Recipe For Cinnamon Sugar

Who can remember the line from the nursery rhyme little girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice? Being nice is something that takes practice and effort for some people but for me I find that being nice just makes my day better. I greet strangers when walking the dogs, I say thank you to cashiers when I pay for something and I try and let people know when they have done something that makes my heart smile! Sadly, I cannot say that everyone I know has this same attitude. Being nice means replying to invitations when they are sent; arriving for dates you have made; sending ‘bread and butter’ thank you messages. Or taking the time out to ask a friend how she is. It means listening to people when they need to talk, or just being there for someone ‘in case’.

I have a group of friends who are sugar and spice and everything nice. One friend kept another company at a dinner party I hosted. A couple opened their home to us so we had a bed for the night when we could not drive home after having one glass (or maybe one bottle) too many to drink. I have a friends who mean the world to me and I hope that each time I am with them their hearts smile!

Cinnamon sugar is the spice that is everything nice – warming and sweet and great for pancakes. I used to make pancakes a lot when the boys were little, with the most impressive part of the baking being when I flipped the pancakes over. Each person has their favourite topping and both Dave and I love cinnamon sugar with a squeeze of lemon. I always have a flavoured sugar in a jar and here is a recipe that is easy to make and even easier to store. Use it in place of regular sugar for your baking and you will taste the lovely spice note of the cinnamon. Here I have used it to flavour the crumble.

Cinnamon Sugar Recipe For Cinnamon Sugar

Cinnamon Sugar

Cinnamon Sugar

Ingredients:

  • 120g sugar - I used fructose
  • 5mls ground cinnamon

Method:

  • Place the ingredients into a bowl and blend together until completely combined
http://tandysinclair.com/cinnamon-sugar/
 Recipe For Cinnamon Sugar

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Recipe For Pickled Quails Eggs

It is amazing how life can give you blessings when you least expect them. When my parents were here for their annual visit we went to The Restaurant At Waterkloof Wines as they had really enjoyed their previous visit. This was the 14th of June and the restaurant was closing for their annual break after lunch service on the 15th. I had mentioned to Greg how much I loved Jerusalem Artichokes and after our meal a bag of them arrived at our table. Greg said that he would not be using them before they closed, and that the fresh produce would go to waste so he was gifting me the Jerusalem artichokes. I was so grateful, and my gratitude was extended to a crate of produce that came home with me. One of the wonderful items were 2 trays of quails eggs. I wanted to use them all up in a way that could be enjoyed for some time and so I decided to make Pickled Quails Eggs. Before we could do this we had to test how long it took to make an egg that was hard on the outside, soft on the inside and easy to peel. Once that had been perfected I tried a batch using a Jamie Oliver recipe. Once that batch was devoured, I made my own pickling liquid, using flavours I like. These pickled quails eggs take a little bit of effort but the taste is so worth it. I sat in front of the TV and peeled the lot – this being the most time consuming aspect of the process.

Pickled Quails Eggs Recipe For Pickled Quails Eggs

Pickled Quails Eggs

Pickled Quails Eggs

Ingredients:

  • 180mls white balsamic vinegar 
  • 90mls white wine 
  • 1.25mls celery seeds 
  • 1.25mls aniseed 
  • 12 whole cloves
  • 2 bay leaves 
  • 2.5mls fennel seeds
  • 5mls pink peppercorns
  • 2.5mls coriander seeds 
  • 5mls salt  
  • 1 large shallot, cut in half and thinly sliced 
  • 18 quail eggs

Method:

  • Place the vinegar, wine, celery seeds, aniseed, cloves, bay leaves, fennel seeds, peppercorns, coriander seeds, salt and shallot into a sauce pan
  • Bring to the boil on a medium heat
  • Reduce the heat and leave to simmer for 3 minutes
  • Set aside to cool
  • Bring a medium sized sauce pan filled 3/4 of the way with water to the boil
  • Add a splash of cheap vinegar to the water
  • Place 6 of the eggs into the water very carefully
  • Boil for 2 and a half minutes
  • Place into a bowl of ice water
  • Repeat until all of the eggs have been boiled
  • Once cooled, peel and place into a sterilized glass jar
  • Pour over the cooled pickling liquid
  • Put the lid on the jar and place into the fridge for 24 hours
http://tandysinclair.com/pickled-quails-eggs/
 Recipe For Pickled Quails Eggs

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Confessions Of A Hungry Woman

Confessions Of A Hungry Woman is a collection of Sam Woulidge’s columns from various Taste Magazines dating from 2006 to 2011. As a collector of these magazines it was great to dive back in to some of my favourite (and I thinks Sam’s) favourite story’s. I bought my book to show my love for Sam, her writing and her friendship. Just before we went to Napoli last year, I paged through the book, hoping her article on where to buy the best pizza would feature. Pizza – Pure & Simple can be found on page 82 and 83 and the best pizza can be found L’antica Pizzeria da Michele. That is, if you can find the pizzeria!

© Confessions of a Hungry Woman Confessions Of A Hungry Woman

Confessions of a Hungry Woman

Sam is a self confessed ‘non cook’, preferring to spend her time eating. If she has guests over, she would rather entertain than slave in the kitchen. And so, the recipes in the book are not Sam’s. Sam showcases recipes she can make as given to her by various people. These include Alida Ryder, Jacques Erasmus who owns Hemelhuijs, where I first met Sam and Peter and Mariana Esterhuizen amongst others. Maraiana is the chef at Mariana’s in Stanford and her husband Peter runs the front of house. Her honest cooking and his wit make for a dining experience like no other.

The stamp on the front cover implores me to eat with my heart and this is something I find easy to do! If you have not read any (or all for that matter) of Sam’s Confessions of a Hungry Woman columns then rush out and buy her book – you will fall in love with Sam’s words.

First published in South Africa by Struik Lifestyle in 2013

ISBN number 978-1-43230-008-1

Hard Cover – 221 pages

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Recipe For Master Stock

I made my very first master stock when Cindy and I went to cook with Alvin Quah. Even if I could have, it would not have occurred to me to take the master stock home. As I loved the flavours, I decided to make my own master stock to braise a pork belly, using a recipe from Gordon Ramsay’s cook book, Ultimate Cookery Course. The master stock was wonderful, and the pork amazing but I did not know you could keep the master stock, and so it was thrown out. It was only when I was reading Lorraine’s book about her path to happiness through baking and blogging that I saw I could have kept it! This made it the perfect excuse to make a huge batch of master stock. The recipe from the book makes 3 litres, and I have put 1 litre into the freezer to keep, and gave another litre away to Alex. I used the third litre to braise some pork cheeks in, and they were delicious. Sadly, that lot of master stock was not kept – a bit of a miscommunication happened in my house.

Master Stock Recipe For Master Stock

Master Stock

I have called my master stock Not Quite Kevin, a play on Lorraine’s Not Quite Nigella as her master stock is named Kevin.

Master Stock

Recipe adapted from Not Quite Nigella page 130-131

Ingredients:

    for the stock
  • 3 litres water
  • 280mls light soy sauce
  • 150mls dark soy sauce
  • 350g sugar - I used fructose
  • 60mls salt
  • 60mls Shaoxing rice wine
  • for the spice bag
  • 18g star anise
  • 16g cassia bark
  • 5cm fresh root ginger
  • 8g whole cloves

Method:

  • Place the water, soy sauces, sugar, salt and wine into a large saucepan and bring to the boil
  • Place the spice bag ingredients into a muslin cloth and tie with string
  • Add to the saucepan, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes

Cooks Notes:

I used a spice bomb for the spices and I have not kept them as I will change the flavour slightly when I next use the stock. You can use cinnamon bark if you cannot find cassia bark. Once you have used the stock, strain it and boil for 20 minutes. Top up and then freeze until you need it again, with the spice bag. Change the spice bag every 3 - 6 months, depending on how often you use the master stock. Make sure you use this at least once every 2 months.

http://tandysinclair.com/master-stock/
 Recipe For Master Stock

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Braised Pork Cheeks Recipe For Master Stock

Braised Pork Cheeks

Disclaimer: This recipe has been published with permission from Penguin Group Australia. The recipe book was bought and paid for by my sister. This disclaimer is in line with my blogging policy.

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The Headmaster’s Wife, Thomas Christopher Greene

The Headmaster’s Wife opening line: He arrives at the park by walking down Central Park West and then entering through the opening at West Seventy-seventh Street.

The Headmasters Wife The Headmasters Wife, Thomas Christopher Greene

The Headmaster’s Wife

I want to be kind and generous about this book as it was written when the author was experiencing something sad and tragic, but I cannot. It was written in two different moments in the author’s life, and this is clearly evident by the two halves of the book. The first is written as if we are listening to Arthur Winthrop live his life as an adult, a headmaster of a private school, having an affair with a teenage pupil. The second is the reality – the “pupil” is his wife and the breakdown in his mental state is due to the death of their child. Death of a child is a tragic and one wants to sympathise with Arthur, but his whole mental breakdown comes across in this novel as something sordid.

The book is neither well written or worth reading in my opinion. But then I must note that it is labelled as a dark novel, and this is a genre I have no time for given my past review. I persevered with the book and I will note with interest what Dave chooses to do when it is his turn to read it.

First published in the United States of America by Thomas Dunne Books in 2014

ISBN number 978-1-78239-171-5

Paperback – 273 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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Recipe For Carrot Purée Ravioli

Findus sent me a few gift vouchers which I could use at my local Pick n Pay to buy which ever of their vegetables I chose. I had an idea for a carrot purée ravioli lurking in my head and decided to use the vouchers to buy the frozen baby carrots. I would not ordinarily buy frozen carrots but for this recipe it made perfect sense as baby carrots are easier to work with when making a purée and the hard work of peeling the carrots had already been done for me. The trick is to get the carrots super soft. You want to be able to mash them with the back of a spoon. The other reason for making this dish was that I had read you could freeze ravioli. I find it easier to make a big batch and so I set about making enough for Dave and I for one meal as well as enough for us to have as a starter the next time we had guests. Once the ravioli were made I placed them onto a tray without overlapping them. I then put the tray into the freezer. As soon as the ravioli had frozen I put them into a freezer container. When we were ready to use the frozen carrot purée ravioli I brought a pot of water to the boil, added some salt and then the frozen ravioli. As soon as the water came back to the boil, I started the timer. And they were perfect! I am so going to repeat this the next time I make pasta.

Carrot Purée Ravioli Recipe For Carrot Purée Ravioli

Carrot Purée Ravioli

Recipe For Carrot Purée Ravioli

Ingredients:

    for the pasta
  • 250g 00 flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Pinch of salt
  • for the ravioli
  • 300g frozen baby carrots
  • Pinch of salt
  • 125mls milk
  • 15mls chopped parsley
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to season

Method:

    for the pasta
  • Mix together the flour, eggs, egg yolks and salt until a dough forms
  • Cover with cling film and place into the fridge for 30 minutes
  • Divide into 4 pieces and laminate each piece until soft using a pasta machine
  • Roll out each piece to the thinnest setting (I go up the number 8 on my machine)
  • for the ravioli
  • While the pasta is resting place the carrots in the milk with a pinch of salt
  • Cook on a low heat until they are soft and drain
  • Add the parsley and purée until smooth
  • Adjust the seasoning and leave to cool
  • To assemble
  • Make your ravioli with 1 teaspoon of the purée in each ravioli (I made 36)
  • Cook for 1 minute in boiling salted water

Cooks Notes:

We served our ravioli with a crayfish bisque and crayfish tails that were cooked for 4 minutes, out of the shell.

http://tandysinclair.com/carrot-puree-ravioli/
 Recipe For Carrot Purée Ravioli

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Blog-checking lines: This month, the Daring Cooks challenged us to think inside the box – the icebox, that is! Audax taught us some really cool tips and tricks for stocking our freezers with prepare-ahead meals that can keep us our taste buds satisfied even during the busiest of times.

Disclaimer: I was sent the gift vouchers but was not required to write a blog post or recipe in exchange for them. This disclaimer is in line with my blogging policy.

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Buying And Stocking A Fridge

The first major purchase you will make for your kitchen will be a fridge. When I bought my first fridge I expected to be single forever and so used that as the basis for what size fridge / freezer I needed. I decided to get an upright combination and if you go for this, make sure the freezer compartment is at the bottom.

First Fridge Freezer Buying And Stocking A Fridge

First Fridge Freezer

Once Dave and I had settled in to married life, it soon became apparent that my fridge was just not big enough and so we bought a side by side unit. Here I would advise that you do not get one with an ice maker or water dispenser. These take up so much of your usable space and frankly in my opinion the loss of space is not worth the addition of ice.

Newer Side by Side Fridge Freezer Buying And Stocking A Fridge

Newer Side by Side Fridge Freezer

Once you have made a decision as to what size and style suits you, it will be time to go on your first shopping spree. I always have eggs in my fridge. I buy free range farm eggs from a local supplier. If you don’t have the same luxury do still try and get free range eggs. Next must have is butter. I prefer unsalted butter but I know this is down to my preference and most people I speak to use salted butter. I also always have cheese and bacon – so as you can see, breakfast is waiting in my fridge in the form of an omelette.

In our ‘main’ fridge I keep a variety of soy sauces and soy based sauces. I also keep pure lemon juice and lime juice to use when fresh is not available or when I just need a dash of juice to make a dish or my water taste better. I keep wasabi and horseradish and a lot of different mustards. And my own home made mayonnaise and a variety of salad dressings. You will also always find tomato paste and anchovies in my fridge.

In my new fridge Buying And Stocking A Fridge

In my new fridge

On the sweet side I keep jams and marmalade as well as UHT cream for dessert emergencies. Even though we do not have milk in our coffee, I keep a couple of boxes of UHT milk. I only buy the one from Woolworths as it is the closest taste to fresh milk than any of the other brands we have available. Crème fraîche or sour cream is another essential as it goes into all sorts of sauces and mash, whether I use beans or potatoes or another vegetable to make the mash. I also have yoghurt in my fridge for weekend breakfasts and baking.

I have a slight obsession with pickles and there will always be a variety of them in my fridge as well as a container of home made stock. I keep all my vegetables in one drawer and am never without tomatoes and mushrooms. In the other drawer I keep fruit as well as fresh lemons and limes when they are in season.

Of course, no fridge would be complete without wine and I keep open bottles of champagne, white and rosé wines in my main fridge and spare bottles in the second fridge. In that fridge you will find all my alcoholic beverages that need to be kept cold as well as cold drinks. Cordelia sleeps in there snuggled between my ‘fats’ (lard, duck fat, ghee etc.). I collect condiments and amongst the bottles I have capers and sauces. I also store my flour in the fridge, only decanting 500g at a time for my small pantry.

In my old fridge Buying And Stocking A Fridge

In my old fridge

The smaller freezer is used for pastries, fish, ice cream and vodka :). In my other freezer I keep meat, chicken, stock, bread rolls, lots and lots of egg whites from making ice cream. Every couple of months I donate these egg whites to my cousin who makes pavlovas. I always have peas in my freezer as well as herbs. I keep my toasted pine nuts and pomegranate arils frozen for when I want to make pesto or ‘tart’ up a salad with some red jewels. I have an ice tray that freezes three trays of ice at a time, and a drawer underneath it to store the ice. In this drawer I keep fresh root ginger as well as lemon and lime wedges.

In my new freezer Buying And Stocking A Fridge

In my new freezer

I have made bold what I think is essential for a first shop, but of course that will depend on your diet and palate. My fridge contents are ever evolving as I continue blogging and developing recipes. I hope this helps!

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Recipe For Choc Chip Scones

It seems my blog has a small problem. My post for Sunday did not push itself through and my saved post for Choc Chip Scones published in the unedited format. So, this is the one that was meant to be live yesterday! Thank you Mandy for the heads up!

This year for International Scone Week hosted by Celia from Fig Jam And Lime Cordial I have chosen to make Choc Chip Scones using the cocoa nibs I bought a few months back. I used a recipe from Paul Hollywood’s 100 Great Breads and once again I had a few problems with the recipe. I had to add more flour but this might have been due to the fact that I chose to use up the spelt flour I had in my fridge. I was also amazed at how much baking powder the recipe uses but it did not leave a residual taste and so I can only say that yes, you need that much baking powder! The recipe told me to roll out the dough to 5cm (and as Tanya pointed out, 5″ is not 2cm as I had in the original post!). I checked all his scone recipes and they all say 5cm but I chose to roll it out thinner. I also had to bake the scones for longer than in the recipe but this could be all to do with my oven and the flour I used, as each flour reacts a different way. These might not look like ordinary, normal scones on the inside, but they taste and smell and look like scones on the outside.

Choc Chip Scones Recipe For Choc Chip Scones

Choc Chip Scones

Choc Chip Scones

Adapted from Paul Hollywood's 100 Great Breads page 32

Ingredients:

  • 350g bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 200g spelt flour
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 75g caster sugar - I used fructose
  • 30g baking powder
  • 75g butter
  • 230mls milk
  • 50g cacao nibs or chocolate chips
  • egg wash

Method:

  • Place the flour, eggs, sugar, baking powder, butter and milk into a stand mixer bowl
  • Beat on a low speed for 2 minutes
  • Mix in the cacao nibs by hand
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface
  • Roll out to 2cm thick and cut rounds using a cutter or glass
  • Place these onto a lined baking tray
  • Brush the tops with egg wash and place into the fridge for 30 minutes
  • Preheat the oven to 220° Celsius
  • Brush the tops with egg wash taking care not to let it dribble down the sides
  • Bake for 20 minutes
  • Cool on a wire rack and serve warm
http://tandysinclair.com/choc-chip-scones/
 Recipe For Choc Chip Scones

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International Scone Week 2014 Recipe For Choc Chip Scones

International Scone Week 2014

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Recipe For Horseradish Dressing

When we were in Wales I had the best horseradish sauce that I have ever tasted. I could eat horseradish raw and would do so if I could find this here where we live. In fact, I have only once seen horseradish in Somerset West. I took this photograph with my cell phone and used some of the horseradish that I bought to make chrain, a relish served traditionally with gefilte fish.

Horseradish Recipe For Horseradish Dressing

Horseradish

In Wales, my roast beef was served with horseradish sauce and it is the perfect accompaniment in my opinion! I so wanted to replicate the flavour of the horseradish when we got home and so I made this horseradish dressing. I used palm sugar as I am also busy experimenting with making sucrose free meringues and had grated a lot of palm sugar to use for that. You can use any sweetener of your choice. The store bought horseradish I have says ‘hot’ on the bottle but I find it to be still quite mild. My next aim is to try and grow my own horseradish, it I can just find some seeds.

Horseradish Dressing Recipe For Horseradish Dressing

Horseradish Dressing

Horseradish Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 5g fresh tarragon leaves
  • 100g yoghurt
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 30mls olive oil
  • 10mls horseradish sauce
  • 10mls ground palm sugar
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to season

Method:

  • Place the tarragon, yoghurt, lemon juice and zest, oil, horseradish and palm sugar into a blender
  • Blend until completely mixed
  • Season to taste

Cooks Notes:

I added this to 700g steamed baby potatoes to make a delicious potato salad

http://tandysinclair.com/horseradish-dressing/
 Recipe For Horseradish Dressing

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Writing A Restaurant Review

What qualifies someone to review a restaurant? Well, in my opinion anyone who eats at an establishment and pays for the meal can review the experience. This review would therefore be totally independent. There are many places that restaurants are reviewed and I often read TripAdvisor when looking for a restaurant. I know that the reviews can be skewed but I take an overall impression to see whether we should eat there or not. I also read based on my expectations, and not the expectations of the person eating there. For example, a person might complain that a restaurant does not cater for children, but for us that is a plus.

The Kitchin Writing A Restaurant Review

The Kitchin

I love sharing my experiences through my blog and I am sure my reviews are more than qualified. I spent eight years working professionally in restaurants and I have self published a recipe book. Further I consider myself an accomplished cook and I have high expectations. I know what tastes good (to me) and I know what works and what does not. I can understand how service should be and what to expect from timing in a restaurant.

© The Wine Writing A Restaurant Review

© The Wine

But what I think most qualifies me to share my experiences is the fact that I have eaten at top restaurants since I was a young child. I have been exposed to top chefs and top restaurants all over the world. My earliest memory is eating at Gatrilles in Johannesburg and I have relocated my passion for their food by eating often at 96 Winery Road. I love the restaurant at Waterkloof and I am prepared to pay the premium to eat at a decent restaurant.

96 Winery Road Writing A Restaurant Review

96 Winery Road

I prefer to review here on my blog and found the experience of reviewing for a magazine quite challenging. Your words are restricted and there is always the possibility of editorial conflict. A restaurant I rate highly may not be the favourite of the editor, and a restaurant I did not enjoy might have too high a ranking to receive a negative review.

c2a9 waterkloof Writing A Restaurant Review

© Waterkloof

When blogging about a restaurant one of the most important issues is to let your reader know if you were an invited guest. If you were, you might have received extra ordinary service and attention. I also feel that the review should be based on your own personal experience of the restaurant. List the good with the bad and be fair and honest in your review.

The Tilted Wig Writing A Restaurant Review

The Tilted Wig

Let your readers know how they can contact the restaurant and give them as much information as possible to make a realistic choice as to whether they should eat there or not. My style of reviewing is constantly evolving. I leave reviews up even if the restaurant has closed or changed hands, and I try and update the reviews when I can if we have been back to a restaurant.

Pomegranate Restaurant Writing A Restaurant Review

Pomegranate Restaurant

What to you is the most important facet of reading a restaurant review that influences your decision to eat there or not?

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