Compiled: Sarah Kobal
These easy but very tasty recipes are sure to inspire you and delight your family or friends.
Starter: Baked Brie
Prep: 34 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
• 1 (7 to 8 inches) wheel brie cheese
• ¼ cup dried cherries
• ¼ cup sliced toasted almonds
• 3 tablespoons brown sugar
• 2 sheets (12 x 18 inches) puff pastry
• 2 eggs, beaten
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Using a warmed and sharp knife, cut the wheel of brie in half horizontally and separate the top half of the wheel from the bottom half.
3. Sprinkle the bottom half of the brie with the dried cherries, toasted almonds and brown sugar. Replace the top half of the brie and apply pressure to secure the stuffing.
4. Working on a well-floured surface, roll out the puff pastry so that it will fully cover the brie. Place the brie in the middle of the puff pastry and fold the excess pastry around the wheel. Put the wheel aside. Save the trimmings for decorations.
5. Using a pastry brush, brush the egg on top of the brie in the puff pastry and place the circle on top.
6. Cut out decorations using cookie cutters or a small knife and place on top of the brie.
7. Brush the entire top side of the brie with the egg and place the brie on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
8. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until the pastry begins to turn golden brown, then turn the temperature down to 325 degrees F and bake for another 20 minutes.
9. Serve on a pretty platter.
Note: The brie can be made, wrapped securely and stored in the freezer up to a month ahead of time.
Main: Pork Chops with Apples and Garlic Smashed Potatoes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
• 1 pound small fingerling potatoes (you can substitute them with red, white or new potatoes)
• 2 cloves garlic
• Kosher salt (you can substitute with sea salt)
• 4½-inch-thick boneless pork loin chops (5 ounces each)
• 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
• Freshly ground pepper
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 large red onion, cut into ½-inch wedges
• 2 Granny Smith apples, cut into ½-inch pieces
• ¾ cup apple cider
• ¼ cup buttermilk
1. Put the potatoes and garlic in a saucepan, cover with cold water and season with salt. Cover and bring to the boil, then uncover and continue cooking until tender, about 15 minutes. Cover and set aside.
2. Rub both sides of the pork chops with the sage, and salt and pepper to taste.
3. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat, then add 1 teaspoon olive oil and sear the chops until golden on both sides, about 5 minutes total. Transfer to a plate.
4. Wipe out the skillet and add the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil. Add the onion and apples and cook over a medium-high heat until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the cider.
5. Return the chops to the skillet. Cover and cook, turning once, until just cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain the potatoes, reserving a ¼ cup liquid.
6. Return the potatoes to the pan, add the buttermilk and mash, adding cooking liquid as needed. Season with salt and pepper.
7. Serve with the pork chops, onion and apples. Drizzle with the pan juices.
Dessert: Peanut Butter No-Bake Cheesecake
Prep: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 3 hours
• 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
• ⅓ cup sour cream
• ¾ cup smooth peanut butter, at room temperature
• 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons confectioner's sugar (also known as powdered sugar and icing sugar)
• ⅓ cup roughly chopped roasted peanuts
• One 9-inch prepared biscuit crust
• 1 cup heavy cream
• ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
• Peanut butter chips, for garnish
• Chocolate sprinkles, for garnish
Plain Biscuit Crust
• 2 x 200 g packet digestive biscuits
• 125 g butter, melted
1. Blend the cream cheese, sour cream, peanut butter and 1 cup of the confectioner's sugar until smooth and creamy with a hand mixer.
2. Sprinkle the chopped peanuts around the bottom of the pie crust and spoon the cheesecake filling on top, smoothing out the top and spreading the filling to the edge. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the cheesecake and refrigerate until set, at least 3 hours.
3. Whisk together the heavy cream, cocoa powder and the remaining 3 tablespoons of confectioner's sugar in a medium mixing bowl until dissolved. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate along with the cheesecake.
4. When ready to assemble, whisk the heavy cream and cocoa powder mixture until medium peaks form. Place the cocoa whipped cream in to a resealable plastic bag and squeeze the icing toward one corner of the bag. Snip a small opening at the corner with the icing. Pipe the frosting in any pattern of your liking around the edge of the pie. Sprinkle the peanut butter chips and chocolate sprinkles on top of the whipped cream. If there is any leftover frosting, serve it in a bowl on the side.
Plain Biscuit Crust
1. Set the oven at 180°C.
2. Lightly oil a large 24 cm spring-form baking tin.
3. Crush the biscuits, mix well with the butter and press neatly into base and sides of tin.
4. Bake for 10 minutes; allow to cool.