cup cakes

This is for Rethabile – Have a great party! There are few things that invoke happy childhood memories than those icing topped little buttons of pure joy. You get the idea, fancy them up with all kinds of things, even jelly babies or chocolate buttons. (makes 12)
What you need

150g room temperature butter
150g caster sugar
175g self raising flour
3 eggs
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

The process

Pre-heat the oven to 180 Celsius and place cupcake holders into a muffin tin

Beat the eggs lightly in a mixing bowl, then add all of the rest of the ingredients. (no need to sift the flour)

Beat with an electric beater for about 2 or 3 minutes, until light and creamy.

Fill the cupcake holders evenly, about ¾ full.

Bake for 20 minutes until they have risen and are firm on top.

Allow to cool in the muffin tray before icing

Here is an icing recipe and remember to be liberal with the spinkles, smarties, jelly tots etc.

And another icing recipe

Condensed milk fudge

Condensed milk fudge

condensed milk fudge recipe

Condensed milk fudge

During the holidays, my kids often make things to sell to the neighbourhood and this one is a winner every time. For a little something extra and double the price, cover ithe fudge with a thin layer of chocolate like in the chocolate caramel slice.

What you need

800g sugar
250g butter
250ml milk
250ml condensed milk
10ml vanilla essence

The Process

Simmer sugar, butter and milk together over medium heat, in a medium sized pot, until the sugar dissolves.

Stir in the condensed milk and boil for 40 mins, stirring constantly.

Remove from stove and beat in the vanilla essence with an electric beater on slow while it is very hot. Continue beating on a higher speed until the mixture is thick and foamy.

Pour the fudge mixture into a shallow backing tray, lined with grease proof paper.

Allow to set and cut into squares.

Spaghetti Siciliana

Spaghetti Siciliana

pasta sauce

Sicilian spaghetti recipe

This is another old pasta recipe that was reputedly one of the mafia bosses favorite dishes( no really) and you will see why when you taste it. It has more ingredients than most of our pasta dishes but well worth it. Every man has at some stage been a fan of Mafia movies and the one thing they always do is eat a lot of pasta so bring back the memories.

What you need

1 medium onion finely chopped
1 small eggplant peeled and chopped into squares(2cm)
1 green pepper chopped
1 teaspoon capers
45g anchovy fillets
10-12 black olives
80ml olive oil
2 cloves garlic crushed
2 tines peeled chopped tomatoes
1 -2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
Palm full of chopped parsley
Pepper to taste

The process

First soak the anchovy fillets in milk for about 10 minutes and drain well to remove excess salty taste, chop into small pieces. Remove the pips from the olives, chop the olives and the capers.

Heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat and add the onion, eggplant and chopped peppers, stir until the eggplant softens. Add the garlic tomatoes and the basil then bring to the boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes.

Add the anchovies, olives, capers and parsley and season with a little more pepper if needed and cook with the lid on for another 5 minutes.

It is best served with spaghetti and parmesan shavings. Its really good!!

Try some of the other pasta recipes.

Stirfry beef with mushrooms and broccoli

Stirfry beef with mushrooms and broccoli

chinese food recipe

Beef with broccoli

The best thing about Asian cooking is that it is so quick and healthy. This is a really delicious meal for 4 and is great served with rice or noodles. It is a typically Chinese recipe that is ready in minutes and the easiest and most delicious way to eat broccoli. (4 people easily)

What you need

700g rump steak thinly sliced
4 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 cloves garlic crushed
Oil for frying
250g each of 3 different types of mushrooms (shitake, button, oyster or other fungi)
250g broccoli

The process

Marinade the beef with the oyster sauce and garlic for at least 1 hour.

Lightly steam the broccoli for about 5 minutes over boiling water.

Stir fry beef in a hot wok a little at a time so as not to overcook the beef, you want each piece browned. remove and set aside.

Wipe the wok clean and stir fry the mushrooms flipping them around until there are slightly browned edges (5 minutes or so). Add the beef back into the wok and mix together. finally add the broccoli and mix until the everything has a nice coating of sauce.

You are done!

The beef with asparagus recipe is also really delicious.

Calamari on a stick

Calamari on a stick


Calamari kebabs

Calamari takes seconds to cook and you can do these on the braai or in a pan for a starter or as part of a tasty finger food feast. Calamari steaks are available at supermarkets in the frozen section or the fish counter. I have made a little batter with this version of 1/2 flour, 1/2 maizena, pinch salt and ice cold water that I deep fried for a change.

The recipe below is for the calamari without the batter so if you want to batter them up, just make a batter that is quite loose, remove from the marinade and then dip in the flour before popping into medium hot oil and they will come out just like the picture.
What you need

Calamari steaks
Lemon juice
Then either red pepper, paprika, garlic powder, ground aniseed or thyme

The process

Soak the skewers in water while you prepare.

Lie the Calamari steaks on a board and score diagonally with a sharp knife.

Cut them into 4 to 5cm long strips and thread onto the skewers.

Place the skewers in a dish, 1 layer at a time and sprinkle on both sides with oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and whichever additional flavoring you have chosen(Paprika is my favorite).

Cover and leave in the fridge for 1-2 hours.

(If you are going to batter them, this is the time to batter and fry!)

Cook over coals or in a hot pan for 1-2 minutes on each side.

Very simple and Oh so delicious. Try some of the other Chinese and oriental recipes

Sticky toffee sauce

Sticky toffee sauce

sticky toffee sauce

Sticky toffee sauce

I have so many great memories of sticky toffee pudding from the Dullstroom hotel to pubs and restaurants in England, so I went out to find a great recipe. It was easier than I thought and then made the pudding even easier with a bought sponge cake. This is excellent to deal with a sweet craving and the quickest hot dessert when you are at a loss and just don’t want to spend much time in the kitchen.

Your guests will never know if you use a bought sponge smothered in this fabulous sauce. They will ask for the recipe so be prepared.

What you need

100g butter
100ml brown sugar
100ml thick cream
100ml golden syrup

(If you like a lot of sauce, just use the principle of equal amounts of everything)

The process

Add all of the ingredients to a pot and heat until all of the sugar is dissolved and the sauce is golden and shiny.

Take the sponge cake, cut into pieces and pack into an oven dish, much like you would if you are making a bread and butter pudding.

Pour over the hot sauce and let it sit for about 5 minutes before serving so that the cake absorbs the sauce. Serve it with whipped cream, custard or just as it is.

Simple and a winner every time!

I have tried it with vanilla, chocolate and coffee sponge cakes before and it’s really good with any of them.

If you want to make something from scratch the easy malva pudding is simply fantastic.

Tom Yum soup my way

Tom Yum soup my way

asian food tom yum soup

Tom Yum Soup

This is my take on this very popular Asian soup. It takes just 5 minutes and is perfect for something quick and light if you have a bag of frozen peeled prawns in the freezer. This is enough for 4 people.

What you need

2 chicken breasts cut into bite sized pieces
250g frozen raw prawns
750ml chicken stock
1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
1 clove minced garlic
2 dried red chilis chopped(optional)
Salt and black pepper

The process

Remove the prawns from the freezer and let them thaw

Bring the stock to a boil in a large pot and add chili(if you want it spicy), garlic, ginger and the chicken pieces and allow to cook for 2 minutes.

Taste and season with salt and a good amount of black pepper.

Add the prawns and cook for another 2 minutes.

Remove from the heat and serve straight away.

The prawns should still be firm but cooked through. You can also add chopped bok choy leaves with the prawns as an option which I do sometimes.

For a heartier meal I have poured the soup over cooked egg noodles, which is really good. Try some of the other Asian recipes

Mild beef curry

Mild beef curry

beef curry

Mild beef curry

This is a really straight forward beef curry which I often make and is good for 4-6 people. Using fresh ginger makes a big difference and remember you can freeze fresh ginger and grate it frozen then just drop it back into the freezer for your next adventure.

What you need

1kg beef cut into bite sized pieces (chuck excellent)
1 onion finely chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
5cm piece grated ginger
1 tablespoon mild curry powder
500ml beef Stock
1 red pepper finely chopped
500g potatoes cubed

The process

In a large heavy pot, brown the beef in a little oil over a medium heat, remove and set aside.

Add add a little more oil then the onion, garlic and red pepper, fry for about 3 or 4 minutes until the onion becomes translucent. Stir constantly.

Add the ginger and the curry powder and mix until the smell permeates the whole kitchen.

Add back the meat and the beef stock and toss in the potato cubes, give it a really good stir and bring to the boil. Cover, reduce the heat and let it simmer for 1/2 an hour or until the potatoes are tender.

Remove the lid and simmer for a further 1/2 an hour checking the consistency of the sauce after 15 minutes. If it is reducing too much place the lid back on again and always remember to taste and season with salt and pepper.

Serve with rice and cucumber mixed with seasoned plain yogurt and some chopped tomatoes.

Try the Kerala country chicken for an authentic North Indian meal.

Sticky chicken wings

Sticky chicken wings

sticky chicken wings

Sticky Chicken wings

We have all had chicken wings in pubs or bars and they are usually really tasty and sticky and you could probably keep eating them all night. well here is a great sticky chicken wings recipe for you to try.

Next time you get DVD’s make a huge pile of these chicken wings and munch your way through them. It’s a wonderful thing!

What you need

1 kg chicken wings
1 cup soy sauce
5 cm piece gated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
30 ml lemon juice (1/2 a lemon)
Pinch salt and black pepper
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon dried chopped chili (optional)

The process

Mix all of the ingredients together in a pot and heat until the honey has mellted and the mixture is liquid.

You can chop the wings in half at the joint and toss out the tip or leave them whole, it really doesn’t matter.

Place the pieces in a bowl and smother with the marinade, toss to coat all over, cover the bowl and set aside for 2 hours.(not in the fridge)

Place the chicken pieces on a baking tray lines with tin foil(must do) and bake at 200 Celsius for about 15-20 inutes or until they are browned and sticky.


Herb crusted chicken breasts

Herb crusted chicken breasts

herb crusted chicken breast

Baked herb crusted Chicken

These flavorsome baked chicken breasts are really great any day and for those of you who eat frozen chicken pieces you will be pleasantly surprised. Experiment with herbs and spices to get a mixture that you really enjoy. (4 people)

What you need

6 chicken breasts
100ml lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup breadcrumbs
Palm of finely chopped fresh basil
Palm chopped fresh rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste

The process

Place the chicken breasts on a board and pound them with a mallet or bottle until they are about 2-3cm thick.

Place them in a dish, pour over the lemon juice and let them stand while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Mix together the breadcrumbs, basil, rosemary and season with salt and pepper in a flat dish.

Melt the butter in olive oil in a small pot.

Using a fork ortongs, dip each chicken breast in the butter and oil mixture and then coat thoroughly with the breadcrumbs and place them on a baking tray.

Bake at 200 Celsius for 20-25 minutes.

Thats it!

Serve with a salad or a panzanella.

Note: If you are using dried herbs, use 1 tablespoon of each.

Take a look at the rest of the Easy Chicken recipes