A spread for the season

This baked ricotta cheesy treat is a bar-worthy snack you can make at home, and perfect for the time of year. And the texture and flavour of the simple ricotta cake will be the highlight of any high tea. If you fancy a lively winter salad, try this array of sweet, sour and tangy lemony flavours, writes Angela Casley.

Baked ricotta with roasted peppers

Try this as a little something special to spread on crackers or bread. This is delicious, with the flavours developing more if left overnight.

Serves 6

2 peppers

250g ricotta

1 cup grated Parmesan

zest of ½ lemon

1 Tbsp chopped thyme

1 egg

salt and freshly ground pepper

To serve

crackers or crusty bread


1. Heat the oven to 200degC.

2. Place the peppers in the oven for 20 minutes until slightly blackened. Remove, cool until you can peel and slice thinly. Season and set aside.

3. Turn the oven down to 180degC.

4. In a bowl combine the ricotta, three-quarters of the Parmesan, zest, thyme and egg. Season with salt and pepper and place in a small ovenproof dish. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan. Bake for 25 minutes until just set. Remove and cool for 15 minutes before serving. Top with the roasted peppers and serve with crusty bread or crackers. 

Lemon and ricotta cake

This ricotta and lemon cake is light and moist, and a joy to eat. If you can find some fresh passionfruit, a spoon drizzled over the top will take this cake to the next level.

Serves 8

200g softened butter

¾ cup sugar

3 eggs, separated

zest of 3 lemons

¼ cup lemon juice

1 cup ricotta

¾ cup flour

2 tsp baking powder

To decorate

passionfruit and blueberries

icing sugar to dust


1. Heat the oven to 170degC. Line a 20cm tin with baking paper.

2. Beat the butter and half a cup sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks, zest and juice, mixing through.

3. Stir through the ricotta, then sift in the flour and baking powder.

4. Beat the egg whites until fluffy and add the sugar, beating through. Fold into the batter gently until combined. Pour into the cake tin and place into the oven for 45 minutes. Remove and cool in the tin.

5. Serve with fresh fruit and a dusting of icing sugar.

Citrus quinoa salad with lemon dressing

I like to use this quinoa and lemon salad as a base then top it with grilled chicken or fish. Toss the lemon segments through the salad to add a surprising, tangy bite and beautiful colour. The dates in the dressing make for a wonderful sweet-sour combination.

Serves 4


¼ cup dates

1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp lemon zest

2 Tbsp lemon juice


½ cup quinoa

1 cup chopped herbs, e.g. mint, parsley, dill

1 orange, segmented

1 lemon, segmented

½ cup chopped cucumber

½ red onion, sliced thinly

50g crumbled feta

salt and pepper to taste


1. For the dressing, put the dates in boiling water for 15 minutes to soften, then drain.

2. Place the dates, ginger, olive oil, lemon zest and juice in a food processor and blend until smooth. Set aside.

3. Bring 2 cups of water to the boil. Add the quinoa, give a stir and cook for 15 minutes until all the water has been absorbed. Cool.

4. To the quinoa add the herbs, orange, lemon, cucumber, red onion, feta, salt and pepper to taste and combine well.

5. Serve with a drizzle of the dressing.

 — viva.co.nz


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