Tuesday 25 April 2023

Chocolate Sour Cream Peanut Butter Cake

I love a peanut butter and chocolate combo, so this recipe from Alice Zaslavky's book The Joy of Better Cooking was a no-brainer for Cookbook Club.  Strangely, Mr P. is not a fan of peanut butter at all!  Who/whom did I marry? :=)  How can a born and bred Queenslander (where peanuts are grown) not be a fan of this spread?!

I was born and bred in Victoria, so when our family moved to Queensland, we found lots of differences - so many different words and names and phrases.  One of which was peanut paste for peanut butter!  There's quite the story about what this nutty spread should be called, depending on where you grew up and how old you are.  

It all started in 1930, when dairy farmers objected to the spread being called peanut butter as they reckoned butter is butter, and comes from a cow!  So the Sanitarium Company had to change the name in some states of Australia (including Queensland) to peanut paste.  "A peanut doesn't lactate!", was the farmers' battle cry.  So true :=)

crunchy, chocolatey PB cake!

Serves 10-12:


Wet stuff:

250g./9 oz (1 cup) sour cream

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

100g./3.5 oz butter, melted and cooled

Dry stuff:

300g./10.5 oz plain flour

220g./8 oz caster sugar

80g./3 oz cocoa powder

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp bi-carb soda (baking soda)

Extra stuff:

250 mL/8 oz just-boiled water

260g,/9 oz crunchy peanut butter


200g,/7 oz good dark chocolate (I use Lindt 70%)

125g./4.5 oz sour cream

125 mL/7 oz single (pure) cream (not whipping cream)

Decorations:  all optional


choc-dipped pretzels

toasted peanuts (I used 1/4 cup peanuts)

or chuck on choc drops or peanut butter drops or whatever you fancy


Whack on your oven to 170C/325F

Butter the sides, and line the base of your 20cm/8 inch springform tin

Grab a large bowl and whisk sour cream with the eggs and vanilla till smooth; now add the melted butter and mix well

Sift the five dry ingredients into a separate mixing bowl, then add the wet mixture, stirring, stirring while slowly adding the water, till you have a lovely, smooth batter

Pour the batter into the cake tin, and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the top springs back

Leave it cool for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and leave it alone - till it's cold and desperate - hehehe

You can trim the mound on top if it worries you, or turn it over to the bottom so you have a flat bum :=)

Spread the peanut butter all over this chocolate baby, then into the fridge it goes

Make the ganache by chopping the chocolate into small pieces and tipping into a small heatproof bowl

Heat the sour cream and cream in a saucepan till just starting to bubble and boil at the sides, then pour it over the chocolate and let it contemplate itself for a minute

Once the chocolate is melting, stir till well-combined, and leave for a wee minute or two

Now a cake rack goes over a lined tray, so you don't spill ganache all over your kitchen bench - and pour it all over your lovely cake, smoothing with a spatula as you go   see Notes

Decorations go on while the ganache is still warm (so they stick on) 

Let it sit and settle down, and serve to your PB-cake fans

Will keep for a few days in an airtight container - or take it to Cookbook Club - teeheehee


Use a not-so-fancy peanut butter, just your regular old stuff OR try a different nut butter like hazelnut or almond  (yep, I know peanuts are a legume, not a nut - hehehe)

Alice suggests the option of letting the ganache cool down till firm, then spreading it like icing/frosting over the cake

wet stuff

wet and dry stuff

mix till smooth

smooth and glossy batter heading into the 170C oven

and let it cool on a rack

stir the hot creams into the chocolate

and stir till smoothly glossy

smothered in PB

and decorated with nuts and pretzels

I dipped 25g./0.9 oz salted pretzels into 40g./1.4 oz dark chocolate

the lovely Olive enjoying cakes and wine at Cook The Book Book Club

We are so very lucky to have an Indie bookshop just up the road, which has lots of fabulous books and book clubs!  The wonderful ladies who own it - Anna and Theresa - have been such a gift to our local neighbourhood.  I'm a bit of a fixture there :=)

Utility jars? I guess that's when you could re-use it as a tumbler
                                    (Photo from Brisbane City Council archives)

c. Sherry M.

Monday 17 April 2023

Parsley, Preserved Lemon And Caperberries

I didn't realise before making this that parsley came first in the title because - guess what? - parsley is the hero ingredient here.  So get the freshest parsley you can when making this.  Out of the garden would be best of course.  Damn those sneaky, parsley-eating possums!  Supermarket parsley it is then :=)

This is another recipe from Harvest, the massive tome by Maggie Beer.  It's heading back to the library pronto, as I am not feeling the love for this book.  It could just be me, not you, Maggie.  There are so many recipes in this book - over 350 I think - so there's something for everyone.  But I just can't get over her dislike of chillies, and spices.  Somehow she missed the huge Asian influences on Aussie cooking!  

Serves 4:


12 caperberries, de-stalked; 6 of them cut in half lengthwise  (I used 20 small ones)

1 cup parsley (15g./0.5 oz) - I used curly, but Maggie says flat-leafed

1 Tbs preserved lemon rind, finely sliced  see Notes

40-55 mL (1.3-2 oz) EV olive oil    see Notes

2 thick slices of a hefty bread - pane di casa, sourdough, or similar, torn into chunks (or chopped by Mr P.) - use gluten-free if desired

1 Tbs red-wine vinegar (or vinegar of your choice - I used my homemade blood-orange vinegar)

black pepper, to taste

a handful of pine nuts (optional)


So de-stalk half the caperberries, slice 'em up and throw them into a salad bowl

Add the roughly-torn (or chopped) parsley leaves (or leave them as - well, leaves)

Chuck in the finely sliced lemon rind

Heat up a grill plate and cook up the brushed-with-EVOO bread slices/now chunks till nicely scorched/golden (or do it in a frypan)

These go into the bowl, along with the rest of the EVOO, vinegar, pepper and pine nuts - Oh I forgot!  Add the other half of the caperberries, too!

Toss and leave for a few minutes so the dressing can soak in

Serve with a protein and/or another salad of your choice


I used 2 wedges of (my homemade) lemon rind 

Maggie uses 80 mL of EVOO, but I thought that was way too much, so I used 20-25 mL for the salad, and 20-30 mL for the bread grilling

Does anyone else think flat-leafed parsley tastes like grass clippings?!  And not in a good way ... bluuurrrgghh

grill your bread

get Mr P. to chop it up into chunks

serve it with grilled halloumi if you fancy

and a sweet potato and bocconcini salad

and with halloumi

C. Sherry M.

C. Sherry M.

Sunday 9 April 2023

Apricot And Cardamom Cake

This recipe is from Cake Magic by Kate Shirazi, a former nurse from the UK who turned to making cupcakes for a living.  Good choice, Kate!  This is a simple cake, with a spicy little kick to it.  I enjoy cardamom in both savoury and sweet dishes, but this may confuse some people's tastebuds.  I know I'm more likely to throw some pods into my curry rather than a sweet cake like this.  But if you like a bit of spice, this is the cake for you (and me).

I recommend Kate's book if you like tasty cakes (and scones and breads, etc).  The recipes are simple to make, with the occasional 'Help, I'm not a baker!' item, like the brioche.  She does give lots of easy instructions for the harder stuff, though.

I remember making an apricot purée for a fruity fool (the recipe, not a housemate) years ago when I lived in a student share-house.  We didn't have any great kitchen gear so my fool was this chunky, weird, creamy, soupy porridge.  My housemates were not impressed!  Anyway, this is not like that, my friends; fear not.  

fruity and spicy and not too sweet

Serves 10:


250-300g./9-10 oz apricot halves (weighed after draining the syrup)

3 tsp cardamom pods or 2 tsp ground cardamom

175g./6 oz butter, salted or unsalted

110g./4 oz caster sugar

3 large eggs

200g./7 oz self-raising flour

1/2 tsp bi-carb soda (baking soda)

50g./1.75 oz polenta

3 Tbs plain, unsweetened Greek yoghurt

For the glaze:

2 Tbs honey

2 Tbs demerara sugar


Turn on your oven to 180C/350F to heat up

Butter and line with baking paper a 20cm/8 inch cake tin (Kate says to use a loose-bottomed tin but I didn't have one and it was fine)

Take your well-drained apricots and line the bottom of the cake tin as neatly (or not) as you please

Grab your pestle and mortar, crack open the cardamom pods and scrape out the tiny black seeds then start pounding away, and crush as much as you can be bothered (and I couldn't be bothered much)

Cream the butter and sugar till pale and fluffy (I suggest electric hand beaters at the very least) 

Beat in the eggs one by one till incorporated nicely 

Sift the flour and bi-carb over the eggy mixture, chuck in the polenta and cardamom, and fold in gently

Add the yoghurt and give the batter a final, gentle folding-in

Now pour carefully over the apricots, and bake for 45-60 minutes till a skewer comes out clean from its tender belly  see Notes 

Let the cake rest in its tin for at least 10 minutes, then turn out onto a serving plate

Mix the honey and sugar together, and drizzle/spoon it over the cake

Delicious with a cuppa!  And a little bit spicy and not too sweet


I bought a large jar of apricot halves in juice, then drained and weighed enough of the halves till I had the requisite amount

I reckon using ground cardamom would be so much easier, quicker and would taste just fine (and would be less gritty)

I baked it at 180C/350F for 45-50 minutes

get cracking!

stirring in the dry ingredients 

the seedy batter goes into the greased and lined cake tin

and comes out golden and tender

what a fruity bottom

such a shiny, glazey top

a piece of cake :=)

lots of great recipes in here 

C. Sherry M.

Saturday 1 April 2023

In My Kitchen - April 2023

Mmm - April?  How did this happen, my friends?  Aren't we still feeling those post-Christmas vibes :=)?  March has flown by, with lots of cooking, reading, seeing friends, and repairs on the house.  Autumn is ostensibly here, but we are still sweltering, and they say it won't cool down till May!  

Woke up in the middle of the night to a thunderstorm, and had to jump up to close the windows.  Just the southern windows, as storms come from that direction.  I had someone laugh at me once for saying that about shutting certain windows.  They seemed to think that rain only came straight down?!  

We've had carpet pythons and possums running rampant (and don't forget the neighbourhood foxes who love (to eat) the local chooks).  Our resident possum loves to throw herself across our roof, and run and stomp like a mad Sumo wrestler.  I think she may have (had) a baby joey in her pouch.  Did you know their gestation period is only 17 days?  I bet many a human mum would love that idea :=)  

a scruffy brush-tailed possum hiding from the sun under our porch roof

In My Kitchen:

roasted capsicums from our neighbour Princess Pia

The Princess roasted up some capsicums, and kindly gave us some.  Perfect on all sorts of dishes.  Thank you South America for originating them (and potatoes of course!)

chicken tray bake dinner with green olives and potato, put together by moi

a gorgeous wooden spoon that I commissioned from a Sydney woodcarver

She uses reclaimed and found wood to make her beautiful spoons.  I wanted a particular size, so I got her to make this beauty.  (Vintage Japanese bowls, Rainbow Bob (by our mate Chainsaw Newton) and Delilah by Denise Murray, a local artist, in the background.)

a gorgeous tea mug by Rainforest Ceramics

sweet potato ready for roasting

lovely Japanese-style tureen (by Belly Fire Pottery) from the Design Market

a plethora of Japanese goodies from the local Japanese shop

Oh my, those matcha choco mochi were the biz!  Sooo delish.  And so many interesting oddities - like the truffle and squid ink crisps!  Japanese flavours are so interesting and different.

artwork by Adam Tovell-Soundy

My curveball is this 'fish', made with a corkscrew, bits of steel decking, and lots of glitter provided by the artist's daughter.

That's it for me this month.  Hope to catch you all for April's IMK!

Be a part of our friendly IMK community by adding your post too - everybody welcome!  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: sherrym1au@gmail.com, 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 add my logo to your IMK post, if you wish!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter