Apr 252014

In my never-ending quest to fatten up my husband (I am failing miserably) I am trying to do more baking.  The idea is that J will have something he can easily snack on, or throw into in his lunch for a bit extra.  I am trying to keep the baking semi-healthy, as I am also known to partake.  One of the best tricks I’ve found is to substitute at least some of the oil or butter for Greek or natural yoghurt.  My stalwart is banana bread or muffins, but I will now be adding this recipe to my repertoire.

Instead of chia seeds, I subbed back in the poppyseeds.  I also left out the almonds and cranberries and found they were just fine without.  I highly recommend this recipe, it’s relatively low in sugar and fat, particularly when compared to a store-bought muffin!


Aug 192012

I already have a banana bread recipe on the site, but if you’re anything like me, you can never have too many!

This one came from the insert to my Delicious magazine subscription.  It’s an advertisement for Uncle Tobys’ oats, by Mearle Parrish (whoever that is?).  I cut the sugar down from 3/4 cup to 1/3 and I found it was plenty sweet.  I did use the Carnation milk, but there’s no reason why plain old milk wouldn’t work also.

To increase the nutrition slightly (and make it easier to justify having banana bread for breakfast), I used 1 cup of wholemeal SR flour, together with 1 cup of white SR flour.  You could go all wholemeal, but it would make the end product slightly denser.

It was coming up to dinner time before the bread was finished, but I had to share the end slice with J, fresh and hot from the oven. It really is best that way.




Banana Oat Bread

Serves 10-12
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 1 hour
Total time 1 hour, 10 minutes
Meal type Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Misc Freezable


  • 185ml Can (Carnation light and creamy milk (or milk))
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 bananas (very ripe, mashed)
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 2 cups self-raising flour ((I used half wholemeal))


1 Preheat over to 160* (fan forced).
2 Grease a loaf tin and line with baking paper
3 Whisk the milk, sugar and eggs together in a medium bowl.
4 Fold through the mashed banana, oats and flour.
5 Spoon the mixture into your loaf tin. Sprinkle with a pinch of rolled oats.
6 Bake for 1 hour, until a skewer in the centre comes out clean.
7 Serve warm, with a bit of butter.
Jun 262012

One of the first ‘adult’ cookbooks I was ever given was the Marie Claire “Flavours” – its from Donna Hay’s era writing these cookbooks.  The styling is quite simple – you might even say stark, but holds up surprisingly well for being 12 years old.  I haven’t cooked every recipe, but every one I have tried has been successful.  The lemon or lime tart was my speciality for several years in the early naughties.

This recipe is essentially for an upside-down cake, the intention being that you’ll invert the tin onto a plate, and release a luscious chocolate cake topped with fresh pears cooked in a sweet caramel toffee.  A cake version of a tarte tatin I suppose.

If I can give you one piece of advice, as someone who has the wisdom of hindsight, don’t attempt to cook the cake in a springform pan.  And if you choose to disregard my advice, make sure you have an industrial strength oven cleaner close to hand.

Human error aside, this cake went down a treat with the extended family.

Chocolate pear cake

Serves 8-10
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 50 minutes
Total time 1 hours, 10 minutes
Meal type Dessert
From book Marie Claire Flavours


  • 80g butter
  • 2/3 cups brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2-4 pears ((depending on size) peeled, halved and cored)
  • 185g butter (brought to room temperature)
  • 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups self-raising flour (sifted)
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder (sifted)


1 Preheat over to 180*. Line a 23cm round cake tin with baking paper (bottom and sides).
2 In a pan combine the 80g of butter, 2/3 cup of brown sugar and water and heat over medium until the butter has melted.
3 If you wish you can place the pears cut side down and cook for 2 minutes to caramelize. I omitted this step.
4 Remove pears and sauce from heat. Place the pears cut side down in the lined tin.
5 Pour the sauce over the pears and set aside.
6 In an electric mixer, cream the remaining butter and brown sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
7 Add the eggs one at a time and beat to combine.
8 Sift the flour and cocoa into the mixture, and then stir through by hand.
9 Spoon the cake mixture over the pears in the tin.
10 Bake for 50-60 minutes until a skewer in the middle comes out clean. I found the cake took quite a while to set fully in the middle.
11 Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate.


Apr 112012

This month’s Donna Hay magazine was all about the caramel, rich, decadent, smooth caramel.

I am usually more drawn to chocolate, or vanilla, but caramel still has its place in my sweet fantasies.  There are a number of recipes I’ve earmarked to try, but the simplest and easiest one by far was homemade dulche de leche.

Dulche de leche is a Spanish caramel, usually made with condensed milk.  I have heard about it being made by heating the condensed milk while it’s still in the can in a water bath, but the stories about exploding boiling caramel put me off that method.  I was pleased to find this simple version, and put it to the test this weekend.

I have plans to make vanilla icecream and swirl through a vein of dulche de leche – I’ll report back if successful.  I also added a pinch of sea salt whilst whisking the caramel, for that salted caramel effect.  Completely optional of course.

So here it is – probably the easiest recipe on this site, and certainly the one with the shortest ingredient list!

Homemade dulche de leche

Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 1 hour, 30 minutes
Total time 1 hour, 35 minutes
Allergy Milk
Meal type Condiment, Dessert
Region Spanish
From magazine Donna Hay Magazine


  • 2 x 395g Sweetened condensed milk


1 Preheat oven to 200* and put the kettle on to boil.
2 Place the condensed milk in an ovenproof baking dish. Cover tightly with aluminium foil (I also put my glass lid on top of the alfoil).
3 Place the baking dish in a larger deep-sided baking tray.
4 Put in the oven and fill the dish with boiling water until it reaches 2-3 of the way up the sides of the dish.
5 Bake for 1 hour 30 mins to 1 hour 45 mins or until caramel in colour - the darker you go the more bitter (in a good way!) it will taste.
6 Remove the dish from the oven and whisk the caramel until smooth to remove lumps that form whilst baking.
7 Spoon into sterilized glass jars.
8 Keep in the fridge for up to 1 month.
Feb 112012

I realise the festive season is rapidly becoming a distant memory.  But I think it is still worth posting about my Boxing Day foray into dessert.

I found this recipe via Not Quite Nigella. Her cherry, cranberry and almond galette was so beautiful and so festive I immediately bookmarked it for dessert over Christmas.  Don’t cherries just scream Australian Christmas to you?

I haven’t replicated the recipe here as NQN’s is very easy to follow.  The main difference is I only used cherries and skipped the cranberries (I just didn’t have any).  A very useful tip for pitting the cherries – use the small end of a chopstick, inserted into the top of the cherry and push the pit out that way.

Of course, this recipe doesn’t have to be used with cherries – almost any fruit would probably work, so be creative and use what you have!

Jan 292012

I realise I probably mention the weather on here far too much!  However, it’s unlikely to change in the immediate future.

I’ve been moping around the house as the most recent bout of continuous (incessent, unceasing, unrelenting, depressing) rain has ground our renovations to a halt while we wait for a dry patch.  Instead,  ha’ve been trying to find comfort in my kitchen.   Yesterday the oven and stove were occupied for most of the day with a range of projects.  There was pizza dough rising on the bench, the cookie jar is now filled to the brim with peanut butter cookies, a margarita sauce was bubbling away on the stove, there were muffins going in the oven and there was this, a peach cobbler, being assembled for dessert.

I’ve made cobbler before (see here) and I think I still prefer the cobbler topping in that recipe.  However, Jamie Oliver has a recipe for peach cobbler in his (gorgeous!) book Jamie’s America.  The stonefruit this year has been absolutely beautiful so I thought this was a great opportunity to try the recipe.

The peaches are cooked in a fragrant combination of vanilla bean, lime, orange and ginger and they do not disappoint.  I think I added too much water to my cobbler topping (I have attempted to correct this in the recipe) and it didn’t form the firm little dumplings I was expecting.  For that reason, next time I might use Smitten Kitchen’s cobbler topping with these peaches.  I have set out Jamie’s recipe anyway because it’s still a tasty option.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to curl up with a big bowl of peach cobbler – sure it’s only 9.30 in the morning, but it’s raining!

[recipe-show recipe=peach-cobbler]