Category Archives: Dessert

Hallow’s Eve Chocolate Bark

Can you all believe that the month of October is pretty much over?

Where have all the days gone?

The days just flew too quickly! I swear it was my sister’s birthday, then my uncle’s, my dad’s, and my close family friends (aka my other uncle’s) birthday just one after another. It was a “bam, bam, bam” scenario when it comes to their birthdays. Well more so for my oom (uncle in Dutch), my dad, and dear Bruce as they are within a few days of each other. But still!

And tomorrow is the eve of Halloween!

Are you all set for the festivities that come with the thirty-first?

I’m not! I still need to get more latex and other special effects for my boyfriend’s face! I’ll show you a photo of what I will be doing to him.

Two Face Harvey Dent

And if you don’t know what exactly is going to be done, here is a little instruction demo about what you can do with liquid latex. I did this to him to figure out what I am doing:

His mom called frantic!
His mom called frantic!

I don’t even have anything for my own costume! We also haven’t even carved out pumpkins!

BUT I did make a cool and spooky bark for this afternoon for work. I don’t work on Saturday so I thought I’d spice up the work day with some candy corn and black and orange sprinkles.

I got the recipe for the bark from Family Fresh Meals. The direct link to the recipe can be found here though.

I tried to follow the recipe. Well actually I did, I just couldn’t for the life of me find tiny candy eye balls! All I can think of is that Americans must be odd with their candy eyes on normal shelves in stores.

Though I am rather sad that none of our Oreo cookies have an orange or yellow filling to go with the season. They are all white and boring!

Ingredients:

  • 4 – 225g bags white chocolate chipits
  • 8 Oreo cookies, broken up into chunks
  • 1 cup (112g) pretzels, broken into pieces
  • 1 cup (1,248g) candy corn
  • 1 teaspoon black sprinkles
  • ½ teaspoon orange and black sprinkles

Instructions:

  1. Melt the white chocolate at a low heat until smooth. Stir frequently to prevent burning.

  2. While chocolate is melting, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and cover with cookie chunks, pretzels, and candy corn.

  3. Once chocolate has completely melted, pour over cookie sheet. Spread with a spatula to ensure chocolate is evenly distributed over everything.

  4. While chocolate is still sticky, scatter candy corn on chocolate, sprinkle sprinkles, and pop in refrigerator until hard.

  5. Break into chunks and enjoy!

Halloween BarkHalloween Bark

The black sprinkles are too cool for words. They have a bit of a sparkly sheen to them! I got them at a special baking store actually! The baking store is attached to a bakery that sells classic French pastries, like macarons, croissants, and éclairs! How lovely, right?

Black Sprinkles

I found out that I love lavender madeleine’s though! I even bought a mold to try and make them myself.

We’ll see if I will be able to make madeleine’s! I hope I can!

Black and Orange sprinkles

As you can see these are my other sprinkles! I have a feeling I will be decorating everything in orange and black for a good while! I may make a funfetti cake with orange and black sprinkles. That would be neat. Or a chocolate funfetti cake, you know as the orange would be the only thing sticking out? Actually do people ever do that?

Whatever! That was my masterpiece and I cannot wait to bring it into work! Even with the big boss lady coming in. I’m sure she will enjoy it!

Hope you all have a spooky Halloween!

Authentic Sweet & Tart Lemon Meringue Pie

Growing up, my absolute favourite dessert to eat was lemon meringue pie. I remember desiring as my birthday cake even! But when I think of a lemon meringue pie I think of a light fluffy meringue which is browned from the heat of an oven, you know with those beautiful browned tips? Well I recently tried a lemon meringue pie here and I was so incredibly put off. My friends who are both South African told me that what I had was what is South African but I even googled photos of what I know as the pie and was told off that that isn’t what is known here.

They use meringue cookies as a meringue topping!
They use meringue cookies as a meringue topping!

So I thought I would make a lemon meringue pie as I know it to show my friends. Last night I made a lemon meringue pie from scratch to test on my parents and if it turned out amazingly I would later make another one for my friends. Thankfully mom and dad both loved the pie that I will most definitely be making another one!

Though I am never whisking my egg whites to make a meringue again. It took me probably more than thirty-five minutes to make a meringue. My right arm was ready to fall off. I was even wishing Austin had hands instead of paws so he could have whisked for me. If he could speak he would have told you that too.

Meringue Held Up

Anyway, I got the recipe from the Spiced Blog. I did look at multiple lemon meringue pie recipes but this one seemed the easiest to read and make. The direct link for the recipe can be found here.

Fresh Lemon Meringue Pie

Ingredients:

  • 1 batch of phyllo pastry, store bought
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 ½ cups (340g) white sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons (9.38g) cornstarch
  • 1 1/3 cups (315ml) water
  • ½ cup (118ml) lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
  • 3 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 4 egg whites
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 Tablespoons (19g) white sugar
  • Powdered sugar

Instructions:

Pie Crust

  1. Preheat oven to 218ᵒC (425ᵒF)
  2. Roll the pie dough into a 9” (23cm) pie pan, press pie crust into dish and poke with several holes from a fork. Bake for 17-20 minutes or until shell is a golden brown color.
  3. Remove pie crust from oven and allow to cool.

Lemon Filling

  1. In a medium bowl, slightly beat the egg yolks and set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, water, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Bring mixture to a boil on medium-high heat.
  3. Once mixture begins to boil, gradually stir about ½ cup into the bowl with the egg yolks.
  4. Transfer egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining lemon juice mixture. Whisk until combined and bring mixture to boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.
  5. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in butter. Transfer filling into the cooled pie crust.

Meringue Topping

  1. Preheat oven to 176ᵒC (350ᵒF)
  2. Using a medium bowl, combine egg whites, cream of tartar, and vanilla. Whip until foamy.
  3. Gradually add the sugar and continue whipping until meringue is stiff and glossy (this took me 35+ minutes, so use a mixer)
  4. Spread the meringue on top of the lemon filling, dust pie with powdered sugar and bake for 8-10 minutes or until meringue turns light golden brown. Allow pie to cool to room temperature and then cover lightly and place it in the refrigerator.
  5. Serve chilled.

Lemon Meringue Slice

Although my arm (and back) hurt from overworking, the pie came out PERFECTLY!

Though personally I wouldn’t have dusted the pie with powdered sugar, so next time I’ll probably omit that, though it did turn out quite well.

It is just a shame that as of today both mom and dad are on a diet of only meat and veg meaning no more pie for them. Luckily our housekeeper will be coming in tomorrow and she has quite the sweet tooth. So much that I’ve notice she even at my homemade baked dog treats I made last month! Thankfully they were vegetarian and more like a sweet treat with agave and honey in it with cinnamon. That wouldn’t have been good if they were non-vegetarian with ground beef in them – YUCK.

So hopefully Lizzie will eat more than enough of the lemon meringue pie! Someone should and I’d rather it not be me! Anyway I hope you all enjoy this recipe and make it yourself!

Happy eating!

Apple and Cinnamon Pastry Roses

I made the best breakfast/dessert ever!

I’ve recently started a new diet which I will get into another day, but with my new diet I make new things which suit me better.

Less sugar and yet more heavenly.

This is the first time in two weeks that I have actually had something legitimately sweet. You know what though? This wasn’t even all that sweet. It was as I said: heavenly.

Pre-Baking

Last night I made a quiche for the first time ever and had so much extra puff pastry, so rather than toss it out as mom would have done, I saved it. I looked up some great desserts and breakfasts which utilized the puff pastry and found something amazing.

I got the recipe from trusty ole Betty Crocker, however the direct link to the recipe can be found here.

As for the ingredients, the recipe says to use 3 medium apples, I however used 5 small apples. Because in Africa there seem to only be 3 types of apples at the grocery stores. Green ones, red ones, and small ones. Where I’m from the green one is usually a Granny Smith apple, the red one is a Red Delicious apple, and the small one? I’m pretty sure it is a small Jonagold but I can’t be too sure.

apple-types

Anyway here are the ingredients:

  • 3 medium (450g) apples
  • 4 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • Flour for sprinkling
  • Puffy pastry dough (leftovers from previous meal work)
  • 4 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 204ᵒC (400ᵒF) and grease 9 silicone muffin cups. (Silicone is less likely to stick to your cinnamon apple roses)

  2. Wash and core apples and slice thinly, leave on the peel.

  3. In small saucepan, fill with four cups (a thousand mL) water, four tablespoons sugar and two tablespoons lemon juice. Bring water to boil and blanche your sliced apples for three minutes or until soft.

  4. Drain apples from water and allow to dry in paper towel.

  5. Sprinkle flour on work space and roll out dough sheet. Sprinkle four tablespoons sugar and two tablespoons cinnamon on dough and slice with pizza knife. Each line of dough should be an inch wide.

  6. Arrange cooled apples (skin-side down) on cinnamon covered dough and roll up to make a rose.

  7. Bake for twenty-five minutes or until golden. Remove from pan and allow to cool on cooling rack.

  8. Enjoy!

Apple Cinnamon Pastry Roses
Apple Cinnamon Pastry Rosess

These were fantastic! Absolutely fantastic! Best of all when Daddy came home from running errands he said he didn’t know that cinnamon rolls came like that, I told him that they didn’t, that this was all me! He was very impressed. Then he bit into one and was even more impressed.

Only issue I had with this recipe was that my oven sucks. Does anyone else have trouble reading the dials on their oven? This house I live in has been a company house for the last five years and before that was lived in by the owner. Because of that there is a lot of wear and tear to it. Like on the oven! UGH

Dials rubbed off

Overall great recipe! A must try for each of you and something I’ll have to make again one day!

Happy eating!

It is a Healthy Ice Cream Type of Day

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!

I love ice cream. I miss ice cream treats or ice cream cakes from Dairy Queen! But you know, it is probably a good thing that we do not have a DQ in the Netherlands or South Africa or I would be fat. Super fat.

In the meantime though I can always make ice cream with my ice cream machine. Just days before my sister and her boyfriend arrived in South Africa for the holidays, I got a small ice cream machine. And pretty much everyone who knows me well knows that I will have an ice cream machine on my wedding registry for when I get married. That and a juicer. I’ll be able to slim down on a juicing diet and regain my fat from ice cream, well the ice cream that is milk-based.

My First Ice Cream Machine

Anyway a few weeks ago I made my first batch of ice cream. A yoghurt ice cream which is normally called frozen yoghurt. I never remember the term “frozen yoghurt” though, so I always end up just calling it yoghurt ice.

But I got the recipe from Justataste via Pinterest. Loved it! Although the recipe was slightly large for my minuscule machine so I did halve it. The recipe is of a healthy strawberry frozen yoghurt but I couldn’t find frozen strawberries so mine was made into a mixed berry frozen yoghurt. I also combined the recipe with a recipe in my instruction manual for my machine (you know, just in case the original recipe broke the machine – WHICH probably wouldn’t have happened). Below you can see the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 cups (338g) frozen berries, thawed
  • 2 Tablespoons agave nectar
  • 3 Tablespoons Greek yoghurt
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice

Instructions:

  1. In a sieve, mash berries and drain juices into a bowl to set aside. Blend whole berries into food processor with agave, Greek yoghurt, and lemon juice.

  2. Add berry juices to berry yoghurt mixture in food processor. And blend till smooth.

  3. Meanwhile prep ice cream machine and turn on.

  4. Pour berry mixture into ice cream machine and allow to freeze to for as long as machine is to be used (mine said a max of 40 minutes).

  5. Once berry mixture is at desired consistency, stop machine and enjoy! Keep in mind that homemade ice cream does not have the same consistency as store bought ice cream)

Although the original recipe I had followed said it was a 5 minute recipe, this forty minute one came out pretty well.

Fresh Frozen Yoghurt

I then placed the ice cream into a little container and popped it into the freezer so I could eat it much later. This did however change the ice cream to be much harder but with a little pop into the microwave all can be made good again!

I still have some leftover berry frozen yoghurt in the freezer even! Yay me.

Eating my Frozen Yoghurt

Not only do I want to share my ice cream with y’all, but I recently re-vamped a giant T-shirt for workout purposes. I don’t know if any of you know, but I do Pilates biweekly as well as Taiji, a martial arts type thing once a week. And yes, the proper name is Taiji which is derived from Taijiquan.

Anyway, I wanted a new workout shirt that was both inexpensive and cute and I pretty much got that. I bought an extra-large shirt from the men’s section of a store and brought scissors to it to make it into this awesome workout shirt!

I got the original idea from a WordPress blog entry by Dollars, Sense, and More and had to do the same thing! The original link for that entry is found here. Although I was initially somewhat confused by the instructions, I later grasped what was to be done and made this:

Back of ShirtFront of Shirt

I did tweak it ever so slightly. But unintentionally as I did cut a hole in the seam by the shoulders. Oops! I then cut three lines on the shoulder seam and pulled apart the seam. I pulled at the shoulder bits to lengthen the material and then tie them together. The shoulder now looks like so:

Shoulders of Shirt

I can say that my Pilates instructor loved my shirt. I too quite love it. But I learnt that the shirt isn’t practical for Pilates usage as we lay on our backs often. And although we lay in a neutral spine the wrapped racerback middle area does press into the soft spot of my back just below my shoulder blades. Not that comfortable. I’ll have to re-vamp a few other shirts till I find the right one for my Pilates. Who knows, maybe I’ll also make shirts for my good friend and Pilates instructor as she really did like the shirt.

Now if you guys want to workout and get back into the fashion world (at least like I did) but you crave for something sweet, this may be just the entry for you with a re-vamped shirt and ice cream and all!

Happy eating and working out!

‘Tis the Season to Bake, December Mint Baking!

Well hello everyone! It has been a mighty long time since I’ve posted. I’ve just become so lazy. I’m so sorry! The worst part is I’ve made some great meals that you all should know about. I’ll have to make them again in the New Year and share them with you then!

So it is December, the month of baking! You know what? I dove right into that! I started off with gingerbread men (and other shapes) but they just didn’t taste all too good. I’ll give you the link where I got the recipe, though I won’t re-write the recipe for the gingerbread cookies. Neither my mom nor I found them all too tasty, though my biggest fan liked them, thanks Daddy!

"Tastes like kruidnoten!"

Today though I’ve made chocolate cookies in the lovely Christmas shapes as well!

The best part of the month is definitely that the boyfriend decided to be nice and took me peppermint extract shopping so the month of December is definitely decked out in peppermint treats. I am in the mood to make peppermint patties, BUT for now I’m sticking to peppermint icing for cookies.

So what you don’t know is that to my family I am a pretty bah-humbug type person when it comes to Christmas but since having been in Canada with a group of lovely Dutch girls some two years ago, I have become filled with Christmas spirit. I mean it was my idea we have a wreath on our door and I chose the location of our Christmas tree! Both of which I’ll show you. I also keep telling mom to bring down some gifts so I can wrap them and place them beneath the tree.

Welcome to our humble abode!
Welcome to our humble abode!

Christmas Tree

Although I mostly want them there so that when my sister and her boyfriend come they can see some gifts below and begin their ritual of feeling and shaking of the wrapped presents. Yeah, my sister is a nineteen year old present shaker! I don’t mind keeping her guessing though!

Anyway, back to these cookies.

What do y’all think of brownies? And chocolate cookies? And combined?

Well I know most people adore brownies, so do you also enjoy cookies which taste like brownies?

It is really odd that these taste like brownies, and probably really bad as now I’ll gain an incredible amount of weight. I’m going to have to hop right into 2015 by sticking to a gym. It’ll be Taiji, Pilates, Gym, Pilates, Gym as my weekday! Yikes!

So back to these cookies, I got the recipe from here and followed the instructions perfectly. Well except for keeping the dough in the fridge to keep firm.

ROCK HARD flattened dough
ROCK HARD flattened dough

The recipe states to return dough to fridge between uses to keep hard, but I found it was far too hard in the fridge and preferred keeping it out between rolling and cutting the shapes out. Anyway, here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (500g) unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 2 cups (400g) sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tsp vanilla
  • 4 cups (500g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups (177g) cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions:

  1. Cream the butter and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer on low to medium speed (Use a paddle attachment). Mix until thoroughly incorporated – for about one minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a plastic spatula and mix again for a few seconds more. Over mixing the butter and sugar in this step will cause too much air to be incorporated into the dough. If you’d like a light and fluffy cookie, that’s ideal, however the dough will spread more during baking; not ideal if you’d like the cookie to hold its shape.
  2. Add eggs slowly and mix. Scrape down the bowl with your spatula at least once and mix again.
  3. Add liquid vanilla extract. Stir briefly.
  4. Sift your dry ingredients together. 
  5. Add all of the flour mixture to the bowl. *Place a large tea towel or two small tea towels between the edge of the bowl and the electric mixer so that the flour won’t escape. Mix on low speed for 30 seconds. Remove the tea towels and observe the dough mixing; when it clumps around the paddle attachment it’s ready. It’s also important at this stage not to over mix the dough.
  6. Roll the dough out between 2 large pieces of parchment paper. Place on a baking sheet and into the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour.
  7. Remove from refrigerator and allow dough to soften until dough doesn’t break when rolled. Cut out cookie shapes. Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Re-roll scraps and repeat.
  8. Preheat your oven to 350°F or 176°C.
  9. Bake cookies for 8-12 minutes or until the center of the cookie no longer looks wet. The baking time will depend on the size of your cookie.
  10. Let cookies cool to room temperature and decorate!

IMG_8696

My cookies ended up looking like that, though I lost many while trying to get to this stage. These are some brittle cookies! The recipe I provided for you can be halved. If you halve it you will get the contents of the container above plus a few more. So possibly thirty small cookies. I still have the rock solid dough in cling film to make which would be the whole recipe. It is a lot of cookies!

Anyway, that’s what has been going on in our house. A lot of baking and Christmas decorating.

I hope your households are equally as festive if you celebrate Christmas. If not, enjoy your December!

P.S. Here is a photo of the Johannesburg nighttime skyline:

Skyline

Apple Goodness for Birthday

You all should know by now that I am Dutch. With the name Liselot you’d think so, right?

Well being Dutch and having lived in the country you learn about Dutch desserts. Boy, do we have a lot of them. Many of them seem to be Daddy’s favourites. He has an incredible soft spot for boterkoek, while disliking butter – weird right? He also likes tompoesjes, and last and certainly not least, he likes appeltaart.

Now, since his birthday is tomorrow I thought I’d make him a homemade apple cake.

Appeltaart

I got the recipe from here and followed it as best I could.

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 1 1/3 cups (171g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ cup (½ stick -57g) unsalted butter, chilled (cut into ½ inch cubes)
  • ¼ cup (57g) vegetable shortening, frozen (cut into ½ inch cubes)
  • 3 Tablespoons ice water
  • ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Filling:

  • 3 ¼ lb (1 ¾ kg) Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 2/3 cup (134g) sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 Tablespoons (28g) unsalted butter, melted

Topping:

  • 1 cup (128g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (100g) sugar
  • ¼ cup (55g) brown sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter, chilled (cut into ½ inch cubes)

Instructions:

  1. Mix flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Add butter and shortening and mix with hands, add water and vinegar and continue to mix well with hands. Knead dough with hands and feel whether dough is moist enough or needs an additional water or not. Gather dough into a ball and flatten into a disk. Wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for thirty minutes.

  2. While dough is refrigerating, preheat oven to 205ᵒC (400ᵒF) and grease a pie plate (or spring-form pan as I did)

  3. Mix all ingredients for the pie filling together and ensure apples are fully coated by ingredients. Place in refrigerator before using.

  4. Next blend first five ingredients of the topping in a food processor and gradually add chilled butter cubes and continue to blend. When mixture resembles wet sand, you know you’re ready.

  5. Now that all parts are ready, remove dough from refrigerator and roll out on slightly floured surface (at a 12 inch circumference) and mold into pie plate. Trim overhang to ½ inch, turn edge under and crimp decoratively.

  6. Pour apple mixture into dough on pie plate then sprinkle crumbles over top the surface where the apples are.

  7. Pop pie into oven and bake for 40 minutes. If crumble is browning too quickly top with tin foil to prevent browning from furthering anymore. Once 40 minutes are over, turn oven down to 175ᵒC (350ᵒF) and continue to bake pie an additional 30 minutes to ensure apples are fully cooked.

  8. Once finished allow pie to cool up to an hour before serving. Enjoy

This recipe annoyed me. Though thank God my mom decided to peel all those apples as well as chop them. I would have probably cut myself again with the peeler or knife. Instead she did all that hard work for me, THANKS MOM!

Appeltaart

Anyway, Daddy heads out tomorrow evening to Dubai so we decided to enjoy his appeltaart tonight, plus he likes cold cake just like I like cold pasta. We must be some weird people to you.

Slice of Apple Tart with Ice Cream

I am pretty sure that Daddy quite enjoyed his birthday cake. Or birthday pie. What is this dessert considered in English? An apple pie or an apple cake? I do think that if any of you make this you will also enjoy it.

Anyway, happy 58th in a half hour Dad! Hope you enjoyed your pre-birthday cake and enjoy the gifts we have in store for you tomorrow morning. Love you.

Happy baking for those of you who give this a go!

Happiness is Pumpkin Everything

So, about those pumpkins. They rock, don’t they? I love how you can make both sweet and savory dishes with them. Both which taste amazing. Best of all? Dogs can eat cooked pumpkin too! It is good for their stomachs if they have an upset stomach. So when your dog is eating grass, try cooking him/her pumpkin, that should fix them right up. Just like chicken noodle soup does for us humans.

For today I had to make something wonderful, wonderful and delicious of course. But before I get to this wonderful dish you know what sort of sucks about South Africa? And the Netherlands for that matter?

They don’t sell canned pumpkin! So we have to make that ourselves!

Luckily it isn’t all that difficult, all you need is cubed pumpkin and water. And an oven and food processor.

Just bake your pumpkin in an oven at 190ᵒC (374ᵒF) for 50 minutes or until the pumpkin can be poked with a fork. Remove from oven and place in food processor. If too dry add a few tablespoons of water until at desired consistency. Allow to cool and utilize as you wish.

Easy as pie!

Speaking of pie, my dish tasted sort of like pumpkin pie. Instead it was a cake though!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Cake

I got the recipe from here but tweaked it ever so slightly.

Ingredients:

Cake:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 can pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup (100g) brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ cup (55g) granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup (63ml) canola oil
  • ¼ cup (71g) Greek yoghurt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup (128g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt

Cream Cheese Filling:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup (225g) cream cheese
  • ¼ cup (55g) granulated sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ᵒF (175ᵒC). Oil one 9×5 inch loaf pan with canola oil and set aside.

  2. In a large bowl add the first ten ingredients for the cake and combine with a whisk.

  3. Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and fold with a spatula to combine, keep in mind not to over mix. Set aside.

  4. Pour 2/3 of the batter into the loaf pan. Smooth the top with a spatula and lightly press into corners. Set aside.

  5. In a food processor combine all ingredients for the cream cheese filling and blend until smooth.

  6. Pour contents over preset cake batter, smooth out until even.

  7. Now layer the remainder of the cake batter over the cream cheese filling and ensure that the batter is smooth.

  8. Pop into oven and bake for 48 minutes or until cooked through and golden on top.

  9. Allow to cool before removing from loaf pan and enjoy!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese CakeOh, how I love pumpkins.

Life without them would be depressing as ever! Imagine Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie and a nice dollop of whipped cream? Can you? I can’t!

Then again, I’ve got pumpkin on the brain. I have 2kg worth of cubed pumpkin in my fridge.

If you were to operate on me you could almost see orange in my intestines. Weird image there.

Anyway, I hope you make this fabulous cake and enjoy it as much as my family and I did.

It was truly amazing. A must make!

First Slice of the Cake
First Slice of the Cake

On Friday’s We Bake

“On Wednesday’s we wear pink!” – Yeah? Well on Friday’s we bake.

And we all know that baking is greater than wearing pink. Who doesn’t love a bit of sweet-tooth lovin’? My housekeeper definitely doesn’t.

Usually I make her a cake of some sort but I thought to change it up a bit for yesterday. It was a cookie day yesterday. And you know, every time I think about baking cookies I think of the Cookie Dance. Not heard of it? You probably shouldn’t listen to it if you are one to get music stuck in your head often. I am one of those people.

Made with Love

Anyway, I made enough cookies for both Lizzie’s family AND our family. Plus mom gave some cookies to the pool guys after they cleaned our pool. Talk about a lot of cookies.

We also reheated a meal from the freezer for lunch.

A few weeks ago I made a fabulous meal of Chicken Tortilla Soup, though I made too much. Not surprising. We froze the remainder of it and pulled it from the freezer for lunch!

So today is a blog about baked goods and spicy Mexican soup! Not the best of combinations, but hey!

The cookies looked like this:

Chocolate Chip and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip

And I got the recipe from here, but I followed the recipe to a tee.

Ingredients:

CHOCOLATE COOKIE DOUGH

  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (100g) light brown sugar (or dark brown)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (128g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (100g) + 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons milk (almond, cow’s, soy, or half-and-half)
  • ½ cup (87g) dark chocolate chips (or semi-sweet or milk chocolate)

PEANUT BUTTER COOKIE DOUGH

  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • ½ cup (100g) light brown sugar (or dark brown)
  • ¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ¾ cup (190g) creamy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 and ¼ cups (160g) all-purpose flour (careful not to over measure)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (87g) dark chocolate chips (or semi-sweet or milk chocolate)

Instructions:

  1. *Make the chocolate dough:* Cream the butter and sugars together with a hand or stand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom as needed. Beat in the egg and vanilla until combined, scraping down the sides as needed. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Slowly mix it into the wet ingredients. The dough will be very thick. With a spoon or rubber spatula, mix in the milk and then fold in the chocolate chips.

 

  1. *Make the peanut butter dough:* Cream the butter and sugars together with a hand or stand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom as needed. Mix in the peanut butter, egg, and vanilla (in that order). Scrape down the sides as needed. Slowly mix in the baking soda, flour, and salt. Do not over mix. Fold in the chocolate chips.

 

  1. Chill both doughs for at least 1-2 hours. 2 hours is preferred.

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350ᵒF (175ᵒC). Line cookie sheet with silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Measure 1 Tablespoon of peanut butter cookie dough. Roll into a ball. Take 1 Tablespoon of chocolate cookie dough. Roll into a ball. Press the two balls together and roll them into 1 large ball. Repeat for each cookie. The chocolate cookie dough will get onto your hands, so wash/wipe them after you roll each cookie. It is important the chocolate cookie dough is chilled or else it will be even messier.

 

  1. Bake the cookies for 11-12 minutes, not exceeding 13 minutes. The cookies will look very soft, puffy, and almost undone. Allow the cookies to cool on the cookie sheet and they will continue to “bake” and set up. As the cookies cool, they will firm up. Cookies remain fresh (and soft) for up to 10 days in an airtight container.

 

My kitchen lacks certain tools to bake…. Well even cook, so I did not roll my cookies together. I tried to with an oiled long drink glass but that made a massive mess. Instead I decided just to press the cookies together then to press them into the lined cookie sheet. This still worked well. At least for me. If you actually own a rolling pin, I am sure that will work just as well as my fingers did for these cookies.

Pressed Cookies

I can tell you I ended up making like 7 batches of cookies on a tray. A lot of cookies. Although I did only fit like seven or eight per tray, so not THAT much. But still quite a lot as I do not

Okay so I cannot find the tortilla soup recipe that I used OR the one from a few years ago that ended up using my soup photo! I guess this means I will need to make the soup again sometime and share it with you immediately. Not a few weeks later. UGH.

Oh well. Sorry y’all!

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the cookies as much as we did!

Cake Baking after Power Cut

I experienced something great. No it wasn’t love in Africa, but it was something which reminds me of home. I had my first power outage while with mom. Now I know that doesn’t seem all that interesting or wonderful, but I love them. Must be due to the fact that we had them so frequently when I was young. When we lived in Venezuela we experienced them so often that I learnt to enjoy them. Though the power outages were usually accompanied by a massive thunder storm which lit up the entire sky and this one however was done on a beautiful hot day.

Although there wasn’t the beauty of a storm to match the silence of everything around us, the power failure was grand. As mom and I walked Austin on our afternoon walk we noticed kids outside enjoying sports equipment, making use of their trampolines, or actually walking their dogs. In this day of age children no longer really have use for physical activity as their mind is predominately concerned with games and TV. When I grew up all I did was cycle or swim in the pool. (Though keep in mind that it is the tail end of winter in South Africa, so pools are too cold to enjoy now.) Today there seems to be less of that, though I have seen some mountain bikes laying on the grass of some neighbours lawns. That meaning boys are going around the neighbourhood to hang out with their friends and their mode of transport is their mountain bikes (similar to the ones I had growing up).

So while we still had sunlight I made a Greek salad that featured brown rice. It didn’t look all too appetizing, but it tasted wonderful! Especially so as mom and I sat with a kerosene lamp between us as a form of light. Very 1800’s, right? I loved it! After dinner mom and I sat in our living room and enjoyed the intimate serenity that came with reading under the flickering light of the lamp. It was just so peaceful. When are nights that peaceful anymore?

Anyway, this is what our night looked like:

Dinner under a lamp

The meal doesn’t look like much but if you are interested I got the recipe from here.

I was a little nervous that our power outage would last till the following day which it thankfully did not.  But the reason I was so nervous was that I was planning on baking a cake. Since moving to South Africa, I’ve began baking like a madwoman! But I thought with this cake we could bring it to a friend for tea. Plus if the cake was a hit I would make another one for our housekeeper. Last week I decided that I would make a cake for every Friday when we would see our maid. That way she could bring the cake home to her granddaughter and they could enjoy it together.

Lemon Zucchini Cake

Well guess what? My cake was a hit! It was a lemon zucchini cake and I got the recipe from here.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (256g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup (170g) canola oil
  • 1 1/3 cups (268g) sugar
  • 2 TB lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) buttermilk
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup (120ml) zucchini, grated

Glaze ingredients:

  • 1 cup (128g) powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon milk

Directions:

  1. Mix flour, salt and baking powder in a medium bowl and set aside.

  2. In a large bowl, beat eggs. Then add oil and sugar until well blended. Add lemon juice, buttermilk, lemon zest to this mixture and blend all together.

  3. Fold in zucchini until it is mixed well.

  4. Add dry mixture to the wet mixture and blend all together until well combined.

  5. Pour batter into greased 9×5 loaf pan.

  6. Bake at 350ᵒF (175ᵒC) for 40-45 minutes.

  7. While still warm, make glaze and spoon over the bread. Let the glaze set up before cutting and serving.

Tell me, does anyone use buttermilk for anything BUT baking?

I hate that when you buy buttermilk you have to always buy a large carton of it and whenever you use it for cake or other baked goods the remainder of it just gets chucked out. So instead of buying buttermilk for this cake I just used the vegan version of buttermilk. I know veganizing things can be a bit of a turn off to many, but when you already have the ingredients in your house why not utilize them? So for a vegan buttermilk you take a cup of non-dairy milk and mix it with one tablespoon of vinegar. You let the substance sit for about five minutes where it will curdle pretty much immediately. Then just halve the recipe and use half of the “buttermilk” for your cake. It looks gross but it is better to use ingredients you already have at home than to buy a carton of buttermilk that you will barely use, right?

Vegan "Buttermilk"

So since moving to Africa my mom and I have sort of taken up a hobby. That being bird watching. Okay well we didn’t really take up such a hobby, but we are very interested in the birds in our yard. Today alone we saw five different species of birds in our backyard. I did photograph one of the birds as he is large enough to see with my poor camera on my phone but the others were unable to be photographed. Pretty neat though, eh?

Meet the Glossy Ibis

Anyway, I hope you all love this cake as much as we did! Let me know if it is a success – with or without the buttermilk!

Happy baking!

New continent, New Meal

Hello everyone! It has been a while!

It is as if I fell off the side of the earth. Except instead of landing into outer space I landed in South Africa!

Tomorrow evening will make a full week of being in South Africa. The ten days or so before that, I spent both cleaning my apartment up to “check out” as well as just spent some quality time with both my parents and my sister. Because I didn’t have my apartment to make true love-filled cuisine for my loved ones, we just ate out. A LOT. And because of all the eating out, I have a lot of restaurant reviews I’ll have to do soon!

Car packed and ready for business (last time in the Hague)
Car packed and ready for business (last time in the Hague)

But before I get to that, I think it is time to update you on a lovely meal! Also my first meal made in South Africa for my mom and dad. I can happily say that they both enjoyed this to the max.

For this evening I made both a lovely meal and a very rich dessert. If y’all are dessert lovers, this could be something you can handle. If not, stay clear from that recipe!

Greek Chicken and Yellow Tumeric Basmati

I already know that I make a killer Greek marinated chicken, so I thought maybe dinner should be Greek cuisine. Neither mom nor dad had ever had this Greek chicken meal before, so I thought I would treat them to our favourite culinary treat made from our own kitchen. While I was thinking of this meal though, I had to think of something to pair with the chicken. What I thought of was rice. So I found a nice Mediterranean rice recipe which actually had a more Indian twang to it instead. Was delicious nevertheless!

The recipe for the rice can be found here.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups (292g) uncooked basmati
  • 2 ½ cups (625ml) chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 whole bay leaf
  • 2 Tablespoons sunflower oil

Instructions:

  1. Heat the oil, turmeric, garlic, cumin, and cinnamon in a medium pot over medium heat.

  2. Add the dry rice to the pot. Stir and cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes to slightly toast the rice and spices. You may hear a slight popping or crackling noise as the rice toasts.

  3. Add 2.5 cups of chicken broth and one bay leaf to the pot. Place a lid on top, increase the heat to high, and bring the pot to a rolling boil. As soon as it reaches a full boil, reduce the heat to the lowest setting and let it simmer (with the lid in place) for 10 minutes or as long as directed on packaging.

  4. After letting it simmer for 10 minutes, turn the heat off and let it rest (do not remove the lid) for an additional 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve!

This made a superb rice! My parents were very very impressed. Though it is more of an Indian style, it went perfectly with everything. Next time we make Indian, I’ll be sure to make this rice with it!

A few hours after we had dinner we had dessert. Only because I had to allow the top of the cake to set. You know how men are known for not reading instructions? Yes that is a generalization, but it seems to be a very true one most of the time. Well sometimes when I am in the kitchen I too do not read instructions. Oops!

I got the recipe from here, though I used my famous chocolate cake instead of a box cake. Do any of you every think boxed ANYTHING tastes fake compared to something homemade? To me I can just taste the falseness in the flavours. Yuck! I have yet to share my homemade chocolate cake with you guys, but stay tuned! I am sure it will happen sooner rather than later. What with me living with my mom again and all!

Here are the ingredients:

  • 1 package chocolate cake mix and the ingredients needed to make the cake according to the package
  • 3 cups (339g) ricotta cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 (5.1 oz.) package instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 cup cold almond milk
  • 1 ½ cup canned whipped cream

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350ᵒF (175ᵒC) and spray a 9×13 inch pan with nonstick spray.

  2. In a large bowl, mix together your cake mix according to the directions on the box. Set aside.

  3. In another bow, using a hand mixer, beat together the ricotta cheese, eggs, sugar, and vanilla until smooth.

  4. Pour the cake batter into the prepared baking dish. Spread to fill the pan evenly. Once the cake batter is in place, carefully pour the cheese mixture evenly over the top of the cake batter. Spread to cover the cake batter as best as you can.

  5. Bake the cake at 350ᵒF (175ᵒC) for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.

  6. Once cooled, flip cake so ricotta is on the serving plate first and the chocolate cake is above it (not touching the plate)

  7. Begin to stir the pudding mix and milk together with a whisk until combined. Carefully, fold the whipped cream into the pudding until combined.

  8. Spread the pudding mixture over the top of the cooled cake. Cover the cake and refrigerate at least 6 hours before serving. It tastes even better the next day.

The whole last step about allowing the cake to refrigerate for six hours completely went over my head. So instead I had it cool for a minimum of three hours. I had planned dessert time for nine o’clock! Though the anticipation was so high that we had it at 8:30PM instead!

The ricotta was a little too weird for mom, but it tasted grand. Incredibly rich – I will eat it alongside a large glass of almond milk, but still good.

Three Layer Ricotta Chocolate Cake

I had to show my sister in Holland and she instantly decided she and her best friend would have to make it! So one way or another, my entire immediate family will have some rich cake in their lives! Wonderful!

Anyway, I hope all of you enjoy the Greek style rice with this truly chocolatey cake!

Απολαύστε το γεύμα σας

And if you can’t read Greek, enjoy your meal!