Monthly Archives: July 2010

Portuguese Custard Tarts

There is something special about Portuguese Custard Tarts.

They’re not the prettiest, or most sophisticated dessert to look at. In fact, they’re quite rustic and plain, but they more than make up for it in taste. Forget American Pie, they should have made a movie franchise called Portuguese Custard Tart. I would have been there in a heartbeat.

I’ve scoured the net for a good recipe and truth be told, they’re all very similar with minor exceptions here and there, but the one I settled on was from a Bill Granger recipe, posted on Not Quite Nigella.

This recipe serves 12 apparently….or just me, with that glint in my eye and a lick of the lips.


  • 3 egg yolks
  • 115g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 230ml Cream
  • 170ml Milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 300g rolled puff pastry


  1. Lightly grease a 12-hole 80ml muffin tray.
  2. Put the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour in a pan and whisk together. Gradually whisk in the cream and milk until smooth.
  3. Place the pan over a medium heat and cook, stirring, until the mixture thickens and comes to the boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Transfer the custard to a bowl, cover the surface with cling film to prevent a skin forming and leave to cool.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200C.
  5. Cut the pastry dough sheet in half, put one half on top of the other and set aside for 5 minutes. Roll up the pastry tightly from the short end and cut the pastry log into 12 x 1cm rounds. Lay each pastry round on a lightly floured surface and use a rolling pin to roll out until each is 10cm in diameter. (*I’m not sure why we do this, but I noticed a lot of recipes had this same step, so I’ll roll with it, so to speak)
  6. Press the pastry rounds into the muffin tin. Spoon the cooled custard into the pastry cases and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the pastry and custard are golden. Leave the tarts in the tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe Source

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Posted by on July 13, 2010 in Devilish Desserts, Sinful snacks


Choc-Peppermint Brownies

The Husband goes mad for the combination of chocolate and mint. Personally, I have trouble separating the idea of mint in desserts from my toothpaste, but having said that, I do occasionally enjoy the combination too. Especially those choc-peppermint Drumsticks. Evil!

I picked a basic brownie recipe and added peppermint essence and the tiniest amount of some grated Peppermint Crisp chocolate, which would also be delicious sprinkled on top. It was either going to be peppermint, or jaffa-flavoured brownies, with some beautiful orange rind grated into the mix. I topped my brownies with a basic ganache.


  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 200g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 3 eggs, lightly whisked
  • 1/2 cup dark choc bits
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 /2 tbsp peppermint essence
  • 1/4 of a Peppermint Crisp chocolate bar, grated *optional


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a 20cm square cake tin with non-stick baking paper.
  2. Melt butter and chocolate together in a medium saucepan over low heat. Stir in brown sugar and vanilla.
  3. Add flour and eggs and beat with a wooden spoon until well combined. Add peppermint essence and Peppermint Crisp. Stir in choc bits and nuts. Combine well.
  4. Pour into prepared tin and smooth surface. Bake for 40 minutes until set. Remove from oven. Cool in tin for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack.
  5. After the slab has cooled, spread with ganache and cut into squares. Place a toasted walnut on each piece. Alternatively, you could sprinkle with grated Peppermint Crisp chocolate or dust with cocoa powder.

Recipe adapated from here.

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Posted by on July 11, 2010 in Devilish Desserts, Sinful snacks


Quick & Easy Lunch: Garlic Pita Pizza & Fattoush-Inspired Salad

Today’s quick and easy lunch earned a blog post purely because it was so delish, I will be making it again and wanted to note down the recipe. Now there’s no need to try and jazz this up, it’s a simple meal, nothing flash or sophisticated. It’s a perfect work lunch, or even a light post-work dinner. I dare say, you could probably even get the kids to eat it, or at least help make the pita pizzas. Quick, easy and tasty, that’s my mantra.

The salad was inspired by the flavours of a fattoush salad, but I made a few changes and served my pita crisps separately as opposed to in the salad. This recipe served 2 with a little salad to spare and a few pita crisps shared with my fur babies.


For the pizza

  • 2 pieces of pita bread (*if you’re health conscious, you can definitely use the wholemeal stuff)
  • 1- 2 cups pizza sauce (*you can make your own with a bit of tomato paste/passata, onion, garlic, basil & oregano or buy a good pre-made one)
  • 1  tablespoon minced garlic (*I use mine from a jar, alternatively you can finely chop 1 clove of garlic)
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1-2 cups of mozzarella cheese, (depending on how cheesy you want it)

For the salad

  • 1 piece of pita bread
  • 1/2 cucumber, sliced sideways, chopped
  • 1/2 tomato, chopped
  • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup red cabbage, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 cup red capsicum
  • 1/2 cup green capsicum
  • 1/3 cup mint leaves
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice


  • Preheat oven to 180C.
  • Cut 1 slice of pita bread into small wedges. Spray with cooking spray, sprinkle with cumin powder, salt and pepper and pop it in the oven to cook until golden and crispy.
  • Meanwhile, spread another piece of pita bread with a thin layer of pizza sauce. ‘Glue’ the second piece of pita bread on top. Spread with another, more generous layer of pizza sauce. Spread with minced garlic and then sprinkle with dried oregano and parsley leaves.
  • Top with mozzarella cheese and then bake in the oven long enough for the cheese to melt and go golden and for the base to crisp up.
  • Meanwhile, prep your salad: combine all the salad ingredients into a bowl. Combine olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a separate bowl, stir to combine and then pour over your salad, ensuring you mix it through well.
  • When the pita crisps are ready, remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
  • When the pizza is ready, slice it immediately and serve alongside the salad and pita crisps.
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Posted by on July 11, 2010 in Luscious Lunches


Rosemary Chicken and Mushroom Risotto

I’ve been eating a lot of risotto lately. I’m not sure why because I was never mad about if before, but suddenly I’m craving it all the time- maybe as an excuse to perfect my technique?

Risotto is traditionally supposed to be served with a very wet ‘soupy’ texture, but in the interests of trying to get The Husband to eat it, I cooked mine down a little further- he flat out refuses to eat soupy, sloppy rice. The same way I refuse to pick up his socks. It’s a Mexican stand-off of epic proportions.

I think it’s hard to make a chicken and mushroom risotto look good with the whole shades of brown thing going on and with no good daylight left, I was stuck with down lights only, so my most humble apologies. In my opinion, nothing looks as flash as a bright orange pumpkin risotto. That’s the only risotto that stands any chance of looking great in a photo.


2 tbsp olive oil

1 small shallot or brown onion, chopped finely

1 clove of garlic, chopped finely

1 chicken breast, cut into small pieces

150g mushrooms, sliced

1/4 cup leek, white part only, sliced finely

1 bacon rasher, cut into the tiniest little pieces you can manage

1/2 flat leaf parsley, chopped roughly

2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped roughly

2 cups arborio rice

4 cups chicken stock, hot

1/2 cup white wine

Shaved parmesan


  1. Heat  1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan over medium heat and add chicken, cook for a few minutes until chicken is well-browned. Remove from pan and set aside.
  2. Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the same pan and cook onion, garlic, mushrooms, leek and bacon until the onion is soft and translucent and the bacon is that yummy golden, crispy sort of texture.
  3. Add the herbs and stir through before adding the arborio rice. Stir with the onion and mushroom mix until the rice grains are well coated with oil, then add 1 cup of chicken stock and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally until the rice has absorbed the liquid.
  4. Continue to add chicken stock, 1 cup at a time until the rice has absorbed the liquid.
  5. As you add the last cup of chicken stock, also add the white wine and some shaved parmesan (not too much, save it for serving up).
  6. The risotto should be ready when the rice is cooked, but not mushy and a traditional risotto is supposed to be soupy in texture with a lot of reserve liquid.
  7. Serve the risotto immediately, you can drop in a knob of butter for that glistening, silky finish and stir through some fresh parsley. Shave some parmesan over the top.

Banana Nut & Cinnamon Muffins

Muffins are so quick and easy to whip up, I really must ask myself why I don’t make them more often. They don’t need to look perfect and there’s no mucking about with icing or the prettiness that comes with cupcakes. With so many different flavour combinations and the option to make sweet or savoury muffins, they make a great on-the-run brekkie, perfect after-school snack for the kids or a naughty lil’ sump sump (I can’t believe I just said that) before bed.

These muffins were made with an overripe banana, toasted Brazil nuts, cinnamon and brown sugar for that glittering crunchy finish on top- the best part. I have a feeling that coconut would have gone really well with these muffins as well…maybe next time.

My two dogs were all over me trying to get at these muffins…


  • 2 1/2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, plus extra for sprinkling at the end
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 90g butter, melted
  • 1 overripe banana, mashed
  • 2 tbsp Brazil nuts, toasted, chopped
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon powder


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Lightly grease a 6-hole, 3/4-cup capacity non-stick muffin pan. I used silicon moulds.
  2. Sift flour into a bowl. Add brown sugar and stir to combine. Make a well in the centre. Combine milk, egg and butter. Pour milk mixture into the well.
  3. Add mashed banana, nuts and cinnamon. Using a large metal spoon, stir until just combined (don’t over-mix- this is why it’s a perfect recipe for newbies or kids just starting out, you can’t really screw it up
  4. Spoon mixture into muffin holes until three-quarters full. Sprinkle with brown sugar.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan for 1 minute. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

Crepes with Strawberries & Grand Marnier

I don’t usually have a sweet tooth believe it or not. I prefer more savoury flavours, yet I married a man loves sweets and sugar and I’m pretty sure that when he dies, his body will crystalise into a great big lump of sugar.

This week, as you might remember, I’ve been on annual leave from work, so have been in that kitchen like a good little slave housewife cooking all sorts of yummy things from the produce we got from the local farmer’s market. We were onto our last batch of organic strawberries, so I decided to make some crepes with some of those delicious strawberries.

I’ve added Grand Marnier to mine, of course it is completely optional if you prefer you desserts (and men) non-alcoholic.


  • 1 punnet ripe strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp Grand Marnier *optional
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • Water, as required


  1. Pour Grand Marnier and 1/4 cup of sugar over strawberries in a bowl. Stir gently to combine. Set aside while making the crepes to allow that delish flavour to macerate the strawberries.
  2. Whisk together the flour, eggs, butter, milk and remaining sugar in another bowl until the mixture is smooth. Add water, a little at a time, until the batter is the consistency of heavy cream. The batter needs to be thin so when you pour it into your pan it will spread easily.
  3. Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Spray the pan with cooking spray or drop in a small knob of butter if you’re keen on having that heart attack sooner rather than later.
  4. Using a ladle, spoon some of the batter into the pan.  Immediately lift the pan and swirl the batter around so it coats the bottom of the pan evenly. When the batter stops moving and is starting to set, put the pan back on the stove.
  5. In about 30 seconds, the edges of the crepe will begin to lift slightly and turn golden.  Flip the crepe carefully with a spatula. Cook briefly on the second side until lovely and golden.
  6. To serve, start with a flat crepe, spoon macerated strawberries on top and drizzle some of the Grand Marnier and strawberry juice that has leached out into the bowl. Fold the crepe in half, then again until it forms a triangle and serve ASAP, with a bit of whipped cream or even ice-cream if that tickles your fancy.

Posted by on July 4, 2010 in Devilish Desserts


Porridge with Banana, Strawberries, Honey & Almonds

I’m two weeks into a month of blessed annual leave and I have to say, apart from the obvious benefit of not having to go into work, I’ve noticed that the change has also reflected in my diet.

I’m eating healthier, without even making an effort or putting too much thought into it and I’m even having breakfast every day, something I found impossible to do while working. There was never enough time in the mornings and makeup and fluffy hair took precedence over a nutritious breakfast. Breakfast, on the odd occasion I did have it during the week was something regrettable from the cafe at work.

So I’ve been enjoying the chilly mornings, watching the sun come up and paint the hills a lustrous green, playing with the dogs and basking in their happiness at having me around while enjoying a simple breakfast everyday.

Today it was warm porridge with beautiful fresh bananas, strawberries and honey from the farmers markets and crunchy slivered almonds. The photos are going to have to go into the gallery of regrettable shots, but let me assure you, it was totally yum.

This recipe serves 2.


  • 1/2 cup instant oats
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 ripe banana, sliced
  • 4 strawberries, sliced
  • 2 tbsp slivered almonds
  • 2tbsp honey
  • 1 1/4 tsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla sugar
  • extra milk, to serve


  1. Place oats, milk and cinnamon in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to the boil. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until mixture is thick and creamy.
  2. Place honey, vanilla sugar and almonds in a small, non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until heated through. Add banana and strawberries. Toss to coat.
  3. Divide oat mixture between bowls. Top with banana and strawberry topping. Serve with extra milk.
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Posted by on July 1, 2010 in Beautiful Brekkies

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