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“Hearty” Fruit On A Stick

This recipe is quick and easy to make and will definitely put a smile on your Valentine’s face!  Use one type of fruit or a combination of different coloured fruits if you prefer. These fruit bites are great for lunch boxes too (see photo below).

green melon, cut into 1 cm slices
orange melon, cut into 1 cm slices
watermelon, cut into 1 cm slices
pineapple, cut into 1 cm slices
large strawberries, cut in half

To serve
Plain or flavoured yoghurt
shop-bought or home-made fruit coulis

  1. Use a heart-shaped cookie cutter that is about the size of a R5 coin and cut shapes out of the fruit.
  2. Use sosatie sticks, cake pop sticks or ice-cream sticks and thread the pieces of fruit uniformly and decoratively onto it.
  3. Serve as is or with yoghurt and fruit coulis.

WatermelonHearts-1

ValentinesLunchbox

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Home-made Muesli

Home-made muesli is special and can be served as is with hot or cold milk or yoghurt or add extra nuts or moist dried fruit such as chopped figs or apple rings just before serving.  Cooking time is shortened considerably if cooked in this way. See variations below to toast in the oven in large quantities.

100g/250ml quick cooking or rolled oats
50 ml digestive bran
50 ml desiccated coconut
50 ml wheat germ or additional digestive bran
50 ml wholewheat flour
25 ml sesame seeds
25 ml sunflower seeds
50 – 100 ml coarsely chopped flaked almonds / mixed nuts / pumpkin seeds
15 ml honey or syrup
30 ml brown sugar
2 ml vanilla essence
30 ml oil
50 ml boiling water
pinch salt
500 ml dried fruit e.g. raisins, sultanas, apple rings or mixed dried fruit (optional)

  1. Combine the dry ingredients. Mix together the honey, sugar, vanilla essence, oil, boiling water and salt and add to the dry ingredients. Blend with a fork .
  2. Spoon the mixture into a 220 to 280 mm pie plate and spread out evenly on the base of the pie plate.
  3. Microwave on HIGH for 5 minutes.
  4. Stir well to break up lumps and stir the muesli from the outside of the dish towards the center.
  5. Microwave 2 minutes more.
  6. Stir well and continue to microwave 1 minute at a time stirring in between until golden – the muesli will brown on standing.
  7. Stir while cooling to obtain a loose crumbly muesli and store in glass jars or airtight containers.

Makes ± 500 ml muesli.

Notes
To make a double batch of muesli (or more), line a large baking tray with a Wizbake baking sheet and spread out the mixture onto a baking tray.  Bake in the oven at 150°C for about 30 minutes. With a spatula, stir and turn the muesli over from time to time and move the browner bits away from the edges towards the center of the baking tray. Continue until all is golden and crisp.

homemade-muesli

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Breakfast “Trifle” 

These “trifles” consist of a few simple, healthy ingredients and are quick and easy to make.  It looks and tastes decadent without being too high in sugar.  A perfect breakfast for Valentine’s Day.

plain or flavoured yoghurt
shop-bought or home-made muesli
fresh or frozen berries, e.g. strawberry, blueberry, raspberry
shop-bought or home-made fruit coulis
honey or sprinkles (optional)

  1. To assemble the “trifles”, transfer a spoonful or two of yoghurt into each glass and cover with a little honey or fruit coulis followed by a  layer of muesli.  Repeat the layers until the glasses are full.
  2. Finish off the “trifles” with fruit or home-made fruit coulis and sprinkles.

Notes
Glasses with a cylindrical shape and a capacity of about 150 ml works well.

BreakfastTrifle

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Open-faced Omelet or Frittata

Frittata is an egg-based Italian dish similar to an omelette or crustless quiche, enriched with additional ingredients such as meats, cheeses, vegetables or pasta. The word frittata is Italian and roughly translates to “fried”, i.e. egg fried in a pan.  It was apparently Delia Smith who described a frittata as “Italy’s version of an open-face omelette” for the first time.  All you need is a few eggs and a small quantity of almost any raw or cooked, fresh or leftover ingredients from the refrigerator.

Frittata
6 large eggs
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
30 g butter
± 500 ml variable ingredients

Variable ingredients:
± 100 ml finely diced red pepper or mixed peppers
±  200 ml finely shredded young green cabbage
± 100 ml chopped mixed herbs
± 100 ml chopped spring onion or chives
± 125 ml cooked or smoked ham, cut into strips
± 125 ml smoked salmon or trout, cut into strips + capers, rinsed
± 125 ml Danish or Greek Feta or grated Cheddar cheese
100  to 200g Haloumi cheese, cut into strips or diced (optional)

To serve
Green salad (optional)

  1. Combine the eggs and herbs in a mixing bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat the butter in a shallow non-stick saucepan (± 25 cm in diameter).
  3. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and turn the heat down to its lowest setting.
  4. Cover the pan with a lid and cook gently for about 10 minutes or until set and lightly browned on the one side. The frittata should still be runny on top.
  5. Remove the lid and scatter the variable ingredients evenly over the surface.
  6. To complete the cooking on top, transfer the pan to the oven and place under the grill (not too close) and cook briefly to allow the egg to set. This will take 20 to 30 seconds. This can only be done if the handle of the pan is oven proof.
  7. Slip the frittata onto a warm serving platter.  Cut the frittata into wedges and serve as is for breakfast or with a green salad for a light meal.

3 generous or 6 moderate servings.

Frittata

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Fruit & Yoghurt Phyllo Stacks

Most decorative to serve for any special breakfast, as a health breakfast or even a dessert. The phyllo squares may be made days in advance and stored in airtight containers.

Fruit
Select fresh fruit or make combinations with fresh and canned fruit, e.g. strawberries, mixed berries kiwis, mangoes, litchis, pineapple, melon, spanspek, guavas, kiwi fruit, gooseberries, paw-paw or banana – as preferred or available. Wash, peel and cut into neat portions. The kind of yoghurt used depends on taste and the sweetness of the fruit used.

Yoghurt
± 500 ml plain or flavoured yoghurt or combined

Phyllo Squares
4 sheets phyllo pastry
± 50 g/50 ml melted butter
icing sugar
nuts and / or muesli

  1. Fold the sheets of phyllo pastry simultaneously in half, unfold and cut through the fold line. Place the 8 wide strips on top of each other, fold in half again and cut in the same way to obtain 16 strips. Stack the strips.Fold the strips simultaneously in half lengthways, unfold and cut in half on the fold line. Pile the shorter strips on top of each other and fold and cut once more to obtain 64 squares. Stack the squares and cover with a cloth or seal in an airtight container.
  2. Line a large baking tray with a . Place as many of the squares as will fit comfortably, onto the baking tray. Brush lightly with melted butter, cover each square with a second square and brush again. Make double-layered squares or if preferred multi-layered squares and separate into double layers after baking.
  3. Bake at 180°C for 4 to 5 minutes or until the squares are pale golden and crisp. Take care not to over bake – if baked until brown the taste and appearance will be impaired.
  4. Cool, pack carefully into airtight containers and store until required or up to a month.
  5. To assemble the stacks, place one double-layered square of phyllo pastry onto a serving plate, add a spoonful of yoghurt and arrange some fruit on top. Cover the fruit with a second double-layered phyllo square and repeat, ending with a third double layered phyllo square. Dust with icing sugar and finish with fruit and nuts or muesli.

Four sheets of phyllo pastry will make 32 double layered squares sufficient for at least 10 stacks.

Recipe by Carolié de Koster from the Art Of Cooking recipe book – p. 795.

Fruit Yoghurt and phyilo stack

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Emerald Fruit Salad

A fruit mixture in shades of green! Green fleshed or green skinned fruits are used – to achieve the desired results, make when the ingredients are in season.

1 small green melon, finely diced or made into balls with a melonballer
500 ml seedless or seeded green grapes, halved
3 to 4 firm but ripe kiwi fruit, peeled, sliced and halved or 6 to 8 litchi’s, peeled and stoned
clear fruit juice such as apple or grape
3 green skinned apples, finely diced
mint leaves (optional to garnish)

  1. Place the melon, grapes and kiwi fruit into a bowl and pour the wine or fruit juice over the apples as soon as they are diced.
  2. Combine all the ingredients, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour or for several hours  if time allows to allow the flavours to blend.
  3. Spoon into a decorative glass bowl and garnish mint leaves. Or, spoon into stemmed glasses or bowls to serve as individual servings.

8 to 10 servings.

Note
The fruit juice may be replaced by white wine and sugar added to taste. Serve with whipped cream or sweetened Mascarpone cheese.

Recipe by Carolié de Koster from the Art Of Cooking recipe book p. 516.

Emerald fruit salad

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French Toast

French toast is the champion of brunch. Nothing says “weekend” like tucking into crispy triangles of bread dripping with syrup or honey.  In France, French toast is referred to as “pain perdu”. It is referred to as “lost bread” because it is a way to reclaim stale or otherwise “lost” bread. The hard bread is softened by dipping it in a mixture of milk and eggs, and then pan-fried in butter.  It is served with a dusting of icing sugar and jam or syrup.  It is also known as eggy bread, gypsy toast or omelette bread.  In France, pain perdu is served as a dessert, a breakfast or an afternoon tea snack.

See my post “New Foodie Movie:  French Toast” for info on this South African movie that will be released on 24 April 2015.  If you haven’t been to Paris, France, it will feel as if you’ve been after you have seen it through Lise’s eyes!

Be sure to also try Carolié’s recipe for Baked Apple French Toast.

6 large eggs
375 ml milk
2.5 ml vanilla extract
6 slices day old bread, sliced 1 cm thick (sourdough or Brioche works well)
15 g butter (for frying)

To serve
syrup to drizzle
icing sugar to dust
fresh seasonal fruit, e.g. blueberries or raspberries

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 120°C.
  2. Beat together the eggs, milk and vanilla essence in a mixing bowl.  Set it aside.
  3. Place the bread in a shallow baking dish large enough to hold the bread in a single layer.
  4. Pour the egg mixture over the bread and soak for 5 to 10 minutes.  The soaking time will be determined by die denseness of the bread – the denser the bread, the longer it needs to soak!
  5. Turn the slices over and soak for about 10 minutes more.
  6. Heat the butter in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat.
  7. Fry a few of the bread slices at a time in the pan until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
  8. Transfer the french toast to a serving dish and keep warm while cooking the remaining slices of bread.
  9. Keep the french toast warm in oven until ready to serve.
  10. Serve warm with syrup, a dusting of icing sugar and fresh fruit.

6 servings.

FrenchToast

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Coconut Flour Crumpets

Coconut flour is a soft flour produced from dried coconut meat.  It is grain-free, gluten-free and nut free which means those with Celiac or gluten intolerance can enjoy it too. Coconut flour also has many health benefits you won’t find in wheat flour products.  It is:

  • High in fibre – nearly twice the amount of fibre found in wheat bran. Great for improving digestion, reducing the amount of sugar your body absorbs and lowering cholesterol.
  • High in protein – it is higher in protein and essential amino acids than rye or cornmeal flour.
  • Low in carbohydrates – the low-carb alternative to ordinary flours.
  • It has a low glycaemic index.
  • Suitable for diabetics.

 See my post Nuts About Coconuts for more info on coconut products.

Batter
25 g butter or coconut oil, melted
250 ml coconut or almond flour
2 large eggs, beaten
60 ml sparkling water, coconut, coconut milk or milk
30 ml mascarpone or creamed cottage cheese
1 ml salt

To serve
honey
plain or flavoured yoghurt
fresh fruit

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and set it aside.
  2. Heat the butter in a heavy-based saucepan, electric frying pan or griddle to moderately hot.
  3. Drop spoonfuls of the batter, well apart to allow for spreading, onto the hot surface.
  4. Cook the crumpets over moderate heat until bubbles appear on the surface.
  5. Turn over with a lifter and cook until golden brown on both sides.
  6. Place onto a cooling rack and cover with a cloth to prevent the crumpets from drying out.
  7. Serve with honey, yoghurt and/or fresh fruit.

AlmondFlourFlapjacks

 

 

 

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Crumpets

The South African crumpet is a small to medium round crumpet made with a quick batter mixture cooked in a pan or on a griddle. They are mostly served as a teatime treat with butter, jam or syrup and cream. The same batter recipe may be used to make small crumpets or large flapjacks. Smaller thinner crumpets should be made with a slightly thinner batter than larger thicker crumpets. Adjust the liquid to create the desired product.

Basic Crumpets

50 g butter, melted
500 ml cake flour
50 ml sugar if served with sweet toppings or 30 ml sugar if served with savoury toppings
15 ml baking powder
pinch salt
2 large eggs
375 ml milk
a little extra milk to adjust the consistency

  1. Melt the butter or margarine in the microwave on Medium or on top of the stove without making it too hot. Place the dry ingredients in a bowl, stir to combine and make a well in the centre.
  2. Beat together the eggs and milk and add to the dry ingredients.
  3. Mix with a whisk to form a smooth batter. Do not over mix.
  4. Mix in the melted butter or margarine. Allow the batter to stand at least 5 minutes.
  5. Heat a heavy-based saucepan, electric frying pan or griddle to moderately hot.
  6. Use a round gravy spoon with 30 – 50 ml capacity and drop spoonfuls of the batter, well apart to allow for spreading, onto the hot surface.
  7. Adjust the consistency of the batter by adding a little extra milk if the crumpets are too thick.
  8. Cook the crumpets over moderate heat until bubbles appear on the surface and start to break.
  9. Turn over with a spatula and cook until golden brown on both sides.
  10. Place onto a cooling rack and cover with a cloth to prevent the crumpets from drying out.
  11. Serve with sweet or savoury toppings as preferred.

Makes about 24 crumpets depending on size.

Tip
Serve crumpets soon after cooking or store in an airtight container up to 2 days.

Banana pancakes with maple syrup
Place a few slices of banana onto the partly cooked batter. Serve the completed crumpets with syrup and grilled bacon.

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Luxurious Scones

The cream and buttermilk combination is responsible for the delicate, moist texture, rich flavour and excellent keeping quality while the method used minimises the mixing time. This scone recipe was invented by Marianne Palmer of the Cranemere Farm in the Karoo.

420 g/750 ml cake flour
25 ml baking powder
2,5 ml salt
15 ml sugar
2 large eggs
250 ml cream
250 ml buttermilk
water to dilute glaze

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C and grease a medium sized baking tray with margarine.
  2. Place the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a mixing bowl and stir thoroughly until evenly blended. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients.
  3. Beat together the eggs, cream and buttermilk and reserve 30 ml for glazing.
  4. Pour the egg mixture into the well in the dry ingredients and stir with a fork until the dough holds together.
  5. Turn out the soft, sticky dough onto a well-floured surface and knead lightly with floured hands, no longer than 2 minutes.
  6. Add a little more flour if necessary to form a very soft pliable yet smooth dough.
  7. Roll out the dough on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin to a thickness of about 25 mm and cut out neat rounds with a scone cutter, between 50 – 80 mm in diameter.
  8. Place the scones slightly apart onto the greased baking tray.
  9. Dilute the reserved egg mixture with a little water and brush over the scones to glaze.
  10. Bake the scones 10 – 15 minutes depending on size until well-risen and golden.
  11. Break open one scone to determine doneness. Lift onto a cooling rack and serve while still slightly warm or allow to cool.

15 to 20 scones depending on size.

VARIATIONS WITH SCONE DOUGH

The same variations will apply to any scone dough unless otherwise specified.

WHOLEWHEAT SCONES
Substitute 1/3 – 2/3 of the cake flour with whole wheat flour and continue as explained for each recipe.

CHEESE SCONES
Add 125 ml finely grated, well-flavoured cheese, 5 ml mustard powder, a grinding of black pepper or a good pinch of cayenne pepper to the dry ingredients after rubbing in the butter or margarine.  Dust the glazed scones lightly with red sprinkle mix (1/3 cayenne pepper + 2/3 paprika) or garlic and herb seasoning.

HERBED SCONES
Add 20 ml mixed fresh herbs or 5 ml mixed dried herbs and 20 ml each of freshly chopped parsley and green ends of spring onion to the dry ingredients.

DILL SCONES
Substitute 30 ml chopped fresh dill for the herbs above.  Delicious with soup such as potato soup or tomato soup.

SAVOURY SCONES
Add 500 ml finely grated well-flavoured cheese, 50 ml chopped cooked bacon or ham, 10 ml mustard powder, 30 ml finely chopped onion and 15 ml freshly chopped parsley to the dry ingredients.  Increase the liquid slightly if necessary to create a soft scone dough.  Dust the glazed scones lightly with red sprinkle mix (1/3 cayenne pepper + 2/3 paprika) or garlic and herb seasoning.

FRUIT SCONES
Add 125 – 250 ml sultanas, raisins or other dried fruit to the dry ingredients after rubbing in the butter or margarine.

Recipe by Carolié de Koster from the Art Of Cooking Recipe Book p. 669.

scones-with-jam-and-cream-6705_l

 

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Quick Savoury Mince Sauce Or Filling

A most delicious and savoury mince to use as a filling for vetkoek or pancakes or a topping for pasta.

500 g lean beef mince
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed (optional)
50 ml cake flour
7.5  ml beef stock powder *
300 ml water
30 ml tomato sauce
15 ml chutney
5 ml Worcestershire sauce
2.5 ml mixed dried herbs
2.5 ml barbecue spice or steak and chop seasoning
salt and ground black pepper
15 ml chopped parsley

  1. Place the meat, onion and garlic into a saucepan and stir-fry over moderate heat until the meat is loose and crumbly and lightly browned.
  2. Add the flour and stock powder and stir-fry 2 – 3 minutes more.
  3. Add the water, tomato sauce, chutney, Worcestershire sauce, herbs and barbecue spice and bring to boil, stirring until evenly combined.
  4. Reduce the heat and simmer partly covered or covered with a special perforated lid for about 20 minutes or until the sauce has thickened and the meat is tender.
  5. Adjust seasoning and serve as a filling for “vetkoek”, jaffles or pancakes.

8 to 10 servings

* The flour and beef stock powder can be substituted with 50 ml Instant Brown Gray Powder Mix.

Brown Gravy Powder Mix
The gravy powder mix is a successful shortcut to produce a shiny and thick brown gravy with a lovely flavour. It may be used on it’s own or to moisten and enrich stews or meat dishes. To adjust the consistency, use more or less sauce powder than recommended below.

1 x 500 g self-raising flour
2 x 250 g brown gravy powder (Bisto)
1 x 40 g packet cream of mushroom soup powder
1 x 40 g packet cream of tomato soup powder
1 x 40 g packet brown onion soup powder
1 x 40 g packet white onion soup powder

  1. Place the ingredients in a large bowl and mix very well until all is evenly combined.
  2. Spoon into screw top jars and store airtight for several months if necessary.
  3. To make a flavourful brown gravy in an instant, blend 30 ml gravy powder mix with 250 ml water.
  4. Add to a saucepan, bring to boil, stirring and simmering 3 minutes.
  5. Alternatively, mix the gravy powder mix and water in a jug suitable to microwave and cook on HIGH for 1 minute.
  6. Beat well and microwave on MEDIUM until the sauce thickens and starts to bubble. Beat well.