Tasty cheese muffins

Tasty cheese muffins

Cheese muffins

Cheesse muffins

Any time is snack time and these very easy to make cheese muffins are musts to have around the house. Pop one or two into lunch boxes for the kids, take a few to work and have them with cream cheese, add more cheese and perhaps some ham, these are great.

They freeze very well and thaw in a short space of time, so make a batch or two this weekend. All week you will have a smile on your face 🙂

Add a handfull of fresh herbs for a difference or a 1/2 teaspoon of paprika for a little something different. (Makes 12 muffins)

What you need

1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder, yes tablespoon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 cup milk
1 large egg
1/4 cup melted butter

The process
Heat your oven to 190 Celsius and lightly butter a muffin tray. If you have cookie cups, insert a cookie cup into each space.

In a large bowl, add all of the dry ingredients. Flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

In another bowl, add the egg and milk and whisk together well. Now add the melted butter and whisk to combine.

Add the egg mixture along with the cheese to the dry ingredients and stir together with a metal spoon until well combined.

Spoon the mixture equally into the 12 spaces and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Remove and allow to cool a little before digging in.

Try the Apple cinnamon muffin recipe as well, you will love them.

No bake white chocolate cheesecake

No bake white chocolate cheesecake

white-chocolate-cheesecake-no-bake

This is such an incredibly easy recipe it is almost hard to believe it tastes so fantastic. I am not a big fan of sweet cheesecake recipes and this one really is an excellent recipe.

Next time I make this recipe I think I will add some finely grated citrus rind. I can taste a little lemon or orange zest in it but it is fantastic as it is as well.

Because it is not overly sweet, top it with almost anything to sweeten it up. Any fruit or berries will do the trick or even some crushed oreos, roasted coconut or anything that you like.

You will need a 23cm springform tin that is approx 5cm deep (deeper doesn’t matter)

What you need

Base
1 x packet tennis biscuits (Graham crackers or similar)
200g melted butter

Filling
360g cream cheese
250ml fresh cream
100g melted white chocolate
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

The process

Break up the biscuits, place them in a food processor and blend until a they are fine crumbs.

Melt the butter in a bowl, add the fine biscuit mixture and mix well until fully combined.

Take your baking tin and spray with spray and cook, then line the base of the tin with the biscuit mixture. press it down quite firmly with the base of a spoon and check that you have it fairly even by measuring with the spoon against the side of the dish all the way round.

Place the tin in the fridge.

Place the cream(keep about 50ml aside) and cream cheese into a bowl and mix together with an electric beater until you get to soft peak stage. (when you remove the whisks, it forms a peak but falls over)

Heat the 50ml of cream on medium heat until warm but not boiling, remove from the heat and add the chopped white chocolate. Stir until it is completely melted.

Add the melted chocolate and the vanilla essence to the cream mixture and fold in with a spatula.

Take you tin from the fridge and fill with the cream cheese mixture, cover with cling film and then back into the fridge for at least an hour or two.

You can make it the day before and it will last in the fridge for at least a few days 🙂

Top it with whatever makes you happy. Berries are a perfect match but try something different as well.

Chocolate profiteroles

Chocolate profiteroles

profiteroles

Matt could not stay away!

I just had to repost this today, they are really easy and are brilliant as a dessert to impress visitors during the Xmas season. They do take a bit of time but is so worth it.

These have got to be the ultimate weakness of almost anyone. Choux pastry is not difficult to make, it just seems like it’s not working while you are mixing and then suddenly comes together. It’s important to follow the instructions exactly and weight/measure the ingredients. You will have no problem and  can tell you people will want them over and over again. This photo is of my youngest son some years ago which tells the story.

What you need

40g butter
80 ml water
50g cake flour
2 eggs at room temp

Wooden spoon (a must)

Sauce
180g choclate
90ml water

Thois makes 25-30 bite size profiteroles.

The process

Heat the water on medium for the chocolate sauce and break the chocolate into the water, sitr until all of the chocolate is melted. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Heat the oven to 200 Celsius with the rack in the center of the oven.

Lightly butter a baking tray or spray with spray and cook

Sift the flour and set aside.

In a pot, add the water and butter and heat on medium high until the butter has melted and is just boiling.

Remove from the heat and immediately add all of the flour and mix until the batter forms a ball and starts to pull away from the sides of the pot.

Let it cool for about 3-4 minutes.

While it is cooling break the eggs and beat lightly in 2 seperate cups.

Add 1 egg into the mixture and mix well with a wooden spoon (this is where it seems strange, the batter will seem to separate and it has a strange loose texture – keep mixing) until it comes together. Add about 1/2 of the next egg and follow the same process until the batter comes together, add a little more egg and repeat. The batter must be smooth and shiny and just drops off the spoon when lifted but maintains it’s shape.

If you have a piping bag, use a large nozzle and pipe 2-3cm high rounds onto the baking trays. Alternatively place teaspoons of the dough onto the baking tray. space them about 2-3cm apart, you should end up with about 25-30 little mounds.

Use the remaining egg to place a little on each mound

Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes until golden brown and puffed up. Swith off the oven. (Don’t open the oven!)

Remove from the oven and pierce the base of each profiterole with a knife to allow the steam to escape and place back into the oven for another 15 minutes to dry out and crisp up, then place them on a rack to cool.

Once cooled, slice the profiteroles in half, fill with whipped cream and spoon over the chocolate sauce.

Unbelievably good!!!

Here are some different toppings I made

  1. Caramel with roasted chopped almonds and filled with cream and another dollop of caramel.
  2. Chocolate as above with a little piece of marmalade rind

caramel-profiteroles

choc-profiteroles-marmalade

Best Banana bread recipe

Best Banana bread recipe

best-banana-breadSince my trip to Australia 2 years ago where banana bread is part of Ausie culture and can be bought anywhere! I have tried many banana bread recipes and am happy to say that this recipe is the easiest and tastiest of the lot.

I have been making it regularly, cutting thick slices and smearing thick layers of butter onto warm pieces 🙂 If it’s not directly from the oven, I pop it in the toaster to warm it up.

This is such an incredibly easy and satisfying recipe, you will be making it all through the holidays, having it for breakfast and for tea and perhaps even as banana french toast!

You need a 20cm x 10cm loaf tin, it takes 10-15 minutes to prepare and 1 hour in the oven.

What you need

2 large or 3 medium over ripe bananas
1 cup white sugar (must be white – I have tried others and it does make a difference)
1 egg
1/4 of a cup melted butter
1 and 1/2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon bicarb of soda (baking soda)
1/4 teaspoon salt

Optional:
handfull of chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon cinnamon

The process

Heat your oven to 170 celsius

Use a potato masher to mash the bananas well. You want a paste consistency with as few lumps as possible. add the sugar, egg and butter and mix well. When you can feel the sugar has dissolved (about 1 minute of mixing) put aside.

In another bowl add the flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda (baking sode). Give it a mix with a fork to distribute the ingredients and then pour the flour mixture in with the banana mixture.

Give it a mix until all of the flour is mixed in, pour into a lightly buttered loaf tin (10cm x 20cm) and then into the oven for 1 hour.

Thats that! Your family will be so happy you tried this recipe.

Christmas fruit cake

Christmas fruit cake

fruitcake

Christmas fruit cake

Christmas cakes that contain alcohol should be made about a month ahead of time to allow the flavor to mature. Incredibly, fruit cakes containing alcohol can be stored for around 9 months if in an airtight container.

What you need

500g raisins
500g currants
500g mixed candied citrus peel
375g flour
Pinch of salt
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon allspice
375g soft butter
375g treacle sugar
6 eggs
50ml brandy

The process

Heat the oven to 150 Celsius.

Lightly butter and line a deep cake tin(should be 28cm x about 17cm deep) with grease proof paper. (cut a circle for the bottom and then line the sides)

Sift together the flour, salt, nutmeg and allspice onto a piece of grease proof paper.

In another bowl(large), cream together the sugar and butter until a creamy texture is reached. Take an electric beater and add the eggs one at a time to the sugar mixture beating well after each addition.

Add the flour in 3 batches, stirring by hand to combine after each batch. Add the dried fruits and the brandy and mix by hand.

Scoop the mixture into the tin and smooth the top. Then take the back of a spoon and create a depression in the center by pressing with the back of the spoon(about ½ cm deep)

Place in the oven for 2 ½ hours, test with a metal skewer to see that it comes out clean. If not, return to the oven covered with tin foil (you don’t want it to become too dark brown)for a further 15 – 30 minutes and test again.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin.

I am not mad about marzipan so prefer to melt some smooth apricot jam with a little brandy and paint it over the cake before serving.

Store the cake in a tin in a cool place until Christmas. Here is a Christmas glazed gammon recipe , a Christmas roast turkey recipe and of course, perfect roast potatoes.

See all of the Christmas recipe ideas

Cherry pie recipe (tinned cherries)

Cherry pie recipe (tinned cherries)

cherry pie recipeAs a child I remember having the most delicious Sarah Lee cherry pies (not sure if you can still get them in SA) as a treat and as I have moved recently was keen to try out the new oven and decided to give a cherry pie recipe a try for some friends.

Everyone really enjoyed it and I can seriously recommend you try it. The recipe calls for ready made pastry so no messy stuff involved. It’s a pretty simple recipe and almost anyone could make this.

What you need:

2 x rolls frozen shortcrust pastry

1 1/4 cups sugar

3 tablespoons Maizena (corn starch)

Pinch of salt

2 x tins pitted black cherries in thick sauce

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon softened butter

Flan dish  (20cm)

The process

Set your oven to 200 celsius

Let the pastry thaw in the fridge over night and then lightly flour a surface and roll out so that you have enough width to line the flan dish with pastry. Spray the flan dish with spray and cook or butter well and then cover the pastry with baking paper and fill with baking beads.

Blind bake for 15 minutes, remove the beads and return to the oven for a further 10-15 minutes until lightly browned and crisp. Remove from the oven and let it cool.

Add sugar, Maizena and salt to a bowl and mix.

Drain the cherries and keep 1/2 cup of the sauce in a bowl.

Add the lemon juice to the cherry sauce and then add all of the dry ingredients and mix well.

Now add the softened butter and pop into the fridge for about 15 minutes.

The mixture is quite runny so don’t be alarmed.

Now place the cherry mixture into the beautifully crisp flan dish.

Cover with a lattice of pastry strips and pop into the oven for 50 minutes or so or until the lattice pastry is golden brown.

Serve with thick cream and ice cream.

Next time I will add a little cinnamon!!

 

Easy banana bread

Easy banana bread

banana bread recipe

Banana bread

Last night it was cold and windy and had this ghalashing for banana bread, hot and steamy straight out of the oven and turned to a quick and trusty banana bread recipe I’ve had for years and never fails. (It was late so excuse the pic) I have done almost everything with banana bread, including making a bread and butter pudding with it.

What you need

2 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon mixed spice (I didnt have but used 1/2 cinnamon and 1/2 ginger)
150g soft butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs beaten
1 cup mashed bananas (the riper the better)

The process

Oven temp 180 degrees celsius

Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl with electric beaters until soft, Add the eggs and beat well, add the mashed banana and mix well.

Sift in all the dry igredients and mix to a smooth batter and mix well again.

Pour into a lightly greased loaf tin and pop into the oven for 35-40 minutes. Check at 35 minutes with a toothpick and if it comes out clean you’re done.

Remove your banana bread from tin and let it cool for about 10 minutes on a wire rack if you can resist the smell. If not, go ahead and cut yourself a slice of the warm delicious banana bread and load it up with some butter, I tell you it is irressistable.

You can also add a palm full of chopped nuts like walnuts to make it a really special banana bread.

I like mine with a good spread of butter. Enjoy!

Cheesecake with a chocolate crust

Cheesecake with a chocolate crust

cheesecakeBaked cheesecakes have been irresistible to me since I first had a slice in New York 24 years ago and this recipe, which has a chocolate biscuit base and creamy texture that includes condensed milk is just what the doctor ordered when you need a distraction.

What you need

1 packet chocolate digestive biscuits
100g butter melted
3 cups cream cheese
2 tins condensed milk (Nestle)
125ml lemon juice (from a bottle is just fine)
4 tablespoons custard powder
2 tablespoons vanilla essence
250ml whipping cream

The process

Crumble the biscuits into a bowl, pour in the melted butter and mix together.

Pour the mixture into a spring form cake tin and press down firmly, covering the base with an even layer about 1cm thick.

In a bowl whip the cream to a firm consistency and set aside.

In another bowl, add the rest of the ingredients and combine until they are uniformly mixed. Then add the whipped cream and fold it in gently with a metal spoon to distribute evenly.

Pour the whole lot into the tin, smooth the top and bake in the middle of a 180 Celsius oven for ½ an hour.

Remove from the oven and allow it to cool. Take a knife and run it around the edge before releasing sides of the tin.

That’s it, serve with a fruit coulis or cream or both!

Chicken Leek and Ham pie

Chicken Leek and Ham pie

Chicken and Ham pie with Leeks

I made these pies along with the Greek Lamb shanks and Lemon Flans for a dinner party of 23 people the other night and it went down a real treat. You can prepare the filling the night before and then just cover with the pastry and pop it in the oven half an hour before serving. It is a very simple recipe and seriously delicious.  Make a large pie or separate into 4 smaller pies, it works just as well. (Serves 4 to 6 people)

What you need

Large knob of butter (about 2 tablespoons)
1 large onion finely chopped
4 leeks finely sliced
4 chicken thighs poached and bones taken out
1 large potato cubed and par cooked
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons flour
150g cooked ham chopped or shredded
1 pack frozen puff pastry
beaten egg for glazing
Pepper

The process

Put a large pan on a medium heat, melt the butter and then add the leeks and onions. Cook gently until they are soft but not browned. This should take about 10 minutes or so.

Now add the flour and give it a good mix. You want to cook the flour but not colour it so stir for about 3 minutes.

Add the chicken stock and bring to a gentle simmer so that the mixture begins to thicken. Now add the potato, chicken and ham, simmer for about 5 minutes, taste season if need be(this will depend a lot on the type of ham you use) and then remove from the stove.

Before serving, transfer everything into an oven proof disk, cover with the pastry, poke 2 holes into the top, wash with beaten egg and into a 200 Celsius oven for 30 minutes or until beautifully browned and puffed up.

This recipe can be doubled or trebled without any problem.

Lovers Shortbread

Lovers Shortbread

Lovers Shortbread recipe

Lovers Shortbread

This has got to be the simplest shortbread recipe I have ever had the pleasure of making. It takes all of 10 minutes to prepare and another 30 minutes until you can eat your heart out, they taste fantastic and freeze extremely well, what more could you ask for?  I am told these are a Lebanese shortbread, not sure where the Lovers shortbread comes from 🙂

Folks, you really must make a batch of these, we used walnuts but you can make them without anything on top, with almonds or even a little dollop of your favourite jam. I reckon these are going to become very popular. Makes 2 dozen large short bread bisciuts.

What you need

375g salted butter
1 cup icing sugar
3 cups cake flour
2 heaped teaspoons baking powder
Walnuts, cherries or whatever you are going to top them off with.
Lots of icing sugar to sprinkle on top

The process

Heat your oven to 190 Celsius.

In a large mixing bowl, add the butter and then pop it into the microwave for about 30 seconds or so. You want it to be soft enough to beat with an electric beater.

Add the icing sugar and beat it very well on high for about 5 minutes until it becomes very pale and creamy, almost white.

No toss in the flour and baking powder in 3 portions mixing after each addition.

Thats it, now all you need to do is form little balls of the mixture, roll them gently in your hand (yes round balls), place them on your baking sheet, press a little hole in the top with your finger and fill the hole with a nut, a lttle jam or even a piece of chocolate.

Pop them in the oven for about 7-10 minutes and then turn off the oven and leave them inside for another 15-20 minutes.

If you notice some of them browning on top you can open the oven to let out some of the heat and close it up again. We made batches that were very pale that melt in your mouth and also had some browned ones that were more like biscuits with a bit of a crunch that I must confess I enjoyed even more.

Remove them from the oven and allow to cool before covering with a generous amount of icing sugar.