“Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.” Mae West was so right when she said these words. In fact, I think she had this magnificent Grasshopper Cheesecake Brownie in mind when she came up with her world famous one-liner.
This is a brownie… And a cheesecake… And a grasshopper pie… All rolled into one deliciously decadent treat. It is in-your-face grandeur and home-made comfort at the same time. It is heaven on a plate.
Everyone loves the incredibly intense chocolaty flavour of brownies (if you don’t, there is definitely something wrong with you…) Everyone loves the fresh and tangy palate-cleaving creaminess of the cheesecake (If you don’t, you may want to see a doctor…) And everyone loves the extraterrestrial green of the minty grasshopper pie. (If you don’t, frankly, you might want to book a room in the Cuckoo’s nest. )
Still not convinced? (Shame on you!) Then just try it out for yourself and you will realize that this is indeed baking perfection.
For the grasshopper cheesecake:
• 2 eggs
• 300gr cream cheese
• 70gr caster sugar
• 2 tbsp mint syrup
• 100gr white chocolate, melted
• Green food colouring
1. Preheat the oven to 170°C and line a 23cm loose-bottomed cake tin with baking parchment.
2. For the brownie, put the eggs and sugar in a bowl and beat until light and fluffy. Sift in the flour and the cocoa powder and beat until all the ingredients are well mixed. Pour in the melted butter and mix through. Spoon the mixture in the cake tin.
3. For the grasshopper cheesecake, put the cream cheese, mint syrup and sugar in a bowl and mix on low speed until smooth. Pour in the melted chocolate and stir well. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until everything is combined and your batter is smooth and glossy. Stir in the food colouring until you get a nice green hue. (grasshopper worthy 😉 )Pour the cheesecake mixture on to the brownie .
4. Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes, or until the cheesecake is firm to the touch and light golden around the edges.
5. Leave to cool completely and refrigerate for at least one hour (this will intensify the flavours even more!)
I know that there are a lot of people who still have an inexplicable lack of faith in vegetarian dishes. For some insane reason they seem to think that “no meat” equals “no flavour”. They worry about whether it will be nutritious or filling enough. If you so much as mention you’re going to cook vegan, you can see the look of pure horror on their faces. I think those people are idiots. Seriously, it really pisses me off how so many people can still be so ignorant! In sharp contrast to every carnivore’s assumption, vegetarian and vegan food equals versatility. You’re not bound by the “I have to use meat” rule, meaning that you can be as bold and as crazy in the kitchen as you like! You will discover a whole range of new ingredients and new flavour combinations that will simply blow your socks off. A marriage of tastes and textures you wouldn’t have thought possible…
The following two vegan dishes may sound very strange to carnivores (or as I like to cool them, ignorant morons 😉 ) But I can assure you, once they will have tasted this, they will be back for more! These recipes are so cool, interesting and –above all- delicious that they will absolutely forget meat ever existed!
However, let’s not be naïve. Serving these vegan dishes to your carnivore friends won’t suddenly turn them into vegetarians or vegans as well. But it will make them realize that they can indeed survive without their precious piece of meat or fish. They may even be willing to cut back on their meat consumption and be prepared to cook vegetarian dishes of their own!
More people eating less meat. That is the ultimate goal. And these vegan dishes will help us achieve it!
Oriental Seitan and Salsify Stir-fry with dried cranberries
I know this may sound like a really really really odd combination, but I am actually incredibly proud of this dish! I love salsify but I wanted to do something completely different with it ( so not the usual salsify in béchamel sauce). I wanted to create something new and vibrant. I honestly have NO idea why I suddenly thought dried cranberries would do the trick – but hey- who am I to question my own brilliance? This dish is packed full of flavour and all its different textures marry together like a culinary harmony. The juiciness of the seitan, the earthiness of the salsify, the sweet-sour fruitiness of the cranberries, the crunch of the nuts and seeds and that gorgeous blend of spices and fragrant coriander… it almost sounds poetic!
Ingredients (serves 1):
• 100gr seitan, cut into small chunks
• 200gr salsify, I used the canned pre-cooked ones, but if you the courage to tackle that annoyingly sticky root vegetable by yourself, be my guest
• Handful of dried cranberries
• Handful of nuts and seeds
• Handful of chopped coriander
• Juice of half an orange
• 1 tsp turmeric
• 2tsp curry powder
• 3 pieces of candied ginger (in syrup) , finely chopped Method:
1. Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a pan and fry the seitan chunks until they’re golden browns and crisp.
2. Add the drained salsify and the spices and stir-fry for a couple of minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Add the cranberries, ginger, nuts and seeds and the orange juice to create a wonderful sticky gravy.
4. Stir in the chopped coriander et voila! : A speedy, wonderfully nutritious and healthy dinner!
Tomato and pea curry with coconut and coriander risotto
This is fusion cooking at its best. Indian meets Italian, or as I like to call it: Italindian. The sharpness of the tomatoes blends incredibly well with the sweetness of the peas. The hot and spicy kick of the fragrant curry and the rich creaminess of the risotto create the perfect symphony of flavours. This is simply a must for everyone who loves a classic Indian curry or a traditional Italian risotto. It’s the best of both worlds, but with an edgy twist! Ingredients(serves 4) For the curry:
• 500gr cherry tomatoes, halved
• 500gr frozen peas
• 2 onions, finely sliced
• 2 cloves of garlic
• 500ml of passata
• 1tsp chilli powder
• 1 ½ tbsp garam massala
• 1 tsp ground ginger
• ½ tsp ground cinnamon
• ½ tsp ground cumin
• 2 tsp brown sugar
• 2 tsp turmeric For the risotto:
• 320gr risotto rice
• 1 onion, finely chopped
• 400ml coconut milk
• 400ml vegetable stock
• Lots of fresh coriander Method
1. Heat one tablespoon of vegetable oil in a wide casserole or pan that comes with a lid, and add the chopped onions, garlic and all the spices, stirring frequently as you cook them over a low to medium heat for about 5 minutes.
2. Add the tomato passata and the brown sugar and cook on a low heat for 10 minutes so that all the spices can infuse the tomato sauce.
3. Add the peas and tomatoes. Season to taste with salt and pepper if necessary and cook for a further 10 minutes.
4. For the risotto, sauté the onion in a tablespoon of oil for a couple of minutes. Add the rice and stir until all the grains of rice have a nice oily coating.
5. Add a ladle full of the stock to the pan and stir well. Cook until nearly all of the stock has been absorbed and then add another ladleful of the stock. Do the same with the coconut cream, this will give the risotto the most wonderfully rich texture.
6. When the rice is cooked, stir through the chopped coriander.
Birds are chirping, buds are blossoming and spring romance is in the air. I feel overly excited and I constantly have this urge to start whistling. Which can only mean one thing: it’s time to buy new spring make-up!
Stop recycling your last year’s boring make up, because – as the weather heats up- it’s time for a bolder and braver you! Turn yourself into the superwoman of beauty tricks and make adventurous make up choices! This spring’s make up is all about standing out and wowing everyone around you!
Sounds fun, right? Here are the spring 2013 make up trends that will make you feel happy and self-confident.
1. Think pink!
Pink was by far the biggest make-up trend on the spring/summer catwalks. From fuchsia to bubblegum pink: anything goes, really! Donna Karan even opted for pink eye shadow and lashes! But my personal favourite were the fuchsia pink lips at Giles. Vibrant, young and oh so pretty!
2. Silver Lining’s Playbook:
Metallic eyes were a big hit on the runway this season. Chanel went for plenty of eyeliner and shimmering silver eye shadow. Opt for nude lips to balance out the in-your-face brightness of the look.
3. Welcome to the sixties!
Marc Jacobs and Moschino went a couple of decades back in time and gave their models full brows, nude lips, lots of eyeliner and ultra-long lashes. Yes, it’s time to embrace your inner Twiggy!
4. Under the sea
I’m guessing designers like Stella McCartney and Michael Kors were dreaming of a Mediterranean holiday when they chose the colour of their make-up. McCartney opted for an elegant thin streak of green eyeliner, while Kors chose a very futuristic turquoise line above the eyelid. Very bold and very Beautiful!