Cakes, Danmark, Food

Danish Spice Cake for Christmas in July

The Concept of Danish Hygge

The Danish word Hygge cannot be translated to one word in English, but my description would be,’ a cosy and contented feeling of wellbeing one gets when spending quiet time indoors with family and friends.

Tea and cake or a nice glass of wine in the evenings, may help to promote hygge. When I think of hygge, I think of a wood fire, sitting with my family and my dogs, perhaps a cup of Royal Ritz Loose-leaf Tea from the Tea Centre or perhaps a glass of Shiraz/Port in the evening.

It might be summer in the North, but here in Australia, we welcome winter and that cosy feeling inside our homes that adds a touch of Danish ‘Hygge,’ with a Danish Spice cake reminiscent of warm drinks by a fire, and a relaxed atmosphere.

teapot with teacups and candle

A Spice cake might also be a great compliment if you are planning a Christmas in July. Including cloves, cardamon and cinnamon, this recipe is packed full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, giving the immune system a mild boost.

A growing trend in Australia, a Christmas in July event, capitalises on the mild winters and is the perfect excuse to indulge in hearty Christmas dishes, Puddings and Mulled Wine. Foods that are harder to digest when the mercury passes 30 degress Celsius around December.

Bundt Cake Danish spice cake recipe

Spice Cake Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 litre or 2 American cups Plain flour
  • 3.5 deciliters or 1.5 cups Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon each of ground Cloves and Cardamon
  • 3 teaspoons ground Cinnamon
  • I/2 tablespoon Baking soda
  • 1 Egg
  • 350 ml or 1.5 cups of Kefir/cultured milk/yoghurt/sourcream
  • 2 dessertspoons of Lingonberry or Cranberry jam
  • 75 g or 2.5 oz Butter

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees Celcius [180 degrees fan forced], or 390 Fahrenheit [360 fan forced].
  2. Mix kefir and jam well in a bowl, electric whisk is always preferable.
  3. Melt the butter, let cool a tiny bit.
  4. Add melted butter and egg to the kefir and jam mix, mixing gently.
  5. Mix together the dry ingredients and add to the wet ingredients until combined.
  6. Pour cake mix into a greased Bundt tin or cake tin of your choice.
  7. Bake for around 30-40 minutes. [Precise baking time will depend on the size of your dish, and on your oven. You know your oven best!]

Tips for measurement conversions: 

American

1 cup = 8 fl oz = 2.4 dl = 24 cl = 240 ml

British

1 cup = 10 fl oz = 2.8 dl = 280 ml

Australian

dl – 1 deciliter = 6 (scant) tablespoons

Two more Spice cake recipes containing immuno-boosting cinnamon, cloves and cardamon can be found on this post at The Home by the Sea.

stpa logo
pavlova recipe
Australia, blogging, Cakes, Food, History & Traditions

The Challenge of Making the Perfect Pavlova

Christmas has been and gone and with it the traditionally festive dessert of choice in Australia, (with its warm weather), the humble ‘Pavlova.’ This ubiquitous dessert really needs no introduction and not wishing to trigger my New Zealand counterparts, I won’t mention its origins, but will note the recipe has Australian variations!

Photo by Sandra Filipe on Pexels.com

Discussions around this dessert led to a four way cooking challenge which I will explain further in the post.

Modern Take on Traditional Pavlova

My take on the Traditional Pavlova Recipe, is mainly decorative but it works well to add to the festive appearance for a special occasion or to spoil a family member.

Still piled high with a delicious marshmallow centre and surrounded by the crunchy meringue shell that we all know and love, this pavlova is topped high with seasonal fruits, whipped cream, or custard as well as cream, (depending on your cholesterol level).

As Pavlova is generally Gluten-free, (omit the cornflour), you can serve this to sensitive tummies as well! Just check the chocolate you use is gluten-free too, if you have Coeliac guests.

What’s Different about this Pavlova?

It is perfect for a birthday dinner, a party, or just a treat to spoil yourself in lockdown and has a Chocolate Dome that you can smash with a rolling pin or large serving spoon, when slicing up.

What fun! Especially for kids!

Pavlova

Smashed Pavlova Chocolate Dome Recipe

Ingredients

  • Olive oil or cooking spray
  • 800g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 600g thickened cream
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 1 pre-prepared pavlovaRecipe here
  • Topping of seasonal fruits: eg. cherries, mangoes, raspberries or kiwifruit

N.B. Undecorated pavlova can be made several days ahead; store in an airtight container, prior to decoration.

Method – Making a Chocolate Dome

  1. Spray a 12″ or 28cm plastic or pyrex bowl lightly with oil and place in the freezer. Melt chocolate on low heat on the stove in a double boiler or in the microwave if you prefer.
  2. Remove the bowl from the freezer and pour in half of the melted chocolate. Rotate the bowl to cover as much of the inside surface as possible, using a pastry brush to push the chocolate out to the rim. Place back in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  3. To finish the chocolate dome, use a pastry brush to brush remaining melted chocolate over existing layer, ensuring any thin areas are touched up. Place back in the freezer for 15 minutes or until set.
  4. Remove the bowl from the freezer. Trim the chocolate on the lip of the bowl to create an even base line and then gently rotate and tap the sides of the bowl to release the dome with a rolling pin. Run a knife along the sides of the bowl to release the dome slightly. Once chocolate comes away from the edge on all sides of the bowl the dome is ready.

3. Meanwhile, top the pavlova with cream and decorate with mango slices, cherries and raspberries. Carefully cover finished pavlova with the chocolate dome. Serve immediately.

Tip: use a wooden rolling pin or similar utensil to “smash” the chocolate casing when serving and prior to slicing.

Food Blogger Bake Off Challenge

pavlova recipe

When Sandy at The Sandy Chronicles mentioned a delicious dessert of her own a Blogging Bake-off idea was conceived. Thus, I’ve invited other blogging cooks such as Ju-Lyn from All Things Bright and Beautiful and Moon from Bits and Pieces to take up the Pavlova Bake off Challenge with me!

Have you previously posted about Pavlova? Would you like to try making a pavlova or another meringue like dessert?

Join in on the Pavlova Bake- off challenge by adding a pingback to this address in your post and it will update with your link.

Amanda – Something delicious to Ponder About

baking yema cake
Cakes

Gulkake Yellow Cake Recipe

Those of you who have been following my blog for some time, will know that Norwegian and Scandinavian things are very close to my heart, so it will come as no surprise to read that I am sharing a Norwegian recipe with you.

Nowegian cake recipe

This is a traditional Norwegian cake with an intense yellow colour. Not too sweet but a perfect accompaniment to coffee or tea.

NB. This is not Julekake – or Julekake which sounds similar, is equally delicious and is served at Christmas time. No, this is Gulkake as in ‘Gul’ – the norwegian word for yellow.

In Norwegian:

Gul Blomst = Yellow Flower; Gul Trøye = Yellow Jersey therefore:

Gul Kake = Yellow Cake – well, you get the idea.

The intense yellow colour comes from the SIX egg yolks this recipe contains and that’s also the reason it’s a great time of year to make it, if you live in the southern hemisphere?

Why this time of year?

Because those of us around the southern Ocean, that is Australians and New Zealanders, are busily creating loads of Pavlovas to eat with friends. Pavlovas are often the first choice of dessert, for summer time barbeques, as well as Christmas menus, as it’s too darn hot for warm desserts like plum puddings.

Pavlovas may contain as much as 7 egg whites and you can rapidly get really sick of making omelettes with the leftover yolks. Therefore, making ‘Gulkake,’ is a great alternative to combine when making a ‘Pav,’ (as we like to call them).

You do know Australians shorten names for everything don’t you?

Gulkake – Norwegian Yellow Cake Recipe

Ingredients

  • 150 grams Butter
  • 150 g Sugar
  • 6 Egg Yolks
  • 2 deciliters Whipping Cream
  • 225 grams Plain Flour
  • 1.5 Teaspoons Baking powder
  • Sugar to decorate

Convert grams to cups here

Nowegian cake recipe

Method

  1. Whip cream til almost stiff.
  2. Cream butter and half the sugar in a large mixing bowl til white and fluffy.
  3. Mix the remaining half of the sugar with the egg yolks and whip lightly.
  4. To the creamed butter and sugar mix: add the flour and the baking powder a little at a time, alternating with adding the egg yolk mix. Mix well after each addition.
  5. Carefully fold through the whipped cream.
  6. Pour into a 20 cm greased and lined bar loaf tin or several small bar loaf tins.
  7. Top with pearl or fine sugar to decorate if desired. A sprinkle of cinnamon perhaps?
  8. Bake 175 degrees for *45 minutes for the larger tins, *25 – 30 minutes for smaller tins (NB: these * are fan forced oven temperatures).
  9. Stand 10 minutes before turning out.
https://www.thebakingchocolatess.com/conversion-charts-kitchen-tips-2/

Happy Baking from Down Under

#onecakeaweek

stpa logo
teapot with teacups and candle
blogging, Cakes, Food

Dark Chocolate Brownie

I have been making a Dark Chocolate Brownie over at the Home by the Sea.

It is a quick and easy recipe that has some health benefits owing to the use of dark chocolate. These are more cake recipes posted previously for #Onecakeaweek

Are you tempted by any?

I will be making one cake each week and would love you to link up any cake recipes you have posted on your blog, so I have more recipes to try out.

From Enticing Desserts – Strawberry Mint Sorbet

From The New Vintage Kitchen – Lavender and Lemon Shortbread Cookies

From Pictures Imperfect – German Cheesecake with Quark

vegetable salad s
Cakes, Food

Sticking with the Pudding – Sticky Date

Have you a particular dish that you know you don’t like, but have never really ever tried it?

Or perhaps you were once bitten, twice shy in regards to a particular food?

For me, that was Sticky Date Pudding.


I would swerve away from these dried out chewy concoctions at buffets and head straight for the chocolate mousse, pavlovas or berry desserts on offer. I am not really a fan of dates, anyway, unless they are in a Mocha Date loaf, one that I have made at home, myself.

Would you call that being a kind of food snob? Hand up – that’s me!

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com


The thought that I was a food snob struck me in an idle moment yesterday, as I was adding the last of the brown sugar from its packet, atop my morning porridge.

As is my habit, I double-checked the information on the side of the empty brown sugar packet, prior to disposing of the packet, in case there was an interesting recipe that I might consider making.

“Oh.” I sighed with resignation, disappointed to see the suggested recipe was merely sticky date pudding. I tossed the packet aside to go in the rubbish.

Not interested in that, I thought.

Nevertheless, with the topic of pudding on my mind, I struck up a conversation with the M.o.t.h. (aka Man of the House).

“Do you like Sticky Date Pudding?”

“No, I don’t.” was his curt reply. “Never have,” he said, shutting down the topic fast.

I can only blame some kind of homemaker’s intuition that made me re-consider that recipe for sticky date pudding, or it could have been the brainwashing of those Zero waste bloggers.

I noted that cream was one of the listed ingredients in the sauce and making it would mean I could use up the leftover cream sitting in the fridge and not feel guilt at being wasteful.

Add to this, I do like to try new recipes and I had never made this before. I am making #onecakeaweek over at the Home by the Sea and a pudding would be a lovely addition to the theme.

What is the Health Benefits of Eating Dates?

Often maligned, dates are surprisingly good for your health. They may aid with digestion, improve bone health, lower cholesterol and are a tasty source of calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, zinc, and fibre. Amazing, really.

The umpteen health benefits of dates has made the delicious fruit one of the most sought after foods in the world of health and nutrition.

food.ndtv.com/food-drinks/10-dates-benefits-from-improving-bone-health-to-promoting-beautiful-skin-1258714

Critique of CSR Sticky Date Pudding Recipe

So, last night at the Home by the Sea, I made that CSR version of Sticky Date Pudding. Can you believe it turned out to be highly successful with the Moth and a completely delightful surprise for me. (Otherwise, it probably would not rate a whole blog post).

It was soft and delicate and there was not one sign of a chewy date, just a subtle fruity flavour with a freshly baked cake-like texture. The butterscotch sauce, which I was so wary of, initially, could be described as a creamy and buttery, ‘nectar of the Gods,’ with a molasses-like sugary flavour that oozed over the pudding, like velvet.

Why was I so tentative about Sticky Dates? This was not the same dried out chewy version of pudding, I always thought of, at all.

As you have surely guessed, I am now a convert, and the M.o.t.h. could not stop raving about it. In fact, so enamoured was he with this version of Pudding he was going back to the kitchen for a third helping, when I intervened suggesting he might like to keep some for the following night. (I was considering his waistline, of course!)


You can find the full recipe right now on my secondary blog- Home by the Sea.

Photo by picjumbo.com on Pexels.com

Do you have a food you disliked, or refused to eat, only to discover that, years later, it tasted way better than you thought?

Cakes, Food

Carrot and Cardamon Cake

I have been baking over at the Home by the Sea.

My imminent retirement and perhaps the pandemic needs to shoulder the blame for my cooking one cake every week. Sometimes I will cook a second – depending on who is visiting.

This week the recipe is for Carrot and Cardamon Cake.

The M.o.t.h. (Man of the house if you haven’t been introduced) loved it. He thinks it is a great option because it contains vegetables! Just disregard the amount of calories in 310 g of sugar.

If you can get past that figure, it is delicous with a cup of coffee or tea. Highly recommended.

Cardamon on the other hand is amazing. Apparently Google claims it may have:

  • Antioxidant and Diuretic Properties May Lower Blood Pressure
  • May Contain Cancer-Fighting Compounds
  • May Protect from Chronic Diseases Thanks to Anti-Inflammatory Effects
  • May Help with Digestive Problems, Including Ulcers
  • May Treat Bad Breath and Prevent Cavities
  • May Have Antibacterial Effects and Treat Infections

That is something to ponder about

Cakes, Community, Food

Friendly Friday Photo Challenge- Guest Post – Something Different

In addition to our regular posts, the Friendly Friday team at TheSandyChronicles and StPA, are featuring Guest Posts from Bloggers who contribute to the Friendly Friday Photo Challenge.

Ju-Lyn, a Singaporean blogger, from All Things Bright and Beautiful especially enjoys food and cooking, in addition to making ‘purposeful choices, ‘ and has kindly contributed a guest post to our weekly theme of “Something Different, in the form of a post about a Basque Burnt Cheesecake.

Ju-Lyn regularly posts mouth-watering foodie delights, on her blog, and this recipe is no exception.

Did someone say Cheesecake?

I hope you will be tempted to try it, for yourself.

Here’s Ju-Lyn:

Guest Post by All Things Bright and Beautiful

I love cheesecake, of all sorts: baked/unbaked, cream cheese/ricotta, New York/Japanese. I will scoff each with delight!

It was love at first bite! So enamoured was I that I didn’t realise there was no crust, which I only registered in retrospect. I have never made a cheesecake without a crust before so the idea intrigued me and I begged the recipe off the friend, who gifted me the slice.

It took us a while to get started because our baking shop was out of 500g tubes of cream cheese. After searching for more than a week with no small tubes in sight, I decided to take the plunge and bought a 2kg block. With this quantity, I was free to experiment. The recipe is simple enough, but it makes a tall cake baked in a 6-in circle tin, resulting in a silky gooey centre. Older Daughter wanted to see if dividing the batch into two, (ie. 2 x 6-in tins), would make any difference as she prefers a firmer crumb.

So we did. The verdict is split. Half of us love the taller version, with a slightly squidgy centre. The other half prefer the uniformly firmer texture of the shorter slice. We do all agree that we love the intense, smokey caramelised top of both versions.

Ju-Lyn, All Things Bright and Beautiful

Recipe – Burnt Cheesecake

adapted from ButtermilkPantry

Ingredients

· 430g cream cheese, room temperature

· 100g caster sugar

· 3 large eggs, room temp (approx 150g of eggs without shell)

· 270g heavy cream/thickened cream

· 20g all-purpose flour

· 1 tsp vanilla extract

· 1 tsp lemon juice

Method

1. Line a 6” circle cake tin with 2 layers of baking paper and trimmed to have an overhanging amount of 1.5″-2″.

2. Preheat oven to 240 degrees C.

3. Cream sugar and cream cheese together until smooth.

4. Add eggs one at a time and beat until smooth.

5. Add the vanilla and lemon juice. Beat until just mixed.

6. In a separate bowl, mix flour and heavy cream until smooth.

7. Slowly pour the cream/flour mixture into the cheese mixture until mixed through.

8. Bake for 30-35mins until top is dark amber and almost charred at parts but the middles still has a wobble to them when you give jiggle the pan.

9. Cool in the tin fully on a wire rack at room temperature to allow the cheesecake to set.

10. Remove from the baking tin and enjoy at room temperature.

11. For a less “gooey” center, place into the fridge after cooled to allow it to chill and set.

For the 2-tin version, we lined the tins with only 1 layer of baking paper.

We shortened the bake time by 5 min.


Thank you Ju-Lyn for creating something different for us.

The photos are enough temptation for me to try creating this on my own.

Friendly Friday

If you would like to feature in one of the Friendly Friday Team’s Guest Posts, please contact Sandy, from (TheSandyChronicles) and Amanda, from (StPA), either by way of comment below or directly via their Blog Contact Pages.

The Friendly Friday Photo Challenge with the theme Something Different, will conclude Friday this week, when Sandy will post a new theme on The Sandy Chronicles.

figs
Cakes, Community, Food

Discover a New Friendly Friday Photo Challenge

In these strange times of pandemic, we are called to act differently from the norm. We adjust our lifestyle to accommodate the lock downs and social distancing, according to our own countries. I like to think of it as the beginning of something new, rather than something lost.

Friendly Friday

A New Kind of Photography Challenge

With new beginnings, comes change.

Friendly Friday is changing. Slightly.

It is our intention to expand the Friendly Friday challenge.

In the first two weeks of each month, participants are encouraged to dig a little deeper into the theme with their response. adding a short narrative, a story or recipe along with their photo.

Guest Bloggers Wanted

Furthermore, we will be publishing a guest post from a Friendly Friday blogger, in addition to the theme, which will be published on our blogs, in the second week of each month.

If you would like to nominate for a guest post slot on either of the host’s blogs, please let us know in the comments below. More details below.

Friendly Friday Photo challenge
The original Friendly Friday Logo

How has Friendly Friday Changed?

This week and for the first week of each month following, we will set the F.F. theme and, in addition, post either a story, a recipe or a narrative of some kind, along with our photo, addressing the Friendly Friday theme for that week.

As always, it is up to you to interpret the weekly theme, as you see fit. You are only really limited by your imagination.

Bloggers who prefer to simply post a photo, will not be left out as the remaining two or three weeks of each month, will be devoted to the regular Photo challenge in the previous format. i.e. You will be presented with a different photo prompt suggestion for you to interpret as you wish, each week. In this way you will still have an opportunity to publish a photo or photos, on Friendly Friday, if you so choose.

Friendly Friday Theme for this Week

This week, I am challenging you to post a photo and story/recipe/narrative about:

Something New/Something Different

It might not be a food you have tried or a recipe that is the “something different” for you, it might be some other kind of activity, or something from your past that you have suddenly had the opportunity to revisit, something new in your garden, or a different way of doing things.

For me, it was baking with a different food! Read more of what I made, below. But first a reminder on how to participate in Friendly Friday.

How to Join Friendly Friday

To participate in the Challenge this week, you need to:

  • Create a Friendly Friday Post titled: ‘Something new/something different
  • If you can, include a recipe or write a short narrative or story, but most importantly, include a photo interpreting this week’s theme.
  • Link back your post to this blog, forestwoodfolkart.wordpress.com and Sandy’s blog
  • Tag your post,“Friendly Friday – Something New, Something Different”
  • Leave a comment below so that the hosts and others can find your post (ping backs don’t always work)
  • Let the hosts know if you would like to be featured as a guest blogger.

My New Beginnings with Something Different

Most people say they don’t have time to cook. Has Covid given us more time? Or only reduced distractions so we are willing to do things we have not done avoided before?

Cooking New and Different Foods

I’ve never in my life used Figs before. Neither have I made a Sourdough Mother. My kids might teasingly say I am a sour mother, so I guess I am halfway there! Lol!

So it is definitely a new beginning in the kitchen.

But let’s get back to the figs.

Fig and Walnut Loaf

I don’t really know anything about figs. Figs are something new and different for me. I might even confess to being a bit terrified of using figs. But I don’t want to admit ignorance. They are, after all, very much on trend at the moment.

Not only do I not know how to prepare figs, or how they can be eaten, I don’t know what they go well with, or their nutritional benefit. In fact the only contact I have had with Figs prior to this, is from my local cafe.

They served a mean Fig and Walnut Loaf, sliced and toasted, with lashings of warm butter, strawberries and icing sugar! Garnished with mint.

It was fantastic, it was filling and I was in love.

heart

Soon after discovering the delight that comes with eating figs, this local cafe closed down. I went into an a kind of fig/walnut withdrawal that might see me raid the walnut jar late in to the night! So it became my mission to find a recipe that would equal the cafe’s culinary delight of Fig and Walnut Loaf.

Today it was done and happily shared with neighbours. It was good, really good and now my addiction has been properly fed, the body will no doubt, demand a repeat performance. Figs may be on the menu for some time to come.

Writing a Guest Post for Friendly Friday

Are you interested in being featured here as a guest blogger?

Would you like to write a guest post to be published here on Friendly Friday?

You may choose your own theme or alternatively use our suggestions, but a guest post would follow the format:

  1. Address the weekly Friendly Friday theme by writing a post.
  2. Include suitable Photograph/s
  3. Add a Story / Narrative piece or/
  4. Post a Recipe relating to the theme
  5. Submit to Sandy or Amanda


Guest posts will be published the second week in each month.

For further info on how to become a guest blogger, please contact Amanda or Sandy who will happily provide you with more information.




Anzac Day memorial to veterans
Australia, Cakes, Food, History & Traditions

ANZAC Biscuit Traditions

Home made bikkies

When is a Cookie a biscuit? When you live in Australia, of course.

On April 25 each year, Anzac Day, the nation stops to commemorate the supreme sacrifice of a group of soldiers that have contributed to the development of our national psyche. We don’t have many traditions of our own so we have adopted this to be a signifier that we are Australian. And the Anzac tradition has even spawned a biscuit or cookie! How Australian!

Today, there won’t be any dawn Anzac services attended by the many descendants of those soldiers, so it is likely that we might all be baking these biscuits at home, remembering the soldiers.

The ANZAC Biscuit

During WWI, a certain type of biscuit/cookie was sent by mail, in sealed tins, to the troops fighting in the filthy trenches at Lone Pine and Anzac Cove in Turkey. They were sent all the way from Australia, from the mothers and sweethearts of those brave, young men who were to fight Britain’s war against Turkey.

It was thought this biscuit would keep well in transit for an extended period of time. As such they are regarded as quintessentially Australian and our tradition of making Anzac biscuits on April 25, has continued for the past 9 years. Almost as old as this blog itself!

Below you will find the recipe.

Heidi 020

 Anzac Biscuit Recipe

I have posted two versions here. The first recipe is mine and the second, the trusty Women’s Weekly magazine version. Please post what temperature worked for you, if you do try the recipe…

Preheat Oven 170 – 180 C or 350 F

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plain or all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon golden syrup – you can use honey or maple syrup as an alternative
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 160 g or (⅔ cup) butter, melted

Method
1. Sift flour and ginger into a mixing bowl and add coconuts, oats and sugar. Mix and make a well in the centre ready for the addition of the wet ingredients.

2. Stir in Golden syrup, boiling water and bicarb soda, in a small bowl, until combined.

3. Add the syrup mix into the dry ingredients, along with the melted butter. Mix well.

4. Take heaped teaspoons of mix and roll into small balls.

5. Place on trays and flatten gently.

6. Bake 10 minutes or until golden brown

7. Cool on tray 10 minutes until they firm up slightly.


Wanting to try the ever faithful Woman’s Weekly recipes, last year I cooked up a second batch. These ones aren’t so crisp, but if you like the flavour of brown sugar, they are worth a ‘go.’

Woman’s Weekly Anzacs

Preheat oven  160 -175 C or 350 F

Ingredients

Heidi 020
  • 125 g (I cup) butter chopped coarsely
  • 1 tablespoon golden syrup
  • 3/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1 cup Rolled Oats

Method

  • Melt butter and golden syrup over low heat.
  • Add bicarb and water to butter mix.
  • Mix remaining dry ingredients and combine wet and dry.
  • Spoon teaspoons of mix on to lined baking sheet, and flatten slightly.
  • Cook 12 – 15 minutes. Cool on tray  5 – 10  minutes.

Now you can also try these biscuits, and tell me what you think. I will ponder whether they will become a tradition in your house.

Cakes, Travel

Michelin Meal in Japan II

Michelin Star Restaurants

Most of us are familiar with ‘Michelin stars – the rating system for high-class restaurants the world over. Those highly sought after Michelin stars are indicative of excellence in consistency, presentation of food and mastery of technique.

What would you do if you were presented with a Michelin meal you couldn’t eat? Read the first part of a Michelin Meal in Japan.

Eleven Course Meal

My stay at a traditional Ryokan, or ‘Old World’ Inn, complete with Tatami mats and sliding paper walls in Kyoto, Japan, included an evening meal, which was served to us in our very own private dining room that comprised part of the sleeping quarters. A fantastic arrangement! Yes, well not necessarily.

japan

It meant not eating the meal was never going to be an option, as we couldn’t leave the restaurant and go home. This was in our home, albeit our room, even if it was only for a short time.

Unfortunately, my daughter a.k.a. Miss Teen now ‘Adult,’ refused to eat any of Michelin Courses #1,#2 and #3 out of 11 courses. And this entire menu was all about seafood.

From Crab to Squid, Sea Urchin to Tilefish, (whatever that is), the menu lurched from one sea creature to another form of oceanic life. [With one token course that constituted a beef dish].

Me? I love seafood of all kinds. If it came from the sea, and is edible, I will eat it.

Miss Teen now an ‘Adult,’ on the other hand, would have none of it. She cannot eat seafood, or rather will not eat seafood. There was no forewarning of the menu contents, when we booked in at this Ryokan, so this was all a complete surprise.

On reading the menu, Daughter dear declared,

“Oh! I will just eat the rice!”

I dutifully opted for eating her untouched courses #1-3, but on re-examining the menu, I quickly realized I couldn’t possibly consume each and every part of the full eleven courses, for both of us.

I had to think. Which of the following options could I take for the rest of the meal?

  1. Send her meal portions back uneaten
  2. Tell the staff my teen is ill and can’t eat it
  3. Apologise profusely and possibly insult the chef
  4. Leave the Ryokan for other accommodation

None of those options sounded palatable, (no pun intended), and there were so many courses! To insult the chef would be rude, culturally insensitive and ungrateful. I also had to bear in mind, the Chef was to serve the rest of MY meal, which I was looking forward to eating.

What was I to do?

Michelin Food Disposal

I looked at the small bin provided in our room.

It would only handle paper and dry contents. I could not leave uneaten seafood portions there.

We were to catch an airport taxi and a 10-hour flight home to Australia the next day, so hiding it in my luggage would result in me smelling like a fish tank! Not the sweetest perfume de toilet!

I devised a plan. After the gentile kimono-clad room attendant/waitress, served up the next culinary marine delight and had left the room, I found a zip lock bag in my luggage.

It was similar to the ones they give you at the airport for storing toiletries, but that was all I had. Surreptitiously, I emptied the uneaten portions of daughter’s courses, within. It wasn’t easy. Those bags are meant for lip gloss and small hand creams. Not five courses from a traditional Japanese degustation style menu!

My subterfuge was very nearly discovered when the Japanese waiter returned, shortly after serving through the seventh course. Thank goodness she knocked on the door first. I would have had to fez up to ditching the food and how would that have looked?

Japanese Rice

Meanwhile Miss Teen Now an ‘Adult’ was by now, really hungry and looking forward to eating the course of rice. She suggested she might eat both our serves, as she was hungry. “Of course you can,” I reassured her.

Just before the rice was served, we were to be served tea. Green tea. At the mere mention of Green tea by the waiter, Miss Teen Now an Adult, shook her head vigorously to indicate ‘no,’ and eagerly awaited her bowl of rice.

The course of rice was then served – but to her dismay, one bowl not two, arrived, and was served to me only!

Miss Teen Now an ‘Adult,’ was completely forlorn. First all these serves of seafood and now no rice! The poor room attendant clearly had not understood. As soon as our door was closed again, I pushed the rice bowl towards her explaining I had more than enough to eat with all the sea urchins etc. and that she should have the rice.

If the truth be told, I’d have liked to try the rice as the Japanese are very particular about its quality. They do not like imported rice, and prefer the home-grown variety. Miss Teen Now an Adult, inhaled the whole bowl, before I had the chance to request even a small tasting portion. But that is okay.

Soup and Dessert

Strangely, a small bowl of miso soup course followed the rice – perhaps it aids digestion, or could it be that they think a person has consumed too much seafood, at that point? Remember there was now two bowls for me to drink, not one!

The Dessert course consisted of a Persimmon, times two, of course. I’d never eaten a persimmon before, so that was a novel experience and I confess to being quite partial to the sweet, delicate taste. I couldn’t get through the second one, so it also went into the baggie.

There was still my shady skulduggery of hiding food to address: about 5 courses of seafood and a half a persimmon sat in a zip lock baggie inside my handbag. It was 10 pm at night, I was in a Ryokan, in Japan and there was no rubbish bin in sight.

It was time to go out for a little walk.

Gion Bin Hunt and Geishas

Now in most countries, unless a G7 or Olympics were being held, it would not be too difficult to find a rubbish bin on the street, where I could discretely dispose of all aforementioned Michelin Chef scraps.

But this was Japan.

In Japan, each citizen is responsible for their own rubbish. Japanese people take home their used plastic drink bottles and empty food wrappers for recycling or dispose of them, to landfill. You must either pay for rubbish collections from your premises, or take it to the landfill, yourself. Thus, there are very few if any, public trash bins on the streets, in Japan.

It looked like we were in a long walk.

We walked the Gion with not a single bin, in sight. We passed several 7/11 stores along the way – no bins there either.

Around 10.30 pm we saw her.

A Geisha Girl in full attire.

Japanese Geishas

The genuine Geishas are notoriously secretive and seeing a working Geisha in real life, really did make the whole rubbish disposal expedition, totally worthwhile.

In my excitement of seeing her, I fumbled for my camera, its carry cord becoming tangled up in the zip of my handbag, where said seafood was hiding. For a minute, I was completely distracted by the thought of a full-to-bursting ‘zip lock bag,’ spilling its unwanted Michelin meal contents inside my handbag, which would no doubt lead to me smelling like a tile-fish or sea urchin, for the next 24 hours! Meanwhile the Geisha was getting further away Ah!

An American tourist shouted at me to ‘run’ after the geisha, in order to get the prized photo. You can see him in the foreground. The Geisha, by then, had got some distance away. It was amazing how fast she moved in those traditional wooden shoes and maintained her poise. I got the photo. It is grainy, but one grainy photo is better than none.

You are told not to stop or ask Geishas to pose for photographs as they are considered highly skilled working ladies, who entertain guests through performing the ancient traditions of art, dance and singing and are handsomely paid for their time. And she did seem to be in a dreadful hurry.

Suddenly the fact that we had to walk further to find a bin, didn’t bother us as much. We eventually found one at the large Yasaka-jinja Shrine at the Gion. And we could both sleep easier for the rest of the night.

Miss Teen Now an ‘Adult,’ was really keen for breakfast, the next morning, but understandably so, don’t you think?

I gave her all my serving.

orange and cinnamon cake
Cakes, Community, Food

Ten Minute Orange Cake Recipe

Reminiscing about my Danish Grandmother who used to cook Orange cake for Sunday afternoon tea, I remembered how, as a child, I looked forward to visiting her house as I could smell the aroma of baking, as we arrived.

Anyone can find ten minutes to spare, right?

How long does it take to post on instagram with all those hashtags that must be included?

You can abandon convenience food a.k.a. supermarket style prepared cakes, in favour of a freshly baked treat and know that it is not difficult nor time-consuming.

And it tastes SO much better!

This cake took me less than 10 minutes to prep, due to speedy preparation in the processor.

Then you simply wait for the oven timer to ring, while you check your social media or email and voila! Time for tea!

Perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon this quick and easy recipe will have your mouth-watering for more. Apart from the sugar content, and a small amount of necessary butter, there are no extra unhealthy ingredients; plus it has the advantage of a bit of Vitamin C and delightful orange flavour.

Processor Orange Cake

A cake that is good for you! Yay!

Delicious as is, there’s no need to add any frosting or topping, eat it straight out of the oven.

A dusting of vanilla/icing sugar, or a simple mix of icing sugar and small amount of juice to soften to a clean frosting would be a nice option, if you aren’t counting calories or sugar content.

recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Caster or fine grain sugar, but ordinary sugar will do.
  • 1 cup Self Raising flour (Self Raising flour is the same as 1 cup plain flour and 2 teaspoons of baking powder)
  • 2 tablespoons extra of normal plain flour
  • 2 tsp grated orange rind
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 60 g (1/4 cup) soft butter
  • 2 eggs

Method:

1. Combine sugar, flours, and orange rind in food processor with butter. Blitz sporadically until just combined.

2. Pour Orange juice through the chute with motor on.

3. Add eggs and blitz till smooth. Not too much though or your cake won’t be light.

4. Pour into well-greased bar tin (something with a base about 12 x 22cm/ 5 x 9 inch) that has been lined with grease-proof or baking paper.

5. Bake in a Moderate Oven 180º C, ( 375º F), for 40 minutes or until the top springs back when lightly pressed.

Ensure the cake cools for 5 minutes in the tin before turning out on to a wire rack.

If would be nice with a Cream Cheese frosting.

When you are unsure of what to serve for tea, let them eat cake –

Orange cake – No fuss to ponder about.

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pikelets
Cakes, Community, Food, Motivational

Picky about Pikelets – Anzac Day Traditions

Princess Would it be crass to say that I am the Queen of Pikelets?

Well, I’ve said it, so if I am crass, it is because these Pikelets have won awards for many years at the Royal National Show. Seriously!  If the reactions of others are anything to go by, they really are impressive, well, as much as a pikelet can be, I suppose.  I have always kept my recipe a closely guarded secret, but today being April 25, Anzac Day; a significant, almost sacred national day for Australians and New Zealanders, (that you can read more about here), I’ve decided to spread the love that only an Aussie pikelet can do, and share this recipe with you!!

pikelets

Pikelets are very definitely entrenched as a home bake favourite in the vernacular Australian and New Zealand cuisine and are much better than the much touted Anzac biscuits, [find that recipe here] -an oh so popular wartime ‘cookie’ that entered Australian and New Zealand folklore as one of our few traditions that are uniquely our own, but today – today it is all about Pikelets!

Meanwhile, some of you are probably thinking: ” Just, what ARE Pikelets?” Right? Continue reading “Picky about Pikelets – Anzac Day Traditions”

Cakes, Food

Christmas Cookie Recipe – One Batch, Five Different Cookies

Adhering to time-honored Christmas traditions means cooking at least seven different types of biscuits or cookies, for the ‘Juletide’ feast. In today’s fast paced lifestyle, time-poor families need a shortcut if they are to maintain these customs. It was a mere  error or perhaps, serendipity that created an opportunity for such a discovery in my kitchen. This recipe makes at least four, if not five, different types of cookies, from the one mix,  thereby reducing the workload in the kitchen. [See recipe below.]

Xmas cookies

The Rationale or Explanation:

I am used to being the sole cook in my kitchen, yet Christmas is always frenetic. There is more people in the house, more to do, more excited conversation, more spontaneity, and thus ever more distractions. This is not conducive to concentrating on the task at hand: i.e. to make seven varieties of cookies following several recipes at once. Add to that another increased layer of difficulty:the recipes are hand-written by me in my marginally legible handwriting similar to that you would find on a Doctor’s prescription! So, it should come as no surprise that I stuffed up and missed adding an extra cup of flour to the basic recipe for Jam drops.

The result was Jam drops that were flat as a pancake, looking more like a Brandy snap that had a blood spattered head injury! Embarrassing to put on the Christmas table, to say the least. (Yet, ironically, it was these same cast-offs, which my food- fussy husband gobbled up, well before I had a chance to photograph them). So with a little skill they could still be presented as an edible Christmas treat!

Upon further analysis of this major cooking mishap, I realized I had omitted a second cup of flour, from the recipe and that the rest of the, as yet uncooked mix, could definitely be salvaged.  Thus I added, the missing cup of flour and cooked a second tray-ful, (which hubby didn’t like as much, so were available to photograph).

After which, I thought, well, why stop there? Thus I added white chocolate chips, cooked a third tray, and then added cocoa and cooked a fourth and final tray.  Now more than half the xmas cookie baking is done. Thank goodness for serendipity!

image

Recipe Tray 1 (makes one full baking tray of biscuits)

Jam Snaps

1  1/4 cup butter

3/4 cup  castor or fine white sugar

2 eggs

1   1/4 cups Self-raising flour

N.B. (Self raising flour = Plain Flour with 1 Tsp Baking powder per 1 cup Plain flour)

1/2 cup jam

Cream  butter and sugar together in a bowl.

Add eggs and beat well.

Gradually add flour, mixing thoroughly each time.

Drop teaspoonfuls of mix on a greased/lined baking sheet, 5 – 10 cm apart ( these cookies spread significantly)*

Wet your thumb and press into each biscuit, creating a dent. Drop a small dollop of jam in each one. (about 1/4 teaspoonful is fine)

Bake for 10 minutes in a moderate 180 degree celsius (375 F) oven, or until browned. Cool on wire tray

*Only spoon out enough for one tray of cookies, and save the rest for making Recipe 2, see below.

 

Recipe 2 (makes one full baking tray of biscuits)

JAM DROPS

Gradually Add 1 full cup of Self Raising Flour to the existing Mix and stir thoroughly.

N.B. (Self raising flour = Plain Flour with 1 Tsp Baking powder per 1 cup Plain flour)

*Drop teaspoonfuls of mix on a greased/lined baking sheet, 5 – 10 cm apart

Wet your thumb and press into each biscuit, creating a dent.

Drop a small dollop of jam in each one. (about 1/4 teaspoonful is fine)

Bake for 15 minutes in a moderate 180 degree Celsius (375 F) oven, or until browned. Cool on wire tray.

*Only spoon out enough for one baking sheet of cookies, and save the rest for making Recipe 3, see below.

 

Recipe 3 (makes one full baking tray of biscuits)

White chocolate chip Cookies

Into the existing mix,

Add:

50 g white chocolate chips and mix thoroughly

Drop teaspoonfuls of mix on a greased lined baking sheet

Cook 15 minutes in moderate 180 degree Celsius (375 F) oven or til browned

Cool on wire tray

*Only spoon out enough for one tray of cookies, and save the rest for making recipe 4, see below.

Recipe 4 (makes one full baking tray of biscuits)

Chocolate cookies with chocolate chip *

Leftover Mix from Above

Add 3 tablespoons cocoa powder and mix thoroughly **

Drop teaspoonfuls of mix on  a greased lined baking sheet

Cook 15 minutes in moderate 180 degree Celsius (375 F) oven or til browned

Cool on a wire tray

** This mix could also be made with only 2 tablespoons cocoa stirred through lightly with the result being a marbled cookie, making a fifth variety of cookie!!

Now that is 5 cookies done and dusted. Two to go….

Cooking Tip:

If you live, as I do in a humid environment, and your home-baked biscuits, once cooked, tend to go too soft too quickly, here is a solution: Pop them in a 180 degree C (375 F) oven for five minutes and then turn the oven off, leaving them in the oven to cool for a further 10 – 15 minutes, in the oven, and voilà: crispy cookies, that will last well into Christmas.

 

Merry Christmas Everyone from Something to Ponder About

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