We love kitchen gadgets around here, even if they are just for kids in the kitchen, so we were excited to try the ChillFactor Frozen Milkshake Maker – a cup with a handle and blades to turn any milky drink into a milkshake in just minutes.The Milkshake Maker consists of five parts – the cup, the cooling pouch, the lid and blades and the washer (to prevent leaks). There’s also a spoon – slash – straw to drink or eat with.
Assembly is simple. Just pop the cooling bag inside, place the washer above and screw the lid with the blades in place. Pop the Milkshake Maker in the freezer for 4 – 6 hours, or overnight, and you’re good to go.
When you’re ready to make your first milkshake, simply open it up, pour the milk in, and close it up again. Stir for about 30 seconds, then – making sure the straw lid is closed – shake it a little. Apparently, this makes it more bubbly. Then you can spin it around for another minute or so, and you’re ready to eat!
Our favourite “recipe” so far is, unsurprisingly, a chocolate milkshake:
Remove the ChillFactor Milkshake Maker from the freezer. Pour in a cup of milk, and quickly add the cocoa powder and icing sugar.
Close the lid with the blades in place and rotate for 30 seconds.
Make sure the straw hole is closed, and shake for 20 seconds.
Rotate again for another 60 - 90 seconds (although I find that doing it for less makes more of an ice cream, which we like too.)
Remove the blades, insert the straw, and enjoy!
I think this milkshake maker is a huge improvement on the slushie maker we already have – it’s easier to do and I like the end result better too – although I haven’t tried it with non-dairy products.
If I could have an improvement on it, I’d want to be able to just freeze the cooling pouch to save space in the freezer, but I’m not sure if that would work – there’s nothing on the packaging to say you can’t but I suspect it could damage it, so maybe we’ll not try it.
Overall, the ChillFactor Milkshake Maker is a fun bit of kit that the kids love to get involved with. It may be making it’s way to the cupboard now for the next few months, but will be pulled back into service as soon as spring arrives again.
If you want to truly torture a South African expat* ask them about Prego Rolls.
For a moment you’ll see a memory pass across their eyes. And if you were so inclined you could measure their spit production, because for most of us, there’ll be an immediate saliva release – drooling – in anticipation of something good. It’s practically Pavlovian .
The memory will most likely include Saturday mornings heading down to Pick n Pay to buy groceries, and stopping outside to pick up a Prego Roll from someone making them (and possibly pancakes) for a school, church or youth group fund raiser. Or just a family side business. Or if you weren’t a Saturday shopper, you’d find someone at the local fete selling them. Even our local Tuis Neiwerheid (popular home industries shops) used to specially make them on a Saturday.
I’ve tried to make my own Prego Rolls over the many, many years I’ve been in the UK, but it’s never quite the same. I think you need that dry sand smell, baking sun on your back and maybe a Savannah to wash it all down with to completely complete the experience. Well. You do the best you can with what you have.
A lot of people don’t know this, but South Africa has quite a strong Portuguese influence. In school we were taught that Jan van Riebeeck ‘founded’ South Africa in 1652 – which I always took to mean he discovered it. It was only later that I realised that actually the first ‘discoverer’ of South Africa was Bartolomeu Dias – a Portuguese explorer, all the way back in 1488.
Remember this: “In 1652, het die wind gewaai, toe kom ek met my skippie in by Tafelbaai. Die wind het so gewaai, ons was almal op ‘n klomp. En so kry hy die naam die Kaap van Storms.”
So why the history lesson? Well, most people have eaten or at least seen a Nando’s restaurant at some point. Did you know that it was a chain started in South Africa? By a Portuguese South African. It is to South African food what curry is to British food! People should know this! **
Prego Rolls are Portuguese Rolls – Carcaças Rápidas – dusted in flour, filled with red wine and garlic marinated flash fried steaks, topped with piri piri sauce – or not, and aragula (rocket) – or not. It all depends on who is making and who is eating. Hmmm.. drooling, yep, drooling here.
A few years ago I was living temporarily in Australia, and trying to convince a friend that she needed a Thermomix®. Her husband, Jimmy, was very against it, and highly disbelieving when I told him he could even make Portuguese Rolls in it. (Jimmy is from Mozambique. His mother lives with them, and speaks only Portuguese). Jimmy didn’t believe I could make the rolls in the Thermomix®, so when we had a New Year’s picnic a few weeks later, I took along a basket of fresh Portuguese Rolls (those in the picture). Jimmy couldn’t believe I’d made them in the Thermomix®. I did see him have two! (Jenny and Jimmy now own a Thermomix®!) So, how do you make these delicious, soft, crusty, light and fluffy Portuguese Rolls?
I’ve been making muffins a lot lately, because they’re a really easy way to fill the kids up when they’re hungry thirty-seven million times.a.day. They are pretty quick to make while I’m making breakfast, and then they can snack for the rest of the morning. Of course these have too much sugar for that to be a sustainable idea, but we’re calling it a Christmas treat.
These are really only egg-free because I ran out, but the banana binds it together. If you want to use egg, substitute the banana for two eggs.
These have dried cranberries in, but you can substitute that as you wish – raisins or choc chips, both work well.
With the banana in these do have a little bit of a banana taste, but chocolate and banana work well anyway.
Adjust the Nutella, or home made Nutella, for more or less chocolatey centres.
Recipe type: Treats, Snacks, Deserts
180g self raising flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
80g oil (not olive)
Preheat oven to 180C
Prepare your muffin pans
Add all the ingredients except Nutella and mix at speed 5 for 10 - 15 seconds to make sure it's all blended.
Spoon into muffin cases, and drop a little less than a full tablespoon of Nutella into each muffin case.
Bake for 30 minutes to 45 mins, sticking a skewer in every 10 minutes after 20 minutes till it comes out clean.The size of your muffin tray is going to determine how long these takes, hence the variable time.
Remove from muffin trays onto a wire rack, and leave to cool.
Our family had some pretty amazing travel plans for this year, and if things hadn’t gone as they did, we’d be setting off from Sintra near Lisbon in Portugal roundabout now, for Spain. One of the things I remember from a previous visit to Portugal is Pastel de Nata – Custard Tarts – which are delicious sweet baked custard tarts in a puff pastry shell. If you’re a fan of the Nando’s restaurant chain, you may recognise these as one of the only desert options on the menu, but I’ve never been a fan of them! There’s nothing quite like fresh, home made tarts. It just wins out. No surprises there, I suppose.
I’d like to be all holier-than-though, but I actually bought this puff pastry, because as Lorraine Pascale, James Martin and Jamie Oliver all say – there’s no reason not to! Especially if you buy the all butter pastry. It’s about £1 more than the ‘normal’ one, but it’s so much better, with a much nicer taste and no bitter aftertaste. It’s well worth paying that bit extra.
If you are going to make it, have a look at this easy puff pastry recipefrom Jane at Why Is There Air?
Sprinkle the icing sugar before you’re going to serve, as it will be absorbed and you won’t see it and if you keep adding sugar it becomes terribly sweet. My five year old was the icing sugar distributor in these photos and she was, shall we say, liberal in her application 😉
The cooking time here does not include the cooling time once the custard is cooked before it is baked. Add at least another 30 - 50 minutes depending on your temperature. If you cover the custard with plastic while it's cooling it shouldn't form a skin, but if it does just mix it up - you won't notice it in the final product.
Recipe type: Desert
Cuisine: Portuguese, European
Serves: 12 pies
115g White Sugar
2 Egg Yolks
400g Full Fat Milk
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
300g All Butter Puff Pastry
Weigh out the milk and set aside.
Place the white sugar into the Thermomix® Bowl and mix at Speed 5 / 10 Seconds
Add one egg and two yolks to the bowl. (don't bang against the Thermomix® bowl as that tends to upset the scales)
Add 10g cornflour and mix it all together, Speed 5 / 2 Seconds
Set the Thermomix® to 90C/Speed 5/ 7 minutes and start it running
Add the milk slowly in a steady stream - it should take about 30 seconds to add.
When it's finished, add the vanilla extract and do a quick speed 5/ 1 second to mix it in.
Remove the lid and leave to cool.
If you're making the pastry, now's a good time to do that. Role out the pastry and use a cutter to cut 12 circles big enough to cover your muffin pans.
Spray the pans, add the pastry and press down to make the 'cases'.
Once the custard is cooled all the way down, heat the oven to about 180C
Add a tablespoon or two of the custard to each muffin case - don't fill it all the way to the top.
Cook for 20 - 25 minutes. The custard will puff up and look pillowy and like it's going to overflow but when you take it out of the oven it'll collapse down again.
Bake until the tops are brown - I don't like them blackened, but I'll leave it to your personal preferences on that.
Remove from the oven and set aside to cool down thoroughly. They can be eaten warm, but are just as delicious cold.
It’s a dull and dreary morning here on the Isle of Wight. It’s raining and I can barely make out the line between the sky and the ocean. Job prospects for my husband are still thin on the ground and I am feeling the pressure of being sole breadwinner for the family.
I need a pick me up, but a true pick me up, not something that’s going to spike my blood sugar and crash me down further.
Well, this recipe might be a false economy, since dairy blocks the absorption of flavenoids (or something like that) meaning the full effect of the cacao nibs won’t be felt, but it tastes good and after drinking this, the whole family managed to get out of bed and we’ll be off for a stroll on the beach as soon as the rain stops.
There’s a lot of room for movement on this recipe. I will try it with almond milk, or coconut milk next, and maybe with rapadura or honey for sweetening. But for today, this was perfect. Delicious, smooth, And a real lift to the mood.
If I didn’t have to share it with the kids, I’d probably add a pinch of cayenne pepper too, like a Mexican hot chocolate, with it’s aphrodisiac qualities… hmmm… save that for a rainy day when the children have left home 😉