Tag Archives: food

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!

Roasted Duck in Orange and Orange Liqueur Sauce.

Duck in Orange and Van Der Hum Sauce

Duck in Orange and Orange Liqueur Sauce

I adore traditional Sunday food!   I feel deliriously happy when I have something roasting in the oven on Sunday morning, plotting what I would fix for dessert to create the perfect Sunday lunch.  This Sunday was no different, only this time I swapped the traditional roast chicken for duck.

It is not every day that fresh free range duck is available in South Africa, so I jumped at the opportunity to take this guy home when I found it at one of our local food stores.  Duck is one of my favorite meals to order when I get the chance at a restaurant.  I am happy to report to my dear readers that the not so skinny cook would be very satisfied and most happy to eat the above recipe at  any restaurant.  As my five-year old son, who watches a lot of cooking shows with his mother, would say (in his best Afrikaans accent): delicious!

Duck in Orange and Van Der Hum Sauce

Duck in Orange and Orange Liqueur Sauce

Now this duck is firstly roasted, cut into pieces and then gently cooked in an orange flavored sauce, creating a crispy duck in intense orange flavors.   I decided to serve the roast duck with whole roasted baby potatoes, sweet baby carrots, and minted peas.   This Sunday roast was the perfect beginning to a new week with further promises of sun and spring.

Duck in Orange and Van Der Hum Sauce

Duck in Orange and Orange Liqueur Sauce

This mouth-watering dish will serve 4 persons.  Preparation time about 1/2 an hour.  Cooking time about 41/4 hours.

Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1   2kg duck
  • 10 ml ginger powder
  • salt and black cracked pepper
  • 1 orange cut into quarters
  • 1 onion cut into quarters
  • 180 ml Orange Liqueur
  • 1 cup of unsweetened orange juice
  • 2 cups of  good quality vegetable stock
  • 1/2 orange cut into julienne strips
  • 2 Tbsps cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce

Method:

  1. Rinse the duck with water and remove all unwanted fat around the neck , tail and the cavity of the duck.
  2. Rub the duck all over with ginger, salt and pepper.

3. Place all the orange quarters as well as the onion inside of the body cavity.

4. Prick with a fork all over to allow the fats to cook out.

5.  Roast in a pre-heated oven  of 220º C for half an hour on a roasting rack in your pan  and remove from oven.

6.  Drain all fats from the pan and add about 2 cups of water to the pan, prick all over once more and lower the heat of the oven to 180º C.   Pour  a 1/4  of a cup of orange liqueur over the duck before replacing in the oven.  Proceed to roast for another hour.

7. Remove from the oven and turn the duck on it’s back to ensure even roasting.  Prick for a third time and pour another 1/4 cup of orange liqueur over.  Return to the oven for about another hour.  Do a prick test between the thighs and the legs to check if the juices run clear, which is an indication that the duck has been cooked through.  Remove from the oven and place aside while you prepare the sauce.

Orange Sauce.

  1.  In a sauce pan bring the veggie stock, orange juice and orange peel to a boil and cook for 5 minutes.

2.  Make a paste by adding the remaining orange liqueur and soy sauce to the cornstarch and then add this paste to the cooking orange mixture.  Cook until thick and season further if required.

Final Preparations:

Cut the duck into neat pieces and place in a roasting dish.  Pour the orange sauce over and bake in a pre-heated oven of 160º C.

Enjoy with your favourite glass of fruity white wine and company for a Sunday lunch.

This recipe was adapted from Lynn Bedford Hall’s Keur uit die kookkuns in Suid-Afrika ISBN 186872 520 0  which you can order for further reference from Kalahari.

Rustic One Pan Chicken Roast

One Pan Chicken

One Pan Chicken Roast

As I am sitting here I am happy to announce that we have been blessed with a holiday at one of the most beautiful parts of South-Africa, Kwazulu, Natal.  It has been quite cool in the rest of our otherwise sunny country, but fortunately we have not felt too much of the cold snap here at the South-coast.  Lucky us!  Since we have arrived yesterday morning we have only seen blue skies and sunshine resulting in some swimming and picnicking on the beach.

This is the life!

This is the life!

Our evenings have been slightly cooler and therefore I have felt the need for my warm pajamas and some comfort food.  I have to admit that I  have been in a serious holiday mood since arriving and did not feel like slaving away in the kitchen.  So this afternoon I decided to make a simple but delicious roast for us.  The great taste lies in the plain but good quality ingredients.  Also, I decided to not make too much of a to do, and kept the veggies chunky, not peeling the butternut but roasting it with the peel which added to the rustic feel of the dish.  The good old garlic also got to keep its skin on, roasting sweet and soft, perfect to spread on a chunky piece if ciabatta.  Because this is roasted at a high temperature the skin of the chicken becomes crispy enveloping the hot steamy flesh! Yum!

One Pan Chicken Roast

One Pan Chicken Roast

I am also not just the not so skinny cook , I am also the little bit of lazy, hasty cook and this dish will be done in less than 45 minutes!  Just enough time to go and take a stroll down the beach and work up an appetite or if you are not on holiday it will be enough time to bathe the kids and set the table…

Well then  Bon Appetit….

This will feed your family of 4 and maybe leave you with some left overs for a sandwich.

One Pan Chicken Roast

One Pan Chicken Roast

Ingredients:

  • About 1kg chicken pieces
  • 1/2 butternut chopped chunky and lengthwise (leave the peal on)
  • 1 sweet red pepper cut into chunky pieces
  • 1 onion chopped into chunky pieces
  • 6 large garlic cloves (resist the urge to peel!)
  • few sprigs of thyme, and origanum
  • 1/4 cup lemon infused olive oil (unflavored, extra virgin oil of good quality will also do just fine)
  • freshly ground salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Preheat your oven to 220º C

Place all of the above ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix together.  Transfer to a roasting pan and season with freshly ground salt and pepper.  Roast for about 40 minutes until the chicken is golden, the skin is crispy and veggies has caramelized.  Serve with a rustic ciabatta bread.

One Pan Chicken Roast

One Pan Chicken Roast

Orange Cake For A Dreary Winter’s Day

Orange Cake

Orange Cake

The weather has been horrifically cold this weekend and I find myself longing for summer days with hot weather and a long glass of icy orange juice beside our pool.  Don’t get  me wrong, winter certainly has it’s perks as well, as I am writing this I am sitting in front of the fireplace with a cup of my favourite tea.  The kids are playing around me and hubby, who’s reading, and our pooches are snoring away in front of the blissful heat all while the wind is howling around the corners…  I have some soup going in the slow cooker and I am counting my many blessings.  Happiness!  Another  beauty of the cold season is that it brings it’s own fresh produce including citrus fruits.  I have been fortunate this season to have some oranges (not much, just 4) on my little orange tree that I keep in a pot close to my back door.  What better way to use these pretty orange jewels than to place them in an orange cake?  Instant comfort I’m telling you!

My own home grown oranges

My own home grown oranges

The great thing about this cake is that the longer it sits on your kitchen shelf the more flavor it develops.  Not that cake ever tends to just stay on the shelf in my house… no matter, it is delish all the time, from the point where it is taken out of the oven up to where the very last crumb is eaten…

My own home grown oranges

My own home grown oranges

Not being too sweet and extremely moist this is sure to light up your dullest winter’s day!  This will also work very well as a warm winter dessert, heated up with custard and some cream.  I added some zest for decoration to zoosh it up a bit.  Make sure that you use a plate with a rim to keep all of the sweet, orangy syrup where you want it:  Close to the sponge that will eventually slurp it all up, locking in all the moist flavor of the cake.

Orange Cake

Orange Cake

I found this nifty recipe here as I did not have a recipe as a starting point.  It was definitely not disappointed.   This recipe makes one ring sized orange cake.  Here is how I went about:

Recipe:

Ingredients:

Orange cake:

  • 1 cup butter (room temperature)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 free range extra large eggs, separated (room temperature)
  • 1 cup sour cream (room temperature)
  • 1 3/4 cup cake flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 t bicarbonate of soda
  •  zest of one orange
Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 180° C
  2. Grease a ring pan well
  3. Beat the sugar and butter with an electric beater until fluffy and it turns pale yellow (I usually do this for 15 minutes to ensure that it turns fluffy)
  4. Add the sour cream and the egg yolks and continue beating until light
  5. Sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and the orange rind
  6. Add to the butter mixture and beat until just combined
  7. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form and then fold into the batter
  8. Place the mixture into ring pan and bake for an hour
  9. Remove from heat and let it cool down for 15 minutes before removing the cake from the pan and placing it on a rimmed plate to reserve the syrup
  10. Pour the syrup over (see below)
Orange juice

Orange juice

Hot Orange syrup
  • freshly squeezed juice of 2 oranges
  • freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil for about 3 minutes

Pierce a few holes in the cake with a fork and slowly pour the orange syrup over the cake drenching it in the syrup.

Slice of Orange Cake

Slice of Orange Cake

If your family is like mine it will probably not see the next morning to have the first golden, sweet, orangey slice taken from it, which is okay, no harm done, it is delectable freshly baked out of the oven as well.

Enjoy!

0ranges

0ranges

Pistachio-, Choc chip- and Oats with White Chocolate and Cranberry Holiday Cookies

In less than a week we will be packing our car, locking our house and heading off to the seaside for the Easter Holidays.   It’s been a long-standing tradition in our house to take along a tin of rusks and biscuits to nibble on.  Here is what I have filled our cookie-tin with.

Holiday cookies

Pistascio-, Choc Chip- and Oats with White Chocolate and Cranberry cookies.

I only use real butter and genuine vanilla extract when I bake.  Once you have tried it you will never look back to the ordinary block of margarine  and artificial vanilla.  Remember to always buy the absolute best ingredients you can afford and can get hold of.Holiday Cookies

I have found these recipes on a few nifty pages on the net.  It didn’t take too much persuasion for me to make the following:

  1. Pistachio Cookies

Pistachio Cookies

Pistachio Cookies

I really enjoy the green color and the lovely aroma these cookies have!  I bought the ready shelled Pistachios from Woolies and ground them in my food processor. These greenies are light in texture and practically melt away in your mouth.  They are quite fast to make as well, which is an added advantage when you don’t want to slave the whole day for something sweet and delicious.  I got approximately 24 biscuits from this batch.

Recipe

( Adapted from Taste .com.au)

 Ingredients:
  • 1 cup of shelled pistachios (150g)
  • 3/4 cup of caster sugar (sifted)
  • 1/3 rd cup of cake flour
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 Tbsp icing sugar
Method:
  1. Preheat your oven to 180°c  and line two baking trays with baking paper or silicone sheets
  2. Place 3/4  of  pistachios in a food processor and process until finely ground
  3. Add flour and 1/2  cup of  caster sugar and pulsate a few times to mix well.  Transfer to a mixing bowl
  4. Whisk egg whites until soft peaks form and gradually add the remaining caster  sugar
  5. Place heaped teaspoons of the mixture on the baking sheets and sprinkle the remaining pistachio nuts on
  6. Bake for 12 minutes.   Remove from the oven.  Let it cool down for a few minutes before placing on a wired rack to cool down completely
  7. Dust with some icing sugar

  2. Choc Chip Cookies

Choc Chip Cookies

Choc Chip Cookies

O sweet joy! Crunchy, buttery cookies with melty chocolate chips!  Choc Chip Cookies extraordinaire! My favorite, any time of the day!

Recipe

I adapted the following recipe from Betty Crocker.   The original recipe made 4 dozen. I halved it so I would only get 2 dozen.

Click (here) for the original recipe

Ingredients:
  • 95 ml white sugar (1/4 cup+2 Tbsps+1 tsp)
  • 95 ml brown sugar (1/4 cup+2 Tbsps+1 tsp
  • 125 ml soft salted butter (1/2 cup)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 free range egg
  • 280 ml cake flour (1 cup+ 2 Tbsps)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup of roughly chopped nuts
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 180°c and line baking tray with baking paper or a silicone sheet
  2. Beat sugar, butter,vanilla and egg in a large mixing bowl with an electric beater
  3. Stir flour and baking powder with a balloon whisk
  4. Add to the butter mixture and stir well until stiff dough forms
  5. Add choc chips and nuts and stir in
  6. Spoon tablespoon size dough onto baking sheet.  Place them 2 cm apart from each other
  7. Bake for 10 minutes or until light brown
  8. Remove from the oven.  Let it cool down for a few minutes before placing on a wired rack to cool down completely

  3. Oats ,White Chocolate Chips and Cranberry Cookies

Oats with white choc chips and cranberries

Oats with White Choc Chips and Cranberries

These cookies are filled with the goodness of rolled oats and cranberries.  They are chunky, slightly chewy and really tasty with the sweetness of the white chocolate chips that contrast  with the tartness of the  cranberries.   This recipe makes about 24 yummy cookies.

Recipe

Adapted from taste.com.au

Ingredients:
  • 150 g of butter
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1 free range egg (room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup cranberries
Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 180°c and line baking tray with baking paper or a silicone sheet
  2. Beat the butter, sugar, egg and vanilla until light and creamy
  3. Stir flour and baking powder with a balloon whisk together
  4. Add the oats choc chips and cranberries and mix in
  5. Spoon tablespoonfuls of dough onto baking sheet.  Flatten slightly.   Place the cookies 2 cm apart from each other
  6. Bake for 12 minutes or until light brown
  7. Remove from the oven.  Let it cool down for a few minutes before placing on a wired rack to cool down completely
Home Made Cookies

Home Made Cookies

pistachio cookie

Pistachio Cookie

Fresh Hake in Beer Batter

We all know that fish is good for us, right?  Right!  What is not so good is  fish in batter, loaded with preservatives and trans-fats, that we buy in our local supermarkets.  As a mom that is trying to improve the quality of my children’s food I am on the lookout for the above mentioned nasties most of the time.  It is however true that my children, like most other children I’m sure, loves a batter of sorts around their hake.  Hey, lets face it: somehow it just seems more exiting to have a golden crusty batter around soft steamy fish.  Yes yes, I know, deep-fried is not the preferred choice of cooking method but every once in a while I break our normal regime of hake grilled with lemon and herbs and splash out! Read the rest of this entry

Vanilla and Rosemary Chicken

One of my family’s favorite meals remains the humble roast chicken. Golden roasted, I find it hard to declare not being one of my favourites to make.  I usually can’t wait for it to come out of the oven. Especially during the summer months, when it is sweltering hot in Pretoria, I like to prepare it early and stuff it into the refrigerator to cool down.  Served with a green salad and fresh bread it is the perfect summer food. Read the rest of this entry

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