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Cherry Brandy Brownies

6 February 2014 in Baking, Desserts, Easy to prepare

Hi there……long time no see!

Hopefully my mojo is back to stay cos Himself was bemoaning the fact that the quality of his food has declined since I took my blogging break. Cheek of the man! ;)

These are grown-up brownies, I made them for Christmas Eve and they have quickly become a family favourite. You need to buy yourself some glace cherries or if you’re feeling flush then some maraschino ones. Then you need to soak the cherries in brandy (or spirit of your choice) for at least a week beforehand.

 

Brandy soaked cherries (see above) as many as you like hic!

180g butter

160g dark chocolate

1 TBS of the liquid from the soaked cherries

175g castor sugar

3 extra large eggs

1 tsp vanilla essence

110g cake flour

1/4 tsp salt

I used this particular chocolate because our local supermarket was selling it at R4 a bar, bargain!  just use as good a quality chocolate as you can.

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees and grease a suitable dish/pan (I used my new Le Creuset baking pan which is 23 x 23 cm and bakes like a dream)

Using a thick bottomed pan, melt the butter and the chocolate over a gentle heat, put aside to cool.

In a large bowl beat the eggs, sugar, vanilla and the cherry liquid until combined.

Add the cooled choc mix to the egg mixture a little at a time, then add the flour and the salt.

Arrange the cherries in your dish, I use 2/3 of them, pour over the brownie mix and put the rest of the cherries on the top.

Bake for 25 minutes

 

These brownies are really good, they have a nice fudgy texture and the booze soaked fruit is just the cherry on top! :)

 

Budget Chocolate Mousse – serve 8 for under R30.00

19 July 2012 in Budget Beater, Cheap and cheerful, Desserts, Easy to prepare

Like most people I have a repertoire of tried and tested hairy old favourite recipes that I have used for years, this chocolate mousse is one of them.  It’s easy to make, feeds 8 and doesn’t break the bank.

You will have to buy two bars of chocolate as they are 90g each, you can either eat the remainder (cooks perks) or use it for decoration like I did (see below)

125g Cadburys Bournville dark chocolate (R8.99 per bar = R17.98)

4 eggs (R7.99 for 6 = R5.40)

2/3 of a 250ml tub of cream (R8.99 for tub, R6.00)

Total: R29.38

1 cap of whisky or spirit of your choice (optional)

toasted almonds (optional)

*****

Separate the eggs and place the yolks in a largish mixing bowl.

Break the chocolate into squares and place in a microwaveable bowl, melt on high for 2 minutes, check and give it another minute, check again, and so on until it is melted. Give it a little stir if it needs help.

Whisk the melted chocolate into the egg yolks and add the whisky if using.

While that is cooling whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks.

Fold half the egg whites into the chocolate mix and then the remainder.

Spoon into 8 ramekins (mine are 8cm in diameter) or one large bowl.

Place in the fridge to set, allow at least 2 hours.

Whip the  cream and either pipe or spoon a blob on each ramekin, decorate with leftover grated chocolate or scatter a few toasted almonds, add a cherry even. Or you can have a go at making shards……..melt the remaining chocolate and pour onto a cold surface, allow to set and with a sharp knife held at a 45 degree angle shave off some circular shards. Clearly I need to practise!

 

 

Last time I mentioned that I bought fresh cream for R8.99 I got the feeling that some of you didn’t quite believe me, so here’s my slip :)

UPDATE: A fellow blogger has told me that Checkers currently have the 180g Cadbury slabs are available @ R12.99 – so if you can get one of those it makes the recipe even cheaper! :)

Sweet Potato & Pepperdew Soup

28 May 2012 in Cheap and cheerful, Easy to prepare, Soups

Recently Woolworths (the South African equivalent of Marks & Spencer) held a competition, the prize being R50,000 for the best original soup recipe. I wracked my brains but nothing came to mind until yesterday……eight days after the competition closed *bangs head on desk*

Inspiration hit due to my friend Micheal giving me a jar of his homegrown pepperdews, he’s done a brilliant job, these are sweet, crunchy and have a nice hot bite to them.

I have a thing about soups and their consistency, I hate them too thick and so often people serve up, what quite frankly, looks like baby puree! The colour of this soup sends me, sunshine in a bowl, perfect winter fare and it tastes great!

Sweet Potato and Pepperdew Soup

1/2 onion finely chopped

50g pepperdews roughly chopped

A little oil for frying

600g sweet potatoes (the orange variety) peeled and sliced

750ml chicken stock

50ml fresh cream

Milk for diluting

Seasoning to taste

Gently fry the onion and pepperdews until soft.

Add in the sweet potatoes.

Pour in the stock.

Simmer until the potatoes are soft.

Cool and then put into a blender & blitz until smooth, a stick blender would work equally well.

Add the cream and heat through, the soup will be quite thick, you can add more cream if you so desire, or you can use less calories by adding milk until you get the consistency you enjoy.

Season to your taste, remembering that there is quite a bit of salt already if you used stock cubes.

I topped my soup with homemade croutons, slivered pepper-dew and garlic chives.

Serves 4-6 depending on the size of your bowls or your appetites.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Budget Beater for Meatless Monday

15 April 2012 in Budget Beater, Easy to prepare, Uncategorized

Himself has not embraced Meatless Mondays with any degree of fervour, in fact he started to play squash on a Monday “don’t do supper for me babe, I’ll eat at the club” So I fool him every-now-and-then by slipping in a vegetarian option when he’s least expecting it, he got this for lunch on Saturday and I got his long-suffering sigh when he realised he wasn’t getting a wors roll like he normally does!

After eating his, and part of mine he said “that wasn’t bad!” I don’t think I have a vegetarian in the making but it was a huge improvement on some of his previous comments let me tell you! I enjoyed it, don’t be tempted to leave out the topping it really adds to the dish.

Sweet Potatoes stuffed with Curried Beans

4 sweet potatoes

1 medium onion, peeled and sliced

1 TSP oil

2 tsp butter

2 tsp curry powder

½ tsp turmeric

½ clove of garlic grated finely

1 tin baked beans

I green chilli (split open, remove seeds with a knife and cut into 4 pieces, wash your hands immediately!)

Seasoning

 

Topping

4 heaped TSP Greek style yoghurt

3 spring onions chopped

3cm cucumber chopped

Seasoning

Firstly you need to bake your potatoes in the oven @ 180 until done about 30 – 45 minutes depending on size, test with a sharp knife. I find this way quite lengthy, so I give the spuds a wash, pierce them and stick them in the microwave for 10 mins on high, then I finish them in the oven until the skin is crunchy (my preference) but you do them whatever way floats your boat!

Using 1 TSP of oil fry the onions really gently, take your time, until they look like this….

Add 2 tsp butter until melted then add the curry powder, turmeric and grated garlic. I decided to try out the Chisa Faya Extra Hot Curry Powder that I got in my winners hamper…click here to read the amusing story of how I won.

Pour the tin of beans into a saucepan and add the cooked onions and the chilli.

Simmer very gently for 10 – 15 minutes, if your beans are lacking sauce add some water, check for seasoning.

Mix the yoghurt with the chopped spring onions, cucumber and seasoning.

Cut open your sweet potato, I much prefer the orange ones as I hate how the normal ones discolour.

Spoon in the beans and top with the yogurt mix.

Budget Beater Minestrone Soup made from everyday ingredients you have in your kitchen

3 April 2012 in Budget Beater, Easy to prepare

I think most of us are feeling the pinch, food is getting outrageously expensive, another increase in petrol is only going to fuel further price hikes (pun intended). I find myself using cheaper cuts of meat, we grew quite a lot of our veggies and salads this summer and I watch for genuine ‘specials’ and buy in accordingly.

This tasty & filling soup feeds 6 people generously, serve with some nice crusty bread. I have estimated the cost of the major ingredients, the rest everyone should have in their cupboards. Give or take, the soup comes in at under R30.00. Great for Meatless Monday and vegetarians can just use vegetable stock.

1 TBSP oil

2 medium onions, chopped finely R1.50

1 clove of garlic, crushed or grated

1 tsp Italian dried herbs

500g mixed frozen vegetables (smaller veggies work better) R7.50

1 tin tomatoes (410g) chopped R5.00

1 tsp salt

A good grind of black pepper

2 tsp sugar

2 chicken stock cubes (or veggie) dissolved in 1 litre of boiling water – I prefer the Telma make of stock cubes, available in Spar and Pick n Pay.

1 litre chicken or vegetable stock

1 TSP chopped parsley

1/2 cup small pasta – I used pasta rice R2.00 (you can also use spaghetti broken up)

Pasta Rice

1 tin baked beans (410g) R4.99

1 TSP fresh basil sliced thinly (optional)

grated Parmesan or cheddar cheese to serve R6.00

Using a pan with a good base, heat the oil, toss in the onions and garlic,  immediately lower the heat and sweat them off gently until soft and translucent. Add the dried herbs, frozen veg, tomatoes, sugar, seasoning, stock and parsley.

Gently bring to the boil, add the pasta and simmer for 10 minutes, don’t forget to give it a stir every now and then. Add the beans and continue simmering for another 15 minutes. Taste for seasoning and adjust to suit yourself.

 

I have made some slight alterations to this recipe by Lynn Bedford Hall, from her book called Scrumptious. I have most of her books and I refer to them often. Lynn has never let me down, if you don’t have one of her books, do yourself a favour and go get one!

 

 

 

 

 

Photo from the web.

For more budget recipes follow the links below:

Spicy Porcupine Balls

Economical Crumbed Chicken

Braised Beef and Mushrooms

Sausage and Egg Pie

Tuna and Leek Pie

Preserved Ginger – easier to make than you think!

15 March 2012 in Easy to prepare, Jams & Preserves

I was wondering around in my local veggie shop, as ya do, when I spied some fresh ginger and I had a yen to make some preserved ginger. I made some a few years ago and it was so useful for adding to cakes and puds or drizzling the syrup over ice-cream. It’s very easy to make and I don’t understand why it is so blinking expensive in the shops.

800g fresh ginger

750mls sugar

375mls water

Firstly you have to peel your ginger, I used a combo of peeler, sharp knife and the edge of a teaspoon for tricky bits.

Cut the ginger into cubes that are roughly the same size.

Cover with water and soak for at least 8 hours or overnight.

Drain the ginger and place in a saucepan and cover with water, bring to the boil and drain, repeat this two more times then on the third time, simmer the ginger until a sharp knife goes through it easily, mine took just over an hour.

In a thick bottomed saucepan bring the sugar and the water to a boil, then turn down the heat a little so you have a rolling boil. Keep an eye on it and stir every now and then until the syrup thickens, 20 – 30 minutes.

Add the ginger and simmer for 10 minutes, cool completely before spooning into a sterilized jar (just rinse the jar in very hot water, shake off any excess water and pop in the microwave on high for 1 minute)

Fills one 200g coffee jar.

I slightly overestimated the amount of syrup so I ended up with a little jar of extra syrup, which I plan to make ice cream with…..or maybe a syrup drenched ginger cake…or…..watch this space!

 

 

Diet Pickled Beetroot

15 January 2012 in Easy to prepare, Salads

I suspect we are not the only ones to return from holiday with permanent Bentley Belts adhered to our waists! As such, lean meat, chicken and salads have been on the menu at Chez Sous and as there is only so much green salad Himself will consume I had to look for alternatives. Then I remembered I had some Natreen Liquid Diet Sweetner and this recipe evolved…….

1200g cooked & peeled beetroot

8 tsp Natreen Liquid Diet Sweetner – available in most supermarkets

500mls brown grape vinegar

1 tsp pickling spices – optional

2/3 small dried chillies – optional

5ml salt

Trim the tops and bottoms of the beetroot, place in a pan and cover with water. Boil gently until soft, mine were quite big and took about an hour.

While the beets are cooking, place the vinegar, Natreen, salt and spices in a pan and simmer gently for 5 minutes for everything to infuse.

Vinegar and pickling spice

When the beetroot is cooked, drain and leave to cool. Peel off the skin, it comes away very easily – you will note that I wore gloves in order to prevent looking like an axe murderer!

Peeling the cooked beetroot

Slice or grate the beets (I did one of each) place in sterilized jars, pour in vinegar and seal. To sterilize my jars I simply wash them in the dishwasher, alternatively you can wash them well by hand, rinse and with the jars still a little wet put them in the microwave on high for 1 minute.

This makes 2 x 200g jars of Beetroot

Allow fhe pickled beetroot to stand for a couple of days before eating.

Delicious homemade beetroot, sweet with a chilli kick.

Disclaimer – I have not been paid or rewarded in any way to write this post.

Food24 did a write up on Natreen, if you would like to know more about the product click here.

 

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