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Chunky Berry Medley Smoothie

January 12, 2012 in Desserts, Food Photography, Recipes

When I was younger I would easily lie in the sun next to the pool for hours to acquire that golden brown 80’s tan. It was the ‘in thing’ then. As I got older my tolerance for the heat and lack of time made it very difficult to just lie in the sun. I still enjoy maybe an hour or so by the pool, but I prefer to catch a good swim and watch the kids splash around rather than just tanning. I don’t have that patience anymore and my mind starts running with all the things I have to do.
Time seems to be a luxury today! There’s something about getting older that distorts your perception of time. I just can’t seem to do as much today as I did ten years ago or maybe there is just so much more I want to do all at once, if that makes sense.

Anyway, it has been so hot here that most of the holiday season was spent next to the water. Even my dog Chocolate who always runs away from getting dunked into the pool, didn’t seem to mind the occasional dip.

Chocolate trying to dodge a dunking!

So while enjoying the invigorating sunshine and refreshing sparkling water the ideas were going in my head…
Smoothies, water, camera, berries, ice, glass and eventually I came up with this inviting berry smoothie. I was also inspired by one of the TASTE magazine issues recently and have been dying to try the whole blue and pink combination.
Hopefully the photos say “I want to it now!”

Berries are one of my favourite fruits and they are super healthy too. As we are all watching our health at this time of the year, I thought this would be the perfect inspiration. Did you know the smoothie was invented way back in the 60’s? ‘The Story of Smoothie King‘ tells all about how the smoothie came about.

Here are some nutritional facts about berries:

  • Low in Cholesterol, Saturated Fat and Sodium
  • Good source of Vitamin K and C
  • Source of the minerals Magnesium and manganese
  • High on Dietary Fibre





















Get the recipe at The Purple Calabash

Brownie Topped Toffee Sundae

January 5, 2012 in Food Photography, Recipes, Summer, Sweets

While I find myself with some time on my hands, I think it’s time to finish all the drafts I have accumulated and start posting them before the season changes.

I have been quite lazy when it comes to cooking lately. We have had heatwave after heatwave in Pretoria and I just can’t bear to be behind a hot stove or oven. So, I find myself with many summer inspired posts.

We’ve had mainly salads and light ‘tapas’ in our home. And loads of ice-cream, sundaes and shakes.

I often use my husband and kids as taste ‘guinea pigs’ for my recipes. I think they enjoy it. If not, they dare not say it.

The kids couldn’t wait for the photos to get done on this sundae so that they could tuck in.

The great thing about sundaes is that there are so many flavours and ingredients to be tried… as long as there is ice cream, the rest is an adventure. So raid your pantry for ‘sweety’ bits and go for it!

We used vanilla ice cream, store-bought toffee syrup and Woolworths’ brownies to put together this rich chocolaty sundae. Normally, I would use home-made brownies but as I said….too hot for baking. It’s a really easy recipe and requires no mixing and blending of any sort.

You might like to check out this recipe for a decadent Chocolate Brownie and Mixed Berry Trifle from Woolworths as well. It is awesome.


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Recipe: Brownie Topped Toffee Sundae


  • 2 glasses Vanilla ice-cream
  • 4 Home made or store-bought brownies
  • Toffee syrup


  1. Pour toffee syrup into a sundae glass as you tilt and rotate it so as to get syrup on the sides of the glass.
  2. Half fill the glass with small scoops of ice-cream, and add tiny bits of brownie into it. Add some more ice-cream. Enough to fill the glass.
  3. Decorate with the rest of the brownies which have been cut into tiny bite sized squares.
  4. Drizzle some toffee syrup over the top.

Variations and Tips

If you have berries, these pair really well with the chocolate.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 2

My rating 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)

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July 22, 2011 in Food Culture, Food Photography, Home-made, Photography, Recipes

Making pizza has always been a “schlep” for me. I would rather get take out pizza than spend hours in the kitchen trying to get the right results. Not anymore!! I sound like one of those familiar ads – ‘But that’s not all…’

I watched one of the Masterchef episodes where they made pizza dough. It looked so damn easy. Normally you have to stretch and work that dough, flip it in the air like you see chefs do, massage it some more…. – phew, I am exhausted just writing about it. I was sold – off to the Masterchef website, jotted down the recipe and made it – again and again and again…

Recipe: Masterchef Basic Pizza Dough


  • 400ml lukewarm water
  • 14g fresh yeast or 1 x 7g sachet of dried yeast
  • 15g castor sugar
  • 700g “00” flour, plus extra for dusting (bread flour)
  • 30g gluten flour, optional
  • 30g table salt
  • 60ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 50ml milk


  1. Add 2 tablespoons of the water to the yeast and massage it into a paste with your fingers. Add the remaining water and the sugar and stir to combine.
  2. Tip flour, gluten if using, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer with the dough hook attached. Turn mixer onto low speed and add yeast mixture. Let it mix for 2 minutes until the dough comes together. Add oil and milk and mix for another 4 minutes until smooth and elastic.
  3. Lightly dust a clean work surface with flour. Remove dough from the mixer, scraping the dough hooks. Knead the dough for a couple of minutes, dusting with more flour when necessary. Shape the dough into a ball.
  4. Lightly dust a clean chopping board or baking sheet with flour. Place the dough on the board and cover with a clean tea towel and leave in a warm, draught-free place to prove for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Cut the dough into 120g portions and roll into balls. Cover with the tea towel and set aside on the floured board to rise for a further 30 minutes or doubled in size.

Quick notes

The gluten flour is not necessary.

Preparation time:

Number of servings (yield): 8

My rating 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)

With the Masterchef pizza dough you can do all the stretching and shaping on the counter without the sticky mess. The quality of the flour though makes a difference. Another tip is to use a mix of semolina and flour dusted on the counter surface for rolling the dough on. Semolina is coarser then regular flour and prevents the dough from sticking.

I remember in my student days, in the ceramics class we got taught to knead pottery dough. Use both hands and with the corners of the palms , push down on the dough and form a donald duck face. I didn’t think I would ever use those skills – but here I am, using it in the kitchen.

This pizza dough takes the “schlep” out of making pizza. They don’t call these guys Masterchefs for nothing.

The great thing about making pizza at home is that you can top it with whatever you fancy and each one in the family can have their individual pizza. I love it. You can also make a simple focaccia if you’re not in the mood for heavy toppings. I like focaccia because it’s basically a carrier for the garlic, olive oil, herbs and coarse crunchy salt. A real treat!
I am sharing my pizza and focaccia recipe with you. I hope you will be just as inspired to make your own pizza as I was. I am not buying take out pizza ever again!

If you have a non-glazed terracotta tile it works wonders in the oven. It dry cooks the pizza from underneath. I haven’t managed to get one yet, so I used the bottom of a cake tin. It’s on my long list of things to do soon! Of course, if you have a pizza oven – all the better.



Recipe: Focaccia


  • 120g pizza base (see recipe above) makes a large pizza
  • 2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 100ml oilve oil
  • coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • flour for surface


  1. Heat the oven to 250 degrees C.
  2. Place the pan bottom or the terra cota tile in the oven to heat on the top rack.
  3. In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil and garlic. Be careful not to burn the garlic or you will get a bitter taste.
  4. Remove from heat and let it stand for 5 minutes.
  5. With a brush spread the olive oil and garlic onto the pizza base. As much as you like.
  6. Sprinkle some coarse salt on.
  7. Remove the tile from the oven and place the pizza base onto it.
  8. Put it back into the oven and bake for approximately 15 minutes, depending on how brown you would like it.
  9. Remove from oven and serve hot.

Variations and Tips

You may like to replace the dried herbs with fresh herbs.

Sprinkle some grated parmesan onto the pizza for extra cheesy flavour

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 15 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 1

Culinary tradition: Italian


Bacon Avo and a Touch of Tabasco Pizza

This is my favourite. Bacon and Avocado Pizza with a touch of Tabasco sauce. I like the contrast in flavours – the buttery avo, the hot tabasco sauce and salty bacon.

Bacon and avo pizza

Recipe: Bacon Avo and a Touch of Tabasco Pizza


  • 120g pizza base (see recipe above) makes a large pizza
  • olive oil
  • minced garlic
  • fresh or dried oregano and basil
  • whole peeled tomatoes or good quality tomato paste, I like to use Ina Paarmans basil and tomato paste.
  • 3 bacon rashers, cut into small pieces and fried
  • 1/2 an avocado, slices into thin wedges
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella
  • salt if needed


  1. Place a terracotta tile into the oven pre-heat oven to 250 degrees C.
  2. Prepare the pizza base.
  3. Brush the base with olive oil, especially around the edges.
  4. Add some garlic and salt if desired.
  5. Smear some tomato paste over the whole surface.
  6. Sprinkle with oregano and basil.
  7. Add the pieces of bacon.
  8. Sprinkle the grated mozzarella over entire pizza – liberally.
  9. Add some more herbs if you like.
  10. Insert the pizza into the oven on a terracotta tile or baking tray.
  11. Bake for approximately 10-15 minutes.
  12. Remove from the oven and add the sliced avocado.
  13. Drizzle with desired amount of tabasco sauce.

Quick notes

Please read the notes on the Masterchef pizza on how to prepare the dough.
Each 120g portion of dough makes a large plate size pizza.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 15 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 1

Enjoy…and hope the pics inspire you!