Kriya Gangiah takes her granadilla cheesecake out of the oven.

THEY say that dynamite comes in small packages and this is certainly true of Kriya Gangiah.

She arrives at the Angela Day Kitchen in Randpark Ridge wearing a stunning pair of red shoes and bursting with so much enthusiasm that she can hardly wait to get her apron on and start cooking.

This dynamo is much more than a radio DJ and TV presenter, and chatting to her I find it amazing that she still finds time to cook.

Kriya grew up in a family where food was important. Her family owned restaurants and her brother, who she credits as being an excellent chef, owns one in Pretoria.

“Food has played an integral role in my life since I was a child,” says Kriya.

She fondly remembers the first thing she made as a child was horseshoe biscuits with her grandfather, and every time she visited him they would bake.

Kriya is one of those lucky people who can eat anything and not put on weight, although she does enjoy working out at the gym when she has the time.

“This is how I compensate for eating what I like.”

During the day Kriya works as an IT security auditor and in the evening divides her time between being the host for the Craz-e youth programme on e.tv and presenting a radio show on Highveld Stereo.

“My two favourite dishes are spaghetti Bolognese and crème brûlée, and when I have any free time I try to spend it cooking for family and friends.”

She shared some of her favourite recipes with me.

MARSHMALLOW CRISPY TREATS

Makes about 24

30 marshmallows

50g butter

1 250ml (5 cups) crisp rice cereal

5ml vanilla essence

Melt marshmallows and butter in a large saucepan over a low heat. When smooth, stir in Rice Krispies and vanilla. Spoon mixture into greased baking tray.

Lightly grease your hands with butter and press mixture down firmly. Leave to set.

Cut into squares.

SPICY BEEF LASAGNE

Serves 4

30ml oil

3ml mustard seeds

1 onion, chopped

5ml chopped garlic

2 bay leaves

3ml dried basil

3ml dried oreganum

4 tomatoes, chopped

500g beef mince

salt and pepper

50ml red wine

2ml dried chilli

White sauce

50g butter

60ml flour

500ml milk

salt and pepper

125ml mozzarella cheese

125ml cheddar cheese

lasagne pasta sheets

45ml Parmesan cheese

Heat the oil and fry the mustard seed for a few seconds. Add the onion, garlic, bay leaves, basil and oreganum and fry for a minute. Add the tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes. Put in the mince and break up the lumps as you cook it. Add seasoning, wine and chilli and simmer for another 10 minutes.

SAUCE: Melt the butter in a small pot. Stir in the flour and cook for a minute. Gradually stir in the milk and cook while stirring until boiling and thick.

Remove from the heat, season well and stir in the mozzarella and cheddar cheese.

Line the base of an oven-proof dish with lasagne sheets. Top with a third of the meat sauce, then a third of the white sauce. Add another pasta layer and repeat the meat and white sauce layers.

End with a white sauce layer. Sprinkle the top with Parmesan cheese and bake at 180ºC for about 30 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm.

ROASTED BUTTERNUT COUSCOUS SALAD

Serves 4

350g butternut, cut into small cubes

olive oil

salt and pepper

250ml couscous

250ml boiling water

125g baby tomatoes, halved

80g baby corn, halved

40g sundried tomatoes, chopped

20ml lightly toasted pumpkin seeds

salt and pepper

30ml olive oil

30ml red wine vinegar

Put the butternut into a roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil and seasoning. Roast at 180°C for 30 minutes until tender.

Put the couscous in a bowl and pour over the boiling water. Cover and set aside for 2 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Add the tomatoes, corn, cooked butternut, sundried tomatoes and pumpkin seeds and season.

Combine the olive oil and vinegar and mix well. Pour over the salad and toss to combine.

Spoon into a serving dish.

GRANADILLA CHEESECAKE

Serves 6

200g packet of biscuits, crushed

100g butter melted

Filling

250g cream cheese

250ml condensed milk

250ml cream

80ml lemon juice

granadilla pulp for topping

Combine the biscuits and butter and press into a pie plate. Refrigerate while you make the filling.

Combine all the ingredients for the filling and mix well. Pour into the biscuit base. Bake at 180ºC for 10 minutes until just set. Switch off the oven and leave for 30 minutes.

Remove and refrigerate until cold.

Spoon granadilla pulp on top before serving.