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.

Roasted peaches with honey and thyme.

At the end of every summer I have the disappointed feeling that I haven’t had enough of the summer fruits and then I go into a frenzy to get my qoata for the season in. And so we have a last chance to indulge in all the summer fruits, especially the peaches and nectarines, the watermelons and melons. All of them my favorite fruits.

If you haven’t had roasted fruit before, you are truly missing out on a great experience. It is so simple so make and brings out the best of a fruit in a different way.

There is no formal recipe for this dessert. I used a mix of peaches and nectarines.

  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.
  • Use 2 peaches per person. Wash and cut each peach in half. You can remove the seed or leave some in.
  • Place the peach halves in a roasting tin.
  • Spoon some honey into the peach hamlves, drizzle liberally with lemon juice, sprinkle some fleur de sel and add lemon slices to the peaches.
  • Add lemon thyme branches to the peaches.
  • Roast at 200 degr C for about 15 minutes. Stick under the grill fora further 3 minutes if they aren’t browned enough to your liking.
  • Serve warm with créme fraîche of vanilla ice cream.

Pincée de sel:

  1. Use plums or figs instead of peaches.
  2. Use brown sugar or maple syrup instead of honey.
  3. Make a vanilla syrup of 1/2 cup water, vanilla pod and 3TBSP sugar . Leave to boil down to a syrupy consistency and add to the peaches along with cream. Omit the herbs.

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

A scoop of yogurt mascarpone cream and grapes, flambéed with Armagnac bring total silence to the dinner table.

In my garden, we have delicious grapes growing all along our terrace and balcony. I have no clue what they are called, but I devour them.  I have planted my two favorites in the potager: Chasselas and Muscat; of which we had our first harvest this year. The wine grapes( the domaine of mon chéri) will hopefully be planted next year with proper fanfare when all our friends and children and their friends will show up(hopefully!) with muscle and vigour to help. They will be rewarded with great food…cooked by me of course!

grapes, fish -002

. I managed to grab the last two bunches of grapes of this  season for a dessert I  have been planning to post, but haven’t yet found the time to do it. I bought  the last of les raisins d’Italie, a nice green and firm grape, perfect for this dessert.

Yogurt marcarpone cream with armagnac flambéed grapes.

What else can I say. I just simply love dessert. Leaving a restaurant without finishing my meal off with dessert, is…to say the least, sad, or better yet, depressing. It needn’t be a fancy affair. A yogurt. Or a fruit. A scoop of ice cream. In this case fruit and yogurt and a luscious cream. Oh, and a drizzle of Armagnac lit up to a pretty blue flame. Et voilà, c’est fait. Dessert is served.

Yogurt marcarpone cream with armagnac flambéed grapes.-004La recette:

  1. 200 g Greek yogurt( the sour of the yogurt adds a nice flavour to the dish)
  2. 200 g mascarpone cheese
  3. 1 vanilla pod
  4. 2 TBSP castor sugar
  5. 500 g grapes , stems removed(You can use mix of black and green grapes, although the black grapes do do tend to lose their colour  during the cooking process.
  6. 2 TBS butter
  7. 3 TBSP brown sugar
  8. juice and grated rind of 1/2 lemon
  9. 50 ml  Armagnac

► Whisk the mascarpone until light. Add the yogurt. Slit open the vanilla pod, scrape out the seeds and add to the mascarpone/yogurt cream along with the castor sugar. Mix well, cover and refrigerate until needed. Wash the grapes (of your choice) and remove the stems. There is need to remove the seeds, unless you can do it without breaking the grape. Melt the butter and sugar in a large pan. Add the grapes, lemon juice and grated rind. Let simmer over gentle heat for about 4 minutes. Be careful not to break the grapes open. Heat the Armagnac in a little saucepan, remove from the heat and light up with a match. Pour the flaming alcohol immediately and gently over the grapes. Leave to simmer for another 2-3 minutes until slightly syrupy. OR Pour the warm Armagnac onto the grapes  and flambée. Take care not to splash the flaming alcohol. Leave to cool down a little. Place a generous dollop of mascarpone in each bowl/plate and spoon in a helping of grapes. Finish off by drizzling  some   syrup over the grapes and cream. Enjoy.

► Serves 4 people.

To set food alight, is something everybody always enjoy. with ooh and aahs, mesmerized by the flames licking the food, we stare at the show. It can of course be very dangerous and not at all should children be allowed to do it. For those inexperienced, don’t do it like you see chefs doing it on television with big drama and whooshing  up to the ceiling.with 50 ml of alcohol, you already get a spectacular flame, so if you want to be on the safe side, split it up into two flambés. Don’t lean over the casserole you are about to flambé and stand far enough away, but still close enough to have control on what you are doing. You can pour a little alcohol into  stainless steel soup ladle with long handle to heat up directly over a flame and light up, then pour the burning alcohol over the pan for effect. Or you can add the alcohol to the warm grapes and then set alight. In both cases, switch off all other gas flames on the stove, stay away from candles and any other flames. If you feel unsure, skip the flambé step. just pour in the Armagnac alcohol over the grapes and let it cook for about 3-4 minutes for the alcohol to cook off. Enjoy and be safe above all else!

Yogurt marcarpone cream with armagnac flambéed grapes.-001cooking 2015à bientôt, Ronelle

coq.NEF