A new arrival

Yes, that’s right.  Today we welcomed a new family member.  She doesn’t have a name as yet, but she is gorgeous.


When we decide on a name we will let you know.  She is a staghound and is 8 weeks old.  Everyone is very excited to have her.


Raspberry and almond mascarpone cake

I made this rich dessert cake for my mother’s 70th (happy birthday Mum), and I have to say, it turned out fabulously.  It comes from the Australian Woman’s Weekly Bake.  It is a large cake and is perfect for a big crowd.  It is very rich so you only need small slices.

Raspberry and almond marscapone cake

raspberry cake

500g butter, softened
3 cups (660g) caster sugar
8 eggs
2 cups (300g) plain flour
1 1/2 cups (225g) self raising flour
1 cup (125g) almond meal
1 cup (250ml) milk
1 cup (140g) slivered almonds, roasted, chopped finely
400g fresh or frozen raspberries

Mascarpone cream
750g mascarpone cheese
300g sour cream
1 cup (160g) icing sugar
1/3 cup (80ml) orange-flavoured liqueur

Preheat oven to 160c.  Grease deep 30cm round cake pan; line base and side with baking paper, extending 5cm above side.

Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs, one at a time; stir in sifted flours, almond meal and milk, in three batches.  Stir in chopped almonds and raspberries.  Spread mixture into pan.

Bake cake 1 hour.  Reduce oven to 150c; bake further 1 hour.  Stand cake in pan 20 minutes; turn, top-side up onto wire rack to cool.

Make mascarpone cream.  Beat mascarpone, sour cream and sifted icing sugar on low speed in large bowl with electric mixer until combined; stir in liqueur.

Split cake into three layers.  Place base layer on serving plate; spread with a third of the mascarpone cream, repeat layering, ending with mascarpone cream.  Decorate top of cake with vienna almonds.

Ricotta, sage and sweet potato shells

I found this recipe in the latest issue of Donna Hay Magazine (issue 46 Aug/Sept 09).  Two of my favourite people to cook from are Bill Granger and Donna Hay, so expect to see them pop up on a regular basis around here. 

I couldn’t go past this recipe.  I love stuffed pasta shells, sweet potato is a staple in our house and sage is one of my favourite herbs to cook with – how could I go wrong.  The only thing I was unsure of was that there is no sauce with this recipe, but truly it doesn’t need it.  This is a definite keeper.

The original recipe is designed as a starter for 4, but makes a good main meal for one, and can easily be increased to accommodate more.

Ricotta, sage and sweet potato shells


12 (100g) large pasta shells
200g sweet potato (kumera), peeled and chopped
2 teaspoons olive oil
200g ricotta
3/4 cup (60g) finely grated parmesan
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
100g butter
12 sage leaves
shaved parmesan, to serve

Preheat oven to 220c (425F).  Cook the pasta in a saucepan of salted boiling water for 10-12 minutes or until al dente.  Drain and run under cold water until cool.  Set aside.

Place the sweet potato and oil on a baking tray and toss to coat.  Roast for 15 -20 minutes or until golden and tender.  Place in a bowl with the ricotta, 1/2 cup (40g) of the parmesan, garlic and lemon rind and mix to combine.  Spoon mixture into shells, place in a small baking dish and top with lemon juice, butter and sage.  Sprinkle with remaining grated parmesan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden and sage is crisp. 

Top with shaved parmesan to serve.

Potato and Cabbage Soup

This recipe comes from the Australian Good Food magazine August 2009 issue.  It was easy to make, and nice and filling. 

Potato and Cabbage Soup

potato and cabbage soup

4 bacon rashers
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 kg potatoes, peeled, cut into small cubes
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 cups vegetable stock
2 cups water
1/4 medium cabbage, finely shredded

Cook bacon in a large pan on medium-high heat for 3 – 5 minutes, until crisp.  Cool slightly, then break into small pieces.  Set aside.

Heat oil in same pan on medium.  Add potato, onion, carrot, celery and garlic, then cover and cook for 5 minutes, until starting to soften.  Add stock and water.  Increase heat to high and bring to boil.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes, until vegetables are tender.  Remove from heat. 

Using a stick blender, blend until smooth.  Add shredded cabbage and return pan to medium heat.  Simmer for 5 minutes, until cabbage is just tender.  Season to taste.

To serve, season soup with black pepper and top with pieces of crispy bacon.

How much can you bake in a day

With a 9am start and finishing at 3am, I managed to bake approximately 150 cupcakes, 150 biscuits and 60 cupcake pops.  Not bad for a days work.

Banana Fudge
banana fudge
Pecan and Cinnamon
Orange and Poppyseed
Lemon and Craisin
Cupcake Pops
cupcake pop

The recipes for the cupcakes all came from the Crabapple Bakery Cupcake Cookbook, the biscuits from the Australian Woman’s Weekly Cookies and the idea for the Cupcake pops from the Martha Stewart website although I used my own recipes for that one.

Chocolate Bread and Butter Pudding

This is a Kraft recipe.  The original recipe called for raisin bread, but I just used white bread.  A really nice and easy dessert.  Not too sweet.  The boys really enjoyed this one, they wanted me to put some in their lunch boxes for school tomorrow.  I guess this one is a keeper.

Chocolate Bread and Butter Pudding

bread and butter pudding

2 1/2 cups milk
200g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
125g block Philadelphia cream cheese, cubed and softened
1 tablespoon cocoa
1 tablespoon caster sugar
4 eggs, lightly beaten
8 slices raisin bread
icing sugar, to serve
Double cream, to serve

Combine the milk, chocolate, cream cheese, cocoa and sugar in a large saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth.  Allow to cool, then whisk in the eggs.

Cut each bread slice diagonally in half.  Arrange bread triangles in a greased 2 litre capacity deep baking dish.  Pour over chocolate mixture and set aside for 10 minutes.

Bake pudding at 160c for 30-35 minutes until set.

Allow to cool slightly.  Dust with icing sugar and serve with cream.

Baked Rice Pudding

This is childhood in a bowl.  It takes nearly two hours to cook, but is well worth it.  I loved rice pudding as a child, but have never quite got it right.  This recipe definitely has it right. 

The recipe comes from Donna Hay Magazine – June/July 09 issue.

Baked Rice Pudding

baked rice pud

1/2 cup (100g) arborio rice
1 litre milk
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
2 tablespoons caster sugar
4 pieces lemon peel
20g butter, chopped
1 tablespoon caster sugar, extra
double cream, to serve

Preheat oven to 160c.  Place the rice in the base of a 7 cup-capacity shallow ovenproof dish.  Combine the milk, vanilla bean and seeds, sugar and lemon peel, pour over the rice and stir to combine.  Cover with aluminium foil and place on a baking tray.  Bake for 1 hour, remove the foil and stir.

baked rice pud and cream

Bake, uncovered, for a further 30 minutes.  Top with the butter, sprinkle with the extra sugar and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the top is golden.  Serve with the cream.

French Vanilla Cake

This is a firm favourite in our house.  I originally found it on a blog called “What Geeks Eat” and since the first time I made it, it has become the most requested cake.  The good thing about this cake is that it is so easy, great for a beginner.  The original recipe states natural yogurt but it really makes no difference.  I use whatever is in the fridge, whether it’s full fat, low fat, natural or flavoured.  It still works and tastes great. 

This cake makes a great lunchbox treat as it doesn’t need icing and also freezes well.

French Yogurt Cake


1/2 cup natural yogurt
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
1 1/2 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder

Preheat oven to 190c.  Butter a bundt pan well.


Mix together yogurt, eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl.  Add the flour and baking powder and mix well. 


Pour into the pan and bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

french yogurt cake

Let cool for 10 minutes and then turn out of the pan.  Dust with icing sugar.

Hello world!

Let me introduce myself.  I am a mother to three young boys.  Of course, they all have different tastes, which makes meals interesting to say the least.

My eldest is autistic and dislikes change, so introducing new foods to him is a challenge.

My middle son loves meat, dairy and fruit.  Vegetables don’t rate too highly with him.

My youngest loves fish, vegetables and fruit, but only seems to eat meat if it looks like a sausage.

As for me, well I love to cook.  I wouldn’t class myself as a great cook, but I do pretty well.  No everything works, but I’m willing to give it a try. 

I hope you will join us on are cooking journey.  We will show you our favourites and try a lot of new things along the way.


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