Today I am featuring a recipe that my grandmother was famous for. They are a universal favourite –the melting moment, or yo-yo. A shortbread that always, always receives compliments and requests for the recipe. My grandma used a secret ingredient – that of custard powder, to give the shortbreads a vanilla, soft, melt-in-your-mouth texture.
Usually I save this recipe for the Christmas period. They are simple and quick to make, and so fail-proof, they’re fantastically seasonal. However, faced with some grapefruits gifted to me by my neighbour, and wanting to bake something different with them, I decided to jazz up my grandma’s shortbread recipe with a new twist.
An unexpected combination: grapefruit, shortbread and marshmallow, but if you make the recipe below, I think you will find that it works like a charm!
Grapefruit shortbread with marshmallow icing
For the shortbreads:
- 120g unsalted butter, softened
- 60g caster sugar
- 60g custard powder
- 120g plain flour
- Zest of one grapefruit
For the icing:
- 30g butter
- Juice of one grapefruit
- 130g marshmallows
- ¼ cup caster sugar
- Preheat oven to 180° Celsius. Grease a baking tray with spray oil.
- Cream butter and sugar with beaters or a stand mixer until light and fluffy.
- Add custard powder, flour and grapefruit zest, and beat until mixture forms a dough.
- Using a rolling pin, roll dough until it is approximately ½ cm thick. You may need to dust the worktop and the rolling pin with a little extra flour so that it doesn’t stick.
- Use a 4cm diameter scone cutter to cut the biscuits. Continue to roll out the dough until it is all used.
- Place the biscuits on the tray and bake in the oven for 15-20 mins or until golden. Once baked, leave on the tray for 5 mins to cool, and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
- To make the icing, melt the butter, grapefruit juice and marshmallows in a small saucepan on a low heat. Once melted and combined, add the sugar and continue to cook and stir until sugar has dissolved.
- Place the icing into a clean bowl and put into the fridge for at least an hour to cool and set. The icing should become sticky and not run off a spoon.
- Once the icing is sticky, spoon it into a piping bag and pipe onto the cooled biscuits. Leave to cool and set completely.
I have always been a Francophile. Ever since I can remember. Perhaps it all began with the children’s TV series Madeleine. I remember watching episodes when I was young, soaking in the faux French accents and absorbing the cartoonish Parisian landmarks.
In school I learnt French as a second language, all the way up to university. Since, I have visited France several times. I especially love French food. My birthday celebration this year involved dining at a French restaurant.
To me, a quiche is the epitome of my childhood ideal of ‘French cuisine’. I have grown very fond of making a quiche in recent years, and once you have the hang of the pastry and timings, it is actually very simple to make one from scratch. And the flavour combinations are endless!
Gardens are rife with lemons this time of year, and I wanted to hero it in my quiche recipe. This quiche is deliciously lemony and tangy, with some smoked salmon thrown in there for good measure. I am loving this milder weather and think this is the perfect light dinner for early Spring evenings, and could even be enough motivation to contemplate an outdoor picnic!
For the pastry:
- 240g plain flour
- 160g unsalted butter, softened
- ¼ cup water
For the filling:
- 1-2 lemons, sliced
- 100g smoked salmon for cooking
- 200g crème fraiche
- 3 eggs
- 1 tbs capers
- Zest of one lemon
- Juice of one lemon
- To make the pastry, beat the butter and flour together in a mixer using a dough attachment. Add just enough water to bring the pastry together into a ball. As soon as the pastry comes together, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 20 mins or until needed.
- Preheat the oven to 200° Celsius. Grease a quiche flan with spray oil.
- Take the pastry out of the fridge, and sprinkle the worktop with flour. Roll out the pastry until it is big enough to cover the base of the quiche flan. Line the flan with pastry and trim the edges. Weigh down the pastry with baking paper and baking beads, and blind bake the pastry case for 20 mins in the oven.
- To make the filling, whisk the eggs and crème fraiche together. Season, and add capers, lemon zest and juice. Stir to combine.
- Remove the pastry from the oven and lower the heat to 160° Celsius. Remove the baking beads and baking paper. Line the pastry case with an even layer of the smoked salmon, and pour in the egg filling.
- Bake in the oven for 20 mins. Add lemon slices on top of the half-set filling decoratively. Continue to bake for about another 10 mins or until filling is set.
I unfortunately do not have the space for a kitchen garden right now. One day, I would love to be able to grow my own vegetables to cook with. However, I am lucky that my dad has begun to dabble in edible gardening of late and I am occasionally gifted some of the overflow.
This is how I ended up with a bag of cumquats and no idea how to cook them!
Please don’t make this recipe without an action plan for devouring it. Because you could be presented with the problem my husband and I faced when I had finished baking this creation: once you’ve had one powerful punch of a mouthful, you can’t stop. It’s really dangerous.
It’s so tangy and sweet at the same time. Sticky, too. If you’re left with a bag of cumquats off your garden tree, I would highly recommend using them to make this recipe. They’ll be gone in no time!
- 360g fresh cumquats
- 180g caster sugar
- 180g unsalted butter
- 1 sheet store-bought puff pastry
- Preheat oven to 180° Celsius. Grease an ovenproof frying pan with spray oil (or springform tin if you don’t have a frying pan that you can put into the oven. If using a tin, line the outside of the tin with foil).
- Slice the cumquats into rounds (about 4 slices per cumquat, depending on size) and deseed.
- Place sugar and 45ml water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan on a low heat. Melt without stirring and bring to a simmer, shaking the saucepan occasionally so the sugar doesn’t catch.
- Add the fruit and cover, and simmer for 5 mins.
- Remove the fruit from the saucepan with a slotted spoon. Bring the syrup to a boil for 5 mins. Shake the pan occasionally.
- Add the butter and stir with a wooden spoon constantly, still on a high heat, for 10 mins until the syrup thickens.
- Arrange the cumquats on the base of your frying pan / springform tin artfully to provide an even layer. It looks best if you place cut side down.
- Pour over the sauce.
- Cover with a sheet of puff pastry. Tuck in the edges neatly. Cut several holes in the top of the pastry to allow steam to escape.
- Bake in the oven for 30 mins until pastry is golden and puffed. Once removed, flip the tart onto a serving tray so that the cumquats are presented on the top of the tart. Serve with vanilla ice cream.
When I was at school, I overdid it with the sandwiches. Particularly the combination of ham, lettuce and mayo. I just have difficulty getting excited about a sandwich for lunch. So I like to look for other options.
I like to make batches of savoury muffins on the weekend for my work lunches (or at the moment, for my hectic weekday lunches with a baby who needs lunch too). They’re easy to heat up, filling and so moreish.
I have taken inspiration from Stephanie Alexander’s recipe for Allan and Michele’s Asian-inspired Pumpkin Soup from her wonderful cookbook The Cook’s Companion and turned it into muffin form. They have just the slightest hint of curry, and are super light and fluffy. They’re the perfect texture, not too dry or crumbly and they keep well for several days in an airtight container in the fridge. Or, if you’re feeling exceptionally organised, you could freeze them for a busy day.
And they’re so easy to make! So get cracking! If you’re feeling like a sweet muffin, why not go ahead and check out my Custard and sultana muffins.
- 225g plain flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 225ml milk
- 2 eggs
- 115g vegetable oil
- 1 tbs Thai curry paste, red or green
- 400g pumpkin, peeled and chopped into 2cm cubes
- 30g mix of pepitas and sunflower seeds
- Preheat oven to 180° Celsius. Grease a muffin tray with spray oil.
- Steam the pumpkin until tender (about 10-15 mins) and mash with a potato masher until smooth.
- Combine the flour, salt and baking powder in a medium bowl.
- Combine the milk, eggs, oil, curry paste and pumpkin in a separate bowl. Whisk to mix thoroughly.
- Combine all of the ingredients together. Spoon the mixture into the muffin tray. Sprinkle the muffins with the pepitas and sunflower seeds.
- Bake muffins in the oven for 30 mins or until golden on top. You will know that they are done when a skewer will come out clean when tested.
This is the second crumble that I’ve posted, but I really do love a crumble. They’re fruity, juicy, cakey, and ever so simple to make. The perfect dessert for entertaining too, because they’re so easy to upsize.
Desserts really shouldn’t feature in my house as often as they do, and given there is only my husband and I to eat them, I try to align my cooking of them with weekly dinners with my family so that the delicious sweetness can be shared around. Much less tempting if it’s gobbled up by others and not in the house for long!
For the filling:
- 350g Morello cherries, pitted and drained
- ½ cup reserved Morello cherry juice from the jar
- 150g strawberries, sliced (can be frozen)
- ½ cup caster sugar
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips
- ½ cup dessicated coconut
For the crumble topping:
- 60g unsalted butter, softened
- 70g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¼ cup caster sugar
- 30g dessicated coconut
- 1 tsp cocoa powder
- Place cherries, strawberries, cherry juice and sugar into a medium saucepan and bring to the boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer gently for 10 mins.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove the fruit from the saucepan and place in a bowl. Bring the cherry syrup to a boil for 5 mins until the liquid has reduced by half. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- In a separate mixing bowl, use your hands to rub the butter into the flour. Rub until the mixture becomes crumbly.
- Add baking powder, sugar, coconut and cocoa powder to the flour & butter mixture and stir to combine.
- Preheat the oven to 200° Celsius.
- Return the fruit to the cherry syrup. Mix through the chocolate chips and dessicated coconut. Spoon the mixture into individual sized ramekins. Sprinkle the top with a generous amount of crumble mixture.
- Bake in the oven for 20 mins or until the crumble is golden and the cherry mixture is bubbling underneath. Serve with vanilla ice cream.
I lived in the UK with my husband for a year. It was a wonderful time – we met lots of friends from all over the world, we travelled around Europe and never stopped learning new things. Also, we tried a lot of new foods!
We lived in Cambridge and we were often catching the train into London. When I made my pork pasties below, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the many trains we caught that year. The wafting smell of pastry coming from my kitchen brought back memories of waiting at a train platform, with a little Cornish pasties stand down the way. I’m not sure many would, but I admit the pasties always smelt inviting, no matter the time of day. Warm, flaky, juicy and with so many comforting flavours.
My pasty’s flavours are inspired by the ingredients we receive in our veg box each week; an Asian cooking box from CERES Fairfood. They make for a lovely winter’s lunch or a light dinner, with little in the way of preparation.
Pork pasties with chilli, lime and coriander
- 250g pork mince
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 2cm ginger, finely chopped
- 2 tbs fresh coriander, finely chopped
- 1 chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
- Juice of 2 limes
- 1 spring onion, finely chopped
- 2 tbs soy sauce
- 1 tbs fish sauce
- 1 tbs sugar
- 2 sheets store-bought puff pastry
- 1 egg, beaten
- Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius.
- Combine all the ingredients except for the puff pastry and egg in a mixing bowl.
- On a worktop, cut the pastry sheets in half lengthwise.
- Spoon in one quarter of the mixture onto one half of a pastry sheet (mentally divide the pastry sheet lengthwise). Spread it evenly along the half lengthwise.
- Fold the pastry over the filling and crimp the edges to seal. They can be baked flat, but I stood mine up with the crimped edge in the middle, because I thought they looked prettier this way.
- Place the pasties onto a greased baking tray.
- Brush the pasties with the beaten egg.
- Bake in an oven at 180° Celsius until golden (approx. 20 mins).
- Serve with a salad of lettuce, capsicum and cucumber topped with sprigs of fresh mint and coriander.
It is hard not to find a caramel slice if you are in a bakery in Australia. And for good reason! I have yet to meet someone who does not love to eat it! For me personally, if a caramel slice is there on display amongst the array of other delicious looking cakes and pastries, it is very hard to order anything else.
For my recipe today, I have taken the traditional caramel slice and added an Earl Grey tea flavour to the caramel layer. I like to eat my caramel slice with tea, so why not combine the two?
This slice recipe was actually my first foray into doing my own thing in the kitchen – I first tried it out a year and a half ago. However, it’s been the hardest one so far to get right. Unfortunately for me, that’s meant a LOT of leftover caramel slice to eat 😛 However, after lots of tinkering I think I’m there! Let me know if you try it out 🙂
For the base:
- 150g plain flour
- 50g brown sugar
- 75g coconut
- 100g unsalted butter, melted
For the caramel:
- 100g brown sugar
- 120g unsalted butter
- 2 Earl Grey teabags
- 2x 395g tins of sweetened condensed milk
For the chocolate layer:
- 200g dark chocolate
- 1 tbs vegetable oil
- Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius. Grease a baking tray with spray oil.
- Combine flour, sugar, coconut and melted butter.
- Press the mixture evenly into the base of the baking tray and bake in the oven for 12 mins until golden. Cool on the bench for 10 mins and then put it into the fridge to cool until needed.
- For the caramel, melt the brown sugar with the butter and the contents of the two teabags in a medium saucepan on a medium heat. Whisk together and bring the mixture up to a bubble, and then take off the heat and cover. Leave to infuse for 2 mins.
- Add the condensed milk to the saucepan, whisk frequently and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and whisk constantly for 5 mins until the mixture is thick.
- Pour the caramel mixture onto the base and cook in the oven for 20 mins at 160° Celsius until the caramel layer is set. Cool on the bench for 10 mins and then place in the fridge until completely cold.
- For the chocolate layer, place chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for one minute. Stir to mix heat evenly and help to melt the rest of the chocolate. Continue heating the chocolate for one minute at a time, until all of the chocolate has melted. Add the oil to the chocolate and stir.
- Pour the chocolate over the caramel layer and, using a palette knife, spread evenly to cover the whole slice. Cool in the fridge until set.