Sugar Free Nougat Recipe

Trying to create sugar free candy / sweets is not an easy feat as fructose works in a completely different way to sucrose. Fructose is a monosaccharide which means it is made up of a single unit. Sucrose is a disaccharide made up of glucose and fructose. I first attempted to make nougat by using only honey in this recipe. It was very tasty but did not set very well. When I made my salted caramel I realized that the glucose seems to stabilise the fructose and so I used Jackie Cameron’s recipe as a base to make my nougat as she uses glucose in the recipe. I learnt that you cannot heat fructose to the same level as sucrose, and hence my brilliant caramel colour. In the recipe I am sharing I have listed a lower temperature for the syrup than what I took the syrup to. This tastes unbelievable though, and I am so glad I was challenged to make nougat again. I have a huge tray to enjoy which will bring me great pleasure over the next couple of weeks. My best tip for you if you try and make this recipe is to make sure you beat the egg whites to the perfect peak and if you need to know more about how to do this, take a look here.

Sugar Free Nougat Sugar Free Nougat Recipe

Sugar Free Nougat

Sugar Free Nougat Recipe

Adapted from Jackie Cameron Cooks At Home, page 137

Ingredients:

  • 250g fructose
  • 120g honey
  • 55g liquid glucose
  • 125mls water
  • 100g blanched, peeled hazelnuts
  • 100g shelled pistachios
  • 2 sheets rice paper, trimmed if necessary
  • 2 egg whites
  • 5mls rose water
  • 100g dried cranberries

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 100° Celsius
  • Place the fructose, honey, glucose and water into a sauce pan
  • Stir continuously over a medium heat until the fructose dissolves
  • Reduce the heat, place a sugar thermometer into the liquid and leave to simmer
  • Place the nuts onto a baking tray in a single layer and dry roast for an hour
  • Leave in the turned off oven until you need them
  • Spray a brownie pan with non-stick spray and place one of the rice paper sheets into the pan, rough side facing down
  • Place the egg whites and rose water into a stand mixer bowl
  • When the syrup reaches 135° Celsius whisk the egg whites to the soft peak stage on medium setting
  • When the syrup reaches 140° Celsius remove from the heat and as quickly as possible, pour into the egg whites with the machine mixing on medium
  • Whisk continuously until the mixture starts to cool
  • Stop whisking and mix in the nuts and cranberries by hand
  • Pour the nougat on top of the rice paper and smooth down
  • Place the second sheet of rice paper on top of the nougat, rough side facing up
  • Flatten down with your hands as much as possible
  • Place into the fridge overnight to set
  • Cut into desired sizes and enjoy!
http://tandysinclair.com/sugar-free-nougat-recipe/

 

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The March 2014 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Rebecca of BakeNQuilt. She challenged us to learn to make classic nougat and to make it our own with our choice of flavors and add-ins.

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Market On The Wharf

My friend Camilla and I used to go shopping every Saturday together. We would start early in the morning and have coffee, then shop before stopping for lunch, shop some more, have more coffee, shop some more and then go home after spending the entire day together. It was a wonderful time in my life! But, I now live quite far from her, and our shopping sprees are few and far between. A while back we decided to give the Market on the Wharf a try.

Market On The Wharf Market On The Wharf

Market On The Wharf

Situated at the Victorian and Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town, the venue offers plenty of parking and easy access to the market, as well as the other shops and places around the V&A. We started our day with coffee before browsing around the stalls to see what we would buy. We chose some cheese – I got a very nice blue cheese to take home.

Buying Cheese Market On The Wharf

Buying Cheese

I took a good look around all the stalls and chatted with some of the vendors, one of which is a supplier. I gazed at tea pots well outside of my price range and after a lot of looking, Camilla and I decided to get a smoothie.

Camilla getting a smoothie Market On The Wharf

Camilla getting a smoothie

At the time we went to the market I had been approached by Lavender at Lavender Hills to do a food demonstration for them. I offered my services free of charge but despite this they never got back to me with a firm date. I used the opportunity to take a look at the demonstration area at the market, and while I was there we tried to ask someone for more information as to how it worked, but sadly the person on duty could not really help us. We finished our morning off with Camilla purchasing a few items to give as gifts and to keep for herself from Froggit.

Camilla buying from Froggit Market On The Wharf

Camilla buying from Froggit

I would not rush back to the market – it is a far drive for me and there are other markets in the area I would like to visit. I would suggest however that if you find yourself at the V&A Waterfront that you pop in and have a look at what there is on offer.

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Trail Mix Recipe

You are probably wondering why on earth I am listing a recipe for something that does not really need a recipe? I usually go to gym in the afternoon and on my way home I snack on a selection of nuts, seeds and dried fruit. For the past year I have been buying these little packs and frankly I am not sure why I have spent so much money on eating a store bought snack that I could easily make at home. I am sharing the recipe in case you too have never thought to make this at home. This trial mix has a selection of the nuts, seeds and dried cranberries that I like but you can use what you prefer.  I also used these as a filling for my weekly rusk recipe, which I will be sharing with you soon.

Do you eat store bought snacks?

Trail Mix Trail Mix Recipe

Trail Mix

Trail Mix Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 75g pumpkin seeds
  • 75g sunflower seeds
  • 50g dried cranberries
  • 75g mixed nuts
  • 1.25mls ground cinnamon

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 100° Celsius
  • Place the seeds, cranberries and nuts onto a baking tray
  • Sprinkle with the ground cinnamon
  • Bake for an hour and leave to cool before placing into an airtight container
http://tandysinclair.com/seed-nut-and-cranberry-snack-recipe/

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Out And About: Friday 21 March 2014

Dave and I have been out and about enjoying a lot of meals!

Harvest Meal Out And About: Friday 21 March 2014

Harvest Meal

  • At the beginning of February we ate at Pomegranate Restaurant as part of the Stellenbosch Wine Festival celebrations. If you have not eaten there I can recommend a visit on a Sunday for lunch so that you can experience the duck parade.
Pomegranate Restaurant Out And About: Friday 21 March 2014

Pomegranate Restaurant

  • Then for Valentines Day we ate at Waterkloof – Greg as usual created the most stunning meal.
Valentines Dinner Out And About: Friday 21 March 2014

Valentines Dinner

  • On the 13th we went to Vergenoegd Wines for the harvest dinner. There is one more left for this year and if you are interested in booking a seat at the table contact Nannie via email: info@vergenoegd.co.za If you don’t get a place this year, be sure to add the event to your diary for next year March – there is one dinner per week!
Harvest Dinner Out And About: Friday 21 March 2014

Harvest Dinner

  • If you find yourself in Cape Town and looking for unusual ingredients, head into the Pick N Pay at the V&A Waterfront – you will be able to get crab, duck and quail eggs, rabbit and many more fresh delights.
Pick N Pay Waterfront Out And About: Friday 21 March 2014

Pick N Pay Waterfront

Disclaimer: I was invited to the opening of the Pick N Pay Waterfront and I was not asked to write a blog post. The photographs here are from the day of the opening. This disclaimer is in line with my blogging policy.

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Honey Nougat And Apple Butter Cake

I am currently studying Nutrition for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and the first assignment we had to do was keep track of what we ate in one day. The most surprising thing I learnt is that eggs have empty calories. Empty calories are the calories we consume that provide us with energy, but little or no nutrition. Processed carbohydrates provide us with the most empty calories, but this does not mean that I am going to stop eating cake! For this cake I made use of ingredients in my pantry. I had the honey nougat that needed to be used as it was too sticky to eat as is. I also still have two jars of apple butter from my not very successful attempt at making this. It works the same way as jam or marmalade would in a recipe. The result was a dense but very moist cake. I used my chocolate transfer sheets to decorate the chocolate pieces around the cake and I made a frosting using my salted caramel and some whipped cream.

Do you make use of left over sweet treats to bake with?

Honey Nougat And Apple Butter Cake Honey Nougat And Apple Butter Cake

Honey Nougat And Apple Butter Cake

Honey Nougat And Apple Butter Cake

Ingredients:

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius
  • Cream the butter and the nougat in a stand mixer for 5 minutes
  • Add the apple butter and mix in
  • Add an egg at a time, mixing thoroughly
  • Add the baking powder and mix in
  • Add the flour, a tablespoon at a time, mixing thoroughly
  • Pour into a lined baking tin
  • Bake for 32 minutes and leave to cool on a wire rack before icing
http://tandysinclair.com/honey-nougat-apple-butter-cake/

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Aqua Marina Guest House, Mossel Bay

Dave’s mum has moved to Sedgefield which is ‘around the corner’ from us as compared to Sandton where she was living. Even though the travelling time amounts to the same – 4 hours per car or 4 hours at the airport / flying / travelling to and from the airport, it is cheaper and easier for us to visit her in Sedgefield. The drive is fairly easy and we return to Mossel Bay after having lunch with Marguerite and stay at the Aqua Marina Guest House which is run by Noel and Alida Hudson. Noel is extremely friendly and chatty and Alida is fantastically helpful and accommodating.

Aqua Marina Guest House View Aqua Marina Guest House, Mossel Bay

Aqua Marina Guest House View

Each room has a king size bed, a television set and its own DSTV (satellite) decoder. This is great for us as we can watch the sport and read the news and sports news while we are there. Dave and I read in bed before going to sleep and the lamps on the bedside tables provide adequate light for us to do so. There are comfortable chairs in each room so you can sit and read if you want to and a space where I can sit and do my make up or dry my hair (the hair dryer is part of the room’s amenities). If you are not a TV fan there is a radio complete with CD player in the room.

Aqua Marina Guest House Rooms Aqua Marina Guest House, Mossel Bay

Aqua Marina Guest House Rooms

There are dustbins in both the bedroom and the bathroom, a box of tissues in the bedroom and a laundry bag is provided as well as bathrobes and slippers. The bar fridge has milk and bottles of complimentary water which to me is a nice touch as I drink quite  a lot of water at night, and I try not to drink tap water out of the area in which we live. There are also complimentary rusks, tea and coffee with a small kettle, cups, mugs, glasses and a corkscrew provided. I love that there is a suitcase stand so that the case is always out of the way and the cupboards are large enough to take a week’s worth of clothes with ease and has proper hangers. The cupboard ‘hides’ the safe as also has mosquito repellent products in it which is a necessity in summer. Here you will also find the extra pillows and blankets.

Aqua Marina Guest House Fruit Platter Aqua Marina Guest House, Mossel Bay

Aqua Marina Guest House Fruit Platter

The first time we stayed the room we chose had only a shower, but the second time we had a shower and bath in our bathroom. The bathroom is fully equipped with hand lotion, hand cream, shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, soap, cotton wool, ear buds, nail file, dental floss, toothpaste, sewing kit, shower cap, shaving kit, leather shoe wipes, shoe mitt and bubble bath. The showers are very nice and have an anti slip mat in them. The water pressure is good and the size of the shower is adequate. The only problem is the water temperature will change spontaneously if someone else in the house is using water. This is a simple problem to fix.

Aqua Marina Guest House Breakfast Aqua Marina Guest House, Mossel Bay

Aqua Marina Guest House Breakfast

The entire place is spotless and there is free wifi. Unfortunately the signal strength is not really good throughout the house and a booster would probably make a huge difference to this. Each room has an air conditioning unit which we have not made use of as we are used to the heat! In case you have forgotten your plugs at home there are multi plugs and euro plugs in each room. Breakfast is amazing and starts with a choice of fruit juices and a huge platter of fruit. The fruit is seasonal and so in winter the platter might be substituted with pancakes. There is yoghurt to go with the fruit if you want as well as a choice of brown or white toast. There is a nice selection of jams and you can choose which way you would like your eggs done. I would recommend scrambled as opposed to poached or fried. The main breakfast ingredients are kept in warmer drawer with the plates. Alida dishes up a generous breakfast of potatoes, mushrooms, sausage, bacon and tomato, together with the eggs. I am not that keen on the ‘shaky cheese’ topping and must remember to ask Alida not to use it on our next visit. You will be given a choice of tea or coffee with your meal and the drinks are kept warm in the cutest ‘bags’ I have seen.

Contact them on +27 44 690 4677

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Olive Oil Ice Cream Recipe

Willow Creek Olive Estate recently extended their range of flavoured olive oils and they sent me a bottle of the Persian Lime Olive Oil to try out. This award winning olive oil is so heady with lime that I am absolutely in love with it. Willow Creek recommend searing some tuna in this oil, but I wanted to think a little bit outside of the box and so I created a recipe for an olive oil ice cream using this flavour. The lime was so refreshing in the heat of summer, and despite the ice cream using olive oil as an ingredient it was not fatty at all. I have also marinaded some olives in the Persian Lime Olive Oil, together with some indigenous rosemary, garlic flowers and garlic cloves.

Olive Oil Ice Cream Olive Oil Ice Cream Recipe

Olive Oil Ice Cream

Olive Oil Ice Cream

Ingredients:

  • 250mls milk
  • 250mls cream
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 85g sugar - I used fructose
  • 60mls olive oil

Method:

  • Place the milk and the cream into a sauce pan and bring up to blood temperature over a medium heat
  • Whisk the egg yolks and sugar until they are at a ribbon stage
  • Pour half the milk mixture onto the eggs, whisking all the time
  • Return the egg mixture to the milk, and stir continuously until a custard forms
  • Remove from the heat, pour into a jug and refrigerate overnight
  • Stir in the olive oil and churn until thick
  • Place into a freezer proof container and freeze for at least 4 hours
http://tandysinclair.com/olive-oil-ice-cream-recipe/

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Disclaimer: I was sent the bottle of olive oil as a gift. All opinions and facts in this post are my own. I was not required to write a blog post in exchange for this gift. This disclaimer is in line with my blogging policy.

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The Dogs Of Littlefield, Suzanne Berne

The Dogs Of Littlefield opening line: No one was very surprised when the signs began appearing in Baldwin Park.

The Dogs Of Littlefield The Dogs Of Littlefield, Suzanne Berne

The Dogs Of Littlefield

This has to be one of the most frustrating books I have ever read. It is set in a little village somewhere in Massachusetts where there are more psychologists than necessary. And why this is so is never dealt with. The main character in this book is Margaret Downing who is experiencing problems in her marriage and decides to have an affair with a local author. The inhabitants of Littlefield are under scrutiny from Dr. Clarice Watkins who has decided to study this community, rather than deal with her unrequited love for a married man.

I expect a good novel to end with maybe one or two things left unsaid for my imagination to ponder. But in this book chapter and paragraphs end off with many things left unsaid, that are then never answered. I do not want to guess if the stones represent lost children, or if the dead dogs are a metaphor for possibilities lost. I would not recommend that you rush out and buy this book which is described on the back as being darkly comic.

First published by the Penguin Group in 2013

ISBN number 978-0-241-00382-4

Paperback – 280 pages

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

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Roasted Tomato Salad Dressing Recipe

Late last year I participated in Yuppiechef’s annual cookathon and our meal started with a melon and avocado salad with a roasted tomato salad dressing. Tami commented that she was looking forward to the recipe for the salad dressing, and it has taken me quite some time to get it posted.

melon and avocado salad with a spicy seed brittle and a roasted tomato dressing Roasted Tomato Salad Dressing Recipe

melon and avocado salad with a spicy seed brittle and a roasted tomato dressing

 

We used up the first bottle of salad dressing over a couple of weeks and then I made my adapted version. I have used it on green salads, with coleslaw and even to top roast vegetables. I roasted a tray of mixed root vegetables and then topped it with the roasted tomato salad dressing. I left the vegetables to cool and this made for a really great salad to accompany our meal. This roasted tomato salad dressing is so versatile I have even used it with quinoa to add a great depth of flavour to a salad. Here I made a plain cucumber, tomato, feta and basil salad and tossed this with the roasted tomato salad dressing.

Roasted Tomato Salad Dressing Roasted Tomato Salad Dressing Recipe

Roasted Tomato Salad Dressing

Roast Tomato Salad Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 10 baby tomatoes, halved
  • 5 garlic cloves, halved
  • 150mls olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
  • 15mls whole grain mustard
  • 15mls lemon juice
  • 15mls balsamic vinegar
  • 1.25mls sugar - I used fructose

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 200° Celsius
  • Place the tomatoes and garlic onto a baking tray and drizzle olive oil
  • Season generously and cook for 15 minutes
  • Cool and then blend together with the rest of the ingredients
  • Store in the fridge and remove half an hour before serving
http://tandysinclair.com/roasted-tomato-salad-dressing-recipe/

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Blog-checking lines: For March’s Daring Cooks’ Challenge, Ruth, Shelley and Sawsan asked us to totally veg out! We made salads and dressings, letting the sky be the limit as we created new flavors and combinations that reflect our own unique tastes.

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Cook From The Heart, Alida Ryder

Tagged Food For Every Mood, Alida’s second recipe book, Cook From The Heart is quite different from her first recipe book. In this recipe book Alida has provided us with recipes to suit every mood and the chapters are divided into happy, melancholy, celebrate, nostalgia, tranquil, anger, love and lazy. Before I get into the recipe book I want to state that I do not like the layout at all. However, I do like that each recipe has its own story. It makes the recipe book more personal and it is a great way to get to know Alida a little bit better. But the layout is detracting for my exacting eye and I wonder if this is a new look Penguin are going for? That aside, the photographs are stunning and accompany each recipe. From the happy chapter I will soon be trying the passion fruit lemonade (page 11) as it sounds absolutely refreshing. I just had to try the ultimate oven fried chips (page 25) and I made them for dinner last Saturday night. I love that I did not have to deep fry the chips but I was not sure how hot to make the oil. I suspect I did not get it hot enough and if you look closely at the photograph you can see bubbles. I would suggest you get the oil bubbling hot before putting the chips in. I also chose not to peel the potatoes as I was using small fir potatoes, but it is worth peeling them as Alida recommends.

Oven Fried Chips Cook From The Heart, Alida Ryder

Oven Fried Chips

Alida shares that the easiest chapter to write was the one providing recipes for melancholy moments. Food without a doubt is the ultimate comforter. I agree with Alida that roast chicken (page 38) is comfort food and it would be my wish for my least meal, if I ever get that blessing. I chose to make the lemon syrup pudding (page 62) as my tester recipe for the book and it was stunning.

Lemon Syrup Pudding Cook From The Heart, Alida Ryder

Lemon Syrup Pudding

Who can resist beef wellington with truffled porcini gravy (page 69) which appears in the chapter celebrate? Alida makes use of champagne and prosciutto in this section and her favourite recipe is the one for gnocchi with Gorgonzola cream (page 77). It is the nostalgic chapter that is true to everyone’s heart as these are the recipes passed down from generation to generation. Classics like avocado ritz (page 98) and crêpes Suzette (page 100) find a rightful home here but it is her kêrrie en rys (curry and rice) (page 106) that will have any South African nodding their heads with the mention of Mrs Balls Chutney.

I am so going to try the Asian noodle slaw (page 125) as I love the flavours. This recipe features in the chapter titled tranquil together with coconut curry mussels (page 131) and home-made ricotta cheese (page 141). I am adding this to my long to do list! It is the chapter on anger that finds no resonance with me as I do not cook when I am angry. It always results in disaster and on the rare occasion I am that angry, it is best we go out for dinner. In this chapter, Alida shares recipes for jalapeño poppers (page 168) which Dave has been making (hopefully out of love) for the past few months. We skip the crumbing stage and just do them straight on the braai (barbecue). I suppose the best expression of anger would be cooking me a dish of lamb vindaloo (page 170) as I can barely handle a mild curry dish. I am not sure why Alida’s ultimate award-winning chocolate peanut butter cake (page 174) is in this chapter, as it would make me quite happy to enjoy a slice. My true expression of love is making hollandaise sauce to go with eggs Benedict (page 203) and Alida has her recipe in the chapter titled love. Next time we have oysters I am going to try the 3 toppings (page 207) Alida uses as it is nice to experiment with different flavours on an ingredient I adore. Another of Alida’s favourite dishes appears in the lazy section and is for cheese stuffed arancini (page 222). These balls of delight are something I can make over and over again and enjoy with delight. 

The book contains a wealth of really good recipes and I can recommend that you find yourself a copy to enjoy, no matter your mood.

First published in South Africa by Penguin Books in 2013

ISBN number 978-0-14-353844-8

Soft Cover – 240 pages

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

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