Archive for October, 2009



October 28, 2009

I have a craving…..don’t even know why..
perhaps just for the sugar?
it is not even quality food!!


Epic Failure

October 27, 2009

The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.

My second Daring Kitchen world, but my first ever Daring Bakers, and for me it was an epic Failure…..

My KitchenAid did all the hard work, making perfect stiff peaks, it all look great. I followed the directions step by step I read up on all the suggestions, I tried my best. I was so super excited; I thought maybe this one time I’d get it! But, no….failure! And, as with my Daring Cooks Challenge I left it all too late to try again.

Did I over-fold? I don’t know! But I failed! No feet! No form! Epic failure!

Taste wise? Excellent! Delicious! Gosh I nearly ate them all in one foul swoop off of the baking tray once they were completely cooled. But, they didn’t hold their form, they didn’t form the feet! Maybe next time?


Pineapple Cookies

October 26, 2009

I could hear my KitchenAid calling me. It’s being doing that all weekend, I’ve been trying to ignore it. I’ve been baking too much since it came – like I said I have failed to photograph them, but I’ve made peach & almond muffins, meringue and oatmeal cookies (ok that’s not really heaps, but in the space of 5 days that’s a lot for me) – but for me, it means I’ve been nibbling a lot!

I’m a nibbler, I can’t help it. When I’m making things I can never resist the urge to get a teaspoon and dip it in, or lick the flat beater clean. It’s not good for me on a variety of levels though, it creates pain, it adds to my hips! So I was resisting the siren call of the KitchenAid!

It however, was not working, every moment I was not busy, I was thinking of what I could bake. I thought about some brioche, coffee cake, more cookies, I could not settle on anything. So when I couldn’t decide, I figured I’d just have to leave it. Then, I found out a friend had an accident, he’d had a go-kart land on him – and this friend, loves baked goods. So who was I to deprive him of some cheering up by not baking? (I really need no prompting do I?)

In the end I decided on some pineapple cookies, they make me think of summer & sunshine which makes me smile, so I thought they’d be perfect. They are soft and chewy and really easy to make. I really should’ve done them with crushed pineapple, but I only had pineapple pieces so I had to improvise a little, and so they weren’t as good as usual. However, I think as a cheering up present they’ll do just fine.

Pineapple cookies

227gms butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
560g can crushed pineapple, drained and juice reserved
1 tsp. vanilla
4 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder

For the icing:
Reserved pineapple juice
2 cups powdered sugar

In a mixer bowl cream the butter with the sugars. Add the eggs, pineapple and vanilla.
In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Slowly add to the wet ingredients.
Drop by teaspoonful onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 200 degrees for 10 minutes.

For the icing: Gradually add pineapple juice to the powdered sugar by the tablespoon. You want the consistency to be a bit thick, but still stream off the spoon. While the cookies are still warm, spread the icing on the tops.
This recipe makes about 8 dozen soft, delicious cookies.


Fruit Chutney

October 25, 2009

I’ve been exposed to chutney in my life. It was always something that went marvellously well with cheese. But usually only if I didn’t have pickles I must admit. So, when the Husband introduced me to the many ways he uses chutney I was astounded.

He has it on pot roast, meatballs (rissoles), meatloaf, steak, bobotie (well he would if he ate it) in sandwiches & I’ve even seen him add it to potato before. I was horrified! This is not what I envisioned chutney doing. You have gravy, or tomato ketchup or something else! But not chutney…? right?
Now after knowing the Husband for 9 years, I have resigned myself to the fact that he will now and forever do odd things with chutney. I’ve embraced some of them – the recipe for MIL’s pot roast calls for chutney in the slow cooker and I love that, and I will now sometimes put it in sandwiches over pickles but beyond that? Sorry can’t do it.

Previously when the Husband was faced with his many food allergies MIL and I stumbled upon a Mango Chutney recipe that he quite enjoyed and this was plentiful in our house. However, since being able to return to his “eat anything you want” diet the Husband has switched back to ye ol’ fashioned store purchased varieties.

When I was flipping thought October’s Flavour of the Month Traditional South African Cooking I came across a chutney recipe. This recipe mentioned that it was similar in flavour to Mrs Balls Chutney which I continually hear the Clan lament about – I therefore simply had to give it a go!

Fruit Chutney

200g dried pears
200g dried apricots
200g dates
200g dried apple rings
200g sultanas
1 litre water
500ml apple cider vinegar
400g brown sugar
2ml chilli powder
2ml turmeric
2ml nutmeg
2ml ground ginger
1 clove crushed garlic

Place the fruit and water in a large bowl. Cover the bowl and leave overnight. Combine the undrained fruit mix with the remaining ingredients in a large saucepan. Simmer over low heat, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. Bring o the boil then simmer over low heat, uncovered, for about 1.5hours or until thick, stirring occasionally. Allow to cool a little and then blend in food processor until fruit is chopped up but not smooth. Pour into clean, warm jars and cool completely before sealing. Leave to mature in a cool, dry, dark place for 6 weeks before using.


Not pretty…..

October 24, 2009

It’s not pretty – but it sure tasted great!

It started life as a humble peperonata; I’d been craving my version of comfort food all week. Stress related to work was sending me batty, I’d been madly making things with my KitchenAid (all of which I have failed to photograph due to aforementioned stress) but it wasn’t cutting it.

I was continually thinking about how a large bowl of pasta would just hit the spot! I fought this urge until finally this morning I gave in. I decided that if I didn’t do it I’d just keep thinking about it. The majority of the stress related to work has passed; however, there is change in the air. And, whilst I embrace, cope and manage change reasonably well, I think I’m only human and therefore do have some level of apprehension.

I decided it needed to be a lunch – I wanted it so badly I could’ve had it for breakfast if it didn’t require a slow simmer to provide the depth of flavour I craved. I was pleased with it in the end, it did hit the spot as I thought it would and now I am content!

Squid ink pasta with adapted peperonata

1 whole red capsicum cored and sliced into strips
1 whole green capsicum cored and sliced into strips
2 tins of Italian canned tomato
1 large onion sliced thinly
2 stalks of celery
Salt & Pepper to taste
250g squid ink pasta

Cook onion over a low heat until transparent, and then add capsicum. Once the capsicum begins to wilt add the tomato, celery and salt & pepper.
Simmer over a very low heat for a good 2 hours (or longer if you want to add some more depth of flavour). Watch it carefully and add a little bit of water if necessary. You don’t want any liquid in the end.
Boil a pot of water and cook the pasta.
Mix, serve, enjoy!


My new Love

October 19, 2009

…..hopefully the Husband won’t mind

it arrived today & it made delicious meringue!



October 18, 2009

My next instalment for my Flavour of the Month from Traditional South African Cooking was Denningvleis.

The Malay name means flavoured meat, and traditionally goat’s meat was used in this, a more strongly flavoured meat, but this recipe called for lamb.

The lamb was rich enough for me, I wonder at how strong it would be with the goat. Will have to try it eventually, but I love it with the lamb. The flavour was intense and powerful and as you swallowed and it hit the back of your palette it gives you another burst of flavour. My favourite savoury dish out of the two created so far. Having said that something I’ve not made (because we have it regularly with the Clan) Bobotie, is still my favourite Traditional South African Dish so far.


15ml sunflower oil
2 cloves crushed garlic
2 large onions, sliced
10ml white sugar
1kg stewing lamb
4 whole cloves
4 all spice berries
2 bay leaves
5ml salt
Milled pepper
2ml grated nutmeg
125ml water
2ml tamarind seeds soaked in 125ml water

Heat oil in a large saucepan and sauté the garlic, onions and sugar for approximately 5 minutes until onions are transparent.
Remove the mixture from the saucepan and set aside.
Brown the meat in the same saucepan, add the onion mixture, cloves, allspice, bay leaves, salt, pepper, nutmeg and water.
Simmer covered for 1.5hours.
Strain the tamarind water discard seeds and add to stew.
Simmer for another 15 minutes.
Serve – suggestion boiled potatoes.