Baking: Fresh Fig, Walnut and Rosemary Upside Down Cake – with recipe!

Since I’ve moved to Murrayville, I have been incredibly fortunate to have plenty of neighbours who have fruit trees. And even more fortunate that said neighbours are also very generous. It was because of this that I had my first taste of figs. And boy was I smitten.

I was in a baking phase then so my immediate thoughts were: can I bake with this?

Turns out I can. And boy was it worth it. I brought my first fig cake ever to school and it got demolished by my colleagues in record time.

Fresh Fig, Walnut, and Rosemary Upside-Down Cake
Source

Ingredients
1/2 cup butter (8 tablespoons)
1 cup brown sugar
10 fresh, ripe figs of your choice, tips removed, halved
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped, divided
2-3 tablespoons walnut pieces, or as many as needed
1 cup flour, sifted*
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, separated
1 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons lemon juice
zest of 2 lemons
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Method
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat to 180c.
2. Add butter to a 9-inch-round baking pan, and place inside of a warm oven until melted, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven, and sprinkle brown sugar evenly over the butter. Add figs, flesh side down, and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the rosemary. Fill in the nooks and crannies with walnut pieces.
3. In a medium bowl, combine sifted flour, baking powder and salt, and stir.
4. Using a hand mixer, in a metal or glass bowl, beat egg whites at high speed until fluffy. Set aside.
5. In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks with sugar at medium speed until creamy. Add lemon juice, zest, vanilla extract, and remaining 1 teaspoon rosemary, and beat well. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture, and beat until well combined. Fold in the egg whites with a rubber spatula. Pour cake mixture evenly over the fruit, and smooth with the spatula.
6. Bake for 40 minutes, or until cake is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Run a blunt knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the cake. Invert carefully onto a plate. Serve warm or at room temperature.

*Note: Sifting the flour creates a lighter cake.

So good. You really need to get onto this if you are a fig lover!

Me, I’m going to go sit in a corner with a slice of this cake and dream of an all inclusive holiday. Mmm.

Meal to Share: South African

Meal to Share: South African


This month’s theme is : South African!

You can have a look at our previous Meal to share themes:

Moroccan, Outdoor food, Chinese New Year, Russian Feast if you have missed any.

I really do like our Meal to share themes. It sneaks up you, at the end of the month but it’s quite nice because it makes me (and the other two ladies as well, presumably) explore and learn how to use ingredients in a different way. Combine things in a manner that I never would have thought of, and tried new cuisines and recipes that I wouldn’t have otherwise. So I really hope you enjoy it too!

Our Menu today starts with a look at Penny’s Mini Bunny Chow


The name’s adorable, the dish looks adorable! If this is what South African cuisine looks like then let me at it!

I could eat a whole meal of that, I believe. But we need to move on to mains!

For Mains, Agnes brought Bobotie which is a curried mince dish served with yellow rice.


How incredibly colourful is that? Have you noticed that so far the meals have all been quite colourful? I’m really loving the food and vibrancy of the colours from the Rainbow Nation so far! And both ladies’ food styling expertise is making me sigh in envy.

So you are probably thinking that since the savouries from the Rainbow Nation are so incredibly colourful then dessert must be an explosion of colours, right?

Wrong. At least, in my case, it’s wrong!

I made Malva Pudding


Oh you humble looking thing. If people passed you by on the street, they probably wouldn’t even take a second glance. You don’t look very eye catching do you?

But just you wait till you’ve taken that first mouthful. You will be sorry you ever doubted its humble appearance. The beauty of the Malva Pudding is not in its look, but in its incredibly incredibly amazing flavours that just EXPLODES in your mouth like a joyful firework on a clear summer’s night.

Malva Pudding is also known as Vinegar pudding, which I assume to be because of the vinegar you add into it. You can substitute it with Cider, which is what I did.


Here’s the Cider that I used. Mmmmm. It really only required 1 teaspoon. So I drank the rest. Someone had to do it. Mmmm.

Malva Pudding Recipe


(from the book “The Saffron Pear Tree” by Zuretha Roos)
Source: Food Fun Farm

Ingredients

200g Sugar
2 Eggs
1 tbsp Apricot Jam
150g Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 pinch Salt
1 tbsp Butter
1 tsp Cider/ Grape Vinegar
100 ml Milk (Skim Milk Okay)
1 tsp Vanilla Essence

Sauce:
200 ml Cream
100g Butter
150g Brown Sugar
100 ml hot Water

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180’C/350’F/Gas Mark . Beat the sugar & eggs well in a food processor (or with an electric mixer) until thick & lemon coloured, & add the jam, beating in.
2. Sift together the flour, soda & salt.
3. Melt the butter & add the vinegar. Add this mixture & the milk & vanilla to the egg mixture alternatively with the flour.
4. Beat well & bake in a covered oven proof dish for 45 minutes.
5. Melt together the ingredients for the sauce, stirring well, & pour it over the pudding as it comes out of the oven.

Serves 4.


The beautifully golden pudding as it came out of the oven. When I was originally pouring it into my oven proof dish, I thought : what a pity, my dish is too large. Turns out, the pudding expands and almost doubles! My dish turned out to be the perfect height for it after all. Phew!


Pour, pour, pour. Absorb, absorb, absorb… mmm. This makes the pudding somewhat squishy and soggy but it just oozes beautiful juices. The blogger whom I snitched the recipe off said that this was the : “I Think I’ve Died And Gone To Heaven Pudding” I think that is so true. This is definitely making its way onto my to-share list and don’t be surprised if I turn up on your doorstep demanding you have a bite of this.


Looks can be deceiving, but oh gosh. Maybe you want this to look as plain as possible so nobody else will want to eat it anyways. That way you can have it all to yourself. Yum.

Recipe: Carrot cake with Cream Cheese Frosting – so moist!

Recipe: Carrot cake with Cream Cheese Frosting – so moist!

Baking is now such a joy. Not only do I have a sunlight filled kitchen which fills me with happiness, but I also now own a Kitchenaid which makes the actual process of mixing and preparing that cake batter the most painless event ever. I can’t believe how easy it is! Best friend, welcome home!

The only thing marring my kitchen bliss is my temperamental oven. But the electrician’s on it, so really I will have my perfect kitchen very soon.

With my new kitchen, I decided a new apron was in order:


And with that, I decided the perfect cake to christen my new kitchen and new kitchenaid was a carrot cake. Mainly because I had a bag of carrots in the fridge and nothing else.

Carrot Cake

with Cream Cheese Frosting.
Makes 12 cupcakes and one loaf

Ingredients

1 cup Brown Sugar
1 cup Vegetable Oil
3 Large Eggs
Pinch Salt
1/2 teaspoon Bicarb Soda
2 cups Self Raising Flour
2 cups finely grated Carrot (around 4 large carrots)
1/2 cup Walnuts, finely chopped
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Nutmeg

Cream Cheese Frosting

From Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook

300g Icing sugar
125g Cream Cheese, cold
50g Unsalted Butter, room temp

Method

Carrot Cake

Heat oven to 180 degrees celsius.
Beat sugar and oil until thick, then add 1 egg at a time and keep beating for a few more minutes.
Add salt, bicarb soda, carrots, flour, walnuts and spices.
Mix with wooden spoon until all combined.
Put batter in well greased loaf pan or tin and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until light golden and cake springs back when touched in the middle.

Frosting

Beat the icing sugar and butter together with an electric mixer until well mixed.
Add the cream cheese in one go and beat until it is completely incorporated.
Turn the mixer up to medium high. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. Do not overbeat, as it can quickly become runny.

The recipe came from Emma over at Cakemistress. I trust her recipes with every bit of my being and if she says this recipe is awesome, you can bet anything that it is and will blow your socks off.




I did have some issues with my new oven. God bless the person who invented oven thermometers! My oven turned out to be about 60 degrees hotter than what the dial claims to be at. My poor cake would have died a horrible death had I popped it in without checking on the thermometer first! Fully baked and slathered with cream cheese frosting, I was almost ready to eat it. Almost.

Lemon zest on the top, and then I was ready. (To be fair, I forgot about the lemon zest until Sefie reminded me. Whoops!)




Would you like to come round for tea?

Recipe: Dulce de leche brownies

Recipe: Dulce de leche brownies

I’ve never made brownies before. In fact, I didn’t really eat brownies till I tasted the amazing brownies made by Barbara from Bees Knees Brownie Company.

Oh that and the amazing chocolate x raspberry brownies that I will be sharing soon. That recipe was from a student’s mum, but this one that I’m talking about today is from David Lebovitz who adapted it from somewhere else… it doesn’t matter. What matters is that it was my first brownie attempt and I think it was rather a success!




I’ve been trying to work more efficiently and more systematically. Part of that is measuring out every single thing I need beforehand so I don’t need to stop what I’m doing midway to fiddle with measurements. It does mean more bowls are being used but it definitely helped speed things up.

Anyways, here’s the recipe – copy pasted from the amazing David Lebovitz:

Dulce de Leche Brownies

Ingredients

115g salted or unsalted butter, cut into pieces
170g bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
25g unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
3 large eggs
200g sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
140g flour
optional: 100g toasted pecans or walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 cup Dulce de Leche (or Cajeta)

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 175c.
2. Line a 8-inch (20 cm) square pan with a long sheet of aluminum foil that covers the bottom and reaches up the sides. If it doesn’t reach all the way up and over all four sides, cross another sheet of foil over it, making a large cross with edges that overhang the sides. Grease the bottom and sides of the foil with a bit of butter or non-stick spray.
3. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the chocolate pieces and stir constantly over very low heat until the chocolate is melted. Remove from heat and whisk in the cocoa powder until smooth. Add in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the sugar, vanilla, then the flour. Mix in the nuts, if using.
4. Scrape half of the batter into the prepared pan. Here comes the fun part:
Drop one-third of the Dulce de Leche, evenly spaced, over the brownie batter, then drag a knife through to swirl it slightly. Spread the remaining brownie batter over, then drop spoonfuls of the remaining Dulce de Leche in dollops over the top of the brownie batter. Use a knife to swirl the Dulce de Leche slightly.
5. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes. The brownies are done when the center feels just-slightly firm. Remove from the oven and cool completely.

Storage:These brownies actually become better the second day, and will keep well for up to 3 days.

Did I mention these were the first brownies I’ve ever made? Ever?

How do you think I went?




Okay, I’ll be the first to admit. I completely failed at cutting the brownies. I didn’t chill them in the fridge before cutting (but they had been cooled completely) and my heated knife trick didn’t work so well. And I found that blasted plastic knife after I was done cutting it all.

Taste wise, I think they were pretty good. They weren’t impossibly sweet like I had thought they’d be. As I was pouring the cup of sugar in, I could feel my heart sinking. But thankfully, it wasn’t tooth-achingly sweet and actually turned out really decent. Yummy!

Here’s another photo for the road:


YUM!

p/s: Special mention and thanks to the amazing Elias Lopez for being my Dulce de Leche drug dealer. He introduced me to it and I’ve been hooked ever since!

Recipe: Stuffed Mushrooms – the minimalistic way.

Recipe: Stuffed Mushrooms – the minimalistic way.



It’s been really long since the last mushroom recipe, isn’t it?
I really did try to keep it constant but when there’s so many amazing and exciting recipes out there, it’s hard to keep to the same ingredient constantly.

One of the most popular search terms to my blog is ‘stuffed mushrooms’. So after many months of watching this search term top my graphs every day, I decided that I should explore some other fillings to stuff mushrooms with – for a change and some variety and of course so you guys get more delicious mushrooms on your computer screen again.

This particular filling is really simple. It’s easy to whip up with what you have at home, and shows that simplicity and a minimalistic approach can result in the yummiest results.



Stuffed Mushrooms

Ingredients

1 potato – diced
1 carrot – diced
1/2 zucchini – diced
4 portobello mushrooms
handful of olives – pitted and sliced.
rosemary and oregano
salt & pepper
grated cheese to top

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180c.
2. Clean the mushrooms with a slightly damp cloth and remove the stalks. Dice the stalks and keep it aside to toss into the filling – no wasting food!
3. Combine all the ingredients (potato, carrot, olives, salt & pepper, stalks) in an oven-proof bowl and drizzle olive oil over them. Toss and set aside.
4. Lay the mushrooms on an oven proof dish and drizzle olive oil over them. Take both the ingredients and mushrooms and put them into the oven for 15 minutes with an aluminium foil wrapped tightly over them.
5. Remove from oven and proceed to stuff mushrooms.
6. Sprinkle with herbs and pile cheese on top.
7. Bake again with the foil on top for another 20-30 minutes. You can even crack more salt and pepper on the very top and a teeny bit more olive oil if you are so inclined.
8. And serve!



The beauty about stuffed mushrooms (or stuffed anything really) is that you can let your imagination run wild. Add anything you like (that makes sense in your head), add the appropriate herbs and seasonings and chances are you will have a plateful of beautifully baked and incredibly yummy stuffed mushrooms.

What other stuffings have you tried to stuff your mushrooms with?