Sunday, April 26, 2015

Quick apple pie

I love apple pie and I thought I'd share my love for these with the kids. This is my quick option for a midweek dessert. It's easy to add different fruit such as pear to mix it up. It's a definitely hit and I've been asked twice this week if I'm making this again for dessert. 'Of course' was the answer.

Serves 4


1 apple thinly sliced (I keep the peel on)
1/2 pear thinly sliced with skin (optional)
2 sheets of puff pastry

Sprinkle of cinnamon
1 tsp of brown sugar
20g butter
20g currants



1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius
2. Cut the sheets of puff pastry in half so you end up with 4 rectangular pieces of puff pastry. 

3. Place 6-8 slices of apple and 2 slices of pear on the bottom half of each of the rectangle of puff pastry

4. Sprinkle cinnamon on the apples

5. Add 1 tsp of brown sugar on each of the apples

6. Sprinkle a few currants on top of the apple filling

7. Add a knob of butter on each apple filling 

8. Fold the puff pastry over to close the parcels and press the edges down with a fork. 

9. Brush melted butter over the top of each square parcel. 

10. Bake for 12-15 mins until golden in colour. 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Lime syrup cake

With limes in season and hubby's birthday coming up, it was perfect timing to bake a lime syrup cake for the family get together lunch. I've made this once before and found this cake so moist with a sweet sour taste. As this was to be the birthday cake, I added a few strawberries for the finishing touches.



350g caster sugar
30g self raising flour
90g desiccated coconut
zest of 1 lime
250g unsalted butter melted
2 eggs
250mL milk

Lime syrup
225g caster sugar
zest of 1 lime
juice of 5 limes
180mL water


1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius.

2. Lightly grease a 19cm (7.5inch) square cake tin. Line the base and side with baking paper.

3.Place together the sugar, flour, coconut and zest in a bowl.

4. Pour in butter, eggs and milk and mix until smooth.

5. Spoon mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 1 hour (or until skewer put into the centre comes completely dry).

6. Put foil over the cake at 40minutes to prevent it getting too brown and continue cooking.

7. Make the syrup when the cake has 10mins of cooking time to go. Put sugar and 180mL in a heavy based saucepan and stir over low heat until sugar is fully dissolved. Add the lime zest and juice bring to boil and reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 8 minutes then strain.

8. Remove cake from the oven and use a skewer to poke a few holes evenly over the cake. Slowly pour the hot syrup over the cake and let it stand for 20mins to soak though.

9. To serve simply slice and serve on its own or with strawberries.

10. Cut up the baking paper into triangle edges and tie up with twine for a quick and easy presentation.

Handy hint

Pour the hot syrup over the cake whilst its still hot to soak up all the liquid.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Braised pork belly & toasted quinoa & broccolini

Another favourite childhood food memory is mum's braised pork belly. I haven't quite replicated the way my mother makes this dish but I was happy with the result. The smell of this dish cooking away in the oven is divine, my visitors were commenting how good it smelt as the fragrant spices wafted through the house.

Having recently eaten at One Red Penny in Summer Hill, I was quite taken with the use of the toasted black quinoa and black barley for one of their dishes. Toasting quinoa is quite easy to do and I think it just lifted this dish to another level with the nutty crunch. It's so good that hubby has told me that this is his new favourite dish. May have to make this dish again soon.



2 tbs sugar
1 tbs rice bran oil
1 tbs Shao Hsing cooking wine
500g pork belly
4 cups of water
2 tbs dark soy

3cm thick piece of ginger cut into large slices
4 crushed garlic cloves
3 cardarmon pods
1 star anise
1 cinnamon quill

1 cup of water during cooking 

1 tbs black quinoa
1 tsp rice bran oil

1 bunch of broccolini 



1. Preheat oven at 170 degrees Celsius. 

2. Cut pork belly into strips 2cm wide and 2cm thick.  Pour 1 tbs shao zhing wine over pork belly to marinate for 20 mins. 

3. Add sugar and oil to a heavy based pot over medium heat until sugar dissolves. 

4. Add pork belly to the pot to melted sugar. 

5. Add 4 cups of water into the pot. Add dark soy, garlic, cardarmon, star anise and cinnamon. 

6. Put into the oven for 2hrs.

7. Add another cup of water after it has cooked for 2 hours and continue cooking for another 1 hour. (The pork will be melt in your mouth tender) 

8. Cut broccolini in half so you end up with stems and florets. Boil water and blanch for 2 mins. Drain water and cool with cold running water. 

9. Add 1 tsp rice bran oil to a fry pan over medium heat. Rinse 1 tbs of black quinoa through a sieve before adding to the frypan. Shake the pan every 1 min for approximately 3mins until you hear quinoa popping and pour into a bowl to use for later.
10. Place broccolini on plate and pile with braised pork belly. Sprinkle toasted quinoa on top before serving.