Orange flower cake and garden corners in December.

This is a very easy, very delicious, seasonal dessert.

  • 280 g ground almonds
  • 220 g sugar
  • 200 g soft butter
  • 100 g all purpose flour
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 oranges
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp orange flower water
  • 2 tbsp honey
  1. Preheat the oven to 160degr C.
  2. Grease a pan of 35x24cm.
  3. Zest the one orange and lemon . Bueat the butter and sugar until creamy. Add the zest.
  4. Add the eggs one by one alternating with the ground almonds.
  5. Add the flour.
  6. Pour the preparation into the greased pan and even out the top.
  7. Bake at 160 degr C for 30 minute or until a skewer comes out clean when piercing the cake.
  8. Prepare the syrup: Mix the juice of the two oranges, the lemon and two tsp of orange flower water and 2 tsp of honey unntil the sugar has completely dissolved. Baste the cake with the syrup until all the syrup is absorbed by the cake.
  9. Zest the an orange and sprinkle over the cake.
  10. Serve with some whipped cream on the side.

How time has flown by. We are at the end of 2019 with a few weeks left before we start the new year. My garden also realizes that we are in December.

A few chicks made their appearance late in the season and now they have to grow fast to outrun the cold coming.

Some garden lantens not yet packed away, a broken pot with water and a forgotten garden bistro chair.

An ever so proud rooster on the garden table.

Seedlings to be covered soon, a wire basket to be filled with butternut from the potager and a garden lamp.

In the potager, late tomatoes , butternuts and rhubarb await action.

The geese are ever present in every corner of the garden.

And the horses are amused by what’s happening around them.

Wood forthe fireplace on the chilly evenings.

Oil chocolate cake

This is probably the best chocolate cake recipe out there. It is from the south African huisgenoot winning recipes and is truly a winner every time.

Baked with oil, it is easy, quick, light and fluffy and of course delicious. Someone also gave me the advice to bake it as cupcakes and freeze for up to six months without the icing. That way you can take out as many as you need and decorate as you wish.

Oil chocolate cake

  • 250 ml boiling water
  • 125 ml cacao
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 375 ml sugar
  • 5 ml vanilla extract
  • 125 ml sunflower cooking oil
  • 450 ml all purpose flour
  • 15 ml baking powder
  • 2 ml salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Oil 2 cake tin of 20 cm.
  2. Add the cacao powder tot the boiling water and leave aside to cool off.
  3. Beat the egg yolks and the sugar until fluffy and light and creamy.
  4. Add the sunflowr oil, vanilla extract and colled down cacao mix to the egg and sugar mixture.
  5. Sift the dry ingredients and add to the egg mixture.
  6. Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold into the batter.
  7. Divide the batter between the two cake tine and bake for 30 minutes at 180 degrees C.
  8. Leave to cool, remove and decorate with a butter icing.

My garden is in a state of drought and we aren’t allowed to water. But that is summer for you and fortunately I have planted drought resistant plants, because this happens every year.

…The iceberg roses just keep on flowering profusely…

…In the potager, the agapanthus are lush against the backdrop of washing on the drying line…

…My chickens enjoy the potager far too much…so much so that I have no crop of radishes left…

…White petunias in the white garden, such a grateful summer annual..

A bientôt

Ronell

Cucumber salad

When the summer days are hot as they are here in late august and we are getting a bit tired of tomatoes, we look around for something different. cucumbers are still in season, so why not alittle salad or salsa if you will.

cucumber salad-3

Some people have problems with digesting cucumber. To fascilitate the digestion, I peel it and remove the seeds. In this case, I leave the peel of one half on simply for the touch of green in the salad, but the whole cucumber can be peeled.

cucumber salad

cucumber salad-2

 

As you can see, it is very easy and very quick, perfect for those days where time and energy are lmited.

Cucumber salad recipe

Pincée de fleur de sel:

  • Peel the whole cucumber for better disgestion.
  • Add chopped chives along with the spring onion and chives for a touch of green.
  • Add a tsp of mild mustard to the vinaigrette for a more pungent salad.

Enjoy!

Sunflowers for the home

sunflowers

 

à bientôt!

Ronell

coq.NEF

Carrot, apple and cumin soup.

I saw a post on Instagram a while back. It was a recipe and I can’t remember what it was. What I do remember, is that it had an enormous list of ingredients, which probably explains why I can’t remember the dish. Sometimes I think my food is totally boring and déja vu, but when I see friends and family dig into my meals with gusto, I realize that they enjoy the simplicity of my meals. Or they must be starving.

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There is a certain flair to preparing a meal or a dish and it has nothing to do with the amount of ingredients. You really don’t need much to serve a delicious meal. The main ingredient of course is always the love with which you prepare ita very kitsch and Facebook- favorite ingredient, but it holds true nonetheless.  

I have my own flair in the kitchen. First and foremost, is chaos. No matter how well I prepare beforehand, it finally turns into chaos. I start off very well, very organized and I can even keep it up for a while. My working surface stays clean, I keep an eye on the food brewing on my stove, I watch my oven, I rinse used utensils to keep my sink clean and empty, I have hot water at hand to add to hot foods. Suddenly it all goes wrong. Bowls are everywhere, I have no room to put hot oventrays, I have no clean wooden spoons left, the sink is filled to the beams, the fridge door is open, I can’t find the band aid, the stove is rattling with lids bouncing up and down. The tempo in the kitchen is now on full speed. Somehow though, I am still in control. And I am enjoying all this havoc around me. Chaos is not always a bad thing.

kitchen-chaos

Another character of my “personal kitchen flair” is my attention to serving a meal, a dish, or even just a simple sandwich. I believe a dish can’t leave the kitchen without that last personal touch. I always serve a meal with colour.  A dull and colorless dish in front of me, robs me of all envie.. desire. There are gazillions of ways to add colour to a dish. The easiest and most available to everybody, is a sprig of herb, usually one that you have used in your dish. What? You don’t use herbs in your food? You should start right away! It is one of the most sensual flairs in food…chopping and chipping herbs, smelling and tasting it.

food-styling

Having all the ingredients for a dish exhibited on the counter, gives me such a kick and it incites one of my biggest flairs in my cooking. When deciding on a dish, I gather all my ingredients and place them on my working surface. I remember my mother doing it very differently, which is why her kitchen was neat and there was always enough space, even though she had a small kitchen.  She fetched every ingredient as she needed it. For a carrot soup, she fetched an onion, cut it and added it to  her casserole. While the onion fried, she fetched 6 carrots, cut it and added it to her soup. Step by step, she continued and by the end, the table was set, the kitchen clean and we sat down for a delicious meal of soup and bread. I,  on the other hand, fetch my whole potager (vegetable garden), all the herbs I might possibly want to add and everything else in between.I am like an orchestra conductor. I want to see my whole ensemble in front of me and then I lift my hands and the music begins. I love seeing all those fresh produce before me, deciding on the go what I would like to do to my soup, ( I think the Americans call it “cooking from the hip”?), Always keep the tune in mind though and, just like an orchestra, never allow a dish to become cacophonous.

January is a month of diets and soups. Since I am utterly hopeless at diets, I opt for soup. In our home, carrot, apple and cumin soup is a favorite with all ingredients healthy enough to not feel bad about indulging.

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Carrot, apple and cumin soup.

  1. Fry 1 chopped shallot and 1 tsp cumin seeds for few minutes until the shallot is transparent. Don’t burn the mixture.
  2. Add about 8 big carrots, peeled and cut.
  3. Add 3 cups of home made chicken stock, or 3 cups of  water with one cube of chicken stock.
  4. Bring to the boil.
  5. Peel 1 large Granny smith apple and remove the core. Cut into chunks and add to the soup.
  6. Leave to simmer over medium heat until the carrots are very tender.
  7. Remove from the heat. Leave to cool a bit.
  8. Mix the soup to a creamy consistency. Pour the soup through a sieve to get a smooth velvet soup.
  9. Pour into a clean pot and reheat gently.
  10. Season with salt and pepper and add créme fraîche to taste. The soup must have the consistency of cream…it is soup, not a puree. If it is too thick, add some full cream milk or cream.
  11. Serve the soup warm in bowls with a small quenelle (dollop)of créme fraîche and a spoonful of apple salsa.  Sprinkle with pepper and drizzle some olive oil.

Apple and cumin salsa:

  1. Cut 1 granny smith apple in brunoise,(small dice), add lemon juice, 1/2 tsp cumin and 1 chopped spring onion . Season with salt and pepper and mix.

Serves 4 people

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PS: You can follow me on Instagram for more regular short posts at ronellesatelier

à bientôt

Ronell

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