mushrooms on sourdough

Mushrooms on sourdough

Lazy weekend mornings should not be spoiled slaving over breakfast pots and pans. Nope, rather give me a quick breakie that still packs a tasty punch. My mushrooms on sourdough hits the spot just fine.

Mushrooms on sourdough

You don’t need loads of ingredients for this one. It’s really simple, but delivers big time on flavour. It’s best made with really fresh shrooms, don’t settle for sad should-have-been-chucked-yesterday mushrooms. Fresh thyme and fresh garlic make this dish a winner. I’ve made it with dried thyme – it does the job – but please don’t use pre-chopped garlic in oil. That stuff should never be in your kitchen!

Mushrooms on sourdough

Lastly, sourdough bread. Fresh, crusty and yeasty. YUM! This dish simply needs the sourdough. Store bought white bread won’t do it any justice, trust me.

Mushrooms on sourdough

Here’s how to prepare it.

MUSHROOMS ON SOURDOUGH
serves 2

ingredients

  • 1 punnet (250 g) fresh portabellini mushrooms, halved
  • 3 whole cloves of garlic, lightly crushed
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme, washed
  • 10 ml olive oil
  • knob of butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • half a lemon
  • 2 slices of fresh sourdough, lightly toasted

method

  1. Heat a large frying pan, add the olive oil.
  2. Sauté the mushrooms and the whole garlic together over high heat to sear the mushrooms and release the sweet flavour of the garlic.
  3. Add the sprigs of thyme and the knob of butter. Continue to sauté, taking care not to burn the garlic.
  4. In the meantime, lightly toast the sourdough, not too dark, though.
  5. Season the mushrooms liberally with salt and pepper. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and spoon over the sourdough.
  6. Add some fresh wild rocket if you like.

The wild rocket adds an extra peppery punch, but it’s not crucial to serve it like this. Enjoy it the way you prefer.

Cheerio

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banana loaf breakfast

Toasted Banana Loaf

This weekend or next weekend (or any weekend!) grab a banana loaf from your nearest bakery and give this little number a try. Of course, if you have time to whip up your own loaf, by all means, go for it.

Toasted Banana Loaf SAMSUNG CSCIf you haven’t tried Clemengold’s delicious range of preserved products, then we can’t be friends. So while you’re searching for a fresh banana loaf, be sure to grab a jar or three of Clemengold Preserve. You can thank me later.

ClemengoldHere’s how you’ll be putting this together:

TOASTED BANANA LOAF WITH MASCARPONE AND CLEMENGOLD
serves 4

ingredients

  • 1 x fresh banana loaf, sliced
  • 250 g mascarpone
  • 1 jar Clemengold preserved mandarin

method

  1. Toast the banana loaf slices until crispy and golden, either in a toaster or under the grill of the oven. Take care not to burn it.
  2. Stack 2 – 3 slices on a plate and spoon a generous dollop of mascarpone on top.
  3. Top with Clemengold preserved mandarin and drizzle a little of the syrup over.
  4. Tuck in!

See, easy and simple. But absolutely mouth-watering!

Toasted Banana Loaf

Cheerio

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moroccan meatballs

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Comfort food! Gimme comfort food, now! Moroccan meatballs with creamy, garlicky sweet potato mash is a plate full of comfort and your name is all over it.

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Give it a try – I promise you won’t regret it.

MOROCCAN MEATBALLS WITH GARLIC SWEET POTATO MASH
serves 4

ingredients for the meatballs

  • 1 kg lean beef mince
  • 60 ml rolled oats soaked in cold water for 20 minutes and drained
  • 15 ml fine salt
  • 5 ml dried chilli flakes
  • 2.5 ml ground cinnamon
  • 5 ml ground cumin
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed
  • 2.5 ml freshly ground black pepper
  • half an onion, finely chopped and fried in a little oil

ingredients for the tomato sauce

  • 20 ml olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 x tins whole peeled tomatoes
  • 5 ml salt
  • 5 ml honey

ingredients for the garlic sweet potato mash

  • 600 g sweet potatoes, washed and steamed
  • 100 g butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

method

  1. Make the meatball mixture by combining all the ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. Shape the meatballs into desired size, taking care not to pack the meat too tightly together. Place the meatballs on a tray and place them in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  3. In the meantime prepare the tomato sauce by sauteeing the garlic in the olive oil.
  4. Once the garlic starts to turn a light golden colour, add the tomatoes, salt and honey. Bring to a gentle simmer and allow to cook for about 10 to 15 minutes until thick and sweet.
  5. Place the meatballs into the sauce and bring to a gentle simmer. Allow to cook for about 20 minutes, semi-covered, until the meatballs are cooked through and tender.
  6. In the meantime, finish the sweet potato mash by peeling the steamed sweet potatoes and place them into a large bowl. Add the butter, finely chopped garlic and seasoning. Mash with a potato masher until smooth and creamy.
  7. Serve warm mash with cooked meatballs, sauce and fresh coriander.

If sweet potato is not your vibe, then regular mash will do just fine – FYI.

Cheerio

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corn cakes crazy

Corn Cakes

Sunday mornings are for calorie filled breakfasts and second helpings of it, too! And don’t even think of calling it a Sunday breakfast if there’s no crispy bacon… Just saying.

Corn Cakes

A trusted, not exactly new, favourite is this corn cakes recipe. Now, just to be clear, the basic batter is just that – BASIC. Any old tin of something that’s lurking in the back of the cupboard can be added to spruce it up. Add your fav chopped herbs or a pinch of spice.

Here goes:

CORN CAKES WITH MAPLE BACON & SRIRACHA MASCARPONE
serves 2 – 4

ingredients

  • 375 ml self-raising flour
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 60 ml melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 125 ml milk
  • 125 ml tinned corn, drained
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed from twigs
  • 125 g streaky bacon
  • 30 ml maple syrup
  • 125 g mascarpone
  • 15 ml sriracha sauce

method

  1. Sieve the self-raising flour in a medium mixing bowl. Add the salt and dried chilli flakes.
  2. Make a well in the centre, then add the melted butter, eggs and milk. Mix these ingredients with a fork and gradually incorporate the flour.
  3. Once the batter comes together, add the drained corn and fresh thyme. Mix through.
  4. Allow the batter to sit for a few minutes while starting on the bacon.
  5. Heat a splash of oil in a frying pan. Sear the bacon on both sides, then add the maple syrup and allow the bacon to caramelise.
  6. In a second frying pan, heat some more oils and gently cook tablespoon fulls of the batter until golden brown on both sides.
  7. To serve, stack the corn cakes with crispy bacon and dollop mascarpone combined with sriracha on top.
  8. Enjoy warm.

Corn Cakes

Happy breakfast planning!
Cheerio

 

 

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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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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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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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passion fruit curd

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As it bursts open and spill the colour and aroma of summer, I remember why I love passion fruit so much. Be it a cheesecake topping, part of a salad dressing or just scooped from the peel with a tablespoon, I simply cannot get enough of this exotic little fruit.

Passion fruit

I was given a bowl full passion fruit and decided to whisk together one of the tastiest treats you can make with butter – curd! Lemon curd has always had a soft spot in my heart, so for the first time ever I tried it with passion fruit and between you and me, it’s beyond sinful. Simple, quick and the best enjoyed straight from the jar.

Passion fruit curd

PASSION FRUIT CURD

Ingredients

  • 250 ml passion fruit pulp
  • 250 ml castor sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 125 g butter, cold from the fridge
  • 5 ml vanilla extract

Method

  1. In a large pot, combine the castor sugar, eggs, egg yolks and passion fruit pulp.
  2. Set over a medium heat and stir using a whisk. Allow the mixture to heat up and thicken, but don’t let it boil as this will lead to curdling.
  3. Once the mixture is thick enough to confidently coat the back of a wooden spoon, remove from the heat and allow to sit for a bit.
  4. Cut the butter into cubes and start whisking it into the mixture in two batches.
  5. Add the vanilla extract, pour the curd into sterilised jars and seal.
  6. I keep the jars in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Passion fruit curd

Add passion fruit curd to scones, vanilla ice cream or over fruit salad. It’s delicious used to sandwich sponge cake together (especially with a generous addition of whipped cream).

But straight from the jar with a spoon, it makes for the ultimate treat!

Cheerio.

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