blomboy workshop and more at spier werf market

Spier Werf Market

Every last Saturday of the month a lively and fun market is hosted at Spier Wine Farm just outside Stellenbosh. Stands with fresh fruit, vegetables, sweet and savoury bakes, an abundance of wines and not to mention the wine cocktails can be found in the shade under the trees. Live music, plenty of activities for the kids and just a good old time can be expected.

I received tickets to attend a flower arranging workshop hosted by Alwijn Burger, also known as BLOMBOY. It was a relaxed and engaging workshop with Alwijn leaving us, mostly, to let our own creativity shine. Some people’s creativity shone more than others, but all and all it was a really fun workshop.

Follow theblomboy on Instagram for a glimpse of Alwijn’s exceptional creativity.

Be sure not to miss the next Spier Werf Market and take your picnic blanket along – sitting under the trees on the lawn is a definite must!

Spier Werf Market

Cheerio

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revving up rosé

Revving up Rosé

I won tickets to the Revving Up Rosé festival off the fabulous Mzansi Style Cuisine Facebook page a week ago. This festival was a grand old celebration of Rosé from the various wine estates in the Franschhoek Valley.

Rickety Bridge Winery

I arrived, a little late, at Rickety Bridge just outside of Franschhoek on 13 February 2016, to find a lovely relaxed vibe on the lawns of the winery. The wine estates who had their rosy gold on display, were friendly and forthcoming with sharing just what makes their Rosé so special. I tasted ALL of them, of course, while enjoying the company of friends on the lawn. It was a slightly overcast day in the Franschhoek Valley, which made it perfect for a little chinwag and wine-ing.

Revving up Rosé

Here’s a small collection of images from the day:

There was upbeat music to keep the feet tapping, which was later replaced with a live performance by a local group. Jumping castles kept the kids busy while mom and dad could enjoy the wine and some tasty dishes from the Rickety Bridge restaurant. You had to book a table beforehand or, like we did, simply make yourself comfy on the lawn. Picnic baskets could also be ordered from Rickety Bridge.

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The atmosphere was very relaxed and the Wolftrap guys even had their Boston Boxer there, chilling in the background.

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I will certainly keep an eye out for the next one, secure a table under the umbrellas and be there early!

Cheerio

 

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carrot & almond cake

Carrot and Almond Cake

Carrot and Almond Cake

Last week it was Carrot Cake Day and Twitter exploded with tantalising images and delicious recipes for carrot cake of of all sorts. I’ve been dying for a slice of cream cheese frosting covered carrot cake for while now, so decided that the time was perfect for a little indulgence.

Carrot and Almond Cake

I have an old recipe for a carrot and cashew nut cake from my bakery days that used to be quite popular, but decided to play around with it and I settled on the new variation below. A scrumptious, slightly sophisticated carrot and almond cake with enough spiciness to make you sit upright. If a spicy carrot cake is not your thing, then obviously just lighten up on the mixed spice and cinnamon, but I recommend you give it at least a try.

Carrot and Almond Cake

Carrot cake, of course, wouldn’t be the same without a luscious cream cheese frosting. I like to add lemon juice and lemon zest, but just the juice is fine if you don’t have a microplane – which in my opinion is essential for a really fine zest so that the frosting’s texture is not compromised.

Carrot and Almond Cake

Now, I know that traditionally pecan nuts and walnuts are used in carrot cake, but that’s why I thought whole almonds and a splash of almond extract would be a welcome change to this old time favourite. Another big debate around carrot cake is whether to add banana or crushed pineapple for additional moistness. I used to love adding banana and a a handful of desiccated coconut, but with this recipe I only added banana. I find pineapple lends the cake too much to Hummingbird cake. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s a cake for another day’s discussion.

Carrot and Almond Cake

Here’s my recipe:

CARROT & ALMOND CAKE
serves 12

Ingredients

  • 275 g flour
  • 115 g self-raising flour
  • 7.5 ml bicarbonate of soda
  • 7.5 ml mixed spice
  • 5 ml ground cinnamon
  • 330 g brown sugar
  • 100 g whole raw almonds, chopped
  • 5 eggs
  • 300 g carrots, grated
  • 2 bananas, mashed
  • 375 ml vegetable oil
  • 5 ml vanilla extract
  • 2.5 ml almond extract

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and prepare two 20cm round tins with non-stick spray.
  2. Sift  the flours, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and mixed spice together in a large bowl.
  3. Whisk the eggs and brown sugar together with an electric mixer until pale and thick, then slowly add the oil in a thin, steady stream.
  4. Add the mashed bananas and mix through before adding the flour mixture and the chopped almonds.
  5. Add the grated carrots after the flour has been incorporated and then add the vanilla and almond extract.
  6. Divide the mixture between the two tins and bake for about 20 minutes before lowering the oven temperature to 160 degrees Celsius to continue baking until golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake – about another 35 – 45 minutes.
  7. Remove the baked cakes from the oven and allow to cool down before turning out onto a cooling rack. Prepare the cream cheese frosting in the meantime – see recipe below.
  8. Once the cakes are completely cooled, carefully sliced each layer in half so that you have four equally thick layers.
  9. Now place the first layer onto your serving platter and spread a generous amount of frosting all the way to the edges. Place the second layer of cake on top of the first and continue with the process until you finish the with last layer, topped with cream cheese frosting.
  10. Decorate the cake with additional whole almonds and some flower petals.
  11. Serve generous slices with a cup of tea.

Carrot and Almond Cake

VANILLA & LEMON CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
enough for a four layer 20cm round cake

Ingredients

  • 240 g butter, at room temperature
  • 480 g cream cheese, take out of the fridge for at least 15 minutes before using
  • 850 g icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out
  • juice of half a lemon
  • zest of half a lemon

Method

  1. Whisk the butter with an electric mixer until pale before adding the cream cheese.
  2. Continue whisking until well incorporated, then add the icing sugar in three batches and whisk well after each addition.
  3. Add the the lemon juice, zest and vanilla seeds. Mix through.
  4. Use the cream cheese frosting on carrot cake, hummingbird cake, apple and sultana cake or banana loaf. It can even be warmed gently in the microwave to pour over cinnamon buns.
  5. Store the cream cheese frosting in the fridge for up to a week.

The carrot cake keeps well at room temperature, if it’s not too hot, otherwise keep it in the fridge, covered, for up to a week.

Cheerio

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a cook named madeleine

Madeleines

Madeleines

Perhaps you’ve heard of France’s incredibly popular scallop-shaped tea cake known as a madeleine. This buttery cake’s  uniqueness is mostly in its shape. But, as with a lot of foods in France, there is a charming history to this fat-bellied little tea cake.

Madeleines

Stanislas Leczinski, king of Poland, used to have a second home in the town of Commercy in Lorraine, a region in the east of France. One day, in 1755, he received as guests the great Voltaire and Madame du Châtelet, who both had a sweet tooth. For this occasion he requested from his cook, a woman called Madeleine Paulmier, to create a new treat in their honor. She presented to the king’s guests small cakes with fat bellies.  They were declared to be excellent because among other reasons of their delicate bergamot orange flavour.

It is said that King Stanislas appreciated them so much that he sent a parcel full of them to the king of France, Louis XV, in Versailles. The cake became so popular and so successful that it was decided to call it “The Cake of the Queen”, but the queen preferred to call it Madeleine, after the cook who created them.

Madeleines

The madeleine was then immortalised by Marcel Proust in his autobiographical book, Á la recherche du temps perdu (Remembrance of Things Past), where a taste of the cake plunges the narrator back into his childhood. He wrote: “She sent out for one of those short, plump little cakes called ‘petites madeleines’, which look as though they had been moulded in the fluted scallop of a pilgrim’s shell… An exquisite pleasure had invaded my senses…”

And this is why the name of a modest cook of a noble house became famous forever.

Madeleines

I’ve developed a recipe that works well for me. There are loads of Madeleine recipes out there, so I recommend you give some of them a try before settling on the right one for you. I add a smidgen of honey to mine – it makes them just a little moister so that they last at least till the next day. Not that they ever do, though! Have a look at my recipe below.

Madeleines

HONEY MADELEINES
makes about 36

Ingredients

  • 100 g butter, melted
  • 15 ml honey
  • 125 g castor sugar
  • 125 g self-raising flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2.5 ml vanilla extract

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and prepare Madeleine tins with non-stick spray.
  2. Cream the eggs, egg yolk and castor sugar together until thick and pale then sieve the self-raising flour over the creamed mixture.
  3. Gently fold the flour in.
  4. Add the melted butter, honey and vanilla extract. Mix well.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the prepared Madeleine tins and bake for about 10 -12 minutes until fully risen and golden.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before turning the Madeleines out onto a cooling rack.
  7. Enjoy the Madeleines warm or at room temperature.
  8. Store them in a sealed container for up to one day.

You can also flavour the Madeleines with citrus zest, rosewater, rum, hazelnut oil, almond oil or omit the honey and just add vanilla. Like I’ve mentioned before, Madeleines are best enjoyed on the day they were baked and shouldn’t really be kept. So bake ’em, brew a pot of tea while they cool and then tuck in!

Madeleines

Cheerio

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