Yes, another recipe.

A while back I bought sour cream and since it was on special I bought 5 pots. Then I only used one. 

Since the sour cream was about to reach its expiry date (can sour cream really expire? Does it just get more sour?) I asked around for recipes to use up the last 4 pots.

I used one pot to make a creamy nutmeg pasta sauce the other night and then last night I used another pot to make these quick and really delicious scones.

Scones my wife made

 

Print
Sour Cream Scones
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 
Course: Breakfast, Side Dish, Snack
Servings: 6
Author: Gina
Ingredients
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 envelope baking powder (about 3 teaspoons)
  • 200 ml sour cream
  • 6 tablespoons water approx/as needed
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 200C.

  2. Mix together all the dry ingredients.

  3. Add the sour cream and start mixing it in.

  4. The mixture will start to look like bread crumbs.

  5. Add water, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough starts to come together.

  6. Use your hands to kneed the dough into a ball. The dough will be quite sticky.

  7. Coating your hands in flour, take small handfuls of the dough and form balls.

  8. Place on a baking tray and flatten slightly.

  9. Bake at 200C for about 15 minutes.

  10. Allow to cool slightly before breaking them open and slathering butter, jam and cream over them.

Recipe Notes

Adapted from AllRecipes here.

Healthy homemade burgers

The last two days I have been home sick with Aaron. He’s ok, just another bout of viral-thing-itus. But, being home meant plenty of time to cook.

Over two days, we made homemade pizza, homemade chicken burgers and we made another batch of pasta sauce.

Here is the recipe for the chicken burgers. They were so good we ate all (8!) of them in one sitting!

Print
Breaded Chicken Burgers
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 
Quick and easy to make breaded chicken burgers
Course: Main Course
Servings: 8
Author: Gina
Ingredients
  • 500 g chicken mince
  • Half onion minced or grated
  • A few cloves of garlic minced
  • Half cup breadcrumbs/panko
  • Salt, pepper, sweet chili flakes to taste
  • 1 egg
  • More breadcrumbs/panko for covering the patties
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients well.
  2. Take handfuls of the mixture and shape into balls then flatten to desired thickness (my kids did this part and had a blast).
  3. Set the patties aside and heat some oil in medium heat pan.
  4. Dip each side of the pattie into the crumbs before placing in the hot oil.
  5. Fry for 5-10 min each side (depends on thickness of patties).

Dream a little dream. Again. And again.

I have a recurring dream. Well, a theme really. The dream differs every time.

The Persistence of Memory

Sometimes its the first day of school or varsity. Sometimes I’ve transferred mid semester.

Sometimes I am all alone when I get there and others there are tons of people, all of them know each other and know where they are going.

The theme though, is that I am late and I don’t know where to go. Why? Because I cant find my class schedule and I haven’t memorised it. 

The dream usually entails me wondering around, trying to figure out where I’m supposed to be and knowing that no matter when I get there I am going to be late, the class almost or actually over.

Sometimes I get to the class and sometimes I wake up before I get there but I always wake up an anxious bundle of nerves.

Meh! So many issues I can pick out of these dreams. 

Who else has recurring dreams?

Homemade

Recently I have been trying to make more things from scratch. Not only is it healthier but most of the time its far more cost effective than buying ready made.

I posted about my pasta sauce the other day. The total cost of that was under ₪10 (about R35). It was also sugar and preservative free and was totally delicious. 

I also want to start making my own burger patties and pizza bases.

One of the things I’ve been making myself each week is our Shabbat challah. I started off making it because I got myself a stand mixer with a dough hook and it is just so easy but now I make it because its cheaper, healthier, tastes amazing and its really special to have homemade challah on a Friday night too.

I have reduced the original recipe to make 2 small medium sized challot but the original recipe makes enough for 4 challot or 2 challot and a dozen cinnamon rolls. Here is my amended recipe.

Print
Challah
Prep Time
1 hrs 30 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
2 hr
 
Course: Side Dish
Author: Gina
Ingredients
  • 3/4 cups warm water
  • 2 teaspoons instant/dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups flour (approx)
  • 1 egg for brushing
  • sesame seeds/kosher salt/herbs for topping
Instructions
  1. Place water, sugar and yeast in a mixing bowl.

  2. Leave for about 5 minutes or until it starts foaming.

  3. Add eggs, oil, salt.

  4. Add 3 cups of flour and start mixing.

  5. Slowly add the 4th cup of flour until the dough becomes smooth and not sticky.

  6. You may need more or less flour, go by feel.

  7. Either kneed by hand or with a dough hook on your mixer until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.

  8. When the dough is ready, lightly oil your bowl and place the dough inside.

  9. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel and let the dough rise for about an hour or until double in size.

  10. Kneed down and divide the dough into 2 equal parts.

  11. Form 2 challot, either by plaiting or forming rounds.

  12. Turn the oven to 180C and let the challot sit, covered until the oven is ready.

  13. Brush challot with beaten egg and top with desired topping.

  14. Bake for 30 minutes.

  15. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Recipe Notes

This recipe is adapted from Sy's Challah on AllRecipes.

Cooking with Aaron

Last night Aaron and I made dinner together.

I taught him how to blanch and peal tomatoes, how to caramelise onions and that no matter what you are cooking, always salt the water.

We made a really yummy tomato sauce that we used in a baked ziti (I’ll blog that recipe another time).

I really enjoyed cooking with Aaron, he loves to get involved and asks lots of questions. He also ate TWO servings of the ziti and declared it delicious.

Oh and he insisted on washing up all the bowls and dishes once we had finished cooking.

Print
Tomato Sauce
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
40 mins
 

This sauce goes with anything from pasta to meatballs.

Author: Gina
Ingredients
  • 8 large tomatoes blanched and peeled
  • 1 medium onion finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 red pepper finely diced
  • 1 small tomato puree
  • red wine
  • salt
  • pepper
  • basil
  • rosemary
  • thyme
  • chili flakes
Instructions
  1. Fry onions, garlic and red pepper.

  2. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, wine and herbs and salt/pepper to taste.

  3. Bring to the boil then simmer while you make the pasta/meatballs, about 20 minutes.

  4. Once the pasta/meatballs are ready, remove sauce from heat and blend with a stick blender if you want.

Recipe Notes

The recipe is just a guideline, feel free to adjust the ingredients to whatever you have available, less herbs, more wine, canned tomatoes instead of fresh, there are no rules except to just have fun with it.

Only happy things here!

The world is a sucky place at the moment. And social media brings out all the negative naysayers and the horrible pictures and horrific stories of misdeeds.

There have been moments when I just want to shut down my social media accounts and ignore all the bullshit. But then I realised I enjoy interacting with people on social media. Its a way for me to keep in touch with family and friends and share the things that make me happy.

So instead of getting rid of the baby with the bath water I’m adding bubbles. Lots and lots of happy, shiny bubbles. OK, mostly accounts involving adorably cute animals. Cute animal bubbles!

Here are the accounts that I am following on social media that bring a smile to my day.

Coral-Leigh’s gorgeous little Beastie

Facebook

Twitter
 
 I hope you clicked through and added these awesome and fun accounts to your feeds. Let me know if you follow any fantastic feeds I should add to my list.

Have your (cheese)cake and eat it too!

Once again, Shavuot has come and gone.

Last year I blogged about the awesome cheese blintzes I made (which I made again this year).

This time I decided to try my hand at making a cheesecake. I also wanted to make it sugar free so that Paul could enjoy it too. 

I found a few recipes online and using them as a base, I adjusted to the ingredients I had available.

Print
Sugar Free Cheesecake
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
50 mins
Total Time
1 hrs
 

A fluffy, sugar free, baked cheesecake.

Course: Dessert
Author: Gina
Ingredients
Base
  • 1 packet sugar free chocolate tea biscuits
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 3 tbsp cup for cup sugar replacement
  • 1 tbs vanilla
Filling
  • 750 g ricotta cheese
  • 200 ml sour cream
  • 1 1/4 cups cup for cup sugar replacement
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Instructions
Base
  1. Crush the biscuits until they resemble fine crumbs.

  2. Melt the butter and mix into the biscuit crumbs along with the sugar replacement and vanilla.

  3. Press the mixture into a prepared round 9 inch springform cake pan (or into the bottom of a glass or pyrex dish.

  4. Bake at 160C for about 5 minutes.

  5. Allow to cool while assembling the filling.

Filling
  1. Beat the ricotta, sour cream and sugar replacement until smooth.

  2. Add the eggs one at a time and beat to incorporate.

  3. Add the lemon juice and vanilla and mix well.

  4. Once your base is cool, slowly pour the filling on top and smooth out the top.

  5. Bake in a 160C oven for 50 minutes. The top will begin to turn brown and crack around 45 minutes. This is normal.

  6. Run a knife around the edge of the cake and then allow the cake to cool to room temperature before transferring to the fridge for at least 2 hours.

  7. Once the cake is chilled you can remove it from the pan.

Let’s talk about bus etiquette.

Public transport is just that, public. This means that I get to travel with the (literal) unwashed masses. It also means you should have a little bit of respect for the strangers in or near your personal space.

Personal Hygiene

Yesterday, my afternoon bus was almost completely full when I got on. I was one of the last people to get a seat. The driver can allow up to 10 people on the bus standing. So the next few stops we picked up a bunch of people.

Naturally when standing on a bus, you reach out to hold something to steady yourself. Now I’ve had to stand on a long journey home before. I grab the conveniently located handles on the sides of the seat. Not Smelly Armpit Man, oh no, he had to stand reaching up, holding onto the baggage rack above me.

I get it, its summer, we sweat. But please for love of all human beings, spray or roll on some deodorant when you leave work. I do. Its the last thing I do before leaving my air conditioned office where I don’t even really sweat. I roll on my deo so no one has to catch even the faintest whiff of me. Its just polite.

Space

(Wo)man spreading. The seats are not big, not small either, but we are not riding a 1st class ticket with extra leg room and champagne to work.

So when you sit down, try not to rub thighs with the person sitting next to you. Don’t try to mash your handbag into the tiny gap between you and me. Put it on your lap. If you are sitting in the window seat, try not lean across the person in the isle seat to greet your long lost friend who is walking past. 

Oh, and if you are in the isle seat and the person in the window seat needs to get off the bus before you, stand the F up and move into the isle. Don’t just swivel your legs to the side and force me to practically sit on your lap to get past. I’m so tempted to fart on the next person that does that.

Noise

There are these amazing newfangled inventions. They are called headphones. You can get them in comfortable, over ear models or even in discreet, in ear models. You even get ones that have a built in microphone in them. The common feature though is that no one needs to listen to your crappy music, horrible canned laugh track sitcom, your grandchild screeching at the top of their lungs or your Very Important work call.

Or your loud, repetitive games. Those especially annoy me. No one wants to hear your rat a tat tat 1st person shooter game or your ching ching ching Candy Crush. If you don’t have headphones then put your phone on silent. You do not need sound to play a game.

Smells (unrelated to personal hygiene)

Hard boiled eggs, tuna, garlic. These are all yummy and delicious foods. But not on a closed bus. Certainly not at 06:45 before people have had their coffee and even worse, at 17:30 after being in your bag for the entire hot, sweaty, summer day.

Just don’t. You can eat before you leave home, or while you wait for the bus to arrive or wait until you get off the bus. But please, I beg you, do not eat your stinky food on a bus where all the windows are closed. Especially if you are practically sitting on my lap or standing over me.

Before getting on the bus

While waiting for your bus, allow older people, pregnant women or women with small babies to sit on the bench under cover. Especially when its raining.

If you really need to have a cigarette, could you maybe walk a few metres left or right of the stop and light up there? You know, away from the elderly people, pregnant women, and the children. If you are really nice, you could even see which way the wind is blowing and smoke down wind. That would be really pleasant.

Oh, yes, last thing. Get your money or your bus pass ready. Seriously, we all need to get to work or home. No one wants to stand around waiting to get on the bus because you insisted on getting on first and now cant pay. Either stand at the back of the line or be ready.

So, yeah, some of my pet peeves that really should just be common courtesy. And now, I’m going to shut down my computer, roll on my deo and I’m going to catch my bus. Wish me luck!

SPIRE – A Book Review

Fiona first published SPIRE as a daily serial on her blog. One chapter a day. There were days I loved her for it and days I wanted to shake her and tell her to just post more chapters. By the end of the serial the book had been picked up by Clockwork Books and has now been released as an eBook on Amazon and will soon be published in print too.

I gave SPIRE a full five stars. Here is my original review.

How do I describe this book?

Gripping, edge of your seat, hold your breath at the end of each chapter.

This is a fast paced, thriller that made me gasp out loud, snort laugh and even cry.

A must have for your bookshelf.

I didn’t know at the time that it was the 2nd book in a series (and it doesn’t have to be read in order), but after reading SPIRE I will definitely be reading the first book in the Burchell Sisters series, Now Following You.

You can follow Fiona on Twitter here.

Her website can be found here.

And you can buy your own copy of SPIRE on Amazon here.

Book Smash

I have a Goodreads account and this year I decided to take part in the reading challenge.

I set myself what I thought was a decent challenge of 100 books to read in 2017. And then promptly smashed through it at the end of April, so I increased it to 250 books.

Some info on my reading habits:

  • I read mostly romance, fantasy and sci-fi with some chic-lit and comedy thrown in.
  • My average book in 2016 was 232 pages.
  • My average reading time per book is 2-3 days.
  • Although on the weekend I can read 2-4 books in 2 days.
  • I read on the Kindle app on my phone (and now on my iPad since I had the screen replaced).
  • I read pretty much everywhere, at the bus stop, waiting for the rice to cook, waiting for the bath to run, in the line at the grocery store, at the park while the kids play, if I have a minute here or there I am reading.
  • I do NOT read on the bus (major motion sickness) or in the bath (major klutz).
  • I’ve been known to read right through the night and go to work without sleeping.
  • Because of my voracious reading habits I tend to use BookBub to find free or really cheap books from Amazon.
  • Even though most of my books come free, I am more than happy to purchase an entire series or other books by an author (at full price) if I enjoy the freebie.
  • I also try and leave reviews wherever I can.
  • I am part of a 7000+ member secret (or not so secret) book club on Facebook.
  • I also review books for the member authors of the above book club.

All that being said, I am going to go back to putting up book reviews on my blog so keep your eyes peeled for some interesting reads.