Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Coconut Lime Syrup Cake

This cake has become such a firm favourite of ours. We first tasted it at the Groove Café on Ipswich Road in Annerley, Brisbane, Queensland, when we were out having coffee. We wanted to try this café as it has won numerous awards, has an excellent menu, and is unpretentious but serves good food.

I searched and found this recipe which is pretty close to the original, and is such an easy cake to make, with no appliances needed except a saucepan on the stove to concoct the sensational sweet lime syrup. It is nice and light for our hot summers. We also have a potted lime tree which provides us with enough limes for most of our needs.

 It was my turn to host Mahjong today, so I baked this cake and the ladies seemed to like it.



125g butter, chopped
3 eggs, beaten at room temperature
3/4 cup milk at room temperature
1 1/2 cups self raising flour, sifted
1 1/4 cups caster sugar
1 1/4 cups desiccated coconut

Delectable Lime syrup ingredients:

3 limes (1/2 cup lime juice)
Grated lime rind
1/2 cup white sugar

Let's cook:
Preheat oven to 180 deg. C. Lightly grease and line a 6cm deep, 22cm (base) springform cake pan with baking paper.

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat or heat uncovered in the microwave on MEDIUM (50%) for 1 to 2 minutes until almost melted. Transfer to a bowl and stand for 1 minute to sightly cool. Add eggs and milk. Stir until combined.

Combine sifted flour, sugar, and coconut in a bowl. Add milk and egg mixture. Stir to combine. Spread mixture into pan. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Lime Syrup: 
Combine 1/2 cup lime juice and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes or until syrupy. Stir in grated lime rind.

Pour hot lime syrup over hot cake. Allow cake to cool in pan before releasing the sides of the cake pan. Cut into slices and serve. 

I read somewhere as well that for a special occasion and perhaps for dessert, a nip of gin can be added to the Lime syrup, which sounds delightful to me.

I think the next time I make this cake I will try this, and enjoy a gin and tonic at the same time. After 4 pm of course.

What other spirits would work I wonder?

Best wishes



Salmon, fresh or smoked, with asparagus and tagliatelle

Salmon, fresh or smoked, with asparagus and tagliatelle
Serves 4-6

Last night I made a variation of a meal that I love, which normally has smoked salmon, tagliatelle and asparagus and is only 520 cal, or 2183 kjs per serve. Instead of the smoked salmon I substituted poached salmon which was beautiful but required some extra herbs and seasonings to give it the burst of flavour that the smoked salmon provides. We are now needing to consume so much omega-3, but honestly I don't take fish tablets, and I need a variety and tasty meals using fish, particularly oily fish like salmon. This recipe requires herbs and you can use what you have that go with fish, but I think the mint is very necessary.

200g smoked salmon, cut into strips or 3-4 nice fillets of fresh salmon
375 g dried or 500 g fresh tagliatelle
2 large bunches or 400 g asparagus trimmed and cut into 5 cm lengths
2 leeks, white part only, rinsed and finely sliced
1 cup salt-reduced chicken or vegetable stock (extra 500ml stock if poaching fresh salmon)
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 1/2 cups, (235 g) frozen peas, fresh if you have them
1 tablespoon finely chopped mint (if you really like it add more like I do)
3 tablespoons finely chopped chopped parsley, plus extra to serve
a very large handful of shredded basil, plus extra to serve
dill (optional)
tarragon (optional) , quite strong so be careful
pinch nutmeg ( I like it grated fresh), smells wonderful
2 tablespoons grated fresh parmesan cheese, plus extra to serve
1 tablespoon olive oil

Let's cook:

Cook the tagliatelle in a large saucepan of boiling water until al dente. Drain well.

If using fresh salmon, set it to poach slowly in a separate deep pan in simmering chicken stock with slices of lemon and added herbs for about 10 mins or until cooked but still firm.

Put the leek and half the stock in a large, deep frying pan. Cook over low heat, stirring often for 4-5 minutes. Add and stir in the peas, mint and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the remaining stock and 125 ml (1/2 cup) water and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Stir in the fresh asparagus, parsley and basil and simmer for a further 3-4 minutes, or until the asparagus is just tender, and still crisp. You can gradually increase the heat so that the sauce reduces to a light coating consistency. Gently stir in the grated nutmeg, parmesan and smoked salmon or sliced cooked salmon,  and add a good grind of black pepper.

Gradually add the pasta to the sauce and toss lightly to coat. Serve lightly drizzled with the olive oil, and scattered with a little extra grated parmesan and chopped parsley or basil or whatever you prefer.

There are always leftovers which are delicious heated up the next day.
Luckily I have basil, parsley, tarragon, mint and dill growing prolifically in my garden so I use whatever I wish. Sometimes I add a fresh chilli from my garden depending on who will be eating it. We love it.

I'm sure lots of other flavourings could be used in this dish. Any ideas?

Saturday, October 26, 2013


Purple Lebanese Eggplants in my garden

Recently, our good friend Paul gave me his surplus produce of white eggplants. I also have a few purple Lebanese eggplants which were ready for picking. It was our turn to host the after tennis dinner for 12 so  I was excited at the thought of cooking Moussaka for our friends, and also using all of the eggplants. I checked my cookbooks and the various websites and discovered that Moussaka originated from Turkey as a casserole dish, and was then modified by the Greeks to the more baking dish style that we know.

The recipe I cooked last night was a variation of the SBS food recipe from:
 I made a few basic changes and was relieved when the Ricotta cream layer set. I didn't use the lamb shoulder finely diced and substituted veal and pork mince for the lamb shoulder. I think the quantity of mince could have been increased to 2 kilos for a thicker layer.


1 kg Desiree potatoes
3 large eggplant
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
100g kefalotyri cheese, grated,
(or parmesan)

Ricotta cream layer
500g fresh ricotta cheese
125 g kefalotyri cheese, grated
4 eggs
2 egg yolks
500ml cream
60ml extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ried Greek oregano
Braised lamb
 60 ml extra virgin olive oil
750g lamb mince
500 g lamb shoulder, boneless finely diced
2 brown onions, finely diced
2 celery stalks finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground all spice
1 tsp dried mint ( 1 tbsp. fresh)
1 tsp dried Greek oregano - or fresh is best
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp sugar
250 ml red wine ( I would double this quantity)
500 ml tomato puree
500 ml chicken stock


To make the braised lamb, heat olive oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Brown mince and diced lamb, remove from pan and reserve.
Leave the oil in pan and over a medium heat, cook onion, celery and garlic until translucent. Return lamb to pan and the herbs and spices.
Cook for 1 min then add wine. Cook until wine is reduced by half. Add tomato puree and stock and simmer over low heat for 1 hour. Set aside and allow to cool.
Preheat over to 180deg. C. Peel and slice potatoes 1 cm thick. Cook slices in olive oil in a pan until golden but not cooked through. Cook a couple of extra so you can eat them as you go.
Slice eggplant 1cm thick. I salted mine for 30 mins and then wiped the moisture and salt off and dried them. Place on baking sheet in oven, drizzle with olive oil and season. Bake for 15 mins until lightly golden.
Spread lamb filling over partially baked potato layer. Cover with baked eggplant slices. Combine all the ingredients for the ricotta cream then spread over the eggplant layer. Sprinkle over the kafalotyri cheese and bake for 40-50mins or until the top is golden brown.
Welcome to my blog

Now that I am recently retired, my passion for food and cooking has floated rather quickly to the surface of my activities. I seem to be cooking more than ever and enjoying great food on a regular basis with our friends. A blog seems the easiest way to record culinary successes and failures, memorable experiences with other foodies, and to list all of my favourite recipes.

I will be travelling more, visiting the children, and of course I can't take all of my recipes with me. I hope that this blog will give me, and family and friends, ready access to all of my recipes.