Donna Hay rum & raisin Christmas cookies

19 Dec

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These are the cookies Santa is waiting for each Christmas Eve as he frantically makes his journey across the planet on his sleigh.

Rich, chunky, chocolatey and with a hint of rum they will give Mr Claus a much needed energy fix to help him keep on keeping on. The oats will help his cholesterol levels after all those other treats he has snacked on during his journey and the rum will soothe his weary bones. Continue reading

The best custard from scratch

14 Dec

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At Christmas you NEED this recipe in your repertoire. At Easter you need it. Heck, I doubt you’ll ever regret learning how to make the easiest, most luscious vanilla-speckled custard from scratch (unless you are a custard fan and this recipe pushes you into full blown addiction).

I have tried many, many custard recipes over the years and I can say, hand on heart, that this is the easiest and best. It is true and real and the sort of finishing touch that desserts such as apple pie, crumble or even just ice-cream benefits from.

As well as tasting incredible it is faff-free and easy as 1 2 3. It will thicken on standing.

It is from the BBC online food section.

Freeze the unneeded egg whites and use next time you are making pavlova or meringue.

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GATHER:

2 large free-range egg yolks

2 teaspoons cornflour

25 grams caster sugar

½ tsp good-quality vanilla extract

250ml milk

250ml double cream (I used thickened cream as it was in the fridge and it turned out perfectly)

LET’S GET TO  IT: 

Put the egg yolks in a medium saucepan with the cornflour and sugar. Add the vanilla extract, and use a metal whisk to combine all the ingredients.

Gradually whisk in the milk and cream then place the pan over a low heat and cook gently for 6-8 minutes, whisking constantly, until smooth and thick (do not allow the custard to boil.)

Remove from the heat and stir for another minute or two.

When it has cooled pour into a jug, cover with plastic wrap and leave in fridge until needed.

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Home-made berry and meringue ice-cream

7 Dec

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As I’ve mentioned before, summer and I are not friends. I don’t like heat, humidity, flies, insects, sweating. Obviously I shouldn’t be living in steamy Sydney but here I am. And as much as I adore baking it is sometimes just too damn hot to turn the oven.

That’s where this beauty of a dessert comes in. I found the recipe in a back issue of the wonderful delicious magazine and had, serendipitously, made meringues a few days earlier. Continue reading

Christmas chocolate peppermint squares

1 Dec

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I admit: chocolate peppermint is my least favourite flavour combo. I know, I know – I can hear your howls of protests from here. This unorthodox position has lead to at least two people questioning the fact that we could possibly be friends. On the plus side, I am the best person to share a box of choc with, as I will insist that you have the peppermint filling. No really – it is all yours…

These squares, or slice as we Antipodeans call it, are chock full of pepperminty pleasure. You can, of course, adjust the mintiness by adding more or less flavouring. Continue reading

Donna Hay Christmas cinnamon sugar cookies / biscuits

24 Nov

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Ho ho ho – it is getting very close to all that is festive… the ‘where has the year gone?’ conversations, the ‘what am I going to buy Aunty Carol?’ questions, the musings on when to bake to avoid the heat of the day…

Here in Sydney December is always a bazillion degrees. Often humid, too. And very often followed by a thunderstorm late in the day. As I type we are experiencing a house-shaking, sky-piercing, ear-throbbing thunder and lightening spectacular.

I used a snowflake cutter to make these cookies / biscuits as it is the newest member of my constantly expanding cookie cutter collection. We don’t get snow, so I don’t understand the fascination with all things frozen. Having said that, I’m not sure what a Southern Hemisphere festive-season cutter would be shaped like – a sun? A huge fly? A sunburnt tourist on Bondi Beach?

Maybe we’ll stick with tradition then…

Continue reading

How to make chocolate dessert cake

17 Nov

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So the internet is awash with chocolate cake recipes. Dark chocolate cake. Flourless chocolate cake. Fudgy chocolate cake. Full fat with whipped cream chocolate cake. Low fat chocolate cakes. Mud cake. Chocolate and fruit/nuts/booze/ cake.

In my time I have baked and eaten many, many chocolate cakes. Many are not worthy of the time or calories. Often they are insipid. Or dry. Or forgettable.

This is the chocolate cake that you have been waiting for.

Continue reading

Donna Hay honey cake recipe

10 Nov

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Sometimes you want an easy-to-throw together cake that isn’t vanilla or chocolate. Sometimes you have a pantry full of honey as every time you’re at a fair or farmers market and you see another variety of honey you just can’t help yourself and end up buying yet another jar. Sometimes you just want to watch the hypnotic sensation of honey oozing from a spoon and falling lushly into a bowl of cake batter. Or maybe that’s just me.  Continue reading

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