Delicious & Carb-Conscious Chocolate Brownies and Muffins

Can you really put delicious and carb-conscious in the same sentence? According to Nutriseed NuMe, their Not-So-Naughty Chocolate & Pecan Nut Muffin premix and Chocolate & Pecan Brownie premix are just that. But I am not one to take accusations of carb-conscious deliciousness lightly, so I decided to try them for myself. Or let my kids try them anyway – they are the ultimate critics when it comes to food!

I don’t like sugar. I firmly believe its evil and that it has an addictive ability rivalled by hard substances. And the reason that I say that is that 1) my kids turn into monsters when they CAN’T have sugar, and 2) they turn into monsters when they DO get sugar. It really is that uncomfortable between-a-rock-and-a-hard-place scenario. You don’t win either way. The only solution is to give them something that is such a great imitation of the real deal so that they get the endorphin benefit without the crazy.

But kids are amazing little connoisseurs when it comes to sugar: they can spot a fake a mile away. I have tried baking butternut muffins with agave, or sugar-free chocolate, and a host of other things, all of which they refused to eat. So these teatime treats really had the bar at a super high level: they have to compete with sugar-laden delicacies. Oh well, it was worth a try!

Let’s Put Them To The Test!

The preparation time of these babies is about 30 seconds – seriously. You mix the contents of each packet with 2 eggs, 1/2 cup of coconut oil and 5ml of vanilla, and then spoon it into a muffin pan and brownie tray. Done. I’ll admit that I licked the spoon when I was done – and it was deeply rich and delicious!

While they baked, I melted a leftover chocolate bunny from Easter with a little milk and crushed a few pecan nuts for the brownies.

Pour the melted chocolate over the brownies while they are still hot and sprinkle with the nuts.

Once the muffins have cooled, you can sprinkle them with a teaspoon of icing sugar.

And YES – I did decorate both with sugar – BECAUSE I DON’T WANT TO BE THAT MOTHER THAT DEPRIVES THEM COMPLETELY. But to fair, the total amount of carbs per serving is 2g, and I added another 5g to each. Show me another cupcake with 7g of carbs, and I will eat that as well 😉

And the kids LOVED them. The brownies were finished before the chocolate had settled, and the muffins are great for a lunchbox treat.

Happy Baking!

The products for this post was sponsored by Nutriseed.

Deliciously Decadent Baked Chocolate Cheesecake with Oreo Crust

I’ve had a bit of a cheesecake experimenting thing going recently… I’ve tried a couple of no-bake ones: the first was a no-bake lemon/granadilla one that was easy and delicious, the second was a strawberry-infused one that was OK, but I made the mistake of adding (what I thought was) a little bit of powder colouring to get “just the right” shade of pretty pink I had in mind.  It turned out SUPER pink – I won’t make that mistake again!  So for this month’s post, I’m sharing with you my favourite out of my recent bakes: a deliciously decadent baked chocolate cheesecake with an Oreo biscuit base.

Baked Chocolate Cheesecake with Oreo Crust

YOU WILL NEED

Equipment: An electric mixer/food processor, whisk, 22cm springform pan, small saucepan, small heat-proof bowl

INGREDIENTS

For the crust:

  • 24 (1½ packs) Oreo cookies – finely crushed
  • 57g butter or margarine

For the cheesecake filling:

  • 920g (4 tubs) cream cheese at room temperature
  • 270g caster sugar
  • 45ml cocoa powder
  • 4 eggs at room temperature
  • 280g dark chocolate – finely chopped

For the chocolate topping:

  • 100ml cream*
  • 160g dark chocolate – finely chopped
  • 15ml granulated sugar

For the decoration:

A little extra whipped cream as well as fruit, edible flowers or other decorations of your choice – I’ve used granadilla, kiwi, and figs as well as gold-dusted speckled eggs!

METHOD

Preheat oven to gas mark 4/175ºC/350ºF

Prepare your springform pan by cutting a circle of baking paper for the bottom, as well as cutting strips for the sides.

Instructions for the crust:

  • Finely crush the cookies in a food processor, then add melted butter and blend until well combined.
  • Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of your prepared pan and bake for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and set on a wire rack to cool while making the filling.

Instructions for the filling:

  • Melt the chocolate and set aside to cool.
  • Using your electric mixer, combine the cream cheese and sugar and mix until smooth.
  • Mix in the cocoa powder.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, mixing on low speed and taking care not to overbeat the mixture.

  • Add the cooled, melted chocolate and mix on low speed until well combined.
  • Pour the filling over the crust and smooth the top.
  • Place in the preheated oven and bake for about 1hr to 1hr 10mins. At this time, the center of the cheesecake will still be a little bit wobbly, but the surface will feel firm to the touch with a bit of give when pressed lightly.  If your finger sinks into the cake or comes away with batter on it, the cake needs more time in the oven. Bake it for another 5 minutes before rechecking it.

  • Cool on a wire rack until cool enough to place in the refrigerator (uncovered) to set completely – this needs to be at least 8 hours, but ideally overnight.

Instructions for the topping:

  • In a small saucepan, heat the cream until it boils (be careful not to let it boil over!).
  • Place the chopped chocolate in the heat-proof bowl and pour the hot cream over it.
  • Allow to stand for 5 – 10 mins to allow the hot cream to melt the chocolate and to allow the overall temperature to reduce a little.

  • Now for the whisking: start slowly, then increase your speed, whisking the mixture in one direction until smooth and creamy. This may take a little while, the ingredients may initially look like they don’t want to mix, but just carry on whisking until you get that lovely thick, rich texture everyone loves about ganache.
  • Set the ganache aside to cool a little, then pour over the cheesecake and allow to cool completely.
  • When the topping is set and cooled, gently remove the cheesecake from its springform pan and place on your plate of choice.

  • Decorate with whipped cream, fruit or whatever other decorations take your fancy – this can quite easily be tailored to any theme or occasion!

Cook’s notes:

* The chocolate and cream quantities used in this recipe make for a lovely glossy ganache that sets quite firmly, but not so much so that it cracks when you cut it.  By adding more or less cream, you can make yours runnier or more firm according to your preference.

* This cheesecake can be prepared 2-3 days in advance – simply store (covered) in the refrigerator until needed, then decorate as required.

* This can be an expensive bake, as the recipe calls for 4 tubs of cream cheese which can be quite pricey, but a baking-loving friend recently suggested freezing cream cheese, so that’s exactly what I’ve done.  I came across some reduced price tubs recently and bought a whole lot.  Defrosting them overnight worked wonderfully!

* For the gold-dusted speckled eggs, dampen the surface of the egg with a little water and a clean, soft paintbrush, then dip the egg in edible gold dust powder.

Happy Easter!

Celebrate Good Friday with a Sweet Braided Easter Loaf and Curried Fish

There are 3 traditions that I LOVE about Easter: hot cross buns, curried fish, and the start of the rainy season in the Cape. While we are praying for the third, the other 2 are luckily easy enough to get. Hot cross buns have a huge history, presumably dating back to the 12th century. The cross symbolises the crucifixion, and the spices resembled those used during embalming. While fish is traditionally served by Christians on Easter Friday worldwide, pickled fish is a Capetonian tradition. Drenched in a deliciously spicy curry sauce and onions, it’s the perfect accompaniment to hot cross buns – and it has been for the last couple of hundred years.

Instead of buns, I decided to make a spicy braided loaf this year. And while I had every intention of making the curried fish myself, the store-bought version was just so much easier! Here is my wholesome (and pretty!) Good Friday meal with a Spicy & Sweet Braided Loaf and Curried Fish.

braided Easter loaf

Sweet & Spicy Braided Loaf

(adapted from a recipe I found in Taste Magazine)

You will need:

For the bread:

  • 480 g strong bread flour
  • 2 x 10 g instant yeast sachets
  • 100 g brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t bicarbonate of soda
  • 3 tbsp mixed citrus peel
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 135 g sultanas and raisins

For the glaze:

  • 2 tbsp apricot jam
  • a dash of boiling water

Step 1: Put the flour, yeast, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, baking powder, and bicarb in a bowl. Mix together. Then add the dried fruit and citrus peel.

Step 2: Heat the milk and butter in a saucepan until the butter has melted. Then add the eggs and whisk.

braided Easter loaf

Step 3: Use a spoon to mix the dry and wet ingredients until a dough forms. If necessary, add more flour until the mixture is easy to handle.

braided Easter loaf

Step 4: Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and knead for about 10 minutes. Get the kids involved here – they’ll love it!! Then place in a floured bowl and cover it with clingfilm. Put it somewhere warm for 90 minutes, until it has roughly doubled in size – then you know the yeast is doing its thing!

braided Easter loaf

Step 5: Once the dough has doubled, place on a floured work surface and knock it down to its original size. For the braid, cut the dough into 3 equal lengths, and start braiding.

braided Easter loaf

braided Easter loaf

Step 6: Secure the ends of the braid by pressing the dough pieces together – use a little bit of water to help it stick.

braided Easter loaf

Step 7: Preheat the oven to 180°C.

braided Easter loaf

Step 8: Place the braid on a prepared baking tray and leave for another 30 minutes to rise. Then place in the heated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean from the centre.

braided Easter loaf

Step 9: While the bread is baking, add the boiling water to the apricot jam until it has melted. Once the bread is out of the oven, liberally spread the jam over the loaf while it is still hot.

hot cross bun loaf

Serve your pretty braided loaf with curried fish, cheese, and fresh peaches.

braided Easter loaf

Happy Easter!

Deliciously Light and Fluffy Beetroot and Feta Galette

I love beetroot, and when it comes to creating a colourful, savoury dish, beetroot has to be one of the ideal ingredients! I wanted to create a beetroot tart, but when I saw some galettes during my Pinterest inspiration quest, I had to try it! A galette is basically a crusty French puff pastry with a savoury filling. It’s kind of like a pizza with a puffy base, and it’s totally delicious on its own as a light meal, or as a side dish. It’s such a simple thing to create, and you can fill it with any number of ingredients. Here’s my deliciously colourful beetroot and feta galette with herbs.

Preparation Time: 10 mins

Cooking Time: 25 mins

You will need:

  • a roll of ready-made puff pastry
  • flour to dust
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 4 large beetroots, cooked and sliced
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 wheels of feta
  • a handful of walnuts, broken up
  • a handful of fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • a handful of fresh origanum, roughly chopped

Method:

STEP 1: Preheat the oven to 200°C.

STEP 2: Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly dusted work surface.

STEP 3: Place the rolled out pastry onto a prepared baking sheet. Fold the edges over to create a rim.

STEP 4: Using a knife, score the pastry just inside the rim without cutting all the way through. Then brush the rim with some beaten egg. Place in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until the pastry is puffy and golden.

STEP 5: While the pastry is baking, place the onion, garlic and butter in a frying pan and saute until it is cooked. Then add a dash of balsamic vinegar and the sugar.

STEP 6: Once the pastry is cooked, press the centre part down a bit and fill the crust with the cooked beetroot, sauteed onions, walnuts and broken up feta. Cook for another 10 minutes or until the feta is nice and soft.

STEP 7: Sprinkle with the chopped herbs and serve.

Happy cooking!

Sumptious Summer Veggie Souk Bowl for a Healthy Supper

I was recently treated to dinner at Souk in Long Street in Cape Town. It’s a decadently decorated gastropub that offers a simple tapas menu, but the food is interesting, fresh and totally delicious. They have a section for “Souk Bowls”, their own creation made up of a selection of fresh veggies and grilled seafood, beef or chicken, with a choice of couscous, quinoa, leaves or rice. It’s such a simple concept, but it looks beautiful and tastes divine, so I decided to put it to the test at home! It’s a great option for a light veggie meal, or you can add some meaty bits to it. I used what I had in the house, but the options are endless!

Summer Veggie Souk Bowl

You will need:

  • A selection of fresh fruit and veggies. I used red and yellow peppers, cucumber, corn, red onion and mango.
  • Grain of your choice – I chose quinoa which adds a beautiful nuttiness to the dish and packs a lot of protein!
  • Salad leaves
  • A sprinkle of fresh herbs
  • Soy sauce

Method:

Step 1: Cook your choice of grain as per the instructions on the packaging.

Step 2: Thinly slice the veggies, or cube them into bite-sized chunks. You can keep them raw, or quickly fry them in a bit of olive or coconut oil. I fried the corn but kept everything else as is.

PRO TIP: to take the bite out of the sliced onion, put it in a bowl and pour some boiling water on it. Then remove from the water after a couple of minutes and drain. Allow to cool before using. 

Step 3: Plate by placing the grain in the centre of a deep dish or bowl, and place all the veggies in little groups around it. Garnish with freshly chopped herbs, and add a small bowl of soya sauce. You can add some toasted sesame seeds as well for a bit of crunch!

That’s it – it is so simple, but it is absolutely delicious!

Happy eating!

One pan wonder – a quick frittata supper

You know those days when you a) can’t be bothered to cook and b) the kids are running around screaming and c) you just want to sit down and have a glass of wine? I regularly have those, and that’s when this little one pan wonder works beautifully! It’s quick sticks to whip up and works with whatever you have in the fridge (provided whatever you have includes eggs and cheese!). A frittata is an eggy Italian crustless quiche-y type of dish, that can be made with a variety of ingredients. My recipe is not traditional in any way, but it’s delicious none the less.

How to whip up a frittata in 20 minutes!

You will need:

  • 6 eggs
  • 200ml cream (optional, but it gives the dish a bit of extra deliciousness!)
  • 1 cup of grated cheese (I prefer cheddar)
  • Dash of olive oil for frying
  • Filling: this could be anything you have in the fridge, including leftovers, cut up into small pieces.

Ideas for a filling:

I like to have 1 or 2 veggies, 1 protein (meat or cheese) and a herb.

  1. Brocolli, feta, basil and small cubed potato (this is the one I made)
  2. Leftover cooked chicken, peas and thyme
  3. Ham with cherry tomato, mozzarella and origanum
  4. Butternut, feta and rocket

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C
  • Heat the oil in a large frying pan, and add garlic, raw veggies and meat pieces. Fry until cooked.
  • Whip up the eggs and season with salt and pepper. Then add the cream. For a nice and fluffy frittata, make sure that you get a good frothy mixture going. Then pour the eggs over the cooked filling.
  • Turn the heat down and let it cook until the edges are set.
  • Sprinkle with cheese and place in the oven to set, usually around 20 mins.

Serve with a side salad and crusty bread. And a large glass of wine!

FULL DISCLOSURE: My kids HATED this. They’ll happily eat it if I make it with butternut and feta, but for some reason, this one did not go down well – or at all. Oh well, one can only try. I thought it was delicious 😉

Sensational Seafood Tikka Masala for a quick summer supper

My wonderful husband is an awesome cook. So much so, that I have tried to convince him to take over kitchen duties on a regular basis. But while I am waiting for that to happen, I will happily eat whatever he dishes up on the weekend. He is a very adventurous cook as well, making things up as he goes along – mostly with fabulous results! Usually, tikka masala is made with chicken, but since our Veganuary has now turned into Vebruary as well, he decided to try making it with seafood. I am happy to report that it was a great success! Tikka Masala is not hot at all – it was mild enough for the kids to enjoy as well – so if chilli does not agree with your constitution, fear not! The ingredients and method are so straightforward that you can quickly throw this together for a weekday supper.

Seafood Tikka Masala

You will need:

  • 1 packet of tikka masala spice paste (this is the lazy version, but you can also make your own by using this recipe here)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped (this is optional, but we love garlic!)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup cream
  • 500g frozen seafood mix
  • Jasmine rice, lemon and coriander for serving

Let me just stop for a second by saying something about rice. In Asia, the rice aisle in the supermarket is like the bread aisle in a local shop: the variety is amazing. We were spoilt for choice when we lived abroad so when we came back and found such a limited selection; it took us quite a while to find a brand that we enjoyed. Jasmine rice is a South East Asian rice variety, while Basmati is the traditional rice to be eaten with Indian curry. I much prefer Jasmine over Basmati, that’s why I’m using it here.

Method:

  • Put on the rice* – this is going to be quick!
  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the spice mix for a couple of minutes.
  • Then add the garlic and onion and sweat it until it’s cooked but not going dark – about 5 minutes.
  • Next, add the tomato paste and cream.
  • Reduce the heat and put the seafood mix into the sauce, cooking it according to the instructions on the packet.
  • Serve the curry on a bed of rice, sprinkled with fresh coriander and a slice of lemon on the side.

*For some added flavour, cook the rice in vegetable stock!

Happy Cooking!

Sweet Little Stained Glass Heart Cookies For Valentine’s Day

I’m no expert when it comes to baking cookies… in fact, I think I’ve only ever tried them once before.  But I’ve acquired so many lovely cookie cutters over the years, and when I saw these little beauties on many a festive baking post, I thought: Why only for Christmas?  And so the idea for some Sweet Little Stained Glass Heart (Valentine’s!) Cookies was born.  They were not the easiest thing I’ve ever made, I had to bite my tongue a few times as yet another cookie stuck to the counter despite what felt like loads of flour under it, but life isn’t about always doing the easy, familiar thing, is it?  We need to challenge ourselves, and I have to say I’m SO happy with how the cookies turned out.  They were absolutely worth the effort!

valentine's cookies

YOU WILL NEED

EQUIPMENT:

An electric mixer, baking sheets (I used standard shallow oven trays), baking paper and cookie cutters*

 INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup (227g) unsalted butter, softened (I used margarine)
  • 1 cup (200g) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 Teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups (385g) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Additional flour, for rolling out the dough
  • Assorted Sparkles sweets, or other hard-boiled sweets

METHOD

  • Preheat oven to 190ºC / gas mark 5 / 375ºF
  • Prepare your baking trays by lining each with baking paper.
  • Using your electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Next, add the milk, egg, and vanilla extract, and mix thoroughly.
  • In a separate bowl, mix your dry ingredients with a fork.
  • Finally, in thirds, mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.

*Allow the dough to chill for at least an hour before working with it, longer for more humid climates.

valentine's cookies

  • Roll out the dough on a surface that has been prepped with flour. My lovely rolling pin has interchangeable discs to ensure you roll out to a certain thickness – I went for 4mm (1/6 inch) option, and this seemed to work very well.
  • Cut out the outside shape (largest cookie cutter) and place the cookie on the lined baking sheet.

  • After cutting enough cookies to fill the sheet, cut the small, inside shapes from each.

valentine's cookies

  • Place the Sparkles sweetie of your choice in the centre of each cookie. Some recipes mention crushing the sweets for this step – I found they worked perfectly with the size of the heart centre when whole, so it made sense to go for this (much easier!) option. About 6 minutes into the bake, the sweets melted into a very thin liquid that quickly filled the little heart shape.
  • Bake the cookies for 7-9 minutes until their edges begin to brown, then remove from the oven. Let the cookies cool for at least 20 minutes before removing from the baking sheet, and store in a cool, dry place before wrapping up as gifts.

valentine's cookies

* In choosing the shapes and sizes of the cookie cutters, consider how they might fit inside each other.  My outer cutters are about 95mm wide and my inner heart cutter is 40mmx40mm.

Happy Baking and Happy Valentine’s!

How To Make This Fabulous Melting Ice Cream Cake

You know the lovely long summer holiday you’ve been looking forward to for ages?  Well, don’t look now, but it’s all over!  Is it just me, or does it feel like that flew by quicker than you can say “flip-flops”?  But, fear not… school starting doesn’t mean the summer has gone!  I’ve got the perfect bake for a lovely hot January… a fab, funky Melting Ice Cream Cake with a surprisingly speckled inside! I baked this for a friend’s little girl – adapting the recipe & instructions from a similar cake on Pinterest.

YOU WILL NEED

EQUIPMENT

An electric mixer, 3 disposable foil trays (or equal sized baking tins if you have them) two piping bags, an icing scraper (or similar tool) and a long wooden / bamboo skewer

 INGREDIENTS

For the cake:

  • 350g self-raising flour
  • 3tsp baking powder
  • 350g soft unsalted butter
  • 350g caster sugar
  • 6 large free range eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Up to 65ml milk – any kind
  • 120g Icing-based sprinkles of your choice (normal sugar-based sprinkles like vermicelli or 100’s & 1000’s will melt away during the baking process, but icing-based ones retain their shape & colour)

For the frosting:

  • 200g butter, VERY soft but not melted
  • 250g medium fat cream cheese
  • +- 800g icing sugar, sifted
  • 1tbsp lemon juice
  • Purple gel colour

For the “melting ice cream” pink ganache:

  • 200g white cooking chocolate (large blocks, chopped up, work better than chocolate chips)
  • 85ml cream
  • Pink powder colour
  • Sprinkles to decorate

For the ice cream cone:

  • One sugar cone
  • 1 cup Rice Krispies

METHOD

Preheat oven to gas mark 4/170ºC/360 ºF

Prepare your disposable foil tins by spraying with Spray & Cook and cutting a circle of baking paper for each one

 

Instructions for the cake:

  • Cream your butter and sugar until combined, light and fluffy.
  • Add eggs one at a time.
  • In a separate bowl, mix baking powder & flour, then add little by little and mix well (with the mixer now on slow).
  • Add vanilla extract.
  • If your batter is a little thick as mine was, add up to 65ml of milk – adding a tablespoon at a time and stopping when you get to a consistency that you’re happy with.
  • Add your chosen sprinkles to the batter and mix well.
  • Using a spatula, divide your batter equally between the disposable tins. Use the back of a spoon to smooth down each cake – this will help them to bake flat.
  • Pop them into the oven and keep a close eye on them – you don’t want them to get browned. Take them out as soon as a skewer to the centre comes out clean (25-30 min depending on your oven).
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
  • Once cool, level the tops of all 3 layers, reserving the scraps for later use.

Instructions for the frosting:

  • Mix the butter and cream cheese
  • Add icing sugar gradually and mix well
  • Add lemon juice
  • Refrigerate to firm if necessary, or add up to 60ml hot water if too firm
  • Remove ⅔ of the white frosting from the mixing bowl and transfer to a separate bowl – cover with a damp towel to prevent the frosting from drying out.
  • Tint the remaining frosting, with the purple gel food colour, using a few drops at a time.
  • Transfer the purple frosting to a piping bag with a 12mm round tip. (If, like me, you don’t have the widest selection of piping tips, just using the coupler on its own works equally well! You could even just snip the tip off a disposable piping bag.)
  • Fill the second frosting bag with white frosting.

To assemble:

Use the remaining white frosting to sandwich the cake layers (I prefer to assemble my cakes directly on to a flat cake plate) and cover the entire cake in a thin crumb coat. You will have a little frosting left over and this should be reserved for later use.

After the crumb coat has been applied, use the piping bags with white and purple frostings to apply alternating lines of frosting around the sides of the cake, making them as even as possible. Using a cake turntable is recommended here, as it makes the job much easier.

 

Place your icing scraper vertically to the side of the frosted cake and carefully scrape away some of the frosting in a single motion until stripes are revealed. You may need to make several passes before the frosting is completely even – wipe excess frosting away from the scraper after each go. Set the cake aside while you prepare the ganache. (*See note below)

 

Instructions for the ganache:

  • Heat the cream until it’s about to boil, then add the chopped chocolate.
  • Allow to stand for 2 minutes, then stir until the chocolate has fully melted into the cream.
  • Whisk until smooth and glossy. When you start to stir it, you think it won’t come together, but it will.
  • Add pink powder colour, little by little, until the desired hue is achieved.
  • Allow to cool slightly to a pourable consistency.
  • Using a spoon, drizzle some of the ganache onto the centre of the cake, then gently push the pooled ganache over the edges of the cake to create a drip effect. Reserve the unused ganache.

 

Instructions for the ice cream cone:

  • Crumble the reserved cake scraps into a bowl and add 2 tablespoons of the remaining buttercream.
  • Mix until thoroughly combined and firm enough to pack into a ball. Roll the ball as smooth as possible, then set aside.
  • In another bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of icing with the Rice Krispies. Pack this mixture into the sugar cone and insert the bamboo skewer into the centre.
  • Thread the ball onto the skewer and press it on to the top of the sugar cone.
  • Use a spoon to cover the ball with the leftover pink ganache. If the ganache is too firm, reheat at 10-second intervals in the microwave until smooth and pourable. Allow the excess ganache to drip back into the bowl.
  • Turn the ice cream pop upside down and insert it into the cake at a slight angle.
  • Pour more ganache over the ball portion, if needed.
  • Cover the ice cream ball and pink ganache with sprinkles.

*The Pinterest post called for refrigerating the cake at this stage, which I did, but I found it made the smooth application of the ganache more difficult as it tended to set too quickly.  It was, therefore, difficult to spread/smooth it, so I wouldn’t recommend it. Luckily I had my little blowtorch handy so I could heat & blend some of the messier bits!

Happy baking!

 

 

Wholesome and Scrumptious Veggie Summer Salad

Every January, Joey and I give up something. It started as a detox plan 13 years ago, initially only with alcohol, and has slowly grown into an elaborate restart to the year. So on top of being dry every January, we also give up things that we feel may not serve us as well as they used to. Some things stick and become a life-long habit (like sugar), and others are temporary (like coffee). Some make us realize how precious our time spent together is (like TV) and others remind us to be present and empathetic (it’s not only tactile things that we give up!). So this Jan, we’ve added red and white meat to our list of omissions. We still eat fish and eggs but will forgo meat until Feb. That does put a bit of a strain on my cooking abilities so I am spending more time finding ideas than actually cooking! This veggie summer salad is a version of a lunch dish that I used to buy from a little healthfood take-away when we lived in Hong Kong.

This is an amazingly balanced and filling meal and the combinations of flavours are just stunning. The sesame seeds add a bit of crunch and the dressing has a lovely tanginess that balances the sweet veggies. You can of course also use it as a side dish with a braai 😉

Wholesome and Scrumptious Veggie Summer Salad (serves 6)

summer veggie salad

You will need:

  • 2 cups of cooked and cooled brown rice
  • 1 cup of cooked and cooled brown lentils*
  • Coconut or olive oil to fry
  • 1x Red Pepper, deseeded and chopped
  • 1x Yellow Pepper, deseeded and chopped
  • 1x Large Aubergine, cubed
  • 1x Red Onion, finely chopped
  • 1x tsp finely chopped garlic
  • 1 handful fresh Coriander (Cilantro), finely chopped.
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Juice and rind of 1 lemon
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • 1x cup double cream yoghurt

Use dried lentils, soaked overnight if you can. But if you don’t have time, then tinned lentils will work just as well!

Method:

Heat the oil in a frying pan or wok and fry the garlic for a couple of minutes. Then add the rest of the veggies and fry until the aubergine is soft – but not squishy. This will take about 7 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Mix the rice and lentils in a large bowl and mix in the cold veggies. Scoop it out into a large serving dish.

Toast the sesame seeds in a pan without and oil. Once they turn a lovely golden colour, remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Sprinkle the salad with the sesame seeds and half of the lemon rind. Then squeeze over half a lemon and finish with the chopped coriander.

summer veggie salad

To make the dressing:

Put the yoghurt in a small bowl, squeeze the other half of the lemon over it and sprinkle with the rest of the lemon rind.

Serve each helping with a dollop of the dressing.

summer veggie salad

Enjoy!

 

 

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