Thursday, May 26, 2011

Marshmallow Lamingtons

Entertaining doesn't have to be difficult or stressful, or even time consuming. Of course you can always dash down to the store for a mud cake and lamingtons for your morning tea with the girls...or even better, whip something up in the nick of time that is even tastier and more unique. I think the best things in life are always the simple things, the small things. After all, when you think about what made your day, its probably your baby grinning cheekily at you over that caramelly gateaux oozing with chocolate and cream and all sorts of yummy gore.
Anyway, too often Mums and housewives like us look for some way to make things quicker, easier and as fuss free as possible. There's never enough time when you're a housewife, especially with kids, and a simple, effective and delicious recipe is always welcomed. And yes, I'd say its foolproof too. Who doesn't want that?
We called them Snowballs when we were kids, but back then they where much larger...these little guys are easier on the stomach and the hips, and you only need three ingredients. They can be made for an elegant afternoon tea with the mother in law, or a kids birthday party in bright coloured truffle cases and will go down just as well with both crowds. I assure you.


1/2 bag marshmallows
Approximately 350g cooking chocolate
1 cup shredded coconut

Melt the chocolate in a small bowl. Fill another small bowl with the coconut. Using a fork, dip each marshmallow into the chocolate and proceed to roll in the coconut until covered using another fork. Place the marshmallow on some greaseproof paper to dry or straight into a paper truffle case. Voila!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Chocolate Ripple Cake

Some things are better left unmentioned. When I told my husband that the chocolate ripple cake I made for my birthday was the most unhealthy thing I would ever let myself eat he looked at me strangely. "After all," I said "Its just cookies and cream". He couldn't believe it, and then I added "and a bit of fruit juice".
"I'm going to vomit!" he said. "Fruit juice??"
So I understand that the first image that comes to mind is curdled cream and orange juice, but this cake is far from revolting. And far from being able to curdle. Its always been a family favourite for us and is such a simple affair...yet so rich and amazing, you wouldn't expect it to only have three ingredients and take just half an hour to assemble. Its the type of recipe I love best...far from ordinary, delicious, quick, simple and elegant. And practically foolproof.
And, after a large piece of this cake and after that terrible image of cream and fruit juice, my husband had another piece because of its deliciousness. So fear not his comment! It was retracted most hastily! But...if it still appears off putting, you could easily make a boozy version with tia maria or baileys in substitution for the would be amazing!


1 packet chocolate ripple biscuits
500 ml cream, whipped
1 cup fruit juice
chocolate shavings to decorate (optional)

Whip cream until thick. Pour juice into a small bowl along side the serving plate chosen for the cake. Starting with one biscuit at a time, dip quickly into the juice, lather one side with cream and stand upright on the plate, immediately wedging another soaked biscuit along side it keep its position. Work in such fashion until you have built a ring of biscuits wedged together with cream. Fill the centre with remaining biscuits and cream. Use the remaining cream to lather the outside of the cake until all biscuit is covered. Grate chocolate over the exterior if desired. Cover in cling wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving. This is best served the day after making.
Serves 8-10

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Hot Pizza Damper...Just out of the oven...

I know that a lot of  my readers are heading into summer, but here in Australia we're getting into that season where hot soups, puddings and hearty veggie casseroles are to be desired on those cooling nights that are fast on our heels. Our faux flame heater is out and keeping our toes toasty but it helps when the bellies are warm to boot...and that's where this recipe comes in. I made this pizza damper as an accompaniment to the roast pumpkin soup featured in my last blog, and they went perfectly together. We had my father in law over for dinner and he promptly asked where the pizza damper came from, because he thought it had been bought.
Yes it looks impressive, so if you're ever having guests over for dinner, I recommend you make it as a table centrepeice. It smells divine, it looks divine and its absolutely delicious. This one came straight out of the oven onto the table...nothing like bread fresh out of the oven! There's really nothing to this recipe, the buttermilk does all the hard work. It requires no bread making skills at all. I've never used buttermilk until now, and I am absolutely impressed by how delicious it makes scones, pancakes and damper. Again, this was one thing that only lasted a few minutes on the make a couple! Everyone will want seconds. Even the kids who hate tomato and olives ate this baby with relish. Now that's saying something!

PIZZA DAMPER (adapted from

1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup  black olives, finely chopped (we used Spanish olives)
1 tsp. dried parsley
1/3 cup grated cheese
1/4 grated cheese, extra
2 cups self raising flour
1 tbs sugar
pinch salt
60g butter, chilled, diced
3/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 220°C/200°C fan-forced. Line a round baking tray with baking paper. Position oven rack in the top half of oven.
Sift flour, sugar and salt into a bowl. Add butter. Using fingertips, rub butter into flour mixture until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the olives, parsley, 1/3 cup cheese and tomatoes. Stir until well combined, and then make a well in the centre of the mixture. Add buttermilk. Using a flat-bladed knife, stir until a sticky dough forms. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead gently until just smooth. Form into a flat disc big enough to fit inside the pan (20cm base). Cut round into 8 wedges (don't cut all the way through). Brush the top with a little buttermilk, and sprinkle the extra cheese on the top of the damper. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until hollow when tapped on top or turns golden. Serve hot.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Winter Warmers--Roast Pumpkin Soup

Maggie Beer says its all the little details that count when it comes to making a great soup. Apparently she recently gave away her secret Pumpkin Soup recipe, but I like recipes that are simple and made from everyday ingredients. I mean, how many people have verjuice and marscapone cheese just hanging around the kitchen? Sounds yummy though.
Well I have a pretty fabulous pumpkin soup recipe too, excuse me blowing my horn a bit. Okay, let me blow, after all, I am revealing another one of my "not-so-secret-now" recipes, and the occasion is my birthday. Well, we're a few days off, but I'm posting it in celebration. If you want to know how young I'm going to be, it's not so secret that I'm turning 21 again. 21 is such a good age to be.
This soup is made from just a few main ingredients and herbs, and is so satisfying on one of those chilly nights we've been having here in Australia recently. Its thick and creamy and so rich in all its pumpkin-y goodness. Why is it my "secret" recipe? Well, lets just say people came from all around just to eat this soup when I made it at Marmalade Deli where I used to work. Its liquid gold. Hoot Hoot!
Some people ask what pumpkin is best to use and I personally like the butternut best--it has a silkier texture and never fails to taste delicious. But the success of this recipe is all in the roasting of the pumpkin. It's a little more time consuming but well worth it. I have cut corners with this recipe before and it just doesn't have the same pizazz. The pumpkin needs to be roasted in strips for that extra flavour.


1 Butternut pumpkin, cut into thin strips
1/2 cup cream
2-3 cups milk
1-2 tsp. salt
pinch pepper
approx 2 tbs mixed dried herbs (I used a pinch each of cinnamon, oregano, parsley, dried onion flakes, basil. lemon pepper etc)

Cut the pumpkin into this strips. Place under a grill or in a sandwich press until the tops and bottoms are brown or even crispier. Place roasted pumpkin in a blender and add cream, salt and other spices. Begin to process, adding milk as you go until you reach the desired texture and thickness. Add more salt and herbs to taste if desired. Place in a large saucepan and reheat before serving. Serve with a dollop of sour cream if desired. Fresh chives go down a treat as well!

Serves 4-6

                                              My son really rocks the pumpkin mustache!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Domestic Goddess Wannabe

 Funnily enough, my darling husband bought me a coffee mug for Mother's Day that says "Domestic Goddess" on the side. What a darling for thinking that of me! I tell him its far from the truth, but as usual when I protest to something nice, he says "I don't know what you're talking about!" Anyway, it made me think of something a few people have asked recently and I want to set it right with the world of blog readers. "Do you ever cook anything that isn't amazing?" I have been asked.
YES! I certainly do cook some disasters, I just don't publish them, or I try and hide them in the stomach of my husband before anyone else can view the mess. Things flop for me quite frequently (Domestic Goddess indeed!) My husband doesn't mind if the meringue on my last pie was more like marshmallow than crispy melt-in-your-mouth goodness, but to me its a disappointment. Ever wondered why I added meringue swirls and lemon curd to the last pie that was seen on this page? It wasn't crispy and I needed to add crisp to that flopped meringue! So nobody is allowed to think I'm any sort of Domestic Goddess (but my husband of course) because it makes me feel like I have to be perfect and I cant be without more practice.  Of course its what I aspire to, but I definitely have not made it there yet.
Meringue, by the way, is one of my favourite sweet things and it also happens to be one of those that leaves me anxious that it will fail. Sometimes it simply refuses to crisp up and flops into a gooey, caramely heap. Still tastes amazing, but probably cant be considered meringue anymore. (although my darling brother in law says he prefers it this way) Anyway, when I made these lemon mini meringue tarts, I was determined not to have a failure on my hands. So I combined three successful recipes that I knew were brilliant and we had a lovely crisp topped meringue that melted in your mouth, zesty, gooey lemon curd and perfect pastry cases....mmmmmmh!  I think the pictures say it all. Needless to say, they certainly did not last long! Enough of the citrus recipes already!



1 1/2 cup plain flour
2 tbs icing sugar
125g butter, chilled, cubed
1 egg yolk
2 tbs water, chilled

Place flour, icing sugar and butter in bowl of a food processor. Process until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Whisk together egg yolk and water. With motor running, add egg yolk mixture and process until pastry just comes together. Transfer pastry to a lightly floured surface and bring together with your hands. Lightly knead until just smooth. Shape into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge to rest for 20 minutes.
Use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface until desired thickness. Using a round cutter, cut out 24 circles and place in mini muffin tin. You may trim any excess, but the pastry shells do tend to shrink a little while cooking. Place in freezer for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 190°C. Place pastry case on baking tray and bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove and leave to cool in the tin.


(This recipe makes twice as much curd as is needed to fill the pastry shells. However, it is difficult to halve the recipe due to it requiring three egg yolks. But if you're like me, you'll use the rest on toast, croissants and through other desserts! YUM!)

1 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup cornflour
1/2 cup (125ml) lemon juice
1 1/4 cups water
2 tsp finely grated lemon rind
3 egg yolks
60g butter or margarine

Combine the sugar and cornflour in a medium saucepan. Gradually add the lemon juice and water while stirring continuously until mixture is smooth. Place saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes or until mixture boils and thickens. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Remove from heat. Add the lemon rind, egg yolks and butter. Continue stirring until the butter has melted and mixture is well combined. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. 


1/2 cup caster sugar
2 egg whites

In a clean, dry bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Continue beating, adding a tablespoon of sugar at a time, until the sugar has dissolved and the meringue forms stiff, glossy peaks.


Preheat the oven to 150C. Spoon lemon curd into the pastry shells that are still sitting in the tins, filling them to the rim of each shell. Fit a piping bag with a large star nozzle, and fill with the meringue mixture. Pipe swirls on top of the lemon curd, making sure you pipe to the edges of the pastry cases. When complete, place in the oven and cook for 20 minutes. Revolve the tray and cook for another 10 minutes or so, until the meringue feels hard to tap and begins to turn golden. Remove, cool and devour!

one day...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Lemon Lime Meringue Pie

So a few days back while plotting out what delicious morsel I was going to make for Mother's Day, I wondered--how many of you made the World's Best Scrambled Eggs, and why aren't there any photos being posted of dazzling engagement rings? Goodness. Did no one get a proposal after making that creamy, amazingly moreish breakfast for their boyfriends? I am thinking I might have to make a video so you can see my technique...its all in the technique! A bit like making choux pastry really--all in the timing and the hands. Sigh. I was expecting gushing stories and wedding invitations coming my way.
Anyway. I just wanted to say a word about Mums, seeing as I saw a recent poll on facebook about Mother's Day and it seems--No one makes much of an effort! The largest percentage of mothers said its "a day like any other" in their household and I think its a shame. Come on, those women carried you for nine months (and you lived off her like a parasite), went through numerous hours of painful labour to squeeze you out, and then nourished you for years, looked after you, was on call 24/7, kissed all those booboos, loves you beyond any other--cant you bake her a cake? Make her scrambled eggs in bed? Do the dishes at least? I hope every Mum got pampered!!
Okay, end of rant. This was my first Mother's Day and being new to the whole mum thing, I feel sensitive about this. Something should be done!
By the way, my mum is an absolute legend and an inspiration to me in every possible way.

Mum--A domestic goddess if there ever was one.

She never complained about anything but her own cooking, and we thankless children didn't know how delicious her meals were until we left home. Her style is quick and simple, and truly, she inspires me. When I fly home next month, I am raiding her mind for her recipes. Since I cant be home with her to celebrate this day of great women, I am dedicating this Lemon Lime Meringue Pie to her, and will probably eat it myself generous of me! I still have citrus on the brain. Happy Mother's Day all you Yummy Mummies!


1 1/2 cup plain flour
2 tbs icing sugar
125g butter, chilled, cubed
1 egg yolk
2 tbs water, chilled
3 eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup caster sugar
3/4 cup thickened cream
100ml fresh lemon juice
2 1/2 tbs fresh lime juice
3 egg whites, room temperature
pinch of salt
1/2 cup caster sugar, extra

Place flour, icing sugar and butter in bowl of a food processor. Process until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Whisk together egg yolk and water. With motor running, add egg yolk mixture and process until pastry just comes together. Transfer pastry to a lightly floured surface and bring together with your hands. Lightly knead until just smooth. Shape into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge to rest for 20 minutes.
Use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface until 3mm thick. Line a shallow 23cm (base measurement) fluted tart tin with removable base with pastry. Trim any excess. Place in freezer for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 190°C. Place pastry case on baking tray and bake for 20 minutes or until light golden.
Meanwhile, place eggs, caster sugar, cream and lemon and lime juices in a bowl, and whisk until well combined. Remove cooked pastry case from oven and reduce oven temperature to 160°C. Pour filling into warm pastry case and return to oven for 30 minutes or until filling is lightly set in centre. Remove from oven and place, still in the tart tin, on a wire rack. Set aside for 1 hour or until cooled to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 180°C. Use an electric beater to whisk egg whites and salt in a clean, dry bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add extra caster sugar, a spoonful at a time, whisking constantly until thick and glossy. Spoon meringue on top of tart. Use back of a spoon to spread meringue, doming it slightly in centre and decorating with large swirls. (Make sure meringue is touching pastry right around top edge.) Bake for 8 minutes or until light golden and meringue is lightly set. Set aside for 15 minutes.

Fancied up with extra meringue swirls and lemon curd! YUM!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Baked Lemon Cheesecake

I know that citrus is usually associated with Summer, and maybe that's why it's become a sudden obsession with me--clinging to the remains of  what is quickly turning into brisk mornings and chilly nights. Don't get me wrong, I love winter, but generally winter desserts are heavier, and a light dessert tickles my fancy a little more. What am I talking about? I just made my first cheesecake (not particularly light) but it just seems to be a Summer dessert.
Baked cheesecakes always win the vote in the family. I tend to think the texture is more interesting than a chilled cheesecake and in my opinion, tastier too. You know me--I think any good food has to have two of three things to be successful:

Great Appearance
Great Texture
Great Taste

I believe any dish or dessert or edible can get away with only two of these three, and be a winner. Avocado for instance, looks divine and has a wonderful buttery, smooth texture, but doesn't really have much of a taste. All the better if something looks amazing, tastes amazing and has great texture. Like a baked cheesecake.
So I took the plunge and made my first ever cheesecake, a baked lemon delight in a fluted pie dish. It was super rich, with the ultimate creamy texture, the perfect amount of citrus to make it zingy without being overpowering and the appearance wasn't too bad either...though next time I will decorate it a little to jazz it up. Blueberries in the centre with some zest tendrils would have looked divine, with a sprig of mint to top it off.
I have one more thing to add. I found this recipe on, a great source of recipes. Below the recipe was a comment from a woman who had baked this cheesecake every week for six months, for her husband. Every week she asks him, if it was time for a change of dessert...the husband looks back at her in sheer protestation! WHAT IS SHE THINKING!!! I think this little tale goes to show that you should definitely give this recipe a go, its sure to become a favourite! (I refuse to make it every week for my husband though--we may need a crane after six months for the both of us!)


250g plain sweet biscuits (I used Buttersnaps)
150g butter, melted
500g cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 tbsp. lemon zest, finely grated
3 eggs
1/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
Icing sugar and cream to serve

Preheat oven to 160C/140C for fanforced.
Grease a 6cm deep, 20cm round springform pan or dish. Process the biscuits until they resemble very fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and combine well. Press this mixture over the base and up the sides of the prepared tin. Place in the fridge to set. for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, beat cream cheese, sugar and zest together until smooth. Add the eggs one by one, beating well after each addition. Add the lemon juice and beat for one minute. Smooth the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for 50 minutes or until the mixture has just set. The centre may still be wobbly but will firm on standing. Turn the oven off and keep the door ajar until cooled. Refrigerate cheesecake for 4 hours or more, dust with icing sugar and serve with cream, if desired.

Serves 12

NOTES: a tip for cutting baked cheesecakes: wet the knife under hot water before plunging into the cake to avoid a messy cut.