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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

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

Orange Cake For A Dreary Winter’s Day

Orange Cake

Orange Cake

The weather has been horrifically cold this weekend and I find myself longing for summer days with hot weather and a long glass of icy orange juice beside our pool.  Don’t get  me wrong, winter certainly has it’s perks as well, as I am writing this I am sitting in front of the fireplace with a cup of my favourite tea.  The kids are playing around me and hubby, who’s reading, and our pooches are snoring away in front of the blissful heat all while the wind is howling around the corners…  I have some soup going in the slow cooker and I am counting my many blessings.  Happiness!  Another  beauty of the cold season is that it brings it’s own fresh produce including citrus fruits.  I have been fortunate this season to have some oranges (not much, just 4) on my little orange tree that I keep in a pot close to my back door.  What better way to use these pretty orange jewels than to place them in an orange cake?  Instant comfort I’m telling you!

My own home grown oranges

My own home grown oranges

The great thing about this cake is that the longer it sits on your kitchen shelf the more flavor it develops.  Not that cake ever tends to just stay on the shelf in my house… no matter, it is delish all the time, from the point where it is taken out of the oven up to where the very last crumb is eaten…

My own home grown oranges

My own home grown oranges

Not being too sweet and extremely moist this is sure to light up your dullest winter’s day!  This will also work very well as a warm winter dessert, heated up with custard and some cream.  I added some zest for decoration to zoosh it up a bit.  Make sure that you use a plate with a rim to keep all of the sweet, orangy syrup where you want it:  Close to the sponge that will eventually slurp it all up, locking in all the moist flavor of the cake.

Orange Cake

Orange Cake

I found this nifty recipe here as I did not have a recipe as a starting point.  It was definitely not disappointed.   This recipe makes one ring sized orange cake.  Here is how I went about:

Recipe:

Ingredients:

Orange cake:

  • 1 cup butter (room temperature)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 free range extra large eggs, separated (room temperature)
  • 1 cup sour cream (room temperature)
  • 1 3/4 cup cake flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 t bicarbonate of soda
  •  zest of one orange
Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 180° C
  2. Grease a ring pan well
  3. Beat the sugar and butter with an electric beater until fluffy and it turns pale yellow (I usually do this for 15 minutes to ensure that it turns fluffy)
  4. Add the sour cream and the egg yolks and continue beating until light
  5. Sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and the orange rind
  6. Add to the butter mixture and beat until just combined
  7. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form and then fold into the batter
  8. Place the mixture into ring pan and bake for an hour
  9. Remove from heat and let it cool down for 15 minutes before removing the cake from the pan and placing it on a rimmed plate to reserve the syrup
  10. Pour the syrup over (see below)
Orange juice

Orange juice

Hot Orange syrup
  • freshly squeezed juice of 2 oranges
  • freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil for about 3 minutes

Pierce a few holes in the cake with a fork and slowly pour the orange syrup over the cake drenching it in the syrup.

Slice of Orange Cake

Slice of Orange Cake

If your family is like mine it will probably not see the next morning to have the first golden, sweet, orangey slice taken from it, which is okay, no harm done, it is delectable freshly baked out of the oven as well.

Enjoy!

0ranges

0ranges

Mexican Chili with Tomato Salsa

Mexican Chili

Mexican Chili

I have been getting that feeling for a while now…. it is time to still my need for chili and Mexican food.   Fresh Mexican food, not just tacos that come in a shop-bought-kit with  spices and one or another suspicious sauce… but  homemade with lots of zesty limes,  sweet tomatoes, freshly roasted spices, golden cheddar cheese and of course the fiery red chili… and quite a bit of it for that matter….  Yes please!

Mexican Chili

Mexican Chili

This fiery ensemble is sure to cure any midweek winter blues you may be experiencing.  Although I am a huge summer fan I have to admit that there are some things I cannot wait for every year that comes around with winter:  Sitting in front of our fireplace with a good book and a glass of red wine, drinking hot chocolate out of gigantic mugs, the feeling of our double thick goose down duvet and of course spicy food and curries!  I don’t know about you but I feel cheered up just thinking about this….  Bring on winter!

Mexican Chili

Mexican Chili

I got the idea from Rachel Allen’s food show on Home Channel and sort of just improvised from there… The chili is served with steamed basmati rice mixed with chopped fresh cilantro and a fresh tomato salsa salad that is not to be left out as it compliments the chili perfectly…   I also added a dollop of creme fraîche and guacamole to cool the heat down a bit .  All really yummy…

Tomato Salsa

Tomato Salsa

This serves 3 to 4 persons.

Recipe:

Ingredients:

Mexican Chili:

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 thumb size piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2-3 chilies chopped ( You decide whether or not you want the extra heat by leaving in the seeds)
  • 1 t ground coriander
  • 1/2 t ground cinnamon
  • 500 g ground beef mince (extra lean)
  • 1 1/2 cans of chopped tomatoes (I froze the other half to use later)
  • 2 t sugar
  • 1/2 lime’s juice squeezed
  • freshly ground salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 can of brown sugar beans (drained)
  • 2 t cumin seeds
Tomato Salsa:
  • 2 large tomatoes diced
  • 1/2 small onion very finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove very finely grated
  • 1/2 lime’s juice squeezed
  • 1 good handful of chopped cilantro
  • freshly ground salt and pepper
  • a splash of olive oil
To serve:
  • 1 cup of basmati rice steamed as per instructions on rice packet
  • grated cheddar cheese
  • freshly chopped coriander

Method:

Mexican Chili:

  1. Heat olive oil in a thick bottomed pot  and fry the onion, garlic, ginger, chili until soft and translucent
  2. Add the coriander and cinnamon and fry for 1 more minute
  3. Add the meat and cook until brown
  4. Now add the chopped tomatoes, sugar and lime juice and bring to a simmer and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes until the liquids have reduced and the sauce has thickened.  Season with salt and pepper and add the can of sugar beans.
  5. In the mean time while the chili is simmering, heat a small frying pan and add the cumin seeds to toast.  ( No oil is required)  Remove once the seeds change color and are slightly smoking.  Place in a mortar and pestle and grind fine.
  6. Add the toasted cumin seeds to the chili and finish simmering
  7. Once sauce has thickened and reduced, remove from heat.

Tomato Salsa:

Just add all the ingredients together and toss lightly

To Serve:

Mix in some chopped cilantro with the steamed basmati rice.  Place chili on top of rice and top with grated cheddar and dollops of creme fraîche and/or guacamole and chopped fresh chili

Mexican Chili

Tomato salsa

Tomato salsa

Sirloin with onion-pomegranate-and-berry sauce, served with orange sweet potato wedges.

Steak with pomegranate-berry sauce  and yellow sweet  potato wedges

Steak with pomegranate-berry sauce and orange sweet potato wedges

If you are like me really having to watch what you eat to not permanently expand horizontally then this is for you!   Yes, I am not called the not so skinny cook for no reason. … Unfortunately I have to fight the battle of the bulge regularly.  I have to admit that I really struggle, as I am not one of those people who can survive on lettuce and celery sticks for days on end….  I am a self proclaimed foodaholic after all!  I made this dish this due to the fact that the sweet potato chips are not deep fried and the pomegranate- sauce definitely contains less fat than  good old cheese-sauce and everything is super-packed with the yummiest flavors!   Thus,  saving on fat but not giving up any flavor.  It also took me less than three quarter’s of an hour to prepare this, making this ideal for a week-night when you want to splash out a little.

Steak with pomegranate-berry sauce  and yellow sweet  potato wedges

Steak with pomegranate-berry sauce and orange sweet potato wedges

I saw Claire Robinson make this duo on Home Channel and I was instantly hooked on the promise of  intense flavor and the beautiful colors of this dish.   I tried to relocate the original recipe on the net but failed to do so and had to rely on my memory  and own  interpretation therefor.  I also had to adapt the recipe as I couldn’t find exactly the same ingredients that she used.  Never the less,  I was still very pleased with the end-product.  Once I started preparing this I couldn’t get enough of all the lovely aromas that were filling my kitchen-orange and rosemary , onions, berry and pomegranate  and lastly steak being grilled…  Yum!  The Pomegranate- sauce had a beautiful intense sweet and sour  taste that fused very well with the  onions I used.   The sweet potato wedges  were fluffy inside and slightly crispy on the outside with a sweet orange taste and hints of cumin and ginger. It all just really complimented the plainly prepared steak very well…

Steak with pomegranate-berry sauce  and orange sweet  potato wedges

Steak with pomegranate-berry sauce and orange sweet potato wedges

Hubby made us a salad with some of our favorite crispy ingredients and voila !  A  great tasting healthy meal!

 Crunchy Salad

Crunchy Salad

This recipe will serve 4 persons when served with a good helping of salad:

Recipe:

Sweet Potatoes:
  • 1 packet of orange  sweet potatoes ( I used 6 medium sized sweet potatoes) – cut into large wedges
  • 1 1/2 cups of orange juice
  • 1 t of fine ginger
  • 1 t cumin seeds
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 1 Tbsp of good quality olive oil
  • freshly ground salt and pepper
  1. Pre-heat  oven to 220º c
  2. Place all the ingredients together in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil
  3. Continue cooking until the orange juice reduces and forms a syrup
  4. Pour through a sieve and strain so that the seeds and the rosemary stay behind in the sieve
  5. Pour  the strained reduction over the wedges and stir very well with a spoon, covering the wedges with the reduction all over
  6. Place the covered wedges on a baking tray covered with baking paper and roast in the oven until crispy on the outside.   Check after 30 minutes and when done remove from the oven.   Serve with the steak
In the mean time while  the sweet potatoes are roasting,  start preparing the pomegranate sauce 
Pomegranate-and-berry-sauce:
  • one small packet of salad onions  – chopped (Claire used shallots in the original recipe but I couldn’t find any, so I decided to go with what I had )
  • 1 Tbsp of olive oil
  •  1 garlic clove crushed
  • 2 Tbsps of berry preserve ( The original recipe used cherry preserve -if you can find)
  • 1 1/4 cups of 100%  pomegranate juice
  • freshly ground sea salt and pepper
  1. Fry the onions and the crushed garlic in the olive oil until  soft
  2. Add the juice,  the berry preserve and the salt and pepper  and bring to a boil, cooking the sauce until well reduced. ( It will look like a chutney when done)
  3. When it has reduced enough to look like a chutney, remove from the stove and place aside.
Sirloin:
  • 4 Thinly sliced sirloin steaks ( Suitable for quick pan frying)
  • Olive oil to drizzle ( About 2 Tsps or more to your own taste)
  • Freshly ground sea salt and pepper
  1. Drizzle the steak with olive oil and grind the salt and pepper over, making sure the steak has been seasoned on both sides
  2. Heat a thick bottom frying pan until very hot and fry the steak on both sides turning after two minutes ( You should not need any more oil as the steak has already been covered sufficiently)
  3. Remove from the pan and dish up
  4. Spoon the pomegranate sauce over the steak and serve with the sweet potato wedges and fresh salad

Chocolate and Marshmallow Camp Bananas over the coals

Bananas with Chocolate and Marshmallows

Bananas with Chocolate and Marshmallows

This is one of those recipes that I am not even sure can be called a recipe.  I am not sure where or when I first saw or ate this but it has been part of our barbecue (braai in  my home language, Afrikaans)-repertoire for a very long time now.  I thought that most South-Africans were relatively familiar with this way of making a quick not so fancy pantsy dessert.  Turned out I was wrong!  I wanted to make this, this past long weekend on our trip away to a farm with some of our friends, when more than half indicated that they have never tried bananas with chocolate made on the grill.  Serious gap in their upbringing!  Unfortunately we rained out before being able to make this delicious, oh-so-easy treat on the coals.

Bananas with Chocolate and Marshmallows

Bananas with Chocolate and Marshmallows

In the mean time we fixed this batch over the weekend at home.

bananas with chocolate and marshmallows over the coals

bananas with chocolate and marshmallows over the coals

This is really a no-nonsense dessert that can be whipped up in minutes.  Perfect for that lazy weekend when you don’t want to do anything but kick back and relax!  Because this requires little cooking utensils (just a cutting board and knife) this is also perfect camp-food.   The chocolate and marshmallows melt and ooze together with the warm banana, making this a very simple but tasty,  sweet treat.

melty, oozy, chocolate bananas

melty, oozy, chocolate bananas

This is definitely one the most fiercest critics , my children, approve!

My fiercest  critic approves

My fiercest critic approves

This recipe serves 4 

Recipe:

Ingredients:
  • 4 large bananas
  • 100 g slab of milk chocolate or more if you are like me, not going to be able to resist popping a few in your mouth while preparing the bananas
  • 4-6 large marshmallows  sliced  or more …… help yourself!
Method:
  • Make a long slit lengthwise into the banana, careful not to cut all the way through the peel,  and fill with blocks of chocolate and slices of marshmallow (you can also use  small marshmallows, they are just not so readily available in our shops)
  • Place on the grill over warm coals (not too hot) and grill in the peel until all the chocolate has melted, the marshmallow has turned gooey and the banana has cooked through.  You will notice that the peal will have turned black.
  • Turn the banana out of the peal with a fork being careful to resist until it has cooled slightly to prevent burning.
Fluffy Marshmallows

Fluffy Marshmallows

chocolate and marshmallow bananas

chocolate and marshmallow bananas

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