1 Large vanilla bean (sliced in half and using only the seeds scraped from the inside)
1/2 cup icing sugar
Preheat your oven to 180C.
Process your biscuits in a food processor until they are just crumbs. (Alternatively, you can crush them with a potato masher in a bowl, or put the biscuits in a plastic bag and beat them with a rolling pin). Mix them with the butter until totally combined.
Place the crumbs in a large springform tin to cover the base and most of the way up the sides.
In a large bowl, beat the softened cream cheese for a bit, just to lighten. Add in the egg, the vanilla bean seeds, and the icing sugar. you can do this in an electric mixer but I ain't fancy enough for one of those.
Pour your cheesecake batter into your buttery biscuit base, and bake for 45-50 minutes until dry and slightly browned on top. Yum.
I do apologize. I set out to make a normal cake, and found myself sorely lacking the required butter and sugar amounts. I had to make adjustments, and while they would make Katie180 proud, they fly directly in the face of my belief that cake should be cake and not a health food. Anyway, if you dig coconut oil and sugar other than white, welcome! Eat some fruit in cake form. It’s about the only way I will eat it.
I am currently drowning in apples and pears (and mandarines too, but they’re too fiddly to fuck around with for cake purposes), so they’re going into everything at this point. This one is quite moist and very soft, best eaten on the day it is made. Or frozen! I don’t even bother peeling the fruit, I just grate them straight in. Breaking all the rules around here.
Sometime around 1950, someone by the name of Wynwode Reid edited, compiled, and tested 100 recipes in a book called Cakes, Scones and Biscuits. The aforementioned recipes were approved by Sarah Dunne, then the Cookery Expert to the Melbourne Herald. Their first recipe was for a Delicate Lemon Cake, and sometime in 2014, Stacey Roberts (expert in nothing cookery-related) decided she could improve upon the cake by removing the lemon element and adding apple and cinnamon.
This might be quite an unfair description of the event, it’s possible she just had apples she needed to use up. And the other apple cakes in the book required faffing about, and she was entirely too lazy to faff. Or get a new book.
To one cup of sugar, she added 115-ish grams of softened butter. She ignored the part where it said to do half butter, half margarine. She also ignored the bit where it said “Codfat (a special kind of soft beef suet) or clarified dripping treated with milk to take away the meaty flavour can also be used successfully“. She creamed the butter and sugar, and added two eggs. She skipped over the bit where you add the finely grated rind of one lemon, and instead added two peeled and diced apples, and a half teaspoon of cinnamon. She then mixed in 1.5 cups of self-raising flour and 1/2 cup milk.
She didn’t realise until later that the recipe had advised beating the cake mixture for 5 minutes (lazy) but did turn it into a prepared tin and bake for about 30 minutes in a moderate oven. She did not ice with lemon icing and sprinkle with chopped angelica mostly because she does not know what angelica is.
Ever since the kids were born, I’ve found it hard to make pancake-sized pancakes. The girls were so little, and had tiny mouths, it seemed more useful to make them more like silver-dollar pancakes than anything else. Smaller than pikelets even (although every time I make them, most people are like “what’s a pikelet?”).
I really enjoy tiny food anyway so it’s no drama to make mini things for afternoon tea, and it has the added bonus of the kids thinking they’ve eaten a ton. Cute food is a lot of fun!
This recipe can of course be changed up to suit your little ones, wholemeal flour (or half-wholemeal, half-white), nondairy milk and yogurt, egg replacer, whatever you like. You can also add extras as you have them: blueberries, lemon zest, or even chocolate chips would be fun. We had ours with a sprinkle of icing sugar (me) and a little handful of sprinkles (the kids).
The yogurt does make them slightly more dense than my regular recipe, so they need to be cooked a smidge longer. But it’s a great way of getting a little extra protein + calcium in their snacks and neither of mine even noticed a difference in texture. I like my batter T-H-I-C-K, which helps keep the shape small. Runny batter also equals thin pancakes. No thank you! (unless you’re making crepes, in which case, YES PLEASE).
1 cup flour (either self-raising, or 1 cup plain flour and 1 tsp baking powder))
1/2 teaspoon baking powder (extra)
3/4 cups milk
1 Large egg
1/2 cup thick greek yogurt
2 tablespoons sugar (optional, but we eat ours cold and plain so it needs a little something!)
Mix all ingredients (for at least 5 minutes if by hand) to incorporate, and also to let the baking powder start reacting. Sometimes I like to leave it for half an hour if I can. You don't have to, but the yogurt in the batter makes it dense, and I like to give the ingredients a head start before cooking.
Grease a frying pan over medium high heat. Drop tablespoons of batter into the butter (or whatever you're using to grease, I always use butter) and cook until brown on the underside and bubbles appear on the surface.
Flip, then cook another 3-5 minutes or so (can turn heat down, just keep an eye on it) until brown underneath and cooked all the way through.
I got a bit overexcited when I received a breadmaker as a Christmas gift. While I still haven’t nailed a good loaf of bread in it, I have been totally putting it through its paces kneading endless amounts of dough for me. We’ve been making pizza on the regular, and these scrolls too. I’ve taken them to meetings when it’s my turn to bring a plate, we’ve had them for morning tea, for afternoon tea, and when guests arrive. I’ve also just stashed a whole unbaked batch in the fridge, to pull out when the need arises and bake fresh.
Sometimes I even find myself making a double-batch of dough on pizza night to make scrolls with for later. Only DO keep an eye on that business in the breadmaker, or it WILL rise over the top and out the edges and down the sides and before you know it, you’re covered in it and it looks like your kitchen has exploded. It’s anything but a-dough-able.
After that lame joke, I give you the recipe. Hopefully that will make amends.
These caramelised apple and cinnamon scrolls are a happy accident. Want to take regular apple and cinnamon scrolls that one step further? Well, have some toddlers who distract you from keeping an eye on the apples stewing on the stove. That should do it!
I was having the wonderful Ruth (Gourmet Girlfriend) over for a cup of tea and a chat, and wanted to have something fresh-baked out of the oven. I made a quick pizza dough in the breadmaker the night before, used some for the kids’ dinner, and rolled the rest with a lovely sweet cinnamony filling. I popped them into the oven the next morning to warm, and then I ate pretty much the whole plate single-handedly. Sorry, Ruth!
I used the pizza dough recipe from the side of the box of flour, and winged the rest. Happy accident indeed!
To make them heart-shaped for your loved ones on this special day, you can roll each edge into the middle (instead of one big spiral) and refrigerate for a bit. When it’s slightly firm, you can cut into the slices and place them on the tray. You might need to foof them a bit to make sure they’re in the right shape before baking, but it doesn’t take much
To make the pizza dough, add yeast and water and let sit for five minutes. In a large bowl, add the flour and the salt. Pour in the water and the olive oil.
I did this in the breadmaker, but by hand just incorporate the ingredients until they come together.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes).
Put back in the bowl and cover. Leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in volume (half an hour to an hour). Make the apple puree.
Punch the dough down and give it a quick knead. Roll out into a large rectangle on a floured surface. I left it about a centimetre thick.
Cover the dough with the apple puree, right to the edges, but leaving a strip about a centimetre wide down one of the longest sides.
Roll up from the widest edge (sometimes I need a spatula or knife to help lift it off the bench if I've been a bit stingy with the flour) until you have a fat little roll.
Slice crossways at one-inch intervals and lay them cut side down on a greased baking tray. Sprinkle the tops with a little raw sugar.
Bake at about 180C for 10-15 minutes, or until dough is cooked through and browned, and filling is piping hot. Yum!
Apple puree: In a small saucepan, simmer the apple, lemon juice, and water until apple starts to soften and the mix starts to thicken. Add butter and leave to sit a bit (maybe turn up the heat if your'e game) until the apple pieces start to caramelise at the edges. Add a little extra butter or water at times if you think it needs it. When brown and lovely, add cinnamon and brown sugar.
hello there, fellow tea nerds! I thought it would be cool to have a little collaboration – much like Chantelle’s Photo A Day, or Nikki’s Everyday Style, only with tea! If you’re sipping a cup, why not snap a picture and add the hashtag #VMteaoftheday? That’s what I’ll be doing (on Instagram, mostly). And we can chat and share our loopy tea love with like-minded lasses. Or gents, as the case may be.
I want to see all your teapots, your fine china, your chipped mugs, and your old favourites. I’ll forgive those of you who drink milky tea (maybe, I haven’t quite come to terms with that yet), if I can have a poke around. Iced tea, hot tea, tea leaves, or tea bags, let’s play!
Did you ever get made fun of in the playground for what was in your lunchbox? I did. We were pretty poor, so I didn’t get anything exciting… ever. Peanut butter sandwich and two biscuits, or a no-frills muesli bar. Frozen cordial occasionally in my water bottle. Sometimes $2 for the tuckshop. I remember very clearly one day pulling a Flake chocolate bar out of my bag and someone looked over and said nastily “finally, you have actual food for lunch”.
Well, my friend Kate‘s daughter had a similar problem. She has mother who gets up every morning and bakes her girls a delicious treat for their lunchbox, and then got jibes in the playground when she ate it. Oh you have a home-made muesli bar? Well you suck, I’ve got a bag of doritos and a can of Coke, I’m WAY COOLER THAN YOU.That’s tough for a little kid. You can teach them all the resilience in the world, but day after day of getting hassled over the contents of your lunchbox creates a whole lot of unnecessary drama and anxiety. School is hard enough without having to cop that too. Not to mention it’s good, proper, delicious food straight from a mama’s kitchen, and suddenly, that’s a thing to be derided. Your life must be miserable, your mum doesn’t give you Le Snaks.
Well, after hearing that her kid was eating lunch all by herself on one side of the hall while everyone else sat on the other side, Kate felt it was time to turn this situation around. So she started a blog with cool home-baked lunch treats and a healthy dose of “we’re not gonna let this beat us”. I like that. It’s a bit kickass, and if there’s anything that I admire in a person, it’s the ability to see the positive, and to change things that feel shit. You can read more about her intention here.
I made these super-delicious little lemon cakes for my girls (only I remembered that they have almond meal and therefore can’t go in the nut-free daycare lunchboxes), and they loved them. I love lemon, and I much prefer an almond-meal-type cake thing than regular cake (it’s the texture, I think), so they’ve become a bit of a favourite here. I bet you will like them too.
You can find the recipe here, with much nicer photography than mine. Bake on, bitches!