My eldest brother and sister in law from the Free State are currently in town and on Wednesday they came to visit so I decided to get all the family around for lunch. It was an out of the ordinary occasion for us to do this in the middle of the week. Some were on holiday, some took off a long lunch and it was wonderful to just sit around and chat and laugh….a lot of laughing accompanies our family do’s, especially if all my siblings are gathered in one place, so I have to say I missed the other 3 on Wednesday! My youngest brother has the memory of an elephant…no really he does! He remembers stuff from our childhood that honestly I swear never happened! He also has the art of embellishing down pat. We do laugh at his stories. Both my brothers are wonderful story tellers, in different ways and it is thrilling to sit and listen to them. Did I tell you I am so blessed to have the family I do have? Oh yes I am…..very very blessed and I know it.
Anyway, let’s not go down that pathway…I might wander so far into my childhood that I will tell you stuff that I shouldn’t….HAHA! Stuff that probably never happened 🙂 What I am here to share with you all is delicious Malva Pudding – a well-loved, traditional baked South African dessert from Dutch origins that graces the most classy plates in the classiest restaurants…….and also most homes! Everyone needs to have this particular ace up their sleeves. Talk about comfort food on a cold wintry night. It ticks all the boxes for me! And the beauty of it is that it is simple and easy to prepare. I am not sure where the name comes from (malva is Afrikaans for marshmallow but this does not have any marshmallow in it) but Wikipedia suggests that it is called Malva Pudding after Malvasia dessert wine from Madeira – apparently the two were served together after the meal in the good old days…that makes sense! My inspiration for this recipe comes from my well worn Cook With Ina Paarman – one of the doyennes of South Africa’s culinary history. This book was given to me years ago by a very good friend and it has been the inspiration for many a delicious meal. I will blog a few of them when I can. Right now I am in the midst of organizing the South African Food and Wine Blogger Indaba 2012 and it is taking up all of my time. I am in the process of discussions with a new headline sponsor so should be able to make an announcement soon. But I CAN tell you all that this event will be happening on 24 June 2012 in Cape Town once again. It will be a one day event as before….but I am hoping to add a few new twists that will make it very attractive for all those keen to attend. So do save the date and those who are planning to fly down for it, best you start making plans and booking tickets! To sweeten you all up a little bit more…..here is my Malva Pudding Recipe
(adapted from the original recipe in Cook With Ina Paarman
published by Ina’s Kitchen 1987 ISBN 0 620 11087 2)
250ml Castor Sugar
1 ¼ Cups (312ml) Cake Flour
2 XL Eggs (at room temperature)
1 ½ tsp (7ml) Bicarbonate of Soda
Pinch of Salt
Finely grated zest of 1/2 an Orange or 1 whole Clementine
½ Cup (125ml) Milk
1 Tbs (15ml) Smooth Apricot Jam
2 Tbs (30ml) Butter
1 Tbs (15ml) Vinegar
½ tsp (2.5ml) Real Vanilla Extract
1 Cup (250ml) Evaporated Milk (or fresh cream if you prefer)
½ Cup (125g) Butter
½ Cup (125ml) Sugar
½ Cup (125ml) Orange Juice (or water if you prefer)
Knife point of Vanilla bean seeds
It also works well with ½ brandy and ½ orange juice for an adult version
Preheat oven to 1800 Celcius
Grease a medium to large deep ovenproof dish and set aside
Beat the eggs and castor sugar until light and fluffy
Beat in the apricot jam and orange zest
Sift the dry ingredients together in a seperate bowl
Melt the butter and mix together with the milk and vinegar
Alternately fold some of the dry ingredients and liquid into the batter until all is folded in (I do about a third of each at a time) end with dry ingredients
Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and bake for about 45 minutes
About 5 minutes before the end of baking time melt all the sauce ingredients together in a saucepan and boil gently for a few minutes – this can also be done in the mircrowave
As soon as the pudding comes out of the oven poke some holes into it with a fork or skewer then pour the hot sauce over and leave to be absorbed for about 15 minutes or so
(I like to keep about half the sauce aside and serve it warm with the pudding)
Serve this pudding warm with thick cream, custard, crème frâiche or a scoop of vanilla ice cream – my best way….I just love the mouth feel of hot and cold at the same time! 🙂
For a yummy extra South African twist I like to sometimes half whip some cream, add a tot of amarula liqueur and 10ml Icing Sugar to it and then whip until stiff peaks form and serve this with the warm pudding….yummy!
The beautiful thing about this dessert is that it is one of those dishes that improve with age and maturity 🙂 So it is always a good thing to make more than enough for left overs. Oh and you can safely make it a day or two before you need it and leave it sealed with foil or cling film in the fridge, just warming it up before you need to serve it.
Have a beautiful Easter weekend
Melkkos! Ask a South African (especially an Afrikaans South African) if they know what Melkkos is and invariably they will go all misty eyed and flushed with pleasure and take you on a magical memory trip into their childhood.
Melkkos (literal translation Milk Food) is that simple, easy to make, cheap and cheeful comforting dish that can be classified as breakfast, supper or dessert, a traditional Afrikaans dish that most will recall with fond memories of grandmothers making and serving to them on a Sunday evening when a simple quick meal was needed after the marathon midday sojourn around the long dinner table groaning under the weight of roast meats, roast potatoes and pumpkin and a selection of vegetables, always followed by a dessert or two.
A few weeks ago my fellow food blogger and fiendishly fabulous food friend Fritz, or @_realmencancook as he is more famously known, shared a twiscussion on twitter about Melkkos and that is when the idea for this duo blog post was conceived. We may all have fond childhood memories when thinking about melkkos, but have YOU tried making it yourself yet? Have you spoiled your kiddies or grand kiddies with a warm comforting bowl of it when they are sick in bed and not able to eat big meals? It is dead easy to make. I found, during my research, that there are a couple of different ways of making it. Melksnysels is kind of like homemade pasta ribbons cooked in milk – commonly known as “slinger om die smoel” which speaks volumes – get a big bib and have a large serviette or a roll of kitchen paper handy to mop up with – this is one messy meal to eat 🙂 I shall be trying that one next. I also saw other methods that use sago and also bought, dried flat ribbon style pasta. For my first effort though I chose to make the easier, more regular option.
Traditionally Melkkos is made by rubbing flour and some butter into crumbs and then cooking it in milk that has been infused with a cinnamon scroll. I chose to pimp, ever so slightly you understand, by adding some of my favourite spice and fruit flavours into the milk. This is how I made mine:
l litre Milk
1 Cinnamon Scroll
2 Cardamom Pods – bashed so the flavours from the seeds will be released
1 Star Anise
1/2 Vanilla Pod – split and the seeds scraped out
A twirl of dried naartjie or orange peel ( mandarin or clementine will do)
65ml Granulated White Sugar
65g Butter – cold
A little cold water if needed
Cinnamon Sugar for serving
Butter for serving
In a large saucepan heat the milk with the spices, peel and sugar just until it starts to boil.
Turn off the heat and allow to infuse for about 15 minutes or so while you prepare the flour
Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl
Grate the cold butter onto the flour then, using your finger tips, mix it in until you have the texture of rough bread crumbs. If it is a bit too dry you can sprinkle over a little cold water and continue mixing until you have the correct consistency
Strain then reheat the milk over a gentle heat while whisking or stirring in the flour mixture with a wooden spoon, a bit at a time, until it is all incorporated and fairly smooth. A few lumps are acceptable 🙂
Bring to a gentle boil while stirring continuously then pop the lid on and allow it to bubble, over a very gentle heat, for about 10-15 minutes, giving it a stir every now and then.
Remove from heat, give the melkkos a good stir and then serve up in soup bowls or pretty cups, sprinkled liberally with cinnamon flavoured sugar (I used the fabulous NoMU Sweet Rub that I adore on french toast, pancakes or just sprinkled on top of the marshmallows on my hot chocolate) and topped with a little knob of butter. Comfort for the soul in a steaming bowl!
Thank you Fritz for this opportunity of making a virtual meal together. I so enjoyed it and have now been able to cross another dish off my culinary bucket list! To those reading this, do pop over to the lovely blog Real Men Can Cook for the multi-talented Fritz’s take on Melkkos.
Happy new week. To those caught up in the snow and icy weather in the rest of the country while we enjoy some Indian summer days….I have one word to share……MELKKOS!! 🙂
Do you remember those beautifully elegant black boxes that contained an assortment of chocolates? In days gone by if you wanted to show your appreciation to someone you would go out to the grocery store and purchase one of these boxes as a gift. Black Magic! I always used to pick out the dark chocolate ones and hide them until I could savour their richness all on my own. I’ve always been a bit of a dark chocolate lover, even as a child. But it has only been in the last couple of years that my appreciation for the silky smooth, melt in the mouth richness of dark chocolate has really developed. My favourite treat these days is a block of dark chocolate with sea salt…..I pop it into my mouth and allow the warmth to gently melt the chocolate, the little flakes of saltiness just cutting perfectly through the rich darkness of the chocolate! I’ve become really adventurous and have even started using it in my cooking…..grated into a risotto, in a rich mole sauce, in a sauce to top a perfectly grilled fillet steak.Heck, last week I even used it in my caramelized onions for a topless tart that I was making! That however is for another posting….maybe tomorrow!!
Sometimes you see something and it rings a bell in your subconcious about something that you have hidden there for some time…..waiting for the right moment, but not knowing when exactly that right moment will be. A little while ago I was surfing the internet (as I often do) and I came across a recipe for the River Cafe Chocolate Nemesis cake on my friend Sam’s blog Drizzle and Dip. This was totally unrelated to my search by the way. I don’t even remember what I was googling when I came across it. But it rang that bell. I remembered reading comments from people who had tried the cake and it had flopped, others had given different recipes for the same cake. Lots of advice accompanied the posts. Sam mentioned that she had one of the River Cafe pocket books: Puddings, Cakes & Ice Creams by Rose Gray & Ruth Rogers and in it was a recipe for the “easy” version of the Nemesis Cake, which she had made very successfully. I had filed recipes of the cake in one of my earliest recipe files…circa 1995 I think….put away for a time when I was ready to attempt this contrary sounding cake. And I had never gone back to them…!
Last week I was deciding what to bake for my birthday when I suddenly remembered that lurking in that same cake recipe file I had saved a recipe for something that I dreamt about for awhile…..something so dark and decadent that it sounded almost indecent! Even the name had played havoc with my psyche at the time…..Bête Noir…..black or dark beast……..it hardly bore thinking about in my conscious moments…..
Wikipedia gives this explanation: The term bête noire (pronounced /ˌbeɪtˈnwɑr/ or /bɛtˈnwɑr/; French: [bɛtnwaʁ], “black beast”) is used to refer to a person, object or abstract idea that is particularly disliked or avoided. The term may also refer to:
In culinary arts: Bête noire (cake), a rich, flourless chocolate cake
It was time to haul out my feather duster and brave the dust in the archives and find that recipe! When I did find it I realized that I was right. It was almost identical to the famous River Cafe Nemesis Chocolate Cake. I felt that I was ready….and celebrating my birthday in dark style was exactly what I felt like!! I studied it for a day or two, made one or two little tweaks ( I AM, after all, the queen of recipe pimping) then called my dear heart and asked him to bring me home 400g of the darkest chocolate that he could find…..well, I got calls from the shop…”there isn’t any plain dark chocolate here”….”I have to have it” said I so he hot footed it over to another store….eventually I got that one call after 3 or 4 others inbetween….”found some 85%. Is that dark enough for you?” Was it ever??? Oh he moaned about the grotesque price of the chocolate but it WAS my birthday after all and after a gentle reminder about that fact he put the phone down and bought the chocolate….and the unsalted butter and fresh free range eggs. I was most explicit in my instructions and he followed them to the letter!
Once I had the ingredients I went into the kitchen with heart pounding…..printed out recipe in my hand. Would it work for me? What if it flopped and I had just made my hubby spend a small fortune on the ingredients? I had a house full of guests arriving the next day for lunch and they were expecting homebaked cake for tea! I donned my apron and set to work.
This recipe for Bête Noir cake is attributed to author, spokesperson, lecturer, cooking instructor and business owner Lora Brody who has written 22 books, a number of which have been best sellers and it comes from her cookery book “Growing Up on The Chocolate Diet” I could definitely grow up on THAT diet!
BÊTE NOIR ULTIMATE DECADENT CHOCOLATE CAKE – AND YES, IT IS COMPLETELY GLUTEN FREE!
Slightly adapted by me
This is what you need:
360g Dark Chocolate – use the darkest that you can find. I used 85%
250g Unsalted Butter – at room temperature
5 Extra Large Free Range Eggs
280g Superfine Castor Sugar
1/2 Vanilla Pod – slit with a sharp knife and seeds scraped out (Bury the used pod in some castor sugar in a bottle with a lid and you will have wonderful vanilla sugar to use in future baking expeditions)
1 Orange – finely grated zest only – this is entirely optional, I just love orange with chocolate
250ml Boiling Water
This is how you make it:
Preheat oven to 160deg Celcius
Place oven rack in the centre of the oven
Brush a 20cm deep cake pan with soft butter and dust lightly with cocoa powder – I used a mixture of flour and cocoa but if you are gluten intolerant use only the cocoa powder
Line the base of the pan with baking paper which you also brush with butter
Chop the chocolate into rough chunks and cut the butter up into cubes
Place the boiling water into a medium saucepan on the hob. Add 3/4’s of the sugar, stir until dissolved then boil rapidly over high heat for no longer than 3 minutes to reduce it to a sugar syrup
While the water is boiling crack your eggs into the bowl of your mixer, add the remainder of the sugar and beat until you pale and thick
Turn off the heat!!
Add all the chocolate at once to the just boiled sugar syrup and whisk with a balloon whisk until all melted
Start dropping in the butter one or two cubes at a time and whisking it into the chocolate mixture until it is all melted in and the mixture is thick and glossy – set aside until you are ready!
Add the vanilla seeds and orange zest to the eggs and beat in
Now add all the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and fold in gently until combined. Don’t overbeat as you don’t want to introduce air bubbles at this stage
Scrape all the mixture into the prepared cake pan
Set the cake pan on a folded tea towel (stops it from slipping) into a slightly bigger pan and fill up to the brim of the cake pan (without getting any of it into your cake mixture) with hot (not boiling) water. I find it easiest to do this once I have already placed the pan into the oven. Pouring water to the brim of the cake pan allows for really even baking
Bake the cake, in its water bath, for approximately 30-40 minute. It needs to be firm on the top but still have a slight wibble wobble when you move the pan. A cake tester inserted should come out with some sticky crumbs attached
Remove from the water bath and cool, in the cake pan, on a cooling rack. Once cold you can wrap tightly with glad wrap and put into the refrigerator for the night
Remove from refrigerator an hour or so before you are going to be eating the cake
To remove it from its cake pan, run a spatula around the edge of the cake then set it onto a hot plate for a second or two. I have a chefs blowtorch which did the job perfectly for me. I just heated all around the sides of the pan and the base of it then turned the cake out onto a plate.
Remove the baking paper and then invert the cake onto another plate so that the top is upside.
You can frost this with chocolate ganache if you wish but this cake is just so utterly decadent and rich that I simply dusted it with sifted icing sugar and served it with a dollop of créme frâiche and a few fresh raspberries which cut wonderfully through the richness of the chocolate. A thin wedge is more than enough for a portion.
This is seriously the most deliciously decadent rich mousse like cake that I have ever baked or eaten. It just melts in your mouth…no chewing necessary. Besides, you need to be able to moan softly when you eat it 🙂
Don’t say I didn’t warn you…..I have been dreaming about it ever since. I simply HAVE to make it again…..very soon!! I’m thinking next time I might add 1tsp of coffee granules to the boiling water and omit the orange zest…..endless possibilities!
A fantastic cake to bake for Easter!
PS Thank you so much to everyone who left birthday wishes for me. I so appreciated them all.
I had a wonderful day surrounded by family and loved ones. Lots of fun, laughter and good food! And of course spoiling 🙂
FoodNetwork UK is running a challenge on their facebook page where you can create a virtual wedding cake (Royal Wedding fever has struck!) using their Cake Creator app. Go on! You know you want to……unleash that creative baker that is lurking inside you!
And while you are there….please vote for my cake that I designed. Food Network are going to be giving away 5 copies of Eric Lanlard’s cookery book “Master Bakes”
You will find my cake under the Most Voted in the Gallery. Just scroll to the right until you get to Colleen Grove 🙂 That’s me…..I need about 100 votes to catch up to the leader so could really use some kindness about now. Thank you! And if you create a cake…let me know and I will return the favour!
That saying has always fascinated me and when I was young I often used to wonder what time goes by or where and when? I know firsthand now that it actually just goes by! And fast! It doesn’t wait, it doesn’t respect your requests for it to slow down at all. It just relentlessly keeps on going by!
I am sitting here in my small, overheated study, the window flung wide open to catch any recalcitrant breeze and the curtains fully parted as the sun has already passed the mark where it shines on my screen and prohibits me from seeing what I am typing or reading. I am listening, as I type, to the lazy buzzing of the bees busy at the lavender blossoms below the window, the heady calming scent reaching my nose enticing me to go out into the fresh air rather than sit cooped up here on such a magnificent day. But sit here I must! I have put off long enough doing what I love doing and giving in to the lazy side of me that wants to give in to doing nothing at the moment…..a sure sign of that post traumatic stress disorder rearing its unwanted head in my life again. All the work done to organize FBI2011 has taken it’s toll and I am exhausted and in need of a little bit of time out but it just doesn’t happen here. And so I should learn that I am neither as young or as strong as I imagine I am and to just give in to the need to sit and do nothing for a while, except maybe get lost in a good book….but that essentially leads to a session on the pillow with my feet up and my head in dreamspace…..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!!!
It is a stunning summers day down by the bay – odd that as it is officially autumn and it should be a lot cooler than 30deg Celcius, we should be having north westerly breezes blowing up bad weather from the north, bringing some much needed rain. Instead the sun is blazing down from a deep cerulean blue sky, not a breath of wind is rustling the leaves on the windblown, salt browned plants in the garden and it is hot!
My daughter celebrated her birthday yesterday on a day exactly like today. All her younger life she wanted a swim party, every year it was the same request – “Please can I have a pool party this year Mommy?” Only to be bitterly disappointed time after time as the weather had always turned to winter never mind autumn by the the 27th of March and she had to settle for jackets, socks, boots and indoor parties instead of bikinis, sunscreen, sun hats and al fresco eats on the lawn under the tree. Looking back to those days and looking at the weather we are enjoying I see how the seasons have changed and I wonder what is to come still?
Of course, being a baker and being a mom of a daughter with a birthday I had to bake her a cake didn’t I? I turned to my “go to” seriously easy boiled milk vanilla sponge. It is always such a pleasure to bake this cake and it turns out beautifully every time. It never disappoints, rather it is a source of great delight. I have taken to using Kapruka coconut oil instead of vegetable oil or butter in the batter and it just lifts this cake to another level, so light, a wonderful crumb and a very delicate coconut flavour. My daughter asked for citrus flavoured frosting and, coupled with the salted caramel filling, it was a winner! Even my orange hating son gobbled down his slice (or three) without muttering! I am submitting this post to Tandy’s challenge for this week. I used the recipe as in my cake link above and added finely grated zest from half a lemon to the batter and finely grated zest from an orange to the frosting! My first challenge entry for a while 🙂 Of course my son had the last word……he asked what the dust particles were in the cake. Vanilla bean seeds son, vanilla bean seeds!!
I had a little helper with the frosting…..he makes an excellent licker or anything with frosting on it 🙂 Every bakers kitchen needs an elf like this…….
Happy Birthday my beautiful girl….love you!!
Have a good week everyone. I have so many recipes to post. Just need to get my mojo going so that I can edit some photos to go with them. Hope to do that this week.
This festive season Verlaque is a word being bandied about a lot in my kitchen! And dining room. From the mundane to the magnificent, these products are featuring in my Christmas menu! Last Christmas I never knew the products at all, until March when my eyes were opened to their utter deliciousness. Verlaque were very willing sponsors for the first South African Food Bloggers Conference and all those attending went home very happy with their bursting goodie bags! Much has been written about the Verlaque products since then and it is no secret that I love the products and now use them every day in my cooking!
I don’t know about you but the ubiquitous little cocktail sausage/chippolata always features at our festive table or parties. These little beauties disappear before any other party snacks do. I have doubled up on the amount that I make and yet………they still always go first!! Instead of just smooshing them around in a frying pan with a bit of oil why not try this delicious method?? Your tastebuds will love you!
VERLEKKERRRR BAKED COCKTAIL SAUSAGES
1 kg Cocktail Sausages or Chippolatas
30ml Verlaque Pomegranate Concentrate
45ml Runny Honey
45ml Hoisin Sauce (use Ponzu if you can’t find Hoisin)
15ml Thick Soy Sauce
1 Tbs Country Mustard with seeds
1 Orange – finely grated zest only
Mix all the marinade ingredients together then pour over the sausages in an oven proof dish and allow to marinate for about 30 minutes
Preheat oven to 200deg Celcius
Place dish with sausages in oven and bake for 20-30 minutes
Serve with sweet mustard or sweet chilli sauce for dipping
And don’t forget to make plenty!!
Off I head to the kitchen to bake….am having a rare bit of time off today 🙂 All my Christmas cake orders have been despatched to their rightful owners….my grandsons are on playdates today. I have been holed up in my study working on conference issues but now it’s time to bake! Christmas is waiting for no-one and I have cookies on my agenda!
Enjoy this festive season wherever you may find yourself.
Watch this space for news of the next SA Food and Wine Bloggers Indaba (FBI 2011).
Announcements and ticket sales commencing soon 🙂 You don’t want to miss this one….book the date NOW 20 February 2011