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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Coffee Sponge Custard Cream Cake

We celebrated Matthew's 19th and Anthony's 17th birthday last weekend and this was the birthday cake.  The recipe looks exhaustive but worth the effort.  Hope you enjoy and if you would like to make this and have any questions feel free to post a comment and I will try to help out.



6 eggs (61g)
1 ½ cups white sugar
1 ½ cups plain flour, sifted


8 egg yolks
8 tab sugar
8 tab plain flour
1 teas vanilla essence
4 cups milk (full cream)

2 tab drinking chocolate

For Sponge Soaking

9 coffee cups Italian coffee
(made with 1 x 6 Italian Coffee Machine and 1 x 3 Italian Coffee Machine)
2 tab sugar
1 ½ capful Tia Maria Liquor

200ml cream, whipped

As preferred using dark and white chocolate


Cake – Day 1

Start the cake 3 days before require. Preheat oven at 180oC. Butter and flour a 22 cm springform cake tin and set aside. Separate egg yolks from white. Place egg whites in bowl of electric mixture and beat until soft peaks form. Add egg yolks all at once along with the sugar and beat again with electric mixer until incorporated. Stir flour in batches (3/4 cup at a time) with a wooden spoon stirring slowly but thoroughly in the same direction as beaten by mixer. Pour mixture into cake tin and slowly place in oven. Bake at 180oC for 53 mins. Turn oven off and leave in oven for 5 minutes before removing from oven. Allow to sit for a few minutes before inverting the cake onto a cake rack. Allow to cool completely and place in air tight container until the next day for filling.

Custard Filling - Day 1

Make custard:

In a saucepan over medium heat, heat up milk until hot. Switch off Heat.

In a medium bowl, mix together egg yolks, sugar, flour and vanilla essence. Stir to combine using a balloon whisk. Add ½ of the hot milk into egg mixture and stir slowly to incorporate. Add the rest of the milk and continue stirring. Return egg/milk mixture back to saucepan and stir with balloon whisk until custard thickens, this should take around 10 – 15 minutes. Remove from heat and pour custard into a clean glass bowl. Cover the surface of custard with cling film and allow to cool to lukewarm. Then place in the fridge until Day 2.

Assembling the Cake - Day 2

Divide the custard in half and add the drinking chocolate to one half, stir through to combine.  Set aside.

Make Italian coffee and pour into medium bowl. Add sugar and stir to dissolve. Allow to cool to room temperature and add the Tia Maria. Divide the coffee into 3 glasses to allow even soaking between layers. Set aside.

Cut the cake into 2 parts giving you 3 layers. Place bottom layer onto serving plate. Place a bottomless springform cake tin on top of cake and clip in place. This will allow the cake to set within the cake tin and will be removed after the cake has been set and just before decorating which is on day 3. Set aside the other 2 cake layers until required.

Using one glass of coffee and with a spoon pour coffee mixture evenly over bottom layer of cake. Spread the chocolate custard evenly over this 1st layer.

Place the 2nd layer of cake onto the chocolate custard and repeat the coffee soaking using the 2nd glass of coffee.   Spread the vanilla custard evenly over this 2nd layer.

Place the 3rd layer of cake over the vanilla custard and repeat the coffee soaking using the 3rd glass of coffee. 

Cover with “Gladwrap” and place in fridge overnight.

Decorating the Cake - Day 3

Unclip the springform pan and spread the sides and top with cream and decorate as desired or as below with chocolate shards.

Chocolate Shards
100g dark chocolate melted.  Take a teaspoon of melted chocolate and place the melted chocolate onto a large piece of baking paper.  With the back of a spoon, spread the chocolate flat across the paper to a height of approximately 12 cm, make about 16 - 18 of these shards.  Once set remove from the baking paper and place directly on the side of the cake.  

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Amira's Sushi

Here is my version of Sushi, so glad I can share the recipe with you.


2 large mugs of short grain rice, uncooked
Drizzle of sushi seasoning or rice vinegar
10 nori sheets
1 cup “kewpie” mayo
2 small cucumbers, sliced thinly long ways
1 large carrot, sliced thinly long ways
100g approx smoked salmon, cut into thin strips or 400g cooked prawns (small) or tuna

1.                  Place uncooked rice in large saucepan and rice a couple of times under cold running water.  Drain.
2.                  Add 4 large mugs of boiling water and boil on medium heat until all the water in evaporated approx 20 minutes.
3.                  Cover saucepan with the lid and reduce the heat to low.  Continue to cook for and extra 5 minutes.  Switch off heat and allow to rest for about 1 hour.
4.                  After 1 hour, drizzle with sushi seasoning and stir to combine.  Taste and add more seasoning if needed.  Spread the rice on a large tray to cool off.  Once rice is completely cool start making the sushi.
5.                  Place 1 nori sheet on the sushi rolling mat.  Spread a thin layer of rice on the nori sheet leave ½ cm edge on one side.  On top of the rice and in the middle spread a thin layer of kewpie from one side of the nori to the other.  Top with thin strips of carrot and cucumber and then thin strips of smoked salmon.
6.                  Using your finger dab a little water across the ½ cm exposed edge of nori.
7.                  Using the rolling mat as a guide and starting from one long end, begin rolling the nori sheet encasing the filling and rolling to the other end.  This creates one sushi
8.                  Cut the sushi in half or smaller slices.  You’re done !  How easy was that.
9.                  Serve with soya sauce, yum !.
10.              This would make 20 halves.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Seb's Strawberry and Cream Sponge Cake !

Doesn't this look like it's out of a Donna Hay's mag.  It tasted sensational too.  How could I resist not having this beautiful photo on my blog.  You'll have to ask her for the recipe.  Well done Seb, you are truly a gifted cook.

Amira's Banana and Walnut Cake

Here is a delicious cake to feed a crowd.  Made in a bundt tin and drizzled with lemon icing it's perfect to share with friends over a cuppa and keeps well for a few days.


2 cups and a little handful of Self Raising Flour
2 teas Bicarbonate of Soda
1 teas Cinnamon
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Coconut
¾ cup Walnuts, crushed
½ cup Sultanas
3 large ripe Bananas
½ cup Milk, full cream
4 eggs
½ cup Vegetable or Canola Oil

1.                  Preheat oven at 180oC (170oC fan forced).  Grease a large fluted ring pan and set aside.
2.                  In a large bowl sift flour and bicarbonate of soda, add cinnamon, sugar, coconut, walnuts and sultanas.  Stir to combine and set aside.
3.                  In a small bowl, mash the bananas with a fork until soft, add the milk and mix together with a fork until combined.  Pour this banana mixture into the flour mixture.  Do not mix at this stage.
4.                  In another small bowl, beat eggs with a fork, add oil and beat again with a fork.  Add this egg mixture to the flour/banana mixture.
5.                  Stir the whole mixture with a wooden spoon until just combined, do not over mix.
6.                  Pour the mixture into the fluted ring pan and bake for 40 minutes.
7.                  Remove from oven, allow to sit for 5 minutes before removing from pan.
8.                  Ice with lemon icing (optional and below).

Lemon Icing
1 cup Pure Icing Sugar
1 teas margarine or unsalted butter
Juice of approx ½ lemon or ½ orange

Pour boiling water in sink. Place small bowl on water to allow the bowl to heat up. In the bowl add sifted icing sugar, add margarine, squashing it against the side of bowl to soften and stir through. Slowly add juice as needed to form a soft spreadable consistency. Pour icing over cooled cake.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Hommus Dip

Forget about the store bought stuff and get out that food processor for the best hommus dip on earth.  Enjoy with cut up carrots or celery or crackers.  The best way I like to eat it is a piece of Lebanese bread with a spread of hommus and then a piece of Swiss cheese and then an olive, close up and enjoy.  My hubby spreads it on the lunch rolls instead of butter.  You can use 250g of dried chickpeas instead - soak overnight in water to cover and then cook over medium heat until soft, drain and use as the recipe suggests.

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tab Tahini (you can buy this from Safeway/Coles health food section or BAS Foods Victoria Street Brunswick near Victoria Funerals - I can buy for you if you like)
1 teas cumin powder
1 garlic clove, crushed
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teas chilli paste
1/2 tab olive oil
Water as needed for desired consistency

Place all ingredients in a food process and pulse until all combined.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Amira's Coconut, Apple and Almond Logs

A lovely alternative to the apple pie using cake as a base and topped with almonds.  A photo will follow soon !  (makes 12 small muffin size logs, can also be made into a cake)



2 cups self raising flour, sifted
1 cup sugar
1 cup coconut
1 lemon, zest only
1 teas bicard soda
4 eggs, lightly beaten
¾ cup vegi oil

Almond Topping
75g unsalted butter
45g caster sugar
1 ½ teas vanilla essence
185g flaked almonds
3 tab milk
770g can of pie apples

Cake Method:

1.                  Mix dry ingredients in bowl.
2.                  Beat eggs and oil together in another bowl.
3.                  Pour egg and oil mixture to dry ingredients.
4.                  Stir lightly and thoroughly together with wooden spoon – do not overmix or use electric beaters or cake will be tough.
5.                  Place ¾ of mixture in a bowl and use this to divide amongst 12 small logs.
6.                  Place apples in a large bowl and using a potato masher to mash.
7.                  Divide apples amongst the logs, top with the rest of the cake mixture, top with almond mixture.
8.                  Bake at 180oC – 40 minutes.

Almond Topping Method:

Place all ingredients in a medium size saucepan and stir over heat until butter has melted and sugar dissolved.  Stir all together until combined.

Amira's Crunchy Cake

Here's a lovely recipe with a crunchy middle and top.  Great with coffee and a chat or in that lunchbox.

(Makes medium size loaf)

2 eggs
¾ cup sugar
½ cup milk
½ cup sunflower oil
½ teaspoon vanilla essence
1 ¾ cups self raising flour, sifted

Crumble Middle and Topping
½ cup brown sugar
2 tab plain flour, sifted
2 teas cinnamon
40 grams unsalted butter, melted
½ cup walnuts, finely chopped


1.                  Preheat oven to 180oC (170oC fan-forced).
2.                  Grease and line a 11cm x 21 cm loaf pan and set aside.
3.                  In a large bowl mix with a balloon whisk eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla.  Add sifted flour alternatively with milk, stir gently with a wooden spoon. 
4.                  Place ½ cake mixture in pan, add ½ crumble mixture, top with the other half of cake then add the other ½ crumble mixture.
5.                  Bake in oven 180oC (170oC fan-forced) for 40 minutes or until cooked.


Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix with finger tips.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Spinach and Feta Triangles

I made these tonight, my mum taught me, she's an amazing cook, confident, fast and a **mashi halec** cook but everything still turns out right, just perfect !
If you understand Arabic you'll know what ** means and if not you can ask me :]


2 bunches of fresh spinach or 1 large bunch silverbeet
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tab olive oil
200g fetta cheese, Australian
100g fresh ricotta
3 eggs, beaten
2 tab of both fresh mint and parsley, finely chopped
Freshly ground pepper
1 pkt/375g filo pastry
½ cup oil, extra, and more if needed


1.                  First wash the spinach as follows:  fill the sink with cold water from the tap and as you chop the spinach put into the sink to wash.  Discard the thick white steams.  As you remove the washed leaves place in a large bowl.
2.                  In a large saucepan, fry onion in olive oil until soft, add garlic and continue to fry being careful not to burn the garlic.
3.                  Once onion mixture is ready add the washed spinach and stir to combine.  Place lid on the saucepan and cook over medium heat until spinach is wilted, pressing down with a fork and stirring to combine.  Continue to cook until all the water is absorbed and the mixture slightly dry.
4.                  Once spinach is completely cooked removed the spinach with tongs and place into a large bowl.  Allow to cool completely.
5.                  Once the spinach is cooled, add the crumbled fetta, ricotta, eggs, mint and parsley and pepper.  Mix with a fork until combined well, pressing the fetta and ricotta against the sides of the bowl to squash.
6.                  Preheat oven to 180oC (170oC fan forced).  Remove pastry from the packet and cut in half (from the short side to the other short side).  Take one half of the sheet and brush with extra oil.  With the longest side nearest you fold over ¾ of the way and then fold over the other ¼ against the ¾.
7.                  Add 1 tablespoon of the mixture along the shortest end nearest you and fold over the triangle, folding a triangle against another until the end of the strip of pastry.  Continue with all of the pastry and filling until all finished.
8.                  Place on a baking tray and brush the tops of all the pastry with olive oil.
9.                  Bake in oven for ½ hour or until browned on top.

Optional fillings:
-          Minced meat cooked with onion and garlic to which cooked veggies of your choice has been added.
-          Omit the spinach, onion, garlic, mint and parsley and pepper and then you can make fetta and ricotta triangles.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Amira's Cupcakes

Makes 12 medium size cupcakes


1 1/2 cups self raising flour, sifted
3/4 cups caster sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 teas vanilla essence
2 eggs, lightly beaten
125g margarine

1.         Preheat oven 180oC.
2.         Line cupcake pans with paper cases.
3.         In a large bowl, mix together flour and sugar until combined.
4.         Add milk, vanilla essence, eggs and margarine.  Mix with electric mixer until well combined.
5.         Fill cupcake mixture in paper cases 3/4 full.
6.         Bake at 180oC for 20 minutes or until cooked when a skewer comes out clean.

Philly or Butter Icing

1 cup icing mixture or pure icing, sifted
1 tab philly cheese or 1 tab margarine
dash of milk, keep adding bit by bit for a smooth consistency
tiny bit of pink or red food colouring
2 drops strawberry essence

Place all icing ingredients in bowl and beat with electric mixture or round spoon until smooth.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Amira's Baklava

Give this a go, it is so so yummy and easy to make.  My mum makes this without a recipe and so quickly, like most passionate baking mums.  She's my rock and inspiration.


1 ½ cup crushed walnuts
1 ½ cup crushed almonds
2 teas cardamom powder
1 teas cinnamon powder
½ cup sugar
1 egg white
1 packet (375g) filo pastry
100g unsalted butter, melted

2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 cinnamon stick
4 cloves
2 tab lemon juice


1.                  Preheat oven at 180oC (170oC fan forced).  In a large bowl mix together walnuts, almonds, cardamom powder, cinnamon powder and sugar.
2.                  Remove the filo pastry from its packet and lie flat on the work bench. Cover with a dry tea towel.  Working with one sheet at a time, brush melted butter on the surface, fold in half and add a layer, about 3 tablespoons of nut mixture along one edge to the other closest to you.  Roll up to enclose the filling and place log in appropriate size oven pan.  Repeat with all the other filo.
3.                  Place in oven and bake at 180oc (170oC fan forced) for 30 minutes.
4.                  Meanwhile while baklava is baking, make the syrup as follows.
5.                  Place in a medium size saucepan, sugar, water, cinnamon stick, cloves and lemon juice.  Cook over medium heat stirring occasionally until sugar has dissolved.  Continue to cook and boil until reduced and sticky.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
6.                  Once baklava has cooked, remove from oven and immediately pour the cooled syrup over the hot baklava.  Allow the baklava to soak up the syrup and cool.  Serve straight from the pan and then store the rest in an airtight container.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Pumpkin and Carrot Loaf

A lovely moist combination of pumpkin and carrots to enjoy especially right now while pumpkin is in season.


1 ½ cups s/r flour, sifted
1 teas dutch cinnamon
½ cup chopped walnuts
1 cup mashed pumpkin
1 cup grated carrot
125g unsalted butter melted with 1 cup brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup sultanas, optional


1.                  Preheat oven at 180oC.  Grease and line a small loaf pan.
2.                  In a large bowl mix together flour, cinnamon and pecan nuts. 
3.                  Add the pumpkin, carrot, butter mixed with brown sugar and the beaten egg.
4.                  Mix all together until just combined.
5.                  Bake in preheated oven for ½ hour or until cooked through.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Amira's Koulourakia (Greek Sesame Biscuits)

Here is my version of these delicious biscuits.  I add grated orange zest for a nice change from the traditional biscuits.  The recipe below makes a large quantity, so you may prefer to half the recipe.


500g unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
2 teas vanilla essence
6 eggs
Zest of 1 large orange
6 cups plain flour
6 teas baking powder
½ teas ground cinnamon
Traditional optional topping:
1 egg
Sesame seeds


1.                  Preheat oven at 180oC (170oC fan forced).
2.                  Cream butter and sugar until light, fluffy and creamy.
3.                  Beat eggs and add to butter mixture along with the vanilla essence and the orange zest.  Continue to beat until well combined.
4.                  Sift in dry ingredients and mix with a large wooden spoon.  Then mix by hand and knead dough until it all comes together smooth and non sticky.  If still sticky add more plain sifted flour.
5.                  Form small balls of dough the size of golf balls and roll out individually into long shape. 
6.                  Form the long shape into a twist and place on a baking pan lined with baking paper.   
7.                  Bake the biscuits at 180oC (170oC fan forced) for about 20 minutes or until cooked through and underside in brown.
8.                  Allow to cool on wire rack and then store in air tight container.
9.                  You can also do the following before baking these biscuits:  Brush the biscuits with beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds before baking.

Amira's Pizza Dough (updated)

I have updated this recipe to include the amount of hot to warm water to use.  Basically, it's 1 cup warm water for every 2 1/2 cups of plain flour.  You might find you will need more water but just play around with it and start with these measurements as a guide.  The water shouldn't be too hot to touch, just like having a hot shower.

Here is my recipe for my version of pizza dough, I have included a smaller version also.  Try also using spelt flour or wholemeal instead of plain white flour.  

Ingredients - makes 6 x 35cm pizzas

8 cups plain flour
3 tab dry yeast
2 tab sugar
2 teas salt
3 tab olive oil
approx 3 1/2 cups of warm water to make a soft, non sticky, pliable dough


Ingredients - makes 3 x 35cm pizzas

5 cups plain flour
1 1/2 tab dry yeast
1 tab sugar
1 teas salt
1 1/2 teas olive oil
approx 2 cups of warm water to make a soft, non sticky, pliable dough 

1.                  Sift the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Add the water, a cup at a time and then add oil.
2.         Mix the dry ingredients with the water until it comes together.
3.         Knead the dough onto a floured surface for about 5 minutes.  This produces the gluten to give the dough a lovely soft and spongy texture when cooked.
4.                  Allow to rest in the bowl in a warm place, to allow to rise to double the size, about 1 hour.
5.                  Remove from the bowl and knead again.  Roll out to fit into each pizza pan (lightly oiled).
6.                  Add topping of your choice.  We usually do the following simple topping:
Passata, sliced salami, olives, grated tasty cheese, drizzle with olive oil and then sprinkle with dried oregano.

Cook in a hot oven (210C) until puffed and cooked through.  ENJOY.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Anzac Biscuits

Today is ANZAC Day and there's no better day than today to bake a batch of these biscuits.  There are many variations and this is the one I used.  Adapted from "The Margaret Fulton Cookbook, The Australian Classic".  Hope you get a chance to bake a batch today... well with this rain it's the best day to stay indoors and enjoy with a cuppa.


1 cup rolled oats
¾ cup desiccated coconut
1 cup plain flour
1 cup sugar (I used ½ cup)
125g butter or margarine
1 tablespoon golden syrup
2 tablespoon boiling water
1 ½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda


1.                  Preheat oven to 150oC (140oC fan forced) and line a baking tray with baking paper.
2.                  In a large bowl mix together the oats, coconut, flour and sugar and set aside.
3.                  Melt the butter and golden syrup over a gentle heat, and then add the boiling water mixed with the bicarbonate of soda.  Pour into the mixed dry ingredients and blend well.
4.                  Form balls from the mixture and flatten between the palms of your hands.
5.                  Place on the baking tray and bake at 150oC (fan forced) for 20 mins or until brown. 
6.                  Biscuits will still be soft when they are ready but will harden as they cool.  Allow to cool on oven tray before storing in airtight container.

Sunday, April 22, 2012


We enjoyed these donuts after lunch today.  They do take some time as you need to allow the dough to prove twice but they are worth it.  I've been wanting to make these for a long time and so decided today was the day.


4 cups (600g) plain flour
2 teas bread improver (optional)
2 teas salt
2 tab sugar
2 tab yeast
300ml warm milk
100g butter
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Sunflower oil or Canola oil for deep frying
¾ cup caster sugar mixed with ¼ teas cinnamon powder for coating the donuts


1.                  In a large bowl mix together flour, bread improver, salt, sugar and yeast.
2.                  In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and then add milk and stir until heated through and warm.
3.                  Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and add the eggs, then add the milk and butter mixture.
4.                  Stir with a wooden spoon until it comes together and then tip dough onto a lightly floured bench and knead until smooth, for a couple of minutes.
5.                  Place the dough back into the bowl and allow to rest in a warm place for about 1 hour or until double in size.
6.                  Remove the dough from the bowl and knead for a couple more minutes.
7.                  Roll out to a flat disc of about 2cm and using a round cutter, cut out balls of dough.
8.                  Place the balls onto a Teflon or baking paper lined tray and allow to rest in a warm place until the balls have puffed up, about ½ hour.
9.                  Place the sugar and cinnamon in a large brown paper bag.
10.              Heat the sunflower oil in a medium saucepan until it reaches 180oC (using a cooking thermometer).
11.              Place the puffed balls in the oil, around 4 at a time, do not crowd the saucepan.  Turn when brown on each side and remove onto a plate lined with a paper towel.
12.              Place the warm donut in the sugar in the paper bag and shake the bag to coat the donut.
13.              Pipe jam or custard into the side of each donut.
14.              These are now ready to eat !

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Here is my attempt at Macarons ! And here is the recipe.


3 large egg whites – about 140g
85g (2/3 cup) almond meal
150g (1 ½ cups) pure icing sugar
65g (5 tab) caster sugar
Flavouring essence

2 cups icing sugar mixture
2 tab margarine
Flavouring essence


1.                  Day 1 - Before you start make sure the egg whites are at room temperature:  The egg whites should be “aged”.  This means allowing the egg whites to sit in a container on the bench for 24 hours (or less if time is limited).  If this is not possible, use the most oldest eggs you’ve got in the fridge.

2.                  Day 2 – Making the Macarons
Prepare the dry ingredients:  Sift the icing sugar in one bowl and the almond meal into another.  Resift both again and then sift together into one bowl.  Set this bowl aside.
3.                  Prepare the baking trays:  Using a round plastic milk bottle lid as a guide, draw circles on baking paper (this will line the baking trays to cook the macarons).  Set this aside until ready to pipe the macaron mixture.
4.                  Whisk the egg whites and sugar:  Place the egg whites in a large bowl and using the stand mixture or a hand held electric mixture, start beating the egg whites on low to medium speed until the egg whites are foamy.  Slowly add the caster sugar a tablespoon at a time until fully incorporated.  Continue beating until smooth and shiny and the sugar has dissolved in the egg whites.  You can test this by tasting the egg white and there’s no sugar granules present.  You can also test if the egg whites are ready by tipping the bowl upside down and that ensures the eggs are stiff enough, otherwise if it’s not it would be on the floor !
5.                  Now it’s time to add the dry mix:  Add all the almond and sugar mixture and using a rubber spatula fold the mixture together, in and around and up and down until it is thoroughly mixed through.  You will know you have mixed it well enough and ready for piping when the mixture feels like “volcano magna” or it forms a ribbon when dropped from the spatula and it stays as a ribbon for 30 seconds.
6.                  Now is the time for flavour and colouring as you prefer:  If you would like to make different colours, and flavours, divide the mixture into separate bowls and add the colours and flavours, a drop at a time.  It’s best to use colour pastes or powders for this as liquid powders can make the mixture too wet.
7.                  Pipe the macarons:  Insert a small nozzle into the piping bag and fill the bag with the mixture.  Turn the baking paper unside down so the penciled circles are underneath.  Pipe right into the centre of the circle but leave a small edge around the circle.  This will allow the macaron to spread later to the desired size.  Once you have completed piping, tap the tray a couple of times on the bench to get rid of any air bubbles.
8.                  Resting the macarons.  Allow the macarons to rest on the bench until dried.  To test touch with your finger and if it’s still sticky it needs more time but if its dry it’s ready to go into the oven.  This could take anywhere between ½ hour to 2 hours.
9.                  Preheat your oven at 150oC and when it’s reached that temperature you can place your macarons in the oven.
10.              Cook your macarons for about 15 minutes or until they are dry when you touch them.
11.              Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on the oven tray.  Once cooled removed from the tray and fill with the choice of your filling.

Filling - Buttercream
2 cups icing sugar mixture, sifted
2 tab margarine
Dash of milk
Flavouring and colouring

Mix all the ingredients together to form the consistency of the filling required.

Filling – Chocolate Ganache
¼ cup cream
75g dark chocolate
75g milk chocolate

Warm the cream in the microwave then add the chocolate and stir around until chocolate is coated with the cream.  Stir with the spoon until smooth.  Allow to cool until stiff.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Homemade Pasta !

More photos !

Homemade Pasta !

Today the boys and I made Homemade Pasta. We used 10 eggs and about 10 cups of plain flour and more. The boys have been hanging out to make these for ages and finally we did. They of course had 2 large serves with butter and cheese but I like it with fresh tomato sauce that I made. There was lots of flour everywhere but it was a fun day !

Stuffed Peppers

Here is a quick recipe for stuffed peppers. You can use any hollow vegetable you like, eg eggplant, zucchini, potato or even tomato. I don't have a real recipe. My beautiful mum just came around for lunch one Sunday and as i was getting lunch ready, I sat her down at the table with all the ingredients and she just did her thing without a recipe and produced this lovely side dish for us to enjoy. Give them a try and just adjust the ingredients to suit your taste.


Any hollow vegetables of your choice stuffed with the following
Uncooked rice
Minced meat
Tomato sauce/passata


Line the stuffed vegetables in an oven tray. Mix a little tomato sauce/passata together and add to the tray until the veggies are half covered. Cover with foil and place in the oven until all cooked. Remove the foil to dry up the sauce a little.

Amira's Strawberry/Nutella Swirl Scones

Here is a twist on the traditional scones with jam and cream. Enjoy with lots of kids and great now to have during school holidays. You can serve these just dusted with icing sugar or with a dollop of cream.


4 cups self-raising flour
2 tab castor sugar
150g cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
1 ¾ cups milk (may need a little more)
Enough strawberry jam or any other jam you prefer OR Nutella to use for filling


1. Preheat your oven to 200oC. Place baking paper onto large round baking pan.
2. Put the flour and sugar into a food processor and whiz them together to combine. Add the butter and process the mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs, then tip it into a bowl. (you can also do this by hand in a large bowl. Simply rub the butter chunks into the flour mixture with your fingertips.) Pour in the milk and mix it in lightly, cutting through it with a knife until it comes together. Do not overmix. Divide the mixture into 2.
3. Put one half onto a floured plastic dough sheet and roll out with a rolling pin, adding more flour to the dough and rolling pin to avoid it sticking. Roll out into a large disk until 2mm thick or approx 45cm wide all around. Transfer this large flat piece of dough onto a large baking pan and set aside. (You can do this by rolling the dough around the rolling pin and then unrolling it flat again.)
4. Repeat the process with the other half of the dough but leave it flat on the plastic dough sheet. Press the jam of your choice or the chocolate Nutella thinly onto this round disk of dough and then place the over round disk of dough on top, making it into a big sandwich. Using the rolling pin, lightly roll to press the two together enclosing the jam or Nutella.
5. From the longest end, roll the disk tightly into a swiss roll and then cut swirls about 5 cms along. Place onto lined baking pan, cut side up and about 5mm apart. Bake in moderate oven 200oC for 20 minutes.
6. Remove from oven and let it sit for 10 minutes before sprinkling with icing sugar.

Serve just as it is or with whipped cream.


Kourabiethes (Greek Shortbread Biscuits)

If you love buttery, melt in your mouth biscuits, you'll love these. They're so easy to make and your can substitute walnuts for roasted almonds.


1 cup icing sugar
500g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
¼ cup brandy
1 cup oil (“Moro” extra light olive oil or Canola Oil or Sunflower oil)
3 cups self raising flour
3 cup plain flour
1 cup cornflour
1 ½ cups walnuts, chopped


1. Preheat oven 180oC. Line baking trays with baking paper.
2. Combine butter, oil, icing sugar and brandy in a large bowl and mix with electric mixer until light and very creamy. Mix for about 5 minutes.
3. Add self raising flour, plain flour, cornflour and walnuts.
4. Mix all together and bring together flatten on the bench.
5. Cut into crescent shape and bake in oven 180oC for 20 minutes or until brown underneath.
6. When cool, coat in icing sugar.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Ma'amoul (Lebanese Easter Biscuits)

(Makes 130 – 140 biscuits approx)

A couple of us gorgeous girls got together and made these scrumptious Lebanese Easter Biscuits. It was a real community affair, we felt like we were in Lebanon with the smell of rose water and orange blossom and the kitchen table full of ingredients and nuts, a little belly dance and Lebanese music just made it feel so real. To make authentic ma’amoul you will need to purchase a ma’amoul mould available from a Middle Eastern grocer. Some of the ingredients below, eg semolina and mahelpi are also available from a Middle Eastern grocer. You will need to begin this recipe the night before and I’ve specified this in the recipe.

I hope you enjoy reading (and one day attempting) this recipe for Ma’amoul, we certainly enjoyed making them and eating them too !


3 kilo fine semolina
3 kilo coarse (medium) semolina
3 teaspoons ground nutmeg
3 teaspoons mahlepi
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 kilo unsalted butter, softened in microwave
2 coffee cups (Italian size) rose water
2 coffee cups (Italian size) orange blossom water
2 teaspoons dry yeast
5 - 6 cups of lukewarm water (approx)
1 kilo pure icing sugar
“old fashion” greaseproof paper (for wrapping walnut ma’amoul)

Date Filling
1 kilo pitted dates
½ cup sugar
200g unsalted butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Walnut & Pistachio Filling
1 kilo walnuts
250g pistachio
2 cups caster sugar


Day 1 (the night before)

1. Semolina Dough: In a very, very large bowl mix both semolina together. Add nutmeg, mahlepi and baking powder. Add butter a little at a time and mix together with your hands, rubbing between both hands and making sure all the semolina is mixed thoroughly with the butter. With your hands pattern a “sign of the cross” over the semolina dough and allow to rest on the bench over night, bowl covered with a damp tea towel.
2. Date Filling: Melt pitted, chopped dates in a medium saucepan with unsalted butter, sugar and cinnamon, mixed until soft. When soft mash together using a potato masher. Pour the date mixture into a slice pan and allow to cool over night in the fridge.
3. Walnut Filling: Crush the walnuts and pistachio and add to the large bowl. Mix together with sugar.

Day 2

1. Preheat oven 180oC. Line baking trays with baking paper.
2. Remove dates from fridge.
3. To the bowl of mixed nuts add sugar, rose water and orange blossom water.
4. Using a large mug dissolve yeast in ¾ cups of the lukewarm water, stirring with a spoon. Pour the yeast mixture over semolina mixture, across the “sign of the cross” in the bowl. Mix all together ensuring the whole mixture is coated with the yeast mixture. Continue to add more lukewarm water to the semolina mixture until a dough consistency is formed and a ball of dough can be formed (very large walnut size), holding it’s shape and without falling apart. You can also check consistency by flattening the ball of dough in the palm of your hands checking that it holds its shape readying for filling.
5. Now you are ready to fill the ma’amoul. You will grab a large walnut size piece of dough and flatten slightly between both hands. Grab either a teaspoon of date mixture or a teaspoon of nut mixture and place in the middle of the flattened dough. Close the dough together and bring together as a ball again. Place the filled ball into the ma’amoul mould and flatten to encase the mould, ensuring the pattern underneath the mould will be obtained onto the dough from underneath. Turn the mould over onto an old chopping board and bang hard on the board to release the filled dough.
6. Place the ma’amoul onto the baking sheet about ½ cm apart and baking in preheated oven at 180oC for about 20 minutes or until the underside is lightly browned.
7. Once cooked remove the ma’amoul and place on a wire rack to cool.
8. Coating the walnut filled ma’amoul with icing sugar. Traditionally this is only done to the walnut/pistachio ma’amoul. Place icing sugar in a large tray and individually coat each walnut filled ma’amoul with icing sugar until fully coated.
9. Wrapping the walnut filled ma’amoul with greaseproof paper. Take a 22cm x 24cm piece of greaseproof paper and lay flat on the bench. Turn the paper so that you can see it as a diamond shape. Take a ma’amoul and place in the middle of the diamond. Take the top point of the diamond and cover the ma’amoul. Looking at the covered ma’amoul, take the top right part of the greaseproof paper and start twisting the paper all around the edge of the ma’amoul until the whole ma’amoul is covered, tucking the end of the greaseproof paper under the ma’amoul.
10. Store the ma’amoul in an airtight container to keep fresh.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Amaretti Biscuits

Taken from the website:

Finally, I've attempted to make this biscuits ! I've always like almonds and these are fat free also. You can place a glaze cherry on top of each biscuit instead of an almond.

Makes approx 25 biscuits.


2 egg whites
125g almond meal
1 cup caster sugar
¼ cup sifted plain flour
Vanilla essence
Whole almonds for decoration
 Heat oven to 180C
 Place all ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat together for
5 minutes.
 Allow mixture to rest for another 5 minutes.
 Place the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a wide nozzle.
 Pipe small mounds onto trays lined with baking paper and place an
almond or cherry in the centre of each biscuit.
 Bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned.
 Remove from oven and cool slightly before placing on racks.

Flourless Orange and Almond Cake (updated 21/4/12)

The picture does not do justice to this cake but for all those gluten-free people - a lovely moist cake to enjoy with a cuppa.


2 large oranges
250 grams sugar
250grams ground almonds
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 eggs

Boil the oranges whole with skin in water for 1 ½ hours. Drain off the water and blen the oranges in food processor, remember to remove any pips. Add all the remaining ingredients and thoroughly mix with the orange pulp.

Bake in preheated oven in 23 cm spring form tin (greased & lined), 200oC for 1 hour.
Remove from oven and let sit on the bench for 5 minutes before removing onto wire rack to cool

Serve with chocolate sauce (optional):

Orange Sauce

200g Dark Chocolate
200ml Cream
2 tablespoons Gran Mariner Liquor

On a gentle heat in a saucepan melt chocolate and cream together, add Gran Mariner and mix. Serve warm on top of cake.


Instead of serving this cake with Dark Chocolate Sauce, you can drizzle the cake with this orange syrup as follows:

Orange Syrup
(taken from

1 cup caster sugar
½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice (I used 2 small oranges)
 ½ cup water

Method Combine sugar, juice and water in a small saucepan, stir over a low heat until sugar dissolves, then increase heat to medium and boil (don’t stir!) for 10-15 minutes until syrupy. Allow to cool down to warm. When the cake comes out of the oven wait 10mins and then poke holes using a skewer. Pour the syrup all around the cake allowing it to soak up the syrup. Allow the cake to cool in its tin before removing to a serving platter. You might find that you don't need to use all of the syrup.