Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Boiled Fruit Cake

Today my daughter and I are making a boiled fruit cake for Christmas.

1kg mixed dried fruit
250g butter, chopped coarsely
1 1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup sherry or 50ml bottle of Queen Brandy Essence combined with 200ml water
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons finely grated orange rind
4 eggs, beaten lightly
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup self-raising flour
2 teaspoons mixed spice
1/2 cup pecans
3/4 cup macadamias


1. Line deep 22cm- round cake pan with 3 thicknesses of baking paper, extending paper 5cm above side.

2. Combine fruit, butter, sugar, 3/4 sherry or brandy essence mixture and water in a large saucepan; stir over medium heat until butter is melted and sugar dissolved. Bring to the boil.

 3. Remove from heat; transfer to a large bowl; cool

4. Preheat oven to 150 C (130 C fan-forced)

5. Stir in orange rind.

6. Stir in beaten eggs
7. Then add sifted dry ingredients.

8.  Spread the mixture into the pan.
9.  Decorate the top with nuts.

10.  Bake for 3 hours. Brush hot cake with remaining sherry; cover with foil; cool in pan overnight.

     from Something Gorgeous

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Desert for Christmas

Last weekend, the Sunday Telegraph Magazine featured an exclusive preview of Donna Hay's Christmas issue titled 
"Let's Celebrate." Her delicious festive selections are sure to be a hit this year as they appear, as usual to be "fast, fresh and simple".  


I'm pretty sure I'm going to try this yummy summer pavlova for our Christmas feast. Looks amazing doesn't it? Let's hope it looks as good in real life as it does in her picture. Umm?!

Classic Pavlova with Cherry Syrup
225ml eggwhites (approx 6 eggs)
1 1/2 cups of caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp white vinegar
1 1/2 cups single cream
400g cherries to serve
cherry syrup
1 cup caster sugar 1 cup water
150g cherries, pitted

To make the cherry syrup, place the sugar and water in a saucepan over low heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to high, add the cherries, bring to the boil and cook for 10-15 min or until thickened. Strain the syrup, discarding the cherries and set aside to cool completely.
Preheat oven to150 degrees C. Place the eggwhites in an electric mixer and whisk on high until soft peaks form. Add the sugar, 1 tbl at a time, whisking for 30 seconds before adding another tbl. Once all sugar has been added, whisk for a further 6 min or until the mixture is stiff and glossy. Scrape down sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add vinegar and whisk for further 2 minutes or until glossy and combined.
Draw a 26 cm circle on a sheet of non stick baking paper and place on a baking tray. Place large spoonfuls of the meringue mixture into the circle. Reduce temp tp 120 degrees C. and bake for 1 hour and 30 min. Turn oven off and allow to cool completely in the oven. Top the pavlova with the whipped cream and cherries and drizzle with the cherry syrup to serve. Serves 8-10.

Happy Feasting!
From G.  xx

Friday, 25 November 2011

Summer Couscous

This couscous salad is fresh and zesty. Its a great side dish, but its also a meal in itself. Its even better chilled the next day. 
Trust me, its delicious!

1.Pour hot water over 1 and 3/4 cups of couscous and leave to soften.
2. Combine
  • 1/4 cup of toasted pine nuts
  • 1 small spanish onion chopped finely
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 lebanese cucumber finely chopped, with skin
  • 1 vine ripened tomato finely chopped
  • 1/2 bunch mint leaves chopped
  • 1/4 cup currants
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • season with salt and pepper
3. Combine these ingredients with the loosened couscous and serve!!  
Serves 6 as a side salad. 

Tip: Its delicious served with lamb cutlets and minted yoghurt.

      from Something Gorgeous

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Organic Banana Loaf

My kids love this recipe. I hope I don't end up in court for breaching copyright laws because I can't remember where the recipe came from. It's just one of those oldie but goodies I have in my Recipe drawer.

Organic Banana Loaf
(makes 1 loaf)

1 large ripe organic banana, mashed
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup (250mls) soy milk
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup caster sugar
2 1/2 cups organic self raising flour
1/2 cup organic rolled oats
1 cup shredded coconut

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and flour a 19cm x 9cm x 6cm loaf pan.

2. Mix together mashed banana, vanilla, eggs, soy milk, honey and sugar.

3. Sift Flour and add to wet ingredients with rolled oats and coconut. Gently fold through using a large metal spoon. Be careful not to over mix.

4. Spoon into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean when tested. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Serve sliced with butter or if you like it tastes great toasted.

      from Something Gorgeous

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Walnut,avocado and mango salad

After the storm on Sunday afternoon, the weather felt so warm and tropical. So in keeping with the mood, I prepared one of my favourite salads to have with a roasted leg of lamb.  Its pretty healthy and the mangoes make you feel like Summer is already here. Oh and of course, its quick and easy, otherwise you wouldn't find it in my recipe book. I've halved the ingredients in these photos because it was just for me and my hubby.
Pan fry 3 bacon rashers or cheat and buy diced, and allow to cool.( this doesn't look like half??)

Arrange a platter of  any mixed lettuce that takes your fancy.

Peel and slice 2 mangoes and 2 avocados into wedges and arrange on top of the lettuce. I like to make pretty rings around the edge of the platter, one for one. (My idea of being creative!!)

Sprinkle diced bacon and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts in the centre of the platter.

Whisk in a small bowl, 1tbl of cream, 2 tbl lemon juice, 1 tsp mustard grain and 1/4 cup of olive oil and pour over the salad.

Serve with lamb, bar-b-cued meat, chicken or fish. Fresh, simple, mostly healthy, but delicious!

From G 

    From Something Gorgeous  

Friday, 14 October 2011

Bruschetta, Thai Style.

I love the  fresh, Thai flavours of this salsa, eaten with crusty bread or alternatively with any meat, fish or chicken cooked on the barbecue.It is a great alternative to the Italian version and delicious chilled during the warmer weather. Its very simple but delicious!
4 firm vine-ripened tomatoes, finely chopped
1 small red onion, finely chopped
Juice and shredded rind from 1 lime
1 tsp peanut oil
1 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp Thai fish sauce
2 tsp sweet chilli sauce
I bunch coriander, leaves only
1/2 cup salted peanuts, chopped
Place the tomatoes and onion into a medium bowl. Place the the juice, rind, oil, sugar and sauces into a jug and whisk to combine. Pour dressing over the tomato mixture, add the coriander leaves and peanuts, and toss to combine.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Roasted beetroot, spanish onion salad with goats cheese and pinenuts.

With the warmer weather upon us, the crunch and snap of perfectly fresh produce deserve the simplest of treatments. Leaves, herbs and just cooked vegetables team brilliantly with meats or seafood's, nuts and seeds. Crusty, rustic bread, torn at the table, is the only accompaniment needed to create a satisfying lunch or dinner. This delicious salad is one of my favourites... Roasted beetroot, spanish onion salad with goats cheese and pinenuts... a meal in itself really!

1 bunch beetroot, peeled and cut in wedges
2 large spanish onions peeled and cut in wedges
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil                                             
1 small pkt pinenuts toasted
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
120g semi-dried tomatoes
100g baby spinach leaves
150g firm goats cheese crumbled
crusty bread to serve
Place beetroot,onions and 2 tablespoons olive oil in roasting pan, season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and roast for 45 minutes at 200 degrees(or until tender).
Transfer roasted vegetables to a large bowl, add remaining olive oil, red wine vinegar, pinenuts,semi- dried tomatoes and spinach and combine well. Divide warm salad between 4-6 plates and scatter with crumbled goats cheese and serve with crusty bread.(For a more hearty salad add roasted pumpkin as well!)

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Simple Caramel Slice

If you have ever been asked to make a sweet for the school fete, or need to bake something for a child's birthday party or you just simply cannot resist caramel slice... then here's a quick and easy recipe that will look like you've just visited the local patisserie. My kids can't get enough of it.

1 cup self raising flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup coconut
125g butter
Mix and spread into a greased lamington tin and bake for 10 minutes on 180 degrees.
400g condensed milk
30g butter
2tbl golden syrup
Mix in in small saucepan continually over low heat until boiling. Stir for another 5 minutes. Spread over base. Bake for 10 minutes and cool.
Family block Dairy milk chocolate
30g copha.
Melt in microwave and then spread over filling. Refrigerate.

'Yum yum!!'

Friday, 5 August 2011

Donna Hay

Fast Fresh Simple. Donna Hay
Click on the book to purchase!

"Fast, Fresh, Simple" is the title of the latest Donna Hay cookbook. I knew I had to buy this book, because the words 'fast, fresh, simple ' sum up my cooking style. 
The cookbook doesn't disappoint. 
So far I'm enjoying cooking my way through the recipes, but more importantly my fussy children are enjoying eating them! 
Donna Hay is even able to make an old favourite; Pumpkin Soup, faster and more delicious ....

Roasted Pumpkin Soup

Roasted Pumpkin Soup
Try this warming and healthy soup from Donna Hay.

Serves 4


  • 1 x 2kg whole butternut pumpkin
  • 1 onion
  • olive oil, for drizzling
  • sea salt
  • 3½ cups (875ml) chicken stock
  • 1 cup (250ml) single (pouring) cream
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • sour cream, to serve


  1. 1Preheat oven to 220°C (425°F).
  2. 2Cut the pumpkin in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds.
  3. 3Place the pumpkin, cut-side up, and onion on a baking tray.
  4. 4Drizzle with a little oil and sprinkle with salt.
  5. 5Bake for 55–60 minutes or until the pumpkin is just soft and starting to brown. Scoop the pumpkin out of the skin into a blender.
  6. 6Scoop the onion flesh away from its skin and add to the blender.
  7. 7Add 1 cup (250ml) of the chicken stock and blend until smooth.
  8. 8Pour the mixture into a saucepan, add remaining stock, cream and honey.
  9. 9Place over medium heat until soup is heated through.
  10. 10Serve with sour cream.

Fast, Fresh, Simple is currently on the Lifestyle channel and you can click here if you would like to check out some of Donna's fantastic recipes.

Click on any of the Donna Hay books below to purchase

The Instant CookNew Food FastOff The Shelf: Cooking From the PantryEntertainingInstant EntertainingFlavors

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Mums Cure For Everything

This is my grandmother's recipe for a cure-all chicken soup. I grew up on it, as have my children - it is our miracle cure for the common cold or flu! I have given this recipe out so many times and everyone swears it works, so here it is for you to give it a go;

1 whole chicken (or 1kg of chicken pieces - as long as you don't use breast pieces, as they are too dry)
6-8 carrots
6 cloves of garlic
1 onion
chicken stock or water (enough to cover all your ingredients in a pot or slow cooker)
angel hair pasta (amount depending on how much pasta you prefer)
1 bunch of continental parsley (optional)

Place all ingredients in a stock pot, except angel hair pasta.
Boil on medium heat for 2-3 hours
keep veggies whole
Take out all veggies and chicken with a sieve, cut up all carrots into bite-size pieces and throw them back in.
put a fork through the garlic still in the pot - it should just fall apart
Discard the onion and parsley
Pull apart the chicken into bite-size pieces and throw back into the pot with the carrots
Add your angel hair pasta - the more you add the thicker your soup will be
Season as required!

Alternatively, if you cook in a slow cooker - throw everything in and cook for 7 hours on low or 4 hours on high.

Enjoy V

                                               Chicken Soup for the Soul

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Here's one to warm your 'art

An old school friend of mine recently emailed me from Airlie Beach and asked me for this recipe. I haven't used it for a while and thought it was worth sharing. This delicious, warm, dip served with hot crusty bread or Turkish or pita will impress all your friends and family, and best of all its soooo simple.
Warm Artichoke Dip
4oog tin of drained, roughly chopped artichokes hearts.( Make sure they have not been marinated)
1 cup of whole egg mayonnaise
1 clove of  crushed garlic
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly chopped basil
Black ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl and then transfer into a small ovenproof dish.
Cook for approximately 15 minutes or until dip is golden on the top.
Serve with your favourite warmed bread. I love Turkish bread with this dip.
Enjoy!!  G.

Authentic Homemade Pasta Sauce Pasta!

I have passed on this recipe to many of my friends. Everyone loves it. Its a hearty and delicious dish, especially in the colder months of winter. It actually originates from a small town in Italy east of Rome, called Bomba in the the Provence of Abruzzo.  My father's family have cooked this simple, peasant, dish for generations. Its cheap to make, nutritious and always a big hit, especially with the kids. When I make it I always double the recipe and freeze half for a rainy day!

I'm going to call it G's Tomato, Garlic and Basil Sauce!
Bon Appetite!

2 forequarter chops or a handful of chicken, veal or pork mince.
3-4 crushed garlic cloves                                                                                            
2 400g tins of crushed tomatoes.
1/2 red capsicum chopped
4 tablespoons tomato paste
1 dessertspoon salt and sugar
Pepper to taste
dried chilli flakes (optional)
10-15 basil leaves chopped
1 cup of water

1.Brown the chops, or mince then add garlic and fry for 2 minutes.
2.Add capsicum, tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, pepper, chilli, and water.
3.Simmer for at least 2 hours stirring occasionally. ( I always simmer my sauce for at least 2 hours. The key to any successful Italian sauce is to simmer for as long as possible, but with busy lifestyles, I know its not always possible.)You may have to add more water to avoid drying out. (sauce should remain quite fluid, not thick). This step is very important.
4.After 2 hours, remove chops and roughly mash capsicum through the sauce.
5.Replace the deboned chops, or alternatively set aside and serve afterwards with a simple, green Italian salad.
6 Stir and heat through the freshly, chopped basil leaves.
7. Serve over your favourite cooked pasta.
Alternatively, follow the recipe, but place ingredients into a slow cooker and cook for 4 hours  high.  

 Every Night Italian: 120 Simple, Delicious Recipes You Can Make in 45 Minutes or Less                    La Cucina: The Regional Cooking of Italy                    Italian Home Cooking: 125 Recipes to Comfort Your Soul 

 From G.                       

Sea- Food Eat Food

Its Friday, I'm tired, alone, have a sore throat and  haven't much to look forward to this weekend as hubby is away riding and my gorgeous girl is out with her soul mates having fun....both nights! Oh well, hols soon and I can follow one of my passions.... food. Its such a comfort!!  Here's an oldy but goody! My work colleagues love it because its quick, easy and delicious.
My version of  a Thai Seafood Soup........
Will be eating this tomorrow night with a glass of Clare Valley Riesling! Can't wait........Mmmmmm!

Oh, BTW, if you would really like to treat yourself, make a reservation at 'Paul's Asian Affair' in New Lambton for the the best Asian food anywhere...  OMG!! Fresh, amazing flavours and generous serves.   Mmm...might order in instead??!!

500g fresh seafood ( Whatever you desire. I love king prawns, scallops and squid)
1 tbl olive oil
4 cloves crushed garlic
1 small red chilli sliced
2-3 chopped coriander roots
grated ginger
1 stalk lemongrass bruised (optional)
300g lite coconut milk
grated rind of a large fresh lemon
1 tsp of brown sugar
1tbl of fish sauce
1 choice of sliced vegetable (eg red capsicum, snow peas or Broccolini, or anything you fancy)
1/2 bunch chopped coriander
1. In a wok, saute chilli, garlic, coriander roots and ginger in oil for 1-2 minutes on a high heat.
2. Add the seafood and your choice of vegetable and fry until half cooked.
3. Pour in coconut milk, bruised lemon grass, lemon rind, brown sugar and fish sauce and bring to the boil, then reduce heat to simmer for 1-2 minutes.
4. Add fresh coriander leaves and turn off heat.
5. Serve over a bed of cooked jasmine rice.

Have a great weekend. G.

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