Ginger Beer

I love ginger beer that has a strong ginger bite, and not too much sugar.  Here’s a really easy recipe that costs very little to make your own ginger beer.  You just need to plan a couple of days ahead of time to let the yeast work its magic.  This is a non-alcoholic drink; nothing to do with real beer!  Some people like to mix it with beer, though, but I prefer a little rum, or just on its own.

What you need:

a clean 2 litre plastic pop bottle

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger(I keep my ginger in the freezer – it grates easily that way)

1/4 teaspoon baker’s yeast

juice of 1 lemon or lime

What you do:

1. Using a funnel, pour the sugar into the bottle.  Add the yeast.

2. Mix the lemon juice with the grated ginger.  Add this mixture to the bottle.

3. Add some cold water, put the cap on the bottle, then give it a shake until all the sugar dissolves.

4.  Add more cold water to the bottle until it is filled to about 3 cm away from the top of the bottle.

5. After closing the bottle, place it in a warm place for a day or two.  If you give the bottle a squeeze now you will notice that it has some give to it. You will know the ginger beer is done when you squeeze the bottle and it is firm and no longer has any give to it.  At this point you need to put it in the fridge so the yeast stops working.

Because there are bits of ginger in the bottle,  you need to strain it before you serve it.  I just do this as I am pouring each glass.

My Best Bran Muffins

These taste great, and they’ve got lots of fibre-rich bran.  I usually add raisins and pecans, but this time I substituted pumpkin seeds.  Dried cranberries are a great alternative to the raisins.

I mixed the dry ingredients the night before, so when I got up I just had to turn the oven on, add the liquids, and place the mix in muffin tins.  Fresh hot muffins in 20 minutes!

Makes one dozen, and freezes well.

You need:

1 cup flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 & 1/2 cups bran

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup chopped pecans

2 eggs

1 cup milk (soy is good too)

2 Tablespoons molasses

1/4 cup butter

What you do:

1.  Preheat the oven to 400F.

2.  Stir dry ingredients (flour to pecans) in a large bowl.  (If you are making it ahead for tomorrow, this is all you need to do for now.)

3.  Melt butter, then mix in the milk slowly, so the butter doesn’t harden when you add cold milk.  Add molasses.  Pour the liquids, along with the slightly beaten eggs, into the dry ingredients.  Mix only until the ingredients are combined; if you mix more you’ll get tough little muffins.

4.  Place mixture in muffin tins lined with paper baking cups.

5.  Bake at 400F for 20 minutes.  Take muffins out of tins and cool on a rack for a few minutes before eating.

6.  If you freeze them, make sure they’re completely cool.

Enjoying a muffin in the mountains!

Un-Deepfried Zucchini

This one is for those times when you’re craving something that’s bad for you.  This is a much healthier version of deep-fried zucchini – but oven-baked.  I can’t stop eating them, and neither can anyone I’ve made them for.

Yum.

It’s simple, you just need:

1 zucchini

1/2 ish cup of bread crumbs (whole wheat, if you really want to be healthy)

salt & pepper

1 egg

Now just:

1.  Preheat the oven to 400C.

2.  Slightly beat the egg in a bowl with a fork.

3.  Put bread crumbs, salt & pepper in another bowl and mix.

4.  Cut the zucchini into 2cm thick rounds.

5.  Dip each zucchini slice into the egg, then the bread crumbs.  It helps to press the crumbs on a bit.

6.  Place the slices on a baking sheet.  I don’t grease mine and they come off fine. 

7.  Bake for 12 minutes on each side.

I eat them just like that, but you could make a ranch dressing with yogurt to keep it healthy.

 

Prosciutto-wrapped Apple

I love entertaining, but sometimes I plan a dinner at a time that ends up being too busy, and I don’t have time to make something complicated.  This is a great recipe for those times when you’re really busy, so if you’re looking for a simple appetizer recipe to satisfy the sweet and salty cravings, then this one is for you!

Just head to the grocery store and pick up:

8 slices of prosciutto

one sweet-tart apple (I used a Jazz apple)

Now just cut the apple into 8 slices, peel off the skin, and wrap each slice with the prosciutto.  Place them on your favourite plate, and impress your friends!

Enjoy!