Australia, Food

As Aussie as Meat Pie

It is 1996 and I’m a young mum with two small sons. They’re two demanding boys, with big ideas and fertile minds. They want to play, but it’s time to prepare dinner for the family.

The oldest boy turns back to set up electrical circuits with batteries and LED light bulbs, whilst the smaller son, Master Three, gathers soft toys, from his prodigious collection, that would be the envy of any Sesame Street cast member and sets up a puppet show singing tunes of Thomas the Tank Engine. I turn back to the stove.

Besides the two boys and the Moth, there is a third child in the house.

Typical Danish country Church

I have a daughter I am about to lose. She is not mine, but one I am caring for and have grown so fond of. In less than a week from this night, she will return home to Denmark and we will miss her dreadfully.

Over the eleven months she lived in our family as a Danish Exchange student, we learnt things about Danish life and travelled to a gazillion Aussie places to show her as much of Australia as one can do, with two small boys in tow.

For her last meal on Australian soil, she asks if I can serve her an Aussie Meat Pie. Nothing fancy, just a Meat pie.

She tells me that there are no Meat pies served in Denmark and laments that she will miss those piping hot, oh-so-tender meaty chunks, steeped in rich gravy and covered with a rather messy, get-it-all-over-your-lap, flaky style pastry. Later that week, she eats that pie topped with blood-red squirts of tomato sauce. Yes, that means ‘ketchup,’ but it’s never called that here.

Meat Pie Etiquette

There are unwritten rules about how one should eat a meat pie, especially at the footy.

  1. Take off the pie top and eat.
  2. Squirt tomato sauce on top of meat.
  3. Eat tomato-sauce topped meat from inside the pie
  4. Eat the meatless pie crust last

When our dear “exchange daughter,” returns to visit us in a few years, her first request is:

“Can we have Meat pie for dinner?”

Origins of the Australian Meat Pie

An Australian meat pie was produced in 1947 by L. T. McClure in a small bakery in Bendigo and became the famous Four’ n Twenty pie. … Other manufacturers predate this, and the pie manufacturer Sargent can trace their pie-making back to 1891.

Wiki

Whatever its origin, Meat pie is as Aussie as a “snag” on the Barbie, as Kangaroos, AFL, (Australian Football), and Holden ‘utes.’ Which reminds me of a song, one that Bushboy might recognize?

Making a Meat Pie

I’ve not made a meat pie myself, so I have no special recipe to share. (Sorry to disappoint you, Sandy). For many years, I was vegetarian and I completely lost the taste for eating any kind of meat. But then the Geebung bakers came along and ruined my meat-free diet.

Trying to emulate the lofty cooking skills of The Bun ‘n Oven bakery, (in the very iconically named suburb of Geebung, in Queensland), or the highly acclaimed piemakers of The Yatala Pie Company, would be doomed to failure. These bakers are Kings in creating a flaky, melt-in-your-mouth pie pastry with top quality ingredients. [And no, this is not a paid advertisement.]

Meat pies are found on offer at most Bakeries in Australia, along with the Lamington, another iconic Aussie food. Although you may find dubious imitations of meat pies, in the frozen section of any supermarket, you might need a cast-iron stomach to tolerate those of lesser quality.

Meat Pie Accompaniments

Some Australians prefer their Meat pies served with Mushy Peas atop, something that is more English than Australian, or a cottage pie, with potato and a sprinkle of cheese.

Classic.

Boringly, a Meat pie in our family NEEDS to be served with lashings of mashed potatoes and green peas. It’s essential, (according to the Moth), and he refuses to eat one without these mundane accompaniments.

In a modern world, where kale and chia seeds might reign supreme, this humble dish, with its high cholesterol reputation and high-fat content, is fast becoming less popular with Australians.

Readers brave enough to take on the Geebung Bakers could try this Meat pie recipe.

Blog logo on transparent background
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?

swedish design candles
Uncategorized

Friendly Friday – Comfort Food

My resourceful co-host Sandy from The Sandy Chronicles has allocated Comfort Food for the Weekly Prompt for Friendly Friday.

Chocolate and raspberries are a match made in heaven. And for me, any kind of berry and a dash of chocolate in any form is comfort food.

kremowki

To save confusion, you can find the link to the response complete with recipe on my secondary blog:

The Home by the Sea.

Friendly Friday
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.




Community

Buy one thing

Come on Aussie, come on.

Support our smaller shops doing it tough.

Buy just one thing from our smaller gift shops to keep them going through this crisis, or when it is over, we won’t have those beautiful shops to browse through.

Your purchase doesn’t have to cost much.

Australians are renowned for their community spirit and helping one another. If we all join in, we can help each other get through this crisis.

The following link takes you to a small kitchenware shop in Buderim Queensland who has the most wonderful gifts.

Kitchen Mojo Shop at Buderim on Instagram

Unique Kitchen products include a trolley cover for shopping trolleys. They are made locally and make a wonderful gift for an elderly neighbour or relative.

They prevent germs from touching the handles of the trolley while doing your shopping.


When will you order yours?

Snow pea insect
Australia, Food

What’s Cooking at Home

Are the supermarket shelves emptying of your standard pasta sauce?

The solution is to Make Your Own. It is not hard, says Nat.

‘Nat’s What you Reckon,’ will tell you how.

He is rough, ready and he hates jar sauces and processed food.

Yet, this guy can cook.

Hidden behind this tough exterior are really useful cooking tips, and you might just get a good belly laugh along the way, with his laconic comedic manner.

Which we can all use right now.

Warning: Hold on to your seats. The language is colourful. And it is a useful brush up on Aussie Slang!

Quarantine Pasta Sauce

Anyone can make this. Nat’s here to help.

Nat can also coach you in Mushroom Risotto and Carbonara Sauce. And gives you some laughs on his adventures to Cat-Con.

Catch more of Nat here:

YouTube @ Youtube.com/c/NatsWhatIReckon

Travel

Michelin Meals in Japan

Most of us have heard of Michelin stars. That system of rating restaurants according to the results of reviews on consistency and presentation of food, quality and mastery of technique.

But Michelin stars can be a fickle thing. They come and go, as a famous French restaurant, formerly run by Paul Bocuse, found out recently when they were downgraded to two stars by Michelin, after holding the rating without interuption since 1965. Even celebrity chef Marc Veyrat, recently sued the Michelin guide over a lost third Michelin star.

To me, it is mostly irrelevant and might mean an expensive price tag. I wouldn’t refer to Michelin stars, or lack thereof when choosing a location to eat.

So imagine my surprise at the following events:-

Miss Teen, almost Adult, and I were on our final night of a 2 week trip to Japan. We had arranged to stay in a cozy and very traditional Ryokan (traditional Japanese inn), in the Kyoto district before flying back to Australia.

In case you have not heard the term before, staying at a Ryokan means sleeping in traditional accommodation, on Tatami mats on the floor, bathing in a traditional Japanese tub and eating traditional Japanese food.

Dining room at a Ryokan in Kyoto

Staying at a Japanese Traditional Inn – Ryokan in Narita – 2008

Back in 2008, I stayed at an amazing Ryokan in Narita, which had been a former Shogun’s palace some 400 years before. Our accommodation included three emormous rooms plus a small toilet. The dining area was replete with Japanese style recessed dining table with comfy floor cushion and the sitting area overlooked a Carp fish pond and Japanese style garden courtyard set amongst topiary trees and bonsai. Idyllic. It was magical.

Japanese gardens

But no Michelin rated food was served at that ryokan. You see I’d ordered a Western Style breakfast which consisted of a lettuce leaf, (Japanese seem to be obsessed with the lettuce), a mandarin segment or two and a piece of onion. It was rather strange, but we dutifully ate it anyway, well one of the kids gnawed on the 1 slice of white bread that accompanied the salad breakfast of sorts, and the other reported that she wasn’t hungry… But it was still a great experience.

Japanese Ryokan – Kyoto

For this Japanese vacation, I wanted our last night in Japan to be rather special, so we booked a night at a traditional Ryokan, in Kyoto.

The location and decor really lived up to expectations. Shoes off and stored at the door, was a must. Upon check-in, there were lengthy instructions about how our night would go from the gentlemen dressed in a Yukata – a specific kimono worn in Ryokan, even when and, if, I should wear the Yukata.

I had, at this point, completely forgotten the accommodation booking included dinner.

Dinner will be served at 8pm,” I was then informed.

“Where shall I go for dinner?” I tentatively asked.

“That will be explained,” the Yukata, clad attendant, stoicly advised.

It wasn’t explained, at all.

The room at the Kyoto Ryokan

After showing us to our room, we decided to wait until 8pm and see what transpired. There seemed to be so many rules that I didn’t want to ask again! At precisely 8pm, there was a soft knock at the door.

Our meal was served in our room by a gorgeous Japanese lady, dressed Geisha-style, at the Japanese style dining table provided.

japan
No recesses for your legs at this dining table

Let me tell you sitting cross legged at a low dining table was less challenging for my knees, in 2008, than it was for the now age 50+ knees!

The presentation of the meal was glamorous. I was very impressed. This was our first course, and I was excited to taste it.

I didn’t know what it was and tasted it anyway. Miss Teen Now Adult simply played with the food. The second course was a delight for me, but the daughter was again unimpressed.

Again it was largely seafood. Prawn and Sea cucumber et.al.

Miss Teen Now Adult does not eat seafood – at all.

Incredible presentation

I had only given the menu a cursory glance, as it was delivered with the first course and I was simply too much in awe of the presentation, to read much of what was written there.

Dutifully, I ate Miss Teen Now Adult’s portion, as well as mine, for both the first, second course and the third courses. I wanted to show my appreciation for the care taken with the meal.

After the third course, I was tad concerned about what was to come and thus checked the menu again to see six of the 10 courses contained seafood. I suddenly realized I couldn’t eat all her serves, as well as mine. But I also didn’t want to be rude and refuse the food either.

With a rising sense of horror, I then read the information compendium in the room, wherein it mentioned that Chef Harada, was a celebrated Michelin 1 Star chef. Eeek!

Miss Teen Now Adult was refusing to eat a Michelin star meal!

So what did I do, then? I shall have to tell you that another time.

I can say though, that Miss Teen Now Adult, was happy with the breakfast served the following morning, and hungrily gobbled it all.

Even the lettuce!

Thank goodness breakfast was something for Miss Teen Now Adult to Ponder More About.

More Japanese food stories at Cook, Eat, Repeat, by Acacophonouslife.life
Early morning sunrise photography
Food, History & Traditions

Cook Eat Repeat Challenge – Healthy Breakfast Eggnog

I have been following Moons’ blog, Bits and Pieces for some time now and read her post on a traditional form of Chai style tea that originated from Calcutta, as well as the beautiful traditions that surround this drink and its preparation. She’s challenged the blogging community to write about a drink that is a favourite or one that has a special meaning, for you.

sverige
Stockholm

I do like drinking tea and now I have access to tea suppliers selling specialised leaf teas, it won’t come as a surprise to hear that I enjoy a cup of ‘Stockholm blend’ tea – (goodness, even my house is called the ‘Stockholm Design’ by the Builder). But it is not tea, that I will be writing about today, but a nutritious drink that makes a great breakfast food – a powerhouse of nutrition on the go. Perfect for busy people and kids.

craft
Placemat upcycled to a teapot cosy

Traditional Juletime Egg Nog

For many European and Americans, Eggnog is a popular drink to have at Christmas. Harking back to a 14th century concotion called Posset – a kind of curdled milk mixed with ale, Eggnog and cold, winter days just seem to go together. Maybe that’s the added whisky or rum that warms the body and the soul, perhaps? The link below is for the traditional Christmas Egg Nog recipe from Jamie Oliver, but my drink is altogether different.

As most know, or might suspect, I live in a warm climate and as such we don’t have the need to have warming drinks to get us through a snowy morning.

My take on EggNog is completely non-alcoholic, is chocked full of nutritional goodness and makes the perfect start to your morning, especially if you don’t have to time to cook, or eat, a hearty breakfast.

eggnog
Photo Credit: best-eggnog-recipe/

My version of Egg Nog looks the same as in the above picture but is way easier to prepare, packs a punch nutritionally and is suitable for children as well as adults, as there’s no alcohol added.

Healthy Breakfast Drink

Many of the working population are rushed! There’s no time to prep a cooked breakfasts. Others might not feel like eating early in the morning and can only face black coffee! This twist on the traditional egg nog prepares your body and mind for the day, fills the tummy and takes seconds to prepare.

Kid Friendly Breakfast Egg Nog Recipe

  • 1 – 2 Eggs depending on your mug size
  • 1 teaspoon Sugar – Caster sugar dissolves faster
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 cup Milk – can be almond/coconut/full fat/skim or soy
  • Whole Nutmeg * – freshly ground from the whole nut*
  1. Break the egg in a large mug and whisk vigorously with a fork.
  2. Add the sugar and whisk again until the sugar dissolves.
  3. Add cinnamon and vanilla extract and mix through.
  4. Add milk and whisk thoroughly until combined
  5. Grate nutmeg on top to cover with a small grater
  6. Enjoy!

*One of my kids used to get a little confused calling nutmeg – egg mut. Whatever works we thought – regularly calling it ‘egg mut, ‘ until they became teenagers.

Breakfast Egg Nog Variations

Fruit Egg Nog: -Add raspberries or strawberries, even mango and pulse in a Nutribullet or blender, for a fruity, vitamin filled hit!

Choc or Mocha – Add 1 teaspoon cocoa powder and/or coffee diluted with a little boiled water for those with a really sweet tooth or coffee cravings.

strawberries

Nutritional Benefits of Egg Nog

As well as the milk component contributing to the dairy and calcium RDA components in your diet, ingredients such as eggs and spices round out the benefit of a daily Egg Nog drink, (without the alcohol).

One egg has only 75 calories but 7 grams of high-quality protein, 5 grams of fat, and 1.6 grams of saturated fat, along with iron, vitamins, minerals, and carotenoids. The egg is a powerhouse of disease-fighting nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin.

Nutmeg is low in Cholesterol and Sodium, is a good source of Fibre, and Manganese and support mood, digestion, sleep, good skin and brain health. It may also lower blood pressure. But don’t binge on it. Too much may not be so helpful.

Start the day with a Breakfast Egg Nog or Egg Nog Smoothie! This drink works equally well in filling up children’s tummies at afternoon tea time. This stops them snacking on junk before dinner!

Join in with Moon’s Cook Eat Repeat Challenge here:

Community

Healthy Waldorf Salad with a Twist

I was skimming through an old recipe book today, deciding whether to keep or throw it out. I do have an excess of household ‘stuff,’ that’s been in storage for well over twelve months awaiting our relocation into a modern new house by the beach, so even with the massive amounts of cupboard space the new house has, I still would like to downsize as much as I can.

So it was in a somewhat semi exhausted state from unpacking, I happened upon the recipe book. Truly, it might have just been easier to toss the whole thing out and start with fresh recipes, but handwritten old favourites evoke family memories too, so I knuckled down with a cuppa and flipped through the yellowing, slightly food stained pages. That’s when I found a recipe for “Avocado Norwegian,” that I had torn from Brisbane’s first ever vegetarian restaurant’s cookbook. The recipe is a form of salad topping an avocado half.

The recipe before the Fusion

Now normally the thought of chomping into half an avocado, (even one with a delicious topping), as one would an apple or pear, turns my stomach, but for some reason I saved this recipe and thus, gave it another look. I thought anything remotely connected with Scandinavia always deserves my attention.

I decided it might work better if I changed it a little and gave it a bit more flair. After all, who doesn’t adapt recipes? 

With the addition of a few extra ingredients, served on a bed of spinach/kale mix, and garnished with dill sprigs, I created a kind of Norwegian Waldorf Salad Fusion.

As an added bonus, the avocado is another way to add Vitamin C, E, K, and B-6, as well as riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, and potassium, beta-carotene, and omega-3 fatty acids into your diet. It surely packs a nutritional punch.

This is the final recipe for Avocado Norwaldorf Salad

Serves approximately 2 people

  • 2 sticks celery
  • 1/2 cup Fresh walnuts
  • 1 -2 red apples – I used a Royal Gala variety
  • 1-2 green apples – such as a Granny Smith
  • Fresh mint leaves, roughly torn
  • 1/3 cup Dill Pickles, roughly chopped
  • Jarslberg cheese, cubed – amount depending on personal preference
  • Mayonnaise to cover
  • 1 tablespoon of Dijon Mustard or Dijonnaise
  • Dill sprigs for garnish
  • 1 Avocado, peeled and diced into large chunks
  • Squeeze of Lemon juice (optional)
  • Seasoning to taste

Mix ingredients together, adding Avocado last.

Serve with:

Camembert cheese wedges on a bed of Spinach/Kale/Lettuce

Enjoy! Healthy, tasty and definitely worth a second look.

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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.

stpa logo
Community, Food

Nutty Rice

I was recently asked for a way to get folks and children to eat brown rice. “Disguise it with yummy additions,” I said. Or use the recipe below:

So far it hasn’t met with rejection.

[Just don’t tell anyone this is actually Brown Rice for then staunch haters of brown rice will gobble this up!!]

Brown rice is a great source of magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, thiamine, manganese and B group vitamins as well as fibre s it is quite disappointing to see folks/children reject it based on its taste. This recipe complements its nutty flavour.

Nutty Brown Rice

saute onion and celery
saute onion and celery

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 stick celery, finely chopped
  • 50 g pine nuts
  • 1 1/2 cups long grain brown rice
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock or water
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Season to taste
  1. Heat oil in heavy saucepan and saute onion and celery fro about 3 minutes till onion becomes transparent.
  2. Add pine nuts and cook over low heat for 2 minutes or until they are lightly browned.
  3. Add the rice, stirring well until the grains are well coated with oil.
  4. Add the Stock, Thyme and Bay leaf and bring to the boil .
  5. Cover saucepan and simmer until rice is tender and all the vegetable stock is absorbed. This will take about 45 minutes.
  6. Season if desired.

Variations: –

  • Add 1.4 tsp cumin or Turmeric towards end of cooking.
  • Leave to cool, then add beansprouts and serve as a cold rice salad.
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Community

Lemons – The Good News

Why are Lemons a Good Thing to Have?

Acidic by nature, lemons and limes are alkalizing once eaten, due to their high alkaline mineral content. It is not the pH of the food in its natural state, it is the effect it has on the body that is important.


Delicious in a lemon cake, or freshly squeezed over vegetables, salad or washed, sliced and left to permeate in drinking water, here are a few of the benefits of lemons:

Benefits

  • Lemons are antiseptic
  • Lemon water aids digestion and can ease heartburn and bloating
  • Lemons cleanse and stimulates the liver and kidneys
  • Lemon juice contains calcium, magnesium and potassium
  • Lemon juice has been known to relieve asthma
  • Because it is high in Vitamin C, warm lemon water is a favoured remedy for colds/flu
  • Lemon juice is a great skin cleanser
  • It can kick start one’s metabolism when taken first thing in the morning.
Lemons

Tips

  • Always wash your lemons thoroughly to remove any residual spray – or purchase organic lemons. Even better, plant a lemon tree of your own.
  • Just be sure not to clean one’s teeth for at least half an hour afterwards. Otherwise, the enamel on your teeth might begin to break down.

Click on the title of any of the Cakes/Cookies listed below for recipes of delicious and easy ways to incorporate lemon into your diet.

Scroll further down for a no-fail Lemon Cake recipe that I can recommend.

Lemon and Ricotta Ring Cake

IMG_20150215_161353 (Small)

Lemon Madeira

lemon madeira

Lemon Biscuits

Lemon Cheesecake

LEMON Cake Recipe

(from The Australian Woman’s Weekly)

INGREDIENTS

  • 125g butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind
  • 1 cup (220g) caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup (150g) self-raising flour
  • ½ cup (75g) plain flour
  • ½ cup (125ml) milk – fill to within 1/8 Inch of brim of measure with milk, then top up with lemon juice

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to moderate (180°/160°C fan-forced)
  2. Grease a deep 20cm round or large loaf pan, then line the base with baking paper.
  3. Beat the butter, rind and sugar in a small bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until combined between additions.
  5. Stir in the sifted flours in two batches with the milk.
  6. Spread the mixture into the prepared pan.
  7. Bake in a moderate oven for about 35 minutes or until the cake is cooked when tested.
  8. Allow cake to stand for 15 minutes before turning the cake onto a wire rack to cool.
  9. Pour icing (see below), over cake whilst still warm

Note: I don’t make icing or a topping, as the cake is sweet enough and nice enough without, but if you wish to make it, and add even more lemon juice, here it is……

Icing

Combine ½ cup (125ml) lemon juice and ¼ cup (55g) caster sugar in a jug and stir until the sugar is dissolved.

Pour the topping over the cake whilst it is still warm from the oven.

This cake is suitable to freeze but not suitable to microwave.


Community

Eat Like the Japanese

It seems like the only people I have seen in Japan carrying extra kilos, (Sumo wrestlers notwithstanding), has been more often than not, Australian tourists – like me! I was thinking that there was something in this. Perhaps it should be a wake up call for Aussie lifestyle and diets.

At breakfast the morning after our arrival, the reason why Japanese appear so lean was becoming obvious. But first we had to make it to the breakfast restaurant.

The Early Bird Gets the Worm, or Does It?

Factoring in that there was two complexes that make up the Washington Shinjuku Hotel, I became a tad concerned about how busy the restaurant might be, particularly at breakfast time.

Arriving promptly at the buffet restaurant at the allotted time, would be the best way to stay ahead of the crowds all wanting breakfast at the hotel in Shinjuku, or so I thought. But this is Japan.

Booking.com photo credit

So when the lift doors opened to the 25th floor, it seemed that my concerns were totally unfounded. Only a few people were waiting at the restaurant’s entrance. They had even provided a couple of chairs for us. How thoughtful, I mused.

Then it dawned on me. Chairs? How long could the actual wait time be?

It was as if they were reading my mind, because an attendant quietly placed a cardboard clock on the counter, indicating a wait time of 30 mins to be seated for breakfast. Oh!

But it must be wrong I thought, as there was only one couple ahead of me, wasn’t there?

Several minutes later, we were ushered into a specially assigned waiting room…. full of guests waiting for breakfast. Water, mints and reading material was provided. This was a little concerning! When was breakfast?

All was good though, because a mere 20 minutes later, we were invited to enter the restaurant. I was still impressed by the Japanese organizing capabilities. A waiting room – great idea!

JAPANESE ORGANIZATION


We were given breakfast cards to keep and use at our table. An ingenious concept that I had not seen before. Just flip your card depending on your status, ‘Having a meal’ when you take one or those,’ more please,’ trips to the buffet and ‘End of Meal’ when you leave.

No confusion or wasting table space with empty tables waiting to be cleared of dirty dishes, in the restaurant. Such a clever idea. So Japanese and so organized.

Breaking the fast

Endless varieties of lettuce featured at the buffet

As well as a slight obsession with fresh lettuce, (so far the single most recurring food theme of this holiday), an array of pro-biotic fermented foods such pickled kelp, mustard greens, dried plum and leeks featured significantly at the breakfast buffet.

I was starting to see more reasons why Japanese have a healthy diet.

You had to be super quick if you wanted to try these Deep Fried Fish Balls and the cooks could not keep up with the demand for Gyoza. Two foods that are probably not that good for the waistline.

I wasn’t sure what the above delicacies were. Apart from the greens, it looked like leeks, some kind of breakfast cereal on the left and beans and pasta in the middle. Any ideas?

I focused on the pomegranate juice; (at least I think that is what it was), but I could not altogether resist the American style donuts and had to satisfy my curiosity with a Japanese Sweet Potato Cake, ( bottom left in the photo below). Yes I was satisfied – but the cake was a little too sweet to eat for breakfast, but still quite delicious!

The view from the buffet window might have taken my breath away, but it did nothing to assuage my appetite. Plenty of walking was scheduled for today, so that would work off the donuts, wouldn’t it?

No wonder the Japanese are lean.

More about our day, walking over 15 kilometres around Shibuya next time.

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