Tuesday 25 September 2018

Swedish Ginger Biscuits - Pepparkakor

My cousin does a lot of overseas travelling and she often brings back wonderful kitchen goodies for me.  On one of her trips away, she got me a cute elk biscuit cutter, with a recipe for pepparkakor enclosed.  (Apparently, it's moose in Canada, and elk in Europe.)  I think it's adorable whatever you call it.  It has taken me a while but I've finally got around to making these biscuits.  And oh boy, does it make a lot of them:=)

Image result for farg form moose cookie cutter
Farg&Form elk cookie cutter 

Start this recipe one day ahead!


330g. butter, softened

450g. caster sugar

6 tbs golden syrup

2 tbs ground cinnamon

1 tbs ground cloves

1 tbs ground ginger

2 tbs ground cardamom

1 tbs bicarb of soda

200 mLs water

900g. plain (all-purpose) flour


On Day 1, make the dough:

Cream the butter in a large mixing bowl

Add the sugar and golden syrup and beat in well

In go the spices - cinnamon/cloves/ginger/cardamom, and bicarb soda

Stir them in till well-combined

Tip in the water and give it a stir; no need to beat in

Now work in the flour in 3 or 4 lots; combine well each time

Knead well on a lightly-floured surface till you have a nice, smooth huge ball of dough

Wrap it tightly in cling film and place in the fridge for 24 hours!

Day 2:

Take the dough out of the fridge, and let it warm up a bit (say 10 minutes?) 'cos it will be hard, baby

Roll it out to 4-5 mm thick - I suggest rolling out a third of the dough at a time 'cos it is big!

Cut out shapes or use whatever biscuit cutter you have - make sure you press the cutter into some flour first

Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper or a silicone mat

Bake at 210C for 4-5 minutes

Leave on the baking tray for a few minutes to cool down, then place on a wire rack to cool completely

Decorate with icing sugar/water mix if desired


I used an American measuring spoon here so each one is 15 mLs

The recipe says to bake at 200-225C.  Now I think that is a huge difference, even depending on your oven!  So try it at 210C

You can ice these with a simple icing sugar and water mix, or just eat the naked mooses/elks

FYI, I only baked one third of the dough this time around.  It made 17 elks!  More than enough for me and Mr P.  I have cut the rest up into several pieces, wrapped in freezer bags, then another bag and popped into the freezer for baking another time.  You can leave it in the freezer for up to 3 months

ingredients gathered

cream the butter, beat in sugar and syrup

add the spices and bicarb soda

give the water a quick stir in 

stir in the flour, a third at a time 

knead the dough into a smooth ball

The Next Day:

roll out the dough to about 5 mm thickness 

place on tray ready for baking @210C for 4-5 mins.

yep, definitely mutant roadkill

wrap and freeze the rest of the dough for later use if you are short on time 

Yep I know, it looks like illicit drugs, ready for pick up by a crazed drug mule:=)

a plateful of mutant elks, and my shoe

spicy artwork by sherry's pickings

Tuesday 18 September 2018

Spicy Beef Pie

Well, I was going to make a boureg recipe, where you make a tasty filling and fold it into triangles or rolls of phyllo pastry - but I got lazy:=)  And I had a lot of stuff to do before going away, so I made a big, beef slab of a pie instead.  I made the meat filling using the recipe from Nawal Nasrallah's book (yep, I know I'm a bit obsessed with it at the moment).  And I had some phyllo in the freezer, but I just couldn't face all that buttering and rolling, so I used shortcrust and puff instead.  I added some cheese slices on top of the filling, too.

I think the first time I had boureg/burek/bourek/borek was in Zagreb (Croatia), when it was still Communist and lots of boy soldiers with big rifles were stomping around the place.  Though nowhere near as many as in Belgrade.  Yugoslavia as it then was, really opened our eyes.  We realised how amazingly safe and protected we were at home; never having to think about wars and soldiers in the streets, and secret police coming onto the trains to check out your passports.  We are damn lucky in Australia!  Anyway folks, here's the pie recipe:=)

add some veg. to your plate

Adapted from Delights From The Garden Of Eden:


1 tbs olive oil

500g. (1 lb) of minced beef

2 medium brown onions, finely chopped

1 tbs tomato paste

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes (optional)

1 cup (60g.) parsley, finely chopped

2 sheets of frozen pastry - shortcrust and/or puff

4 slices of vintage tasty cheddar cheese (optional)

1-2 tbs of milk for glazing the top

1-2 tbs of sesame seeds (I used furikake - Japanese seasoning) 


Heat the oil in a large skillet over a medium-high heat

Tip in the beef, spread it out in an even layer and let it sizzle away for about 5 minutes

Stir it a few times as it cooks for another 5-10 minutes

Now add the onion, give it a stir and stir regularly while it cooks for about 10-15 minutes

In goes the tomato paste, salt, pepper, allspice, cinnamon and chilli

Give it a good stir, and cook for a few minutes, stirring now and then

Take the pan off the heat, cool for a few minutes and add the parsley

Leave the mixture to cool right down

Grab a baking tray; line with baking paper or a silicone baking mat 

Place a thawed sheet of shortcrust pastry on it

Spread the meat filling in an even layer over the pastry

Plop on the cheese slices if using

Place another sheet of pastry - use shortcrust or puff - over the top

Brush with milk and sprinkle on the sesame seeds

Bake at 190C for about 30 minutes or till golden


I used shortcrust on the bottom, and puff on the top

ingredients gathered

let the minced beef sizzle at medium-high for about 5 mins. 

stir in the parsley

spread the meat over the pastry

place the cheese slices over the meat filling 

puff pastry on top with sesame seeds

golden brown and delicious after 30 mins @190C 

serve with peas and creamy potatoes

parsley artwork by sherry's pickings

(Mr P. says it looks like a tree on the African savannah!  Hmmph!)

Wednesday 12 September 2018

Peppers Seaport Hotel Launceston

A travel blogger friend recently wrote that she thinks it's important to have a nice hotel to come home to at the end of a busy, touristy day.  I couldn't agree more.  I want a comfy room, with views if possible.  And a big screen TV (or 2), and a coffee pod machine, and a king-size bed ...  Well, here at Pepper's, we had all that.

We'd been staying with friends in Hobart, but were now off for an adventure, heading north.  We've been to Launceston many times, but never stayed in this part of town before.  The hotel sits on the river Esk, on a former dry dock, with views of the other Pepper's hotel across the way.  There are also views of the building work going on across the river, too.  Mmm, wonder what it will be?

looking back at the hotel from the walkway  

Mr P. and I had a lovely corner suite on the second floor, with 2 balconies, a kitchen and sitting room.  It was very quiet and peaceful as our room was at the end of a long corridor.  Reception was very friendly; and there is a coffee/hot chocolate and cookie bar in the foyer for guests - very thoughtful on a cold, rainy day.  We had to take our own bags upstairs, but they do provide a large trolley if you need it.      

the view from one of the balconies

We had a king-size bed, which I love, but the bedroom was surprisingly small.  I have to say there was a fair bit of wasted space in the design of this Luxury Marina View suite.  Does the average tourist really need a wardrobe in the bedroom, AND one in the little hallway between lounge and bathroom?  There was also a heck of a lot of unused real estate in the bathroom.  Mr P. being a building designer had plenty to say about how the space could have been used more effectively to give a bigger bedroom, and a more useful bathroom.

lovely king-size bed
looking out over both balconies

see all that empty space in the corner?:=)

With all that space, we would have loved a second vanity and more bench area.  But nevertheless, the shower was big and had good hot water.  There were plenty of Appelles toiletries, and the towels were changed everyday.  How wonderfully luxurious does that feel!

Okay, let's get the whinges out of the way:

- no luggage racks

- no reading lights in the bedroom

- freezer looked like the Antarctic; badly needed some global warming (defrosting)

- coat hangers and extra pillows so high I couldn't reach them

- no electric blanket (I guess they breed 'em tough down there)

Great things:

- big bed

- full-size fridge

- complimentary water, beer and cider

- laundry in the suite

- coffee pod machine (and easy to use)

- 2 balconies

- large living space, with a dining table and chairs at one end

- plenty of parking (only $10 per day)

- several restaurants underneath and beside the hotel

- pillow menu

- extra blankets if requested

- a desk and power points aplenty

- free Wi-Fi

the living area
the kitchen

enjoying some local water

this might keep me going for the day

sunset from our balcony, after the storm

the foggy view on our first morning

We enjoyed our 3 night stay here.  It was comfortable and quiet; we felt safe and secure; staff were friendly and it was a very pleasant place to rest our heads before we headed back to sunny Queensland.

(This hotel stay was independently paid for.)

Peppers Seaport Hotel
28 Seaport Blvd.,
Launceston TAS 7250
Ph: 1300 987 600

Saturday 1 September 2018

In My Kitchen - September 2018

As you read this my friends, hubby and I will be heading down to Tasmania.  For those not of these climes, it is the wee island off the southern coast of mainland Australia, often forgotten by mapmakers and overseas newsreaders.  And often very cold, due to being in the path of the Roaring Forties' winds.  There may even be snow - yay!  Can't wait.

Hoping you can join us here for In My Kitchen this month.  I don't have a whole heap to share, but just wait till next month.  I bet I have heaps of glorious stuff from Tassie, which is known for its fabulous produce, and fish and oysters and cheese and chocolate ...    

Definitely no snow in my kitchen, but here we have:

DIY parsley paste

I had a bunch of parsley looking much the worse for wear, so had to think what to do with it.  Huh, lightbulb moment - stick the bunch in a glass of water for a couple of days to refresh, then zap it with salt, pepper and olive oil to end up with a paste that I could use in all manner of things like stir-fries and stews.  Fabulous, and so thrifty!

Spanish salt

I love trying all sorts of different salts; smoked being my fave of all time.  Gave this one a go; not my fave, but it's okay, just very salty:=)  Of course you say, but I mean it is just too salty for me.  Too sharp, too bitter.  Never mind, I shall make use of it.

jam and marmalade

Stonewall Kitchen is an American brand, so even though it goes against my mantra of buying local, I sneak these into my kitchen.  And after giving myself a good talking-to, we devour them with pleasure.

silver ladle and cake server

My bestie MM, she of the finger-slicing episode, gave me these lovely silver items for my birthday.  So pretty!  And don't forget 'useful', always a fave attribute for everything I buy or get gifted.  Can you see me reflected in them? 

that's mine - the chocolate heart

OK, some explanation needed.  The choc heart cake in the foreground was definitely in my kitchen at one point.  I made it for the Love Your Bookshop Day bake-off recently.  I didn't win, but all the cakes went to a half-way house for their arvo teas.  So I felt very chuffed that I could help others, as well as have a lot of fun in the making and baking.

Wanda and Fiona judging the cakes

Here we have the judges, Wanda and Fiona (the Avid Reader Bookshop owner).  They judged mine first.  Eek, nail-biting.

Well, that's about it for me this time.  Please join in my lovelies; I'd love to see you here.  (the link ends on 13th Sept, fyi.) 

Here are the options for adding your IMK posts.  In order for me to add your posts (i.e. if you prefer that I do it), I must have your email address.  Inlinkz now demands one!  I used to be able to leave it blank, but no more.  I am happy to do this for you, but just let me know and leave your email address too.

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

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