Mango Torte

I guess I should have posted this recipe in the holidays but this is a wonderful summer recipe for any occasion.

mango-torte

Sorry about the mobile phone photo

MANGO TORTE

Ingredients

100g digestive / tennis / marie biscuits crushed
50g melted butter
¼ cup sugar
3 Tbs cornstarch
1 cup evaporated milk
2 egg yolks lightly beaten
1 Tbs butter
1 tsp vanilla essence
4 mangoes sliced
Strawberries halved to decorate (optional)

Method

  1. Combine the crumbed biscuits and melted butter and press into a shallow pie dish and refrigerate.
  2. Mix the sugar and cornstarch in a small saucepan.
  3. Gradually add the evaporated milk and cook over a medium heat, stirring until thick.
  4. Add a heaped tablespoon of the milk mixture to the egg yolks and combine, then place into the saucepan with the remaining milk mixture and cook for a couple of minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla essence.
  6. Place custard mixture into the pie crust and top with the mango slices forming a rose pattern from the middle outwards.
  7. Decorate with strawberries (optional).
  8. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
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Milk Tart (Melktert)

Good old fashioned comforting childhood memories wouldn’t be complete without milk tart.  Fabulous – well, until I had to make 3 different variations to find what I was happy with.  Childhood memories aren’t always that easy to recreate.  Not that the first two attempts weren’t nice, they just weren’t what I wanted.  They lacked the silky smooth texture I craved.  Also, most recipes make two tarts and I only wanted to make one plus I found baking the tart higher than 180°C caused it to crack.  Round three was perfect.

milk-tart

Milk Tart (Melktert)

Ingredients

For the Pastry

2 Tbs butter
2 Tbs sugar
1 egg
¾ cup self raising flour
¼ tsp salt

For the Tart

2 cups milk
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup flour
¼ tsp salt
2 Tbs butter
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 eggs well beaten
Ground cinnamon

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Blitz all the pastry ingredients together in a food processor until they resemble crumbs and spread evenly and press in a 24cm pie dish.
    (The crust can be refrigerated while preparing the tart but I don’t bother)
  3. Heat the milk to just before boiling.
  4. While the milk is heating, combine the sugar, flour and salt together.
  5. Gradually add the heated milk to the dry ingredients and return to the heat.
  6. Cook slowly while stirring until the mixture thickens.
  7. Remove from the heat and add the butter and vanilla.
  8. Cool the mixture slightly and stir through the beaten egg and pour into the pastry crust.
  9. Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.  The center will still be slightly soft and wobbly.
  10. Cool and try only eat one slice. 🙂

Apple Cream Cheese Rose Tarts

I saw a link to these gorgeous looking morsels and just had to make them the same day.  They are worth making with a couple of tweaks.  I will definitely be making these again soon.

apple-rose-puffs

Apple Cream Cheese Rose Tarts

Ingredients

1 apple – I used 2
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp water
1-2 sheets puff pastry – one sheet made 6 tarts (see point 5 of method)
1/4 cup cream cheese – I used full fat softened with a ¼ tsp vanilla essence
3 tbsp sugar – I combined sugar and cinnamon and recommend using more
cinnamon

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Prepare muffins tins with non stick spray.
  3. Halve the apples, scoop out the core and slice thinly.
  4. Combine the apple slices with lemon juice and water in a bowl and microwave for 3 minutes.
  5. Roll out the puff pastry and cut into 6 even strips.  Moving forward I would roll the pastry thinner to make at least 9 slices, possibly even 12.
  6. Spread the cream cheese on each slice of pasty.  Double the quantity for 12 tarts.
  7. Liberally sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the cream cheese.
  8. Arrange the apple slices overlapping each other on one half of the pastry with the top of the apple just above the pastry.
  9. Fold the bottom half of the pastry up over the top and roll up.
  10. Place in prepared muffin tins.
  11. Bake for 40 minutes.  Reduce time accordingly if you roll the pastry thinner.

I served these with homemade custard.  They made a fabulous dessert.

Versatile Marinade

Ever have one of those days when you not sure what flavour you feel like.  This little recipe came about when I opened the cupboard and added a bit of this and a bit of that to make a marinade for chicken portions and decided it would work well with lamb, pork and beef too.

Chicken Marindade

Chicken Marinade

Ingredients

30ml brown sugar
30ml soy sauce
30ml brown spirit vinegar
30ml tomato paste
5ml lime juice
125ml water
2.5ml ground ginger
1ml cayenne pepper or more if you like a kick

Method

  1. Combine all ingredients together.
  2. Marinate protein for minimum 1 hour.
  3. Braai (barbecue) or roast protein basting with the marinade.
  4. Reduce marinade if necessary.

 

Chocolate Cheesecake

I saw this recipe in an old edition of the Your Family magazine (April 1997) and thought it quite decadent with all the chocolate, almonds and mascarpone.  It isn’t the cheapest of desserts to make and eating it cold from the fridge wasn’t that great.  It was however great at room temperature.  Really thought I took pics of it cut but clearly not.  Oops.

Chocolate Cheese Cake

Chocolate Cheese Cake

Ingredients

Base
125g butter, melted
25g castor sugar
100g milk chocolate, melted
50g ground almonds
90g flour, sifted

Filling
500g cream cheese
125g castor sugar
125ml cream
5 XL eggs, separated
400g milk chocolate, melted

Topping
500g Mascarpone cheese
30g icing sugar
5ml vanilla essence
Extra milk chocolate for decorating

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C.
  2. Base – Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in the remaining ingredients and press into the base of a greased 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin.
  4. Filling – Beat the cream cheese, sugar and cream until smooth.  Add the egg yolks and melted chocolate.
  5. Beat the egg whites until still peaks form and fold into the mixture and pour over the base.  Bake for 2 hours and then cool in the oven for an hour.
  6. Topping – Beat the ingredients together and spread over the cooled cheesecake.
  7. Decorate with shavings or grated chocolate.

Pearl Barley

Do you ever have those days where you are looking for something satisfying and hearty to eat but don’t want a protein packed sandwich or the leftovers from the previous evening dinner isn’t what you feel like… Well, pearl barley is a perfect fit for those days and couldn’t be easier to prepare.

Pearl Barley

Pearl Barley

Ingredients

1 large onion sliced
2 large garlic cloves crushed
1 inch piece ginger grated
2 scant teaspoons of dukkah spice
1 cup pearl barley
5 cups chicken stock

Method

  1. Fry the onion in a little olive oil until tender.
  2. Add the garlic, ginger and dukkah spice and fry for one minute.
  3. Add the barley and chicken stock, bring to a gentle boil and simmer for approximately 45 minutes until the barley is tender and the liquid has been absorbed.

 

Grilled Sweetcorn with Sweet Chilli, Coriander & Lime (The Cake the Buddha Ate)

This is the first recipe I tried from my by birthday book, The Cake the Buddha Ate and it is divine!  An absolute must make!  Pete and I  did the corn on the braai  but you could easily grill them in the oven too.

sweet chilli coriander corn

Ready to go on the braai for 5 minutes

Grilled Sweetcorn with Sweet Chilli, Coriander & Lime

Ingredients

1kg sweetcorn ± 6
50g butter
¼ cup olive oil
½ tsp cumin seeds, bruised, crushed
½ tsp coriander seeds
¼ cup sweet chilli sauce
1 tbsp garlic, crushed
1 tbsp lime juice – you could substitute with lemon
½ cup fresh coriander, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Precook the sweetcorn in the microwave for 5 to 7 minutes until tender alternatively boil in water for ±15 minutes.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan with the oil.
  3. Add the spices and sweet chilli sauce and bring to the boil.
  4. Add the garlic and cook while stirring for 5 minutes until thick.
  5. Add the lime juice and chopped coriander and add seasoning if required.
  6. Pour the sauce over the sweetcorn and braai for 5 minutes turning while basting with the sauce.
  7. Alternatively place in a preheated oven at 220°C and place on the highest rack in the oven.  Turn the mielies when they turn brown and grill to finish off.

Green Bean Vinaigrette

In keeping with my tradition of quick and easy recipes, this is another qualifier.  I can quite comfortably polish off all the beans by myself in one sitting.  It does help that Pete says they are squeaky and steers clear of them. 🙂  If you want to get fancy, you could throw a few toasted flaked almonds over the top.

Green Bean Vinaigarette 1

Green Bean Vinaigrette

Ingredients

350g fresh green beans
45ml olive oil
30ml red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove crushed
¼ tsp brown sugar
Ground salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Blanch or steam the beans until tender.
  2. Mix all of the other ingredients and pour over the beans while they are still hot.
  3. Allow to marinate for an hour or more spooning the vinaigrette over the beans a couple of times.
Green Bean Vinaigarette 2

So tasty with a tender piece of steak

 

Mandy’s Tempura

The festive season is well under way so you may have noticed my lack of visiting your blogs – sorry about that.  Things may be higgledy piggledy until the new year before I am back in the swing of things – I will pop in periodically though just to keep up to speed with you all as I hate missing out on things. 🙂

I love when I can put something together that really works, especially the first time and this tempura is one that has jumped right to the top of my favourite list.  I call it Mandy’s tempura as I am sure it is not a traditional recipe and has a slightly thicker consistency, although you could thin it a little by adding more club soda.  This recipe doubles very well too which works well for sharing these light crispy morsels with family and friends.

Mandy's Tempura 1

Mandy’s Tempura

Ingredients

½ cup flour
1 tbsp cornflour
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp salt or season of choice
1 egg yolk
½ cup ice cold club soda

Method

  1. Combine all of the dry ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Add the egg yolk and club soda and mix until just combined – leaving lumps.
  3. Dunk any julienne vegetable or protein (I used chicken) and fry in medium hot oil until light golden brown on both sides.

Mandy's Tempura 2

Spicy Roasted Chicpeas

With the festive season here and all the extra eating and celebrating we do, a healthy tasty snack is always welcome.  Even if you aren’t a chicpea fan, I urge you to try this easy recipe, the crispy light nutty result is well worth the time in the oven.  I would suggest doubling or even tripling this recipe and use any combination of spice you would prefer.

Spicy roasted chick peas  1

Spicy Roasted Chicpeas

Ingredients

1 tsp cumin seed
2 tsp coriander seed
1 tsp paprika
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tin chicpeas – drained and rinsed
Salt to taste

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Grind all the spices together and place in a bowl, add the oil and stir to combine.
  3. Rinse the chicpeas and mix through the oil mixture to coat.  Add salt to taste.
  4. Bake for approximately 30 minutes until crispy.

Spicy roasted chick peas  2

 

Millet and Grape Salad

I wanted to call this Millet, Grape, Coriander, Toasted Almond and Spring Onion Salad because all of the ingredients are stars but alas, it’s too long.  Millet is a great alternative to quinoa for a summer salad and is somewhat cheaper too, which is great.  If you can’t get hold of millet, couscous will be a perfect substitute.

Millet Salad

Millet Salad

Ingredients

3 cups cooked millet
1 cup red grapes halved
1 cup coriander chopped
¼ cup red spring salad onions sliced
½ cup almonds toasted

Dressing

30ml apple cider vinegar
60ml olive oil
⅛ tsp sesame oil
1tsp honey
1 small garlic clove crushed
Salt and black pepper to taste

Method

  1. Combine all of the salad ingredients in a bowl
  2. Mix the dressing ingredients together and pour over the salad and mix through.

Your ideal all in one cook book

If somebody had to ask you the question, “What is in your ideal cook book?” what would your top 3, or more if you like, things be?

Blog Book Cover

I ask because I am in the process of revising my Complete Cook Book and will be fluffing up the kitchen guide as well as the recipes.

So, if you could have an all in one complete kitchen book, what would you like to have featured?

I really would appreciate your input and if there is anything I can credit you for, I certainly will.

Thank you for your valuable input and hope you are as excited about the prospect of an improved complete cook book as much as I am.

International Scone Week 2014 – Afternoon Tea Scones

The lovely Celia over at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial hosts our International Scone Week each year.  It started back in 2011 when Celia and her friends Heidi, and Joanna decided it would be a great thing to do annually and I agree.

Last year my mom was visiting and I remember us enjoying the rustic olive oil scones for our lunch.

Afternoon Tea Scones 1

I turned to the old books my aunt lent me for this years recipe.  I decided on the recipe with the least amount of converting – it was only after the fact I found out a ‘gill’ is equivalent to half a cup so may have used another recipe.

Afternoon Tea Scones 2

These are small scones and baked with a slightly raised dome.  They have a lovely light crumb and are delicious with strawberry jam and lightly whipped cream.

Afternoon Tea Scones

from Mrs Beeton’s Family Cookery book

Ingredients

125g flour
30g butter
1 tbsp castor sugar
½ tsp cream of tartar
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 egg lightly beaten
±30ml cold water

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C.
  2. In a bowl, lightly rub the butter into the flour.
  3. Add the remaining dry ingredients.
  4. Stir in the egg and water to form a soft dough.
  5. Gently pat the dough out on a floured surface to approximately ¼ inch thick and cut out 8 small rounds.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes.

Afternoon Tea Scones 3

Quick Coconut Chicken Curry

This is the ideal week night meal when you want a quick,  tasty and satisfying meal.  It may seem like a long list of ingredients but it all comes together and ready for the table in the amount of time it takes your rice to cook.

Quick coconut chicken curry

Quick Coconut Chicken Curry

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp coriander seed bruised
½ tsp cumin seed bruised
½ tsp chilli flakes – more if you like it hotter
½ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp turmeric
2 garlic cloves crushed
1 inch piece of ginger grated
Zest of half a lemon
1 tsp chicken stock powder
1 tsp brown sugar
400g tin coconut cream
4 chicken breasts sliced
Salt and black pepper to taste

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium heat and add the spices and gently fry for one minute.
  2. Add the ginger, garlic, zest, stock powder and sugar and fry for one minute.
  3. Add the coconut cream and allow to reduce by one third.
  4. Add the chicken and simmer until chicken is cooked through.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve with basmati rice.

 

Bits and Pieces

Apologies upfront for the bad quality photo’s in this post.

Pete and I enjoyed a lovely few days on a road trip away where I touched a 1000 year old yellow wood tree in the Tsitsikamma Forest…

Big Tree 00001

Imagine the stories this tree could tell!

and ran on a treadmill in a hotel gym for the first time.  I know, country bumpkin I am.  I haven’t had a gym membership for the better part of 2 decades and don’t live anywhere near a gym (great excuse) so until now, road/trail running has been it.

treadmill

Look at me go!

We also visited (sorry no pics) a wine estate in the hopes of getting some brut rosé bubbly but alas – it was insultingly expensive.  We thought it was due to there being a wine festival that weekend but on chatting with family and friends who have all visited wine estates over the last few years, all said that purchasing wines at local stores in all our provinces is much cheaper than buying directly from an estate!  That makes no sense.

The lovely Cristina over at The Blog Around The Corner , who writes about everything that inspires her from interior design, to travelling, cooking and photography awarded me the Versatile Blogger Award.  Thanks again Cris, it was such a lovely surprise receiving the award from you. 🙂

The time had come to get rid of my beloved car as she was getting a little long in the tooth and to invest in a new one.

5 series

We enjoyed many happy miles together.  I will miss her.

Fortuner

All new and sparkly. This is a pic from the brochure – mine is far too dirty from playing on dirt roads yesterday to have her photo taken but looks exactly like this when clean.

There hasn’t been must to share on the cooking front, the cooler weather has necessitated comfort food. so we have been indulging in all our favourites – oxtail casserole, vetkoek and curried ground beef, braai’s (barbecues) and roast dinners.

I promise to share something tasty next week.

Chocolate Meringue Pie

Dad always keeps interesting recipes aside which he finds in his Star newspaper for me to try when he and mom are visiting.  Angela Day runs a series of recipes with chocolate being the theme for Thursday 17 April 2014.

First on the agenda with the latest batch of recipes was a chocolate meringue pie which came in as winner with a unanimous vote.  Instead of making one pie, I opted for 4 smaller ones which worked very well for halving to share amongst 8 people.

Personally I would have preferred a softer centre and would add a minimum of 50ml extra cream – possibly even 100ml.  Overall though it is a lovely decadent pudding to share.

Chocolate Meringue Pie

Chocolate Meringue Pie

Ingredients

200g chocolate digestive biscuits crushed
80g butter melted
125ml chocolate hazelnut spread – (I omitted this)
300g dark chocolate
150ml cream – (I would definitely increase this)
125ml sugar
30ml water
5ml lemon juice
3 egg whites

Method

  1. Combine the crushed biscuits and melted butter and press into a 22cm pie plate or loose bottomed quiche tin (I used 4 smaller loose bottomed tins) and place in the freezer (I think the fridge is sufficient) to harden.
  2. Spread the hazelnut spread over the biscuit base or omit like I did.
  3. Combine the chocolate and cream in a bowl and microwave on a low setting for 1 to 2 minutes until melted and smooth.  (I melted the chocolate over a double boiler and stirred in the cream until combined once melted).  Pour over the base and refrigerate until set.
  4. Combine the sugar, water and lemon juice in a small saucepan and stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved.  Turn up the heat and boil until the mixture reaches 115°C on a sugar thermometer or test by dropping a little mixture into ice water.  If it forms a brittle thread, it is ready. (I took the saucepan off the heat just as the mixture started to colour).
  5. Just before the sugar syrup is ready, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer to form soft peaks.
  6. Once your syrup is ready turn up the speed on the mixer and beat the egg whites, slowly pouring in the hot sugar syrup and beat until the mixture is cool.
  7. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag and pipe blobs over the chocolate mixture.
  8. Use a blowtorch to brown the meringue or place the pie under a heated grill for a few seconds.

Naan Bread

Pete and I ate copious amounts of wonderful naan while we were living in Mauritius.  Sadly I cannot reproduce exactly what we ate then but this recipe comes close.

naan

I rolled my naan a little too thin

Naan Bread

Ingredients

7g active dry yeast
250ml warm water
60ml white sugar
45ml milk
1 egg beaten
10ml salt
± 4½ cups all purpose or bread flour
60ml butter melted
4 garlic cloves minced

Method

  1. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and set aside for 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in the sugar, milk, egg, salt, and flour to make a soft dough.
  3. Knead for 8 to 10 minutes on a lightly floured surface until smooth.  You may need to add more flour if the dough is too sticky.
  4. Place the dough in a well oiled bowl, cover and set aside to rise until the dough has doubled in volume.
  5. Punch down the dough and knead lightly. Pinch off small handfuls of dough the size of a golf balls and roll into balls and place on a tray, cover lightly and allow to rise until double in size.
  6. Roll one ball of dough into a long oval. Lightly oil a heated pan and cook the dough until puffy and lightly browned.
  7. Turn and brush the cooked side with butter and garlic and cook until browned.
  8. Continue until all the naan have been cooked.

Red Lentil Dahl

It doesn’t feel like it but yesterday was my 4th year anniversary of blogging.  What a fun 4 years it has been.  I am looking forward to sharing more with you over the next 4 years. 🙂

I saw this recipe over at Rufus’ Food and Spirits Guide and was immediately dashing down the passage to see if I had any lentils in stock.

I modified the recipe slightly, as listed below for the ingredients I had on hand and doubled it to serve as a main meal which I served with naan (recipe coming soon) and would definitely make it again but next time I would increase the coriander, mustard and cumin seed quantities.

Red lentil dahl

Red Lentil Dahl

Ingredients

2 tsp coriander seed
1 tsp mustard seed
½ tsp cumin seed
1 tsp cayenne powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
2 cup red lentils
1 onion chopped
3 tbsp garlic minced
3 tbsp ginger minced
400g tin tomatoes
8 cups chicken stock
Coriander chopped to serve

Method

  1. Grind the whole spices to a powder and mix with cayenne and turmeric.
  2. Sauté the onion in a little oil in a pot until translucent and soft.
  3. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for one minute.
  4. Add the lentils and stir to coat.
  5. Add the tomatoes, spice mixture and chicken stock, mix through and bring to a simmer. Partially cover and turn the heat to low. Cook for 40 minutes stirring occasionally.
  6. Serve with fresh coriander and naan.

Un-Recipe – A bowl of pasta

I cannot remember when I last shared a un-recipe and this one couldn’t be easier.  I am starting to think I am craving so much pasta because of the running as I wasn’t that much of a pasta eater before.  I must confess to not making my own pasta for this dish, I simply opened a packet of store bought, well wouldn’t be much of an un-recipe if I had.

Bowl of pasta

Un-Recipe – Bowl of Pasta

Ingredients

Pasta of choice
Olive oil
Garlic crushed
Coriander chopped
Salt and black pepper
Cheese of choice grated

Method

  1. Boil pasta as per package instruction.
  2. Stir in a good glug of olive oil with the garlic and coriander.
  3. Season with salt and black pepper and top with cheese.

Lack of Food Posts

As most of you know, Pete is away a lot of the time which means you will also know I get suckers on my butt and sit at the computer far too long which means supper is always an easy throw together meal.

Apple

When Pete is home, it is not for extended periods of time so we always enjoy his favourite meals and lots of braais (barbecues) so there is nothing new to share with you, very sad I know.

Every now and again I will get a sudden rush of blood to the brain and will make something scrumity like the Anchovy, Garlic, Tomato Pasta, or indulge in Sticky Chicken Wings but for the most part, I throw a chicken with some veggies and  spuds in the oven.  I have been known to get extravagant and on occasion even make gravy.  This will serve me well for at least 3 meals with leftovers to add to a salad.  A couple of other quick favourites are steak and salad or a piece of fresh fish and salad.

I will work on getting back in the kitchen to share something new and delicious with you.