Author Archives: The Cooking spoon

Strawberry Infused Granola

This Strawberry infused Granola is a real hit!

This Strawberry infused Granola is disappearing at a rate that I can barely keep up. I just can’t seem to make it fast enough, every time I want to make myself a bowl of Granola it’s almost finished again, sigh…I’m loving that though.

It’s very simple to make, there’s just one trick.

The trick to this Strawberry Granola is to literally infuse the oat flakes with pureed strawberries, this ensures that there is Strawberry flavor in each and every single bit of the Granola. After making a Strawberry puree you let the oats soak it up until the puree is completely absorbed and then bake it in the oven. It does take a little longer to bake than usual because you want it to be completely dry before storing.
And since strawberries have natural sugar in them you end up with these little clusters of crunchies with chewy strawberry bits in them, it also has a beautiful pink hue. Then to take it from awesome to super amazing, I added freeze dried strawberries and mini white chocolate chips. The white chocolate chips can be left out if you want to make a healthier version, still really delicious.
It’s really easy to make and if you love Strawberries, a must try. What a glorious way to start the day!

Prep time : 10 minutes
Cooking time: 60 minutes
Servings : 12-14
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INGREDIENTS:

wet:
• 1/4 cup neutral flavored oil
• 1/3 cup sugar, agave syrup, rice syrup or maple syrup
• 3 tsp. vanilla extract
• 1 cup strawberries, crown removed, mashed to pulp or pureed

dry:
• 4 cups whole oats
• 1 cup (freeze) dried strawberries
• 1/2 cup white mini chocolate chips or more (optional)
• pinch of salt

INSTRUCTIONS:

Pre heat the oven to 150° C / 300° F and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Heat the oil and sugar or syrup in a saucepan until melted and combined, add the vanilla and stir, set aside and let cool.
Blend the Strawberries until you have a smooth puree. Add the puree to a bowl and add the oats,   stir until completely combined. Let it sit for at least ten minutes so it can soak up all the moisture. Then add the melted oil and sugar mixture, a pinch of salt and stir to combine well.

Distribute the granola evenly over the baking tray and place in the middle of the oven, bake for about 60 minutes stirring every 15 minutes. It can take a little longer depending on how fast the granola dries, keep an eye on it and check regularly.
Remove from oven and let cool completely. Once the granola comes out of the oven, do not stir anymore so clusters can form. When it has cooled down completely, add the white chocolate chips and dried Strawberries. Serve with yogurt or milk of choice.
Store in an air tight container. Will keep for about 3 weeks.

Enjoy!

Fiery Garlic and Honey Shrimp.

Spicy, garlicky, sweet, sticky skillet shrimp with fresh lime and baby Basil. This recipe is so good and super easy, it just take 10 minutes to make!

Hopefully you already have a pack of Shrimp in the freezer, and otherwise add it to your shopping list so you can make this delicious recipe this week. Having Shrimp in the freezer is probably one of the best ingredients to have on hand for a super fast last minute dinner. You can make so much with just a bag of Shrimp…
From Tacos to Paella, and from Curry to Sandwiches, the possibilities are endless. They cook in no-time and everybody loves Shrimp. All good reasons to have a good supply in your freezer. However when I’m in a hurry or just in the mood for Shrimp, I turn to this recipe, Fiery, Garlicky Shrimp!
I have made this recipe for two as a main course, but you can simply double as needed. Serve with plenty of French bread to mop up the juices.

This recipe comes together very quickly, so have all your ingredients ready before you start cooking.

The tiny basil I happened to find at the market, it looked so cute and it is really sweet (and pretty). So if you can find it, great. But if not regular basil is fine too.

Serves: 2 as a main or 4 as a starter
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cooking Time: 5 Minutes
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INGREDIENTS:

• 1 lb. shrimp (I leave the shell on)*
• 2 tbsp. olive oil
• 4 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
• 1 – 1 1/2 tsp. Sambal Oelek
• 1 tbsp. honey
• juice of half a lime
• a sprinkle of salt
• 1 small glass dry white wine
• 2 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
• a small handful of baby basil and lime/lemon wedges to serve


METHOD:

  1. Rinse the shrimp with cold water. Pat dry with kitchen paper and set aside.
  2. Heat up a skillet (cast-iron preferred), add the olive oil. When very hot add the shrimp and leave for two minutes without moving until you see the pink color coming thru.
  3. Now turn them over and add the garlic slices and the Sambal. Leave for a minute and then toss the shrimp around by shaking the pan and flipping the shrimp if you can otherwise use a spoon.
  4. Add the honey and then the lime juice and white wine and stir around to cover.
  5. Finely add the sweet tiny basil and add the cold butter to bind the sauce.
  6. Garnish with more baby basil and serve immediately with lime/lemon wedges.

*I leave the shell on because they add so much flavor and we love peeling them and eating with our hands, but if you prefer peeled shrimp, that’s fine too.

Enjoy!

One Bowl Vanilla Cake

One Bowl Vanilla Cake
The simplest and easiest vanilla cake you can ever make. Just add all the ingredients to a bowl and give it a good mix and bake!.
An any occasion fluffy cake, perfect on it’s own or with your favourite frosting. The cake is very light and has a tender crumb so you can serve it for dessert too without it being too heavy.
The great thing about a vanilla cake is that you can add any flavor frosting, and everybody loves vanilla.
This is the recipe I always use when I need a cake in a hurry. These basic ingredients are usually in your cupboard and fridge, so you don’t need planning in advance.

The basics…

Preheat the oven to 180 C/ 350 F.
Grease two 20cm/ 8 inch round baking pans.
Line with parchment paper, grease again and I like to give them an extra dusting of flour. This will ensure the cake will come out completely without a trace left behind.
Measure all ingredients into a large bowl.
Mix until well incorporated and the batter is smooth.
Pour into your prepared baking pans.
Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes on the center rack or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
Once baked, let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then remove and cool completely before frosting. If you’re in a hurry place them in a freezer while you make your frosting.

INGREDIENTS:

For the Cake:
1/2 cup/113gr/ (one stick), very soft unsalted butter room temperature
1 cup/200gr. White caster sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups/200gr. sifted all purpose flour
2 ½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
3/4 cup / 180 ml. Milk
2 tsp./10ml. vanilla extract

Vanilla Bakery Style Buttercream Frosting:
1 cup (225 g) butter (1 stick) unsalted, room temperature
2 ½ cups (300 g) Powdered sugar
1 tbsp. /15 ml. vanilla
Pinch of Salt
1 to 2 tbsp. milk to softer consistency

NOTE: at this point you can add flavorings for filling the cake, separate about half a cup of the frosting and add your preferred flavor, like instant coffee, some cocoa, caramel, strawberry jam. Just add in small amounts so that the frosting doesn’t become too thin. This can now be spread on the cake layers for filling.

INSTRUCTIONS:

Cake:
Preheat the oven to 180 C/ 350 F.
In a large bowl or in the bowl of your stand mixer, place the butter and sugar and start beating on medium-high until fluffy.
Set mixer to medium-low and add the eggs one at a time.
Now add the flour, baking powder and salt. As it is mixing/combining pour in the milk and vanilla in a steady stream.
Mix until dry ingredients are well incorporated and no lumps remain.
Pour into your prepared baking pans. Bake for about 25-30 minutes on the center rack or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
Once baked let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.

Frosting:
Cream butter for about 2 minutes, until light and fluffy.
Add vanilla and combine well.
Finally, start adding the powdered sugar one cup at a time with the mixer on low.
Once all the sugar is in – whip the buttercream on a higher setting, for a good three minutes until light and fluffy. Add a little milk if you want the frosting softer.

Assemble:
Spread some frosting on each layer.
Use a spatula to frost the outside of the cake.
Pipe any leftover frosting if desired.
For a naked look – scrape off frosting from sides of the cake.

Crêpe Suzette filled with honey cream cheese

A non-boozy version of a delicious French Classic.

Instead of the Grand Marnier, triple sec or orange Curaçao liqueur that most Crêpe Suzette recipes call for, I have made an Orange syrup to pour over the Crêpes, perfect for the whole family. An added bonus is that you don’t have to flambé the Crêpes either, so it’s super simple. They’re also filled with whipped honey cream cheese and served with fresh Orange segments to add freshness. A true feast that the whole family will love.

Serves: 4

Prep time : 10

Total Time : 20 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

Crêpes:
• 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour or white spelt flour
• Pinch salt
• 2 eggs at room temperature
• 1 1/4 cups milk
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 2 tbsp. melted butter
• + 1/2 cup butter for baking the crepes
Orange Syrup:
• 1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
• 5 tablespoons sugar
• 2 tsp. Cornstarch mixed with 1 tbsp. water
Honey cream cheese:
• 3/4 Cup cream cheese at room tempered
• 1/4 cup honey
• 1/8 tsp. Orange blossom extract (optional)
Extra for serving:
• 2 oranges, peeled and sectioned, skin removed

DIRECTIONS:

Crêpes:
Whisk together the flour and salt in a medium bowl. In another bowl whisk the eggs, milk and vanilla. Add to the flour slowly and whisk until combined, add the melted butter and mix. If the mixture is too thick, add a little more milk until a thin consistency is achieved. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. It’s important to let the batter rest, so the gluten can develop and the Crêpes will bake easier and they won’t tear as easily.
Heat an 20cm/8-inch skillet over medium heat for about 1 minute. Add butter to the pan and swirl it around so the butter covers the entire surface. Ladle some batter onto the middle of the pan and immediately start swirling the pan to distribute the batter over the surface. Cook for 60 seconds or until lightly golden brown. Add a little butter to the uncooked side and flip over and cook the other side for 30-60 seconds. Remove to a plate and repeat with the remaining batter.
You may keep the crepes warm on a plate set on top of a pan with simmering water or covered with foil in a low-warm oven
Orange sauce:
In a sauce pan over high heat, bring the orange juice to a boil with the sugar, reduce the heat to a simmer, add the cornstarch slurry and cook until the mixture has thickened, about 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Honey cream cheese:
Place the cream cheese in a bowl together with the honey and whip for a few minutes until fluffy and creamy. Add orange blossom extract if desired.
To serve:
Place a crepe on a warm plate. Spoon some cream cheese down the middle and roll the crêpe into a cylinder. Top with syrup and fruit and serve immediately. Serve 2 crêpes per person.

Enjoy!