Chinese Sweet and Sour Balls

If you love Tofu as much as I do and also love Chinese and sweet and sour flavours, this recipe will be a keeper. I often make this dish for my family and friends.

Tofu is a very light and low cost food with outstanding versatility and nutritional benefits. It’s an ideal choice for the health and diet conscious.

I usually make my own peanut butter and that’s what I like to use in my cooking because it’s natural and home made. It pairs beautifully with soy sauce. This recipe is from Tofu Cookery by Louise Hagler.

I usually love serving this dish with steamed basmati rice. It’s simple to put together and looks really rich and delicious. Your family will love this recipe.

This recipe makes around sixteen 11/2 inch balls.

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PREP: 20 minutes COOK TIME: 50 minutes

Ingredients

1 tbsp peanut butter

1 tbsp soy sauce

455 grams tofu

½ cup whole wheat flour

½ cup green peppers, chopped

¼ cup fresh mushrooms, sliced

¼ cup celery, sliced

4 green onions. Sliced thin

1 tbsp oil

Sweet and Sour Sauce

1 cup unsweetened pineapple juice

6 tbsp sweetener of your choice

6 tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp soy sauce

11/2 tbsp arrowroot or cornstarch

¼ tsp garlic powder

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 180 C.

Whip the peanut butter and soy sauce together in a small bowl. Set aside.

Mash the tofu in a large bowl. Add the whole wheat flour, the peanut butter mixture, green peppers, mushrooms, celery and green onions. Form into sixteen 11/2 inch balls and arrange on a baking pan spread with 1 tablespoon oil. Bake 20 minutes and carefully turn them over and bake 20 minutes more. Serve on rice with Sweet and Sour Sauce.

Combine all the ingredients for the sauce in a small pan. Cook over medium heat, whisking out all the lumps. Stir constantly until thickened.

Stuffed Peppers with Nutty Oat Stuffing

Green, red and yellow peppers are so tasty and they look extremely vibrant and colourful. Stuffed peppers are easy to make for a light and healthy meal.

Mushrooms have a wholesome flavour which is wonderful for this stuffing along with oats, nuts and pumpkin seeds. The whole is topped off with some grated tasty cheese. It is an absolute winner.

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PREP: 20 minutes COOK TIME: 40 minutes

Ingredients

6 large green and yellow peppers

3 tbsp olive oil

1 cup mushrooms, chopped

1 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

¼ cup porridge oats

6 large tomatoes, chopped

1 tsp hot pepper sauce

¼ cup walnuts, chopped

¼ cup pumpkin seeds, toasted

1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

3 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 190 C.

Cut the peppers in half lengthways and seed them. Blanch in a pan of boiling water for about 3 minutes. Drain.

Crush the toasted pumpkin seeds lightly.

Heat the oil in a small pan and saute the onion, garlic and mushroom until softened and lightly browned. Stir in the oats and cook for one minute more.

Stir in the tomatoes and pepper sauce and cook for about three to five minutes. Add the fresh coriander, salt and pepper to taste. Add the walnuts and crushed pumpkin seeds and mix well. Place the peppers in a shallow ovenproof dish and fill with the vegetable mixture.

Cover the dish with foil and bake for about 20 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle each pepper with the grated cheese and bake for a further 5-10 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Garnish with chopped fresh coriander and pumpkin seeds and serve immediately.

One-bowl Butterscotch Cake with Banana Frosting

Butterscotch and banana go beautifully together. Having had some ripe bananas and butterscotch chips which were also sitting in my pantry for sometime, I decided to use them together. Of course, it was a cake – what else could it be?

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The cake was so moist and lovely. The butterscotch morsels and the banana frosting tasted great. Just the thing with a hot cup of tea in the evening. Delicious!

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You can also make cupcakes and frost them individually.

 

PREP: 20-25 minutes COOK TIME: 35-40 minutes

Ingredients

2 cups flour

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp baking powder

11/2 cups brown sugar, packed

½ cup butter

1 cup milk

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup butterscotch chips

For the banana frosting

2 cups powdered sugar

1/3 cup butter

1 tbsp lemon juice

¼ cup bananas, mashed

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 180 C.

Grease and flour an 8 inch cake pan.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt. Combine with the brown sugar, butter and 2/3 cup milk in a large mixing bowl. Beat at a low speed until blended and then at a high speed for 2 minutes. Add remaining milk, eggs and vanilla and beat for 2 minutes longer. Fold in the butterscotch chips and spoon the batter into the cake pan and bake for 30-35 minutes until the sides pull away slightly from the the tin and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool.

While the cake is baking, prepare the frosting. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the lemon juice and mashed bananas and beat until smooth. Fill and frost the cake.

Beet Salad

This Beet salad is one of my favourites. It’s really easy to put together and tastes delicious.

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Packed with essential nutrients, beetroots are a great source of fibre, folate (vitamin B9), manganese, potassium, iron, and vitamin C. Beetroots and beetroot juice have been associated with numerous health benefits, including improved blood flow, lower blood pressure, and increased exercise performance.

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PREP: 15 minutes COOK TIME: 10-15 minutes Serves: 4-6

Ingredients

4 beets, peeled and sliced thinly

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp dried herbs

For the dressing

2 tbsp olive oil

11/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 tsp red chilli powder

2 tbsp tomato ketchup

Salt to taste

Instructions

Place the sliced beets in a steamer and cook until they are tender. Remove from heat and arrange them attractively on a plate.

Place all the ingredients for the dressing in a screw topped jar and shake vigorously until well combined. Pour the dressing over the beets and sprinkle the garlic and herbs on top. Serve immediately.

Mango Custard with Grapes

The summer brings forth the mango season and though I missed a good part of the season due to the lock down, I still managed to make a few dishes using this golden fruit. There’s nothing quite like the perfume of mangoes wafting through the kitchen. It’s just lovely!

I had this idea to make mango custard. It turned out to be a great success. Everybody loved it. I have used grapes, but you can use any fruit of your choice. It’s a light and refreshing end to a summer meal.

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You can serve this silky, smooth custard warm or chilled. Either way, it’s a refreshing and unusual dessert. Sponge fingers would be ideal to serve with this custard.

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PREP: 15 minutes COOK TIME: 20 minutes

Ingredients

3 egg yolks

1 tsp cornflour

4 tbsp sugar

2 cups milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

A pinch of saffron

1 large mango, cubed

A few grapes, deseeded

Instructions

Mix the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour to a paste in a pan. Add the milk and saffron and cook over moderate heat, stirring continuously until the mixture is thickened. Remove from heat and let the custard cool. Add the vanilla extract.

Blend a cup of the custard with the mangoes until the mixture is smooth and free of lumps. Add the blended mixture back to the custard and mix well.

Place the grapes in the bottom of four individual glasses and spoon the custard over them. Serve warm or chilled with sponge fingers.

Naan Pizza

Naan breads are readily available and they come in really handy when you want a quick snack or dinner. They are perfect as a pizza base and you can use any topping of your choice.

I usually prefer to make the naan from scratch. A healthier option would be to use wheat flour instead of all purpose flour or maybe a combination of both. They all taste equally good.

I used some sour cream as a topping though cheese would be great as well. I made some curried soy mince and used that as a topping. It was filling and delicious.

Any tomato sauce or tomato pulp from a jar would be suitable to use.

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PREP: 40 minutes COOK TIME: 10-15 minutes

Ingredients

1 naan bread

2 tbsp tomato sauce

½ cup soy mince

2 tbsp sour cream

Dried herbs

For the soy mince:

100 gms textured soy chunks

1 onion, chopped finely

2-3 tbsp curry powder

1 tsp red chilli powder

1 tsp turmeric powder

2 tbsp vegetable oil

Instructions

Soak the soy chunks in hot water for 30 minutes and drain. Follow the directions on the pack. Mince the soy chunks in a blender or processor.

Heat the oil and add the onions. When they are cooked, add all the spices with 2 tablespoons of water. Add the minced soy immediately and mix well. The mixture should be dry.

Place the naan on a lined baking sheet and spread the tomato sauce over it. Spoon the soy mince over the tomato sauce and bake for 5 minutes. Top with sour cream. Garnish with dried herbs and serve hot.

Strawberry Bread

I found this intriguing recipe just when I had made strawberry preserve. It seemed the perfect time to make it.

The bread was moist and delicious. Though the original recipe had about 1 tablespoon of red colouring, I decided to add just a few drops of red colouring so that it would be pink and the strawberries would stand out.

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A nice tea time treat for the entire family! Juicy strawberries baked into a bread – what could be better? This recipe makes two loaves of bread.

This recipe is from American Cooking.

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PREP: 15 minutes COOK TIME: 45 minutes

Ingredients

1 cup butter

1 ½ cups sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp salt

1 tsp lemon juice

4 eggs

½ tsp baking soda

½ cup sour cream

3 cups flour

½ cup chopped nuts

1 cup strawberry preserve

A few drops red colouring

Instructions

Grease and flour two loaf pans.

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Blend butter, sugar, vanilla, salt and lemon juice. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Dissolve soda in sour cream and add it to the egg mixture. Fold in flour, nuts, strawberry preserve and the colouring. Spoon the batter into the loaf pans. Bake for about 40-45 minutes or until the bread pulls away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Marmite-roast Potatoes

These Marmite roast potatoes are so good that you will definitely make them often as I have. I love Marmite and Vegemite. My favourite snack is Marmite on toast with some cheese. I used Marmite but you can also use Vegemite.

A single serving contains 17pc of your recommended daily allowance of Vitamin B1 (thiamin), 18pc of B2, and 36pc of B3. These vitamins are essential for eye and skin health, as well as protecting your nervous system and helping you to break down the energy from food.

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The savoury taste of the potatoes is absolutely delicious besides being so easy to make. I made some scrambled eggs to go with the roast potatoes and had them with toast. My family loved it. It’s perfect to have for breakfast/brunch.

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I got this recipe from Good Housekeeping.

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PREP: 25 minutes COOK TIME: 1 hour 15 minutes SERVES: 4-6

Ingredients

1 kg floury potatoes

1 tsp Marmite

6 tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 190C.

Peel the potatoes and cut into large even sized chunks. Boil in a large pan with enough water to cover them. Simmer for 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix the marmite and olive oil in a small bowl. Empty this mixture into a roasting tin large enough to fit the potatoes in a single layer. Heat this in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Drain the potatoes and steam dry in the colander for three minutes. Shake well to ruff up the edges (do this in batches if easier).

Add the potatoes with some seasoning to the hot marmite mixture and toss well to coat them evenly with the mixture. Roast for 1 hour until golden, basting/turning occasionally. Transfer to a warm plate and serve immediately.

Summer Tomato Pasta

A delicious light pasta dish that is simple to make and so refreshing for the summer. This dish is perfect with a green salad and a glass of wine. Buffalo-milk mozzarella really brings out the flavour. You can also use ordinary mozzarella.

I used Fusili pasta but you can use Penne or any other pasta that you prefer. Use firm tomatoes as it is easier to remove the seeds. Other herbs can also be used instead of basil. The Greek yogurt made all the difference to this dish. It was so creamy but without the richness and heaviness of fresh cream.

This recipe has been adapted from Vegetarian by Nicola Graimes.

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PREP: 15 minutes COOK TIME: 10-15 minutes SERVES: 4

Ingredients

21/2 cups dried pasta

450 gms plum tomatoes

275 gms mozzarella, drained

4 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp vinegar

Grated juice and rind of 1 lemon

15 fresh basil leaves, shredded

1 cup Greek yogurt

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Fresh basil leaves to garnish

Instructions

Cook the pasta in boiling salted water, according to the package instructions, until just tender.

While the pasta is cooking, quarter the tomatoes and remove the seeds. Chop the flesh into small cubes. Slice the mozzarella into similar sized pieces.

Mix together the olive oil, vinegar, grated lemon rind, 1 tbsp of the lemon juice and the basil. Mix well. Add this to the yogurt along with the salt and pepper, tomatoes and mozzarella. Mix well and let it stand until the pasta has cooked.

Drain the pasta thoroughly and toss with the yogurt mixture. Serve immediately garnished with a few fresh basil leaves.

Lace Cookies

These cookies are a breeze. You just have to mix the ingredients together and drop them on the cookie sheet. And they taste wonderful!

You can store them in an air tight container for up to a week. That is if they last that long. They disappeared within a couple of days in my home.

This recipe makes around 36 cookies.

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PREP: 10 minutes COOK TIME: 15 minutes

Ingredients

½ cup butter

½ cup sugar

1/3 cup flour, sifted

¼ tsp salt

1 cup quick cooking oats

2 tbsp milk

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 190 C.

Grease and flour two cookie sheets.

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in the remaining ingredients and mix well. Drop by teaspoonfuls about 3 inches apart on the cookie sheets. Spread thin with a spatula. Bake for 5-7 minutes or until the edges are brown. Remove from the oven and let stand for 1 minute. Remove the cookies from the cookie sheet carefully with a wide spatula. Cookies will be thin and lacy. Cool thoroughly.