Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Emergency Dessert

Sometimes you just HAVE to have dessert. It hits you just before supper and then you stuck. Now you could always reach for the ice cream, but that can become a little boring when you do it too often. This crumble is so simple and really takes no time to prepare. It served very well last night as my emergency dessert.

There is a small catch, which I suppose you could overcome but it will add time to the preparation. The catch is that everything is done in the food processor. If you don't have a food processor, I have the address for Father Christmas, whom I believe has just opened this year's order book.

Crumble Pie

The Crumble
¼ cup of soft butter
110g Sugar
110g of Flour

Cream the butter and the sugar together.
Add the flour until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. You will have to scrape the sides of the processor down, as the butter and sugar sticks to the sides of the bowl.

The Filling
410g tin Pie Apples or tin Pears (I have used both and they are equally good)
1 desert spoon of marmalade (I used my lemon marmalade)
1 desert spoon of flour

In a small bowl mix the fruit, the marmalade and the flour together.

Take ½ the crumb mixture and press it into a 8" pie dish, lining the bottom and the sides.
Put the fruit into the dish, and top with the balance of the crumbs.
Bake covered at 180°C for 20mins and then un-covered for another 15 mins until golden brown on top.

Serve with cream, ice-cream or custard.

You could use fresh fruit, but you would need to cook it first and then it would no longer be an emergency dessert, but a well planned meal!!!
A little girl asked her mother for ten cents to give to an old lady in
the park. Her mother was touched by the child's kindness.
"There you are, my dear,but, tell me, isn't the lady
able to work any more?"
"Oh yes," came the reply. "She sells sweets!"

Monday, 29 October 2007

When Life Gives You Lemons

One of my favourite things to do with lemons, is make marmalade. While the result is sure to make people think you are a Stepford Wife, the process is much easier than you should ever admit to anyone.

I have spent a lot of time perfecting my marmalade. I am always looking at other people's marmalade and comparing it with mine. Colour and consistency is very important, as well as the taste.

I like my lemon marmalade to be light in colour and have a clear jelly with thin strips of lemon peel floating in the jelly. The texture must be soft and easy to spread. I hate any jam or marmalade to tear up the toast when you spread it on.

My recipe is very easy, like just about everything I make.

Lemon Marmalade

2 Lemons cut in half and thinly sliced
1 litre of boiling water
700ml sugar

Put the sliced lemons in a bowl and cover with the boiling water.
Cover the bowl and leave over night.
The next day put the lemons and water in a pot and boil until the liquid has reduced by one third and the peel is soft. Remember that once you add the sugar the peel will not soften any more.
I warm my sugar before adding it to the lemons, this helps it to dissolve quicker.
Add the sugar to the lemons, and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
Scoop out any pips which you can find. I find it easier to do this once I have added the sugar, as the pips will float after you have added the sugar.
Bring to the boil and keep stirring.
Wash down the sides of the pot if there are any crystals.
Keep boiling until setting point is reached. This is 105°C.
The quicker you boil, the lighter in colour.
Don't leave your pot unattended, as it will burn very quickly.
Once you have reached setting point, remove from the heat, wait 10 minutes and pour into your hot sterilized jars.
The reason you wait 10 minutes after you have finished, is so that your marmalade can cool slightly and the jelly can thicken and then your fruit will not "float" to the top the bottle.
Close the lids immediately and leave to cool completely before using.

This is best served on hot toast. Makes great gifts and is sure to impress even the most difficult mother-in-law.

On Saturday we went to the Cape Town Flower and Garden Show. While I do not have a garden of my own (my back yard is paved), it really was beautiful to see what others can do.

I took a few pictures, which hardly do justice to how beautiful everything really was.

The back drop to the show.

This is an aloe made from wire and beads, the only kind of plant I am qualified to look after.
As Keith said "You talking to a woman who battles to grow her hair!".

1000 blooms. The smell from these roses was heavenly.

Friday, 26 October 2007

The Importance of being Ernest

In grade 11 I was the production secretary for the school play. This was an extremely sort after position among the grade 11 girls and many of the girls in my class were very unhappy that I had landed this job. I loved the 3 months we spent working on the play, and can still remember many of the lines.

One incident that still brings a smile to my face is an example of pure innocence. There is a line in the play were Rev. Canon Chasuble, says "I am a celibate, madam'. One evening I turned to the teacher who was the play's director and asked "What does celibate mean?". He was a very sweet, old fashioned, middle aged man, who smoked too much. The look on his face when I asked this was one of sheer terror. He never did give me the answer, and it was only much later when I found out the meaning that I blushed too.

Now, you may ask "What is the Importance of being Ernest?". Well it is actually the reason for life... How I wish to approach this forum... and especially my life... Being Ernest (actually earnest).

I looked up the word EARNEST and these are a few of the definitions I found :

1.serious in intention, purpose, or effort; sincerely zealous: an earnest worker.
2.showing depth and sincerity of feeling: earnest words; an earnest entreaty.
3.seriously important; demanding or receiving serious attention.

This blog is my way of showing my intentions, not only about the food I make but also the important things in my life. While making good food is a great way to show this, there are so many more things that are important to me, things that are deep and sincere and seriously important.

I am not a person who has a hectic social life. Happiness to me is spending time with my family and the few close friends I have made and kept over many years. Keeping in contact with these people is what I treasure most and what I most earnestly strive to work at.

My wish is that as you read, you will see the things I find important, not only how to make the best carrot cake, but the best way to share it.

I dedicate this post to those who know the treasure they have in finding true love and being able to give it freely.

Here is a family picture, which shows just what happiness is all about, the photo taken when no one is ready for the flash.....

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Silly Sickness

Last week I started to feel a little under the weather. Self diagnosis is something I do with wild abandon. While having no formal (or informal) medical training of any kind, I never lack the confidence to assess my own health. This apparently is not a terribly safe way to manage one's health care, and as it turned out, I didn't have hay-fever but instead a bad cold which subsequently resulted in a chest infection.

That said and done, I spent the last 3 days in bed. I tend to believe that your body will crave things that it is lacking. This too can seem rather strange, because when I feel sick I rarely long for health food. I can never remember being in bed with a fever and thinking "Oh, what I would do for a nice bowl of Brussels sprouts now"! My thoughts always turn to "unhealthy" comfort food.

By yesterday afternoon I was feeling so much better and decided that I would whip up something dead easy, but totally unhealthy.

Before I got sick, I came across this recipe on Homesick Texan's site.

I made a few changes, but nothing that would count as original.

Hello Dolly Bars

1 1/2 cups crushed digestive biscuits
2 cups of chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups of coconut
1 1/2 cups of chopped walnuts
1 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup of butter

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
Melt the butter in a saucepan.
Pour melted butter into an 11x7 or 8x8 cake pan.
Sprinkle digestive crumbs into pan, and mix well with melted butter to form a crust.
Layer on top of digestive crust the chocolate chips, coconut and walnuts.
Evenly pour sweetened condensed milk over everything.
Bake in oven for 25 to 30 minutes, top should be light brown.
Let cool in pan for at least half an hour, cut into bars and serve.

These are totally delicious and full of calories.

By way of explanation as to why my blog looks different every time you visit, this is not to confuse, but rather I am trying to get the set out and colours right. It's like trying on new clothes, you have to keep looking until you are perfectly happy with what you see.

Friday, 19 October 2007

Make or Break

It all started on the 7th of September 2007, Argentina played France in a thrilling opening game. The pre-game favorites walked off the field at the end, dumb struck at having lost by 5 points. We knew then this was- Game On!!!

It has been an amazing 42 days, each game better than the one before. Giants being squashed by grasshoppers. Tomorrow it all ends, the winner takes it all, the loser has to crawl.

24 June 1995, I had only been married for 3 months. I sat in the lounge with my then young husband and watched Nelson Mandela lift the Webb Ellis Trophy. Fourteen months before that, we had all stood in line to vote in the first democratic election in South Africa. Desmond Tutu walked down Adderly Street in Cape Town wearing a Springbok rugby jersey. Never before in our nation had every person joined as one to celebrate the beauty of being South African.

Tomorrow night, 15 young men will once again carry the hopes of 48 million people on their shoulders. Our democracy is no longer shiney and new. We have taken bumps and scratches, the paint work needs lots of work. But tomorrow holds the promise of joining us together again, no matter who you are or were you come from.

It all comes down to one game, 80 minutes. No matter what has gone before, this is all that counts.I will be sitting glued to the screen, watching every move, yelling at the ref when he forgets to do his job. My team will win and my country will be the champions of the world.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

I Scream You Scream

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ICE CREAM!!!! My mom always used to sing this when we asked for ice cream.

Keith bought me an ice cream machine last week. I have been hinting about it now for a year, and I could always see the questioning look in his eyes, "Why would you want an ice cream machine when you can buy perfectly good ice cream?".

Well I proved to him that the stuff you make is so much better than anything you could possibly buy. You can make it exactly the way you like it. While it isn't a last minute decision dish, things have to be prepared before so they can chill before you can freeze it, the preparation is definitely worth all the effort.

Here is my personal favorite so far -

Mint Choc Chip Ice Cream

100g Sugar
2 Eggs
250ml Milk
450ml of Cream
5ml Butter Mint Essence
2ml Green Food Colouring
40g Good quality Dark Chocolate (I use 70%)

Heat the milk to just before boiling.
Beat the eggs and the sugar together.
Pour the hot milk into the egg and sugar mixture - Stirring all the time.
Pour the mixture back into the pot and heat until it starts to thicken, keep stirring and don't let it boil.
Pour into a jug (at least 1.5l in size), or a big enough bowl.
Let it cool to room temperature.
When this custard mix is cool, stir in the cream, essence and food colouring.
Put this in the fridge for about 12 hours.
Make in your ice cream machine as per manufacturers instructions.
When your ice cream is set, stir in the finely chopped chocolate.
Serve at will and often if you wish to have a happy family.

This ice cream will definitely impress all your guests, when you humbly say "It's only ice cream for dessert" and then have your partner say "Oh Darling, this is not just ice cream, it's the one you made!" At this point you shyly blush and say "No really, it's nothing!"

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Sweet like a Lemon

I have always loved lemons. As a small child, my sister and I would steal the sugar bowl from the kitchen and hide out at the bottom of the garden by the lemon tree and eat lemons dipped in sugar.
To this day, there is always a bowl of lemons in my kitchen. It is such a wonderfully versatile ingredient, you can use it with anything from lamb to ice-cream.

Yesterday was a beautiful spring day. I just knew we had to have dessert after diner. So I tried a recipe from a magazine I have been saving for months.

Lemon Mousse

160g Castor Sugar
3 eggs separated
Juice and Zest of 2 Lemons
7g Gelatin
150ml Cream lightly whipped

Beat the Sugar, egg yolks and zest together until very thick and light. This took about 5 mins at with the electric beater.
In a small sauce pan, take the gelatin and mix with the lemon juice. Heat on low until gelatin is dissolved.
Add the gelatin lemon juice to the egg yolk and sugar mix and blend.
Put this in the fridge until it just starts to set.
Add the lightly whipped cream.

Beat the egg whites until they are stiff, but not dry.
Fold the whites into the yolk, sugar, cream mixture. I add a ¼ of the mix at a time.
Put into your ramekins and place in the fridge for 2 hours, or until you are ready to serve.

Dust with icing sugar before serving.
This is a beautifully light mousse, with the tang of lemon.

Markwin had his Grade 7 farewell party on Friday and here are some photos.

Friday, 12 October 2007

Deeply Dippy

This weekend is going to be great. According to the weather people, the weather should be nice, and to top it off the Springboks are playing in the RWC semi-final. Things just could not get any better.

On weekends I seldom (okay never) make real food. Everything is easy and perfect for eating while sitting and watching TV. One of my favorite snack foods are dips and spreads.

Here are two which I will be enjoying this weekend.


This is so easy that I find it hard to believe anyone would bother to buy it.

1 Can Chickpeas - drained (you can reserve this liquid to substitute some of the oil)
Juice of 1 Lemon
1 Tablespoon Tahini
2 Crushed Garlic cloves
Salt and Black Pepper
Olive Oil - Good quality Extra Virgin

Blend the first 5 ingredients in a food processor. Blend it to the texture you like. Some people like it a little coarse, I like mine smooth. With the blade running, pour in the olive oil, again this you must judge for yourself depending on the consistency you like. If you don't want to add too much oil, use some of the chickpea water.
This is exactly how easy it is. The great thing is you can taste it and change the mix to suit your tastes. Add more lemon, garlic or tahini and you have the best humus money can buy.

The second dip takes more time, but is every bit as easy.

Aubergine (Brinjal) Dip

2 Aubergines
2 Crushed Garlic Cloves
Juice of 1 Lemon
Pinch of ground Cumin
Salt and Pepper to Taste
1 Tablespoon of Full cream Greek Yogurt (Very optional Extra)

Roast the Aubergines in the oven (or over the coals) until they are all wrinkled and very soft.
Scoop the flesh into the processor. Don't worry if you get a little of the skin caught in, especially if you roasted them over the coals.
Add the other ingredients, except the yogurt and process on pulse until you have a smooth mix. I suggested pulse because this is not a dip that should be very smooth like baby food.
If you want a creamy finish you can add the yogurt but this is not necessary.
Serve with toasted pita breads to really WoW your guests at your next braai (BBQ).

I hope you all have a most exciting weekend. Come Monday I will be happy to tell you that the Springboks will be in the final next Saturday. Bring it home boys.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Spring Rolls In

At last I am able to share all the things I have been doing for the last 2 weeks. I never thought I would miss blogging this much.

Yesterday I was the epitome of a domestic goddess, even if I say so myself.

As you may know I started taking orders for cake baking. I received an order for 4 carrot cakes, delivery today. I am so excited that this is turning into a good little business. Everything is made from scratch so it is rather time consuming, but definitely worth the effort, when people remark on how nice the cakes are.

As if baking 4 cakes in one afternoon was not enough, I decided to try my hand at making spring rolls. This turned out to be hugely successful and while the rolling is time consuming, once you get the hang of it, it goes quite quickly.

Spring Rolls - Rose Style

200g of minced Pork
1 shallot minced
1 garlic clove minced
1 teaspoon soya sauce
½ teaspoon sesame oil
1 carrot grated
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh Parsley
white pepper
Spring Roll Wrappers defrosted

Fry the pork, shallot, garlic clove amd soya sauce gently until cooked. Stir while frying so that the mixture is crumbly. Take off the heat and put the mixture in a small bowl, add all the other ingredients (except the wrappers).

Place this bowl in the freezer for about an hour, it must be very cold before you start filling the wrappers.
And here is how I did it - The photographs were taken by Markwin, who did a very good job!

Place the wrapper on a flat surface and
put a small spoon (about 15ml only)
of mixture in the bottom corner.
Do not be tempted to put too much filling in,
as it will all pop out when you fry it
Wet the top corner and the bottom corner with a little water.

Fold the bottom corner over the mixture

Roll over 1½ times. Roll tightly, but without breaking the wrapper.
Be gentle.

Fold in the left and the right corners.

Now continue to roll until you have a sausage as above.

This is now ready to be fried in hot oil until golden brown.
Serve with sweet chili sauce and soya sauce.

These spring rolls went down a treat as our starter last night. I have 6 uncooked ones left which I have frozen, ready to be cooked as a tasty treat.

You have heard the expression - " Living on love and fresh air", which in human terms is impossible, but in the plant kingdom it seems to be quite possible. Here is a picture of my air plants which hang in the plum tree. They flower once a year for 2 weeks. The rest of the year they look like dead grey grass. It is truly remarkable that something so ordinary and actually quite ugly can produce such beautiful flowers.

Friday, 5 October 2007

Don't Forget me when I'm Gone

I have had a terrible computer week.

On Monday when I got to work, I pressed the on button for my computer and nothing happened. I rushed the machine through to the repair centre, but alas it only came back yesterday afternoon late. Unfortunately it is still not 100% operational, so I can't post all the lovely things I made this week.

Hopefully everything will be working by next week and I can share all the thrills and spills from my kitchen.

Thank you for your patience, please keep checking - "I'LL BE BACK!"

I just have to share this beautiful picture.

Jeremiah 17: 7-8

"Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. He will be like a tree planted by the water."

It is not your business to succeed, but to do what is right : when you have done so, the rest lies with God.
C.S. Lewis

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