Super easy apple pie

I’m firmly of the opinion that you can’t have too many spices in an apple pie, and the inspiration for this recipe comes from one that my mom has made for years and years. I made this version yesterday for a bunch of people who came for lunch. It makes quite a big pie… but  regardless of size, there was none left by the time we went to bed last night! 

Most apple pies (including my mom’s one) use a short crust pastry. It can get a bit soggy if you’re not a pastry genius – and besides, I like to shake things up a bit – so I used Donna Hay’s cheesecake base this time.

For the filling mix these ingredients together: 

2 cans of pie apples

zest of one lemon

half a cup of caster sugar – or more if you want something sweeter

one teaspoon cinnamon

one teaspoon mixed spice

half a teaspoon nutmeg

5 cloves 

Dried fruit – I’ve done this with chopped dates, raisins or cranberries – include about half a cup, according to your preference. 

Pour these onto the baked base. 

For the topping: 

2 cups of your favourite muesli

1/2 cup of melted butter

1/2 cup of sugar. 

Mix these guys together thoroughly, and then crumble over the apple mix. 

Bake at 200 degrees C for 25-30 mins. 

Serve with ice cream or cream. But ice cream wins every time, in my book… 


Kerry’s Cheesecake (well, Kris’s cheesecake, really… )

My Aussie friend Kris taught me how to make this cheesecake on her last visit to SA. I’m so over biscuit bases though, which is why I now use Donna Hay’s base – from MasterChef season 3. I’ve tried her cheesecake, and it’s not great – this one is much better – but her base wins.


Blend 1/3 cup ground almonds, 3/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup caster sugar and 90g softened butter together. Press into the base of a springform tin, and bake for 15 minutes at 150 degrees C.


Beat 3 eggs and 1/2 cup of sugar together in your mixer, until they’re creamy. (Add up to 1 cup of sugar if you want a sweeter cheesecake). Add 2 tubs of smooth cream cheese, 2 tubs of sour cream, 1 TBSP of vanilla essence, 3 TBSP of corn flour and 1/2 cup of lemon juice. Beat until its all well mixed and smooth and creamy.

Pour over the ready-baked base. You may have too much for one regular size tin – I often just bake the leftovers in a corningware dish for the kids. Put into the oven at 150 degrees C, for about 60 minutes – or until the middle of the cheesecake has set.  Put an oven proof dish of water in the oven at the same time – this helps prevent the top from cracking.

Leave it in the oven to cool – also helps prevent cracking.

Decorate with fruit or drizzled chocolate or whatever tickles your fancy!

Kerry’s pork and cranberry meatballs of awesome

Friends reminded me of this over the weekend – and although I haven’t made it for bookclub, I think I may well be compelled to in the not too distant future…

1 packet of good quality pork sausages

Approx half a cup of craisins

1 egg

A few sage leaves

Take the sausage meat out of the casings.

Mix in the egg, cranberries and finely chopped sage.

Form into meatballs – any size will do – but don’t go too small, otherwise the cranberries fall out. And you don’t want that.

Either pan fry in a little bit of oil, or grill (for the low fat option).

Serve with cranberry jelly.

Make sure you get in at the front, because they won’t last long…

Charmain’s Butternut and Orange Salad

1 large butternut

1 packet mixed salad leaves

1 packet streaky bacon

3T pine nuts

2T brown sugar

3 oranges



Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Cut the butternut into small blocks, sprinkle with the brown sugar and roast in the oven till soft. Take out and set aside. Pan fry the bacon until crisp and drain on kitchen paper. Segment the oranges and heat through in the bacon juices. In a small pan, dry roast the pine nuts. Place the leaves on a platter. Top with the warm butternut, oranges and bacon and sprinkle with the pine nuts.

Kerry’s Quick Cupcakes

Beat 4 eggs and 1 cup of sugar together in your mixer, until the mixture is all light and creamy.

While that’s happening, sift together 2 cups of flour, a bit of salt, 15ml of baking powder and 1/2c of cocoa, if you want chocolate cupcakes. I sift this three times, for maximum lightness and fluffiness.

Add 1 cup of water, half a cup of oil and 5ml of vanilla essence to the egg and sugar mixture, and mix it in well.

Add the sifted flour mixture, and mix until it’s all combined.

Spoon into greased cupcake papers, and bake at 180 degrees – takes about 15 mins in my oven, but my thermostat is not the most reliable.

I use  a cake corer to take out bits of the middle, and fill that with lemon curd (if vanilla cupcakes) or Caramel Treat (if chocolate) and then ice accordingly. If you do the secret centres, though, you need to pipe the icing on – spreading doesn’t work so well…