Tag Archives: recipe

Red tea and Gluten Free Orange cake

The tea is ‘Blood Orange’ by Red Seal – appropriate, right? And the cake is my VERY EASY homemade, gluten free orange cake:

This pandemic has highlighted the need to ‘make do’ and not waste anything, so when I found myself with more navel oranges than we could eat [I made the mistake of buying a 3kg bag], the Offspring said, “Why don’t you make an orange cake. We haven’t had one of those in years.”

Seemed like a good idea until I dug out the recipe and stared at the bit that said ‘take nine eggs….’ Nine eggs? If I’d been smart, I would have made a half quantity, but you know how it is.

Anyway, apart from needing a lots of eggs and almond meal, the recipe is so ridiculously easy I decided to share. Enjoy. 🙂

Home Made Orange Cake

Ingredients for cake

  • 3 oranges
  • 9 eggs
  • 350gm of caster sugar
  • 350gm of almond meal

Ingredients for Orange Syrup

  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 orange – zested, peeled and segmented

How to make the cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to fan forced 180 C
  2. Grease and line a 20 cm square cake pan with grease proof [parchment] paper. As I don’t have a pan of the right size I used a fairly large rectangular baking dish instead. The cake won’t rise a lot but it will rise a little so just make sure there’s a bit of room at the top.
  3. Place 3 oranges in a saucepan, cover with water, cover with a lid and bring to the boil.
  4. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes until the oranges are soft.
  5. Discard the water and allow the oranges to cool.
  6. If you have a food processor, blend the oranges [skins and all!] until they form a coarse ‘paste’. It’s actually more like a thick porridge. Set aside.
  7. Cream the eggs and sugar until light an fluffy. I have an electric beater so I’m not sure if it’s possible to beat the egg mixture using a hand one. Good luck?
  8. Add the almond meal and the orange paste and stir until well mixed.
  9. Pour the batter into the prepared pan [see 2 above] and place in the middle of the pre-heated oven [see 1 above] for approximately 45 minutes.

How to make the orange syrup

  1. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Mine was more like about 10 minutes but it didn’t seem to matter. Just make sure you don’t end up with toffee instead of sugar syrup!
  2. Take the syrup off the heat and set aside.
  3. Pour a little boiling water over the orange zest [the zest is the orange part – make sure it doesn’t have any of the white pith as this can be bitter]. Let it sit for 30 seconds. Drain and rinse under cold water. The recipe says to repeat this step but I didn’t and the syrup was fine. Your choice.
  4. Place the zest and orange segments into the syrup and allow to cool. Ahem, I forgot about the segments so I only put the zest into the syrup. Seemed fine. 🙂

The recipe says to serve the cake with a drizzle of the syrup and some orange segments. Silly me, I left the cake in the pan and just poured the syrup over the whole cake. Worked fine except the cake now sticks to the parchment paper. -sigh-

Next time I’ll take the cake out of the pan, remove the paper, put the cake back into the pan and then pour the syrup over. Live and learn. 🙂

And for those who don’t know how to segment an orange so there’s none of the white pitch, here’s my method:

  1. Cut a thin-ish slice off the top and bottom of the orange so you have a flat surface to work with:

2. Hold the knife at an angle [as shown above] and slice off a section of the peel, making sure to take off the white pith as well.

3. Once you’ve cut all around the top half of the orange, flip it over and do the same with the bottom half:

4. Once all the peel is off, do NOT cut the orange in half. You’re likely to get some of the pith in the middle, and you don’t want that. Instead, slice off one of the ‘cheeks’ of the orange by cutting about 1/3 of an inch off centre:

Now you can cut the cheek into segments. Repeat for the other side and the two narrow portions on each side. Ta dah, you have a segmented orange!

Some people may have noticed that I haven’t included any pretty porcelain with this post. I did think about it, but didn’t feel like washing up by hand so…dishwasher proof dishes only today. 😀

Enjoy,
Meeks


Coffee & peanut shortbread

As always, apologies in advance for the poor quality of the photos.

I made the peanut shortbread in celebration of the Offspring getting the first jab of Pfizer! [Recipe at the end of the post].

The cup, saucer, and side plate I chose this time share colour tonings but are not ‘a set’. Very few of my pretties match because I collected them one by one, over about thirty years. So, first the side plate. There are no marks of any sort on the back, so either it’s quite old, or…it wasn’t considered worth marking? No idea, sorry.

The cup and saucer do have a mark. It says ‘Foreign’, which leads me to wonder whether the design was made in Japan for the Western market :

Awful photo, I know. Couldn’t hold the damn phone still. 😦

What I can say is that the cup and saucer are what’s called ‘Lustreware’. The pieces I have are all made from a porcelain so fine, you can see through it when you hold it up to the light. They also have a kind of translucent irridescence that I love. You can get a sense of that in the pic of the cup below:

And now for that recipe! I can’t take much credit for it as it’s basically the same one you can find on the back of the packet of McKenzie’s rice flour, but here goes:

Shortbread with peanuts

Ingredients

  • 225 grams plain flour [all purpose flour], sifted [I didn’t]
  • 115 grams McKenzie’s rice flour, sifted [I didn’t]
  • 115 grams caster sugar, sifted [I didn’t]
  • 1 pinch of salt [as I was going to use salted peanuts, I did NOT add the salt]
  • 225 grams of butter, at room temperature [I forgot to take the unsalted butter out so had to use it cold]
  • 1/3 cup of salted peanuts

Method

Preheat oven to 150C [302 F]. If using the fan forced or fan bake setting, make it a few degrees cooler.

The next bit says you should grease a baking tray and line it with baking paper. I didn’t. I cut a piece of baking paper to size and simply lay it inside the baking tray.

From here on in I’ll just tell you what I did. So, I put the plain flour, rice flour and sugar in a bowl and stirred with a fork.

Next, I cut the cold butter into the dry ingredients and kept cutting it into smaller pieces until they were small enough to rub between my fingers. Rubbing involves pressing the butter/flour mix between the tips of your fingers as if you were trying to wash just your fingertips. Keep ‘rubbing’ until the mixture becomes granular. Sometimes you’ll hear people say ‘until it’s like breadcrumbs’. You really don’t have to be too precious about it, just mix the ingredients together.

Add the peanuts and mix in to the rest of the ingredients.

This next part is easy. Squeeze the mixture into a ball and bung it down onto the middle of the baking tray. Spread it with your hands, trying to avoid having a big clump of peanuts in any one place. I patted the shortbread dough into a rough circle because it was quick, and I was lazy. The thickness of the circle was about the size of a peanut lying flat – i.e. I wanted the peanuts to be covered by shortbread without the whole thing being too ‘fat’.

Press the tip of a fork all over the dough to allow the mixture to expand sideways.

Place the shortbread in the middle of the oven and allow it to bake for approximately 40 minutes, or until it’s a pale, golden brown. If you have any doubts about the temperature of your oven, check after 30 minutes.

Take the shortbread out of the oven and immediately ‘cut’ it with a knife. The shortbread will still be quite soft. Once it cools you won’t be able to cut it.

Leave the cut shortbread on the baking tray until cool. Eat with coffee, tea or cold milk. 🙂

cheers
Meeks


Coffee and banana muffins

Today’s delicious offering was baked by the Offspring based on a recipe given to me by a fellow kindergarten mum, Diana. I won’t tell you how long ago she gave it to me. 😉

The thing I like about this recipe is that it’s very easy. It’s also very forgiving of variations. In the following recipe, our variations are shown in italics after the base recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup soft butter [we used Lurpak Slightly salted spreadable butter which contains a small amount of vegetable oil],
  • 1/2 cup of white sugar [we used caster sugar],
  • 1.5 cups of self raising flour,
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup of plain yoghurt or milk. Yoghurt makes it rise more. [We only used 1/2 a cup of yoghurt so we could add more banana]
  • 1 cup fresh fruit [we used 2 cups of bananas, chopped into decent sized ‘chunks’. NOT mashed]
  • a little extra butter to grease the muffin tins [we used paper cupcake thingies? to save on clean up]

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200 C [392 F]. If using fan bake, lower the temperature a couple of degrees.
  2. Grease muffin tins [or use paper thingies for easy clean up].
  3. With an electric mixer, blend the butter with the sugar until it changes colour and looks ‘creamy’.
  4. Beat in 2 whole eggs. If the mixture starts to separate or ‘curdle’, add a tablespoon of the flour.
  5. Beat in the yoghurt.
  6. Remove from beater and fold in the chunks of banana. [This is a trick I learned by accident. If you mush the banana the flavour will be very bland. If you leave the banana in chunks, you’ll get a burst of strong banana flavour whenever you bite into a piece].
  7. Fold in the flour [no need to sieve].
  8. Spoon mixture into the muffin tin [or into the paper cupcake thingies inside the muffin tin].
  9. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
  10. Remove from the muffin tin and place onto a cooling rack

You can eat these muffins straight from the oven with a bit of butter, just watch out for the chunks of banana, they are hot! Or you can eat them plain, hot or cold. Either way they’re delicious with your beverage of choice.

Bon appetit!
Meeks


Saturday Snippets from Carol Cooks

The reblog button didn’t work so I’m doing a manual one because I found this post so interesting. First up, sharks…NOT my favourite beast and yet…

Sharks…Feared by many but an essential part of our survival…the shark plays an important role within the eco-system…Classed as one of the top predators they are an essential part of the natural order of marine ecosystems.
Not all species of sharks attack humans and when they do sometimes it is a set of circumstances like a magpie is said to be attracted to bright shiny objects bright colours or blood from an open wound attracts some sharks …

https://carolcooks2.com/2020/08/15/saturday-snippets-11/comment-page-1/#comment-25381

As I wrote in the intro, sharks are not my favourite beasts. I live in Australia and we lose people to sharks all the time. But watching the following video on Carol’s post is making me rethink my attitude:

Please read the rest of Carol’s post because it includes an amazing video about a roof top farm. Not only productive and chemical free but…beautiful!

You can find Carol’s post here: https://carolcooks2.com/2020/08/15/saturday-snippets-11/comment-page-1/#comment-25381

Have a great weekend,
Meeks


Milk and Chocolate Shortbread

This is another Offspring special, a basic shortbread recipe with added chunks of Plaistowe dark cooking chocolate. My contribution was the milk. 😀

The photo is a little washed out because it was taken at night with a flash. The shortbread actually looks more like this:

For those who have never tasted shortbread before, it’s an odd combination of dry, crumbly texture that literally melts in your mouth. It’s very easy to make and we love it. If you want to try it yourself, the recipe follows:

Traditional Shortbread [with added chocolate]

Note: the recipe is on the back of the McKenzie’s rice flour packet, and you will need rice flour in addition to ordinary wheat flour.

Ingredients:
  • 225 gm of plain flour [all purpose flour], sifted,
  • 115 gm of rice flour, sifted
  • 115 gm of caster sugar, sifted
  • pinch of salt
  • 225 gm of unsalted, room temperature butter [do NOT use spreadable butter as the oil and/or process used changes how the butter works in recipes].
  • about 1/4 cup good quality cooking chocolate, chopped into smallish ‘chunks’. We used Plaistowe cooking chocolate because it’s actually good enough to eat on its own so long as you don’t like your chocolate very sweet.
Method

Pre-heat oven to 150 C. This is a slow oven.

Grease your baking tray [we didn’t, we lined it with baking paper instead].

Combine both flours, sugar and salt in a bowl.

Rub in butter and knead gently until a smooth dough forms.

Add the chopped chocolate and gently mix into the dough.

The recipe says to transfer the dough to a floured surface and ‘shape as required’. That basically means you can cut pretty shapes out of it. We don’t do any of that. We place the dough directly onto the baking tray and spread it out by hand or with the back of a spoon until it’s about the right ‘depth’. Shortbread should not be thick! 1/2 an inch is more than thick enough.

Prick the dough with a fork. We also ‘score’ the surface lightly with a knife. This makes cutting the cooked shortbread easier.

Bake for 20 – 30 minutes until a light, golden brown. The end.

A tip from us: leave the shortbread on the tray and gently cut along the scored lines while the shortbread is still a bit soft and pliable. The shortbread will firm up as it cools. Cutting it once it’s cold and crumbly is…not very successful.

And there you have it. Another day, another treat. If you have favourite treats of your own, please link to them in comments. Oh, and if you have favourite cups or dishes to go with the treats, please link them as well.

Cheers
Meeks


Pink tea, pizza and glasses

I don’t normally do plugs for brands, but I’ve totally fallen in love with this Nerada, Organic Rosehip with Lemongrass and Ginger Tea. It has no tea in it, which means it contains no caffeine, which means I can drink it after 12:00 midday without losing sleep at night. But the best thing about it is the flavour. It actually tastes nice…as in, I actually look forward to drinking it.

Who’d a thunk a herbal tea could taste good?

Apologies to all my Greenie friends. You were right. I should have listened.

Next, I’d like to draw your attention to the artfully displayed slices of pizza next to the tea. The filling includes tomato paste, homegrown basil, Greek fetta and homemade caramelised red salad onions. Oh, and the pizza base is homemade too. Click here to be taken to the recipe.

The Offspring made it all last night for dinner, and because it isn’t super greasy like commercial pizza, we could reheat it for lunch without feeling as if we were swallowing bucketfuls of grease! But the Offspring didn’t stop there. This morning, my clever Offspring fixed my computer glasses for me!

Back in the old world, I would have hopped in the car, driven down to Warrandyte village and asked the nice people at Eyes-on-Warrandyte to fix it for me. But the old world is gone. We’re not quite into a doomsday scenario, but it’s still not safe to go shopping, whatever the politicians may say. So what was I to do?

DIY, of course. I got out my trusty computer tools and a small magnifying glass and quickly realised that the screw holding one arm to the frame was close to falling out. Part of the reason for that was that a small thingumajiggie was bent.

I won’t bore you with the, um, technical details. All I’ll say is that I took the screw out and straightened the thingumajiggie, but could not get the damn screw back in. I simply could not see what I was doing, even with the magnifying glasses. See for yourself. These are my specs next to the tools:

Now, this is a closeup of the screw that goes in the glasses to hold the arm in place:

I was swearing in a very ladylike way, “Oh poppycock and balderdash!” when the Offspring came to my rescue. Said Offspring did some swearing too, but in the end…ta dah…my glasses are as good as new!

Thank you, Offspring. You will eat tonight. 🙂

And there you have it. An eccentric post for the new era of Do It Yourself. 🙂

cheers
Meeks


Coffee and pop tarts

For your gastronomic pleasure, I present the Offspring’s home made apple pop tarts!

And one of my beloved lustreware cup-and-saucer sets:

Oddly enough, it wasn’t until today that I noticed this set is made in Japan as well:

I really have had a love affair with Japan for most of my life!

And now for the pop tarts. This is not a hard and fast recipe so you’ll have to adjust the quantities to suit your own tastes.

The pastry is plain old, shop bought, frozen shortcrust. You should be able to use flaky or puff pastry as well. It just so happened that shortcrust was what we had in the freezer.

The Offspring allowed the sheets to thaw and then cut each one into quarters. One quarter for each pop tart.

The filling is where things get truly yummy. The apples are Granny Smiths but any tart, cooking apple will do. Sweet apples just don’t have enough flavour.

After washing the apples, the Offspring simply cut out the core and chopped the apple into bite-sized chunks. No peeling required. The skin actually adds to the flavour.

The apple went into a saucepan with some brown sugar [suit your own tastes], a lot of cinnamon, 1/2 a teaspoon of allspice and…a splash of champagne. The champagne is not mandatory, but like the pastry, it was what we had left over from the Un-Christmas dinner last year.

And before you ask, the Offspring doesn’t drink and I don’t like champagne so cooking is a great way of not wasting a perfectly good bottle of booze. I also use it in my Bolognese because I’ve been out of Shiraz for months. The champagne is ‘dry’ so it works pretty well.

The trick to making the apple is not to overcook it. Any liquid you add, whether it be wine or water, should only be enough to stop the apples from burning before they release their own juices. You really do not want to make apple sauce! As soon as the apples are cooked but still firm, remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool.

Preheat the oven to moderate [about 375F or 180C].

To assemble the pop tarts, place a generous spoonful of the cold apple in the middle of the square of pastry, moisten the edges with a little water [so the pastry will stick to itself], fold over, removing as much air as you can [without going insane about it], and press the edges closed.

Make a few small holes in the top of the pop tarts with the point of a sharp knife. This is to allow the steam to escape. Otherwise you might end up with exploding pop tarts. 🙂

Place the pop tarts on a baking tray and glaze with a little warm apricot jam [optional]. Bake in the middle of a moderate oven for about 10 minutes. The exact timing will depend upon your oven.

When the pop tarts are golden brown, remove from the oven and transfer to a cake rack to cool a little.

Warning: the apple inside these tarts is VERY hot. We discovered this the hard way…;)

The pop tarts will keep in the fridge for about three days, and we’ve found that they reheat beautifully. Just pop them back in the over for about 5 minutes.

Enjoy,
Meeks

p.s. I’m trying hard to get back into writing so I won’t be posting as much for a while. Don’t worry though, we’re both quite healthy!


Cookies and Milk

The title of this post should have been ‘Coffee and Cake’, but we made the Triple Choc Chocolate biscuits last night, and it was too late for coffee, so…

Ahem. The Offspring and I adore these biscuits because they really are made with three lots of chocolate. There’s cocoa and melted chocolate in the biscuit dough, and then there are lumps of chocolate in each biscuit as well [the recipe is at the end of this post].

You can see how gooey and melted and divine those lumps of chocolate are here:

and here:

and here:

That’s why these biscuits are at their most divine straight from the oven. They are delicious cold as well, but not quite as delicious. 🙂

Now, a word about sweetness. If you love super sweet, commercial biscuits, you will not love these triple choc biscuits. There is sugar in the biscuit dough, but not a huge amount, and the chocolate is unsweetened, dark chocolate. The cocoa is unsweetened, Dutch cocoa as well so the overall effect is not overly sweet.

There, you have been warned. For everyone else, I hope you enjoy the following recipe. 🙂

Provenance: Vogue Entertaining & Travel, June/July 1999.

[We only ever make half quantities at a time so I’ve provided the cut down quantities in brackets. They’re not exactly half quantities, but they work.]

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups plain or all purpose flour [1/2 a cup and a ‘bit’]
2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch cocoa [1 tablespoon ]
1 teaspoon baking powder [1/2 a teaspoon]
3/4 of a teaspoon salt [1/4 teaspoon]
500 gm good quality bittersweet dark chocolate [250 gm]
125 gm unsalted butter [60 gm]
1/2 cup sugar [1/4 cup sugar]
3 large eggs [add 1 whole egg, then crack a second egg into a bowl, beat it and add half of the beaten egg only]

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180o C or 356 F [make it a little less if using fan forced]
  2. Line a large baking sheet with baking paper
  3. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt
  4. Melt 3/4 of the dark chocolate [about 190 gm if making half quantities] with the butter in a small saucepan – don’t let it burn!
  5. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the sugar [I let the mixture cool a tiny bit before the next step]
  6. Stir in the eggs, one at a time until well mixed
  7. Add to the flour mixture and mix until just combined
  8. Cover the dough with cling wrap and chill for up to 1 hour
  9. Remove teaspoon sized balls of dough and place on the baking sheet, about 3.5 cm or 2 inches apart [the balls will expand a lot as they bake]
  10. Push small [or larger] chips of the dark chocolate into each biscuit [we like big gooey lumps so tend to use 1 large piece in instead of 2 or 3 smaller ones]
  11. Bake in the middle of a hot oven for 10 minutes or until just done. I set a timer for 8 minutes, turn the sheet, and reset the timer for another 2 minutes. The biscuits should feel slightly squishy to the touch. This is what you want as they will harden as they cool. If you leave them in for even 2 minutes longer, they’ll be hard and biscuity instead of soft and chewy.
  12. Allow the biscuits to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. That’s the official line. The unofficial line is that you can eat them as soon as they don’t burn your fingers….

Have a wonderful day, and don’t eat the Triple Choc Biscuits all at once!

cheers
Meeks


Coffee and cake, 28th April, 2020

Coffee with toasted cheese and bacon bread

I was tempted to change the title to ‘Coffee and Toast’ but decided to go with consistency instead. 🙂

I’d like to start by thanking Robbie for the bread recipe. I had to make a couple of substitutions, but the end result was a million times better than I’d hoped. You can find the recipe at the end of this post.

And now for the cup and saucer. Back in the dim and distant past, my Mum gave me two cup-and-saucer sets. They’re Lustreware and quite beautiful.

Ever since then, I’ve been haunting op. shops [second hand opportunity shops] to add to my collection. I now have quite a few beautiful pieces. Most are not Lustreware but they are lovely in their own ways, so I thought I’d give each set its own 5 minutes of fame. Ta dah:

As always, apologies for the photography.

If you look at the bottom of the cup you’ll see a mark that says ‘Hand painted, Nippon.’

Nippon was the old name for Japan, but I can’t imagine that a Japanese company would put a mark written in English on its product, so…? No idea. If there are any experts out there, I’d love to know the story behind this piece.

And now for the bread recipe. I’ll start by saying I’ve rarely baked anything this easy. Plus, the recipe is most forgiving of substitutions. And finally, I love the fact that I almost always have the ingredients in my pantry and fridge.

Robbie’s Cheese & Olive bread [my substitutions are in italics]

Ingredients
500 grams self raising flour (I didn’t have SR flour so I used cake/plain flour and added 15 ml (3 teaspoons) of baking powder);
2 cups (500 ml) grated yellow cheese (I used strong gouda) [I only had mozzarella so used that, not cheesy enough but okay];
5 ml (1 teaspoon) salt;
2 cups (500 ml) plain yogurt; and
200 grams of black olives, drained, stoned and halved [I didn’t have olives so used 2 rashers of middle bacon cut into small squares]
Method
Sieve the flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Add the grated cheese and olives. Make a well in the centre and add the yogurt. Mix until it forms a sticky dough. [I found that I couldn’t incorporate all the dry ingredients without making the dough too tough so about 2 tbspns of dry mix left over. I used thick pot set Jalna yoghurt which may have been less ‘wet’]

Place in a prepared loaf tin and bake in the oven for 50 minutes at a temperature of 190 degrees Celsius. [I used fan bake which may have been a little too hot. As each oven is different, check the bread before the 50 minutes just in case].

This is what the loaf looked like when it came out of the oven:

The loaf is a tiny bit over done, but I love a good crust so I’m very happy with both the taste and the texture.

There are many things I miss not doing during this pandemic, but the one thing I miss eating is nice bread. We’ve never liked commercial sliced bread, the Woolworths bakery bread is…not that nice, and my home made efforts have been a little disappointing. This is the first time I’ve managed to reproduce a type of bread I used to buy once a week, as a treat.

Do you have a special treat that makes you happy? Please share in comments. And remember, it doesn’t have to be DIY!

cheers
Meeks


Coffee and cake

Coffee and a buttered cheese scone

Okay, that is not a picture of coffee and cake, it’s a picture of coffee and a scone, but let’s not get too thingie about it. 😀

I’m posting this picture because an online friend mentioned how hard it was not to be able to share coffee and a chat with her friends. That’s something I’ve missed as well, so I’m going to share some home baked ‘something’ once a week.

When the ‘something’ is home made, I’ll share the recipe, but I don’t bake all the time so it may just be a pic of coffee [or tea] and a biscuit. 🙂

If you feel like doing the same, please leave a link to your ‘coffee and cake’ post in comments so we can all share a chat and a bit of togetherness.

Okay, I’ve already posted about the cheese scones so click here to see the recipe. No apologies for cheating. 😀

cheers

Meeks


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