Sunday, 29 April 2012

Pine Nut Cake with Orange Syrup

Peel and slice oranges

I intended to take part in the Random Recipe No. 15 at Belleau Kitchen and then before you knew it April was nearly over.  

Mistakenly I thought I had to the end of the month until I just logged on and Dom has already posted the line-up! 

Its like turning up to a party with my birthday cake a day late! Anyway seeing as I  did the whole random picking and baking thing I thought I would share anyway.  Sorry about that Dom, but I am sure you would have loved it.

This was my random pick from a Donna Hay magazine August 2009, very random!

Pastry base
1 1/2 cups (225g) plain flour sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
100g cold butter chopped
1/4 cup (55g) caster sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind
1/4 cup  (60ml) cold water

Pine Nut Filling
1 1/2 cups (120g) pine nuts + extra for decoration
3/4 cup (165g) caster sugar
150g softened butter
2 eggs
1 tablespoon plain flour
icing sugar for dusting

Orange Syrup
4 oranges
1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar
2 cups (500ml) water

Peel and slice oranges, reserving the peel from one orange.
Arrange in slices in a non-metalic dish.
Place sugar in a saucepan with reserved peel and water.
Heat and stir until sugar is disolved, bring to the boil and cook for 10 minutes. 
Discard peel and pour the hot syrup over the oranges and allow to cool completely.

Oranges with Syrup

I started with the pastry base - 
Place flour, baking powder, butter, sugar and lemon rind in a bowl and rub together until you have a mixture that resembles breadcrumbs.  
Add water and mix until dough comes together into a ball. 
Turn onto a floured surface and knead for 1-2 minutes or until smooth.
Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 20 minutes. 

To make the filling
Place nuts and sugar into a processor/blender and wiz until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. 
Add butter and eggs and process until smooth. Set aside

Pastry Base
Preheat oven to 180C.
Roll out pastry on a floured surface to 5mm thick. 
Grease a 24cm springform tin and line with the pastry, allowing it to hang over the sides.
Spoon in the nut mixture, fold over the pastry, trim and sprinkle with pine nuts.
Bake for 25 mins, cover loosely with tin foil and bake for a further 35 minutes (less if fan forced) or until golden.
Remove from tin and dust with icing sugar before serving.  Serves 10 -12.

 I am sure you would have loved this to celebrate your 2nd Birthday Dom so I am sending it to you anyway!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

ANZAC Day and ANZAC Biscuits

It has rained all night in Melbourne but that didn't deter the "diggers" from turning out for the Dawn Service and the march afterwards.

Collingwood will play Essendon in the traditional AFL ANZAC Day football match and
I will remember my grandmother who died 25th April 2003 age 96.

The oven is on early and the smell of ANZAC biscuits cooking will soon fill the kitchen.

The acronym ANZAC was coined in 1915 when Australian and New Zealand troops were training in Egypt. 

The word ANZAC was eventually applied to all Australian and New Zealand soldiers in World War 1. The term is particularly associated with the landing at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915

Anzac biscuits received their name during the First World War, when biscuits were made without eggs so they would keep longer for the soldiers. 

Dry ingredients
small balls ready for the oven


1 cup rolled oats
1 cup plain flour 

1 cup sugar 

3/4 (three-quarters) cup coconut 

125g (4 oz) butter 

2 tablespoons golden syrup
½ (half) teaspoon bicarbonate of soda 

1 tablespoon boiling water 


Pour oats, sifted flour, sugar and coconut in a mixing bowl; 

Put butter and golden syrup in a saucepan, stir over gentle heat until melted; 
In a cup mix bicarb. soda with boiling water and then add to melted butter mixture; 
Stir the liquid into dry ingredients. 

Press with a fork to flatten
Lightly grease or line with greaseproof paperoven trays; dollop mixture onto tray leaving room to spread.(small balls with make chewy biscuits - flattened will make crispier biscuits)

Cook in slow oven (150°C or 300°F) for approx 20 minutes (less if fan forced). 

fresh from the oven 

Rosemary is for remembrance and is often worn on ANZAC Day
Lest we forget

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Roast Lamb and Mint Sauce

Fresh Mint 

Easter Sunday is always a busy day with so many mouths big and small to feed for lunch. So something easy to cook leaves little room for error and a roast once in the oven needs little attention. Time seems to disappear on mornings such as these so I was conscious to prepare the lamb early and get it in the oven.

I love fresh herbs so I dashed out to the garden to pick the mint and rosemary first (I normally forget this bit and have to down tools in the middle of preparations to do the harvesting). 

I dried the skin of the lamb and made some incisions and studded with rosemary and garlic slivers.  Rubbed the meat with olive oil and salt. Easy!

It looked pretty good just sitting on the bench and it wasn't even cooked.
Lamb studded with Rosemary and Garlic
Cooking Lamb
Preheat the oven to 180C. Cooking time will depend on size but approximately 18-20mins per 500g (1lb).  I like my lamb a little pink and so prefer to undercook and leave to stand covered with tin foil for about 10 - 15 mins. I sliced the lamb thickly and the slivers of garlic could be seen quite clearly. Beautiful.

Now for the mint sauce - I thought it would be as easy as opening a book and just putting a few ingredients together - as I hadn't made it from scratch before I wanted the security of written measurements.  Do you think I could find a plain mint sauce recipe anywhere.  I must have opened at least a dozen books.  I could have googled but I felt sure I should have this elementary sauce on my own bookshelf.  Eventually I turned to one of my oldest cookery books "The Cordon Bleu Cookery Book" by Rosemary Hume and Muriel Downes and felt sure this would not disappoint. I was right. It looks well used and the pages are quite yellow but to be honest I can't remember cooking much from it.  But it came to the rescue on page 334.
Homemade Mint Sauce
Mint Sauce
1 large handfull mint leaves
1 tablespoon castor sugar
2 tablespoons boiling water
3 tablespoons wine vinegar
pinch of salt
(I increased these quantities for my luncheon)

Wash and dry mine leaves, chop finely or pound in a mortar until smooth with a little sugar.
Turn into a bowl add boiling water.
Stir in the sugar, vinegar and salt.
Taste and add more sugar or vinegar if necessary.
The sauce should be bright green and thick in consistency.

The smell of roast lamb filled the house and was a lovely welcoming aroma - nothing better for when everyone started to arrive.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Easter Fun

Easter in our house is nearly as big a family celebration as Christmas. We decorate, we cook, we lay the tables, we eat, we drink, we laugh, and chat and generally enjoy each others company, the kids play, we all get excited when the easter egg hunt is on, (children and parents), we open presents and we eat far too much including chocolate.  This year was no different, except we also had three birthdays to celebrate from  6th 7th and 8th.

Hello Bunny

The craft table hard at work while waiting for lunch
Love those ears Spiderman

Find those eggs!
Bunny or chicken
I had such big intentions of making hot cross buns and cakes, sadly I just ran out of time.  I did however cook the best roast lamb and the whole house smelt delicious when everyone started to arrive.
Chocolate kicking in!