Tag Archives: Alice

Easiest Apple ‘Pie’

5 Aug


You know those nights where you think… oh mannnnnnnn.. I wish I had apple pie? (Especially after being tormented by DELICIOUS CAKE RECIPES. Thanks, B!)

Well, here you go, this is the world’s EASIEST substitute. We often have puff pastry sheets languishing in the freezer after some savoury pie, like the leek and chicken pie we made last week. Usually there are offcut pieces that you know will be difficult to use up.

All you need is an apple, a little butter, sugar, alongside some puff pastry offcuts, and you can make this pie like deliciousness.


I pre-heated the oven, and then started by peeling, quartering, coring and slicing an apple. I went for a Granny Smith this time, but I am pretty sure I have used every type of apple over the years. Slice them a few milimetres thick… no idea what that is in inches, but thin-ish.

I then started to assemble them. Lay your puff rectangles on some baking paper on a baking tray. Mine were around 2 inches by 5 inches, but you can have any offcut size and adapt your topping to suit.

Fan out the apple, this is half an apple on each piece of pastry. Then sprinkle with a scant teaspoon of sugar, and dot with a teaspoon and a half (or so) of butter.


Then into the oven…. I baked these for 30 minutes, then while they were still warm, served with ice cream. Cream would work well also.


Voila… so simple. Also kind of impressive for so little work!


Easiest Apple ‘Pie’
ingredients (for two)

Two pieces of prepared puff pastry (around 2 inches by 5 inches)
1 apple, peeled, quartered, cored and sliced thinly
2 scant teaspoons of white sugar
3 teaspoons of butter

Preheat oven to 175C/350F.

Line a baking tray with baking paper and assemble the ‘pies’. Fan half an apple the length of each pastry base. Sprinkle the sugar over the apple, and then dot the butter the length of the apple.

Bake until pastry edges are golden, around thirty minutes.

Serve with cream or ice cream.


Rich Lemon Syrup Cake

8 Jul


B posted her favourite go-to salmon meal. And I am not sure I have a go-to salmon recipe at all. I will have to try hers. It looked great.

I was reminded of this old go-to recipe by my friend Beth last week. I found it in our newspaper about fifteen years ago, when they re-printed the three most requested recipes (oh, remember the days before the internet?). I made it for my dad’s birthday and doubled the quantities, and mixed up my numbers, and managed to double double the butter. And IT WAS FANTASTIC. It is super rich, and seriously good, almost pudding like. I even made it for my brother’s 21st birthday cake, on a massive scale. I could barely lift it, and people loved it.

You will need…

For the cake: plain flour, baking powder, butter, caster sugar, milk, butter, lemon and eggs. And for the syrup, more lemon and sugar.

It is a simple method so I will list it in the recipe below, and the hardest part is creaming the butter, so if you have a KitchenAid you will be set.


Rich Lemon Syrup Cake

250g (8oz) butter
1 1/4 cups caster sugar
grated rind of one lemon
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup of milk

2 tablespoons lemon juice
grated rind 1 lemon
1/4 cup caster sugar

Preheat oven to 185 (365F) degrees, and grease a 20cm baking tin, and line the base with non-stick baking paper.

Cream the butter and sugar, until light and fluffy. Add the lemon rind and juice, and mix through. Slowly add in the beaten eggs. Whisk together the flour and baking powder, and stir in to the mix, alternately with the milk.

Pour into the tin and bake in the 185 degree oven for 10 minutes, then turn down the oven to 170 (338F) degrees and cook for a further 45 minutes. Leave to cool for 10 minutes.

Put the syrup ingredients in to a saucepan and warm until the sugar has melted. Poke a few holes over the top of the cake with a skewer, and then spoon the syrup over the top.

Leave to cool… supervised.





Lamb, roasted vegetable and couscous salad

27 May

Well B, your infamous carrot cake has been giving me cake cravings. All baked goods really. Yummo.

Whilst consuming said baked goods with a cup of tea on the verandah with the wonderful Beth, she started talking about her plans for dinner. Roasted carrots and parsnips, lamb from ‘the boys’ at the local kebab shop, couscous and an amazing dressing. Now, she HAD ME at the dressing. I promptly invited myself over, in the name of the blog of course. ALL FOR YOU, the things I do huh? It’s an iPhone photo filled post. Hope that’s OK.


Here is the finished product in all it’s glory. It is one of those, pretty easy to whip up if you have it all there, meals. Beth calls it a cheat meal, because she gets a foil container of delicious sliced lamb our much-loved Turkish Kebab House. But I call that resourceful.

I arrived to this array…


… good A to B of Cooking reader, our Beth. She knows the drill.

To make this, you’ll need: parsnips, carrots, olive oil, onion, lemon, coriander, cumin, full cream yoghurt, honey, pistachios, couscous, and some lamb, cooked and sliced up – kebab style if you can get it. Beef would work too I reckon, but us Aussies, we love our lamb.

We peeled the parsnips and chopped them up in to a tail and a few halved sections. And the carrots in to about four pieces. A drizzle of olive oil and then a sprinkle of cumin seeds, a good pinch of salt and a grind of fresh pepper, and they were in to the oven. Toward the end we added pieces of onion, as they take less time to roast.


While that was roasting, we made the dressing. Or Beth made the dressing and I watched on.


She whisked together yoghurt, olive oil, lemon juice, ground cumin, and honey. We then tasted and added more of things to get it ‘right’. If it is too lemony, add more honey. Make sure you get a good taste of cumin too.

We prepared the couscous, which was a matter of following the pack and boiling the same volume of water as couscous, and then mixing it through and letting it sit a couple of minutes, then fluffing it with a fork.

When the veggies were nice and roasted, it was time to assemble. First the couscous, then the veggies, then some pistachios, the lamb, a generous handful of coriander, and then a smattering of the dressing.


Put the platter in the middle of the table and serve yourself. Honestly… delicious.


Thanks Beth!


Beth’s awesome dressing

1 cup plain yoghurt
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 teaspoons ground cumin
3 teaspoons honey

Whisk the ingredients together until thoroughly combined, and taste for balance.

Roasted Veggies

5 carrots, peeled and sliced in to four, lengthways and then across once
5 parsnips, peeled and chopped roughly to a similar size as the carrots
1 red onion, peeled and sliced in to quarters. Separate the layers

1 tablespoon (ish) oil
a good pinch of cumin seed
pinch of salt
grind of pepper

Put the carrots and parsnips in a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with the cumin, salt and pepper and bake in a 200C/390f oven until they are roasted through and just starting to brown. Add in the onion pieces and cook  for another 10 minutes or so.

Other elements —

Cook a cup of couscous
Wash a big handful of coriander
A pre-prepared serve of lamb kebab meat 


To assemble
Start with cooked couscous, then pile on the roasted vegetables, sprinkle over the pistachios, then add the kebab meat and a good handful of washed coriander. Pour over the dressing.


Quinoa, Sweet Potato and Rocket Cakes

19 Mar


Well, well, well… B has had her annual trip down to Melbourne, and it was great to see her.

We ate many meals at restaurants… and in fact I think I am STILL full from going to The Abyssinian, but we did cook ourselves a few healthy meals. After seeing B’s quinoa stuffed squash, I was inspired to try some more quinoa recipes.

This recipe is a ripper if you want a healthy go-to meal for the week, to take as lunches, and to fill in busy night dinners. As it makes loads. It would also work well as a vegetarian option for a BBQ.

What you will need…


Sweet potato, quinoa, celery, carrot, onion, garlic, olive oil, rocket (arugula), egg, breadcrumbs, paprika, and lots of salt and pepper for seasoning.


We started by chopping up the sweet potato, you want the equivalent of two medium sized potatoes. They were steamed them until they were soft and then mashed in a large bowl, mixing in some chopped rocket at the end.


Then we chopped put the onions, celery, carrot and garlic and sautéed them until softened. We added in the garlic, quinoa, paprika and some water, and cooked it down. It reminded me of making a risotto, I may even try this recipe using stock instead of water next time. We cooked it until the quinoa was tender and the liquid was absorbed.


We whisked up egg with some salt and pepper… don’t hold back… it was great with a few good pinches of sea salt.


We mixed it all together along with the bread crumbs we made by roughly blitzing a couple of slices of rye bread in the blender.


After letting the the mix cool down a little and forming some patties, they went in to a hot oven and let them bake for around 35 minutes. They were a little crisped on the outside, and still soft on the inside.


Served on a bed of rocket, with some plain yoghurt and mint atop, delicious!

Our ingredients made about 18 patties, perfect for left overs.



1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion or equivalent, finely chopped
2 stalks of celery, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 3/4 cups quinoa
2 1/2 cups of water
2 Tbs sweet paprika
2 medium sized sweet potatoes, diced and steamed
1 1/2 cups rocket (arugula), chopped roughly
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup rye or wholemeal bread crumbs (around two slices)
generous sea salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 200C/400F.
Sauté the onions with the carrot and celery until soft, then add the garlic, quinoa, water and paprika and cook until quinoa is tender, and the liquid is well absorbed.Mash the steamed sweet potato with the rocket, and then add the quinoa mixture and all remaining ingredients.When cool enough to handle, make patties around the size of the palm of your hand, and place on a baking paper lined baking tray.Bake until the outside of the patty is a little crisped or browned, around 35-40 minutes.Serve with a dollop of plain yoghurt, a little mint, and a salad made of rocket.


Spiced Chickpea Hash with Soft Boiled Eggs

25 Jan


You know those mornings after the night before? The ones where you wake up feeling a bit worse for wear, and knowing a good hearty breakfast is pretty much the only way forward?

On New Year’s Day, we sat around, bleary eyed and nursing cups of tea, hoping that our favourite café would be open, and describing the perfect breakfast food they make in Trinidad.

doubles doubles2

It is called Doubles, and is a chickpea curry, indelicately slopped on to two pieces of eggy roti. Getting it in to your mouth and not down your front has a high degree of difficulty, but they are quite delicious. I have spared Jason the indignity of the photos showing him attempting to eat this little package. Let’s just say… action shots.

Back to New Year’s morning, the café was closed, and wonderful Karen volunteered to make a chickpea breakfast of her own styling, which was of course spectacular. And then she was generous enough to write it down for us all to keep. Here is my re-make.

So following on from B’s comfort food, here is a wonderful, spiced, comfort food for breakfast.

In addition to olive oil and salt…


Chickpeas, eggs, tomato, potatoes, red onion, cumin and sweet paprika and chilli powder.

It goes a little like this…


To get boiled eggs, with yolks not set hard, I put the eggs in a pot with cold water and brought it to the boil. Then turned off the heat and left to sit for four minutes. Then I ran them under cold water to stop them cooking further, and peeled.

For the chickpea hash, I started  with a generous amount of oil, and sautéed some chopped garlic and onion until translucent. I then added in the cumin and cooked a further 5 minutes until it was aromatic. Then I added potato, which I diced into chickpea size, and continued to cook over a medium heat until they were almost cooked through. This took around 15 minutes. I then added the chickpeas and the salt and sweet paprika. I let it cook for another 15 minutes or so. And tasted it for spice. I added a little chilli powder for some more kick. In the last couple of minutes I stirred through a diced tomato. I placed the quartered eggs over the plated servings, Karen was more daring and mixed them through.

You can serve this with a slice of toast if you like. Karen suggested ‘a bread without too much flavour’. It was perfect with a slice of white sourdough on New Year’s Day.


for three

1.5 Tbs olive oil
Half onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or minced
1.5 tsp ground cumin
2 medium potatoes, diced to ‘chickpea’ size
1 tin chickpeas (garbanzo beans) well rinsed
1.5 tsp sweet paprika
.5 tsp chilli powder (or to taste)
1 medium tomato, diced
4 boiled eggs, cut in quarters
good pinch of salt

To cook the eggs, put in cold water in a pot and bring to the boil, turn off the heat and let sit for 4 minutes. Then run under cold water and peel.

Over medium heat, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil, until onion is translucent. Add cumin and cook a further 3-5 minutes until aromatic. Add potato and sauté until almost cooked through – lost raw firmness. Add chickpeas and season with salt and sweet paprika. Continue cooking further 15 minutes or so until all cooked through. Just before serving mix though the diced tomato, and pile the egg pieces on as you serve it up.

Serve with toast. I garnished it with a little mint, but Karen also suggests a little fresh thyme or oregano.


Ginger Rum Fizz Cocktail

26 Nov

Although we don’t have Thanksgiving here in Australia, I love hearing about all of the dishes that are being served up. B’s cheesecake included.

There is something so delicious about a crisp ginger cookie, like B used in the base of her cheesecake. This response post called for a brainstorm over a family dinner, and we decided on a cocktail would use that gorgeous ginger crispness in another way. We are starting to have some hot days, so this was perfect to share with friends on the verandah yesterday. That said, I have had it in winter with more rum, less mixers, and it was perfect.

Here is what you will need:

Fresh ginger, apple for garnish, dark rum, sparkling apple juice, ginger beer and some ice.

I muddled some fresh ginger in with the dark rum, using the end of a rolling pin in a measuring jug. This gives a bit of ginger kick to the rum.

I poured the rum off the ginger in to a highball glass, and then added some ice, half filled the glass with ginger beer, then topped it up with sparkling apple juice. I added some thin slices of apple as a garnish, I gave it a stir and it was ready to go.


Ginger Rum Fizz

ingredients per glass

45ml/1.5oz dark rum
1 peeled knob of fresh ginger (can be used over and over)
Half a glass of ginger beer
Half a glass of sparkling apple juice
Thinly sliced apple for garnish

Pour the rum over the piece of ginger and crush the ginger into the rum a little with a muddler, or with a rolling pin handle like I do. Pour the rum away from the ginger, into the glass, and pile in some ice. Fill half way with ginger beer, and then the other half with sparkling apple juice. Mix well. Garnish with thin slices of apple. Serve.


Braised Leeks with Garlic and White Wine

29 Oct

As B heads in to cooler weather, with a hearty and healthy soup in hand, we are heading in to spring and warmer days. I am saying that out loud, willing it to happen faster.

You may have noticed already that I love onions, but have I mentioned my love of leeks before? I have been using them as an mellow alternative to onions for years, but never before as a side dish on their own. Braised leeks sounded good, and then I saw the other ingredients… I am not sure you could ever go wrong with a combination of butter, garlic, lemon and white wine. This is based on a Jamie Oliver recipe.

So if you are looking for a slow cooked side dish to go with pretty much any simple meat, for something to load on top of pasta, or even risotto, this is great. What brings this one to life for me, is the lemon. And I loved it when I had it again the next day and the lemon rind had infused even further.

What you will need…

Leeks, garlic, lemon, butter, wine, chicken stock, salt and pepper.

I cut the white part of the leek from the green, and sliced down to the centre of the green section, and rinsed it well in running water to clean it of any grit. The green part I sliced finely, along with the garlic.

Add them to the melted butter in a pan on the stove on low heat, and cook until the garlic is transparent, but not brown. This will flavour the butter nicely.

I then stripped two or three layers from the white section of the leek, and cut them in to pieces of around half an inch long. I added them to the rest of the leek, and mixed it through.

At this stage, if your stove top pan is not able to go in to the oven, you could transfer it all to a baking dish. I gave the lemon a squeeze over the pot before plonking it in skin and all, then added the stock, wine, a grind of pepper and a pinch of salt.

I put the pot in to the oven, uncovered, at 175C/340F and gave it a stir every 30 minutes or so. I cooked it for 90 minutes. I think it is quite forgiving and you could even cook it longer if you wanted.

It is both rich and vibrant to taste. Also kind of pretty. I love the way the hearts look amongst the green slices.

I served it with some chicken breast cooked in a pan with some olive oil and pepper, and steamed some Kipfler potatoes. But honestly, I think these leeks would go with so many things as a side dish, or topping.


Braised Leeks with Garlic and White Wine


4 large leeks
8 cloves garlic, finely sliced
120g butter (6Tbs)
1 cup chicken stock (homemade would be ideal)
1.5 cups dry white wine
2 lemon quarters
Salt and pepper for seasoning

Prepare the leeks by cutting the white bulb from the green leaves. Slice down in to the green leaves, so they open up flat, and rinse well under running water. Slice these leaves up finely. Peel the top two or thee layers from the white bulb sections, and slice in to pieces, mine were around half an inch long.

In a pan, melt the butter and add the green sliced leeks, and the garlic, and cook slowly over a low heat. When the garlic is transparent and aromatic, add the remaining leek and mix well through the butter.

If you are using a pan that cannot be placed in an oven, at this stage transfer the mix in to a baking dish. Add the the remaining ingredients, stir and then bake in a 175C/340F oven for around 90 minutes, stirring every half hour. Turn down the heat if the leeks are browning too much.

Serve with your choice of meats, pasta or risotto.

What a treat. I ate this with a friend before we went out to a comedy show the other night, and the whole drive there she kept punctuating the conversation with “Those leeks were so good. Leeks. Oh… those leeks!” I think she liked them.

It’s over to you Autumn bound B!

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