Grilled Oysters with Spicy Herb Butter

Grilled oysters with spiced butter | The Secret Life of Bee

You know your friend is a keeper when they gift you a box of oysters. Beautiful, plump, briny oysters genuinely make my heart sing. Half of them went straight into our tummies with freshly squeezed lemon juice, a dash of tabasco and some cracked black pepper. Perfection. The others I decided to jazz up a little differently. Grilled oysters are a delicious and different way of serving the not so humble oyster. I also love them deep fried in a very light and crispy batter.

Grilled oysters with spiced butter | The Secret Life of Bee

So technically speaking these oysters have been ‘broiled’. Not entirely sure why but I have just never bonded with the word. They’ve been cooked directly on one side under extreme heat. So about a few centimetres from your oven element on the highest heat and just the top grill setting on. A lovely textural element is the crunchy golden breadcrumb crust that forms on top. You can also play around with your preferred flavours and spices, just nothing too bold or in too great a quantity that you lose the oyster’s delicate flavour.

Grilled oysters with spicy herb butter

serves 4 – as a starter

Ingredients:

  • 12 oysters
  • 50g unsalted butter, softened
  • half a handful of fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp finely minced garlic
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • a generous pinch of cayenne pepper
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 slice of day old bread
  • course rock salt

Method:

Fill a baking tray with course rock salt. This will help you keep your oysters up right once shucked and prevent you losing their delicious juices.

Grilled oysters with spiced butter | The Secret Life of Bee

Shuck oysters. Start by holding a very thick dish cloth/ towel in your hand folded over several times. Place oyster into the cloth with the pointy tip facing towards you. Keep oyster level. Insert oyster knife into the little gap between the top and bottom shell in the front.

Grilled oysters with spiced butter | The Secret Life of Bee

Once you have wedged it in well begin working the knife from side to side putting pressure on the shells and you attempt to lever them open. Once it pops open and your knife slips inside, slide it along the top shell to cut and release the oyster which is attached to both the top and bottom shells. Discard the top shell. Wiggle the oyster knife under the oyster and be sure to loosen it from the bottom shell making it easier to eat.

Place all oysters onto the bed of rock salt. How cute! This one looked like a little heart… Awww.

Grilled oysters with spiced butter | The Secret Life of Bee

Finely chop the parsley. I just popped mine in a food processor.

Grilled oysters with spiced butter | The Secret Life of Bee

Place softened butter into a bowl along with the parsley, garlic, lemon juice, cayenne pepper and black pepper. Mix well. I add quite a bit of cayenne pepper for a kick but you can always add a dash of tabasco on at the end.

Grilled oysters with spiced butter | The Secret Life of Bee

Toast your slice of bread. Ciabatta or Baguette would work perfectly well. Once toasted, tear into little pieces and blitz in a food processor until you have breadcrumbs.

Pre-heat oven on grill setting at the highest temperature.

Assemble your oysters.

Grilled oysters with spiced butter | The Secret Life of Bee

Spoon a teaspoon of butter mixture onto each oyster and then top with a sprinkle of the breadcrumbs.

Grilled oysters with spiced butter | The Secret Life of Bee

Place in the oven under the grill for 5 minutes until the crumb is golden brown and the oysters are swimming in warm flavourful butter.

Grilled oysters with spiced butter | The Secret Life of Bee

Take a minute to breathe in the glorious smell of seafood, garlic butter, fresh herbs and happiness.

AV6A1358

Serve with plenty of wine and enjoy them on your balcony like a boss while your neighbour stares at you quizzically while hanging his washing.

Grilled oysters with spiced butter | The Secret Life of Bee

 

 

 

 

 

Hollandaise Sauce with Asparagus

Hollandaise sauce with asparagus | The Secret Life of Bee

I say this with a very serious face on. This is the best and easiest hollandaise sauce you will ever make.

Now my old French chefs would be reading this in pure disgust when they discover i’ve ditched the whisk and plugged in the stick blender. Oh the horror. But I say life is too short for split hollandaise sauce and whisking egg yolks into submission.

Not only does the immersion blender method work like a charm every single time, but it literally takes seconds. I mean- sometimes you just NEED buttery glorious golden deliciousness in seconds. Right?

Hollandaise sauce with asparagus | The Secret Life of Bee

I felt slightly ill with the amount of hollandaise I ate after making this recipe. Please share it with a loved one. Because it’s addictive. It should come with a warning. BEWARE: You will eat all of me!

Hollandaise sauce with asparagus spears is just a winning combo. A perfect crunchy vehicle for your liquid gold. I steam mine for a few seconds in a dash of boiling water, they’re still pretty raw at this point, chuck the water out of pot and let them finish off in the residual heat with the lid on. There is nothing worse that over cooked asparagus. If you think you’ve taken yours too far or aren’t going to eat them immediately the best thing to do is plunge them into ice water. This will remove all heat and stop the cooking process. Turn out onto clean paper towel and dry.

Hollandaise sauce with asparagus | The Secret Life of Bee

Right! So let’s get started. Blenders at the ready!

Hollandaise Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 230g unsalted butter
  • 3 free-range egg yolks
  • 2 tsp water
  • 3 tsp lemon juice
  • pinch or two of sea salt
  • black pepper or cayenne pepper

Method:

Hollandaise sauce with asparagus | The Secret Life of Bee

Melt butter in a sauce pan on medium-high heat. Give it a good swirl every now and again to keep the foam to a minimum.

Place egg yolks, water, lemon juice and salt into a jug that fits your stick blender quite snugly.

Blend the egg yolk mixture until thick and foamy.

Transfer your hot melted butter to a little jug with a pouring spout.

Gradually drizzle the butter into the egg yolk mixture while blending constantly.

Hollandaise sauce with asparagus | The Secret Life of Bee

*Note: you will need both hands to pour the butter and blend at the same time. If you’re like me and alone in the kitchen your little jug will start spinning uncontrollably and you’ll need to do some acrobatics and uncomfortable wedging manoeuvres. So be smart and use a damp dish towel and wrap it around the jug you are blending in to keep it in place on the counter or get a buddy to hold onto it for you.

Hollandaise sauce with asparagus | The Secret Life of Bee

Once you have drizzled in all the butter and your hollandaise is thick and shiny give it a taste and adjust seasoning. Add a pinch of black pepper or cayenne pepper to your taste. I love the cayenne- it gives it a great kick.

Serve it with steamed asparagus, artichokes, eggs Benedict or just eat it out of the jug with a spoon.

Hollandaise sauce with asparagus | The Secret Life of Bee

 

 

Lemon Posset

Lemon posset | The Secret Life of Bee

I have a deep love for lemony desserts. Lemon cheesecake, lemon sorbet, lemon tart, lemon anything really. Lemon posset delivers a seriously tart and tangy smack of lemon and a creamy luxurious velvety texture on the tongue. It’s ever so satisfying. Not only is it a pleasure to eat but it’s a pleasure to make. Three ingredients. Yup that’s it. Lemons, cream and sugar. It’s also excellent for weeknight dinners and superb for dinner parties as you can make it the day before and leave it to set in the fridge overnight. Always be the host with the most- make sure you don’t spend all night sweating in front of the stove while your guests stare at you with growing concern and hungry eyes. Just simply pull it out the fridge when you’re ready to serve and dress it beautifully.

Lemon posset | The Secret Life of Bee

I would recommend making homemade shortbread biscuits and getting seasonal fresh berries to serve along side the possets. The biscuits can be used to scoop and dip into the vibrant, lemony cream. Ginger biscuits would also work beautifully- just be sure to shape/cut your biscuits into shortbread like fingers so you can use them as an edible spoon. If you want your posset to set a tad faster go for a Champagne coupe style glass that is wider and will spread the liquid out more thinly. And seriously- try resist licking the spoon. And jug and sieve and anything else with this mixture on it. I barely needed to wash any dishes… Whoops.

Lemon Posset

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 180g caster sugar
  • 640g double thick cream
  • 3 lemons

Method:

Place cream and sugar in a sauce pan and grate the zest of all three lemons into the pan. Put on a medium-high heat and allow the sugar to dissolve.

Lemon posset | The Secret Life of Bee

Juice the lemons.

Once the cream has come to the boil let it simmer for one minute.

Remove the cream from the heat and whisk in the lemon juice. You will notice it will begin to thicken immediately.

Pour your mixture through a fine sieve and into a little jug with a pouring spout. If you have any foam or bubbles on the top of your mixture just skim the top off.

Lemon posset | The Secret Life of Bee

Pour the posset mixture into six little glasses and place in the fridge overnight or for a minimum of 6 hours.

Lemon posset | The Secret Life of Bee

Serve with fresh berries, coulis and shortbread fingers.

Lemon posset | The Secret Life of Bee

 

 

 

Mussels with garlic, shallots & white wine

Mussels with white wine

Mussels are an excellent choice of seafood as they are green for go on every sustainability list out there. Not only are you making a wise decision for the planet but also your wallet. Mussels are cheap. I mean really cheap. And so are the ingredients you cook them with. A splash of white wine, some fresh garlic and shallots or onions, a dollop of butter and you have an exceptional meal. Our mussels in South Africa come mostly from Saldanha Bay where they are farmed on ropes hanging in the water where they form beautiful long bouquet like clusters of mussels that hang down into the water.

Mussels in white wine

On top of all that there’s even more good news. Mussels are really quick and easy to cook. They require a little bit of admin in the cleaning department, but once that’s taken care of they cook in under a minute. I recommend about 500g of mussels per person. You can clean and prep your mussels before having friends over and cook them at the last minute. Keep them in the fridge covered with a damp dish cloth and try and buy them on the same day you are going to use them or at most the day before. Give them a little tap if slightly open- if they suck their shell closed they’re perfect to use. If there are any open or cracked mussel shells you need to discard them as they are now resting in peace. Same goes for mussels that once cooked do not open- these babies need to be tossed too. So just remember closed when alive/raw and must open when cooked.

Mussels with garlic, shallots & white wine

Serves 2 

Ingredients:

  • 1kg fresh mussels
  • olive oil 
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 3 shallots
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups dry white wine – Sauvignon Blanc or Chenin work beautifully 
  • 1/2 lemon
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • fresh herbs- parsley, dill, basil & coriander
  • 1 Tbsp crème fraîche or thick cream

Method:

Clean the mussels thoroughly. Begin by discarding the broken shelled or open mussels and then scrub the remaining ones under cold running water. De-beard the mussels by pulling the ‘beard’ out towards the tip of the mussel.

Bearded mussels

Slice the shallots and garlic.

Mussel prep- sliced garlic, shallots, butter and bay leaves

Select a pot large enough to fit all your mussels and one that has a lid.

Sautée the shallots, garlic and bay leaf in 1 Tbsp of butter and a drizzle of olive oil. Season lightly with salt and black pepper.

Mussel prep- sliced garlic, shallots, butter and bay leaves

Sweat the veggies until soft and then turn the heat to high. Add two glasses of dry white wine and let it reduce down by about half. Pour yourself a large glass and continue…

When the wine has reduced add the mussels, give them a good stir and put the lid on. Check them in about 2 minutes and if they need it stir again and pop the lid back on for another 1 minute. They should all open and be plump and juicy. They will release their own delicious briny liquid into the sauce.

Mussels in white wine

Once the mussels are cooked remove them from the heat. Break the remaining butter up into blobs and add to your pot and give it a good stir.

Squeeze over the juice of 1/2 a lemon, add the Tbsp of cream and a large handful of your fresh herbs.

Serve straight out of the pot with some crusty grilled bread to mop up the delicious sauce!

Mussels in white wine

Peach Galette with Almond Cream Filling

Peach & Almond Cream Galette

A peach galette is very similar to a peach tart except that instead of agonising over perfecting a giant tart shell that needs to come out of its mould without breaking, this bake-me-straight-on-the-baking-sheet-tart is exactly what you’ve been looking for.

Peach & Almond Cream Galette

The pastry used to make the peach galette can be flavoured with all sorts of spices and zests and you can use whatever fruit you have in season. I adore almond cream and think it goes especially well with peaches. They’re related botanically so you’re basically just bringing the whole happy family together.

Peach & Almond Cream Galette

Ingredients:

Pastry

  • 330g flour
  • 190g unsalted butter, chopped into little cubes
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 50g sugar
  • 1 free-range egg yolk
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Almond Cream

  • 60g unsalted butter
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 1 free-range egg
  • 60g ground almonds
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • a splash of rum or Grand Marnier
  • 7 ripe peaches
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • caster sugar for sprinkling
  • 1 beaten egg for glazing
  • slivered almonds

Method:

Begin with the pastry. Place flour and salt into a large bowl. Tip the butter and lemon zest into the flour and start working it with your finger tips to create a wet sand like texture. Once the butter has been worked in add the egg yolk and vanilla. Incorporate well but do not over work the dough.

Peach & Almond Cream Galette Pastry Dough

To avoid over working and over warming the dough it is best to turn your dough out onto a clean kitchen surface such as marble or granite and using the palm of your hand press and scrape the ingredients together along the marble. It mixes everything quickly, you don’t overwork the dough and it stays cool.

Peach & Almond Cream Galette Pastry Dough

Roll your dough into a ball and then flatten into a disc. Wrap well in cling film and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Begin the almond cream by whisking the butter and sugar together until very pale and fluffy. Add the egg and whisk again until well incorporated.

Peach Galette Almond Cream Batter | thesecretlifeofbee.co.za

Add the almond flour and then finally the vanilla and liquor of your choice. Place the finished almond cream into the fridge.

Peach & Almond Cream Galette | thesecretlifeofbee.co.za

Pit the peaches and slice them evenly into little wedges. Place in a bowl and sprinkle lightly with about 2 Tbsp caster sugar and squeeze over the juice of 1 lemon.

Fresh Peaches for Peach Galette Almond Cream Batter | thesecretlifeofbee.co.za

Toss them until nice and shiny.

Fresh Peaches for Peach Galette Almond Cream Batter | thesecretlifeofbee.co.za

Preheat oven to 180˚C. Start the galette assembly. Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll out into a 30cm ish circle. Spread some almond cream into the centre of the circle, leaving a couple centimetres clear for folding.

Pastry Dough & Almond Cream for Peach Galette | thesecretlifeofbee.co.za

Arrange the peaches in a spiral fashion trying to fit in as many as possible.

Arranging Peaches for Peach Galette | thesecretlifeofbee.co.za

Roughly fold the dough over onto some of the peaches. Press and squeeze the dough as you overlap section by section to form a very rustic circle.

Peach & Almond Cream Galette | thesecretlifeofbee.co.za

Brush the dough with the beaten egg and sprinkle with caster sugar and slivered almonds.

Peach & Almond Cream Galette | thesecretlifeofbee.co.za

If you need to trim some of your pastry don’t waste it! Make a little individual galette. Or if you’re lucky enough to own a big enough baking tray no need for trimming!

Peach & Almond Cream Galette | thesecretlifeofbee.co.za

Bake the peach galette at 180˚C for approximately 45 minutes until golden brown and the pastry is crisp.

Peach & Almond Cream Galette | thesecretlifeofbee.co.za

Serve with a dollop of heavy cream or ice cream.

Peach & Almond Cream Galette | thesecretlifeofbee.co.za

 

Champagne & Mixed Berry Jelly Dessert

Berry and bubbly jelly

For some reason I landed up with three bottles of Champagne (technically MCC here in South Africa) in my fridge this weekend. Not that that’s a problem of course but it was a source of some inspiration. Couple that with the most adorable little old fashioned glasses I found on sale and boom you have an old school retro Champagne and Mixed Berry Jelly Dessert coming your way!

Moreson MCC and berries about to become Bubbly Jelly

Your goal here is making the jelly in such a way that you trap the carbon dioxide bubbles from the Champagne into the jelly. It gives you delightful little tingles as you eat it. You can achieve this if everything is as cold as possible thereby setting your jelly with some speed!

Berry and bubbly jelly

You can use whatever type of sparkling wine floats your boat. Champagne, MCC, Prosecco, Cava etc Just make sure you select something dry. If you go for semi-sweet you should leave out or greatly reduce the amount of thyme syrup involved. I used Môreson Brut Rosé in my jelly as the colour is gorgeous and well it’s delicious!

Moreson cork- bubbly & berry jelly

Bubbly & Berry Jelly

Serves 6

Ingredients:

a mix of seasonal berries

450ml sparkling wine (The rest of the bottle is for the chef)

4 leaves gelatine

125ml thyme syrup

Thyme Syrup:

100g sugar

100ml water

1 bunch fresh thyme

Berry Coulis:

two handfuls fresh strawberries

juice of 1/2 lime

1 Tbsp icing sugar

Method:

The bubbly needs to be icy cold. So either put a bottle in the fridge the day before or place one in the freezer for a few hours, keeping a close eye on it. Next move onto choosing your glasses. You want enough space for some fruit and jelly and the coulis topping. A dollop of vanilla ice cream on top would also go down swimmingly.

Berries and Moreson Bubbly

Place your mixed berries into each glass. Pop your glasses onto a tray and place in the fridge.

Soak the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water. Add a couple of ice cubes to ensure the gelatine does not disintegrate or begin melting.

Gelatine leaves

Place the 100g of sugar and 100ml of water along with the bunch of fresh thyme in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Once the sugar has dissolved pour 125ml of syrup into a little bowl and pick out the thyme leaving a few little leaves behind for flavour and because it looks darn pretty.

Thyme syrup

Squeeze the water out of your gelatine leaves. Your syrup should have cooled slightly by now. Add your softened gelatine to the warm syrup and using a whisk mix it in thoroughly until you see no traces of the gelatine.

Remove the bottle of bubbles from the fridge and pour 450ml into your syrup mixture and stir. Pour gently so you do not end up with a giant foam bath.

Fill your chilled fruit glasses with the jelly and place in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours or until set.

IMG_3863

Now for the berry coulis. Place all your ingredients into a jug and using a blender of your choice, blend until smooth.

Serve your summer berry jellies with a thin layer of the coulis or a dollop of vanilla ice cream and enjoy!

IMG_3858

Homemade Biltong – Part II – Biltong Bread

Homemade Biltong

The wait is over. I can finally stop staring into the softly lit biltong machine with longing and desire.

The biltong is done and yum. My dog gives it her paw of approval too. She’s pretty much the fussiest eater on earth so if she says it’s good- it’s good.

Yorkshire terrier eating biltong

Now I thought it would be a tad boring just showing you pics of me gorging myself on biltong. Aint nobody wanna see that. So I thought of what a good South African meisie would make with biltong. For future reference I am not a big fan of cooking or baking or doing anything with biltong other than eating it! But I sacrificed my beliefs for you.

So I made some biltong, feta and spring onion stuffed bread. It’s a very basic ‘I need freshly baked bread fast’ recipe. No starter needed, no 24 hour proofing time. So don’t expect artisan sourdough. Expect warm, soft and squishy loaf with a satisfying crust and ever so good with a swish of butter on top.

Biltong Bread with Feta & Spring Onions

Ingredients:

  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • 20g instant dried yeast
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • approximately 400ml warm water
  • fresh herbs, roughly chopped
  • 1 large stick biltong
  • 200g feta cheese
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • chilli flakes

Method:

Weigh out all your ingredients. Place yeast, salt and sugar together in a small mixing bowl and add 300ml of the warm water. Mix well and let stand to activate the yeast. It will become foamy and frothy.

Yeast activating

Make a well in the centre of your flour and pour in yeast mixture. Work that in with a wooden spoon. Add butter and herbs and continue to work in well. I used rosemary in this one but thyme or oregano would also work beautifully. Your dough should be wet and sticky if not add a touch more of the warm water.

.Bread dough in the making

Now roll up your sleeves and start kneading or if you’d rather boil the kettle and make a cup of tea, pop your dough into a stand mixture fitted with a dough hook attachment. The dough will start coming together and appear smoother. If kneading by hand this should take about ten minutes.

Bread dough with herbs

Place dough onto a floured surface and bring it together into a ball. Grease a mixing bowl, add your dough, cover with clingfilm and place in a nice warm spot for about two hours. Your dough should double in size.

Turn out onto a floured work surface and using your hands begin to stretch the dough into a rectangle. It will keep ‘pulling back’ from you so keep pressing and stretching until it stays.

Making biltong crumbs

To get a good even spread of biltong, roughly chop it up and place into a food processor. I have a little Kenwood stick blender that has a bowl and blade attachment and did the job perfectly. Process into biltong ‘crumbs’.

Biltong, feta and spring onion bread

Sprinkle your biltong over your rectangle of dough leaving 1cm clear  on the edges to seal up and close. Add your finely sliced spring onions and crumble the feta evenly. Depending on your taste preferences, give a generous sprinkle of dried chilli flakes and some freshly ground black pepper.

Biltong, feta and spring onion bread

Roll up your rectangle length ways into a long sausage. Curl the sausage onto itself like a snake, tuck the end underneath the body and you should end up with something like this:

Rolled biltong, feta and spring onion bread

Carefully transfer into an oiled cast iron pot. This has now officially become pot bread! Brush some olive oil onto your dough and let it stand for a further 30-60 minutes until puffed up again.

Oiled biltong, feta & spring onion bread in a pot

Place pot into a 180˚C pre-heated oven for approximately 45 minutes, or until cooked through. I cranked the oven up at the end just for some extra colour.

Pot bread with biltong, feta and spring onion

Remove from the oven and cool slightly. It should pop out really easily and place onto a wire rack to cool.

Pot bread with biltong, feta and spring onions

Slice and serve with a swish of butter or as an accompaniment to hummus, tapenade or your favourite dip.

Pot bread with biltong, feta and spring onions

Or if you’re my husband proceed to melt cheese on TOP of this and then eat it instead of my roast chicken and broccoli dinner 🙂

Pot bread with biltong, feta and spring onions

And just one more of fluff munchkin eating biltong- because she’s just the cutest thing ever.

Yorkshire terrier eats and loves biltong

Flourless Chocolate Cake with No Added Sugar

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Raspberries & Toasted AlmondsI know right?

How can a baked cake with no flour and no sugar taste decent? Well not only does this one taste marvellous but you can eat it without pre-planning how many hundred sit-ups you have to do the next day.

You see I tend to start a new diet every five minutes. Some are more successful than others. Some are catastrophic and the husband deems me my absolute worst when i’m ‘hangry’. Hungry and angry.

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Raspberries & Toasted Almonds

We all know sugar is evil, but cutting it out completely is easier said than done. So here i’ve used Xylitol which contains no fructose, has a low glycemic index and does not cause a spike in blood sugar levels and contains 40% less the calories of normal sugar. Just don’t eat the whole bag. Ok? Ok.

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Raspberries & Toasted Almonds

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:

200g dark chocolate

200g unsalted butter

a pinch of sea salt flakes

2 tsp instant coffee

2 tsp vanilla powder / extract

50g dark cocoa powder ( I use NOMU)

5 free-range eggs, separated

150g Xylitol

Method:

Pre-heat oven to 170˚C. Grease and line a 23cm springform cake tin.

Chop your chocolate and butter into smallish chunks. Place them together in a saucepan and allow to melt on a very low heat.

Melting butter & dark chocolate

Once melted, sprinkle in the sea salt flakes, coffee and vanilla and mix well. Sieve in the cocoa powder and incorporate with a spatula.

Separating eggs

Separate your egg yolks into a mixing bowl and place the whites directly into a very clean and dry bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.

Add 100g of Xylitol to the egg yolks and whisk until they turn a light, pale yellow and becomes fluffy.

Whisk the egg whites in the stand mixer until they begin to foam up and commence stiffening. At this point sprinkle in the remaining 50g of Xylitol and continue to whisk until you have reached stiff peaks.

Whipped egg whites

*a little cheffie tip- to help the egg whites along squeeze in a few drops of fresh lemon juice before you begin whisking.

With your three mixes at the ready begin by combining the egg yolk and Xylitol mixture with the chocolate mixture using a spatula.

Batter prep for flourless chocolate cake

Add one third of the egg white mixture to this and fold it in really well. You can do this a little bit roughly. You are trying to lighten the batter and incorporate the egg whites as well as possible.

With the remaining two thirds of the egg whites, very gently fold them into the batter. At this point you really do not want to knock the air out of them so fold like a dainty little fairy!

Cake batter of a flourless chocolate cake

Pour your mix into the prepared cake tin and place in the oven for approximately 45 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.

The cake will be beautifully puffed up and will almost immediately begin deflating. Do not cry. You’ve done everything right! The cake will deflate to a third of its size.

Flourless chocolate cake out of the oven

Leave to cool completely on a wire rack. The longer you leave it the easier it will be to handle and cut.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Once completely cool, remove the sides of the pan. Place a dinner plate face down onto the top of the cake and flip it onto its head. Peel off the baking paper. Then from that plate flip it back onto your desired serving dish.

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Raspberries & Toasted Almonds

Decorate however your heart desires but I found this is best served with fresh raspberries, a dollop of double thick cream and some toasted almonds. Yummm.

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Raspberries & Toasted Almonds

 

 

Homemade Biltong – Part I

Homemade Biltong ProcessFirstly- if you think I have made a typo and have no idea what I am talking about let me explain. Biltong is a South African dried meat, traditionally made using beef or game, seasoned with spices and vinegar. Biltong’s American cousin is known as Beef Jerky.

So this weekend involved some rugby and therefore plenty of delicious biltong to gnaw on while watching. (Sounding very South African right now) Anyhoo- I thought about how straight forward this tasty snack is to make but how it normally comes with a 300% mark up.

Turns out it’s pretty darn easy to make and actually quite fun. Thanks to one of our ever so lovely wedding guests we received a  food dehydrator/ Biltong maker earlier this year and now I can put it to good use.

So a quick trip to the butcher and a not so quick chat with him about the ins and outs of what I was about to do… I landed up back home with 1.5kgs of Topside beef, asked the husband to assemble the biltong contraption and began!

Beef Biltong

Ingredients:

  • 1.5kgs Topside beef
  • 50ml red wine vinegar
  • 50ml apple cider vinegar
  • 4 Tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 Tbsp sea salt flakes
  • 1 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 2 tsp chilli flakes

Method:

Toast coriander seeds in a frying pan until fragrant.

IMG_2426

Place into a mortar and pestle and grind them down leaving some crushed and some into a finer powder.

IMG_2427

Tip them out and add sea salt, black pepper, paprika and chilli flakes into the mortar and mix well.

IMG_2430

Combine your spices with the vinegars. Pour into a large baking tray or platter with enough space to lay out all of your meat evenly.

Slicing the beef is the most important part. The butcher, bless his blood covered apron, went into great detail about this. You have to slice the meat WITH the grain as once the biltong is dry you slice across it for a more tender, chewable experience.

IMG_2432

When choosing your cut of meat make sure the butcher knows what you are doing with it as you will need one that will give you nice lengthy pieces of biltong- around 20- 25 cms. Slice your beef along the natural grain of the meat into 4-5cm wide slices. Your slices should be around 1 – 2cm thick. The thicker they are the longer they will take to dry so aim for around 1cm. Trim off any excess fat but leave a little on for those extra tasty bits.

(Mine came out roughly – 1cm H x 5cm W x 25cm L)

IMG_2433

Once sliced add them to your marinade and make sure they are well covered in spices and vinegar. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for about 4 hours, turning them over half way.

Once your meat is done marinading you need to insert your hanging hooks into the thickest and heaviest side of the slice of meat.

IMG_2434

Let the excess vinegar drip off and hang them so that each piece of meat does not touch the sides of the dehydrator or rub up against its fellow friends hanging out.

IMG_2436

And now we wait! Hence the Part 1… Part 2 will coming your way in supposedly about 3 days. The butcher said you can start testing it anywhere after 24 hours for ‘doneness’. I don’t like my biltong very dry so will be keeping a close watch on it.

If you do not have your own dehydrator- fret not. There are some hysterical and rather inventive DIY biltong drying boxes and contraptions that google can provide!

***After only 26 hours in the dehydrator this is what we have so far:

IMG_2489

Getting excited…