Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Red Rock Olives' Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

Funny how things just keep on popping up, isn't it?  New Zealand has been on my radar lately, and so have pistachios.  I mean, I love 'em, but I rarely eat them or cook with them.  Yet here we are, with another recipe flavoured with delicious green pistachios.  And I get to use some of the huge supply of almond meal I have in the fridge.  I bought some a while ago to make something (what was that?), and ended up with a huuuuuge bag in my online grocery shopping.

I like to buy my olive oil from small and boutique Aussie farmers, so I sometimes buy from Red Rock Olives.  I saw this cake on their blog recently, and decided it had to be made.  So here we have it - an incredibly moist, and nutty cake - not too sweet, perfect at any time.  And it was a perfect way to use up some of the many olive oils I have on my pantry shelf.  I just can't stop buying 'em.  I must be an EVOOholic.  Sorry if I pinched that line from one of you :-) 

moist, nutty and flavourful

Serves 6-8:


50g./1.8 oz cocoa powder - I used black cocoa

125 mL/7 fluid oz boiling water

2 tsp vanilla extract

75g./2.7 oz ground almonds aka almond meal

75g./2.7 oz pistachios

1/2 tsp bicarb soda (baking soda)

175g./6.2 oz caster sugar

150 mL/5 fluid oz of a fruity olive oil

3 large eggs

icing sugar, to serve  - maybe 2-3 tbs

AND 2 Flake chocolate bars, broken up, OR 2 tbs dark muscovado sugar + 1 tbs cacao nibs + 1 Flake bar mixed together and thrown on the top, to serve - my idea!


Turn on your oven to 170C/340F

Prepare a 20cm/8 inch springform tin or a regular cake tin by lightly greasing and flouring the bottom and sides, and placing a piece of baking paper on the base

Sift the cocoa powder into a small bowl, then whisk in the boiling water till you have a smooth but runny paste, and let it cool down

Grab another small bowl, and whisk together the almond meal, pistachios and bicarb soda

In a medium-size bowl, place the sugar, the olive oil, and the eggs; beat for 3 minutes with electric beaters - or with a hand beater and lots of energy! - till you have a thick, and palely creamy mixture 

Pour/spoon in the cocoa mixture, beating as you go, then add the nutty stuff and give it a quick whisk till incorporated

Into the prepared tin goes the batter, and bake for 40-45 minutes - (mine took 45 mins.)

It's ready when the cake is coming away slightly from the sides, and a skewer (yes, thrust into its dark heart) comes out clean - the cake will still look a teensy bit damp in the centre, which is a good thing

Cool it for 10 minutes on a wire rack (in the cake tin) then take it out of the tin and onto the rack till it cools completely

Dust liberally with icing sugar, and serve with cream or creme fraiche

I strongly suggest casting the chocolate Flakes, muscovado sugar and cacao nib mixture all over it too!

Pros of this cake:

so easy to make; so moist, and not too sweet; 'a nice surprise with the soft crunch of the pistachios' (thus spake Mr P.)


some people might find the olive oil a bit strong for them, and it has the slightest, slightest whiff of egginess, tho' we didn't mind at all, especially when paired with creme fraiche or ice cream

gather your ingredients

whisk the meal and nuts together

beat the cocoa mixture into the eggy mixture

batter ready for the oven at 170C/340F

out of the oven; baking paper ripped off its bottom

cooled and ready to eat

smother in cream or creme fraiche

yep, we dived in before the final photo :-)

© Sherry M.

(Joining up with Marg from Intrepid Reader for Weekend cooking.)

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Pistachio And Orange Blossom Water Shortbreads

I was never a great fan of shortbread till I met Mr P.  His eldest sister (he has 4!) makes the most wonderful, buttery, light as air shortbreads you will ever eat.  Unadorned, beautiful shortbread.  I paused when I saw this recipe which has orange blossom water starring as a flavour.  Reminds me a bit of grandmothers' bathrooms.  Our mate Princess Pia laughed when I said it smells like toilet water - as in, the scent that ladies splash on themselves, not your actual toilet water :-)

This is a recipe by Peter Gordon, the New Zealand chef who has recently moved back to NZ during Covid.  (From his book Peter Gordon a culinary journey.)  After living in the UK for 20 years, he sold his London restaurants to start up again in his home country.  Mm, I seem to have a bit of a thing going with New Zealand at the moment, don't I?  It really IS a fabulous place to visit, and I'd love to live there for a while.  And they have the wondrous Jacinda Ardern for Prime Minister.  Sooooo jelly!

so cute, so delicious

Makes 21 biscuits (tho Peter says 24-30!):


125g./4.5 oz butter, softened (not melted)

100g./3.5 oz caster sugar (I used raw)

1 egg yolk

30 mL/2 U.S. tbs of orange blossom water (or rosewater - my idea)

80g./3 oz ground pistachios (I zapped 'em in the food processor)

200g./7 oz plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

a pinch of sea salt

2 tsp orange zest (my idea)

extra sugar for sprinkling on top


Cream the butter and sugar together briefly with electric beaters - don't go crazy; Peter says you don't want too much air

Beat in the egg yolk, then gently beat in the orange blossom water and the nuts

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into the mixture, and stir till nicely incorporated 

Pat the dough into a nice lump, whack on the cling wrap, flatten slightly and stick in the fridge for an hour to chill down

Then - turn your oven to 180C/360F to warm up

Cut the dough in half, roll out one piece between 2 sheets of baking paper till it's 1/2 cm./0.2 in thick

Make shapes with a biscuit cutter or whatever you fancy, place on a lined baking tray then do the same with the other half of the dough

Prick them with a fork (I forgot to do this!), sprinkle on the sugar and zest and bake - the recipe says 12-18 minutes; mine took 16 mins. - till they start to go golden

Let them cool on the trays for 10 minutes, then place them on wire racks to get cold

Keep in an airtight container for up to a week

grind your nuts - can you even buy 'em already ground??

add the ground nuts to the creamed butter and sugar

wrap in clingfilm, and refrigerate for an hour

cut the chilled dough in half

place the shortbreads on lined trays

a wee bit puffed up 'cos I forgot to prick 'em :-)

sweet, airy, light shortbreads

© Sherry M.

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

In My Kitchen - June 2021

First of all - very sad news for those of us who knew Kim Bultman of the blog A Little Lunch.  I was completely gobsmacked and shocked to read on her Facebook page that she had passed away last week.  She emailed me at Christmas with some words of wisdom, which I really appreciated.  Vale Kim, and hugs to her family.

But here we are, ready for another IMK post.  I love June! - it's Winter, it's my birthday month, it's the Winter Solstice, it's fabulous.  I pull out my many and varied scarves, and my boots and for about a month, we enjoy the change in weather.  Though we Queenslanders do start to complain once the temp. drops below 20C/70F!

Our compatriots in Victoria have just gone into a 7 day lockdown again, poor things.  I just hope we don't get any of that up here.  I've already had some awful virus that lasted for 3.5 weeks!  And I've had some marathon sessions at the dentist, with more to come.  And I need new spectacles ... and on it goes.  This year is full of surprises, and shocks.  Now let's look into our kitchen happenings.  Join in, one and all.  Everybody is welcome!

In my kitchen:

a few goodies from Grecian Purveyor in Sydney, and Long Track Pantry

The dolmades are so delicious!  They are not too soggy or salty, but just right.  And the dried oregano is fantastic - full of flavour and a great scent.

more goodies from our local village Providore

Watermelon hot sauce is a tangy, sweet and spicy item.  Great with all sorts of things.  Such clever people to think of making this stuff.

regional vanilla paste

as per the label

blitzing parsley and chives and olive oil

Happily I no longer throw out limp, sad herbs but blitz them with salt, pepper and olive oil, and into the freezer they go.  I feel virtuous, and I have a ready supply of herbs for soups and stews.

shredding cabbage for sauerkraut

My sauerkraut is going very well this year.  Bubbling away nicely in the depths of my walk-in wardrobe.  I love my personalised crock made by our beautiful potter friend Brooke from Red Door Studio.

'A Book Trip' by Yuiko Uto

This is my June curveball.  I love watercolours!  This is by a Japanese-Australian artist.  I bought this at a local market, situated in trendy Fish Lane.  So quirky, so clever, so gorgeous.  My walls are getting rather well-populated, so this one is sitting way up above 3 other paintings.  I keep telling Mr P. that I need my own little studio/getaway in the backyard.

Here's the usual reminder, folks: IMK posts are about your kitchen (and kitchen garden) happenings over the past month.  Dishes you've cooked, preserves you've made, herbs and veg in your garden, kitchen gadgets, and goings-on.  You get the picture.  And don't forget your curveball!  Throw in whatever you fancy; no need to be kitchen-related.  The link is open from the first to the thirteenth of the month.  Let me know if you need help with adding your post, or if you would like it added manually by me after the 13th (if you're running late). Here's how to join in:

Options for adding your post to IMK:

1. Add via the Add Link button at the bottom of this post.  Instructions can be found on the sidebar of this page, under the Add your IMK link OR:

2. Comment on this post, providing a link to your post so I can add it manually to the list below OR:

3. Email me: sherrym1au@gmail.com, with your link or any queries about the link process

In My Kitchen:

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Wednesday, 26 May 2021

Bacon And Egg Pie - The Kiwi Way - a là Chelsea & Annabel

Some time ago I mentioned that I'd make more recipes from Bacon the Cookbook by the Irish blogger Niamh Shields.  This is not that recipe!  This recipe is a hybrid from two Kiwi cooks - Chelsea Winter and Annabel Langbein.  Aussies and Kiwis always argue about who first created recipes like pavlova, lamingtons and a flat white.  We did, we did!!  But who cares really?  I love New Zealand, and strongly recommend a visit there. The land of mountains and snow, glacial rivers, glaciers, bungee jumping, possum pies, sheep and Hobbits!  What's not to love about all that, my friends?

Hilarious story about the couple who ran a West Coast café selling possum pies.  The people who supplied the possum meat (possums are an introduced pest in NZ) were going out of business so they sold 6 tonnes of meat to this couple.  They ran out of meat eventually so he went out shooting his own supply.  They were then charged with selling 'unregulated meat'.  The charges were dropped, their defence being they hadn't been told they were doing something illegal.  You gotta laugh!!

I suggest tackling this pie on a lazy Sunday afternoon as Mr P. and I did this weekend.  You won't regret it, as you will have leftovers for days!  And that's a very good thing.  It's not a difficult recipe, but it does take a bit of time.  And I love it cold, straight out of the fridge.  Mr P. thinks I'm nuts:-)  I also love cold stew on hot toast with lots of melting butter.  I've almost convinced him that this is a great thing.

golden, crispy, comforting pie

Serves 6-8, if you're really hungry, otherwise 1 or 2 more:


3 medium potatoes, peeled

1-2 tbs EV olive oil or vegetable oil

1 large red or brown onion, diced

250g./9 oz rindless bacon, diced or cut into strips

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

2-3 tbs plain flour

4 sheets of ready-rolled puff pastry, thawed

3-4 tbs of cornflake crumbs, or semolina or almond meal

1/2 cup of tomato or red capsicum relish

12 large eggs

1-2 ripe tomatoes, sliced or diced

1/2 cup of roasted capsicum (out of a jar), cut into strips

2 tbs of wholegrain or Dijon mustard (optional)

1/2 cup of fresh parsley, finely chopped

2 tbs thyme leaves and/or 3 tbs of chives, finely chopped, and a dessertspoon of dried oregano

1½ cups of cheddar cheese, grated

1/2 cup of fetta, crumbled

copious amounts of freshly ground black pepper, and a generous sprinkling of sea salt

2-3 tbs of cream or a lightly beaten egg, for glazing at the end

sesame and/or poppy seeds for sprinkling over the glazed pie


First, boil the whole peeled potatoes for 10-15 minutes till tender (but not fall-apart squishy); let them cool enough so you're able to slice them

Heat the oil in a frypan, add the onion and bacon and stir for about 5 minutes; add the garlic and cook for a few more minutes till your kitchen smells wonderfully fragrant

Turn on your oven to 190C/375F; place a large baking tray on the middle shelf to get hot (your pie dish will sit on this, to help the bottom crisp up)

Grab a big baking dish (Annabel uses one that measures 30cm x 40cm/12 in x 16 in); mine was a wee bit smaller than Annabel's but it worked out fine

Measure out and chop off a big piece of baking paper - enough to cover the base and most of the sides of the dish

Screw it up in your hands (for easy handling), smooth it out, then place it on your bench; throw on the plain flour, place 2 sheets of pastry on the paper, and press the pastry together to form one big pastry sheet - if you have too much pastry on the bottom, trim it and keep for the top of the pie

Get your Mr P. to lightly butter the sides of the baking dish (if you're lucky enough to have a Mister P.)

Pick up the whole shebang, paper and pastry, place it into the baking dish, sprinkle on the cornflake crumbs, and into the oven (on the hot tray) it goes for 10 minutes - don't worry if it puffs up, the filling will flatten it out

Take out the baking dish, and let it cool for a few minutes

Layer the potato slices over the bottom of the pastry, then spoon the relish over the potatoes

Break each egg into a cup (to be sure they're okay), then into the pie dish

Place the tomato and capsicum evenly over the eggs and potatoes

Add dabs of the mustard over everything

Now spread over the onion, bacon and garlic mix

And sprinkle on the herbs, the cheddar and fetta, and the pepper and salt

Either place 2 joined sheets of pastry over the top and trim them so they fit neatly over the pie OR if you have a savvy, spatially-inclined spouse like Mr P., get them to make pretty lattice strips and lace them beautifully over the whole thing

Paint on the cream or eggwash, and throw the seeds all over the top layer of pastry (make a couple of slits in the pastry for steam if using one big sheet rather than lattice)

Bake at 190C for about 50-60 minutes or till golden-brown and crisp on top

Serve with salad or steamed veg.


Chelsea suggests using 5-6 tomatoes, but as I'm not a fan, I used 1 tomato, some roasted capsicum, and a mix of tomato and capsicum relish instead

You could use a really big round pie dish for this, if you have one

gather your ingredients

puff pastry goes into the baking dish

potatoes and relish onto the partly-cooked pastry

12 eggs over the potatoes and relish

add the mustard, bacon mix, herbs, tomato, capsicum and fetta

grated cheese sprinkled over all

latticed, and sprinkled with seeds

after 50-60 mins. at 190C

golden, crunchy, delicious!

© Sherry M.

Brush-tailed possum
 (Author: Andrew Mercer - Wikimedia Commons)

Wednesday, 19 May 2021

Blackberry Fool à la Thalia Ho

Here we have another recipe from Thalia's book Wild Sweetness.  She is the Brisbane-based creator of an award-winning food blog called Butter and Brioche.  And her new book is a honey.  Regular readers will have seen my Anzac Day post of her recipe for oat biscuits with rosemary, apricot and white chocolate.  They were a real winner with everyone.  And I'm keen to try out lots more of her recipes.

Thalia calls this one Currants and Cream, but as I had to use blackberries instead, I've called it a fool.  No, not your local silly person, but that English dessert of fruit purée mixed with whipped cream or custard.  I remember when sharing a house with several other students years ago, I tried to make a dried apricot fool but not having a blender or processor, it ended up a kind of fibrous, orangey-brown mush.  Not pleasant, my dears.  Thank goodness for a well-equipped kitchen these days.   

so sweet, so fruity, so delicious

Serves 4-6:


115g./4 oz white chocolate, finely chopped

400 mLs/14 oz thickened/heavy cream

125g./4.4 oz blackberries or blackcurrants

50g./1.8 oz white or caster sugar

2 tbs Chambord or Crème de cassis


You make the cream by placing the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl, then - 

Pour 240 mLs/8 oz of the cream into a medium saucepan, bring it to the boil, then pour it over the chocolate

Put it aside for a minute to melt the chocolate, then give it a good stir till well-mixed and smooth

Now grab some clingfilm and cover the bowl, making sure you've pressed the clingfilm onto the surface of the chocolate mixture - you don't want a skin to form

And into the fridge it goes for around 6 hours to chill

While it's chilling, get on to the fruity part by putting the fruit and sugar and liqueur into a medium saucepan

Heat over medium-low till the fruit slumps (says Thalia) - i.e.  goes limp but still has some shape, and the juices are thick and syrupy

Into the fridge it goes to chill also

When you're going to eat this, put the chocolate cream mixture into a bowl, add the rest of the cream, and beat with electric hand-beaters or in a stand mixer till you have soft peaks

Gently stir in the fruity purée, till you have beautiful dark-pink streaks throughout - don't go crazy here! - you want a beautiful rippled effect 

Place it back in the fridge for an hour to chill right down

Serve with a crunchy little Amaretti biscuit or biscuit/cookie of your choice

Confession time:

I made an oopsy with this recipe.  A friend dropped in, and I wasn't concentrating, so instead of boiling 240 mLs of the cream, I boiled the whole darn lot of it!  And guess what?  It worked perfectly.  I put it in the fridge for 6 hours, then whipped it till soft peaks, stirred in the fruit - ét voilà, perfectly beautiful blackberry fool.  So maybe do it my way, and make it easy on yourself


Use a good quality white chocolate like Lindt; it's a beautifully thin and well-tempered chocolate so I was able to just break it up with my fingers - no knives involved :-)

I used frozen fruit as it's not blackberry season here, and it's very difficult to get blackcurrants at any time.  It took about 10 minutes to get to 'slump' stage

Use whatever fruity liqueur you fancy, or a couple of teaspoons of vanilla extract

bring the cream to a boil

pour the hot cream over the white chocolate

gather your fruity ingredients

into the saucepan for some slumping :-)

bubble bubble toil and trouble - till slumped

6 hours later - spoon in the syrupy fruit

stir gently through the chocolate cream

and ... eat with a golden spoon - tee hee

© Sherry M.