Wednesday 25 August 2021

Pecan Scones

Thalia Ho's recipe for pecan scones can be found in the Woodlands section of her book Wild Sweetness.  This is the second recipe I've tried from her book, and I've got my eye on another for the blog soon.  These 'scones' end up being more like a shortbread/cake/biscuit, and none the worse for that:-)  

Speaking of pecans reminds me of buying fresh ones in the shell from a farmer in New South Wales.  Hubby and I were driving back from Melbourne (or was it Sydney?) one time, when along a country road we saw a sign for fresh nuts.  I mean, who can resist a fresh nut? :-)  

Sadly, we won't be doing that again any time soon due to Covid lockdowns.  NSW is in dire straits at the moment with recordbreaking stats for cases.  It is just a terrible situation especially for people living in the border region who can't get across to work and school.  Jabs here we come!  Anyway, let's cheer ourselves up with baking goodies!

smothered in delicious maple syrup glaze - see the vanilla seeds?

Makes 8 scones:


 For the scones:

70g./½ cup pecans

375g./3 cups plain flour

1 tbs baking powder

2.5 tsp ground cinnamon (yes I know it sounds like heaps!)

1/2 tsp sea salt

90g./⅓ cup + 1 tbs light brown sugar

130g./½ cup + 1 tbs butter, cold and diced

240 mL/1 cup thickened/heavy cream, plus 2-3 tbs extra for brushing the tops

For the glaze:

90g./¾ cup icing sugar

2 tbs pure maple syrup

1 tbs butter, melted

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 ground cinnamon

a pinch of salt


Place your oven racks in the lower and upper thirds of the oven, and turn the oven to 180C/350F

Line two large baking trays with baking paper

Bake the pecans on one of the trays for 10-12 minutes till toasty and golden brown - and leave to cool, then chop roughly (or politely)

Whisk the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl

Add the diced butter and give it a good stir to coat the butter in flour

Use a knife or a pastry cutter to cut the butter up into small pea-sized pieces - but don't get your knickers in a twist if you have some chunky bits

Add the pecans and cream to the mix, and stir together with a big spoon till roughly incorporated

Flip it out onto a floured board, and gather the dough together with your hands - don't worry! but it is difficult and seems like it won't gather itself together for a while

Pat the dough into a rough dome about 2.5cm/1 inch thick , then fold it, and turn it and fold it and turn it ... till you have turned and folded it 4 times! and you should have a nicely turned mound of dough

Cut into 8 triangles - cut into quarters then halve those, ét voilà =8!

Chuck into the freezer for 20 minutes, and turn your oven to 200C/400F

After the 20 mins., place 4 triangles on each tray, and brush on some cream

Bake for 20-22 mins, rotating the trays halfway thru the cooking time - i.e. bottom tray to top rack, and top one to bottom rack

Allow to cool on the trays for a few minutes, then place on wire racks 

Make the glaze by whisking together the icing sugar, maple syrup, butter, vanilla, cinnamon and salt till smooth

Spoon over the tops of the scones, and eat while warm, or cool, or as you fancy :-)  No need for butter, as they are fab as is.

These can stay out in an airtight container for 3 days, says Thalia

gather your ingredients

whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl

did I mention chopping your nuts?

and mixing in your cream and pecans

and don't forget to cut in the butter before adding the cream and nuts

pat out the dough till you have a lovely round mound

brushed with cream, and into the oven at 180C

ingredients for the glaze

baked, glazed and ready to eat

and time to chow down

I gave some to neighbours and to hubby's colleague.  They went down a treat with all.  Oh how I love maple syrup!  And pecans, and vanilla ...

© Sherry M.

Tuesday 17 August 2021

Spicy And Fruity Berry Risotto

Like me, you probably think of risotto as a savoury dish, with vegetables and protein, but here we have a sweet, dessert version from Peter Gordon, the Kiwi chef.  And it is delicious, my virtual friends!  The fruit, the maple syrup, and that oh so creamy mascarpone combine into a sweet after-dinner pudding.

Speaking of Kiwis, as I am wont to do lately, we noticed on our trips to New Zealand that they sell massive 2 Litre/68 fl oz bottles of alcohol as a matter of course in the bottle shops.  And as our Aussie dollar is a teensy bit better than the NZ dollar, we could buy heaps of cheap liquor.  Not that we did, you understand :-)  But if we really felt the need, as we crossed their glaciers and climbed their mountains ...

and in another 5 minutes, ready to eat

Serves 6:


200g./7 oz risotto rice (I used arborio)

600 mL/20.3 oz water (or half/half of water and a nut milk)

60g./2.2 oz butter

1 tsp vanilla paste or extract

4 cardamom, crushed lightly

4-5 cm./2 in stick of cinnamon

2 cloves

100g./3.5 oz mascarpone

80 mL/2.7 oz maple syrup

2 tbs icing sugar

120g./4.2 oz raspberries

120g. blueberries

120g. strawberries, hulled and sliced (or chopped into chunks)

Extra fruit for serving, and extra mascarpone dolloped on top


Rinse the rice for ten seconds in a sieve under warm running water (i.e. the tap)

Into a medium-sized saucepan it goes, then add the water (or water/nutmilk) the butter, vanilla and spices

Cover with a tight-fitting lid, then bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes

Gently stir in the mascarpone, maple syrup and sugar, then tip in the berries and give it all a gentle stir

Put the lid back on, and leave it off the heat for 5 minutes

Now give it another wee stir, and serve with extra fruit and mascarpone

It is especially delicious like this whilst still warm; once refrigerated, it goes quite tacky and solid, so I suggest whacking it into the microwave for a few seconds if eating the next day


I also suggest using a nut milk of your choice instead of all water; so make it 300 mL of water and 300 mL of maybe coconut milk or almond milk etc or maybe use ALL nut milk if you're feeling fancy

gather your ingredients

rice and spices and butter go into the pan

and simmer away for 15 mins.

about to go into the pan with the cooked rice

add the icing sugar, mascarpone and maple syrup

add the fruit and stir in gently

leave for 5 mins.

warm and creamy and spicy and fruity ... :-)

© Sherry M.

Monday 9 August 2021

Belinda's Cheese Scones - #ISW2021

I have been fortunate to attend two of Belinda Jeffery's cooking classes in the beautiful Northern Rivers area of New South Wales.  She is a wonderful cook and a warm and charming person.  And I love her cookbooks!  This recipe is my contribution to International Scone Week, hosted by Tandy of Lavender and Lime.  #ISW2021 was started in 2011 by the lovely Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, and is now maintained by our terrific host Tandy.

This recipe is from Belinda's book Mix & Bake; she calls it 'Really Good Cheese Scones', and indeed they are.  She suggests, and I agree, that you need to use a really tasty vintage cheese and grate it fresh for these babies.  I decided to add a few dried herbs to the mix too, for an extra punch of flavour though they are great without.

Funnily enough, I am a walking disaster area when at Belinda's classes.  On the first occasion, I cut my finger (well, technically my friend cut it as I put up my finger while she waved her knife around) and bled like a stuck pig.  I came over all faint and had to lie down.  And the second time, I just came over all faint for no reason at all, and had to lie down.  I am jinxed obvs. :-)   

golden and cheesy

Makes 8:


185g./6.5 oz self-raising flour

80g./3 oz wholemeal self-raising flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp mustard powder

a few grinds of black pepper, to taste

a few dashes of dried herbs like chives or oregano (optional)

150g./5.5 oz really fabulous, sharp vintage cheddar cheese

30g./1 oz parmesan cheese,  plus a bit extra for sprinkling over the tops of the scones before baking

60g./2.2 oz cold butter, cut into chunks

125 mL/7 oz cold buttermilk or regular milk


On goes your oven to 200C/390F, and line a baking tray with 2 layers of baking paper

Tip the flours, salt, mustard, black pepper and dried herbs into your food processor (or a large mixing bowl and whisk in by hand), and whizz it for about 15 seconds

Add the cheeses and give it ten seconds, then add the butter chunks and whizz again till you have tiny shreds of butter

If you used the processor, now tip the mixture into a large bowl, and make a well in the middle

Pour in the milk, and using a knife, stir the liquid into the flour mixture - beware, this is a dry mixture and will take a bit of time, so you'll probably need to push your hands into it and pat it together so you end up with a large, rough ball

Turn out the mixture onto a lightly-floured bench or board, and pat into a smooth-ish dough (Belinda says DO NOT add more milk)

Now roll out the dough till about 2.5cm/1 inch thick

And cut out 8 rounds with a scone cutter or glass jar (6cm/2.5 in across) dipped in flour (keep patting the bits of dough together till you have used it all up)

Place the scones on the tray, all neighbourly-like, shoulders touching

Sprinkle on the extra parmesan, and bake for 20 minutes till golden

Put them on a wire rack with a tea towel over them to cool down a little, then eat while warm with loads of butter!


I was really tempted to add a wee bit more milk, but they turned out fine in the end (but beware, it is a very dry dough)

Belinda says to roll out the dough till 4-5 cm thick!  Nope, this was never going to happen; I would have ended up with about 4 scones

ready for whizzing 

in go the cheeses

and whizzed till crumby or should that be crumbly?!

and patted into a 2.5cm high round

heading into a 200C oven for 20 mins.

golden and warm

slather with butter, my friends!

Belinda patting out the bread dough in our class June 2018

© Sherry M.

Sunday 1 August 2021

In My Kitchen - August 2021

Today I'm busy with spring cleaning even though it's still mid-Winter.  There's just something about the light when the sun is low in the sky and very bright, and the sky is that intense polarised blue.  It's glorious, but shows up every bit of dust that has gathered for the last ... mmm ... several months.  So I've grabbed a bamboo paper towel, and am happily wiping down the dust of the ages from the window shutters.  I love these towels!  They work a treat, and you can reuse them, and reuse and reuse ...  

August will be a busy month for me and Mr P.  We're giving a talk at our local historical society; I'm having more dental work, and I'm on a committee to update some 'totem poles' at our local Library.  These poles have photos and short bios of significant people in our neighbourhood.  Will be fun!  Anyways, come join us everyone for another In My Kitchen post.  Everybody is welcome!

a corner of my kitchen

Our kitchen faces north-east, which is perfect in a Queensland house.  And did you know you can no longer buy double sinks with double draining boards as we have here?  How silly.  I love these!

In My Kitchen:

my new Japanese knife (and cheese)

This is a beautiful, hand-forged knife made by Yoshifumi Otsuka, a third generation blacksmith in Japan.  It is a thing of beauty.

delicious little pies

I made a bundle of meaty little pies, which vanished very quickly.  I gave a couple to our neighbour, but Mr P. and I consumed the rest in a day or two.

love this cloth!

This is a fabulous compostable cloth.  I love it.  It's sturdy, you can wash it over and over, and chuck it in the washing machine.  And it's compostable.  Wonderful!

and tasty crisps

These crisps come from New Zealand, and are very tasty.  And best of all, the bag is - yes, you guessed it! - compostable.

lots of lovely mandarins

Our friend Brooke the potter stayed overnight, bringing these fruity goodies from a friend's tree.  I know what you're thinking: 'but they look so gnarly, so bad!'  But inside they were beautiful, so full of flavour and colour.  I've never had such sweet mandarins.  They are Page mandarins, a cross between a Clementine and a tangelo.  So juicy, so sweet, so delish!  Thus spake Gollum, tee hee.


My cousin sent me the sardines and saffron for my birthday, and I bought the Tumami online.  Alice was a Masterchef Aust contestant a few years ago.  She has written a fab vegetable book which I have on my shelves, and she's on radio and tv these days.  The spread is black garlic and tomato in case you can't read the label.


We fed our friend grilled salmon, and a couscous dish served on my lovely Batch Ceramics platter.  I added edamame, roasted capsicum, parsley, sesame seeds, nuts and a yuzu oil dressing.  We scoffed the lot!

and here's my curveball

You see those fruity cards on the bottom left?  They are mine,  and are for sale in a mate's shop.  I hope I sell a few :-)  Or lots!

Here we have 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 throw in a curveball! - 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:

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