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Monday, May 14, 2012

Cake Biscuits Slices

Scurrying time is here, I scurry from the warmth of the kitchen through other cold rooms to get things and scurry back as fast as any mouse into the warmth again.Good time to bake and listen to the radio, I like Radio NZ, but with the technology available now the selection is amazing and I have been listening to podcasts on BBC4, lately  "Desert Island Discs", some amazing people on their archive.
I was asked recently to bake a fancy cake for a friend hosting a “Cake and Coffee” stall at a local fete, she was inundated with offers of chocolate and carrot cakes so I knew I would have to come up with something different and decided to make a “red velvet cake”, from "Joy of Baking", fresh raspberries would have been nice, but they are out of season so had to settle for raspberry essence and berry flavoured marshmallows to decorate. I am sorry I could not attend the fete and so don’t have a pic of the interior of the cake, but am assured it was very red and eagerly devoured.

RED VELVET CAKE:adapted from “Joy of Baking”

cakes 002

Preheat oven to 175 degrees C and place rack in centre of oven. Butter two 23 cm round cake pans and line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper. Set aside.
2 1/2 cups (250 grams) sifted cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons (15 grams) regular or Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups (300 grams) white sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoons pure raspberry extract
1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk
1 bottle liquid red food colouring
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda
In a mixing bowl sift together the flour, salt, and cocoa powder. Set aside.
Beat the butter until soft (about 1-2 minutes). Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the raspberry extract and beat until combined.
In a measuring cup whisk the buttermilk with the red food colouring, make sure very well mixed or cake will be streaky. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk to the butter mixture, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour and again be sure it’s not streaky.
In a small cup combine the vinegar and baking soda. Allow the mixture to fizz and then quickly fold into the cake batter.
Working quickly, divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans and smooth the tops with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon, it tends to rise in middle as it cooks, so be sure very flat on top. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 25 - 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cakes comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Place a wire rack on top of the cake pan and invert, lifting off the pan. Once the cakes have completely cooled, wrap in plastic and place the cake layers in the refrigerator for at least an hour (or overnight). (This is done to make filling and frosting the cakes easier.)
Cream Cheese Frosting: 
  • 350 g cream cheese, softened
  • 225 g 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 500 g 4 cups icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Beat the cream cheese on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy.
  2. Add the butter; beat until smooth and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Add the sifted icing sugar, ½ cup at-a-time, beating well after each addition, scraping sides and bottom of bowl as needed.
  4. Add the vanilla, mix to combine.
  5. If piping the frosting, refrigerate frosting for 15 to 20 minutes before assembling cakes (frosting will firm up, making it much easier to pipe).
  6. If not using immediately frosting can be refrigerated up to 3 days in an airtight container. Allow frosting to come to room temperature and beat on low speed in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until smooth.
Assemble: With a serrated knife, cut each cake layer in half, horizontally. You will now have four cake layers. Place one of the cake layers, top of the cake facing down, onto your serving platter. Spread the cake layer with a layer of frosting. Place another layer of cake on top of the frosting and continue to frost and stack the cake layers. Frost the top and sides of the cake.
I then covered the top with berry flavoured marshmallows, Ideal cake for young girls birthday.
Now for something plain.
SABLES Little Frenchies thanks again to “Joy of baking”

43 COAST RD 00243 COAST RD 004
10 tablespoons (140 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated white sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups (260 grams) all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Egg Wash:
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water
Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes). Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until blended.
Sift in flour, baking powder and salt and beat just until incorporated. Do not over mix the dough.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface, knead the dough a few times to bring it together, and then divide the dough in half. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm (at least an hour).
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C and place rack in the centre of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Remove one portion of the dough from the refrigerator and place on a lightly floured work surface. Roll out the dough until it is 1/4 inch (1 cm) thick. Using a lightly floured 2 inch (5 cm) round fluted cookie cutter, cut out the cookies, placing them on the prepared sheet. Place the baking sheet of cut out cookies in the refrigerator for about 15 -20 minutes to chill the dough. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the egg with the water for the egg wash. Remove the cookies from the refrigerator and brush the tops with the egg wash. Then, with the tines of a fork (or I like to use the end of a toothpick), make a crisscross pattern on the top of each cookie. Bake cookies in the preheated oven for about 12 - 14 minutes (depending on size of cookie) or until golden brown around the edges.
Cool cookies on wire rack. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.
Makes about 3 dozen bisc.
Everybody loves this wicked slice


chocolate carame lslice 001chocolate carame lslice 004

For the shortbread base
· 1 2/3 cups (220g) plain flour
· 165g butter
· 1/3 cup (90g) white sugar

· For the caramel filling
· 1 tin sweetened condensed milk
· 125g butter
· 2 tablespoons golden syrup
· 375g dark chocolate
Preparation method
1.Place first three ingredients - flour, butter and sugar - in a food processor and process until mixture looks like breadcrumbs.
2.Press into a 20cmx20cm tin.
3.Bake at 190 degrees C for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool.
4.Put the condensed milk, butter and golden syrup into a medium sized saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Pour mixture onto cooled base and refrigerate 3-4 hours.
5.Make chocolate icing and spread over caramel and cool in fridge. When set cut into bars.
Chocolate icing: 2 cups icing sugar, 2 tablespoons butter softened, 2 or 3 tablespoons cocoa powder, mixed together with about 1 tablespoon boiling water.

TAN SQUARE [SLICE] my mother used to make this 50 years ago and it is just as good today
tan square 1tan square 2

180g butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 can(200g) sweetened condensed milk
60g butter
1 tablespoon golden syrup

Beat butter and sugar until pale and creamy, mix in vanilla, flour and baking powder and mix well.
Reserve 1/4 of mixture for topping.
Press mixture into a lined 28 x 18cm slice pan and refrigerate.
Preheat oven to 180 C
Place condensed milk, butter and golden syrup in a
saucepan or microwave and heat until butter is melted. Cool in and then spread
over base. Sprinkle with remaining shortcake mixture and bake for 25 - 30

chocolate coffee yo yos 015chocolate coffee yo yos 011

180 g butter
3 rounded tablespoons icing sugar
160 g flour
20 g cocoa
4 level tablespoons cornflour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Ingredients for Coffee Butter Cream:
1 teaspoon instant coffee dissolved in a scant tablespoon of boiling water
60 g butter, softened
4 tablespoons icing sugar, approx.

Beat softened butter and sugar together well. [I mix it in the blender], Add sifted dry ingredients. Roll small teaspoon mixture into balls and place on greased oven sheet and flatten with a floured fork. Cook at 160° about 15-25 minutes until melting moments are cooked through. when cold sandwich together with butter cream and serve dusted with cocoa.
To make Icing:
Combine dissolved coffee, softened butter and icing sugar together and beat well.
Makes approx. 20 –, 10 once joined depending on the size.

Cats for Di 142Cats for Di 148
Pictures taken early one morning by my sister when she was visiting, taken from our deck while I was still asleep.

Monday, July 11, 2011

New Doors

doors 2 The Pootle has installed new doors over the office alcove in our lounge, this was the cheaper alternative to double glazing the office, with the  two picture windows double glazed the whole living area will be warm. However I am a little nervous [terrified], as the Pootle emboldened by the success of the doors said, “if the glazing quote is to dear, don’t worry, I will do it, all you need is a double router and I have one”!
We have a penguin on the beach a couple of minutes from our house, he is probably moulting, its a bit late for moulting, but maybe he got held up somewhere. Its hard for them to get established with so may dogs on the beach.
Our granddaughters are vegetarians, always have been and so we have adapted as well and are quite happy with meals similar to below.


Serves 4 – 6


700g firm pumpkin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Rosemary chopped finely
20 medium vine-ripened tomatoes
Caster sugar
Sea salt to taste
Extra virgin olive oil
500g large pasta such as rigatoni
1 large ball mozzarella in whey, mopped dry and thinly sliced [optional]
Handful small basil leaves
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 Peel the pumpkin and discard the seeds and soft fibre. Cut into smallish cubes and put in a shallow ovenproof dish. Season with salt and pepper, add lots of rosemary and dot with 30g butter. Roast in an oven preheated to 200°C for about 30 minutes, until golden but still firmish.
2 Halve the tomatoes lengthways and put them in a shallow oiled oven tray (I use a Swiss roll tin lined with baking paper to make cleaning easier). Sprinkle with caster sugar, sea salt and black pepper, then drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil. Roast in an oven preheated to 210°C (fanbake) for 12-15 minutes, or until the tomatoes are collapsing and caramelising around the edges.
3 Cook the pasta until al dente (remember it goes back in the oven to cook a little more). Drain, turn into a bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Put half the pasta in a large oven-dish. Add the pumpkin, mozzarella then the tomatoes and basil and top with the rest of the pasta. Grind on some pepper, sprinkle over the parmesan cheese and dot with butter. Bake for about 15 minutes in an oven preheated to 200 °C, or until golden on top. Serve hot.

This recipe was in the daily newspaper and is very easy and tastes wonderful.
Serves 4

8 small potatoes, washed (such as Nadine, Draga, Desiree)
Sea salt flakes
3-4 fresh bay leaves, rosemary, thyme or mint
30g butter
Greaseproof paper
Preheat the oven to 190degC. Lay a large piece of greaseproof paper on your work surface. Place the potatoes on one half, dot over the butter, season with salt and sprinkle with herbs.
Bring the other half of the paper over the potatoes and seal all sides securely (I fold it tightly), checking that it has no holes.
Place directly on to the oven tray or on a baking tray.
Cook for about 35 minutes or until the potatoes feel tender when touched gently through the paper. Remove carefully from the oven.
Be careful when opening the parcel as hot steam will escape.
A friend gave me these little gems, half one each is just right.
Cut in half, deseed, grate some nutmeg over, sprinkle with a little sea salt, dot with butter and bake for 30 mins at about 180c.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Calm Days

seaweed2 003
Mostly calm autumn days  lovely for hiking, and collecting seaweed off the beach for the garden. Some very high tides on full moon that nearly came across the road and make you wonder if that is normal, or a sign of global warming.
Easter brought lots of families from Christchurch  to the village, escaping from all the quakes, they are fed up and some of them were sounding very stressed, with no idea of when they will ever have a normal home life again, it was good to see the kids playing in the estuary and on the beach.
 fayes mokapuna 029 
This is a stunning recipe, at it’s best made for up to four people, have all your fillings ready, make the crepes first and then each omelette separately.
crepe 001       crepe 002       crepe 006 
with a nod to Judith Cullen
For two people
3 eggs [Judith uses smoked eggs]
60gms flour
2 tsp oil
Milk to mix
Plus fillings 
CREPE [makes four or more, but can only eat one each so save for later or biff]
Place flour in bowl, add egg and oil, whisk together adding milk until consistency of cream.
Set aside for 30 minutes or more if possible to let starches expand. 
Heat and spray pan with oil
Make two crepes and place each on board or plate.
Whisk other eggs with 1 tbsp milk.
Heat pan and spray with oil.
Add half mix to make thin omelette, tip out onto crepe. Repeat.
Let your imagination go.
Here I mashed some avocado with lemon juice and spread along lengthwise
Then a drained can of smoked tuna.
Roll up and slice in half on an angle.
Looks fantastic and a very healthy and filling, I like eating them warm, but you can place in fridge and serve cold.
Other fillings to try For breakfast could use fried chopped bacon and mushrooms and even a squirt of maple syrup
Good with smoked salmon and avocado
Diced tomatoes and avocado
Feta cheese crumbled with avocado and bit of chopped sundried tomato or pesto
For a sweet
Try chopped fresh nectarines and mascarpone or other soft cheese.
PITA BREADS a friends recipe and it is well worth making they are so much nicer when fresh than the brought ones.
pita 1                      pita
Makes 6 Pitas
1 cup warm water
½ tbsp yeast
1 tsp sugar
2 ¼ cups plain flour
¾ tsp salt
1 ½ tbsp olive oil 
Place 1/4 cup of water in a small bowl and sprinkle yeast and sugar over the water. Stir to blend and let sit until dissolved. 
Place flour, salt and oil in a large mixing bowl.
Add yeast mixture and remaining water and beat with hand until flour is completely integrated.
Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth, elastic and no longer sticky, adding flour as needed -- about 5 minutes.
Place dough in an oiled bowl and oil top of dough lightly.
Cover with a warm kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until doubles in size, about 1 1/4 hours.
Turn dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead to remove the air bubbles.
Roll into a log and divide dough evenly into 6 pieces. Pat each piece of dough into a ball; them use a rolling pin to flatten into discs about 1/4 inch thick and 6 inches in diameter.
Place discs on a lightly greased baking sheet and let rise, uncovered, until barely doubled in thickness, about 30-45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 260° c and place oven rack in lowest position.
Bake the bread, one pan at a time, until puffed and starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and cool breads on a wire rack. 
BREAD & BUTTER PICKLES from Mind Food Magazine
I love these, so good in a bread roll with cheese and salad, or with cold meats.
bread & butter pickles 1                        bread & butter pickles 2 
1 kg telegraph cucumbers [approx 2]
¼ c salt
1 ½ cups white or white wine vinegar [I use white]
1 cup water
1 cup caster sugar
1 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
Few sprigs fresh dill if you have it
Wash and trim ends off cucumbers.
Cut them into quarters lengthways and then into sticks the size of standing up in your jars.
Place in ceramic or glass bowl, sprinkle with the salt and mix through, cover and stand overnight.
Throw into colander, drain and rinse thoroughly, drain again.
Combine vinegar, water, sugar, and mustard seeds in pot and stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves, then bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 mins.
Add cucumbers, bring back to boil and remove from heat immediately. Cool slightly.
Lie sterilised jars on sides, and pack with cucumbers and sprigs of dill.
Stand up, cover with vinegar mix and seal.
You can eat them as soon as cold, I can’t stop, love em.
JAMMY DODGERS  from Chef Adam Newell
jammy dodgers 007jammy dodgers 004       
Ingredients Makes 18 depending on size you want, these were huge.
170 gms icing sugar

1 vanilla pod [ I didn’t have one, so just added extra vanilla]

180 gms unsalted butter, softened

240 gms all-purpose flour

120 gms cornflour

4 drops vanilla essence

50 ml cold milk

caster sugar to sprinkle

75 gms of your favourite jam
Preheat the oven to 160°C.
Place the icing sugar and vanilla pod in a food processor and blend until the pod is like powder. Add the butter and mix until smooth.
With the mixer still on add the flour, cornflour and vanilla essence. Slowly add the cold milk and mix until smooth.
Remove the dough from the mixer and wrap in plastic wrap.
Refrigerate for a couple of hours to cool.
Dust the bench with icing sugar and roll out the dough to just over 1 cm thick.
 Cut out round shapes with a cutter, squashing up dough and re-rolling until you have 24.
Using another cutter cut a smaller heart shape out of the centre of 12 of these discs.
Place the shapes on a greased tray and sprinkle with caster sugar.
Bake in a preheated 160ºC oven for 12-15 minutes.
Allow to cool then spread each disc with a little jam and top with those with the heart shapes holes.
You can of course be creative with the shape of the little holes, I wasn’t and next time I would make smaller ones and get about 18, I think, as by the time they are joined together are bit much when you just want a biscuit with your cuppa, they are very very good.
Real estate seems to be quiet at the moment, don’t know how people can resist the charming cottages I have at the moment, look at this:
Fireplace 018              lounge area
Harcourts Karitane

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Asian Favourites

It's been lovely weather most of the week, I had a good slashing back in the garden, and planted Broad Beans for next spring. Now we have easterly drizzle which can last for days, and is not conducive for selling real estate or walking and kayaking.
There is an interesting "cage in" nearby at Waikouati, where a man has taken a month out of his life to try and improve the lot of caged hens. It has caused quite a bit of controversy locally, I stopped for a chat with him one day and he didn't seem like weirdo or anything, rather a nice guy, check it out in
We love Asian food, but when my sister emailed me this recipe form a friend of hers I thought, ho hum, but I'll give it a go, and I wrestled with cutting the noodles as there seemed too many for two people,  its like cutting nylon wire, and of course as my sister pointed out, much easier to do when they are cooked! duh! It tastes very very good, try it, and I promise if you like Asian food you will love it.
parata ave 002parata ave 005
Rump steak [diced smallish, I will try it smaller next time] 
Chopped garlic...she uses at least 3 cloves 
Chopped ginger (more than you think). I think Annie said at least 3 teaspoons. 
About 1 tbsp oil [I used peanut] 
Soy sauce about 1/4cup 
Bean thread vermicelli [1 packet serves about 6
Sauté garlic and ginger in the oil until golden, 1 or 2 minutes
Add diced beef and sauté until cooked-lid on the pot/pan, low and slow, 30 to 50 minutes. 
Boil the kettle, add vermicelli to a bowl. cover with the hot water. It will soften in about 10 minutes, cut a bit with kitchen scissors if you like. 
Add vermicelli to the beef with enough soy sauce to colour and flavour.  Simmer another few minutes. 
Add some water if it becomes dry.  Be careful not to stir too much as it 'mushes' the spaghetti. 
A dollop of Key Kap Mainis “sweet soy sauce” is nice on top. 
Serve with stir fried veg. 
The following recipe is from an Asian student going to school in NZ and staying with an NZ family, she rang her Mum for this sothat she could cook it for her NZ family.
baking 009 
8 chicken drumsticks skin on (the skin is important for flavour, and is so tasty to eat!)
 250 ml water
120ml balsamic vinegar
80 ml soy sauce
40 gm sugar
1 garlic clove, peeled and bruised
1 small hot chili pepper slit open, seeds removed 
Place all the ingredients in a saucepan over a high heat.
Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 20 minutes.
Remove any scum that rises to the surface.

Increase the heat, turning the drumsticks frequently in the sauce, and cook until the liquid has reduced to a sticky glaze.

Arrange the chicken on a serving platter, remove the garlic clove and chili from the liquid, and spoon the glaze over.

The sauce will thicken to a glaze if you are patient. It just takes a bit of time. If you feel your chicken is cooked (and going to over cook) remove it before going on to reduce the sauce. Same thing, if you must use breast meat, remove it (so it doesn't dry out) and continue reducing the sauce . If you do it this way rather than thickening with cornstarch you will get a richer glaze and not need to add stock or broth instead of the water. It just takes patience. 

NOTE It's a glaze rather than a sauce, so there's not a whole lot of it and watch as it nears the end or it will catch quickly and turn into toffee.

This is so good it is very hard to stop at one drumstick!


malayan curry   malayan potoe curry

The recipe uses Malayan curry powder which can be brought in Asian food stores, as well as usual curry powder ingredients it has cinnamon and cloves, if you can’t get it try adding a ¼ tsp of each to the curry powder you usually use. 


½ cup Malay curry powder 

tbsp sweet paprika 

¼ tsp chilli powder 

½ cup water 

½ cup oil 

1 onion thinly sliced 

6 cloves garlic peeled and chopped 

1.5kgs of a firm type of potato 

20 fresh curry leaves or a handful of dried 

100gms of dry coconut powder or a small can[100gm] of coconut cream 

2 cups water 

1 tsps caster sugar 

Combine, curry powder, paprika and chilli with the ½ cup of water in a small bowl until a paste is formed. 

Heat the oil in a wok and fry the onion and garlic until soft. 

Add the spice paste and cook for a couple of mins or until oil starts to separate. 

Add potatoes, curry leaves and 2 cups water, combine well and simmer for about 20 mins until potatoes just cooked. 

Mix coconut powder to paste with ½ cup of water and sugar, add to curry, combine well, season and serve with Roti to dip. 

FRESH CHUTNEY  accompaniment for curry

fresh relish


1 large onion thinly sliced

4 cherry tomatoes or smaller tomatoes quartered

1 courgette or carrot [optional]

1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce or a green chilli finely chopped

1 tbsp bottled mint sauce

1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander

Juice of a lemon

Salt to taste

MethodMix all togetherCan be served immediately or kept overnight in fridge.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Last Days of Summer

Last days of summer and dreadful weather, I was looking forward to seeing the “super moon” rise out of the sea in front of us, but it was overcast all last weekend, and today I got soaked dashing between open homes.

So much produce around at the moment, I just managed to use the of last years tomatoes as I stared freezing this years. I blanch them in hot water, remove skins and throw them into pottles or bags and freeze.
A niece has a tree laden with beautiful red plums and a huge row of runner beans, neighbours have, pears, apples, blackcurrants, and rhubarb, all these I have swapped for tomatoes, of which the Pootle has grown an amazing amount of.

bowls march 11 002
My favourite Satsuma [ or any large red plums] recipe is; halve and remove pip, place cut side down in a Pyrex dish, pour over enough blackcurrant syrup [traded for tomatoes], to just cover bottom of dish, place in slow oven and roast for about 25 mins stirring a couple of times.
This seems to release the flavour and sweetness of the plums and you won’t need to add any sugar, with plain yoghurt for breakfast they are heaven.

I received a James Martin cookbook “ my kitchen”  for Christmas and have tried a few, these two being my favourites at the moment.

MULLED SPICED PLUMS [James serves there with a custard tart.] I find this recipe to spicy for breakfast but wonderful in a trifle or just with custard and cream.

                                          bowls march 11 003

Dozen large dark plums [stones removed]
4tbsp caster sugar
50gm butter
110 ml red wine or [black currant juice if you are a wowser]
1 cinnamon stick
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 cloves
1 bay leaf
2 star anise

Melt sugar and butter in hot fry pan, when bubbling, add plums, wine and spices.
Simmer for 10 mins until juice reduced to a syrup.

46 Old Head Street 004  46 Old Head Street 012

This is the nicest way I have ever had rhubarb.

Place in Pot
8 thin or 4 fat rhubarb stalks cut into half inch pieces
2.5 cm or 1 inch piece of root ginger peeled and smashed with hammer or such
2 tbsp caster sugar [double if sweet tooth[
50mls white wine
Place over med heat,stir till sugar melted, simmer without boiling about 5mins or until soft.
Discard ginger and cool.

Place in bottom of 4 glass serving glasses, top with, plain yogurt, or ice-cream, or custard, or cream, or mascarpone and sprinkle chopped preserved ginger over as garnish.

Last night a friend rang and said we are having a big tournament for bowls on Sunday and have you down for a dozen muffins.
HELP- I have hardly ever made a muffin in my life.
This morning I thought I better practice and started with one that seemed healthy and yummy made with grated pumpkin, result is in the bin, flat and tasting terribly like a vegetable.

baking 004

 Next I made these Gingerbread muffins after a Google search for the ultimate muffin.

baking 006               baking 008

Makes 12 large muffins [ correct]
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 ¼ teaspoons cinnamon
¼ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon cloves
½ cup butter, at room temperature
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar (light or dark)
2 large eggs
2/3 cup molasses (light or dark) i used half molasses and half treacle
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
2/3 cup raisins

Preheat your oven to 180c Grease and flour your muffin tin, or use paper or foil liners. [I spray these with spray on oil].
Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice and cloves.
In a bowl beat together the butter and brown sugar until smooth and fluffy.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each one.
Then beat in the molasses.
Add the dry ingredients in two increments alternating with the buttermilk and vanilla.  Beat until smooth.
Fold in the nuts and raisins.
Fill the muffin tin with a large spoon.  \
Bake for around 20 minutes until the centre of the muffin feels firm and springs back when you touch it.

PEA and FETA SALAD [ripped from book in Doctors rooms]
46 Old Head Street 024


1 cup or more of cooked peas [fresh or frozen]
100gms of crumbled feta
1/2cup of small mint leaves
A coup[le of handfuls of watercress or small spinach leaves
1 orange [optional] peeled sliced into slivers
Remove tough stems from greens and place in nice dish, add rest of ingredients and toss.
Dressing- mix together and drizzle over salad
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp orange juice [or lemon]
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp brown sugar
This is just as nice with out the orange, If I am taking it out somewhere and it’s not being eaten for a while I leave the peas frozen.

I took this salad to wine club on Friday night, I used small silver beat leaves chopped, was nice. Would go very well with a lamb tagine, you could replace the quinoa with brown rice.

from epicurious
bowls march 11 009

3/4 cups quinoa rinsed, drained
2 cups (packed) baby spinach leaves
1can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed, drained
3/4 cups cubed unpeeled cucumber
1½ cups baby tomatoes, halved
½ cup (packed) fresh mint leaves
3/4 cup coarsely crumbled feta cheese
1/8 cup wine vinegar
11/4 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/4 cup olive oil
Place quinoa in large saucepan; add enough salted water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer until quinoa is tender,about 12 minutes.
Drain and chill until cool.
Meanwhile, combine spinach leaves, garbanzos, cubed cucumber, halved tomatoes, mint leaves, and half of feta cheese in extra-large bowl.
Add cooled quinoa and toss gently to blend.

Whisk vinegar and smoked paprika in small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Season dressing with salt and pepper.
Pour dressing over salad; toss to coat. Season generously with salt and pepper. Sprinkle remaining feta over.

I have just listed this delightful trio of cottages one very close to the beach, you can find them by going to and searching for Karitane. They are the darlingist cottages to come on the market for ages.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Mr and Mrs

piped inWe have had the wonderful pleasure of seeing our niece married and hosting the reception at our place. A garden party was planned and the days preceding were fraught with storms, however on the day everything went well including the weather.
It was a family wedding and members contributed dishes, so I only needed to provide a few things.
I made Caesar salad and instead of putting the anchovies in the salad I made a dressing with anchovy paste and served on the side for people to have or not. Remembered today that I forgot to add the parmesan cheese.


Place torn lettuce [cos is best], in bowl or on platter, top with pieces fried bacon, avocado slices, boiled egg halves, croutons, and sprinkle over shaved parmesan cheese.

ANCHOVEY DRESSING [adapted from a friends recipe]
¼ cup cold pressed oil
2/3 cup cider vinegar
1 dsp honey
2 tsp dried basil or handful of fresh basil
4 sprigs parsley
2 tsp dried rosemary or small amount of fresh
few sprigs mint
3 cloves garlic
¼ cup soy sauce
½ cup sunflower seeds [add more for thicker consistency]
2 or 3 tbsp anchovy paste
Process until creamy & seeds well chopped
If you leave the anchovy paste out it makes a lovely dressing for any salad.

1 head garlic, all cloves peeled
½ cup milk
6 to 8 chicken thighs roughly chopped into small bits
½ cup shelled and unsalted pistachio nuts, I find it works best to cut them in half.
¼ cup basil, thinly sliced
1 or 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
zest of 1 lemon
½ tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
250 gm narrow bacon
In a small saucepan, bring the garlic and milk to a simmer, cook until the garlic is very soft, 20 to 30 min. Cool then mash it to a smooth paste with a fork.
Preheat oven to 180c. In a large bowl, combine the garlic paste, diced chicken, nuts, basil, thyme, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and mix well.
Line the bottom and sides of a terrine or loaf dish with the bacon, draping enough over the sides and ends to cover the terrine once filled. Add the chicken mixture to the terrine, pressing it flat with your fingers. Fold bacon over to cover the chicken mixture, tucking it in as you go.
Cover the terrine with two layers of aluminium foil.
Place container inside another with hot water ¾ way up sides. Bake about 45 min to an hour.
Remove the foil and let the terrine cool for 10 min, then cover it with plastic wrap. Cut a piece of cardboard to fit inside the terrine and put it on top of the cooked terrine. Put 2 or 3 heavy cans on top of the cardboard and refrigerate it overnight. Some of the juices will overflow.
To serve, unmould the terrine onto a serving platter and slice it with a warmed serrated knife, it looks very nice with the green nuts scattered through it.

ROCKY ROAD  adapted from Nigella Lawson


250g dark chocolate, chopped
150g milk chocolate, chopped
175g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
4 tbsp golden syrup
200g amaretti biscuits [I used cheap almond biscuits from New World and they worked very well, giving a strong almond flavour.]
150g shelled Brazil nuts
150g glacé cherries
125g mini marshmallows or chopped big ones
Place the dark and milk chocolate pieces into a heavy-based pan. Add the butter and golden syrup and cook over a low heat to melt and combine.
Place the biscuits into a freezer bag and bash with a rolling pin to make crumbs of various sizes, not to small.
Place the Brazil nuts into another freezer bag and bash in the same way.
Take the pan of melted chocolate mixture off the heat and add the crushed biscuits and nuts.
Add the cherries and marshmallows. Fold the mixture carefully to coat all of the solid ingredients with the syrupy chocolate mixture.
Pour the mixture into a 25cm x 30cm greased and lined baking tray and smooth the surface as much as possible (although it will look bumpy).
Refrigerate for two hours, or until firm enough to cut.
Remove the block of rocky road from the tray and cut into small pieces
This is so good, and next time I am going to add some jelly beans and glace ginger cut into chunks first.

Its been a very exciting xmas and new years and I even sold a house on Xmas Eve, it was a lovely old place with loads of charm and stunning view, now I have no houses left to sell so  if anyone knows of something please let me know as I have a list of people wanting cribs here.