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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


Vet Shop Girls

Where does the time go?? I meant to post yesterday because it was International Dog Day. We prepared for IDD by going to The Vet to see Dr David. Peri and Gilly were vaccinated and had a general check-up. Gilly is almost 7, so she pretty much qualifies as a Senior Dog now. Dr David said she looked and acted as if she was 3!!! Peri is old, but apart from her arthritis and dodgy eyes, she's doing well too. Neither of them are fat. Yay for us!!! Still, the Look of Love they give me when I am holding food, or shopping bags, is a sight to behold.

The look of food love

Yesterday after Morning Tea I went to MrsDrWho's class's history presentation. Lots of information about The First Fleet, and Richmond and early Colonial housing and way of life. There were hand dipped candles, letters written (badly) with a quill and ink, butter making documented and models galore, all topped off with some spiffy PowerPoint presentations the children made. And the icing on the cake?? The Hornpipe Jig and the singing half way through. Then it was Sewing last night, so after our walk we all had a Very Big Nap today.

Speaking of icing, I piped some Westie cup cupcakes for Wee Jock and Bessie's mum and dad. I followed the video they found and now I am addicted to the MyCupcakeAddiction YouTube channel.

Westie cup cakes

Not too shabby, and I am not very good at piping, so the video was at a fairly basic level!! Wee Jock and Bessie's mum and dad did the assistant chef jobs!!!

Wee jock and bessie

The weather been both ice cold and frosty, while at the same time warm and sunny in the afternoon. I fear Spring is on its way. Still, we enjoy our brisk morning walks.

Labradors on their walk

I have been doing a little bit of knitting: one almost finished Milo, except for the casting off, which was too tight:


and two hats: Lowline for Mr Reno and a Bus Hat for a donation. They are both free patterns, but I like High Line (LowLine) best. It is mainly purl fabric, and as I hate purling, I knitted it inside out with mainly knit fabric and turned it back the other way at the end.

Lowline and bus hats

I made some fudge, a Star Wars bag and some Spicy Pickled Red Onions for Uncle Dutch's birthday and Aunty Dutch made a cake for me!! In fact, I ate caramel cake from Mrs Reno and strawberry sponge for breakfast for four days!!

For uncle dutch

Aunty dutch made a cake!!

The cake had green tinted cream and icing. And lots of strawberries inside and out.

And now, even though I've barely been up today, we might just go to bed again. The Labradors are Very Happy because the backyard gardening man came and whipper-snippered everything weedy or tall. They can walk everywhere now, but they had to stay inside for two hours: oh the torture. We had to go out three times for a supposed wee. Nothing eventuated. They just wanted a stickybeak.

And perhaps, just perhaps, there might be Friday Food on an actual Friday tomorrow..........

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

They Found A Brave

What a Brave Girl Lorelai Gilmore was last week, and Peri too. Lorelai Gilmore had a terribly sore foot, and on our first visit to the vet Dr Marion thought she had been bitten by an ant or a wasp.

Gilly sore paw

But the next morning her paw felt so sore she had to hop about on three legs. We went straight to the vet at 8am and left her there for a general anaesthetic and x-ray.

Peri Gilly at the vet

Peri loves Gilly vet

Peri came to the vet and then we went for a walk by ourselves. She had a lovely time, but stuck close to me, and not just for a seaweed rice cracker I think.

Peri's solo walk

Peri was left home alone while I went to fetch Gilly in the afternoon. Peri was armed with a nice juicy bone, and my next door neighbour kept a close eye on her. It seems Gilly had a narrow deep wound along side her toe. Not a needle or a pin thank goodness, but maybe a thorn or a splinter which went in and out. She was as right as rain and had antibiotics and some painkillers for a week. Oh and wore her Brave Girl bandanna A Lot.

Brave Girl Gilly1

Everything is back to normal now.

This Saturday I am going to a friend's 60th birthday party and we are invited to dress for The Sixties. I am not a big dresser-upper and I have no real urge to wear a mini skirt and have to think about how I sit all night. I thought about how the invitation didn't specify the 1960s, and wondered jokingly aloud to MrsDrWho as to whether I should go dressed for the 1860s.  MrsDrWho disappeared to the garage for a few minutes, et voila!!!


Years before I made my blog I sewed this dress for MrsDrWho. I made it to be vaguely Elizabethean I think, with a be-pearled headdress too. And without a pattern: I sewed fast and loose in those days.

I did some lovely faux cornelli work with gold puffy paint too. I spent an hour or so wafting about her house in The Dress: waving to imaginary underlings.

Faux cornelli work

! am drafting a quick peasant style short sleeve blouse to wear underneath and I am all set.

It has been a busy week, so busy that last night after Sewing I came home with someone else's material, and without my handbag. Luckily I had money in my keyring thingy.

My mum and aunt couldn't come to visit because snow closed roads all over the state. There was snow at the beach in Hobart and Penguin too. Mum was snowed in at her house and sent me a picture of what she could see of next door's roof. My mum has done a pretty great job of learning to use her ipad and can take a photo and email it now.

Snow at mum's house

Today I have made a large batch of fudge, some red onion pickle, a cheesecake, lemon curd, and myself tired!! Tomorrow I am making some capsicum and apple relish (which I hope will be Friday Food) and going to visit Uncle and Auntie Dutch for tea. Right now, I have a slight being-over-tired headache and I think we might all just go to bed early, Not that Peri isn't in bed and Gilly asleep on the couch already.

Oh, and They Found a Cave.

Friday Food: One Pot Chinese Chicken

One pot chinese chickenI really needed a one pot meal this week. There were a couple of trips to the Vet for Lorelai Gilmore who is FINE now, but the worry makes me tired and sometimes weepy. Not a good combination for cooking. So I found Donna Hay's One Pot Chinese Chicken recipe. I can't remember where I saw it. In a magazine?? Anyway, it is so easy and just one pot although once again there's a lack of vegetables. I added some snow peas, but I think it does need some red capsicum and other vegetables too: vegetables that cook quickly.

I don't like coriander, so I left it out. As I was sharing this with my next door neighbour I removed the membrane and seeds from the chilli, but just for me I would have left them in. Other than that I followed the recipe and it was delicious. I query the 'serves two' though, I think it would serve 4 as a light lunch and if more vegetables were added it could be a dinner.


One Pot Chinese Chicken   serves 3 (having a bet each way)

  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 6 thin slices of ginger, or grate it if you like
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and halved
  • 1 long green chilli, sliced into rings
  • 1 1/2 cups jasmine rice
  • 4 skinless chicken thighs, halved ( about 500g in all)
  • 4 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 cup coriander leaves
  • soy sauce to serve

Put the stock, ginger, garlic and chilli in a deep fry pan and bring to a boil, I used my stock pot.

Flavours and boil the rice

Once it is boiling, pour in the rice and then give it one stir to distribute the rice evenly. When it comes back to the boil, carefully place the chicken thighs on top.

Cover with a lid and then turn down to a simmer. * After 15 minutes I readied myself and took off the lid and put in some long spring onion and sliced snow peas and then quickly put the lid back on again.

Add the chicken

Cook for 20 minutes or until all the stock has been absorbed by the rice and the chicken is tender.

Serve with soy sauce and top with coriander if you like it. And that's it. I can highly recommend this recipe!!!

1 pot chinese chicken