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October 30, 2011 in Biscuits, Cakes



Last year Luscious Lynn and Lovely Linda treated me and Rajen to a trip to the States during the Halloween celebrations as part of our birthday gifts starting in New York and ending in Key West.

We spent most of our holiday in Florida where lime is plentiful which has inspired this post. The cupcake recipe is by Julie Goodwin, the winner of the first season Masterchef Australia and I used Rachel Allen’s vanilla cupcake icing and just adjusted the flavouring.

The lime slices are sinful – I am not sure where I had got this recipe from originally – I just changed the flavouring from lemon to lime.


 Halloween is an annual holiday observed on 31 October in countries that celebrate this tradition and I want to share some Halloween experiences during our trip.

Pumpkins everywhere – New York


Disneyworld, Orlando


 Revelers choosing prime spots – waiting for the Halloween parade to begin – which starts with the headless horseman.

Happiness –

dancing with Goofy to Katie Perry’s – Californian Girls with Goofy

-First  taste of a Micky Mouse icecream cone

The Artist House in Keywest.




And finally the tecipe


Sublime Lime Cupcakes – makes 12


100 g unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup (165 g) caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
finely grated zest of 3 limes
2 eggs
200g self-raising flour
1/2 cup (125 ml) milk

1 Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan-forced). Line a 12-hole medium muffin pan (1/3 cup capacity) with paper cases. Using electric beaters, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla extract until light and creamy. Mix through the lime zest.

2 Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each egg. Gently fold through the flour and milk in two alternate batches. Divide the mixture evenly among the paper cases.

3 Bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown and springy when touched. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.


  • ·         For the icing:
  • ·         100g icing sugar – sifted
  • ·         1-2Tbs fresh cream
  • ·         1Tsp Lime juice
  • ·         crystallised flowers, sugared almonds or other edible decorations of your choice – to decorate

Place the sifted icing sugar in a bowl and add the lime juice – stir and add the fresh cream a little at a time to form a thick paste.



2 cups flour

½ cup icing sugar

150g butter


3 eggs

Zest of 2 limes

¼ cup lime juice

1 ½ cups castor sugar

¼ cup self-raising flour

Handful of coconut (optional)


Preheat oven to 160C.

Line a baking pan (20 x 35cm) with baking paper.

Place the flour, icing sugar and butter in a food processor, mix until a ball is formed around the blade.

Place the dough into the prepared pan and press flat.

Bake for 20 minutes.


In the same processor bowl (no need to wash) add the eggs, lime juice, zest, castor sugar and self -raising flour.

Process until well combined.


Once the base has cooked for 20 minutes – remove from the oven – pour the topping over the base.

Place back in the oven and bake for a further 15 – 20 minutes or until it feels set in the middle.





October 26, 2011 in snacks savoury

A happy and blessed Diwali to the Hindu community – Diwali is celebrated by Hindus throughout the world and is often referred to as the Festival of lights because of the common practice of lighting small oil lamps (called diyas). Diwali which also signifies the renewal of life is celebrated over a period of a week in India – but here we celebrate for two days starting today.

Rajen and I celebrated Diwali with our children in Trafalgar Square, London last year – was a wonderful experience.

The recipe that I am going to share today is the crisp savoury puri which is lantern shaped and flavoured with aromatic spices – it’s light and delicious and is one of my favourite snacks. I made these yesterday and between me and Rajen – the jar is now only half full – it’s very moreish.

This recipe is by a local Indian cookbook author, Shiela Somers and was published in the local Durban newspaper, The Post, amany years ago. Although there are many variations to this recipe this still remains my favourite – it’s easy to make, never fails and is delicious.







500ml cake flour

1 tsp salt

5 ml cumin seeds, roasted

1ml turmeric powder

2.5ml crushed black peppercorns

5ml roasted ajmo seeds (thymol seeds)

2.5ml chilli powder

125ml butter

1 cup milk

Oil for frying

Combine dry ingredients into a bowl.

Rub in the butter.

Add the milk a little at a time and mix to soft dough – adding more milk if necessary.

Break into walnut pieces and roll out into puris.

Make 3-4 slits in each of the purisand pinch the ends to form a lantern shape.

Deep fry the puri in hot oil over medium heat until golden brown and crisp.

Drain in absorbent paper.

 Store in an airtight container.




October 24, 2011 in Cakes

Dates, the fruit of date palms, and staple food of the Mideast countries, have very high nutritional values and are good energy boosters (even more than a banana). The health benefits of eating dates on a daily basis make up a long list – this includes a healthy heart,  keeping abdominal cancer at bay and (my favorite) removing a hangover.

Despite being aware of all the goodness that comes from eating dates daily – I enjoy dates in a biscuit, cake or a boozy pudding. For Diwali I usually make a date finger biscuit which is my daughter, the Lovely Linda’s, favorite. I will be making it for her when she visits for Christmas.

So I have made these chocolate date squares instead – it’s an old recipe by Angela Day that I have wanted to make for a while. It’s delicious with the pecan nuts and chocolate.


250g dates, pitted and chopped

250ml hot water

250ml castor sugar

160g butter, softened

2 extra-large eggs

375ml cake flour

5ml bicarbonate of soda


250ml chocolate chips

125ml dark brown sugar

125ml chopped pecan nuts


Preheat the oven to 180C.

Grease a 20 x 35cm baking pan.

Combine the dates with the hot water and set aside to cool.

In a separate bowl, cream the sugar and butter until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs and mix well.

Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda.

Add the flour to the creamed mixture alternately with the cooled date mixture.

Pour into the oven pan.


Combine together all the ingredients for the topping.

Sprinkle over the cake batter.

Bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until the cake is cooked.

Cool in the tray and cut into squares.

Makes about 24 pieces.


Makes 25.



October 20, 2011 in curry, Fish

This recipe is from my series of weird but wonderful Indian dishes that are not well known. My mum’s favourite dish was fish roe curry and as this was a meal that made a regular appearance on our dinner table (when fish roe was in season) – my siblings and I have also learnt to enjoy this dish. We always associate this with our mum and our childhood memories.

Fish roe are fish eggs and is used both as a cooked ingredient in many dishes and also as a raw ingredient. It’s very common in the Asian countries and depending on the type of fish roe – it is considered a delicacy – like sea urchin and crab roe in China and salmon roe in Japan.

Caviar, the most expensive of the roe, is processed from salted non fertilized sturgeon roe from the different sturgeon species which are found living in the Caspian and Black Sea.

The most common of the large fish roe is the shad and this is what my mum used to buy to make her curry.

The steps to prepare this dish.

Steam the roe

Fry the roe coated in a curry paste batter.

Prepare a tomato based curry and place the roe in it.

This is a tasty dish and even my mum’s grandchildren who are all fussy about what they eat enjoy this dish.


500gr fish roe

1 teaspoon salt

Curry paste

2 tspchilli powder

¼ tsp turmeric powder

1 Tblsp cold water

Tomato based curry

3 Tblsp oil

1 onion, finely chopped

2 green chillies, slit

2 tsp crushed garlic

2 tsp grated ginger

1 – 2 tspchilli powder (adjust according to taste)

¼ tsp turmeric powder

1 can tomato or tomato onion mix

Salt to taste

Fresh coriander

Step 1

Rinse the fish roe in cold water.

Place in a pan with salted water and bring to boil until the roe changes colour about 8 – 10 minutes.

Remove immediately – place in a colander and rinse in cold water.

Place the fish roe on a flat plate and pat dry with some paper towels.

Cut each fish roe (depending on the size) into 2 – 3 pieces.

Step 2


Prepare a curry paste by mixing the chilli powder, turmeric powder with the tablespoon of water into thick paste, adding more water if necessary.

Smear the fish roe pieces with the curry paste.

Fry the fish roe in shallow oil until nicely browned.

Remove from the oil and set aside.

NB . At this stage the fish roe can be eaten as a snack without the curry.


Step 3


Now prepare the curry.

Place the oil in a pan.

Add the onions and green chillies and fry until the onionsare just turning brown.

Add the ginger and garlic – cook for about ½ a minute.

Add the chilli powder and turmeric.

Mix well and cook for a further ½ minute.

Add the tomato and salt.

Mix well and cook until the mixture thickens – 8 -10 minutes.

Then add the fish roe into the pan and mix well and simmer for about 5 minutes.

Garnish with the coriander.

Serve with rice, roti or bread.












October 18, 2011 in chicken, snacks savoury

It’s the Indian Festival of Lights, Diwali, next week – this means busy kitchens in most Indian homes with preparation of traditional savouries and sweet goodies. This includes samoosas which are a firm favorite and a must for special occasions.

The samoosa has been a popular snack in South Asia for centuries – it is believed to have originated in Persia prior to the 10th century and brought to India, where it is so famous, by Muslim traders and soldiers. Small crisp, mince-filled samoosas were easy to make around campfires during night halts, then conveniently packed into saddlebags as snacks for the next day’s journey.

With ready-made samoosa strips now available in most supermarkets – it’s easy and less time consuming to make your own samoosas. I want to share my recipe for a chicken mince filling and explain how to make a samoosa.

The three basic steps for making a samoosa:

1.Cook the filling for the samoosa.

2.Make a paste for the samoosa pastry

3.The ready-made samoosa strips must be at room temperature


Samoosas can be made in advance and stored in the freezer until needed and then fried in deep oil before being served.





500g chicken mince

2 medium onion, very thinly sliced and chopped

2tsp ground or finely chopped green chillies (adjust according to taste)

1 tsp salt

2 cinnamon sticks

2 cloves

1 tsp cardamon ground

1 tsp fresh ginger, crushed

1 tsp garlic,crushed

1 tsp gharum masala

1 ½ tsp chilli powder (adjust according to taste)

¼ tsp turmeric

¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp crushed cumin seeds

1 Tablespoon ghee

½ bunch finely chopped coriander

2 Tablespoon finely chopped shallots

2 tablespoon finely chopped mint


Wash and drain mince.

Braise in frying pan in ghee and when it begins to get dry add the cinnamon sticks and cloves.

Cook for about 5 minutes.

Add the ginger, garlic, salt, turmeric green chillies, pepper and chilli powder.

Mix well then add the balance of the spices.

Add half of the onions.

Mix well and braise until all the moisture is evaporated.

The mince should be dry like breadcrumbs otherwise your samoosas will be soggy.

Cool the mince mixture.

Add the chopped coriander, mint and shallots and balance of onions.

Mix well.

The filling is now ready.


For the samoosa paste

1/2 cup cake flour

Add some cold water to form a thick paste.


Samoosa pastry

1 packet of ready- made samoosa strips



Set up your working area with the filling, paste and samoosa strips.

Separate a few of the samoosa strips – keep the balance of the pastry covered with a damp dishcloth or a plastic sheet – this is to prevent the pastry from drying out.

Place a strip of pastry on your working surface. Starting from one corner fold the pastry to form a triangular pocket. (the picture shows the different stages of folding the samoosa).

Place a teaspoon of the chicken filling into the pocket. Continue folding the pastry until you get to the last piece of the pastry. Smear the samoosa paste onto the last piece of the pastry.

Now finish off folding the samoosa – you should have a perfect triangular samoosa which now only needs to be fried.

Fry in deep oil over medium heat, turning the samoosa few times – this helps to make the pastry crisp.

Drain well and wipe of any excess oil with a paper towel.

Serve with some chutneys /dipping sauces.



October 14, 2011 in Cakes

Since returning from my holiday,which is nearly 6 weeks ago,I hardly did much baking –this is a looong time for someone like me who has a sweet tooth. When I mentioned this to my sister – she very wisely put this down to my having eaten a lot of decadent sweet goodies during my trip which had satisfied my sweet cravings .

She is right – both my children still tried to feed me stuff that I just had to taste right up to the day that I was leaving.




 The urge for something sweet has raised its head again – and it had to be a chocolate cake. I chose this recipe which is an old favorite of mine because it is quick and easy to put together – its hand mixed and the ingredients are everyday items.

The cake is rich, moist and satisfying with a delicious icing. This cake gets demolished at great speed – I just managed to save a piece to take a picture for this post.



Serves 8 – 10

125g butter

125ml oil

30ml cocoa powder

250ml water

500ml flour

400ml sugar

2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten

5ml bicarbonate of soda

5ml vanilla essence

125ml buttermilk


60ml butter

30ml cocoa powder

30ml buttermilk

560ml icing sugar, sifted

5ml vanilla essence


Preheat oven to 180 C.

Grease a ring pan well.

In a pot heat the butter, oil, cocoa powder and water.

When the butter has melted, remove the pot from the heat.

Cool slightly and place in a large mixing bowl.

Add the flour and sugar.

Mix well.

Add the eggs and bicarbonate of soda, vanilla essence and buttermilk.

Mix together.

Pour the mixture into the greased pan and bake for approximately 36 minutes in a metal ring pan (29 minutes in a silicone ring pan).


While the cake is baking, prepare the icing.

Melt the butter.

Add the sifted cocoa powder and buttermilk.

Then add the icing sugar and vanilla essence.

Beat until smooth.


When the cake is baked, remove from the oven.

Cool and then pour over the icing.








October 12, 2011 in Vegetables



The only frozen vegetables that I usually always have in my freezer are sweetcorn (which my family love just fried in butter) and peas – I always throw in a handful of peas in rice dishes and some curries as I find the peas add an attractive colour to a dish which always makes it more appealing – as one does eat with one’s eyes as well.

I came across this recipe in a cookbook, Healthy Indian Cooking, by a UK chef, Shehzad Husain using the convenience of frozen vegetables to make an easy vegetable pilau with the main ingredients being sweetcorn and peas.

This dish has just enough spices in it to make it a delicately flavoured pilau without any curry powder or chilli.




Serves 4-6

1 cup basmati rice

2 Tablespoon oil

½ teaspoon cumin seeds

2 bay leaves

4 green cardamom pods

4 cloves

1 onion, finely chopped

1 carrot, finely diced

½ cup frozen peas, thawed

1/3 frozen sweet corn, thawed

½ red pepper, finely chopped (optional)

¼ cup cashew nuts, lightly fried

2 cups water

¼ tsp ground cumin

1/2tsp salt

Wash the basmati rice in several changes of cold water. Put into a bowl and cover with water. Leave to soak for 30 mnutes.

Heat the oil in large heavy based frying pan.

Fry the cumin seeds for 1 minute.

Add the bay leaves, cardamom pods and cloves and fry for a further minute.

Add the onion and fry for 2 minutes.

Add the red pepper (if using) and fry for approximately 3 minutes or until the onions are lightly browned.

Stir in the diced carrots and cook for 3 -4 minutes.

Add the peas, sweet corn and cashew nuts.

Drain the rice and add to the pan.

Mix well and fry for 4 – 5 minutes.

Add the water, ground cumin and salt.

Bring to the boil.

Cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes over a very low heat until all the water is absorbed.

Leave to stand, covered for 10 minutes before serving.

I served the pilau with dhal curry and sweet and sour lime pickle.






October 10, 2011 in bread, Salad, Vegetables


Proudly South African, my friend, Elizabeth, had some of her friends around for lunch and her table setting displayed the Springbok theme.


After yesterday’s disappointing result I received a message from her to say that she is out of circulation for the rest of this week as she is in mourning.

She served this delicious green vegetable salad and light as feathermealie bread (baked in muffin pans).

The following pictures were taken at Elizabeth’s lunch.




125g frozen peas – lightly steamed

125g frozen green beans – lightly steamed

125g broccoli – lightly steamed

Butter lettuce, tear into bite size pieces

4 – 5 spring onions, finely chopped

1 small red or yellow pepper, finely sliced

90mls chopped parsley

3 avocado – peeled and sliced (dip in lemon juice to retain the colour) – optional


Line a salad platter with the butter lettuce.

Arrange the vegetables on top of the lettuce.

Place the avocado slices on top of the vegetables.


200ml plain yoghurt

15mls lemon juice

65mls olive oil

10 -15mls dry tarragon

1 large clove of garlic

15ml sugar

5mls garlic and herb salt seasoning


Blend all the ingredients for the dressing – mix well.

Pour over the salad.






1 tin creamed sweetcorn

2 eggs, beaten

Pinch of salt

¼ cup warm milk

30gr margarine, melted

Another 30gr margarine, melted

350gr self-raising flour

½ teaspoon paprika


Preheat the oven to 170C.

Spray and cook muffin pan

Mix the corn, eggs, salt, milk and 30gr margarine.

Add the flour and form soft dough.

Half fill the muffin pan.

Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes or until brown.

Remove from the oven and brush with the other 30gr melted margarine.

Serve warm.


Friday Food Quiz Number 65

October 9, 2011 in Uncategorized

Another brain teaser from Pink – interesting and fun as always. Long faces all round from Rajen with the disappointing rugby results as well as the African Nation soccer.


1. Is couscous a grain or pasta? A grain – made from semolina – luckily I had a packet of couscous so that I could check.

2. The dish “Ossobucco” uses what cut of meat? Veal shanks

3. What is “bubble and squeak” made off? Finely chopped leftover vegetables – mainly cabbage and mashed potatoes that is panfried.

4. Which fruit is used in a black forest cake? Maraschino cherries

5. What are the small snacks served with drinks in Spain called? tapas

6. What is “Ciboulette” more commonly known as? Chives – not sure of this.

7. Which herb flavours a béarnaise sauce? Tarragon and chervil

8. What is Finocchio? fennel

9. What is Madiba’s (Nelson Mandela’s) favouritedish? umngqusho ( mine changes all the time –not sure if he is the same)

10. What kind of fish is used in rollmops?Pickled herrings



October 7, 2011 in Cakes, Desserts

A visit to the hair salon need not be a time consuming and tedious affair especially when you get to hear the latest scandals and happenings from your ever chatty hairdresser and you also get to read copies of magazines that you might not usually buy. If you are lucky you also come across some recipes that catch your attention and you scratch through your handbag to find some kind of paper that you can write on (usually the back of an envelope) and quickly jot down the recipe.

I got this recipe for the Toffee Apple Pesach cake from a Garden and Home magazine – and  it’s from a cookbook, Celebrating with the Kosher Butcher’s wife. Pesach, known in English as Passover, is one of the most commonly observed Jewish holidays.

I love the combination of apple, cinnamon and pecan nuts – and the aroma wafting through the house when this cake was baking was mouth watering.

The cake is layered before baking:

Cake batter

Pecan mixture

Apple mixture

Cake batter

Apple mixture

Pecan mixture





Serves 8 – 10


5 large Granny smith apples

250ml water

125g raisins


Peel, core and cut the apples into eighths and place into a saucepan.

Cover with the water and bring to boil.

Once boiling, turn off the heat, stir and cover with a lid.

Allow the apples to stand and soften in the hot liquid until cool.

Drain the water, once cooled, and add the raisins to the apple mixture.

Keep aside.



100g pecan nuts, coarsely chopped

240g brown sugar

15ml ground cinnamon


Mix the pecan nuts, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl until well combined and set aside.



4 eggs

240g sugar

125ml oil

5ml vanilla essence

240g cake flour

3ml bicarb of soda dissolved in

60ml water


Preheat the oven to 170C.

Grease a rectangular baking tin ( or a 20cm square foil container)

Make a cake batter by beating the eggs and sugar together until light and creamy.

Add the oil and vanilla essence.

Continue to beat until well combined.

Stir in the cake flour.

Add the bicarb of soda mixture and blend well.

Pour half the batter into the baking pan.

Sprinkle half of the pecan mixture over the cake batter in the baking pan.

Spoon half of the apple and raisin mixture over the pecan layer.

Pour the balance of the cake batter over.

Followed by the apple and raisins mixture.

Sprinkle the balance of the pecan mixture over the top of the cake.

Bake in the oven for approx. 1 hour.

Then switch off the oven and leave it in for another 15 – 20 minutes.


While the cake is baking, make the toffee sauce


125ml cold water

180ml sugar

125ml non – dairy creamer (I used Cremora)

Bring the water and sugar to boil.

Once it starts to turn caramel in colour, remove from the heat.

Add the non dairy creamer and mix well.

Remove the cake from the oven and pour over the warm toffee sauce.

Serve at room temperature.