Category: Yummies

German Buttercream Cake

My dad is German, and always goes on about how his mother used to make him a delicious buttercream cake.  With this in mind, we decided to make him a German Buttercream Cake for his birthday.

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You need to make a basic vanilla sponge cake – you could even just make a box sponge cake if you were feeling really lazy.  The most important thing here is the Buttercream icing, the recipe for which I found here:

Ingredients

450 grams (16 ounces) whole milk

2 vanilla bean pods, split and scraped, or 2 tsp vanilla extract

280 grams (10 ounces) sugar

40 grams (1 1/2 ounces) cornstarch

2 eggs

2 egg yolks

450-900 grams (16 to 32 ounces) of unsalted butter, at room temperature – Yes, it’s a lot of butter but this icing is like pure buttery goodness in your face.

1/4 teaspoon salt, or more to taste

Method

1. If using the vanilla beans: bring the milk to a simmer along with the vanilla bean pods in a medium pot.  Turn off the heat and set aside to steep for at least one hour, or as long as time allows.  After steeping, remove the vanilla bean pods and use a rubber spatula to extract the thick vanilla goo from inside each pod.

2.  If not using the beans, continue to step 3.

3.  Bring the milk to a simmer (or return to a simmer if you’ve been steeping the vanilla pod).  Meanwhile, whisk together the sugar reserved vanilla bean scrapings, cornstarch, eggs and yolks in a medium bowl.

4.  Whisk about a half cup of the hot milk into the egg mixture – it will be thick at first but will loosen as the milk incorporates.  Continue whisking in hot milk until the egg mixture is fluid and warm.

5.  Now, return the tempered egg/milk mixture back into the pot of hot milk, whisking all the while.  Turn the heat to medium and whisk until the mixture begins to thicken and bubble sluggishly.  (This took ages, and Ross was recruited for this part when my arm felt like it was going to fall off.)  From that point, continue whisking and cooking for a full minute more; use a timer or you run the risk of not fully cooking out the cornstarch – it’ll be THICK and a bit of a workout stirring the custard, just make sure to keep it moving so you don’t end up with cooked egg pieces in your custard.  When the minute is up, pour the custard into a large mixing bowl.

6.  The custard may be cooled quickly by mixing it continuously in a stand mixer.  If time isn’t an issue, you can press a layer of plastic wrap against its surface and refrigerate until cool.  You can keep this mixture in the fridge overnight or up to a few days.

7.  Once the cooled custard has been whipped until creamy, begin adding in the butter, one tablespoon at a time. Add the salt and continue to whip until the mixture is creamy and homogenous.

8.  If you’d like to flavor the buttercream with any extracts, melted chocolate or other flavorings, now is the time.

9.  Use immediately or refrigerate until needed. When ready to use, whip until creamy before proceeding.

photo 2Ice the sponge once it has cooled completely.  This is a very rich, and creamy icing – plus it’s delectably sinful – definitely not for you if you’re on a diet!

A Snickers Cheesecake Loaf

As part of our regular Scoff Club, I made a ‘Blokey Snickers Cheesecake Loaf’ from Saved by Cake by Marian Keyes.  This is one of my favourite recipe books, as it is honest and fresh – while it details her battle with depression and how baking helped her through it all.

I can understand the link, as I myself find baking very therapeutic.  In fact, I was feeling a bit down this weekend and immediately, all I wanted to do was bake.  The fact that I didn’t have the required ingredients is a whole ‘nother story, so I just sat on the couch feeling sorry for myself.

Anyway, I digress..  This was one of the recipes that always caught my eye – it’s a rugged, badass cheesecake that looks amazing, and I just needed to try it for myself.

Here’s the recipe, courtesy of Marian Keyes..

Ingredients

Base

150g Milk chocolate digestive biscuits

50g Salted peanuts

75g Butter

Filling

250g Mascarpone cheese

250g Ricotta cheese

200g Caster sugar

2 Eggs

200ml Sour Cream

4 Snickers bars, chopped into chunks

To Decorate

Toffee sauce (the one out of a squeezy bottle)

Handful of salted peanuts

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 170°C.  Line a 1kg loaf tin with greaseproof or baking paper.

2. In a food processor whizz up the biscuits and peanuts. If you don’t have a food processor, you could just pop them into a Ziploc bag and use a rolling pin to smash them up.  Don’t blitz this mixture too much, as it must look rough and rugged – plus, if you keep blitzing, you will make something like peanut butter which is a total fail.  You should still be able to see parts of the peanuts.

3. Melt the butter in the microwave and stir into the biscuit mix. Mix it really well, and even when you think you’ve mixed it enough, mix it some more.  Tip this into the lined loaf tin and flatten it out.  I used the based of a glass to press it down.  Bake the base for 15 minutes, then take it out of the oven and allow it to cool.  Once it’s cooled for a bit, throw it in the fridge to set for a few hours.

4.  For the filling, you need to preheat the oven to 170°C again.  In a mixing bowl, beat the 2 cheeses together with an electric mixer.  Add in the sugar and eggs and beat well.  Pour in the sour cream and throw the snickers pieces in, then mix it all together.

5. Pour the mixture into the tin on top of the biscuit base and bake for an hour and a half.

6. You may look through the oven and find it is looking super dark and fudgey – apparently this is what it’s mean to do – so don’t have a panic attack like I did.  Also, I found my Snickers bars bubbled up and melted over out of the tin and into the oven causing what seemed like someone threw a smoke bomb into our apartment, Call of Duty style.  Keep smoke mask handy at all times.

7. After the hour and a half, turn the oven off and leave the cake sitting in the heat of the oven for ages, don’t open the door, don’t take it out.  Leave it as long as you possibly can.  I was tired, went to bed and took it out the next morning, but I’m sure an hour or two would have sufficed.

8. Leave the cake to cool for a while then refrigerate overnight – again it helps the cake set properly, and you will definitely be glad you did this!

9. I surprisingly found it easy enough to remove the loaf from the tin just by holding onto the baking paper, and I found the tin slid off nicely.  Whew.  Serve with the toffee sauce drizzled all over the top and throw some of the peanuts over it too. I couldn’t find toffee sauce ANYWHERE (perhaps it’s more of a Brit thing) so I used Caramel squeezy sauce (I figured toffee is pretty close to caramel anyway) and it seemed to work well.  I suppose, if you’re an overachiever, you could just make your own toffee sauce, but I’ll leave that up to you.

For service, I wanted it to look as rustic as possible so I popped the loaf onto my big wooden chopping board and decorated in a careless manner.  I love the way it looked.  SUCCESS!  It was also rather delicious.  It’s not overly sweet (which I was worried it would be), but it seems the cheeses really balanced out the sweetness of the Snickers bars and caramel sauce.

You’re welcome! ;)

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Crunchies

Seeing as it is exam season, I just have to share this Crunchie recipe with you.  My mom always made these for my brother and I, not only during exam time but throughout the year.  It is a great study snack, they give a boost of energy and these crunchies are delicious.  I made a batch for Ross while he was studying for exams recently and needless to say, they didn’t last very long.

Ingredients

125g butter

250ml brown sugar

15ml golden syrup

5ml bicarbonate of soda

250ml rolled oats

250ml cake flour

250ml dessicated coconut

Method

1.  Preheat the oven to 180˚C.  Grease a rectangular baking tray (24cmx34cm).

2.  Place the butter, brown sugar and syrup in a saucepan and heat over a low temperature until all the butter has melted.  Add the bicarb and stir until mixed.

3.  Mix the rolled oats, cake flour and coconut in a mixing bowl and then pour in the syrup mixture.  Stir until mixed and then place the mix in the prepared tray.  Press it down evenly with the back of a spoon and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

4.  Remove from the oven and cut into squares while the crunchies are still warm.  Allow to cool in the baking tray before lifting out the squares.

 

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Yuppiechef’s ‘The Art of Baking’

I discovered this course from Jess the other day, and just had to share it.  Join Sarah Graham and Yuppiechef for an awesome course called ‘The Art of Baking’.

I’ve been spending my spare time watching the lessons, and doing the quizzes and have found it so helpful and interesting.  Throughout the course, you learn to make different things like cake, cookies or bread, and in the process, you learn about the art of baking, along with interesting tips and tricks.

You can take your time with each lesson, and there is no limit on how long it takes you – you don’t even have to make the recipes taught.

Check it out.  I think I deserve a noddy badge because I got 100% in the first quiz.  BOOM.

Scoff Club

Two weekends ago, Ross and I hosted Gary and Jess for our regular family Scoff Club.

We decided to do things a little differently.  Usually, what happens is that we keep what we’re cooking a surprise until the guests arrive and find out what they’re being served.

Instead, we created an entire restaurant chain called Andross Burgers specializing in gourmet burgers.  Ross created a website from scratch, complete with pictures, a menu and even an order form.  Our guests had to order in advance via the website, for a bit of extra fun.

The burgers were delicious.  Ross and Gary had ‘The South African’ which was a lean lamb burger topped with chunky apricot chutney, grilled feta cheese, sauteed onions and cucumber ribbons.

photo 1(1)Jess had ‘The Hawaiian’ which was a chicken fillet burger with tomato relish, served with slivers of grilled pineapple and onion, crispy bacon, topped with melted cheddar cheese, mayonnaise and cucumber ribbons.

I had ‘The Paraguayan’ which was a chicken fillet burger with tomato relish on a bed of greens, smothered in a peanut cashew sauce, topped with fresh banana and cucumber ribbons.

All the burgers were served with sweet potato wedges.  It was all so delicious, if I do say so myself.

For dessert, I made a ‘Blokey Snickers Cheesecake Loaf’ – I got the recipe from the Marian Keyes recipe book.  I could only have a tiny slice (a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips), but from what I tasted, it was pretty yummy too.

photo 2I have no clue what we’ll make when it’s our turn to host again – we’re running out of ideas FAST!

Date Balls

I only recently discovered Medjool dates (*shock*horror*) and their deliciousness knows no bounds.  After my discovery, Andrea (we have the same name, how amazing are we), sent me a recipe to make Date Balls.  I made them for the first time recently and no jokes, these things are freaking delicious and really good for you!  So, heregoes..

Ingredients

14 dates (pitted)

6 tablespoons of almonds

2 tablespoons of coconut oil

2 tablespoons of cocoa powder

2 tablespoons of dessicated coconut

Method

Put all of the ingredients into a blender or food processor.

Blend until it’s smooth-ish.  It did take a fair amount of time until I was happy with the texture.

Roll into balls.

photo 4Roll in some extra coconut or cocoa powder.

That’s it!  It’s that simple!  They are delicious.  It genuinely tastes like chocolate truffles, and I am officially obsessed.  The key now is to make sure I don’t eat them all in one go – thereby, undoing the ‘health’ aspect of this recipe.

6-Step Falafel

My mom sent me this recipe from her Fairlady magazine (October 2013 issue), and I decided to give it a bash.  I am a HUGE fan of Mediterranean cuisine, and this 6-step Falafel recipe was so easy, and DELICIOUS that I just had to share it.

Ingredients:

2 x 400g tinned chickpeas, rinsed & drained

2 garlic cloves

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

1 cup breadcrumbs

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp flour

1 egg

2 tsp cumin, ground

2 tsp coriander, ground

1/2 tsp dry chilli flakes

10g flatleaf parsley, chopped

10g coriander, chopped

Sea salt and black pepper

Vegetable oil for shallow frying

To serve:

Toasted pitas

Tzatziki

Fresh mint

Flatleaf parsley

Method:

Step 1:  Place the drained chickpeas in a food processor and blitz until smooth.

Step 2:  Add the remaining ingredients to the pureed chickpeas in the food processor, season well and blitz again until combined.

Step 3:  Place the pureed mixture into a bowl, shape into small balls and place on a lined baking tray.  The mixture will seem quite dry – but it came together nicely when shaping.

Step 4:  Heat a frying pan with oil, fry the falafel in batches for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown and cooked through.  Drain on paper towel.

Step 5:  Heat up your pitas – you can use a griddle pan, oven or even a microwave (read the instructions on your pita bread pack).

Step 6:  To serve, place a dollop of tzatziki inside a pita, then add the falafel balls.  I also spread some hummus inside my pita.  Garnish with fresh mint and parsley.  Smash in face.

If this isn’t a girl loving her falafel, then I don’t know what is.

Snack Attack!

One of my favourite (fairly healthy) snacks is a slice of wholewheat toast spread with two teaspoons of peanut butter, one banana (sliced up) and a drizzle of honey.  This before a run gives me insane energy and endurance.  Plus, it tastes pretty damn delicious.  Try it!

Deliciousness IN MY FACE
Deliciousness IN MY FACE

 

Marvellous Malva Pudding

I went to visit the fan-damily this weekend, and my mom and I made a Malva Pudding for dessert after a roast pork for lunch.  The boyfrang just so happens to LOVE Malva Pudding, and I was impressed at how easy and delicious this recipe turned out to be.

MARVELLOUS MALVA PUDDING

Prep Time 15 minutes

Baking Time 45 minutes

Ingredients:

Pudding

250ml (1 cup) caster sugar

2 eggs

15ml (1 tablespoon) smooth Apricot Jam

310ml (1 1/4 cup) Cake Flour

5ml (1 teaspoon) Bicarbonate of Soda

Pinch of Salt

30ml (2 tablespoon) Butter

5ml (1 teaspoon) Vinegar

125ml (1/2 cup) Milk

Sauce

250ml (1 cup) Cream

125ml (1/2 cup) Butter

125ml (1/2 cup) Sugar

125ml (1/2 cup) Water

Method:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius.  Grease an ovenproof dish with butter.

Pudding

1.  Whisk the sugar and eggs until pale and fluffy.  Beat in the Apricot jam.

2.  Sift the dry ingredients 3 times.

3.  Melt the butter and add the vinegar and milk.  Fold the milk mixture into the egg mixture, alternating with dry ingredients.

4.  Pour the batter into the dish and bake for 45 minutes or until golden.

Sauce

Heat the ingredients until melted and pour over the hot pudding just after it comes out the oven.  Prick the pudding all over with a fork so that the sauce can be absorbed.

Serve with whipped cream, ice cream or custard.  Smash in face hole.

Marvellous Malva
Marvellous Malva

Scoff Club (2)

It was our turn to host a dinner as part of our regular ‘Scoff Club’ with the Meyer-clan and this time we hosted the parentals, Terry and Anton.  Ross and I love Asian food and decided to go with an Asian-inspired menu.

For mains, we served Sesame Seared Tuna with Wasabi mashed potatoes and some seasonal veggies.  I marinated the tuna in a honey-soy sauce for about 10 minutes prior to searing it on a very hot pan for a minute on each side.  This was also served with a dipping sauce made with sesame oil, soy sauce, honey, lime and chilli which tasted absolutely delicious. 

It was a mission to find black sesame seeds, but I eventually found luck at a Chinese supermarket.  Apparently, black sesame seeds are considered a super food and promote longevity according to traditional Chinese medicine.  The Wasabi mash was also something different to try – especially seeing as I’ve never made mash before *shock*horror*.  It turned out delicious, not at all over-powering but added the perfect bit of zing to the meal.

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For dessert, we decided to be daring and try our hand at deep-fried ice-cream.  Again, this is something I had never made before and it seemed pretty daunting after doing all my research online.  Every recipe tells you something different, and uses a different coating.  We decided to use a simple digestive biscuit coating – followed by egg and a second coating of biscuits – however, I completed this process over three days as it’s important to freeze the ice-cream hard in between rolling it, coating it twice, and ultimately frying it.

The frying was the scary bit, as the temperature of your oil is the most important thing.  If the oil is not hot enough, you’ll end up with oily batter (not crispy like you want it) and if the oil is too hot, you will burn your batter and melt your ice-cream.  We used sunflower oil and heated it to 190 degrees prior to dropping the ice-cream in and letting it fry for 10 seconds.  We popped it on some paper towel to soak up any excess oil and then served the ice-cream dusted with icing sugar and golden syrup.  These were a total success and absolutely delicious – I was convinced it was going to be a disaster dish!  The digestive biscuit coating was yummy – it tasted like waffles, but I believe you can use bread, cornflakes, anything really!

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I am already starting to come up with ideas for the next time we host dinner again.  It’s so nice to try something new, and do something you’ve never done before.  A lot of my inspiration comes from watching MasterChef (Australia – not South Africa), and I think the idea of incorporating Mystery Boxes would be pretty fun too.