Butter Dips (SRC)

I can’t believe how quickly time flies by… it was only the other day that I was getting ready to head off on Maternity leave and take a short break from blogging… 4 months later, I am back at work and back working on the blog… and of course, back to Secret Recipe Club reveals.


For those who aren’t aware – SRC (Secret Recipe Club) is an online platform for recipe swapping.. using a “secret santa” approach. I.e. you have no idea who will be making something from your blog until your groups reveal day! Exciting, eh?

This month, I got Little Bit of Everything as my blog to check out. Written by Julie who describes herself as a 50-something from Nebraska (that is in the USA :)) who loves cooking, travelling and her garden (The first 2 falling into a few of my favourite things!!). Plus I fell in love with the fact that she has a Julia Child (my other obsession) idea of completing 50 recipes that she hasn’t yet made. In fact, I loved this idea so much, I might actually try to put together something similar!

I thoroughly enjoyed browsing her site – trying to decide on what to make… would it be Honey beer Bread or Old Fashioned Rhubarb Pudding Cake (because I adore Rhubarb!!!) or this bubble up pizza?

But I realized that we are both big lovers of biscuits & all things bread… so when I saw this recipe for Butter dips… I was sold. (I could eat bread for breakfast, lunch and dinner… and all snacks in between….) and of course… butter… what more can a woman like me ask for????


OMG… these are delicious!!!! I made mine in muffin trays (made 10) and we scoffed half of them straight out the oven with cups of coffee for a late breakfast.


Butter Dip Quick Bread

1/4 cup butter
1 1/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup of buttermilk (or regular milk)

  • Cut butter into pieces and place into a microwave dish to melt
  • While the butter is melting, mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl
  • Stir in the buttermilk/milk (staring with 2/3 of a cup and adding more if necessary) to make a loose dough
  • Press the dough in the pan over the melted butter
  • using a knife, cut the dough into pieces
  • Bake for 12-15minutes at 225C (450F)


Chocolate Courgette Cake

One morning I woke up and thought “are we really eating enough fruit & vegetables?” – because these are the kinds of thoughts that keep my brain occupied at 2am when I should be catching up much needed rest (especially when I know that Little Miss will be up shortly demanding cuddles, nappy changes, milk and more love <3).

So I did the maths… a minimum of 5 fruit & vegetable portions per day… easily done on  most days (especially week days, where I take a packed lunch to work and have at least 2 fruits (mid-morning & mid-afternoon snacks) plus leftovers which have veggies in… and then cook dinner with more veggies later in the day… normally…. sometimes I live on toast as well!) but sometimes we don’t and the vegetables in the fridge start to build up and as per my previous post (chicken, chorizo & chickpea stew) – I am loathe to throw away food.

So I had a glut of courgettes… I had already tried out the oven baked Courgette fries… but what about a courgette cake? So I searched… and found this easy recipe on BBC Good Food Website.

chocolate courgette cake 1

At first glance, HIM raised his eyebrows at the thought of so much grated courgette in a chocolate cake… but after a bite of the finished product, he had to admit that it was “quite” good … which in his books means great things! I didn’t add nuts as per their recipe, but in future I would… as the cooked grated courgette in the cake already gives a nutty flavour and the texture of chopped nuts would take this cake to the next level.

Would I make it again? yes… it was easy & tasty and a sneaky way to add extra vegetables into your “treat” time!

Chocolate Courgette Cake

350g Self-raising flour
50g cocoa powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon (they used mixed spice)
175ml olive oil
375g caster sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 medium courgettes, grated
(150g roughly chopped nuts – optional)
200g dark chocolate
100ml cream

  • In a large bowl, combine flour, cocoa, cinnamon & a pinch of salt
  • In another bowl, combine oil, sugar, eggs, sugar, vanilla essence & grated courgette
  • Mix the dry & wet mixtures until just combined
  • Pour into a greased cake tin (I used a springform tin)
  • Bake for 40-45min at 180C
  • Cool for 10minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool fully
  • To make the icing – bring the cream to the boil and pour over the broken chocolate, stirring to make a smooth ganache, which you can pour/spread over the top of the cooled cake

chocolate courgette cake 2

Leftover Chicken, chorizo and chickpea stew

Using up leftovers has become more of a priority in our household… not only do we have more expenses with an addition to the family, but also because we have become very aware of how wasteful we are sometimes… and if there is one thing I absolutely hate… it is throwing away food! Not only because there are starving people in the world and because it is € down the drain (or bin)… but because food is my friend and tossing it away feels like a betrayal of friendship.

yes… I am strange… we already knew that… but the concept of using up leftovers isn’t!

I found this recipe in the Delicious Magazine (no idea which issue but it must have been just after Christmas as they used Turkey in theirs…)

chickpea stew 1

Would I make this again? Yes… I would serve it with crusty bread to soak up the extra juices. It is also a make ahead kind of meal and can be frozen! And did I mention that it is a hearty kind of dish? The one that you know that you want to scoff on a cold winters day (with or without a fire place :))

chickpea stew 2

Leftover Chicken, Chorizo & Chickpea Stew

1 Tablespoon olive oil
250g cooking chorizo
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
400g tin of chopped tomatoes (I used 5ooml of passata)
500ml chicken stock
300g leftover chicken (or turkey), meat shredded/chopped
400g tin of chickpeas, drained & rinsed
Parsley, chopped

  • Heat oil in a frying pan
  • Fry chorizo for 3-5minutes until turning crisp, then remove from the pan
  • Add onion & garlic and gently cook for 8min until soft
  • Add tomato/passata and stock, turn the heat up to high and bubble away for 10-20minutes (until the liquid reduces and thickens)
  • Add chicken, chickpeas & chorizo and warm through for about 5minutes
  • Garnish with chopped parsley

chickpea stew 3

Mom’s Savoury Beef

Thank goodness for mom’s, eh?

My mommabear spent 5weeks with us while I was on maternity leave with Little Miss and not only did she provide much-needed support, love and help… but she also shared some wonderful recipes with me!

savoury beef 1

This Savoury beef dish has been a firm favourite from my childhood and although I had the recipe written down, I lacked the courage to test it out without her there! (Yes, mid-30’s and still scared of messing up… oops!) :)

The recipe is for a 1,5kg piece of beef, but when we made it – I used a smaller cut and halved the rest of the ingredients and it still came out great! Would I make it again? Hell, yes…  this is a perfect “let it cook slowly” kind of meal… giving you time to do all the other things on your list (like play/cuddle with baby and/or husband, laundry, phone a friend, etc :))

Savoury Beef

1,5kg (3lbs) piece of beef
2 garlic cloves
Salt & Pepper
3 medium onions
1 tin tomato paste
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon mustard
1/4 cup of vinegar
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

  • Brown the whole piece of meat in some oil in a heavy saucepan (I used my Le Creuset casserole dish that has a lid)
  • Add onions, garlic, salt & pepper and tomato paste to the pot
  • Either simmer on the stove for 3-4hr or place in the oven at a low heat 140C for the same amount of time (I turned the piece of meat half way)
  • You might think that there isn’t enough liquid… but the meat juices along with the tomato paste, onions, etc seem to start a beautiful braising liquid that bubbles away gently around the piece of meat
  • Add Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, mustard and sugar and simmer for a further 1.5hours
  • Slice the meat (which should be so tender that it falls apart) and serve with the sauce

savoury beef 2

Oven Baked Zucchini Fries

On one of my last days of maternity – I looked into the abyss that is our fridge and decided that I needed to add a few more veggies to our diet :)

PLUS I had been inspired by one of my favourite tv shows called My Kitchen Rules (an Australian based reality tv show showcasing home cook pairs vying for fame, fortune and of course tv notoriety!)

Anyway – I digress… I saw one pair cook up some of these on one the episodes, so I did a bit of a google search and find the following recipe on All Recipes. They can be served as a nibble, starter or as an accompaniment to a meal.


A definite make again…. not quite the same as deep-fried potato chips… but juicy, tasty and super easy (plus a great way to get in some veggies!)


Oven Baked Zucchini Fries

1/2 cup of breadcrumbs
1/4 cup of grated parmesan
2 zucchini, washed & sliced into strips
2 eggs, beaten and in a shallow dish
cooking spray

  • Line a baking tray with foil & spray with cooking spray
  • Mix the breadcrumbs with the parmesan in a shallow dish
  • Dip the zucchini strips into the beaten egg and then into the crumb mix
  • Place onto the baking tray
  • Bake at 220C for 20-25minutes


Pumpkin Fritters

Having had my parents visit while I was on maternity leave, had me dreaming of lots of old favourites… food wise that is :)

Pumpkin Fritters are definitely a firm family favourite… served with a sprinkling of sugar & ground cinnamon and a GREAT way to use up leftover pumpkin!


This is a definite make again kind of recipe, super easy and of course delicious! (I have such wonderful memories of my granny making these … and inhaling more than my fair share… so be warned… you can’t only eat one!)


Pumpkin Fritters

1 cup of mashed cooked pumpkin
1 cup of flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup of milk
sugar & cinnamon

  • Mix pumpkin, flour, baking powder, sugar, milk & eggs together
  • Heat oil in a frying pan
  • Drop a spoonful of the batter into the heated oil and cook for 2-3minutes on each side (flipping over to get a gorgeous golden colour over the entire batter ball :))
  • I mixed sugar & cinnamon in a bowl and as soon as I took the pumpkin fritter out of the oil (having partly drained them), I rolled them in the cinnamon sugar mix


Why you should join the Belgian Meatball revolution with BALLEKES

Ever had a dream?

Imagine that you could turn that wonderful dream into a reality and actually make it your job… Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

I know that we all sit and day-dream how we would open up our own little business doing x or y (sometimes linked to big lottery values :))… the kind of business that our hearts are into… our passion & love!

After having started a bistro (t’Bolleke) in Brussels serving traditional Belgian cuisine, it soon became apparent that the Ballekes that Francoise & Thibault were serving were an absolute hit… so the idea of providing a fast (but casual) restaurant with minimum service serving high quality Belgian meatballs, fries & beers was born!


Which is why I really think you should be doing your little bit to support the Belgian meatball revolution with Ballekes!

Before we even talk about the meatballs… I do want to point out that you don’t need to live in Brussels (or Belgium)… just imagine how donating a few euros could help a team reach their dream. If you do live in Brussels (or Belgium) – think about how your help could fill your belly :) – a worthy investment in my eyes!!

So what money do they need? After working on an abandoned building, gutting it and starting from scratch – Florence & Thibault still need 25.000€ to finalise the renovations of the shop – this includes the carpentry (counters/benches/tables, etc) as well as lights & the floor!! All very necessary items don’t you think???

How can you help? Their crowdfunding project is live (as of Friday 15th January) and with just over a month to go – they offer a range of donation packages including:

  • 5€ => toast your name with a beer in their THANK YOU VIDEO
  • 10€ => 5 fried apero croquettes on your 1st visit (either Shrimp or Cheese)
  • 24€ (excl. shipping) => your 1st meal OR t-shirt OR cap OR name on the wall of fame
  • 49€ (excl. shipping) => t-shirt OR cap PLUS bottle opener, Ballekes “pils” glass & your name on the wall of fame
  • 99€ => Crowdfunder card with 10% discount for life PLUS your name on the wall of fame
  • 149€ => invitation to the VIP opening, t-shirt OR cap PLUS bottle opener, 2 glasses, your name on the wall of fame AND the crowdfunder card
  • 249€ => name engraved on a table for two, 2 invitations to the VIP opening, 2 t-shirts/caps/bottle openers, 4 glasses, your name on the wall of fame AND 2 Crowdfunder cards

all the way up to 4.999€ which gets you Ballekes for life… meatballs every day for every meal…. :)

Otherwise you can also contribute your own chosen amount – find more details here

More about the Ballekes restaurant & menu concept => consider a simple counter ordering system with the option to customize your choices and enjoy your meal in a cosy atmosphere!

The counter ordering system will be simple

ballekes 2

  1. Select your protein – pork/beef, chicken or bio veggie
  2. Select your style – with a Belgian sauce; with baguette or the healthy salad option
  3. and finally… select your sides & extra’s

ballekes 4

Sounds good, eh?

I know that you think that Brussels probably has enough food options… but I think that this option is an absolute winner of an idea!

AND LOCATION wise is perfect… close to Chatelain, Avenue Louise, St Gilles & Uccle

Chaussee de Charleroi 174, 1060 Brussels (Open 7/7)

Ballekes 3

What are you waiting for?


Quick Berry Jam

While Mommabear was here… she helped me make a quick berry jam – which was  a perfect gift for Christmas hampers… as well as being gobbled up with her 12 minute scones!!

red berry jam 1

This recipe is easy to make, requires very little ingredients and can be adapted for other fruit jams! A definite make again!

red berry jam 2

Berry Jam

670g red berries (strawberries & raspberries – cleaned and chopped)
500g sugar
200ml water
2 Tablespoons lemon juice

  • Place all ingredients in a pot and bring to the boil
  • Stir regularly and leave on a medium heat until mixture starts to thicken
  • Ensure that you skim the scum off the top of the liquid during the cooking process
  • cool and place into sterilized bottles
  • Keep in the fridge and use within 3months

red berry jam 4 red berry jam 3

Banoffee Cheesecake

Today is my first day back at work… after almost 4months of maternity leave and what can I say, except that I would have loved more time with the Little Miss…  watching her grow and learn each day has filled my heart with so much love that words can not adequately describe.

So with babies on my mind… I revert back to the dessert that I made for New Years Eve… our first time celebrating as a *bigger* family and this time with two other “new” families and their little ones!

This dessert is sweet (duh!?!), easy to make and combines two of my favourite things – caramel AND banana!

I found the recipe in the BBC Good Food Magazine (April 2015 issue), although I omitted the cream, caramel and fresh banana topping for decoration purposes.


Banoffee Cheesecake

200g digestive biscuits (crushed)
100g butter (melted)
4 banana’s (peeled & sliced)
150ml cream
900g cream cheese
85g icing sugar (sifted)
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
300g caramel (I used a tin of Carnation)

  • Mix crushed biscuits with melted butter and press into a greased springform tin to create a base.
  • Place in fridge to chill
  • Fry banana in a little bit of butter, remove from pan and leave to cool
  • Arrange bananas on top of biscuit base
  • To make cheesecake mix – whisk double cream until softly whipped.
  • Place cream cheese & icing sugar in a large bowl and whisk until smooth
  • Add whipped cream along with maple syrup & caramel to cream cheese mix
  • Spoon over banana/base
  • Place in fridge for at least 4 hours (or overnight) to set


12 minute scones

I can’t believe how quickly time flies… it was only yesterday that I was looking forward to my mommabear coming to visit… and today she is on her way back to SA after spending 6weeks with us….

Not only did she do the 5/6am feed, keeping me company in the wee-wee hours of the morning and taking over with rocking & calming of Little Miss when HIM & my energy levels was running low but she sent us out for date night each week – which meant HIM and I caught up on a few movies, dinner with friends, etc and got to feel like a couple again!

PLUS she imparted a few fantastic recipes with me… (berry jam & savoury beef recipes coming soon!) – which brings me to the crux of this post… 12 minute scones!


Seriously … a couple of minutes to mix and only 12minutes to bake… enjoyed within minutes of coming out of the oven with lashings of butter, our homemade berry jam and cream… OMG… so good!


12 minute Scones

2 cups of flour
3 teaspoons of baking powder
pinch of salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup of oil
1 egg
milk (quantity depending on size of egg :))

  • Add the egg to the 1/4 cup of oil and top with milk – so that all liquids equate to 1 cup – and beat
  • Place all dry ingredients in a bowl
  • Add wet ingredients, just mix to combine
  • Place in a greased muffin tray (makes 6)
  • Bake for 12minutes at 200C