Orange and Blueberry Yogurt Tarts

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It’s full Summer here and that means it’s tart season. Cooking for two means that most of my recipes are for two little tarts, like these refreshing ones. Full of oats and yogurt and fruit means that they make an excellent dessert AND breakfast!

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I’ve never made a tart base like this, but it’s based on a recipe for cookies that I have involving blending oats, banana and other goodies. It seems to work, but it’s not a shortcrust replacement yet πŸ˜‰

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Here is the recipe! πŸ˜€

Orange Yogurt Tarts
Ingredients:
Oat crust:
1 cup oats
1 Tbsp ground almonds (optional)
Pinch of anise seeds
Zest of half an orange
20g butter (softened)/coconut butter/vegan spread
Bit of any sugar or honey
About 5cm worth of banana
Filling:
1&1/2 egg whites
1/4 cup yogurt
Orange Zest
Handful blueberries
To top:
Sliced Orange

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius and find your two 10cm diameter tartlet tins. That includes the bases, they are known to escape…..

In a little blender, whiz together the base ingredients until smooth. You could do this by hand, it would just take a little longer πŸ™‚ Press into the tartlet tins and bake for about 20 minutes, until golden. Set aside to cool slightly while you make the filling, leaving the oven on.

For the filling, whisk the egg whites until slightly frothy and all the protein gloops have separated. Mix in the yogurt and orange zest. Sprinkle the blueberries into the tart shells and pour the filling on top. You may have a little leftover, but the aim is to fill to the top. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes until the filling is set and only slightly wobbly in the middle. Cool in the tins.

When ready to serve, unmold from the tins and segment the orange. Arrange the orange slices on top of the tartlets and enjoy with a little more yogurt, or maybe some whipped (coconut) cream!

Makes two, best eaten on the day they are made, or else the shell gets a bit soggy.

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Whole Wheat Vegan Strawberry Tartlets

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With merely a handful of ingredients and nothing too complicated, these amazingly decadent but…. rather guilt-free (well, in terms of desserts) tartlets could be on your table sometime soon πŸ™‚

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Here in the Southern Hemisphere, it’s {approaching} berry season! All of sudden strawberries are so abundent we are almost paid to take them from other people’s hands!

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These tartlets have a berry filling from fresh berries, and it’s all pretty straightforward. You don’t need to bother with the heart decoration of course, maybe a lattice would do for you.

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I don’t see why you can’t use any other fresh berry in the place of strawberries; all berries go well with the chewy, nutty-ish crust of the tartlets! Enjoy πŸ™‚

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Whole Wheat Vegan Strawberry Tartlets (for two)
Ingredients:
Pastry:
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tbsp sugar
Orange zest
1/4 cup oil
2-3 Tbsp hot water
To fill:
1 cup strawberries, chopped
Orange juice
Balsamic vinegar

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and get out two small 10cm diameter tart pans.

Mix together the whole wheat flour, sugar and orange zest. Rub in the oil, followed by the hot water a bit at a time. When you have a thick dough, roll it all out until it is about 4mm thick. Very gently cut it in half and use each piece to line tart tin. Still being gentle πŸ™‚ Cut out little hearts from the rest of the pastry, re-rolling when needed.

Mix the chopped strawberries with a dash of orange juice and balsamic vinegar. Divide between the tart shells and arrange the pastry hearts around the edges.

Bake for 20 minutes, until golden and firm. Cool slightly and devour!

Makes two, and they are just as delicious the next day, reheated or not.

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Divine Sweet Vanilla Risotto with Red Fruits and Cinnamon

I present to you your next dessert or breakfast. It is delicious as either. Or maybe lunch, a snack, up to you!

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I had one in a cafe and was determined to recreate it at home. For once I think I did it better……..

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I have never tried or made rice pudding so I can’t compare then but I have a feeling they are similar. Also it is gluten free, which makes it a good alternative to porridge. I’d have it any day! I admit we were a bit lazy and used plums and berries that were already poached but you can use any fruit, fresh or cooked. I have a lot of ideas for sweet risottos now!

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It is a bit of a labour love but I found it doesn’t take as long as a savoury risotto so bonus! It’s worth the try at least once πŸ™‚ Here is the recipe:

Divine Sweet Vanilla Risotto with Red Fruits and Cinnamon
Ingredients:
Risotto:
About 2 cups milk
1/4 cup (or so) of sugar
1 cup risotto rice
Vanilla paste or essence
Knob of butter/margarine
To top:
Poached red fruits like berries and plums
Some cinnamon

Instructions:
In a medium sauce pan, gently heat about one cup of the milk with the sugar and vanilla until the sugar has dissolved. Add all of the rice and start mixing/ massaging the rice over the low heat. The rice will begin to plump up and absorb the delicious vanilla-scented milk. When the milk has almost been absorbed, add some more and keep stirring. After about 25-30 minutes, taste it to see how the rice is cooked. If it’s still too raw for your liking, keep adding milk until it is perfect. When it is done (you may like it firm to the bite or super creamy), take it off the heat and mix in the butter/margarine. Get out those plates and serve the risotto into it. Pour some fruits on top and dust with cinnamon!

Enjoy πŸ™‚

Makes about 4 servings and it lasts well in the fridge, you can heat it up the next day.

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Banana and Blackberry Cake (with Vegan Option)

I promised cake! πŸ˜€

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I went through a cake making craze this summer, and here is one of the results. I love the wreath of berries look, it seems very ‘Mother Nature’ to me.

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The cake itself is vegan, so it stays super moist and keeps really well. There is cream on top, but you can always use coconut cream instead, and the result will be just as billowy and delicious!

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If you don’t have any black berries on hand, then any other berry will do quite nicely. I’m sure even if you topped it with frozen berries, it will look divine.

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Please have a wonderful week everyone πŸ™‚ Sami xx

 

Banana and Blackberry Cake with Vegan Option
Ingredients:
Vegan Banana Cake:
300g flour
1&1/2 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
115g sugar
300g mashed banana
125mls water
80mls canola oil
To top:
180mls cream (or coconut cream for vegan)
25g icing sugar
A few blackberries
To fill:
Blackberry Jam, about half a cup
To decorate:
A handful of blackberries
Mint leaves

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and grease a 20cm diameter cake tin.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, salt and sugar until combined. In another bowl, mix together the banana, water and oil. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix gently until just combined. If necessary, add a splash more of water. Pour into the tin and bake the cake for about 45 minutes, until golden brown and a skewer comes out clean when inserted. Cool for about 10 minutes in the tin then flip onto a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the cream, crush the berries through a sieve so that you have some of the juice. Whip the cream and icing sugar until soft peaks form, then add the berry juice. If the colour isn’t as strong as you would like, add some more berry juice. Continue to whip until stiff peaks form.
To assemble, cut the cake in half horizontally. Spread some jam on the top of the bottom half, almost touching the edges. Spread about 1/3 of the cream on top of the jam, making sure you almost touch the edges too. Put the top half in place, being careful not to press down too much. Spread the rest of the cream on top of the cake. Arrange the berries around the edges like an adorable wee crown. Add some mint leaves to garnish. Serve and bask in your Earth God/dess goodness!
Serves about 10 nicely.
The cake itself keeps un-iced etc for a few days in an airtight container. The colour of the cream fades a bit after about an hour.
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Nutella and Berry Filled Cookies

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Fun fact! World Nutella Day is the the 5th of February, which is pretty soon actually….. And, it even celebrates it’s 50th birthday being labelled as ‘Nutella’ this year, how lovely πŸ™‚ Happy Birthday you beautiful thing you!

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I think Europe is fueled by this stuff. Possibly the entire Western world. You’ve tried it, I’m sure of it πŸ˜‰ I am unsure as to whether there is anyone who doesn’t like it. I digress! Anyway, these cookies turned out to be a bit of a pleasant mistake. They were originally going to be mini hand-pies but as goings in the kitchen do not always go to plan, they turned out slightly different.

Sometimes the Kitchen Goddess or Saint. Honore doesn’t exactly throw the odds in our favour, but as those brave enough to step into the kitchen at all, we do have some influence. These babies turned into cookies. But hey, it isn’t the end of the world. The rubbish was still collected the next day, I still had to go to school. Whilst baking can reduce us to tears, sometimes you just gotta breath and put the spatula down for a bit. Come back to it after reading a book or looking up more recipes.

Remember it will not be your last chance either! One day I shall succeed at hand pies, as will you succeed at your gastronomic Achilles Heel. It could be macarons or chiffon cake, Swiss Buttercream or truffles. I am sure even the culinary geniuses whose recipes we pour over on a daily basis have their weaknesses too!

I don’t usually ponder so much, so I’ll get to it πŸ™‚ Nutella and berries work a dream. Put them together into cute wee heart shapes and you are onto something good….. As I didn’t have a recipe for the pastry, it turned into cookie dough, but still worked well. You could use whatever you want to fill with the nutella really, peanut butter, white chocolate chips, banana, other berries. Up to you! πŸ™‚ Please enjoy, even if you just look at the pictures.
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Nutella and Berry Filled Cookies
Ingredients:
Pastry:
225g flour
30g sugar
75g butter, cold and cubed
5 Tbsp water or milk
To fill:
A few tablespoons berry jam or coulis
A few tablespoons chocolate hazelnut spread

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line or grease a baking tray.
In a food processor (or by hand, up to you!), pulse the flour, butter and sugar together until the butter is cut in and resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add a bit of water and pulse a bit more until a crumbly dough forms, then tip out onto a clean surface. Add the rest of the water bit by bit and work lightly until a soft dough forms. Roll out on a floured surface until about 4mm thick. Cut out ten hearts with a heart-shaped cookie cutter and place onto the baking tray. In the centre of each heart, place a teaspoon or so of hazelnut spread followed by a teaspoon or so of jam or coulis. Cut out ten more hearts in pastry and place gently on top. Seal carefully then poke a little hole in the top with a knife. Bake for 20 minutes, until very lightly golden and they move when lightly nudged. Cool in a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.
Makes 10

Berry Cheesecake Sunburst Tart

Summer is coming πŸ™‚
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Which means barbecues, late nights, tan lines and summer desserts; such as this one. I won’t ramble Β on too much, as the photos aren’t the greatest (it was Guy Fawkes, and most of the lights were off to maximise the effect of the fireworks outside) and I can only say so much about it!
It was an experiment and it was very successful at that.
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A crispy and buttery base, with whipped cream and a berry and cream cheese filling; delicious πŸ™‚ The chopped almonds were a last minute addition but they work very well indeed! I wouldn’t skip them when I make this again. Anyway, long story short, this is an easy and very pretty tart, that take less time and ingredients to make than a cheesecake, but certainly pays homage to it!

Berry Cheesecake Sunburst Tart
Ingredients:
Base:
25g desiccated coconut
150g flour
20g custard powder
55g sugar
65g butter
1 egg
A few drops of water if necessary
Topping:
200g frozen berries
50g honey
125g cream cheese
An extra 50g honey
125ml whipping cream
Handful of almonds

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Line a baking tray.
In a food processor, whizz up the coconut until about the consistency of ground almonds. Add the flour, custard powder and sugar and pulse until combined. Cube the butter and add the the processor, pusling until the texture resembles breadcrumbs. Tip into a bowl and add the egg, mixing until a dough forms (If it is still a little thick or crumbly, add a few drops of water). Shape into a circle on the tray, about 1 cm thick and 20cm in diameter. Prick on top with a fork and even out the edges. Bake for about 20 to 30 minutes, until firm. Cool on a wire rack.
Meanwhile, make the berry coulis. Over low heat, cook the berries and the honey until thick. Cool and strain with a sieve. In a bowl, mix the cream cheese and second lot of honey until smooth, then mix in the coulis. Freeze (or chill if you want) for about an hour.
When ready to assemble, whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Spoon into a piping bag with a star tip and pipe a border around the edge of the cookie base (I had JUST enough cream so if you are a little worried about the quantity, use about 150mls). Spoon the filling into the middle, so that it just fills the border made by the cream. Chop the almonds and sprinkle around the edges. Serve.
This lasts about an hour before the base goes a bit soft, but all the elements could be made ahead if needed!

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Β look forward to making many more tarts to share with you this summer!

Easy Chocolate Cake with Berry Frosting

Part two of the “Yay it’s the end of the year!” cake baking day. Even better, the cake itself is vegan!
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The frosting rosettes were ‘just because’ but if it’s not your style, it’s by no means necessary πŸ™‚ I iced the cake in an odd manner in the way that I frosted the top layer first, to make sure I had enough frosting for the rosettes, then did the filling, but you can do it as you wish! Any berries would go nicely, boysenberries and blueberries would give a purple colour and just strawberries would make it a lighter pink.
Anyway, here is the recipe. It’s quite a light cake and I would add about 1/4 cup more sugar next time.
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Easy Chocolate Cake with Berry Frosting
Ingredients:
Cake:
260g flour
10g cocoa
1&1/2 tsp baking soda
2/3 cup brown sugar
Β½ cup neutral oil
4 tsp vinegar
1&1/3 cup water
Frosting and Filling:
200g frozen mixed berries
20g honey
75g butter
150g icing sugar

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line two 22cm diameter circle cake tins with baking paper.
In a large bowl, mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and sugar. Make a well in the centre and pour in the oil, vinegar and water, then mix until combined. Divide evenly between the tins and bake for 35 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean when inserted. Leave to cool.
Meanwhile, make the berry coulis. Heat the berries and the honey over low heat until thick. Leave to cool and then chill until needed.
When ready to frost, strain about 1/3 of the coulis so it is seedless. Soften the butter and whip until pale, then add the icing sugar bit by bit until combined (I did this with an electric mixer), adding a bit of the strained coulis when it gets too thick. When light and fluffy and thick enough to pipe, spread enough frosting on the layer of cake that will be the top layer, so that there is a nice and smooth layer for the top. Spoon about half of what is left into a piping bag with a star tip and pipe a border of frosting on the top layer. Add as much coulis as you like to the rest of the frosting (not too much or the frosting turns a funny texture) then spread it onto the top of the other cake layer. If you have any coulis left, you can spread this on top of the filling. Now place the top cake layer on top of the bottom one, creating a two layered cake with a nice pink filling. Store in an airtight container. Lasts a few days when uniced, the cake keeps well.

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I am looking forward to fresh berries in summer πŸ™‚

Classic Pavlova

First post in a little while, apologies, but I have pavlova to make up for it! Whenever most Kiwis are asked to make something traditionally ‘NZ’, I think this is what most people come up with. Yes, there is still a debate between whether it’s origins lie in NZ or in Aussie, but hey, maybe we can share….. this one has kiwifruit to add to the kiwi-ness however.
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This pavlova was made in France. In fact, the last 3 times I made pavlova, it was in France…. I think it is safe to say it was very much enjoyed. It’s a Christmas favourite, due to the colours and the fact that it is much more summery than a Christmas pudding. My lovely French host sister described it as ‘tres beau’ and ‘like eating a cloud’! We made it again the next week.
It’s very easy too, and is a good way to use up egg whites! It is supposed to have corn flour in it to help with the texture but alas there was none; it still worked out great though!

Classic Pavlova
Ingredients:
4 egg whites, at room temperature
1 cup castor sugar
To decorate:
300ml whipping cream
Fresh fruit, such as kiwifruit and strawberries, chopped

Instructions:
Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
In a clean bowl, begin to whip the egg whites until bubbly. From then, add the sugar a tablespoon at a time and continue beating on high until stiff peaks are formed. Spread onto the tray into the desired shape.
TURN DOWN THE OVEN to 100 degrees Celsius and put in the pavlova. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until the crust is hard, but be careful not to brown it! Remove from the oven and cool completely.
To finish off, whip the cream until stiff peaks form and spread over the pavlova. Arrange the fruit on top. Done!
Serves 4-8
I would be careful not to put the cream on top more than a few hours before serving to make sure that the cream does not seep and ruin the nice crust on the outside. The dessert does keep well however, for a good few days in the fridge. This pavlova was made the day before and decorated on the day, and was delicious.

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Enjoy this wee slice of NZ and have a great day πŸ™‚

Angel Food Cake

Ah, what to do with egg whites? Either you have them, and cannot think of a way to use them up, or have a recipe that calls for too many and you end up with egg yolks for Africa…. Not this time! Thanks to a lovely meal of carbonara with penne liche (you can’t find penne liche in New Zealand, only the ones with ribbing, so this was a special occasion) I had the means to finally tick Angel Food Cake off the baking to-do list.
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This recipe only uses 5 whites, where as most recipes I found use at least 10, so it was a good thing that the tin I borrowed was small. Next time I would add a bit less sugar, but a I have never tried an Angel Food cake before this, maybe that is how they are supposed to be, a bit sticky. And hey, omit the cream on top and there is little fat to be found! I was say this is great for dieters but…. just because there is not much fat doesn’t make it healthy, let’ be honest.
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None the less it was delicious, and I am glad to have finally made it. When I think of the cake I am reminded of Woodstock and his little gang from Peanuts Comics for some reason, I think he or one of the other little birds has an obsession with Angel Food Cake with Seven Minute Frosting….

Angel Food Cake

Ingredients:
5 egg whites
Β½ tsp white vinegar
Β½ cup sugar
+1/2 cup flour and ΒΌ cup sugar

To serve:
Whipped cream
Berries, fresh or defrosted

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius. DON’T grease the pan! I used a 10cm deep, 25cm diameter ring/Angel Food cake pan.
Whip the egg whites with the vinegar until soft peaks form. Add the first lot of sugar gradually and whip until stiff peaks form. Mix the flour and second lot of sugar together. Fold into the egg whites, gently, until combined. Spread evenly into the cake tin. Bake for about half an hour, until lightly golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and cool the tin upside down.
When cool, use a knife to loosen the cake and flip it onto a plate. Spoon the whipped cream on top and decorate with berries. Serve.
Makes about 12 slices as big as the ones in the photos!

It’s that easy. I forgot how easy it would be to just whip egg whites and fold in flour, but I won’t complain!