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Archive for December, 2011

Dad’s Christmas cake

My Dad is the Christmas cake king.

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Every year he makes more than a 100 cakes to give to everyone from friends and relatives to our grocery guy and fish monger.

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He spends weeks researching recipes and experimenting.

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The goal is to always better last year’s cake.

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Raisins are dried and sultanas are soaked in rum.

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Walnuts are chopped and blackcurrants are washed.

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The funny thing is- I don’t like Christmas cake.

(He always makes a special walnut cake just for me.)

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But this year, one bite of the cake and I was a convert.

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Every bite gives you something new in your mouth.

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Here is what happened with my most recent slice:

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A juicy rum-soaked sultana.
Crunchy, crunchy walnut.
Snappy ginger peel.
Shiny, sour blackcurrant.
Warm spicy hit of cinnamon.
Plump, dark raisin.

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See what I mean?

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This recipe is infinitely adaptable.

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Use more walnuts or less.
Don’t use blackcurrants if you don’t want to.
Add more sultanas if you’re a fan.

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Do your own thing.

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The main ingredient (like Dad says) is love :)
You can’t go wrong with that.

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Have a wonderful Christmas, friends!

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Oh and here’s a little look at our tree.

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Dad’s Christmas Cake

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Prep time: 25 mins (plus overnight if you’re soaking fruits)
Cook time: 1 – 1 and a half hours
Serves: 12

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Ingredients:

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3 large eggs

50 g white sugar

50 g brown sugar

100 g butter (salted is fine, but softened)

100 g flour, sifted

100 g mixed dried fruit, chopped or fruit soaked in rum (choose from raisins, sultanas, blackcurrants, ginger peel, glazed cherries, mixed peel, candied fruits like murabba)

50 g walnuts, chopped

2 tsp vanilla essence

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon powder

2 tbsp dark caramel or treacle

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Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 160º C. Separate the eggs and whisk the whites until stiff. Keep aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, beat both the sugars with the butter. Add the yolks and beat again.
3. Now add the flour and mix well. Next, add all the other ingredients and mix thoroughly.
4. Fold the egg whites into this mixture gently, and pour into a tin lined with parchment paper. Cover with foil and bake for one hour. Check by inserting a skewer; it should come out clean. If not bake for a few more minutes.
5. Remove, and cool on a wire rack before eating.

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Don’t people say that the fun is in the waiting?

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In the chase, or the build-up, or the journey?

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I’ve reason to believe that this is true.

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In the past few months, I’ve been lucky enough to have had several experiences that I’ve enjoyed immensely and will cherish for a long time.

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In retrospect though, I feel that the build-up to these events- the endless planning, the long discussions, and the anticipation was actually the most fun part. The actual event would pass me by in a flash.

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So I’ve decided to really start enjoying the ride.

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And in an attempt to savour the build-up to this festive season, I’ve made crazy-soft, melt-in-your-mouth banana muffins.

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Easy enough to make in a hurry, these muffins are perfect with a warm mug of tea or coffee.
And I think they are the food equivalent of a hug :)

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Happy holidays friends!

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Banana muffins
Recipe from: Cat Can Cook

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Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Makes: 12

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Ingredients:

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4 bananas, as ripe as possible

190 g flour

100 g granulated white sugar

1 large egg

80 g butter, melted and cooled

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

chocolate chips (optional)

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Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 175º C. Peel the bananas and place them in a mixing bowl. Mash them to a pulp with a fork.
2. Add all the other ingredients and mix thoroughly.
3. Spoon into a 12-grooved muffin tray lined with muffin liners. Sprinkle a few chocolate chips over each, if you wish. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove and eat warm.

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Pinteresting week 3

PINTERESTING WEEK 3

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LOVE Beautiful horse

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GET IN THE KITCHEN Glow in the dark Cupcakes

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DRESS UP Warm Knee socks

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SWOON Jake Gyllenhaal

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MAKE YOURSELF Paper clouds

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TRAVEL Paris

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LAUGH

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BE INSPIRED

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WISH LIST Cloud couch

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CELEBRATE New-age Christmas tree

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Have you guys done your Christmas shopping yet? I’m way behind.
This is the time for it!
Have a fab week :)

(All pictures from Pinterest)

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“…they saw a light rain of tiny yellow flowers falling. They fell on the town all through the night in a silent storm, and they covered the roofs and blocked the doors…So many flowers fell from the sky that in the morning the streets were carpeted with a compact cushion and they had to clear them away with shovels and rakes…” One hundred years of solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

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This month’s book club pick was this magnificent novel.

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An epic story about a family spanning several generations, the magic realism is what makes this one of my favorite books.

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A cloud of yellow butterflies follow a man around wherever he goes.

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Flowers fall from the sky incessantly.

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A beautiful woman floats into thin air.

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Magical things happen.

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Something like that happened when I tried my hand at roast pork for the very first time.

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It all began with a glorious hunk of pork. It had the perfect ratio of fat to meat, and lovely skin.
I could foresee some crispy crackling in my future :)

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After almost four hours, the roast was ready to cut into and it was tender and flavourful and had all the other wondrous qualities that pork always has. The veggies and potatoes I baked with the roast were sweet and caramelized- the perfect accompaniment along with some gravy (unashamedly out of a packet).

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Leftover slices of roast pork are great in sandwiches as well. If there are any leftovers that is ;)
Magical, magical pork :)

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Roast pork with caramelized winter vegetables
(Masterchef Australia hangover recipe name)

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Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 3-4 hours
Serves: 6-8
Eat this with: Some bread and gravy

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Ingredients:

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500 g pork, a large piece with skin, fat and meat
salt, for drying
50 ml apple cider vinegar
2 carrots, halved lengthways and cut into 3 large chunks each
4-6 medium potatoes, skin on
6-8 bulbs of garlic
2 onions, peeled and quartered
warm water

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Method:

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1. Preheat the oven to 200º C. Score the skin with a sharp knife. Cut through, but not too deep and aim for criss crossy look. Rub salt all over the skin. This will dry it out, making for extra crispy crackling :)
2. Place the pork on a baking tray. Put all the vegetables and potatoes around the pork. Drizzle the apple cider vinegar around the veggies and add a little bit of warm water.
3. Place the tray in the oven. Leave inside for 3 to 3 ½ hours. Check every half an hour and add a few teaspoons of warm water every time the tray seems dry. Rotate the pork and the veggies at least twice during the baking time. Spoon some of the juices from the tray onto the pork a few times, to keep it moist throughout the process.
4. You will be able to tell when it is cooked. The top will be beautifully crisp and when you cut into the pork, it won’t be red inside. Take out the tray and leave it to rest for about half an hour before you eat.

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PINTERESTING WEEK 2

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LOVE This happy elephant

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GET IN THE KITCHEN Gingerbread Latte Cupcakes

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DRESS UP Green bow clutch

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SWOON Jon Hamm

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MAKE YOURSELF Christmas card

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TRAVEL Prague

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LAUGH

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BE INSPIRED

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BELIEVE In kindness

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CELEBRATE Lights

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I’m so glad December is here! Have a good week you’ll! :)

(All pictures from Pinterest)

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