Friday, 17 March 2023

Apple Bundt Cake

Not having made an apple tea cake of any sort in years, last month I ended up making two!  And both were delicious, but I do have a soft spot for a bundt cake, I have to say.  I always get Mr P. to butter the pan for me, as he has the magic touch when it comes to rubbing butter into curvy spaces :=)

This recipe is from the website I Am Baker.  Amanda, the afore-mentioned Baker, has copped some nasty Facebook comments lately, and I am glad to see she gives them what for!  We all need to stand up for what is good and right.  And one of our national news presenters has been bombarded with foul comments about her personal appearance this week.  What the??!!  What is wrong with people?  Grrrrrr ...  Anyways, back to cake!

something so delightful about those curves :=)

Serves 12 (or maybe 8-10) tee hee:


For the cake:

400g./14 oz/2 cups white sugar

355 mL/1.5 cups neutral vegetable oil - I used sunflower (see Notes)

2 tsp vanilla extract

3 large eggs (I use 67 gram/2.3 oz eggs)

375g./13 oz/3 cups plain flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp sea salt

3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped into small chunks

Caramel Glaze:

110g./4 oz/½ cup butter (unsalted if you wish - I didn't)

2 tsp heavy/thickened cream

1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed (here I gave up on grams or ounces)

1 tsp vanilla extract


Whack on your oven to 165C/325F

Amanda says to spray your bundt pan, but I buttered and floured mine

Grab a large mixing bowl, and your electric beaters, and whizz up on medium speed the sugar, oil, vanilla and eggs till nicely mixed

And now grab another bowl, and whisk up the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt

You guessed it! - add the dry ingredients to the wet ones, and blend till just combined

Gently - like a butterfly alighting on a flower - whoops, thought I was writing a literary novella just then :=) fold in the diced apples with a large spoon or spatula

Now pour this fruity batter into your prepared tin, and bake for 55-70 minutes - you know the drill - till the skewer comes out as clean as a baby's bottom

Let it cool for 20 minutes in the bundt pan, then tip it out (gently) onto a wire rack

Meanwhile, make the glaze:

A small saucepan, medium heat - butter, cream and brown sugar go into it

Bring to a gentle boil, stirring now and then till sugar is dissolved

Take the pan off the heat, and stir in the vanilla

Let it sit for 15-20 minutes or so, till it cools and thickens

Happily drizzle all over the cake (which you have sensibly placed on a nice serving platter) and hand out to happy family and friends


Eek - the original recipe calls for 327 grams! of veg. oil.  Here in Australia, we measure oil in millilitres or cups, so normally we would say that 1.5 cups (which is the other measure she gives) is 375 mL, BUT I have checked for more info, and an online unit converter site tells me that 327 grams of veg. oil = c.355 mils.  So there you have it!

Amanda says to use Granny Smith apples - very sensible, as they are a fabulous tart Aussie apple for cooking

pour the fruity batter into the well-buttered and floured pan

baked and left to cool on the rack

not much left! :=)

c. Sherry M.

Thursday, 9 March 2023

Abdoogh Khiar AKA Chilled Cucumber And Yoghurt Soup

My flatmate of years gone by (who now lives in the UK) was staying here with us recently.  She and I used to make a chilled cucumber soup with loads of garlic (beware, all vampires)!  This version has none (I reckon a clove or two wouldn't hurt), and is a marvellously refreshing meal on a hot summer's night.  Which it was when our Persian friends came for dinner.

They are very charming people, with an adorable 3 year-old son, who always asks: 'where is Sherry?' when they drop in.  He and I play with his trucks, and check out his other toys when at his home.  Oh, the excitement of being 3!  And finally, in my autumn years, boys are after me :=)  

I made this for Cookbook Club, from the book Salamati by Hamed Allahyari with Dani Valent.  Our reviews were a bit of a mixed bag as there seemed to be some errors (or omissions) in some of the recipes.  For instance, in this one, he doesn't list iced water as an ingredient, whereas every other version I've found lists it as a primary ingredient.  

We all found this soup very thick, and it definitely needed to be watered down, especially as I had used a thick Greek yoghurt.  'Twas great when the ice cubes melted finally :=)  I found lots of recipes for this soup, with so many variations in the amounts of yoghurt and herbs, but this one turned out well.

garnished with glee (and walnuts and rose buds)

Serves 6:


500g./18 oz Lebanese cucumbers, diced into small chunks

2 green apples (I used Granny Smith), cored and diced

1 cup (20g./0.7 oz mint leaves, finely chopped - see Notes

1 cup (50g./1.8 oz) basil, finely chopped

1 cup (50g./1.8 oz) dill and/or chives, finely chopped

1 cup/100g./3.5 oz walnuts, zapped in a food processor

170g./6 oz sultanas or raisins

2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

2 tsp sea salt

1 kg/35 oz plain yoghurt (I used Greek)

lots of ice cubes!!  Hamed says 6-8, but more is better :=)

1 Tbs dried mint, for garnish

iced water - maybe half a cup to a cup? - to thin it down

1/2 cup dried rose petals, for garnish (maybe less)

extra walnuts, crushed, for garnish

flatbread, grilled, to serve


Grab a large mixing bowl; add the cucumber, apple, herbs, walnuts, sultanas, salt and pepper

Give it a good stir; add the yoghurt and ice cubes, and iced water

Ladle some out into bowls, and garnish with the rose petals, mint and extra walnuts

Serve with warm, toasted flatbread


I confess I didn't use this much of these herbs!  Not a huge fan of basil or dill so I used a lot less of those and I used chives instead.  Plus I just didn't like that amount of herbs so I used less of all of them, and I zapped them altogether in the processor

Add whatever amount of iced water you prefer; it did need some (as our Persian friends politely informed us).  Mr. Persia also told me it was fabulous, and tasted just as it should - phew!

ingredients gathered (no idea why that rogue lemon is there)

zap or chop the herbs

put everything into a large bowl

start stirring ...

slather on the youghurt

throw in the ice cubes

garnish and serve with warmed flatbread

one gorgeous Persian (Iranian) family, our lovely friends

c. Sherry M.    (a lemon? Why?)

(Sharing with Marg from The Intrepid Reader and Baker for Weekend Cooking)

Wednesday, 1 March 2023

In My Kitchen - March 2023

'Crikey', as a certain Aussie zookeeper used to say (and me, and me).  What a year this is!  Funerals and houseguests and lots of socialising - I think I need a rest, my friends.  Well, as the saying goes: 'You can rest when you're dead'.

Things have been rather busy in my kitchen even with all the events, and guests.  There was an art exhibition opening night, and Bookclub, and preserving, and cake-baking, and so on.  Not all in my kitchen of course :=)  Ah, you know what I mean.

It has been a year since the February floods here in south-east Queensland.  It seems like forever ago.  So many things changed - people's houses and livelihoods gone, events postponed, businesses shut.  Tough times, but our community pulled through.  Life can spin on a dime, as they say.  Who knew such a flood would come out of the blue?  And especially after the massive 2011 floods.  And of course it's a year since the war with Ukraine started.  Hold on tight, folks.  Who knows what's ahead? :=)

 Anyways, here's a few things from my February kitchen.  Join in one and all with your latest kitchen happenings, please.  We love to check out what everyone is doing.

In My Kitchen:

a gifted tea towel from Ms. ML

choc pots a là Nigella Lawson

mediaeval hummus with rosebuds

another cookbook

local honey

a chocolate 'doughnut' from a local real estage agent! What the! ...

apple bundt cake

Worcestershire sauce on the go for 2-3 weeks

strawberry sake from the Japanese store (and Ramune lollies)

'Wisdom' by our friend Catherine Reason Macauley

Here's the curveball for this month.  She is still sitting in the Gallery as I am lay-bying her.  So in a few months' time, she will come home.  She will join the other beauties of Catherine's that I have.

Be a part of our friendly IMK community by adding your post too.  Here's how to join us:

Tell us 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.  

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

Options for adding your post to IMK:

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 OR:

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

3. Email me:, with your link or any queries about the link process, or if you would like it to be added after the 13th ('cos I'm happy to add it for you later)

c. Sherry M.

Feel free to use the logo on your IMK post, or not :=)

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Wednesday, 22 February 2023

Forever Chocolate Cake

Yep, another Cookbook Club recipe, this time for our IRL club - from Nagi Maehashi's book RecipeTin Eats: Dinner.  This is a fabulous cake!  And so easy to make.  It has a hint of coffee, which gives it a happy little twist, and brings out the chocolate flavour.  Nagi calls this 'My Forever Chocolate Cake'.  And it really is a winner in the easy and delicious stakes.  I'll definitely make it again.  

Nagi likes to use cup measurements, but also gives grams - yay!  As a food blogger, I spend countless moments working out measurements!  And also translating into non-metric for my fine U.S. readers :=)  Crumbs, I wish everyone used the same measures :=(  Remember the disaster I had with using suet for dumplings?  I worked out the amounts, but crazily got 'em all mixed up!  I still have bags of suet mix in my freezer...

And speaking of mistakes in the kitchen, brings to mind the time my sis-in-law was visiting and decided to make baklava.  So she laboriously hand-chopped all the nuts, as we didn't have a food processor back then, and ... used salt instead of sugar for the syrup!!  Rendering said-baklava completely inedible.  She was not a happy chappy.  I tend to sample my icing sugar every time I use it, even though I know which tin it lives in :=)

you can never have too many sprinkles!

Serves 12:


1¾ cups (265g./9.5 oz) plain flour

3/4 cup (60g./2 oz) cocoa powder (Dutch if possible; unsweetened!)

1½ tsp baking powder

1½ tsp bi-carb soda

2 cups (400g./14 oz) white sugar

1 tsp sea salt (Nagi says to use cooking salt, which has larger grains than table salt)

2 large eggs

1 cup (250 mL/8.5 oz) milk (cow's I guess)

1/2 cup (125 mL/4.3 oz) neutral vegetable oil (I used sunflower)

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp instant coffee powder 

1 cup (250 mL/8.5 oz) boiling water OR use freshly brewed coffee instead of the boiling water  see Notes

Chantilly Cream:

300 mL/10 oz heavy whipping cream

2 tsp vanilla extract

3 Tbs icing sugar

Decorate with whipped cream, or Chantilly cream, or buttercream icing

Lots of sprinkles for decoration!  I used pink flamingoes!  And a Flake chocolate bar, smooshed into small(er) pieces


On goes your oven to 180C/356F to heat up

Butter a 22cm/9 inch cake tin and line the base with baking paper

Into a large bowl, sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder and bi-carb

Add the sugar and salt, and give it all a quick whisk

In go the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla and whisk briskly (for 30 seconds says Nagi)

Whisk in the coffee powder and boiling water - the batter is thin, Nagi tells us

Pour/spoon the batter into the prepared cake tin, and bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer in the centre comes out clean

Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a wire rack to become completely cold

Smother it in lots of Chantilly cream, or whipped cream, or icing and throw on many delightful sprinkles

(If using Chantilly cream, just beat the ingredients together till you have lovely, firm peaks)


Nagi says you can use full-fat or low-fat milk, so I'm guessing cow's

Use sunflower or safflower or canola oil - something neutral in flavour

Nagi doesn't say whether you use the coffee powder AND brewed coffee or just brewed coffee instead of the coffee powder and boiling water - I'm assuming she means instead of!  I just used coffee powder and boiling water anyway

She also says you can use a rectangular cake tin (33cm x 22 x5) sorry the brain gave out; I can't work that out.  Or use a bundt tin and bake for 50 mins., or 3 x 20cm/8 inch tins for 25 mins., or 2 x 22cm for 35 mins. - you get the picture!

butter and line your tin

whisk the dry ingredients together

and add the wet ingredients

whisk everything together till well-combined

whisk in the coffee and boiling water

pour the thin batter into the prepared cake tin


a beautifully moist bottom :=)

billowy Chantilly Cream

and heaps of sprinkles and pink flamingoes


c. Sherry M.

Wednesday, 15 February 2023

Whipped Pumpkin Tahini with Scallops, Crispy Chickpeas And Za'atar - AKA Pumpkin Dip And Scallops

Another month, another recipe for our Facebook Lambs' Ears Cookbook Club.  In January, our book was More Fish More Veg by Tom Walton, an Aussie chef.  I felt like a fish out of water with this one, as the other members all seemed to love this book, but I am ... not a huge fan, I have to say.  

Are you allowed to say 'it's very masculine'?  What does that mean, you ask?  It has a mainly brown cover (yeah, I know), with recipes that I find - not amenable.  I don't know how to put this, but I was in the minority anyway.  I'm sure there are readers screaming and waving their fists at me now.  "What do you mean, it's masculine?  Food isn't of any gender! etc etc."  Sorry, I just find his recipes pernickety (but tasty).

tasty; heaps of flavours and textures

But I still made this one for dinner, and it was tasty and full of flavour.  So yes, try it and see for yourselves.  It's very gustacious!  Yes, this is a real word, though it probably doesn't mean what I think it means (as Inigo Montoya said to Vizzini in The Princess Bride!)

Serves 4-6:


1 can of chickpeas (400g./14 oz) 

1/3 cup (80 mL) EV olive oil - (divvied up into 1 Tbs and 2 Tbs and 1 Tbs)  see Notes

1/2 tsp curry powder

Sea salt and black pepper

1 butternut pumpkin/squash, cut in half lengthwise  see Notes

1 head garlic (10 cloves on average)

20g. (⅔ oz) pepitas with 1/4 tsp EV olive oil, sea salt and black pepper to taste  see Notes

1/4 cup (65g./2.4 oz) hulled tahini paste  see Notes

1 tsp ground cummin

12 scallops, off the shell (eat the roe - or not - if you have it)  see Notes

2 Tbs chilli oil

1 Tbs EV olive oil  -  yes really, another tablespoon :=)

2 Tbs pomegranate molasses (or use quince syrup or similar)

2 Tbs dill leaves, roughly chopped

2 tsp black sesame seeds, toasted

2 tsp white sesame seeds, toasted

1 Tbs za'atar


Whack on your oven to 180C/350F to heat, and line two baking trays with baking paper

Drain, rinse and dry the chickpeas on paper towel or a tea towel (let's be green where we can)

Give the chickpeas a toss with 1 Tbs of the EVoo, the curry powder and salt and pepper (to your taste - I used 1/2 tsp sea salt and 10 grinds of pepper) and throw them onto one of the trays

Toss the diced pumpkin in a mixing bowl, with 2 Tbs olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste (or brush the halves with oil)

Wrap the garlic in alfoil, and put it on the other baking tray

Toss the pepitas in the oil, salt and pepper, and put them on the tray with the pumpkin and garlic; check them after 10-15 minutes, and take them out when nicely toasted

Place the pumpkin on the tray with the garlic, and put both trays into the oven; bake them both for about 25-30 minutes, till the chickpeas are toasted, the pumpkin is tender (it may take a few minutes more than the chickpeas), and the garlic smells delightfully done!  If using a whole (halved) pumpkin, it may take up to 40 minutes to cook up

You can give the sesame seeds a quick toss in a small, dry frypan over a low, low heat while the baking is happening

Also, either bake the scallops tossed in 1 Tbs of the EV olive oil at 210C/410F for 10-15 minutes (obvs. once the other items are done), or fry them (in oil) for 20-30 seconds, flip them once and turn out of the pan

Let everything cool to room temp., and now tip the pumpkin sans skin (which you will have taken out of the skin if using whole pumpkin) into a food processor or blender along with the garlic you have squeezed out of their papery skins with your bare hands so you smell like a vampire's deepest fear :=)

In go the tahini and cummin; blend till smooth, adding a bit of water to thin if desired; check for seasoning at this point

Grab yourself a gorgeous serving platter, spoon on the pumpkin purée and drizzle with the chilli oil, EV olive oil and pomegranate molasses

With great glee and finesse, cast on the dill, sesame seeds, pepitas, za'atar, chickpeas and scallops

Serve with toasted naan bread or flatbread of your choice


Or take the easy route and buy a 750g./26 oz bag of peeled and cubed pumpkin, like I did!  In which case, you will need to buy some pepitas/pumpkin seeds as you won't have any from the actual pumpkin

Tom's recipe says to use 135 grams of tahini but my notes say to use half that!  If using whole pumpkin, you may need more tahini I'm thinking, than my amount

I grabbed a 300g./10.5 oz bag of frozen scallops (sans roe) from the supermarket

I only had quince syrup in my pantry so I used that - I guess you could use whatever thick, fruity, tangy syrup you have around

An Aussie tablespoon is 20 mL, rather than the U.S. 15 mL.  Weirdly, Tom tells the reader this in the very last sentence on the very last page of his book, in tiny, wee print!!

See what I mean!  This recipe has a fair bit of faffing around!  The average time-poor person ain't gonna have time for this fiddle-faddle - But still, it is a very flavourful dish, so on a calm weekend ...

into the oven at 180C/350F  (I baked them the day before)

gather those ingredients

getting ready to blitz

let's put it all together

and spread it over the platter

throw on the dill and syrup/molasses

add the seeds and scallops

and the chickpeas and za'atar

see what I mean? :=)  Brown! Hey I'm in the mirror ...

C. Sherry M.

Wednesday, 8 February 2023

Lamington Pikelets

Lamingtons are named after Lord Lamington (or his wife Lady Mary), who was the Governor of Queensland 1896-1901.  They are squares of sponge cake, dipped in chocolate and then rolled in coconut.  A staple of every Aussie kid's life:=)  These are a take on that idea - pikelets dipped in chocolate and rolled in coconut.  And equally delicious.

I came across this recipe in a Coles supermarket magazine last month.  They suggest using bought jam and chocolate topping, untoasted coconut and bought pikelets.  I took up the suggestion of bought pikelets, but made my own jam and ganache.  It was Australia Day on January 26, so all the Aussie recipes come out, and the ads for Aussie lamb, and everyone has a BBQ and plays cricket, or goes to the beach.  So lamingtons are very appropriate, too.  

Though this year, there were protests and alternative activities due to a heightened realisation that the indigenous peoples of Australia were treated badly from the time of the landing of the First Fleet.  I think we will need to pick a different day to celebrate in future.  (FYI, if anyone is interested, the book Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe gives some fascinating insights into our indigenous history.)

oh my!  So delicious, my friends

Makes 4:


For the ganache:

65 mL/3.6 oz thickened cream

60g./2.3 oz milk or dark chocolate (I used Lindt)


a packet of 8 pikelets - see Notes

1 cup (80g./2.8 oz) shredded or dessicated coconut, toasted in a small, dry frypan till golden-brown - watch carefully as it burns outrageously at the last minute!

300 mL/10 oz thickened cream, whipped till you have firm peaks

2 Tbs berry jam of your choice - see my quick jam recipe

lots of strawberries!  Well, 150g./5.3 oz - washed, dried, hulled and sliced

1 Flake bar (a crumbly milk chocolate bar)

Quick Jam:

125g./4.4 oz blueberries (or blackberries)

250g./8.8 oz strawberries (or raspberries)

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 dashes ground cinnamon (1/8 tsp maybe)

big slurp of gin or berry liqueur (say 1 Tbs) - optional

2 tsp honey

Method for Quick Jam:

Place everything in a small saucepan, bring to the boil, turn down the heat and let simmer gently for about 15-20 mins. till thick

Let it cool, spoon into a sterilised jar and whack into the fridge

simmer till thick

quick berry jam


Pour the cream into a small saucepan and heat it till you have tiny, wee bubbles around the edges of the cream

Break (or chop up) the chocolate into a small heatproof bowl, pour over the hot cream, let it sit for a minute, then stir well till you get a beautiful, chocolatey mixture - and pour into a shallow tray

Toast your coconut now if you haven't already done it, and tip into a shallow tray

Whip the 300 mL amount of cream (in a medium bowl) till you have lush, firm peaks, then marble the jam gently thru the cream

Look after your strawberries (as above) if not already done

Drop a pikelet into the ganache (or topping), turn it gently to cover the other side, then into the coconut; roll till covered in coconut

So take a pikelet, place 3-4 strawberry slices on top, slap on some jammy cream, place another pikelet on top of the cream, smother that with cream, top with strawberries and chocolate flakes, and place on a lined tray or a pretty serving platter

Do this for the next three pairs of pikelets, so you end up with 4 delicious, creamy, chocolatey lamington pikelets


Make your own pikelets, if you feel so inclined.  I didn't :=)  Oh yes, in case the word 'pikelet' is not familiar - they are (says Google) a slightly denser pancake, similar to an American pancake, and about 7.5 to 10cm/3-4 inches in diameter

You can use 1/2 cup (125 mL/4.2 oz) of a good-quality chocolate topping from a bottle if you can't be bothered making a ganache

I used Lindt milk chocolate, but next time I'll try dark (70%)

I made the quick jam the week before, so I could use up some frozen berries lurking in my freezer.  Otherwise, just use your fave jam out of a jar, my friends

ingredients gathered

ready to roll (I used some untoasted coconut too)

I spooned on the leftover ganache

ready for the crowning pikelet (plate by Del Kathryn Barton)

topped with strawberries, cream and chocolate flakes

c. Sherry M.