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.

Pear and Almond Cake with Almond Crunch Topping

The name alone caught my attention when I saw this recipe from the online Delicious Magazine, and then the use of sour cream and nutmeg.  When friends invited us over for dinner I offered to bring dessert so I could try this delicious cake.  I was quite skeptical once I read the length of baking time but it was absolutely perfect and so very moreish. I will definitely serve this regularly and is the perfect Christmas dinner dessert.

Pear Almond Cake 3

Pear and Almond Cake with Almond Crunch Topping

Ingredients

  • 175g softened butter
  • 150g Billington’s Golden Caster Sugar – I used regular caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract – I used essence
  • 2 medium eggs – I used extra large 
  • 220g self-raising flour
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 140ml soured cream
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 2 firm pears, such as Comice
  • A little lemon juice

For the almond crunch topping

  • 50g butter
  • 50g Billington’s Light Muscovado Sugar – I used demerara sugar
  • 2 tbsp double cream – I used normal cream
  • 75g flaked or slivered almonds

Pear Almond Cake 4

 Method

  1. Line a 20cm springform tin with non-stick baking paper. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan160°C/gas 4.
  2. Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla in a bowl until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, adding a spoonful of the flour with the second egg. Sift the remaining flour, a pinch of salt, bicarbonate of soda and the nutmeg together. Fold half the flour into the creamed mixture. Fold in the soured cream, zest and almonds, then the remaining flour.
  3. Peel, core and slice the pears. Toss with lemon juice to prevent discolouration. Spread half of the cake mixture over the base of the tin, cover with the pears, then the remaining cake mixture. Bake for 40 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, make the almond topping. Melt the butter in a pan and stir in the sugar and cream, then stir in the almonds.
  5. Remove the cake from the oven and pour the almond mixture evenly over the top. Bake for a further 20-25 minutes, or until the topping is toffee-coloured and a skewer comes out clean from the centre of the cake. Remove and serve warm or cold.

Carrot, Apple & Date Overnight Muffins

These delicious muffins smell just like Christmas should and are prepared a day in advance.  The mixture needs to stand in the fridge overnight so this is a perfect recipe if you want something freshly baked in the morning without all the hassle of making a mess.  This is a modified version of my aunts Must Make Muffins and doubles perfectly.

Carrot, Apple & Date Overnight Muffins

Carrot, Apple & Date Muffins

Ingredients

200ml nutty wheat flour
125ml  bran
125ml oats
7.5ml bicarbonate of soda
5ml cinnamon
5ml ginger
5ml nutmeg
2.5ml salt
250ml chopped dates
250ml grated apple
125ml grated carrot
1 eggs
10ml vanilla essence
30ml oil
250ml milk

Method

  1. Combine all of the ingredients, cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  3. Stir the ingredients and divide between 12 muffin tins lined with paper cases.
  4. Bake for approximately 20 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Sun Dried Tomato & Ginger Dressing

This is such a flavour packed colourful dressing which keeps well for up to a week in the fridge.  Just a splash is needed per serving so goes a long way and makes for a lovely hostess gift.

Sundried tomato ginger dressing

Sun Dried Tomato & Ginger Dressing

Ingredients

80ml rice wine vinegar
5 marinated sundried tomato quarters
15ml tomato paste
5ml salt
2.5ml black pepper
45ml honey
Zest & juice of 1 orange
10ml fresh ginger grated
125ml parsley
60ml mint
180ml olive oil

Method

  1. Blend all the ingredients except the oil.
  2. Slowly add the oil until creamy and combined.
  3. Serve over roasted vegetable salad

Rosemary roasted vegetable salad

Roasted Beetroot Hummus

This recipe was in the September 2015 issue of Garden And Home magazine which we adjusted slightly.  This is great for the upcoming Christmas parties served with cucumber sticks or toasted seeded loaf fingers.

Roasted beetroot hummus

Roasted Beetroot Hummus

Ingredients

1 large beetroot peeled
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 400g tins chickpeas
3 Tbsp olive oil
½ cup water – we halved this and replaced the balance with olive oil
3 Tbsp tahini – we omitted this as we never had any
2 tsp ground cumin – we toasted and ground seed
Juice of 1 to 2 lemons
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Cut the beetroot into quarters and place on a baking tray.  (I would suggest roasting more so as not to waste the oven on one beetroot – they are fabulous in salads)
  3. Drizzle with the olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.  Roast for ± 20 minutes until softened.  Allow to cool.
  4. Place the remaining ingredients and beetroot in a food processor and blend.

Brown & Wild Rice Pilaf

I got great new vegetarian recipes from my sister-in-law Karin while she and my brother were here visiting.  Fabulous flavourful healthy and very moreish meals.  It’s wonderful to see Greg and Karin’s kids enjoy these wonderful meals too.

Brown rice pilaf

Brown & Wild Rice Pilaf

Ingredients

1 cup of brown wild rice cooked according the package instructions
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 large onion chopped
1 large red pepper chopped
500g  brown mushrooms chopped
2 stalks celery sliced
¼ cup soy sauce
410g tin lentils rinsed
½ cup chopped parsley
1 small punnet sprouts
Toasted flaked almonds

Method

  1. Heat the oil and fry the onions and peppers.
  2. Add the mushrooms and celery and cook until the mushrooms and celery are tender.
  3. Stir in the sprouts, soy, lentils and parsley.
  4. Add the rice and flaked almonds.

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.

 

Apple Crumble (The Cake the Buddha Ate)

Nothing like a comforting piece of apple crumble hot from the oven with some custard or cream to warm the cockles of your heart on a cold wintry evening with aromas from the spices which are beautifully intoxicating.

I adjusted the recipe slightly by increasing the spice quantities and placing the entire crumble on top of the apples instead of mixing a portion of it in with the apples as with the original recipe in the book, The Cake the Buddha Ate.

Buddha apple crumble

Apple Crumble

Ingredients

500g self-raising flour
½ tsp cinnamon – I used 1 tsp
½ tsp mixed spice
½ tsp cardamom – I omitted this as I only have pods
⅛ nutmeg – I used almost ½ tsp
½ tsp salt
250g butter, soft
2 cups brown sugar – I only used 1¼ cups
500g apples, cooked or 1 x 725 g tin – I cooked 4 large red apples in a about 2 tbsp lemon juice and 2 tbsp brown sugar
½ cup raisins – I omitted these because I was plum out of raisins
½ cup chopped nuts – I omitted these because I was plum out of nuts

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and prepare a pie dish.
  2. Gently work the flour, spices, salt and butter together between your thumbs and fingertips to form crumbs.
  3. Add the sugar and blend with your fingers to retain the consistency of breadcrumbs.
  4. Combine half the mixtures with the apples and raisins, and place in a dish, alternatively just place the apples and raisins in the bottom of the dish followed by the entire crumble mixture on top.
  5. Sprinkle over the remaining crumbs and then the chopped nuts.
  6. Bake for 45 minutes until golden.
  7. Serve warm with custard or cream or possibly even ice cream if it isn’t too much of a wintry night.

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

 

Baked Sweet Potato with Philadelphia, Dates & Coriander

Quite frankly this is a meal all on it’s own and I have been known to enjoy it more than once for lunch and is another fabulous recipe I inherited from my sister-in-law Karin.  I am also hooked on serving these for guests and they accompany everything from a braai to a roast dinner, well I think so.  If I bake the sweet potato in the oven, I brush them with olive oil before baking but when I do them in the microwave I don’t bother.  There are no real quantities as you can stuff in as much or as little of the cheese, dates and coriander as you like.

Baked sweet potato

Baked Sweet Potato with Philadelphia, Dates & Coriander

Ingredients

Sweet potatoes
Philadelphia cream cheese cut into chunks
Dates cut into pieces
Coriander chopped

Method

  1. Baked the sweet potatoes in the oven set at 180°C until soft alternatively cook them in the microwave.
  2. Slice the sweet potato lengthwise and place all the other ingredients in the opening.

Baked Sweet potato 2

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.

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.

 

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.

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.

Anchovy, Garlic, Tomato Pasta

I have been craving pasta for the past couple of weeks.  Maybe my body is lacking something or more likely I was just wanting to eat pasta.  I finally succumbed to the craving and made a scrumptious and very moreish meal, I think even my friend John would be impressed.

Anchovie pasta

Anchovy, Garlic, Tomato Pasta

If you don’t want to make your own pasta, use your choice of store bought.

Pasta Ingredients

200g all purpose flour
2 large eggs
1ml salt
5ml olive oil

Method

  1. Place the flour on a counter top and create a mound with a crater in the middle. Put the eggs, salt and oil into the crater.
  2. Beat the eggs with a fork and gradually incorporate the flour until all the egg is incorporated into the flour.  The dough should be of a rough consistency, feel slightly sticky to the touch and moist. If it’s too sticky sprinkle a bit more flour on the mixture.
  3. Using the palm of your hand push the dough down and away from you. Flip it back towards you and fold it in half. Once again push the dough down and away from you, rotating the dough so that it kneads in every direction. Continue until the dough becomes smooth.
  4. Wrap the dough in cling film and rest for 20 minutes. Don’t put it into the fridge.  I sometimes even skipped this step.
  5. If you don’t have a pasta machine to roll out your pasta, using a rolling pin, roll dough until flat and fairly thin.
  6. Roll the entire dough up like a pancake and cut into slices. The width of the cut will determine the thickness of your pasta. Unravel the pasta into strips.
  7. Cook for three to five minutes until al dente in a generous amount of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally to separate strands and prevent sticking.

Sauce Ingredients

15 ml olive oil
20 anchovies – more if you can resist eating them straight from the bottle
1 tin Italian tomatoes chopped
5ml sugar
3 garlic cloves crushed
Salt and black pepper to taste
Fresh coriander and flat leaf parsley chopped for serving

Method

  1. Mash the anchovies in the oil  in a pan.
  2. Add the tomatoes and sugar and reduce by half.
  3. Add the garlic and salt and pepper to taste.

Add your drained pasta to the pan with the tomatoes sauce.  Once plated, top with the coriander and parsley.

A few shavings of parmesan wouldn’t go a miss here either.

Quick No-Knead Bread

One of my favourite no-knead breads is the Crusty Artisan Bread, a fuss free recipe where you leave the dough to rise for between 8 and 24 hours before baking.  I have made this very moreish bread on a number of occasions to rave reviews and most everybody says it’s the best ciabatta they have eaten.

I then read about a no-knead bread which is ready to go in 2 hours or less over at Eat, Play, Love, which Kristy originally read about over at Five Euro Food and naturally I had to give it a go.

quick no knead bread 1This is a lovely loaf of bread which is a more traditional loaf than the artisan bread.  I made a second round of dough and baked it in 8 mini loaf tins which we enjoyed with friends.  They did however say they thought a bit more salt was needed.  I am very tempted to bake this super easy recipe in a Dutch oven as with the artisan bread and see what the difference is.

Quick no-knead-2

I couldn’t wait so I cut the bread while it was too hot -oops

 Quick No-Knead Bread

As seen on Eat, Play, Love

Ingredients

8g dried yeast – I used instant – it’s all I can get
50ml warm water
400g plain flour – I used unbleached stone ground bread flour
3tsp sugar – I used brown
1tsp salt
250ml warm water

 Method

  1. Place the yeast into a small bowl and pour over the 50ml water. Set aside and allow the yeast to activate for approximately 15 minutes.
  2. Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the centre.  Pour in the activated yeast and the remaining water and mix well until the flour is completely combined. Cover with a cloth and leave in a warm spot to prove for approximately 60 minutes until the dough has doubled in size.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Dust the dough with a little flour and fold over a few times.  Form the dough and place in a prepared loaf tin. Make cuts into the top of the loaf  and sprinkle on some flour before setting aside in a warm place to rise for approximately 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 230°C.
  5. Bake the bread for 25-30 minutes until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped underneath.
  6. Remove the bread from the tin and allow to cool on a wire rack.