
  • 1 tsp (5ml) ground cinnamon
  • 1tsp (5ml) ground ginger
  • 1tsp (5ml) ground cloves
  • ½ tsp (2.5ml) salt
  • 1 cup (250ml) butter
  • ¼ cup (60ml) cooking fat (I replaced this with butter)
  • 1 tsp (5ml) bicarbonate soda
  • 2 Tbsp (30ml) luke warm water (I used 4 Tbsp water)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • My addition: cinnamon sugar for dusting after baking
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. {Hetta’s recipe says that you have to make the dough the day before and let it stand overnight, I did not have time to do that so I baked mine immediately}*
  2. Sift the flour, salt and spices together. Add the sugar.
  3. Rub in the butter and fat until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  4. Dissolve the bicarbonate soda in the water and add to the beaten egg.
  5. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture to make a dough. Knead until thoroughly mixed. {Leave to stand overnight}*
  6. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of 5 mm.
  7. Cut out rounds with cookie cutter and stamp a message on with cookie stamp.
  8. Place on a greased baking tray and bake for 10 minutes.
  9. Place biscuits on a wire rack, sprinkle immediately with some cinnamon sugar and cool.

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life is a dog biscuit too…

life is a dog biscuit too…

“No more are the usual dog biscuits fit for their cute palates … no mom, we want our biltong + cheese biscuits – and we want them now!”

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{frankie and robbie}
For those of you that don’t know me that well, I have two canine children – Robbie {Williams}; the boisterously adventurous extrovert and Frankie {Sinatra}; the more timid, introverted one.  These two heaven-sent cocker-spaniels arrived on my doorstep five years ago and have since shared my adventures in and around my kitchen. They have sniffed curiously here there and everywhere.  With their tails wagging furiously whenever something might come out of the oven or off the coals…they have been there… I like to think of them as my #1 fans…

{doggie surprise}
Just the other day I decided to bake them a little surprise – some cheese and biltong dog biscuits.   My two mischievous butternuts knew something was up when the baked aroma of the biltong and cheese wafted through the house.  Their tails were wagging backwards and forwards like overactive wind screen wipers … and the verdict … they LOVED it.

Ever since baking these delights I have had to ration them for those special occasions of exemplary behaviour.  No more are the usual dog biscuits fit for their cute palates…. No mom, we want our biltong + cheese biscuits – and we want them now!

I reckon in the culinary dog rating world, Robbie and Frankie have rated these 12 out of 10 as dog digestives go. Share these with man’s best friend….they will be you NBF’s for life.  🙂

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biltong + cheese dog biscuits
 
Prep time
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Author:
Serves: 15 biscuits
Ingredients
  • 1 cup oats
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 chicken stock (stock pot)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • ½ cup biltong, grated
  • ¾ cup maize meal
  • 2 ¾ cups cake flour
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 160 °C.
  2. Dilute the stock into the boiling water and add the oats and olive oil. Let it stand for 10 minutes.
  3. Now thoroughly stir in all the other ingredients except the flour.
  4. Mix in the flour 1 cup at a time until it forms a stiff dough. Add the rest of the flour until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky. Roll out the dough to about 1 cm thickness.
  5. Cut the cookies with your cookie cutter and place on a prepared baking tray.
  6. Bake for 45 – 50 minutes until golden brown.
  7. Cool and store in an airtight container.

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