Monday 23 December 2019

Black Forest Ice Cream Cake

Here we go - one last post before the Christmas break!  It's cherry season (phew! and are they expensive!!) so I had to include a few in this dessert I'm making for Christmas dinner.  I got the idea from Delicious magazine, with a recipe which calls for three litres of store-bought ice cream.  I decided to work a little bit harder (what? yes, crazy gal!), and make some of my own no-churn ice cream for one of the layers.

I suggest making this a couple of days before Christmas.  I reckon we will all have enough to do on Christmas Eve already:-)  Yep on Christmas Eve, I'm making Dutch potato salad, baking a small turkey breast, and prepping onion and garlic puddings for Christmas Day.  Eek!  Happily for me, Mr P. and our housemate M. will be shoving the four kilo Christmas bird into our oven at the crack of, on the actual morning.  Phew!  We will then transport the monster to our mates' place round the corner, to enjoy the festive feast.  Best wishes to you one and all for your own festivities.


ice cream:

100g. (70%) dark chocolate

400 mLs thickened cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp Frangelico or liqueur of your choice (optional)

1 tsp coffee powder (optional)

50g. icing sugar/icing mixture

200g. tube of condensed milk


150g. dark (70%) chocolate, chopped

60 mLs (1/4 cup) thin (pure) cream

approx. 210g. savoiardi sponge fingers (about half a 400g. packet)

30g. (2 UK/US tbs) cocoa powder

1 store-bought frozen chocolate fudge brownie (350g.) - (I used Sara Lee)

300 mLs French vanilla ice cream from the store, softened

120g. pitted cherries - fresh or frozen, and chopped

To decorate:

200g. fresh or frozen (thawed) pitted cherries

50g. chocolate shards (from the 150g. above)


First make your ice cream: - melt the chocolate in the microwave for about eighty seconds or so, and let it cool for a few minutes

Whip the cream, vanilla extract, Frangelico, coffee powder (if using) and icing sugar together till softly whipped, then add the condensed milk and melted chocolate - whip again till you have soft peaks

Pour into a metal cake tin, and place in the freezer while you put the cake together

Line the base of a 22cm. springform pan with clingfilm or baking paper

Put 100g. (of the 150g.) dark chocolate in a microwave-proof bowl along with the thin (pure) cream

Melt in the microwave for about sixty seconds

Stir well, and cool for a couple of minutes

Trim off the top third of the savoiardi (keep the smaller pieces for something else)

Dust the larger pieces of savoiardi on both sides with the cocoa - I placed them on a baking sheet and dusted them using a small strainer

Then lightly dip one side of a savoiardi finger into the chocolate/cream mixture, and place upright around the sides of the pan (not flat against the pan, but so it sticks out into the pan) - check the photo if you're confused:-)  

Keep going till you have completely lined the pan, dipping each finger and pressing gently against the one before it

Now press the brownie into the base of the pan - or get Mr P. to do it for you, so he gets the gooby chocolate hands:-)

Stir the chopped cherries into the softened vanilla ice cream, and spread it over the brownie base

Place into the freezer for ten minutes to firm up

Then scoop the chocolate ice cream out of the tin, and spread it over the vanilla layer

Back into the freezer for five hours (or overnight)

When serving, take the cake out of the springform tin, place the fresh cherries over the top of the cake, and scatter the other 50g. of dark chocolate (chopped or grated into shards) over the top


Buy two different ice cream flavours if you wish, rather than making one (or any)

Grab a packet brownie mix, and bake it up to use in this cake - if you fancy the extra effort!

first make your chocolate ice cream

place the mixture into a metal tin then into the freezer

get Mr P. to cut off the top third of the fingers (not his, tee hee)

dust the fingers with cocoa powder

line the base of the tin with clingfilm, then place the fingers around the edge

smooth on the vanilla ice cream and cherry layer

spread the chocolate ice cream over the vanilla layer

beautiful layers after being frozen overnight

how to fit this in after Christmas dinner? tee hee 

Have a wonderful Christmas/festive break, dear friends.  See you in the New Year; a year of change and new beginnings apparently!  May the '20s be marvellous for all.

 artwork © Sherry's Pickings

Sunday 15 December 2019

Industry Beans - Review

Industry Beans?  What does it mean?  Dunno, but I do know that this is a Melbourne-origin business, who sensibly have opened up in sunny Brisbane also.  It's a purpose- built space, with a café, brew bar, a roastery and an open-plan kitchen.  And it's full of trendy 'grammers, taking lots of selfies inside and out.  Mr P. and I felt severely underdressed here:-)  Man oh man, all that bling!  And that's just the mamas!  And it was only lunchtime! 

looking in

From the get-go, we were not feeling the love.  Staff were invisible, so we grabbed a table, and Mr P. went off in search of menus.  A not terribly happy waitperson came to our table, to take our order.  He seemed in a rush to give us the lowdown on their coffee, so we listened patiently, as it went in one ear and out the other. 

yuzu cascara spritz $4.70

This cold, refreshing drink was made with a yuzu syrup and a cascara cold brew, which is the berry of the coffee plant.  Not bad, though I expected a bit more - oomph.

Mr P.'s iced coffee

iced coffee $4.70

Mr P. had an iced coffee, made with their cold brew and housemade icecream.  This is a DIY job, like an affogato.  He found this nicely refreshing.

cutesy little bowls for seasonings and sugar

sous vide salmon garden $25

Sadly, I liked the idea and the presentation of this dish more than the actual food.  While it looks pretty, the taste ... mm, not really my thing.  I don't really understand the value of using technique over flavour.  The salmon was incredibly bland, and the texture was weird.  I'm not sure how to describe it - gelatinous, odd, strangely unappealing to my palate.  The samphire was twiggy; like eating twigs off a bush; not pleasant.  Dashi sea foam?  Yuzu gel? Just - why?  

coffee rubbed wagyu burger $22 + $4 for 3 polenta chips

Mr P. liked this burger a lot.  The chargrilled brioche bun was not too sweet - yay! (sadly a common fault these days); the wagyu pattie was good, and the chilli jam was really excellent.  The polenta chips were okay, if a wee bit bland (and expensive).  I have to say we both expected a few more.  (Jamie Oliver, where are you? - tee hee.)

inside the burger - fab chilli jam

interior space
The interior looks fabulous with that high, open space above.  We did hear a waitress telling people that it was much cooler in the outer part where we were sitting.  Thank goodness for air con!  Perhaps it just doesn't work well in that huge space?  To be honest, we won't be rushing back.  But I wouldn't say no to trying it out for dinner sometime, once we get ourselves blinged up:-)

looks super trendy from the outside

The Pickings' Verdict:  6/10

Ph: 07 3180 1190
18 Proe Street,
Newstead Q 4006

Industry Beans Newstead Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Sunday 8 December 2019

Quinoa, Chicken And Pineapple Salad

Quinoa - hard to say, and sometimes a bit hard to get right.  But it has nine essential amino acids, which is a good thing apparently:-)  So, eat it, eat it... as a certain dead pop singer may have almost said.  I'll tell you a secret though - Mr P. doesn't like quinoa!  There, you've heard it here first, so it may be quinoa out and couscous in.  We both like couscous, so this could easily be swapped out (is that the expression?), or you could use burghul/bulgur.

great for a hot summer's night

Do you know Lorraine Pascale, my friends?  I've been following her on Instagram for years.  She was a model, then became a TV cook who wrote cookbooks, and has done another twisty-turn in her life and become a life coach.  I got the idea for this recipe from a post of hers some time ago.  I've whacked in a few extras, as hers was a very simple dish.  But I like a bit of foodie bling - don't you? :-)  So treat this dish as a guideline, and put in the things that you enjoy eating.

Serves 4-6:


155g. (1 cup minus a couple of tablespoons) uncooked quinoa

500 mLs (2 cups) chicken stock or just-boiled water

250g. (8 oz) cooked chicken - grab a roast chook from the supermarket, or poach a couple of breasts

50g. (1/3 cup) sultanas or raisins

50g. (3/8 cup) pinenuts, toasted

80g. (a healthy half cup) cashews, toasted

100g. (3.5 oz) bocconcini or fetta, chopped

120g. (a chubby 4 oz) of fresh pineapple (out of a tin if you can't be bothered), chopped into chunks

1-2 red jalapeño chillies, sliced finely

chopped herbs - (I used parsley, chives and basil) - lots! or not, as you choose

juice of one lemon (2-3 tbs)

salt and pepper - half to one tsp sea salt; freshly ground pepper as you prefer - we like lots

1 tbs red wine vinegar

3-4 tbs olive oil or citrus-pressed oil


Place the quinoa and stock/water into a medium saucepan, and give it a good stir

Bring to the boil, turn down to a simmer and let it bubble away, covered, for about 15 minutes

Take off the heat, put a clean tea-towel over it and let it sit for five minutes

In the meantime, shred or chop up the chicken

Toast your nuts; chop the herbs, and chillies, and pineapple and cheese

Throw everything into a large salad bowl

In go the lemon juice, oil, seasoning and vinegar - aaand ... toss

Gives 4 hearty serves or 6 side serves


Nuts can be put into a small, dry frypan and allowed to toast over a low heat for a few minutes - watch carefully as they will burn all of a sudden, taking you by surprise and leaving you with dead, blackened husks :-(

toast your nuts in a dry pan

quinoa simmered for about 20 mins.

all tossed up and ready to eat

tasty and good for you

artwork © Sherry's Pickings

Sunday 1 December 2019

In My Kitchen - December 2019

I am trying to think of something clever to write here, but all I can say is: Omg!  Christmas is nearly here.  And here we are at the last IMK for 2019.  How the heck did that happen?  I am starting to panic a bit, as we are cooking and taking the turkey to friends for Christmas lunch, then having family for Christmas dinner.  Eeek!

It has been a bit of a roller-coaster this year, with a death in the family, my story being published, and various bits and bobs of life.  Apparently, the stars (and the cards) say there are changes coming, big changes - so we will see what happens in 2020.  The twenties?!  But but - that means flappers, and Prohibition and post-war shenanigans, and ...  Nope, you silly, add on a hundred years!  May the 2020s bring blessings for all of us.

So here for the last time in 2019 - In my kitchen:

Christmas gin pudding and gin

For another year, I have paid my pennies to get one of these delicious puddings.  They actually make the gin by soaking the pudding in the liquid, so you can taste all the wonderful Christmas spices.  Can't wait!  Oh yes, and they use a different artist's artwork for the label each year.  I really like this one.  It's by Tim Summerton - Flame Trees.

home-made mustard

I love to make a big batch of mustard for Mr P. every so often.  Each time it is different, depending on the amount of basil, honey etc that I throw into the food processor.  I think this is one of my best batches, but we will know for sure very soon, once it has matured.

maple syrup
I picked this up at a local coffee shop recently.  Mr P. went to pay for our coffees, and didn't tell me how much this cost.  I asked him a while later, and nearly fell off my unicorn!  He should have just handed over the deeds to the house instead.

smoked salt
I looooove smoked salt.  Sometimes I just open it and sniff it ...  For some reason, my very fave Yakima applewood smoked salt is no longer available in Australia, so I make do with other sorts.  This is pretty good.  I adore the smell, as it reminds me of growing up in the cold mountains of Victoria, where people had woodfires.  I got my sister to smell it a while back, and she startled back with horror.  Funny girl!    

one guess!

Clients of Mr P.'s came back from Italy with this gift for him.  Twenty-one tiny jars of Nutella in one huge glass jar!  Oh my, it must have been hard to shove in a suitcase.  And it weighs a ton.  They must really like him :-)

a Jamie Oliver santoku knife

This is definitely not a plug for Jamie Oliver, but I bought this knife recently as a back-up for when Mr P. is already using our big knife.  This one is cheap and cheerful, but not a bad item to have on my magnetic knife strip:-)  The grip is comfortable, and the blade sharp (for now).  Not a bad buy for $18!

Well, my dear IMK friends, that's it for another year.  Can you believe it?  Nope, me neither.  Please join in for the last time in 2019.  'Twould be wonderful to see you here.  And yes that means you, all of you:-)  Here's how to join in:  

(And I've given you till five minutes before midnight on Friday the 13th to get your post in!  'Cos that's the generous kinda gal I am!)

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

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

3. Email me:, with your link or any    

    queries about the link process 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

In My Kitchen:

Not Quite Nigella

Sherrys Pickings

Tuesday 26 November 2019

Coconut Cake

Regular readers will remember my story of our Nan giving us a fresh coconut every so often as a treat.  Dad would grab the hammer and give it a darn good whack till it broke open.  I bet he loved that bit, after dealing with four young children all day!  (My family were ahead of their time - mum went to work, and dad stayed home.)  So we ate chunks of coconut for days after, chewing, chewing, chewing ...

I found this recipe in a book a while ago; but I can't remember which book!  You can also find it on the Net, using normal milk and without any icing or bling.  So I decided to tweak it a wee bit, and to up the coconutty flavour with coconut cream.  And then of course, chocolate glacé icing popped into my head - you know, Bounty bars and all.  You will need to be a coconut fan, if you make this cake, my friends.  It is indeed a coconutty treat.

my coconutty heart 

Cake ingredients:

90g. (a big 3 oz) shredded/desiccated coconut

150g. (5½ oz) self-raising flour

1/2 tsp baking powder (optional) - if your flour is a wee bit old :-)

165g. (5¾ oz) caster sugar or vanilla sugar

185 mLs (6 fl oz) coconut cream or coconut milk or plain milk

Icing ingredients:

100g. icing sugar/icing mixture

25g. Dutch cocoa or black cocoa powder

50-60 mLs (around 3 tbs) coconut cream - you may need more or less, depending on how runny you like your icing

Bling!! for decoration


Place the coconut, flour, baking powder if using, caster sugar and coconut cream in a batter bowl/medium mixing bowl

Give it a thorough whisking, or use electric beaters like I did 

Butter a 20cm./8 inch cake tin really really well!  I suggest flouring it as well

Slide it into the middle of your pre-heated 180C (350F) oven

Bake for about 40 minutes till a skewer thrust into its heart comes out clean (and it's a pretty golden colour)

Let it sit in the tin for five minutes to cool, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely

Make up the glacé icing by putting the icing sugar and cocoa into a small bowl, add the coconut cream and stir till well combined

Tip/spoon/pour the icing over the cake and cast on your bling, my hearties

ingredients gathered, as Harry Potter might say :-)

ready to whisk

ready for the oven - 40 mins @ 180C

out of the oven

cool on a wire rack

get ready to do some glacé-ing :-)

bling-ed and ready to eat

oozy icing; all dressed up and ready to go

   artwork © Sherry's Pickings

Wednesday 20 November 2019

Sardine Butter

Confession time again: as much as I love Ruby and Nigella for their recipes and writing, I also adore Nigel - Slater, that is.  There is just something about his English earnestness (or is that earnest Englishness?) that so appeals to me.  I love his fabulous writing, and some darn good recipes.  Mmm, interesting how the food writers I love are all English!

I saw this recipe (if you can call it that) some years ago in his book Real Fast Food, and it lingered in the back of my mind.  So since my pantry had two tins of sardines lurking, I thought - yep, it's time!  Nigel's 'recipe' consists of mashing together a tin of sardines and an equal amount of butter, plus some lemon juice.  I thought I'd add a bit of extra oomph for the modern age.  So here it is, my version of Nigel's fishy spread.

ingredients gathered

Recipe inspired by Nigel Slater, and improved (tee hee) by me

Makes one (very) scant cup, about 200g.


90g.  (3 oz + 1 tsp) of salted butter, softened

110g. (4 oz) tin of sardines in springwater or olive oil, drained

12-15 chives - more if you like

a big!! handful of curly-leaf parsley - use flat-leaf if you must:-) 

one wedge of preserved lemon, flesh discarded, skin cut into strips

4-5 tsp lemon juice

½ -1 tsp sea salt flakes

lots of freshly-ground black pepper

extra herbs for serving if you wish

add baby capers and preserved lemon strips on top too, if you fancy


Let the butter soften on your kitchen bench

Tip it into your food processor, and give it a quick whizz

Now add the snipped or ripped chives, parsley and preserved lemon strips, and give it a whirl

Then add the lemon juice, salt and pepper and blitz away

Taste it - and add more lemon juice, seasoning and herbs if you wish - I did!

Scrape it out into a jar (or plastic container), cover tightly and keep in the fridge for up to a week

Serve on hot toast with more pepper etc, if you wish


I used wild Scottish sardines in springwater, but you can use the ones in extra-virgin olive oil if you prefer - I ended up with about 70g. of drained sardines

I simply broke up the chives and parsley in my hands before adding to the processor

Can be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months

everything goes in the processor

now add the little fishies :-)

and whizz till smooth

scoop into a pretty pot

ready for the fridge (for up to a week)

spread on hot toast

I know it looks like I've put on a major amount here, but it wasn't thaaaat much ... I love the beautiful speckled green colour, too!

artwork © Sherry's Pickings