Tuesday morning

Apricot slice

A slice dense with apricot and coconut, delicious.

My admiration of Annabel Crabb is well established so I will not revisit it due to it bordering on embarrassing and inappropriate. But her first cookbook Special Delivery is fabulous. There are myriad recipes I have bookmarked but keep coming back time and time again to this apricot slice recipe. I’ve made it four times. FOUR.

Dense dense dense dried apricot goodness
Dense dense dense dried apricot goodness

Apricot slice
A wonderful cakey slice dense with dried apricots
For the slice
  • 200g dried apricots, finely diced
  • 125 g butter, melted
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • ½ cup almonds, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup milk
For the icing
  • ½ cup icing sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp lemon juice
For the cake
  1. Put the apricots in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave to seep for 30 minutes and then drain well
  2. Preheat the oven to 180C and line a 20x30cm slice tin (I tend to make it in a 20cm square tin because I like the slice quite high)
  3. Mix together the sugar, coconut, flour and almonds
  4. Mix together the apricots and the butter
  5. Mix dry with wet and then add the milk to loosen it all up
  6. Pour into your tin and bake for 30 minutes or so (a bit longer if doing in the smaller tin option)
  7. Leave to cool then ice, although I've been known to ice it hot because I can.not.wait.any.longer
For the icing
  1. Add the lemon juice bit by bit until you get a relatively thin paste, drizzle over the slice.


Apricot slice with lemon icing


Facing your cooking fears


On this morning’s radio spot we talked about making stuff at home you’d normally not even consider attempting. For me it’s about facing my cooking fears and not being so scared of a kitchen disaster.

Yes, making stuff at home takes longer than picking it up off a supermarket shelf.

Yes, making stuff at home means you have to be a bit more organised and even, sigh, plan ahead.

But I’m here to say the results are so definitely worth it.

Take my no knead bread for example. You don’t even need to be that organised. Combine the ingredients (taking 5 minutes tops) in the morning. Come home from work, knead 10-15 times. After dinner bake. It’s seriously a no-brainer – and you end up with a loaf of bread comparable to an artisan loaf you’d probably out fork $6-$8 for for about a quarter of the cost.

Do it. DO IT!

So what’s your cooking fear, your baking nemesis?

Mine is choux pastry. Recipes for it sit and stare at me. One day I will take a deep breath and go for it.

I still have stir-fry disasters but they are largely because I commit the cardinal sin of over-loading the wok. I know I should do things bit by bit and can totally do that when it comes to browning off meat but then the idea of just stir-frying smaller portions? It just makes me tired.

Things people said on Facebook and Twitter this morning included:

Hollandaise – a popular fear-inducer. I still get Chef to make it when needed.

Frying – totally understand this. Deep frying did scare the bejeebus out of me until Gourmet Girlfriend put me onto using rice bran oil – it’s higher smoking point makes it the go-to for deep frying success in my books.

Meringue – I get that. You really need a stand mixer and they can be pernickety – humidity, egg freshness, oven temperature all play a part but hell, at the end of the day smother it in whipped cream and all will be fine.

Sponge cake – again, a stand mixer will make this far less scary. Mind you, the first one I ever made was way back in high school and the notion of ‘delicate’ eluded me. Mum cut it with the electric knife. Not my finest hour.


So what scares you? What do you think of a series of masterclass posts?