Friday, December 17, 2010

Spicy Iced Christmas Cookies

I made these cookies as a Christmas treat for all my co-workers. They came out really well.

Essential equipment: Festive cookie cutter shapes.


3 cups flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
180g butter
¾ cup dark brown sugar
¾ cup golden syrup
1 egg

Icing sugar
Assorted food colouring


Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth.
Add the golden syrup (you can also use molasses or treacle) and the egg.
Sieve in the dry ingredients.
Mix together well to form a smooth dough. If the mixture is too dry you can add a few tablespoons of milk as needed. If it is too wet add a bit more flour.
Divide the dough into two or three portions, wrap them in cling film and refrigerate for at least two hours to firm up.
Roll out chilled dough on a well floured surface until it is aprox ½ a cm thick.
Use cookie cutters to cut out festive shapes.
Place on a greased or lined baking tray and bake for 10 to 12 minutes at 180 degrees centigrade.

Once the cookies are cool you can have fun icing them. Sieve a few table spoons of icing sugar into a few different bowls and add a few teaspoons of water and a few different drops of food colouring to each one. You can then either pipe or spread the icing on. 

I did mine in blue and white and they turned out really cute.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Meat and Gravy

This is a great wholesome meal for anyone looking for some home cooked comfort food.

1 onion chopped
1 packet beef strips (get the appropriate amount for the number of people you are feeding)
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons beef stock powder
Dash of soy sauce

Fry chopped onion until soft.
Mix the beef, flour and spices.
Add the beef to the pan and stir fry until brown (you may have to scrape the flour mix off the bottom of the pan a few times to avoid burning).
Add recently boiled water from the kettle to the pan until all the beef is covered.
Add the beef stock powder stirring until it dissolves fully.
Allow to simmer until the water has reduced to a thick gravy and the meat is tender.
Before serving stir in a dash or two of soy sauce.

Serve with mashed potato and nice carrots.

Creamy mashed potato

There is nothing better than mashed potato and it is super easy to make.

Potatoes (generally one per person plus one for the pot)
Large knob of butter or margarine
Dash of milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Peel the potatoes and chop into rough cubes.
Boil the potatoes in lightly salted water for approximately 20 minutes (they are ready when a fork goes into them easily).
Drain the potatoes in a colander and return them to the warm pot.
Add a large dollop of butter or margarine and a dash of milk (if you have any handy cream is even better)
Mash the potatoes with a fork or potato masher until smooth (take special care to mash thoroughly and get rid of any lumps).
Add salt and pepper to taste.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Garlic feta and herb pasta

This is a great pasta dish for when you just want a quick easy meal. it is a ice convenient meal for one or can be expanded to feed as many people as you like.


1 tablespoon butter (aprox.)
1 tablespoon flour (aprox.)
½ cup milk (aprox.)
50g of feta
1tsp crushed garlic or 2 cloves finely chopped
1tsp mixed dried herbs
Salt and pepper to taste
Pasta of your choice


You start this sauce by making a basic white sauce. You can adjust the amounts of butter, flour and milk you use according to how many people you are feeding. Begin by melting the butter in a small saucepan on a low heat. Add the flour and mix together until they form a smooth paste. Allow to simmer for a few minutes then begin adding the milk a little bit at a time. Stir continuously as you add the milk until it forms a smooth mixture. Keep adding milk until it you have a good pouring consistency. Then add the feta, herbs and garlic. You can also add a ¼ teaspoon of hot English mustard for added flavour.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
Finally cook some pasta of your choice, macaroni noodles or pasta shells work particularly well, pour the sauce over the cooked noodles and serve immediately.

To make this dish even more indulgent you can add some chopped ham, bacon or smoked chicken to the sauce before serving.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Fantastic Lemon Cheesecake

This cheesecake recipe is based on my lemon meringue pie recipe. It has very similar ingredients but if anything is actually easier to make because you don’t have to separate the eggs. It produces a lovely light cheesecake with a pleasant smooth texture.


1 pkt biscuits (I like it with ginger biscuits but you can use marie or tennis)
200g butter or marg melted
1 tin condensed milk
Juice of three lemons
2 eggs
1 tub cream cheese
1 tin granadilla pulp (or topping of your choice)


Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade.
Crush biscuits to a light rubble. Mix with melted butter and press into the bottom of a pie dish.
Place condensed milk, lemon juice, eggs and cream cheese in a bowl and mix thoroughly (don’t worry if the cream cheese goes a bit lumpy, its fine).
Pour mixture into biscuit base.
Bake in oven for about 10 to 15 minutes until top begins to brown lightly.
Remove and allow to cool then top with granadilla pulp (or topping of your choice e.g raspberry coulis).


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Glazed Beetroot

This is a really easy (although fairly time consuming) beetroot dish which makes a great accompaniment to any meal and can be served hot or cold.


7 - 9 beetroots, peeled and quartered
1 1/2 cups water
3/4 of a cup brown sugar
1/3 of a cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons butter


Place all the ingredients in a pot, bring to the boil and simmer for one hour. (I told you it was easy...)


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Spicy Mince

This is a recipe that I stole from my sister after she did a cooking course. It makes a fantastic spicy Mexican style mince. It is super easy and very adaptable according to what you have on hand. I generally serve it in tortilla wraps with grated cheese and basil, we have also discovered it is great with baked sweet potato and sour cream, but really you can serve it however you want. 

1 onion
1 pkt beef mince
1 chili
2 cloves garlic
4 or 5 tomatoes chopped
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp all spice
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp coriander
1 tsp beef stock powder

Chop the onion and fry it in a little oil.
Chop the garlic and chili and add to the onion.
Add the mince and brown.
once mince is browned top the pan up with water and add all the other ingredients.
Simmer until the tomatoes have completely broken down and any additional water has cooked away.

You can also add green or red peppers or any other vegetables you like.
If you want the mince to be spicier you can add additional chillies or Perri Perri powder to taste.
If you don't have any fresh tomatoes you can used tinned ones or tomato paste.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bafana Bafana Cupcakes!

The other day my sister and I baked some Bafana Bafana cupcakes to celebrate the start of the soccer world cup. They turned out pretty well considering we made up the recipe a we went according to what we had in the house so I thought I'd try and remember it for you


aprox. 400g margarine

2 cups sugar

3 cups flour

3 eggs

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 cup milk and water mixed (possibly more)


preheat oven to 180
Cream margarine and sugar together
add eggs and mix well until completely blended
add vanilla essence
gradually add flour, baking powder and milk and water while mixing continuously until you have a smooth batter
full a muffin tray with paper cupcake cups and spoon mixture into them
place in oven and bake for about 15 minutes (you can tell they are ready if they spring back into shape if lightly pressed in the centre)
allow to cool and ice with topping of your choice (we did green and yellow icing to match the bafana colours)

Go Bafana!

They didn't really rise but they tasted very good!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Moist Chocolate Cupcakes With Buttercream Icing

This is the first of what will hopefully be many cupcake recipes. This one is great because they are super chocolaty and also really easy to make. 

Essential skills: none 

Essential equipment: electric beater (or a very strong arm) 

(makes 18 large / 30 small) 

1/2 cup cocoa

1 cup flour

1 cup sugar

1tsp bicarb

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 egg

1/2 cup warm water

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup canola oil

1/2 tsp vanilla extract  


Preheat oven to 180 and line cupcake trays with cupcake liners.

Sift dry ingredients into a bowl.

Add the egg, water, buttermilk, oil and vanilla extract and mix with electric beater for 3 minutes.

Scoop mixture into prepared cupcake trays (fill about 1/3 of the way).

Bake for 20 minutes.

Dark Chocolate Buttercream Icing

175g icing sugar

50g cocoa

45ml cold water

115g soft unsalted butter

Sift the cocoa together with icing sugar.

Beat the butter to a cream.

Add water and icing/cocoa, mixing together gradually while beating.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Butternut soup

Here is a great recipe for butternut soup. It is lovely and warming on a cold day. 

Essential skills: none
Essential equipment: stick blender 

1 butternut peeled and diced
2 onions chopped
2 cloves garlic diced
2cm piece of ginger peeled and grated
1 potato peeled and diced
1 ½ stock cubes (dissolved in 750ml boiling water)
10ml oil

1.     Heat oil
2.     Add onions, fry till soft
3.     Add ginger and garlic
4.     Add butternut and potato
5.     Add stock
6.     Add enough water so that everything is covered and simmer for aprox 1 hour till all ingredients are soft.
7.     Blend thoroughly
8.     Enjoy!

For an added treat add a dash of cream before serving.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Peppermint crisp delight

Peppermint crisp delight is a truly South African dessert that everyone enjoys. The original recipe is supposed to use orley whip (in fact I think they invented it) but I like to use cream, because who doesn't like excessive amounts of cream?

Essential skills: none

Essential equipment: Electric beater (or a very strong arm for whipping all the cream)


1 large peppermint crisp

500ml cream

1 tin Nestle caramel treat

1 or 2 packets of tennis biscuits


Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks
stir in the tin of caramel
crush or grate the peppermint crisp and add most of it (leave some to sprinkle on top)
place a layer of tennis biscuits at the bottom of a large dish (some people crush the biscuits but I prefer them whole
cover with a layer of cream mixture
add another layer of biscuits
add another layer of mixture
repeat as necessary until dish is full/mixture is gone
sprinkle remaining peppermint crisp

This can be served immediately after you have assembled it but I find it is a lot nicer if you do it in advance and refrigerate it overnight as it gives the biscuits a chance to soften. Sooo good...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Super easy chocolate chip cookies

This is a really quick and simple chocolate chip cookie recipe. It will make about 12 biscuits but the recipe can easily be doubled.


60g butter or margarine

1/2 cup Castor sugar

1 egg

3ml vanilla essence

1 cup flour

1 tsp baking powder

200 ml chocolate chips (or one slab broken into small chunks)


preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius
grease baking tray or line with baking paper (I recommend the baking paper, it makes life a lot easier)
cream butter and sugar together until soft
beat in the egg
sieve in dry ingredients
mix in chocolate chips
mix well to form a dough

it should look like this

roll small pinches if dough into balls, place on baking tray and flatten with a fork

Like this

bake for 12 to 15 minutes (Keep an eye on them they burn very easily!)
remove from oven and allow to cool and harden.

Mmm... Cookies....


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Nice Carrots

Need a quick easy side dish that everyone will enjoy? try these nice carrots.
Essential skills: None

Essential equipment: potato peeler


Carrots (as many as you need, generally 2 per person)

1 large teaspoon butter or margarine

1 teaspoon sugar (preferably brown sugar but not essential)


top and tail and peel carrots  and cut into strips or rounds
place in a pot of boiling water and boil for about 15 - 20 minutes, until soft
drain off water and place carrots in serving dish. 
add butter and sugar and stir until it is all melted and dissolved and carrots are evenly covered (you may need more sugar depending on the sweetness of the carrots).

Monday, April 19, 2010

Easy as pie lemon meringue

This is a great easy dessert and is always a big hit when having people over.

Essential skills: separating eggs

Essential equipment: electric beater


1 packet marie biscuits

150g butter or margarine

2 eggs separated

1 tin condensed milk

Juice from 3 lemons (about half a cup)

2 tablespoons sugar


Preheat oven to 180 degrees centigrade

Crush marie biscuits and place in a pie dish.

Melt butter and pour over crushed biscuits. Mix together and press flat to line the pie dish.

Place condensed milk in a large bowl, add lemon juice.

Separate eggs, add yokes to condensed milk and lemon juice and stir well until blended.

Place egg whites in a small bowl and beat with electric beater, while slowly adding sugar, until it forms soft peaks.

Pour condensed milk mixture over biscuit base.

Gently spoon egg whites over filling.

Place in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes until top goes golden brown.

My tip: Rather use too much lemon juice than too little. It is not as nice if it is too sweet.

Variations: leave off the egg white topping, add a tub of cream cheese to the condensed milk mixture and you have a fantastic lemon cheesecake.