nom nom cupcake

Feb 19 2012

Something new and exciting!

 After much deliberation, a desire to expand, and a realisation that I actually hadn’t blogged about cupcakes in a very, very long time, I decided to create JessKa’s Kitchen, a blog about EVERYTHING in my Kitchen – from the Recipes I use, to the Gadgets I own, to the mini library of cookbooks lining my bookshelf.

I will copy over the popular posts from this domain, and place them on my new one over the next few weeks.

For the latest on what’s happening in my Kitchen, please head on over to my new blog  at

Feb 06 2012

Incredibly simple, melt in you mouth marshmallows

Published by under Sweets

 Marshmallows have got to be one of my all time favourite sweets. I love nothing more than a fresh, soft marshmallow, especially when it has been nuked in the microwave between 2 Marie biscuits.


All the marshmallow recipes I have seen recently looked labour intensive, and included steps such as separating eggs for egg whites, and boiling sugar until it reaches a certain temperature.

Inevitably, when I work with hot sugar I somehow end up burning myself (usually forgetting that sugar gets very very hot when you heat it), so I was on a mission to find an easy, non hazardous recipe for marshmallows.

I remembered when I was in high school I had made marshmallows, and there was no way that I had used hot sugar to do that, so I asked my sister to find the ancient pink recipe book that my mom had acquired many moons ago, from a school fundraiser.

And there it was, the worlds simplest marshmallow recipe, set out incredibly badly, but with enough info for me to create the most amazingly soft, melt in your mouth marshmallows.

2 cups caster sugar
1/2 cup cold water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 Tbsp powdered, unflavoured gelatine
1/2 cup boiling water

*Optional: Food colouring
You will also need corn flour for dusting


In the bowl of an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, place the sugar, cold water, vanilla and food colouring (if you are using it) and beat together.

In a jug or cup that is easy to pour from, add the hot water

And the gelatin powder.

Mix until the gelatin has dissolved.

With the mixer running at a medium speed, and the gelatin to the sugar mixture a dribble at a time.

Once all the gelatin has been added, crank up your mixer to full speed, and whip until it’s thick and firm peaks are formed (the recipe said to whip it for 20 minutes – my kitchen aid took less than 10)

Spray a 20x30cm tray with cooking spray and dust a layer of corn flour to prevent the marshmallows from sticking.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, and put into the fridge to set.

Once set, you can cut the marshmallows into squares using a knife, or if you have more patience you can cut shapes out using a cookie cutter.

Roll the cut marshmallows in corn flour to prevent them form sticking to each other.

If you cut these into heart shapes they make an amazing valentine’s gift, and if you wish to be extra indulgent, dip them in some melted chocolate.

Jan 23 2012

Peanut Brittle and Condensed Milk Ice Cream

Published by under Ice Cream

I was very fortunate to receive an ice-cream maker from my parents for Christmas. Its a self freezing machine, so no need for any pre freezing of bowls – which is very convenient for me, as I would more than likely forget to do it. That, combined with this super quick and easy ice cream recipe, ensured that I had delicious creamy ice cream in a matter of hours.

This recipe came about, when my sister asked me to make condensed milk biscuits. I had the condensed milk, but not the inspiration to make them. I had already bought cream to make ice cream with, and I decided that condensed milk ice cream would be AWESOME! Browsing around my recipe books and the internet, I came across a number of recipes. The one thing they all had in common, was that they were so simple – no cooking required! Which meant I could mix together the ingredients and put them straight into my ice cream maker.

I had peanut brittle left over from christmas, which had been eyeing me out from the depths of my pantry. A perfect accompaniment to my condensed milk ice cream.

My recipe follows below:


1 cup cream

1 cup milk

1 tin condensed milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup crushed peanut brittle


1. Whip the cream and milk together, and add the condensed milk and mix until incorporated.

2. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and set for 45 minutes.

3. About 30 minutes into the process, add the crushed peanut brittle (adding it once it is semi frozen will prevent all the peanut brittle from sinking to the bottom

4. Once the ice cream has finished churning, put it in a freezer proof container, and freeze for a few hours until the ice cream is a bit more solid

5. Serve and Enjoy!


If you don’t have an ice cream maker, pour the milk mixture into a freezer proof container, and freeze for a couple of hours, stirring every 30minutes until it starts to solidify. Add the peanut brittle when the mixture becomes a bit thicker, and then leave to freeze until it reaches your preferred consistency.


Jan 18 2012

Corn Salsa

Published by under Main Meal

I have a slight obsession with corn at the moment. Every time I go shopping I end up buying a pack of sweetcorn off the shelf. I also find myself eyeing out the mielie ladies that have been walking around the neighbourhood. We even have a “pop up shop” of sorts, on the corner of our street, that sells random produce once a month from the back of their bakkie. This month happened to be mielies. Last month was frozen milk “sakkies” (kept in a deep freeze o_O). There have been oranges too. I almost stopped to buy, almost, until I realised just stopping in a busy intersection would result in some grievous bodily harm from other drivers.


Anyway, back on topic. Sitting with a 7 pack of corn in the fridge (seriously Pick n Pay, why 7?), I wanted to make something other than just plain old corn on the cob. I remembered that I had come across a recipe for Corn Salsa in one of my Bill Granger books. Yummy! Mexican food!!!! I used my freshly made corn salsa as an accompaniment to beef tacos.

My recipe has been adapted from Bill Granger’s

Corn Salsa
1/2 onion
3 Cobs of corn
1 Tbsp Olive oil
1 tsp Chilli
Fresh Coriander (I used 3 tiny frozen Ice cubes of chopped coriander leaves, which you can find in the frozen section at PnP)
2 Tbsp lime juice
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Finely dice the onion and add to a hot frying pan with the Olive Oil
2. Using a knife, remove the corn kernels off the cob of corn and add to the frying pan, after the onions have softened
3. Stir continuously
4. Once the corn has changed colour (should be a brighter yellow) add the Chilli, coriander, lime juice, salt and pepper.
5. Serve with your choice of Mexican dish.



Glossary for my international readers

South Africans have strange words for things, this may help:

mielie – another word for corn
mielie lady – a lady who walks around the neighbourhood with a bucket of mielies on her head, screaming “Mielies” in order to sell them. Yes. This happens. There are entire cartoon strips dedicated to it.
bakkie – a pick up truck
sakkie – a small packet

Jan 15 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

 Now that everyone should be back at work and slowly getting into the swing of things, I have finally got around to hauling out my laptop so I can write the posts that I have been meaning to do for a while.

I had some time off in December between Christmas and New Year, and this was mainly filled with copious amounts of eating and family time.

I started my Christmas baking, with a cake I made for the Yuppiechef Festive cake icing competition. The theme was a Mzanzi Christmas (i.e. we had to decorate a cake in a way which represents a South African Christmas)

Since Christmas is during summer here in South Africa, my Christmas generally involves a braai (bbq) with family and some swimming.

Hence I decided to make a Santa braai cake, with the base being Santa’s pants, and the lid being his hat. The coal I had made earlier (you can see more about that here) was used to decorate the cake further.


For Christmas day I made a potato bake, very simple – just thinly sliced potatoes, onion and grated cheese, layered and covered with a mixture of cream and a packet of brown onion soup, and baked in the oven for about an hour until the potatoes were cooked through.

My potato bake was an accompaniment to some salads, gammon and a delicious beef fillet. My mom made an absolute delicious layered ice cream dish that was served alongside my Santa cake.


For Boxing Day (or Day of Goodwill), my family and my boyfriends mom came round to our house for a braai. We had fresh bread with a homemade tri-colour dip for starters; for mains we had ribs, chicken and prawns served with strawberry, peanut brittle and goat’s cheese salad, and an Asian cucumber rice noodle salad.

Dessert was my favourite part. My parents gave me an ice cream maker for Christmas, and I used it to make peppermint crisp ice cream, which I served in sugar cones.

The ice cream recipe I used, only uses egg yolks, so I had a couple of egg whites to spare. I used these to make some cranberry and pecan nougat.


I’m hoping 2012 will bring some delicious new recipes and that you come back to read some of them!


Dec 22 2011

Candy Coal – It’s nice to be naughty

Published by under Sweets

When I came across Sprinkle Bakes post on Candy Coal on Tasteologie, I was beyond excited. It’s worth it to be naughty this Christmas if Santa is dishing out these sugary coals.

It was surprisingly simple to make, and uses very few ingredients. For the recipe, with hints and tips, head on over here.

Merry Christmas and NomNomNom!

Dec 16 2011

Caldo Verde Pizza

Published by under Main Meal

Growing up in the south of Johannesburg I was surrounded by Portuguese culture, many of my friends are Portuguese, and the rest of Johannesburg gets together around Easter time to celebrate and eat Portuguese food at Lusito Land.


This being said, the first time I ever had Caldo Verde, was at a friends 21st. Caldo Verde is a traditional Portuguese green soup, with the main ingredients of kale, potatoes and sometimes, for a meaty twist, chorizo (a spicy Portuguese sausage) is added too.

Since it is summer in the southern hemisphere, the idea of soup makes me all hot and bothered, but I still wanted the similar tastes of the green soup. And that’s where the Caldo Verde pizza was born. The main ingredients for a soup, piled on top of a pizza, and baked until warm and crispy!

For the bases, I used frozen, store bought focaccia breads, but if you have time to wait for dough to rise, please feel free to use your favorite pizza dough recipe. I haven’t put any quantities in my recipe, since the amount you use is totally dependent on your preference.

Chorizo sausage
Spring onions
Feta (optional)
Kale (or if you can’t find any, like me, use baby spinach)
Pizza bases


1. Preheat oven to 200 C
2. Using a mandolin, or your crazy knife skills, finely slice a potato.
3. Boil the potatoes for between 5 and 10 minutes, until soft
4. Slice the chorizo, and add to a dry pan on a high heat. Fry until browned and glistening on both sides (there is enough fat in the sausage, to not have to use oil)
5. Finely chop the spring onion, kale/spinach and feta
6. Take your pizza base, and add the garlic and rosemary
7. Then add the cooked potato slices, spring onion and kale/spinach
8. Top with the feta and chorizo
9. Cook for 8 to 15 minutes, until the bottom of the pizza just starts to crisp up and brown (the time will vary according to what base you use, frozen bases take longer than fresh)

And there you have it, my soup turned pizza!



Nov 14 2011

Candyfloss Lemonade

Published by under Drinks

Whether you call it Candyfloss, Cotton Candy or Fairy Floss, this light and airy, spun sugar treat will bring most people back to their childhood. The coolest name by far for this sticky finger, dissolving sugar wonder is the Afrikaans “Spookasem” – which directly translated to English, means Ghost Breath.

The latest trend for candyfloss seems to be adding it to cocktails, like the amazing Candy Mojito available from Buddha Ta or the recent recipe for a Candyfloss Dream, posted on the Eat-in website.

In the spirit of all things Candyfloss, and to combat the extreme thirst that accompanies this incredibly warm weather we have been having in JHB at the moment, I decided to make Candyfloss Lemonade.

The way the Candyfloss just melts away when the drink is added to it, is slightly magical and will be an awesome hit at any summer party (especially with kids)

Recipe for Candyfloss Lemonade


  • 3 lemons
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • ice
  • candyfloss


Using a vegetable peeler, peel the rind off the lemons (being careful not to get any of the white pith on the peel (its bitter)

Add the peel to a jug.

Juice the lemons and add to the jug (3 lemons should give you about 1/2 cup juice)

Add the sugar and stir with a long spoon, until dissolved.

Add the water, and top up with plenty of ice.

Place enough candy floss in a glass to fill it.

Just before you are about to serve, pour the lemonade over the candyfloss and watch it disappear before your eyes, whilst simultaneously colouring the lemonade a beautiful pink colour.

And there you have it, my super simple Candyfloss Lemonade recipe.

*Note: You may have to add more sugar/candyfloss to taste – I prefer my lemonade to have more of a lemon flavour than to be extremely sweet, so half a cup of sugar, plus the sweetness of the candyfloss, was more than enough.


Nov 10 2011

Pick n Pay Fresh Living Readers Event

Published by under Review

This past weekend, I was invited by Pick n Pay to attend their Fresh Living Magazine’s reader event. When I received the invite from Dale on twitter, I was quite excited to go. My 2nd foodie event in one week!

Reader’s of the magazine were offered the opportunity to attend the event, where they would “meet, eat and be merry!” And boy did we eat. From the moment we arrived, to the moment we left, we were inundated with plates of delicious food.

Readers of the mag - having a cup of tea

I was one of 4 bloggers/tweeters to be invited, and along with Dale (Social Media Community Manager for PnP) we laughed, tweeted, took photos and notes on the day. What an amazing bunch of people, Angel, Gina and Kerry kept me thoroughly entertained throughout our meal.

On arrival at the Good Food Studio at PnP on William Nicol (best PnP ever), tea and coffee were served in the drool-worthy chocolate room, with some delicious pastries and muffins.

Chocolate Room

Once most of the attendees had arrived, we were shown to the demonstration room, where the dishes we would be eating for lunch were going to be demonstrated to us.

Justine, the editor of Fresh Living welcomed us and handed out some amazing prizes to some randomly selected readers. Le Cruset dishes, Lindt hampers, hand mixers and sunglasses were just some of the awesome things people got to walk away with.


The starters were demonstrated by Nic van Wyk, an award winning chef from Simmonsberg cheese. He showed us how to make Pear and Blue Cheese Pies and something called Bread shots, which were small rounds of bread filled with pesto and topped with feta.

Bread Shot

Anke, the Fresh Living Food Editor, showed us 3 versions of her Risotto recipe. A lemon risotto, which was served with lunch, a mushroom risotto and a butternut and leek risotto. The recipe was not at all complicated, and I will definitely attempt it one day.

Dessert was made by Caroline, a writer for Fresh Living. She showed us her Easy Lemon Tart recipe (which lived up to its name, and was mouthwateringly scrumptious.)

The recipe for the Lemon Tart (from Fresh Living) is shown below:
Tart Shell
• 2 (200g each) Tennis Biscuits
• ½ cup (125g) unsalted butter, melted
• 1 Tbsp (15ml) ground ginger

• 1 Tbsp (15ml) gelatine powder
• 2/5 cup (100ml) hot water
• 1 can (385g) condensed milk
• Juice and finely grated rind of 3 lemons
• 1 cup (250ml) cream, lightly whipped
• Castor sugar, for brûlée

Lemon Tart

Tart Shell
1. Using a food processor, process the tennis biscuits into fine crumbs
2. Add the melted butter and ginger and mix together
3. Press into a 28cm loose bottomed tart tin
4. Place in the fridge for an hour until firm

1. Add the gelatine to a cup with the hot water, and leave to sponge
2. In a bowl of an electric mixer, combine the condensed milk and lemon juice and rind
3. Add the lightly whipped cream, and fold in until well combined
4. Add the gelatine mixture and whisk together
5. Pour into the tart shell and leave to set for a couple of hours
6. Scatter the caster sugar on top, and using a blow torch, brûlée until caramelised
7. Put into the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes
8. Serve with fresh berries

After all the demo’s had finished, tea and cake was served in the chocolate room.

Tea and Cake before lunch

We settled down for lunch at long, beautifully decorated tables. Our first course was cheese and wine, where a cheese expert from Simonsberg spoke to us about the different cheeses on our cheese board. There was cream cheese, Gouda, Cheddar, Camembert, Brie and 2 types of Blue cheese.

Cheese and Wine

We were also given an explanation of the 3 wines, a white, a red and a rose, and what cheese’s they pair best with.

Next came the bread shots, followed by the pear and blue cheese pies served with a delicious green salad with cucumber slivers and almonds.

Main meal consisted of a tender lamb shoulder, served with asparagus, a salsa verde and the lemon risotto we were shown earlier in the day. I always thought risotto was a disgusting mushy rice dish, but I have obviously just had the misfortune of eating badly made ones. this risotto was phenomenal. I hope to be able to recreate it one day.

Lamb with salsa verde, asparagus and lemon risotto

After the copious amount of food we had consumed since arriving at this magical place, we still had one more course to go, and the majority of us were full to bursting.
The lemon tart was served with a chocolate truffle spoon. The tart was the perfect balance of sweetness from the condensed milk and tartness from the lemon juice.

All in all, I had one hell of a time, and didn’t eat until the next day. Thanks Pick n Pay and Fresh Living, for a fantastic day and an awesome gift bag at the end of it.


Awesome Wall

Random things I learnt from this event

Cake flour is more suited to making pasta than bread flour

Place a sprinkling of maize meal on a baking tray, before placing bread on it to cook in the oven, as it prevents the bread  from sticking, and gives it a crispy crust

Fresh Living is launching their cookbook on 15 November, at a cost of R90

Simonsberg cream cheese is aerated with nitrogen to make it light and fluffy

Risotto is amazing if prepared correctly

Fresh Living readers get given awesome gifts for attending the event

The Good Food Studio offers classes and demo’s all year round, and will have Alvin from Masterchef Australia doing demos in a few days time.


Nov 08 2011

Having fun in Mo-vember

Published by under Review

I recently acquried the most awesome necklace ever. It’s a black moustache – and it came  just in time for Movember! Besides for walking around work, putting the moustache up to my face, and making everyone giggle, I have also posted some #Movemberfood pics up on twitter (you can follow me here)

My cousin @Kate_Els (Water-mo-lon) and sister @riggaroo (Mo-ries and Marshmall-mo’s) joined in on the mo-fun too!


Below are some of our Movember food pictures:

If you want to get your hands on your very own Moustache necklace – head on over to Paperkutz. You can even order one in orange to show your love for Gingers! Prices start from R60 (which is a R10 discount, just for Movember).



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