Heavenly Blueberry Crumble Slice Recipe

2013-01-30 08.55.30

It’s bucketing down here at the farm again, and there’s not much for me to do but sleep, cook or sit on the verandah sipping tea. We still have no power here after the big Australia Day Weekend Wet, but Ben has fired up the generator for a while and my biscuit tins are empty so I am on a mission.  The workers are hungry, (they’re always hungry!) and this is an easy slice to make when you have electricity.  In fact, with a bit of elbow grease I’ve made this with a wooden spoon, my bare hands and a camp oven over an open fire, but why bother when today I have a four hour window of oven-ready cooking time!

This is a very versatile slice.  It can be made with any fruit you have to hand (I like apple, apricot and nectarine too), but I have a mammoth bucket of blueberries in the fridge from the local farmers markets last week, and we need to use everything up before it goes off.  This slice eats well hot or cold.  But keep it in an airtight tin in the fridge if you live in a warm climate. You can also make a double batch and freeze one for later. (Mind you I don’t think this batch will last that long…)

Note – this can also be made just as easily by substituting gluten-free flour, and I have done so many times.

2013-01-30 08.56.40

Ingredients:

Base – 1 cup of sugar, 3 cups of plain flour (all-purpose for my American friends), 1 cup of cold butter cut into small cubes (250 grams, 8 ounces or 2 sticks), 1 large egg, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, zest of one lemon, 1 teaspoon vanilla. Hint – make sure the butter really is cold.

Fruit Filling – 4 cups of blueberries (or fruit of your choice), 1/2 cup of sugar, juice of one lemon, 1 heaped tablespoon of cornflour. I heaped teaspoon cinnamon, reserved.

Method: Place the cubed butter and sugar into the bowl of a food processor and whizz to combine.  You don’t want to mix it to a cream, you want to just barely combine it. Then add in the flour and baking powder and whizz again.  Dump in the egg, lemon zest and vanilla and process one more time.  The mixture should be soft and crumbly.  Divide in two portions.  (If you don’t have a food processor, use a scone knife to cut the butter through the sugar and flour, or rub it together between your fingertips.)

Press one half of the dough into the bottom of a baking paper-lined 28cm x 18cm (9 inch by 13 inch) slice tin. Don’t worry if it looks a little dry.

2013-01-25 10.44.33

Now mix your sugar, lemon juice and cornflour together, and then mix thoroughly through your blueberries.  Tip these over the base and spread out evenly with a spoon.

Mix the cinnamon through the remaining dough and then crumble over the top of the fruit, making sure to get the mixture right to the edges. Bake in a moderate (160 degree celcius fan-forced or 180 degree oven – 350 degrees fahrenheit ) for 45 minutes until golden brown.

Cool in the tin.

If you cut your slice while it is still warm it will bleed a little, but that’s the price you pay for immediate gratification.

2013-01-25 13.47.18

Okay, my baking is done, the tea is made, the sodden workers have returned and the generator is about to go off again. Thanks for all your kind thoughts and well wishes. I’ll catch up with all your messages once I have an uninterrupted power supply.

Sending much love to you all from my well-provisioned little farmhouse island,

Nicole ♥ xx

PS. A very unhappy Bert and Harry waiting for the rain to stop…

2013-01-30 09.18.16

Passionfruit and Lime Curd ~ Passionfruit Butter Recipe

2013-01-03 11.56.02

Two things grow like crazy in our neck of the woods come summer – limes and passionfruit. A friend gave me a bag of old wrinkly-looking passionfruit yesterday and asked if I might still be able to use them.  You bet I can!

Passionfruit are very pretty when they are all firm and plump, but they are usually fine even at their wrinkliest.  Just check each one carefully before spooning pulp into anything.

This is a delightful variation of my traditional Easy Lemon Butter ~ Lemon Curd Recipe. It makes a smooth, rich curd that can be placed into tart shells and pie bases, or dolloped onto scones, toast, pancakes or ice-cream. It is tangy and sweet, and is also delectable eaten straight from the spoon… (Yes, I am speaking from experience :D!)

Ingredients:

4 large eggs, 3/4 cup sugar, juice and finely grated zest of two limes, 1/2 cup of fresh or frozen passionfruit pulp plus an extra tablespoon or two kept to one side, 125g unsalted butter (4oz or 1/4 pound) chopped into small cubes.  You can use salted butter if it’s all you have to hand, but unsalted makes it taste extra delish.

Ensure all ingredients are ready before you start. (This will make around 2 cups, but you can easily double the quantities for more – that’s what I do so I have some to give away.)

2013-01-03 11.00.51

Method:

Zest and juice your limes, cube your butter and get your passionfruit ready. Lightly whisk your eggs in a small bowl. Then make a double boiler by half filling a saucepan with warm water and bringing it to a very slow simmer, and then snugly fitting a basin over the top.

Pop the sugar, lime zest and eggs into the basin, and begin whisking. (You could use a wooden spoon if you prefer, but I am devoted to my whisk collection!)  Beat until the sugar is dissolved. Then dump in the cubes of butter and whisk again until amalgamated.

2013-01-03 11.30.32

When the butter is melted add in the lime juice and 1/2 cup of passionfruit pulp. Keep whisking over low heart until mixture thickens, which takes about ten minutes. Don’t let it boil or it will curdle. Mind you, if the heat is too low it shall take longer to thicken, but you will get a good arm workout.

Finally the mixture will have a rich, silky texture and shall coat the back of a spoon thickly. Tip in the last two tablespoons of pulp and mix through after you have taken the curd off the heat. It will thicken a little more as it cools.

2013-01-03 11.39.53

Pour into sterilised jars or other lidded containers, and allow to cool on bench before putting on their lids.  Store in refrigerator. It should last about a month, but then again, it will probably be eaten before the use-by date!

2013-01-03 11.21.01

*These recipes give great opportunities for using your new batch of Passionfruit and Lime Butter:

Nana’s Pikelet Recipe (Pikelets are like little pancakes!)

Easy Lemonade Scone Recipe

Bread and Butter Pudding Recipe (Substitute the Passionfruit Butter for the Jam to give a lovely tropical feel to your pudding.)

2013-01-03 11.53.46

Simple Baked Camenbert Recipe

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.”
~ C. S. Lewis

Our little farmhouse is as popular as any Byron Bay bed and breakfast come weekends,especially on Market Weekends! I’m returning home this morning, after a very big week of psychic work in Brisbane, and this afternoon guests arrive to spend a few nights with us.  It doesn’t give me much time to get ready, in anticipation of feeding the hungry hordes.

Afternoon drinks on the veranda is a much-looked-forward-to Friday ritual in our neck of the woods, and I know my visitors will be hungry after their long drive.  I won’t have had much time to whip up anything very spectacular – so my fallback treat today is Baked Camenbert.  Baking camenbert is so simple, and the result is a rich, melty fondue-reminiscent cheesy heaven! You can scoop it out onto bread or crackers, and there is always a fight to eat the ‘skin’ at the end of the cheese-dipping session.

Our beverages of choice will be Hendricks Gin and Tonic (thanks to my dear friend Rachel for putting me on to this gin), Stone and Wood Pacific Ale (a locally brewed and quite excellent beer) and perhaps a bottle of bubbles or a crisp dry white wine.

Now, to the business of baking camenbert.  I have some splendid, meal-worthy variations of this recipe but for today let’s just start with the basics.  You’ll need a wheel of camenbert (more if there is a crowd!), and some good quality crackers, crispbread or mini-toasts.  A good fresh bread, ripped into chunks can also work well.  I like the camenberts that come in the little wooden boxes.  The box helps the cheese stay in shape as it bakes, but if you can’t get hold of one like that don’t worry.  It will still work out fine!

If you want to make your own crackers and crispbread, I thoroughly recommend the recipes from the fabulous Darla Cooks blog. Just click on the link to visit cracker recipe heaven. Here’s a picture from Darla’s blog of her own crispbread making efforts:

This image courtesy of the amazing Darla Magee-Price

Anyway, back to cheese….

Using a sharp knife (serrated ones work very well for this) carefully cut the top rind off your wheel of cheese.  Then score the inside of the cheese lightly to help it cook through evenly.

If you have some sprigs of fresh rosemary, and a little fresh garlic to hand, these will turn your camenbert into something magical.  It’s so easy.  Just skin a few garlic cloves, cut in half if enormous, and poke into the cheese.  Poke a few sprigs of rosemary in the cheese as well.

Now place your cheese on a baking tray and pop it into a very hot oven for fifteen to twenty minutes. If you don’t have a nifty wooden box for your cheese, and the rind is quite soft, you can place the cheese in a small oven proof bowl or ramekin, or make a little paper and aluminum foil collar to keep your cheese in shape.  Or live on the wild side, put a piece of baking paper under your cheese and be prepared to eat it sloppy if it doesn’t hold its shape.

Check in with your cheese every so often.  You want it browned and bubbly but not burned.

To serve, simply slide your cheese onto a serving platter, surround with crackers, provide a knife if that’s your kind of entertaining style, and watch it be demolished!

Best Coconut Ice Recipe ♥

This is my prize-winning Coconut Ice recipe, which made me almost as much of a Show Queen as my precious cow 767.  It has been entered in many agricultural shows, and won me incredible trophies. As well as the 22 Blue Ribbons and Prize Certificates, this recipe has netted me (among other things…) a tea-towel set, a glass cheese board, a clock set into the tummy of a plastic mouse, and the greatest one of all – a bottle of non-alcoholic sparking wine with a faux French Champagne label that made us all VERY excited. (None of us could read French and the label was tres` impressive!) It tasted so bad that it refreshed the droughty grass outside my kitchen window.

That’s okay.  I always got to eat all of the pieces that didn’t make it into the competitions, and that was the sweetest reward of all.  This is a lovely recipe – easy for non-cooks, and with great keeping qualities. Which is a stupid thing to say really, because it never lasts long enough to prove those qualities.  Make a batch of this and you’ll see what I mean.

Ingredients:

500g icing sugar (4 cups of confectioners sugar for my USA friends), 250g unsweetened dessicated coconut (2 and 1/2 cups), 1/2 cup condensed milk, one egg white, 60g copha (1/3 cup of vegetable shortening), vanilla essence, pink food colouring.

Method:

Sift the icing sugar into a large bowl, and then add the coconut and gently mix through to combine.

Melt your copha and allow to cool slightly.

Whisk the egg white just a little, and add the egg and condensed milk to your dry ingredients. Then add your copha and a slug of vanilla essence ( a teaspoon or so should do it).

Mix until well combined into a firm, moist mass.  Divide the mixture in half, and colour one batch a cheerful pink with your food colouring.

Press the white mixture into the bottom of a baking paper lined tin.  Smooth out with the back of a spoon, and then gently press the pink layer over the top.  Smooth and press in well with your spoon and then refrigerate until set (about 2 hours).  Remove from tin and cut into bars or small squares.  It will only need to be refrigerated if you live in a hot climate.  Or you could just eat it all…

Perfect for gifts, or with a cup of tea as a happy-making treat.

Nana’s Pikelet Recipe and a Few Good Yarns

Find yourself a cup of tea; the teapot is behind you.  Now tell me about hundreds of things.  ~Saki

Pikelets are a bit of an institution round here, especially for morning or afternoon tea. For those of you not in the know, pikelets are like fluffy little pancakes – very tasty with a cup of tea and a neighbourly chat.

Yesterday our good friend Geoff came to visit.  Round here, we all refer to him as ‘Timber Cutter’. He’s an old, old man now, with big gnarled hands and still-strong arms (although his skin has thinned and he’s always got a bit of bark off), and he remains a demon with a chainsaw.  He can fell anything, quickly, safely and accurately.

Over the years he has logged up and down the north coast of New South Wales, and he knows this country and its seasons like no-one else I’ve ever met. Geoff’s not a well-educated man, education was a luxury when he was growing up, but his manners and values are old-school and he is one of life’s true gentlemen. He has an enquiring mind, and keen observation skills.  He thinks deeply, and speaks after much consideration.  When he speaks it’s generally worth listening to. These days he doesn’t do much felling. He’s replaced that with talking. I think he’s making up for all that time when he was out in the bush on his own, or too busy for idle chatter. Oh man, Timber Cutter can talk.  But we never complain.  We just fill up the teapot with a good strong brew, go out onto the shady verandah, keep the tasty treats coming, and sit around listening to his many tales. Pikelets are his favourite, and I always make enough for him to take some home.  I use my Nana’s recipe.  The following recipe will serve four, but I always double it!

Ingredients:  1 cup self raising flour (for my American friends, you can make self raising flour by adding 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt to one cup of all purpose cake flour),1 large egg, 1/2 cup of milk,1 teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of sugar, 2 teaspoons of melted butter or 1 tablespoon of cream, extra butter for your skillet/frypan.

*Note – these work just as well with commercial gluten-free flour.  I also like making them with 1/2 cup rice flour and 1/2 cup buckwheat flour and two teaspoons baking powder for my gluten-free friends.  Spelt flour, while not gluten-free, is also great!

The finished product, ready to be devoured!

Method:  Add the vinegar or lemon juice to the milk to sour it, and set aside.  (Nana always made her pikelet batter by hand but if you want, you can mix this with an electric beater!)

Sift the flour and sugar into a large bowl and make a well in the centre.  Whisk the egg and pour into the centre of the well.  Then add a little milk. Using a wooden spoon gradually beat the mixture from the centre, slowly incorporating more of the dry ingredients.  Keep adding a little more milk until the mixture is combined and has a thick, creamy consistency.  Add in your butter or cream and stir again until combined.  Let the batter sit for ten minutes to thicken further.

Rest your batter for a superior pikelet :)

Heat a heavy based skillet or frypan and grease lightly.  Place spoonfuls of mixture, well spaced onto the hot surface.  When they begin to show large bubbles on the surface, turn them over.

Nice big bubbles show it’s nearly time to turn them over…

Pikelets are delicious served with butter and jam, jam and cream, or butter and golden syrup.  My Pa also liked his with a thick smear of butter, sprinkled with sugar, and then doused in lemon juice. They are great as a lunchbox snack and it’s easy to add variations to the batter.  Some of my favourites include:

  • Stewed apple chunks and a dusting of cinnamon
  • fresh blueberries and a little lemon zest
  • sultanas/raisins
  • date pieces and a shake or two of powdered ginger
  • mashed up ripe banana

While we munched away and sipped our tea, Timber Cutter regaled us with stories of the Frost of ’54, which came in November (nearly Summer in Australia) and decimated the lucerne and potato crops, timber-getting at the back of Kyogle in the 1950′s, and tales of growing up in a time where more people had a horse and cart than a car. We laughed and cried over crazy stories and tales of tragedy. Then we went for a walk around the paddocks, looking for koalas and watching the birds.

Can you see me? Sorry – she was up very high and the zoom on my i-phone is not flash.

All in all it was a very satisfying afternoon of yarns, friendship and a shared table.

Don’t you love Bert the dog, gazing hopefully up at the dwindling pikelet pile!

Marga’s Orange Syrup Cake Recipe

We’re picking the last of our organic oranges before the heat of summer sets in, and I know a perfect way to use some of them up: my maternal grandmother’s orange syrup cake recipe.  Marga gave this recipe to me when I held my first proper dinner party – a rural affair at my college share-house, where the boys were so delighted to be invited to ‘Roast Dinner and Dessert’ that they scrubbed up and wore ties!

This is a beautiful, moist and flavoursome cake, that is easy to make, keeps well and is a little bit special. It’s just perfect as a dessert, or as the star of an afternoon tea.  I served one of these cakes recently at a friend’s 40th birthday picnic, with glasses of celebratory champagne and fresh orange juice.

*You can tell by the name that this cake is going to be one massive natural and refined sugar fix, so if that’s an issue, please avert your eyes. It’s also the reason this is one of my ‘special occasion’ cakes.

Ingredients:

Cake:  1 orange – grate rind finely and then juice fruit and set both aside, 3 eggs, 1 cup caster sugar (superfine sugar), 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks or 225 grams), 1 and 1/2 cups self raising flour, 2 tablespoons sweet orange marmalade (I was lucky enough to have some of my neighbour’s amazing organic orange marmalade left in my pantry.  Thanks Richard! xx)

Syrup: 1 orange – grate rind finely and then juice fruit and set both aside, 1 cup of pure icing sugar (confectioners sugar) . You can also add one tablespoon of Cointreau or Grand Marnier Liqueur for an adults-only version with a little more kick.

Yoghurt: 1 cup of natural yoghurt, 1 to 2 tablespoons honey (use to your taste)

A few extra oranges to segment as a garnish…

Method:

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celcius (moderate or 355F) or slightly less (I use 160 degrees) if it is fan forced.

Choose a tin.  It looks pretty for a special occasion in a fluted ring tin, or you can make it in a 24cm round tin, a loaf tin, or two smaller tins.  The pictures of my effort show one loaf tin and two smaller rectangular tins because I made a double batch. (I always make a double batch…)  Grease your tin well, or line with baking paper

Grate the rind from your first orange, and then juice it and set both aside.  Beat your butter and sugar together with an electric beater until your mixture is pale and creamy and the sugar has dissolved.  Then add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add in your marmalade and rind and beat again.  Then alternately fold the sifted flour and orange juice, working them gently together until combined.

Now gently spoon the cake mix into your prepared tins, pushing it well into the edges.  Wash your hands and then use your wet palm to smooth off the surface of the cake, and to spread the mixture uniformly across the pan.

Bake for forty five to fifty minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.  After twenty (smaller tins) to thirty minutes (larger tins) uncovered, and then lightly cover the tin with foil to prevent the tops over-browning.

While the cake is cooking, prepare your syrup by finely grating the rind of another orange, juicing it, and adding these to one cup of pure icing sugar. (If you are using alcohol, also add this in now.)  Stir with a spoon until the sugar has dissolved and then set aside.

For your garnish, segment some more oranges and keep on a plate, and then combine your honey and yoghurt together in a bowl.

When the cake/cakes are removed from the oven allow them to stand for ten minutes in their tin.  If you remove them sooner they have a tendency to break! Don’t be alarmed if they have sunk a little in the middle.  They sometimes do in a larger tin. After cooling a little place your cake onto the serving plate and then spoon or brush the syrup over until it has all been absorbed. Arrange segmented oranges on the top for a pretty affect.

If you intend on serving the cake cold, or at a later time, then go ahead and pour the syrup over it while it is in the tin, but do this bit by bit rather than all in a rush.  Then let it cool in the tin, all syrupy and good.

To serve, slice your cake, add some honey yoghurt and a few orange segments and enjoy!

Variations:  Substitute 1/2 cup of almond meal for 1/2 cup of flour (no more or it becomes stodge!)  You can also use a packaged gluten-free self rising flour.  The cake will have a slightly heavier texture, but that is perfectly fine for a syrup cake.

PS: If you really want to honour my wonderful grandmother, eat a little slice for breakfast the next morning with a cup of coffee.  Cook’s privilege, she always told me.  ♥ xx

Lemon Delicious Pudding Recipe

Lemon Delicious Pudding – a bowl full of heaven!

My Meyer Lemon tree is dripping with ripe fruit right now, and this pudding is a perfect way to use some of them up.  The pudding is served warm, and is light enough to be enjoyed all year round.  If you are lucky enough to have any left over it is also tasty eaten cold!

My Grandmother’s recipe from my old book…

The picture above is from my book of treasured recipes.  As you can see by the stains, it is a well-used and well-loved little book, with pages of recipes from family and friends.  This particular recipe comes from my mum’s mother, Margaret Nurcombe, known to us as Marga, rather than Grandmother. Marga passed away just over a year ago, but every time I smell a gardenia, see my Meyer Lemon tree (she had an enormous one in her back yard too!) or make this pudding, I think of her.

Ingredients to serve four:

3 eggs, 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 cup of milk, 1 tablespoon self raising flour (for my American friends, you can make self raising flour by adding 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt to one cup of all purpose cake flour), 1 tablespoon of lemon zest, 1/2 cup of lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of sugar extra.

The recipe can be easily doubled to feed a larger crowd.  I have also made this with gluten-free flour very successfully.

Method:

Prepare your lemon zest, and then your lemon juice and set aside.

Juicy Meyer Lemons from my farm

Preheat your oven to 180C (moderate or 355F) or slightly less if it is fan forced.

Separate your eggs, and place the yolks and sugar in a large bowl.  Beat until thick and creamy, making sure the sugar has dissolved.  You can still see the sugar granules in this picture, which means it’s not quite ready.

Beat egg and sugar until the mixture is rich and creamy and thick.

Add the milk, lemon juice and rind and beat on low speed to combine, then add the flour and mix through.  Yes, it is only 1 tablespoon of flour – I know it doesn’t seem like much, but the texture of this pudding is like a sponge or a souffle – you want it to be light!

Clean your beaters to make sure there is no trace of yolk left on them (which would prevent your egg whites from beating up nicely).  Beat your egg whites in a separate bowl until soft peaks form.  Add the extra tablespoon of sugar and beat again until the sugar is dissolved.

Fold the egg whites gently through the lemon mixture, until they are just combined.  Be gentle with this bit!

Gently fold egg white through the lemon mixture…

Pour into a greased dish, and set the dish in a pan of cold water. Bake for 50 minutes.  The top will rise like a sponge cake, but underneath there will still be a tangy sweet lemon sauce.

Pudding in water bath, ready to go into the oven.

It smells heavenly when it comes out of the oven…

Nicely browned on top!

But the real magic happens when you take a spoon and cut into it.

The pudding makes its own lemony sauce!

Lemon Delicious Pudding is delightful on its own, but is also well teamed with a good vanilla ice-cream.  I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family does.  It’s so easy to prepare, and it is one of my all-time favourites! ♥

Cheesy Grilled Mushrooms Recipe

I love this recipe. You can make it in five minutes flat, and it works as a breakfast, lunch or dinner solution!  If you’re a vegan you can omit the cheese, or use a cheese substitute.

It’s also a great gluten and carb free alternative to pizza, but tastes every bit as good.

Ingredients:

  • Flat field mushrooms (I’m using Portobello mushrooms!)
  • Tomato paste, tinned diced tomatoes, salsa or similar
  • Garlic or garlic powder
  • Capsicum (bell pepper) diced small
  • Fresh herbs well chopped – parsley, oregano, chives, thyme and basil all work well.  Use dried if you don’t have any fresh herbs to hand.
  • Grilling cheese, such as mozzarella, cheddar or gruyere
  • Rocket or other slightly bitter green leaves for your salad
  • Balsamic vinegar

I haven’t given specific quantities because you’ll need to vary this depending on how many people you’re feeding, how big your mushrooms are and the size of your appetite.  As you can see from the picture below, my mushrooms are enormous so one will be plenty per person.

Method:

Pull the stalk out of the mushrooms by giving it a gentle twist with your fingers.  Trim up any loose bits to give you a reasonable area to stuff. There is no need to peel the mushrooms, but wipe them over with a damp cloth or paper towel if they need it.

Now spoon some tomato paste/diced tomato/salsa etc into the bottom of the mushroom cup and spread it around with a spoon. Add in some of the capsicum (bell pepper) and a generous sprinkle of fresh herbs. Crush on some fresh garlic or sprinkle on some garlic powder, then season with salt and pepper. Make as many as you need.

Place the mushrooms under a hot grill, or on a tray in a good hot oven.  Allow to heat for a few minutes to warm the mushrooms and filling through.

Now place some sliced cheese onto your warmed-through mushrooms.

Return to grill or oven until the cheese is melted and nicely browned.

Serve with a handful of rocket or other seasonal greens, drizzled with some balsamic vinegar. I find this is plenty as a meal on its own, but you can also use this as a tasty side dish. If bread is your thing, feel free to add some to your plate as well. Enjoy! ❤

Healthy Breakfast Parfait Recipe

I love this raw food recipe as it can be assembled ahead of time, and makes a tasty breakfast, healthy dessert or a great ‘anytime’ snack. It is a simple combination of bircher muesli and fresh seasonal fruit, but the combination of flavours is a real winner!

Kids love to make and eat this dish, so get them into the kitchen for this one.

It can also be made vegan and dairy-free, by choosing an appropriate yoghurt. Use a low fat yoghurt if you are detoxing, losing weight or looking after your liver. This can also be made sugar-free by choosing sugar-free muesli or using plain rolled oats, and a yoghurt that is also sugar free.

Ingredients:

1 cup of sliced fresh strawberries, or your favourite seasonal fruit

1 cup of unsweetened apple juice – freshly pressed if possible (you could also substitute water, other juice, or any kind of milk) I used organic Pink Lady apples, and they are divine.

1 cup of yoghurt of your choice (Put some love into your yoghurt choice – it makes all the difference to the flavour and texture. I’m using a sugar-free coconut yoghurt.  For vegans, and people with dairy intolerance coconut yoghurt is the bomb! Soy yoghurt works beautifully too.)

1 cup of raw muesli or plain old raw rolled oats!

Optional – 2 tablespoons of mixed seeds such as chia, sunflower, linseed etc. I’m using Kapai Puku.

Method:

Juice your apple/s to make one cup of fresh juice. Don’t you love the pretty pink colour of this Pink Lady apple juice? It certainly lived up to its name.

Place the muesli or oats into a bowl and add the apple juice, stirring gently to combine.  Let this sit for a minute or so while you wash and drain your strawberries.

Now add your yoghurt to the oat mixture and stir through.  Dump in the seed mix if you are using it, stir again, cover and let sit for one hour so that the oats and seeds swell and absorb the extra liquid. If you live in a warm climate, place your mixture in the fridge.

Dice up your strawberries (or other seasonal fruit). Add a layer to the bottom of a glass. Stir your oat mixture, which will now be thick, and dollop a spoonful in, pressing down well.  Continue to layer the bircher muesli and fruit until you get to the top of the glass. This can now be returned to the fridge for a few hours, or overnight. It improves with a little extra time for the flavours to amalgamate, but hey, if you ate it straight away it would still be delicious.  Enjoy! ♥

PS. Variations:

A friend on facebook just prompted me to remember some sensational variations on this little parfait recipe, that I thought I’d share.

1. Decadent Parfait (Suitable for a dinner party) – substitute cream for the yoghurt, and add a heaped spoonful of raw cacao powder and a dollop of honey or agave. This gives you a heavenly chocolate strawberry dessert! Of course you could always just throw in the cacao and honey (if needed)  and have yourself a choc-berry parfait for breakfast. Hooray!

2.  Green Parfait (Healthy as anything) To your oat mixture add a heaped spoonful of spirulina powder and a spoonful of blackstrap molasses. That will turn your bircher muesli green, but in the best of ways, and the taste is still creamy and delicious, with all the extra nutritional benefits of these superfoods.

Easy Lemon Curd ~ Lemon Butter Recipe

When life gives you lemons? Be grateful and get into the kitchen! It’s my favourite home-produce time of year – the Meyer Lemon tree in my back yard is groaning under the weight of ripening fruit. Be prepared for plenty of lemon-y recipes over the next few months.

Most Australians call this recipe Lemon Butter, but it’s also known as Lemon Curd, and it is fabulous in tartlets, as a spread on bread, in the bottom of a lemon meringue pie, or dropped in fat dollops over ice-cream.

I have also been known to eat it straight out of the jar with a spoon – purely for medicinal purposes of course.

One corner of the mighty old Meyer Lemon tree in my backyard.

Ingredients:

4 large eggs, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, finely grated zest of a lemon, 125g butter (4oz or 1/4 pound) chopped into small cubes.  Ensure all ingredients are ready before you start. (This will make around 2 cups, but you can easily double the quantities for more – that’s what I do so I have some to give away.)

Method:

Make a double boiler by half filling a saucepan with warm water and bringing it to a very slow simmer, and then snugly fitting a basin over the top.

Pop the sugar and eggs into the basin, and begin whisking. You could use a wooden spoon if you prefer but what’s not to love about a good whisk?  Beat until the sugar is dissolved. Then dump in the cubes of butter and whisk again until amalgamated.

When the butter is melted add in the lemon zest and juice and keep whisking over low heart until mixture thickens, which will take about ten minutes. Don’t let it boil or it will curdle! Mind you, if the heat is too low it shall take longer to thicken, but you will get a good arm workout.

Finally the mixture will have a rich, silky texture and shall coat the back of a spoon thickly.  It will also thicken a little more as it cools.

Pour into sterilised jars or other lidded containers, and allow to cool on bench before putting on their lids.  Store in refrigerator. Share.  Or not! ♥ xx

These recipes give great opportunities for using your new batch of lemon butter:

Easy Lemonade Scone Recipe

Bread and Butter Pudding Recipe (Substitute the Lemon Butter for the Jam)