Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Lesson 10 - Chocolate Brownies

It was time I decided to introduce my son to the best ever recipe for Chocolate Brownies. I would die for these they are so moreish and chocolaty and soft and gooey. There are simply not enough words to describe the phenomenal taste of these brownies. The recipe is from the book Fast, Fresh and Fabulous by Janelle Bloom from Ready, Steady, Cook.
Of Course Mr Moo being the chocolate fan that he is (he got that from me!) he thought they were fantastic as well. "Better than the ones we made the other day" he pronounced and I have to say I do agree with him. But then I started thinking, perhaps I should put the cranberries and pistachios into this recipe and see what it turns out like? A good thought you say? Well stay tuned if I get enough time before Christmas (2 days and counting) I will give it a try and let you know!

Lesson 9 - Anzacs

This lesson was about an all time favourite of many of us Aussie's. Good old Anzac biscuits. A friend from my husband's work asked if Mr Moo could have a lesson on making Anzacs, so I complied and here is the result, yummy golden brown, crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside, full of oaty goodness.
Mr Moo had eaten these before but he couldn't remember and was quite excited about fulfilling the request and eagerly helped me whip up a batch.
These disappeared almost as fast as the Pffernusse!

Lesson 8 - Pffernusse

I think this lesson must have been his favourite! He just loved these yummy little biscuits and was eating them as soon as they hit the cooling racks, and then popping them in a box to take to kinder the next day for snack time. He ate so many that poor Daddy completely missed out! So I am on notice to cook more before Christmas.
I have posted this recipe on my blog here almost a year ago now and decided to whip it out for Mr Moo to make as a lesson and as Christmas gifts. The gifts part never quite eventuated as they somehow just disappeared!
So for those of you who don't know they are German for 'pepper nuts' and are spicy little biscuits that if you make quite small are just as addictive as a bowl of nuts sitting at the bar (Mr Moo is testament to that!). If you like gingerbread you will love these, they are easier to make, require no cookie cutters and keep for weeks or can be frozen, now what more could you want?!
Whip some up for Christmas today, I have a batch prepared for tomorrow!

Lesson 7 - Easy Festive Brownies

So we were getting closer to Christmas and I figured we should give the Kinder Teachers (who are Mr Moo's taste testers) something festive to taste before the end of the year approcahes, so I found this recipe in the Cole's brochure and decided to try it, being a brownie fan from way back!
It is basically a chocolate brownies recipe with cranberries, pistachios and white chocolate added to the mix to add the "festive" component.
Here is the recipe, I must admit they were a little dry for my liking of brownies but others raved about them so hey....decide for yourself!


125g Butter
200g dark cooking chocolate
1/2 cup caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups plain flour
1 cup white chocolate bits
2/3 cup craisins (dried cranberries)
2/3 cup shelled pistachios, roasted

  • Preheat oven to 180 C, grease and line the sides of a 19cm square pan
  • Melt butter, dark chocolate and sugar in a saucepan until melted. Cool for 10 minutes
  • Stir in eggs, flour, mix well
  • Add white chocolate, craisins, and pistachios
  • Pour into prepared pan and smooth the top
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until form to touch.
  • Allow to cool in the pan, turn out and cut into squares

Lesson 6 - Cheese and Bacon Quiches

I must admit I have gotten a little behind in my blogging of Mr Moos' cooking lessons so I am playing catch up! These were made for my Nana's 90th birthday party which was on 28th November. Mr Moo decided that he was going to help me do the baking, hence we made three more batches of our extra yummy sausage rolls from lesson 2 and these scrummy Cheese and Bacon Quiches. Again we were working with pastry but since it was frozen and it required no rolling or kneading he was great at working with it and pressing it into the muffin tins. Then I simply lined up all the ingredients to go in the, pre-chopped in bowls and he filled them up. Then we beat together enough milk and eggs (on egg to every 1 1/2 cups milk) to fill them to the top, using a jug to pour them in.
He did have a hard time waiting for them to cook so he could taste them, and then I only allowed him to taste one or I would have had none left for the actual party! They were a hit at home and at the party, and so easy for him to make. He is getting really confident at using the oven, putting it on setting the temperature and putting the trays in. I still take them out as I feel he is not yet ready for the really hot trays but I don't think it will be too much longer!

Friday, 17 December 2010

Lesson 5 - Peanut Butter Choc Chip Cookies

This recipe came from one of my favourite cooking blogs Fig Jam & Lime Cordial, it is Peanut Butter and Choc Chip Cookies and boy were they a hit! They come out large and crisp on the outside chewy on the inside just like a Mrs Field's cookie and they are addictive!
Mr Moo decided they were just grand (no surprises there) and he had a very different expression on his face when he ate these as opposed to the Rhubarb Cake. That grin is from ear to ear and with good cause I must add, thanks Ceilia for a wonderful recipe I am sure this is one my son will want to make again and again, and again!
Ceilia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial has some all together amazing recipes I suggest you have a look I religiously check everyday to see just what she has been up to in the kitchen and drool over some of her creations.

Lesson 4 - Rhubarb Cake

Whilst shopping I came across the most fabulous looking bunch of rhubarb and I just had to have it! Mr Moo had never eaten rhubarb so we decided to make it into a cake and give him a taste. As you can see from the photo the cake was one of those really tart tasting cakes, I thought it was just as fabulous as the rhubarb looked but to his 5 year old palate not so much, hence the face! It was priceless really I am sure he was waiting for the sweet tasting cakes he is used to and wham, a big taste of tart! But as we keep saying, "You don't have to like it but you do have to taste it." and he is keeping up his side of the cooking lesson deal and tasting everything I put before him. I have even now convinced him to eat green beans (he would eat any other kind but green) and pumpkin using this method. I am very proud of him. Anyway less rambling, here is the recipe if you love rhubarb and you can handle a cake that is not really sweet but divine to eat! then go ahead and make it, it was really good.

Moist Rhubarb Coffeecake

2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
1 egg
1 cup plain low fat yogurt
1/2 cup applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups uncooked rhubarb, coarsely chopped


Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the egg and sugar then add the yogurt, applesauce, and vanilla. Stir into the flour mixture until blended, then add the chopped rhubarb and mix well. Turn into a 9-inch square pan that is greased or sprayed with non-stick spray. Sprinkle top with remaining sugar. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes until the cake tests done in the center.

Recipe from

Then I still had some rhubarb left and I made this outstanding rhubarb relish with it, which I have discovered goes very well with both turkey and ham, very handy indeed for Christmas and I have a jar on the shelf waiting to be cracked on Christmas day.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Lesson 3 - Lemon Tarts

See that big grin on Mr Moo's face? Well that is because he just finished another cooking lesson with Mummy, what did we cook today? Lemon Tarts of course! One because Mr Moo loves lemon flavoured anything (yes strange for a five year old) and Mummy loves tarts! I must admit we did find the pastry section of the recipe a little challenging and he did lose interest for a bit while Mummy tried to work with the crumbling pastry wondering all the time why she didn't just get frozen stuff!
But it wouldn't be a proper education if somewhere along the line we didn't get into the horrors of making out own pastry. That being said we won't venture there again for a while it was way beyond his skills and frankly almost beyond mine!
But let me tell you those lemon tarts were great, tangy and strong in lemon flavour just the way I like them. I really don't like those things bakeries call lemon tarts that are really custard tarts with a drop of lemon thrown in, too creamy not just lemony!
I also have to say that my most favourite lemon tart comes from a high class supermarket called Leo's Fine Foods there is one in Heidelberg and one in Kew and they have a beautiful large lemon tart, it as about $20 so as far as tarts go not that expensive but the flavour is Divine, just totally Divine!

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Lesson 2 - Sausage Rolls

So as promised and requested by Mr Moo we made lesson two all about sausage rolls. I had my doubts about his ability with the skill level required to form sausage shapes and roll the pastry etc.. but he did fabulously.
Lunch was sausage rolls of course and he has been eating them just about every day since! I think next time we might need to add some more vegies to the mix so they are a bit healthier!
If you feel like giving them a try, here is the recipe.

Sausage Rolls

Makes 36


3 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
2 eggs lightly beaten
750gm minced sausage meat
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
80gm fresh breadcrumbs
3 tbsp parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp ground sage
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp sesame seeds

  • Preheat oven to 200 C, and line two trays with baking paper
  • Cut the pastry sheets in half and lightly brush the edges with some of the egg
  • To make the filling mix one egg with the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl, you will need to use your hands for this!
  • Divide into six even portions
  • Spoon the filling down the centre of each pastry piece in a sausage shape.
  • Brush the edges with egg and fold the pastry over, overlapping at the bottom
  • Cut each into six short pieces and place on the baking trays.
  • Brush with egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds
  • Bake for 15 minutes then reduce the temperature to 180 C for another 15 minutes.

It's that Time Again!

Well it is that time of the year again, I can't believe it has rolled around so fast! Cup Day in our house was once again Pudding Day, and we were up to our ears in dried fruit breadcrumbs and pots of boiling water. Mr Moo (my 5 year old) was again in on the action, I believe after cracking 12 eggs between two puddings he may have finally got the knack of cracking an egg without leaving half of it on the bench!
I love these times though, they have become special we have created our own little family tradition and it is wonderful, I hope Mr Moo will continue the tradition when he gets a family of his own, or when I am too decrepit to cook it myself! If you want the recipe it's on my blog!

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Mini Chef takes on BIG cake

My 5 year old son has really been a fan of Masterchef and has loved the new series Junior Masterchef, so much so that he is now begging me to learn how to cook! So I sat down and thought where on earth do you start with a 5 year old? Not only do they need to learn the basics like how to sift, crack an egg, line and grease a pan etc... but they also need to learn such things as oven and stove safety, and how to cut safely with a sharp knife. But he is so excited that I can't say no and I must admit that I am marveling at those Junior Mastechef kids and wondering if one day my son might be able to cook like them. He certainly loves food and is pretty much willing to try anything once, although after that try he has some very definite opinions!
Anyway all that aside he requested that we start with the Donna Hay Four Tier Chocolate Layer Cake that they made in the pressure test on Sunday night, I was a little dubious, but do you know what he did really well and we learnt a lot along the way like measuring (how many quarter cups are in a whole cup etc..), oven and stove safety, cracking eggs, and greasing and lining.
So given that as you can see by the photo it was a great success I am going to just be guided by him, what he would like to learn to cook and maybe just a give a few ideas when I think we might be stuck baking to many sweet things! Although that being said the next lesson that has been requested is sausage rolls. So stay tuned for how they are going to work out. I also have started a cooking journal for him we stick in the recipe we followed, he writes the name of the dish on the top of the page, we take photos and stick them in and Mummy writes in the skills that we learnt that lesson.
And one last thing........that chocolate cake is to die for and check out those perfect layers!

Monday, 4 October 2010

Cranberry Relish

This is a recipe I use every year, I like to spice my Cranberry Sauce up a bit then just what comes in the jar. This one is made with dried cranberries and is really nice. We eat it with our turkey and then cold in sandwiches as well, that's if there is any left!


2 tsp olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 tsp crushed ginger
170gm craisins (dried cranberries)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 bay leaf
pinch of ground cinnamon

  • Heat the oil in a pan, add the onion and ginger and cook until soft
  • Add craisins, sugar, wine. vinegar, bay leaf and cinnamon, stir to combine
  • Increase heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the craisins soften and the mixture thickens
  • Store in an air tight container for up to a week.


This recipe comes from a Dutch lady that I met in playgroup, she made them for our Christmas Breakup Party and they were just moreish, so I asked her for the recipe. It makes heaps and heaps but they do store well, and make great gifts!


250gm plain flour
1/8 tsp Bi-Carb Soda
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp ground clove
1/2 tsp ground ginger
100gm butter
150gm sugar
1 egg
4tbsp cream

  • Mix flour and spices together
  • Rub in the cold butter that has been chopped into small pieces
  • Beat eggs and sugar together and then add the cream.
  • Mix the two mixes together until they make a dough it is fairly sticky
  • Cool in the fridge for 30 minutes
  • Roll out into finger thick rolls and chop into small pieces about 2cm
  • Put them on a tray lined with baking paper
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius until just brown.
Enjoy! If you find the spices a little strong for your liking just drop the amounts until you are happy.

Tomato Passata

It has simply been too long since i last blogged about food! But in my defence I have been busy getting fit and healthy and trying to get my mind off of food until I could look at it from a healthy point of view. So too that end I have in the last six months lost 22kg and counting, so I figure the time out was worth it! And now I have a few recipes that I need to blog before they disappear in the mound of paperwork that is my "to do" tray!
This one is Tomato Passata, I have always wanted to make passata rather than having to constantly buy the shop bought version, so this year when the tomatoes are cheap I am going to give it a go. Lots of recipes I found simply freezed the finished product but I don't have room in my freezer for that much frozen passata I think I would need a dedicated freezer for that so I rummaged round the Internet til I found one that is preserved instead. So why not give it a go!

Tomato Passta


1kg of tomatoes (any less and it will burn) but do as much as will fit in your pot or jars!

  • Wash the tomatoes well in cold water. Cut them in half and remove the white piece in the centre and the seeds. Squeeze out any excess water
  • Remove the hard centres where the stalks were attached.
  • Put them in a large pot, uncovered, and place them mover a medium heat for 1 1/2 - 2 hours or until broken down into mushy pulp.
  • Then pass the pulp through a sieve to get rid of the skins and remaining seeds
  • Using a funnel pour the passata into sterilised jars leaving a gap of about 2cm at the top.
  • Put on the lids and place in a large pan topped with water. make sure the water covers the tops of the jars. Boil for about 20 minutes or until the tops become indented.
  • Remove and cool before storing in a dark cupboard.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Turkey Today?

Turkey it seems is making an arrival on the everyday cooking scene. No longer is it just for Christmas but it is now a standard every day meat, who would have thought hey!

So I stumbled across Turkey Today and it has great recipes for using turkey in ways you would never have though of. But you know what's best of all? Turkey mince is half the price of chicken mince and better for you! WOW the things you find out..........

I have four favourite recipes from the site

Mexican Turkey Meatloaf
Soy and Sesame Turkey Balls
Thai Turkey Cakes
Turkey, Feta and Green Onion Rissoles

There are many more recipes so have a surf and find your favourite, I guarantee you will find a way to use turkey that you haven't thought of before.......

The Long Awaited Return of Master Chef.........and Lemon Diva Cupcakes

Well I have to say I am very excited, the long anticipated return of Master Chef Australia has begun and it is living up to it's expectations. I have fond memories of last years series and many of it's recipes have become a staple in my cooking repertoire. From George's lesson on the perfect steak (my husband's favourite) to the winning Lemon Diva Cupcakes made by Julie (All my friends favourite) I had a ball and learnt a few things along the way.

This year I am also pleased to say that I am in the possession of a Tivo and so there will be no missed episodes for me, no logging onto the website to find the bit my old PVR failed to record.

So in memory of last years successful series and the release of Julie's cookbook Our Family Table, here is the Lemon Diva Cupcake recipe enjoyed by one and all of my nearest and dearest friends!


100gm unsalted butter
3/4 cup caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
finely grated zest of 3 lemons
1 1/3 cups self raising flour
1/2 cup milk

125gm unsalted butter
2 cups icing sugar
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsiuis
  • Beat butter,sugar and extract until thick and creamy
  • Add the eggs one at a time beating after each addition
  • Add the lemon zest and mix through
  • Add half the flour and half the milk and stir to combine, repeat until mix is just combined
  • Pour into patty pans filling to 2/3 full
  • Bake for 20 - 25 minutes
  • While cakes cool make icing
  • Beat butter and lemon juice until smooth
  • Gradually add the icing sugar until mixture is thick
  • Pour into a piping bag and ice the cakes
Eat and enjoy! These are a sure winner in my house! She also sometimes substitutes orange or lime for lemon.

Butterscotch Bars

I recently stumbles across the fabulous website Fig Jam and Lime Cordial and am really enjoying browsing through her recipes. She is the kind of cook I would love to be, using new products making her own products and very adventurous! Anyway this is her recipe and it is fantastic!

I made it on Friday night and my four year old has been begging me to give him a piece every day since. I will be glad when it is out of the house! Please also note that she made it with left over Easter Eggs as an alternative to just normal chocolate chips, how lavish is that hey!!

Anyway have a browse round her site it is worth a trip to a fellow Aussie's site!

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Pot-Roast Meatloaf

Here is another one of Jamie Oliver's fabulous recipes. I have really been enjoying his work lately and he makes great recipes for when you have large gatherings of friends or family. I have 10 for dinner every second Friday so I am always looking for easy recipes that feed hoards!


2 medium onions, chopped
olive oil
salt & pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
12 crackers (he uses Jacob's cream crackers but you can't get them here so I used premiums!)
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp Dijon mustard
500gm minced beef
1 large egg
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 chilli, chopped
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
400g can chickpeas, drained
2 x 400g cans diced tomatoes
2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
2 sprigs rosemary
12 slices of bacon or pancetta (I leave this off if I am trying to be a bit healthy)
1 lemon

Method - Meatloaf
  • Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
  • Place one onion in a large fry pan with some olive oil, salt and pepper
  • Add the cumin and coriander, fry stirring every 30 seconds for about 7 minutes
  • Put in a large bowl to cool
  • Crush the crackers until fine and add to the bowl with the oregano, mustard and mince beef.
  • Add the egg and more salt and pepper. Mix well with your hands
  • Shape into a large football shape and rub with a little oil
  • Place it in a casserole dish and place in the oven, bake for half an hour
Method - Sauce
  • Place the remaining onion, garlic and chilli in a large pan with some olive oil, the paprika and salt and pepper. Cook for seven minutes stirring often.
  • Add the Worcestershire sauce, chickpeas, tomatoes and balsamic vinegar. Bring to the boil, turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Method - Finishing Off
  • Place rosemary in a small bowl, remove the meatloaf from the oven and pour the oil over the rosemary.
  • Spoon the sauce around the meatloaf
  • Lay the slices of bacon/pancetta over the top of the meatloaf
  • Scatter over the rosemary
  • Place it back in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the bacon/pancetta turns golden

Cabbage and Jamie Oliver..... What a Match!

I have not always been a fan of cabbage. I remember it from my childhood boiled and not very tasty. But Jamie has two particularly great recipes for cabbage and they are just moreish! So get into the winter veggies as the weather starts to turn cold. My sister just loves the second recipe and I send her home with left overs every time we have it and you would think I gave her a winning lottery ticket!

The first is Braised Bacon Cabbage....Yum!


1 savoy cabbage finely sliced
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
6 rashers of streaky bacon, chopped
olive oil
2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
2 tbsp butter
1 chicken stock cube
salt & pepper to taste

  • Place the olive oil in a pan and heat, add the bacon and stir until crisp and golden
  • Stir in the garlic and the 2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce and the butter.
  • Add the V=Cabbage stir well and turn up the heat to high
  • Dissolve the chicken stock cube in 285ml water pour it in to the pan.
  • Place a lid on the pot and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Season with the salt and pepper if needed
Eat!! I will guarantee there will be none left!

The Second recipe is Red Cabbage Braised with Apple, Bacon & Balsamic Vinegar


Olive Oil
250g Streaky bacon, sliced
1 tbsp Fennel Seeds, bashed
1 onion, chopped
2 Apples, peeled and chopped
1 red cabbage, chopped into chunks
salt & pepper to taste
150ml Balsamic Vinegar

  • Heat olive oil in a pan add the bacon and fennel seeds, cook until golden
  • Add the onion and cook until golden and sticky
  • Add the apple, cabbage, salt, pepper and Balsamic Vinegar, stir well
  • Put the lid on and cook over low heat for an hour, stirring every now and then
This goes really well with Corned Beef!

Best Ever Chilli Con Carne

This one is a Jamie Oliver recipe and it is fabulous! Nice and rich and really really tasty!


2 mediums onions, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 red capsicums, chopped
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
salt & pepper to taste
400g tin chickpeas, drained & rinsed
400g tin kidney beans, drained & rinsed
2 x 400g tins diced tomatoes
500gm beef mince
1 bunch coriander, chopped
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

  • Using a large pot, place 2 tbsp olive oil and heat
  • Add the onions, garlic, carrots, celery and capsicum, cook til starting to soften
  • Add the chilli powder, cumin, cinnamon and salt & pepper
  • Cook stirring for 7 minutes until soft and lightly coloured
  • Add the chickpeas, kidney beans and tomatoes
  • Add the mince beef, breaking it apart with your spoon
  • Add the balsamic vinegar and coriander, bring to the boil and cover.
  • Turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for about an hour, stirring every now and then
Serve with rice, guacamole and lime wedges

Cook Book Fever

I must admit to being very slack lately with my recipe blogging so I will try and get a few in today! Have been very much into the buying and reading of new cook books since Christmas, browsing their fabulous pages and drooling over the recipes that I intend to try. I think I am suffering from Cook Book Fever! Here is a list of my recent purchases / gifts.........
  • The Helenic Heart - George Calombaris
  • Cook with Jamie - Jamie Oliver
  • Feed Me Now - Bill Granger
  • Master Chef 2009
  • Crunch Time Cookbook - Michelle Bridges
  • Woman's Weekly Slow Cooking
  • My Family Table - Julie Goodwin
I know a vast list but each and every one was worth it! I am especially liking the Woman's Weekly Slow Cooking. I dragged out the forgotten slow cooker and am busy working my way through the recipes. The advantages to a sloe cooker is that you can get it going and then there is basically nothing to do come dinner time. The down side is that you simply move the dinner preparation to the morning instead! See there is no way to escape the task. So now I will blog some of my most favourite recipes!

Monday, 5 April 2010

Tom Yum Soup

This soup has become a staple for my Husband's lunch box. He likes the soup really really hot and spicy but you can adjust it to your own taste. And the best thing is it is from Michelle Bridges "Crunch Time Cookbook" so it is also good for you as well!


4 cups water
2 tsp Tom Yum Paste
60g baby corned, halved
50g Shiitake mushrooms, sliced
2 tsp soy sauce
1 bunch baby bok choy, chopped
1 bunch coriander leaves
1 spring onion, sliced
1 lime

  • Place the water in a saucepan and bring to the boil
  • Stir in the Tom Yum paste
  • Add the corn (and any harder vegetables you might be using - see tips) and simmer for 5 minutes
  • Add the mushrooms and spring onions and simmer for a further 5 minutes
  • Stir in the soy sauce and bok choy simmer a further 5 minutes
  • Add the coriander and lime juice just before serving

Just some tips!
  • I use the dried Shiitake mushrooms they keep really well and the simply dehydrate in the soup!
  • I use lime juice not a fresh lime tastes the same but cheaper and keeps well
  • My husband likes it really hot so I add 4 birds eye chillies at step 2
  • I chuck in whatever vegetables I have left at the end of the week
  • It freezes really well!