21 July 2014

passion de l'amour

4 passionfruit
4 lemons 
185 g butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
2/3 cup milk
2 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp butter, softened

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius (160 if using a fan-forced oven).  Grease/line  22 cm tin.  
  2. Squeeze lemons for their juice and grate the rind.  Strain passionfruit pulp so you have the juice and the seeds.  You need 1/2 cup of juice (mixture of passionfruit and lemon). 
  3. Place butter, lemon rind, juices sugar, eggs, milk and flour in a bowl.  Beat on low speed in cake mixer until combined, then increase speed to high and beat for 2-3 minutes until pale.  Stir in passionfruit seeds.  
  4. Pour into prepared tin and bake for 50 minutes or until skewer comes out clean.  
  5. Stand in tin for 10 minutes then turn out onto cooling rack.  Once cooled, ice and serve.  A little extra grated lemon rind would look good as a decoration, or some more passionfruit pulp.  

19 July 2014

Popsicle, popsicle!

Our tree has gone crazy with lemons.  So, having juiced (and frozen) enough to last copious summer afternoons of gin and tonics and made a cake, I decided to make some iceblocks.  Icing sugar, lemon juice and sparkling water.  Easy!  Next time I might try using honey, in place of the sugar, but we'll see.  

1/3 cup juice
2/3 cup icing sugar
1 cup sparkling water

Makes enough for about 6 little iceblocks.  

07 July 2014

♪ Can I have another piece of chocolate cake ♫

You can't beat a good chocolate cake.  For me, that means three things - 1) soft, moist and chocolatey (I can't stand chocolate cakes that don't taste of chocolate!), 2) easy to throw together and 3) a reasonable size - ideally it's got good height, and will last for more than a day with ravenous raccoons marauding the pantry.  

My mother-in-law has always made the following recipe, and I can testify that it meets each of the above requirements.  One mixing bowl, nice big cake, tastes awesome!  

2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup milk
3/4 cup cocoa
200 g melted butter
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla essence
pinch salt
3 cups SR flour
1 cup boiling water with 1 tbsp coffee dissolved in this

  1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees celcius and either line or grease a large spring-form cake tin.  
  2. Mix all ingredients, in order given above - note, this is a very wet mixture.  
  3. Bake for 40 minutes, or until skewer comes out clean.  
  4. Cool on a rack, then ice with your favourite chocolate icing and decorate as the desire takes you.  

03 July 2014

We got the 'erb, 'erbaliser...

Wintertime.  Herbs.  Cooking.  Herbs.  Coughs and colds.  Herbs.  See a pattern emerging?  It's that time of year, when the nights are early and cold, the nose is blocked, and we're stuck with endless episodes of 'XYZ got Talent', 'Police Raid Borneo' and 'Eketahuna Idol'.  But alongside that we've got cosy kitchens, warming dinners and a million uses abounding for the fresh herbs we grow in our gardens (or in pots on the windowsill).  

Tonight we have steak on our menu.  Good ol' steak, with good ol' roaties and steamed garden veges.  The difference?  Lots of herbs and lemon.  I've been making a herbal remedy for my cold, and to be honest it smelled so good, I decided to effectively replicate it to spice up our dinner.  So, here we go - winter herby steak with winter veg.  

Steak, enough for 2 or 3 people - I used rump, but skirt would work here too (or scotch, sirloin, or eye fillet, but you needn't use such august cuts when marinating)

3 or 4 cloves good kiwi garlic 
2 sprigs rosemary (just the leaves)
1 tbsp fresh oregano, majorum or thyme
zest of 1 lemon
pinch salt (ground rock salt, not table salt - it's to help pulverise them, rather than flavour)
2 tbsp oil

zest and juice of another lemon 
salt and pepper

potatoes, cut into even chunks
beetroot (leave whole if they're smallish, cut into quarters if massive)
pumpkin, cut however you like
more sprigs rosemary

carrot (sliced into matchsticks)
baby brussell sprouts 

  1. Place garlic, rosemary, oregano, lemon zest and rock salt into mortar and pound gently until crushed.  Add oil and mix.  
  2. Place steak into shallow dish, grind over some salt and pepper, sprinkle with lemon zest and juice.  Press herby mixture onto steak.  Cover with cling film and place in the fridge for at least an hour (can be longer though, ours will be in the fridge for about 7).  
  3. Toss oven veges with oil.  Place into roasting tray with extra sprigs of rosemary and roast at 180 degrees celcius for about 40 minutes, or until cooked through and golden.  
  4. Steam the 'greens' and serve alongside steak and roasties.  I like to make up some gravy to go with this too - homemade would be awesome, but a favourite packet will do just fine too.  Enjoy!!