Recipe For Vietnamese Picnic Rolls

Living so close to the beach a picnic near the waves is easy to organize. The first thing I pack is my king sized towel which ensures that sand does not get onto the food and we have plenty of space to lay everything out. Essential to being in the sun are caps and sunblock, as well as bottles of ice cold water. As the picnic is meant to be some time out to relax I also pack our books and wet wipes to keep our hands clean. As far as food goes, sliced fruit is essential as well as anything to eat using fingers. I don’t like to take plates and cutlery with us, as that means more to carry to and from home. I like to include fresh vegetables and some form of sandwich. This month for the daring bakers’ we were tasked to make Siopao, which are Asian filled buns. I immediately thought of what I would like to take on a picnic, and rolls filled with mince sounded like they would be perfect. I wanted something that would not have too much filling in them so that it would not fall out as soon as you bit into them. But as you can see from the photograph, there could have been more mince in the rolls.  I chose Vietnamese flavours as I thought something different would be great to try. You could do these with minced pork as well, with great results. The recipe made a perfect dozen, with a little bit of leftover mince.

"Vietnamese Picnic Rolls"

Vietnamese Picnic Rolls

Vietnamese Picnic Rolls
 
These Vietnamese rolls are crunchy with an extremely flavoursome filling and are perfect for any picnic meal.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED:
Ingredients
For the mince
  • 15mls canola oil
  • 5 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2cm fresh root ginger, peeled and julienned
  • 1 red chilli, finely sliced
  • 500g minced beef
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
  • 250mls beef stock
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, bruised
  • 2 dried lime leaves, crushed
  • 15mls fish sauce
  • 10g fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime
For the rolls
  • 500g bread flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting
  • Pinch of salt
  • 20g palm sugar
  • 125g soft butter
  • 150g fed sourdough starter
  • 150mls coconut milk
  • Egg wash
  • Salt flakes
Method
For the mince
  1. Place the oil into a sauce pan and heat
  2. Sauté the onions until soft
  3. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli
  4. Sauté for a few minutes
  5. Add the mince and brown
  6. Season and add the stock, lemongrass and lime leaves
  7. Simmer for 2 hours
  8. Add the fish sauce, coriander and lime juice
  9. Mix well and leave to cool
  10. Place into the fridge overnight
For the rolls
  1. Place the flour into a large bowl
  2. Make a well in the centre and add the salt, sugar and butter
  3. Mix together until the butter is combined
  4. Add the starter and coconut milk
  5. Mix until a dough form and shape into a ball
  6. Leave in the bowl, cover with cling film and leave to prove overnight
  7. Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius
  8. Divide the dough into 75g pieces
  9. Shape each piece into a ball
  10. Flatten using a floured rolling pin into a 5mm circle
  11. Place 25g of the mince (or more if you want) into the centre of each circle
  12. Fold the edges over and shape into a ball
  13. Place the rolls onto a lined baking tray, seam side up
  14. Egg wash the top of each roll and sprinkle salt flakes on top
  15. Bake for 40 minutes
  16. Turn onto a wire rack to cool before eating

Click on the links for conversions and notes.

"Siopao"

Siopao

Blog-checking lines:  The February Daring Bakers’ challenge is hosted by Julie of One-Wall Kitchen. She challenged us to an easy, simple filled bun using no-knead dough.

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Recipe For Vanilla Sugar

There is a new television program here called Stalker that I am watching and loving. Strange really, as I have been stalked. I house sat for a couple in a very large house, that was situated on a very large property. I lived there all alone, and did not worry about it at all. Dave was not too happy about the situation but I didn’t pay any attention to him. A few months after moving into the house I met someone at my friend’s pub. Fat Arnies was our regular hang out as it catered to motor sport enthusiasts. I met this guy and was polite to him, but nothing more. He however must have fixated on me as he got my number and called a few times. I saw him at the bar and would say hi, but I was usually with Dave, and if not with him, with friends. I would go there on a Monday night to play cards with my friend Jacques, and one Monday night this guy walked in and threatened to tell Dave we were sleeping together if I did not take him home for the night! Jacques, being quite a large guy told him to leave and he went on about knowing how I brushed my teeth at night etc. The only way he could have known this was if he had jumped over the 6 foot wall, avoided the dogs and climbed up to the second floor! I drove home, alone, not worried about him at all as even if he followed me, the house across the road had a full time security guard. The next morning I told Dave the threats this guy had made, and Dave told me that if he said anything again to give him my mobile phone and tell him to call Dave. With that dealt with I got on with my day. That evening I drove home, and as I got to the house I decided to go and get a take away pizza for supper. There is always a lot of traffic in Sandton and I paid no attention to the cars behind me. My stalker must have been waiting for me somewhere close to home as when I got out of my car in the parking lot he was there, at my door, making the same threats. I did as Dave suggested and gave him my phone, and he just laughed and attacked me. I was not going to let him win and so the next day Dave got a friend of ours involved. He was a detective with the police and his attitude was shoot to kill rather than fill in paper work for arrests. Craig went to ‘talk’ to my stalker and told him that if he ever saw me in a place that he was to leave immediately or there would be a big problem. My stalker must have been very scared as the next time I walked into a restaurant and saw him sitting there he got up, paid the bill and left. And this was 5 years down the line and in a different city! A situation like this can never be sweetened by anything and I would not wish this on anyone. What I would wish for you though is this sweet Vanilla Sugar. I keep a container of this in my pantry at all times, and all my baking is done with vanilla scented fructose.

"Vanilla Sugar"

Vanilla Sugar

5.0 from 2 reviews
Vanilla Sugar
 
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED:
Ingredients
  • 75g sugar - I used fructose
  • Seeds and pod from 1 vanilla bean
Method
  1. Place the sugar and vanilla seeds into a food processor
  2. Process until combined
  3. Store with the pod

Click on the links for conversions and notes.

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Foreign Exchange

A few months ago, a friend called asking me whether I thought it was better to take foreign exchange in the form of cash when travelling, or to rather use her credit card. I thought I would write a blog post about what we do so that the next time I am asked, I can send the friend a link. In the ‘old day’s you used to get travellers cheques and these were the only way you could exchange money. When I travelled to Israel I got travellers cheques in Dollars and then had to stand in a queue in a bank to cash these in for Shekels. The value of the Shekel was so volatile that my friends at the front of the queue got a different exchange rate to the friends at the end of the long line. Nowadays I get currency for the country I am travelling to, as long as that the currency is Euros / Dollars / Pounds. For any other currency I would get Dollars and exchange them where I am going, remembering to exchange my change before I leave. I think it is much easier to get cash rather than use my credit card. Before I go, I know exactly how much money I can afford to spend while I am away. I go to my bank to change my Rands for foreign exchange and then I take the money I have, divide it between the days I am travelling, and that is my budget. Basically, I know exactly how much I have to spend. As the Rand can crash in a matter of minutes I am not going to be surprised when I get home and get my credit card statement. I always take my credit card with me overseas, for use in emergencies and for when I have no choice but to use it. I would not recommend taking travellers cheques as they need to be exchanged at a bank, and in some places, banks are only open in the mornings.

This is my advice for people travelling from South Africa overseas. When you travel do you take cash or use your credit card?

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Tandy

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Recipe For Coconut Cream Sorbet

Every Friday I have a massage due to a chronic back injury that needs constant attention. Nadia, my beautician, and I spend the entire hour catching up on the week that has just been, and discuss our plans for the weekend. One Friday she mentioned that she had eaten the most amazing coconut cream sorbet and she was quite sure that I could make it for her. Now, this sounds easy, but as I had no taste reference I had to rely on what she told me. I made the sorbet using only coconut cream but when I tasted it I decided that there was something missing. Greg had given me a recipe using tahini and salt which I had not yet tried out. I decided that I would add these two ingredients to the base of my sorbet and see if it worked. It was amazing. I packed the sorbet into a container and sent Nadia a message letting her know she could come and fetch it on her way home. I kept aside one scoop for myself to eat with my sourdough waffle and it was just perfect. Nadia loved her sorbet, and that makes it a winner as far as I am concerned.

"Coconut Cream Sorbet"

Coconut Cream Sorbet

5.0 from 6 reviews
Coconut Cream Sorbet
 
This recipe has been inspired by my friends Nadia and Greg and is full of coconut flavour
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED:
Ingredients
  • 400mls coconut cream
  • 100g caster sugar - I used fructose
  • 50g liquid glucose
  • 20g tahini
  • Pinch of salt
Method
  1. Place the coconut cream, sugar and glucose into a sauce pan
  2. Bring to a boil over a medium temperature, stirring until the sugar dissolves
  3. Remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly
  4. Stir in the tahini and salt
  5. Leave to cool completely
  6. Place into the fridge overnight
  7. Churn as per your ice cream machine manufacturers' instructions
  8. Freeze for at least 4 hours before using

Click on the links for conversions and notes.

What I blogged:

  • four years ago – Anise

Tandy

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The Secrets Sisters Keep, Sinéad Moriarty

The Secrets Sisters Keep opening line: She switched off her electric toothbrush and listened.

"The Secrets Sisters Keep"

The Secrets Sisters Keep

The Devlin’s are a normal Irish family of four, 3 older sisters who have doted on their younger brother, who is now a 27 year old man living at home with his parents and seemingly with no life path. His sister Julie is married to Harry, and has 4 boys – 3 unruly triplets and Tom. Since Harry has inherited a lot of money, her life has been turned upside down and she feels she cannot tell her sisters how meaningless her life feels. Her sister Sophie is beautiful, an ex model and a successful business woman. But she too doesn’t want to tell her sisters how lonely she is. Louise is smart, driven and the mother of Clara, a 4 year old genius who has issues all of her own. Louise buries herself in work rather than turning to her sisters. But it is Gavin, the brother who seems to have no direction who changes the lives of everyone around them. The sisters open up to one another, learn to rely on each other and something magical is created from this.

Just like Mad About You by the same author, I loved reading this book. It was the perfect read for a lazy weekend afternoon sat in front of the TV with the cricket playing in the background.

First published by the Penguin Group in 2014

ISBN number 978-1-844-88357-0

Paperback – 381 pages

Disclosure: I was sent the book to review by Penguin Books South Africa. I was not required to write a positive review. This post is in line with my blogging policy.

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Tandy

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Recipe For Italian Meringue

I’m always amazed how people conduct business. We are at the stage of our building project that involves some of the finishes. I need a blind in our cottage bedroom and blinds in our main bedroom. I had intended to go with curtains in the two guest bedrooms and so dug out the box with the curtains in them from under the eaves. When I took the first curtain out I saw it was stained. I put the curtain in the machine but sadly the stain is permanent. So, I decided we would put blinds into the other guest bedrooms as well. I was given the name of a lady who is local and she came to see me. I showed her which rooms were ready for window coverings and helped hold her tape measure while she measured up. She was not sure of what to do in our main bedroom with regard to the door but assured me her engineer husband would come up with a plan. I told her the blinds had to be blackout and once I agreed to go with vertical blinds she showed me colour samples. With only 4 to choose from I decided on the silver. She then asked me about the dining room, and got very pushy when I told her that I wasn’t thinking about window coverings for there. She told me that we have no privacy in our cottage lounge either and must put in blinds. After 10 years I’m still not bothered that there is nothing over the windows.

Her quote arrived the next morning, and thinking it was too cheap (don’t laugh), I decided to get a second quote. The gentleman who came to see me was friendly, and even offered to install the cottage blind first so that I could be sure that I liked it. His colour choices were larger and he had a solution for our bedroom door. He also did not ask about the other 3 doors and 9 windows! I chose a sunning metallic charcoal and have gone with his quote, even though it is slightly more expensive.

Before I made up my mind I asked the lady if I could drop off her sample and see the blinds she has in her bedroom. Sadly I was told that this would not be possible. When I told her I was going with someone else she said I could drop the sample off, and if she wasn’t at home to leave it in her post box. I made sure she was home, but as she didn’t respond to the bell, I did as she asked, and left her a message. She has not even said thank you or asked why! Now I’ve already told one person not to bother using her for a quote! She is pushy and not gracious in ‘defeat’.

I thought that Italian meringue would defeat me, using fructose instead of sugar. But I must say, I was so impressed with the way it held up when I used it to make my Paris-Brest pastries. I think this meringue would be much better to use when making floating islands and if I ever make them again, this is what I will do. The meringue will not last so make sure you make it when you need it.

"Paris-Brest Pastries"

Paris-Brest Pastries

5.0 from 3 reviews
Recipe For Italian Meringue
 
Italian meringue is used as an addition to other ingredients to make mousses, sorbets and petit fours
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED:
Ingredients
  • 300g caster sugar - I used fructose
  • 100mls water
  • 4 egg whites
Method
  1. Place the sugar and water into a saucepan
  2. Heat on a medium temperature until soft ball stage (116° Celsius)
  3. Place the egg whites into a stand mixer and whisk until stiff
  4. Add the syrup slowly, whisking continuously
  5. Continue whisking until the meringue is cold

Click on the links for conversions and notes.

Tandy

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Temperature Table

I have recently purchased a digital thermometer and it came with a table for the correct temperature for cooking meat. Based on that I decided that a handy table for candy making, deep frying and roasting would be a good thing to have to hand when ever you need it. I am sure that there are many other items that could be on this temperature table, so if you can think of any, please let me know.

Candy Making °Celsius °Fahrenheit
Firm Ball 121 250
Fudge 116 240
Hard Ball 127 260
Hard Crack 149 300
Jelly 104 220
Soft Ball 116 240
Soft Crack 138 280
Syrup 110 230
Deep Frying  °Celsius  °Fahrenheit
Chicken 177 350
Chops 191 375
Eggplant 185 365
French Fries 199 390
Fritters 185 365
Onions 199 390
Oysters 185 365
Scallops 185 365
Roasting  °Celsius  °Fahrenheit
Beef Brisket 90 – 95 194 – 203
Beef Fillet – Rare 38 100
Beef Fillet – Medium Rare 55 131
Beef Roast 85 – 90 185 – 194
Boar Roast 75 – 78 167 – 172
Chicken 80 – 85 176 – 185
Duck 80 – 90 176 – 194
Mutton Leg – Medium Rare 65 – 70 149 – 158
Mutton Leg – Well Done 80 – 85 176 – 185
Pork Roast 70 – 75 158 – 167
Pork Saddle 55 – 60 131 – 140
Turkey 80 – 90 176 – 194
Veal Fillet 50 – 55 122 – 131
Veal Roast 68 – 74 154 – 165
Veal Saddle – Medium Rare 50 -55 122 – 131
Venison Roast 75 – 80 167 – 176
"Digital Thermometer"

Digital Thermometer

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Recipe For Sourdough Waffles

I love using my starter to create the most amazing sourdough breads but I do not always have time. Thankfully Cordelia (my starter) does not mind the lack of attention and she will happily sit in the fridge, feeding for a couple of weeks at a time. At the start of my December leave I decided that I would work on a new sourdough bread recipe, and to get Cordelia in the mood I fed her up quite a bit. Dave was still at work for the first two days I was on holiday, and using up some of my starter, I made myself sourdough waffles for breakfast. This was quite a treat, especially as I topped the waffles with ice cream. Needless to say I was getting a good balance of a few major food groups in one go. The starter I have is quite sour so I compensated by using more sweetness in the batter. I was going to slather the waffle in maple syrup, as you do, but when I went to get the bottle out of the fridge I discovered it had been used up. It would have improved my eating experience a lot, so I recommend that if you make these waffles that you make sure beforehand that you have a good syrup to go with them.

Do you eat special breakfasts when you are on holiday?

"Sourdough Waffles"

Sourdough Waffles

5.0 from 4 reviews
Sourdough Waffle Batter
 
These make a great treat for breakfast, served with sticky maple syrup
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED:
Ingredients
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 65g sugar - I used fructose
  • 250mls milk
  • 2.5mls plus a pinch of salt
  • 190g flour, sifted
  • 80g fed sourdough starter
  • 60g butter, melted
Method
  1. Place the egg yolks and the sugar into a bowl
  2. Whisk until at the ribbon stage
  3. Whisk in the milk and 2.5mls salt
  4. Mix in the flour and the starter until smooth
  5. Mix in the butter until incorporated
  6. Place the egg whites into a stand mixer bowl with a pinch of salt
  7. Whisk until firm
  8. Fold into the batter
  9. Rest for at least an hour
  10. Make your waffles as per your waffle iron manufacturers' instructions

Click on the links for conversions and notes.

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A Better Tomorrow Book Run

I grew up in a world full of books! I was privileged, and I know that. I could read from when I was very young and I still devour books. But, can you imagine what it is like for children who don’t have the books they need for basic education? My stepson James and his friend Zynique are trying to create #ABetterTomorrow and if you can help then please do! James’ girlfriend Carli teaches at a local school where they have a dire need for books.

"Please Donate!"

Please Donate!

Goal

To collect books to fill up the library of Kathleen Murray Primary school. Any additional education material is also welcome.

Timeline

Preparation to start 1 February.

Official book collection to start on 1 March and run to 30 April.

What they need

Space for a drop off point – in other words a place where someone can donate a book. We will provide the boxes and come pick up the books weekly or bi-weekly as needed.

What you get

We will put the logo’s of all participating businesses on the boxes for all to see. Additionally, we will advertise our drop off points on Facebook and on all other media’s we can get hold of – which will lead to more exposure and foot traffic for you.

"A Better Tomorrow Book Run"

A Better Tomorrow Book Run

More information:

For more information, please see their Facebook page or catch them on Twitter. You can email them on bettertomorrowbookrun@gmail.com or phone either one of these amazing young adults! James: 072 386 8876 / Zynique: 082 504 9498

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Recipe For French Butter Cream

I am sitting at work. We are in the middle of a heat wave, and I would rather be stuck in a cold store refrigerator than in my office. I had no plans of being anywhere else today as I was expecting 2 pallets of goods to be delivered to me. But just like in December, my supplier has let me down. He has so not come to the party. In December he promised me my goods had left on the Wednesday. So with a Friday delivery expected I planned the last 3 days of our working year. Sadly for me, the goods arrived on the Monday afternoon leaving me half a day to do 2 and a half day’s work. And of course they were closed so I could not not even tell him how upset I was. Thinking they were opening earlier than they did, I planned my start to the year. However, they were still closed when I placed a large order with them to kick start January. The least I expected was that my order would be given some priority and leave on time. It didn’t and now I am sitting at my desk, whiling away the time until lunch so that I can eat, and leave. One thing that can go to any party is this amazing French butter cream. You may recall I mixed it with praline and used it to fill my Paris Brest choux buns. I have some left in the freezer and the next time I have a cake to take somewhere I will use the rest of the butter cream up to sandwich the two halves together.

"Paris-Brest"

Paris-Brest

5.0 from 2 reviews
Recipe For French Butter Cream
 
This butter cream is perfect for filling layers of cakes and for piping into choux pastry buns
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED:
Ingredients
  • 20mls milk
  • 6 eggs
  • 200g caster sugar - I used fructose
  • 400g butter, cut into small cubes, and placed into a glass bowl
  • 75g praline - optional
Method
  1. Place the milk into a saucepan and bring to the boil
  2. Place the eggs and the sugar into a bowl and whisk until ribbon stage
  3. Pour the milk over the egg mixture, whisking continuously
  4. Return to the heat on a medium temperature
  5. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until you get a thick custard
  6. Pour over the butter, and whisk by hand until the butter has been incorporated
  7. Leave to cool before adding the praline if you have decided to use it

Click on the links for conversions and notes.

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