Medlars bletted at last – medlar liqueur coming up!

It’s that time of year again! The medlars that have been ‘bletting’ on straw for weeks were finally ready for making specialty-of-the-house Medlar Liqueur.  We now just need to wait 6 months until it’s ready to drink.

The slow cookers on the bench in the background are in readiness for the class here on Saturday. My goodness, I didn’t realise I had so many! They seem to have gone forth and multiplied since the last slow cooking class. I think there are 11 in all at last count – plus one of those multi-cookers. All the better to cook more recipes in …..


Rainy Day Baking

IMG_1030Lots of fun this morning doing baking with Charly, who came for a sleepover at Nan-Nan’s last night. There’s lemon and lime shortbreads and Charly’s invention of raspberry jam tacos. Lots more baking to do yet. Choc chip cup cakes are next on the menu.

New class calendar

Check out the new class calendar for the cooking school (on the cooking classes page) which now goes through until the end of May next year.

There are several new topics for classes as you will see, as well as the old favourites.

The teething toy

Poppy the puppy seems to have entered into the sprit of the thing here. She was a bit hard to catch on camera as she is rarely still, but teething is a real issue for her.

I sacrificed one of my wooden spoons for the cause, so she has something solid to chew on (the doggy teething rings she treats with contempt). The spoon has become her favourite toy – she carries it everywhere.


The Return of the Ramekin

Ramekin is back! This dear old ram comes to stay with us every now and then, has done since we moved here. I was told initially that he was a bit wild and aggressive, impossible to get near, but to my way of thinking he is just beautiful. He only came back a day or two ago, and at first was a bit stand-offish and hesitant to come close.

However now, as the photos show, he seems as happy to be here as I am to have him back. I never knew that a sheep could smile, but it sure looks like it in these photos. He really loves his treat of sliced apple each morning.

As he is quite old now and getting past his prime, I am really hopeful that finally this time he is here to stay and free to live out his days with us. I just love him.


Marjorie’s Sassafras Beer

Marjorie rang in this recipe for Sassafras Beer during the ABC talkback segment this morning:

Marjorie’s Sassafras Beer

 1¾ lbs sugar

2 oz whole ginger, bruised

½ oz hops

2 oz sassafras bark (must be Black Heart Sassafras)

2 r 3 apples

2 gallons water

Boil al together until the hops sink to the bottom. Strain through muslin and leave until nearly cold.

Add 2 tablespoons yeast. Bottle next morning.

For the Yeast (Ada Dunbabbin)

 Boil 1oz hops with two quarts of water for 30 minutes.

Boil 1½lbs potatoes and add to the water when cool. Add half a handful of salt, ¼lb sugar and ½lb flour.

When fermented, bottle.

Mandarin Curd Flan

Here is the recipe for the Mandarin Curd Flan mentioned on ABC radio this morning, the one I took in for morning tea.  Mandarins are readily available at the moment and full of flavour.



Mandarin Curd Flan

For the flan base

4 eggs, separated

½ cup sugar

1 cup self raising flour

180ml milk lukewarm milk

20g butter, melted

Grated rind 2 mandarins and 1 teaspoons grated lemon rind

For the mandarin curd

125g butter

Grated rind 2 mandarins

Juice 2 mandarins

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 cup sugar

3 teaspoons cornflour mixed to a paste with 1 ½ tablespoons cold water

2 eggs, lightly whisked


For the mandarin segments (optional, for decoration)

2 cups sugar

1¾ cups water

4 mandarins, segmented and stringy pieces of pith removed

For the Chantilly Cream

300ml cream

1 ½ teaspoons icing sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the flan base

Heat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease a 23cm flan tin (with recess base). The tin should be at least 4cm deep. See below for the one I used.


Beat the egg whites until firm peaks form, then add the sugar and beat until peaks form again. Fold in (with a knife) the flour, milk and butter, then fold in the rinds.

Pour into the prepared tin.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until cooked through. Leave to stand in tin for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

To make the mandarin curd

Place all ingredients in a saucepan and bring almost to boilig point, stirring until the mixture thickens. (If it does boil only allow to do so for a few seconds). Cool completely.

To make the candied mandarin segments

Bring sugar and water to boil, stirring. Reduce heat (stop stirring) and add the mandarin segments. Cook gently for 10 minutes, turning over once. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a wire rack.

To make the Chantilly Cream

Whisk the ingredients together until firm peaks form.

To assemble

Place the cooled flan base on a platter and fill the recess with the chilled curd. Spread with a thin layer of cream and then use remainder to pipe swirls decoratively over top.

Place a mandarin segment on each swirl and along the edges as desired.


Dairy free gluten free pastry

If anybody out there needs a dairy free gluten free pastry, I’ve just trialled this one and it works really well. It is made with olive oil and gluten free flour.The pastry is easy to make and easy to roll.

It was ideal for the egg and bacon pie I made this morning. Thankfully our chickens are laying again so there were decent eggs for the first time in a couple of weeks.

Anyway, for anyone who wants or needs the pastry recipe, here it is. To make the pie, I just piled in bacon and eggs until the dish was full, along with a little grated dairy free cheese, dampened the upper edge of the pastry so the top one would stick, then baked it at 200 degrees C for 10 minutes, and then a further 20 minutes at 160 degrees until it was golden and the eggs set.

Olive oil pastry
2 cups gluten free plain flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon gluten free baking powder
Two thirds cup olive oil (mild flavoured)
1 egg, lightly whisked
½ cup water

Mix together the dry ingredients, then mix in the olive oil, egg and water and mix to a soft dough. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for 20 to 30 minutes before using.
Sufficient for a 23cm double crust pie or two tart or quiche bases.



Rather remarkably, I’ve had several requests for the recipe for the slice, so here it is, minus the tin of cooked condensed milk that served to its detriment rather than its benefit.

Chocolate and Caramel Slice with walnuts and ginger

200g dark chocolate
30g copha
1 packet ice cream wafers
1½ tins sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons golden syrup
20g butter
3 teaspoons crunchy peanut butter
½ cup chopped walnuts
¼ cup chopped ‘naked’ ginger
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Line a tray 18cm x 28cm approximately, with foil.
Combine the chocolate and copha over low heat and stir until well combined and melted. Pour half over the base and lay half of the wafers on top. Refrigerate 15 minutes. Keep the remaining chocolate mixture warm.
Meanwhile make the filling. Place the condensed milk, golden syrup and butter in a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring, over medium heat. Reduce heat and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Mix in the walnuts, ginger and vanilla. Cool for 3 minutes, then spoon over the chilled base.
Top with a layer of wafers and then pour over the remaining chocolate and spread out to cover completely. Leave to set for several hours before cutting into small squares or triangles to serve.

And now for the leftovers

OK, so what do you do when there is too much slice for one household and many visitors to eat? Roughly chop the remainder and mix into homemade ice cream, that’s what.

Cookies and cream ice cream, eat your heart out! This is WAY better.