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Tamarillo Cheesecake

Finding out how to utilise tamarillos when in season is worth doing!  Tamarillo, also known as tree tomatoes, can grow to about two meters tall with clusters of fruit that slowly ripen to a deep red. The taste can be described as “unusual and interesting – even as “an acquired taste”.  See the image below.  The unique tropical flavour which reminds of a mix between passion fruit and guava and a hint of other fruits, turns a cheesecake into a sublime dessert or tea time treat. Continue reading Tamarillo Cheesecake

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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 Fruit Coulis

Coulis is the French word for “strained liquid” and refers to a thick sauce made from puréed and strained vegetables or fruits. Coulis can be sweet or savory, depending on what it is meant to accompany. The base of coulis is a fruit or vegetable. Fruits are generally used uncooked, while vegetables may be roasted, blackened, or simmered so that they soften. The base is pureed so that it is creamy and smooth, and then it is usually seasoned. After seasoning, the coulis may be strained to remove things like seeds or chunks of skin. The sauce may be artfully drizzled on a plate, or pooled next to the food. When fresh fruits are abundant, turn them into sauces.  Do not add too much sugar or water at the onset of cooking.  Add sugar at the end as necessary for the type and acidity of the fruit used.  The moisture in the fruit will create a sauce when cooked.  Wash and prepare the fruit as is appropriate and cut up before making the sauce.

500 g fresh, prepared fruit, e.g. strawberries, blueberries, mulberries, raspberries, etc.
10 ml cornflour
50 ml  water
a few drops of lemon juice, sherry or liqueur as preferred.
50 to 125 ml sugar (adjust after tasting)

  1. Place the fruit, cornflour, water and preferred flavouring into a saucepan and bring to boil while stirring. Simmer until tender and add sugar to taste.
  2. Serve the sauce chunky as is or turn into a smooth or ultra smooth sauce by blending the sauce in a food processor until smooth. The sauce can also be strained through a sieve.
  3. Cool quickly and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.  The sauce freezes very well.

Makes ± 500 ml sauce.

RaspberryCoulis

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Fruit & Veg Chicken Sosaties

These colourful sosaties can be prepared in advance and can be served as a starter or main course at a braai.

1 kg chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
2 large red sweet pepper, cut into chunks
2 large onions, cut into wedges
1 x 800 g tin pineapple chunks, drained and juice reserved

Marinade
125 ml reserved pineapple juice
60 ml soy sauce
50 ml honey
60 ml vinegar
10 ml sesame oil
2.5 ml ground  ginger
60 ml olive oil

Grilling Sauce
60 ml reserved pineapple juice
30 ml honey
15 ml olive oil
5 ml soy sauce

  1. Combine the ingredients for the marinade in a mixing bowl and set it aside.
  2. Cut each chicken breast into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Transfer the chicken pieces to the bowl with the marinade, cover and refrigerate for 4 to 8 hours.
  4. Combine the ingredients for the grilling sauce in a small saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat.
  5. Once it starts to boil, turn the heat down and simmer for 4 to 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  6. Soak the sosatie sticks for at least 30 minutes before using. Or use metal skewers instead.
  7. Cut the sweet pepper into bite-sized chunks and the onion into wedges.
  8. Thread the ingredients onto 6 or 8 sosatie sticks, leaving about 4 cm at the blunt end of the sosatie stick to make holding easy.
  9. Transfer the sosaties to a airtight container and brush each sosatie with the grilling sauce.
  10. Heat the grill to medium-high heat.
  11. Lightly oil the grill grates and place the sosaties on the grill.
  12. Cook over medium-high heat, turning and brushing with pineapple grilling sauce often, for 12 to 15 minutes, until chicken is fully cooked.

Serves 6 to 8 people.
Pineapple&CHickenSosaties

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Grilled Pineapple With Coconut Sugar

Pineapple grilled on a braai is one of my all-time favourite desserts.  Using coconut sugar gives it an extra tropical taste.  Coconut sugar, also know as coconut palm sugar, tastes like caramel flavoured sugar, not like coconut!  It is produced from the sap of cut flower buds of the coconut palm.  The Glycemic Index of coconut sugar is 35 and is therefore considered to be healthier than refined white sugar  that has a GI of 60 and brown sugar that has a GI of 64.  It can be used as a 1:1 sugar substitute for coffee, tea, baking and cooking.  Coconut sugar has a high mineral content, being a rich source of potassium, magnesium, zinc and iron.  It also contains Vit B1, B2, B3 and B6.
1 or 2 fresh pineapples, trimmed, cored and cut into wedges
30 ml coconut sugar or regular brown sugar (see notes below)
2. 5 ml ground cinnamon
a few drops water
  1. Preheat your braai to a medium-high heat.
  2. Combine the sugar, cinnamon and a few drops water in a mixing bowl and brush it onto the pineapple pieces.
  3. When you are ready to braai the pineapple, lightly oil the surface of the grill.
  4. Braai the pineapple for approximately 15 minutes, searing all sides.
  5. Serve on it’s own, or with cream or ice cream.

Variation

Substitute the pineapple for peaches that has been pitted and halved for an equally delicious dessert (see photo below).

Frilled-pineapple

Grilled-peaches

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Baked Figs With Honey And Cinnamon

Be sure to double this recipe so that there is leftover to have as breakfast with toasted almonds and thick greek yoghurt!  Be sure to read my post “In season: Figs” for the health benefits and good accompaniments for figs.

12 ripe figs
60 ml brandy or rum
60 ml honey
10 ml ground cinnamon

To serve
250 g Mascarpone cheese or Crème fraîche or vanilla ice-cream.

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 ° C .
  2. Cut the figs in half and pack them close together in a shallow ovenproof dish.
  3. Drizzle with the honey and brandy or rum and sprinkle each fig with a generous pinch of cinnamon.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes, or until softened.
  5. Check the figs after 10 minutes, as they may differ in ripeness slightly and require different cooking times.
  6. Serve warm or at room temperature with Mascarpone cheese, Crème fraîche or vanilla ice-cream.

4 servings

Variation
Omit the brandy or rum and honey and replace with Grand Marnier (orange-flavored liqueur)

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Fig Coulis

This unusual fruit sauce can be served as an accompaniment to a variety of meats or combined with a light olive oil to make a salad dressing.  Be sure to read my post In season: Figs for the health benefits and good accompaniments for figs.

250 g fresh figs, chopped
80 ml white sugar
80 ml boiling water
l5 lemon juice

  1. Combine ingredients in a medium saucepan and cook until the desired consistency.
  2. Serve with pork, chicken, duck, or turkey.

Also see the recipe for Home-made Fruit Coulis.

Fresh Fig Coulis

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Rustic Fig Pie

This recipe is a real crowd pleaser and will have the compliments rolling in!  Be sure to read my post “In season: Figs” for the health benefits and good accompaniments for figs.

Filling
45 g butter
50 ml light brown sugar
16 figs
50 ml light brown sugar

Pastry
400 g shop-bought shortcrust pastry, thawed
30 ml light brown sugar
1 large egg, beaten lightly

To serve
Mascarpone cheese, Crème fraîche or vanilla ice-cream.

  1. Start with the filling. Remove the stems from figs and slice 0.5 cm thick.
  2. Heat the butter in a large saucepan and add 50 ml of the sugar. Cook over a medium-low heat while stirring. Add the figs and heat through.  Set aside.
  3. Take the pastry from the packaging and unroll it carefully on a Wizbake baking sheet sprinkled with a little flour.
  4. Use a rolling pin and roll the pastry out to an even thickness.
  5. Take a dinner plate and invert it onto the pastry.
  6. Use a table knife and cut around the plate to get a circle of pastry.
  7. Place the leftover pastry in a ziplock back and freeze or cut shapes out with a cookie cutter and bake with the pie.
  8. Pre-heat the oven to 180 ° C .
  9. Transfer the Wizbake sheet to a baking tray and arrange the fig slices on the pastry, leaving a 2 cm border around the edge of the pastry.
  10. Sprinkle the remaining sugar over the fruit.
  11. Crimp the edges of the pastry up and over the filling, creating a border.
  12. Brush the crust with the beaten egg and sprinkle with the sugar.
  13. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
  14. Serve warm or at room temperature with Mascarpone cheese, Crème fraîche or vanilla ice-cream.

6 to 8 servings

Adapted from a recipe by Giada De Laurentiis.

Rustic Fig & Apple Pie

Photo by Giada De Laurentiis

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Gorgonzola Stuffed Figs Wrapped in Prosciutto Crudo

This is one of my all-time favourite ways to eat figs. And it is so quick and easy to do!  Be sure to read my post “In season: Figs” for the health benefits and good accompaniments for figs.

8 firm figs, cleaned and stems removed
120 g Gorgonzola or other blue cheese, divided into 8 equal portions
100 g thinly sliced Prosciutto, divided into 8 or 16 strips
50 g flaked almonds, toasted
45 ml honey

  1. Place the oven rack about 10 cm away from the top element and pre-heat the grill.
  2. Toast the almonds in a single layer in a medium saucepan until light golden. Be careful not to burn them!
  3. Grease an ovenproof dish big enough to take the figs in a single layer.
  4. Use a sharp knife and score the tops of each fig with an “X”, about 2 cm deep.
  5. Stuff each fig with a small chunk of the cheese.
  6. Neatly wrap each fig with a piece of prosciutto.
  7. Place the dressed figs onto the ovenproof dish and grill for about 3 to 5 minutes, just until the cheese begins to melt and the prosciutto starts to crisp up.
  8. Remove the figs from the oven and allow to cool, about 5 minutes.
  9. Drizzle honey over the figs and finish with a sprinkle of almonds.

Variation
You can use Parma ham or Serrano ham instead of the Prosciutto.

Stuffed Figs