Peanut butter mince pies

I was eating toast with peanut butter and fig jam and getting ready to make mince pies when I had a brainwave: what about adding peanut butter to the mince pies? It’s the same combo as PB and jam… the addition ended up being pretty successful (if I do say so myself). The result: super easy mince pies with a twist. I’m going to be making these all this week for my family.

Make about 12 mince pies

1 roll of ready-made shortcrust pastry, defrosted in the fridge
About half a jar of fruit mince (make sure it doesn’t contain suet if you’re vegetarian)
12 tablespoons peanut butter (I prefer organic sugar- and salt- free PB)
1 free-range egg, beaten

Roll out the pastry on a floured surface to make it about the thickness of a R5 coin. Cut out circles using a mug or glass and then roll up the remainder of the pastry and roll out again to cut more circles until it is all used up. Fill half of the circles with a tablespoon of peanut butter and a tablespoon of fruit mince  and use the remainding circles as lids, using a bit of water to seal the two together. Pinch the two circles together to seal firmly. Place the mince pies in a greased muffin pan and poke the top of each with a fork. Brush over a bit of beaten egg on top of each mince pie. Place in a 180C oven for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the mince pies are golden.

Super healthy banana and cinnamon muffins

I had some seriously ripe bananas that were about to expire in my fruit bowl this week, and I hate throwing away food so I had to do something with them. I didn’t have a whole lot of ingredients at home, so I just made up a recipe from what I had and it turned out really well. These healthy banana and cinnamon muffins have no sugar and are low in fat so they’re completely guilt-free. I’ve been eating them as a pre-exercise snack – they’re great if you need something to tide you over if you go for an early morning run.

Super healthy banana and cinnamon muffins

Makes about 14 muffins

  • 3 seriously over-ripe bananas, mashed
  • 175 plain low-fat or fat-free yoghurt
  • 4 tablespoons canola oil
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • A handful of raisins or sultanas (or a mix)
  • A generous pinch of cinnamon
  • A handful of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and linseeds
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup bran

Mix together all the wet ingredients. Add all the dry ingredients one by one, stirring well. Once combined, pour into the mixture into greased muffin pans, filling each pan 3/4 full. Bake in a 180 C oven for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until the muffins start turning golden.

Chocolate and banana mattress pancake

I got this pancake recipe from my new favourite food blog, afoodieliveshere and tried it out for breakfast on my recent camping trip to Beaverlac in the Cederberg (lovely campsite, by the way). I added cocoa for a bit of chocolateyness, and changed the name to mattress pancakes. This is a no-fuss solid mass of pancake that can be cut up like a pizza to feed your hungry camping friends. Bring along some honey to drizzle over the pancake slices, and you’ll have a breakfast for camping champions.

Makes one giant mattress pancake

1 cup self-raising flour
1 cup cold milk
2 large free-range eggs, beaten
3 T sugar
1 T cocoa powder
1 banana, chopped

If you’re an organised camper, you could mix all the dry ingredients together and store in a tupperware container for your camping trip. If you’re like me and you throw a whole lot of things into a bag when you go on a trip without much organisation, then it’s easy to mix together the ingredients when you’re there. Mix the dry ingredients together first, then make a well in the centre and break in the eggs. Add the milk slowly and mix thoroughly. Mix in the banana and heat up some butter in a frying pan over a gas cooker. Pour in the pancake mixture in one go and cook until the bottom is pretty solid. Flip over with some confidence (you may need an extra pair of hands to help with this) and cook over on the other side until golden.

Healthyish banana bread

I’ve never actually baked banana bread before until the other night. There were a couple of overripe bananas in the fruit bowl that I was just about to throw away when I realised I had all the ingredients for banana bread. I found this super easy, healthy-ish recipe on this blog. It’s a one-bowl recipe – my favourite.

1 ½ cups mashed very ripe banana (about 3 medium bananas)
2 eggs
2 ½ cups flour
1 ¼ cups brown sugar
2/3 cup plain yoghurt
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix all the ingredients together in pour into a greased loaf tin. Bake in a 180C oven for about 50 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick or knife comes out clean.

You’re supposed to let it cool before eating but I was hungry and it smelled so good, so I cut it into thick slices while still hot and smothered them with salted butter. Delish!

Baked apricot and ricotta cheesecake

This is one of the best things I cooked in Italy (if I do say so myself). I love baked cheesecake, especially when it’s light and fluffy. This one is reminiscent of a souffle in its fluffiness. There are such beautiful apricots in season in Italy, so I couldn’t not cook something with them. If you want to make this and it’s not apricot season, I reckon other stone fruit would work well – try plums, nectarines or peaches. I do love the tangyness and the bright orange of the apricots though.

For the base:

  • 170g crushed digestives (I used an Italian brand – wholewheat with bits of dried fruit)
  • 125g melted unsalted butter
  • 12 apricots, cut in half and stones removed
  • 30ml sugar
  • 750ml water

For the filling:

  • 500g ricotta
  • 80ml cream
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 80g sugar

For the base, mix together the biscuits and butter and spread across the base of a cake tin. Cover with clingfilm and leave in the fridge for an hour or two.

Meanwhile, poach the apricots in the sugar and water on a low heat until the apricots start to soften and the skin wrinkles (should be about 10 minutes).

To make the filling, mix together the ricotta, cream, lemon zest, sugar and egg yolks. Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff. Fold in gently into the ricotta mixture. Lay the apricots, cut side down, on top of the biscuit base. Cover with the filling and bake in the oven at 180C for an hour.