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Strawberry Cupcakes

November 10, 2011 in Uncategorized

Yes, it’s another cupcake recipe…don’t judge, lol.

These were fabulous cupcakes! If you want to eat fresh strawberries in a cake form, these are the cupcakes for you!They were bursting with a fresh strawberry taste, and the icing really complemented them well. They were good with or without the icing, and I enjoyed them both ways.

I adapted the recipe from the following food blog:

Strawberry Cupcakes


2-1/2 cup cake flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups chopped strawberries

*Strawberry Buttercream Icing

1/4 cup chopped strawberries
1/2 tsp lemon juice
4-oz cream cheese, softened
2-oz unsalted butter, softened
218 ml icing sugar

11/2 tsp vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 175°C and prepare 2 cupcake pans.
2. Sift flour, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl.
3. In the bowl of a mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy- 4-5 minutes.
4. Add eggs, one at a time.
5. Add buttermilk, oil, and vanilla until combined.
6. Add flour mixture and stir until just combined (don’t overmix!)
7. Fold in 2 cups of chopped strawberries.
8. Fill cupcake pans 3/4 way, and bake for 20 minutes. The tops will be golden, and a toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean.

To make the Icing

1. Place 1/2 cup chopped strawberries and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes. Let cool, then blend until smooth (by hand, mixer, food processor, or blender). I mashed them up with a fork.
2. In the bowl of a mixer, mix cream cheese and butter until creamy.
3. Add icing sugar, then vanilla.
4. Add berry puree, and mix until smooth.

5. Ice cupcakes when they are completely cooled.

*This quantity of icing is about half of what the original recipe used. I did not want to ice all the cupcakes so I adapted and halved the icing recipe, it still made alot of icing though, and I could have probably used it to ice all the cupcakes.

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Frosted Vanilla Cupcakes

October 5, 2011 in Uncategorized

I sure do love a good vanilla cake, and these cupcakes were just that.

This recipe originally appeared in the April 2010 issue of Food and Home. When I made them, I reduced the sugar to 1/2 Cup, and added grated lemon zest. I also changed the method of preparation slightly. The original recipe instructed that the dry ingredients be sifted, then the remaining ingredients be added to this and the mixture beaten until smooth and creamy. Feel free to try whichever method :-)

Frosted Vanilla Cupcakes

Slightly adapted from Food and Home, April 2010 issue.

Makes 12

180g (1 ½ Cups) Cake flour

150g (3/4 Cup) Sugar

10ml (2tsp) baking powder

2.5ml (1/2 tsp) salt

125 ml (1/2 Cup) milk

125 ml (1/2 Cup) oil

2 large eggs

5 ml (1 tsp) Vanilla Extract

Grated lemon zest (I used the zest of ½ a lemon)


130g (1 Cup) icing Sugar

30ml (2 Tbsp) water

1 Vanilla Pod


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a mixing bowl.
  3. With an electric or hand mixer, beat the eggs and sugar together until batter is thick and light coloured. Add the oil in a steady stream, and then beat in vanilla extract.
  4. Mix in your sifted dry ingredients, and beat just until incorporated.
  5. Line the openings of a 2×6-hole muffin tin with cupcake papers and pour batter up to ¾ full. Bake for 12-15 minutes; remove from oven and leave to cool.
  6. To make the icing, whisk the sugar and water until thick and syrupy, adding more water if necessary. Split the vanilla pod lengthways and scrape the tiny black seeds into the icing mixture. Mix well.
  7. Drizzle the icing over the cooled cupcakes and serve.

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Bakery Review: De Backery

September 4, 2011 in Uncategorized

About a week ago I visited a bakery in Edenvale with Dutch Roots called De Backery.There is also a restaurant attached to the bakery, called De Molen Restaurant; which has pancakes as one of their specialities.

There is a windmill ontop of the building, you definately cannot miss the building.

The bakery was quite busy on Saturday, early afternoon, but the people working behind the counter were very friendly, polite, and attentive. Two people enquired if I had been helped, after I had already been helped.

The items I ordered were: 1 Petit four, 1 Chocolate Eclair, 1 lemon poppyseed muffin, 1 cheese muffin, and 1 small chicken pie.

And yes, this was all for one person :-) Did I mention the chicken pie was small?

The prices were quite reasonable, and my total cost was R 24.30.

The taste: The petit four had a bursting cherry flavoured centre, in between a soft moist sponge cake. This was a nice surprise because the ones I’ve had in the past always had apricot jam. The chicken pie was delicious, the pastry nice and flaky, the downside was that the filling was slightly too salty for me, but I think other people may find it alright. I have a low tolerance for salt :-)

The muffins were good, the cheese one tasted better after it had been warmed up a bit. Thumbs up for the chocolate eclair too, though I prefer a dark chocolate glaze on chocolate eclairs. The glaze on this one was sweeter.

All in all, a good experience, and excellent customer service. I will definately be going back, as they have so many other things I would love to try.

De Backery                   

47 Van Riebeek Ave.            

Edenvale 1610


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Let Us Eat Cake….or Tart!

May 24, 2011 in Uncategorized

Yes, Food and Home magazine, Let Us Eat cake! I would love to!  I was elated and joyful when I saw the “Let us eat cake” sub-heading on the April 2011 Issue of Food and Home Magazine.  As I’ve mentioned before, it’s like Christmas every month when you receive a new issue of F&H in the post. This time I was particularly impressed and overjoyed, when I saw that one of the features was “Let us eat cake”. I’m very attracted to phrases of this kind “Let ___ eat cake”. Now that is what I like to hear, lol. I have two books with these words in the title, one an autobiographical account of the authors love and discovery of cakes as he grew up; the other, a Christian novel about an aspiring pastry chef. Both wonderful books!

So, back to the April 2011 Food and Home issue, in my delirium, seeing as I saw the “Let us eat cake”, I thought the picture on the cover was some kind of fusion apple cake and tart all in one. And man, did it look good. I decided I would have to make it immediately! Upon my descent from cloud 9, closer inspection of the cover, and actually reading the recipe, I discovered that this was a TART and not a ‘fusion cake’, as I had initially thought. I was not deterred, it looked so good, and I would not have a peaceful night until I had made it. Fast forward a couple of weeks later and I finally made it :-) Mmmm, and it was well worth it. One of the nicest tarts ever!

The picture that drove me crazy…


Below, see the recipe as it was printed in the magazine. In ‘notes’, I included how I made it, and the adjustments I made.

Frangipane Apple Tart


200g cake flour

pinch of salt

100 g butter

1 large egg yolk

45ml (3 Tbsp) cold water


125 g butter

100g (1/2 cup) sugar

2 large eggs

50 g cake flour

100g ground almonds, finely crushed

15ml (1 Tbsp) vanilla extract

4 Granny Smith Apples

Juice of 1 lemon

60 ml (1/4 cup) castor sugar

5 ml (1 tsp) ground cinnamon


80 ml (1/3 cup) smooth apricot jam

30 ml (2 Tbsp) water

1. For the pastry, sift the flour and the salt in a large mixing bowl and add the butter. Work the butter into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

2. Add the egg yolk  and water and bring the mixture togethr to form a dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry and use it to line the bottom and sides of a greased 22cm springform cake tin. Prick the bottom of the pastry all over with a fork and refrigerate for a further 20 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 180° C.

5. To make frangipane, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Fold in the flour, almonds, and vanilla extract.

6. Peel and core the apples, then cut in half and slice thinly. immediatelly squeeze the lemon juice all over the apples to prevent discoloration.

7. Spread the frangipane evenly over the pastry and arrange the apple slices on top. Mix the sugar and cinnamon well together and sprinkle over the apples.

8. bake until golden, about 30 minutes.

9. For the glaze, heat the jam and water in a saucepan, stirring until melted. Brush this over the apples while the tart is hot.

10. Serve with custard or ice cream.


Pastry: I used 50 g Lurpak butter, and 50 g Canola margarine

Frangipane: I added the zest of 1 lemon to the frangipane. Use the juice of this lemon as indicated in the recipe. I used 100g of butter basically because I ran out. It still worked out well.

Apples: I used 2 granny smith apples, and 2 golden delicious apples. You can clearly see my tart looks nothing like the tart in the magazine :-) Perhaps because I used fewer apples…I ended up only using about 1/2 the apples recommended in the recipe. It still tasted great! Next time I will stuff all the apples in the tart, and see how it turns out.

I gave the tart a light dusting of the cinnamon sugar mixture. Did not use it all.

I halved the recipe for the glaze.

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Overnight Layered Lettuce Salad

May 17, 2011 in Uncategorized

This is one of my favourite ‘special occasion’ salads, actually, perhaps even one of my favourite salads. I say special occasion because it seemed we had it during certain celebrations/ccasions, complete with big fabulous lunches/dinners. I guess that’s only appropriate, since this is not the kind of salad you should be eating every day :-) It would be really great for a potluck too, as it’s nice to share with a large group of people.

It’s a very adaptable recipe, and you can change the ingredients as well as the quantities to suit your needs and taste. It is really, really delicious, and well worth making.  I first had it at an American thanksgiving celebration, it was so good. The hostess was kind and generous enough to share her recipe, and since then I’ve made a few small changes of my own. This is the recipe as I made it:

Layered Lettuce Salad

2 small heads lettuce

1/2 a small packet of Baby Spinach

3/4 C diced celery

4 hard-boiled eggs (sliced)

10 oz frozen peas, uncooked

1 medium red onion, diced

8 slices turkey rashers (got these at Spar)

3/4  – 1 Cup Woolworths Salad Cream

Cheddar Cheese, grated, to sprinkle on top (I like a light sprinkling, but use however much you like)

Tear lettuce into small pieces and place in a glass bowl. Layer the rest of the ingredients in the order given. Spread the salad cream on top. Use enough to just cover the salad. Top with grated cheese. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 – 12 hours. I refrigerated overnight. This allows the flavours to really develop in the salad. Mix the salad together before serving…make sure your diners see your beautiful salad layers first :-)

Other options: You can add 1/2 cup diced mango after the layer of frozen peas. Other things that can be added include tomatoes (cherry or chopped), sliced mushrooms, bacon instead of turkey rashers, white onion insted of red. Instead of salad cream you can mix 1 Cup mayonnaise with 1/4 C sour cream, and 1 Tbsp sugar. Put this mixture on top of the salad. You may also use Miracle Whip if you wish.

You can change the quantities and ingredients to suit your taste, eg. the original recipe had about 2 1/2 cups of the salad cream topping, but that was too much for me. Enjoy!

Before Mixing:

After Mixing:

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Vanilla Chai Buttermilk Pancakes

April 19, 2011 in Uncategorized

I absolutely adore Woolworths Vanilla Chai tea. I’m not usually a fan of chai teas, chai tea lattes, etc. but this vanilla chai tea is an exception. It smells divine and tastes even better. The same friend that introduced me to the baklava cheesecake, introduced me to this vanilla chai tea :-)

A couple of months ago, my family went out for breakfast and unfortunately I was not able to join them. They surprised me with a take away, from the restaurant. I can’t remember the restaurant’s name right now, I will update this post when I do. They bought me some buttermilk vanilla chai pancakes. They were served with spiced whipped cream, and poached pears that were red. The pancakes had a lovely, fragrant, spicy flavour, but were far too sweet.

I really enjoyed their flavour though, and decided to recreate them at home. This is the recipe I used, adapted from these sites: &

Vanilla Chai Buttermilk Pancakes

2 eggs
2 cups flour (I used 1 C wholewheat flour, 1 C bread flour, and added 1/2 C wheat germ)
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp mixed spice

1/2 tsp – 3/4 tsp masala tea spice mix

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon crushed black peppercorns (or a dash of freshly ground black pepper)
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (or 1.5 tbsp white vinegar and remaining amount milk)
1/2 cup brewed vanilla chai tea

2 Tablespoons milk OR brewed vanilla chai tea
4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled (used 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons Canola Oil)
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

  •   In a large bowl beat eggs. Add buttermilk, vanilla chai tea, butter and vanilla and mix well. Add flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. Add extra milk/vanilla chai tea. Mix well until mostly smooth. Let batter set for a few minutes.
  •  Heat griddle or pan over medium heat. Add a teaspoon of oil to the pan or spray with cooking spray. You can test to see if the pan is hot enough by adding a few drops of water, when the drops start to dance its hot enough.
  • Pour 2 Tablespoons of batter onto the griddle. Cook on the first side until bubbles that form start to pop. Flip the pancake over with a spatula and cook until golden brown. Repeat until all the batter is gone.

The spices are just a guideline, if you don’t have mixed spice or masala tea spice mix, use a combination of cardamon and cloves (1/4 teaspoon of each), as the original recipe stated. You may want to add more or less spices, it’s really a matter of personal choice. The first time I made these, I was a bit apprehensive and guarded when adding the spices. Especially the black pepper… I really did not know about that one. Trust me, it’s good :-)  The second time i was more liberal, and really spiced it up! I just shook those spices freely into the pancake batter.

These pancakes were delicious served with syrup, and poached pears. Yes! I had to have poached pears, lol, I had to recreate what I ate. The pears were poached in vanilla chai tea, marsala wine, lemon zest, vanilla pods, a little sugar, water, and a bit of rum.

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Restaurant Review: Doppio Zero, Part 2

April 7, 2011 in Uncategorized

Now that dessert is out of the way, lets move on to the main course. Doppio Zero, my first time round :-) This is what we had, 2 pasta dishes. I went for the one that had the one thing I am really drawn to in a menu….Pesto.

I absolutely love it, on pizza, pasta, sandwiches, I like it in almost everything. If I see pesto and pasta together in a menu, that’s what I will usually go for. I know, Im boring, lol.

Now that I’m aware I do that, I’m trying to break that habit and go for other things. Well, I will still have it sometimes, just not always :-)

The basil pesto and chicken pasta dish I had at Doppio Zero was alright. It was not bad, but it was not great either. Tha pasta was cooked to perfection, the basil pesto was average. It would not be something I would order again. I’m not quite sure exactly what it was called on the menu; I tried to look it up on their website, but it was not in their current menu on the website.

The other pasta dish was called Fettuccine con Pollo. Described in the menu as; chicken, spinach, sundried tomatoes, garlic, cream, pine nuts (or with napoletana – no cream). The version my friend had was napoletana with penne pasta substituted for the fetucinne. Now this was a great pasta dish. Clean your bowl out good. I would probably order this….if I ate a main meal there again. Right now I just go there for my sweet thang! He he he (see previous post).

Fettuccine con Pollo

Chicken and Pesto Pasta

Chicken and Pesto Pasta

The menu at Doppio Zero had many other tasty and interesting sounding things to offer, so I would definately go back to explore it more. The service was quite good too.

Doppio Zero

The Firs Cnr Cradock and Bierman Streets, Rosebank

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Restaurant Review: Doppio Zero, Part 1

April 5, 2011 in Uncategorized

Two Words: Baklava Cheesecake. That’s it. I’m done with this post.

Ok, perhaps I should break it down a little more slowly…Bak-la-va Cheesecake. Oooo, I want to write a poem for this cheesecake…yeah, it was THAT good.

Hmmm, 4 pictures of this fine, fine creation. You’re lucky I did not put up all 300 pictures I took!

I first heard about this cheesecake from a friend. She told me about the Baklava cheese cake that was sooo good, from Doppio Zero’s that I just had to try. Firstly, I said Baklava what? Did I hear correctly??? I had never heard of Baklava cheesecake and did not even know existed. Where had it been all my life?

Well, one day after a hard day of window shopping at Rosebank mall, I decided to pop into the Doppio Zero in Rosebank to get a take away of this cheesecake. I almost got distracted from my mission as I was faced with a wide array of other seriously tempting treats in the display case. I had to remind myself what I was there for, and stick to the plan.

So, I got the cheesecake home safely, took a couple…ok, took alot of pictures, and then decided to try it. Oh my! It was divine. Flaky filo pastry, honey sweetness, crunchy nutiness, and the creamy, smooth taste of the cheesecake. Before I new it, it was gone! So much for the camera shot I had planned to take when I had eaten part of it. That plan was entirely forgotten. I’m not a huge cheesecake person, but I LOVE this cheesecake. It also was not tooth acingly sweet, which is a plus for me. It’s always nice to try something new and just totally enjoy and love it. Reminds me of the first time I tried Pad Thai…now that changed my life, lol. But I digress :-)

So, now you know what you have to do. Stop whatever you are doing, and go to Doppio Zero and get this cheesecake. If you are at work, bring your boss a piece too. You just may get a raise or promotion, lol. If it’s nightime, dream of this cheesecake, and make a plan to make your dreams a reality soon :-)

I had planned to write about the food I ate at Doppio Zero’s on a different occasion that I went there, but I will do that in a separate post. The Baklava Cheesecake deserves a post on it’s own.

I know it seems as if I’m  in love with Baklava, as I have talked about it on other occasions, but, it just a coincidence :-) Honestly, he he he.

Doppio Zero

The Firs Cnr Cradock and Bierman Streets, Rosebank

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Balsamic Roasted Bangers and Cherry Tomatoes

March 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

So you know how at times you are at a dentist’s office, doctor’s office, optometrist, heck, anywhere that has magazines for your reading pleasure as you wait for your turn to go in? Well, In the past…when I was really young and innocent, if I saw a recipe I liked in these magazines, I would slowly, and quietly tear it out of the pages. If the receptionist happened to glance at me, I would give her a bright and sunny smile.  Don’t pretend, you know you have done it too, he he he. Or perhaps thought about doing it at least.

I stopped doing this when I grew older and wiser Wink, and felt the frustration of looking through a magazine and finding pages ripped out! Pages that contained recipes that I had wanted to view. That taught me a lesson, and was the end of my ripping pages from reception magazine days.  I came up with two different solutions on how to get these recipes after this. A couple of times, not very often, I asked the receptionist if I could have the magazine when they were going to get rid of it. This was not ideal, as I have a ridiculous amount of magazines already. I certainly did not need more.

My second option, and one I use more often, was to make sure I had a pen and something to copy down recipes I liked from the magazines in these waiting rooms. Inevitably, as I’m halfway through a recipe, I usually get called in! This has happened way too many times.

Sometime last year, I was looking through the March 2010 issue of Your Family Magazine in a doctor’s waiting room. I had barely glanced at a recipe page that grabbed my interest when I was called in. I had to go back to work as soon as I was done with my appointment, and sadly did not get a chance to view the recipe again.

I remembered it had balsamic vinegar which I LOVE, sausages, and tomatoes in the title. I got online, and tried to find it, to no avail. I then looked in almost every shop for the magazine, but it was not to be found. Only the April 2010 issues were available. Now I became really obsessed with finding this recipe, lol. To make a long story short, I emailed the magazine and told them of my dilemma. I tried to appear calm and rational, and not sound as if I were obsessing over this recipe. I did not want to appear desperate and crazy. The kind and lovely Food Editor emailed me back shortly with the recipe as well as 2 others I had requested. Phew! This recipe is simple, but produces great results, and fantastic flavours!

Balsamic Roasted Bangers and Cherry Tomatoes  (Your Family, March 2010)


 Serves 6 Prep 10 min
Cook 25 min
12 small pork sausages ( I used Woolworths chicken bangers in place of pork sausages)
handful fresh thyme
250g brown mushrooms
3 handfuls cherry tomatoes
3 large tomatoes, quartered
1 tbsp (15ml) olive oil
2 tbsp (30ml) balsamic vinegar
1/2 a ciabatta bread, torn into bite-sized pieces
handful fresh basil leaves, to serve
1. Preheat the oven to 220C . Place the sausages in a roasting tin with the thyme and bake, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
2. Add the mushrooms and tomatoes and drizzle with oil and the balsamic vinegar. Bake for a further 10 minutes until the sausages are golden – brown and cooked through.
3.  Remove from the oven, scatter the ciabatta pieces over and bake for about 5 minutes until golden – brown and crisp on the outside.
4. Serve with fresh basil leaves.
Don’t ask me why I didn’t just go back to the doctor’s office :-) The important thing is that the recipe was found in the end, lol. Why don”t you try it for breakfast or brunch this coming weekend? It’s well worth it!

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5 a Day…

March 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

Now isn’t this a great way to get in part of your 5 a day? I love cakes with fruit, fresh fruit that is. You won’t catch me near a cake with dried fruit.  This cake was quick and simple to make, and a joy to eat. I first saw the recipe on a food blog I was stalking, ummm, I mean looking at :-) ; but the original recipe is from a June 2009 issue of Gourmet.When I made this cake, I reduced the amount of sugar and butter in the original recipe slightly, as I tend to do. It still turned out great! I’ve seen a couple of different versions of this cake online, with the fruit changing. There is an apple and cinnamon version, and a blueberry and stawberry version. I’m sure various other combinations of berries would work well too. The cake batter is versatile, and all versions of this cake seem to go down well.Here is the recipe:

Raspberry Buttermilk Cake

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 stick (56 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (optional)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries (about 5 oz)

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C) with rack in middle. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Beat butter and 2/3 cup sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes, then beat in vanilla. Add egg and beat well.
  4. At low speed, mix in flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour, and mixing until just combined.
  5. Spoon batter into cake pan, smoothing top. Scatter raspberries evenly over top and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar.
  6. Bake until cake is golden and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack and cool to warm, 10 to 15 minutes more. Invert onto a plate.

You can dust the cake with icing sugar if you would like to. The next time I make this cake, I will try preheating the oven and baking it at 180°C. The temperature stated in the recipe (200°C) was a bit too hot, well at least for my oven.And trust me…there will be a next time :-)