Vanilla bean and almond meringues with mixed berry sauce

Vanilla and almond meringues with a mixed berry sauce.

At the end of November we packed our bags and headed out of the burbs for a weekend in the Overberg. This was a welcome break after a busy few weeks on the home and work fronts, plus a chance to spend some quality family time together. Our destination was a farm called Landmeterskop near Stanford and were invited to join some good friends who had been there before. What a gem of a place!

We stayed in the spacious and comfortable homestead surrounded by beautiful mountains, grazing sheep and the sounds of nature. The farm is a fabulous family destination and the children had the opportunity to feed the animals each morning and evening, milk the goats and go on a tractor ride. The grown ups enjoyed being able to switch off (there was hardly any signal on the farm) and some amazing star gazing in the evenings. Another highlight of the weekend was being able to collect fresh free range eggs in the mornings to enjoy for breakfast. Which brings me to this week’s recipe… but first, here are a few snaps from our trip.

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Christmas biscuit tree

Spiced Christmas reindeer and star cookies.

This week the nostalgic mood continues with another family inspired recipe. When it comes to food there is no question that baking is my first love, and when I think back to my earliest baking memories I am always reminded of childhood Christmases. The much anticipated, long December school holidays that felt like they went on forever were the perfect time for sun drenched afternoons in the pool and fun with friends, but a real highlight for me would be the Christmas baking. Each year I looked forward to making mince pies, biscuits and the decorating of the Christmas cake which my mum would have baked a few weeks earlier using my grandmother’s recipe. (And still does!)

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Festive rocky road

Summer holidays are here again and with them (hopefully) some much deserved down time for you all. For many of us this time of year is steeped in tradition, whether that centres around a getaway to a favourite holiday destination, Christmas festivities or the food we eat. It is also a time for reflection on the year gone by and the inevitable question – just where has this year gone? Continue reading “Festive rocky road”

Cranberry and white chocolate crunchies

There is a very simple story behind this one. Last weekend we were invited to a Christmas picnic with some playgroup friends and I was asked to bring a plate of sweet eats to share. “Fantastic!” I thought, right up my alley. Crunchies are usually always a hit with adults and children, and the fact that I was having a crazy weekend and needed something I could make in a jiffy made them even more perfect. I have a wonderful basic crunchie recipe which I have previously adapted to make chocolate crunchies and today I wanted to share the Christmas version that I made for the picnic.

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Macadamia and cranberry chocolate squares

I made these sumptuous squares of chocolatey goodness over the weekend and they were just too good not to share! The original recipe comes from “Ottolenghi – The Cookbook” and I adapted it to use ingredients that I had to hand. In the Ottolenghi version they included chestnuts and dried figs (which sounds utterly delicious!), but I opted for creamy macadamias and tart cranberries as these also taste fantastic with white chocolate. I also used chocolate coated digestives instead of the regular ones just to up the chocolate even more – go big or go home, right?

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Cheese and rosemary stars

 
As we hurtle towards Christmas I am once again left wondering where the time has gone! I always love spending time in my kitchen at this time of the year – preparing food for friends or edible gifts for the family. This time last year I was preparing to host a big family Christmas feast, but this year will be a lot more low-key.

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Tarte au chocolat

Last week I posted a round up of the dishes I made over the Christmas period (you can check out that post here). This article received quite a bit of attention, mostly because of the delectable dessert featured right at the beginning. Some of you have been asking for the recipe…and your wish is my command. You will find everything you need to know below.

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In my kitchen … Christmas 2013

Tarte au chocolat
This post, my first for 2014 is a little indulgent, but hey ho, it is holiday season and I thought it would be fun to do a round up of some of the things I have been cooking over Christmas. Just in case you haven’t seen enough food over the last week or so!

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