A selection of my latest bakes

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Brownies with a Coffee Cheescake Swirl

This is a marriage made in heaven. Dark sticky brownies all gooey and chocolaty with a swirl of coffee cheesecake for added yummieness.
Two recipes have been pulled together here, the first (brownies) I have made at least once a week since Heather gave me the recipe over on the forum I belong to Violet's Pantry.
http://pinkbytes.blogspot.com/2009/04/dark-chocolate-brownies.html The second part is from another member from V.P. our dear Granny, who writes a smashing blog called Tea and Wheaten Bread. http://teandwheatenbread.blogspot.com/2009/09/chocolate-cheesecake-brownies.html
Now for what I did.The Ingredients..
8 oz Butter
4 oz Cocoa Powder (good quality)
4 Eggs.
8 oz Dark brown Sugar.
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract.
4 oz S.R. Flour.
4 0z White Chocolate Chunks.
2 teaspoons Instant Coffee.

Cheesecake Swirl..
8 oz Soft Cream Cheese (I used Philadelphia full fat)
4 oz Castor Sugar.
2 teaspoons Instant coffee (melted in a touch of boiling water)

Preheat oven to 180c. Line the bottom of a shallow baking tin with greaseproof paper (very important to do this)
Melt the butter, then add the cocoa powder and coffee, stirring well to remove any lumps.
Beat the eggs in a large bowl, add the sugar and mix until smooth.
Stir in the cocoa mixture, white chocolate chunks and vanilla extract and mix well.
Add the sifted flour and mix gently with a spoon. Pour this mixture in to your tin and spread it around.
Now make the cheesecake swirl by mixing all ingredients together in a bowl, when soft and well combined, spoon on to brownie mix already in your tin. Then with a skewer just swirl it around until you have the desired affect.
Place the tin in to the oven for around 25 minutes. When done the brownies should be crisp on top and soft in the middle. Leave to cool before turning out and cutting, then dust with a little icing sugar.

If you wished, you could leave out the coffee element to this recipe, but I think it was HEAVEN. Hope you enjoy.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Cupcakes for Halloween.

A very simple recipe to use and so very quick, all done my hand, no mixers at all.
These were meant to be decorated with the help of my grand daughter, as she was having a sleep over. But she was ill and spent the time on the sofa while Grandma played by herself. Quick and Easy Cupcakes.
2 cups S.R. Flour (sifted)
3/4 cup Castor Sugar.
3/4 cup Milk.
125g Butter. (melted and cooled)
2 Eggs. (beaten)
1 teaspoon Vanilla Essence.
Assorted sweets and/or decorations.
1 and 1/2 cups Icing Sugar.
Food colouring.
1 to 1 and 1/2 tablespoons water.

Heat the oven to 190c. Put cupcake cases in to tins.
Combine the flour and sugar in a large bowl, and make a well in the centre.
Now add the butter, milk, eggs and vanilla. Use a large metal spoon and stir gently to combine. Spoon mixture in to prepared cases and bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes. (Or until skewer comes out clean)
Allow to cool on a rack. Mix up the icing while this is happening. I used two colours, so had two bowls going. When the cakes are cooled, ice the cakes and decorate with your choice of decorations.
Have fun.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Orange slice or cake.

This cake can be made in to a round or square, or cut in to a slice. Ingredients...
125g Butter (softened)
1 cup Castor Sugar.
Zest and juice of an Orange.
3 eggs.
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract.
2 cups S.R. Flour.
1/4 cup Buttermilk.

1 and 1/2 cups Icing Sugar.
1 tablespoon Orange Juice.
A little zest of an Orange.

Preheat the oven to 180c. Grease and line a 20cm square or round cake tin. I used my brownie tin again.
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and mix. Now add the vanilla, orange juice and zest and the buttermilk and mix for a short while. Sift the flour in to the cake mix last, but do not over work.
Pour the cake mix in to the prepared cake tin and bake for around 35 minutes, or until the skewer comes out clean.
Allow to cool before turning out.
I iced some of mine with the icing mentioned above.
Put all ingredients for the icing in to a bowl and mix well, pour over the cake.
Also tried something I had not done before. James Martin used this method of decoration on one of his shows.
Sprinkle sifted icing sugar over the cake. Heat a metal skewer with a kitchen blow torch until it is very hot. (Mind you don't burn yourself here) Then using the HOT skewer make marks in a pattern, in the icing sugar.
Thank you James, so clever yet simple as well.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Moroccan Lamb Shanks

Lamb shanks cooked in a pressure cooker. I have had my pressure cooker for years and at first I was really frightened of it, but then one winter (not that we get much of a winter here) I decided either to get rid of it or start using it. Never used a recipe, just went with the flow.
Then, I was reading Ron's blog http://themerlinmenu.blogspot.com/ and thought I had better bring the thing out again. Air conditioning on (temps out side were mid 20c's) and I did a bit of research on Google and found Moroccan Lamb shanks. I won't give you the site because I had to change a few things as I didn't have all the ingredients. And this is what I ended up with. Ingredients....
3 large Lamb shanks (fat removed)
1 tablespoon Olive oil.
2 Brown Onion. (finely chopped)
2 Carrots. (peeled and coarsely chopped)
4 Garlic Cloves (chopped finely)
1 litre Chicken stock.
750 gms Sweet Potato (peeled and coarsely chopped)
200 gms pitted Prunes.
2 tsp ground Cumin.
1 tsp ground Tumeric.
2 tsp ground Cinnamon.
1 tsp Sweet Paprika.
Fresh Parsley (to serve)

Brown and seal the lamb shanks in a little oil and set a side. Fry the onions in the same oil until just clear. Now put the lamb shanks, onions, spices, garlic and the chicken stock in to the pressure cooker. Bring up to pressure and let it steam away for 20 minutes. Release the pressure once it has cooled a little.
Then add all other ingredients and bring back to the boil, 'til the carrots are just cooked. (You might want to check the liquid here, add a little more if needed) The sweet potatoes do thicken the sauce and suck up a lot of the liquid.
Serve with mashed potatoes or Couscous and sprinkle with fresh parsley.
Do hope you enjoy this, now I am off to check Ron's blog again.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Savoury Square Muffins.

Four corners and four countries come together here to make these delicious savoury muffins. Spanish red onion, Italian Zucchini, English Cheddar cheese and Indian curry powder. (Made in an Aussie kitchen)
You will need....

2 Eggs.
3/4 cup Milk.
1/2 cup Vegetable oil.
1 Zucchini medium sized. (grated)
1 Spanish red Onion. (finely diced)
1 cup English Cheddar Cheese. (grated)
2 tablespoons of Indian Curry Powder.
2 cups S.R. Flour. (sifted)

Prepare your muffin tin, grease well with butter or a cooking spray. I used a square tin because it is new and I wanted to see how well it worked. You could use the normal round muffin tin with 12 muffin moulds in it. Preheat the oven to 180c.
Mix with an electric hand held mixer the first 3 ingredients. Then stir in all of the next ingredients , all but the flour. Leave this until last, as we don't want to over work the flour. Fold in the flour now.
Place the muffin mix in to the moulds and bake for 20 minutes, or until the skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool a little before turning out on to a wire rack.
My new square muffin tin works a treat, they literally fell out when I turned the tray over. I shall use this often.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Old Fashioned Gingerbread.

I have made Gingerbread before and put it on this blog, you will find it here.http://pinkbytes.blogspot.com/2009/02/very-dark-sticky-gingerbread.html
Sorry Rita's Mum in Scotland, but I have to try different recipes now don't I?
This one is called Old Fashioned Gingerbread and I have added Ginger in syrup, finely chopped.

You will need....
225g Butter (softened)
1 cup Castor Sugar.
3 Eggs (lightly beaten)
1 cup Treacle.
1 cup Milk.
3 cups Plain Flour (sifted)
1 tsp. Cinnamon (ground)
1 tsp. Nutmeg (ground)
2 tsp. Ginger (ground)
2 tsp. Bicarbonate of Soda.
Ginger in syrup (chopped) add as much or little as you like.

Preheat the oven to 160c. Lightly grease and line a 23 cm square cake tin. (I used a brownie tin)
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Slowly add the beaten eggs and combine well. (I used the hand held mixer for this)
Heat the treacle and milk in a saucepan. Remove and allow to cool before adding in to the egg-butter mixture.
Sift the flour, spices and bicarb together and fold in to the wet ingredients. Now fold in the chopped ginger and put the mixture in to the prepared tin. Bake for around 50 minutes, checking with a skewer until it comes out clean.

Allow to cool in the tin before turning the cake out on to a wire rack to cool completely.
I served mine just warm, with vanilla ice-cream.

If you are a gingerbread lover, this is a MUST TRY recipe.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sultana and Marmalade Cake

This is what happens when you want to bake and are not sure what you want to do!
I had loads of sultanas and jars and jars of marmalade to use up, just as well because the first time I started, I put the sultanas in the saucepan with the water to boil, then went out side to get the washing in. Result = smoke coming out of kitchen and very burnt sultanas. Please don't do as I do, do as I say. (Do not leave the kitchen when you have something on the stove)

1 cup brown Sugar.
3 Eggs.
3 tablespoons of dark Marmalade.
2 cups S.R. Flour.
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla extract.
1 teaspoon Cinnamon (ground)
250g Butter.
500g Sultanas.

In a large saucepan, put the sultanas and 1 cup of water and bring to the boil until most of the water has been absorbed.
Add the butter and marmalade and stir until they have melted. Allow to cool now for a wee while.
Then, beat in the eggs and sugar. This was done with a wooden spoon.
Now add the vanilla and then fold in all dry ingredients. (Still with wooden spoon)
Pour the mix into a greased 22 cm round cake tin. I topped mine with some raw sugar. Bake in oven set at 175c for 1 hour, testing with a skewer for the last 10 minutes.

I have now made this cake twice, as above the first time and the second time, I used a good quality port instead of the water, so that is an option for you too.
Do enjoy.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Minted Hommus

As promised Minted Hommus (bottom of picture)

1 tin (400gs) chickpeas.
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest.
2 tablespoons tahini.
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice.
2 tablespoons evoo.
1 teaspoon ground cumin.
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh mint (plus some for decoration)

Drain the tin of chickpeas and save the liquid for later.
Blend all the ingredients in a blender.
Taste now and if you wish you can add more lemon juice or more mint.
If it is too thick, add a little of the liquid from the tin.
Put in to a serving bowl and chill until needed.

Lemon Aiola.

Lemon Aiola (on the right of the picture)

1/2 cup Mayonnaise (I used shop bought)
1/2 cup Greek-style Yogurt.
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice.
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest.
1 clove garlic, crushed.

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Transfer to serving bowl and chill until needed.
Could it be simpler? For a very tasty and moreish dish. Ideal with fish and/or prawns.

Sunday afternoon nibbles.

What can be better than lazing around on a Sunday afternoon with a drink or two, a few friends and something delicious to nibble on.
Here we have hard boiled eggs on a bed of coloured lettuce leaves, mixed nuts and dried fruit sprinkled with Cajun spices, bread sticks, plain wafer biscuits, lemon Aiola, minted Hommus and Dahl.
Here is the recipe for my quick and easy Dahl http://pinkbytes.blogspot.com/2009/01/quick-and-easy-dahl.html
Lemon Aiola and Minted Hommus coming very soon. Watch this space.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tiddy Oggies and Steak and Kidney Pies

Tiddy Oggies (Cornish Pasties) and Steak and Kidney Pies. My mum has been cooking up a storm again. With three hungry men in the house, this happens very often, much to the delight of my dear Dad.
Dad has been very unwell of late, and lost a lot of weight. So what better way to try and get it back on again, than with his all time favorite TIDDY OGGIES.
So sorry, but no recipe, Mum would not give it to me. But I am sure if you *Google* you will find a nice recipe there. I have, and found loads.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

So sorry for being absent

Due to lack of mojo and my parents being very sick, I have not posted on here for a long time.Visiting them in hospital, buying a new car and getting used to it has kept me away mostly. And the fact that I lost my blogging mojo.
They are well on the road to recovery now, thank goodness. (Hi Mum and Dad)
The new car is a Ford Fiesta Zetek and I am very pleased with it indeed.
I have been doing some cooking and hopefully in a few days will be able to blog about them.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Fluffy Coconut Cupcakes.

Oh so pretty and very yummy too. Ingredients......

125gs Butter (softened)
1 cup Castor Sugar.
3 Eggs.
1 teaspoon Coconut Extract.
11/2 cups Plain Flour.
1 teaspoon Baking Powder.
3/4 cup Milk.
1/2 cup Coconut Flakes.


Makes 12 muffin size or 24 cupcake size.
Preheat oven to 180c. Prepare cupcake tray with cases.
Beat butter with electric mixer until pale and creamy. Add sugar 1/3 at a time, mixing well each time. Add eggs one at a time as well, mixing well between additions. Now add the Coconut extract.
Sift the flour and baking powder and add half to butter mixture with the milk, mix until combined. Repeat with remaining flour and milk. Stir in the coconut flakes. Place mixture in to the prepared cases and bake in the oven for 15 minutes for cupcakes and 20-25 for muffins.
Allow to cool while you make the icing.

1 jar of FLUFF (see picture below)
120gs softened Butter.
200gs Icing Sugar.
Beat with your electric mixer and make the butter really soft and creamy, add the jar of FLUFF, a little of the food colouring of your choice, mix, and then start adding the icing sugar until you have the right texture for YOU.
Spread or pipe on to the cupcakes and decorate to suit you. I used more coconut flakes and assorted other things too.

FLUFF, had never heard of it, until someone on one of the forums I belong to, mentioned it. Then I had to get some, made in the U.S.A. Here is a link that you might like to take a look at.
I do hope you can get some, which ever country you live in. It is a MUST.

Rich Fruit Cake.

It was hubby's birthday recently (his 66th) and he's my little devil, hence the devil's horn's on the cake. His other love apart from food is whisky, so not wanting to use a really good one for this cake, I choose BLACK DOUGLAS, THE BLACK, RESERVE 12 year old whisky. Although very nice in itself, he tells me.
Can't bare the smell of it, so this really was a labour of love. The recipe was given to me by Brenda from http://teandwheatenbread.blogspot.com/ and I made a few changes to it as there was a couple of fruits we didn't like. As long as you have the right measures in the end, you can do the same. The original recipe uses brandy or rum, as you see, I used WHISKY.
3 cups Sultanas.
1 1/2 cups Raisins (chopped)
1/2 cup Currants.
1/2 cup Pitted Prunes (chopped)
2/3 cup Glace Cherries (halved)
3 tablespoons good dark Marmalade.
1 cup WHISKY. (and more for later)
250g Butter.
1 Orange (zest only)
1 Lemon (zest only)
1 cup Dark Brown Sugar.
4 Eggs.
2 cups Plain Flour.
2 tsp. Mixed Spice.
Line a deep 23cm round or deep 19cm square cake tin with 2 layers of baking paper. Bring paper 5cm above edge of pan.
Combine fruit, marmalade and whisky in a large bowl, mix well with a wooden spoon and leave to stand over night.
Beat butter and zests in a small bowl with electric mixer, add sugar, beat until combined. Add eggs one at a time, beating only until combined between additions.
Stir creamed mix in to the fruit mix. Mix in sifted dry ingredients until all combined
Spread the cake mix in to the prepared tin.
Bake in a slow oven 125c for 3 and 1/2 hours.
HINT..... I wrapped the outside of my tin in double foil to protect it from burning.
When the cake is cooked, turn off the oven, pierce the cake with a skewer in several places, pour more WHISKY over the cake and top with Golden Castor Sugar. Place back in to the oven and leave over night again. This gives it a lovely crunchy crust. See below for the cut cake.


Friday, June 5, 2009


As some of you might know, I am a big fan of James Martin. Here is another one of his recipes from DESSERTS (a fabulous collection of recipes from SWEET BABY JAMES)
I did change a few things, as I was out of hazelnuts, almonds and dried strawberries. Used green cherries and the nuts were replaced with pistachios.

250 g Plain Flour
250 g caster sugar
3 medium Free Range Eggs lightly beaten
50 g dried sweetened strawberries chopped
100 g dried Apricots chopped
50 g medjool dates stones removed, chopped
75 g Pistachios shells removed
50 g whole blanched Almonds
50 g Hazelnuts shells removed
1 Lemon zest only


For the biscotti, preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
Mix the flour, sugar and baking powder together in a large bowl. Add half the beaten eggs and mix well, then add half of what's left and mix again. Add the last quarter a little at a time until the dough takes shape but isn't too wet (you may not need to use all of the eggs). Add the fruit, nuts and

lemon zest and mix well.
Divide the dough into six pieces. With wet hands, roll each piece into a sausage shape about 5cm/2in wide and place well apart on the baking sheet. Lightly flatten the 'sausages' and bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden-brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool and harden for ten minutes.
With a serrated knife, cut the 'sausages' on an angle into 0.5cm/¼in slices and lay these on the baking sheet. Return to the oven and bake for eight minutes, then turn the slices over and cook for a further 10-15 minutes, or until they are a pale golden colour. Remove from the oven and cool on wire racks. When completely cold, the biscotti can be stored in airtight jars for a week or more.

I didn't make the Limoncello, although I certainly have enough lemons at the moment to do so. Shop bought for me, and then dunked the biscotti in to the Limoncello. DELISH.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Thinking about our MOTHERS

Chocolate dipped Cherry Cake. (Picture courtesy of Google and BBC Good Food)

Mothers day here in Australia, was the 10th of May. I received some lovely Lillies from second son and first son gave me a portable drive for backing up my pooter pictures and documents. Wonderful gifts. Thank you boys. Inside one of the cards was a cutting from a newspaper which is so lovely and thought provoking, I would like to share it with you. So here goes....

And when it comes to the way we think about our mothers, the stages of life can generally be summarised as follows:

  • 4 Years of age: "My mummy can do anything."
  • 8 Years of age: "My mum knows everything. She's better than your mum."
  • 12 Years of age: "My mum knows a fair bit but she doesn't know everything."
  • 14 Years of age: "Mum thinks she knows everything but she knows nothing."
  • 16 Years of age: "Mum's such a dag. She's got no idea about anything."
  • 18 Years of age: "Mum's so far out of date and out of touch, She's got a lot to learn."
  • 25 Years of age: "Mum's got a few good ideas, she seems to have picked up a few over the years."
  • 35 Years of age: "Before we decide, let's get Mum's opinion."
  • 45 Years of age: "Wonder what Mum would have thought about it."
  • 65 Years of age: "Wish I could talk it over with Mum."

I remember each one of these "ages" except for the last two. Thankfully at almost 60 Years of age My Mum is still here with us and I speak to her everyday, usually for advice. TO ALL THE MUMS OUT THERE, THANK YOU.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Madeleines (3 sorts)

I have been wanting to make these for such a long time, and finally last week I managed to buy the proper baking tray. Then it was a hunt through Google to find that perfect recipe, and I found it finally on http://www.taste.com.au Thank you Dixie Elliott.


3 Eggs
1/2 cup Caster Sugar
1 Lemon, rind only, finely grated
1 large Lime, rind only, finely grated
3/4 cup plain Flour
1/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
60g unsalted Butter, melted and cooled
Icing Sugar, to dust


Preheat oven to 200°C. Grease a 12-hole Madeleine baking pan. Place eggs, sugar, lemon rind and lime rind into bowl. Using an electric hand beater, beat mixture until thick, pale and doubled in volume. Gently fold in flour, baking powder and butter using a metal spoon.

Place tablespoons of mixture into prepared Madeleine moulds. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden and cakes spring back when pressed in the centre. Cool slightly before removing from moulds. Cool on a wire rack. Dust with icing sugar. This is for the Citrus Madeleines.

For the chocolate Madeleines, I left out the lemon and lime rind. I replaced 1 tablespoon of flour with Cocoa powder and added some grated cooking chocolate. Then when cooled I dipped the Madeleines in melted chocolate.

And for the Cinnamon Madeleines, again I left out the citrus and added 1 teaspoon of Cinnamon and when cooled I dusted with Cinnamon sugar.

Chocolate Madeleines dipped in

Cinnamon Madeleines.

Citrus Madeleines.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Chocolate and Raspberry Cake

This recipe was found in a lift out magazine called Sunday Life, dated May 2004. The cake is based on a prize winning recipe from Peter Bennett, a regular entrant in the cooking section of the Royal Melbourne Show.

Dead Easy Chocolate Cake.
200g S.R. Flour.
25g Cocoa Powder.
250g Dark Brown Sugar.
125g Butter (at room temperature)
2 Eggs.
2 tsp Vanilla Essence.
160ml Water.
200g fresh or thawed Raspberries.

Chocolate Glaze:
80ml Pouring Cream.
150g good quality Dark Chocolate. (chopped in to small pieces)

Preheat oven to 170c. Grease and line a 20cm cake tin.
Place all ingredients (except the raspberries) in a large mixing bowl and mix for 2-4 minutes until all combines , light and fluffy.
Fold in most of the raspberries (keep back some for decoration if you like). Pour the cake mix in to the prepared tin and smooth the top with a spoon. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until skewer comes out clean. Stand cake for 5 minutes in tin to cool a little, then turn out on to a rack to cool more.
Meanwhile, make the chocolate glaze.
Heat the cream in a saucepan until almost simmering. Pour the cream over the chocolate that is in a heat proof bowl. Let stand for 1 minute, then stir until smooth.
Pour over the now cooled cake and decorate with the spare raspberries. Allow the glaze to set a little before cutting. Enjoy, we did.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Broccoli and cream cheese soup.

BROCCOLI CREAM CHEESE SOUP - Taken from Delia`s Smiths Christmas, and adapted.

225g head Broccoli
1 medium Onion, chopped.
2 whites of Leek, chopped.
40g Butter.
570ml veg Stock.
150g low fat cream Cheese.
2 tablespoons Oatmeal.
570ml Milk.

Trim broccoli into tiny florets of approx 5mm (keep aside) and chop stalky parts quite small.
In large pan, melt butter, add leeks, onion and broccoli stalks, stir well and cover to sweat for 10 minutes.
Stir in oatmeal, add milk, a little at time, stirring well after each addition. Then add stock and seasoning if required, whisk well and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn of heat and cool a little. Pour into food processor and add cheese and blend. Steam florets and add to soup.

The changes I made are... Had no Oatmeal so added 2 tablespoons of Cornflour to the milk, which thickened it in the same way.
Also doubled everything, and I am so glad I did. This is truly ORGASMIC. Hubby and I ate the lot between us with a fresh buttered roll, mind you, we had no room for anything else. Ha ha.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Clean house

I am having BIG problems with my hard drive and a new one is being fitted next week. So.... No posts for a while, I am sorry. But do keep reading my posts and hopefully I will be back very soon. In to the kitchen I go for a lot of baking and I shall have a clean house and all the gardening will be up to date too.
That will be a first for some while. Te He.