Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Menu 2010 #4 - Ice Cream Cones

A lot of work goes into a magazine cover, because it's meant to be so gorgeous and enticing you won't be able to leave the shop without it.

...and so it is with Delicious. The December issue, featuring Valli Little's White Christmas Ice Cream Cones, is a vision befitting the Magazine's 100th Edition!

But when deciding to attempt something you see on the cover of a mag you should always remember what effort has gone into the photograph to get it looking the way it does. Believe me there is a LOT OF STYLING & ZSHUZING!!!

I decided to make Valli's Ice Cream Cones for our pre-Christmas get together...and here's the result. Certainly not a disaster by any stretch, but not as "sharp and precise" as Valli's.

Not bad though

Valli makes them sound very simple and while they weren't hard, they were fiddly and a little frustrating, but hey, I'll be better next time....and there will be a next time.

Here are Valli's instructions, I'll tell you what I learned at the end.

Makes 8

125 gr mixed glace fruits
1/3 cup sherry
125 gr dark chocolate
1.25 litres vanilla ice cream, softened
2/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted and chopped

Finely chop fruits and place in bowl with sherry and let soak overnight
To prepare paper moulds, cut eight 30cmx20cm sheets of baking paper. Trim 8 sheets of plain A-4 paper into the same size
Lay baking paper sheet over a sheet of regular paper and bring top right corners into the middle of the paper and then roll to form a cone shape. secure with sticky tape...repeat with the remaining sheets of paper and place in 8 champagne flutes or slim wine glasses.

Finely chop or grate chocolate, drain the fruits and discard the liquid...fold into softened ice cream with the almonds and chocolate then scoop the mixture into the cones, packing down ice cream tightly to get it into the point. Put in freezer overnight

To serve, remove tape and unwrap the paper. Invert cones onto serving plates.

Here's what I did...I bought myself some poly cones from a craft shop to help me with the shape and size thinking it would make it a little easier to get the "mould" right...the thing is though, the baking paper and poly cones don't like each other and are extremely slippery to handle.

Sticky tape doesn't take a firm grip on the baking paper either....and remember, don't put a piece of tape near the top of the cove because it'll be extremely difficult to remove and keep the "point" in tact when you want to serve them

If you use berries, as I did rather than dried fruit, chop the berries up as they can get stuck at the point end of the cone, preventing ice-cream getting all the way down.

I also mixed in some grated white chocolate and thickened cream (about half a cup) into the ice cream with the berries.

Here they are in the freezer.....

...and here's the end result.

I put a drop of green food colouring in the last batch to give them a different look....

So there you have it. Definitely worth the effort...but do a trial run before you attempt this for a big night...and make sure you do it AT LEAST A DAY or more in advance.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Menu 2010 - Easy Glazed Ham

Thought I'd repeat my glazed ham recipe again, because I was so pleased with the way it turned out this year

It looks luscious and it tasted good too!

Here's this years's easy peasy. I bought a shoulder of ham, it was about 3 1/2 kilograms.

1 cup orange juice
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup whisky
1/2 cup port
1/2 cup honey
1 tablespoon (or large dollop) grainy mustard
1 teaspoon hot English mustard

Preheat oven to around 150 Celsius and line a baking tray or roasting pan with baking paper.

Mix all glaze ingredients together in a saucepan and let it simmer on the stove until the sugar and honey have all melted together.

Remove the skin from the ham, making an incision in the rind then work your hand under the skin and ease it off, making sure to leave a good layer of fat. Also, leave a layer of rind near the end of the leg. It makes it easier to hold.

Make criss-cross shallow cuts in the fat with a sharp knife, place a clove in each diamond, then spoon or brush some of the glaze over the meat, making sure to cover it all. Let it sit for 15 minutes so it can soak in, then repeat.

Place in oven for 15 minutes, remove and spoon more glaze over the meat. Do this 3 more times and then it's done.

It's well worth investing an hour in this as the comments and compliments alone will be worth it


Christmas Menu 2010 #3 - 3 Tier Brown Sugar Pavlova

I've never been a huge fan of pavlova, especially the bought variety. They're usually too hard, crunchy and dense like solid sugar... Not my cup of tea at all. But this is a different kettle of fish altogether. The meringue is soft and light and melts in the mouth. The finished pav is pretty easy on the eye as well.

This is a Valli Little recipe from the November 2010 edition of Delicious Magazine....and as usual, I altered it ever so slightly to suit my taste and oven.


1/2 cup brown sugar (firmly packed)
1 cup caster sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cornflour
6 egg whites
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons white vinegar
500 grams mixed berries (frozen is OK as long as they're thawed)
300 ml thickened cream
200 ml sour cream


Preheat the oven to 120 Celsius
Grease and line the bottom of three 24cm cake pans and then grease again.
Place the brown sugar, cornflour and caster sugar in a bowl or food processor and whisk or whizz it so it's all combined and there are no lumps.
In a bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until soft peaks form then, while the motor's still running, gradually add the sugar and cornflour mixture, a spoonful at a time, mixing until stiff and glossy. It shouldn't take long.
Fold in the vanilla and vinegar, then divide the mix between the three cake pans and put in the oven and bake for 50-55 minutes. Then switch off the oven, open the door a little and let it cool completely.

For the berries: Place 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of water in a small saucepan and stir over low heat until the sugar has dissolved and it's reduced a little. Once it's cooled down add the berries, swirl them around and then mash them a little with a potato masher or fork until some of their juice combines with the sugar syrup.

Whip the cream and sour cream together, then just before serving, place the first meringue on a cake stand or plate, spread some cream over it then pour some of the berry mix on top. Repeat with the next layer and the next. Place some fresh berries on top, pour the syrup mix over the top and there you have it.

Do not assemble this beauty until you're ready to serve it as it will become a rather large sloppy, soggy mess...that's how light the meringue is.

As I mentioned earlier, this is a Valli Little recipe from Delicious Magazine. But one day, when I couldn't find the mag to check on ingredients, I did an online search and found an identical recipe (three layer berry and brown sugar pavlova) with almost identical photograph at Not sure who developed it first, but hey, it's absolutely luscious no matter who it was.

ENJOY ! ! ! !

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Menu 2010 #2 - Chicken thighs wrapped in prosiutto

I've been a big fan of Stacey over at Stacey Snacks for a long time. I always check out her recipes because, not only are they tasty, they are also very do-able.

When I saw her Chicken thighs wrapped in prosciutto I knew they were going to be on my Christmas menu because, apart from looking great, they were good for the kids because they could eat them with their hands if they wanted to.

All you do is place a thigh fillet on a slice of prosciutto. (I chopped mine in half to make it easy for the kids) Place a sprig of rosemary on the fillet. Then wrap it all up into a little parcel and place it in a baking tray, all ready for the oven

I baked mine at 180 Celsius for about 30 minutes, but you can also do them on the BBQ or the cook top, if you don't mind cleaning up the mess... Up to you really.

All that's left now is to eat them

If you'd like to see how good Stacey's look, check them out here

I didn't get a chance to photograph the finished product...they were straight onto the table and onto plates.

Thanks again Stacey.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Menu 2010 #1 - Cheesecake

This is a white chocolate and berry cheesecake that featured in the June 2008 Edition of Super Food Ideas....It's also on It's a simple recipe that delivers in taste and presentation.

In other words:  looks good, tastes yum!.

12 cottage Cookies with macadamia
300 gr frozen mixed berries
2 tablespoons boiling water
3 1/2 teaspoons powdered gelatine
180 gr white chocolate, chopped
500 gr cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup caster sugar
185 ml can evaporated milk

Line the base of a 22cm round springform pan with baking paper and arrange the biscuits in a single layer over the base of the pan. Top with half the berries and let sit. Place the boiling water in a small heatproof jug and sprinkle the gelatine over the top then whisk with a fork until it's dissolved

Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl or jug and microwave on high for a minute or two, stirring every 30 seconds until melted and smooth, then set aside.
Beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth, gradually beat in the evaporated milk, chocolate and gelatine, then pour the mixture on top of the biscuit base.

Scatter the rest of the berries on top, cover and refrigerate overnight.

That's it ! All that's left to do is eat and enjoy!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A cake by any other name.....

William Shakespeare once wrote:  "What's in a name? that which we call a rose  By any other name would smell as sweet"

In other words, it doesn't matter what something is called, it's what it is (and how it tastes) that's important...and so I apply that to this little cake.

This is a SPICED BUTTERMILK PRUNE CAKE that I found on some time ago and have made it a lot, because, well, because I like prunes. I mean, they're just dried plums aren't they?

I've never known why people have an aversion to prunes....they're just the sugary equivalent of sun dried tomatoes, and I don't think I've ever seen anyone turn up their noses at them.

So anyway, here's the recipe, which I have "tweaked" to suit me and my tastes.

1 cup pitted prunes, chopped finely
1 cup buttermilk
125grams softened butter
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
2 cups self raising flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
large dollop plain yogurt

Crumble Topping
1/3 cup plain flour
1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
50 grams butter, chopped.

  • Combine prunes with half a cup of buttermilk in a bowl and let sit for about about 2 hours
  • Make crumble topping: combine the flour, sugar and butter in a food processor and pulse until it resembles bread crumbs
  • Preheat Oven to 180 C. Line the base and sides of a loaf pan with baking paper
  • Cream the butter and sugar until pale and creamy then add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each one
  • Sift the flour and spices over the butter mix and fold it in with a large metal spoon, along with the prunes and the remaining half cup of buttermilk.
  • Spoon it into the prepared cake pan, sprinkle the crumble mix over the top and place it in the oven for around 50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean
  • Let it sit in the tin for about 10 minutes to let it settle, then put it onto a wire rack to cool
I had a little bit of mix left over so I made a couple of cupcakes....That's it...enjoy it with cream or a cuppa or whatever you really is lovely.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Shanks in the Slow Cooker

Some time ago I was fortunate to see a recipe over at Proud Italian Cook, that looked absolutely delicious! It was neck bones with spaghetti , which doesn't sound too good...but let me tell you. It was!

So I made it with lamb necks and it was just as good as I'd hoped. This week though, I had some shanks in the freezer, so decided to use those instead....and it was again, delicious.

Usually I just throw everything into the slow cooker and turn it on. Not this time.

This time I roasted the shanks for about 45 minutes, just to get them browned and caramelized... then I browned some onions in a pan and added a can of diced tomatoes, a few sliced mushrooms, some garlic, a good dollop of tomato paste, a teaspoon of sugar and some pepper and salt and let it bubble away for a few minutes while the shanks roasted.

Then it all went into the slow cooker for about 4 hours on high.

I served it with crusty bread and spaghetti.

There were no leftovers.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Upside Down Apple Cake

MONT's heading off to the country to work this coming I thought I'd bake him a cake to take.

This is a variation on the cherry and raspberry cake I made recently.

The cake batter recipe is basically the same, but instead of raspberries and cherries, I peeled and sliced 2 apples and layered the slices on the bottom of a sugared, lined baking tin. I then peeled and diced another granny smith and folded that into the cake mix.

This is what it looked like when I turned it out of the tin....

...and this is the final result...


125 grams butter, softened
2/3 cup caster sugar
2 eggs at room temperature
1/2 cup self raising flour
1/4 cup almond meal
large dollop of yogurt
3 granny smith apples
2 tbls brown sugar
cream, custard or ice cream to serve

Preheat oven to 180*c. Grease a 20cm, round cake pan and line it with baking paper
Cream together the butter and sugar.
Add the eggs, one at a time and beat well after each one
Sprinkle the brown sugar onto the bottom of the lined cake tin and peel and slice two apples and place the slices in the bottom on top of the sugar

Add the flour and almond meal to the cake mixture and fold through, then add a large dollop of yogurt and fold it through. Peel and dice the third granny smith apple and fold it through the cake mix then spoon it over the apples and bake for 35 to 40 minutes....
....or until a skewer inserted into the middle, comes out clean

You need to let this sit in the tin for about 5 minutes to let it settle before turning out onto a wire rack or plate. You also need to insert a spatula or knife down the sides of the cake to help ease it away from the sides of the tin, otherwise you'll end up with a broken mess when turning it out onto the plate.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Upside Down Cherry and Raspberry Pudding

This is a recipe I found on when I was looking for something easy to make and easy to carry to a dinner party we were going to recently.

I tweaked it a little though...adding some raspberries and yogurt to the mix.

It's a cake but also a pudding and delicious served with cream, custard or ice-cream...also scrumptious cold with a coffee in the afternoon.

You'll need:
1 680gr jar pitted cherries
1 cup frozen or fresh raspberries
125 grams butter, softened
2/3 cup caster sugar
2 eggs at room temperature
1/2 cup self raising flour
1/4 cup almond meal
large dollop of yogurt
cream, custard or ice cream to serve

Preheat oven to 180*c. Grease a 20cm, round cake pan and line it with baking paper.

Cream together the butter and sugar.

Add the eggs, one at a time and beat well after each one.

Drain the cherries

Place them and the raspberries in the bottom of the cake tin

Add the flour and almond meal to the cake mixture and fold through, then add a large dollop of yogurt and fold it through.

Carefully spoon the cake mix over the berries and bake for 35 to 40 minutes....

....or until a skewer inserted into the middle, comes out clean.

Now, a word of warning. You need to let this sit in the tin for about 5 minutes to let it settle before turning out onto a wire rack or plate. You also need to insert a spatula or knife down the sides of the cake to help ease it away from the sides of the tin, otherwise you'll end up with a broken mess when turning it out onto the plate.

That's and enjoy!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Sausage Rolls

I had a bit of a brain wave this week, so I decided to make something for a weekend snack.

I don't know if our friends in the northern hemisphere are familiar with these little delicacies or not, but I really love home made sausage rolls because they're yummy!

In fact, they're really easy too ... but I guess it's just what you're used to.

Here's my version:

Preheat oven to 180-200 degrees. (hot)
Mix together in a large bowl:
500 grams good mince beef
500 grams sausage mince (from the supermarket)
1 carrot, grated
1 stick of celery, chopped finely
1 egg
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs or cornflake crumbs (that's what I had in the cupboard)
and pepper and salt.

Cut 4 sheets prepared puff pastry in half

Place a couple of spoon fulls of the meat mix along each piece of the pastry, brush a little milk along the edge of the pastry and roll it up. Then cut it into four and follow suit with the other pieces of pastry until all the meat mix is finished.

Brush a little milk on the top of each roll....and place in the oven and cook for approx 18 minutes or until golden

These are a great snack for a weekend lunch, or are even terrific to put into the lunch box for the kids.
Me? I love them as a mid morning savoury snack with a coffee.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Slow Cooking

So, it's Winter and it's cold, which means the Slow Cooker's been dusted off and put to work.

I've made a few things so far this Winter, but forgot to take any photos or post about it...anyway, this one is a Country Chicken Casserole.

Now, the general rule is to brown the chicken and the onions to kick things off, then put them into the cooker and let it rip.

Not me. Even though the dish turns out a little pale, I figure that the slow cooker's there to do a job, so why should I have to brown things in oil. I just throw everything in and hope for the best. Things must turn out OK though because MONT always comes back for seconds.


For this casserole:

10 chicken drumsticks,
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot chopped
1 stick of celery sliced.
... and whatever other veggies you have in the fridge... mushrooms, beans, peas etc...

Now, some recipes call for a can of celery or cream of mushroom soup, or even a can of chopped tomatoes to give you a nice sauce. Frankly I think you should just do whatever suits you. If you like tomato based dishes, then add a can of tomatoes. If you like a creamy based casserole, then add a can of cream of mushroom soup, or whatever you like.


Well into half a cup of water I added a Massel veggie stock cube, a slurp of white wine, a teaspoon of gravox, pepper and salt and a teaspoon of mixed herbs, then I poured it over the chicken and veggies, put the lid on, turned it to "high" and left it alone for four hours.
I then removed the chicken and stirred in a large dollop of cream, returned the chicken, and let it simmer for another half an hour.


Yes, it is a little pale, but it sure tasted good!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sunday Breakfast - French Toast

Through the week when I'm at work, I usually have a snack pack of stewed apricots and some plain yoghurt for breakfast. But on weekends, it's a whole different ball game.

On Sunday's when MONT's away, I always make myself some French Toast with a good gutsy sour dough bread and crispy bacon.

This is my version of French Toast

Beat a couple of eggs with a little milk.

Place your slice of bread in the egg and let it soak it all up.

Heat some olive oil with a little dob of butter in a pan and fry the bread until it's golden.

Top with whatever you like. I know bacon drizzled with Maple Syrup is a favourite in some parts of the world but that's a combination I really can't stomach. I prefer plain crispy bacon on one piece of my toast and some honey on the other to finish off with a cup of freshly brewed coffee.

Now that's my idea of scrumptious!