French Pear and Ginger Tart

I am sure the French will make their own dough, but I am not French. Store bought full butter puff pastry is good enough for me.

French pear&ginger tart

French pear&ginger tart

This tart is extremely easy and replace the jam and preserve or even the pears with whatever is available in your pantry. I made this tart as a breakfast pastry for a hello and goodbye breakfast for my niece Alda, on her way to go and live with her brother in New Zealand. We had a lot of good byes this year and it is certainly not getting easier.

We shall miss you dearly Alda!

We shall miss you dearly Alda!

I used the following:

puff pastry sheets

6 pears thinly sliced

beat 1 x egg

apricot jam

ginger preserve in a thin syrup

confectioner sugar to sprinkle ( I used vanilla flavour)

Puff pastry

Puff pastry

Place the pastry sheets in a greased baking tray and score the edges to form a rim/ edge and brush egg on the rim. Brush the bottom of the tart with apricot jam and arrange the sliced pears in rows or whatever pattern grabs you. Put a few pieces of diced preserved ginger here and there and brush the lot with the ginger syrup missing the edge/ rim.bake for 45 min to 60 min on 180 C. Brush again with the ginger syrup for a shine and sprinkle with vanilla sugar.

Breakfast feast

Breakfast feast

It went really well with the tomato and chorizo egg dish and yogurt smoothies.

Random photo’s: taken of James by Kim, all the way in far away New Zealand. Have fun with them Alda.

Have fun

Have fun

and be nosy!

and be nosy!

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Crispy Butternut Slices

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Butternut is such a robust and proud thing. It sits there and it says loud and clear” I am a vegetable!”  We all do a million and ten things with it, but my favourite way with this pumpkin is to just slice it in thin slices ( something between n slither and a chunk) with skin and all.

Crispy butternut

Crispy butternut

Into a baking tray with the lot and sprinkle with pumkin spice ( and if you can’t find pumkin spice, any spice will do, even a spicy chilli mix).

I am a vegetable

I am a vegetable

Drizzle with olive oil and bake at 180 C until crispy at the edges (45 min or more).

Crispy Butternut Slices

Crispy Butternut Slices

Side dish or main dish or snack, any old which way and it always looks and tastes good. And what’s more, it is ORANGE, and I love it!

Random photo taken by my husband earlier this year:

Rainy day Hout Bay, Western Cape

Rainy day Hout Bay, Western Cape

Coconut-lime Cream Dessert

Coconut-lime Cream

Coconut-lime Cream

I’ve been making this dessert fot a while after I first landed in cream heaven at my friends dinner table when she served a similar one. Ina gave me the recipe and we both started tweaking and adjusting and I suppose we shall forever keep on doing so as we dream up new varieties of the same theme. It is just so versatile. Her original recipe uses full cream yogurt and evaporated milk and I adjusted it to use coconut cream for that subtle coconut flavour together with whatever fruit flavour I choose to use. This time it was lime and drumrrrrroll…pomegranate-chilli preserve, which I was lucky enough to find at a local market.

Steps coconut- lime cream

Steps coconut- lime cream

Scoop your choice of fruit compote/ preserve in the bottom of a glass.

On high speed beat together:

1x tin (400 ml) coconut cream-beat until thick and then add

250ml cream and 2 packets of jelly(flavour of your choice)- beat all together until thick and creamy

Pour into individual glasses, garnish and refrigerate (who am I kidding, we never even reach the refrigeration stage!)

Coconut-lime cream & Chili-pomegranate

Coconut-lime cream & Chili-pomegranate

I have made it in various flavours but must say, the best one yet is the lime and I dread the day that my jar of pomegranate-chilli preserve is finished. Check out the producer and all of their great product at http://www.passionatepomegranate.co.za.

Coconut-lime cream. Thank you Ina!

Coconut-lime cream. Thank you Ina!

*I paid for all of the products used in this post.

Random photo for today: Penguins! Ahhhh, just love the way they shuffle.

Feb 2013 at Boulder's Beach, Simon's Town, Western Cape

Feb 2013 at Boulder’s Beach, Simon’s Town, Western Cape

Baked Crumbed Chicken Strips

I try to avoid deep frying and this recipe on recipe.com for the baked strips grabbed my interest. Also different ( or to me at least) is the “marinade” used in the original recipe which I adjusted. I have absolutely NO problem using blue cheese in anything and couple that with chili/pepper and I am happy.

Crumbed Chicken Strips with blue cheese dip

Crumbed Chicken Strips with blue cheese dip

Ingredients:

1/3 cup blue cheese salad dressing

(the recipe referred to the bottled variety which I am not keen on so I used my own dressing which I previously posted as Blue Cheese Salad Dressing and just made it into a thicker consistency and added to that a generous squirt of red Tabasco Sauce + chili flakes)

blue cheese salad dressing

blue cheese salad dressing

2 to 3 teaspoons of bottled hot pepper sauce (Tabasco)

4 deboned chicken breasts cut into strips

1 cup crumbed corn flakes ( the packeted crumbs works fine)

1 Table spoon chopped parsley

Salt to taste.

Salt the chicken and place in a deep bowl,mix in the blue cheese dressing.

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Coat the marinated chicken with the crumb-parsley mix and place in a foil lined (or use Spray&Cook) baking tray in the freezer for 2 hours. As usual I did not have 2 hours to do that so I left it in the fridge(not even the freezer) for 30 minutes.

Bake at 200 C for approximately 30 minutes until cooked through.

Serve with a blue cheese dipping sauce.

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Something happens when the blue cheese, hot pepper sauce and chili is combined-a deep rich creamy sauce which my husband says will work well with chicken livers.

And now the Random Photo:

Last weekend in Table Bay with Table Mountain open and clear

Last weekend in Table Bay with Table Mountain open and clear

Mother of a High Tea

Deconstructed milk tart cups

Deconstructed milk tart cups

True to form, the big fat zero birthday celebration I mentioned here had to be themed and that is where the confusion as per usual started. How can I choose just one theme?? What we called “high tea” was in the end anything but, as I put together a view of my favourite things, added to that the drinks I like most and in the end no one even had a proper cup of tea!

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I always wanted to try the deconstructed milk tart and cinnamon twirls posted by Anel on http://www.lifeisazoobiscuit.com , so I did. My sister Aletta threw herself into a baking and blog frenzy when I asked her to make scones and lemon curd as I am no good at making the perfect scones(too precise).

Scones and lemon curd. Recipe on " nowathome"

Scones and lemon curd. Recipe on ” nowathome”

She went on her own solo scones baking challenge to find the best one and the result and recipes are posted on http://www.nowathome.wordpress.com and the best choice landed on my party table! The lemon curd, absolutely to die for!

I made a french onion tart (recipe will eventually be posted) or three which is the easiest thing of all and had to have a fruit and cheese platter, as nothing, not even a tea is complete without cheese.

Cheese and fruit platter

Cheese and fruit platter

My daughter, all the way from South Korea, via email arranged for a beautiful birthday cake, baked by Charly’s Bakery in Cape Town and the daisy theme (very 60’s!) describes me best. Sixties flower child at heart………

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I think the theme was “pink” in the end! The pretty flower arrangements will have to be a story for another day.

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The big fat ZERO

I turned the very ugly zero in October and still do not know if it is the big number preceding  the zero in the birthday digit that is so offensive or if it is the big fat ZERO itself. Flippet just don’t know.
However, I took my few weeks of introspection, silent tantrum throwing and general panic about the state of my age and I got over it (just) and enjoyed one hell of a birthday month! Yes month, not day, because it was spread out and celebrated.Overworked, we decided to go away for the birthday week and then to celebrate with family and friends on our return.

Road trip! With a lot of ” visits” to farm stalls along the way where they force feed people fresh scones and cream.

And what a lovely week it was in Plettenberg Bay, Eastern Cape at the Beacon Isle Hotel with a LOT OF activity every day as is evident here……..

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On THE BIRTHDAY morning my sweet husband arranged a great breakfast in bed and lunch at Bramon Wine Estate followed by a lot of doing nothing.

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All and all the perfect day.

Two weeks later my friend Fiona and I went to Stellenbosch for a one night stay over in Baruch Guesthouse to celebrate our birthday month. She had her birthday before mine and she treated me to a spectacular lunch at Babylonstoren, Franschhoek where I had their Red Salad (so befitting for my OCD that they have colour coded food!)

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Also uhmmm………a LOT of activity on this breakaway!

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This two part celebration was followed by the mother of all high teas at home with my dear and near. More later.

Random photo:Taken on the day of my High Tea held at home two weeks after my birthday.

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Cape Town sunset kitch at it’s best but oh so beautiful my town.