Category Archives: Desserts

Bread and Butter Pudding

I was always wildly impressed with my mother’s ability to make something out of nothing at all (all while listening to some Air Supply).

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She would tell nostalgic/horrific stories of having no money for food and making cake out of leftover breadcrumbs and guavas from the tree outside our back door.

Fortunately for me, they remained tales from harder times gone by.

When my mommy was in the kitchen, I saw her turn cupboard staples into culinary superstars.

My favourite was Bread and Butter Pudding. I’d marvel at how she’d turn an ordinary school lunch into a delectable dessert. Fascinating. For a little kid, it really is the stuff heroes are made of.

Now it’s a recipe I’ll never need to write down, only pass down.

Bread and Butter Pudding

Serves 4

10 slices of white bread, crusts cut off
Real butter
Apricot jam
500ml full cream milk
3 large eggs
5-10ml vanilla extract
10-15 little chocolates

Preheat the oven to 160ºC.

Grease a medium-sized casserole dish.

Butter the bread and be very liberal with the apricot jam. Remember, this is the only sugar in the recipe so do feel free to add to taste.

Beat the milk, eggs and vanilla extract together. Feel free to substitute some of the milk with cream for a richer version.

Place the buttered bread in the dish, sprinkle the chocolates between the slices and pour over the egg mixture. Let it soak in for a few minutes before putting the dish in the oven for an hour.

Let it cool and set for 10 minutes before serving. I prefer my B&B Pudding with Ideal milk but custard or ice-cream work just as well.

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Banana Fritters with Vanilla and Saffron Soft Cream

Trying new things in the kitchen is necessary for growth. Just like in any other relationship, if you don’t spice things up from time to time and experiment, the pilot light goes out.

That being said – experimenting is tricky. You’re not always sure how your ingredients are going to react to new additions in the kitchen. Sometimes protein won’t stiffen, no matter how much you beat it, and if you’re unfamiliar with your equipment you could end up with white stuff all over your face. Whoops.

But I am not one to shy away from experimentation.

Banana fritters and saffron and vanilla soft cream

Soft Cream. I invented it.

My ice cream wouldn’t get hard for me – perhaps I need to work on my pick-up lines?

I followed a recipe I saw on Lifehacker.com (contain your sniggers, please) for easy peasy ice cream. Simply combine heavy whipping cream and condensed milk and beat on high for about 10 minutes, add flavouring, shove it in the freezer and your surname could be Baskin or Robbins.

A week later my “ice cream” still resembles soft serve on a sunny February day.

Look, it tastes really good. I added saffron and vanilla extract for flavour and it’s a winning combination. It smells like marshmallows. Yum. I know there’s something really simple that resulted in its inability to freeze. But right now I’m over trying to figure out where I went wrong and I’m sticking with my story – soft cream FTW!

I had a few leftover, over-ripe bananas so I hauled out Tannie de Villiers’ Kook en Geniet for a fritter recipe.

I used the recipe for pumpkin fritters and simply replaced the pumpkin with mashed banana.

So everything was working just fine until the first batch. The batter was quite runny and I was struggling to wrangle it in the pan. I decided to improvise. I added some more flour and two tablespoons of oats to the batter to thicken it up.

Well, congrats Sam! You’re making flapjacks.

If I’ve learnt anything through trial and error, it’s that you don’t need to do no trying or erring with Tannie de Villiers’ recipes. The first batch of fritters (sans my additions) was by far the tastiest.

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Banana Fritters
2 cups of mashed banana
1/2 cup of flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 egg, beaten
pinch of salt
1 tbs oats if preferred (they were tasty)
butter for frying (tastier than oil)

Mix bananas, flour, salt and baking powder. Add egg and mix together.
Heat butter in pan. Add spoonfuls of batter to pan. Fry for about a minute or two, check if it’s lifting easily, flip and fry for another minute or until golden brown on both sides. Drain on roller towel. Repeat until batter is finished. I didn’t sprinkle with sugar as I served with soft cream.

Serve with soft cream, or ice cream. Use it, don’t use it…

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Chocolate Pear Pudding

Rich, gooey goodness paired with soft, sweet freshness… sounds heavenly, huh?

Chocolate Pear Pudding

Chocolate Pear Pudding

Peas and carrots ain’t got nothing on chocolate and pears. They just go together.

A while back I received a copy of Willie Harcourt-Cooze’s recipe book Willie’s Chocolate Factory Cookbook. From cacao with your fried egg to cacao under the skin of your chicken, there’s no way not to enjoy the flavours of cacao and chocolate.

Excuse me for waxing lyrical there for a moment… It’s  the sugar high.

Not one for doing things by the book, I changed up Willie’s recipe for Gooey Chocolate Pudding. Mainly because all I can afford is the 70% stuff instead of his brand of cacao (available at R100 per 100g from Woolies).

How about some canned pears? Yep. What’s this – a leftover lime? In goes the zest.

Willie’s Goey Chocolate Pudding with Sam’s amendments

(3 large ramekins of pudding)

100g Lindt 70% Excellence (or 90g of Willie’s cacao)
100g unsalted butter
87.5g castor sugar
3 eggs
1ts vanilla extract
1 tin canned pears, halved
zest of 1 lime

Chocolate and Pears like... honey and bears?

Chocolate and Pears like... honey and bears?

I know a recipe for 3 servings is odd but this is just one of  those puddings.

Preheat oven to 160 degrees celcius with the fan. Grease or spray your pudding ramekins.
Melt the cacao or chocolate with the butter and 30g of castor sugar in a heatproof bowl set on top of a pot of simmering water.

Beat eggs, remaining sugar and vanilla together lightly. Until pale yellow.

Fold cacao mixture gently into egg mixture.

Place 1 canned pear half in bottom of each ramekin.

Divide the mixture between the ramekins.

Now, here’s the thing. The original recipe is for 6-8 pudding ramekins. Due to not having said amount of ramekins, we had to go with three. They were quite large. So while the recipe states bake for 12-15 minutes, I found it to only be ready in 20-25 minutes.
The trick is to wait for the tops to rise and crack, then you’ll know. That’s really the better indicator than a stupid kitchen timer shaped like egg.

Once done, serve with a dollop of creme fraiche and a sprinkling of lime zest.

Willie’s Chocolate Factory Cookbook (Hodder & Stoughton)

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Malva Pudding

Mmm… Malva Pudding.

Malva Pudding

Drenched in sunshine...

It’s a miserable Easter Sunday here in Cape Town, but then again the weather’s perfect for spending with family. Miss you today, Mom.

To cheer me up, I drenched up old food photos and found this fantastic pic of Malva Pudding I baked on a beautifully sunny day.

I am not by a long shot a pro when it comes to this South African classic, so I turned to a pro for some help.

The November 2009 edition of Taste Magazine featured recipes from Shaun Schoeman, the exec chef at Fyndraai, the gorgeous restaurant at Solms-Delta wine estate. (Aside note: you must try the Springbok shank.)

His Malva pud looked amazing so I thought hey, this could make me look good.

My final product didn’t look anything like the picture, but it tasted real good so we won’t split hairs.

Fyndraai‘s Malva Pudding
Serves 4 to 6
220g castor sugar
140g white flour
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 free-range egg
1 cup of milk
2 tsp white vinegar
1 tbs melted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

Sauce:
110g castor sugar
1 cup full-cream milk
2 tbs butter

Preheat oven to 160 degrees celsius. Sift all dry ingredients together. Whisk together the egg and milk, then add vinegar and melted butter. Add dry ingredients to egg mixture and whisk until smooth. Mix in the vanilla extract. then pour the mixture into a lightly greased tray and bake for 25 mins. Pierce the surface of the warm pudding with a fork. Pour the sauce over it and serve.

Sauce: Mix all ingredients in a saucepan over a low heat until butter is melted.

My result was so saucy I didn’t bother with ice-cream or Ideal milk, just a bit of lemon zest.

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Roses are red, and cakes are too…

Valentine’s Day is schmucky, schmaltzy and OTT. But sometimes it provides the perfect inspiration to get my ass back in the kitchen.

Red Velvet Cake

Hearts and flowers for Valentine's Day

After a tear-inducing episode with a flopped milktart a few weeks back, I swore off the kitchen. We survived on take-aways, tins and toast. It was a dark time in our culinary lives…

But I finally made my return and decided to make it a grand one.

Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

I used Colleen’s recipe because her recipes always turn out well (UNLIKE Beluga’s milktart recipe…).

However, the heart shape and the cute little icing clouds are all my own genius. And of course the pearls…

Thanks to our nice neighbours for planting the lovely nasturtiums and letting me steal one.

Red Velvet Cake

So take a bite and succumb to the wiles of Valentine’s Day.

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Easy as Pie

Oh, hell no!

I don’t know who came up with this overused adage, but it’s simply not true, unless you’re a grandma who survived the depression with only cabbage soup and potato skins. Then I guess yes, Pie is easy in comparison.

Baking however, is far more of a skill than cooking.

An extra teaspoon of baking powder can be the be-all and end-all of your perfect pastry.

An extra teaspoon of baking powder in your scrambled eggs will go a long way to adding fluffiness, but there’s no catastrophe should you have forgotten it.

Cooking is like matchmaking; bringing complementary elements together and watching them, well, complement each other. A little bit of fire under their stubborn arses also helps.

Baking is like IVF; every element – the ingredients, the temperature, the altitude – has to be just right in order for the project to be successful.

See what I mean?

Despite this, I will bake. I will bake this tonight:

Apple Blueberry Pie
Apple Blueberry Pie

Apple Blueberry Pie

Shortcrust Pastry without liquid: (Thanks Kook en Geniet)
250 ml (1 c) cake flour
pinch salt
15 ml (1 T) castor sugar (I used icing sugar)
125 g (1/2 c) butter or margarine

Combine cake flour, salt and sugar.
Grate and rub in the butter or margarine until crumbly, or use a food processor using the pulse action. Since I don’t have a food processor, I did it by hand, which was lots of fun!
Tip (from me): If you make this beofre the time, keep it in the fridge so that the butter doesn’t melt.

Filling:
3 medium sized apples
100ml blueberries
125ml (1/2 c) sugar
1 ml ginger
juice and grated rind of 1/2 lemon
60 ml (4 T) hot water
Handful of pecan nuts

Preheat oven to 180ºC.

Peel, core and slice your apples. If you want to used tinned apples, go ahead. No snobbery here.
Lay half the apples, berries and nuts in your pie dish.

Combine sugar, lemon juice and rind, ginger and sprinkle 1/3 of this over apples.
Arrange remaining apple slices and berries over the top and sprinkle another 1/3 of the sugar mixture.
Sprinkle over shortcrust pastry crumbs and pour over hot water.
Sprinkle remainder of the sugar mixture over the crumbs.
Bake for 40 minutes. Serve with whipped cream.

Don’t get on the scale until you’ve been for a jog.

So alright, this is fairly easy, but definitely not foolproof. I’m the fool and the proof that it can go wrong in so many ways; your butter’s too squishy or the oven’s too hot and the apples stay hard. While it’s still a test, the rewards are definitely worth it.

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RSC Dessert: Coconut milk crepes with mango filling

The final installment in my Ready Steady Cook Challenge.

Right, two more ingredients left on my list: Coconut milk and mango. Mango in September. What a challenge indeed. My only option was to use dried mango, a first-time ingredient in my kitchen.

Coconut milk crepes filled with mango

Coconut milk crepes filled with mango

After wrestling with many ideas in my head, this one was a favourite because it’s also perfectly springy: light ‘n summery crepes with warm, sticky mango and rich coconut milk. Just like the little bear’s porridge, it was just right.
I’ve tried the Shape Low-fat and Easy Cookbook recipe for crepes before and it was a great success. I simply adjusted the recipe this time to include my listed ingredients.

Ingredients

Crepes:
1 cup coconut milk
3 large egg whites
100-120 ml water (recipe called for 80 ml, but because the fat free milk was replaced with richer coconut milk, more water was needed to keep the batter thin)
1 cup cake flour
2 tbs sugar
Cook ‘n Spray

Filling:
200 g dried mango, soaked in hot water
2 tbs coconut milk
pinch of cinnamon

Mix egg whites, coconut milk and water in a bowl with a hand mixer. Then gently whisk in flour and sugar. Leave to stand for about 30 minutes.

Heat up a small pan until it’s medium hot. I can’t explain how hot medium hot is, you’re just going to have to experiment. Once the first one flops (which it will – it’s a rite of passage in crepe making), you’ll know if your pan is too hot or too cold.

Once it’s hot, spray with Cook ‘n Spray.

Pour batter in a thin stream into the pan. Swirl around to just cover the pan lightly. Cook for about one minute or until the crepe starts peeling at the sides. Then turn over, but it’s more fun if you flip them over. Do this over and over and over until your batter is finished.

In a hot pan, fry mango until sticky. Add 2 tbs coconut milk and let it cook away. Once soft and sticky, fill the crepe with the mango. Roll it up and slice in half with a diagonal slant – it looks more zhuzh that way. Sprinkle a bit of lemon juice and cinnamon on top and serve.

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Goodie Goodie Guavas

galette

Galette

I grew up with a guava tree in my back yard. From round about June to August our yard was inundated with the yellow goodie gumdrops. We couldn’t eat and cook them fast enough, resulting in a quite disgusting pink layer beneath the tree. We always picked them wearing gumboots because you couldn’t always spot the vrotties lying in the grass.

I strictly prefer my guavas cooked. Stewed with sugar and cinnamon, bottled and chilled, and then served with hot custard. Gosh… now I’m hungry.

It’s been a few years since we lived with that dear old guava tree. Now I have to buy these white little things that are so inferior to the sumptious yellow gems I’m used to. Sigh… how the mighty have fallen. Haha. This winter, while walking through St Georges’ Mall all I could smell was guavas from the fruit sellers. I bought a whole bag and turned them into this pretty little thing.

Guava Galette

Gorgeous, good, great, gastronomical guavas... I could go on.

I followed the recipe for a nectarine galette in my Shape low-fat and easy cookbook, and just replaced the fruit with guavas.

I wish I could recite it for you, but alas, the book is at home.

All you’ll need is a basic recipe for shortcrust pastry, make a round, put the fruit on top, fold and bake! Easy, huh?

Let me know in the comments if you require the step-by-step version and I’ll gladly oblige.

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27 Cupcakes

I always bake for my birthday. I always go to work on my birthday.  I like the attention, but that’s no surprise, is it? It’s double the joy – I get a “Happy Birthday!” as well as praise for the effort of bringing cake. It’s really more about me than them, I’ll admit it.

Cocoa Cream Cheese Cupcakes

Birthday letters

On this, my 27th birthday, I made vanilla cupcakes with cocoa cream cheese icing. I take no credit – just labour costs.

My colleague Ulpha gave me the fantastic cake recipe which can be used for full-sized cake in a variety of colours and flavours with the same great results. But I really love making it for the joy of licking the batter out of the bowl. Always been a ‘batter is better’ kinda girl.

The icing is an adaptation of Browniegirl’s cream cheese icing that she uses for her carrot cake.

I decorated them with sugar pearls from Nicoletta (picked them up for a bargain at the Good Food and Wine Show) because a pearl is June’s birthstone.

Mom always gave all the kids at our birthday parties presents. When I was in boarding school, she would not only bring a care package for me, but my entire dorm room. So in an effort to follow suit, everyone got a cupcake with their initial on it. Oulik, né?

Cocoa Cream Cheese Cupcakes

Cocoa Cream Cheese Cupcakes

Makes approximately 24 small cupcakes

Cake:
3 extra large eggs, separated
1 ¾ cup of castor sugar
¼ cup of canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups of self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 cup of boiling milk

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Beat the egg whites while gradually adding the sugar. It will get deliciously thick and white quite quickly. Slowly add the oil while still beating. Then gooi in the egg yolks and vanilla essence. If it’s very thick, just hold on to your apron strings, we’re going to fix it now now.

Sift the dry ingredients together and sift again into the egg mixture. Fold with a metal spoon. Put your favourite love song on while doing this and take it slow like your first vasdans at the school sokkie. Then add the boiling milk and fold a few more times. Give it one more slow woer with the electric beater to make sure there aren’t any flour clumps.

Pour batter into paper cupcake cups inside a cupcake pan. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until slightly golden on top.
Remove from the oven and leave it to cool in a place that’s out of sight for prying eyes who want to taste it before it’s even gotten dressed with icing!

Cocoa Cream Cheese Icing:
1/3 cup of butter (about 100g) softened
2 cups of icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
50-75ml of sour cream (depending on how tart you like it)
100g of cream cheese – I only use Simonsberg
½ cup of cocoa

Beat the butter until it’s almost white. Gradually add the sugar, bit by bit. Once it’s thick and tough to manoeuvre, add the vanilla and sour cream and beat to incorporate.  Then add the cream cheese bit by bit until it’s the desired consistency. Please… if it’s getting to thin, PUT DOWN the cream cheese. If it’s too thick, don’t be afraid or too snoep to add a bit more. You are going to have to eat these cupcakes after all… J Finally add the cocoa and beat slowly to blend. The amount is also just a guideline dependent on the level of chocolaty-ness you’re after. I don’t think you could add too much though. The more chocolaty, the better.

Spread this glorious goodness liberally on top of cooled cupcakes. The best part is the icing doesn’t get hard and is good for two or so days.

I can’t describe the fun I have making these little diabetes-inducing darlings. Damn!  It’s hard work trying to make an ‘S’ out of these little pearls, but so worth every expletive and the ruined apron and kitchen towels.

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Tantrum Tart

I’m in a right foul mood this morning, I give myself a yellow card.

I’m prone to throwing a tantrum first and then looking for the solution after. I always panic with lots of time to spare. Like when baking… I’m convinced that the entire time said pastry/tart/cake is in the oven (read: when I’m not in control of it anymore), something is wrong. It’s not brown enough, it hasn’t risen right, the oven’s not working properly. And then when it comes out of the oven golden and delicious as it should be, I then allow myself to breathe again.

Torture… pure torture, I tell you. I’m sure I was a sadist in another life.

It’s been a rocky start to the week. I hate the grown-up parts of life that involve banks, insurance, forms, and equally tedious tasks. Ugh. But one tedious task I’ll never shy away from is producing this glorious little thing.

The heart of life

The Heart of Life

Milk Tart makes it all better.

No, really. Try it. Crappy day? Have a slice. Boyfriend left you? Have the whole thing. Don’t even bother with slices. Grab a spoon and feed that hole!

I wish I had the recipe for you, but it’s pinned to my fridge door instead of my memory. It’s from the Fresh Living Classic Cook’s series. It’s not like your normal tuisnywerheid version; it has more of a baked custard texture. Very eg, as Ouma would say.

Screw the Kit-Kat… have some milk tart!

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