Monday, December 26, 2016

Stevie's fabulous make ahead Christmas dessert.

A friend of mine made this for Christmas and apparently it was a real hit!  Its also kid friendly.  Unfortunately she lives too far away from me to drop in for coffee, but she was kind enough to post the recipe.

 Its so easy, mostly its an assembly job. The ingredients are Australian brands, but I'm sure other countries have similar.  You could add some honeycomb into the honeycomb mouse.  Assemble the day before for best effect.

And, Stevie tells me she adds some Bailys to the adults bowls for added effect!  Personally, I think you also need a glass on the side.

Make a Betty Crocker packet mix brownie (use salted caramel).  
Allow to cool.
Make Chocolate ganache  (recipe here)
Make honeycomb mousse (Coles - its in the dessert isle in a black packet - just whisk I cup milk with packet and chill for an hour).

Layer in a trifle bowl:
brownie pieces, 
bought chocolate double (thick) custard, 
Baileys custard with malteasers in it.
honeycomb mousse
Keep layering, then on the top  dollop with some chocolate ganache and top with fresh cherries on serving. 

Enjoy! and thanks Stevie. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Best Chocolate Cake.

Why re-invent when you can use what is already there?  I never thought the best chocolate cake would be so easy - just put in a food processor and go for it but trust Nigella to figure it out!  I never want to loose this recipe, so it's going on the blog. Just follow the link below to Nigella's site for the full domestic goddess version.
I have to confess, this is Nigella's Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake, only with the addition of a little coffee.  I love coffee in a chocolate cake as it rounds our the flavour.  But this is definitely the BEST chocolate cake I have found.
You can use a teaspoon of instant coffee dissolved in a tiny bit of water if you have no espresso. You can substitute golden syrup in the frosting if you cannot find corn syrup.  You must use the best quality cocoa powder possible.
I have cooked this in 3 tins and converted it to a black forest cake by not frosting it - Just sprinkle a bit of cherry brandy on the cake once it is cooled, use cherries and cream for the filling and top with cream and chocolate. It was a great success.
Here is a picture of Nigella's cake:

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Roasted Snapper with with leeks and olives

My son made this recipe and loved it!  This is made with snapper, but you could make it with any white fleshed fish fillets, or even a cutlet like blue eye.  Use the BEST olive oil you can afford as it will make a difference to the dish.  Also, sourdough is preferable, but you could use any bread.  Do not cook the leeks at too high a temperature.   Simple and delicious.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Easy Carrot Cake

This is a moist carrot cake that can be cooked in one large round, or two small round cake tins.   This is the easy, no fail recipe.
Make a cream cheese icing to finish it off if it is a special day, or just sprinkle with icing sugar if not. Use the cream cheese icing to sandwich cake together if making 2, and for a topping, simply make a dark caramel with about 1/2 a cup of sugar, pour it over some nuts.  Leave to cool and the process in the food processor, and sprinkle the top of the cake.
You can add candied ginger, nuts or dried fruit to the mixture (use about 1/4 cup) if you like.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Coffee panna cotta for two

This is adapted from a Nigella recipe, (who else?)  and uses Mackenzies gelatine sheets, so if you are using any other brand you will need to adapt it.  Take a look at the recommendations on the packet, and work out what you need for 240ml of liquid.  (or 250 and cut a bit off one of the sheets!) There is just enough for a romantic dessert for two. 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Huli Huli Chicken.

So, I love HuliHuli Chicken in Hawaii, actually I love Hawaii!  Huli means to flip.   Here is an easy marinade for chicken anytime.  You only need to marinade for an hour or so, but as long as you like.  Best done on a BBQ, adjust the chili to our liking.

Mix the marinade:
1/3 cup tomatoe sauce
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup sherry - or white wine, or brandy, or whatever you have
2inches ginger grated
3 cloves garlic grated
chili sauce or chili flakes to your taste (try a few glugs of sauce first off)
juice of 1/2 lime

Marinate the chicken while the BBQ heats up.  While cooking, turn constantly and  brush chicken with extra sauce.
Serve with lime to squeeze over the top (this does make a difference!).

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Italian Pears in red wine

 I saw this on one of Poh's shows, where Antonio Carluccio was assisting her.  What a great recipe, and so simple.  Essentially you just baked the pears on their own for 40 minutes, then sprinkle with sugar, add the red wine and lemon peel and bake for another 30 minutes - and done!  This will become a family staple.

Pears in Red Wine (Pere al Vino Rosso)

Pears in Red Wine

Antonio Carluccio's Simple Cooking © Antonio Carluccio 2009

Rating: easy to moderate


  • 6 ripe Williams pears
  • 400ml red wine
  • Rind of 1 lemon, pealed in pieces
  • 150g caster sugar
  • Whipped double cream, to serve


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Wash and put the pears upright in a suitably sized ovenproof container. You want them to fit snugly, without too much space between them.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes.
  4. Remove the pears from the oven and pour over the wine.
  5. Sprinkle over the lemon rind and most of the sugar, reserving a small amount to spoon on top of the pears. Bake for another 20 minutes, by which time the wine will have reduced and thickened in consistency.
  6. Put the pears in a glass bowl, cover with the red wine syrup and chill.
  7. Divide between six plates, and serve with the syrup and some whipped double cream, if desired.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

A quick satay sauce

Here is the quickest satay sauce in town, great for topping chicken to make it special.  All the ingredients you are likely to have on hand.  Although it is not the authentic Thai satay sauce, it is close enough for me!

I use crunchy peanut butter, but you can use cashew butter or almond butter as a substitute.  Note that the "cup" measurements are flexible, see what suites your taste, you may like more hoisin!  Also, you may want to chop some coriander or shallots and put that in too.  Its a very flexible recipe.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

1 jar of cucumbers

I've gone pickle mad!  Here are two recipes for cucumbers when they are in abundance.  Seriously I think that my cucumber plants are in conspiracy.  I go out in the morning and the cucumbers are less than the length of my little finger, next day - enormous!  To use them up I keep my cucumber jars over winter and fill them up over summer.  These are refrigerator pickles, meaning they need to be kept in the fridge until used up.  - so don't make too many!
Bread and butter cucumbers is a simple and delicious recipe, you can make sliced cucumbers or spears, or if you have lots of tiny ones, leave them whole.  The fermented cucumber recipe is from my mother in law  (as remembered by Val!).  It originally comes from Ukraine. I now grow my own horseradish just for the leaves! 
Fermented food is very good for you, but MUST be eaten fairly quickly.  Unlike the bread and butter cucumbers, these will not keep for long as they contain garlic.  If garlic is not handled correctly it can cause botulism, not something anyone wants.  So, make them, leave them on the shelf for 2 days, open them and put them in the fridge, eat over the next 2 weeks.  Any longer and I would throw them out.  (or leave out the garlic!).  For a great article on these cucumbers read the interesting blog post here by