Easy Date, Ginger and Walnut Cake Recipe

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“Variety’s the very spice of life, that gives it all its flavour.”
~ William Cowper

 

What am I doing this morning? Well, as soon as this blog is done I’ll be making a nice cup of tea, cutting myself a slice of this cake and sitting down with my journal for an hour or so. Today is a powerful time for dreaming, planning, birthing and manifesting our heart’s desires into the world, riding on the back of this incredible new moon and solar eclipse energy. If you can find some time today, I highly encourage you to take a little time too to envision your dream life, and what you most want to be, do and create in the world over the coming years.

But I digress. Back to cake!

This cake is a firm favourite in our household. It’s easy to whip up, using just one saucepan and a wooden spoon. The cake can be made with traditional or gluten-free flour, both with great results. You can enjoy this cake eaten warm as a dessert, or cold as a proper cake. It has great keeping qualities, and most importantly, it is divine with a cup of tea or coffee.

The cake begins as a light, fluffy creation when first made, but over the ensuing days becomes heavier, and it will keep for about a week. I often serve it sliced and buttered for smoko at the farm.

I sometimes ice this cake with a lemon icing too. That was my intention when I made this one, as our niece was coming to visit for a few days and I wanted to surprise her with something a bit special.

But yesterday, with the cake just out of the oven and the whole house smelling of spice and sugar, the local excavator operator and his off-sider called in to say hello and have a cuppa. And then the energex workers who were working down on the river flats clearing trees from under our power lines turned up too. Result? Cake demolished, with no time to turn it into something pretty.

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Ingredients:

1 cup of pitted dried dates, 1/2 cup crystalised ginger, 1/2 cup walnuts, 125 grams (1/2 cup) of butter, pinch of salt, 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar, 1 cup of cold tea (your favourite black or herbal ginger is fine. I usually use French Earl Grey but it’s fun to experiment), 1 teaspoon bicarb soda, 2 teaspoons of powdered ginger, 1 large egg – beaten, 1 and 1/2 cups self-raising/all purpose flour or your preferred self-raising/all purpose gluten-free flour mix.

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Method:

Preheat oven to moderate (160 degree celcius fan-forced or 180 degree oven – 350 degrees fahrenheit) and prepare a deep 9 inch/22 centimetre round or an 8 inch/20 centimetre square tin by lining it with baking paper.

Chop the dates and walnuts into small pieces, and chop the ginger quite finely. It tastes better and gives the cake a better texture having the ginger in smaller pieces.

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Place the dates, chopped ginger, butter, salt, sugar and tea in a large saucepan. Trust me – use a largish one as this will eventually become the cake mixing bowl. Isn’t it lovely when you save on washing up!

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Place over medium heat and bring to a strong boil, stirring occasionally so that nothing sticks. Turn off heat and allow to cool for five minutes. Add in the bi-carb soda. This will make the mixture foam – don’t panic – it’s perfectly normal. Stir well, and then place aside to cool down some more.

When the mixture is cool enough that you can comfortably stick your finger in, toss in the walnuts then sift in the flour and ginger. Stir well with a wooden spoon and then add the beaten egg and stir through gently to combine.

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Spoon into the prepared tin. Eat the rest of the batter stuck to sides of saucepan. Yum! 🙂

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Bake for 45 to 50 minutes. Cake is baked when it springs back when lightly pressed in the centre or when a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

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Cool in tin for ten minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Enjoy!

2014-10-23 13.49.50And with messy slatherings of butter for the second offering, after the hungry workers ate the first plate of cake in 2.5 minutes flat! Cake now cool enough that butter didn’t slide off. LOL! (Butter looks very pale here – it was freshly churned a few hours before by a neighbour and was DELICIOUS!!!)

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And if you do want to get fancy and use a lemon icing on it, there’s a good recipe here, with the outstandingly good Lemon Slice recipe.

 

Persian Love Cake Recipe #glutenfree

persian love cake

“You’ve got this life and while you’ve got it, you’d better kiss like you only have one moment, try to hold someone’s hand like you will never get another chance to, look into people’s eyes like they’re the last you’ll ever see, watch someone sleeping like there’s no time left, jump if you feel like jumping, run if you feel like running, play music in your head when there is none, and eat cake like it’s the only one left in the world!”
~ C. JoyBell C.

 

I wanted to make a special cake to mark my 30 Year Anniversary of having Lyme disease. I’m celebrating all that I have learned, all that I have survived, and all that is now unfolding in front of me. Plus… cake! Do you ever really need a reason?

This is a simple cake to make, but it looks and tastes fancy. Perfect for a celebration! It has those beautiful Persian spices – including cardamom and orange blossom – which give a distinctive exotic flavour, and it is gluten-free. The base is sugary crisp, and the filling is light and not too rich. With a few easy substitutions this cake can also be made dairy-free if needed.

If you don’t have orange blossom water, you can omit or substitute for rose-water. It will still taste delicious. You can buy orange blossom water at many supermarkets, delicatessens, Asian or Indian grocers and even health food stores.

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Ingredients:

3 cups of almond meal, 1 cup of raw (demerara) sugar, 1 cup of soft brown sugar – lightly packed, 1/2 cup (125g) soft unsalted butter, 2 eggs, 1 cup of natural yoghurt, 1 teaspoon ground cardamom, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1 teaspoon orange blossom water, 1/2 cup pistachio nuts

1 x baking-paper lined 26cm springform (10 inch) pan.

Method:

Preheat oven to moderate (160 degree celcius fan-forced or 180 degree oven – 350 degrees fahrenheit). Prepare your cake tin.

Place the almond meal, sugars and butter in a large bowl.

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Rub the butter through the dry ingredients until it resembles soft crumbs.

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Press half of the crumb mixture firmly into the bottom of the springform pan. You could use the back of a spoon but I think that clean hands work just as well!

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Lightly beat the two eggs. Add the beaten eggs, spices, orange blossom water and yoghurt to the remaining crumb mix. Stir together well.

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Pour onto the crumb base. Sprinkle roughly chopped pistachios around the outside of the cake.

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Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Cake will not be quite firm. That’s okay – it will firm up as it cools. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before removing from tin.

To serve, accompany the Persian Love Cake with some more yoghurt or a good ice-cream.

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Variations: If you are following a dairy-free diet, this can also be made with a vegetable spread substitute for the butter. You could use a soy or coconut yoghurt too. I’ve made these variations before and they were still delicious, although the coconut yoghurt adds an additional flavour which changes the taste of the cake (but not in a bad way!)

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Chocolate Beetroot Cake Recipe – Gluten Free

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“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” 
Charles M. Schulz

 

Although at first this might sound like a strange flavour combination, I can assure you that this cake tastes sublime. The beetroot adds an earthy sweetness to the chocolate cake, giving a moist but surprisingly light cake with good keeping qualities.

And this recipe is so simple that even non-cooks or the kids can whip it up!

You can enjoy the cake plain, but the cream cheese frosting really does compliment the cake well. If you’re feeling truly decadent, double the quantity of frosting! 2014-05-01 15.30.01 Ingredients: 1 cup raw grated beetroot, 3 eggs, 1 cup of plain gluten-free flour (you can use ordinary flour too), 1 cup of almond meal, 1/2 cup of soft brown sugar or your favourite sugar substitute, 3 teaspoons of baking powder, 250 dark chocolate, 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder, 1/3 cup of oil, 1/3 cup of your favourite milk (I’ve used cow, soy, almond and coconut and they have all worked out fine!)

Method: Preheat oven to moderate (160 degree celcius fan-forced or 180 degree oven – 350 degrees fahrenheit) and prepare a large 9 inch/22 centimetre round or an 8 inch/20 centimetre square tin by lining it with baking paper.

Place the flour, almond meal, cocoa and baking powder in a bowl and stir well to combine.

Then wash and peel the raw beetroot and grate a generous cup full. 2014-05-01 12.30.55 Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over low heat, or microwave on low until melted. Cool slightly.

Combine the eggs, oil, beetroot, milk, sugar, and melted chocolate in a large bowl, beating well. You can do this with a whisk or wooden spoon. No need for fancy equipment for this recipe.

Tip in the dry ingredients and mix to combine, and then pour into your paper-lined tin.

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Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until cooked. You can tell if cake is done because it will spring back when touched in centre, or a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake will come out clean, with no mixture clinging to it. Cool in tin for five minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cake can be served plain, with icing sugar sifted over the top, or with a good dollop of cream, yogurt or ice-cream.

I also like this caked iced with cream cheese frosting. (Ignore that my cake looks tiny and my spoon humungous – I somehow skilfully gave it that perspective using my iphone one-handed for an action shot…)

See frosting recipe below.

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Frosting ingredients: 2 tablespoons butter, 125g softened cream cheese, 1 cup icing sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla. Chocolate sprinkles or grated chocolate optional.

Method: Beat the butter, cream cheese, icing sugar (powdered sugar or confectioner’s sugar) and vanilla until thick and creamy. Spread over top of cooled cake. Add sprinkles or grated chocolate if desired.

I would have used grated chocolate on top of my cake BUT someone seems to have eaten my stash. I’d always used the vegetable crisper as a safe hiding place.  Looks like I’m going to have to come up with somewhere new. 🙂 Still, the sprinkles are yummy and give a celebratory feel.

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Easy Strawberry and Mulberry Teacake Recipe with Berry Compote

Strawberry and Mulberr eacake with Berry Compote and Icecream

Strawberry and Mulberry Teacake with Berry Compote and Ice Cream

“You’ve got this life and while you’ve got it, you’d better kiss like you only have one moment, try to hold someone’s hand like you will never get another chance to, look into people’s eyes like they’re the last you’ll ever see, watch someone sleeping like there’s no time left, jump if you feel like jumping, run if you feel like running, play music in your head when there is none, and eat cake like it’s the only one left in the world!” 
― C. JoyBell C.

I don’t need much of an excuse to bake a cake. And now, while the mulberry tree is weighted down with dark sweet fruit, and my heritage strawberries are dripping berries, it seems only sensible to include them in my baking.

This cake can be made and eaten as a tea cake – it’s dense and buttery and not too sweet, making it wonderful for afternoon tea. If you like you could have it sliced with a scrape of butter, or get a little fancy and drizzle some lemony icing over the top. It’s equally delicious warm or cold.

Don’t panic if you’re not much of a baker – this recipe is dead easy.

I chose to bake my cake in the afternoon and let it cool for dinner, then served it with a simple warm berry compote and vanilla ice-cream. You have no idea how much willpower it took to not taste a corner while it was cooling.

There was plenty for the next day too. Leftovers always make me happy! Just remember to refrigerate any cake you don’t eat, as the soft berries mean the cake will only keep for three to four days.

If you don’t have access to fresh berries, frozen ones will work just fine. And the combination is really up to you. I’m just using strawberries and mulberries because that’s what’s ripe at my farm right now.

Serving up dessert at my low-key kitchen table dinner with the neighbours.

Serving up dessert at my low-key kitchen table dinner with the neighbours.

Cake Ingredients:

70g x (5 tablespoons) softened butter, 2 x teaspoons vanilla extract, 1 x egg, 1/2 x cup sugar, 1 x cup self raising (self-rising for my USA friends or 1 cup of all purpose flour, 1 and 1/2 x teaspoons baking powder and a pinch of salt, sifted together), 1/3 cup plain yogurt, 2 cups of berries, grated zest of one lemon.  1 x bundt pan well greased with butter or 1 x 20cm round cake tin, paper lined.

*Note: This cake also bakes up well using a commercially prepared gluten-free flour mix.

Method:

Preheat oven to moderate (160 degree celcius fan-forced or 180 degree oven – 350 degrees fahrenheit). Prepare your cake tin.

Wash berries, remove any hulls or stems and drain well. (I pat mine dry in paper towel.)

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Strawberries and mulberries from the garden!

Place butter and sugar in bowl and beat until thick and creamy (about 2 minutes). Then add in the egg, lemon zest, vanilla and beat again until thick and well combined. I use an electric mixer for this first part.

Fold through the yoghurt and flour with a spoon. Then gently fold in the berries.

Pretty cake batter ready for the pan

Pretty cake batter ready for the pan

Then carefully dollop your cake batter into your prepared pan and smooth the top with the back of a spoon.

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I love how the creamy batter is streaked pink and purple from the berry juices.

Place in the preheated oven and cook for 25 to 30 minutes.  Check your cake by poking  a skewer into the centre at 25 minutes. If it comes out clean it is ready. Leave in a little longer if batter still clings to skewer.

Cool in tin for five minutes, then give it a shake to loosen it and invert onto a serving plate. There might be a few gooey soft berries on the top of the cake, which is part of its rustic charm.

The finished cake, cooling on my windowsill.

The finished cake, cooling on my windowsill.

Compote Ingredients:

2 heaped cups of berries, 2 tablespoons of icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar), 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice

Method:

Place the berries, sugar and lemon juice on a saucepan over low heat. Squash the berries slightly with a potato masher to release some of the juice.

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Blurry action shot of the berries being smashed up to make them juicy.

Heat until the berries become syrupy – which takes just a minute or two. Serve over the sliced cake.

This compote is also delicious over porridge, ice cream, pancakes or waffles. Enjoy!

Did I mention yummy? Yummy!

Did I mention yummy? Yummy!

Walnut and Dark Chocolate Coconut Bites – Fit for a Prince!

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“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” 
~ Charles M. Schulz

 

While the world is abuzz with excitement at the birth of the Kate and William’s new baby boy, here we are celebrating by eating macaroons and drinking tea.  Welcome, Little Prince.  We shall blog about you tomorrow…

In the meantime, recipe!

In our household we call these little treasures yummy ‘uglies’.  They may not be the prettiest treats, but the taste more than makes up for it. Walnut and dark chocolate is a heavenly combination, made even better with coconut, and they are quick to whip up.

A variation of a macaroon, these Bites are gluten-free and can also be sugar-free, so they are great for diabetics and people with food intolerances or following a paleo diet.

Ingredients:

3 cups of unsweetened desiccated coconut; 2 eggs; 3/4 cup of sugar or natvia (or other sweetener of your choice; 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts; 1/2 cup of roughly chopped dark chocolate.

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Method:

Preheat your oven to moderate (160 degree celcius fan-forced or 180 degree oven – 350 degrees fahrenheit).

Line a baking tray/cookie sheet with baking paper.

Measure the coconut and sugar into a large mixing bowl. Dump in the walnuts and chocolate.

Break the eggs in and mix thoroughly. Leave stand for five minutes.

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Using a soup spoon or similar, dip the spoon into a mug of water (so the mixture doesn’t stick) and then press the palm of your other hand down on the spoon to firm up the mix. Drop onto the baking tray. Repeat until all the mixture is used, dipping spoon in water frequently to avoid sticking.

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It doesn’t matter if your Bites look a little messy and rustic. That’s part of their charm. If you want to get fancy, place a little bit of walnut on the top of each Bite. (As you can see, I wasn’t bothered. If the Queen had been coming to afternoon tea I would have made the effort though!)

Place into the hot oven and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on the tray for five minutes before transferring to a wire rack until completely cool.

Although… if you eat them while they’re still warm the chocolate inside will still be gooey and extra delicious.  Fit for Royalty, and excellent for afternoon tea. 🙂

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Easy Baked Cheesecake Recipe – Gluten Free, Sugar Free

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“Stressed spelled backwards is desserts.  Coincidence?  I think not!”  ~ Author Unknown

One of the not-fun parts of being unwell, or being on a restricted diet, is that treats seem to be harder to come by. So many desserts are crammed full of sugar, grains and fats. Or they have twenty steps, weird ingredients and you need specialised skill or equipment to replicate the results at home.

If you can eat dairy, you’ll find this fits the bill.  Low fat, made without sugar and grains, and high in protein, it’s suitable for people following High-Protein Low-Carb Diets, for diabetics and for anyone who is gluten-free.

This is a wonderful dessert.  But you can also feel quite happy about eating it for breakfast, as a snack, or following a big bowl of salad or vegetables as your protein fix.

And if none of these things apply to you, make it and eat it anyway – because it’s yummy!!!

I’ve used some fresh local blueberries for this recipe, but frozen ones work perfectly well too.

blueberries

INGREDIENTS

500 grams (2 cups) Ricotta Cheese, 3 eggs, 5 teaspoons of Natvia ( a stevia based sweetener), 1/2 cup of blueberries (fresh or frozen) 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, 1 to 2 teaspoons cinnamon.

Preheat your oven to moderate (160 degree celcius fan-forced or 180 degree oven – 350 degrees fahrenheit).

Line a loaf tin (23cm x 12cm – 9 inch x 5 inch) with baking paper.

Separate the eggs, and put the whites into a large bowl, and the yolks into another bowl with the ricotta.  Beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.

Whisk the yolks, ricotta, vanilla, lemon zest and nutmeg together.  Fold in the berries and then gently fold through the stiff egg white.  Pour into the pre-prepared loaf tin.

Dust top with cinnamon. (Cinnamon is a wonderful spice – it helps regulate blood sugar, lowers bad cholesterol and is very anti-inflammatory.)

Bake cheesecake for 40 minutes.  Mixture may still be a little soft to touch but will firm up as it cools.  Remove from tin when cold. Eat on its own, or with your favourite fruits and toppings. Store in the refrigerator.

Note: Don’t be alarmed if this weeps a little as it cools.  Simply drain the liquid away before you store it.  I keep mine loosely wrapped in the paper I baked it in, on a plate in the refrigerator.  The cheesecake will keep for a week, but it probably won’t last that long!

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Chocolate Covered Coconut Slice Recipe

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“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” 
~ Charles M. Schulz

Chocolate and coconut is a heavenly combination, and this particular slice recipe delivers! It is quite light in texture, so it’s not rich and it’s not too sweet – a crisp biscuit base, a fluffy coconut centre and a succulent layer of real chocolate to top it off. This slice is a perfect accompaniment to a floral or fruity tea, or a good coffee.

It can also easily be modified to become gluten-free and diabetic friendly. Vegans – please use your favourite butter and egg substitute – I quite like replacing the egg with a 1/4 cup of applesauce or a 1/2 a banana, both of which compliment the other flavours.

Today’s recipe is another offering from the Family Recipe Book, our treasured ‘passed down’ and hostess-acquired recipes from three generations of women who love to cook.

INGREDIENTS

Biscuit Base: 95 grams of butter (3.35 ounces or 0.85 of a stick of butter), 2 tablespoons of caster sugar (superfine sugar) or equivalent sugar substitute, 3/4 cup plain flour, 1/4 cup self raising flour (self-rising for my USA friends or 1 cup of all purpose flour, 1 and 1/2 x teaspoons baking powder and a pinch of salt, sifted together),  1 tablespoon of cornflour, pinch of salt, 1 teaspoon of vanilla.

*Note: if using gluten-free flour use 1/2 cup of plain and 1/2 cup of self raising flour for a better result.

Coconut Filling: 2 cups of unsweetened desiccated coconut, 1 egg, 3 tablespoons of sugar (increase to 4 if you prefer a sweeter slice) or equivalent sugar substitute, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, 2 tablespoons of self raising flour, 3/4 cup of milk or your favourite milk equivalent.

Chocolate Topping: 200 grams (7 ounces) of your choice of milk or dark chocolate ( I like a combination of both!) broken into pieces, 25 grams (0.9 ounces) copha or vegetable shortening. If you’re diabetic please use a diabetic chocolate or a dark chocolate that is low in sugar. 

choc mix

METHOD

Base:

Preheat oven to moderate (160 degree celcius fan-forced or 180 degree oven – 350 degrees fahrenheit).

Line a 28cm x 18cm (7 inch by 11 inch) slice tin with some baking paper.

Cream the butter and sugar together (using electric or hand beaters) until light and smooth. Add in the vanilla and dry ingredients and mix until combined.  Mixture should be a crumbly paste.

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Press firmly into the tin, taking care to push mixture right into the corners. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly golden all over. Remove from oven and rest for ten minutes.

Coconut Filling:

Prepare this while the base is in the oven. Mix all ingredients together and leave sit for five minutes for coconut to swell and absorb any fluid. Spoon over the biscuit base, spreading evenly.  Return to oven and bake another twenty five minutes or until set and lightly browned on top.  Cool in tin.

Chocolate Topping:

Melt broken chocolate and copha in a saucepan together over low heat, stirring frequently until mixture is smooth and lump free. (You could also use your microwave – but we’re a microwave-free household so you’re on your own for instructions here!) Pour over Slice and spread carefully to the edges.  Leave to set in tin, and then cut into small squares.

Store in an airtight container, and refrigerate if you live in a hot climate or like your chocolate layer crisp..

*Warning – this Slice is prone to evaporation and other mysterious disappearances. 

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Variations:

* Evenly space walnut halves in lines before the chocolate sets so that when you cut the slice each square will have a walnut half decorating the centre.

* Add a tablespoon of Malibu (coconut flavoured white rum) to the coconut filling before baking.

* Spread a thin layer of Nutella on the biscuit base before adding the coconut layer. (This is especially good, and also goes well with the Malibu layer for a special treat.)

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Nana’s Passionfruit Slice Recipe

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“Cooking is not about being the best or most perfect cook, but rather it is about sharing the table with family and friends.”  ~ Skye Gyngell, My Favorite Ingredients

This is an old recipe that my Nana copied out from her friend Dulcie, after a successful ‘War Wives Luncheon’ during World War Two. At least that was the memorable annotation she jotted at the bottom of the piece of paper the recipe is written on.  As a child I would ask Nana over and over to tell me about that Luncheon in Sydney, and she would remind me how hard it was to make tasty food with all of the rationing and restrictions. Dulcie’s slice had been a real winner.

As a child I painstakingly copied the same recipe into the Family Recipe Book.  Each time I make this I think of my Nana and her friends, sitting drinking cups of tea, eating slice and chatting during the long days of the War, with the rations and limitations and hardships.

There’s a lot of comfort to be had in a cup of tea and a slice.

tea in front of the fire

Base Ingredients:

1 x cup of self raising flour (self-rising for my USA friends or 1 cup of all purpose flour, 1 and 1/2 x teaspoons baking powder and a pinch of salt, sifted together), 1 x cup of unsweetened desiccated coconut, 1/2 cup of  sugar, 1/2 cup (4 oz or 125 grams) melted butter, finely grated zest of one lemon.

*Note –  If you’re gluten intolerant, this works fine with a commercial gluten-free flour mix.

Method:

Preheat oven to moderate (160 degree celcius fan-forced or 180 degree oven – 350 degrees fahrenheit).

Line a 28cm x 18cm (7 inch by 11 inch) slice tin with some baking paper.

Measure the dry ingredients into a large bowl and then mix through the melted butter.  The mixture should be moist and crumbly.

Press the base into the tin, being careful not to press down too heavily. (If you compact the base too much it becomes very hard to cut after it has cooked.)

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the top is nicely golden.

Remove from oven and cool completely. (This step is essential!)

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Topping:

1 x 395g can of sweetened condensed milk, 1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice, pulp of 3 passionfruit.

Heat oven to moderate (160 degree celcius fan-forced or 180 degree oven – 350 degrees fahrenheit), and then just before you pop the slice back in, knock the temperature back to 140 degrees for your fan forced oven or equivalent.

passfruits

Whisk the condensed milk, lemon juice and passionfruit pulp together.  The mixture will thicken from the acidity of the lemon juice. At this stage you should taste it… (Okay, I made that bit up, but who can resist?)

Pour the passionfruit topping over the biscuit base and smooth over until you have a good coverage.

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Bake in the slow oven for twenty minutes. The topping should be firm to your touch, and pale golden.

Remove from oven and cool completely.  Store in refrigerator in a hot climate, or if you are not eating this all in one day.  To serve, cut into small squares.

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Easy Lemon Slice Recipe

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“There are times when wisdom cannot be found in the chambers of parliament or the halls of academia but at the unpretentious setting of the kitchen table.” 
~ E.A. Bucchianeri

As promised, here is the first recipe in my ‘Slice Extravaganza’ series – the brainchild of my mother, who must be acknowledge for her great generosity in lending me the Family Recipe Book from which this recipe is taken. Thanks, Mum!

This is a delightful slice – a crispy, crunchy but delicate base with a tangy lemon topping.  Perfect with a morning coffee or an afternoon cup of tea.

It’s also a confidence-building recipe for kitchen beginners and young cooks.

Base Ingredients:

1 x cup of self raising flour (self-rising for my USA friends or 1 cup of all purpose flour, 1 and 1/2 x teaspoons baking powder and a pinch of salt, sifted together), 1 x cup of unsweetened desiccated coconut, 1/2 cup of lightly packed soft brown sugar, 1/2 cup (4 oz or 125 grams) melted butter

*Note – for vegans, use a vegetable butter substitute.  If you’re gluten intolerant, this works fine with a commercial gluten-free flour mix.

Method:

Preheat oven to moderate (160 degree celcius fan-forced or 180 degree oven – 350 degrees fahrenheit).

Line a 28cm x 18cm (9 inch by 13 inch) slice tin with some baking paper.

Measure the dry ingredients into a large bowl and then mix through the melted butter.  The mixture should be moist and crumbly.

base mixture

Press the mixture lightly into the tin. DO NOT PRESS DOWN HEAVILY!

base pressed into tin

Place your slice into the oven and bake for 20 minutes, until the top is a nice golden brown colour.

Lemon Icing Ingredients: (Frosting for you USA folk!)

1 and 1/2 cups sifted icing sugar mixture (confectioners’ sugar or powdered sugar),1 x tablespoon of soft butter, finely grated zest of one lemon, 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.  Additional coconut to sprinkle on top. (Shredded coconut is lovely for this!)

Method:

Mix the ingredients together with enough of the lemon juice to make a smooth, creamy consistency.

Spread the icing mixture over the slice while it is still warm. Sprinkle coconut over the warm icing and leave to cool in tin. DO resist cutting before it cools, or you will end up with a crumbly mess!

Dollop of icing

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Cut into squares to serve, and store in an airtight container.  I’m sure you’ll agree, it’s delicious!

ready to eat baking

Berry Nice Fruit Crumble Recipe

This is one of those desserts you just throw together. It’s fantastically easy and it tastes like heaven in a bowl. It comes to you courtesy of the mulberry tree in my back yard, and the amplitude of strawberries in my refrigerator.  I would like to claim that I grew the strawberries too, but alas, between Bert and the blue tongued lizard, there are never any strawberries left for human consumption in my vegetable garden.

Be careful of the mulberries. Their juice will stain fingers, chopping boards and clothes. But a green mulberry rubbed over the stain of a ripe mulberry works just like an eraser. Who would have thought? (Thanks to my grandmother, Marga, for that tip. They had a mulberry tree on their farm that we would climb as little kids to gorge ourselves on the fruit.)

Here’s a pic of the mulberries which actually made it into the bowl yesterday (as opposed to my mouth…).

While you are preparing your fruit, turn on the oven and preheat to 160 degrees celcius (gas mark 3, or 325 degress farenheit). Drop the temp just a little more if your oven is fan forced. By the way, this recipe serves 6 people. Less if the people at your table are starving or piggy people, more if your people are small-child sized or have already enjoyed a good dinner.

Fruit: 1 large granny smith (or other firm cooking) apple, peeled and chopped into small pieces; 1 punnet (about 1 1/2 cups) of strawberries washed, hulled and chopped; 1 1/2 cups of mulberries or other soft sweet berries – washed and stalks removed; 2 tablespoons strawberry jam.  Mix fruit and jam gently together until combined. If the jam is very thick add a little boiling water to thin enough to mix through.

 

Crumble topping: 1 cup plain (all purpose) flour, 1/4 cup butter, 1/4 cup flaked almonds, 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, 1/4 cup raw (demerara) sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 heaped teaspoon lemon zest.  Rub butter into the dry ingredients with the tips of your fingers until it looks like breadcrumbs. **This can so easily be made with gluten-free flour!!!

Place fruit into a greased pie dish. Dump crumble mixture on top and use your fingers to press it out to the edges of the dish. Place on a baking sheet and put into oven. Bake 30 minutes, or until lightly browned on top, and bubbly at edges.

Serve your crumble with good vanilla icecream or some pouring cream. It would also be good with yoghurt. Enjoy!