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Choc-chip Chocolate Cupcakes

These double chocolate cupcakes were requested by my daughter Mia for Valentines Day.  Thank goodness I baked and decorated them yesterday morning!  With the frequency of load shedding these days it would not have been possible to make them today!

125 ml sugar
2 large eggs
140 g/250 ml cake flour
60 ml cocoa powder
5 ml baking powder
pinch salt
30 ml oil
5 ml vanilla extract
50 g chocolate chips (optional)

Buttercream Icing
100 g butter
500 ml icing sugar
60 ml cocoa powder
2 ml vanilla extract

To decorate
heart-shaped sprinkles

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 °C.
  2. Line a medium muffin tin with paper cupcake wrappers and grease them with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Beat the sugar and eggs together in a mixing bowl.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
  5. Pour the batter into the cupcake wrappers and bake the cupcakes for about 15 minutes or until the cupcake are firm to the touch and thoroughly baked if tested with a skewer.
  6. Remove the muffin tin from the oven and cool the cupcakes in the tin for 5 minutes.
  7. Beat the butter with an electric hand mixer until fluffy.
  8. Add the icing sugar, cocoa powder and vanilla extract and beat well.
  9. Transfer the buttercream icing to a piping bag fitter with a star nozzle and pipe the icing decoratively onto the cupcakes.
  10. Sprinkle the cupcakes with heart-shaped sprinkles.
  11. Transfer to a serving platter and serve.

12 servings.

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Light & Creamy Salmon & Cucumber Mousse

One of the lightest and most refreshing mousses imaginable!  For a plain cucumber mousse to serve as an elegant salad or as part of a salad platter, omit the fish.

20 ml gelatine powder
125 ml water
10 beef or chicken stock powder
250 ml hot water
1 large English Cucumber
5 ml salt
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 x 220 g can pink salmon, skin and bones removed
250 ml cream, stiffly beaten
2 egg whites, stiffly beaten

decoratively sliced cucumber
curly lettuce, watercress or parsley
cherry tomatoes
freshly ground black pepper

  1. Place the gelatine in a suitable container (500 ml capacity), cover with 125 ml water and microwave on MEDIUM for 30 secondsto 1 minute until melted.  Or place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and melt over the steam.
  2. Mix the chicken stock powder and hot water and stir into the melted gelatine.
  3. Cool and refrigerate until the mixture just starts to set around the edge of the bowl.
  4. Meanwhile, grate the unpeeled cucumber coarsely and drain in a colander for 15 minutes.  Place in a mixing bowl and stir in the slightly jelled chicken stock. Add the salt, onion and salmon and mix well.
  5. Add the cream and egg-white and fold together gently but thoroughly until evenly blended.
  6. Pour the mixture into a mould with a 1 liter capacity or 8 to 10 small individual moulds.
  7. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until completely set.
  8. When ready to serve, loosen the sides and turn out the mould(s) onto a suitable serving platter  or individual plates.
  9. Garnish decoratively with any of the items listed above and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.
  10. Keep chilled until ready to serve.

Recipy by Carolié de Koster from the Art Of Cooking recipe book p. 37.



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Pink Seafood Sauce

There can hardly be a more delightful seafood cocktail than cooked cold fish, prawns or seafood tossed with this special sauce.  Also see the recipe for Avocado Ritz.

½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup cream or yoghurt
¼ cup tomato sauce or pasta sauce
½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp hot or mild sweet chilli sauce

To garnish
ground black pepper or sumac (pictured below)

  1. Combine all the ingredients and adjust the seasoning to taste.

Recipe by Carolié de Koster from the Art Of Cooking recipe book p. 483.


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Breakfast “Trifle” 

These “trifles” consist of a few simple, healthy ingredients and are quick and easy to make.  It looks and tastes decadent without being too high in sugar.  A perfect breakfast for Valentine’s Day.

plain or flavoured yoghurt
shop-bought or home-made muesli
fresh or frozen berries, e.g. strawberry, blueberry, raspberry
shop-bought or home-made fruit coulis
honey or sprinkles (optional)

  1. To assemble the “trifles”, transfer a spoonful or two of yoghurt into each glass and cover with a little honey or fruit coulis followed by a  layer of muesli.  Repeat the layers until the glasses are full.
  2. Finish off the “trifles” with fruit or home-made fruit coulis and sprinkles.

Glasses with a cylindrical shape and a capacity of about 150 ml works well.