Monday, 20 May 2019

A Bit Of Baking

There is nothing like a bit of baking to perk me up when I have been feeling a bit off colour. Nothing to taxing, just a bit of relaxed cooking with familiar recipes. 

All the flavours of  an Anzac biscuit crossed with a Rock cake/bun if you make them with mixed peel.

Fruity Oat  Cookies
125 g butter
2 tablespoons golden syrup
1/3 cup water
1 cup  sugar
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup of dried fruit ( I like a combination of mixed peel, currants and sultanas)
1 teaspoon mixed spice (optional)
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 cup flour
1 cup SR flour

Put butter, water and golden syrup into a large saucepan and put on low heat to melt.

Add sugar, oats and dried fruit into the butter mixture, stir to mix well and then leave to cool.

Mix in remaining ingredients.

Place heaped teaspoons of mixture onto greased tray or use baking paper. Alternately, roll mixture into balls using wet hands and press flat as you place them on the tray.

Bake 170 deg C for approx 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Place biscuits on a cooling rack until completely cold. Store in an airtight container. 

Some crumpets and waffles for the freezer and another batch of these chocolate mud cupcakes with coffee and white chocolate filling for a friend’s 70 th.

Some pot pies for dinner.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Blueberry Syrup Cake

Mother’s Day celebrations call for cake. 

 I made this Blueberry Syrup Cake for dessert at our shared dinner for Mother’s Day. It is a variation on Butter cake and remains moist for days. I have taken to substituting half the butter with oil, the mixture whips up extra light and fluffy and replacing some of the flour with almond meal gives the cake some body and texture. Raspberries can be substituted for the blueberries or a combination of both.

The mothers and their children. No fuss, delicious takeaway Thai food for dinner. 

The family always seem to come up with a card that has a cat on it. 

These orange gladioli like flowers always bloom in time, I have had them in my garden(s) for more years than I have been a mother.

Blueberry Syrup Cake

250 g soft butter or 125 g butter and 125 ml grapeseed oil
250 g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
250 g flour or 125 g flour and 200g almond meal
1 cup frozen blueberries

1 cup sugar
1 cup orange/mandarin juice

Blueberry Compote
Remainder of syrup
1 cup frozen blueberries


Preheat oven 170 deg C

Grease and line cake tin, I prefer a spring form.

Cream butter and sugar (or butter, sugar and oil) until light and fluffy, add vanilla extract

Gradually add eggs, beating well

Stir in baking powder and then flour (or flour and almond meal)

Gently stir in the frozen blueberries and place mixture in prepared tin.

Bake at 170 deg C for ten minutes and then reduce heat to 160 deg C until cooked approximately 40 minutes total cooking time. Golden brown in colour, the edges will shrink slightly from side of cake tin and a skewer comes out clean.

Use a skewer to create holes over the surface of the cake and then brush ¼ of syrup over the surface.

Leave to cool in tin.

For Syrup
Combine the sugar and orange juice, simmer until syrupy.

For Compote
Add additional cup of blueberries to the remaining syrup, heat gently to boiling point and then remove from the heat. Allow to cool and serve with the cake.

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

By Request - Beef Rendang

It started from a casual request for the beef Rendang recipe from Chin Chin, a dish very much enjoyed by my son on a recent visit to Chin Chin. Rendang is not a dish that is quickly made, meat needs to be marinated and then braised, spice mix and curry pastes need to be made and then the component parts made into a curry. The good thing about the recipe from the Chin Chin - Feed Me cookbook is that the paste and spice mix makes enough for three or more curries and the paste can be frozen. 

Beef Rendang (page 208)

I adapted the recipe to make a vegan version, crispy marinated tofu was substituted for the beef and had braised shiitake mushrooms and eggplant added to the mixture. Homemade vegan fish sauce, made from mushroom stock and seaweed was substituted for fish sauce.

For the little folk, sesame chicken.

Also from the Chin Chin cookbook, roast pumpkin with sesame satay sauce (page 150)

Char grilled corn, broccoli and rice to round out the meal.


A riff on the Banana Roti from the other Chin Chin cookbook. This was homemade waffles, sautéed banana with caramel sauce.

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Easter Celebrations

This year our family were away for Easter, so less need for all the chocolate, however, there were plenty of visitors coming over and in need of refreshment. I try to minimise my baking by making a cake that will stay fresh and delicious for several days. Often I will bake a fruit cake but this year I had a lot of carrots in the fridge and thought a carrot cake would be good choice.

In keeping with the Easter spirit I made the cake in the style of a Simnel cake. Simnel cake, traditionally served at Easter is a fruitcake that is decorated with a layer of marzipan and  eleven balls of marzipan representing the twelve apostles minus Judas.

Small M&M Speckled Eggs were used as a substitute for the marzipan balls, 
Cream cheese frosting for the marzipan icing so Easter was not totally free of chocolate. The eggs are also small so obviously more than eleven.

I used this recipe for the cake but instead of making one large cake I made twelve cupcakes and two smaller cakes.

There were homemade crumpets

Mostly served whole 

These are with some delicious cultured fennel butter from Lardass Butter, my new addiction.

The usual Easter foods made an appearance - flash fried calamari with salt and pepper spice and of course fish on Good Friday.

Roast lamb with herb and bacon stuffing.

Sunday, 21 April 2019

A Week with Tara Axford

At this time of the year I usually do a class with Fibre Arts, this year I took a class called A Sense of Place with Tara Axford. It was a fabulous class and a great week away. You can read more about Tara here.  A few photographs of  Lake Wendouree to give a Sense of Place.

The focus of the class was on producing prints using a Gelli plate, Collage and Book making.

Simple book structures to give an impression of the lake.

Using foraged leaves to create botanical prints.

Daily exercises ( Shape, Line, Texture, Botanical) resulted in the production of a Box of Postcards.

A selection of the Postcards, 

Palm book made with off cuts of the papers, vaguely representational of the bark on the many trees both around the grounds and encountered on my walks to the lake.

These tags were made to fit into the pockets of one of the lake books.

A little matchbox covered with one of the printed papers containing a few little feathers gathered from the lake.

One of the fun activities is to create something for the top table, an auction is held of all the items on the top table with proceeds going to a charity in India.

One for me and one for the table. These are paper slip covers to go over a soft drink bottle and form vases. Each person in the class made a vase. 

Another postcard, negative space activity.

Inked Gelli plate with botanical matter laid out in preparation for a print.

Botanical matter, foraged and arranged to help with the Sense of Place.

I walk to the lake and Botanic gardens everyday when I am on a Fibre Arts event, I have been going for a few years and multiple times of the year.

Another little book cover, inspired by my recollection of early mornings around the lake in Winter.

Shades of Autumn, gathered on a walk.