Tag Archives: baking

Self-Saucing Chocolate Pudding

Ugly but tastey

Admittedly, my oven has been in a period of quiescence recently, due to my battle with cholesterol. However, I have decided to wake it up when we have company. Self-saucing pudding is good in so many ways. It tastes deliciously warm, isn’t too rich, is simple yet impressive, can be prepared in advance, can be transported, and keeps well for microwave re-heating.

One memory I have of this pudding is my dad asking my mum and I, “How do you make the sauce?” “It makes it own sauce,” we replied. “No, but you have to do something to have sauce,” he contested. “Nope, that’s why it’s called ‘self-saucing’ pudding”. “hmpf”, clearly suspicious of some sort of chicanery.

There are many memories of this one at Christmas time as well. The warm pudding which is too warm for a Brisbane summer, was offset by refreshingly cold ice-cream, the kind that was so frozen you had to boil the scoop, and have a strong aunt dish it out. The soft bits being mixed in, the crispier top smashed, and the sauce being drizzled over the top. I have many cousins, so there would be a subtle power-walking to the desert table, as the sauce was spooned out from underneath the entire pudding by the early birds, leaving the last few pieces dryer than they should be.

Find below my grandma’s recipe. Don’t over think it, should only take 5 minutes to whip up!

-Mix together: 50g butter (melted), 1/2 cup milk, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 cup SR flour, 3/4 cup castor sugar, 1 tbs cocoa

-Pour into oven proof dish

-sprinkle with mixture of 3/4 cup brown sugar and 1 tbs cocoa. Carefully pour 2 cups hot water over the top

-Bake in moderate oven for 40 minutes.





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Coca-cola Cake

Are you sick of stale cake? Need some pep in your patty pans? Have I got the recipe for you!

I have travelled quite a bit, and I collect as coke bottle from every country I visit; they are different in every country. I have visited the coke factory in Atlanta, and collect other paraphernalia such as clocks, advertisements, and Christmas ornaments. Having said that, I only drink Diet Coke, as it isn’t as syrupy-sweet as original, and it contains that phenylalanine I find so addictive. Mmm…

A few years back, a friend asked me to make her a coca-cola cake. I found a recipe after some quick googling and have made it every year for her since. It is moist but fluffy, and never goes stale and remains sweet, no doubt thanks to chemicals such as Merchandise 7X, sodium benzoate, E211, and phosphoric acid to name a few. So it’s a great cake if you live alone as you can take a month to eat it.

Find my tweaked recipe below (not for the health conscious):

2 cups SR flour
2 cups sugar
3 tbs cocoa
1 cup coca-cola
1 cup butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
3/4tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla essence

In a large bowl, combine sugar and SR flour.
In saucepan mix coca-cola, cocoa, and butter, and bring to a boil then take it off right away.
Mix into dry ingredients.
In small bowl mix eggs, milk, soda and vanilla.
Mix it all together swiftly so eggs don’t go weird. It will be quite liquid.
Pour into tightly sealed tin – I found out the hard way that spring form tins are a no go.
Bake for 45 minutes to an hour in 140’C or 350’F oven until usual tests show it’s done.

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Bread Maker vs The Baker

I was given a bread maker for my birthday. I am torn as to whether I like this or not.

However, having a machine do it for me defies the whole point of baking, which for me, is a recreational activity. I like the tangible feeling of the bread rising and being kneaded, dough being rolled, and peaking into a hot oven. My dad, who gave me the bread-maker, doesn’t understand this concept. But then, my dad also doesn’t understand why I wouldn’t never get an electric piano.

I read the instruction book for about an hour. It didn’t make any sense to me. According to the book, I throw all the bread-mix in on top of the water in one go and it will make it for me. But what about letting the yeast froth up beforehand? Where’s about the butter? Where’s the milk? Does it rise, knead and prove or just rise it once? Which setting to I choose for normal bread? My anxiety was compounded by the clear fact that the instructions were written by someone whose first language was not English. The descriptions of the process made no sense whatsoever. Do they even know how to make bread the old fashioned way in the country this machine was manufactured? Or have they just taken a motorbike engine and such a bread pan in it?? (I am assured they have not, as it is one of the most reputable bread-makers on the market).

I left it for a few days before going back.

I put in my first loaf yesterday. With the machine, I was given a bread mix. First of all, I have no idea what sort of ingredients are in these packets. Being it is designed to bake perfectly every time, I can only hazard a guess as to what enhancements this flour has. I put it in, and it got half way through the process, which was great. However, as is my habit, as I switched off the toaster at the wall I switched off the bread-maker as well. After flicking it back on it appeared to still be on the half-way setting, however I couldn’t get it to start again. I also didn’t know what stage it was in. It looked kneaded and risen, but do they do a second kneading and leave it to prove like real baking? I had no idea, so I put it on rapid bake, which did the whole process again, but quicker. Goodness knows how the mechanism felt about that.

The bread did come out fully cooked and soft looking in the end. It is an odd shape though; short and high. It has to be toasted in the grill, so it seems what effort I’ve saved in baking the bread, I have lost in toasting it.

I will use the machine again on days when I don’t have time to bake myself. I will experiment with my own recipe (which has butter and milk) over the weekend, to see if the machine likes non-pre-prepared mixes, and report back to you.

I also was given a pasta maker, much more a step back to basics, than away from it. I will leave that experimentation for when I have plenty of time to vacuum afterwards.

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Sugar Plum Jam

Fairy; fruit or lolly?

A few weeks ago I came across sugar plums at the markets. You must understand that until two years ago I didn’t eat fruit or vegetables. I did not frequent green grocers. Consequently, I didn’t know that sugar plums (different from regular plums) were a real thing outside of the nutcracker. Though after some google’ing, I believe the fairy related more to the lolly, which is a delicacy of the same name.

As they are in season, and I was curious about this myth come to life, I picked up 12 of these little fruits, which look like large grapes. Because these aren’t the best eating fruit, I made them into jam. 12 made one Doritos salsa sized jar.

Going on the principle of the fig and Rosella jam, I chopped them up, added about half the volume of water, and boiled them. I kept the seeds in the water to extract the pectin, then fished them out just prior to blending. I added about half the weight after blending in castor sugar and boiled to setting point.


It turned out to be a traditionally sweet-tasting jam, though easier on the tooth than strawberry. I used it in baking jam pastries, and with Devonshire tea (on scones with cream).

Side note: my sister’s new house mate eats a jar of Doritos every week, so I now have a steady stream of jars. However they do have to be boiled extra long to remove the strong taste of salsa, and I find the seal on the lid retains the smell for quite a while.

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Bread, My Love

Bread rolls

I love bread. I love all carbs really, but especially bread. When I was about 15, I tried many times to make bread. Each attempt it turned our raw inside, no matter how hollow it sounded. So I admit, I gave up.  

I decided to overcome this decade long fear and have another go. It was a lot of fun. I love the texture of the dough after it has risen, fluffy but heavy, moist yet pliable.  The smell of yeast through the house was enough to make the boy think I was having an early beer.

This simple Women’s Weekly bread recipe must be foolproof as it worked splendidly. It looked, tasted and felt like bread. It was less sweet than that from a shop, also a little less moist, but I can experiment with that. If you’ve tried and failed at making home-made bread, I would strongly suggest you try again with this recipe.

dissolve 10g yeast ad 2 tsp of sugar in 1/2 cup warm water, and stand until frothy (10 minutes).

Braided loaf

Mix 30g melted butter, 1/2 cup warm water, and yeast mixture into  2 1/2 cups plain flour, with 1 tsp salt. Knead until smooth. Stand in greased bowl for 1 hour until double in size.

Knead and shape for type (segment for rolls, roll into rectangle then up like a swiss roll for loaf). Sit to rise for another 20 minutes.

Bake in moderate oven for 20 to 40 minutes, depending on size.


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Rosellas – not just birds


I have mentioned before a rare treat one finds occasionally at markets and church fetes in Australia: Rosella jam. I was determined to make a batch for myself once Rosellas were in season.

Well, they must be in season now because as lady was selling them at the markets at Brisbane Square this week. They are much cheaper than figs, I have to say.

Rosella seed pod

Now, I had seen pictures on the internet of what a Rosella looked like, however, being  a city-raised gen Y, hadn’t ever seen one in person. They were much smaller than I had expected – about the size of a cloaked strawberry. I also expected a few large seed inside, not a single pod filled with hundreds of tiny seeds.

As an aside, my mother is always shocked at the things I don’t know. Why is it those of older generations who criticize the young, never take responsibility for raising them wrong? Anyway…


Recipe: Soak 500g rosellas in water. Separate skin from pod and boil both in 1 cup of water until pods clear and skin soft (around 10 minutes). Remove pods, blend skins with water. Return to pot with 200g castor sugar and boil (will froth) until ready to set. Remember to invert jars to seal.

The recipe I followed said “half a bucket of rosellas”. Needless to say, measurements are liberal.


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Gem Scones for Grandma

BatterIt is my Grandma’s 94th birthday. The family, all 32 of us, are having afternoon tea, and grandma asked for gem scones.

This is quite different to the previous traditional scone recipe I have posted. The batter is more the consistency of muffin batter than scone dough.

Cream 60 g butter with 1/4 cup sugar, and mix in 1 egg. Alternately stir in 1 cup milk and 2 cups SR flour. Add some lemon peel or 1/2 tsp vanilla essence. Drop 1/4 tsp butter in gem moulds, then fill with batter. Bake at 200 ‘C for 10 minutes.

A gem scone mould is similar to a cupcake tin, except the moulds are smaller and are completly round, ie without a flat bottom. They are hard to find, I used my mother’s. I’m sure you could use a mini-muffin/cupcake mould.

Afternoon Tea

Afternoon Tea

Is the concept / name of ‘afternoon tea’ an English (thus Australian) thing? I never recall my American friends having afternoon tea. They would have a snack around 3pm certainly, but never afternoon tea, or morning tea for that matter.

I also made a Jam Crown, and used a recipe from Fig Jam & Lime Cordial. I used sugar plum jam I had made a fortnight ago (is that another English word? I never hear American saying that one either…). The recipe for that jam will go up soon. I found the outside burned, and I wasn’t using fan force, due to the sugar. Watch for that. I also glazed the whole thing with some watered down jam, but that was mostly to cover up the burnt tasting bits!


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Belligerent Biscuits

Being near to a certain Catholic holiday, I thought it appropriate to make Lebkuchen (Love Cookies). Only after the boy ate some dough, and asked, “Does this have ginger in it?”, did I remember his allergy. A quick wikipedia search taught me that another spice prominent in the recipe, cardamom, is in the same family as ginger, and those allergic to one, are often allergic to the others. Who needs arsenic?


Unfortunately (for him), most of my favourite recipes have ginger in them, and I love ginger in most everything. Furthermore, this recipe would give me an opportunity to use some of the marmalade I made (say that ten times fast).


1. Melt 60g butter and 2/3 cup golden syrup (cane syrup in US)

I ran out of golden syrup so used some local ironbark honey instead.

2. Sift in 1 tsp bi-card soda, 2 cups plain flour, 1/4 tsp each ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, cocoa.

3. Mix in with 1 tbs milk until dryish dough.

4. Roll out and cut until heart shapes and place on tray. Use end of wooden spoon to create dips in the centre of each biscuit, and fill with jam or marmalade.

Evidently, I could not locate my heart-cutter on this occasion.

5. Bake for 10 minutes and cool completely.

6. Using a double saucepan, or glass bowl over a boiling pot, melt 125 g cooking chocolate, and spread on back of cooled biscuits. Refrigerate to set.


 It may also be worth a mention that I once won 1st prize for these cookies in a local fair 😉


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With a knife, dear Liza

As I had successfully made marmalade, I was obliged to make scones to accompany it.


(biscuits to Americans I believe http://alldownunder.com/australian-convert/food-chart.htm)

1. Rub 30g butter into 2 1/2 cups SR flour, 1 tbs castor sugar, 1.4 tsp salt

I ran out of SR flour so mixed 2 tsp baking powder into plain flour, which did the trick.

2. pour in milk bit by bit (about 3/4 cup in total) until you have a dough consistency, not sticky, not crumbly.

To avoid scones becoming rocks, mix milk in with a knife. For years I never followed this tip, but trust me, it makes such a difference to the consistency post-oven.   

Mix with a knife

 3. When dough just combined, roll out 2cm thick and cut with round cutter. They can be put pretty close together on tray as they rise up not out. Bake for 15 minutes in moderate oven



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When Brisbane River’s breaking, Delilah will be baking

I’m watching the creek across the road swell. I know it will be here eventually and I will hop in my car and drive up the hill to my cousin’s place. But we’re not going just yet. How to pass the time and not worry?

Baking of course.

Unfortunately, I find it hard to pick a recipe as I have no milk. But of course! ANZAC biscuits. They were thus named in a time of war, as they were sent to the soldiers because they lasted a long time. Should we not be able to get groceries for a few days, seems like a wise choice.

250g butter melted and mixed into 2 cups each of flour, rolled oats and coconut. 1 1/2 cups sugar, 2 tbs golden syrup and 1 tsp of baking soda. Bake in moderate for 10 minutes. Yum!

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