Food and Drink Feed


Now that I am back in my own home, from which I do not intend to move till they carry me out, I am getting the kitchen organised again.  It is tiny in comparison to my old kitchen and there isn't a lot of storage space.  This means I have to be super organised.  My Kitchen Aid mixer is still with my daughter but I intend to rescue it and bring it home, in the mean time I have a small hand held beater that is getting a work out.

old kitchen

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I do not like the glass cook top because it is constant work to keep clean so will eventually replace it with a gas version,  but the oven is wonderful.  The best oven I have ever had.  My biggest struggle I have with the kitchen is keeping my husband out of the space.  He leaves his stuff all over the place.  He likes to cook his own breakfast and as he likes his toast burnt, the smoke alarm is always going off!

New kitchen

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With all the upheaval over the past few years I lost my love of cooking but now it has returned, when there isn't a lot of people to cook for.  I have a couple of neighbours who are on their own so they are being given meals because I cook too much.   They are very happy about that.  I am trying to make smaller quantities though, but with cakes there isn't a lot of smaller cake tins.  A cake that takes 1 cup of flour is best when there are only 2 of you or you live on your own.  Then I remembered the ice-cream tray my mother used back in the 1960's and I think she probably got it in the 1950's.  I finally found one in an Opp shop.  Just right.

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This little Sultana butter cake does us for about 3 days morning tea.

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  • 60 g butter
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • vanilla
  • 1 cup Self Raising Flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup sultanas


  • Cream butter and sugar (with beater)
  • add egg and vanilla and mix well
  • Using a metal spoon add 1l2 the flour and milk
  • fold in
  • Add the remaining flour and milk
  • fold in the sultanas.
  • Cook in a moderate over (180 c) for 30 mins.


Instead of sultanas you could use the juice of an orange or a lemon or lime plus some of the rind.  Make a like flavoured icing to top.  Or you could use 2 table spoons of cocoa and make a chocolate butter icing. Or you could experiment with what you add.

There is a problem with tin trays rusting, everything rusts on an island.  When I was teaching catering we always put our dried tins in the oven after we had turned it off and it was still warm.  No rust.  (That other tin I used for an apple cake.  I will share that recipe later.)

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Xmas Biscuit Making

Oh I am glad I cooked a batch of biscuits in advance and that I changed the recipe so that the kids would like it. 

I made a basic biscuit recipe.

125g butter

1/2 cup Caster sugar - butter and sugar were creamed by beating with a hand held mixer

1 egg - added to mixture and beaten well

2 cups Self Raising Flour + 1/2 teaspoon each of Cinnamon, Mixed Spice & ground Ginger sifted together and then added to the other ingredients until the dough is stiff.

(We used extra flour on the board, rolling pin and cutters.)

The girls said the texture was just like play dough so they were able to knead and roll it without any problems.  Also the biscuits were not overpowering in taste.  In fact just right to eat.  The traditional ginger bread recipe is sticky and hard to handle even for an adult.

We started by making the icing.  1 egg white, beaten to stiff peaks and then add 1 cup of sifted icing sugar.  Seeing the egg white go from clear to thick white produced lots of OH's.  I then divided it into 3 dishes for light pink, dark pink and green.  Making the green from blue and yellow was very exciting as was getting red dye all over their fingers.  We then decorated the cooked biscuits while the oven heated up.


Biscuit 4

Biscuit 2



We then started rolling and cutting the biscuit mixture.  We started small and then ended with big biscuits with their initials and some for Mummy and Daddy.


As the girls are only 3 and 4 years of age I was surprised that they didn't lose interest.  We were making and decorating biscuits for a good 3 hours.


It was a busy but wonderful way to spend the day with the girls.  Of course quite a few of the biscuits were eaten straight away and I'm not sure if the last batch will be decorated .


Xmas Preparations

I kind of fell into a hole after I posted my interstate and overseas presents.  But Xmas isn't here yet and I have a lot to get ready.  Our Xmas tree is in storage so I bought a small one and some decorations from Ikea.  (Thank God for Ikea).


Today I am off to bake gingerbread biscuits with my grand daughters but I thought I had better have a run through first.  I haven't used this oven for baking biscuits or cakes before so am not sure how it will work and I only have this little bench to work on.


Still, if the baking doesn't work today I will be able to say "I prepared these in advance". They are all going to be iced and decorated so  where they browned unevenly will be covered.


I think the girls will like this girl cutter.  It comes with 6 designs for the impression and then all packs up and stores in a small space.   (When you have as many biscuit cutters as me that is important.)


I wasn't as impressed with the cutters I bought at Ikea.  Just a bit too big for kids to manage.


While I had the oven on I also baked some pies,


and a zucchini slice.  I made this using fresh zucchini from my friend Angela's garden in Toowoomba.  It is delicious.


So now I am headed for the biscuit making with my girls.  Actually I'm quite excited about it.



The BBQ of my dreams

A few years ago when I was teaching Food Studies the school decided to close the kitchens for refurbishment.  Just great when you have 6 classes of Food Studies and another 4 Senior classes of Hospitality.  My staff were not pleased and neither was I but I put my thinking cap on and came up with a Semester of "Outdoor Cookery" classes.

I begged, borrowed and stole BBQ's from where ever I could find them and we set the classes up in the grounds and then when it rained under the walkways.  They were some of the most successful classes I have ever run and the kids just loved them.  One of the BBQ's that a parent lent us was a Weber Kettle.  This thing could cook anything and I have always wanted one but of course the male of the house thought they were a waste of money.

Kettle Charcoal Barbecue Range

But today I bought a Weber Genesis E 330 gas model.  It was very expensive but I need to spoil myself once in a while.  Usually they deliver and assemble them but not to an island so it will be delivered to my son who will bring it over and we will assemble it ourselves.  Gee I hope it gets here before Easter when I have visitors coming over.


Weber® Genesis E330

Oranges and Lemons

I had been congratulating myself on not catching the flu from the Grandchildren or my husband but today it hit.  Runny nose, head aches, temperature, the lot.  I delivered all my embroidery kits to the Guild this morning and then came home to go to bed.  I hate colds.  Mainly because I can't stitch.  I tried and it will all have to come undone.

Then I remembered all the mandarins and lemons I had brought back from High-fields.  All the mandarins have been eaten but there are still lots of lemons.  Just right for a lemon and honey drink for this cold.


The lemons are beautiful, so full of juice.  Far to good for a drink, so I made Lemon butter. One large jar from just 2 lemons.


And the colour was so rich.


The taste, delicious.


All this in less than 10 minutes.  Only 4 minutes to cook, 6 minutes were spent getting the equipment our of the cupboard and sterilising the jar.  Thank you again Mary O'Niel, a great recipe.  Here is the link.

Preparing for Christmas

I started cooking today in preparation for Chistmas.  Too early?  Well it's about 10 weeks away and I am going away for a couple of weeks at the beginning of December so I thought I would cook some fruit cakes, that I will give as gifts, and put them in the freezer.

Now these are not big cakes, the square tin is about 4"x4" , but they are just the right size for a gift.  I will decorate them closer to Christmas, if they last that long.
These cakes are rich, moist, fat free and so easy to cook.

Here is the recipe.


Line tins with greased paper.


1 Kj of mixed fruit soaked overnight in 600ml of Milk. You could also add rum if you desire.

(The milk can be unflavoured or chocolate or coffee.)

After soaking overnight turn the mixture well and then add 2 cups of sifted Self Raising Flour into which you have added 1 teaspoon each of cinnamon, mixed spice and nutmeg.

Mix the ingredients together well with a spoon.

Spoon into your prepared tins.  ( I used 5 small tins but the mixture also fits 2 loaf tins.)

Cook in a preheated over set at 160 degrees Centigrade, (Mark 2), for about 1 hour 15 mins.

Remove from tins and cool before freezing.

(This recipe was given to me by my friend Angela.)

A busy weekend

Saturday saw myself and a group of friends hire a mini bus and head up to Toowoomba for the beginning of the Carnival of Flowers, along with a good percentage of Brisbane.  We left at 8am to miss the traffic.  It didn't work, but we got up the range and arrived about 10:15am.  Just behind us two buses broke down and blocked the highway and people were stuck for over an hour waiting, not very patiently.


Once the Carnival is on your know it is really spring.  We went to see the Quilt Show,  I will be returning during the week to get some more photos of the quilts and the flowers.  We got home about 6:30pm and then it was off to a concert.  A very long day.

I like the Toowoomba Quilt show for a number of reasons.  Firstly it is a country show and all the quilts are by the members.  This means there is a huge range.  From a quilt for the kids right through to the best of the state.  Secondly there is always embroidery on a lot of the quilts and some of it is stunning.  I will return later in the week to show some of Robyn Ginn's quilts.  The detail is just delicious.


 I love the Lantana flowers, those are just the colours of Lantana flowers, and wht about those leaves?


She has a different way of seeing a crazy quilt.  It is and it isn't a crazy quilt.  Look at those beautiful buttons.  I will take a few days next week to showcase each of her quilts that were in the show.

Next morning I just didn't want to do anything so we walked down the road to a local bakery/cafe, who bake the best bread, and had breakfast.  I think I was still asleep when I put my order in because cheese and jam doesn't really appeal but this was delicious.



Lemon Tarts - 1

I was thinking about what else I could do with my Lemon Butter and remembered how my grandmother used it.  She used to make pastry tart-let cases which she would store in an airtight container and bring them out for when visitors came.  

I found this photo of her when she was young,


and this one where she was in her 80's (on the left) with my maternal grandmother This is how I remember them both.  After my grandfather died they lived together and called each other Mrs Tollis and Mrs Floyd.  No first names here, reminds me of Jane Austen characters and they never went out without a hat and gloves.


She was a very old lady, in her late 80's, when she showed me how to make pastry.  My mother died when I was 16 and it was this grandmother who had stayed with us every time she went into hospital.  I seem to remember it was this same long weekend all those years ago when I was initiated into how to make pastry.  I was probably about 18 years old.  Looking back I see that her life at this time was rather solitary.  Her children all had families of their own.  She still had one boarder who lived with her but I don't think they were very close friends.  She had a maiden niece who had been the eldest in her family when her parents had died  she had devoted her life to raising her brothers and sisters.  They were firm friends and attended the same church.  This photo was taken in the early 1900's on the banks of the Parramatta river, this was very rural in those days.

Cadden Children on Parramatta River

It was a weekend andmI was shocked at having to walk the 2 miles to get to churchand then another 2 miles to get home again.  But this little old lady walked this way all the time.  I have always admired her.  She had been widowed when she was 6 weeks pregnant with my father and  had 4 other children.  It was the depression and she couldn't withdraw any of her money from the bank.  But she and her sister ran a corner store, stables and took in boarders to survive.  I had a look on google and the shop is still there but the stables are now a child care centre.  It all looks very seedy.  Most of the people who live here now are migrants from the middle east.


My father attended school at Elizabeth Farm which is now a Museum and was the home of the MacArthur family in the early days of the colony.  It is now the oldest European building in Australia.  My father's great grandfather was a Lieutenant at the Lancer Barracks at Parramatta. Another one of those military families who put down roots here.


How could pastry lead to all this reminiscing?  Next installment the pastry.

Lemon Butter

Some times I get a craving for Lemon Butter.  I don't like the type you buy in the supermarket so it was back to Di's Mum's recipe.  Mary O'Neil makes a mean lemon butter and her microwave recipe it just so quick and easy.  I didn't have to buy anything, everything was in the pantry.


2 large eggs

2 tablespoons of butter

juice of 2 lemons

1/2 cup of sugar

I put everything into a bowl and gave it a good whizz with the electric  hand mixer then put the mixture into a pyrex jug and into the microwave on high for 1 minute.  A good beat with a wooden spoon then back into the microwave for 3 more 30 second bursts, beating between each time with the wooden spoon.  By this stage the mixture was coating the back of the spoon so I knew that it was ready.


I had sterilized a glass jar and it was still warm, so in went the mixture even though it was still hot. ( I knew that hot mixture wouldn't crack the jar because it had been heated.)


There was just a bit of the mixture what wouldn't fit in the jar so I had to make some toast so that it wasn't wasted.


When the jar cooled down it looked so delicious I dressed in with a lace doily and a piece of ribbon.


A lot cheaper, quicker and more tasty than buying at the supmarket.  Thanks Mary.

(P.S. Make sure you store it in the refrigerator, it will last a couple of weeks,  mine is always gone long before that.)