Easy like Easter!
Happy Easter Everyone, and welcome to our very first blog post! If, like us, the year seems to have run away with you (already) and you can’t believe the Easter Bunnies arrival is imminent, then fear not, we are here to share our fool-proof entertaining hacks with you. Our menu is a mix and match of delicious recipes and cheats that we can either throw together in a flash, make in advance or shop-in. This makes the whole experience far less stressful and gives one some well-deserved time off enjoying a glass of wine with friends and family around the braai.
I like to serve a little nibble as my guests arrive. It definitely sets the mood for the party when your guests walk into room with a table laden with delicious bites, dips and snacks. One of my go-to’s is always biltong. It’s everyone’s favourite and it serves as a good lining if you are serving drinks. But don’t limit yourself to sliced biltong, as delicious as it is, it’s much more versatile than that. Think powdered biltong whipped through butter or cream cheese, or simple scattered over a good old shop bought creamy dip. That served with chunks of warm, ripped Mosbolletjies (it’s similar to brioche if you are not familiar) is a match made in heaven! Add a few small bowls of sliced moist biltong, chewy biltong sticks, artisan cheeses, some olives and you are set to go with minimal effort!
15g Anchor dry instant yeast
1 kg flour
1 tsp (5ml) fine sea salt
¼ cup (60ml) sugar
1 cup (250g) butter
2-3 tsp (10-15ml) Aniseed
2/3 cup (160ml) chopped Cape to Cairo biltong
1 cup (250ml) White Grapetiser
2/3 cup (160ml) lukewarm milk
1 cup (250ml) warm water
Koo Apricot jam for brushing after cooking
Makes 2 large loaves
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line 2X 25cm loaf pans.
Mix the flour, sugar, yeast and aniseed in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook.
Warm the juice and butter in a saucepan until butter is melted and mixture is lukewarm.
Add the juice mixture to the flour alternating with the warm milk and water until all of it has been incorporated. Mix on medium speed for 5-10 minutes or until the dough comes together and looks elastic. Only then add the salt and mix for another minute or two.
Tip the dough into a well-oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place to double in size.
Tip the dough onto a floured surface and shape into a large oblong. Scatter over the biltong and roll the dough up.
Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Divide each piece into 10 balls. Place 10 balls, two by two into each pan. Allow to rise until doubled in size again.
Bake at 180°C for 30-40 minutes or until a thin skewer inserted comes out clean.
Brush warm buns with warmed apricot jam and allow to cool on a baking rack. Best served warm!
One always needs a celebratory drink, and this is where my Boozy Passionfruit and Ginger beer cooler comes in. You are welcome to keep it “clean”, but I do like adding a little tipple just to get the party going. Being southern African myself I do believe brandy works a treat, but vodka or gin would not go amiss here either, you choose.
Passionfruit & Ginger Beer Cooler
2L bottle (1 x 6 pack) Stoney Ginger beer
1/3 cup (80ml) Roses Passionfruit cordial
Pulp of 3 fresh granadillas
Sliced limes (optional)
1-2 tots brandy, vodka or gin per person (optional)
Few handfuls of ice
1-2L sparkling water
Few sprigs fresh mint
Serves 6-8 people
Pour the ginger beer, cordial, granadilla pulp, sliced limes and alcohol into a large glass jug.
Fill some pretty glasses with ice and mint and pour over the ginger beer mixture.
Top up with a little sparking water to cut the sweetness and serve.
The Pièce de Résistance
While the weather is still pretty balmy why not have a braai (BBQ)? That way half the cooking gets done outside, and it’s far more of a social event.
I absolutely love Snoek, it’s such a versatile fish, and because it’s an oily variety it’s a little more forgiving with high heat, making it perfectly suited for cooking on the braai. And, if you’re in luck, there may be some leftovers that you can turn into a quick snoek pate the next day. Simply mix the cold flaked fish with some cream cheese, lemon juice and zest and a handful of chopped chives (smooshed over leftover toasted Mosbolletjies, yum!).
While you have got the braai going, toss on a few coils of boerewors too, this will keep the devoted meat eaters and kids happy, just don’t forget the Mrs Balls!
Snoek With Koo Apricot Jam Glaze
1/3 cup (80ml) Koo Apricot jam
1 Tbsp (10ml) Ina Paarman black pepper and lemon seasoning
1 Tbsp (10ml) Ina Paarman garlic and herb seasoning
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Handful of fresh coriander, chopped
1 chilli, chopped (optional)
1 Large Cape to Cairo Snoek
Prepare the fire or gas braai so that you have medium heat.
Place a piece of well-oiled foil on a braai grid and lay the fish skin side down on it.
Brush over the glaze and cook, skin side down for 10 minutes. Just before it is done, give it a quick flip to sear the flesh side.
Test to see if it is cooked by inserting the tip of a small knife into the thickest part of the snoek, if it slides in easily without resistance it is done.
Brush with remaining glaze and serve with lemon wedges.
If you are feeding a crowd it’s always nice to have another dish up your sleeve and my pickled fish is perfect for this. You can make it well in advance, and while it sits in the fridge waiting for its debut it just gets better! I add some dried fruit to mine and I have a secret ingredient that gives it a nice little bite!
The Perfect Pickled Fish
8 chunky Cape to Cairo Hake fillets
Salt and milled pepper
1 packet (250g) Pakco Chilli Bite mix, for dusting (hint secret ingredient!!)
Sunflower oil, for frying
2 large onions, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, sliced
4cm ginger, finely chopped
½ cup (125ml) sugar
1 packet ( g) Nice ‘n Spicy Mild Cape Curry
½ cup (125ml) white wine vinegar
¾ cup (180ml) water
Salt and milled black pepper
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tsp (10ml) Maizena corn flour
½ cup (125ml) Montague Mango strips, diced
½ cup (125ml) Montague cling peaches, diced
Fresh coriander, for serving
Season the fish and dust in chilli bite flour. Shallow-fry until golden and just cooked through. Drain on paper towel and set aside.
Heat a generous glug of oil in a deep pan and fry onions until they soften.
Add all the spice elements of the Nice ‘n Spicy sachet and stir-fry for a moment.
Toss in the sugar, vinegar and water and simmer gently for 15 minutes.
Mix corn flour with a little water and stir through sauce. Cook until sauce thickens slightly. Season well.
Stir through the lemon zest and dried fruit. Pour sauce over fish. Refrigerate overnight so flavour can develop.
Scattered coriander over pickled fish and serve.
When it comes to dessert I like to keep it simple and not over complicate things. Make one thing, but make it well (and who makes it better than Ina Paarman?). I always have a box of her moist chocolate cake on hand, not only is it flop-proof, but it can be turned into lots of delicious things; cupcakes, sheet cakes, birthday cakes and even chocolate pudding and brownies. I make a simple butter cream icing and then I pile an obscene amount of chocolate on top. Normally I go for my old South African favourites like Peppermint crisp or Barone, but because it’s Easter it’s got to be Beacon Hen’s and Speckled eggs! If you like you can even add a few chopped up beacon marshmallow eggs to the batter before you bake it, but I stuff mine between the layers as a little surprise find.
Egg-cellent Easter Cake!
For The Cake:
1 Ina Paarman chocolate cake mix
3 extra large eggs
1 cup (250ml) vegetable oil
2 tsp (10ml) Koffie Huis or Frisco powder
1 cup (250g) butter
3-4 cups (750ml) icing sugar (depending on the brand)
1 tsp (5ml) Moir’s vanilla essence
Pinch of salt
1 packet ( g) Mr Sweet Speckled eggs
1 Packet ( g) Beacon white Hens Eggs, crackled
10 Beacon Marshmallow eggs, roughly chopped, optional
Makes a large two layer cake
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Make and bake the cake according to packet instructions then allow it to cool completely.
Cream the butter until fluffy then add the icing sugar gradually until it is all incorporated and fluffy. Add the vanilla essence and pinch of salt and mix through.
Spread one of the cakes with a generous dollop of buttercream and dot over the marshmallow eggs. Top with remaining cake and cover in buttercream.
Decorate by piling all the eggs on top. (crack a few of the big ones for effect).
And there you have it! These are my tips for an easy, stress-free Easter weekend, Here’s to a lekker Easter weekend for you are yours!
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