Tag Archives: Pretoria

A bare pantry, birthday cookies and the tumble dryer

Well that was an awkward silence. This feels like the first post in months (okay it actually is the first post in months – seems time flies when your having fun and drinking beer and of course moving across the world). So the blog has made the move with us to Canada from Pretoria in November, and the LiveInBaker has finally had some time amongst all the settling in, exploring, and getting dragged around by me taking in as much of the craft beer that can be found in our area as possible. However birthdays give rise to exceptions, and as such, this is the first BakedInPretoria post that hasnt been written in Pretoria, but rather comes to you from a cold and snowy Mississauga.

We arrived here with an empty pantry that would put even Mother Hubbard to shame – we have some basics in the fridge and pantry but certainly nothing that would be worthy of a birthday bake – and so the challenge was to find something to bake using what little was in the pantry, and not breaking the bank buying loads of ingredients. Might I add that all our bakeware, mixers and baking related kitchenware is sitting safely in storage somewhere in South Africa – and so challenge number two was to find something bake-able with the limited bakeware at the LiveInBakers disposal.

Now I wasn’t exactly privy to the LiveInBakers first attempt at baking here, instead being told that no I wasn’t in fact smelling anything to do with baking, and that I should calm down and go to sleep. Afterwards, once the cookies had been revealed, she had the following to say:

“First on my mind was to simply buy a box cake mix and ready frosting and throw together a birthday cake, but I wanted to make something a little more interesting than that. Maybe brownies using box cake mix but changing the ingredients around a little so that you have a dense, moist, gooey brownie – a little something like this
But I am embarrassed to say that we don’t even have a pan to bake the brownies in – but not to worry, another idea came to mind…ready-made cookie dough! With the help of the Pillsbury Dough Boy himself and a little inspiration from the recipe section, I decided to make:”

Birthday Cookies

Ingredients:

• 2/3 cup crunchy peanut butter (we always have peanut butter)
• ½ cup oats (our breakfast staple)
• 2 tablespoons canola oil
• 1 egg
• 1 roll of Pillsbury Choc chip cookie dough
• ¼ cup mini m&ms or chocolate chips
• ¼ cup raisins (we add these to our oats – cranberries/cherries/blueberries would work too)
• ¼ cup chopped salted pretzels (salted nuts would work well)
• 1 tumble dryer

Heat your oven to 350°F – yes our oven now works in Fahrenheit, but it’s about 180C. In a large bowl (now we don’t actually have a bowl, but do have a salad spinner, so it’s bowl was used) stir together the peanut butter, oats, oil and egg. Break up cookie dough and add it to peanut butter mixture. Add the m&ms, raisins and pretzels and stir until well mixed.

On ungreased baking sheets, drop heaped tablespoons of dough about 5cm apart. Press with fingers to flatten slightly.

Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until golden brown and edges are just set (tops will not look done). Do not overbake. Cool for a few minutes until they are firm enough to handle and remove from baking sheets to cooling racks.

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Oh yes, and the tumble dryer, well the birthday cookies were a surprise and they needed to be put somewhere safe. There is no hiding place in this apartment – it is so small and absolutely every cupboard and drawer space is packed with our stuff. And so The LiveInBaker resorted to hiding the baked cookies (along with the other evidence in the form of leftover pretzels and m&ms) in the tumble dryer, knowing its the one place I was guaranteed not to look.

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Doing Spring Day to taste – Lemon tart with berries

We might not have terribly cold winters here in Pretoria, but that doesn’t stop us celebrating Spring any more than any where else in the world. Picnics in the parks, outdoor concerts, and desserts that don’t use chocolate. Wait, seriously? If Spring means chocolate free puddings, maybe Winter isn’t so bad after all. Or maybe it just takes a really special dessert to convince me that not everything needs chocolate in it to be called a dessert.

So for Spring day the LiveInBaker decided to go for something a little bit lemony, a little bit tart, and all together pretty damn good:

Lemon Tart with fresh berries:

Ingredients:

For the pastry shell:

  • 150g cake flour;
  • 25g corn flour;
  • 40g icing sugar;
  • 90g butter;
  • 5ml vanilla essence;
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten.

For the filling:

  • 250g cream cheese;
  • Enough plain yogurt to thin cream cheese to desired consistency, around a quarter of a cup;
  • quarter to half a cup of lemon curd (done to your taste);
  • The grated rind and juice of one lemon (to taste);
  • 300 – 350g of mixed berries;
  • 1 table-spoon of icing sugar.

Sift the flour, corn flour and icing sugar together, then rub in the butter (don’t worry, I also don’t know what this means) until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Combine the vanilla and egg yolks, and then mix this into the crumbs to make a firm dough (you might need to add cold water if the mixture isn’t forming a firm dough).

The cling film stops the dough from sticking to the rolling-pin and counter top

Roll the dough out and line a 23cm round flan tin with it, pressing the dough up the sides. Prick the base with a fork (cover the entire base) and place in a fridge for 30 minutes.

Finishing lining the pastry tin

Preparing the tart shell for baking

Line the flan with baking paper and baking beans (or dried chickpeas for us). Place the tin on a baking sheet, and bake in a 200C oven for 20 minutes (turns out that blind baking is not in actual fact, baking while trying to keep both eyes on the rugby game), removing the paper and the beans for the last 5 minutes. Allow the pastry shell to cool completely before you start filling it.

Blind baking

Completed pastry shell

For the filling, cream the cream cheese, yogurt, lemon curd, lemon rind and lemon juice to your desired consistency and taste. We kept our quite tart.

Prepare your berries by washing and slicing the strawberries, and mixing it with 1 table-spoon of icing sugar. When you are ready to serve, fill the pastry case with your cream cheese mixture, and top with the sweet berries.

Decorating the tart with berries

You can either do the final preparation right before you serve, but you can also do this a couple of hours before. If you fill the pastry shell immediately before serving, the shell will remain very crisp and crumbly, and if you fill it a couple of hours before it will soften the shell a bit, but it won’t lose it biscuit like quality.

The completed tart, giving chocolate a run for its money

Drinking with this recipe:

We were drinking white and  rosé wine with this recipe, which, based on how the morning after felt, is not something I would like to remember.

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Happy Birthday to BakedInPretoria

Happy birthday to the blog! Today BakedInPretoria turns 1. Which means that exactly 1 year ago, on “start something day”, I typed my first, all be it a bit of a short post.

If you’re readying this, I hope you have enjoyed the journey so far! Thanks for stopping by.

If you’re a regular reader, why don’t you leave a comment to say hi, would love to hear from you, and know that you’re out there.

If you can’t get enough of BakedInPretoria, why don’t you follow us on twitter, or like us on Facebook:

or “like” our Facebook page.

And a special thank you to the LiveInBaker, for actually putting in the hard work behind the blog.

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Spring Day hangover – Chocolate drizzled Biscotti

Spring is back in Pretoria! After one insane winter – okay in fairness there was only really one cold month, but it did snow during that month (the first time snow was seen in the city since 1968) which I suppose does make it a pretty special winter. But 1 September saw every warm-blooded Pretoria male donning their favorite pair of shorts. This is code for an uncomfortable amount of middle-aged men walking around in old rugby shorts, grease stains and all.

In true Pretoria style, everyone had their own way of celebrating planned. Ours this year being to drink more white wine than we have since drinking became legal (legal for us that is, not the world). Oh yes, if I remember correctly, there was dinner involved as well.

As we are such good planners, we had the post night out hangover breakfast planned and taken care of, thanks to the LiveInBaker. She did explain that these rusk-like “biscotti” were tasty, and a sneaky way of getting some early fruit in, but I couldn’t fail to miss the fact that there was more chocolate than anything else on them. But don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. Really I’m not!

Walnut and Cranberry Biscotti:

Ingredients:

  • 300g cake flour;
  • 150g castor sugar;
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder;
  • quarter teaspoon salt;
  • 3 eggs;
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla essence
  • 75g walnuts;
  • 75g dried cranberries;
  • dark chocolate to drizzle over.

Start by combining all the dry ingredients together (except the nuts and dried fruit) in a large mixing bowl. Whisk the eggs with the vanilla essence, and mix together with the dry ingredients. You should be left with a sticky dough. Lastly mix in the walnuts and the dried cranberries.

Divide the dough into 2, and form each one into a log shape, 25cm long and 5cm wide.

Bake each log in the oven (pre-heated to 150 degree celsius) for 40 minutes or until they are a light golden colour.

Immediately remove from the oven, and cut across the log so that you are left with slices that are between 1 to 2 cm thick.

Lay the slices on their side on a baking tray, and bake in the oven for 10 – 15 minutes or until the visible side is a light golden colour. Flip the slices over and bake for the same amount of time.

Remove from the oven and let the slices cool. We melted some dark chocolate and drizzled it over the slices. This is not compulsory but is highly recommended.

Once cooled, pack away into a convenient air tight container as quickly as you can. I find my stomach works well for this.

Read our first attempt at making Biscotti.

Drinking with this recipe:

I don’t really remember what we drank the night before, except that it was white and crisp, and there might have been a rosé involved as well, but with this recipe we were only drinking coffee, strong coffee!

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World Baking Day – Lime Tart

Some people have some very peculiar allergies. I for one, am allergic to elastoplast plasters and bad beer (unfortunately I’m only lying about one of those, and the real allergy can even result in paper cuts being seriously blown completely out of proportion). The LiveInBaker on the other hand, use to have an allergy to citrus.

The strange thing about her allergy though, is that over time, it went away. This must be due to the copious amounts of tequila and lemons we’ve been through, purely in an effort to desensitize her (so in other words, really just for the sake of getting hammered). Since her allergy has gone away, she has embraced all things citrus, and her latest mission into the kitchen, was nothing less than amazing.

So in the spirit of celebration and World Baking Day, I give you:

(Who-ever-would-have-thought-its-so-hard-to-find-fresh) Limes Tart

ingredients:

  • 200g digestive biscuits;
  • 30ml brown sugar;
  • 60g unsalted butter, melted;
  • 1 can condensed milk;
  • 125ml castor sugar
  • 185ml freshly squeezed lime juice (between 5 – 7 limes)
  • zest of 2 limes;
  • 4 large egg yolks;
  • Pinch of salt.

Preheat the oven to 180 Celsius. Crush the digestive biscuits and 30m ml brown sugar in a blender, until fine crumbs form. Combine with the melted butter. Press mixture into the base and sides of a 23cm tart pan with a removable base.  Place pan on a baking sheet and bake until crust is slightly colored, this takes about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine condensed milk, lime juice, lime zest, egg yolks, castor sugar and salt. Whisk this until it is smooth.

Fresh out of the oven!

Pour mixture into warm crust and return to oven. Bake until filling is set around the edges, but still slightly loose in center (around 25 minutes).
Cool completely at room temperature; then refrigerate (it can keep for up to 2 days, if you can resist for that long) until serving time.

When serving we dusted each slice with some icing sugar, using a tea strainer (cause nothing else was available and it looked damn cool) or a mini sift. We would’ve served this with a dollop of mascarpone cheese to cut through the sweet and tart flavour, but unfortunately all the 24 hour Woolies where fresh out.

Ready for its close up!

Alternatives for this recipe, using the left over egg whites are:

  • Turning it into a lime meringue tart, by creating a meringue mix and topping the tart with it, browned in the oven;
  • Created a duo of deserts, one lime tart and one Pavlova;
  • make separate meringues to go on the side.

You may also be wondering about the title of this recipe. And in explaining why, I also need to make a request. Could everyone in Pretoria please stop drinking so much damn tequila, so that I don’t need to drive to 6 different fruit and veg stores just to find some fresh limes.

Happy World Baking Day!

For the inspiration behind this recipe, look here

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Easter French Toast

I think that no one will deny that leftovers should be recognised as a food category of their own.

Whether its left over steak on a roll, or left over wors on a roll, or even left over potato salad on a roll (normally for breakfast), I like nothing more than some leftovers for breakfast. In fact the thought of having the leftovers for breakfast the next day is one of the few things which can actually keep me from finishing my supper in one go (or making sure that the LiveInBaker’s leftovers are securely stored in the fridge the night before).

With my Easter egg stash quickly dwindling to a couple of marshmallow eggs, and a single hen’s egg, I knew something drastic had to be done.

Our solution: To turn the almost stale hot-cross buns into french toast.

I give you:

Hot-cross bun french toast

Ingredients:

  • hot cross buns
  • 2 eggs
  •  Quarter cup of milk
  • 2 tablespoons of castor sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla essence
  • dark chocolate chips
  • Ice cream

Start by cutting each of your hot-cross buns in half. The recipe which was our inspiration suggested slicing each bun in 3’s, but the hot-cross buns we get in South Africa seem already to thin for this to work. Once cut, press dark chocolate chips into the bottom half of the bun. And the rule of thumb here, is the more the better.

The more chocolate chips the better

Put the two halves of the bun back together, and squeeze tightly together with your hands.

They might resemble little burgers, but not in taste!

Get your egg dip ready by beating together the egg, milk, sugar and vanilla. Dip each hot cross bun into the egg dip, making sure that each side of the bun is coated in dip, but be careful not to let the dip soak into the bun too much.

Heat up some oil in a frying pan, over a low heat. Place the buns into the oil, and flip after around 4 minutes (but use your discretion here, as the size of the bun seems to dictate how long to fry for).  Flip over and cook for the same amount on the other side. Try to flip each bun only once.

The sugar burns easily, so be careful

It looked like we may have burnt the buns, but then realised that the sugar in the egg dip together with the jam glaze already on the buns, caramalised before the bun is properly cooked. But don’t worry, they didn’t taste burnt at all. Once you’ve added your scoop of ice-cream to the top, no one will even notice. We had a secret weapon, a couple of scoops of Eastern Fusion from Royal Danish Home Made Ice-Cream. We only discovered this ice cream store, making home-made ice-cream in Pretoria, the day before but we don’t think it will be the last time we visit it. And the fact that they are open late into the night, can only mean bad news for any anticipated diets.

If you’re in Pretoria, I would really recommend stopping here for a sugar cone, or 10.

But back to the hot-cross buns, they actually came out really well, despite us thinking that we’d burnt them.

And ice-cream saves the day!

Oh and if you would like to see the inspiration behind our recipe, have a look here.

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Hazel Food Market and the discovery of Versus Goliath

I love it when other people have really good ideas. It means no effort on my part and I get to enjoy the fruits of their labours.

One such good idea was when the Hazel Food Market held one of its night markets specifically centered around beer. Pair beer and any sort of food together, and as far as I’m concerned, you’ve got yourself a winner.

I made sure that my wallet was full, that my credit card was hidden away, checked that the LiveInBaker had enough plastic packets to carry everything I was planning on buying, arranged for an alternative driver if necessary, and off we went.

Yes I do

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The Boeremark, a pancake and a strong cup of coffee!

There are very few things in this world that can get me out of bed early in the morning, especially if said morning happens to be a Saturday morning.

I might get out of bed if there was a fire, but most likely only to adjust the fan to cool the room down a bit.

I might also wake up early to watch a good rugby match, but luckily I don’t have to test that theory until February next year. I definitely don’t wake up early for cricket, but seeing as though that can last for 5 days, there’s not normally a point to waking up early.

A few weeks ago however, the LIB managed to get me out of bed early on a Saturday. It could’ve been the allure of a morning spent buying food at the Boeremark, but it was probably the threat of no more baked goods coming out of the LIB’s kitchen if I didn’t –  that did it!

So we were up at sparrows-fart, trying to decide whether it was still too early to wear slops, and whether we should be borrowing someone’s bakkie to fit in better.

Luckily for us, the Pioneer Museum (the home of the Boeremark) is not very far away, in Silverton, and we were able to double team the driving there.

Pork anyone?

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Why I love Pretoria – Spring Time

I think there are few cities in the world that can compare to Pretoria in the spring.

The time of the year when the city sheds the traditional blue worn by two of its favorite sporting teams, and instead bathes itself in an almost endless blanket of purple.

Spring is the time when the Jacaranda trees flower:

Picture courtesy of @pola26

Picture courtesy of @pola26

Picture Courtesy of @pola26

Whether you’re a struggling student, hoping to have a falling Jacaranda flower land on your head (guaranteeing that you’ll pass the end of year exams); a clumsy motorist blaming the purple carpet on the roads for your most recent fender bender; or just a normal Bulls fan (who for once is happy to admit that maybe your blood is actually purple), everyone will admit that the city looks simply amazing when the Jacarandas are in bloom.

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Not all desserts need chocolate, apparently

The only certainties in life are “death and taxes”. Oh and me not classifying anything as a proper pudding, unless it actually contains chocolate in one form or the other.

But even I’ve been known to push the boundary of what meets my definition of dessert, and decided to try out something a little bit different after a recent braai. And in a complete role reversal, I took charge of the dessert (well in the overseeing of the dessert making process at least).

On the menu, cinnamon braai’d pineapple with vanilla ice cream.

Making short work of preparing the pineapple

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