Pressed Chocolate Ganache cake with raspberries…… and Elvis Blue….

Summer concerts at The Paul Cluver Amphitheatre….. picnic….. Elvis Blue…..

Arrive early...

Arrive early…

The gates open at 17:00, we usually arrive at 5 to make sure we get a good spot. Then picnic till 19:00 and a supercool summer concert from 19:00 – 21:00….

No 8. elvis b

Bring your own picnic, or buy sushi or pizzas there….. buy wine and glasses from the Paul Cluver drinks stand at the concert….

The open air amphitheatre...

The open air amphitheatre…

I’ve decided to make this very visual and ultra yummy “pressed” chocolate cake with ganache for the picnic, and added some chocolate dipped strawberries and white chocolate coated fresh cherries.

I did not “capture” the baking of the cake, but this is a REALLLLLY easy recipe, on lazy days I don’t even take out the electric mixer,…. just mix it by hand….

FOR THE RECIPE CARD CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW>>>>
Flat pressed Chocolate Cake and Elvis Blue………. RECIPE CARD

Picnic prep...

Picnic prep…

"pressing" the warm cake flatter...

“pressing” the warm cake flatter…

“Pressed” chocolate cake, once cooked, you press down onto the warm cake with a baking tray. Put 2 or 3 plates on top of the tray for extra pressure and let it cool… this will create a dense gooooey “flat” cake, nearly like a brownie that can easily be cut into blocks, +/- 4cm by 4cm…..

The FINALE......

The FINALE……

These cake blocks are very VISUAL, you can also use fresh strawberries or fresh cherries…

PRESENTATION....

PRESENTATION….

Me and Evie... stocking up on some liquid refreshments..

Me and Evie… stocking up on some liquid refreshments..

No 25. elvis b

What fun we've had... picnic... and running around taking hundreds of pictures...

What fun we’ve had… picnic… and running around taking hundreds of pictures…

The Concert.... and ELVIS BLUE...

The Concert…. and ELVIS BLUE…

The "girls"....having a blast...

The “girls”….having a ball…

The beautiful amphitheatre at night...

The beautiful amphitheatre at night…

And the older "girls" ...... also had lottttts of fun....

And the older “girls” …… also had lottttts of fun….

And the "litttttle" girls.... did not want to bath for a couple of nights...

And the “litttttle” girls…. did not want to bath for a couple of nights…

Thanks to The Paul Cluver Amphitheatre for yet another super stunning summer concert….. I cannot wait for the next one….

Quick picnic cake… summer evenings at the dam

I love the picnic’s Mandy arrange for us on the farm, always on short notice as the weather needs to be picture perfect…. always a challenge for me to throw together something “different” to take along…

Last Friday was no different, the invite arrived at 11 in the morning, I baked this lovely quick cake over my lunch hour, went back to work till 16:30, iced the cake and arrived for our picnic at 17:30. Always up for a challenge, and loving every second of it…

We usually have a large sandy “beach”, but due to changing dam levels our “beach” was underwater….

Shallow water perfect for the kids...

Shallow water perfect for the kids…

For the quick picnic cake you will need:
No 22. friday at the dam slap bang cake
CAKE:
335g cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1.5 teaspoons vanilla
185g softened butter
220g castor sugar
3 large free-range eggs
3/4 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Grease and line a 20cm square cake tin with baking paper. Sift flour, baking powder, add softened butter, eggs, sugar, vanilla and milk. Mix until smooth and bake for 40 minutes until golden brown. Turn out and cool.

For the icing you will need:

No 14. friday at the dam slap bang cake

350g sifted icing sugar
80g white woodenspoon margarine
1t vanilla
Ripe cherries or raspberries or…

Whip the sifted icing sugar and softened margarine with the vanilla until light and fluffy. Spread over the cooled cake, cut into 5cm x 5cm blocks and decorate with red ripe cherries or raspberries…

CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW FOR A PRINTABLE pdf RECIPE CARD:
Quick picnic cake… RECIPE CARD

Very late afternoon swimming in the liquid gold of the farm dam...

Very late afternoon swimming in the liquid gold of the farm dam…

And when it get’s too dark it is time for drying at the warmth of the fire with a thick slice of soft freshly baked cake…

Drying at the fire..

Drying at the fire..

No 24. friday night at the dam slap bang cake

CAKE PLEASE!!!

CAKE PLEASE!!!

We first have cake and then what is on offer from the braai…..

Driftwood braai next to the dam...

Driftwood braai next to the dam…

These summer evenings at the dam usually turns into a visual feast for my camera… the sun setting over the liquid gold water and the fire’s reflections over the water, and then it is time to pack out the battery operated fairy lights for soft light around the fire..

Liquid melted gold...

Liquid melted gold…

Creating memories for our children..

Evenings like this will create memories in our children's minds that will stay with them forever...

Evenings like this will create memories in our children’s minds that will stay with them forever…

Nicole, reading with the fairy lights... maybe it is time to go home.. as the walk back to the vehicles will be dark...

Nicole, reading with the fairy lights… maybe it is time to go home.. as the walk back to the vehicles will be dark…

The walk back to the car will be dark… wonder what we will forget at the water’s edge…. most likely some shoes, towels ect….

I CANNOT WAIT FOR OUR NEXT FRIDAY PICNIC…

Picture perfect summer picnic at the HOPE 2012 concert in aid of the Thembalitsha Foundation

IN AID OFF

When I think back to the HOPE 2012 concert, I think of PERFECTION…. the evening turned into a peach, every little detail from parking our car, the taxi’s that transported us to the Country Club, the friends who joined us drinking glasses filled with pink Rose, to the most beautiful sunset I’ve ever experienced and then I have not even talked about the Parletones, Watershed, Gian Groen and my picnic jars and lots lots more, and let me end by saying when Emma (7) wanted her Rooibos Tea at 11:15, I walked hand in hand with her and found the most amasing kiosk which made her a cup of tea….

The HOPE 2012 concert was in aid of The Thembalitsha Foundation, Thembalithsa is the Xhosa word for NEW HOPE and they aim to bring and restore hope to the desperate and needy people of South Africa, here in our Valley. Developing them to a point of self-reliance through the provision of healthcare, education and training….

Let me start with a couple of pics I took some months ago of what they do….

Visiting the needy at home...

Visiting the needy at home…

Home visits...

Home visits…

Caring for the sick at Thembacare..

Caring for the sick at Thembacare..

Now back to the concert….

Our spot...

Our spot…

Thanks Elzaan for keeping a spot for us, centre stage…

Shannon and Nicole who returned for her 30 day "trek throught the wild" on a school outing..

Shannon and Nicole who returned for her 30 day “trek throught the wild” on a school outing..

Now for the best pic of the night… Nicole went on “trek” walking, kayaking and cycling for 30 days, … she left as a young girl and returned a young women…. you are soooo beautiful Nicole…

Nicole, need I say more.

Nicole, need I say more.

Nina, Abby and Bella   .... friends having fun...

Nina, Abby and Bella …. friends having fun…

Little Emma and Lea..

Little Emma and Lea..

THE FOOD- CHILLI PRAWN JARS WITH PINKISH MAYO..

And now for the picnic snacks, lets start with the Cucumber avo chilli prawn jars with pinkish mayo…

Cucumber avo chilli prawn pots with pinkish mayo...

Cucumber avo chilli prawn pots with pinkish mayo…

You will need:
Cubed cucumber
Cubed firm but soft avo
Devained and peeled prawns
Chilli flakes
Butter and Olive oil
Mayo and a squirt of tomato sauce

Layer the cubed cucumber and cubed avo in the jars. Flash fry the prawns in a little bit of butter and olive oil, add chilli flakes and season well. Cool. Make the dressing by mixing 1 cup of mayonaise with a couple of squirts tomato sauce…

Click on the link below for a printable PDF RECIPECARD..
Chilli prawn and avo jars with pinkish mayo RECIPE CARD

No 12. Hope

Trading Prawn jars for Yummy Langbaken cheese... with Amanda

Trading Prawn jars for Yummy Langbaken cheese… with Amanda

TENDER PESTO AND YOGHURT CHICKEN SATES…..

If I need to list my 5 most used recipes, this one will feature on that list, I make it at least once every two weeks…. not on the stick but cut the chicken pieces in half after frying and dipping and then you stir the luke warm soft chicken into egg noodles, including the remaining yoghurt and pesto mix…. soft tender chicken with a hint of pesto… topped with grated parmesan and roasted pine nuts… lets return to the picnic….

The process... easy and really worth a try.

The process… easy and really worth a try.

You will need:
8 Elgin Freerange chicken fillets
1 small tub of bulgarian or greek yoghurt
2 heaped teaspoons pesto
1 cup flour
chicken spice

Slice the chicken fillets in half lenghways, and in half again (refer to picture above). Spice well with chicken spice, salt and pepper and roll the mini fillets into the flour. Pack the floured chicken fillets in one layer, if you stack them on top of each other they will become soggy. Mix the yoghurt, about 250 ml or a small tub with the pesto, don’t use more than 2 teaspoons of Pesto as you don’t want the pesto to be overpowering, the yoghurt needs to have a light green colour. Flash fry the fillets in a little bit of canola oil, secret no 1….. FLASH FRY, they must be just cooked but brown, and make sure the pan is hot before you start. Secret no 2…… remove the cooked fillets (the flour should have disappeared and crisped up the fillet) and take them from the pan with a tongue and dip them one by one straight into the bowl of pesto yoghurt, first the one side, then the other side and place on a flat plate to rest…. all in one movement, the very hot crisped cooked flour on the chicken will absorb the cool yoghurt and I am not sure WHAT happens but it turns the chicken into these tender soft juice little bites… so hot oil, don’t overcook, immediately dip into yoghurt and let rest…..

Once slightly cooled skewer them onto a medium length sosatie stick and cover…. ready for the picnic…. can be served at room temperature or warm…

Print on the recipe card for a printable PDF recipe card:
Tender Pesto and Yoghurt chiken sates RECIPE CARD

Sharing with friends...

Sharing with friends…

Nina and Abby, what a carefree age....

Nina and Abby, what a carefree age….

Amber, Emma and Rosie... fun fun fun...

Amber, Emma and Rosie… fun fun fun…

AND NOW, FOR THE MINI MILKTARTS….

Mom and daughter having fun...

Mom and daughter having fun…

These little milktarts are soooo easy I will most definately make them again for a picnic… they look great and taste even better, I had about 5 friends and little Danny asking for more…. but what a pity there were none left… Danny, now your mom can make them for you…

I am not going to add the recipe here but will insert the recipe card….
Easy mini milktarts… RECIPE CARD

Only the filo needs to bake for 10 min's....

Only the filo needs to bake for 10 min’s….

Little Danny, I promise that next time I will make a double batch…

No 38b. Hope

LET THE CONCERT START !!!

No 41. Hope

What a stage Emily organised!!! WELL DONE...

What a stage Emily organised!!! WELL DONE…

Emma having fun

Emma having fun

I think a 7 year old can only handle that much and at 11:15 she demanded Rooibos Tea….

Jayyyy we found some tea...

Jayyyy we found some tea…

Passed out under the picnic blanket, and resting for our BIG race of tomorrow morning...

Passed out under the picnic blanket, and resting for our BIG race of tomorrow morning…

Not part of this blog, but let me show you the race Mom and daughter did early the next morning…

Emma and Lara, the "lappoppe" at the Jolly Jester triathlon..

Emma and Lara, the “lappoppe” at the Jolly Jester triathlon..

Tying up the pink hair before our dam crossing...

Tying up the pink hair before our dam crossing…

Did I say this was an adventure race, me and Emma decending the very steep dam wall...

Did I say this was an adventure race, me and Emma decending the very steep dam wall…

The end... well done girls we might have come last, but you've completed the 3 km trail run, 12 km MTB cycle and dam crossing...

The end… well done girls we might have come last, but you’ve completed the 3 km trail run, 12 km MTB cycle and dam crossing…

WHAT a weekend, it started with our Christmas Party at Bodemloos Kombuis, where I’ve had the most devine sweet potato bake, (on the blog in a couple of days), then prepping for the Hope 2012 concert Saturday night, and Sunday morning the Jolly Jester triathlon… I think I need a couple of hours sleep….

Well done if you’ve managed to read through this blog post, it is a bit long, sorry, but what a fun filled evening for a GREAT cause….

Cannot wait for next year EMILY HOUSE!!!

Homemade ice cream and meringue blueberry pots….Part 2….. Cooking for Jacques and testing recipes for Christmas Lunch

I could not wait to try out this new idea, originated from the Zest kitchen at Beaumont Wines, I love jars, any kind of jar and to serve food for a picnic or dessert like this is visually appealing to me.

The pots have layers of ice cream, broken up meringues (see part one), and a berry coulis, this is my “attempt” to re-create the Zest Jars… o and if you EVER need a great catering team, they are THE BEST!

For the little ice cream jars you will need:
Ice cream
410g evaporated milk, this must be very cold
250ml castor sugar
250ml double thick cream (I used normal whipping cream)
5ml vanilla essence (I used vanilla extract or a pod, just love the little black seeds)

Blueberry coulis
3 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1.5 cups water
200 ml castor sugar
30 – 50ml of fresh lemon juice (to taste)

Gooey meringues
See part 1 for the gooooey meringue recipe, you can buy the meringues but please don’t get the white powdery ones, make sure it is a good quality meringue.

AND little jars for serving…

No 2. homemade icecream and mreinge post

For the ice cream, (recipe found it in one of our Local Magazines….) whip the evaporated milk, I prefer to use my Kenwood for this, you need a powerfull mixer to beat the evaporated milk into a cloud. Once thick add the castor sugar spoon by spoon, make sure you mix well after each spoonful, whip the cream seperately and fold into the whipped evaporated milk and sugar. Finally add the vanilla extract… and fold through. Pour into a chilled plastic container and freeze immediately, no need to stir this icecream like some recipes suggest, it is perfect….

Local grown blueberries from Lorraine Farm

Local grown blueberries from Lorraine Farm

Now for the berry coulis, boil together 3 cups of blueberries with 1.5 cups of water, for +/- 7 minutes. Use a potato masher and mash the cooked watery blueberries, this will crush open the soft blueberries and release the insides. Then strain them over a sieve to get rid of the skins, I use the back of a spoon to press the skins and force every little bit of liquid through the sieve. Now boil the strained runny blueberry liquid with 200ml of castor sugar for about 10 minutes until slightly reduced. Add the lemon juice and taste, add more if not sour enough, you want it sour as that is what works like magic with the sweet meringues and ice cream.

You need to give the icecream about 5 hours to freeze and the blueberry coulis needs to be cold…. THEN we pack the jars….

The process of packing the jars...

The process of packing the jars…

Pack layers of flat crushed gooooey meringue, layers of ice cream and the blueberry coulis, and another layer of flat crushed gooooey meringe , ice cream and blueberry coulis….. and freeze, I did not put the lids on the jars as I was worried that the lids will rust… and what is great, you can make everything up to this point a day in advance, even two if you want. I’ve kept one jar out for Mr Huxter, my blueberry grower and ice cream fanatic, and only managed to get it to him 4 days later, and need I say that there was a little bit of a fight over who’s spoon goes in first between him and Issie…

My good friend, suggested we add some mint to add colour to my pics...

My good friend, suggested we add some mint to add colour to my pics…

At dessert time, all you need to do is remove the jars from the freezer and serve, add frozen or fresh whole blueberries on top and mint for pretty pics as Shannon said.

Someone could not wait for their jars...

Someone could not wait for their jars…

These jars seems to be a bit of an effort, and to be honest they are, but really easy and so worth it…

The secret is in the quality of the meringues and icecream, you can go the quick way but believe me the taste of the homemade version is just soooooo worth it.

No 7. homemade icecream pots

Jacques, next time I will serve the ice cream jars as the “starter” then you can take your time enjoying them as there won’t be any need to rush to catch that plane back to Johannesburg…

No 8. homemade icecream pots

What a wonderful idea, thanks to the Zest girls….

Printable PDF recipe card, click on the link below…
8. Ice cream, blueberry and meringue jarsRECIPE CARD

Gooey meringues… Part 1…… Cooking for Jacques and testing recipes for Christmas Lunch…

I’ve tried and tested this recipe several times before I got the timing right, yes the goooooeyness is all in the baking time…..

We invited Jacques, a brother of a GOOD FRIEND, for lunch, and what better time to try out those frozen homemade icecream and meringue pots I’ve ordered from the Zest Kitchen at The Beaumont Wines’s open gardens day in early November…. I don’t have the recipe but will give it a go….

It start with baking gooooey meringes

For the Gooooey meringes you will need:

8 egg whites at room temperature
240 g castor sugar
240 g sifted icing sugar
5ml of cacao powder
2.5ml vanilla paste or half scraped out vanilla pod

Seperate the eggs and beat the egg whites until soft peaks. Mix together the castor sugar, icing sugar and cacao and spoon tablespoons full of the sugary dry mixture into the egg whites while continiously mixing, I use my Kenwood on a high speed, but you can use any “freestanding” electric mixer.

By slowly adding the dry ingredients while continiously mixing, the egg whites will turn into a shiney stiff sugary cloud…. mix in the vanilla…

Preheat the oven to 120 degrees.

Spoon egg size dollops of meringue onto a baking tray, I prefer not to use baking paper for these. Use two tablespoons, and scrape the egg size dollop out of the other spoon onto the try, make a twirly point at the top of the meringe by circling the meringe with one of the spoons.

The meringues will double in size, so make sure you leave enough space so they don’t “climb on top of each other”.

Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes at 120 degrees. Do not open the oven door, leave to cool for 2 hours before taking them out.

After 2 hours, remove the meringues from the oven and store in an airtight container.

Click on the recipe card in PDF for a printable recipe card.
Gooooey Meringues RECIPE CARD

And this is what these meringues turned into, recipe to follow later…

Gooey meringe, homemade icecream and blueberry coulis pots…

Flapjacks and the Rhino art with a heart platter….

On Friday evening we’ve had the Applewood Preparatory School’s auction in aid of “CONSERVING THE RHINO’S of OUR BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY”. The School Art auctions are usually a bit of a “support and buy your own child’s art” fundraiser, but this year, the Rhino Art was really amasing thanks to a very dedicated Art Teacher, Tina Beaumont.

Emma’s class made beautiful platters and I just knew that I had to get my hand’s on one of them, as mmmm yes, I could see the yellow golden flapjacks displayed on it for Saturday morning’s breakfast…..

For the soft warm and golden flapjacks you will need:
2 eggs
250 ml milk
125 ml sugar
500ml or 2 cups of cake flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons butter
oil for frying
Blueberries, honey, or grated cheddar cheese

Mix the eggs and sugar, then add the milk and butter and mix well. Add the sifted flour, baking powder and salt, at this point don’t overmix, just mix until combined.

Add +/- 4 tablespoons of oil to the pan and fry tablespoons full of batter to form perfect flapjacks. Once in the pan I like to add 3 x frozen blueberries on top of each flapjack, better to keep the blueberries frozen, then they don’t go too soggy while frying. The pan needs to be warm but I like to fry them over a medium heat, it takes a bit longer but they need to be cooked inside and still light brown….

Click on the “recipe card” below for a printable PDF short recipe card.
Flapjacks RECIPE CARD

Serve warm with syrup, honey, cheese or just plain….

Keep any leftover batter in the fridge, cover with clingwrap, and on Sunday morning give it a good mix, add a little bit of milk to loosen the batter and let the smell of sweet flapjacks wake your family to a beautiful morning like right now….

Art in aid of “Rhino art with a heart…” by Abby Green

Thanks again to Tina Beaumont for organising this wonderful and very successful Rhino fundraising event…

Orange cake ……. (light, easy, moist and delicious!)

This light summer orange cake is ideal for lazy Christmas holiday afternoons. I love making this cake as a gift when we get invited to a summer lunch…. Even if your host serve dessert, this light cake will go down well with late afternoon coffee…

For the Orange Cake you will need:

1 cup sugar
1 cup soft butter
3 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 + 3/4 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon bicarb of soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
rind of 2 oranges

Cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, sourcream and orange rind. Mix well. Add the sifted flour, bicarb of soda and baking powder and combine with butter / sugar mixture. Bake in a greased square tin for about 45 minutes.

While the cake is baking prepare the orange syrup:
Simmer together for about 5 minutes, the juice of 2 oranges, juice of 1 lemon, 3/4 cup of sugar and a pinch of salt.

Let the warm cake rest for 15 minutes, turn the cake out of the tin onto a pretty flat serving platter. Pour the warm syrup over the cake.

Serve with fresh berries and a dusting of icing sugar… and a dollop of cream, but not really necessary…

Light, orangy, plain and simple afternoon tea cake….

Click on the recipe card link for a printable PDF recipe card
Orange cake RECIPE CARD

Or serve this lovely orange cake as a light Christmas eve dessert, beautifull and full of Christmas colours and flavours….