On the 22nd of October, The Novice, The Pot and The Pantry celebrated its first birthday! It’s been a wild and wonderful first year of food blogging – a year in which I’ve burned more fingers than I can count on one hand (heh heh), flopped more dishes than I’m proud of, photographed more food than I ever thought I would in my lifetime, and learned more lessons than I could put into practice.
To commemorate this special occasion, I’ve made a list of my 12 favourite recipes to date – one for every month I’ve been at this gig! These recipes are a mix of special dishes I’ve been cooking for years, recipes that I’ve reworked and revamped, and new culinary delights I’ve created in the past year.
I’ll go on record to say I think this could be the best apple crumble on this vast planet we call our home. Just ask any one of my friends or family. I’ve seen my little sister – who weighs about 40 kgs – have three helpings in a single sitting. I’ve seen friends fight over the last slice. And I’ve seen my family eat it for pudding after I dropped it on Christmas morning and it fell face-down on the floor. Get out your cake tin and bake this baby right now.
I didn’t even know overnight oats were a thing until I started food blogging, and now I’m slightly obsessed with them. This recipe uses fresh blueberries, softened cream cheese and crushed vanilla biscuits, so it really does taste like the oat-version of blueberry cheesecake! It’s quick to put together and saves you time in the morning, so you can have that extra ten minutes in bed.
Every baker needs a trusty banana bread recipe, and this is mine. It’s adapted from my very best friend’s granny’s recipe, with my own tweaks added here and there. If it’s good enough for a granny then it’s good enough for me, right? It’s a super simple, no-frills recipe that’s big on the banana flavour, and small on the fancy schmancy stuff.
I spent most of my life making hot chocolate in the microwave, until one day I decided to spice things up by making it on the stove-top. I have not looked back since. The stove-top method takes slightly longer, but the end result of thick and creamy hot chocolate makes it worth it. And my secret ingredient? A teaspoon of diluted cornstarch!
This is a new recipe that I recently created for NutriStart – a South African cereal brand with a massive and scarily delicious range of instant oats, porridge, muesli and granola. The recipe uses their Chocolate Smooth cereal and includes your choice of fresh mixed berries, making it a tasty, healthy and locally-lekker breakfast treat.
This is one of Tom’s all-time favourite meals, and when we were still living in South Africa he would request “nutty butty curry” at least once a week in the winter time. It uses fresh and nutritious ingredients like garlic, ginger, chili, coriander, yoghurt, peanut butter and cashew nuts, and takes about 15 minutes from start to finish. It’s warm, it’s toasty, and it’s deliciously creamy.
Shortbread is one of my favourite types of biscuits. It’s high up there on the list alongside choc-chip, chunky peanut butter, and chocolate-bottom Digestive biscuits. I’ve been using this recipe for years and it’s never failed me. The biscuits always come out with a crunchy texture and a buttery, melt-in-your-mouth flavour. They also make a fantastic Christmas gift idea … if you manage to not devour them all yourself.
Peanut butter and jam have been one of my favourite flavour combinations since I was a kid. My mom would make me peanut butter and jam sandwiches on white bread to take to school, and that nostalgic taste has stayed with me forever. These oats taste just like my childhood, which is why it’s one of my favourite meals to have for breakfast.
So nice, they named it twice. Then in this case, it should be Roast Veg Mediterranean Roast Veg Mediterranean couscous. Hah, moving along. I always enjoy cooking this dish for dinner because it’s so quick and easy, it uses some of my favourite fresh ingredients, and it’s great to customise depending on what I’m in the mood for that day.
This crouton recipe is perfect for that half a baguette that’s been sitting in your bread bin for the past four days, getting staler than your sense of humour by the minute. It’s a great way to reduce on waste, it’s ridiculously easy to make, and it uses tons of garlic and parmesan – yummy! They make a tasty topping for a salad, a quick and yummy snack, or add a crunchy bite to your soup.
As a kid, I couldn’t stand sweet potato – it was something about the texture and taste that I found off-putting. I’m so glad I grew up and so did my tastebuds! I love orange sweet potatoes because they’re pretty to look at, they bring a pop of colour to your plate, and they’re the perfect mix of salty-sweet. These are baked rather than fried, making them a healthy side to your dinner or a nutritious afternoon snack.
What do you do when you win six boxes of tea at a local blogging event? You make iced tea, of course, and lots of it! This lemon and peach iced tea is very new to the blog but it’s one of my favourite drinks to make because it’s a super simple cocktail that you can make in a big batch – perfect for parties or drinking on your lonesome. It’s fruity and refreshing, with a punch of vodka and rum to make it more fun.
Thanks for sticking with me thus far, dear reader, and here’s to many more baking fails, burned fingers, lessons learned, and new favourite recipes!