Saturday, 27 December 2014

Well Christmas has come and gone, after we celebrated it twice. Too much eat, drink and be merry and not enough sleep.

So my Christmas cooking started off with a pineapple boiled fruitcake.  This is my mothers favourite fruitcake, so I make it every year. It's also really easy to make. Most of the ingredients, pineapple, mixed fruit, walnuts, sugar, butter, bicarb and mixed spice are boiled for a few minutes, cooled, add some flour and eggs and cook. This is all done in one pot and one cake tin. So easy and tastes delish.

I also made dark chocolate tim tam balls and mint slice balls again because they are quick and easy to make and everyone loves them. My other contribution to Christmas lunch is a store bought Ray's plum pudding. My family has been eating these for Christmas for as long as I can remember and beyond. The plum pudding is the best thing about lunch as far as I'm concerned. So we ate ourselves into the usual food coma, rested up and came home.

Boxing day was a bit of rest, a bit of shopping (never again) and a bit more rest.

Saturday.  Our next Christmas Lunch.  This was at Lizzy Lou's place with her family and Number one son's father, father's  partner and family. Lizzy did the meal and I made dessert.
First off I pressed some biscuits to make caramel meringue tarts. I'm all about quick and easy to make things, and these fall into that category. Butternut snap bickies, can of caramel top and fill and a few egg whites and sugar whipped up into meringue.

I also cut up and cooked puff pastry to turn into what I call cream puffs. I fill these when its dessert time.

Next it was time to make trifle. I made the jelly last night so it was set and ready to go this morning. This is my easy peezy trifle, made with all store bought ingredients. Packet cake, packet jelly, tub of custard,can of fruit, some port because it has to have alcohol, and whipped cream, bananas and passion fruit pulp. Layer it all nicely in a bowl and refrigerate till ready. I don't put the banana and passionfruit on until I'm ready to serve though.

We ate lunch which was pork, ham, chicken, salads, baked potatoes and lots of garlic butter and sour cream. You cant beat a potato smothered in garlic butter with coleslaw and sour cream. Just don't come near me for the next week.
I then put together the cream puffs. I filled some with nutella, sliced strawberries and cream and some with raspberry jam and cream.Dust with icing sugar and serve. I finished off the trifle and served it too.

After eating, we went outside and played with the kids for a while. The others all went home but the man and I and the kids stayed on for tea.  Left overs.. We ate and left. And here I am, almost bedtime. The only thing I have left to show you is my toblerone ice cream which I made last week but wasn't set. Boy did it turn out. I wont be buying ice cream again that's for sure. I will be able to use the basic recipe and add just about anything.  Next time I reckon I'm making strawberry flavoured ice cream with strawberry pieces.

So that's me. See you next year.
Happy new year everyone.

EASY PEEZY TRIFLE (contains alcohol)

1 large swiss roll (prepackaged)
1/2 - 3/4 cup of port (or sherry)
1 port wine jelly (make night before)
1 large can peaches
1 container pauls extra thick vanilla custard
600 mls thickened cream, whipped
2 large bananas, sliced
can passionfruit pulp

use a large bowl.

make jelly, according to directions night before needed.

cut swiss roll into thinnish slices.
line bottom and 1 layer around side of bowl.

put the port into a squirt bottle and squirt half of it over all the cake in the bowl.

layer half the peaches then half the jelly then half the custard on top of the cake.

then place another layer of cake, squirt with the rest of the port, then layer the peaches, jelly and finish with the custard.

cover the custard with the whipped cream, sliced banana and passionfruit pulp.


NOTE..if not serving straight away, dont put the banana and passionfruit on till needed.


6 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 jar nutella
1 punnet stawberries
600 mils thickened cream, whipped
icing sugar

preheat oven to 200c.  line a baking tray with baking paper.

cut each sheet of pastry in to 8 pieces.

place on trays and cook till golden brown and puffed.


split each piece of pastry in half lengthways.

cut strawberries into slices.

spread bottom piece with nutella and place about 4 pieces of strawberry onto nutella.

spoon or pipe cream over top of strawberries.

place top piece of pastry on cream.

dust with icing sugar.


1 cup sugar
450 gram tin crushed pineapple
375 gram packet mixed dried fruit
1 small packet chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon bi-carb soda
1 teaspoon mixed spice
125 grams soft butter
1 cup self raising flour
1 cup plain flour
2 eggs, beaten

preheat oven to 160 c. grease and line bottom of 20 cm round cake tin.

place sugar, pineapple, mixed fruit, butter, walnuts, bicarb soda and mixed spice into a medium sized saucepan.

place over medium heat and bring to boil. simmer for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.


stir in flour and eggs.

pour into tin.

cook for 40 - 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

cool in tin for five minutes then tip out onto wire rack. cool completely.


2 x 600 mils thickened cream

2 cans condensed milk

400 grams toblerone chocolate

thick chocolate topping


grease and line a large pudding steamer tin with 2 layers of cling wrap.

crush or blitz the toblerone chocolate (no big chunks, they will sink to bottom of tin).

with an electric mixer, beat the cream and condensed together until thickens.

stir in toblerone.

pour into tin and cover with lid.

pour remainder (if any) into another container.

freeze overnight  or until set.

tip ice cream out onto serving plate and pour topping over top and down sides.

decorate with strawberries.

NOTE..if ice cream wont come out of container, quickly run sides of container under hot water.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Saturday. Thank God you are over.  I am so tired, sitting here yawning my head off.  Too early a start to my day, couldn't sleep so up early.

 All things considered, I had a pretty easy day. Had the grandkids but they were good, had decided on a stir fry for tea so I didn't have to panic about that and number one son and the man were out so I didn't have to feed them. So I played with the kids, tidied up the yard, fed them some lunch and had the urge to make icecream.  The man went down the shop for me to get some toblerone chocolate while I got the bits and pieces together, basically cream and condensed milk. So I've tried to blitz,  cut, pounded and blitzed (again) the toblerone, apparently it was a bit too hard for the machine but the pounding did it. Then whipped and stirred and plonked in the freezer.  That's a leave and forget for the time being.

Last week I had frozen some pumpkin biscuit dough, which I thawed out today and cooked up. The last four dozen disappeared very quickly. The kids love them.

Anyway the rest of my arvo disappeared at a fast rate of knots and it was suddenly tea time.  We are having chicken and mushrooms in a white wine sauce.

Dunk the chicken in some seasoned flour, cook,  remove from pan, cook some mushrooms and garlic in same pan, add some white wine and stock, bit of thickening, add the chicken back, add some noodles and parmesan cheese and dinners served.

While we were eating,  miss Tash casually announced that I hadn't made dessert, number five almost fell off his chair.  Its ok, I'm making scones" says I.  "You're lucky" says he as he sits himself back down.   They all really only come for dessert.  So off to the kitchen to make the scones. My way. Flour, sugar, salt, butter, milk and egg. Most cooks would say no egg, but I like them with, turn out nice and light. Just don't over work the dough or they go tough and don't what ever you do, cut them with a glass, like my mum used to, (the old vegemite glass was used for that), sucks the air right out of the dough.. Cook in a hot oven and eat them hot with jam and cream, or nutella if you're miss Tash.

While they were eating I went to check on the icecream. Unfortunately it wasn't frozen yet, so the rest of that story will be here next time.

Must be the night for tired, all the kids are grumpy and crying at the drop of a hat, so by 9.15 everyone's gone home and I'm just left with the mess,

So short and sweet tonight, beds calling and tomorrow's another day of grandkids. Then of course it's almost Christmas and I have a heap of cooking for that. Even though we all go to my mums place, I get to take a pineapple boiled fruit cake (that's a given, every year) and what ever else I decide to make. Probably tim tam balls and mint slice balls and maybe some cupcakes, depends on my time frame. Then I have to do it all over again for a second Christmas lunch at Lizzy Lou's place next Saturday for the other side of the family.

So to each and all of You, Merry Christmas. Hope you have as much fun with your family as I will with mine.

......SHAZZIE'S SCONES................

4 cups self raising flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 slightly heaped tablespoons butter, softened
1 egg
2 cups milk

preheat oven to 200 c.  line a baking tray with baking paper.

In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar and salt.

with two knives, cut butter through flour until you can no longer see the butter.

add egg to 1 cup of milk and beat well.

add milk and egg mix to flour, add more of the milk as needed until mix just comes together. (if you add too much milk, just mix in more flour).

tip onto a  floured board, knead lightly . DO NOT OVER KNEAD  or scones will be tough.

using hand  lightly flatten into a round shape about 2 cm thick.   cut into rounds with a scone/biscuit cutter (not a glass).

place rounds on tray and brush with left over milk.

cook until nicely brown. about  12 - 15 minutes.

serve with jam and whipped cream.


1 kilo chicken breast fillets, diced
500 grams mushrooms, sliced
800 grams (2 packets) precooked egg noodles
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock
4 tablespoons cornflour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons canola oil
extra salt and pepper to taste

prepare egg noodles according to directions on packet, set aside.

in a large bowl, mix the 1 teaspoon of salt and pepper and 2 tablespoons of the cornflour together.

toss chicken through the flour mix until well coated.

in a large wok or pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil and saute chicken till cooked.  remove chicken from pan.

using same pan, add the other table spoon of oil and cook the garlic and mushrooms till mushrooms have changed colour.

add wine and cook for 1 minute. then mix the rest of the cornflour into the cold stock  and add stock mix to pan, stirring till thickened (if too thick, thin out with more stock)

add chicken back to pan and heat through.

add noodles, parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste.


Saturday, 13 December 2014

Well, it's Saturday once more. Another week gone and another week closer to Christmas.

Another easy day for me. Only my kids, a barbecue tea, and only dessert to really think about.

After a leisurely cup of coffee, I wandered up to the kitchen to start. Of course I had found a recipe through the week and of course I changed it. But, Banana cream cheese cake pie, here we come. This consists of a chocolate ripple biscuit base, cream cheese, condensed milk, vanilla instant pudding  whipped cream and banana filling then more whipped cream, bananas and toasted coconut on top. Made in a springform tin. You need a few different dishes to use but overall quite an easy dessert. The biscuits are  crushed, mixed with melted butter and pressed into the tin then  placed in the fridge. You then beat softened cream cheese till smooth, quickly mix the instant pudding with some milk, tip the instant pudding and the condensed milk into the cream cheese and beat till smooth. Fold in some whipped cream, the place bananas and the filling mix into the base, cover with whipped cream and place in fridge till ready to serve. When ready you add more banana and some toasted coconut. Looks really good. Hope it tastes yum.
Miss Tash doesn't like custard type desserts so I pressed some chocolate ripple biscuits into the 1/2 round patty tins and I'll put some nutella, banana and cream in them when we are ready to have dessert.

I don't even know where the rest of my day went, miss Tash, number five and the chunky one arrived for a while, so we chatted and drank frozen coke they bought with them and they left. It's 32 c in the shade outside so not terribly motivated to do anything much at all today.

I prepared all the bits for the barbecue, toasted the coconut under the griller and cleaned up. I then just waited for everyone to arrive, sitting in the breeze from the air conditioner.

The man of the house was out for the day so number one and number five are the chefs tonight. I must say they did a good job on the barbie.
We eat, clear the table and I head back to the kitchen to put the finishing touches on the banana cream cheese cake pie and the nutella tarty things.
I slice up some bananas, spoon some nutella into the biscuits add some banana  then whipped cream and top with chocolate sprinkles. That's miss Tash's dessert done.

I slice more banana and cover the top of the banana cream cheese cake pie, sprinkle that with toasted coconut and that's done too.

Now for the moment of truth, I carefully slice the pie and send it out to number one son for the taste test.
Success. He tells me it's the best dessert I've made in ages..thanks for that..I think.

We all try it, except miss Tash of course, It is totally excellent. Not quite cheese cake but definitely not custard, but oh so yummmmmm. The chocolate biscuits give it just that subtle chocolate taste and colour that it needs.
The nutella banana tarts are really good too. Especially for something that takes five minutes to throw together.  You could even by pass the pressing of the biscuits and just place everything on to the biscuit straight out of the pack. Not as pretty but same taste.

So thats my day and night yet again, Somehow it's 12.23 am and I reckon it's bed time.

Number five and family were here for tea on Thursday night as well, so I made a quick pasta with penne, chicken, tomato pesto, cream, garlic and spinach. It should have had some sun dried tomatoes in it as well but I forgot to buy them. Didn't really need them,would have given it a bit more colour I think, but add them if you have them. Tasty.


(for those members of the family that don't like cheesecake pie and you don't want to spend all day cooking something else for them)

1 packet chocolate ripple biscuits
jar nutella
2 bananas
300 mls cream, whipped
chocolate sprinkles

heat oven to 175 c
1/2 round patty tins needed.

place biscuits over holes of tins and place in oven till soft.

press biscuits into holes to make tart shapes. cool.

store biscuits in an air tight container till needed.

when ready to serve......

place a teaspoon of nutella into each biscuit.

cover nutella with 3 - 4 slices banana.

pipe or spoon on cream.

sprinkle with chocolate sprinkles.

refrigerate left overs.

*NOTE..If you don't have the 1/2 round tins, or you're in a hurry, you could just spread the nutella straight on to the biscuits, followed by the banana and cream. Doesn't look as pretty, but tastes the same.


1 packet chocolate ripple biscuits, crushed
120 grams butter, melted
600 mls thickened cream,
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pkt cottees vanilla instant pudding mix
1 cup cold milk
250 grams cream cheese, softened
1 can nestles condensed milk
6 ripe bananas
1/2 cup toasted coconut

line bottom of 22 cm spring form tin with baking paper.  lightly grease sides.

mix the biscuits and butter together and press into  bottom of tin and 1/2 way up the sides. refrigerate while making filling.

whip the cream with the 3 tablespoons of sugar and vanilla.  set aside.

using an electric  mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth and creamy.

In a separate bowl, mix the instant pudding and milk until combined

quickly add the pudding mix and condensed milk to cream cheese. beat until smooth.

fold in 1 cup of the whipped cream.

remove biscuit base from refrigerator and cover  bottom and sides of biscuits with a thin layer of cream cheese mix.

slice 4 bananas and evenly cover cream cheese,  bottom and sides.

cover with rest of filling, then the rest of the cream.

cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours.

when ready to serve, decorate with the other 2 bananas, sliced, and toasted coconut.

To toast coconut, sprinkle on baking tray and place under griller set at medium temperature, stirring occassionally until brown.


1 kilo chicken breast fillets, diced
500 gram packet penne pasta
4 tablespoons tomato pesto
600 mls cream
200 grams mushrooms, sliced
2 teaspoons minced garlic
100 grams spinach leaves
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, blitzed - optional

cook penne according to directions on packet.

in a large non stick frypan, on medium heat,  saute the chicken until cooked but not brown.  remove from pan.

in same frypan, saute the garlic and mushrooms until the mushrooms are just cooked.

return chicken to frypan with the garlic and mushrooms.

stir in the cream, the pesto (and the optional sundried tomatoes) Add more pesto according to taste if needed.

add the salt and pepper and parmesan cheese.

add the spinach and cook until just wilted.


Saturday, 6 December 2014

Hello and almost goodbye, again Saturday.  I'm sitting here at 10.30 pm, listening to the wind howling around outside and wondering whether my internet will stay connected long enough to finish here.

It's been a really quiet day here. Lizzy Lou and family had a wedding to go to today so no extra kids. I actually got to go shopping with miss Tash,  number five and the chunky one. A bit of Chrissy shopping, a bit of food shopping and a bit of a wander around.

The only thing I cooked today was a chicken stir fry for tea, which we will get back too.  I did all the rest of my cooking last night because I made ice cream.  Number five had sent me some recipes which of course I deviated from.
If I had known it was so easy, I would have been making this for years. So I took the basic recipe which was condensed milk, thickened cream, and milk coffee biscuits and added orange zest,  food colourings and choc bits. You just line a swiss roll tray with the biscuits, beat the cream and the condensed milk, add in the zest, colouring and choc bits,cover with more biscuits and freeze.  When it was frozen i just blobbed on some chocolate ice magic topping. That's the stuff that you have to microwave to melt, then pour over ice cream and it goes hard.  We now have Orange choc chip ice cream sandwich. Hopefully it works.

The other recipe was similar but you whipped the cream then added the condensed milk and stirred in crushed honeycomb. That gets poured over malt biscuits, sprinkle a bit more honeycomb and freeze. Honeycomb freezer slice.

I had seen a recipe ages ago on facebook for a chocolate eclair cake made with graham crackers and instant pudding mix. Being in Australia, I have never seen graham crackers (apparently pronounced gram according to my son who lives in Seattle) and because they are in so many American recipes, I was really curious to know what they tasted like.  When I was out shopping on Friday, I was looking at one of the pop up shops at the Plaza  and lo and behold, there was a packet of graham crackers The price was $7.00, but oh well at least I'll know what they are.
So I make my chocolate eclair cake which  is instant pudding mixed with milk and whipped cream and layered between the crackers. Top that with chocolate icing and refrigerate over night,  It looked really good and quite frankly, I was excited.
So that was Friday night.
Now, back to Saturday.
8.30 am. arrives and so does a message from number five informing me that he and the family are arriving shortly for breakfast "I have no butter" says he.  "Go to the shops" says me. But no, apparently he would rather drive 10 minutes to my place (the shop is just down the road from him) and have me make it. So cuppas and toast all round.  That drifted into the shopping trip, then back home. Time to try my eclair cake.  I cut it, it's really soft, I taste it and...YUK. I don't like the taste of the graham crackers at all, I guess the Americans grow up with them, a bit like us with vegemite.  The kid's will eat it, hopefully.  What a waste of $15.00 odd dollars. Looks good tho.

 Anyway after number five and family left, I put up some Christmas decorations. I especially like my hiding santa in the box.
That took a few hours of picking and sorting but finally got finished just before miss Tash and chunky one arrived back.  Number five had to work.

Miss Tash arrived with a box containing a baby trampoline which she proceeded to put together (with a bit of help from Chunky)

 in the hopes of keeping the chunky one entertained for a while. That certainly worked.

While they played I got to work on the chicken and cabbage stir fry. Nice and easy. Chop up chicken, cabbage, onion and red capsicum, cook that in a wok with some garlic, pour in water mixed with ginger, soy sauce, chicken stock cube and cornflour and thicken and serve.  We had some mashed potato with that.

We have our ice cream for dessert.  Wow the orange choc chip is divine. Everyone is loving it.  I think I'm pretty clever lol.

The honeycomb one is pretty good too, tho I can't lay claim to that recipe.
Tash and the chunky one go home and my nights pretty much done.  Clean up and then a cuppa while I'm still listening to the wind and staring at my Christmas lights.

So I wish you all good night and leave you with a pic of my Christmas pussy.....


600 mils thickened cream
1 can condensed milk
400 grams honeycomb, crushed
1 packet(250 grams) malt biscuits

line a deep 18 x 28 cm baking dish with baking paper.

place a layer of biscuits over bottom of dish, cutting to fit.

with an electric mixer, whip cream till stiff.

beat in condensed milk till firm.

fold in 250 grams of the crushed honeycomb.

pour cream mixture over top of biscuits.

sprinkle remainder of honeycomb over top.

cut into squares as needed. let sit a couple of minutes before serving.


1 can condensed milk
600 mls thickened cream
2 packets milk coffee biscuits
zest of 1 large orange
200 grams dark choc bits
15 drops red food colouring
15 drops yellow food colouring
bottle of  chocolate ice magic topping

line a swiss roll tin with baking paper.

cover bottom  of tin with biscuits.

with an electric mixer, beat cream, condensed milk and food colouring together till thick.

stir in zest and choc bits.

pour evenly over biscuits, smoothing top.

cover with another layer of biscuits

cover with cling wrap and freeze overnight or until set.

when frozen, drizzle with chocolate ice magic topping.


1 kg chicken breast fillets, sliced
6 cups cabbage, shredded
1 onion, sliced
1 red capsicum, sliced
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 chicken stock cube
1 cup cold water
2 tablespoons cornflour
2 tablespoons oil
salt and pepper to taste

add 1 tablespoon oil to a wok or frypan and cook chicken (in two batches). remove from wok and set aside.

add another tablespoon of oil to the wok and cook, stirring, the garlic, cabbage, onion and capsicum till just tender

In a jug, mix the water, ginger, soy sauce, crushed stock cube and corn flour.

add chicken back into the wok with the vegetables.

add the water mix, stirring till thickened. (if too thick for your taste, add a bit more water)

add salt and pepper and serve.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Another Saturday in the life of Shazz has come and gone, yet again.  A reasonably quiet day, a voting day and a cooking day.

No babysitting today, I didn't have to be up early and yet 7.00 am comes and sleep is gone so up I get. I sneak around making coffee so that I don't wake my kids up.  I love a nice peaceful first coffee of the day.
8.00 am arrives and so do the kids. That signals my departure for the kitchen. Let's get the cooking started.

I had seen a recipe earlier in the week for mint fudge made with mint, not peppermint, mint extract. Never heard of it, never seen it. But aside from that the recipe was easy.  Of course I'm going to change it a bit.
So peppermint choc swirl fudge it is. Easy as pie, melted white chocolate, condensed milk, PEPPERMINT essence, green food colouring and dark choc chips. Into a tin and into the fridge. I licked the you do.. yum. Set it for a couple of hours and try not to eat it.

After making the tim tam balls last week with the dark chocolate and red velvet, I decided to make some with the tim tam original.  The kids ate the last lot so fast but then they were pretty good.

Apparently I have the taste for peppermint this week because I figured if I could use tim tams, I could use mint slice biscuits and make balls out of them the same way. But of course I don't have the biscuits, so I need to shop, and because it's our State Election day, I'll vote on the way. Our lucky day, no queues at the polling booth or the supermarket so home pretty quick. So I blitz up the biscuits and stir in the condensed milk, roll the balls and to be a bit different let's  put green coconut on them.

So that was the morning gone. I have a cuppa, the man's out mowing the lawn, the kids are helping and my brain's ticking over thinking about dessert. We are barbecuing again for tea so not much thought needed there. I was just going to make a coca cola cake and then had a change of mind, sort of. Chocolate caramel cheesecake cake. I made the coca cola cake. That involves bringing to boil, butter, oil, cocoa and coca cola and adding that mix to flour and sugar then adding in milk, eggs, vanilla and bicarb soda. That gets poured into a swiss roll tin and cooked for about 25 minutes.( the actual recipe is on a page  here a fair way back)

While that was cooking, I made an onion dip .  So easy. 1 packet maggi onion soup mix(powder) and 300 mls sour cream. Mix together and refrigerate till needed.

Once the cake was cooling I figured I better clean up before everyone arrives. Got that out of the way, and took what I thought was a well earned rest.
Number five son, miss Tash and the chunky one arrive, where did that time go. Miss Tash bought the cream cheese I forgot to buy, with her, so back to the kitchen to make the caramel cheesecake to grace the middle of my cake.  I microwaved the 2 tubs of cheese for 40 seconds to soften it up then I beat the cheese and then beat in caramel top and fill.  That needs to go into the fridge for about an hour.
Lizzy Lou and the kids arrive and while we wait for hubby to finish what he's doing and cook tea, I bring out the dip.

That gets demolished in about 5 minutes so I send the man out to cook the barbie while I make the salad.
We eat and I head back to the kitchen to finish off the cake. I quickly make some chocolate icing, cut the cake in half, place a piece on a plate, cover it with the caramel cheesecake, put the other piece on top, ice it and cover it with strawberries. I whip some cream and dessert is served.

We couldn't fit in the rest, so I have lots of chocolate balls and some fudge to munch on for the next week.

Last week I made some really easy vanilla slice with passionfruit icing and vanilla strawberry two tone slice.
I had actually made it for last Saturday nights tea but didn't get a pic I was happy with (new camera) so I added it this week. They are made with sao biscuits, instant pudding mix and thickened cream. The two tone one is my own design lol.

So thats that. Tomorrow's another day.....