Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Tikka Chicken Marsala - From Scratch or Pre-Packed Sauce

What excitement at Homemade Heaven, when you have 2 recipes from 2 bloggers for the same dish, made 2 different ways and both equally satisfying.

The first recipe is a dinner in a flash, the other is a remake of the original made from scratch. We have not only given you the recipes, but also a review and cost comparison.

This is a first for Homemade Heaven and I really hope not the last, as it has been very informative for me and I know that you as the readers are going to enjoy following this series.

I start with Dinner in a Flash recipe by Cupcakes and Couscous, Teresa Ulyate

Chicken Tikka with fragrant rice:

1 cup basmati rice
8 whole cloves
4 cups water
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
1 onion, chopped
4 chicken breast fillets, cubed
200ml Ina Paarman tikka curry sauce
400g tin peeled and chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup cream
a handful of fresh coriander leaves + extra to garnish
Step 1.) Place the basmati rice, cloves and water in a saucepan. Cover and leave to soak
Step 2.) Heat the sunflower oil in a saucepan. Add the chopped onion and sauté for 5 minutes.
Step 3.) Add the cubed chicken and fry for 3 minutes to seal.
Step 4.) Meanwhile, place the saucepan of rice over a medium heat and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed and the rice is cooked through.
Step 5.) Add the tikka curry sauce and tomatoes to the chicken. Mix well, cover the saucepan and allow to simmer for 15 minutes.
Step 6.) Stir in the cream and season to taste with salt and pepper. Tear the coriander leaves into the curry, mix and continue to simmer until heated through.
Step 7.) Remove the cloves from the rice. Spoon the rice and chicken tikka onto heated plates, garnish with coriander leaves and serve.

Review by  Cupcakes and Couscous, Teresa Ulyate
Product: Ina Paarman Tikka Curry Coat and Cook Sauce (200ml)
Factory shop cost: R7.50 (on special)
Retail price: R17.99 (Pick ‘n Pay)
Total prep & cooking time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Cost: R62.44 for the whole dish / R15.61 per serving:

• I have calculated the cost using the retail price of the tikka sauce (R17.99) as most people would not have access to the factory shop / discounted price.
• This cost is for the chicken tikka only and does not include the rice – let me know if you need rice cost too.
Thoughts on the product:
I definitely have a “make-it-from-scratch” approach when it comes to cooking and baking – however there are a few exceptions. Curry pastes is one of those! There are some great ones on the market that I feel really deliver on flavour and make it convenient for me to whip up a hearty and satisfying meal quickly and easily. I tend to use the curry pastes and haven’t tried many curry sauces, but Ina’s tikka cook and coat sauce did not disappoint!
Ease of use: It couldn’t get much simpler. The product is shelf stable with a long shelf life. All I needed to do was grab the pack off my pantry shelf, snip it open and pour it in!
Flavour: This sauce did not disappoint - it had a full, rich and well-rounded flavour. I didn’t feel as though anything was missing. It was hotter than I expected though (the pack stated “medium heat”). As you will see in my recipe I also added a tin of tomatoes – I was worried that this might dilute the flavour slightly but this was not the case. The flavour was perfect, and actually I think that if I hadn’t added the tomatoes it would definitely have been too hot for me! I realise that heat is a personal preference and that lots of customers probably like this, but I could have done with a little less heat.
General – as with all of Ina’s products the sauce is extremely versatile. It can be made on the stove top or used in the oven. It is suited to chicken, red meat, fish and veg and can be made using cream or coconut milk. I love that I can use 1 product in so many different ways!

Dinner in a flash! - Chicken Tikka with Fragrant Rice
Okay, so now you've all rushed off to buy the ready made sauce and left me holding a bowl of this 

Homemade Heaven Tikka Chicken Marsala
Serves 6 generous portions (Could be 8 if I didn't have teenage boys)

500g cup plain yogurt
4 Large Garlic Cloves
1 2" Knob of Ginger peeled 
1 teaspoon salt
1 heaped teaspoon of Smoked Paprika
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 Chicken Breasts, Skinned and de-boned and cut into chunks.

Using a pestle and mortar pound the garlic, ginger, salt and black pepper, until a fine paste.
In a large zip lock bag mix the paste and the rest of the ingredients and marinade for 6 hours or over night.

4 teaspoons olive oil
3 Large Garlic cloves
2 teaspoons of dried chilli flakes
50g packet of tomato paste
1 tablespoon garam masala or eleven -in-one masala
2 teaspoons paprika
250g of  Tomato Puree
500g Roma Cocktail tomatoes cut in half
2 teaspoons of sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 Sachet of Chicken or vegetable Stock
1 to 2 cups water ( I used closer to 2 cups)
Oil, for grilling
Freshly chopped Coriander Leaves

Place a large griddle pan over high heat 
Place another large sauce pan on medium heat and warm oil
Add the Garlic Paste and Chilli flakes
Fry until lightly browned 
Stir in the tomato paste and cook until the paste has darkened in color, keep stirring
Add the Marsala of your choice and paprika, fry for about 1 minute.
Add the tomato puree, give a gentle stir.
Add the tomatoes, sugar, stock sachet, salt, and 1 cup water.
Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer, and cook until thickened, Add more water depending on how your sauce thickens.
Cook for about 20 minutes
Using an immersion blender process sauce until smooth. 

In the hot grilled pan, fry the pieces of marinaded chicken until charred - not cooked. 
Add the charred pieces of chicken to the cooking sauce.
Cook for a further 10 - 15 minutes, until sauce is nicely thickened.
Add the Corriander to the sauce, leaving some for garnish.
**** You can add 125ml of cream to this recipe, once the chicken is cooked and before adding the coriander.

Serve with basmati rice and naan bread.

Cost for dish : R 80,00 total of R11.42 per person (for 7 servings)

While there is a certain amount of preparation involved, especially if you take the cheaper route like I do, and de-bone and skin the chicken myself.
I did not find any of the steps very complicated and the sauce did not need much attention, except for the occasional stir. 
The char grilling is messy, but the small burnt pieces certainly did add a lovely flavour. I would like to next time, do the grilling over the coals - but that would incur more cost and time.
Teresa's palate is tender and not used to heat - my family enjoy our food on the spicy to very spicy side. This recipe for me, had a slight spiciness - but I do warn those who have a more delicate taste buds, to cut back or cut out the crushed red chilli.  
Of course adding the cream would help temper the spiciness.
I would certainly make this without hesitation for a weekday meal, if I had the forethought to do the marinade 6 hours or the night before.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Old Fashioned Pineapple and Coconut Cake

Things are back to great at Homemade Heaven central. I'm so inspired, I have more blog posts lined up than time to put them all out there.

As a celebration for my parents coming to visit, I decided to make a '40's inspired cake I found here. But before you run off to see the original, I have made some changes - more 2013 than 1945!

I was so happy to see the wonderful response to my Butter Chicken,  I re-created another Indian/British delight - Tikka Chicken Marsala. I'll be posting 2 recipes for this, one made by me and another by a fellow prominent South African blogger Cupcakes and Couscous, Teresa Ulyate. It will awaken your creative juices, and challenge you to either make it yourself or have dinner in a flash with the help of cook-in sauce.

But all that next week, now lets eat cake.

Old Fashioned Pineapple and Coconut Cake

1½ cups of white sugar
2 Cups of cake flour
2 eggs
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla essence
485g tin of crushed pineapple, undrained

Pre-heat your over to 180ºC
Blend all the ingredients in a bowl until well mixed.
Grease a 25cm square baking tin.
Pour mixture into the tin and bake for about 40 minutes, until cooked through.
When you remove the cake from the oven pour the icing straight over. I poked a holes into the hot cake to allow the syrup to drain through.

While the cake is baking make the icing.

1/2 c. Coconut Oil
½ Cup sugar
1 Cup evaporated milk
1 Cup desiccated coconut
1 tsp. vanilla

In a sauce pan, add the first 3 ingredients and simmer until sugar has melted.
Add the coconut and allow to simmer for another 10-15 minutes until sauce is reduced.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Butter Chicken, the Sound of Music

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens. Brown paper packages tied up with strings ,These are a few of my favorite things....When the dog bites, when the bee stings, When I'm feeling sad, I simply remember my favorite things, And then I don't feel so bad.

So I have been feeling down the past few days, have been eating worms - my own big plate of them. The weather hasn't helped much either - cold and wet and getting colder and wetter each day.

Then I started to hear the reports of how other's have been suffering, not only in Cape Town, all around the world. You only have to spend a few minutes on any news site and you'll know just how hard other peoples lives are.

 I also remembered back to many moons ago, when I was an extra in our school play, The Sound of Music. It was a soundtrack I knew very well, as it was one of the vinyls my parents had, which my Mom loved to play for us, especially on rainy days.

I started to think of some of my favourite things, and now I don't feel so bad.

This Butter Chicken recipe is certainly not the most authentic one you'll find, but I love it and it's tried and tested and I have never had anything other than compliments on it. It's a happy day meal for me, as it is a real indulgence with butter and cream - but who's complaining? Not me!

Butter Chicken

5 Skinned and Boned Chicken Breasts
100 g Butter
Oil for frying onion
1 Large Onion, sliced and chopped
¾ Cup of Tomato Puree
¾ Cup of Cream
¾ Cup of Plain Yoghurt
2 ml of Cayenne Pepper or Paprika (your choice)
Salt and Pepper
1 Handful of Roughly Chopped Fresh Coriander leaves
1 Squeeze of Fresh Lemon juice
Fresh tomato to garnish (optional)

Chop the chicken into 3cm cubes.
Heat a pot on the stove, and add the butter.
Fry the chicken in the butter until just turning golden.
Remove the butter and the chicken
Add enough oil to fry the onion until soft and starting to colour
Add the tomato puree, yogurt, cream, cayenne and season to taste.
Add back all the fired chicken and butter.
Stir and allow to simmer for 30 minutes.
The sauce will thicken and reduce down by about half.
If you want to speed up the thickening sauce, remove the lid and increase the heat.
Occasionally stir until ready.
Just before you serve, add the coriander and squeeze of lemon juice.
Cook for 1 minute more and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
Serve with lots of basmati rice and fresh tomatoes.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Vincent's Torment My Loss

Being artistic is for me as difficult as life was for Vincent van Gogh.

He epitomised the tortured genius, which is the inspiration for my challenge this week. Unlike Vincent, I do hope to be recognised in my own lifetime, because my passion for food could just as well be as relentless as Vincent’s passion for art.

Hopefully my unbalanced mind is a well-kept secret, unlike Vincent, who was in and out of sanatoriums his entire life, living an impoverished life.

The artistic food challenge, gave me the freedom to use the rich colouring of chorizo and peppers to depict the tumultuous and fiery mind that was Vincent, whilst the chicken and braised fennel a portrayal of the colourless, clinical existence he was often forced to live. I used the broken poached egg to represent a broken mind, or our interpretation of it, which never hid his incredible talent.

Sunflowers are probably Vincent’s most recognisable work, and so as a tribute to him I have as my centre piece my interpretation of these sunflowers, with the very starkness of the leaves being evocative of the deliberate brush marks he was so famous for.

As I have been chopped from the Freshly Blogged competition, there is no need to click to vote anymore. Thanks to everyone who did vote for me, I think I did really well. I stayed true to my calling at Homemade Heaven by making Toddlers Treats, unfortunately this was too simple for what the judges were looking for. I do hope you'll still enjoy giving it a try, even for a group of teens!

Poached chicken
1 whole Chicken
1 Cup Old Brown Sherry
4 Tablespoons Sugar
1 Knorr Chicken Stock Pot
6 cloves of Crushed Garlic Cloves
½ Lemon cut into 8
Salt and Black Pepper

Place all the ingredients in a large pot.
Cover with enough water to submerge chicken.
Boil on high for 25 minutes.
Turn off the heat and leave for 60 minutes.
Re-heat slowly for 15 minutes in the stock when almost ready to serve.
Carve chicken to serve and garnish with fennel fronds.

Braised Fennel
1 large Fennel Bulb or 6 baby bulbs
1 teaspoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon of sugar

Slice the top stalks off, keeping the fronds and the hard part of the root
Braise the fennel in the oil for 5 minutes until starting to soften.
Add the sugar, salt and a dash of water and turn up the heat on the pan.
Fry, tossing often until fennel is cooked, and just about to start to get come golden colour.

Chorizo Sauce
2 Chorizo sausages thinly sliced
2 Garlic cloves chopped
4 Potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes 1cm³
1 Red Pepper, roasted , skinned and chopped
In a non-stick frying pan, fry the chorizo, garlic and potatoes for 5 mins on high.
Add the red peppers.
Reduce the heat and add a little water and let it braise for another 5 mins, until cooked with a little sauce.

Poached Eggs

6 eggs
1 litre of water
1 Tablespoon of vinegar

Bring the water and the vinegar to a gentle boil.
Break egg into a ramekin.
With a whisk create a vortex in the sauce pan and then gently place the egg into the centre of the vortex.
With a slotted spoon, coax the egg white to fold around the yolk to create the poached shape.
Remove loose bits of egg white.
Allow egg to poach until the white is just cooked and yellow is still very runny.
Remove and place on kitchen paper, before plating on cooked chorizo sauce

The Onion Flower
1 Onion
¼ Cup of Flour
2 Garlic Cloves
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Black Pepper
Oil for deep frying

In a mortar and pestle crush together the salt, pepper and garlic into a paste.
Add the paste to the flour.
Take the onion and peel, leaving the stalk intact.
Start making cuts through the onion, stopping 1cm from the stalk.
Cut until you have about 16 equal cuts right around the onion.
Place the onion submerged in ice cold water for 1 hour
Start to heat the oil, you must have enough oil to cover the onion.
Take your onion from the water and dry as well as you can, without breaking the petals.
Gently spread the petals away from the centre.
Dredge in flour, making sure to coat as evenly as possible.
Once oil reaches about 180ºC, place the onion petal side down into oil.
Fry for 3-4 minutes and then turn the onion over and continue to fry until golden brown.
Remove and place on kitchen paper.
Sprinkle with salt and a little extra black pepper.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Toddler treats

Toddler: a person who toddles, especially a young child learning to walk.

If you have (or have had) one, you’ll know that the definition hardly incorporates the complexities of said 'little person'.

The fundamental job of a toddler is to rule the universe.

One of the difficulties faced by Moms and Dads of toddlers is when it comes to eating. Toddlers are strongly independent, have uncompromising wills and thrive on being fussy about anything that doesn't fit into their agenda.

Ideas about nutrition are as complicated as clothing choices and sleeping patterns. So guiding them through the passage of life never gets easier. (A warning to parents with young children: All the small irritations turn into nuclear warfare once they reach the teenage years!)

Staying true to my blog, Homemade Heaven, I decided to go back a few years back in time to make something easy that is filled with hidden vegetables, yet is both informal and tasty enough to feed your two-year-old (and a few friends), just as I did with my grandson.

We have a winner here, not on the restaurant table, but right at home where you make the magic happen (or is that M-NET?).

This is my weekly submission to Freshly Blogged competition,
if you would like to vote for this recipe -
Click HERE


For the pizza base:
2 cups cooked Spekko Parboiled Long Grain Rice, cooled
3 leeks, washed and finely chopped
3 eggs
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

For the pizza topping:
1.5 cups butternut, cut into 5mm cubed dice
1/2 tsp of thyme
1 tsp butter
1 can chopped peeled tomatoes, drained
Pinch of salt and a grind of black pepper
1/2 tsp vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 can PnP solid tuna in brine
1.5 cups mozzarella cheese

Chef's note:
Cook the rice first and allow to cool in a bowl.
Preheat your oven, with a greased baking tray, to 240 degrees Celsius.

For the pizza base:
Braise leeks in butter over medium heat in butter until soft.
Add all ingredients into one bowl and mix well.
Using a mould, place mixture on hot baking sheet, about 1.5 cm thick. Bake in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until cooked and golden. Remove from oven, but leave oven on.

For the pizza topping:
Cook butternut with thyme and butter until 'al dente'.
In another saucepan, simmer tomatoes with extra thyme, salt, vinegar and sugar until you have a smooth and thick sweet sauce. (You can use a masher to speed this process on.) Season with salt and black pepper to taste.

Remove the bases from the oven.
Start building your pizzas, on the same baking tray:
First a layer of tomato sauce; second a layer of butternut.
Sprinkle on some tuna.
Top with grated cheese.
Return to the oven for another 10 to 12 minutes, until cheese is melted and golden.
Allow to cool before serving to toddlers - this is not a precaution needed with teenagers!

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Creamy Spicy Chicken Livers with Homemade Pasta

Laughter: The best medicine and the shortest distance between two people.

This week’s challenge had me running around to find ingredients (no laughing here), failing to get recipes to work (still no laughter), but it did draw me into a community of other bloggers, all facing the same challenge.

All of a sudden, with tears of laughter running down my cheeks, I realised why I am in this competition – to have fun and get to know people who have the same passions and frustrations I do, so we can laugh about them.

When you’re told to use cayenne pepper and cinnamon in the same dish and, 'Just for fun, let’s crank it up and see what you can do with white chocolate using those two spices, too,' I saw some ask if the judges were on crack!!!

You see, this is all about fun. We love the fame of votes, but most of us count each one separately, not in batches of ten. So just know how special you voters are and how much work (and laughter) happens on the other side of the photo!

This is my weekly submission to Freshly Blogged competition,
if you would like to vote for this recipe -
For the creamy chicken livers:
15ml oil for frying
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp Robertsons cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp Robertsons cinnamon
Salt to taste
250g fresh chicken livers, cut into bite-sized pieces
50ml brandy
50ml water
60ml cream
Handful of fresh chopped Italian leaf parsley

For the homemade pasta:
200g cake flour
2 extra-large egg
Lots of flour for dusting

For the ganache truffle filling:
80g white chocolate
1/3 cup of cream
1 tsp cinnamon

For the chocolate truffles:
70g dark chocolate plus 30g for dipping after
1/3 cup of cream
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

For the creamy chicken livers:
Fry onions, garlic and spices in oil until just soft. Add chicken livers and fry for 1 minute. Deglaze the pan with brandy; stir in the water and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Add cream and cook for a further 2-3 minutes, until reduced slightly. Stir in parsley and turn off the heat.

For the homemade pasta:
Chef's note:
I use my food processor to start the mixing, but it can be done by hand, too.
Place flour in the processor and start the machine running. Add egg and allow it to run until mixture forms a ball.
Dust your work surface well and take the dough and knead for about 5 minutes. (You must end up with a smooth elastic dough that is not sticky. You might need to knead in extra flour to get the right texture.)
Leave the dough to rest for 30 minutes, while you set up your pasta machine.
Cut the dough in 100g balls and start to work through the pasta machine settings. Starting with the biggest first, work all the way down to the thinnest roller. Using the cutter on the pasta machine, cut to the required thickness - I like tagliatelle.

To cook your pasta:
Take a large saucepan and fill 1/2 way up with water. Add a generous amount of salt.
Once the water is boiling, add pasta and cook for about 4-5 minutes until al-dente.

For the chocolate truffles:
White chocolate ganache filling:
Melt ingredients together over a double boiler and chill overnight.
Dark chocolate truffles:
Melt ingredients together in a double boiler and chill overnight.
Assemble truffles:
Melt the remainder of the 100g bar of dark chocolate over a double boiler. Form balls with a teaspoon from the dark chocolate, make a dent in the middle and spoon in some white chocolate filling and close truffle up. Dip 2 of the truffles in the melted chocolate to coat and roll the other 2 in icing sugar. Garnish with cayenne pepper.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Spring rolls with a Twist

I’m dreaming about a secluded Thai beach. Channing Tatum and Mark Wahlberg are playing volleyball (shirts off). My phone breaks my reverie. I glance down and see there's an email from Freshly Blogged with the list of ingredients for this week’s challenge.

 They would love to hear the inspiration behind my dish: I smile as I give the nod to my daydream. I have a crazy list of ingredients and I must somehow concoct something spectacularly unique, yet simple.

 What would the guys in my life (Channing, Mark, my husband, sons and grandson) like? It’s Saturday and they'll want to eat while watching sport.

The twist is that it must be disguised sufficiently, so that the men are unaware that they're eating a healthy vegetarian dish! This is where day dreams meet real life.
This is my weekly submission to Freshly Blogged competition,
if you would like to vote for this recipe -
Click HERE



2 litres of milk
240ml rice vinegar
2.5ml PnP cook additions Garlic, Ginger, Dhania paste

Pineapple chutney:

1 pineapple, peeled and cored
1 flavour sachet from PnP Thai Sweet Chilli 2-min noodles
120ml rice wine vinegar
1 tsp PnP cook additions Garlic, Ginger, Dhania paste
6 Tbsp sugar
120ml water
Zest of 1 orange and juice of half an orange
Salt and black pepper

Spring rolls:

1kg Findus Wok Thai vegetables
Juice of half the orange
1 tsp PnP cook additions Garlic, Ginger, Dhania paste
2 packs PnP 2-minute noodles
500g PnP phyllo pastry
Oil for brushing

For the cheese:

Heat milk until just before boiling. Remove from the heat.
Add the vinegar and stir lightly.
Return to the heat and allow the milk to return to scalding temperature.
Remove from the heat and pour through a sieve lined with cheesecloth.
Stir in PnP cook additions Garlic, Ginger and Dhania paste.
Add a generous pinch of salt to the curds. Gently squeeze curds to remove whey.
While warm, form the curds into a block that's 5mm thick, 150mm long and 100mm wide.
Place the cheese block on a plate, cover with kitchen paper and place another plate on top, and refrigerate. Keep cold for 3-4 hours.

For the pineapple chutney:

Simmer all the ingredients together until the pineapple is soft. Mash with a masher and continue to cook until thick and sticky. Allow to cool.

For the spring rolls:

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Unroll the PnP phyllo pastry. Work with the length facing you, taking one sheet at a time.
Brush the pastry with oil. Cut the sheet across the width and lay the sheet on the other, to form a square.
Place a piece of cheese (about 15mm long and 10mm wide) about 20mm from the edge of the square.
Place a mixture of cooked Findus Wok Thai vegetables (cooked as per packet instructions) on the cheese.
Place about 12.5ml cooked noodles on the vegetables.
Start to roll your spring roll, tightly rolling and tucking in the ingredients. Fold in the sides of the pastry after the second rolling. Brush with a little more oil and roll tightly.
Bake in a pre-heated oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown on both sides.
Serve spring rolls hot on a bed of warmed-up stir-fry veggies and noodles, and enjoy with chutney.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Chocolate, pear and Amarula feast

Fear: a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, whether the threat is real or not. JRK said, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself”. He obviously had never faced a cooking competition where the competitors seem like Michelin star chefs and me feeling completely out of my depth.
We now face week 5 of the Freshly Blogged competition and judging by the popularity at the top, I find myself torn between going back to my roots of good home cooking (totally in my comfort zone) or producing dishes that star in fancy silverware restaurant menus (which is not who I am).
So this week I combined what a home cook does, poaching and making cake and then stretching my patisserie home chef skills to the limit. The result was very satisfactory, it is something a home cook can make and still be made to look very proficient. It combines simple steps, all built together into a beautiful tower of boozy goodness – it just takes time, patience and a small pinch of fear!
In the end, people will judge you anyway. Don’t live your life impressing others. Live impressing yourself.

This is my weekly submission to Freshly Blogged competition,
if you would like to vote for this recipe -
Chocolate, pear and Amarula Feast
For the almond brittle shards
50g almonds, roughly chopped
1 cup sugar

For the poached pear and caramel
80g butter
1 cup dark brown soft sugar
2 pears, peeled, cored and sliced into 3mm slices
100ml Amarula

For the almond sponge cake
2 eggs, separated
1/2 cup castor sugar
1/2 cup self-raising flour
20g blanched almonds, very finely chopped

For the chocolate mousse
50g butter
1/4 cup sugar
50ml Amarula
80g dark chocolate, melted
3 egg yolks
2 egg whites, beaten stiffly

For the custard
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup Amarula
1/2 cup castor sugar
4 egg yolks
30ml cake flour
1/2 cup cream
Almond brittle shards
Spray and Cook a non-stick silicon sheet (or waxed paper).

Roast the almonds until golden brown. Melt the sugar over a slow heat until an amber colour, remove from the heat.
Stir in almonds then pour on the silicon sheet. As the sugar starts to set, cut shaped chards with a sharp knife. Leave to cool.

Poached pear and caramel
Melt the butter with the sugar. Once melted add the Amarula and the sliced pears. Cook on medium heat for 5-7 minutes, until the pears are just soft. Remove the pears from the caramel and cool. Reduce the caramel over medium heat, stirring often until reduced by half. Set caramel aside to cool.

Almond sponge cake
Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
Beat the egg whites until soft and fluffy and add half the sugar, beat to sift peaks.
In a separate bowl beat the egg yolks and remaining sugar until thick and creamy.
Sift the flour 3 times.
Gently fold the egg yolks into the beaten whites with a metal spoon. Add the flour to the egg mixture. Work the mixture gently until mixed, careful not to overwork. Grease and line a small sheet tin (about 20cm²). Spread the batter evenly into the baking tray, sprinkle with almonds.
Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden. Remove from sheet and cool.

Chocolate mousse
Melt the sugar and butter together stirring all the time.
Add 50ml Amarula and stir.
In a double boiler melt the chocolate. Add the melted butter/sugar mixture to the melted sugar. Allow this mixture to cool.
Fold the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture with a metal spoon. Do not over mix.
Heat the cream and Amarula together.
Cream together sugar and eggs until light and fluffy. Add the hot cream mixture to the eggs, beating all the time.
Return to the heat, continue whisking.
In bowl add cake flour and pour over the hot cream mixture, beating well. Return to the heat and beat well until you have thick cooked custard.
Allow to cool completely, then whisk in the 2nd 1/2 cup of cream.

To assemble
Spray and Cook 4 ring moulds well.
Cut a piece of cake (using the rings) and place at the bottom of the ring. Spoon a layer of the thickened caramel over the cake layer, cover completely. Layer poached pears on the caramel. Pour over the chocolate mousse. Refrigerate overnight.
Unmould the rings, using a hot knife around the edges if it sticks slightly. Dust top of mousse with icing sugar and insert an Almond Brittle shard. Pipe custard around the edge of the mousse tower.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Fish Pie with Braised Cabbage

Taking a hike along the Wild Coast, from Port St Johns to Coffee Bay, was where I found all the inspiration any foodie, cook, mother or breadwinner could ever want for any circumstance in life.

Each night of the five-day hike, we were the guests of a local rural village woman. These are the women of our country who have to make a living out of nothing. Yet they feed children, grandchildren, themselves and any person who would happen upon their homes, come mealtimes.

The shops in the villages have little stock, just empty shelves filled with the promise of a delivery “sometime next week”. Still, meals are made, on a primus stove with only one pot.

There are certain items that always seem to be in stock, no matter which shop you stop at: One of which is Lucky Fish Pilchards. So we were blessed by generous women, making a feast for us each night from a tin of pilchards, cabbage or spinach (whatever veggie they can grow themselves) and a starch, usually samp or mealie meal.

This recipe is to show that it is not what you don’t have that makes a difference, but what you make from what you do have..

This is my weekly submission to Freshly Blogged competition, if you would like to vote for this recipe -
Fish Pie with Braised Cabbage

For the fish pie:
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cold butter
1 egg
1/2 cup brine (from feta), mixed with 1/2 cup cold water

For the filling:
1 cup PnP brown rice
Water (to cook rice)
1 disc of PnP feta cheese
1 cup green beans, topped and tailed and diced
1 cup Sliced Mushrooms
1 can Lucky Star Pilchards in Tomato Sauce (400g), drained
1 egg to brush pastry
4-5 eggs, boiled and quartered (to garnish)

For the cabbage:
1 whole head of cabbage, shredded
1 tsp mild curry powder
100ml butter
1 tsp Aromat seasoning
Splash of water

To make the pastry: In a food processor, blend the cold butter and flour. Add the egg and then slowly add the other liquid, until a soft ball forms. Remove from processor, wrap in cling wrap and rest in the fridge for 1 hour.

To assemble: Roll out cold dough on a well-floured surface, to create a disc about 3mm thick.

Add a layer of rice mixture to about 8cm from edge of pastry. Top with green beans. Arrange Pilchards on top of the beans. Top with mushrooms. Lightly fold in the sides to form a free-form pie, leaving the centre open. Trim excess pastry. Place on heat-proof plate. Brush with egg wash.

To cook in a 'Dutch oven': In a large saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, place a metal trivet on the base.
Preheat the pot on a high heat. Place the plate with the pie on the trivet, replace the lid of the saucepan and reduce heat to medium. 'Bake' for about 55-60 minutes, until golden brown and pastry is cooked through.

For the rice:
Cook the rice according to the instructions on the packet. Once cooked, crumble in the feta, stir and allow to cool.

For the cabbage:
Braise all the ingredients until soft, about 20 minutes.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Drunken Ostrich Sosatie with Steamed Bread

My inspiration for this blog is blogging. I have now done two blog submissions at the homes of relatives. For the first time they have had to endure the build-up to presenting a blog post – the planning around ingredients, shopping, not understanding why tinned is not a substitution for fresh, all before a pot is put on the stove.
The biggest eye-opener is the styling. Hungry people are waiting to eat while I search for the most photogenic sosatie, slicing the bread just right, artistically placing sauce and laying leaves of thyme all in just the right place. Then getting torches, cellphones, backgrounds in place and taking more pictures than mouthfuls – this is all in the hope of capturing one perfect shot.
To all those out there that have never tried this, please spare a moment next time you read a blog to pass judgement on the quality of the photography. Most of us are doing the best we can with bad light, impatient families and little experience.

If you enjoy this recipe,
 please vote for it by clicking HERE.

Drunken Ostrich Sosatie with Steamed Bread

For the Drunken Ostrich Marinade

500g ostrich sausage
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 tbsp fresh rosemary and thyme, chopped
100ml PnP chutney
200ml Drostdy-Hof Claret Select
3 green chillies, chopped
2,5ml ground black pepper
250g PnP mixed dried fruit without the prunes
3 large brown mushrooms, cleaned and quartered

Drunken Ostrich Marinade
Mix all ingredients together and marinade for 4-6 hours.
When ready to cook, thread sausage, mushrooms and dried fruit on to a bamboo stick.
Cook over medium hot coals, brushing with marinade while cooking.

For the Steamed Bread

100g soft salted butter
3 tbsp sugar
3 eggs
2 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2 tbsp PnP chutney
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 green chillies, finely chopped
5ml salt
250ml self-raising flour
350ml maize meal
5ml baking powder
100-120ml milk

Steamed bread

Cream together butter and sugar. Add rest of ingredients except milk.
Mix well and add enough milk to make a medium-soft batter.
Grease steamer well with butter.
Steam over boiling water for 35-45 minutes, checking water levels occasionally.
Test with a skewer to check if done. It should come out clean.
For the Tomato and Red Pepper Sauce

3 green chillies, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 large plum tomatoes, skinned and chopped
1 large red pepper, chargrilled, skinned and chopped
2 tbsp fresh rosemary and thyme, chopped
2 tbsp PnP chutney
1 tbsp sugar
Salt and black pepper
Tomato and red pepper sauce
Fry garlic and chillies for 30 seconds.
Add rest of ingredients and simmer for 1 hour.
Add a little water if necessary while cooking.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Carrot and Corn Fritters

This has been a hectic month. I have started a new business, Property Supervision.
After 15 years of working for the same company - I am venturing out on my own, to make my own path in the business world.

As you can imagine, food blogging has had to take a step aside, while I made all the plans and preparation for my big life change. I have however been cooking some really good meals lately, but there just hasn't been time to photograph, style, write and post about them.

I do have one jewel I have been desperate to share with you and I know you'll love the budget friendly and simplicity of this dish. For those with small children, I can vouch it is a big hit with them too.

Carrot and Corn Fritters

2 Cups Cooked and Mashed Carrots
1/2 Cup of defrosted Frozen Sweetcorn
2 sliced bread, dampened and crumbled
2 Tablespoons of Flour
2 large Egg
1 Tablespoon sugar (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste.
Oil for frying

Mix all the ingredients together.
Allow to cool in the fridge for 1 hour.
Heat oil to medium high heat.
Make patties from the carrot mixture and fry until golden brown on each side.
Don't be tempted to "play" with them too much while frying, they will fall apart.
Fry on one side, then flip over and fry the other side.
I served mine with a cucumber and yogurt raita.  

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Almond Butter Biscuits

This week has brought many changes to Homemade Heaven life. I am starting on a new career path at the end of this month, which after 15 years at the same company, is daunting to say the least. 

I have been very busy on social media, researching and putting together business plans, before we launch my new business. All this besides finishing off my current job.

Staying normal at home is hot work, Cape Town has had a 2 week heat wave, so keeping it cool physically and emotionally is almost a full time job in its self.

Almonds are one of the most nutritious of all nuts.They are low in saturated fat and contain many other protective nutrients, said to protect against cardiovascular disease and even cancer. They also build strong bones and teeth. Still trying to find if they can calm my nerves though.

All that aside, these biscuits taste very good indeed and are wonderfully crispy and nutty. The almond flavour comes through as nutty and not like marzipan. My little grandson loves them too - his endorsement is "more", which means "don't think only one is going to work for me Granny!".

Almond Butter Biscuits

125g Soft Butter
125g Almond Butter
100g Sugar
1 egg
5ml Vanilla Essence or Extract
170g Flour
50g Cornflour
>50g Chopped Almonds
3ml Bi-Carb
3ml Baking Powder

Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease 2 baking sheets.
Beat the butter, almond butter and sugar until light and creamy.
Add the egg and the vanilla.
Sift in the flours, bi-carb and baking powder. Mix well.
Stir in the chopped almonds.
Roll into walnut sized balls and place on the sheet. Flatten with your fingers.
These biscuits do spread a little, so don't place them too close together.
Bake for 12 - 15mins until they are golden brown on the edges.

Almond Butter Biscuits

Monday, 4 February 2013


The weekend after I arrived home from travelling round the world, I spent enjoying the beauty of the Western Cape at Rivierzicht River Resort.

There are so many words that I could use to describe this peaceful piece of heaven on the Breede River, but nothing will prepare you. Visit their website here

I'll share my photo's from the weekend, they speak for themselves.

From Route62.com
"Rivierzicht Resort is situated right next to the Breede River.  Our river resort offers two double and two single bedroom self catering cabins, 8 bush camp tents & 15 camping sites on the Breede River, you will find a lapa with braai facilities that invites you to join in the friendship fires of the evening.

Treat yourself to the luxury of camping in style and you'll find the Breede River best suited for enjoying fishing, canoeing,  bird-watching, swimming and hiking or horse-riding in the area"

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Peppermint Crisp Ice-Cream

I spent Christmas in Australia, Rockhampton - Queensland to be exact.

Until now I thought Hell was a really hot place place deep under the earth, where evil people spend eternity burning and gnashing their teeth.

Rockhampton has a special tourist attraction for those wishing to experience the heat of hell, without being surrounded by pesky evil people and those with irritating teeth gnashing issues. It also has the added advantage of being only 20 kms from the sea and you don't have to go far (usually at least 3 rooms in your home) to find an air conditioner!
There are some strange customs in Australia. I say strange, because if your tried them in South Africa, you would be sent to hell, or at least told to pack your suitcase and make a quick start.

One of the strange things is that everyone takes off their shoes when they enter the house. It blows my mind when I think of some of the people I know walking bare foot on my floors - I still enforce the 5 second rule when I drop food. Obviously the 5 second rule would fall away pretty smartly, especially if you're as privileged as me to have 2 teenage boys in the house - using my floors.

My sister understood my dilemma and was very accommodating, as sister's are. A special new friend I made, actually kept her shoes on during my visit, as she understood that I just hate being without shoes, no matter how clean the floors are. No offense, I will wear slippers if you provide them.

Anyhow, back to being hot as hell - just prettier and with much nicer people. Rockhampton has great fishing and people really take advantage of spending time out on the water in their little boats (call tinnies). I spent the morning fishing and crabbing for mud crabs (they live in the mud, not taste like mud).
 The mud crab is Queensland's largest crab and one of five species found in the area. Unfortunately the 2 we caught (with crab pots) had to be thrown back. Only males larger than a certain size can be caught and no females may be taken out at all.
Crocodile Ribs
Like I said yesterday I got to eat some amazing food, even the crocodile ribs. But there are things in Australia which you just have to live without (unless you can get to the South African shop, which seems an institution any place more than 2 South Africans have emigrated to.) One such treat is Peppermint Crisp. How sad is that? A whole nation of people never knowing the delight of drinking milk through a Peppermint Crisp, no church bazaar with Auntie Sarie's Peppermint Crisp tart? All I can say is "Ag Shampies".

This last week in Cape Town has been pretty close to Rockhampton hell. But lucky for us we have Peppermint Crisp and an ice cream maker. So I pulled out all the cheating tricks I could find and made a really good ice cream, that I think even an Australian might like!

Peppermint Crisp Ice Cream

1lt Ready made custard
250ml Cream
10ml Mint essence ( I like the Butter mint essence)
100g of Peppermint Crisp chopped.

Mix the first 3 ingredients together and chill in the freezer for 2-4 hours.
After about 2.5 hours, whisk up the mixture, just to ensure you don't get any crystals.
Follow the instructions on your ice cream machine, or continue with the manual method of beating the freezing ice cream until it is almost frozen.
Add the chocolate before mixture is completely frozen.
Serve with a little extra Peppermint Crisp crumbled on top.

That's good mate!

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Pecan Pie a Trip round the World

Well, what an adventure Homemade Heaven has had. I don't want to brag too much, but that would be impossible after the grand time I just had.

I spent the last month travelling around the world. I got to see my sister and brother - in -law and meet my new grand niece and my nephew in law in Australia. I also met some amazing people, new family and experienced life in HD full technicolour. It was a blessing to be with my family, everyone is so special to me and I wish we didn't have to wait 12 years between visits!
In Australia, I ate honey and soy marinaded crocodile ribs and caught my own dinner (thankfully not the crocodile)!
If that wasn't enough, I then moved on to Los Angeles. I dined at some of the best restaurants in the city, including Red O Restaurant, Mexican Cuisine by Rick Bayless. I have found the food I want to eat for the rest of my life - tamales.  

I tried real burgers, sweet potato fries, Red Velvet Cheesecake (from the Cheesecake Factory), King crab and hot dogs - just to name a few. And just in case you are thinking, yes I did pick up lots of weight, but every bite was worth it! 

To celebrate my return I used my authentic American pie dish, which I was so excited to find in a kitchen store. Watch this space for more American Pie recipes - Pushing up Daisies! 
This recipe is not traditional, as it does not contain corn syrup. The reason for that is that I have just finished watching this video Sugar: The Bitter Truth It is rather long, but will certainly change your thoughts on corn syrup and fructose forever.

Pecan Pie
1 unbaked 9″ pie shell
1 cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon flour
2 eggs
2 Tablespoons milk
1 teaspoons vanilla essence
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
pinch of salt
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. 
Sprinkle nuts evenly in the chilled pie shell.
In a mixing bowl, mix sugar and add flour.
Add remaining ingredients, beating very well - until all the sugar is dissolved. An electric beater is certainly a must.
Pour mixture into pie shell. 
Bake until crust is golden and filling puffy but still slightly wobbly in center, about 40-45 minutes.
The filling will solidify as it cools.
 Cool completely, at least four hours.
Serve with vanilla ice cream and enjoy. 

All the people I have to thank that made this trip possible know who you are, but a special thanks goes to David - you know how special this was to me.

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

Search This Blog

South African Food and Wine Blogger Directory

The South African Food and Wine Blogger Directory



Blog Archive