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!
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.
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)!
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!
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).
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).
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!
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!
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).
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).
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!
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 …