Sunday, December 18, 2011

They are NOT baked goods but they do contain a lot of sugar!

I'm so loving the holidays!! This time, I didn't have to rush and pack all the winter gear to head back to Japan and instead, I have got time to wrap Christmas presents, to send all the presents overseas, write and post Christmas cards, etc etc. On top of that, I found a box full of tomatoes (about 6kgs roughly) for $2 and I couldn't resist taking that box home.....!! So, I decided to make lots of tomato chutney.

I followed this recipe and am pretty happy with the result:) The rest of the tomatoes became a very flavoursome tomato sauce. I eat tomato sauce-based pasta at least once a week so this will definitely be handy. (I've already eaten the sauce twice in the last 2 days!)

At the same shop, I also found a bag of chillies that looked so good for chilli jam so as well as HEAPS of garlic and ginger, I took them home as well. This time, I opted for the chill jam recipe of Annabel Langbein and it was super easy!

It made me feel really good about getting rid of ALL the tomatoes but honestly, I was so glad that I didn't have to do this for living..... Chopping 10 onions and half a bag of ginger, chillies and garlic was a bit much!!!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Fruitcake to take on your trip

During the holidays, I was VERY fortunate to go on two adventures - one to the amazingly beautiful Carnarvon Gorge for camping and walking, and the other to Darwin, where my brother and sister-in-law Rene and Carae's boat Anima was anchored.

Not so much for the Darwin trip, but we did need a lot of energy for the Carnarvon experience as there were so many great walks. The biggest one we did was a 24km one so I decided to bring this nutritious (I mean what cake is NOT nutritious anyway but....) and cake that travels well.

The beauty of this cake is because of all the rum-soaked fruit, the flavour just keeps improving every day. I loved how moist it kept and we could enjoy it for 5 days or so without chilling it both in winter and summer conditions:)

Fruitcake to take on your trip
(enough for one 21cm round tin or a medium-sized loaf tin)


150 g butter, softened
70 g raw sugar
80 g brown sugar
4 eggs
210 g plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
160 g mixed dried fruit soaked in rum(I mixed some dried figs in the normal mixed dried fruit)

1. Beat the butter and sugars together. Add eggs one at a time. Mix well.
2. Shift the flour and B.P. Fold in to 1.
3. While the cake mixture is not completely mixed, add the fruit and the rum. Mix until just combined.
4. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake it in the 180 degrees oven for about 45 mins.
5. Once the cake has cooled, you could brush on some more rum if you desire!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Passionfruit Curd

These are about our last lemons from the tree that Dora gave us about 4 years ago! Each one of them are SO HUGE that it takes quite a while to finish eating the whole lemon if you try to use it in normal ways such as squeezing onto fish, putting some wedges into soda water, etc. These lemons are unbelievably juicy and the zest is so thin and beautiful.

I've been enjoying the Stephanie Alexander's "Kitchen Garden Companion" that I borrowed from the library as it offers a lot of practical advice on gardening as well as interesting recipes. I won't be buying this book though because it is honestly too heavy and I have difficulty holding it(have already dropped it a few times!).

Our compost passionfruit vine doesn't seem to slow down in winter and the fruit has ripened over the last 2 weeks or so as we've had pretty sunny days. So, I finally made this passionfruit curd from that book! It feels luxurious to use the pulp of 6 passionfruit for each batch and I made double quantity!!

Passionfruit Curd

Makes 1 cup

Stir 1/2 cup white sugar and 60 g chopped butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to low, then add 2 well-beaten free-range eggs and the pulp of 6 passionfruit and stir continuously until mixture thickens. Pour into a hot sterilised 250 ml-capacity jar and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Cafe-style breakfast recipe

Easy but looks great brekkie recipe from my favourite Japanese website.

Fry up some bacon strips(We use smoked salmon for some guests). Mix with some greens (e.g. spinach leaves, rocket), chopped avocado, chopped tomatoes marinated with salt & pepper, olive oil and lemon juice. Put some poached eggs on top.

Serve the whole thing with some nice bread!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Passion fruit cupcakes

A few weeks ago, I made heaps of cupcakes for Ben to take to work for his birthday. This time, I iced the cakes with passionfruit icing to use up some of the passionfruits that grew in our garden out of the compost!

They are very easy to make and very popular. The cupcake recipe is the same one as I used for the RSPCA cupcake day last year:)

Cupcakes (makes about 24)

125 g butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2/3 cup caster sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups S.R. flour
1/4 cup milk

1. Line two deep 12-hole patty pans with paper cups.

2. Combine butter, essence, sugar, eggs, flour and milk in small bowl of electric mixer; beat on low speed until ingredients are just combined. Increase speed to medium, beat about 3 minutes, or until mixture is smooth and changed to a paler colour.

3. Drop slightly rounded tablespoons of mixture into paper cases. Bake in moderate oven about 20 mins. Cool the cakes before icing them.

Passionfuit icing (taken from the crabapple bakery cupcake cookbook)

makes 2 cups icing (enough for about 24 cupcakes)

50 g softened butter
1/2 cup fresh passionfruit pulp
4 cups icing sugar

Combine the butter, passionfruit pulp and half of the shifted icing sugar in a bowl. Stir with a knife until smooth. Gradually add remaining icing sugar and combine until smooth.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Old-fashioned Banana Bread

We secretly brought back some young banana shoots from Straddie when Rene and Cerae had their wedding about 2 and a half years ago. A lot of people on the foot ferry were giving us a suspicious look but we didn't care.

So, now, we've finally got our first bunch of bananas!

The rain from last year and early this year certainly helped those trees get much much bigger. Now Ben has to knock down used trees after we enjoy these bananas - I didn't even know bananas only produce the fruit once!

Anyway, I've been busy baking lots of banana bread and banana smoothies. It looks like we'll have a bit of break from the banana heaven until we get the next bunch (we can't see it yet)!


Old-fashioned Banana Bread

125g butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons honey
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk or yoghurt (I used the great yoghurt from Cerae!)
2 cups of self-raising flour, shifted
4 bananas (if using lady finger bananas, use about 6.), mashed
1/2 cup sultanas or walnuts (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Line the loaf tin with baking paper.

2. Cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and mix well.

3. Fold in half of the flour and the bananas. Repeat the process without overmixing the dough.

4. Fold in the milk and sultanas or walnuts.

5. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake it for about 40 mins.

Easy Lamington

My friend Jodie gave me an opportunity to make these on Australia Day this year!
I used this recipe from the net which was quite helpful.

Although had never made them before, they were quite easy and fun to make:) The only problem was all the mess I created with the coconut and chocolate icing!