Chicken pasta with peas and creamy mustard

Chicken pasta with peas and creamy mustard

chicken and pea pasta

Chicken and pea pasta

If you only have about 15 minutes to spare for dinner and feel like a chicken pasta that is very satisfying and offers a creamy, delicious sauce, then you are going to want to try this chicken pasta recipe. The sauce is a very unusual blend of cream with a hint of mustard that goes so well with the chicken that I can’t imagine why it is not seen in restaurants. ( for 4 people)

What you need

250g dry pasta, spaghetti or tagliatelle but any pasta will work
Olive oil
1 medium onion finely chopped or grated
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1/2 cup white wine
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 cup fresh cream
2 cups peas (frozen and thawed)
2 cups or about 350g cooked chicken cubed or shredded
The process

Place your pasta in a large pot of salted water letting it boil until cooked while you prepare the sauce.

You can either poach the chicken by cutting it up and placing the pieces into some boiling chicken stock for about 2 minutes or simply stir fry the pieces until white. Set the cooked chicken aside.

In another pan on a medium heat cook the onions until transparent and soft, try not to let them brown. Add the garlic and stir for about a minute. Now add the wine and the mustard, put the heat on high and bring to the boil.

As soon as it boils, reduce the heat to medium low and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes to reduce the liquid. Stir in the cream and allow it to continue simmering for another 5 minutes or until the sauce begins to thick slightly.

Add the chicken and peas (make sure you have thawed the peas properly and that they are free of any water) and simmer for another 2 minutes until the mixture is hot.

Your pasta and your sauce should be ready at about the same time, so now drain your pasta and add it to the chicken and pea sauce, toss it to coat the pasta and you are done.

Quick Cheese Muffins

Quick Cheese Muffins

Cheese muffins

Man these are so easy and so delicious you will not be able to wait for them to cool. The great thing about these is that they take just 10 minutes in the oven so if you are having people over just pop them in the oven a few minutes before they arrive and you will treat them to warm fresh cheese muffins. (makes 12)

I also like these with plenty of butter and a something sweet so you will usually find them smothered in marmalade or a jam of some description if they are on my plate. Give these a try, the family will love you no matter what…

What you need

120g sifted flour (1 cup sifted flour)
3 teaspoons baking powder
150g grated cheddar cheese
1/4 teaspoon mustard powder (don’t leave this out)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
185ml milk

The process

Heat your oven to 200 Celsius and butter a muffin tin.

Sift the flour, salt, baking powder and mustard powder together into a bowl and then add the cheese and give it a quick turn with a spoon.

Whisk the egg lightly with a fork to break it up and add to the milk, then add it to the flour mixture and give it a good mix to distribute the cheese evenly and make a consistent batter.

Spoon into the muffin tin and bake for 10 minutes.

It really doesn’t get much simpler than that folks and they are very delicious. They will also keep in the fridge for a few days ready for work or school. Try the banana bread as well if you are in baking mode.

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!

Easy pumpkin soup

Easy pumpkin soup

Pumpkin soup

Pumpkins have been dramatically reduced at Fruit and veg city so I thought I’d try a really good pumpkin soup recipe. It’s really simple, thick and so good for you. You can also use butternut in this recipe but there is a fabulous butternut soup recipe from Nigella. The cooler weather will be closing in on shortly so get your winter soup recipes ready.

What you need
1 medium onion chopped
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups cubed pumpkin
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of salt and pepper
3 cups chicken/vegetable stock
1/2 cup fresh cream (optional)

The process

Sauté the onions in the butter on a medium heat, add the stock and pumpkin cubes and simmer until the pumpkin is soft.

Add the pinch of nutmeg, salt and pepper and let simmer for another minute or so.

Wizz the whole lot with a hand blender or place into a food processor and wizz until smooth. ( sometimes its great to leave a few larger pieces)

Serve it with a swirl of fresh cream or just as it is with some warm crusty bread.

Variation

For a different and more intense flavor you can roast the pumpkin with some olive oil and blend together with 1 tablespoon of sugar added to the chicken stock.

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.