blogging, Cakes, cookies, biscuits and Home Bake, Food

Dark Chocolate Brownie

I have been making a Dark Chocolate Brownie over at the Home by the Sea.

It is a quick and easy recipe that has some health benefits owing to the use of dark chocolate. These are more cake recipes posted previously for #Onecakeaweek

Are you tempted by any?

I will be making one cake each week and would love you to link up any cake recipes you have posted on your blog, so I have more recipes to try out.

From Enticing Desserts – Strawberry Mint Sorbet

From The New Vintage Kitchen – Lavender and Lemon Shortbread Cookies

From Pictures Imperfect – German Cheesecake with Quark

Cakes, cookies, biscuits and Home Bake, Food

Sticking with the Pudding – Sticky Date

Have you a particular dish that you know you don’t like, but have never really ever tried it?

Or perhaps you were once bitten, twice shy in regards to a particular food?

For me, that was Sticky Date Pudding.


I would swerve away from these dried out chewy concoctions at buffets and head straight for the chocolate mousse, pavlovas or berry desserts on offer. I am not really a fan of dates, anyway, unless they are in a Mocha Date loaf, one that I have made at home, myself.

Would you call that being a kind of food snob? Hand up – that’s me!

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com


The thought that I was a food snob struck me in an idle moment yesterday, as I was adding the last of the brown sugar from its packet, atop my morning porridge.

As is my habit, I double-checked the information on the side of the empty brown sugar packet, prior to disposing of the packet, in case there was an interesting recipe that I might consider making.

“Oh.” I sighed with resignation, disappointed to see the suggested recipe was merely sticky date pudding. I tossed the packet aside to go in the rubbish.

Not interested in that, I thought.

Nevertheless, with the topic of pudding on my mind, I struck up a conversation with the M.o.t.h. (aka Man of the House).

“Do you like Sticky Date Pudding?”

“No, I don’t.” was his curt reply. “Never have,” he said, shutting down the topic fast.

I can only blame some kind of homemaker’s intuition that made me re-consider that recipe for sticky date pudding, or it could have been the brainwashing of those Zero waste bloggers.

I noted that cream was one of the listed ingredients in the sauce and making it would mean I could use up the leftover cream sitting in the fridge and not feel guilt at being wasteful.

Add to this, I do like to try new recipes and I had never made this before. I am making #onecakeaweek over at the Home by the Sea and a pudding would be a lovely addition to the theme.

What is the Health Benefits of Eating Dates?

Often maligned, dates are surprisingly good for your health. They may aid with digestion, improve bone health, lower cholesterol and are a tasty source of calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, zinc, and fibre. Amazing, really.

The umpteen health benefits of dates has made the delicious fruit one of the most sought after foods in the world of health and nutrition.

food.ndtv.com/food-drinks/10-dates-benefits-from-improving-bone-health-to-promoting-beautiful-skin-1258714

Critique of CSR Sticky Date Pudding Recipe

So, last night at the Home by the Sea, I made that CSR version of Sticky Date Pudding. Can you believe it turned out to be highly successful with the Moth and a completely delightful surprise for me. (Otherwise, it probably would not rate a whole blog post).

It was soft and delicate and there was not one sign of a chewy date, just a subtle fruity flavour with a freshly baked cake-like texture. The butterscotch sauce, which I was so wary of, initially, could be described as a creamy and buttery, ‘nectar of the Gods,’ with a molasses-like sugary flavour that oozed over the pudding, like velvet.

Why was I so tentative about Sticky Dates? This was not the same dried out chewy version of pudding, I always thought of, at all.

As you have surely guessed, I am now a convert, and the M.o.t.h. could not stop raving about it. In fact, so enamoured was he with this version of Pudding he was going back to the kitchen for a third helping, when I intervened suggesting he might like to keep some for the following night. (I was considering his waistline, of course!)


You can find the full recipe right now on my secondary blog- Home by the Sea.

Photo by picjumbo.com on Pexels.com

Do you have a food you disliked, or refused to eat, only to discover that, years later, it tasted way better than you thought?

Food, History & Traditions

Friendly Friday Challenge Guest Post – Nostalgia

The Guest post for this week’s Friendly Friday theme of Nostalgia, comes from Lorelle, an Australian Mum of two, passionate traveller and foodie enthusiast, who blogs at A Mindful Traveller.

I had the immense pleasure of meeting the lovely Lorelle a couple of years ago and she has been so kind to write a beautiful narrative about a very different kind of cake, one that is not only full of tradition but also has a special meaning for her and her family.

Two bloggers meet in Melbourne

Lorelle writes:

Nostalgia

“Interestingly, there are two forms of nostalgia, restorative and reflective.

For me, Nostalgia is purely reflective. Stepping down memory lane with no need to recreate the past, is gratifying. The memories and more importantly, the feelings associated with those memories, are forever embedded with us.

Food is a remarkable trigger for Nostalgia, as it is a powerful sensory recollection. We all associate certain foods with memories and feelings.

Sri Lankan Connection

Coming from a Sri Lankan family, food is an important cultural way of life. And when I reflect on the vast variety of delicious and tasty Sri Lankan foods, there is one particular dish that is not only my favourite but one that holds special memories as it is only prepared and eaten at that all-important sacred feast of Christmas.

These customs and traditions allow us to preserve our important ancestral history. Unique, individual stories, wisdom and in this case recipes, passed from generation to generation. As Sri Lankan migrants, my parents continue to pass on their significant heritage to their children, and at important celebrations of the year where family gather, recipes like Sri Lankan Love Cake remind us of where it all began.

Sri Lankan Love Cake

History of Sri Lankan Love Cake

This traditional Sri Lankan cake was inspired by the Portuguese from the 1500’s. As the name suggests, Love Cake was originally made to win the heart of an admirer. It is made from cashew nuts, semolina and candied winter melon/squash called puhul dosi (pumpkin preserve).  Exotic spices and floral essences create a fragrant, sweet, spiced cake with a soft chewy inside and a crunchy crust.

There are many different variations to Love Cake, with each “Aunty” insisting her recipe is better than the other! Practice is also another requirement. Don’t be alarmed if you do not succeed the first time. Adjusting ingredients or oven temperatures may be necessary.

Sri Lankan Love Cake Recipe

In the recipe below, I have used a bain-marie of water to create that soft chewy centre. By placing a tray of water at the bottom of the oven, the moisture stays within the cake and doesn’t dry it out.

So, it is here that Christmas and its celebratory traditional cakes, bring great Nostalgia of our original family home, my grandparents and the sense of togetherness and family love.

Sri Lankan Love Cake

Makes: 2 rectangular baking trays

Prep Time: 30 mins (Eggs need to be at room temperature)

Cooking Time: 2 hours 15 mins

Ingredients:

  • 450g butter, softened
  • 450g semolina
  • 650g cashew nuts (pulsed in a food processor until finely chopped, keeping some larger pieces. Do not blend to a powder consistency)
  • 12 egg yolks (at room temperature)
  • 7 egg whites (at room temperature)
  • 700g caster sugar
  • 500 g preserved pumpkin (puhul dosi), finely chopped or pulsed in a food processor
  • 50ml rosewater
  • 2 tbsp almond essence
  • 50ml honey
  • juice of 1 orange
  • rind of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp nutmeg, ground
  • 2 tsp cardamon, ground
  • 1 tsp cinnamon, ground
  • 1 tsp clove, ground

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 160°C (fan forced)
  2. Grease two rectangular cake tins and line with foil and then baking paper.
  3. Beat the egg yolks and sugar until pale and creamy.
  4. Combine the softened butter and semolina together in a separate bowl using your fingers. Add this to the egg and sugar mixture in thirds, beating to combine.
  5. Transfer mixture into a very large mixing bowl and using a wooden spoon incorporate the nuts, pumpkin preserve. Then add rosewater, almond essence, honey, juice and rind, stirring well. Add remaining dry spices and mix.
  6. Whip the egg whites into soft peaks and gently fold through the egg whites into the cake batter in two batches, do not over beat mixture. The egg whites will loosen up the mixture.
  7. Pour batter into prepared cake tins.
  8. Place a large tray of water on bottom oven shelf.
  9. Bake the cakes at 160°C for 20 mins on middle oven shelf.
  10. Reduce heat to 150°C and bake for a further 2 hours and 15 minutes.
  11. If the cake is browning too quickly, cover with foil.
  12. Once cooked and brown on top, remove cakes and allow to cool in trays before transferring. Cut into rectangles or squares when cool.

If you are wondering about preserved pumpkin, Lorelle writes to tell me that:

Preserved pumpkin or Puhul dosi, can be purchased from the Indian/Sri Lankan grocers or you could try to make your own. You can alternatively use preserved or candied squash/winter melon or pineapple. A health food store might stock these items.

About Lorelle and A Mindful Traveller:

Three years ago, I decided to document and share my personal travel and favourite recipes from the many wonderful places I visited locally and globally.

My passion for travel grew immensely and was educated as I discovered new and exciting corners of the globe that I had not been to before.

Living in Australia and being quite distant from the rest of the world has its advantages and disadvantages.

Now, as we fight our way through a worldwide pandemic, the ambivalent questions of when we will be able to travel overseas again are daunting.

This presents another opportunity to further explore my own country and improve my knowledge for the country I was born in. The open outback, rugged coasts and stretched roads are calling….

Photo by David Jia on Pexels.com

Many thanks to Lorelle for sharing this delicious recipe and giving us an insight into the background and traditions around this a small piece of ‘nostalgia.’

Cakes, cookies, biscuits and Home Bake, Community, Food

Friendly Friday Photo Challenge- Guest Post – Something Different

In addition to our regular posts, the Friendly Friday team at TheSandyChronicles and StPA, are featuring Guest Posts from Bloggers who contribute to the Friendly Friday Photo Challenge.

Ju-Lyn, a Singaporean blogger, from All Things Bright and Beautiful especially enjoys food and cooking, in addition to making ‘purposeful choices, ‘ and has kindly contributed a guest post to our weekly theme of “Something Different, in the form of a post about a Basque Burnt Cheesecake.

Ju-Lyn regularly posts mouth-watering foodie delights, on her blog, and this recipe is no exception.

Did someone say Cheesecake?

I hope you will be tempted to try it, for yourself.

Here’s Ju-Lyn:

Guest Post by All Things Bright and Beautiful

I love cheesecake, of all sorts: baked/unbaked, cream cheese/ricotta, New York/Japanese. I will scoff each with delight!

It was love at first bite! So enamoured was I that I didn’t realise there was no crust, which I only registered in retrospect. I have never made a cheesecake without a crust before so the idea intrigued me and I begged the recipe off the friend, who gifted me the slice.

It took us a while to get started because our baking shop was out of 500g tubes of cream cheese. After searching for more than a week with no small tubes in sight, I decided to take the plunge and bought a 2kg block. With this quantity, I was free to experiment. The recipe is simple enough, but it makes a tall cake baked in a 6-in circle tin, resulting in a silky gooey centre. Older Daughter wanted to see if dividing the batch into two, (ie. 2 x 6-in tins), would make any difference as she prefers a firmer crumb.

So we did. The verdict is split. Half of us love the taller version, with a slightly squidgy centre. The other half prefer the uniformly firmer texture of the shorter slice. We do all agree that we love the intense, smokey caramelised top of both versions.

Ju-Lyn, All Things Bright and Beautiful

Recipe – Burnt Cheesecake

adapted from ButtermilkPantry

Ingredients

· 430g cream cheese, room temperature

· 100g caster sugar

· 3 large eggs, room temp (approx 150g of eggs without shell)

· 270g heavy cream/thickened cream

· 20g all-purpose flour

· 1 tsp vanilla extract

· 1 tsp lemon juice

Method

1. Line a 6” circle cake tin with 2 layers of baking paper and trimmed to have an overhanging amount of 1.5″-2″.

2. Preheat oven to 240 degrees C.

3. Cream sugar and cream cheese together until smooth.

4. Add eggs one at a time and beat until smooth.

5. Add the vanilla and lemon juice. Beat until just mixed.

6. In a separate bowl, mix flour and heavy cream until smooth.

7. Slowly pour the cream/flour mixture into the cheese mixture until mixed through.

8. Bake for 30-35mins until top is dark amber and almost charred at parts but the middles still has a wobble to them when you give jiggle the pan.

9. Cool in the tin fully on a wire rack at room temperature to allow the cheesecake to set.

10. Remove from the baking tin and enjoy at room temperature.

11. For a less “gooey” center, place into the fridge after cooled to allow it to chill and set.

For the 2-tin version, we lined the tins with only 1 layer of baking paper.

We shortened the bake time by 5 min.


Thank you Ju-Lyn for creating something different for us.

The photos are enough temptation for me to try creating this on my own.

Friendly Friday

If you would like to feature in one of the Friendly Friday Team’s Guest Posts, please contact Sandy, from (TheSandyChronicles) and Amanda, from (StPA), either by way of comment below or directly via their Blog Contact Pages.

The Friendly Friday Photo Challenge with the theme Something Different, will conclude Friday this week, when Sandy will post a new theme on The Sandy Chronicles.

veterans
Australia, Cakes, cookies, biscuits and Home Bake, Food, History & Traditions

ANZAC Biscuit Traditions

Home made bikkies

When is a Cookie a biscuit? When you live in Australia, of course.

On April 25 each year, Anzac Day, the nation stops to commemorate the supreme sacrifice of a group of soldiers that have contributed to the development of our national psyche. We don’t have many traditions of our own so we have adopted this to be a signifier that we are Australian. And the Anzac tradition has even spawned a biscuit or cookie! How Australian!

Today, there won’t be any dawn Anzac services attended by the many descendants of those soldiers, so it is likely that we might all be baking these biscuits at home, remembering the soldiers.

The ANZAC Biscuit

During WWI, a certain type of biscuit/cookie was sent by mail, in sealed tins, to the troops fighting in the filthy trenches at Lone Pine and Anzac Cove in Turkey. They were sent all the way from Australia, from the mothers and sweethearts of those brave, young men who were to fight Britain’s war against Turkey.

It was thought this biscuit would keep well in transit for an extended period of time. As such they are regarded as quintessentially Australian and our tradition of making Anzac biscuits on April 25, has continued for the past 9 years. Almost as old as this blog itself!

Below you will find the recipe.

Heidi 020

 Anzac Biscuit Recipe

I have posted two versions here. The first recipe is mine and the second, the trusty Women’s Weekly magazine version. Please post what temperature worked for you, if you do try the recipe…

Preheat Oven 170 – 180 C or 350 F

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plain or all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon golden syrup – you can use honey or maple syrup as an alternative
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 160 g or (⅔ cup) butter, melted

Method
1. Sift flour and ginger into a mixing bowl and add coconuts, oats and sugar. Mix and make a well in the centre ready for the addition of the wet ingredients.

2. Stir in Golden syrup, boiling water and bicarb soda, in a small bowl, until combined.

3. Add the syrup mix into the dry ingredients, along with the melted butter. Mix well.

4. Take heaped teaspoons of mix and roll into small balls.

5. Place on trays and flatten gently.

6. Bake 10 minutes or until golden brown

7. Cool on tray 10 minutes until they firm up slightly.


Wanting to try the ever faithful Woman’s Weekly recipes, last year I cooked up a second batch. These ones aren’t so crisp, but if you like the flavour of brown sugar, they are worth a ‘go.’

Woman’s Weekly Anzacs

Preheat oven  160 -175 C or 350 F

Ingredients

Heidi 020
  • 125 g (I cup) butter chopped coarsely
  • 1 tablespoon golden syrup
  • 3/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1 cup Rolled Oats

Method

  • Melt butter and golden syrup over low heat.
  • Add bicarb and water to butter mix.
  • Mix remaining dry ingredients and combine wet and dry.
  • Spoon teaspoons of mix on to lined baking sheet, and flatten slightly.
  • Cook 12 – 15 minutes. Cool on tray  5 – 10  minutes.

Now you can also try these biscuits, and tell me what you think. I will ponder whether they will become a tradition in your house.

Snow pea insect
Australia, Food

What’s Cooking at Home

Are the supermarket shelves emptying of your standard pasta sauce?

The solution is to Make Your Own. It is not hard, says Nat.

‘Nat’s What you Reckon,’ will tell you how.

He is rough, ready and he hates jar sauces and processed food.

Yet, this guy can cook.

Hidden behind this tough exterior are really useful cooking tips, and you might just get a good belly laugh along the way, with his laconic comedic manner.

Which we can all use right now.

Warning: Hold on to your seats. The language is colourful. And it is a useful brush up on Aussie Slang!

Quarantine Pasta Sauce

Anyone can make this. Nat’s here to help.

Nat can also coach you in Mushroom Risotto and Carbonara Sauce. And gives you some laughs on his adventures to Cat-Con.

Catch more of Nat here:

YouTube @ Youtube.com/c/NatsWhatIReckon

Community, Food

Minestrone Soup Recipe

vegetables

Before the southern summer heat vents its spleen and the northerners tuck themselves in for winter,  a nutritious meal that might ward off cold and flu viruses that accompany seasonal changes, could be just what we need.

Such as Minestrone served with some crusty rolls/baguette slices.

Minestrone

Minestrone

There are a multitude of recipes for Minestrone out there, from basic to gourmet, but I tend to think the best for me, is a mixture of both. Something easy to prepare, easy to cook and simple to remember, especially when I am out shopping for ingredients. 

Saute, simmer and sip…..that is my mantra when making soups. You don’t want to be fussing too much, nor for too long.

Minestrone Soup can be a complete meal in a bowl, providing plenty of protein, carbohydrate, minimal fat, green vegetables, lots of fibre plus vitamin C, A , B, beta-carotene, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron and zinc and more.

It is also a great way to use up those leftover vegetables that are heading towards their use-by date.

vegetables

The recipe can be adapted to feed a hungry horde or a small two person family. Another advantage is that you can cook this in one large saucepan, if you wish (read: less washing up), or you may prefer to saute the ingredients separately. This is totally your choice.

Recipe – My Minestrone

  • 1 tbspn Olive Oil (cold pressed virgin olive oil is best)
  • 2 cloves of Garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2 Onions, sliced and diced
  • 2 rashers Bacon ( this is optional, if you want to keep it vegetarian)
  • 500 ml (2 U.S. cups) Beef/Chicken/Vege Stock, plus 1/2 cup extra stock in reserve.
  • An assortment of vegetables which might include:
    • 2 – 3 Carrots, sliced & diced
    • 1/2 cup sliced cabbage
    • 2 medium Potatoes, peeled and diced
    • 3 celery stalks, diced but keep leaves and top of stalk whole
    • 1/2 cup Frozen/fresh sliced beans
    • 2 zucchinis, diced into large chunks
    • 1/2 cup Spinach, chopped roughly (frozen or fresh)
    • 1-2  Handfuls of torn fresh basil leaves
  • 440 g (15oz) Can Chopped Tomatoes
  • 120g (5oz) tin Beans of your choice (cannellini, kidney or even a can of four bean mix)
  • 1/2 cup dried Pasta* , preferably small shells/spirals but any pasta will do nicely

* Time-saving tip: Use leftover cooked pasta, instead of dried/fresh.

  • splash of red wine (optional)
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • Herbs such as Oregano, parsley
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Shaved Parmesan cheese (fresh) for garnish
soup

What you can do whilst watching TV or listening to some good music, otherwise known as the:

Method

  1. Begin to heat the stock in a large saucepan.
  2. In a separate pan, saute bacon, onion and garlic in olive oil for 3-5 minutes, and add the stock.
  3. Add prepared vegetables and basil leaves to the pan and saute for about 3-5  minutes depending on the quantities used.
  4. Add the chopped vegetables to the stock mix along with the whole celery leaves, chopped tomatoes, bay leaves and red wine) and bring to the boil.
  5. Simmer for 10 minutes – quite enough time to take a power nap, relax, change the playlist, check email, (although I don’t encourage the latter). You could even try some of the wine, if you decided to add some to the soup! Not too much, though, or you might forget to include the last few steps of the recipe!  
  6. I like to remove the Bay and celery leaves at this point, otherwise it is difficult to retrieve them later on.  
  7. Add the dried pasta, herbs and seasonings, including salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Cook for about 8 -10 minutes. It should be starting to smell oh-so-good!!!    
  9. Drag yourself away from the computer, or the wine, to check on the stove! At this stage, it should look a bit like a thick casserole as opposed to a soup. You can leave it this way, if you prefer, or
  10. Add around extra 1/2 – 3/4 cup stock or water, to thin it down a little.
  11. Heat through, taste test to adjust seasonings, and serve, garnished with a little fresh shaved Parmesan.

Voila – A complete meal in a bowl and little washing up!

soup
stpa logo
Community, Food

Nutty Rice

I was recently asked for a way to get folks and children to eat brown rice. “Disguise it with yummy additions,” I said. Or use the recipe below:

So far it hasn’t met with rejection.

[Just don’t tell anyone this is actually Brown Rice for then staunch haters of brown rice will gobble this up!!]

Brown rice is a great source of magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, thiamine, manganese and B group vitamins as well as fibre s it is quite disappointing to see folks/children reject it based on its taste. This recipe complements its nutty flavour.

Nutty Brown Rice

saute onion and celery
saute onion and celery

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 stick celery, finely chopped
  • 50 g pine nuts
  • 1 1/2 cups long grain brown rice
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock or water
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Season to taste
  1. Heat oil in heavy saucepan and saute onion and celery fro about 3 minutes till onion becomes transparent.
  2. Add pine nuts and cook over low heat for 2 minutes or until they are lightly browned.
  3. Add the rice, stirring well until the grains are well coated with oil.
  4. Add the Stock, Thyme and Bay leaf and bring to the boil .
  5. Cover saucepan and simmer until rice is tender and all the vegetable stock is absorbed. This will take about 45 minutes.
  6. Season if desired.

Variations: –

  • Add 1.4 tsp cumin or Turmeric towards end of cooking.
  • Leave to cool, then add beansprouts and serve as a cold rice salad.
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Community

Lemons – The Good News

Why are Lemons a Good Thing to Have?

Acidic by nature, lemons and limes are alkalizing once eaten, due to their high alkaline mineral content. It is not the pH of the food in its natural state, it is the effect it has on the body that is important.


Delicious in a lemon cake, or freshly squeezed over vegetables, salad or washed, sliced and left to permeate in drinking water, here are a few of the benefits of lemons:

Benefits

  • Lemons are antiseptic
  • Lemon water aids digestion and can ease heartburn and bloating
  • Lemons cleanse and stimulates the liver and kidneys
  • Lemon juice contains calcium, magnesium and potassium
  • Lemon juice has been known to relieve asthma
  • Because it is high in Vitamin C, warm lemon water is a favoured remedy for colds/flu
  • Lemon juice is a great skin cleanser
  • It can kick start one’s metabolism when taken first thing in the morning.
Lemons

Tips

  • Always wash your lemons thoroughly to remove any residual spray – or purchase organic lemons. Even better, plant a lemon tree of your own.
  • Just be sure not to clean one’s teeth for at least half an hour afterwards. Otherwise, the enamel on your teeth might begin to break down.

Click on the title of any of the Cakes/Cookies listed below for recipes of delicious and easy ways to incorporate lemon into your diet.

Scroll further down for a no-fail Lemon Cake recipe that I can recommend.

Lemon and Ricotta Ring Cake

IMG_20150215_161353 (Small)

Lemon Madeira

lemon madeira

Lemon Biscuits

Lemon Cheesecake

LEMON Cake Recipe

(from The Australian Woman’s Weekly)

INGREDIENTS

  • 125g butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind
  • 1 cup (220g) caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup (150g) self-raising flour
  • ½ cup (75g) plain flour
  • ½ cup (125ml) milk – fill to within 1/8 Inch of brim of measure with milk, then top up with lemon juice

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to moderate (180°/160°C fan-forced)
  2. Grease a deep 20cm round or large loaf pan, then line the base with baking paper.
  3. Beat the butter, rind and sugar in a small bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until combined between additions.
  5. Stir in the sifted flours in two batches with the milk.
  6. Spread the mixture into the prepared pan.
  7. Bake in a moderate oven for about 35 minutes or until the cake is cooked when tested.
  8. Allow cake to stand for 15 minutes before turning the cake onto a wire rack to cool.
  9. Pour icing (see below), over cake whilst still warm

Note: I don’t make icing or a topping, as the cake is sweet enough and nice enough without, but if you wish to make it, and add even more lemon juice, here it is……

Icing

Combine ½ cup (125ml) lemon juice and ¼ cup (55g) caster sugar in a jug and stir until the sugar is dissolved.

Pour the topping over the cake whilst it is still warm from the oven.

This cake is suitable to freeze but not suitable to microwave.


cinnamon - almonds
Community

Something light for Tea

You may have heard me espousing the benefits of almonds and walnuts in recipes such as salads, or the Almond and Walnut Muffin recipe, I have previously posted, but what about  the benefits of incorporating cinnamon in our diet?

cinnamon almonds.jpg

I have to confess to being quite a fan of the cinnamon, especially in the crumble toppings you might find on a apple rhubarb dessert or a gourmet muffin. Combining cinnamon with almonds and walnuts, which are a fantastic source of Vitamin E and Magnesium, was a way of creating a light, and more importantly, HEALTHY cake recipe that if cut into bite-sized servings, is only a teeny bit decadent. Altogether a Perfect combination for a healthy morning or afternoon tea. Find the Recipe below.

cinnamon walnut streusel cake
Cinnamon Nut Streusel Cake

What are the Health Benefits of Cinnamon?

Cinnamon is astonishingly good for you. Would you believe that a mere teaspoon of cinnamon contains 28 mg of calcium, almost one mg of iron, over a gram of fiber, and quite a lot of vitamins C, K, and manganese?

[Source:cinnamonnutrition.com/index

In traditional medicine, cinnamon has been used for its mild anti-inflammatory effects, and to treat digestive ailments such as indigestion, gas and bloating, and diarrhea. As little as half a teaspoon of cinnamon a day has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity and blood glucose control.  Improving insulin tolerance can help in weight control as well as decreasing the risk for heart disease.  Read More here.

Streuselkuchen

Cinnamon Nut Streusel Cake

Ingredients

Base:

  • 3/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup (55grams) soft Butter
  • 1/2 Cups Milk
  • 1egg
  • 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 1/2 cups Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt

Top Layer:

  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoon Flour
  • 2 Teaspoons (or more), of Cinnamon
  • 2 Tablespoons soft Butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts – I used a combination of walnuts and flaked almonds

Method

Base:

  1. Preheat Oven 175 ° C and Grease or line a 9″ x 12″  or 20 x 30 cm slice tray
  2. Cream butter and sugar in mixer
  3. Add remaining base ingredients and mix well
  4. Spread out evenly in the tray.

Streusel Topping:

  1. Mix Streusel topping ingredients together
  2. Spread about 1/4 of the Streusel topping onto the base layer and lightly swirl through with a skewer or knife.
  3. Spread the rest of the Streusel topping thinly over the top of the base.
  4. Bake for 20 – 35 minutes or till cooked through, when pierced with a skewer
  5. Allow Cake to cool and cut into small squares to serve.

Tantalizing Tuesdays

Something healthy and delicious to savour about

leaves
Community

Pumpkin – Eat Yourself to Good Health

Showing signs of fatigue, dark circles or puffiness, allergies, nasal congestion?

Then pumpkin is for you.  It’s contains 245 % of  the average person’s daily needs of Vitamin A, as well as antioxidants, alpha and beta-carotenes, and it’s a fantastic source of vitamins C, K, and E. Furthermore, it has magnesium, potassium, and iron, and fibre.

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Being such a fantastic source of good nutrition, one has to wonder why the humble Pumpkin is so maligned?  Children often turn up their noses at the thought of it and the Irish once considered it only good for pig food! Perhaps it is a little boring: after all, there is only so much roast Pumpkin one can eat. 

Here are a few creative ways for incorporating Pumpkin into your diet.

Ways to Eat Pumpkin

  • Once you roast it,  leftover Roast Pumpkin goes well in a Spinach and Rocket Salad sprinkled with a bit of Feta and balsamic vinegar. Delicious!
  • Incorporate it into a Roast Vegetable Frittata – Find that recipe here
  • Add some diced Ham, Mushroom and Caramelised onion pieces to a Roast vegetable pie.
  • Replace Pumpkin in any recipe that needs squash.
  • Dice into small 1 inch pieces and roast with Rosemary and Thyme til crisp. Sprinkle with Sea salt and eat as a healthy alternative to  Hot Chips.
  • Pumpkin seeds called Pepitas can be used to make Crispbread, Salads, Muffins or as a healthy afternoon snack.
  • Being a sweet vegetable it is great to use in Cakes, Scones or Pumpkin Pie.

When talking sweet Pumpkin recipes, my absolute favourite is Pumpkin Scones. Here is how I make them: –

Pumpkin Scones Recipe

scones

Ingredients:

  • I cup of mashed Pumpkin
  • 1 tablespoon Butter
  • 2 tablespoon Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • pinch of Salt
  • 2 cups Self-raising Flour

Method

  • Beat first three ingredients together.
  • Add Egg, Salt and Flour and mix gently.
  • Add a teaspoon or two of Milk*, enough to make a wet Scone Dough that you can easily roll out to a floured board. * Often it is already of a good consistency and no milk is needed.
  • Roll out to 3/4 inch or 3 cm thickness on a floured board and cut into circles.
  • Place on a greased tray and brush tops of Scones with a little dab of Milk.
  • Bake in Hot Oven 250 degrees for 10 minutes

Hint:

To make Pumpkin puree to use in Scones:

Prepare to roast a whole Pumpkin by stabbing it with a knife once or twice to vent the steam, put the whole Pumpkin on a baking sheet, cook in a moderate oven at 175 C for an hour or so, until you can easily stick a knife into it.  Cool, then scoop out the seeds and string middle or pull out with tongs.

pepitas

Pumpkin Seeds

(Pepitas)
Pumpkin seeds, called Pepitas, are loaded with minerals, and it’s claimed they have an anti-inflammatory effect, as well as help to protect against prostate cancer and osteoporosis. A quarter cup of seeds has about 1.5 grams of fibre.

Hint: To prepare the seeds:

Let them dry on paper towels, then oil and salt them (add any other seasonings you want) and slow roast them in a 150 C oven until they smell good – about 45 to 60 minutes.

Stir them every 15 minutes or so. Cool and Store in an airtight jar.

Selection and Storage

  • Choose a Pumpkin that has firm skin, (no wrinkles), and feels heavy for its size. Knock on it with your knuckles.  If it sounds woody, it is ready to eat.  Stay away from the larger pumpkin, as a smaller and denser is better, in this case.
  • Whole Pumpkins should keep for up to 6 months, if kept in a cool, dry place.
  • A sheet or two of newspaper underneath the Pumpkin will absorb any dampness.
  • Once cut, Pumpkin will only keep for a few days, unless you remove the seeds and stringy centre and leave unwrapped in the lower part of your fridge.
  • Cooked Pumpkin will keep in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days.

To read nutritional information about Pumpkin, click here.

Grow Your Own Pumpkin plants

The plant is a fast-growing vine, in my yard; it self-sows from my compost bin, creeping along the ground surface.  But throw a few Pumpkin seeds in the garden and nature will do the rest for you. You may have to water them as the vines do get thirsty.

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Pumpkin’s health benefits are Something we should all Ponder About

 

StPA

Community

Raspberry Pie with Vanilla Sauce

raspberry

This recipe for Raspberry Pie with Vanilla Sauce comes from Pike at ArtKoppi

On my menu for this weekend. Have you cooked with rhubarb? If so, what did you make?

Easy and quick rhubarb pie

1 egg

3 dl sugar

3.5 dl cream milk

6 dl wheat flour

3 tsp baking powder

100 g of butter

1 l rhubarb (or raspberries or apples)

Beat the eggs and sugar in a mess. You can also choose to float the mixer. Add the cream of milk. Add the flour and baking powder. Finally, add the melted butter and stir. Spread the dough on a baking sheet on a baking tray and sprinkle over the rhubarb. Bake for about 1/2 hour at 200 degrees. Serve with vanilla sauce though. (Google translator)

I made it like this, but next time I would use more whole grain wheat and almond flour! And with ice cream it’s best, of course!

Vanilla sauce
(4 servings)

ingredients
3 dl milk
1 tablespoon of potato flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 egg yolk
2-3 tsp Vanilla Sugar

Measure the boiler cold milk, potato flour and sugar. Add the egg yolk and mix the ingredients properly. Remove pan from the stove and heat all the time still stirring, until the sauce thickens. Do not boil. Remove pan from heat and add vanilla. Cool the sauce between the whipping and providing.

Community

Healthy Afternoon tea:-Almond and Walnut Muffins

If you could find a way to incorporate a food that provided you with magnesium and Vitamin E, could lower your blood sugar levels, reduce blood pressure and lower cholesterol you would eat it, wouldn’t you? And what if that food could also reduce hunger and assist with weight loss? It would be a miracle!
But it is not. This ‘miracle’ food is almonds and unless you are allergic to nuts, this is a great way to incorporate almonds into your diet, even if you don’t like eating whole almonds themselves.

Almond and Walnut Muffins

Ingredients:
  • 150g Anchor Lighthouse Self Raising Flour
  • 50g Almond meal (ground almonds)
  • 85g brown sugar
  • 1 tsp Mixed Spice
  • 55 g chopped nuts – I use a mix of walnuts and pecans
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup (125mL) milk
  • Pinch salt
Method:
  1. Sift all dry ingredients into a mixing bowl.
  2. Combine butter, eggs and milk.
  3. Pour into dry ingredients and mix well.
  4. Line muffin tray with paper muffin cases.
  5. Fill cases to 2/3 full
  6. Bake at 170ºC for 20-25 minutes or until inserted skewer comes out clean

Sprinkle with cinnamon for an additional health benefit!

Something delicious and healthy to Ponder About


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