Apple and butterscotch pudding

Mr Cake O'Clock has signed up to run a half marathon tomorrow. Madness, I know. But on the positive side, running that far requires carbo loading. And carbo loading means pudding. I have no excuse for eating it, but am not going to let that stop me.

Self-saucing puddings are incredibly straight forward to make. They're so simple in fact, that it's beyond me why anyone bothers buying packet mixes. This one is a fusion of quite a few different recipes from

Apple and butterscotch pudding

4 medium apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cups flour
1 tspn baking powder
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup milk
2 tbspn golden syrup
1 tspn vanilla essence

Butterscotch sauce

1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tspn cornflour
1/4 cup golden syrup
1 tspn vanilla essence
1 1/2 cups boiling water


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease a 2 litre casserole dish or pudding basin. Place chopped apple in base of the dish. Sift together flour and baking powder. Add remaining pudding ingredients and mix until smooth. Pour over apples. Combine the brown sugar and cornflour and sprinkle over the pudding batter. Mix together the golden syrup, vanilla essence and boiling water. Gently pour over the sugar mixture. Bake 45 minutes until golden brown. Serve with cream or custard.

Cake pops and bites

My first batch of cake pops were a success in terms of taste and chocolate dipping. However, they really weren't all that interesting to look at. I like glitter as much as the next girl, but so far as cake pop decorating goes, glitter is about as boring as it gets. So when an email advertising a cake pop class landed in my inbox on Monday, I was pretty quick to sign up.

The class was pretty much free-form, so some of my efforts are more basic than others. Judge for yourselves.

Cake bites in chocolate cases; delicious and chocolatey

Chocolate transfer paper makes for a sophisticated cake bite.

White tiger with chocolate stripes. Yummo!

This little bee even has a stinger

More grown up pops

Happy monsters

Sometimes simple is the way to go

Potato with fennel and onion

One of the benefits of getting a mystery fruit and veg box each week is that it forces you to cook and eat things that wouldn't normally appear on the shopping list. Call me boring if you will, but I had never eaten fennel until it turned up in the box one week.

Potato and aniseed don't sound like natural partners on the plate, but trust me, this dish works. The fennel imparts a subtle aniseed flavour to the potatoes, giving a fairly bland side dish a rather delicious lift. 

Potato with fennel and onion

300g potato
1 red onion
1 fennel bulb, stalks trimmed
1 tbspn olive oil
black pepper, to taste


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Place half the oil in a small baking dish. Cut the potato, onion and fennel into evenly sized pieces. Place in the dish and drizzle with remaining oil. Season with black pepper. Bake 40 - 60 minutes, or until potato is cooked through with golden edges. Turn vegetables to coat with oil half way through cooking.


After a lot of misses and only a couple of hits, I think I've finally mastered doughnuts. It turns out the key to success is the deep fryer. I've tried them in a normal frying pan with no luck whatsoever. The deep fryer makes keeping the temperature stable a breeze.

I have to confess that I cheated and used my bread maker. As not everyone owns as many gadgets as me, here's the recipe as needed to make them by hand. If you do have a bread maker, and its not at the back of the garage beneath the camping gear, then add the ingredients according to your bread maker's specifications, set the knead to around 5 minutes, and raising to 45 minutes.


4 cups flour
2 tspn dry active yeast
1 tspn salt
2 tbspn sugar
2 tbspn butter
1.5 cups milk, lukewarm
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Vegetable oil for deep frying


Mix the dry ingredients together. Rub in the butter. Combine the eggs and milk, and add to the flour, mixing to form a firm dough. Tip out on to a floured board and knead until smooth and elastic. Place in an oiled bowl, cover with cling wrap, and allow to rise until doubled in size, around 45 minutes. Roll the dough out on a floured surface. When around half to 1 cm thick, cut in to the desired shapes. A drinking glass and shot glass paired make good cutters for the classic doughnut shape, otherwise leave whole for jam or custard doughnuts.

Heat oil to around 160 degrees Celsius. Place the doughnuts in the oil and cook, turning often, until golden on both sides. Remove from oil and drain well.

Fill with jam, custard or cream, or top with a glaze or icing.


For chocolate doughnuts, add 2 tablespoons of good quality cocoa to the flour.


I love custard doughnuts, and making them is easier than you would think.

1 cup milk
1/3 cup cream
1 tspn vanilla bean paste
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup custard powder.

Bring the milk, cream and vanilla to scalding point. Remove from heat. Meanwhile beat the egg and sugar together until tick and pale. Add the custard powder to make a paste. Add around half of the hot milk to the eggs. Whisk, then add the remaining milk. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the custard is very thick and no longer tastes flour-y.

When cooled, pipe in to the middle of your doughnuts.

For jam doughnuts, strain a little of your favourite flavour jam and pipe in to the middle.

Likewise, apple sauce makes a great doughnut filling.

If you prefer iced doughnuts, chocolate and strawberry are both simple.

1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 tbspn milk
1/2 tbspn agave syrup
1 tspn flavouring essence
1/3 cup chocolate melts
1 cup sifted icing sugar

Combine the milk, butter, agave and flavouring. Heat until the butter has melted. Pour over the chocolate, and stir until melted. Add the icing sugar and blend until smooth. DIp the doughnuts in the icing and set aside until set. If you want sprinkles, add them while the icing is still molten. If you can't find agave, substitute corn syrup or glucose.

Cakes and pops

It's Sunday night and I've just finished off a weekend full of cooking with a batch of doughnuts. Yummo! But more about that later...

This weekend my most important task was creating a birthday cake for oldest niece, who was celebrating her tenth birthday with 15 girls and a sparkly disco. Obviously I was going to have to try to make a sparkly disco-ish cake.

The photo doesn't show it too well, but the whole cake was covered in holographic glitter - very sparkly! Most importantly, the birthday girl was very happy, especially since the colours and silhouettes matched her invitations.

I'm on a bit of a mission to reduce food waste at the moment. Apparently Australians waste $5.2 billion of food each year! That's a lot of money, and I want to make my share of it as small as possible. So I decided to make cake pops with the left over cake.

All of the recipes I've seen for cake pops suggest buying a packet of red velvet mix and stirring it together with a can of cream cheese frosting. As I'd never seen a can of cream cheese frosting until a visit to US Foods this morning - too late for cake pops, in other words. So I decided to improvise with the half a cup of white chocolate ganache left over from the cake's crumb coat, and about a quarter of a tube of sweetened condensed milk. I mixed it in with what basically amounted to half a butter cake, rolled the mix into balls and set them aside to chill. The next morning I dipped them in melted white chocolate, added lollipop sticks and a dusting of edible glitter. Voila! Cake pops, and not a can of cream cheese frosting in sight.

These were so easy to make that I'll definitely give it another shot next time I have some spare cake and ganache to mix with it. 

Honey butter cake

Finding a new cake flavour can be a bit of a challenge. I bake a lot so have loads of favourites. My standard cake if someone is coming over at short notice is a butter cake, but obviously that gets a bit boring after a while. Adding honey to the mix seemed like a good solution.

The smell in the kitchen while it was cooking was worth the effort on its own.

Honey butter cake

3/4 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup honey
1 tspn vanilla bean paste
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups SR flour
1/3 cup milk


Preheat the oven to 170 Celsius. Grease and flour a 20 cm cake pan. Cream the butter and sugar. Add the honey and mix well. Add the vanilla and eggs, and beat until smooth. Add half of the flour and mix well. Add the milk, then the remaining flour. Place in the pan and bake 15 minutes, before reducing the temperature to 160. Continue cooking until golden brown and the sides have pulled away from the pan. If the cake browns too much before the sides have puled away, reduce the temperature further and continue baking.

Serve with whipped cream or topped with honey frosting.

Lemon meringue cupcakes

I love lemon. When somebody asks if I prefer chocolate or vanilla, I tend to wonder why lemon isn't an option. Obviously the other two have their place, but lemon is right up there. So you can imagine how happy I am that my little lemon tree has finely fruited, managing to beat the very ordinary weather we've had this year. Life has given me lemons, and I've made cupcakes with them.

Lemon meringue cupcakes

Makes 12 regular or 24 mini cupcakes

Lemon curd

2 large lemons, juiced and zested
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
5 tbspn unsalted butter

Lemon cake

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup yoghurt
1 1/2 cups self raising flour


2 egg whites
1/2 cup caster sugar


Combine the juice, zest, eggs and sugar in a large glass or ceramic bowl. Mix well, add butter then place over simmering water and stir until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Cover the top with cling wrap to preven t a skin forming, and set aside to cool until needed.

Preheat the oven to 170 Celsius. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine the lemon juice and yoghurt. Add one third to the cake batter, mixing well. Add one third of the flour, and beat well. Continue adding the yoghurt and flour alternately until all combined. Place in cupcake wrappers and bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool before filling.

Place the egg whites and sugar in a large glass or ceramic bowl over simmering water. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved - test by rubbing a little of the mix between your fingers; the sugar is dissolved when there is no longer any graininess. Be careful not to let the mixture get too hot, as this will cook the egg whites separately to the sugar and result in an "eggy" flavoured meringue. Remove the egg mix from heat, and beat until stiff peaks form.

To assemble

Preheat the oven to 180 Celsius. Place the cooled lemon curd in a piping bag with a small round tube attached; numbers 5 through 10 are all suitable. Use the tube to make a hole in the top of each cake and fill it with lemon curd. Top each cake with meringue. Place in the oven and cook for around 5 minutes until the meringue is lightly browned.

NOTE: It is not essential to cook the meringue mix before whipping, but it reduces the risk of salmonella.


In an effort to go back to a more seasonal diet, I've recently stopped ordering specific fruit and veg, choosing a weekly mystery box instead. The up side to this is that everything is super fresh, and being the stuff that's in season, there's always plenty of it. The down side is that we don't have any control over what arrives. And that's how we ended up with a surfeit of potatoes.

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm not on the low carb bandwagon by any means. I certainly don't subscribe to the ideas behind the paleo diet, as I'm firmly convinced that even back in the day, starchy foods were a welcome part of the menu when available. Even with my pro-carb stance, I don't want to eat potatoes with every meal. Luckily cooking up a big batch of gnocchi uses at least half of the weekly spuds.

This recipe isn't strictly traditional, but it makes a great fluffy gnocchi. I use egg yolks as we've always got some left over from meringue. If you use whole eggs, reduce the quantity to 2.

Potato gnocchi

1.25 kg potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 cups plain flour
4 egg yolks
Large pinch of salt


Steam the potatoes for 25 to 30 minutes until soft. Use a potato ricer to mash them. Add the flour and egg and mix well. Working with small batches at a time, roll into lengths around 1.5 cms diameter. Slice into 1 cm discs. Meanwhile bring a large pot of water to the boil and add the salt. Add the gnocchi to the water in batches. Cook until the gnocchi floats to the top, them remove with a slotted spoon. Serve with your favourite sauce, or baked with cheese.

Paw paw jam

A paw paw arrived in the fruit box this week. Sad to say, I am not a fan. But when life hands me fruit, I just make jam. And the finished product is pretty fine, even if I do say so myself.

Being completely unsure of whether or not paw paw has enough acid and pectin to set successfully, I used a sachet of Jamsetta. I know it's cheating, but it guarantees a great set and reduces the amount of time you check for it.

Paw paw jam

1.5 kg paw paw flesh, cubed
1 kg sugar
2 limes, juiced
50g pectin


Place the fruit, sugar and lime juice in a large saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves.

Bring to a rapid boil, then reduce the heat slightly. Cook until the fruit is pulpy, skimming any foam that forms from the top. This should take around 20 minutes.

Reduce heat and add the pectin. Stir well, then boil rapidly for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and test for set by placing a teaspoon of jam on a chilled saucer then placing it in the freezer for 30 seconds. If the jam ripples when you push a finger through it, it has set.

Bottle immediately in sterilised jars.

Slow roasted tomatoes

It's so close to winter that the neighbours have started lighting their wood fires of a night. Even though the days have still been fairly warm, I really haven't been in the mood for salad. So had to come up with something to do with the mountain of tomatoes that have been arriving in my weekly fruit and vegie box. Slow roasting them seemed like the perfect solution, with the bonus  being that I could use up basil from my herb patch.

Here's the before shot, with all of the tomatoes looking particularly juicy.

There's no real recipe for this stuff. Basically you just preheat the oven to 120 Celsius and line a baking tray with baking paper. Cut your tomatoes as small as you like them - probably halves for Romas, I went with quartering my Grosse Lisse - sprinkle them with shredded basil, add a couple of thinly sliced cloves of garlic and finish off with olive oil. Then cook them until they reach the desired amount of dryness.

Give it a shot. The smell of the kitchen alone is reward enough.

Chocolate frozen yoghurt

Vanilla yoghurt and strawberry yoghurt were just divine, but not enough to get the breadwinner to try yoghurt ahead of ice cream. So I decided to experiment with chocolate.

Now clearly this is neither low fat nor low carb, so pretty much off the menu for anyone with an eye towards losing weight by cutting macronutrients. If, on the other hand, you want a slightly less energy dense frozen treat than regular home made ice cream, then this could fit the bill.

It's got a great chocolatey flavour, but retains the tang of the yoghurt. If that's not your thing, then up the sugar or add some other sweetener to taste.

Next on my agenda is this course so I can make coconut frozen yoghurt for Smidge.

Chocolate frozen yoghurt

375g dark chocolate
1kg Greek yoghurt
3/4 cup sugar
1 tspn vanilla bean paste


Place everything in a large saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, over low heat until the chocolate has melted and combined with the yoghurt. Refrigerate over night, then process according to your ice cream maker instructions.

Makes around 1.5 litres.

Chocolate cup cakes

I've just finished auditing the pantry and discovered that we had way too many bags of chocolate melts. Clearly the solution to that problem is chocolate cake, and so I had a look around the internets and found Nigella's cupcake recipe. I figured they would be as good a base as any for some silky smooth chocolate buttercream frosting.

The original cake recipe calls for everything to get chucked in the food processor. Getting that out seemed like too much of a challenge, especially given there's a Kitchenaid permanently on my kitchen table. So here's how to make them with a stand mixer, or if you're feeling energetic, a wooden spoon.

Chocolate cupcakes

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tspn vanilla
1 cup flour
1 tspn baking powder
1/2 tspn bicarbonate of soda
2 tbspn cocoa powder
1/4 cup milk


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Line a 12 hole muffin pan with paper cases. Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the eggs and vanilla, beating well. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cocoa. Add to the butter mixture and stir thoroughly. Add the milk and beat well until smooth. Add a tablespoon of mixture to each paper case. Bake 15 - 20 minutes until done.

Chocolate buttercream

3 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter, cubed
200g dark chocolate, melted and cooled
2 tbspn cocoa
1 tspn ground cinnamon


Combine the eggs and sugar in a heat-proof bowl. Place over a pan of simmering water and whisk until the sugar dissolves - around 5 to 10 minutes. Beat on high speed with a whisk attachment until the outside of the bowl is cool to touch. Slowly add the butter, beating with the paddle attachment on medium speed until all butter is incorporated. Mix together the chocolate, cocoa and cinnamon. Add to the meringue mix and beat well to combine.

Scallops with linguine

Sunday night, traditionally reserved for left overs or salad in summer, toasted sandwiches and soup in winter. In other words, quick and easy, but not necessarily inspiring. I'd even go so far as to say somewhat boring after a while.

If you're after something, quick, easy and delicious, then scallops with linguine hits the Goldilocks mark. Served with a nice glass of wine and a simple salad, and you've got something  pretty impressive for very little effort. And that's my kind of meal.

Scallops with linguine

250g linguine
1 tbspn butter
1 tbspn chilli infused olive oil
2 cloves garlic
250g scallops
1 lemon, juiced and zested
2 tbspn chopped parsley


Cook the linguine until al dente. Meanwhile, add butter and oil to a large frypan and heat until bubbling. Add the garlic and saute until lightly browned. Add lemon zest and scallops. Cook until the scallops are light golden but still tender - around 3 minutes - stirring occasionally. Add the parsley and stir through. Place scallops on drained pasta. Add lemon juice to pan and stir quickly to deglaze. Add the lemon butter sauce to the scallops.

Serves 2

More fro-yo

Ever since the making spectacularly successful vanilla frozen yoghurt, I've been thinking of all the different flavours worth giving a shot. Afterall, the vanilla is fabulous, but who wants to restrict themself to a single flavour for eternity?

Strawberry is slightly more time consuming than vanilla, but worth the effort. This recipe gives you the tartness you want from a frozen yoghurt, without making the strawberries taste sour. It's a beautiful colour, too. Look for jam quality berries to get the best flavour.

Strawberry frozen yoghurt

250g strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
750g Greek yoghurt


Cut the berries into small pieces, quarters or halves depending on the original size. Add to a saucepan with the sugar. Cook, stirring, over low heat until the berries have softened and are coated in a thick syrup, around 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Add to yoghurt, stirring well to get an even colour and flavour. Chill for at least an hour, before processing according to your ice cream maker instructions.

Pie time

November in Australia is not really synonymous with pies. Unless you're talking about fruit mince pies well in advance of Christmas, that is. But since I have a couple of friends from the US, and the biggest dining table of all of us, last November I was responsible for Thanksgiving dinner. And if there's one thing you have to have at Thanksgiving dinner, other than turkey, of course, it's pie.

Being a pumpkin pie novice, I made a practice pie in the week leading up to the big event. All in all, I was pretty happy with it, but still wanted to experiment a bit. I'm glad I did, because the pie I ended up with was delish, getting nods of approval from the people in the know, that is, the non-Australians.

We don't have pie pumpkins in the supermarkets or green grocers around here, so I used butternut. If you're really worried about getting the pumpkin perfect, it's possible to order American canned pie pumpkin online from US foods. For what it's worth, I'd rather save the food miles given there were no complaints about taste or texture.

Pumpkin pie


1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 egg yolk
2 tbspn water

Pie filling

1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
2 cups cream
2 cups pumpkin puree*
1 tspn ground nutmeg
1 tspn ground cinnamon
1 tspn ground allspice
4 eggs


Rub together flour and butter until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Mix together the egg yolk and water, then add to flour mixture. Shape in to a disc, wrap in cling wrap, and chill for at least half an hour.

Preheat oven to 190 celsius. Lightly grease a 25 cm deep pie dish. Roll the pastry out and line the pie dish. Blind bake for 18 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the sugar and water in a heavy based saucepan. Bring to a boil, without stirring. Cook until golden - do not over cook as it will turn bitter - reduce heat and add half the cream. Stir until the caramel dissolves then add the remaining cream and bring to a simmer. Whisk together the pumpkin and spices. Whisk in the hot cream mixture, then the eggs.

Place the pie filling in the blind baked pastry case. Reduce oven temperature to 180 degrees and bake for 55 - 60 minutes until golden and a knife inserted comes out clean.

Serve with whipped cream.

*Roast a one kilo butternut pumpkin in its skin until the centre is soft. De-seed and remove flesh, then mash with a stick mixer or potato ricer. Alternatively, peel and roughly chop the pumpkin and steam until soft. This method will be quicker, however the pumpkin will contain more moisture and be less sweet than the roasted version.

Lemon butter ice cream

It's been a long time since it was last warm enough for ice cream and I had enough eggs in the house to make it. I had originally planned to make choc mint or pistachio; but tonight I felt like something a little different. And that's how I ended up with lemon curd.

I've seen a coconut variation. If that's more your cup of tea, replace the evaporated milk with coconut milk. Hmm... tea ice cream could be my next experiment...

Lemon butter ice cream

For the lemon curd

100g butter, chopped
4 eggs, lightly beaten
125ml lemon juice
250g caster sugar

For the custard

300ml cream
375ml evaporated milk
4 eggs
125g caster sugar


Combine the butter, eggs, lemon juice and sugar in a saucepan. Stir over low heat until the mixture has thickened. This should take around 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Mix the cream and milk together and heat until scalding point - just before a simmer. Meanwhile beat the eggs with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add half the hot milk to the egg mixture, beat well, then return to the remaining milk. Place over low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture coats the back of a metal spoon. Remove from heat immediately. If the custard has begun curdling, beat it until smooth again. Gradually add the custard mix to the lemon curd and stir until well incorporated.

Chill for at least two hours, then process according to your ice cream maker directions. If you don't have an ice cream maker, freeze the mixture until semi solid, then blend or beat until smooth. Repeat the freezing and beating process until the mixture is the desired consistency.

Easy frozen yoghurt

With summer making a brief appearance over the past week or two, the ice cream attachment has been getting a bit of a work out. I generally make ice cream from a custard base, which is pretty straight forward and gives delicious flavour with brilliant texture. Only thing is, it's very energy dense. Frozen yoghurt, on the other hand, has a lot less fat, which if you're counting energy and not macro nutrients, is a great solution. Plus I like the tanginess.

This recipe is a great base. I'll be experimenting with flavours over the next couple of days.

Vanilla frozen yoghurt

Makes around 1 litre
3 cups Greek yoghurt
2/3 cup caster sugar
1 tspn vanilla bean paste


Combine all ingredients and stir until the sugar has completely dissolved. Chill for an hour, then process with ice cream maker. Freeze until mix reaches the desired consistency.

Yes, it really is that easy!


Most of the recipes I post here are for complete dishes. But if your family is anything like mine, you're going to end up looking for side dishes every now and then. This one is delicious, and in my opinion, would be just as good on the side of a vegie roast as it is served up next to a chicken or turkey.

One caveat though; it's nothing like the stuff you get inside a rotisserie chicken from the local "Charcoal Chook". If that's what you're after, stick to packaged stuffing mix and you won't go wrong. If you're interested in something a little tastier, this is just the thing.

Rye bread stuffing

1/2 kg rye bread, cubed
1 tspn cumin seeds
125g butter
3 cups chopped celery
2 apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
5 garlic cloves
1 tspn dried sage
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups chicken-style stock


Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Toast bread in oven until lightly browned. Cook seeds in 90g of butter until fragrant. Add the celery, apples, onion, garlic and sage. Season with salt and pepper. Saute until the vegies start to brown. Add the stock and scrape up any brown bits. Add bread and toss to coat. Transfer to a baking dish and dot with remaining butter. Bake uncovered for around 45 minutes.
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