26/11/2014

Ham and Cheese Breakfast Bake




I am such a lazy hostess. I hate being in the kitchen, especially early mornings. I especially hate having to stand in front of a hot stove in order to prepare breakfast for the family. That's why they get porridge. I hate having to prepare breakfast for a crowd even more. Everyone likes their eggs different (soft, hard, sunny side up, scrambled) and even their bacon preferences differ (crispy, soft, back bacon, lots of fat). Aargh, it's enough to make me scream and refuse to have any guest over!

This breakfast bake was prepared with just bread, ham, cheese and eggs the night before and then just popped into the oven and served while still hot. Add a few Rosa tomatoes and cucumber slices for a balanced breakfast. Any lazy hostess' dream breakfast. If you just can't stand arranging the sandwiches so they look delicious and everyone can see the ham and cheese. then just dice everything, mix well and follow from step 6. It will still look pretty sliced.

What do you need:

  • french loaf bread, sliced
  • 1 packet sliced ham
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar
  • 8 large eggs
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup shredded Cheddar
What to do:

  1. Butter an oven proof baking dish. 
  2. Place one row of bread slices against the side, upright, so the tops are in line with the dish.
  3. Add a slice of ham, again so the top shows.
  4. Add another slice of bread. You now have a ham sandwich sanding on its side, upright.
  5. Next add cheese and another row of bread. Keep alternating between the ham and cheese until the whole dish is full.
  6. Next, in a separate bowl, mix the eggs, milk and mustard together. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Pour over the bread and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
  8. Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Sprinkle with ½ a cup of cheese. Bake until puffed and done in the centre, about 1 hour.
Another option is to add slices tomato with the cheese or replace the ham with the cheese. You can also replace the french loaf with croissants.

19/11/2014

Gingerbread House





This really does take about 3 days to do (and that's what all the recipes say) but we pushed it into a day and a half. We baked and build the house on the Saturday and decorated the Sunday. Next time (we are making this our yearly tradition from now on with the little one) I will bake the dough in sheets and cut out the shapes when I take it from the oven and the cookie is still soft. Then I will be sure the shapes are perfect as they tend to shrink and move while baking.



This recipe is enough for 2 houses and some gingerbread men.

  • 360g butter, at room temperature
  • 200g dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 300g syrup
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 tablespoon mixed spice
  • 3 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour



For the edible glue:

  • 6 egg whites
  • 1,5 kg icing sugar sifted



  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC.
  2. Cut out the following paper patterns for the gingerbread house template (I bought this Gingerbread House Kit).
  3. Cream the sugar and butter until fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs one by one and mix well.
  5. Add the sugar, zest and lemon juice. Mix until well combined.
  6. Meanwhile sift the flour, baking powder and spices.
  7. Add flour cup for cup to the butter mixture until a dough forms.
  8. Add the dough hook and 'knead' for a few minutes.
  9. Fold in baking parchment and rest for 1 hour in the fridge.
  10. Knead the dough until its elastic and roll it out to about 0.5 cm. (we did it at 0.25 cm and it was too thin).
  11. Cut out the shapes for the sides and roof.
  12. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
  13. Allow to cool and dry over night.




To make the 'edible glue':
  1. Beat the egg whites until peaks form.
  2. Add 1 cup of sugar at a time beating well.
  3. When all the sugar is incorporated, use to glue house together (it's like working with marshmallows but dries really hard).
  4. Allow to dry overnight.




Then start decorating the house using sweets, biscuits or whatever else you can think of. We used coconut as snow for the finishing touch.








14/11/2014

South Arican Braai Pie


The "Braai Pie" is making a big comeback on all the cooking circuits in South Africa. And really it is ingenius. A filo pastry shell filled with goodies that you "braai" or barbeque on an open wood fire!





Hubby saw the idea somewhere (yes I was just as amazed by this fact as you are!) and just had to try it over our weekend away. As I wasn't involved in any way (except to take pictures) I must admit I was pleasanty surprised by how easy it is. Just a word of advice: coat the the BBQ grill (braai rooster) liberally with oil or the pasrty sticks to it.


INGREDIENTS


    • 2 rolls puff pastry, defrosted
    • 15ml sunflower oil
    • 1 onion, finely diced
    • 1 packet salami
    • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
    • ½ cup chutney or sweet chilli sauce
    • 1 cup leftover steak, diced
    • 1 egg, lightly whisked

METHOD
  1. Heat oil in a pan and gently fry the onion until soft. Remove from pan and set aside to cool.
  2. Spray the braai grid well with baking spray on both sides or use a brush to coat with oil.
  3. Unroll one of the rolls of puff pastry onto the first grid.
  4. Place a layer of salami overlapping if possible. Spread with some chutney or sweet chilli sauce on top.
  5. Sprinkle the onions and chopped steak on top.
  6. Add a layer of the cheese.
  7. Place the second roll of puff pastry on top
  8. Using your finger tips seal the edges of the pastry as if making a pie.
  9. Lightly brush with egg wash before placing on the braai and make three small incisions in the top of the pastry using a small knife to allow the steam to escape.
  10. Place high on a very cool braai and allow to cook for about 20 minutes turning the pie over often until the pastry is cooked and crispy.


Why not enjoy it with these amazing curry lamb chops? We had some left over pie with breakfast the next morning, heated in the microwave and it tasted great!



10/11/2014

Curry Lamb Chops



This really is a fantastic way of preparing lamb chops to be barbequed. You can do this up to three days ahead and because you marinate the meat for so long you can use the cheaper cuts that usually too tough as they go amazingy soft. I prepare this usually on a wednesday if we are to go away for a weekend and as always a great hit. I served this with a slice of real South African Braai Pie. Give it a try. If you don't have 3 days try to at least marinate the chops for 24 hours and use better cuts.


The wonderful recipe is from Jan Braai and his fantastic book called "Fireworks". Don't change anything!
Ingredients
  • 2– 2,5 kg lamb chops (I prefer leg but chump or thick rib also work well)
  • 2 tots oil or butter
  • 2 onions (chopped)
  • 3 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • peeled and grated ginger (equal to the garlic in volume)
  • 2 tots curry powder
  • ½ tot turmeric
  • ½ tot salt
  • 2 cups brown vinegar
  • 1 × 450 g tin fine or smooth apricot jam
  • 4 bay leaves (torn)

Method
  1. Fry the onions in the oil for about 4 minutes until they are soft and golden but not brown.
  2. Add the garlic, ginger, curry powder and turmeric and fry for another 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in the vinegar, jam and salt and heat until boiling.
  4. Remove from the heat and let the marinade cool down to room temperature. I put the whole pot in the zink with lots of cold water.
  5. Place the chops in a marinating bowl, add the torn bay leaves and pour the cooled-down marinade over the meat. Stir thoroughly ensuring all sides of the chops are in contact with marinade. Cover the bowl.
  6. Marinate for at least 24 hours, two or three days is better. Turn the chops every 8–12 hours during this time.
  7. Braai for about 8–10 minutes on hot coals and serve.

03/11/2014

Waffles with White Chocolate Chips and Blueberries | Homemade Yoghurt


Yes you can use a box mix and still be a good mother but why when it really is just so quick and easy to make your own and do it with less sugar? I bought a Krups Waffle Maker and decided to really give it a go. As always a quick waffle batter recipe is included which I used with some alterations. But if you want delicious waffle/pancake box mix use Nomu's Pancake and Waffle Mix which turned out fantastic and has 2 pouches so you don't have to use it all in one go.



Waffle Batter:


  • 2 ½ cups self raising flour
  • 2 tbsp rice syrup/stevia/sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • ½ cup oil


  1. Sift the flour
  2. Beat the eggs and milk together. 
  3. Add to all the dry ingredients.
  4. Add rice syrup if using.
  5. Cook waffles. 
Alternatively separate the egg whites and  beat to a thick foam. Beat the egg yolks with the milk. And follow the recipe and gently fold in the egg whites last.



I add the goodies in the machine on top of the uncooked batter in this instance I added small white chocolate chips and blueberries which is the squashed into the batter when you close the lid. But add anything you like. 


Instead of cream and syrup I served mine with homemade yogurt that I make in this yoghurt machine and using Woolworth's double cream yoghurt as a started and full cream UHT milk. Instead of 9 hour I leave it for 11 or 12 so it comes out thick and smooth. Hubby though it was cream!


In an attempt to go sugar free (deleting all unnecessary sugar from the family diet) I realised how much sugar is added to Little Em's food especially yoghurt! And as she has yoghurt every day I decided that my one good deed a week is to make 7 of these little pots on a monday, leaving enough yoghurt for me and Em. I got her to eat plain full cream yoghurt without any additions within 1 week!

What is your good deed for every week?