Saturday, June 27, 2009

Orange Ricotta Cheesecake

For the base use our healthy Wheat and Nut Cheesecake Base Recipe.

  • 420 g ricotta cheese
  • 1 tbsp of natural plain yogurt
  • 1 & a half tbsp raw sugar
  • 1 tbsp of raw honey
  • 15 g (1 tbsp) organic white flour
  • 1 egg
  • ground cinnamon or clove
  • 4 g orange& lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 150 degrees C. Set rack in the middle of the oven. Butter and flour a oven pan, and tap out excess flour.

Place the ricotta in a large mixing bowl, and stir it as smooth as possible with a rubber spatula. Stir the honey, sugar and flour together thoroughly into the ricotta. Stir in the yogurt and eggs. Mix in the vanilla, cinnamon and fruit zest. Spoon mix into the prepared pan.

Bake in the center of the oven for about 40 minutes, until a light golden color. Make sure the center is fairly firm, and the point of a sharp knife inserted in the center comes out clean and let cool out of oven. Cover, and chill till serving time.

Orange Icing:
  • Half a fresh orange and lemon and a tbsp of zest
  • 1 tbsp of unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp of raw sugar
  • 1 tsp of raw honey
  • 1 egg yoke

Mix ingredients in small saucepan then place on light heat until it comes to boil and immediately take off heat. Leave aside to cool. Mix up one egg yoke and mix into mixture heated gently before applying to cheesecake.

Wheat & Nut Cheesecake Base

This is a recipe I have not even tried, it is in the oven as I write. I wanted make a cheesecake base that was going to be healthy and non biscuit based. I thought that some weetbix (an Australian Breakfast cereal) could be a good foundation of the base. Here is my recipe:

  • 3 weetbix
  • 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
  • handful of finely chopped nuts like walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds and almonds.
  • orange zest and tsp of orange juice

Mix butter, weetbix, nuts and orange in a food processor.

Place mixture in buttered and floured oven dish and cook for about 15 minutes at 150 then cook for a further 5 minutes at 200 or until a nice light toasted color is showing. (If you have a cheesecake mix then you should add that to the base first and cook together).

Take out of oven and let cool.

You can then place your cheesecake into this once it has cooled or you can use this recipe and cook it with your cheesecake together.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Falafel Recipe

 Here is my Falafel Recipe


  • 1/2 cup dried chickpeas
  • 1/4 large onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro or coriander
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1/3 of a fresh chilli
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons of organic flour
  • extra virgin olive oil for frying
  • Chopped tomato for garnish
  • Diced onion for garnish
  • Diced green capsican for garnish
  • Tahina sauce
  • Pita bread

Put the chickpeas in a large bowl and add enough cold water to cover them by at least 2 inches. Let soak overnight, then drain.

2. Place the drained, uncooked chickpeas and the onions in the bowl of a food processor fitted. Add the parsley, cilantro, salt, hot pepper, garlic, and cumin seeds. Process until blended but not pureed.

3. Sprinkle in the baking powder and flour, then pulse. You want to add enough flour so that the dough forms a small ball and no longer sticks to your hands. Turn into a bowl and refrigerate, covered, for 1 - 2 hours.

4. Form the chickpea mixture into small balls.

5. Heat oil and fry 1 ball to test. If it falls apart, add a little flour. Then fry about 5 balls at once for a few minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Stuff half a pita with falafel balls, chopped tomatoes, onion, green pepper, and drizzle with tahina thinned with water.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Healthy Ice Cream Cones

Healthy Ice Cream Cones recipe


  • 1 eggs
  • 1 tbsp raw sugar
  • 1 tbsp raw honey
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 tbsp organic milk
  • 1/3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup organic or wholemeal flour
  • pinch of sea salt (optional)
  • extra virgin olive oil and pastry brush

In a bowl whisk together the eggs, honey and sugar until frothy. Whisk in the melted butter, milk and vanilla extract. Add the flour and salt and whisk until the batter is smooth. The batter should be quite thin and you can add more milk if the batter is too thick.

ice cream cone shape
ice cream cone mix

Heat a medium to large heavy based pan over medium heat until it is hot. Reduce the heat to medium low and brush the pan lightly with oil. Pour half of the batter into the pan and immediately tilt or rotate the pan so the batter forms a thin circle of around 14 cm. Place pan back on the heat and cook until the batter is set and you can see the underside is golden brown (3-4 minutes). Slip a metal spatula under the crepe and gently flip it over. Cook until golden brown.

Remove the pan from the heat and slide the crepe from the pan onto your work surface. While the crepe is still hot, quickly start at one edge and roll the crepe into a cone shape mold. Squeeze the tip of the cone to seal it so the ice cream won't drip out. Place on a wire rack to cool completely and put in fridge until ready to eat.

Continue making the rest of the cones, lightly brushing the pan with vegetable oil each time. These cones are best if eaten the same day.

Delicious Home Made Ice Cream Cones

Makes about 2 ice cream cones.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Healthy Cheesecake Base

1st Base

  • 225 g plain flour sifted
  • 100 g raw sugar
  • grated rind of one orange
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten
  • 100 g butter, softened

Combine flour, sugar and orange rind in a food processor. Add beaten egg yolk and softened butter, and blend into the dry ingredients. Wrap in cling film and chill for 10 minutes.

Take a 23 cm round oven pan and press the dough into the bottom of the tin. Poke the crust all over with a fork and bake in the preheated oven for 15 – 20 minutes or until golden colored. Allow to cool before pressing the rest of the dough evenly against the sides of the pan. Turn the oven tin on its side and simply press the dough down to meet the base and up to the top of the tin.

2nd Base

  • 185 g butter
  • 250 g cake flour
  • 2 tbsp iced water
  • 60 g pecan nuts, crushed

To make the base: Rub the butter into the cake flour, using a pastry cutter, your fingers or a food processor fitted with a steel blade. If necessary, add a little iced water. Smooth little pieces of the pastry to a thickness of 2 mm over the unbuttered base and sides of 2 loose-based (spring form) pans 17 cm in diameter and 6 cm deep. Heat the oven to 150ºC and bake the cakes for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool. Cover the bases with almond nuts.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Korma Style Vegetables

This is a great dish that can be served with meat or eaten alone or with some delicious rice like a god Basmati Rice .

Add ingredients to taste:

  • medium potatoes

  • Assorted Vegetables like beans, green peas, broccoli, Courgettes, cauliflower, Capsicum

  • carrots

  • pumpkin

  • Fresh coconut or Organic Coconut Cream

  • Lemon Juice & rind

  • Extra Virgin Olive oil

  • red chillies whole

  • cumin seeds

  • coriander seeds

  • garlic

  • turmeric powder

  • sea salt to taste

  • mustard seeds

  • ground masala

How to make mixed vegetables in coconut milk:
Healthy Vegetable Korma

  • Wash & dice the potatoes, carrot and pumpkin into small cubes. Cut the other veges slightly larger pieces.

  • Add warm water to half of the coconut cream and put to one side. Dissolve lemon rind and juice in some water.

  • Heat a little oil and sauté the whole red chillies, cumin, coriander, garlic and the remaining coconut till a nice aroma is given out. Grind into a fine paste.

  • Boil the vegetables in the coconut milk with turmeric powder, lemon and salt till nearly done. Add the ground masala and cook for 10 minutes.

  • Heat a little oil separately and add the remaining red chillies broken into two and mustard seeds. Add this to the vegetables.

  • Continue cooking the vegetables till done. Then add the thick coconut milk and simmer for two to three minutes.Serve hot with rice.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Tasty Tuna Steaks

Ingredients for 1 person
  • Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/2 Tbsp minced ginger root
  • 1 Tbsp Organic Soya sauce
  • 1 Tbsp cup sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp chili pepper flakes
  • pinch of sea salt
  • pinch of black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 tuna steak

Marinade (30 minutes to 2 hours before serving)
Mix all ingredients except tuna in a glass bowl that is just big enough to hold the steaks in one layer.

Add the steaks and turn them to coat. They should be sitting very tightly in the bowl.
If you don't have the bowl of appropriate size, just pour the marinade into a large freezer bag, add the steaks, squeeze all the air out and close the bag.
If marinating only for 30 minutes leave the fish at room temperature.
If marinating longer than that, keep it in the fridge removing to room temperature 30 minutes before cooking.

Set a large frying pan on high heat.
Remove tuna from the marinade and dry on paper towels.
When the pan is hot, pour oil from the marinade into the skillet.
Add tuna steaks to a pan. Shake the pan couple of times so that steaks don't stick. Brown 4 minutes on one side. Flip and sear 3 minutes on the other side. This will cook tuna on each side and leave the rest juicy. If you like your tuna more cooked through, cover the pan, turn down the heat to medium and cook flipping the steaks half way until cooked to your liking.

Sprinkle the steaks with fresh rosemary, pour the pan juices over them, or top with garlic, lemon and butter, and serve.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Apple, Orange and Peach Pie

Preparation Time
30 - 80 minutes

Cooking Time
50 minutes

Ingredients (serves 2)
  • 2  apples, peeled, cored, thinly sliced
  • 4 slices of tinned peaches
  • 1/2 fresh orange
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp organic raw sugar
  • 1 tsp organic raw honey
  • 1/4 tsp cornflour & 1 tbsp water to mix
  • 1 egg yolk, lightly whisked
  • Cream or ice-cream, to serve

apple pie The Raw Sugar Pastry recipe can be found here
Divide the pastry into two pieces. Roll one into a disc for the lid.  Shape the remaining pastry into the size of your pie dish.

Place the apple, peaches, oranges, lemon juice, honey and sugar in a saucepan. Cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat.

Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, covered, for 10 minutes or until apple is just tender.

Combine the cornflour and water in a bowl. Add to the fruit mixture. Cook, stirring, over medium-low heat until the mixture thickens. Transfer to a large bowl.

Preheat oven to 180°C. Take Pie base out of fridge and cook for 10 minutes or until just light golden brown.

Spoon the fruit mixture into the pastry case.

Brush the edge of the pastry with a little egg yolk.Place the cover pastry disc on top of the pie and press onto the pastry case.

Pinch the edges together to seal. Brush pastry with remaining egg yolk. Use a small knife to make 5 slits on top of the pastry.

Bake in oven for 20 minutes or until golden.

Set aside for 10 minutes to cool slightly.

Serve with vanilla ice cream or fresh cream.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Sticky Honey Caramel Pudding


  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
  • 11/4 cups (300 mL) Five Roses All Purpose Flour
  • 11/2 tsp (7 mL) baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) nutmeg
  • Pinch salt
  • 3/4 cup (175 mL) chopped dates
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) milk
  • 3 egg whites

Caramel Sauce:
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup raw or brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 1 tbsp corn syrup
  • 1 tbsp raw honey


Beat butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and salt; stir in dates. Add to butter mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition.

Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Stir a dollop of the egg whites into the batter; gently fold in remaining whites until batter is only slightly streaky.

Scrape batter into eight 1/2 cup (125 mL) buttered ovenproof custard cups (filling two thirds full) or a well buttered 6-cups (1.5 L) heat-proof bowl. Cover cups with buttered foil.

Place puddings in roasting pan or Dutch oven; pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up sides of cups.

Bake in 350 ºF (180 ºC) oven for 30 to 35 minutes (or 50 to 55 minutes for large pudding) or until firm and a tester inserted in centre comes out clean.

Turn out puddings and poke deeply all over with the tip of a chopstick. Pour enough sauce over pudding to fill holes completely.

Serve warm with additional sauce and ice cream, if desired.

Caramel Sauce:

Melt butter in a small saucepan. Stir in brown sugar, honey, cream and corn syrup. Cook and stir, over low heat, until mixture just comes to a boil. Cool slightly. Serve warm.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

Tasty Grated Potato Fritters


  • 4 medium sized potatoes
  • 3 free-range eggs
  • 2 tablespoons organic or wholemeal flour
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and grated
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons organic cream or half a cup of organic milk(with extra flour to thicken)
  • Extra Virgin Olive oil
  • one teaspoon of beer

Peel, wash, and grate the potatoes. Press the potato mixture in a sieve to extrude some of the juices, Mix with the eggs, flour, grated onion, smashed garlic, parsley, salt, pepper, beer and cream. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil at a time in a large fry-pan and drop 2 tablespoons of the batter for each fritter. Make 3 or 4 fritters at a time, depending on the size of the skillet. Cook about 2 minutes over medium heat on the first side; turn over and cook 1 minute on the other side. Repeat until you use all the batter. Yield: About 10 to 15 fritters. Serve as quickly as possible because the fritters will eventually soften and lose their crispness. You can place the fritters in a pre-heated oven on low heat while you cook the rest.
(Serves 6)

Simple Battered Potato Fritters Recipe

Simple Battered Potato Fritters Recipe

  • 3 large potatoes
  • 1-1/4 cup sifted flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk

Wash potatoes and cut into thin slices.
Mix flour and salt then add egg and milk and beat until smoother batter is formed.
Dip potato slices in batter and fry in hot oil to a golden brown.
Drain well and sprinkle with salt.
Serve hot.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Chocolate for Health

Actually make that a dark chocolate a day keeps the doctor away. So how many of you know that chocolate is actually good for you? I am not talking milk chocolate or white chocolate (can't stand white chocolate and that is not really chocolate anyway), I am talking DARK chocolate! Research (probably commissioned and funded by chocolate manufacturers, but who cares) has showed that dark chocolate when made in a way that keeps its falvonoids intact, is actually good for health and it is recommended that you eat some everyday!

The darker the chocolate, or the more concentrated the cocoa content of the chocolate, and consequently the lower the amount of added sugar, the better it is for you. Darker the chocolate the more antioxidants it contains, which are obviously good for you, but when you add milk to the chocolate, its benefits are considerably reduced. It is well known that antioxidants destroy free radicals, which can cause heart disease and other ailments.

dark chocolate

Studies have shown that eating dark chocolate can significantly lower blood pressure. These benefits of dark chocolate, however, accrue from the flavoniods in the dark chocolate. It is these flavoniods that prevent cholesterol from clogging up the arteries, and also reduce the risk of blood clots. These flavoniods are thought to aid the dilation and relaxation of blood vessels. Generally speaking the stiffer your blood vessels the more likely you are to suffer from hypertension, high blood pressure and other vascular ailments. What's more is, the older you get the more positive and pronounced the results of the flavoniods are on your health!

But hey, this is not an excuse to just go all out and indulge in an orgy or chocolate eating! Remember moderation is the key if you want to derive any health benefits from eating chocolate. Also make sure that the maker has used a manufacturing process that has not destroyed the flavonoids in the chocolate and that it still retains enough of those to give you optimum health benefits. I am lucky that I hate milk chocolate and positively salivate at the thought of dark chocolate. It is good to know that at least some of the things that I love are good for me!

Reena Daruwalla

Interesting Vegetables Facts

How much do you think about vegetables beyond which ones are your favorite?  How much do you really know about them?  You may be surprised about the facts behind your favorite vegetables.  Like why you cry when you cut onions or why people plant large patches of thyme in their garden.  Keep reading to learn these facts and more.

Quick Onion Fun Facts

A chemical reaction is the reason why people cry when they cut onions.  When you cut an onion, it releases amino acids sulfoxides, which then turn into sulfenic acids.  The sulfenic acids then mix together with enzymes from the onion to produce propanethiol S-oxide, which is a sulphuric chemical.  The sulphuric chemical, being in a gaseous state, comes into contact with the water in your eyes and causes a burning sensation.  In response to this irritation, your eyes release tears in an effort to remove the irritant.

As a side note, when the onion is being cooked, the heat inactivates the enzyme, so that it will no longer irritate your eyes.

There are a few things that you can do to prevent crying when you cut an onion.  These include:

  • Wear safety goggles,
  • Run a fan to pull the sulphuric gas away from you,
  • Place the onion in a bowl of water and then cut it, and
  • Keep the onion in the fridge until you are ready to cut it, as the cold air in the fridge will slow the chemical reactions inside the onion.
Other Vegetable Fun Facts

I bet you didn't think onions could be that interesting, did you?  Well here are some more interesting facts about other vegetables.  See how many of these facts you already know.

  • Watermelons are actually vegetables!  They are in the same family as cucumbers, pumpkins and squash.
  • The world's largest watermelon on record weighed over 260 pounds.
  • In England, it is tradition to plant large patches of thyme because it is said that these patches are playgrounds for fairies.
  • Carrots can help you to see better in the dark.  That's because carrots contain lots of Vitamin A, which helps to prevent "night blindness".
  • Frozen vegetables can be more nutritious than fresh vegetables.  Fresh vegetables take a lot of time, once they have been picked, to reach the supermarket.  The more time between picking and eating, the more nutrients they loose.  Frozen vegetables however are usually processed and packaged on the same day they were picked; therefore they maintain the maximum amount of nutrients. 
  • The top green leaves from beets can lightly boiled and then eaten, just like spinach.  In fact, beet leaves are the most nutritious part of the vegetable.
  • Two common varieties of peas include snow peas and snap peas.  Snow peas are picked before the peas inside have a chance to develop, so that the pea pod is still very flat and tender.  With snap peas however, the peas are allowed to grow and then both the pod and the peas inside can be eaten either raw or cooked.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading these facts about vegetables. Please visit The Gardener's Escape to learn more fun and interesting facts about vegetables. Plus, you'll find lots of Gardening Tools that you can use to help you have the best garden on the block!