Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Light as Air Cheese Scones





This recipe was a bit of an experiment.

Theres nothing better than a hot melt in your mouth  cheese scone for morning tea on a cold day is there? – But so often I cant be bothered with the effort of rubbing the butter and flour together – such a messy job, so I  wondered what would happen with the traditional Lemonade Scone recipe if I swapped out the Lemonade for Soda Water and added some Cheese.

My chemistry knowledge isnt that great and baking is all about chemistry – so it could have been a disaster – maybe the sugar in the lemonade played a vital part in the rising of the scone?- Maybe adding cheese would make them into solid flat discs…

Luckily my theory that making a swap from Lemonade to soda worked out just fine. In fact these were just about the lightest savoury scones Ive ever baked.

( Next time I would probably add some parmesan in with the tasty cheese just to give them a more cheesy taste – but apart from that they were scrum yum- and fast to make without the mess!

Here’s the recipe


3 cups self raising flour ( or 3 cups of plain flour and 4 tspns baking powder)
1 tspn salt
1 cup of soda water ( or sparkling water)
1 cup of double cream
1 cup of tasty cheddar cheese grated.+ a little more for sprinkling on top
1 tspn paprika

Preheat oven to 220C Fanbake

Add wet ingredients and cheese to flour mixture and mix with a fork till just combined.

Turn out onto bench and form into rectangle 1.5 inches or 3 cm deep.

Cut into 12  squares or use a round cutter to cut into circle shapes .( be gentle when you reform the left overs if you use the cutter method – the more the mixture is “played with” the tougher the resulting scone.

Sprinkle the tops of the scones with  more grated cheese and sprinkle with paprika if desired.

Bake for 12 – 15 minutes or until golden.

Split and lather with butter and enjoy!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Chocolate Dipped Anzac Biscuits




There are many foods that take you back to your childhood the  moment you smell them. Anzac Biscuits are one of those for me. They are so easy to make that they are often one of the first baking treats that you make when you start out in the kitchen as a child.

For those out of NZ and Australia who are unfamiliar with this most delicious of cookie, here is a brief rundown of how they came to be.


ANZAC refers to the Australia New Zealand Army Corp. These were soldiers from these shores who served most gallantly in World War One ( and since the term has extended to other wars too)

The fairy tale story is that wifes and mothers sent tins of these biscuits to their loved ones serving at Gallipoli .

Sadly however this tale seems to be more fiction than fact.  The truth is that rolled oat based biscuits were often sold at galas, fairs and fetes in order to raise money for the War effort, and so these biscuits were known as the “Soldiers Biscuits” .T he combination of the name Anzac and the recipe now associated with it first appeared in the 9th edition of St Andrew's Cookery Book (Dunedin, 1921) under the name "Anzac Crispies". Subsequent editions renamed this "Anzac Biscuits"

These days they are made  and sold all year round but often made on Anzac Day which is April 25th

More on this topic can be found here and here , but you didnt come here for a history lesson did you ??

The standard recipe for Anzac Biscuits is easy to find but mine have that little touch of something different  with the addition of chopped glace ginger, chocolate chunks  and a nice dark chocolate bottom!

You could replace the ginger with dried apricots or raisins or just leave it out altogether – as you could also do with the chocolate chunks



  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup soft brown sugar
  • 1 cup dessicated or thread coconut
  • ½ cup chopped dark chocolate (optional)
  • ½ cup chopped glace ginger (optional)
  • 2 T golden syrup
  • 150g butter
  • 1T water
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 150 gms dark chocolate for dipping
  • Preheat Oven to 160C FanBake

    In a large bowl, mix the rolled oats, flour, brown sugar, coconut, first portion of chocolate and ginger.

    In a saucepan melt butter, golden syrup and water.

    Add baking soda and stir .

    While mixture is bubbling pour  into well in dry ingredients and mix well

    Roll into balls ( I like mine quite small but you can make them as large as you like) and slightly flatten with the palm of your hand  and place on baking tray .

    Bake for 15 minutes or until golden.

    If desired flatten tops slightly with spatula immediately on removing from oven while still soft.

    Allow to cool slightly before moving to rack to cool completely. ( Biscuits will be soft and easily broken when they are still hot)

    Melt 2nd portion of chocolate and dip the base of the cooled biscuits. Turn upside down on baking rack until chocolate is set..

    Sunday, March 2, 2014

    Easiest Ever Foccacia Bread




    Bread often seems such a daunting thing to make – and requires so much planning- knead rise, knock back, rise.. by the time your bread is ready for the oven you are out of the mood completely !!

    Well all that is at an end with this recipe which is oh so easy and you can have a hunk of this bread hot out of the oven in just 90 minutes.

    This is a VERY wet mixture – don’t be worried you’ve done something wrong when you go to mix this- its supposed to be that way.

    I hadnt made bread for months and since developing this recipe Ive made it about 4 times!!

    I’ve topped this loaf in the example with parmesan and sea salt but I’ve made it topped with rosemary,  olives, pesto and just plain salt.


    Easy Focaccia Bread


    500 gms flour
    1 ½ tspn sugar
    2 tspn dried yeast
    500ml warm water + ¼ cup
    1 ½ tspn salt
    3 T Olive Oil


    Mix first 3 ingredients in large bowl
    Add 500ml water salt and olive oil and mix with hand
    Knead in the bowl for 5 minutes ( its not really a true knead because the mixture is very wet- dont
    be alarmed at how wet it is. Its supposed to be very sticky and wet)
    After 5 minutes “kneading” add another ¼ cup of water and mix till combined.
    Rise in warm place for an hour or until doubled in size
    Preheat oven to 200 C
    Pour dough into well oiled flat pan.
    Brush top with oil and sprinkle with whatever toppings you wish , rosemary,olives rocksalt etc
    Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden on top.

    Great for dipping, but makes a wonderful slab type sandwich.

    Cut in half horizontally and layer fillings – replace top and cut into slabs for a great yummy lunch.

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

    Pomegranate Gin Fizz


    I thought today that  I’m definitely overdue for another “glass” post, and today after work it  was hot and humid  and felt like Singapore , and it was  just a a perfect Gin and Tonic afternoon, however I felt like experimenting, and I had a bottle of pomegranate juice in the fridge, so I came up  with this little delicious masterpiece.



    It was very easy to create too so here’s how I did it.

    Half fill a tall glass with ice.
    Add One nip of Gin
    half a nip of Galliano
    1/4 cup pomegranate Juice
    half a nip of Lime Juice
    top with Tonic  and a sprig of mint.


    Pomegranate juice isnt very sweet so if you have a sweeter tooth when it comes to cocktails swap out the Tonic for Lemonade.- , but if you are a Gin and Tonic drinker Im sure you will love this just as it is.

    Wednesday, February 12, 2014

    Bacon Wrapped Chicken Rolls





    When I have people over, for dinner ( or want a meal thats just a bit special on weeknight) I want something that works every time, that I can prepare in advance, is easy and stressfree but looks like I spent hours preparing!

    These chicken rolls fill the bill on all counts.

    The hardest part is butterflying the breast but frankly its not that hard at all and Ive shown step by step below how I do that.



    Butterflying a Chicken Breast

    Step one – Turn Breast upside down and remove the tenderloin ( thats the slightly detached piece on one side)

    ( I save the tenderloins – I freeze them to use in other recipes)

    Step 2 put the knife in the centre of the breast and make a horizontal cut approximately 2/3  of the depth of the fattest part of the breast. Cut to about 1cm from the edge of the breast but be careful not to cut all the way through. Fold the cut side out and make another horizontal cut at a depth of half way through and cut to approximately 1cm from the edge and fold out again.

    Step 3 – repeat step 2 on the other side of the breast . Fold out.

    You should be left with a breast that is approximately 1cm thick all the way across

    The ingredients listed below in the recipe are for a single breast ( which can serve  2 people depending on how hungry they are!


    4 or 5  Long Strips of bacon ( Preferably streaky bacon )
    1 boneless skinless chicken breast ( tenderloin removed)
    Feta Cheese


    Butterfly Chicken Breast.
    Lay out strips of bacon ( enough strips to be the same width as the chicken)  on aluminium foil
    Place chicken on the bacon – make sure there is enough bacon visible to roll completely around the chicken.
    Spoon pesto across chicken and place feta cheese on pesto.


    Roll up Chicken/Bacon carefully and encase in the tin foil , carefully folding over edges to completely encase .



    Bake at 200 C for 20 minutes. Stand for 5 minutes before opening tin foil and then place under grill for further 5 minutes or until bacon is browned.

    Slice and serve.

    Filling contents can be changed to suit – Try Roasted Red Peppers and Brie, or Figs or Prunes and Goats Cheese.



    This recipe can also be cooked in a Steam Combi oven – Use Combination Mode at 200C.

    You will need to grill the breast briefly after cooking to brown the bacon.

    Monday, January 27, 2014

    Steamed Moneybags


    I’ve been on the lookout for ideas for easy but tasty and eyecatching finger foods lately and I liked the idea of making some Asian inspired Moneybags but I thought they might be a bit time consuming or tricky to make, but I decided to give it a go and to my surprise they were really quite simple and quick to make and certainly effective to look at – and by all accounts tasty to eat as they all disappeared very quickly.


    Id  like to have taken some photos of the process of making them – I might do that in a separate post but I only had my tablet with me –  and I didnt want to get icky meaty fingers all over the screen picking it up and putting it down – and besides- I wasnt really sure they would work out well enough for a blog post anyway!! – so I may make another batch later this week and add some photos of the process .

    In the  mean time heres the photo I took just before I put them in the Steam Oven





    250gm minced pork meat ( lean)
    1 small spring onion finely chopped
    1 2-3cm knob ginger grated
    1 small chilli finely chopped
    2 cloves garlic –crushed and chopped
    1tspn salt
    1tbsn sesame oil
    1tbspn hoisin sauce
    1tbsn rice flour ( or cornflour will work too)
    25 wonton wrappers
    25 chives – thicker chives work more easily


    Mix all but the last 2 ingredients in bowl.
    Roll a small ball of meat mixture ( approx 2cm diameter) .
    Take wonton wrapper in one hand and place meatball in centre and bring up edges of wrapper and pinch together  to form a parcel . Tie with chive .( This isnt as hard as you might think- the wonton wrapper sticks to itself fairly easily so you can put the parcel down while you tie it with a chive)
    My chives from my garden were quite thin and broke fairly easily – so use thicker chives or garlic chives to make the tying easier.

    Dip tops of moneybags in water ( I did this because some of my wrappers were quite floury) then place on perforated try and steam at 100 degrees for 25-30 minutes . Alternatively you could steam these in a bamboo steamer in a wok.

    Serve with your favourite dipping sauce

    1/4 cup light soy sauce
    1/4 cup mirin
    1 chilli chopped
    1 tbsn grated ginger
    1 tbsn hoisin sauce

    Mix all ingredients together in small bowl and sprinkle with a few pieces of chopped chilli and chive if desired.

    Sunday, January 19, 2014

    Delightfully Easy Apple Tarts





    I dont make dessert on a regular basis. Often the only time we eat dessert is if we have guests, and I have to admit only part of the reason is health related- probably the biggest reason is lack of time and basic laziness on my part.

    Even when we have friends over, these days I’m always on the look out for something simple  for dessert. Food is more about the company these days and I dont like to spend hour upon hour in the kitchen preparing fancy meals – simple, fast  and delicious is my preference.

    So here is a dessert that covers both those requirements- Its certainly quick to prepare and its one of the easiest desserts around – and adaptable – if you dont have apples you can swap them out for pears, peaches, apricots , bluberries – you name it .

    Make more than one each if you can because if you serve these with a dollop of vanilla icecream and youll find yourself wanting a second one !



    (Makes 6 tarts)



    1 –2 apples – halved then sliced into thin slices ( approx 3 mm thick)
    1 sheet of ready rolled puff pastry ( approx
    1/4 – 1/2 cup apricot jam.
    1/4 cup almond meal
    1/4 cup raw sugar ( optional)



    Preheat oven to 200C ( 400F)

    Cut pastry in half and then each half into 3 portions .
    Prick central area of pastry leaving 1 inch border around edge unpricked.
    Spread approx 1 large tspn of apricot jam over central area of each pastry portion then sprinkle with approx 2 tspn of almond meal.
    Arrange overlapping apple slices  in row down centre of pastry over almond meal.
    Melt remaining jam with a bit of water in  microwave or on stove top and brush over entire tart covering apple and pastry edges.

    Sprinkle with raw sugar ( optional)

    Bake in oven for approximately 15 minutes or until pastry is puffed and golden.

    Serve warm with cream or icecream.

    Apple may be replaced with any other firm fruit.