I cannot believe its nearly Christmas… I have T minus 3 days left at work! I cant Wait! Seriously behind on the Christmas shopping, have lots of little things but still need two main gifts for my family… Where do you start??
On Friday we fly to Cape Town for 4 days of utter RELAXATION! NOT THINKING ABOUT WORK! Enjoying the beautiful scenery, walking on beaches and just spending quality time, (hopefully I’ll spot a couple of sharks). This body needs to catch up on a whole year of summer so the weather better play along !
Then its off to the Beautiful Botswana to spend some quality time with my closest Friends and Family. I don’t know what it is about Botswana but I am always so so excited to go back! The heat, the bush, quality relationships… It’s the simple things.Rounding off the holidays is a trip to the incredible Chobe National Park. Two of my favourite places in the world are the Okavango Delta (probably one of the most majestic places ever) and Chobe National Park. Chobe is in the North of Botswana and Borders Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibia. Never short of activities you can even take day trips to the Victoria Falls!! ( I will most certainly Blog about this trip)
Holidays, whether you Celebrate Christmas or not. It’s a time to always spend with Friends and Family, get togethers and beautiful memories. Of course with that comes Food 🙂 Lots and Lots of food… This year there will only be 4 of us at the Christmas Table (And my brother is a strict Vegan) but trust me we will still have the whole “shebang” and probably end up cooking for 10!
So here are my two recipes for the festive season (Trust me in the last 2 weeks I have made these desserts 4 times!!!)
(Cake Days by The Hummingbird Bakery – Possibly the best baking book ever)
For the base:
220 g ground biscuits (tennis/ marie)
100g butter, melted
For the filling:
200gr fresh strawberries (chopped)
180gr castor sugar
600gr Cream Cheese
Place the strawberries in a saucepan with 80gr of the sugar and 30ml of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook until the strawberries are soft and the liquid has reduced by half. Set aside until completely cold.
Preheat the oven to 160℃. Prepare the filling by beating together the CREAM CHEESE and the remaining sugar on a medium speed until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time. Pour in the cooked strawberries (plus the syrup!) and stir in by hand.
Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for ca. 45mins. Allow the cheesecake to cool to room temperature still in the tin, then place in the fridge to chill and set for 1-2 hours.
For the topping:
20gr icing sugar
100ml double cream
Beat the mascarpone and icing sugar on a medium speed until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk the double cream until soft peaks form. Then fold the double cream into the mascarpone mixture. BE VERY CAREFUL HERE, YOU CAN OVERBEAT IT VERY EASILY.
Spread on top of the cheesecake and chill again for 1 hour. Decorate cheesecake with fresh strawberries.
BEST CHEESECAKE YOU WILL EVER TASTE (THAT’S A PROMISE)
AND PERFECT FOR A SUMMER DAY …. PAVLOVA!
3 egg whites
1 tsp cornflour
½ tsp vanilla essence
½ tsp white vinegar
- Preheat the oven to 130 Degrees C and place the rack in middle of the oven. Line a baking tray with foil and draw a 7 inch circle on the foil OR just use a pie/ flan dish.
- In a clean, medium-sized glass bowl, beat the egg whites with a clean electric mixer on medium speed. Beat until the whites form soft peaks.
- Gently sprinkle the sugar into the egg whites, one teaspoon at a time. Returning egg white mixture to the same stiffness each time. Beat and Beat and Beat (the more you beat the better 🙂 ) Your egg whites should now be glossy stiff peaks.
- Sprinkle the cornstarch and vinegar on the meringue and fold in gently with a plastic spatula. Add the vanilla and gently fold the mixture again.
- Spread the meringue in the container. Make sure the edges of the meringue are slightly higher then the centre so you have a very slight well in the middle.
- Bake the meringue for about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until it goes a very pale, pinkish colour.
- Turn the oven off and leave the door slightly ajar to let the meringue cool completely. As the meringue cools, it will crack slightly.
- Whip the cream. Prepare the fruit by washing and slicing. (Two options: a beautiful combination of strawberries, bannanas and kiwis OR a berry Pavlova (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries etc)
- Gently spread the cream to the top of the meringue with a spatula and arrange the fruit on top. Either Serve immediately or cool in the fridge a bit 🙂
Remember as well that it is definitely the season for giving! Even the smallest act of kindness can have a HUGE impact on anothers life, from a simple item of clothing to a soccer ball. Show your kindness to others by giving.
Happy Happy Holidays to all! To my family spread around the world, I love and miss you all so so much, Holidays are never the same without you x