Notsoskinny’s favourite baked cheesecake with fruit topping

I can hardly believe that the holidays have come and gone already and that the rat race have started again for most of us.  It feels like the few weeks of just having to do sheer nothing, sleeping late and spending time with family and friends have sped by way too fast.  Luckily the memories of good times remain as well as the last summer days to be enjoyed here in South Africa.  I have made this cheesecake a few times during the holidays for friends and family, who came to visit and it seems that it was the highlight at every meal, extracting a bunch of oohs and aahs from everyone  at our table.

Baked Cheesecake

Serving this on a hot summer’s afternoon, having set table, in the shade under the huge White Stinkhout tree in our garden this made for the perfect summer dessert when served with Chantilly cream.  It really is a great way to celebrate all of the abundance the season has to offer when adding your favourite summer This is a fairly easy recipe considering that everything except for the crust’s ingredients are just thrown in the same mixing bowl and whisked together. Due to  the fact that this recipe calls only for two tubs of cream cheese and  Greek yoghurt it has a very light and fluffy texture and doesn’t land with a thunk- sound on your plate, nor does it stick to the roof of your mouth like some other cheesecakes.

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This is quite easy to make as I just mix most of the ingredients together with the exception of the cookies for the crust. Not too much of a fuss for something as delicious and rewarding. I added ginger biscuits to the crust for a little bit of extra flavour. Also don’t be shy with the vanilla. I added two teaspoons.

baked cheesecake

Recipe:

Ingredients:

  1. 1 packet of ginger biscuits ( about 230g)
  2. 75 g butter
  3. 2 tubs cream cheese
  4. 1 tbsp corn flower
  5. 10 ml vanilla essence
  6. 3 organic eggs
  7. 150 g caster sugar
  8. 225ml Double Greek Yoghurt
  9. Fresh fruit, cut, for topping

Method:

  • Preheat your oven to 160°C
  • Place ginger biscuits into food processor and process until only crumbs remain.
  • Melt butter and mix in with the crumbs
  • Use a 22cm buttered spring-form pan and press the crumb mixture into an even layer on the bottom place into the refrigerator to cool down in the mean time.
  • In a mixing bowl mix together the cheese, corn flower, vanilla essence, eggs, caster sugar and yoghurt until smooth
  • Pour into the pan and bake for one hour.
  • Switch of the oven and let it cool very slowly.
  • Chill until required.
  • Place on beautiful serving dish and top with lots of fresh fruit.

Hummingbird Cake with Goat’s and Cream Cheese Frosting

I have been drooling over photos of Hummingbird Cakes, in recipe books and Pinterest for quite some time now.  The thought of some of my favourite foods (pineapple, banana, pecan nuts, cinnamon and cream cheese frosting) all being combined into one beautiful cake has left me fantasizing about it at two in the morning. I got all my ingredients together yesterday and made this delicious, summery cake for tea this afternoon. So to all my friends who has been nagging me to start blogging again: please feel free to drop in and help finish this to prevent too much damage to my thighs and butt.

Hummingbird Cake

I found a recipe in this month’s TUIS magazine and adapted it to work with the ingredients that I had in the house. I ended with a cake that is full of flavour, moist and not too much of a fuss to create.   The aroma of this cake drew my family out from all corners of the house, demanding to know what I was baking.   I topped it with a lime cream cheese frosting and added some Chevin Goat’s cheese for extra tangyness and because I wanted to get rid of it before the use-by-date  :-)  You can omit this if you want to, I am sure the frosting will be just as tasty.

Hummingbird Cake

The original recipe called for the batter to be baked in three 20 cm pans, but as I do not own three of them, I settled for two, 22 cm pans and baked the layers 15 minutes longer. Do feel free to create a tall three layer cake should you feel the urge.

Hummingbird Cake

Please note that you would probably feel the desire to have more than one slice of this.  Do not ignore!  It will not just go away!  Enjoy with a good cuppa Joe or your favourite tea.

Hummingbird Cake:

Prep time: 3/4 hour

Baking time: 1 hour

Total:  1 Hour 45 min

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 2 t vanilla essence
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 T Baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • 4 medium-sized bananas mashed
  • 1  430g  can pineapple, don’t discard the syrup
  • 1 cup pecan nuts roughly chopped

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 4 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 1 tub cream cheese
  • 100g Chevin goat’s cheese
  • 10ml vanilla essence
  • 1 T lime juice

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180° c
  2. Line two 22cm cake tins with baking paper
  3. Beat the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy and until the sugar has dissolved.
  4. Add oil and vanilla and mix in.
  5. Sieve the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and fold into wet mixture.
  6. Add bananas, pineapple with syrup, and pecans and mix in lightly.
  7. Pour into prepared pans and bake for 1 hour, do a skewer test.  If the skewer does not come out clean bake for a few minutes more.
  8. Remove from oven and let it cool.

Make the Cream Cheese Frosting:

  1. Add all ingredients to mixer and mix well.  Do not over mix!
  2. Spread the mixture between the cake layers and decorate the cake with the remaining mixture.  I added some chopped pecans to the top layer.

Hummingbird Cake

Apricot and vanilla jam

Apricot Jam

Apricot Jam

I found some apricots at our Food Lover’s market yesterday and bought two boxes.  One of the boxes are reserved for my children’s fibre and vitamin intake, the other I decided to transform into Apricot Jam to capture a bit of Summer for when the season turns again.  I added some vanilla just for fun and a little bit of (like one of our local heroines from our local TV soap-drama would say) Je ne sais quoi.  I don’t speak French but I have gathered that it must be something good…

 Apricot and Vanilla Jam

Apricot and Vanilla Jam

I was  intimidated for a long time by the thought of bottling and preserving and have had my fair share of overcooked, very sticky preserves until a friend of mine showed me what the exact consistency of preserves  should be before bottling  (Thank you Mariana!).  I have to say I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it is not necessary to cook the fruit for hours without end.  Stick to the recommended half an hour and you will end up with a beautiful clear jam with just the right consistency and a pretty sunshiny orange colour.  Do a quick test by cooling a small plate in your fridge, drop a teaspoon of the jam on the plate and let it cool for 2-3 minutes.  When you push your finger in the preserve it must make little ripples, then it is ready to bottle.  (But mostly stick to the time limit of 30 minutes).  Oh yes, and do remember to sterilize your jars, you don’t want a jam explosion in your pantry cupboard or even worse end up with food-poisoning in hospital. :-)

 Apricot and Vanilla Jam

Apricot and Vanilla Jam

So if you currently have an oversupply of apricots gather your empty bottles and cook some preserve.  I filled about ten small jam jars and will be giving some of them out to fiends and family that pass through my house this festive season!  So HO-HO-HO!

Ingredients:

  • 2 kg of apricots
  • 2 kg of sugar
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 vanilla pod (seeds scraped out)
  • 2 t of vanilla extract
Method:
  1. Place apricots, sugar, water, vanilla-seeds, vanilla-pod and the vanilla essence all in a big pot.
  2. Heat all together gently on a medium heat and stir continuously to dissolve the sugar and bring to a boil. (Brace yourself, as this can be time-consuming)
  3. Start timing half an hour, the moment the mixture comes to a boil.
  4. Scoop the foam of the the surface throughout the whole cooking process.  Don’t be alarmed if some of the liquid is scooped out as well.
  5. After the 30 minutes have lapsed, do a ripple test (See above)
  6. Place the jam into sterilized jars (Google if you are not sure!) seal and turn jars upside down until cool.
Apricot and Vanilla Jam

Apricot and Vanilla Jam

Beautiful Blogger Award reality blog award

Oh yes, and last but not least, I want to say many thanks to Loving Home Made as well as Lovely Buns  for nominating me for the Beautiful Blogger- and the Reality Award.  If you have not run across their blogs yet, go and have a peek.  They are cooking!

Biscotti: a quick treat for afternoon tea and good Christmas gift idea

Coffee Biscotti

Coffee Biscotti

I made this Coffee Biscotti yesterday afternoon because I was feeling grumpy.  Yes, you heard me, I bake for therapy! There are not many things, that relax me as much as the sound of my Kenwood  Chef mixing and the smell of freshly baked goods that fill my kitchen.  I instantly start to breathe slower and feel better while I am mixing one or another treat.

This Coffee Biscotti is really fast to put together and really tasty.  It is truly one of those recipes that I am very sure cannot flop even if you want  it to.  I substituted a few things to work with what I had in the house.  Feel free to make it your own…

Coffee Biscotti

Coffee Biscotti

I am seriously contemplating to whip up a batch or two of this for Christmas and to give them away as a small gift.  I have truly found that friends really appreciate something that has been lovingly made by yourself.  So if you are looking for something that will take less than an hour to make and that will not cost you an arm and a leg, try this Biscotti recipe.

Coffee Biscotti

Coffee Biscotti

This will take you about fifteen minutes to prepare and a further hour to finish baking.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of cake flour
  • 2 Tbsps granulated coffee
  • 1t cinnamon ( I substituted this wit a Chai Spice mix that I buy from our local farm market)
  • 1/2 t bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 baking powder
  • 1 t freshly ground pink himalayan salt
  • 1 cup soft dark brown sugar
  • 3 large free range eggs
  • 70 g whole pecan nuts (I roasted mine but that’s optional)
  • 30 g slivered almonds (also toasted)

Note: feel free to substitute with your favourite nuts or whatever you have available.

Method:
  1. Preheat your oven to 180° C
  2. Mix the flour, coffee, cinnamon, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt together in a mixing bowl.
  3. Whisk the eggs until light and add to the flour mixture to create a dough.
  4. Add the nuts and bring together in a ball.  Don’t be alarmed if it seems sticky.
  5. Halve the dough and bake two rolls on a baking sheet.  Press down to make it slightly flat.
  6. Bake for 45 minutes and let it cool down before slicing into 2 cm slices.
  7. Place flat on a baking sheet and bake for another 10 minutes before turning over and baking on the other side for another 10 minutes.
  8. Drizzle with white chocolate if you wish.

Enjoy at tea time with a cup of your favourite tea..

Fritata for a lazy summer brunch….

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I have recently discovered that Fritata is a great way to use up all that left overs that tend to sit in your refrigerator.  I had my in-laws over for dinner a few nights ago and made some pork fillet for them.  Although everyone enjoyed it thoroughly some of it ended up in the fridge.  So yesterday morning we slept in and when we finally got up, I was in the mood for a lazy Sunday morning  brunch. Without too much ado I whipped up this Fritata for us.  The sweet corn bread was also made for the dinner and went well  the second time around with the Fritata’s savouriness.

Fritata and Corn Bread

Fritata and Corn Bread

I sort off just went through the fridge to see what was available and just worked from there.  The great thing about Fritata is that nothing is set in stone and anything you like goes (well…. that’s in my opinion)

Fritata and Corn Bread

Fritata and Corn Bread

This golden lovely will be on the table within 20 minutes and will provide enough for at least 6 portions.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 small onion(chopped)
  • 1 clove of garlic (minced)
  • 1 small yellow sweet pepper cut into Julienne strips
  • 1 cup of left over meat (I used pork fillet)
  • 1 small potato(boiled and peeled)
  • 1 cup of cherry tomatoes
  • 6-7 eggs
  • 50 ml of fresh milk
  • a big fist full of parsley (chopped)
  • 1t Italian dried herbs
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper to season.

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 °.
  2. Heat the oil and fry the onion, garlic and yellow pepper until soft and translucent in a large frying pan.
  3. Add the potato and cherry tomatoes and fry for 2 minutes.
  4. Whisk the eggs and milk and add the parsley, herbs, salt and pepper.
  5. Add the egg mixture to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes until most of the egg has set in the pan.
  6. Place the pan in the preheated oven for at least another 5 minutes.  Remove when all of the egg has been cooked.
  7. Serve with your favourite bread or toast.
Fritata

Fritata

What to do when you are playing hookey from school? Sugar Biscuits of course!

Sugar biscuits

Sugar biscuits

The  academic year for our children ended on the 30th of November.  It is therefore optional to attend, until school closes on Friday for our Summer holidays.  There is something very sneaky- feeling about not having to attend to school, even if it is still legal, and with the blessing of your teacher, while some of the other learners are still going (Us, Afrikaners have  a saying: “Shame nê” – which literally means I feel sorry for you).  We have been trying to catch-up with play dates these past few days of playing hookey, resulting in going to a movie and having some of the childrens’ friends over.

This morning we decided to make some  sugar cookies for the holidays and to decorate them.  I had three lovely little helpers and this is what they did on this fine sunny SA-day!

Sugar biscuits

Sugar biscuits

I was really amazed with the amount of creativity each one of them came up with.  Watching them create each little art work, made me reach for my camera.


  
 The result was colourful and very festive as you can see for yourself…

  
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 I placed out a few bowls of glaze icing, sprinkles and other ready-bought-decorations on our patio table, not too much ado….  Just a little mixture of icing sugar and water with gel-colorant.

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Yes, tasting was done and yes, this little one ended up on a sugar- high 


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Luckily, this Mom saved some cookies that she wants to try and decorate with proper Royal Icing tomorrow… although I feel a little intimidated by all the talent that surrounds me apparently…..

Apple Cake with Earl Grey Apples

I don’t know exactly how it happened but somehow I ended up with three bags of apples in my refrigerator.  Luckily I have children that love apples and eat them as a staple.  Now who am I to complain if they want to keep the doctor away?

Although I also like nibbling on these crunchy lovelies, woman can’t live of fruit alone… That is why I was quite exited when I stumbled onto this recipe in an old Ideas Magazine’s little extra booklet.  This  is definitely one of my favourites I have ever made and I am therefore dying to show it off to all of you!

Apple cake with Earl Grey apples

Apple cake with Earl Grey apples

The cake is beautifully moist with little pieces of apple every here and there and  of-course the must-have cinnamon adds a lovely homely feel to it.  The cherry on …. or rather the apple on the cake, and show-stopper, is definitely the delicate, citrussy, Earl -Grey-Apples.  Trust me this is heaven on a plate!

Apple cake with Earl Grey apples

Apple cake with Earl Grey apples

Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of soft butter
  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • 3 extra large eggs
  • 10 ml grated lemon zest
  • 1t vanilla essence
  • 1 cup natural low-fat yoghurt
  • one Granny Smith apple peeled and diced
  • 260 g cake flour
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 t bicarbonate of soda
  • 5 ml baking powder
  • pinch of salt

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 170° c
  2. Grease and line a 20 cm round cake tin.
  3. Beat the butter and sugar until light   and fluffy
  4. Add the lemon zest and vanilla
  5. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until mixture is light and fluffy
  6. Add the yoghurt and beat very slowly to mix in
  7. Stir in the apple
  8. Sift together all dry ingredients and fold into the butter mixture.
  9. Spoon into cake tin and bake for 50 minutes or until skewer inserted comes out clean
  10. Cool down and decorate with glace icing and Earl Grey apples

Glace Icing:

  • 1 cup of icing sugar
  • a little water
  • zest of the rest of the lemon
  1. Just add enough water to get a runny consistency and pour over the cake.
  2. Top with lemon zest

Earl Grey Apples:

  • 1 1/2 cup of water
  • 4 Earl Grey teabags
  • 250 ml castor sugar
  • 2 Pink Lady apples
  1. Bring water to a simmer together with the teabags for  5 minutes.
  2. Remove tea bags
  3. Add sugar
  4. Simmer for 10 minutes until reduced and a syrup has formed
  5. Cut the apples into thin slices and place in syrup, remove from stove
  6. Leave for at least 1/2 an hour
  7. Place onto cake just before serving

Enjoy with your favourite cup of tea.

Apple cake with Earl Grey apples

Apple cake with Earl Grey apples

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