Cookie dough nicecream

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Morning lovelies!

Decided to make a divine cookie dough nicecream to brighten up this rather confused Wednesday weather we have in Cape Town. Combing elements of health and sweetness, this is really something worth a tryūüôā

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Recipe for the cookie dough

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted cashews
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup oat flour
  • 1.5 tbsp xylitol/ castor sugar
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3-4 tbsp pure maple syrup (or a bit more if dough is too dry)
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Method:

  • ¬†Add the cashews and oats and put it in a food processor, until it forms a fine crumble.
  • Now add the sugar, and flour and process for a few seconds more.
  • Then finally the maple syrup and vanilla. It will be sticky, but this is normal! Add in your chocolate chips and stir and do one last blitz in the mixer.
  • Roll them into balls, and allow to freeze.

Recipe: Banana ice-cream

  • 3 peeled and frozen bananas, cut into chunks for easier processing
  • Dash¬†of coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp cookie dough (from above)

Method:

  • Blitz the bananas, coconut milk, till smooth and then add the cookie dough.
  • Once you have a creamy consistency, spoon into a bowl, or ice cream cone and sprinkle with choc chips and enjoy!

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Waking up with chocolat

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Good morning, or rather Good afternoon everyone! Ideally one does have breakfast in the morning, but seeing as my family only knows life after 12pm on weekends, breakfast is (and always should be) a whole day affairūüôā

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I made some puff pastry from scratch, and decided to make mini pain au chocolate! Using the correct chocolate in the centre is quite important because the’s the main taste in these mini bundles of joy. I like to use Lindt (70% cocoa) dark chocolate as it allows rich taste but not that cheap chocolate flavour (which I can’t stand). Using the correct chocolate for cakes and pastries is a crucial for me. My favourite chocolate to use is “Valhrona” but I can’t ever seem to find it in Cape Town, and I think Lindt does the job perfectly for me. So this is my lazy Sunday breakfast, and I hope yours is wonderful too!

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Star Wars themed cake

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On Eid my aunt asked me to make her grandson, whose six (and loves Star Wars) a cake for his birthday. I was surprised that she wanted me to make it as novelty cakes aren’t usually what I love to bake. But because it is Star Wars (one of the best movies of all time), and she did ask nicely I went ahead with this venture¬†:)

I must say that baking a two tiered cake is one thing, but the icing, the chilling, the covering of fondant is a completely different story! I remember making one of these cakes near the end of our final semester at Cordon Bleu, which was only one tier but took us two days to finish, and this was no different. To make a cake with multiple tiers that requires some kind decoration does take time and it took me close to two full days to complete. I agree, it could have been done a bit quicker, but pastry chefs are a meticulous breed and to send something out half assed is not an option. The end result was me creating a make shift “Star Wars” stensil and the idea of a starry night ( Guardians/protectors of the galaxy etc), which my baby cousin loved, so I gave myself a little pat on the back for that given this is not my area of expertise.

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Both layers were a Victoria sponge, the bottom layer was vanilla while the top was coconut. Then I covered it a blue vanilla buttercream and finally the fondant icingūüôā

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The British Invasion

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My first encounter with rhubarb ¬†so happened to be during my stint in the kitchen at The Marriot in London. There’s no better time than now to confess (to a culinary crime of sorts – yikes!), when I began my culinary journey in the heat of the kitchen at The Marriott, I didn’t have a cooking clue about the fresh produce that England had to offer (nor did I attempt to find out before my first day – let’s not judge just yet). Somewhat unprepared, I was pleasantly surprised by what was on offer – for instance, have you heard of or seen a bright yellow watermelon? Speaking for myself, up until that point, I had not, nor had I anticipated that a bright yellow watermelon (having only ever enjoyed the juicy pink one’s available in South Africa) existed at all – I suppose that in hindsight, I was rather shortsighted. Well, save to say, the bright yellow watermelon only differs in aesthetics, with all else being equal. Well, with that being said… I had a similar and more familiar engagement with rhubarb… so much so that it sort of¬†became my whole world – even though prior to this, I had never tasted this vegetable before (at least not in the way its made by top class chefs).

If you don’t know much about rhubarb, allow me to give you a brief introduction. It’s most certainly an English favourite – so if you find yourself in and around England, you’re sure to be exposed to a variety of rhubarb flavoured/ based concoctions (and don’t be afraid to indulge). Rhubarb looks similar to celery sticks (which was my initial guess. to be honest), with its tips bursting with a gorgeous fuchsia pink pops out. The upshot of this vegetable, is that its versatile in the kitchen… used in both a sweet or savoury dish.

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Save to say, I’ve learned to use rhubard in sweet pastry dishes, much like this puff pastry rhubarb tart (Eid, being the obvious occasion). By now i’m sure you have come to know that I’m not a fan of the overly sweet and rich desserts/ pastries (despite my chosen profession), which is why this rhubarb tart was perfect – the first bite offers just enough of a ‘zing’ to counter the sweet pastry. Give this one a try, I’m pretty sure that you’ll be thanking the Brits for this (much like the scones and tea compliment).

Bon apetit!

How to poach this rhubarb recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 250g rhubarbs
  • 1 orange squeezed
  • 1 orange zest
  • 40g castor sugar or less for a more sour taste

Method:

  • Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C
  • Cut up your rhubarbs into small batons
  • Pour the above ingredients over it, making sure to coat al of them.
  • Let is bake in the oven, and before placing them it on the pastry, be sure that the rhubarbs are cooled.¬†

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Coconut chia and chocolate pudding

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The build up to Eid was enough to plant the seed of creativity, and to make me want to experiment in the kitchen by whipping something new Рenter La Chia Chocolate Pudding. 

The benefits of a chia and almond milk/coconut¬†cream pudding cuts both ways – it has several¬†health benefits¬†and tastes absolutely¬†delicious. Allow me to twist your arm with a few benefits derived from Chia seeds (in an effort to sway any negative perceptions you may have, of course) –¬†

  • comprises of¬†many beneficial¬†antioxidants
  • low in carbohydrates
  • Contains¬†14% protein (which is higher than most¬†plants), which could aid in weight loss.
  • High in Omega 3 and Fatty Acids (much needed by everyone… And is a particularly¬†good supplement for pregnant women)

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For the reasons above, chia seeds ought to be added to at least one meal a day (I guess that it then helps that they are rather tasty!) 

So if you’re looking for something new, healthy, and tasty to kickstart your daily¬†chia seed intake (or just in the mood for something new and exciting)¬†why not try this pudding. The¬†chocolate cream comprises of a simple dark¬†chocolate ganache mixed¬†with cream and¬†a dash of almond milk (for¬†liquid consistency).

Enjoy and Bon appetit! 

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Herb Foccacia

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Allow me to take the this opportunity to dispell a rather common myth affiliated with being a¬†Patissiere. What is this “common myth” you ask? Well, it goes without saying that Patissieres are believed to be in the profession of¬†baking beautiful¬†pastries¬†and being masters of all things¬†sweet – and¬†¬†while the chef’s hat fits perfectly,¬†there is more it than that. Hello, bread (in every shape and form), the one weakness common to all mankind, without discrimination.

There’s something¬†unexplainable about our affinity to this complex carbohydrate. Alas, without explanation fresh breads are¬†always worth every bite! So, in celebration of all the little things in life (like complex carbohydrates) that bring us comfort and joy, and in addition to dispelling a longstanding and common myth… I present to you my homemade artisan¬†focaccia.

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This homemade artisan focaccia is not only aesthetically appeasing, but offers a burst of interesting flavour (mouthwatering, indeed)! Needless to say that when you take your focaccia out of the oven,¬†your kitchen will be filled with a¬†comfortable scent of warm and fresh bread¬†(bound to spread like wildfire to your neighbours senses). In an attempt to mimic¬†the Italians with this piece, I dared not to hold back… And neither should you… Although note that mimicking the Italians is no easy feat and your work would be cut out for you,¬†as it was for me – but true to form… It was worth it!

Bon apetit!

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet of dry yeast
  • 2 cups of warm water
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt
  • Olive oil

Toppings:

  • Olives, sundried tomatoes, fets, pesto, cheddar etc

Method:

  • Mix the yeast and 1/3 of the warm water together and a pinch of sugar until it gets quite creamy (leave for about 10 min)
  • Then add the flour to the yeast, and add the rest of the water, slowly. Once the dough seems to come together nicely of the sides of the mixer, you will know the dough is ready.
  • Gather the dough into a ball. Put some olive oil at the bottom of a round bowl, place the dough inside and cover in oil. Cover with a cloth and leave in a warm place for about 30 minutes to allow the dough to rise. I usually put it in my oven.
  • When this is done, the dough should have risen twice its original size.
  • You can use your hands to press the dough out onto a tray, and add all your toppings.
  • Preheat your oven to 220 degrees C, and watch it rise beautifully.
  • And after about 20-30 minutes, you focaccia will be ready to eat!

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Dark chocolate ganache cupcakes

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It’s a windy, overcast day in Cape Town, and just when we thought summer was around the corner, Mother Nature has other plans in place. On days like this, it is very easy for me to spend my time in the kitchen, baking and essentially making a glorified mess.

I haven’t made cupcakes in a while, and it’s not that I don’t like them, I just find them rather mundane. It may be because it’s everyone’s go-to sweet treat and they can’t really be messed up. So, I went ahead and made these dark chocolate Lindt cupcakes with a gooey chocolate ganache center. I find that having a little something extra makes the “standard cupcake” appear more desirable (at least that’s what I would like to believe).

I used dark Lindt chocolate for the ganache because it blends so well with the cream and creates a rich and creamy texture (which is perfect for piping too). To make an already rich cupcake, more delicious, I¬†decorated the top with real strawberries infused in buttercream. I wont lie, this is a very rich cupcake, but the taste is worth the calories you are most likely to gain while taking a few bitesūüôā

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Recipe for the Chocolate cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 150g self raising
  • 150g eggs
  • 150g butter
  • 150g castor sugar
  • 50g cocoa powder

Method:

  • Cream the butter and sugar together in a mixer
  • Add the eggs slowly
  • Sieve the cocoa and the flour and add to the wet ingredients
  • Pipe into cupcake holders, and put into a pre-heated oven of 18o degrees C, for about 20-30 minutes.

Bon appétit!

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Cute croissants

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Dearest chefs-in-training, I’m sure that you’ll appreciate this post, albeit a response to a request for a post on croissants. Truth be told,¬†who doesn’t love a fresh batch of baked (and in this instance bite-sized) homemade croissants‚Ķ Parisian or not, these croissants will blow your tastebuds!

Left with some excess puff pastry (from my apple pie post – circa a few posts ago), baking a fresh batch of homemade croissants was somewhat inevitable. However, as I’m sure you’ve come to realise, with yours truly, there is always a plot twist‚Ķ and this time is no exception‚Ķ Hello croissants avec creme d’ amande¬†(croissants with homemade almond cream). The upshot of making your everyday-run-of-the-mill pastries (like croissants) is that with a rich butter base there is so much room to be creative and interesting – in this instance adding an almond cream center.

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This morning’s family brunch presented the ideal stage to this run-of-the-mill-experiment, and much like most people (although, unlike me) my family welcomed the sweet surprise awaiting them on their first bite of these fresh homemade almond cream croissants. By no fault of their own, my family wasn’t able to quite pin point the creamy surprise‚Ķ particularly due to the very slight and not too over powering taste (which is perhaps what I love most about this almond cream recipe).

It is without a doubt that this perfectly golden brown puff pastry, baked to a perfect crisp, with a rich, creamy and perfect almond cream centre stole the show at this morning’s family brunch!

*The croissant pastry recipe is on my blog under “laminated dough”.

Bon appetit!

Recipe: Almond cream

Ingredients:

  • 115g butter
  • 115g caster sugar
  • 100g egg
  • 115g ground almonds
  • 30g soft flour
  • vanilla extract
  • 1/2 lemon zest

Method:

  • Cream butter and sugar together
  • Add the eggs
  • Sieve the flour and the almonds together and slowly add to the egg mixture.¬†
  • Add the vanilla and lemon zest
  • Allow it to mix for about 5 minutes in a kitchen aid/mixer once all ingredients are in. Smoot it onto the dough of the puff pastry, then roll, and put into a preheated oven of 180/200 degrees C.¬†

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Custard Slice

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Pastry
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The revered, renowned and beloved custard slice‚Ķ Without a doubt, the perfect compliment to everyone’s cuppa tea. Although, with that being said, the challenge is to find someone willing and able to make it – and I, must confess, am no exception.

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With my mind set on a custard slice (the details of how this came to be remain sketchy, at best), I waltzed into the kitchen (queue dramatic music) and got cracking. My first step was to bake the pastry (from scratch) followed by whipping up a rich and beautiful custard cream (this being the easy part). Once the pastry had baked and the custard cream whipped, its just a matter of layering and stacking the pastry and the custard cream (no need to reach to high, lest you’re aiming to replicate the Leaning Tower of Pisa). tThe final step, of course, being to leave your custard slice in the fridge over night to set.

On a personal note, I must admit that while making this custard slice I couldnt help but draw a smiliarity to the infamous Frenchmille-feuille¬†(minus one or two added layers of puff pastry). For those who have yet to indulge in a mille-feuille, it¬†is a classic French dessert and my personal favourite. You’ll find variations of the mille-feuille¬†on almost every corner of the quaint Parisian streets, and if you so happen to do so any time soon‚Ķ Don’t think twice about indulging for two!

Bon appetit

*I wont be putting the recipe up (sorry!) but if you would like to order, then please drop me an emailūüôā

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Apple Pie recipe

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True to form the inspiration behind this post is attributable to none other than Julia Child. After taking a few days off (from Cape Town and life at large), I returned motivated to make Julia’s renowned P√Ęte feuillet√©e recipe with my own connoisseur caramelised apple filling (when Julia met Zorah – if you will).

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Whipping up your own pastry from scratch can be a somewhat tedious and drawn out task – i mean it’s no easy feat having to “fold”, “layer” and let it “rest” after the tourage (you know, the A4 sized butter that makes the pastry puff) has been added to the dough. Although, with that being said, the end result is not only worthwhile but garners a sense of pride and achievement (to the tastebuds, tummy and perhaps even the heart).

Your first few bites of this pie, fresh out the oven, warm and crispy will no doubt make you wonder why you havent chosen to make this sooner.¬†Without further delay here’s the recipe… give it your best shot, as I’m sure it’ll be nothing short of wonderful! Bon appetit!

Recipe:

Apple filling:

  • Peel and chop 4 apples into cubes
  • 60g white sugar
  • 60g brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3 ¬†tablespoons of flour

Method:

  • Once the apples are chopped and ready to go, add all the ingredients and the apples to a medium sized pan.
  • Allow the sugar to caramelise and poke the apples to make sure they are fairly soft.
  • Once you see a golden colour forming, remove the apples from the stove and let cool.

Puff Pastry √° la Julia Child Michel Richard

  • 500g flour
  • 75g butter (melted)
  • 250ml water
  • 10g salt

Tourage (butter)

  • 300g dry butter

Method:

  • Sieve the flour and salt together
  • Make a well in the middle and add the butter (melted) and the water. Put into a mixer and let it mix until the dough pulls away from the sides.
  • Bring the dough together to a square, cover with cling film and let it rest for about 15 minutes int he fridge.
  • Roll out the 300g butter in between baking sheets designed to look like an A4 page, use a rolling pin to even it out. Then place the butter in the middle of the pastry once rolled out to look like a long rectangle (this is called inclusion).

    Add the butter, with a quarter space above of pastry only and then do one single turn i.e. fold the either side of the pastry midway and fold the other half over that. Then let the pastry sit once again.

    After the pastry has rested, roll out, keeping the closed side on your left, and do a double turn. I.e. both ends of the rolled out rectangular pastry to meet in the middle and then fold either side over that.

  • Continue in this way until you have done four single turns and two double turns. Lamination is very important for making puff pastry.
  • After each fold, let the dough rest for about 10-15 minutes in the oven.

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