03 June 2017

Lamington cupcakes

Lamingtons are amazing. Just saying. 

Vanilla sponge fingers dipped in chocolate and then rolled in coconut. The larger ones have a jam center and some have a strawberry icing instead of chocolate. They played a strong part of my lunchbox during school. 

My version of these is a coconut cake base, raspberry jam center and chocolate ganache on top. I've made them before using a different coconut cake base. That one involved coconut milk and you can find it here. This was a new recipe. Apparently it is a Womens Weekly classic. The coconut flavour comes from desiccated coconut and coconut essence. Mostly the essence I think. the desiccated coconut adds to the texture. 

The recipe calls for a full cake, I found it made 18 cupcakes. The downside to 18 is that I could only half fill a tray. Partially full trays don't bake as evenly as full trays. To fix this I partly fill the empty cups with water. This helps with the even heat distribution. They took around 20-25 minutes in total. I preheated using fan forced and then switched into conventional for the baking. This mean that they rose properly. A final blast in fan forced finished off the colour on the half full tray. 

Whilst these babies cooled I started on the ganache. 300g dark chocolate broken into a bowl and 300ml of hot cream poured over. Wait about 5 minutes and give it a stir. Let it cool until thick. I then whipped it a little with the hand blender. This is when I realised that the ratio of chocolate to cream was off if I wanted silky smooth and pipable icing. Next time more cream or less chocolate. Potentially a different type of chocolate too.

The assembly is the messy part. I recommend having a sink of hot soapy water ready to go.

Cut a hole in the top of the cupcake and trim of the excess cake. You need to create a lid as well as leaving room for the jam center. 

I mix the jam up a little so that it flows into the hole better then pop the lid back on.

Once they are all done it's time to put the ganache on. Originally the plan was to pipe the ganache on. In the end it was dollop time. Once every cupcake had a suitably large dollop, I used a clean knife to smooth the tops. By then my husband and father in law had finished changing the locks on the front door. Someone broke into the house yesterday. We are missing small things like jewelry, cameras and some booze. The biggest annoyance is dealing with lock changes and a broken window. 

So once that was done, husband took over the final step with these puppies. Dipping them in coconut. They've been safely packaged to be taken to a party this evening with my father in law. Some of his friends are celebrating becoming Australian Citizens. 

The recipe for the coconut cake base is below. I used about 250g of raspberry jam. 


  • 125g butter, softened
  • ½ teaspoon coconut essence
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup (40g) desiccated coconut
  • 1½ cups self-raising flour
  • 250g extra-light sour cream
  • ⅓ cup (80ml) milk

Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Line 2 cupcake trays with 18 wrappers. 

Beat butter, essence and sugar in a small bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time.

Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Stir in half the coconut and half the sifted flour, half the sour cream and half the milk, then add remaining coconut, flour, sour cream and milk; stir until smooth.

Divide evenly into the cup cake tins and bake until cooked when tested. Stand cup cakes in pan for 10 minutes before turning onto wire rack, top-side up, to cool. 

31 May 2017

Things I miss about England - the farm shop

Here in Australia we have the farmers market. Once a month we all file into the designated park and buy our groceries from the farmers who have attended. It's important to note that you don't have to be a farm in order to sell your produce at these markets but that is a post for another day. 

Today is all about the farm shop. 

England has the farmers market and it runs under similar principles to the ones here. Everyone arrives to see the glorious produce and takes home their spoils at the end of the day. One of my favourite parts of England was the humble farm shop. 

Depending on where you were, it was either a building on the farm property or a shack on the side of the road. Whilst my parents holidayed with us last August we went to Cornwall and I introduced them to the humble farm shop.

We were staying in a tiny fishing village called Polruan. It was across the mouth of the river from Fowey. Another tiny fishing village. The advantage of being based there was that we had easy access to the northern and southern parts of Cornwall. Polruan is the blue dot below. 

On one of the days we were there, we all headed over to Padstow. Dad and M had tickets to the brewery tour so mum and I decided to check out the sights. We were expecting a quiet fishing village. What we got was anything but. On the way back to pick up the men, there was a farm shop. This was the first farm shop that my mum had been too. We spent far too much but it was all delicious.

After this meal it was on like Donkey Kong. I think the best meal we had was when I attempted to make chicken mignon/kiev. This was courtesy of a farm shop shack on the side of the road. Coming back from the south coast we just drove past a sign that said farm shop.

Next thing I knew, dad had loaded up the basket with chicken thighs, broccoli, carrots, garlic and local butter. 

Need I say any more?

30 May 2017

Banana Cake with passion fruit icing

Cake cake cake cake cake cake cake

I lurve the cake

It's so delicious. Tender crumbs on the inside and icing to contrast and compliment on the outside. I did not get to be the size I am today without a love of cake. True fact. 

My classy amateur photos today were brought to you by my phone. 

Last weekend there were uber ripe bananas. My husband hates to waste and so do I. Luckily the solution was simple. Banana Cake!!!! After trawling the internet and searching the cupboard I decided on using the Donna Hay One Bowl Banana Cake recipe. The only adaptation I did was to not put the cinnamon in. 

I had some issues with the baking. When the oven is on fan forced, it is really enthusiastic. I'm talking seriously enthusiastic. The recipe said 45 minutes. I checked it after 20 minutes and it was pretty much done. Some small crumbs on the skewer so it was put back in for another 10 minutes with the fan on but heat off. Possibly not the best idea as the sides burnt a little. 

Nothing a little passion fruit icing couldn't fix.

It was delicious 

29 May 2017

Chinese pork and cabbage dumplings

Since I was here last so much as happened. As is my habit now, I post a few things and then disappear for a few months/years because big life things happen. Between the last post and this one I have moved country, started back at my old school, gotten married and bought a house. Whilst all of this has been happening my love for pork dumplings has remained constant.

Oh pork dumpling. Shall I compare thee to a summers day? Thou art more lovely and temperate.

Bah! Only when you aren't consumed with mountains of chili sauce are you temperate. You are always lovely though.

I missed your deliciousness. 

I really missed you.

Rural England doesn't really do the dumpling. You can find things in the freezer sections of some supermarkets. We had an Asian supermarket in town so worse case we could go there on a Saturday morning. I really missed the pork dumplings from Melbourne. They were soooo good. A food court staple for me the past few years.

Normally they ended up being made myself. I've made my own wrappers, used store bought and you know what? It doesn't matter which one you use. They both taste great. For this batch I went with the store bough wonton wrappers as that's what the local supermarket had. 500g of pork took 2 packets of wrappers.

As we wrapped them I had the jingle 'One ton rodeo' going through my head. It went like this 'won-ton-ellini' My wontons looked like tortellini. I love tortellini.

The basic recipe I got from the ABC website. It's one of the many fabulous things from Poh's Kitchen. I doubled everything and had some left over. The leftover filling became fried meatballs in a soup that evening with the dumplings.

Wontonallini. I gotta wontonalliiiiini. I need a wontonallini.

14 October 2016

Yeasty goodness

Bread. How I love thee. Let me compare thee to a summers day.....

Seriously though it's the food of gods. I love the stuff but haven't been able to find bread I'd like to eat at a price I'm willing to pay. I enjoy baking my own but have never found the time to commit to a regular baking schedule. Let's face it. If you let me go, I'll eat bread and butter for most meals.

This is where present me thanks past me quite a bit. When I moved to the UK, my sister bought me an Amazon voucher so that I could stock up on ebooks for the plane. What we didn't realise is that .com vouchers cannot be used with .com.au or with .co.uk. Which meant that I had all this credit and nothing to spend it on... Needless to say I bought a few cookbooks. One of which was The Bread Bible.

Last week I tried the Sandwich Loaf recipe. Half was baked on the day and the other half stashed in the fridge for a few days. One of the comments in the book says that this loaf is everything that Wonder Bread tries to be and doesn't achieve. I thought the recipe was a little odd as it required both milk and butter as well as three rising sessions. Once as starter, another as dough and the third as a shaped loaf.

Over all I thought it was a very easy if not time consuming recipe. It could definitely be done over a few days if you were time poor but able to find 30 min for mixing, kneading and cleaning up the bench afterwards (this is a very wet dough). Last week I stuck to the recipe and this week I changed up half the flour to whole meal spelt. It's been sitting in the fridge for a while. To compensate for the wholemeal flour I added extra yeast.

Edit - a week later - the bread that sat in the fridge for a week was very tasty. M wasn't a fan of the texture. He found it oily, mostly likely due to the butter and milk.

There are no pictures because my iPad is being a poo and not accessing the images properly. Will update when I can.

31 August 2016

Blueberry Muffins

One of my favourite muffins is blueberry. A crunchy top and filled with messy blueberries is all I need to be happy. Well it's all I thought I needed. For those who follow other food blogs you have probably already made your way over to Smitten Kitchen. Deb's food is delicious.


I'm in back to school mode. September 1st means the start of the school year and a new school for me. I'll be teaching at a school about an hours commute away which means leaving the house at 630am and not getting home until 6/630pm. My solution to this is to be uber organise and have enough food with me to cover all meals and snacks except dinner. If I'm even more organised then I'll be able to have breakfast at home before I leave work.

Deb posted these muffins as the perfect blueberry muffin a few days ago. As someone who adores blueberry muffins, I decided to try them out. For once I stuck to the recipe!! The only difference is that I got 10 muffins instead of 9. I could probably have gotten 9 if I bad filled the cups even higher. 

As you can see I got quite sizeable muffins. Getting 9 would have meant slightly higher tops but I am happy with what I got. The recipe is here

03 August 2016

Rosemary chicken salad....with bacon

Last Thursday M and I headed up to Edinburgh for a wedding. Neither of us had ever been to a Scottish wedding before and some parts were definitely different to what we're used too. 

Our main breakfast each day was a choice between a full Scottish breakfast and a continental. Apparently fried bread is a thing in Scotland....wait... Fried everything is a thing in Scotland. Needless to say that we were craving vegetables and salad. Luckily I found this. We had it for dinner this evening and it was delicious. The only thing I would do differently would be to dress the leaves before they hit the plate. 

If you do one thing this weekend it should be to eat this