Cinnamon rice pudding

Cinnamon rice pudding

Tuscan Cinnamon Rice Pudding

Winter time is warm homely dessert time and this classic Tuscan rice pudding is as good as it gets when you feel you need a comfort pudding. It’s really important to use Arborio rice, it’s a creamy full rice that absorbs the cinnamon flavour perfectly. It’s a rich pudding that will serve 4 to 6 people depending on what you serve it with. If you have one of those fancy star shaped moulds it looks amazing.

What you need

4 cups milk
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon (I know it sounds like a lot but it’s right)
1/3 cup sugar
6 tablespoons butter
3 eggs separated

The process

Bring the milk to a boil in a large pot on a medium to high heat. As soon as the milk boils toss in the rice and give it a good stir, reduce the heat to medium and cook the rice for about 30 minutes until the milk has been absorbed then remove from the heat.

Add the cinnamon, sugar and 5 tablespoons of the butter to the hot rice off the heat and stir it in until the butter has completely melted and the cinnamon and sugar evenly distributed and leave it to cool to room temperature.

Now put your oven on to 180 Celsius while you finish the recipe.

Add the egg yolks and stir into the cooled rice, set aside. In a separate bowl beat the egg whites to stiff peaks and then fold into the rice mixture. You don’t want to mix it in, just gently fold it to distribute. It is fine to have white streaks through your mixture.

Now take the last tablespoon of butter and grease a 23cm round mould well. Spoon in your mixture and smooth over the top. You can give it a press and even a tap on the counter to make sure that there is no air in the mixture.

Bake it fo about an hour until the top is nicely browned and the rice is set.

Let it cool for a few minutes after removing from the oven and then turn it out. You may need to slide a knife around the top edge.

Serve while still warm with some whipped cream or sliced fresh fruit or both.

This is proper comfort food and if you like this you are going to love the Malva pudding recipe.

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!

Easy healthy pan fried chicken

Easy healthy pan fried chicken

healthy chicken recipe

Healthy chicken recipe

After the pan fried chicken in creamy mushroom sauce I thought I had better add a healthy and light alternative for the more health conscious readers so here you go.

This recipe is really simple and the most important part is not to overcook the chicken. The butterflied chicken breasts cook very quickly and you don’t have a sauce, so it is very important that they are succulent. (4 people)

What you need

4 – 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts butterflied (see instructions at the mushroom version)
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup flour
Salt and pepper

Topping

1 red pepper finely diced
1 tablespoon Green peppercorns in brine
2 large cloces garlic finely sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
Fresh parsley

The process

Mix all of the topping ingredients together, give a light stir and set aside.

Flatten out your chicken breasts(see the mushroom recipe) or simply slice them into miniature steaks about 2cm thick.

Season the flour with salt and pepper and flop the pieces in the flour for to get a little flour on the outside. (don’t put them in milk or egg, you want a very light covering of flour)

Heat the oil over a medium heat, add the butter and then cook the chicken slices until lightly golden on both sides.

Cover each piece with a little of the topping and serve with a salad.

There are a whole lot of easy chicken recipes in the cookbook, give them a try.

Lemon Flan from Gatriles

Lemon Flan from Gatriles

Quick Lemon flan recipe

Quick lemon flan

For those of you who remember that fabulous restaurant in JHB called Gatrilles Son & Co and experienced the sheer joy of tasting their very popular lemon flan, you will be thanking me forever when you read how simple and tasty this recipe is. It’s a real South African recipe that uses Marie biscuits in it’s base.

I got it from a recipe book my mother put together many years ago and the recipe appeared in a magazine, have no idea which one but from the cutting looks like YOU mag or something similar. Give this one a try, you will be very pleased indeed!

It’s a 15 minute preparation from start to finsish but does need about 2 hours in the fridge before you serve.

What you need

1 Tin sweetened condensed milk (397g)
250 ml whipping cream
Juice of 4 large lemons

1/2 packet Marie biscuits
80 ml melted butter

20cm round flan dish or cake tin.

The process

First off, crush the half packet of Marie biscuits until quite fine by placing them in a packet and use a rolling pin or empty bottle to crush them up.

Then melt butter and add the crushed Marie biscuits, stir them until all of the crushed biscuits are coated with butter and then press into the base and sides of the dish firmly. Pop it in the fridge while you prepare the filling.

In a large bowl, whip the cream to soft peak stage and then add the condensed milk. Mix well with a metal spoon to combine the cream and condensed milk evenly.

Lastly stir in the lemon juice and give it another good mix.

Get you shell from the fridge and pour in the lemon mixture, return to fridge for another 2 hours before serving.

Its seriously simple and very delicious… just does not get any easier than that, my kind of recipe!

Before serving you can finely grate a little lemon rind(or not) and serve with a nice dollop of whipped cream or ice cream.

Happy New Year…

Another great recipe is the lemon meringue pie recipe

I have been asked a few times about using Tennis biscuits in the base and yes you can, it is just as good but the Marie biscuits make a base that is easier to serve, the tennis biscuits tend to crumble.

Chocolate mousse

Chocolate mousse

Easy chocolate mousse

Chocolate mousse

In the past I have had a few chocolate mousse disasters but this recipe from a 1995 Bryanston high school recipe book I came across in the market some time ago turned out beautifully.  It’s really simple and needs to be made at least 2 hours before serving.. perfect. I made the chocolate mousse without alcohol but you can add you favorite liqueur to fancy it up a bit. (makes 6-8 ramekins)

What you need

3 eggs separated
2 tablespoons caster sugar
100g dark chocolate
125ml fresh cream
pinch of salt
(Optional 1 tablespoon of kahlua, brandy, amaretto or Baileys)

The process

Place a small pot of water on the stove to boil then place a glass bowl over the water but not touching it and melt the chocolate.

In a large bowl add the catser sugar and the egg yolks then use an electric beater to beat the mixture until it is thick and creamy.

Add the melted chocolate ensuring you get it all by using a baking spatula to clean the bowl. Beat again until well blended.

In a separate bowl whip the cream until stiff, add to the chocolate mixture and fold in using a metal spoon. Don’t mix it, just fold it in gently until evenly distributed.

Now take another bowl and add the egg whites and pinch of salt. Beat with your electric beater (be sure to clean the beaters) until stiff.

Add to the chocolate mixture and fold in with a metal spoon until colour is uniform. If you are using alcohol, this is the stage you add it, together with the beaten egg whites.

Spoon into cups or ramekins and chill in the fridge for a few hours. It will need at least 2 hours to set well.

You can grate over a bit more chocolate or add a mint sprig, a dollop of cream… you get the idea. Truly one of the easiest and nicest tasting chocolate mousse recipes I have tried.

Easy Eton mess

Easy Eton mess

Eton mess

Meringue, strawberries and cream are about as good a summer dessert as you will get and this recipe takes so little effort to prepare you will hardly believe it. It is a traditional English dessert recipe that is usually made with raspberries but strawberries work for me. In fact you could use any fresh fruit or berries like gooseberries or peach slices for example, the result is always the same… silence at the table after the first mouthful or two and then endless compliments. (6-8 servings)

What you need

2 egg whites
100g caster sugar
150ml double cream
150g white chocolate chopped into small pieces
200g plain full cream yoghurt
350g fresh strawberries

The process

Firstly make the ganache by adding 1/2 the cream to a sauce pan and heating until it begins to bubble on the edges. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. stir gently to melt the chocolate. Add the rest of the cream and with a beater on medium beat until it the ganache forms a soft peak when the beaters are removed. Set aside

Now heat your oven 140 Celsius, line a baking sheet with baking paper and make the meringue. Beat the egg whites in a large bowl until stiff peaks form. To test, if you turn the bowl upside down the egg mixture does not slip out. Now add the caster sugar in 3 batches and whick into the egg whites until the mixture is smooth and glossy. Take a dessert spoon and place spoonfulls of the mixture on the baking sheet, pop in the oven for about an hour or until crisp but still pale. Remove and allow them to cool.

Now for the final bit, add the yoghurt to the ganache and mix together with a metal spoon. You don’t need to mix it in if you know what I mean, just distribute the yoghurt evenly. ( imagine you will get a little of the sweet chocolate and then also a little of the yoghurt taste)

Break up the meringues into a large serving bowl, add the strawberries and the ganache mixture and turn it as if you were gently tossing a salad. Serve immediately.

It’s just so fantastic I can taste it while I’m typing.

To make the dessert a little fancier, you can simply structure each bowl with a whole meringue or two, a few strawberries and a lashing of ganache.

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.

Easy tiramisu

Easy tiramisu

Tiramisu

Tiramisu

This one is specially for Marie. Tiramisu is a fantastic and very easy dessert that always impresses. You can have a bit of fun with it by adding layers of your favorite fruit as well. This one is the basic tiramisu recipe that is fabulous as is. Serves 6-8 people

What you need

1 cup strong black coffee (1 tablespoon nescafe)
Frangelico liqueur (optional)
1/2 cup caster sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
250g mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup fresh cream
2 x 125g boxes boudiour biscuits
Cocoa powder or finely grated dark 70% choclate for topping

The process

Make the coffee and allow it to cool. (you only need to use warm water to dissolve the coffee)

Whip the cream and the caster sugar together until fairly stiff, then add the vanilla and mascarpone cheese and fold with a metal spoon until the mascarpone is evenly distributed. You dont want to beat it, just give it a gently fold. At this stage you would also add about 75ml or 2 to 3 tots of Frangelico if you are using alcohol.

Transfer the coffee to a shallow bowl. Use a 20cm x 20cm or similar baking dish and line the bottom with boudior biscuits dipped into the coffee.

Sprtead half of the mascarpone mixture over the biscuits and then repeat to create another layer. Smooth the top nicely and then pop into the fridge for about an hour to chill.

Before serving, finely grate a layer of choclate over the top or sprinkle with cocoa powder.

You can also grate a layer of choclate on top of the first layer of mixture for something a little decadent.

Simple and delicious.

Pears with maple syrup

Pears with maple syrup

Pears in maple syrup

The pears around right now are really fantastic so this is the ideal dessert. It looks really impressive and is a great Valentines dessert that can be prepared ahead of time and then just stacked up and served. This pear dessert is so simple you will be making it whenever pears are in season. (4 people)

What you need

2 pears thinly sliced
2 tablespoons melted butter
demerara sugar
Thick plain yoghurt
Maple syrup

The process

Slice the pears lengthways and then lightly brush with melted butter. Drop them into the sugar to coat and then cook them in a pan on a medium heat for about 1 minute on each side. The sugar will melt and the pears will brown beautifully.

If you are serving them cold, allow them to cool and then cover and place in the fridge until you need them.

Serve straight from the pan or fridge stacked up then with a dollop of thick plain yoghurt and a drizzle of maple syrup.

These are really good I tell you.

As  a Valentines meal how about the beef rissoles or something from the Chinese menu, which is always good sharing food.

New Orleans bananas

New Orleans bananas

New Orleans Bananas

New Orleans Bananas

The year is almost over and this dessert screams good times. It has rum, bananas, rasins and cinnamon. It’s a really great way to end a dinner party and takes little effort to prepare. (4-6 people with ice cream.)

What you need

4 large ripe bananas
Handful of raisins (a little less than 1/2 a cup)
3 tots dark rum
60g butter
4 tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Vanilla ice cream

The process

First put the 3 tots of rum into a cup and toss in the raisins, set them aside to plump up.

In a pan on a medium heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir until it has completely melted. Slice the bananas through the center, add to the sauce and cook for 3 or 4 minutes until soft, turning them gently every now and then.

Sprinkle over the cinnamon, add the raisins and rum mixture and allow to heat through for about another 2 minutes or so.

That’s that, sauce done.

Serve hot or cold topped off with a ball or 2 of ice cream.