Rocky Road Pear and Amarula Tart

This weeks Freshly Blogged Recipes are up and ready for viewing and voting.  I was really excited about doing this, as baking is taking me out of my comfort zone, however this recipe, to me, was a setting a new standard for my baking.

Amarula sponsored this weeks challenge, if you would like to vote for my recipe, head on over to the Freshly Blogged Page and VOTE.

I recently attended a Mad Hatters Tea Party, which brought on wonderful thoughts of tea time treats and baking. Jane Austen came to mind when she claimed “Good apple pies are a considerable part of our domestic happiness.” I didn’t have any apples to work with, but I did have a few pears…and so I got my baking on.

Although not a traditional Rocky Road, this is my take inspired by the ingredients on hand.  There are so many beautiful flavour marriages in this tart. The bitter undertones of the dark chocolate matched perfectly with the fruitiness of the pears and when combined with the velvet like Amarula, you are left with a delicious tart. Adding texture with the nuts, this tart just screams EAT ME – served best at afternoon tea with the girls.

Rocky Road Pear & Amarula Tart

Rocky road pear and Amarula tart

1 pkt PnP Cream Crackers
80g soft butter

Filling – Part 1
4 Fresh Pears
100g blanched almonds
1cup white sugar
90g dark chocolate

Custard Filling – Part 2
½ cup melted butter
2/3 cup white sugar
1 cup flour
3 eggs – separated  (if you want a harder set for the custard, use another egg)
1 cup milk
½ cup Amarula

250ml Fresh cream, whipped lightly.

Filling Part 1
Heat the oven to 180°C
Peel the pears and slice lengthways.
In a thick botton pan, heat the sugar until melted. Place the sliced pears into the sugar and coat, removing from the sugar, set aside to cool.
Drizzle any left over sugar over the top of the pears.

Place the almonds on a baking tray and place in the oven.  Roast off until darker and lightly toasted. When cooled, chop roughly and set aside. Leave oven on as you will be baking the tart soon.
Chop the dark chocolate roughly. Set aside.

Custard Filling – Part 2
Whip up the egg whites.
Cream together the sugar and melted butter.
Add 1 egg yolk at a time.
Add the flour.
Add the milk and Amarula

Fold the egg whites into the mixture, careful to keep it light and airy.
Place a layer of the caramelized pears on the bottom of the frozen crust. Add a few bits of the chocolate and toasted almonds.
Pour half the custard mixture over the top.
Repeat layering the pears and bits of chocolate and toasted almonds, leaving enough for a final layer.
Pour the rest of the custard over the top again.

Bake at 180°C for 25 – 30 minutes. The tart should be just about baked, check by placing a skewer stick into the tart and it will come out slightly wet.  Remove from oven and place the last layer of pears, chocolate and almonds on up and place back into the oven for about 10 minutes. Check doneness by placing a skewer into the tart again, this time the skewer should come out clean.

Let cool completely.  Grate a little chocolate on top for garnish.  Serve with fresh cream which has been lightly whipped.



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

Lahanodolmades with a Spicy Green Bean Slaw

Challenge number 4 is up already.  Wow it has been a very creative journey with Freshly Blogged so far.  Week 4 was a real doozy.

I love Mezze style feasting. These small plates of tasty morsels and dips originated from the concept of ‘taste, flavour, snack, relish’.  With the cold wet weather we have been experiencing, I have been daydreaming of summer fun, sun kissed skin, crisp white wine, summery style mezzes being shared with loved ones and much laughter.  This was my inspiration for this dish.

1 can Lucky Star Pichards in Tomato Sauce
1 cup PnP Brown Rice
250g PnP plain feta
1 medium cabbage
¼ cup freshly chopped parsley
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1 pkt Green beans
1 large red pepper
375ml water
ground black pepper
2 eggs
75ml oil
100ml olive oil
1 tsp lemon pepper
½ tsp cayenne pepper
salt to liking

Spicy Mayonnaise
Place the eggs and cayenne pepper into a jug blender.  Mix the two oils into a pouring jug. On a medium to high setting, slowly drizzle the oil into the eggs.  Do not do this to fast otherwise you will not get the oil incorporated into the egg properly.  The mixture will become think.  Season with salt and lemon pepper.

Cook the rice in rapidly boiling salted water.  Set aside to cool
Bring a pot of water to the boil.
Remove 10 cabbage leaves and blanch in the boiling water.  Set aside to cool. (keep water)
Dice half the red pepper.
Cut the pilchard fillets in half lengthways and remove the little bone. Chop up the pilchards roughly, add to a bowl with the rice, feta and red peppers.  Add the parsley and paprika. Season to taste. Add a tablespoon of the sauce from the pilchards to the mixture.
Lay the blanched cabbage leaves out on a flat surface, place a tablespoon of the rice mixture in the middle of the cabbage leaf.  Tuck the sides in and roll the cabbage leaf tightly.
Repeat until you have desired amount of dolmades.

Green Bean Slaw
Top and tail the green beans, blanch in the boiling water used to blanch the cabbage leaves., set aside to cool
Julienne the remainder of the red pepper.
Shred half of the remaining cabbage, add cooled green beans and red pepper.  Mix the spicy mayonnaise with the cabbage and green beans, seasoning to liking.

Lahanodolmades with a Spicy Green Bean Slaw

If you like this recipe and wish to vote, please follow this link – PnP Freshly Blogged.

This challenge was sponsored by Lucky Star.

Karoo Potjie served with Sadza

Food culture fascinates me. My father, who plays a large role in my food knowledge and inspiration, grew up in Zimbabwe, he influenced me with many African inspired dishes, thus creating my love for African cuisine. The Potjie being as South African as can be, was right on top of my list of dishes I wanted to showcase on Freshly Blogged, I was just waiting for the right ingredients.

The combination of ingredients for this challenge had me in a state of nostalgia about the time spent working in a Karoo kitchen.  There is just something magical about the Karoo that is so difficult to explain, you have to experience it for yourself, a place of relaxation, replenishment and inner peace.

Karoo Potjie served with Sadza
serves 4

Karoo Potjie with Sadza - proof on coals1 ½ cups Drostdy-Hof Pinotage
500g Ostrich Sausage
2 ½ cups Mealie Meal
1 punnet green beans
½ cup PnP Chutney – Original
250g PnP Dried Fruit
2 tsp Five spice
1 tsp BBQ spice
1 packet PnP Baby Carrots
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 sweet potato, cut into chunks
1 tbsp butter
500ml water
1 tbsp flour mixed with 1 tbsp oil
Black Pepper

Remove stones from the prunes.  Place all the dried fruit in a bowl and cover with 1 cup of red wine.  Set aside for about an hour.

Light a fire, you want to cook over medium coals

Cut the ostrich sausage into 4cm long pieces – set aside.
Cut the green beans into 3 – set aside.
Mix the chutney, left over wine, five spice, BBQ spice and salt and pepper together – set aside.

Once the coals are ready, move the coals aside, place the potjie pot in the middle, you do not want direct heat from under, creating a slow cooking process.

Using the butter, fry the onions until translucent. Now layer the sausage and vegetables alternatively, add the soaked dried fruit on top, including the liquid.
Pour the chutney mixture over.
Cover with potjie lid and leave for an hour and a half.

Over high heat, bring the 500ml water to a boil, salt the water; add the mealie meal, stirring continuously.  Drop the heat to a low heat and let cook for 20 – 25 minutes. Using a fork, mix the mealie meal sporadically.

Once the potjie is about to come off, use a soup ladel, dish out some of the sauce.  Mix with the flour & oil mixture and gently stir back into the potjie, letting the flour cook out for a few minutes. Be careful not to break up the vegetables and sausage, but thickening the sauce slightly.

Remove and serve.

Karoo Potjie with Sadza If you like this recipe and wish to vote, please follow this link – PnP Freshly Blogged.

Rose Liqueur Gumdrops

I love the playful nature of gumdrops.  These little balls of jelly bring innocent smiles and giggles to mind.  Taking me back to when we were kids and how much pleasure we would derive from jelly coated in sugar.

Back to a time when boys teased and chased girls around the playground, pulling on braids while girls made kissy kissy noises.  Back to a time when competitions included egg & spoon races and wheelbarrow races and laughter uncontrollably exploded from little bellies.

One of my most treasured childhood memories was the first boy who crushed on me.  I use to tease him, calling him Travis Too-naughty.  On a daily occurrence, he would run to my mom after playschool let out, affectionately using my childhood nickname, beg my mom ‘”to make Lika marry me”.

Rose Liqueur Gumdrops

Rose Liqueur Gumdrops

250ml cold water
20g gelatine powder
180ml water
2 cups white sugar
180ml rose liqueur
sugar for coating

Mix the gelatine and 250ml cold water together.  Set aside.

Over a medium head, add the 2 cups of sugar and 180ml water, stir until all the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and all the liqueur, followed by the gelatine mix.

Pour into molds, I used ice-cube trays, place in fridge overnight to set.  You need to leave them to set for at least 24 hours.

Using a pallet knife, remove the jelly and coat in sugar.

This months I Made It Challenge was set my Tami over at Rumtumtiggs

i made it challenge


Beef Roulades with Potato and Turnip Dumplings

The second challenge for Freshly Blogged is out.  I love seeing the creativity from everyone, such different ideas; I am definitely going to be trying some of my fellow bloggers recipes.

This challenge was sponsored by Knorr – a brand that is a staple in my pantry.

I love comfort food – a slow-cooked meal which sends beautiful aromas through the house, enticing your senses and making you salivate in anticipation. Different cultures consider different dishes to be comfort food. To me these ingredients lend themselves to just that typical meal. Best of all, it’s the kind of dish you can eat family-style with people you love. To me, this is what food is all about… Comfort and family.

Beef Roulades with Potato and Turnip Dumplings

Beef Roulades with Potato and Turnip Dumplings

125ml PnP White Wine Vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
1 punnet PnP Soup Pack (carrot, leek, tomato, celery, potato, turnip)
Zest of 1 lemon
5 Salticrax, crushed to breadcrumb consistency
500g beef shin
Olive oil for frying
4 tbsp freshly chopped oregano
1 Knorr Beef Stock Pot
1 whole PnP star anise
1 cup self-raising flour
1 egg
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 200C.

Mix white wine vinegar and sugar in a bowl, julienne half the carrot and half the leek. Add to bowl. Set aside to marinate.

Roughly dice the remainder of the carrot and leek, as well as tomato and celery. Set aside.

Mix lemon zest and Salticrax together and set aside.

Dice potatoes and turnips. Set aside.

Cut meat off the bone. Roast bones in oven for 25-30 minutes. Remove and set aside. Reduce oven heat to 150 degrees.

Using a very sharp knife, cut beef shin into 6 large chunks. Slice each chunk 3 quarters – way through the middle to make a thin fillet. Place between sheets of plastic wrap and pound gently, creating a wafer-thin slice of meat. Repeat with each chunk. Set aside.

Place sliced meat on a flat surface and season. Put a little of the lemon zest and cracker mix in the middle. Do the same with the pickled carrots and leeks. Roll tightly and secure with one or two toothpicks. Repeat until you have stuffed all the beef slices.

Note: Julienne is a culinary knife cut in which the food item is cut into long thin strips, similar to matchsticks. Sometimes called “shoe string”.

Cooking method

Use an oven-friendly dish that can be used on the hob. Heat over medium to high heat.
Brown beef roulades in a little olive oil. Set aside.
In the same pot, fry roughly diced vegetables until soft, add oregano and 3 tbsp of pickling liquid.
Add beef stock pot and 1l of boiling water. Add roasted bones and star anise and simmer. Season. Add beef rolls gently, cover pot and place in oven for 2 hours.
To make the dumplings, cook potatoes and turnips in a pot of salted boiling water until soft enough to mash. Drain water and mash until smooth. Add flour and mix through. Add egg and mix until all is well incorporated. Season to your liking. Set aside.
After 2 hours, place a heaped tbsp of dumpling mixture into pot with meat. Repeat until you have used up all the mixture. Place back into the oven at 180 degrees and cook for 1 hour. Turn off oven.
Remove pot from oven. Take out dumplings and meat and keep in the warm oven. Blitz sauce and place on medium heat to reduce slightly until thick.

Plate up and enjoy. Perfect wintery night comfort.

Note: The sauce is so versatile, you can use it as stock for your next dish or make it into a soup.

If you like this recipe and wish to vote, please follow this link – PnP Freshly Blogged.

Avocado, Coconut and Lime Ice-Cream

I wanted to take this challenge to a whole new level and really show something innovative, without complicating the delicious simplicity of an avocado and more importantly, emphasizing the scrumptious flavour.  I have to admit that when I was approached to do the “More than just guacamole!” Afrikado Blogger Challenge, I was stumped. I needed inspiration to hit, otherwise I would never be satisfied with my end product. Once I found it, I couldn’t stop myself!

I now look at avocados in a whole new light and I am inspired to create different dishes using this super healthy fruit. Avocados are packed with nutrients and heart-healthy compounds, and fantastic to eat if you want to lower cholesterol levels.

Avo ice cream

Avocado, Coconut & Lime Ice Cream, served with a Chilli  Coulis
serves 4 – 6

3 ripe avocados – pit & skin removed
200ml lime cordial
½ tin coconut crème
pinch of salt

Place all the ingredients into a blender.  Pulsate until thick and smooth.  The avocado will create a velvety texture.

Place into and ice cream maker and churn.

Place the ice cream into the freezer until you are ready to use. Remember to take it out 10 minutes before you want to use to soften slightly to make dishing up easier.

In my mind, this needed something to really compliment the fresh flavours, and what better than a Chilli Coulis.  You can make a big jar and store, using it with different creations as you go.

250g diced red chillies (including seeds)
2 large red peppers, roasted and skin peeled off
½ cup white sugar
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 large onion, diced
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 litre of water

Place all the chilli coulis ingredients, except the water, into a thick based pot.
Pour water in, just covering the top of the mixture.
Cook the mixture over a low heat until it has reached a point that when you dip a cool teaspoon into the mixture, and lift it out, your mixture slowly drips off. When the drips join together in a sheet, instead of separate drops, the coulis is ready.
Remove and set aside to cool before using.

Please note that this is a blog challenge set up by The Squashed Tomato on behalf of ZZ2. I will be receiving a voucher to the value of R200 from Woolworths for taking part.  The prize is a R2000 Woolworths shopping voucher and a hamper from ZZ2.