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.