Dessert, Kids, Vegetarian

Banana Apple and Cinnamon Muffins

Makes: 12

I made these muffins a while ago and they prove once again that a good muffin – like these – are a no brainer when it comes to little boys and their lunchboxes.

Tom of course ate three off the bat and by the next day, they were all gone; only two making it to school.

No doubt there is a revolution in muffin technology I am missing out on because they are pretty simple.

Keep it to the basics however and you’ll have a hit on your hands.

Ingredients

1 cup wholemeal self raising flour
1 cup self raising flour
3 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp bicarb soda
3 apples, peeled and grated
1 banana
¼ cup honey (or brown sugar)
2 tbs maple syrup
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
Extra apple slices to top

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180c and grease a 12-hole muffin tin.
  2. Sift flours, cinnamon and bicarb soda into a bowl. Stir in the grated apple, banana and honey.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together the oil, eggs, maple syrup and vanilla essence. Add into the flour mixture and mix until combined.
  4. Spoon into the muffin pan, top with apple slices and bake for 20 – 25 minutes.
Standard
Dessert, French

Grand Marnier Soufflés

Serves: 6

And now for a little something fancy…

Nat whipped up these delicate, Gabriel Gaté (remember him?) soufflés as part of a dinner party we had a few weeks back and they were a triumph.

It had been a while since I had had a soufflé and they did not disappoint.

Soft, airy, a wonderful flavour served with a dollop of cream.

I guess there are some people that don’t like quiches or avocado. For the rest of us, assume that soufflés are a big wow and two steps up from your usual dinner-party dessert.

Plenty of reason why you should serve these at your next dinner-party.

Ingredients

60ml Grand Marnier
310ml Crème pâtissière, chilled (below)
6 large egg whites
Pinch of cream of tartar
1 tbsp caster sugar, plus extra for preparing moulds
Icing sugar for dusting
Double cream

Crème pâtissière

500ml milk
½ vanilla pod, split lengthways
4 egg yolks
100gm caster sugar
50gm plain flour, sifted

Method

  1. For the Crème pâtissière: place milk and vanilla pod in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and whisk well.
  2. Whisk egg yolks and sugar into a heatproof bowl for 2 minutes. Whisk in sifted flour. Remove vanilla pod from milk and pour hot milk into the egg-yolk mixture, whisking well.
  3. Return to the saucepan and bring to the boil over medium-heat, whisking constantly. When mixture is just boiling and has thickened, transfer to a heatproof bowl. Whisk for a few seconds more and set aside to cool in the refrigerator. Stores up-to 4-days.
  4. For the soufflés: Preheat the oven to 150c. Butter 6 185ml ramekins and dust with caster sugar.
  5. Whisk Grand Marnier into crème pâtissière. Using electric beater, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until almost stiff. Add caster sugar and beat until firm.
  6. Using a spatula, mix a little of the egg white mixture into crème pâtissière; gently fold in the rest. Spon the mixture into the prepared ramekins, making sure it doesn’t touch the rim. Smooth the tops with the spatula.
  7. Back for 5 minutes then increase the temperature to 205c. Bake for a further 5 minutes then increase the temperature to 230c and bake for a further 5 minutes.
  8. Remove from the oven, dust with the icing sugar and serve immediately with a dollop of cream (or ice cream).
Standard
Dessert, Vegetarian

Maple Walnut Ice Cream

Serves: 6 – 8

We are still on the homemade ice cream train and after a very successful strawberry ice cream with a side of balsamic strawberries, we are much closer to a favourite I used to make when I was a kid.

(My parents also had an ice cream machine.)

Maple and walnut.

(I used to make honey and walnut.)

It is a sweet ice cream though that is the point: the boys of course, absolutely love it.

Serve it however and with whatever you want. This is the American dream.

Ingredients

1 ½ cup walnut halves
¾ cup maple syrup
1 ⅓ cup heavy cream
1 ¼ cup whole milk
5 large egg yolks, beaten
¼ salt

Method

  1. Over a medium heat, toast the walnuts in a fry pan, stirring and toasting for about 5 minutes until they are fragrant and turning golden. Set aside to cool and chop.
  2. Put the maple syrup in a large saucepan and bring to a boil and then simmer until reduced to ½ cup: 8 – 10 minutes.
  3. Add the cream, milk and salt to the pan and stir.
  4. Drizzle a cup of the warm cream mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Add another cup and then return to the saucepan and continue to cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens. Do not boil.
  5. Strain through a fine mesh into a bowl and cover with glad wrap. Refrigerate until completely cold.
  6. Process the chilled mixture according to your machine’s instructions and add the walnuts during the last minutes of churning.
  7. Enjoy.
Standard
Dessert

Rich Chocolate Ice Cream with Peanut Butter

Makes: 1.5 liters

So, we’re on the ice cream train with the recent acquisition of a proper ice cream maker.

And so where do you start?

Personally, I think that Rum and Raisin or Pistachio are the creme da la creme though I am dismissed by Nat and the boys as being old and old-fashioned.

Which meant opening the floor to alternative ideas.

The boys adamantly want a Coke Sorbet which we might try; though that left Nat’s suggestion of chocolate and peanut butter the sole entry and winner on our first bout of ice cream making.

And here it is.

She is a rich one this one and if you paired it with some salted caramel, you would be sent to sweet heaven.

As an accompaniment to a dessert fitting of such an extraordinarily rich and opulent ice cream, this is definitely a recipe you should try.

I guess I can do my Rum and Raisin late at night when everyone is asleep.

Ingredients

Rich chocolate ice cream
2 cups heavy cream
1 ½ cups whole milk
7 large egg yolks
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ tsp salt
200gm bittersweet chocolate (70% or above), chopped
2 tsp vanilla extract

Peanut Butter
6 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
¾ cup icing sugar
¾ cup crunchy peanut butter
3 tbsp heavy cream

Method

    1. For the chocolate ice cream: in a heavy saucepan, combine the cream and milk. Warm over a medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until you have a simmer.
    2. Separately, in a heatproof bowl over a water bath, combine the egg yolks, sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Whisk vigorously until the mixture doubles in size: 2 minutes or so.
    3. Remove the cream mixture from the heat. Whisking constantly, slowly pour about 1 cup of the cream mixture into the egg mixture until smooth. Pour the combined mixture back into the remaining cream mixture, whisking constantly and heat over a medium heat; add the chopped chocolate and vanilla to the saucepan and stir until the chocolate is melted and combined. Cook until it forms a custard thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, ensuring it does not boil.
    4. Pour the custard through a fine sieve into a bowl and cool.
    5. For the peanut butter: in a bowl, combine the butter, icing sugar, peanut butter and cream. Using an electric beater on medium, beat for 5 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy.
    6. Churn the rich chocolate ice cream until almost done. Pour the peanut butter mixture in just before setting and allow to churn.
    7. Kaboom.
Standard
Dessert, Vegetarian

Apple and Sultana Muffins

Makes: 12

We went on a bit of a muffin crave a few months back.

Every Sunday, we would whip up a batch for lunches and snacks, usually doubling the recipe on account of Tom (6) hoovering six (6) of them as soon as they could be handled.

These muffins are pretty down-the-line muffins though the boys whole-heartedly helped cut and mix all the ingredients. And any recipe that the boys participate in is one to type up; because getting participation and having fun in the process is half the point.

Our craves move on and the muffin ship has sailed for the moment, though if I did a batch of these one night as a treat, I have no doubt the ship would be back in port.

Keep it simple, treat yourself and enjoy.

Ingredients

200gm self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
50gm wholemeal flour
100gm caster sugar
2 eggs
125ml skim milk
4 tbsp sunflower oil
2 apples, grated
100gm sultanas

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 180c.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the flours, baking powder, cinnamon and sugar.
  3. In another bowl, mix the eggs, milk and oil. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix well and then fold in the apple and sultanas.
  4. Divide between 12 greased muffin cases and bake for 20 – 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack and hand them to your Tom.
Standard
Dessert

Simple strawberry cheesecake

Simple strawberry cheesecake

Serves: 12

We had a request in the house for cheesecake last week.

Not one made by me, but a limited-time cheesecake at Woolworths from the veritable Cheesecake Factory folk; the people behind the US restaurant chain and some pretty great and outrageous cheesecakes.

Problem was that when I asked an attendant at Woolworths, he drew a blank. And a good walk past the refrigerators also drew a blank.

Plenty of apple pies and orange juice and sushi rolls, though no cheesecake.

Social media was too fast for our local Woolies.

So here is a simple cheesecake alternative.

Nothing like the ‘Factory’ would produce, though a very good – and very simple – cheesecake nonetheless.

This could become a habit.

Ingredients

250gm digestive biscuit
100gm butter, melted
1 vanilla pod
600gm soft (cream) cheese
100gm icing sugar
300ml double cream

Topping

400gm strawberries, halves
25gm icing sugar

Method

  1. For the base: butter and line with baking paper a medium-to-large loose-bottom round baking tray.
  2. Put the digestive biscuits in a large plastic food bag and crush to crumbs using a rolling pin.
  3. Transfer the crumbs to a bowl and pour over the butter.Mix until the crumbs are well coated. Transfer to the baking tray and press down firmly to make an even, firm base/layer. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour to set.
  4. For the filling: Remove the vanilla seeds from the pod.
  5. Place the soft (cream) cheese, 100gm icing sugar and vanilla seeds in a bowl and beat with an electric beater until smooth.  Add the cream and continue beating until fully combined.
  6. Spoon the mixture on top of the biscuit base. Smooth the top and allow to set in the fridge overnight.
  7. When serving, puree the strawberries and 25gm icing sugar and sieve.
  8. Un-mould the cheesecake, throw on some berries, sprinkle with more icing sugar and pour over the strawberry puree.
Standard
Dessert, Vegetarian

Chocolate Spiders

FullSizeRender (10).jpg

Seriously?!

Chocolate Spiders

Makes: 15 spiders

Nat’s Oma (German for grandmother) used to make these for Nat and all the grandkids… all the time.

Five spiders down, I can assure you that the simplest things in life are the best and that you’ll need far greater self-control than I have to not eat them one they’re chilled.

Go spiders!

Ingredients

1 packet Chang’s Original Fried Noodles (100gm)
2 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
200gm milk chocolate

Method

  1. In a microwave-safe bowl, break up the chocolate into small chunks. Add the peanut butter and melt on high for about 60 seconds. Stir the chocolate mixture and if not fully melted, heat for another 15 seconds or so until melted.
  2. Add the noodles and mix well, try not to break the noodles.
  3. On a baking paper lined tray, spoon the mixture into small mounds and refrigerate until hard.
Standard