Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bottom Sauce Chocolate Cups

What is a meal without a dessert ? Yeah, I suppose you will survive .. I try to make a dessert at least every second day, although it seems a nice something sweet, should be eaten every day.

Not good for the waistline, though  ;-) . The other night Cheri told me I have to stop now, it's not good for her figure. Right, but I'm not forcing them to have some, but of course nobody declines !

These Chocolate cups are dangerously very good. The sauce are poured over the batter, but once out of the oven you get this thick, sweet, chocolate sauce at the bottom.

I serve them with unsweetened Whipped cream because the pudding is sweet, but the sauce is unbelievably nice and sweet. These delicious desserts can be served any time of the year, and just plain Vanilla ice cream is a great topping as well.

I tried to get a good photo showing the sauce at the bottom - the ramekin on the right which I took a scoop out, came out best. I used standard size ramekins and got 4 servings from this recipe, but it can also be baked in a larger dish. (Your choice)

Here's the recipe:

Bottom Sauce Chocolate Cups:

Recipe used from this cookbook: Gesinskos - by Christelle Erasmus (one of our best Cookbook authors). If you can get any of her books - grab them - they're all awesome!

60ml Margarine, melted
175ml Sugar
1 Egg, whisked
5ml Vanilla
250ml (1 cup) Cake Flour
20ml Cocoa
2ml Salt
10ml Baking Powder
175ml Full cream Milk

300ml Boiling Water
250ml Brown Sugar
25ml Cocoa

1.) Pre-heat the oven to 160 deg C (325 deg F)
2.) Beat the Margarine and the Sugar together in a medium bowl. Add the Egg and Vanilla and mix well to combine.
3.) Sift together the Cake Flour, Cocoa, Salt and Baking Powder. 
4.) Add half of the Flour mixture and half the Milk to the Sugar mixture. Stir to mix and repeat with the leftover Flour and Milk.
5.) Pour batter into a lightly greased/sprayed dish or ramekins.
6.) In a saucepan, boil the Water, Brown sugar and Cocoa for a few minutes - Pour the sauce gently over the batter - do not mix, but it's not a train-smash if some of the sauce leak into the batter.
7.) Bake 25 - 30 minutes.

Serve immediately with cream or ice-cream.

This is a chocolate lover's dream dessert - hope you will try it (and enjoy! )



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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Creamy Cheese Mac & Bacon

Every family has their favorite Macaroni & Cheese recipe. Some with meat, some without ... we love our meat, and a main meal, without meat, just would not work for us.

I've made this recipe for years and made no changes, ever ! Normally, I like to experiment, but according to the familia it's non-negotiable on this recipe .. 

It is a very rich meal and we have this on it's own or maybe with a light salad. This is also Dimitri's favorite and whenever he's asked to decide about dinner .. well, I just told you it's his favorite, so you know what his answer will be.

Here we go;

Creamy Cheese Mac & Bacon

3/4 bag (of 500g) Macaroni
250g Bacon bits (or use whatever you prefer)
1 Medium Onion, chopped finely
90ml Butter or Margarine
90ml Flour
750ml Full cream Milk
3 cups Cheddar, grated

1.) Boil the Macaroni in salted water until al dente
2.) Meanwhile fry the Bacon in a pan (if Bits are used, no oil is needed - if you use another type, just fry as you normally will, then chop into bite-sized pieces) Remove from pan and keep warm.
3.) Use the same pan as which the bacon was fried in and saute the Onion until soft and light brown. Add to the bacon.
4.) By now the Macaroni should almost be done - Use a 1 liter microwave container (I use a glass measuring jug) - melt the Butter/margarine in the microwave. Add the flour and stir well until a paste is formed.
5.) Add the Milk little by little, stir and scrape the bottom and sides to make sure all the butter, flour and milk are combined. Microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes, stir, make sure there are no lumps, repeat this same method twice more.  Then, microwave, 1 minute at a time, stirring after every minute until you are satisfied with the thickness of the sauce. (6 - 8 minutes)
6.) Add the Cheese in 3 batches to the sauce, stirring until cheese has melted after each addition.
7.) Drain the Macaroni and place in a large mixing bowl, add the Bacon & Onion, mix until combined.
8.) Stir in the Cheese-sauce,( place into a serving dish - if desired) and serve immediately.

This is a good one, people, do try it - you won't regret it !

Ciao till next time,


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Monday, May 28, 2012

Avocado, Cherry Tomato & Corn Salad

Avocado Corn and Tomato Salad
(Updated photo)

We braai (BBQ) a lot - I mean, who watches a Rugby match without the grill on?  Speaking of Rugby, I am a enormous gigantic HUGE fan of the Blue Bulls.  Always have been, and always will be .. got that?? ALWAYS!

Now in our house it's a bit complicated - everyone has a different team we support .. yeah, it can get serious on a game day ... ME : Blue Bulls      ROY : Sharks      DIMITRI : Lions/Hurricanes       CHERI : Stormers  

Right, but we all agree - Rugby & a Braai goes hand in hand.  No matter the weather...

Avocado, Cherry Tomato & Corn Salad


1 cup Frozen Corn
1 cup Halved Cherry Tomatoes (I like Italian, nice and sweet)
1/2 Onion, thinly sliced
1 Large Avocado, cubed into bite-sized pieces, sprinkled very lightly with lemon juice, to avoid discoloration


1 TB White Vinegar
1/2 t Dijon Mustard
30ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Pinch Salt
Pinch Black Pepper, freshly ground

1.) Boil the Frozen Corn for 7 - 10 minutes, drain and let it cool completely (If you're in a hurry, keep it in the colander under running cold water for a minute) 
2.) Place all the Salad Goodies in a salad bowl and mix gently
3.) Mix together all the ingredients for the Vinaigrette and drizzle over the Salad - mix slightly
Keep in the fridge till ready to serve. 

This recipe can easily be doubled/tripled.

Avocado Corn and Tomato Salad
(Updated Photo)
 Hope you'll try this quick and delicious Avocado, Cherry Tomato & Corn Salad soon!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Easy Yoghurt-sicles

This is something which, when you see it, it's like " .. why didn't I think of that .." !

I Got this idea, a couple of weeks ago, from Pinterest (of course..) and knew I have to try it and see if it really works, or will it be a watery, icy business - you know what I mean...

I used the "sticks" from my basic Popsicle maker - top right (but the wooden sticks will work just as well) - just pushed it right through the foil cover of the yoghurt cups. Popped it into the freezer compartment overnight and had one for breakfast the next morning.

When I bought the yoghurt, I specially wanted to test the creamy flavored ones. Well, the creamy taste was still there, no watery icy-ness, and I liked it even better than the standard yoghurt. It did not melt at all whilst eating, as is normally the case with most popsicles.

Point is: it was a great pin - glad I tried it - will definitely freeze some more!

Want to know what happened on the dining room table??  My little Chorkie girl, Chichi ! I was sitting at the top-end of the table busy with a crafty mess. (Post will follow once it's a craft again and not a mess).

Anyhow, I moved my very tall wineglass center piece to the one corner to have some more space to work with "the mess". Chichi decided to jump onto the chair and the table, she must've been curious about what I was doing - next moment - CRASH!!!! I nearly, you can guess what, myself, used some rather strong words .. but was out of my chair so quickly as Chichi was now on the floor, which was littered with shards of glass, picked her up and fortunately she was fine (just shaken).

I will not replace this particular type of center piece again as I already had to replace it after Roy and my son's friend, Jacobus broke the first one. Must be a sign - I. can. not. have. a. tall. wineglass. with. red pebbles(to resemble wine).in. my. house.

Now the BIG NEWS for today

We have a new PUPPY - a very cute Jack Russell.  He does not really have a name yet (T-Rex is an option). Dimitri is supposed to name him, we'll wait and see ... Chichi was very lonely after Peki and Demon died, and as she is still a puppy herself, the other 3 dogs are too old to play with her. So yeah, I thought it a good idea to get no-name-yet a new puppy.

In the photo top right, the puppy is sleeping next to me, Chichi, as you can see is not happy at all. This was on the first day - Second day, and they're already best friends!!!!!! The pic at the bottom right .. Dimitri is spoiling "puppy" with an empty (but still lickable.. haha) cup of vanilla custard. I know, I know, puppies are not supposed to get even a lick of that, but really...

The bigger photo: Puppy in the other dogs's foodbowl - oh my word, we forgot to hide it from him on the first day! He just got right into the bowl and started his self-found lunch - lucky for his little stomach and the fact that we caught him so quickly - he is okay and I gave him his own puppy food.

I'll be busy for a couple of days with "the mess" which I hope will actually turn out to be awesome nice and then do a post on that, but do not hold your breath!

Bye Bye for now (Almost midnight and Chichi is begging me to go to bed)

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Split Pea and Ground Beef Soup (Slow-Cooker)

This is what it looked like this morning when I opened my door - cold and really miserable, ugghh (sigh)

And look at the tree .. so bare .. no leaves. Winter is really here .. duh, Linda, Autumn ends in 9 days!

Most people, I'm one of them, complain during Summer "'s too hot.." and "..I can't stand this heat any longer.." . 

Then of course, we wish for Winter ".. because you can layer.." . Nonsense, no matter how many layers of clothes we put on .. it's still COLD ! And guess what?? We wish for Summer ... that's life.

Today is also my daughter's, Cheri, first day at a real job .. she matriculated last year, but wants to work while studying.  I felt so bad for her this morning, I mean, really, first day at work and the weather is like this! But as she has a awesome good Mom, she was taught to layer.

Right, just to be fair, I felt bad for my son, Dimitri, as well. ( just in case he reads this post ..) He left an hour earlier than his sister. Even though they are no longer little kids, Mommy still wants to keep them warm and close .. don't we all? 

On  a day like today, soup is a good, comforting kinda thing to have. My granny used to make us some Split Pea Soup - when it was cold or we were ill. I have fond memories of curling up somewhere with a good book and Gran would make this soup .. now this was when I was still in primary school (just mentioning "primary school" to make a point - even as a kid I loved this green soup). Why don't kids like green stuff anyway? Dimitri hates anything green, always had .. but not this Split Pea Soup.

Split Pea Soup with Minced Meat-Slow Cooker

500g Split Peas (found with the Lentils, Beans in the supermarket)
3 Medium Onions, chopped 
3 liters Cold Water (a little less will be needed) *
4 Medium Potatoes
250 - 300g Extra Lean Minced Beef
Salt & Pepper

1.) Evening before: Rinse the Split peas in a colander under running cold water.
2.) Place the Split peas in the slow cooker (I use my smaller, 3 liter, cooker for this recipe).
3.) Add the chopped Onions to the Split peas and top-up with the Cold water, leaving approximately a 2.5cm (1 inch) gap from the top *
4.) Set your cooker on high and let it do it's magic while you go to bed.
5.) Next morning: you will wake-up to a wonderful smell, .. Peel the Potatoes and cut into cubes - add to the cooker together with the Minced beef. 
6.) Stir/mix all very well - the Split peas will be quite thick by now - break-up any lumps of meat, if any.
7.) Set slow cooker to low if you're having it for dinner or leave on high if having it between 12 and 2 for lunch. Now, go to work, do some shopping or whatever - it needs no more attention until just before serving.
8.) A few minutes before serving: Use a potato masher and mash everything, it will be very soft, so no heavy lifting needed. It is a thick soup. Season with Salt & Pepper (start slowly, taste and adjust to your preference)

Serve and Enjoy with fresh bread.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

90 Minute Sweet Party Platter

90 Minute Sweet Party Platter ~ 6 Different flavors !

Ready-made shells with the following fillings:

1.) Caramel Condensed Milk with coconut and cherry toppings
2.) Dark Chocolate Mousse with whipped cream
3.) Peppermint Crisp
4.) White Chocolate Mousse with drizzled dark chocolate and sliced strawberries
5.) Lemon Meringues - very zesty
6.) Milktart (no-bake) with cinnamon topping

We have a baking supply store not even 5 minutes away. Normally I like to make my own pastries/shells, but now and then I need to have some snacks ready in a flash. That's where this store comes in so handy, they get freshly baked shells (about an inch in diameter), sold in packets of 100, regularly.

What's so great about these shells?,  they can be frozen and when needed, you need only take them from the freezer and thaw at room temperature for an hour or two. The freshness is still there, as long as you've put them in the freezer as soon as possible after purchase. I usually do not freeze them, because I know I'll use most of these little gems on the same day.

Some of the fillings I've used for years in larger tarts with proper crusts and the works, but as you'll see I cheated used a few short-cuts as well - that is the point for today's post. Quick, easy and awesome very tasty.

Recipes for the fillings:

Caramel Condensed Milk with Coconut or Cherry Topping (15 filled shells)

3/4 can (of 397g) Caramel Condensed Milk
Red Cherries and/or Coconut
15 Ready-made shells

1.) Pour the Caramel condensed milk into a small bowl and just mix slightly with a fork until smooth.
2.) Fill the shells either by using a piping bag or a teaspoon
3.) Top with Cherries or Coconut and place in the fridge till ready to serve!
(Agreed.. this was a no-brainer, but an extra idea for a nice mixed platter)

Dark Chocolate Mousse with Whipped Cream (10 filled shells)

1/4 cup (60ml) Full Cream Milk
12.5g Dark Chocolate (chips or any easy melting kind)
1 t (5ml) Cocoa
1 Egg, separated
25 ml Sugar
1/2 t Unflavored Gelatin
12.5 ml Cold Water
2 Drops of Vanilla Essence
30 ml Fresh Cream, Whipped
10 Ready-made shells

1.) Pour the Milk, Dark chocolate chips and Cocoa into a small saucepan - Heat, while stirring continuously, till the chocolate is melted.
2.) Whisk the Egg yellow in a small bowl - From the chocolate mixture, add spoon by spoon to the egg, ensuring the egg heats slowly - Stir the egg mixture into the chocolate mixture in the saucepan, stirring all the time (about 2 minutes), until the mixture has thickened. Do not boil the mixture. Remove from heat.
3.) Sprinkle the Gelatin over the cold water, wait till softened, 1 - 2 minutes. Add the Gelatin to the Milk mixture, stir until Gelatin is dissolved. Now add the Vanilla and mix.
4.) Fill the shells with a teaspoon - Whisk the Egg white until stiff, fold he Whipped cream in and decorate. Place in the fridge till set (5 - 10 minutes) or till ready to serve
(This mousse sets fairly quickly as it is only a small amount per shell, therefore you need only wait a minute or two before decorating with the Whipped cream)

Peppermint Crisp Filling (15 filled shells)

1/2 cup (125ml) Fresh Cream
1/4 can (of 397g) Caramel Condensed Milk
Small Peppermint Crisp Bar
15 Ready-made Shells

1.) Beat the Fresh cream until stiff. Fold in the Caramel Condensed Milk.
2.) Fill the shells (teaspoon works best)
3.) Grate the Peppermint Crisp and sprinkle over the mixture - Refrigerate (10 - 15 minutes) or until ready to serve.

White Chocolate Mousse drizzled with Dark Chocolate and sliced Strawberries (15 filled shells)

1/2 box (of 150g) Moirs White Chocolate Mousse
100 ml Full Cream Milk
25g Dark Chocolate (chips or easy melting)
1 - 2 Fresh Strawberries, sliced
15 Ready-made Shells

1.) Pour the Mousse into a medium bowl - Add the Milk and beat on low for 30 seconds. Scrape the sides and bottom and beat on high for another 2 minutes.
2.) Fill the shells (teaspoon works well, but you can use a piping bag)
3.) Melt the Dark chocolate (use your own preferred way - I use the microwave, 30 seconds, stir, and another 30 seconds, should be smooth and runny) - Drizzle over the Mousse and decorate with sliced Strawberries. Refrigerate until ready to serve - will set in 3 - 5 minutes.

Lemon Meringues (filled 10 shells)

1/4 can (of 397g) Sweetened Condensed Milk
30 - 40 ml Lemon Juice (according to your preference, I like real zesty, so I used 40ml)
Tiny pinch Salt
1 Egg, separated
Tiny pinch Cream of Tartar
20 ml Caster Sugar
10 Ready-made Shells

1.) Pre-heat your oven to 180 deg C (350 deg F).
2.) Beat the Condensed Milk, Lemon juice and Salt together with the Egg yolk and fill the shells, almost to the top.
3.) Using clean beaters, beat the Egg white and the Cream of tartar until stiff. Add the Caster sugar slowly while beating. Spoon or pipe the meringue mixture over the filling.
4.) Bake 10 - 15 minutes or until light brown. Remove from oven and cool on wire-rack.
Refrigerate until ready to serve or it can be served as soon as cool.

Milktarts (no-bake) with Cinnamon Topping (filled 15 shells)

1/4 can (of 397g) Sweetened Condensed Milk
160 ml  +  40 ml Full Cream Milk
4 t (20ml) Cornflour
Tiny pinch Salt
1 Egg, beaten in a small bowl
2 Drops Vanilla Essence
1 1/2 t  Butter or Margarine
15 Ready-made Shells

1.) Stir the Condensed milk and 160ml Milk in a saucepan over low heat - bring to simmer.
2.) Mix the 40ml Milk with the Cornflour and add to the simmering Condensed milk mixture. Stir continuously until thick. Remove from the heat.
3.) Add spoonfuls of the mixture to the beaten egg to increase heat in the egg slowly.
4.) Pour the Egg mixture to the thickened Milk mixture, whilst stirring all the time. Return to heat and cook slowly until it resembles a thick custard. (3 - 5 minutes). Remove from heat.
5.) Add Butter/margarine and the Vanilla.
6.) Spoon into shells while still warm (this start to set quickly as well) - Dust with Cinnamon.
Refrigerate 15 - 20 minutes or until ready to serve.

That's it, guys! Amaze your family or friends with your extremely hard work 90 Minutes Treats. All 80 of them........ 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Strawberry Chocolate Coconut Bars

Not a great photo, but then again, I am not a photographer, and I am still playing around with borders.. lol - PicMonkey could be a lot of fun but not even using this cool app can create a miracle out of what was given to it.

Some of my photo's had been taken with Cheri's ancient  old camera. We gave her a new camera on her birthday last year, hence me taking photo's with her old hand-me-down.

But ha ! I now also have a new camera, which I received with a lot of love on Mother's Day .. now that's cool, hey? I have started playing around with it, but according to the manual, I should first use the Dummies Smart mode - really?? Actually, yes, really, when the quality of my pics start to improve, you'll know I got the hang of the little piece of technology.

On to today's post - I did not plan on making this. I truly thought this up as I went along.

Roy phoned me from the supermarket, telling me that the ".. Brown Melting Chocolate.." on my list, is out of stock. Now, it was already latish in the afternoon and this specific recipe I wanted to make, was suppose to be our dessert for that evening. So, I asked him what kind of melting chocolate there was on the shelf. "Strawberry - that's it" he says. I say "Ok, what the heck, bring me some Strawberry..."

And just there, this recipe started taking shape, if you like coconut & strawberry chocolate - THIS IS FOR YOU !


1 cup Tennis Biscuit Crumbs (or use your favorite)
2 TB Icing Sugar
1/4 cup (60ml) Melted Butter

1 Can (397g) Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 1/2 cups (100g) Coconut, shredded or fine
1 Large Egg
200g Easy-Melt Strawberry Chocolate (broken into blocks)
1 TB Butter (cut into small pieces)

1.) Pre-heat your oven to 160gdegC (325deg F) - Line a 20 x 20cm baking pan or glass oven dish with baking paper and spray with Spray & Cook.
2.) Mix the biscuit crumbs with the icing sugar, and add the melted butter. Stir until well mixed. Press the     crust mixture firmly onto the bottom of your lined pan in an equal layer. Bake 10 minutes.
3.) Meanwhile, pour the condensed milk into a microwave bowl - heat until quite warm to the touch.
4.) Stir in coconut and egg to the condensed milk, make sure everything is well mixed.
5.) Spread the coconut mixture over the baked crust - Bake 15 - 20 minutes and let cool slightly.
6.) Melt strawberry chocolate and butter in a bowl in the microwave. Stir every 30 seconds, until fully    melted.
7.) Pour the melted chocolate over the coconut layer and spread to cover equally.
8.) Chill first in the refrigerator until cold, then place in the freezer compartment for approximately 30 - 45      minutes before cutting into bars. (the freezer part will help for a cleaner, smoother cut).     

These bars did not last 10 minutes long, however, it is a very sweet treat, therefore I'll suggest not cutting them into too big squares/rectangles.

I love to hear from you, especially on something I created on a whim ! Please use the comments line, say your piece ... good or bad, I can take it {wink}

Ciao for now

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Coffee Jello's

First recipe post .. right, most people (as I understand it) start their mornings with a cup or five of coffee.  Therefore my first post is about Coffee.  Me, not really a coffee lover - maybe a cup once a month with some rusks or a bag couple of cookies.

This is a recipe I pinned on Pinterest, I did find it interesting as the only jelly I ever made came out of a little box mixed with hot/cold water. Right, so we had all the fruit flavors and that was that for me. Until a whole wide world of recipes opened up on Pinterest! This is also the best place to connect with Bloggers - I like to get the actual posts from the blogs and not to just pin/re-pin a recipe. The fun part in this is to read the whole post which can be hilarious, sometimes a bit sad or little titbits (is that a word?) about their daily lives, or how the specific recipe came to be...

One of my main aims is to try out as many, of my pinned, Pinterest recipes/ideas and share them with you. Of course there will be some of my own creations whether it be a recipe or something else.

Back to the Coffee Jello's ... loved it, it is quick and easy to make, only one hang-up - you have to wait for it to set (..duh). That's why I made it just before going to sleep.

Next morning, I could not believe how nicely it has set, and it was a breeze cutting them into little cubes. Easy to remove from the glass dish I used and no breaking.


Original Source : That Win Some Girl

1/2 cup Cold Water
20g (2 sachets of Davis) Unflavored Gelatin
2 cups Strong Coffee (I used 500ml Boiling water and 6 TB Instant Coffee)
1 can (397g) Sweetened Condensed Milk

1.) Sprinkle the unflavored gelatin over the cold water in a large enough bowl for all the ingredients and set   
     aside until the gelatin blossomed ( 5 - 10 minutes)    
2.) In the meantime, make your coffee (if you want it stronger - add another TB or 2 of instant coffee to the   
     500ml Hot water, totally up to you).
3.) Once the gelatin blossomed, stir in the hot coffee and mix well. Make sure all the gelatin is dissolved.
4.) Add the condensed milk and mix until all ingredients are well incorporated.
5.) Pour mixture into a 20 x 20cm dish. (I used a glass dish, no need to spray with Cooking Spray)
6.) Place in the refrigerator until well set - 3-4 hours will do.
7.) Cut into bite size cubes to your preference, I cut mine into 2cm square cubes.
8.) Keep in airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

I did not make mine for a special do or guests - just wanted a treat ready to nibble on when I felt like it. These jello's kept well in the fridge for a week.