New adventure.

Last year I embarked on the adventure of being a teacher.  I chose to study teaching once I had finished all my other studying so that I had something to fall back on, especially when I moved back to South Africa.  Don’t get me wrong… I like kids.  I just didn’t enjoy being a teacher.  Especially when my overwhelming passion for baking and cooking kept tugging at my heart.

So at the end of the year, I decided to throw caution to the wind / put my neck on the line / dip my baby toe in ice-cold water / drive without a seatbelt (not really, I never set foot in a car without putting on my seatbelt) / skydive without a parachute…. Can you get the sense that I’m being a drama queen? Well, in a nutshell – I left teaching, packed up my stuff and moved away from the nest to pursue my passion of cooking.  A passion that is now slowly being fed in the form of my little business called…wait for it…dollopedgoodies.  Albeit incredibly slow now while I build up clientele there is still a sense of excitement (and absolute fear) for my dollopedgoodies future.

Now that my heart is once again pumping vanilla essence through my veins, I vow to you all to keep my blog updated once again.  I shall not disappear off the face of the planet again.  I shall not bake and cook awesome things without telling you about them.  I shall not deprive you of my awesome skills.  And, I shall not let my ego get in the way (jokes).

I SHALL inform you of my price list however.  It’s just freezer meals at the moment and I do love to bake so any baking requests are very welcome.

Price list

Does your chicken need a makeover?

Tired of the bog standard roast chicken? Used to the same roasty herb flavour? Lack inspiration to give your chicken the va-va-voom?

Then look no further…

In a bowl, mix:

1 Tbsp Soy Sauce (whichever you have, chickens ain’t fussy)

2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar

1 Tbsp Honey

2 Tbsp lemon juice

Zest of 1 lemon

1 Tbsp Ginger, finely chopped

1 tsp Chilli Flakes

1/2 tsp garlic salt

1 Tbsp sesame seeds

Then place a relatively big Chicken, best to use organic or free range, in a roasting pan.  Taste the marinade first and check the balance of flavours – you’ll want to be able to taste salty, sweet, sour and spicy.  Add accordingly to achieve the balance.  Pour the marinade ovethe chicken and allow to marinade for at least 2 hours. I kept dousing the chicken with the marinade.  

Cover with foil and place in the oven at 180 and roast for 45 minutes – remove the foil and return to the oven for another 45 minutes.  Cooking times will vary according to the size of the chicken so make sure you check it’s cooked by poking a knife into the thigh meat (inner thigh so to speak) if it giggles then it’s not cooked.  Jokes, if no blood trickles out then the bird is done!

Serve with chopped spring onions or coriander sprinkled over the chicken.  Accompaniments could include steamed rice or egg fried rice.  

ENJOY!

Easy-peasy pork belly slices

If you’ve read majority of my posts and know me in person then you will know that I have a somewhat tender, mouth-drooling soft spot for pork belly.

I love shoving a whole belly (not my own) into the oven and leaving it to slowly roast for hours on end.  While I can’t really stomach rich food this is my most favourite treat.

Before I had even stepped off the plane from London I was already requesting a braai (bbq) so that we could have rashers (which in SA, is thinly sliced pork belly that crisp up a treat on the fire).  Once I had gobbled those up I was no sooner requesting a slow-roasted pork belly.

A few weeks ago, my boxes from the UK arrived and in one of them was my copy of “Nigellissima” which I got when THIS HAPPENED.  Yup! Browsing through it the other day, I eyed out the recipe for Pork Belly slices with Chilli & Fennel Seeds and totally got inspired to do my own version as I am not a great lover of fennel.

Our local supermarket sells thickly sliced rashers that were perfect for this recipe.  We couldn’t be bothered to go to our local butcher etc etc etc.  But you could go down to your butcher and get him to slice up some pork belly for you.

So here’s what you do…

Sam’s Crispy Pork Belly Slices 

10-12 thickly sliced pork belly (rashers) —> 1cm-1.5cm thick

60ml olive oil

1 tsp smoked paprika

1.5 tsp chicken spice (available in SA supermarkets, not so sure about UK! Sorry)

1 tsp garlic salt

1 tsp dried herbs (don’t use fresh as they will burn)

1/2tsp chilli flakes

2 TBsp red wine

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180.  Mix all the ingredients together and dip both sides of the pork belly slices into the marinade.  Place in a deep roasting tray making sure that each piece overlaps leaving the rind at the uppermost edge.  Nigella refers to this layout as “fallen dominoes”, if that makes more sense.

Cook for about 1.5 – 2 hours, cranking up the oven to 200 in the last 30 minutes to ensure some crispy rind for you!

Serve with baked potatoes/mash/apple & fennel salad/normal green salad/whatever you please 🙂

Enjoy – I was too busy enjoying that I didn’t take a photo.  Yip, fail! They were scrummy though…

Pumpkin, pecan and cinnamon buns

Continuing with the theme of pumpkin and spices, here’s the next instalment.

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Yesterday, I proved myself (once again) as the best sister/daughter. IN. THE. WORLD.

I was up early, as per usual because when the sun starts rising earlier I find it a sacrilege to be lying in bed when I spent so many winter mornings in the UK not wanting to get out of bed and wishing for warmer weather. Now I am being blessed with sunshine.

I set to making the pumpkin bread dough while a rather hilarious man was fixing our kitchen sink tap. Doing my thang and kneading away, his cellphone began to ring to which he exclaimed “hmmm, how did they know I was here?”.

I laughed. And laughed. I’m still laughing.

It clearly doesn’t take much to amuse me.

Once the buns were baked and slightly cool, I hopped in my zooty little car and sped down to the school to deliver said warm buns to my sister, mother and our special friend to which she exclaimed “this is the best thing that’s happened to me all day”.

Yes, folks. That’s me. Putting smiles on people’s dials and lighting up the world with one act of kindness at a time.

Jokes.

This is my next act of kindness – sharing the recipe with you!

Pumpkin, pecan & cinnamon buns

Ingredients:

2 cups milk,

2 tbsp yeast

1/2 cup solid packed pumpkin puree

1/2 tsp sugar

1/4 cup warm water

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup melted butter

2 tsp salt

1 egg

6-7 cups flour

Filling:

1/4 cup pumpkin puree

cinnamon sugar

handful of chopped pecans

Method:

Bring the milk to a boil in a pot, stirring constantly. Immediately remove from the heat and add the pumpkin. Stir to combine and allow to cool until just warm. While milk is cooling, dissolve the yeast and sugar in warm water.

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Combine all the ingredients. The dough should be soft and slightly sticky so its best to use an electric mixer with a dough hook attachment. Clean hands allow for answering of phonecalls, clapping hands and scratching…

Knead for about 5 minutes using the mixer or if you’re kneading by hand then 10 minutes should do it! Allow the dough to double in size, then punch down and repeat. The recipe said to repeat twice more, but I only did it once as I felt the dough was puffy enough.

Switch the oven on to 180 before doing the next step.

Using a rolling pin, roll dough into a rectangle about 1.5cm thick. Spread generously with the pumpkin puree and cinnamon sugar. Starting from the long side, roll the dough up into a cylinder/sausage/swiss roll. Slice into 12 rolls and place on a greased baking sheet (I lined with parchment paper) and allow to prove for a couple of minutes. I used my discretion and realised these bad boys were going to be huge so after 5 minutes I popped them into the oven after brushing with beaten egg and sprinkling the pecans over the top.

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Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden and tasty-looking. The centre of the bun should bounce back when you lightly push it. Don’t go stabbing your finger into the bun. 1. It’s hot. 2. That’s stupid.

Allow to cool on a cooling rack then drizzle with water icing (100g icing sugar & 1 tbsp water) and consume.

It’s a pleasure.

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NOW, if you aren’t lucky enough to have tinned pumpkin puree like me then this is what you do:

  • If you’re in Pom-land, then pop down to your local Sainsbury’s etc and hunt it down.  That’s where we found it.
  • If you’re not in Pom-land, then boil up some pumpkin until cooked.  Drain in a colander and place it back in the pot and return it to the stove on a low heat.  Cook until most of the moisture has disappeared.  It’s kinda the same thing and in a recipe like this, it shouldn’t really make much difference as the pumpkin flavour is only subtle.

 

 

Fall in a coffee cup

We’re gearing up for Summer down here in the South but I can’t stop thinking about the top half of our planet who are sipping on Pumpkin Spice Latte’s from Starbucks, munching all things cinnamony and nutty while the leaves turn different shades of ambers, golds, yellows and oranges.

Two years ago, almost to the day, Big Sister Bear and I were in the States.  Yip, read about it here on my old blog – the one I wrote when I lived on the island.  We spent NINE glorious days in New York City wandering around and drinking lots of coffee from Starbucks.  I drank A LOT of Pumpkin Spice Latte’s and announced “I could move here just for these latte’s” often.  Word.

I googled this

I frikking love this!

In December when the Bears came to visit me in England we bought a tin of pumpkin puree for the sole purpose of making something along the lines of Fall/Autumn flavours.  Pumpkin Pie.  Pumpkin Spice Latte’s.  Pumpkin Pecan Buns (watch this space!).  Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes.  We’re a little bit on the freak side when it comes to pumpkins, spice, latte’s.

In my last Fall season in the UK, Starbucks over there introduced Pumpkin Spice Latte’s.  But.

Not nearly as good as the American version.  And probably not nearly as life-threatening/cholestrol-threatening/hip-threatening/doublechin-threatening/extra-butt-threatening.  Do you get my point?

Anyway, over the next couple of days I thought I would give you all some Fall inspiration with a couple of spicey, pumpkin, put-on-pounds recipes.  I know us Southern Hemispherites are gearing up for some shisa-kakhulu (VELLY HOT!) weather but hey.

First things first – Pumpkin Spice Latte

(taken from Mama Natural with a little bit of tweaking)

Ingredients:

  • 1 shot of espresso or 4 oz. of very strong coffee
  • 3/4 cup of full cream milk
  • 3 TB pumpkin puree
  • 1 TB of maple syrup
  • 5 drops of stevia (or you can add another 1/2 TB of maple syrup)
  • 1/8 tsp. of pumpkin pie spice (do not deviate!)
  • 1/8 tsp. of vanilla extract or vanilla essence if you’re on a budget

You can make your own pumpkin pie spice by mixing:

5 tsp cinnamon, 3.5 tsp ginger/nutmeg, 1 tsp clove,  0.5 tsp cardamom

Method:

If you have a coffee machine, then you’re a hero with this recipe. You can just whip out your snazzy machine, make-a-da-espresso and then later you can frothy-zi-milk.  See, hero.

Brew the coffee & add the pumpkin, spice mix, vanilla and maple syrup.  Pour into a blender and blitz with the vanilla extract and maple syrup.

Heat the milk and stevia/maple syrup until simmering.  Froth with one of those frother gadgets or if you have a heatproof blender then blitz in that until the milk is frothy or if you’re a hero like we established earlier then you can just do your thing with that bad boy machine.

Let the frothy milk stand for a bit.  Pour it into your coffee and just when you get about 1.5cm from the rim of your mug then you can use a spoon to capture the foam to dollop on top of your coff-coff.  Or should I say PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE!! Yeahhhhhh! Oh and did you see what I snuck in there? Dollop? Yip.

Serve in something creative.  Like a glass jar.  Not a pumpkin.  That would just taste weird.  And you’d probably turn into a pumpkin.  Just a warning…

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Pic taken from Mama Natural’s website – mamanatural.com

Stay tuned on the blog this week – I am in the process of making pumpkin, cinnamon and pecan buns.  They’re getting fat as we speak.  And we’ll be getting fat as we munch.

Actually not really hey.  Winning!

Impulse by the Sea

Roll me in a roti and stuff me with sambals.

On Sunday we went for lunch at a little Indian gem (or should I say chilli-pip?) in Tinley Manor Beach.  Impulse by the Sea smacked you in the face with authentic Indian decor, comfy chairs, lots of curries on the menu, fantastic hip-bopping music and the sweetest, most delightful waiter named Teddy.

Who even offered to give me the music.  But alas, I did not have my flashstick on me.  I cried.

Let me set the scene for you, as a golden oldie music lover I was in heaven, the wine is poured (Nederburg Sav Blanc with lotsa ice), your menus are opened and you are eye-boggling over the curries – albeit simple curries.  You won’t find the likes of Massaman, Panang, Madras or Tikka.  They’ve gone to another curry party.  Finger pointing at various options and completely engrossed in what your tummy would like to consume you find yourself swaying your shoulders and tapping your foot along to “Black Velveteen” and “Sugar, Sugar”.  Or, if you’re anything like me, you’ll be singing away.

Yip, I thought so too.

Teddy was fantastic.  He told us about what they do at Impulse by the Sea and promptly offered us some starters of homemade mince or potato samoosas or another option of “half-moons” filled with jalapeno & cheese or chicken.  Yeah dudes.  The four of us ordered six potato and six mince samoosas.  I would’ve fancied those half-moon jalapeno thingies but let’s not be greedy.

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The lamb curry

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Them poppadoms

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My prawn curry – ooo lala!

Mama Bear and I opted for Prawn Curry while the other two chose Lamb Curry.  The prawns that arrived were the obese kids at the party.  Plump and soooooo yummy that you wish they weren’t cholesterol nuggets.  But we ate them anyway.  Despite having a mini coughing fit from the heat of the curry at first, it was delicious.  I blame my sore throat for that not necessarily my inability to devour food-so-hot-your-lips-start-singing-the-Indian-National-Anthem.

I always taste other people’s food so OF COURSE I tasted the Lamb Curry too.  It was pretty good.  The poppadoms reminded me of prawn crackers and not the usual ones you make at home or buy ready-made in the land of the English.  Obviously, they didn’t taste like prawn crackers.  Don’t be silly.

One thing I truly loved were the divine copper dishes that our curries were served in.  Elevated on a little “chafing dish” type vibey setup they kept our curries super warm.  As if they needed more heat.  Once I had coughed and died, I found about 6 half chillies floating around my curry sauce.  Busted!

Sambals came along to the party too.  Chillies promptly removed by the sister, they still didn’t touch my plate.  I don’t do raw onion even if it is in sambals.  Ain’t nobody got time for onion breath! So maybe I should stuff myself with something else.  Coriander.  I love me some coriander.

So if you’re down on the coast and find yourself in need of some yummy-yummy-tummy-rumbling curry then take yourself to Impulse by the Sea.  Take a look at their menu.  Let’s hope you get Teddy as your waiter.

Anddddd, if I have completely tortured you by talking about curry then here’s a recipe for one.  I don’t have a set recipe I use, I adapt the “throw it in and see how it goes” approach.  But give this recipe a try and let me know how it turns out.

But first, all authentic Indian curries require the spice mix called Garam Masala as their base.  The mix adds a depth and warmth to the overall flavour of the curry.  Here’s a recipe I took from the GoodFood Magazine website :

Garam Masala

  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin seed
  • 2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon or ½ cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp cardamom seeds (seeds from about 20 pods)
  • 1 tsp fennel seed
  • ½ tsp whole cloves
  • 4 dried bay leaves

Method

  1. Toast the whole spices in a small pan until they are aromatic and have turned a shade or two darker. Don’t be tempted to skip this stage, as it really enhances the flavours.
  2. Tip into a spice grinder (or use a pestle and mortar), then add the ready-ground spices and dried herbs if required, and crush to a fine powder. Store in a sealed jar for up to six months.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, June 2013

And now for the Prawn Curry recipe, also a la GoodFood.

Prawn & Tomato Curry 

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • large piece ginger, crushed
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ½ red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp golden caster sugar
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp garam masala (aren’t you chuffed I gave you a recipe – don’t be lazy & buy!)
  • 2 tsp malt vinegar
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 400g raw king prawns
  • small bunch coriander, chopped
  • basmati rice, yoghurt, mango chutney and Carrot & cumin salad, to serve

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a deep-sided frying pan and cook the onion for 8-10 mins until it starts to turn golden. Add the ginger, garlic and chilli and cook for 1-2 mins. Stir in the sugar and spices for 1 min, then splash in the vinegar and tomatoes. Season with salt and simmer for 5 mins, stirring, until the sauce thickens.
  2. Stir in the prawns, reduce the heat and cook for 8-10 mins until cooked through – if the sauce gets really thick, add a splash of water. Remove from the heat, stir though most of the coriander. Serve straight from the dish scattered with the remaining coriander and the rice, yogurt, chutney and salad in separate bowls.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, April 2010

One-pan prawn & tomato curry

Taken from the GoodFood website

YUM YUM YUM! Please enjoy and let me know how you get on little Indian chefs.  I think I’ll be making this myself… once I need a curry fix again!