Sago pudding with mango and lime

We are hurtling officially towards summer down here (ie tomorrow) and to be frank I am not pleased. I do not do hot weather and even moreso, humidity. I was truly born in the wrong country although Tasmania would probably do quite nicely. Beautiful countryside, lower temps, less humidity and a great food culture. Let’s sit with that for a moment shall we?

The only redeeming feature for me in these hotter months, apart from washing drying on the line in an hour rather than a day, is the food. Stone fruits, mangos, papaya, crisp Asian salads loaded with lime, mint, coriander and chilli and cooking outside.

Actually Sydney’s climate means I could/should use the BBQ year round but I always tend to forget it’s there once the heater is in action. The main reason I like cooking outside is I don’t have to clean down the cooktop. Yes, I am that lazy.

This dessert is fairly and squarely placed in my summer repertoire and all the boys love it. Along with the black sticky rice it sits in relatively high rotation, topped with mango or other summer fruits, drizzled with a palm sugar syrup, extra coconut cream and lime to give it zing.

Some people call it sago, some call it tapioca, we call it frogs eggs. There are myriad recipes for its use but this is my go-to.

Frog's eggs with coconut, palm sugar syrup, mango and lime. Giddyup #everyfuckingnight
Frog’s eggs with coconut, palm sugar syrup, mango and lime. Giddyup #everyfuckingnight

Tapioca pudding with mango and lime
The perfect summer dessert served with fresh tropical fruit
  • 2 cups sago
  • 200 ml coconut cream
  • 200 g palm sugar
  • 400 ml water
  • Mango, cut into slices or cubes
  • Lime wedges
  1. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and stir in the tapioca
  2. Cook for 15 minutes or until the beads are basically see-through, stirring regularly (this is important as they are pesky little things that like sticking to the bottom of the saucepan)
  3. Strain in a fine-holed sieve and rinse well under cold water (you'll still lose some but don't fret)
  4. Place in a bowl and stir through half the coconut cream and half the palm sugar syrup (see below)
  5. Chill for an hour or more
  6. To make the palm sugar syrup combine the palm sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil
  7. Simmer until it is thick and syrupy
  8. To serve, spoon into a bowl, top with fruit, drizzle over some of the remaining coconut cream and sugar syrup and finish with a squeeze of fresh lime.
  9. For complete show-pony status you can initially pour them into moulds and then turn out when serving, fancy like.


Black sticky rice dessert

Two of my favourite desserts are tapioca (sago) served with a palm sugar syrup and coconut cream or this, black sticky rice served with mango, a squeeze of lime and coconut cream.

You will need to start it the day before to allow the rice to soak, but apart from that nuisance it comes together easily.

Black sticky rice w/mango and coconut cream. Special #everyfuckingnight today.
Black sticky rice w/mango and coconut cream. Special #everyfuckingnight today.

I double this because there is a chronic fear in this house we might run out of food. It makes a fair amount but it means there’s some left for the next day.

Black sticky rice
Earthy sweet black glutinous rice topped with coconut cream and mango
  • 200 g black glutinous rice
  • 1 ltr water
  • 150 g palm sugar, shaved
  • coconut cream
  • mango
  1. Soak the rice over night
  2. The next day drain the rice then combine with the water and bring to the boil
  3. Simmer for 30 minutes, covered over a low heat
  4. Stir in the palm sugar
  5. Simmer, covered, until nearly all the liquid is absorbed
  6. Serve with coconut cream and mango



Blueberry Crumble Slice

So I finally recently bought Smitten Kitchen‘s cookbook which is as good as I had hoped. I have followed her blog for as long as I can remember and have never ever had a recipe of hers fail. In the cookbook is a version of this using cranberries for the festive season.

This slice is divine, plain and simple. A basic shortbread base that is also scattered over the top of the blueberries. I’ve made this with apple and rhubarb (that I’d stewed previously) and blackberries and every time it turns out a treat.

This is @smittenkitchen's blueberry crumble slice.
This is @smittenkitchen’s blueberry crumble slice.

Blueberry Crumble Slice
Blueberries encased in a shortbread biscuity base and top
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 cups plain flour
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 225 g butter
  • 1 egg
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 cups blueberries
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 4 tsp cornflour
  1. Preheat oven to 180C and line a 20x30cm pan
  2. Using a pastry cutter (or your fingers) blend the sugar, baking powder, plain flour, lemon zest with the butter
  3. Then add the egg
  4. Mix the juice, sugar and cornflour together in a bowl then toss through the blueberries
  5. Press half the dough into the baking tin
  6. Top with the blueberries
  7. Scatter over the remaining dough
  8. Bake for 45 - 60 minutes, until the top is nice and golden and the blueberries are bubbling.



Mocha Meringue Cake

A divine mocha mousse sandwiched between two meringue discs.

Ok, something fancy for a change.

It’s been so invigorating having my cooking mojo back but let’s face it, cooking dinners tends to focus on the functional in this house and I just had a hankering to make something requiring a bit of technical skill and that was a little bit fancy.

I was rearranging my cookbook bookshelf and the June July copy of Donna Hay fell out with this on the cover. I basically had to make it immediately. I swapped out the white chocolate for milk because it was all I had and the mousse probably didn’t set as well as it should have because I didn’t have enough whipped cream. I also used almond meal instead of hazelnut meal because it was what i had in the cupboard. But guess what, it was BLOODY DELICIOUS.

It’s not technically challenging, but there are steps and waiting/cooling times so go in with that knowledge.

Mocha meringue cake
Mocha meringue cake

Mocha Meringue Cake
Total show pony dessert
Serves: 8-10 slices
The meringue
  • 2 tsp strong instant coffee granules
  • ½ tsp boiling water
  • 1 tblsp cornflour
  • 1 cup almond meal (any nut meal will work a treat)
  • 4 eggwhites
  • 1½ cups icing sugar
The mousse
  • ½ cup pouring cream
  • ¼ cup strong instant coffee granules (yes, ¼ cup)
  • 400g milk chocolate (original recipe is 300g white choc, 100g dark choc)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1½ cups thickened cream, whipped
For the meringue
  1. Preheat the oven to 120C and draw 2 x 20cm circles on baking paper
  2. Dissolve the coffee in the water
  3. Combine the cornflour with the almond meal
  4. Whisk the egg whites in an electric mixer until stiff peaks form
  5. Add the sugar in spoonfuls and beat until thick and glossy
  6. Scrape down the sides then add the almond meal mix and whisk until just combined
  7. Turn the baking paper upside-down (so the pencil doesn't transfer onto the meringue) and place on two baking trays
  8. Spoon the meringue onto the two circles and smooth with a pallet knife or spatula
  9. Bake for 1hr, then turn off the oven and leave in there for 2 hours or overnight
For the mousse
  1. Put the ½ cup of cream and the coffee in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water
  2. Once the coffee starts dissolving add the chocolate and stir every now and then until it's all melted and smooth. Set aside to cool slightly (I basically waited until it was blood warm)
  3. Whisk the eggwhites until soft peaks
  4. Mix the egg yolks into the chocolate then fold through the eggwhites
  5. Refrigerate for 15 minutes (or in my case a few hours because I made it all out of order!)
To assemble
  1. Grease and line a 24cm springform tin
  2. Place one of the meringue discs into the bottom of the cake pan, top with mousse and then the remaining meringue
  3. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours
  4. Dust with icing sugar


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





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