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Viva Italy

I think of Italy. I think of small cars, lots of traffic circles, the coast of Sicily, Tuscany, Olive trees, Colosseum, Leaning Tower of Pisa, Amalfi coast, old men with mustaches, tall sexy Italian girls and grumpy old grannies with lots of wrinkles … making pizza and screaming orders!  Yeah!

Back to reality …. in a beautiful space in Parow North, Cape Town, we pretended to be in Italy for a momento, … while our Italian Stallions were playing outside with the Bambino’s!

The dish we made consist of …, lots of fresh ingredients put together to create the ultimate Italian masterpiece that even Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo would be proud of.  Capiche!

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Fresh Homemade Pasta (Jamie Oliver’s basic fresh egg pasta)

Ingredients:

6 Large Eggs

600 g Flour

Method:

Put the flour in a large wide bowl.  Make a well in the centre and crack the eggs into it.  Beat the eggs with a fork until it’s smooth.  Using the tips of your fingers, mix the eggs with the flour, incorporating a little at a time, until everything is combined.

Knead the pieces together until it is a big smooth piece of dough.  Now you need to start kneading!!!  This is no joke…. I have new respect for the Italians doing this the old fashion way without the Kitchen Aid or Kenwood.  I am seriously saving up for one!  You will know when it is ready – smooth and silky.  It took me about 5 to 7 minutes to knead.  Wrap it in cling film and put in the fridge to let it rest for half an hour.

I like to use a pasta machine, it’s a comfort zone thing.  Dust your work surface with some flour, take a piece of pasta dough and press it out flat with your fingertips. Set the pasta machine at its widest setting – and roll the piece of pasta dough through it. Lightly dust the pasta with flour if it sticks at all.

Every time you just click one number down and roll the dough through the machine until you reached the number one setting. Now the dough should be nice and thin. Then you will use the spaghetti setting.  Just keep the flour close to dust the pasta so it doesn’t stick together.  You can either hang it, but I just lay it on a piece of baking sheet.

I just love this recipe!!!!  So easy and very delicious!

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Fresco Herb Pesto

Ingredients:

30g                       Fresh Spinach (swiss chard or baby)

1                            Clove garlic

30g                       Fresh basil leaves

1                            A hand full of Almonds, roasted & skin on

30g                       Fresh coriander leaves

2                            Fresh chilies, with pips (red or green- depending on your guts)

A sprinkle of salt and pepper & squeeze of lemon juice

250ml                   Olive oil

 

Method:

What I really love about this pesto is that you can literally get rid of all your ‘’not so fresh looking ‘’ herbs in your fridge.  You don’t have to stick with the herbs as mentioned above.  You can mix and match what you have.  If you add mint, you can serve this with middle eastern flavours.  Adding Rosemary/ Thyme can be lovely to serve with steak/ pork chops.

The method is basically to mix everything together until it looks like a pesto. This is great to keep in the freezer and can last up to about 3 months.  Don’t get a fright if the pesto ‘’sets’’ in the fridge – it is only because the olive oil solidifies below 6 degrees.  Just leave it outside for 20 minutes or mix with hot pasta or dish on top of something hot.

 

Pomodoro sauce

Ingredients:

35ml                     Olive oil

Onion, finely chopped

Cloves garlic, finely chopped

20g                       Tomato paste

15g                       Brown sugar

10g                       Salt

2g                          Black pepper

100ml                   Water

2                            Cans Chopped tomato

1                            Tablespoon cake flour mixed with water to form a paste

50ml                     Cream

Method:

Heat olive oil in a pot and add onions.  Fry until cooked and caramelized.  Add garlic, tomato paste, sugar, salt, and black pepper and fry on medium heat for another 10 minutes.  Add water and chopped tomato and simmer at low heat for 20 minutes.  Add flour mix (this is only to thicken) and cream.  Cook for another minute (only for the starch to cook).

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Tranquility

The place of calm & reflection… a few kilometers away from Vermaaklikheid on a snaky gravel road,

and … welcome back to the spirit of PUNTJIE

 As die stilte loer om elke draai

En die dagbreek soek ‘n pierewaai

Want jy skyn die lig Vermaaklikheid,… rondom my

Die een wat deur my hart in kruip,… somber vry

Soetmelk – ‘Vermaaklikheid’

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Our ‘going nowhere slowly’ place, a strict commitment to peace & tranquility.

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Carrot & Cabbage crunch

Ingredients:

1 cup                    Shredded cabbage, green or purple,

depending on your mood

1 cup                    Fresh carrots

1 cup                    Good quality mayonnaise

Sprinkle salt and pepper

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Method:

Mix all ingredients together.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Adding a combination of purple and green cabbage can really improve the visual.  Adding Chinese cabbage will take it to a whole new level.  Your carrots need to be really fresh – rather pay more and get it crisp!  If you are making something with an Asian feel – add half a teaspoon of peanut butter and fresh chopped chili to your mayo.

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Teezing Tzatziki

Ingredients:

1 cup                    Sour cream

1 cup                    Greek yogurt

1 cup                    Cucumber – cut into small blocks

1 clove                 Garlic, chopped up

Squeeze of lemon

Fresh chopped mint and parsley

Fresh chopped red chili, with seeds

Method:

Mix together.  This can last up to 3 days in the fridge before it starts to go a little ‘’watery’’.  You can remove the seeds in the cucumber if you want to – up to you! All the seeds do is it makes it more watery.  This tzatziki is great with everything, even burgers.  Grilled chicken, tzatziki, sundried tomato.  (Your mouth is already in Greece) Garnish with chopped mint, parsley, and red chili

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Butternut, Cauli & Chickpea salad

Ingredients:

1 Medium sized butternut, cut into cubes

1 head Cauliflower

1 can Chickpeas, drained

1 Onion sliced into wedges

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon coriander

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 Cup cooked wholewheat couscous

Method:

Cook Butternut until soft.  (do not overcook, otherwise, your salad will be very mushy).  In a pan – heat some olive oil and add cauliflower.  Fry on low heat for about 5 minutes until half cooked.  Remove from the pan and keep aside until you are ready to assemble your masterpiece.

In the same pan – add another dash of olive oil and add spices.  Fry for 5 minutes and add drained chickpeas.  Fry for 2 minutes and remove from pan.  Add this to your cauliflower and butternut family.

In the same pan (yes the same ) – add 3 tablespoons of canola oil and add onion.  Fry on low heat for 20 minutes until soft and caramelized

Now to assemble your masterpiece:  gently mix all ingredients together – keep some of the chickpeas aside and garnish on top with LOADS of fresh coriander.

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Fish and Chips

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Ingredients:

Fish and Chips

Method:

This is not actually a method…but rather a few tips.   Different strokes for different folks.

  1. The person cleaning the fish needs to know what he or she is doing, otherwise, you waste a lot of this precious jewel from the ocean
  2. Sharp knife is key – invest
  3. ‘’Coating’’ the fish can be done in 2 different ways. No way is wrong.  You can either dip it into the egg first and then into flour mix or first dip it into flour and then into the egg
  4. Using a rubbish bin bag help with the dipping of the flour step – no mess afterwards
  5. Add extra flavour into your flour – spice/ fresh herbs/ salt/ pepper
  6. Your pan must be hot and happening
  7. Don’t rush the process and turn the fish the entire time – let it do its thing on its own time
  8. Squeeze fresh lemon at the end
  9. Use quality potato for your chips – fit for purpose. Look on the potato bag when you buy it what potato variety it is.
  10. Cooking the potato before can help save some time and it will be less oily

If you are not worried about the calories…then ensure your oil is enough to cover all your potatoes – otherwise, it will go ‘’soggy’’ and not crispy

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Exploring Thailand

Thailand – Cooking class with Wandee – Pakinakka Cooking school

My husband and I were fortunate to visit Thailand in April.  We fell in love with the culture, the sceneries, the first-class service and most of all the food!

We were supposed to stay in Khao Lak for 2 nights but ended up there for 5 days.

Wandee, the owner of Pakinakka Cooking school made the stay in Khao Lak one to remember.  What an experience.  She picked us up from our Villa in Khao Lak and took us to the Local Market where all the hotels, restaurants and locals buy their fresh food from.

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You can find the most amazing fresh produce at the market, anything from seafood, meat, spices, and vegetables

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Freshly made curry pastes

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Early morning arrival; roundabout 4h00 from the fishermen

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A very interesting fact is that the brinjal is not a vegetable, it’s a berry and related to a tomato

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Thai Apple

After our market experience, we went to Wandee’s outdoor cooking school

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The view…

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We had a choice and decided to make our favourite dishes – Spring rolls, Prawn Pad Thai and Panang curry

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Everything was well prepared and beautifully displayed

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Prepping the spring rolls, Schalk was an absolute natural

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Jorina

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Above, some of the ingredients for Pad Thai

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Ingredients for the pad thai sauce:  palm sugar, fish sauce & tamarind paste

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Pad Thai Sauce

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Not to bad for a first try?

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Pad Thai is a stir-fried rice noodle dish commonly served as a street food, also a popular dish at local eateries in Thailand

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One of our absolute favourites!!!!  Panang curry

The word “Panang” derived from the ancient Khmer language that was adopted by the Thai, meaning “cross” mostly referring to leg position, like sitting cross-legged (on the floor). In the old-time, there was a way of cooking grilled chicken by crossing the chicken’s legs and setting the chicken upright instead of halving the chicken open and cooking it on the grill. The chicken that sat cross-legs up on the grill would be bathed with a curry paste that contained ground roasted peanuts, in the paste, then mixed with coconut cream. It would be brushed with the same mixture over the whole cooking time on the grill. This is a dish called “Gai Panang” or “Chicken Panang”, due to the position of the chicken on the grill.

Later on, the method had been simplified by cutting the chicken into big pieces and cooking them in the curry, in the pot over the stove instead of over the grill. This is the origin of Panang curry.

Source:  www.highheelgourmet.com

I will recommend this experience to everyone that loves Thai cooking.  If your travels take you through Khao Lak get in touch with Wandee:  https://www.pakinnakacookingschool.com/

Happy travels & crazy cooking!!!!

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boy’s night in

Boy’s Night In

Served with an ice cold beer, these flatbreads are perfect and simply delicious for your weekly boy’s night in.

Flatbreads are really easy to make with no ‘’nitty gritty’’ and can be made in advance and even frozen for your next rugby match.

Harissa can be bought from your supermarket or if you want to impress – follow the easy recipe below

For a twist:  Use flatbreads instead of bread the next time you make your famous ‘’braai broodjies’’.  Spread with basil pesto, thinly sliced tomato and mozzarella cheese and braai over medium heat.

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Harissa recipe:

2                                          red peppers, roasted

2  tablespoons                  fresh coriander

1 teaspoon                         cumin seeds

1                                           red onion

2                                           garlic cloves

1 teaspoon                         red chilies, chopped with seeds

Olive oil

Method:

Blend all ingredients together and add olive oil until you get the consistency you desire.  Add more chilies if you want an extra kick.

Add Harissa to chicken sosaties and marinate for a few hours before braai time.  Harissa is also great to add to mayo for chicken sarmies

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Flatbread recipe:

350g                    Self raising flour

1  teaspoon        Baking powder

350g                     Yogurt (any type, depending if you are on a diet or not )

Method:

Mix all ingredients together.  Leave to rest for 30 minutes and make into smaller balls.  Roll out with a rolling pin into thin pieces of bread.  Preheat chargrill pan, drizzle with oil and fry flatbreads for 5 minutes on each side.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Add chopped garlic if you don’t mind the passion killer.

The yogurt gives it a lovely sour taste and adding lemon zest makes it even more zingy.

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Pulled Lamb Flatbread method:

Spread the flatbreads with harissa paste and top it with pulled lamb.  Mix yogurt with a dash of lemon juice and zest and drizzle over lamb.  Drain chickpeas and fry in a little bit of olive oil and finish your flatbread off with thinly sliced red onion and a big handful of the freshest coriander you can find!

Easy, simple and delicious.  What more do you want…except an ice cold beer

Boys night.  SORTED

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Food, Recipes

Date Night….

Splendid Salmon

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If you are looking for an uncomplicated fool proof ‘’Date night’’ spectacular, this Salmon is for you!

Salmon is best prepared with only salt, black pepper and lemon.  This way you can enjoy and appreciate the freshness.

 

Pan fried Salmon ingredients:

  • Fillet Salmon

Sprinkle of salt, black pepper and paprika ( I prefer adding paprika to add a little extra colour)

Squeeze of fresh lemon juice

 

Pan fried Salmon method:

Heat pan with drizzle of olive oil to very hot.  Sprinkle salmon with salt, black pepper and paprika on both sides.  Fry skin side down first for 3 minutes and gently turn around and fry the other side for another 3 minutes.  Squeeze with fresh lemon juice.  Rest for 2 minutes.  Salmon is best served pink in the middle – so be careful not to overcook

 

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The famous Salmon run takes place from September to November every year.  This happens when salmon migrates from the ocean and swim to upper rivers.  This means party time for eagles, grizzly bears and fisherman

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The eggs of a female Salmon are referred to as ‘’ROE”

 

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Black rice is very high in nutritional value and source of iron and antioxidants (bonus…and off course it looks sooo pretty )

Black rice ingredients:

½ cup                  Thai Black rice

5ml                       Salt

2 cups                  Water

65ml                     Hoison sauce

 

Black rice method:

Add black rice, salt and water to a pot and bring to the boil.  Boil for 10 minutes and reduce heat to simmer for 15-20 minutes.  When rice is ready, add Hoison sauce and cook for another 3-4 minutes – only until all liquid and hoison sauce is absorbed

Garnish your perfectly cooked pan fried Salmon and Black rice with edible flowers and micro leaves

 

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Blueberry Waffles

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Forget about wacky Wednesday…bring on Waffle Wednesday

This crispy, warm, indulging, syrupy, dough heaven called a waffle is the underdog that needs some uplifting and appreciation

Thanks to my dad who won this cool waffle maker machine at a golf day lucky draw, and mom for the ‘’hand me down’’.  How cool is this heart shape waffles!!!!

 

Waffle ingredients:

250g                     Cake flour

7g                          Baking powder

20g                       White sugar

5g                          Salt

475ml                   Milk

2                            Eggs

30ml                     Oil

175g                     Dried Blueberries

 

Waffle Method:

Whisk milk and eggs together and add to dry ingredients using a whisk.  Ensure there is no lumps and add oil and dried blueberries.  Mix and rest for 5-10 minutes.

Heat your waffle maker and spray with ‘’cook and spray’’.  Scoop ¾ waffle mix into waffle maker and cook for 3-4 minutes until golden brown and crispy on the outside

Serve with Ice cream or whipped cream.  Top it, syrup it, sprinkle it.  Enjoy it.

 

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Fresh blueberries can be used as a natural food colouring

The perfect fresh blueberry should be ‘’dusty’’ in colour

 

 

 

 

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Heal the world….

“There Are Ways
To Get There
If You Care Enough
For The Living
Make A Little Space
Make A Better Place…”

Michael Jackson

The song was released in 1991 on Michael Jackson’s album, Dangerous.  Out of all his hit singles, this was the song he valued most and was the proudest writing in his life time.  This may come as a cliché, and surely Michael did not come without controversy, but still one of the greatest songs of all time delivered by one of the greatest and unique artists in history.

Clara Hanekom, which this special edition of Lens & Ladle is featuring, was diagnosed with blood cancer on the 12th of April 2016.

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Anja & Liza Mostert, was set to make a difference, with lots of fun!  They took up the kitchen to bake a radical cake for Clara.  The little ones from Cape Town were really amped, and wanted to get down & dirty without wasting time! … and a really special thought is that they have never met 3yr old Clara … wow!

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Anja

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The earliest archaeological evidence for wheat seeds crushed between simple millstones to make flour dates to 6000 BC.

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Liza

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Research at Nihon University, Japan in 1990 revealed a number of different issues were important to Japanese housewives when deciding which eggs to buy; however, color was a distinct factor, with most Japanese housewives preferring the white color.

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Several mixtures of cacao are described in ancient texts, for ceremonial or medicinal, as well as culinary, purposes.

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A special thanks to Gert & Wilma Mostert for your inspiring help to make this edition so fantastic.

 

Facts about Clara …

Born:                                3 October 2012

Parents:                            Nikki & Olivea Hanekom

Hobbies:                           Love telling & reading stories, painting, baking mud cakes, colouring books

 

Medical update: Clara is free of cancer cells and in remission at the moment, but she still needs to continue her program.  She is in phase 3 and needs to go through 1 more phase, then two year on a maintenance phase where blood samples and chemo therapy will still be a reality.  In 5 years from now, with lots of prayers, she will have a normal life, just like her friends.

Updates: http://www.facebook.com/Gebedsgroep-vir-Clara-Hanekom-1141869089177473/

 

Olivea, co-creator of Lens & Ladle, together with her husband, Nikki, still needs every prayer, not just for Clara, but for all her sick friends all over the world.

 

Don’t Skip A Beat

Love

knows

no age

or beauty

Love

knows

no  rich

or  poor

Love

knows

no religion

or race

Love

knows

no straight

or gay

Love

knows

no boundary

or reason

Love

knows

no distance

or time

Love

knows only

the rapid beating

of a giving heart sublime

Copyright © Charmaine Chircop

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Places

The Red Kitchen

A year ago I’ve discovered the multi-talented and dynamic Andrea on the internet.  A first for me… painting on biscuits?!  I started following her on social media, and saw her ‘Alice in wonderland’ collection.  It literally took my breathe away!  I’ve decided, we need to know more about The Red Kitchen.  I ordered the ‘Rock a Roll’ Biscuits for my husband’s birthday and not only was it so beautiful, but also brilliantly delicious!!!!!

Andrea was kind enough to let me into her space to document her process.  What an amazing experience.  Thank you Andrea!  Do yourself a favour and follow her on facebook. You will be simply loving it!! 

https://www.facebook.com/intheredkitchen/

 

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Q:  Where did it all began?

A:  I started baking from a very early age- I have a sweet tooth and my mom wasn’t the greatest baker then so I took over. 6 years ago a friend of mine gave me 2 cookie cutters from England (teacup and a teapot) That was when I started baking cookies and teaching myself how to ice and decorate them.

 

Q:  Who inspired you to create and follow your ambitions?

A:  I first watched a YouTube tutorial by SweetAmbs and was hooked but her style is very elegant and I wanted something else, I then found a cookier also from America called Arty McGoo, she changed everything for me as she paints on cookies. When I discovered I could use my art background together with my Chef’s diploma, my cookie world suddenly seemed endless.

My mom, Vicki Thomas, is an award winning internationally known botanical artist and she gave me a book about Chinese brush painting techniques. This style works incredibly well for cookies as it’s all about simple brush strokes and water colours. My mom definitely inspired my early cookie designs.  My designs now are influence predominantly from nature, artworks and textile design.

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Q:  What did you do before you started with ‘The Red Kitchen’?

A:  I worked in the beauty industry as a rep for a cosmetic company.

 

Q:  Tell us more about your chickens….?

A:  Ah, my really silly pleasure!  I got my first 3 bantam chickens last year (Poached, Scrambled and Fried. Scrambled turned out to be a rooster so he became Roast and was roasted for dinner one night ) I now have another very beautiful rooster,  Roosten Bieber and bossy boots Cupcake as well as a new chick (who gets a name once we know gender) I love my chickens, they follow me round the garden and eat from my hand and don’t mind if I pick them up for a cuddle.

 

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Q:  Are you the first person,…or only, in Cape Town painting on biscuits?

A:  No, there are a few others I know of- Roxanne Floquet was probably the first, then me and Nessie Peevie (the Cake Witch) and the owner of Creative Cakepops. But I have no facts to prove this, only what I have seen on social media. I am pretty sure that they only do it occasionally as accompaniments to their cake orders whereas I tend to do it more often and with a far greater variety.

 

Q:  The most challenging request by a client?

A:  3 spring to mind… The first time I was asked to do the Blue Willow pattern made me really excited and rather terrified as Blue Willow is intricate, precise and iconic.

Another was a set for a client’s best friend’s 40’th birthday. I painted each family member and their pets on cookies as well as a vintage bike, handbag, etc. Portrait painting is tough but on a 6cm edible canvass…

The other was a set for a North African hip hop DJ- the brief was complex as the client wanted me to incorporate a lot of ideas into the set and I had to find ways to make it all work together. I used Vintage Hip Hop posters as inspiration to make the set become a cohesive design. I was thrilled with the end result.

 

Q:  Your 2 most popular requests?

A:   Blue Willow and Star Wars.

 

Q:  What is your secret for for a good shortbread?

A:  The trick with cookies and baking actually is to start with great ingredients, a good recipe and control to stick to the recipe. Once you have mastered the basic techniques then by all means experiment. Baking is a science. My sugar cookie dough is same quantities butter and sugar with double the quantity flour; it makes stiff pliable dough that doesn’t spread when baking.

 

Q:   Are there any new things you would like to explore in the world of baking? Or any new ventures for ‘The Red Kitchen’ in the future?

A:    I want to experiment more with 3D cookies and eventually move into 3d cookie sculptures. My dream is to open up a cookie boutique with facilities for teaching and parties. A how to Cookie decorating book for South Africans, is also something I want to embark on.

 

C is for cookie and cookie is for me – the cookie monster

 

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There is only one real happiness in life, and that is the happiness of creating – Frederick Delius

 

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