There is nothing sweeter than a New Year, filled with hope and wonderful new ideas. After a month away from blogging, baking and food shoots, I am excited at the prospect of sharing some amazing new food ideas that I have picked up during my travels to London and the USA. This year I am planning on travelling as little as possible after spending four months away from home last year. There are no fancy new year’s resolutions for me this year, its going to be all about month long goals, which I think I can realistically achieve.
Fruity, light and and spicy – this year’s delicious light Christmas Cake. Made in a tray, it is perfect for a “quick night before, forgot to make a Christmas Cake”, kind of cake. Heavy fruit mince Christmas Cakes are a thing of the past, and this one has a small amount of fruit mince with some candied ginger, citrus peel and banana to lighten it. Its the type of cake you could make all year around without hesitation.
Whilst tidying my baking cupboard where I keep my stash of baking pans, I came across my beloved Bundt tins and trays. And when I mean stash, I am not exaggerating. One of my crazy obsessions is collecting baking trays, pans and vintage cutlery, along with every possible baking appliance on the planet. Both old and new, each one has a special meaning to me. So here is a little recipe to make in small bundt pans or as cupcakes if you prefer.
You’ve found your recipe, donned your apron, and are ready to indulge in a morning of baking. The beautifully photographed recipe in your new magazine or cookbook makes you confident that in mere moments your creation will be coming out of the oven, smelling and looking like the gourmet image in your book. But in reality we all know that is probably not going to happen. Before you rush into it, there are steps that have to be considered and followed to make your recipe a success and a keeper. Success in baking depends on precise measurements and proper handling of both ingredients and the tools required for each recipe.
My reasons and joy for travelling are manyfold, and one of them being the inspiration that I get for new ideas and trends in the world of food. For me there is nothing to beat the exhilarating feeling when experiencing new foods, smells and tastes during my travels. It is no secret that my love for Italy is overflowing – I love her people, her language, the beautiful towns and cities steeped in history and most of all her food. My bookshelf is filling up with Italian cookbooks, which I have been drooling over and translating until well into the night. This simple Yogurt Bavarois with grapes or “Bavaresi allo yogurt cereali e uva“, is just one of the beautiful recipes I came across in Italy, and I couldn’t wait to recreate it when I got home.
As we experience the last cold weather here in South Africa before Summer arrives, it seemed appropriate to take advantage of the beautiful pumpkins that are filling our grocery shelves. Our normal limited choice of traditional pumpkins has suddenly given way to pumpkins of all shapes and sizes, and I couldn’t resist these little beauties. Pumpkins go hand in hand with the month of October, Halloween, and falling leaves, and to mark these occasions for my friends in the Northern Hemisphere, and for those of us in South Africa dressed in our Winter woolies, here are two recipes to keep our hearts and tummies warm.
It was a perfect day in Florence as Michelle and I headed out into the Tuscan countryside, for truffle hunting, and wine tasting . Hilary, our vivacious guide and sommelier extraordinaire, drove us in true Italian style, racing through the busy streets of the city, dodging scooters and tourists, and up the winding hills into the beautiful countryside. Lush green hills interlaced with vineyards, forests and olive groves sped past us as we made our way to San Miniato, a hillside village in the Arno Valley where we were to start our truffle hunting experience.
I’ve been playing around with some flavourings and decided that a little hint of almond, subtle but distinct, would be just the thing for this easy shortbread. These are flaky and melt in your mouth delicious, so if you want a quick easy shortbread that takes 5 minutes to mix up and 10 minutes to cook, these babies are for you. Although not made like traditional shortbread, I promise you it tastes just as delicious . If almond isn’t your thing though, it is just as tasty with vanilla essence as a replacement.