Delicious Crunchy Apple Snacks…

apples
Yesterday was our first taste of summer, I woke up with sunshine streaming through my window and thought about how awesome it feels putting your toes into the warm sand of Camps Bay Beach. What struck me next was the panicky feeling of oh sh*t, summer is coming, bikini time is coming, PUT DOWN THE  DELICIOUS NACHOS!

I am seriously addicted to crunchy things, the biggest offender is those insanely delicious Nacho chips, and fruit chutney Nik Naks, and Sea Salt & Black Pepper kettle chips, the list goes on. I was happily munching on one of these tasty offenders last week when the thought struck me, there is very little healthy food with crunch. Except celery but seriously, no one enjoys eating that. So when the urge for crunch comes along, my natural reaction is to grab the closest chip. This needs to change.

I was making apple pie nougat at the shop last week and I accidentally burnt the hell out of my apple rings, I let them cool before tossing them to avoid melting my dustbin and noticed when I picked them up that they broke with a serious crunch. This had to be explored.
I went home, bought a bag of apple rings, tossed them with a tablespoon of Olive Oil and sprinkled a pinch of Maldon Sea Salt over them. I then proceeded to bake them at 100 degrees for 1,5 hours. I took them out of the oven, let them cool and do you know what I discovered? The crunchiest, most delicious snack in all the land.
Ingredients:
2 packets of Apple Wedges (I use the Pink Lady ones from Woolies)
1,5 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Maldon Sea Salt
Method:
Put all the ingredients into a bowl, toss them about until everything is evenly distributed and bang your apples into the oven at 100 C for about 2 hours. Let them cool completely before you eat them.

* Put the apples into an air-tight container as soon as they have cooled or they will go all chewy (which is also delicious!)

Zucchini Noodle Pickle Extravaganza!

zucchini 1
Today I am bringing you part 2 of my great Pickle extravaganza. These Zucchini Noodle Pickles are super tasty, the dash of turmeric gives them a glorious, bright colour and an interesting flavour that I think you will really enjoy.

They are not just great in salads and on Sandwiches, I often tangle them up with a pile of regular old Zucchini noodles and eat them with a beautifully baked piece of Salmon. Simple and delicious.

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Many of you asked via Instagram/twitter where I got this kick ass little accessory – please click through here  and get yourself one today. I noodle everything and anything that can fit through the top of this badboy, occasionally my finger goes through there too. not kiff.

Ingredients:

1 Kg Zucchini
1 Large Onion
1.5 Cup Spirit vinegar
0. 5 Cup red wine vinegar
0.5 Cup water
1/4 Cup honey or Organic Brown Rice Syrup (click link to buy online)
1tbs coriander seeds
1tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp black pepper corns
1 Pinch celery seeds
4 Bay leaves
3 x 500ml WECK jars or other jars are fine I suppose!

– Start by either Noodling or chopping up your Zucchinis and chucking them into a bowl. Cut your onion into fine rings and add them to the pile. Cover the veg with cold water and put in the freezer for 30 min. (This will help your veggies to maintain their glorious crunch – no one likes a soggy noodle.)

– While your veg is chilling, put the remaining ingredients into a medium sized pot and bring to the boil. Watch this pot like a hawk – mine over flowed everywhere and burnt onto my stove. The smell made me sneeze for about 2 hours * Eyes are watering as I type in memory.*

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– Take your cool veg out of the freezer and drain completely.
– Distribute them evenly amongst your 3 jars (pack them in nice and tight).
– Pour your hot pickling liquid over the Zucchini ribbons until they are completely submerged. Make sure you distribute all the peppercorns, bay leaves etc amongst all the jars so that 1 jar doesn’t have all the pizzazz.
– Put the lids on and LEAVE TO COOL COMPLETELY.  it is so tempting to try them before but you have to wait until all that goodness has seeped in.
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10 Things with: Sarah Graham

sarah-graham
This week on 10 THINGS, we have a chat to the gorgeous Sarah Graham of Bitten TV fame, about doing what you love and Impala Testicles!. Sarah not only has her own, super awesome Cooking show but she is also the Author of the, ‘must have’ local Cook Book – Bitten. When Sarah is not cooking up a storm on set, she is pouring love into her site – afoodieliveshere . Click on through and spend some time pouring over her recipes, there is some serious supper inspiration to jazz up your Monday to Friday offerings!

1. Describe yourself in 10 words – Closet nerd, box-checker, happy heart, family girl, food lover.
2. Every Kitchen should have these basic10 ingredients: Good quality olive oil, butter, cheese, eggs, fresh herbs (preferably in your garden!), a decent assortment of spices, flour, sugar, baking powder, chocolate
3. If you were on Survivor and you could only take 1 thing with, what would it be? why? Salt. It cures, flavours and preserves.rob
4. What was the first dish you cooked for husband, Rob? Did he propose right away?! The why-he-married-me bacon pasta from my book, ‘bitten.’ – no he didn’t propose right away, he took a little more convincing. (click here  for the recipe of this ‘almost Famous’ Pasta)
5. What is the wierdest thing you have ever “bitten” Ooh, I am suddenly feeling like a very unadventurous eater – probably Impala testicles?!
6. Kitchen Aid or Kenwood ? Kenwood, both for reasons of sentimentality and practicality.
7. How did Bitten TV come about? Any tips and tricks for young bucks out there looking to follow your footsteps? I know it might all seem glamorous, but it’s mostly down to a heck of a lot of hard work, and enough love for what I’m doing that it never actually feels like work.
8. The best way to eat bacon is… Fried until perfectly crispy, with sweetcorn fritters on the side
9. When no one is around I like to eat ….. Really boring stuff like tuna and avo on rye crackers
10. What is your favourite recipe in your beautiful new book? Oh goodness that’s so hard, it’s like asking who someone’s favourite child is – for the sake of answering the question I’ll say spicy BBQ pulled pork with red cabbage slaw, but next week the answer could be completely different!

ExpressoShow Recipe: HoneyComb AngelFood Cake

angel_food_cake_1AngelFood Cake has to be one of my favourites. It has a super, crazy light texture (this is what gives this delicate cake its cute name) it also gives you a false sense of security that this cake won’t go straight to your ass. Today I have laden this beauty up with buttercream icing, drizzled it in honey and topped that all of with a bag of Ma Mere Maison Macadamia & Honeycomb brittle- I have really gone to town. That Said, you are welcome to cut the cake in two and simply pack it full of fresh berries, banana pieces, Fresh Mango or whatever you have available. The actual cake is not very sweet at all so it provides quite a rad canvass to really go all out on the wild toppings front. If you want to be completely outrageous, you can cut it while it is still hot and smother the inside with ice cream (don’t be scared to drizzle a little honey in there too) then put the hot top back on. The ice-cream will melt into the cake and turn it into a taste rocket that will send you straight to Heaven.

INGREDIENTS:
1 cup Cake flour
1 1/4 cups castor sugar
a pinch of salt
12 egg whites
1 tsp cream of tar tar
1 tsp vanilla seeds
Pre-heat the oven to 180

METHOD:

  • Sift together the flour, 1/4 cup of sugar and the salt in a big bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites up, once they are foamy, sprinkle in the cream of tar tar (this will stabilise the egg whites and keep them nice and fluffy ). Once you have soft peaks, gradually add in the remaining cup of castor sugar table spoon at a time. Make sure to beat until the sugar has dissolved before adding more. (if you add it all at once, your meringue will become watery and gross) Continue to beat until stiff peaks form then add in the Vanilla Seeds and beat until they are well dispersed.
  • Fold 1/3 of the Meringue into the dry ingredients. Once fully incorporated, fold in the remaining 2/3 and gently fold in until just combined.

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  • Pour the cake batter into a un-greased, 25cm cake tin and bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Take the cake out of the oven and cool, upside down, until totally cool.

While the cake is cooling, make your BUTTERCREAM FROSTING:

INGREDIENTS:
250g softened butter
3-4 cups icing sugar, SIFTED
1 teaspoon vanilla seeds
2 tablespoons honey
1 bag Honeycomb (crushed)

METHOD:

  • Beat the butter in your KitchenAid on High with the whisk attachment. I beat mine for a minimum of 5 minutes until I have a light, fluffy texture. Then, slowly add in the icing sugar until you have a smooth consistency.
  • Beat in the vanilla seeds and the honey and continue to whip until all the ingredients are nicely combined.

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Once the cake is cooled and plated, use a piece of fishing gut to cut the cake into thirds, horizontally. Fill each layer with a generous layer of Buttercream, a drizzle of honey and some crushed HoneyComb.


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Try not to eat it all at once!

ExpressoShow: Chocolate & Sweet Potato Cake Recipe.

Leigh-Anne and I made a seriously delicious Chocolate & Sweet Potato Cake on Expresso Show yesterday morning. This cake is really delicious, the addition of Sweet Potato gives the cake a seriously rich flavour as well as a very moist texture. I have done it in a big cake tin, the cake also works very well as cupcakes so feel free to bake it in any size, or shape you are feeling. Watch the vid above that will show you a step by step guide on making this great cake, otherwise see the recipe below. Either way, I hope you enjoy it.

choc_sweetpotatocake

Ingredients

½ cup coconut or vegetable oil
½ cup sugar
2 eggs
½ cup buttermilk (low fat)
½ tsp vanilla
2/3 cup cooked, mashed and cooled sweet potato
1 ¼ cup cake flour
¼ cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarb
pinch of salt

 

Icing

2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp sour cream
1 ½ cups icing sugar
2 tbsp cocoa powder
a few drops vanilla
Crystallized pecan nuts, to decorate

Method:
1. Begin by pre-heating your oven to 180C. Grease and line a 20cm Cake tin.
2. Put the whisk attachment on your Kitchen-Aid and beat the oil, sugar and eggs together until you have a nice, smooth mixture (be sure to stop and scrape the sides of the bowl down  now and then to make sure all your ingredients are well incorporated), continue beating on a medium speed for about 5 minutes.
3. Mix in half the sweet potato, then half the buttermilk, then the other half sweet potato and the other half buttermilk. Chuck in the Vanilla essence.
4. Sift your dry ingredients together and pour them into the Kitchen Aid bowl. Mix on a slow speed until the dry ingredients are just incorporated. (Don’t forget to scrape down the sides of the bowl)
5. Pour the cake batter into your lined cake tin and bake for approx 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
6. While your scrumptious cake is cooling, make the icing.
7. Using the whisk attachment, beat together the butter and sour cream until you have a light fluffy texture (about 4 minutes). Add the icing sugar and cocoa powder and beat until combined, add your vanilla essence and beat until you have a beautiful, smooth consistency.
8. Once your cake has cooled completely, turn the cake out onto a pretty plate, smother the top with your icing and garnish with candied Pecan Nuts.

World Baking Day

Remember last week I blogged about World Baking Day, and the mysterious Box that I received? Remember, I told you what would come of it all? Well, here we go! Finally my post on World Baking Day is up and as you can see, I pretty much dominated! I decided to spend this glorious day in the kitchen with my younger sister, Georgia. She is only 13 and seems to spend her life at school, so this was a perfect opportunity for us girls to spend some much needed quality time together in the Kitchen. I was asked to bake a Level 45 cake – a glorious, Milk Tart Cake, complete with layers of Milk Tart custard, soft vanilla sponge and a ridiculously fussy chocolate ganache outfit which gave me a whole lot of admin! I think I made things a little harder for myself because Georgia and I each wanted to decorate our own mini cakes, so we made big sponge cakes and then punched out smaller cake disks using a cookie cutter. This made stacking the cakes and applying the ganache very tricky as they were not at all sturdy! Either way, we prevailed (with help from kebab skewers to keep our cakes in an upright position) and the cake was absolutely delish. I do not recommend doing the mini cake version, I spent a lot of the time swearing at my pretty cake while Georgia laughed at how someone who makes a living baking Macarons could not assemble a simple stack of sponge!  In the end, we both came out smiling and covered in Custard, not the worst way to end a great way in the kitchen.
ake brave 2 Below are some piccies of the baking steps and my thoughts on their recipe. If you take anything away from this, let it be the custard, mine barely made it into the cake. You will see their recipe below, I have added my thoughts and tips underneath each step.

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1. Preheat a conventional oven to 160′ C. Line two 20 cm-cake tins with baking paper and spray with non-stick  cooking spray.

2. Assemble your ingredients.

3. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl and add the sugar, softened margarine and eggs. Mix for 30 seconds with an electric mixer on medium speed.

– Tip: Beat your Margarine and sugar together first until you have a light and fluffy texture, then add the eggs, one by one and continue to beat for another minute or so until you have a light, fluffy, smooth mixture. Add the flour and beat until the mixture is smooth. I do’t like to chuck everything in at once as it gives your cake a very stodgy texture.

step 1

4. Add the milk and vanilla essence and beat for another 1 minute and 30 seconds or until the mixture looks light and fluffy.

5. Spoon equal amounts of batter into the lined cake tins and bake for about 50 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

step 2

6. While the cake is baking, make the ‘milk tart’ filling and ganache coating.

7. To make the ‘milk tart’ filling, heat together the milk, margarine and condensed milk in a pot on the stove at medium heat until the margarine has melted.

8. Whisk the egg, cornflour and vanilla essence in a bowl and while whisking, pour some of the heated milk mixture onto the egg mixture.

9. Pour the milk and egg mixture back into the pot and heat it on medium heat on the stove while stirring continuously for about 3 minutes, or until the mixture thickens.
– Tip: Use a whisk to stir the pot, as the mixture will thicken up pretty quickly and the whisk will help with avoiding lumpy custard.

10. As soon as the mixture starts to boil, remove from the heat.

11. Pour the thickened mixture into a bowl, place cling wrap over the surface to prevent a skin forming and place it in the refrigerator until cool, preferably overnight.

12. To make the ganache coating, gently heat the cream with the cinnamon stick in a pot on the stove. Bring the cream to just below boiling point.

13. Remove the pot from the heat and leave the cream to cool for the cinnamon stick to infuse the cream with its subtle flavour.

14. Place the chopped chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl.

15. Remove the cinnamon stick from the cream and pour the cream over the chopped chocolate.

16. Heat the chocolate and cream mixture in a microwave oven at 20% power or at the Defrost setting. Stir at 2-minute intervals until the mixture is melted and smooth.

17. Leave the ganache in the refrigerator to set for a few hours or overnight.

18. When the cakes have finished baking, leave them in the tins, preferably overnight.

19. Turn the cakes out of the tins and tear off the baking paper.

20. Divide each cake into two layers. Sewing thread or unflavoured dental floss does an excellent job of slicing through a cake neatly.

21. Spread three of the layers with ‘milk tart’ filling; sprinkle powdered cinnamon between the layers and stack the layers on top of one another.

22. Melt the ganache coating in a microwave oven at 20% power or on the Defrost setting until it has the consistency of peanut butter and cover the top and sides of the cake with a thin layer of ganache coating.

23. Measure the height and circumference of the cake and cut a piece of greaseproof paper to this size.

24. Pour 50 g melted chocolate into a zip-lock bag, snip off a small piece at one corner of the bag to make a piping bag and pipe swirls on the greaseproof paper.

25. Before the chocolate sets, lift the paper off your workbench and fold it around the cake with the decorations on the inside.

26. Peel the paper off the chocolate to reveal a lace pattern on the cake.

27. Decorate the top of the cake with powdered cinnamon, cinnamon sticks or chocolate curls.

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A huge thank you should be given to Stork for putting together such a wonderful challenge. Your Mystery Boxes were beautiful and so thoughtfully packed.  You certainly taught me a thing or two, but most of all, you gave me a wonderful day in the Kitchen with my little sister, something that does not happen very often. Next year I encourage everyone to try and get involved in World Baking Day, it really is pretty rad.