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.

Barley and Lentil Soup

I am sorry I haven’t been around to visit your blogs and read your posts yet – things have gone a touch haywire here and I am hoping to be back to normal by next week.  Please be patient with me while I get there. See you soon. :-) xo

Even though Spring is officially here, we are still having some blustery cold days.  A pot of soup simmering on the stove is always a warm and welcoming smell on days like this.

Barley and lentil soup

Not the prettiest but oh so tasty

Barley and Lentil Soup

Ingredients

1 large onion chopped
2 inch piece of ginger grated
6 garlic cloves crushed
2 tsp dried Italian herbs
500g packet soup mix – barley, brown and red lentils and split peas
± 4 litres chicken or vegetable salt
Celery salt and cracked black pepper to taste

Method

  1. Fry the onion in a little olive oil until tender.
  2. Add the ginger, garlic and herbs and fry for a minute.
  3. Add the soup mix and stock and bring to the boil.
  4. Reduce the heat and simmer for approximately 1 hour until cooked.  You may need to add additional stock if the soup is too thick.
  5. Season with celery salt and pepper.

Feeling insignificant and Date Balls

Do you ever have one of those days, one when you feel really down and unimportant in the big scheme of things.

I had one of those recently.

Date balls 3

Years ago, when Pete and I got married, as you do, we combined everything and reshuffled a few things to suit our new life.  One of the things we did was close the banking accounts which were in my maiden name as they became somewhat redundant and instead of changing the accounts into my married name we  closed the account as to prevent unnecessary monthly banking fees.  Made sense at the time.

Fast forward a number of years to just the other day.  As many of you know, my uncle recently passed away and having worked through the process of his estate with my aunt, it brought a lot of realities to the fore which brings us to my not having a bank account in my own capacity.  I am a secondary card holder on all of Pete’s accounts with full signing power plus I have a power of attorney so what more do you need, right… but in the event of anything happening to him I would be in a bit of a dormant situation until his estate is wound up which as we all know can take quite some time.

This all sounds very depressing but it is a reality which needs to be dealt with and I am sure I am not the only one in this position.

Long story short, because I do not have any utility bills in my name showing our physical address in the region we reside in, it seems I cannot prove who I am to the bank!  HONESTLY!

Date balls 2

The 2 ladies at the, let’s call them, the Blue Bank, were not very sympathetic to my situation and after lengthy explanations said they were happy to accept a store account printout with the stores official stamp on it, just so long as it reflected our physical address – no amount of further explanation that we do not have street delivery in our area and that everything is registered to our box address made no difference, regardless of the fact I do not have any accounts.  The more I was trying to explain this, the more they were insistent that I must have!  Urgh!!!

Long story short, they are now happy to have Pete sign a piece of paper saying I am his wife (you should see the unprofessional form) and to provide a utility bill in his name.  They don’t need to see him sign the silly piece of paper so I could just as well sign it and take along my power of attorney and see what they have to say about that!

So feeling very unimportant and worthless I came home and made a batch of date balls.  Food is very therapeutic.

Date balls 1

Date Balls

Ingredients

250g butter
2 cups sugar
500g packet dates broken into small pieces
2 eggs beaten
1½ pkts Marie biscuits crumbed
2 tsp vanilla essence
Coconut for coating

Method

  1. Melt the butter, sugar and dates together in a pot until combined.  Remove from the heat to cool.
  2. Add the eggs.
  3. Add the vanilla essence.
  4. Add the Marie biscuits and mix well.
  5. Form into walnut sized balls.
  6. Roll in coconut.
  7. Refrigerate.

Hot Milk Chocolate Cake

I was browsing through a pile of my old recipe books the other day looking for some inspiration and out fell a handwritten page with a few shopping items written in Afrikaans; first clue this wasn’t mine, secondly I write in all capital letters and this was all in lower case.  The recipe portion of the page was in English though and the ingredients were written in such an odd order with a couple of corrections along the way – I list my ingredients in the order in which they get used so further proof that this recipe was not written down by me.  I also write the name of the person I get a recipe from or where I have copied it from.

Sadly I have no idea who’s it is but loved the idea of a hot milk cake so put all the books aside and preheated the oven while I got all the ingredients together.

Hot milk chocolate cake 3

The cake itself was lovely and spongy and moist but the flavour was somewhat insipid- I would at a minimum double the quantity of cocoa called for to get the desired result of a chocolate cake – also by using the stated amount of cocoa made the cake look like coffee cake.

Hot milk chocolate cake 1

Hot Milk Chocolate Cake

Ingredients

4 eggs
1½ cups sugar – I am sure this could be reduced to 1 cup
2 cups cake flour
4 tsp baking powder
1tsp salt
2 tbsp cocoa – I would increase this to 5 tbsp
2 tbsp butter – I would substitute this with oil
1 cup milk

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Spray two 20cm baking tins with non stick spray.
  3. Beat the eggs well.
  4. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
  5. Sift the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl.
  6. Add the butter to the milk and heat to boiling point.
  7. Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and fold in.
  8. Add the milk and mix well.
  9. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tins and lightly tap the tins to expel any air bubbles and bake for 20 minutes.
  10. Once cooled ice as desired.

Hot milk chocolate cake 2

Choc Chip Oat Biscuits

These biscuits smell like what my granny’s kitchen smelt like – such a beautiful warm welcoming smell that wraps you up in a delicate warm and fuzzy feeling.  What more could you ask for!  These are so good that even my ever loving Pete who isn’t a biscuit person kept saying how fabulous they are.

Choc Chip Oat Biscuits 1

Choc Chip Oat Biscuits

Ingredients

115g all purpose flour
½tsp bicarbonate of soda
¼tsp baking powder
¼tsp salt
115g butter
115g caster sugar
100g light brown sugar
1 egg
1tsp vanilla essence
85g oats
170g chocolate chips

Choc Chip Oat Biscuits 6

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Combine the flour, bicarb, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugars together.
  4. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy.
  5. Add the flour mixture and beat until thoroughly blended.
  6. Stir in the oats and chocolate chips.
  7. Place teaspoonfuls onto greased baking sheets, spacing the dough about 1 inch apart.
  8. Bake for approximately 12 minutes until just firm around the edges.
  9. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Choc Chip Oat Biscuits 3

International Scone Week – Rustic Olive Oil Scones

Our dear friend Celia over at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial hosts our International Scone Week which has become a firm annual favourite amongst a lot of us and seems I have just made the deadline for this year.

Last year I made yoghurt scones and this year I wanted to try something a little different and I was impressed with the result.  These lovely rustic scones were delicious with strawberry jam and lightly whipped cream as well as some grated Gouda cheese and made for a lovely lunch with a cup of tea which I enjoyed with my mom. :-)

Rustric olive oil scones

Rustic Olive Oil Scones

Ingredients

500ml cake flour
20ml baking powder
2.5ml salt
15ml white sugar
100ml mild olive oil
1 egg
±125ml buttermilk – yoghurt and milk would also work well

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 230°C.
  2. Sift the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
  3. Measure the oil in a 250ml measuring cup, add the egg and fill to the 250ml mark with the buttermilk.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix to form a rough dough using a knife.  Don’t over mix.
  5. Divide the mixture into 12 and place in muffin tins sprayed with non stick spray, alternatively divide the mixture into 12 and place on a prepared baking tray and bake for approximately 10 minutes or until cooked through and golden brown on top.

No need to brush the top of the scones with an egg wash before baking.

Orange Poppy Seed Muffins

These lovely light flavoured muffins are perfect for with tea and come together in just a couple of minutes.  The longest part of this recipe is grating the orange zest and waiting for them to bake.  I was tempted to add a glacé (royal) icing drizzled over the top but thought they were nice enough just as is.

Orange Poppy Seed Muffins 1

Orange Poppy Seed Muffins

Ingredients

½ cup sunflower oil
¾ cup caster sugar
2 extra large eggs
¾ cup milk
5 tsp orange  zest
2 cups self raising flour
½ tsp salt
7 tsp poppy seeds

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Line 12 muffins pans with paper cases.
  3. Beat the oil and sugar together.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time and beat in.
  5. Add the milk and lemon zest.
  6. Fold in the flour, salt and poppy seeds.
  7. Divide the mixture between the 12 muffins pans and bake for 15  minutes.

Orange Poppy Seed Muffins 2

Curried Butter Beans

This is a lovely quick and easy recipe which compliments so many meals.  I have been known to eat it as a meal on it’s own too.  I got this scrumity recipe from a friend who always makes these delicious beans when we get together for a braai.  The flavour combination of garlic, ginger and curry is always a winner and these beans remind me of the fillings we used to enjoy in roti’s and dhalpouri’s when we lived in Mauritius.

Curried butter beans

Curried Butter Beans

Ingredients

Half an onion chopped
1 garlic clove crushed
¼ inch piece ginger finely chopped
1tsp mild curry powder
420g tin butter beans in tomato sauce
1 tsp chutney

Method

  1. Fry the onion in a little oil in a small pot until tender.
  2. Add the garlic, ginger and curry powder and fry for two minutes.
  3. Add the butter beans and chutney and heat until the butter beans are heated through.

Fried Rice

This is for my lovely friend Diane over at Photographs and Recipes. :-D

This is my base recipe for fried rice which I throw all different types of rice at, even pasta rice – love versatile recipes that take so well to varying ingredients.  Very rarely I will add an egg to the mixture but don’t find it adds that much to the dish and occasionally will add fresh chilli, corn, chives, parsley and anything else I have taking up space in the fridge.

Fried rice  2

Fried Rice

Ingredients

Olive oil
Half an onion chopped
Half a red (capsicum) pepper diced
8 white button mushrooms sliced
3 cups cook rice of choice – I used basmati
Handful frozen baby peas
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Fry the onion and pepper in a good glug of olive oil.  Once the onions and peppers have started to soften add the mushrooms and fry until tender.
  2. Add the rice and stir fry until warmed through.
  3. Add the peas and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Fried rice  1

Stuffed Brown Mushrooms

I couldn’t resist a pack of 4 giant brown mushrooms the other day, I had no idea what I was going to do with them – they usually get put on the braai but sadly Pete was away so it was me, the mushrooms and the oven.

The first couple of mushrooms I stuffed with a mixture of crumbled feta cheese, chopped chives, fresh sliced peppadews and crushed garlic with the chopped stems from the mushrooms, which I then drizzled with olive oil and baked at 200°C for approximately 18 minutes.

Stuffed brown mushrooms  3

I also did a few with sliced garlic, sea salt, black pepper and a good drizzling of olive oil.

Stuffed brown mushrooms  2

Both variations were fabulous, couldn’t be easier to prep and cook and would be perfect as a starter for a dinner party.

Olive Oil Chocolate Chiffon Cake

And yes I turned it into cupcakes! :-)

My mom gave me this Angela Day recipe which she saw in the Monday 03 June 2013 issue of The Star’s Verve.  Angela was running a series for using olive oil in baking as a healthier alternative to other oils.

I love the idea of healthier baking, just wish it worked out more cost effective though as olive oil isn’t a particularly cheap product to use.   I would also stick to using a mild flavoured olive oil as the more robust oils may alter the taste of the cake.

The original recipe called for a chocolate glaze, which would have been lovely but sadly I didn’t have any dark chocolate on hand so made my standard icing.

The cupcakes turned out beautifully and I enjoyed lots of compliments when I served them for dessert with friends.

Olive oil chocolate chiffon cupcakes

Olive Oil Chocolate Chiffon Cake (Cupcakes)

The mixture made 18 muffin sized cupcakes

Ingredients

80ml cocoa powder
125ml hot water
250ml flour
10ml baking powder
125ml castor sugar
3ml salt
4 eggs separated
125ml olive oil
80ml extra castor sugar

Chocolate glaze
100g dark chocolate chopped
100ml cream

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Mix together the cocoa and hot water and set aside to cool.
  3. Sift the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into a bowl.
  4. Make a well in the centre of the flour and add the egg yolks, olive oil and cooled cocoa mixture and mix until smooth.
  5. Beat the egg whites until stiff, then beat in the extra castor sugar.
  6. Fold this mixture into the cocoa mixture.
  7. Pour into an ungreased chiffon cake tin alternatively divide the mixture amongst 18 muffin tins lined with paper cases.
  8. Bake the cake for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean alternatively if baking the cupcakes, bake for 10 minutes.
  9. Combine the chocolate and cream in a bowl and microwave on 50% power for 2 minutes and stir well until smooth.
  10. Refrigerate until thickened then pour over the cake or cupcakes. (The glaze is thinner than a ganache).

No-Knead Crusty Artisan Bread

I have to open this post by saying, I think Celia over at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial will be proud of my first attempt at this lovely recipe which I saw over at Georgia’s, The Comfort of Cooking.  For some strange reason I have not been receiving Georgia’s updates for a while (sorted now) so missed this wonderful recipe.  I have never seen a recipe for a loaf of bread where you leave the dough to rise for between 8 and 24 hours; a novel and interesting idea I thought, plus being baked in a Dutch oven was also a new concept to me.  This is guaranteed to be a winner of a recipe in any home and highly recommend you bake a loaf.


No knead crusty bread  2

I left my dough to rise for 18 hours before baking.

No knead crusty bread  1

This loaf is guaranteed to take your low-carb, low fat eating habit and throw it right out of the window.  I enjoyed slice after slice of this warm from the oven with lashings of cold butter, cut thick like cheese!  The crumb is moist and slightly chewy like a ciabatta with a fabulous crispy crust and base.  Not sure if the chewiness was due to the flour I used.  All the same, I would enjoy it again, exactly the same way.

No-Knead Crusty Artisan Bread

Ingredients

3 cups all purpose flour
2-3 teaspoon kosher salt – I found 2 tsps way too salty so reduced this to 1 tsp
½ tsp dry yeast – I used instant yeast
1½ cups lukewarm water – I used approximately 1¼ cups

Method

  1. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt and yeast.
  2. Add the water and stir using a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a shaggy but cohesive dough.  You may not need the full amount of water so start with 1 cup and slowly add more until you have a nice soft dough.
  3. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave the dough sit at room temperature for 8-24 hours.
  4. After dough is ready, preheat the oven to 230°C.
  5. Place a Dutch oven or casserole dish uncovered into the oven for 30 minutes.  I left my casserole dish in for 15 minutes.
  6. While your dish preheats, turn the dough onto a well-floured surface and with floured hands form the dough into a ball. Cover the dough loosely with cling film and allow to rest.
  7. After the 30 (15) minutes remove your dish from the oven and place the dough into it and place the lid on.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes covered then remove the cover and bake for an additional 7-15 minutes.  The loaf is ready when it is golden brown and crispy.

No knead crusty bread  4

Shanghai Steak

Chinese food is much loved in our home – sadly I don’t make it all that often, there’s quite a bit of prep work but is well worth the effort.  Our Chinese evenings usually consist of Shanghai Steak, Egg Foo-Yong, Sweet and Sour Pork or Chicken and fried rice (sometimes just plain rice).

A while ago a lady sent me her recipe for Shanghai Steak and I promised I would try her version when next I make it – it’s only been 2 months!  Antoinette, thank you for your lovely recipe.  I hope you don’t mind that I added peas in at the end and upped the soy sauce just a bit.

This recipe comes together in just a few minutes – as you well know, thats just my kind of recipe and besides the marinating time, cooks in just 3 minutes.

Shanghai Steak  1

Shanghai Steak

Antoinette’s recipe slightly amended

Ingredients

40ml soy sauce
25ml corn starch
15ml brown sugar
1 onion sliced
500g steak thinly sliced
oil for frying
¼ cup frozen baby peas

Method

  1. Mix the soy, corn starch and sugar together in a bowl.
  2. Stir in the onion and steak and marinate for 2 hours.
  3. Stir fry the steak over a high heat in a little oil for 2 minutes.
  4. Stir through the peas and cook for 1 minute.

Nutty Wheat Banana Muffins

These moreish muffins are perfect for last minute tea time guests or a tasty breakfast when everything else breakfasty just isn’t quite cutting the mustard – simply throw a few ingredients at a bowel et voila, a taste bud tantalizing muffin in 20 minutes.  You could add some texture with chocolate chips or something healthier like seeds or nuts – these variations only came to me when I was taking them out of the oven so mine are just plain.  No matter as they are delicious as is with a light moist crumb.

Nutty wheat banana muffins 1

Nutty Wheat Banana Muffins

Ingredients

500ml nutty wheat flour – you could substitute with any flour
200ml brown sugar
5ml salt
5ml baking powder
5ml bicarbonate of soda
2 bananas mashed
80ml oil
10ml vanilla essence
250ml plain yoghurt
1egg lightly beaten

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Prepare 12 muffins tins with paper cases.
  3. Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients and mix through.
  5. Divide into the 12 muffin tins.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes.

Nutty wheat banana muffins 2

Lando’s Daughter’s Birthday Cake

Lando is our deaf handyman / gardener who takes wonderful care of our home and garden every week.

Lando only became deaf as an adult and has adapted to being deaf as if he was born that way.  He reads lips perfectly and we are still in the stop start throws (when time allows) of learning sign together.  We have created a few of our own signs to better communicate with each other for the days when my Afrikaans and his English aren’t quite on the same page.

Lando's daughters cake

Lando asked if I would bake his daughter a birthday cake for her second birthday.  He said he didn’t want those little things that I like making (cupcakes), he wanted one big cake.  So not knowing which cake recipe would be best as I make all of them into cupcakes, I decided to use the one I converted last which was the dairy free recipe, you know, my new favourite recipe.  I made a double portion and was thrilled with the result even though I probably turned the cakes out a wee bit soon and left a morsel of the centre of the cake at the bottom of the baking tin.  Oops.

Only problem I had was when it came to the icing – I wanted princess pink for this little 2 year old but alas it kinda came out orangeish which did not sit well with my OCD issues but time did not  allow to remake the icing plus there was barely any time to ice the cake before it had to get whisked off to the birthday girl.  I wonder if it is because my food colouring is getting old?

No matter, all’s well that ends well and the cake was a hit!

Mandy’s Moussaka

Two quick notes:  Firstly if you saw this last week, sorry about that – little gremlins crept into the works but I have managed to sort them out and secondly, my apologies if I have not made comment on your posts the last couple of days, things have been a touch on the busy side plus we made a quick trip away.  I will be back soon. :-D

You may wonder why I call this Mandy’s Moussaka.  Quite simply it’s not authentic and I would not want to insult any genuine Moussaka making Greek so rather played it safe.  Authentic or not, its scrumity.  We enjoyed this for dinner the evening Pete and my Mom drove down from Johannesburg.  Both Pete and Mom did say though that adding potato like with a traditional Moussaka would be nice.

Mandy's Moussaka

Mandy’s Moussaka

Ingredints

500g lamb mince
500g beef mince
2 onions sliced
½ tsp dried thyme
1 tsp corriander seed – ground in a pestle and mortar
½ cup red wine
½ cup beef stock
410g tin tomatoes
2 carrots scraped and grated
Salt and black pepper to taste
5 medium brinjal (eggplant / aubergine) sliced ¼ inch thick length ways
1½ cups cheddar cheese grated

Thick Bechamel Sauce

100g butter
100g flour
4 cups milk
Salt and white pepper to taste
1 egg

Method

  1. Fry both the lamb and beef mince until browned.
  2. Add the onions and fry until softened.
  3. Add the thyme, coriander, wine, stock and tomatoes and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the carrots and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half and thickened slightly.
  5. Fry the brinjal in batches in a little grapeseed oil until tender, drain on paper towel and set aside.
  6. In the meanwhile melt the butter and sir in the flour.
  7. Whisk in the milk and continue stirring until thickened and boiling.
  8. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the egg.
  9. Assemble the Moussaka by layering the mince and brinjals finishing with a layer of bechamel.
  10. Sprinkle the cheese over the top and bake at 180 °C for 45 minutes.

Spicy Chicken Curry

With the cooler weather I have been craving heartier food – salad isn’t quite cutting the mustard any more plus I was in the mood for a taste explosion but wasn’t quite sure what kind of flavour taste explosion so into the kitchen I went to rummage through the spices.  A few bottles made their way onto the counter along with a few other ingredients and the result was a fabulously flavourful chicken curry which I think may be making an appearance in our kitchen soon again.  Next round may have to have a few pappadums on the side too.

Spicy Chicken Curry 1

Spicy Chicken Curry

Ingredients

2 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 large onion sliced
½ tsp coriander seed
½ tsp cumin seed
½ tsp Chinese 5 spice
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¾ tsp ground ginger – fresh would be even nicer
2 tbsp curry paste or to taste – I used Thai green curry paste
2 garlic cloves crushed
1 410g tin chopped tomatoes
1 tsp sugar
¼ cup dry white wine
¼ cup coconut cream – normal cream would work equally as well
3 -4 chicken breasts sliced
Salt and black pepper to taste
Fresh coriander to serve

Spicy Chicken Curry 2

Method

  1. Fry the onion in 2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil until tender and lightly browned.
  2. Lightly bash the coriander seed and cumin seed in a pestle and mortar and add to the onion along with all the other spices and curry paste and fry for 2 minutes to allow the flavours to develop.
  3. Add the garlic, tomatoes and sugar and cook until reduced by half.
  4. Add the wine and coconut cream and reduce by half.
  5. Add the chicken and cook for 3 minutes.
  6. Serve with fresh coriander and rice.

Spicy Chicken Curry 3

Dairy Free Chocolate Cupcakes which were meant to be a cake

But we know what I am like – a cake just has to be turned into cupcakes – I just cannot help myself!  I saw this recipe on the reverse side of a piece of paper for Kedgeree which I was supposed to make for Pete.  Oops!  Well, I never had any salmon or smoked trout on hand so couldn’t make the kedgeree anyway plus I have all these baking cases which need to be used and icing nozzles and piping bags and and and…  You know how it is, right?

Dairy free chocolate cupbakes

This recipe was printed in the 24 March 2013 edition of The Sunday Times, I think, as we only kept the one page insert and it doesn’t make any reference to the newspaper at all on either side of the page.

The cake was titled – Wacky one-pan eggless chocolate cake, you know one of those recipes where everything is mixed in one bowl – my kinda recipe.

No matter where the recipe came from, its fabulous – quick, easy and results in a lovely light, moist and spongy cupcake.  I made my normal butter icing and if you replace the milk with water, it is still technically dairy free as butter is classed as a fat.

dairy free chocolate cupbake 2

Dairy Free Chocolate Cupcakes

Ingredients

1½ cups cake flour
¾ cup caster sugar
¼ cup cocoa powder sifted
¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of salt – I would take this up to at least ½ tsp
5 tbsp sunflower oil
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup water
Fresh berries to serve – I never used berries
Icing sugar for dusting – I made icing, recipe below
Whipped cream to serve – I iced the cupcakes instead

Icing

300g icing sugar
50g butter at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla essence
±2 tbsp milk (water)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Spray a 20cm cake pan with non stick cooking spray.  If you are making cupcakes, use a 2.5 litre jug.
  3. Place the flour, sugar, cocoa, bicarb and salt in this pan (jug) and mix.
  4. Using a wooden spoon, make one large indentation in the mixture and two smaller ones.
  5. Pour the oil into the large hole and the vinegar and vanilla into the smaller holes.
  6. Gradually add the water mixing until just combined.  Don’t over mix.
  7. Bake in the oven for 25 – 30 minutes.  Cool in the pan before turning out onto a rack.  Top with berries, dust with icing sugar and serve with the cream.
  8. Alternatively if you are making cupcakes, pour the mixture between 10 muffin sized prepared baking cases and baked for 15 minutes.  They dome beautifully.
  9. Combine the icing ingredients for 3 minutes and ice cupcakes once completely cooled.

dairy free chocolate cupbake 1