Chocolate-Amarula Cheesecake

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This gem popped up on my Facebook feed over the weekend and, as a devout believer in the deliciousness of Amarula, it was too good not to share.  Thanks to Linda at The Squashed Tomato for this recipe!

CHOCOLATE-AMARULA CHEESECAKE

Ingredients:

1 pack (+/- 200 g)Tennis biscuits, crushed
125 g unsalted butter, melted
3 tubs plain cream cheese
1 tub creme fraiche
4 large eggs
125 g caster sugar
2 tots of Amarula
2 slabs of chocolate (100 g each)

Heat the oven to 180 degrees. Place the crushed biscuits in a mixing bowl and pour in the melted butter. Mix together until the crushed biscuits are well coated. Grease a springform cake tin (I had no idea what such a device was until I baked this cake!) well with Spray & Cook. Press the biscuit mix into the bottom of the cake tin and leave in the fridge until needed.

Soften the cream cheese (I gave it a few rounds in the microwave). Using a whisk, mix the cream cheese, creme fraiche and sugar in a mixing bowl until well mixed. Add the eggs one by one, whisking well into the mixture.

Melt the chocolate in a glass bowl over some boiling water and add to the mixture, along with the Amarula measures. Mix well.

Pour into the springform cake tin. Bake in the oven for about 40-45 minutes – the top of the cake should be set and the cake should be a bit wobbly when you take it out of the oven (I have seen recipes suggesting baking times from 40 minutes to an hour – I just used some common sense in gauging when it would be ready and left mine in for 47 minutes). Leave the cake to cool before releasing from the tin. Leave it in the fridge for a few hours to allow it to achieve the delicious density that comes with a great baked cheesecake.

Serve with fresh whipped cream, chocolate shavings or simply just as it is.

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Baked Mini Donuts

Yesterday I went out and bought myself a nifty mini donut maker and finally got round to some long-overdue baking. My friends and I spent the morning making the cutest little munchies and had so much fun decorating them.

Fortunately, the machine came along with a recipe to make plain donuts, which we followed.

BAKED MINI DONUTS
Makes about 24

Ingredients: 

1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup castor sugar (we used normal sugar and they turned out fine)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
125 g butter, softned
1 egg
3/4 cup milk

Method:

In a large bowl, stir flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to combine. Add butter, egg and milk and beat with an electric mixer until the mixture is thick, smooth and creamy.

Pre-heat the appliance for 4-5 minutes. Here I took the liberty of greasing the machine with some Spray and Cook. The machine is non-stick and so this was just a precautionary measure. Spoon 1 tablespoon f the mixture evenly into each mould. Close the lid. Cook for 2 minutes or until donuts are golden brown soft to touch.

Carefully remove the donuts from the machine and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Topping:

This required a bit of innovation. All I did was melt 100g of milk chocolate and mix it with a bit of milk until it was smooth and slightly runny. Then I dunked the top of each donut in the chocolate topping and decorated with (admittedly) copious amounts of sprinkles before the topping dried.

We actually doubled the quantities in the recipe and came out with roughly 50 perfect mini donuts, which were then speedily consumed 🙂

Chocolate Samoosas

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So easy and ridiculously delicious – it hardly counts as a recipe, but lets call it that anyway.

CHOCOLATE SAMOOSAS
(makes 10)

1 x 100 g Lindt Chocolate (hell, any kind of chocolate will do!)
10 samoosa wrappers
1 egg
Vegetable oil for frying

Break the chocolate into individual blocks. Put one block at the end of each samoosa wrapper and fold them up. With egg white and a pastry brush in hand, brush over the samoosas and check that not chocolate can run out of them. Heat a decent amount of oil in a pan and deep fry the samoosas when the oil is hot, but not smoking. Remove the samoosas when there are a light golden brown colour. Pat them try with paper towels to remove excess oil.

These are nice to serve dusted with icing sugar.

Thanks to my aunt for sending me the link, and thanks to the original author at My Easy Cooking – you might as well head on to that blog because she’s got some lovely ideas up there.

Jamie Oliver’s Pot-Roast Meatloaf

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Ah, now here’s a gem. A good friend of mine (the best, actually) was kind enough to share this recipe with me from Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food cookbook.

At first I thought the recipe looked like a bit of a challenge – but really, it’s just very long. However, it’s pretty simple to make and turned out rather well indeed.

I did find that the meatloaf itself was a tiny bit dry, so I’d recommend cooking it for less than the suggested time. I also thought that instead of a tomato-based sauce, something creamy and ‘mushroomy’ might be nice too, so play around with it.

JAMIE OLIVER’S POT-ROAST MEATLOAF

2 medium onions
Olive oil
Salt and black pepper
1 level tsp of ground cumin
1 heaped tsp ground coriander
12 cream crackers
2 tsp dried oregano
2 heaped tsp Dijon mustard
500 g mince
1 large egg
2 cloves garlic
½ – 1 fresh chilli
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 x 400 g tin chickpeas, drained
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
12 slices of smoked bacon
1 lemon

To make the meatloaf:

Preheat the oven to full whack. Peel and finely chop one of the onions. Place in a large frying pan on medium high heat with 2 lugs of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Add the ground cumin and coriander. Fry and stir every 30 seconds for around 7 minutes or until softened and lightly golden, then put into a large bowl to cool. Wrap the crackers in a tea towel and smash up until fine, breaking any big bits with your hands. Add to the bowl of cooled onions with the oregano, mustard and minced beef. Crack in the egg and add another good pinch of salt and pepper. Scrunch and mix up well. Move the meat mixture to a board, then pat and mould it into a large, rugby-ball shape. Rub it with a little oil. You can either cook it straight away or put it on a plate, cover and place in the fridge until needed. Place the meatloaf in a casserole-type pan or baking dish, put it into the preheated over and turn down the temperature immediately to 200 C/gas 6. Bake for 15-30 mins.

For the sauce:

Peel the other onion and chop into 1 cm pieces. Peels and slice the garlic. Finely slice the red chilli. Place the onion, garlic and chilli in a large pan on a medium high heat with 2 lugs of olive oil, the paprika and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for around 7 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds until softened and lightly golden. Add the Worcestershire sauce, chickpeas, tomatoes and balsamic vinegar. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and let it slowly simmer for 10 minutes. Season if needed.

To finish off:

Pick the rosemary leaves off the woody stalks and put them into a little bowl. Remove the meatloaf from the oven and pour all the fat from the pan over the rosemary leaves and mix up well. Spoon your sauce around the meatloaf. Lay the slices of bacon over the top of the meatloaf and sauce. Scatter over the rosemary leaves. Put the pan back into the over for 10 to 15 minutes until the bacon turns golden and the sauce is bubbling and delicious. Serve with a mixed leaf salad and some wedges of lemon for squeezing over.

Hungarian Paprika Chicken

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Don’t know what to make for dinner? Problem solved.

This recipe is about as easy as it gets, and it’s beyond delicious too. Very creamy and slightly spicy – there’s not much not to love. More than that, it only takes 20 – 30 minutes to prepare from start to finish so it’s a quick option for evenings when you don’t feel bothered to cook.

HUNGARIAN PAPRIKA CHICKEN

1 onion, finely chopped
1 green pepper sliced into small pieces
400 – 500 g chicken fillets cut into small chunks
1 tsp salt
3 – 4 tbsp paprika (yes, it’s a lot)
1 tub sour cream
Olive oil or sunflower oil

Put some oil in a large pot on medium to high heat and fry the onions and green pepper until soft. Add the chicken pieces, salt and paprika while stirring continuously until the chicken is sealed. Reduce the heat and add the sour cream. Keep the lid on and stir occasionally. Cook for 20 – 30 minutes.

Serve with rice or pasta and enjoy.

Santa Hat Brownies

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With Christmas around the corner, I really think that these are a fantastic idea for any Christmas party. I mean, we’re all going to be eating around four times the amount of food we normally would, so why not end it off with the cutest little Santa Hat brownies?

These are fairly simple to construct – all you need is a brownie base, some strawberries and some form of icing.

To start with, here’s my favourite American brownie recipe that has been used as my secret weapon too many times:

CHOCOLATE BROWNIES

1 cup sugar
½ cup margarine or butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2/3 cups all purpose flour
½ cup cocoa
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt

Heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Mix sugar, margarine, vanilla and eggs. Stir in remaining ingredients. Spead in a greased square pan, 8 x 8 x 2”.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean after 25 to 30 minutes. Leave to cool. Cut into about 2 inch squares (makes 16 brownies), (but in order to make the round Santa hat brownies, we won’t be cutting them into squares! Instead, use a round cutter to cut out the desired shape of the brownies).

Next, we’ll need to make the icing. I quite like the idea of making a basic butter icing for this recipe, because it’s easy enough to do and won’t cost you much.
However, Daisy’s World suggested a Mascarpone Buttercream instead, and her recipe is as follows:

MASCARPONE BUTTERCREAM

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
2-1/2 to 3 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat butter and mascarpone cheese until light and creamy, about 2 minutes.  Add vanilla extract and salt.  Add 2-1/2 cups of sugar, half a cup at a time and continue beating until smooth.  Add more sugar, if needed to reach desired consistency and sweetness.

Lastly, to put together the Santa hats, you’ll just need to pipe a ring of ‘icing’ on the top of each brownie, cut the bases off the strawberries and place them flat on the brownies. Then to finish off the hats, dot a bit of icing on the tip of the strawberry.

Everyone will love these.

Banana and Chocolate Ice Cream

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I don’t think anyone could say no to this – unless you don’t eat bananas, chocolate or coconut. In which case, shame on you. This recipe needs very few ingredients, with the only slightly uncommon one being coconut milk, which can be easily bought from any supermarket.

BANANA AND CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM
Serves 4

1/3 cup (80 ml) cocoa powder
¼ cup (60 ml) boiling water
5 bananas, chopped and frozen
1 can (410 g) coconut milk

Optional topping –  125 ml shaved chocolate.

Mix cocoa powder and water until smooth. Place bananas and cocoa mixture into a blender and blend until smooth. Gradually add the coconut milk until the mixture reaches a soft-serve consistency. Freeze to set.

Source: Fresh Ideas, August 2011

Cape Malay Bobotie

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This is one of my favourite dishes, which my mother has been making for …  probably her entire life and I’m pretty sure that I’ll continue the tradition.

CAPE MALAY BOBOTIE

1 kg minced lamb or beef
1 thick slice white bread
250 ml milk
2 chopped onions
30 ml butter
30 ml mild curry powder
10 ml salt
Pinch of pepper
Juice of 1 lemon or 30ml vinegar
5 ml brown sugar or 15ml apricot jam
12 crushed almonds (optional)
2 eggs
6 orange, lemon or bayleaves

Soak the bread in 125ml of milk until very soft, then mash with a fork. Sauté the onion in heater butter until transparent. Add the curry powder and seasonings and fry for 2 minutes, then add the lemon juice or vinegar, soaked bread, brown sugar or apricot jam, almonds and minced meat. Cook until the meat begins to colour. Stir with a fork to remove all lumps. Transfer to a greased pie dish and smooth the top. Beat the eggs and the remaining milk and pour over the meat.

Arrange the orange, lemon or bayleaves on top and bake at 160 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes. Serve with rice, chutney, and sliced bananas.