Monday, March 27, 2017

Vanilla Cake with Thyme and Poppy Seeds

This is a sophisticated adult cake, perfect for a champagne filled afternoon tea.

Vanilla Cake with Thyme and Poppy Seeds
Make one large cake, serves 8 - 10

250 g butter, softened
250 g Huletts Castor Sugar
3 extra large eggs, separated
5 ml (1 t) vanilla essence
280 g (2 cups) self-raising flour, sifted
180 ml buttermilk
10 ml (2 t) fresh thyme leaves
15 ml (1 T) poppy seeds

125 g (½ tub) smooth cream cheese
125 ml (½ tub) sour cream
5 ml (1 t) fresh lemon juice
15 ml (1 T) poppy seeds
40 g (1/3 cup) Huletts Icing Sugar

Crystallised thyme:
105 g (½ cup) Huletts Castor Sugar
1 extra large egg white, lightly beaten
10 - 15 fresh thyme sprigs

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line a 22cm round cake tin
Beat the butter and Huletts Castor Sugar together until light and creamy.
Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add vanilla essence and beat well.
Fold in half (1 cup) of the self-raising flour and half the buttermilk, repeat with the remaining flour and buttermilk.
Fold in the thyme leaves and poppy seeds.
Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form and fold into the mixture.
Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin, and smooth the top.
Bake for 35 - 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Leave in tin to cool for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

For the Icing:
Mix all the icing ingredients together until well combined and smooth.

For the Crystallised thyme:
Place the Huletts Castor Sugar and the egg white in two separate bowls. Dip the thyme sprigs, one at a time, into the egg white and then into the sugar to coat.
Place the coated thyme leaves on a paper towel and allow to dry for at least an hour.
Spread the cooled cake with the icing mixture and decorate with the crystallised thyme sprigs.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Mushroom Sosatis

I just love mushrooms! They are fabulous fresh in salads, fried with garlic and butter or as kebabs (or sosatis). The perfect vegetarian braai option or a delicious side to any grilled meat.

Mushroom Sosatis

Serves 4 as a side


8 sosati sticks
± 400g mixed mushrooms (shitake, big brown, portabelinni etc)
100g butter
1 T garlic, crushed
Pinch of salt
1 cup (chopped & loosely packed) mixed herbs (sage, rosemary, thyme, parsley, fennel etc)
Truffle oil for serving


Soak the sosati sticks in water for at least 10 minutes (to prevent them from burning on the while cooking).
Cut the large mushrooms into halves or quarters so that all the mushrooms are more or less the same size.
String the mushrooms onto the soaked sosati sticks.
Heat your griddle pan or get your fire ready.
Melt the butter in a pot. Add the garlic and salt and fry for a minute. Add the herbs and fry for another minute.
Place the sosoatis on the grill or fire and brush with the melted herb butter while cooking, turning regularly.
Once the mushrooms are cooked (soft and juicy), serve immediately drizzled with truffle oil.
Tip: The mushrooms shrink quite a bit during cooking, so 2 kebabs per person won’t be too much.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Grilled baby aubergines with sumac yoghurt

Grilled baby aubergines with sumac yoghurt
Serves 4 as a side

This recipe is inspired by Yotam Ottolenghi’s Roasted aubergine with saffron yoghurt dish. I'm a little obsessed with Ottolenghi at the moment, so you can expect loads more recipes from him ;)


For the yogurt:
1 cup double thick yoghurt
1 t garlic, grated
4 T extra virgin olive oil
1 t salt
1 - 2 T sumac, ground

For the aubergines:
500g baby aubergines, sliced lengthways
Olive oil
Salt & black pepper

To serve:
Fresh pomegranate rubies
Fresh coriander


For the yogurt:
Mix together the yoghurt, garlic, olive oil and salt.
Add sumac to taste, keeping some aside for garnish.
Set aside till ready to use.

For the aubergines:
Pre-heat oven to 180°.
Heat a griddle pan to high heat.
Brush sliced side of aubergines and grill until griddle marks appear (this may have to be done in batches, depending on the size of your griddle).
Spread out grilled aubergines on a roasting tray and drizzle with some more olive oil.
Bake in the oven for 30 – 45 minutes until soft.

To serve:
Serve warm aubergines garnished with pomegranate rubies and fresh coriander with the yoghurt on the side.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Milktart Cheesecake

This tasty cheesecake with a South African twist is based on a recipe from ‘Huisgenoot Wenresepte' 1987 by Annette Human.

Milktart Cheesecake
Makes one medium cake

For the base
200 g biscuits (Tennis or Digestive)
4 Tbls butter, melted
¼ cup sugar

For the filling
250 g plain cream cheese (room temperature)
150 ml castor sugar
25 ml cake flour
4 extra large eggs
500 ml full cream milk
Juice of half a lemon
5 ml vanilla extract
Cinnamon powder

For the base
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
Crush biscuits in a food processor.
Add melted butter and sugar to the biscuits and process until mixed well.
Press the mixture on the bottom and half way up the sides of a 26cm spring-form tin.
Bake for 15 minutes until set.
Remove from oven and allow to cool before filling.

For the filling
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
Whisk the cream cheese till soft and fluffy.
Gradually add the sugar and flour to the mixture while whisking.
Add the eggs one by one and whisk well after each addition.
Gradually add the milk, lemon juice and extract to the mixture while whisking.
Pour the mixture into the prepared base and sprinkle with cinnamon.
Bake for 50 – 60 minutes until the filling has set and a test toothpick comes out clean.
Allow the cake to cool at room temperature in the cake tin.
Refrigerate the cake overnight (still in the pan).
Remove spring-form and serve cool or at room temperature with preserved ginger, figs or orange curls.