Tuesday, June 29, 2010

How sweet it is - Stewed Rhubarb Icecream

My Mum bought me a lovely bunch of rhubarb from the local produce market in Kiama. I thought maybe a Rhubarb crumble would be a nice warm treat. I looked in the cupboard - everything I needed wasn't there. I knew I didn't have ingredients to make muffins or a cake either......hmmmm, what to make?.......Bing!
Stewed Rhubarb Icecream. This dessert is really easy to make and can be made well in advance. If you've got rhubarb to use up and some icecream in the freezer - you're all sorted!


300g of rhubarb cut into 1 cm pieces
1 and a half tablespoons raw sugar
1/4 cup water
400g of icecream of your choice (I used Streets Blue ribbon Vanilla icecream)
Brown sugar to serve or caramel sauce if you're feeling fancy!

how to make your Stewed Rhubarb Icecream

Chop up the rhubarb and pop into a microwave proof dish with the sugar and water. Pop the lid on loosely. Put in the microwave for 3 mins. Stir. Then pop back in the microwave for 2 mins. The rhubarb will be very hot so be careful. Set aside to cool (I allowed 40 minutes). Mix stewed rhubarb with icecream quickly and spoon into bowls. You could also mix rhubarb with icecream and place back in freezer until your ready to serve. It's up to you. To serve, sprinkle each bowl with a little brown sugar over the top. Serves 4.

I think a home-made caramel sauce would also taste delicious over this dessert.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Welcome back - Mushroom, Spinach and Fetta Quiche

When my husband and I were on our Honeymoon in Tasmania we tasted some pretty amazing food all over the Island. Lots of dishes stand out but some things are best enjoyed as memories. Such as the organic beef we had at Freycinat, there is no way I would ever do that dish justice! One food that we ate quite alot of was quiche. In Hobart there was this great little deli that had quiche lorraine and mushroom, spinach and fetta quiche in their window. They both were so delicious that whenever we were in Hobart throughout our stay we would go there and grab a piece, some beautiful bread, some vino, some olive paste and enjoy it all in a local park that overlooked the river. 6 years later and the memories are still so vivid to me. I hadn't made a quiche in ages but my son was in daycare for the day and my good friend was visiting me, it was time to get re-aquainted. This is my version of that dish.


4 large flat mushrooms, sliced thinly (you can use 12 button mushrooms if you like, depending on availability and your presentation)
100g baby spinach leaves, stalks removed (you can use english spinach just remove stalks and all traces of grit)
100g of a good fetta cheese, crumbled
6 eggs
1/4 cup of milk (or single cream, it's up to you)
2 sheets of shortcrust pastry (depending on how big your quiche dish is)
knob of butter plus an oil spray
salt and pepper

how to make your quiche

Defrost pastry until flexible, about 15 - 20 mins. Pre heat oven to 200C. Grease or spray with an oil spray the base and sides of a quiche/tart pan (approx 21 cm diameter. If it's smaller than this just make sure that the sides are higher) Place pastry over tart pan making sure pastry hangs over the sides a little as the pastry will shrink in the oven. Prick the bottom a few times with a fork. Place over baking paper making sure the sides are covered. Now weigh it down with some rice, risoni or dried beans. You'll need about 2 cups. Place in oven for 10 mins. Now take out baking paper with weights, discard and pop back in the oven for 5 mins to brown very slightly. Take out and cool. Reduce oven temp to 180C.

Slice mushrooms. Heat pan with knob of butter on high heat. Add mushrooms, salt to taste and toss quickly. Add more butter if needed. When soft, take off heat.

Wash spinach then place in a heat prrof bowl. Boil kettle then cover spinach to blanch. Drain in a colander straightaway and refresh with cold water. Drain very well and set aside.

Crack eggs in a bowl, whisk in 1/4 cup of milk and pepper to taste. Place mix over pastry then arrange spinach on the bottom, fetta cheese in the middle and top with the mushroom slices.

Cook quiche for 20 - 25 mins or until the egg mix has set (just give it a little wobble to check)

Take it to a picnic or enjoy as a light lunch with a salad!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Pretty fun! - egg free and dairy free cupcakes

If I were asked, "What are your favourite things in the whole wide world?". I would have to say, "Laughing with my Husband (usually at his bad jokes); Falling head over heels for some little thing at a vintage shop and lastly, eating pretty little cupcakes".
Don't worry about the lack of dairy or egg, these cupcakes taste like Heaven! They are so light and fluffy, they seriosly just melt in your mouth. The addition of chocolate for me is just for comfort, you could use custard powder instead if you like. I made a batch of these for a combined family birthday using a red and yellow theme with icing and lollies. They looked very cute but you can decorate them however you like and they are great for anyone with dairy, egg or nut allergies. Have fun!


3 cups Self raising flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
pinch of salt
2 cups caster sugar
2 cups water
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla essence
1 tablespoon lemon juice


3/4 cup Nuttelex margarine
2 cups icing sugar mixture
1 tablespoon hot water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Colourings and decorations

how to make your cupcakes and icing

preheat your oven to 180C or 160C fanforced if using 2 levels in your oven.
Use an oil spray to prep your muffin trays or use pretty cases.

Sift flour, cocoa powder and salt into a large bowl. Stir through the sugar.

Combine measured water, oil, vanilla and lemon juice in a separate bowl. Whisk this into the flour mix untl smooth. Divide mix among cases (if using) or directly into muffin pans. Bake for appox 25 mins.

When the cupcakes are ready. Take out of tray and cool on a rack. If icing on the day then allow to cool completely, then ice and serve. If icing the following day, cool completely then pop into a sealed container and keep in the fridge. You can ice on the day or the day before if you like. Iced cupcakes will keep in the fridge for up to 2 days before eating in a sealed container (and they still taste fabulous!) Decorate just before serving.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tiny treats - Chocolate fudge

I came across this recipe years ago. It's one of the easiest recipes you'll ever find and deliciously rich depending on the chocolate you use. It's so worth making every now and then as a special treat for a party or even as a gift. Enjoy!


400g dark chocolate (you could use milk chocolate or half/half)
1 cup sweetened condensed milk (the 300g can is perfect)
60g butter

How to make your fudge

Place all ingredients in a saucepan and stir over low heat until smooth and glossy. AND that's it!!
Place into a small slice tin which has been lined with some baking paper and smooth over. Decorate the fudge if you like with some cashous or other pretty things.(The cashous are a little crunchy so I've added them after the fudge has set purely as decoration)You could also incorporate some chopped roasted almonds too!
Now pop your fudge into the fridge for at least 2 hours. Prior to serving cut into small bite size pieces and leave out for about 10 mins.

Cumin get it! - Vegetarian pie

The flavours in this dish always remind me of a beautiful Lamb stew that has been braising on the stove for a couple of hours. Except, there's no meat in sight. This is a vegetarian pie or hot pot I guess you could also call it. Whatever it is, it's YUM!I also love the ground cumin in this dish. I think it just takes it to a whole new level as opposed to using say, Thyme or oregano.
When you want to feed a number of people then make this! Everyone will be happy. If you do have a few die-hard-meat-eating males, just bbq some lamb chops for them (or better still get them to do it!). That should keep them quiet... Trust me, everyone will love the flavour of this dish.


500g butternut pumpkin, peeled, deseeded, cut into 3cm cubes
300g flat mushrooms chopped into small pieces
2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 zucchini, coarsely chopped
1 leek, white part thinly chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 x 800g tin of chopped tomatoes
250ml vegetable stock
2 x 400g tins chickpeas, drained and rinsed
250g green beans, topped and chopped in half
chopped fresh coriander (I like to use the whole bunch but you can use a half cup if you like)
6 desiree potatoes, unpeeled and sliced thinly
approx 1 cup parmesan cheese

how to make your pie

heat some oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add the pumpkin, mushroom, carrot, zucchini, leek and garlic and cook, stirring for 5 mins or until leek softens. Pre heat oven to 180C.
Add the cumin and atir for 30 secs until arromatic.
Add the tomato and the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium low and cook covered stirring occasionally for 15 mins. uncover and simmer for 10 mins. Add the chickpeas and beans and cook stirring for 5 mins or until beans are bright green. Add the coriander and stir to combine.
Place mix in a large ovenproof dish. top with the potato slices slightly overlapping. Sprinkle with the parmesan cheese (to taste). Bake in the oven for 40 mins or until potato is cooked through and slightly browned.

Serves 6 - 8 people with a rocket salad, some beautiful bread (our friends brought some Garlic Brasserie bread which was to die for) and some white wine.

#I also made a Caraway damper to accompany this dish except that I didn't cook it long enough. Left with pure dough in the middle, we ate the yummy bits, which were yummy but yes, dough = not yummy. So I will work on this recipe and when I've perfected it, I'll pop it up on the blog.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

That's one humble crumble - pear and ginger crumble

I found this delicious looking recipe in an old copy of Australian Table magazine. I've kept fairly true to the original recipe except for a couple of things. In the original, Ginger in syrup was used. Unable to find it anywhere, even in a Chinese grocer, I then turned to plan B. What about a ginger jam? So that is what I have used and it worked a treat! Next thing was the Oat bran. I just wasn't sure about it.It sounded a bit too healthy for my liking.... So I've cut it out and added an extra half cup of rolled oats.
If you really love ginger then use 1 tablespoon and a half of the jam; otherwise 1 tablespoon is just perfect.
This dessert would easily serve 6 people as you don't need a huge amount to be satisfied. Another tip, you could also use ramekins so each of your guests gets their own individual bowl of yumminess...


4 pears (I used Buerre Bosc) peeled, cored and diced
1 tablespoon of ginger jam or marmalade (I used Buderim Ginger Spread)
1 tablespoon of caster sugar
1 and 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
50g butter

how to make your crumble

pre heat oven to 220C.
combine pear, ginger, caster sugar and 1/2 cup water in a small pot over a low heat for 5 mins until sugar has dissolved. Now increase the heat to medium and cook for another 5 mins. Meanwhile, combine remaining ingredients in a food processor until mix resembles breadcrumbs. Pop the pear and ginger mix into a dish. Sprinkle over crumble mix and bake for 20 mins.
Devour with vanilla icecream. I haven't tried it but I think a simple warm chocolate sauce could even work with this dessert. Give it a try!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

One cool Winter treat - Rhubarb and Mixed Berry Brown Betty

I came across this recipe a while back and thought, "I have to make this dessert, it has the cutest name!". Aside from that it tastes delicious too!
Traditionally this dish is made with plain bread, berries and a touch of lemon. Well, I've kept the lemon, I've added rhubarb to the berries and I've used raisin toast instead to add to that fabulous sweetness. My kids have allergies to eggs and nuts so I'm always on the hunt for yummy desserts that don't have those things in them. I have to say, this is one yummy dessert! Enjoy it fresh from the oven with icecream. Bizarely enough you will find another Brown Betty recipe, made within days of eachother, at Smitten Kitchen. We must be onto something people!


250g rhubarb, chopped into 1cm pieces
400g mixed berries (I used frozen mixed berries - blueberries, raspberries and blackberries - you could just use blackberries if you like)
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
a good tablespoon of lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
approx 7 pieces of raisin toast (you need 4 cups of crumbs)
90g unsalted butter, melted

how to make your brown betty

If using frozen berries make sure they are thawed before using.
Pre heat oven to 180C and get out your oven proof dish. A glass one if you have it, it will look beautiful when you take it out of the oven and pop it on the table.
Chop up the rhubarb and pop in a bowl with the berries. Add the sugar, lemon zest and juice, the cinnamon and the salt. Stir to combine and place in the base of your dish.

Make the bread into crumbs. Use a food processor if you have one, it will just make a better crumb. Melt the butter in the microwave. Mix the butter with the crumbs using a spoon or your hands until well combined. Top the fruit with the crumbs and pop in the oven for about 40 mins. The top should be nice and browned and the fruit all lovely and bubbling. So easy, so Yummy!

You could even add a finely chopped apple to the berries and rhubarb, if you like.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Make it a little bit fancy - Sausages and veg

I love trying out different flavoured sausages. One thing I miss about living in the Inner West is AC Butchery in Leichhardt. They have an amazing selection of sausages to suit everyone. I have to say though, our local Butcher is pretty good too. I have asked them for a few things like chicken and rocket sausages and they have given me a strange look and with other things they have said with a wink,"Let's see what I've got out the back".
I've used Herb and Garlic sausages with this dish but you could use another kind if you like. I think something fairly simple would work best in this recipe. Have a play around with it!


6 sausages (2 per adult and 1 per child - you could easily add more, just adjust your cooking time)
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
a good tablespoon of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
black pepper, freshly grinded
1 leek
4 carrots
4 potatoes
Green beans, enough for everyone (or any other vegetable you'd like to serve)
a good strong red wine like a pinot noir or a merlot perhaps

how to make your sausages and veg with red wine reduction

First thing, pop your sausages into a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to just under the boil and reduce to a very light simmer (otherwise you'll bust the skins) Cook for 15 mins. Meanwhile prep your veg. Chop the leek in half and then each half into half again until you have 4 equal pieces. Place in your roasting pan (The snags will sit on top of these) Chop your carrots into quarters, lengthways and place in the pan. Chop up your potatoes into largeish wedges and pop into your pan. Pre heat your oven to 200C. Now put the oil into a small saucepan and add the herbs and lots of pepper. Warm gently over a low heat. When the fennel starts sizzling, take it off the heat.
When your snags are ready, take them out carefully and place on top of the leeks. Pour the herbed oil over everything, cover with foil or lid and cook in the oven for 35 mins. At the end of 35 minutes, check to see how it is all going. If it's browning nicely put back in the oven for another 10 mins. If cooked but not browned, take off lid and put back in the oven for another 10 mins putting the heat up slightly to 220C.

When done, take out of the oven and remove sausages and veg from the pan and either place on your plates or put on another tray, keep warm. You want all the lovely juices from the pan now. Drain into a small saucepan and add 1/2 cup of wine. Put ovet a high heat and bring to the boil. Boil for about 5 - 10 mins, ensuring you are left with a thickish syrup. Cook your beans, either in the microwave or on the stove. While this is happening you can decide whether you want to puree the leeks and potatoes together or leave them as is. If you want mash potato whizz the leeks until smooth and then mash with the potato and a little butter or enjoy just as they are.

When everything is plated up, drizzle over the red wine reduction on the Adults plates. Think of it as a meal the kids will eat and with a touch of 'sauce', a special dinner for you guys.