Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pretty Plums!

We are indulging in the last of the summer bounty as the seasons start to change – and what a bounty it is! Wirie found these enormous plums at our local supermarket and they were so pretty she just had bring them to the LekkerBek office.

Fresh, poached in sweet wine or baked in a tart, plums are versatile and o so yummy! 

For recipes using plums visit:

Monday, February 27, 2012

Moist Chocolate Cake Recipe

This recipe was published in the March edition of Food & Home Entertaining, and we loved it so much we just had to share!

Moist Chocolate Cake

You will need:
4 large eggs
300 g sugar
250 ml cooking oil (1cup)
120 g cake flour (1cup), sifted
125 ml cocoa powder (1/2 cup), twice sifted
20 ml baking  powder (4tsp)
pinch of salt
310 ml milk
15 ml vanilla essence (1tbsp)

How to:
Heat the oven to 180°C.
Lightly grease a 20cm springform cake tin.
Beat eggs, oil and sugar with an electric mixer until thick and creamy.
Add flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt, milk and vanilla.
Beat for a few more minutes until the batter is smooth.
Pour batter into prepared tin and bake for about 40-50 minutes or until you tester comes out dry and clean.
Cool before removing from pan, and allow to cool completely before sprinkling with icing sugar. (use the sieve for nice even distribution)

This cake is so gorgeous, you can serve it just as, or with whipped cream for dessert.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Consol Solar Jar

I noticed these jars in November last year and have been dying to try one out…

What a brilliant concept! You leave the jar outside (it doesn’t even have to be in direct sunlight), flip the clip to activate the LED lights and voila – light in a jar for 6 hours (with a nifty handle to carry it around or hang it strategically). We can just imagine a dinner party under the trees with the Solar Jars hanging from the branches like fireflies… Or perhaps as décor for the upcoming wedding party J

Designed and developed by Consol’s Ockert van Heerden and John Bexley, this product has been winning awards and getting the thumbs up from practically everyone that has used it. Besides the prettifying-for-parties and back-up light functionality, this type of product could become revolutionary on a continent blessed with plenty of sunlight and let down by terrible infrastructure.

The only thing that I would change: The colour of the light… If Consol could come up with warm yellow LED lights I’d buy a dozen.

You can get yourself one from Consol for R120.00.

Perfect way to light up the bar area for those sundowners!

Fab idea by ELLE!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Beautiful Bushveld

We just spent a glorious weekend in the bush… Hot days, camp fires and G&T’s – bliss!

Steak cooked to perfection in the middle of the bush – thanks Jock!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine’s Day!

How cute are these Heart Toasties we made for Miri? So easy and the prefect finger food to celebrate the day of love ♥

Here’s how:
Using a heart shaped cookie cutter, cut our heart shapes from slices of bread.
Lightly butter/oil both sides and grill in the oven until golden (this takes only moments).
Top each heart a basil leaf.
Place a slice of Chevin (or any creamy cheese) on top of the basil leaf.
Top this with a roasted (or fresh) baby tomato.

Hope you are spreading the love this Valentine’s Day! 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Nigella’s Red Velvet Cupcakes

With Valentine ’s Day around the corner we can’t help but see red, pink and heart shapes everywhere! This recipe by Nigella Lawson (unashamedly copied, because face it, no one describes things quite as well as Nigella can) is the perfect sweet addition to any day of celebration.

PS This is one day where you can be as kitsch as you’d like and get away with it :)

Nigella’s Red Velvet Cupcakes
Makes 24 Cupcakes

You will need

250g plain flour
2 x 15ml tbsp cocoa powder, sifted
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
100g soft unsalted butter
200g caster sugar
1 x heaped 15ml tbsp Christmas-red paste food colouring
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
175ml buttermilk
1 tsp cider vinegar or other vinegar

500g icing sugar (no need to sift if using a processor)
125g cream cheese
125g soft unsalted butter
1 tsp cider vinegar or lemon juice
Red food colouring to make it pink
Sugar Hearts

How to make it
Preheat the oven to 170°C and line the muffin tins with paper cases. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder and bicarb in a bowl. In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar, beating well, and when you have a soft, pale mixture beat in the food colouring and the vanilla.
Into this vividly coloured mixture, still beating, add 1 spoonful of the dried ingredients, then 1 egg, followed by some more dried ingredients, then the other egg, followed by the rest of the dried ingredients.
Finally, beat in the buttermilk and vinegar and divide this extraordinary batter between the 24 cases.
Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, by which time the redcurrant-sorbet-coloured batter will have morphed into a more sombre, but still juicily tinted, sponge.
Leave them to cool on a wire rack and do not ice with the frosting until absolutely cold.

To make the buttery cream-cheese frosting:

You can use all butter rather than half-butter and half-cream cheese for this icing. Equally, decorate as pleases you, too.
Put the icing sugar into a processor and whiz to remove lumps. Add the cream cheese and butter and process.
Pour in the cider vinegar (or lemon juice) and process again to make a smooth icing.
Ice each cupcake, using a teaspoon or small spatula.
Decorate with sugar hearts.

* The cupcakes can be baked 2 days ahead and stored, un-iced, layered with baking parchment in airtight containers. Frosting can be made 1 day ahead: cover with clingfilm and refrigerate; remove from fridge 1-2 hours before needed; beat briefly before using.

A fab Valentine’s themed spread I made for a Girl’s night with Gazpacho, Terrine, 
Pate, Cheeses, Preserves and Nigella’s cupcakes.  

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Year of the Dragon

So the fiancé and I attended the Chinese New Year celebrations in Cyrildene last Saturday… Loud, colourfull, crazy and fabulous! The entire street was closed off to traffic and filled to the brim with tables spilling out of the restaurants, street vendors frying meats on open fires, red lanterns and dragon dancers marching to loud beating drums.

The atmosphere was electric, and we found ourselves surrounded by men in lion suites blessing the stores, exceptionally loud crackers (that are apparently used to expel bad spirits) and a display of stunning fireworks. People mill around the street, some snacking on street food and others dining on elaborate set menus – the smells are intoxicating! We settled on some plastic chairs and watched as the last of the fireworks and lanterns disappeared into the night.

We’ll definitely book a table for ourselves and a group of friends next year – the traditional set menus that include a whole steamed Cantonese fish looked utterly delicious!

PS If you are sensitive to smoke and noise I suggest taking along some ear plugs!