hot cross bun pudding

Hot Cross Bun Pudding | The Secret Life of Bee

Hold onto your hats, cos this one is a goodie. In fact this dish of deliciousness is so good it’ll make you wish it was Easter all year round! Easter brings with it many a public holiday and many an opportunity for lavish brunching, lunching and general munching. This hot cross bun pudding is pretty much perfect for any and every occasion.

Hot Cross Bun Pudding | The Secret Life of Bee

I do love a hot cross bun all year round. Toasted crisp and then slathered with some farm butter. Bliss. This hot cross bun pudding brings you all of those delicious spicy flavours but in the most comforting way. The vanilla and orange scented custard is rich and creamy and the tops of the buns get a wonderful crispy crust while their bottoms soak up all the custard and become gloriously pudding like.

Hot Cross Bun Pudding | The Secret Life of Bee

I do not recommend making this while alone at home. It is dangerous. The husband nearly got home to an empty baking dish and a self loathing wife. But fortunately I somehow pulled it together and managed to share this with him and a neighbour who stuck their head in through the kitchen window.

Hot Cross Bun Pudding | The Secret Life of Bee

Hot Cross Bun Pudding

serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 6 hot cross buns
  • 250ml cream
  • 250ml full cream milk
  • 3 large free-range eggs
  • 60g sugar
  • zest of 1 large orange
  • 2 tsp vanilla paste
  • 1 Tbsp Grand Marnier *optional
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Softened butter for spreading
  • Maple syrup

Method:

Preheat oven to 170 ̊C. Grease an ovenproof baking dish with softened butter.

Slice hot cross buns in half and butter the insides. Place the bottom half of the buns in the baking dish.

Whisk the cream, milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, orange zest, Grand Marnier and salt together. Pour half of the mixture over the buns.

Top with the other half of the bun and finish with the remaining mixture. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes until the custard is set and the buns are golden brown.

Remove from the oven and brush the tops of the buns with maple syrup while still warm. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream and a glass of bubbles.

Hot Cross Bun Pudding | The Secret Life of Bee

 

*Disclaimer: Delicious bubbles provided by the wonderful folks from Krone.

balsamic beets & goat’s cheese linguine

Balsamic Beet & Goats Cheese Linguine | The Secret Life of Bee

As our weather begins to cool comfort food is coming a knocking. Very few things say comfort to me more than a beautiful pasta. This linguine is just that while remaining light and fresh. Earthy flavours from the beetroot pair so well with the sweet acidity from the balsamic. Top that off with some super creamy goat’s cheese and it’s no wonder this combo is such a classic.

Balsamic Beets & Goats Cheese Linguine | The Secret Life of Bee

I used a mix of gorgeous red, golden and candy striped beets I picked up from the market but you can use whatever you get your hands on. As for the goat’s cheese you want the super creamy kind. I used Chavroux. It’s my achilles heel of the cheese world and if left alone at home with a tub of it i’ll just gobble it up with a spoon.

Market Day Produce | The Secret Life of Bee

Balsamic Beets & Goat’s Cheese Linguine

serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 500g wholewheat linguine
  • 8 medium beetroot- mixed
  • handful fresh thyme sprigs
  • 45ml olive oil
  • 45ml balsamic vinegar
  • 4 large shallots, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 150g creamy goats cheese, best quality
  • sea salt flakes
  • freshly ground black pepper

To serve: Fresh baby leaves

Method: 

Preheat oven to 180˚C.

Wash and scrub the beets well. Cut them into quarters. Place on a baking tray lined with aluminium foil. Add the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, thyme and season well with salt and pepper. Toss to coat the beets. Cover with another layer of aluminium foil and roast for 45-60 minutes until the beets are tender and a knife can easily slip through their flesh. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and reserve 1 cup of cooking liquid.

In a large saucepan fry the shallots and garlic in olive oil until soft and fragrant. Season. Toss in the beets and all their cooking juices. Finally add the pasta and use the pasta water to loosen if necessary. Coat the pasta well with the sauce.

Finish with large dollops of goat’s cheese and some fresh baby leaves tossed in balsamic.

Serve with a cold glass of Krone Chardonnay Pinot Noir.

Balsamic Beets & Goats Cheese Linguine | The Secret Life of Bee

 

*Disclaimer: This utterly delicious vino was provided by the awesome folks from Krone

zucchini, kale & corn fritters – vegan & gluten free

zucchini, kale & corn fritters | The Secret Life of Bee

These fritters are the business. They’re delicious and jam packed with nourishing goodness. The husband and I have decided to go on a bit of a health kick/ will power experiment and i’m really enjoying making us lots of plant based meals. I made cashew nut mayonnaise the other night and it was a bloody revelation! Mayonnaise out of nuts! I was convinced it was going to be dreadful but the stuff is gold! I have a production line on the go now!

zucchini, kale & corn fritters | The Secret Life of Bee

Unlike many gluten-free vegan recipes out there I am going to be real with you. Nothing beats the binding power of wheat flour and eggs. So don’t expect this mixture to be your run of the mill fritter. You really have to coax these babies into submission. I mix the mixture by hand so that I can really squash the ingredients together and get the “flax eggs” evenly distributed. “Flax eggs” I hear you asking? What on earth? Well up until two weeks ago I had no idea that if you mix 1 Tbsp of flaxseed flour with 3 Tbsp of boiling water you’ll end up with a gloriously sticky egg like binding magic mixture. It’s rather splendid.

zucchini, kale & corn fritters | The Secret Life of Bee

Once you’ve shaped your fritters there will be a few reluctant pieces of corn, kale and bit of the mixture that just didn’t want to become a fritter. This is my absolute favourite part. Fry these little bits off at the end. Get them super crispy and then top your fritters with these little nuggets of joy.

Zucchini, Corn & Kale Fritters

serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 400g grated zucchini, about 3 cups
  • 125g fresh corn, 1 cob
  • 50g kale, a large handful
  • 1 x 400g tin organic lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 red onion, finely diced
  • handful fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 “flax eggs”*
  • 30g coconut flour
  • sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • coconut oil for frying

*1 flax egg = 1 Tbsp flaxseed flour mixed with 3 Tbsp boiling water. Mix well into a sticky egg like paste.

Method:

Place grated zucchini in a colander lined with a tea towel. Sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt and massage the salt into the zucchini. Leave for 30 min.

Squeeze all the water out of the zucchini and place in a large bowl.

Slice the corn off the cob and finely slice the kale. Add this along with all the other ingredients except the flax eggs. Mix.

Make the “flax eggs”. Add them to the fritter mixture while still hot and mix them in. I find using your hands is the only way to go about mixing this homogeneously. Season the mixture well with salt and pepper.

Shape the mixture into fritters. I get 12.

Preheat oven to 180˚C.

Fry the fritters in coconut oil until crispy on both sides. Transfer fritters to a baking tray and bake in the oven for 10 minutes.

Serve with a dollop of coconut yoghurt, fresh coriander and a crunchy green salad.

zucchini, kale & corn fritters | The Secret Life of Bee

 

 

 

 

fluffy vanilla waffles for your valentine

vanilla waffles | The Secret Life of Bee

Spread the love this Valentine’s Day and make these fluffy vanilla waffles for someone near and dear to you. I don’t buy into Valentine’s Day and all the fluff and fuss of expensive roses and an over priced meal in a restaurant. What I love about this day is the general message of spreading love and happiness. Doing something at home like cooking a special meal for your other half or drawing a handmade card for your mom- that’s what Valentine’s Day is about for me.

vanilla waffles | The Secret Life of Bee

These vanilla waffles are indeed love at first bite. They have a super crispy crust to them and a fluffy vanilla scented centre. I love them with berries and honey while the husband opts for butter and maple syrup. They are a vehicle for delicious toppings like caramelized cinnamon bananas or plain Jane as they are with a dusting of icing sugar. I had some of the best waffles of my life at a brunch spot in Brooklyn, NY with fried chicken and maple syrup. They were sensational, but that’s a wee bit too much admin for me first thing in the morning! If you don’t have a waffle maker it’s really not a bad little investment. It also makes a mean batch of french toast!

vanilla waffles | The Secret Life of Bee

Fluffy Vanilla Waffles 

makes 3 large waffles

Ingredients:

  • 170g flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 25g sugar
  • 1 large egg, separated
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 340ml milk, warm
  • 75g melted butter

To serve:  fresh berries, honey, icing sugar, whipped cream or ice cream and of course an ice cold bottle of bubbly

Method:

Heat your waffle iron according to manufacturers instructions.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, milk, vanilla and butter.

Whip the egg white until fluffy. Add in the cream of tartar and whisk until soft peaks form.

Whisk together the wet and dry ingredients, and finally fold in the egg whites with a spatula until combined.

Ladle the batter into the waffle iron and cook until golden brown and crisp.

Serve with a dusting of icing sugar, fresh berries, a drizzle of honey and a cold glass of bubbly.

vanilla waffles | The Secret Life of Bee

vanilla waffles | The Secret Life of Bee

*Disclaimer: Krone Rosé Cuvée Brut supplied by the lovely folks from Twee Jonge Gezellen.

fig & goat’s cheese salad

Fig & Goat's Cheese Salad | The Secret Life of Bee

One of my favourite chefs on earth is Yotam Ottolenghi and the man can write a seriously good cookbook or ten. Plenty is a vegetarian filled masterpiece with an entire chapter dedicated to ‘The Mighty Aubergine.” It is jam packed with inspirational ideas of ways to cook and serve veggies you would never have dreamed of. This fig and goat’s cheese salad hails from this recipe book and is one of the most beautifully simple but flavourful salads.

Fig & Goat's Cheese Salad | The Secret Life of Bee

I’ve put my own spin on this classic combination and it’s a winner. I also added some apple cider vinegar to his dressing as the acidity is perfectly balanced by the sweet figs and cuts through the richness of the goat’s cheese. This aint no ordinary goat’s cheese either. This is the good stuff. Super creamy and luxurious, Chavroux is my favourite brand of goat’s cheese. Treat yourself to the Aston Martin of goat’s cheeses! I’m a wee bit obsessed. Can you tell?

Fig & Goat's Cheese Salad | The Secret Life of Bee

Fig & Goat’s Cheese Salad

serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 80g mixed baby leaves
  • 10 ripe figs
  • 150g creamy goat’s cheese
  • 20g mixed purple and green basil
  • mixed sprouts
  • edible flowers

For the dressing:

  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Method:

Combine all dressing ingredients except for the olive oil.

Slowly pour in the olive oil and whisk until the dressing comes together homogeneously.

Mix the baby leaves and basil together in a large serving dish. Cut the figs into quarters and arrange over the leaves. Scatter dollops of goat’s cheese around the figs as well as the mixed sprouts and edible flowers.

Drizzle the salad with the dressing and some fresh olive oil. Season well with salt and pepper.

Fig & Goat's Cheese Salad | The Secret Life of Bee

Fig & Goat's Cheese Salad | The Secret Life of Bee

Fig & Goat's Cheese Salad | The Secret Life of Bee

*Disclaimer: Sexy salad bowl courtesy of Sugar and Vice

chefs warehouse at beau constantia

Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia | The Secret Life of Bee

Some meals are just special. Everything works in harmony. From the flavours and textures on the plate to the perfectly chilled wine in your ice bucket and expertly executed service. This was one of those meals.

Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia | The Secret Life of Bee

Chef’s Warehouse at Beau Constantia is a sensory treat. Set in one of the most beautiful locations over looking the Constantia wine valley surrounded by vineyards, forest and wild proteas. The setting matches the food which is almost too pretty to eat. The attention to details is astounding. Each flourish adds flavour and texture and nothing is placed on the plate without careful consideration. The oysters were a major highlight for me. Just wow. What a way to start the meal. Adorned with flavours from the garden and a paprika oil drizzled over them. They were spectacular.

Here are some of the highlights from this utterly sensational meal:

Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia | The Secret Life of Bee

Middle Eastern Beef Tataki, Buttermilk Dressing, Persian Dressed Cucumbers and Char Grilled Brick Pastry

Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia | The Secret Life of Bee

Tomatoes on Toast, Confit and Pickled Tomatoes, Curds and Herbs

Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia | The Secret Life of Bee

Linefish Escabeche, Pickles and Lime Labne

Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia | The Secret Life of Bee

Saffron Risotto with Cajun Spiced Brisket, Sour Cream and Fried Onions

Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia | The Secret Life of Bee

Char Grilled Blesbok, Pickles, Burnt Butter and Beetroot Sauce

Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia | The Secret Life of Bee

Wild Honey and Lavender Crème, Honeycomb and Smoked Cassia Bark Ice Cream

Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia | The Secret Life of Bee

Lemon Posset with Berry Coulis

Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia | The Secret Life of Bee

The service is seamless. Just the right amount of attention without becoming overbearing.  The courses are perfectly timed and plentiful. It really is exceptionally good value for money and you will not leave hungry. They also have a sublime cheese platter but by the end of lunch we had lost count of the amount of courses we’d had and needed to roll ourselves home. I cannot wait to return for another spectacular meal.

Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia | The Secret Life of Bee

Make it your next restaurant mission to dine at Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia.

Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia | The Secret Life of Bee

the table at de meye – this is how to lunch

The Table at De Meye | The Secret Life of Bee

I spent a gloriously long and utterly delicious afternoon at The Table at De Meye in Stellenbosch. This is one of my favourite restaurants around town and it’s an utter crime that I do not frequent it more often. The food is down to earth with a farm to table focus, highlighting local farmers and producers.

The Table at De Meye | The Secret Life of Bee

Run by husband and wife team Luke and Jessica, The Table has the feel of being in your friend’s back yard. You are lovingly served a generous family meal on platters to share around the table. Luke explains the origin of each tasty morsel from the tomatoes that have ripened in the sun in their own garden to the life altering crusty sourdough baked by Fritz Schoon. Everything that passes your lips is ethically sourced from the very best producers. From the free-range happy chickens to the giant courgettes they’ve just pulled out of the garden.

This was our three course menu of the day:

Starter: Tomato tarte tatin with goats cheese ricotta & baby leaf salad

The Table at De Meye | The Secret Life of Bee

Fritz’s sourdough bread from Schoon De Companje with natural farm butter

The Table at De Meye | The Secret Life of Bee

Main course: Free-range roast chicken with tarragon, verjus and cream served with super crispy golden potatoes and a cabbage, bean and grape salad. Bliss.

Schoon De Companje

The Table at De Meye | The Secret Life of Bee

And finally dessert… what a masterpiece! Yoghurt panna cotta with pistachios, roasted baby figs and fig sorbet.

The Table at De Meye | The Secret Life of Bee

It was truly one of the most exceptional desserts I have ever eaten. It was one of those, ‘angels begin singing in perfectly pitched voices’ kind of moments.

The Table at De Meye | The Secret Life of Bee

All that went down swimmingly well with a few bottles of the De Meye unwooded Chardonnay. Now the very best part about this restaurant is that after you have sufficiently indulged in all the scrumptious food there are blankets on the lawn for that much needed afternoon nap. The husband was snoring away while mum and I polished off the rest of the vino.

The Table at De Meye | The Secret Life of Bee

The Table at De Meye | The Secret Life of Bee

So pop into your car one of these weekends and take a drive out to the Winelands and experience the delight that is The Table. It’s open for lunch on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 12:30. The abundant three course menu is R325pp. Make sure to book well in advance.

The Table at De Meye | The Secret Life of Bee

 

Bubbly Sorbet

Bubbly Sorbet | The Secret Life of Bee

Nothing says celebration like an ice cold glass of bubbles. Now you can have your bubbles and eat it too! Champagne or MCC sorbet is one of my favourite summertime indulgences. It tastes delicious, sounds glam and it feels extra special because well, bubbles. Obvs.

Bubbly Sorbet | The Secret Life of Bee

This bubbles in particular is something special. Krone recently released the R.D. after after having spent 15 years on the lees before disgorgement. I popped a bottle of this to try it out with my toes in the sand and a magical sunset in front of me and… WOW. Just wow. I can quite honestly say it is one of the most spectacular bottles of bubbles I have ever tasted. It’s up there with the Krug and Doms of the world. In general I think we produce some of the most outstanding wine and MCC in the world and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else on earth! My proximity to wine farms is crucial for my mental and physical well being! It’s a glass of wine a day keeps the doctor away right?

Bubbly Sorbet | The Secret Life of Bee

Bubbly Sorbet

Ingredients:

  • 200ml water
  • 150g sugar
  • 2 tbsp liquid glucose
  • 300ml Méthode Cap Classique
  • 1 lemon, juice & zest

Method:

Bring the water, sugar and glucose to the boil. Cook until syrupy and remove from the heat.

Add the MCC, lemon juice and lemon zest. Allow to cool.

Once cool strain out the zest with a sieve and pour into an ice cream machine. Churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

If you don’t have an ice cream machine pour the mixture into a ziplock bag. Freeze. Remove frozen sorbet, break into pieces and blitz until smooth using a blender or food processor.

Serve with some ice cold bubbles on the side!

 Bubbly Sorbet | The Secret Life of Bee

*Disclaimer: This utterly fabulous bubbles was sponsored by the awesome folks from Krone.

Beetroot & Bubbly Salmon Gravlax

Beetroot & Bubbly Salmon Gravlax | The Secret Life of Bee

Gravlax or Gravadlax is the most gloriously simple cured salmon using a little salt, sugar and fresh herbs. I love the addition of the beetroot because of the earthy flavour and most of all the exquisite colour. This is such a luxurious meal and such a treat to prepare for special occasions.

Beetroot & Bubbly Salmon Gravlax | The Secret Life of Bee

The salmon must be extremely fresh and of really high quality. Ask your fish monger for a side of the freshest sushi-grade salmon. That’s really the only expense here. The rest of the ingredients are super affordable and most importantly you’ll have some bubbles to sip on during the preparation! Remember to plan ahead if this is for a special occasion as the salmon takes 48 hours to cure.

Beetroot & Bubbly Salmon Gravlax | The Secret Life of Bee

Beetroot & Bubbles Salmon Gravadlax

Ingredients:

  • 700-800g sushi-grade side of salmon, skin on
  • 3 large beetroot, grated
  • 150g coarse Kosher rock salt
  • 1 large orange, zested
  • 2 large lemons, zested
  • 4 juniper berries
  • 1 large handful dill
  • 75g Muscavado sugar
  • 75ml Méthode Cap Classique

Method:

Remove all pin bones from the salmon and place skin side down on a large baking tray lined with an oversized piece of baking paper.

Crush juniper berries in a mortar and pestle. Mix the crushed juniper berries and all the other ingredients together in a large bowl. Encrust the side of salmon with the cure.

Fold the baking paper tightly around the salmon. Cling wrap the salmon and tray very well so no air can get in. Place in the fridge for 48 hours to cure.

Remove from the fridge. Carefully drain off any liquid and gently remove the cure from the salmon. 

Slice thinly at an angle, avoiding the skin.

Serve with toasted bread, crème fraîche, fresh dill and a squeeze of lemon.

Preserve your salmon in the fridge tightly wrapped in cling film for 3-5 days.

Beetroot & Bubbly Salmon Gravlax | The Secret Life of Bee

Beetroot & Bubbly Salmon Gravlax | The Secret Life of Bee

*Disclaimer: Méthode Cap Classique provided by the fabulous folks from Krone Twee Jonge Gezellen

vegan chocolate ice cream with pistachio brittle

vegan chocolate ice cream with pistachio brittle | The Secret Life of Bee

This vegan chocolate ice cream, or nicecream should I say is dairy-free, sugar-free and guilt-free but with ALL the flavour and the most amazing luxurious texture. Bananas are a truly handy little fruit and are the base of this ice cream. Add some top quality dark cocoa powder, vanilla and almond milk and you have yourself something seriously scrumptious.

vegan chocolate ice cream with pistachio brittle | The Secret Life of Bee

This sweet treat takes seconds to whip together. Just remember to freeze your sliced bananas the day before or even early in the morning if you make this for an after dinner delight. I slice my bananas and lay them onto a baking tray lined with baking paper, cling film the lot and then pop them into the freezer.

vegan chocolate ice cream with pistachio brittle | The Secret Life of Bee

The pistachio brittle adds amazing crunch, colour and it’s delicious. If you want to keep this recipe refined sugar free then just leave it out and you can serve your nicecream with some toasted almond flakes or fresh raspberries. I love the brittle and could eat it on its own as is. Just watch out for your teeth!

vegan chocolate ice cream with pistachio brittle | The Secret Life of Bee

Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream with Pistachio Brittle 

serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 400g bananas, sliced, frozen overnight
  • 4 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract/essence or paste
  • 100ml almond milk

For the brittle:

  • 225g caster sugar
  • 75ml water
  • 50g pistachios, roughly chopped
  • pinch sea salt

Method:

Add the frozen bananas, cocoa powder, vanilla and almond milk to a food processor and blitz until smooth. Scrape into a small serving dish and freeze.

For the brittle: Whisk caster sugar and water together in a pan on high heat. Make sure to clean down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush and some water or your caramel will crystallise. Do not stir the caramel. Allow it to cook and bubble until it turns a rich golden brown colour. Pour out immediately onto a greased baking tray or a baking tray lined with a silicone mat.

Scatter with the roughly chopped pistachios and sea salt and leave to harden and cool.

Serve ice cream with shattered shards of pistachio brittle.

vegan chocolate ice cream with pistachio brittle | The Secret Life of Bee

vegan chocolate ice cream with pistachio brittle | The Secret Life of Bee

vegan chocolate ice cream with pistachio brittle | The Secret Life of Bee