Friday, July 31, 2020

Pineapple Layer Cake with Strawberry Gloss

Here comes the sun ... (George Harrison)

I love old fashioned recipes, so I was delighted when someone recently posted a 1950s Golden Circle cookbook in the Old Shops Facebook group. For the uninitiated, Golden Circle operates a cannery in Northgate, Queensland, and canned pineapple is its flagship product.

I was intrigued by the recipe for Pineapple Layer Cake with Strawberry Gloss. This recipe involved the use of canned strawberries, which I have never seen. However, I made my own strawberry filling from fresh strawberries using this recipe.

This cake comprises 2 layers of vanilla cake which contains canned pineapple.  The layers are filled with strawberry filling, extra filling is piled in the centre of the cake, and the cake is iced with a pink tinted icing flavoured with pineapple juice.

The end result is a very sweet but delicious and unusual cake:


If  you would like to step back in time and make this will need:

1/2 cup canned pineapple pieces, drained (reserve juice)
4 ounces butter
2/3 cup sugar 
2 eggs
2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk

1 batch strawberry filling from the recipe linked above


1 tablespoon butter
Icing sugar
2 tablespoons reserved pineapple juice from the canned pineapple

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease and line 2 x 8” round sandwich cake tins.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together until light and creamy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then add in the pineapple and salt. Alternately beat in the flour and milk in three batches, starting and ending with flour.

Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared cake tins, and bake the cakes for 25-30 minutes or until cooked through.  Remove the cakes from the oven and leave to sit in their tins for 5 minutes before unmoulding onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the icing, cream the butter in a medium mixing bowl.  Add 2 tablespoons of sifted  icing sugar and the pineapple juice and mix well. Sift in just enough icing sugar to make a smooth, spreadable icing when combined with the other ingredients.  Add a couple of drops of rose pink colouring to tint the icing pink. 

To assemble the cake, put one of the cake layers on a cake plate or board. Pipe a thin strip of icing around the perimeter of the cake. Spread half the strawberry filling onto the top of the cake, being careful not to breach the icing perimeter, then place the other cake on top.

Spread the remaining strawberry filling over the centre of the top cake, leaving a border of 2cm between the filling and the edge of the cake. Cover the rest of the top of the cake and the sides with icing. (I had to make more icing to have enough.)

Once the icing sets, slice and serve the cake.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

TWD - Merveilles

Don't look for miracles. You yourself are the miracle.  Henry Miller 

This week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Merveilles (meaning "miracle").  They are fried dough strips that bubble and crisp up, and are coated with a sprinkling of icing sugar while hot.

I don't like frying, but these tasted quite good, I made a quarter of a recipe and shared them with my downstairs neighbours.

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

Sunday, July 26, 2020

African Drumsticks for Christmas in July


I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.  Charles Dickens 

Yesterday was Christmas in July, and I decided to celebrate by making myself  a special dinner.

I had some chicken drumsticks in the freezer, so rather than buy something else, I decided to jazz up the drumsticks.  Looking through my cookbooks, a recipe from Nigella Kitchen for African Drumsticks caught my eye.  With a marinade of Worcestershire sauce, tomato sauce, mustard, ginger, apricot jam and onion, the flavours sang from the page. The marinade has a delightful sticky zing to it, sure to put the fire in anyone's belly.

Here's my dinner, ready to go, with African drumsticks, roast potatoes, roast pumpkin, beans a la Sunday and honey carrots - oooh, and  cheeky glass of red, my first since March:

Here are the drumsticks fresh out of the oven:

and the roast vegetables:

To make Nigella's African Drumsticks, you will need:

80ml Worcestershire sauce
45ml tomato sauce
2 teaspoons mustard powder (I just used Dijon mustard)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon apricot jam (I used Pam's apricot an ginger jam, a souvenir of New Zealand)
1 peeled and finely chopped onion
8 chicken drumsticks
1 tablespoon olive oil  

In a wide, shallow dish, mix together all of the ingredients except for the chicken and the oil.

Use the oil to coat the base of a baking tin just big enough for the drumsticks.  Coat the chicken by dipping each drumstick into the marinade, then place into the baking tin.  Pour any leftover marinade over the chicken, and leave it to chill in the fridge for 4 hours.   

When you are ready to cook the chicken, preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius.  Put the chicken in the baking tin into the oven and cook for 45 minutes - 1 hour (depending on your oven), basting the drumsticks with the marinade a couple of times during the cooking process.   

Serve the drumsticks lavishly coated with any excess marinade left in the baking tin.

No Christmas celebration is complete without pudding, so I made rum balls:

seen here with a slice of Maggie Beer's Christmas pudding (shop bought) and warm custard:   

For the connoisseurs, here's a close up of the Christmas pudding and custard:

Did you celebrate Christmas in July?  If so, what did you do to celebrate? 

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Carrot Oat Slice (Vegan)

Happy Thursday! 

Today is the day that wearing a mask became mandatory in Melbourne. Given that 90% of people have admitted to going about their business even after displaying COVID-19 symptoms, the position we have reached should not surprise anyone.

If you would like a little sweet treat that is pretty much guilt free, I can recommend Johanna’s Carrot Oat Slice. It is very easy to make, and the finished product remains quite moist, but it’s a little pop of vegan sweetness to pick you up with a cuppa:

I used the optional prune add-in for an extra pop of sweetness, but also recommend adding the walnuts for some crunch, as this slice is very soft.

Have a great day all.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

TWD - Fried Potato Crackers

This week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Fried Potato Crackers.  These were developed by Dorie as a recipe to be like potato chips but not actually potato chips.

The crucial ingredient in these crackers was potato flakes, aka Deb in Australia.  My supermarket didn't sell instant mashed potatoes (potato flakes), so what to do?  A quick Google search and the preppers cam to the rescue with a recipe to make your own dehydrated potatoes - here's mine:

From three small potatoes, the yield was a quarter of a cup of potato flakes, enough to make a half batch of crackers.  This exercise took 5 hours in the oven together with the initial prep time - you can't question my dedication to this group!

Sadly, the fried potato crackers that I made from the potato flakes did not do it for me.  Discounting the fact that mine were slightly overdone, I still didn't like them that much - if I am going to expend my calories on fried food, I'll go for hot chips or plain old potato chips (crisps to the Brits) over these any day.       

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

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Pork meatball curry


I see you're wearing a white shirt and eating curry.  I too like to live dangerously. 

I am a member of the Quarantine with Jam and Claire Facebook group.  Jam is Jamila, and once every few weeks, she co-hosts a cook-along session on Facebook Live.  One of those sessions is Substitution Cooking, which she co-hosts with Alice Zaslavsky, who blogs as Alice In Frames and first entered Australian loungerooms on Master Chef.  Here they are in yesterday's Substitution Cooking session: 

I haven't ever cooked along before, although I have just watched, but yesterday's recipe took my fancy - a pork meatball curry with a Thai-style curry sauce.  I already had all of the ingredients and I am always scratching my head as to what to make for dinner, so this was the perfect time to jump in and cook along.

The recipe we used was based on Smitten Kitchen's Braised Ginger Meatballs in Coconut Broth.  It's not something I would have been attracted to from the title, especially as the original is described as a soup rather than a curry, but when described as a pork mince curry, I was there.

Here's my meatballs and sauce at the nearly done phase.  The meatballs are baked; quite a bit of fat came out of the meat during the process.  I liked the idea of the meatballs being baked rather than fried, and they stayed quite juicy.  The curry sauce is based on coconut milk and chicken stock flavoured with lime, chilli, turmeric, garlic and ginger.  Despite this not being a dish I would have chosen myself, I am glad that I cooked along with the Substitution Cooking Group and made it - it was delicious, and I'd make it again.  

To make this delicious, fragrant curry, you will need:

900g pork mince (I used half and half pork and pork and veal mince)
2 eggs
3 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
4 cloves garlic (I just used minced garlic in a tube)
2 tablespoons fish sauce
400g can coconut milk
2 cups (500ml) chicken stock
1/4 cup thinly sliced peeled fresh ginger
2 fresh red chillies, deseeded and thinly sliced
zest of 1 lime and juice of half a lime
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon white sugar
a few handfuls of baby spinach
salt to taste

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius, and line a baking tray with baking paper.

For the meatballs, in a large bowl, mix together the mince, breadcrumbs, eggs, 2 tablespoons ginger, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 tablespoon fish sauce and salt to taste.  Use your hands - it's the easiest and best way.  Roll the mince mixture into golf-ball sized balls and place an inch apart on the baking tray.  Bake the meatballs for 15 minutes or until golden.

In the meantime, make the sauce.  In a large high sided fry pan or a Dutch oven, mix together the coconut milk, sugar, 1 tablespoon fish sauce, chilli, 1/4 cup ginger, chicken stock, turmeric, 2 cloves minced garlic, lime juice and zest, and season with salt.  Simmer for 10 minutes.

Remove the meatballs from the oven, and place into the sauce.  Simmer for a further 15 minutes.  Just before serving, add the spinach to the pot and stir through until just wilted.

Serve with rice and extra fresh chopped red chilli, if desired.  

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

TWD - Tropical Tartlets

The more we can see the magic in one thing, a tiny flower, a mango, someone we love, then the more we are able to see the magic in everything and everyone. Joshua Kadison

This week’s Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Tropical Tartlets. These tartlets have a very summery flavoured filling of coconut and mango and rum. There is also a touch of chilli in the filling.

I happen to love mangoes, but they are few and far between in winter in Melbourne.  I couldn’t get tinned mango at my supermarket either. However, the last time I ventured to supermarkets further afield, I picked up some dried mango for a snack, and I had just enough left to make two tartlets using rehydrated dried mango.

These were rather toothsome tartlets. I loved the sweet mango filling and the crunchy coconut topping. It would be good to try making these again with fresh mango.

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

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.