Sunday, 27 February 2011

Vanilla Cake with Butter Icing

When making cakes, I always use real butter.  It gives the cake a wonderful taste and moisture.


1 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
125g unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup full cream milk


Heat the oven to 200C (400F). Lightly coat a 20cm (8") cake pan with butter and dust with flour.
Sift the cake flour, baking powder, and salt into a large mixing bowl.
Beat in the butter one heaping 1/4 teaspoonful at a time, using an electric mixer set on low speed, until the mixture resembles coarse sand.
Beat in the sugar a tablespoon at a time, until the mixture resembles fine damp sand.
Beat in the eggs one at a time.
Add the vanilla and milk, and beat on medium-high, just until blended. Do not overbeat.
Pour into the prepared pan and bake until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean — 30 to 35 minutes.
Cool cake in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
Un-mold and cool completely.
Cut horizontally into two halves
With a palette knife, smear butter icing onto one half and  then sandwich the two halves together
Decorate the top and sides with remaining butter icing.

Butter Icing


120g butter
300g icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla essence


Sieve icing sugar to break lumps.

In a separate bowl, cream butter till soft. Add icing sugar, a little at a time, beating continuously. Add vanilla and continue beating until icing is creamy and fluffy.


Chocolate butter icing:
Add 3 – 4 tsp of sifted cocoa powder to the icing above and beat until the cocoa powder is well blended in the icing.

Coffee butter icing:
Prepare the butter icing as above, but omit vanilla essence. Instead, add 1 tsp of instant coffee powder diluted in ¼ tsp water into the icing. Beat well.

Mocha butter icing:
Add 4 tsp of sifted cocoa powder into the coffee butter cream above. Beat well.

Prawn Risotto

My friend Errolene asked me to post a recipe for seafood Risotto, so here goes.


2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 knobs of butter
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
half an onion, finely chopped
small glass of white wine
2 cups stock, gently simmering in a pot ( I use - 1 cup chicken stock and 1 cup of the liquid from the cooked prawns)
10 cooked tiger prawns
50g frozen peas
2 green onions, finely chopped  (scallions for my US friend)
4 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt and black pepper


Heat the olive oil and 1 knob of butter in a large pan. Gently fry the garlic and onion over a medium heat, until the onion is softened and translucent.
Add the rice and coat with the olive oil, garlic and onion mix. Cook for 2 minutes.
Pour in the white wine and cook until the liquid is absorbed. Once absorbed, add a ladle of the simmering stock and cook until absorbed. Continue until all of the stock is absorbed. Stir in the remaining butter, the Parmesan cheese, prawns, green onions and peas and seasoning. Cook gently for another 3 minutes to warm the prawns and cook the peas.
Serves 2.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Creme Caramel

When I was growing up, there always seemed to be enormous competition amongst the Portuguese ladies to see who could come up with the perfect Creme Caramel.  Don't ask me what that was all about, but seems like that's the yard stick to deciding who is the perfect housewife.  This is my version, I bastardized my mother's recipe cos she makes it way too sweet.


1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup cold water
250ml cream
1 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 egg yolks


Combine 3/4 cup of the sugar and the water in a pot and cook whilst on low heat. When the sugar has melted, increase the heat until the syrup boils and turns golden in colour. (Take care that the sugar doesn't burn). Pour into an ovenproof ceramic dish and set aside to cool.

Combine the cream, milk and vanilla in a pot and heat through.  (just warmed, not hot) Remove the pot from the stove and set aside for 5 minutes.  Beat the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl until frothy and the mixture is almost white. Add the cream mixture to the eggs and whisk well, pour back into the pot. Return to the stove and heat through (do not boil, cook or allow to thicken) while stirring. As soon as you see little bubbles forming on the side of the pot, remove from the heat. Pour the mixture through a fine sieve into the dish of sugar caramel.

Place the ceramic dish into a large oven baking dish and place in the oven. Pour hot water into the oven dish until it comes half way up the side of the ceramic dish.  (This called a Bain Marie)

Place into a preheated 180C (350F) oven and bake for 30 minutes. Allow to cool and refrigerate until totally cold. Carefully turn into a serving dish - Enjoy

Serves 6

Fried Chicken

Is there anything better than fried chicken?  It's the ultimate in comfort food.


500ml buttermilk
A dash of Worcester sauce
A few drops of hot sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp salt

8 pieces of chicken
2 cups of flour
2 Tbsp chicken stock powder
2 tsp lemon pepper
2 tsp paprika
1/2 teaspoon chili (or peri-peri)
2 eggs beaten
Oil for frying


Mix the buttermilk, garlic powder, Worcester sauce, hot sauce and salt. Pour into a large zip lock plastic bag and put the chicken pieces into the bag. Shake the bag to cover the chicken and place in the fridge for 4 hours to marinate.

In 2 separate plastic bags - divide all the dry ingredients equally.

Beat the eggs in a bowl

Heat the oil.

Remove the chicken fro the marinade. Put the chicken pieces in the 1st bag and coat (I just shake the bag). Put the chicken in the beaten egg and then into the second bag of flour mix. Carefully drop into the hot oil and fry until golden brown.  Remove and drain on paper towels on a cooling rack.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Banana Bread


4 ripe bananas, smashed
1/3 cup melted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups of cake flour


With a wooden spoon, mix butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the sugar, egg, and vanilla. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour last and mix. Pour mixture into a buttered 10 x 20cm loaf pan.
Place in preheated 180C oven. Bake for 1 hour.  Cool on a rack.  Remove from pan and slice to serve.

Spaghetti Carbonara


1 packet streaky bacon
2 cloves freshly chopped garlic
4 large eggs, beaten
1 cup freshly-grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
500g spaghetti, cooked al dente
salt and pepper to taste.

In a large pot, fry the bacon strips until crispy, remove from the pan and place on paper towels.  Break the bacon in pieces.  Drain the bacon grease, leaving about 2 tablespoons in pot. Add the garlic and lightly fry. return. to the pot. Turn off the heat.

While the bacon is frying - in a separate pot, cook your pasta as per packet instructions and drain. Add the pasta to the bacon and stir to coat the pasta. remove the pot from the stove and swirl in the eggs and cheese. Make sure the eggs and cheese coat the pasta. Leave to stand for 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

Enjoy.  Serves 4-6

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Blueberry Muffins


2 cups self raising flour , sifted
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
125g melted butter, cooled
3/4 cup milk
1 cup blueberries


Sift the flour and add the sugar.  Mix well. In a bowl combine the egg, butter and milk.  Add to dry ingredients. Add the blueberries and gently fold into the mixture.

Line a muffin pan with muffin paper cups and fill 3/4 way with the mixture.  Bake in a preheated 180C oven for 25 minutes.

Makes 6

TIP:  Use an ice cream scoop to fill the cups, this ensures all your muffins are the same size.

Hollandaise Sauce

Hollandaise is yummy with poached eggs, fish, asparagus etc. I put a little cream into my hollandaise and find that it comes our a lot smoother and doesn't tend to split.


110g butter
2 large egg yolks
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp white vinegar
2 Tbsp cream
a pinch sugar
a pinch of salt


In a glass bowl, whisk all the ingredients together.  Place the bowl over a pot of boiling water and whisk continuously until the sauce is thick and shiny.  

TIP: Add a pinch of cayenne pepper.

Penne With Bacon And Creamy Tomato Sauce

I invented this recipe in a hurry when we got unexpected guests for dinner.  The cupboards were a bit bare cos I'd not been shopping and it turned out to be awesome.  Necessity being the mother of invention and all that.


1 tbsp olive oil
1 500g packet streaky bacon, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 x 410g tins tomato puree
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup cream
2 fresh tomatoes skinned, de-seeded and cut into strips.
Grated pecorino cheese.
Freshly milled black pepper.

Chopped fresh basil.

500g  Penne Rigate


In a pot, heat the oil and fry the bacon and onions.  Add the mustard, bay leaves, salt and sugar and cook for a few minutes. Add the wine and tomato puree cover the pot and simmer the sauce  for 30 minutes. Uncover and simmer for a further 15 minutes.  Add the cream and remove from the heat.

Cook the Penne Rigate as per packet instructions. Add the pasta to the sauce and stir through ensuring the pasta is well coated with the sauce.  Add the fresh tomato strips.  Serve immediately sprinkled with pecorino cheese, black pepper and fresh basil. 

Serves 6

Apple Tarte Tartin

I saw Gordon Ramsay at the Good Food and Wine Show in Cape Town last year and he made this Tarte Tartin.  I rushed home and tried it and it was incredible.  So, thanks Gordon for the recipe.


4 Pink Lady or Granny Smith apples
1 pkt of puff pastry
50g unsalted butter
50g castor sugar
5 cardamom pods, crushed


Peel and quarter the apples and set aside to dry out for about 2 hours.  The apples are going to turn brown, but don't worry about it cos they'll be fine after cooking.

In a 20cm shallow pan, press the butter into the bottom and sprinkle the sugar on top. Add the cardamom pods and then arrange the apple quarters on top.  Cut the puff pastry into a circle of about 24cm (larger than the circumference of the pan)  Place the pastry on top of the apples and tuck the edges of the pastry under the apples. Cut a small hole in the top of the pastry.

Put the pan onto the stove at high heat.  Cook on the stove top for about 10 minutes until the sugar has caramelized. Place in a reheated 200C oven and bake for 20 minutes until the pastry is very crispy. Allow to cool and turn over onto a serving plate.  ( be careful, it can be quite tricky) Remove the cardamom pods and serve with ice cream.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Yummy Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

Ok, this vinaigrette is yummy enough to drink.  Come to think of it, my son Bradley's girlfriend Noellene has done so.  You can double and triple this recipe.  It will keep in the fridge for ages.


3Tbsp Extra Virgin Oil
1 tsp prepared mustard
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 clove of garlic (lightly bruised)
1 Tbsp good Balsamic Vinegar


Whisk the oil, mustard sugar, salt and garlic together.  Add the balsamic vinegar and whisk together well to make an emulsion.

Chicken Pie

I don't add salt to this recipe because it already has stock and Worcester sauce.  You can taste it as you go and adjust the seasoning.


1 Roll of puff pastry
4 Tbsp butter
250g sliced white mushrooms
1 onion finely chopped
1 small carrot chopped
2 sticks of celery chopped
1 green pepper (bell pepper)
1 clove of garlic
4 Tbsp flour
1 cup chicken stock
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 cup dry white white
a dash of Worcester sauce
1 cup fresh cream
white pepper to taste
3 cups cooked chicken chopped in medium chunks
1 tsp fresh tarragon finely chopped
1 tsp fresh parsley finely chopped
1/2 cup frozen peas

1 egg beaten (for egg washing the pastry)


In a large pot on high heat melt the butter and fry the mushrooms.  Remove the mushrooms and set aside.  Reduce the heat to medium.

Add the onions, carrots, celery and green pepper to the butter and sweat off.  Add the flour and and stir through.  Slowly add the chicken stock and keep stirring while the sauce thickens.  Add the mustard, white whine, Worcester sauce, pepper and fresh cream.  Allow this to cook for 5 minutes and keep stirring.

Add the cooked chicken, mushrooms, tarragon, parsley and peas.  Heat through and simmer on very low heat for 20 minutes.  Keep checking to make sure that the sauce does not burn.  Turn off the heat and allow to cool.

Roll out the puff pastry.  Once the chicken filling is cool, pour into a large flat bowl, or into into individual pots. Cover with the puff pastry and using a knife make a hole in top of the pastry. Using a pastry brush, brush the top of the pastry with the beaten egg.  Place into fridge for 10 minutes.  (This allows the pastry to rest and will prevent shrinking)

Bake in a preheated 200C oven for 40 minutes or until the top is golden. - Serves 6 to 8

Monday, 21 February 2011

Malasadas (Portuguese Donuts)

Malasadas are Portuguese donuts.  My mother makes these and she puts sugar and syrup on them.  A total treat.


1 1/4 cup milk
1 Tbsp sugar
2 1/2 tsp salt
125g butter
6 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 package dry yeast
6 cups flour
Vegetable oil for deep frying
Castor sugar for coating


Heat 1 cup of milk in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat.  Stir in the sugar, salt and butter and remove from the heat. Remove from the heat and sprinkle on the yeast.  Let stand for 5 minutes to cool.
In a large bowl, combine the milk mixture with the beaten eggs.

In another bowl mix the instant yeast in to the flour. Gradually add the flour/yeast mix into the egg mix and beat until stiff.  Move the dough to a floured board and knead until smooth and elastic.  Form dough into a ball and place in bowl coated with oil.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place until it is double in size, approximately 2 hours.

In a deep pot, heat the oil to medium heat.  Break off golf ball sized pieces of the dough, stretch to a round shape and fry in batches the hot oil until golden brown.  Drain the Fried malasadas on paper towels and sprinkle with castor sugar.

Makes 3 dozen.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Pasteies de Nata (Portuguese Custard Tartlets)

Anyone that has been to Portugal will know that these tarts are the best thing about the trip. I love these tarts.  They seriously are the best thing that you can give me and I never tire of them. 


1 roll of puff pastry thawed
1 cup of fresh cream
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbsp cornstarch (Maizena)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 egg yolks


Roll out the pastry to be quite thin and cut into 12 circles to line a muffin pan.

Whisk the cream, milk, sugar and cornflour together in a pot. Place the pot over medium heat and cook, stirring continuously, until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Whisk the mixture until it's cooled down but not cold  (you are going to be adding the egg yolks and if the mixture is too hot, you'll get scrambled eggs.)  Whisk in one egg yolk at at a time.  Return the mixture to the stove and cook whilst stirring continuously for another 5 minutes.

Fill the pastry cases 3/4 full and place in a preheated 200C oven.  Bake for 20 minutes.  The top of the tart should look like it's burnt.  Remove from the muffin pan once the tarts are cool enough to handle and place on a cooling rack.  These tarts are eaten cold or warm.

Makes 12

Beef Stew

I must say that I am not a huge fan of stew, but my family loves it and could eat it everyday.  This a a lovely rich beef stew that's the ultimate in comfort food.


60ml Oil
½ cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 kg beef cubed

3 onions finely sliced
2 cloves garlic chopped
4 large carrots chopped
4 celery stalks chopped

4 large potatoes cubed
350ml beef stock
1 cup red wine
10 baby onion (the pickling kind)


Combine the flour, salt and black pepper and coat the beef cubes.  (I find it best to throw the flour and seasoning into a bag and put the beef cubes into the bag and just give it a good shake.)

Heat the oil and brown the meat. Do this in batches otherwise the heat will reduce and you'll have the beef boiling rather than browning.  Set the beef aside.

Add the onions, garlic, carrots and celery and fry for about 3 minutes. Add the stock and red wine and beef to the pot and bring to the boil.  Cover the pot and reduce to a low heat and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Add the baby onions and simmer for a further 30 minutes. Remove the lid and cook uncovered for another 30 minutes.  This will thicken the stew.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Spaghetti and Meatballs

These meatballs are really good and can be eaten without the sauce.

Ingredients (Meatballs):

500g lean beef mince
500g pork mince
1 onion finely chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
2 tbs freshly chopped parsley
1 beaten egg
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsp salt
black pepper
Olive Oil for frying

Ingredients (Sauce):

2 (420g) cans whole peeled chopped tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp fresh basil leaves chopped
2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup water
1 tsp salt (adjust to taste)
Fresh Black Pepper

Method: (Meatballs)

In a pan fry the onions and garlic until translucent and set aside to cool.
In a large bowl mix all the ingredients including the cooled onion and garlic.
Roll the mixture into balls - the size of a golf ball is a good size
Heat the olive oil and fry the meatballs until brown and the juices run clear.

Method: (Sauce)

In a pot add all the ingredients and  bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 15 minutes.

When the sauce is cooked, add the meatballs to the sauce and serve with spaghetti.

Alfredo Pasta Sauce

I have tried many versions of Alfredo sauce, but this one is the best I've had.  You can leave out the ham if you want.

4 tbsp salted butter
1/2 cup ham
250ml fresh cream
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh black pepper to taste


In a large pan, melt the butter and lightly fry the ham.  Add the cream and Parmesan cooking gently and stirring continuously.  Do not allow the sauce to boil as this may cause the cream to split.  Cook for 10 minutes remove from the heat and serve with fettuccine.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Chicken In White Wine Cream Sauce


4 large skinless chicken breasts
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 small finely chopped white onion
1 crushed clove garlic
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 glass white wine
1 tsp salt
250ml fresh cream


The first thing to do is to take each chicken breast, remove the skin, butterfly them and pound with a wooden mallet or bottle until they are about 1-1.5cm thick. Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the chicken until golden brown on both sides. Remove the chicken and add the finely chopped onion to the pan.  Brown the onion being careful not to burn it.  Add the the garlic and the mustard and stir well.  Add the white wine and salt. Cook and reduce for about 5 minutes on high heat.  Reduce the heat to medium and add the cream.   Allow this to simmer for another 5 minutes until the cream has thicken.  Do not boil the cream.  Return the chicken to the pan and spoon the cream sauce over to coat the chicken.  Serve with preferred pasta.  Serves 4.

I sometimes replace the cream with fat free yogurt as a healthier option. 

Lemon Curd

Lemon curd is known as being notoriously difficult to make. Ha! No so! This recipe is one I found online somewhere and really easy.

1 cup sugar

6 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks (keep the egg whites if you want to make lemon meringue.  This lemon curd is perfect for it)
2/3 cup of lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon zest.


In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer, about 2 min. Slowly add the eggs and yolks. Beat for 1 min. Mix in the lemon juice. The mixture will look curdled, but it will smooth out as it cooks.
In a medium, heavy-based saucepan, cook the mixture over low heat until it looks smooth. (The curdled appearance disappears as the butter in the mixture melts.) Increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 15 min. It should leave a path on the back of a spoon. Don't let the mixture boil. Remove the curd from the heat; stir in the lemon zest. Transfer the curd to a bowl. Press plastic wrap on the surface of the lemon curd to keep a skin from forming and chill the curd in the refrigerator. The curd will thicken further as it cools. Covered tightly, it will keep in the fridge for a week and in the freezer for 2 months.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Smoked Haddock Fish Cakes


500g smoked haddock
Milk for poaching the haddock
4 large potatoes
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 egg beaten
1/2 cup freshly chopped parsley
2 Tbsp Worcester Sauce
1tsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
White pepper to taste

Ingredients for Frying:
flour for coating
2 eggs beaten to use for the egg wash
1 cup bread crumbs to coat the fish cakes
Vegetable oil for frying


In a pan, poach the haddock in the milk. Allow the haddock to cool and then flake the fish.  Cook the potatoes until soft and mash them. In a large bowl add the flaked haddock, mashed potatoes and the rest the the ingredients.  Use your hands to mix all the ingredients together.  Don't overdo this, you don't want mush.  Shape the mixture into fishcakes.

Put the flour, beaten eggs and bread crumbs into 3 separate flat bowls. Coat the fishcakes with the flour then into the egg wash and then into the bread crumbs.  Fry in a pan with shallow oil until crisp and golden in colour. Squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the fishcakes - Enjoy!

Flop Proof Fudge

OK, so I always SUCKED hugely at making fudge.  All I ever got was this crappy sticky mess that landed up in the bin or if I was feeling particularly pissy, the kids were forced to eat it.   This recipe really works.


1 tin condensed milk
2 cups white sugar
125g unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla essence or extract


In a heavy based pot cook the condensed milk, sugar and butter stirring continuously.  Keep stirring for about 10 minutes. (Don't worry if the mixture catches, that is what gives it colour - when this happens stir like mad) You'll notice that the mixture starts making large bubbles and when you take some of the mixture onto a cold plate it immediately gets that fudge like consistency.  Remove the pot from the heat and beat in the vanilla essence.  Pour into a greased square dish.  Allow to cool for 10 minutes and cut in to blocks.


Bolognaise Sauce:

1kg extra lean beef mince
2 Tbs olive oil
2 carrots diced
2 sticks of celery diced
3 onions finely chopped
2 Tbs Italian herbs
4 Bay leaves
3 cloves of garlic (chopped)
2 large tins tomato paste
1 cup good red wine
4 x 410g tins of good quality whole peeled tomatoes (chopped)
1 Tbs sugar
A tiny pinch of bicarb (very little – too much will leave sauce bland) - this removes all the acidity.
Salt and black pepper to taste.
1 cup water.


In a large pot heat oil and add onions, celery and carrots – fry until onions are translucent (do not brown)
Add herbs and bay leaves
Add garlic
Add the mince
Add rest of the ingredients
Bring to the boil – lower temperature and allow sauce to simmer for at least 2 hours. Add more water when the sauce begins to dry out.

White Sauce:

2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dry mustard
a dash of Worcestershire sauce
1 cup milk

In a small, heavy saucepan, melt butter over low heat.
Blend flour into the melted butter.
Add salt and mustard.
Cook over low heat, stirring, for 4 to 5 minutes. Cooking for this length of time will minimize 'flour' taste.
Slowly add milk and Worcestershire sauce, stirring constantly.
Continue cooking slowly until smooth and thickened.


Ladle some of the bolognaise sauce into the bottom of a flat lasgane dish then layer lasagne sheets and bolognaise sauce ending with lasagne sheets. (there is no need to to cook the lasagne sheets, they will cook in the moisture that comes from the bolognaise sauce). Spoon White sauce on top and scatter a generous helping of Parmesan cheese over the white sauce.  Bake in a preheated 180C oven for 45 minutes. Allow to rest for 15 minutes before serving - Serves 8 to 10

With the white sauce, I usually put the milk and everything else except the butter in the pot on the stove and whisk the mixture until it's thickened.  I then add the butter and allow the sauce to cook for a little longer to get rid of the flour taste.  At this stage I also check if the sauce is too thick and add a bit of milk.  You don't want a seriously thick sauce, more like a medium consistency white sauce.


This cheesecake is dedicated my brother-in-law Froggy and my niece Juanita's partner Hilton.  This cake is really expensive to make, but hey you only live once and if you do it right - once is all you need.


1 pkt tennis biscuits - crushed
100g butter
2 tubs full fat cream cheese @ room temp
2 tubs smooth cottage cheese
1 tin condensed milk
1/4 cup castor sugar
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla essence or the seeds of 1/2 vanilla pod
1 punnet of mixed frozen berries
1/2 cup castor sugar
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 packet jelly - disolved with 1/2 cup hot water


Line bottom 23cm loose bottom / springform cake tin with grease proof paper
Melt butter and add to biscuits and press into bottom of tin to make a biscuit base
Mix the cheeses, condensed milk, eggs, vanilla and lemon juice together - pour into tin
Bake in a preheated oven @ 200 Deg C for 40 minutes
Take out of oven and allow to cool down completely and spoon on the berry topping


Put berries, sugar and lemon juice into a pot and bring to the boil. When berries start breaking down, take off the stove and add the jelly mix. Allow to cool (not set) and spread on top of cooled baked cake.

Allow cake to cool completely and place in fridge for at least 2 hours. Serve and enjoy.

Lamb Curry

This lamb curry is sure to be a total hit.  It's tasty and will have your guests begging you for more.  It's not a hot curry, but you can adjust it to make it as hot as you like.

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 kg lamb knuckles or neck
3 large onions finely sliced
2 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
1 stick of cinnamon
3 cardamom pods
2 star anise
5 whole cloves
2 tsp aniseed
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tbsp cumin powder
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 tbsp fennel powder
1 tbsp leaf masala (hot, medium or mild depending on your preference)
5 curry leaves
3 tins whole peeled tomatoes
2 cups of water
1 tbsp salt
1 bunch fresh chopped coriander (cilantro for my American friends)


In a large pot heat the oil and brown the lamb.  Remove the lamb and drain most of the oil, leaving approximately 1 tbsp.  Add the onions with the garlic and ginger paste and sweat off until the onions translucent (not brown). Add the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, star anise, whole cloves and aniseed.  Heat these through to release the flavours.  Now add your powdered spices and fry them making sure they don't burn.  If you don't do this there will be a taste of raw spices and the curry will have a bitter after taste. Add the tomatoes, salt and water and stir through. Simmer the sauce for 5 minutes. Return the lamb to the pot and cover the pot.  Simmer on a low heat for minimum of 1 hour or until the lamb is tender.  At this stage you can add potatoes although this is not traditional, but my family love it. When the curry is cooked add the fresh coriander.  Serve with basmati rice and sambals.

I use a pot that can go into the oven so when I come to the stage where I need to simmer, I put the pot in a preheated oven @ 180C and forget about it for an hour or two.  This ensures even cooking and the curry doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot.


I love hummus and there is nothing yummier than this recipe.  It's quick and easy and works out sooooo much cheaper than going to buy it.  I keep it in the fridge and it's a great go to party dip or put into chicken wraps.  The uses are endless.  Tahini is a sesame paste and you can buy it in your local supermarket or health food shop.  BTW, Andrea believes that this should be part of a major food group.


1 tin chickpeas
1/4 tsp cumin
2 tbsp tahini. 
3 cloves garlic 
2 tablespoons lemon juice. 
1 tsp Salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil


In a pot warm the chickpeas and liquid from the tin with the cumin.  Once warm, drain the chickpeas reserving 2 tablespoons of the liquid and put chickpeas and liquid into a food processor or blender. Place all the remaining ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.  Adjust the seasoning to taste. Allow to cool and place into airtight container and refrigerate. 

When serving as a dip, make a well in the middle of the hummus and drizzle Extra Virgin Olive Oil and add some toasted pine nuts.

Penne Arrabiatta Sauce (V)

This recipe is what my kids call 'Red Pasta'.  I swear my oldest daughter would commit murder (well, maybe not murder, but I'm sure she's willing to hand out a couple of klaps) for it, she loves it that much.


1 420g tin whole peeled chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
100ml extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic crushed
1 chopped chili ( I usually put this in at the end otherwise it's too hot or for the fainthearted, remove the seeds)
Salt to taste.
Black pepper to taste
1/2 cup of water

1/2 packet of penne
Cheddar and Parmesan cheese


Put all the ingredients except chili, cheese and penne into a pot. Bring to a boil and then lower the temperature and allow to simmer for 15 minutes until sauce has thickened.  Add Chili.  In a large pot with plenty boiling salted water add the penne and cook for 3 minutes less than packet instructions.  Drain the pasta and add the sauce.  Return to the stove and heat through and allow to sit for 5 minutes so that the pasta can take on the sauce flavours.  Sprinkle with cheese.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Blueberry Pancakes (Flapjacks)


2 cups self raising flour
1 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
1/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
3 eggs separated
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp melted butter
1 to 2 cups Blueberries
a little vegetable oil for frying


In a large bowl sift together the dry ingredients and mix through to ensure that the bicarb is well distributed. In another bowl mix the egg yolks, buttermilk, milk, vanilla and butter. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix gently.  Lumps in the batter are good. Whisk the egg whites til stiff peaks and gently fold into the batter. Do this gently, you don't want to lose the air by beating the heck out of it. Add the blueberries and stir gently so as not to damage the berries causing the juices to discolour the batter.

Place a small amount of the vegetable oil in a pan and drop in spoonfuls on the mixture.  When bubbles appear on the surface, turn the pancake over and cook on the other side.  You will notice that they rise and get really fluffy. Serve with butter and maple syrup.

Malva Pudding

This recipe is flop proof and always a huge hit.  In fact I have people lining up to buy these from me.  The secret is not to over work the recipe and have a gentle hand with the batter.


1 egg
1 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp smooth apricot jam
1 cup milk
1 cup self raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
pinch of salt
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp malt vinegar


In a large bowl beat together the egg, sugar and jam.  In another bowl sift the flour, bicarb and salt. Add small amounts of the flour and milk alternatively to the egg and sugar mixture making sure not to over beat. Melt the butter and vinegar add to the batter and mix in very well. Pour into a baking dish. Place in a preheated 200C oven and bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.


1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup cream
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup hot water

Heat in a pot until sugar is melted and pour over the Malva. Serves 6

How I Came To Cook

Growing up, cooking was never a large part of our family's ethos.  Yep, you've guessed it - my mother is a terrible cook (although I have to admit that there are one or two things that she manages to make palatable).  Her three course meals are definitely a case of the bland following the bland.  If you ever feel the need to shed some pounds, move in with my mother for a month - you'll be the Weight Watcher of the year in no time.

I got married pretty young and the family I married into were the exact opposite to mine.  An Italian family where the women were kitchen divas with each meal tastier than the next and so started my journey into taste sensations that I had never believed possible.  Although the marriage didn't work, at least I took the skill of cooking with me and for that I will be eternally grateful.

This blog is recipes that my family loves. My grand daughter Scarlett thinks that I am "the best cooker" and I hope these recipes will work for you too.