An impending visit from a good friend forced me to think outside the box. She loved cake but did not like eggs in them! After trawling through my favourite sites I finally came up with this one and it got a smile of approval from my friend. The picture might look meh but I assure you that it is only another indication that photography is obviously not my strong point! It’s a surprisingly moist, tasty cake.
225g self raising flour
200g caster sugar/ powdered sugar, not icing sugar
30g cocoa powder
100g room temperature unsalted butter
200g condensed milk sweetened
100g dark chocolate
1/2 cup silken tofu
100 ml boiling water
Preheat oven to 180C. Grease a 20cm springform tin.
Sieve the flour and cocoa powder. Heat the sugar, butter, condensed milk and the chocolate broken up with the just boiled water. Heat till smooth. Remove from heat and stir in the tofu puréed. Stir in the flour. Gently mix till it all comes together, pour into prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes. The toothpick test will show some cake sticking to it because it’s a really moist cake. Cool and ice with your favourite icing if you prefer. I left it plain.
Recipe source : The Cake Site ( with a slight deviation from the original recipe)
Pasta is comfort food for me and a hearty casserole with pasta and vegetables baked with white sauce and cheese is perfect for a winter dinner. It has only half a cup of cheese and a dash of chilli flakes adds some welcome heat to the dish. The list looks long but it’s all very easily put together with everyday pantry essentials.
350 g fusilli pasta
2Tb olive oil
2 cups cremini or portabella mushroom chopped
1/2 red onion chopped
4 cloves garlic crushed
1 Tb red chilli flakes
1/2 cup white wine
3Tb plain flour
31/2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup parmesan
1 red capsicum
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup spinach
thyme, salt and pepper
1/2 cup bread crumbs fresh
Non vegetarians can use a can of tuna instead of the zucchini and capsicum
Preheat oven to 180C. Butter a large dish.
Cook the pasta. While that is happening heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the mushrooms and onion for five minutes. Add the garlic and capers frying for a minute adding the chilli flakes and frying well before adding the wine. Cook for 5 minutes till dry.
Add the capsicum and zucchini or tuna and fry for five minutes. Stir in the flour and after 2 minutes pour in the milk. Stir for 5 minutes till it comes to a simmer. Add the spinach, sour cream, thyme, salt and pepper. Stir nicely. Toss into the hot pasta. Mix well.
Fry the bread crumbs in the butter for 3 minutes.
Fill the dish with the pasta mix. Top with grated Parmesan then the bread crumbs. Bake in the heated oven for 20 minutes. When done garnish with chopped parsley.
This serves 8 and can be frozen for later use.
Recipe source: The Age
I spied this new vegetable in my local shop called Kalettes. They looked like cute green flowers. You can use them just as they are after a quick rinse. I fried them with some garlic in a little oil covered and cooked for five minutes with salt and they taste really delicious.
They are a sort of mini kale I think. Without the hassle of removing stems, chopping the leaves etc these cute little veggies are my new favourite!
A rich protein packed flavoursome dhal made with whole black urad with skin, some rajma, tomatoes, onions spices etc. The best thing is there is no frying and stirring involved. In two cooking steps you have a bowl full of goodness.
1 cup whole urid with skin soaked overnight
1 can of red kidney beans rinsed
3 cups of water
2 big red onions chopped fine
3 -4 cloves garlic chopped fine
1 Tb ginger grated
1 can of diced tomatoes or 3 fresh tomatoes chopped fine
2 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp Garam masala
2 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter
1 cup full cream milk
1/2 cup light cream ( optional)
If using pressure cooker cook the urad with 3 cups of water for 20 minutes. If using a pot to cook it will take an hour to cook. It should be soft and mushy at the end of cooking.
Now when safe to open the pressure cooker open and add the rest of ingredients except the milk and cream. Stir and pressure cook for another 10 minutes.
After pressure is released, open and add the milk and bring to a boil, taste for salt and remove. Add cream if using at the time of serving.
Serve with rotis or rice
Recipe source: A Mad Tea Party
When you are at a loss what to cook and all you have is some canned sardines this is what can be made.
200g can sardines in oil
1 tsp mustard
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
3 garlic cloves
1Tb ginger grated
a marble size tamarind soaked in water
11/2 tsp each chilli powder and coriander powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 Tb tomato paste
1/2 cup water
Heat some oil, fry a few curry leaves, then the mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds. Add the sliced onion, fry a bit then the garlic cloves chopped and ginger grated. Fry till golden.
Meanwhile mix the red chilli powder, coriander powder and little turmeric powder in a 1/4 cup of water. Add to the onion with the tomato paste. Fry for 5 minutes then add the tamarind juice with 1/2 cup of water and salt. Bring to a boil. Now add the sardines and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve with dosa or rice.
If you want a rich curry you can add 1/4 cup of thick coconut milk.
Adam Liaw’s minestrone is in his words “a stew rather than a soup”. It’s warm, comforting, filling and healthy to boot. Made with simple pantry essentials this is perfect for our cold winter days. Make a big pot and feast on it everyday.
2 Tb oil
1 cup mushroom
1 tsp red chilli flakes
1x 400g can of diced tomatoes
1 litre stock ( I used stock cube)
1 tsp salt
1 cup macaroni ( I used risoni)
1x 400 g cannelini beans
2 cups fresh spinach
1/4 cup parsley and basil each
Heat oil in a big pot and fry the onion and garlic. After five minutes add the celery and carrot diced small, then the zucchini and mushrooms chopped. Fry for ten minutes.
Now add the tomatoes, fry for five minutes add the salt and chilli flakes and stock and boil for 20 minutes.
Now add the cannelini beans and risoni or macaroni and cook for ten minutes. Finally add the parsley, spinach and basil. Boil for five minutes and remove.
Serve warm with grated Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Along with toasted buttered bread slices. I swirled some of my home made pesto in and it tasted awesome.
The name itself was enough to attract me! It has been doing the rounds on the net. It is apparently her family recipe. Anyway anything to do with Katherine Hepburn, I am not questioning. This is a classic recipe, fudgy, chocolatey and easy to make.
1/2 cup cocoa powder unsweetened/ 50g or 2 oz unsweetened chocolate ( ref note below)
1/2 cup/ 115 g butter unsalted
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup plain flour
1 cup walnuts (I did not use them) chopped
1 tsp vanilla essence
pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 325F/ 160C.
Melt butter and cocoa powder and mix to make a smooth mixture. Cool for a few minutes then add the eggs and vanilla essence. Whisk to combine well. Now add the flour and sugar and mixing just to combine, add the nuts if using.
Pour into an 8 inch square pan or 20 cm square pan.
Bake for 30-35 minutes. Do not on any account over cook. It should be gooey.
Note: The original recipe calls for chocolate but I used cocoa powder and it was simply delicious.
I found the brownies tasted better with age. After a couple in days in the fridge it tasted more gooey and delicious.
Makes 12 small thin squares
This is a delightful simple strawberry cake served best with vanilla ice cream or thickened cream.
85 gm unsalted butter at room temperature
185gm plain flour
11/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp table salt
200gm+2Tb grainy sugar
1 egg large
1 tsp vanilla essence
Preheat oven to 180C
Butter a 10″pie dish or a round cake tin, spring form will be best.
Tail the strawberries and slice in half and keep aside.
Whisk the flour, salt and baking powder to mix well. Beat the butter and 200gm sugar for 3 minutes. Add the egg and milk, mix gently just to combine. Add the dry mix gradually and combine well.
Fill the pie dish with the mix. Spread the fruit over the mix, overlapping slightly but in one layer. Sprinkle with the 2Tb sugar.
Bake for 10 minutes then reduce temperature to 160C and bake for 50 minutes.
Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
Recipe source: Smitten Kitchen
A simple mild mung dal recipe to serve with rotis or rice. I have it as it is like a soup!
1 cup mung dal
5 green chillies
a piece of ginger
2 cups water
1 cup coconut milk
2 tsp fennel powder
2 tsp pepper
Cook the mung dal with the green chillies and ginger, both crushed, onion and the potato diced small and 2 cups water. Pressure cook till done. You can cook it on stove top too.
Heat oil fry red chillies and curry leaves then add the cooked dal mix. Add the coconut milk and the pepper and fennel powders. Add salt to taste. Bring to a gentle boil and remove. Serve warm.
Note: I had a small piece of carrot hanging around and added that too
A warm bowl of noodles in a spicy broth is just the thing for a cold rainy wet day. The basic broth can be used as a base to carry the other things you want to add to it. Add noodles or not, make it vegetarian and add any vegetables you like. Make it heady with herbs of your choice, Thai basil or coriander. Add an egg or tofu. Add prawns or bok choy. You get the idea. But the broth is delicious as it should be, being a Nigel Slater recipe. I made it with soba noodles and oodles of vegetables and topped it all with a soft boiled egg.
6 stalks of coriander roots and all
1 thumb sized ginger
3 garlic cloves
2-3 green chillies or as much spice as you can handle
2 lemon grass white bit only
Make a paste of all this. For two serves you will need half of this paste.
To make soup
1x 400 ml coconut milk
one bunch of bok choy
90 g ramen soba noodles
few broccoli florets
1/2 cup stock
2 tsp soy sauce or mirin
Fry half of the paste, add 1×400 ml coconut milk. Bring to a boil, simmer for five minutes. Add 2 tsp soy sauce or mirin. Now add your optional extras. I added some beans, snow peas, a bunch of bok choy, a few broccoli florets and 90g ramen noodles. Maggi will do fine too (without the flavour packet of course). Since I added noodles I added 1/2 cup of stock too. The original recipe is made without the stock and only 10 fresh prawns were used. Finally I added a soft boiled egg which added some creaminess to the soup. Add lemon juice and mint leaves as garnish. Serve hot.
Recipe source: Nigel Slater