Basic Muffin Mix

July 12, 2018 at 14:21 (Bake, Uncategorized)

I’ve been using this muffin mix for so many years, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve made them.

2 cups flour

½ cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

100g butter/full fat marg (melted)

1 cup milk

1 large egg

Mix the melted butter/full fat marg, milk and egg.  Fold in sugar with shifted flour and baking powder until flour is cover but mixture is not smooth.  Spoon muffin mix into muffin tin and bake for 12-15 minutes at 180C.


Chocolate – add 3 tablespoons cocoa to flour mix.

Fruit – dried and fresh fruit can be added to butter milk mixture but fresh fruit muffins don’t keep as long.

Jam middle – spoon some batter into muffin tin followed by half a teaspoon of jam; spoon more batter on top and bake.

Lemon –  add three tablespoons lemon juice [and perhaps a tablespoon of poppyseeds].

Nuts – add roughly chopped nuts when adding the flour.

Cheese and herb – grated strong cheese such as cheddar with fresh or dried herbs.  Feta also works but does not keep as long.

Experiment – you never know what you might discover.


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June 28, 2018 at 17:33 (Move, Uncategorized)

…have changed.

As much as I am taken with my original plan, I’ve been readjusting it with more reality in mind. I’m physically limited since my car collision and I’m seriously accustomed to certain conveniences. It’s less than a five minute walk to the Spar where I can buy anything to eat when I don’t want to make efforts to cook (put things together and warm them up), and while there are no traffic issues in JBay, I don’t want to drive eight or so kms to the nearest shop.

I also want to make another attempt at a home industry. I’ll have to scout around and see what avenues I can pursue but I’m thinking about sewy crafty things or cakey pastry things, preserves from the garden maybe.

I have many plans and ideas but no decisions will be made till I’ve got there and mooched around for a bit. I may even think of something I haven’t thought of now 🙂

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Chocolate Brownies

June 26, 2018 at 14:18 (Bake, Uncategorized)

I am not a fan of chocolate brownies but people go mad for these – I tend to assume it means they’re good.

200g milk chocolate

200g butter/full fat marg

100g walnuts, broken into pieces

100g milk chocolate, cut into large chunks

100g white chocolate, cut into large chunks

175g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

300g sugar

Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas3.  Put the milk chocolate and butter/full fat marg in a large bowl, place over a pan of simmering water and allow to melt – do not stir until completely melted.  Sieve the flour and baking powder into a bowl, add nuts and chocolate chunks, mix and set aside. Remove the melted chocolate from the heat and stir in the sugar. Add the eggs. Fold in the flour, nuts and chocolate. Be quick so that the chocolate pieces don’t melt. Pour the chocolate mixture into an oven proof dish.  Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. The top should be firm but the inside should feel soft when cooked. Allow to cool in the dish (about 12 hours). Cut into squares and remove the brownies from dish.

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June 23, 2018 at 18:02 (Uncategorized)

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Fury and Calm

May 22, 2018 at 07:47 (Uncategorized)

Generally I’m not argumentative. I always say to myself look at the person you’re arguing with – are they listening, will they listen? Are you wasting your time?

Then something happened that made me furious. Much ranting and raving. I still think I am right but I’ve calmed enough to talk to myself, to look at the situation, to remind myself that society changes so slowly, and that I’m not going to see the changes people are talking about now.

Society can be so much better for everyone, but there are people in it.

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May 17, 2018 at 14:16 (Bake, Uncategorized)

For icing, it’s great – it’s easy, tasty and looks very professional. And makes good truffles.

250ml cream

500g milk or dark chocolate

Heat the cream in a saucepan – do not let it boil. Turn the heat right down and add the chocolate in pieces. Once the chocolate starts to melt turn off the heat – do not forget, the ganache could burn. Stir until smooth.

Dark chocolate gives a slightly firmer ganache but both are equally tasty.

Ganache can be made with any leftover cream as the recipes works in ratios. XX ml + XXg x2 – 100ml cream + 200g chocolate, 300ml cream + 600g chocolate, 50ml cream + 100g chocolate etc.

White chocolate ganache requires less cream as the white chocolate has more milk in it.

Ganache can be used as icing and filling or for truffles.

Icing and filling –

The ganache will firm up as it cools – once firm it can be piped and spread easily. Gooey ganache can be poured on to warm cake or ice cream for a delicious treat. Bananas dipped in ganache won’t be passed up either.

TIP – spreading gooey ganache on warm cake will cause the ganache to melt into the cake making the cake moist. Once the cake is cool, additional ganache can be filled between the cake layers or spread over the top as icing for a single layer cake.

Truffles –

Truffles are made once the ganache is firm. They can be rolled by hand or piped. Nuts and liqueurs can be added to the ganache – remember to be sparing with liqueurs as they add extra liquid to the ganache and will affect the firmness of the truffles.

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Chunky Cheese Cake

May 7, 2018 at 14:48 (Bake, Uncategorized)

I love cheese cake but it’s often difficult to get cream cheese so years ago I started using creamed cottage cheese, and it’s delicious. Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to get full cream anything so when I saw full cream chunky cottage cheese, I decided to try it. I thought I would smooth it out with a balloon whisk. It does a bit, but not really to a creamed consistency so I left it chunky. The texture and hints of cheesy flavour are fantastic.

500g full cream chunky cottage cheese

1 egg

60ml castor sugar

60ml fresh cream

2 tablespoons potato flour (or corn flour)

Vanilla extract/essence to taste

Mix everything together until creamy – it won’t really be smooth because of the chunky cottage cheese. Pour onto a base of your choice and bake for 30 – 35 minutes at 180 C.  Cheese cake is fairy wobbly while hot so the middle will not look cooked but if the edges are firm looking, the cake is done. Allow to cool completely before removing from the tin.

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Cat lamp

April 30, 2018 at 16:34 (Make, Uncategorized)

I’m very vocal about my dislike of DIY. I also tend to shy away from making over furniture because it’s too close to DIY.

But I did have an idea for my plain whitewashed lamp stand – it involved paint and cat toys. Behold:

cat lamp

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April 27, 2018 at 16:24 (Move, Uncategorized)

My downscale and simplify lifestyle plan has certain requirements that are not negotiable. There were a number of things that were in mind while scouting potential areas to move to, such as wifi, certain shops and things like vets and bank branches.

The wish to simplify isn’t to become a hermit grubbing in the ground making soap out of worms (but if people want to do that, go ahead and grub). Reducing the stresses of commuting, city life and working life is the goal. There will be stresses in the new place, of course, there is no utopia. But here is a chance to do so.

In a way, I’m returning to living ways of my youth. We always lived along the coast in smaller towns, little shops and local crazies. I’m just adding wifi and convenience to the mix.

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Basic Cake

April 21, 2018 at 14:12 (Bake, Move, Uncategorized)

In efforts to simplify my life, I’ve decided to deduce my blogs and add catergories to my main blog. Bake, Make, Move and Travel have been added. Move is for the move to Jeffery’s Bay while the others are pretty self explantory.

First Bake post 🙂

Even my most exotic looking cakes start with plain cake of either vanilla or chocolate. Over the years I’ve refined a recipe that always works for me and always tastes good.

1.5 cups flour

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup milk

100g butter/full fat marg

2 large eggs

3 tablespoons dark cocoa powder OR 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract/essence

Cream the butter/full fat marg and sugar until smooth and creamy, add eggs and milk [and vanilla extract/essence for vanilla cake] and mix with a whisk.  Add shifted flour and baking powder [and dark cocoa power for chocolate cake].  Do not over mix the batter.  I usually fold in the flour with a spatula. Bake at 180C – the baking time will depend of the size of the tin used.  A shallow tin will cook faster than a deep tin but usually it bakes for 30 – 45 minutes.

Ice as desired, or not.

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