Posted in Cooking

Q: Quince and Berry Crumble

I was looking through my posts, and I knew I was missing something. I had completely forgotten to post for the letter Q! I nearly completely ruined my foodie challenge with a simple slip of the mind. I blame the hectic nature of my workplace over the last couple of weeks. But crisis averted! All I needed to do was shuffle a couple of posts around, and ensure that I still knew the correct order of the alphabet, and we are back on track to finish this foodie challenge nice and strong!

Yield: 6 serves

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 1.5 hours poaching, 45 minutes cooking, plus cooling time

What you need:


  • 750mL water
  • 165g caster sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1kg quinces (this is about 2 large quinces)


  • 185g butter, softened
  • 165g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 335g self raising flour
  • 180mL milk
  • 300g frozen berries
  • 2 tsp cornflour


  • 110g plain flour
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 110g brown sugar
  • 100g butter, diced
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

What you do:

  1. Combine the water, sugar, cinnamon stick and lemon in a medium saucepan over a low heat. Stir until the sugar dissolved.
  2. Peel, core, and cut the quinces into eighths.
  3. Add the quince to the saucepan and bring to the boil.
  4. Lower the heat and simmer, covered for 1.5 hours. Until the quince is tender and rosy in colour.
  5. Cool to room temperature in the saucepan.
  6. Strain the quince, and save the syrup. Keep in separate containers until needed later.


  1. Line a 23cm square cake tin with baking paper.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined after each addition.
  4. Carefully stir in the flour and milk in two batches. Be wary not to over beat.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake at 180°C for 25 minutes.


  1. Meanwhile, add all the crumble ingredients in a food processor, and pulse until combined.


  1. Remove the cake from the oven, it will not be cooked through. Keep the oven switched on.
  2. Toss the frozen berries in the cornflour.
  3. Top the cake with the drained quince, frozen berries, and crumble mixture.
  4. Put back in the oven and bake for another 20 minutes.
  5. Allow the cake to stand for 5 minutes before allowing to cool completely on a wire rack.
  6. Serve warm, topped with the reserved quince syrup.
    Q- Quince and Berry Crumble
Posted in Cooking

P: Pandan Chiffon Cake

I am loving this! I am proud of my dedication to stick to this challenge. To be honest, I had a friend who challenged me to make this cake years ago. I spent a long time looking for the pandan paste needed to make this recipe, then it kind of stopped. The pandan paste sat unused in my cupboard for a while then this challenge started. I already know when we started what I would be doing for the letter “P”.

Please note that there is a fairly specific pan for pandan chiffon cake, it is called a Chiffon Tube. However, I used a bunt tin just fine, and was able to produce 2 cakes instead of one.

Yield: 1 x 25cm cake

Prep Time: 20 minutes, plus cooling time

Cooking Time: 45 minutes

What you need:

  • 6 large egg yolks, seperated
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 115mL sunflower oil
  • 140mL coconut milk
  • 2tsp vanilla extract
  • 1tsp pandan paste
  • 200g plain flour
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2tsp white vinegar

What you do:

  1. In a large bowl whisk together the egg yolks and the first 100g of caster sugar at high speed until pale and fluffy.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the oil, coconut milk, vanilla extract, and pandan paste together.
  3. Pour the pandan mixture into the whipped egg yolks, and continue to whip for  30 seconds until combined. Be sure not to over mix.
  4. Sift in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix for 1 minute, again being conscious not to over mix. Set aside.
  5.  In a separate bowl, add the egg whites and whisk on high until foamy, approximately 1 minute.
  6. Add the vinegar and continue to whisk for 30 seconds.
  7. Turn the speed to low, and slowly add the remaining caster sugar.
  8. Turn the speed to high, and whisk until it just reaches stiff peaks, approximately 3 minutes. Be very careful not to over whisk, otherwise your cake will be lumpy.
  9. Take 1/3 of the meringue and mix into the pandan batter.
  10. Add in the remaining meringue and gently fold until just combined.
  11. Give the bowl a sharp tap on the bench to get rid of any air bubbled trapped in the batter.
  12. Heat the oven to 170°C.
  13. Slowly pour the batter into the chiffon pan.
  14. Use a chopstick or skewer to swirl the cake mix around the pan, and remove any remaining air bubbles.
  15. Level the top of the cake with a spatula so it is smooth.
  16. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
  17. Lower the temperature to 130°C and bake for a further 25 minutes.
  18. Remove from the oven immediately.
  19. Place a bowl upside down on a cooling rack, and position the tin up side down on the bowl. The middle funnel of the cake tin should centre on the bottom of the bowl.
  20. Cover with a towel, and allow to cool in this position completely.
  21. Use a thin sharp knife to help unmold the cake.
  22. Cut into slices with a serrated knife, and serve.
  23. Delicious with a nice hot cup of matcha latte.



Posted in Cooking

O: Okra Stew – Bamia

This letter… boy did this letter stump me! I KNEW that when I got to the letter O that I wanted to do Okra. I tried to describe this food to people, the best I could come up with was a green, fuzzy feeling, star shaped cucumber slash bean which get gooey when cooked. Not the most appealing description.

I attempted to use this in a polenta pancake style recipe… it bombed! Some of my lovely ladies said they enjoyed it, I however wasn’t the biggest fan, and refused to blog something I was only half happy with. So here I am again, trying two new okra recipes, and now I am ready to post the best of the best!

This is a recipe for Okra Stew. It is an Arabic recipe, that is otherwise known as Bamia. This is usually also made with diced beef, however I made it without as I was wanting a vegetarian recipe. I will give you the traditional recipe below, simply remove the beef for a vegetarian recipe.

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 60 minutes

What you need:

  • 500g okra, tips and ends cut off, sliced in half lengthways, given time to dry
  • 500g diced beef
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp all spice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup of chopped coriander

What you do:

  1. Prepare a baking pan with baking paper, spread the okra and cubed beef evenly on the paper.
  2. Sprinkle with oil, and place under a hot grill for 5 – 10 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  3. Meanwhile, saute the onions, garlic, salt, pepper, and all spice in oil, in a heavy based deep pan.
  4. Add water and stir, bring to the boil. Lower the heat, and cover. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Add the browned okra and beef to the pan.
  6. Add the tomato and coriander. Mix and cover, allow to simmer until the okra and beef are tender.
  7. Serve with a side of your favourite rice.


Posted in Cooking

Jim Beam Bourbon Chicken Wings

I was challenged recently by a sexy circus friend to design a chicken wing recipe that was healthy, and had a Jim Beam recipe. So I found a couple of recipes, and adapted them slightly to come together with this yummy chicken wing recipe. And yes, I did have the boys over to taste test them!

In other news, we recently discovered a venue near us that does all you can eat chicken wings, we are now planning on taking on the challenge. However, of course the boys need “training” first, haha.

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 1kg of wings

What you need:

  • 1kg chicken wings
  • 1/4 cup Jim Beam bourbon
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup plum sauce
  • 1/3 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped spring onions, garnish, optional

What you do:

  1. Line a baking tray with baking paper, and heat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
  2. Season both sides of the wings with salt and pepper.
  3. Spread the chicken wings on the tray in an even layer, and bake in the oven for 15 minutes, turning once in that time.
  4. Meanwhile, make the sauce in a large skillet by combining the Jim Beam and rice wine vinegar. Bring to the boil.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients, and bring to the boil while stirring.
  6. Allow to boil for 1 minute, then add the chicken wings, ensuring they are well coated in the sauce.
  7. Lower the heat to medium, and cook for a further 1 – 2 minutes.
  8. Serve with any remaining pan sauce poured over the top.
  9. Garnish with spring onions if desired.



Posted in Cooking

N: Nectarine Shortbread

When I was researching what I wanted to do for the letter N, I was a little stuck. There weren’t all that many options that I could find. Considering this challenge is meant to have us eating food that we wouldn’t normally eat, I was a little limited with ingredients.

The two ingredients that I was tossing up between was Nori and Nectarines. In the end nectarines won, as the predominant use of nori is in sushi, and everyone has had sushi, I decided to cook nectarines in an interesting way.

We have learned a lesson from this recipe, it is simply that it should not be consumed before taking part in circus sports, as it will result in much laughter, and some falling.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 – 25 minutes

Yield: Depends on big you cut them, but approximately 15.

What you need:

  • 4 nectarines, cut into 1cm square chunks
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup, plus 2tsp, of granulated white sugar
  • 2 cups plain flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 tbs baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 100g cold butter, cut into small squares
  • 1 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing
  • fine sugar for dusting

What you do:

  1. Combine nectarines, lemon juice, and 2 tsps of granulated white sugar in a bowl, set aside for 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, sift together the remaining granulated sugar, plain flour, and baking powder. Sift together twice.
  3. Either using a slow beater or your hands; pinch the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  4. Stir in the cream, and fold through the nectarines.
  5. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. It will be a bit sticky, you can sprinkle some extra flour over the top and press in to combat this.
  6. Press the dough to 2 cm thick. Cut the dough into 4cm squares.
  7. Heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
  8. Line a tray with baking paper. Arrange dough on the tray, and brush each square with heavy cream, and sprinkle fine sugar over the top.
  9. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes. Allow to cool on a wire rack.


Posted in Cooking

M: Mangosteen – Clafouti

For this foodie challenge, “M” was a difficult letter! Not due to lack of food beginning with M, but because I really wanted to do Mangosteen and they weren’t in season! So with a small delay, I finally found Mangosteens (in season in the warmer months, FYI) and was able to create this traditional Thai baked custard try dessert. This recipe was definitely worth the wait! Clafouti is normally from France, however the Thai adapted the recipe, and added the traditionally Thai Mangosteen for the delicious recipe you will find below.

Yield: 6 approximately

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 55 minutes

What you need:

  • 5 fresh mangosteen fruit
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • additional 1 tbsp of sugar
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup plain flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • salt
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tsp grated lemon rind
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp coconut extract (can be substituted for another tsp of vanilla extract)
  • icing sugar for garnish

What you do:

  1. Generously grease a small casserole dish, or 6 small ramekins.
  2. Using a sharp knife, cut off the stem of the mangosteen. If ripe, you should be able to peel the thick skin off. Otherwise cut the skin off.
  3. Place the white manogsteen sections (leaving the stones inside) in a small bowl.
  4. Toss fruit with the cornstarch and  tbsp sugar.
  5. Arrange the mangosteen segments in the bottom of the prepared casserole dish / ramekins.
  6. In a large bowl, whisk eggs with the salt and sugar to blend.
  7. Then whisk in the flour, stirring until smooth.
  8. Add the coconut milk, lemon rind, vanilla extract, and coconut extract. Whisk until smooth.
  9. Heat the oven to 180°C.
  10. Pour this mixture into the casserole dish. Some of the fruit may float through, that is desirable.
  11. Place the casserole dish in the oven for 55 minutes, or until the middle is set and the top is golden brown. If you are using ramekins, place the ramekins in a casserole dish, and fill the casserole dish with water until it reaches approximately halfway up the ramekins.
  12. Serve warm, with a sprinkling of icing sugar, and a side of cream or ice-cream. Make sure you warn your guests of the stones.

M- Mangosteen - Clafouti.jpg

Posted in Cooking

L: Loquat Tart

We are now back to our regularly programmed Eat The Alphabet Foodie Challenge. Now I know that I did L week before last, so I should be on to M, BUT when I was at the shops looking for my M ingredient, I came across an L ingredient that I had considered using. And I thought, well heck, I did 2 for the letter I, what is to stop me from doing 2 for the letter L!

Now I am not 100% sure of the pronunciation of this fruit, is it “Low-K-Wat” or is it “Lo-Cut” either way, this tart is delicious! It was described as lasting like Christmas and being a fantastic alternative to fruit mince pies. So there you go! Save this one and keep it on the back burner for when Christmas rolls around in a couple of months!

As this is a pie, you can choose to use a ready made sweet pie crust, OR you could use my Lemon Tart Pie Crust.

Prep Time:

Cooking Time:

Yield: 1 large tart

What you need:

  • 6 cups seeded loquats, coarsely chopped (this is about 1kg give or take)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup castor sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom (or you can substitute for nutmeg)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit of choice (I used sultanas)

What you do:

  1. Place the loquats in a saucepan with water, castor sugar, and brown sugar. Cover and stew over a low heat until the fruit it tender. Do not let the fruit go brown.
  2. Stir through the remaining ingredients, and remove from the heat.
  3. Cover with a lid and allow to cool.
  4. Place in a prepared tart case.
  5. Bake in a 180 degree oven for 15 minutes.
  6. Dust with icing sugar if desired.
  7. Serve warm, with vanilla ice-cream.


Posted in Cooking

Kung Pao Chicken

Sorry! I haven’t forgotten the foodie “eat the alphabet” challenge, but I made this amazing Kung Pow Chicken for dinner the other night and wanted to interrupt your regular reading with this recipe.

Funny story, the first time I made this, it was a ROYAL mess up. Please note that brow rice take a LONG time to cook. The rice wasn’t cooking, and I was getting impatient. Then I thought I was being nice and added the uncooked rice to the meat and added chicken stock and tried to do the final stages of cooking together. I ended up with a burning smell throughout the house, a  black pan with cooked on rice and chicken, and an inedible dish. So I NEEDED to try it again, just to prove that I COULD make this dish.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 4 (they’re kinda small, could have another side dish added, maybe vegetables)

What you need:


  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp Chinese rice wine
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp cornstarch (cornflour)
  • 500g skinless chicken pieces, thigh or breast, cut into cubes


  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cornstarch (cornflour)
  • 1/2 tsp Sichuan pepper
  • 2 tbsp peanut oil
  • 10 dried chillies
  • 3 spring onions, chopped, whites and greens separated
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts, crushed

What you do:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the marinade ingredients.
  2. Add the chicken and use your hands to ensure the chicken is completely covered in the marinade. Set aside at room temperature for ten minutes.
  3. In another small bowl, combine the balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, sugar, cornstarch, and Sichuan pepper. Whisk until well combined.
  4. Heat a wok over high heat, add the peanut oil and swirl to coat the base.
  5. Add the chillies and fry for 30 seconds until it starts going black. This can be fairly smokey.
  6. Add the chicken, and stir-fry for 2 – 3 minutes or until no longer pink.
  7. Add the white parts of the spring onion, ginger, and garlic. Stir fry for 30 seconds.
  8. Pour in the sauce and mix to cover everything.
  9. Stir in the peanuts and cook for a further 1 to 2 minutes.
  10. Sprinkle with green spring onions and serve with rice.


Posted in Cooking

L: Luffa Curry

I was actually a little disappointed with this recipe… only because I WANTED to cook using Lotus Root, however once I got to my amazing little grocers they were out! Not only were they out, but they had received their last shipment of lotus root for the season just the week before. WAAHHH! No lotus root for me 😦

So I had to frantically search for another random ingredient beginning with L, when I found Luffa! It is a type of squash. So please keep that in mind, as I had a guinea pig taste tester tell me that it had a similar consistency to snot. The flavour was delicious though hahaha!

Yield: Serves 4 to 8 sides (this is a bit dependent on what else you serve with it)

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

What you need:

  • 2 medium luffa, skin peeled off (with a potato peeler, it’s not like a banana) and julienned
  • 1 medium potato, washed and julienned
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chilli powder (or more… MMOOOORRREEEE)
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup pasata

What you do:

  1. Soak the luffa in a bowl of cold water, set aside.
  2. In a different bowl, soak the potato in cold water and set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a saucepan over a high heat.
  4. Add the mustard seeds, stir with a wooden spoon until they begin to pop.
  5. Drain the potatoes, add to the saucepan and stir.
  6. Add the garlic, salt, chilli powder, turmeric, and cumin and stir to ensure the potatoes are covered.
  7. Cook over a medium heat until the potatoes are soft.
  8. Drain the luffa, and add to the saucepan. Cook for 3 minutes. The luffa will release water and make your curry look wet, this is okay.
  9. Add the pasata and allow to cook for 3 minutes.
  10. Serve with hot, fresh naan or chippatis.


Posted in Cooking

K: Kiwi Fruit Bread

Before I present this recipe to you, I must air a grievance. If you are going to claim that an ingredient is IN a recipe… it needs to be more than just sitting on top. While I was looking for inspiration for this recipe, I came across some cupcakes that were promising ideas, however despite their label of Kiwi Fruit Cupcakes. The ONLY kiwi fruit present, was a circle that was cut out and placed on top…


Anyway, rant over. I found out that in New Zealand, it is a common treat to have kiwi fruit bread. To any of my New Zealand followers, sorry if that is horribly wrong! It is what Mr. Google told me! So here is my Kiwi Fruit Bread recipe.

Yield: 1 Loaf

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 55 – 65 minutes

What you need:

  • 2 cup plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup better, softened
  • 2/3 cup caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup kiwi fruit, peeled and mashed

What you do:

  1. Prepare a loaf pan.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl cream the butter and sugar together until white, light, and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. Fold in the kiwi fruit. (Do not beat these in, it will result in a dense cake).
  6. Fold in the dry ingredients gently, stirring until fully incorporated.
  7. Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  8. Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf tin and bake for 55 – 65 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  9. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then remove from the pan and place on a cooling rack to cool completely.