Tag Archives: egg-free

Crispy savoury homemade crackers

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We call them biscuits here in South Africa, actually. But I think what Americans call biscuits are more like puffy¬†scones to us, so I thought I’d go for ‘crackers’ instead.

Anyway, the point is: here’s a recipe for the easiest, crunchiest, thinnest, spiciest savoury crackers you’ll ever make at home… courtesy of my dear mom’s collection of recipes from years of kitcheneering ūüėČ

Four main ingredients

Four main ingredients

Crispy savoury crackers

Ingredients

1 C cake/all-purpose flour

2.5 ml salt

1 ml pepper (1 ml? Seriously? Why not just say a pinch?)

1 ml cayenne pepper (or more if you like it hot)

15 ml butter

1/2 C cheddar cheese, finely grated (I like mature cheddar for this)

Cold water

Method

1. Sift together dry ingredients in a bowl.

2. Rub in the butter.

3. Add the cheese and just enough water to make a stiff dough. (Add it bit by bit and¬†‘cut’ it¬†gently into the flour¬†with a knife.)

NB: Avoid any unnecessary kneading and pressing. This is the only tricky part of the recipe. Your dough should be dry-ish to the touch but sticky enough to form a messy clump:

Don’t overmix or add too much water!

4. Roll out very thinly. What I mean by thin is this:

Roll out thinly

Roll out thinly

If it’s¬†three millimetres thick, that’s about the max ūüôā

Thin now = crunchy later

5. Cut out shapes with a cookie cutter of your choice and place crackers on a greased baking tray.

6. Prick the crackers with a fork several times each.

Pricked and primed for the oven

7. Bake for approx. 20 minutes at 190 ¬įC. Afterwards, leave them to cool on the tray and they should just pop off easily.

NB¬†#2: They burn very suddenly! Please keep an eye on them after the first 10 minutes and take them out when they start to look golden. They’re irredeemable¬†when burnt¬†but they’re fantastic when caught just a few minutes before that :mrgreen:

Golden harvest!

Golden harvest!

The idea is that you then use them as a base for any savoury topping you like… if you can stop yourself from eating them all before you prepare the first topping!

Perfect with savoury toppings or eaten plain

Perfect with savoury toppings or eaten plain

I’m sure you could change the spices in this recipe as you like, even adding dried herbs or changing the whole recipe into a sweet cracker instead (mmm… with cinnamon and cardamom¬†perhaps… served still warm cracked over cold ice cream…). Ah, I was born to bake ūüôā

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Crunchy oat and cereal bars

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Remember how my first attempt at making cereal bars turned out? Well, if at first you don’t succeed… right? ūüôā

I was determined to figure out a good recipe for homemade bars that ticked the following boxes:

  • They had to be egg-free, because I need them to keep well (unfridged) for a whole week
  • They had to be easy to vary, because I just don’t do monotony :mrgreen:
  • They had to dry into a hard, crunchy¬†form ‚Äď and stay that way
  • They had to be as healthy as possible
  • And of course, they had to taste great

Cereal bars

Here’s the first¬†recipe I came up with after trying to balance the wet and dry ingredients so the bars wouldn’t fall apart:

Ingredients

2 C cereal (I used¬†Kellogg’s rice-and-wheat cereal flakes¬†that I crushed a little)

1 C puffed brown rice

1 C desiccated coconut

1/4 C syrup

1/4 C peanut butter

1/4 C honey

1 t vanilla essence

40 g butter

Method

1. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Step 1

2. Melt together the syrup, peanut butter, honey, butter and vanilla essence.

Step 2

3. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry and stir well.

4. Press the mixture into a lined baking tray.

Step 4

Step 4

5. Bake at 190 ¬įC for 15‚Äď20 minutes, until golden and toasty.

6. Carefully cut into slices as soon as they’re out the oven, then leave to cool completely.

Step 6

Step 6

Note: Don’t be like me, thinking you can squeeze in a game (or three) of Plants vs Zombies while these bake! Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. Mine were a teensy bit too toasted, though still edible.

Crunchy cereal bars

Crunchy cereal bars

Verdict

  • These weren’t bad for¬†a¬†thumb-sucked recipe, but they were a bit too peanut buttery for my liking.
  • They held together very well and stayed crunchy all week (I wrapped them individually in clingwrap and stored them in an airtight biscuit tin).
  • This recipe would really benefit from using rice paper to line the baking tray. I had a tough time getting the bars off the baking paper and vice versa.
  • The wet ingredient mix was just a tiny bit short, so at the last moment of mixing I had to add a further blob of melted butter so that all the wet and dry ingredients would form a proper mixture.

Healthy lunchbox snacks

After we’d eaten up that first batch, I made the recipe again for the next week, but with the following tweaks:

Ingredients

1 C puffed brown rice

1 C cereal

1 C rolled oats

3/4 C desiccated coconut

1/4 C filled with pumpkin seeds, flax seeds (linseeds) and sesame seeds

1/4 C syrup

1/8 C honey

1/8 C peanut butter

1 t vanilla essence

50 g butter

1 small carob chunk

Method

The method is the same as above, except that I melted a carob chunk with the rest of the wet ingredients.

Verdict

These refinements to the recipe made it even better. I preferred the bars with less peanut butter, and the carob added a pleasant chocolatey flavour. The bars were slightly soft though, so I’m thinking of reducing the butter to 40 g next time so that the bars aren’t too moist. They lasted well for a whole week, although by Friday they were starting to feel a bit soft.

I’ll keep tweaking an experimenting until I find the perfect concoction! ūüôā

Custard cake with cashews, currants and banana

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What do you get when you combine quiet hours on a cold Sunday afternoon with an experimental, sweet-toothed housewife and the bare month-end essentials in the cupboards? A recipe for an unusually yummy cake, of course!

Yesterday I ticked off another cake for my Goal #22 of baking five different cakes.¬†Since I had no eggs in the house I¬†used the egg-free, dairy-free¬†custard cake recipe I’ve posted about before, but dressed it up with a number of delicious tweaks.

The idea came to me when I thought about some of the fruits, nuts and spices that I enjoy adding when I make a bowl of custard for dessert. If those ingredients taste great with custard dessert, why not add them to custard cake?

To the dry ingredients I added 1 teaspoon mixed spice. To the wet ingredients I added 1 small mashed banana. Then when the mix was combined, I folded in 1/4 C cashews (chipped and toasted) and 1/4 C currants. Those amounts were arbitrary,¬†based on all I had left¬†of the ingredients. But they turned out to be just¬†right ūüôā

Cashews and currants about to be stirred into the mix

Cashews and currants about to be stirred into the mix

The recipe made enough for one small square pan.

Cake mix in the pan

Cake mix in the pan

The first time I tried the custard cake recipe I sprinkled white sugar to make a crispy crust. This time I went half-half with white sugar and brown treacle sugar.

White sugar and treacle sugar toppings

White sugar and treacle sugar toppings

The cake looked and smelled great when it came out of the oven. I didn’t wait long to taste it!

Custard cake with cashews, currants and banana

Custard cake with cashews, currants and banana

The results were even better than expected: a moist, slightly dense cake with¬†a pleasant¬†dash of¬†fruitiness. I was also excited to discover that the treacle sugar had added a¬†surprise element… it had¬†melted and trickled down into the cake, so that some slices¬†contained a warm and¬†sticky¬†molasses centre. Nom nom nom nom! :mrgreen:

Treacle sugar surprise

Treacle sugar surprise

Well, I knew I¬†loved it, but would it pass the¬†hubby taste test?¬†At first Ninja looked¬†dubious about the currants (he loathes cooked fruit), but soon he was asking for a large second slice ūüėÄ Success!

Proof that eggless cakes can be awesome too

Proof that eggless cakes can be awesome too

Paired with a steaming cup of rooibos tea on a chilly autumn night, this cake made a splendid after-dinner treat.

We all know it’s risky to experiment with baking… many recipes will flop if you mess around with their ingredients too much. But¬†never let that stop you from adding new flavours¬†to your old favourites ‚Äď you’d be amazed at what a couple of¬†arb additions¬†can do ūüôā

Coconut milk custard with raspberries and pistachios

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Here’s a dairy-free, gluten-free¬†treat that¬†manages to be¬†decadent and fairly healthy at the same time! I had a can of coconut milk in my cupboard, originally intended for making coconut sorbet. Instead, I decided to¬†experiment with making my own creamy, coconut-flavoured custard.

Ingredients for coconut milk custard

This is what I came up with:

1 tin (400 g) coconut milk

2 1/2 T custard powder (I used a tartrazine-free, gluten-free, unsweetened powder)

2 1/2 T honey

1 banana

Fresh raspberries

Pistachio nuts

Optional extras: raspberries and pistachios

Optional extras: raspberries and pistachios

These are the steps I made up as I went along:

1. Heat the coconut milk with the honey¬†in a double boiler, stirring gently. Heat until it’s quite warm but not¬†boiling.

2. In a separate bowl, mix the custard powder with a little of the milk to form a paste. (If you’re using a different sweetener to honey, mix it with this paste rather than with the milk.)

3. Add the custard paste to the hot milk, stirring constantly.

4. Keep stirring as the mixture thickens. (I found that mine didn’t get very thick ‚Äď even after about 15 minutes it remained at pouring consistency ‚Ästbut I’m not sure if that’s¬†due to¬†the custard powder, since this was the first time I’d used that brand.)

5. Slice up the banana (or fruit of your choice) in a serving bowl.

Banana always goes well with custard

Banana always goes well with custard

6. Pour in the custard and top with raspberries and pistachios (or other fruit and nuts of your choice).

Fantastic fresh raspberries

Fantastic fresh raspberries

I just used what I had on hand. Raspberries are in season in South Africa at the moment, and I thought that marvellous toasted pistachios would add a unique flavour to this creamy dessert.

Coconut milk custard with raspberries and pistachios

Considering this was a first-time experiment, I’m impressed with the results. The custard wasn’t as thick as I usually prefer mine, but next time I’ll try a different custard powder and/or another tablespoon thereof, to see if it will thicken further. Otherwise, it was perfect: the coconut flavour came through clearly; the bananas added substance; the raspberries added¬†zest and the pistachios added crunch. Yum!

Amarula yoghurt panna cotta with champagne strawberries

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Warning: This recipe¬†may well be the¬†beginning of the end for every other¬†panna cotta recipe¬†you know. And don’t bother kilojoule counting with this one: it’s alllll bad! ūüėÄ

Panna cotta 1

I chose this creamy treat as the main dessert for the fancy dinner¬†I made for my friend’s birthday. And here’s the recipe for you to try, courtesy of Sharon Glass‘s beautiful cookbook Sweet Endings.

 

You’ll need:

1 T gelatine

2 T cold water

500 ml thick cream

1/2 C castor sugar

1/4 C honey

2 t vanilla essence

500 ml vanilla yoghurt

Also:

250 g strawberries

3 T castor sugar

1/4 C champagne

 

Method:

1. Prepare 6 one-cup ramekins or pudding bowls by rubbing them with some sunflower oil. Set aside.

2. Place gelatine and water together in a small bowl and soak.

3. Heat cream, sugar, honey and vanilla in a pot.

4. Add gelatine and whisk to dissolve.

5. Remove from stove. Cool slightly, then stir in the yoghurt and the Amarula.

6. Pour into prepared ramekins and set in the fridge for a few hours.

For the strawberries:

7. Slice the strawberries. Toss them with the castor sugar and champagne.

8. Leave to marinate for about half an hour. Serve on the side with the panna cotta.

Amarula yoghurt panna cotta with champagne strawberries

Notes

  • You guessed it: this is a very rich dessert, despite its subtle flavours. You could easily halve the portions in each bowl¬†and thus serve more than 6¬†guests, especially if you’re serving this as part of a larger meal.
  • I spooned a little more Amarula over the top of the dessert, and decorated each serving with some pearl dragees.

Pancakes without eggs? Really?!

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I absolutely LOVE pancakes! They have been my favourite food since I could first¬†say the word¬†‘yum’ ūüôā I enjoy them with virtually any filling, from the standard cinnamon-sugar-lemon juice mix to savoury mince with potato. To my mind,¬†the flat breads of cultures the world over (think tortillas, rotis …)¬†are just steps towards the¬†discovery of The¬†Pancake!¬†And until just this week,¬†I thought nothing¬†could compare to the scrumptious (though admittedly¬†high-cholesterol)¬†pancake recipe that my mom passed on to me:

3 eggs

1 C milk

1 T oil

1 T castor sugar

100 g flour

pinch salt

But then I forgot to buy eggs this week, even though they were on my list. So when it came to Wednesday and¬†I saw ‘Pancakes and Tuna Salad’ listed on my monthly meal planner, I was (momentarily) disheartened. However, buoyed up by the smashing success of the eggless custard cake, I turned to dear old Google to find an egg-free pancake recipe. I tried out this one, though I did end up modifying it very quickly, as follows:

1 1/2 C flour

2 C milk (plus random extra splashes to keep the batter thin)

1 T oil

pinch salt

1 T castor sugar

I started off following¬†Meg’s recipe, but added the salt and sugar¬†to counter the relative tastelessness (what can I say, I missed the eggs …).¬†I also¬†found that if the batter was too thick, the pancakes were more like fried tortillas. So make sure you have extra milk on hand.¬†I used a nonstick pan (not something¬†I usually cook with) and overall¬†the results were great.

I did miss the flavour and light fluffiness provided by¬†the eggs in my mom’s recipe. However, the egg-free version¬†was less oily and rich, which is a definite plus in terms of healthier eating. Another plus was Ninja’s reaction: he didn’t just like them; he thought they were far superior to the old recipe. Not as greasy to handle, a bit more filling and substantial, and obviously cheaper and better for our hearts. He’s rarely this effusive about a meal, so I sat up and took notice ūüôā

The verdict? This will become my standard pancake recipe from now on, and I’ll only make the richer version on those occasions when I’m up for a special treat. It’s fantastic to have such a cheap shortcut to my favourite food!

Custard cake with no eggs, no butter, no milk

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Yesterday I found (and adapted) another great recipe¬†from the internet, because I was searching for something to bake that didn’t require eggs. When¬†I came across this recipe for too-good-to-be-true cupcakes, I had to give it a go. I’d never baked with custard powder before, but the results were¬†delicious (no pics, I’m afraid … the cake didn’t last long enough!). The original recipe is for cupcakes, but I first tried it out as a full¬†cake.

 

1 1/2 C self-raising flour

1/3 C custard powder

1/2 t salt

1/2 C castor sugar

1 C water

1/3 C oil

1 T lemon juice

1 1/2 t vanilla essence

 

1. Sift dry ingredients.

2. In a separate bowl, mix wet ingredients.

3. Combine all and beat (preferably with an electric beater) until smooth.

4. Pour into muffin tins or cake tin.

5. Bake at 180 ¬įC for 25 minutes (cupcakes) or 40‚Äď50 min (full cake), until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

 

Notes

1. Grease the cake tin, line it with wax paper, and grease it again to make sure your cake doesn’t come apart when you remove the wax paper.

2. I sprinkled large-granuled white sugar on top of the cake just before baking. This turned into a crispy, sweet crust, and removed the need for 1 full cup of sugar in the recipe and for icing afterward.

3. This cake mix doesn’t brown in the oven, so you’ll need to test it with a skewer to determine when it’s baked through.

4. This was my first foray into egg-free, dairy-free baking ‚Äď but it definitely won’t be the last!