Wednesday 23 March 2022

Chocolate Tart - Another 110 Year Old Recipe!

I had to try this one too from the ancient cookbook (Amie Monro's The Practical Australian Cookery).  I've done a bit of tinkering, added some bits, left out some bits and made the recipe clearer, I hope.  Some things Amie just expects us to know: 'Return to oven to set whites'; no temperature, no timing.  I wonder if she just had a wood-fired oven back in the day?  Ah, I've just Googled it - Aussies generally didn't have electric ovens till the late 1920s!

Post Apocalyptic floods here, we've had our roof and gutters repaired and two whirlybirds put on the roof.  So everything is drying out now, thank goodness.  What I really hated was the awful burning smell which wet insulation gives off.  It has taken weeks for the smell to die down/off.  Yuck!  And now we are having our usual hot Indian summer (are you allowed to say that these days?) days before we get winter.  Well, most people wouldn't even call it winter.  Average daytime temp in winter is 21C/71F!  The best time of year.

old-fashioned chocolate tart ready to eat

Serves 6:


225g./8 oz shortcrust pastry (see Notes below)

2-3 Tbs of Nutella or similar choc-hazelnut spread

45g./1.5 oz butter

30g./1 (heaped) oz plain flour

250 mL/8.5 fl oz milk - any sort but not low-fat

2 large eggs, separated into whites and yolks

60g./2.2 oz (good) milk chocolate - like Lindt - grated or blitzed in a food processor

30g./1 heaped oz of caster sugar

a couple of dashes of ground cinnamon

60g./2.2 oz pecans, toasted and chopped roughly

extra chocolate, grated - for bling on top


First grab a pie dish (c. 23cm/9" diameter), grease it with butter and line with the pastry sheet

Prick the base several times with a fork, and whack it into a hot oven (220C/425F) for fifteen minutes

Let it cool while you make the filling: Melt the butter on a low heat, whisk in the flour off the heat, then keep whisking while you cook out the flour for two minutes

Pour in the milk, and whisk away till boiling

Turn down the heat to low-ish, and whisk in the chocolate, sugar and egg yolks

Cook out the mixture till it thickens (without boiling), then leave aside to cool down

Spread the Nutella/hazelnut paste over the pastry base

Pour/spoon the cooled mixture into the baked pastry shell

Scatter the toasted pecans and dashes of cinnamon over the chocolate mixture 

Make the meringue by beating the egg whites with 100g./3.5 oz of caster sugar till firm, stiff peaks form

Spread it gently over the pie filling, and now bake at 180C/360F for around ten minutes or till lightly golden-brown

When cool, throw on the extra grated chocolate over the meringue

Serve with whipped cream, if feeling decadent

This was not a very sweet pie, probably because I used 70% dark chocolate.  And I confess the texture was a bit odd for this 21st century cook, but it was interesting to make (a béchamel with chocolate?  I mean, really?) and it tasted - what? - interesting, chocolatey, dessert-like ...  I'd like to make it again, but with milk chocolate (and more of it) and coconut milk.  Yep a Bounty kind of tart :-)  


I had planned to make the pastry, but ... Time got away from me, so I thawed out a sheet of frozen.  Hit the internet for recipes if you fancy making your own. (It's darned easy if you use your food processor)  

I used Lindt spread but Nutella is fine; and I also used Lindt 70% dark chocolate for the filling - a mistake I think.  Use milk chocolate!

Use nut milk, oat milk, rice milk, whatever.  No, scrap the rice milk - you need fat!  Mm, I'd love to try coconut milk here ... 

ingredients gathered 

bake the crust @ 220C/425F for 15 mins.

slather the spread over the baked pastry base

pile on the meringue over the chocolate filling

just lightly baked till golden-brown (ish)

sprinkle on the grated chocolate

get ready to enjoy

© Sherry M.

that used to be a concrete walking path pre-flood!

Wednesday 16 March 2022

Chicken Pie - A One Hundred And Ten Year Old Recipe!

I'm an art fan as many of you would know, and I was reading a book about Australian artist Margaret Preston the other day: Margaret Preston Recipes for Food and Art by Lesley Harding.  Margaret married in 1919, and made use of a cookbook by Amie Monro called The Practical Australian Cookery.  This book came out around 1911-12, and is fairly light on with the measurements and instructions.  Typical of old cookbooks indeed!  

As I read through it, I found this recipe for Chicken Pie.  I believe we would call this a pot pie these days since it only has a pastry layer on top, and no bottom.  I was sceptical of this recipe I have to say, but Amie came up trumps.  It is dead easy, and so delicious.  I did tweak it ever so slightly, and add a few more details for clarity, though Lesley Harding tells us she has 'standardised and metricated' the original recipes.

golden brown, crispy on top and succulent filling within

Serves 6:


3 large eggs, hard-boiled, peeled and sliced

500g./18 oz chicken breasts, chopped into large, bite-sized pieces

enough plain flour - about 1/3-1/2 cup? - to toss the chicken pieces

salt and black pepper to season the flour - say 1 tsp sea salt and lots of black pepper (but you do you)

125g./4.5 oz mild ham, roughly chopped

250g./9 oz mushrooms, thinly sliced

4 heaped Tbs fresh parsley, finely chopped (or roughly, as you please)

1 cup chicken stock

6 large tsp cornflour, to thicken the stock

extra black pepper 

1-2 tsp dried oregano

1 Tbs chives, finely chopped

1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed

2-3 Tbs milk or cream to glaze the top

2-3 Tbs white and black sesame seeds to scatter over the top (optional)


First do the egg thing - boil 'em, peel 'em and slice 'em

Take your chopped-up pieces of chicken and throw 'em into a medium bowl with the seasoned flour; give 'em a good tossing

Make sure you've now chopped and/or sliced the ham, mushrooms and parsley

Make up 1 cup (250 mL/8 fl oz) of stock by boiling water and stirring in 1-2 heaped tsp chicken stock powder - or use that liquid in the carton or your own real stock if you have any

Then thicken it with 6 heaped tsp of cornflour; stir it in and let cool to just warm

Grab a pie dish and start layering - alternate layers of chicken, ham, mushrooms, parsley and eggs.  You will have a heaped dome of filling which you will squish down with the flat of your hand(s)

Gently pour the thickened stock into the dish, making sure it doesn't reach the very top as you don't want it wetting the pastry

Now sprinkle on the pepper and herbs; place the pastry over the top and seal/crimp around the edges of the dish with your fingers

Glaze the top with beaten egg, or milk or cream, and cut a couple of slashes in the top so air can escape

Sprinkle on the sesame seeds if using

Place the pie into a hot oven - 220C/430F for 20 minutes, then turn it down to 180C/360F for an hour.  Yes really, an hour, but make sure you have covered the top so it doesn't burn in that last hour - I swamped it in alfoil for an hour, then gave it 5 minutes at the end without the foil to finish off the top


The stock will still just look like liquid when you add the cornflour, but that's okay - it will thicken in the oven during the bake time

I only used 3/4 cup of the stock, as that came close enough to the top

Amie suggests using an egg for the glaze, but I find milk or cream work just as well (I used evaporated milk)

I used a 23cm/9" diameter pie plate (across the top)

My oven is a poor, sad sap of a thing so everything takes a bit longer to cook, so the pie needed that last 5 minutes

gather your ingredients

layer upon layer ... (remember that ad?)

ready for the oven

after 20 mins. @ 220C

and another hour @180C

about to hoe in

we were going to have mash, but Mr P. forgot so peas it was :-) 

a revised edition

the book

(Joining up with Marg from The Intrepid Reader and Baker for Weekend Cooking.)

© Sherry M.

Wednesday 9 March 2022

Chocolate And Orange Marmalade Cake

I'm a huge fan of the Jaffa combo (as I've probably confessed before) -  chocolate and orange?  Mm mm mais oui, mes amis.  Sorry, just feeling a bit French today, for no particular reason.  As some readers may be aware, we've had a terrible flood here in Brisbane and South-East Queensland with eleven deaths so far.  I have a feeling there will be more.  And it's raining again ...  

I made dinner for our friends who are insurance brokers, so currently run off their feet at the moment.  Also for our neighbour who is feeling a bit down with all these worries.  Honestly we've had hardly any time to fear for the Ukrainian people, as there was so much going on here.  And I made cake!  With lots of chocolate and butter and sugar of course.  Cake makes everything better, don't you think?

let's tuck in

Recipe by Juliet Robb from Long Track Pantry

Serves 8-10:


200g./7 oz chocolate (I used 70% Lindt)

200g./7 oz butter  

6 large eggs

200g./7 oz caster sugar

220g./8 oz/2 cups almond meal

150 mL/5 oz chunky orange marmalade

Icing sugar (2-3 Tbs) and extra chocolate shavings to decorate

Candied orange slices to decorate - (optional) - see Notes for how to DIY 


Your oven goes on to heat at 160C/320F

Grease and line a 23cm/9 in round cake tin with baking paper

Melt the chocolate and butter together in a medium saucepan over low heat; put aside to cool down while you - 

Separate your eggs into two bowls: whites in one large bowl, and yolks in another

Tip the sugar into the egg yolks, and beat till pale and fluffy; this took 2-3 minutes

Wash your beaters very well, and dry them off

Now beat the egg whites till you have firm, stiff peaks

Pour/spoon the chocolate mixture into the egg yolk mixture, and mix well in

Add the almond meal and marmalade into the mixture, and combine well

Now spoon in the egg whites (I did it in 3 goes) and stir them in very well (the recipe says 'with a reasonably heavy hand')

Pour the batter into the lined tin and bake for about an hour, or till a  skewer in its chocolatey heart comes out with 'crumbs clinging'

Let it cool in the tin for 2 hours, then take it out and leave on a wire rack till completely cool

Then sift on the icing sugar, make a pretty pattern with the orange slices and sprinkle on the chocolate shavings (once again, I broke up a Flake bar which shatters beautifully into lovely shards)


Use whatever chocolate you fancy - dark or milk

I used salted butter 'cos I like that contrast with the sweet

I bought the dried orange slices (which I then soaked in some orange juice for a few minutes as they were soooo hard) but you can make them: by boiling 2 cups sugar with 2 cups water, dissolving sugar and reducing to a simmer; then adding 1 orange (sliced) into the syrup, and simmering for 10-15 minutes; then drying the slices on a lined tray

My cake took exactly an hour to bake!

line your tin and weigh your ingredients

melt the chocolate and butter

separate the eggs

beat 'em up

fold in the beaten egg whites firmly!

ready for the oven

and out of the oven after an hour at 160C

and decorated

squidgy, chocolatey and delicious

just a wee FYI - snip your chunky marmalade

As per the suggestion from Long Track Pantry: if you're using chunky marmalade, chop up the big pieces of rind before using.  Or do as I did, and give it a bit of a snip with your kitchen scissors before folding into the batter!  A great idea if I do say so myself.

© Sherry M.

Tuesday 1 March 2022

In My Kitchen - March 2022

Well, La Niña has hit us big time this week.  The north coast has had 500mls/20 inches in ten hours overnight.  Two (now seven) people have died in floodwaters, and the rain keeps coming. I feel so sad for those people, but why oh why don't they take notice?  Every summer we are told: 'If it's flooded, forget it'.  And then just to add a bit more trauma, we wake up to hear that Russia has done the deed (invaded, not blown us up - yet).  My friends I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed, as I'm sure you are too.  And I thought 2021 was bad!

February events?  Hubby had his booster shot; the tradie finally came round again to put on secure locks to our front gates (lots of daytime robberies going on lately), and my ribs are nearly, almost, just about fixed.  I hope you're all feeling okay in these tumultuous times.  But life continues in my kitchen, as I know it does in yours.  So let's share a few cheery things from our global kitchens.  Everyone is welcome to join in!  

In My Kitchen:

there was fruit compôte

I made a compôte from all the frozen berries I had stashed away in the freezer.  Our de-cluttering never ends :-)  Or as a friend once (rather disdainfully I feel) commented: 'Oh, that's just a fancy word for stewed fruit, isn't it?'  Mm, yes, I guess so.  Tasted good anyway.

and meatloaf 'cake'

This is my beefy meatloaf 'cake', made with minced beef and lots of veggies grated into it.  Oh yes, and I added nutritional yeast flakes.  Whaaaat the?  Has vegan madness come over us?  Yes, oh yes it has.  I ended up with a massive bag of it, so I'm adding it here, there and everywhere.

and some Japanese goodies

You might have noticed that I'm a wee bit in love with all things Japanese.  I studied it at university for a couple of years (konnichiwa), and have never lost the attraction.  I found an online store, so can now order lovely foodstuffs when I want them.  Though nothing beats heading into our local Japanese grocery store up the road :-)  The wee tumbler is also from Japan.  (Sculpture in the background by our friend Catherine from Reason Gallery.)

a Japanese bowl, some tasty pearls and cute coasters

This is apparently a vintage/antique Japanese bowl, found at a market somewhere in Japan.  I bought it online, while the lemon myrtle pearls come from our local providore.  And the lovely fabric coasters were made by our arty friend Gay down in Hobart! 

and more Herbie's spices

I actually bought three packets of the freeze-dried chives!  I love 'em, and shove 'em in just about everything, especially eggy type dishes.  That's omelettes rather than custard :-)

treats from Singing Magpie

That sticky quince syrup is a winner.  A bit like pomegranate molasses in texture and density and sweetness.  Great in a salad dressing.  

and my curveball - a new sculpture

Yes another one!  This is a bronze kingfisher, made by our mate Dion at Mint Art House on the Gold Coast.  It is a beautiful piece - shiny and smooth and serene.  I've run out of room on our tables etc so another friend is making me a white plinth for it.  Friends keep saying I need to open an art gallery.  Or at least, hire out my pieces to others :-)  Mm, great idea ...

Your turn, my friends.  Time for everyone to join in this month.  Here's how:

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.  And a curveball is welcome - whatever you fancy; no need to be kitchen-related (see my artwork above).  

The link is open from the first of the month to midnight on the thirteenth of the month.

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