Sunday, August 8, 2010

It might look ugly but it sure tastes good!

Now do excuse the smudge on the plate. It was only after I'd eaten the pudding that I realised that moving the strawberry was not the best of ideas!
This pudding, another stress reliever is so easy to do and makes a good chocolatey hit after a (lightish) dinner.  It's not my recipe but one that I saw on Matthew Hayden's Home Ground programme. For those of you who don't know Matthew played cricket for Australia very successfully but I'll not say too much about cricketing prowess as the Ashes series is coming up and I'll be cheering for Old Blighty!
 Anyway, the pudding is so simple this is all you have to do:

Chocolate and Macadamia Nut Pudding.

1 cup self-raising flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
.75 cup raw sugar
.5 cup milk
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
½ cup chopped macadamia nuts
¾ cup brown sugar
¼ cup cocoa powder
1¾ cups hot water
Pinch of salt

Vanilla ice-cream, to serve


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Sift flour, salt and cocoa powder into a bowl and stir in the raw sugar. Add the milk, melted butter and vanilla essence. Mix with a wooden spoon until smooth. Add nuts and stir through. Spoon the mixture into a six-cup capacity ovenproof dish.
Mix the brown sugar and extra cocoa powder together and sprinkle over the cake mixture.
Carefully pour the hot water in at the side. Bake for 45 minutes then let stand for about 5 minutes.
Scoop into bowls with plenty of sauce and serve with vanilla ice-cream.

Mine didn't have a great deal of sauce but the ice cream made up for that.  What a great way to relieve stress!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Stressed is desserts spelled backwards!

OH and I have a subscription to the Sydney Symphony Orchestra at the Opera House. It was our treat to ourselves and I have to say that it's a lovely way to spend a Friday evening. Another great bit of the evening is heading off to Circular Quay straight from work and meeting OH's a bit like having a date! We take ourselves off to find a quick bite to eat before batons up at 8pm.
The other night we tried a little tapas bar in The Rocks ( and it was really lovely. The food was really tasty and there was a guy playing some beautiful guitar music. Anyway, this is a long introduction to the title as on the wall of the bar was a plaque letting us know that stressed was dessert spelled backwards. After seeing that I just had to go home and try a new pudding!
I've done a few things from Tamasin's Weekend Food but this pudding just seemed to hit the mark for a winter pud.
Guards' Pudding
6oz wholemeal breadcrumbs
1oz self raising flour
3oz vanilla caster sugar
1 pot best strawberry jam, full of whole strawberries
3 eggs
4oz melted butter
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Grease a 2pt pudding dish. Mix the breadcrumbs together with the sifted flour and sugar in a large bowl. melt the jam gently and pour it into the bowl at the same time as the whisked eggs and melted butter. Stir together. Dissolve the bicarb in a little warm water and stir it into the pudding.
Pour into the pudding basin and seal with pleated foil and string. Place the pudding on a trivet then pour boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the pudding basin. Cover with a lid and simmer for 2 hours.
Turn out and serve with thick cream.
It was one of the simplest puddings to make but I did make some adjustments.
  • I always divide the amount of sugar in half, no one ever seems to notice and it does save a few calories!
  • I only had bog standard strawberry jam so used half and made the rest up with frozen strawberries.
  • I made a coulis with the remaining frozen strawberries by blitzing them up with some icing sugar and lemon juice and poured it over the pudding just before serving.

What I ended up with was a really light and fruity pudding served with thick custard followed by some very empty plates and no stress!

Saturday, June 5, 2010


I don't think that I've seen so much rain here in all of the time I've lived in Australia. The weather is so 'British" with days and days of rain making it cold, damp and miserable. So what's the best thing to do? Make soup.

I love soup and most are so quick and easy to make.

Today's soup is red curry, sweet potato and coconut soup. It's really easy and makes a delicious warming and incredibly smooth soup.

Here's what you need.

1 onion, chopped

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into chunks.

stock to cover (or water and a veggie stock cube)

red curry paste - I won't say how much as it depends how hot you like things and what the brand of curry paste is like. I used 2 tsp.

440ml coconut cream (mine was light!)

Here's what you do!

Gently fry the onion in a large pan until it turns translucent then add the red curry paste and fry to release the most wonderful aroma. Add the chopped sweet potato, cover with stock then add the coconut milk. Bring to the boil and simmer until soft. Blitz with a 'whizzy stick' or put in a blender. Add a little salt to taste and serve with crusty bread and a beer!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Another year, another cake!

Well, here it is! Teen boys birthday cake and this year it was Nigella's Chocolate Gingerbread. And what a cake! I'm not saying it was my brilliant baking but the whole cake was just a yummy mouthful after mouthful. It was enhanced by the fact that I had got hold of a couple of tins of Tate and Lyle treacle. Now, I much prefer the taste of our Aussie golden syrup (it's less sweet to my tastebuds!) but I just don't think that you can beat the taste of good old Tate and Lyle for treacle.
Anyway, if you haven't tried it then just go ahead and give it a go as I'm really sure that you won't be disappointed!
Chocolate Gingerbread
175g unsalted butter
125g dark muscovado sugar
2 tbsp caster sugar
200g golden syrup
200g black treacle
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/4 tsp bicarb of soda
2 eggs
250ml milk
275g plain flour
40g cocoa powder
175g chocolate chips
30g unsalted butter
1 tbsp cocoa powder
60ml ginger beer
250g icing sugar
Oven to 160C. Line a tin with baking paper.

Melt butter with sugars, golden syrup, treacle and spices. Remove from heat. Dissolve the bicarb in 2 tablespoons water and add to the melted butter along with the eggs and milk. Stir in the flour and beat well. Fold in the chocolate chips. Bake for about 45 minutes.
It will be slightly damp under the top. Cool.
For the icing melt the butter, cocoa and ginger ale. Sift in the icing sugar and top the bread.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Nothing can put a damper on this!!

I've dreams of doing the 'Grey nomad' thing and in a few years time when the kids are through school, of closing up the house and taking off with OH in a Pajero with tent and camp ovens to travel round this huge country. There are so many places where I'd just love to sit and connect with the land that I won't bore you with the list.

Anyway, every now and then, when school activities, sport etc allows we pack up the car and go and find a beautiful place to camp for a couple of nights. Now for me the fun is cooking over a camp fire and I have been know to produce a roast chicken from the camp ovens followed by treacle sponge and custard! However, it was Easter time and so cold that there was no time to take photos. The dinner was served with the instructions to eat it quickly before it got cold. So much for my dreams of letting the whole campsite know what a great earth mother I was, feeding my family with a Sunday roast over nothing more than a camp fire! *sigh*!

A couple of weekends ago we took off to Wombeyan Caves to camp. It's a beautiful place which has an easy way to get to it or a more difficult way over a rough road. The caves are well worth the visit but for me the challenge was to make damper. I've never done this before and thought that I needed to find a good recipe before taking off as a grey nomad. This is my first effort!

Here's the working kitchen with the camp oven lined with foil.

The recipe was a very basic one using:

3 cups of self raising flour
a pinch of salt
80g butter
3/4 cup of water

All I did was to rub the butter into the flour and salt until it looked like breadcrumbs and then add the water bringing it together with a knife and then kneading it until smooth. I then shaped it into a round and put it into the camp oven before scoring the top.
Then the lid was put on and the oven put into the fire. As I was baking I had hot coals underneath and on the lid. After about 20 minutes and much anticipation the lid was lifted and this was the result!

It wasn't bad for a first try but I thought that it was a bit bland although the melted butter and honey improved it no end! Next time I'll be trying a different recipe in my quest to find the best damper recipe.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

I must try harder!

That is to tend to my little blog!

The problem with living is that it can get in the way of other things. In my time away from my blog I've retrained and built a new career. Hopefully now I will be able to return to some of the things I used to do as a (mature) student!

So let me introduce you to my 'girls'. Rather, they're my OH's girls but I get to use the eggs. he has had the yearning to have his own chooks for a while now and has constructed a hen house and run that would be the envy of the chicken world!

We are now the proud custodians of 2 Isa Brown hens - one is a bit camera shy! and 3 guinea fowl. The hens are very affectionate and come up for a stroke of their feathers. The guinea fowl are a bit more standoffish and keep their distance. One of the girls is laying and I'm hopeful that the other will strat soon. I think it's so lovely that we now have a supply of really fresh eggs that have come from very happy hens and everyone in the house has fallen in love all over again with the very simple but delicious boiled egg and soldiers!

R.I.P. Rosie

I want to mark the passing of a great foodie blogger, Rosie. Rosie was a founder of the Sweet and Simple Bakes blog which encouraged us to bake for fun. It didn't matter if we were beginner bakers or experienced, we were just encouraged to get in the kitchen and bake. The fun was then sharing and comparing what we had done with the same recipe. I loved looking at how different our results. Rosie always would visit my blog and leave a very encouraging message. She is someone who will be missed by many people worldwide.
May you rest in peace Rosie......and thank you.