Easter Chocolate Crackles (Cooking with kids)

(Photo by Gary Corbett)

“It’s time to think of what to do with all those leftover Easter eggs!…said no one ever!  Well, if by chance you do have any leftover you could get your kids to make these super easy Easter chocolate crackles. They don’t require any cooking except to heat up the copha and are a great treat kids can make themselves for parties. I’ve included sultanas (to make them vaguely more healthy) and optional nuts. Enjoy!”

Ingredients

  • 250g copha
  • 4 cups rice bubbles
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 cup sultanas
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • Sprinkles
  • Easter eggs
Equipment
  • Big mixing bowl
  • Stirring spoon
  • Cup measure
  • Dessert spoon
  • Microwave bowl or jug
  • Cupcake pan
  • Cupcake papers
Method
  1. Chop the copha into small pieces and place in a microwave safe bowl or jug. Microwave for bursts of 30 seconds until fully melted. Mine took about 2:30 from the fridge but if it’s at room temperature should take less.
  2. Into the big bowl put the rice bubbles, Icing sugar, coconut, cocoa, sultanas and almonds. Using the big spoon mix it together until its we’ll combined. (This could also be done in a food processor)
  3. Add the melted copha to the bowl and stir until it’s all combined.
  4. Put the cupcake papers in the cupcake pans and spoon mixture into each one. I found this mixture made 17 chocolate crackles.
  5. Sprinkle the sprinkles over each one.
  6. Peel the foil off the Easter eggs and push down into each chocolate crackle.
  7. Refrigerate for at least an hour to solidify.
  8. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Curried Sausages

Photo by Gary Corbett

“The smell and taste of food is amazing at bringing back memories. There are heaps of dishes my mum used to cook (and still cooks) that I remember growing up. A lot of them I still cook today.  My favourite was always curried sausages. As an adult I cook it regularly and for me it must contain two important ingredients. Keens curry powder and sultanas. I usually use beef sausages but any variety will do, in fact the vegan version I did using store bought veggie snags worked brilliantly.  I’m sure this recipe is quite different to mums, but it’s delicious and still brings back those childhood memories. Enjoy!”

You can find the video on my Musical Menus YouTube page.

https://youtu.be/mGenqVTgS_g

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, diced
  • 3 tablespoons Keens Curry Powder
  • 1 tablespoon Korma paste
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 x 400g tin tomatoes
  • 400g vegetable stock
  • 4 tablespoons Indian mango chutney
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sultanas
  • 1/2 cup chopped cashews
  • Parsley
  • Rice (to serve)
Method
  1. Cook some sausages and allow to cool.
  2. Fry the onions in a pan until they start to soften.
  3. Add the garlic and stir for a minute or two.
  4. Add the Keens curry powder, Korma paste and tomato paste and stir for a few minutes.
  5. Stir in a tin of tomatoes then fill the tin with vegetable stock and add to the pan.
  6. Add the mango chutney, salt and sultanas and let the sauce simmer on low heat for 10 minutes.
  7. Cut up your cooked sausages into bite-sized chunks and add to the sauce. You can let them simmer in the sauce and finish by sprinkling the cashews over the top before serving.
  8. If you’re baking the sausages transfer to an oven-proof dish and sprinkle the cashews over the top. Bake in at 200c oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
  9. Serve with rice, a dollop of yogurt and mango chutney and sprinkle with more cashews and chopped parsley. Enjoy!

 

Christmas Mince Pies (Vegan)

“Every year I make Christmas mince pies.  Mum’s been doing making them for years but I’m sure mine are better!  She will disagree with this.  Anyway, this version is very tasty and vegan friendly.  Of course, you can make them with a traditional shortcrust pastry but I love the texture of this pastry and it’s really easy to make and work with. This recipe makes enough pastry for about 3 dozen mince pies, so halve it if you don’t need that many. I make the Christmas mince in bulk every year and use it to make Christmas cakes, biscuits and other delicacies. I haven’t given weights for the dried fruit because with this method you can make as much or as little as you like and use a combination of fruits that you like best.  I would also suggest you use less expensive cooking port or it can get expensive. Enjoy!”

(Photos by Gary Corbett)

Ingredients for Christmas mince

  • Sultanas
  • Currents
  • Dates
  • Dried apricots
  • Dried figs
  • Cranberries
  • Cooking port
Method for Christmas mince
  1. Cut up the dried fruit into small pieces or use a food processor.
  2. Place fruit in a large saucepan pour over enough port to saturate the fruit.
  3. Bring the heat up to medium and keep stirring until the port has been incorporated and the fruit has softened. There should be no liquid left in the mixture and the fruit should be glossy and sticky.   (When doing 2kg of dried fruit this takes up to 20 minutes) You can always add more port and keep the mixture on the heat if you want cook it for longer.
  4. Let the Christmas mince cool completely in the saucepan then transfer to a plastic container and refrigerate.  Because of the high amount of natural sugars the Christmas mince will last for ages!
Ingredients for Vegan shortcrust pastry
  • 190g Nutilex (or non-dairy margarine)
  • 190g icing sugar
  • 400g plain flour
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
Method for Vegan shortcrust pastry
  1. Put all ingredients in a food processor and combine until it comes into a ball.  If you mixture is crumbly add a small amount of cold water. If it’s to soft put some more flour in.
  2. Empty mixture onto some plastic wrap and knead into a disc. (This will make it easier to roll out later)
  3. Wrap disc in the plastic wrap and place in the fridge until needed.
Method for Christmas mince pies
  1. Roll out the pastry until it’s about 5mm thick.
  2. Cut out circles of pastry to fit your pans.  (I have specialty pans that are shallow with a fluted edge that are perfect for these pies)
  3. Press the pastry into the base of each mould so it comes a few centimetres up the side. (Or as deep as you want if you want bigger pies!)
  4. Fill the moulds with the cooled Christmas mince and smooth the top.
  5. Using Christmas cutters make tops for the pies.  I use stars, Santas, Christmas trees or baubles for mine.  You can also enclose the top completely if you like.
  6. Before you put them in the oven you can use an egg-wash, milk or any vegan milks to paint over the pastry tops.  Or you can sprinkle a bit of sugar over them.
  7. Bake in a 180 degree C oven for 10-15 minutes or until the pastry is cooked and starting to brown.
  8. Give to all your family and friends and everyone will love you!