After experiencing an unseasonably warm autumn in Israel, we had highs of 29C, its finally started getting cold and rainy.
What better way to spend a cold morning than baking?
I decided that cinnamon-y stewed apples were the way to go, and it just so happened we had some vanilla ice cream in the freezer and I also had the last of my Moir’s custard powder from SA that was begging to be used.
Apple crumble was a go!
Hot Apple Crumble
4apples, peeled, cored and diced into 2cm chunks(I used Granny Smiths, you can use any type though)
1/4cupbutter or marge
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Place the diced apple, first lot of sugar and cinnamon, and the water into a pot.
Bring to the boil while stirring and then drop to a low simmer.
Keep stirring until the apples have softened.
Place apples and any syrup into a pie dish.
To make the crumble, using your hands, mix the flour, remaining sugar, butter, and cinnamon until the mixture looks like bread crumbs.
Pour the flour mixture over the apples in an even layer.
The other day, while hunting for a tin of coconut milk, I came across condensed milk. It can be tricky to find here so I grabbed one and then stuck it in the grocery cupboard and promptly forgot all about it.
Then last weekend while looking for something yummy to snack on, I pulled out the tin. I also spied a bag of desiccated coconut and an idea struck.
I remember the white and pink sugar overload from my childhood quite fondly and decided to whip up a batch and introduce it to my children. Faith was dutifully impressed, Aaron took one sniff and said no way!
Its really, really easy to make and took no time at all. The hardest part was the mixing, its really good for toning your arms!
Traditional Coconut Ice
Super sweet, super sticky, coconut treats.
3dropsred food colouringyou can use any colour you like and even add flavouring if you want
Pour the condensed milk into a large bowl.
Add the icing sugar and the coconut and mix together. Make sure you scrape the bottom of the bowl to get all the condensed milk.
Keep mixing. The mixture will be very stiff. Keep going.
Line a square or rectangular, deep sided dish with baking paper.
Scoop out half the mixture and using your hands or the back of a spoon, press the mixture into the dish. It doesnt have to be perfect but the more uniform the thickness is, the better it will look when you cut it into squares.
Add your colouring (and/or flavouring) to the remaining mixture and mix well until the entire mixture is coloured to your liking.
Scoop out the coloured mixture and using your hands or the back of a spoon, spread it over the first layer in the dish and press it down.
Once everything is smoothed out to your satisfaction, place the dish, covered, in the fridge for a few hours.
Once cold and set, remove the coconut ice from the dish, peel off the baking paper and slice into small squares with a sharp knife.
Store in an airtight container or ziplock bag for up to 3 weeks in the fridge.
You can add a bit of cocoa powder to the 2nd half of the mixture instead of food colouring to make a vanilla chocolate ice.
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.
sesame seeds/kosher salt/herbsfor topping
Place water, sugar and yeast in a mixing bowl.
Leave for about 5 minutes or until it starts foaming.
Add eggs, oil, salt.
Add 3 cups of flour and start mixing.
Slowly add the 4th cup of flour until the dough becomes smooth and not sticky.
You may need more or less flour, go by feel.
Either kneed by hand or with a dough hook on your mixer until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.
When the dough is ready, lightly oil your bowl and place the dough inside.
Cover with plastic wrap and a towel and let the dough rise for about an hour or until double in size.
Kneed down and divide the dough into 2 equal parts.
Form 2 challot, either by plaiting or forming rounds.
Turn the oven to 180C and let the challot sit, covered until the oven is ready.
Brush challot with beaten egg and top with desired topping.
So I mentioned that I bought a stand mixer the other day. Well, it arrived and so far I have made 2 batches of challah using the dough hook (NEVER kneading dough again!) as well as a batch of cinnamon muffins and on Friday I made an apple and banana bread/muffin recipe.
I have absolutely no idea what prompted me to add apples into the mix but I’m glad I did. They were amazing!
OK, so not something I didn’t already know but still.
I could not look at Aaron’s room for a single minute more on Friday. So I asked demanded that he clean everything. I made him pick up and throw away every last piece of paper, string, broken toy, piece of crap off his floor. He had to clean out his toy box, bedside table and computer desk. He had to dust everything, wipe down all the surfaces and then sweep the floor. I then came in and used my awesome steam mop thingy to clean the floors. The best part was when I told him I want the floor clean enough to eat off. His eyes almost bugged out until I told him that it was a saying and we were not really going to eat off the floor.
So now his room is pretty clean, except for the cardboard boxes he is turning into a plane. Lets see how long it lasts this time.
The vacuum cleaner wasn’t broken
About 2 years ago we bought a really cheap vacuum cleaner from the local grocery store. It was cheap but it worked really well. For the last little while I’ve noticed that it wasnt working as well as it used to. We cleaned it out. Paul pulled out a fair bit of fluff and hairballs and it worked a bit better but no where near as well as when it was new. I thought that was that. Its a cheap machine, obviously has a short lifespan. I asked Paul to give it a clean so I could use it on the above mentioned boy’s room. Paul landed up taking the thing apart and actually washing one of the big sponge filters, which was disgustingly dirty.
Let me just say, the machine now works like I just took it out the box. It even picked up glitter off the tiles and carpet.
Moral of the story? Clean and service your appliances before throwing them out.
You can make cake using plain Greek yogurt and no sugar
I felt like making a cake for tea yesterday and I didnt have any diabetic cup for cup sugar replacement available. What I did have was stevia liquid. I searched online and found a simple trick for using liquid stevia as a replacement in a regular recipe. Basically 1 teaspoon stevia for each cup of sugar as well as 1/3 cup liquid for each cup of sugar. In my case I used plain yogurt.
As you all probably know, we keep a kosher home. That means that if we have a meat meal, the dessert needs to be dairy free.
This Rosh Hashanah, my brother hosted the meal, which was a feast of amazing chicken, deli roll, veggies and more, and I was making the desserts.
I really really wanted to make a Peppermint Crisp Tart (click on the link for the original recipe) but it needed to be parve/dairy free.
My one issue was finding a solid slab of dairy free peppermint chocolate. Not so easy apparently. You can get After Eights but the peppermint part is soft and I didnt think that would work. I found an artisan, bean to bar, locally made chocolate but I could not get the peppermint one for love nor money. Eventually I gave in and bought plain dairy free chocolate and then found a peppermint extract to add to the cream.
Another concern was what to swap the dulche de leche for. It had to be sweet but diary free and I came up with using Biscoff Lotus spread. I’m not sure this is available in SA but Im sure you can find some type of dairy free alternative.
All in all the dessert was a hit, everyone loved it and it was as close to a regular peppermint crisp tart as one could hope for.
As you know, Paul is diabetic, and I am always trying to find yummy sugar free food to bake or cook for him.
Paul tends to eat a bowl of oats with fresh fruit in the mornings but its getting boring. I work with a lot of UK products and last week, Scottish oatcakes kept popping up. So I googled and found a variety of recipes and yesterday I tried out a simple Scottish oatcake recipe.
These biscuits can be used in place of bread. Spread some butter, honey, jam or cheese on top or just have them plain right out the oven!