Tag Archives: christmas

#soetkoekies with festive butterscotch windows

#soetkoekies with festive butterscotch windows

Outydse soetkoekies with butterscotch windows

How festive and lovely are these old fashioned soetkoekies? To make these I used my old soetkoekie recipe and added these fun Christmas butterscotch windows. The little windows aren’t just pretty but it gives the overall cookie an extra crunchy texture and delicious caramel flavour. The comforting aromas of cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg brings back such happy memories of my grandmother’s farmhouse kitchen. Happy baking!

They also make a perfect Christmas gift

They also make a perfect Christmas gift

Soetkoekies with festive caramel windows
Recipe makes 45 cookies
4 x (250ml) cake flour
1 ½ cup (375ml) castor sugar
1 tsp (5ml) ground cinnamon
1tsp (5ml) ground ginger
1tsp (5ml) ground cloves
½ tsp (2.5ml) nutmeg
½ tsp (2.5ml) salt
1 cup (250ml) butter, room temperature
¼ cup (60ml) cooking butter, melted
1 tsp (5ml) bicarbonate soda
5 Tbsp (75 ml) luke warm water
1 egg, beaten
15 butterscotch sweets

Sift the flour, salt and spices together. Add the sugar. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Dissolve the bicarbonate soda in the water and add to the beaten egg. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture to make a dough. Knead until thoroughly mixed. Divide dough into two, then wrap in cling wrap and chill for at least two hours or overnight. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Roll out the dough (take out of fridge 5 minutes prior rolling out) on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of 5 mm and cut out circles. Use small Christmas motif cutters to cut shapes out of the centre of the circle cookies. (You can re-roll any extra dough to make more cookies). Put the dough circles on a lined baking tray. Using a pestle and mortar, crush the butterscotch sweets into a course powder, then fill the holes with the crushed sweets. Bake the cookies for 15-20 minutes until the edges have just browned. If you see there is little holes in the window just add a bit more butterscotch and pop back in the oven for another minute or two. Leave to cool on the tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool down completely.

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early christmas with #woolworths

early christmas with #woolworths

christmas-box-800Christmas arrived early this year when Woolworths delivered a large box of beautifully packaged goodies to my doorstep. Lucky me! Inside this box was a whole host of festive goodies that will be on their shelves come Christmas time.
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It’s all about nostalgia this year at Woolworths. I wanted to spread the love so I handed the gifts to loved ones around me:

Teas from around the world
This beautiful box of individually packed teas I gave to my mom. It has a mash strainer where you scoop your tea in and put the strainer in water to steep your favourite tea. I just have to say mom and I loved the java gunpowder flavour!
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Lip tints
Don’t you just love these lip tints? They look like macaroons! I shared them with my friend Zola. They are easy to just stash in your bag and so damm cute to take out… and show the world.
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Turkish Delight
My friend Karin was so lucky to get this. This is my favourite gift out of the whole box. Dont you just love the beautiful container?
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Old tape recorder tin filled with milk chocolate coated toffees
My husband and I polished off the whole tin. The toffies were so delicious and we gobbled it up before we could press the stop button on the dummy cassette player!
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Luxury Christmas crackers
My housekeeper Doreen was very happy to get her hands on these luxury Christmas crackers. Making the traditional addition to the festive Christmas table, they are fit for a feast.
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Thank you Woollies!

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pandoro #christmas tree #trifle

pandoro #christmas tree #trifle

This year my Pandoro Christmas Tree Trifle will stand proud just like the Statue of Liberty right in the centre of my festive table – between the gammon, chicken and potato salad.

Pandoro Christmas Tree Trifle

I recently visited Miki Ciman at her La Botegga Deli at the Italian Club in Cape Town and she shared this very traditional Italian Christmas treat with me. Now, Pandoro is baked in a special star-shaped mould. When sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar, it has the appearance of fallen snow on a mountain.

The two of us took the Pandoro out of its box before decorating it with Miki’s crème pâtissière, a glass of sherry and fresh berries. The transformation was this most magnificent Christmas tree trifle!

Bellisimo, lovely and easy to make.

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Visit Miki at the Italian Club
If you have not yet paid a visit to her deli at the Italian Club – put it on your to do list asap.   Miki is “old school” and she still makes all her pasta, cookies and other specialities by hand. She sits diligently each day preparing fresh gnocchi by hand in her deli. She also sells the best Italian fare from handmade mozzarella to charcuterie and a range of other products from her homeland.

Want to learn how to make cheese, pasta, gnocchi or salami?
Contact Miki at : 021 511 5956 (ask for La Botegga Deli) or 083 391 5792

Lovely Miki!

Lovely Miki!

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Pandoro Christmas Tree Trifle

1 large Pandoro
175 ml sweet sherry (or liqueur of your choice )
500 ml lemon crème pâtissière
fresh berries
icing sugar, for serving

Carefully cut Pandoro horizontally into 6 slices. Place the largest slice on a serving platter. Sprinkle over the sherry and spread a thick layer of crème pâtissière over. Top with the next largest slice, angling it so that the points of the star do not align. Repeat with sherry and crème pâtissière with the remaining layers. You can now place in your refrigerator until later. Just before serving put a lot of berries on top of the trifle, push some berries in on the sides of the cake. Sift icing sugar over the top and enjoy!

Miki’s lemon crème pâtissière
Makes 500 ml

40 g plain flour
100 g caster sugar
large pinch of salt
300 ml milk
4 egg yolks
zest of one lemon, thinly slice strips (not the white bits)
20 g butter

Sift the flour, sugar and salt and set aside. Beat 60 ml of milk and egg yolks. Scoop the flour mixture in and beat until smooth. Heat the remaining milk and lemon over low heat until it just starts to boil. Remove lemon peel and discard. Pour a third of the hot milk into the egg mixture and mix well. Throw everything in the heated milk and stir well. Stir constantly until the mixture thickens. Cook for one minute. Stir in the butter and mix well. Remove and let cool completely before using.

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white chocolate chip gingerbread cookies

white chocolate chip gingerbread cookies

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Christmas just is’nt Christmas without gingerbread cookies! This no-fuss recipe is all thanks to that wonderful Australian foodie, Donna Hay. All that you need to do with this dough is roll it into little balls, pop them onto a baking tray, flatten them slightly with your fingers and zip them into the oven! Simple and easy.

I added some delicious white chocolate chips and this make these treats so irresistible that you will find it difficult not to eat them all up yourself. The reason for this is that the white chocolate turns into a kind of silky caramel. But be warned, the cookies are rather hard when you bite into them…so have it with a glass of milk or a refreshing cuppa tea.

Donna’s styling was so gorgeous … so I did about the same. I love it!

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white chocolate chip gingerbread cookies
 
Author:
Serves: 30
Ingredients
  • Makes 24
  • 125g unsalted butter, soften
  • 90g brown sugar
  • 230g golden syrup
  • 375g plain flour
  • 5 ml bicarbonate of soda
  • 10 ml ground ginger
  • 100g white chocolate, chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 170°C. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 6–8 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until the ingredients are pale and creamy. Add the golden syrup, flour, bicarbonate of soda and ginger and beat until the mixture comes together to form a smooth dough. Fold the chocolate through the mixture. Roll tablespoons of the mixture into balls and place on large, lightly-greased baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper. Flatten slightly and bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool slightly before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

 

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Christmas cake on the #braai – the #ExpressoShow way

Christmas cake on the #braai – the #ExpressoShow way
How insane and fabulous is this? A delicious Christmas cake on the #braai. PS: All images taken with my mobile phone

How insane and fabulous is this? A delicious Christmas cake on the #braai. PS: All images taken with my mobile phone

I love cooking on Expresso Morning Show (live TV is my thing) and I LOVE the whole team from Paul (the talented producer & director) to Zola (innovative chef and stylist), Stephanie (the super stylist) and then the lovely down to earth but so energetic presenters Elana, Ewan, Graeme, Katlego, Leigh-Anne and Zoë. Not forgetting Ruan that gives me my coffee fix every morning, the dedicated cameramen, Lucian the vivacious floor manager / director and those brilliant make-up artists! They are like family to me, they make me really happy and I hope that I bring a ray of sunshine into their lives.

The recipe calls for beautiful seasonal fruit

The recipe calls for beautiful seasonal fruit

Anyway, the other day Zola gave me her recipe to make. She said: “Anél, I want you to bake a cake… on the fire.” My first reaction was that of odd disbelief (really?)… I nearly choked on my morning coffee but then I kinda fell in love with the idea. And now … I think it is genius! Zola’s recipe is perfect for a Christmas cake on the fire. It is made with seasonal cherries and apricots and with a dash of cream and it is a real festive treat.

Zola Nene the goddess of the Expresso kitchen. This #braai cake is her invention.

Zola Nene the goddess of the Expresso kitchen. This #braai cake is her invention.

Cooking with one of the hottest guys in South Africa is one of the perks ... just saying. But ladies he is a very nice guy too!

Cooking with one of the hottest guys in South Africa is one of the perks … just saying. But ladies he is a very nice guy too!

The way the two of us can carry on! Love you Elana, mother of Esther Beth.

The way the two of us can carry on! Love you Elana, mother of Esther Beth.

Beautiful inside and out here she is ... the HOT Leigh-Anne Williams. Today as gorgeous as a fresh apricot.

Beautiful inside and out here she is … the HOT Leigh-Anne Williams. Today as gorgeous as a fresh apricot.

Kat I had to steal this pic from your facebook. Why dont I have a pic with you? I don't know, but this man is one of the most talented MC's, TV presenters, singers and what he touch turns into gold. Watch the space. Here he is getting up to no good with Elana.

Kat I had to steal this pic from your facebook. Why dont I have a pic with you? I don’t know, but this man is one of the most talented MC’s, TV presenters, singers and what he touch turns into gold. Watch the space. Here he is getting up to no good with Elana.

Graeme is another hottie on the show. He has an infectious laugh and we have loads of fun when we braai together!

Graeme is another hottie on the show. He has an infectious laugh and we have loads of fun when we braai together!

Zoe is the latest addition to Expresso. What a beautiful, warm and lovely woman. You rock!

Zoe is the latest addition to Expresso. What a beautiful, warm and lovely woman. You rock!

Me braaiing outside the Expresso studio .... and having lots of fun

Me braaiing outside the Expresso studio …. and having lots of fun

We can do absolutely nothing without Lucian. He organises the cameras, the lights, counts us down. All in all one of the nicest and friendliest guys I know.

We can do absolutely nothing without Lucian. He organises the cameras, the lights, counts us down. All in all one of the nicest and friendliest guys I know.

Ruan is the first person you see in the "green room". He manages the people before they go on set. The sweetest guy, more of a model I say (you will recognise his face on some TV ads) - and he makes a mean coffee!

Ruan is the first person you see in the “green room”. He manages the people before they go on set. The sweetest guy, more of a model I say (you will recognise his face on some TV ads) – and he makes a mean coffee!

TIPS FOR BRAAIING CAKE ON THE FIRE: Do remember that your braai coals must be of medium heat – otherwise this cake is going to end up something of a charred creation. All you need do is make a gap for your pot to nestle the pot in-between the coals. Do not put the pot directly on the coals. Then once on the fire place around 5 to 6 coals on top of the pot lid.

Christmas cake on the #braai - the #ExpressoShow way
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 60 ml Demerara sugar
  • 60 ml maple syrup
  • 60 ml butter
  • 8 ripe apricots, halved and pitted
  • 200 g pitted fresh cherries
  • For the sponge
  • 120 g butter, softened
  • 120 g Demerara sugar
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 2 eggs
  • 175 ml plain yoghurt
  • 160 g cake flour
  • 5 ml baking powder
  • 5 ml bicarbonate of soda
Instructions
  1. Heat braai coals to medium heat. Grease a medium-sized cast iron pot very well with Spray and Cook. Grease the 60 ml butter onto the bottom of the pot then sprinkle 60 ml Demerara sugar over this and drizzle with 60 ml maple syrup. Arrange the apricots (cut-side down) on top of the syrup then place the cherries in the gaps in and around the apricots. Make the sponge by creaming together the butter, sugar and lemon zest. Whisk the egg together with yoghurt. Sift together flour, baking powder and bicarbonate soda. Fold dry and wet ingredients alternately into the creamed butter and sugar. Spoon the batter carefully onto the fruit then cover the pot with the lid. Make a gap amidst the coals and nestle the pot into the gap. Place some coals on top of the lid then leave to cook for 45 minutes. To check to see whether your cake is cooked insert a skewer – if it comes out dry, your cake is baked. Remove from the coals and allow it to cool for 10 mins in the pot before turning it out upside down. Serve with a dollop of plain cream mixed with vanilla.

 

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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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