Thursday, 18 October 2012

Chilli con carne

This is yet another instalment of 'things I cooked ages ago and have yet to upload because I'm a fail at life.' During the summer, we met up with Klaus and Erika. Mum spent a summer with them in Germany 'many moons ago' (her words, not mine!) and since we were in the area, we popped in to see them.  Erika made us the most delicious chilli con carne which was so tasty, even to my spice-phobic taste buds!!!

When it came to attempting to replicate the pure loveliness, I was surprised at just how close my version came to the real deal! Unfortunately, rather than finding a normal strength chilli sauce, I could only find an extra hot version which personally, I think I put in too much of, but dad said that he really liked it (obviously he has a higher spice threshold!) Still, I will keep an eye out for a slightly milder version for next time but apart from that... I wouldn't change a thing!

Klaus und Erika's chilli

(serves 6 people)

500g minced beef or pork or a mixture of both
2 tbsps. of oil
3 medium onions chopped
1 large or two small tins of red kidney beans (thoroughly drained)
1 large green pepper de-seeded and chopped
½ red pepper de-seeded and chopped
1 small tin of tomato
250ml chilli sauce
about 300ml of hot water
salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the onions gently for a few minutes. Turn the heat up, add the minced meat and brown it well, stirring just a tad. Add the kidney beans, chilli sauce, water, peppers and tinned tomatoes to the pot before letting everything simmer for about 20 minutes.
Add the water to the pot (and you may also want to add some stock - I didn't.)
Serve with some French bread and enjoy!

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Strawberry and white chocolate cheesecake

BBC Good Food... yas, man. I kid you not, sad as this may sound, I think that this is my favourite website!

Perhaps it's a sign of my skill level that this turned out well - no oven use necessary, just a bit of sneaky fridg-ing/freezer-ing. While the cheesecake didn't take all that long to prepare, it did require a good amount of setting time and due to time constraints, had to get chucked in our freezer. I took it out of the freezer about half an hour before serving and put it into the fridge for a final twenty-five minutes.

Although fairly sweet, its not aaaah-my-teeth-are-going-to-fall-out sweet so it worked well after dinner. The best thing is, though, you can put it back in the fridge after the meal if there is any left at all!

175g shortbread biscuits (digestives worked well)
50g unsalted butter, softened
200g melted white chocolate
300g medium fat soft cream cheese (i.e. Philly <3 )
200g fromage frais
225g roughly chopped strawberries

1) Crush the shortbread biscuits until they resemble bread crumbs. Mix the biscuit crumbs together with the softened butter and press firmly onto the base and sides of a 20cm springform tin. Refrigerate until needed. Melt the white chocolate in a bowl in the microwave and set aside until needed.
2) Beat together the cream cheese and fromage frais until smooth and thick. Add the strawberries to the cheese mixture with the melted chocolate and mix. Spoon the cheesecake filling onto the biscuit base. Level the top and chill for about 4 hours until set. (With freezer use, 2.5 hours is just about long enough!)

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Orange cake (Meg's favourite, apparently!)

I don't profess to be a proficient baker. Truth be told, I never stray much further than the occasional batch of cupcakes and a tray bake. Not this time though! Oh no, for the first time ever I made an actual cake. As in an actual three layer cake. (In spite of the fact that only two are visible here, I did bake three - the only problem was that I have but two cake tins.)

Taste: good.
Presentation: shocking.
My bad!

Obviously, actually icing a cake is a skill that requires development and practice. Clearly I have yet to participate in such practice! I'm just thankful that lil sis had left her glasses upstairs when I put the cake on the table - no scathing comments for me!

This recipe comes from - definitely worth a look!

 2 1/2 cups of plain flour                                              1 stick butter, softened
1 3/4 cups of sugar                                                      680g cream cheese
1 1/2 tsps bicarbonate of soda                                     1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 tsp baking powder                                                    4 cups icing sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup fresh orange juice
3 large eggs
1 cup sour cream

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line 3 9-inch cake tins with baking parchment. In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, bicarb, baking powder and salt before adding the oil, orange juice, eggs and sour cream. Beat at a medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Pour into the cake tins and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a wooden prick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing and letting them cool completely on wire racks. 
2. In another large bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese for the icing at medium speed until creamy. Add the orange juice, beating until combined and then gradually add the icing sugar, beating until smooth. 
3. For assembly, check out since I am evidently completely incapable of doing a good job! With a bit of skill, that I do not possess, this is how beautiful the cake can look!