All posts by Vanilla Zulu

Father’s Day Pancake Ideas!

Home made buttermilk maple pancake

250ml buttermilk or milk
1 egg
50ml maple syrup
250g gluten free/plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
10g butter, melted

Place all ingredients into a large bowl and then whisk together until smooth and lump free.

Use small ladle to measure out the pancakes into a hot and greased frying pan.

Serve stacked up in the centre of a bowl with one of the following toppings!

Is your dad a ‘sweet’ or a ‘savoury’ kind of guy?


Maple cream

Mix 50ml maple syrup with 50ml cream and stir. Serve poured over the pancake stack and then serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a rosette of whipped cream.

Sprinkle with 10g pistachio and cinnamon gravel and 5 raspberries

Peanut butter and banana with salted caramel

Mix 2 tablespoons of peanut butter to a paste with about 3 tablespoons heated cream so that it thins down.

Now slice up one banana and top the pancake stack with the peanut butter sauce, banana and finally the salted caramel.

For the salted caramel put 1 tablespoon brown sugar and 2 tablespoons butter into a saucepan and heat until the sugar dissolves.  Then heat until it’s bubbling and fragrant and then sprinkle with a pinch or more of flake salt.


Mushrooms, parmesan and chorizo

Haloumi, bacon and grilled tomato

Hard Core Carnivore Pancake:  serve crispy bacon, pancetta and prosciutto, sausages and chorizo on your pancake with a tomato chutney to give dad the ultimate Hard Core Carnivore pancake!


Father’s Day Eggs for Breakfast Ideas!

Eggs are always a popular choice for breakfast. I have two sauces here for you to try. I also have an easy Brioche recipe coming soon.!
Father’s Day is soon approaching!

I have some wonderful inspiration for making dad feel extra special!  They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach so let’s take the easy way to making you his favourite child this Father’s Day!


  • 3 tablesppons white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 2 shallots finely chopped
  • pinch freshly ground white pepper
  • 225g very cold butter diced



  • 175g butter
  • 30ml water
  • 3 egg yolks ONLY
  • pinch salt
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 15 ml lemon juice





Boil the wine vinegar, shallots, salt and pepper in a pan until there is only about 1 tablespoon of liquid left. Now whisk in the butter (reduce the heat of the stovetop) dice by dice, so that they soften and thicken the sauce rather than MELT, so remove the pan from the heat and maintain the correct temperature along the way. Keep this sauce warm, don’t let it melt as it will become oily! Keep it warm not hot!

Serve with poached fish, steak, vegetables and more!

Once you have mastered this let’s try a Sauce Hollandaise!



This sauce is best served IMMEDIATELY after it is made, you can keep the sauce warm for a short time over a bain marie if necessary.

Melt the butter over a low heat and clarify it by removing the foaming milk solids and only using the ‘yellow oil’ that remains. Let the clarified butter cool down to ‘warm’.

In a small saucepan whisk the water and the eggs yolks, seasoned with the salt and pepper until light and fluffy. Set the pan over a low heat or over the bain marie and whisk until the egg is at ribbon state, or leaves a trail at the base
of the pan. Now turn off the heat and slowly whisk in the butter very slowly making sure it does not curdle. When all the butter has been added stir in the lemon juice and adjust the seasoning.


Saffron, lime and chili infused butternut broth with creamy chive and feta dollop

Nothing is more satisfying than a healthy and nutritious bowl of fabulous pumpkin or butternut soup to warm the cockles of your heart.   Here’s a really easy and very sexy soup for you to try.  It’s all about adding a delicious dollop of creamy chive and feta for some texture, flavour and culinary bling.

Now not everyone can get their hands on saffron so do not fear, I have accounted for that in the recipe.  Read on fabulous foodie.


Saffron, lime and chili infused butternut broth with creamy chive and feta dollop                                 


Serves 6-8


2 teaspoons butter or olive oil

2 medium onions chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 good pinches saffron or use 1 teaspoon turmeric powder instead

600g -1 kg butternut, sweet potato or pumpkin cubed into 1 or 2 cm cubes (perfect way to use leftovers)

2 litres good chicken or vegetable stock

Salt and pepper to season

Zest of one lime

1 small chili crushed (or use more if you like!)

2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese or use mature cheddar (optional)

80 – 100 ml fresh cream

100 g Danish style feta mixed to a paste with 1 bunch chives or spring onions, finely chopped. Alternatively use Greek feta blended with a few tablespoons of cream until smooth!




Fry the onions in the oil or butter with the garlic until just soft. Now add the saffron or turmeric and finely cubed butternut as well as the stock. Allow to come to the boil and cook for about 15 -25 minutes until the butternut is soft,  Now add the zest and the chilli as well as the fresh cream. Remove from heat and blend with a stick blender and blend until ridiculously velvety and smooth.  If this is too thick for your liking add some more stock and thin it down.

When you serve simply garnish with dollops of the feta and chives, and even some fried shallots for crunch!

Six Week Chef Skills Course

Six week chef skills course – culinary tuition

Brisbane’s only comprehensive six week Chef Skills Course runs six consecutive Mondays from 6-9 pm. Learn every skill you need to know to feel like the master of your kitchen. Pastry, chocolate & sugar work, knife skills and more!

Chefs Skills Course runs six consecutive Monday nights from 6-9pm. Suitable for all skill levels from beginners to advanced, this is a hands on, interactive cookery course designed for those with a passion for cooking but perhaps lacking the necessary skills or confidence to absolutely shine!
We should not be spending hours slaving away in the kitchen, cooking can be fun, creative, fulfilling and rewarding. We will prepare show stopping meals based on the fundamentals of essential cookery techniques but you will learn how to simplify and adapt these skills to make meals which take minimal time or effort to prepare! The focus is on enjoying the experience, gaining confidence, and learning essential cooking and presentation techniques.

Discover the art of:

  • Bread-making – focaccia, pizza, rolls, loaves, stuffed breads, rolls, pita and naan bread.
  • Sauces and Emulsions
  • Reductions
  • Flambés
  • Deboning and trussing
  • Preparing the perfect steak – rare, medium rare, medium perfectly every time
  • Overview of meat and fish cuts
  • Specialized fruit and vegetable cuts
  • Curing and preserving
  • Pasta Making: All types
  • Presentation skills.
  • Garnishes and decorations
  • Knife and carving skills
  • Chocolate work
  • Sugar work
  • Ice cream
  • Pastry work

ONLY $795……

NOTE: You MUST book in on week one of the course, we cannot allow attendees to commence the course on any of the other weeks!  The week 1 will be highlighted in blue on the calender!

More information: The course consists of 6 lessons which run once a week over a 6 week period. Full payment of $795 or a 50% deposit will secure your place on the course. The full amount is due on the first night of the course. You are welcome to book with friends or family. Please note the price cannot be discounted due to non-attendance, so should a lesson be missed for any reason, you may make it up another time provided we are advised. Classes are limited to 16 people to ensure participants get the most out of the course. Places are limited…book soon to avoid disappointment! Upcoming courses are displayed on our calendar or email us

Purple Carrot Cake for Mum

I’m so excited!   In exactly one week my mum will fly in from South Africa to spend 9 glorious weeks with me and her beloved grandson’s.

It has been two years since we last saw each other and although we Skype and call and Whatsapp all the time, nothing can beat a cup of tea and a chat over a plate of something decadent, to really appreciate mother and daughter time TOGETHER!

My mother has always been a very keen and accomplished baker.  We used to live miles and miles away from the closest tiny towns so our ‘entertainment’ was not going to a malls and movies or restaurants as there simply weren’t any around.  No, our entertainment was ripping out recipes out of magazines and sticking them into our recipe folder.  Or pouring over recipe books booked out from the library (no google search in those days lol)

We also grew most of our own vegetables and produce so there were always fresh eggs, fruit and ridiculously good milk from our cows.  We used to have a stainless steel milk separator which would spin off the rich and delectably thick cream either to be used on scones, churned into butter, or baked into cakes and cookies.

Oh the sweet memories!

Carrot cake was always a firm favourite, and although I’ve adapted this to be a little more glamorous essentially it’s just a jolly fabulous carrot cake!


Beat together

185g softened butter with 3/4 cup brown sugar in a mixer until light and fluffy, and until the sugar is dissolved.

Add 5 ml Vanilla Extract or Paste and 2 eggs and mix together.

Grate 2 medium sized purple carrots, you can use normal carrots here if you wish, into the mixture.  Sieve in 1 cup self raising flour and 1/2 a teaspoon EACH of cinnamon, mixed spice or ras el hanout, and also 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda and 1 cup of pecans and/or pistachios. Mix together until combined and then pour into a greased cake or loaf tin.  Bake in a pre-heated oven of 170c for about 20-25 minutes until the cake is cooked, test with a skewer like they do in the movies lol!

Allow to cool.  While the cake is cooling you can whip up this delicious but ridiculously easy icing!

Take 1 small tub ricotta or cream cheese and into it add 2 tablespoons icing mixture, about 2 ml vanilla paste and the juice and zest of one lime.  Mix well and then dollop this onto the cake!  I cut the cake into portions first and arranged them on a platter before decorating each square with a dollop of the sweetened ricotta and a gorgeous little organic rose bud (available from my online store or at your local Indian spice shop)

Enjoy and let me know what you think!

Vanilla Zulus Telephone Pudding

Living away from my home country, I have found myself not only longing for my mother but for my precious aunts and cousins spread over the globe.  We haven’t seen each other in years as many of us fled South Africa and are now scattered all over the world, but from time to time we will drop each other a line and we always know we are missed and loved.

I am lucky to have a wonderful set of aunts that have not only contributed to my upbringing, but continue to be a valuable support, strength and bring happiness to me.

We all bear a slight resemblance to each other as I suppose most families do, but what really connects us is food.  A ridiculously sweet tooth unites us.  We have always celebrated, swopped, discussed and enjoyed sweet treats at family gatherings, get togethers and when we are feeling homesick and missing each other.

We also have a secret to reveal.  A very very old and dear family recipe that has been passed for generations from one sweet tooth to the next.  We all have a copy of this recipe in our well-worn recipe folders and will often get a desperate call from a family member or a guest that has attended, BEGGING for the recipe.

Thus this decadent and delicious and world famous recipe is known as TELEPHONE PUDDING.  Yes, telephone pudding.  Because, as I said,  you are guaranteed to get a phone call from a guest or a relative begging for the recipe over the phone once they have tried it.  It remains, to date, my favourite all time dessert.

Not only does it conjure up precious memories of family get togethers and of my childhood, but it is now my quick-fix for any homesickness that I feel!

Perhaps we should re-name it EMAIL PUDDING or FACEBOOK PUDDING but either way I have decided to share it with you and spread the love.


With much love from my family to yours xxx

Telephone Pudding

This dessert is also a must for winter! As discussed, this is  called telephone pudding in my family because the recipe is usually given over the phone! It is essentially a self-saucing ginger sponge…heavenly xxx

375 ml plain flour, sifted

1 teaspoon baking powder and 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda dissolved in a 250 ml cup of milk

250 ml white sugar

1 cup almonds or pecans blended to resemble breadcrumbs (optional, feel free to omit)

125 ml soft or just melted butter

1 tsp powdered ginger

1 egg

2 Tablespoons apricot jam

Pinch of salt


250 ml cup of white sugar dissolved in 500 ml cups of boiling water


Beat the sugar and the butter together until light and fluffy and then add the egg. Mix until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and mix through. Spoon into a greased baking dish. Now make the sauce by mixing the sugar and the boiling water together. Use the back of a spoon to pour over the batter….DO NOT MIX.

Bake in a pre-heated oven of 160 c for 25-30 minutes depending on how deep your baking dish is. Check for doneness and then serve hot and sticky with a big dollop of whipped cream.

Family friendly comfort food!

MOTHER’S DAY Pumpkin, Parsley & Parmesan Scones

These are not just ANY old scones.  Behold…these are my old faithful’s.  They have never let me down, never not worked, and they are magnificently quick.

Best part is  you don’t need a scale, you don’t need to fuss…simply mix and bake!

I have ‘blinged’ up the humble scone, I think it was well overdue for a makeover don’t you? To add colour, personality and flavor I have added grated pumpkin or you could use carrot, zucchini or butternut instead! That teamed with the herbs and the sexy ricotta spread will give your next scone-serving session guaranteed ‘ooh’s and aah’s’ …

Pumpkin, parsley and Parmesan Scones
  • 2 cups plain flour sifted = 500 ml
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder sifted
  • 2 pinches salt
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese (or cheddar)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped chives or parsley
  • 2 eggs beaten – place in a 250 ml cup measure, top to the 250 ml mark with milk/ricotta/sour cream/sour milk or even plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin, butternut, zucchini or carrot finely grated – place in a bowl with 125g grated or diced butter and ‘melt’ in the microwave for about a minute, this will melt the butter and soften the vegetable!


  1. Mix all the ingredients together until a nice thick batter is formed, try not to over mix as these will become tough if over handled! Less is more in this case.
  2. You can either drop tablespoons of the mixture into greased and floured muffin tins, paper cups, terracotta pots or just dollop onto a baking sheet OR with floured hands shape the dough into a square with your hands and simply cut into 9 squares.
  3. Place squares on baking tray.
  4. Bake at 180 c for about 15 minutes until golden brown and cooked.
  5. Check for doneness. Serve with this delicious spread or just some lovely butter.
Ricotta parsley and pepper dollop
  • 125g light ricotta
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon freshly chopped parsley
  • Lots of black freshly ground pepper/pink pepper
  • 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese grated

Happy Cooking, and Happy Mother’s Day to all of us fabulous mum’s out there!

One a penny, two a penny…hot cross ducks!


Vanilla Zulu’s hot cross ducks

Of course, you can just make standard buns, but how cute are these for the kids!

These are easy to make and delicious and tasty too!

  • 500g flour
  • 80g soft or grated butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 level tablespoon Ras el Hanout or mixed spice or cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 10g instant dry yeast
  • Half a cup choc chips or raisins
  • 150ml warm milk
  • 100ml warm water

Place the warm milk and water into jug and add the yeast, sugar and 1 tablespoon of the flour.  Stir and set aside and allow to sponge for about 15 minutes.  This is to check that your yeast is active, it should start foaming on the top of the liquid!  Now place all your ingredients into your mixer which has been fitted with the dough hook or into a large bowl if you are doing this by hand. Mix together and then knead for at least 5-8 minutes until smooth, if you are doing this by hand and the dough is sticky simply dust with flour and keep kneading.


When smooth place in a greased bowl or bag and allow to prove for twenty minutes. The dough must double in size, so you may need longer on a cooler day!


Once proved place on a floured surface and divide and roll into 12 balls and place on a greased baking sheet.


Now to make the Crosses!


80g flour 3 tablespoons milk 1 tablespoon vegetable oil


Mix to a smooth dough ball and then roll out on a floured surface.


Cut out long thin strips and then place on top of the buns, you will need to brush with a little milk to help stick them down.



I decided to try the duckling idea!



Now allow proving for a second time for about twenty minutes. Brush with a little more milk, not too much. Bake in a pre-heated oven and bake for 12-15 minutes. Remove from heat and then brush with maple syrup, golden syrup or honey! Yum!

Don’t you feel so proud of yourself!


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