Recipe For Praline

When I was 7 I knew that I could play at my friend Angie’s house if her mother was in a good mood. I knew that if I hurt myself I had to go across the road to to get the cut cleaned. I knew that if I was out playing I had to be home before the street lights turned on, and I knew that any day I felt like it, I could climb over the wall and spend time at my neighbour’s house. I knew how to read, tie my shoe laces and get myself ready for school. When I was 7 I did not know how to play chess, I didn’t know that electricity could kill you and I did not know that flesh smells disgusting when burnt! But, I learnt all of that very quickly. One afternoon Kerry (my sister) and I were at the neighbour’s house. We were playing in the swimming pool with David and Peter, and we all went inside to listen to records. The record player had a transformer box, and the plug was loose. I tried to put the plug in, but it fell onto my wet hand and I was electrocuted. That day I learnt that something really bad had happened as my mom came home from work to take me to the Doctor – I was not told to go across the road to have Mrs. Matchin look at my hand. That was the day I became paralysed in my right arm. And the day I started learning a whole lot of new skills. I have never stopped learning new skills and in case you were wondering, I was lucky enough to get the use of my arm back after 8 months of therapy. One of the skills I have learnt is that working with fructose is not as complicated as I thought it was. I have made praline with fructose and learnt that if you use it straight away it will keep its crunch. If kept in an airtight container it will clump together! I made this praline for my Paris-Brest pastries that I made last year.

Have you learnt a new skill recently?

"Paris-Brest"

Paris-Brest

5.0 from 2 reviews
Praline
 
This is a great addition to chocolates when making truffles
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED:
Ingredients
  • 200g sugar - I used fructose
  • 200g nuts of your choice
Method
  1. Place the nuts into a non stick frying pan and heat over a low temperature
  2. Place the sugar into a stainless steel frying pan
  3. Hear the sugar over a medium temperature until a caramel forms
  4. Add the nuts and stir quickly
  5. Pour out onto a silpat immediately
  6. Leave to cool
  7. Blitz in a food processor until fine

Click on the links for conversions and notes.

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The Killing Room, Christobel Kent

The Killing Room opening line: The powdery residue dusted Nieddu’s hair white: it sat in his eyebrows and on his lashes, but even beneath it the stonemason was ghost-pale.

"The Killing Room"

The Killing Room

I have no clue what the ‘killing room’ had to do with the actual story and found this book difficult to read. At first I thought it was because I was not in a good mood when I started reading it, but Dave also struggled to read this book. Here we meet Sandro Cellini, a private investigator who lives in Florence. Having spent time in Firenze I at least was familiar with the location. I expected to read at the end that the book had been translated from Italian into English, as this is the sense I got when reading it.

The book is set around the Palazzo San Giorgio and its seemingly wealthy inhabitants. Sandro is tasked to solve various criminal issues that have arisen and which result in him discovering why his preprocessor was killed and why there will be a cover up.

First published in Great Britain by Corvus in 2014

ISBN number 978-0-857-89330-7

Paperback – 393 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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Recipe For Blinis

"Blinis"

Blinis

I live in a village known for its beaches. Holiday time is quite a nightmare where I live, and so I prefer to use my car as seldom as possible. Our house is in a road one block away from one of the main roads leading into Gordons Bay, and this road is always busy. It is OK when we leave home in the car and have to turn left as we are turning into the traffic, and there is a robot a block away from us so there will be a break in the traffic. But going straight and turning right can take an age in season. In order for me to do my grocery shopping it is easier for me to walk. The walk is pleasant and all of two blocks, and these are really short blocks. I have to cross this main road to get to the supermarket and this in and of itself is a nightmare. At the end of our block is the local primary school. In order to accommodate the children crossing this busy road there is a pedestrian crossing. This crossing is manned in the morning before school and in the afternoons after school by the local traffic authority. This is necessary as drivers could not be bothered to stop at the pedestrian crossing. In Europe as soon as you put your foot onto the crossing, the cars stop. Here, I have to wait until there is a break in the traffic to cross at the pedestrian crossing. It makes me so angry as someone one day is going to get run over due to the drivers in this country not realizing that they are meant to stop at a pedestrian crossing when they see people. I wish my legs were long enough to kick the passing cars. I do gesticulate at the drivers but it does not help. The one pre dinner / cocktail party dish you will not consider a nightmare are these blinis. Dave and I were having friends over for a whisky tasting evening and I whipped up a batch of these during the afternoon which we enjoyed that night with our whisky.

Do you have the same problem with pedestrian crossings where you live?

"Blinis Topped With Cured Salmon"

Blinis Topped With Cured Salmon

5.0 from 3 reviews
Blinis
 
These are the ultimate cocktail party canapé and make a great one bite treat with a topping of your choice.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED:
Ingredients
for the fermentation
  • 1.25mls yeast
  • 13g bread flour, sifted
  • 125mls milk, warmed
for the blinis
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 62g bread flour, sifted
  • 75mls milk, warmed
  • Pinch of salt
  • 25mls crème fraîche
  • 15g butter, melted
Method
for the fermentation
  1. Place the yeast, flour and milk into a large jug
  2. Whisk together and leave to ferment for 20 minutes
for the blinis
  1. Add the egg yolk, bread flour, milk and salt and whisk in
  2. Leave to stand for 1 hour
  3. Whisk the egg whites until stiff
  4. Add the mixture, together with the
  5. Whisk in until everything is properly combined
  6. Heat a griddle pan and lightly oil
  7. Using a tablespoon measure, pour the batter onto the griddle
  8. When bubbles start to form leave for 30 seconds before turning over
  9. Cook for a further minute
  10. Transfer the cooked blinis to a plate
  11. Brush with the melted butter
Cooks Notes
I used peppered mackerel for half and cured salmon for the rest.

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In My Kitchen January 2015

I am sitting at my desk at home. It is the December holidays and I have promised myself that I will turn on my computer for one hour a day. So far, I have mostly managed to stick to that. I have had to do some work, but I won’t include work as part of my self imposed allocation. For the hour each day I am doing one post for scheduling. And so, it was quite weird to type: In My Kitchen January 2015 when we are still in 2014. Celia from Fig Jam And Lime Cordial ‘gathers’ us together each month to share what is new in our kitchens. Here is what was added to mine this past month.

After our recent visit to Baleia Bay Deli I commented about the olive oil and I was sent a gift, which included a bottle. I am so looking forward to using this oil, especially for bread dipping.

"Baleia Bay Olive Oil"

Baleia Bay Olive Oil

At the wine cellar at Baleia Bay, we did a tasting of their most recent wines, and the 2014 Sauvignon Blanc was one of them. Together with the olive oil, I was sent a bottle of the wine which I will be taking with us on Christmas Day for lunch.

"Baleia Sauvignon Blanc"

Baleia Sauvignon Blanc

Checkers asked me if I would like to take part in their #SizzleSizzle promotion of their championship boerewors. This thick style sausage is extremely tasty and so far Dave and I have enjoyed two of the three packs that they gave me. This came with tomato ketchup, a bottle of coke, a pack of crisps and fire lighters and charcoal for the braai. A perfect treat for a summer’s day.

"Checkers Championship Boerewors #SizzleSizzle"

Checkers Championship Boerewors #SizzleSizzle

After our day of giving with Checkers, we were sent home with a lovely goody bag. This included a bottle of their Odd Bins MCC. Checkers source grapes and use top winemakers to create their Odd Bins range of wines. This MCC is dry and crisp, just like I want my bubbles to be. The lots are numbered so that you can buy the same range again using the number as a reference.

"Checkers Odd Bins MCC"

Checkers Odd Bins MCC

It has been many years since we last hosted a Christmas meal at our house. This year we are having James (Dave’s son), Carli (James’s girlfriend) and her parents over. Checkers gave me these crackers and so they will form part of our table. I have heard that you should get people to pull the crackers as soon as they sit down to create the festive mood, and that the crackers should have decent gifts in them. The one I opened at the Checkers function had a decent pen inside.

"Christmas Crackers"

Christmas Crackers

I placed an order with Nomu in December as they had a special offer of free delivery. Included in the delivery would also be a gift, and I was so pleased to see this tin of decadent hot chocolate. From all accounts it is amazing and this will be a lovely treat for Dave during winter.

"Decadent Hot Chocolate"

Decadent Hot Chocolate

I read on Lorraine’s blog about hand soap that had pumice in it. With that in mind I ordered a foam soap pump from Yuppiechef with a voucher I had been given. I decided I would add poppy seeds to the soap to get the same affect as the pumice. Sadly so far I have not managed to pump any poppy seeds into my hands. But the foam is super awesome and you use way less liquid soap this way as the soap is topped with water.

"Foam Soap Pump"

Foam Soap Pump

Dave was given a set of wine glasses for his birthday a few years ago. As he did not like the stems we took them to the store and exchanged them for glasses he preferred. However, the glass has clouded over and I am not sure why. I have bought myself a glass cloth and I will try and polish the glasses during the course of the month, after I have put them through the glass cycle in my dishwasher.

"Glass Cloth"

Glass Cloth

I want to make gefilte fish for Passover and to do so I need a recipe. I went to one of our local book stores and asked them if they had a Jewish cook book. The answer “yes, we have the book Jerusalem” I had to explain that even though Yotam is Jewish, his books aren’t exactly Jewish cook books. I went to another store and browsed through their selection and saw Joy Of Kosher. I saw there was a recipe for Gefilte fish, and without reading the recipe decided this would be the book I would buy. I got home to read the recipe, only to discover that in America you buy gefilte fish to make into gefilte fish! This is so funny. But, I will adapt the recipe and share it with you once I have done so.

"Joy Of Kosher"

Joy Of Kosher

In my order from Nomu is this large catering size pack of cocoa. Theirs is by far the best cocoa I have ever used, and buying in bulk makes a lot of sense to me.

"Nomu Cocoa"

Nomu Cocoa

My order came beautifully wrapped with a handwritten card. And as if the hot chocolate was not enough of a gift I also got a packet of all purpose rub and two recipe cards.

"Nomu Gift"

Nomu Gift

Also in the Checkers goody bag was a set of salt and pepper grinders. Nataniël is quite the celebrity here and I must say that I am enjoying having these super sized grinders in my kitchen.

"Salt and Pepper Grinders"

Salt and Pepper Grinders

I also ordered Nomu vanilla paste as I did not think I would have time to make my own this December, given that I need to get through a lot of recipes while we are on leave. I want to make one recipe a day so that I have a good store of recipes for scheduling in 2015. We have two overseas trips booked and I don’t want to be under any pressure at all.

"Vanilla Paste"

Vanilla Paste

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Recipe For Toasted Muesli

They say that change is as good as a holiday, and so after more than 20 years of making the same granola recipe I decided to change things, but only slightly. This Toasted Muesli is the result! Dave and I are really creatures of habit when it comes to breakfast. Every morning when we arrive at work, Dave makes coffee and dishes himself up a bowl of the toasted muesli. I drink my coffee before even thinking about food, and then start my day with fruit – usually 2 small apples. Over the weekends and when we are on holiday, breakfast consists of eggs and on the odd occasion, oats. And I will only eat the oats if they are made with a tot of whisky, a good knob of butter and sweetened with honey. For my muesli I have added cacao nibs for that slight chocolate taste and cranberries and goji berries for colour. The nicest thing with my muesli recipe is that you can change it to suit your own tastes and you can add more nuts, take away some of the dried fruit or even use coconut oil. This is all entirely up to you. Make sure you keep it stored in an airtight container, and like with my granola recipe, you can add a cinnamon quill to the container to add an extra flavour note, however slight it might be.

What do you eat for breakfast during the work week?

"Toasted Muesli"

Toasted Muesli

Toasted Muesli
 
This toasted muesli is the most tasty way to start your day.
Ingredients
  • 300g rolled oats
  • 75g sunflower seeds
  • 75g pumpkin seeds
  • 25g linseeds
  • 170g nuts, roughly chopped
  • 45g dessicated coconut
  • 50g cacao nibs
  • 20g wheatgerm
  • 80mls canola oil
  • 250g honey
  • 90g raisins
  • 60g cranberries
  • 75g dried fruit, thinly sliced
  • 35g goji berries
Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 160° Celsius
  2. Spray a baking tin and place the oats, seeds, nuts, coconut, cacao nibs and wheatgerm into the tin
  3. Mix well
  4. Place the oil and the honey into a small sauce pan
  5. Heat over a medium heat until the honey melts
  6. Mix into the ingredients in the tin
  7. Bake for 20 minutes
  8. Remove from the oven and mix
  9. Bake for 15 minutes
  10. Remove from the oven and add the rest of the ingredients
  11. Lower the oven temperature to to 40° Celsius
  12. Bake for 1 hour
  13. Remove and leave to cool
  14. Store in an airtight container

Click on the links for conversions and notes.

What I blogged:

Blog ♥

I am on leave until the 8th of January. I will start replying to blog comments then. 

Tandy

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Recipe For Basmati Rice Salad

Many moons ago my friend Camilla and I went into business with a friend of hers. We worked to our strengths and started a catering company. I worked full time and so could not be involved in the day-to-day running of the business but as Cams was stay-at-home mom, this role suited her perfectly. Kay is a chef and so menu creation was up to her. As I have a keen sense of business, those logistics were left to me. One Friday evening we were catering a dinner at a school for the teachers. Camilla’s husband at the time was a butcher and so he was hired to do meat on a spit. Camilla and Karen had to make sure there were enough salads and sides and I was joining them in the evening to be on hand for what ever was needed. Somewhere along the line, the numbers got mixed up and about an hour before we were due to serve I was making salad at home, in my very tiny kitchen. Basmati rice salad was on the menu and using a slightly different recipe to the one I have given you here, I made bowls of the salad in no time at all. This year Dave had a few friends over for a braai to celebrate his birthday. As it was four days after we had got back from overseas I knew I did not want to make too many complicated dishes. We decided on salads, bread and crayfish. I made this version of the basmati rice salad, using dried apricots instead of apricot jam as per the original recipe. There was no sugar free apricot jam at our local store, and I am really grateful for that. This basmati rice salad was by far better than what I had made so many years ago.

"Basmati Rice Salad"

Basmati Rice Salad

5.0 from 1 reviews
Basmati Rice Salad
 
Ingredients
  • 210g basmati rice
  • 500mls coconut water
  • Pinch of salt
  • 150mls mayonnaise
  • 35g dried apricots
  • 5mls curry powder
  • 100g pickled peppers, roughly chopped
  • 5g fresh coriander, roughly chopped
Method
  1. Place the rice, the coconut water and the salt into a medium sized sauce pan
  2. Bring to the boil with the lid off
  3. Cover, turn the stove off and leave to steam for 40 minutes
  4. Turn the rice into a bowl and separate the grains with a fork
  5. Using a stick blender, combine the mayonnaise, apricots and curry powder
  6. Add to the rice, with the peppers and coriander and mix in gently to combine
  7. Can be served warm, or cold
Cooks Notes
If you do not have coconut water, ordinary water will do

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Recipes On Lavender And Lime

When I started blogging, I used WordPress.com which did not allow for a recipe plugin. I had seen that a lot of the bloggers used ZipList and so when I migrated to WordPress.org I installed the ZipList plugin. This allowed my readers to save my recipes to their own recipe box that they had created on the ZipList website. The process has been slow as I have had to enter all my recipes into ZipList and I am sure I have not done them all. I have been working through my recipes when I have the time to change them all into ZipList. And now, ZipList has shut down! As of December 10th, ZipList will no longer be supporting the recipe box and shopping list platform including the ZipList recipe box and shopping list on ZipList.com, the ZipList app, the recipe clipper, and their partner recipe boxes and shopping lists. For those of you who use ZipList you will have had an email to this effect.

"Lavender and Lime"

It does not affect the actual recipes on my site that I have entered into ZipList but because they have decided to shut down I have installed Easy Recipe as the plugin of choice for Lavender and Lime. I decided to go with the version that I have paid for which means at least from the front end you will see all my recipes in the same format. However, there is still work to do from the back end and slowly but surely I will be updating all of my recipes. If you see blank cooking times you will know it is still the ZipList recipe. I don’t ever include these in my recipes as I multi task and never time myself doing one recipe as I make several at a time.

The great thing about Easy Recipe is that I don’t have to retype (or copy and paste) the recipe, and they show a photograph in the recipe itself. Easy Recipe have also added in a new ‘save’ feature so that you can continue to save, print and bookmark recipes to make.

With that said and done, I want to wish each and every one of you an amazing 2015! Thank you for being such a fantastic part of my blog.

I am on leave until the 8th of January. I will start replying to blog comments then.

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Tandy

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Recipe For Gingerbread

When I was at school, we were taught in our mother tongue language (English for me) up until Grade III and then we were taught the second official language, Afrikaans. Now, we are a rainbow nation and have 11 official languages. Schooling still begins with the mother tongue language, and then extended so that 3 of the official languages will be covered. English and Afrikaans are still the primary languages and in the Western Cape, Xhosa is the 3rd mother tongue language that is taught. For a lot of my school friends, Afrikaans was not their second language. I grew up in Little Italy, and most of my friends spoke Italian. My grandparents spoke German and I learned to speak Hebrew before I learnt to speak Afrikaans. So by now, you are all wondering why I am telling you this? Well, this month for the Daring Bakers’ we had to make peperkoek. In Dutch, that translates to gingerbread. Afrikaans has some of its roots in Dutch and I even studied Nederlands at university when I started doing a law degree. I just wrote down on a piece of paper peperkoek and did not think more about it until this weekend. Now, peper in Afrikaans is pepper and I was wondering in the literal translation why on earth we had to make a pepper cake. As Afrikaans is not my first language, I am sometimes known to make funny translations. Thankfully for Google I did not attempt to make up a recipe using pepper as the spice. I have never made gingerbread before and was quite worried when I saw how thin the batter was once poured into the tin and how long the baking time was. I confess to opening the oven twice before the time was up to make sure the gingerbread was not burning. It came out of the oven having risen slightly, and it is so full of ginger. I am going to make this again as it is an easy recipe to follow and I am sure I can change the spices to suit my mood. And no, I won’t be trying pepper :)

"Gingerbread"

Gingerbread

5.0 from 1 reviews
Recipe For Gingerbread
 
This is the easiest cake I have baked and I am sure you can change the spices to suit your mood with the same excellent results
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED:
Ingredients
  • 100g butter
  • 200g honey
  • 150mls milk
  • 200g flour, sifted
  • 5mls mixed spice
  • 10mls ground ginger
  • 5mls bicarbonate of soda
  • 50g sugar - I used fructose
  • 2 eggs
Method
  1. Place the butter and the honey into a sauce pan
  2. Place onto the stove on a low temperature
  3. Leave until the butter has melted
  4. Add the milk and set aside to cool completely
  5. Preheat the oven to 150° Celsius
  6. Place the flour, speices and bicarbonate of soda into a stand mixer bowl
  7. Add the honey mixture, sugar and eggs
  8. Beat on a slow speed until combined
  9. Pour into a lined square tin
  10. Bake for 75 minutes
  11. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely

Click on the links for conversions and notes.

Blog-checking lines:For the month of December, Andrea from 4pure took us on a trip to the Netherlands. She challenged us to take our taste buds on a joyride through the land of sugar and spice by baking three different types of Dutch sweet bread Gingerbread.

I am on leave until the 8th of January. I will start replying to blog comments then. 

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Munich Airport, Greg Baxter

Munich Airport opening line: We’ve been sitting for an hour or more here, up high, in the airport’s main food hall, which overlooks the duty free, clothes, electronics, accessories and souvenir stores below.

"Munich Airport"

Munich Airport

Each month I can choose three books to review from quite an extensive list, and so I base my selection on the blurb which can be found on the back of the book. The last line of the blurb reads as follows: It is a gripping, daring and mesmeric read from one of the most gifted young novelists currently at work. I must say that I do not agree with Greg Baxter being a gifted novelist. I found the book compelling to read but not in a good way. There are no chapters and no paragraphs, making it long winded and difficult to follow. The book is an internal monologue worthy of any Shakespearian play. A man finds himself in Berlin, with his father to collect the body of his sister who died from starvation. They start their journey indulging in excesses of food and drink, before they start to starve themselves. Frankly, the only thing I could relate to in the book, which ended without any conclusion, was the airport itself, as I recently found myself spending quite some time at Munich Airport.

I would not add this book to my list of ones to read, or the author as one to follow.

First published by the Penguin Group in 2014

ISBN number 978-0-241-97099-7

Paperback – 264 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.

What I blogged:

I am on leave until the 8th of January. I will start replying to blog comments then. 

Tandy

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Recipe For Pork Sausages

Some things are worth making at home from scratch cost wise, but sausages are not one of those things. However, you have to take into consideration what is going into the sausages before you compare prices. Just up the road from us there was a small artisan sausage maker. He originally had a business in a partnership but at the beginning of the year the partners decided to split the business, and he moved into premises at our local nursery. His 100% meat sausages worked out the same cost wise as these pork sausages that I made. I supported his business as it was local, and a time saver. Making sausages yourself is time consuming and you cannot make today to eat tonight if you want a decent tasting and firm sausage. Sadly, the business has been sold and the new owners sell budget meat and that is something I will not buy. I find making sausages a rewarding process. This is only the second time I have attempted them and maybe next time I will try and twist them into links instead of leaving them in one whole piece.

Do you have a good artisan sausage maker near to where you live?

"Pork Sausages"

Pork Sausages

5.0 from 3 reviews
Pork Sausages
 
Set aside a few days to make your own sausages, they are well worth the effort.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED:
Ingredients
  • 1kg pork shoulder (bone out weight) cut into 1cm cubes
  • 15mls salt
  • 15mls garlic flakes
  • 5mls white pepper
  • 15mls fennel seeds, lightly toasted and then crushed
  • 15mls roughly ground black pepper
  • 15mls dried origanum
  • Sausage casings for 1kg of meat
Method
  1. Place the pork into a large glass bowl and add the salt, garlic and white pepper
  2. Mix well to combine, cover with cling film and place into the fridge for 24 hours
  3. Using a meat grinder with a coarse blade, grind the meat
  4. Weigh the meat and add 10% of the weight in water (mine weighed 971g so I added 97g water)
  5. Mix in and add the fennel, black pepper and origanum
  6. Mix to combine thoroughly
  7. Place the mixture into your sausage casings
  8. Cover with cling film and place into the fridge for 24 hours before cooking

Click on the links for conversions and notes.

I am on leave until the 8th of January. I will start replying to blog comments then. Wishing all my readers who celebrate, a blessed Christmas.

Tandy

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