Gluten Free White Chocolate & Roasted Thyme Nectarine Pizza

Being gluten free is a new concept to me, I am still finding my way around all the DO’s & DON’Ts of eating gluten free. I was taking part in a challenge and decided that I would dive deeper into the world of gluten free, but I really had to do my research as to what is classified as gluten…and what isn’t.

Gluten is a protein complex found in wheat, now this may sound devastating to most, however there are many acceptable substitutes for wheat. For example almond flour is fantastic as it has a low glycemic index and is a low-carbohydrate alternative to wheat flour. As I learn more and more about this lifestyle change, I will share the information. Until then, try my Gluten Free Dessert Pizza!

Pizza Base

3 cups gluten free flour
1tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
5 tsp white sugar
1 tbsp yeast
1 ¼ cups tepid water
1 tbsp olive oil
1 ½  tsp Robertson Cayenne Pepper (use more if you like more of bite)

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Mix the yeast into the tepid water. Add one tsp sugar and whisk, set aside to double in size.
In a bowl, combine the flour, cayenne pepper, baking powder, rest of the sugar, salt and olive oil. Mix until combined.
Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture, pour the yeast mixture in and mix with a spoon.  Remember this is gluten free so your dough will not be very stiff.
Lightly flour your work surface, top out the dough and knead until smooth, this won’t take long. There are no glutens to work so all you are looking for is a smooth dough.
Place the ball of dough into a greased pizza pan or baking sheet. Shape out the dough working with damp hands, bake for 25 – 30 minutes.

Set aside to cool completely. Remove from dish.

Toppings:

3 nectarines cut into wedges
150ml fresh cream
50g fresh thyme
2 tsp white sugar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cinnamon
70g white chocolate

Place the nectarines on a roasting try, drizzle olive oil over.
Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon over, bruise thyme and spread over the nectarines
Roast for 30 minutes or until golden and sugar is caramelized. Remove the thyme stalks and set aside to cool completely.
Heat 70mls of cream and add the chocolate to the warm cream.  Slowly melt, creating a Ganache glaze. (leave a little chocolate for garnishing)
Pour the Ganache over the cooled pizza base, place roasted nectarines on the surface, spreading it out.
Grate white chocolate over the top and place in the fridge for the glaze to set (about 30 minutes)

gluten free pizza

Easy Peasy Vanilla Cupcakes

In celebration of Woman’s Day on 9th August, I thought I would share an INCREDIBLY easy cupcake recipe that you can use to spoil the lady in your life. So come on men, get creative and surprise the women in your lives with a special treat.

Have you ever wondered why we celebrate Woman’s Day?  It is in no way linked to another “Mother’s Day”. Woman’s Day commemorates the women who participated in a national march in protest against the passing of laws that pro­posed even fur­ther restric­tions on the move­ments of women. This year, we celebrate the 57th year of Woman’s Day.

Easy Peasy Vanilla Cupcakes
serves 12 – 18

heart shapped vanilla cupcakes

For the cupcakes:

2 ½ cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup white sugar
½ cup milk
½ cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
t tsp vanilla essence
pinch of salt
Cupcake liners

Preheat the oven to 180°C
Line a muffin tray with cupcake liners
Cream the eggs and sugar together until the mixture turns pale yellow
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together
Add to sugar mixture
Mix the milk, oil and vanilla essence together.
Add to the batter
Fill up each cupcake cup ¾ way.
Bake for 15 – 20 minutes.  Check doneness by inserting a skewer into the cupcake, if it comes out clean, it is cooked.  If not, bake for another 5 minutes.
Remove from oven and set aside to cool completely before you ice it.

For the Icing:

250g butter, cubed, at room temperature
3 cups icing sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice (use milk if you like the icing really sweet)
1 tbsp food colouring of choice

Sift the icing sugar.
Place the butter in a food processor and process until light and fluffy.
Add the icing sugar 1 cup at a time.
Add the lemon juice and food colouring.
Adjust the colour of the icing to your liking.
Ice the cupcakes before you serve.

vanilla cupcakes

Brioche – a ‘must try’ in Port Elizabeth

As my loyal readers know, I am all for mom & pop kind of places, I love visiting the non touristy type places.  So every time I go to Port Elizabeth, I look for such places, even my friends know that if we going for lunch, it must be new, different, quirky and not touristy at all!!

Leely hit the spot when she introduced me to Brioche. This gorgeous Coffee Shop / Bakery is situated in the Walmer area, which is an area I frequent consistently when I am in PE, just somehow have always missed this quaint establishment.

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The old historical building is such a beautiful site, the house was built in 1884, with the original deed framed and hanging on the wall.  The menu boasts a few great easy lunch time meals (I didn’t get a look at the breakfast menu).

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Tuna Fishcakes, served with fries and caper mayo

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Homemade beef hamburger, topped with onion rings.  What caught my eye was the homemade bun, you seldom get this luxury at a restaurant, it was refreshing to see this.

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A variety of pizza, this was basil pesto, olives, parmesan, topped with rocket – thin crusted pizza.

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Other menu items, to name a few, included soup of the day served with roosterkoek, pastas, salads and a variety of sandwiches. There are also freshly baked breads (the ciabattas looked phenomenal)  and pastries to choose from.

I was introduced to the Vanilla Meringue Milkshake, and let me say, for someone who doesn’t like milkshakes, I was in love.  This is a signature here at Brioche and, in my opinion, a must try when visiting this little gem.

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Other items on the beverage menu included a great selection of coffees and teas, the classic Chai Lattes, however, I settled for freshly squeezed apple & ginger juice…this was just fantastic and refreshing, and the time it took to get to the table was well worth the wait.

With the lovely sunny winter weather we have been experiencing, we decided to sit outside, which is a great option as the garden is well manicured and hosts a jungle gym to keep the kids entertained and ample space for them to run off some energy.

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The food was fantastic, with the perfect setting, I do have to mention that the service was a little slow, yet very friendly. Food and drinks came out at different times and some of us at the table had to wait longer than other however, I can not really fault this as good food is not fast food. I thoroughly enjoyed this find, and will definitely be visiting again.

Brioche can be found at 181 Main Rd Walmer, Port Elizabeth, Eastern .
Tel: 041 581 2136
Open: Mondays to Fridays 7.30am to 4pm and on Saturdays from 7.30am to 3pm

 

 

Disclaimer: This post was not sponsored by anyone, I was not asked to review this restaurant, I am merely sharing my experience at this establishment.

Cinnamon Pancake Happiness

Nothing comforts me more on a cold rainy day than pancakes.  Typical South African Pancakes with cinnamon sugar and a splash of fresh lemon juice.

With this weekend that just went by, the wind was howling, the rain was pouring so it was the perfect excuse to whip up a batch of cinnamon pancakes.

cinnamon pancakes

South African Pancakes

2 ¼  cups cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 pinch of salt
50g melted butter
5 eggs
600ml whole milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
30ml ginger liqueur (use Old Brown Sherry if you want)
oil for frying

1 tsp Cinnamon
3 tbsp Sugar (I used white, but can use brown)
½ tsp ground ginger

Mix the cinnamon, sugar and ginger together in a clean shaker.

Place all the pancake ingredients in a mixer and mix until you have a smooth batter.

Add a little of the batter at a time to a frying pan which has been wiped with oil, just cover the bottom of the pan.  Cook until tiny air bubbles start to appear, flip over for a little colour and place onto a plate.  If I am making cinnamon pancakes, I like to sprinkle the cinnamon mixture over the pancake and cover so it sweats and the sugar almost “melts” into the pancake.

Now this is me completely happy, however, pancakes are more versatile than this, I have used pancakes in catering jobs, filled with chicken mayo or bacon & jalapeno, and of course the more classic banana and caramel. So I wanted to make a breakfast pancake for Justin, he is a bacon & egg kind of guy.

I used cream cheese, bacon & scrambled eggs, with rocket and fresh peppadews, grown in my moms garden, and wow it was delicious.

bacon and egg pancakes

Skinny Broccoli & Mozzarella Muffins

Breakfast, to me at least, is such a hassle.  Not for the reasons you are thinking, for me it is not about time or creativity, or how long will it keep me full for…for me it’s about deciding what I want to eat that morning.  Every morning is a challenge.

Do I want to be traditional and have eggs?
Do I want to pretend to myself that I am healthy and have a smoothie / juice?
Do I want to be boring and have toast?
Should I just have cereal, if I do, do I really want milk, should I use yogurt?

…all these questions go through my mind…and often I will just roll over and close my eyes, giving it a skip and have a cup of tea.  But now, I am on a healthy eating operation.  I will eat breakfast, I will exercise, I will make the right food choices and while doing all this…I will not be boring with my food.

Which brought me to today’s recipe

Skinny Broccoli & Mozzarella Muffins
serves 2

2 cups fresh broccoli, steamed and roughly chopped
40g mozzarella
2 whole eggs
2 egg whites
2 tsp fresh oregano
1 tbsp water
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
seasoning

Preheat the oven to 200°C
Spray 2 ramekins with Cook n Spray

Whisk eggs and egg whites together, add cheese and seasoning and balsamic vinegar, leave some cheese out to put on top to form a nice cheese crust when baking.

Place steamed broccoli into ramekins, pour in whisked egg mixture and bake for 25 – 30 minutes

I prepped everything and popped it into the oven while I got ready for work, by the time I was dressed I had breakfast ready and waiting.

Use whatever vegetables you feel like, and experiment with the herbs, use flavors that you enjoy and your mind wont go close to the

skinny broccoli and mozzarella muffins

The nutritional value of this recipe was created with Recipe Nutrition Calculator on MyFitnessPal.

Skinny Broccoli & Mozzarella Muffins calories

Monkey Bread – April I MADE IT Challenge

I was fortunate enough to host this months ‘I Made It Challenge”’, I settled for Monkey Bread.  I know a few people wonder…how do you get to that, how do you choose something as random as Monkey Bread? It was easy to be honest.  Firstly, I love Monkey Bread, I learnt about it while in the USA, secondly, I found a new product I desperately wanted to try which would fit in with this challenge, and thirdly, I wanted my fellow bloggers to think outside the box.

So I experimented with two different versions of monkey bread, one use a plain bread dough, the other using a sweet biscuit dough, which was store bought.

When you watch American sitcoms, you often see sad, depressed women eating cookie dough, straight from the can, I found a very similar product in my local Spar, which I just HAD to try.  To see if it was the same and all that…

Today’s Biscuit dough comes in 3 different flavours, Vanilla, Chocolate and Ginger, of course I wanted to add a little more depth to my Monkey Bread, so I used the Ginger flavour. This is so easy, that I can’t call it a real recipe!

todays biscuit dough

Ginger, Cinnamon and Nut Monkey Bread

1 packet of Today’s Ginger Biscuit Dough
1 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp ground cinnamon
Roughly chopped ground mixed nuts

Preheat the oven to 180°C

Line a muffin tray with cupcake holders (I got 6 out of this)
Throw away the empty packet of biscuit dough; the instructions on there will not work for this.
Defrost the biscuit dough, cut into small pieces and roll into balls.  You do not want it to big, but you also do not want it to small either.

Roll the balls in the cinnamon sugar mixture, and stack into the muffin cups.

In between the dough balls, sprinkle a few mixed nuts; I love the texture of the nuts between the layers of soft gooeyness.
Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, just until it is nice and golden brown.

Remove from oven, and now the fun starts.   You can glaze it with just icing sugar and butter mixture, or softened cream cheese.

monkey bread muffins

Those who know me, know that sweet treats are not my deal, so I had to make something savoury out of this challenge too!

Pizza Monkey Bread

Basic Pizza dough –  I use the Jamie Oliver Pizza Dough recipe, which is always a winner.
Homemade tomato sauce, which you can find the recipe here
Grated cheese – I used mozzarella and cheddar mixture
Bundt cake pan, greased with butter & flour (or cook n spray if you wish)

Now this is your creative side comes in.
Use your favourite pizza toppings; I had little bowls of already chopped toppings:
Ham, Salami, Mushrooms, Green Peppers, Peppadews, Danish Feta, Basil Pesto, Garlic, Camembert, Green Fig, Blue Cheese etc.

Preheat your oven to 200°C

Pull small balls off the pizza dough, mine weighed anywhere between 30g – 40g, roll them out and fill with your toppings of choice. Roll up the ball again and stack into the pan.

Between each layer, brush on some tomato sauce and sprinkle grated cheddar, the top later I made smaller balls, just to fit the bundt pan.

Once you have layered the bundt cake pan full, bake for 35 – 50 minutes, depending on your oven. Work on as if you were baking a bread from scratch. The time would be more or less the same.

I didn’t manage to get a photo of this one, but it was absolutely delicious, it was small stuffed balls of pizza happiness.

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I will do a round up of all the bloggers that have taken part in the challenge the first of the new month.  There are some great recipes!  There is still time to submit your Monkey Bread recipe!

Basil & Three Cheese Soufflé

Chefs, foodies, home cooks and students all fear the dreaded Soufflé.  But in essence, they should not be feared at all.  As long as you have your fundamentals down you should have a successful soufflé time after time.

The word soufflé is the past participle of the French verb souffler which means “to blow up” or more loosely “puff up”.

Once I get an idea in my head, I don’t let it go.  I was paging a magazine which had a bean soufflé recipe; my husband was not very excited about this idea, so I opened my fridge door and put a few ideas together.

Basil & Three Cheese Soufflé
makes 6 servings

50g whole meal flour (extra for dusting ramekins)
50g softened butter (extra for buttering ramekins)
500ml milk
1 small onion
1 star anise
3 cloves
2 sprigs of Thyme
100g mature white cheddar, grated
100g boerenkaas, grated
50g feta cheese, crumbled
2 tsbp Princess Pesto basil pesto
6 eggs, seperated
1 tsp Dijon mustard

Prepare ramekins with butter , using a pastry brush, brush the butter in an upward motion (this is a very important step). Dust with flour and black pepper and place in freezer.

Preheat your oven at 200°C

Mix the butter and flour together to form a paste.  Place in fridge to harden.
Heat the milk over a medium heat with the onion, star anise, cloves and thyme infusing in the milk for about 15 minutes. Strain and place back on the heat.
Whisk in cold butter, the milk will thicken, cook out for about 5 minutes, stirring continuously.
Whisk the egg yolks, cheese and basil pesto together and then into the milk mixture.

All this point you can stop and set aside for up to 2 days.

Whisk your egg whites until just before hard peak.  You don’t want dry egg whites.

Fold your whisked egg whites into your mixture gently.  Spoon mixture into the prepared ramekins.  Ensure that the mixture is level on top.  Using a paper towel and run your finger along the inside edge of the ramekin, this encourages the soufflé to rise.

Place in oven for 10 minutes, drop your heat to 180°C for a further 15 minutes.

As you can see, mine raised beyond expectations, careful though, as soon as you remove the soufflé from the oven, it will start dropping within a minute.

cheese souffle