Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Summer Fruit Cobbler

Summer is almost coming to an end and it was high time to prepare a typical summer dessert before the seasonal fruits become unavailable. You can in fact improvise and use any kind of fruit you have around. This dessert or comfort food is so simple, seasonal and delicious. I made mine with apples, blueberries, peaches and red currents. The merge of 2 sweet fruits with 2 sour ones gave it an amazing flavour and taste.

I totally loved how my apple and peach crumble turned out the other day so I cooked the fruit first in the same manner as the crumble before making the cobbler. You can use fresh or frozen fruits, but when in season, I would rather use all fresh fruit. 

Fruit Preparation :

20gm butter
60gm castor or fine grain sugar
1/3 cup orange juice
1 Stick cinnamon
1 Star Anise
1-2 medium sweet apples cored, peeled and sliced  (I used 2)
3 small or medium ripe peaches, sliced.
1 cup blueberries
1 cup red currents (used as a garnish with vanilla ice cream….but you can add in some to be cooked as well)
***Optional : 1 tsp nutmeg and 1 tsp cinnamon powder - I did add these 2 spices because I love the aroma of the blend of spices with fruit and sugar….amazing flavour!

Method :
Melt butter and add spices. Stir in the sugar until it becomes a light caramel colour.
Deglaze with orange juice. Add the fruits and cook for 5-8 minutes.
Set aside and prepare the cobbler batter.


1/2 cup or 4 oz butter cut into slices
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 - 1 cup granulated sugar (I used only 1/2 cup of fine grain sugar)
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1 cup milk 
Vanilla ice cream and fresh red currents for serving.

1. With rack in the centre of the oven, pre-heat to 375° F. Put the butter into a 10-inch skillet or 3-quart baking dish and put the skillet or dish in the oven to melt the butter while the oven is heating.

2. Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl until well combined. Add the milk and stir just until combined. A few small lumps are fine.

When the butter is fully melted, take the skillet out of the oven and pour the batter over the melted butter. Do not mix it together. Scatter the fruit over the batter, keeping most of it in the middle of the dish, rather than the edges. Do not mix it in, either.

Bake until the top is a rich golden-brown, 30 to 45 minutes (mine took 30 minutes).

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream and some fresh currents.

Prep time: 15 min | Cook time: 30 min | Total time: 45 minutes

Bon Appetit!

Author : Nur Diyanah Magness /

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Cheese and Rennet

It never really bothered me about animal rennet being in cheese when I was in Malaysia because all the cheeses sold were either halal or had no animal rennet in them. Living in Belgium now is completely different and I have to read labels to make sure that processed, packed or canned foods are animal free. The safest is of course to opt for vegetarian products…that is why I do much of my groceries from the Bio Planet. I LOVE cheese but I go for Rennetless Cheeses OR cheeses that contain emulsifying agents that are specifically vegetarian or microbial in nature. It’s truly a relief to know that there are non-animal sources for rennet that are suitable for consumption by vegetarians and people like myself. :) 

Cheese is a solid food made from the milk of cowsgoatssheep, and other mammals. Cheese is made by curdling milk using a combination of rennet (or rennet substitutes) and acidificationBacteria acidify the milk and play a role in defining the texture and flavour of most cheeses. Some cheeses also feature moulds, either on the outer rind or throughout.

Rennet is an enzyme used to make most cheeses and which is usually derived from the lining of calves stomachs, though rennet from other animals such as pigs or goats can also be used. This is definitely not acceptable or welcomed by many people.

Cheese without Rennet
Some cheese varieties can be made without rennet. These include:
  • Cream cheese
  • Cottage cheese
  • Quark
  • Paneer
  • Farmer's cheese
  • Some types of mozzarella
These cheeses are generally soft and can be packed in liquid. The milk in these cheese types is coagulated using citric or other acids rather than animal byproducts.

The good news is that there are several sources of non-animal rennet that can be used in vegetarian cheese, so vegetarians can have their cheese and eat it, too! Animal-based rennet is expensive, so cheese makers have been searching for other forms of rennin for a long time. Fortunately, there are three other ways to obtain the enzyme.
  1. Microbial Rennet is derived from moulds. Soft cheeses can be made using rennet that has been derived from bacteria. The bacteria itself is created and fermented under controlled conditions, to ensure that the mould is "clean" and safe for human consumption.
  2. Genetically Modified or Engineered Rennet is derived from plants that have been injected with cow genes. It is made by combining bacteria or yeast with the calf genes that contain rennin. Once the initial rennet is made, it can be genetically modified and bio-engineered so that no further animal products are needed to continue reproduction. This type of rennet is safe for vegetarians as long as there is no further animal-based rennet used during the cheese making process.
  3. Vegetable Rennet is made from certain vegetables that have coagulation properties as well. Several sources of plant-based rennet are perfectly suitable to make cheese. Some of these plant sources include: 
  • Wild Thisel
  • Fig leaves or bark
  • Safflower
  • Mallow
  • Melon
  • Stinging nettle

Companies are not legally required to disclose the source of the rennet, so unless the product specifically states a non-animal source for rennet, you won’t know and finding certified vegetarian rennet cheese can be tricky. There are a few other options for vegetarians who want to eat cheese without worry:
  1. Any cheese labeled kosher is safe for vegetarians to eat. This is because kosher foods cannot contain any combination of meat products and milk. Check kosher specialty food stores or markets for these cheeses. 
  2. Other alternatives include soy cheese and other non-dairy cheeses that are made from tofu.
  3. There is even a product on the market that mimics parmesan cheese, but it is made from ground walnuts, called Parma Raw Parmesan Cheese Alternative.

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Green Dream

This juice is packed with vitamin B3, niacin and folic acid. Makes 200ml. I doubled it.

Basic 200ml recipe : 

250gm apple,

50gm celery

50gm kiwi

1/2 lemon

100gm avocado. 

Method : 

Juice the apple, celery and kiwi. Transfer to blender with avocado and whizz for 20 seconds. Decorate with kiwi slices if desired. 

Slurp away and enjoy! 


Nur Diyanah


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