Author Archives: devikaskitchen

Hummingbird Cake

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Hummingbird Cake

A Jamie Oliver recipe – this cake has been around for ages.  It’s gorgeous and very easy to make. I wish I had taken a picture when I cut the cake because it looked fabulous – I will be making this again so watch this space.

Ingredients – Cake

  • 250 ml olive oil plus extra for greasing
  • 350g self-raising flour
  • 1 level tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 350g golden caster sugar
  • 4 medium very ripe bananas
  • 1 x 425g  tin of pineapple chunks
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 50g pecans
  • pinch salt

Ingredients – Icing

  • 400g icing sugar
  • 150g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 200g cream cheese

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180 deg C. Grease and line two 23 cm cake tins.  
  • Sift the flour and cinnamon in a bowl, add sugar and large pinch of salt.  
  • Peel the bananas and mash them with a fork in another bowl.
  • Drain and finely chop the pineapple, add to bananas with oil, eggs and vanilla extract.
  • Mix until combined and fold into dry ingredients until smooth.
  • Finely chop pecans and gently fold in, and divide batter between two tins
  • Bake for 35 – 40 mins or until risen and golden brown. Run a knife around edge of tins, then leave to cool for 10 mins before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
  • Sift icing sugar into a bowl, add butter and beat until pale and creamy. 
  • Add cream cheese, finely grate zest of 1 lime and a little squeeze of juice, then beat until just smooth.  Important that you don’t over beat this mixture.
  • To assemble the cake, place one sponge on a cake stand, and spread with half the icing.  Top with the other sponge, spread over the rest of the icing, then grate  over the zest of the remaining lime. Scatter with chopped pecans.

Note: Jame Oliver did make a pecan brittle topping which he sprinkled over the icing. I didn’t add that step because I sprinkled chopped pecans. When eventually I go down the path of making the brittle- I will add it.

 

 

Nigella’s Basic Chocolate Cake

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This is Nigella’s basic chocolate cake recipe  from her website –  simply delicious. I heated it in the microwave for 10 seconds and the chocolate icing just oozed down the cake – yummy!!

Ingredients – Cake

200 grams plain flour
200 grams caster sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
40 grams best-quality cocoa powder
175 grams soft unsalted butter
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
150 ml sour cream

Ingredients – Icing 

75 grams unsalted butter
175 grams best quality dark chocolate (broken into small pieces)
300 grams icing sugar
1 tablespoon golden syrup
125 ml sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method

Take everything out of the fridge so that all the ingredients can come to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C/350ºF and line and butter two 20cm / 8 inch sandwich tins with removable bases.
Put all the cake ingredients – flour, sugar, baking powder and bicarb, cocoa, butter, eggs, vanilla and sour cream – into a food processor and process until you have a smooth, thick batter. If you want to go the long way around, just mix the flour, sugar and leavening agents in a large bowl and beat in the soft butter until you have a combined and creamy mixture. Now whisk together the cocoa, sour cream, vanilla and eggs and beat this into your bowl of mixture.
Divide this batter, using a rubber spatula to help you scrape and spread, into the prepared tins and bake until a cake tester, or a thin skewer, comes out clean, which should be about 35 minutes, but it is wise to start checking at 25. Also, it might make sense to switch the two cakes around in the oven halfway through cooking time.
Remove the cakes, in their tins, to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes before turning out of their tins. Don’t worry about any cracks as they will easily be covered by the icing later.
To make this icing, melt the butter and chocolate in a good-sized bowl either in the microwave or suspended over a pan of simmering water. Go slowly either way: you don’t want any burning or seizing.
While the chocolate and butter are cooling a little, sieve the icing sugar into another bowl. Or, easier still, put the icing sugar into the food processor and blitz. This is by far and away the least tedious way of removing lumps.
Add the golden syrup to the cooled chocolate mixture, followed by the sour cream and vanilla and then when all this is combined whisk in the sieved icing sugar. Or just pour this mixture down the funnel of the food processor on to the icing sugar, with the motor running.
When you’ve done, you may need to add a little boiling water – say a teaspoon or so – or indeed some more icing sugar: it depends on whether you need the icing to be runnier or thicker; or indeed it may be right as it is. It should be liquid enough to coat easily, but thick enough not to drip off.
Choose your cake stand or plate and cut out four strips of baking parchment to form a square outline on it (this stops the icing running on to the plate). Then sit one of the cakes, uppermost (ie slightly domed) side down.
Spoon about a third of the icing on to the centre of the cake half and spread with a knife or spatula until you cover the top of it evenly. Sit the other cake on top, normal way up, pressing gently to sandwich the two together.
Spoon another third of the icing on to the top of the cake and spread it in a swirly, textured way (though you can go for a smooth finish if you prefer, and have the patience). Spread the sides of the cake with the remaining icing and leave a few minutes till set, then carefully pull away the paper strips.

Baked sweet potato with feta and olives

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My mother in law sent this recipe in the mail. If you like sweet potato and feta (which I love), then this recipe is for you.  

Ingredients

4 smallish sweet potatoes
Olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup Kalamata olives
1 cup coriander leaves roughly chopped
200g feta cheese roughly crumbled
1 red chilli chopped or to your taste
1 tsp fennel seeds roughly ground
1 tsp cumin seeds ground
1 tsp coriander seeds ground
1 1/2 tsp crushed garlic
1/4 olive oil for dressing

Method
Place the sweet potatoes on a lined baking sheet. Prick them a couple of times ( to stop them from exploding in the oven). Lightly oil them and season well. Roast in a 200 deg C oven till tender – about 40 mins.
Meanwhile combine olives and coriander in a small bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl combine feta and remaking ingredients. One the sweet potatoes are cooked, slice it lengthwise, season. Spoon in a portion of feta mix and top with olive and coriander.

Tip: Cut the sweet potato into cubes and then roast add baby spinach and cherry tomatoes to turn this into a salad.

Saudi Spinach with Chickpeas

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Ingredients

3 tbsp ghee
1 tsp yellow asafoetida powder
1 cup tomato purée
3 cups cooked chickpeas
450g spinach leaves blanched, drained and chopped
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp baharat **
1 tbsp lemon juice
2-3 tbsp chopped parsley for garnish

Method

Heat the ghee in a medium saucepan over moderate heat. Sprinkle in the asafoetida and fry.
Pour in the tomato purée and cook for 2-3 minutes stirring occasionally until slightly reduced.
Fold the cooked chickpeas into the tomato purée, along with blanched spinach, the salt, pepper, sugar and baharat.
Reduce the heat and cook for an extra 2-3 minutes.
Serve hot,garnished with drizzles of ghee, lemon juice and a sprinkle of fresh parsley.

***Baharat – you can buy this from a middle eastern grocery store.

Spinach with Mushrooms and Red Peppers

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Ingredients

450g fresh or frozen spinach
2 tbsp oil
2 small onions chopped
6-8 curry leavesOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
1 tsp garlic crushed
1 tsp ginger pulp
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp onion seeds
1 large red pepper seeded and sliced
1 1/2 cup mushrooms roughly chopped
1 cup low fat fromage frais (see below)
2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves chopped

 

Method

If using fresh spinach, blanch it briefly in boiling water and drain. If using frozen spinach, thaw and drain. Set aside

Heat oil in a wok or frying pan and fry the onions and curry leaves and onion seeds for 1-2 minutes. Add the garlic,ginger,chilli powder, salt and ground ginger. Fry for 2-3 minutes.

Add half the red peppers and mushrooms and continue to fry for 2-3 minutes.

Add the spinach and fry for 4-6 minutes, then add the fromage frais and fresh coriander, followed by remaining red pepper slices. Fry for another 2 mins before serving, garnished with coriander leaves.

 

NB: Fromage Frais – we can’t buy this in supermarkets in Aust, so use 1/2 cream cheese and 1/2 natural yoghurt. I made this twice – using fresh spinach as well frozen – refer pictures.  For an alternate taste i used cream instead of fromage frais.

Leek and Bacon Tart

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Ingredients

For the pastry

  • 275g plain flourOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  • pinch of salt
  • 175g butter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3 tbsp very cold water

For the filling

  • 225g middle bacon rashers, diced
  • 4 leeks
  • 6 eggs
  • 115g cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp mild mustard
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • salt and ground black pepper

Method

  1. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl, and rub in the butter until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Add the egg yolks and just enough water to combine the dough. Wrap the dough in cling wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200 deg C. Roll out the pastry thinly and use to line 6-8 tartlet tins or a 28cm tart dish. Remove any air pocket and prick the base with a fork. Line the pastry loosely with baking paper, weigh down with baking beans and bake the pastry shell blind for 15 minutes or until golden.
  3. To make the filling, cook the bacon in a hot pan until crisp. Add the leeks and continue to cook for 3-4 minutes until just softening. Remove from the heat.  In a bowl, beat the eggs, cream cheese, mustard, cayenne pepper and seasoning together, then add the leeks and bacon.
  4. Remove the paper and baking beans from the tartlet tins or tart dish, pour in the filling and bake for 35-40 minutes
  5. Serve warm with a small salad.

 

Fruit and Nut breakfast bars

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I said this was the best breakfast bars I have ever baked.  I  picked up this recipe from an Aldi pamphlet.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup dried fruit roughly chopped ( I used dates, figs and apricots)
  • 1 cup trail mix 
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup pepita seeds
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 3 tbsp natural sweetener – Stevia or Equal
  • pinch of ground ginger
  • pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • extra cranberries and pepita seeds to sprinkle on top.

Method

  • Preheat a fan forced oven to 180 deg C.
  • Combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  
  • Add butter and honey to a saucepan and stir over low heat until the butter has melted and mixture has combined.
  • Pour mixture over the dry ingredients and stir.
  • Press mixture into a greased lined 18cm x 27cm slice tin.
  • Scatter and press extra cranberries and pepita seeds over the top.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. 
  • Allow to stand for 5 minutes before transferring to fridge and allowing to set.
  • Cut into bars or squares before serving.

 

 

Manu Feidel’s Braised Lamb Shanks in Red Wine

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For those of you who don’t know –  Manu Feidel is a French chef who hosts a program called “My Kitchen Rules”  He is renowned for his love of copious amounts of sauce. This particular sauce has subtle layers of flavour but the hint of cinnamon just drives your palate crazy – well it drives mine crazy. Serve this with mash and heaven is created in your mouth.  Manu did use Veal Shanks in this recipe but I used Lamb Shanks.

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 60g cold unsalted butter, chopped
  • 4 Lamb shanks (about 500g each)
  • 1 onion cut into 2 cm pieces
  • 1 carrot cut into 2 cm pieces
  • 1 leek white part only cut into 2 cm pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, bruised
  • 375ml red wine
  • 1 litre brown chicken stock
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 10 juniper berries
  • 125 balsamic vinegar

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 deg C.
  2. Heat the olive oil sand 20g of the butter in a large casserole pot over medium heat. When the butter starts to foam, add the shanks and cook for 5 mins until browned all over.  Remove the shanks and add onion, garlic, carrots, leek and stir for 6-8 minutes or until golden.
  3. Return shanks to the pan, than add the wine and bring to the boil.  Ad the stock, thyme, rosemary, cinnamon, juniper berries and balsamic vinegar.  Bring to the boil again, cover with a piece of baking paper (cartouche), then seal with a  lid and bake, turning the shanks once, for 2 hours or until the meat almost falls off the bone.
  4. Remove the shanks from the sauce, then strain the sauce through a fine mesh sieve into a clean pan, pressing down on the solids with the back of a ladle to extract as much flavour as possible. Simmer the  sauce for 20 minutes or until it has reduced by half, then whisk in the remaining 40g of butter , one piece at a time.
  5. To serve, check the seasoning of the sauce and then pour it over the shanks. Serve with mash if desired.

TIP: After adding the wine and herbs and bringing it to the boil you can move this into a slow cooker and cook for 3-4 hours or until the meat is falling off the bone.  Pick up the process from Step 4 once the meat is cooked

 

 

 

carrot, ginger, and walnut cupcakes

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I have baked a lot of cakes in my time but this one has become my all time favourite. Its a recipe from Leila Lindholm.

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Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 270g caster sugar
  • 180g plain flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar ( I use vanilla paste)
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 150ml  sunflower oil
  • 450g grated carrots
  • 100g walnuts chopped
  • whole walnuts for decoration

Cream Cheese Lime Frosting

  • 65g soft butter
  • 300g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 100g cream cheese

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 175 Dec C.

2. Beat the eggs and the sugar until pale and fluffy.

3. Mix together the dry ingredients and fold into the egg mixture.

4. Stir in the oil, carrots and coarsely chopped walnuts.

5.  Put paper cases in a muffin tin and pour in the mixture until the cases are tow-thirds full.

6. Bake in the centre  of the oven for 12-15 mins. Leave to cool.

7. Make the frosting by mixing together the ingredients until creamy.

8. Spread the frosting on top of the cupcakes and decorate each one with a  whole walnut.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Potato and Leek Soup

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This is a simple but delicious soup – a must for this cold winter…

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Ingredients

2 medium potatoes (400g) chopped coarsely
2 medium carrots (240g) chopped coarsely
1 large brown onion
1 medium tomato
1 trimmed celery stalk chopped coarsely
1.5 litres water (6 cups)
1 tbsp olive oil
50g butter
4 medium potatoes (800g) chopped coarsely, extra
1 large leek (500g), sliced thickly
300ml cream
2 tbsp finely chopped chives
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh dill

Method
Combine potato, carrot,onion, celery and water in a large saucepan, bring to boil. Reduce heat, simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes. Strain broth through colander into a large heatproof bowl, discard solids.

Heat oil and butter in same cleaned pan; cook extra potato and leek, covered 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer covered, 15 minutes. Cool 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make croutons.

Blend or process soup until smooth. Return to same pan and add cream, stir over medium heat until hot.

Serve bowls of soup sprinkled with combined herbs topped with croutons.