Monday 23 January 2023

Chocolate And Sour Cherry Cookies

I am a big fan of dark chocolate, and dried sour cherries, and marzipan so this was a no-brainer choice from The Year of Miracles by Ella Risbridger.  I've read her previous cookbook Midnight Chicken, which is about her partner dying of cancer (and recipes). 

This book starts with: 'This is a story about grief.'  But it is wonderfully uplifting, and full of memories - and food, and wonderful food drawings!  I loved it.  I think it should more rightly be called a memoir with recipes - which is a fave genre for me.  

She also writes novels and children's books (I love children's books), and is just a bit of a marvel, really.  I remember that Marian Keyes also wrote a baking cookbook to write herself out of grief and mental health issues.  All that love going into food is a marvellous restorative to our spirits.  So bake, my friends!  It is a wonderfully soothing thing to do.

so fudgy, so chocolatey, so cherryful ...

Makes 18 cookies: (see Notes)


200g./7 oz butter 

300g./10.5 oz dark soft brown sugar

100g./3.5 oz dark chocolate  (I suggest Lindt)

50g./1.8 oz marzipan  (see Notes)

1 large egg plus an extra yolk

200g./7 oz plain flour

50g./1.8 oz unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 tsp bicarb soda

50g./1.8 oz dried sour cherries

smoked sea salt flakes


Pre-heat your oven to 180C/356F

Melt the butter over a medium-low heat till it starts to foam, and nearly catch on the base (says Ella), turns brown and has a strong smell  - it can take from 5-8 minutes  (see Notes)

Beat the butter and sugar together till well combined - I used electric hand beaters tho' Ella says to use a stand mixer (Ella, I don't have one!)

Chop your chocolate and marzipan into all sorts of crazy chunks - big, small, slivers, whatever you fancy ...

Add your egg and egg yolk into the butter/sugar mixture, and beat some more

In goes the flour, cocoa and bi-carb and yes, you beat well again

Now gently fold in your chocolate, marzipan and sour cherries

Grab a lined baking tray and a dessertspoon, and spoon on no more than 6 cookies at a time onto your tray - Ella is vehement that you put only 6, as they 'must not join up!'

Sprinkle them with sea salt flakes and bake for 9 minutes - she is also adamant and vehement that you bake them for this time, tho' she does suggest giving them one minute more or less on your next batch if they are not to your liking

I baked 2 trays at once, then the remaining ones, as my tiny, wee oven only holds 2 trays at a time

Let them cool on a wire rack, and don't worry that they appear underdone - Ella swears they are okay. and indeed they are!  They firm up a bit as they cool, tho' they are still tender and fudgy and so very delightful to inhale


Ella says this recipe makes 24, but I made 18 medium-sized cookies.  Go with my bigger ones, I say :=)  But you do you

I bought dark-chocolate-covered marzipan from the supermarket.  Delicious!

Burnt butter was something new to me!  Maybe I've made it once in my life many moons ago, but I don't remember.  So basically, I had to keep browning it for longer than I expected!  It really foams up, and goes dark brown, just the way it should

ingredients gathered

the butter starts to foam

going brown with brown specks on the bottom of the pan

very golden-browny brown

beating in the sugar and eggs

folding in the chocolate and marzipan after the flour, cocoa and bi-carb

this is one heck of a stiff batter, my friends

ready to eat after baking for 9 mins. at 180C/356F

so fudgy and delicious

eat up!

her fabulous cookbook cum memoir

Sherry M.

Wednesday 18 January 2023

Road Trip To Sydney - And Back Again

Mr P. and I took a week's break to drive to Sydney - and back again (as Bilbo Baggins would say).  It was actually to attend a friend's wake, but it was not a sad thing.  We celebrated her life, and enjoyed meeting up with people we hadn't seen for a long time.  Everyone had similar stories about her - she was always smartly-dressed, a great cook and host, a fun person to be around.  She will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her!

Here is a quick photo essay about our trip:

there was sculpture in Stanthorpe (might be by Maggie Brockie)

and deserted buildings in Deepwater

supply ships in Sydney

and wharves in Woolloomooloo

wonders in Warwick

art (by Yayoi Kusama) at Art Gallery NSW

delectable green goodies at Gosford

food at Forster

beachy fun at Forster

splendour at Sawtell

where the river meets the sea at Sawtell

We do love a road trip, and this was no exception.  Luckily, we had good weather, though it did rain (a lot!) in Sydney.  We Queenslanders were a wee bit cold down there :=)  We met up with a friend who lives there, and enjoyed the Art Gallery and Museum.  Gotta suggest you don't go to a museum in school hols. on a wet day in Sydney though - so many babies and children and prams and stressed parents and wet umbrellas and overcrowded lifts, and dangerously damp floors :=)!

Anyways, we loved our trip and loved being able to say goodbye to our dear friend whom we had known nearly our whole adult lives.  Bless you and goodbye, dearest Ailsa!

Monday 16 January 2023

Apple And Ricotta Frittelle

Gotta admit - I hate frying!  I liked the sound of this recipe, but frying 'em?  Nope, no can do - so I didn't :=)  I baked them, not just once but twice.  First time, they were okay, but second time, they were so much better ('cos I changed the recipe up a wee bit).  This recipe is from Julia Busuttil Nishimura's book Around The Table.  I made them for our online Lambs' Ears Cookbook Club.  

I've never been much of a joiner, but in my old age, it's all I seem to do.  A virtual cookbook club, a real-life cookbook club and a regular book club.  Who is this woman, I ask you? :=)  A busy and happy woman, that's who.

I ramped up all the flavours and the sugar from the original recipe, which came out pretty darn bland and not very sweet the first time I made them.  Maybe when they're fried, you just don't care? :=)  We liked them a lot more the second time.  So ramp up or not, as you wish.  I have basically doubled the sugar and spices and rum.  And of course, fry them in vegetable oil at 170C/340F if you are not a frying-method scaredy cat like me. 

delicious (2nd attempt) and a Hills Hoist (Princess Pia doing the honours)

Serves 12:


3-4 Tbs sultanas

2 Tbs spiced rum or Marsala (Julia says optional but I say not)

1 large Granny Smith apple (a firm, green cooking apple), coarsely grated

zest of 1 large lemon (if you can get a large one; they cost a bomb atm)

200g./7 oz full-fat ricotta

2 large eggs

4 Tbs caster sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp each of mixed spice, and of cinnamon and of nutmeg - see Notes

1/2-1 tsp mandarin dust (very optional but nice)

200g./7 oz (1.3 cups) self-raising flour

2-3 Tbs brown sugar, and extra cinnamon for dusting pre-bake

icing sugar, for post-bake dusting


Soak the sultanas in the rum for at least 30 minutes before you cook

Get your burly nephew to grate the apple and zest the lemon :=)

Grab a large mixing bowl, and tip in the ricotta, eggs, sugar, and whisk together till 'fairly smooth', says Julia

Now add the vanilla, spices, mandarin dust (if using), apple, sultanas (with their rum) and lemon zest, and stir in with a wooden spoon

Then in goes the flour, which you will stir in ever so gently till just combined

Grab a couple of tablespoons and put a heaping tablespoon or two into each of your paper-lined muffin holes (my batter made 12 frittelle just beautifully)

Sprinkle over some brown sugar and cinnamon on each (you choose how much)

Bake at 200C/390F for 20-25 minutes till golden, and/or a skewer stuck into their tiny hearts comes out clean

Let cool for a couple of minutes, then dust them with icing sugar

Eat the same day for best results, but okay the next day too


I used spiced rum 'cos that's what I had, and I doubled the amount (as I did with the sugar), and also doubled the amount of sultanas and vanilla - I wonder if the fried version is very different?  ' Cos my first (baked) version was very bland when using her amounts

Julia only uses a pinch of cinnamon as her flavouring (that's it!), so I added the mixed spice, nutmeg, and mandarin dust and doubled the rum and sugar.  I also chose to soak the sultanas in the rum, to give it even more flavour (she does mention this in passing as a possibility)

Nephew and his hubby stayed over for a night just before Christmas, so I roped them in to assist with the frittelle.  It's so lovely to have family staying, as it doesn't happen often anymore.  Nephew (a native Queenslander) now lives in Canberra and works in the Public Service.  And the other nieces and nephews live elsewhere, doing their own thing.  So we were very happy to have them!  

ingredients gathered (yes, I used red apples the first time)

apple grated (core went to the crows) 

chuck in the ricotta, eggs, sugar etc

in goes everything else - and stir!

fold the flour thru (gently) till just combined

spoon in the batter, and dust with brown sugar and cinnamon

and done - after baking at 200C/390F for 20-25 mins.

Looks like that peacock is feeling hungry for frittelle :)   
(Nephew doing the honours here)

Sherry M.

Sunday 1 January 2023

In My Kitchen - January 2023

Phew!  We made it; we survived 2022.  And what a stinker it was.  Perhaps yours was better than mine?  I hope so!  And I hope everyone has had a fabulous festive season.  2023 here we come, guns ablazing.  Or maybe just whimpering softly as we stumble along ...

I've been very lucky in the kitchen - with Christmas gifts, time to cook and just enjoy life (tho' I did make that chutney at 5am since I couldn't sleep).  We had a really relaxing Christmas Day, just a brunch at friends', no cooking, just nibblies and fruit.  That's the way to do it.  Hope you all had a lovely day, too.

So here we are for another year of In My Kitchen.  Looking forward to catching up with everyone!  Join in, one and all with your kitchen and kitchen garden joys.  I have even more Christmas stuff, but I'll add that to my next IMK post in February.

In My Kitchen:

a sweet little ceramic dish from Pottery for the Planet

I made my annual mango chutney (at 5am!)

and I dried rosemary (in the microwave) from a friend's garden

and roasted ratty old veg. from the fridge to make a salsa-thingy :=)

I was given a super-charming platter by a friend

and Mr P. bought me a tea towel and cookbook!

a dear friend gave me this tea towel from the Isle of Lewis

my super-dooper cousin gave me this wonderful ceramic tomato-ey dish

and I made my summer batch of mustard for Mr P.

and the curveball (sorry about the reflections)

This is a small watercolour by Sean Leahy, a local Brisbane artist and cartoonist.  This is of an actual landscape not that far from us.  I love the play of light and the red rooves.

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)

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