Saturday, 26 March 2016

Hanna's Shortbread

500g butter
½ tsp vanilla
½ cup icing sugar
1 cup brown sugar
5 cups plain flour
castor sugar
Lemon rind and juice of ½ lemon (optional)
  1. Cream butter and vanilla. Add sugars (and lemon rind/juice if using) and mix well.
  2. Mix in flour a little at a time, beating very well between each addition. Dough is done when it pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl and feels slightly dry (rather than sticky) to the touch. This may take slightly less or more than the 5 cups of flour.
  3. Knead dough lightly and press out ½ inch thick onto a baking tray, and score the dough into fingers – this is the easiest way. Sprinkle with castor sugar.
  4. An alternative is to roll the dough to about ½ inch thickness and cut into shapes with biscuit cutters (stars, hearts, etc.). Place biscuit shapes on a baking tray lined with baking paper (optional). Sprinkle with castor sugar.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes at 150C, or until light brown. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with more castor sugar.
  6. If you have used my easy method of pressing into a tray and cutting fingers, immediately re-score the cuts on the tray to make sure the fingers will break cleanly when you separate them.
  7. Leave shortbread to cool.

Friday, 25 March 2016


(serves 4)

2 Slices bread, made into breadcrumbs
zest of 1 lemon, finely chopped
Herbs of choice, e.g. parsley, lemon thyme, garlic chives, chopped
1 small white onion, or spring onion, chopped
1/4 cup grated parmesan or extra tasty cheese
1 Tablespoon almonds, chopped (optional)
4  Atlantic salmon fillets

  1. Heat oven to 200C. Line shallow baking pan with baking paper, or grease pan well.
  2. Mix bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, onions, lemon peel and herbs in small bowl, or process in food processor.  Press bread crumb mixture evenly on salmon fillets. 
  3. Place salmon skin side down into baking pan.
  4. Bake uncovered 15 to 25 minutes or until salmon flakes easily with fork, and topping is golden brown and crunchy. 
  5. Serve immediately with garden salad and mashed potatoes, or other accompaniments of choice.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Helen's Savoury Scones

This recipe comes from an old friend, Helen - a great cook. I am often asked for the recipe when friends taste these scones.

Original recipe

    •    2 Tbs parsley
    •    1 onion, chopped
    •    1 carrot, grated
    •    ½ cup (125g) mature cheese
    •    1 egg
    •    1 Tbs butter
    •    2 cups SR flour
    •    ½-1 tsp Salt and cracked pepper to taste
    •    ½ cup milk
  1. Rub butter into flour until like breadcrumbs.
  2. Mix in all other ingredients with a knife – no need to knead this mixture.
  3. Spoon mix onto greased tray and bake in hot oven (200 celsius) 12 minutes. Makes approx 12 big scones. They freeze well.

Kay’s variation on recipe

I add herbs, like oregano and lemon thyme, and even the tops of celery, including the leaves – a handful, and substitute the salt for garlic salt. Capsicum, sundried tomatoes, chopped bacon, etc can be added too, but you may need to adjust the amount of flour/butter – I just throw a bit more in if the mix looks like it needs it.

  1. Put the flour and butter into the food processor and process till like breadcrumbs
  2. Add the  cheese (cheese may be omitted – the flavour of the scones is still great) onion, carrot and herbs, and process until chopped to desired size.
  3. Add the egg and milk and process on slow-medium until mix comes together, adding more milk if necessary. The dough should be fairly moist, but able to be shaped.
  4. Empty mix onto a scone tray and spread out to an even height. With a knife, cut through the dough to score it into squares (the number depends on the shape/size of your tray).
  5. Bake in hot oven (200ยบ C) 12 minutes. They freeze well.
Serve when cold, with butter.


Meringue Cake - 2 layers
(for 3 layers see bracketed quantities)
2 egg whites (3)
1-1/2 cups castor sugar (2-1/4)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (3/4 tsp)
1 teaspoon vinegar (1-1/2 tsp)
1 teaspoon cornflour (1-1/2 tsp)
4 Tablespoons boiling water (6 Tbs)
50g ground hazelnuts (75g)
Filling and Topping
600mls cream (250ml for filling & 350ml for top & sides of cake)
185g dark chocolate
1/4 cup water
500g berries (raspberries, strawberries mulberries - whatever you have)*
* Apricots or pineapple and passionfruit would be really nice instead of berries too, or another fruit with a bit of acidity.

Step 1: The Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to moderate (140-160 degrees celsius)
  2. Place all meringue ingredients in electric mixer bowl (I use a Kenwood mixer with the whisk beater)
  3. Beat mix on high speed for approx. 15 minutes or until the sugar is dissolved and meringue is very stiff.
  4. While the meringue is beating, prepare trays (2). Cut enough baking paper to line the trays, and draw a 20cm circle on each piece of baking paper (or greaseproof paper).
  5. Lightly spray the paper with oil spray, and dust with cornflour, shaking off the excess.
  6. When meringue is ready, divide the mix into two and spread on the papered trays, within circles drawn.
  7. Sprinkle the meringue circles with ground hazelnuts, and with a knife swirl the nuts into the meringue.
  8. Smooth the tops of each meringue cake and bake in oven for approx. 40 minutes or until the meringue is crisp to touch (it will still be nice and chewy on the inside).
  9. When cooked, remove from the oven and cool on the trays. When completely cold, remove the baking paper from the cakes.

Step 2:  Decorating the cake

  1. Whip the cream
  2. Wash and hull the berries (if using strawberries, slice in half lengthwise)
  3. Chop the chocolate (or pound it in a mortar, with a pestle - very satisfying!).
  4. Place chocolate and water in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, and stir until melted.
  5. Place first layer of the meringue cake onto a serving plate, flat side down.
  6. Spread thin layer of melted chocolate over the meringue.
  7. Spread a layer of whipped cream over the chocolate, and cover with berries, leaving enough to decorate the top of the cake also.
  8. Spread the underside of the second meringue cake with melted chocolate, and place chocolate side down on top of the first,
  9. Cover the top (and sides if desired) of the cake with more whipped cream, and decorate with berries.
  10. To finish, drizzle melted chocolate over the cake in thin streams.
  11. Refrigerate until serving. This cake may be prepared several hours before serving. It serves 6-8 people.
NOTE: The pic shows the cake I cooked for a friend's birthday with 3 layers - I increased the meringue recipe by 1-1/2 times to do this. I didn't increase the filling/topping quantities, except for the fruit - I just spread cream and chocolate a bit thinner.