Tag Archives: South Africa

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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Heritage Day and celebrating the braai!

Everyone has traditions. Like in my family we believe in traditional medicine, which means that when we get a headache, we take a Disprin, because that is what we’ve done for generations.

On the 24th of September, South African’s celebrate Heritage Day, which means each South African gets to celebrate their own unique heritage. A lot of South Africans choose to do this by doing something that has become synonymous with being South African, and that is to crack open an ice-cold beer, and getting a “lekker stuk of wors” on the braai.

So in celebration of Heritage Day, here are some videos that celebrate the braai!

BraaiBoy breaks the current record for the longest braai

Know your wood from you wood with Jan and Neels

Ons gaan nou braai!” (which also explains the South African definition of “Now now”)

Bringing the girls to the braai

And have a look at my favorites from last year.

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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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It’s Freedom Day, so feel free to indulge

Freedom Day 2012 saw South Africa having its 18th birthday since our first free and fair elections. So for the first time, the country is allowed to legally buy itself a beer (no more sneaking a few sips from its parents’ drinks), and finally can ditch that ridiculous learners licence and take the car out for a spin completely unsupervised (with much wheel spinning and racing other youths from traffic light to traffic light). It might even volunteer to be the designated driver now, just once in a while.

It’s also time for the country to start making some serious decisions, like what it’s really going to do with the rest of its life, and whether its going to make the big move to a university near the coast, or stick in land where things are a little faster and a little tougher. And if it’s going to buy those text books it needs, or if it’s rather going to save the money for something more important, like a crate of beer for the weekend?

The country might even think of entering into its first serious relationship, no longer messing around with silly child-like crushes.

It’s parents might sit it down, and explain that it’s about time that it finds a place of its own to stay, and to remind it that it is probably not okay to have breakfast for supper, even though that milk and cereal is just about the only meal it knows how to make without seriously stuffing it up.

The country, like most teenagers when they finally turn 18, probably thinks it’s really the man, but it won’t take long to find out its back at the bottom of the ladder, and that there are a lot bigger countries out there able and willing to put it in its place with a quick snot-klap.

But that’s all not its problem at the moment. Right now it really just needs to worry about how bad its first proper birthday hangover is going to be!

So to celebrate its birthday, and to celebrate the end of the countries high school year, we made:

Chocolate, Pretzel and Peanut Butter Squares

Ingredients:

  • 170g butter, at room temperature;
  • 250ml light brown sugar;
  • 125ml sugar;
  • 2 large eggs;
  • 2 tsp. vanilla;
  • 500ml cake flour;
  • 1 tsp. bicarbanate of soda;
  • ½ tsp. salt;
  • 100g milk chocolate (in slabs);
  • 170g of dark chocolate (in slabs);
  • 375ml mini pretzels, coarsely broken;
  • 60ml crunchy peanut butter;
  • 45g dark chocolate, either disks or a slab broken for melting.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Spray & cook, and line a square 23cm baking tin with wax paper.

Hot out of the oven.

In a large bowl, beat the butter with both sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Add the flour, bicarbanate of soda and salt and stir until almost combined. Add the dark and milk chocolate (both roughly broken up) and 250ml of the pretzel pieces and stir until blended.

Spread the batter evenly in the pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden. In a small double boiler, melt the peanut butter and remaining dark chocolate, stirring until smooth. Sprinkle the bars with the remaining crushed pretzel pieces and drizzle with the peanut butter-chocolate mixture.

The LiveInBaker uses a big knife, mostly to keep me from sneaking bits.

Allow to cool until set, then cut into squares. Make sure it is properly set and cool, otherwise the cutting part can get a bit messy (but that is all part of the fun I guess).

If you are making these to share, ensure you keep a few for yourself, as you are definitely going to want as many as you can get your hands on.

If you are on some sort of diet, you are going to need to wait for your day off, as these are seriously decadent, and seriously delicious.

These two were left at home, for our midnight snack!

Happy Birthday South Africa! Here’s looking forward to you entering your twenties!

To see the recipe that inspired this, 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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Boerewors – First Class Style!

My dedication to the Springboks was really tested this weekend, with the quarter finals game in the World Cup scheduled for 07:00 on a Sunday morning (the beers probably wouldn’t even be cold by that time). So we decided to move the customary braai forward a few hours. Seeing as though we had time, and no other mouths to disappoint, we decided to push the envelope a little.

So we swung by the our local Pick ‘n Pay; I know they don’t traditionaly have the best quality wors, but this was a spur of the moment decision. We picked up some traditional boerewors, an onion, a wheel of camembert cheese and a half-dozen soft white rolls.

I fired up the gas braai, got a little bit of olive oil onto the grills, and slapped the boerewors on. We don’t like to over-cook our wors, so I normally cook it until it will break with a simple twist of the tongs.

The LIB got started in the kitchen, cooking the onion in a little oil, until translucent. She then added in a glug of balsamic vinegar, and cooked down until there was no more liquid in the pan. At this stage the onions should be sticky and caramalized.

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Maropeng – The birth place of mankind

(Warning: this post contains no food and no drinks, it’s crazy, I know)

I was avoiding work the other day (this happens so often, I’m not able to point out the specific day), and came across a cure for a very unusual hangover.

After spending 6 months abroad (most of this spent on the only island in the world where it feels like the whole world has decided to have a camp in someone’s back yard. Manhattan I miss you) I was left with a feeling that can only be described as travel hangover (and yes it did take me a week to get used to having to pick up my car keys every time I left the house).

Turns out we are not the only people to feel this way, but luckily others out there have discovered a wonderful cure for this!

The cure we have found works the best for us is, to become a local tourist.

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Chop, Dop and Roll – part 2

I have finally recovered enough from my Malva induced coma to actually be able to sit up in front of my pc for longer than 5 minutes at a time.

Which means that I get to think back on the part 2 of our 2 part Braai Day weekend.

As any “tong-master” worth half his meat knows, bread is as compulsory at a braai as a decent pair of braai tongs, a bowl of biltong and a cold six-pack are.

Everyone knows that the humble bread roll can in some cases be substituted, normally for: a brown bread roll; or maybe for a seed bun; and sometimes even, when people are feeling unusually adventurous, maybe a seed loaf.

In the interest of spicing things up a little bit, and also as October and Halloween are swiftly approaching (almost as quickly as temporary costume shops should now be popping up in NYC) the LIB decided that this would be the perfect time to introduce some pumpkin to the traditional South African braai bread.

On to the menu then!

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Chop, Dop and Roll – part 1

On account of the fact that I missed out on Braai Day (Heritage Day) last year, and seeing as though it fell on a Saturday this year, it just made sense that instead of a Braai Day, we would rather have a braai weekend (Yes I know, sometimes I even amaze myself)!

We were lucky enough this year to actually be invited to the braai’s, and at neither of these did we have to supply the meat, so instead I ensure that the Live In Baker (LIB) focused her attention on areas that she is far better suited towards, and that of course is baking.

The first item on the menu was Malva Pudding, the dessert for the first braai. The decision to make Malva went something like this:

LIB: “You know, you haven’t had any Malva Pudding since before you left for the US.”

Me: “Impossible, don’t be silly!”

LIB: “Seriously, think about it.”

Me: “That decides it, you’ll be making Malva!”

Some decisions are easier to make than others!

The LIB gives a trade secret away, "Custard is just better if it comes out of a box"

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Its Braai Day!

The 24th of September heralds Heritage Day here in South Africa. In a nut shell this is when we  remember the cultural heritage of the many different cultures that make up the population of South Africa.

And for the past couple of years, there has been a move to celebrate one tradition, that spans all the different cultures in our country, and that is to Braai (lending Heritage Day its other name – Braai Day)!

In the spirit of Braai Day, I thought I’d share some links, which will hopefully result in a clearer understanding of this proud event:

1. Sorry Rebecca Black, but yes, even your song has been improved and adapted for Braai Day.

2. Understanding the complexities behind braai culture (ladies, I suggest you take notes)

3. The official anthem of braai day.

Now, the braai is traditionally the domain of Man, so I’ve let the LIB take the day off. I’ve made sure there is a 6-pack (or ten) in the fridge. The wors is defrosted, the steaks are marinated! Normally I would also make sure that the coals are hot, but even I have given into to a gas braai (check me, embracing technology).

Now all that’s left is to decide is, do I wear slops or do I go barefoot?

 

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