Tagged: food

Aug 24

a quick quiche

This is a recipe that I learnt from a friend, when I was living in Sydney.  At the time, I only could manage a few basic recipes so this once was a bit of an eye opener to me! It’s pretty easy and great for a lunch or when you are having a few people over. I make mine on a biscuit tray  which means that it cooks easily and is nice and think like a slice.

Th recipe below is a will need to be modified for the type or size of tray you are working with. Normally this just means adding more cheese or more eggs.

Cheese and Spinach Quiche

serves 12+

  • 400g spinach
  • 200g ricotta
  • 200g dodoni feta
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Puff pastry x 2-3 pieces

Preheat your oven to 180C. Line the tray with baking paper, and take the puff pastry out of the freezer to defrost. When the pastry gets some flexibility in it, place it in the tray forming a base. I like to have a little overhang on the sides – it give you something to hang onto when you cut up later.

Add the baby spinach, and break up the cheese evenly throughout the base you have created. The more cheese the better I say! But some people need to draw a line somewhere. You can always use low-fat cheese/milk if you are watching what you eat.

Now! Once that is done all you need to is lightly whisk the eggs and milk together and pour it gently over the entire tray, filling all of the nooks and crannies within the cheese and spinach. Season with salt and pepper and place in the oven to bake. It done when the egg is cooked and the base is crunchy – usually about 15 minutes.

Chop into squares and serve immediately. The quiche will keep for a few days in the fridge. I’ve been known to eat it cold straight out of the fridge or you aren’t in such a hurry it reheats really well.


Aug 20

how not to bake a chickpea

I first tried the chickpea bake at a friend’s house and I was hooked immediately! It wasn’t long before people where going back for seconds and asking for the recipe. This is the type of summer dish that you just become obsessed with. But if you take this one back to its roots you would find it in the Moroccan Soup Bar. They serve the chickpea bake as part of the banquet style meal vegetarian meal. If you can’t get into the Moroccan Soup Bar… or you simply can’t travel there; here’s how you can make it at home. The trick to the chickpea bake is NOT to bake it!!!!


Chickpea Bake

serves 6-8

  • 2 x 400g can of chickpeas
  • 6 small pita bread
  • 500ml greek style yoghurt
  • 1 bunch parsley (chopped)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (crushed)
  • 50g butter
  • 200g  slivered almonds and pine nuts

Toast pita bread under the grill until crunchy. Break pita bread into a dish in rough pieces.

Mix chickpeas, garlic and yoghurt together in a large bowl. Pour  mixture over the pita bread, until it is completely covered.

Finally melt the butter in a small pan and add almonds and pine nuts, simmer and stir often until they begin to change colour in the butter. Pour nut and butter mixture over the top of the dish and finish with chopped parsley. Serve immediately.


Apr 28

little banana and cinnamon cakes

More banana I hear you say!! Sorry – but I go about 8 in my last fruit and veg box and needed to put them to good use.


Little Banana and Cinnamon Cakes

Makes 12

125g butter

1/2 cup logician low GI sugar or 1/2 castor sugar

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1 1/2 cups mashed banana (about 4 bananas)

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1/2 cup milk

2 cups of self-raising flour (wholemeal)


Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Prepare a cupcake holders on a tray or grease a cupcake tray.

Cream butter and sugar using electric beaters, until light and creamy. Add the eggs gradually, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla essence and mashed banana, and beat until combined. Dissolve the bicarbonate of soda in the milk. Using a metal spoon, fold in the flour alternatively with the milk. Stir until all of the ingredients are combined. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cupcake pans filling them about 3/4 full. This will allow for the little cakes to rise.

Bake for around 25-30 minutes, test with a skewer to ensure that it is cooked all the way through. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.


Apr 15

coconut and chocolate macaroons

Today, Tim and I trekked out to sunny Melton to the 40k farm, to meet the newly formed SOC II (Seddon Organic Co-op II – more on this later). This was the groups first meet and a bit of a getting to know you session. We were asked to bring a plate for a picnic lunch, so I made these babies this morning. They are straight out of the diabetic living better homes and gardens magazine. They are super easy to make and medium GI – so a good kind of sweet that’s not too full on!


Coconut and Chocolate Macaroons

Makes about 18

3/4 cup shredded coconut

2 egg whites (from 50g eggs)

1/2 cup caster sugar

2 tblsp cocoa powder, sifted


Preheat oven to 170C(fan forced. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper. Spread coconut over a third baking tray. Bake stirring once, for 5-6 minutes until coconut is toasted. Set aside to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 150C (fan forced).

Using electric beaters, whisk egg whites in a medium bowl until firm peaks form. Add sugar 1 tblsp at a time, beating well after each addition, until thick and glossy.

Sift cocoa powder over egg white and whisk on low speed until combined. Stir in coconut. Spoon teaspoons of the mixture onto 2 lined baking trays, 3 cm apart. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until crisp. Set aside on the trays for 10 minutes to cool slightly, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

You can keep the macaroons in an air tight container for up to 1 week.


These macaroons are super easy, and take only minute to prepare. The good news is they all got eaten at the picnic and seemed win some fans. At the picnic there were all kinds of yummy things, looking forward to sharing recipes and ideas with this new co-op.



Feb 05

the camo cake

Camo Cake with Chocolate Butter Frosting
serves 12
Melted butter to grease
1/2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 cup plain flour
1 cups caster sugar
150g butter, cubed
2/3 cups of milk
3 eggs at room temperature
1  1/2 teaspoons vanilla essence
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
green food dye

150g of dark chocolate, melted
150g butter at room temperature, cubed
2 1/2 cups icing sugar, sifted

Preheat oven to 140°C  (280F). Position a rack on the second lowest shelf of the oven. Brush a round 25cm (base measurement) cake pan with the melted butter to lightly grease. Line base and sides with non-stick baking paper.

Place the self-raising flour, plain flour, sugar, butter, milk, eggs and vanilla essence in a large mixing bowl. Use an electric beater to beat on low-speed for 30 seconds or until just combined. Increase the speed to high and beat for 1-2 minutes or until the mixture is thick and all the butter is incorporated.

Split the mixture into 3 bowls evenly. In the first bowl shift the cocoa powder into the mixture and stir/beat until combined. This is your chocolate cake. Move onto the next bowl, add around 3-4 drops of green food dye, mix it in and see what your colour is like! For this bowl you are going for a lighter green colour. I recommend trying to get the light colour sorted first, if you accidentally slip and add too much green food colour, you can always use this as the darker coloured green! Once you have the light one sorted move onto the brighter green. For this one go with 6-8 drops of food colouring. Mix it in and compare to your light green colour. There should be a marked difference between the two. Don’t worry if it’s really bright – this will just make it more fun!

Ok now you are ready to start layering your cake. Grab your prepared cake pan and 3 teaspoons. Begin by spooning lumps of alternating coloured cake mix into the base of the cake pan. Continue to layer until all of the 3 mixtures have been used. With a clean teaspoon smooth out the top of the mixture, at this point you can swirl some of the colours together to integrate the top of the cake. Don’t mix too much – just enough to smooth the top of the mixture out.

Bake in preheated oven for around 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and set aside for 10 minutes. Turn onto a wire rack for 2 hours or until completely cool.

To complete your cake, you’ll need to ice it (well you don’t have to! It does seem like a shame to cover up that amazing looking top!), but if you want fatten up your cake eaters then I suggest a butter cream icing! In a bowl combine the butter and icing sugar, add in the melted chocolate and combine until smooth. This can at times take some balancing – if your icing is too thick and a tiny bit of milk. If it’s too thin add a little icing sugar until you get the mix right. Using a pallet knife smooth your icing on top of the cake. You can pick up little plastic army men to top your cake with as decoration and most of all enjoy!



Jan 16

something light and smokey

Although you wouldn’t really know it over the last couple of days, its Summer in Melbourne. And that means delicious and new salads! Here’s one that I recently adapted from a quick web search, after Tim brought home two smoked trouts.
Smoked trout, Zucchini and Couscous Salad
serves 4
1 cup couscous
1 zucchini, ends trimmed, thinly sliced
2 tsp preserved lemon, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup boiling water
1 tbs olive oil
400g can chickpeas, drained, rinsed
1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped
1 x 175g pkt smoked trout, flaked

Combine the couscous, zucchini, preserved lemon and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice in a large heatproof bowl. Add the water and oil. Cover and set aside for 4 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Use a fork to separate the grains.

Stir in chickpeas, coriander, mint and ocean trout. Season with salt and pepper.

I added tzatziki in this version, but I’d recommend against it — although Tim liked it,  the flavours didn’t really work for me. As an alternative,  try mixing in some ground cumin with some yoghurt — ahh much better! It’s worth noting too that the whole lot kept really well and provided lunches the next day for the both of us.


Dec 31

cookbook challenge 2011: 26th fortnight, christmas

Tim and I have decided to take a different approach to Christmas this year than what we normally do. It all started largely around the thought of giving people bought gifts that they would politely thank you for, but as soon as they got home it would go straight into the re-gifting cupboard at home! Such a waste (but I guess at least someone will like it eventually right!) So we set about trying to give people things that they could use or consume. Most of the friends and family in our lives don’t need stuff  – they have everything they need. So getting them the ideal gift can be pretty difficult. So we set about making gifts, and making edible gifts seemed like a good way to start. The recipe below is one of these.

Ginger Ale Fruit Cake, as seen in Gran’s Cookbook, recipes of Dulcie May Booker

1/2 pint (240ml) Ginger Ale

1/2 lb (225g) Sultanas

1/2 lb (225g) Dates

1/2 lb (225g) Currants

1/2 lb (225g) Raisins

2 tblsp Lemon Rind

1/2 lb (225g) Butter

1/2 lb (225g) Sugar

4 Eggs

1 teaspoon Baking Powder

1/2 teaspoon Almond Essence

1 teaspoon Vanilla Essence

1 tblsp Brandy


Soak fruit overnight in ginger ale.

Cream butter and sugar very well. Beat in eggs one at a time then add sifted flour and baking powder.

Add soaked fruit and, lastly the essences and brandy.

Bake for 1 and 1/2 to 2 hours in a paper-lined tin at 325°F (160°C).


I love this recipe. So simple and yet so yummy. I upped the Brandy content to give it some more Christmas cheer as my mother would say!
I left out the almond essence as A: I don’t really like it and B: I wasn’t going to buy any because of A. As you can see from the picture I bought some small round disposable waxed paper holders and split the recipe across 5 to give these as gifts. Super easy! And very Christmas.


Dec 16

cookbook challenge 2011: 23rd fortnight, red

I had no idea what to make for the red cookbook challenge. I think my creativity is waiving at this time of year as I’m  not convinced that this was the best option, but it’s what I went with in any case. So behold these savoury muffins!

Cheese and Chutney Muffins, as seen in the Vegetarian cookbook.

2 cups self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup olive oil
2 lightly beaten eggs
2/3 cup finely grated parmesan
salt and cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons tomato chutney


Preheat oven to 190°C. Spray a 12 x 1 1/2 tablespoon-capacity mini muffin pan with a little oil spray. Set aside.

Sift flour and baking powder into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine milk, olive oil and eggs and add to the flour mixture. Add parmesan and salt and cracked black pepper, folding gently until just combined.

Place a spoonful of mixture in each muffin hole, coming about 3/4 of the way up the side of each hole. Make a little well in the centre of each muffin hole and divide tomato chutney between each hole. Using a skewer, gently swirl the chutney into the muffin mixture.

Bake for 10 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool and repeat with remaining muffin mixture.

Ok so my modifications… I didn’t have enough cheese in the fridge before I started. So I mixed tasty cheese and parmesan cheese (grated of course).  I also had some amazing organic asparagus (thanks to Jodie) and some Tomme Blue from Millewa Cheese Company that needed to be used. So I split the batch in half and made half chutney and half asparagus with blue cheese. I have to say of the two the winner was definitely the chutney ones. I used a cranberry chutney that was given to me last christmas.  Which went really well with the cheesy muffin. I had a but of trouble swirling the mixture to spread the chutney out. But I think this was due  the warm day the mixture stiffened up too. So I just made a well and plonked it on top, and it still worked!


Dec 01

sticky date ice-cream

An ice-cream making machine turned up in a box of Tim’s stuff so I decided to give it a go. After seeing a sticky date ice-cream in a window at an ice-cream store I decided to hunt down a recipe and give it a go. Here’s what I came up with.

Sticky Date Ice-cream
Makes about 1.5 litres.

1 cup milk
1 cup cream
1/4 cup caster sugar
3 egg yolks
pinch salt
1 tsp cornflour
1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup water
1 tsp butter
1 cup roughly chopped dates

Mix a couple of tablespoons of milk with the cornflour in saucepan and stir until smooth. Boil or nuke the rest of the milk and cream, then add to the milk/cornflour mix. Bring to boil, then let cool.

Beat sugar, egg yolks and salt until thick and creamy. Add about 1/4 of the milk and mix together, then pour this back into the saucepan and heat on medium, stirring continually until mixture thickens slightly. Take off the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Stir in vanilla extract. Pour into suitable container and refrigerate.

Place sugar, water, and butter in saucepan and bring to boil. Turn heat down to medium, stir until sugar is dissolved, and add dates. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally until the dates are soft and caramelised. Cool.

Start churning the vanilla cream mixture in the ice cream maker as per instructions. When it is just over halfway churned, add 1/2 the sticky date mixure, and continue churning. Then, when transferring ice cream to a container for freezing, fold in the rest of the sticky dates so that they form channels in the ice-cream. Freeze until needed.


Somewhere along the lines I stuff this up. I know I made at least three mistakes. Firstly,I cooked the dates too long and most of them dissolved into the sauce, so I added some more so there would be chunks of date in the ice-cream. Secondly, the ice-cream never actually thickened up in the machine. Is it meant to? I’m not sure! But I’m sure I churned it too long and the bowl warmed too much. Thirdly, I put the date mixture in whilst it was still in the churner! What I ended up with, I stuck in the freezer to set. Upon tasting it was super sweet, on account of the extra dates I suspect! The texture was weird, almost rough – which also has something to do with mistakes number one and three. All in all it tasted ok – but you’d probably one want a little bit of it! Better luck next time hey?



Nov 28

cookbook challenge 2011: 22nd fortnight, breakfast

Eggs are a weekend food for me. Coupled with an amazing loaf of sourdough bread from the Sourdough Kitchen in Seddon. Tim headed down there on a special request by me to grab a loaf of Pumpkin Sourdough. He returned with that, a Fig, Almond and Apricot loaf and a couple of coffees. As soon as his car hit the driveway I put the eggs in the pan – 10 minutes later it was breaky time.

Scrambled Eggs with Chives and Smoked Salmon, as seen in Vegetarian

serves 2-3

6 eggs

1 tblsp cream

1 tblsp freshly cut chives

Sourdough Bread


Beat eggs and cream together in a small bowl. Chop chives into 1cm pieces and beat in with eggs until light and fluffy. Season to taste.

Warm the a non-stick pan with a little butter or oil, once pan has some heat in it add the eggs to the pan and gently keep them moving over a medium heat. Don’t leave your eggs at this point they could overcook very quickly. It’s important to pull them off the heat just before they look completely ready as they will continue to cook.

Prepare a slice of toasted sour dough and gently place the scrambled eggs  – add some ground pepper and your done.


I didn’t toast my bread as it was still warm and frankly fucking amazing. We are so lucky to have such an amazing baker in the area. Don’t tell too many people about them or everyone will be getting their bread from there! The eggs were creamy and luscious! I added some smoked salmon just underneath to break up all the flavours a bit.  All in all a pretty quick and easy breaky.