Friday, 30 March 2012

※ Shot Glass Mini Trifles

  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 3 extra large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons potato starch (halve if using cornstarch)
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream, whipped until stiff
  • 1 Punnet raspberries
  • 1 Punnet of blue berries
  • Mint leaves to garnish
  • 85g pkt strawberry jelly crystals


Make up the jelly according to packet instructions. Set aside to cool slightly. 

Once cooled divide evenly among shot glasses, add as much or as little as you desire.
Refrigerate as per directions.



  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 3 extra large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons potato starch (halve if using cornstarch)
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream, whipped until stiff

Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and use the back of your knife or a spoon to scrape the seeds out of the pod (save the pod to make vanilla sugar). Add the vanilla seeds, milk, eggs yolks, sugar, and corn starch to a blender, and blend until smooth.

Pass the mixture through a fine mesh tea strainer and into a saucepan. Heat the saucepan over medium-low heat and use a silicone spatula to continuously scrape the bottom and sides of the pot to keep the pudding from scorching.

Continue heating and stirring until the mixture thickens, but do not allow it to boil. Remove the pot from the heat and allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. You can speed this up, but submerging the bottom of the pot in a bowl of ice water while stirring. When the pudding has cooled, fold in the whipped cream.

I then let it cool further for 15 minutes, then I added a layer of raspberries, then more custard, then topped it off with some blueberries.

Refrigerate for 20 minutes (I made mine the day ahead so i garnished just before serving)

Garnish with fresh mint just before serving. 

Thursday, 29 March 2012

※ Lemon Butter

I don't know many people who don't like the tangy sweetness of lemon butter.

As a child my father introduced me to it, I have not eaten it in years. In my jam making mode I have been in I decided to make something different. (This didn't disappoint.
Method courtesy of Stephanie Alexander.

Time: 20-40 minutes

Difficulty: Medium

This is delicious as a spread for toast or scones, to sandwich together a sponge cake or as the filling for powder puffs. It keeps for weeks if well sealed and refrigerated after opening.


  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup castor sugar
  • 60g unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 100ml lemon juice

Whisk egg yolks and sugar until well combined but not frothy.

Tip into a heavy-based non-reactive saucepan and add butter, zest and juice.

Stirring constantly, bring to simmering point over a medium-high heat (about five minutes).

As soon as bubbles appear, remove from heat, still stirring. Allow to cool.

Transfer to sterilised jars and seal.

Makes 2 cups

Sunday, 25 March 2012

※ Steamed Jam Pudding

Raspberry & White Chocolate Steamed Jam Pudding

Even the lighter-textured steamed puds would send most dieticians running for the celery sticks. But golly, they're good.

They are a tradition worth upholding, even if only occasionally.

Start with a light main course - some vegetable soup, perhaps - then bring on the pudding. And the cream. And the custard. This is not the moment to worry about the odd extra calorie.

My Mum used to make the most divine steamed puddings ever when I was a child. She had this funny little pan with a fitted lid. I wanted to make it the old way. So I scoured Ebay and found a steamer from the 70's I wasn't disappointed. The finished product was as good as I remembered. Worth the 2 hour cooking time. I will make this again. AMAZING!

Serves 6-8

Divinely rich.

The tanginess of the raspberries saves the pudding from being too sweet.


  • 5oz/140g soft brown sugar 
  • 4oz/110g butter 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 6oz/170g self-raising flour 
  • milk or water 
  • 4oz/110g raspberries (fresh or frozen) 
  • 3½oz/100g white chocolate, roughly chopped 
  • 6 tbsp raspberry jam (optional) 

Grease a 1 litre pudding basin.
Cream the butter and sugar, then beat in the eggs and vanilla extract.
Fold in the flour and enough milk or water (about 2 tbsp) to produce a dropping consistency.
Stir in the raspberries and white chocolate.
Spoon the name into the greased basin.
Scrape the mixture into the pudding basin, cover and steam for 2 hours. **
Turn out the pudding / Serve with chilled cream or home made custard.

Bring a pan of water to the boil. Put a trivet, a heat-proof saucer or a steamer basket in the pan. 
Lower the pudding basin into the water, which should come no more than halfway up the bowl 
Check it regularly and top it up with boiling water from the kettle if necessary.

The batter tasted so good! 
The old pudding steamer I picked up from Ebay for $20
Well worth the 2 hour cooking time! 

Friday, 23 March 2012

※ Cookies on a rainy day

Today's weather is horrible cold and windy.
What better thing to do than bake cookies.
I dug up an old recipe:  (and made a carob version for the dog)

※ Pumpkin Dip


500g diced raw pumpkin cut into 3cm by 3cm cubes

1 teaspoon curry powder

3/4 tablespoon coriander powder

3/4 tablespoon cumin powder

1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon of olive oil (i used a garlic infused one)

100g sour cream


Preheat the oven to 200C on bake with the shelf in the middle of the oven.

Into a large bowl, mix together the diced pumpkin, curry powder, coriander, cumin, brown sugar, salt and canola oil ensuring the pumpkin pieces are well covered in the spices, sugar and oil.

Place the pumpkin in a roasting dish in a single layer and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until the pumpkin is caramelised and tender.

Cool for 1 hour before placing in a food processor along with the sour cream. 

Process until the mixture is blended to a smooth paste.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

※ Peach Jam



  • 11/2 kg peaches 750 gms sugar
  • Peel of one lemon
  • Juice of two lemons

To test for setting using methylated spirits: Place 1 teaspoon of the jam in a glass and add 3 tsp methylated spirits and stir gently with a teaspoon. If it forms a fairly solid clot the jam is high in pectin and will set. If several small clots form without combining it will not set and requires more cooking to reduce or pectin added. Longer cooking will darken the jam and lose flavour esthers. Throw out testing liquid!


Cut peaches into chunks, leaving skins on and taking out the stone. Use really ripe fruit for the flavour, but also some less ripe ones as these have a higher level of pectin. Don’t keep the peaches in the fridge, as this also will reduce the pectin levels.

Put the cut Peaches into a pot, no added water and simmer at a very low heat, adding lemon peel to add the tart taste and also to increase the levels of pectin.

Tie some of the stones in to a clean chux and add the bundle to the peaches continuing to simmer and stir every now and then to prevent burning the bottom of the saucepan.
As the fruit seems cooked take the bag of stones out and stir in the sugar, adding lemon juice to check the flavour.

Cook until the jam begins to thicken and test for setting either by taking a spoonful and put onto a white saucer to see if it sets in the fridge. Or follow the previous method.

Use sterilized jars, fill them to the top and then invert them so that the hot jam sits on the lid and so all sides of the jar are ‘sterilized’ by the hot jam.

Once you have opened the jar, refrigerate the jam until the pot is finished.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

※ Pizza Sandwich Toasted

Being eaten / modelled here by Jacob

I had a craving for pizza but couldn't be bothered making dough so I decided I'd make a toasted sandwich that tasted like pizza.

Pair this with a salad and you have a great pizzeria style lunch without the calories attached...or the bill.

  • A tablespoon of tomato paste or concentrate
  • Few leaves of fresh basil
  • Tasty cheese (or ideally some mozzarella grated with some tasty) 
  • Hot pepperoni or salami
  • Sprinkle of oregano (dried)
  • Salt & pepper top taste
  • 2 Slices of bread

Turn on griddle or fry pan and get a good heat going.

Spread bread with tomato concentrate

layer with ingredients above

Cook until brown on both sides and cheese melts.



Wednesday, 14 March 2012

※ The product tester agrees, it's good.

Just finished off the batch of Peach Jam.
The product tester agrees, it's good.
Recipe will be up in the next few days. 

UPDATE:  21- 3- 2012 Recipe now up on blog here

※ Strawberry Jam


Serves: 150

  • 3.2 kg strawberries, small and firm if possible, stems removed, unwashed
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 2.7 kg granulated sugar


Prep: 20 minutes | Cook: 30 minutes

Put the strawberries and lemon juice in a preserving pan or large, heavy-based stainless steel saucepan. Heat gently until the juices start to run, then use a potato masher to mash into the required texture, keeping some of the strawberries whole if you like. Continue cooking and stirring often until the mixture is reduced to a thick slush.

Add the sugar to the saucepan and stir continuously over a low heat until completely dissolved. Bring the mixture to the boil and boil steadily for 15–20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the setting point is reached (105°C on a sugar thermometer).

Ladle the jam into warm, sterilised jars, then cover and seal. When cold, label, then store in a cool dark place. Use within 1 year of making. Once opened, store in the fridge and use within 1 month.

Jam recipe previously blogged hereThis different version was used as I had a lot more fruit to use up. 

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

※ Beetroot Dip

  • 3 beetroot bulbs
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 200g creamy Greek style yoghurt
  • Pinch of salt
  • Olive oil

Parboil the beetroot bulbs then bake them until soft. Peel and cut into quarters. Process in a food processor or blender until finely chopped.

Grate the garlic into the yoghurt, add salt and mix well. Add to the beetroot and stir to combine. 
Drizzle olive oil over top to finish.

Monday, 12 March 2012

※ Rosemary Sea Salt Crackers

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, more as needed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp parmigiano reggiano cheese, finely grated
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup cream or half-and-half, more as needed
  • 1 Tablespoon milk, if required
  • Fleur De Sel salt or your favourite topping (sesame seeds, poppy seeds, black pepper) 

Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C.

Put flour, salt, cheese, rosemary, olives, garlic and olive oil in bowl of a food processor. 

Pulse until flour and olive oil create little crumbs. In case you don’t have a food processor, simply whisk all the dry ingredients together first. Then add the oil and using a fork or a pastry blender mix till they look like coarse crumbs.

Add about 1/4 cup cream or half-and-half and let machine run for a bit. If the dough is still a little dry after pouring in the cream, add a little milk. 

Alternatively (without the food processor), pour the cream into the dough mixture and combine it into the dough with your hands.

Roll out dough until 1/4-inch thick or even thinner, adding flour as needed to keep from sticking.

Score lightly with a sharp knife or a pastry wheel to break crackers into squares or rectangles later on. 

Sprinkle with the salt or topping of your choice.

Bake until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Cool on a rack; serve warm or at room temperature 

Based on Mark Bittman’s recipe also the Purple foodie's olive version.

I doubled the recipe as I was having a lot of people over (I'm glad I did)

※ Spinach Dip


  • 250g frozen spinach, thawed, drained
  • 1 cup (240g) light sour cream
  • 2 green onions (shallots), thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 drops Tabasco Cracked black pepper and sea salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. 
Season to taste. Chill for 20 minutes. (ideally overnight to let the flavours combine.

Pictured here in the center along side beetroot and spiced pumpkin dip.