Sugar free banana cake (with video)

It is March and in my house that equals birthdays and lots of baking! I made this cake earlier in the month for my daughter’s school birthday and wanted to avoid added sugar but still make something delicious that the children would love. This cake has a soft, light texture and a delicate banana flavour. Rather than cover the cake with icing I drizzled it with delicious melted carob. This is a great alternative to chocolate!

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Date and nut balls (with video)

Date balls for snacking.

Warning: parental ramblings ahead! I am sure parents everywhere are breathing a collective sigh of relief as school resumes for the third term. If I am honest I actually quite enjoyed the 3 week break from lunchboxes, school runs and most of all the dreaded “lurgies” that always make their way home from the playground. Yes, the holidays can push any parent’s patience to the limit at times, but all too often I am reminded of how quickly time goes and that this chapter in our family journey is really so fleeting and special. Even when I am knee deep in stuffed toys, picking tiny bits of muesli off the soles of my feet (did I not just sweep that floor 5 minutes ago?!?) and answering the same question for the tenth time whilst pureeing a chicken and veggie concoction for the babe. All to the soundtrack of the washing machine and Disney radio. Special times, chaos and all!

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Chocolate Easter nest cupcakes (with video)

Chocolate Easter nest cupcakes.
I suppose I should be used to it by now, but I could not believe my eyes when just one week after Christmas the supermarket shelves were already filling up with Easter eggs! Of course now that it is March you cannot maneuver your shopping trolley without bumping into a chocolate bunny but it is a bit more acceptable now that Easter is just a few days away, yay! A few weeks ago a friend sent me a photo of a beautiful Easter bird nest cake. It reminded me of some Easter cupcakes I made years ago, and I decided they would be perfect to make again and share with you this week. They will make a colourful and delicious addition to your Easter table!

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Honeycomb cheesecake frozen yoghurt (with video)

“Ooh, cheesecake, munching on a cheesecake, munching on a cheesecake. Cheesecake!
Cheesecake, munching on a cheesecake, munching on a cheesecake. Cheesecake!
Cheesecake, gobble gobble cheesecake, gobble gobble cheesecake. Cheesecake!
Cheesecake, gobble gobble cheesecake, crazy over cheesecake. Cheesecake!”

Louis Armstrong, lyrics to “Cheesecake” 1966.

A dessert so fantastic there is even a song about it, and deservedly so. Good on ya, Louis! Today’s recipe is inspired by cheesecake, but in a slightly different format….

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Mielie bread with sun dried tomatoes (with video)


Today’s recipe is going against the current trend somewhat. It seems that every other restaurant I visit has a new banting section on their menu, or is advertising dishes that would make Tim Noakes proud. While I applaud anyone making an effort to eat less sugar and more cauliflower (if you can get your hands on one that is!) I for one will not be cutting out my grains anytime soon. And I am sure that there are many readers out there who feel the same.

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Moroccan beef with spiced flatbreads (with video)

It’s week 2 of the Pick ‘n Pay Freshly Blogged challenge! Voting has opened and this is the recipe I produced for the second round – a Moroccan inspired beef dish served with delicately spiced flatbreads.

The ingredients list for this challenge was as follows: beef shin, beef suet, Knorr beef stock pot, a soup pack (containing assorted vegetables), star anise and white wine vinegar. We were allowed to omit one of these ingredients and add one grocery and two fresh items of our choice. I decided to use all of the ingredients on the shopping list and added in an onion, fresh coriander and ground cumin.

As I pondered the ingredients list the first thing that came to mind was slow cooking – the cooking method best suited to tougher cuts like beef shin. This got me mulling over stews and casseroles, which then turned my thoughts to tagines and then Morocco, which then (this is quite a process!) got me thinking about my favourite spice – cumin! I do not need any excuse to use this versatile and warm seasoning in my cooking, and so I decided to make a Moroccan inspired beef stew served with lightly spiced flatbreads to soak up all of that lovely sauce.
Beef stew recipe with flatbreads.


I have to admit that I have never used suet before, it is not the most appetising ingredient to use! But I was excited to try something new and decided to incorporate it into the flatbreads. I would have saved myself some trouble if I had asked the butcher to mince it for me! Nothing my good old stick blender couldn’t sort out, but if you are making this recipe try and buy minced or shredded suet to save yourself the extra work.

If I had been able to add other ingredients I probably would have included some extra spices – some turmeric and a pinch of chilli flakes would have gone well with this dish I think, but even without these the stew was super tasty with the cumin and star anise turning ordinary beef into something special. The beef shin was deliciously tender and coated in a thick, rich gravy which we enjoyed scooping up with the warm flatbreads. A wonderfully hearty winter supper which I am sure you will also love.

If this sounds good to you please pop onto the Freshly Blogged website and VOTE for my recipe. (Prizes to be won!) Thank you to everyone who voted last week – let’s keep it going!

Edit: In April 2018 I made this beef stew on the Expresso Show. You can watch the video here:




For the beef stew:

  • 500g beef shin
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped celery
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1cm slices
  • 1 tsp star anise
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 Knorr beef stock pot
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley + extra to serve
  • small handful fresh coriander, roughly chopped + extra to serve

For the flatbreads (makes 6):

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp fine salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 60g beef suet, minced or shredded
  • 210ml warm water

1.) Cut the beef shin into 2-3cm cubes. Combine the flour and cumin and add a good pinch of salt and pepper. Toss the beef in the spice mixture and set aside. 

2.) Heat the sunflower oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the chopped onion, celery and carrots and fry for 2 minutes. Add the star anise pieces and cook for a further minute.

3.) Add the beef to the pan and brown for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the white wine vinegar, cover the pot and leave to cook over a low heat for 5 minutes.

4.) Add the Knorr beef stock pot and the water to the pot and mix well. Replace the lid and cook over a gentle heat for 1-1½ hours, stirring every 20 minutes or so, until the beef is very tender.

5.) While the beef is cooking you can prepare your flatbreads (see separate instructions below).

6.) Try as best you can to remove the star anise pieces from the beef stew, then stir in the chopped parsley and coriander. Allow to simmer for a further 5 minutes with the lid off.

7.) Check the seasoning of the beef. Dish onto warmed plates and top with extra parsley and coriander if desired. Serve with freshly made flatbreads.

To make the flatbreads:

1.) Sift the flour, cumin, salt and baking powder into a bowl. Add the suet and mix everything together.

2.) Add most of the water to the flour and mix to combine. Continue adding water until the dough starts coming together. Tip onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 5 minutes until you have a soft dough. Place the dough back in the mixing bowl, cover with a tea towel and allow to stand for 30 minutes.

3.) Divide the dough in half, then divide each half into three equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball. Dust your work surface with a little flour, then use a rolling pin to roll each ball into a circle about 2-3mm thick.

4.) Heat a dry griddle pan over a medium heat. Place a flatbread in the pan and cook for 1½ minutes. Flip the flatbread over and cook the other side for 1½ minutes or until the bread starts to puff up and colour. Repeat with the remaining flatbreads. Keep the breads warm until serving time.


Spiced guava and coconut crumble (with video)

Here in Cape Town the nights are getting longer, mornings are getting chillier and we can no longer deny that winter has arrived! While I love our beautiful summers I can’t say I mind this time of year too much, after all, it’s an excuse to unpack my scarves, light a fire and enjoy some of my favourite winter dishes that warm from the inside out.

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