Caramel Gelato

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This rich, creamy custard based frozen dessert makes the perfect summer time dessert. It’s best served once it starts melting. The flavour will be masked if it served too cold.

Ingredients:

  • 60 g sugar
  • 80 ml cream
  • 350 ml milk
  • 20 ml English Toffee Cape Velvet
  • 3 egg yolks

100_5646Method:

  1. In a thick bottomed saucepan, melt 45 g of sugar over medium heat. As soon as it becomes a medium golden colour, remove from the heat and stir in the cream. Place the saucepan back on the heat until the caramel remelts.
  2. Bring the milk to boiling point before pouring it into the caramel.
  3. Cream the eggs yolks with the remaining sugar in a large bowl.
  4. Slowly pour the caramel mixture into the creamed egg yolks whilst beating continuously.
  5. Pour the custard back into the saucepan and cook, stirring, on low heat  for about 2 min or until it becomes thick enough to cover the back of a spoon. Be careful not to bring the custard to the boil as it will curdle.
  6. Remove from the heat and stir in the liqueur.
  7. Let cool before placing in an ice cream machine or alternatively place in the freezer and beat every half hour with electric beater until frozen. This breaks up any ice crystals and gives a better texture, essentially what a ice cream maker does.

Serves 4

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Vanilla Pink Ombré Cake

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I’ve been wanting to make a pink ombré cake for a while, but finally decided to do it this past week as the internet had been down for a few days. I’ve never baked something so visually pleasing and impressive that’s been so easy.

I usually prefer baking a cake from scratch, but I decided to try this particular cake mix after spotting it in the kitchen of a very popular patisserie.  I was quite impressed with the fact that even though it was one of the cheaper cake mixes it included the icing mix which was also vanilla flavoured. If you want to bake a cake from scratch, I can recommend this cake recipe from Martha Stewart which you can just adjust according to the recipe below.

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Ingredients for Cake:

  • 1 Packet Vanilla Cake Mix( I used Golden Cloud’s)
  • 3 eggs
  • 150 ml Sunflower oil
  • 200 ml Milk

OR Follow the Martha Steward recipe

  • Crimson Liquid Food Colouring

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and prepare three 20 cm cake tins by lining them with baking paper.
  2. Mix the cake batter according to the packets instructions. I added an extra egg and a little extra milk to the mix to ensure a I get a soft, moist cake.
  3. Divide the cake batter equally into three bowl. Add a few drops of food colouring to each bowl, increasing the amount so that you get three different shades of pink. Bear in mind that the finished cake will be slightly lighter than the batter.
  4. Pour the batter in to the cake tins and bake for about 10-15 min.
  5. Let cool on a wire rack covered with a damp cloth.

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Ingredients for Buttercream Frosting:

  • 100 g butter, softened
  • Packet of Golden Cloud icing mix or 200 g of icing sugar and a drop of vanilla essence.
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • a drop of Crimson Liquid Food Colouring

Method:

  1. Beat the softened butter and slowly add all the icing sugar or mix.
  2. Once its all been blended add the milk slowly to reach the correct consistency. It should be soft and airy but still able to hold its shape.
  3. Finally add a small drop of food colouring to create a soft pink colour and mix it in.

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Assembling the cake:

  1. Begin with the darkest layer of cake and cover the top with a thin layer of icing to about 1/2 cm from the edge using a palette knife. I used a regular knife instead, but a palette knife does give the smoothest results.
  2. Place the medium coloured layer on top of the darkest and repeat the icing process.
  3. Finally place the lightest layer on top and begin icing the top with about a third of the remaining icing. Use the last bit of icing to cover the sides of the cake, which require the most icing.
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Creamy Leek and Potato Soup

100_5159I’ve found that during the colder months nothing satisfies my appetite like a nice warm soup. I prefer my soup to be thick and creamy, served with crispy bread. This is a nice alternative to classic butternut soup and can be whipped up in a jiffy. Best served on cold evenings next to the fire.

Ingredients:

  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celerey sticks, chopped
  • 5 leeks, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1,5 litre water
  • 3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 tbs powdered vegetable stock (I used this)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 100 ml cream

Method:

  1. In a large pot fry the carrots, celery and leeks and in the butter on medium heat until golden. Only add the garlic halfway through as it will brown faster than the rest. Nothing is worse than burnt garlic.
  2. Add the water and dissolve the vegetable stock.
  3. Add the diced potatoes and bring it to the boil.
  4. Reduce until a simmer and stir every now and then. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Simmer until all vegetables and potatoes are soft, for about 15-20 min.
  6. Remove from heat and let it cool slightly before pureeing the soup in a blender.
  7. Stir in the cream and serve with warm toasted bread.

Makes about 4 full portion servings.

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Spinach and Cheese Muffins

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Being the sweet tooth that I am, I was very reluctant to try a savory muffin at first. This however is no ordinary savory muffin as the creaminess of the feta combined with the crispy texture of the nutty wheat flour totally won me over. Now I cannot imagine any other muffin being more suitable for brunch/lunch. I also make a sweet variant of this muffin with nuts, cranberry, all spice and orange peel that smells all Christmassy- perfect for those extra cold winter mornings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup Nutty Wheat flour
  • 2 tbs castor sugar
  • 4 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3  cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup spinach, finely chopped and wilted
  • 100g feta cheese, crumbed
  • 1 cup Cheddar cheese, finely grated

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Steps:

  1. Sift all the dry ingredients together.
  2. Mix the egg, milk and butter and stir into the dry ingredients.
  3. Add the spinach, feta and most of the cheese and stir in.
  4. Divide into muffin pan and add a little bit of the grated cheese on top of each muffin.
  5. Bake at 180°C  for 15-20 min or until golden.

Makes 12 small muffins or 6 large ones.

PS: These are great when frozen once cooled off and can be defrosted and heated in the microwave without sacrificing its texture.

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Homemade Hamburger Patties

100_5018This is an incredibly basic recipe with endless possibilities. Add all your favourite trimmings and finish with the freshest buns available- I find seeded soft buns work best.  Serve with crispy potato wedges and you might never crave fast food again!

Ingredients:

  • 500g low fat beef mince
  • 5 ml salt
  • ground pepper
  • 10 ml Steak & Chop Spice
  • 2 parsley sprigs, finely chopped
  • 1 tbs Worcester Sauce
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 30 ml bread crumbs
  • 1 tbs oil

Steps:

  1. Start by mixing the mince and flavouring in a large bowl.
  2. Add the egg and mix before adding the bread crumbs. Ensure that everything is properly mixed.
  3. If you find that the mixture is too sticky, add a little more bread crumbs. You should be able to form a ball of meat that doesn’t stick to your hands or breaks when flattened.
  4. Make 5-6 even sized balls of meat. Gently press each flat in the palm of your hands to about 1,5 cm.
  5. Fry on medium heat for about 3 min on each side or until cooked through.

Makes 5 to 6 large patties.

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Easter Baking: Breads

Easter breads

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I prefer baking breads for Easter as opposed to something sweet like cupcakes. These delicious variations are perfectly suited for the sweet-toothed whilst not spoiling your Easter egg-appetite. I simply love the smell of freshly baked bread! The only problem is that- as with all things freshly baked- I can’t stop at just one! Ranging from traditional hot cross buns to a braided and cinnamon pecan bread- I really wish I could try them all! With such a wide variety there is bound to be at least one for everyone.  Happy baking!

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Baby Tomatoes, Bacon and Mushroom Tart with a Creamy Filling

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I love making simple, easy recipes that deliver. This tart is a family favourite but with all the cream, we have to restrict ourselves. Although the tart is quite similar to a quiche, the difference lies in the base. This has a rich crispy base that perfectly complements the creamy soft filling. Enjoy while fresh from the oven with a crisp green salad for lunch or a light dinner.

Ingredients:

  • Base:
  • 100g flour
  • 100g butter
  • 100g cheddar, finely grated
  • Filling:
  • 100g Feta/12 mushrooms, sliced
  • 12 baby tomatoes, halved
  • 100g fat free bacon
  • 3 eggs
  • 250 ml cream
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Finely chopped parsley

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 180*C
  2. Blend all the ingredients for the base in a mixer on medium speed until it forms a big ball.
  3. Break the dough into pieces and gently press it into a round quiche pan. Spread the dough evenly with your knuckles, making sure there are no holes.
  4. Fry the bacon and mushrooms and add the tomatoes last. When done place it in the tart shell. Be sure to spread the ingredients evenly.
  5. Mix together all the eggs and cream until smooth. Add salt and pepper and pour into tart base.
  6. Sprinkle a little parsley over the top and place in oven for 30-40 min until golden brown.
  7. Remove and let set for a few minutes before slicing to serve.
  8. Enjoy!

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Breakfast Flapjacks

100_0212Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day because it is the closest you can get to having dessert as a meal!  Flapjacks served with syrup being one of my favourite sweet treats. Americans might know this better as pancakes, but in South Africa pancakes refer to crêpes and we call this flapjacks. Name calling aside, this recipe is really easy and super quick- perfect for the sweet tooth.

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs, large
  • 125 ml sugar
  • 300 ml milk
  • 25 ml butter, melted
  • 500 ml flour
  • 10 ml baking powder
  • 5 ml oil

To serve:

  • Strawberries, diced
  • Syrup
  • Someone to serve this in bed

Steps:

  1. Beat the eggs and sugar together. Then add the butter and half the milk.
  2. Sift all the dry ingredients together and it to the egg mixture.
  3. Add the extra milk until you have a smooth batter.
  4. Preheat a pan on medium heat with the oil. Bake the batter in the pan. Flip the flap jacks once small bubbles have appeared on top.
  5. Serve with syrup, strawberries and sieved icing sugar.

Makes about 15 yummy flapjacks of medium size. Enjoy!

 

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Caramelised Onion and Feta Tart

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This is a super easy, tasty tart for a light snack or with pre-drinks. I cheated a little and added some of Woolworth’s Onion Marmalade simply because my family loves it and it really did make it just that more flavourful and saves a lot of time and effort.

Ingredients:

  • 1 purple onion, sliced
  • salt and pepper, for seasoning
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • 60ml water
  • half a packet ready rolled puff pastry, and flour for rolling
  • 1 egg, for brushing
  • 100 g feta cheese, diced
  • 4 tsp onion marmalade
  • Watercress or Rocket, for decoration

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Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C and prepare a baking tray by lining it with baking paper.
  2. Heat a large saucepan with a little oil and fry the onion until brown. Add the water and the sugar and let it simmer until the water is reduced to a thick syrup.
  3. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface according to packet instructions. Cut the sides to make it more even.
  4. Move the pastry to the baking tray and fold the sides over to create an edge. This will prevent the syrup from leaking on to the tray (though a little of mine did still leak).
  5. Scoop the onions on to the tart and be sure to pour the syrup in the centre as it will spread. Place the Feta cheese on top of the onions.
  6. Bake for 15 min or until golden.
  7. Scoop the onion marmalade on the tart once removed from the oven and spread slightly. Decorate with the watercress or rocket and serve.

PS- I only used half of the pack for the tart, so if you plan on making a large tart using the entire packet of pastry you should double the recipe.

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Champagne Float

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This is one of the best ideas I’ve come across for Christmas leftovers. We always have a little Champagne/Sparkling wine and plain ice cream leftover so this is great for clearing the fridge. It doesn’t even matter if the Champagne isn’t as fizzy as it was to begin with as it still tastes great!

I won’t call this a recipe, but rather an idea. Scoop a little ice cream in a champagne glass and top up with Champagne. Finish with fresh berries or cherries and enjoy!

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