Tuesday 25 August 2020

Choc-Orange Chocolate Ripple Cakes

Strangely, some people don't like the jaffa combo of chocolate and orange.  Who are these people?:-)  Frankly my dears, I love it!  Recently friends came over for a quick arvo tea (they were soon off gallivanting somewhere else), so I decided to make some jaffa crème (yep, sorry, I know it's a wanky word), and sandwich up some choc ripple biscuits.  As I still had heaps of the crème afterwards, I then thought of the old-fashioned choc ripple fridge cakes of our younger days.  You know where you throw mounds of whipped cream over the biscuits, and turn them into a delicious log?    

    By sheer chance, I had bought a food magazine (not a trendy, expensive one) that weekend, and came across a recipe for espresso martini ripple cakes.  Neither of our friends are coffee drinkers, so that was a no-go, but jaffa?  Yep, we were all in.  So off I went to buy more choc ripple biscuits, and make this extravaganza of chocolate and orange (and a wee dram or three of whiskey).  

the hands of Ms. P holding her dessert

    Best started the day before serving, but make it at least 6-8 hours ahead.  Make the jaffa crème a day ahead, and even the chocolate syrup if you wish.  I used Nigella Lawson's recipe for the syrup, and splashed some Irish whiskey in for good measure!

Original recipe by Sherry M:

Serves 6:


Jaffa crème:

1 tub (250g./8 oz) soft Philly cheese 

1 tub (250g./8 oz) mascarpone cheese

50-60g. (5-6 hefty tbs) soft icing mixture/sugar

zest and juice of 1 large orange (I ended up with 150 mL/5 fl oz)

100g. (3½ oz) dark chocolate, melted and cooled - I used Lindt 70%

Chocolate syrup:

1 tsp cocoa powder

125 mL (4.2 fl oz) water 

100g. (3½ oz) caster sugar 

3 tbs whiskey (optional)

For the ripple cakes:

1 packet (250g./8 oz) Chocolate Ripple biscuits

Jaffa crème

chocolate syrup

some crème fraîche (or mascarpone) to dollop on top (optional) 

1 Flake bar - or grate some chocolate from a block


Jaffa crème:

Tip the 2 cheeses into a large mixing bowl, and beat together well - you want this to be light and airy

Add the icing mixture or sugar into the bowl, and beat some more

Now you add the zest, juice and melted chocolate, and beat till well combined

Spoon the mixture into a container and place in the fridge till you make the cakes (give it a few hours to firm up)

The choc syrup:

Place the cocoa, water and sugar into a small saucepan

Stir to combine, bring to the boil, then turn down and let simmer for just a few minutes - you don't actually want a sticky syrup here, as it is just to moisten the biscuits

Cool for a few minutes, stir in the whiskey, and pour into a jar or bottle.  Keep in the fridge for when you make the cakes later

The Cakes:

Grab a serving plate, and line with a piece of baking paper

Lay out 6 biscuits along the plate (however they fit), then dip each one of their chocolatey bottoms into the syrup briefly

Place them back on the plate in a single layer, and brush the biscuits generously with the syrup

Top each biscuit with a generous tablespoonful of the crème 

See where this is going?  You are building up 6 gorgeous stacks of biscuit and crème!

Dip another biscuity bottom, and place it on one of the stacks.  Brush with syrup, and smother in crème; then a third biscuit dipped in the syrup, then brushed with more syrup, and topped with more crème; then a fourth dipped biscuit brushed with more syrup - so now you have 6 pretty cakes all ready for the final crème layer 

Now smother each cake with crème, and smooth it out over the top and sides with a palette knife/spatula - don't worry too much here if it's a bit clumpy (mine was!)

Dollop on the crème fraîche if using

Break up the Flake bar (or grate the chocolate) and sprinkle over each cake

Place in the fridge for 6-8 hours, or overnight


Chocolate ripple are plain chocolate biscuits/cookies; use whatever brand you have available

If you don't have an organic or unwaxed orange, do what I did - scrub it under warm tap water with a wee brush, then pat dry

The average orange holds about 75 mL/2.5 fl oz apparently; I used the whole amount that came out of my huge orange - 150 mL/5 fl oz!

My well-rounded tablespoonful of icing sugar mixture was about 10g., so 5 tbs = 50g./1.7 oz roughly

You will have leftover syrup and crème; so put the syrup in your coffee, and slather a biscuit with the crème

first, scrub your orange

beat the 2 cheeses with the orange and chocolate

simmer the syrup for 2-3 minutes

start making your stacks of  biscuit, syrup and crème

creamy stacks nearly done

on goes the final layer of jaffa crème

ready for eating

reflections of cake

These final photos were taken on my first go at making these cakes.  A dollop of mascarpone went on top.  I took this one over to our 90 year-old neighbour, who was a definite fan.  As our Tassie mate (who was staying the night before flying back to freezing cold Hobart) Ms. P said: "I'm so full, but the tastes are so good, I just can't stop..."

a smiley shot of the charming Ms. P with the salsa she chopped for dinner

           orangey artwork © Sherry's Pickings

Sunday 16 August 2020

Belgian Scone - International Scone Week 2020 #ISW2020

Wow! It's International Scone Week again.  Where did that twelve months go, my friends?  And hasn't it been interesting/scary/terrifying/invigorating/craaazzzyyyy?  I don't know whether I'm Martha or Arthur these days (as the saying nearly goes).  

ISW started way back with Celia from the Fig Jam and Lime Cordial blog, and is currently maintained by Tandy from Lavender and Lime.  Everyone and anyone is welcome to join in; just make some scones, my friends, and check out Tandy's blog post to find out the finer details.  (But hurry, it finishes on the 16th!)  

You are probably looking at my photo below, and saying 'That's not a scone!'  I found this recipe in a copy of The 21st Birthday Cookery Book of The Country Women's Association in Tasmania, first printed in 1957.  The name is Belgian Scone; no idea why as it seems to be an apple cake.  Delicious anyway, and it's in the spirit of ISW.  So I ploughed ahead!

delicious, spicy, appley scone/cake 

Serves 6, more or less:


1 tbs (20g.) butter

4 tbs (80g.) raw caster sugar

1 cup (150g.) self-raising flour, sifted

1/2 tsp mixed spice (or cinnamon or nutmeg)

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1/2 cup (140 mL) milk


1 large apple, grated or finely sliced

3 tsp raw caster sugar

1/2 tsp nutmeg or cinnamon


Cream the butter and sugar in a medium mixing bowl

Add the flour, spice, egg and milk to the bowl, and beat well

Pour the batter into a 17.5cm or 18cm/7 inch cake tin, which you have greased on the sides and bottom, and lined with a round of baking paper

Now place the grated apple or slices over the top of the batter

Then sprinkle on the sugar and nutmeg

Bake at 180C/350F for 30-35 minutes till a skewer in the centre comes out clean

Let it cool on a wire rack for five minutes before (carefully) turning out


I bet you're saying: 'Huh?  How come she's using cups and spoons?  And why is that half a cup of milk shown as 140 mL rather than 125?  And what about that flour?  Well, my friends, this book uses Imperial measurements, and not just imperial, but OLD imperial, which means a cup is about 284 mL!  Yep, just to make life that leeetle bit harder for bakers all over the world:-)

Use plain caster sugar if that's all you have, but the raw gives the cake a lovely hue and flavour

This recipe was provided by Mrs. J. H. Jones of George Town, which is a sweet little town in northern (ish) Tasmania.  Mrs. Jones did not say how long to bake it, other than: 'bake in a moderate oven'.  You had to know what you were doing in those days.  She also gave no directions for the topping, other than saying use apple, spice and sugar.

cream the butter and sugar together

ingredients including creamed butter and sugar

add the other ingredients into the creamed butter and sugar

all beaten-up and (almost) ready to bake

grate your apple for the topping
grate your apple for the topping

ready for baking @ 180C/350F for 30-35 mins.

ready to eat

and then there was ... not much left :-)

this was one of the ads in the 1957 edition

I had to laugh; the CWA President was Mrs. Crisp.  Seems very appropriate.  This scone cum cake is delicious!  So easy, and uses pantry ingredients.  Worth a go, my friends.  And feel free to join in #ISW2020.  Tandy is happy to see your interesting and unusual (or normal) scone recipes on her blog.

appley artwork © Sherry's Pickings

Sunday 9 August 2020

Baked Chicken With Sumac And Red Onions AKA Mussakhan

Yep, here we have another recipe from Zaitoun by Yasmin Khan.  Am I a bit obsessed?  Who? Me?  Maybe (she shrugs nonchalantly).  I've always loved Middle Eastern dishes, and this one is a corker.  Apparently, it is seen as the Palestinian signature dish.  And I can see why.  The taste lingers in your mouth, and the spices linger in your kitchen.    

One of my fave cookbooks is The Complete Middle East Cookbook by Tess Mallos, which I've had for a looooonnnggg time.  She has a recipe for this, using two whole chickens.  But this is easier, and quicker.  And oh my, so very tasty!  I've made a few small changes to Yasmin's recipe, which pleased the Pickings' palates :-)  I decided to add the hummus and pomegranate molasses, and to use boneless pieces of chicken.  (Mr P. hates bones!) 

dollop on some hummus

Serves 4:


1 kg (2.2 lb) chicken pieces - I used skinless, boneless thigh fillets

3 tbs EV olive oil

1/2 tsp ground cummin

1/2 tsp ground allspice

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1½ tbs sumac

juice of 1 lemon - about 50 mL/1.7 fl oz

4 garlic cloves, crushed or chopped finely

1½ tsp sea salt and ¼ tsp ground black pepper

2 large red onions (about 500g/8 oz), finely sliced into half moons

2 tbs pine nuts

1 tbs olive oil to fry the pine nuts

one piece of naan bread per person

a dusting of extra sumac when serving

fresh parsley chopped, for serving

a splash of EV olive oil when serving

hummus, to serve - optional

a splash of pomegranate molasses, to serve - optional


Place the chicken pieces in a non-reactive baking dish (I used an enamel one) 

Pour on the olive oil, and sprinkle on the spices - cummin, allspice, cinnamon and sumac

Then on goes the lemon juice, the garlic, salt and pepper, and the onions 

Mix well together with your hands, cover the dish with alfoil, and put the whole shebang into the fridge from 1 to 3 hours

Take off the foil and put the dish into a 190C/380F oven for about 50 minutes

Check it at 45 mins., then keep baking for up to 1 hour and 5 mins.

Toast the pine nuts in the extra 1 tbs EVOO for a minute or 2 till golden (don't look away! - so easy to burn 'em - hmm, cough, cough), then drain on kitchen paper

Put the naan on a baking tray and shove into the oven (at 190C) for about 5 mins. to warm up

Give each person a naan, place a few spoonfuls of the chicken and onions on top of the bread

Then splash on a wee bit of extra olive oil, a big dollop of hummus, a sprinkle of sumac, some pine nuts and lots of parsley 

If you fancy, a splash of pomegranate molasses lends a wonderful sweet tang to this dish


Yasmin suggests using bone-in, skin-on thighs and drumsticks.  If you choose to do this, make sure you slash the pieces a few times before rubbing in the olive oil, seasoning etc.  She suggests 30-35 minutes for baking, but I found it needed at least an hour!

The onions and garlic can go in the baking dish first as I did; it all gets mixed up together anyway

I bought roasted garlic naan bread; it came as 2 pieces weighing 250g (8 oz).  Hubby ate his piece, and half of mine!  Buy or make gluten-free bread if this is an issue, or have the chicken with rice

FYI - the average lemon holds about 45 mL apparently; this one had about 50 mL/1.7 fl oz

I zapped a whole bunch of fresh parsley in my small food processor; whatever was left was zapped again with a small amount of salt and olive oil, and put into a ziploc bag, then into the freezer

EVOO poured over the onions and garlic

sprinkle on the spices and sumac

then Mr P. does his thing

ready for the fridge for up to 3 hours

after 3 hours in the fridge; ready for baking

after an hour or so in the oven at 190C

toasted pine nuts, chopped parsley and extra sumac

on go the parsley, hummus and pine nuts

splash on some pomegranate molasses for a hint of tangy sweetness 

sumac and red onions artwork © Sherry's Pickings

Saturday 1 August 2020

In My Kitchen - August 2020

Well, the last week or two has been a bit discombobulating - a massive branch from our tree fell onto our neighbour's tin shed, and kept on going into the other neighbour's backyard.  Hubby, myself and another neighbour spent a Sunday afternoon chopping it up.  Then our gas hot water system blew up, and the new and very expensive system hasn't worked since they put it in.  Grrrrrr!  Let's hope this month is a bit better.  I need a hot shower, or even lukewarm :-)  This is the coldest month of the year, after all.

Not much to tell for In My Kitchen in these Covid days, but I do seem to have more going on than I first thought.  Here goes nothing (as Lando says in Star Wars VI):

new-harvest EV olive oil
I love this time of year when all the new-harvest olive oil is available.  I bought this one online, and shared it with a friend.  Grassy and fresh!  Yep, the oil, not the friend.  (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

another book of essays

I was so sad to see that this writer had died tragically young.  I love her essays; her friendly tone, her handy hints, her useful recipes.  I really enjoyed her first collection of essays, and this was just as good.  And her little girl was only eight when she lost her mum; so very sad.

and there are vinegars...

I love collecting all sorts of vinegars: the sour cherry I bought online, and the chardonnay I bought on our weekend away for my birthday.  We went to a wine-growing region, where they also sell vinegars, and jams, and chocolates and relishes ...

and relish and jam and harissa

I love preserved lemons, so I had to try this harissa.  Really good with chicken and fish.  And the red capsicum relish is one of our faves; fabulous on everything:-)  

enamel cup and wooden spoons

I can't resist enamel cookware, or wooden spoons!  We stopped in at Jersey Girls Café while we were on our break.  They sell cheeses from the jersey girls (cows), have a range of local produce, and stock these gorgeous wooden spoons handcarved by a local artisan.  Yep, I'm as mad as a hatter about spoons, but I don't care.

Nutella muffins

I made muffins, with Nutella and bling - of course!  Yep, I'm a Nutella nut, and a bling nut.  My cousin gave me gold bling dust for Christmas; I have to get me some more of that fabulous stuff.  Though gold and silver stars are pretty fab too.   

Princess Pia in my birthday apron

Here we have Princess Pia modelling one of the the cute aprons made by my dear friend Ms MM. for my birthday.  Lucky me!  She even put my blog logo on the pockets.  And doesn't the Princess look the business?  

Robert Gordon/David Bromley pourer

Robert Gordon is a well-known pottery company based in Victoria since 1945.  The family business has been passed along through three generations.  David Bromley and his wife Yuge are Australian artists and designers.  They collaborated to put out some gorgeous pieces of kitchenware, including this 150 mL pourer.  So sweet.  Like I needed another jug?  Tee hee - heck no, but who cares?

That's it for this month.  I would love to see you here, friends.  Feel free to join in this month (or any month) with your foodie kitchen and garden goodies.  Everyone is welcome.  Here's how you join in:

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