Tag Archives: food

Milktart

Dairy… It’s a love hate relationship for me. I love it, it hates me. In fact, I think it love-hates me, and can’t actually make up its mind. Either way, I am of the moderately informed opinion that dairy isn’t really ideal for human consumption at all, but chances are, unless you are hugely intolerant/allergic to the stuff, you won’t really care about a little bit of discomfort for the sake of the dairy!

Mini milk tart
Take, for example, the classic South African Milktart: 71% milk (excluding the crust, which can be omitted for the grain/gluten-free). I could honestly eat the whole thing. And yes, I would over-dramatically hate my life afterwards, and yes, I will possibly go into some form of hyperglycemic shock (from the 12 teaspoons of sugar), and yes, I would insist on running 10km every day for the next month, to try work it off and make myself feel less guilty for the gluttony, but this little local tart can be so worth it… (I say this as if I haven’t eaten a whole milk tart by myself before… This is a judgment free space people!)
I’ve been on a quest to find a recipe that doesn’t involve either condensed milk or custard powder. This one fails in that quest, but succeeds in every other tasty way. Of course, my search will continue, and many milktarts will be quality tested on the way, so it can’t be all that bad.
Melk tert

Milktart

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 10ml flour
  • 10ml custard powder
  • 20ml cornflour
  • 60ml sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 5ml vanilla essence
  • 565ml milk
  • 30g butter
  • 1 baked pastry case or biscuit crust
  • A little cinnamon

Method:

  1. Beat the eggs, then add the dry ingredients (flour, custard powder, cornflour, sugar and salt) and vanilla, and beat well
  2. Heat milk and butter until just boiling, then turn down to a slight simmer and gradually add the egg mixture, stirring constantly. Make sure not to let anything stick to the bottom of the pot.
  3. Cook, stirring continuously, until mixture thickens
  4. Pour mixture it a pie shell (biscuit crust or pre-baked), and sprinkle with cinnamon
  5. Leave to cool (or scald your tongue on the better version of warm homemade custard)
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Courtney’s Gran’s Fudge

Nothing compares to a good fudge recipe – one that doesn’t crack and crumble and break your teeth, but also one that is so soft that it practically didn’t set. No, there has to be the perfect balance of stability and melt in your mouth softness. And this old family recipe gets that just right.
Fudge
This is one of those “handwritten-in-pencil-and-covered-in-coffee-stains-and-who-knows-what-else-from-the-kitchen” recipes. I got it from my bestie’s grandmother’s recipe book. It was the treat she would bring to school for those of us who are lucky to be her friend. She doesn’t make me fudge anymore, but I am still blessed beyond measure that I still get to count her as one of my closest. I promise not all my relationships are based on whether or not you feed me. It is a factor though…
Courtney's Gran's fudge

Gran’s Fudge

Ingredients

  • 1 large can of condensed milk
  • 400g sugar
  • 35ml golden syrup
  • 75ml water
  • 60g butter
  • 5ml vanilla essence

Method:

  1. Put sugar and water into a heavy saucepan. Stir over low heat until dissolved
  2. Add butter and syrup, stir until melted
  3. Pour in the condensed milk and stir until boiling
  4. Simmer slowly for 20-25 minutes, stirring continuously
  5. Remove from stove and stir in the vanilla essence
  6. Pour into a greased pan. Leave to cool. Cut into squares

Healthified Millionaire’s “Shortbread”

These are so good that if I didn’t have my healthy blog, I would definitely pop them straight onto this blog. They are best served cold, and can be enjoyed as a “whenever you feel like chocolate” snack, or as an energy boosting bar that satisfies your sweet tooth when you are attempting to be healthy.

IMG_0942

These are full of good fats (coconut oil, nuts, nut butter), which is both great, and deadly. The trick with healthy foods, is generally that moderation is still important. The high-protein, high-fat nature of these means they are very filling. Any more than one or two, and you’re definitely not enjoying them out of hunger, rather sheer enjoyment of the creamy, chocolatey, caramely goodness.

Check out the recipe here.

Quick Loaf

Summer is not merely upon us, rather, it is downright smothering us! This oppressive heat is… wonderful. I love it. Yay summer, yay shorts, and yay baking. Oh wait, not yay baking… It’s far too hot to have the oven on! That’s a real shame…

Quick loaf 1

I made this bread a while ago… Back when I was allowed to eat bread… While I am not meant to be eating bread at the moment, if I did actually make it again, I would definitely break my bread rule. I would just need to make sure I had someone to share it with, otherwise I would eat the whole thing! And that’s really not good for the whole “bikini body” thing everyone is on about…

Quick loaf 2

Ingredients

  • 400g white bread flour
  • 125g wholewheat flour
  • 2 tsp fine salt
  • 25g butter
  • 250ml warm water
  • 175g raw, grated potato
  • 2 tbsp malt vinegar
  • 5 tsp instant yeast
  • Oil for kneading

Method

  1. Mix the flours and the salt together and rub the butter through the flour mixture
  2. Stir together the warm water, potato, vinegar and yeast, and then add to the flour mixture, using it to bring the dough together
  3. Leave the dough to rest for 10 minutes, then remove from the bowl onto an oiled surface for kneading. Knead well
  4. Return to the bowl and leave to prove for 20 minutes
  5. Remove from the bowl, shape (ball or traditional free-form oblong loaf shape), and place on a floured tray. Cover with a tea towel and leave to prove for 20-30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 220°C while waiting
  6. Dust the loaf with flour, slash it down the middle, and place into the oven, on the middle rack, for 40-50 minutes. You may want to include a bit of steam in the oven by filling a small metal roasting tin with boiling water, and placing it on the lowest shelf (personally I have found that I end up with a soggy bottom when I do this, so I’m not really a fan – the loaf works with and without this step)

Food lately

Oh my word I can’t believe it’s been so long since I actually posted anything! I do have a ton of reasons (internet, laptop, camera, etc.) but excuses don’t mean anything at the end of the day: it didn’t get done, and now I need to fix that!

Just because I haven’t posted anything doesn’t mean that I haven’t been doing food stuff lately – that will never happen! As you can see above (and below), Easter happened, so of course food happened. I entered a competition  on Yuppiechef.com (#eastercakeoff), and had to bake their amazing Spiced Almond Hot Cross Bun Cake, and maybe I didn’t win the awesome Le Creuset hamper (*tear), but you can’t not be winning at life when you get to eat an amazing cake like this. Instead of toasting coconut flakes (which were impossible to find the day before Easter) (also I burnt the one bag of coconut flakes that I did have, but don’t tell anyone that!), I bought some really delicious cereal topping from Woolworths, which came with flaked almonds, coconut flakes, and white chocolate. Totally makes up for the burnt coconut (and because there is now some cereal topping left over…) #WinningAtEaster!

Easter = eggs (obviously). (Let’s see how much of this blog post I can write in parenthesis…) So quiche was the order of the day – you know, to be healthy and stuff, and I have finally found a super reliable shortcrust pastry recipe which I will share (in a really cool and special new way), sometime in the new future).

I’ve also recently decided that I should probably start being a bit healthier. I am in the Wellness and Health & Fitness industry so I should maybe start setting a better example. I had a week of jar salads. I got over it. And how can I not, when there are these amazing chocolate-chocolate éclairs in a recipe book just asking to be made!

So new week, I had to try be healthy again. I’ve gone the Herbalife route now. If you haven’t heard of it yet, you will certainly hear more about it from me in the future. It’s such an amazing product, and look at the delicious (and nutritious) smoothies you can make with it. Trust me, these tasted just like a chocolate-covered strawberry, just as they should!

I’ve also started working with a more regular income. Just because it is regular, doesn’t mean it is hugely lucrative, but it does mean that on pay day I get to go buy “other people” some treats from bakeries I’ve been meaning to try. These are from Chocola. J in Northcliff and they were heavenly, especially the crème brûlée cupcake, and the Bar-One cheescake…

  Vovo Telo always presents their food so well. I have an absolute favourite sandwich at their restaurant, but I decided to give this croissant a try for a change. That’s literally one of my most challenging things ever: saying no to the things you love to try something new, even if it is likely to be as delicious. Can’t I just have both?!?!?! I kept my consistency by having African Summer Tea from Toni Glass though. I am in love!

So that’s what’s been happening in my food world over the past month or so. I’ve made a couple loaves of bread, tried to be experimental with media, and also trying to figure out this whole work-life balance thing. It’s quite tough if you’re trying to make the things you are passionate about (the “life” side of the equation) part of your work… But we are getting there. And the rest of April is going to be an amazing adventure in preparation for May and the rest of the year. Second Term starts soon: New Term, New Me (again)!

Getting Lucky at the Good Luck Club

The Good Luck Club

And by lucky I mean free food, because we all know that that is the best score you can get.

I stumbled upon this neat little restaurant on a casual afternoon drive home from work when I was actually looking for another restaurant, and discovered that the Good Luck Club, which I had never heard of before, was going to be having a Grand Opening launching their new expansion. I wasn’t planning on staying for lunch, but a launch I could definitely count myself included in. And man, was I NOT disappointed.

 

The Good Luck Club has a branch in Illovo, so the quality of the food in this new branch in Emmarentia was unsurprisingly delightful. I love how the menu brings Asian cuisine into the suburbs of Jo’burg, without being too pretentious (although the restaurant was packed to the BRIM with hipsters on opening night – it was the craft beer they were there for, I’m sure of it!)

Good Luck Club Dumplings

After 2 hours of waiting (apparently everyone knew it was opening night) we were finally served our free dim sum platter of 6 dumplings in 3 varieties. Though they were late, they were still steaming hot, and coupled with a deliciously spicy dipping sauce.

It is cheaper than many of the Asian fusion restaurants that are popping up around Jo’burg, however it is still out of my price range at about R98 for the average main (so much, and just for noodles or curry!?) As a result, I had the miso soup for main. It was tiny, but full of flavour, and of course packed with protein-filled tofu. Mr Kendz had the Thai Chicken soup, which he was thrilled with: there was a delicate balance of coconut and undertones of subtle and beautifully combined flavours – not overwhelming, and really generous with the chicken. He was satisfied after his half of the dim sum platter and his soup, so it is still possible to make it a cheap date and get some great tasting good quality food.

Good Luck Club Miso Soup

Deep fried banana spring rolls with chocolate dipping sauce for dessert. Delicious (even though we got it before we even got our dim sum)

Deep fried banana spring rolls with chocolate dipping sauce for dessert. Delicious (even though we got it before we even got our dim sum)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The restaurant itself is stunning – it is simplistic, with concrete walls and simple wooden tables. The lights hang off the walls on neatly wound cords of wire (I’m sure it’s safe!), and there are Sir Cats on the wall. I would go there just for Sir Cat. He’s majestic.

One day when I’m big and rich I will go to restaurants like the Good Luck Club all the time! But for now, I will just save it for payday (along all the other exciting restaurants Jozi is tempting me with).

Achievement Unlocked – Level Macarons!

achievement

Macarons have been my biggest challenge to date. Generally I am quite satisfied with my ability to follow a recipe and get my expected result. With macarons, however, this was not the case.

Christmas Macarons

[Let me just clarify something quickly: macaroon vs. macaron. Think: coconut vs. almond flour.

Quick recipe for a macaroon: condensed milk and desiccated coconut, mixed in a ratio that lets you form little balls and place on a baking tray to bake at 180º until the edges start to brown and the biscuit is pretty firm]

My first attempt at macarons used a recipe from Dan Lepard‘s cookbook, Short and Sweet, which has proven delicious and basically perfect every time… until now. Then I tried Mary Berry and Great British Bake Off‘s chocolate macarons. I followed the instructions to a T, and they ended up burning anyway.

I figured it was time for a troubleshooting guide, when I stumbled upon this absolute gem. She even linked to her step by step guide to making macarons, which I tried after re-attempting Dan’s recipe using some of her advice. This was my result:

Her recipe was the first to start coming out right. But surely I didn’t have to follow all of her steps? Who has time to wait overnight for egg whites to mature? As it turns out, it is important, and it makes a substantial difference.

What also helped, was this guy. I absolutely love his work! His tutorials on macarons showed me that I might have been over-beating my eggs, and maybe I was “not overmixing” too carefully. Fully incorporated, people!

Red Christmas macarons

Eventually, I ended up with these bad boys, which I made for our Christmas party. Aren’t they beautiful! And added bonus was that they were gluten free, so everyone, even the fussies (though not the Banting folk), could enjoy dessert.

They were accompanied by vanilla cupcakes with green cream cheese frosting, and cute little marshmallow reindeer that my little cousin thoroughly enjoyed.

Marshmallow reindeer

Marshmallow reindeer

Vanilla cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

Vanilla cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

Macarons

Makes about 30 sandwiches

Ingredients

  • 3 egg whites
  • ¼ tsp creme of tartar
  • 210g powdered (icing) sugar
  • 125g ground almonds/almond meal/almond flour
  • 30g caster (granulated) sugar

Method

  1. Separate the egg whites. Leave overnight to mature in the fridge, and remove from fridge well ahead of time to allow to come to room temperature
  2. Sift the icing sugar and ground almonds together. Place this into a food processor and blend together until very fine and resembles a flour. Do this in stages, and make sure you’ve scraped down the sides of the food processor to break everything up. Also don’t go for so long that the mixture starts to heat up (we are making macarons, not over-sweetened almond butter)
  3. Sift the icing sugar-almond mix back into the bowl. If there are any remaining chunks of almond, remove them, they will make the mixture lumpy – DO NOT PUSH THEM THROUGH
  4. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites and creme of tartar until very soft peaks form – peaks should hold their shape for long. Add the granulated sugar here in two stages, beating until stiff peaks form (but not hard peaks – they should have some movement to them still). Colour your meringue mixture now, using powder or gel food colourings – don’t use liquid colouring
  5. Add one third of the almond mix and fold in gently. Once it has started to combine, add the second third, and repeat with the final third. Ensure mixture is of the same consistency and there are no dry patches
  6. Place mixture into a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle about 0.5-0.8cm in diameter. Pipe this onto a stencilled mat or template, taking care not to put too much mixture for each biscuit as they spread quite a bit. Tap the baking tray firmly onto your working surface to remove any air bubbles. If there are remaining bubbles on the surface, give these a pop with a tooth pick
  7. Leave to form a shell at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Just before that time is up, preheat oven to 160ºC
  8. Place baking tray in the oven, and bake for 10 minutes, then reduce temperature to 140ºC and continue to bake for another 5-7 minutes
  9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before sandwiching together with filling. I filled mine with canned caramel (boiled condensed milk trick) sprinkled with some salt (salted caramel), a coffee buttercream, and some leftover green cream cheese frosting from the cupcakes