Peppermint Crisp Pudding

My mom usually visits us from SA once a year and one of the things she just HAS to bring me is Peppermint Crisps.

I guard them with my life and my family knows they are not for random snacking.

In fact, I only ever use them to make a Peppermint Crisp pudding for breaking of the fast which is usually held at an ex-pat friends house, with dozens of SA ex-pats and other anglo friends.

The dessert goes down a treat and everyone waits, spoons at the ready, for our host to bring it out.

This year we are under lock down and so we didnt have a big breaking of the fast with friends and I decided not to make the dessert. The kids were super upset and said it just wasnt chag without it. So I made it for dessert for Sukkot and we just finished the last of the leftovers while playing DnD.

Now it feels like a new year 🙂

Peppermint Crisp Pudding
Prep Time
15 mins
 

Im including original SA ingredients as well as the Israeli substitutes you can use.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: South African
Ingredients
  • 1 litre high fat whipping cream (or more depending on how big you want your dessert)
  • 1 pack biscuits, Tennis biscuits in SA or Petit Burre in Israel
  • 1 tin/tub caramel or dulche de leche (I've also used Lotus spread when I couldn't find caramel)
  • 1 slab Peppermint Crisp
Instructions
  1. Whip the cream until stiff peaks form.

  2. If your caramel/dulche de leche is thick or not spreadable, pop it into the microwave for 15 seconds or until its still thick but easily spreadable with a knife.

  3. Take your Peppermint Crisp slab and bash it around on the table or with a rolling pin so that it breaks up into small crumbly pieces.

  4. Take the biscuits and, one by one, spread the caramel on each biscuit and place in the bottom of a medium oblong/square glass dish or foil roaster.

  5. Cover the bottom of the dish in caramel biscuits and then spread half your whipped cream on top.

  6. Sprinkle half the Peppermint Crisp over the cream, use the bigger pieces for this layer and keep the smaller pieces and fine dust for last.

  7. Repeat the biscuit and caramel layer and then spread the last of the cream on top.

  8. Take the last of the Peppermint Crisp and sprinkle it over the cream, make sure you take all the Peppermint dust and sprinkle it over the cream too.

  9. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to eat. The sooner you eat it, the crispier the biscuits will be.

I’ve made this recipe parve too, use Riche’s Cream, Lotus spread and parve chocolate as substitutes. In Israel, its really hard to find peppermint chocolate in general, and parve peppermint chocolate is non existent. Instead I used plain parve dark chocolate and I found pure peppermint extract at a specialty baking store and added a few drops to the cream when I was whipping it. Its not quite the same, but delicious nonetheless.

Giant Choc Chip Cookie

Every Saturday afternoon, Paul, Faith and I play Dungeons & Dragons. Of course, Saturday afternoons and Dungeons & Dragons require snacks. I usually make scones or we make popcorn, but I few weeks ago, I decided to make choc chip cookies and I came across this recipe for a giant cookie.

I made a few adjustments as per usual. And it was delicious. So delicious that Ive made it at least half a dozen times since.

Giant Choc Chip Cookie
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
 
Course: Dessert, Snack
Keyword: Cookie
Author: Gina
Ingredients
  • 200 grams butter , room temperature
  • 250 grams brown sugar
  • 2 eggs yolks
  • splash vanilla extract
  • 275 grams flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 150 grams chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 200°C

  2. Mix butter, brown sugar, egg yolks and vanilla together

  3. Add flour, baking powder and salt and mix well

  4. Add chocolate chips and mix until combined

  5. Tip the dough into an oven proof dish or foil roasting pan and press flat with your hands until evenly distributed

  6. Bake for 20 minutes

  7. If you want a harder/crispier cookie, leave in the oven for an additional 5 minutes

  8. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before breaking or cutting into pieces

Recipe Notes

I have made this cookie non dairy with margarine and with oil. The margarine cookie had the same texture as the butter cookie but the taste wasnt as good. The oil cookie had a dryer texture to the butter cookie but tasted better than the margarine cookie. 

They all tasted good but none were as good as the original butter cookie.

A Glimpse

Sometimes I will catch you in a reflection.

The shape of our jaw or the curve of our smile.

And yet, when I turn to face you, its just myself I see.

So I look. I look into my own eyes and I see your soul.

I see the future you should have had and the past we shared.

I see our very last conversation and I see the conversation we would have today.

I look into my eyes and I know you are looking back at me.

And I wait for the next time I catch a glimpse of you out of the corner of my eye.

This dog learned a new trick!

So most of you who know me, know that I’m not the most coordinated of individuals. I walk into tables, trip over my own feet, slice/burn/peel myself when in the kitchen and I’ve even been known to choke on my own spit (yes, I know, gross).

One of the things I have never been known to do, is ride a bike. My balance is iffy, and I’m terrified of falling. So when I discovered my new office is not actually in the area I thought it was going to be, and that there are not yet buses that go to the area it actually is in, I needed to rethink how I was getting to work.

Currently I’m renting a car, since the current office is almost 30 km away from home with no direct bus route. The new office is only 3 km away.

I could walk, but its incredibly hot in summer and when we tested out the route, while it is doable I arrived at the office building a panting, sweaty mess, not a very professional look.

So we started thinking of alternatives. I could try get lifts to and from work (there must be people from the city going but then I would be stuck on their schedule), take taxis (expensive), teach myself to ride a bike (hahahahaha) or I could buy an electric scooter, or korkinet as they are called in Israel.

Of all the options the scooter sounded like the best idea, yes it requires balance, but for some reason learning to balance on a scooter seemed easier than the bike.

So I started researching, doing brand comparisons and price comparisons and found a Xiaomi M365 on sale from one of the big Israeli supermarkets.

After some back and forth and discussions with Paul, we bought it.

3 days later it was delivered to our door and we went to the local bike shop and bought a helmet and some knee and elbow pads.

My first try in our driveway was, well, interesting. You need to kick off and get the scooter to 5 km/hr in order for the accelerator to engage. Now that’s not very fast, but remember, you need to be upright and balanced, so when the accelerator kicks in and you start going faster, you don’t fall down. Yeah, it took me a few tries before I got that part right.

A few days later we took the scooter to a local park that has a big flat surface that kids use to ride their bikes, scooters and skates. Perfect for practicing.

And after a few false starts, I got it. Like a switch got flicked. I was suddenly balancing, and going forward for long stretches, and not tipping sideways or falling off. I have almost mastered turning left and turning right still needs work. But I’m doing it. I learned something new!

And guys? Riding a scooter is FUN. I want to ride all the time. I was totally disappointed that I had to take the car to work the next day and not ride the scooter.

That said, I still need a bit more practice before I’m comfortable going the full 3 km to work, but thankfully I have another week or so before we move to practice.

Soup. In Summer? Yes!

I saw someone on Facebook mention making carrot soup, and despite the temperature being upward of 35C I decided it sounded really good. So I made some!

Soup in a bowl
Roasted Carrot and Ginger Soup
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
 
Course: Soup
Author: Gina
Ingredients
  • 1 kg carrots, peeled and diced into chunks
  • 1 onion, diced
  • garlic (Im not giving you an amount, you know how much garlic you want to add)
  • 2 tablespoons ginger, minced or fresh
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable stock powder
  • 6 cups water
Instructions
  1. Heat your oven to 200°C

  2. In a bowl, toss the carrots with a bit of olive oil and salt & pepper to coat

  3. Spread the carrots on a lined baking tray and roast until soft, about 30 minutes

  4. Once carrots are ready, in your soup pot, fry the onion, garlic and ginger for a few minutes, until onion is soft

  5. Add the carrots to the pot

  6. Mix the stock powder with a cup of the water and add the water to the pot

  7. Add the rest of the water to the pot

  8. Bring to the boil and then simmer for approximately half an hour

  9. When you are ready to eat, blend the soup with a stick blender

Recipe Notes

You can add or decrease the amount of garlic and ginger to suit your taste.

I found that roasting the carrots made them quite sweet and that the kick of the ginger was good at balancing out the flavours.

This soup was also amazing the next day, the longer it simmers the longer the flavours have to take hold.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy cake

Around 10 years or so ago, my mother in law gave me this awesome recipe and I used to make it all the time. Then for some reason I stopped making it, no idea why. Then last week, Ro asked me for the recipe and I decided why not make it myself.

It definitely stood the test of time and is one of my favourite recipes of all times.

But dont take my word for it, try it for yourself.

The easiest yummiest cake recipe ever!
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
 
Course: Dessert
Keyword: baking, cake, lemon
Author: Gina
Ingredients
Cake
  • 1 box vanilla cake mix
  • 1 packet vanilla pudding
  • 4 large eggs
  • ¾ cup oil
  • ¾ cup water
Icing
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
Instructions
Cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and prepare a square or oblong baking dish

  2. Mix all the ingredients together until the batter is smooth

  3. Pour the batter into the prepare dish and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean

  4. Remove from the oven and using the toothpick, poke small holes all through the top of the cake

Icing
  1. Immediately after you take the cake from the oven, mix together the icing sugar and lemon juice until smooth.

  2. While the cake is still hot, pour the icing over the cake.

  3. Wait while the icing sinks into the cake and the cake cools before serving

Recipe Notes

The cake can be eaten hot with custard or ice cream or if you prefer a cool cake, I suggest you make the cake a day before and let the icing sink into the flesh of the cake, this makes it sticky and gooey all the way through.

 

 

An alternative to vanilla and lemon is chocolate and orange.  Substitute chocolate cake mix and chocolate pudding for the vanilla and use orange juice instead of lemon (be sure to strain the orange juice so it is clear and free of any pulp).

Apple Fritter Loaf

I’m part of a Facebook group, called Friday Night. A group of men and woman who share recipes for Shabbat dinner and beyond.

When a good recipe is found, it spreads like wildfire. And the photos and posts that abound this week are all of a really yummy looking dessert, Apple Fritter Loaf.

So whats a girl to do? Jump on the bandwagon of course!

Apple fritter loafs
One with icing for the kids and I, and one without for Paul.
Apple Fritter Loaf
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
50 mins
 

I Frankenstein-ed this recipe together from a half dozen recipes I googled and found on the Friday Night Facebook group.

Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Keyword: apple fritter, cake, dessert
Author: Gina
Ingredients
Apple Mixture
  • 4 apples, peeled and sliced into small chunks (I used green apples, you can use any you like)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar (I used coconut sugar to try be a bit diabetic friendly)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
Cake/Loaf
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • cup sugar (used coconut sugar)
  • ½ cup butter, softened (use margarine if you want parve)
  • 3 eggs
  • splash vanilla
  • cup milk (use almond or similar for parve)
Cinnamon Sugar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
Icing
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1-3 tablespoons milk (almond milk for parve)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and prepare 2 loaf pans.

Apple Mixture
  1. Peel and dice apples and toss with sugar and cinnamon and set aside.

Cake/Loaf
  1. Add flour, baking powder, sugar and mix

  2. Add butter, eggs, vanilla and milk. Mix well. The batter will be quite runny.

Cinnamon Sugar
  1. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together and set aside.

Make the cake
  1. Pour a quarter of the batter into each of the loaf pans.

  2. Place a quarter of the apple mixture into the pan.

  3. Sprinkle a quarter of the cinnamon sugar over the apples n each pan.

  4. Pour the remaining batter evenly over the apple and cinnamon layer.

  5. Place the remaining apple and cinnamon sugar mixes over the batter.

  6. Bake for 45-50 minutes.

Icing
  1. While the loaves are baking, mix the icing sugar and milk.

  2. The thicker you want the icing, the less milk you add.

  3. Drizzle the icing over the loaves once they have cooled for 10-15 minutes

Banana Bread

I mentioned on Instagram and Facebook that I always buy bananas when I want to ripen avocado pears. And that we very seldom actually eat the bananas. Which inevitably results in banana bread.

Avos and bananas in a bowl

Here is my foolproof recipe.

Banana Bread
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
 
Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Side Dish
Keyword: banana, cake
Author: Gina
Ingredients
  • 3-6 ripe or over ripe bananas
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup oil or melted butter
  • chocolate chips (no amount, just go wild)
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 180°C and prepare 1 large or 2 small loaf pans. I have also made these as cupcakes.

  2. Peal and mash the bananas.

  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until just combined.

  4. Scoop batter into pans.

  5. Bake for 45 minutes. If making cupcakes 20 minutes should do.

Flags of Hope

This article was originally posted on Lay of the Land.

This past week Israel celebrated Yom Ha’atzmaut, our 72 Independence Day!

Usually this day is celebrated with fireworks, concerts, ceremonies, and parties. People gather on the beaches, in the forests and in the parks.

Not so this year.  Covid-19 put the kibosh on all of that. Israelis were relegated to celebrating indoors, in their own homes, under strict lockdown conditions.

What still did happen though; and what happens every year; is that the municipality starts putting up Israeli flags along the streets, on street poles and lamps. They hang blue and white bunting across intersections. This takes place across cities and towns country wide and is very festive!

Decorating
(Photo credit: Paul Jacobson.)

Families also decorate their balconies, gardens, and cars with flags. The whole country is proudly blue and white!

A week or so before Yom Ha’atzmaut, I came across a post on Facebook written by someone who was upset that the municipality was, in his opinion, ‘wasting’ money that could have been used towards medical care, equipment and such, because they were putting up these flags.

That comment bugged me. Even now, a week after Yom Ha’atzmaut has come and gone, it’s still bugging me.

I totally understand that our medical needs are huge, that our medical front liners need PPE equipment and that we need more ventilators and that saving lives is the most important thing we can do.

But…I also feel that celebrating our independence, our homeland and our freedom is just as important. Perhaps this is even more so in these troubled and uncertain times.

Seeing those flags made me smile. Seeing those flags made my heart feel lighter. It made me feel connected to people, my fellow citizens, when I had spent almost an entire month in my home with no personal contact with anyone outside of my immediate family.

Those flags gave me hope.

It was an affirmation. We are Israel!  We are Israelis –  and we can overcome anything that is thrown our way.

So, random Facebook man, I vehemently disagree!

Those flags are not a waste of money. Not at all. They are – JoyLove and Hope. And they are a promise.

We WILL make it through this.

We WILL survive.

It’s what we do.

Post Pesach Yeast Rolls

So Pesach ended, and due to lock down, bakeries were not allowed to start production right away, and also, I didn’t want to brave the shops just for bread or rolls, so I made my own.

I found a simple recipe online, gave myself 2 hours and made delicious, fluffy rolls for dinner.

Easy Yeast Rolls
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Resting Time
2 hrs
Total Time
2 hrs 40 mins
 
Course: Side Dish
Keyword: rolls, yeast
Servings: 8 rolls
Author: Gina
Ingredients
  • cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon yeast (I used instant)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups flour
Instructions
  1. Mix yeast, sugar and water together in your stand mixer bowl, if you dont have a stand mixer then a large mixing bowl.

  2. Allow yeast to start frothing.

  3. Add oil and salt.

  4. Add 2 cups of flour and start mixing.

  5. Slowly add the rest of the flour, half a cup at a time, until the dough starts coming together and pulling away from the sides of the bowl.

  6. Keep checking the dough after every half cup of flour, dough should be tacky but not sticky.

  7. Keep adding flour until you reach the correct consistency.

  8. Lightly spray the bowl with oil and place the dough in the bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and a towel and leave for approx 1 hour.

  9. Remove the dough from the bowl and split into 8 even pieces.

  10. Roll the eight pieces into balls and place on a baking sheet covered with baking paper.

  11. Leave an inch of space between each ball.

  12. Lightly cover with plastic wrap and leave for a further 45 minutes to an hour.

  13. Heat oven to 200°C.

  14. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until the rolls start to turn golden brown.

  15. Remove from oven and allow to cool on racks.

Recipe Notes

This recipe was adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

Next time, I will brush the rolls with an egg wash before baking.