Viewing entries tagged with 'recipes'

African cherries, a new taste on the farm

Posted by Liz on 27 April 2011 | 0 Comments

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A new discovery... the African cherry (Eugenia). I had seen a strange (to me) red berry growing plentifully in a tree on the farm but never gave it much thought until Hannes disclosed in a matter-of-fact, everybody-knows-this sort of way that it was edible. All of a sudden it sounded much more interesting. Apparently African cherries could be used to make delicious jams. I decided to have a go.  I make a mean chutney so perhaps those skills would extend to jam-making... But first the cherries had to be collected and most of them were growing quite far from the ground. I set off with a basket and picked those I could reach but still they didn’t look very many. A ladder seemed a precarious option so after some thought I reversed my bakkie (pickup) to the tree and climbed on the back to pick the next tier of fruit. So the cherries were harvested but what to combine them with? Apple seemed a good choice and some spices. A final squeeze to a wine box yielded a good measure of red wine. Combined with some sugar, bubbled gently on the stove and wow the smell was amazing and result was better than I ever hoped! The colour was an amazing deep purple-red and the taste was really fruity and delicious.

African cherries (Eugenia)
Cherries and apples in the pan all ready to go

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Hannes' super-fluffy breakfast omelette

Posted by Liz on 27 March 2011 | 0 Comments

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Many people have complemented Hannes on his cooking skills and I think one of his greatest talents is taking a simple favourite and somehow adding a little bit of magic that makes it a super star. One of my favourites is his fluffy breakfast omelette which is a great treat on a Sunday. In fact he is in the kitchen making one right now... Often we walk the dogs first to work up a really big appetite. If we’re lucky enough to find wild porcini mushrooms while we’re out they go straight into the omelette pan as soon as we get back.

Hannes at work with his omelette pan

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Hannes' lip-smackin Chocolate Cake

Posted by Hannes on 21 August 2010 | 3 Comments

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Merlin’s Cottage has brought us many splendid guests from around the world. We’ve had the pleasure of entertaining guests to lunch or dinner from time to time or just chatting over a cup of good coffee. It gets tricky sometimes preparing something from the kitchen that everybody would like. However, with luck you discover a few favourites that suit most taste buds, like our tomato jam… and then one day you bake a cake. This is not any old cake – this is a cake so popular that guests book it well in advance for their next visit to the farm. The recipe is so easy; believe me anybody can make it. INGREDIENTS Half cup (110g) butter, 1 cup (200g) white sugar, 2 cups (260g) cake flour, half teaspoon bicarbonate of soda, half teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/5 cup (25g) cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon vanilla essence, 1 cup (250ml) milk, 2 large free-range eggs. METHOD Pre-heat your oven to 180 C (350 F). Melt the butter and beat up well with the sugar until it’s creamy. Separate the egg yolks from the white and beat the yolks lightly. Add the beaten yolk and chocolate powder to the butter mixture. Sift the flour, bicarb, baking powder and salt together. Add the butter mixture to the dry mixture bit by bit and alternate by adding a little milk. Sometimes I add a few handfuls of desiccated coconut at this point for a slightly different taste. Beat up the egg whites well and add this with the vanilla to the mixture. It should reach a creamy texture but if not, add a little milk until it does. If the mixture is very runny, add more chocolate powder (sometimes I add loads of chocolate but with extra milk – I figure too much chocolate won’t do much harm...). Scoop the mixture into two circular 20cm greased baking pans. Bake for 30 - 40 minutes or until a skewer placed into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Sometimes I miss out the cocoa powder but add in some glazed cherries once all the mixing is done, this is also great with chocolate icing. FILLING AND ICING This is the creative part… choosing the right filling and icing for the specific cake (I like to vary it a bit). INGREDIENTS 3 cups (330g) icing sugar, half cup (60g) cocoa powder, ¼ cup (55g) butter, hot boiled water. METHOD Melt the butter and add the icing sugar and cocoa powder. Mix it up a bit. Add small amounts of just-boiled water until the mixture goes smooth and into a soft paste. If you add too much water it gets too runny (then you have to add more of the devilish chocolate). Once both layers of the cake have cooled down, remove from the pans. Place one layer upside down on a plate. Use a knife or spoon to scoop some of the icing onto the cake. I often stack loads of uncut glazed cherries onto this layer of icing – extremely calorific but absolutely worth it! Place the second layer of the cake on top of the iced layer and start icing the whole cake on top and sides. If the icing gets too thick to spread, add a little water. Once it’s all done, dip the knife into hot water and “seal” off the icing to get a glazed effect. Then decorate with either chocolate shavings or more delicious cherries or anything you like to add on top. Boil up the kettle and brew a splendid pot of coffee, put your feet up and enjoy a slice of heavenly cake. Even better if you’re by yourself, then you won’t have to share it!

Lip smackin' !
Hannes' cherry and chocolate cake

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Cherry tomato jam with cinnamon, a farm favourite

Posted by Liz on 25 April 2010 | 2 Comments

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When I first heard mention of tomato jam I must say my reaction was ‘euuuuuuhhhhh???’ If this is you too then stick with it, it’s worth it... We have quite a good size veggie garden on the farm and although we’ve experimented growing various vegetables and herbs, and a raspberry cane this year, we’ve never actually planted any tomatoes. None the less, undeterred, little tomato seedlings spring from the soil each year. We’ve found them all over, in the fields, in the garden, even in the chicken pen. Some-one who has lived here obviously enjoyed cherry tomatoes. Each year as summer passes literally hundreds of tomatoes ripen every week and we have to pick them daily just to keep up. So here lay the challenge, what to do with this bumper harvest? Hannes’ grandmother provided inspiration for our first culinary voyage with cherry tomatoes which has since become a bit of a classic amongst farm guests - cherry tomato jam with cinnamon. It must run in the family because I must say nobody quite makes it like Hannes. You will need 400g ripe cherry tomatoes 250g granulated white sugar One or two sticks of cinnamon, or a few teaspoons of ground cinnamon To sterilise your jar pour boiling water over the glass and the lid. Leave them upside down to dry on a clean kitchen towel. 400g tomatoes will make enough jam to fill one medium size jar. Rinse the tomatoes, cut them in half and put them into a large pan with the sugar. If you’re using cinnamon sticks, add those too. Mix the whole lot well and leave it to marinate for an hour. Then put the pan on a high heat and bring to the boil, stirring frequently. Cook for about 10 minutes and then drain off the tomatoes. Put the syrup back on the heat. If you’re using ground cinnamon instead of sticks add 2 teaspoons now. Bring to the boil, stirring until thickened (about 10 minutes or so). Put the tomatoes back into the pan and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring often. Take the pan off the heat and pour the mixture into a glass jar, putting a piece of cinnamon stick in each jar. Make sure you don’t leave any air bubbles in the jam. Close the lid tightly and store in a cool, dark place. You can store the jam for several months, it just gets better. Or if you can’t wait you can eat it right away, it’s just as good! One great thing about this recipe is that you don’t need to skin the tomatoes, just cut them in half and chuck them in the pan. This saves a lot of time and fiddling about which if you’re anything like me is a great bonus. You can increase the amount of cinnamon or use sticks as well as ground cinnamon if you like. Try it once and then adjust the amounts according to how you like it. The jam is a rich red colour with the seeds making beautiful golden specks, and tastes delicious, somehow sweet and tangy at the same time. It’s divine on toasted cheese or with ham but we have had guests who enjoyed it so much they spread it on everything from barbeques to breakfasts... thanks Chris and Joe, you provided inspiration for this posting. Despite this jam becoming a firm favourite we have tried quite a few other ways of cooking with cherry tomatoes. Some favourites are spicy tomato chutney, cherry tomato tart and just simply baked them on a little puff pastry with a dab of pesto to make a delicious appetiser. I also tried drying them in the sun on a baking tray on the back shelf in the car with some success. Especially nice sprinkled with some herbs and they keep well in an airtight container, in the freezer or in a little olive oil. Enjoy!

Freshly picked cherry tomatoes simmering in the pot at Angels Rest Farm
Hand-picked cherry tomatoes grown at Angels Rest Farm

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Plettenberg bay - Garden Route - South Africa