The Unthinkable

If like me you are a sensitive animal lover, this is not an easy read.

It was a happy day.  I was counting down the sleeps until Pete would be home and had baked birthday cupcakes for my Aunt and Uncle for their birthdays.  I opened the garage and packed the boot ready to head down the road to the folks and my aunt and uncle to celebrate.  Pulled out the garage and hit the remote to close it, set the alarm and another click to open the gate behind me.

tree-4

I reversed and realised something was not right.  Reverse a little more and there laying in the driveway was my girly in pain, suffering because I had reversed the car over her.  I screamed and flew out of the car.  I sat next to her – what have I done!  I went hysterical all the while calling Pete, my folks and trying to get hold of our vet.  What have I done.  This is inconceivable!  This can’t be real.

I did not see her while packing the boot.  How could I not see her if she was laying sleeping on the driveway.  How did I not see her in the reverse camera of the car.  How did the sensors not pick her up!  How could this even be a possibility!

The dear old thing is somewhere between 18 and 19 years old and is mostly deaf, her muscle mass has withered away and for the most part has no voice to meow either although she has the faintest of purrs and even though she tries really hard, misses her litter tray sometimes.  She can’t always get onto the bed either and now this!  I am in a state of complete and utter disbelief trying not to vomit from shock and disgust with myself.

tree-2

The vet (not ours – he was too far away so the folks raced me to the nearest one) – I did not like him, told me to stop shouting at him!  What’s wrong with this man.  Can he not see I am hysterical and in distress from what has happened!  He assessed Tree (Pete named her Tree as he found her in a tree in the garden) and said her injuries weren’t as bad as they looked – the looked awful, they still haunt me but considering her age and fragile state, he felt the best option would be to let her go but was happy to operate if her little body could take the 2 hour operation after which would be a tough recovery and rehabilitation.  It was all a blur although I had a moments reprieve when he said her injuries weren’t as bad as they looked and asked him to ring Pete in Kenya to please explain all he had just explained to me and the folks.

The hardest decision of life was made and I sat and held onto her as the vet injected her.  She went so peacefully while I screamed and cried uncontrollably.  I brought her home and buried her under a yellow wood tree.  I sit and talk with her and ask her to forgive the indescribable thing I have done.  I am battling to live with the guilt and pain and hope by sharing this will fill me with some peace and solace.

I have the most incredible family and friends who are all telling me how it was all just a horrible accident and how I could never do anything to hurt any animal.  I know that logically but emotionally I am completely broken, shattered and sick to my stomach.

tree-3

I hope I will one day be able to forgive myself for what I have done and be able to get the image out of my mind of my girly laying on the driveway.  It kills me!  It is in my mind all day.  Pete has taught me as soon as the image comes into my head to immediately replace it with another one of Tree, a happy love filled image of her.  It helps.

Girly, I am so incredibly sorry for what I have done.  I am broken and sick over what happened.  I am always so careful.  I have no idea how something like this could have happened.  Please forgive me sweet darling Tree.  I love you.

Miss Podgy gets jogging

Horror of horrors its been the better part of a year since I ran.

runjpg

Enough is enough!

No more toxic thyroid holding me back – now just unfit and slightly softer around the edges from not running nearly 12 months.

How bad could it be to get back on the road?

Off I went for my first jog – just 3km to see how I felt.  HAVE MERCY!  What had I done
to myself.  That evening, I couldn’t walk. I could barely breathe.  Is it possible to be this unfit even with walking 5km most days and cycling in between.  Clearly, YES!

R&R for a couple of days, a serious chat with myself and I was back out there.  Still only 3km but walking 200m then jogging 300m for the 3km course.  Much better.  I am in week two now and already I am feeling better for it.  Still unfit and podgy but mentally in a much happier space.

Hopefully by the holidays I will be bouncing around like an energiser bunny again , less podgy and looking forward to being on track with my 5km daily run.

Have you too fallen off the proverbial wagon?

Milk Tart (Melktert)

Good old fashioned comforting childhood memories wouldn’t be complete without milk tart.  Fabulous – well, until I had to make 3 different variations to find what I was happy with.  Childhood memories aren’t always that easy to recreate.  Not that the first two attempts weren’t nice, they just weren’t what I wanted.  They lacked the silky smooth texture I craved.  Also, most recipes make two tarts and I only wanted to make one plus I found baking the tart higher than 180°C caused it to crack.  Round three was perfect.

milk-tart

Milk Tart (Melktert)

Ingredients

For the Pastry

2 Tbs butter
2 Tbs sugar
1 egg
¾ cup self raising flour
¼ tsp salt

For the Tart

2 cups milk
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup flour
¼ tsp salt
2 Tbs butter
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 eggs well beaten
Ground cinnamon

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Blitz all the pastry ingredients together in a food processor until they resemble crumbs and spread evenly and press in a 24cm pie dish.
    (The crust can be refrigerated while preparing the tart but I don’t bother)
  3. Heat the milk to just before boiling.
  4. While the milk is heating, combine the sugar, flour and salt together.
  5. Gradually add the heated milk to the dry ingredients and return to the heat.
  6. Cook slowly while stirring until the mixture thickens.
  7. Remove from the heat and add the butter and vanilla.
  8. Cool the mixture slightly and stir through the beaten egg and pour into the pastry crust.
  9. Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.  The center will still be slightly soft and wobbly.
  10. Cool and try only eat one slice.🙂

Apple Cream Cheese Rose Tarts

I saw a link to these gorgeous looking morsels and just had to make them the same day.  They are worth making with a couple of tweaks.  I will definitely be making these again soon.

apple-rose-puffs

Apple Cream Cheese Rose Tarts

Ingredients

1 apple – I used 2
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp water
1-2 sheets puff pastry – one sheet made 6 tarts (see point 5 of method)
1/4 cup cream cheese – I used full fat softened with a ¼ tsp vanilla essence
3 tbsp sugar – I combined sugar and cinnamon and recommend using more
cinnamon

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Prepare muffins tins with non stick spray.
  3. Halve the apples, scoop out the core and slice thinly.
  4. Combine the apple slices with lemon juice and water in a bowl and microwave for 3 minutes.
  5. Roll out the puff pastry and cut into 6 even strips.  Moving forward I would roll the pastry thinner to make at least 9 slices, possibly even 12.
  6. Spread the cream cheese on each slice of pasty.  Double the quantity for 12 tarts.
  7. Liberally sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the cream cheese.
  8. Arrange the apple slices overlapping each other on one half of the pastry with the top of the apple just above the pastry.
  9. Fold the bottom half of the pastry up over the top and roll up.
  10. Place in prepared muffin tins.
  11. Bake for 40 minutes.  Reduce time accordingly if you roll the pastry thinner.

I served these with homemade custard.  They made a fabulous dessert.

Things forgotten and changed

I spent a few days with Pete in Johannesburg; my first trip back since my folks moved down to the Eastern Cape.  It was a strange notion knowing I would not be going to the home where I spent majority of my childhood and early adult years.

I did however get to enjoy a special lunch with my brothers.  I would loved to have spent more time with them.  ♥

boeties-and-me

Looks like I’m storing nuts in my cheeks

Johannesburg is a fast paced busy city.  There is a lingering concrete jungle smell in the air and at the same time a calm quiet in the absence of a breeze.  Living at the coast I am accustomed to the constant movement of air from a glorious gentle whisper of wind to full blown gales – the wind cleansing everything as it traverses and whistles through the trees.  I digress.

sandton-skyline

Image courtesy:  Jay Caboz

I forgot what it is like to be in a corporate environment zipping here and there at speed.  Do I miss it, maybe just a little, although I am becoming more of a country bumpkin – a bad thing, I don’ think so.  Just the next phase of my evolution.  The trip up north did however rejuvenate my want to write and even though I have always been loyal to my obligations, I am feeling renewed to be more present in my commitments.

I spent a couple of hours catching up with an ex colleague – we commented how lovely it was to pick up from where we left off, almost as if the passed nearly 15 years were like 15 days.

After the hustle and bustle of a few days, the best part was being able to spend albeit short, uninterrupted time with my Pete before he headed back to Kenya and me home.  I did not want to let him go.  It gets harder and harder with each trip. ♥

Versatile Marinade

Ever have one of those days when you not sure what flavour you feel like.  This little recipe came about when I opened the cupboard and added a bit of this and a bit of that to make a marinade for chicken portions and decided it would work well with lamb, pork and beef too.

Chicken Marindade

Chicken Marinade

Ingredients

30ml brown sugar
30ml soy sauce
30ml brown spirit vinegar
30ml tomato paste
5ml lime juice
125ml water
2.5ml ground ginger
1ml cayenne pepper or more if you like a kick

Method

  1. Combine all ingredients together.
  2. Marinate protein for minimum 1 hour.
  3. Braai (barbecue) or roast protein basting with the marinade.
  4. Reduce marinade if necessary.

 

Finally, THE Vanilla Cupcake

You may remember a while ago I was on the hunt for THE vanilla recipe which works well as a cake and cupcakes, well, I finally got it right after a few attempts.  These are wonderful iced or just on their own with a sprinkling of icing sugar or served with cream and berries.  I have made them a few times and they get rave reviews all around.

The vanilla cupcake

Vanilla Cupcakes

Ingredients

125ml sugar
125ml cooking oil
2 extra large eggs
250ml Greek Yogurt
5ml vanilla essence
500ml cake flour
5ml bicarbonate of soda
10ml baking powder
2.5ml salt

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 °C.
  2. Beat the sugar and oil together.
  3. Add the eggs and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  4. Add the yogurt and vanilla essence.
  5. Sift the dry ingredients together and fold into the wet mixture – don’t over mix, a few lumps is fine.
  6. Spoon into 18 prepared muffin tins smoothing the top of the mixture.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes.  Ice as desired.

Such is Life

Sundays4

Our beautiful Sundays River

We chose to live where we do for the tranquil quality we appreciate and treasure –  to be on the doorstep of a National Park, River and Beach which for a large part are unscathed by man.  City life is just not our speed.

Addo 2014 507

King of the jungle in Addo National Elephant Park

We respect our environment and care for it as much as we can and help annually with a river and beach clean up which incorporates educating the local youth about the importance of reducing, re-using and recycling as well as being part of a team of committed folk who donate food, clothing and the like plus our time once a month to distribute these goods to the youngsters who bring plastic containers and tins to school for recycling further helping to keep our environment clean and encouraging them to be proud of where they live.

TrashBashLogo

There is also my involvement as Chair for our Community Police Forum and Neighbourhood Watch initiatives which boils down to a semi full time job sans remuneration but makes me no less committed.  My resolve is occasionally tested though, as a curve ball gets thrown our way and we have to endure unnecessary stress of people violating our rights by holding illegal protests and burning vehicles which throes me into endless texting and phone calls to determine who, what, when, how and why all the while trying to reassure a village we are safe.

Kinkelbos CPF Logo               NHW logo

It is a harsh reminder of how volatile life can be.  We enjoy the comfort of our daily lives and then in a heartbeat it changes.  I don’t believe we are unique by any means, we just feel it more being such a small community.

Then everything settles and returns to normal and just as I breathe a sigh of relief, the next hurdle gets put in front me to test my resolve  with the news of scary things, things I don’t know how to comprehend or how to deal with so I throw myself at the internet trying desperately to find answers.

Proteas - Copy

South Africa’s National flower – the protea

Dad was diagnosed with kidney cancer and was quickly in surgery to remove his left kidney.  Test results were positive, all the cancer was removed with the kidney, then quickly comes the news of lung cancer.  I have truly never experienced anything as traumatic and scary in my 43 years.  I have never felt such pain.  Deep! Right to my core.  Daddy is both mentally and physically strong and at 73 has never been sick or seen the inside of a hospital  for anything other than visiting someone else.  I can’t begin to comprehend what he and Mommy have felt through all of this.  They are remarkable and nothing will get them down, nothing!  Dad’s positive attitude has been inspiring to see.  We are in the midst of Dad’s treatment and believe he is already cancer free.  Believe it with us, and if you can, please light a candle for Daddy, he is a special man who deserves all the love in the world.

SA vs Ireland 25062016 - Copy

Love, love, love. Mom, Me, Pete and Dad at a recent ruby match. SA VS Ireland – Ireland played a better game but we won in the end

During the same time as finding out about Dad’s cancer, my cousin was involved in a motorcycle accident, which resulted in his left leg being amputated.  What a remarkable young man – his attitude, like Dad’s  is awe inspiring and his being able to get back up and at em is wonderful to see.

My family has been tested the past while, not about how much we love each other and how we all stand strong together but how much we can actually deal with all the while still smiling. ♥

Lemon Drizzle Cake

I saw this recipe over at Passion Fruit Garden and if Glenda says its a winner then it is a must try.  Thanks Glenda, we thoroughly enjoyed this lovely cake, although think it would be as lovely without the syrup over the top.

Lemon drizzle cake 1

Lemon Drizzle Cake

Ingredients

Cake

125g butter
Zest of 2 lemons
1¼ cups caster sugar
2 eggs
¼ cup lemon juice
¾ cup natural yogurt
1¼ cups flour
1½ tsp baking powder

Syrup

¼ cup sugar
Zest of one lemon
⅛ cup lemon juice

Optional:  Powdered sugar for decorating

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C.
  2. Line the bottom of a 20-22 cm cake tin with baking paper and grease the sides with butter.
  3. Cream the butter, lemon zest and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each egg.
  5. Add the lemon juice and yogurt and mix well.
  6. Sift together the flour and baking powder and add to the main mixture – lightly mix together.
  7. Place batter into the prepared tin.
  8. Bake for 40 minutes or until the cake is firm to touch.
  9. Meanwhile, combine the syrup ingredients in a small saucepan and heat to dissolve the sugar.
  10. When the cake is cooked, remove from the oven, allow to sit for couple of minutes and transfer to a serving plate.
  11. Whilst the cake is still warm,  pour the syrup evenly over it.
  12. Once completely cooled, sprinkle with powered sugar.

Lemon drizzle cake 2

Custard Cake Slices

This is a wonderful light dessert for after a heavy winters meal or lovely addition to the table at a shower or tea.

Custart Cake Slices

Custard Cake

Ingredients

4 eggs separated
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
125g butter melted
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk lukewarm
Powdered sugar for dusting

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C.
  2. Grease an 8 inch x 8 inch baking dish.
  3. Beat the egg whites until stiff and set aside.
  4. Beat the egg yolks & sugar until light.
  5. Add the butter and vanilla and beat for two minutes.
  6. Add the flour and incorporate.
  7. Slowly add the milk and beat in.
  8. Fold in the egg whites, a third at a time.
  9. Pour batter into baking dish and bake for ± 60 minutes or until the top is lightly golden.
  10. Once cooled, cut into slices (or rounds) and  dust with powdered sugar.

Nairobi National Park, Kenya

I was recently in Nairobi with Pete and while there he took me to the Nairobi National Park.  What an incredibly beautiful park!  It is located just 5 miles from the city and is the only protected area in the world with wildlife in the city.

It was exciting to see animals we don’t get in Addo National Elephant park, like one of my all time favourites, the giraffe.  They are such majestic animals.

If you ever have the opportunity to visit Nairobi, Kenya, I highly recommend you make the time to visit the National park.

Nairobi NP May 2016 376

Nairobi NP May 2016 9 Nairobi NP May 2016 21 Nairobi NP May 2016 23 Nairobi NP May 2016 30 Nairobi NP May 2016 35 Nairobi NP May 2016 41 Nairobi NP May 2016 58 Nairobi NP May 2016 89 Nairobi NP May 2016 138 Nairobi NP May 2016 150 Nairobi NP May 2016 180 Nairobi NP May 2016 207 Nairobi NP May 2016 215 Nairobi NP May 2016 236 Nairobi NP May 2016 238 Nairobi NP May 2016 310 Nairobi NP May 2016 338 Nairobi NP May 2016 346 Nairobi NP May 2016 432

Where I Write From

Our dear Celi over at The Kitchens Garden, has revived the getting to know each other a wee bit by asking us to share where we write from.  C said not tiding up before snapping the shot.

For the most part I am neat and tidy but looking at the pic, I see loads I could have in better order.

Where I write from

An abridged version of my little office

We would all love to see where you write from.  Take a quick snapshot, remember no tiding up and share it with us by linking back to Celi’s post Where I write.

In My Kitchen – April 2016

We are still enjoying beautiful extended summery days, however the early mornings and late evenings are somewhat chilly, reminding us winter will soon be here.

Thanks to Maureen at The Orgasmic Chef for managing our monthly get together’s.

Everything in my kitchen this month are all gifts!  How awesome! ♥

In my kitchen…

Is a beautiful dinner service inherited from my Nanna – my mom’s mom.  It has been packed away for the better part of 40 years and with the folks move to the River and having an already fully packed kitchen, they thought I would enjoy using it.  ♥

Dinner service

In my kitchen…

Are 2 butter dishes from my folks wedding, lovingly given to me. ♥

butter dishes

In my kitchen…

Is my great gran’s gorgeous pink hued teapot, perfect for tea for 2. ♥

pink teapot

In my kitchen…

Are my great-gran’s baking pans which she used to use to bake banana bread and sponge cakes.

great grans baking tins

In my kitchen…

Is a gorgeous serving dish just waiting for cheese and biscuits.  Thanks Daddy and Mommy. ♥

serving dish

In my kitchen…

Are serving bowls from my folks – I see retro prawn cocktail served in them, or trifle…

glass serving bowlsglass serving bowls 2

In my kitchen…

And then just as a reminder how lovely village life is, are pomegranates from folk who live down the road.  Thanks Les and Sharon.  Pete is loving eating his childhood favourite fruit.

pomegranates

What’s in your kitchen this month?

Please remember to link back to Maureen’s blog if you partake in the fun and drop her a quick note to let her know when your post will be up and remember Maureen needs all IMK posts submitted by the 10th of every month.

Chocolate Cheesecake

I saw this recipe in an old edition of the Your Family magazine (April 1997) and thought it quite decadent with all the chocolate, almonds and mascarpone.  It isn’t the cheapest of desserts to make and eating it cold from the fridge wasn’t that great.  It was however great at room temperature.  Really thought I took pics of it cut but clearly not.  Oops.

Chocolate Cheese Cake

Chocolate Cheese Cake

Ingredients

Base
125g butter, melted
25g castor sugar
100g milk chocolate, melted
50g ground almonds
90g flour, sifted

Filling
500g cream cheese
125g castor sugar
125ml cream
5 XL eggs, separated
400g milk chocolate, melted

Topping
500g Mascarpone cheese
30g icing sugar
5ml vanilla essence
Extra milk chocolate for decorating

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C.
  2. Base – Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in the remaining ingredients and press into the base of a greased 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin.
  4. Filling – Beat the cream cheese, sugar and cream until smooth.  Add the egg yolks and melted chocolate.
  5. Beat the egg whites until still peaks form and fold into the mixture and pour over the base.  Bake for 2 hours and then cool in the oven for an hour.
  6. Topping – Beat the ingredients together and spread over the cooled cheesecake.
  7. Decorate with shavings or grated chocolate.

Corn Bread

I go this super easy recipe from my aunt and is perfect for your next braai (barbeque) and is wonderful with lashing of cold butter.

Corn Bread

Corn Bread

Ingredients

415g tin creamed sweetcorn
1 cup mielie meal
2 eggs
¼ cup oil
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients and place in a prepared loaf tin.
  3. Bake for 50 minutes or until golden brown.

In My Kitchen – March 2016

I missed January and February this year.  Clearly not off to a very quick start to 2016.

Thanks to Maureen over at The Orgasmic Chef for taking over the monthly installment get together and round up from our dear friend Celia.  I am looking forward to tagging along with everyone.

In my kitchen…

Is the most beautiful gift from Celia all the way from Australia!  It is currently holding a place in John Kehoe’s book, Mind Power.

Celica book mark

In my kitchen…

Are bone handled tea knives, a gift from my mom who knows how much I love bone handled cutlery.  Can’t wait to butter a scone using them.  Think I will have to arrange a tea party.🙂

bone handled cake knives

In my kitchen…

Is a homemade cake platter.  I have been hunting for one to hold 6 “Mandy sized” cupcakes but all have been too small.  So while in Joburg, I found the perfect plate and shallow bowl which I inverted and stuck to the base of the plate using epoxy.

medium cake holder

In my kitchen…

Is a pretty blue “silpat” baking mat from my cousin Renee – which reminds me I still need to make the crackers I have been trying to make since December.

Silpat

In my kitchen…

Is a gorgeous toothpick holder, a gift from my ever loving Pete.

Toothpick holder

In my kitchen…

Were some healthy snacks, fab chocies and what was my favourite spice until it was finished, all from my lovely sister in law Trishy.

Pressies

What’s in your kitchen this month?

Please remember to link back to Maureen’s blog if you partake in the fun and drop her a quick note to let her know when your post will be up and remember Maureen needs all IMK posts submitted by the 10th of every month.

Well, that is explains it

Hello!  I have missed chatting with you all and seeing what you have been getting up to in the blogoshpere.

To get right to it, I now know why I could not run anymore, was permanently hot, had sleepless nights, failing eye sight, had tremours, couldn’t stop eating and had a slight goiter on the right side of my neck.

Without boring you too much, I went to the doctor (under duress) and was diagnosed with toxic autoimmune thyroiditis and was bombarded by specialists to immediately ingest dangerous medication and have radioactive iodine injected into my body or take the risk of having a thyroid storm (crisis), oh and die.  All times I heard them say that –   Urgh!  What they want to do is take my extremely overactive thyroid, destroy it, which will result in a non functioning or underactive thyroid for which I would have to take life long medication.  Incidentally, they don’t tell you this medication only provides one of the  hormones you require and leads to other health issues like osteoporosis!

Every ounce of me said No, No, No!  There HAS TO BE another way to fix this.

According to the doctors there is not and if I do not act immediately, I am taking my life into my own hands and could go into a thyroid storm at any minute and die!  Again, URGH!  When I spoke with the referring doctor about my decision to take an alternative natural route, he laughed at me and I don’t need to tell you what he said would happen if I did not follow the western route.

Fast forward a week and a flight to Johannesburg to help my folks pack for their move here to the River and to see an iridologist, who I used to see when living there who guaranteed me we can normalise my thyroid without a shadow of a doubt AND it will only take the better part of a couple of months.  He answered all my questions the way I was hoping he would and I knew absolutely he was right.  I threw my arms around him in relief.  Not sure that was very professional but too bad.

Butch

Natural healing medication

After one week of taking the medication, my tremours completely stopped, my eye sight improved, I am sleeping much better and I am not permanently having to fan myself although I must say, the appetite hasn’t subsided much, yet…

Woohoo!

It saddens me how traditional doctors aren’t more accepting of the results of homeopathy and how the two can work hand in hand.  No matter as I am fast on my way to a normal functioning thyroid.  Next step is to have the blood tests done again to prove my counts have normalised.  I cannot wait!

7 Fabulous Tips To Sharper Photos

An absolute must read for all aspiring photographers.

moi du toi photography

“I don’t understand it! They looked so great on the LCD screen at the back of my camera!”

Don’t you just hate it when you get home from a photo shoot, where you were totally convinced you had some fantastic photographs, and in feverish excitement, trembling fingers and all, you download the images only to find that once they’re on the computer screen you see that, “Oh no!” – image after image after image is soft, out of focus and just bleh.

Fear not my little buttercups, I know that feeling all too well.  Been there done that, many, many times. So many times in fact that I became totally obsessed with image sharpness and went on a Moira Mission to find out how to fix it.

Here’s what I discovered and to make it easier for us to remember I used the anagram C.L.A.S.S.I.C.   Amn’t I cleverest sausage ever?

How to get sharper images, photography tips and techniques, online photography class, photography course Left:…

View original post 1,038 more words

Pear and Almond Cake with Almond Crunch Topping

The name alone caught my attention when I saw this recipe from the online Delicious Magazine, and then the use of sour cream and nutmeg.  When friends invited us over for dinner I offered to bring dessert so I could try this delicious cake.  I was quite skeptical once I read the length of baking time but it was absolutely perfect and so very moreish. I will definitely serve this regularly and is the perfect Christmas dinner dessert.

Pear Almond Cake 3

Pear and Almond Cake with Almond Crunch Topping

Ingredients

  • 175g softened butter
  • 150g Billington’s Golden Caster Sugar – I used regular caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract – I used essence
  • 2 medium eggs – I used extra large 
  • 220g self-raising flour
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 140ml soured cream
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 2 firm pears, such as Comice
  • A little lemon juice

For the almond crunch topping

  • 50g butter
  • 50g Billington’s Light Muscovado Sugar – I used demerara sugar
  • 2 tbsp double cream – I used normal cream
  • 75g flaked or slivered almonds

Pear Almond Cake 4

 Method

  1. Line a 20cm springform tin with non-stick baking paper. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan160°C/gas 4.
  2. Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla in a bowl until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, adding a spoonful of the flour with the second egg. Sift the remaining flour, a pinch of salt, bicarbonate of soda and the nutmeg together. Fold half the flour into the creamed mixture. Fold in the soured cream, zest and almonds, then the remaining flour.
  3. Peel, core and slice the pears. Toss with lemon juice to prevent discolouration. Spread half of the cake mixture over the base of the tin, cover with the pears, then the remaining cake mixture. Bake for 40 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, make the almond topping. Melt the butter in a pan and stir in the sugar and cream, then stir in the almonds.
  5. Remove the cake from the oven and pour the almond mixture evenly over the top. Bake for a further 20-25 minutes, or until the topping is toffee-coloured and a skewer comes out clean from the centre of the cake. Remove and serve warm or cold.