Lamingtons & Meat Pies

I couldn’t settle for just Iced Vo-Vos on Australia Day! We simply had to have Lamingtons too!

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I used a bit of a cheats recipe…again…using store bought cake. I blamed the wet weather for not making my own sponge. I figured it would sink if I tried to make it myself. This recipe was fantastic!

I cut the cake into little squares and then dipped it in the chocolate icing mix. I used a little less water than specified in the recipe as I thought it would be a little too runny.

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I then rolled the cake in coconut.

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Voile…lamingtons!

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Next on the list…meat pies. These little beauties were baked in large muffin pans.

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I used this recipe. Whilst it does take quite a lot of time for the delicious chunky beef filling to simmer away, the wait is well worth it.

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Once the simmering is done the filling is spooned into the pastry before baking in the oven.

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A good old fashioned Aussie meat pie.

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Preparing for Australia Day Celebrations

If you grew up in Australia as a child of the 70s you might remember how good Iced Vo-Vos used to taste. If you’ve tried them recently you’ve probably noticed they just aren’t the same.

Iced Vo-Vos are an Australian icon so in honor of Australia Day tomorrow I decided to try making some semi-home made Iced Vo-Vos and I think they tastes just like the 70s version.

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I had a little head start on these by using Arnotts Milk Coffee biscuits as the base. I then made the pink icing for the strips down the side of the biscuit by gently melting 300g of pink marshmallows with a little (40g) unsalted butter.

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I then added a third of a cup of sifted icing sugar to the melted marshmallows and stirred to combine. I let this cool a little before spreading the pink icing either side of the biscuit.

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I then dipped the biscuit in desicated coconut to carefully coat the icing layer.

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Lastly, I gently warmed some three berry jam (raspberry jam would be fine too) and then carefully spread it down the centre of the biscuit.

Serve with milk and time travel back to 1978.

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Sticky Sweet Baklava

Who doesn’t love Baklava! I’ve always thought it would be time consuming and fiddly to make - but it’s not!  I particularly love these little Baklava fingers.

Baklava
based on a recipe from here and here

3/4 cup sesame seeds
2 cups walnuts, finely chopped
2 cups blanched almonds
1/4 cup ground cinnamon
8 sheets filo pastry
100g butter, melted

Syrup
1 375g jar honey
165g (3/4 cup) sugar
250mls (1 cup) water
1 lemon, rind finely grated and juiced

Preheat oven to 200°C. Lightly grease a shallow baking tray.

Place sesame seeds in a small, non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Cook, shaking pan gently, for 3 to 5 minutes or until golden and toasted. Transfer to a bowl. Combine walnuts, almonds, sugar and cinnamon in the bowl of a food processor and process using the pulse button until they are finely chopped. Combine with sesame seeds.

Brush 1 pastry sheet with butter. Fold in half crossways to form a rectangle.

Sprinkle 1/4 cup walnut/almond mixture evenly over pastry. Starting from one long end, roll up into a log. Brush with butter. Place on baking tray. Repeat with remaining pastry, butter and walnut mixture. Bake baklava for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool on baking tray.

Meanwhile, to make the honey syrup, combine honey, sugar, water, lemon rind and juice in a saucepan and stir over high heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and maintain over medium heat for 10 minutes or until the syrup has thickened slightly.

Cover with foil and store at room temperature in the tin for up to 2 weeks. Cut each baklava diagonally into 3 pieces. Serve.

Gorgeous Little Maple Apple Cakes

I have found the most deliciously dense little cake recipe, served coated in cinnamon sugar. The best part is they freeze well, and are really quite versatile…read on!

Cinnamon Sugar-Coated Maple Apple Cakes
from Donna Hay Magazine Issue 44

2.5 cups (375g) self-raising flour, sifted
1 tsp ground cinnamon
250g butter
1 cup (175g) brown sugar
1/2 cup (125ml) maple syrup
4 eggs
6 red apples, peeled and grated
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup (220g) caster sugar

Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Place the flour and cinnamon in a bowl and mix to combine. Add the butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, eggs and apple and mix well to combine. Spoon into 12 well-greased one cup-capacity (250ml) Bundt tins. Bake for 20 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Turn out immediately. Place the extra cinnamon and sugar in a bowl and mix to combine. Coat the cakes in sugar and cool. Makes 12.

Now for the explanation on their versatility. I made this recipe a couple of weeks ago for the Dessert Tasting plate at our Dinner Party. The Cinnamon Sugar-Coated Maple Apple Cakes shared the plate with Lemon Posset, Passionfruit Cheesecake Slice with Raspberry Coulis, Lemon Sorbet and Vanilla Wafers.

But…I’ve also had a little stash in the freezer that I pop into the kids lunch boxes or warm up and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar to enjoy with a cup of tea.  This is a recipe well worth trying.

Icing Filled Biscuits

I have a soft spot for biscuits filled with icing…particularly melting moments.  Whilst these aren’t quite as special, they are an easy way to please the kids using a basic biscuit recipe.  You can be as creative as you like thinking up new shapes to cut out of the centre of the top biscuit layer.

Cookies
based on recipe from BBC Food

250g unsalted butter, softened

250g olden caster sugar

2 eggs, lightly beaten

½ tsp vanilla extract

500g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

Beat together the butter and sugar in a large bowl, preferably using an electric mixer, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract. (If the mixture looks a little curdled, add a spoonful of the flour.) If you’re using food colouring, add a few drops to the mixture.

Sift together the flour and baking powder in a separate bowl. Stir the flour into the butter mixture and work into a dough using floured hands. Turn onto a floured work surface and knead into a ball (the dough will be quite wet). Divide the dough into two portions, wrap in cling film and leave to chill in the fridge for at least one hour.

Preheat the oven to 170C. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.

Roll the dough out to a 0.5cm thickness between two sheets of baking paper. (It’s best to roll out one portion of the dough at a time, leaving the remainder in the fridge.) Cut shapes out with a scone cutter. For the top layer of the biscuit cut an additional shape out of the centre of the biscuit to allow the icing to be visible.

Place the cut shapes on a tray allowing a little space between each.  Pop the tray of biscuits into the freezer for 10 minutes to minimise the dough spreading.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, leave on the tray for 10 minutes and then move to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Make some icing by mixing together 2 cups of icing sugar, 3 tablespoons softened unsalted butter and 2 tablespoons of warm water.

Spread the icing over the base of each biscuit and then add the top layer.

Spooky Halloween Biscuits

As part of the Halloween celebrations I made some spooky biscuits, (totally) inspired by the coolest idea on the BBC Food website.

Infact, the only small alteration I made was to use strawberry jam for the ‘blood’ rather than red food colouring, as used by BBC Food.  The biscuit recipe is available on the BBC Food website. Isn’t this a fun idea!

And…on a far more clever note…look what my sister created for Halloween celebrations in her neck of the woods!

Crunchy, Sweet Anzac Biscuits

For some strange reason when I don’t seem to have the right ingredients to make anything else I always have what’s needed for Anzac Biscuits. But…interestingly enough they always seem to taste a little different – this time they were crunchy but sometimes they are chewy and other times soft.  Keeps it interesting!

Anzac Biscuits
from the Australian Women’s Weekly The Big Book of Beautiful Biscuits

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup plain flour
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup desiccated coconut
125g butter
2 tablespoons golden syrup
1 tablespoon boiling water
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
 
Combine oats, sifted flour, sugar and coconut in large bowl. Combine butter and golden syrup, stir over gentle heat until melted. Mix soda with boiling water, add to melted butter mixture, stir into dry ingredients.
 
Place rounded tablespoons of mixture on lightly greased oven trays allowing room for spreading. Cook in a slow oven 20 minutes. Loosen while warm, then cool on trays. Makes about 35.
 
Maybe one day I’ll work out why they taste slightly different each time I make them.  Let me know how they turn out for you.

Raspberry and Almond Teacake

I somehow ended up with a Green’s packet Teacake in my pantry.  I’m not quite sure how it got there but I thought it best to cook it up before it passed the used by date so I made a few tweaks to make it just a little more appealing than the average packet cake mix.

I followed the directions on the packet adding milk, eggs and butter and beating for 2 minutes in the Kitchenaid.  I then added half a cup of almond meal, stirring through before scooping into 12 muffin cases. Finally I added some frozen raspberries, pressing into the cake mix.  I popped them into the oven, preheated to 180 degrees celsius, and cooked for 20 minutes. Yum! Moist and delicious.