Friday Food: Christmas Tree Brownies

Christmas tree brownie popI always help with some Christmas cooking at school. MrsDrWho spotted a Betty Crocker Christmas Tree Brownie Mix Kit ( endless name) and after going to five supermarkets and making three phone calls I finally tracked some down. It is sensible to ask the aide to cook with something that needs as little explanation as possible. I would use my favourite plain brownie recipe: This one is good, and so is this.

It all went very smoothly and the brownies tasted fine. I tested them on my next-door neighbour!! Icing and sprinkles are included and you only need 1/2 cup melted butter and two eggs. You could use 1/2 cup oil at a pinch. It really is so easy to mix. I baked the brownie in ab25 x 16cm slice tin. The brownie is the perfect depth and only took 30 minutes to cook. I made a little template for cutting out the triangle shapes: an isosceles triangle with a base of 6cm and a height of 8cm. I managed to cut 16 little tree shapes and there was hardly any waste.

I gently stuck a paddle pop stick into the "tree" and it all went very well!!! My paddle pop sticks were as huge as tongue depressors, but that was what I had on hand. All in all, very successful. I made my own simple icing from icing sugar mixture and water and piped with a ziplock bag, and I tried a few different sprinkles. I will definitely add Christmas Tree Brownies to my list this year.

Christmas Tree Brownies  makes 14-16

  • I used a box mix, any brownie mix that is firm should do the trick, or use your own favourite recipe.
  • This mix required 1/2 cup melted butter and two eggs.
  • The box included the icing and sprinkles, however a cup of icing sugar, water and a ziplock bag will do the trick.
  • Any and various sprinkles and/or lollies for decoration.
  • Paddle pop sticks if you are making trees with trunks!!


If you are using this Brownie Mix, preheat the oven to 180*C or fan-forced 160*C. Melt the 1/2 cup of butter and I do that in an oven-proof bowl while the oven is heating. Put the brownie mix in a bowl, make a well in the centre and add the melted butter and two eggs. Whisk until combined: about ten seconds!!!

Melt butter, eggs and mix

Grease and then line a 25 x 16cm slice tin with baking paper. Spoon in the brownie mixture and smooth the top. I get to use my offset spatula and feel all cheffy!! Bake for 25-30 minutes. A toothpick or skewer stuck into the centre should come out clean when it is cooked. I always turn my tins halfway through.

And bake and cool

Cool in the tin for 15 minutes and then on a rack until completely cold.

Cut the brownie

Cut the brownie in half lengthways and then cut out triangle shapes, using the tessellation idea. This means there is as little waste as possible. You can make a template or just cut away blithely. Carefully lift the trees onto some baking paper and get ready to decorate. There is some frosting in the box or make your own icing and use a ziplock bag with a tiny corner snipped off to pipe.


I didn't try to pipe just on top of the tree, I went wildly* from side to side and then cleaned up the edges at the end when the icing was almost set.

*Well not too wildly, but I felt wicked!!

Clean up the sides

In the end I drizzled the sprinkles over the top and reclaimed any excess when the icing was set. I used some 100s and 1000s, and some red sanding sure as well. All in all a very quick, delicious and Christmassy idea.

Brownie christmas trees

Friday Food: Festive Ginger Biscuits

Festive ginger biscuitsAll being well, I am starting a little Festive cooking for Friday Food in the run up to Christmas. I am going to be trialling some new-to-me recipes to determine whether they are worthy of being added to my Christmas Cooking List.

A little bit of Blog-keeping: I have no idea if other people can read the new blog template easily. I can see it on the computer and The Ipad, but I don't know about everyone else.

This recipe is in the December Better Homes & Gardens, Issue 13 for 2015. It's a kind of bonus issue. Quite a few people I bake for love ginger and so I gingered these up by adding some extra naked ginger. If I had had some fresh ginger I would have grated that into the mixture. It is a fabulous recipe because the butter is simply rubbed into the flour, there is no need for any electric appliance.

I made half the recipe and only baked half and ended up with 8 biscuits, so : Maths...... and it would make 32 biscuits. I added extra ginger so I eked out 6 extra biscuits. I measured out a 20ml tablespoon of the biscuit dough and weighed it, and made all my biscuits 23g. People not obsessed with numbers and such-like would most likely just roll out walnut-sized balls.

The biscuits are very festive just as they are, but I attempted the decorations shown in the magazine. There were no actual instructions, so I just made it up as I went along. I bought some M&Ms and some plain Cadbury Dairy Milk Roll, some chocolate sprinkles and white and dark chocolate.  I used a zip lock bag to do the piping. BH&G also suggests that if you don't have the time, or inclination, to bake you can buy Gingernut biscuits from the supermarket.


Festive Ginger Biscuits   makes 26-32

  • 2 1/4 cups plain flour
  • 1 tspn bicarbonate of soda
  • 3 tspn ground ginger
  • 100g unsalted butter, chopped and softened
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup golden syrup or honey
  • 1 egg
  • optional, 1/2 cup naked ginger, finely chopped (crystallised would be fine)

To decorate


Rub the butter in

Sift the flour, bicarb soda and ground ginger into a bowl and stir to mix. Rub the butter into the flour until it has the texture of breadcrumbs. If you shake the bowl a little, the larger pieces come to the top and you can rub them in again.

Wet ingredients and knead

Add the egg, sugar and golden syrup. Mix with a spoon or fork until the dough comes together and then use your hands. Here's where I added the finely chopped ginger. Wetting your hands may stop the dough from sticking. I kneaded it in the bowl for maybe 30 seconds until it was smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap or put in a ziplock bag and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 180*C and line your trays with baking paper. The biscuits need to cool almost completely on the tray, so it is best if you have perhaps three trays ready to go.

Dough and biscuits rolled

Roll tablespoons of dough into balls and place on the tray. Flatten slightly. I forgot to do this, but I remembered half way through and did it then and my biscuits seemed to survive well enough. They don't spread very much. I could have easily fitted 12 biscuits on my tray.

Flatten and bake

Cook for about 12 minutes. As usual, I turn and swap the trays half way through. The biscuits are baked when they are slightly golden brown around the edges. Allow to cool on the tray. They are quite fragile until they cool and harden.

Plain ginger biscuits

I decorated with little thought for neatness and even less skill. Nevertheless, I have made a chocolate coated biscuit with chocolate sprinkles, a reindeer with upside down Choc Bits for eyes, a melting snowman and a Christmas pudding. I had a lot of fun and I think this would be a great activity for children at school or at home.  While you could use any round plain sweet biscuit, I think the Gingernut is more hardy. If you do click through to the Gingernuts, you can see Australians are very picky and choosy and different regions have different styles and types of biscuit. And never the twain shall meet!!!

Decorated biscuits


Friday Food: Lamington Cupcakes

Inner cupcakeI have slightly adapted this from the November Coles Magazine's White Christmas Lamington Muffins. I don't think they can really be lamington cupcakes unless there is some chocolate. They already have the jam and the coconut. I used melted butter instead of oil, because I prefer a cake that tastes delicious rather than one with a nice texture. I also made my own buttercream frosting/icing, instead of using a packet. That way I know what is in it.

MrsDrWho affirms that these should be served cold, not warm. I have made three batches and they all kept well, un-iced, until I needed them the next day.  The recipe says it makes 12, but I made up to 17 using an ice-cream scoop as a measure.

I watched this video and using only a knife, I made the flat top version as I couldn't find my star swirly piping nozzle.

If you cannot find buttermilk, you can substitute a cup of plain yoghurt, or a cup of milk soured with 20ml of lemon juice or white vinegar. Of course, you can leave out the dark chocolate and they will be perfectly fine as well!!


Dark Christmas Lamington Cupcakes     makes 12-16 ish

  • 375g (2 1/2 cups) plain flour
  • 3 tspn baking powder
  • 165g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
  • 250ml (1 cup) buttermilk
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) butter, melted and cooled - or vegetable oil
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 50g dark chocolate, finely grated or chopped
  • about 1/2 cup raspberry jam
  • 20gm (1/4 cup) desiccated coconut

For the frosting

  • 185g softened butter
  • 2 1/4 cups icing sugar, softened or pure, which must be sifted
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract
  • 20-40ml milk


Preheat the oven to 200*C and put about 16 muffin or patty pan papers into your cupcake trays.

Buttermilk eggs butter

Whisk the buttermilk, vanilla, eggs and cooled, melted butter together in a jug, or bowl, that allows  for easy pouring.

Dry and wet

Mix the flour and baking powder with the caster sugar in a large bowl and make a well in the centre.

Add chocolate

Gradually stir the wet and dry ingredients together. The fewer folds the better. Sprinkle over the dark chocolate and fold that in gently too. The best thing is to stop just before you think everything is combined.

There's a hole in my cupcake

I put an level ice-cream scoop of the batter into each paper case and then I took a teaspoonful out again. I actually dipped my clean fore-finger into some almost boiling water and then made a deeper, wider hole in the centre of each cake. I was careful not to expose the base of the paper case. You could use the end of a clean wooden spoon or even a teaspoon. My hands are pretty used to hot kitchen temperatures.

Jam and bake

Spoon about a teaspoon of the raspberry jam into the centre of the cupcake and then cover with the teaspoon of the cake batter you removed. I don't have a photo of this, but I smoothed the top with the back of a wet teaspoon and because you frost the cakes, it doesn't matter too much. You don't want the jam bubbling out though. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Keep an eye on them.  Mine took 20 minutes and I turned and rotated the trays half way through.

Cool in the trays for 5 minutes and then place on a rack until completely cold.

To make the buttercream frosting or icing, whip the softened butter and vanilla with a stand mixer, (mix-master at our house) and when it is pale add the icing sugar 1/2 a cup or so at a time. Scrape down the sides and add a little of the milk if you need to.

Lamington cupcakes

Top the cupcakes with the frosting. I used a piping bag with a star nozzle on my first batch, and then the flat top method for this batch. Sprinkle with the coconut. I don't trim the top off my cupcakes, and so you can see the cake between the icing and the paper. I don't really mind.

I think these are rather sweet, and I love the surprise inside.

Ice the cupcakes

Friday Food: Lebanese Lamb Burgers

Lebanese inspired lamb burgerThese burgers are so simple to make and provide quite a substantial meal too. I found this recipe whilst idly browsing The Australian Women's Weekly's new Food To Love site. The burgers are also so scrumptious. They are good hot and cold. I froze half the burgers and defrosted one, assembled the roll and burger and ate it today. The burger is not as nicely coloured inside as it was when it was freshly cooked, but the taste was not affected. I only really needed to buy some cumin seeds and pine nuts, and it seems Turkish pita bread rolls are readily available in supermarkets, bakeries and the deli at the corner as well.

These took less than no time to make, and you could tweak the recipe to reflect your personal taste. I'd add some lemon zest next time and maybe some of the juice to the yoghurt harissa too. I used lamb mince, but beef or pork would be fine too. I bought 500g of mince and made 4 burgers, so I made 2/3 of the recipe more or less, though I didn't bother with 2/3 of an egg!!!

Oh and you need to have a cup of cooked rice. I always have cooked rice on hand, but it would quite easily cook in the time the other ingredients were being prepared. I found a harissa spice blend and that worked perfectly well.

NB  In Australia 1 tablespoon = 4 teaspoons.


Lebanese Lamb Burgers    serves 6

  • 1 tbspn cumin seeds
  • 80g (1/2 cup) pine nuts
  • 800g lamb mince
  • 1 onion, finely chopped. I prefer a red onion.
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbspn olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Greek yoghurt
  • 1 tbspn harissa
  • 6 Turkish pita bead or rolls
  • lettuce
  • 2-3 large tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 large Lebanese cucumbers, cut into thin ribbons


Heat a large saucepan, or non-stick pan, over medium-high heat and toast the pine nuts and the cumin seeds. You will know they are ready because they become amazingly fragrant. The nuts should be slightly browned, but you can't tell with the colour of the cumin seeds, so trust your nose. Grind in a mortar and pestle, or food processor. I just chopped with my sharp knife and it worked perfectly well.

Toast nuts and seeds

I used a rectangular container to mix the burgers, because I was able to make very evenly sized burgers and that way they cook evenly too. Add the nuts and spices, onion, garlic, rice, egg, mince, salt and pepper.

Mix it up

Use slightly wet clean hands and mix together well. Divide into 6 equal portions. I divided mine into 4 equal parts as I used less mince. Shape the burgers to fit your bread rolls. Also remember that the burgers will shrink slightly when they cook, so make them slightly larger than you think you need to.

And form and cook

Heat the oil in a non-stick pan over a medium-high heat. I used an ordinary saucepan, because I find the high sides stop the oil from spitting when I fry. As long as the heat is high enough, the burgers seal and don't stick.  Cook for 6-7 minutes on each side. I may have cooked this one a little too much, but I rather like well done, but not burnt. Set the burgers aside to rest.

Harissa yoghurt

Mix the yoghurt and harissa. Split the bread rolls and just toast the inside. Or not, if you prefer.

Toast and fill

Now assemble the burgers: lay the bottom of the roll and then the lettuce and a burger.

And we're done

Top with tomato, ribbons of Lebanese cucumber and the harissa yoghurt and then pop on the top of the roll. And you are done.

The lamb burger

Friday Food: Spicy Pork Noodles

Spicy porkToday I went on the first part of my dental adventure, so I am quite pleased that I managed to post Friday Food. So far my tooth is so good, and I did eat this for my tea, so I am doing well!!

It's a 15 minute recipe, thank goodness. I made half the recipe, but the proper quantity here serves four. I do think it needs vegetables. I added decoratively sliced snow peas and spring onions, but if I served this for a proper meal I would definitely add Asian greens and maybe some red capsicum and corn?? I bought the best pork mince, with the least fat. Might as well pretend to be Heart Smart.

Follow the directions on the packet of vermicelli rice noodles. I only needed to soak mine in cold water for 15 minutes and then poured over a little boiling water to heat them up: hence the 15 minutes earlier. It's from Donna Hay and is one of her Quick Fix recipes, and it is quick.


Spicy Pork Noodles   serves 4

  • 20ml peanut oil
  • 500g pork mince
  • 75g (1/2 cup) red curry paste
  • 1 tspn fish sauce
  • 40ml lime/lemon juice
  • cooked vermicelli rice noodles
  • 1 small red chilli, finely sliced



Prepare the noodles as per the instructions on the packet. Heat the oil over a high heat in a large non-stick pan ( although I used an ordinary pan) and add the curry paste.


Break up any lumps of mince with a spoon or fork and then cook for about 10 minutes. The mince should be nicely browned. Add the lime/lemon juice and fish sauce and stir well. Divide the noodles between the serving bowls, add the pork mince and then top with the red chilli.

It is quite spicy, but I like that and I may have added a little more red curry paste than called for. A raita would  be a nice cooling accompaniment.

Spicy pork noodles

Friday Food: Peanut Butter and Jelly Loaf

Slice of pb&jAnd I'm using the name from the October Delicious, but I really mean Peanut Butter and Jam Loaf. Once again I have gone for ease over technique and this week I was able to taste my own baking, and I can therefore attest that the loaf is tasty and interesting. This is a one bowl loaf and so easy to make. I am pretty sure I like it, but there's a niggling doubt in my mind. I may have to eat another slice to find out. The peanut butter is not the foremost taste, but the crunch of the roasted peanuts and then sweet moist strawberries are very welcome. The recipe makes two generous loaves, but I halved it and made one, in case it was awful. It is not.

I was able to buy some raw Australia peanuts, which I then roasted, and local unsalted peanut butter at the supermarket and strawberries are in season and only $1-90 for a 250g punnet. This is a very economical loaf to bake. In the end I decided not to pour extra strawberry jam over the loaf, but I did consider a little sugar syrup glaze would gussy the loaf up for a posh afternoon tea. The only possible tricky ingredient is the buttermilk, but you can substitute some milk soured with lemon juice/vinegar, or some light sour cream, or plain yoghurt at a pinch. The cake took ten minutes longer to bake then the recipe suggested, but it was not overly brown on top.

I will give the recipe proper, but I just halved it and went with two whole eggs and it was fine.


Peanut Butter and Jelly Loaf   makes 2

  • 260g (1 3/4 cups) plain flour
  • 2 tspn baking powder
  • 220g (1 cup) caster sugar
  • 125g butter, melted and cooled
  • 280g (1 cup) peanut butter, I used smooth unsalted
  • pinch of salt
  • 250ml (1 cup) buttermilk
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 3 eggs
  • 150g (1 cup) roasted unsalted peanuts. 100g in the loaf, 50g on top
  • 450g strawberries, hulled. 300g in the loaf, 150g on top
  • icing sugar and strawberry jam to serve


Preheat the oven to 170*C, and grease and line two loaf tins. I used my ordinary loaf tin which measures 20 x 10 cm on the base. Make sure your butter is melted and cooled.

Flour sugar pb

Put the sifted flour, baking powder, buttermilk and sugar in a large bowl and then add the peanut butter, pinch of salt and lemon juice.


I roasted the peanuts at 170*C for about 15 minutes. The skins just peeled off and chopping them was the most work I did for the loaf. Remember to add just the peanuts for inside the loaf: 100g/50g for one loaf.

And we are done

I chopped the strawberries for in the loaf batter (300g or 150g for one loaf) randomly because I wanted some large chunks and then small pieces throughout the loaf. Add the eggs and then mix well until combined. And that's it.

Making baking

Spoon into the tin, smooth the top and then slice the rest of the strawberries and arrange on top, and sprinkle over the remaining peanuts. Bake for 55 minutes. Mine took 65 and I knew it was done when a skewer poked into the centre came out clean. That's the best indicator for this loaf I think. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes and then on a rack. You can spoon over some warmed strawberry jam and dust with icing sugar when you serve the loaf if you so choose. I may have eaten a slice off the end!!!

Pb and strawberry loaf

Friday Food: Celebration Cupcakes

C cupcakeThis week we have an actual reason for being late with Friday Food: Peri was not very well at all, and so we had to go to the vet and see Dr Rob and she has some special painkillers to make her feel well. Gilly has been taking extra care and cleaning Peri's ears! We had a phone call yesterday to say that her blood test was good, better than last time. Dr David and I agreed that she just had a "thing" and left it at that for a fortnight. Of course, when I am upset or worried I usually bake.

I have been looking at the recipe for Celebration Cupcakes on the back of the CSR Caster Sugar packet for years. This was to be their moment in the sun. And a very good shining moment it was too: a deliciously moist cupcake, with white choc bits, orange zest and an orangey icing. Perfect.

I followed the recipe exactly and they turned out so well I even tasted one, or three. Though I shouldn't. They are moreish. The mixture made 21 cupcakes, with the papers filled 2/3 full and there was just the right amount of icing too. I am picturing these made with lemon zest and fresh peaches, blueberries or raspberries.


Celebration Cupcakes    makes 20

  • 165g butter, cubed and softened
  • 165g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs, lightly whipped
  • 125g sour cream
  • 185g self raising flour
  • zest of an orange
  • 125g white choc bits

For the icing

  • 90g butter
  • 180g pure icing sugar
  • orange juice from the zested orange


Preheat the oven to 190*C or 170*C fan-forced. Put the paper cases into the cupcake tray.

Creaming add eggs

I like to just soften the butter and warm the sugar as the oven heats up, I wasn't paying attention and some cubes melted. I have been reading that softening butter in the microwave changes the texture or something like that, so I am avoiding it a little more. Anyway, you should (apparently) be able to easily push your finger into the butter, and it is then officially softened. Cream the butter and sugar until it is light and pale, maybe 4-5 minutes. Then add the lightly whipped eggs and beat till thoroughly combined.

Add sour cream

Mix in the sour cream. It makes a nice light batter.

Flour choc zest

Add the zest of an orange and the flour and choc bits and fold through till no streaks of flour remain.

And bake

Fill the cupcake papers 2/3 full, I made 21 little cakes, and then bake for 15-18 minutes. I found it took 20 minutes for my cakes and they did not brown on top terribly much. They did spring back when touched on the top, and come away from the side of the pan. Cool on a rack and do not ice until cold.


To make the icing, I slightly melted the butter, added the fresh orange juice and then mixed in the icing sugar with a spoon. I liked the icing better when I let it set and whisked it with a fork and it went a nice pale colour, but you could also use it runny. Add a little extra juice or icing sugar till you have an icing you like. These are probably best eaten within a few days as they are quite moist and in a warm climate might benefit from being kept in the fridge!!

Celebration cupcakes

Friday Food: Chicken Wings with Sriracha, Honey and Sesame

WingsHappiness is an easy recipe that tastes marvellous. This is such a recipe. It is not a meal, per se, by itself, but makes a delicious snack or lunch or part of a larger spread. I like to trim the tips from the chicken wings and then cut the wings in half: the tips don't go to waste, they go to The Labradors. The tips burn easily, so they are best removed. Then just make a simple marinade and let the wings rest for 15 minutes while the oven heats up. 30 minutes later they are ready.

There was no way I was going to find micro sisho leaves, so I used the tips of some fresh mint, which seems to be a good substitute. You can adjust the heat of the recipe by adding a little extra chilli, but I thought they had all the flavours I like: spicy, hot, salty and a little sweet. I was also being canny and using up the rest of the bottle of Sriracha sauce. If you can't find this particular sauce then substitute a chilli sauce that you like.

This recipe is from the Aug/Sept issue of Donna Hay Magazine.


Chicken Wings with Sriracha, Honey and Sesame    serves 4

  • 2 kg chicken wings, tips removed and halved at joint
  • 80ml (1/3 cup) Sriracha sauce
  • 20ml (1 tbspn) soy sauce
  • 90g (1/4 cup) honey
  • 1 tspn sesame oil
  • salt and pepper
  • baby sisho or tiny mint leaves to serve

Preheat the oven to 220*C and I put the tray in too, so it gets nice and hot.

Prepare wings

Remove the tip from the chicken wings and then cut at the joint.. Place in a ziplock bag or a shallow plastic container that seals.

Put the Sriracha sauce, honey, sesame oil, soy, salt and pepper in a bowl and then whisk to combine.


Pour over the wings and massage till they are well covered. I prefer a ziplock bag so I can flip the wings a few times. Leave them for just 15 minutes to marinate.

Line the tray with baking paper and then put the chicken wings on. I like to leave lots of room so they bake and don't boil/steam.

Bake wings

 Cook for 30 minutes, turning the wings at least once. They should be dark and sticky.


Serve with the tiny leaves if you like, but they are perfect as they are.

Sriracha wings

Friday Food: Sultana & Craisin Traybake

Piece of traybakeI am not having a terribly good run with Mary Berry recipes. First I added the extra baking powder specified to the pecan cinnamon swirl cake and it rose and then fell awfully. Then I could only get half the amount of cheesy swirls, and believe me I sliced them thinly. And now today the fruit in the tray bake sank to the bottom. I know why: I should have trusted my judgement and tossed the dried fruit in a little flour from the cake batter before I added it. I did leave out the two extra teaspoons of baking powder. maybe the self raising flour in the UK is not very rise-y???

I also used butter rather than 'baking spread', whatever that is, and I mixed with my mix-master and not a wooden spoon. I'm thinking Mary and I might be on a break.

Still, if I just change the recipe a little, it will work well for me, and I think I could add any kind of dried fruit and/or nut. This recipe is from Mary Berry Cooks.


Sultana & Craisin Tray Bake    makes about 20 pieces

  • 225g butter, cubed and softened
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 275g self raising flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 30 ml milk
  • 1/4 tspn cinnamon
  • 1/4 tspn mixed spice
  • 100g sultanas
  • 100g craisins
  • demerara or golden caster sugar for the top

Preheat the oven to 180*C/ 160*C fan-forced. Line a 20 x 30cm slice tin with baking paper.


I like to soften the butter and warm the sugar as the oven heats up, just for a few minutes, or until I can push my finger easily into one of the butter cubes.

At this point take a tablespoon or so of the flour and use it to coat the dried fruit thoroughly. Set the fruit aside.

Put the butter and sugar into a mixing bowl and add the rest of the flour, spices, eggs and milk.

Adding ingredients

Beat slowly at first until combined, and then on high speed for just a minute. Then add the fruit and fold through. Note that my fruit is NOT coated in flour and so sank like stones to the bottom of the batter during baking.

Mix add fruit

Spoon the batter into the tin and spread evenly. Sprinkle the top with the extra demerara or golden caster sugar. I used the latter. Bake for 35-40 minutes. The top should be a lovely golden brown, the edges will have come away from the side and it will NOT spring back in the centre as Mary says, because the sprinkled sugar makes a hard top.

And baking

Cool in the tin and then slice and eat. In spite of my many complaints, the tray bake is nice and spicy and fruity. It will keep for 3-4 days in an airtight container or for about 3 months in the freezer.

Cran sultana traybake


Friday Food: Capsicum and Apple Relish

Relish on toastToo much socialising over the last fortnight meant although I cooked, I didn't post. We have had an unexpected sleep all afternoon and so here's Friday Food. Red capsicum were on sale for $2-50 a kilo and so I bought up big. Then I wondered what to make. The new Australian Women's Weekly site,, had a solitary capsicum relish recipe and so I went with that. It is a very simple recipe and cooked up so easily. It also tasted delicious. I think if you like a bit of spice, you could add some red chilli. I made this for Uncle Dutch's birthday and he does not favour chillies, but I do!!!

You should sterilise the bottles or jars for the relish. It is very easy, and the instructions are here for using your oven. The relish should be kept in a cool dark place until opened and then refrigerated. It should keep for six months once opened.

It is delicious on toast, and would be great with fish, chicken or in a salad roll with ham. I made twice the recipe and it made 3-4 cups. I forgot to measure. I used red capsicum as they were on sale, and they are sweeter than the other colours, but you could use any capsicum you choose.


Red Capsicum and Apple Relish   makes about 2 cups

  • 20ml olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped, I used red
  • 2 capsicum, de seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, grated. I left the skin on
  • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

You will also need some jars and these need to be sterilised about 1/2 an hour before the relish is cooked, so they have a little time to cool down.

Put the onion and olive oil into a saucepan and sauté for 3-5 minutes until soft.


Add the other ingredients and stir well.

And boil

Bring to the boil and then simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring every now and then. It should thicken and darken and most of the liquid should be absorbed.

And boil some more

I found that there was still a tad too much liquid for my liking so I poured a little out. Then just spoon into the slightly cooled sterilised jar, close the lid firmly and set aside to cool. Store in a dark place until opened. It will benefit from a little time in the jar. And I don't have a photo of the relish, I took a photo of the spicy onions and not the relish. So here is the relish:


And here's what I thought was the relish in the jar. It is spicy pickled red onions!!!

Spicy onions