Gingerbread squares

Gingerbread cake with cream cheese icing

 

Just four sleeps until Christmas (I get the daily count down from my kids, ha ha!) and just time to squeeze in a festive treat to enjoy these holidays. It doesn’t feel like Christmas until I’ve baked something spiced and the homely aromas that come from the kitchen when this gingerbread cake is in the oven are so enticing and comforting.

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Date caramel truffles

Date truffles

 

These date truffles were an absolute hit when I made them at home, and with just a handful of ingredients you can whip up a batch in no time. The sweet date caramel and the dark chocolate pair beautifully, and they’re the perfect treat for when you need a quick sweet hit. You could also wrap them up for someone special, they make a gorgeous edible gift. 

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Tomato bredie

Tomato and lamb bredie

 

While Cape Town still decides whether it is actually spring or not (and I sit and type at my desk watching the clouds gather outside) I thought I’d sneak in a cooler weather dish. Tomato bredie is a South African family pleaser and has the marvellous combination of lamb, fragrant spices and tomatoes that we know and love. Once all of the ingredients are in the pot you can leave it to work its magic until its time to serve up. Scrumptious!

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Mini marmalade malva puddings

Mini malva puddings with marmalade

 

One of the things I’ve missed most during this pandemic is the simple hug. Fortunately I have been in lockdown at home with my husband and the kids so it’s not as though I’ve missed out completely, but I don’t think I’ll ever take for granted a warm hug from a friend, a hello hug from a colleague or a quick passing hug that says “you’ve got this” from another mom also rushing around during the busy morning school run. Sometimes it feels as though we’ll never get to that point again! But I know that we will.

 

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Spooky spiderweb cake

Spider web red velvet cake with chocolate cream cheese icing and chocolate ghosts

 

Halloween is just around the corner and it’s interesting to see how this holiday has taken off in S.A. over the last few years. When I was a child Halloween was a holiday we saw in movies and on t.v. shows but never celebrated ourselves. This year my kids want to dress up and many neighbourhoods are organising (socially distanced) trick or treating. I decided that I would create a “spooktacular” cake to mark the occasion and for a bit of fun!

 

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Double chocolate pistachio cookies

Chocolate chip cookies with pistachios

 

This recipe came about quite simply because I had a surplus of egg yolks that had accumulated in my freezer after some recent meringue testing. Yes I could have made pasta or pastry, but I wanted something quicker and more simple – so cookies it was!

 

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Chocolate orange custard tarts

Chocolate and orange custard tarts

 

I put this recipe together for a Portuguese inspired magazine feature, and since travel has been so restricted these past few months there’s all the more reason to take a culinary trip from the comfort of your own kitchen. Hey, it’s not quite like jetting off to Europe but we can only try, right?

 

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Chocolate and pecan loaf cake

Chocolate and pecan tea loaf cake

 

I remember baking and photographing this particular loaf on a grey and rainy winter afternoon. The chocolatey aroma wafting from the kitchen was just heavenly, and the wait while it cooled and was being photographed felt like forever. This simple chocolate loaf cake is a delight with its soft crumb and crunchy pops of pecan nuts, all slathered in velvety chocolate buttercream.

 

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