Monday, September 16, 2013

Peach Cobbler (using canned peaches)

Photo by Shaw_Girl, flickr
This is a very old-fashioned dessert, something I remember my grandmothers making. It works with fresh, canned or frozen fruit and tastes best served hot with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream over it. One of my favourite desserts as a kid, and when I introduced my husband to it, his eyes just lit up!

2 small (410g) cans sliced peaches in light syrup
⅓ cup brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
  OR ½ cup fructose
 juice of 1 lemon
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch salt
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 cups self-rising flour
⅓ cup fructose
 ½ cup sugar
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 ¼ cups buttermilk or sour milk
⅓ cup vegetable oil (not olive oil)

Heat oven to 400°F (200°C)

Drain peaches, and reserve syrup. Put peaches in a lightly buttered 1-quart baking dish.

Put 1 cup of syrup into a small saucepan; add the sugars/fructose, lemon juice, spices, salt, butter, and cornstarch. Place the saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil; simmer, stirring, until thickened and clear, about 4 to 5 minutes. Pour the hot mixture over the peaches. Place in the oven while preparing topping.

Sift together dry ingredients. Mix together until all is incorporated but do not knead.
This makes a VERY soft dough, so handle it gently.

Drop by spoonfuls onto the hot peach filling. Return to the oven and bake until topping is browned, about 15 to 20 minutes. Serve warm, with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Other fruits in similar quantities can be substituted, including apples, berries or pears.

Oatmeal Cookies with Variations

Photo by adriennethecook, flickr
Who doesn’t like moist, chewy oatmeal cookies? And you can add some chocolate chips or raisins or nuts to make your own signature cookie. Try this recipe…a favourite in my family for many years…and see what you think! (Parentheses are for South African readers)

1 ½ cup sifted flour
1 tsp baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
1 tsp salt
1 cup softened (not melted) butter (not margarine)
¾ cup granulated (caster) sugar
¾ cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract/essence
½ tsp water
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups rolled uncooked oats (Jungle oats)

Heat oven to 375F (190C). Grease two cookie sheets (baking trays).

Sift together flour, soda, salt. In a separate bowl, blend together butter, sugars, vanilla, and water, then add beaten eggs. Slowly add flour mixture, beat together well.

Now stir in oats and whatever additional ingredients you may wish to use (put no more than 2 cups of additional ingredients in).

Drop half-teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheet such that cookie dough balls do not touch each other. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, remove immediately from cookie sheet with a spatula and place on rack to cool.

Makes 6 to 8 dozen

1) 2 cups chocolate chips
2) ⅔ cup white chocolate chips, ⅔ cup milk chocolate chips, ⅔ cup semi-sweet (dark) chocolate chips
    (my personal favourite)
3) 1 cup chocolate chips, 1 cup chopped walnuts
4) 2 cups dark raisins
5) 1 cup raisins, 1 cup dried cranberries
6) 1 cup white chocolate chips, 1 cup chopped macadamia nuts (another fave)
7) 1 cup of M&Ms or Smarties
8) Reduce egg by 1 and add ⅔ cup cinnamon-infused applesauce
9) 2 cups chopped soft dried fruits like cherries, apricots, apple slices

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Stewed Fruit

My husband loves stewed fruit. After several experiments I came up with this recipe, which he just loves. Because he is diabetic, I use fructose for sweetening, but you can use sugar.

photo by Mandee84, flickr
2 cups dried fruit of your choice, cut into large pieces
1 sliced lemon
1 cup sugar
  OR ⅔ cup fructose
4 cups water
3 whole star anise pods
6 whole cloves
½ tsp ground cinnamon

Mix sugar (or fructose) and water in large pan and bring to a boil, stirring until sugar/fructose completely dissolves.

Add spices and all “tough” fruits (pears, peaches, mango, apricots, dark raisins, etc), reserving the softer fruits (prunes, figs, etc.) for later addition.

Bring back to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes add the soft fruits and simmer another 20 minutes or until the “tough” fruits can be easily pierced with a fork.

Remove lemon slices, anise pods and whole cloves and discard, set fruit aside to cool.

Serve warm or cold with thick cream or vanilla yoghurt.


Applesauce Fresh, homemade applesauce…and even a low-GI version for diabetics!

I have always loved apples and applesauce, especially my grandmother’s homemade sauce. This approximates hers (she did not use cinnamon but this recipe reminds me of apple pie with cinnamon in it) very favourably.

What do you do with applesauce? It is a great accompaniment for pork dishes, delicious on pancakes, or as a dessert or snack, especially with ice cream or vanilla yoghurt. I find it tasty mixed into a spice cake or muffin batter (sprinkle some rolled oats on top of the muffins before they go into the oven). It is also delicious as a topping on hot cereals. Applesauce will keep in the freezer for up to a year, several weeks in the fridge.
Oh…and babies seem to love it!!

photo by Mellowyk, flickr
3 to 4 lbs of peeled, cored, and
   quartered Granny Smith apples
4 to 6 strips of lemon peel
3-4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 inches of cinnamon stick
½ cup fructose
  or ⅔ cup white sugar
1 cup of water
¼ to ½ teaspoon of salt

Put all ingredients into a large pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, with lid “cocked” for steam escape, for 30-45 minutes.

 Remove from heat. Remove cinnamon stick and lemon peel. Put through potato ricer or mash with potato masher.

May be eaten hot or cold.

Using fructose reduces the GI rating of the dish. Sugar has a GI of 68, Fructose is 23. Suitable for diabetics in reasonable quantities.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Tender, flaky, homemade biscuits

This is a delicious recipe and easy to make. You can cut the recipe in half if you have a small family because these have no preservatives and therefore don't keep longer than 24 hours...but don't be surprised if there are no leftovers!!

Photo by dineanddish, flickr
2 cups self-rising flour
1 ½ tsp. sugar
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 ¼ cups buttermilk*
⅓ cup vegetable oil (not olive oil)

Preheat oven to 400F (200C)
Sift together dry ingredients.
Add 1 cup buttermilk (reserve ¼ cup) and stir, then slowly stir in oil.
Mix together until all is incorporated but do not knead.
This makes a VERY soft dough, so handle it gently.

On a floured board, pat or roll out to 1" thick.
Cut 2” or 3” diameter rounds and place on greased cookie sheet.
Brush tops with reserved buttermilk.
 Bake for 15 minutes or until tops are lightly browned.

Serve hot with butter (hint: break them open with your fingers or a fork, don’t cut them open with a knife. They are very tender and flaky inside.)

*If you don’t have buttermilk, sour milk works fine: add 1 teaspoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to a cup of milk, allow to stand for 10 minutes for the milk to curdle, stir and use.



To make scones, use the recipe and method above but add up to ½ cup additional sugar to the dry ingredients (sweetness depends on your taste) and cut at least 4” diameter rounds.

Use the scones, split, for strawberry shortcake bases, or serve them warm and buttered with strawberry jam and whipped cream for a real English-style tea.