Mini baked cheesecakes

cheesecake

Do you love cheese and cake? How about combining the two and creating a mouth watering, lick-the-plate kind of dessert… These mini baked cheesecakes are a mixture of a cheesecake and custard tart, and they are damn delicious! They are the perfect dinner party dessert as you can whip them up the night before, store in the fridge and then serve with delicious fruit and of course ice-cream! I’m sure you won’t be able to stop at just one though…

Ingredients

  • 250g plain sweet biscuits
  • 125g butter, melted
  • 500g packets cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon rind
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 can passion fruit pulp and fresh strawberries to serve

Method

Preheat oven to 160°C and line a cupcake tin with baking paper/two cupcake cases.

Crush biscuits until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add butter and mix thoroughly until combined. Press mixture into base of cupcake cases. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Mix the cream cheese, sugar, sour cream, vanilla and lemon rind until smooth, then add the eggs. Pour evenly in to each cupcake case. Bake for 30 minutes or until just set. Allow to cool then remove the cheesecakes from cupcake cases and refrigerate overnight.

Serve the cheesecakes with passion fruit pulp, fresh strawberries and a dollop of vanilla bean ice-cream.

Happy baking, love Jem x

Raspberry, coconut and pear loaf

loaf

Raspberry, coconut and pear ahh what wonderful ingredients to make a healthy yet scrumptious afternoon sweet. I personally adore banana bread, but every time I finish a generous slice I feel like I’ve just eaten a huge piece of cake – the beauty about this loaf is that it’s butter free, light and fluffy, and the pear just adds another texture and sweetness. This is the perfect recipe to take to afternoon tea (like I did today – and my grandparents loved it), or just to keep in the fridge as a healthy dessert option.

Ingredients

  • 2 pears, peeled, and core removed
  • 2 cups self-raising flour, sifted
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 270g can light coconut milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries

Method

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a loaf pan with non-stick baking paper.

Cut the pear into small pieces. Combine the flour, coconut and sugar in a large bowl. Whisk together the coconut milk, eggs and vanilla extract. Add to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

Gently stir in the pears and frozen raspberries make suring you don’t over mix. Spoon into the pan and smooth the surface.

Bake for 1 hour or until a knife inserted comes out clean. Set aside for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Serve warmed up with a dollop of natural yoghurt, or toast a piece with a smear of butter.

Happy baking, love Jem x

Babel Babylonstoren – review

 

R45 Simondium 7670, South Africa

I’ve recently just returned from an absolutely amazing trip to South Africa. Cape Town has to be one of the most naturally beautiful and scenic cities I’ve ever travelled to – every direction you face is a breathtaking sight and I haven’t even started talking about the food yet… If you love seafood, Cape Town definitely has to be on your travel list – from the fresh produce at Babylonstoren (which I’ll get in to very soon), to sautéed smoked paprika calamari overlooking Kalk Bay, to the best cream and white wine mussels at Kirstonbosch Gardens Moyo restaurant – you’ll definitely be in foodie heaven!

Babylonstoren is one of those places you go to and can’t stop raving about for months afterwards, or even years… The concept of the fresh produce picked on the day, where you walk through the endless vegetable gardens, taste the beautiful wine from the vineyard and then of course eat and drink until your stomach and heart is content – it’s a real delight for every sense. “We have a ‘farm to fork’ philosophy, which means we like to serve food that is seasonal and that reflects our ‘pick, clean and serve’ approach.” Dining at Babel, Babylonstoren is a culinary experience not to be missed.

We started with three gorgeous sharing salads:

Green – gorgonzola, mascarpone with toasted nuts and  vine leaf with a drizzle of carob and grape dressing.

Red – baked aubergine terrine with a sesame and ginger dressing and pickled rhubarb.

Yellow – terrine of smoked trout and fresh horseradish with a nectarine and Babylonstoren vinegar dressing.

For main I had the delicious double lamb cutlets with a spicy herb sauce and crisp curry leaves served with baked parsnip and beetroot.

If these dishes don’t give you the urge to get on the next flight out to Cape Town I’m not sure what will… Seriously an incredible foodie experience – from the atmosphere in the restaurant which was an old cow shed, to the surroundings of the lush gardens and vineyard, to chickens roaming around, to every hand picked gorgeous ingredient on the plate – just wow! I also just realised I haven’t even touched on their desserts, which of course change depending on the season but they subscribe to four different dishes; salty, bitter, sweet and sour – each uniquely scrumptious.  I highly recommend the 40 minute drive out of Cape Town to dine and experience Babel, Babylonstoren.

I rate Babel, Babylonstoren 5/5.

Happy eating, love Jem x

Apricot Clafouti

apricot

Clafouti is one of my all time favourite desserts, it’s one of those dishes you smell wafting through the house on a Sunday afternoon that you just can’t wait to dig in to. Clafouti is a regional French dessert and this recipe is easy as pie (actually easier) – it literally takes about five minutes to prepare. You can substitute the apricot for any stone fruit and even add a cheeky glass of liqueur.  Enjoy it warmed up with a scoop of vanilla bean ice-cream or custard.

Ingredients

  • 4 heaped tbl of plain flour
  • 2 1/2 tbl castor sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 pinches salt
  • 570ml milk
  • 1/4 tin apricot halves, drained
  • icing sugar to dust

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Line a flat baking tray with baking paper.

In a mixing bowl combine the flour, eggs, sugar and salt. Then pour in half the milk and beat the mixture to make it  light and fluffy. Add the rest of the milk and mix well until the mixture resembles a pancake batter.

Pour the mixture into the lined baking tray and place apricot halves in the dish.

Bake for 35 minutes or until a knife comes out clean. Remove from oven and wait cool then dust with icing sugar.

Happy baking, love Jem x

Traditional Nigiri sushi

sushi

I recently came back from any foodies dream trip to Japan… One of our days in Tokyo we spent at Buddha Bellies Cooking School learning the art of traditional sushi making and the history. Did you know that the original type of sushi, known today as ‘nare-zushi’ was developed in Southeast Asia along the Mekong River and then spread to southern China before Japan. So technically we can’t thank Japan for our favourite little snack… This is the perfect recipe for a dinner party – I mean who doesn’t love sushi? Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 cup water
  • 40ml rice vinegar
  • 20g sugar
  • 3g salt
  • wasabi
  • sashimi – thinly sliced salmon and tuna

Makes 20 – 25 pieces

Method

Start by washing the rice thoroughly until the water comes clear. Place the rice and water in a pot and let it soak for 60 minutes – this will allow the grains to absorb moisture.

Put the rice and water in a pot with a tight fitting lid. Bring the mixture to a boil over a high heat then turn down the heat to low until the water disappears. Turn off the heat and leave to cool for 10 minutes.

For the vinegar sauce place the rice vinegar, sugar and salt in a bowl and mix well.

Using a rice paddle, spoon the rice into a wide bowl. Spread it out evenly and cut the rice from side to side, then from top to bottom. Add the sushi vinegar and continue cutting the rice. Fan the rice whilst cutting to cool down.

Put down a sheet of paper and using about 1 and 1/2 tsps (20g) rice form a shape of sushi by gently pushing.

Spread a touch of wasabi over the rice and place the sashimi on top pressing down slightly.

Happy cooking, love Jem x

Egg roll ‘Dashimaki Tamago’

   

Wanting to make that delicious sushi with the traditional Japanese omelet topped on rice with the seaweed surrounding…or in other words Dashimaki Tamago? Well here you go – photo by photo instructions! I had such a lovely afternoon last week at Buddha Bellies Cooking school in Tokyo learning the art of sushi making. It amazes me how with so few ingredients you can make such a delicious little dish.

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp fish stock
  • 2 drops soya sauce
  • 1 pinch salt
  • oil for cooking

Method

Place all ingredients in a small bowl and beat well. Heat a square pan and brush oil on the base so it doesn’t stick.

Pour just enough egg to cover the base of the pan and once cooked fold over carefully with chop sticks pushing the egg to one side of the pan. Repeat pouring the egg to cover the base and fold – making one big layered omelet. You should roll it about four times.

Let the layered omelet cool down and slice into desired size. Place egg on top of a small square of rice and wrap with a thin nori piece around. This omelet is also delicious on top of curries, rice dishes or even by itself. Enjoy!

Happy cooking, love Jem x