Cape Town Day 2: Neighbourgoods, Chocolate, Slavery and Beer

02 May 2015

This was a great GREAT day, not only for the foodie in me, but also for that little girl with lots of questions that never quite left me as I got older.

First, the food!

We jumped out of bed in the morning and skipping breakfast intentionally, as we heading down to the Cape Town Neigbourgoods Market- and awesome gigantic Food Market, with what I like to call a “things market” on the side.

Frankly, this was just ridiculous. My stomach was crying out with a painful hunger that got worse the more I looked around! There was just too much damned choice!

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The Cookie Decoration Station

Friday/Saturday just gone, I shared an early Christmas with Diana before she jetted off back to Spain on Sunday to celebrate Christmas and The Three Kings with her family. We indulged in Asti, Festive Sausage Rolls and exchanged presents by the tree.

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Among a number of kind and thoughtful gifts, I received a new set of Christmas themed cookie cutters! As you can imagine, as soon as I returned home, I couldn’t resist getting another few batches on! So, I did my traditional vanilla for some candy cane shapes, then swapped the vanilla for 2 teaspoons of cinnamon and a teaspoon of nutmeg for bells and stars! Soon the whole house smelt of Christmas as, from what I’ve been taught, so it should; my Grandma tells me “nutmeg just IS Christmas”, while my mother tells me with identical enthusiasm and intonation “cinnamon just IS Christmas”! To my amusement, these conversations took place on completely separate occasions, and so now cinnamon and nutmeg, to me, just are Christmas!

These batches were ready just a few hours before my sister was due to arrive at the family home for the holidays. And what better way to welcome her home for Christmas than the Cookie Decoration Station!

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We let our festive artistic sides EXPLODE through the delights of buttercream icing, edible glitter and decorative candies! And you know? I think we did a pretty good job!

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They’re joyful and triumphant!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY HANA!!!!

Today is my Sister’s 28th Birthday, so last weekend she was home to celebrate with the family. I’ve mentioned a keenness to develop my confidence in baking before now, so while she was out on a birthday shopping trip with my Mum I set to work making her a birthday cake to be proud of!

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The Chequered Neapolitan birthday cake consists of 3 sponges- one chocolate, one strawberry and one vanilla. It’s brilliant because it actually looks 1000 times more complicated than it really is, so results in you (the baker) receiving far more praise than you really deserve. I wanted to make this for her, as I have a vague child-hood memory of us seeing two-flavour version of this being made on How To (or was it The Handy Men?) when we were little, and then my Mum baking it after sufficient nagging.

You’ve seen me make the strawberry sponge before, back when I was at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, but this time I developed the recipe ever so slightly by adding a tablespoon of powdered Strawberry Milkshake mix… You know, for extra strawberry oomph!

So. Here’s how it’s all done.

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LOOK WHAT I DID!

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To the untrained eye, the above will appear as nothing more than a set of lazy cupcakes, bashed together through the aid of a “just add an egg” kit, and in the unexplainable theme of One Direction.

But look a little more closely, and you will see something else.

Something special…

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A break-through in my baking habits, notoriously lacking in confidence…

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Yes. That icing… Is piped.

And a not too shabby job, if I may be so cheeky to say!

A nice change from my usual “just dump it on” approach.

Perhaps my baking will be just a tad bolder from this day!

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This cook just grew a little more.

Chocolate Bombe

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After the recent development of an obsession with Rick Stein and Thailand, my parents bought a recipe book called “J. Sheekey Fish”, based on the London restaurant by the same name which has received oodles of praise from Rick Stein himself. One day when my father was thumbing through the dessert section, he was blown away by the idea of this “Chocolate Bombe”. I knew at that moment I had to make it for him on his birthday.

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Cappucino, and Super-Healthy-But-Probably-Not-Really Cake

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Over the last couple of months, I have had the absolute pleasure each Monday and Friday of volunteering at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, assisting them to organise one of their biggest events of the year; The Annual Reunion. I had such a wonderful time while I was there, and my last day came around alarmingly fast. I just had to show them a token of my appreciation, and what better way to do this than with cake!

Baking is far from being my strong point and most people are striving to be healthy in July and August, so I was up against a challenge. Finally, I came up with a couple of simple recipes that they couldn’t resist!

Super-Healthy-But-Probably-Not-Really Cake

One of your 5-a-day! Possibly. Maybe. Citation needed.

Ingredients
125g of self-raising flour
125g of caster sugar
125g of unsalted butter
2 eggs
1 punnet of strawberries

Get cakin’

1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees

2. In a bowl, cream together the caster sugar and butter

3. Once smooth, beat in the two eggs

4. Sift and stir in the flour. Stir until lumpless and divine

5. Top the strawberries (cut their heads off) then destroy them in a food processor

6. Gently fold your strawberry goop into your cake mix

7. Grease your cake tin AND line the bottom with grease proof paper. This mix causes a lot of sticky when cooked!

8. Pour the cake mix into the tin and pop in the oven. Bake for approximately 30 minutes, though it may need longer due to all the moisture, so be sure to check!

9. Remove from oven and allow to cool

Icing
As I was icing two cakes, and as I’m a fiend for Buttercream Icing, I made a particularly large amount. You may find you don’t need so much!

Ingredients
250g of unsalted butter
500g of icing sugar
1 vanilla pod

Ice ice baby…

1. In a big bowl, cream up your butter

2. Sift in your icing sugar about 1/5 at a time, and stir it in ensuring you tackle any lumps!

3. Split your vanilla pod with a knife, then with a teaspoon remove all the little black seeds and add them to your mix. Josie then popped the empty pod into a bottle of Vodka, you may wish to do the same!

4. Stir in your vanilla seeds, then gloop this mixture all over your cake. To decorate, I lined the top edge with dried strawberries. Enjoy!

Cappuccino Cake

The cappuccino cake is even easier! Use the same ingredients as above, minus the strawberries. Measure out 40g of instant coffee (alter depending on your preference of strength) and blitz it up into a powder! Then, BEFORE you add the flour, add your coffee powder to the mix, stir it in and continue as normal. It needs slightly less time in the oven too- bake for about 20 minutes. Then just slather with your vanilla buttercream icing, dust with chocolate (just like a real cappuccino!) and enjoy. Who could resist that on a cloudy Monday?