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.

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.

açaí super smoothie

acai super smoothie | The Secret Life of Bee

The açaí palm provides two of my favourite things on earth, açai berries and hearts of palm. The açaí berry is jam packed with antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins and minerals. It’s also delicious. The first time the husband took me to Rio we went to a juice bar near the beach and he got me this massive dark purple açaí smoothie. It was incredibly beautiful and super scrumptious. The berry is quite tart but has chocolatey cocoa undertones which makes it a delicious addition to any smoothie or juice. It also has a magnificent colour.

acai super smoothie | The Secret Life of Bee

I received the most beautiful glass bottle of milk from Consol last week. Not only do I just adore the nostalgia of milk in a glass bottle but the milk inside was the most delicious and creamy milk i’ve ever tasted. Thanks to the sexy Swiss cows from Deneys Swiss Dairy i’m ruined for all other milk. And let’s face it, milk just tastes better in a glass bottle. This awesome colab is getting people to focus on bringing back the pure things in life. This gorgeous glass bottle is pure packaging. It keeps the milk fresher for longer and with no nasty chemicals that could alter the taste of its contents. So chuck out those plastic cartons and decant your milk into a beautiful glass bottle. It’s better for you, it looks darn pretty and it feels like a treat!

acai super smoothie | The Secret Life of Bee

Also- can we have a minute for these amazing strawberries I found at the market. They were almost too pretty to eat… almost. To give the different layers of the smoothie some slushie consistency I sliced and froze a bunch of strawberries and bananas. They also make fabulous sorbet in seconds if you blend them up with a splash of coconut milk. The chia seed layer is a yum and fun textural element but also super duper healthy. These babies are laden with B vitamins, thiamine, niacin, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc. I mean. I’m feeling healthier just typing this!

acai super smoothie | The Secret Life of Bee

Açaí Super Smoothie

makes 1 large smoothie

Ingredients:

Banana layer

  • 1 banana
  • 125ml milk
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla powder

Slice banana thinly and freeze slices until hard. Remove from the freezer and place all ingredients in a blender or nutribullet. Blend until smooth and reserve layer in the freezer.

Chia seed layer

  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla powder
  • 125ml milk

Soak chia seeds in milk and vanilla until they become porridge like and reserve in the fridge.

Açaí layer

  • 7 strawberries
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 heaped Tbsp açaí powder
  • 125ml milk

Slice strawberries thinly and freeze until hard. Remove from the freezer and place all ingredients in a blender or nutribullet. Blend until smooth and reserve layer in the freezer.

To assemble smoothie:

Mash some fresh strawberries at the bottom of the jar. Top with banana layer, chia seed layer and then açaí layer. Finally decorate with fresh fruit, toasted nuts and seeds.

acai super smoothie | The Secret Life of Bee

acai super smoothie | The Secret Life of Bee

acai super smoothie | The Secret Life of Bee

Disclaimer: This post has been sponsored by the awesome folks at Consol Glass

 

 

egg-in-a-hole grilled cheese sandwich with Tabasco butter

bacon & egg grilled cheese | The Secret Life of Bee

This is not your average breakfast sandwich. This egg-in-a-hole grilled cheese is the ultimate crunchy, buttery, eggy, spicy, cheesy indulgence. Oh and there’s bacon so yeah… Bring it on.

bacon & egg grilled cheese | The Secret Life of Bee

The husband is always on Reddit and therefore constantly providing me with titbits of the latest news, a lot of useless information, funny cat pictures and cool food snaps. One of the food pics inspired him to demand a grilled cheese with an egg in the bread. You never have to ask me twice to put an egg on something but now an egg IN something seems way more exciting!

bacon & egg grilled cheese | The Secret Life of Bee

I’m fairly egg mad and so why not just double egg it and have yolks for days. Also seeing as we’re taking some bread out of the equation technically we can say this is low carb right? That’s how it works… i’m sure of it. (These jeans also definitely shrunk in the wash.)

bacon & egg grilled cheese | The Secret Life of Bee

The Tabasco spiked butter is a revelation. The yolks are very rich and the vinegar and chilli peppers cut through that richness adding a depth of flavour and some great heat. Go as wild as you like with the Tabasco. I even chucked some on top and sadly some in my eye. Preferably don’t do that. But do make this sandwich. It’s just all kinds of delicious.

egg-in-a-hole grilled cheese sandwich with Tabasco butter

makes 1 sandwich

Ingredients:

  • 2 thick slices of sourdough bread
  • 50g butter, softened
  • Original Red Tabasco
  • 2 eggs
  • 3-4 rashers of bacon, cooked to your level of crispiness
  • grated cheddar cheese
  • sea salt & black pepper

Method:

Preheat oven on the maximum grill setting.

Mix a few good shakes of Tabasco into the softened butter. Cut holes out of each slice of bread using a cookie cutter or a small glass.  Spread each slice with a generous amount of Tabasco butter on both sides.

Using a large non-stick frying pan fry the bread until golden brown. Crack one egg into each hole and cook for about a minute until the egg white is slightly set underneath and you can gently turn the slices over with a fish slice or similar wide flat egg lifter. Cook for another minute or so (you really want to keep the yolks runny for maximum yumness) season the eggs and then top one slice with the grated cheese.

Place the cheesy slice under the hot grill to melt the cheese. Remove and top with bacon and the other slice of eggy bread.

Eat every last bite and pair with a cold beer or bubbles because you deserve it and it’s always five o’clock somewhere.

bacon & egg grilled cheese | The Secret Life of Bee

bacon & egg grilled cheese | The Secret Life of Bee

Disclaimer: This post has been sponsored by the awesome folks at Tabasco SA 

WIN R10 000 if you head over to the Tabasco Facebook page.

Like their page and SHARE my eggy blog post. Every share is a vote for me and a chance for you to win the cash! And of course i’ll be eternally grateful and Fedex you some food 🙂

fig jam with honey & vanilla

fig jam with honey & vanilla | The Secret Life of Bee

This fig jam is the most scrumptious jam I have ever made. The intense fig flavour is enhanced by subtle hints of honey and vanilla. It is a stunning jam destined for a beautiful piece of buttered toast. I also adore the texture of fig jam. I love the little seeds that gently pop in your mouth and the smooth and chunky aspect of the bits and bobs of fig. I cut the figs into quarters for this jam so I still end up with some big squishy pieces of fig at the end.

fig jam with honey & vanilla | The Secret Life of Bee

This jam is also a winner to cook other things with. Beautiful jammy tartlets, a filling for homemade crepes, a topping on a cheesecake or to stuff French toast with! As you have probably gathered figs are one of my favourite foodie indulgences. And when they’re in season and don’t break the bank I tend to go a bit wild. So I might have enough fig jam to feed a small army in my fridge. (That small army tends to be made up of soldiers that live in my husbands belly and march into the kitchen around midnight.)

fig jam with honey & vanilla | The Secret Life of Bee

Fig jam with vanilla & honey

Ingredients:

  • 1kg figs
  • 300g sugar
  • 100g unprocessed honey
  • 1 lemon, zested & juiced
  • 1 vanilla pod, scraped or 1 tsp ground vanilla powder

Method:

Wash the figs and trim their tops off. Cut into quarters and place in a large bowl.

Add the sugar, honey, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla to the bowl. If using a vanilla pod add the scraped seeds as well as the pod to the bowl. Stir everything well and leave to sit for one hour.

Scrape the ingredients into a pot and bring everything to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for 45 minutes.

Pour jam into jars and pop in the fridge. The jam will keep for a few weeks if not canned properly. If you’d like to preserve the jam properly follow these easy steps.

fig jam with honey & vanilla | The Secret Life of Bee

fig jam with honey & vanilla | The Secret Life of Bee

ground almond seed bread

Almond & Seed Bread | The Secret Life of Bee

Finally. It’s a miracle. I made gluten free, guilt free, low carb seed bread that doesn’t taste like bird food and cardboard had a baby.

I’ve made quite a few low carb seed breads and they never seem to satisfy me or trick my mind into believing I’ve just had a piece of bread.

Almond & Seed Bread | The Secret Life of Bee

This one happened by pure accident, a lack of ingredients and an attempt to say no to dough. I’ve always freshly ground my own flax seeds into a faux flour and used that as the base for my seed breads. Yesterday morning was a tad different as recently being back from the holidays our cupboards were looking rather sad and empty and I was craving a piece of toast for breakfast. So all I had as the main ‘flour source’ was ground almonds and some psyllium husks to bind things together.

Almond & Seed Bread | The Secret Life of Bee

It looked a bit dodge while mixing and trying to get the consistency right but once it baked and cooled I was so surprised at this little loaf. Real bready flavour, great texture and most of all a healthy and nutritious loaf that is delicious with a myriad of toppings!

Almond & Seed Bread | The Secret Life of Bee

Ground Almond Seed Bread

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups ground almonds
  • 1 cup mixed seeds (I used a mix of sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, linseeds and pumpkin seeds)
  • 3 tbsp psyllium husks
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup Greek yoghurt
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 cup water

Method:

Preheat oven to 180˚C. Grease a small loaf tin.

Quite simply mix all of your ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.

Scrape mixture into the greased loaf tin and place in the oven for approximately 45 minutes.

When cool enough to handle turn the loaf out of the tin and cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

Serve with your choice of meal or toppings.

Almond & Seed Bread | The Secret Life of Bee

My breakfast that I was craving. A simple fried egg on the fresh out of the oven seed bread with a generous swish of butter.

Almond & Seed Bread | The Secret Life of Bee

Smoked salmon and cream cheese is always a winning combo with a generous squeeze of lemon and some freshly ground black pepper.

Another delight is fresh avocado on a base of rocket pesto with sumac and toasted seeds. Sumac is a spectacular Middle Eastern spice that is normally used to top hummus and other meze style dishes. It’s slightly lemony in flavour and adds a kick to many a dish!

Almond & Seed Bread | The Secret Life of Bee

This bread is so versatile you can use it with sweet toppings too. Cream cheese with fresh fruit and a drizzle of honey hits the spot with your afternoon tea. And for the husband- peanut butter and honey. One of his favs.

Almond & Seed Bread | The Secret Life of Bee

 

panettone french toast

Panettone French Toast | The Secret Life of Bee

If you have no panettone left over, well done. I’m impressed. Now go out and buy another one because this is so worth it!

Panettone French Toast | The Secret Life of Bee

This sweet Italian bread is texturally a dream for french toast. It’s very absorbent and already packed with buttery flavour and jewels of candied citrus and raisins. It’s a wee bit fragile so don’t get distracted by making mimosas and leave it soaking for too long. Serve it with your choice of fruit, maple syrup, honey, thick cream or even a dollop of greek yoghurt. I had mine straight out of the pan with a drizzle of maple syrup and it was blissful.

Panettone French Toast | The Secret Life of Bee

*A little tip: If you are making this for your family you obviously want to serve everyone at the same time with glorious piping hot french toast. This can be a painful mess with four frying pans on the go. For the sake of pictures I fried some slices as you’ll see here. For my family- I soaked the rest of the panettone in the egg mixture and then placed the slices on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. I baked the french toast in the oven at 180˚C until done. It was beautifully golden and had a slight crunch on top. Everyone was served at once and tummies were very happy.

Panettone French Toast | The Secret Life of Bee

Panettone French Toast

serves 4 hungry humans

Ingredients:

  • 4 rounds of panettone, sliced in half
  • 6 eggs
  • 150ml pouring cream
  • 150ml full cream milk
  • 2 Tbsp caster sugar
  • pinch of sea salt flakes
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • fruit of choice
  • butter, for frying

To serve: thick cream, maple syrup, honey or berry coulis

Method:

Slice the panettone and set aside.

Whisk the eggs, cream, milk, sugar, salt, vanilla and cinnamon is a mixing bowl large enough to soak the panettone slices in.

Panettone French Toast | The Secret Life of Bee

Soak panettone slices in the egg mixture. Fry the slices in a non-stick pan on medium heat with a blob of simmering butter. Flip the slices very gently to get them golden on both sides and cooked through in the centre.

Panettone French Toast | The Secret Life of Bee

Serve with your choice of fruit, maple syrup or cream. I blitzed a handful of fresh raspberries and fresh strawberries in a Nutribullet with 1 tsp icing sugar and the juice of half a lemon to create a very fresh and vibrant coulis.

Bon appétit!

Panettone French Toast | The Secret Life of Bee

 

Pancakes with Cinnamon Sugar

Pancakes | The Secret Life of Bee

Cape Town is doing its usual summer tease. “Oh hey it’s warm and sunny!” Gotcha! “It’s freezing, windy and raining.” When the weather is rather gloomy there is nothing that hits the spot quite like a sensational pancake. It was one of the very first things my grandfather taught me to make. He put me on a step ladder in the kitchen and we would make enough to feed an army and by the end of it i’d be covered in batter and flour from head to toe. So here’s a recipe for some super yum and speedy pancakes that hit the spot.

Pancakes

makes 10

Ingredients:

  • 100g plain flour
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 300ml full cream milk
  • 1 Tbsp neutral oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

Sift flour, sugar and salt into a bowl and make a well. Crack in the eggs and whisk them until you begin to form a paste.

Add a splash of milk and whisk that in. Keep adding milk very gradually so you incorporate it well without forming any lumps.

Finally add the oil and vanilla.

*This batter can also be mixed together in the blender for speed. But cleaning one bowl and a whisk is a lot easier to me than cleaning my blender!

Heat a really good non-stick pan and swish it with an oil soaked paper towel.

Ladle in your pancake mix until it covers the surface of the pan. Quickly pour out any excess if you’ve been too generous. No one likes a thick, soggy pancake.

You’ll soon get the hang of it and know exactly how much batter to ladle in.

Cook until bubbling and brown on one side and flip. If you’re too scared to whip them up into the air then gently raise an edge with a spatula, grab hold of one side with your fingers and flip gently.

Toppings:

I love cinnamon sugar & a squeeze of fresh lemon. You can’t get better than that for me.

Pancakes | The Secret Life of Bee

Mix about 1/4 cup castor sugar and 2tsp of cinnamon together. It’s also lovely to add some vanilla powder to this. And then of course a generous squeeze of lemon.

The husband is American and he likes his with maple syrup and a few slivers of farm butter. Not going to lie- I tried it and it was pretty darn delish.

But go wild- fill yours with fruit, cream or even go the savoury route and leave out the teaspoon of sugar in the batter.

Bon appétit!

 

French toast with spiced apples

French Toast
French Toast

The husband is not a morning person.

I cannot even begin to express how NOT a morning person he is. The one thing that tends to rise the grumpy snorer out of his slumber is the smell of French toast wafting from the kitchen. So this morning I decided to make one of his favourites: French Toast with Spiced Apples.

I play with different fruits, spices, breads and syrups finding out just how flipping yum can it get!

French toast with spiced apples

Today I peeled some Pink Lady apples and caramelised them in maple syrup with a generous dose of vanilla bean powder and cinnamon.

Seriously. Is there a better smell that cinnamon, vanilla and caramel?

While the apples were busy doing their thing I mixed eggs, milk, a pinch of salt, some extra cinnamon and dipped the bread.

Brioche is my best for making French toast but experiment! I made French toast with banana bread the other day and it was life-changing.

Once the bread has soaked up enough of the eggy mix on both sides I pop it into a heavy Le Creuset frying pan with a blob of butter that is singing and hissing in the pan. Make sure your heat is not too high. You want a gold and crispy outside but you want to make sure you cook the eggy centre through.

Once golden brown serve straight away topped with the apples, berries and a drizzle of maple syrup. A dollop of Greek yoghurt is one of my favourite additions to this sweet little number.