Tag Archives: favourite favourites

Cheese and herb muffins

Savoury tea treats
Roasted vegetable tart (left) & Cheese and herb muffins (right)

I have a new “go to” recipe for a savoury option for tea! These muffins are moist, full of flavour and super easy. What a pleasure. I made them for my birthday tea party last weekend, but they could also be a wonderful accompaniment to a hot soup on the suddenly cold winter days we’re having. The recipe has been adapted from the “Cook and Enjoy” (“Kook en Geniet”) recipe book.

Ingredients:

  • 500 ml (2 cups) cake flour
  • 20 ml (4 tsp) baking powder
  • 2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) salt
  • 2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) cayenne pepper (or a little less if you prefer less of a “bite”)
  • 500 ml – 750 ml (2 – 3 cups) grated cheese
  • handful fresh chopped herbs, such as thyme, origanum, chives, rosemary, parsley
  • sprinkle dried mixed herbs (optional)
  • 250 ml (1 cup) milk
  • 120 ml (8 Tbsp) + “a bit” melted butter
  • 1 egg, well beaten

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C and grease a muffin pan with 12 large hollows
  2. Sift together the dry ingredients
  3. Add the cheese and herbs to the dry ingredients
  4. Blend the milk, butter and egg
  5. Add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients. Do not stir, but mix by folding in the liquid until the flour is just moistened. The mixture will look lumpy
  6. Drop uniform spoonfuls of the dough into the muffin pan hollows and bake for 10 – 15 minutes (I usually bake for 20 minutes, but insert a skewer to check for done-ness at 15 minutes)

Tuna casserole bake

I had some leftover canned tuna the other day and decided to make a nice warm tuna bake to ward off the wintery chill in the air. A quick Google search later, and I had a basic recipe and some ideas to start with. The recipe is mainly adapted from About.com’s Tuna Casserole Recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 packet pasta screws, cooked al dente
  • 1 splash olive oil
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 packet soup (I used garden vegetable soup), prepared according to instructions on packet
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables or peas, precooked
  • 2 cups grated cheese
  • 1 or 2 cans tuna, lightly drained

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius
  2. Saute the onion and celery in a medium pot until softened
  3. Add the soup, milk, precooked frozen veggies, 1 cup cheese and black pepper to the pot
  4. Simmer, stirring, until all the ingredients are combined and the cheese has melted
  5. When it begins to boil turn off the heat and gently fold in the tuna
  6. Add the precooked pasta and toss to coat
  7. Pour into a casserole dish
  8. Top with remaining cup of grated cheese
  9. Bake in the oven for 15 min
  10. Grill the top for a few minutes until the cheese is lightly browned

The About.com recipe suggests using buttered breadcrumbs or potato chips as a topping instead of the cheese. This sounds yummy, I’ll definitely give it a try sometime! You can also check out the many interesting variations on this dish listed after their recipe.

Unfortunately I didn’t take a photo of the dish before we tucked in! Everyone enjoyed it, including my one year old who usually avoids tuna. A winner in my books.

Awesome veggie pasta sauce

I had no idea what to cook for dinner tonight, not a clue… so I took out what I had (mostly fresh veggies) and started cooking. The end result was a most delicious veggie pasta sauce, yummy, fresh, crispy-crunchy, divine, you-don’t-even-miss-the-meat. You can make this with whatever fresh vegetables you have in your fridge, in the quantities of your choice, I’ll list what I added tonight.

Ingredients:

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Olive oil for stir-frying
  • 1/2 Green pepper
  • 6 Courgettes
  • 2 Carrots
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic (or to taste)
  • 1 can Chopped peeled tomatoes
  • 1 can Tomato & onion mix
  • Dried mixed herbs
  • 2 sprigs Fresh origanum, chopped
  • 1/2 sprig Fresh Rosemary, chopped
  • Tomato paste
  • 1-2 Tbsp Tomato sauce
  • 1-2 Tbsp Mrs Balls original chutney
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Steam the broccoli and cauliflower until al dente, or even slightly underdone
  2. Heat the olive oil in a medium pot on a medium heat
  3. Cut the green pepper into strips and begin to stir-fry
  4. Cut the courgette into medium-sized rounds
  5. Add the courgette to the pot when the green pepper starts to soften, stir-fry. You may add a splash of water if the veg starts to burn. This will steam the vegetables a bit.
  6. Grate the carrots on a large grate
  7. Add the carrots to the pot when the courgette looks about done.
  8. Add some garlic to taste and stir-fry the veg until it starts to soften / is al dente
  9. Add the broccoli and cauliflower to the pot
  10. Add the tinned tomatoes and tomato & onion mix along with a little water
  11. Add some dried mixed herbs and the fresh chopped herbs
  12. Add the tomato paste, tomato sauce and chutney
  13. Season to taste with some salt and pepper
  14. Stir and leave to simmer for a few minutes before turning off the stove
  15. Serve with pasta of your choice – I used wholewheat organic Penne Rigate – some grated cheese, and if you like it spicy add some chilli paste and/or Tabasco sauce

Bon Appetite!

Chocolate fudge cake

Our Mothers’ Day tea on Sunday turned into lunch at short notice, and I was tasked with bringing dessert! I’m one of those people who prefer to bake something homemade than buy, but I’m not ashamed to resort to a Woolies alternative if pressed! And believe me, it does not take much to foil my well-intentioned baking plans, being four months pregnant and with an active one year old running around. So I had to come up with a good, easy, recipe quickly. Thankfully I had spotted a delicious-looking recipe on one of my favourite foodie blogs, The Gorgeous Gourmet, a few days previously, so this was a great excuse to try it!

I made the Chocolate fudge cake with caramel icing, go check out the recipe and bookmark it, you’ll thank me later :)  The only adaptations I made were to use Decaf plunger coffee (for the kids’ and my sake), and I added halved strawberries in addition to the chopped Rolo, who can argue with strawberries and chocolate?

I will spare you the drama I went through in baking this cake, too much to mention! None of it relating to the recipe at least! I will say that when using spring form cake tins you should make sure they are airtight, or line with baking paper for good measure, and nothing will change the flavour of even slightly rancid butter, so always make sure you have enough fresh butter and check the butter before you start, especially for the icing… :) Yip, I had to make the icing twice…

Here’s the end result:

Chocolate fudge cake with caramel icing

The cake was moist and gooey around the outside, pure bliss. The caramel icing, however, was not a hit. It was very sugary-sweet and not caramel-y at all – perhaps it was something I did, I’m not sure… Thankfully Candice has promised to have a look at the recipe to make it more caramel-y for me, if so, this will be my go-to cake for a very long time.

If you would like to try out other icings you could do a chocolate ganache or sandwich the layers with white chocolate mousse and dust the top with cocoa powder/icing sugar. Let me know if you find a winning combination!