Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Just testing to see if mobile posting works..

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Onion Goggles

These are brilliant and actually work! Go see me wearing them on my other blog!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Custard slices

A recipe I got from Andre's mom. One of the few sweet things I make that he will eat. 


1 tin condensed milk
lemon juice

2 heaped tablespoons custard powder
about 500 ml milk
2 heaped teaspoons sugar

Nice biscuits (or Tennis biscuits if you're in SA)

Here's how to make it:

1. Pour condensed milk into a bowl and fold in lemon juice until the condensed milk becomes quite thick. Next time I will measure how much lemon juice I used. You will need a few tablespoons full. It doesn't need to be solid. Just a bit thicker than when you poured it from the tin.

2. Place a layer of biscuits in the bottom of the dish and around the sides. I used a smallish dish. Let me go measure it... it's 22cm x 17cm.  One packet of biscuits was just enough for this size of dish. You will need a bit more if your dish is any bigger.)

3. Mix custard powder and sugar with a little bit of milk.

4. Heat 500ml milk. Stir in custard mixture and keep stirring until boiling.

5. Pour warm custard over biscuits in dish.

6. Pack another layer of biscuits over the custard, keeping aside one biscuit.

7. Pour condensed milk mixture over the second layer of biscuits and crumble the one biscuit you kept aside over the top.

8. Refrigerate until set.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Apple Crisp - This is a good one!

No pictures of this one as it isn't a pretty looking dessert in the dish. You could dress it up in a bowl with some ice cream. I've already had a taste of it now before dinner and it's so good. It can do with some cream or vanilla ice cream.

I got the recipe here, but will type it out simpler the way I like it.

Peel and core 5 - 8 apples and slice into 1/2 to 1/4 inch thick slices. Place in oven dish.
3/4 cups sugar (I only used half that and will leave the sugar in the apple mixture out completely next time.)
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Mix well.

In a separate bowl mix the topping:
3/4 cup oats
3/4 cup sugar (again I used less or it will be way too sweet)
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
optional: shopped nuts (I didn't add this as I don't like nuts much.)

Spread topping over apple mixture and bake at 190C for 45 minutes.

Have a taste test straight away then serve to your guests with ice cream or cream!

Apple and Sparkling Cider Sorbet

I've been trying out new recipes and here's one of them: it's a grown-up sorbet and deliciously refreshing. You really get that fresh apple taste and just a bit of the apple cider taste in there too. Here's the recipe:

1 kg apples
2 cups sparkling dry apple cider
1/3 cups sugar
1/2 cups water
1/2 whole lemon, juiced (or to taste)

Quarter the apples and remove cores. Don't peel them. Cut into chunks.
Combine cider, sugar and water and bring to boil.
Add apples, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 5 min.
Turn off the heat and leave to cool to room temperature for about 3 hours.

Strain the apples, pressing firmly to extract the pulp and all the liquid. I placed a colander over a large bowl and mushed it around with a spoon.
Discard the peels.
Add lemon juice to taste.

Refrigerate overnight, then freeze. You can use an ice cream maker, but I don't have one so I just put it into a tub in the freezer, stirring after an hour or two.

Homemade apple juice

I just cooked some apples to make apple juice. We picked so many over the weekend and I don't want them to go to waste.

The first time I made apple juice I followed this recipe: Apple Juice Recipe

Here's what I did tonight though, a bit simpler than on the site above. I basically just quartered all the apples. Place the chopped apples (with peels and cores) in a large pot. Add about a 1/4 cup water or more and simmer until soft. Pour into strainer over bowl and leave to strain for about 2 hours. Then help it along by pushing the soft apples around with a spoon to get as much juice/ pulp out as possible. Discard peels.

The first time I added a lot more water and it was still very thick. When I drink it I still add some water. Sparkling water is nice to thin it with. I happened to have a slightly flavoured sparkling water here which was really good with the apple juice.

This time I decided to not add much water and instead it will be like a concentrate. Takes up less space in the fridge and I'll just add water to some of the apple juice in a glass as needed. 

This is a cloudy apple juice and has some bits in too. If you want it clear without any bits you'll have to strain like mad. And you'll need something finer than just a colander which I used. I don't like to go to too much trouble when I cook. The simpler and quicker the better.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Apple Pie

Yesterday I started looking for recipes containing apples. We have a lovely big apple tree in our garden now. They must be cooking apples as they're not that great tasting as is, but they're great in the apple pie I made yesterday.

I've only ever made apple pie using canned apples, never fresh. This time I used our own fresh apples straight off the tree. I think I used two for the apple pie. Peel, core and slice the apples. Place them in a pot with 1 part sugar to 3 parts water. Simmer for a few minutes until they just become soft, then remove from syrup.

Here's the apple pie recipe if you like baking:

2 eggs
3/4 C sugar
60g margarine
1/4 C milk
1 C self-raising flour
1 tin apples or 2 whole apples (see above)

Whisk eggs and sugar.
Melt margarin and add.
Add milk, then flour.
Mix well and pour into pie dish.
Place apples on top.

Bake 30 min at 180C

3/4 C cream
1 t caramel essence
3/4 C sugar

Use fork to pierce pie once it's baked. Pour syrup over and place back into warm oven for a few minutes.

Serve with cream or ice cream.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Victoria Sponge Cake

This has been one of Andre's favourites since we've moved to England. It's a basic sponge cake with layers of strawberry jam and cream in between.

The plan was to have just two layers. I cheated and bought a packet of cake mix. Plain vanilla sponge. My round cake tin was slightly bigger than what the packet instructions wanted me to use so the two layers came out a little thin. I still haven't learnt my lesson with these cake mixes: buy double what you need. A mix that promises to make 12 cupcakes, usually only just makes 9.

So back to the shop I went for another packet of cake mix. This time I poured the whole mix in one cake tin. That's why you see three layers with the top one slightly higher.

I didn't have strawberry jam so used a mixed berry instead which is just as nice. Spread the jam on top of the first layer and top with whipped cream. Place next layer on top and repeat jam and cream before placing the final layer. 

Now a traditional Victoria Sponge cake will have castor sugar sifted over the top. Andre requested butter cream icing, so I made half a batch of this and used:

70 g butter
140 g icing sugar
1/2 T milk

Beat together until smooth and creamy. 

It was just enough for a good layer of icing on top. The cake tastes AMAZING. Andre even had some after dinner last night and he doesn't often eat dessert!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Best burger ever!

Best burger I've ever had!

We decided to make home made burgers on Monday night. I found this recipe by The Pioneer Woman. It was really easy to make and delicious. Here are my summerised steps:

1. Mix: beef (about 300g enough for 3 burgers for us) + 1/2 t salt +1/4 t pepper + Tabasco

2. Onion:
Low heat - 2T butter + sliced onions + 2T brown sugar
20 min

3. Spicy mayo:
1/4 c mayo + Tabasco

4. Toast rolls (either on a grill on on top of the toaster)

5. Form patties and grill over med - low heat

6. Spread spicy mayo on rolls + patty + onions + greens

We had some left over pepper sauce from our steak night before. I don't usually like pepper sauce but I couldn't get enough of this one. It's good. Here's an approximate recipe for that. It's by Jamie Oliver. Andre found it so you can google if you like to measure things out. I don't.

In a small saucepan heat cream, white wine, beef stock, dijon mustard and ground black pepper.

That's it.

You wanted more? You can thicken it with cornflour if you want.

Pepper sauce on steak night

After all this meat we're going vegetarian for a few days to recover. We're not used to eating so much meat anymore. Andre actually felt a bit ill the day after the steak. I only managed about a third of the  steak pictured above. So we had a vegetable only stir-fry last night. I'm having the left overs for lunch now. It's a bit garlicky so so you can be glad I'm typing and not telling you this!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Rogan Josh Lamb Curry

I've made this curry a few times now from my "Healthy Eating" recipe book and am busy making it again right now for dinner tonight. The lamb has already been simmering in the sauce for an hour and a half. When I finish this post I'm going to start the rice and then we'll eat!

Here are the ingredients:

1 T oil
2 onions
1/2 C low-fat plain yoghurt
1 t chilli powder
1 T ground coriander
2 t ground cumin
1 t ground cardamom
1/2 t ground cloves
1 t ground turmeric
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 T fresh ginger, grated
400g can chopped tomatoes
1 kg boned leg of lamb, trimmed, cubed. (I just use one packet of diced lamb. not sure how much it is, but not a whole kg.)
30 g slivered almonds (I never have this in the house so haven't included this.)
1 t garam masala
chopped fresh coriander leaves to garnish

And here's what to do:

1. Heat oil, add onion - cook 5 min

2. Add yoghurt, chili powder, coriander, cumin, cardamom, cloves, turmeric, garlic and ginger.
Add tomato - simmer 5 min

3. Add lamb and stir until coated. Cover and cook over low heat for 1 - 1 1/2 hours. The longer the
softer and better!
Uncover and simmer until liquid thickens.

4. Dry-fry almonds over medium heat - 3-4 min - until nuts are golden brown. Remove from pan.

5. Add garam masala to curry and mix through. Sprinkle with almonds and coriander leaves.
Serve with rice.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Home made yoghurt

Here's an easy recipe for making your own yoghurt.

Boil 1 1/2 litres of whole milk.
Cool the milk to 45 C
Add 250 ml plain yoghurt.
Add 1 teaspoon vanilla essence.
Mix, pour into a container and keep warm for 10 - 12 hours.

I place my container on top of a radiator and drape a towel over it to keep the heat in.

If you save the last 250 ml of your home made yoghurt each time to make your next batch you will never have to buy yoghurt again.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Chicken Pie

Making chicken pie can be really quick and easy as long as you've cooked the chicken before and have bought ready made pastry.

So two nights before making this chicken pie I cooked some chicken pieces in the oven for dinner and made double as much as we'd need so I'd have enough left over.

The next morning I took all the bits off the bones, made Andre a chicken mayo sandwich for work and put the rest back in the fridge to wait to be made into pie.

I buy ready made puff pastry. I always buy this with my groceries and then just leave it in the freezer. Remember to take it out and put it in the fridge the morning or night before you plan on making pie.

So here's a list of ingredient I used:
Chicken, cooked
green pepper, chopped
mushrooms, chopped
25 g butter + little extra for mushrooms
25 g flour
150 ml chicken stock
2-3 T cream
lemon juice
herbs, salt and pepper
1 egg, beaten

1. Blanch the green pepper in boiling salted water for 2-3 min.
Drain and rinse with cold water.

2. Sauté the mushrooms in butter for 2-3 min.

3. Melt 25g butter, then add 25 g flour and cook slowly until it becomes straw coloured.
Add 150ml chicken stock to the butter-flour mixture. Turn up the heat and stir until simmering.
Add 2-3T cream. Reduce heat and simmer until the mixture becomes sirupy.
Add a few drops of lemon juice, herbs, salt and pepper to taste.
Turn off the heat and add the chicken, peppers and mushrooms.

4. Add mixture to dish.

5. Roll out your pastry to about 1 cm thick. Cover dish with the pastry. Cut off any excess hanging over
the sides and use this to decorate your pie. I was in a romantic mood. See the picture below.
Cut air holes in the pastry to allow the steam to escape. Again see picture below. Brush some of the egg over the pastry to give it that golden colour.

6. Bake 25 - 35 minutes at 220C/ 425F/ Gas mark 7

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Mexican Layer Dip & Kiwi Daiquiris

I found this recipe for a mexican layer dip over here on The Pioneer Woman's blog.

Start by making Pico de Gallo (above). Here's the recipe also from Pioneer Woman. But I'll tell you what we did too.

Finely chop 5 tomatoes and one small (or half a large) onion.
Add 3 finely chopped jalapeno peppers. We bought the red ones already chopped in a jar so we didn't know exactly how much three would be so added just about the whole jar.
Next chop up a good amount of cilantro. I think we call it coriander leaves.
Put all these ingredients in a bowl.
Squeeze the juice of half a lime over, add some salt to taste and give it a stir.
Taste and set aside.

Now we'll start on the dip. Empty a can of refried beans into a pan on low heat. We only found small tins so used two. Add some tobasco sauce and finely chopped green chillies. As much as you think you can handle. We added lots! With all the other ingredients like sour cream and avo, you'll be fine!

Next sprinkle some ground cumin. We didn't have ground cumin so instead we ground our own.

Spread the beans at the bottom of a shallow dish. We used a pie dish. This is your first layer.

Next layer: grated cheddar. You can use more mature cheddar for a sharper taste but we only had mild.

Layer 3: Sour cream. Plop on and spread gently.

Layer 4: Guacamole. You can make your own, there's an easy recipe on the same link as the Pico de Gallo recipe, but we were lazy and bought it ready made.

Layer 5: More grated cheese and then sprinkle some black olives over.

Lastly, top with the spicy pico de gallo you made earlier. You can add some more jalopenos on top if you think you need to. We did.

Pioneer Woman says to eat it at this stage, but we felt all that cheese needed some melting so we put it under the grill for a little while. That made the tomatoes go a bit juicy, but after letting it stand for a while it settled and it was delicious! Just place a big bowl of nachos chips next to it and don't stop until it's all finished!

This was our lunch for our Mexican Monday. For dinner we had chicken and pineapple quesadillas and kiwi daiquiris.

To make the daiquiris, peel and freeze some kiwi fruit. Then put them in a blender with some white rum, lime juice and a little sugar. Share between the glasses and top with apple juice.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Cantonese Style Duck

I saw this dish being made on a TV program the other day. I love duck. I don't know why. Maybe because of the extra fat it has. Extra fat makes everything nicer. Taste nicer I mean. And I think because it usually has a sweet kind of sauce with it and I like sweet a lot.

So this was my very first time cooking duck. With the help of my husband of course. I love that he enjoys cooking with me.

So here's what we did. And here is where I got the recipe from.

We used 4 duck breasts for 4 people. They were quite big and we had them in the oven for an extra 5 minutes.

You need to marinate the duck breasts for 20 minutes and this is what you need for the marinade (I doubled the recipe since I used double the amount of meat, below is the already doubled recipe.)
4 T Oyster sauce
2 T Chinese five-spice powder
2 T Groundnut oil
4 T Light soy sauce
4 T Shaohsing rice wine or dry sherry

We decided to get the sherry instead of the rice wine thinking we can drink the rest, but it was either a very bad sherry or I don't like dry sherry. It will all be used in cooking eventually!

Mix all the ingredients well and place the duck in the marinade for 20 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 180 C and place the duck on a roasting tray. Reserve the marinade. 
Roast the duck in the oven for 20 min. Then leave to rest for 12 min.
Bring the reserved marinade to a boil and drizzle over the sliced duck breast.

Our duck came out perfect. Still a little pink and very soft. We served it with Jasmine rice and vegetables.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Making sushi

On new years eve we made sushi at my mom and Jürgen's house in Germany. It's not difficult to make and can be fun to do with friends. To make sushi at home you need:

sushi rice
nori sheets
fillings - we had cucumber, avo and fish
and wasabi, ginger and soya sauce to serve it with.
Bamboo mat and plastic wrap for rolling.

Cook the sushi rice according to the instructions on the packet. Start early because you need the rice to cool down before you can start.

Cover your bamboo rolling mat with some plastic wrap to prevent the (very sticky) rice from sticking to the mat. Place a nori sheet on the mat. I've since read that you can cut (or fold and break) the sheet in half.

Cover the nori sheet with rice, leaving about a cm at the furthest end free.

We kept it basic and added fish,


and avo.

Then start rolling. It takes some getting used to. You have to kind of pull the mat ahead a bit so it doesn't get rolled up as well.

When you get to the end, wet your fingers and rub some water across the free edge of the nori. This will make it stick.

Finish rolling. And give it a good squeeze to get it shaped nicely and keep everything from falling apart.

Remove the bamboo mat and plastic.

For slicing you need the sharpest knife you can find. And wet the blade slightly after each slice. It will help you to slice neatly and prevent the rice from sticking to you knife.

Don't forget to serve it with wasabi, pickled ginger and soya sauce.

And eat as much as you can!