Category Archives: afternoon tea

Lamingtons

Sponge, chocolate, coconut. What is not to love?

Sponge, chocolate, coconut. What is not to love?

There was a time in high school we did a lamington drive to raise money for some charity. The organisation we were helping has long left my head but the memory of buying six dozen lamingtons under false names and eating them all myself has not. (See also: Bulimia).

I have banned myself from buying the Woolworths lamington fingers purely because I KNOW I could eat the entire packet. In one sitting. I never have, but the knowledge that I COULD is enough.

What is equally alarming is the fact they are STUPIDLY easy to make. Fiddly? Sure. Messy? My word. But an absolute snap all the same.

This recipe comes from my kitchen bible – Allan Campion & Michele Curtis’s In The Kitchen. I refer to this cookbook more than any other and every single thing I’ve made from it has always worked and been delicious. If you don’t own it, buy it.

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Lamingtons

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 2/3 cup plain flour
  • 3 cups icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 4 cups dessicated coconut
  1. Preheat oven to 180C and line a lamington tin with greaseproof paper and then grease it and dust with flour
  2. Beat the eggs and caster sugar together until very thick and really pale in colour then gently fold in the flour
  3. Pour into tin, smooth the batter and bake for about 10 minutes or until golden on top
  4. Cool in the tin for a few minutes then lift out and peel off the baking paper. Cool completely
  5. Put the icing sugar, cocoa and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil, whisking well
  6. Reduce heat and simmer for a couple of minutes then remove from the heat and cool a little
  7. Now get ready to get messy.
  8. Set up a workstation with the cake cut into squares, then the chocolate sauce, then a wire rack and then a shallow dish holding the coconut and then another wire rack
  9. Dip the sponge in the chocolate until all covered – I use to forks to turn the cake over in the mixture – then put onto the wire rack to let any excess drip off
  10. Roll the pieces in the coconut then onto the final wire rack to dry.

Try not to eat them all.

 

Onward!

 


Oat and raisin biscuits

I am indebted to my mate Joe for sharing his recipe for pecan pie that uses maple syrup rather than the devil’s work, corn syrup. And this. This recipe changed my life. No really. My life is better knowing this recipe exists and these biscuits can be made. In my weekly radio spot on  ABC Mid North Coast this morning I shared the love so here it is for you too. You know what you have to do. Get that oven on.

try to eat just one

Oat and raisin biscuits

via Joke

  • 1 cup of nuts and fruits – a mix of whatever you like, eg raisins, craisins, dried apple, dried apricots, sultanas, pecans, walnuts etc
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 80g (6tblsp) butter
  • 1 3/4 cups oats
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 180C
  2. In a small saucepan combine the fruit, nuts and water. Bring to the boil then simmer until all the water has been absorbed
  3. In a frypan melt the butter and cook the oats, turning constantly, for 5 minutes
  4. In a bowl combine the cinnamon, flour, baking powder and baking soda
  5. In another bowl mix the brown sugar and vanilla with the egg
  6. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry until well combined.  The mixture will be quite stiff so don’t be afraid to get your hands in there
  7. Wet your hands and roll heaped teaspoons of the mixture into balls and place on a baking tray
  8. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
  9. Try not to eat about 10 of them in one go.

 

 

 

 

ONWARD!


Choc chip biscuits

One of the five food groups

There are some absolute mainstays in this house, dishes I MUST make for the wheels to keep turning and the boys to know they’re in the right house. Apple crumble, chocolate sludge, Nan’s vanilla biscuits, apple slice, ginger sesame chicken and rice and these.

I, like nearly every other biscuit maker in Australia simply used to Women’s Weekly recipe for choc chip biscuits. Fail proof, reliable and tasty that recipe really does tick all the boxes. But a few years back now a friend of mine gave me her recipe. It’s pretty similar to the WW one but somehow better. If you like a soft chewy biscuit this is your gal. If you don’t mind them flat then bake them straight-away, otherwise fridge (or freeze) the dough.

Choc chip biscuits

  • 250g butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (heaped)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups choc chips
  • 1/2-1 cup of chopped nuts (if you so wish)
  1. Preheat oven to 180 and get your baking trays ready
  2. Cream the butter, sugars and vanilla until pale then add the eggs and beat until well incorporated
  3. Lower the speed on your mixed and add the dry ingredients
  4. Tip in the choc chips and turn the speed up to incorporate (if you’re using chunks this breaks it up into various sizes which makes for an extra special biscuit)
  5. Now, you can make the biscuits straight away by spooning heaped teaspoons onto your tray or make logs of the dough (get some cling film, spoon dough in a log shape) wrap and fridge or freeze. (if you’re using from the freezer just cut into chunks/slices and bake straightaway – no need to let it defrost)
  6. Bake for 12 or so minutes depending on if you like super soft biscuits or darker and more crunchy.
  7. Try not to eat until your head falls off.

 

Just an aside, I bought these out of curiousity:

crack in a packet

 

Onward.

 


Lemon ricotta cake

coming together nicely

I have a go to flourless orange cake which I adore, but the other day had some divine paesanella ricotta hanging around that needed to be used. Seeing as I’m doing the whole no carbs with fat/protein and no refined carbs a nifty little batch of ricotta gnocchi was out of the question (quietly sobs) and I was at a bit of a loss when I came across this Ben O’Donoghue and thought BINGO! It has a smidge of (semolina) flour in it but I was willing to overlook it. I love Ben’s recipes and he was always my favourite in Surfing the Menu. Curtis Stone is just a little to much of a show-pony-pretty-boy for my cooking likes.

‘My’ custard powder pastry recipe and the associated free-form apple pie is his Nan’s and I reckon that’s pretty cool.

So let’s get on with it.

Rather tasty

Lemon ricotta cake (in which I used oranges)

Recipe from: At home with Ben, Ben O’Donoghue

  • 225g butter
  • 250g sugar
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 250g ground almonds
  • 65g semolina flour
  • Juice of 3 lemons
  • Rind of 6 lemons
  • 300g ricotta
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 160C and grease and line a 26cm springform cake tin
  2. Beat the butter and sugar until very pale then add the egg yolks one at a time
  3. Combine the almond meal, semolina, half the lemon zest and half the juice (although when I made it with oranges I added all the zest because I didn’t read the recipe properly. Rookie mistake) and fold into the butter and sugar mixture
  4. Crumble in the ricotta and fold through (Ben appears to leave it in little chunks whereas my ricotta was wetter so was more incorporated)
  5. Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks and then fold through the mixture
  6. Pour into the tin and bake for 40mins or until a skewer comes out clean (I find with flourless cakes the time can vary massively – just persevere and cover with foil if you’re worried the top is getting too dark)
  7. Make a syrup with the remaining juice, zest, 1/2 cup of sugar and a cup of water by bringing it to the boil then reducing by half (I sort of forgot to read this bit and just made a syrup of equal parts sugar and juice)
  8. Pour over the cake and eat until you can eat no more.

just a wafer monsieur

 

Onward!

 

 


Apple Slice

When I was in primary school we lived on Sydney’s North Shore in a suburb called Lindfield. If we won lotto I would probably spontaneously start looking at houses in Lindfield such is my love of that place, nevermind it is 30 years later and it has changed more than I care to accept or that our lives are now firmly etched into Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Lindfield and indeed the North Shore calls me back time and time again.

apple slice layer 2

Every slice needs a good foundation

We had a little row of shops just across from the train station. There was Mr Steenbolm’s chemist, our doctor down the laneway, an old lady’s dress shop, a milk bar (owned by the compulsory and seemingly only Greek family in the area) and best of all, the cake shop. Most Saturday’s mum would take my brother and I to the cake shop for a treat. Mine? A pineapple passionfruit  tart while my brother used to get a sausage roll. My GOD those sausage rolls were good.

There was a glass L-shaped counter, one side taken up solely with display cakes for birthdays, anniversaries and other celebrations. Remember when you would get those little figurines to sit on the top of the cake? I still have the ballerinas and Mum still has the cricketers that appeared on our respective cakes for years.

Apple Slice

Appley goodness

The other side was a hotbed of mock cream and sugar. Neenish tarts, Pineapple Passionfruit tarts, those marzipan green frog tarts (which I once begged mum for and proceeded to scar me for life on all things marzipan), palmiers, meringue mice, big fat wedges of vanilla slice, custard tarts showered in nutmeg, gingerbread men and a sugar topped apple slice. I must confess that apple slice never piqued my imagination as there was so much else vying for my attention. But then Fiona at Inner Pickle posted a recipe for an apple slice and all of a sudden I was 8 and back in that cake shop.

Apple Slice Top Layer

Ready for cookin’

This is now on such high rotation in our house that if there is none people, Jasper in particular, get antsy. It is his absolute favourite above all else. It has kicked my lemon curd slice to the curb and THAT is saying something.

Apple Slice adoration

Get in my mouth

Apple Slice
Fiona at Inner Pickle

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 125g butter
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups of stewed apples (no added sugar)
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C and line a 27x13cm tin (I just make mine in a 20cm square tin)
  2. Process the flour, baking powder, sugar and butter  in a food processor and then add the egg (don’t worry that the dough seems quite crumbly, it comes together)
  3. Divide the dough in two and roll out to fit the tin
  4. Top with the apple, then roll out the other half of pastry and place over the top (don’t get precious about it, if it breaks it breaks, I call this “rustic”)
  5. Brush the top with some milk and then scatter over caster sugar
  6. Bake for 25minutes
  7. Leave it in the tin and don’t cut it until it’s cool (it will totally fall apart if you do, ask me how I know) then store in the fridge.

So good. So very very good.

 

Apple Slice fresh from the oven

Straight from the oven

 

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