Tag Archives: recipes

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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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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3 bowls of sugar

Channelling my inner CWA, I decided to make marmalade. What most suprised me about this project what just how much sugar marmalade contains, even when home made. At least I know it contains no preservatives or colours.

Three Fruits Marmalade

Ingredients: 1 grapefruit, 2 oranges, 1 lemon, 2.5L (10 cups) cold water, 2.5kg caster sugar


1. Slice off ends or fruits, cut in half lengthways, then thinly slice crossways. . Place with water in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a cool place for 8 hours or overnight to infuse.

The recipe advises to keep the seeds, but unfortunately, even though I had purchased my fruit from a small locally owed grocer, they were still genetically modified enough not to have seeds to preserve.

Fruit Infusion

2. Transfer mixture to a heavy saucepan. Boil, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes until rind is tender.

3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 120°C. Place sugar in shallow dish in the oven, stirring once, for 10-15 minutes until warmed.

Sugar for Marmalade

4. Reduce stove heat. Add warm sugar and cook, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Gently boil, stirring occasionally and remove any scum on the surface, for 50 minutes until mixture thickens to setting point. (Spoon a little marmalade onto saucer in the freezer for 2 minutes so see if it turns gel-like)

5. Ladle into jars, seal and turn upside down for 2 minutes. Turn upright and set aside until cooled.

Unfortunately most of my reusable jars were occupied by various nuts and fruits, so I did have to purchase some to use for this recipe.


Finished Product

While marmalade can be a bit zesty for my tastes, I know my mum will enjoy a jar. The colours of this project alone made it worth it, and reminded me of my 60s vase collection:

Some encased glass 60s vases


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Fairy Bread

Is fairy bread an Australian thing? I can’t imagine a kid’s party without it.

The Boy surprised me last night with some fairy bread. Dessert for me is soft white bread with butter. Needless to say, soft white bread with butter and hundreds&thousands is heaven.

He used our new favourite bread. Ray’s Hot Bread in Oxley looks pretty average from the outside. Their ‘high top’ bread, however, is fantastic. The crusts are not dry, and the centre is the softest I have ever eaten. It is silky and delectable. Unlike many factory brands, it also holds the hundreds&thousands very well, as it is more fibrous and natural in its texture. This is important because I am clumsy and am liable to have a rainbow floor.

Here’s a photo:


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Bundt Cake

I love that bundt cake is any sort of cake in a pretty doughnut shape. The name inspires ideas of CWA afternoon teas and neighbourly chats. My favourite part about bundt cake is that I can avoid that messy awkward mess of crumbs that results from a full round cake being cut. I got a brand new tin over the weekend, though I was too impatient to order an original Nordic Ware tin online.  

This particular weekend, I made my simple chocolate fudge cake, which also works well in cup-cake form. It is very moist but not too rich or fancy.

My method of baking is less about technique as throw it all in and stir, in defiance of the steps chefs tell you ae needed to make a quality dish. This cake however, was designed to be a throw it all in sort of affair, so I’m not teaching any bad habits.

1 tbs white vinegar

6 tbs vegetable oil

1 ½ cups SR flour

3 tbs cocoa

1 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup water

Mix it all together until smooth. Bake in 180 degree oven for 35 minutes. Sprinkle with icing sugar.

Half the cake was eaten before I was able to take a picture so I guess that is a good sign. Did I also mention I got a shiny new cake server?

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Not Chelsea Buns

Today I set out to make some Chelsea Buns. about half way through I realised I has the wrong recipe and what I was making were Fruit and Nut Scrolls. Pretty similar really, but I don’t get the fun part of smishing them all into a cake tin.

Being a Women’s Weekly recipe, it was pretty hard to ruin, which is useful because I changed most of the ingredients. 

Aside: I substituted apricot jam for Rosella Jam. Up until a month ago I though one could only buy Rosella Jam at a church fete. However, when doing some Christmas shopping I was very excited to stumble upon a jar in Oxfam, and have been very anxious to bake something with it. Oxfam’s is smoother than something a god-fearing granny might make, more gelatine and processing I imagine, but the flavour is satisfying.

I would describe the result of this recipe as damper with stuff in it. This is really quite perfect as I was supposed to be camping today, and would probably be eating damper if Queensland wasn’t such pluvial state.

This recipe also has cloves in it which is a spice I have a particular weakness for (though Paprika is still number one). I added in some Cinnamon, as my instincts feel cloves and cinnamon get lonely without each other.

Here’s a picture:

Fruit and Nut Scrolls:

Dough: 3 cups SR Flour, 2 tsp castor sugar, 50g butter rubbed in, 1 1/3 milk, kneaded and rolled out to 26 x 36 cm rectangle.

Filling: 1/2 cup currants, 1/2 cup sultanas; 2 tbs slivered almonds, 1/3 tsp cloves, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 2 tsp rum, 1/4 cup brown sugar

Sprinkle filling across dough and roll firmly. Chop into 2cm medallions and bake in hot oven for 10-15 minutes until golden brown.

Glaze: Heat 2 tbs Rosella jam with 2 tsps water. Brush onto scrolls as soon as removed from oven.

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