Portuguese Shrimp Mozambique

Mozambique and Southern African foods are largely influenced by the wonderful spices and flavors of Portugal, and Shrimp Mozambique is one of the more popular Portuguese style seafood dishes that have become a home favourite. This is also one of my personal favourite seafood dishes.
Credit goes to Chop Onions Boil Water for this wonderful recipe.

Shrimp Mozambique
15 to 20 saffron threads
1/4 cup of water
1/4 cup of Portuguese olive oil
2 lbs. shrimp (uncooked, shell on)
10 cloves of garlic (coarsely chopped)
1/2 bottle dry white wine (Portuguese vinho verde is EXCELLENT for this dish)
1 tsp. colorau (colorau is Portuguese paprika. You can substitute sweet Spanish paprika or regular paprika in that order)
2 Tbs hot crushed pepper (the red wet kind)
How ever many dashes of Portuguese piri-piri you like (recipe below) or your favorite red hot sauce (Frank's© or Tabasco©).
2-3 Goya® seasoning packets (seafood type)
Juice from one lemon
1 stick of butter
1/2 cup fresh parsley (chopped, loosely packed)
Salt and pepper to taste
A good crusty bread or some rice

Put the saffron in the water and let steep overnight.

Place a deep saucepan on medium-high heat, when the pan warms, add the olive oil. When oil begins to shimmer add the shrimp and sauté until they just turn pink.

Remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon and keep the juices and oil in the pan. Put the shrimp aside and keep them warm.

Add the garlic to the pan and sauté for 2-3 minutes. DO NOT BROWN OR BURN THE GARLIC IT WILL GET BITTER.

Add the saffron and water, wine, paprika, crushed pepper, hot sauce, Goya seasoning and lemon juice. Bring this mixture to a boil, adjust to a lively simmer and allow it to reduce and thicken slightly.

Return the shrimp to the pan and continue simmering, stirring frequently for about 2-3 minutes.

Add the butter to the pan stirring frequently. Once butter melts, stir one more time, remove from heat and adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish well with chopped parsley and serve over rice or by itself with a good crusty bread for dipping in the sauce which you will want to do again and again and again.

Piri-Piri Sauce

2 to 6 hot chili peppers (like Thai bird's eye or Szechuan peppers)*
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 tsp of coarse sea salt
1 cup Portuguese olive oil
1/3 cup cider vinegar

De-stem but do not de-seed the peppers and then chop them coarsely (Wash your hands afterward and be careful not to touch your eyes fool!).

Combine the chopped peppers, red pepper flakes, salt, oil and vinegar in a bowl and mix together well. Then transfer to a suitable vinegar dispenser jar and allow to steep for a day or two.

Shake well before use.

Piri-Piri is great on a lot of different foods. Even shrimp that has been simply sauteed, broiled or boiled.
*If you want a mild sauce use less, if you want a fiery sauce use more.

On baking and cake making!

The one thing I take pride in is making my kids birthday cakes every year! The only problem is that I think big. A sheet cake is just not going to cut it in my books and I tend to make cakes that will feed 60 people or more. The other thing is that while when it comes to the design I am a perfectionist I am also impatient and my skills are all self taught and not that wonderful. There are times when I am in the middle of a cake process and I think that this time it really is not going to come together. At the end of the day though once the design elements are added it comes pretty ok and while I might not be 100% happy I am always happy that I got to make another cake for my kids even though it took a week of pulling my hair out and hours of work and stress I could have saved myself from. It is always worth it!

Here are a few of the cakes I have loved and hated over the years. Most were for me but 1 or 2 were for friends.

Tyler's second birthday baby einstein catterpillar. The first cake I ever made. each segment is a different flavor cake.

Tyler's 5th birthday Mickey mouse sillhoutte in chocolate. Kai-lee got the same cake in strawberry that year. pink icing with sliced marshmallow polka dots. They were both in love with Mickey Mouse clubhouse. Unfortunately I cannot find a pic of Kai-lee's cake.

Kai-lee's second birthday was a My Little Pony cake. This was one of my more disastrous forays into frosting :) but it tasted great :) There is nothing like fresh strawberry puree to make an awesome cake.

This was a caked I made for my friend Lina before I learned the value of working with a nice cold cake that has been trimmed to prevent slidage :) I still loved this cake though and I intend to attempt it again. The white chocolate with the lemon cake and fresh berries was yummy.
A cake I made for my friend Jenny's son's third birthday. This cake proves that no matter how bad you are at working with buttercream if you can add enough window dressing you can make anything look good :)

The pig up close right after I made him.

Kai-lee's 5th birthday cake! I honestly thought this one would never come together but somehow it did.

The one that almost did not make it! Disaster struck the the top tier pretty much fell apart! This is a testament to the fact that buttercream makes great glue. Even if the cake does look a tad dishevelled at the end of the day.

Magnolia Bakery Vanilla Cupcakes and 4th of July

This is the cupcake recipe the famous Magnolia Bakery uses and it has been the recipe I have used for the last few years too. It makes a delicious cupcake and I have used it as a base recipe for all sorts of yummy modifications.

For 4th of July a couple years ago I made a cupcake flag with magnolia cucpcakes with a little variation for each color of the flag. The red cupcakes were strawberry and I added fresh strawberry into the cupcake recipe and the buttercream. The Blue were lemon and I just added some lemon extract, a dash of lemon juice and some lemon zest to the batter and buttercream recipe and the White were actually the Magnolia red velvet recipe with a fresh cream filling and a creamcheese buttercream and fresh cream whip recipe I make. If you would like more details on the buttercream and the variations I use please let me know with a lil comment :)




  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Vanilla Buttercream, recipe follows


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line 2 (1/2 cup-12 capacity) muffin tins with cupcake papers.

In a small bowl, combine the flours. Set aside.

In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not over beat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended. Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about 3/4 full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.

Cool the cupcakes in tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

Milk Tart

Milk Tart or Melk Tert is one of my very favourite South African recipes. It is very easy and simple to make and it is very cheap requiring very little beyond the basic ingredients most of us have in our cupboards anyway. As a dessert goes it is actually pretty low calorie and you could even go the extra mile by substituting skim milk and a sugar substitute.
This is my 5 year daughters absolute favourite dessert and she asks for it all the time.
I like to buy the 9 inch short bread ready made crusts for these. 1 batch will fill a 9 inch all the way to the rim leaving only a tiny space which is the correct pour for a milk tart.


4 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon butter
2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  1. In a large saucepan, combine milk, vanilla extract, and 1 tablespoon butter or margarine. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then remove from burner.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together 2 1/2 tablespoons flour, cornstarch, and 1/2 cup sugar. Add beaten eggs to sugar mixture and whisk until smooth. Slowly whisk mixture into milk. Return pan to heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 5 minutes. Pour mixture into pastry shell. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Chill at least 2-4 hours before serving.
Once you add the mixture to the milk make sure you keep a constant stir. I prefer to use a whisk at this stage. Also lower the heat as soon as it starts to thicken to prevent your mixture from burning.


Koeksisters are a traditionally South African decadent little treat. The ginger in the syrup adds a special little zing to this crisp and cold sinfully sweet treat.

The koeksister syrup:

    · 4 cups sugar · 1 cup water · 1 tsp cream of tartar · ½ tsp tartaric acid · 1 tsp vanilla essence or 1 tsp grated orange rind or 1 tsp ground cinnamon or 1/3 tsp ground ginger
    Add the dry ingredients to the water and bring the mixture to the boil. Allow it to simmer for 10 minutes or until syrupy. Set the syrup aside to cool. It is advisable to make the syrup first and to leave it in the fridge overnight. The koeksister batter:
      · 1 egg · 2 cups flour · 6 tbsp milk · 6 tbsp margarine or butter · 2 tsp baking powder · 1 tsp salt
    Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a mixing bowl. Cut or rub the margarine or butter into the dry ingredients. Beat an egg thoroughly and add it to the milk. Add this to the flour mixture, taking care to handle as little as possible. Refrigerate the dough for at least one hour. Roll out the dough to a thickness of ¼ inch. Cut into strips that are approximately 31/2 inches long and 1 inch wide. Cut each strip into three lengthways, leaving one side uncut, and plait the pieces, pressing the cut ends together firmly. Pre-heat vegetable oil in a deep pan and remove half of the syrup from the fridge. Deep-fry the koeksisters in the oil until golden brown. Drain them for a few seconds on absorbent paper. Dip the koeksisters into the cold syrup, for a few seconds, whilst they are still hot. This will seal the syrup outside and leave the inside of the koeksister dry in contrast. The syrup will gradually become hot, so when you have done about half of the koeksisters take the remaining syrup from the fridge and use this for the balance of the koeksisters.