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Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Annual Cakefest

Himselfs family are German.  And they love to eat cake.  So each year we have the "Annual Cakefest" which is another term for Himselfs birthday.

This year I went to the races the day before and drank WAY too much champagne, so it was lucky that I had already prepared a few cakes before hand.  I still managed to get up the following day at 6 am and bake a couple of extra goodies for the Cakefest.

Here is what I made for the Annual Cakefest:

Orange Yoghurt Date Cake and Orange Pistachio cake - both of these recipes are on page "Oranges and Lemons (and Grapefruit)
Blueberry Yoghurt Cake - Post dated 18th October 2011 "Blueberry Yoghurt Cake"
I also made a Cherry Tart and a Coconut and Mango Tart (recipes to follow)

I had quite a bit leftover so my work colleagues were encouraged to eat the leftovers the next day.  They didn't seem to mind.

Also, a big thankyou to all that visit this blog.  I have been looking at the world map which shows me where you are from and I am absolutely amazed at how many countries this blog is read in.  So thank you so much for encouraging this novice writer!!

Tart Pastry:
(You will need a tart pan with a removable bottom to make these tarts).

Combine 250 g plain flour, 65 g castor sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt in food processor.  Combine, then add 150 g butter (cut into cubes) and process until mixture looks like coarse bread crumbs.  Add 1 large egg and 2 tablespoons cream and continue to process until mixture comes together.  Form mixture into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap.  Chill for at least 30 minutes (or up to 48 hours if you want to make this in two steps).  Unwrap dough and roll out between two sheets of baking paper until 3 mm thick and about 33 cm diameter.  Transfer to a greased 28cm tart pan and blind bake until firm and golden brown.

Cherry Tart:
You will need 750g jar/can of cherries for this recipe.
Make pastry crust as described above.  Beat 350 ml sour cream, 125 g cream cheese, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, 3 egg yolks, 100 g brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1 tablespoon juice (drained from cherries) until smooth.  Pour into baked pastry crust and sprinkle 750 g drained cherries over the top.  Bake for 40 minutes in a moderate oven or until golden brown and set.

Coconut and Mango Tart:
Make pastry crust as described above.  Beat 4 eggs and 300 g castor sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Stir in 250 g mascapone cheese, 180 ml coconut milk and 300 g shredded coconut until well combined.  Spoon into baked pastry crust.  Bake for 40 minutes in a moderate oven or until golden brown and set. Top with fresh mango slices.

Happy Baking!!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Outsourcing boring stuff

Yes, I know I haven't posted anything for a few weeks, I have been busier than usual (believe it or not).

I often get asked how I manage to fit a full time job, parenting two young children, painting classes, kickboxing, writing this blog and all the cooking that I love to do into my life.  The answer is simple.  I do those tasks that I enjoy doing as well as what is absolutely necessary and outsource the boring stuff. 
For example, I don't like housework and it is a bit of a waste of time because as soon as you clean up "someone" comes along and makes a mess so I pay someone else to do that (you know who you are - thank you!).   I do the clothes washing and dishes at night after the kids have gone to bed, I prepare meals a day ahead or use the slow cooker for weekday meals.  We have leftover nights every now and then and I prepare the kids school lunches on the weekend and freeze so there isn't a mad rush each morning.  I also plan my meals up to four weeks ahead and do my grocery shopping in bulk on-line and have it delivered (and go to the market during my lunch time at work if I need to get extra fruit and vegetables).  I don't iron unless I absolutely have to and my house is homely and lived in rather than resembling a display home.

This is what makes me happy and relaxed, nobody suffers as a result of it and we all get to have some quality time together.