Everyone needs a great vanilla cake recipe and I love how this one is firm enough to hold any type of frosting. It has a classic vanilla flavour and it bakes up beautifully, and stacks perfectly so is wonderful if you want to make a layered cake. It’s also very versatile, an allrounder, for birthdays, weddings, as a simple afternoon tea cake, or with succulent berrries for a beautiful dessert.
I love Nigella’s Clementine Cake, which can be decorated with a sprinkling of icing sugar, or an icing drizzle. I have added dried clementine slices which add an extra tang to the cake, and I served it with a delicious citrus curd creme fraiche. It is great as an afternoon tea cake or with whipped cream, or ice cream as a fabulous dessert .
There is nothing more comforting than chocolate and cake, and this chocolate slab buttermilk cake ticks all the boxes. It is quick and easy to make, and can be made in one pot without having to use every bowl in your kitchen. Less washing up and minimum fuss gives you more time to enjoy it. Make it from slabs of your favourite dark chocolate to suit your personal taste, and I can promise you the result will be perfect.
These light buttery lemon shortbread rounds are perfect to serve with tea or coffee. Don’t be fooled by their simplicity, as they have a wonderful lemon tang to them, and sometimes that is all you need to add a little extra to a winter hot drink. If you like you can coat them with white chocolate to make them sweeter.
Winter has suddenly arrived here in South Africa, and what better way to keep warm than with this Spiced Thai Butternut Soup. Colds and Flu abound and the warming goodness of ginger and garlic and roasted butternut is a perfect way to help recover and spend a cozy evening under a blanket in front of your favourite TV series.
Photo: From Pastry by Richard Bertinet
This beautiful tart with creamy, soft filling is from the french “Pastry” cookbook by Richard Bertinet. The book is an amazing reference for anyone wanting to learn the art of pastry and comes with step by step details of any pastry you would ever need to make. It is my constant reference for salted and sweet pastries, and it has never failed me. This Chicken and Tarragon Tart is just the perfect example of a delicious savoury pie with the most delicious crispy pastry. The filling is heavenly with the beautiful addition of French Tarragon.
Isn’t it amazing that you can do things over and over again without a problem, but the minute you are asked to do something that you want to be extra special, everything turns to chaos. Our social media portrays a eutopian existence, with beautiful children playing on perfect white beaches, tables laid to precision and bedecked with the ultimate greenery display, and of course cakes that do not have a crumb out of place. But we all know that none of this is actually true, its just a ploy to make the next person envious of our “perfect” lives.
I bought Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh’s book “Sweet” for Christmas and have been toying with the idea of making this cake ever since, but when I saw him making it on Masterchef last week, I just knew that I couldn’t put it off any longer. It has everything that I love about a cake with a difference. Firstly rosewater which is my all time favourite flavouring, ground almonds and pistachios, lemon, and the surprising addition of semolina.