Friday, June 25, 2010

Cafe World Challenge Week 16

I totally forgot about posting this week. It's been one of husband was away for most of it and of course my eldest gets strep throat and is miserable. It didn't help that this was his last week of school before summer holidays and he didn't get to see his friends, he's a sensitive little soul. He managed to get better for today, which was his pre-school's family picnic, so we had a blast outside with the kids, playing soccer, swimming and then treated the kids to ice cream at McDonald's. So we were all bombed from the sun, activity and sugar and had an extra long nap, correction I had a short nap and the rest of the family is still sleeping.

So I'll get to it. I only made one dish, an easy one for a crazy week.

Chips and Guacamole

I LOVE avocadoes and there are some good, ripe avos in the stores right now. I hate buying avos that aren't ready and then I invariably can't wait and open it and it's too hard to enjoy. I find the avos I buy here in North America though are rather tasteless compared to the beauties I was used to in South Africa. I think we have about three main growing areas there and the avos are ready at slightly different times, I suppose we were just closer to the trees and we got them fresher or something.
So since I love avos, obviously I love guacamole too, although I am picky about it, I have never liked guacamole bought from the store, you just can't taste the avo.
So this is my quick version, I use salsa instead of the fresh tomato, red onion and chillies I use when I have time. I always have half used jars of salsa in my fridge, as my hubbie usually impulsively buys tortilla chips, salsa and hot pepper hummus when I send him to the store, forgetting about the same stuff he already had in the fridge. I usually STRESS emphatically that he should stick to the list I give him, so he usually forgets at least one thing from the list and comes home with a ton of other stuff and suggests, "honey I thought we could have this for dinner". OMG what did he think the list was for!!!! I usually plan meals a week ahead, so I've taken stuff out the freezer and/or need to use up something.

Wow I totally went off-topic there, so sorry, but I'm sure some of you know that feeling ;) So on to the recipe:


2 ripe avocadoes, peeled and pitted
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 cup salsa
salt to taste
hot-pepper sauce to taste

Mash up the avos with a fork and combine with the other ingredients. Easy, Peasy.
Serve with tortilla chips.

1. I like the "scoop" variety of tortilla chips as they don't have fragile corners that break off in the dip. This guacamole is nice and chunky and needs a sturdier chip to handle it and you get lots of dip in the scoop.
2. The lemon juice is to help the avos from going brown but I'd suggest storing in the fridge with plastic wrap spread on the surface of the dip to prevent contact with the air. Its best to serve this shortly after making it.

Cafe World Cookbook additions

Some yummy ones this time:
Chocolate Cream Pie, Raspberry Cheesecake and Lox Bagel

Progress: 32/70

Next up: I've actually planned, An easy version of one of the new desserts, Falafel and Herbed Halibut. Thinking about it now, I might just squeeze in some Lobster. I have to play "catch up".

* Disclaimer: Image owned by Zynga. This site is not owned by Zynga. This site is not the owner of the intellectual property.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Cafe World Challenge Week 15

I managed two dishes this week, something spicy and something sweet.

Although there have been no more additions to the basic cookbook this week, Cafe World has introduced an Advanced Cookbook for level 75 and up, but since I'm not at that level yet in the game I won't include them in the challenge....yet. I did take a glance on another website and there are only 4 dishes at the moment, Chicken Vindaloo (a HOT favourite), Osso Bucco, Confit de Canard and Kabayaki.

Lavish Lamb Curry

The Cafe World version had yogurt and uses ground lamb. I thought I'd use what I had at home and made a version of Lamb Madras instead. It is usually red in colour with lots of chili powder. You can change the amount of fresh chili and/ or chili powder used depending on the spiciness you prefer. If you want it hotter, keep the chili seeds in, otherwise remove them as most of the heat is in the seeds.

Lamb Madras

2 tbsp oil
1 large onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
red chillies (I used 1/2 fresh, hot chili deseeded)
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 lb lamb (1 kg), cubed
sprigs of cilantro
large can tomatoes 28 oz (796 ml)
2 tbsp tomato paste
salt to taste

Heat oil in a large saucepan. Add the lamb and cook until it is browned. Set aside.
Add the onion and fry for 5 minutes until translucent.
Add the garlic, chili powder, garam masala, red chillies and cook for 5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and tomato paste and cook for 10 minutes.
Add the meat to the tomato mixture and cook for 30 minutes.
Add the lemon juice and cook for another 5 minutes. Add salt. Serve with rice and garnish with a sprig of cilantro.

This recipe was enough for us for two nights, so it would probably serve 4 people.

Delicious Chocolate Cake

Cherries were on sale this week and my big bag at home inspired me to make Black Forest Cake. It isn't the cake that Cafe World meant to be served, but it is chocolate, it is cake and boy is it delicious. If you want a really decadent Chocolate Cake I recommend using Martha Stewart's Moist Devil's Food Cake and be sure to use the frosting recipe too, it is too die for.

Another great recipe I've used is this one from a previous post.

I used the following chocolate cake recipe for mine, but use any chocolate cake recipe you like and then follow the construction steps, also the amount of cream etc you'll need will depend on the number of layers you make. This time I made just 2 layers, since I cut my first layer skew, but three layers is great.

Black Forest Cake

200g/ 7oz plain chocolate broken into squares
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
3 eggs separated
1/2 cup soft brown sugar
3 tbsp Kirsch
2/3 cup self-raising flour, sifted
1/2 cup ground almonds

Filling & topping:
Plain chocolate
3 tbsp Kirsch
425g/15 oz can stoned black cherries, drained with juiced reserved
2 cups whipping cream/ double cream, whipped
fresh cherries with stalks

Preheat the oven to 180C/ 350F. Grease or line with parchment paper, a 20 cm/ 8in round cake tin.
Melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, keep stirring to mix. Remove from heat and leave until barely warm.
Whisk the egg yolks and sugar until thickened. Add chocolate mixture and the Kirsch. Fold in the flour and almonds. Whisk the egg whites until stiff, then gently fold into the mixture.
Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for 40 minutes or until firm to touch.
Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn out let cool on a wire rack. Use a long serrated knife to cut the cake horizontally into even layers.

Mix the Kirsch with 6 tbsp of the reserved cherry juice. Place the bottom cake layer on your serving plate and sprinkle with 3 tbsp of the Kirsch syrup.
Spread cream over the sponge layer and scatter with the canned cherries. Place the next sponge layer on top and repeat adding kirsch syrup, cream and cherries until top sponge layer is added. Sprinkle top with kirsch syrup and top with cream. Use a potato peeler to make chocolate curls and sprinkle over top of cake. Top with fresh cherries.

Store any leftover cake in the fridge, since there is lots of cream involved and if you cannot find Kirsch, use brandy. If you don't want alcohol, you can leave it out, just drizzle the cake with the cherry juice.

Progress: 31/67

Next Up: Not sure...again.

* Disclaimer: Image owned by Zynga. This site is not owned by Zynga. This site is not the owner of the intellectual property.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Cafe World Challenge Week 14

I'm writing this with the World Cup opening game about to start. My team, Bafana Bafana (South Africa) are taking on Mexico. So I will try to keep this quick, if you don't mind.

This week I only made the one Cafe World dish, Homestyle Pot Roast.

Homestyle Pot Roast

I'll skip all the chatter and just give the recipe.

Pot Roast - I used 2.2 kg Blade Roast, but suitable cuts are usually labelled or ask your butcher.
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp fines herbes (or your favourite dried blend)
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
beef broth or chicken broth
1tsp beef bouillon granules/powder
2 yellow onions, cut into wedges
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 large carrots cut into 1 inch pieces
3 large red potatoes cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup red wine
2 tbsp cornstarch

Preheat oven to 350 F (180C)
Combine dried spices & herbs and rub onto roast.
Heat oil in a large oven-proof pan over medium high heat. Brown roast on all sides, remove and set aside.
Stir in 3/4 cup broth and deglaze by scraping up any of the meat bits stuck to the pan. Mix in bouillon. Return roast to pan and arrange onion and garlic on top.
Cover and bake in preheated oven for 2 hours.
Remove from oven. Lift out roast and place onion underneath, add potatoes and carrot. Then add enough broth and/or water to nearly cover the vegetables. Place roast on top (make sure the meat isn't in the liquid)
Cook covered for 1 hour more. Remove roast and let stand for 10 minutes.
Remove vegetables and keep warm while preparing the gravy.
Gravy: Place roasting pan with juices over medium high heat. Add wine, scarping up browned bits of meat. Bring to a boil. Mix cornstarch with 2 Tbsp water to form a paste. Gradually add the paste stirring constantly , until thickened to desired consistency.
Serve meat with vegetables on a platter with gravy on the side.

My husband likes horseradish on his meat. So I cut up some fresh horseradish and placed in my blender with a little water. When it was fine enough I added a little white wine vinegar and he liked it. Just be careful!! The fumes that comes off fresh chopped horseradish is painful to the eyes.

I took a break from writing to go sing my National Anthem and can now go watch the game.

Cafe World Cookbook addition

One more addition this week. Not my favourite....Corndogs, maybe there's a more healthy version I could make?? For the non-North Americans, it is a hotdog sausage coated in a corn batter and fried, it has a popsicle stick through it for easier eating.

Next Up: Once idea!! I must get sit down and do some planning this weekend.

Progress: 29/67

* Disclaimer: Image owned by Zynga. This site is not owned by Zynga. This site is not the owner of the intellectual property.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Black & Red Shift Dress

I've made up a new dress using Simplicity 2583, a "Project Runway" pattern.

I used View B, sleeveless with the knot on the neck band. I used the black crepe which I've used before and a red linen blend which I brought back from South Africa. The design changed a few times, firstly because I didn't have much of the red fabric and then I had a serger accident and cut a hole in the bottom of the centre front. I played around with a few options and finally settled on just adding a black band at the bottom. It was actually hubbie's idea!! Yay Pete!! Thanks.

It was going to have 3/4 sleeves, but we went to a garden party this afternoon and I thought it would be a perfect dress, but a little hot for the weather. So I made it sleeveless instead and as it turned out, the weather was cool and breezy. So I didn't boil in the black dress. I also found that I could slip it on without the zipper, so I left it out.

I truly love this dress. I got more excited about it the more I sewed and loved wearing it. My husband also loved me wearing it, he went around telling people, "Doesn't Jen look lovely in the dress SHE MADE!!" He was very sweet and now thinks I should made an exact version in yellow and navy.

I think he is so impressed with the sewing that he's asked me to make him new High Collar Whites. He apparantly has a "pattern" but who knows. It might be a good challenge.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Cafe World Challenge Week 13

This week I only completed one dish, a really simple stuffed mushroom recipe.

I was planning to make Lemon Butter lobster, but with the hot weather we're experiencing in my area I will only make that the day before garbage pickup. Seafood shells in garbage is not pleasant. So that leaves me Sundays, which is usually very busy for us, so I will wait till I have a relaxing Sunday available, which might be a while. Ugh!!!

Stuffed Mushroom

I wanted a nice light dinner and thought stuffed mushrooms and salad would work well. I looked through my fridge and feta cheese and sundried tomatoes caught my eye. But after some thought, I decided to get some goat cheese as my feta is rather strong tasting and thought it would be a bit much with the rich tasting sundried tomato.


Large mushrooms, I used three Portabello.
Olive oil
salt and pepper
1 package goat cheese
sundried tomatoes, I used some in a jar with oil.

Remove mushroom stems, brush olive oil all over mushrooms, I used about 1 tsp per mushroom. Place rounded side down on baking sheet covered in foil. Season with salt and pepper.
Cover with foil and Bake at 350 F (180 C) for about 8 minutes or until tender.
Remove cover and place a slice of goat cheese and some sliced tomato on each mushroom. Return to oven for another 5 minutes or until cheese starts to melt.
Serve and enjoy.

Cafe World Cookbook additions

They seems to be adding a new theme every week and with that some cookbook additions. So it seems for every dish I make some more are added.
This week Falafel has been added for the Egyptian theme. I've made this many, many times, but usually from a prepared box of Falafel mix. My made from scratch version didn't turn out well. Time to find a new recipe.

Progress: 28/66
Up Next: Not sure...check in next Friday to see.

* Disclaimer: Image owned by Zynga. This site is not owned by Zynga. This site is not the owner of the intellectual property.