Tag Archives: vanilla

Donna Hay rum & raisin Christmas cookies

19 Dec


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


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. Continue reading

Chocolate raspberry bread & butter pudding

3 Aug


Despite being Sydney born and bred I am a winter gal through and through. The cool air, the fabulous clothes and the amazing winter fare is my kind of lifestyle. Forget frolicking at the beach or being burnt to a crisp – give me the great indoors, a fire and some cookbooks and I’m in hog heaven.
Of all the winter foods my favourite to cook and eat must be puddings. Despite not having an overly sweet tooth I am always drawn to puddings: self-saucing, gooey, oozy numbers are what the cold weather is all about. Wand when it comes to a hearty dessert to make you happy to be alive it is hard to go past a bread and butter pud.


Australian blogger and writer Kate Gibbs’ recipe for choc raspberry bread and butter pudding, from her book After Toast, had my name on it: I had a stale loaf of chunky white bread and due to shopping miscommunication about 8 litres of milk in the fridge.
I made a few tweaks including the amount of eggs and milk and omitting jam that was used on the bread slices.

8 thick slices of good quality white bread
Enough butter to generously butter bread with
150g fresh or frozen raspberries
1/3 cup dark choc bits / buttons/ roughly chopped chocolate
3 eggs
2 cups milk
Good splash best quality vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon sugar plus extra for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 180C .
Cut bread into small rectangles or triangles then butter each piece on one side.
Arrange in shallow ovenproof dish and scatter with half the raspberries and all of the chocolate. Cover with remaining bread.
In a large jug whisk eggs until frothy then beat in milk, vanilla and cinnamon.
Pour over bread and scatter over remaining berries.
Stand for 15 minutes.
Sprinkle over the extra sugar, cover with baking paper and bake for 20 minutes. Remove paper and bake for another 15.
Serve warm.


Lemon and vanilla madeleines

30 Jun


Not only is Madeline the name of some of our very best friend’s daughters, but also the name of a delightfully light sweet morsel.

Continue reading

Delicious caramel surprise vanilla cupcakes via the Eat Sweet blog

3 Jul


Blog hopping is my favourite waste of time lately and I especially love seeing what all those creative baking-types are up. I recently stumbled across the oh-so-pretty eat sweet blog and swooned when I saw her jersey caramel chocolate cupcakes. I knew I had to make them so it was off to the shops for a bag of these delicious, so very sweet lollies. I made my cakes vanilla, rather than the original chocolate, although I reckon choc and caramel is always a winning combination.


Continue reading

Just a quickie: warm vanilla cupcakes with chocolate & melted marshmallows

10 Jun


Oh my, this is good. It isn’t often you can quote Homer Simpson in baking but his line in relation to his Flaming Homer cocktail, ‘fire made it good’, can definitely be applied here.

First step: vanilla cupcakes. I’ve been making these babies, courtesy of Australia Women’s Weekly’s ‘Quick Mix Cakes’ book, for yonks. They are one bowl, delicious, fail-proof and never last long! They are hardy enough to withstand being made by little helpers, too. I’ve tweaked the recipe.

As usual I dress my cupcakes with Donna Hay’s dark chocolate glaze which I have blogged about previously.

But here’s the trick: make the cupcakes, allow to cool completely before dressing with the choc glaze. Stud with mini marshmallows. Then, place under the grill [broiler] for a few seconds. Keep an eye on them cause the marshmallow will melt quickly. Eat. And eat and eat. Oh, baby…




125g diced butter at room temperature

good splash vanilla

½ cup caster sugar

2 eggs

1  ½ cups self raising flour

½ cup milk


Preheat oven to 170C and line 2x 12 hole patty pans with liners.

Place everything in the bowl of electric mixer and blend until all combined and smooth.

Place in party pans and bake until golden 17-ish minutes.

Cool on wire racks.

Meanwhile, make the glaze:

Melt 150g best quality dark chocolate with ½ cup pouring cream in a small pan over low heat, stirring until melted and smooth. Stand for 20 minutes to thicken.

Spread thickly on cold cakes and immediately add mini marshmallows.

Place under a preheated grill until the marshmallows melt and bubble.