Chocolate cake with toasted almonds


I go back to school this week and I’m filled with mixed feelings. The holidays have been great and I don’t exactly feel like going back to school, but at the same time I’m excited because it is my final year of school. After this year I’m pretty much free to do what I like, how I like and where I like. I know that this year is going to be very big for me.

Firstly I’m turning 18 in July, which means that I can finally get my driver’s licence. I’ve got my learner’s licence and have been practicing my driving for quite a while now (definitely not enough though). I wouldn’t say that I am the best driver in the world, because I am far from that, but what works in my favour with my driving is that I’m a very calm person and so I don’t get stressed on the road. My mom decided to give me her car because she is due for an upgrade. She’s going to get a car that has more space for family members. At the moment my sister, my brother (in his car seat) and I squish tightly together in the back seat like sardines in a can.

I feel like I have now gone completely off topic and on a tangent (just writing the word tangent makes me not want to go back to trigonometry at school). Anyway, next reason why this is a big year, is that is that it is my final year of school which means that next year I will be going off to study something specific. My dream is to study design at this school in New York City called School of Visual Arts. There are multiple reasons why I would like to study in New York, most off all because the school is absolutely amazing but also because there is so many opportunities abroad and especially in New York. I hope I don’t sound naïve and actually I think that I am, but already Zanita (who has a blog that I contribute to) is moving to New York. She offered to help me in any way she could to get me there and also that if I moved to New York she would set up an office for me. Another perk of it, and now this is one of my faults that I seem to live very much in my head, is that the school year would begin in the middle of the year next year. This means that I will have six months free. My dream is to intern at another blog called Sunday Suppers (check out this blog you guys!) for those six months in Brooklyn New York. So it would all work out so perfectly and I hope that I am not jinxing anything now because I don’t want anything more than this opportunity of a lifetime. This is something that I want more than anything and I am very anxious to apply this August I need to apply with various different items including 15-20 drawings (I have been practising my drawing skills non stop for quite a while now), an essay, my school marks and a few other things. The part that makes me nervous is first of all being accepted and second of all being granted a scholarship. I cannot afford to go to this school without a scholarship and so this is where my marks come in. I have to score a certain amount of points on a system, which my school doesn’t follow. When my marks are converted they seem less than they already are because the standard seems to be much higher at my school. I am so nervous. People in general aren’t very helpful or positive about it either. Whenever I tell them they either say, “So what’s your back up plan if that doesn’t work out?” or they just look at me funny and say “Hmmmmmm.”

In between in all of this I must not forget about my precious blog. I’m actually in the process of redesigning my blog to make it user friendly, so watch this space! I hope my blog grows and flourishes this year even more so than last year. There are these awards, called the Saveur Blog Awards, which begin in February I think. Basically this is the most prestigious food blog award and I would like to apply this year. In order to win I need people’s votes, but what can help me even more is if I get recommended by a previous winner and I just so happen to know one. I don’t want to ruin his or her identity because it may ruin my plans. I’ve been being really nice to this person for quite some time now and I’m hoping my hard wok will pay off! I do genuinely mean well in being nice, really. I’m not as nasty as I have just made myself out to be. The person seems very kind has an amazingly beautiful blog his or herself. I guess I just would really like to have this opportunity. The awards are all online, but then if your blog is good enough to make it to the finals, you get to go to the actual awards hosted in New York city.


As you can see this is going to be quite the year for me but I think that I have just got to take it one day at a time and not work myself up about these things. Just focus on the present and what I can do now to better my chances of reaching my dreams. Anyway right now I’m just going to eat away my worries and have a slice of chocolate and almond cake.

This cake is the perfect balance between a light chocolate cake sponge and a decadent dark chocolate and creamy topping. It is rich and sweet with the perfect addition of toasted almond flakes for salty flavour and crunchy texture.


Chocolate cake with toasted almonds

Serves 10-12


Cake Sponge:

  • 115g dark chocolate
  • 85g room temperature butter
  • 175g dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 185g plain flour
  • 125ml full cream milk
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  • 250g dark chocolate
  • 2 tbs room temperature butter
  • 50g flaked almonds


Cake Sponge:

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius and grease a 23cm round baking tin.

Melt your dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of water on a medium heat. Stir occasionally so that the chocolate doesn’t burn. Once the chocolate has melted, leave to one side for the moment.

In a bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and continue mixing until well combined. Next add the flour followed by the melted chocolate and milk. Mix until a smooth batter forms. Add the remaining ingredients, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and vanilla extract, and mix until well combined.

Pour into your prepared baking tin and place in the oven to bake for 40-50 minutes. By that time it will have risen slightly and formed a slightly golden crust. Poke with a toothpick to test if it is cooked all the way through. If the toothpick comes out clean remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool completely before removing from the cake tin.



Prepare your topping minutes before assembly.

Melt your dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of water on a medium heat. Stir occasionally so that the chocolate doesn’t burn. Remove from the heat and add your butter. Mix well. Leave to one side.


Place your almond flakes in a pan over a medium heat and toast until golden brown. Stir them regularly so that they don’t burn. Once roasted/ toasted remove from the heat.



Place your cake on your serving dish. Top with a generous dollop of your chocolate topping and then using a flat knife, spread across the top of the cake. Sprinkle with your toasted flaked almonds.

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Knife and Wings from Carrol Boyes


Plum lollies


First off, happy New Year everybody, and secondly I’d like to update my whereabouts at the moment. I’ve taken a week holiday within my holiday session to camp in the beautiful outdoors with my second family. Technically they are my cousin’s cousins and auntie and uncle, but they are more like my second family (as I’ve said before). I only really see them about once or twice a year, but still I’d like to reinforce my point for the third time now that they are my second family. I’m camping with them in the most luxurious tent. The floors are covered with hand-woven grass carpets, but wait it gets better, I get to sleep in a two person bed for the first to time in my life. To be quite honest I actually prefer my single person bed at home and miss it dearly.

Thanks to the camping situation, I haven’t been on my cell phone for a few days now and it actually feels quite good. I’ve had the time to read a book (which has been so educational (I’m reading an old cookbook written in the 1940’s about local Cape Dutch food)), to swim a lot, to cook a lot and most of all to interact with my second family.


One would think that this would be enough to make one very happy, but not this one at least not completely. I am missing my blog very much. I decided to open my camera bag and create a new recipe. It was natural for me to make lollies simply because the temperatures have been so high here. So my second family and I took our bicycles and cycled to the shops to buy some ingredients. It was so real to experience the process from putting an effort into purchasing the ingredients to finally eating, rather sucking, and some sweet plum lollies. This has got to be one of my simplest recipes for the simple reason that I was able to make these lollies whilst camping (so you have no excuse not to make them). They are super delicious and are the summer version of poached fruit. It is the same process to make them but in the end the fruit is blitzed up and frozen. They are super delicious sweet and slightly spicy with the addition of cloves.


Plum lollies

Makes 6 popsicles/ lollies


  • 10 ripe plums
  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 cloves


  • 6 yogurt cups
  • 6 ice cream sticks



Remove the pips from the plums and place into a large saucepan along with the remainder of the ingredients over a medium heat. Bring the mixture to the boil and then turn down the heat to a light simmer. Leave to simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.


Once the mixture has cooled, strain it through a sift or colander. Pour equal amounts of the mixture into your yogurt cups and place in the freezer for 30 minutes.


After 30 minutes place the ice cream sticks into the lollies. Leave to freeze over night or for 12 hours.


To remove the lollies from their casing, dip them in hot water and pull out of the casing.


Mince pies


I really don’t feel like typing out long paragraphs about my life at the moment, so I’m gonna keep this short and sweet just like these little mince pies. I am finally on a real holiday you guys. You must be thinking, but Ben why are you still working? That’s a good question actually! Reason being, my auntie ordered 40 homemade mince pies from me and I have to make them for her before she arrives this evening. Obviously I am more than happy to make them for her, and would make 100 if I were asked to. It is quite the job to take on though, especially because I’m on holiday. Anyways, I am happy that I got help from the wonderful Olivia van Hoogstraten (she told me to write that) who is my cousin’s cousin, but basically is just another one my cousins. As I’m sure you will notice, we had to shoot this post on the floor of my auntie’s beautiful holiday home. Reason being, the natural light in the kitchen isn’t great and so my next best option was the floor. Yes it may seem a little gross, but we cleaned it well and nothing came into contact with the ground at any time. I hope you enjoy this post!


Mince pies have never really been my cup of tea. I find them to be over sweet and slightly stodgy. I knew that I had to make a mince pie post for Christmas so I turned my thinking cap on and came up with a solution. The filling is obviously store bought mincemeat, with the addition lemon zest and juice to cut through the sweetness of the mince pie. For further tanginess, I served the pies with Greek yogurt and cherries, which completely balance out and eliminate the sickly sweetness of the pies. The pastry is light and crispy.


Mince pies

Makes 12 little pies



  • 150g mince meat
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1 lemon


  • 225g plain flour
  • 125g chilled chopped butter
  • 50g icing sugar, plus extra to dust on top
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2-3 tbs milk (as much as it takes to form a dough), plus extra to brush on top
  • A little castor sugar to sprinkle on top




Grease a mince pie baking tray. If you don’t have one, you could use a muffin tray.

For the pastry, mix the flour and butter in a bowl. Once the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, add the icing sugar and egg yolk. Mix untill all ingredients are well incorporated. Now add the milk a tablespoon at a time until you form pastry dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and leave to rest in the refridgerator for 30 minutes to an hour.



Prepare your filling. Mix the the filling ingredients in a bowl and leave to one side.


Flour a clean working surface. Roll out the pastry dough and cut out 12 circles using a glass or cookie cutter. Cut them a size that is bigger than your pie moulds. Place 1 circle in each pie mould and press to the shape of the mould. Fill with a heaped teaspoon of the filling. Roll out another sheet of pastry. Cut long strips out. Arrange the long strips over the pies in a criss cross formation. Cut off any excess pastry.


Brush the tops with milk and sprinkle with a little castor sugar.

Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes untill golden brown. Once cooled, lightly dust with a little icing sugar.


Copper vase from Carrol Boyes.

Meat loaf koftas + tomato bulgar salad


This year my auntie has given over the role of Christmas dinner maker to us, the children. Technically we aren’t children any longer, but are young adults ready to face the big world together. My auntie is very traditional which means Christmas dinners include the usuals, meatloaf, Turkey, ham a green salad (you know what I’m talking about). Don’t get me wrong the usuals are great and I love them, some of my best friends are usuals. I think as the new generation, us children should shake it up a bit. Not completely, keep with the classics, but give them a new fresh spin of life.

Besides for the fact that I am one of the only people who can cook and will most probably land up doing it all myself, my auntie (how can I say it nicely) knows exactly what she wants and how she wants it done. I just realised that I am no different to her. I have no doubt that even though she has handed the task of Christmas dinner over to us young adults, she will get involved and give her opinion on certain issues. That is why us, young adults, have decided to keep what we are going to make a secret. We’ve learned from experience that a large family is generally filled with lots of large opinions. The task she has handed over to us is going to be a challenge one that will only make us stronger.


We created a Whatsapp group to throw some ideas around. Some said sushi, others said that we should make steak rolls. Sure these are delicious things, but they are so not sit down Christmas dinner kinds of meals. At first I thought we should go about the meal in a traditional manner, but everyone decided it would be best to go in the opposite direction. So I threw in an idea, what if we made kebabs with a traditional Christmas twist. Everyone seemed to like the idea and so I went on to come up with this amazing idea which I am pretty chuffed with. What about Meat loaf koftas? To make a normal meat loaf mixture and then simply shape it into kofta shapes. I personally thought that it was and still is a brilliant idea! It’s the best of both worlds; classic with a new fresh twist.

I’ve never really liked meat loaf. It’s so thick and dry and rich. What I did was took a traditional meat loaf recipe with the addition of a few simple ingredients and turned it into koftas. For those of you who don’t know what a kofta is, it is a traditional Moroccan kebab come sausage like cooked meat. It’s basically meatballs on a skewer and traditional cooked over hot coals or in a pan. I went for a healthier and cleaner alternative by baking them in the oven. They are light and crisp with a crumbly succulent texture. The addition of raisins and mixed spice to the mixture, balances out the saltiness from the Parmesan cheese and rosemary. These are perfect served over a bed of my tomato bulgar wheat salad. The salad has a sweet and tart flavour from the juicy tomatoes. The addition of turmeric turns it into a bright yellow bulgar wheat salad.


Meat loaf koftas + tomato bulgar salad

Makes 12 Koftas + salad serves 8-10 people


Meat loaf koftas:

  • 4 slices stale white bread
  • ½ cup full cream milk
  • 1kg/ 35 ounces lean minced beef
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbs chopped parsley leaves
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 2 tsp chopped raisins or sultanas
  • 2 tbs parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbs sea salt
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed


Tomato bulgar salad:

  • 1 large onion, chopped finely
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbs turmeric powder
  • 1 whole tomato, chopped finely
  • 2 tbs tomato puree
  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • 200g bulgar wheat
  • 500ml water



Meat loaf koftas:

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and grease a baking dish with a little oil.

In a bowl, combine the white bread and milk. Leave the bread to soak the milk for 5 minutes. After that time, cut off the crusts (discard them) and chop the white bread into small pieces.


Place all of the ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mix together until well combined. Prepare 12 skewers.


Using two hands shape a piece of the mixture, which is about the size of your palm, across each skewer. Squeeze tight so that they don’t fall apart. Continue until you have used up all of the mixture. Place the koftas onto your prepared baking dish and into the oven.


Leave to cook for about 30-40 minutes. Turn them regularly in the oven so that they crisp up. After that time they will be golden brown in colour. Remove from the oven and serve with lemon.

Tomato bulgar salad:


In a frying pan, melt some butter in a little olive oil over a medium to low heat. Add your chopped onions to the pan along with the salt. Stir until the onion becomes translucent. Add your turmeric, and chopped tomato to the pan and continue stirring for a further two minutes. Add the tomato puree and brown sugar. Mix and then leave to cook for 2 minutes.

Add your bulgar wheat into the pan. Stir until the bulgar wheat absorbs all of the juices from the pan. Pour your water into the pan and bring to a light simmer.

Reduce the heat and cover with a lid. Leave to cook for 15-20 minutes or until all of the liquid has been absorbed. Once it has cooked, fluff it up with a fork. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serving suggestion: serve the koftas over a bed of the tomato bulgar salad with a dollop of plain yogurt and a sprinkle of rosemary. 


Spiced meringues


You guys, I have a confession to make. Before today/ this recipe, I have never made a successful meringue by myself (gasp!). When people ask me what is the most difficult thing I have ever baked, I always reply “meringues”. One time my teacher actually asked me that question and she was so shocked. She told me how she has been baking meringues since the age of five and that they are the easiest things to bake ever. Anyway, long ago, I could never get the consistency right and then I realised that when you make the mixture you aren’t supposed to add all the sugar in at once. My meringues would come out as flat pancakes. Then once I perfected the consistency, I would put the oven temperature too high and land up with brown meringues, which are a no no. Other times, I wouldn’t cook them long enough and when I picked them up they would turn to soft mush in my hand, or it would be a two hour load shedding episode half way through the bake, I can go on and on. I did not give up! The first time that I made the perfect meringue was with my friend Nikki Albertyn, who at the time was studying part time patisserie. She has a very different baking style to mine. She is very precise and measures each ingredient to the exact gram. If she messes a recipe up, she will throw away what ever she has created and start again. This is very different to my methods of baking, if something goes wrong I will resort to plan B. I believe it’s called creative thinking.


What I have had to learn over time is that meringues are actually super easy to make (thanks for the foreshadowing teacher!), all you need is a little patience. Meringues need love and attention; you can’t just simply whack them in the oven and pull them out when you feel like it. They will tell you when they are ready and also when they are unsuccessful.


I’ve been waiting three hours now for these little guys to be ready and when I tasted them it was like tasting a mouthful of a good Christmas. The meringues are flavoured with a homemade spice blend, which is made up of orange zest, cardamom, cloves, star anise and cinnamon. They bring warmth to the otherwise sweet and crisp meringues. When it comes to breaking them open, their crust is crisp and crunchy, yet their inners are soft and chewy like toffee.


Spiced meringues

Makes 6 large meringues


Spice topping:

  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1 tbs castor sugar
  • The seeds of 6 cardamom pods
  • 6 cloves
  • the seeds of 2 star anise pods
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon


  • 4 egg whites
  • 200g/ 70 ounces castor sugar



Spice topping:

Place the orange zest into a bowl together with the castor sugar. Leave to dry out for 5-10 minutes.


In a pan over a low heat, roast the cardamom seeds, cloves, star anise seeds, and cinnamon for 2 minutes. This will bring the spices back to life.

Place all of your spice topping ingredients into a pestol and mortar or spice blender and crush until a fine golden brown mixture forms. Leave to one side.



Whisk the egg whites until soft peeks form. Slowly, tablespoon by tablespoon, add the castor sugar to the egg whites whisking vigorously. Continue until all of the castor sugar has been used up. Whisk for a further 5 minutes until stiff peeks form and you can no longer feel the grit of the sugar in the mixture.



Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius/ 390 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a piece of baking paper.

Spoon heaped tablespoons of the meringue mixture onto the prepared baking paper. There is enough mixture to make 6 large meringues. Do not flatten the meringues out.


Sprinkle some of the spice topping over the top of each meringue. Using a toothpick, marble the meringue together with the spice mixture.


Place the meringues into your preheated oven and immediately turn down the temperature to 100 degrees Celsius or 210 degrees Fahrenheit. Leave to bake for 3 hours


For chewy on the inside meringues, leave the cooked meringues to cool in the oven. If crunchy is your thing, remove them from the oven once baked and leave to cool.


Forks from Carrol Boyes

Spiced French toast


I’m sitting in my ‘office’ (my bedroom) with my little brother. He’s drawing with his pencil crayons and I’m working. We are both in our pyjamas and don’t plan on changing any time soon. He keeps on interrupting me and my work with his asking of “What colour is this,” and “Benny, dis colour not working.” We are sharing a slice of French toast.

When I woke up this morning I felt like eating something sweet for breakfast. I thought I would make myself some toast, but then decided it would be better to make some French toast. For those of you who don’t know what exactly French toast is, it is amazing. It is stale bread soaked in eggs and milk and then pan fried in melted butter until golden and crisp. Thanks to it being Christmas time, I thought that I would give a Christmassy take on French toats with the addition of a few simple ingredients, ground cinnamon, vanilla extract, and orange zest; similar to my Christmas challah. As the bread soaks up the eggy custard it also soaks up all of the sweet and spicy Christmas flavours. And then as it fries away in a buttery pan, it crisps up and the orange zest becomes almost crunchy and sticky. It literally took me a few minutes to put this together, which is record time as my little brother was helping me. Enjoy with any toppings of your choice, I went with plums, syrup and orange zest.


Spiced French toast

Makes 3 slices


  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 2 tbs milk
  • 3 slices stale white bread


Crack the eggs into a large high-sided plate together with the vanilla extract, cinnamon, orange zest and milk. Mix until all ingredients are well combined.


Place a slice of bread into the custard like mixture and leave to soak for a minute on each side.


Melt some butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. Fry the soaked slice of bread on each side for about 2 minutes or until golden.

Repeat this process with all slices of bread.

Serve warm with toppings of your choice.


Roast beet salad


So I have to tell you guys something funny. A few weeks ago I went to this little potter’s market which is held at a beautiful park in my neighbourhood twice a year. Basically all (excluding my mom) the potters and ceramic artists of Cape Town come to sell their work there. It is one of the highlights of my year. Think about it, it’s a park filled with food props. What more could a guy want? Unfortunately this year, and actually come to think of it every year, it was raining. But not a light drizzle, it was raining cats and dogs down on all of the potter’s stands that were uncovered and exposed to the harsh weather. So anyway, last year when I attended the market, I found this one ceramicist whose work I fell in love with. She made a range of the most exquisite plates and bowls. They are made using black clay and then white paint is applied thinly on the inside of the bowls. The black clay is still slightly visible through the white paint. At the time, I didn’t think of purchasing the entire range because I didn’t have that much money on me. I settled for one plate/bowl (seen above). This year I was determined to get more than one bowl from her. When the market came, I still didn’t have as much money in my bank account as I would have like (oh guess what guys, I’m unemployed again). When I finally found her store I immediately wanted to buy everything, but I knew that I had to be realistic. I had walked around the market already and spent most of my money by that point, so I picked up this one small bowl, which looked like it would fit my budget. I asked the potter (Diana) how much it cost and she told me. Sadly it was over my budget and so I put it down and pretended to carry on browsing. Then, I don’t know what came over me; I put my head up and said to the Diana “I really love your pottery very much. It’s so simple yet beautiful all at once. I have one of your pieces at home which I bought from you last year,” here comes the funny part “I actually have a blog and I often shoot my food in your plate, it’s really beautiful and I’m so lucky that I have it…” I carried on talking about who knows what, but was distracted because she was scrounging around for a piece of bubble wrap (could my secret plan have worked?). Next thing I see her pick up the little bowl that I had asked about earlier, and begin to wrap it up. I pretended like I had no idea what she was doing. Then she came around to me and gave me the bowl and said, “Here you go; you can have this.”


I refused to take it from her (me being the gentleman that I am), but was actually having a full on party in my head. She wouldn’t let me leave her store without it and so I didn’t. As I walked away with my new bowl in hand, I felt an adrenaline rush through my body. I almost tried my new trick at someone else’s store, but then decided not to. I left the market a happy man and excited for next year’s market! Who knows what I’ll get up to there?

This roast beetroot salad is the perfect accompaniment to any meal. As the beetroots roast they take on a sweet flavour, which is balanced out by a tangy yogurt dressing. The salad is topped with a homemade sesame and cumin flavoured salt as well as fresh mint.


Roast beet salad + yoghurt dressing

Serves 4 people


Roast beetroot:
5 beetroots, peeled and roughly chopped into chunks
• 1 tbs olive oil
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 tsp ground black pepper
• 1 tbs white wine vinegar

Yogurt dressing:
1 cup plain full fat yogurt
• 1 clove garlic, crushed
• juice of 1 lemon
• pinch of salt
• 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp cumin seeds
• 1 tbs sesame seeds
• 1 tsp sea salt
• fresh mint



Roast beetroot:

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and prepare a large baking dish.
Place the roast beetroot ingredients into your prepared baking dish. Mix together and then place into the oven. Leave to bake for 25-30 minutes. Stir the beetroot regularly so that it doesn’t burn. Once the beetroot has cooked all the way through and has become slightly crispy, remove from the oven and leave to one side for the moment.


Yogurt dressing:

Mix all of your dressing ingredients in a bowl. Leave to one side.


Place your cumin seeds and sesame seeds into a pan over a medium to low heat. Stir them until they turn a golden brown colour. Remove from the heat and place into a pestol and mortar together with the see salt. Roughly grind the ingredients together.

Place the roast beetroot into your serving dish. Spoon the yogurt dressing over the beetroot and top with the ground topping ingredients and chopped mint.



Bowls from Diana Ferreira.

Christmas challah


Yesterday evening, I attended what was a family reunion kind of dinner. Relatives from my father’s side of the family came down from the US of A to visit their ‘homeland’. It’s hardly their homeland, they were all born and raised in America but have roots to South Africa. It was quite a large family consisting of 3 children (2 daughters and 1 son all in and around their forties) and a father. The daughters each have a husband and two children of their own. This was the first time that I had seen them in about a decade, not that I remember them. The first and last time we met I was about four years old. It was a reunion of all of my dad’s family and extended family. I hardly remember it at all, but I do remember us going to a hotel which had a swimming pool filled with frogs in most enchanting way.


Anyway the point that I’m trying to get across is that after spending a few hours with family members who I didn’t know existed before this week, it feels like I’ve known them forever. We caught up on so much over one dinner. That’s what I love about family. Maybe what it is, is that family is family and when you meet a new family member, you don’t feel the pressure to earn their trust or for them to your trust. You can immediately begin getting closer and sharing your life with them and skip all of that trusting and boundary rubbish which I tend to hold onto (actually this sounds bad coming from me since I constantly tell you about my life without even knowing who you are). They were genuinely some of the nicest most kind-hearted people that I have met in ages. They are so nice that the one daughter, who is a web designer, offered to redesign my blog for me simply because we are family.


The food had to have had a lot to do with it. It must have connected us in some way. I brought my Christmas challah loaf along with me to the party. I usually bake for people when I want to impress them. I must admit that a Christmas challah isn’t the most normal thing and takes a while to get your head around. It sort of represents my life, the combination of two religions to make one experience. It’s my normal challah recipe but I added a few flavours that are distinctively Christmas, orange, cinnamon, vanilla, and oh my gosh are they Christmas! I can’t explain the smells that were in my bedroom whilst the dough was rising, all I can say is that it smelled how any good Christmas should. They provide subtle warmth to the flavour of the bread. It could be served with a main meal or as a teatime snack.


Christmas challah

Makes 2 loaves


  • ¾ cups lukewarm water
  • 20g instant dry yeast
  • 1 tbs salt
  • ¼ cups honey
  • ¼ vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • zest of one orange
  • 6 cups of plain flour
  • 1 egg yolk


In a large mixing bowl combine the water, yeast; salt, honey; oil and eggs. Add the flour to this mixture a bit at a time. Mix till dough forms. Turn the dough onto a clean working surface and knead. Knead for about 10 minutes or until you can stretch the dough easily without it breaking. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and leave to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.



Once the dough has doubled in size place onto a clean working surface. Divide into two equal pieces. For the three-strand plait technique, divide each strand into three equal pieces. Roll each third into a long thin sausage. Plait them together so that you have a long braid. Join the two ends together so that you have a circular loaf. Repeat with the second half of the dough. Place onto a baking tray and lightly cover with plastic wrap. If you’re up for the challenge and would like to attempt a six-strand plait, watch the following video I made for a normal challah. Please note that for this recipe you will need to roll your sausages out a lot longer so that you can create a circular loaf. Once you have your basic challah, join the ends together to make a circular loaf.



Leave your plaited challah to rise for 30 minutes.


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and prepare a nonstick baking tray. Once the challah has doubled in size, brush with the egg yolk. Place in the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes till golden brown and shiny.


Japanese style seared salmon


I am so over exams now. Like seriously, can I move on with my life already? I feel like they have been dragging on for weeks and weeks.

Last night I actually woke myself up from a bad dream. I had this dream that I arrived at school and realised that I needed to write a physics exam. In my dream I had a strange feeling that I didn’t know any of the work that was to be covered in the test and so I landed up running around the school frantically looking for answers to equations and formulas. I was late for the exam because I couldn’t find which classroom I was writing in. I didn’t actually get to look at the exam in my dream because I woke up and when I did I could still remember the formulas that my mind had subconsciously made up and was still worried that I would forget them. And then after a few minutes I came to my senses and realised that physics isn’t even one of my subjects at school. It was quite a traumatic dream for me. I’m never that kind of person who leaves studying to the last minutes just before the exam. I usually begin studying weeks in advance and also I’m always the first person to check which class I am writing in so that I can prepare myself mentally. Anyway I have one exam left this Monday, Art theory, and am looking forward to the end of exams.

In the meantime, let me lift the spirits and tell you about what I made here. Salmon is very rarely eaten in my home simply because of the price it costs. We all love salmon, but just hardly ever get to eat it. Today I went grocery shopping with my mom. I was waiting in the queue with all of our shopping for the week and she was looking for something to cook for dinner. She returned to the queue with a packet of 4 beautiful pink Norwegian salmon fillets. She asked, “What do you think I should make with these”, and I replied, “I’ll cook them!” I turned them into this incredibly tasty salmon on rice dish. The salmon is marinated in a Japanese style sweet and salty sauce made with garlic, ginger, soya and fish sauce, vinegar and a little sugar. As the salmon marinades in the sauce the meet takes on a sweet and salty flavour. Then they are cooked to crispy perfection and drenched in the reduced marinade sauce. They are super easy to make, yet have an incredibly delicious impact on your taste buds.


Japanese style seared salmon

Serves 4 people


  • 4 Norwegian salmon fillets
  • 1 tbs ginger, chopped into strips
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • ¼ tsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbs rice wine vinegar
  • 4 tbs soya sauce
  • 2 tsp light brown sugar


Score the skin of the salmon with a sharp knife three times. This will help the marinade soak into the meat of the fish.


In a Ziploc sandwich bag or small container, place the ginger, garlic, fish sauce, vinegar, soya sauce, and sugar. Mix them together. Next, place your salmon fillets into the sandwich bag and shake about. Place into the fridge to marinade for a minimum of 2 hours.


Once the fish have marinated, remove from the packet and pour the juices into a saucepan over a medium heat. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to a light simmer for about 5 minutes.


Warm some oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Cook the salmon fillets in the pan skin side down first for about 2 minutes, then turn over and cook on the other side further 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to rest.

Serve the salmon on a bed of rice and pour the reduced sauce over each dish. Top with some freshly chopped mint for an extra garnish.