Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Making your own Mango chutney, a Christmas tradition in North Queensland

Bowen mangoes, and part of the latest batch of mango chutney. 

Mango chutney recipe

 There were always bottles of homemade mango chutney  in the house when I was growing up in Rockhampton, in Central Queensland,  as it was an annual tradition to make a batch before Christmas, for family and friends, just as the common mango trees were fruiting. The challenge was and still is, to pick the mangoes before they ripened on the trees. In those days most people had a mango tree growing in their back yard, or had friends who did. These days, mangoes can be bought pretty cheaply from the farmers markets, or from roadside stalls, on the Northern Bruce Highway. They will probably be seconds, or second grade fruit, which is fine, as the commercial supplies of mangoes are shipped to the southern markets and overseas as soon as they are picked.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Fruity Noughat slice, an economical fruit and nut biscuit slice

Fruity Noughat Slice

At this time of year, during the lead up to Christmas when we are making our Fruit cakes, Plum puddings, and Mince pies, this slice is an economical way of using up the leftover packets of mixed dried fruit and nuts. It is also just a quick slice recipe to have in your repertoire in case visitors pop in. It takes no time at all to throw together, and the ingredients can be varied depending on what you have in  your pantry. My Mum's generation liked to ice everything, and I still like to as well, however this slice can stand alone without the icing. Another shortcut when in a hurry.

The recipe is based on an original of my Mum's, with the rolled oats and golden syrup or honey added, a take from our friend Paul's recipe. I have reduced the amount of sugar in the interest of self preservation, however if you omit the golden syrup, you could use 3/4 of a cup of sugar or leave it as it is. Mixed fruit is a sweetener in itself. 

Just follow this recipe and I promise it will be great. Another vintage style recipe that works beautifully.


½ cup white or brown sugar
1 tablespoon golden syrup or honey
1 cup SR flour
1 cup of mixed dried fruit and nuts. Various mixed dried fruits, chopped dates, sultanas, cherries and/or mixed nuts (pecans, walnuts) up to a cup.
125g butter, melted
1 beaten egg
1 cup coconut (dessicated or shredded)
1 cup rolled oats
1 lemon
Icing sugar

Mix together the sugar, coconut, flour, oats, fruit and nuts. Add beaten egg, golden syrup and melted butter.  Mix well.

Press into a greased lamington tin.

Bake in a moderate oven 25-30 minutes until set.

Allow to cool. Ice with lemon icing, however it is delicious enough to stand alone without icing.

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Best wishes,


Monday, November 16, 2015

Moroccan Orange Blossom and Cardamon Yoghurt Cake

Moroccan Orange Blossom and Cardamon Yoghurt Cake

This is a festive cake combining some favourite aromatic spices, with orange blossom water, and pomegranates. It tastes so amazingly good, that I am tempted to change years of tradition at Christmas, and replace my fruit cake with this light and exotic taste sensation. It even looks like a Christmas cake, with the visual appeal of the pomegranates  and the explosion of taste that they deliver. 

I am babysitting a friends little boy today so this is being written in a bit of a hurry, while he sleeps. Believe me though, this is a cake well worthy trying.

This recipe requires a 2L (25cm)  bundt cake pan and Serves 6.
No electric mixer is required for this recipe just a whisk, a mixing spoon and a large bowl.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Borani Banjan (Layered Afghan Eggplant or Aubergines)

Layered Afghan Eggplant and Aubergines or Borani Banjan

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A rich, luscious eggplant dish, with so many aromatic Middle Eastern flavours, complimented by the combined flavours of Greek yoghurt and garlic salt. Even better, this is an eggplant recipe that Mr. HRK enjoys. When I discovered that I could grow eggplant easily, quite a few eggplant dishes appeared on my menus, perhaps I overdid it a little or maybe even a lot. He was struggling with them, so I gave in and had a break from eggplant for a while. He still struggles a bit with most eggplant dishes, but this is one that he finally really enjoys. Great news, as I love eggplant, and so do most of our friends. This is a winner! I hope you enjoy it as well.


2 medium Italian eggplants or 4 medium size Japanese eggplants (Enough for 2 layers of cooked eggplant in your baking dish)
3 medium tomatoes, cut in 1/3 inch thick slices
8 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1 tsp. ground curry powder
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
2 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 cup chopped fresh coriander or cilantro
1 cup Greek-style yoghurt
1 tsp. Garlic salt

The eggplant needs to be sliced and cooked until it is soft. Slice off the ends of your eggplants, and cut them in half lengthwise, not across. Then cut each half across in 1/3 inch thick slices. I fried the eggplant in batches in a medium heat frypan in olive oil, being careful not to burn them or you can cook them under your oven grill as follows.

Turn on your oven grill. Slice off the ends of your eggplants, and cut them in half lengthwise, not across. Then cut each half across in 1/3 inch thick slices.Arrange the eggplant slices on two baking sheets on baking trays, drizzle with 1 tbsp. of the olive oil and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. of salt. Place the baking trays under the grill and cook for a few minutes on each side until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and adjust the oven to  a moderate heat, 180 deg. C, or 375 deg. F.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a medium pan and saute the garlic over medium heat for about 2 minutes. Be careful not to let it brown. Add the remaining spices, 1 tsp. garlic salt, turmeric, curry, paprika, pepper, and tomato paste. Stir this mixture together and cook for another minute. Add the chicken stock to the pan, stir, and turn the heat to high.When the liquid comes to the boil, turn it down and let it simmer for 5 minutes, stirring regularly.

Pour 1/3 of the liquid into a 9x12 inch baking dish, or even a bit smaller, spreading it across the bottom of the dish. Arrange half the eggplant on top of the sauce. Sprinkle half the coriander over the eggplant and then layer the tomato slices evenly on the eggplant.

 Pour on another third of the sauce. Repeat the layering with the remaining eggplant, coriander, and tomatoes. Finish the dish by drizzling the last of the sauce over the vegetables, ensuring that all the vegetables are covered.

Cover the dish tightly with aluminium foil and cookl it in the oven for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for another 5 minutes.

 Final step:

Mix together the Greek yoghurt and garlic salt. Pour the yoghurt sauce over the eggplant and serve with pita or naan bread.

Serves four to six people as a main, or many more as a vegetable dish on the side.

Adapted from a recipe by Zohra Ghilzai.

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