Monday, 22 August 2016

Cheese Roughs

Have you read any Kate Llewellyn, folks?  She is one of my favourite Australian writers/poets.  Along with her compatriot Helen Garner, these are 2 women whose works have meant a lot to me over the years.  Kate has written a couple of books describing her life in the Blue Mountains, gardening, cooking and writing, along with her books of poetry and travel.  

One of the recipes mentioned in her book The Waterlily is this one for cheese roughs, which turns out to be similar to a cheese scone. She was visiting her mother one day and asking about old family faves that her mum used to make.  Kate says she kept on about these recipes until one day her mum told her she could remember what it was. Out of her mum's memory and into her oven: "snatched from the grave as my Mother would say". 

golden and gorgeous

As Kate is now in her mid 70s, I assume this recipe from her mum's repertoire must be about the same age or older:=)  Kate does not give a huge amount of instructions, so just as with the historical recipes I have been cooking lately, this one too was a bit of guesswork.  You just have to know how much cheese to put in, and how hot a hot oven is, and so on.  But I think that's part of the fun of trying these golden oldies.

Makes 24 roughs:


2 eggs

enough milk/cream to make up one cup along with the eggs

2 cups self-raising flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 cup of your fave tasty cheese, grated - I used parmesan and cheddar

big pinch of sea salt

paprika for sprinkling over the roughs


Break the eggs into a cup

Fill the cup with enough milk and cream (or just milk OR cream) to make up a cupful

Pour this into a large mixing bowl and add the flour

Add the cayenne and baking powder

Mix this together and now add the cheese - or like me, if you are forgetful you whack the cheese in with the flour and mix it

Roll it/pat it out to a rough rectangle of 2.5cm thick

Now cut it out so you have pieces about 2.5cm wide and 5cm long
(check my photos if your brain goes huh?)

Place them on a lightly greased and floured baking tray

And into a 220C oven for about 12 minutes or till golden on top

Now take them out and split them in half lengthwise

And back on the tray (you may need 2 trays now) and back into the oven for another few minutes (I put mine in for 5 - you know, the slow oven)

Sprinkle with paprika and eat with lots of lovely, salty butter


Don't worry about greasing and flouring the second tray - no need

You may not need the baking powder; my flour was a wee bit old so it needed the boost

You don't have to beat the eggs first; just throw the cupful of eggs and milk/cream straight into the bowl


eggs and cream (and a bit of milk)

everything in the mixing bowl  

mixing into a doughy ball

pat out the dough  

cut into small rectangles 2.5cm x 2.5cm x 5cm-approx.:=)    

looking golden and crunchy on top

now split them and back into the oven 

split and toasted in the middle   

bring out that butter!

These are very scone-like, and I think you could happily just leave them in the oven for a few extra minutes at the start without splitting them, and eat as is.  But it's fun to try something a bit new, isn't it?  And this recipe is sooo easy and quick; always a good thing.

my cheese rough dough doodle   

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

A - Z Guidebook: Otago Peninsula New Zealand

can you see the seals?

A few years ago, we did a family trip to New Zealand with in-laws and nieces.  We had a cold Christmas Day in Dunedin, wrapped up in coats and scarves while another sister-in-law complained of the 40+C heat in Brisbane.  We were glad to be where we were:=)

We had booked a boat trip around the Peninsula before we got there.  On the day, it was very cold and wet and windy but we thought to heck with it, if they're still taking tourists, we'll go - and we did.  It was fabulous.  We saw seals and penguins and dolphins and albatross, along with the usual sea life.  Don't miss it if you get a chance to go.  (But take seasickness pills).

Join in with Tiffin Fiona and other adventurous bloggers sharing their travel snaps from around the globe.  This month's letter is O.

TIFFIN - bite sized food adventures -

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Potato Scones - International Scone Week 2016

What!?  International Scone Week again? Nope I can't believe this has come around so soon. There we were discussing her grandmum's scones with our friend Miss P.P. seemingly a few weeks ago and here we are again.  Where did that year go?  

This year for #ISW2016, I chose to make potato scones from a newspaper recipe dated October 1912.  I found this on TROVE, the National Library online source of just about everything.  I have been doing text corrections on TROVE for the last few years, and have come across a wealth of interesting snippets of info.  And of course, there are heaps of wonderful old-fashioned recipes.  I love the way you have to divine a fair bit of the method yourself. 

potato scones with parmesan lurking inside  

This recipe is from a newspaper called The Land (Sydney NSW:1911-1954) Friday 4 October 1912 page 14.  I had to do a wee bit of research (and calculations) to get the right amounts for the ingredients.  These scones call for 1 gill of milk.  I only just found out today that it is pronounced with a soft g like gin, not girl. And you can have U.S. gills and UK gills - different amounts of course, just to keep you on your toes. Naturally I used the UK gill.



175g. plain flour

57g. butter

a big pinch of salt

1 tsp baking powder

227g. of cold, mashed potatoes

30g. extra sharp parmesan, grated - my addition to the recipe (optional)

1 egg

142 mls. of milk - you may not need all of this, or you could need more depending on the flour


Before you start the scones, bake/steam or boil 227g. of potatoes till tender

Peel them, mash them, cool completely and put aside

Place the flour in a large mixing bowl

Rub the butter in with your fingers till you have a crumb-like mix

Add the salt and the baking powder

Mix thoroughly with the mashed potatoes

Stir in the parmesan  

Beat the egg with 2 tablespoons of the milk

Add it to the mixture, and work it gently to a dough - the recipe says "using the needful quantity of milk" - i.e. enough of the milk to make it into a dough

Depending on the flour you are using, you may need a bit more or less milk.  I only used the 2 tablespoons of milk beaten in with the egg.  This is (I think) due to the fact that I was using leftover mash from dinner, which already had a goodly amount of milk and cream in it.  (Mr P. made it, and he loves his creamy mash)

Pat the mixture into a ball, then roll it out on a floured surface - you want it about 1 cm. in thickness (the dough was very soft so I used my hands to pat it out into a rectangle)

Cut out rounds 6cm. in diameter

Place them on a greased baking tray, brush with milk and bake at 220C for about 15 minutes or till golden

Serve hot and well-buttered - sounds like a good plan for Life!

flour and butter combined; now add salt and baking powder

mix the mash in thoroughly  

arty shot of the parmesan going in

cutting the eggy mix into the flour mix  

roll or pat out the soft dough   

using a scone cutter to cut out the 6cm. rounds 

brush the tops with milk

baked and golden - and yes a bit flat :=) 

Yep they came out kind of flat, more like a biscuit than a scone. Maybe I should have used self-raising flour?  Maybe they liked flat scones in them thar days?  But they were thin and cheesy, and very moreish.  Mr P. grabbed one and wolfed it down, saying "can I have another one?"  I have to tell you they disappeared in about half a day.

these didn't last long 

(BTW, just so you know, a U.S. gill is 118 mls as compared to the UK one of 142 mls.)

my scones on a Yayoi Kusama plate doodle 

Join in with Tandy from Lavender and Lime in this year's round-up of International Scones.  Everyone is welcome!

Sunday, 7 August 2016

The Blue Velvet Dr. Who Tardis Cake

I can take no credit for this cake recipe at all, as it is an original by Lorraine Not Quite Nigella herself.  But I did spiff it up for a recent Dr. Who themed night by turning it into a Tardis cake - well, sort of.  You can see I am not really a cake decorator, but at least it was blue!  Here is the link to her recipe which is well worth making.  

yep definitely blue

I have never had much luck with red velvet cakes in the past, either bought or made so I was really chuffed that this one was so darn delicious - very moist and chocolatey. Thanks Lorraine:=)

whisking cake flour, cocoa powder, bicarb and salt   

melting chocolate and cream together in the microwave   

creaming the butter and sugar then eggs together  

adding blue and black food gel to the buttermilk, vanilla and chocolate  

add this to the batter in 2 lots  

and watch it go a murky, curdled green   

add the flour mix in 3 lots 

Stir gently and pour/spoon into 2 x 20cm lined baking tins.  Bake for an hour and 5 @ 130C or until your skewer comes out clean. Mine took closer to 1 hour and 15-20 minutes.  (Remember that slow oven of mine whose door doesn't shut and that doesn't have much rubber strip left around the edges?)

I know folks, it looks like doggy doo or puréed kelp   

out of the oven looking quite...indescribable   

Lorraine suggests putting them in the freezer once they are completely cold if you wish to decorate them on the same day.  Yep I put mine in the freezer for a while.   It makes it so much easier to slice them in half thru their little middles.  You will end up with 4 thin, soft layers of scrumptious chocolate cake.

Now make the icing which is cream cheese and butter beaten together till smooth. Sifted icing sugar goes in next.  Vanilla, lemon juice and more colouring is sploshed in. Yay, this time I actually got it fairly blue, not dead dog green.

cream cheese and butter ready for beating 

see, it is blue:=) - after the icing sugar, vanilla, lemon juice and colouring are in 

thick and blue, glorious blue

grab your palette knife and smooth away  

my Tardis impression

After making and decorating this cake, and making Tardis/Dalek chocolates and setting up the school hall for this event, I was shattered and just thought, to heck with it!  This is as far as I go, Tardis-wise.  And it went down a treat.

Me and Mr P. in our Dr. Who gear 

look at that moist gooey cake 

Sorry about the cruddy, night-time shot.  All that matters is the delicious, moist texture and taste.  I have forgiven the red velvet cake for being a sod to make and eat, and now will worship the blue velvet cake forever:=)  

Friday, 5 August 2016

Pied Chocolate Bark

Remember how Mr P. and I went foraging for wild macadamias a while back? Remember how I said I would do something healthy with them like make nut milk?  Well folks, that didn't happen and this is not that recipe.  Instead, I made this double whammy pied chocolate bark.  That's pied as in black and white, like a butcherbird or a zebra, not your classic Aussie meat pie.  

I've made versions of this bark before, but this time I wanted to use the nuts that have been staring at me from their bowl for way too long.  Alas, this was not to be.  My dears, they were as hard as granite and just as impenetrable. Everyone in the family had a go with hammers and lumps of wood; we even resorted to The Bonk - that super strong nutcracker made especially for macadamias, but to no avail.  They resisted all efforts to reveal their delicious nutty selves.    

not even The Bonk could crack these babies  

Never one to let a slight setback stop me making a dish, I rushed off to the local grocer's to buy some of the little devils.  Guess what!  I found our local store in the midst of renos, and the nut bar (is that what you call it?) moved to another spot.  When I finally found it, the macadamia tub was empty. Aarrgghh!  I ran around the shelves and found a packet of macadamia halves.  Sorry to tell you these are not the little wild beauties we foraged, but even so, this still tastes fantastic.   

gather your nuts...on a cold and frosty morning etc. 


125g. macadamia halves, or nuts that you chop yourself :=)

200g. white chocolate

200g. dark (or milk) chocolate

a small handful (about 20g.) of semi-dried sour cherries or dried cranberries - you want something tart to combat the sweetness

a scattering of cacao nibs (optional)

a few pinches of sea salt flakes, or to taste - I like a lot!


First roast your nuts - @ 170C for 10-12 minutes

Melt the white chocolate in the microwave for 70 seconds

Give it a good stir and let it rest for a couple of minutes

On a tray lined with baking paper, spread out the chocolate to the edges of the tray

Before it sets, throw on the nuts, the sour cherries, the nibs and the sea salt flakes

Let that sit for an hour or 2 till the chocolate goes hard

Then melt the dark chocolate in a Pyrex jug for 77 seconds or thereabouts

Cool it for a minute then pour it over the white chocolate slab

Let it set then break up into delicious shards

spread the chocolate over the paper

throw on the nuts 

scatter the cherries, salt and nibs 

melted dark choc about to be poured over the slab of white choc   

dark choc poured over  

arrr me hearties!  grab that cutlass and chop:=)  

my nutty doodle