Monday Munchies #52

And so here I am at the end of my year long Monday Munchies journey. Apart from a tiny hiccough at the end, I kept to my schedule each week, and cooked something, sometimes anything, to get the post published. On the whole I baked more cakes and desserts than savoury things, and there were lots of helpful comments and suggestions that often sent me off on other cooking tangents.

Next year I am going to cook alphabetically: every odd fortnight I'll cook something following the alphabet, eg Week 1, Apples, and every even fortnight will be alphabet free. I think it is very serendipitous that there are twenty-six alphabet letters and twenty-six fortnights in a year!! I am making a blog that just has the MM recipes, without all the other posts, and I'll put a link to that when I have finished. I am looking forward to Monday Munchies 2011.

My last Monday Munchies for the year is a Bishop's Cake, sometimes called a Stained Glass Window cake or a Festive Fruit and Nut Cake. I make this every year for my mum. It's one of her favourite Christmas things.

Bishop's Cake   makes one loaf cake or 6 half cup muffin sized cakes

  • 250g glace cherries
  • 250g other glace fruit: ginger, pear, fig, etc
  • 250g pitted dates
  • 250g whole unsalted Brazil nuts
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tspn vanilla extract
  • 90g softened butter
  • 1 tbspn rum, optional
  • 1/3 cup plain flour
  • 1/4 cup self raising flour

Preheat oven to 150*C (130FF) and grease and line the tins with baking paper.

Fruit and nuts
Chop any larger pieces of fruit to the same size as the Brazil nuts, and mix all the fruit and nuts together in a large bowl.

Eggs and things
Beat the eggs until they thick and creamy. Add the sugar, vanilla, butter and rum, if desired, and beat again until well combined. I used a tablespoon of orange marmalade instead of the rum.

More fruit, nuts  and eggs and things
Sift the flours over the fruit and nuts and mix to combine, then pour over the egg mixture and stir very well, so all the fruit and nuts are coated.

In the tin
Fill the tins with the cake mixture. Press down a little, it helps to eliminate any big gaps between the fruit and nuts.

In the oven
Bake for between 1 1/2 and 2 hours. It is cooked when a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. My muffins and square tin cakes were cooked in 90 minutes. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes or so and then on a rack.  It will keep for up to three months in an airtight container in the fridge.

  Ta da, a cake

Monday Munchies #51

This is a fabulous dessert, which looks and tastes like a million dollars, but takes only a few minutes to make: plus freezing time!! I think this recipe originally came from a very old English Women's Weekly, but I can't quite remember. You can substitute other flavours, orange and peach, or lime and blueberry, they'd also be very tasty. Although I usually make my own little meringues, this year I just bought some nests and crushed them up. The recipe also says to blend and then push the berries through a sieve, but truly, it is fine if you just use the whole berries. This will keep in the freezer for two or three months. Just take it out fifteen minutes before you are ready to serve.


Lemon and Raspberry Icecream  makes about 2 litres

  • 900ml thickened cream
  • juice and zest of 4 lemons
  • 240g pure icing sugar, sifted*
  • 75g meringues, crushed
  • 250g raspberries, frozen or fresh
  • 60g pure icing sugar, sifted*

*300g of pure icing sugar all up.

If you want to speed the freezing process, line a metal 2 litre loaf tin with clingwrap and put it into the freezer an hour before hand, otherwise just use some plastic containers.

Mix the berries with 60g of icing sugar and then blend and push through a sieve to remove the seeds, or just don't bother and leave them to the side.

We wish you a merry christmas
Put the cream, juice, zest and remaining icing sugar into a large bowl and whip. Start slowly, as it may spit cream out because the juice makes it quite runny. Only whip until soft peaks form.

Jingle bells

Add the crushed meringues and fold through gently by hand.

Have yourself a merry little christmas
Pour half the cream mixture into the container, then spread the raspberry layer in the middle and then cover with the rest of the cream mixture.

Orana orana orana to christmas day
Cover tightly with clingwrap, or put on the lid, and freeze for 4 or 5 hours, or until needed.

If you want, you could also just fold the berries through the cream mixture and then freeze in a shallow tray. That would make a very speedy frozen dessert.

I'm ice creaming of a white christmas

Merry Christmas from Peri Naughty and Lorelai Gilmore.

They are so happy!!! 

Peri has been sticking her head in the barbeques at the dam,

and then Gilly has been sniffing the charcoal and making her nose dirty!!!

Woof woof Merry Christmas




Monday Munchies #50

MrsDrWho's school was being BER-ed this year, so the canteen/kitchen was under construction and we couldn't do any proper cooking in an oven.

But next year, we already know what we are going to make: Scary Reindeer Biscuits. These are in the free Woolworth's Christmas magazine and I fell immediately in love with them. They are perfect children's cooking.

The biscuit is a gingerbread man, made with gingerbread, plain biscuit dough, or whatever takes your fancy. Bake a batch, leave them to cool, and then decorate.

Scary Reindeer Biscuits  makes about 20

  • gingerbread man biscuits
  • 40 white chocolate melts
  • 40 dark choc bits
  • 100-150g melted milk chocolate
  • 20 raspberry lollies

Gather your supplies:

Surprise supplies
Spread melted milk chocolate over each biscuit and then turn so the legs are at the top.

Add two white chocolate melts for the eyes. Press gently into the milk chocolate icing.

Dip two choc bits into the melted chocolate and 'glue' them onto the white melts to make eyes.

Finally, glue on a raspberry for a red nose.

Scary reindeer
Refrigerate for 15 minutes or until set.


I'm toying with adding some pretzels for antlers, or maybe licorice straps.....

And believe me, these are Very Scary!!!


Pancrea-Titis Andronicus

The ante-penultimate Monday Munchie #50 did not appear last week. All was going well until about 10-30am Monday morning, when I suddenly came down with a virus which involved shivering and fevers. I had to take to my bed for two days and even now when I am at the PO or the shop, people say "Oh, what's wrong, you don't look well?", it's not good for the ego!!! I am on the slow road to recovery because, using cricket parlance, it really hit me for six.

Then on Wednesday evening, Peri didn't seem herself. She was sick a few times, she panted and couldn't get comfortable. Nothing I could put my finger on, but I knew she wasn't well, so on Thursday we went to the Vet. She has mild pancreatitis.

Poor Pancreatitis Peri
We are very lucky. Dr Marion gave her an antibiotic injection, which made poor Peri cry, and some dog Stemetil. Dr Marion is very gentle, but the injection was a stingy one. Peri was a very brave girl. Now she is on a strict diet forever: kangaroo, rice, vegetables. That's it. She can have kangaroo bones and rice cakes with a smear of Vegemite for treats. Kangaroo mince fit for human consumption is available in the supermarket for about $8 a kilo, so they won't have to catch their own wallabies at the dam!!!

Roo the day
Dr Marion doesn't know what caused it, I wonder if someone neighbourly gave her a fatty chicken neck treat when I was out and that was the trigger?  Neighbourly people have been given rice cakes to use as treats now. But it is very manageable, and Lorelai Gilmore can have the same food too. They will also have two smaller meals instead of just one big one: happy days for them!! Peri was off her food for a day or two, but this morning she was trying to steal from Gilly's bowl. She ran and played on our walk this morning and rolled in something very smelly. I can't wash her because she has had her tick treatment, so there's a wafting something smelly all through the house.

Stinky Pinky Peri

Lorelai Gilmore is fine and well and happy. She keeps looking after Peri by cleaning her ears and her eyes for her. She is very alert when we go for walk, one cracking branch or bird call, and she's on the look out for trouble: Who's there??

Gilly is really alert
Nothing else much has happened. MrsDrWho and I had longstanding tickets to Boy's Own McBeth at the Earl Arts, so she picked me up and brought me back home. It was very enjoyable and if I had been well, we would have bought two more tickets at the door for the next night. Highly amusing!!

MrsValley, with whom I dined at a new local winery, also chauffeured me. The food was fabulous and the wine so delicious. I had ice Riesling. And of course, the company was perfect!!! We shared an entree of pork and chicken terrine, with a very tiny and cute fig an walnut loaf, toasted. Then I had hot smoked salmon salad and MrsValley had mushroom risotto with black truffle.

Other than that, we have been at home, sleeping and resting. I have not written or posted any cards, or cooked anything Christmassy. I am lying low, keeping under the radar, trying to stay well so that I can go to MrsDrWho's Mum and Dad's house for Christmas lunch.

So, here's hoping Monday Munchie #50 will appear later on today and then #51 sometime this week, leaving the final  #52 for next Monday. Then it will be a wrap!!!

Monday Munchies #49

Three more Monday Munchies after this. I can't believe the year is so close to being over. Where did it go???

Continuing on with the Starry Christmas theme, today: Stained Glass Window biscuits. These can be decorations, made with a hole in the top and a ribbon threaded through, and the biscuit hangs on the tree. Not in my house though, in Summer I worry about flies and, well, Labradors who might make mighty leaps to achieve a biscuit!!! Also, we don't put up a tree. I think I would prefer to enclose the biscuit in a cellophane bag and then tie that to the branches.

I used Nigella's Cut-Out Biscuit recipe and I found some fruit drops, clear hard sugar lollies, in Coles. Boiled lollies can be used but some won't give the window effect. I used one quarter of the dough and made three 7cm and four 5.5cm biscuits and the little centre star cut out was 2.5cm cutter. I think the full batch would be about 25 7cm stars or 36 5.5cm ones. (I measured the cutters from point to point to decide what to call them)

Oops, I accidentally clicked Publish instead of preview. Damn, somewhere out there will be a poorly typed, half photo-ed post!!!

Stained Glass Window Biscuits  makes between 25 and 36

  • 175g softened butter, I used low salt
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract
  • 400g plain flour
  • 1 tspn baking powder
  • coloured clear boiled lollies/fruit drops
  • large and smaller biscuit cutters

Star of wonder
The dough must rest in the fridge for an hour, or overnight, so this is not really a recipe to make on the spur of the moment. Cream the butter and sugar until they are pale and creamy, then add the eggs and vanilla and beat again till well combined. My eggs were only medium size so I added another yolk. Sift the dry ingredients.

Star of might
Add the creamed mixture to the dry ingredients and mix together gently by hand. Form into a disc and wrap tightly in clingwrap and refrigerate for at least an hour. The dough will also freeze well, and can be defrosted in the fridge when needed.

Star with royal beauty bright
While the dough chills, crush the lollies. I experimented a little and found the method that worked best for me. I unwrapped the lollies and then put them in a little cellophane bag, or a ziplock, and then wrapped that in a clean teatowel/kitchen cloth and hammered them gently. I unwrapped the little parcel frequently to make sure I was hitting the right spot. The lollies shouldn't all be crushed to oblivion, some small chunks are fine.

Westward leading
Preheat the oven to 180*C and line a tray with baking paper. This is very important as the melted lollies will stick like glue to an unprotected tray. Roll the dough out to 5mm thickness between two sheets of clingwrap or baking paper. This means less flour is used and the dough is the same consistency from start to finish. Dip the cutter in flour and cut out the large shape. Lift it onto the tray with a knife and then cut out the smaller centre shape. It's easier to lift a whole shape than an unstable one with the centre missing.

Still proceeding
Fill the centres with the crushed lollies. I filled the small shapes to be level with the biscuit top, and I overfilled the larger ones, to see what would happen. Bake for 10 minutes, turning the trays half way through. Cool for 10 minutes on the tray and then cool on a rack. Overfilling the centres makes the 'stained glass' thicker, the thinner 'glass' is just as good.

Guide us to thy perfect light
The possibilities are endless, for the large shape, and the tiny cut out windows. This process also makes fabulous windows in the sides of Gingerbread Houses!!!

Monday Munchies #48

Something Christmassy, or Gifty if you are not that way inclined, this week. The great thing is that you can make this dough, freeze it for up to three months, then defrost it the fridge overnight. Roll out and bake as you normally would at your leisure. I'm thinking possibly, one could cut out biscuit shapes and freeze them, they'd be ready to go!!

This is a generic gingerbread recipe, but it isn't too dry and floury. I also like treacle rather than honey or golden syrup, but you can choose!! When they are baked, they can be iced with some lemon glace icing, royal icing can be piped on, or some dark chocolate spread on the back. Or you could cut some smaller shapes out of the bigger stars and then sandwich two together.

Now I have some gingerbread dough stashed away in my freezer, ready for a day closer to Christmas!!


Gingerbread Biscuits   makes about 40

  • 125g softened butter
  • 100g or 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 125ml treacle OR golden syrup OR honey
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1 tbspn ground ginger (4 tspn)
  • 1 tspn mixed spice
  • 1 tspn bicarbonate of soda

You don't need to preheat the oven to 180*C until the dough goes into the fridge to cool.

Cream the butter and sugar until it is pale and fluffy, then add the egg and treacle and beat till combined.

Sift the dry ingredients together, and then mix into the creamed mixture with a spoon. It doesn't take very long at all.

Dough again
Tip out onto the bench with a little plain flour and then knead lightly till smooth. Form a disc and refrigerate for 15-30 minutes. At this point you may also wrap the dough securely with clingwrap and then put it in a ziplock bag and freeze it.

Now preheat the oven to 180*C and line some trays with baking paper.


Roll the dough out between two pieces of baking paper until it is about 4 or 5mm thick. Using the baking paper means that no extra flour is incorporated and so the dough mantains its integrity. Dip a biscuit cutter into the flour and then cut out shapes and place them on the tray. Smoosh the leftovers together and then roll between the two sheets of baking paper again, ad infinitum, until it is all used.

Place on a tray and bake for 10 minutes. Cool on a rack. Decorate as desired.

Ho. Ho. Ho.

Gingerbread biscuits

Monday Munchies #47

I have been poorly, so I am not up to much. Still, I managed to make some easy and very nice biscuits. I am making these for Aunty Dutch's birthday. The same mixture with the addition of cocoa, makes brown choc-chip biscuits.

Choc Chip Biscuits: two kinds   makes 24

  • 125g butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 tspn baking powder
  • 1 tbspn milk
  • 100g white choc chips
  • OR 2 tspn cocoa and 100g dark choc chips

How to
Cream the butter and sugar, add the vanilla and egg, beat till combined. Mix in the flour, baking powder and choc chips. Roll into walnut sized portions (40g, I measured) then flatten slightly. Bake for 16-18 minutes at 180*C. Cool 5 minutes on the tray and then on a rack. Ice as you wish.

To make chocolate choc chips biscuits, remove 2 tablespoons of flour and replace with the same amount of cocoa.

So tired off to bed

Monday Munchies #46

It has been so long since I made Choux pastry that I thought I might have lost the knack. The stars must have been in alignment though, because the little chocolate eclairs turned out exceedingly well!! I did need a piping bag and nozzle which I was able to buy as a disposable set for $2-50, and apart from that, no special equipment.

Some tips include: preheat the oven so it is absolutely at the required temperature, shake a little cold water over the eclairs before they go into the oven and I put a little dish of water in there too, and dip the eclairs into the icing - don't try to ice them with a knife or spoon, it's just too tiresome!! I used milk chocolate, but dark is what the recipe calls for and it does look fabulously rich and chocolatey.

According to MrsDrWho's mum and dad and MrsDrWho herself, these were delicious!!


Little Chocolate Eclairs    makes about 16

For the Choux Pastry

  • 125ml or 1/2 cup water
  • 50g butter, cubed
  • 60g plain flor
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten

For the Filling

  • 300ml cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tspn sugar, or to taste

For the Icing

  • 50g dark chocolate
  • 1 tbspn butter
  • 2 tbspn water (20ml)
  • 85g icing sugar


To make the pastry:

Choux po pi do

Preheat the oven to 200*C or 180*C fan forced. Put the water and butter into a medium saucepan over medium heat and once the butter is melted, turn the heat up and as soon as it boils remove from the heat and tip all the flour in at once. Turn the heat off now, you won't need it again. Then with a wooden spoon (I used a metal one and it seemed fine) beat the mixture till it comes together. It will leave the side of the saucepan and come together. Mine didn't form a ball of it's own accord, but when I pulled it together it did. Try not to beat it too much. Leave it to cool for about 10 minutes or until it is just warm.

Choux belong to me
Put it into the mixer bowl and beat with your electric mixer. Add the beaten eggs a spoonful at a time and continue to beat until the mixture is smooth and glossy. It should be soft and have almost a dropping consistency.

Ahhh choux
I didn't have a piping set at home, so I used a ziplock bag. I put it into a cup and spooned in the pastry mixture. I find it easier to fill them that way. Then I snipped off about 1cm at the corner and zipped the bag shut. I drew a line on the baking paper on the tray that was about 5cm long to give me a gauge and then piped the little eclair shapes. I left 3cm between them to allow for spreading. Just before they went into the oven I sprinkled them with a little cold water.

Choux are the sunshine of my life
I also put a little bowl of water on the shelf below. Cook the eclairs for 12-15 minutes. Different recipes gave a variety of temperates, adjustments and times. I turned the tray after 10 minutes and then just kept an eye on them. When they are the right eclair colour, take them out. Pierce the end of each eclair with a sharp knife, to allow them to cool properly inside and out.

To make the filling:

Whip the cream, vanilla and sugar until well whipped but not stiff peaks. Fill the piping bag, use the ordinary round piping nozzle, and then poke it into the hole you ame earlier in the eclair and squeeze!! Sometimes you may need to fill from both ends. Then put them in the fridge to firm up.

Choux choux train
To make the icing:

Put the butter, water and chocolate in a bowl and microwave until the butter is melted, perhaps 30 seconds. Stir until the chocolate melts too and the mixture is well combined. Then add the icing sugar a little at a time and whisk till smooth. Holding the eclair by the long sides, dip the top into the icing, let the excess drip off, and put back in a sealed container in the fridge.

Chocolate eclairs

Then devour madly!!! They won't keep long, they are best eaten the day, or day after, they are made, so mad devouring is definitely the go!! I am thinking of making profiteroles with a custard filling next time.




Monday Munchies #45

The Cherry Clafoutis Idea was not for turning. I went to the supermarket and bought some more cherries and found a nice recipe: one without goats' cheese. It is a quick recipe, though I think I left mine in the oven a tad too long. Nevertheless, it tastes delicious. I used my four new Pyrex 300ml custard 'cups'.

 Cherry Clafoutis   serves 4

  • 2 tins of stoned cherries in syrup (425g each)
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 200*C. Drain the cherries through a sieve and then spread them on some kitchen paper and pat them dry. Divide them evenly between four 300ml ovenproof containers.

Cherry Ripe
Sift the flour ito a bowl and add the sugar. Set aside. Mix the milk, eggs and vanilla. Whisk till combined.

Cherry Baby
Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and then slowly add a little of the milk mixture. Whisk, slowly incorporating the dry ingredients, adding more milk mixture until it is all combined.

Cherry Ames
My mixture weighs 546g, so I poured approximately 136g into each small dish. I put the dishes into a pan so they were easy to handle.

Marc Cherry
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until lightly set, and dust with icing sugar before serving.

Cherry Jones

Monday Munchies #44

MrsDrWho's dad is very particular about what he has for dessert: lemon tarts, milk chocolate tasty bites, steamed puddings, lemon cake, custard.... and so I made custard tarts. The idea for the pastry came from Jamie Oliver's Portuguese Custard Tarts and the custard filling is, well, custard filling. They turned out extremely well, and I might make them again this week. There are only two parts: the custard which is made with real egg yolks, not custard powder, is relatively foolproof, and the pastry, which is shop bought puff pastry tizzied up. Mrs Reno gave me some of her chickens' eggs, so my custard is naturally very yellow.

Small Custard Tarts   makes 12

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 2 tbspn cornflour, or corn starch
  • 1/2 cup thickened or heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 tspn vanilla extract
  • 1 sheet of puff pastry, defrosted
  • 2-3 tspn caster sugar
  • 1/2 tspn cinnamon
  • 1/2 tspn nutmeg
  • a little butter to grease the tin

First make the custard, and while it cools in the fridge, preheat the oven to 190*C and make the pastry cases. You will need a 12 hole muffin tin.

Put the egg yolks, sugar and corn flour into a saucepan (not on the heat, just on the bench) and whisk together, then slowly whisk in the combined cream and milk till smooth.

Place the saucepan onto a medium heat and whisk for about 10 minutes until it comes to the boil. You must commit to the 10 minutes, more or less, and whisk thoroughly and surely all the time. As soon as it boils, remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla extract. Now here is the good part: push the custard through a sieve to remove any lumps or little pieces of egg. A perfectly smooth mixture!! Cover the surface with clingwrap and refrigerate till cool.


Preheat the oven to 190*C now.

Cut the pastry sheet in half. Mix the sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon together and then sprinkle over one half. I spread it out with my widely serrated bread knife. Place the plain half on top and press down gently.


Roll the pastry up firmly, starting at the shortest side. I found that I needed to stretch the bottom sheet a little so that it would wrap around at the end. The photo shows it more clearly I think. I used my fingers to seal the edge a little, and then I cut the roll of pastry into 1cm slices more or less. Save the end pieces if you have any, they are still OK to use, so that you have 12.

On a floured surface, roll out each slice into a 10cm circle. 9cm is fine, and so is 11, as long as they aren't  LP size!! I found using just the end of the rolling pin made it easier to manipulate and roll the slices. You should see the spiral created by the spices and sugar form as you roll. If the end piece of the coiled pastry is loose, just tuck it underneath and continue to roll, and it will be incorporated right into the rest of the pastry.

Grease the 12 hole muffin tin well and gently press the pastry into each hole. Pleat the edges to make them fit. The end pieces rolled out to make slightly smaller circles, you can see one at the top left of the centre photo. Then fill the cases with the cooled custard. My mixture divided evenly into 1 tablespoon (20ml) per case. Don't panic, it looks such a small amount but the pastry case will shrink on baking.


Bake for 20-25 minutes. I checked after 20 minutes and mine were done. They should have came away from the side and you should be able to lift one up and check that the base is golden-ish. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes and then move to a rack.  I love the swirls that are still visible in the cooked base. 

I served them topped with banana and Morello cherries and a little spoonful of cream. They are delicious morsels. I have always been a little afraid of custard tarts but these were not scary at all.