Sunday, July 12, 2020

Hummingbird Cake

... what I always begged her to fix for my birthday was her rich hummingbird cake with pineapple and bananas and pecans and a real sweet cream cheese icing. James Villas, Hungry for Happiness

The origins of the Hummingbird Cake and how it came by its name are murky, but it is not disputed that it is a very popular cake. I was quite taken with Martha Stewart’s version when I saw it made on TV, and could not resist making it, especially as I had canned pineapple, banana and cream cheese frosting ready to go. Martha made a two layer cake with walnuts instead of pecans. I made a 6” single layer version, but it was good,

The cake is moist and sweet but not overly sweet, and it’s a cake I could eat a lot of.

If you would like to make Martha’s version of the famous Hummingbird Cake, you can find the recipe here.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Helen Goh’s Orange Milk Cake

Breakfast without orange juice is like a day without sunshine. 
Anita Bryant

A few weeks ago, Helen Goh featured a recipe for Orange Milk Cake in Good Weekend magazine. Helen said that this cake delighted her so much that she ate nearly half of it and kept the other half for later rather than giving it away as it freezes well.  She said that “my ration of a slice a day brought unreasonable joy.” With an endorsement like that, how could I not make this cake!

And I am glad I did - what a beauty of a cake.  I again got the opportunity to use my Nordic Ware Heritage Bundt tin, which enhanced the beauty of this flavourful cake. Orange zest features in the batter, and orange juice features in the glaze.  The cake has a sunny orange glow to the crumb from the saffron in the batter; if you don’t have saffron, Helen says that you can substitute it for turmeric, which is a cheaper option to get the same effect.

If you are inspired by Helen’s words to make this lovely cake, you will need:

1/4 teaspoon saffron threads (or 1 teaspoon turmeric)
275ml milk
240g plain flour plus extra to dust the cake tin
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
70g almond meal
160g butter plus extra to grease the cake tin
230g sugar
1 tablespoon orange zest
2 teaspoons vanilla


25ml saffron infused milk (see below)
25ml orange juice
150g sifted icing sugar

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease and flour a 6 cup capacity Bundt tin and chill it in the fridge while you make the cake batter.

Lightly toast the saffron in a small dry frypan over low heat for one minute. Remove the saffron from the heat and crush it with a spoon.  Put the milk and saffron into a saucepan and heat it until it becomes hot but not boiling. Remove the milk from the heat, and allow the saffron to infuse until the milk comes to room temperature. Divide the milk into 25ml and 250 ml batches.

Sift the flour, salt and baking powder together into a bowl. Stir through the almond meal and set aside.

Put the sugar and orange zest into the bowl of a stand mixer and rub the zest into the sugar until fragrant. Add the butter, and beat the sugar and butter together until creamy. Add the eggs, one by one, beating well between each addition. Beat in the vanilla, then on low speed, mix in the flour mixture and 250ml saffron milk alternately in three batches, starting and finishing with the flour.

Scrape the batter into the prepared tin and level the top, and bake for 50-60 minutes or until cooked through.  Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool in the tin for 15 minutes before unmoulding onto a wire rack to cool completely.

When the cake is cool, make the icing by mixing together the 25ml saffron infused milk, orange juice and icing sugar to form a thin glaze. Apply the icing to the cake by dabbing it on with a pastry brush and allowing it to drip down the sides of the cake.

Slice and serve!

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

TWD - Coconut-Lime Sables

Put the lime in the coconut and drink ‘em bot’ up. Harry Nilsson

We’re back for July with Tuesdays with Dorie, and this month’s first recipe has tropical flavours that are rather incongruous in the grey, cold winter that I am currently experiencing.

The recipe is Coconut-Lime Sables, little shortbreads flavoured with toasted and untoasted coconut, lime zest and, surprisingly for sweet biscuits, coriander.

The biscuit dough is rolled, frozen, cut out and sprinkled with more coconut before being baked in muffin tins, which helps them to keep their shape.

Dorie said she was surprised that people liked these biscuits so much, but I’m not - they are a textural, tasty bite, both crunchy and chewy as Dorie says. I would make these again.

To see what everyone else made this week and what they thought of it, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Chicken Jalfreze


Life never gives us what we want at the moment we consider appropriate.

EM Forster, A Passage To India

Just when I had hope that we could go about our business with caution, and had enjoyed a couple of meals out with friends and caught public transport without fear, there has been a spike in virus cases and I feel like I am back at square one. My suburb has not gone back to tougher restrictions, but I no longer feel the same sense of freedom, as though I can return to some semblance of normality and it will be ok. It doesn’t feel ok at all, and as the weeks go by, it becomes harder to believe that it ever will be.

One of the recipes posted by colleagues on our Intranet socials recently for the Pandemic Cookbook was Chicken Jalfreze. I love a good curry and it’s certainly good curry weather here at the moment, so I was keen to try out the recipe.

I was glad I did - this curry has just the right amount of heat and hit the spot on our typical cold, grey winter evenings.

To make this curry for yourself, you will need:

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1 tablespoon of oil 

500ml of passata

1 large onion, chopped

1 green capsicum, chopped

1 red capsicum, chopped

2 red chillis, chopped

2½ teaspoons curry powder

2 teaspoons garam masala

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 cloves garlic, chopped

½ teaspoon chilli powder


Heat oil in a large pan and cook chicken pieces until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

Place in the slow cooker. 

Add passata, onion, capsicums, chillies, curry powder, garam masala, coriander, cumin, garlic, and chili powder. Stir to combine. 

Cook on low heat for about 6 hours. If you prefer a thicker sauce, add some cornflour combined into a thick paste with a bit of cold water at the end and stir through the sauce until you achieve the desired thickness. (My sauce was already very thick.)

Serve with rice and non-traditional veggies, like me!



Saturday, July 4, 2020

Sponge Cake - Red, White and Blue

It is the 4th of July, American Independence Day. For all my US blogger friends, I have marked the occasion by making a Red, White and Blue Sponge Cake - aka sponge cake with strawberries, cream and blueberries.

I haven’t made a sponge for years. My mum often used to make sponge cake with strawberries and cream as a birthday cake for my brother, who loves it.

I reckon my sponge turned out pretty good:

The recipe I used came from The Country Show Cookbook. This book contains a number of sponge cake recipes, so I was spoiled for choice. 

I selected a recipe from Helen Wright from the Kyogle Show. Kyogle is in country New South Wales. I have never been there, but I will always remember the name because a Year 12 boy called Mick who went on the very last Senior’s Trip at my school (thanks to the personal injury liability risks) was photographed for the school magazine wearing a track suit top emblazoned with the word “TRAINING”. The caption was  “What do you train for in Kyogle, Mick?”

I still don’t know what Mick was training for in Kyogle, but this is a damn fine sponge cake recipe. It uses mostly cornflour, which makes the sponge feather light.

To make this sponge cake, you will need:

125g sugar
4 eggs, separated
70g cornflour 
1 rounded dessert spoon plain flour
(Just make it a tablespoon and it will be fine)
1 teaspoon baking powder 
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius, and grease and line 2 sandwich tins (8” round).

Beat the egg whites with the whisk attachment of a stand mixer until white and fluffy (or soft peaks form, in the old parlance). Continue beating while you slowly add the sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.

Break up the egg yolks with a fork then add to the egg whites and beat until just combined. Add the vanilla and mix until combined.

Sift the flours and baking powder over the egg mixture. Fold in gently with a spatula. Divide the batter evenly between the two sandwich tins, smooth the tops and drop the tins on the bench once or twice to knock out the air bubbles.

Place the cakes into the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes. Line a cake rack with a tea towel and turn the cakes out onto it. Cover the cakes with the rest of the tea towels, and allow to cool.

Fill the cooled cakes with chantilly cream, chopped strawberries and blueberries. Sift icing sugar over the top of the upper cake. Serve while fresh.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Marmalade Delicious

There are 5 Tuesdays in June this year, so there is no TWD this week.

Instead, I am sharing a marvellous winter dessert recipe that my mum sent me out of her Australian Woman’s Day magazine. It is called Marmalade Delicious, and is a twist on the classic Lemon Delicious. 

Instead of lemon zest and juice, this dessert features orange zest and juice, plus a healthy dose of marmalade to amp up the orange flavour. The dessert baked up a little like a magic cake, with a soft sponge on top and an orange curd sauce on the bottom. When served warm with vanilla icecream melting over the top, it tastes like what I imagine an orange creamsicle would taste like.

To make this dessert, you will need:

60g butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup self raising flour
2 oranges, zested and juiced 
2/3 cup milk 
1/4 cup orange marmalade
3 eggs, separated 

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius and lightly grease 6 x 1 cup capacity ramekins.

In a stand mixer, beat the butter and 3/4 cup of the sugar until creamy.  Fold through the flour and orange zest. (I rubbed the zest into the sugar until fragrant before beating with the butter to enhance the orange flavour.)

In a jug, mix together the milk, 1/2 cup orange juice, marmalade and egg yolks. Fold the liquids into the butter mixture.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar while continuing to beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.

Fold the egg whites into the butter mixture. Divide the mixture evenly between the 6 ramekins.

Put the filled ramekins into a roasting dish, and pour hot water into the roasting dish  until it comes half way up the sides of the ramekins.

Put the dish full of ramekins into the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the tops are just firm.

Serve warm with icecream and extra marmalade, if desired.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

TWD - Lady Fingers

This week’s Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Lady Fingers, also known as savoiardi or sponge fingers.  I have made them once before with The Daring Bakers.  We have also made this batter before to make Dorie’s Strawberry Shortcakes.

I didn’t have any trouble making these lady fingers. I made a half batch only, and used them to make Donal Skehan’s Blackberry Amber, an Irish dessert with layers of sweetened blackberries, lady fingers soaked in egg and milk, and meringue:

To see what everyone else made this week and what they thought of it, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.