chocolate ganache tart

If you are, like me, a lover of chocolate and all things simple and beautiful, then this tart is for you!!
My no-fuss, no-bake chocolate ganache tart is a simple, delicious and decadent five ingredient tart that is a real crowd pleaser. It is so simple to put together and I am almost certain you will not be able to resist seconds.
It is the perfect dessert to brighten up any table and great for any impromptu occasion.

Serve this moreish beauty topped with fresh mixed berries, toasted nuts or fruit compote and double thick cream.

This is, undeniably, a dessert you will return to again and again.

ingredients | makes one large tart | easy
tart shell
200g tennis biscuits
115g melted butter

ganache filling
270g good quality dark chocolate, chopped
45g unsalted butter, blocks
1 1/2C full fat cream (room temperature)

berries to serve, optional
cocoa powder / icing sugar to serve, optional

Blitz the biscuits in a food processor until it resembles bread crumbs. Pour the melted butter over the biscuit crumbs and mix until well combined.
Grease a 25cm loose bottom tart tin with non-stick spray and line the base with parchment paper. Tip the biscuit crumbs into the tart shell and press it down and into the tin grooves using the back of a spoon.
Place the tart shell into the fridge to set for at least 30 minutes.

Combine the chocolate and butter in a bowl over simmering water and gently melt while stirring.
Once melted, pour the cream into the chocolate mixture, turn off the heat, and stir until well combined and smooth.
Pour the ganache into the tart shell, leave to stand for 15 minutes, and then place into the fridge to set for at least an hour before serving.

Serve topped with beautiful colourful berries, fresh mint and a dusting of cocoa powder or icing sugar.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x

citrus crepes with stewed apple & toasted nuts

Here, a delicious breakfast that can double as dessert. Light, zesty crepes with a drizzle of maple syrup, topped with cinnamon stewed Granny Smith apples, toasted walnuts, creme fraiche and a little extra drizzle of maple.
A great way to start any morning as stewed apple enhances digestion and vitality. Pectin, found in apples, help the body to cleanse itself of toxins & metabolise fat effectively.
I like my mornings to start well, not rushed, so I prepped the stewed apples and batter last night and stored it in the fridge until this morning. As for the toasted walnuts – I always have a jar of toasted nuts on hand as I often use it to add crunch to salads, puddings, fruit bowls or vegetables.
All in all, this beautiful plate of absolute deliciousness was on the table in 12 minutes.
There are so many recipes in which you can use stewed apple so any leftovers will not be wasted. Store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

for the stewed apple
4/5 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped
5T castor sugar (you can also use brown sugar)
1t vanilla paste
2T water
1t finely grated ginger
2T lemon juice
1/2t ground cinnamon
maple syrup (to serve)
creme fraiche (to serve)
1/2C walnuts or any nuts, chopped and toasted (to serve)

for the crepes
1C all purpose flour
2 eggs
1T canola or sunflower oil
1/2t vanilla essence
pinch of salt
1C milk or half and half water & milk
zest of 1/2 lemon
zest of 1/2 orange

how to
Place a saucepan on low heat, and add all of the ingredients for the stewed apple to the pan. Cook, stirring regularly for about 10 minutes or until the apples have softened.
Remove from the heat, taste and adjust if needed. (Add more lemon juice if too sweet or a little more sugar if too tart.)
Set aside.

Sift the flour into a bowl, add the eggs, oil, vanilla, salt & milk and whisk well until you have a smooth batter.
Gently mix in the zest of the lemon and orange.
Heat a lightly oiled non stick frying pan over medium heat and pour the batter into the pan, using about 1/4 cup for each crepe.
Tilt the pan with circular movements so that the surface is evenly coated.
Cook the crepe for about 2 minutes until lightly browned at the bottom, before turning to cook the other side.

to assemble
Spread about a spoonful of creme fraiche over each crepe and drizzle with about a 2 teaspoons of maple syrup.
Fold in half twice. Repeat until you have the desired amount of crepes prepared.
Top the crepes with the stewed apple, a good dollop of creme fraiche, the toasted nuts, if using and another last drizzle of maple syrup.
Sprinkle with icing sugar. (Optional)

spicy poached pear

There are so many easy, great tasting desserts, giving you the opportunity to use fruits that are in season. Fruit, not only eggs and fish, are a natural choice for immersion in a simmering, warm bath. During poaching the luscious fruits are infused with amazing flavours and your home lingering with enticing, beautiful aromas.
Pears hold up really well during poaching and retain their beautiful shape. What i love about poaching pears is that they sit beautifully atop a tart or on a plate, enveloping a beautiful syrup or sabayon.
I peel the pears and leave the stems attached to their long giraffe like necks, making the visual presentation the perfect dessert temptation.
Serve these little beauties alongside homemade ice cream or freshly whipped cream or creme Chantilly with some toasted nuts for added texture.

ingredients | serves 4 | easy
4 pears, peeled
3c water
150g castor sugar
1 vanilla pod, cut open lengthways
1/2c brandy
3 orange zest peels
pinch of saffron
4 cardamom pods, crushed
2 cloves
3 star anise
1 cinnamon quill

how to do it
Using a sharp knife, carefully remove the bottoms of the pears. (Cut into the flesh and remove the small black stems at the bottom)
Combine all of the ingredients except the pears in a deep pot / skillet. Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn down the heat and gently lower the pears into the poaching liquid.
Make a cartouche using baking paper. Simply cut a hole in the centre of the baking paper and place the paper on top of the pot / skillet to form a ‘lid’ of sorts. This will allow only a small amount of liquid to evaporate during poaching.
Poach the pears until soft, about 15-20 minutes depending on the pears and the size.
Remove pot / skillet from the heat, discard the cartouche and leave the pears to sit in the poaching liquid for at least 20 minutes. Carefully remove the pears and set aside.
Strain the poaching liquid into a clean pot and bring it to a gentle simmer. Cook until reduced and thickened.

When ready to serve, drizzle the pears with the lovely gold liquid.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x

white chocolate panna cotta

i love desserts and as i have mentioned before, i love making dessert! i remember the immense joy i felt when i discovered leaf gelatine. i finally realised what the hype was about and quite honestly, if you love food, dessert and cooking then it really is something to get excited about.
as a general rule, two leaves is equivalent to 1 teaspoon of powdered gelatine but always follow the packet instructions.
panna cotta is an old classic and i have made many different flavours of this tasty, decadent dessert.
similar to creme brûlée without the addition of egg yolks, making panna cotta, in my mind, a guilt free dessert.
the white chocolate panna cotta is fairly sweet so serving it with a type of berry, coulis, compote or any type of fruit works best.

ingredients | makes 6 | easy
375ml cream
125ml milk
1 vanilla pod or 1tsp vanilla essence
100g white chocolate, grated and extra for garnish
2.5 sheets leaf gelatine
40g castor sugar
mint leaves for garnish

how to
soak the leaf gelatine in cold water until soft. bring the cream, milk & vanilla to the boil. off the heat, stir in the sugar & chocolate until melted.
squeeze the water from the gelatine leaves and add the gelatine to the cream mixture. mix well until fully incorporated.
pour the mixture into the ramekins or moulds. leave to cool for about 20 minutes and then place into the refrigerator for 4 – 6 hours or overnight.
serve in the ramekins or if using moulds, turn out onto a plate and decorate with berries, strawberry compote / coulis, grated white chocolate and mint leaves.

for the strawberry compote
1 punnet strawberries
8tbs castor sugar
1tsp lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
2tbs water

place the strawberries, water, sugar, lemon juice and zest into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. reduce the heat to low and simmer until strawberries are soft and the liquid has thickened.

from my kitchen to yours, with love x

banana, chocolate & walnut tarte tatin

i quite often have a sweet tooth and i love making dessert. i especially love great tasting, easy desserts that can be ready in almost no time at all. pastry desserts rank high on my favourites list and combining it with banana and chocolate is practically a no brainer.
as tarte tatins’ go, puff pastry is your best option. this flaky, rich pastry consists of layers of dough and fat, giving it a light, crispy texture upon baking. perfect for almost any tart or pie!
the kids and your guests will love this one!!

1 roll puff pastry, thawed
flour for dusting
100g brown sugar
80g butter
3-4 firm bananas
1/3c chopped walnuts, plus extra for garnish
100ml cream, whipped or vanilla ice cream

for the sauce
50g dark chocolate, chopped
100ml cream

how to do it
preheat the oven to 185 degrees C.
roll out the pastry and, using the pan to measure, cut our a circle 1cm bigger than your pan. place the pastry in the fridge.
place butter and sugar in an ovenproof pan on medium heat. once the sugar has melted, turn up the heat and allow the caramel to get a golden dark colour and thicken, while occasionally tilting the pan.
remove the caramel from the heat and cool for 5 minutes. press the banana slices into the caramel and top it with the chopped walnuts.
lay the pastry on top and gently lift and tuck the sides in using a spoon.
make a 2cm slit in the top of the pastry in the centre, to allow the steam to escape.
bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes.
allow the tart to cool for a few minutes before placing a plate on top of the pan and turning the tart out.

for the chocolate sauce
heat the cream in a small saucepan. pour the cream over the chocolate, leave for 3 minutes and then stir until melted.

to assemble
garnish the tart with the remaining chopped walnuts.
serve slices of the tart topped with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

from my kitchen to yours, with love x