Recipe For Festive Wreath

This month’s Fresh from the Oven challenge was set by Michelle who blogs over at Utterly Scrummy Food For Families. I decided to make the festive wreath using my kitchen aid stand mixer, but decided not to even attempt Michelle’s directions for the actual making of the wreath, but rather to repeat my cinnamon buns layout and make a wreath using my pizza pan. To make the wreath more festive I lit a sparkler shaped in a star for the photograph. The taste is like a Chelsea bun and Dave and I each had one for after lunch dessert. I took the wreath to my cousin to add to their table for evening snacks and we were left with two to come home with. They do not keep very well, so make that your excuse for eating the whole lot in one day.

"Festive Wreath"

Festive Wreath


Festive Wreath
for the dough:
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 420g flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar – I used fructose
  • 1½ teaspoon salt
  • 50g softened butter
  • 1½ teaspoon ground mixed spice
  • 315mls lukewarm milk
for the filling:
  • 50g softened butter
  • 2 tablespoons sugar – I used fructose
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 45g flour
  • ½ cup blanched almonds – I chopped half of them
  • ½ cup dried apricots, chopped
  • milk for glazing
for the icing:
  • 30g chocolate
  • 5g butter
for the dough:
  1. place the milk into a pot on a low heat while you measure out the balance of the ingredients for the dough
  2. using a mixer with a dough hook, add all the ingredients into the bowl
  3. knead for 10 minutes until the dough forms a soft ball that springs back when lightly pressed
  4. turn the dough out of the bowl and lightly grease the bowl
  5. roll the dough into a ball and place back into the bowl
  6. cover with clingfilm and leave to rise for 45 minutes in a warm place
  7. near the end of the proving time make the filling so that it's ready to use as soon as the dough has proved
for the filling:
  1. beat together the butter, sugar, extract and flour to make a paste
  2. fold in the nuts and the fruit
  3. knead the dough for a minute and then roll out in a large rectangle shape on a well floured surface
  4. position the dough with the longest edge facing you
  5. spread the filling over the bottom edge, then roll it up
  6. use a sharp knife and cut the roll into 1 inch (2.5cm) slices
  7. place the slices into a pizza pan around the edges, joining each slice together and pushing each one flat
  8. leave to prove for 45 minutes before preheating the oven to 200° Celsius
  9. glaze the exposed surfaces with milk
  10. bake for 20 to 25 minutes until lightly browned and cooked through*
for the icing:
  1. once you have taken the wreath out of the oven melt the chocolate and the butter in the microwave
  2. drizzle the melted chocolate over the top of the wreath
Cooks Notes
* I checked at 22 minutes and one side was slightly darker than the other!

Click on the links for conversions and notes.

I then decided to make the wreath again in my bread maker. I have a Breville Ikon that allows me to select a dough setting and so I used that. I also decided to make the wreath itself differently by cutting the rolled out dough into two and making a filling for each half. I used the same filling as above for the one half and a dried cherry and pistachio nut filling for the second half. I rolled each one up lengthwise and then twisted them over each other to make a rope and laid it out around my pizza pan. It was not as easy to do as the bun layout so you need to be careful not to split the dough – I was not that careful as I tried to untwist the dough and redo it! This however made no difference to the outcome. This had a lovely taste with the pistachio’s really coming through. It had less of a Chelsea bun taste than the first recipe even though the base ingredients were the same.

"Festive Wreath Made In A Bread Maker"

Festive Wreath Made In A Bread Maker


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Secret Santa Round Up

I want to thank each and every blogger who signed up for Secret Santa – even those I had to disappoint as they were the only bloggers in their country. I had a few bloggers pull out after the assignments were set and to this end I have to thank a friend for stepping in at the last minute to take part. Some bloggers who signed up failed to follow up – but, that is their loss.

"Secret Santa"


The first blog post is from Blue Jellybeans from Spain. Having only two bloggers in Spain taking part, they were each other’s Secret Santa and you can read all about Chica Andaluza’s gift here. I was surprised as I did not put my name in the hat so to speak, but I did get a gift box, full of lovely goodies – take a look. Pretty Little Thing has showcased her gifts here. Sous Chef Secret Santa sent her some interesting products which you can see here. Mandy got a lovely bounty from Colleen. Teri, The Freshman Cook got an amazing gift from Bexx. Bexx’ Santa chose to stay secret, but you can see what she sent here. Usha received some treats and some seeds – take a look.

I will continue to edit this post as I see more blogs surfacing.

In the meantime I would like to wish each and everyone of my reader’s a blessed Christmas and / or Hannuka if you are celebrating. And whether you do or don’t celebrate, have a great December. We are on leave from work from the 15th of December until the 9th of January – and I am taking leave of blogland for that time as well. This is the time of the year I get to celebrate my wedding anniversary and do things that I don’t get to during the year, like write about our holiday we took in France this year April and May. I will also start work on my second recipe book and cook and bake up a storm. I will be back here with a post on the 28th however, so do come and take a look then.

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly


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Ostrich Fillets With Clemengold Juice

Living in a converted garage means that there are really only two rooms in the space. Our kitchen, dining room and lounge is one big open plan area. So, with Cindy relaxing on the couch, she really was sitting quite close to the kitchen. Dave had come home and was helping me prepare supper and Cindy asked us if we ever fought? Dave, with his wry, dry sense of humour told Cindy that I shout at him all the time. In reality, we don’t fight. Cindy was watching us cook in unison – discussing what needed to be done and how best to do it. A typical evening in our home. In some instances, this question could have resulted in all sorts of sticky situations. But, for us it is easy – there is really nothing to argue about.

"Ostrich Fillets With Clemengold Juice"

Ostrich Fillets With Clemengold Juice

I pan fried some ostrich fillets which I had lightly seasoned with salt and pepper – we like our meat rare so I did them for two minutes on each side. I then squeezed the juice of one clemengold into the pan – you can use clementines or mandarins – before removing the ostrich to allow the fillets to rest. I let the juice reduce until nice and sticky before pouring it over the ostrich.

A simple supper :)


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Recipe For Spicy Chicken Livers

Chicken livers form a staple part of the diet in any Jewish household. We serve chopped liver at Passover, together with chopped herring, gefilte fish and chicken soup with matza balls. We make chicken liver pâté to serve with rye bread which is one of my favourite ‘asides’ to make. My recipe is full of butter and I had to stop making it each week when the pounds piled on. Chicken livers sautéed quickly in a pan is another firm favourite. And despite these three dishes being common to my heritage, I have never blogged about them. For the Enkosi Cookathon we were tasked with making spicy chicken livers. Please click on the link to see the original recipe for the dish, what is here is what I did.

"spicy chicken livers"

spicy chicken livers


Spicy Chicken Livers
  • 30mls olive oil
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 250g chicken livers
  • 1 red chilli, sliced
  • 15g fresh coriander
  • 30mls lemon juice
  • salt to season
  • 15mls cream
  • 15g butter, melted
  1. heat 15mls olive oil in a large frying pan
  2. sauté the onion and the garlic until soft
  3. add the chicken livers and cook thoroughly
  4. mix the chilli, coriander, lemon juice, salt and 15mls olive oil in a mortar and pestle
  5. remove the livers from the heat and chop them up
  6. add the relish and the cream
  7. mix well and pour over the butter

Click on the links for conversions and notes.


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Recipe For Creamy Pasta With Beef

I am loving being in The Secret Recipe Club, as I have met so many bloggers! The time difference is the only thing that does not work well for me – the afternoon’s for me are busy, and so I only get to the posts the day after they are published. This month my assigned blog is Good Thymes and Good Food. Rachel is originally from Florida (where some of my family live) and she now lives in Atlanta. I have been to the airport there countless of times, but have never been out of the airport as I have always been in transit. Rachel is a stay at home mom – how blessed her son is :)

As I also participate in Presto Pasta Nights and my draft folder is empty of pasta recipes, I chose the first pasta recipe I found on the blog. It had so many of my favourite ingredients in the recipe, I knew it would be great, even before I tried it. I chose not to do a holiday recipe, as that is the farthest thing on my mind right now. This is the busiest time of the year for me work wise. I made a little extra for the freezer – there may be a night soon that I don’t have time to cook!

"Creamy Pasta With Beef, Sundried Tomatoes And Mushrooms"

Creamy Pasta With Beef, Sundried Tomatoes And Mushrooms

Creamy Pasta with Beef, Sundried Tomatoes and Mushrooms for The Secret Recipe Club:
  • 4 rashers streaky bacon
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 250g ground beef
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
  • 120g mushrooms, chopped
  • 60mls sun dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 15g butter
  • 30mls olive oil
  • 45mls flour
  • 375mls chicken stock
  • 80mls cream
  • 200g pasta
  • 125mls frozen peas
  • 125mls grated Parmesan
  1. add the bacon to a frying pan over a medium heat and cook until crisp
  2. remove from the pan and chop
  3. sauté the onions and the garlic until soft
  4. add the beef and brown
  5. season and add the mushrooms and cook until soft
  6. add the sundried tomatoes and the bacon and leave to simmer
  7. in a separate saucepan melt the butter in the with the olive oil over a low heat
  8. add the flour and cook for at least 30 seconds
  9. add the stock while whisking the whole time
  10. whisk in the cream
  11. add 1 cup of the sauce to the meat and leave to simmer for 20 minutes while you bring your pasta water to the boil
  12. cook the pasta as per the package instructions
  13. add the peas and heat through
  14. add more sauce to your liking
  15. add the Parmesan and allow the cheese to melt
  16. loosen the sauce with the pasta water before tossing in your cooked pasta

Click on the links for conversions and notes.

I am submitting this recipe to Presto Pasta Nights, which is being hosted this week by Rachel who blogs over at The Crispy Cook

To see more recipes from  please click the linky tool below.


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Cape Winelands Cuisine

I am originally from the Northern Suburbs of Johannesburg, and grew up in an area where Italian was the second most spoken language. I am a not quite third generation South African – my paternal grandmother was born here, but not my father. My maternal grandparents were immigrants, and my mother was born here. Afrikaans was not a language I succeeded at grasping. Then, over 10 years ago we moved to what was known as the Boland. We border on the Overberg – two very Afrikaans areas. And, in order to do business, I had to improve my Afrikaans. I am now confidently twee taalig (bilingual) to the point where I could understand the wonderful interview format of the launch of Cape Winelands Cuisine.

"Cape Winelands Cuisine"

Cape Winelands Cuisine

This recipe book combines the history of the region and celebrates the cultural heritage of the Cape. It reflects the development of food since the arrival of Jan van Riebeeck in the 17th Century. Hetta van Deventer has showcased the very best the region has to offer. The book will appeal to both locals who want to know more about the historical foods of the area, as well as tourists who want to take home a memento of their vacation in our beautiful country. The recipes are about traditional South African foods with the focus on the Cape Winelands. One of the most touching aspects of the interview was how the recipe book was referred to as their baby! Hetta, Mickey and Jacques have created a large baby but despite its size, it is not fully inclusive as there are too many recipes to have put them all in the book. It does however include all the popular dishes, not only the common ones. The recipes keep in mind that not everything is readily available but it does include South Africa’s heirloom vegetables. These old fashioned recipes have been reworked to suit today’s modern palate. Seasonal produce is very important and the regional concept is specific to the book. The dishes are Afrikaans in origin and the Afrikaans names have been used. There is something in it for everyone with a concept of the family table being emphasized.

"Cape Winelands Cuisine Recipe"

Cape Winelands Cuisine Recipe

Our arrival was marked with some interesting dishes and refreshments. I did not try the ginger beer with rose geranium, but I am definitely going to make myself this drink the next time we have a hot summer’s day. The oyster and marrow pie was a unique burst of flavour in my mouth. I found them a bit sweet and also steered away from the traditional cupcakes – kolwyntjies – and mosbeskuit on offer. I decided to save my sugar allocation for dessert and I was glad I did.

"Cape Winelands Cuisine Food"

Cape Winelands Cuisine Food

Lunch started with a Cape bokkom salad. It was a first for me trying dried salted fish and it is something I would use again in my cooking. The pickled fish was lovely and when I told Dave I had eaten pickled fish he was amazed as he did not know I liked it. He was more amazed by this than by the fact I had also tried offal brawn. The mini Cape meatballs, better known as frikkadelle were not to my taste. Rolpens is another offal dish, known as andolie by the French Huguenots. This dish was not only introduced to the new world here, but also in Louisiana where andouille is a Creole ingredient found in jambalaya. I tasted the pickled tongue which reminded me of my grandmother and enjoyed the lovely homemade bread.

"Cape Winelands Cuisine Sweets"

Cape Winelands Cuisine Sweets

I was slightly baffled that we were not given a choice of main courses but thankfully Linda suggested we share and I got to taste her lovely pan fried Franschoek trout which was served with a sweetcorn fritter, a red wine sauce and turnip dauphinoise. My sweet and sour pumpkin and lamb stew was no match for the fish, but the accompanying wine and company more than made up for it. The dessert of sweet soup with fruit sorbet and fresh berries went down a treat and was followed by coffee. Coffee was accompanied by biscuits, Cape fruit tarts, macaroons, apple marmalade, kwartiertertjies (samosas), oblietjies (small waffles) with cream and cheese tart and preserves. I managed to get a small collection to bring home for David and he really enjoyed the lot.

"Cape Winelands Cuisine Recipe Cards"

Cape Winelands Cuisine Recipe Cards

Our lovely gift included these recipe cards, and I am looking forward to trying them out. Thank you to La Motte for inviting me to this launch.

Disclaimer: I was an invited guest at the launch and my invitation was not dependent on me writing a blog post. This post is in line with my blogging policy.


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Friday’s Food Quiz Number 68

Cray fishing season is in full swing and I get three hours on a windless day to do what ever I want. I have started by putting some granola in the oven and as soon as I have done the quiz set by Pink I am going to start on my Fresh From The Oven challenge for this month.

1. Who introduced Turkeys to Europe?

The Americans? 

2. What is Gammon?

a cut of ham referring to the hind leg of a pig

3. What are the three main ingredients of the cocktail Cosmopolitan?

I have convinced myself that these are good for my health, as I have kidney stones! Vodka,   Triple Sec and cranberry juice

4. What are Mince pies filled with nowadays?

Dried fruit, spices, apples, zest and Brandy

5. What is a Bundt cake?

A cake that has a distinct ring shape

"Lavender Surprise Bundt Cake"

Lavender Surprise Bundt Cake

6. Where did Panforte originate from?




7. What is sprue?


8. What is fresh coriander called in America?


9. In which country is stollen a traditional Christmas cake?




10. What is Chami?

I am stumped! 


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Recipe For Barbecue Sauce

When I was first diagnosed as being sucrose intolerant cutting sugar out of my diet was easy. I read the labels of everything in my fridge and pantry and threw out all the food I could no longer eat. Since then I have become a label reader. I had to toss my favourite provitas and forego desserts. Something my sweet tooth has never adjusted to totally. After a few months of this I once again had a weight loss problem and I consulted with a nutritionist at the Diabetic Association. She told me to trust my taste buds and to not eat anything that tasted too sweet. As I have grown older, my intolerance is not so bad and it is controlled by the intake of chromium. But, I never push it unless I am ordering dessert in a restaurant. So, I do not buy bottled sauces and prepared products. For my meatloaf recipe I had to make my own barbecue sauce and without looking for a recipe I just made one up. Not sure if it tastes like the real thing as I have never tasted bottled Barbecue Sauce but it worked well in this recipe, which is what mattered to me.

"Barbecue Sauce"

Barbecue Sauce

Barbecue Sauce
  • 60mls ketchup
  • 15mls Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 drops Tabasco
  • 5mls soy sauce
  1. mix the ingredients together to combine


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Recipe For Fudge

The 7th of every month sees the Crazy Cooking Challenge reveal. This month we were challenged to make fudge. I was so pleased when my google search revealed my friend Sam’s blog – Drizzle and Dip. However, two attempts at fudge making were not successful. I am not sure why, as I have never made fudge before on the stove top – but the recommended temperature of 118° Celsius was reached both times – and by the time it got there, it had gone past the fudge stage and all you could smell was burnt sugar. It was more like toffee gone wrong than anything else. My friend Shirley sent me her fail safe recipe and she told me not to adjust the quantities as it will not work if halved. I wonder if this could be the problem as I halved Sam’s recipe as I wanted to try a sugar free version first. In quite a state with the 7th looming, I tweeted for help and my friend Carey recommended I use her recipe. Dave used to make fudge when he was a child and so he popped in to the kitchen to help – which was great, as I could take photographs. He says this fudge is good, and I can tell you it is easy to make. Do give it a try!

"fudge making"

fudge making

Makes: makes 24 squares
  • 4 cups sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 can full cream condensed milk
  • 125g butter
  • 30mls corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  1. put the sugar, water, condensed milk, butter and syrup into a large pot (this is to prevent it boiling over)
  2. heat gently allowing the sugar to dissolve
  3. raise to 115° Celsius and keep it boiling for about 30 minutes until it caramelizes and thickens
  4. do not let the fudge get above 118° Celsius
  5. watch the bubbles change and when they are big in the middle you are at the fudge stage
  6. check this by dropping a small amount into water – it should for a soft ball
  7. remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and vinegar
  8. beat the fudge with an electric beater on a low speed to avoid splash backs which can result in bad burns (use lavender essential oil on a burn straight away to prevent blisters)
  9. do this until the colour lightens and it has thickened and it has started crystallizing against the side of the pot
  10. pour into a lined rectangular dish and cool until firm enough to cut into squares (about 20 minutes)
  11. allow to stand for 1 hour before removing from the dish


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Recipe For Pasta With Beef Ox Liver

I love chicken livers but have never been brave enough to try any other livers. Dave keeps telling me how nice they are and then a couple of months ago I saw that Woolworths have started stocking beef ox liver. It cannot be frozen and when I saw it I could not buy them to use straight away and so I ‘filed’ the information away to use at a later stage. Then while I was in Johannesburg my dad got some liver and we made it for supper. It was really good, and I knew I could make a recipe for pasta with liver when I got back home. Dave was most surprised when he saw the livers in the shopping and I think we both enjoyed the rich iron flavours of this dish. My gran taught my mother to steep the livers in milk first – I did not do this but I did ensure that I did not season the livers until they were sealed. This gave me tender liver bites and it is the one ‘trick’ I will use again when making livers of any kind.

"Pasta With Beef Ox Liver"

Pasta With Beef Ox Liver

Pasta With Beef Ox Liver
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, cut in half and sliced
  • ½ teaspoon sugar – I used fructose
  • 500g beef ox liver
  • 2 tablespoons white wine
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper for seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons cream
  1. while your pasta water is coming to a boil, gently heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large frying pan
  2. sauté the onion with the sugar over a low heat until very soft and golden
  3. remove and set aside
  4. heat the remaining oil and pan fry the livers over a medium heat to seal
  5. as soon as they are browned, remove and slice
  6. deglaze the pan with the wine
  7. add back the onions and liver plus any juices from slicing the liver
  8. season to taste and stir in the cream

I am submitting this recipe to Presto Pasta Nights, which is being hosted this week by Jamie of Cookin’ with Moxie


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