Hot gooey chocolate puddings

Hot gooey chocolate puddings

Chocolate puddings

Ever since I first saw Jamie Oliver make these little fellas it became an obsession to get them right and here they are folks, beautiful little chocolate puds with a runny chocolate center. If you are a chocoholic like me, these are definitely for you. (makes 6)

What you need

230g 70% chocolate
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 egg yolks
6 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 egg whites

The process

If your eggs are in the fridge, take them out at least 20 minutes before you start.

Heat your oven to 200 Celsius and lightly butter 6 rammikins, then dust with cocoa powder and set aside (not the measured cocoa powder).

Break up the chocolate into small pieces (whacking it with a rolling pin does the trick) and place the chocolate and butter into a small pot on a low heat. Heat the mixture, stirring constantly until the chocolate has melted. Now take off the heat, add the vanilla essence and salt, stir well and set aside.

Separate the egg yolks and the whites putting 3 whites aside for use later.

Add the egg yolks to a large bowl and beat the yolks for about 30 seconds. Then add 1/2 the sugar(3 tablespoons) and cocoa powder and beat well until thick and glossy. Now add the chocolate mixture and mix with a metal spoon in a folding motion until blended and thick.

Now in a separate bowl add the 3 egg whites and beat on high until you reach stiff peak stage. (If you lifty the beaters out of the mixture the peak does not collapse), now add the remaining 3 tablespoons sugar and beat until smooth and glossy as if you were making meringues.

Add the egg whites to the chocolate mixture and fold in gently with a metal spoon. It must be evenly combined with a few white streaks. Spoon into the rammikins about 3/4 full.

Place in the oven for 12 to 14 minutes or until the tops are cracked.

Serve immediately in or out of the rammikins. If you are removing them from the rammikins, allow them to cool for a few minutes then slide a sharp thin knife around the edges first. Serve with a little vanilla ice cream or fresh beaten cream.

These are seriously good.

German bundt cake

German bundt cake

Bundt cake

This is a fantastic cake that has been slightly modified from the traditional to include a hint of orange. It is soft and moist with a simple glaze that will have you going back for more, again and again. There is a little cheat in it with the instant vanilla pud but it just cannot be left out.

What you need

2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 box powdered instant vanilla pudding
1 tablespoon baking powder
Generous pinch salt (about 1/2 teaspoon)
1 1/4 cups buttermilk (must be buttermilk)
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
zest of 1 medium lemon
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 teaspoon orange extract
1/3 cup roasted sliced almonds

For the glaze

2 cups caster sugar
1 tablespoon boiling water
5 tablespoons orange juice
2 drops orange extract

The process

Heat your oven to 180 Celsius.

Add the sugar and lemon zest to a large bowl, give it a stir and set aside while you gather the rest of your ingredients together. This allows the lemon flavour to infuse into the sugar.

Take your bundt tin and lightly butter the inside.

Add the flour, vanilla pud, baking powder and salt to another bowl, mix thoroughly and set aside.

Add the butter to the sugar mixture and beat well to a creamy texture. Now add the eggs, vanilla essence and orange extract and beat well.

Now add 1/2 the flour and beat, add 1/2 the buttermilk and beat, then the rest of the flour, beat, rest of the buttermilk and beat the whole lot on medium for about 3 to 4 minutes. (Cant tell you why this process is important but it does make a difference)

Pour the mixture into the bundt tin, tap it gently on the counter to even it out and bake for 45 minutes.

Remove and allow to cool in the tin for about 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.

While the cake is cooling prepare your glaze.

Add all of the ingredients to a small bowl and whisk furiously until all of the sugar is dissolved and you have an easy pouring consistency.

When the cake is completely cool, drizzle over the cake, sprinkle over the almonds and a little lemon zest and place in the fridge for 15 minutes. (It’s a good idea to place a sheet of paper underneath the rack when you are glazing)

It’s worth every second of the effort

Buttermilk pancakes

Buttermilk pancakes

Buttermilk pancakes

Buttermilk pancakes

There are few things better than smell of freshly cooking pancakes in the morning and this buttermilk pancake recipe is just what the doctor ordered. The challenge is to get them to the plate without eating them yourself as soon as they are done. What you will find as that the kids will be waiting by your side, plate in hand to take them from you as soon as they are ready. (Makes 12 10cm pancakes.) If you are looking for crepes, try this  crepe recipe.

What you need

125g flour
½ teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon bicarb of soda
¾ teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons melted butter (30g)
1 egg
250ml buttermilk
Butter for frying

The process

The real secret to this recipe requires some patience… if you have it you will be well rewarded, so follow the recipe to the T.

Sift together all of your dry ingredients, make a well and add the egg, melted butter and buttermilk, stir to a thin creamy texture.

Now cover the bowl with a cloth and leave it to stand for at least ½ an hour. Go and have a shower, catch up on the news or have a cuppa… but let the mixture be…

When you are ready to cook, check that the batter is not too thick and if need be, add a little more buttermilk.

Heat a heavy based pan to medium and add a little butter, ladel in enough batter to make a 10cm pancake. Let them cook until bubbles begin to pop on the surface which should be about 3 minutes. Turn and brown the other side.

These are fantastic… pile them up, place a generous amount of butter on top and drizzle over some maple syrup, honey or your favorite jam.

The recipe doubles without any problem. Try this breakfast scone recipe, its fabulous.

German baked cheesecake

German baked cheesecake

German baked cheesecake

German baked cheesecake

This Cheesecake recipe is really good. It has a rich lively filling with a few raisins that make it something extraordinary. There is something so appealing about a beautifully browned baked cheesecake with its rich and creamy center you just have to try this. The pastry is part of it’s unique flavour so make the extra effort. (23cm springform cake tin)

What you need

Pastry
200g flour
100g cold butter cubed
100g caster sugar
4 egg yolks
½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon vanilla essence

Filling
4 large eggs separated
200g white sugar
500g cream cheese (room temp)
500g sour cream
3 tablespoons maizena (corn flour)
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
100g raisins

The process

First we need to make the pastry

Sift the flour a pile on a clean work surface and make a well in the center. Don’t be shy, make it a nice size well. Add all of the rest of the ingredients to the well and start to combine them with you fingers.

To start off with take a little flour from the inside edge all around and get messy folks, pinching all of the ingredients together to combine them. Now take a spatula or pastry scraper and work in all of the flour until you have a course crumb texture.

Bring the dough into a ball and knead it until smooth. If it is still sticky knead in a tablespoon or so of flour until you get a nice smooth pastry.

Wrap it in cling film and pop it into the fridge for ½ and hour while you prepare the filling ingredients.

Heat your oven to 200 Celsius, lightly butter the inside of the tin, roll out the chilled dough and line the bottom and sides of the tine with pastry that is about 3mm thick. Pop it back in the fridge.

Add the egg yolks to a mixing bowl and beat well. Add sugar in 3 equal amounts beating well after each addition until the mixture is light and fluffy.

Now do the same with the cream cheese and beat well until smooth.

Add all of the rest of the ingredients except the egg whites and stir with a spoon until well combined.

Quickly beat the egg whites to stiff peaks and fold them into the mixture gently.

Now fill the pastry lined tin with the mixture(it should almost reach the top of the tin) and bake it for 1 hour in the middle of the oven.

Check on it after ½ an hour and if it is browned already, cover loosely with tin foil to prevent it from burning.

You will notice it rise above the edge of the tin and then when you remove it, it will sink down… That’s what it’s supposed to do.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about an hour, then pace it in the fridge for about 4 or 5 hours to cool and for the filling to solidify properly. Remove from the tin.

Serve it with fresh whipped cream and a little fresh fruit… It is incredible.

Strawberry cream cake

Strawberry cream cake

Strawberry cream cake

Strawberry cream cake

Strawberry cream cakes or Victoria sponge cakes are really quite simple to make. They are very light and can be filled with all sorts of great fillings. This one uses strawberries and whipped cream for a decadent and very impressive cake which is perfect as both a dessert or a tea cake. If you havn’t baked much, this is a great one to start with. You will need a scale for this recipe and 2 x 23cm cake tins.

What you need

The cake
225g soft butter
225g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
200g self-raising flour
25g corn flour
3-4 tablespoons milk
2 x 21cm sandwich tins, buttered

For the filling
4 tablespoons of strawberry jam
1 punnet of strawberries, cleaned and halved
125ml double cream whipped

For the topping
2 tablespoons or so of caster sugar

The process

Preheat your oven to 180 Celsius and line the cake tins with grease proof paper.

Cream together the butter and sugar with a spatula until white and very easy to mix, add the vanilla and the eggs one at a time with a spoon of flour in between each egg addition and mix well with an electric beater until well combined.

Add the rest of the flour and maizena and fold it in.

Add the milk, mix with the spatula until combined and pour the mixture equally into your cake tins.

Bake for about 25 minutes. You will know they are done when the cake is beginning to come away at the edges of the tin.

Leave the them in their tins for 10 minutes to cool slightly, then turn the out onto a wire rack to cool.

Now for the fun part.. Place one layer onto a plate and spread the jam generously over the top. Scatter a layer of strawberries over the jam and finally spoon over a nice thick layer of whipped cream.

Place the second layer on top of the cream and sprinkle generously with the caster sugar or pile more strawberries and cream on top like this one.

Impressive and seriously delicious.

You can really go to town with the fillings, I have used caramel before which is very sweet but for me it’s best with berries and cream. Most other recipes I come across don’t use jam and berries but it really make a great addition.

Blueberry cheesecake

Blueberry cheesecake

blueberry-cheesecake

There are few things as satisfying as watching people become silent as they savour something you have made and this blueberry cheesecake. Try this cheesecake recipe with the sweet blueberry topping to really impress.

What you need

1 packet tennis biscuits
3 tablespoons melted butter

500g cream cheese
1 and 1/3 cups white sugar
5 eggs
250ml sour cream
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
1 teaspoon lemon juice

400g can of blueberries in syrup


Break up the biscuits into small pieces, melt the butter in a pot, remove from heat and then add the biscuits and combine well, crushing the biscuits as fine as you can.

Press the base mix into the bottom of a Springform cake tin about 1/2 cm thick and then slightly up the sides and set it aside.

In a large bowl add the cream cheese and give it a good beating with your electric beater into it is fluffy. Now add the sugar in 3 portions beating well after each addition until the mixture is really creamy.

Add the eggs and beat well.

Add the flour, vanilla essence and lemon juice and mix well. Now finally add the sour cream and beat very will. The mixture will be smooth and silky.

Pour the mixture into the cake tin, give it a gentle shake to even out and place in a 160 Celsius oven for 90 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 1 hour, then into the fridge for about 2 to 3 hours.

While it’s cooling, empty the contents of the blueberries in syrup into a pot and heat through gently. Add 1 teaspoon of maizena added to about 1 tablespoon of water and mix into the liquid. Heat gently, stirring constantly and watch the liquid thicken, set aside to cool.

Remove the cake, place on a plate and spoon over the blueberry toppping.

Delicious.

You could use any fruit toping, but blueberries are my favorite. The baking section of cookbook has some other fabulous cheesecake recipes as well as some delicious cakes and pastries

Chocolate raspberry dessert cake

Chocolate raspberry dessert cake

chocolate-raspberry-cakeThis is a really decadent cake that is so good as a warm dessert and whatever is left over can be for your afternoon tea. It’s rich yet the berries give it a freshness that perfectly balances the cake. Have this as the dessert after the lamb shanks for a really decadent and impressive dinner.

What you need

185g butter
185g dark chocolate
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
1 cup cake flour
2/3 cup self raising flour
1/2 cup almonds finely minced
1 cup raspberries

The process

If you cannot find almond meal, simply take the almond pieces, pop them into a blender and blend until fine.

Line a 20cm round spring form cake tin with grease proof paper by buttering lightly and sticking the paper to the sides and base. (Cut a round for the base and a strip for the sides).

Heat the oven to 180 Celsius.

In a pot on a medium low heat add the butter and break up the dark chocolate into the pot. Stir until all of the chocolate has melted, remove from the heat to cool down.

In a bowl add the eggs, vanilla and sugar and beat with an electric beater until light and fluffy.

Add the flour and almond and fold in with a metal spoon until evenly distributed, then fold in the chocolate and half of the raspberries.

Pour the mixture into the lined cake tin, sprinkle the last of the raspberries over the top and place in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until the top is firm.

Allow to cool for a few minutes before sprinkling over some caster sugar. Remoe from the tin and serve warm with thick cream or mascarpone on the side.

Portuguese custard tarts

Portuguese custard tarts

custard-tart

Portuguese custard tart

These little beauties are in most bakeries and if you are a Vida fan you will probably have had them before and nowadays, with prepared pastry being freely available in the frozen food section of the supermarket you can whip up a batch in about 45 minutes.(makes 8 to 10)

What you need

400g frozen puff pastry thawed

Filling
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons maizena (corn flour)
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

The process

If you don’t have the individual patty tins, a muffin tin works just as well. None of those silicone muffin trays, it must be a metal one. Spray well with spray and cook or butter thoroughly.

Dust a surface with flour and roll out the pastry until it is very thin, about 3mm thick
all over.

Cut into 10 or 12cm circles depending on the size of your tins and place into the tins so
that the pastry comes up the sides of the tin and set aside.

Filling

In a pot over a low heat add the water and sugar and stir until the sugar has completely
dissolved, simmer for a further minute or 2 while you continue.

Mix the maizena with a little of the milk to form a paste. In bowl add all of the milk and
the maizena paste and add to the sugar, whisk and add the egg yolks and vanilla, whisk
again thoroughly and simmer stirring constantly until the custard thickens.

Remove from heat, and place a piece of clingfilm over the top to prevent a skin from
forming and leave to cool.

Heat the oven to 200 Celsius.

Fill the pastry shells to 3/4 full and place in the oven for 20 minutes or until the top of
the custard is golden brown and firm to the touch.

Yummy….

Try the portuguese Trinchado recipe

Mothers day crepes

Mothers day crepes

mothers-day-breakfastEvery Mom should, at the very least be treated to a fabulous breakfast in bed or a lunch made by her loving children. Here are a few ideas that are really easy, can be used for both breakfast or lunch and your Mom will appreciate all the effort more than any gift you could buy her. The best part is they are so simple, you will have plenty of time to tell her how much you appreciate her.

What you need

Crepes

4 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup cold water
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon sugar (if you are making sweet crepes)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence (if you are making sweet crepes)

Filling

1 punnet Fresh raspberries or any berries really
60ml water
2 tablespoons of sugar

gently heated until the liquid is syrupy but the fruit still firm.

The process

Add all of the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and whisk together until the mixture is thoroughly mixed, thin and liquid. If you are using a hand whisk it will take max 2 minutes and about 1 minute with an electric mixer.

Heat a pan on a medium heat, spray liberally with spray and cook and allow to heat.

Pour in enough crepe mixture to thinly coat the base of the pan, cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute until the top appears slightly rubbery and the base is lightly browned (check with your spatula), turn and cook for another 30- seconds or so.

Place some of the syrupy fruit mixture in the center, fold or roll the crepe, sprinkle with a little caster sugar and that’s that, a happy Mom.

If you want to make savoury crepes for lunch here are a few ideas.

Creamy chicken crepes

Steam chicken breasts until cooked through and cut into small pieces.

Make this white sauce and season to taste, and mix in the chicken pieces.

Fill crepes and add extra sauce to the top of the crepe. Top off with some fresh parsley

You can also make the cheese sauce top off with extra cheese and place under the grill for a minute or two.

Easter cup cakes

Easter cup cakes

cup-cakesI tried these little fellas from Nigella’s “How to be a domestic goddess” recipe book. They were really simple, tasted fantastic and are so great to have around the house during long weekends. Give them a try this weekend and celebrate easter with a kitchen full of tasty treats for the family. There are a coup[le of great biscuit recip[es following this one which take just minutes to make. (makes 12)

What you need

125g soft butter
125g caster sugar
2 eggs
125g self raising flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
3 tablespoons milk

12 place muffin tray and cupcake linings

For the icing try this chocolate fudge icing

The process

Heat the oven to 200 Celsius.

These are best made with an electric mixer or food processor.

Place all of the ingredients, except the milk, into a large bowl and mix on a high speed for a few minutes until the mixture is smooth.

Now add the milk, 1 tablespoon at a time and mix well after each tablespoon.

The mixture will easily fall from a spoon.

Place equal amounts of mixture into the cupcake liners, bake in the middle of the oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

The tops should be golden brown and springy when you press them gently.

Remove them from the oven and allow to cool.

Smother with your favorite icing and top with cherries, sprinkles or whatever grabs your fancy.

I have topped them with whipped cream and strawberries before and they are fantastic.