Thursday, March 17, 2016


Some days I feel like winter is never ending. Even though this winter was exceptionally soft, it still feels never ending.

To say I don't like winter is an understatement. I don't like cold, I don't like snow and I don't like the dark dark days. As soon as autumn comes around I am already thinking ahead about sunny spring days.

Today felt like spring was finally coming. It was sunny and there was no cold wind. It's still cold and I still have to put on a warm jacket, but standing outside, in the sun I finally felt like spring was here. It gets me so excited! I can't wait for better produce and eating salads! Open windows, the sun on my face while working in the garden, the fruit trees blossoming. Ah, it makes me nostalgic!

Today I went to a small performance from Azira, my youngest daughter. Her class had a 10 week introduction course at school with music instruments. She already plays the guitar but now she plays a bit of clarinet as well. It made me realize that a lot of kids from school don't get to play instruments and although it is expensive, I'm so thankful that we are able to give her that experience.

I came home to a note from Nikki, my eldest daughter, lying on the table, saying she went to the shops with some friends. When did she become old enough to do that? All I want to say to her is stop! Stop growing! Stop getting older! Alas, she won't stop, which is probably a good thing....

Friday, June 29, 2012

Cocoa Almond Meringues

In a weeks time I will be going to Paris for four days. I am super excited! It will be just me and my hub! Although we are going to see a concert of the amazing Regina Spektor, my sweet, sweet husband decided to turn it into a four-day journey. I have to admit...he knows how to treat a birthday girl! It's been a while since we went to Paris so I've been scouring the internet looking for fun things to do (besides the obvious) and great places to eat. To get in a bit of a Parisian mood ( get even more in the mood) I decided to make something very Parisian....Meringues.

These meringues are almost like macarons without filling. The almond and chocolate provide a wonderful texture, making these meringues light as air and crunchy on the outside and slightly chewy and chocolatey on the inside. Yum!

They are a breeze to whip up and will disappear all too quickly. I can't wait to make these again...and again! Once again Dorie Greenspan delivers with a great recipe!


Cocoa Almond Meringues

Yield: about 30 meringues


1 cup confectioners' sugar (plus a little extra for dusting)
1/3 cup finely ground almonds
1/4 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder
4 large egg whites, room temperature
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup very finely chopped bittersweet chocolate


Preheat the oven to 150˚C (300˚F). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.

In a medium bowl sift together the confectioners' sugar, ground almonds and cocoa powder. Set aside.

Beat the egg whites and salt on medium speed in an electric mixer until the whites are opaque. Increase the speed and add the sugar one tablespoon at a time. Continue whipping until the whites are firm and hold stiff peaks, but are still very shiny.

Beat in the vanilla.

Quickly but gently fold in the dry ingredients with a rubber spatula.  Then fold in the chopped chocolate. Try to deflate the egg whites as little as possible, but it will deflate some.

Drop tablespoons of meringue on the baking sheets, with about 2 inches between each meringue. Dust the tops of the meringues lightly with a little confectioners' sugar.

Bake the meringues for 10 minutes, reduce the temperature to 100˚C (200˚F) and bake for 1 more hour. Do not open the oven door during this time.

Remove the baking sheets from the oven and let the meringues cool in a cool, dry place until they reach room temperature.

Store in an airtight container.

 Source: Baking: From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Chunky Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chipsters

Who doesn't love a good chocolate chip cookie? Right? Right! There are about 3.465.298 different chocolate chip cookie recipes in existence and you probably have about 52 favourite recipe that you like to use, but I'm going to ask you to add one more to your repertoire.

These cookies are seriously delicious! Chock full of texture, the ingredients work together and make something truly spectacular. The peanut butter isn't overwhelming, chopped peanuts and chocolate chips make it chunky and the oatmeal provides texture. All in all it makes for one great cookie.

They are easy to make and pass out to people around you. But you're going to have to be willing to hand out the recipe!

The recipe comes from what has quickly become my favourite cookbook: Baking from my home to yours by Dorie Greenspan. If you haven't bought it already... I strongly suggest getting a copy! So far every recipe has worked and I've tried out a few (or maybe a lot).


Chunky Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chipsters

Yield: about 60 cookies


3 cups oats (old-fashioned)
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks butter, room temperature
1 cup peanut butter (chunky or smooth, not natural)
1 cup sugar
1 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1/2-3/4 cup chopped peanuts


Preheat the oven to 180˚C (350˚F). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.

In a medium bowl whisk together the oats, flour, baking soda, spices and salt. Set aside.

Beat together the butter, peanut butter and both sugars on medium speed until smooth and creamy.

Add the eggs one at a time and beat for about 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.

Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the dry ingredients, beating until just blended. Mix in the chocolate chips and chopped peanuts.

Drop tablespoons of dough on the baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches in between. Slightly flatten the dough with a spoon.

Bake the cookies for 13-15 minutes, rotating the sheets after 7 minutes, until they are golden and just firm around the edges.

Transfer the cookies, carefully, to cooling racks. The cookies will firm up as they cool.

 Source: Baking: From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Strawberry Frozen Yoghurt

If the weather is warm there is nothing I crave more than ice cream. Unfortunately most ice creams involve a lot of work and if you're working with a custard based ice cream it's even better to start making it a day in advance. Not really what you're looking for when it's hot outside... enter this Strawberry Frozen Yoghurt. This is about as lazy as you can get. You slice some strawberries and let them soak with some sugar. Put all the ingredients in a blender, refrigerate and pour it into your ice cream maker. But even that was too much work for me.

A while ago I bought a massive amount of strawberries and put lots of them in the freezer, thinking that there are a lot of ways I can use those strawberries... and boy, was I right, because these frozen strawberries are perfect for making this ice cream. I just tossed the strawberries right into the blender along with the other ingredients. Flipped on the blender and just let the blender work its magic. Because of the frozen strawberries, the mixture becomes very thick, it's already almost frozen. After this I just poured it into the ice cream maker (no refrigeration necessary!) and let it churn for about 20 minutes. So with this combination you can have strawberry frozen yoghurt in 30 minutes! Wooohoooo! I foresee a summer filled with this ice cream!


Strawberry Frozen Yoghurt

Yield: about 1 quart


1 pound strawberries (fresh or frozen)
2/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vodka or kirsch (optional)
1 cup plain yoghurt (whole milk, but non-fat works also)
1 teaspoon lemon juice


If you're using fresh strawberries, slice them and toss it in a bowl with the sugar and vodka (or kirsch). Stir until the sugar begins to dissolve. Set aside and let stand for about 1  hour. If you're using frozen strawberries, just skip this step.

Put the yoghurt, strawberries and lemon juice into the blender and purée until smooth.

If you've used fresh strawberries refrigerate the mixture for 1 hour.

Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Source: The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

Monday, May 28, 2012

Chocolate Chip Pancakes with Vanilla Strawberries

On weekdays we never have the time to make much of breakfast. Erik leaves really early (and I mean reaaaaly early) and I'm not much of a morning person.  I try to keep it as simple as possible so my head can process what is going on and make sure everything gets done on time.

But in the weekends I do love to make a bit more work of breakfast. This isn't always possible, but I'm always so happy when I can give my family something special, and more importantly, something delicious.

These pancakes are, despite the long title, easy to whip up. They are fluffy and flavourful, filled with chocolate chips (because, let's face it... what doesn't taste better with a bit of chocolate in it?) and the strawberries are divine and go great with these pancakes. And although it isn't shown in the pictures....we topped these pancakes off with a bit of whipped cream, making it a bit over the top. It feels like you're eating a dessert for breakfast and well...who doesn't like that!


Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Pancakes with Vanilla Strawberries

Yield: a lot of pancakes, we even had some leftovers...


For the pancakes:
2 eggs
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk (or 1/2 cup milk and 1 1/2 cup plain yogurt)
4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup chocolate chips

For the strawberries:
1 pint strawberries
2-4 teaspoons vanilla sugar (or 1/4 vanilla bean and 2-4 teaspoons sugar)


Start by cutting the strawberries into slices. Put the sliced strawberries in a bowl and add the vanilla sugar (I always keep a jar handy, just fill a jar with regular sugar and stuff in some vanilla beans which have been scraped empty of the seeds. Every time I have a leftover empty vanilla bean I replace the ones in the jar with these) or scrape the seeds out of 1/4 vanilla bean and add regular sugar. Mash everything together a bit (not too much!) and put the strawberries aside, so they can release their juices and the sugar can dissolve.

Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Add the buttermilk (or milk and yogurt), melted butter and vanilla and mix well.

Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt and mix together until almost smooth.

Fold in the chocolate chips and let the batter rest for several minutes.

Over medium heat, heat a pan or griddle. Add a little butter or oil.

Pour the batter onto the pan and cook until bubbles start to form that pop. Flip the pancake with a spatula and cook until the other side is golden brown. Repeat with the rest of the batter. The amount of batter that you use depends a bit on how big you want your pancakes to be. I like my pancakes to be a bit bigger, so I use a small ladle, but you can make yours smaller and add about 2 tablespoons of batter to the pan.

To serve the pancakes, top them with the strawberries and a dollop of whipped cream!

Source: slightly adapted from Joy the Baker

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Simple Brownies

Every self-respecting human has to have a go-to brownie recipe. Mine is simple, uses staple ingredients and the end result is always delicious. Fudgey and chocolatey, everything a brownie needs to be. This version is plain, but you can add raisins, chocolate chips, nuts or whatever catches your fancy!

The recipe calls for oil instead of butter, but don't be afraid, it is still moist. A combination of cocoa powder and melted chocolate creates a great chocolate flavour and raw cane sugar makes it extra gooey (or sticky? I never know the right word to describe a brownie). It is easy to whip up if you need a last minute treat!



Yield: about 16 small pieces


150 gram (1/2 cup) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
120 ml (1/2 cup) canola oil
215 (1 cup) gram raw cane sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
65 gram (1/2 cup) self-raising flour
4 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
Additional: chopped nuts, chocolate chips, raisins, etc.


Preheat the oven to 180˚C (350˚F). Lightly grease a brownie pan.

Melt the chocolate au bain marie.

Whisk together the oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla.

Add the melted chocolate and mix until well combined.

Sift the flour and cocoa powder over the mixture and fold it through.

At this point you can fold in any additional ingredients.

Pour the mixture into the brownie pan. Make sure the batter is spread evenly.

Bake the brownie for 30-35 minutes. Let the brownie cool in the pan. After it has cool, cut it into pieces.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Rocky Road Ice Cream

For some bizar reason it feels as if spring and summer do not want to come. Where last year March, April and May were filled with sunshine and warmth, this year we've  had about two nice days so far... It is frustrating and depressing.

In an attempt to put some sunshine into our hearts I decided to make ice cream. Because frankly, who doesn't become happy from fresh home made ice cream? Right? Right! And being the chocolate addict that I am, of course I had to pick a chocolate ice cream! That makes me even happier!

Unfortunately, the ice cream was gone all too soon, but....fortunately I'm writing this post with the sun shining outside. It's not very warm, but it's a start! So I'm off to enjoy some sunshine!


Rocky Road Ice Cream

Yield: about 1 quart


2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
5 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup miniature marshmallows
1 cup roasted peanuts


In a medium saucepan warm 1 cup of the cream with the cocoa powder, whisking thoroughly to blend. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat and let simmer for about 30 seconds, while whisking constantly. Remove the pan from the heat, add the chopped chocolate and stir until smooth. Stir in the remaining cup of cream. Pour the mixture into a large bowl.

Warm the milk, sugar and salt in the same saucepan. In a seperate medium bowl whisk together the egg yolks. Very slowly pour a little of the warm milk into the egg yolks, while whisking constantly. Keep slowly adding the milk and whisking until it is completely combined. Pour the mixture back in to the saucepan.

Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat, scraping the bottom as you stir. until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spatula. Pour the custard through a strainer into the chocolate mixture and stir the mix well. Add the vanilla. Stir until cool over an ice bath.

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

After the ice cream is ready fold in the marshmallows and peanuts.

Source: The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz