Cream Cheese Cookies

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Ok, this one is for those of you who wish that you could just eat a whole bowl of that incredible icing that you get on top of red velvet cupcakes! These cookies are divine. Its pretty much cream cheese icing plus some flour and baked. I have made these twice. The first time was when my son went to boarding school and as a paranoid mother I wanted to make sure that he had a few treats to see him through the week. So I made whole batch of these for him. I think he ate about 2 if he was lucky. The matrics raided the dorms and found the cookies and well, lets just put it this way, they now put in orders!! 🙂

I found this recipe on another blog and I have been wanting to take my own picture every time I bake them, but they disappear before I can get my camera out! so I will have to borrow this pic from the author of this recipe. Her blog is called the heartland. Check it out!

They are very soft inside and are just delicious and so easy to make!

1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter (room temperature)

85g Regular Cream Cheese (room temperature)

1 1/2 Cups Icing Sugar

1/2 Tsp Baking Powder

1 Egg (room temperature)

1/2 Tsp Pure Vanilla Extract

1 3/4 Cups Flour

  • Heat your oven to 190 C and line your cookie sheets with baking paper.
  • Place butter and cream cheese in your mixer bowl and beat for 1 minute.
  • Beat in the sugar and baking powder.
  • Add the egg and vanilla and ‘Beat Until Fluffy.’
  • Beat in the flour. Chill for 30 minutes for drop/roll cookies, one hour for cut-out cookies.
  • Scoop by rounded teaspoon full and dredge drop cookies (roll balled cookies) in superfine sugar.
  •  Bake for 7 minutes. Cool for 1 minute on cookie sheet then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Lentil ‘Tabbouleh’

Lentil Tabbouleh

This recipe is another winner from my cooking guru, Rene. I just love her food. Its always, always packed with fresh ingredients and full of amazing flavour and her ability to pair flavours together is remarkable! Sigh, I have such a long way to go!

Tabbouleh is a middle eastern salad that is usually made with bulgar or cous cous which you can totally substitute here for the lentils. I really like that this one has lentils as they are so much better for you and packed with protein.

Please adhere to the last step which is to let it sit  for at least 1 hour before serving as the flavours need to develop. Its well worth it! Its a great side to some baked fish or even chicken breasts or serve it as a salad at a braai. So yummy! Thanks Rene! xx

1 tin lentils, well rinsed and drained

3 cups flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup fresh mint, coarsely chopped

1/2 pack Ina Paarman  sundried tomato quarters, chopped

1 red onion, finely chopped

2 spring onions, finely chopped

125 ml olive oil (I used half of this to be a bit more ‘fat conscious and it worked perfectly, just halve the lemon juice as well if you are reducing the oil)

125 ml fresh lemon juice

2 discs feta cheese, crumbled

  • Place all ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Season to taste.
  • Mix gently and allow to stand for at least 1 hour before serving.


Recipe by Rene Kairuz


Chimichurri Chicken with Mexican Brown Rice

Chicken Chimichurri and Mexican Brown Rice

I’m on a serious health kick at the moment! I’m delving into the unknown world of lentils and chickpeas and beans! I must say I have really enjoyed feeling good and eating clean and knowing that my body is thanking me for what I am putting in and not groaning in desperation with all the work that I usually make it do!

I have been pleasantly surprised by the really great recipes out there with healthy ingredients. Previously when I wanted to eat healthy I would end up dying of boredom just a few weeks in and revert to tastier (unhealthier) options. But I am happy to say that I will be trying some really healthy (interesting) recipes that are full of wonderful flavours and popping them onto the blog for your enjoyment too!

I made this last night and was delighted with how it turned out. If you are watching your fat intake then go easier on the chimichurri on your serving, but otherwise it is packed with gorgeous flavours and so so good for you!

The mexican rice is so fresh and tastes really authentic! If you are a coriander fan, I would throw some in the mix here too as I think it will add a lovely punch. although it actually doesn’t need it!

Just a tip if you are not used to cooking brown rice. The brown basmati is divine and it takes an extra 10 minutes to cook. So bear that in mind.


For the Chimichurri:

2 packets (60g) Italian Flat Leaf Parsley

½ Packet (15g) oreganum

4 garlic cloves

3 Tbsp (45 mls) white balsamic vinegar

1 – 2 tsp (5 – 10mls) dried chilli flakes

½ cup (125ml) olive oil

Salt and milled pepper


4 fresh chicken skinless filleted breasts, flattened

1 cup (25oml) brown basmati rice, cooked

1 tsp (5ml) cumin seeds

2 spring onions, finely chopped

½ small can (17-g) corn kernels drained and rinsed

1 packet (350g) mixed cherry tomatoes, halved

1 can (400g) kidney beans, drained and rinsed


  • Blitz chimichurri ingredients together until smooth. Reserve half and pour remaining mixture over chicken breasts. Refrigerate, covered for 30 minutes.
  • Toss the rice with the cumin, spring onions, corn, tomatoes, kidney beans and seasoning.
  • Heat a griddle pan, drain excess marinade from chicken and cook for about 7 minutes on each side or until charred and cooked through.
  • Serve chicken with rice, reserved chimichurri and lime wedges.


Serves 4

Recipe and Photo from the Fresh Living Magazine

Sweet and Sticky Asian-Style Lamb Rib Chops


Sweet and Sticky, aisian style lamb chops pic

Ok so this one will take you a while. You need about 4 hours to make this dish. Its definitely a Sunday lunch or Saturday evening dinner. But it is totally worth it. The slow braise ensures tender, fall off the bone meat that is sticky and lick your fingers good and the flavours are beautifully balanced and just gorgeous! Its a goodie!



1/3kg thick lamb rib chops (stewing chops)

4 garlic cloves, crushed

4cm knob ginger, sliced

1 onion, roughly chopped

¼ cup (60ml) brown sugar

1 stick cinnamon

4 star anise

4 cloves

2 tsp (10ml) each fennel and cumin seeds

2 cups (500ml) Chinese rice wine or dry sherry

½ cup (125ml) soy sauce


¼ cup (60ml) oyster sauce

¼ cup (60ml) hoisin sauce


For serving:

Spring onions, sliced

2 long red chillies, sliced

Fresh coriander

Steamed white rice


  • Preheat oven to 180 C.
  • Place lamb and all the braise ingredients in a roasting pan and add just enough water to cover, if necessary.
  • Cover with foil and braise for 2 – 3 hours or until tender.
  • Remove meat from liquid and place in a roasting pan. Increase oven temperature to 220 C and roast meat until browned and sticky, about 10 minutes.
  • Mix the oyster and hoisin sauces together and brush over meat.
  • Cook lamb chops for a further 5 minutes.
  • Serve ribs scattered with spring onions, chilli and coriander with sticky rice on the side.


Serves 4

Recipe and photo from the Fresh Living Magazine.

Heavenly Vegetable Lasagne

Vegetable lasagne

As an avid Masterchef Australia fan I sat drooling as Neil Perry demonstrated this dish on their trip to Italy. Knowing that I would not get that kind of produce here in South Africa, I loved what it looked like so much that I decided to just try it here with what we have, which really is not that bad! Being a meat free dish I had to wait until my teenager was at school to attempt it. which meant that I had to do it on a week night. I would not recommend that as  it takes a while to make! But PLEASE do try it!! It will be absolutely perfect for a Saturday night date night with a gorgeous bottle of wine or as a Sunday lunch.

I accidentally bought the Verde (green) lasagne sheets, but it was a good mistake as it added lovely colour and I will do it again with the green lasagne. I also cheated a bit (with it being a Monday night) by using bottled roasted red peppers which you can get at a deli shop and are gorgeous and worked so well. So you can take a little shortcut there if you like.

Here in South Africa we don’t have beautiful big sweet vine ripened tomatoes, but we have small ones, about the size of cherry tomatoes. So I used those as they are sweeter. My sieve is very fine so I could not pass it through a sieve at the end of the tomato sauce process. But you could pop the skins off with your fingers once they have cooked and cooled down and chop them up roughly. I left the skins on and it was still AMAZING!

I also didn’t have separate ceramic dishes, so I used a bread tin which worked so well and just carefully sliced through for individual portions. Use a sharp knife!

I will make this again and again. It is gorgeous and tasty and homey and comforting! Ah! Just too good. Thank you Neil Perry! What a winner dish! 🙂

Roast Pepper

3 red peppers, quartered and seeded

2 tablespoons pure olive oil

1 teaspoon thyme leaves

Salt and pepper to season

Parmesan cheese sauce

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon plain flour

Pinch sea salt

Pinch freshly ground white pepper, to taste

125ml milk

125g coarsely grated parmigiano reggiano

50g ricotta

1 egg, lightly beaten

Roast tomato sauce

750g vine ripened tomatoes, quartered

40ml extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 small red onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

1 tablespoon fresh oregano, finely chopped

1 teaspoon fresh marjoram, chopped


300g eggplant, cut into 5mm slices

5g sea-salt

olive oil

400g baby marrow, cut into 5mm slices

300g roasted red pepper (about 8 pieces) (see recipe above)

250g dried lasagne sheets

300g parmesan cheese sauce (see recipe above)

  • Preheat oven to 220°C.
  • For the roast red pepper; Place red peppers and olive oil in a large bowl, season with thyme, salt and pepper. Place cut side down on a baking paper-lined oven tray and roast for 20-30 minutes or until blistered. Transfer to a bowl and cover tightly with cling film. Stand for 5 minutes to loosen skin. Peel and discard skin.
  • For parmesan cheese sauce; Melt butter in medium saucepan, stir in flour; cook stirring for 1 minute. Add salt and pepper and gradually add milk, whisk until slightly thickened. Remove from heat, cool slightly. Add parmesan and ricotta and mix through.
  • Stir in egg until combined. Season to taste. Cover with a round of baking paper so a skin doesn’t form.
  • Preheat oven to 140°C.
  • For roast tomato sauce; place quartered tomatoes, skin side down in a roasting pan, drizzle with 20ml olive oil and scatter with oregano, margoram, salt and pepper. Slow roast for 1½-2 hours or until slightly dehydrated. Cool slightly.
  • Heat remaining 20ml olive oil in a saucepan; add onion, garlic and a pinch of salt and cook over low heat for 10-15 minutes or until onion is translucent.
  • Chop tomatoes into 5mm dice, add to onion mixture with any juices and cook over medium heat until sauce is slightly thickened. If too thick add a little water; pass through a moulis or sieve to remove skin and seeds. Check seasoning and consistency, add a little extra olive oil and some pepper if desired.
  • Place eggplant in a colander, toss with 5g sea salt and stand over a bowl to drain for 30 minutes. Rinse under cold water and pat dry. Brush both sides with a little olive oil and sear in a hot frying pan 1-2 minutes each side or until golden and tender. Remove to a board.
  • Brush baby marrow with a little olive oil and sear on both sides in the hot pan until baby marrow is golden and tender. Remove to board and trim vegetables to fit dish.
  • Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and cook lasagne sheets to almost al dente. Refresh in iced water and drain well. Cut pasta sheets into rectangles to fit dish.
  • Lightly grease four 2-cup capacity (12x8cm ceramic dishes) with a little olive oil, line base and 2 long sides with a sheet of baking paper extending 3cm above both long sides.
  • To assemble, place a piece of eggplant in the base of prepared dish, followed by a piece of pasta.  Spread with parmesan cheese sauce, then top with a piece of roasted red pepper, then top with about 2 strips of baby marrow, then a piece of roasted red pepper,  followed by another pasta sheet, then parmesan cheese sauce and finally place another 2 strips of baby marrow. Fold baking paper over and cover with foil.
  • Repeat this process with the remaining lasagne. Bake at 180°C for 20 minutes until lasagne is tender.

Serves: 4

Recipe by Neil Perry

New Potato Salad



This recipe idea is from a friend of mine who did something similar. Its such a great take on potato salad and really livens up what can be a somewhat boring and done to death salad!

500g baby potatoes but in half lengthways

1/3 cup tangy mayonnaise

1/3 cup creamy mayonnaise

1 cup cooked corn (either frozen or cut off the cob)

1/2 cup red onion, finely diced

1 garlic clove, crushed

5 spring onions, finely sliced

2 boiled eggs (optional) – cut into quarters

salt and pepper to taste


– Place the potatoes in cold water and bring them up to the boil and boil them until soft (but not falling apart)

– Drain and cool

– Mix the mayonnaise together and add the red onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix into the potatoes. Add the corn and fold through the salad gently.

– sprinkle with the spring onions, garnish with boiled eggs and serve.



Festive Black Forest Trifle


Christmas Trifle is somewhat traditional in South Africa. However I feel it has become a bit boring and predictable. I found this recipe on BBC Good Food by James Martin. I made it for a Christmas workshop and it went down brilliantly. I made 50 little ‘tasters’ for the people who came, but they looked so pretty as individual servings that I think it would be such a lovely idea to make these in a wine glass or similar and make individual trifles for your Christmas guests or dinner party guests. The brownie base adds an incredible decadence and the cherries and creme fraiche ensure that it is not sickly sweet. The good news is, that if you have made your brownies before hand, this recipe is seriously quick and ridiculously easy!

Here are the little tasters I made:


The original recipe calls for you to whip the double cream and creme fraiche until soft peaks form and then pile onto the top. Which you can absolutely do, but I took the cream mixture a little further and then used a piping bag with a 1M nozzle and piped beautiful little roses on top which looked gorgeous. The choice is yours! ENJOY!


500ml tub ready made chilled custard (I used the Woolworths fresh custard which was gorgeous)

100g plain dark chocolate, broken into pieces

400g chocolate brownies

2 x 390g jars cherries in kirsch or similar (I used Morello Cherries that you can get at Pick ‘n Pay)

300g tub double cream

200ml tub créme Fraiche

25g icing sugar

Grated chocolate, to decorate, and fresh cherries (optional)


  • Put the custard into a pan with the chocolate pieces. Gently heat, stirring, until the chocolate has melted into the custard. Cover with cling film and cool.
  • Arrange the brownies in the base of a trifle bowl. Drain the jars of cherries, reserving the liquid, and scatter over the brownies. Drizzle over 100ml reserved liquid. Spoon the cooled chocolate custard over and chill while you make the topping.
  • Lightly whip the cream with the creme fraiche and icing sugar until soft peaks form. chill until ready to serve, then pile on top of the trifle and decorate with grated chocolate and fresh cherries.

Recipe by James Martin

Christie’s Brownies


I got this recipe a while ago from my friend Christie. They are pretty much fool proof, amazing everytime brownies! I was needing brownies as a base for my Christmas Black Forest Trifle and I used these which worked perfectly! You can use this as a base and add macadamia nuts, or pecan nuts or white chocolate and dried cranberries. Anything you like really. They are best after a day in the fridge (if you can wait that long!)

For the Brownies 

250g butter

2 cups (250ml) sugar

3 eggs (lightly beaten)

2 cups flour

5 T cocoa

1 tsp vanilla extract

100g dark chocolate

100g chopped pecan nuts (optional)

For the topping

1/2 – 3/4 Tin of condense milk

2 tsp cocoa powder

Remainder of the chocolate from the brownie recipe

  • Heat your oven to 180 C
  • Melt butter and sugar together. Cool and place in the bowl of a stand mixer (or a medium sized mixing bowl if you are using a hand mixer).
  • Add eggs to the cooled mixture and mix well in the stand mixer.
  • Add flour and cocoa and mix well
  • Add vanilla and mix. Stop the mixer.
  • Chop up 6 x 3 rows of the chocolate into small chunks and add to the mixture together with the nuts (if using) and fold through.
  • Add the mixture to a greased large, rectangular or square oven dish.
  • Bake for approximately 20 minutes.
  •  To make the topping, mix all the ingredients together and heat in the microwave until the chocolate is melted.
  • Pour on top of the brownies after they come out of the oven
  • Leave to cool and then cut into squares.

Recipe by Christie Gunn

Christmas Fever Demo

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Join us on Saturday 07 December for a Christmas themed demonstration courtesy of Russell Hobbs.

Chef Lindsay Dunne will demonstrate a variety of festive season recipes that are not only delicious, but also simple to make at home.

As usual, we will also have some fantastic prizes on offer!

The event is free of charge, but space is limited. Booking essential.

When:      Saturday 07 December. 10:00 – 12:00.

Where:     SMEG Showroom, 2985 William Nicol Drive, Bryanston.


SA Culinary Club RH Logo

Monthly Budget and Meal Planning Workshop

Monthly Budget and Meal Planning Workshop ad
I will be running another budget and meal planning workshop in the new year!This course will give you valuable tools for monthly budgeting as well as meal planning for each month to enable you to stay within that budget and won’t have you running to the shops every day or find yourself stuck with making the same old meals. Great recipe ideas to inspire you for everyday cooking as well as entertaining! I also give you my ‘Kitchen Essentials List’ for must have ingredients as well as equipment that makes your life a whole lot easier!

Date: Saturday 1 February 2014

Time: 9am – 12pm

Venue: Bryanston Area (venue to be confirmed)

Cost: R270 per person (includes a CD with recipe ideas, monthly planning templates for a year as well as a budget template for a year. It also includes some light refreshments and snacks for the morning)

50% (R135) will be required to secure your place. Bookings have just opened. Cut off date is Monday 20 January. The balance can be paid via EFT or cash on the morning.

To reserve your spot please email and I will give you the banking details.

Hope to see you there!