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Apple & Date Chutney

Make the small recipe as given here or increase the recipe and make double or even larger quantities simultaneously. For a piquant flavour add the optional ingredients to the chutney as well. See photo on page 10.

3 ‐ 4 apples (Granny Smith, Braeburn, Bramley)
1⁄2 cup (125 ml) finely chopped or grated onion
1 tsp (5 ml) crushed garlic (1 clove)
1 tsp (5 ml) grated fresh ginger
1 cup (250 ml) cider or malt vinegar
1⁄2 cup (125 ml) water
1 tsp (5 ml) salt
1⁄2 cup (125 ml) finely chopped stoned dates
1⁄4 cup (60 ml) raisins, sultans or cranberries 1⁄2 cup (125 ml) brown sugar
good pinch cayenne pepper or chilli powder
good pinch allspice (optional)
4 aniseeds (optional)
2 whole cloves (optional)

  1. Core the apples (without peeling) and chop finely.
  2. Place in a stainless steel or enamelled saucepan (not iron or metal) with the onion, garlic, ginger, vinegar, water and salt. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer gently for 20 minutes, stirring from time to time.
  3. Add all the remaining ingredients, stir well and simmer very gently for about 30 minutes more or until the mixture thickens to the desired chutney consistency.
  4. While the mixture is simmering, select one large or 2 smaller jars. Wash the jars and lids very well and cover and rinse with boiling water.
  5. If a smoother chutney is preferred, mash the chutney lightly with a potato masher. Taste the chutney and adjust if necessary by adding a little more seasoning, vinegar, sugar or spices.
  6. Spoon the chutney into the jars, seal, cool and refrigerate. Or, to preserve for the shelf, sterilise the jars, fill completely and seal.

Recipe by Carolié de Koster.


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Paella takes its name from the typical wide, shallow saucepan used for this ever-popular Spanish rice dish with magnificent contrasting flavours, colours and textures. To simplify and save time, cook the ingredients simultaneously in two smaller saucepans and the large shallow paella-style pan.  Read more about National Spanish Paella Day here.

Continue reading Paella
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Apple Rosé Welcome Drink

Treat your guests with this refreshing drink on arrival!

750 ml clear apple juice
750 ml cranberry, mixed berry or pomegranate juice
750 ml ginger beer, sprite or sparking water

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a container of a suitable size and transfer to jugs or pitchers.
  2. Serve chilled with ice, fresh mint leaves and lemon slices as preferred.

Recipy by Carolié de Koster.

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Pikelets (Crumpets)

The pikelets and toppings are easy to make and serve before a festive meal. Mini pikelets are great for savoury snacks served before a meal or at teatime.  See Ricotta & Smoked Salmon/Ham Topping recipe or the Spicy Ricotta and Almond/Chickpea Topping to serve with the pikelets.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves: about 30 pikelets, depending on size

Pikelet batter
2 cups (500 ml) cake flour
1 Tbsp (15 ml) baking powder
½ tsp (2,5 ml) salt
1 Tbsp (15 ml) sugar
2 eggs
1 ½ cups (375 ml) milk
2 Tbsp (30 ml) melted butter
a little more milk or water if needed
butter or cooking spray to cook

  1.  Place the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar into a mixing bowl and make a well in the centre.
  2. Beat together the milk and eggs and add to the flour gradually while beating with a whisk to form a smooth batter. Stir in the melted butter.
  3. The batter should be of a consistency that will pour readily from a spoon. If necessary add a little more milk or water to achieve the optimal consistency.
  4. Heat about 2 tsp (10 ml) butter in a heavy saucepan or electric frying pan over moderately high heat and spread over the base, or spray with cooking spray. Use a round soupspoon and place spoonfuls of batter into the pan.
  5. Adjust the amount of batter used according to the size required. The batter should spread out to make thin neat pikelets. If it is still too firm, stir in a little water.
  6. Cook the pikelets until bubbles appear on top and they are pale golden underneath. Turn over and cook until golden on the other side.
  7. Adjust the heat as necessary to ensure that the pikelets do not brown too much or too soon.
  8. Place the pikelets onto a plate and cover with a tea towel to keep them soft and moist. When cool, store in an airtight container or freeze for later use.
  9. To serve, spread the toppings onto the pikelets and arrange onto a large platter. Garnish with greenery and salad ingredients as preferred.

Recipe by Carolié de Koster.

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Ricotta & Smoked Salmon/Ham Topping

A tasty and nourishing topping or filling for sandwiches.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: –
Serves: 1½ cups (375 ml) topping or dip

1 cup (250 ml) Ricotta cheese
½ cup (125 ml) coarsely chopped smoked salmon or ham
1 Tbsp (15 ml) tomato sauce or topping (or a little more if preferred)
1 Tbsp (15 ml) mild or hot sweet chilli sauce
paprika and finely snipped chives or spring onion to flavour or garnish

  1. Mix the ingredients together – the paprika and spring onion can either be used as garnish on top or mixed into the topping for flavour and colour.

Recipy by Carolié de Koster.

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Spicy Ricotta & Almond/Chickpea Topping

A dip or topping filled with flavour and nourishment for high days and holidays! Serve on pikelets, crackers, toast or with vegetable sticks. OR serve as is typical in the southern American regions, spooned into a bowl and surrounded by fruit such as grapes, sliced pears, apples or bananas on cocktail sticks.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: –
Serves: 2 cups (500 ml) topping or dip

1 cup (250 ml) Ricotta cheese
½ cup (125 ml) slivered almonds or drained canned chickpeas
1/3 cup (75 ml) fruit chutney such as Mrs. Ball’s or peach or mango
2 tsp (10 ml) curry powder (mild or hot as preferred)

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Scatter the almonds or chickpeas onto a baking tray and bake 6 – 8 minutes until toasted to a light golden brown colour. Take great care not too brown them too much.
  2. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Use as a topping or once refrigerated the mixture will become firm enough to shape into a dome on a serving platter. Very elegant sprinkled with more flaked and toasted almonds and surrounded by the crackers and fruit.

Carolié de Koster.

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Prince William’s Groom’s Cake

Prince William has picked Chocolate Biscuit Cake (also known as Chocolate Fridge Cake), a traditional British treat, as his Groom’s Cake.  It will be served at the Royal Reception as a less formal alternative to the wedding cake. This easy, no-bake cake will become a favorite with adults and kids alike, so be prepared to make it often once you have introduced it to your family and friends!  The cake needs to chill for at least 3 hours, so keep that it mind when making it!   Enjoy!

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Serves: 20 – 30 servings depending on size


  • Purchase 3 x 200 g slabs chocolate for the cake and glaze. If a smaller quantity is required, halve all the quantities.
  • Instead of making a round cake the mixture can be set in rectangular dishes and sliced into fingers or squares (almost like fudge).

1 x 200g packet shortbread or digestive biscuits or ½ of each
450 g good quality dark or milk eating or cooking chocolate, broken up
1 cup (250 ml) cream
2 Tbs (30 ml) honey or syrup
4 Tbsp (60 ml) butter
1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla essence

¼ cup (60 ml) cream or milk
2 Tbsp (30 ml) butter
150 g chocolate, broken up

  1. Line the base and sides of a 20 cm spring-form cake tin with baking paper. Stick the paper to the sides with tiny knobs of butter. Break up the biscuits by hand into small chunks and not too finely.
  2. Place the chocolate and cream in a bowl and microwave on medium-low for 2 to 3 minutes until the chocolate has softened if tested with the tip of a teaspoon.
  3. Add the honey, butter and vanilla essence and stir until combined.
  4. Add the biscuits and mix well.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin or tins and smooth the top with the back of a spoon.
  6. Refrigerate the cake in the round tin at least 3 hours or overnight. If made as slices or squares in rectangular containers it will set within an hour.
  7. To make the glaze, combine all the ingredients in a jug suitable for the microwave and microwave on medium-low until the chocolate has softened if tested with the tip of a teaspoon and stir until smooth.
  8. Pour and spread the glaze over the top and refrigerate the rectangular cakes.
  9. Slide a knife around the inside of the tin and remove the rim.
  10. Place the cake onto a rack to catch up drippings and pour the glaze evenly over the cake to cover the top and sides.
  11. Refrigerate until quite firm and slice the round cake into thin wedges or the rectangular cakes into fingers. Store the cake in the refrigerator but remove a short while before serving to slice easily.