Lemon Drizzle Cake

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I had never actually had a lemon drizzle cake before, so maybe I’m not the best judge, but from my husband feedback I’ll chalk it up as a big success. I had to share this, as it is one of those super quick recipes that you could easily whip up on a whim. I also appreciated the fact that I already had all the ingredients in my pantry.

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Cake:

Ingredients:

  • 60 ml Margarine
  • 180 ml Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 50 ml Lemon juice
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • 310 ml Flour
  • 2 tsp Bakingpowder
  • 100 ml Milk

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180*C and prepare a baking tray or mini-loaf tray by spraying with Spray ‘n Cook.
  2. Beat the margarine until smooth and gradually add the sugar, eggs, lemon juice and lemon zest.
  3. Sift together the flour and bakingpowder.
  4. Add half the egg mixture and the milk to the flour and start mixing it in.
  5. Fold in the rest of the egg mixture.
  6. Spoon the mixture into your baking tray and cook for 20 – 25 minutes, depending on whether you are making one large tray or mini-loaves.

Lemon Drizzle:

This could easily be adjusted according to your taste, but I find that a good dose of lemon juice really cuts through the sweetness creating the perfect combination.

Ingredients:

  • 185 ml Icing Sugar
  • 50 ml Lemon Juice (Can adjust according to taste)
  • Zest of half a lemon

Method:

  1. Sift the icing sugar and then add all the lemon juice.
  2. Slowly add a teaspoon of boiling water at a time until you reach the perfect consistency.
  3. Stir in the lemon zest and drizzle over the loaves.

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Cheats Carbonara

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I love all things Italian, especially food. Crusty breads, warm pizzas and creamy pastas are just a few of many things that I dream about. Whilst there is nothing inherently wrong with a traditional carbonara, I love this lighter varient that was born when I combined two of my faves (alfredo and carbonara) with some fresh herbs. I think some of the best recipes can be born out of need. In this instance I simply didn’t have enough cream left over for a alfredo sauce and since then I’ve purposefully recreated this recipe a few times as we love the intense flavours and lighter sauce. If the raw egg in a traditional carbonara worries you, then read on to see how I make myself feel better about it.

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3 Ways with Ice Cream

Vanilla Ice Cream

As summer gets into full swing, we’re entertaining more often and frequently invite friends over at the last minute. I’m always on the lookout for last-minute entertaining ideas that I can whip up with items already in pantry. Vanilla ice cream is our default, but serving ice cream and berries or chocolate sauce gets boring after a while.  As ice cream is somewhat of a summer staple, I thought it would be a good idea to share three of my favourite ways to serve the classic in a less predictable way.

Affogato

Affogato with biscotti

This simple Italian drink is the dessert we serve most often as it is so simple to recreate and we usually have some fresh coffee beans to recreate this with. Simply add a scoop of vanilla ice cream to a single or double shot espresso. We serve it with biscotti when we have (get my recipe here), but it is just as enjoyable served on its own.

It works best if you have an espresso machine that can create some crema, but moka pot coffee could also work. You probably won’t be able to achieve the necessary espresso strength with a french press.

Affogato with biscotti

 

Dom Pedro

Dom Pedro

Dom pedros are kinda like the dessert of cocktails, combining the best of both. I personally don’t like a traditional dom pedro with whiskey, but luckily things like Amaretto, Frangelico, Kahlua and Baileys also work well.

Simply blend two scoops of ice cream, 25 ml of chosen alcohol and 100 ml milk per serving. You might want to adjust this according to your taste and the strength of your alcohol (you might need more of somethings creamy like Baileys or Frangelico to detect the flavour). Serve with a sprinkle of cocoa.

Ice Cream Sandwich

Ice Cream Sandwich

I think out of all three options, this is the Chanel handbag of vanilla ice cream desserts. I just went with plain vanilla ice cream sandwiched between the two biscuits, but you could get very creative by sprinkling things on the side. It does however make it more complicated. The combination of a slightly chewy-buttery cookie with the melted ice cream is just as dreamy a combo as you’d imagine.

For this sandwich I used some of the ahhmazing chocolate chip cookies I made (recipe here), but you could use any other chocolate chip cookies you might have in your pantry. Things like Chips Ahoy and FOX would make great alternatives.

For my South African readers, I try to always buy vanilla ice cream that reads “ice cream” and steer clear of anything that says “frozen dessert”  as I am looking for something creamy and not watery. Although something fancy with detectable vanilla seeds would be the best, it isn’t something we usually spring for. Brands that create good vanilla ice cream at reasonable prices are Country Fresh, Ola and Woolworths.

Would love to know if you’re giving any of these a try!

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Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

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A friend of ours recently proclaimed that “Surely no-one has all the ingredients necessary for a cake at all times!” I kept quiet about the my stash of my favourite cake mix and answered with a resounding, “Yes, cake recipes usually require so much butter! It is rare that I’ll have a full stick of butter on hand.”

I didn’t lie, I often don’t have enough butter for a full recipe which is how this chocolate chip cookie recipe came about. My sweet tooth demanded some chocolatey-goodness so I took a recipe I’d been meaning to try for a while, made some adjustments (replacements and halving the recipe) and I won’t look back! I’ve made fairly good chocolate chip cookies before but everyone that tasted one of my latest creations has been demanding more of this version. It is the perfect balance of sweet, salt and crispy-ness with a gooey centre.

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups cake flour minus 2 table spoons
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 160 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup treacle sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 90 g dark chocolate slab, roughly chopped into chunks

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Method

  1. Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the egg and vanilla extract. Mix well.
  3. Mix in the dry ingredients with electric beater. Add the chocolate chips last.
  4. Cover the dough in cling wrap and refrigerate for 4 – 24 hours.*
  5. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
  6. Roll the dough in your hand to make small balls approximately 3 cm in diameter and press then down slightly on a prepared baking tray (baking paper sprayed with Spray & Cook). I made two batches and the ones I didn’t press down were smaller, thicker and wasn’t as crispy.
  7. Bake biscuits for approximately 15 – 20 minutes.
  8. Let biscuits cool on a cooling rack before serving.

* I haven’t tested this yet, but apparently the longer you refrigerate the dough the better the results are.

Mine made about 11 cookies (It is possible that I ate more than one cookie’s weight in raw dough though)

 

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Strawberry Frosé

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Strawberry Frosé Drinks

Summer isn’t quite here yet, but if you’d like to help it along or find yourself in a warmer clime these frosé drinks are exactly what you need! Super quick and easy to make, yet so impressive when served in sugar rimmed glasses! These are the perfect addition to any summer party, or reason enough to convert your next Netflix and chill session into a mini party.

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Raspberry Bakewell Cake

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This recipe is the ultimate celebration of raspberries in my books. I love whipping it up at the height of raspberry season when they are at their sweetest. I’ve yet to meet someone who can say no to this, it has even been known to convert some non-berry eaters… So hurry and buy a fresh punnet of raspberries whilst they are still in season, this recipe doesn’t deserve frozen berries.

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Winter Bean Soup

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I feel like I have to preface this recipe by stating that I am not a big fan of beans, but in an attempt to eat more healthy I have tried a whole bunch of new recipes that are high on vegies and low on cholesterol. This recipe by Estée Lalonde (Essie Button) is one of my favourites! I just reduce the beans and double up on the good stuff like the garlic. This is a slight variation of the original recipe posted by Estée, but if you’d like to see a video you can do so right here.

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Ingredients:

  • 5 zucchini, chopped
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 1 medium sweet potato, chopped
  • 1 medium butternut, skinned and chopped
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 red onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • olive oil
  • salt, pepper & paprika, to taste
  • 1 can tomato
  • 1 tbs vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp Worcester sauce
  • 1 can red kidney beans
  • 1 can butter beans

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Method:

  1. In a large baking tray, add all your vegies, onion, garlic and drizzle with olive oil. Season well with salt and pepper before baking for 20-30 minutes at 200C, or until all the vegies are soft.
  2. In a large cast iron pot, add 1 litre of water, the stock, veggies, tomato and Worcester sauce. Bring to the boil before turning it down to a simmer. Continue stirring every now and again until it is nearly the consistency you want.
  3. At this stage I like to remove just over half of the soup to blend it in my blender. If you like a very chunky soup you can completely skip this step.
  4.  Drain the beans before stirring it in to the soup. If you blended half of the soup, remember to stir this back in to the soup on the stove.

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Makes about 6 servings.

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Homemade Granola

Homemade Granola

Most mornings I can’t be bothered with preparing any kind of breakfasts that takes more than a few seconds to throw together, so some kind of cereal usually makes it way into my bowl (I’ve also been known to accidentally add coffee which is not so great!) I’m a creature of habit, so I’ll go weeks on one cereal before becoming so sick of it that I have to find an alternative. At the moment it is this homemade granola, which I can’t see myself getting sick of for quite some time. It is great served with both Greek yoghurt or milk and I love the unexpected element that the lime adds. This recipe is fully customisable and I think nuts would also work very well with this granola.

Ingredients

  • 600 g rolled oats
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • dash of all spice
  • 2 tbs sunflower seeds
  • 1 tbs pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tbs currants or raisins
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 200 g butter
  • 100g demerara sugar
  • 4 tbs golder syrup

Steps:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C.
  2. Combine the oats, spices, seeds, zest and fruit in a bowl and give it a proper stir.
  3. Melt the butter on the stove and stir in the sugar and syrup until it all melts together.
  4. Combine the butter mixture with the oats mixture until everything is covered.
  5. When all the oats are moist, empty it out onto a baking tray and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes. I like to stir through it halfway.
  6. Once it is golden brown, turn off the oven and allow to cool inside.
  7. Once cool, break up the pieces and store in an airtight concealer. This lasts me a good two weeks.
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Italian Bolognese Recipe

Spaghetti 4I really favour simple meals that are bursting with flavour, especially when I am the one preparing it! A traditional Italian bolognese sauce served with pasta is one of my husband’s favourite meals and it is super simple and quick to prepare. I personally prefer penne pasta, but spagetthi is traditional. This is also the same meat sauce I use for my lasagne.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 tbs sunflower oil
  • 4 Shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 500 g Extra Lean Beef Mince
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes with Italian Herbs
  • 2 tbs chutney
  • 2 tbs tomato paste
  • water or 1 glass red wine
  • fresh basil leaves, to taste and extra for serving
  • 300-400 g dried Penne Pasta
  • Parmesan for serving

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Method:

  1. In a non-stick saucepan, stir-fry the thinly sliced shallots, minced garlic, celery and carrot before adding the minced beef.
  2. Once the mince has browned add the canned tomatoes, chutney, worchestershire sauce and tomato paste.
  3. Gently stir and let it simmer before adding  a few basil leaves. You might find the need to add a lit bit of water if your sauce becomes to thick. If you have an already open bottle of red wine, it is worth adding a glass to your sauce. This isn’t necessary, but is a nice addition when possible.
  4. Leave the saucee simmering while starting with the pasta.
  5. Bring a litre water to the boil in a pot before adding a little bit of cooking oil and the pasta. Cook until al dente, usually around 7 minutes.
  6. Serve the pasta, topped with the spaghetti sauce, fresh basil and grated parmesan.

Serves 4

 

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The Pink Lemonade Kick

DSC_1986I love celebrating Christmas in South Africa. Our holidays are not traditional in the sense that we usually celebrate them on the beach or by a pool, so I thought something simple and refreshing is in order. I also wanted to find a drink that would taste equally good with and sans alcohol as we have very strict (and needed) laws regarding driving under the influence. A bonus is that it is really quick and easy to throw together!

DSC_1985All you need is:

  • 250 ml lemonade (not too fleshy)
  • 200 ml cranberry juice
  • 15 ml rose syrup
  • 20 ml vodka
  • mint
  • frozen raspberries
  • ice

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Steps:

  1. Combine your lemonade, cranberry juice, rose syrup and voda. The syrup might need a stir to dissolve.
  2. Pour over ice into glasses for serving. Garnish with fresh mint and frozen raspberries. Grapes and other berries also work well.

Easy peasy, just the way I like it. You could replace the vodka and rose syrup with more cranberry juice if so desired, but they really elevate it.DSC_1990

P.S. If you like the coasters, please check back next week for a quick DIY!

 

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