Yum! Banana cupcakes

I haven’t baked anything for so long and I’ve been yearning to do it, so now that I had some time on my hands to procrastinate, I decided that today was the day! I chose to bake delicious banana cupcakes with frosting as my topping.

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 cup cake flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon sugar
  • ½ cup butter – softened
  • ½ cup granulated brown sugar
  • ¼ cup low fat yoghurt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large ripe bananas – peeled and mashed

For the frosting:

  • ¼ cup butter – softened
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Directions:

For the cupcakes:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line a cupcake tray with paper holders.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon sugar.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  4. Add in yoghurt, vanilla essence and eggs. Mix until combined smoothly.
  5. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until it is just combined.
  6. Fold in the mashed bananas until it is well incorporated into the mixture.
  7. Using two spoons, drop the mixture into the paper cupcake liners.
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

 

For the frosting:

  1. Add butter, sugar and vanilla essence and beat until well combined and stiff.
  2. Add frosting to piping bag and pip accordingly with the nozzle of your choice!

 

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Yum! Strawberry cheesecake

Today I decided to scroll through Pinterest and pick a recipe to try. I came across a no-bake strawberry cheesecake. My sister and I drove around to buy the ingredients and a few hours later I was in the kitchen ready to begin!

It was a fairly easy recipe. It took about 45 minutes to complete the whole thing.

First, I crushed Tennis biscuits until they were just a little rough, adeed melted butter and sugar, then placed it in a baking pan. I then flattened it all the way to the bottom and to the sides. It was then placed in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to set.


I had to whip together sugar and cream cheese, and then fold it into heavy cream which I had to whip until it formed soft peaks.

I bought strawberries for the actual mixture and raspberries to decorate the finished product.

After I puréed the strawberries in a food processor, I gently folded it into the mixture of cream. It was a lovely pastel pink colour.

Thereafter, I poured the strawbery infused cream mix into the biscuit crust that was setting. I then placed the final product in the freezer fo several hours.

As everyone sat down for dinner, I took the strawberry cheesecake out of the freezer and began to garnish it with raspberries.

And voila!


Yum! Chicken salad

Good morning! I decided to make a chicken salad for breakfast this morning. I am trying my best to be as healthy as I possibly can.

My salad this morning includes shredded lettuce, salt & pepper feta and grilled chicken pieces. I topped it off with mixed herbs and some flaxseed oil – as recommended by my Mom.


I had this with a tall glass of water with ice cubes. It’s a perfect time to relax, and write a to-do list of things I need to purchase or prep for.


My stationery is from Typo. They have really great stuff – particularly stationery. The pen is called Smooth Operator and the writing pad is a general one that are on their shelves.

xx

Review: 10 2nd Avenue Houghton Estate

Nestled in a quiet area of Johannesburg, lays a beautiful 5 star boutique hotel. I was quite excited to be here as I had been looking at reviews and pictures of the meals made here for quite some time prior to going. A few of my favourite girls surprised me with a fine dining dinner for my birthday this year. I was positively thrilled and 100% surprised (and heaven knows I love surprises).

As it was a girls evening, it was pretty great to begin with. The process of applying make-up and donning heels set these scene for the glamour and high society evening we were about to embark, prior to us arriving at the boutique hotel even. When we drove in, it was a quiet, decently lit driveway, where we were met by the maître d’hôtel who led us into the hotel, through a green garden via a little brown bridge, then up the stairs and onto the porch. We were given an option to dine indoors or out, to which we chose the outdoor porch area.

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We were brought hot towels to freshen up, as well an assortment of bread with butter, including sweet bread. We placed our orders and waited until our meals were served. 

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We ordered an assortment of starters, such as a Cajun chicken salad, a caprese salad with fresh tomato, buffalo mozzarella, basil and balsamic reduction, a grilled prawn skewer with Asian slaw, wasabi mayonnaise and avocado, as well as peri peri chicken livers, salad with care melodies onion and toasted bread. Once we had eaten our starters, we strolled around the hotel which was immaculate and very warm. 

chiken salad

chicken

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A while later, our main meals were brought and we began to experience the taste and service of true fine dining. We ordered a roasted lamb rack with minted pea and sweet potato mash, glazed carrots and jus, as well as char grilled lemon and herb chicken with haloumi and rising pasta salad and herb crème fraiche, eye fillet steak with fondant potato, seasonable vegetables and and a green peppercorn sauce, and lastly kingklip with spicy Basmati rice and sautéed vegetables.

lamb bestfish

By then we were very cold as it was a chilly evening, and we opted to be served our desserts indoors. We ordered layered puff pastry and custard with seasonal berries and berry coulis, sticky date pudding accompanied with whipped cream and butterscotch sauce and a Lindt chocolate fondant served with coffee ice-cream and chocolate shards. All the deserts were utterly delicious!

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Needless to say, I had a lovely birthday with the most lovely ladies whom I am ever so grateful to have in my life!

Yum! Red velvet cupcakes

Back to baking! It would be good to mention that I got a paper cut of sorts from a Rice Krispies box while frantically searching for cupcake holders, prior to baking. It seems that an inanimate object, such as a paper box is a hazard to my very existence. Rest assured, in the end I found the cupcake holders, and my finger seems to be recovering decently.


I decided to make red velvet cupcakes with a cream cheese frosting. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, and some people like variation of it – some like it without the frosting, others like eating the frosting on its own, so it really is a personal choice at the end of the day. It was just before twilight when I began so the weather complemented the baking process quite well. Once I poured the mixture into the frilly white cupcake holders, the oven was at 180 degrees Celsius and ready to receive a batch of almost-cupcakes.


While baking in the oven, a perfect window of opportunity opened for me to begin making the cream cheese frosting. I combined softened butter and cream cheese in a glass bowl, then added icing sugar and beat it until it was a perfectly integrated and looked to be a smooth consistency. I used cling wrap to cover the top of the glass bowl, then popped it into the fridge for 30 minutes. After a while, my cupcakes were baked and smelling delicious! I left it out to cool for approximately 45 minutes.


I then proceeded to transfer the cream cheese frosting into the piping bag with a simple nozzle, after which the much awaited piping began! I had so much fun baking and then piping the cream cheese frosting onto these red velvet cupcakes! I was quite happy with the outcome. Cupcakes after my own heart.

Yum! Cupcakes

If I had to write a sentence to sum up my undying love for cupcakes, it would go something like this:

I have an undying love for cupcakes.

Unlike Marie Antoinette, whose quote would go something like:

Let them eat cake!


How rude. She was guillotined in the end so her sarcasm regarding baked goodness was dealt with a degree of justice, one could argue.

Some 200 years later, I happen to be around, floating uncommitted, from room to room until I find myself in the kitchen on a mission. I am by all means a total advocate for cupcakes – especially creating them, pouring sprinkles on them, baking them and icing them thereafter.


I spent my afternoon in the kitchen putting together ingredients for delicious vanilla cupcakes. Once the mixture was ready, I scooped it into frilly white cupcake holders using two table-spoons. I then proceeded to sprinkle rainbow coloured vermicelli sprinkles on half of the cupcake mixture, and sprinkled chocolate coloured vermicelli on the other half of the cupcake mixture in their respective oven tray holders.


After my fluffy mixture had baked for under an hour to golden perfection, I allowed for it to cool for a few hours before I began on my icing expedition. I used butter icing -which is a mixture of butter (of course) and lots of icing sugar. Once I creamed together the mixture to smooth sublimity, I added in a dash or two of turquoise liquid gel colouring. This allowed my icing to become a beautiful Tiffany & Co blue, allowing me to become even more fond of it – if that was even possible to begin with.


Finally, I transferred the icing into my piping bag, with a shiny silver nozzle at the tip to get the result I wanted with regard to the shape of the icing. The icing oozed out of the nozzle without much fuss, as it was the right consistency – not too hard, nor too soft. Like baby bear said, “juuurst right!”.


Needless to say, I was incredibly pleased with the outcome. The possibility of me entering the kitchen again to bake cupcakes is not a far off prospect. I can’t wait to share my next baking moment on the blog!

For info on ordering cupcakes for kiddies parties, high teas or corporate events, please leave your contact details in the comments section below and I’ll be sure to get back to you as soon as possible!

Love,

R.

Yum! A trail of sesame crumbs

Every now and again, I gain a burst of food inspiration either from a picture I’ve come across online or from scrolling through recipe books with delectable options that have the potential to come to life. Today was one such day, out of almost nowhere, while casually sitting at the pool with my feet up, I decided that I was going to come home and create something I’ve never tried before (with too much success).
I began making sesame crumbed chicken strips with a sweet chilli mayo dip with go with it.

Though it may look like a quick meal to whip up in 5 minutes, that is simply a fallacy. It took quite a while to prepare the actual chicken strips, and then assembling the various things it needs to be dipped in such as seasoned flour, breadcrumbs with sesame seeds and beaten eggs. It certainly was no easy feat.

Truth be told, I love garnishing, so I was sure to get a few sprigs of fresh green mint, and a perfectly yellow lemon bursting with citrus flavour to add a lemon touch to my plat du jour.

After the sesame crumbed chicken strips were grilled to perfection in the oven, I sprinkled over some Himalayan pink coarse salt over to add flavour and texture to the strips. Voila! Like Hansel and Gretel, I left a trail of sesame crumbs on the way out!


After all is said and done, I quite enjoy being in the kitchen. Even though the evil forces that lurk beyond the kitchen door, like oven burns, try to scare me off, I tend to find myself back in the kitchen over and over again, ever ready to attempt to design something edible yet again. Dare I call myself a foodie?