A Citrus Cake and Thank You’s

image I really only bake a cake every few years and I baked this one to prevent myself from going to jail for a serious crime. I like baking but food is more my thing, I am not exact when cooking and the exactness of baking is what gets to me. I moved office this past week, just from one end of a building to the other end of the same building and it was an epic mess. Everything was planned to a T and then derailed. The painters were late, which held up a whole string of events, like actually moving over, which moving eventually had to proceed even with the wet paint on the walls and the paint fumes in the air. The telephone lines were switched over to the new bigger space, so that the IT people could co-ordinate with the cabling people to get the WiFipeople and computer server people to do what they needed to do to get my office up and running and it worked. Only for a split second. Between moving Day 1 and @&$)@&$&: moving Day 2, the telephone lines just died. There we were, half in and half out and no connectivity and now indication from the service provider when and where a technician will grace us with his presence to fix the lot. We unpacked whatever we could, I sent the staff home and literally sat and watched the paint dry, hung on walls what needed to be up there unpacked again, reshuffled and can still not work at the office-NO CONNECTIVITY.

Proof that I baked it myself

Proof that I baked it myself

That is when I started baking. To fix my muddled brain with a bit of exactness and to prevent me from killing someone, a painter, a cabling man, an IT person or  whoever was unlucky enough to be close by. Between aforesaid moving Day 1 and  @&$$)$)()5;()&  moving Day 2 (and pardon for repeating myself, but moving Day 2 should never have been a moving day if it was not for the for THE PAINter people !) , I could of course not sleep and fantasized about the Italian Orange Cake posted by Chef Mimi. So that is what I baked this weekend as a thank you to my husband, my sister and brother-in-law who helped me through this epic mess.I deviated slightly from the original recipe by using buttermilk instead of milk and made a frosting with cream cheese.

Italian Orange Cake

Italian Orange Cake

For cake ingredients and method, see Italian Orange Cake posted by Chef Mimi (and thank you for keeping me out of jail) and the cream cheese frosting I made as follows:

Mix together until smooth:

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 cup icing sugar(confectioners’ sugar)

1 cup cream cheese

1 t vanilla extract( I replaced it with a teaspoon of orange blossom extract)

I want my cake and eat it

I want my cake and eat it

Thank you also to fellow bloggers bakering , mrschoux  and polianthus for the nominations, this cake is also for you! I am better at asking questions than answering them so I will rather present this cake to you as a token of appreciation.

Random Photo:

Another kitch but stunning Cape Town sunset to keep me sane for a little longer.

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Fig and Blue Cheese Parcels

I bought a new Afghan carpet. A red one, which promptly made me think of red food of course, as carpets do….

Fig&Blue Cheese Parcels

Fig&Blue Cheese Parcels

The fig parcel is similar to a starter I had at Weltevreden Estate with its beautiful Cape Dutch Manor House and clever chef, but I love it as a dessert or to serve instead of an after dinner cheese plate.

Red figs&green preserved figs

Red figs&green preserved figs

Chop fresh red figs and a few preserved green figs.

Prepare phyllo sheets by brushing with melted butter.

Add chunky bits of blue cheese and form parcels. I used Blue Rock from Fairview wine&cheese Farm in the Paarl Winelands. I also added a small dollop of cream cheese but it is not really necessary if you don’t feel like it.

Bake at 180C until crispy and eat warm or cold, on its own, as a starter or dessert or just because you have to celebrate a new carpet. (Who needs an excuse).

The blue cheese featuring this month on the Cheese, Please! Blog Challenge really fits right into my everyday life and the love of the blues!

Cheese Please!Blog Challenge

Cheese Please!Blog Challenge

Oozing Blues

Oozing Blues

After the pretty cheese parcels I had a red dessert as well, just to stay in theme, eaten on my red carpet as it should. Strawberry compote (strawberries stewed in castor sugar) made into a jelly with gelatine leaves topped with strawberry cream. The dessert idea came from the light mousses blogged by Bakering and I will still try the lemon one for sure (or maybe I should buy a yellow carpet first…).

Dessert on Afghan!

Dessert on Afghan!

Very befitting to the carpet theme, the flowers I bought at the market the previous week, opened in all their glory. They stayed on the table and did not end up on the red carpet as well.

In all its glory

In all its glory

Random photo:

My two “Peace in the Home” are happy just where they are, unlike my purple African Violet that is unhappy in every “best spot” I place them.

Peace in the Home in Ardmore pots

Peace in the Home in Ardmore pots

Ricotta vegetable pots

Ricotta vegetable pot

Ricotta vegetable pot

I still can’t believe how easy it is, but I made ricotta cheese. Who would’ve thought! I always buy the stuff but when the March Cheese Please Challenge came along and I saw that ricotta is the Belle of the Cheese Ball in this round, I thought smugly, that’s easy! I use ricotta all the time. Until I read that I had to make it myself……and of course I can’t do THAT,  I have no “cheese making things” in my house. Sulking, I just fast read through the challenge and then saw how easy it is……..Still, there is always a possibility that I can bugger up an easy thing but alas, smooth, smooooothly it went and now you are talking to a cheese maker. A proper ricotta cheesemongermaker person! ( okay, not monger but still…).

Tools of the trade of a proper ricotta cheese maker person

Tools of the trade of a proper ricotta cheese maker person

I do not even have a muslin cloth so I had to borrow one from nowathome. The rest as they say, is history. Of course we shall eat ricotta now in and on everything just because!

Bring 1 liter of full cream milk to the boil and add the juice of one lemon. That is about the sum total of the most difficult part of the process……

Watch intently for 10 minutes because you are cheese proud, very

Watch intently for 10 minutes because you are cheese proud, very

With huge flair (because you are a successful ricotta maker now), gather the family together to watch as you drain the whey in a colander, lined with a borrowed muslin cloth and give or take 15 minutes later,  gather the cheese together and lightly squeeze to drain  the excess fluid. Seal in an airtight container until use. Huh, WHO would’ve thought?! Remember to go back to the fridge at least three times to stare at your cheese creation in wonder. I shall now change my middle name to ricotta, I am so chuffed!

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What to do for the veggie pots: image Grease ramekins and fill with cooked vegetables of your choice. Use 1 cup of ricotta, two eggs, and one cup of cheese mixed together and salted to taste, to pour over the vegetables. Top with more grated cheese and paprika and bake at 180 C until set and golden.It also works well as a quiche filling/for baked spinach tart.

Cheesy!

Cheesy!

Random photo: 

On a recent business trip I was offered a room upgrade as the TV (which I don’t watch) and the WIFI (which I do need) did not work in the room I booked. Look what waited for me…….friendly people indeed. I ever so politely accepted their offer.

Morrell's Farm House Suite

Morrells Farm House Suite

Butternut and Fried Haloumi Stack

I had this very interesting meal at an open air restaurant in Hermanus recently. Kebabs on a nifty table top barbecue thingy which I wish I owned, with a butternut stack side dish.

Restaurant meal with nifty Coal BBQ gadget

Restaurant meal with nifty Coal BBQ gadget

Nevertheless, I had to recreate the butternut and haloumi stack at least, seeing that I am not allowed to do a table barbecue in an apartment…..

Butternut disks

Butternut disks

I simply cut the butternut in disks and fried it with pumpkin spice in butter.

Lovely Haloumi

Lovely Haloumi

The haloumi can be baked but I dusted the cheese with flour and fried it in shallow oil. Do not over fry as you will end up with rubbery cheese.

Stack the lot!

Stack the lot!

Stack the lot and top with fresh rocket and drizzle with lemon juice. Lovely with anything or lovely on its own!

My version of the stack with chicken trinchado

My version of the stack with chicken trinchado

Random Photo:

My blues!

My blues!

My sister blogged about the Milnerton Market on nowathome and we walked (and talked) the market from top to bottom last weekend. Of course I had to add to my collection(s) by descending on the white and blue table. Very happy with my loot!

Miniature porcelain flowers

Miniature porcelain flowers