Tag Archives: easy recipes

his and hers breakfast . french toast with figs + pomegranate + white chocolate ganache

his and hers breakfast . french toast with figs + pomegranate + white chocolate ganache

“Heaven … I am in heaven’’ … white chocolates, cream, cayenne pepper and cinnamon. Combine some of these ingredients with classic French toast made from homemade bread and you may have to see a cardiologist after this yin and yang breakfast :-)! I used so much cream, chocolate, port, butter – all the no-no‘s of healthy eating but oh boy, did this taste like heaven!

{This delicious recipe was inspired by an ingredient list I received from Pick n Pay for their freshlyblogged challenge #6 competition.}

french toast with figs, pomegranate and white chocolate ganache

For this “his and hers” breakfast, I made something savoury and sweet. I used the French toast as a mutual vehicle for the two different dishes. I added figs, pomegranates, port and some basil mint that freshens and elevates both dishes (proudly out of my garden). The figs and pomegranates work brilliantly with the chicken livers (part of my have to use list) – they offset the bitterness you often find in livers and give it a crunchy texture. “Tannie Ina se bottel tomato and basil pasta sous” helped in creating a lovely rich creamy tomato sauce for the livers. And who will say no to white chocolate, figs and pomegranates?

Sometimes your kitchen is begging you to be adventurous, try crazy combinations, eat rich food and have fun – live, cook, share, laugh … life is short!

french toast with figs, pomegranate and white chocolate ganache

french toast with figs, pomegranate and white chocolate ganache

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french toast with figs, pomegranate and white chocolate ganache

chicken liver

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Tips for poaching a perfect egg

Use fresh eggs at room temperature.
Add vinegar to simmering (not boiling) water.
Slowly submerse the whole egg with shell in the simmering water for 10 seconds before you break it. This ensures the whites on the outside of the egg hold together better during poaching.
Give the water a stir – it forms a whirlpool with the centrifugal force keeping the form of the egg together
Break the egg in a ramekin before you slide (not throw!) the egg into the whirlpool.
Simmer for 2 minutes.

homemade bread
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 320 ml tepid water
  • 1 packet dry yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 500 g flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl mix the water, yeast and sugar together, mix and let it stand for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the olive oil to the mixture and stir.
  3. Add the flour and salt and knead for 5 – 10 minutes into a smooth dough.
  4. Let it rise in a warm spot for an hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 190 ºC.
  6. Punch down and form dough into a loaf and set in buttered bread pan.
  7. Cover and let it rise for 30 mins.
  8. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes till golden brown.
  9. To test if it’s ready, tap the base of the loaf – it should sound hollow.

 
french toast
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 4 thick slices of bread
  • 300 ml cream
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ Tbsp butter for frying
Instructions
  1. Beat the eggs, cream and salt together.
  2. Pour over the slices of bread and let is soak for about 15 min.
  3. Heat a non-stick pan, add the butter and fry the bread until golden brown on both sides.

 
french toast with figs + pomegranate + white chocolate ganache
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • Figs
  • 6 figs
  • 2 Tbsp Demerara sugar
  • 1 tsp Robertsons cinnamon
  • ¼ cup port or sherry
  • 1tsp butter
  • White Chocolate Ganache
  • ⅓ cup cream
  • 80 g white chocolate, cut into small pieces
  • One large pinch of Robertsons cayenne pepper
  • To assemble
  • 2 Tbsp pomegranates
  • 1 tsp basil mint, chiffonade (you can replace this with mint)
Instructions
  1. Figs - Preheat oven to 170 ºC.
  2. Cut a cross on the top of each fig and push from the bottom so that the fig forms a flower. Pack in a small baking tray.
  3. Mix the sugar and cinnamon and add a tsp sugar on top of each fig.
  4. Add the port and butter to the tray and bake for 30 mins.
  5. Take out of oven and baste the figs with the thick sauce that formed.
  6. Ganache - Heat the cream and cayenne pepper in a pot until boiling.
  7. Take of the heat. Add the chocolate and stir till it forms a ganache.
  8. To assemble - Scoop chocolate ganache over the French toast and top with basted figs, pomegranates and basil mint.

 
french toast with chicken livers + figs + pomegranate
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • Chicken livers
  • ½ Tbsp butter
  • 200g chicken livers
  • 1 Tbsp port or sherry + 2 Tbsp
  • 1 bottle Ina Paarman Tomato and Basil Pasta Sauce
  • 1tsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp Robertsons cayenne pepper
  • 1 pinch of Robertsons cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp cream
  • 2 figs, chopped into small blocks
  • 2 Tbsp pomegranates
  • Salt
  • Milled black pepper
  • 2 eggs, poached
  • To assemble
  • 1 fig, sliced in 6 pieces length ways
  • 1 Tbsp pomegranates
  • ½ tsp basil mint, chiffonade (you can replace this with mint)
Instructions
  1. Chicken livers - Heat the butter in a non-stick pan on high.
  2. Add the livers and sauté quickly till brown on both sides. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add 1 Tbsp port and sauté until the port has evaporated.
  4. Take livers out and set aside. The livers must not be completely cooked.
  5. In the same pan add all the ingredients except the cream, figs and pomegranates . Simmer for 5 minutes to a thicker consistency.
  6. Add the cream and stir through.
  7. Add the livers, figs, pomegranate pips and heat through.
  8. Taste for seasoning.
  9. To assemble - Add livers on top of the French toast, top it with the poached egg, some sliced figs, pomegranates and basil mint.

amarula spoons – simple seduction spoon by tempting spoon

amarula spoons – simple seduction spoon by tempting spoon

Amarula, dark chocolate, almonds, pears … These ingredients are the shortest route to seducing my husband in the foodie sense, taste bud for taste bud. I wanted to make something that he could pop into his mouth and then eat the whole dessert. Something I could serve him on a cold winters’ night in front of the fire. I set about making some devious plans 🙂

{his delicious recipe was inspired by an ingredient list (see list + rules at bottom of this post) I received from Pick n Pay for their freshlyblogged challenge #5 competition..}

Watch me make this by clicking here.

amarula spoon

I created an edible spoon from almond brittle, then painted the inside of the spoon with the dark chocolate, topped it with the creamiest Amarula ice cream and squared it off with blocks of pear compote.

Ladies and gentlemen, all I can say is that this is just devilishly delicious. There is this subtle decadence that just gives way to this lingering seduction of flavours, spoon by tempting spoon.

Postscript: The next day I got a bunch of sunflowers (my best!), a wink and a smile and five second-hand recipe books (my husband knows how much I love them). One of the books he brought back for me was a real gem: “The Ark” with a foreword written by *drum roll* the one and only James Beard! #happiness

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Tips for making Amarula spoons
1. If you don’t have a spoon mould just make your brittle on a big baking tray, flatten it, once cooled break it into big pieces.
2. You can always use less butter if you like – the less you use the clearer and harder the toffee will be.
3. If you don’t have almonds you can use any other nuts.
4. Use a melon scoop to make the small balls of ice cream.
5. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, pop the custard overnight in the fridge and use – it is thick enough to sit on the spoon.

amarula spoons – simple seduction spoon by tempting spoon
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 12 spoons
Ingredients
  • Amarula Ice Cream
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 cup Amarula
  • pinch of salt
  • Almond brittle spoons
  • 4 tbsp water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 70g butter
  • pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup PnP blanched almonds, toasted
  • 50g dark chocolate, cut into small pieces
  • Silicone spoon mould (I bought the silicone spoon mould from Banks)
  • Pear compote
  • 150 g unpeeled Forelle pear, sliced into small blocks (retain some of the red of the skin for serving)
  • 70 g sugar
  • ½ cup water
Instructions
  1. Ice Cream - Beat egg yolks and sugar together until fluffy.
  2. Heat the Amarula, cream and salt. Do not let it boil.
  3. Add the Amarula mixture slowly to the egg mixture - stirring briskly throughout the entire process.
  4. Place over a double boiler, stirring continuously until you have a mixture that is of a custard consistency. Set-aside and allow to cool down.
  5. Process through your ice cream machine until set.
  6. Almond brittle spoons - Add the sugar and water in a pan and cook until the sugar has dissolved.
  7. Add the butter and salt and cook until it reaches the hard-crack stage, or 300ºC on a candy thermometer. The mixture needs to have a deep golden colour.
  8. Stir in the almonds and pour the mixture into the spoon silicone mould. With a metal spatula smooth the top of the mould and scrape off all the excess mixture from the mould. Set aside to cool.
  9. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler.
  10. Remove the spoons from the mould and paint the inside of the spoon with the melted chocolate.
  11. Place the spoons immediately into an airtight container until needed.
  12. Pear Compote - Put all your ingredients in a small pot and let it simmer for about 10 – 15 minutes. The pears must be translucent but not mushy; they should still retain some firm shape but with a thick, syrupy reduced consistency. Put aside to cool down.
  13. To assemble - Add a small, marble sized dollop of ice-cream to each spoon.
  14. Add a few blocks of the pear compote and finish off with a few shavings of fresh raw pear skin.
  15. Tips for making Amarula spoons
  16. If you don’t have a spoon mould just make your brittle on a big baking tray, flatten it, once cooled beak it into big pieces.
  17. You can always use less butter if you like – the less you use the clearer and harder the toffee will be.
  18. If you don’t have almonds you can use any other nuts.
  19. Use a melon scoop to make the small balls of ice cream.

Ingredients + Rules for challenge #5
Amarula
Dark chocolate
Pears
Cream Crackers
Blanched almonds

You may omit one ingredient – except the Amarula – from the list above.
You may add one ingredient of  your choice from the food aisles of PnP
Your dish must  must feature a custard-based recipe.
You can use any and all ingredients from the approved Freshly Blogged Pantry List. Olive oil, Vegetable oil, Salt, Pepper, Flours (cake, whole-wheat, bread and self raising), Baking powder, Bicarbonate of soda, Yeast, Butter, Milk, Eggs, Sugar (granulated, castor, icing, brown and treacle),Stock (powder or liquid – beef, chicken, fish, vegetable)

banana flan bread with amaretto biscuits + white chocolate + almonds

banana flan bread with amaretto biscuits + white chocolate + almonds

banana 1 800

Ever since I started writing my blog my husband has been pestering me to bake a banana bread. He is just crazy about the flavour, sweetness and cake like texture. It’s such an easy thing to bake and we always have a few overripe bananas loitering in our fruit bowl. What I do like about banana bread is that it is a no fuss thing – and very easy to put together. Once you have the basic recipe you can always add raisins, nuts, chocolate chips – actually just about anything you fancy to make it your own.

Watch me make this by clicking here.
banana bread

The way I made this a lifeisazoobsicuit banana flan bread was by:
#1 changing the shape – I decided to bake it in a flan pan and serve it in a tart of sorts instead of a loaf and then
#2 I added three components that work extremely well together with bananas – white chocolate buttons, amaretto biscuits and almond flakes
#3 I was not keen to serve it with the traditional icing – so I opted to serve it with the crème fraiche instead.

My hubby, Rick had three helpings … Need I say more?

banana 3 800

A few banana facts or fiction I found on the www 🙂

1. Bananas float in water, as do apples and watermelons.
2. More than 100 billion bananas are eaten every year in the world, making them the fourth most popular agricultural product.
3. A cluster of bananas is called a hand, and a single banana is called a finger. Each banana hand has about 10 to 20 fingers.
4. Thanks to its oil, rubbing the inside of a banana peel on a mosquito bite – will help keep it from itching and getting inflamed.
5. To whiten teeth naturally, rub the inside of a banana peel on your teeth for about two minutes every night. If you gargle with salt water, this will heighten the effect. Expect results in about two weeks. It works because of the effect of the potassium, magnesium, and manganese in the banana peel.
6. If you peel a banana from the bottom up (holding on to the stem like a handle), you will avoid the stringy bits that cling to the fruit inside.
7. Bananas are low in calories and have no fat, no sodium, and no cholesterol. They contain vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and vitamin B6.
8. More songs have been written about bananas than about any other fruit.
9. Bananas are the only fruit that contains the amino acid tryptophan plus vitamin B6. They help your body produce serotonin—a natural substance that alleviates depression.
10. If you put a banana in the refrigerator, the peel will turn dark brown or black, but it won’t affect the fruit inside.

source: thebananapolice.com

banana bread

 

 

banana flan bread with amaretto biscuits + white chocolate + almonds
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 60ml Butter at room temperature
  • 125ml Castor sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Bananas smashed
  • 1t Vanilla essence
  • 250ml Cake flour
  • 1t Baking powder
  • ¼t Salt
  • 50g White chocolate buttons
  • 50g Amaretto biscuits – broken into pieces
  • 40g Almond flakes
  • Crème Fraiche for serving
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 °C. Butter a medium loose bottom flan pan.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy. Then add the egg and mix it in with the butter and sugar mix.
  3. Mix the bananas and vanilla essence into the mixture.
  4. Add all the dry ingredients gently – be careful not to over mix – and pour into prepared pan.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes.
  6. Serve with a sprinkling of icing sugar and a few dollops of crème fraiche

my aunt bettie’s bread pudding with a soft meringue blanket

my aunt bettie’s bread pudding with a soft meringue blanket

bread pudding

There are a few desserts that will always be on top of my nostalgic pudding list … and one of them is my mom’s bread pudding. She tells me that her version of bread pudding comes from my aunt Bettie from Kroonstad in the Free State. In this recipe you don’t use slices of bread but rather bread crumbs and you add nutmeg and this soft meringue blanket on top. In my version I used ghee to add a nutty flavour to the dish and if you want to be a traditionalist you can add some apricot jam on top of the pudding before you add the meringue. In our house, bread pudding was always served with homemade custard or a crème anglaise.

Watch me make this by clicking here.

mom's brood pudding recipe

This dessert’s simplicity lends itself to different interpretations and countless variations and any type of bread may be used – although white breads are the more commonly used. For me bread pudding is definitely comfort food with a big C.

bread pudding

But where does the original bread pudding come from? Bread puddings date back many centuries. Its origins can even be traced back to the days of the Romans! Back in those ancient times citizens could ill-afford to waste food so a variety of recipes stale bread were invented and became commonplace. Bread pudding was one of these recipes. Bread puddings were not only made by the Romans. Ancient versions of bread pudding include Om Ali, an Egyptian dessert made from bread, milk or cream, raisins and almonds; Eish es Serny, a Middle Eastern dish made from dried bread, sugar, honey syrup, rosewater and caramel; and Shahi Tukra, an Indian dish made from bread, ghee, saffron, sugar, rosewater and almonds.

bread pudding

my aunt bettie's bread pudding with a soft meringue blanket
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 Cups bread crumbs (6 slices of bread)
  • 2¼ Cups milk
  • 4 Egg yolks – beaten
  • ¼t Nutmeg
  • 2T Sugar
  • 3T Melted ghee (clarified butter)
  • ¼t Salt
  • To smear on after the first bake
  • 2T Apricot jam (optional)
  • For meringue
  • 4 Egg whites
  • 2T Sugar
  • Pinch of cream of tartar
  • Pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 160°C.
  2. Soak the breadcrumbs in the milk for a few minutes and then add all the other ingredients.
  3. Put in a buttered baking dish and bake for one hour.
  4. While the pudding is baking beat the eggs till soft peaks and then add the cream of tartar + salt + add the sugar spoon by spoon. Beat till you get a soft meringue.
  5. Smear some apricot jam thinly on top of the pudding and then add the meringue on top of the pudding - bake till golden brown for about 8 minutes.
  6. Serve with homemade custard.

smoked potato + vintage cheese and friendships

smoked potato + vintage cheese and friendships

“It made me realise once again that food + blogging brings people together – it cements the deepest friendships and this is what the culinary society and life is all about. Sharing our knowledge and sharing our food around the table or swimming pool – anél”

smoked potato and vintage cheese

alain passard lesson # 3 : never underestimate a vegetable.

It was unusual yet one of the most distinctive taste experiences of my life. Chef Alain Passard served up a simple flambéed smoked potato accompanied by a slice of Moelleux du Revard cheese – that was it – nothing less and nothing more. To me, it was sheer genius serving a potato as the starch with the cheese course {no biscuits or bread}. Not only surprising and crazy to the taste buds – but also absolutely perfect!

Back in the RSA I decided to smoke my first potato and serve it with a vintage mature cheddar {for this recipe I used Simonsberg Vintage Mature Cheddar}.

The first person I rang up to give me some direction {and instructions I might add} to the smoking process was my friend and fellow blogger Barry. Firstly he thought I was crazy – “you want to smoke what?” – in the end the adventurous nature of this challenge intrigued both of us.

Barry arrived all chipper one Saturday morning along with all the goodies – the smoker, the ‘saagsels’, a fresh salmon, a bottle of bubbly and a few beers. Well, we spent a wonderful day together smoking all sorts of edibles – potatoes, salmon and sausage. We all know that it is tough here in Africa, so one always needs to temper this with plenty of laughs, chilled liquid refreshments while languishing under the splendor of the African sunshine.

It made me realise once again that food + blogging brings people together – it cements the deepest friendships and this is what the culinary society and life is all about. Sharing our knowledge and sharing our food around the table or swimming pool.

smoked potato and vintage cheese

Method and ingredients: Peel and steam your potatoes until cooked – do not overcook. Smoke the potato for 15 minutes in a smoker + then flambée it in a dash of brandy just before serving + serve with a slice of Simonsberg Vintage Mature cheddar + sprinkle with some maldon salt and course black pepper. If you want a stronger smoke taste serve with smoked maldon salt. {PS. It is important to accompany with shavings or wedges of strong cheese so that it can match the deep smokiness of the potato}

Wine: I also wanted to wash this unusual offering down with the perfect wine –so I phoned Nic van Wyk from Diemersdal {he was on the set of the new cooking show Kokkedoor} to ask him what he would pair with this specific dish – without so much as a hesitation his response was the Diemersdal Chardonnay Reserve.

Win: To win a Simonsberg Cheese hamper and 2 bottles of Diemersdal Chardonnay Reserve please click here.

smoked potato and cheese