ES’S MOIST STRAWBERRY GREEK YOGHURT BANANA BREAD WITH NUTS

ESlabs Moist Strawberry Greek Yogurt Banana Breadtested

ES’S MOIST STRAWBERRY GREEK YOGHURT BANANA BREAD WITH NUTS

Ingredients
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup wholewheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brown sugar in the raw
4 large over-ripe bananas (mashed, but keep some pieces in it. I prefer it not overly smooth). ****
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup Greek yogurt (I only had 0%, but you can use any % yogurt you have)
1 cup strawberries, halved
1/4 cup chopped pecan nuts

Topping:
1/2 cup blueberries, black berries and raspberries (combined)
1/4 cup chopped pecan nuts

Directions
Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
Add the strawberries, and just cover it with flour. DO NOT overmix.
Blend/mix brown sugar, bananas, eggs, vanilla extract and yogurt in another bowl.
Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and add the nuts.
Pour the mixture into a greased 9×5 inch loaf pan.
Add topping – decorate as you wish.
Bake in a preheated 350F/180C oven until golden brown
When a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, after ± 60 minutes, you will have the best ‘banana’ loaf ever.

****Tip: If you do not have over-ripe bananas, peel and nuke them for 30 seconds in the microwave, and they will be nice and soft to use.

Original recipe courtesy of: Closet Cooking
Modified, tried and tested by: Es Slabs




ES’S ALMOND MILK ARABIC DOUGH WITH BACON BITS AND CHEESE

ESlabs Arabictested

ES’S ALMOND MILK ARABIC DOUGH WITH BACON BITS AND CHEESE

True to my nature, that is 99.9% of the time, I will use a recipe as a starting point and modify as I go along.
As I wanted to see if this famous Arabic dough will work and can be modified to “Vegan” I decided to use almond milk and omit the milk powder.
As my vegan family members, will unfortunately not be able to share in this batch, I then decided to add some bacon and cheese to the mix as another part of my experiment. You can keep it vegan by omitting the bacon and using vegan cheese if you like.

Ingredients:
500 ml (2 cups) warm almond milk
60 ml (4 tbsp) sugar
30 ml (2 tbsp) yeast (2 x 8 g packets)
500 ml (2 cups) cake flour
1.25 ml (¼ tsp) salt
Mix together and set aside for 15 minutes to form a nice foam head.

Then add:
125 ml (½ cup) oil
750 ml (3 cups) flour
5 ml (1 tsp) baking powder (optional, I did add it)
Mix well and knead with dough attachment in stand mixer for 7 minutes. Yeah, for a stand mixer!!!

After 6 minutes kneading, add the following without stopping your mixer:
40 g bacon bits (you can add more if you prefer, unfortunately that’s all I had available)
60 g grated cheddar cheese – or any sharp yellow cheese
100 g grated mozzarella cheese
Continue to knead for the last 1 minute till well mixed.

Oil your hands and prepare shapes as you like.
Let proof/rise for 30 minutes.

Before baking, egg wash dough and sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds, or dust with flour.
Bake at 180C / 350F for about 20-25 minutes or baked through and have a nice brown head.

Recipe credit: Gail Haselsteiner
Modified, prepared, tried and tested by: Es Slabs




ES’S TRIPLE CHOCOLATE MINI FILLO CUPS

ESlabs Triple Chocolate Mini Fillo Cupstested

ES’S TRIPLE CHOCOLATE MINI FILLO CUPS

Ingredients
1 x 170g Chocoalte Jell-O (1 box)
1 X 473ml cream (1 carton)
1 x 250ml milk
1 x 250 milk chocolate
Flake chocolate for decoration

Directions
Mix in a large microwave container:
Chocolate Jell-O, cream and milk. Beat with a whisk till well blended.
Microwave a high power, 2 minutes at a time. Mix well.
Continue till boiling and you have a nice thick paste.
The time will depend on the strength of your microwave. It took me 6-7 minutes.
Break/cut milk chocolate into small pieces and melt in a separate microwave bowl – approximately 1 minute.
Be careful, do not burn the chocolate.
Combine the two mixtures, blend well with whisk and return to microwave for 1 extra minute.
Whip every so often, and make sure no lumps visible.
Cover with some clingwrap to prevent a skin forming.
When cold, spoon in a piping bag with a big star nozzle.
Pipe the chocoalte mixture into mini Fillo Cups.
Decorate with crumbed flake or to your liking.

Serve immediately.
Source: Made it up
Prepared, tried and tested by: Es Slabs




ES’s VEGAN SHEPHERD’S PIE

vegan shepards pietested

ES’s VEGAN SHEPHERD’S PIE

Ingredients:
3 potatoes
2 carrots
3 celery stalks
1/2 onion
450g mushrooms
1+ Tbsp. flour
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 tsp fresh sage
2 teaspoons crushed garlic
2 ½ cups veggie broth
1/4 cup red wine
2 x 312g vegan ground round ‘beef’
salt
pepper
soy milk (or rice milk)
vegan butter
Dried parsley

Directions:
Peel, chop, and boil the potatoes until soft.
Meanwhile, chop the carrots, celery, and onion, sauté in vegan butter or oil for a few minutes. Add the mushrooms, garlic, and season with salt and pepper, and sauté.
Add wine, flour, thyme, and sage.
Slowly add the veggie broth stirring continuously. Let simmer/cook till thickened to your liking.
Mash the potatoes and add the soy milk and vegan butter, till smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Place the veggie/’meat’ filling into a baking dish, then spread the mashed potatoes over top. Make a rough scraped designs for the top. The rougher the surface, the crispier it will turn out.
Spray the surface with cooking oil. Sprinkle with dried parsley.
Broil for 10-15 minutes, or until the top is crispy.

Recipe and photo:  Esme Slabbert




ES’S WHEAT BRAN AND CRAISIN MUFFINS

ESLABS BRAN MUFFINtested
ES’S WHEAT BRAN AND CRAISIN MUFFINS
1½ cups wheat bran
2 cups buttermilk – 1 small carton
1/3 cup canola or any other vegatable oil
1 egg
2/3 cup Maple sugar, or any brown sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup craisins
½ cup rolled oats
½ cup desiccated/shredded coconut
½ cup chopped/crushed pecan nuts

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375F.
Grease muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.
Mix together wheat bran and buttermilk and let stand for 10 minutes.
Whisk the oil, egg, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer till frothy
Add to buttermilk/bran mixture and lightly mix through.
Add all the remaining ingredients and fold into above mixture till just blended.
Spoon batter into 13 prepared muffin tins. I use a measuring cup, (½ cup) and it’s perfect.
Bake for ±20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Recipe from another site, but modified to taste
Prepared, tried and tested by: Esme Slabbert




ESME’s LEAN GROUND BEEF WITH MUSHROOM, PARMESAN AND BACON

tested
ESME’s LEAN GROUND BEEF WITH MUSHROOM, PARMESAN AND BACON
Sunflower Oil or VOO – Virgin Olive Oil
6 strips of bacon, chopped
3/4-1 onion, chopped (depending on size)
3 large spring onions, chopped
1 tin button mushrooms, cut in half
1.3 kg lean ground beef
2 eggs
75 ml evaporated milk (ideal milk)
¼ cup fresh Parmesan cheese, shredded
2 slices fresh brown bread, crumbed
2,5 ml (½ t) salt
±5- 7.5 ml (1-1½t) mix of Basil, Thyme, Rosemary, Parsley
250 ml (1 c) grated cheddar cheese
170 g broccolini, finely chopped

Set oven at 180C / 350F.
Heat oil in a pan and saute the bacon, onion, spring onion and mushrooms. Keep aside.
Mix ground beef, egg, milk, Parmesan, salt and herbs, then add ½ of the onion mixture with meat. Chop the broccolini, add and mix well.
Grease a big enough glass container and spoon in the meat mixture.
Bake for ± 1-1½ hour, till done. If you have fat on the surface, spoon off and remove it.
Mix the grated cheese and the remainder of the onion mix and sprinkle over the baked meat dish. Return to the oven for another ± 10 minutes till cheese melted.
Serve immediately with a salad, and or bread and enjoy!
If you have Ms Balls chutney, it’s super yummy on the side.

Prepared, tried and tested by: Esme Slabbert




ESME’S CORNED BEEF, SPRING ONION AND CHEDDAR MINI LOAFS

ESlabs Breadtested
ESME’S CORNED BEEF, SPRING ONION AND CHEDDAR MINI LOAFS
2 cups All purpose Flour
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
½ teaspoon Salt
Fresh Ground Black Pepper to taste
1 cup Buttermilk
2 Eggs
¼ cups Vegetable Oil
1 cup Corned beef, diced
1 cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded
¾ cups spring onions, sliced
½ red pepper, diced

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a 6 mini loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and black pepper. Stir to combine.
Add buttermilk milk, eggs and vegetable oil. Mix just until combined.
Add meat, cheese, red pepper and spring onions. Mix just until combined.
Divide evenly and scoop into loaf pans.
Sprinkle some extra cheese over and bake at 350ºF for 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a loaf comes out clean.

Prepared, tried and tested by: Esme Slabbert




ES’s PAINTBALL BIRTHDAY CAKE

ESLABS N BIRTHDAYtested

ES’s PAINTBALL BIRTHDAY CAKE

I used 3 different recipes, so I am listing all three recipes in this one post.
You can use these recipes on its own as well.
DOUBLE VANILLA CAKE
Ingredients
8 oz butter (4 sticks)
2 cup sugar
4 eggs
4 Tbsp vanilla
4 cup flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup milk
Directions
Preheat your oven to 350F (180C).
Using a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until smooth and creamy.
Add the eggs one at a time, incorporating each before adding the next. Add the vanilla.
Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together. Add to the wet ingredients along with the milk.
Beat everything for a few moments until smooth once again.
I used half of the batter as a white layer and the second half, mixed in 0.64 fluid ounces – 1 bottle of blue coloring.
Prepare two 9-inch round baking pan by lightly greasing them, and then cutting a circle of parchment paper to fit into the bottom.
Divide the batter evenly between two 9-inch cake pans (once you mixed in the blue coloring if you use it).
Bake for 50 minutes. Cool for a few moments than carefully invert the pans removing the cake and let cool.
VEGAN CHOCOLATE CAKE
Ingredients
Dry Ingredients:
2½ Cups All Purpose Flour
2½ Cups Sugar
1 Cup Cocoa Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
½ teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Salt
Wet Ingredients:
2⅔ Cups Non-Dairy Milk of Choice (I used Almond)
⅔ Cups Light Oil (I used canola)
2 Tablespoons Cider Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
Directions
Preheat your oven to 350F (180C).
Prepare one 9-inch round baking pan by lightly greasing them, and then cutting a circle of parchment paper to fit into the bottom.
I also made 5 x 3-inch width x 2-inch depth baby vegan cakes – prepare pans the same as the large baking pan.
In a large bowl whisk together all of the dry ingredients, then set aside.
In a medium bowl whisk together all of the wet ingredients.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Don’t over mix.
Prepare baking pans by lightly greasing them, and then cutting a circle of parchment paper to fit into the bottom.
Divide the batter into the prepared pans then pop them in the oven.
Bake for about 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
This recipe made one 9-inch cake and 5 single high cakes (see dimensions above) as I needed this for my vegan family members.
I decorated this with vegan chocolate icing (Betty Crocker) and only added sliced organic strawberries as decoration – see picture.
RED VELVET CAKE
Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
2 Tablespoons unsweetened, cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil or canola
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1-2 oz. red food coloring – 0.64 fluid ounces = 1 bottle
1 teaspoon white vinegar
½ cup of prepared plain hot coffee
Directions
Preheat oven to 325F.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the sugar and vegetable oil.
Mix in the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and red food coloring until combined.
Stir in the coffee and white vinegar.
Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients a little at time, mixing after each addition, just until combined.
Prepare one 9-inch round baking pan by lightly greasing them, and then cutting a circle of parchment paper to fit into the bottom.
I also made 1 x 6-inch pan with the extra batter and gave it to a friend as a gift.
Pour the batter evenly into pans.
Bake in the middle rack for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Do not over bake as cake will continue to cook as it cools.
Let pan cool completely and remove the cake from the pans.
Be sure to not overbake! Cakes are really moist and you may need to refrigerate them to firm them up before stacking and frosting. I left mine overnight as I only did decorations the next day.
To bake cupcakes, bake for 18-20 minutes, checking at around the 18-minute mark.
I baked the above four cakes in two batches, over 2 evenings and kept them covered in sealed plastic bags and did the assembling and decoration the 3rd day.
After all the baking, I cheated and used a box of store bought marshmallow fondant. I took the block and knead it slightly to be more pliable.
Sprinkle the table top with icing sugar, and roll the fondant to desired thickness.
Now the assembly started:
Bottom layer – Vegan chocolate cake
Second layer – Red velvet
Third layer – Vanilla (white) cake
Fourth layer – Blue (vanilla) cake
Use a serving tray/plate/board big and sturdy enough as it’s a very high (4 layers) and heavy cake once done. Spread some icing on the plate and place the first layer on the plate. This will help and make sure it does not move around and go slip slide around.
Take the second and third layer, place them on top of each other, and use a round ‘template’ to cut out a circle in the middle. I used an approximately 3-inch template to cut the opening in the middle of the cakes. You can ‘trace’ it on the top layer and then cut with a knife through both layers and remove the inside circle.
Liberally spread icing (I used white vanilla icing on all the layers) the bottom of the second layer (ring) and place on the bottom full layer.
Once done, spread icing on the top of the second layer (first ring) and place the third layer (second ring) on top of the second layer.
Fill the cavity with any candy you prefer. I used multicolored jelly beans and skittles.
I ended up using 2 bags of skittles and 1 bag of jelly beans, but that will depend on the height of the cake and the diameter of the cavity you made.
Once filled, spread the bottom of the fourth/top layer and place on top.
Now that you have all four layers assembled, spread a thin layer of icing all around all four layers. Try to make it as smooth as possible.
Take the rolled out marshmallow fondant and carefully place it over the entire cake and work it as best you can to get a very smooth surface.
Decorate to your hearts content and as per your theme.
As I had a paintball theme, I printed a paintball figurine and then traced it on the top of the cake and used black icing to ‘paint’ it.
For the paintball splats I did the same and used red and blue coloring to ‘paint’ it.
At the very bottom of the cake, I added some candy to round off the seam at the bottom.
I also piped our grandson’s name and age on opposite sides of the cake.
I thoroughly enjoyed this project, although I do require a lot of extra experience to work with fondant, as it’s my first try and must admit it’s not as smooth as I have seen many others.
NOTE: Make sure that when served at the birthday party and before they cut this monster of a cake, it should be placed on a HUGE tray in order to catch all the candy that will spill out of the cake.
Prepared, tried and tested by: Esme Slabbert




CRUNCHY COCO-NANA-BERRY MUFFINS

ESLABS coco-nana-berrytested

CRUNCHY COCO-NANA-BERRY MUFFINS

INGREDIENTS:
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2ml salt
2 overripe bananas, thinly sliced
½ cup vegetable oil or VOO
2/3 cup granulated sugar or berry sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
170g (6oz) fresh blueberries
1½ cups sweetened flaked coconut (1 + ½ cup)

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line muffin tin with paper liners.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
Fold in the fresh blueberries. Berries should have a good coating of flour. Set aside.
In a glass bowl, beat with an electric mixer the sliced bananas, oil, sugar, egg, and vanilla.
Fold flour into the wet mixture until just moistened and then add 1 cup shredded coconut and mix lightly.
Spoon into 12 lined muffin cups and sprinkle with remaining ½ cup shredded coconut, ± 1 tsp per muffin.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center come out clean.
Transfer muffins to a rack and cool.
You can dig in and enjoy, or store in an airtight container.
Adapted, tried and tested by: Esme Slabbert




MINIATURE LEMON LOAF

FLR Lemon loaftested

MINIATURE LEMON LOAF

75g butter or margarine (room temperature)
300g castor sugar
2 eggs
250g self raising flour
2ml salt
2ml baking powder
125ml buttermilk
grated peel of 2 lemons – divided
juice of 2 lemons

Preheat oven to 180C (350F)
You can use one 25 x 10 x 7cm bread pan or 4 individual small ones (see picture)
Beat the butter/margarine, 200g castor sugar and the eggs till creamy color.
Sift the flour, salt and baking powder together.
Mix the flour and milk to the egg mixture and beat well. Do this by adding half flour, then half milk, mix and repeat till done.
Add grated peel of 1 lemon and mix through.
Spoon into your individual pans and bake for 25-30 minutes for the small pans.
If you used one large pan, then you will bake it for ± 45-60 minutes.
It should have a nice brown color and when tested with a skewer it should come out clean.
Mix the remaining 100g castor sugar and lemon juice and grated peel.
When loaf done, poke small holes in each loaf. (I use an old knitting needle for this purpose).
Divide the syrup between the 4 small loaves and gently drench it with syrup.
Use all the syrup, you will need it.
Leave it in the pan till cold.
Gently remove it, and enjoy!

Modified, prepared, tried and tested by: Esme Slabbert

Side Note: About 20+ years ago, I used to bake for a home-bakery shop, and made this at least 2-3 time a week, and then a minimum of 5 at a time. So, its well tried and tested, and each time, a great success. Tonight again a roaring success!