Thursday 22 February 2018

Upside-Down Cherry Loaf

You've heard of Enid Blyton, haven't you?  Famous English children's book author, apparently a terrible mum: writer of the Famous Five, Secret Seven, adventures galore, Noddy and Big Ears - hmm, the less said about those two naughty creatures the better:=)  Well, I loved her books as a child, and wished I could go along with George and Timmy et al on their adventures. 

Well, in lieu of that childhood fantasy, let's have a look at this recipe from Enid Blyton Jolly Good Food by Allegra McEvedy.  These recipes are inspired by the stories of Enid Blyton, and there are extracts throughout this book from Ms. Blyton's books.  Can't wait to try the baked bean and bacon quiche:=)  And it uses a big tin of beans, not a wee one.  Anyway, we'll try that another day.

have a cuppa and a slice of cake 

Upside-Down Cherry Loaf:


the cake:

320g. glacé cherries

180g. unsalted butter, plus a bit more for greasing the loaf tin

180g. caster sugar

3 large eggs

180g. self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

2-3 tbs milk (possibly)

zest of 1 lemon

50g. mixed peel (optional)

the icing:

75g. icing sugar

1 tbs water or lemon juice 


Put the oven on to 180C to heat up

Grease a 23cm x 13cm. loaf tin with butter, and line with baking paper

Rinse the cherries and pat dry with kitchen paper

Line the bottom of the loaf tin with the cherries, all in pretty rows

Into a large bowl go the butter and sugar; now beat together for several minutes, till fluffy, creamy and pale

Beat in the eggs one at a time

Fold the flour and baking powder into the mixture

Spoon in a bit of the milk if it seems too thick

Lastly the zest goes in with the mixed peel if using

Give it all a final fold and spoon into the lined loaf tin

Bake for about 1 hour 10 mins., or until a skewer in the middle comes out clean

Let it rest for 10 mins. in the tin, then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely

Make sure you have the cherries on top now

Now you are going to make the icing, you little scamps:

Sift the icing sugar into a bowl

Add a bit of water/lemon juice, and maybe a bit more, till you get a runny paste

Now randomly drizzle it all over your cooled loaf

Cut a slice and have a cuppa!


Don't panic if you only have salted butter; go ahead and use it!

You may need a bit more or less milk for the cake batter, and a bit more or less water/lemon juice for the icing - my batter didn't need any milk, but I put a couple of teaspoons in just for the heck of it

You can beat the cake batter by hand if you need a bit of exercise, but otherwise I suggest using an electric mixer or handbeater

My oven is contrary, and has a mind of its own; my cake took about an hour to bake

Now for our American readers, I think the loaf tin is 9 x 5 inches

ingredients gathered

a whole heap of glacé cherries lining the tin

butter and sugar creamed till pale and fluffy; eggs beaten in

fold in the lemon zest and mixed peel

ready to bake @180C for about an hour or so   

let the icing drizzle onto the cooled cake

delicious with a cuppa 

My contrary oven burned the top of the cake, which ends up being the bottom, so it's easy to trim off the bits if you wish.  Though Mr P. said he likes them anyway.  This is such an easy to make cake, moist and buttery and pretty.  The recipes in this book are simple, and tasty.  And this cake was a hit with hubby and our mates.  I'm sure Ms. Blyton would approve.

my glacé cherries doodle

Thursday 15 February 2018

Freja's Café - Review

Freja is an Old Norse name meaning 'lady'.  She was the goddess of love, beauty and fertility.  Apparently a blonde, blue-eyed beauty, just like the charming front of house/owner at the new, local (for us) café Freja's.  I've now eaten here 3 times, twice for lunch and again for coffee with Mr P.  Each time we have had a friendly, efficient and delicious experience.

looking in from the outside dining area  

Formerly an Indian restaurant, this is now a clean, white space with pale wood accents (which I find very appealing).  And here at Freja's you don't end up with the usual 'same old, same old' that you get at many other eateries.  The food is innovative, fresh and pretty too.  Even bog standards like croissants may have a quirky twist to them - e.g. accompanied by pulled beef cheek.

matcha pancakes $17.50

Mr P. loooves pancakes, and these were a hit.  The matcha flavouring wasn't strong, which pleased him.  "Not too moist, or too dry; just beautifully fluffy."  Quote, unquote:=).  Berries, blueberry coulis and a white chocolate 'lump' (his words) came with it.  Yep he hoovered these up very happily.  (Looks like a creamy, mousse-y 'lump' to me.)  

mushroom, rosti, egg, and asparagus  $17.90 

Here we have my lunch, in all its tasty glory.  The asparagus was fresh with a bit of texture, the egg soft, the rosti a nice crunchy outside and soft inside.  Not fond of the sprouty things, but hey that's just me.  The wild rice crumble gave the whole softly textured dish a pleasant bit of crunch.  Oh, and there's a field mushroom in there too, but you know what a mushroom tastes like already.  

iced mocha $5

I had the iced mocha; sorry but it didn't thrill me. It was okay, but I like 'em longer and colder and stronger:=)

lychee apple and orange juice $6.90

Mr P. chose a freshly squeezed juice of lychee, apple and orange.  He loved it, and said it had heaps of lychee flavour.

chips with lime aioli $7

Okay yes you found us out.  We had chips too!  Nice and squishy with a crispy coat.  And you can't go wrong with aioli at any time.

the specials board

On a recent weekend, I went off with our mate Princess Pia to check out possible new abodes for her.  After inspecting a few places, we sought refreshment at Freja's.  I was enticed by the specials, and chose the bacon waffle with buttermilk chicken.  And my stomach was very happy that I did.      

bacon waffles, buttermilk chicken and chipotle aioli $19.00  

The waffles were a bit too hard and crispy for me, but Princess Pia loved them (and took home the half that I didn't eat).  I loved that the bacon was in the waffle batter.  The chicken was to die for, tender and juicy and fried.  Who could resist such tasty morsels?  You're right, not me.  I adore maple syrup, and I loved the wee jug of it on the plate.  Sprouts not so much :=(  Oh, and there were a few lovely bits of onion too.  It may not look like a huge plateful, but it was an elegant sufficiency for this gal's belly. 

fig and almond tart $6

Here we have Princess Pia showing off her tart, which she ate with gusto.  I had a wee bite, and yes it was a moist and flavoursome number.

cappuccino $4.50

Actually that may be Princess Pia's flat white.  Ah well, you get the picture.  A nice crema and a pretty little swan (?) on top.

delicious croissants

I had one of these stuffed croissants another day with my coffee.  So deliciously soft and flaky, and a delight to eat.  The dough is from France; coffee roasted locally at Seven Miles, and the organic teas are by Mayde, which is based in Byron Bay.

Freja and moi

Freja's is a cool, calm space, with mostly outdoor dining.  The staff are friendly and accommodating, and the food is just that little bit different in a delicious way.  Worth stopping by for coffee, cake or something more substantial.  

Ph: 0458 159 945
3/1 MacGregor St., Wilston 4051

Freja's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Thursday 8 February 2018

Chelsea's Mince And Cheese Pie

As you may have noticed in my IMK post, I have a Kiwi cookbook by Chelsea Winter Homemade Happiness on my shelves.  I've been dying to try out some of her recipes, and here is the first: beef mince and cheese pie.  A Kiwi classic apparently, that you find everywhere.  Strangely, Mr P. and I have never noticed it on our trips to New Zealand, but next time we will be keeping a serious eye out for them.

One pie I did notice and eat in NZ was ling pie, bought from service stations if you can believe it.  Delicious!  And of course, on our wedding anniversary getaway to Tasmania last week, I had to have myself a curried scallop pie - guaranteed to have 6 scallops in each pie.  They're so tasty, but only really taste brilliant in Tasmania.  Always a good excuse to go back.  And did I mention the delicious bratwurst hot dogs down there?  But that's another story.

pie, glorious pie

Serves 6:


3-4 tbs olive oil

1 kg. (2.2 lb) beef mince

2 brown onions, finely chopped

2 stalks of celery, finely chopped

2 carrots, finely chopped

6 cloves of garlic, crushed or very finely chopped

2 sprigs' worth of rosemary leaves, finely chopped

1½ tbs dried oregano

1 bay leaf

1 Litre (4 cups) salt-reduced beef stock

½ cup (110g.) tomato paste

1 tbs Worcestershire sauce

1 tbs Vegemite or similar yeast spread

2 tsp mustard powder

1 tsp vinegar - I used red wine vinegar

½ tsp ground black pepper

2 tsp cornflour mixed with 2 tbs cold water  (possibly 2 extra tsp plus extra cold water may be needed to thicken it)

2 sheets of ready-made butter puff pastry - frozen is fine; but make your own if you have some time on your hands - tee hee:) 

1-2 tbs semolina (optional) - my idea

200g. cheddar cheese, sliced

1 egg whisked with 1 tbs milk or cream

1 dsp sesame seeds and 1 dsp poppy seeds (optional)


Heat up 1 tbs of olive oil in a large frypan, and tip in half the mince

Break it up and stir around for about 10 minutes till beautifully browned

Now either take the cooked mince out, and tip in the other half to brown also, OR do it in 2 frypans at once, like I did

Pour the extra oil into your frypan, now serenely emptied of mince

In go the onions, celery and carrot

Stir for about 10-15 minutes, till wonderfully soft and tender

Now add garlic, rosemary, oregano and bay leaf

Stir in for a few minutes

The browned mince now goes back into the pan

The stock, tomato paste, Worcester, Vegemite, mustard powder, vinegar and black pepper go in too

Stir in the cornflour slurry, and let it simmer away for 30-45 minutes, stirring now and then

You want it 'nice and thick' (as Chelsea says), not watery 

Check for seasoning and add some salt, pepper and chilli flakes if you fancy - and take out the bay leaf

Place the pastry over the base of a large pie dish

Sprinkle the semolina over the base, if using - I find it helps keep the base non-soggy

Spoon the filling into the pie dish, and top with the sliced cheese

Whack on the pastry top, press down hard with your fingers to crimp and seal the pie, and brush over the egg wash for a golden finish

Scatter the sesame and poppy seeds over the top, if using

Make sure you cut a steam hole in the middle of the pie, or use a ceramic pie bird

Place the pie dish on the lower shelf of your oven at 200C or 180C fan-forced

Bake for about 50 minutes till golden brown

Let it rest for a few minutes

Serve with mash or boiled spuds, and/or steamed veg.


I blitzed the veg. in my food processor; so much quicker than chopping by hand, folks

I put a baking tray into the oven to get hot, then sat the pie dish on it during the baking time.  This helps the pastry base to cook well

You may need to add more cornflour, as I did - I ended up putting in another 2 tsp cornflour with another tbs or 2 of water

Okay, let's be honest here - it took about an hour all up to get this mixture thick and lovely.  Maybe I didn't have the oventop hot enough, or my frypan was too big for the hotplate, or ... there was just too much liquid to start with.  I don't know, but it took ages to reduce down

Tip:  Buy ready-sliced cheddar!

(some) ingredients gathered

blitz the carrot, celery and onion 

use 2 frypans at once - so much quicker  

cook up the veg. and herbs till tender   

thick and very tasty filling

sprinkle on the sesame and poppy seeds before baking 

rich and filling slice of pie

tasty, cheesy, oozy pie

my carrotty doodle                         

Thursday 1 February 2018

In My Kitchen - February 2018

I have things to show you, folks.  Probably too many things.  But this is a catch-up, isn't it?  Mr P. gave me things for Christmas; I bought myself things; other people gave me things.  Okay, you get the picture.  I hope you have lots of things to show us all too.  So here's the instructions:

Here are the options to add your post:

1. Adding via the link button at the bottom of this post.  Instructions can be found on the sidebar of this page, under Add your IMK link
2. Comment on this post, providing a link to your post so I can add it to the linky list below
3. Email me:, with your link or any queries about the link process

And here in my kitchen is:

interesting look into the life of a well-known cookbook editor

She is/was known for saving Anne Frank's Diary from an editor's slush pile.  And introducing Julia Child's cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking to US cooks.  Being a huge reader myself, I was fascinated with this look into the editor's world.

furikake seasoning

I love Japanese everything!  And at least I have a good idea what this one is, due to the English label :=)

Japanese chocolate I think; maybe Korean? 

Bought this in Melbourne on our short break.  Nope, simply not possible to resist a Japanese/Korean grocery store.

yep,more furikake!

Mr P. and I love rice so this is going to be a treat on our ricy dishes.  I love the way that Japanese foods seem to incorporate fish into everything - even their condiments and my fave rice crackers.  Dried bonito rules!

BB8- kitchen timer

I love BB8 - who doesn't?  This is a very cute timer whose head spins before beeping Star Wars music at you.

BB8 mug and lid

I came upon this in a gorgeous tea shop in the outer hills of Melbourne.  There you will find gloriously cute tea pots and mugs and wonderful chocolate and tea and bits and bobs.  A veritable tea wonderland.

Kiwi cook Chelsea Winter

Chelsea won New Zealand Masterchef a few years ago, and has published a cookbook every year since.  Five already!  I'm looking forward to trying out some of her recipes soon.  Wait for it, wait for it ... as Barney used to say.  (What do you mean, you've never watched How I Met Your Mother?)

a tin of honey from our Tassie friends  

Our Tasmanian friends came up at Christmas, bringing goodies for us.  Beautiful, strongly flavoured honey made by Tassie bees.  Go the bees!

a gift from my cousin

A gorgeous little bowl which matches our blue and white kitchen.  Thanks, coz.

a great quote from Edith Head, inimitable Hollywood costume designer

While down in Melbourne, we took a drive out to Bendigo.  This is a beautiful old town, full of historical buildings from the gold mining era of the 1850s.  We headed to the well-respected Art Gallery which was holding an Edith Head exhibition.  She was a Hollywood costume designer for many years, and won 8 Oscars for her work.  Brilliant stuff, in a time when it wasn't so normal for women to work outside the home.

a gift from hubby for Christmas 

I just love this one, now sitting on my kitchen wall.  It is called "the Nameless Child", by Sherry McCourt.  She uses vintage materials like old maps and books and turns them into beautiful paintings.  This one was based on a schoolgirl in a 1940s school photo.  Check Sherry out on Facebook.  (the artist, not me:=) )

And that I think is that for this month's IMK post.  Looking forward to catching up with you all!  Please join in, and show us all the fab things you have in your kitchen.

(The link will be open to the 11th Feb Aus time., to give O/S bloggers enough time on their 10th of the month.)


    An InLinkz Link-up

Sherrys Pickings