Annabelle Whites Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Anabelle Whites Sour Cream Coffee Cake is delicious!

Anabelle Whites Sour Cream Coffee Cake is delicious!

I have become a huge fan of New Zealand food writer, cook and broadcaster Annabelle White’s recipes. They are always fantastic, and this cake is no exception. It is wonderful for tea, a mid morning snack, heck even a midnight snack! It did not last long! I just had time to snap a pic of the last piece before it got eaten!

125 g butter, softened
1 cup of sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup of sour cream
1 teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
2 cups of flour
¼ teaspoon of salt
1 ½ teaspoons of baking powder
¼ cup of chopped nuts (I use hazelnuts)
¼ cup of brown sugar
1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Pre-heat the oven to 180° C
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well.
Stir in the sour cream and baking soda, mix well.
Sieve together the flour, salt and baking powder and gently fold into the sour cream mixture. Do NOT beat.
Place half the mix in a greased 22cm ring tin.
Mix the nuts, brown sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl.
Sprinkle half the cinnamon mix over the batter in the tin.
Place the remaining cake mixture on top of the nut layer and smooth,
Sprinkle the remaining nut and cinnamon mixture on top of the cake.
Bake in a pre- heated oven and bake for 45 minutes or till an inserted skewer comes out clean.
Leave to stand for 5 minutes before turning out onto a plate.

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Sour Cream Cherry and Sultana Loaf

Cherry-loaf-002Well it’s a new year! Happy New Year everyone! Well 2012 seems to have vanished in a blinding flash; I mean where did it go? I was hoping to do more with my blog but did not get to it. So this year I am going to make an effort – even if I am tired after writing all day at work.

I make this loaf quite often. It’s easy to put together and although it takes a long time in the oven you can do other things meanwhile. It has a nice sharp tang that offsets the fruit just perfectly and makes it more interesting than a plain loaf. I find it easy to scoff a few slices with tea. However I have resisted the temptation as this loaf is for friends. Sorry about the poor picture – I was in a hurry so quickly snapped a shot (not my best) so much to do so little time.

I do hope you give this a go. I believe that the original recipe appeared in the Australian Women’s Weekly in September 1986 (eek the year before I was born).

125 g butter, very soft
¾ cup sour cream
1 cup castor sugar
2 tsp grated lemon rind
3 eggs
1 ½ cups of self raising flour
¾ cup plain flour
¼ cup of lemon juice
½ cup of glace cherries
½ cup of sultanas


Preheat the oven to 170 °C  Fan forced 180 ° C regular

  1. Grease and line a 12cm by 22cm loaf tin with baking paper
  2. Beat together the butter, sour cream, castor sugar and lemon rind in an electric mixer till light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition
  4. Stir in the sifted dry ingredients alternately with the lemon juice.
  5. In a small bowl put the cherries and sultanas, add I tablespoon of flour and toss. (this stops the fruit sinking to the bottom of the loaf.
  6. Fold in the cherries and sultanas.
  7. Pour mixture into the lined tin and smooth top
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour and 10 min or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  9. Stand in the tin for 5 min before turning onto a wire rack to cool.

Serve buttered or plain slices for tea.

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Fay Lewis – Ma’s Special Butter Cherry Cake

DSC01446You know those days when you are craving something simple – like your mother or grandmother made – a Victoria Sponge or simple Chocolate Cake? I think this is the sort of cake that fills that sort of craving. It’s easy to pull together too.

It’s great on its own and is even better served with Tipsy Scones and cream, which is how we had it this past Saturday – the perfect afternoon treat. As you can see from the photo 3 of us polished off half of it – well Ashley took a few slices home too!

There are still a few slices left – they are a bit dry now – so I think that this cake does not keep more than a few days. If you wanted to jazz it up – I think some glace icing would set it off perfectly.


250g glace cherries
25ml cake flour
250g butter
250g castor sugar
4 jumbo eggs
250g cake flour
5 ml baking powder
2.5ml salt
5ml grated lemon rind
15ml brandy
25ml milk
15ml fresh lemon juice
Icing sugar for dusting


Preheat the oven to 170 °C

Coat a 24 x 11 cm bundt tin with cooking spray and set aside.
Coat the cherries in the 25ml flour in a small bowl and set aside.

Cream the butter and castor sugar in a food processor till pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl and add alternately with the lemon rind, brandy, milk and lemon juice to the butter mixture. Fold in the cherries. Spoon batter into the prepared tin and bake for 50 min. Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C and bake for a further 10 min. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 15 min before turning onto a wire rack to cool. Dust with icing sugar just before serving.

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Time to revive the ol’ blog!

What can I say…its been a long time since I posted, I could make excuses work…blah blah too busy…blah blah, but the truth is I guess I have been lazy. I copy write for a living, so some days, the thought of spending any more time at the computer is torturous – I’d much rather be in the kitchen cooking. However i am going to endeavor to breathe some life bake into my poor neglected blog.

I’ve cooked many different things over the past year.

This week I made chocolate fruit bars. I make these quite often, under the delusion that they are healthy. In reality, I suspect that they are somewhat less healthy than I like tho think.


500g mixed dried fruit (I use 250g diced dried apricots, 100g dried cranberries, 100g cake mix dried fruit and 50g of chopped dates)

100g flaked almonds (toasted till golden)

125ml 1/2 cup rolled oats

125ml 1/2 cup sliced coconut

100g butter

125ml 1/2 cup brown sugar

125ml 1/2 cup of honey

200g dark chocolate

5ml oil


Combine the fruit, almonds and oats in a bowl. In a saucepan on the stove combine the butter, sugar and honey. Stir gently till melted together. Stop stirring and bring to the boil. Simmer for 8 minutes, without stirring, till it reaches soft ball stage (or the consistency of toffee when cooled in some cold water). Pour over the fruit mix and mix well. Press into a 18 x 26com baking tray lined with grease proof paper. Allow to cool for about 4 hours till completely cold. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over boiling water. Add the oil and stir. Spread over the fruit mix and allow to cool (the fridge speeds up the process). When cool cut into squares. Depending on how you cut them you should get about 14 squares. Eat in small doses, they are very rich, but delicious.

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The intrepidfoodie in Botswana part 2

Delicious spread at Muchenje Lodge


This is a rustic looking lodge that is set on the escarpment overlooking the Caprivi Strip which has many animals grazing on it. The central area is open to the cooling breeze.

Muchenje then took us on a game drive into the Chobe National Park along the river. The guide K.G was very knowledgeable and answered all questions. Down on the floodplain we saw many Zebra, and stopped to watch Giraffe and Elephant. We also had some Kudu pass really close to the game drive vehicle. There were many beautiful dusty crimson carmine bee-eaters flying around. We also saw white and green bee-eaters as well as fish eagles and a bateleur. On our way out after sundowners, Bishard saw a Leopard, so we screeched to a halt and managed to get a good look at it although no good pics as the light was fading. We then returned to camp.

Dinner consisted of a wonderful cheese soufflé, main fillet of beef and local bream – a Botswana surf n turf with pasta or mash and veg. Pudding was a lovely sticky date pudding.

Chobe Game Lodge

One of the Chefs at Chobe Game Lodge preparing spuds

Chipo our guide met us at the airport. We saw a huge herd of 60 plus Sable going to Chobe Game Lodge – these are quite rare so I was really excited. Chobe Game Lodge is a 46 room hotel which is famous as the site where Elizabeth Taylor married Richard Burton for the second time. It has lush tropical gardens. It is surrounded by an electric fence and it is safe to walk around. The hotel does feel retro and 60s. It was one of the hottest days on our trip and I think we were all grateful to see air-conditioning in the rooms – this ended up being a bit of a theme, although we acclimatised somewhat to the heat.

They laid on a huge buffet lunch with a wide selection of salads, hot main meals, roasts and desserts. After lunch we rolled ourselves around the hotel for our site inspection. The hotel has a weights room with a treadmill that is air-conditioned and a treatment room where they do spa treatments. The hotel has a range of rooms, including doubles, twins and lovely private suites with bright lounge areas, and a patio area with its own plunge pool. The pool area is lovely and has a tropical feel with palms and bananas. Warthogs are the resident lawnmowers and you can approach quite close. There is also an aged tame bushbuck that you can stroke. We then had high tea, followed by another boat ride up the Chobe which was almost identical to the one we went on at Savannah. Our Guide Chipo tried hard to try and find new fact to tell us when she discovered that we had heard most of it before on the previous boat ride. Once again Elephant dominated the floodplain.

A range of traditional dishes at Chobe Game Lodge

That night they had a Boma evening with a wide range of braaied items traditional dishes and live entertainment with the marimba band. I tried Botswana’s national dish Seswa which was very tasty. It was someone’s birthday, so the staff sang several traditional songs and presented him with a cake a la  Spur style – but more authentic. I liked this lodge but to me it was more of a hotel and did not give me that safari feel.


Barbaras delicious Chiffon Cake with pineapple and cream

We drove to Xaxanaka Camp crossing a deep fjord where the water almost went over the bonnet. We arrived early and rested in the main reception area till the rooms had been made up. This camp has a reception portico that has a curio shop and the manager’s office. You then cross an open area to the main reception rooms which are right on one of the main channels of the Delta. All the reception rooms are strung out along the water. They are all open and shaded by huge Sausage and marula trees. They have a lovely boma area right out over the water and an open bar. The lounge had lush African furnishings and the entire main area is lit by paraffin lamps at night creating a romantic atmosphere.

Ubiquitous Impala are actually very photogenic - Photo Leigh Kemp

The relief managers Barbara and Bruce were very welcoming and engaging hosts. They had a great rapport with their staff and the camp functioned really well. The homemade lemonade, and especially the rusks and biscuits were delicious. There are a couple of groups of bushbuck that wander the camp and one mother and her fawn seemed to be living under the platform of our tented suite. The suites are built on raised wooden decks. They are canvass and have a view over the channel. The openness allows them to be breezy. They have a bathroom at the back with a shower.

My first sighting of Lechwe

Lunch was a sumptuous affair with tasty Okavango Bream, Lasagne and a range of delicious salads. We had some time to relax and explore camp -which has many large trees, including Baobabs. After this we had a delicious high tea. We had a Chiffon Cake with whipped cream and canned pineapple as well as pizza and a range of iced teas.

We then went on a boat ride. This area of the Delta is characterised by pampas grass and reminded me of marshes in Europe rather than the papyrus fringed channels that I was expecting. We came across an elephant ear deep in the delta eating water plants and reeds. We had sundowners before heading back to camp. Approaching from the water, the whole camp was lit up with paraffin lamps and looked romantic and inviting, creating a calm and peaceful oasis. There was a storm brewing and a cool breeze had sprung up. The birdlife in camp was great too – I even saw Hoopoe and on the game drive in the morning we saw an Arnots Chat.

Dinner was lovely with a chilled tomato soup that was very refreshing. The main meal was served as a buffet with succulent tender lamb roast with roast potatoes and veggies. Pudding was a rich chocolate tart.

In the morning Bruce took us on a game drive. His tracking skills are superb, every print he saw he could identify at once. We came across a fairly big pride of Lions. We were after the wild dogs, but all we saw were their tracks. He drove us right into the middle of a herd of buffalo that numbered in their hundreds which was awesome.

A Male Lion we saw - this one was in the Khwai area

We returned to a decadent brunch with eggs to order, bacon and sausages, pizza, cottage pie, salads and cheese boards. We then headed to the airport where we caught two four seaters operated by safari air to Xugana. Then a short boat ride through the papyrus channels that feels like what I imagined the Delta to be like. The channel suddenly opened out into a wide open lagoon, and the camp was located on the other side.

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The intrepid foodie on safari in Botswana

Lioness in Chobe Game Reserve

Lioness in Chobe Game Reserve

I work for an internet travel company called Siyabona Africa. I spend most of my days writing about hotels and destinations in Africa without ever actually seeing any of these places. I just do internet research and write about places based on what the marketing people tell me. Well recently my boss decided that the website team should get out into the bush and see what its like so that they can really know what they were doing.

Now I grew up in Zimbabwe, and have spent a lot of time in the bush, but Botswana was a whole different experience. Botswana is an exclusive destination, and I would never have been able to afford to stay at any of these lodges. I am truly thankful to have gone on this trip!

Below is a summary of my experiences. Be warned, it’s long, but I think I’ll break it up into a series so it’s easier to read!

We visited many lodges – over 25 in ten days. I am not going to write about the ones we just went and looked at, but will focus on the ones that we actually stayed in. Below are excerpted from my diary. I tried to write about the food as we went along, so this post will still have a foodie theme.

After flight cancellations and lots of stress – Zambezi Airways – they had their licence taken away! Enough said…we arrived in Livingstone and crossed the border into Zimbabwe. We saw the Victoria Falls which was amazing, as always. That night I stayed at Imbambala camp up on the border with Botswana.


Imbambala Lodge Zimbabwe

Imbambala Lodge Zimbabwe

We arrive in camp and see a herd of about 60 Impala that are near permanent residents in camp. They feed on the grass and sleep under the spotlights at night. The thatched main lodge is situated in tropical gardens and is shaded by large riverine trees which provide ample shade and the camp has a sweeping view over the mighty Zambezi.

The whole place is unfenced and game wanders through all the time. We had a lovely dinner of Quiche, followed by a delicious Chicken Casserole cooked in a potjie and Rice. They had lovely homemade pickles, including curried carrots and a delicious three bean salad. They grow a lot of their own produce; make their own bread which is delicious and do all their own jams and chutneys – all of which were delicious! We had Crepe Suzette for Dessert.

Breakfast at Imbambala

Breakfast at Imbambala

Afterwards the camp manager Karen, who I incredibly welcoming and a real salt of the earth type arranged a night game drive for us. We saw very little except Elephant behind just about every bush.

When we arrived back in camp, right where we parked a young bull Elephant was waiting and he charged the vehicle before he decided that it was bigger than him and scuttled off like a scolded puppy.

Breakfast was a sumptuous affair with a full cooked English breakfast as well as cereals and fruit salad as well as Pizza! We dined like kings throughout this whole trip!

Chobe Savanna Lodge

Chobe Elephants

Chobe Elephants

The next day we crossed into Botswana and saw several lodges. But we were staying at Chobe Savanna which is actually in Namibia.  Four countries meet here and on the Zambezi River you can go to a place where you are technically in four countries at once. So in one day I gained six stamps in my passport. We then boated up river, seeing herd after herd after herd of Elephants as far as the eye can see, as we headed up river.

This lodge has a stunning location on an island in the middle of the river. The lodge has panoramic views over the floodplains and Elephants wandered by. We were entertained by the staff singing welcome songs and dancing as we arrived. The chalets are enclosed and air-conditioned – much to the delight on many of our team as it had hit 40 degrees!

Elephants stretching into the distance in Chobe

We had a high tea of sandwiches and cake (sadly the sandwiches were dry – sitting out in that heat, I suppose that was understandable) before heading out on an evening boat cruise.

We watched African Skimmers fishing – which was truly something wonderful as they skim the water with their beaks while doing fantastic flying manoeuvres. We saw many more Elephant, Waterbuck, Impala, and buffalo. We then showered before enjoying drinks in the upstairs bar. The resident genet was sitting in the corner keenly observing us all.

Dinner was braai cooked on the grill – I much prefer it cooked over a wood fire. It was served with pap and veggies. The pork chops and sirloin were very good though, and verified all I had heard about meat in Botswana (the meat was from Botswana, although we were technically in Namibia – it gets a bit confusing when you’re travelling around Chobe!) We gratefully went to sleep blissfully cool in our air-conditioned rooms.

I think that that will be it for the first part. I still have at least 6 places to tell you about so look out for part 2! I hope you enjoy reading about my time in Botswana.

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A cooking poem

Tod I was feeling nostalgic and suddenly remembered a poem I won a prize for in high school when I was 16 about cooking in my Grans kitchen. I’m many ways there’s more me and more fiction in the poem, but the sentiment was real. On the menu Spaghetti Napolitan and Chocolate Brownies.

Standing on the brink of the pine doorway,
Tasting the melody of scents upon the air.
Sweet Basil, Sage, Oregano and tomato.
The alchemy of my grandmothers kitchen.
I creep forward, her back is turned.
In another saucepan,
Chocolate melted mahogany gold and espresso
Watching her whisk the egg whites mechanically.
Then delicately folding batter light as steam.
She turns and smiles, when she sees my creeping hand.
Beckoning me forward, I receive a biscuit,
Then put to work, kneading the dough over and over.
Free range eggs and flour left for an hour.
Silky velvet, elastic after time elapsed.
Trough the machine pouring out golden straw.
Then boiled and Gran adds her secret,
Acidic paste of red, sunshine condensed.
She laughs at a comment I make,
The edges fade ever into haze.
Her scent of roses and sugar refuse to linger.
Yet I still remember her catching my finger,
In her melted chocolate.
Yet her knowledge and passion remain,
The hours devoted, coveted.
Spending time in rewarding alchemy.

Michael English : 2005

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Julie Goodwin’s Apricot Sour Cream Cake



I really enjoyed the first season of Australian Masterchef and have been following the winner Julie Goodwin. Her recipes are generally great. I thought that this looked really good. Decadent – yes, but worth the extra walk/gym time. I think that it might be improved by substituting dried apricots – just soak them in a bit of warm water before hand.

Serves 8 Cook Time 1 hour

125g butter
¾ cup (165g) caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 1/3 cups (320g) sour cream
400g can apricot halves, drained and chopped
2 ¼ cups self-raising flour
½ a teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 cup (200g) white choc chips or white chocolate chopped


1 Preheat the oven to 180 ° C or 160 ° C fan forced. Grease a 25cm bundt tin well.

2 Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla in an electric mixer till pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until combined after each addition.

3 fold in 1 cup (240g) of the sour cream and the chopped apricots, followed by the sifted flour and bicarb. The batter will be thick. Spoon into your prepared tin and smooth the top. Bake for about 40 min till golden and springy and coming away from the side of the pan. Turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.

4 For the icing combine the remaining sour cream and chocolate chips (or chopped white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Heat on high for 1 minute. Stir half way through. Do it a little longer if it does not all melt. Cool slightly and allow it to start thickening before pouring over the cooled cake.

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This is such an awesome recipe that I just had to share t with you. Sadly my pics got deleated, but I’ll upload them I make these again. They are really worth it.

This recipe comes from an old little paperback from1956 called cook with Confidence by the Methodist Women’s Auxillary. The recipe intrigued me so I decided to give it a go and I can honestly say that this is the best Crunchy recipe that I have found. These have just the right combination of chewiness and crispness.

180g butter
1 Tablespoon of Syrup
1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

Melt all the above in a pot over a low heat and pour into the dry ingredients

2 cups of oats
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of coconut
1 cup of flour

Mix together with the melted butter mix. Line a swiss roll pan with baking paper and press the mixture in. Bake at 180 ° C for FIVE minutes. TURN OFF the oven. Leave the scrunchies in for another 25 min till they are nice and golden.

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Jane Grigson’s Gingerbread – dark and sticky

Dark and sticky Gingerbread

Dark and sticky Gingerbread

Hi everyone, sorry I have not posted in a while. Work has literally taken over my life and the brief time when I am not working, I bake. Once that is done I’m knackered, and the thought of typing up a post has been a bit much. So here is a quick post on something I recently made.

This is a wonderful dark, sticky luscious gingerbread. Its one of the best I’ve had. I’ll try to post more regularly but will be away for a month at the end of October as I am hopefully going on a tour of Botswana and Zimbabwe. I hope you’ll give this a try, especially if you like gingerbread.

4 oz 125g butter
4 oz 125g Demerara sugar
2 eggs
10oz 300g black treacle – I used back strap molasses
8 oz 240g flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger (I added 2 as I like it really gingery)
I also added 1 teaspoon of cinnamon which is not in the original recipe
2 oz 60g sultanas – I left them out as I feel that sultanas have no place in gingerbread
2 oz 60g preserved ginger chopped
2 tablespoons of milk
½ a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

Cream the butter, add the sugar and beat for a minute. Mix in the eggs and treacle. Sift in the flour, ground ginger and cinnamon. Add in the chopped ginger and sultanas if using.

Warm the milk slightly and add the bicarb, stir and pour into the batter. Mix well.

Pour into a 7inch cake tin lined with baking paper, or buttered and floured. Bake at 180 ° C for 1 ½ hours if you want it sticky. And 1 ¾ hours if you want it drier. If you take it out earlier it will often sink in the middle, but the stickiness more than makes up for it.



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