Banana bread with pecans

Banana bread with pecans

Moist Banana bread

This is a really easy banana bread recipe that is moist and will satisfy you day or night. The pecan nuts add such a wonderful texture to the banana bread that you really don’t want to leave them out. This recipe is from an old recipe book that never fails to turn out perfectly so give it a try, you will be very glad you did. If you prefer a more traditional easy banana bread recipe try this easy banana bread.

You really need a scale for this one, so if you havn’t got one go out and get one.

What you need

115g butter at room temperature
200g sugar
2 eggs
240g cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarb of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 medium ripe bananas mashed (the riper the better, don’t be put off if there are a few brown spots)
100g pecan nuts chopped

The process

Preheat your oven to 180 Celsius and grease a bread tin with butter. (don’t be shy with the butter)

Add the sugar and butter to a bowl and use a wooden spoon to cream them together until they are a shade paler and nice and creamy.

Add the eggs and mix together, then sift over the flour, baking powder, bicarb and salt. Give it a few turn with your spoon and then add the mashed bananas and nuts. Mix the whole lot together well so that the nuts and banana are evenly distributed.

Pour into your bread tin 21cmx8cmx9cm and sprinkle a few left over bits of pecan nut over the top.

Bake in the middle of the oven for about 40 minutes or until the top is browned and a skewer comes out clean. Check it at 35 minutes for safety sake.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.

It seldom lasts until it is cool and I can tell you that a warm slice of this with a generous buttering is too good to resist.

You can also make these in a muffin tin but the baking time is reduced to around 20 minutes or so, so check on them frequently if you decide to make muffins.

Ham and Cheese Waffles

Ham and Cheese Waffles

savory waffle

Waffles are something I seldom make and for some reason I always get back to them after a long weekend in Dullstrom where we always, without fail have a meal at Harry’s Pancakes. My favourite are the savoury pancakes so here is a waffle recipe that you will love. (makes 4 or 5 waffles)

To make this a sweet waffle, just substitute the cheese and ham in the mixture with one heaped tablespoon of sugar and thats it, you have a light waffle recipe that you can now add other goodies to like chocolate chips, add 50g, or berries, add 50g, you get the idea.

What you need

210g cake flour (1 3/4 cups sifted flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
25g grated cheddar cheese
25g chopped ham
3 large eggs seperated
70g melted butter
125ml milk

The process

Heat your waffle iron.

Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks stage and set aside.

Beat the Yolks in another bowl, then add the melted butter and the milk. Beat them lightly to combine.

Sift the cake flour and baking powder into a bowl and then toss in the salt, cheese and ham and make a well in the center. Add the egg yolks mixture and using a fork mix the ingredients together working from the center out. Don’t spend a lot of time mixing, just get it combined so there is no dry flour about.

Now add the egg whites and fold them in until they are evenly distributed. The batter may be a a bit streaky but this is how it should be.

Thats that, you are ready to make your waffles. I am a big fan of marmalade for a savory and sweet combination but you may want to make a cheese sauce that you add a handful of chopped ham to as well, it’s simply fantastic.

Other savory variations could be cheese and spring onions, bacon and almost anything… just get together your favorite flavours and set to it. You can also quite happily add a poached egg on top and then smother in cheese sauce and bacon. Hell I am getting seriously hungry typing this!

Pumpkin Fritters

Pumpkin Fritters

Pumpkin Fritters

Pumpkin Fritters

I had pumpkin fritters that were bought from Woolies and although I enjoyed them, there is nothing like home made pumpkin fritters doused in cinnamon sugar to deal with a comfort food craving. I turned to a trusty book by Lannice Snyman called tortoises and Tumbleweeds and found a really fantastic recipe that did the trick. Try them, they are real simple and the taste, well let’s just say I ate for three. (enough for 4 people if you are not me)

What you need

600g pumpkin chopped
250ml water
pinch of salt
1 egg, beaten
100g cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of cinnamon
Oil for frying

60ml sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

The process

Place your pumpkin cubes and water with the pinch of salt into a pot onto the stove, bring to a boil and then turn down to medium and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes or so until the pumpkin is nice and soft. Drain off the water, allow it to cool for a few minutes and then mash it well.

Put a pot with about 6cm of oil in the bottom onto a medium to high heat before you continue.

Once the oil is on and the pumpkin well mashed transfer it to a mixing bowl and add the egg, flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Give it a good mix to distribute all of the ingredients.

Now take a small amount of batter and test to see that the oil is hot but not too hot. The batter should bubble gentle and not bubble over.

Take tablespoon sizes and drop them into the oil, doing about 6 at a time until they are golden brown and crisp all over.

Place the cooked pumpkin fritters onto some kitchen paper to remove some of the oil and then cover in the cinnamon sugar mixture.

There are few things that will satisfy a craving like these little beauties. I also made the Denningvleis for some friends a while back from the same book which was a real hit.

Milk Tart

Milk Tart

Milk Tart

Milk tart or Melk Tert is as South African as biltong and dry wors and this is one of those recipes you are going to want to bookmark, print or share so that you never lose it. Milk tart has been one of my favorite desserts for a very long time and I have tried quite a number of Millk Tart recipes and if you have been following these recipes for a while, you will know that the easier the better for me. It’s a goodie this one, try it.

What you need

Crust
110g flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
5 tablespoons caster sugar
60g butter

Filling
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons maizena (cornflour)
2 tablespoons flour
500ml milk
100g sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
Cinnamon

The process

Heat your oven to 180 Celsius

On a low heat melt the butter for the pastry.

In a mixing bowl, add the flour baking powder and caster sugar for the crust and give it a mix to distribute the ingredients evenly. Add the melted butter and use your fingers to mix it into the dry ingredients until you get it all sticking together in a crumbly shortbread kind of consistency with no flour left in the bowl.

Now take your pie dish (about 20cm circle) and press the pastry into the base and up the sides with an even thickness. Prick it with a fork about 4 or 5 times over the base and then pop it into the oven for about 12 minutes or so until the pastry is light brown. Remove and set aside.

While the pastry is browning get another mixing bowl and add the flour, maizena and eggs, whisk them together.

Now take a small pot on a medium heat and add the milk, sugar and salt. Heat until the sugar has completely dissolved and you are stirring continuously. The milk should be threatening to boil at this stage with small bubbles appearing around the edge (don’t let it boil).

Remove from the heat and allow to cool for about 10 minutes and then pour the milk in a slow stream into the egg mixture while you whisk. It is really important to add the heat gradually while you whisk. This prevents lumps from forming and does not cook the egg too quickly(If there is someone nearby to help you, that is best)

The mixture will be thickening while you whisk and once you have finished adding all of the milk mixture, return everything to the pot over a medium to low heat and add the vanilla essence. Cook it for a few minutes stirring constantly(slowly) until the custard has thickened to a wonderful creamy texture.

Fill up your base with the custard filling, give it a good dusting with cinnamon and set it aside in a cool place to set. Then pop it in the fridge for about an hour before digging in.

I know it seems like a long recipe but it’s really not…. I just want you to really enjoy this one!

Mushroom tarts

Mushroom tarts

mushroom tarts

Mushroom tarts

These mushroom tarts are amazing, they are like little crustless quiches that you make in a muffin pan and are perfect for picnics, lunch boxes or something special for the road instead of sandwiches. You really must try these, they are fantastic and so easy. (makes 12)

What you need

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion finely chopped
500g button mushrooms chopped
hand full of parsley chopped
salt and pepper

4 extra large eggs
200ml milk
125ml cream
125ml cheddar cheese grated

The process

Heat your oven to 180 Celsius

In a pan on a medium heat, melt the butter and add the oil. Toss in the onions and cook them until they are transparent but not browned.

Now add the mushrooms and parsley and cook until the mushrooms are beginning to brown on the edges. Give it a grind of black pepper and a pinch of salt and mix again.

Remove from the heat and lightly butter your muffin trays. Evenly distribute the mushroom mixture into each muffin and set aside.

Now whisk the eggs, milk and cream with a pinch of salt and pepper.

Pour the mixture equally over the mushroom mix that is in each muffin tin and sprinkle the grated cheese over the top of each one.

Pop the tray into the oven for 20 to 25 minutes. The cheese will be melted and beginning to brown on the tops.

Remove from the oven and let them cool a little while before devouring. They keep for a day or two in the fridge but I doubt that will be an issue.

This is another recipe that you can have a ball with, use less mushrooms and add some bacon, spring onions or anything else that really grabs you. Serve a whole lot of different types at a party, you will be lauded I tell you. You can also fancy them up a bit by topping them with a little bit of green and adding a touch of balsamic reduction.

Try this mushroom soup recipe, its fantastic

Homemade chocolate rum truffles

Homemade chocolate rum truffles

homemade chocolate truffles

Chocolate rum truffles

These homemade chocolate truffles are not the usual very rich almost too chocolatey truffles, they have a little crunch and use cocoa not chocolate. They are absolutely sublime and can easily be made without the rum for kids and those who don’t like alcohol. The best thing about this recipe is that it is so simple and can be made your own very easily, add a few nuts or cherries, less biscuit and more coconut, you get the idea. Have fun making them!

What you need

125g butter at room temperature
250ml icing sugar
100ml cocoa powder
1 packet Marie biscuits (must be bakers Marie Biscuits)
125ml Apricot Jam
2 tablespoons rum
Dessicated coconut

The process

Take your Packet of Marie biscuits and crush them up into small pieces. I use a bottle or rolling pin to break them up.

Pop the butter into a mixing bowl and cream it with a spoon until the colour changes to a pale smooth consistency. It doesn’t take long but is really important.

Sift in the cocoa and icing sugar, add the jam and the rum and give it a mix. Now add the crushed Marie bisuits and mix to combine all of the ingredients well.

Place your coconut (you can alo use crushed nuts of some sort but coconut and rum work very well together) and place it onto a plate, them roll balls by taking a tablespoon size piece and rolling it in your palms.

Drop into the coconut and then place on a baking sheet. Repeat until there is only one piece left for the cook!

Pop the tray into the fridge for about 1/2 an hour. Store them in the fridge in a tupperware.

You don’t have to use the rum for those who want a non alcoholic version of these simply little truffles. Try some of the other choclate dessert recipes

Easy Baked Cheesecake

Easy Baked Cheesecake

Baked Cheesecake

Don’t let the few ingredients of this cheesecake recipe put you off, it is a really tasty baked cheesecake. I actually prerfer baked cheesecakes to fridge style cheesecakes, they just seem more posh and the custard powder in this one does wonders to the flavour. Cheesecake is not meant to be low fat and this one is no exception, so if you are dieting this one is not for you.

What you need

Crust

120g Flour
60g butter at room temp
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 large egg

Cheesecake

500g smooth, full fat cream cheese
250ml full cream plain ypghurt
200g sugar
2 teaspoon custard powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 large eggs

The process

Start out by seeting your oven to 180 Celsius and have the rack on the middle shelf.

You need a 20cm round sprinform cake tin and must line the base with baking paper. Do this by removing the base, cutting a piece of baking paper the same size and then snap it back together.

Place all of the crust ingredients ingredient together into a food processor and blitz it until the dough forms a ball in the processor. You can also use one of those hand processors but you will need to knead it a little after it syarts balling.

Line the base of the tin and about 1/2 way up the sides of the tin with the dough. This can be a little tricky so try to get it as even as possible around the sides.

Clean out your processor and place all of the filling ingredients into your processor and blitz again for about 1 minute or until it is well mixed.

Pour over the pastry and then straight into the oven for 50 to 60 minutes. You will know it’s done when the top has cracked and the edges are slightly browned.

Let it cool down and then top it off with some sliced strawberries that you have covered in caster sugar and let stand for about 10 minutes.

The German baked Cheesecake is another real winner and then there is the no bake Blueberry cheesecake which you will love.

Easy Chicken pie in a pot

Easy Chicken pie in a pot

Chicken pie

This is a fantastic Chicken Pie recipe that is very easy to make and thanks to frozen puff pastry takes only minutes to prepare. It makes a large pie that can feed about 6 people but tastes so good, 4 hungry people will devour it in no time. There is something so good about the smell of pastry baking in the oven and your family will be at the door asking when it will be ready.

What you need

250g frozen puff pastry that is thawed
1 beaten egg

1 tablespoon butter
2 medium onions grated or finely chopped
1 tin corn kernels drained
100g sliced button mushrooms
1 cup frozen peas
1 whole cooked chicken chopped or shredded depending on how you like it

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
500ml chicken stock
250ml fresh cream

The process

Before you start this recipe, pop your frozen pastry in the fridge for about 2 hours to thaw. It is best to thaw it out in the freezer than on the counter or microwave, just seems to stay intact better.

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a pan on a medium heat and fry the onions until they are soft, add the mushrooms and fry for about another 3 minutes stirring occasionally.

Now add the corn, frozen peas and chicken and cook for a few minutes to mix in all of the ingredients. Remove from the heat and set aside.

In another pot, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and add the flour. Stir or whisk well to cook the flour a little, be careful not to burn it, you want it to be better yellow not brown. Now remove it from the heat and add the chicken stock in a slow stream, whisk very well while adding the stock until all of the flour is mixed in and you have no lumps.

Pop it back on the stove and bring to the boil while you stir continuously, then reduce the heat to low, add the cream and stir until you feel it starting to thicken up. Remove from the heat, toss in the chicken mixture and give it a good mix.

Pour the mixture into a casserole dish that is about 20cm x 20cm x 10cm or a shallower one that is about 30cm x 20cm x 6cm and then place the pastry over the top. Tuck it in and fold any overlaps back onto the top. Cut 2 x 4cm slits in the pastry, wash the top with the beaten egg and place in a 180 Celsius oven for about 30 mins or until the pastry is crisp and browned.

It’s a fantastic meal folks, try it.

Take a look at the other easy chicken recipes.

Cornflake cookies

Cornflake cookies

cornflake cookies

cornflake cookies

Whenever I have been away for a while I like to replenish the cookie jars and these cornflake cookies are really great. They are great to have around when you are on the run, to grab a few on your way out the door when you have missed breakfast. They last at least a week in an airtight container… I have never tested any longer than that. (makes about 3 dozen cookies)

What you need

125g butter at room temperature
1/3 cup caster sugar
1 egg beaten
2/3 cup raisins/sultanas or even chopped glace cherries (whatever you like best)
1 cup self raising flour
1 1/2 to 2 cups crushed cornflakes

The process

Take about 2 cups of cornflakes from the box and crunch them with your hands to break into smaller pieces, not powder or tiny pieces, just broken up which will be about 1 1/2 cups. Pour onto a large plate.

In a bowl, add the butter and caster sugar and beat until smooth and creamy. use an electric beater.

Now add the beaten egg and beat again until fully combined.

Sift the flour into the mixture and add the raisins or dried fruit of your choice. Mix together with a spoon using a folding motion until uniformly combined, dont beat, just mix.

Line a baking sheet with grease proof paper and take heaped teaspoons of the mixture, form a ball and roll them in the broken up cornflakes to coat well.

Place them on the baking sheet and flatten slightly with your thumb. Leave about 2 or 3 cm around each cookie to allow for spreading and rising.

Bake in the middle of the oven at 180 Celsius for 20 minutes until golden.

Remove from the oven and allow them to cool and crisp up then dig in…

To store, place a sheet of grease proof paper in the bottom of your tin or tupperware and pile them up gently.

try this healthy energy bar recipe as well.

Easy impressive chocolate cake

Easy impressive chocolate cake

Impressive chocolate cake

Here is a real winner of a chocolate cake recipe. It is foolproof and from start to eating is about 1 and a 1/2 hours with 1 hour being the baking time. It’s a really fantastic chocolate cake that is soft, moist, delicious and if you are looking for a chocolate cake to impress without any hassles, this is it. The real secret to this recipe is getting the baking time right and using the ground almonds, so set your alarm or a reminder on your phone, you don’t want it to overcook.

What you need

400g milk chocolate
75ml water
175g soft butter
250g light brown muscavado sugar
4 eggs
100g self raising flower
50g cocoa powder
100g ground almonds
300ml whipped double cream
250g mascarpone cheese

The process

Heat your oven to 160 Celsius and lightly but thoroughly butter the inside of a 20cm springform round cake tin.

Heat 75ml of water in a small pot to boiling, remove from the heat add 250g of the chocolate and stir until it is melted.

Add the sugar and butter to a large bowl and beat with your electric beaters until pale and creamy. Addthe eggs 1 at a time and beat them into the mixture. If you notice the mixture starting to curdle, add about a tablespoon of the flour.

Now stir in the chocolate with a metal spoon until the whole mixture is brown. Sift the flour and the cocoa into the bowl, add the ground almonds and fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients gently. Don’t mix it, just fold it in to distribute evenly.

Pour the whole lot into the cake tin, into the oven for about one hour. You want the cake to have risen and be firm to the touch, check it at 50 minutes with a skewer. You want a little stickiness in the center so the skewer should come out with a little wetness and cake on it.

Set the tin aside and allow the cake to cool.

Remove the cake and find the longest straightest knife you have. Slice the cake into 2 or 3 equal slice. Place a layer of whipped cream between the slices.

Melt the rest of the chocolate in about 30ml of boiling water and in a separate bowl beat the mascarpone cheese with another 30ml of boiling water, add the chocolate to the mascarpone and beat well with your electric beater. Smother the cake with the mixture and you have made one seriously delicious and impressive chocolate cake.