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

Croissants & Pain au Chocolat – I MADE IT Challenge – May

The I MADE IT challenge for May was set by Blue Jellybean, and what a challenge it was.  In my career, this has been a challenge that has been with me for a while.

After I made these, I sat back and analyzed what I could improve on, see the CHEF NOTES below.

Croissants & Pain au Chocolat

croissant and pain au chocolat

250g salted butter
280g full cream milk (NOTE: must be grams, not millilitres)
1 tsp dry yeast
450g flour
70g white sugar
pinch of salt

Heat the milk until tepid (lukewarm) – see chef’s notes at the bottom.  In the tepid milk, add the yeast, 1 tsp flour and 1 tsp sugar.  Whisk together at set aside in a warm place for the yeast to activate.  This will take about 10 – 15 minutes, you will know it has activated once the yeast creates a large section of foam on top of the milk.

Cut your butter into slices, about ½ cm thick, place between cling wrap and roll out until the butter is really thin.
Place in a tray, cover with cling wrap and place into the fridge.
NOTE:  The butter must be very cold before you can work with it.

Mix the rest of the flour, sugar, and the salt into a mixing bowl.
Whisk the yeast mixture and pour into the flour.
Using your fingers, mix until combined.
Place on a work surface and knead for about 10 minutes.  (This stage can be done in a mixer using a dough hook).
Wrap in cling wrap and place in the fridge for 2 hours.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a long rectangle shape, using a rolling pin.

Place butter slices on the dough, slightly overlapping the edges of the sliced butter.
Tightly, but gently, fold one edge of the dough to the middle, and repeat with the other edge, forming a 3 fold.
Fold in half.
Wrap in cling wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Again, on a lightly floured surface roll out dough again into a rectangular shape.  Do this gently at first as you do not want the dough to split and the butter to break through. Rub a little flour on the surface if you feel your butter is breaking through.
Fold again into a 3 fold, and then into half.
Cover and place into fridge for 1 hour to rest.

Repeat the rolling out step 3 times, remembering to rest for 1 hour between each roll.

After the last rest, cut the dough in half and roll out on a lightly floured surface, the dough should be about 1 cm thick.

For the Croissants

With a sharp knife, trim the edges to make them even, cut even sized triangles out.

i made it
Cut a small slit in the middle of the top edge of the triangle.

i made it 2
Gently stretch the dough.
Not to tightly, roll the dough into a cylinder, creating a crescent shape.

Set aside to rise for minutes and bring the dough to room temperature.
Brush with an egg wash
Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C for 30 minutes

For the Pain au Chocolate

With the left over dough, trim the edges to make them even.
Cut rectangles out of the dough.

i made it 1
Sprinkle icing sugar over the dough, break bits of chocolate and place on the surface of the dough.

i made it 3
Roll the dough into cylinders.
With the palm of your hand, gently press down on the dough to flatten slightly.
Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C for 30 minutes

i made it 4

Chefs Notes

Replace 1 cup of flour with 1 cup of corn starch for lighter, flakier dough

Don’t heat the milk up to much as this will kill the yeast, however if the milk is too cold it will not activate.  You want the milk at a temperature that if you put your finger in, you feel the heat on your cuticle.

When working with the dough, ensure that your work surface is cold, keep your hands cool as the dough must stay cool to ensure the butter does break through.

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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.

©-I-Made-It-150x150

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!

What could be better than a BLT

When I lived in the USA, I use to attend college at night, often finishing around 9pm, so on the way to class, I would grab a sandwich, being one of my favourite BLT from Arby’s, however, on one occassion I managed to also pick up a case of food poisoning which put me off Arby’s and BLT’s. 

Getting back into the BLT’s, I love the simplicity of this sandwich and the little twists you can gourmet it up with.

My BLT today has a small twist…
makes 2

6 slices bacon (cut off the fat if you want to be healthier)
lettuce, I used mixed Italian pack with watercress
20 cherry tomatoes
mayo
balsamic vinegar
seasoning
2 whole grain pita pocket, cut open and toast lightly

Dry fry your bacon, if you rather fry in oil, let sit on a paper towel to drain off excess oil
Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and pop into a hot pan, let blister a little, drizzle with balsamic vinegar and cook off until nice and sticky. Season yiur tomatoes.
Now build your BLT, I dont use butter but feel free to butter your pita pockets, spread mayonaise on each side, place some salad leaves on the bottom slice, a few cherry tomatoes, slices of bacon and finish off with more cherry tomatoes and a little of the sticky juices from the pan.

Garnish and enjoy

image

Saturday Morning at the Outeniqua Farmers Market

What a beautiful Saturday morning it was in George, I wanted to be outdoors…and for those who don’t know me that well, by outdoors I mean outside, not doing any weird or wonderful extreme sport.  The outdoor farmers market is the perfect outdoors for me.

Follow the N2 heading for PE from George, you will find the Outeniqua Farmers Market nestled on the Kraaibosch farm, close to the Garden Route Mall.  I am told that on the opening day of the market, a year ago,  it was so busy that people were parking on the opposite side of the highway just to be able to get there.

I love the concept, strolling between the big trees, all the little stalls of all wonderful little goodies. I met some great people, every stall that caught my eye, ended up with a few minutes of great conversations and of course some great networking.  I just love the vibe, I have been to markets where the people are rather off putting, you walk away feeling more of a bother than educated.  This is definitely not the case at the Outeniqua Farmers Market.

The first stop was coffee, I was amazed how well organized the coffee store was, in my opinion, more organized than most coffee shops I have been to.  On the menu were different coffees, cappuccino and teas, no lack of milk, sugars, sweetners, I loved how clean and neat the station was, and the absolutely delicious cappuccino!

The food stalls were impressive, such a large variety, local restaurants offering prego rolls, or a stall for bacon and eggs, some pancakes, and the speciality stores were amazing, you had such a choice of world cusine – Indian, German, French, Thai, Chinese, South African and Greek.

I settled on French simply because of the personality of the stall.  Such a lovely energy, German born, married a Frenchman, loved South Africa and finally settled on living here.  She was making the famous Crepe de Paris.  But what really got my attention was how natural she was, she just loved making your crepe and chatting with you.

Her croissants had me drooling…I had a croissant filled with gypsy ham, and topped with béchamel and a mixture of mozzarella and cheddar. I was in heaven.  Flaky and light croissant just heated enough to melt the cheese…yes please!


Next door was the German Butcher, all homemade bacons and other charcuterie and man oh man was he busy.  He had his little deli slicer set up and was selling like hotcakes.

And of course to cater for everyone, the rugby was broadcasted for the men while the ladies strolled from stall to stall.  Tables set out under the trees for people to sit and relax, enjoy the weather and all the market has to offer.

So if you are in the Garden Route area, I would recommend that you stop by.  The Outeniqua Farmers Market is every Saturday, there is ample parking and for more information, pop on over to their website

Walsh Rarebit with a twist – Blushing Hot Walsh Buck Rarebit

I was laying in bed reading this morning, wind howling outside, I just new that the sun is still hiding, not yet ready to come out for the Spring to officially begin.  I wanted something nice, I didn’t know what, so I carried on reading my love story of the 3rd brother finally finding love when it just hit me…Walsh Rarebit.  I had a slight debate with myself…get out of bed or make Walsh Rarebit, tough one, nice, warm and cozy in bed, or being in my kitchen…I jumped out of bed and got ready to fill my need of this classic.

Walsh Rarebit is actually a supper, or a pub grub kind of meal, however I remember I use to have a boss who enjoyed it for breakfast…so why not meet in the middle…brunch!

So what is Walsh Rarebit you ask…well to keep it simple, it’s cheese sauce on toast with a cheese crust…now add bacon or turkey and you have a Hot Brown, add a poached egg and you have a Buck Rarebit. Then we have the Blushing Rarebit which brings tomato soup into the mix.  There are so many different variants of this dish, so why not explore the possibilities.

I call it…Blushing Hot Walsh Buck Rarebit

First off, you need to make a cheese sauce.  I kept it simple

250ml milk
2 cardamom pods
1 clove
black pepper
salt
50g grated cheddar cheese
1 tsp English mustard
a few drops worcestershire sauce
dash of white wine
1 tsp paprika
25g flour
olive oil

In a pot, place milk, cardamom & clove over a medium heat.  Bring to a simmer. Remove cardamom & clove.

Make a paste from the flour and olive oil.  You are looking for a glue like consistency, pour into milk and whisk.  Do not stop whisking until you have thickened the milk.

Add mustard, paprika, wine, worcestershire sauce and cheddar cheese. Set aside.

Now you will need:

2 slices Bacon, fried off
2 large eggs
2 slices of bread (I would suggest baguette or ciabatta –  I used left over from the bread I baked, see recipe here)
Fresh tomatoes, sliced
Grated cheddar cheese

Preheat your oven to grill, you want a nice hot oven that can give you a great cheese crust

Toast your bread, spread a layer of the cheese sauce over the surface
Layer with sliced tomatoes, season with salt & pepper
Layer of bacon, and a nice dollop of your cheese sauce again.  Add grated cheddar over and place in oven until nice and crisp.

Poach your eggs while you wait for your cheese to melt.
Heat some of the cheese sauce to a pouring consistency
Remove your toast from the oven, place your poached eggs on top and drizzle with cheese sauce.

Place a little mixed greens and serve nice and hot.

Enjoy!!