Saturday 23 March 2024

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

Just wondering how many of you are familiar with B. Dylan Hollis, the funny chap from YouTube?  I love his videos!  And he loves to try out weird, retro, vintage recipes.  Of course I had to buy his book Baking Yesteryear when it came out last year.  And I love that he includes the really terrible recipes at the end of the book, in the Worst of the Worst section.  

The recipe in his book that really makes me shudder is the SpaghettiOs Jello Ring, which has - yes, you guessed it - tinned spaghetti, tomato soup, gelatine and cocktail franks (sausages) - (OMG!!)!  But this cake recipe is way less horrendous; in fact, it's pretty darn delicious.  I added a few little tweaks like the Kahlua and coffee powder, and sprinkles.  Every cake deserves a sprinkle!

I was watching a video recently where the (U.S.) person said they had only just been introduced to the repast of warmed baked beans from a tin, spooned onto hot buttery toast and then put under the grill with cheese, so it melts over the beans.  Oh how sad but great, that they had only just discovered this delightful midnight - or anytime - snack.  I do this with tinned spaghetti too!  But a Jello Ring is a step too far, my friends:=)

gotta love a sprinkle! (see the flamingoes?)

Makes one x 25cm./10 inch Bundt cake:



345g./12 hefty ounces of mayonnaise

300g./10.5 oz white or caster sugar

1-2 tsp vanilla extract or paste  (optional)

2 tsp Kahlua or liqueur of your fancy  (optional)

420g./15 scant oz plain flour

5 Tbs cocoa powder

2 tsp coffee powder  (optional)

3/4 tsp sea salt

2 tsp baking soda

355 mL/12 oz water

150g./5.3 oz dark or milk chocolate, chopped into small chunks


115g./4 oz mayonnaise

5 Tbs cocoa powder

1 Tbs milk

240g./8.5 oz icing sugar (powdered sugar)

2 tsp vanilla extract or paste

2-3 Tbs yoghurt  (optional)

Sprinkles or chocolate hail or your fave bling to decorate


For the cake:

Butter your Bundt very very well (Mr P. does this for me as it's his forte - hehehe)

On goes your oven to 190C/370F to heat up

Combine the mayo and sugar together in a large bowl till you have a nice smooth mixture, then stir in the vanilla extract and Kahlua

Grab another bowl, and whisk the flour, cocoa powder, coffee, salt, and baking soda together well

Now add these dry ingredients to the mayo mixture, along with the water in alternate turns, till it's well-combined

Stir in the chocolate chunks

Spoon/pour into the very well-buttered Bundt pan (I tapped a little flour over the pan as well), and bake for 40-45 minutes

Poke the middle of the cake with a cake skewer; if it's clean, the cake is done

Let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to get completely cool

For the icing:

Combine the mayo, cocoa powder and milk together in a metal bowl, and place it over a saucepan of simmering water - or use a double boiler if you have one

Gradually stir in the icing sugar, and whisk/beat very well till smooth and glossy

Take it off the heat, cool for a minute, then stir in the vanilla and yoghurt

Place the cake onto a serving platter, and let that gorgeous dark river of chocolate wend its way over the cake

And Go mad with sprinkles!


Dylan says this makes a 10 inch tube cake.  I have no idea what that is!  So I just used a Bundt pan, and it worked out beautifully 

get your ingredients together

mix till smooth

ready for baking at 190C for 40-45 mins.

ready to smother lavishly in bling and icing

you can never have too much icing!

deep, dark and mysteriously delicious

sprinkles and flamingoes everywhere

and I took it to Book Club!

c. Sherry M.

Saturday 16 March 2024

Italian Potato Salad

Did you know there are over 4,000 varieties of potato?  Wow, and yet we see just a few in our supermarkets and greengrocers.  I have no green thumb (I've just killed another pot plant), but I once tried to grow some potatoes in a bucket.  I had read that you could just throw in some sprouted potatoes along with some potting soil, and eventually you'd end up with a bucket full of tasty tubers. 

Sadly, this was not to be, my friends, and I just ended up with a heavy bucket of damp soil, after watering and waiting for weeks.  It would have been especially sad for my friend who had been nurturing the bucket for days while we were away :=(  But I decided this was something she did not need to know! 

This recipe is from Donna Hay's Christmas Feasts and Treats.  It's great for those watching their weight as there is no mayo or sour cream.  But it does have lots of flavour!  Bake or grill some fish or chicken, and you have a delicious dinner on hand.  I teamed it with some baked salmon. 

add a protein and you're ready for dinner

Serves 3-4:


800g./28 oz baby potatoes

half a red onion, finely sliced

1/2-1 Tbs lemon zest

65 mL/2 biiiiiig oz of lemon juice

40 mL/a scant 1.5 oz of EV olive oil

2 long, hot red chillies, finely chopped (and de-seeded if you wish)

30g./1 biiiig oz salted baby capers, rinsed

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

a handful of dill, and of parsley, roughly chopped or torn

50g./1.5 biiig oz of rocket leaves or baby spinach  (I used spinach)

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


First zap the potatoes in your microwave for 5-6 minutes (or boil in salted water) till tender

Drain, leave to cool, then slice (very) thickly, or cut into chunks

By this time, you've sliced the onion, and zested and juiced the lemon

So put the onion, lemon zest and juice into a bowl that won't react - i.e. - not metal!, so glass or ceramic - and let this sit for a bit

Now grab a frypan and heat the EVO oil over medium heat

In go the chillies and capers, and let 'em cook for several minutes (4-5 maybe?) till getting a wee bit crispy

Add the garlic and cook/stir for another minute or two (or 3) till the whole shebang is golden (but watch it so it doesn't burn)

Now find yourself a pretty salad bowl and tip in the potatoes, herbs, onion, rocket, salt and pepper 

Add the chilli mixture to the bowl (yep the oil and all from the pan)

On goes the onion pickling liquid, and give it a good stir

Serve with your protein of choice - I cooked up some fresh salmon 


I made a half quantity of this salad - but just double everything for the original Donna recipe

ingredients gathered

get slicing ...

watch those baby capers puff up

ready for tossing

ready to eat

add a bit of baked or grilled salmon or chicken

c, Sherry M.

Saturday 9 March 2024

Mandarin Syrup And Blackberry No-Churn Ice Cream

A bit more about the online cookbook club I am part of - we have a monthly book, and a book that we can dip into for the entire calendar year.  This year's book is The Food Saver's A-Z, which provides an alphabetical look at various items you may have lurking in your fridge and pantry that desperately need using up, pronto!

Ironically, I didn't have any mandarins just hanging to make this syrup, so I bought a bottle of 100% mandarin juice.  This is very easy to make, and is very delicious.  Mr P. was a big fan (he loves my citrus cordials), and has been drinking it on the regular.  

ready to add to sparkling water, etc

And speaking of spiders (see above) ... I can only speak about Aussie ones of course, but they like to jump on and at you!  And they are big, my friends.  One day we were downstairs in Mr P.'s office, and we heard a loud tapping noise.  We headed into the kitchenette, only to discover a very large Huntsman running across the bench (in tap shoes, it seemed).  

And did I ever tell you about getting up one morning, and after a bit thinking - 'Gee, I need a haircut', brushing my ear and finding a massive spider falling on my shoulder?!!  Who knows how long it had been sitting on top of my head!  They are hairy beasts, let me tell you :=)  But let's get to the recipe.   

Makes 1 smallish bottle (c.150 mL):


the syrup:

250 mL (1 cup) pure mandarin juice

110g./4 oz caster or white sugar

a few slices of fresh ginger, 1 cinnamon quill (stick) and 2 cloves (optional)

My version of a fruity 'instant' ice cream:

The ice cream:

500g./18 oz frozen blackberries (or your fave fruit), mostly thawed

170g./6 oz condensed milk

2-3 Tbs spiced rum (or your fave tipple)

1-2 tsp vanilla paste or extract

250g./9 oz mascarpone


The syrup:

Heat the juice and sugar together (in a small saucepan) on a low temp., till sugar is dissolved

Add the spices now if using, and simmer for 10 or so minutes till a wee bit thickened   see Notes

Let it sit for 5-10 minutes to cool, then pour into a very clean bottle, and allow to cool completely

And into the fridge it goes, for up to 2 months

Serve with sparkling water or wine, or with this fruity ice cream

The ice cream:

Into your food processor go the fruit, condensed milk, rum and vanilla

Give 'em a few pulses till mixed but not necessarily smooth (I like some lumpy pieces of fruit), then add the mascarpone and give it a very quick blitz 

Pour/spoon into a freezer-proof container, and whack into the freezer for at least 6 hours or preferably overnight   see Notes

The next day, spoon into a dessert bowl, and pour some of that delicious, citrus-y syrup over the top


You can thaw the fruit completely, then mix everything together in a large bowl if you prefer your ice cream a bit chunkier

I forgot to do it, but I normally line the tin with freezer film, leaving an overhang which you can fold over the top of the ice cream mixture to keep it protected while it freezes

I doubled this recipe (but not the cloves) and ended up with 300 mL of syrup

It took about 30 minutes to reduce down when I made the doubled recipe

ingredients gathered

dissolve the sugar, and simmer for 10 mins.

till it thickens slightly

bottle your syrup when cool

stir the mascarpone thru the fruity mixture

and pour into your freezer-proof container

pour on the syrup

c. Sherry M.

Friday 1 March 2024

In My Kitchen - March 2024

Yay, Autumn is finally here, though they say it will be a truly hot one.  I am in the wars again, my friends.  After my cataract ops on both eyes, I got new spectacles but sadly my eyes are still in a mess.  I can no longer read well without glasses, and I get awful aches in my eyeballs at the end of the day.  So annoying after spending all that money and time and discomfort!  And my auntie actually had to have the new lens in her eye replaced as they had put in a scratched one.  What the?!  Back to the eye guy I go!  

Completely off topic - I don't know if any of you have a similar quirk, but Mr P. and I love going to cemeteries on our country drives, especially reeeaaaallly ancient ones with lots of falling down tombstones and creepy bits of old grave vases.  We visited a couple on our recent break, 'cos country cemeteries are the best!

the ancient cemetery in Clunes, NSW

This is a cemetery where you have to unlock a gate, close it after you, drive down a gravel lane, then do the reverse on the way out.  Such fun!!  And funnily enough, we met two other cars coming in, as we were leaving.  So out I jumped to open and shut the gate again.

Rightio, enough of that.  Join in everybody; bring on your IMK posts.  We want to see you all here!  And we want to know everything! - as my old library boss used to say.  Well, she actually used to say: "Come and sit in the pink pouffy chair and tell me everything!"  So go ahead ...

In My Kitchen:

so here's some of my actual kitchen

and here's Mr P. hiding behind the fridge door

I bought a Dusk tumbler from Emi Ceramics

and I was given this butter to try by our mate Lucy from the local provedore Mumbleberry

I told Lucy that I am not a fan of Pepe Saya cultured butter (which everyone else seems to rave about), so she gave me this one to try!

and I bought a jar of local tomato relish on our trip to Northern Rivers

and a couple of Donna Sharam tea towels

We stayed at a B&B down in the Byron hinterland, which is owned by local artist Donna.  She and her hubby live upstairs, and guests stay downstairs with the pool, and the macadamia plantations for the view.  The Northern Rivers area of New South Wales and the Byron hinterland are the home of native macadamias and finger limes.  How lucky are we!  I love that you never know what colour the tiny citrus-y bursts of flavour will be till you cut open the dark-skinned finger limes.

I picked up a few goodies on our travels

including this mixing bowl

I can't resist Mason and Cash (you know what I mean, Sammie!), so I had to buy this ochre bowl with bears on it!  I mean, who wouldn't?  And it goes well with my green bowl with the hedgehogs.

I bought Goosey paper napkins and tiny Falconware bowls

Okay so what else do I love?  Yep, pretty paper napkins and anything Falconware.  I am lucky enough to have found some orange 1960s enamel baking dishes in an op shop a few years ago.  Mmm yes I must take a photo for the next IMK post :=)

pretty pink jug and a beautiful blue tumbler

The wee jug is by Ruby and Frank, and the blue one? - nope can't remember.

I made sour cherry and peppercorn syrup

these are Christmas gifts and a ring-in

The cuz gave me the cream vintage vessel, the blue pot was from my niece and the marbled tumbler is by Milly Dent, a Sydney potter.

I chopped up capsicum for the freezer

After our long weekend away, we came back to a crisper with some veg. that was going to be a bit dubious in the not too distant future.  So I chopped up capsicum for the freezer, pickled a cucumber and gave the crows some dodgy spring onions!  Yep, I know - capsicum and cukes are botanically both fruits!

and here's my curveball!

Our mate Christian's beautiful blue Indian Ringneck Parakeet.  He is a charming fella - yes, both Christian and the bird :=)

Well, I think I have swamped you with my stuff this month, so enough said!  Please join in my friends.  We would all love to see what's been happening in your kitchen.  Be a part of our friendly IMK community by adding your post here too - everybody welcome!  We'd love to have you visit.  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 one 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.

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