3 ingredient no-churn Biscoff icecream

The easiest 3 ingredient ice cream ever for Father’s Day – because even though my dad isn’t the biggest dessert fan, turns out he loooooves Biscoff!

Whip 600ml of thickened cream, then add a 395g can of sweetened condensed milk and stir until well combined. Layer with Biscoff spread and freeze until firm.

No churn, no icy bits – just creamy, biscuity, damn good ice cream!

Hazelnut Cherry Cheesecake

This is not healthy in the slightest really BUT it is deceptively easy to make! To ease up on the calories (because every little bit counts), I use fat-reduced cream cheese and ricotta, and I don’t add any more sugar. It does produce a slightly more tart cheesecake though, so if you’re after something sweet, add 1/2 cup of caster sugar to the filling.

Ingredients 

  • 250g block of cream cheese
  • 125g smooth ricotta
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp flour (can use gluten free plain flour if required)
  • 1/2 cup hazelnut spread
  • 200g chocolate biscuits (I used chocolate ripple, but substitute for whatever suits your diet)
  • 70g butter, melted
  • To decorate – cherries, chocolate lindt balls (+/- 200g chocolate with 2 tbsp cream for ganache).

Method 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180*C. To create the layered look, I used three different sized cake tins but in reality, a single 24cm springform tin will suffice! Line the base and sides of the tins with baking paper.
  2. Crush the biscuits until fine crumbs, and mix with the butter until starting to form clumps. Spread onto the base of the lined tin/s and bake until starting to firm (about 10 minutes).
  3. Use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese, ricotta, eggs, hazelnut spread and flour until well combined. Pour into the lined cake tins and bake until firm (about 20 minutes but keep and eye on them!). Return to the fridge to cool as the mixture will reduce down and become much more firm.
  4. If using ganache as part of the decoration, melt the 200g chocolate and cream in a pot over a saucepan of boiling water until melted. Allow to cool slightly. Once the cake is firm, assemble the layers with toothpicks if you’ve used different tins. Then pipe or drizzle the ganache around the edges, then decorate with cherries and lindt balls (again, use tooth picks to hold them on!).

S’mores Brownies

Life is all about balance. And sometimes, that involves eating brownies that make your soul incredibly happy, even if your pancreas isn’t. After a little trial and error, I’ve discovered the perfect way to make your usual brownies taste just like s’mores – and wow do these little s’moresels (hehe) pack a punch!

Ingredients (makes 12-24 depending on how you cut them, I prefer mine smaller as these are pretty rich!)

  • 1/2 cup mini marshmallows
  • 1 packet McVittie’s digestive nibbles (or similar, but essentially you need small balls of digestive biscuits that are entirely covered in chocolate – normal digestive biscuits will just go soggy in the mix!)
  • Your usual favourite brownie recipe (or packet mix, there is no shame in using a packet mix!)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven as per your usual recipe or packet mix instructions. Line a brownie tray with baking paper.
  2. Prepare your usual brownie recipe or as per the packet mix instructions.
  3. Just before baking, mix in the marshmallows and the digestive nibbles, stir well to combine.
  4. Pour into the tray and bake until just cooked through. Allow to set and cool in the fridge before cutting as the marshmallow will be incredibly sticky while hot!!

Choc Peanut Banana Swiss Roll

I make no apologies, this is a completely indulgent, over the top version of a recipe I found in a Gourmet Traveler magazine. There is nothing remotely healthy about it, aside from the fact it does wonders for the soul!

Swiss roll cake

  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 80g cocoa powder
  • 2tbsp plain flour
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp almond milk
  • 50g dark chocolate
  • 50ml cream

Creme patissiere

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Filling

  • 1 large overripe banana, mashed
  • 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup cacao nibs

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180*C.
  2. Beat 4 egg yolks and sugar until pale and creamy, then stir in flour and cocoa.
  3. Melt the chocolate, mix with the cream and almond milk, then fold into the egg yolk mixture.
  4. Whisk 4 egg whites until soft peaks form, then slowly fold into chocolate egg yolk mixture.
  5. Spread onto baking tray and smooth the edges, and bake for 12 minutes. Once baked through, wrap the cake around a rolling pin and place in the freezer to cool for 15 minutes.
  6. To make the creme patissiere, mix the 4 egg yolks with cornflour, sugar and vanilla until combined. Heat the milk until just bubbling in a saucepan over medium heat, then add to the egg yolk mixture and whisk quickly. Return the entire mixture to the stove and continue to whisk quickly until mixture thickens, then immediately remove from heat and place in the fridge to cool.
  7. Unroll the cake. Spread with PB and banana, topped with cacao nibs and creme patissiere, then roll back into a log shape. Top with extra cocoa powder before serving.

Pimp My Platter: Easy DYI Platters to Impress

For some people, hearing the words, “oh yes, everyone can just bring a plate!” when referring to a family gathering or BBQ with friends is enough to make their palms sweaty. If you’re not a foodie fiend, it can be hard to think of what to bring in the first instance, let alone how to make it look good among the other dishes.

I usually think “challenge accepted” in these situations, which is often followed by people saying, “oh and Kat, don’t be extra this time okay?”. I never used to be good as assembling platters, but after a little practice, I believe I’ve found a way to make them effortless!

The secret? It’s about variety. Obvious, I know.

While I’m sure many of us would like to sit down and eat 1kg of watermelon or a massive wheel of brie, the idea of a platter is small amounts of everything – so keep this in mind when buying your ingredients.

To assemble the platter, start with the large ingredients on the bottom and work around the edges of you plate or tray until you have a ‘frame’ so to speak. Then add the ingredients in descending size order until you’ve covered most of the blank space. Leave the smallest stuff until last so you can plug any gaps that are left.

Fruit Platter 

For fruit platters, shop for whatever is in season and go for a mixture of fruit that is big and small. There is no shame in buying only one orange, one passion fruit etc for the sake of a fruit platter! I also like to throw on some mixed nuts for texture so long as no one has a nut allergy. Anaphylaxis at a family reunion is never a good look.

Cheese Platter

In my humble opinion, the cheese platter is the king of platters. Again, remember the variety – both in crackers, condiments and cheese. Go for small lumps of something firm (mature cheddar), something soft (gouda, Jarlsberg etc), something creamy (creameux, brie, camembert, d’afanois) and something blue (go for mild rather than pungent). If you have the space, a pate and a goat cheese help to spice things up a little.

Place the cheese down first with enough space separating them, followed by your condiments (nothing beats a good quince paste!). I then frame the cheese with a mixture of water crackers and rice crackers depending on dietary requirements, add some fruit (passionfruit, figs, anything that’s easy to pick up) and throw on a handful of nuts to finish.

Dessert Platter 

What to bring when you have literally no idea – also makes for a great present idea!

Avoid anything with the potential to go soggy. For mine I’ve used homemade pastries (puff pastry triangles baked with a piece of chocolate inside is stupidly easy and effective!), a variety of berries, nougat pieces and nut bars, as well as chocolate coated nuts. You could easily use firm brownies and add some melted chocolate pots to dip things into – but remember to use different sized dessert tidbits with different textures for maximum effect.

So there you have it, some perfectly pimped platters to impress with the best!

Healthy Vegan Chocolate Mousse

Plant-based, high protein, dairy-free, gluten-friendly and low refined sugar – what’s not to love about this variation on chocolate mousse?!

Ingredients (serves 2) 

Method

  1. Blend all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
  2. Refrigerate until set (approximately 1 hour). Top with cacao nibs. Enjoy!

Pavlamingtons

The Pavlamington is the glorious love child between a rich sweet lamington and a particularly frisky meringue. This recipe is a variation of my favourite pavlova recipe by Donna Hay, made all the more exciting with the addition of chocolate, coconut and strawberry jam.

Ingredients 

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 tsp raspberry vinegar (or white vinegar)
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 1 cup dessicated coconut
  • 1/2 cup strawberry jam
  • 1/2 cup thickened cream

Method 

  1. Preheat the oven to 120*C and line a couple of trays with baking paper.
  2. With an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites until peaks form, then add the sugar one teaspoon at a time until dissolved. Once glossy, add the vinegar and beat for another 2 minutes.
  3. Place the meringue mixture into a piping bag fitted with a reasonably broad nozzle (or you can cut the corner off a plastic zip lock bag). Pipe the meringue into 50c piece sized discs onto the baking trays, and bake until firm (about 40-50 minutes). Set aside to cool.
  4. In a saucepan over medium heat, gently heat the chocolate and cream until melted and mixed through. Set aside to cool slightly.
  5. To assemble the Pavlamingtons, sandwich two of the meringue discs together with strawberry jam before dunking the side of the sandwich into the chocolate ganache. Roll the chocolate coated side in coconut and place in the fridge to set for 10 minutes. Enjoy!

Note: if you find your meringues start to melt when you dip them in chocolate, place the meringues in the freezer for 5 minutes before dipping. Also place the ganache in a shallow dish to ensure it cools evenly (as in a deep bowl it may still be warm on the bottom).

Gluten Free Cacao Banana Bread

All the taste of chocolate and banana bread without the nasty hidden sugar! Adapted from Sarah Wilson’s iQuitSugar gluten free banana bread recipe with the added deliciousness of cacao.

Ingredients 

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup cacao powder
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 very overripe bananas
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup of yogurt (I used plain Chobani but coyo or flavoured greek yogurt also works)
  • 1/8 cup cacao nibs

Method 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180*C and line a loaf pan with baking paper.
  2. Mash the banana together with the yogurt and the oil.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients to the banana mixture and stir until well combined.
  4. Bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Eat while still warm with your favourite peanut butter on top!

Banana Coconut Flan with Miso Caramel

This cake is a healthier take on the divine Impossible Pie developed by Donna Hay, a truly wonderful flan with a custard slash cake style consistency that’s made by throwing the ingredients in the blender, then dumping them in a flan tin and baking. So simple!

While my version is still not ‘perfectly healthy’ by dietitian standards, it does have the added benefits of less refined sugar than the original recipe, and of being dairy free for those who are lactose intolerant. It can also be made gluten free by omitting the miso paste, or by using a miso based on rice, quinoa or amaranth. I could potentially make it vegan if someone can figure out an appropriate substitute for the egg!

Ingredients 

  • 2 large overripe bananas
  • 3/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 50g coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup rice malt syrup
  • 1 & 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp white miso paste
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup

Method 

  1. Preheat the oven to 160*C. Grease / line a flan tin.
  2. Chop 1 of the bananas and place in the freezer to firm. Place the rest of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  3. Pour the mixture into the flan tin, top with the frozen banana pieces and bake until set (about 40-45 minutes). Drizzle with maple syrup and serve with coconut yogurt.