simple apple galettes

Apple galette

There’s something quite comforting to be found in the result of puff pastry being baked with generous amounts of butter, apples and a light almond paste. That comfort has a name and it’s called an APPLE GALETTE.

I first learned about galettes when I was still a third year chef student doing an internship under the expert eye of Angie Boyd at Vanilla House Patisserie. Simple little puff pastry rounds with an almond crème pâtissière topping and thinly sliced apples, baked to golden perfection.

Apple galette

Galettes are essentially free-form open tarts. There are no rules as to size or shape, which makes it fun and exciting to prepare. Puff pastry makes it easy to bake galettes and the filling is really up to you and what you feel like. I like to take ground almonds and mix it with egg white and icing sugar to make a simple paste. I use this paste to spread over the pastry and then top it with either sliced apple, peach or pear. Here’s my simple recipe below.

APPLE GALETTES
serves 8

ingredients

  • 400 g ready rolled puff pastry, thawed
  • 4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 250 ml ground almonds
  • 2 – 3 egg whites
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 5 ml vanilla extract
  • 100 ml icing sugar
  • 50 butter, melted
  • extra icing sugar for dusting
  • apricot jam for glazing

method

  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C and cover a baking sheet with non-stick baking paper.
  2. Prepare the almond paste by combining the ground almonds, icing sugar, zest, vanilla and two egg whites together in a mixing bowl. If it’s very thick, add the third egg white and mix until smooth.
  3. Unroll the pastry onto the lined baking tray. Use a sharp paring knife to score an edge all along the sides of the pastry; about 1cm on all sides.
  4. Spread the almond paste over the pastry, not going over the scored edges.
  5. Arrange the apple slices over the paste to cover the entire surface, then brush with melted butter and dust with icing sugar.
  6. Bake in the hot oven for about 20 minutes until golden along the edges.
  7. Remove the galette from the oven and set aside.
  8. Melt the apricot jam in the microwave and brush the hot jam over the apples to glaze.
  9. If you have some almond flakes, sprinkle these over to decorate.
  10. Serve the galette warm with either vanilla ice cream or mascarpone and a cup of Earl Grey tea.

variation

  • cut rounds of pastry with a scone cutter and arrange as instructed above

Apple galette

Warm the galette up in the oven if you’re keeping it for the next day and simply brush with some more melted apricot jam to freshen it up.

Cheerio

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curried tuna fishcake burgers

Curried tuna hot cross bun burgers

It’s Easter weekend and the best part is all the chocolate and hot cross bun indulging about to commence! Hot cross buns are available at every outlet you can possibly find and it’s the perfect opportunity to take advantage of it, by making use of them in various, tasty ways.

Hot cross buns

Have you every tried replacing regular rolls for burgers with hot cross buns? You’d be surprised at how well they work! Here’s a delicious curried tuna fishcake recipe that should definitely feature somewhere along your Easter weekend.

Curried tuna hot cross bun burgers

CURRIED TUNA FISHCAKE BURGERS
serves 4

Ingredients

  • 300 g tinned tuna, drained
  • half an onion, finely chopped
  • 15 ml curry powder
  • 20 ml fresh coriander, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 45 ml self-raising flour
  • 2 eggs
  • buckwheat flour for dusting
  • oil for frying
  • 1 lemon
  • good quality mayonnaise
  • fresh chopped parsley
  • tomatoes and fresh spinach
  • 4 hot cross buns

Method

  1. To make the fishcakes, combine the tuna, onion, coriander, curry powder and seasoning in a bowl.
  2. Add the eggs and self-raising flour – mix well.
  3. Loosely shape small fishcakes and dust them with buckwheat flour.
  4. Heat about half a cup of vegetable oil and shallow fry the fishcakes until golden on both sides. Drain on absorbent kitchen towel.
  5. In the meantime, slice open the hot cross buns and lightly toast the cut sides.
  6. Mix the chopped parsley and mayonnaise together; add a squeeze of lemon juice.
  7. Arrange the burgers and add some greenery and tomatoes.
  8. Enjoy with sweet potato wedges or matchstick fries.

These fishcakes are delicious added to a green salad; toast chunks of hot cross buns to use as croutons.

Have a scrumptious Easter!

Cheerio

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sriracha & sedgwick’s roast chicken

Roast Chicken

A roast for Sunday lunch can’t be beaten. A roast that takes just about no effort is even better. A few simple ingredients paired beautifully, can make a lunch set for the books.

Give my Sriracha and Sedgwick’s Roast Chicken recipe a try for you next Sunday lunch. A couple of potatoes thrown into the mix with a simple salad and your family will be singing your praises.

Roast Chicken

SRIRACHA & SEDGWICK’S ROAST CHICKEN
serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 large cleaned free range chicken
  • 15 ml olive oil
  • 15 ml Sriracha
  • 45 ml Sedgwick’s Old Brown or other sherry
  • handful fresh parsley, washed and roughly chopped
  • handful fresh thyme, washed
  • half a lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • salt and pepper

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Place the chicken in an ovenproof dish.
  3. Combine the Sriracha, Sedgwick’s, olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl, then pour it over the chicken and gently rub it into the chicken.
  4. Place the lemon and garlic in the cavity.
  5. Lift the skin over the breasts and press the parsley and thyme under the skin. Add some of the herbs into the cavity and around the chicken.
  6. Cover the dish and place it in the oven to roast for about 50 minutes.
  7. Uncover the chicken and baste it with the liquid in the dish. Allow the chicken to roast for another 15 – 20 minutes until golden and crispy.
  8. Remove from the oven and serve with roast potatoes, rice, veggies or salad.

Make use of leftover roast chicken for delicious and flavourful chicken mayo sarmies on fresh sourdough bread.

Cheerio

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frenchsunset picnic in hout bay

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What is the frenchSUNSET picnic about? It’s a quick escape to the heart of Parisian fare with scrummy eats, live entertainment, poetry and cooking lessons. There’s no need for a visa, ’cause it’s happening at the gorgeous Glenellen Farm in Hout Bay, so there’s no excuse to miss out!

The frenchSUNSET pop-up picnics started in 2014 and was hugely successful, so on 9 April 2016, you can bring your picnic blanket, basket and happy vibe to enjoy a line-up which include the likes of:

  • Comedian Siv Ngesi as the event’s host
  • Poet Kyle Louw
  • Acoustic Elements
  • Upcoming french singer Savannah
  • Mapumba and band
  • Soul Power Circus Band
  • Dj Didier
  • Dj Ozy and more

Apart from the fab line-up, visitors will receive a few picnic starters like French cheese, baguettes and a bottle of wine to add onto their own picnic stash.

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There’ll be something for everyone in the family, even a jumping castle and other fun activities for the kids (and kids under 15 get in for FREE)! Don’t miss out on French chefs Nadège Lepoittevin-Dassé and Kamel Hamzaoui who will be enticing those interested with cooking tips and pastry how-to’s. There will be a raffle with amazing prizes; the main prize being a trip for two to Europe.

Visitors should remember to pack a jersey or an extra blanket, to keep cozy during the the movie that will be screened after sunset.

So what do you need? Use this checklist:

Picnic Checklist

What will you be wearing? Well, it’s a French affair, so red, blue and white will do just fine! Have a look at our frenchSUNSET Picnic Style Pinterest board for some more inspiration.

Tickets start at R175 and can be bought at www.frenchsunset.co.za.

Get social with frenchSUNSET: Twitter, Facebook and Pinerest.

Hope to see you there!

Cheerio

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peach tarte tatin

Peach Tarte Tatin

Straight off the bat of summer fruit season here in the South, here’s my Peach Tarte Tatin recipe. Do you know the Tarte Tatin story?

Peach Tarte Tatin

Tarte tatin, in case you don’t know, is the most delicious upside-down French tart, usually prepared with apple. The story goes that two sisters by the name of Tatin, used to make this delicious apple tart and one day, by accident, dropped it. They decided to to serve it upside down and the rest, as they say, is history.

These days you’ll find tarte tatin in all shapes, sizes and with a vast variety of fruit and even vegetables on menus all around the world. Tarte Tatin is fairly simple to prepare as long as you take it on with conviction, as Julia Child would say. Keep a close eye on the sugar so that it doesn’t caramelise too much and it’s easy sailing from there on.

PEACH AND THYME TARTE TATIN
Serves about 6

Ingredients

  • 5 peaches, stoned and cut into six wedges
  • 100 g castor sugar
  • 85 g butter
  • 1 vanilla bean, split in halve
  • 1 roll puff pastry, thawed
  • 3 sprigs of fresh lemon thyme (regular thyme will do fine, too)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 190 deg Celsius.
  2. Place the sugar, vanilla bean and butter in a medium frying pan and gently melt together. Once the butter has melted, allow the sugar to caramelise – do not stir, rather swirl the pan every now and then.
  3. Arrange the peach wedges in a round, medium sized, oven-proof dish. Scatter the thyme leaves over.
  4. Once the sugar mixture reaches a beautiful, golden caramel colour, it can be removed from the heat and gently poured over the peaches.
  5. Place the pastry over the peaches and tuck it in slightly around the edges. Brush the pastry with a little extra melted butter and place the dish in the hot oven.
  6. Bake for about 30 – 35 minutes until the pastry is crisp with a golden brown colour.
  7. Remove the tarte from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before turning it out onto a serving plate. Take care not to burn when doing this.
  8. Add a few extra sprigs of thyme and serve warm with ice cream, creme fraiche or mascarpone.

Peach Tarte Tatin

Alternatively, prepare the Tarte Tatin with apples or if you can get apricots, try it with those.

Cheerio

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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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the sedgwick’s lane

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This Sedgwick’s cocktail is a delicious must-try for the summer. It’s dedicated to the only street you could bottle your dreams. Sounds mystical, hey!

 Sedgwick's Lane

Ingredients

  • 6 ice cubes
  • 1 tsp. castor sugar
  • 1 punnet raspberries
  • 50 ml Sedgwick’s Old Brown
  • 50 ml cranberry juice
  • Sparkling water (to top it up)
  • 1 sprig basil

Method

In a cocktail shaker, add 3 ice cubes, castor sugar and a handful of raspberries (leaving a few behind for garnishing). Muddle and pour in Sedgwick’s Old Brown and cranberry juice. Shake well. Strain into a cocktail glass over ice cubes and top with sparkling water. Garnish with raspberries and basil.

Cheers!

Recipe and image via De Kock Communications

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