Thursday, July 7, 2016

Chocolate Self Saucing Pudding

This recipe did not come from a cookbook, this one came from my friend, Jo, way back in 1999, just when I was starting to get into cooking. It has been used lots with great results every time.

Cake Ingredients

3/4 cup SR flour
2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
113g butter
2/3 cup of caster sugar
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
1-2 tablespoons milk

Sauce Ingredients

2/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 cup hot water


Cream together butter and sugar. Add vanilla essence, mix well. Add slightly beaten eggs and mix well. Add sifted dry ingredients and mix in with milk, if required. Pour mix into greased dish.

Add together in a separate bowl the sauce ingredients. When combined pour liquid over the cake mix. Cook for approximately 40 minutes at 180degrees. Don't overcook as cake should be moist when done and have the hot sauce underneath. Serve with double cream or on its own.

You can also use chopped walnuts/pecans if you wish.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Roasted Pumpkin and Persian Feta Ravioli with a Creamy Mushroom Sauce

I used to shy away from buying a whole pumpkin as I thought it would be too difficult to cut and I wouldn't get through it all, now, I buy and I make sure I use it for as many different things as I can.
Pumpkin had already been used to make two different pumpkin soups, so I wanted to try something new. My beetroot ravioli turned out well, hopefully pumpkin would be the same.

Ingredients for ravioli

Pumpkin roughly chopped into similar sized pieces  
100g Persian Feta
Wonton wrappers

Ingredients for sauce

120g sliced mushrooms
15g butter
Italian herbs
50ml white wine
1 cup stock
1/2 cup cream
1tb cornflour
salt to taste

I didn't weigh the pumpkin, just chopped it into smallish pieces so roasting would be quick, I used basil infused olive oil to roast with, about half an hour on 200°. Then let it cool down before mashing. I have previously bought Southcape Persian Feta, however chose a different brand because it was cheaper, I won't do it again, I think the Southcape one is better. Lesson learned. I mixed the cheese in with the pumpkin. Then it was just a matter of spooning the pumpkin and cheese mixture onto the prepared wonton wrappers and sealing them with a little water. 

I cooked the ravioli in a pot of boiling water for about 5 minutes and removed individually with a slotted spoon. 


Melt butter over low heat, add mushrooms and cook until soft and dark. Stir in herbs, salt, and stock. Increase heat to medium and cook stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low, stir in cream until smooth, stir in cornflour and simmer for a minute to thicken. Pour over pasta. 

This sauce is probably not this best fit for the ravioli, works really well with a bowl of penne, but I used it as I knew Philip would like it and I wasn't wrong. Overall dinner was very nice. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Roasted Beetroot and Goats Cheese Ravioli with a Walnut and Brown Butter Sauce

About five weeks ago I took my grandmother out for lunch, we went to a lovely little place in Riddells Creek called Seasons Bistro Bar and Deli. I really like it as they have some great food, traditional things like pies, that suit my Nanna and more modern things like the Beetroot & Goats Cheese Ravioli with Walnut Butter that I had.

This was my lunch.

I loved it, so thought I would try and make it at home.


2 fresh beetroot
100g goats cheese
wonton wrappers

I wrapped the beetroot in foil, placing a teaspoon of water in with it.  Roasted it for about 40-45 minutes on 180°. Tested it will a skewer to see that it was done and peeled it while wearing disposable gloves so my hands didn't turn pink. I then finely grated the beetroot into a bowl and mixed in the goats cheese. Then it was just a matter of spooning the beetroot and goats cheese mixture onto the prepared wonton wrappers and sealing them with a little water. 

I probably should have roasted my walnuts in the oven, but I didn't. I heated the frypan and did them on the stove top before the butter. Once they were done, I put them aside and started on the butter. As it had been a while since I had made something with a brown butter sauce I thought I had better check the net and make sure it's done right. I used this for the brown butter sauce

I wasn't really sure how long I should cook the ravioli for and I was terrified that it would all fall apart, but after about 5 minutes in boiling water, I was able to serve it still intact. Removing from the water with a slotted spoon helped. Then I just added the walnuts and sauce. 

I told Philip when I gave it to him that this dish was experimental and that if it wasn't any good I would make him something else, but he was very pleased, thought it was very nice and worthy of a place in a restaurant.  That was nice of him to say.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Triple Chocolate Cookies

Isobel is obsessed with animals, she loves them very much. On Sunday she wanted to go to the Animal Aid shelter in Coldstream, just to look as we are not in a position to adopt at this stage. I got Philip to drop me and Spencer off at the Yarra Valley Dairy while he took Isobel to the shelter. I was hoping because it was such a cold and wet day that no one bothered to venture out, but I was wrong. We had to wait a little while for a table, so I did some cheese and wine tasting, looked around at the products you can buy and picked up a pack of Yarra Valley Crumbs Gourmet Biscuits, Triple Chocolate. Funnily enough Spencer wasn't interested in the cheese and wine tasting so I bought the pack of biscuits while we waited.

I hadn't be to the Yarra Valley Dairy for quite some time and while they still do their fabulous cheese platters, meals seem to be a thing of the past. I ordered the cheese platter and a glass of wine. The cheese platter was huge, but oh so delicious!

This was after much of the cheese had been consumed. It came with a lovely selection of breads and crackers and included an onion relish. Goats cheese is a favourite of mine and I had plenty, thankfully Philip and Isobel arrived so he could help with the cheese.

Isobel spotted the the biscuits and started to rave about how good they were. Spencer had put a half eaten biscuit pack in the pack so Philip polished it off and also raved about what great biscuits they were. I believe that when it comes to biscuits/cookies, nothing is as good as home made. Much later in the day I had one to see if they really were as good as they said. They were nice, but as I said, not as good as home made.

To prove my point I decided that on the first day of the school holidays I would make my own Triple Chocolate Cookies. It was complete pot luck when choosing the recipe, I Googled and chose to make the first ones that came up, which was this one from Taste. I had all the ingredients required, so went ahead and made them. The recipe says it makes 30 and it probably does if you make them slightly smaller than I did, I made about 25.

Isobel told me they were the 'best cookies ever!' and were clearly better than the bought ones. I think Spencer was being cheeky when he told me that the other ones were better. After dinner Philip got himself a couple of cookies for dessert, he said, in a surprised tone, that they were very good. I said to him, 'I told you I could make better than bought', he didn't deny it. :)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Risotto with Roast Pumpkin, Spinach, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Fetta

Once a month Philip and I get to go out to dinner, without the kids, lucky us! Considering how often we used to go out for dinner pre kids, I still find it hard to be somewhat restricted to once a month. However, my sister, Amber, is kind enough to come over with her boys and look after Isobel and Spencer. I make dinner for them before we go out and it was usually pizza, but recently Amber had taken a liking to a risotto she had as a take away from Deganis, so I did my best to recreate it.

I used this Donna Hay Basic Baked Risotto recipe and added roasted pumpkin (about 600g) , a couple of handfuls of baby spinach, about 8 sun dried tomatoes (cut in half)  and about 100g of fetta.
I think they were happy with the result.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Coffee Ice Cream

My sister wanted me to make coffee ice cream, she had been on about it for a while, she has a slight obsession with coffee now after being a long term tea drinker. I finally got around to buying the coffee liqueur that was needed so I decided to make this "One Step No Churn Coffee Ice Cream" from Nigella Lawson's book Nigellissima.


300ml Double Cream
175g Condensed Milk
2 x 15ml Tablespoons Instant Espresso Powder
2 x 15ml Tablespoons Espresso Liqueur


Whisk all ingredients together until soft peaks form, and you have a gorgeous , caffe latte coloured airy mixture, and then fill airtight container/s, and freeze for 6 hours or overnight. Nigella's One Step No Churn Coffee Ice Cream

This ice cream is one of the best I have ever tasted and it really is that easy. I did make some changes though. I have previously made the orange ice cream that was featured in Nigella Bites, which also used double cream. I find double cream to be too much, I have made the orange with double and just thick cream and I got a much better result using the thick cream. So for this one I didn't even attempt to use double cream, just went with the thick or thickened cream. I used Kahlua as the liqueur as I couldn't think of another 'espresso liqueur' and I used instant espresso coffee dissolved in a bit of boiling water. Whisked up in my Kitchen Aid so it doesn't feel obsolete with the Thermomix in the kitchen.  Unfortunately my sister wasn't overy impressed, she was after a coffee sorbet rather than ice cream, but I personally think it's divine!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Ice Cream!

Nothing better to eat on a hot day than ice cream! I have had a life long love of ice cream and now appreciate that making it myself is soooo much better than the bought stuff (even the gourmet bought stuff). The favourite ice cream for this household comes from the fabulous book  For Food Sake by Tenina Holder, which has recipes for use with a Thermomix. It is the Rich Choccie Ice Cream and it does not disappoint, this is seriously good.


200g dark chocolate, in pieces
3 eggs
170g caster sugar
350 cream
250 milk
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
Pinch sea salt


Place chocolate in TM bowl and chop 5 seconds/speed 8
Remove from bowl and set aside
Place eggs and sugar into TM bowl insert Butterfly. Beat 4min/37°/speed 3
Add remaining ingrdients, including chopped chocolate. Cook 6min/80°/speed 3
Pour into large metal loaf tin. Cool
Place in freezer for approx 2 hours or until frozen around the edges
return to TM bowl and 30sec/speed 9
Return to loaf pan and freeze overnight

I find that if I make it in the morning there is no need to wait for overnight, it will be ready that evening. I also bought some cheap silicone jelly molds with lids (that look like this) that I put the ice cream into so it makes 8 individual portions, this was to stop certain little children going to the freezer to help themselves just for a quick mouthful. :)

With regard to the chocolate I use, it has always been the Lindt Excellence range, but I have used different flavours. The most popular ice cream here is the one I make with the Mint Intense, which comes in 100g blocks (I stock up when it's on special). I have also used the Cherry Intense, Orange Intense, Chilli and A Touch of Sea Salt. I found the kids didn't like the Cherry and I have to admit it wasn't my favourite either, but you won't know unless you try. I couldn't taste any of the sea salt when I used that block, like I can when I just eat a piece of chocolate, but it did make for an incredibly smooth ice cream. The Chilli was unlike anything I had ever tasted before it was cold as ice cream is, but thad that little bit of heat from the chilli.

We just don't buy tubs of ice cream anymore and it's great to hear the kids say that the best ice cream is the one that I make.