More daughter cooking: Rhubarb ‘Snacking’ Cake

I hope this is turning into a pattern.

Felicity turned her hand at one of Smitten Kitchen recipes.

This is what she did.


  • 560 grams rhubarb
  • 1 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 120 grams butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/3 cup sour cream


  • 1 cup plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 60 grams butter, melted

Make the cake:

Print off the recipe from Smitten Kitchen site and get all your stuff out, except your baking pan. Realise you have to find an inch ruler before you can even find your pan. Realise you also have to convert from °F to °C before you can preheat the oven.

Finally, preheat your oven to 170°C and line a 30 x 25 cm baking pan.

Chop the rhubarb into about 1 cm pieces.

Zest the lemon before you juice it. Hah, see, not just a pretty face. Err, perhaps not so clever, using the zesting thing that makes long strips of peel. Ask mum to help and get slightly annoyed when she says she’s too busy unpicking the grey dress of doom. Mum does remind you that there’s a better thing for making fine zest. Don’t tell her that she has not been completely useless. Later, say nice things about her dress when she tries it on to check the fit.

Stir together rhubarb, lemon juice and 2/3 cup sugar and set aside.

Cream butter, remaining sugar and lemon zest. Add eggs one at a time.

Sift flour, baking powder, and ground ginger, add one third of this to batter, add half of the sour cream and then add another third, more sour cream and then the last bit of the flour mixture. Try to get a bit on your face so that Grandad knows you’re cooking.

Dollop batter into pan, then spread the cake into an even, thin layer.

Pour the rhubarb mixture over the cake. Dad didn’t buy enough rhubarb, so add something else, like blackberries from the freezer from February’s blackberry picking day. Eat all the leftover blackberries and remember the scratches.

Now start the crumb topping.

Stir together the the flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon, then stir in the melted butter.

Scatter the crumble evenly over the rhubarb and blackberry layer.

Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes, until a skewer poked in the middle comes out clean and the top is golden. Let Dad worry about this bit, because you have books to read, er, homework to do.

Enjoy with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and bask in the compliments from your very lucky family. Tell them not to expect this often!

Chewy choc chip cookies

These biscuits (cookies for you north Americans) are just right with a coffee for Mothers day.

And they are even better when your daughter makes them for you!


2 cups plain (all purpose) flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

170 g butter, melted

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 egg

1 egg yolk

2 cups milk chocolate chips

1 Mum who loves biscuits


Preheat the oven to 165 °C (325 °F).

Sift together the flour, baking soda; set aside.

Cream the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk.

Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Roll dough into course balls about 3 cm diameter and place on baking paper on tray about 8 cm apart. Squish the balls gently to flatten. Don’t squish them to much or else you’ll have to eat them uncooked, or if you’ve already had enough cookie dough, you’ll have to reroll them and re squish them a bit more gently.

Repeat until the tray is covered. Check the biscuits are not too close together and rearrange so they are at least 6 cm apart. Eat a bit more dough.

Put the trays in the oven and forget to put the timer on. Go and do something more important like check Pinterest for new images of One Direction. Make sure you have a Mum close by that loves biscuits and doesn’t want them to burn. She’ll check them after about 12 minutes and take them out of the oven. They’ll have lightly browned edges but still be soft.

Let your Mum eat at least one while they are still warm. Save the rest for Mother’s Day.

Should make at least 12, and might make up to 20 if you don’t eat any dough before you put them in the oven. We’ll have to make them again to confirm this…

Modified from

Cinnamon cookies

Mmm yum, cinnamon cookies

A very easy recipe from Ms Gourmet at Gourmet Warrior.


Chewy Cinnamon Cookies


75gm unsalted butter
1/3 cup of brown sugar, firmly packed
1/3 cup golden syrup
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 ½ cups of self-raising flour, sifted
Icing sugar for dusting


1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6 (180C in fan forced electric oven). Combine the butter, golden syrup and brown sugar in a saucepan. Over a low heat, gently melt the butter and dissolve the sugar and syrup together without boiling.
2. Set aside and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Then stir in the cinnamon and sifted flour and mix until well combined.
3. Roll heaped teaspoons full of the mixture into walnut sized balls and place 5 cm apart on a tray that has been lined with baking paper. Flatten gently with a fork.

4. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until they are slightly browned. Carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool and lightly dust with icing sugar before serving.

Makes about 20 when you use the recipe correctly and about 46 very hard biscuits when you double the recipe and then realise you don’t have enough golden syrup so you substitute honey and maple syrup to make up the measure.

They are very yummy, with that slight tang from the golden syrup under the cinnamon deliciousness and a chewy texture.

And another good thing about them?

Minimal dishes!

Oh, and baking hasn’t overtaken my main love (sewing, just in case that wasn’t clear..) but I am considering taking up crochet after seeing these beauties around the streets of Adelaide:

image source: Bike Art Adelaide

A table shared is a pleasure doubled

Whether it’s a ride in the country, an umbrella in the rain, or a heavy load to lift, a problem shared is a problem halved and a pleasure shared is a pleasure doubled. A recent invite to come up to the hills for a swim and escape the temperature 41oC by some good friends was a true pleasure. The children had a great swim and us oldies enjoyed the cooler conditions and shared a sumptuous table.

Just nibbles the host said…. she had prepared feasts for Christmas and New Year’s gatherings and supposedly wasn’t going to prepare more!

Hah! I have heard that before!

In fact she had not one but two fantastic terrines accompanied by home-made pickled capsicum and onion relish, one a chicken watercress and tarragon beauty and the other liver and veal. Disappearing after a bit she returned with cassata …home-made ice-cream in the centre, fresh blue berries and raspberries…I always feel humbled in the her presence.

I had prepared a salad for everyone to share based on an old favourite from many years ago. It is a simple chicken mango avocado salad but the thing that sets it apart from the rest is the dressing.

Chicken salad with macadamia dressing and mango salsa

This is the original recipe; I have often taken many liberties and substituted or omitted several ingredients and maintained a measure of success.

3    cups good chicken stock
4    chicken breast fillets (see note)
1    tablespoon macadamia oil
1     handful of macadamias, roughly chopped
1    bunch of watercress, trimmed, washed well and broken into pieces.
Note: Baby spinach or any salad greens can be substituted for the watercress.
2    avocados, sliced
250g     sugar snap peas, blanched and refreshed


1    tablespoon olive oil
1    onion, finely chopped
2    teaspoons curry powder
1    Tablespoon paw paw and mango chutney
1    tablespoon apricot jam
1/4     cup unsalted macadamias
2    tablespoons raspberry vinegar
2    tablespoons macadamia oil
2    tablespoons olive oil
1/2     cup whole-egg mayonnaise
1/4     cup thin cream


2    ripe mangoes, finely diced
1    small Spanish onion, finely chopped
2    tablespoons light olive oil
2    tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2    tablespoons finely chopped mint
1    teaspoons honey
1     small fresh red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
For salsa, combine ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Cover and set aside so flavours can blend and develop.

Bring chicken stock to the boil in a deep Frying pan.
Reduce heat and gently poach, chicken fillets for about 8 minutes, or until cooked through.
Remove from stock and set aside to cool.

Note:    I normally cook the chicken fillets on a grill pan instead of poaching.

For dressing, heat oil in a small saucepan, and cook onion over medium heat until translucent.
Add curry powder and stir for 1 minute. Remove from heat, stir in chutney and jam and mix well.
Set aside to cool. Process macadamias in a food processor until, well chopped.
Add vinegar and oils, process until well combined.
Combine with the cooled onion mixture, mayonnaise and cream.
Mix well. Set aside.
Heat macadamia oil in a small frying pan and cook macadamias until lightly golden. Arrange watercress, sliced avocado and Peas on individual serving plates. Slice chicken fillets and arrange in centre of salad greens.
Spoon over some dressing. Add 2 tablespoons of salsa to each serving and sprinkle with macadamias.

Nothing is not what He Cooks

He who Cooks has been asked a lot what he’s been cooking lately.

He says “nothing”.

This means only everyday cooking. Otherwise we would have starved, or eaten junk food, or .. even worse… She who Sews might have been cooking.

Seeing as I’m the lucky recipient of “nothing”, I thought I’d let you see what “nothing”, aka a simple weeknight meal, looks like.

Lovely Aussie lamb leg steak on a warm salad of grilled eggplant, grilled haloumi cheese, chickpeas, tinned four bean salad mix, diced tomato, Italian flat leaf parsley, dressed with garlic infused olive oil, salt and pepper. No recipe of course, just out of his head. Yum!

Something yummy to start with…

Recently I had a conversation in which I claimed that I didn’t much care for smoked food, then I paused hmmm on reflection I could not think of something I didn’t enjoy that was smoked.

Consider: smoked oysters, smoked kippers, smoked ham, smoked bacon, smoked sausage, smoked chicken, smoked cheese… and there is probably many others that I have missed. So I guess (ahem) I must say that I am actually quite fond of smoked food (put your hand if you like smoked food too). So what was it …that I was thinking of when I said that I wasn’t keen?

The following nibbles I made several weeks ago (for a casual get together of work colleagues and friends). They are a good example of my love of smoked fish. I made little Rösti (a traditional Swiss dish of fried grated potatoes) a little like a hash brown and topped them with smoked salmon and smoked eel.

I grated the potato using the grating attachment of the food processor, you can do it by hand but it is a lot faster in the processor. Next I squeezed as much moisture out of the grated potato as I could, then shallow fried handfuls of the grated potato in a little butter.

The warm hash browns where then topped with salmon or eel, from Harris, a family owned and operated smokehouse located in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia. (I have mentioned them before here) a dollop of sour cream, capers / caper berries, a squeeze of lemon, a scattering of lemon zest or wedge of lemon and that is it.

The tricky bit is serving the them… the hash browns might have made it from plate to guest’s mouth but might just as easily broken up and made a mess. I used some muffin wraps (the sort that muffins in a café sometimes are sold in) to save the embarrassment.

Savoury scones and parnsip soup with brown butter

Delicious buttery parsnip soup and scones. Perfect for a cold and rainy winters evening

While the soup was great, the scones turned out fabulous.

I was very surprised.

I’ve never really believed those people who say that scones are so easy because mine had always previously turned out tough. These ones didn’t. And I didn’t follow the recipe because I used butter instead of cream. Maybe they aren’t really scones. Anyway, whatever. They were good!

Parsnip and brown butter soup

40g unsalted butter

1 brown onion, peeled and chopped

900g parsnips, peeled and chopped

200g potatoes, peeled and chopped

7 cups chicken stock

salt and pepper

100g unsalted butter, extra


Melt the butter in a saucepan then add onion and cook until the onion is tender. Add the parsnips, potatoes, stock, salt and pepper.

Bring to the boil and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

Place the mixture in a food processor and process until smooth.

Return to the saucepan and keep warm.

Place the extra butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the butter is browned.

Ladle the soup into bowls and spoon over the brown butter to serve.

Serves 8.

Fennel seed scones

2 cups plain (all-purpose) flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup milk

100 g butter

1 tablespoon fennel seeds


Preheat the oven to 180°C (355°F).

Place the plain flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl and rub in the butter.

Add the milk and mix very slightly until a soft dough forms.

Press the dough out to 5cm thick on a lightly floured surface.

Cut the dough into 9 pieces.

Place onto a lightly greased baking tray.

Sprinkle with fennel seeds and bake for 15 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.

Adapted from Donna Hay Magazine Issue 33 June/July 2007

Sephardic Flourless butter-less orange-and-almond cake

Pssst Can you keep a secret? Yes? Good…. now what I am about to tell you must NEVER be told to anyone that is not a cook. Here it is …the secret handshake of the food lovers fraternity…. we share recipes….yep its true …and we pass little jars of quince paste, capsicum relish, greens picked from a home garden, a slice of the best fruit cake you could dream of, super fresh eggs, figs and more…(by the way, thank you, you know who you are)… it’s like our secret motto, our handshake or symbol, it helps define who we are. So now that I have told you my secret, what has someone clandestinely slipped your way recently?… saying ‘try this’ or thanks for inviting me please have this little jar of something? hmmm go on tell us!.

The recipe for this cake was given to me recently on a little slip of paper… “really weird orange cake” it said, and it was a bit like Alice in Wonderlands bottle saying ‘drink me’ …except this recipe was whispering ‘bake me’. Now a cake recipe that has no wheat flour and no butter does sound weird so I did a little research. The recipe here is based on the Sephardic orange-and-almond cake in Claudia Roden’s comprehensive book A New Book of Middle Eastern Food (yes you may borrow it if you want). The recipe was originally Jewish and the cake was baked during Passover.

This cake is a winner for me for two reasons; firstly all the ingredients can be bunged ( is that a cooking term?) into the food processor, saving on washing up ( though if you do it properly it could just be that little bit nicer) and secondly because Claudia Roden says that the cake can never fail ( you have to like that). Claudia says that if the cake is not cooked enough, it is moist enough to became a pudding served with a dollop of cream or mascarpone, and the moistness helps prevent the cake becoming too dry if it is overcooked ( I proved this having not checked oven temp properly and it had been set too high)

I have found several variations to the ‘original’ recipe that you could try; Jill Dupleix separates the eggs, making a cake that is lighter, my good friend who gave me the recipe said that a heaped tablespoon of poppy seeds added to the batter was good, and I made mine with a sort of almond brittle topping.

So have a go and remember keep on sharing those recipes and other goodies, oh and thanks again Mr R.


2 large or 3 medium oranges

6 eggs

225g caster sugar (or make it sugarless too and use 3/4 cup honey)

200g ground almonds

1tsp baking powder


Place the clean, whole and unpeeled fruit in a little water, and bring to the boil. Simmer for at least 1½ hours or until soft, adding more water when necessary.

Drain the oranges, cut into quarters, discard any major pips, and whiz (including peel) in the food-processor, then cool. Throw in the rest, egg*, sugar, almonds, and baking powder.

Heat the oven to 180C

*Jill Dupleix  says to just add the yolks then beat the egg whites until softly peaky and fold gently into the mixture.

Pour into a 23cm (9in) springform cake tin and bake for an hour, until firm to the touch (cover with a loose sheet of foil if over-browning). Cool in the tin and dust with icing sugar to serve.

Pea and Ham Soup

So.. I have finally made something from ‘Masterchef’….. You see I challenged myself to try the trickiest and most elaborate dish, one that will easily sort out the professionals from the pretenders the dish that requires great skill and care….. yeh right, not this little red caboose.

I was looking for a simple soup recipe and in my search stumbled on this one I have added some extra vegetable with carrot, dropped the chili and used oil instead of butter a tradeoff between health and flavor.

A note of warning check the seasoning carefully, the ham hock I had was very salty and I did not need to add any more salt.

Sorry to disappoint but this is just good old fashioned winter comfort food, dead easy, stick it on after lunch, let it simmer until just before dinner, no fuss, no stress, get yourself a bowlful, a chunk of bread and curl up by the fire… deeelish!


1 tbsp oil or 50g butter
2 onions, finely diced
3 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and sliced
2 tsp Thyme Leaves
1 tsp Oregano Leaves
1 smoked ham hock
300g green split peas
1 1/2 – 2 L low salt chicken stock
1 cup peas, frozen
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped


1. Heat oil or butter in a large pot and fry onion for 3-4 minutes, add in garlic, thyme, chili and oregano then stir for a further 2 minutes.

2. Add in the ham hock and split peas with the stock and bring to the boil, turn down heat to low and let the soup gently simmer for 1 ½ hours.

3. Take the hock out of the pot and shred the meat.

4. Place the frozen peas into the soup for 5 minutes and then blend the soup until smooth.

5. Add in the shredded ham and heat five minutes before serving, and finish with parsley.

6. For a creamy soup add 2 tsp of yogurt to each bowl of soup.

Recipie from


Oh lard won’t you bake me a Cornish pasty

Hello and welcome to our hundredth blog post! Now isn’t that a milestone!

My apologies to Janice Joplin for the title and I couldn’t help slipping in the pun, I thought seeing as I haven’t had a food related blog post here for ages and ages you would forgive me!

Now I hate winter…absolutely can’t stand it! ….I whine and moan all the way through it…. but I do like being able to cook ‘wintery’ food.

Nothing beats the smell of a baking pastry and blows the winter blues away. As you can guess from the title I used a little lard in the pastry. The recipe had half and half, butter and lard but I was never going to put that much in. I used more like an 20/80 mix.

I guess there are purists out there that have very set ideas about what vegetables should be in a pasty. I simply used a colourful mix. I was going to make the filling vegetarian but to  really be a Cornish pasty they must have meat in the filling.

I had some parsley in the freezer so I threw that in to make the filling look bright and cheerful.

You might make note that the vegetables I used made roughly twice as much filling as the pastry so doubling the pastry quantity for next time would be just right.

My crimping style would not win any prizes! (Traditionally Cornish pasties are supposed to have around 20 crimps) but hey, these are rustic homemade pasties right!

The recipe carried on about glazing the pastry with egg… I didn’t… I rarely do… perhaps it makes the pastry colour more evenly or gives the finished pasty a bit of gloss, but for me they are as good without all that fuss and bother.

So they didn’t look professional they weren’t glazed I didn’t measure any of the ingredients but they all disappeared very fast and were delicious…now that’s what I like!

Short crust Pastry

220 g plain flour
55 g butter
55 g lard
2 tablespoons water


1 medium-sized potato
1 medium onion
1 medium swede
1 medium carrot
4 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
300gms. minced meat
Salt and pepper to taste


pre-heat the oven to 180°C

Put the butter and lard in food processor with the flour. Pulse the mixture until the mixture is evenly crumbly with maybe the odd few larger lumps. Don’t overdo this mixing.. Sprinkle one tablespoon of water over the mixture and pulse until the mix comes together. Place the mix in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile put the chopped swede, carrot, potato, parsley, and onion in a bowl mix the lot together with your hands so that the ingredients are roughly spread evenly throughout the mixture. Add the minced meat some salt (¼ teaspoon depending on your taste) and a few grinds of pepper.

Take the pastry from the refrigerator and roll it out with a rolling-pin to about 5mm (⅛ inch) thick. Press a saucer over the rolled pastry and cut round it to leave a circle of pastry. There should be enough pastry for 6 circles. You may need to do three circles then reform and re-roll the pastry. Place some of the filling on each circle, fold up and crimp the edges.

Cook the pasties in the pre-heated oven on a greased baking tray for 55 minutes.

At last, something other than sewing!

We had a fabulous lunch at our good friends’ home on the weekend.

Their recent kitchen renovation included a blackboard as the pantry door. A clever idea and perfect for displaying the menu.

Sounds pretty good doesn’t it!

And we were not disappointed.

The starter was pasta with lemon, rocket and grilled goats cheese. The lemon kept the flavours fresh, the rocket added peppery notes and the goats cheese added great depth. There’s nothing like the aroma of grilled goats cheese to whet your appetite.

What’s not to love about osso busso on a wintery day? Especially when its accompanied by the best comfort food of all: mashed potato. The size of Rory’s grin was huge. He happily went back for a second enormous serve of mash. Only a growing boy could fit dessert in after so much potato!

A cheese course was included too: Fromage d’Affinois, with figlets (and a game of cards to keep the mind active). Not much left of either of these by the time my brain was active enough to remember to take a photo.

Mmm, the sticky date roll with butterscotch sauce was delightful. This is a tricky dessert and requires last minute attention, but was executed beautifully.

Thank you dear friends!

Anzac biscuits on Anzac Day

Anzac biscuits are a sweet biscuit popular in Australia and New Zealand, and the story goes that these biscuits were sent by wives to soldiers during World War I. The ingredients don’t go off easily, and there are no eggs (egg producers sent all the eggs for the war effort) so there is possibly some truth to the story. Whatever, they’re yummy!

The Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) was established in World War I and Aussies and Kiwis remember those soldiers and all others today, April 25, on ANZAC day.

We didn’t get up for the dawn service, but Felicity made a batch of Anzac biscuits this afternoon.


1 cup rolled oats (oat flakes)

1 cup plain (all purpose) flour

3/4 cup white sugar

3/4 cup dessicated coconut

125 g ( 1 stick) butter

1 tablespoon golden syrup ( if you can’t get this wonderful Aussie ingredient, try substituting maple syrup, honey or molasses)

1 teaspoon baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)

2 tablespoons boiling water


  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C and line or grease two oven trays.
  2. Mix oats, flour, sugar and coconut together.
  3. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the syrup and butter together. Mix the soda and the boiling water and add to the melted butter and syrup.
  4. Add butter mixture to the dry ingredients. Drop the mixture by teaspoons on greased biscuit tray. The mixture will make 24 biscuits, but if you make 13 big ones like Felicity and you still squeeze them onto one tray, they spread together and you end up with one big biscuit…
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes.
  6. Cool for a few minutes on the tray then slide them onto a wire rack. They could be quite soft, depending on how big you made them.
  7. Enjoy with a cuppa tea.

Recipe adapted from

Oldies but goodies (Cornflake cookies)

Cornflake cookies must be THE most successful bit of marketing ever.. Surely the person who dreamed up the first marketing plan to recognize the potential of putting a recipe on the side of a box should get a noble peace prize (well it prevented a lot of nastiness in our house). Everyone knows that people do not communicate at breakfast… it is far more polite to read the cornflake packet and ignore your siblings, so this recipe must be the most read recipe of all time.

Kellogg’s began in Michigan, USA and did not arrive in Sydney, Australia until 1924. The original source of the recipe, is unknown, but seems to have became popular, during the depression around the 1930s, in Australia the biscuits became more prominent in the 1970s and I guess with the arrival of American movies and serial TV shows like M*A*S*H, Australians gradually adopted American culture and biscuits became cookies.

Back when I was a boy… (Groan not again I hear the kids say) my mother being an Australian mum would have baked cornflake biscuits (and when I was big enough to see over the top of the kitchen bench, I did too) but things move on and times change so when I wanted to bake some cookies, I had to improvise and Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut cookies were born. This particular cereal makes a great alternative to cornflakes they add a nutty flavor, sugar and crunch.

Now there is not much new that I can add to a recipe that has been doing the rounds of Doctors surgeries and other waiting rooms, featuring in Womens Weekly and Better Homes and the like for over 40 years, but I have two tips:

Tip 1… Forget two spoons. Using an ice cream scoop makes a near perfect sized scoop of biscuit dough (ooops showing my age)… ahem… cookie dough.

Some recipe variations crush the Cornflakes\Crunchy nut and mix it through the dough; we just rolled each scoop of the dough in the cereal to cover. I guess that’s RICF for the under 21 year olds and rolling in cornflakes for the rest of us.

Both little kids and big ones just love this sort of cooking; it is easy quick and best of all has only a small wash up.
Mr R joined me in making these and we had a ball (I can’t LOL because my mouth is full of Crunchy nut)

Tip 2: Make sure you get to eat at least one, before he gets his hands on them and they all disappear!


  • 2 cups sifted plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 125g Butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • few drops vanilla essence
  • 2 cups Crunchy Nut/ Cornflakes


  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
  • Cream the butter and sugar together.
  • Sift in the flour and baking powder and mix well.
  • Mix in the egg, and vanilla.
    Gently roll scoops of dough in the Crunchy Nut/ Cornflakes
  • Place balls of coated mixture onto an un-greased baking tray
  • Bake for 12-15 mins. until firmed and slightly browned.
  • Makes 10 big ones.

Goats’ cheese, tomato and (don’t forget the) basil tart

When baking, follow directions.  When cooking, go by your own taste.  ~Laiko Bahrs

I think it odd sometimes that I have so many cookbooks and 100’s of food magazines and yet when I cook I almost never follow a recipe exactly. Don’t get me wrong when I bake I make sure I have a recipe and generally follow the ratio’s but often will change flavourings, nothing special here I bet most of you do that… go on put your hand up if you follow recipes to the letter…hmmm thought so…. I think most ingredients lists should just say… check the fridge… use 250gms of whatever is nearing its use by date, combine both of the half empty packets of stuff from the pantry and so on.

I have wanted to make a tart that combines cheese tomato and basil all summer and now that it is almost over I finally got around to it. The recipe that inspired me was a mixture of three cheeses 115gms coarse grated cheddar 85gms Swiss cheese and 30gms of feta with ham & cherry tomatoes on top (see cover story Australian Good-taste March 2011). Now as good as that sounded I made mine with goat’s cheese. I didn’t have any ham so I used prosciutto, my cherry tomatoes were a bit big but we managed. I had basil… (I had it but I didn’t use it…more about that later!) Lovely fresh home-grown basil, it is to me the smell and taste of summer… I love the combination of fresh cheese tomato and basil…

Saturday night the whole family went to a fund-raising activity for Miss F it was a twilight cinema so we had the perfect occasion to make and take a tart like this, pity in the rush of getting things ready the basil was forgotten. Now someone was to blame for that but who? ‘She Sews’ was left to pack the food as I had been ‘voluntered’ by Miss F to help out at the school…. now I am not saying it was her but….sigh guess it gives me an excuse to make another one.

Ingredients (serves 8 )

  • pastry (Shortcrust or puff) 2 sheets just thawed (use Careme if you can)
  • 230g goat’s cheese (Chevre)
  • 2 tbs. sour cream (optional)
  • 3 Slices of Prosciutto or ham or bacon
  • 1 x 240g pkts. cherry truss tomatoes
  • 1 bunch of Basil (don’t forget this!)


  1. Preheat oven to 220°C. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
  2. Cut pastry to fit the base of the tray. Cut remaining pastry into 2cm-wide strips. Place pastry strips on edges of pastry squares to create the sides.
  3. Combine the goat’s cheese & eggs ( add in the sour cream, a bit of feta ) in a bowl
  4. Spoon mixture into the centre of the pastry case. Top with prosciutto and tomatoes and season with pepper
  5. Bake for 20 minutes or until set and golden.
  6. When tart has cooled garnish with the basil

Lime Coconut Cake

Limes are in season said the magazine, sure enough the greengrocer had them bagged up ready to go, shiny and green and cheaper than usual. The ones ‘on special ‘ were smaller than the ones I had been buying so I did a bit of research… seems the ones currently ‘in season’ were probably Mexican limes (there goes my cred for only using local ingredients) Mexican limes are small, with bright green skins and are harvested all year round (so always in season!)










All you bakers (yes I am looking at you) will recognize this as a classic butter cake made the ‘easy’ way by adding melted butter to the dry ingredients. I like this method, it is fast and relatively foolproof, though many bakers remain unconvinced that the results are as good as creaming the butter and sugar or the rubbing in method, but what the heck I say… the cake soon disappears so it can’t be all that bad!













I have used shredded coconut rather than desiccated because I think it gives a better finish to the cake, what do you think? Perhaps desiccated would make the cake look ‘finer’ like an afternoon tea cake rather than a desert style cake. The final result had a nice acid tang from the lime but to be honest was a bit dry ( I am a sucker for moist…almost gooey cakes). I would recommend pouring lime syrup over the cake especially if serving the cake as a desert. I have added a recipe for the syrup if you want to try it and you can spare the limes.

Ingredients (serves 10)

  • Melted butter (optional), for greasing
  • 150g unsalted butter, melted
  • 155g caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 200g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cups desiccated (or shaved) coconut
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) fresh lime juice (approx 3-4 limes)
  • 1 tbs finely grated lime rind


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line an 18cm square pan.
  2. Process flour, sugar, baking powder and 2/3 cup of coconut in a food processor for 20 seconds
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl frequently until light and well combined.
  4. Spoon cake mixture into the cake pan and smooth surface with back of spoon. Sprinkle the remaining coconut over the top
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes or until cooked through and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Recipe from Australian good taste March 2011 pg29

To make lime syrup:

  • 4 limes
  • 165g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
  • 185mls (3/4 cup) water

Peel rind from 2 limes with a vegetable peeler. Remove white pith from rind with a small, sharp knife and then cut rind into very thin strips. Juice all 4 limes.

Combine lime rind, 80mls (1/3 cup) of lime juice, sugar and water in a small saucepan and stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and simmer, uncovered, over medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, remove rind from syrup with a fork, set aside.

When cake is cooked, remove from oven and Stand in pan for 5 minutes before turning onto a wire rack. Place rack over a large plate or tray to catch any drips and pour hot syrup slowly and evenly over cake. Cool