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

Easy flapjack recipe

Easy flapjack recipe

Fluffy crumpet recipe

Following on with the baking theme after the Easy cheese muffin recipe, I have this fantastic crumpet recipe that produces the fluffiest crumpets I have ever made. I have added cinnamon to the mixture for a flavor difference but it is not essential to the recipe. Try them out this weekend for a sumptious breakfast, add a few fruit slices and lashings of butter and syrup, you won’t be sorry.

What you need

1 1/2 cups cake flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
Pinch salt (about 1/4 teaspoon)
1 1/4 cups milk
1/4 cup melted butter
2 large eggs lightly beaten
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 teaspoon of cinnamon (optional)

The process

This is such an easy recipe. Add all of the ingredients to a large mixing bowl and mix together to form a smooth batter.

Heat a knob of butter with about 1 teaspoon of sunflower or vegetable oil on medium to hot heat and spoon in amounts of about 1/5 cup for a nice size crumpet. Wait until the top has bubbles popping all over the surface and then turn over to brown the other side. As you turn them they will puff up beautifully.

These are really fantastic folks, you must try them.

Almond biscotti snaps

Almond biscotti snaps

Almond biscotti

This was really great.. a simple and easy to make almond bread, that when cut very thin and placed in a moderate oven make the most amazing crispy little almond slices a bit like thin almond biscotti. Imagine melba toast that tastes of almonds. It is meant to be a bread which is also great but I prefer the crispy little fellas.

What you need

125g toasted almonds (skinless)
3 egg whites
1/2 cup caster sugar
3/4 cup cake flour

You need a bread tin 26x8x4.5cm

The process

Heat your oven to 180 Celsius and line the tin by greasing it very lightly and lining it with baking paper. The grease allows the baking paper to stick to the sides. Cut a piece that fits the base and then a separate piece that lines the sides.

If you have raw almonds, place them on a baking tray in the oven for about 3 or 4 minutes and allow to cool.

Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks and add the caster sugar gradually as if you were making meringue until the mixture is glossy , thick and all of the sugar has been dissolved.

Fold in the flour and the almonds with a metal spoon. You don’t want to mix it, just gently fold it in until it is evenly spread through the mixture.

Spoon it all into the tin, give it a little shake to even it out in the tin and then bake for 25 minutes.

Re4move and allow to cool in the tin. Don’t be tempted to eat it hot, it must cool completely.

To make the crisps, cut the loaf with a serrated knife into slices less than 5mm and pop in a 160 Celsius oiven for about 10 to 12 minutes, turning after 6 minutes or so.

These are better than most biscuits you get at coffee shops and well worth the effort.

Enjoy them all, and try the chocolate pecan cookie recipe as well, it’s great.

Cheese biscuits

Cheese biscuits

Cheesy bisuits

These Cheese biscuits are wonderfully crumchy and quite unlike anything you will expect. They use cornflakes which give them something uniquely South African and are well worth making. They lasted less than a day and are very morish.

What you need

125g butter
3/4 cup grated cheddar (use a mature cheddar)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup self raising flour
1 cup crushed corn flakes
1 egg lightly beaten
Milk

The process

Heat your oven to 180 Celsius and lightly butter a baking tray.

To a bowl add the butter, grated cheddar and cayenne pepper. Beat with a electric beater until smooth.

Sift in the flour, add the crushed corn flakes and the egg and stir until evenly distributed. Don’t use the mixer.

Use a teaspoon to roll small balls and place them about 4cm apart on the baking tray. Give each one a light press with a fork and a brush with a little milk.

Bake for 15 minutes until light brown.

Cool on a rack and dig in. They will be crunchy and delightfully cheesy. You could also add a pinch of curry powder if you like that sort of flavour. The peanut butter cookies are great sweet cookies, try them.

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.

Bacon and cheese muffins

Bacon and cheese muffins

Bacon and cheese muffins

Bacon and cheese muffins

These bacon and cheese muffins are great for quick breakfasts and anytime snacks. You can make them with or without the chives but the chives make them a really fantastic savoury muffin. You can also throw in a handful of corn kernels instead of the chives which makes a nice change. I have been known to smother a version that excludes the chives in butter and strawbeery jam… (12 deep muffins or about 20 shallow muffins)

What you need

6 slices bacon chopped and fried
3 melted tablespoons butter
Handful of chopped fresh chives
2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

The process

Heat your oven to 190 Celsius and butter up your muffin tins. You can use cookie papers but the cheese tends to stick to them so butter the muffin tins is a better option.

After melting the butter, remove from the heat and drop in the chopped chives, mix and set aside to cool slightly.

In a bowl add the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt and mix with a spoon slightly.

In a separate large bowl add the eggs and milk and give a light whisking, then add the butter and chive mixture, the grated cheese and chopped bacon pieces. Give it a good mix to combine.

Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and stir with a spoon in a folding motion until combined.

Fill the muffin tins to 2/3 full, pop into the oven and bake for 20 minutes or so until the tops are golden brown.

Remove them from the tins and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Variations: substitute chives for corn kernels.
Fancy it up: Sprinkle a few bacon pieces over the top before going into the oven.

Enjoy them folks.

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.

Chicken pie

Chicken pie

Chicken pies

Chicken pies

Chicken pies are just great and this recipe is for 6 small pies or about 20 ramekin sized pies which are excellent for a snack instead of the usual snack types. Just load them onto a tray with teaspoons and believe me your guests will love them. I had similar little pies at the opening of a shop earlier this month and they were a real hit. You could also try a mini version of chicken lasagna for a change.

What you need

1 whole chicken
1 liter chicken stock
1 onion roughly chopped
Pinch of whole black peppercorns (about 8 or so)
2 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
salt and black pepper
2 egg yolks lightly beaten
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 punnet mushrooms chopped(250g)
1 packet bacon chopped into small pieces
Handful of chopped fresh parsley
1 roll froxen puff pastry (400g)
1 egg
Milk

The process

In a large pot on a medium to high heat, heat the stock, add the onion, peppercorns, mixed spice and cloves. Pop in the chicken and allow to simmer for about 40 minutes. You want the stock to be bubbling slowly, so adjust the heat down if it is boiling.

Remove the chicken and allow to cool until you can handle it with your hands. Leave the stock on the stove and allow it to continue simmering until it has reduced by about half.

Now peel off the skin and remove as much meat as you can, making sure there are no bones or cartilage in your pie of chicken meat. Toss out the bones and the skin and break up the meat into morsel size pieces.

Fry the bacon pieces in medium until well cooked, remove and set aside.

Add your mushrooms to the simmering stock and leave to simmer for about 5 minutes until soft. remove from the heat, get a whisk add the egg yolks and whisk fast until the mixture turns creamy and thickens. Add the lemon juice, stir, taste and season a little with salt and pepper.

Now add the chicken, parsley and the bacon to the creamy mushroom sauce and mix to combine everything.

Cover and allow the mixture to cool.

Take 6 small ovenproof bowls of about 6cm deep and 10cm diameter, butter them lightly and share the mixture evenly between them. If you are using ramekins fill them to 3/4 full.

Now place a piece of pastry over the top of each bowl, brush with a mixture of egg and milk, pierce the center with a knife and place in a 200 Celsius oven for 15 to 20 minutes until the pastry is beautifully browned.

You are going to love these folks. Try some of the other festive recipes.

Pecan cookies

Pecan cookies

Easy pecan cookies

Easy pecan cookies

These are really easy to make pecan cookies that will be devoured in no time flat. They are crisp with a toasted pecan on top and covered with a dusting of icing sugar which makes them completely irresistible. Make more than one batch of these pecan cookies and store a few for yourself out of reach or you will need to fight for every last one. (makes about 20)

What you need

60g butter
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/4 cup icing sugar
½ cup flour
1/3 cup pecans finely chopped or blitzed in a blender
Handful of whole pecans

The process

Add the butter, icing sugar and vanilla essence to a bowl and beat well until smooth. Add the chopped pecan nuts and sift in the flour.

Stir to combine and then roll teaspoon size balls with your hands and place them on a greased and lined baking tray, leaving about a 3cm gap all around to allow for spreading.

Place a whole pecan on top of each ball and press down lightly, don’t flatten them, they will spread during baking.

Bake in a 180 Celsius oven for 15minutes or so until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool and crisp up.

Give them a dusting with sifted icing sugar.

That’s that, you have foolproof pecan cookies.

Store them in an airtight container.

Here is a chocolate pecan cookie recipe for you to try as well.