Friday, February 1, 2019

Hazelnut and coffee freezer biscuits

These are great to have in the freezer for any time someone comes over and you something when friends drop in.  They make a crispy biscuit that is perfect with a cuppa.

 The nuts can easily be swapped for pecans, walnuts or whatever takes your fancy.  And you can change the coffee to dried cranberries or orange/lemon zest.  You can even make a desiccated coconut and lime zest version.  When using coffee, try using a mixture of coffee beans ground up and instant coffee, and the cinnamon and aniseed could be any spice you like. (try cardamom).

When freezing, I use a small ice cream scoop so that each one is the same size, but you could roll the mixture into two logs and cut off each biscuit roughly 1cm thick.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Pineapple and rum Christmas Cake

So perfect for Australian conditions, a tropical Christmas Cake  you can make well before hand, or just the day before.  Originally this came from a Coles recipe, but I have adjusted some things in it.

If you only have pineapple slices in the cupboard, just wizz them up in the food processor before using.  The quality of the rum will dictate the quality of the taste, so I used 1/2 cup cheap rum in the cooking and 1/2 cup really expensive rum to 'feed' the cake afterwards.

Lets talk tins - Use a round 20cm tin and cook for 3 hours, or use two smaller square tins, make two cakes and cook for less time.  Its up to you.  I prefer the two smaller tins myself.  Line each tin with several layers of newspaper on the bottom to prevent any burning, then line with at least 3 layers of baking paper (or several of newspaper and 1 of baking paper).  I often put a small tray of water in the oven at the bottom while the cake cooks.

Nuts - use whatever you like, pecans work well, or chopped walnuts or almonds, or a mixture, whatever your family enjoys.  Fruit - pop in whatever your family loves, extra cherries, some glace ginger, lots of glace peel etc.

Cooling the cake is important - cover the top of the cake with foil, then turn the whole thing upside down with the tin on top on a smooth surface.    This will flatten the top of the cake for you.  Alternatively, simply cover with foil and leave to cool.  That will keep the moisture in and continue to cook the cake to perfection.

Storing - Once the cake is cooled overnight, cover with a couple of layers of plastic wrap and put into a container in the fridge.  Or wrap in foil and store in the fridge.  This works well in Australia with lots of hot weather.  If that is not a factor, use the container method and store in a cool dry place.  You can also freeze this for up to 6 months.

Pineapple and Rum Christmas Cake



1kg dried mixed fruit
440g canned crushed pineapple in juice
250g butter
1-1/4 cups dark brown sugar 
2 tablespoons golden syrup
1/2 cup rum
100g nuts - chopped a little
grated rind of one orange
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 teaspoons mixed spice
grind of fresh nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
4 eggs
1-1/2 cups plain flour  (225g)
1/2 cup self raising flour (75g)
1/2 cup of rum extra.


In a saucepan, heat fruit, rum, butter, golden syrup and 1/2 cup rum, stir over medium heat for about 10 minutes until everything is incorporated and dissolved.  Then boil for 2 minutes until all the fruit is plump and the syrup is thickened.  Set aside to cool completely for about 2 hours.
Line tin (see above) and put oven on 150C (not fam forced).
Add to the fruit mixture the nuts, orange rind and spices and mix.
Combine the eggs together and add to the fruit.
Combine the flours and add to the mixture. 
Fill tin(s) and tap the tins on the bench a couple of times to settle it down. 

Cover the top with foil with a large hole in the middle for the first hour of the cooking time.  Remember to take it off!!
Place in oven for 3 hours if using one tin, less if using smaller tins.
A skewer must come out of the cake cleanly to ensure it is cooked in the middle.

Once cooked, brush the top of the cake with the other 1/2 cup of rum and cool overnight (see instructions above).

Monday, September 17, 2018

Family Chicken Cacacciatore -

A request from our son, because "mine does not turn out as good as yours does!  Here is the family favorite Chicken dish.  The vegetables change depending upon what is in my fridge!  The ingredients are not exact, you can add more garlic, or leave it out, and increase the carrots or mushrooms, depending upon your taste.  If you dont have chicken thighs, use any chicken cut.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

All about muffins

This is my best ever muffin recipe, it is light and fluffy and very versatile.  First, lets talk about the ingredients!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Slow cooker Beef Stroganoff

I have been looking for a really good beef stroganoff recipe for a long time.  One that is not watery, and does not have beef that is falling apart.  This one is adapted from a Coles/Taste recipe.

You can use chuck steak (cheaper) in the stroganoff, but it will have more fat in it.  You can also leave out the carrot and celery (more traditional)  but for a family I put them in.  Be sure to brown the meat well and do not over cook the paprika or it will be bitter.  Use the best quality smoked paprika you can afford.  Serve with pasta or rice.

Next time I make it I am going to make a double batch, and freeze some.  Do not put the sour cream in before you freeze, it will split.  For a large batch, make in the evening and cook all night on the low setting of your slow cooker.  Easy!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Lemon sultana slice

This is a great recipe for a picnic or a road trip as it keeps well in an airtight container.  It is very easy to make, simply put together the dry ingredients, melt the butter and add.

When you make the mixture it will look like there is not enough, but trust me, there is!  I make a very runny icing, by juicing the lemon first, then adding the icing sugar a spoon at a time.  Drizzle the icing on the cake and you will notice it seeps into the cake a bit like a drizzle cake.  This makes the slice more lemony and delicious.

You could easily change  the lemon to orange or lime, the sultanas to chopped dried apricots or apples, or dates or even choc chip, so it is quite versatile.  You could also leave out the lemon all together if you like.  Cut the cake as soon as it comes out of the oven to make life easier later, then transfer the cake on its paper to a wire rack to cool.

For a chewier slice, cook at 160C fan forced for a little longer, until it springs back when touched.  You will find it looks a bit browner, but tastes great.

I make up the dry ingredients in an air tight container, then when I want to make the slice, just melt butter and honey and bake.  While it is baking I make the dry ingredients for another batch and store.  You could also use maple syrup instead of honey, and add a few pecans to the mix for a more Canadian style.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Lemon Thyme Drizzle Cakes

This is my drizzle cake recipe that has been cobbled together from experience and other recipes.  It makes exactly 12 little cakes.  They are delicious!

DONT be tempted to put in more thyme however, as this makes them too savoury.  Taste the syrup as this will be the predominant flavour of the cakes, it should have a subtle thyme flavour and be really lemony.  You can easily 1/2 the recipe if you want to make just 6 little cakes. You could change the recipe by substituting about a tablespoon of lavender for the thyme and make lemon - lavender cakes.

If you want to be fancy and ice the cakes, I suggest you leave them for at least an hour to absorb the drizzle, then ice with a lemon glaze (just icing sugar and lemon juice). Or you can just dust with icing sugar.  I don't think they need it though.

You MUST follow the instructions for greasing the tins on this one!  I have tried several ways, and this is the only one that works.  Papers don't work, just greasing does not work etc. etc.  You have to
spray with oil and then dust with plain flour. 

Delicious update!
After Meagan and Harry's wedding lemon and elderflower is the flavour of the day.  To turn these into that flavour, simply :
  1. take out the thyme completely
  2. use only 180g sugar in the mix
  3. Take a tablespoon of lemon juice from the mix and substitute a tablespoon of elderflower cordial.
  4. Add 2-3 tablespoons of elderflower cordial to the syrup mix.
  5. Make an elderflower icing of 1 tablespoon butter, 1tablspoon cordial and enough icing sugar to make the consistency you like.  Ice the cakes.