How not to bake a cake…

photo 2-20

Ok… A baker I am not… or at least one with A LOT to learn.

On Monday I made ‘Anne’. Anne is a family chocolate cake from Beth @ Baby-Mac. I thought it was a good opportunity to christen our new Kitchenaid… this was quite a milestone for me.

Everything was going smoothly until I put the cake in the oven and then it was downhill from there…

Error 1 – make sure your cake tin is the correct size… the cake tin I used was WAY to small for the recipe so I got to watch half the cake spill over the edge and run down into the oven.

Error 2 – because of the spillage the cake took ages to cook… I am guessing because the outside of the tin was covered in spilled cake. I assumed it would take less time as the tin was smaller but it took nearly double. Can any bakers confirm this for me? either that or my oven is really slow at low heat?! I’ve not had problems before so it’s the only thing I can put it down to.

Error 3 – don’t be in too much of a hurry to turn it out as it won’t have cooled enough and you will rip half the top off.

I soldiered on a had a hell of a laugh at my efforts. My husband got a great laugh out of it.

Whatever the outcome we got a yummy cake and it’s only uphill from here right?!

Ever had a baking disaster? What are your helpful tips for a baking novice?

Can you ever stop at just one piece?


The yummiest salad… Lentil Salad & Red Pepper, Mint and Feta


This is such a yummy salad…

We have been making this salad for years and it is seriously so yummy. The only major downfall is if you’re anything like me you tend to over eat because you like it so much…

This recipe came from a lovely family friend whom my Mother nannied for in London when she was a little girl. She came to visit in 1997 and gave us a folder of recipes and we have been making this one ever since…


Lentil Salad & Red Pepper, Mint and Feta

(Serves 6)


I cup dried lentils

6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

6 tbsp red wine vinegar, plus vinegar to taste

2 clove garlic, minced

½ tsp ground cumin

salt and freshly ground pepper

1 small red onion, diced

1 red bell pepper (capsicum), seeded, deribbed and finely diced

¼ cup chopped fresh mint, plus mint sprigs for garnish

6 oz feta cheese, crumbled

1 small red chilli (optional)


Pick over the lentils and discard any misshapen lentils and stones. Rinse the lentils and drain, then transfer to a saucepan and add water to cover by two inches. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the lentils are tender, 15-20 mins. Remove from the heat, drain immediately and place in a bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, the 6 tbsp vinegar, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper. Add to the warm lentils and toss together to coat evenly. Add the onion and bell pepper and toss gently. Let stand for 20 mins at room temp.

Season to taste with more salt, pepper and vinegar, if necessary. Add the mind and toss to mix well. Transfer the salad to a platter of individual plates. Sprinkle with the feta, garnish with the mint springs and serve.

NB: over the years I have added fresh chilli to the salad as I love the heat kick it gives it. You should definitely try it.



White cooked chicken with soy and ginger dressing…

This is one of the most delicious and easy meals you can make… it’s the kind of meal that is so tasty and makes you feel wholesome and healthy eating it. You almost feel virtuous when you’re finished.

It’s inspired by Kylie Kwong with some variations and additions . I found the original recipe online here and still use it for reference.


1.6kg organic chicken

Shaoxing rice wine – 750 ml (3 cups)
Green onions, trimmed – 8
Garlic, peeled and crushed – 12 cloves
Sliced ginger – 1¼ cups
Sea salt – 1/3 cup
Coriander – roots from a bunch

Shoyu or soy sauce (see note) – 60 ml (¼ cup)
Sesame oil – 1 tsp
Cane sugar (see note) – ½ tsp
Julienne spring onion, plus extra to garnish – 1/3 cup
Julienne ginger, plus extra to garnish – 1 tbsp
Peanut oil – 2 tbsp
Coriander – big handful chopped for garnish
Red chilli (sml) – sliced (seeds removed) for garnish (suggest you leave this on the side for everyone to control their own spice)


For stock, combine ingredients and 5 litres of cold water in a 7 -litre stockpot and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. (The original recipe calls for 6 litres of water in a 10 litre stock pot but I don’t have one so I worked with what I have and it works perfectly)
Rinse the chicken under cold water and trim any excess fat. Gently place the chicken breast-side down into stock and submerge for 14 minutes, ensuring stock doesn’t return to the boil. Remove pot from heat and stand for 3 hours. (When placing the chicken into the stock I often place the pot in the sink in case there is any overflow if you’re concerned about the water levels – this way you avoid any mess on your stove top)

Using tongs, carefully remove chicken from stock and place on a tray to drain.

For dressing, combine all ingredients except for peanut oil in a heat-proof bowl. Heat peanut oil in a saucepan, then pour over dressing ingredients and stir to combine.

Pull all the meat of the carcass and shred into small pieces or leave as chunks and arrange on a platter. Drizzle dressing over chicken, garnish with extra spring onion, ginger and coriander and serve immediately. (The original recipe calls for you to use a Cleaver to cut the chicken into pieces and arrange on a platter)

Serve with white or brown rice and a side of steamed asian greens (like Bok Choy or Choy Sum) served with a drizzle of oyster sauce over them. Also serve the chilli with it so everyone can dress their own.



Pretty Pink… Birthday morning tea…

It’s not every day you turn 1. Because we are still renovating and it was down to the wire if we would be finished we decided to just have morning tea for E’s 1st Birthday. We couldn’t have as big a party as we had for H but we had to acknowledge it in some way so morning tea it was…

I couldn’t resist doing some decorating and putting together some party fare… and of course any chance to take photos…I’m there…

There’s nothing like a bit of pink!!

All the decorations are from the Hot Dollar shop… so many goodies to be had there…

The cupcakes are packet mix… and also pre bought frosting. So simple, easy and time effective. 
Rather than make fairy bread we bought hundreds and thousand biscuits… I knew what wasn’t eaten that day would be eaten later… they were a big hit…

The strawberries were a big hit and also help to balance all the party food…

Aren’t the tulips gorgeous?… so pretty and happy…

Who doesn’t love a party bag?!… even the big kids got one. I just can’t help myself…

I had to share this one… it appears the Grandfathers got the memo… Navy and Tan was the order of the day. Great minds think alike… or is it fools never differ?!… hahaha.

These cookies are delicious…

Via A Cup of Jo I discovered Monique’s (from Ambitious Kitchen) recipe for Nutella Stuffed Brown Butter and Sea Salt Choc Chip Cookie’s. They looked so good I had to give them a go…. and give them a go I did…

They are AMAZING!!! All the family loved them.

Give them a try… you won’t be disappointed… Jx

P.S I added white choc bits to mine…

Easy Chocolate Cake…

The week before last I baked a cake!… not exactly earth shattering but it’s a big deal for someone who had only ever really baked from a packet before.
I don’t know what has possessed me but I am enjoying baking and want to build my skills…
I was on the hunt for a really EASY recipe and it needed to match the ingredients I had here in my panty…or rather…lack of ingredients.
All of the recipes I was finding in my cookbooks required cooking chocolate and or baking powder…neither of which I had. This has since been rectified…
I needed something I could cook with flour (self raising or plain), sugar (caster, raw, white or brown), cocoa, butter, eggs, vanilla essence, milk…
I headed to the web and found this one…Easy Chocolate Cake Recipe
I gave it a go and it worked (Yay) and it tasted yummy (double Yay).

If you’re a novice like me, give it a go, you’ll be very pleased with yourself!..

Yummy Choc Chip Cookies…

I have been following Mrs BC from A Beach Cottage for a little while now. Her photography and styling is stunning…and she also has great recipes. The most recent one I have tried is Miss BC’s Choc Chip Cookies…

I made them at the beginning of last week and they are super, super easy…super, super quick and super, super yummy!! They need to be easy as I am VERY much a novice in the baking department. I am really trying to increase my skills but know I need to crawl before I walk. These were perfect for that. Oh, and hubby liked them too…so not only are they yummy but they are earning me brownie points!! Yay!!

Sarah has very kindly allowed me to publish her recipe here…Thank you!

Beach Cottage Recipe

Easy Choc Chip Cookies

 1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 3/4 cup plain flour
1 cup choc chips
150g butter
1. mix all in bowl until well combined
2. form to small cookies
3. bake 180C 15-20 mins

To see her cookie post and lots of other wonderful bit and pieces head over to A Beach Cottage


Incredible roasted shoulder of lamb with smashed veg and greens by Jamie Oliver

incredible roasted shoulder of lamb with smashed veg and greens | Jamie Oliver | Food | Recipes (UK)

© David Loftus

I am going to cook this on the weekend. It was cooked for me before and it was sensational. I am hoping I can make it just as delicious.