Laguiole Cutlery

Laguiole Cutlery

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I have always had a thing for vintage style cutlery and I’ve been looking for something cool and quirky for some time now. A few months ago I was browsing on Yuppiechef (an awesome online kitchen store) and I stumbled upon Laguiole by Andre Verdier. It was definitely love at first sight! I’d finally found the vintage style cutlery that I had been dreaming about. The bonus was that it came in an amazing variety of colors.

I had never heard of Laguiole knives or cutlery before that chance encounter (possibly because I live in South Africa or because I’m not a very savvy cutlery connoisseur!). It’s handmade in France, by some of the best designers in the world. Each piece of cutlery art is adorned with their trademark little bee (I love this touch of quirkyness).

So here’s my collection, so far (my fiance will kill me if he reads this!), which consists of Andre Verdier’s colonial mix color palette.

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My lovely red cake forks.

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Ivory coffee spoons.

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Salad servers.

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Cheese knife set (because I LOVE cheese!).

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Last, but certainly not least, the famous Laguiole steak knives!

The next Laguiole item on my wish list is Jean Dubost’s 24 piece pastel cutlery set (yes, yes, I know that I’ll end up with 12 knives and 12 coffee spoons, but that’s not a bad thing, right?). I am now completely obsessed with Laguiole!

Laguiole Pastel Jean Dubost

Comfort Food at Home

Comfort Food at Home

Hope everyone had a great Easter weekend! After pigging out on WAY too many Easter eggs, I’ve decided to skip baking this week (for the sake of my waistline), so unfortunately there won’t be any new recipes this week. Fear not, I will be back with a new cookie recipe next week!

I thought I’d do a post about my favorite comfort food meals that I make for my family. Dinner is definitely the most important meal for me. I’m not a big breakfast eater (mainly just cereal or coffee & biscotti) and I’m not really that fussed about lunch, unless I’m eating out at a nice restaurant. So dinner is the biggest meal of the day in my house. I am trying to lose weight, but I can’t bring myself to eat salad or veggies every night, so I do indulge a bit in my midweek comfort food (midweek, weekend, whenever really!).

One of my absolute favorite meals is the humble burger. I love making fresh beef patties or spicing a perfectly succulent chicken breast and topping it with cheese, tomatoes, pickles, onions and homemade burger sauce. This is definitely my ultimate comfort food! To make it complete I usually add some oven baked fries or homemade onion rings.

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Another firm favorite is Italian food. Mainly pizza and pasta. I make homemade pizza every second Friday night and I usually end up making pasta once a week. I love simple pizzas and pastas. My go-to topping for pizza is Parma ham and I love any pasta in a creamy sauce topped with Parmesan cheese!

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We’ve also become rather big fish eaters. If you had told my teenage self that I would be indulging in seafood as an adult, I would have fallen on the floor laughing. I used to hate the stuff. Now, there’s nothing better than some good old fish & chips (with tartar sauce of course)!

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And last, but not least, is our love of Asian food. We get major cravings for chow mein, sweet & sour or a good Thai meal. When it comes to Asian food, the simpler the better. I love simple Asian flavors made with only a few ingredients. One of my go-to midweek Asian comfort meals is a cheat’s version of a Korean beef bowl (made with ground beef, soy sauce, sugar, spices, spring onion and rice). It’s SO simple and extremely yummy!

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Obviously, there are many, many more comfort meals that I absolutely love, but these are definitely in my top 10! I’d love to hear what your favorite comfort meals are, so please get in touch with me!

Death by Chocolate Truffle Cookies

Death by Chocolate Truffle Cookies

Death by Chocolate Truffle Cookies Cover

These cookies are a chocolate lovers dream. They are soft, chewy and intensely chocolatey!

They are so easy to make and will definitely satisfy any chocolate craving. I love dunking them in a hot cup of cappuccino and biting into all that chocolate goodness. They really do taste just like chocolate truffles! Very easy to make, but they will get your hands a bit messy (you’ll end up with sticky palms and fingers, but it’s so worth it!).

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Sifted flour, cocoa, baking powder, caster sugar and bits of salted butter, ready to be mixed together.

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Once you’ve mixed it all together with your fingertips, it should look a bit like sand.

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When you mix in the egg and hazelnut liqueur, it will turn into a very sticky dough (that’s why I said your hands will get really messy!). Pop it in the fridge to chill and it will be ready to roll (literally).

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Once you’ve rolled the dough into 3cm diameter balls, coat them in icing sugar and place them on a lined baking tray.

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After baking in a 180°C oven for 10 min, you’ll end up with these little beauties!

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Little bites of happiness just waiting to be wolfed down!

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I really hope you enjoy these yummy chocolate truffle cookies. They are absolute bliss!

Death by Chocolate Truffle Cookies

  • Servings: 15
  • Time: 1 hr
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

  • 80g plain flour
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 90g caster sugar
  • 25g salted butter, cubed
  • 1 large egg
  • 10ml Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur)
  • 100g chocolate, chopped
  • 50g icing sugar, to coat

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Sift the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder together into a large bowl.
  3. Stir in the caster sugar. Then, using your fingertips, rub the cubed butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture forms a sandy consistency.
  4. In a jug, whisk the egg and hazelnut liqueur together. Stir the liquid into the butter and dry ingredients mixture to form a soft dough.
  5. Mix in the chopped chocolate.
  6. Cover bowl with clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 30 min.
  7. Place the icing sugar in a medium sized bowl and roll dough into 3cm diameter balls. Coat in icing sugar.
  8. Place balls on lined baking tray and bake for 10 min.
  9. Allow cookies to cool completely on the trays.

Anniversary Weekend in Clarens

Anniversary Weekend in Clarens

My fiance, Paul, and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary on Friday. He surprised me with a weekend getaway to one of my favorite places, Clarens, in the Free State. I love this little town and the amazing mountain scenery that surrounds it. It is honestly a perfect holiday destination.

Our road trip started on Friday morning, with me not knowing where we were going. We stopped at a few places along the Midlands Meandor (namely Florentines Belgian Chocolate Shop) before heading off again. The scenery is absolutely amazing there!

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The Sterkfontein dam made for an awesome photo opportunity.

As we got closer to our surprise destination, I started to get really excited. I realized that my lovely fiance had booked a weekend away in Clarens. We entered the Golden Gate National Park and I could hardly contain my excitement. The mountain views in this park are breathtaking and, in my opinion, some of the best views in South Africa.

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The rock formations in the Golden Gate National Park are stunning. We drove through at about 4:30pm and the lighting was perfect for these photos. We also saw some Wildebeest, buck and surprisingly, a jackal!

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We were almost at the entrance to the town of Clarens, when my face lit up with a huge smile. Paul, being as loving as he is, saw this and promptly drove past the turn off! Needless to say, the mood in the car change dramatically, as he told me that we still had “150km to go” to our final destination. I quietly voiced my disappointment, to which Paul replied “Okay, we’ll turn around” and then he burst out laughing. He had deliberately driven past Clarens just to get a reaction out of me, which apparently was incredibly funny to him! Anyway, after some profanity from me, we made it to our B&B (the same one we had stayed at when we first went to Clarens, quite a few years ago).

After unpacking and chatting to the B&B owners, we headed to my favorite restaurant, Clementines. The food here is amazing!

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Obviously, we ended up eating there on Friday & Saturday night. The first night I did remember to take a photo of my dinner (unfortunately, half way through it, because I couldn’t wait to eat it!).

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On Friday night I had the 300g beef fillet (which was cooked to perfection). It came with butternut, potato wedges and broccoli. Paul said he enjoyed his chicken pot pie. Saturday night, I gave the chicken schnitzel a try, which was lovely. Paul had the chicken tikka marsala, which he said was very tasty. They also have the most delicious creme brulee that I have ever had, so I ate that on both nights!. We also decided to try some craft beer from the Clarens Brewery. Their Clarens Red was really, really good (and I’m not a big beer drinker at all)! We had an unexpected dinner guest on both evenings, the live-in restaurant cat! It decided to spend Friday night on Paul’s lap and Saturday night on mine. I ended up eating my dinner over this friendly cat!

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If you’re ever in the area, you also have to visit The Purple Onion Deli, they have some awesome chocolates and other local treats.

We thoroughly enjoyed our little getaway and will hopefully be doing it more often in future!

 

 

Simple Supper – Ultimate Chicken Burger

Simple Supper – Ultimate Chicken Burger

  
Every second Friday night is burger night in our house (every other Friday is pizza night). I love a good burger and I love making them at home. This turned out to be my fiancé’s favorite burger so far. It’s easy to make and the whole family will love it!

Ultimate Chicken Burgers

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 25 min
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 4 hamburger rolls
  • Lettuce
  • 4 large tomato slices
  • 4 large gherkins, sliced lengthways
  • 8 rashers bacon, cooked
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 4 slices cheese
  • 4 slices pineapple
  • Burger relish
  • Burger sauce (mix 2 tbsp mayo with 1 tbsp ketchup, 1 tbsp mustard and 4 tsp gherkin juice)

Directions:

  1. Butterfly your chicken breasts and season with desired seasoning (I use some soy sauce and steak seasoning).
  2. Cook chicken breasts in preheated, oiled frying pan for about 5 min a side.
  3. Place cheese on top of chicken breasts, cover pan and allow the chicken to steam and the cheese to melt, about 3 -5 min. Remove chicken from the pan and set aside.
  4. Grill pineapple in the same pan until you get a golden color on each side.
  5. Cut burger buns in half, butter the bottom half of the bun, add lettuce, burger relish, tomato slice, pineapple and gherkins.
  6. Place cooked chicken breasts on top of gherkins, top with slices of cooked bacon.
  7. Spread burger sauce on top half of bun and add onion slices.
  8. Serve with fries or just enjoy it on its own!

    Simple Suppers – Mexican Beef Salad

    Simple Suppers – Mexican Beef Salad

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    I love making hearty salads that are quick and easy to prepare (we all have those days where we really don’t feel like making anything fancy). This Mexican beef salad is quick, easy and most importantly, delicious!

    It’s made up of strips of beef, avocado, corn, tomatoes, lettuce and roasted kidney beans. Yes, you read that last bit correctly, roasted kidney beans. When you roast the beans, you end up with a crunchy, salty, beany delight. They add great texture to salads and just make life a bit more interesting. To finish this fully loaded salad off, I’ve drizzled some Sriracha mayo over and topped it with chopped spring onion. Enjoy!

    Mexican Beef Salad

    • Servings: 4
    • Time: 1 hr
    • Difficulty: Easy
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    Ingredients:

    • 350g beef strips
    • Lettuce, washed
    • 200g cherry tomaotoes, halved
    • 1 can kidney beans (drained, rinsed and dried)
    • 1 can corn kernels (drained and rinsed)
    • 2 avocados
    • 4 spring onion, chopped
    • 1 tbsp soy sauce
    • 2 tsp steak seasoning

    Sriracha Mayo:

    • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
    • 1 tbsp sweet chili sauce
    • 1 tsp Sriracha sauce

    Directions:

    1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and lightly oil a baking tray.
    2. Drain, rinse and dry the kidney beans. Place the beans on the baking tray, lightly coat with oil and season with salt, pepper & paprika. Roast in the oven for 25 – 30 min.
    3. Halve the cherry tomatoes, drain and rinse the corn kernels, dice the avocados and chop the spring onion. Set aside.
    4. Slice the beef strips into 4 cm strips and season with the soy sauce and steak seasoning. Cook beef in a lightly oiled frying pan for about 10 min.
    5. Make the Sriracha mayo by mixing all the ingredients in a small bowl.
    6. To serve: tear lettuce into serving bowls, then add halved tomatoes, corn and diced avocados. Add roasted beans and cooked beef. Drizzle with Sriracha mayo and top with chopped spring onion.

    Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting

    Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting

    Chocolate Cupcakes

    Moist, gooey chocolate cupcakes smothered in feather light marshmallow frosting. Absolute heaven!

    As I get older, I’ve found that I can’t quite handle super sweet buttercream anymore (the exact same buttercream that I used to adore when I was a kid). I find myself craving a more balanced cupcake-to-frosting sugar ratio and this recipe delivers just that. The cupcake packs a rich chocolate punch and the frosting is a lovely, subtle addition that doesn’t overwhelm your sweet tooth!

    These chocolate cupcakes are easy to make and always come out perfect.

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    The heart of these chocolate cupcakes is the melted butter, water, cocoa and oil mix.

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    The cupcake batter is quite runny and it can get a bit messy when you fill your cupcake cases.

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    After about 15 min in the oven, the cupcakes are perfectly puffed up.

    The marshmallow fluff is quick and delicious (I just end up eating it straight out of the mixer).

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    The first step in the 2 step process to make marshmallow fluff is to whisk all your ingredients in a bain marie (bowl over a pot of simmering hot water), until they are white and fluffy. You then transfer the mixture to a stand mixer and let it go for 10 min!

    I decided to amp up the chocolate flavor by decorating these bad boys with grated chocolate, but they would be equally as good topped with nuts, sprinkles or just more marshmallow fluff!

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    Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting

    • Servings: 12
    • Time: 2hr 30mins
    • Difficulty: Easy
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    Chocolate Cupcakes

    Ingredients:

    Chocolate Cupcakes:

    • 250ml self-raising flour
    • 250ml sugar
    • 2.5ml baking powder
    • Pinch of salt
    • 62.5g butter
    • 125ml water
    • 1/4 cup cocoa
    • 1/4 cup oil
    • 1 large egg
    • 1/4 cup buttermilk

    Marshmallow Frosting:

    • 3 large egg whites
    • 150g caster sugar
    • 2 tbsp golden syrup
    • Pinch of salt
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract

    Directions:

    1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a 12 hole muffin pan with cupcake cases.
    2. Heat butter, water, cocoa and oil in a small saucepan, over medium heat until everything is melted and starts to boil. Remove from the heat and cool for 10 min.
    3. Meanwhile, sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large bowl.
    4. Mix the buttermilk and egg in a jug.
    5. Add the chocolate mixture to the dry ingredients and stir well.
    6. Add the buttermilk mixture to the chocolate mix and stir until it’s well-combined.
    7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 15 min.
    8. Remove from oven and cool, in the pan, for 1 hour.

    To make the frosting:

    1. Put all of the ingredients into a bowl over a pot of simmering water.
    2. Beat with an electric hand mixer until all of the ingredients combine and the mixture becomes white and thickened.
    3. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer and whip on high for 10 min, until it becomes fluffy and doubles in size.

    Assembly:

    1. Once your cupcakes have cooled, fill a piping bag with your marshmallow frosting and pipe swirls onto each of your cupcakes.
    2. Top with grated chocolate, nuts or sprinkles.