Thursday, December 3, 2009

creamy salmon soup

whilst this isn't really soup weather, i wanted to try this soup out. it's delicious and almost a meal in itself. quick and easy, i made this in the thermomix, and as such, it would be really good for those times when i really didn't feel like cooking.

500 grams milk
200 grams cream
150 grams water (or part wine, part water)
20 grams tomato paste
1 large potato, cubed
1 tablespoon vegetable stock concentrate
200 grams fresh salmon, cut in 1 centimetre cubes
finely diced tomatoes and dill, to garnish

place the milk, cream, water, wine (if using), tomato paste, potato and stock concentrate in the thermomix bowl.
blend on speed 9 for 15 seconds.
cook for 10 minutes at 100 degrees celcius on speed 3.
add the salmon and combine for 30 seconds on reverse speed 1. there is sufficient retained heat to cook the salmon through and not over cook it.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

chocolate sorbet

i though i should post this since lulu asked for it especially.

100 grams sugar
50 grams glucose syrup
50 grams cocoa
80 grams water
1 small tin coconut cream
2x350 grams ice cubes
1 egg white (optional)

place the sugar, syrup, cocoa and water into the thermomix bowl and combine for 3 minutes at 50 degrees celcius on speed 3.
add coconut cream and the first lot of ice and blend for 10 seconds on speed 10.
add the remaining ice and egg white and blend for 1 minute on speed 9, using the spatula to assist the ice cubes combine with the mixture.
serve immediately.

pistachio and craisin shortbread

i had this a week ago and it was delicious. this recipe comes from the thermomix festive season 2008 cookbook.

40 grams white rice
60 grams sugar
300 grams plain flour
250 grams butter
100 grams pistachio kernels
100 grams craisins (dried cranberries)
150 grams white chocolate melts

line a baking tray with baking paper.
preheat oven to 150° celcius.
place the rice and sugar into the bowl and pulverise 1 minute on speed 10. don’t be tempted to shortcut this, you need 1 minute for the texture of the shortbread.
add the flour and the butter (chopped) into the bowl, mix for 5 seconds on Speed 5.
knead the mixture for 40 seconds on interval setting.
add nuts and cranberries and with lid in closed position, pulse with the turbo button 4-5 times. this will chop the fruit and nuts a little, but that is fine.
if the mixture is crumbly, bring the dough together using reverse on speed 1 for about 30 seconds.
roll the mix into a log shape with baking paper. slice into oval shapes and lay on lined tray. place into a preheated oven and bake for approximately 20-30 minutes.
once baked allow the shortbread to sit for 10 minutes before moving.
melt white chocolate in TM bowl at 50˚ celcius for 5 minutes on speed 1.
dip one end of each cooled shortbread into the melted chocolate and place on baking paper to set.

Friday, November 27, 2009

my gluten free yummy thing

originally, my intention was to make a salad, along the lines of a waldorf salad....

juice of one orange
rind of one orange
30 mls rice bran oil

blitz together on speed 10 until emulsified.

throw the following into the thermomix bowl

1 apple, cored and quartered
200 grams red seedles grapes
1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
1/3 cup pistachio nuts

and i blitzed on speed 7.....for just a bit too long (like 3 seconds) and i ended up with something that looked somewhat like bircher muesli, but gluten free.... i wondered what i was going to do...use it as a dressing for a still to be made salad? no...i ate it instead as it was, and it was very nice.......

Thursday, November 26, 2009

champagne cocktails

last night, salli and i went out, and the evening started with a champagne cocktail....and it was good.....

using the thermomix, pulverise 60 grams of sugar on speed 9 until the sound changes, about 7 seconds. add 500 grams of berries (strawberries or raspberries would be perfect for the upcoming christmas). place a little in each champagne flute and top up with very well chilled champagne. you can use frozen fruit if you like, this will keep the cocktail nice and cold.

so easy to drink and get drunk on.....

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

vanilla icecream

after making 3 sorbets yesterday, i was faced with 3 egg yolks....what to do? make icecream, what else? i guess i could have made custard, but that's better when the weather is a bit cooler - it's hot now, isn't it boys and girls?? (not you guys not in sydney....i'm not talking to you....)

3 egg yolks
600 mls full cream milk
120 grams sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
a tablespoon or 2 or vanilla

pop everything into your trusty thermomix bowl and let it do its thing for 8 minutes at 80 degrees on speed 4.

pour this custard into a container which will fit into your freezer (i don't know what your freezer is like, but that's how i have to do it because mine is chockers) and freeze. you can stir it around a bit to break up the crystals. when it's frozen (i just leave mine overnight), scrape it all into the thermomix bowl and blitz on speed 10 until smooth. scrape this all out of the bowl to serve or put back in the freezer. this is seriously good.....if you like sara lee/connossieur icecream, you will like this.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

pretend truffles

these are pretend truffles, and purists will scoff and say worse, but i think they aren't half bad considering they have pretty healthy ingredients. again, i made these with the was there, and when it's there, it's easy to use.

250 grams almonds, brazil nuts, sunflower seeds.....whatever nut/seed you have on hand
75 grams sesame seeds
100 grams honey
40 grams cocoa

place everything in the thermomix bowl and blitz on speed 10 for 5-10 seconds, depending on the texture you like. form the mixture into balls, roll in coconut and refrigerate to firm up before serving.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

on a hot day, all i think of is sorbet.

it's quite hot in sydney today and miss c's friend hik asked if i could help with the food for her birthday party. after some thought, that sorbet might be fun thing to bring to the party. people don't usually bring iced confections along, so this can be the novelty. since i only have 2 thermoserves, that would be the limiting factor; i would be able to bring close to 5 litres of sorbet and that would have to be enough.

i decided that i would make the sorbet with what i had to save myself a trip to the supermarket unnecessarily, so i went with 3 flavours - lemon, orange and apple. i made them separately so the flavours could remain pure or mixed if desired.

i used my thermomix to make them, and it didn't take much time at all.

150 grams raw sugar
2 lemons/oranges/apples (peeled and cored)
1 egg white
700 grams ice

pulverise the citrus rinds (if using) with the sugar on speed 9 until you hear a change in the sound of the thermomix (this takes several seconds).

add the fruit, egg white and half the ice and slowly turn the speed dial up to 10 and process until there is another change in sound. use the spatula to help any ice cubes into the mixture to grind up. add the remaining cubes gradually and again use the the spatula to help any ice cubes into the mixture so they can be ground. continueon speed 10 until all the ice cubes have been ground. serve immediately or place into the thermoserve for later.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

tomato and cashew dip

this is a really easy dip which takes next to no time in the thermomix. this is one of a medley of dips i have been making; they make a really good snack without too much effort.

1 onion, peeled and quartered
1 clove garlic
a good slurp of olive oil (or the oil from the sundried tomatoes
1 cup roasted, unsalted cashews
50 grams sundried tomatoes
2 medium tomatoes, quartered
pepper to taste

place the onion and garlic into the thermomix bowl and chop for 4 seconds on speed 6.
add the oil and cook for 3 minutes at varoma temperature on speed 1.
add the nuts, tomatoes and pepper and blitz for 20 seconds on speed 6.
cook for 5 minute at 80 degrees celcius on speed 4.

this thickens as it cools and spreads nicely on a nice sturdy slice of bread. this recipe makes enough to fill 2 dip bowls, so i usually pop one in the fridge or pass it onto my neighbour or the next person who comes over.

Monday, October 19, 2009

what's in a name?

just recently, a friend from highschool found me on facebook. jj is a psychologist and as far as i know, i know four psychologists. of those four, three of them have sons named jack, or variations of jack. the other psychologist i know who hasn't got a son called jack hasn't got any children.

jj reckons it's a coincidence. i know four many psychologists do you know, and do they have sons called jack?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

whisks' housekeeping tip #89365

with christmas fast approaching, take advantage of all the help you can get - be like snow white and let your little friends help you. if spiders decide to leave their signature webs on your window sills, use them to decorate your windows for christmas and sprinkle with a little white pretend snow - it will stick, and when you finally decide to clean your windows, the stuff will wipe off effortlessly.

you probably wonder how i come upon my little nuggets of wisdom, well, you only have to thank my very gorgeous friend, lulu, who hails from down near geelong. last night, i sent her an urgent message to go and quickly watch something on telly, which was important to her, and she missed my message...why??? because she was cleaning her windows because guests were coming for dinner. next time, she should tell them she is getting ready for christmas.

for those of you in the northern hemisphere who don't know what i'm yabbering about, i live in sydney, as if you need reminding, and as such, we don't have snow, and our christmas is usually swelteringly hot or unpredictable, but never snow....

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

he's so smart

i mentioned in an earlier post that salli's son harry is developmentally delayed. i don't know what his mental age is, but he never ceases to amaze me with how clever he really is. several weeks ago, when i went over to visit, sal was carrying on about how harry came home from care with someone else's cardigan - i don't know whose daggy cardigan he's come home with, but it isn't his. he must've been cold, so he just found something to put on. after a split second of thought, i simply told sal that he's a lot smarter than a lot of other people who are supposedly not mentally challenged. i can think of lots of people who may feel the cold yet refuse to put something on. so who's smater? i know miss k refuses to carry more clothes than what she might think she needs and come home with chills.
yesterday when salli and i were on out way to woollahra, her phone rang. it was the man who sold trampolines. salli has a trampoline for harry - one of those old fashioned rectangle ones which doesn't have a barrier around them to stop anyone from falling off the trampoline; she trying to find a replacement something or other for harry's trampoline and do you think she can find one? not on your life because these days, there are no rectangular trampolines to be found. this sent salli off on a tirade of how sick she was of how children these days are so wrapped in cotton wool because they are so protected, which is very true. harry, who is developmentally delayed...did i tell you that?..... has had a trampoline since he's been 5 (he's 22 now, i think) and has only ever fallen off it once; he fell off once and was smart enough to know not to fall off it again. it's really uplifting knowing harry and knowing he's so smart....but worrying that there are some others out there who aren't.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


just lately, i've had a few blasts from the past, and after reading through my post on singing at the top of my lungs with anonymity, i suddenly remembered a girl i went to school with....prudence. a couple of years ago, i was minding my own business, doing my grocery shop at woollies, when i heard someone singing....opera style; it wasn't exactly opera, but that la la la style associated with opera. when i walk over to the deli section, isaw who it was someone i knew.... i realised that it was prudence. not straight away, it had been some 20 years since i last saw her. now you have to give prudence credit - she was singing, in public, and in a recognisable mode. i couldn't do that....i'm too self conscience...besides, i wouldn't want everyone to think i was some mad woman....

Friday, October 9, 2009

moral support

james bond gives me moral support...well, his theme does. having only discovered the joys of snowploughing late in life, i have utilised little devices to help me along. one is singing the james bond theme as i slide down a slope. it distracts me enough to not think about going downhill and lets me relax a bit so i go with the flow; if things get a bit hairy, i sing a bit louder. the beauty of going to the snow and singing at the top of my lungs in a public place is that with all the gear on, no one recognises me or knows who i am. the snow's good like that - i can look as dishevelled as i like and not have to worry about it - it is so liberating. i can look like a slob and sing at the top of my lungs; where else can anyone do something like that?

Thursday, October 8, 2009


i had to fill in a form the other day which required me to list my interests/activities. i listed the usual, and added skiing. since i only came to skiing realtively late in life, i claim no proficiency in it and thought it perhaps presumptuous on my part to say skiing was one of my interests, since i couldn't really ski. then i realised i should say that i snowploughed - far more accurate.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

something worthwhile

last night while we were watching television, i noticed miss k's zit situation had improved and i told her so.
it's because i'm using your soap.
i suggested that miss k tried my soap on her face because i was using it and noticed my face wasn't tight after using it like with regular soap. i never liked using soap on my face because of this tight feeling, but i do use the soap i make myself because i like how it feels. while making soap involves dangerous procedures, is messy and requires patience, i think it has been worthwhile; anything which helps one's child to clear up a teenage hiccup has to be worthwhile.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

a new beginning

miss c had her valedictory dinner on wednesday night and it was lovely to see all the girls in her year looking all grown up and beautiful. parents and teachers caught up with each other and i even gave miss c's biology teacher a chemistry lesson. i explained soap making for him. as a scientist, it's interesting that he knew the theory, but not the practical. i guess there's so much in the science course they have to absorb when studying that not all experiments can be given justice.
there were the usual speeches and the head girl from 2004 came along to give her speech. her speech, for me, was memorable. there were 10 points she went through with the girls. i will mention a few.
never wear uncomfortable shoes; if they are uncomfortable at the shop, be assured that they will hurt even more when you wear them where you are going. i would have added that you can't take them off if they hurt - once they come off, your feet will hurt even more and you will never get the shoes back on. keeping the shoes on just keeps the feet numb; once the blood rushes back to them is when you will regret it. i speak from experience.
travel. i never understood fully the importance of travelling when i was younger, but really appreciate it now. travel give you an opportunity to broaden your mind. it doesn't matter where you go - it can be within your own city, state or country - you will see something different and get a new perspective on things. our lives, for the most part are comfortable and it's good to see how other people live.
listen to what your mother says. that goes without saying. i have to say i'm lucky in that miss c and i can discuss things, but mostly because i very rarely advise miss c, it counts for something when i do...i hope....
don't fear a broken heart. don't stay with someone who doesn't appeciate how wonderful you are. as a parent, that to me was such a wise thing to say to teenage girls who are just starting out into adulthood.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

ulterior motives

miss k asked me about new year's eve tonight. she/we like to plan early. she had ulterior motives. she wanted to know if we would do new year's eve this year in lavender bay...and who we would have join us. i figured i'd let miss c and miss k decide on who they wanted to join us. no doubt, their core group of friends would be there - ohno, beanstalk, tomi......can osh kosh come?....aha - ulterior motive uncovered within seconds. yes, can ask him, but will he be in sydney then? yes, he's not going away. okay. i suspect miss k has probably already mentioned this to osh kosh.....and she's probably already asked him....
i actually thought i might let their friends stay a couple of nights this time. the last time, they just stayed overnight, but i think they'd have lots to do if they stayed a few days. they'd be able to go on walks around the harbour, and if beanstalk brought a boat, he could use the jetty, and that would be fun for them. another thing i just realised - they're going to be able to toast in the new year with champagne this year - how about that? already know miss k's motives...what about mine? i have a whole pile of things i want to cook...what else? what could be better than a group of teenagers to do some serious eating?

Friday, September 25, 2009


at last i have a mint plant, and it's growing really well. my mint in the past never seemed to do that well. i put it down to planting it in the wrong place. i remember being told to plant it under a leaky tap, but that didn't work. i have it under a tap again this time, but in a bucket, and the soil is saturated. it's sitting in an artificial bog, of sorts. it's right next to the house against a hot wall (my backyard is north facing) and gets full sun. i guess it's still a bit premature yet, but i'm going to have to have a look around and see if i can find myself some great recipes which use mint.....

now that i have the mint going, i'm going to have to work on getting some waterdress going - after all, i have a pretend bog going.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

internet chicken

this is one of the first dishes i cooked from the internet. it was a novelty for me. i wasn't a can of this and that cook....i cooked things from scratch....i made cake from distinguishable ingredients....this was a first for me. mind you, i have never been able to leave well enough alone with recipes and like to add my own touch, so this is now a bit different to the original which had chipped beef in it. no quantities - i just roll with what i have at the time. simple as.

1 carton sour cream
1 can cream of mushroom soup

lay the chicken in casserole dish and strew the sliced mushrooms and bacon over the chicken. combine the sour cream and soup together and pour over everything in the dish. bake at 180 degrees celcius for 45 minutes to an hour. serve with noodles or rice.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

homemade granola

a couple of years ago, miss c went camping with a group of friends and they had to rough it (read: bring their own food and cook it). by chance, i made a batch of this truly delicious concoction and insisted that she bring a couple of snaplock bags of it along. she wasn't keen to bring it, not because it wasn't yum, but because she felt it might have defeated the purpose of the camp, but brought 2 packets along.
on her return to civilisation, she expressed her regret. everyone wanted some of her precious snack, and not only that, they wanted the recipe!!!!
take this recipe as a base and add to and subtract, so you can customise it to your own liking - i like adding my fruits and nuts to the granola just before serving so i can vary it to what i'm feeling like having on the day. if you like your nuts toasted, add them while the granola is being toasted.
no need to say, this also makes a fine snack and a good trail mix substitute.

4 cups rolled oats
2 cups shredded or dessicated coconut
2 cups sliced almonds
3/4 cup light olive oil
1/2 cup honey
6 cups of your favourite dried fruits and nuts - i like cherries, cranberries (craisins), apricots, pears, cashews, pepitas, raw almonds

preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius.
line a large baking sheet with baking paper.
toss the oats, coconut, and almonds together in a large bowl.
whisk together the oil and honey in a small bowl and pour over the oat mixture and mix it around with a wooden spoon until well combined and all the oats and nuts are coated. pour onto the baking sheet and spread evenly and lightly - you don't want the clumps of granola to be dense because they'll be rock hard after baking. *
bake, stirring every now and then, until the mixture becomes golden and toasty, about 45 minutes. make sure your granola dries completely because any dampness will cause it to go stale quickly.
remove the granola from the oven and allow to cool, stirring occasionally. if you wish, add your dried fruits and nuts of choice at this stage and combine well.
store the cooled granola in an airtight container.

*these days, i use my thermomix to do a lot of the work; i melt the honey and oil together in the thermomix and toss the oats, coconut and almonds into the bowl and let the machine do all the stirring before tipping everything out onto the baking sheets for baking.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

getting better with age

while i was up at the mountains, wenty and i watched food dvds after everyone had retired for the evening, and one of them was about preserved lemons and cumquats. the lemons and cumquats were salted like how we are told to do in those middle eastern recipes, but the person was saying that you keep them as long as you can (like decades) and they will darken and become very mellow. to illustrate her case in point, she had jars of cumquats of different ages - 1 year, 2 years, 10 years and 50 years (her grandmother pickled that one). she illustrated by taking one cumquat out of each jar, except the 50 year old one, and showed how each one was different and how much nicer the 10 year old one was compared to the 1 year old (have i lost you yet?)...i've started pickling my cumquats. i want to do the lemons too, but have to wait until i can get some home grown ones.
the 50 year old pickled cumquat, she says is so mellow and mature that not only the flesh melts, the seeds become indistinct, cumquat pickle is less than a day old.....
what was funny about all of this was what wenty told me. after his grandmother died, he had to clean her apartment and her fridge.....there was a jar of something dark which looked like it was lemon slices in a past life. he threw it in the bin, naturally, as one does, but little did he know he was throwing away what could well have been part of his inheritance.

Monday, September 21, 2009

murky pinkness

salli is a really good friend and i like to drop by her place every so often. it's actually more i drop by if i've been baking madly, and think she'd like something baked, or if harry would like some. harry's salli's son. he had a bad reaction to an injection when he was six months or so and is now developmentally delayed. i like to make harry the occasional treat. i'd spoil him more often, but salli does a good job as a mother and spoils him adequately. as she does her two daughters. she's a great mother.

when i see salli (or anyone else), i like giving them something, if i can. since my latest thing is soap, i gave her a piece of soap. the piece i gave her was from my second batch. my second batch of soap had the usual olive oil, coconut oil and goat's milk. my intention was to add some lavender oil to it, but it turned a caramel colour, so i put pomegranate oil in it. i also thought it would be good to sprinkle in some paprika to give it some warmth (that's what i'm told - paprika is warming, good for winter, i guess). salli's wonderful. she receives my soap with good grace and uses it straight away and declares her hands feel good. awww....

a few days later, i drop by with a tray of cupcakes and while she's happy to see the cupcakes, she raves about the soap and tells me she brought it into work to show her colleagues. bless her. salli took that opportunity and told me that she was partial to rose scented soap. that was a hint...a suggestion for the next time i made soap. i've already made three batches of soap, and had been thinking that i might just stick to unscented and uncoloured soap, but how could i refuse salli's request? i also figured that if i coloured it pink, i could send it to a friend who loves pink. my soap isn't pure white because i use olive oil, so the pink wasn't a really pure's murky looking; i guess it adds to its natural look. i hope it improves with age.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


i was wondering if you have ever had pretzels? i love them, but find them quite i have made time you make some regular white bread, steal a little bit of dough to try it out. roll the bit you've taken out into a long sausage and twist it into a pretzel shape. get some hot water and dissolve some bicarb in it and dip the pretzel in the hot water, lift it out and put it on a tray lined with baking paper. sprinkle it with some salt flakes and bake until done/golden. voila! a pretzel. you can sprinkle them with sesame or poppy seeds, and if you like, they can be sprinkled with cheese, or left plain. if you want to have them sweet, they can be coated in sliced almonds or streusel and served with a dipping sauce (caramel sauce is really good).

Friday, September 18, 2009

soap couture

all the bits and pieces i was able to read about soap making emphasised that all care had to be exercised when making soap. lye was a dangerous chemical and would burn on contact. rubber gloves, goggles, long sleeves and pants were highly recommended. i took this further and ensured i wore something i wouldn't worry about if ruined.

i wore my goggles and made sure i had my gloves on as i poured the lye in. having been prewarned that this action could be dangerous, i did what i was told and exercised all care. there wasn't any bubbling or any toil and trouble. in fact, it was very dull, much like pouring a cup of salt into a pot of water really, but i don't think i would never be blaise about pouring lye into a pot of anything - it does get really, really hot, and there are no reasons to take unnecessary risks. gloves and goggles are always on.

anyway, i've got all this gear one, even after i've cut the soap and all.....then the doorbell rings....sigh.....of course the doorbell rings; i'm dressed like a slob. i look like i'm a mad scientist...of course the doorbell rings.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

chemical reactions

golden one's dad is a plastic surgeon with beautiful skin. as such, i have always told blutsie to pay close attention if he should so much as reveal his beauty secrets (oh, lol, a man with beauty secrets). miss c had already found out that he used neutrogena moisturiser with spf 15....then more recently, blutsie found out that her father in law used goat's milk soap. he bought her a few bars of it and told her that it was very good and that she should use it.

now, i have possessed a desire to make soap for a very long time, and thought that this would provide the opportunity i have been waiting for. i looked at several recipes for soap and found that even though they expressedly tell you to weigh everything carefully because soapmaking was a very exact science, i found none of them to have an identical recipe....can't be that exacting then, i thought.

because i'm me, i thought i could easily replace the water needed with goat's milk and honey, after all, measurements looked approximate when comparing soap making recipes. measuring was not the issue here. it was the goat's milk and honey. i had to add sodium hydroxide to the liquid, and i did. i knew there would be a chemical reaction which would make the liquid very hot. what i didn't know was that it would be so hot that the sugars in the honey and goat's milk would burn. then there was the fat in the goat's milk i didn't consider. this fat would start the saponification process. but that didn't stop me....i persevered. i carried on as if there was nothing wrong. i heated the coconut and olive oils (i used extra virgin olive oil, no less - that was all i had) as instructed and combined the two liquids together. once the lye and fats have been combined, the mixture has to be stirred until "trace" is achieved. this is a state where the lye and fats have combined sufficiently for saponification to occur and develop the mixture into soap. the favoured method of mixing is to use a stick blender; this speeds thing up - mixing by hand using a spoon/stick would take anywhere in the vicinity of an hour or more, especially if olive oil is used; a stick blender would help the mix achieve trace within minutes. i used an old (i think about 40-50 years old) sunbeam mixmaster. my mixture achieved trace soon enough after mixing, but me being me thought that it would be better to keep beating. big mistake. the mixture separated. %##&*$!^%*%$..... i felt the bowl....ahhh....maybe it's not hot i stuck it into the microwave and beat it some more.....hmmmm..... heat it again......beat it again.....and keep beating. finally, i get this mixture that looks like thick, gluggy custard, but a caramel colour. oooh...better pour it into the

i notice the soap is solid really quickly which wasn't what i expected. i thought i'd have to wait until the next day, but since it was so obliging, i went with problems there.....i'm impatient, and if the soap wants to set quickly, i'm good with that.

when i think it's solid enough (and this was only an hour or so after pouring it into the mould), i unmould it....and i cut it. soap is the loveliest thing to cut. it's so smooth and firm and the knife just glides through. nothing as smooth to cut.

i lay out all the bars of soap. it's rustic looking, and it looks like fudge. and it has a distinctive smell which i can't put my finger on. it's probably the mixture of olive oil and honey.

i've used it since, and it is lovely. i don't think i could go back to using regular bought soap anymore; there's no comparison.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

spinach and salmon roulade

a long, long time ago, there was a wonderful little cheese shop in eastwood. i forget the name...could it have been granny smith's? the granny smith who grew the apples called granny smith used to live in eastwood, did you know that? this little cheese shop also served very nice light meals. one memorable item on the menu was a spinach and salmon roulade. we'd go along and be faced with the difficult decision of what to choose for lunch. they also made a sublime pumpkin soup....then there were the sweet things.....but i digress. this spinach and salmon roulade was something i thought i would like to add to my repertoire. it looked nice, had to have some sort of keeping property and was pretty tasty.

i don't know about everyone else, but i used to like having collections of things, and cookbooks became something i liked collecting. so when the australian women's weekly started its home library of cookbooks, i collected those. and wasn't that a good thing? because if i hadn't, i wouldn't have found this recipe; it's from the barbeque cookbook.

60 grams butter
1/3 cup plain flour
1 cup milk
4 eggs, separated

2 x 220 gram cans red salmon, drained
4 shallots
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon chopped chives

place frozen spinach in pan, cook over moderate heat until all liquid has evaporated. melt butter in separate pan, add flour, stir 1 minute. add milk gradually, stir until mixture boils and thickens.
quickly stir in egg yolks and spinach, transfer mixture to a large bowl. beat egg whites until soft peaks form, fold lightly into spinach mixture. pour mixture into a swiss roll tin lined with baking paper. bake in a hot oven for 12-15 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. remove from oven, turn onto wire rack covered with tea towel. carefully remove lining paper, spread evenly with filling. holding tea towel with both hands, gently roll roulade.

combine salmon, shallots, mayonnaise and chives, mix well.

i use fresh salmon, which i poach lightly, instead of canned and fresh spinach instead of frozen. that's just me. if you do, you'll have to check for seasoning. the other thing i do differently is to season it with freshly ground pepper.
i use the thermomix to cook the spinach and chop it, then continue on to make the white sauce in the thermomix; i just throw the butter, flour and milk into the bowl and let it do its thing while i prepare the filling.

Monday, September 14, 2009


i went and got my pasta machine out of storage a couple of weeks ago because i thought it was about time to give it a whirl. it's over thirty years old and never seems to get much of a work out. i believe it was originally bought to make noodles, but my mother has never been much of a cook, it got used maybe once? she passed it onto her sister, but i don't think much happened there either. i thought that now i had the thermomix, there was really no excuse to at least try it out. the thermomix did a beautiful job of mixing the dough, and i believe cranking the dough through the rollers of the pasta machine several times.made the texture of the fettucine we made exceptional. i used continental sharps flour - i remember yuyah's mother saying she liked using a coarser flour for making fresh pasta and who better than an italian lady to advise on such a matter?

allow 100 grams of flour per person.

400 grams continental sharps flour
4 eggs
a splash of olive oil
a little water, if necessary

mix the flour, eggs and oil together until combined. if you are unable to press bits of the mixture to form a dough, just add a little water. knead the dough until smooth. cover it and set aside so it can rest. if you use the thermomix, knead the dough for 3 or 4 minutes on interval speed.
once rested, take off a handful of the dough and put it through the machine, rolling and folding it on the thickest setting until it becomes very smooth and strong. once you're happy with it, roll it thinner progressively and use it as you wish.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

another awkward silence

i was just reading about how to make labneh cheese and it reminded me of a lunch i went to at mingay and paul's place. i got a call from wenty saying that he was going to the markets with mingay and paul to buy lobster for lunch and if i wanted to join them.

can i bring a friend?

of course you can.

i rang salli.

salli had never met mingay and paul before, and for some strange reason, i told salli about mingay's yoghurt. the first time i encountered this yoghurt was on a hot summer's day. mingay excitedly showed me the yoghurt saying that they made their own yoghurt and had it for breakfast everyday with fruit. it smelt.....ummmm.....not very nice.....not a pleasant sour smell, but a vomitty smell (sorry....that's what it smelt like). then, not only had fruit flies flying inside the jug; the jug was loosely covered with cling film that had seen better days. wenty, always blunt and rude said simply that he was surprised that mingay hadn't killed paul with food poisoning.

and so onto the lunch we go. they bought ten lobsters so we could have two each (they weren't big); one we had cold and one we had with mornay sauce. we had a fig and soft cheese starter, the lobsters and salad to finish off. when mingay brought out the salad, we eagerly looked into the bowl and he told us happily about what was in it. homegrown radishes, herbs, olives...a little of this and that. then he tells us about the dressing. a bit of oil, vinegar, seasonings and......his homemade yoghurt. dead silence.....then wenty breaks it by saying "and why is it suddenly so quiet after you say you put in your yoghurt?"

i can laugh about it now, but eating mingay's food is a bit like playing russian roulette.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


ambrosia is food of the gods or the heavens, depending on which definition you find.
in the food world, it's the name they give to a fancy fruit salad normally made with canned pineapple and canned mandains with sour cream and marshmallows. sometimes it's sprinkled with marachino cherries and or shredded coconut.
mine's a bit different. i like to put all the different fresh fruits i can lay my hands on in mine.

this is a list of fruits i'd put in:
and whatever other fruits you can think of.
sour cream

wash and prepare the fruit and cut into pieces. spoon over the sour cream and add the marshmallows. mix very lightly so as not to bruise the fruit.
chill in the refrigerator until required.

Friday, September 11, 2009


while i'm waiting for my sourdough starter to mature, i thought i'd make brioche. and i'm glad i did. the dough was easy to use, silky smooth and nice and elastic. i use my thermomix to help with the kneading and only very roughly followed the recipe. i think it must be very forgiving.

3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
1 sachet yeast
1 teaspoon salt
100 grams butter
650 grams strong baker's flour
1 egg

warm the milk and add the rest of the ingredients. mix everything around and once it has combined, knead the dough until it becomes elastic and is no longer sticky.
shape as desired and bake for 30 minutes at 200 degress celcius.

this dough os also good for making smaller rolls, such as clover leaf rolls, and to be really indulgent, could be made into rhum babas with the simple addition of rum syrup! absolute yumness.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

something wild

my lovely friend julie is an inspiration and has inspired me to explore the world of wild yeast. julie shared a great recipe with me for a seeded bread, and i caught the bread making bug. while i'm enjoying her seeded bread, i wondered if i could take things a bit further and make my own sourdough. not content to just buy a bread mix for sourdough bread, i've decided to make a sourdough bread from scratch and make my own starter. this involves "capturing" the wild yeasts in the air .....
after a bit of reading, i decided to go with the simplest method which was to combine a cup of water with a cup of flour. technically, filtered water should be used, but i just used regular tap water. because i bought a 12.5 kilo bag of strong baker's flour, i went with that. other types of flour can be used such as spelt or rye. the mix is covered with a fine muslin cloth to allow the wild yeasts in and keep larger particles out. i admit that this went against the grain for me, but i'm going to go with it. it isn't as if i was making a mouldy cheese, and the bread will be cooked before eating.
so far, i'm onto day three, and have fed the starter twice. so that i don't end up with masses of starter, i've only fed the starter with quarter cups of flour and water, and yes....i am seeing some action. yesterday saw some bubbles and today, more bubbles. it isn't smelling off, so i hope things go well. from what i understand, i'm going to have to wait a week before i can use it....stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


today is blutsie and golden one's ninth anniversary.....yes....their ninth anniversary is on the ninth day of the ninth month of the ninth year.....and what do they have to show for this time together? four boys....wiggy, sly, engine and ack dack. i'm baby sitting tonight so blutsie and golden one can go out. naturally, engine's was the one still up - he was put on this earth to make my life interesting...and he does...he does....

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

awkward silences

wenty first started driving me around when i was in my first year at university. i had seen him before when i had been to his parent's holiday place in narrabeen, but had never acknowledged each other, until one day, my mother came home and told me wenty was going to drive me to uni. i was horrified. and mortified. it was awful.
the morning came around, soon enough; i got into the car and probably said hello and that it wasn't necessary to drive me. i remember him saying it wasn't any trouble...and that was it...silence.....for the rest of the trip..... to give you an idea of how long the silence was - it took a good hour to get to uni, that's how long our silence was. i was so shy, and i didn't know what to say or do, never mind wenty not having anything to say either.
i got out of the car, thanked him, slammed the car door and thought that that was that. no such luck.
somehow or rather, wenty was back the following week. the same thing happened. we were totally silent. i don't know how long this went on for, but somehow we got through it and ended up had lots to talk about. eventually, wenty drove me to and from uni every day we had in common.

Monday, September 7, 2009


people always ask wenty and me about our history together...always. i don't know how mingay and paul got together, but they know all about us. it was on one such delving occasion that i realised that i had an amenesia moment with wenty.
one of the first times we went to dinner together was to the double bay steak house in st leonards. wenty and i barely knew each other at the time, and i was terribly shy. because the place we were going to was called the double bay steak house, wenty automatically assumed that it was in double bay and suggested that we could go to the french riviera for ice cream after dinner. alas, it was in st leonards, but he had already committed himself to ice cream, as he kept his word on that count.
but i'm going off on a tangent....back to the amenesia. apparently there was some dancing involved with the dinner. while i remember a lot of what happened between the two of us back then, i didn't remember the dancing. wenty was telling our eager audience about how we were on the dance floor and he was spinning me around and then suddenly realised that everyone else was dancing much more slowly. that, he said was the one thing that has stuck in his mind after all these years. i don't remember it; i put it down to being so traumatised that i had temporary amnesia. yes, it was traumatic for me. wenty has traumatised me no end.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

pumpkin soup

as we were driving up to the mountains last week, wenty was telling me about how he made pumpkin soup every now and again, based on MY instructions. i asked what he meant, considering that i hadn't i hadn't made pumpkin soup for a very long time.
"you always told me to place everything into the pot in layers"
"i did?"
"you did. onion and garlic sauteed in oil, then topped with peeled and cubed pumpkin. then put the lid on and allow the pumpkin to steam over the sauteed onions and garlic until very soft before adding stock and blending. it gives the soup a depth of flavour."
that was probably over a decade ago. fancy wenty remembering after all these years. and he always tells me i have a good memory....i guess between the two of us, we can piece together our memories and missing pieces.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

blue mountains

i've just returned from a fews days away in the mountains. wenty rented his sister's holiday place in wentworth falls for jurgen's 80th birthday. the first night, there was just the six of us - jurgen, mingay, paul, tina (jurgen's neighbour), wenty and myself. the following day, alan and ross arrived and we went to dinner at lillianfels. it was one of the nicest dinners i have ever been to, not that the food was fantastic or anything, but because i had such a nice time with wenty. it was the first time i have realised that wenty has always spoilt me so much...and he's been spoiling me from the moment we met 30 years ago...fancy that.....
the following day, we sent five of them sightseeing and mingay, wenty and i hung around for most of the morning in the house, chatting and it was really pleasant....i have to admit that i was amazed at how pleasant it was; normally, the three of us fight, and if mingay isn't in the picture, wenty and i fight....we always fight, and always have done soon after we met, so if you do the maths, we have been fighting a mighty long time. anyway, in the late morning, wenty and i left mingay to the house and went into katoomba and checked out the shops along the main street. i think wenty must have got in touch with his feminine side or something because not once did he complain as i looked through all the shops...omg...this is sappy.....all i can say is that it's taken me three decades to realise that apart from our constant bickering, he's looked after me all the time; best not to let him know though - he's not the sentimental type.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

cyber friends

i've been using the internet for years, but it was only recently that i've become better acquainted with other cybernauts.
miss c and miss k have had cyber friends for years now and miss c actually arranged to meet some a few years ago. i went with her to ensure her safety, naturally. we met in the city and of all things, one girl actually lived a few streets away from us. miss c sees her occasionally and they have been quite friendly over the years.
miss k has wanted to meet her cyber friend in person as well, but has not, to date. they did try to arrange something, but her friend's mother exclaimed, "what if she's a dirty old man?". she's a sensible woman. i wouldn't be any different. this girl lives in a different part of sydney to us. if miss k and this girl ever cross paths, it will interesting for them.
me? much as i love the internet, i hadn't made any friends until now. just a couple. we email back and forth, and they're interesting people to chat to. i try to chat in the same style as i talk because when and if i ever meet them, i'd like to think that they would recognise me. my friend, poppelle, thinks i type just like i talk, and i think that's important - i don't want to sound like someone i'm not.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

gula melaka

this has been one of the best desserts i have ever unwittingly made. following on from the sago dessert i had in kowloon, i found this to be really versatile. how do i know this? i made it to take down to tze's place in bulli, and it was hugely popular, and not only that, it was allergy people friendly. richard's a coeliac, and christopher is allergic to dairy, peanuts and eggs (could be more, but i don't remember) everyone could eat it. it's super easy too.

4 litres water
1 cup sago

150 grams palm sugar, chopped
150 grams coconut sugar, chopped
1/2 cup water

200 ml coconut cream, to serve

bring the water to a rapid boil. while stirring the boiling water, slowly sprinkle the cup of sago into the water. make sure none of the sago sticks to the bottom of the pan by stirring. once you have poured in all of sago continue stirring and let it boil for 1 minute. turn off the heat and put the lid on and let it sit for 5 minutes. stir the sago and turn the heat back on full for 1 more minute then turn the heat off and let it sit until the pearls are translucent, about 10 minutes. don't worry if you have a few pearls that are still white in the middle. pour the sago into a sieve and rinse under runnng water until the pearls have cooled. scoop into either moulds or little ramekins. cover and set in the fridge.

to make the gula melaka, place the sugars and water in a small pot over a medium flame and stir until dissolved. bring to the boil and set aside to cool.

when ready to serve, unmould the sago, if necessary, and pour over the syrup and coconut cream to one's liking.

sago is usually best served within several hours of making.

Monday, August 17, 2009

wiggy's penguin cake

this is wiggy's penguin cake. i don't know whatever possessed him to make such a request, but he did. and it had lots of black obscene amount. everytime i make a cake with black icing i find that i have to use masses of black food colouring to get it anywhere near black...and this is starting with really dark chocolate icing. all the other colours don't need anywhere near the same amount, and i'm thinking strong colours green....

Sunday, August 16, 2009

it smells like spring

i just stepped into my backyard and had a "smell" smells like spring. i know that it's still winter officially, but it was so warm today, and tonight, the backyard smells lovely. i don't plant anything special in the garden on account of the ground being infertile and all, but it's better than what it was when i first moved here.
i remember when we lived in lindfield, the smell of each season was quite distinct until the charcoal chicken shop opened up at the station; lindfield just never smelt the same again. now that we're in killara, and far enough from the highway, the seasons smell like they should again, although not quite the same as when i was a child. people are no longer able to burn the autumn leaves anymore. i do miss it a bit, but we're supposed to use our green bins now. i think it also helps that we're so close to the garrigal forest.....i love the way the air smells....

Saturday, August 15, 2009

quick apricot mousse

remember my strawberry mousse from last year? i thought that was pretty effortless. this is even more so. and three ingredients, to boot.
this is another offering from the same australian women's weekly menu planner i got the cream cheese flan from; this one's from page 54.

825 gram can apricot halves
2 teaspoons gelatine
300 grams sour cream

drain the apricots and reserve 1/2 cup syrup. sprinkle the gelatine over the syrup and allow to soften over a bowl of hot water.
puree the apricots, add the sour cream and gelatine mixture and mix until combined throughly.
pour into individual dishes and refrigerate until set.

isn't that easy? i'd suspect that it might be diabetic friendly if you used apricots in natural juice, but you should check that out with a dietician just to make sure.

Friday, August 14, 2009

roasted capsicums

on the tail of my post about convenience foods, i like finding easier ways of doing things without sacrificing taste. roasted capsicums have always been one of those things which finds itself in the "fiddly" basket....much loved, but fiddly.......gone in a blink, but forever to prepare...sort of...
so......i did a bit of a taste test thing with roasted capsicums: capsicums roasted whole and sliced off the core.
roasted whole requires the capsicum to spend more time "cooking" and as such, the fruit releases a lot of juice. slices spend less time being grilled and are firmer than their whole counterparts and retain their juices.
another consideration is capacity. one capsicum, sliced, takes up more tray space, but doesn't take so much time to get to the point of being peelable. more whole capsicums can be placed on a tray, but has to be turned until blackened all around, and by that stage has collapsed and is mushier in texture.
slicing the capsicum also enables the bottom of the capsicum to be blackened easily (when left whole, i always think it's that awkward spot) and there is also not the problem of having capsicum seeds scattered throughout.
so were the capsicums sliced off the core and roasted able to meet the deliciousness of whole roasted capsicums? i loved them. this is a personal opinion. i loved them because they still had a bit of chewiness and bite...they weren't as messy to prepare...and i like how they quicker to prepare, getting them closer to instant gratification.
i used capsicums which had nice thick flesh, so the resulting roasted capsicums were nice and meaty.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

convenience foods

i'm always weary of some convenience foods because they taste "funny"..... processed....not they've had something done to them. one food/recipe author once said that the roasted capsicums one could buy in jars were "just as good as" those done at home from scratch. against my better judgement, i bought a jar and there was no way those jarred "pepper" could cut the mustard. i should know better. this author also wrote that she would go around the table when she had dinner parties and collect the bones off her guests plates, bag and freeze them for use in stock at a later stage.....eugh.
after this capsicum episode, i still maintained my faith in human nature and bought a jar of grilled eggplants. these were quite different from all the others i had seen on the market. i carefully read the label. so far, so good. no weird ingredients or preservatives. it was also made in australia - a great big plus there. they looked really good...and so i bought them and can report back that they were really good. no weirdness and a really good addition to salad. i suspect alot of it has to do with it not having citric acid in its composition. at last, grilled eggplant which i don't have to grill myself. so worth it. now i have to hope the people who make it (norton street grocer) don't stop.....i wonder if they make roasted capsicums?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

exfoliating sea salt scrub

i was rummaging through all my things today, trying to find some light olive oil i had infused with essentials oil. instead, i stumble on some salt scrub we made a little while back. it was wonderfully fragrant with all the lovely things we put in it - orange peel, rosemary, lavender.... to make it, use a light oil; sweet almond oil is a favourite, but light olive oil is fine. olive oil is very warming on the skin and can be "thickish" - choose what you think you might like to use.
with the salt, don't use something too coarse. rock salt is too coarse - find a finer crystal of sea salt because it will feel much coarser on the skin.
i already mentioned that we used orange peel, rosemary and lavender. other things you can use to add to your mix include:
rose petals; use fragrant dark red rose petals which have been grown naturally without pesticides.
mint would be nice and refreshing. there are many varieties of mint, so choose the one you like if you want to use mint.
one you may not have thought of is pineapple sage. pineapple sage has lovely red flowers and velvety fragrant leaves.
lightly mix half a cup of salt with a handful of your herbs or flowers of choice, then start to add your oil. stir the mixture around gently with a stainless steel spoon while you add the oil until you get a consistency you are happy with - you can use as little or as much oil as you like - both are good. use your spoon to fill sterilised containers with the mix and seal them. the salt acts as a preservative, so the leaves and flowers will not rot (as long as you don't stir it around with your hands - your hands have lots of germs on them no mtter how clean you may think they are).
whenyou are ready to use the scrub, scoop a little out of a jar and place it on your wet hands and scrub away and the salt will exfoliate while the oil moisturises. rinse and pat your skin dry.

Monday, August 10, 2009

cream cheese flan

every so often, i like to flip through my australian women's weekly menu planners. i don't have the whole set and would love to complete it if it is at all possible. anyway, this recipe is from the third book of the first series and was printed in 58, if you must know. i love these little books - they hark to a different time and the recipes in them have that quaint quality to them, retro, if you like, but definitely not mainstream.
a gluten free version of this flan can be made if gluten free biscuits are used for the base.

this flan can be made up to 1 day ahead; store, covered, in the refrigerator. recipe unsuitable to freeze.

1 1/2 cups (185grams) sweet biscuit crumbs
90 grams butter, melted
250 grams cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons lemon rind
300 grams sour cream

combine the biscuit crumbs and butter and press over the base of a 23 cm flan tin; refrigerate until firm.
beat the cream cheese and sugar until soft, add the eggs and lemon rind and mix well.
add the sour cream and beat to combine.
pour the mixture into a saucepan and whisk over heat without boiling until slightly thickened (or microwave on high 8 minutes, stopping every 2 minute to whisk mixture).
pour mixture over biscuit base, cool and refirgerate several hours or overnight.

decorate with whipped cream, drizzled chocolate and strawberries if you'd like.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

a candle...sort of...

for as long as i can remember, i've always wanted to make candles. today, i did...sort of. i remember my auntie have these lamp things which she fuelled with cooking oil, and had a wick burning out of it. i'd been burning the odd tea light lately and wondered if the aluminium casing and little thing left after burning (i've since found out that it's the thing that holds the wick by clamping the wick firmly to the base) were recyclable. so i decided to see if i could make a lampy/candly thing.
i found a tag from a jacket i bought for miss c the other day had a cotton stringy cord atached to it and decided to recycle that as the wick. it was short for a piece of string, but long for a wick. gives new meaning to waste not want not. at that stage, i only had a aluminium casing without the wick anchor, so used a mangled paper clip to act as the anchor for my first attempt. it wasn't fabulous, but it worked. i poured in extra virgin olive oil (that's what i had on hand...ideally, it should be the cheap non food grade olive oil, but i was on a roll and did not want to wait), waited for the wick to become saturated with oil and then lit it...and it burned properly! like a real candle! if i didn't know better, i'd say it actually burns with a nicer flame than a candle....the flame seems smoother. of course, i could be biased, but you should try it yourself.
having done one was not enough; i wanted to make another one. at this stage, i found another casing, and this casing had one of those wick anchors. this was when i paid more regard to the wick anchor. it had a hole in the middle, for the wick to go through, and it also had something to hold the wick so it wouldn't loosen. the anchor made the second candle thingy easy and faster to assemble. i used one of my pointy tweezers to poke the wick through the hole in the anchor and pressed the clampy thing together to hold the wick securely. put it in the casing and poured oil into the casing, again waiting for the wick to absorb some oil, then lit it.
i've got both candle thingies burning smoothly next attempt will be to make lampy out world, here i come.....oh yeah, i think i'm going to have to get me some of that there cheap olive oil.....

Friday, August 7, 2009

chinese flavoured stock concentrate

i thought i'd take yesterday's vegetable stock concentrate a step further and make a chinese version. i realise mine is not authentic by any stretch of the imagination, but it works for me, and that's what matters.

1/2 cup rice bran oil
250 grams garlic, peeled
500 grams ginger, peeled and sliced
some spring onions, chopped
100 grams salt

place everything into a blender and blitz until everything is pureed.
scrape it all out of the blender jug into a non stick saucepan and heat gently until everything is bubbling away, and allow to do so for a good five to ten minutes. stir the pot every so often to make sure the mixture doesn't catch.
decant into sterelised jars and put the lids on immediately and invert the jars so a vacuum will be created once the puree cools. refrigerate and use within six months.

one tablespoon will flavour up to a litre of water and would make a good poaching stock for chicken. this is also pretty good stirred through noodles and can be used as a dipping sauce for the poached chicken (a la hainanese chicken). a bit of sesame oil mixed in wouldn't go astray either.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

vegetable stock concentrate

this is a new thing for me, and a new favourite. i've always made my own stock because i've always felt a bit odd opening a tetra pak stock, or using a cube. making my own stock has also taken precious time and effort....this stock concentrate has revolutionalised my thinking about stock. let me get on with the recipe and you can make your own judgement. the vegetables only need to be chopped roughly as they will be pureed once cooked.

1/2 cup olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 parsnip, peeled and chopped
1 turnip, peeled and chopped
2-3 stalks of celery (i used several of the inside stalks, including the leaves), chopped
a good handful of parsley, chopped
150 grams salt (yes, you read that correctly. it preserves the mix and provides an accent to the mix)

heat the oil in a saucepan large enough to contain the vegetables (which should weigh about a kilogram altogether).
sweat the onion and garlic until soft and slightly coloured.
add the parsnip, turnip, celery, parsley and salt and continue to gently cook the vegetables. the salt will draw out moisture, so the vegetables can soften in their own liquid.
give everything a good stir, lower the heat and place the lid on the pot and allow everything to cook slowly. check every now and then to ensure the vegetables don't catch; once everything is very tender, use the bamix to puree it all.
have some sterilised jars ready and decant the puree into them. place the lids on immediately and invert. once cooled, the jars should be vacuum sealed. store the jars in the refrigerator and use within six months.

that's it. a tablespoon is equivalent to a stock cube. use the mix as you would salt - sparingly and carefully. mixing a spoonful in water will give you instant vegetable stock. in some cases, i've found that i will use it to season food instead of salt and it's just that bit more interesting than seasoning with plain salt. remember not to overdo things because there's alot of salt in the mix, and if you go overboard, whatever you're cooking is going to be mighty salty.
for those of you with a thermomix, you'll recognise it as a thermomix recipe, but i don't see why it should be made exclusively by those with a thermomix; everyone else should try it too.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

something simply garlicky

the last few days i've been going through a garlic phase and have been making things with lots of it, and have no doubt been very pongy. since i don't want to be pongy on my own, i'm sharing this recipe, so we can reek together.


2 cloves garlic, crushed
400g can chick peas, drained, liquid set aside
rind and juice of 1 lemon
a good splash of olive oil
handful of parsley
2 tablespoons tahini

i used to make this with my bamix - i'd throw everything together in a large vegemite or peanut butter jar and blitz away, adding a little of the reserved chick pea liquid if required.
since i now have a thermomix, i put the garlic in first to blitz, then add the other ingredients and blitz until i get the texture i like - it can be as chunky or smooth as you like.

essentially, this is quite a healthy dip and it makes eating raw vegetables very easy.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


i like making mayonnaise with my bamix - it is so easy, it's almost instant.

get hold of a 2 cup capacity container. i have been known to make mayonnaise in peanut butter jars - it's convenient - after the mayonnaise is made, you don't have to tip it into another jar or container, you just put the peanut butter jar lid on, and it's covered. one less thing to wash and isn't that the way to go? so environmentally friendly.
pop 2 egg yolks or a whole egg into the jar and blitz until the egg is nice and frothy.
keeping the motor running, start drizzling your favourite oil into the jar (your favourite oil might be olive, canola, rice bran...although i do find using all extra virgin olive oil very strong - i just use a combination sometimes). keep drizzling until the mayonnaise becomes nice and thick and luscious.....that egg will absorb about a cup of oil, so be prepared. i admit the first time i made mayonnaise, i found it really difficult to keep adding oil, but believe me, you have to do have to go all the way, otherwise what you've started will be wasted.....if you can't handle it, don't start at all....
once your mayonnaise is how i've described it (nice and thick and luscious), you can stop adding oil. you can now drizzle in a tablespoon or 2 of lemon juice or tarragon vinegar.
season with a little salt, if you like.

if you want to make aioli, put a peeled clove of garlic into the jar when you're blitzing the egg and continue from there.

my personal favourite is mayonnaise with some sundried tomato in it. i just chop some up and fold it through the mayonnaise. i don't bother with either the lemon juice or vinegar in this case.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

apricot chicken

yes, i'm going to post this recipe, and what's wrong with that? i know there are fancy versions of apricot chicken, but wrong with the good old original? it's comforting, and sometimes this just hits the spot.

1.5 kilograms of you favourite chicken pieces
35 gram packet of french onion soup mix
425 ml can apricot nectar

combine the chicken, soup mix and apricot nectar together and place in a baking dish. place in an oven set to 180 degrees celcius and bake, covered for 30 minutes. remove cover and bake a further 20 minutes.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

my first solo thermomix cooking session

i got my thermomix yesterday and as soon it had been put throught the dishwasher, i got cracking. i confess that i show no imagination - i made a risotto. i'm on a learning curve and i have to start somewhere. and because i'm me, i did some things different to what the recipe book said. i used masses of vintage tasty cheese, which i didn't grate and put into the bowl in chunks as the thermomix was going. it coped very well and the cheese melted and distributed itself through the unctiousness, i used wine to make up what i was short of in stock....but the one thing i did differently to the thermomix bible was to use hot stock and fry the onions, garlic and rice in a regular pan. i had the stock bubbling away in the thermomix bowl, and once i thought the aromatics had released their fragrance, and the rice was adequately toasted and coated in an abundance of butter and olive oil, i added them to the thermomix bowl to party with the bubbly stock. also joining the party, was the aforementioned cheese. it was a little clunky and awkward at first, but in next to no time it joined in and was a pretty smooth mingler.
do i like it? yes, but i need to have some time with it. i need to get to know it better - i'm looking forward to a productive working relationship. does that sum it all up?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

kumera and lentil soup

this is one of the easiest soups i know...almost as easy as opening up a can of cambell's soup; it's just fresher tasting, that's all.

1 kilogram kumera, cubed
3/4 cup red lentils, rinsed
stock to cover
salt and pepper to taste

pop everything into a pot, bring it to the boil and simmer until the kumera is tender. blend until smooth (or however you like it) and serve.

wasn't that the easiest? i'm not a big lentil person, but the addition of lentils with this really works well, so much so that if it is omitted, the soup just doesn't taste as good.

Friday, July 24, 2009

peanut butter cookies...with extras...

i'm not a big peanut butter eater, but tend to buy too much of it thinking we might be out of it. enter peanut butter cookies - a hero in the "using heaps of peanut butter" world.

1 cup (260 grams) peanut butter (use your favourite - smooth or crunchy)
1 cup sugar (220 grams) sugar
1 egg

m and ms
chocolate chips (again use your favourite - white, milk or dark)
dried fruit (your favourites, again - pears, apricots, cranberries)
nuts (cashews, walnuts, macadamias)

preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius and line a baking sheet with baking paper.
combine the peanut butter, sugar and egg in a mixing bowl. add your desired extras, just keeping in mind that if you like putting lots of stuff in, you will have to have enough cookie dough to hold it all together. all the bits you put in can be chopped as finely as you like or left as rustic as you like.
form the dough into balls and place the on the baking sheet. pressthem down a little to flatten and bake for about 15 minutes or until golden.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

banana caramel tart

the first time i had this was in a little cheese shop in eastwood...granny smith's? i'm embarrassed to say i don't remember the name, but that was probably about 20 years ago. i can't remember exactly what theirs was like either, but this one is pretty good - especially the least i think so. don't get me wrong, theirs must have been good enough for it to be memorable.

2 -3 bananas
300 mls thichened cream.

pate sucree
60 grams icing sugar
125 grams plain flour
pinch of salt
60 grams butter, softened
1 egg yolk

caramel filling
200 grams brown sugar
125 grams butter
35 grams cornflour
250 ml milk
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

make the pastry by placing the icing sugar, flour butter and egg yolk in to the bowl of a food processor and process until a dough is formed. refrigerate for 30 minutes.
preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius.
roll out the pastry to fit a 24 centimetre loose bottomed flan tin. place a 23 centimetre disc over the the base (or bake blind, if you prefer) and bake for 10 minutes or until light golden. set aside to cool.
prepare the caramel filling by combining the brown sugar and butter in a medium pan over low heat to melt the butter. blend together the cornflour and milk and add to the butter mixture. whisk while heating until the mixture boils and thickens. remove from heat and quickly whisk in the egg yolks and vanilla essence. cover and set aside to cool.
spread the caramel filling into the pastry case and cover with a layer of sliced bananas. whip the cream and dollop over the bananas to completely cover. refrigerate and serve.

Monday, July 20, 2009

lemon cream in the style of pierre herme in pate sucree tartlet shells‏

1 cup sugar
finely grated zest of 3 lemons
4 large eggs
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
280 grams unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces, at room temperature
salt flakes to fold through the emulsion to provide bursts of saltiness

things you'll need: a thermometer, a strainer and a blender.
bring a few inches of water to a simmer in a saucepan.
put the sugar and zest in a large heatproof bowl that can be set over the pan of simmering water.
macerate the sugar and zest together until the sugar takes on the lemoniness of the zest.
whisk in the eggs, followed by the lemon juice.
set the bowl over the pan, and start stirring with the whisk as soon as the mixture feels tepid to the touch. cook the lemon cream until it reaches 82 degrees celcius. as you whisk—you must whisk constantly to keep the eggs from scrambling—you'll see that the cream will start out light and foamy, then the bubbles will get bigger, and then, as it gets closer to 82 degrees celcius, it will start to thicken and the whisk will leave tracks. start to take great care at this point—the tracks mean the cream is almost ready. don't stop whisking or checking the temperature, and have patience—depending on how much heat you're giving the cream, getting to temp can take as long as 10 soon as it reaches 82 degrees celcius, remove the cream from the heat and strain it into the container of the blender; discard the zest. let the cream stand, stirring occasionally, until it cools to 68 degrees celcius, about 10 minutes.
turn the blender to high and, with the machine going, add the butter a piece or two at a time. scrape down the sides of the container as needed as you incorporate the butter. once the butter is in, keep the machine going—to get the perfect light, airy texture of lemon-cream dreams, you must continue to blend the cream for another 3 minutes. fold salt flakes through the cream.

pate sucree
120 grams icing sugar
250 grams plain flour
pinch of salt
125 grams butter, softened
1 egg
place the icing suagr, flour butter and egg in to the bowl of a food processor and process until a dough is formed.
dust a work surface lightly with flour. roll dough out and cut rounds to fit tartlet moulds; you should get 36 tartlet cases about 10-12cm in diameter.
prick well and bake for 14 minutes at 180 degrees celcius.
assemble the tarts with a dollop of lemon cream in each tart and top with shards of toffee.
do not attempt to blowtorch sugar sprinkled on the lemon cream as the cream will collapse.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

mork from the philippines

wenty and i went to yum cha today. after the bill was paid and i was waiting for him, i overheard the guy behind me answer his phone, "hello? hello?" "nanoo, nanoo" "nanoo" "nanoo nanoo".
i related this to wenty, who just replied that the guy was from the philippines. am i missing something? mork from ork used to say "nanoo nanoo" on the mork and mindy show and we were told that he spoke orkish (or whatever). well, now i've been told otherwise. mork is really from the philippines.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

choclate crackles

miss c had her party on saturday, and she made specific requests; she wanted fairy bread and chocolate crackles. can you believe it? she's nearly 18 (we had the party early) and she wanted children's party food. beanstalk did voice his disdain by asking if i had to listen to her, but then, i had already worked out what i was hoping to do.
the fairy bread was a real hit. it was gone...
chocolate crackles were popular too, but the time they were brought out, most of the crowd had had their fill.

250 grams copha
5 cups rice bubbles
1 cup coconut
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
5 tablespoons cocoa

melt the copha.
combine the rice bubbles, coconut, icing sugar and cocoa in a large bowl and pour over the copha and mix thoroughly.
spoon into 24 paper patty pans and leave to set.

that's it.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


engine has a tendency to be sooky at times, and the day we had his party was no exception. never one to take that nonsense, i asked eddie to take wiggy and sly up to the local woollies and buy a bag of smarties.
the smarties served two purposes; i used them to lured engine away from his dad and to decorate his cake. i really believe in always having a more involved approach to cake making/decorating - it makes eveything more personal and memorable. never mind if you don't make the cake yourself, but if you can just do a little something, it's nice.
so, after i made and iced engine's cake, i left it quite plain. and i left it to him and his brothers and cousins to help adorn it. engine was quite absorbed and made sure the smarties didn't fall off the cake by pressing them deep into the cake. if he's too young to remember doing this, i'm sure there will be those who will remember...and remind him of how he added his personal touch to his birthday cake....and forgot about being clingy and sooky.

Friday, June 26, 2009


i know we're in the middle of winter, but i'm enjoying the vegetables and herbs from the garden now. i put parsley in at the beginning of spring, so i've had a pretty good run, but most of the others were only planted (from seed) about two months ago. the radishes, as were expected, were ready; this is the first time i've planted radishes and they are fast and gratifying. i've had one a day. i keep forgetting to have them with a bit of butter and salt as the french do, and have them au naturel, which isn't bad. i can't say radishes are a favourite vegetable, but they certainly taste better when they're homegrown. other vegetables and herbs i've planted are lettuce, sugar snap peas, regular peas, sorrel, mexican corriander, spring onions, chives, garlic chives, tarragon, greek basil.....buk choy and chillies. not a small list, eh? and to top it off, everything's in pots, save the greek basil. the soil here is very poor; i'm virtually next to the garigal forest, so it's quite bushy and only australian natives seem to thrive here, but that's not going to stop me.
anyway, because i'm only harvesting little bits of everything, i'm just making salad....nothing like it.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


who has a twitter account? i opened one a while it supposed to be my online diary? a bit stalky, methinks.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

which jane austen heroine are you?

i remember after i read pride and prejudice in high school, i wanted to be elizabeth bennet. i was disagreeable with potential suitors, especially one in particular because i knew all the girls pandered to him. we are friends to this day, and i continue to be disagreeable; i think he enjoys it, because, he too, realises everyone is just too polite to him. i might have fancied myself to be miss lizzy, but i think that is biased - i need someone else to make the analysis, someone impartial.
since i can't make my own analysis, i do the next best thing and analyse miss c. while miss c doesn't matchmake, she does possess many similarities with jane austen's emma and modern emma's cher in clueless. her friends provide the charcters - she has met mr elton, mr frank churchill made a knightley has yet to make himself known. of course we can make assumptions as to his identity, but miss c's mr knightley is as restrained as emma's, and is also miss c's only critic while concealing his affections for her. as for miss c, she prefers fictitious heroes in her life, lest real heroes derail her focus (on what is open to conjecture).
to be continued when mr knightley reveals himself.....

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

melting moments

i love these biscuits because they are delicate and delicious, filled with a lovely lemony icing. they are supposed to keep very well in an air-tight container, but they are so easy to eat, it doesn't matter if they don't keep well. i don't know anyone who doesn't love these biscuits because everyone asks for them.

2 cups of plain flour
1/2 cup custard powder
250g. butter, softened
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence

3/4 cup icing sugar
60 grams butter
1-2 lemon juice
lemon rind

preheat the oven to 170 degrees celcius.
line a baking tray with baking paper.
beat the butter, vanilla and icing sugar until light and creamy.
sift the flour and custard powder together then add to the creamed mixture, mixing until everything is well combined.
divide the dough into 30 pieces and roll each piece into a small ball.
place the balls on the lined tray, and press each ball with a fork to flatten slightly.
bake for 15-20 minutes until pale golden but not brown.
make the icing by creaming together the second portion of icing and butter, with the lemon juice and rind.
place a little icing on half of the biscuits and sandwich together with the remaining biscuits.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

langues de chat (cat's tongues)

when i was young, there was a french patissier in penshurst street, roseville, which had the most wonderful sweet things. of course, there were the pastries, but there would also be little bags of almond tuiles and madeleines. dad was wonderful and indulged me; i'd choose all the goodies and go home to have tastes of a little bit of all of them.
imagine my delight when i tracked down this recipe. admittedly, they were not for almond tuiles, but they possessed the same buttery crisp deliciousness. i loved making them for dad - he'd eat them with such gusto, a little girl could never resist making them for her beloved father. i loved the way my dad ate the biscuits i made - he made me feel so special.

60 grams butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 egg whites (one whole egg can be used - naturally, the result is slightly different, but still very delicious)
scant 1/2 cup plain flour

preheat the oven to 200 degrees celcius.
line a few baking trays with baking paper.
cream the butter and sugar together until light. whisk in the egg whites until just combined, and fold in the flour.
spoon the batter into a piping bag fitted with a plain 5mm tube.
pipe 5 cm lengths of batter on the lined trays, allowing room for spreading. tap the tray sharply on the kitchen bench to allow the mixture to spread a little.
bake for 7-9 minutes or until the edges are golden - being careful not to let the biscuits burn.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

lemon coconut squares

i know this slice is as old as the hills and most people know how to make it, but i had never made it until recently. i avoided making it because i knew how delicious it was, having eaten other people's creations; i had to show some restraint - if i made it, i'd eat it, simple as that. what was i thinking?

1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
125 grams butter
250 grams biscuit crumbs
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 cup coconut

lemon icing
1 3/4 cups icing sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
30 grams butter

place condensed milk and butter in a small saucepan and stir over gentle heat until the butter melts. stir in the biscuit crumbs, rind and coconut and combine well. press into a laminton pan lined with baking paper. chill for an hour.
make the lemon icing by combining the icing sugar, lemon juice and butter until smooth. spread over the prepared base and allow to set. once set, cut into squares to serve.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

little miss sunshine

miss c asked me to sit and watch little miss sunshine with her, and i'm glad i did. for once, there's a dysfunctional familiy on the screen, not all scrubbed and sugary. dad's a motivational speaker, who's not getting anywhere; mum's trying to keep it all together; grandpa has a drug habit; son hasn't utter a word for nearly a year; uncle has just tried to commit suicide and little olive just takes it all on board.
i cringe with every disaster they encounter, and wonder if uncle realises that he really couldn't justify attempting suicide as he watches his sister's family.
surprisingly refreshing. i will say no more.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

peas interrupted

i've just been outside doing a bit of gardening (in my pots); planted more radishes, lettuce, bok choy, peas and sugar snap peas. i planted some about a month ago, and only the radishes are ready to be eaten.
i'm so tempted to eat the pea sprouts - they are just delicious. i found that out by default - one spout snapped and i didn't want it to go to waste so i ate it - it was one of the most delicious things i've ever had in my life. yesterday, i snapped one off on purpose and can you believe i exclaimed "yum" out loud in the garden? is that a sign of madness? if pea flowers down hurry up and pop out, they won't have a chance - i will have eaten the plants! i've had commercially grown pea sprouts, but they are just nothing compared to these ones i've grown - in fact after buying them once, i couldn't buy them again - they were so tough and stringy. needless to say, i have put down a whole pile of seeds, hoping that they'll serve to provide more sprouts and, hopefully, peas. i'm also looking for somewhere where i can buy the seeds in bulk; that way, i'll be able eat all the sprouts my little heart desires. since the sugar snap pea sprouts are the most delicious, that's the way i'm going.
the pea plants i have are now over a metre high, and still very good to eat....i want to know whether they'll ever make it to the pea production stage....

Friday, June 5, 2009


i never used to feel the urge to buy many kitchen accessories, but lately, i have noticed a whole selection of accessories i wouldn't mind having. some are outdated, but i wouldn't mind getting to know them better before i simply write them off. i want to give them a fighting chance.
on my list, in no particular order, are breadmaker, kitchen aide, pressure cooker, robotic vacuum (i can use that in the kitchen), thermomix. i'm sure there are more, but this selection will do for now.
however, before i start crossing off items on this list, i think there are more important things i have to give priority to.....for, work and more work....
i better go and do some work now that i've reminded myself.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


i'm facinated by ghosts, friendly ones, in particular. i've never seen one, but sometimes, i get the feeling they're there. i'm sure i have one who looks after things for me; might be my guardian angel, but there is something there. definitely.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

ack dack's first cake

today is acka dack's birthday, and it's hard to believe time has flown so quickly.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

cheese and bacon pinwheels

i've always loved baking and have never discriminated between sweet and savoury. so when i discovered a french bakery in chatswood some 30 years ago (a pioneer of its time) which had these savoury ham and cheese pastries, i thought i would replicate them; not only did i replicate them, i came up with different variations. this was the simplest.

1 sheet of puff pastry
1 cup grated cheese
1 rasher bacon, diced

line a baking tray with baking paper.
place the puff pastry on your workbench and sprinkle with the cheese and bacon. roll up the puff pastry as if you were making a swiss roll, removing the plastic from the puff pastry as you go, but not all the way - leave the last bit of pastry stuck to the plastic and use the plastic to enclose the roll. place the roll in the fridge for about 30 minutes to firm up; the plastic will protect the pastry from drying out too much.
preheat the oven to 200 degrees celcius.
remove the roll from the fridge when firm, discard plastic and cut into slices about 1 centimetre thick and place on the baking tray. ensure the oven has come to the right temperature, and bake for 20 minutes or until golden and bubbly.

very often i like using low fat extra tasty cheese to make these as regular cheese can be greasy and messy. i do emphasise the extra tasty intentionally as low fat cheese is sometimes lacking in flavour. if you should choose the low fat way to go, try to serve the pinwheels warm as low fat cheese cooled/cold isn't too palatable, either. choose your trade off.

Friday, May 8, 2009

pasta cooked in one pot

sometimes when i go shopping and i see semi preprepared meals like dinner winner and wonder what they're like, but never have the guts to try them. instead, i use the same concept they use and sometimes cook my pasta like this. i'm sure it wouldn't win any brownie points with italians, but it ain't half bad.

375 grams lean mince
2 tablespoons olive oil
200 grams sliced mushrooms
1 capsicum, chopped
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
a few sprigs parsley, basil, oregano, chopped roughly
750 mL tomato basil pasta sauce
salt and pepper
500 grams pasta
parmesan cheese to serve

heat the olive oil in a large deep saucepan and add the onions and garlic and cook over medium heat until the onions have softened. add the beef, breaking it up with a spoon, and cook until no longer pink. add the mushrooms, capsicum, herbs and salt and pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.
add pasta sauce, 3 cups water (this depends on the pasta you're using - use good judgement and adjust accordingly; also, i like to replace some of the water with wine) and bring to the boil. add pasta; reduce heat, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until pasta is tender but firm, about 12 minutes. check for seasoning and adjust, if necessary.
serve sprinkled with parmesan cheese.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

poulet au moutarde

this is a well flavoured casserole which was originally a rabbit recipe. it was the first, and dare i say, last rabbit dish i ever made, not because i'm squirmish or anything, but i like chicken, beef, pork and lamb better than rabbit. if i have to eat rabbit, i will, but i like this dish made with chicken - i loved the flavour of this sauce so much i decided to translate it.
if you do choose to make this dish with rabbit, joint and soak the rabbit overnight in salted water to which some vinegar has been added.
i like serving this dish with rice or mashed potatoes so there's something to absorb the delicious sauce; bread isn't a bad addition either, never mind how uncouth it may be.

2 kilos chicken pieces
1 tablespoon plain flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
30 grams butter
4 onions, quartered
2 rashers bacon, cut into strips
3 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons french mustard
salt and pepper
a bouquet garni consisting of thyme, a bayleaf, celery, parsley and tarragon
1/2 cup cream
parsley to garnish

rinse the chicken pieces and pat dry with paper towels. dust lightly with the flour seasoned with salt and pepper. set aside.
heat the oil and butter in a heavy based casserole and and the onions. colour the onions briefly, remove and set aside.
add the bacon and also allow to colour briefly, remove and set aside.
add the chicken pieces in batches and sear until each piece is golden.
pour in the stock, and add the bouquet garni and mustard.
return the bacon and onions to the casserole.
bring to the boil and lower the heat to a bare simmer for 40 minutes or until tender.
remove the chicken to a warm serving dish and boil the sauce rapidly to reduce and slightly thickened.
skim off the fat.
add the cream and taste for seasoning and correct, if necessary.
pour some of the sauce over the chicken and pour any remainder into a gravy boat for those who like things saucey.
garnish with parsley.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

anzac biscuits

i always like to make anzac biscuits on anzac day. this is what we do.

there are lots of recipes out there for anzac biscuits and most are quite similar and contain the essential ingredients. this is my favourite recipe for them. mind you, when i make them, quantities sometimes vary, especially with the golden syrup. i usually eyeball that because it's messy to measure (i know you can warm the syrup or oil your measuring utensil of choice and all that, but these are homemade biscuits and it's good to have inconsistency with homemade. that's what makes it special), and invariably put in too much, but that's all right - the biscuits still turn out fine.

1 1 /4 rolled oats
1 cup plain flour
3/4 cup desiccated coconut
3/4 cup brown sugar
125 grams butter
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons golden syrup
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

preheat the oven to 150 degrees celcius.

line a baking tray with baking paper.

combine the butter, water and golden syrup in a medium saucepan. place over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter melts. remove from the heat and stir in the bicarbonate of soda.

combine the oats, flour, coconut and sugar in a medium bowl and mix well.

pour the oat mixture into the saucepan and stir to combine.

roll the mixture into walnut sized balls and place on the lined baking tray about 5 centimetres apart.

press the balls down slightly with the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar.

bake the biscuits for about 20 minutes or until done to your liking. if you like them chewy, try 18 minutes. if you like them crunchy, try 22 minutes.

sit down and enjoy these biscuits with a glass of milk or put a scoop of your favourite icecream between two biscuits and have yourself a anzac ice cream sandwich.....if you are someone with patience, put the wrapped ice cream sandwich in the freezer for a while and let the biscuits soften - i love them this way, but hey, if you're a crunchy person, you do your thing.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

lemon posset

lemon posset is something i've bookmarked for a long time. i've actually bookmarked many things for a long time, but this is something that got lucky (at least i hope so). it is simplicity itself. you only need three ingredients: lemons, cream and sugar. there is no baking involved and minimal cooking time.
make this when lemons are in season - that goes without saying. also, make this for those who like lemon desserts - that, also, goes without saying.
i like making small servings and find little espresso coffee cups and chinese teacups a perfect size - just enough to get a lemon hit and crave a little more.

300 mls cream
1/2 cup sugar
100mls lemon juice (about 2 lemons)

place the cream and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to the boil and allow to bubble gently for 3 minutes. stir to disslove the sugar.
remove from the heat, add the lemon juice and stir to mix thoroughly.
pour into your receptacle of choice - i manage between 6 and 8 small serves with the espresso cups.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

pots of chocolate creamy stuff

i had sal over tonight on a spur of the moment thing. we had spent a good part of the day together, but i felt since she has such small windows of opportunity to hang with me, we should do dins as well.
in the meantime, because blutsie and golden one had taken wiggy, sly and acka dacks to the easter show, i had to collect engine from day care. i didn't factor anything in, except that i thought it would be nice to have sal over.
so i get myself to day care and one of the carers yacks to me for ages, and i'm thinking, "please let me take engine....i don't know why, but i have to take him". i still hadn't registered that i would have to make dinner (i was tired, but i knew i had to get home to do something).
eventually, i'm home and wondering what to do. i thought we could have a nibbly thing and settled on my old faithful - brazilian cheese puffs. sal wasn't in the mood for seafood (we have just finished easter), so my original plan of having prawns was not a good one, so i started thinking along the lines of got some veal steaks and cubes. that was somewhat of a mistake - the veal cubes weren't uniformly tender - some bits were nice, and some bits were chewy....
hopefully, i redeemed myself with dessert....

3/4 cup cream
pinch salt
200 grams dark chocolate, chopped
2 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons liqueur

put the cream and salt in a small saucepan (don't try this in anything anything bigger because this makes a small quantity....a small quantity which is very, very rich).
bring to the boil, and add the chocolate.
stir until the chocolate melts. do this over low heat.
beat the eggs with the liqueur and add them to the hot chocolate mixture.
remove from the stove and use a blending wand (i use my bamix) to combine the mixture.
pour into 8 or 9 espresso coffee cups. make sure the servings are small - this is rich.
cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for a couple of hours.

an alternative to the coffee cups is to pour the mixture into chinese soup spoons - with this confection, less is definitely more.

Monday, April 13, 2009

sydney royal easter show 2009

we did the easter show yesterday, and i had a great time. this time, it was miss c and i who did the show together - miss k opted out.
when miss c and miss k were younger, we always started at the food dome to see the agricultural displays, art work and cake decorating. i always worried about the agricultural displays being a dying art and insisted that my children look at them and try to appreciate the amount of work, dedication and imagination that went into each one. and what do you know? i let miss c call the shots and that's where we went. i'm glad the displays are still going strong; i do wonder how they do the judging.
of particular interest this visit was the cake decorating. i was on a mission this time because i knew someone who had put in entries. a cyber friend had put in 5 entries, 3 of which i was able to find. it's amazing what a difference it makes when there is a connection with someone you know, whether in cyberspace or in real life. while looking for nicole's entries, i also stumbled upon an entry put in by one hana rawlingson. that name rang a bell. i rang blutsie to ask if she went to school with hana.
"yes, why?"
"i found a cake she decorated"
both blutsie and i have long left school, but i believe hana was at school with blutsie since transition. i don't know why i remember things like that, but just do. what's more, i don't think i ever met hana. this is something from decades ago....
miss c also had an agenda. she wanted to find the abbotsleigh cow. we have gone to the show every year except last year, and to date, miss c has never seen the abbotsleigh cow. this year was no exception. we found the frensham cows, which were really beautiful. their hides (is that what they're called? i mean the skin thing with the hair/fur on it....stop laughing now, i can't help it if i don't know; enlighten me if you must) were black and so well tended that they looked velvety. we also found the knox cows, but didn't spend time looking too closely (miss c didn't want me to embarrass her in front of people she may know now or in the future). she did, however, ask the knox cow people if they knew anything of the abbotsleigh cows....."they haven't turned up yet"..... so much for that.
moving on from there, we saw the horses and chicken, sheep and goats, then the alpacas and llamas. alpacas and llamas look so placid and nice....we then stumbled to the alpaca fashion parade. the clothes were interesting, as were the models. the models looked like beautiful everyday people, and that was nice. there was one male model, jason, and he looked like he got roped in - he was a good sport. i hope i don't offend the models, but i suspect they may have been the alpaca farmers' children or similar, and that's what i found nice about it.
also, we did go to the rm williams stable and there was a guy there who really looked like frodo baggins. i muttered this to miss c, who agreed. later, when miss c stepped aside, she saw frodo chatting to me.
"did you tell him he looks like frodo?"
"no, i figured he gets that all the time, so i restrained myself. no, he was just telling me about all the rm williams' stores around australia...."
we made a special visit to the graze at 6pm to watch lizzie's son in his band, kit marlowe. they were very good. the lead singer was excellent - great voice; with a voice like his, he doesn't need to have his hair do the singing (hint, hint). the musicians were great and showed skill and technique. i hope they continue to do well.
after kit marlowe, we moved quickly to the main arena - it was full when we got there, but were lucky to secure two seats.
saw the story of bluey, which was lost on me - was there a story?
then there was extreme motor X, which is something i find really good; does nothing for me on television, but i do enjoy it live.
the fireworks finale was very good. on a smaller scale than what we normally see (we have seen the new year's eve fireworks from both sides of the harbour for so many years, i can't even count). this time it incorporated a laser light display with music.

we had the cheese toasties from coon - $1, which i thought very good value.
2 dozen oysters from de costi's - 1 dozen pacific and 1 dozen rock
1 cheese on a stick, but no corn dogs
3 large lemonades
1 meat pie from someone who won all these prizes....sorry, but i forget the name; the pie was good, very good
and, of course, bits of samples, here and there

we didn't make it into the showbag hall, nor did we get anywhere near the rides. there was so much to see....i wouldn't mind going again to see the things i missed, if i could spare the time.