Tag Archives: Favourite food

New Things

New months, new things. Happy June, everyone!

I’ve been trying some new things lately. Nothing hectic like flying helicopters or learning Russian, but still a little stretching for me:

*Like learning some html for a page on a website.  I can make my typing bold or italic, add links to another website (and the link can open a new window/tab  – score!), and I can set up a table. No, not set a table, create a columns-and-rows table. Yip, I’m a real computer geek now. Heehee.

[You see, with blogs like this WordPress one, they make it easy for you – there are lovely little buttons and things, no html required!]

*Or using ‘advanced’ (for me) image editing… like Photoshop, but a free web-based app called Aviary. I really wanted to create a cute banner for my blog (instead of using a photo). Man, it took ages to figure out the layers and the tools. After many many hours, I finally had something that I quite liked (thanks to the Friday Freebie for free digital scrapbooking images).

But – oh my goodness me – I just couldn’t get the sizing right and when I tried to put it up as the banner/header it was pixelated and looked awful. So I resorted to my red velvet cupcakes. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s just not something I worked on for hours and hours. Teeny bit of an anticlimax.

*And I’ve been trying to venture out of my ‘comfort zone’ when it comes to the books I’m reading. [Okay, so that’s not a huge big deal, it’s not like I’m reading horrors.]

*But what this post is really about is that I’m trying to avoid supermarkets if possible. For fresh produce, anyway. I recently discovered I have a greengrocer‘s nearby.

A little background info: I’m a supermarket generation gal. Growing up, my mom did all the shopping in supermarkets. As far as I know, there wasn’t really any other option. And by the time I got to England, supermarkets had pretty much taken over here too, so although I saw a few butchers and bakers and greengrocers, I didn’t really take much notice.

While on my many many many walks with Little Man, I spotted the grocer and have recently actually started going in, and am absolutely not regretting at all! The stuff is all fresh and local and seasonal. Great!

And the best best best thing is… the strawberries!

Since discovering that LM will actually eat strawberries (he’s taken his time with the whole solid food thing) I happily ply him with the things. Which means that his clothes and the high chair tray are covered in pink stains, but he and I are both happy that he’s eating 🙂

So here’s in honour of the wondrous strawberry…

Outdoors, wearing only a nappy. Trying to avoid stains on his clothing!

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Embracing with brie

On Sunday we headed off after church to our biggest park, Central Park.

(Not to be confused with Central Park, NY. lol. Which we’d love to picnic in one day, too.)

I had packed in some Little Man-friendly food (roasted sweet potato wedge, blueberries, grapes, baby sweetcorn) but the star of the show for us was our absolute favourite, and oh-so-simple baguette and brie.  We didn’t take any cutlery or plates or anything, just tore into the bread and cheese, squeezing honey onto a bread and brie stack of deliciousness… our idea of bliss 🙂

So to emphasise my point of how much we love this ‘meal’, I just had to share these old photos with you before we get to our ETC picture for today:

This is in Nice, at the end of our honeymoon. We strolled along the beach after stopping in at a little grocery store for the supplies… baguettes, brie, ham.

We couldn’t think of a nicer way to end our time in France than to celebrate with this spread. Again, no cutlery (who takes cutlery on honeymoon??), just a hot evening… dipping sun… icy sea… and our favourite baguette & brie combo.

[I feel like I need to point out that the highway information sign at the bottom left is in Italy, taken while we were driving back to France. That’s why the date is ’24 maggio’ not ’24 mai’. Just in case there are overly critical very observant readers out there 😉  It’s there to show how gorgeously hot it was! ]

And here’s today’s actual ETC photo, taken on Sunday in the park:

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Luscious Lemon Meringue

I love lemon meringue pie. It’s another childhood favourite of mine.

I made one recently, and couldn’t quite figure out why it had been so long since I last made it.Errrm, nope – this one’s not mine. I wish!

If you click on the photo you’ll be linked to where I got the picture from.

{Great, now I want a cake stand like that}

You see, I got distracted (what??) while mine was baking so the top got a little more way more golden than it should have. And I just couldn’t bear the thought of putting a photo of a brown lemon meringue pie on my blog. Yes, I’m a faker.

But still, the recipe is pretty easy and the result is very tasty, even when the top comes out tanned 🙂

Pastry case (although I usually just use crushed digestive biscuits and butter. Have a look at the photo above to see my very high tech biscuit-crushing technique)

Melt 125g butter, then mix in a heaped cup of flour and 3 teaspoons sugar. Press into a pie dish and bake at 150 deg C for 15-20 mins until golden. Leave to cool a little before pouring lemon filling into it.

Filling:

Mix together:

*1 tin condensed milk

*2 egg yolks (keep the whites for the meringue)

*Half a cup of lemon juice

Pour into the pastry case when cooled a little.

Meringue topping:

*Beat the 2 egg whites until stiff.

*Add half a cup of caster sugar and beat briefly until smooth and glossy.

Gently cover the the lemon filling with meringue. Make pretty swirls with a spatula 🙂

Bake for about 10 minutes until golden brown (not brown brown like I did!)

Aha! I was about to type a little ‘warning’ about the uncooked eggs and pregnancy – bingo! That’s why I haven’t made it in ages… So the little 10 minute golden brown-ing time doesn’t really count as baking. The eggs would still be pretty raw, so if you’re pregnant and worried about eggs (as they are in the UK), then don’t make this one. Yet.

PS: Dad, if Mom shows you this, don’t drool too much 😉 My dad and I always had this as our birthday meal dessert.

And another PS: A friend recently mentioned using cream cheese in the lemony filling bit. I haven’t tried it yet, but if any of you have a recipe like that – let me know!

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Embracing The Camera With Company

Tuesday was an absolutely perfect day.

*Sunshine

*School holidays

*Family visiting from South Africa

*Gorgeous crawling baby

*Braai

{If you didn’t know already, a braai (like ‘buy’ but with an ‘r’ in it) is a barbecue. SA stylie. Although our braais these days are becoming decidedly English.}

Definitely worthy of being our Embrace The Camera moment for this week. And plenty of photos were taken. Just not with our camera, and I forgot to transfer the photos from my aunt’s camera to our computer.

Doh. Have I mentioned baby brain before???

 

So the pictures I’ve used were taken on Tuesday as well, but just of us, by LOML. And they’re some of my favourites we’ve taken so far… Little Man is becoming so much more affectionate, and he’s been around for long enough for he and I to have our ‘things’. You know, like the way nicknames and inside jokes are ‘things’ in a family.

LM loves doing Eskimo’s noses – Eskimo kisses: rubbing noses. He gives the sweetest smiles and presses his forehead against mine. Aaaaaaaawwwwwww, one of my favourite ‘things’.

*mushy mushy*

 

ETC Eskimo Stylie

And even since Tuesday’s post – when I mentioned that Little Man’s crawling was maybe not good enough to actually call him a crawler – his skills have improved drastically. So no hesitation on our part any more. Our baby can crawl 🙂

Here’s a non-ETC photo. Just because I can (and because we’re busting with pride!):

 

Don’t forget to get in front of the camera at some point each week. Do it today if you haven’t already.


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Red Velvet…

Even just typing the title got me singing Black Velvet 🙂

So… I have discovered something to top chocolate cake. I know, who would’ve thought it possible??

I found this recipe for Red Velvet Cupcakes on a blog called Annie’s Eats. I copied and pasted the recipe from the blog, but have changed a couple of things, like using the word ‘icing’ instead of ‘frosting’ and adding some different measurements for some ingredients. I sometimes find the American way of listing everything in cups and tablespoons quite hard to use for certain ingredients, like butter.

Red Velvet Cupcakes
Makes about 24 cupcakes

Ingredients:
For the cake:
2½ cups cake flour
1½ cups sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
1½ cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
30ml/2 tbsp. liquid red food coloring
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. distilled white vinegar

For the icing:
300g tub cream cheese
75g/5 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
10ml/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2½ cups icing sugar, sifted

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a large bowl, combine the cake flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa powder and salt; whisk to blend.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the eggs, vegetable oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla and vinegar.  Beat on medium speed until well blended.  Mix in the dry ingredients on low speed and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared liners.  Bake, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean, about 18 minutes.  Let cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the icing, combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Beat on medium-high speed until well combined and smooth, about 2-3 minutes.  Mix in the vanilla extract.  Gradually beat in the icing sugar until totally incorporated, increase the speed and then beat until smooth.  Ice cooled cupcakes as desired.

Ok, this is me again, not the recipe.

Helpful stuff:

* The author recommends using vanilla flavouring (colourless) for the icing rather than vanilla essence for a nicer colour and texture. I did, and I liked it 🙂

*I piped the icing on top using a ziploc bag with a little snip in one bottom corner. It’s not exactly pro-looking, but it was something different to just slathering the icing on top with a knife or spoon. I don’t think I’m ready to actually go out and buy piping bags and fancy schmancy piping tips.

*I decorated with mini mini marshmallows (yip, that’s what the box called them) on some, hundreds & thousands on some, and cherries on the rest. I thought they looked cute, and carried on the pinky-red theme of the cakes.

*I decided to do some research into how full you’re supposed to fill cupcake liners… apparently 2/3 is the accepted amount. Based on some other cupcake advice I found at the same time, I used a 1/4C measure (not completely filled) to pour the batter into the cake liners so that each had the same amount of batter. I’ve always just guessed in the past, and used a couple of normal spoons. This way took out the guess work, was quicker and less messy. Hurray!

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Tea for 2 or 3 or 4…

Yesterday I mentioned some spectacular food that a friend had made. The dessert was particularly awesome, and since dessert in general is my favourite food, that is what I am going to focus on for now.

My friends had recently been to Pizza Hut and shared their Hot Cookie Dough Dessert. And then decided they had to share the cookie dough love by recreating this treat for me. Big smile 🙂

OH. MY. HAT. It was awesome! It is basically a gigantic choc-chip cookie, eaten straight out of the dish. My friend also added marshmallows. A rocky road choc chip cookie piece of gorgeousness.

So I then did my best to recreate the dish myself. And here’s what I found (after googling and taste-testing):

Lizzie’s Cookie Dough Delight – A Dessert For Sharing

If you think the name’s a mouthful, you should actually try eating it.

Ok, that was lame. Sorry. Here goes:

2 and 1/2 cups flour (plain/cake)

pinch salt

1/2 teaspoon bicarb (baking soda)

170g/ 3/4 cup butter, melted

1 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla essence

250 – 300g chocolate chips

Marshmallows if you’d like them.

1. Preheat oven to 160 deg C/350 deg F.

2. Stir flour, salt and bicarb together in a bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, mix the melted butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until well blended.

4. Stir the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, then add choc chips (and marshmallows).

5. Spread evenly in an oven dish and bake for 10-15 minutes. The top should be golden, but adjust cooking time to your preference when it comes to how soft and doughy it is inside.

Serve with ice cream and chocolate sauce.


*I used El Cheapo cooking chocolate of all three sorts, broken into pieces, instead of traditional chocolate chips.

*I kept some chocolate aside and melted it down to drizzle over as a sauce once baked.

*I am admitting that actually I used too much chocolate. This is a momentous occasion – I did not think that was possible.

*Eating it straight out of the dish adds to the decadence of the dessert, but feel free to scoop out into bowls before topping with ice cream.

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Very Eeeeeeezy Chocolate Cake

A quick and easy tray bake chocolate cake. Just in time for the weekend!

*Preheat oven to 180 degC.

*You need: A big bowl, a big (measuring) jug, a roasting dish (greased/baking paper)

Mix dry ingredients together in a big bowl:

3 cups plain/cake flour

4 teaspns baking powder

1 teaspn bicarb

80ml/5 heaped tablespns cocoa

pinch salt

2 cups sugar

Mix wet ingredients together in a jug:

500ml boiling water

250ml oil

50ml white vinegar

10ml vanilla essence

Mix wet and dry ingredients together in the big bowl. Pour into roasting dish. Bake for 20 minutes.

Simple.

This half (The Dark Side): Peppermint Crisp

and dark chocolate flakes

This half: m&m’s and white chocolate drops

 

 

Chocolate obsessed?

Who, me?

 

Aside: I think Peppermint Crisp looks like kryptonite.  Saffa’s, don’t you agree??

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