Sunday, 26 October 2014

I don't quite know what happened to Saturday night, but I fell asleep on the couch.  So here it is Sunday night.

My Saturday was full of kids, baking and playing (with kids and at cooking). I had had a thought the previous night about making a mars bar slice, so when I got out of be and before the grandkids arrived, I made a start on what I thought would be a great slice.  I crushed some chocolate ripple biscuits and melted  butter to make a base and pressed that into a dish and fridged it while I melted condensed milk and cocoa and marshmallows.  Poured that over the biscuits and back into the fridge while I made a caramel top.  Melt caramels with cream and butter, pour over the top of the chocolate and back into the fridge again to set.
Melt some chocolate and copha, pour over the caramel and back to the fridge again.  Done.

The kids arrive with Lizzy Lou, she looks like death warmed over, don't think she'll be at work for long, but she leaves anyway.  I make the kids some breakfast and turn on the tv for them and I head back to the kitchen.

The man of the house had been asking for some ginger biscuits, so I pull out the trusty basic biscuit mix recipe. I'm only going to make a 1/2 mix ( because I had half a can of condensed milk left from the slice), and add cinnamon, ginger and golden syrup to it. I couldn't decide how much ginger to put in, so 2 teaspoons went in and I just hoped it was enough. They only took 10 minutes to cook.  Turned out well, but if you like a strong ginger flavour, another teaspoon of ginger wouldn't hurt.

I had some biscuit mix in the freezer so I decided to take that out and make some jam biscuits for the kids.
while I was waiting for that to defrost, I made a coffee and sat down to have a look at facebook. It tells me that it's vegemites 91st birthday.  Happy birthday.  In honour of the day, I'm experimenting again. Vegemite and cheese biscuits.  So the kids get 12 jam biscuits and the rest of the dough is going to my experiment. I added 1 teaspoon vegemite and 1/2 cup grated tasty cheese to the dough mix and rolled 1 walnut sized ball dough and cooked it.  15 mins later and a taste and I added another teaspoon of vegemite to the mix. I Made all the biscuits and let them cool then gave them to the kids for a taste test.  General consensus...Yumm. (will add the recipe later when I have proper ingredients, I worked on the weight of the dough)

Lunch time, feed the kids, put Zoe doughball down for a sleep and I'm just heading back to the kitchen when Lizzy Lou arrives back.  She's been sent home, still not well.  We sit out side with a cuppa and watch the kids play for a while. Number 5 son, miss Tash and the chunky one arrive.  Lizzy lou departs for a shower and change of clothes and Number 5 and I are discussing the merits of homemade pizza dough compared to store bought.  We are having pizza for tea and if we are making dough I have to get the bread machines going  right now. But no.  Number 5 wants to bring his dough machine that he has a his place. Argue, argue, he wins.  Dough machine is on the way.  10 minutes late he's back with the machine on a trolley, wheeling it into the house.  OMG  it's huge. Take one pizza recipe and multiply it by five and it doesn't even come close to filling the bowl of the machine,  but boy, it's quick.

Take the dough out of the machine, put it near the oven to rise for an hour, then run down to the shops to get more cheese and bits and pieces.  When we arrive back, right on an hour later, the dough is risen and falling over the sides of the bowl.  Number 5 takes over the kitchen, he's doing the rolling of the dough. I get to chop up the capsicum, onion, tomatoes and other bits. I look over at him, there is flour going everywhere and dough stuck everywhere and geez he's worse than me at messing up the kitchen, but we have pizza bases. The production line begins,  sauce, filling cook,  sauce filling, cook.  Two ovens going. We made garlic and cheese, ham and pineapple, mexican and salami, bocconcini, cherry tomatoes and rocket. (the recipes are on my cook book somewhere, only difference is that they are on flat bread.).

Forgot to take a picture of the garlic one. There is still a lot of dough left over.  We are making donuts with some of it.  Who knew. And of course I forgot to take a picture of them too. But here's the recipe for the pizza dough........

1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
Make this in a bread machine on a dough setting or in a processor to bring it all together or by hand,  placing wet ingredients in first, then the flour and lastly the yeast. Will need to be kneaded for about 10 minutes then left to rise in a warm place for an hour.  This amount will make 2 pizzas.

To make the donuts, roll into balls, poke holes in them if you want and cook in a deep fryer on 180 till brown,  and roll in cinnamon sugar.  We drizzled some with honey, some with chocolate syrup and some with mixed berry syrup. You have to eat them hot, totally yummy. They are not good cold, it is pizza dough after all.

And I cut the slice.  Doesn't look like a mars bar. Not happy. The caramel sank through the chocolate. And it's too dark. Tastes ok though.

Everyone goes home. I venture into the kitchen and quickly depart.  I can't face the mess, too tired. The man makes a start but he too gives up. He goes to bed. I fall asleep on the couch. I did make it too bed at some stage.

Sunday.  Get up, clean up (takes for ever) and  have another thought about the mars bar slice and start making again.  Base then caramel then fridge. What's in a mars bar?  Google it.  Chocolate, malt and caramel basically.  I don't have a thermometer to make nougat, so I'm going with condensed milk, butter, horlicks malted milk powder, milk cooking chocolate and marshmallows.  Lots of melting and cooling later...

Is it good? It's not quite a mars bar, but it's a soft, chewy caramel, chocolatey, malty, marshmallowy slice.  It does need to be kept in the fridge.  But I am happy because you can see the layers and it tastes good too.  You do have to lick your fingers though. One day I will get that thermometer and try again, but for the time being this will do.

.........  MA'S BAR SLICE  .....
soft and chewy caramel and choc malt marshmallow

1 packet chocolate ripple biscuits, finely crushed
125 grams butter, melted


1/2 cup condensed milk
2 tablespoons horlicks malted milk powder
113 grams butter
150 grams milk cooking chocolate
400 grams white marshmallows


2 packets columbine caramels
2 tablespoons thickened cream
1 tablespoon butter


200 grams dark cooking chocolate
30 grams cohpa

line a 9 x 13 dish with baking paper.

for the base

 mix crushed biscuits and melted butter together and press into bottom of dish.
 refrigerate while making caramel filling.

for the caramel filling

in a small heatproof bowl over a pot of boiling water, melt caramels, cream and butter together. does take a while for the caramels to melt. Stir till smooth.
quickly pour evenly over chocolate base.
refrigerate for an hour till cool and set.

for the chocolate filling

in a large heatproof bowl over a large pot of boiling water,melt butter, condensed milk, malted milk powder and chocolate together.

 add marshmallows stirring till melted and well combined. (remove base from refrigerator just before ready) quickly pour filling over base (sets fast).  refrigerate 1/2 hour or until cool.

for the chocolate top

in a small heatproof bowl over a pot of boiling water, melt the chocolate and copha together, stirring till melted and smooth.

pour evenly over chocolate filling.  keep refrigerated.  cut into slices as needed.


1/2 cup sugar
250 grams butter, softened
1/2 can condensed milk
2 1/2 cups self raising flour
2 - 3 teaspoons ground ginger(depends on taste)
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup golden syrup

extra sugar

preheat oven to 180c
line trays with baking paper

with an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar. add condensed milk and mix till well combined.

stir in flour, golden syrup, ginger and cinnamon.

roll into walnut size balls, flatten slightly  with a fork dipped in flour.

sprinkle with some sugar

cook approx. 10 minutes or until light brown.  cool 5 minutes on tray, then move to a wire rack.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

So there goes another week.  A somewhat crappy and somewhat good week.

I happened to mention wanting to buy a cheap second hand swing set, in a general conversation, and number five son was in the car and off to Bunnings.  Comes back armed with wood and his trusty drill, and with a bit of help from the man of the house, we have the start of a swing set that takes up the rest of my yard.

  A couple more days, a bit of ebay and it's done .

 That's the good part .  The bad part is that on Thursday, Brian fell off the trampoline while mucking around, and broke his arm above the elbow.  So in order, doctors surgery, xray clinic, doctors surgery, home to organise tea for rest of family, and hospital for five hours while we wait to get the arm plastered.  After laughing gas, a 1/2 cast, vomiting, and more xrays we got home at 1.00 am.

A nice quiet Friday, only 1 off to school and the other sleeping on the couch for most of the day.  A bit of shopping for me to grab some groceries and the day was basically done.

So Saturday, another nice easy day, only my kids, well till number five and family arrive for breakfast before heading out for 1/2 the day.  So then only my kids.  A barbecue tea.  I'm making a couple of salads, an apple pie and some biscuits for the kids. I'm using the basic biscuit recipe that I published last week for both the pie and the biscuits. I love this recipe, so easy and versatile.
I figure it would make a good base for an apple pie, but it doesn't roll so well, so my pie became a rustic apple and cinnamon pie. Not so pretty, but totally delicious.

For the biscuits, I froze some pastry, and I did roll it but I had to roll it quite thick  so it would cut, and work quickly because it softened,  but I did end up with biscuits that I iced for the kids.

I made minted potato salad which is really simple. Potatoes, onions, mint and mayo. Nice and tangy.

To go with that I made a penne pasta salad, full of goodies, capsicum, onion, ham,carrot, mayo and tomato paste. Good enough to eat on it's own.

Lizzy Lou and kids arrived early so the kids could play on the new swings and slide. Number five and family five minutes later. Number four son rang to say he was coming if someone would get him, so the man left to pick him up in the city, and because Lizzy bought some apple cider,  we sat outside, watched the kids play and got a bit tipsy while we waited for them to return.

We just barbecued sausages, onions and marinated chicken, I threw a quick bowl of lettuce, tomato and cucumber together and that was tea.  You can't beat a sausage in bread, with some onion and tomato sauce.

I served the apple pie with icecream.  Everyone loved it.  I think the biscuit recipe is going to be my new best friend.

After coffee, everyone left, except for number four who is still asleep on my couch. He's supposed to be leaving but he's still snoring (says he'll get a taxi home) I'm not waiting to say goodbye because I'm tired so even though it's early for me (11.50), I'm going to bed.  Grandkids in the morning so niters from me.


500 gram packet penne pasta, cooked, drained and cooled
4 slices ham,  chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 cup grated tasty cheese
1 cup red capsicum, diced
1 cup green capsicum, diced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups *praise 99% fat free mayonnaise

mix the mayonnaise and tomato paste together.

place rest of ingredients into a large bowl.

stir through mayonnaise mix.

refrigerate till needed.

*I use this mayonnaise because it has a nice tang to it.


1 1/2 kilo potatoes
1 large onion
30 large mint leaves.
salt to taste
1 - 1 1/2 cups *praise 99% fat free mayonnaise

peel and chop potatoes into medium sized cubes.

boil potatoes in a pot of lightly salted water until just cooked.

process onion and mint together until finely cut, or finely chop if no processor.

tip hot potatoes into a bowl and stir in onion and mint mix.


stir in mayonnaise until potatoes are well covered.

refrigerate till needed.

* I use this mayonnaise because it has a nice tang to it.


500 - 600 grams basic biscuit mix
800 grams tin unsweetened pie apples
3 heaped tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon( or less according to taste)

preheat oven to 180 c
lightly grease large pie dish.

using 300 grams biscuit mix, press into bottom and sides of pie dish.

in a small bowl, mix apples, cinnamon and sugar.

pour apple mix into pie dish, evenly covering biscuit mix.

roughly cover top of apples with rest of biscuit mix, pressing dough between palms to flatten out  a bit.

cook 15 - 20 minutes until golden brown.


serve with cream or icecream


use about 300 grams basic biscuit mix (recipe a couple of posts back)

preheat oven to 180c
line 2 trays with baking paper

If you want to cut shapes in this dough, it will need to be frozen for 1/2 hour.

It needs to be worked with quickly.

Roll out reasonably thick between 2 sheets baking paper and cut with cookie cutters. Repeat till used.

Otherwise, roll into walnut sized balls and slightly flatten with a fork.

cook approx 15 minutes till just brown.

cool and ice.


1 1/2 cups icing sugar
2 teaspoons strawberry essence
1 teaspoon butter
1 - 1 1/2 tablespoons milk
2 drops green food colouring

mix all together, using enough milk to make a spreadable consistency and spoon on to biscuits.

decorate with 100's and 1000's

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Hello to another Saturday.  What a beautiful day.  Lovely and sunny and quite warm. Too nice to be inside.

I only have one extra today, so I was taking it easy (very easy) and pondering meals and desserts while drinking coffee and I might have been playing games on facebook.  No hurry.  Just got the mini food critic into bed when Miss Tash and the Chunky one arrived.  Chunky doesn't like playing on her own so she immediately got Mini foodie up and that was the end of that.  Outside we went, cup of tea in hand and kids going every where.
I don't have much of a backyard so all the kid stuff is out the front,  we look like a day care centre.  Oh well.

So the kids ran amok, trampoline, slide, swing, car, cubby house, back and forward. Up the slide, down the slide. The slide involves running to catch Chunky before she falls.  Worn out before you know what's hit you.
They had a great time though.  Made them lunch which they ate out side, they played a bit more, then Miss Tash took Chunky home to bed and I got mini off to sleep as well.  Time to cook.

My number 5 son had sent me a recipe for biscuits, so I decided to give it a go.  It's a basic recipe with 4 ingredients to which you add anything you like.  It makes a lot so you can use it all or use some and freeze the rest,
I made some jam biscuits and then some cinnamon biscuits.

Then I thought I should tweak it a little and made some tart like biscuits with lemon curd in some and nutella in others. I call them lemon surprise and chocolate surprise. I topped them off with some icing.  They look good enough to eat, so I tried one to make sure, as you do.  Well worth the bit of mucking around.

We are just having chicken parma with mashed potatoes and vegetables for tea.  Nice and easy.Number 1 and number 5 son aren't here so I only have to please hubby and Miss Tash and Lizzy Lou.   Thee kids aren't too hard to please either. So for dessert we are having more chocolate orange flavoured cake. I can turn that into a pudding, right?
I get all the ingredients ready, it has to go into the oven once tea is served up.  It will take about 45 minutes to cook.  We eat tea and I head back to the kitchen to make a chocolate sauce.  Hot orange cake with chocolate sauce.  Sounds good,  hope it works.
The moment of truth......

Yumm.  Tastes great, everyone likes it, even the babies are woofing it down.  Job well done even if I do say so myself.
We even manage to eat a bit of everything else. I'll diet next week lol.
So Chunky's grumpy, Miss Tash takes her home. Lizzy Lou and her kids follow.  All that's left is the clean up.
I'm still looking at it.  I need a housekeeper to run after me. I really hate cleaning. But it won't do itself so it's goodbye from me and hello to the kitchen sink.




1 1/2 cups self raising flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
2 eggs
finely grated rind 1 orange
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup milk


1 1/2 cups thickened cream
395 gram block dark cooking chocolate
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons golden syrup

preheat oven to 180c.  grease and line bottom of 20 cm round cake tin.

Place all cake ingredients into a bowl  and with an electric mixer, beat till well combined.

pour into tin.

cook for approx. 45 mins or until a skewer comes out clean.

when cake has about 10 mins left to cook.  prepare sauce.

Place all ingredients into a heat proof bowl over a pot of boiling water.  stir till  melted and smooth.

pour into a jug.

place cooked hot cake onto a serving dish.

tip some of the sauce over the cake.

serve with cream and more sauce.


basic biscuit mix
12 teaspoons lemon curd

preheat oven to 180c.  use 1/2 round, 12 hole patty pan tin (or paper patty pans in a muffin tin)

roll dough into 24 walnut sized balls.

press ball into palm of hand to flatten out a bit, then press into each hole of tray.

place a teaspoon of lemon curd into centre of each piece of dough.

flatten rest of balls and cover curd, pressing lightly to seal.

cook for 15 minutes or until lightly brown.

ice when cold.


1 1/2 cups icing sugar
1 dessert spoon softened butter
2 - 3 tablespoons lemon juice
shredded coconut

Mix all together, adding lemon juice 1 tablespoon at a time until a spreadable consistency.

spread over top of each biscuit.

sprinkle with coconut.


same as above but substitute nutella for the lemon curd.


1 1/2 cups icing sugar
1 heaped tablespoon cocoa, sifted
1 dessert spoon  softened butter
2 - 3 tablespoons water
chocolate sprinkles

mix all together, adding water 1 tablespoon at a time until a spreadable consistency.

spread over top of each biscuit.

sprinkle with sprinkles.

Then add anything you like

500 grams butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 can condensed milk
5 cups self raising flour

with an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar.

add condensed milk.

fold in flour.

then add whatever you like. use it all or freeze some for later.
I made


preheat oven to 180 c. line  baking tray with baking paper.

roll dough into 12 walnut size balls and place onto tray.

using your finger, poke a hole into each ball, not quite through to the bottom.

place tray in oven and cook for 10 minutes.

remove tray from oven and fill each hole with a teaspoon of red jam, if hole is not quite big enough, use tip of handle of wooden spoon to hollow it out a bit more.

return tray to oven and cook for another 5 minutes or until  biscuits are just brown.


preheat oven to 180 c. line 2 trays with baking paper.

roll dough into 24 walnut sized balls.

mix 1 tablespoon sugar and 2 -  3 teaspoons
cinnamon together.

roll each ball into the cinnamon mix.

place onto trays and flatten slightly with a fork.

cook approx. 15 minutes till lightly brown.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Last week of school holidays done,  thank god.  It's been another quiet week, the kids were still a bit off colour,  but we decided to take them out yesterday seeing as they had done nothing all holidays.  We went to Lake Wendouree in Ballarat which has a great kids playground, lots of picnic areas and a nice walking track all the way around the lake. And lots of swans and other bird life.  They also have old tram rides.We met Lizzy Lou and her kids there, plus Lizzie's sister and her kids.  Family gathering lol.

 Of course we had to do the walk which is 6.11 kilometres.  It took us 1 hour and 16 minutes, pushing prams and chatting.  Beautiful walk.  We apparently lost 420 calories walking but then..... we ate.

 We had a picnic lunch consisting of salad rolls,3 different types of cake and I even packed a little gas stove because we can't go without coffee for too long.  After we ate, the kids played on the playground for a couple of hours.


The day had been predicted to be 17c and cloudy but turned out to be 27 and sunny.  Perfect.  Typical Melbourne weather. Then the man arrived with donuts, so we ate some more, drank some more, so much for that good walk, the kids played some more and we came home.

Just thought I'd plug good old Ballarat a bit.  Great place to visit. Stops the kids from annoying you, for hours too. (I stole the photo's because I forgot to take pictures)

So here's Saturday and another birthday.  Happy birthday Miss Tash.

Tash picked the menu for tonight.  We are having her favourite chicken pies, scalloped potatoes, cake courtesy of the cheesecake shop and malteser cupcakes.

This is the first Saturday in ages that I haven't had the kids.  Miss Tash, the chunky one and I went shopping.
Firstly to change her broken phone, secondly to buy her a Pandora bead for her birthday and thirdly because I can't cook without groceries. So we shopped, came home and had some lunch and spent a couple of pleasant hours playing outside with the chunky one.  It did occur to us that we did have other things to do, so we dragged ourselves out of chairs, Miss Tash to go home to do some washing and me  to go to the kitchen to cook.  I made the malteser cupcakes..Chocolate cake (I did cheat again. Thanks Duncan Hines) with a whole malteser pushed into it when it's cold and then chocolate butter icing with another malteser on top.

Then I made the scalloped potatoes, potato, garlic, bacon, cheeses and cream. They need 1 1/2 to 2 hours to cook.  Then I made the filling for the pies, chicken, frozen veg, onion, cream of chicken soup, cheese  and stock cubes. It has to cool before you use it.    Once cool, I plugged in my electric pie cooker, (I have 3, family, normal and party. I go for the party).  Miss Tash arrived back while I was making the pies, so we tried one while we were chatting.  Pretty yummy.

Lizzy Lou and the girls arrive and we have tea.  Good all round.  CAKE TIME.  We love the strawberry fields cake from the cheese cake shop,  It's a standard for every girl birthday.  Always yummy, all strawberry creamy sponge and chocolate.

While we were eating cake and drinking coffee,  we noticed poor Lily Pily.  It's apparently been a big weekend for a little girl.(she had some face painting done earlier today)

And everyone else as well.  Daylight savings begins tonight.  Clocks forward, lose an hours sleep. Suddenly it's not 9.00 but 10.00 pm.  Mass exodus.  Oh well.  Easy day.  Easy night.  So no exciting cooking this weekend. No recipe inventions, all things I have made before.  Pretty sure I haven't published the pie recipe though.

Through the week, I tried a recipe I'd seen on face book. I modified it a bit , as I do.  Potatoes, bacon and onion in foil.. Good for a side dish.  Really yummy and easy to make.

That's me for another week..