Bake + Cook = Relax

If I’m stating that the last couple of weeks were demanding and hectic, it’s putting it mildly!

Berto’s new job certainly has its challenges … nothing that he cannot handle, but it requires all of his knowledge and full attention. For these past few weeks he was busy in front of his computer with clients and colleagues from early morning until late evening. Weekends were reserved for some quiet time and regrouping for the next week.

That’s when I remembered what makes my husband happy – home baked treats and when he can cook. Now, most of you will know I’m no chef, but where there’s a will, there’s a way!

My (very basic) baking utensils

All of my recipe books are still at our home in Langebaan, so I scanned the internet and read fellow bloggers posts on how they make delicious recipes. Then I bought a few baking utensils and ingredients and started to “experiment” in the kitchen … some were quite enjoyable, others needed a little more attention 😁 … but it certainly hit the right spot!

During the week, I was trying my utmost best in the kitchen and weekends Berto got back to making our favourite stews on the stove … and that’s how bake and cook leads to relaxing times!

I mostly took the photos to send to my mom (she couldn’t believe her daughter can do “magic” in the kitchen), but now I’m sharing these with you as well.

Apple Crumble Pie

Ok, I have to admit … this dish was made by Berto. But it was just so good that I have to share it. We had a couple of apples that were not so firm anymore and Berto made this delicious dish one weekend – with custard, cream or ice-cream, this one was a clear winner!

I’m a vanilla girl and Berto is a chocolate guy. So, the next treat was especially for him. It came out quite good, but the second time around, it was definitely better. The chocolate brownies were more-crunchy on top and gooey inside. It was so delicious and easy to make, that I will even try and make it for other people as well!

One of our blogger friends, Diane (In Dianes Kitchen) is an amazing chef! Her recipes are so easy and really delicious. I have tried quite a few already and for a treat, decided to make her Easy Cheese Ball Biscuits. It was a great snack for Berto’s lunch box (and my 11 o’clock tea break)!

Easy Cheese Ball Biscuits

We also like tarts – any tart! But my capability of making tarts does not stretch very far, so I had to look for an easy one to make. Then I remembered one that my mom used to make for our birthdays when we were kids (and I sometimes helped her with this … or maybe it was to have access to the almost empty condensed milk can 😄). A lemon custard tart will always remind me of birthday parties!

Lemon custard tart

When I bought a muffin pan, the world of a baker opened in our kitchen! At first, I tried an easy recipe … I’m still not sure whether it’s a muffin or a cupcake though. This one I glazed with a little bit of apricot jam and it was really nice (I had to hide it otherwise it would have been all gone in just two days).

Vanilla & apricot jam glazed muffins (or cupcakes)

Oh my, the next treat is my all-time favourite … a Marmite and Cheese cake! To my absolute horror, Marmite was not available on our shop shelves for the last 6 months. But when I saw it again a few weeks ago, I bought a big bottle. Though it’s actually intended as a spread for sandwiches, I use it to bake a Marmite and Cheese cake. Needless to say, this one I will bake again (and again).

My favourite – Marmite and Cheese cake

Apricot jam is such a versatile ingredient. One can use that as a spread, in desserts or even in that wonderful bobotie that I love to make. Apricot jam tarts are a favourite, but I knew I would struggle with the dough … so I made something much easier. Cheese & jam biscuits is such an ordinary name – in Afrikaans we have a wonderful name for these (which is too hard to translate), but it’s called “lepelsteeltjies”. Just make sure the jam has cooled down, otherwise you might burn your lips!


I’m no bread baker (that’s more Berto’s forte). But when I don’t have to knead the dough and only have to mix a few ingredients, it seems I can put a decent bread together. And with lots of cheese inside and on top of this bread, it was actually really nice!

And once again we had a couple of apples that were not that firm anymore (maybe we should eat more fresh apples and less bakes). I knew I would not master the Apple Crumble Pie that Berto made earlier and grabbed my muffin pan. Apple and cinnamon are best friends and when they’re mixed together, it’s a wonderful taste!

Apple & cinnamon muffins

One day, I was standing in front of the fridge, wondering what I can make as a side dish for our “braai” (barbecue) that we would have that evening. As it was quite cold, a salad just didn’t feel like the right option (though, it’s probably the more healthier one). I decided on pumpkin pie … made in my muffin pan. It was a great side dish to our meat and also worked quite well as a dessert!

Individual pumpkin pies (or maybe it’s pumpkin muffins)

As this blog belongs to both Berto and me, it would only be fair to share some of his dishes as well … don’t you think? Now, his dishes are in a whole different class than my (much simpler) ones. But since I’m typing the post, I will only show a couple of his dishes 😉.

He is the king of making one pot dishes and his stews always reminds me of my grandmother (and she was an excellent cook).

Green bean stew

If I have to choose my favourite stew, it will be green bean stew. Potatoes and beans that’s drenched in the meat’s sauce … when I smell this, I can think of no better way than spending a weekend evening around the kitchen table!

One of Berto’s quickest dishes, is beef stir-fry. He always uses fresh veggies and says it’s therapeutic to cut them up while preparing the dish. This is a healthy dish (well, if you skip the rice of course).

Beef stir-fry (and rice)

Did I just say that green bean stew is my favourite? Well, then green pumpkin stew is my favourite-favourite! This brings back sweet memories of my childhood where my grandma started the green pumpkin stew early morning in her wood burning stove … there would be nothing left after we had lunch. And Berto’s green pumpkin stew would have made her very proud of the man her granddaughter married!

Green pumpkin stew – ready to be enjoyed

Of course, we are still making our regular fire to enjoy our “braais” … and while sitting next to the fire and enjoying our drinks, it makes you forget all about the stress of a difficult day.

We are slowly getting used to our “new normal” and will hopefully soon get back to exploring again … we are after all entering the seasons of spring and summer! We will show you more of these again, but hope you have in the meantime enjoyed this post … now, let me go and see what’s in the kitchen …

67 thoughts on “Bake + Cook = Relax

    1. Yes, I know you don’t really have a sweet tooth. I like also like the salty stuff more … and that’s probably why the Marmite and Cheese cake is a favourite. And give me a hearty stew any day (winter or summer) – the secret is that it must cook long and slow ☺️.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. As always a post full of deliciousnesses! I was amused to see Marmite. It’s a very acquired taste. I had some in my locker in boarding school, about a century ago. The local people had never encountered it and yous should have seen their faces.They thought my friend Sabrina (Australian) and I were mad. Cheese…you can’t go far wrong…or can you? My Mum used to make cheese balls that were cooked very quickly in boiling deep fat. Light, fluffy, delicious. My aunt and I decided to attempt them but we ended up with blackened dough stuck to the fryer basket, smoke through the house and my uncle furious at us for the mess. Grant likes to cook but turns the kitchen into a disaster area. He gets out every available pot as well as every knife fork and spoon. If I ignore it, he will eventually wash up but leaves the draining board piled up like a skyscraper. It’s a good job I am so tolerant. (Smile) Always love to see your goodies!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s so funny … I also had Marmite in my locker in boarding school (maybe only half a century ago 😉). There is always this debate over which one is the best – Marmite or Bovril? But I’m a firm supporter of Marmite! When we walked the Camino in Spain, a girl from Australia had her own pot of Vegemite (she said she’s going nowhere without it). Oh, Grant sounds like Berto in the kitchen … I normally have the sink full of hot soapy water and are washing up as he’s making food. Fortunately, we only have 4 of each in the kitchen … so, if he’s running out of knives/spoons, he needs to wash up. Ah, thank you for reading Carolyn and for your lovely comments as always!


  2. Ek is verstom!!!!!! Kyk net na al hierdie disse, julle is albei so oulik, Corna. Daardie marmite/koek/tert, dis my gunsteling van alle sout- gebak. Net môre maak ek ook een, gelukkig het ek nog marmite.

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    1. Nie net jy nie Una, ek het myself verstom! Natuurlik sien jy nou nie die “flopse” hier nie … glo my, daar was ‘n hele paar ☺️. Oe, ek’s mal oor die Marmite koek (veral as mens dit weer so bietjie warm maak). My hart was aan flarde omdat dit so lank van ons winkel rakke af was (vir my is Bovril net nie dieselfde nie). Maar nou’s die Kaap weer Hollands (of Oos-London dan 😉).


    1. Ja-nee, ek’s maar lugtig vir broodbak. Ek het behoorlik voor die stoof gesit om te kyk of hierdie broodje sou rus en was baie verbaas oor hoe dit uitgekom het. Volgende keer gaan ek bietjie meer avontuurlustig wees en dalk bietjie “sun-dried tomatoes” en gekapte olywe ook ingooi … dink net hoe lekker kan dit wees!


  3. I’d love to try all of these dishes. I should have known better than to read this post on an empty stomach. The tasty treats relieved some stress I hope. Computers and email have eliminated the 40-hour workweek. Employers expect people to be available 24/7.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes John, you are right about “always being available”…how have things changed over the years. But somehow we have to find that balance – I know, easy for me to say (I’m not the one in the new job). Berto says I am his conscience because I remind him to try to keep that balance between work and home. But when I put a chocolate brownie in his mouth, (almost) all work is forgotten 😄.


  4. Delicious, all of it. Green pumpkin stew intrigues me very much and I loved reading about your grandma’s wood stove. It’s funny, Sladja also says that cutting vegetables feels therapeutic and relaxing. I like to cook and listen to my podcasts. There’s nothing like a good meal and some drinks to unwind and put the day’s stresses behind us, we are the same. Glad to hear that the second time round brownies tasted even better, it’s all about practice in my experience.

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    1. Leighton, once you’ve tried green pumpkin stew, you’ll be hooked for life! Promise! I like to drink a glass of wine when I’m preparing dinner … but when I bake (which is normally during the morning), a glass of wine somehow don’t seems appropriate 😉, so then I listen to my favourite music. The problem with the brownies are that I’m not sure what I’ve done different the second time around that it turned out so much better – I will have to try it a third time!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, thank you so much Jo – I’ll make sure Berto sees your comment ☺️. Yes, you’re right about being too full after a meal for any dessert … but there’s always a next day! Absolutely, the desserts in restaurants are way too delicious to be skipped (and always looks so well presented)!


  5. You are both so talented in the kitchen! I adored seeing all the baking you had done, my favourites being the apple crumble and the lemon custard tart but of course I could have happily worked my way through them all. Berto’s stews look so wholesome and delicious – I love a good stew whatever the time of year. Thanks for sharing. I’m just having toast and marmalade for supper now which seems so basic after all your creations. Off to bed soon, so goodnight!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, thank you so much for your lovely comment Marion 🌸. I think I like the lemon custard tart so much because it brings back such happy memories. Yes, I love stews too … Berto is a firm believer it must cook long and slow. Can you believe, I’m on my way right now to get a slice of toast (with apricot jam) – but even that is great to eat! Have a good day.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Now I’m hungry and I only just finished lunch! Enjoyed looking at all your yummy photos. Like Berto I enjoy cooking and do most of the dinners. My favourite is the wok but as the weather improves I will be out at our barbecue a lot more. Karen is definitely the queen of the oven when it comes to cakes, cookies and desserts. Cheers, Mark

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Mark, I’m glad you enjoyed the photos (and sorry it left you hungry 😉). Great, it seems then that you and Karen are the perfect match in the kitchen! While it’s still cold and raining on the west coast of South Africa (where our home is), the weather here on the southeast coast where we’re currently are, is already perfect for those barbecues … in fact, we just had one last night!


  7. Your chocolate brownies look quite delicious and so does the apple crumble Pie! After a long day at work, everyone wants to relax and let go of the pressures of the day and what better way to do it than by digging into homemade treats! Thanks for sharing and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ah, thank you so much Aiva! Yes, it’s amazing how food (especially when it’s prepared with love) can just unwind you. In a way, it also tells the person that comes home after a hard day at the office that someone thought of them 😊. The second try on the chocolate brownies were certainly a winner … I wonder how I will manage to bake it like that again! Have a nice day and thanks for popping by!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! I must admit, it was quite easy recipes – it was just a matter of mixing everything together (and making sure the measurements were correct). But it sure tasted great … and made my husband happy ☺️.

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  8. I admire all your baking efforts! I share the meal time cooking with my husband but quite rarely bake (mainly at Christmas) – I lack the patience and also worry that I’ll eat too much of the results! But I’m curious about some of your recipes, especially the cheese and Marmite cake (we both love Marmite!) and the apple and cinnamon muffins. Do you have links to where you found these perhaps?

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    1. Thank you Sarah 🌸. It was a bit of a trial and error in the kitchen, but everything was edible in the end ☺️. I’m so happy to read you and your husband also like Marmite – almost all of our friends are on the side of Bovril (there’s always this competition between the two spreads in South Africa). I made the Marmite cake from an Afrikaans recipe, but found another one on the internet which is exactly the same (and in English).
      Here it is:
      And here is the apple & cinnamon muffin recipe:
      May I also offer my heartfelt condolences on the death of your queen, Queen Elizabeth II – she was a remarkable woman.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. That’s so thoughtful of you to do some baking for Berto. Plus it always helps to have a taste tester, especially when experimenting with new recipes! With him being the cook, it sounds like you guys make the perfect team! These dishes look delicious! Mmmm.

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    1. Thanks Linda, I appreciate your lovely comment! Yes, I have a more than willing taster for all of my baking … and according to him everything is delicious. But he better say that, otherwise the baking might just stop 😅.

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  10. Oh dear, anything with apple or pumpkin makes my mouth water and those pictures… i could eat them! Here in the UK we’ll be entering my favourite season of all and Autumn always makes me want to bake more than any other season… I’ve taken inspiration from here!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s true, for me Autumn is also a great time to test new recipes in the kitchen … I may just lean more towards cold desserts now that we are going into summer. I’m so happy you enjoyed the photos – oh yes, and happy baking!

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    1. Thank you 😊. I must admit, there are a couple of these recipes that I won’t mind trying again. I wish I had the skills to bake a milk tart (with the traditional sweet flaky pastry crust) … maybe one day!


  11. I have missed you, Corna! Glad to see you’ve posted again! Hoping Berto’s schedule becomes a bit more relaxed soon. But in the meantime, look at you providing warm & nourishing support! Great job! I’ve been thinking of making a fruit crumble recently b/c I bought a large amount of peaches, pears, and apples recently in preparation for a visit from out of town relatives that was cancelled! Good to know you guys are adjusting to your new life & looking to be out exploring again soon! 🌞

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    1. Oh yum … a fruit crumble – that sounds really delicious! Lisa, thank you for your lovely comments, it’s much appreciated 🌸. We hope to be back soon with more exploring and a little bit of adventure … we know that’s also good for ones mindset and we will make a definite effort to get back into nature!

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  12. Everything looks amazing and so delicious Corna 🌸💕 You must’ve made Berto so happy with all the great cooking and baking, especially after being so busy at work and him not able to do the cooking himself. I think that’s really sweet 😉 even after so many years of married life to make your partner feel especially loved.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, thank you for your lovely comments Henrietta 🌸. I think it’s important to always show your partner how much he/she is appreciated and loved … and by baking his/her favourite treats is definitely a great way of doing this. And the fact that I’m not the world’s best baker, must say something of my dedication to our marriage! May you have a great week 🌟.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Diane. You always make it look so easy 😊 … but I guess when one is hungry, you’ll be satisfied with what ever is put on your plate! I have made your cheese biscuits again just the other day and it’s such a tasty treat – thanks for being such an inspiration!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s an idea Morag … a tea room with lots of books to read while enjoying tea and lepelsteeltjies 😊. Thanks, according to Berto everything was delicious (but he’s so easy to please when it comes to treats … so, I’m not so sure whether he’s the best critic)!


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