Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sugar cookies (Soet Koekies)

My knight is wanting to earn some extra money for a lego set he has his eye on, so we have decided to make biscuits to sell at dads work - they are being very well recieved and my knight is excited about earning his own money (with a little - read alot - help from mom)
We are very proud of his efforts...

You will need - 
125ml butter - softened
250ml sugar
1 egg
30ml milk
2,5ml vanilla
2 cups flour
10ml baking powder
2,5ml salt
sugar for sprinkling on top
(cherries for top if desired)

Beat the softened butter, gradually adding the sugar - 
once combined add the egg, milk and vanilla.
Mix well.
Add the sifted flour, baking powder and salt.
Roll the dough out on a floured surface and using a cookie cutter cut into shapes.
Place on a greased baking sheet and sprinkle the cookies with sugar.
Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for about 8 minutes  
(please check as oven temps differ!) 

Enjoy ...

Knitting - Waffle weave dishcloths

I have been knitting these for years...
 and once you wash your dishes with them, you will never go back ;-)
 I just knitted a whole batch to stock up...
They also make lovely gift. 
You will need the following -

1 ball Vinnis Colours yarn - cotton or bamboo
or a combo of both.
Additional yarn for coloured stripe if desired.
Size 6 needles (4.25mm)

  Cast on 38 stitches
Knit 3 rows for the border
Row1: (right side) : Knit
Row 2: K3, purl to last 3 stitches, K3
Row 3: K3, (P2, K1) 10 times, P2, K3
Row 4: K3, (K2, P1) 10 times, K5

Repeat these 4 rows, 6 times. 
If a coloured center stripe is desired change yarn now and work rows 1 - 4, 2 times in new colour.
Change back to main colour and work the 4 row patterm, 6 times.
Knit last 4 rows.
Cast off and work in ends.

(This pattern is from Homespun living - a lovely site - take a look!)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Date Biscuits

Tea for two...
...or three or four or five...
My precious in laws came for tea and I whipped up a batch of these yummy biscuits...
The weather is still nice and cold, so we needed some crunchy, oaty, fruity type biscuits...

 So you will need - 

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp bicarb of soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter - softened
3 eggs
1/2 cup white sugar (I never had so just used all brown!)
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups oats
1 cup dates
1/2 cup walnuts (I never had any!)

Beat the butter and sugar together, add the eggs and vanilla, Beat until light and fluffy.
Sieve in the dry ingredients.
Mix well - Add the oats.
Add the chopped dates and walnuts if using.

Roll into small balls and flatten slightly - place on a greased baking sheet 
and bake for about 8 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius until golden brown.

Enjoy with some tea and special family!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Pineapple Chicken

Monday...what shall I make for dinner?

I have a joke with a few friends who like to plan their weekly meals - I am not a meal planner...would love to be...but nope I am not...I cant!!...I love to look in the fridge and create a meal...So this is for you my lovely meal planning friends... (Luckily I shopped on Saturday, so the fridge was stocked with all sorts of goodies!)

You will need

Chicken - I used a whole free range chicken
1 Pineapple - cubed
1 Punnet Mushrooms (optional!) - sliced
1 Red Pepper - chopped
1 Onion - chopped
Fresh ginger - chopped finely
5 Potatoes - cubed
3 Tblsp chutney
Cornflour to thicken
Salt and Pepper to taste
100ml Cream

 Place your chicken in the middle of a roasting pan (I spatchcocked my chicken), scatter around it the chopped onion, cubed pineapple, chopped red pepper, finely chopped fresh ginger (about the size of a teaspoon), and the sliced mushrooms. 
Sprinkle with a little salt and freshly ground pepper and add the fruit juice.
Bake at 180 degrees celcius until the chicken is cooked. (The time will depend on the size of the chicken.)
Cube the Potatoes and cook on the stove top until cooked through - do not over cook.
Remove the Chicken from the roasting pan and debone and chop up into bite size pieces.
Place back into pan with pineapple etc
Depending on how much liquid (gravy!) you like with your dish you can add some more fruit juice or a little water...
Add the potatoes, chutney and cream. Stir in the cornflour mixed with water and place back in the oven to thicken.
Once thickened, taste and add any additional salt and pepper.

I served our Pineapple Chicken with brown rice and steamed fresh carrots, patty pans, baby gem squash and courgettes.

A lovely meal for a cold winter evening...

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Milk Tart

A sweet friend of mine is expecting her fourth little blessing - a baby girl! So we decided to gather together and celebrate this new little life that will soon arrive and of course...have some tea and cake...

This recipe is another my mom has been making for years and is a favourite of my dads!

1 liter of milk - full cream
125gr butter
1 cup sugar
pinch of salt
300ml milk - full cream
250ml cornflour
1 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
Ground cinnamon

Bring the liter of milk, butter, salt and sugar to the boil.
In a bowl whisk together the 300ml milk, eggs, cornflour and vanilla.
Once the milk mixture is boiling add the egg mixture and whisk continuously until thickened.
Don't stop whisking as this mixture can lump very quickly
Once it is nice and thick - not to thick...
Pour into a pie dish that has been lined with tennis biscuits.
(Approx 23cm x 23cm in size)
Smooth the top with a knife and dust with ground cinnamon.

Enjoy with some special I did!!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Cream of Spinach and Pear Soup

Cold winter days...
 Cold winter evenings...
need warm winter soup especially after a walk along the coast...brrrr
This is a winning soup and seems to be a favourite of very cute sister as her bowl was sparkly clean after a few minutes;-)...

So you will need - 

2 bunches fresh spinach
4 pears - peeled and chopped
1 large onion - chopped
1 tsp brown sugar
1 Tblsp butter
5 potatoes - cubed
3 sweet potatoes - cubed
5ml Salt
Ground Black Pepper
3 pinches ground nutmeg
250ml cream

Wash the spinach very well - its not nice to have crunchy spinach soup.
Meanwhile in a pot add the butter, chopped onion and sugar. Cook until nice and brown. 
Add the potatoes, sweet potatoes, pears,salt, pepper, nutmeg and stock to cover all the ingredients.
While cooking you can add a little more water if need be - 
 - not to much as then your soup will be very thin.
Add the spinach. Bring to boil, once spinach has wilted, turn down and let it simmer till everything is cooked through.
Take off the stove and blend with a hand held blender. Add the tub of cream and mix well. Taste and add more salt or pepper if need be
Enjoy with some nice crusty homemade farl...

Monday, July 9, 2012

Chicken, Veg and noodle soup

We are in the middle of winter and enjoying warm soups...
My knight and his cute sister love soup, and it is a wonderful way to get all sorts of goodies into the little bodies! 
We meet with Two Precious families on a Friday and we share lunch together...
this soup is a favourite...
Remember with soup, you cant really go wrong...

In this soup is the following -

1 Tblsp Butter
 6 Baby marrows (courgettes)
4 Baby gem squash
3 Carrots
4 Potatoes
2 Orange sweet potatoes
Celery* - handful
2 Onions
1 small Butternut
(depends how much chicken you like in the soup, I usually just add about 4 thighs)
Salt  - to taste
Pepper - to taste
150gr approx Chinese Noodles
250ml Cream (optional)

Wash and chop all the veggies into nice size pieces - you are going to blend, so don't be to fussy with the shape or size.
In a large pot add butter, the onions and chicken 
(I have found using whole chicken pieces - bones, skin and all makes for a much tastier soup than using the neatly cut deboned breast fillets) - I usually add a tsp of brown sugar at this point.
Let it cook and brown for a few minutes.
Then add all the veggies, toss around for a few more minutes before adding the water.
Fill the pot with water to cover all the veggies and add your stock powder as per instructions.
Let it simmer away slowly until everything is tender and cooked through completely.
You may have to top the water up once or twice.
Take the chicken pieces out, remove the skin and bones and discard. 
 Chop the chicken finely.
 Using a hand held blender, blend the veggies until smooth.
Place the chicken back in the pot.
Add the noodles and let it simmer until they are soft.
Stir to avoid sticking...
Add a tub of cream. (optional)
Add salt and pepper to taste. 

Enjoy with some home made bread and butter.

* I don't know if you ever find that you buy a big bunch of celery and use a little and then the rest goes bad - well I have found a solution... on Pinterest;-) Wash and chop the celery - leaves and stems. Place on some roller towel on a baking sheet and then put into freezer. Once frozen take out and store in containers or bags in the freezer. Take out a handful when needed.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Cheese and Poppyseed Muffins

Oooh these are so delicious...warm with butter...warm with grated cheese...warm with a slice of tomato and sprinkle of salt...

You will need - 
500g Cake Flour
40ml Baking Powder
10ml Mustard Powder (If you have...I usually dont!)
5ml Salt
5ml Ground Black Pepper
65ml Blue Poppyseeds
3 cups Grated Cheese
(I used a mixture of white cheddar, yellow cheddar and mozzarella because thats what was in the fridge.)
30ml (2Tblsp) Butter
500ml Milk

Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper and mustard powder together into a bowl. 
Add the poppyseeds, grated cheese and butter and rub together with fingers to mix nicely. Make sure the butter is rubbed in.
Add the milk to make a fairly slack/sticky dough.
Drop into greased muffins pans and Bake at 200 degrees celsius for 30 - 40 minutes.
(Remember - always keep an eye on them as oven temps vary!)


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Banana Bread

Well in my home, we have a banana frenzy eating week, then the next week the bananas seem to sit and then go dark...This was the sitting week ;-)...
So I decided to make some banana bread this weekend...I made one and a half times the recipe, then I freeze one of the breads - it freezes really well...

So this is what you need if you want to make yummy banana bread - 

120gr butter - softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
4 - 5 bananas (mashed)
3/4 tsp Bicarb of soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla

Cream the softened butter and sugar together, add the eggs and beat well.
Dissolve the bicarb of soda in the milk.
Sift in the flour, salt, and baking powder into the butter mixture.
Add the milk and bicarb.
Mix well and then add the mashed bananas - they can be mashed with a fork.
Bake at 150 degrees celcius for One Hour. (please watch as oven temps vary!)

Enjoy with a cup of tea...

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Farl - Bread!

This bread is an English loaf traditionally baked on the bottom of the oven, hence it’s other name -  oven bottoms...
It is a very easy to make and versatile recipe...
Go on...Give it a try...

You will need -

1 Tablespoon salt (Himalayan Crystal salt if possible)
30g fresh yeast (obtainable from bakery at PnP)
60g butter, softened/melted  (or olive oil/ or sun flower oil)
300ml lukewarm water
1 teaspoon sugar

Put the flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Dissolve the yeast and sugar in lukewarm water and pour onto the flour. Start mixing then - Add the butter/oil and mix together into a dough.
Knead for 5 minutes.  – Don’t knead to long!
Sprinkle some flour around the surface you are kneading on and bring a little in as you go if the mixture is too sticky.
Allow to rise for 1 hour (proving) in a nice warm spot – don’t leave longer as it will ‘over rise’!

Tip the dough out and shape into a ball. Place on a greased baking tray and flatten the dough into a circle about 5cm thick.
Sprinkle the top with some flour.
 Leave to rise for another hour in a warm spot.

Preheat the oven to 220 degree Celcuis
Starting from the middle, make vertical slashes onto the dough all the way around.
Or slash the dough in a square shape on the top.
Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

As you can see in the pictures - I varied the recipe and outcome ;-)
In the top picture - I doubled the recipe and added 300gr Brown bread flour - also stone ground.
I roughly divided the mixture into some rolls (just break off little bigger than golf ball size chunks of dough and place next to each other in a tin), a bread loaf tin and a bread round.
I brushed with a little milk and sprinkled sesame seeds on top.

The picture above,(doubled also!) I again roughly divided into rolls, a loaf tin and then made a flat bread with olives, garlic, fresh rosemary and thyme from the garden, and drizzled with some olive oil...
One of my knights favourite things is olive bread...

Enjoy with some warm winter soup!