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

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