Passionate Purpose

 

Talent or passion it all boils down to the same thing, that is ‘Are you led by your heart or your head?’.

Being led by your heart can cause much heartache and headache, especially when you attempt to ignore that call or live it by someone else’s definition. I recently got a call up from my passion, despite ignoring it for months.

A friend requested a cake for a baby shower. Despite never having made such a cake I agreed to do it.

I recall reading something said by Richard Branson about opportunity, “If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you’re not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later.”

That is purpose at work, you will not be able to resist a challenge within your ability or that awakens your passion.

The cake had to be a Preggy Belly Red Velvet Cake. Easy to bake but the decorating bit took much Google-ing and prayer for inspiration.

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Now, since I am a procrastinator by nature I find it extremely challenging to finish cakes before the last minute, though this time I decided to color my fondant and crumbcoat the cake the night before delivery. This turned out to be a blessing because I had piles of exam scripts to mark and had to invigilate an exam session at work. The final touches were done in 1 hour (record broken!) and I  must admit, my  kids were of great help. They totally understand my temperament, not every person can deal with my yelling and crazy expectations!

The end result was a beautiful and delicious cake, which is evidence that all things are possible whether we see it as our purpose in life or not!

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My baking scripture has to be “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.” Phil. 4:13 it gets me through the most challenging of cakes.

As long as one has the passion,  understands how it relates to your purpose and talents you’re good to go!

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A taste of home grown food

I love cooking shows and recently watched a program on Comfort Food. The dishes mentioned and made, were a far cry from my idea of comfort food. It forced me to look up the meaning of comfort food, Wikipedia defines it as ‘ traditional food which often provides a nostalgic or sentimental feeling to the consumer, and is often characterized by a high carbohydrate level and simple preparation’. The most important part of the explanation is most definitely the fact that it is determined by the individual or a culture.

My list consists of family favourites requested by my siblings and I, whenever we have family reunions. I have tried on many occasions to replicate some of my mum’s most memorable dishes, and mostly after lengthy conversations about the best method to obtain the same, if not better results. To have my mum judging my baking or cooking, is a great privilege – because I have always regarded her as an excellent baker and cook.  Her skills range from traditional African food to Belgian cuisine.

Matebekwane (sourdough dumplings) a mixture of flour and my mum’s secret ingredient, burnt maize meal. The maize meal is burnt with boiled water and left to cool, before mixing it with the cake/bread flour. It is steamed in a pot over large chunks of beef bone and meat. The only flavouring used is onion, salt and pepper. Divine, especially when sucking the marrow from the bones.

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Fatcakes (Vetkoek) a favourite of young and old, in our family. My mum’s are best! Even, my husband thinks so because it reminds him of the ones, he had growing up. I guess that settles any dispute!

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Ouma’s pudding is a steamed pudding, made with potato, raisins and dates. It has the weight and consistency of a fruitcake, and can last quite long. My eldest brother reminded us of this pudding a few weeks back. Definitely the high light of Sunday lunch, served with canned peaches from our backyard and creamy custard.

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Potchefstromers are spicy scone, and without dispute the one requested all year round. We love it and only people from Potchefstroom know the secret to making the most delicious of them, all!

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Ting (a sour porridge) a traditional Tswana dish made of soured sorghum. I love it! It is generally served with meat, vegetables or sugar. Nothing says comfort or reminds me of who I am and where I’m from, than the smell of ting simmering away on the stove!

The aroma of these dishes, brings back the longing for food uncomplicated and simplistic – devoid of the debates about allergens, GMO’s, preservatives and additives.

Just, real food made real good!

Yummy rusks

This has to be the easiest rusks to make. I am totally convinced that it is totally flop proof and can be made by any person, willing to try. The addition of coconut and pumpkin seeds gives it, a unique taste. They are as delicious, without the optional ingredients and slightly more economical.

Yummy Rusk Recipe

1 kg Nutty Wheat
500 ml buttermilk
500g margarine
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup coconut (optional)
1/4 pumpkin seeds (optional)
2 cups brown sugar

Method:

1. Place all dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk together.

2. Place the margarine in a saucepan and let it melt.

3. Add the milk to the melted and whisk together.

4. Slowly add to the dry ingredients and stir till fully incorporated.

5. Pour into a prepared oven pan and level using a fork.

6. Use a knife to trace finger sized portions.

7. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius foe 30 minutes or use a knife to check if ready.

8. Remove from the oven and let it cool slightly. Use a knife to cut along finger sized portions.

9. Place on a baking tray and place in an oven for 4-5 hours at 80 degrees Celsius.

10. Delicious as is or dried.

Irresistible!!!



Lovemade Brown Bread Roll Recipe

I was compelled to come up with bread rolls, after running out of bread for the umpteenth time!

Truth be told I hastily threw the dry ingredients in a bowl and only remembered that I should’ve added some oil! But here goes…

Ingredients:
4 cups cake flour
2 cups brown bread flour
10g yeast (sachet)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 liter warm water
2 tablespoons oil

Method:
1. Place all dry ingredients in a deep bowl (TUPPERWARE absolute MUST) and whisk with a fork or by hand to mix and incorporate air.

2. Make a well in the centre and pour half of the water and mix lightly, by hand, adding more water as it gets absorbed.

3. Work swiftly but lightly, until all the water has been incorporated and a soft, but not runny dough is formed.

4. Knead for 3-5 minutes and cover with fitted lid.

5. Leave to prove till the lid POPS off!

6. Knead and pour oil onto your hands to incorporated into dough. Leave yo prove.

7. Preheat your oven on 70 degrees Celsius. Prepare a pan and spread with butter/ margarine.

8. The lid should’ve popped a second time! Make equal sized balls, and place close together on the prepared pan.


9. Place in oven and leave to rise till double in size.

10. Remove, cover and keep in a warm place. Increase oven heat up 170 degrees Celsius.

11. Bake till brown and sounds hollow when tapped, baking time 20-25 minutes. Yields about 15 buns.

12. Delicious and filling!



Versatile puff pastry

Frozen puff pastry has really become one of my favourite stock pile items. I seldom buy less than 10 at a time. It is versatile and easy to use, and you can fill it with almost anything.

As a lunch box filler it is more than amazing. My kids almost always come home with reports about comments made byb their friends about their eatables.

My favourite fillings are:
* Viennas wrapped in pastry
* Cheese and fried bacon
* Canned pie apples sprinkled with cinnamon sugar
* Custard filling
* Canned tuna and mayo
* Egg and mayo
* Chicken and mayo

The trick lies in your presentation, to avoid monotony and predictability I add one or more unusual items. Adding pickled cucumber to the tuna/ chicken mayo mix or red/ green peppers or adding finely grated carrot/ butternut. It adds color and is ultimately healthy. My favourite however must be apple added to any of the mayo mixes.

The best advise I can give a busy mom, is stock up on frozen puff pastry and let your imagination go! Your kids are bound to enjoy the unusual flavours and appreciate the effort.







  • For the love and enjoyment of baking!

    February has been the month of both love and birthdays.

    My Valentine’s weekend consisted of an anniversary and two birthdays.

    The cake was red velvet with cream cheese filling. A really love struck guy decided to surprise his girlfriend with a delicious cake.


    Continue reading “For the love and enjoyment of baking!”

    Tuna and apple pies

    I’m up late again, asking myself why I’d rather be up baking than sleeping! After years and months there’s still no answer.

    The filling:
    * An apple- without Adam and Eve!
    * An onion- with plenty tears!
    * An egg- because it was the last one!
    * A tin of tuna- because its versatile!
    * Tangy mayonnaise- because it’s delicious!
    * Grated cheese- because it’s an experiment!
    * Two packets of puff pastry







    We moved up another notch on the ‘most original lunch’ ladder.

    Brown bread rolls



    ‘It always seems impossible until its done’ Nelson Mandela

    Baking bread rolls always intimidated me a bit, but I managed to overcome my fears. The nicest or best part was that I did it without the help of my bread maker.

    The result; delicious, soft brown rolls with cheddar cheese! It is much more filling than the shop bought versions I had in my ‘not-so-long -ago-past-life’. Definitely a new favourite on our home made list!

    Clearly the Madiba magic extends way beyond the political arena; or that’s what I think he whispered in my ear!

    Super mom making super good food.



    Pumpkin and carrot bread

    My son and I went free styling on a muffin recipe, the result was a pumpkin and carrot loaf.

    Recipe
    290g cake flour
    150g brown bread flour
    2 tsp baking powder
    380 ml milk
    a pinch of salt
    40g brown sugar
    3 large eggs
    120ml oil
    150 ml grated carrots and pumpkin
    2 tablespoons sugar
    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

    Method:
    1. Place all dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk gently.
    2.Place all wet ingredients in a separate bowl.
    3. Place carrot and pumpkin in bowl of dry ingredients and stir gently to cover with flour mixture.
    4. Add the liquid and stir carefully. Add milk if the mixture seems too dry.
    5. Spoon into a loaf tin or jumbo muffin pan.
    6. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.
    7. Bake for 30-35 minutes or till a skewer comes out clean.

    Serving suggestion
    * Dust with icing
    * Spread cream cheese icing on top











    Cheese Vienna pastry pockets

    It’s school time and the kids need interesting but delicious food. From past experience I have learned that it is safer to prepare food that they enjoy. The trick however lies in how we present idea no.1 for 111th time! Much like singing an updated version of a 70’s song!

    Creating magical pastry pockets was so easy that my 11 yr old will be responsible for its preparatio, from here onward.

    RECIPE
    1 Pack frozen puff pastry
    4-6 Viennas, cut into squares
    125 ml grated Cheddar cheese
    Egg/milk for brushing pastry

    STEP 1

    Lightly roll out the pastry and cut into squares. Place about a tablespoon of Vienna squares in the middle, and add cheese.



    Step 2

    Pull opposite ends towards the middle and pinch together.

    Step 3

    Brush with egg or milk and bake at 160 degrees Celsius. Bake until pockets are golden or slightly brown.