Stuffed chicken breasts wrapped in bacon

Marshmallow Shot Glasses

Marshmallow Shot Glasses

Phenomenal little party trick, that tastes so good, and on the plus side you will have less glasses to wash, because you ate them.
Start by roasting your marshmallows and then let them cool down completely. They are fragile so carefully remove the inside and pour in the alcohol of your choice. Toast, drink then eat. Then have another..

Lupercalia’s Breakfast Flower

Breakfst bits

Yes he returns. Wow what a hectic few months it has been. We have a name for it “March Madness”. It’s more like February to May madness, but March madness has a nice ring to it. It turns out that at least 80% of my friends and family are either Aquarians, Pieces or Aries. So it is party after party, and then there’s the kiddie parties. Add my 4th wedding anniversary to the mix and you have yourself a 2 month long party followed by a month long hangover.

So catch up time it is and we shall start with my last post just after Valentine’s day, that I didn’t actually post. A little breakfast gem to die for, Lupercalia’s breakfast flower

So who do we have to thank for Valentine’s day? Ask five different people and you will probably get five different answers. The popular theory is that it is named after a Christian martyr named Valentinus who was executed on the 14 February. The problem is that there were at least five different Valentinus’s persecuted by the Romans, and two of them were executed on the 14th albeit a year apart

My favourite however lies with the Romans and an ancient three day festival called Lupercalia. This was originally called Februa and led to the naming of our second month. Lupercalia (Wolf’s Festival) was in honour of the wolf who suckled Romulus and Remus, celebrating fertility.

Roman’s being the virtuous people they where, celebrated Lupercalia by essentially running around town naked with the hides of dead goats and dogs, smacking all the girls butts they could find, whom I might add actively encouraged a little whipping. Men and women were then paired up by the priests for the duration of the festival, basically a three day sex fest.

Some of these arrangements ended in marriage and others did not, a little like dating. So now we don’t only have to thank the Romans for giving us orgies but S&M as well.

All that said and done, lets have breakfast


Preparation Time:  20 mins
Cooking Time:  15 mins
Oven Temp:  220º C
Difficulty Factor: 2 / 10
Messiness Factor: 6 / 10
Taste Factor: 9 / 10
Visual Appeal Factor: 10 /10
Cost Factor: 2/10


 INGREDIENTS – 12 POTS

2 Packets Streaky Bacon
Half  Punnet of Mushrooms
200 Grams Feta Cheese
Sun Dried Tomatoes
12 Slices Bread
12 Eggs
Cheese (Optional)

PREPARATION

Pre-heat the oven to 220

Start toasting the bread , fry up the mushrooms and lightly fry the bacon .

Once the slices of  bread are toasted, cut them into circles. I just use a small glass to press them out. Place the little circles of toast in a scone  tray that has been rubbed with butter.

Take the bacon (2 slices per pot) and wrap them around the edges of each scone creating a nice open cavity for the filling.

Portion out the mushrooms into the cavities making sure that the bacon now starts to press flush against the tray.

Add sundried tomatoes,  feta cheese and what ever else you feel like and lastly, crack open an egg  each little flower.

FYI: The best way to do this is to poach them, and to do that just place the scone tray in  bigger tray that has a little boiling water at the bottom. The steam will poach the eggs.

Put in the oven and leave until done about 10-15 minutes later.

 

 

 

 

ANGEL CAKE

sliced4
Very light, very tasty
Very light, very tasty

This cake is in a league all of its own. It has no rival. Using egg whites and no butter makes this is a healthy cake, low in cholesterol and virtually fat-free. But if your wings have been clipped and you are feeling a little less angelic and a little more decadent, well then there are all types of sauces and juicy little bits that can be added. Today I am going to use strawberries and whipped cream.

When I was a young boy, I remember asking my mother if I could bake a cake. It was the first time I can remember wanting to bake anything. My mom said sure no problem and added that she would gladly help. What type of cake would I like to make my mom asked, after a second’s pause I grabbed a chair pulled it towards the kitchen counter and proceeded to use it as a ladder to get to the work surface.

Once on top I instinctively reached for the cookbooks that scattered along the top of the cupboards. Excitedly I clambered down the little obstacle course I just made. As I scanned through the pages I noticed immediately that everything began with A. This was going to be a problem seeing as cake starts with C.

However as I turned the next page I saw this beauty before my eyes. I heard my mother gasp something about “12 egg whites” and some other words. It’s not a cake you would normally like to cut your teeth with, but that ladies and gentlemen, was the start of my love affair with not only Angel cake but baking. I think the year was 1985.

sliced2

Preparation Time: 35 mins
Cooking Time: 35-40 mins
Oven Temp:  180º C
Difficulty Factor: 4 / 10
Messiness Factor: 4 / 10
Taste Factor: 10 / 10
Visual Appeal Factor: 8 /10
Cost Factor: 1 /10

INGREDIENTS

1 Cup cake flour
12 large egg whites
1.5 Cups castor sugar
1 Tablespoon cream of tartar
1.5 Tablespoons vanilla essence
1 Tablespoon almond essence
Canned strawberries
Whipped cream

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 180°C

Sift the flour and ¾ of the sugar into a small bowl and put aside.

As I mentioned earlier this cake uses 12 large egg whites, so the first thing you are going to want to do is separate your eggs. Below is a little diagram that shows you a hack on how to do this easily, alternatively I have shared a clip that thoroughly explains this food hack.

eggs seperating

Once you have your separated eggs put them in a large mixing bowl and mix them until they form fluffy white peaks. Add remaining sugar, cream of tartar, vanilla and almond essence. Mix for a further minute.

PS. If you dont have castor sugar just put some normal sugar in the blender.

Now very slowly sift the flour onto the egg whites and fold it in using a rubber spatula. By slowly I mean splitting the flour into 8 portions. Be careful when folding the flour into the egg, you want to maintain all the air in your cake mixture, to make it rise.

Gently spoon your cake mix into a baking pan with removable bottom. Smooth over the top with a spatula. Place in the oven for 35 -40 minutes until golden brown.

Now the only negative thing I have to say about this cake is that you will have to now leave your cake in the baking tin and inverted for an hour. It’s like buying a new car off the showroom floor and being told you have to wait and hour before you can  take it out for a drive….It’s just not cricket..

Once it has cooled slice it in half, and spread on the whipped cream and strawberry on the bottom half replace the top. Sprinkle some icing sugar  over the top and serve.

collage


FOOD HACKS

banana

We all love short cuts in life, anything that makes it a bit simpler or easier. To those of you who are shaking your heads in disagreement, have you a never taken a different route to work in the morning because of gridlock?

We spend about a month of our lives every year in the kitchen preparing food for our loved ones and another month of our lives per year stuck in traffic to and from work. Now I can’t avoid the traffic, but I sure as hell can save time and some money in the kitchen.

So as a regular feature I will now include food hacks, cheats and anything that makes life in the kitchen a little easier. Try them they work. Please feel free to share any ideas you might have.

Make your bananas last 3-5 days longer

Take some cling wrap and wrap it tightly around the crown of bananas

bannana hack

Use frozen grapes instead of ice

There is nothing worse than having a glass of wine with some ice, and before you can even get halfway the ice has melted and watered down your wine. Try freezing some grapes and use as an alternative to ice blocks. No  more watered down wine.. woo hoo.

grapes in glass

Don’t want to ruin your recipe books whilst cooking

Take a pants hanger, clip the recipe book into it and hang on a suitable shelf.

hanger

Don’t have a corkscrew? No problem

Screw a regular screw into the top of the cork and use a pliers to pull it out.

screw hack

Don’t have a oven grill for melted cheese

Take a regular toaster turn it on it’s side and use it to melt cheese on your toast.

toast hack

Keep your cake fresh

Pin some bread onto your open side of your cake using tooth picks.

cake hack

BEER CAN DO CHICKEN

cooked
3 - cooked

Well here is just another perfect way of combining your favourite beer with lunch. A bird that’s braaied  (a) or roasted on the outside, and steamed with beer from inside. The scope here is wide people, so let your imagination run wild.

If you have a problem with alcohol like teetotalers or alcoholics use a can of coke. Ravers could use a Red bull. For the healthy minded pick any fruit juice, and for the divas in the house what else but a cosmopolitan of course. All of these items can be used, it’s simple physics.

But wait. That’s not all. If by some small chance you find yourself stuck in a desert or any place for that matter and you’re down to your last beer. The choice is simple. Drink the beer and use a tin of baked beans, they work just fine and taste pretty good when used in this manner…..That is as long as you packed a tin opener of course. For today’s intent and purposes though it remains beer.

I would normally cook this in the oven, but seen as it was such a beautiful day outside, the last thing I felt like was to spend any amount of time indoors in front of a stove. So the only logical alternative was doing it on the coals. Not that I ever need a reason to braai.

The problem here however lies in the fact that the chicken is standing up on it’s legs with a beer can stuck up it’s ass. So unless you can cover it with old pot, have a Weber or anything with a lid…. You are screwed. The top of the chicken won’t cook through. Me myself and I fell into the screwed category, so we decided to strip a recently consumed 5L beer keg tin and use it as our own little convection oven on top of the coals.

6 - keg

Preparation Time: 5 mins
Cooking Time: 45+ mins
Difficulty Factor: 3/10
Messiness Factor:2/10
Taste Factor: 7/10
Visual Appeal Factor: 8/10
Cost Factor: 3/10

INGREDIENTS

1 Chicken
1 Tin of beer – 450ml
Basting sauce
Herbs and spices

PREPARATION

If you feel like doing this is the oven, you obviously are not going to need a lid to cover the chicken. Preheat your oven to 180°C and follow the relevant steps below.

It will take you longer to start your fire than prepare lunch. The fire here is crucial or the lower half of your bird will look like it spent some time on the surface of the sun. So make a fire in one half of your braai, and feed it with wood when needed. Place a grid down on the other half, scrape a few glowing coals under the grid. Your fire is now ready, just add coals to maintain a constant heat. NB; rather use less than more coals and take a little longer to cook.

I find the easiest way to prepare this is at the fire itself. Chickens were never meant to balance on a full beer, and transporting this act over any distance is asking for an accident to happen. Crack the beer, have a small sip and proceed to place it on the braai grid.

Take the bird and place it upright over the tin of beer and press it down until the breastbone hits the top of the tin and stops. The chicken should now have a pose of a rather plump cabaret dancer.

Make sure that your bird is secure and that your beer tin has a firm steady grip, I can’t stress this enough. Top heavy and filled with liquid makes them prone to fall over. Spice the bird the way you like, and place your large pot upside down over the chicken, this is going to trap and circulate the heat to cook the top half of the chicken.

You should hear the beer beginning to boil after about ten minutes. At the 20 minute marker, you can start to brush on the basting onto the bird. Repeat this every 5 minutes or so.

When the chicken is done take care removing the beer can, it might still have boiling hot beer inside.

A Student Asked Billy Joel To Play A Song With Him. What Happens Next Is Downright Mesmerizing.

http://www.lifebuzz.co/billy-joel/

Billy Joel did a Q&A at Vanderbilt University, when a student stood up and asked if he could play “New York State of Mind” with him. What happens next is simply amazing. Definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity for that man. If this made your skin tingle.