Hippie “Oregano” Brownies

1/2 cup butter
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 ounce “oregano,” chopped

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Melt butter and chocolate together in a large saucepan over low heat.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in remaining ingredients.
  • Pour mixture into a greased 8-inch square pan.
  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Let cool.
  • Cut into squares.
  • Serve and enjoy.

Food Through Culture: Bananas Foster

Bananas Foster is a dessert on which a restaurant empire was built. The story begins with three New Orleans siblings in the early 1950s. John Brennan, a produce supplier facing down an excess of bananas in his warehouse, gave the bananas to his brother, Owen, who was making the family name synonymous with fine Creole cuisine at Brennan’s Vieux Carré Restaurant. Owen passed the bananas along to their sister, Ella, with instructions to create a dessert to honor a New Orleans civic grandee named Richard Foster. 

Working with the restaurant’s chef, Ella devised the classic tableside preparation, which involves brown sugar, butter, a good splash of rum, a flick of the wrist, a tip of the pan, and a gleeful whoosh of fire. But the brilliance of bananas Foster is how it recasts cherries jubilee—a recipe invented fifty years prior by Auguste Escoffier in honor of Queen Victoria—with New World ingredients. And it left its imprint on a generation of American dinner-party hosts looking to dress up overripe bananas.

Green Tea (Matcha) Ice Cream

⅓ cup sugar
⅓ cup cold water
½ teaspoon mirin
2 teaspoons matcha
½ cup whole milk
½ cup half-and-half

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Stir the mixture over low heat to melt the sugar and then continue to simmer for about 5 minutes, or until a bit syrupy. Add the mirin, stir, and remove the pan from the heat.

In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of the warm syrup and the matcha and stir until dissolved. Return this sweet tea concentrate to the saucepan and stir until completely blended. To retain optimal aroma and ensure an intense jade color, do not reheat the mixture. Stir in the milk and half-and-half and mix thoroughly.

If you are using an ice-cream maker:

Pour the tea-and-milk mixture into the machine and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for making a soft-set ice cream. For most models, about 10 minutes of chilling and churning should suffice. Pour the semifrozen mixture into a 3-cup freezer-safe container with a snug-fitting lid. Tap the container gently on a countertop to force out any air bubbles that might be trapped below the surface. Cover and freeze for at least 2 hours, or until firm throughout.

If you are using a blender, electric mixer, or whisk and freezer trays:

Pour the tea-and-milk mixture into a flat, shallow freezer-safe container, filling it no more than two-thirds full (the mixture will expand). Tap the container gently on a countertop to force out any air bubbles that might be trapped below the surface. Cover and freeze for 1½ hours, or until nearly firm. Transfer the semifrozen mixture to a blender and pulse in a few short spurts. Or, with a handheld electric mixer or a whisk, whip the mixture vigorously in a deep bowl. Return the mixture to the same container, re-cover, and freeze again for another 45 minutes, or until firm (but not rock-hard) throughout. Repeat the blend or whip step one more time to achieve a silkier texture.

The final ice cream should be smooth but not too hard. When ready to serve, transfer one or two scoops to pre-chilled bowls. The jade color of the ice cream makes for a dramatic presentation against black tableware.

Sources: Washoku

Matcha Crème Brûlée

2 cups heavy whipping cream
⅔ cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
5 teaspoons matcha powder
1 cup soy milk
6 large egg yolks

Preheat the oven to 325° F. In a small saucepan set over medium heat, whisk together 1 cup of the heavy whiping cream, ⅓ cup of the sugar, and the matcha powder; stir until the matcha and sugar are well blended. Add the remaining heavy whipping cream and the soy milk and bring the mixture to a simmer. Remove from the heat.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the remaining sugar.

Whisking constantly, gradually pour the hot milk mixture into the yolk mixture. Strain through a fine mesh sieve.

Place 6 small (7 to 10 ounce) ramekins in a high-sided baking pan and divide the custard between them. Fill the baking dish with boiling water to reach most of the way up the sides of the ramekins. Carefully transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the custard is set (it should still jigglewhen shaken).

Remove the ramekins from the water bath and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to set.

Before serving, remove the ramekins from the refrigerator and sprinkle each surface with a layer of sugar. Using a butane kitchen torch, melt the sugar until golden-brown all over.

Thor Cake

Thor Cake

Apparently oats were originally a weed found in wheat and barley crops that eventually became a crop on its own. The Greeks and Romans of classical times regarded oats as coarse and used them mostly as animal fodder. The Romans called it avena, and considered them only fit to feed barbarians.

Their neighbors, the Celtic and Germanic peoples, took an entirely different view and used oats extensively. In the northern and upland regions of Europe, oats are the only cereal which will ripen in the cold wet climate. Oats were first cultivated around 1000 B.C.E. in Central Europe. The first record of the cultivation of oats in England is a location called athyll (“on oat hill”) in Anglo Saxon records from 779 CE. There is a record of the bishop of Worcester’s oat lands mentioned in a boundary charter dated 984 CE. Ground oats mixed with milk, cream or water was a very common meal for working people. It was not until the fifteenth century that flour made from oats was first referred to as oatmeal.

1 1/2 cups oatmeal

3 cups all purpose flour

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup molasses

1/2 cup golden syrup

3 teaspoons ground ginger

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or lard

1 teaspoon allspice

1/8 teaspoon mace

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

3 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C).

Soak the oats in the milk in a small bowl for a half hour.

Whisk together the rest of the dry ingredients in a larger bowl. Stir the brown sugar and the egg together in another large bowl. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and stir in the molasses and golden syrup. Mix the butter/syrup mixture to the brown sugar mixture. Stir in the dry ingredients until just blended. Place in a greased 9 X 11 inch pan. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the cake starts to come away from the sides of the pan. A toothpick inserted into the middle should come out clean and the cake should spring back when touched.

Alternatively you can roll the batter into small balls, roll them in oatmeal, and bake them on a cookie sheet until brown.

Strawberry Chia Pudding

Chia is a versatile, powerful little seed with outstanding health benefits. It is very high in calcium, and being high in fibre it keeps you feeling full for longer and is especially handy for regularity. It is also gluten, wheat and nut free.

40 g (1½ oz/¼ cup) chia seeds

250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) almond milk

225 g (8 oz/1½ cups) strawberries, hulled

1 teaspoon vanilla powder

1–2 teaspoons rice malt syrup

To make the strawberry chia, place the chia seeds in a bowl with the almond milk and whisk together with a fork. Set in the fridge for at least 8 hours, or overnight. When you’re ready to serve, place the strawberries, vanilla and rice malt syrup in a blender and whiz into a purée on high speed. Add the purée to the chia seeds and whisk well. Spoon into serving glasses, add your favourite topping and serve immediately

Caramel Chia Pudding

Chia is a versatile, powerful little seed with outstanding health benefits. It is very high in calcium, and being high in fibre it keeps you feeling full for longer and is especially handy for regularity. It is also gluten, wheat and nut free.

40 g (1½ oz/¼ cup) chia seeds

375 ml (13 fl oz/1½ cups) almond or coconut milk

1 tablespoon mesquite powder

1 teaspoon rice malt syrup

To make the caramel chia, place the chia seeds in a bowl with the coconut or almond milk and whisk together with a fork. Add the mesquite powder and rice malt syrup and whisk well. Set in the fridge for at least 8 hours, or overnight, before serving with your favourite topping.

Chocolate Chia Pudding

Chia is a versatile, powerful little seed with outstanding health benefits. It is very high in calcium, and being high in fibre it keeps you feeling full for longer and is especially handy for regularity. It is also gluten, wheat and nut free.

40 g (1½ oz/¼ cup) chia seeds

375 ml (13 fl oz/1½ cups) coconut milk

1 tablespoon raw cacao powder

1 teaspoon lucuma powder

1–2 teaspoons rice malt syrup

To make the chocolate chia, place the chia seeds in a bowl with the coconut milk and whisk together with a fork. Add the cacao, lucuma and rice malt syrup and whisk well. Set in the fridge for up to 8 hours, or overnight, before serving. Add toppings of your choice if desired.

Fruit Pizza

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • selection of strawberries, blueberries, mandarin oranges, bananas, kiwi fruit, grapes, pineapple, etc.
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar.

Mix first three ingredients.  Grease a pizza pan.  Roll out dough and bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool.  Mix next three ingredients and spread on crust.  Add a selection of fruits as toppings. Combine final four ingredients and heat, stirring often until thick.  Cover pizza with this glaze.  Enjoy.

Christmas Mousse

  • 1/4 box gelatin (1 envelope)
  • 1 pint cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup good sherry
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 cup maraschino cherries, sliced

Soak gelatin in a cup of cool water for 1/2 hour.  Whip cream and add sugar and slowly pour in sherry.  Mix gelatin into the cream mixture.  Add and stir in vanilla, almonds and maraschino cherries.  Let stand overnight in the refrigerator.