Easy Chocolate Cake

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This recipe originated from my Mum. The recipe came with her new food processor some 30 years ago and, since making it the first time, it has been a family favourite.

It is very easy to make and can be made into muffins or loaf tin cakes depending on what you are after.

This recipe makes 2x 21cm diameter cakes or 24 muffins.

I sometimes omit the syrup and add 2 tablespoons of Horlicks instead. This gives it a lovely hint of malt, topped with malty butter icing and Maltesers and you have our regular birthday cake, as requested by the boys.

Ingredients

330g plain flour

4 tablespoons cocoa powder

2 level teaspoons bicarbonate of soda

2 level teaspoons baking powder

250g caster sugar

4 tablespoons golden syrup

4 eggs, beaten

275mls milk

275mls vegetable oil

Method

Preheat the oven to 170degrees Centigrade.

Grease and line two 23cm cake tins.

Measure flour, cocoa, bicarb, baking powder and sugar into the food processors bowl, give it a whizz to mix and get rid of any lumps.

Add syrup and eggs.

Start the processor and slowly pour the oil and milk in, you should have quite a runny batter now.

Pour the batter into your prepared tins and bake for 35-40mins.

Remove from oven, pop out of their tins and remove baking paper, allow to cool on a wire rack.

Sandwich cakes together with raspberry jam and ice.

Icing Ingredients

50g butter

4 tablespoons cocoa powder

3 tablespoons milk

140g icing sugar

Method

Melt the butter in a pan.

Add the cocoa powder and blend well.

Pour the milk in, add the sugar and mix well.

Cook over low heat for 1 minute.

Set aside to cool in the pan

 

 

 

Potato, Chickpea and Spinach Curry

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This is a really handy curry to have, the flavours are gentle and it goes well with dhal and bread or rice. Kids love it, especially served with mango chutney and insisting that they eat it with their hands!

I tend to serve white Basmati and paratha bread with this.

For the Coeliac in the family I also cook some pappadums in the microwave. That way, I too, can eat with my hands using pappadums instead of bread.

Ingredients

750g waxy potatoes, Kipfler are good, cut into 2cm cubes

2 tablespoons ghee

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

2 cloves garlic, finely sliced

2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger

2 onions, sliced

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon garam masala

half a teaspoon chilli powder

1 cup water

2 tins cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed

150g spinach

juice of a lime

small bunch of coriander, stalks and leaves,chopped

salt and pepper to taste

Method

Start with a large frying pan with a lid.

Heat the ghee over a medium to hot heat.

Add the mustard seeds and as soon as they pop add the onion, garlic and ginger, lower heat to low/medium and cook until the onions are soft.

Next, add the cumin, turmeric, garam masala, and chilli, stir in.

Mix the potatoes in and pour the water over, stir well and cover.

Simmer for 20mins, stirring occasionally.

Check that the potatoes are cooked, remove the lid add the drained chickpeas and cook off any remaining liquid.

Now add the spinach, stir well through.

Once the spinach has wilted add the lime juice and coriander.

Mix well and serve.

Pancakes, Gluten Free or Regular

Pancakes

Pancakes are a bit of a stand by in our house.

They are a regular request when we have the boy’s friends over, topped with maple syrup, honey or Nutella.

Generic plain gluten free flour works very well with this recipe. If making gluten free pancakes add a little melted butter, 25-50g, this will stop the mix sticking to the pan.

The pancakes freeze well, they are great for lunch boxes and afternoon tea. You can even leave the sugar out and use them as a savoury base topped with cream cheese and smoked salmon!

Ingredients

450g plain flour

Pinch of salt

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

60g caster sugar

2 eggs

600mls milk

Method

Weigh the flour, salt, bicarbonate and tartar I to a bowl.

Give it a bit of a whisk, this will get some air into the flour mix.

Add the sugar and make a well in the middle of the flour mix.

Pop the egg into the middle of the well  using a whisk slowly begin to mix in  gradually add the milk, try to avoid lumps.

If it does go lumpy, don’t panic! Just get a hand held blender and give the batter a whizz.

Heat a large non stick pan over a medium heat.

Spoon the mix into the pan, allow room for them to spread.

Once the bubbles burst on the top it’s time to flip the pancake over, the phot above shows the bubbles coming up.

Put the cooked pancakes onto a clean tea towel and cover as you finish the mix.

This mix will make around 40-50 pancakes depending on the size.

Fish Fillets with Burnt Butter and Lemon

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We have been staying in the glorious South West of Western Australia.

Holidays here are simple, walking, fishing, beach time and the odd game of soccer!

Today the boys caught enough whiting in the river for dinner, hoorah!

With fish this fresh it really needs the simplest of ingredients.

So, not really a recipe today as you can use this for any fish, adjust times for your particular fish.

Ingredients

10 small whiting

100g butter

1 lemon

salt and pepper

Method

Gut, clean and fillet your fish, I leave the skin on whiting.

Melt the butter in a large frying pan, once bubbling and beginning to colour, add the fish skin side down.

Immediately squeeze half the lemon juice over the fish and spoon the butter and lemon sauce over the fillets.

Serve on warm plates topping the fish with the sauce  and some boiled new potatoes and seasonal greens or a green salad?

Corn Chowder with Cheesy Nachos

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My boys didn’t “do” soup for years. Comments likening it to baby mush would always be made and noses turned up in disgust.

It took me years to work it out but, the easiest way to get them eating a soup is serving it with a bribe of sorts!

Here is one of their favourites, nachos, so easy, gluten free, in the oven for 5 minutes and happy children guaranteed.

The soup isn’t too bad either! I use the stock made from my TexMex Roast Chicken, the recipe is in the blog. This stock really packs a punch but a regular chicken stock will work just as well and I have made this as a vegetarian soup, omit the bacon and use a really good vegetable stock.

Ingredients

200g bacon,  diced

1 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

I jalapeño chilli, deseeded and chopped

500g frozen sweet corn

1litre stock

1 teaspoon ground cumin

a few grates of nutmeg

a pinch of cayenne pepper

1 lime, juiced

250mls milk

Method

Warm a large pan over a medium heat, add bacon and cook until crispy.

Set a small amount of bacon aside to use as a garnish if you want, otherwise carry on.

Add the onion to the bacon and cook until soft, around 10mins.

Add the garlic and chilli to the onion mix and cook for 1 minute.

Now pop the sweet corn in and cook for 3-5 mins.

Next, pour the stock in and bring up to the boil, simmer for 3 mins and remove from the heat.

Using a stick blender liquidize the soup, ip the nature of the corn means it will always be a wee bit lumpy.

While off the heat add the lime juice and milk.

Return to the heat and bring back up to a simmer, season with salt and pepper and serve with nachos.

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Nachos Ingredients

200g unsalted corn chips

100g Cheddar/ tasty cheese, grated

1-2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning

Sour cream to serve

Method

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade.

Line a baking sheet with baking parchment.

Tip the corn chips onto the parchment and spread out.

Sprinkle the cheese over.

Sprinkle the Cajun spice mix over.

Bake in the oven for 5-7 mins until the cheese is melted.

Serve with sour cream and corn chowder.

Lemon Curd

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The lemon tree is full of fruit this year so it’s time to make lemon curd.

This is one of the easiest preserves to make and the curd doesn’t just belong on toast! Stir it into basic muffins, use in lemon meringue pie and top fairy cakes with it.

I don’t strain my curd, it’s laziness on my part, I really don’t mind a bit of lemon zest, in fact, I reckon it gives it more of a home made taste.

This is gluten free, because we use no thickeners, Mother Nature does it for us!

I triple this recipe, it doesn’t last long with my boys! Triple quantities makes four jars as photographed.

I do sterilise the jars and lids and this will allow the curd to then keep for at least two months in the fridge. You can use unsterilised jars, the curd will last 3 weeks in the fridge.

To sterilise my jars I preheat the oven to 100 degrees Centigrade and boil the kettle.

Pop the jars in the oven for 10mins, place the lids in a heat proof bowl and pour the freshly boiled water over.

When ready to use, remove the lids with tongs, do not touch the inside of the lid.

Ingredients

2 lemons

85g butter

225g sugar

3 eggs, beaten

Method

Grate the zest from the lemons, only the yellow zest, the white pith will make your curd bitter.

Juice the lemons.

In a heavy based pan combine the zest, juice, butter, sugar and eggs.

Over a low heat warm the curd mixture, I use  a whisk to mix constantly but a wooden spoon works just as well.

Whisk until the curd has thickened, it will coat the back of a spoon.

Pour very carefully into the sterilised jars and seal with the lids.

Allow to cool completely before storing in the fridge.

TexMex Roast Chicken

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This makes a fab change to our usual roast! I serve it with red rice, guacamole, salsa and salad.

Leftover chicken is great for making quesadillas or try burritos with some warmed leftover rice too.

I make stock with the chicken bones and then use it for a corn chowder, makes sense when it already has so much great flavouring to it. The stock can also be used for sour cream enchiladas, a massive favourite in our house and easy to make gluten free.

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Ingredients

60mls Dijon mustard

1 jalapeño chilli, seeds removed, chopped

2 limes, juiced

4 large cloves of garlic, chopped

1 bunch coriander, cut just above the lowest leaves on the stems

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 tablespoon honey

2 tablespoons olive oil

salt

2 x 1.8kg chickens, back bones removed, flattened

Method

Process the mustard, jalapeño, lime juice, garlic, fresh coriander, ground coriander, cumin and honey, salt to taste.

Gently lift the chicken skin all over to allow you to rub the marinade all over the skin and under the skin.

Set aside for at least 2hrs, overnight is fine too.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade.

Place the chickens in a roasting tin as above and roast for 1hr 30mins, basting for the last 45mins.

Once cooked set aside to rest.

 

Feeding a hungry family!