Sunday, December 7, 2014

A light Christmas Cake

This recipie comes from Australian Good Taste Magazine, and I would describe it as a very fancy sultana cake.  It is a light cake, and perfect for those who don't really like the full on fruit cake at Christmas time.   The pistachios turn out quite soft and buttery.  I added in some dried cherries along with the cranberries, and just reduced the sultanas accordingly for a more Christmas touch.  
The original recipe comes with a lovely frosting,  Just beat together in a mixer 2 egg whites, 3 cups sifted icing sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste on the day you want to serve it.          

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Hummingbird Cake.

This recipie is adapted from Jamie Olivers' hummingbird cake, which was originally a Caribbean recipie.  It has a little more spice, and a little less sugar.  I have also added in some lime zest, it makes the cake a really Caribbean experience!  Essentially it is a very special banana cake.  Most American Hummingbird cakes have a LOT of icing, inside and out and that makes it way to sweet for my family, so this is simply a one level cake with a little icing on top.
Ice it with lime cream cheese icing. (ie, cream cheese icing with lime juice and zest added. 
Top the cake by making a toffee caramel, adding some pecans, and cool them on a sheet of baking paper.  Then just blitz them in the food processor.  Sprinkle over the top of the icing.

Another option is to make an icing flavoured with coconut and then dust with coconut flakes.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Freezer choc chip cookies

Occasionally I want to bake just a few biscuits for my husband and myself, rather than buy a packet.  I have yet to find a recipie for just a few biscuits, so I went looking for something I could have in the freezer and pull out at a moments notice.

 I found this on the money saving mom blog, many thanks to the site for the original recipie.  I have only changed it slightly.  I have not been a fan of freezer cookie dough in the past, but this one really is good.  I like it because it's not just flour, sugar butter and chocolate!  There are some 'healthy' bits in their too.  The peanut butter really adds to the flavour, even though there is not a lot in the recipie.

A note about the sugar - you can use white sugar, or castor sugar, but reduce the amount by about a tablespoon.

The recipie makes 40 smallish cookies, if you are a fan of really big ones, just use an ice-cream scoop to portion control your cookies instead of a tablespoon.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Traditional Viva La France Madeleines!

I have tried quite a few madeleine recipies, but the one I got with my Madeleine tray  (you MUST have a madeleine tray for these) at Williams Sonoma is the best.  Be careful to do two things:
1. grease the tray well,
2. do not overfill as they do puff up, only 3/4 fill each one.

This recipie makes 12 - ie. one tin!  Vanilla is the traditional flavouring, but I do like orange flower water.  You could also use rosewater.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Balti Chicken Curry

I adapted this from one of Jamie Oliver's recipies, it suits my family because one does not eat coriander, another not so hot on the chilli.  This will serve 4 very large servings, if you want to increase it to 6 just add some sliced carrots and potatoes about 1/2 way through the cooking time.  This will extend the dish perfectly.

You can use chicken thighs (as I do) or chicken drumsticks, or a whole chicken cut up, it is quite versatile really.  It is important to use a yellow capsicum, it seems to have the right amount of acidity for the recipie.  If you don't have any fresh tomatoes handy you can easily leave it out, and if you dont have any tomatoe puree, you can use canned tomatoes, but make sure you drain the juice off.  

If you like fresh coriander, add about 1/2 a bunch to the curry paste and blend with the other ingredients.  As always, adjust the chilli, garlic and ginger to your taste.  If found it did not need any salt and pepper, but taste and adjust accordingly.

If you want a good curry one of the secrets is to cook the curry paste really well, you want the  onions and pepper to fry with the paste until the oil splits from it if possible.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

6 great cupcakes in a jiffy

I have been trying  many cupcake recipies of late.  All have been found wanting, until this one.  I wanted a cupcake that was versatile, not too sweet, had a good, light cake, but not crumbly, and that was delicious.  Not much to ask?  So many of the recipies just did not stack up, too sweet, cakes that did not rise well, etc. even Nigella did not come up to the mark.

Well here is a recipie that I adapted from one that Matt Preston's friend Carol, put up on Taste (click here for the link).

This makes 6 large cupcakes or 10ish small ones.  That's perfect for our family. The cakes turn out with a rounded top, they are not the flat type of cupcake I have often seen.  I have not included Icing recipie, as I'm sure you have your favourite one.  You can easily double the recipie, or more if you want!  Vary the flavours once you have mastered the cakes, the next one I am going to make is coconut and lime.  Just remember to remove a little of the flour (no more than a tablespoon) if you are going to add a dry ingredient like coconut or cocoa for chocolate cakes.

Saturday, August 16, 2014


The original recipie comes from one of the 4 ingredients books.  It is so easy, and versitile it will become a staple.  You can have everything in the cupboard, and just buy some sour cream and away you go.  It's a great one to have up your sleeve.

You can use any type of stewed fruit - in fact, this is a good recipie for using up fruit near the end of its shelf life.  Try peaches, apples of course, apricots, berries  - the list goes on.  You can also vary the cake mix if vanilla sounds a bit boring.  Go gluten free with a gluten free cake mix.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Flat bread

This is a flat bread that comes out very soft and chewy.  Most important to roll it out as thin as you can, and also to have the pan very hot when you cook it.  You can vary the flour by using all SR flour if you don't have any of the other kinds.   In fact, you can play around with the flour, using wholemeal, or adding some spelt, changing the mix etc.  See what suites you.

Atta flour is a south Indian flour, used for flatbreads and available in most Australian supermarkets.


Saturday, August 2, 2014

Mayonnaise in 10 seconds flat

When I saw Matt Preston do this on Masterchef I did not believe it actually worked, in fact I made the mayo an hour earlier than I needed to because I did not believe it.   But it does!  It's the same basic mayonnaise recipie I have tried to make lots of time, but using a different method. Believe me I have tried dribbling in the oil, I have tried using the blender - but mayonnaise has never worked for me at home.

Well, here is the link online: have just put the method into this recipie, as it seems to make more sense that way.  To make it you need a stick blender and its cup.  
A couple of things to remember:
  • be gentle with the ingredients
  • the yolk needs to be whole
  • put the basket of the stick blender over the yolk, so that the blades immediately blend the yolk
  • then gently bring it up the blender cup to make the mayonnaise.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Fragarant orange semolina cake

Thanks to the wonderful Neil Perry for this cake!  I make it in a loaf tin, which makes 10 large slices, but you can double the ingrediants easily and make it in a 20x30cm tin. The cake does not rise a lot, being a semolina cake it is quite dense.

Its easy, and quick to make, but be sure to not over mix the batter, and do not overcook the cake. 
I think you could spice the cake up with a little cinnamon and nutmeg if you like. 

Monday, July 7, 2014


Pangritata means 'poor mans parmesan' and is used to top off a dish that needs some freshness and zest.  Cook it with variations that suit the main dish.  This recipie came from Australian masterchef and was used to top off a apricot chicken, hence the use of the orange.

Variations to the recipie include the following ingredients (but you can vary it according to what you like):
lemon instead of orange
herbs, rosemary or thyme are usual.
pine nuts or walnuts


2 slices bread, cut into 1 cm cubes - use sourdough if you have any
4 slices prosciutto - cut into small pieces
¼ cup capers
zest of ½ orange
salt and pepper, to taste
Olive oil


Add olive oil, bread and prosciutto to the frypan and cook until crisp.
Add capers and orange zest and season.
Remove from heat

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Choc Meringues (like the Burough Markets)

I first saw meringues like these at the Borough Markets, decadent and huge, with chocolate in the cracks, and 2 pounds 50 each!

This is a great way to use up left over egg whites if you have made a spaghetti carbonara.  Just put the egg whites in a glass and cover them with cling film pressed down to make sure there is no air on the egg whites.  You can also use egg whites that are available now in most supermarkets.  Remember the ratio of 1gram egg white to 2 gram caster sugar, and adjust the cornflour and cocoa powder accordingly (its not critical!). 

What is important in this recipie is to follow the whipping and sugar instructions.  If you don't have a microwave, you can heat the sugar in the oven.  Don't hurry these steps!  Oh, and don't forget to turn the oven down.

The meringues don't have to be chocolate, you could use berries.  Serve them with whipped cream and whatever fruit or sauce takes your fancy.  Raspberry Coulis would be nice, but my husband loves fresh passionfruit.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Margaret's Jam Drops.

Originally from a book by Maureen Kinch - 4 Ingredients, this is a recipie my friend Margaret swears by. 

Keep in mind flour quality and freshness can vary, make sure you keep your flour in an airtight container. I had a disaster recently with stale flour and scones so flat you could use them as hockey pucks! Both SR & plain flour works, it get's down to your personal preference.  

You can use stevia instead of sugar (experiment to find YOUR best version).  Ensure the sugar is dissolved in the butter in a very white mixture before you add the flour.
I prefer raspberry jam, but these are lovely with any kind of jam.  Of course don't use Nutella or Chocolate if taking to school or if a member of your family has allergies.  You can also break up any left over chocolate ( I know right? What do you mean left over chocolate?) and use the chocolate in the centre instead of Jam. You can use maltesers, jaffas, freckles, chopped up mars bars and milky ways. You are only limited by your imagination.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Jamie's Pizza

Jamie Oliver, from the Naked Chef book I have had for years.  This makes 2 large pizzas, put whatever topping you enjoy on the top.  I use store bought pizza tomatoe sauce, grated mozzarella, parmesan, olive oil, oregano, onion chopped finely, olives and mushrooms.  Pepperoni for the boys!

It's important to have the oven as hot as possible.  Frankly, this is a fail safe recipie, I don't have any other tips.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Easy Crockpot Lasagna

This Lasagne is a lighter version than the traditional with Bechamel  Sauce, but  that is why my family liked it.  Next time I make it I am going to add a layer of Bechamel sauce as I like it a lot!

Note: it is important not to overcook this lasagne.  I use Auto on my cooker and it took about 4 hours.  If you have a cooker with a low setting, use that.  Do not use high as this will overcook the cheese and make it stringy.  If you are short of time use the oven!

You do not have to use the same meat sauce I have included, just use your usual bolognese sauce, but do not cook it right to the end.  I just simmer it for about 10 minutes to take any rawness out.  I often make a double bolognese sauce and freeze half, thaw it out and make this dish.

Break up the lasagna sheets to cover a layer at a time.   I use packet mozzarella cheese, and you can do the same with the parmesan, but fresh parmesan is better.   There is no substitute for fresh basil - grown your own each summer (all you need is a bit of sun) and freeze it in ice cube trays for winter.  There are two ways to finish the dish, depending up what you prefer - see the recipie.  

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Quick chicken and veg soup

This is my quick chicken and vegetable soup, you can make it in about an hour, from first chop to finish.  Keep some chicken in the fridge already cut up to make things really easy.  You can vary the vegetable ingredients to suite your family.  I have included some suggestions/alternatives for you.  Cut all the vegetable into similar size pieces.  

To make a chicken and noodle soup, simply add noodles about 1/2 way through cooking.
To make chicken and sweet corn soup, omit about 1/2 the vegetbles,and all the cabbage, and cut the corn from 3 corn ears, including them instead.
To make a ministrone style of soup, include some red kidney beans, add small pasta 1/2 way through, use Kale or spinach instead of cabbage, and when it is cooked, add some Parmesan cheese cut into very small cubes right at the end.  Also, ramp up the tomatoe ketchup, or add a can of tomatoes.
For a very old fashion style of soup, add some dried soup mix (about a cup) and some additional water.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Kofta Meatballs

An old recipie, and sounds a little complicated, but it isn't really.  Give it a go.    Originally, this type of recipie comes from Hyderabad area of India

Do not fry the onions on a high heat, they need to brown slowly.  You can make this for a crowd quite easily, making everything the day before and just cooking the last step (curry) on the day.  You can ommit the chilli and it will still taste wonderful.  It can also be made with beef, but lamb is better.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Thia Beef Salad for a crowd

This recipie is what I make when I need to feed a lot of people, its easy and quick to do and tastes great.  The secret is in the roasted rice, and the dressing. The amount of steak you use depends upon how many people you are feeding, but the salad ingredients make enough for about 6 people.

Always taste the dressing to see that it is balanced, it should taste a little salty and sour, but not too much.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Luke Nguyen makes Vietnamese cooking simple, and this is one of his recipies.  I first saw it on his TV show, and it was so simple I just had to try it, especially as they take just minutes on the BBQ.

You can use beef (fillet steak) instead of pork, and pop it into the freezer for about an hour so that it is easy to slice really thinly.  Make sure the BBQ is red hot and ready to go, but make sure you soak your skewers so that they do not burn. This dish is marinated for at least 2 hours, but overnight is best. 

I serve the skewers with a simple salad with peanuts on top, and a bowl of vermicelli noodles that have a few drops of sesame oil in them, along with some home made sweet chili sauce.  You can sprinkle the skewers with sesame seeds or coriander.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Little morsels of tender chicken.

Thanks to Madue Jaffrey for this wonderful recipie from many years ago.  It is so simple and you can make it in the oven.  But you MUST get the oven to the highest temperature possible, so preheating is the first step.  The chicken needs to be marinated overnight.  Don't be worried too much about the quantity of chicken, it is a forgiving recipie.  I was served Tandoori Chicken with coriander leaves sprinkled on the top at a wedding (the bride was from a traditional Indian family) and it tastes wonderful.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Pate for a dinner party

I found this recipie many years ago, and have made it for lots dinner parties as an entree back in the 1970's.  I make it in little pots, one for each person, and serve it with little triangles of toast.  It is a very simple, old school recipie, and I think it came from a french cook book I had.

You can sprinkle each pot with thyme and seal with clarified butter for a very professional look.  You can also serve this with toasted french bread and onion jam.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Rev up a Rissole

These are variations on the basic 500g of lean beef mince rissoles.  Cook rissoles on a char grill or in a non stick fry-pan.  Just change the rissole to suit the mood by adding in these ingredients.


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Sweet Chilli Sauce

This recipie replaces one standard bottle of the sauce.  Instead of ginger you can use 1 lemongrass stalk.  How hot you want it is determined by what type of chillies you use, and whether you leave the seeds in.  The smaller the chilli and the more seeds the hotter it will be.  You can use it right away, as all the ingredients are cooked it does not need to mature.


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Found the mousse at last

I lost my choclate mousse recipie, but thanks to a blog called Health Inspirations, (actually, her mum!) I found one that looks exactly as I remember it; and this is also her photo.   

This is a soft, rich mousse that has raw egg, just like the original French one I had, so it is not suitable for anyone who is pregnant.  (raw egg is a problem in some countries, fortunately not mine!)

 You can play around with the amounts of chocolate you want to use. I recommend using 1 bar {which is equivalent to 100g or just over 3.5 ounces} but depending on how rich you want it to be you can modify it slightly. Use at least 70% cocoa butter chocolate, not a compound or milk chocolate. The recipe yields enough for a big bowl which should generously feed 5-6 people for dessert. 

Mousse au Chocolat

My family's favourite

Lemon Meringue Pie is the favourite dessert for my family.  I don't use the recipie anymore as I know it off by heart.  

Anytime the lemon or lime tree is abundant, out comes the pie.  I use a mixture of lime and lemon when I am using up the limes, as lime on its own is a bit too strong.  You don't have to put the coconut on the top, but we love it that way.  You can make the pie early in the day, don't put it in the fridge unless it is a hot day, and then just do the meringue at the last minute.  The lemon butter can be made ahead of time, and put into the fridge for up to 2 weeks.  To save time, I use a pre-made pastry pie crust, but you can use your favourite pastry recipie.  Most important: have the eggs,whites,  pastry and butter at room temp; and pre heat the oven for the meringue.

If you are in a real hurry, you can make the filling out of 2tbls cornflour, juice and rind of 4 lemons, 250g sugar, cook until thick; then whisk in the 120g butter.  Note, this does not keep.

Once you make this pie, it will be on the menu for the family forever.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Almond Biscotti

This is my basic biscotti recipie, you can change the nuts, or add 1 teaspoon of ground anise for even more taste of Italy.  Play around with using whole nuts, skin on, skin off or chocolate chips or even pieces of orange peel.  Its up to you.

The original chef was Di Sassi who was guest gook for a magazine I removed the recipie from.  Obviously she was Italian, as there is also a recipie for Tira Mi Su!



Raspberry Coconut Slice

This is an old fashioned favourite, with a biscuit pastry, raspberry jam and coconut topping.  It comes from the Weekly Cooking Class of the Australian Women's Weekly mag.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Spinach and Prawn Dip

Thanks to my friend Diane for this recipie.  She makes it for the Australia Day BBQ, and everyone loves it.
 Spinach dip

BBQ Leg of Lamb

My family LOVE this recipie, use a leg of lamb that has been butterflied. 

I cook it for 15 mins for each 500g - this gives you a medium to well done roast.   You MUST REST the meat.  Then cut it across the grain and serve with a green salad that has been shoots, cashews and sliced mango added.  Dress the salad with a dressing of orange juice and olive oil



Enough chocolate cake to freeze.

This is a very light, no-fail and economical cake.  It comes from Jackie Krutli of South Australia and is her grandmothers recipie, it was published in the Australian Womens Weekly in January, around the 1980's I think.

You make it in a large baking dish, so there is enough for a crowd, and it freezes well.

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas

This is a Christmas stand by.  If I need to make something sweet in a hurry, this is the one I go to.  It is from the Electric Cooking Recipies sheet from the Sydney County Council, 1984. 

The mixed fruit you use, is up to you, I like cherries on their own, but have used pecans and dried sour cherries.  You can also add some coconut to the mixture if you like.  Use what you enjoy.

Decadent Truffles

A favourite at Christmas time, I know this comes from Tuesday October 31st, 1994, as there is a Reuters release on the back of the recipie about Senna and Prost. 

You can finish the truffles with cocoa powder, diced candied ginger, coconut, grated chocolate or simply melted chocolate with a little nut oil in it.

Our Family Brownies

I have made this recipie many times, it comes originally from page 65 of the INTERIORS magazine of October/November 1996.  The reason it is so lovely, is the sour cream, it seems to make lovely squidgy brownies with a crisp outside.

Monday, February 24, 2014


You can vary the recipie by using slightly different salad ingredients, sometimes I just use tomatoe, basil and cucumber.  Do what suites your family.  You can make this up the the lebanese bread, and leave it in the fridge.  Then at the last minute microwave the bread and toss.

Another variation, which makes it a full meal is to add chick peas.  The mint and parsley can be chopped (or not!) as finely as you like it, and you can sprinkle the sumac on the top if you prefer.

Old Favourite Caramel Slice - the original

Thanks to the Australian Women's Weekly Cooking Class for this one.  No date however on the torn out page (the corner is a bit mangled)!  I notice however, that the current AWW Chocolate Caramel Slice recipie is quite different from this one, which is probably from about the 1980's.

Swiss Roll tins measure 25cm x 30cm.  Stir the filling constantly or it will burn!  Use a candy thermometer for best results.  There is no substitute for liquid glucose, and it stabilizes the mixture. You can use Maple Syrup instead of Golden Syrup.

 Chocolate caramel slice

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Gordon's crumble mix.

 Gordon Ramsay really is a genius with spices, and that is why I love this recipie so much.  It is the combination of sugar, cinnamon,nutmeg and orange that make it wonderful.  I first saw this recipie on his cooking course TV show.  It really does taste different from the usual apple crumble, and may seem difficult at first as it has several steps.  Just take your time, it will be worth it.

For the fruit, choose your favourite fruit and use this recipie.  Again, it is the vanilla, star anice and the caramel that makes it wonderful.

Apple Cake

This is quite a versatile cake, you can top it with any stone fruit, or simply go for apples.  I take the skin off green apples, but you can leave it on, especially if you decide to use red apples.  Top the cake with a mixture of castor sugar, cinnamon and melted butter as soon as it comes out of the oven.  You can also add some cinnamon to the flours if you like.  

Another variation is to make your favourite crumble mix, and put on the top before you bake the cake.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Addictive Fudge

I have made this many times to take to friends at work at Christmas time.  Beware, it is addictive and will give you a headache if you eat too much.  Originally this was made with no nuts in it, but I always add a packet of pecans and package it up in little noodle boxes with a ribbon.


Coconut Ice

Coconut Ice was made for every school cake stall, and one of the first things to be sold.  This recipie can be made and stored in the fridge for up to 1 month.  it comes from the Australian Womens Weekly of August 1986.

It does not say how to prepare the tin, but I think you would need to line it with foil or baking paper.


Who knew Sao Biscuits could be so nice?

A favorite of my sister and me when we were young, this recipie came from one of the many Tupperware parties my mother had.  I remember all the kids would be out the back playing in the sandpit while the mothers sat upstairs on the verandah and sipped tea.  We usually got the left overs for afternoon tea in our cubby house.

A variation on this slice is to make it with Lattice Biscuits, which do not need icing as you place the sugar side up.  My sister and I rather liked this one the best I think.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Coconut Cake of Hawaii

I first had this cake at the Halekulani Hotel in Waikiki.  Wow, it was fresh and light and luscious.  It was our wedding anniversary, which made it even more special.  Apparently it has been the signature cake at the hotel for years.  I don't make the cake from scratch, I just use a pre-made sponge cake, usually from Woolworths.



Take a pre-made sponge and cut into 3 layers.
Whip aprox 3 cups of cream to soft peaks,  add coconut essence and icing sugar to taste.
Layer cake with some of the cream, then ice the cake with the rest of the cream.
Sprinke with coconut flakes.


Spaghetti Bolongnese our style.

This is our family recipie for spaghetti, I would make it at least twice a month.  We always have fresh basil on hand, or in ice cubes in the freezer.  I also use the same recipie, but with mexican chili and beans added, for chili con carne.  Top with grated parmesan cheese.

Gingerbread house

Thanks to an ex-girlfriend of my son's for this. 
Please read the whole recipie first, as it can be a bit complicated.

You can be as simple or as complex as you like with the decoration, and put windows/doors into the pastry FIRST.  Below is a very simple, but effective design, and one much more elaborate.  You can fill it with lollies, or not - its all up to you.

Mojito in a cake

The Mojito Genoise was a Lorraine Pascale episode on Australian Masterchef.  She really is a genius when it comes to cakes.  

I have adapted it to the Woollies sponge cake, as I really did not have the time to make it all from scratch.  So this recipie is for the syrup and icing only.  Check out Masterchef it you want to get the whole recipie, and good luck!  It tastes of lime and coconut and rum - what could be better?
The original cake has praline only on the side, but I found there is enough to do the top as well, and it looks better than the original top.