Showing posts with label 7. Biscuits and Bakes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 7. Biscuits and Bakes. Show all posts

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Poached pears, almond brittle & salted caramel


I do love this time of year the nights are drawing in, the clocks have changed which I have to say is not so simple with two little kiddies and the forced 5am start pretty draining.  However with so many  festivities to look forward to and the build up to Christmas, I really do love getting cosy in the winter.  I mean what's not to love... hearty stews, mulled wine, lazy Sunday roasts, twinkling lights and soft woolly things... 

I'm also always torn with what to blog about as readers in the Southern Hemisphere are getting ready for summer.  So as I sit here with a glass of Baileys on ice (don't mind if I do) all my friends and family in South Africa are gathering for BBQ's and salads.  With this in mind I plan to recap a few of my favourite recipes I discovered this summer so do look out for them in future posts, there are some real winners such as prawn and avo sushi salad and chocolate and raspberry fridge cake. 

As for this pear cake, well there is a little story behind this creation.  My initial concept was to make a delicate seasonal dessert using pears seeing as they are in abundance at the moment.  The idea was to coat the poached pears with salted caramel sauce and almond brittle.  Sounds good right.  Well, when it came to plating up the dessert the photos just didn't do it any justice and flavours just seemed a little lost.   I had  some leftover vanilla sponge cake in the freezer from my kids party which I quickly defrosted and layered with the pears, fresh cream, brittle and sauce....OMG a combination made in heaven.....



You will need:
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 100g whole almonds
Put sugar and almonds in a pan and the sugar will start to melt.  Take off the heat once all the sugar has dissolved and pour onto a lined tray with baking paper.  Allow to cool.  It will become hard and brittle.  Crush with a pestle and mortar.
Salted caramel sauce
  • 80ml water
  • 250g sugar
  • 120ml double thick cream
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • pinch of good quality sea salt
Place the sugar and water in a pan and bring to boil, make sure all the sugar has dissolved.  Take off the heat, pour in the cream and whisk in the butter and salt.  If its a little runny, place it in the fridge or freezer and allow to set once cooled.
Sponge cake
  • 100g butter melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 180g flour
  • 1/4 + 1 1/2 Tbs milk warmed
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • vanilla essence
Grease two baking tins.  Beat eggs and sugar till thick and creamy, approx. 7 mins.  Whisk in butter and milk.  Stir in flour and baking powder.  Bake at 180 degrees for 30 mins. 
Poached pears
  • 3 Pears
  • cinnamon
  • 3 Tbs sugar
Peel the pears carefully leaving the stalk on.  Place in a pan and cover with boling water.  Bring to boil, add sugar and cinnamon and allow to poach for approx. 20 mins.  Take pears out, allow to cool and slice for cake.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

chorizo beer bread (in a tin)

It's been a wee while lovelies but we are alive and kicking, and happy to be back. 
To say I've missed my cooking would be an understatement and with two kiddies now bringing new challenges I still struggle to find the time but I couldn't wait any longer.  I felt it was time.  Time to start blogging, cooking, baking, photographing and thought I would give it a whirl with these little bad boys.  
This post is dedicated to a very wise old lass and one of my dearest and oldest friends who sent me a pic and I had to get the recipe so thank you Mrs Warren T.
Why in the past did home-made bread seem so daunting...and I thought my mom's Ciabatta recipe was easy but this takes EASY to another level. Makes me wonder why my husband was so insistent on putting that bread machine on our wedding registry which has probably made about five guest appearances.

I love the fact that this recipe comes from South Africa and that you can have fresh bread on the table in half an hour, with no kneading and a bottle of beer.

I added different flavours to create four different mini breads, Chorizo, sun-kissed tomatoes, mozzarella and rosemary.
I reckon it would also make great 'braai broodjies' (BBQ bread) where you stuff the dough with cheese and place on the BBQ.

You will need:
1 bottle of beer
500g self raising flour
1 teaspoon of salt

Whatever you would like to add for flavour (Chorizo, mozzarella, sun-kissed tomatoes, olives, cheddar cheese, rosemary, pesto)


1) It's as simple as mix flour, beer and salt together to form a dough which is a little sticky.

2) Divide into four, mix in different flavours and place into greased tins.  Spray and cook works well to grease the tins as the edges can be a little sharp.

3) Bake in preheated oven 180degrees for 30 mins.

Note: the tins can be a little tricky to get the bread out of, but you can use any tin to bake in.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

delicious bran muffins (Low GI)

In the words of Jamiroquai I'm going deeper underground.... yes the bags are packed, pressies wrapped, snacks prepared, camera's charged, last bump pics taken and two days till we meet our second little princess.
It's a new adventure and I'm certainly ready for the ride.  Her soon to be big sister, may at times think her world is being turned upside down but she will soon realise a bond and relationship larger than life.  A new little being who is about to become her best friend for life, and its that, that pleases me most.
It's no surprise Ginger Fig will be a little quite over the next few months as we embark on a few sleepless nights.  It got me thinking about which recipe to share with you, one of my favourites and one I simply can't live without - and it's these delightful bran muffins, simple to make, fluffy and soft, and ever so healthy. 
This is the only bran muffin recipe you will ever need, you could live solely on these.  They are very good at lowering cholesterol and being low GI release energy slowly helping to lower sugar levels and more - thanks to the 3 cups of oats.

Light and fluffy and not to mention super healthy, great for the whole family.  They also freeze very well.


Makes 14 big muffins or (24 smaller muffins)
You will need:
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 4 Tbs oil
  • 3 cups oats
  • 1 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups low fat milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 Tbs bicarb of soda
  • 1 grated apple
  • 1 cup sultanas
1) Mix all the dry ingredients together.  Add the milk, eggs, oil and essence together with the sultanas and grated apple mix well and leave in the fridge overnight or for a few hours.
2) Grease a muffin tray and bake at 180 preheated oven for 20 mins or till golden.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Moroccan orange cake

This cake was a complete experiment this morning.  I decided to put a bulk load of oranges from the wholesale market to good use in baking.  However when reading the ingredients I realised we were missing half the items so had to make it up as I went along.  I was very surprised how delicious and simple it turned out!

The original recipe is actually a gluten free healthy cake, however I didn't have any ground almonds so had to add flour but by all means try it as a gluten free option too.

It is a no beating, no butter cake, which makes it very quick and very easy.

So here it is, a simple tangy Moroccan orange cake!

You will need:

  • 350g self rising flour
  • 250g xylitol (or sugar for a less healthy option)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 5 eggs
  • 200ml sunflower oil
  • 2tsp agave syrup (or substitute with honey)
  • zest and juice of 1 large orange and 1/2 a lemon
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
Note: for gluten free option substitute the flour for 300g ground almonds.


1) Heat the oven to 180 degrees.  Line the base of 20cm spring form tin with baking paper and grease the sides.  Mix together the flour or (almonds for gluten recipe), xylitol and baking powder.  In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs, oil, 2 tsp agave syrup and orange and lemon zest and orange juice.  Pour the mixture into the dry mixture and combine.

2) Pour into the prepared tin and bake for approx 50 - 60 minutes or until a skewer comes clean from the centre and there is no raw cake sticking to it.  Cover with foil if it is browning too much.  Allow to cool and make the syrup.

3) Pour juice from 1 orange and 1/2 a lemon into a pan with 60g of agave syrup (or 3 tsp of sugar), bring to boil and leave simmer for 5 minutes. 

4) While the cake is still warm drizzle the syrup over the cake and all it all to seep in.  I made a few holes with a skewer on top of the cake to ensure it all gets soaked up.


Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Greek shortbread (Kourambiedes)

These buttery melt in your mouth biscuits are an institution in every Greek home.  Traditional shortbread doesn't get better than these.

This, my mothers recipe makes quite a lot, but they do keep for a while in a airtight biscuit tin and are great to offer guest when they pop in for a quick cuppa.

You will need:
  • 500g unsalted butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 5ml vanilla essence
  • 1kg cake flour (more or less depending)
  • 1 cup chopped roasted almonds (optional)
  • icing sugar

1) Cream the butter very well till white, add egg yolk, vanilla and a tablespoon of icing sugar.

2) Sift in flour, little by little so eventually the mixture is a soft dough that is not to sticky to handle.  You may use less or more flour to get it to this point, depending how long you beat the butter for, but the dough should not be too hard or too soft.  You may add a cup of chopped almonds if you wish.

3) Take a handful of dough and create a ball, then roll on a lightly floured surface with a rolling pin.  Using a glass cut out the half moon shapes.

4) Bake at 180 degrees for 20 mins or until golden, then sprinkle with icing sugar the minute they come out the oven so they absorb most of it and later once they have cooled sift more icing sugar over them, enjoy with a cuppa or store in an airtight container for a rainy day.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

easy ciabatta bread recipe

No Kneading....just mix ingredients, leave to stand overnight in fridge and bake the next day.  How simple!!!

The best part about baking the smell, and I love serving it warm with a delicious bean stew or homemade soup.  On this occasion I couldn't resist the fresh warm loaf straight out the oven, so had to indulge in a fresh tomato and basil bruschetta.

I am a real novice when it comes to baking bread, but this recipe is dead simple.  It makes enough dough for 3 loaves which freeze well.  Or you could save some dough for homemade pizza - delicious. 


You will need:

  • 1 kg bread flour
  • 10g sachet dried yeast
  • 20g salt
  • 750ml ice cold water
1) Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl and slowly mix in the water with a strong spoon,  then with wet hands fold the mixture till smooth and firm.
2) Cover with plastic and leave to stand in the fridge overnight.  The dough will keep for 3 days before baking.  There will be enough to make 3 loaves 650g each, but you can also use it for pizza, focaccia or baguette.
3) Put the dough in a flour-dusted cloth and twist and pull to create the desired shape of the loaf.  Bake at 200 degrees for 35 mins. 

Tuesday, 29 January 2013


....cause one always needs a little something with a cup of tea.

I introduce to you Crunchies...a South African favourite, truly the simplest and quickest biscuits of them all. 

As long as you have a bag of oats lying around, you're away.  My favourite part is measuring the golden syrup, man oh man golden syrup and me are very good friends, I always add a little extra just because.

Makes approx 24 pieces (depending on how big you cut them)

You'll need

1 cup of flour
1 cup of coconut
1 cup of sugar
2 cups of oats
1 teaspoon of bicarb of soda
1 1/2 tablespoons of golden syrup
6 0z of margarine


Melt margarine and syrup, add to dry ingredients and mix well. 
Spread in a tray and bake at 180C for about 15-20 mins or until golden brown
While still hot, cut into square and leave in the tray to cool.

Tip:  The mixture may seem a little dry but you need not worry, when it bakes it all binds together.  Just make sure you pack in in the tray tightly

Monday, 12 November 2012

banana loaf

This banana loaf is the ultimate cure for a wet, windy Monday morning.  Comforting, easy and a great friend of a well deserved cuppa.

This recipe is a real classic, deep from within the roots of a little village in Swaziland.
Using simply a bowl and wooden spoon, no electric mixer necessary (but feel free to use one if you prefer), it comes out light and fluffy either way.  Simple!

You'll need
  • 150g margarine
  • 160g sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 bananas (peeled and mashed)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla essence
  • 275g flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 100g walnuts (optional - I leave them out)
  • 2 Tbs milk


1) Cream the margarine and sugar in a bowl till creamy.  I simply used a wooden spoon.
2) Add the eggs, one at a time.
3) Stir in banana puree with vanilla essence.
4) Mix in the flour, baking powder, salt and fold into the creamed mixture together with the milk.
5) Turn into a loaf tin and bake for 1 1/2 hours in pre-heated oven of 180 degrees

Thursday, 4 October 2012

mozzarella herb muffins (Low GI)

This time of year is a very busy time in the garden.  Everything doing what they need to do to prepare for the winter. Trees loosing their leaves, squirrels collecting and storing their food and plants buckling down on low energy mode.  I wanted to make the most of the herbs before they disappeared.  I picked all that were left and decided to make these healthy herby mozzarella muffins.  They make a wonderful savoury afternoon snack for children and great to take round to friends.

Makes 12

You'll need:

  • 1 cup mozzarella
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 2/3 cup oat bran (or plain oats)
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarb of soda
  • 4 chopped cherry tomatoes (or 1 chopped regular tomato)
  • 2 large bunches of herbs (mint, parsley, chives, oregano; approx 10 Tbs in total)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup plain yoghurt
  • 15ml olive oil
  • 15ml balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • fresh ground pepper
1) Preheat oven to 180 degrees
2) Mix dry ingredients together
3) Add herbs, yoghurt, oil and vinegar and mix well.
4) Grease a muffin pan well
5) Spoon mixture into the pan and bake for 25 mins or until golden.