Chocolate dipped Rooibos Tea sandwiched biscuits

Is anyone else as addicted to GBBO as I am???

For those who aren’t aware – GBBO stands for “Great British Bake Off” which is a reality show on BBC whereby home bakers get together each week to bake … and get judged on their bakes! The Judges are famous (Mary Berry & Paul Hollywood) and the 2 presenters are full of fun (Mel Perkins & Sue Giedroyc)… and of course… each week, one baker gets sent home!

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Last weeks theme was *BISCUITS* so I thought that it was only applicable that my weekend baking featured exactly that…. Biscuits! I had this recipe in my “got to bake” pile (Olive Magazine, October 2013 issue) – and adapted it by swapping out the Jasmine tea for Rooibos Tea… and only using milk chocolate (not a combination of dark/milk) – otherwise, everything else was the same.

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I used a food processor to whiz all the ingredients up – and a biscuit maker to press out the shapes… so all in all – this was a quick recipe. The time to sandwich each biscuit together, followed by dipping in chocolate and waiting for that to dry took about the same time… but 1hr later.. there was a biscuit tin full!

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Would I make them again? Yes – HIM declared them delicious (and proceeded to eat 5 in a row on Sunday afternoon)… the custard biscuit really does just melt in your mouth, the rooibos tea filling however wasn’t “strong” enough in flavour… really subtle and the chocolate dipped portion made me think of my granny’s biscuits. But delicious they definitely were!

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Chocolate dipped, Rooibos tea sandwiched biscuits

250g butter (softened)
50g icing sugar
250g plain flour
50g custard powder

rooibos tea bag
100g butter
200g icing sugar

100g milk chocolate (melted)

  • Whiz butter, icing sugar, flour & custard powder together in a food processor to create a soft dough
  • Pipe into small rounds or using a biscuit maker like I did, create your shapes
  • Place onto a greased baking tray
  • Bake for 10-15min at 190c (I did 3 trays – which had 20 biscuits per tray)
  • To make the filling – put tea bag into a saucer & add 2 tablespoons of boiling water & leave to steep for 10minutes
  • Cream together 2nd batch of butter with icing sugar and add the tea liquid
  • Sandwich biscuits together using icing (when biscuits are cooled) and then dip into chocolate and leave to set

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Pineapple upside-down cake

I was so inspired by my recent secret recipe club bloggers website because one of the recipes that I had been itching to make was her mini pineapple upside down cakes – although I landed up making her mini key lime mousse pies instead (you can read the post here)

But it meant that I had pineapple upside down cakes on the brain…

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About 10years ago, I was given a cook book from my late aunt Jules which is pretty much a South African institution of a cook book (in fact, the Afrikaans version was first printed in 1951!) – it is called “Cook and Enjoy it” by SJA de Villiers. Don’t expect pretty pictures accompaning each recipes but be assured that every one of the 1000 recipes has been tried and tested – and is authentic South African fare… just like granny used to make!

And guess what recipe I found there? Yupp … pineapple upside-down cake!

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This was a quick Sunday afternoon tea kind of cake… to be enjoyed warm or cool… Super easy to make and even easier to consume :)

Would I make it again? Definitely! (PS – this was one of those cakes that didn’t last long in our house…)

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Pineapple upside-down cake

3/4 cupbrown  sugar
2 Tablespoons butter
1 tin of pineapple rings (or you can use a fresh pineapple)
glazed cherries (optional)
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs (beaten)
2 cups of flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
1/c cup of milk or pineapple juice

  • beat brown sugar with 2 tablespoons of butter until well blended and creamy
  • Press mixture into the bottom of a greased cake tin
  • Press the pineapple pieces (and cherries if you wish) into the mixture so that bottom of the tin is covered with fruit
  • Beat the rest of the butter and sugar together until creamy, add the eggs and mix well
  • Sift together the dry ingredients and fold into mixture
  • Add enough milk/pineapple juice until mixture has consistency of a butter cake batter
  • Place batter over fruit in the tin
  • Bake for 35min at 180C
  • Turn out at once & cool

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Mini Key Lime Mousse Pies (SRC)

That’s right friends… it is Secret Recipe Club (SRC) time… and for those who are not aware, SRC is basically a secret santa/blog swap concept, where international food bloggers are assigned someone’s blog in order to make, photograph & write about one of their assigned blogs recipes.

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Pretty cool, concept eh?

This is my 12th SRC reveal… and I have to admit that it has really opened up so many new blogs to me and encouraged me to try new things!

Which is why I was pretty excited to get Morsels of Life as my assigned blog this month – not only because of the mutaul love of food… but also because we have something in common… (well, almost)… CJ has a little boy called Bobert (who is SUPER cute) and we are expecting our first little one in just over 2 months time! So I feel somewhat connected to this mommy-dearest!

CJ provides a summary twice a week, the first being “Inspire me Monday” & the second being “Five Friday Finds” – both of which are a great reads! But I digress… I spent a good portion of time checking out her recipes and couldn’t decide on whether I would make her basic pizza crust, mini pineapple upside down cakes or the mini key lime mousse pies….

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But finally – my sweet tooth won out (which I have been blaming on the pregnancy, when in reality, I think it has nothing to do with it) and we sat down to devour the Mini Key Lime Mousse pies – although I did make 2 adaptions – I used chocolate digestive biscuits as the base instead of the graham crackers & therefore didn’t need the sugar.

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Oh boy were these delicious… I have to confess to being tempted to eat 2 in one sitting (oops)…and dreaming about having another for breakfast the next morning (which may or may not have happened and am taking the 5th about ;))

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Individual Mini Key Lime Mousse Pies

5 Tablespoons lime juice
2 cups of cream
1 can of condensed milk
140g chocolate digestive biscuits
20g butter (melted)
zest & juice of 2 limes (optional)

  • Crumb the biscuits and add the melted butter
  • Push the biscuit crumble into the base of greased ramekins
  • Whip the cream
  • Combine lime juice, zest & condensed milk together
  • Fold lime mixture into cream and place on top of the biscuit base
  • Chill for 2hours

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Sunday Brunch at La Fabrique in Brussels

Those of us who don’t disappear from Brussels during the summer holiday period of July & August are often left with a gaping hole, closed restaurants and limited offerings. Which is exactly what happened to us this past Sunday!

We drove past 2 or 3 of our “go to” Sunday lunch venues and arrived at our last resort to see that they have closed up shop permanently… but THANKFULLY – we then saw La Fabrique was open (and full of people sitting on the sidewalk soaking up the summer sunshine) offering a Sunday brunch.

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They had actually been closed for most of July – so it was pure luck that we found them having recently re-opened after their holiday!

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For 25€ per person – it was an all you can eat buffet of salads, breads, cheeses, charcuterie, fruit salad, omelets & crepes made while you wait, a few hot dishes (a chicken curry that HIM gave 2 thumbs up for being well spiced without being spicy) and of course – a table dedicated to those of us with a sweet tooth.

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The price does not include drinks – but we opted for lemonades & freshly squeezed health juices (4€), followed by coffee and our final bill was just over 90euros, which sounds like a lot when you first think about it – BUT let me tell you that if you are someone who enjoys a leisurely breakfast/lunch with healthy & tasty options – you walk out really full! HIM ate a plate of the salads, then a plate of chicken curry & rice AND a slice of cheesecake… now do the maths of ordering a starter, main & dessert somewhere else…. without the instant gratification of helping yourself and eating within minutes of arriving and being able to take more (or less) of the things you really want.

I started off with a little bit of each of the salads (soooo good)
I started off with a spoonful of each of the salads (soooo good)
Then moved onto a slice of cheesecake, with a spoonful of apple & rhubarb crumble and a smidgen of chocolate torte
Then moved onto a slice of cheesecake, with a spoonful of apple & rhubarb crumble and a smidgen of chocolate torte (you can see HIM’s plate with chicken curry & rice and more salad in the background)
while M opted for a "made while you wait" crépe
while M opted for a “made while you wait” crêpe smothered in home-made salted caramel sauce

Please note that there is nothing else served on a Sunday – except brunch – so don’t think you can come in and order off their normal menu… not on a Sunday anyway!

Would we go back again? Yes, Yes, Yes…. in a heartbeat. Those salads were so fresh and tasty… THAT cheesecake has me drooling (I would even go as far as to say that it was definitely one of the BEST I have ever eaten) and the service was sufficient (plates were cleared quickly and efficiently and buffet dishes were replenished often!). Price wise – I think that it might be on the up spectrum of pricing for Brunch – but after enjoying everything so much – I wouldn’t complain about paying it again!

I only wish that my little growing bump was not restricting my food intake so much (I can only eat a certain amount at each sitting before the growing bump pushes against my stomach telling me to stop eating!)… but as soon as she is out… I am going back … for 2nd & 3rd rounds and turning Brunch into a full day affair :)

La Fabrique

Facebook

Address: 122 Rue Américaine, Ixelles, 1050, Brussels, BELGIUM

Telephone: +32 2 537 56 36

Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday 08h30-17h00; Saturdays & Sundays 11h00-16h00

eat! Brussels 2015

If you haven’t attended one of the previous 3 eat! Brussels festivals … and you live in the city, then you have really been missing out!

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I attended in 2012 and in 2014 (sadly missing out in 2013 because I was travelling) and all I can say is ” GO GO GO!!!” to the 2014 edition being held from 10-13th September 2015. Entry is free, but be sure to purchase tickets(which will be exchanged for tokens) so that you can eat & drink to your hearts content (details of these are at the end of this post).

Previously hosted in the Bois de la Cambre, this year however, the venue has moved to Parc de Bruxelles (right in front of the Royal Palace) – but we are sure that the festivities will remain as bountiful as before!

previously held in Bois de la Cambre
previously held in Bois de la Cambre

There are options to attend workshops on wine hosted by the Bordeaux School of Wine (something that we attended last year and can recommend) – as well as the option to wander through each of the wine pavilion’s enjoying the opportunity of tasting different wines…

learning about wine
learning about wine

And food… don’t forget about the food! Get to taste some awesome tasting sized dishes from well-known restaurants in the city – or meander across to the International partners stands where you could enjoy tasty delicacies form Quebec, Beijing, Sichaun Province, Rabat, Budapest, Sofia to name a few!

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a perfect portion size for a taste
a perfect portion size for a taste
ribs and jasmine tea... Mmmmm
ribs and jasmine tea… Mmmmm
How pretty is this?
How pretty is this?

PLUS a new addition to previous years programmes includes cooking workshops with Mmmmh! (a well known cooking school)… where there are even workshops aimed at families with children.

One thing you can be sure of – you wont leave hungry, thirsty or bored!

You can either purchase your tickets/vouchers online beforehand (with a discount!) – or at the ticket counters on the day – these are then exchanged for tokens (each token represents 1euro) and providers will only accept tokens (no cash) at their stands.

You can find everything that you need to know on their website: eat! Brussels drink! Bordeaux

Baked Orange Ricotta Cheese Cake

Recently going through the latest Delicious Magazine (July 2015 issue) – I was not only struck by how awesome the cover was (Raspberry ripple & pistachio parfait with crumbled honeycomb) – but I was also impressed by the number of recipes that I had tagged to “make”.

Which is why – within a day of reading – I had already whipped up their Ricotta Torte. I omitted the honey & walnut drizzle and served mine without nectarines… and although I loved it, HIM was not a fan. It wasn’t too sweet (which I loved, HIM not so much) and had the consistency of a baked cheesecake with the hint of South African Milktart (so bit like a bite of home)

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Would I make it again? Maybe… if it was for like-minded (tasting) folks like me, then yes… but if it was for HIM and other sweet toothed friends & family – then I might have to add the honey drizzle or make something else.

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Baked Orange Ricotta Cheese Cake

150g sugar
250g butter (softened)
500g ricotta
1 teaspoon of orange blossom essence
zest of 1 orange
3 eggs
150g flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

  • Cream sugar & butter until light & fluffy
  • Add eggs one at a time, beating between each addition
  • In a separate bowl, lightly whisk ricotta with orange blossom & orange zest until smooth
  • Combine ricotta mixture with butter mixture
  • Sift over the flour & baking powder and stir in gently to combine
  • Spoon into a greased cake tin
  • Bake for 60min (or until skewer test comes out clean)
  • Cook for 15min before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely

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Introducing… Smartmat

I recently got the opportunity to test out another food box delivery company… this time SMARTMAT (I also attended their launch party – which you can read about here)

smartmat-logo

As already mentioned – The concept is pretty simple – Smartmat helps you & your family to eat healthy & tasty food by supplying the ingredients and recipes to your home each week. That’s right – they do the shopping, provide the meal planners and deliver directly to your home… so all you have to do is the actual cooking (and eating of course).

They offer formula’s for 1, 2 or 4 people for 3, 4 or 5 meals… even offering Vegetarian, Quick/Easy & breakfast choices.

The meals are at least 25% organic, have no unnecessary additives or preservatives and focus on providing sustainable fish and local meat choices to create varied, healthy & original recipes.

Cost wise – they are little bit more expensive than FreshBox but when you calculate how much you spend on eating out… it still works out cheaper (in my opinion) plus it takes all the hassle out of creating menu plans and shopping, etc!

  • cost for 4 meals for 1 person = 49euros
  • cost for 4 meals for 2 people = 65euros
  • cost for 3 meals for 4 people = 75euros
  • cost for 5 meals for 4 people = 109euros

Once you sign up – you receive your delivery date – but your delivery time is only confirmed 4days beforehand and ta-da… the box is delivered.

The box that I received to review contained 4 meals for 2 people – a fish dish, a poultry dish & a meat dish – plus a punnet of strawberries (and recipe card) to make some cocktails!

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Portion sizes were very generous and the meat dish (hot dogs) was actually enough for 2 meals rather than 1 (I only did 2 of the 4 hot dog rolls and used the 2nd avo for another salad later on)!

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Plus I must admit that I thoroughly enjoyed making (and eating) these….

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Additional comments:

  1. Negative: The menu/recipes did not match the images printed next to them (oops :))
  2. Positive: Website is available in both Dutch & French
  3. Positive: The website provides 3weeks of menu’s – last week, current week and the following week

Would I make use of this again? Most probably – the contents of the box were super fresh, healthy and more than generous – plus there was a good ratio of fruit/vegetables, protein and carbs – giving the impression that it was a truly balanced diet. And of course – the ease of not having to think about what to cook, grocery shop, etc… makes life so much easier… leaving you time to do the things that you truly enjoy (like eat :))

Disclosure: I feel it is very important to disclose that I did not pay for this box – but I do promise that this a 100% accurate review of my experience & I was not reimbursed for writing this.

Traditional Apple Tart (SRC)

Yes, friends – it is SRC (Secret Recipe Club) reveal time of the month ago!

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Just in case you haven’t previously read any posts about SRC – it is an international blog swap concept whereby once a month, each blogger is allocated another bloggers site to make & share a recipe from their collection! Pretty awesome concept, eh?

Anyhoo – this month I got allocated a blog where I though ” I love this woman”!!! Seriously…. The Tasty Cheapskate‘s blog was amusing, fun and full of life (not to mention yummy recipes) – so much so, that I for once, I actually wished that we lived on the same continent so that I could meet up with her for a cup of coffee (or even a glass of water).

Don’t discount her for her blog name (excuse the pun) – she is a stay at home wife/mom who has some awesome recipes that are simple, quick & oh-so-tasty… and she delivers them with humour & as her name suggests… on a cheaper budget! I really um-ed & ah-ed over her Coconut chocolate bites (think *bounty* bars) & her Classic apple pie recipe – with the latter winning!

I loved how simple this apple pie recipe was – probably because I cheated a bit and used already made pastry because she said that I could (or you can use her recipe for butter pie crust here) and also because I loved her comment about the pre-oven pies looking like breast augmentation that has gone wrong – hee hee….

These were super easy to make and every easier to eat…. a definite treat for a Sunday afternoon! I made them into individual pies instead of one big one… but the recipe is much the same (except that I reduced my cooking time somewhat)

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Classic Apple Pie

7 apples
2 Tablespoons flour
1 cup of sugar
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pastry

  • Roll out half of the pastry into lightly greased pie dish
  • Peel & slice apples
  • Place diced apple pieces with sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt & lemon juice
  • Put apple mixture into pie crust – now as The Tasty Cheapskate tells us… it may look like there is too much apple…. but put your trust in this…. everything will be ok!
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  • Place the other half of the pastry on top of the apple pie mixture and using your fingers, pinch the pastry together to seal (you may even want to wet your fingers with water for this) – and it is true – breast augmentation gone wrong :)
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  • Using your knife, cut some slits into the top pastry to allow the steam to escape
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  • Bake for 15minutes at 200C
  • Then reduce temperature to 180C for 30minutes more
  • Cool & enjoy!

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Chocolate Chip Muffins

This past weekend, I didn’t feel like the normal weekend breakfast… I was all smoothie-ed out, wasn’t keen on toast or porridge or  cereal … or fruit … or… but I was feeling up for something on the sweet side…

So I decided a little bit of baking was an order… because, let’s be honest, who doesn’t enjoy a freshly baked muffin still warm from the oven for breakfast, eh??? (Especially when ones husband wakes one up at 7am on a Sunday morning concerned that one has overslept and will be late for work… forgetting that it is Sunday… and you have the whole morning still ahead and you can’t go back to sleep!)

I found this recipe on the BBC Good Food Website and have to admit that it was super easy to make and ready very quickly.

Would I make it again? Yes – but this time I would use normal chocolate chips instead of the dark chocolate chips that I had used – as the darker the chocolate, the more bitter the taste. (HIM likes them sweet)

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Chocolate Chip Muffins

300g self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
50g butter, cold & cubed
100g sugar
150g chocolate chips
2 eggs
225ml milk
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

  • sift flour & baking powder
  • rub the cold cubed butter into the dry mixture to create crumbs
  • Stir through the sugar & chocolate chips
  • Beat the eggs with the milk & vanilla essence separately, then add to the dry mixture
  • Briefly mix (not too much – just enough to make the mixture wet)
  • Bake for 15-20min at 200C

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Introducing: Hello Fresh Box

Last week, I spoke about attending a SMARTMAT event (read about it here) as well as testing out FLAVOUR DELIVERED (read about it here) – I was also recently given the opportunity to test out a food box delivery from a company called Hello Fresh.

HelloFresh

The concept is pretty similar – you can order a box of ingredients, which are delivered along with recipe cards – taking the hassle out of meal planning and grocery shopping. Which means that the only thing that you need to do is get into the kitchen and cook (and obviously eat!).

Firstly – you select what type of food box delivery you want – Original (Meat/Fish – which is what I got to test), Vegetarian or a humble (but yummy) Fruit box.

Secondly – you select the number of people you wish to feed (from an 1-6 people) and then you decide on whether you want ingredients for 3 meals or 5 meals! Prices are pretty reasonable… in my opinion, especially when you consider what eating out costs!

  • cost for 3 meals for 1 person = 36euros
  • cost for 3 meals for 2 people = 43euros
  • cost for 3 meals for 3 people = 53euros
  • cost for 5 meals for 1 person = 46euros
  • cost for 5 meals for 2 people = 53euros
  • cost for 5 meals for 3 people = 73euros

And finally – indicate the day & time slot that works best for you – keeping in mind that deliveries are only done on Monday & Tuesday evenings between 16h30 & 22h30.

Now onto the box itself………

hello fresh box

Mine arrived with ingredients for 2 people for 3 meals – a fish dish, a chicken dish & a vegetarian dish:

hello fresh box inside

I can honestly say that the cost difference for 1 person to 2 persons makes getting the 2ppl box much more economical… and lets be honest, if you are going to spend 30-40minutes cooking dinner for yourself – it is always nice to have some leftovers for the next days lunch or the freezer, right? And I also believe that 3 meals is sufficient for my lifestyle – my rationale behind this statement is that I don’t have time to cook 5 weeknights in a row… I am often out at least 2-3nights a week and our weekends are more “ad hoc” with regards to cooking or going out… plus we like the choice of last minute planning on the weekend.

In terms of meal planning – the menu’s are set for each week – so you don’t have any choice in mixing & matching meals from other weeks – but what it does do is give you the opportunity to make something that you ordinarily wouldn’t have thought of!

As you can see from below – I made each of the 3 meals… and although the protein offerings were on the smaller side – the veg & carbs were plentiful!

hello fresh box meals

Comments about their website –

  1. Positive: you can see what menu’s are available for the following weeks
  2. Negative: The Belgian website is only available in Dutch…

Would I make use of this again? I would definitely consider it – with the upcoming birth of our daughter – I am pretty sure that domestic chores like meal planning & grocery shopping are going to be pretty low on my list of things to do and if there are opportunities to ease daily life… then this is going to be one of them!

Hello Fresh is currently available in both Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, UK, US & Australia (although each country has a somewhat different offering)

Disclosure: I feel it is very important to disclose that I did not pay for this box – but I do promise that this a 100% accurate review of my experience & I was not reimbursed for writing this.