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Let there be food…

Recipes by Amy Heffernan

A chef from Co Wicklow, Ireland

Recipe MayJune.jpg

Summer Strawberry Tart

Africa - Vol 89, No 4. May/June 2024

Serves 6 to 8 people.

You will need:

Sweet Pastry

125g (4½ oz) Butter

60g (2¼ oz) Icing Sugar

125g (4½ oz) Plain Flour

75g (2½ oz) Ground Almonds

2g (¼ tsp) Baking Powder

1 Egg Yolk

Pinch Salt


Crème Pâtissière

300ml (½ Pint) Milk

1 Vanilla Pod

60g (2¼ oz) Caster Sugar

3 Eggs Yolks

20g (¾ oz) Cornflour (Corn Starch)


Prosecco Marinated Strawberries

500g (17½ oz) Strawberries

60ml (1¼ fl oz) Prosecco

25g (1 oz) Caster Sugar

1 tbsp Honey

Method, Pastry:

For the pastry, cream the butter and sugar together until smooth. Then add the flour, ground almonds, salt and baking powder, and rub in using your fingertips until its texture resembles breadcrumbs. Next add the egg yolk and combine together to form the dough. Wrap the dough in cling film and allow to rest in the fridge for 1 to 2 hours. Once the dough is rested, preheat the oven to 160°C/320°F/Gas Mark 3. Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface, roll it ½ cm thick and large enough to line a 23 cm (9 inch) loose bottom tart tin. Gently place the pastry over the tart tin and carefully mould into the edges, making sure the pastry is flush all around, before trimming with a knife. Then leave to rest in the fridge for 15 minutes. Bake the pastry case in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden in colour, and allow to cool in the tin.


Crème Pâtissière

Pour the milk into a saucepan, slice the vanilla pod in half and using the back of a knife scrape the seeds out and add to the milk. Place on a medium high heat and bring to the boil. While the milk is heating, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until pale. Then add the cornflour and combine. When the milk comes to the boil, pour it over the egg mix, whisking thoroughly. Return the mix to the pan and place over a low heat, stirring constantly until it comes to the boil and thickens. Transfer to a bowl and place a layer of cling film directly on top of the crème pâtissière to prevent a skin from forming. Allow to cool and leave in the fridge until ready to serve.

Marinated Strawberries

Cut the strawberries in half and place into a bowl. Add the caster sugar, Prosecco and honey and toss until the strawberries are covered.

To assemble the tart spread a layer of the crème pâtissière over the tart case then arrange the strawberries on top. Serve and enjoy!     


Easter Mini Egg Cheesecake

Africa - Vol 89, No 3. April 2024

Serves 8 to 12 people.

You will need:

For the Base:

225g (8oz) Digestive Biscuits

100g (4oz) Butter (Melted)


For the Cheesecake Layer:

560g (1lb 4oz) Cream Cheese

100g (4oz) Icing Sugar

250ml (1 cup) Fresh Cream

1 Tsp Vanilla Extract

160g (6oz) Chocolate Mini Eggs (Crushed)

To Decorate:

100ml (½ cup) Fresh Cream

1 Tbsp Icing Sugar

60g (2oz) Milk Chocolate (Melted)

100g (4oz) Chocolate Mini Eggs

Method, Cheesecake Layer:

Blitz the digestive biscuits in a food processor to a rough crumb (or place in a bag and crush with a rolling pin). Place the crumbs into a bowl, then pour over the melted butter.


Mix thoroughly then place into a 8” (20cm) deep springform tin and press firmly down into the base to create an even layer. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to set.


In a bowl, whisk together the cream cheese, icing sugar and vanilla extract until smooth. Then pour the fresh cream into the mixture and continue to whisk until it resembles the consistency of lightly whipped cream.


Gently fold the crushed mini eggs into the cream cheese mixture until well combined. Then pour over the biscuit base, spreading it evenly.


Leave to set in the fridge for a few hours but preferably overnight.


To Decorate:

Remove the cheesecake carefully from the tin. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the top. Whip the fresh cream and icing sugar together. Then pipe it around the cheesecake. Arrange the mini eggs decoratively on top.         

Recipe IMG_7130.jpg

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Africa - Vol 89, No 2. March 2024

Makes 16 to 20 portions.

You will need:

375g (13oz) Dates, pitted

375ml (12 fl oz) Water

130g (5oz) Butter (At room temperature)

375g (13oz) Light Brown Sugar

3 Eggs (Large)

450g (16oz) Plain Flour (Sifted)

2 tsp Baking Powder

½ tsp Bread Soda (Bicarbonate of Soda)


Toffee sauce

130g (5oz) Butter

340g (12oz) Light Brown Sugar

600ml (20 fl oz) Cream


Preheat the oven to 190°C/170°C (Fan/375°F). Line a 30cm/12-inch baking dish with parchment paper.


Place the pitted dates and water into a saucepan and place on a medium heat and gradually bring to the boil. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs, mixing into the butter and sugar until completely incorporated. Gently add the sifted flour, baking powder, bread soda and combine.


Once the dates have come to the boil remove from the heat and using a hand blender or food processor blitz until smooth. Add the dates to the pudding batter and combine.


Pour the pudding batter into the lined tray and place in the oven at 190°C/170°C (Fan/375°F) for 35 to 45 minutes, until the centre is fully cooked. While the pudding is baking we can make the toffee sauce.


Place the butter, sugar and cream in a saucepan and place on a medium heat to gradually bring to the boil, stir frequently. Once boiled remove from the heat. When the sponge is ready, remove from the oven and using a knife pierce several holes into the sponge. Then pour the toffee sauce over the sponge and allow it to soak into the holes.


Leave to rest for 30 minutes then serve while still warm with cream or ice cream.        

Top Tip: Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge in a sealed container for up to 5 days.


Christmas Pudding - Chocolate Biscuit Cake

Africa - Vol 88, No 8. December 2023

Serves 16 to 20.

You will need:

225g (8oz) Dark Chocolate 

225g (8oz) Milk Chocolate

1 Tin (397g) (14oz) Condensed Caramel (Dulce de Leche)

30g (1oz) Golden Syrup

300g (11oz) Digestive Biscuits

80g (3oz) Maltesers (chocolate malt balls)


To decorate:

100g (4oz) White Chocolate

50g (2oz) Fondant or Roll Out Icing

Red and Green Food Colouring 


Line a 1.14 litre (2 pint) pudding bowl with a double layer of cling film. Break the dark and milk chocolate into small pieces, and place in a heatproof bowl with the condensed caramel and golden syrup. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water, stir frequently as the ingredients melt together. In another bowl gently break up the biscuits into bite sized pieces. When the chocolate mixture has melted thoroughly, add the broken biscuit pieces and Maltesers and mix well. 


Transfer to the lined pudding bowl making sure to press well into the bowl, cover and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight until set. Once set it’s time to remove from the pudding bowl and decorate.


Melt the white chocolate in a microwave or in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Once melted pour over the top of the chocolate pudding. Let it slightly drip down the sides. Place into the fridge to allow to set while you make the holly decorations for the top.


Divide the fondant icing into two pieces. Add a few drops of the red food colouring to one piece and green to the other. Knead each until the colours are vibrant, then roll and shape them into red berries and green leaves. Then gently arrange on top of the pudding so it looks like a holly spray. When serving, cut into bite sized pieces and enjoy.


Happy Christmas! 

Top Tip: These puddings look adorable and make great homemade gifts. Wrap in clear cellophane and tie with a ribbon to make an impressive gift. 

Note: This cake stored in an airtight container will last for up to one week.


Rice Krispie Date Squares

Africa - Vol 88, No 6. September/October 2023 - Recipe by Molly Cyr

This recipe makes 40 squares

You will need:

6 oz (170g) dates (chopped)

4 oz (115g) margarine 

4 oz (115g) granulated sugar

6 oz (170g) rice krispies 

5 oz (140g) cooking chocolate 


12 inch x 9 inch baking tray 


Melt the margarine and sugar in a saucepan on a low heat and stir. Add the chopped dates. Be patient and stir continuously until all ingredients are fully combined. This will take about six minutes to form a paste. Keep on a low heat. Do not boil. Pour in the rice krispies.


Mix together until fully coated. Continue to stir on a low heat for another few minutes. Then turn the mixture out onto the baking tray. Spread the mixture evenly using the back of a spoon and leave to cool 


Break or chop the chocolate into little pieces. Add some water to a saucepan and place a heat resistant bowl on top so it is resting on the edges of the pan, but not touching the water. Heat water on low. Put the chopped chocolate into the bowl, and stir often until it has melted. Pour the melted chocolate over the cooled rice krispie mixture and spread evenly. (Tip: A warm knife helps to spread the chocolate easily.) Leave to cool in the tray before cutting into even squares. Enjoy! 


Chocolate Brownie

Africa, Vol 88, No 3,  April 2023

This recipe makes 20 cookies.

You will need:

125g (5oz) Unsalted Butter (at room temperature)

125g (5oz) Caster Sugar 

125g (5oz) Light Brown Sugar

1 Egg

1 Tsp Vanilla Extract

225g (9oz) Self Raising Flour

½ Tsp Salt 

100g (4oz) Chocolate Chips 

100g (4oz) Mini Chocolate Eggs (crushed with a Rolling Pin)


Preheat the oven to 170ºC (338ºF; Conventional Oven) or 150ºC (300ºF; Fan Assisted Oven). Line two baking trays with baking parchment.


Place the butter and sugars into a bowl. Beat with an electric whisk until pale in colour and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla essence and mix till combined.


Fold the flour and salt into the mixture. Then add the chocolate chips and half of the crushed mini eggs (set aside the larger pieces for later) and mix till combined.


Spoon golf ball sized amounts of the cookie dough onto your lined baking trays making sure there is plenty of space for them to spread (4-6 per tray). Then press them down just a little. You will have to bake in batches to use all the dough. Place the remaining mini egg pieces on top.


Bake for 10–15 minutes. If you like soft and chewy cookies they should be golden around the edges but still pale and soft in the centre when removing from oven. For a crunchy cookie bake until golden all over. 


Once removed from the oven, leave them to cool for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack. 


Chocolate Brownie

Africa, Vol 88, No 2,  March 2023

This recipe makes 16 chocolate brownies.

You will need:

285g (10oz) Butter (Melted)

560g (1lb 4oz) Caster Sugar 

5 Eggs

1 Tsp Vanilla Extract

140g (5oz) Cocoa Powder

110g (4oz) Flour 


Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF) (Conventional Oven) or 160ºC (320ºF) (Fan Assisted Oven) and line a 24cm (10 inch) square tin with parchment paper.


Place the melted butter into a bowl with the sugar and combine.


Gently whisk the egg and vanilla extract, then add it to the butter and sugar mix.


Sift the flour and cocoa powder into the mixture and stir till it’s all combined.


Pour into a lined tin and bake for 1 hour. When ready the brownie should still be slightly soft to touch in the centre but not runny.


Leave to cool in the tin completely before slicing into squares.


Christmas Pudding

Africa, Vol 87, No 9, December 2022

This recipe makes two 1.7 litre (3lb or 3 pint) puddings or three 1.2 litre (2lb or 2 pint) puddings.

You will need:

225g (8oz) Sultanas

225g (8oz) Raisins

225g (8oz) Currants 

½ Apple (grated)

1 Orange (rind and juice)

1 Lemon (rind and juice)

125ml (5fl oz) Whiskey

445g (1lb) Butter (room temperature)

445g (1lb) Dark Brown Sugar

6 Eggs

225g (8oz) Plain Flour

1 Tsp Baking Powder

30g (1oz) Ground Almonds 

100g (4oz) Nibbed Almonds

½ Tsp Ground Cinnamon

½ Tsp Ground Nutmeg

½ Tsp Ground Cloves

240g (9 oz) Breadcrumbs

350ml (12fl oz) Stout 


Place the sultanas, raisins, currants and grated apple in a large bowl, pour in the juice and rind of the orange and lemon. Also pour in the whiskey and mix well. Cover and leave overnight to allow the fruit to soak.


In a bowl beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, then gradually add the eggs as you continue to mix. Next fold in the flour and baking powder, followed by the ground almonds, nibbed almonds, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg and ground cloves. Once blended stir in the soaked fruit, breadcrumbs, stout and mix thoroughly.


Grease the pudding bowls generously with butter. Spoon the pudding mixture into the pudding bowls. Cover with two well greased pieces of greaseproof paper then place a double layer of tin foil, secured with string or the lid of the pudding bowl.  


Place puddings in a saucepan with water half way up the side. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover and allow to steam for 5 hours or longer. The longer the pudding cooks the richer and darker it becomes. Make sure to top up the saucepan with boiling water throughout the cooking process and don’t let it boil dry. Once cooked remove the bowls carefully from the water, remove the lid and greaseproof paper and allow to cool completely.


When cold, cover with fresh greaseproof paper and tinfoil. Store in a dark cool place until required. To reheat you can steam the whole pudding in a saucepan as per the cooking method for 1 to 2 hours.


Serve warm with fresh cream, brandy butter or custard. 


Christmas Cake

Africa, Vol 86, No 9, December 2021

This recipe will make a 10” square or 11” round cake.

It’s that time of year again and I would like to wish you a very happy Christmas and a safe and happy New Year, from my family to yours. Christmas is a wonderful time of year for traditions and remembering loved ones. Following a request for a fruit cake recipe, I have decided to share a recipe given to me by a dear friend to us all here in Kiltegan and to many Africa readers who enjoyed her recipes over the years, Lucy (Lucia) Niceforo Hayes. Sadly, Lucy passed away in 2017. She had two great loves in her life, her family and cooking. I hope you enjoy her recipe and remember her fondly when using it.

You will need:

Fruit cake:

700g Sultanas

500g Raisins

300g Currants

225g Mixed Peel

225g Glacé Cherries (halved)

1 Orange (Rind & Juice)

1 Lemon (Rind & Juice)

250ml Brandy (Whiskey or Rum)

400g Butter at room temperature

400g Dark Brown Sugar

8 Eggs

600g Plain Flour

120g Ground Almonds

1 Tsp Cinnamon

1 Tsp Nutmeg

1 Tsp Mixed Spice


Almond Icing:

225g Ground Almonds

225g Icing Sugar

225g Caster Sugar

1 Egg

1 Tbsp Lemon Juice

1 Tbsp Brandy (Whiskey or Rum)

1 Tsp Almond Essence (optional)


To Cover

5 Tbsp Apricot Jam

1250g Roll Out Icing (Ready to roll fondant icing)

Top Tip: If your oven tends to be hot, wrap a double layer of brown (parchment) paper around the outside of the cake tin and tie with string.


Preparation: Place the sultanas, raisins, currants, mixed peel, and cherries in a large bowl, pour in the juice and rind of the orange and lemon, also pour in the brandy and mix well. Cover and leave overnight to allow the fruit to soak.


Preheat your oven to 140°C for conventional oven or 120°C for fan assisted oven. Grease and line your cake tin with a double layer of greaseproof paper.


In a bowl beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, then gradually add the eggs as you continue to mix. Next, fold in the flour, ground almonds, cinnamon, nutmeg and mixed spice. Once blended stir in the soaked fruit. Spoon into the lined cake tin and level the surface.

Bake in the centre of the oven for 4 hours or until the cake feels firm to touch and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool in the tin. When cool, pierce the cake several times over the surface and feed with some brandy. Wrap the cake in a double layer of greaseproof paper and tin foil, store in a dry cool place until you are ready to ice.


To make the almond icing place all the dry ingredients into a bowl, then add the wet ingredients, combining to form a paste. Warm the apricot jam and spread thinly across the fruit cake (the almond icing will stick better to the fruit cake). On a surface dusted with icing sugar roll out the almond icing until it is 5mm thick taking care that it doesn’t stick to surface. Roll the icing large enough to cover the top and sides of the cake. Gently place the icing over the cake using your rolling pin, smooth the top of the icing using your hands or a cake smoothing tool, then gently ease the icing down the side of the cake, smoothing it as you do. Trim any excess icing with a small sharp knife.


Cover the cake loosely with baking parchment and allow to dry out for a few days before adding the roll out icing or royal icing if you prefer. To cover with the roll out icing apply the same steps as the almond icing. Decorate with a festive ribbon and enjoy. 


Black Pudding Sausage Rolls

Africa, Vol 86, No 7, September/October 2021

This month’s recipe is a great savoury dish for cold autumn days. It’s a twist on the traditional sausage roll by using black pudding alongside pork mince. Black pudding is a great ingredient that adds a depth of flavour to this recipe. I hope you enjoy it!

You will need

2 Sheets Ready Rolled Puff Pastry (1 roll is approx 350mm x 230mm in size)

280g (10oz) Black Pudding

400g (14oz) Pork Mince

1 Small Cooking Apple

1 Onion (finely diced)

1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil

80g (3oz) Breadcrumbs

2 Tbsp Tomato Relish or Ketchup

1 Tbsp Wholegrain Mustard

1 Egg (Beaten)

Salt & Pepper


Peel and core the cooking apple then thinly slice. Heat a pan over a medium heat and place the sliced apple into the pan with 1 tbsp water. Give it a little stir before covering the pan with a lid and cook for 3-4 minutes. Stir gently then cover again and continue to cook gently until the apples are really soft then set aside to cool.


In another pan gently heat the vegetable oil, add the diced onion and sauté for a few minutes, remove from the heat and allow to cool.


Lay the puff pastry sheets out on a flat surface while you prepare the mix. Finely dice the black pudding and add to a large bowl with the pork mince, cooled stewed apple, cooled sautéed onion, breadcrumbs, tomato relish, wholegrain mustard, and season well with salt and pepper.


Thoroughly combine the mixture and divide into two halves. (Do the following for each pastry sheet.) Place the mixture in the centre of the pastry sheet, shaping into a cylinder the same length as the sheet. Brush the long edges of the pastry with the beaten egg, roll the pastry over


the filling until it overlaps and gently squeeze the edges together to create a seal. Roll the whole thing over so that the join is on the bottom. Lift on to a flat baking tray and place in the freezer to chill for 10 minutes.


Preheat your oven to 180°C for a fan assisted oven (350ºF, Gas Mark 4), 200°C for a conventional oven.


Remove the rolls from the freezer and, using a sharp knife, cut each roll into eight pieces. Arrange these, with the join underneath, on a tray that has been lined with greaseproof paper. Brush the pastry with beaten egg and snip a small ‘V’ on top of each roll. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is cooked through.


Remove from the oven and gently lift the sausage rolls from the tray on to a wire rack to cool. These taste great with tomato relish on the side.


Top Tip: You can always make your own puff pastry but the ready rolled store-bought pastry is great quality and makes life a lot easier!


Parsnip and Apple Soup

Africa, Vol 86, No 1, January/February 2021

This month’s recipe is perfect to warm you up on the cold winter days. Tasty parsnip and apple soup is a meal on its own when served with some fresh homemade bread. It’s a simple recipe using ingredients that are easy to find and is quick to prepare. I hope you enjoy it.

You will need

4 Parsnips (Peeled & Chopped)

2 Onions (Peeled & Chopped)

3 Apples (Peeled, Quartered & Chopped)

3 Tbsp Olive oil

1 Litre (34 fl oz) Vegetable or Chicken Stock

200ml (6¾ fl oz) Fresh cream

Salt & Pepper


Place a large saucepan on a medium to high heat and add the olive oil. When heated add the chopped onions and cook gently for 2 minutes. Then add the chopped parsnips and apples, and allow to cook for 5 minutes.


Pour in the vegetable or chicken stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes or until the parsnips are tender, then add the cream.


Remove from the heat. Puree using a stick blender or liquidiser. Season to taste with salt and pepper


Serve with some fresh homemade bread and enjoy.


Christmas Pudding Cheesecake

Africa, Vol 85, No 9, December 2020

It’s that time of year again and I would like to wish all our readers a very Happy Christmas and New Year. Christmas is a wonderful time of year for traditions, I always loved making Christmas pudding and cakes every year with my granny. The smell of the pudding steaming on top of the stove was amazing, so our recipe this month will be a twist on Christmas pudding by using it to make a cheesecake. It is a simple recipe to prepare and a great way to use up leftover Christmas pudding. It’s also a great recipe for anyone who finds pudding too rich or heavy.

You will need:

For the Base:

150g (5oz) Digestive Biscuits

100g (3½oz) Gingernut Biscuits

130g (4½oz) Butter (Melted)

For the Cream Cheese Layer:

650g (22oz) Cream Cheese

400ml (13½fl oz) Fresh Cream

100g (3½oz) Dark Brown Sugar

100g (3½oz) Caster Sugar

1 Vanilla pod (Split &

Seeds Scraped)

250g (8¾oz) Christmas pudding

25ml (¾ fl oz) Cointreau

1 Orange (Juice & Zest)

2 Gelatin Sheets


Put the digestive and gingernut biscuits in a plastic food bag and crush to crumbs using a rolling pin. Place the crumbs in a bowl, then pour over the melted butter. Mix thoroughly, then put them into a 24 cm or 9-inch round springform tin and press firmly down into the base to create an even layer. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes to set.


In a bowl beat together the cream cheese, cream, dark brown sugar, caster sugar and vanilla seeds until the mixture resembles the consistency of lightly whipped cream and then set aside.


Place the gelatin sheets in cold water and leave to soak for about five minutes.


In a blender place the Christmas pudding, Cointreau, and orange zest, blitz together until it resembles breadcrumbs, then fold this into the cream cheese mixture.


In a pan gently heat the juice of 1 orange to a simmer, squeeze the excess water from the gelatin and add to the simmering orange juice and stir until it dissolves.


Gently fold the orange and gelatin into the cream cheese mixture until well combined, then pour over the biscuit base spreading it evenly. Leave to set in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. Carefully remove the cheesecake from the tin and serve with a little cream on the side.


Tip: To decorate peel some oranges, slice into rounds and place on a baking tray. Sprinkle them with sugar, then blowtorch until caramelised and leave to cool. Arrange the orange slices in a spiral or however you desire on top.


Irish Tea Brack

Africa, Vol 85, No 7, September/October 2020

This month’s recipe is for an Irish tea brack. With Halloween just around the corner it’s a lovely alternative to the traditional Barmbrack which is usually made with yeast and eaten at this time of year. The Irish tea brack requires you to soak dried fruit overnight, but it is simple and quick to make. I hope you enjoy it.

You will need:

100g (3½ oz) Sultanas 

100g (3½ oz) Raisins

100g (3½ oz) Currants

80g (2¾ oz) Glace Cherries

50g (1½ oz) Mixed Peel

300ml (10 fl oz) Fresh hot tea

1 Egg

200g (7oz) Soft Dark Brown Sugar

225g (8oz) Self Raising Flour 

1 Tsp Mixed Spice


Place the dried fruit, cherries and mixed peel in a bowl, and pour in the hot tea. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and allow to steep overnight.


The next day, preheat the oven to 180ºc (350ºF) (Conventional Oven) or 160ºc (320ºF) (Fan Assisted Oven). Line a 1lb (450g) tin with parchment paper.


Gently whisk the egg and then add it and the brown sugar to the fruit mix. Sift the self-raising flour and mixed spice into the fruit mixture and stir until it’s all combined 


Pour into the lined loaf tin and bake for 1½ hours or until a skewer inserted into the brack comes out clean.


Leave to cool on a wire rack.


Tip: This brack will last well in an airtight container and it can also be frozen.

Amy Heffernan is a chef and lives in Co Wicklow, Ireland. 

©Africa, St Patrick's Missions Magazine

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