Posted in Chocolate, Cookies and Biscuits, Cooking, Dessert

Giant Caramel Pods

I had absolutely no idea what to call these glorious sweet biscuits of amazingness. This is a recipe that has been handed down through the generations in my family, no name, no explanation of its roots, just a simple, handwritten recipe.

It wasn’t until I made these for Le Husband recently that he took one look at them and said, “What are these? Pods?”


For those of you unsure of what Pods are, they are described on the packet as:

“You put one in your mouth and suddenly notice the crispy lightness of the wafer, the creamy chocolate soon fills your mouth, quickly followed by mouth-watering cream. Back to wafer, the chocolate, the cream, the wafer, the chocolate, the cream. You swallow.”

A somewhat flamboyant description of itself, but there are honestly delicious. And so is this below recipe!

Please note you will need a half sphere baking tray mould for this. I found it called a “mince pie pan”. Here is a photo of what I mean. You may be able to make this in a normal muffin pan, but this makes it easier.


Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes, plus 1 hour chilling time

What you need:

  • 1 packet Buttersnap Biscuits
  • 1 tin condensed milk
  • 250g butter
  • 3tbs brown sugar
  • 1tbs golden syrup
  • milk chocolate melts (optional)

What you do:

  1. Rest the butternet biscuits on the mince pie tray.
  2. Place low in a 120°C oven for 5 minutes.
  3. Using the back of a soup spoon, carefully press the biscuits into the moulds to create a biscuit cup. Set aside to cool. To be honest, I think an easier way to do this would be to use another mince pie tray and press down on top of the biscuits and leave it there until it cools.
  4. Meanwhile, combine the condensed milk, butter, sugar, and golden syrup in a medium saucepan.
  5. Cook gently, on a very slow simmer for 10 minutes, stirring the whole time. Do not allow it to boil or it will become grainy.
  6. Carefully pour the caramel mixture into the biscuit shell.
  7. Allow to cool, before placing in the refrigerator to cool completely.
  8. (OPTIONAL) Carefully melt the chocolate.
  9. Pour over the top of the caramel and allow to set.

Giant Caramel Pods

Posted in Chicken, Cooking, Dinner, Eat The Alphabet, Sri lankan

B: Buriani

As with any Sri Lankan cooking, the difference between good food, and great food, is in the preparation. Use seeds rather than the powders, use fresh meat and herbs that you cut up yourself rather than prepackaged things. While it may be more time consuming, the difference in taste will make it all worth your while.

Buriani is not to be confused with biryani! Buriani is Sri Lankan, while biryani is Indian. I made the mistake once of spelling it incorrectly in a text to Le Hubby, and boy did I hear about it!

Please note that with MANY Sri Lankan dishes, they are not enjoyed in solidarity. This is a rice alternative, that would normally be served with some curry’s and sambols. Both of which we should be touching on later in the challenge. Or you can always pair it with my Chicken Curry Recipe.

Yield: 6 – 10 (depends if it is meal by itself, or paired with some curries)

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 1hr 20min

What you need:

Buriani Spice Mix:

  • 1 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp black pepper corns
  • 1 clove
  • 3 long dried red chillies
  • 1/4 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom seeds


  • 1.6kg chicken – meat removed and cut into large pieces, and bones reserved
  • 100g plain Greek-style yogurt
  • 30g chopped cashew nuts
  • 30g desiccated coconut
  • 70g ghee (alternatively you can use coconut oil)
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves
  • 3 green cardamom pods, bruised
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a pinch of saffron threads

What you do:

Chicken Stock:

  1. Put the reserved chicken bones, 1 bay leaf, and the ends of the onion in a large pot.
  2. Add 2 litres of water, and bring to the boil.
  3. Reduce to a low heat, and simmer for 20 minutes. Regularly skimming the surface.
  4. Strain, discard the solids, and set aside the stock.

Buriani Spice Mix:

  1. Meanwhile, place all the spice mix ingredients in a heavy based fry pan, and roast over a low heat until fragrant (7 – 10 minutes).
  2. Allow to cool, then grind using a mortar and pestle until a fine powder forms.

NOTE: Make double, or even more of this, so you can skip this step next time.

Chicken Marinade

  1. Place the yogurt, cashews, coconut, and 3tsp of the buriani spice mix in a blender, and process until smooth.
  2. Combine the chicken meat, and marinade in a large bowl. Toss to combine well.
  3. Cover and allow to stand for 15 minutes.

Buriani Chicken

  1. Heat 1 and 1/2 tbsp of ghee in a heavy based frying pan.
  2. Add the paprika, half the chopped onion, 1 clove, 1 cardamom pod, 1 cinnamon stick, and 1 tsp of salt. Cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes, or until the onion is golden.
  3. Remove the chicken from the marinade, and add it to the onion mix. Cooking for a further 5 minutes.
  4. Add the remaining yogurt marinade, and 100mL of water, simmer for 5 minutes, and transfer to an over safe dish.

Buriani Rice

  1. Heat the remaining 1 and 1/2 tbsp of ghee in a heavy based frying pan.
  2. Add the remaining onion, 1 tsp salt, 2 cloves, 2 cardamom pods, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 bay leaf, and remaining 2 tbsp (approx) of the buriani spice mix. Cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes, or until the onion is golden.
  3. Add the rice, and stir until well coated.
  4. Add 500mL of the chicken stock, bring to the boil, and allow to simmer for 3 minutes.
  5. Stir the saffron threads into the rice, then pour the rice mixture over the chicken mixture.

Complete Buriani

  1. Heat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Seal the chicken well with foil, then lid.
  3. Cook in the oven for 20 – 30 minutes, or until the rice is tender.

This is even nicer the day after. YUM!

B- Buriani

Posted in Cooking

Nutella Blondie

I suppose if I want to be politically correct and non branded I should call these “Hazelnut Spread Blondies” but meh. I was given this recipe as a challenge from my beloved husband who absolutely loves Nutella! Any of my regular internet stalkers would know this, considering I have made Nutella Brioche, Nutella Croissants, Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies, a Malteser Cake, and a Basketball Cake… all that contained Nutella. To be completely honest I didn’t realise that there were so many until I made that list!

Well now we have a new one to add! Now the answer the question I know you are desperate to know, what is the difference between a blondie and a brownie. Well that one is easy! A brownie contained cocoa, while a blondie does not. That is why a brownie is brown, and a blondie is… blonde…ish.


Yield: 1… because you will eat the whole thing yourself, or 12 if you are into sharing

Prep Time: 10 minutes, plus 45 minute freezing time

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

What you need:

  • 250g Nutella
  • 150g butter
  • 110g cream cheese
  • 375g raw sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 eggs
  • 230g plain flour
  • 75g Nutella

What you do:

  1. Prepare a baking tray with a layer of baking paper.
  2. Using a tablespoon measure, take a heaped tablespoon on Nutella and place it on the baking paper. Do this until you have 12 blobs (?) of Nutella on the baking tray.
  3. Place in a freezer to freeze for 45 minutes.
  4. Prepare a deep baking tray (I use a lasagna tray) with cooking spray and a layer of baking paper.
  5. Meanwhile, in a heavy based saucepan melt the butter and cream cheese together.
  6. In a separate bowl, whisk together the raw sugar and butter until smooth.
  7. Stir in the baking powder and vanilla essence.
  8. Add eggs and flour, stir until fully incorporated.
  9. Stir through the remaining Nutella until a smooth mixture is obtained.
  10. Heat oven to 170°C.
  11. Pour half of the blondie batter into the prepared tin.
  12. Place the frozen Nutella blobs evenly in the tray.
  13. Top with remaining blondie batter.
  14. Bake for 30 minutes, until the top has a light flakey look.
  15. For best results, allow to cool completed and place in the fridge for 20 minutes.

We couldn’t wait, and ate it while they were still hot, so they were super gloopy and super delicious… and I think we burned out tastebuds off… but we were keen and they were amazing!

Nutella Blondie


Posted in Cooking, Eat The Alphabet, Sri lankan, Vegetarian

A: Achcharu

I am so excited! I have been running this blog for 4 – 5 years now, with no real direction. No real aim. I would just cook things when I felt like it, then post about it. This was fun, but it put the pressure on.

I have definitely grown with the blog writing process. It started off with me posting whenever I cooked, then me deliberately trying to cook at least once a week, even if it was inconvenient. This meant some rushed recipes, and poorly written blogs. But now… Now I have a plan! I absolutely loved the first #eatthealphabet challenge, that I am now modelling my blog around it.

My plan now, is to go through the alphabet with various themes. The original theme was ingredients with the intent of trying new foods; but things are getting better! The theme for this Alphabet Challenge is… Sri Lankan food!

Image result for sri lanka flag

As all my lovely internet stalkers know, Le Hubby is Sri Lankan, so I have a soft spot for Sri Lankan food. Recently, we went on a trip to Sri Lanka for a cousins wedding. Beautiful, extravagant affair.

Photo from Shasa De Silva

We then did some sight seeing, and embarked on a 6+ hour road trip. While on this road trip we passed many road side vendors, and I would hear my cousins yelling out that they wanted achcharu. Now I had no idea what that is, but I learned that it is a delicious, mango, street food. A delicious combination of sweet, spicy, sour, and salty.

The trickiest part, is balancing the flavours. So to get started, choose the right mango! The more orange it is, the less sugar you will need. So aim for a green, young mango for the best results.

Yield: 1 – 2 snacks

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: nil

What you need:

  • 1 large mango
  • 1/2 tsp salt (more or less depending on taste)
  • 1/2 tsp vinegar (more or less depending on taste)
  • 1/2 tsp sugar (more or less depending on taste)
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder (more or less depending on taste)
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes

What you do:

  1. Using a potato peeler, peel the mango, and cut into strips. Discard the skin and stone. Have a small taste to determine how sweet the mango is.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the salt, vinegar, sugar, chilli powder, and chilli flakes. Stir into a paste.
  3. Add the mango to the bowl, and toss to cover. Try to cover as much of the mango as you can.
  4. Enjoy!

A- Achcharu

Posted in Cooking

Eat The Alphabet – Recap

Now that the eat the alphabet challenge is done, I thought that I would recap it, and put it all together. Especially because NOW I have a direction for this blog… I’m going to do ANOTHER Eat the Alphabet Challenge, but this time with a theme. It’s a secret for the moment though, so shhhh.


A – Artichoke – Artichoke & Sweet Pea Lasagna

B – Beetroot – Beetroot Brownie

C – Custard Apple – Spiced Custard Apple Tea Cake

D – Dashi – Oden

E – Eggplant – Baked Cheesy Eggplant

F – Fig – Fig and Orange Cheesecake

G – Galangal – Vegetarian Malaysian Soup

H – Hazelnut – Hazelnut Chocolate Cake

I(1) – Inca Berries – Inca Berry and Apple Cupcakes

I(2) – Inca Berries – Inca Berry and Coconut Chocolate Truffles

J – Jackfruit – Pulled BBQ Jackfruit Burgers

K – Kiwi Fruit – Kiwi Fruit Bread

L(1) – Luffa – Luffa Curry

L(2) – Loquat – Loquat Tart

M – Mangosteen – Clafouti

N – Nectarine – Nectarine Shortbread

O – Okra – Okra Stew












Posted in Cooking

Vegan Chocolate Apple Cake

A dear friend of mine had a birthday and wanted to celebrate it with a particular group of friends. As a part of that group of friends, I offered to make a cake of her choosing. My criteria was dairy free, and involving fruit. What we ended up with was an amazingly soft, moist, and divine tasting chocolate apple cake. Being egg free was simply convenient, making this cake… VEGAN!

Yield: 1 20cm ring cake

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 40 minutes

What you need:

  • 425g can apple fruit pie filling
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 125g vegan spread (for vegan), dairy spread (for dairy free), butter (for those who don’t care about calories)
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • 2 tbsp cocoa
  • icing sugar for dusting

What you do:

  1. Prepare a 20cm cake tin.
  2. Place apple, water, and soda in a small pan over low heat until the soda starts to bubble, remove from the heat.
  3. Using an electric mixer, beat together the spread, sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and cocoa.
  5. Stir the flour mixture into the sugar mixture.
  6. Fold in the apple mixture.
  7. Heat the oven to 180°C.
  8. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, giving a firm tap on the table to remove any air bubbles.
  9. Cook for 40 minutes or until cooked through when tested with a skewer.
  10. Allow to cool on a wire rack.
  11. Dust with icing sugar and serve.

Vegan Chocolate Apple Cake

Posted in Cooking

Shepherd’s Pie

Yay! I have found another fantastic recipe that can be used to get rid of all those left over ingredients and vegetables! I have a habit now of always having minced meat in my freezer, and when I see that my vegetables are looking in need of being used, I break out the minced meat and make something like lasagna, bolognese, and now… SHEPHERD’S PIE!

Yield: 4 – 6 servings (6 with a side salad)

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 40 minutes

What you need:

Potato Topping:

  • 750g potatoes, washed, peeled, and cut into chunks
  • 60g butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg

Meat Filling:

  • 30g butter
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • various other vegetables you want to use (diced), I used zucchini and mushrooms too
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 1 tbsp tomato sauce
  • 2 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 750g minced meat


What you do:

Potato Topping:

  1. Place the potatoes in a large saucepan, and cover with cold water and cook until tender.
  2. Drain the potatoes and mash well.
  3. In a small saucepan heat the milk and butter. Add to the potato mash and mix well.
  4. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.

Meat Filling:

  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan and stir in the flour, stirring over medium heat until combined.
  2. Add the diced vegetables, and cook until the onion begins to brown.
  3. Add the water, stock cube, tomato sauce, worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, salt, and pepper, stirring over a low heat until incorporated.
  4. Add the meat and bring to the boil, stirring, then remove from the heat.
  5. Spoon the meat mixture into a prepared casserole dish. Top with the mashed potato.
  6. Lightly whisk the egg, and brush over the mashed potato.
  7. Have some fun and decoratively mark the potato with a fork.
  8. Bake in a 180°C oven for 40 minutes, or until the potato is golden brown.

Shepherd's Pie

Posted in Cooking

Z: Zucchini Cupcakes

WOW!! We did it… we have come to the end of the Eat The Alphabet Foodie Challenge. I honestly did not think that it would get this far! What next?? If you have any ideas please let me know, I would love to undertake another challenge like this.

These cupcakes are very easy to convince yourself that they are healthy. I mean, they do contain zucchini and carrot, just… I dunno… forget about the sugar content and you will be fine.

Yield: 20 – 24 cupcakes

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

What you need:

Zucchini Cupcakes

  • 2 medium zucchini, grated
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup firmly-packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp mixed spice

Cream Cheese Icing

  • 50g unsalted butter, softened
  • 100g cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tsp finely-grated orange rind
  • 1 and 3/4 cups icing sugar


What you do:

Zucchini Cupcakes

  1. Prepare 2, 12-hole, cupcake pans.
  2. Squeeze the excess moisture from the zucchini and carrot. Drain on a paper towel.
  3. Beat the oil and sugar together in a bowl for 5 minutes, or until it begins to pale.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. Stir through the zucchini and carrot.
  6. Heat the oven to 180°C.
  7. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, and mixed spice.
  8. Sift a second time into the egg mixture.
  9. Stir well to combine.
  10. Divide into prepared cupcake pans.
  11. Bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  12. Set aside to cool completely.

Cream Cheese Icing

  1. Using an electric mixer, beat together the butter, cream cheese, and orange rind until smooth.
  2. Gradually add the icing sugar, beating well until combined.
  3. Spread over the cold zucchini cupcakes, and serve!

Z- Zucchini Cupcakes

Posted in Cooking

X: Xylitol – Sugar Free Brownies

To be completely honest, as first I could not for the life of me think of what I could do for the letter X. As a joke I was simply going to post this photo without an explanation:

X- Xylophone

However, silly me, totally forgot about Xylitol. A commonly used sugar free sugar alternative. So now, I ask you, why bother making brownies sugar free. There isn’t one, unless you’re trying to go sugar free I suppose… Either way, here are some moist, dense, delicious, dark chocolate sugar free brownies.

Yield: Approximately 12 squares.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 40 – 45 minutes

What you need:

  • 1 cup xylitol
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder (or cacao if you’re hell bent on this sugar free thing)
  • 6 tbsp plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/2 cup plain flour

What you do:

  1. Prepare a square cake tin.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the xylitol, cocoa, and yogurt. This will be a very dry mixture.
  4. Add the egg and vanilla and mix well.
  5. Stir in the flour, and pour into the prepared cake tin.
  6. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

I was dubious as first when I ate these, but my food critique husband said that they were really nice!

X- Xylitol - Sugar Free Chocolate Brownie

Posted in Cooking

Gooiest Chocolate Chip Cookies

On a recent holiday, Le Hubby and I had a neighbour be kind enough to watch our house while we were gone. This neighbour was diligent in their duties, and kept in close contact with friends of ours throughout our trip to ensure that our house was well looked after. It was therefore paramount that I rewarded this neighbour in the best way that I know how. COOKIES!

No one can say no to cookies, especially when they are chocolatey, soft, squishy, and HUGE. Just like the cookies in this recipe are!

Yield: 6 – 12, depending on size

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 – 17 minutes

What you need:

  • 115g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 250g light soft brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 275g plain flour
  • 15g cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 200g plain chocolate, chopped
  • 150g white chocolate, chopped

What you do:

  1. Line two large baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Place the butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat together until light and fluffy.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and vanilla extract.
  4. Gradually add to the butter mixture, and beat until smooth.
  5. Mix in the flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda, and salt until well combined.
  6. Add 100g of each of the plain and white chocolate and mix well.
  7. Heat the oven to 180 °C.
  8. Spoon heaped tablespoons of the mixture onto the baking trays, ensure you space the cookies well apart (5cm minimum).
  9. Divide the remaining chocolate among the cookies and press in lightly.
  10. Bake for 15 – 17 minutes.
  11. Leave to cook for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Gooey Chocolate Chip Cookies.jpg