Category Archives: Sweets

Nutella and banana parcels

Nutella and banana parcels

This is one of those incredibly easy recipes and is always a winner with friends and family. You can’t go wrong with chocolate right?

Ingredients:

  • 1 roll of frozen puff pastry (save yourself a lot of time by buying the ready made stuff and thaw it in the fridge)
  • 1 cup of Nutella
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 egg

Caramel:

  • 75g castor sugar
  • 2Tbs cold water

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 220 C
  2. Thaw the frozen puff pastry in the fridge – check the pack for detail.
  3. Once thawed, dust a working surface with a bit of flour and roll out in a square
  4. You have two options here, depending on how you want to present the final dessert – either in a log or if you want to be more cheffy, make individual parcels (like a samosa)
    • For the log – Nothing too fancy, just spread the Nutella on the puff pastry and top with slices of banana. Beat the egg and brush the sides of the square with the egg (this helps to ‘glue’ the log together). Carefully roll the pastry lengthwise (otherwise it gets too thick) into the shape of a log. Using a fork, press the edges together to seal. Finally brush the log with the rest of your egg so it goes golden brown when cooked. (approx 30-40 mins)
    • For the samosa (or samoosa as we like to call it) – cut the pastry into approx 10cm squares (you should be able to get around 12+ squares out of a roll of pastry). Dollop (or pipe) some Nutella in the one corner. Top with sliced banana and top with another dollop of Nutella. Brush the sides of the square with the egg and fold the one corner of the pastry over the Nutella & banana to form a triangle. Using a fork, press edges together to seal. Finally brush the triangles with the rest of your egg so it goes golden brown when cooked. (approx 15 mins)
  5. To make the caramel, take the smallest pan you, have add the castor sugar and the water and heat to a boil. Just as it starts to change to a light golden colour take it off the heat and pour the caramel out on a baking tray lined with wax paper to cool. Don’t take your eye off the sugar as it starts to boil as it will burn very quickly and you’ll have to start over. The sugar is also extremely hot, so be careful not to touch it. Once cooled down, break into shards.
  6. To serve, cut your log into desired lengths and place on your plate. If you really want to show off you could use a small sieve and dust the tops with some icing sugar and then drizzle it with melted chocolate. Add a scoop or two of ice cream and place some caramel shards in the ice cream. Slice up some cape gooseberries (or strawberries) and perhaps top with a sprig of mint or some finely sliced basil.
  7. This dish goes well with a cup of espresso to finish

Gingerbreads

ginger biscuits

I had a craving for some ginger biscuits this morning and while Victoire popped out, I decided to rustle up a quick batch of these ginger tea-time treats.

Ingredients

  • 100g softened butter
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1tsp ground ginger

Method
Preheat your oven to 150 degrees C.

Cream the butter and sugar together with a wooden spoon until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg. Sift in the flour and ginger.

Mix well to bind it all together and form into small balls, about a tablespoon of the mix. This is a fairly dry mix so don’t be alarmed when it’s not too sticky.

Place the balls on a baking sheet (about 15 per tray). The balls flatten out in the cooking process, so space them well apart.

Bake in the centre of the oven for 25 minutes till lightly browned. They will come out slightly soft to the touch, but will harden when cooling on a wire rack.

Serving suggestion
I did mention that these were a tea-time treat, so get that big pot of tea going, because once you’ve had one of these you’ll be dunking them by the handfulls.

Edible gift: Macadamia and Cranberry Nougat

Who can resist the challenge of making your own nougat? Certainly not me! Well, although this is not a complicated recipe, it proved quite stressful, mostly my worrying about whether I had done everything correctly. In the end everything worked out fine – even though the nougat did lose its shape, melting into a mound of chewyness, it was delicious… and that’s all that counts!

Macadamia cranberry nougat

Lessons learnt:
This recipe calls for several unusual ingredients and utensils, the rice paper you should find at a Chinese store, liquid glucose is not stocked by the supermarkets but I found some at a small baking shop, and a sugar thermometer is quite essential for a variety of edible goodies including sweets and jams.
Make sure that you get the correct rice paper! You will need the thinnest paper you can find, usually found in rectangular sheets. The thick rice paper used for spring rolls is no good for this sweet…
The nougat turned out to be very sticky making it difficult to cut and almost impossible to get out of the tin. I would suggest lining the sides of the pan with rice paper as well to assist with the removal of the sweet.

Recipe source:
Food & Home Entertaining, December 2009

Ingredients:
450 g (2 1/4 cups) sugar
250 ml (1 cup) liquid glucose
80 ml (1/3 cup) honey
2 sheets rice paper (plus extra for lining the sides of the tin)
2 extra-large egg whites
pinch of cream of tartar
250 g macadamia nuts, toasted
60 g dried cranberries
cornflour, to serve

Method:
Place the sugar, glucose and honey in a saucepan over a medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Do not allow the mixture to boil. Keep brushing the sides of the pan with extra water to prevent any sugar crystals from clinging.
When the sugar has completely dissolved, increase the heat and bring the syrup to a rapid boil until 140 degrees Celsius is reached on a sugar thermometer.
Line the base of an 18 x 28 cm rectangular cake tin with rice paper (remember the sides as well as the base!)
Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk until soft peaks form. Add the sugar mixture in a steady stream until it is incorporated and continue beating for about 5 minutes until the mixture is slightly cooled and thickened. Add the macadamia nuts and cranberries, whisking them in by hand.
Pour the mixture onto the rice paper and press gently with a spoon to flatten. Cover with another piece of rice paper and allow to set for a few hours before cutting.
Cut into desired shapes, using a very sharp knife. Dip each piece of nougat in cornflour to give it a very light coating before wrapping in parchment paper or cellophane wrapping.

Edible Gift: Old-fashioned fudge

Nico & I have been meaning to make fudge for ages, so when we decided to make edible gifts this year fudge was definitely on the menu. We found a recipe in the December issue of the Food & Home Entertaining magazine, incorporating glace ginger. Not sure about what the ginger would be like we decided to leave it out, but if you want to try it out just add 80 g finely chopped glace ginger with the vanilla essence and a sliver of ginger on top of each square to decorate.

Lessons learnt:
This recipe seriously bombed out for us, in a good way! Whilst stirring the mixture it started forming small darker bits giving the impression that it was overcooking. We immediately removed the fudge mixture from the stove, stirred in the vanilla essence and poured it into the buttered pan. When it had set what we had was a soft butter toffee and no fudge. Delicious none-the-less!
When we reheated the toffee to use as a sauce over our Christmas ice cream it started going fudgey… So one can make 2 different sweets from this yummy recipe. If yours does turn into toffee you can dip squares into melted chocolate to contain the toffee (it tends to lose its shape when out of the fridge, not runny but not firm either).

Luv Toffee

Recipe source:
Food & Home Entertaining, December 2009

Ingredients:
15 ml (1 tbsp) golden syrup
190 ml (3/4 cup) milk
500 g (2 1/2 cups) sugar
125 g butter
1 x 397 g tin condensed milk
5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract

Method:
Melt the syrup, milk, sugar and butter in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
Add the condensed milk and stir continuously with a wooden spoon until pale golden brown, about 25 minutes
Remove from the heat, add the vanilla and beat for 15 seconds
Pour into a buttered pan and allow to cool and set
Cut into squares and wrap.