Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Cauliflower Pasta Bake

I've noticed of late that pasta bake type recipes don't seem to call for a roux but a simple sour cream and cheese concoction.....well, I just don't know about it. Call me old fashioned I guess but I don't mind mixing a little butter and flour together, then stirring in the milk until it starts to thicken's not that hard. So here is a simple pasta bake that is quick and easy to make and your kids are gonna love it!


1/2  large  or 1 whole small cauliflower, chopped into florets
1 box of Penne Regate Pasta (Barilla brand) SORRY! I had typed 375g but is actually a 500g pack!
50g butter
50g plain flour
2 cups milk (we use lite)
200 g of grated parmesan (measured into 100g lots)
2 pieces of day old bread chopped into fine bread crumbs (we use wholemeal bread)
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
salt and pepper


Place large pot of water on to boil. 

Pop oven on to 190C and have large dish for pasta ready (no need to grease)

Make your bread crumbs and set aside. Place butter in a medium saucepan and place on stove (don't turn on flame just yet)

Have milk in a jug ready to pour.

Mix bread crumbs, 100g cheese and the parsley together and set aside.

When water starts boiling set timer for 11 minutes and pop pasta and cauliflower into pot. Now put the butter over a low heat. When melted take off heat and add flour until combined and smooth. Put back on heat and add milk, slowly, slowly, combining as you go at the start. Empty milk into saucepan and keep stirring. Turn up the heat a little. You don't want it to boil but if the heat is too low it will take a while for it to thicken so I usually adjust the temp as I go. It should just be ready at the 11 minute mark! When thickened turn off heat and add the other 100g of cheese plus salt and pepper. Stir to melt the cheese. Drain your pasta and cauliflower. Place them in your large dish. Pour over the cheese sauce and combine well. Sprinkle with the cheese, breadcrumb and parsley mix. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Place in the oven and cook for 20 to 25 minutes until nice and browned on the top.

I actually forgot to include the parsley when I took photos for this dish - it tastes fine either way : )

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Broccoli Pesto with Pappadelle....A Winter Warmer for 2

I had every intention of posting this recipe last week so I would keep to my 1 recipe a month deal I had with myself but alas I have let it only a few days : )

I came across this recipe last Summer and have since made it so many times that I now make it to exactly how we like pesto. When I say "we" I mean my husband and I. Our kids don't like this dish one bit. I thought they would love its creaminess and its cheesiness but they often took one look at the "green pasta" that was presented in front of them and ask for a ham sandwich instead. So now this has become a dish for us and the kids get fish fingers with salad. It's a win/win : )

Broccoli Pesto with Pappadelle


About 300g of Pappadelle pasta (or enough for 2 people)

Extra virgin olive oil
1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
1 small clove of garlic, chopped
1 cup parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped oregano
1/3 cup pouring cream
salt and pepper

Place a large pot of water on to boil. If you have the room, pop another pot of water on to boil too. If not then, read on.  When water is boiling, throw in broccoli florets and boil for 4 minutes then pull out using a slotted spoon and place in a bowl. Keep water boiling. Add a dash of salt and throw in the pasta. Set timer as per packet instructions. The brand I use takes 10 minutes. Once pasta is in, make your pesto with a food processor. Throw in 3 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil; 3/4 of the broccoli; the toasted pine nuts, the garlic;  1/2 the cheese and all the oregano. Process until it looks like tapenade. This is how we like it but you can add more cheese or more oil or more garlic to suit your taste : )

When there is about 6 minutes left on the pasta timer add a good splash of extra virgin olive oil to a frying pan over very low heat and add the pesto. Keep it moving with a wooden spoon and heat through. Drain the pasta very well and add it to the pesto in the frying pan along with a dash of salt and pepper (Go lightly with the salt as it will be quite salty from the cheese) and finish with the extra broccoli pieces and the cream. Mix through well then place in 2 bowls. Top with the remaining cheese and I like to add another dash of salt and pepper......So good!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

chai spiced cookies

you know winter has arrived when you love having the oven on as it cooks a hearty meal slowly over many hours and dessert after dinner is not simply an iceblock to cool down but something warming too.
I always love chai tea in winter. There's something almost medicinal about  brewing the spices over a pot on the stove and adding a generous amount of honey, of course.
I've been thinking about making some easy to make biscuits using chai spices for a while now and finally here is a recipe that I would be more then happy to pull out on any cold night fresh from the oven. enjoy...


250g Plain Flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (plus a dash more)
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
125g unsalted butter, cold and chopped into cubes
135g brown sugar
60ml/1/4 cup boiling water
1 tablespoon honey (I used Beechworth Tasmanian Leatherwood)


Pre heat oven to 180C, fan forced and line 2 baking trays with baking paper

Sift flour, bicarb soda and spices together in a large bowl.

Boil water. Measure out 1/4 cup of boiled water into a heat proof bowl and stir in honey until dissolved.

Add the butter and sugar to the flour mix and rub until the mix resembles bread crumbs.

Add the boiled water to the flour mix and stir with a flat blade knife until the mix starts to form a soft dough. Kneed lightly with your hands and then roll into small balls (approx 20g each) and place on baking tray, squashing them down slightly with your thumb. Allow room for spreading. You should get at least 36 cookies from the mix.

Bake for 15 minutes. Leave on the trays for 10 minutes before cooling completely on a rack. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

enjoy with some hot and spicy chai tea!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Scrummy Lemon Bake or Lemon Syrup Slice

Every now and then I take a look at the Cookbooks in our local library to see what's new and I came across one by the Australian Actress, Lisa McCune.  It has the very sweet title of "Honeyjoys and Hopscotch" and I figured it would be right up my alley. There are great family recipes and theres a nice mix of lunchbox ideas, party treats and other yummy things.....well, one such yummy thing I came across was a recipe for Lemon Bake (p 214) I made it according to the original recipe and though it was delicious beyond words.....I just didn't feel comfortable with the amount of butter and sugar incorporated. So I have rejigged it......just a little itty bit.


150g Butter, softened
150g Caster sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup greek yoghurt
1 1/2 cups self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
zest of 2 lemons

juice of 2 lemons
1/4 cup granulated sugar


Pre-heat oven at 170C. Line a 20 x 30 x 4cm tray with baking paper.

beat the butter and sugar on high speed until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time followed by the yoghurt, beat until creamy.
Sift in the flour and baking powder and once incorporated add the lemon zest. Transfer to the tray and bake for 30 - 35 minutes until top is golden and test the cake with a metal skewer until it comes out clean.

Remove the cake from the oven and prick with a skewer, covering it with little holes all over. Mix the juice and sugar in a cup and spoon it over the cake. Allow the cake to cool and enjoy at room temperature with a cup of tea.......heaven!!

Depending on the size of the slices you could serve up to 10 people.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Spiced Apple Crumble Cake - The Easter That Was!

Here is a recipe I am posting for my friend Caroline. I've made this cake a few times now and it's one that never disapoints.... We had inhaled most of our easter eggs by Sunday night and I thought, Thank goodness I am making this cake tomorrow to take to Carolines house!.....I was pretty sure I needed at least a 12 hour break from chocolate : )

So after a lovely relaxing long lunch we enjoyed this cake with fresh cream and can never have enough of both!

This recipe comes from a cookbook called, Organic Cookbook (naturally good food) by Renee Elliott of Planet Organic and Eric Treuille and it has been my favourite one since I bought it over 10 years ago. It has great all round recipes, something for everyone and it even offers alternatives to most recipes.

Spiced Apple Crumble Cake


125g plain flour
60g raw sugar
90g butter (I use unsalted)


4 apples, sliced (thickish slices will result in slightly harder fruit while thinner slices will melt in the mouth)
1 tablespoon raw sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


175g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 eggs
1 tablespoon milk
175g butter, softened (I ues unsalted)
175g raw sugar

Pre heat oven to 190C and line a cake tin with baking paper.

for the crumble, place the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until a coarse crumble. set aside.

for the fruit, combine apple slices and sugar and cinnamon in a bowl until evenly coated.

for tha cake. Sift flour and baking powder in a bowl and set aside. beat eggs with milk in a small bowl and set aside. In a large bowl beat the butter until light and creamy. gradually beat in the sugar a little at a time until all incorporated. Add the egg mix gradually, beating well each time. Fold in flour carefully.

Spread the mix evenly in the cake tin. Throw over the apples and then sprinkle over the crumble. The recipe states to cook for 1 hour or until cake has pulled away from the sides and the crumble is golden brown. For me it has always been more like 1 hour and 15 mins. Leave to cool in the tin for 15 mins before attempting to pull it out and serve. Enjoy fresh from the oven with lashings of cream and icecream!


Rhubarb and ginger - replace apples with 750g rhubarb cut into 1cm pieces. replace cinnamon with ground ginger. proceed as normal.

Blackberry and apple - reduce apples to 2 and add 250g blackberries. proceed as normal.

enjoy!  : )

Monday, March 11, 2013

to die for chai tea and chocolate biscuits

where have i been? a few really cool things happened. I attended an Etsy Morning Tea at The Commons in Darlinghurst; my little Etsy shop was featured here and we organised a magic show for our sons birthday......a donut birthday cake was the best decision I have ever made!

A friend of mine recently posted on facebook a recipe that she had come across. Anything sweet and I've got to check it out. Well, today our little girl and I made them and I just had to share them....they are delicious! The original recipe is here and while I have kept pretty true to the original I did make a few minor changes.

  • When I pre-heated the oven I put it on fan and kept the temperature at 180C.
  • I pulled all my ingredients out and realised I didn't have any butter so I used margarine instead; it still worked.
  • The recipe asks for alot of sugar - both caster and brown. Don't worry, just add it as they are not overly sweet at all.
  • with the loose leaf tea, I used a chai mix
  • I used 200g large dark chocolate buttons instead of the mix of white and milk choc.
  • I used 2 large biscuit trays and used 1 heaped dessert spoon full of mix to create my biscuit leaving about a 5cm gap around each one and baking them all in 1 go for only 10minutes. When they were done I left them on the tray for 5 minutes and then cooled them completely on a cooling rack

enjoy! : )

Saturday, January 12, 2013

happy new year pancakes!

hi there! i hope you've all had some lovely down time over the holiday break. My husband goes back to work next week and it has been so heavenly having him home! When we haven't been catching up with friends we have been eating lots of delicious food, enjoying long swims in our pool and bike riding in the cooler parts of the day; did i mention pancakes for breakfast nearly every day!

I'm a bit picky when it comes to pancakes. Over the years I've tried lots and lots and lots and lots of different pancakes - I know, it's tough! but this recipe, which I have worked on perfecting over the last 10 years is based on one that I came across in Organic Cookbook By Renee Elliott. It is so incredibly easy! If you have electronic scales this recipe is a cinch - you'll have them ready before someone can scream, "where's the icecream!!!"

happy new year pancakes


olive oil spray
300g plain flour, sifted
10g baking powder (about 1 TB)
good dash of salt
2 eggs, beaten (110g for the 2)
18g raw sugar (about 1TB - anymore then that and they will be too sickly sweet)
24g butter (2TB)
238g milk (just under a cup)
200g container of Farmer's Union Natural European Pot Set Yoghurt (if you use a different yohurt it will definitely affect the flavour. If you use a greek style yoghurt your pancakes will be much denser - I love the Farmer's union plain yoghurt as it doesn't impart a strong flavour and they are still quite light and fluffy pancakes)

maple syrup, icecream, jam, fruit for serving


Melt butter in microwave or on stove top and set aside for a minute.

If you have one use a non-stick frying pan otherwise, get out your large frying pan and spray with olive oil spray. I use to use olive oil and then wipe down with paper towel (as we don't have a non-stick frying pan) but the spray gives it a less fryed flavour. Spray liberally and pop over a medium heat.

In a large bowl mix the dry ingredients through liberally then  throw all your other ingredients in and whisk together until smooth. When frypan is hot enough add a ladle full of pancake mix. When large bubbles appear on the surface flip over and cook the other side for a minute or too. Adjust the temperature as you go or as needed!

I usually make 2 small pancakes to start so the children can eat theirs first. Then I make ours quite large so I can usually get about 5 - 6 pancakes from this mix, depending on how big I make them!