30.7.12

A delicious family feast

For as long as I can remember every Sunday we have always had a late afternoon braai. You can say, it has almost become a bit of a family tradition. The braai is always made up of an assortment of meats and different side plates. These side plates are usually a mixed salad, potato salad and a small desert.

Yesterday’s Sunday lunch we decided to change things up a little. My sister suggested instead of making potato salad, we try the Robertsons Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Spicy Honey-Herb Butter. We changed the recipe a little by using both potatoes and sweet potatoes.

Ingredients

4 Medium Sized Sweet Potatoes/potatoes washed
Tin foil for roasting
Olive oil
100g butter or margarine
30ml honey
1 clove crushed garlic
5ml Robertsons crushed chillies
10ml Robertsons mixed herbs
Robertsons atlantic sea salt
Robertsons black pepper

Method

Prick sweet potatoes with a fork all over.
Lightly brush tin foil with some olive oil and wrap each sweet potato in a double layer of olive oil
Place the wrapped potatoes in the hot coals for 30-45 minutes, turning once or twice during cooking until tender.
In the meantime combine the butter, honey, crushed garlic, Robertsons crushed chillies and Robertsons mixed herbs.
Season to flavoured butter with Robertsons atlantic sea salt and Robertsons black pepper to taste.
When the sweet potatoes are soft, carefully peel away the foil, cut them in half and top with a generous spoonful of flavoured butter.
Season to taste with the Robertsons atlantic sea salt and Robertsons black pepper.


For dessert we tried one of Nigella Lawson’s scrumptious recipes, Eton Mess. We have had this dish before and every time it’s an absolute winner.  


Ingredients

4 cups strawberries
2 teaspoons caster or vanilla sugar
2 teaspoons pomegranate juice
2 cups whipping cream
1 packet individual meringue nests

Method

Hull and chop the strawberries and put into a bowl and add the sugar and pomegranate juice and leave to macerate while you whip the cream.
Whip the cream in a large bowl until thick but still soft. Roughly crumble in 4 of the meringues nests - you will need chunks for texture as well as a little fine dust.
Take out about half a cupful of the chopped strawberries, and fold the meringue cream and rest of the fruit mixture together.
Arrange on 4 serving plates or glasses or in a mound, and top each with some of the remaining macerated strawberries.

I would highly recommend both of these dishes for the next time you decide to cook or have guests over for dinner.

27.7.12

Food Olympics 2012

The big day has arrived, the Olympics opening ceremony is taking place this evening and is set to be a spectacular evening.

In celebration of this wonderful event, we decided to make something delicious to eat. The main course consisted of a chicken pie, with a side of mash and peas (this recipe is courtesy of Jamie Oliver). Now before you think oh peas, let me tell you that these are no ordinary peas, these are French style peas. The dessert line up was Red velvet cup cakes with Olympic themed icing.

Ingredients


Chicken Pie
4 x 180g skinless chicken breasts
Knob of butter
150g button mushrooms
1 heaped tbls of flour
2 tlbs of mustard
300ml of chicken stock
Few springs of thyme
Nutmeg
1 sheet of pre-rolled puff pasty
1 egg

Smash
6 large potatoes
A few spring of thyme
Know of butter
Milk

Peas
2 little gem lettuce
Knob of butter
1 tbls of flour
300ml chicken stock
Few springs of fresh mint
480g frozen peas
½ a lemon

Method

Chicken pie
Slice the chicken into 1cm strips. Put a lug of oil and a knob of butter into a large, wide pan.  Add the chicken and cook for 3 minutes. Quickly trim the spring onions and wash the mushrooms, then slice together and add to the pan with 1 heaped tablespoon of flour. Stir and add the 2 tablespoons of mustard, a tablespoon of crème fraiche as well as the chicken stock. Add the thyme with the gratings of nutmeg and a pinch of salt and pepper. Leave to simmer.

Smash
Cut the potatoes into quarters and add in a sauce pan, with a lug of olive oil a pinch of salt and pepper. Cover with boiling water and the lid and allow cooking until nice and tender.

Chicken pie
Lightly dust a clean surface with flour and unroll the puff pastry. Use a small knife to lightly crisscross and score it. Take the pan of chicken off the heat and tip into an ovenproof baking dish.  Cover the filling with the puff pastry. Beat the egg and then brush it over the top of the pie. Place in the oven and allow cooking for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Peas
Return to the empty chicken pan to high heat. Quickly wash and slice the lettuce. Add a knob of butter and 1 tablespoon of flour to the pan. Pour in the chicken stock and the mint leaves. Add the peas and slice lettuce. Squeeze over the juice of the lemon, a splash of boiling water, season with salt and pepper, stir and place the lid on the pan.

Smash
Check the potatoes are cooked through, then drain and return to the pan. Smash them up, add the seasoning and milk.

Your meal is ready to serve......

Cup cakes

Ingredients

Cupcakes
2 ½ cups of flour
1 ½ cups of sugar
1 tbls baking soda
1 tbls of coco powder
1 ½ cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons red food colouring
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Icing
1 pound cream cheese
2 sticks butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups icing sugar

Method

Cup cakes
In a mixing bowl add the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder. In another mixing bowl gently beat together oil, buttermilk, eggs, red colouring and vanilla extract.  Add the dry and wet ingredients together. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins and bake in the oven for 20 minutes at 180 C.

Icing
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract and sugar until smooth light and fluffy. Spread across the cupcakes.  For the Olympic rings set some icing apart in 5 separate bowls. Add a few drops of the relevant colouring and mix together well. Using an icing tip, make the rings (or dots) on the top of each cup cake.

25.7.12

My online interests

I can spend hours on end surfing the internet, looking up stuff on Google or finding and reading different types blogs.

The best is waking up on a Saturday morning, lying in bed and reading my favourite websites or blog. I have looked up some random things online in a moment of boredom and I have to admit that once or twice I do end up on some or other celebrity site (although I do try stay off them in general).

Below are some of my ultimate favourite websites and blogs.

Favourite laugh

Favourite photo effects website

Favourite international blog

Favourite local celebrity blog  

So what are your online favourites? Let me know, maybe I am missing out on another great blog or website.

23.7.12

Braids, braids and more braids

I just love trying different kinds of hairdos and my obsession lately when it comes to hair is braids, lots and lots of braids.

Side braids, milkmaid braid and waterfall braid, you name it and I love it. If you were to go look at my ‘Hair Affair’ board on Pinterest you will see that it is mainly dominated my hairdos with braids.

These hairdos just add something to the everyday hair affair and every time I have had one of these in my hair, I have gotten so many compliments and questions of how I did the braid.  

Below are some videos that have helped me to perfect these braids. 



18.7.12

Warming your tummy with food

When it’s as cold as it has been the last couple of days in South Africa, all I want to do is stay in bed and curl up with a good book. My all-time favourite thing about winter (besides getting to wear all my stylish boots) is getting to eat all that soup. I particularly enjoy eating my soup with a side of either a delicious seed loaf or some tasty croutons.

Speaking of soup, my mother had a tea/lunch party the other day where she served a very tasty butternut soup; it was such a huge hit with her friends that I have decided to share the recipe with you.  

Ingredients

45ml butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
750g butternut, peeled and cubed
750ml chicken stock
A peel of ½ a orange
65ml orange juice
A pinch of cinnamon
125ml cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Parsley to use as garnish

Method

Melt the butter and sauté the onions for about a minute.
Add the vegetables, orange peel, stock and orange juice, bring to the boil.
Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
Puree the soup, return it to the stove and add the cream, cinnamon and seasoning.
Allow it to come to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer until its heated right through.
Serve with a swirl of cream and parsley to garnish

16.7.12

It's a boom boom boom

I was recently introduced to Boom.fm. Boom.fm is an online platform where you can either listen to or upload your music (if you’re a musician that is) and try selling it. I have to say, I'm addicted! I have found some pretty awesome music and bands on the website. Not only are you able to listen to the music, but you can see when and where a particular band/musician's next live gig will be. 



Boom.fm was made specifically for South Africans, seeing as we aren’t able to access services such as Spotify and Pandora.

So go have a look and enjoy browising through the wide range of music in any category or genre you can think of. Some of the music is available for free, while others are available for purchase.

13.7.12

I'm a gym bunny now

So I recently joined the gym and while I am a little ashamed to admit as to how long it has been since I last did any form of proper exercise, I am however very delighted to be getting back on the fit and healthy track.

It’s only been about three weeks since I joined, but I can already feel some kind of improvement in my physical health. The nice thing about Virgin Active (and maybe this shows just how long it’s been since I have been to a gym), is that you now get an online profile. 

The online profile, allows you to track your different routines for each week (this can also be adjusted for each week that you go to gym) as well as update your body’s relevant measurements. If there is a particular exercise you are not familiar with, your online profile provides you with an illustration as well as a written explanation as to how the particular exercise should be done.

So far my routine has included cardio has comprised of running, the step machine, cross trainer, cycling and rowing. Toning on the other hand, well this has been an experience I have felt not only while I have been doing the exercises but as well as the next day (when my muscles are in pure agony). My toning exercises have ranged from crunches, alternate leg and arm raises while balancing on a yoga ball, calf raises, triceps pushdown, bicycle crunches, squats and bicep curls. On your online profile, you are also able to gain access to an eating plan which has been worked specifically for you based on your measurements. 

There is however one thing that baffles me when it comes to gym and that is the amount of people who are more interested in their outfits, hair, make-up or cell phones instead of the actual workouts they are meant to be doing. I mean why come to gym, if all you are going to do is adjust your hair or type away on your phone?

So what kind of workout person are you? Do you go to the gym to look at the relevant talent or show off your cute workout gear?

9.7.12

It doesn't grow on trees you know

There is nothing any woman/girl enjoys more than going through the pages of a glossy women’s magazine and admiring the beautiful fashion spreads. I do have to admit though, that this has become a bit of a let-down lately, as the clothes used in these fashion shoots are always horribly expense.

I decided to conduct a little experiment for myself and took three different magazines to see just how expensive their clothing choices have become. The three photos below are from a young women’s magazine, a family magazine and an older women’s magazine.

I don’t quite understand how a family magazine for one can have such expensive clothing in their fashion spread. Unless you’re from an extremely wealthy family, how does the magazine editorial staff think the average family, who has to pay an electricity bill and all the other responsibilities associated with a family, can spend that amount of money on one outfit?

Have a look at these three outfits and decide for yourself:

Dress: R450; 
Scarf: R460; 
Necklace: R350 and 
Bracelet: R75
Total: R1335

Shirt: R500; 
Cardigan: R499 and 
Shorts: R399
Total: R1398

Top: R999; 
Skirt: R599 and 
Belt: R2795
Total: R4393

I would love to challenge magazines to find and plan an outfit for under a R1000, as you know not all of us have money trees at home.

6.7.12

Attack of the Duck Face

The 'Duck Face', a name that in this case is so appropriate. I really don’t see why majority of women or girls think that this particular look makes them appear more attractive! Then again, there is such a thing as personal opinion and different strokes for different folks.

I was recently on the internet and decided to have a look at some celebrities pulling the ‘Duck Face’ and I have to say even these women looked ridiculous trying to pull off this look.



Have a look for yourself and let me know what you think? Maybe you have seen photos where someone looks good wearing the duck face?

4.7.12

Happy 4th of July

I just wanted to say to all my American friends and readers, Happy Independence day! 

Below are a few photos of our trip to America, I was nine years old at the time. This trip started in London and ended in Disney World Florida (more on this at a later stage). I cant believe this trip was 17 years ago! My oh my how time does fly. Makes me realize even more what a blessed and wonderful life I have had so far. 
Standing at the top of the Empire State Building. 

Visiting Lady Liberty. Now see, there is evidence that I'm always the enthusiastic one in the family. I do everything with such enthusiasm, do it properly or not at all is my motto.

In front of  the Abraham Lincoln Memorial in Washington

The Independence day parade in Washington

This was the first parade I had ever seen, oh and boy was it hot that day. America seemed to be having a heat wave while we were there. 


Below are some nice reads and views I found, relating to this federal holiday.

Rockstar diaries
Lauren Conrad
Pinterest

2.7.12

Millionaire's Shortbread

I recently decided to try a recipe I have always dreamed about making but have been apprehensive about, as many have said it was rather challenging. 

I will admit that the millionaires did not turn out the way I wanted, it seems the caramel did not set properly. This just means I have to try it again (I'm secretly delighted about this). Below is the recipe, so give it a try and let me know how yours turned out.

Ingredients:

Shortbread
145g cornflour
145g rice flour
35g soya flour
65g icing sugar
180g butter

Caramel
1 tin condensed milk
125g butter
150g brown sugar
100ml milk

Chocolate topping
240g dark chocolate
60ml butter

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Mix the dry ingredients for the shortbread. Rub in the butter, and mix together till it forms a dough. Press into a baking tray. Place in the fridge for an hour, then bake it for 15 minutes.

Heat the ingredients for the caramel, over a low heat on the stove. Once everything is melted, increase the heat and stir continuously until the caramel is nice and thick. Pour the caramel over the dough in the baking tray. Bake for 15 minutes, take it out allow it to cool and thn place it in the fridge for two hours. 

Melt the chocolate and butter together in a pot on a low heat on the stove. Pour the chocolate over the caramel in the baking tray, spreading it evenly. Place in the fridge and allow to set. Once set you can cut it into your desired squares and serve.