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.

Best Banana Cake

This lovely moist cake is a great way to use overripe bananas. When my bananas look too ripe to eat fresh, I just throw them into a plastic bag and into the freezer, and they're ready for when I make this cake!

125g butter, melted (using a 50% less fat butter like Devondale Light is successful too)
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 eggs
3-4 medium bananas (very ripe)
1 level teaspoon bicarb soda
2 Tablespoons milk (approx.)
1-1/2 cups Self-Raising Flour, sifted
Pinch of salt

  1. Preheat oven to moderate (180 degrees C / 350 degrees F)
  2. Dissolve the bicarb soda in the milk.
  3. Mix together eggs, sugar, milk and bicarb, vanilla, sugar, in a food processor or blender - process well.
  4. Add roughly chopped bananas and melted butter - process.
  5. Add flour and process till mix is smooth. If using 4 bananas you can add a little more flour (about 1/4 cup), but it's OK without it too.
  6. Pour mix into greased and lined baking tin. This mix will make a 23cm round cake, or 2 loaf cakes (see picture).
  7. Bake for approx 35-45 minutes, depending on size of tin, until cake cooked.
  8. When cool, ice the cake with lemon icing/frosting, and top with chopped walnuts or coconut.
NOTE: Of course, the cake also can be made successfully by hand mixing or using a normal kitchen mixer, such as a Kenwood or Sunbeam mixer.

Low-Fat Baked Cheesecake

 I have modified an original recipe taken from the cookbook "Symply Too Good to be True" No. 3, by Annette Sym. This cheesecake is enjoyed by all who taste it, and I prefer it to the higher fat versions - try it and see what you think.

(1) Cake base:
  • 15 plain sweet biscuits/cookies (wheatmeal, arrowroot, etc.)
  • 3 Tablespoons skim milk
  • cooking spray
  1. In a food processor (or with a rolling pin) crumble the biscuits, then add milk and blend together.
  2. Coat a 22cm (8-9 inch) springform cake tin with cooking spray, and press the biscuit mix into base, using the palm of your hand.
  3. Refrigerate while you are making the filling.
(2) Filling:
  • 125g fresh ricotta cheese
  • 500g plain low-fat cottage cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon rind, or to taste (I use more)
  • 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup sultanas or dried cranberries
  • 1 apple chopped (berries or apricots are nice too)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup of sugar (or substitute some of the sugar for raspberry or apricot jam)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 3 Tablespoons plain flour (if using jam as part of the sweetening, add 1 tablespoon flour extra
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen berries for topping
  1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees C fan forced, or 180 degrees otherwise.
  2. In a clean food processor bowl, add the cheeses, rind, lemon juice, essence, and sugar, and process until smooth and sugar is dissolved.
  3. Add eggs and combine well.
  4. Add flour and combine well.
  5. Add sultanas and chopped apples and mix in by hand.
  6. Pour mix over the biscuit base.
  7. Bake for approx 1 hour until set.
  8. Remove from oven and gently release the springform to loosen the cake from the sides of the pan. Leave the cake to cool on a cake rack before removing the base. Place the cake on a plate and refrigerate until nicely chilled.
  9. While the cheesecake is cooling, process the berries until smooth to make a sauce/coulis. You can add a little icing sugar and lemon juice if necessary, but I don't usually do this.
  10. Serve the cake on a nice plate, with a little sauce drizzled on top, and pour some extra sauce over each slice served.
  11. If the waistline is not a concern, it is also nice to serve with a little whipped cream, but not essential for enjoyment of this dessert.
Note: For the cheesecake pictured, I substituted 1/3rd cup raspberry jam for some of the sugar, added an extra tablespoon flour. To serve, because it was a special occasion I thinly spread whipped cream on top, and then fresh berries. 
Another Variation: If you haven't got ricotta cheese you can substitute this for low fat cream cheese, more cottage cheese, or even half cream cheese, half yogurt - it's hard to spoil this recipe!


I love this easy recipe, firstly because my Dad gave it to me and I think of him each time I make it, and secondly because it tastes great. Dad is no longer with us, but his good cooking lives on!

Featured Recipe

Dad made this sauce to serve with prawns and rice, but I often use hard-boiled eggs, chicken, or tuna to replace the prawns.
  1. Heat  2 Tablespoons oil (or less) in a pan.
  2. To the pan, add 1 clove garlic, 1 roughly chopped onion, 3/4 cup carrot strips, 1 teaspoon curry powder or paste, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon sugar - saute until onion is softened.
  3. Add 3-4 Tablespoons flour and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
  4. Add 450mls (3/4 pint) milk, and 150mls (1/4 pint) water and stir until sauce is mixed well, and there are no floury lumps.
  5. Cook until sauce thickens.
  6. Serve with rice and prawns, or other protein such as hard-boiled eggs, tuna, salmon, or chicken.
NOTE: I add extra veggies as well, like cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, peas, and even diced potato or pumpkin, cooking them separately and adding to the sauce when serving.