Archive for the ‘Food & Cooking’ Category

This is what happens when you neglect your 101 list. You miss a Goal Achieved.

Lili’s 2nd birthday was end of August and I didn’t bake her a cake. Nope. I baked 2 cakes. And make a plethora of goodie bags of nyummy treats for the kids and some adults.

For pics of all the cavity-induced-sweetness click here.

I tried making a marble cake – but I think my batter was a bit too stiff. Instead of pretty pink marble, there was a pink chunk in the middle. I put 100’s and 1000’s in the butter sponge batter,;all the more colourful you see.

I love printable icing sugar (also used it with her First birthday) so I designed the pic to go onto the cake. I went with rainbows and Butterflies. She calls them ‘Lapper‘ as in skoenlapper. She knew that it was her birtday cake, although I’m still not sure she knows what a birthday is 😉 . She calls cupcakes Party Koekies.

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Super 14 Final today: Stormers vs Blue Bulls in Soweto! By far a historic game!

I’m going to share my secret snack dip recipe with you. It never flops, and everyone loves it.

imageYou need:

  • Tub of smooth cottage cheese
  • Your favourite flavour potato bake

Mix half a packet of potato bake with a tub of cottage cheese. More potato bake will make it too stiff to dip, then it’s a spread 😉

That’s it! Grab some chips, crackers and pretzels and enjoy! This recipe is quick enough to slap together during half time.

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#49.    Make Christmas Lunch from scratch

And it came out Fabulous!

We planned on a cold lunch. Mom in law made leg of lamb (it’s a given and there’s no getting out of it). Oh, and she made a noodle-curry salad that Dad in law wanted. The rest was all my cooking 😉

Made stuffed chicken breasts that I sliced into ‘wheels’ when it cooled and set a bit. Made little meatballs (Henk’s order); filled eggs and ‘groen balletjies’ – recipes in Kook en Geniet; Maryke’s potato salad; and found a new trifle recipe in Huisgenoot. Couldn’t find any meringue in Spar, so I made my own – nearly burned out my hand mixer in the process. Who knew 4 egg whites can fluff up so much! We’re still munching on leftover meringues. (Will post the trifle recipe soon.)

Splurged a bit with the decorations – theme colours were silver, grey and blue. See my DIY napkin rings here. Hung some silver and blue balls from the ceiling, silver crackers on the table, silver chocolate balls and silver candles formed the a little centrepiece. And I actually had to rent the napkins from the events planner since I couldn’t find any in our shops o_O

You know people are enjoying your food when silence dawns on your table.

Next year it’s a Maré Christmas.

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I made Strawberry Jam!

This is the easiest jam to make too – really!

And since it’s strawberry season now in South Africa, why don’t you try too? I used the recipe in Kook en Geniet.

You will need:

Strawberries, washed and stems cleaned off (I used 1 kg)
Sugar in equal weight as the strawberries (i.e. 1 kg)
Sterilised bottles to store jam in.

Place strawberries in a big pot, pour sugar over and let stand overnight. Do not add any water, the sugar will extract the juices from the berries.

Heat slowly and stir until all sugar has dissolved. The jam mustn’t boil before the sugar is dissolved.
Let Boil for about 30 mins then test. Drip a few drops of the jam onto a saucer, let cool for a few seconds (it’s VERY hot); run your finger through the jam (draw a line). If the jam doesn’t cover the line up again, it is ready to be bottled.

Carefully spoon hot jam into bottles. Keep a little bit of syrup separate. If the berries stayed whole enough, ensure they are covered by syrup; use the extra saved syrup to top up the bottles. Seal and store in a cool, dry place. 


My adventure with the jam was a bit of an ordeal. I got distracted and the pot boiled over. Henk and I spent the rest of our Sunday scrubbing the stove. So my jam came out a bit darker, and not quite as spread able. 😉

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Not one for slaving hours in the kitchen, I love one-pot/pan meals. I was preparing some fish for Amelia on Sunday, and it evolved into my lunch – I made her something else, don’t worry.

I call it Tracy’s Hake parcel in a dish for one.

· 1 (or 2) pieces of Hake fish (cut of your choice – I used fillets, they were on special at Shoprite)
· 2 potatoes washed and cut into wedges
· Handful of cherry tomatoes halved
· Handful of sugar snaps (or baby peas in a pod)
· 2-3 cocktail onions quartered (or sliced if you prefer)
· Olive oil
· Salt and pepper
· Your favourite fish herbs and spices**

** I also don’t like Ina Paarman’s fish spice, so I used some lemon juice, parsley, marjoram and Mediterranean vegetable spice by Robertson spices.

I use a microwave-oven-grill combo. So adapt your cooking time.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
Place fish in small ovenproof dish. Add your herbs and spices and rub into fish.
Place potato wedges, halved tomatoes, onions and peas around fish.
Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle some Mediterranean vegetable spice over the veggies
Use bake/micro combo at 200 degrees for 15 minutes, and grill for further 10 mins.



P.S I tried it the 2 nights ago with Ina Paarman’s Coriander Pesto – DEVINE!

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Greenish, limp and a little runny.
I’m ill at home in bed. It’s either a very bad cold or weak flu. I vote the latter.

Planning to hit 2 birds tomorrow: going to work on my Secret Santa gift and it’ll be on of my list items too! Hope I can find cheap strawberries at Up-to-Date. Wonder what I’ll get from my Secret Santa?

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As soon as you become a parent, you will come to be a Spur regular – I can almost guarantee it. Not because you want to, or that the food is superior or even for the atmosphere. Nope. You will frequent this family oasis purely because the manager doesn’t care if your tot-of-terror runs between the tables with the bottle of Spur chip sauce screaming mezzo-soprano notes.

The franchise saw a niche and filled it to overflow. They will feed your kids, entertain them, and even sing happy birthday to them. There’s a play are with trampoline, playhouse, slide, jungle gym. And if the weather turns bad – no worries – they even have indoor entertainment. The older and more dexterous kids can enjoy the console games. Bored teens can stare at the TV. All while mom and dad decide between the beef- or chicken snitzel.

And with Amelia’s arrival, we too have become regular patrons of this family dining experience. She’s a cheap age now, still too small to eat a child size portion. So I order my meat and ask for veggies. There’s usually a choice of two or three. I load up a side plate with sweet pumpkin, cheesy broccoli and little gem squash, and the two of us have our fill.

I’m still a bit wary with putting her on the trampoline. But I know she’ll jumpy-jump as soon as she gets a grip with this whole walking thing.

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