Category Archives: Sweets for my sweet

Apricot and vanilla jam

Apricot Jam

Apricot Jam

I found some apricots at our Food Lover’s market yesterday and bought two boxes.  One of the boxes are reserved for my children’s fibre and vitamin intake, the other I decided to transform into Apricot Jam to capture a bit of Summer for when the season turns again.  I added some vanilla just for fun and a little bit of (like one of our local heroines from our local TV soap-drama would say) Je ne sais quoi.  I don’t speak French but I have gathered that it must be something good…

 Apricot and Vanilla Jam

Apricot and Vanilla Jam

I was  intimidated for a long time by the thought of bottling and preserving and have had my fair share of overcooked, very sticky preserves until a friend of mine showed me what the exact consistency of preserves  should be before bottling  (Thank you Mariana!).  I have to say I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it is not necessary to cook the fruit for hours without end.  Stick to the recommended half an hour and you will end up with a beautiful clear jam with just the right consistency and a pretty sunshiny orange colour.  Do a quick test by cooling a small plate in your fridge, drop a teaspoon of the jam on the plate and let it cool for 2-3 minutes.  When you push your finger in the preserve it must make little ripples, then it is ready to bottle.  (But mostly stick to the time limit of 30 minutes).  Oh yes, and do remember to sterilize your jars, you don’t want a jam explosion in your pantry cupboard or even worse end up with food-poisoning in hospital. 🙂

 Apricot and Vanilla Jam

Apricot and Vanilla Jam

So if you currently have an oversupply of apricots gather your empty bottles and cook some preserve.  I filled about ten small jam jars and will be giving some of them out to fiends and family that pass through my house this festive season!  So HO-HO-HO!

Ingredients:

  • 2 kg of apricots
  • 2 kg of sugar
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 vanilla pod (seeds scraped out)
  • 2 t of vanilla extract
Method:
  1. Place apricots, sugar, water, vanilla-seeds, vanilla-pod and the vanilla essence all in a big pot.
  2. Heat all together gently on a medium heat and stir continuously to dissolve the sugar and bring to a boil. (Brace yourself, as this can be time-consuming)
  3. Start timing half an hour, the moment the mixture comes to a boil.
  4. Scoop the foam of the the surface throughout the whole cooking process.  Don’t be alarmed if some of the liquid is scooped out as well.
  5. After the 30 minutes have lapsed, do a ripple test (See above)
  6. Place the jam into sterilized jars (Google if you are not sure!) seal and turn jars upside down until cool.
Apricot and Vanilla Jam

Apricot and Vanilla Jam

Beautiful Blogger Award reality blog award

Oh yes, and last but not least, I want to say many thanks to Loving Home Made as well as Lovely Buns  for nominating me for the Beautiful Blogger- and the Reality Award.  If you have not run across their blogs yet, go and have a peek.  They are cooking!

Biscotti: a quick treat for afternoon tea and good Christmas gift idea

Coffee Biscotti

Coffee Biscotti

I made this Coffee Biscotti yesterday afternoon because I was feeling grumpy.  Yes, you heard me, I bake for therapy! There are not many things, that relax me as much as the sound of my Kenwood  Chef mixing and the smell of freshly baked goods that fill my kitchen.  I instantly start to breathe slower and feel better while I am mixing one or another treat.

This Coffee Biscotti is really fast to put together and really tasty.  It is truly one of those recipes that I am very sure cannot flop even if you want  it to.  I substituted a few things to work with what I had in the house.  Feel free to make it your own…

Coffee Biscotti

Coffee Biscotti

I am seriously contemplating to whip up a batch or two of this for Christmas and to give them away as a small gift.  I have truly found that friends really appreciate something that has been lovingly made by yourself.  So if you are looking for something that will take less than an hour to make and that will not cost you an arm and a leg, try this Biscotti recipe.

Coffee Biscotti

Coffee Biscotti

This will take you about fifteen minutes to prepare and a further hour to finish baking.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of cake flour
  • 2 Tbsps granulated coffee
  • 1t cinnamon ( I substituted this wit a Chai Spice mix that I buy from our local farm market)
  • 1/2 t bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 baking powder
  • 1 t freshly ground pink himalayan salt
  • 1 cup soft dark brown sugar
  • 3 large free range eggs
  • 70 g whole pecan nuts (I roasted mine but that’s optional)
  • 30 g slivered almonds (also toasted)

Note: feel free to substitute with your favourite nuts or whatever you have available.

Method:
  1. Preheat your oven to 180° C
  2. Mix the flour, coffee, cinnamon, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt together in a mixing bowl.
  3. Whisk the eggs until light and add to the flour mixture to create a dough.
  4. Add the nuts and bring together in a ball.  Don’t be alarmed if it seems sticky.
  5. Halve the dough and bake two rolls on a baking sheet.  Press down to make it slightly flat.
  6. Bake for 45 minutes and let it cool down before slicing into 2 cm slices.
  7. Place flat on a baking sheet and bake for another 10 minutes before turning over and baking on the other side for another 10 minutes.
  8. Drizzle with white chocolate if you wish.

Enjoy at tea time with a cup of your favourite tea..

What to do when you are playing hookey from school? Sugar Biscuits of course!

Sugar biscuits

Sugar biscuits

The  academic year for our children ended on the 30th of November.  It is therefore optional to attend, until school closes on Friday for our Summer holidays.  There is something very sneaky- feeling about not having to attend to school, even if it is still legal, and with the blessing of your teacher, while some of the other learners are still going (Us, Afrikaners have  a saying: “Shame nê” – which literally means I feel sorry for you).  We have been trying to catch-up with play dates these past few days of playing hookey, resulting in going to a movie and having some of the childrens’ friends over.

This morning we decided to make some  sugar cookies for the holidays and to decorate them.  I had three lovely little helpers and this is what they did on this fine sunny SA-day!

Sugar biscuits

Sugar biscuits

I was really amazed with the amount of creativity each one of them came up with.  Watching them create each little art work, made me reach for my camera.


  
 The result was colourful and very festive as you can see for yourself…

  
1-IMG_0010


1-IMG_9964

 I placed out a few bowls of glaze icing, sprinkles and other ready-bought-decorations on our patio table, not too much ado….  Just a little mixture of icing sugar and water with gel-colorant.

1-IMG_9954

 


1-IMG_9953

Yes, tasting was done and yes, this little one ended up on a sugar- high 


1-IMG_9997

1-IMG_9984

 

Luckily, this Mom saved some cookies that she wants to try and decorate with proper Royal Icing tomorrow… although I feel a little intimidated by all the talent that surrounds me apparently…..

Apple Cake with Earl Grey Apples

I don’t know exactly how it happened but somehow I ended up with three bags of apples in my refrigerator.  Luckily I have children that love apples and eat them as a staple.  Now who am I to complain if they want to keep the doctor away?

Although I also like nibbling on these crunchy lovelies, woman can’t live of fruit alone… That is why I was quite exited when I stumbled onto this recipe in an old Ideas Magazine’s little extra booklet.  This  is definitely one of my favourites I have ever made and I am therefore dying to show it off to all of you!

Apple cake with Earl Grey apples

Apple cake with Earl Grey apples

The cake is beautifully moist with little pieces of apple every here and there and  of-course the must-have cinnamon adds a lovely homely feel to it.  The cherry on …. or rather the apple on the cake, and show-stopper, is definitely the delicate, citrussy, Earl -Grey-Apples.  Trust me this is heaven on a plate!

Apple cake with Earl Grey apples

Apple cake with Earl Grey apples

Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of soft butter
  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • 3 extra large eggs
  • 10 ml grated lemon zest
  • 1t vanilla essence
  • 1 cup natural low-fat yoghurt
  • one Granny Smith apple peeled and diced
  • 260 g cake flour
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 t bicarbonate of soda
  • 5 ml baking powder
  • pinch of salt

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 170° c
  2. Grease and line a 20 cm round cake tin.
  3. Beat the butter and sugar until light   and fluffy
  4. Add the lemon zest and vanilla
  5. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until mixture is light and fluffy
  6. Add the yoghurt and beat very slowly to mix in
  7. Stir in the apple
  8. Sift together all dry ingredients and fold into the butter mixture.
  9. Spoon into cake tin and bake for 50 minutes or until skewer inserted comes out clean
  10. Cool down and decorate with glace icing and Earl Grey apples

Glace Icing:

  • 1 cup of icing sugar
  • a little water
  • zest of the rest of the lemon
  1. Just add enough water to get a runny consistency and pour over the cake.
  2. Top with lemon zest

Earl Grey Apples:

  • 1 1/2 cup of water
  • 4 Earl Grey teabags
  • 250 ml castor sugar
  • 2 Pink Lady apples
  1. Bring water to a simmer together with the teabags for  5 minutes.
  2. Remove tea bags
  3. Add sugar
  4. Simmer for 10 minutes until reduced and a syrup has formed
  5. Cut the apples into thin slices and place in syrup, remove from stove
  6. Leave for at least 1/2 an hour
  7. Place onto cake just before serving

Enjoy with your favourite cup of tea.

Apple cake with Earl Grey apples

Apple cake with Earl Grey apples

Easy Cuppa Pudding for Vacations

Easy cuppa pudding

Easy cuppa pudding

Well, as most of my dear readers will know by now we are currently on those few rare, but very precious, days of the year namely vacation.   I really find that these times just bind our family spontaneously together.  As I am typing away I’m listening to my beautiful kids laugh and giggle at their dad kicking a rugby ball.  A child’s laughter must be one of the most enjoyable sounds on all the earth.  There are times when I wish I could capture the sounds thereof with all the joy and carefreeness for years to come when they will grow into adults and have to weather the world.  Oh!  If I could just teach them to always laugh like a five year old.  The sky seems to be limitless and there is nothing that can’t be fixed by dad and a cable-tie and the best cure for falling down and hurting yourself seems to be one of mom’s cookies.

My daughter and I have also been spending some time together yesterday.  We made these very easy, very sweet but delicious puddings:

Easy cuppa pudding

Easy cuppa pudding

These guys are really easy to make as they require very little baking utensils.  This could therefore be whipped up in the simplest of kitchens even by little hands.  I found the recipe in one of my favorite foodie magazines Sarie Kos June/July 2012 edition and we adapted it ever so slightly.  They tasted great out of the oven with a sweet apricot flavor and a sauce that caramelized on top.

Cuppa Pudding

Cuppa Pudding

Ingredients: 

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 cup of cake flour
  • 1 t of baking powder (the original recipe called for 11/2 t  Bicarbonate of soda which is dissolved in the milk)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 free range eggs whisked
  • 1 cup apricot jam
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180° c
  2. Butter 4 enamel cups
  3. Mix the flour and baking powder
  4. Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles bread crumbs
  5. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and mix in the milk and the rest of the ingredients.
  6. Spoon into the enamel cups and place on a baking tray.  Bake for 45 minutes
  7. When in doubt if the puddings has been baked through do a skewer test

Sauce:

  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg whisked

Mix all of the above and pour over the puddings when they are done baking.  Place back into the oven and bake for another 20 minutes untill the sauce has thickened and caramelized.  Serve piping hot.      

Cuppa Pudding

Cuppa Pudding

 

Easy cuppa pudding

Easy cuppa pudding

 

Melkkos

Melkkos

Melkkos

The winter has been creeping up on us slowly but surely….  This is one of my favorite winter comforts.  For those of you Non-South Africans that are confused with the title:  “Melkkos” literally translates to milk-food.   Melkkos  (also called Boeber) is a thick milk mixture made with butter rubbed into flour, thin strips of  dough, or even sago.  Cinnamon is an important ingredient that is either added by cooking the mixture with a cinnamon stick and/or cinnamon sugar that are sprinkled over.   I guess most people would say this is more of a dessert…. but every now and then on a relaxed evening I would conjure this up as a light dinner,  much to my children’s delight.

Melkkos

Every time I would make this I would remember my grandma visiting us when I was still young.  Grandma Anna would serve this and we would tease that her Melkkos was good enough to catch a rich widower.  She always blushed when we were teasing her.  Sadly Grandma passed away ten years ago…   Unfortunately I was not lucky enough to obtain her Melkkos recipe as this one like many of her recipes were known of by heart and were therefore never recorded.

Melkkos

Melkkos

To make this hearty light meal that will serve 3 to 4 persons you need to do the following:

Recipe:

Ingredients:
  • 4 1/2 cups of milk
  • 1/2 cup sago
  • 2 Tbsps butter
  • 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsps  plus 1 t corn flour
  • 2 Tbsps custard powder
  • 2 Tbsps cake flour
  • 1 Tbsp  sugar
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 2 eggs separated
  • cinnamon sugar
Method:
  1. Warm 1 cup of milk in the microwave until warm (not more than two minutes)
  2. Soak sago in this warm milk for 1/2 an hour
  3. Place 3 cups of milk, the vanilla and the butter into a large thick bottomed sauce pan and bring to a boil
  4. Make a paste by mixing the last 1/2 cup  milk with the corn flour, custard powder, cake flour,  sugar and salt
  5. Add the paste to the sago mixture and mix well
  6. Add the sago mixture to the boiling milk and stir continuously until the mixture is thick and cooked
  7. Whisk the yellow of the eggs and mix with a little of the warm sago mixture
  8. Add the eggs to the sauce pan
  9. Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold into the warm milk mixture.  Simmer for one more minute
  10.  Serve with cinnamon sugar sprinkled over
Melkkos

Melkkos

Chocolate and Marshmallow Camp Bananas over the coals

Bananas with Chocolate and Marshmallows

Bananas with Chocolate and Marshmallows

This is one of those recipes that I am not even sure can be called a recipe.  I am not sure where or when I first saw or ate this but it has been part of our barbecue (braai in  my home language, Afrikaans)-repertoire for a very long time now.  I thought that most South-Africans were relatively familiar with this way of making a quick not so fancy pantsy dessert.  Turned out I was wrong!  I wanted to make this, this past long weekend on our trip away to a farm with some of our friends, when more than half indicated that they have never tried bananas with chocolate made on the grill.  Serious gap in their upbringing!  Unfortunately we rained out before being able to make this delicious, oh-so-easy treat on the coals.

Bananas with Chocolate and Marshmallows

Bananas with Chocolate and Marshmallows

In the mean time we fixed this batch over the weekend at home.

bananas with chocolate and marshmallows over the coals

bananas with chocolate and marshmallows over the coals

This is really a no-nonsense dessert that can be whipped up in minutes.  Perfect for that lazy weekend when you don’t want to do anything but kick back and relax!  Because this requires little cooking utensils (just a cutting board and knife) this is also perfect camp-food.   The chocolate and marshmallows melt and ooze together with the warm banana, making this a very simple but tasty,  sweet treat.

melty, oozy, chocolate bananas

melty, oozy, chocolate bananas

This is definitely one the most fiercest critics , my children, approve!

My fiercest  critic approves

My fiercest critic approves

This recipe serves 4 

Recipe:

Ingredients:
  • 4 large bananas
  • 100 g slab of milk chocolate or more if you are like me, not going to be able to resist popping a few in your mouth while preparing the bananas
  • 4-6 large marshmallows  sliced  or more …… help yourself!
Method:
  • Make a long slit lengthwise into the banana, careful not to cut all the way through the peel,  and fill with blocks of chocolate and slices of marshmallow (you can also use  small marshmallows, they are just not so readily available in our shops)
  • Place on the grill over warm coals (not too hot) and grill in the peel until all the chocolate has melted, the marshmallow has turned gooey and the banana has cooked through.  You will notice that the peal will have turned black.
  • Turn the banana out of the peal with a fork being careful to resist until it has cooled slightly to prevent burning.
Fluffy Marshmallows

Fluffy Marshmallows

chocolate and marshmallow bananas

chocolate and marshmallow bananas

%d bloggers like this: