Baked Crumbed Potato Balls

Crumbed potato balls 5 2I love potatoes. Everyone does. Even if they’re on a health kick and say they prefer cauliflower mash (shudder). They’re lying or in denial. The Husband is obsessed with mashed potatoes. I, on the other hand, prefer them roasted. I get bored of plain ol’ mash. There’s nothing wrong with it but I enjoy variety. Enter this recipe. Because the potatoes aren’t enough (when are they ever not enough?) I added cheese, formed balls and crumbed. Clearly that still wasn’t good enough so I drizzled butter over them and baked. I was pressed for time and didn’t fancy the idea of standing in the kitchen frying them while my guests were at the dinner table so I baked them. Try this. It’s easy, creamy, crispy and cheesy.

Baked Crumbed Potato Balls

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients for the mashed potatoes:
2kg potatoes, peeled and boiled
100g butter
⅓ cup milk
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly cracked black pepper

Ingredients for the potato balls:
2kg mashed potatoes (see mash recipe below)
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 eggs
75ml milk
100g corn flake crumbs
100g melted butter

Directions for the mash: 

Peel and boil the potatoes until soft, about 20 minutes in the microwave. Drain and mash. Add the butter and stir. Pour in the milk and sour cream, mix well and mash again. Sprinkle in the nutmeg, salt and black pepper. Give it one last good stir. It’s easier to work with the mash if it’s cold, so refrigerate it for an hour.

Directions for the potato balls:

Crumbed potato balls 1 21. Preheat your oven to 190°C (375°F). Once the mash has cooled, add the grated cheese and mix well, making sure it’s evenly distributed. Put two heaped tablespoons of mash in your hand and form into balls.

 

Crumbed potato balls 3 22. Mix the eggs in a bowl and add the milk. Stir to combine. Put the bread crumbs in a separate dish. Dip the potato balls into the egg mixture on all sides and roll in the bread crumbs, covering the whole ball. Repeat until you’ve used up all of the mash.

 

 

Crumbed potato balls 4 23. Put the balls into a large dish, heat the butter and drizzle over them. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes and serve fresh and hot. No one likes cold balls.

 

Words Crush Wednesday – Captain Jack Sparrow Edition

Really? We’re quoting Jack Sparrow now? He of the many layers of guyliner, beaded hair, perpetual swaying and too-much-wine shlurring? It seems so.

We all have problems, every single one of us. Show me a person with no problems and I’ll show you my cellulite-free thighs. When it comes to problems, challenges, dilemmas, whatever you want to call them, there is a very clear dichotomy: those who focus on the solution and those who dwell on the problem. Yes, it’s easy, and, to a degree, normal, to get caught up in a problem, especially when it’s overwhelming and seemingly insurmountable. But then, after however much time you need to process it, you face it. You explore possible solutions and employ one. Even if it’s difficult, even if it’s something you’re scared of, uncomfortable with, or daunted by. There are too many people in this world, however, who obsess over the problem. They become enveloped by the magnitude of it, or, quite simply, enjoy the drama.

Let me be clear – everyone has different coping mechanisms, that is not what I’m referring to here. That you practice said skills is the point. Lately there have been too many people around me who thrive on the histrionics of the problem and have no desire whatsoever to solve it or even attempt to identify a solution. If you approach it as something that has a solution, not just something that’s a never-ending pit of despair and complication, you are halfway there already. I’m not in the habit of quoting pirates, funny that, but this is exceptionally valid and right on point which makes it this week’s Words Crush Wednesday:

Jack Sparrow

Baked Vanilla Cheesecake

This. This is everything. Cheesecake is my faaaaaavourite summer dessert. It’s winter right now, but the sun was shining so why not? Come hither old friend!

Everything about this recipe is addictive. The biscuit base is thick, crunchy and buttery. You’ll see I use extra biscuit – I like a thicker base. The cheesecake is creamy, velvety and smooth. I highly recommend using vanilla pods for this one, but you can use vanilla essence in its place. 2 teaspoons should do it.

Baked Vanilla Cheesecake

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients:

Cheesecake ingredients

For the biscuit base:
150g melted butter + more for greasing the cake tin
300g Marie biscuits (or digestive biscuits)
75g caster sugar
For the cheesecake:
460g plain cream cheese, room temperature
200g caster sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons corn flour
250ml sour cream, room temperature
Seeds of 1 vanilla pod

Directions:

Cheesecake 1 21. Allow the cream cheese and sour cream to reach room temperature. Melt the butter in your microwave or on the stove. Break up the biscuits and blitz them in the food processor for 2 minutes until they resemble fine bread crumbs. Add the caster sugar and butter and blitz until well combined, about 30 seconds. Grease a 22cm springform cake tin with butter and pour the biscuit mixture into it. Level it with the back of a tablespoon until it’s smooth on top. Place the cake tin in the fridge for half an hour.

Cheesecake 3 22. After 20 minutes, preheat your oven to 150°C (300°F). Slice the vanilla pod in half, lengthways, and, holding the upturned end or ‘hook’ down, scrape out the vanilla seeds. Set aside. In your food processor, combine the cream cheese and caster sugar and process for 2 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Pour in the sour cream, corn flour and vanilla seeds and process for about a minute. Pour the cheesecake batter into your springform cake tin and bake in the middle shelf of your oven for an hour.

Cheesecake 5 23. Once it’s done, it will be golden brown and slightly firm to the touch. If it’s still too wet, bake for another 10 minutes. Once it’s done, leave the oven door slightly ajar and allow the cheesecake to cool down completely, about two hours, before transferring it to the fridge for a minimum of two hours but preferably overnight.

 

Cheesecake 6 24. You can serve it with an array of toppings – ice cream, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, strawberry compote. It’s up to you and it’s fun to be able to play around! You can also serve it as is. It’s packed with so much flavour that nothing is missing! Serve at room temperature.

 

Drunken Pulled Pork

No no, I wasn’t drunk! I did, however, get the food tipsy! I love the convenience factor of this recipe. That all you have to do is mix some stuff together (and, in my case, steal a beer from my husband), chop a few things and pour into a slow cooker is very appealing to me when I’m having a lazy day. It is tender, people, so very tender, and tasty too. You can add barbecue sauce to the pork once you’ve shredded it, that’s entirely up to you. I popped some bread rolls into the oven and crisped them, added the pork and mustard and served with potato wedges. It’s so easy! This is the perfect recipe to put on in the morning, go about your day and come home to a perfectly cooked piece of delicious pork, or put on before you go to bed and wake up to a kitchen that smells irresistible!

Drunken pulled pork ingredients2kg (4.5lbs) pork shoulder
350ml (±12oz) beer (preferably dark, such as Guinness or Castle Milk Stout)
1 x tin whole peeled tomatoes
2 teaspoons paprika
4 sliced garlic cloves
1 teaspoon cumin
½ cup apple cider vinegar
1 chopped onion
3 chopped carrots

 

Drunken pulled pork 1 2Place the pork in your slow cooker. In a bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients together, stirring well to ensure they’re well mixed. Pour over the pork and cook on high for 6 hours or low for 8 hours.

 

 

 

 

Drunken pulled pork 2 2Carefully remove the meat from the slow cooker and shred. This is easy because it’s so tender and basically just falls apart. Scoop out the carrots from the slow cooker and discard. Put the shredded pork into a large bowl and mix some of the juices with it.

 

 

 

Drunken pulled pork 3 2Serve on toasted bread rolls with mustard (or barbecue sauce or whatever you prefer).

 

 

 

 

 

Words Crush Wednesday – Princess Diana Edition

I went to the store for a couple of items to make cupcakes. I ran in, grabbed the icing sugar and milk and went to the express till. In front of me was an elderly gentleman, smartly dressed but his clothes were old and tired, some seams were loose, there was a hole in his jersey, but still he’d tried. He was clearly shopping for one – one tomato, one onion, one apple, two bread rolls, half a litre of milk. My heart broke. He reminded me of my Gramps. No one should be alone at that age. He had a chocolate and a Coke, and when the till attendant rang up his items, his face dropped and he had to put the sweet stuff back. She deducted the items from his total and he just made it with barely a cent to spare. Off he went, walking slowly and carefully. It took less than 10 seconds to ring up my few items but all the while I was watching him navigate his way through the busy supermarket. It’s cold. It’s raining. I couldn’t resist. I added his items to mine and ran after him. At first he was confused when I called him and touched his arm. Then I gave him his chocolate and cooldrink. His eyes welled up. To me, it’s so insignificant, I walk into a grocery store, grab whatever I need and sometimes throw in some treats without giving it a second thought. I have enough money for it, I’ve never had to put any items back. It dawned on me that a lot of people aren’t in that position, especially in South Africa where poverty is an overwhelming crisis. So how could I not brighten his day? At first he resisted but then I explained that he had to accept them because I don’t eat raisins, which the chocolate contained, nor do I drink fizzy drinks. To me, it’s no biggie, but to him, it was a special moment. He thanked me profusely but the feeling I got seeing his face light up was quite possibly better, warmer, than his. One doesn’t have to buy someone something. It can be a smile, carrying someone’s heavy packets or simply acknowledging other people. After all, isn’t that what we all want? To be recognised, to be treated as important human beings? It takes such a small act to have a profound impact on another. That’s why I decided to use this week’s Words Crush Wednesday quote. Be kind to others, for the reward is often greater than the simple act carried out.

Photo credit: Women's Quotes for Success

Photo credit: Women’s Quotes for Success

Classic Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting

Chocolate cupcakes 1 2The cat and I decided to bake. I had fully intended to have a very lazy day. I had it all planned out: curling up with a book on the couch with the Food Channel on in the background. Then I thought “why should I watch Cake Boss all day when I can bake my own cupcakes?”. Indeed. Also, the cat took up residence on the kitchen counter and would not stop meowing. I took that as another sign that I needed to bake!

This is a classic chocolate cupcake recipe but instead of using buttermilk or sour cream, I used Bulgarian yoghurt. You can use any of the above in equal quantities and the result is moist, delicious, chocolatey cupcakes. I topped them off with a basic vanilla frosting to balance the chocolate. This recipe makes 12 – 16 (there are, however, only 8 left 24 hours later!). I blame the cat. Had she not screamed at me from the kitchen counter, I probably would not have baked. That last part may or may not be true.

Chocolate cupcakes ingredients 21 cup (100g) flour
¾ cup (75g) cocoa
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter, room temperature
½ cup (80g) white sugar
½ cup (80g) brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
3 tablespoons Bulgarian yoghurt
2 teaspoons vanilla essence

Chocolate cupcakes 4 2Preheat your oven to 180°C (375°F).
Whisk the butter and sugar on high until well mixed.
Sift in the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt and whisk on low for 10 seconds. The batter will be crumbly.

Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, until just combined, scraping down the sides and bottom well.
Whisk in the yoghurt and vanilla essence, beat on low for 15 seconds. Scrape down the sides and bottom and give it one last beat, about 5 seconds.

Chocolate cupcakes 5 2Fill the muffin cups half full and bake for 15-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes our clear.

 

 

 

 

 

For the vanilla frosting:

4 cups icing sugar
4 tablespoons room temperature butter
2 tablespoons Bulgarian yoghurt (or sour cream or milk)
2 teaspoons vanilla essence

Chocolate cupcakes 7 2In a medium bowl, sift the icing sugar and add the butter. Beat on high for 1 minute until fully mixed. Scrape down the sides and bottom. Pour in the yoghurt/sour cream/milk and beat again on high until fully blended and smooth. Add the vanilla essence, scrape the sides and bottom again and beat once more to fully mix in the vanilla essence.

 

Chocolate cupcakes 9 2Decorate as desired. I used blue food colouring and red sprinkles.

Again, for the cupcake batter, remember you can use buttermilk or sour cream instead of Bulgarian yoghurt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slow Cooked Teriyaki Chicken

Teriyaki Chicken 2

Do you ever have days where you want something tasty for dinner but don’t feel like slaving? Of course you do! Enter this recipe. Sweet, succulent, tender chicken breasts with zingy ginger makes this meal delicious and best of all, it’s easy, as in 5 minutes of prep time easy. In requires one step. Yes, one, which goes to show that delicious food need not take you all day!

I favour bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts. The meat falls off the bone, falls! It’s tender, juicy and packed with flavour and requires very little PT. Mix the ingredients, pour over the chicken and slow cook for a few hours, turning once. That’s all there is to it!

Slow Cooked Teriyaki Chicken

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • 6 chicken breasts, bone-in and skin-on
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1 chopped onion
  • ½ cup honey
  • ½ cup lite soy sauce (I used chilli flavour but you can use plain)
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar

Directions:

Teriyaki Chicken 1 2Place the chicken in a slow cooker (crock pot). Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and pour over the chicken. Cover and
slow-cook for 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low, turning once halfway through. Serve directly out of the slow cooker with rice.

 

 

Words Crush Wednesday – Pema Chödrön Edition

Have you ever wondered why the same thing keeps happening to you over and over? As if it’s on an annoying loop and you can’t find the pause button. I fully believe there is a lesson to be learnt in everything, good and bad, and it is up to you to see and receive that lesson. This quote, simple yet profound, deeply resonated within me which is why it’s this week’s Words Crush Wednesday. If you can’t understand why you keep finding yourself in the same situation, this might help:

 

Pema Chodron 3

 

Monthly Mystery Munchies: Appetizers in Dough

It’s the second installment of my and Ann from Grubbs n Critters‘ Monthly Mystery Munchies challenge and this month was her turn to choose, which she did well. The theme is appetizers using dough and, admittedly, this pushed me out of my comfort zone but it was a welcome challenge because I always enjoy creating new recipes and working with ingredients that I don’t use in everyday cooking. It’s exciting, it’s challenging and it’s interesting. Do yourself a favour and check out Ann’s recipe – not only is her dough homemade but she used curried potatoes! I think we have a winner!

Bundles and foldovers 1I created three appetizers using phyllo pastry and, well, they didn’t last long! Listen, give me crispy, creamy, buttery pastry any day! The first one is fried mixed mushrooms and garlic with mozzarella. I used white button mushrooms but added portabellini mushrooms to add some extra flavour. I used fresh garlic cloves and fried up the lot, added mozzarella and baked for 15 minutes. Oh. Yum! The second one is blue cheese and honey. You make the phyllo the exact same way but substitute the ingredients with blue cheese and honey. This, it must be said, was The Husband’s suggestion. I personally do not have an affinity for blue cheese, I just can’t, but he does and I decided to oblige. Scored major points! Note that for the bundles, you can use butcher’s twine (kitchen string) to tie them into parcels. I did it both ways. The third one is salami and cream cheese foldovers with Italian parsley. The reason I used Italian instead of regular is because it has a stronger flavour. You can also do this dish the same as the above bundles but I made foldovers to add variety and they’re easier to chomp on. Also, bear in mind you can double or even triple all of these recipes – I made four of each simply because I was testing them and it was just The Husband and I, but if you’re having a large dinner party or catering for several people, you can adjust these recipes to as many as you need. Here we go…

Mushroom, Garlic and Mozzarella Phyllo Bundles:

Mushroom bundles in phyllo ingredients4 sheets phyllo pastry
6 portabellini mushrooms
6 white button mushrooms
1-2 garlic cloves, sliced
80g grated mozzarella
¼ cup melted butter plus 2 tablespoons
Pepper for seasoning

 

 

Mushroom bundles in phyllo 2 1Preheat your oven to 190°C (375°F). Thinly slice the mushrooms and garlic and fry in 1 tablespoon of butter on medium-low for ± 10 minutes, until soft and cooked. Season with pepper.

Melt the butter and drizzle 1 tablespoon over one sheet of phyllo. Paint the butter, spreading across the entire sheet, lay another piece of phyllo on top of the first piece and repeat these steps until you have four layers of phyllo. Using a sharp knife, slice the layered phyllo into four squares. Spoon one quarter of the mushrooms into the centre of each square and top with grated mozzarella.

Mushroom bundles in phyllo 3 1Bunch up into a ‘bundle’ – at this stage you can either pinch it at the neck or tie with kitchen string. Paint the last of the butter over the bundles, place them in a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes until golden and crispy.

 

 

 

Mushroom bundles in phyllo 5 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blue Cheese and Honey:

4 sheets phyllo pastry
4 tablespoons blue cheese
4 teaspoons honey
¼ cup melted butter plus 1 tablespoon

Follow the same steps as the mushroom bundles but use the above ingredients instead.

Salami, Cream Cheese and Italian Parsley Foldovers:

Salami cream cheese foldovers ingredients4 sheets phyllo pastry
4 slices salami, sliced up
4 tablespoons cream cheese
Italian parsley
5 tablespoons (70g) butter

 

 

 

Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F). Melt the butter and drizzle 1 tablespoon over one sheet of phyllo. Paint the butter, spreading across the entire sheet, lay another piece of phyllo on top of the first piece and repeat these steps until you have four layers of phyllo. Using a sharp knife, slice the layered phyllo into four squares.

Salami cream cheese foldovers 6 1Place one tablespoon of cream cheese into the bottom righthand corner of each square and top with a quarter of the sliced up salami. Place four leaves of the parsley on top of the salami.

 

 

 

Salami cream cheese foldovers 7 2Now, fold down the top of the square until it meets the ingredients.

 

 

 

Salami cream cheese foldovers 3 2Fold the bottom right corner upwards into a triangle shape.

 

 

 

 

 

Salami cream cheese foldovers 4 2Fold over again (to the left).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Salami cream cheese foldovers 5 2Tuck the last piece underneath.

 

 

 

 

 

Salami cream cheese foldovers 10Paint the foldovers with the remaining butter, place on a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

Salami cream cheese foldovers 11

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks, Ann, for this lovely idea! I had so much fun! Here’s to next month!

 

 

 

 

 

Words Crush Wednesday – Alice In Wonderland Edition

I’m having this kind of day. I needed to see this. I needed to be reminded not to let myself think that anything is impossible. We all have days like today when, for whatever reason, things are overwhelming and start to get you down. Always remember there’s nothing you can’t do, as long as you believe you can do it. Here is this week’s Words Crush Wednesday:

alice-alice-in-wonderland-impossible-mad-hatter-quote