Double Chocolate Cupcakes

Last week I started my journey through Donna Hay’s Simple Essentials – Chocolate book with Triple Choc Cookies. This week I’d thought I’d try the Double Chocolate Cupcakes.

As usual, this was a pretty straight forward recipe. The cupcakes were lovely and soft, and the chocolate fudge icing was awesome.  I decorated them with a single white chocolate chip which cut through the dark chocolate well.  I let myself try just one piece of everything I make, it was difficult not to keep a couple of these at home for my morning tea instead of sending them all off to work with Scott.

125g butter softened

3/4 cup caster sugar

2 eggs

1 1/4 cups plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1/2 cup milk

100g dark chocolate melted

  • Preheat oven to 160 degrees
  • Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of mixer and beat until light and creamy
  • Gradually add eggs and beat well
  • Sift over flour, baking powder and cocoa and beat until combined
  • Fold through the milk and chocolate and spoon the mixture into 12 x 1/2 cup capacity muffin tins lined with cases
  • Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until cooked when tested with skewer
  • Cool on wire racks
  • Spread or pipe the chocolate fudge icing the cupcakes and keep in the fridge until serving.

Chocolate Fudge Icing

  • Place 250g of dark chocolate, 1/2 cup single or pouring cream and 70g of butter in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water
  • Stir until smooth and melted
  • Let mixture cool completely then beat with electric beaters until thick and fluffy
Double Chocolate

Double Chocolate

Lemon Coconut Cake

When I want to bake with Liam, I always want a simple recipe that doesn’t require too much preparation.  Last week when he was in a good mood and I wanted to use up a container of sour cream that was sitting in the fridge,  I turned to my trusty Donna Hay ‘Fast, Fresh and Simple’ book & found a recipe for lemon yoghurt cake which Iooked like it would fit the bill.

My little helper

My little helper

I’ve written out the actual recipe from the book and have added the adjustments I made, due to not have all of the ingredients.

My version turned out lovely and moist.  Instead of using lemon frosting, I made a simple plain icing which worked well.


3/4 cup vegetable oil (replaced with 3/4 cup of light virgin olive oil)

2 eggs

1 tablespoons finely grated lemon rind

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 cup thick natural yoghurt (200g of light sour cream and an extra 2 tablespoons of milk)

1 3/4 cups castor sugar

2 cups self raising flour

I also added 1/4 cup of coconut


Lemon Frosting

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup lemon juice


  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees
  • Place the oil, eggs, rind, lemon juice, yoghurt (sour cream & milk) and sugar in a bowl and whisk to combine.
  • Sift over the flour and add the coconut and stir until smooth
  • Pour the mixture into a greased 24cm fluted ring tin and bake for 35 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer
  • While the cake is still hot, remove from the tin and place on plate
  • To make lemon frosting gently stir together the sugar and lemon juice and spoon over cake and allow to set.


** You can also just use a plain icing as I did which also works well.


Lemony Goodness

Lemony Goodness

Donna Hay’s Simple Apple & Blueberry Cake

We’ve had my Mum and Nan visiting  this weekend and since I’m a semi single parent at the moment (Scott is out of action after falling off his bike and breaking his collar bone), I took the opportunity to get some baking done whilst I had live in babysitters.

I’d been eyeing off this recipe for awhile, and since we had a bowl full of apples and I’d stocked up on frozen berries through the week, the timing was perfect to give it a go.  It made a great Sunday afternoon snack/dessert. We ate it warm from the oven, it would be great with ice cream or custard – unfortunately I didn’t have either.

I was impressed with how quickly the cake batter came together, and we all agreed it was a very light cake and the texture reminded us of a tea cake packed with fruity goodness.  I was pretty generous with the apples and blueberries and I was happy that the majority of fruit stayed on top of the cake, with a few lovely bits sinking in.

This is another great Donna Hay recipe, this time from her book – Fast Fresh and Simple.


You could substitute with any fruit you had. We’ve got a ton of strawberries in the fridge, so I’m thinking of trying a combination of strawberry and blueberry next.


1 1/2 cup self raising flour – sifted

3/4 cup castor sugar

125g butter – softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1 apple, cored & thinly sliced (I used royal gala apples and didn’t peel them)

3/4 cup frozen or fresh blueberries

2 tablespoons demerara sugar


  • Preheat oven to 160 degrees
  • Place flour, sugar, butter, vanilla, eggs and milk in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until just combined.
  • Spoon mixture into a greased 22cm springform tin lined with non stick baking paper.
  • Top with apple slices and blueberries and sprinkle over sugar.
  • Bake for 45 minutes or until cake is cooked (I found it took an hour in my oven)

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Linking up with awesome Multitasking Mummy for Mummy Mondays

Chocolate Goodness – Triple Chocolate Cookies

I may possibly be crazy.  As well as working my way through the McAlpin’s Recipe Book, I’ve decided to also work my way through the Donna Hay Simple Essentials Chocolate book.  It’s worth it though, these are possibly the BEST chocolate cookies I have ever tasted.  They remind me of my favourite triple choc cookies from Mrs Fields.  The original recipe is for Double Chocolate cookies, instead of just using chopped dark chocolate, I used half white and half dark.  They were so good I ate four in one sitting… and then felt guilty for the rest of the day!  The dough was also very yummy, and I may have possibly made a few more biscuits if I had not been sneaking spoonfuls whilst waiting for the first batch to bake.

As with all Donna Hay recipes, it is a super easy recipe to follow & the end result is well worth it.


110g unsalted butter softened

3/4 Cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1 cup plain flour sifted

1/4 cup cocoa powder sifted

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

125g dark chocolate melted

280g dark chocolate extra roughly chopped (I used half dark chocolate and half white chocolate to make these triple chocolate)


  • Preheat oven to 160 degrees.
  • Place butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 8-10 minutes or until light and creamy.
  • Add the egg and vanilla and beat for a further 3-4 minutes.
  • Stir through the flour, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda and melted chocolate
  • Add the extra chopped chocolate and stir to combine
  • Roll tablespoons of the mixture into rounds
  • Place on baking trays lined with non stick baking paper, allowing room for the cookies to spread and flatten slightly
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes or until slight cracks have formed
  • Cool on wire racks
These are sooooo good

These are sooooo good


Throwback Thursday – Butterscotch Biscuits

This week I decided to try a few recipes from the ‘McAlpin’s Test Kitchen Recipes’ book passed down from my Nan.  I’m not sure of the exact age of the book, but it’s likely from the 1950’s.

One of our family heirlooms

One of our family heirlooms

IMG_7224 IMG_7225

It’s an interesting read, with some great classic recipes, as well as some strange ones.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be posting some of my other attempts at recreating these recipes.

All measurements are in ounces and ‘teacups’ please click here for Australian metric conversion table

Butterscotch Biscuits

4 oz (1 teacup) self raising flour

Pinch of salt

3 oz butter

3 oz brown sugar

1 egg

Vanilla Essence (no amount is specified, I used 1 teaspoon)

12 blanched almonds

  • Sift flour and salt
  • Melt butter in a saucepan, add sugar stir until it dissolves
  • Cool and add beaten egg and vanilla essence, mix in sifter ingredients.
  • Place on a greased tray in teaspoonfuls, allowing room for the mixture to spread (The mixture is quite runny)
Yummy biscuit mixture

Yummy biscuit mixture

  • Put a piece of almond on each biscuit and bake in a moderate oven 10 to 15 minutes

** I baked my biscuits at 160 degrees (fan forced oven) for 11 minutes

End Result

End Result

Chicken Fried Rice

This is another recipe which helps clear out the vegetable crisper, and can also be frozen.  Feel free to use whatever you have in your fridge, I used the below ingredients for the rice pictured.  If you want to make it even healthier, use brown rice and omit the bacon.

This is also a great meal for kids, you just need to cut everything up into smaller pieces.  I then freeze leftovers into small containers for a quick and easy meals for Liam.


500g skinless chicken breast diced

3 rashes of shortcut bacon (excess fat trimmed)

1 stick of celery – finely chopped

1 carrot – cut into small sticks

3 spring onions

1 full head of broccoli – cut into small pieces

1 capsicum – cut into small pieces

1/2 cup of frozen peas

Small tin of corn

200g of beans – cut in half or quartered

200g of snowpeas

50g of raw cashews

1 cup of uncooked rice

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pack of stirfry sauce – I use Kantong’s honey soy and garlic

Extra soy sauce to taste

Approx 1 tablespoon of sweet chilli sauce (can omit)


  • In a wok, add olive oil and bring to a high heat.  Add chicken and bacon and cook until the chicken has browned and almost cooked through.
  • Meanwhile bring a saucepan of water to the boil and add rice.
  • Add celery, carrot, spring onions, broccoli, capsicum, beans and cashews and cook until just starting to get tender
  • Add cooked rice, snowpeas, peas, corn and sauces to wok, mixing all ingredients together and cook until snow peas are cooked through (2 -3 minutes) – serve
  • After adding sauces, I suggest tasting and adding extra sauce if you wish



Happy Birthday Nan

Whilst browsing through the Myer Spring/Summer homewares catalogue, I came across a mixing bowl that instantly reminded me of one that my Nan used to have.  I can remember sitting in her kitchen watching her mix cakes and other goodies by hand.  Over the weekend when I just happened to find myself in a Myer store, I was very excited to find the bowl and find it was also 30% off!


My new 'Nana Bowl' and one of her recipe books

My new ‘Nana Bowl’ and one of her recipe books


Today would have marked her 106th birthday (she passed away in 2007 shortly before her 100th birthday), and to honour this I’m sharing her recipe for homemade pasties.

This pastry is super easy to make, and well worth the effort.  The original ingredients for the filling are pretty simple, and I’ve added a few extra things to give them some more flavour.


Pastry (short pie crust)

4 oz self raising flour (1/2 cup)

4 oz plain flour (1/2 cup)

pinch of salt

4 oz of butter/marg/lard (this sure shows the age of this recipe!)

4 tbsp water


* Sift all dry ingredients together in a large bowl

* Rub in butter until mixture resembles bread crumbs

* Add half of the water and stir through using a knife, continue to add water until dough forms

* Knead dough until smooth, let it rest in the fridge for 15minutes



500g of mince (can use either beef or lamb)

2 grated potatoes

1 grated onion

1 grated carrot

1/2 cup of frozen peas

1 tablespoon of dry mixed herbs

1 clove of garlic

2 tablespoons of tomato relish/sauce

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup of milk for glaze

* Roll out pastry and cut into rounds the size of a saucer and brush edges with a small amount of water to moisten

* Add filling mixture to centre of round

* Bring sides of pastry together at the top to enclose filling. Pinch the pastry together to secure

* Top with milk glaze an bake in a 190 degree oven for 35 minutes or until golden and cooked through

** Makes approx 6 pasties.

Nan's Pasties

Nan’s Pasties


Linking up for mummy mondays with the fabulous Multitasking Mummy .  Please check out the other posts and blogs involoved.
Happy Monday


Roasted Vegetable & Couscous Salad

If you are looking for something easy to make tonight – or a quick midweek meal this salad is a winner.  It can be served hot or cold, we love it warm mixed with rocket and baby spinach leaves, cucumber and feta.

You can add whatever vegies you have, it’s perfect for leftovers and can also be used as a side dish.

Our leftover vegetables

Our leftover vegetables

800g of pumpkin

4 tomatoes

1 red onion

1 capsicum

2 carrots

1/2 cup of frozen peas

small tin of corn

100g of walnuts

1 cup of couscous

extra olive oil

olive oil spray

smoked paprika

  • Preheat oven to 210 degrees
  • Cut up pumpkin, capsicum and carrot into small pieces (approx 2-3cm)
  • Cut tomato and red onion into 8 wedges
  • Place all cut up vegies onto baking tray (I cover mine with foil) and spray lightly with olive oil and sprinkle over paprika to taste.
  • After 30 minutes in oven, sprinkle walnuts over vegies and toss.
  • Roast in oven for a further 20 – 30 minutes – time will vary depending on size of vegie pieces and how roasted you like your vegies.  I normally roast them for an hour to an hour and a quarter.
  • When almost roasted, cook peas in microwave with a small amount of water for approx 2 minutes.
  • Boil kettle and in a large bowl, combine couscous and 3/4 cup of boiling water, drizzle a small amount of olive oil over couscous (up to a tablespoon). Using a fork mix together and then cover bowl for 5 minutes.
  • After 5 minutes check couscous, it should be soft. You can add a little extra water if you prefer it a bit softer.
  • Add roasted vegies, peas and tin of corn to couscous and mix together.  There will be extra liquid/juices from vegies which you can also add.


It’s great either warm or cold with baby spinach and rocket, cucumber and feta salad



Malted Oat, Coconut and Raisin Cookies

This recipe is from one of my favourite cook books – Donna Hay Modern Classics 2.  This is an awesome cookbook, as well as having a lot of old favourites, there are also some great new recipes too.

The original recipe is Malted Oat and Raisin biscuits, I’ve added the coconut as I think it makes everything taste better.  Feel free to leave it out if you prefer.  These are really yummy & you can also freeze the dough.


1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup castor sugar

125g butter – softened

1 egg

1/2 cup malted milk powder

1 1/4 cups plain flour

1/4 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda

1/2 cup rolled oats

3/4 cup raisins

1/2 cup desicated coconut


  • Preheat oven to 160 degrees
  • Place the sugars, butter and egg into a mixer bowl and beat until pale and creamy
  • Add the milk powder, flour, bicarb soda, rolled oats, raisins and coconut and beat on low speed to combine
  • Roll large dessert spoons of mixture into balls and place on baking trays lined with non stick paper, gently flatten balls (I made around 36).
  • Bake for 18 -20 minutes or until golden
  • Allow to cool on wire racks
Malted Oat, Coconut & Raisin Cookies

Malted Oat, Coconut & Raisin Cookies

Nana Doug’s Chocolate Cake

One of the first things I can remember helping mum make is her Nan’s chocolate cake in her trusty old sunbeam mixer (circa early 70s).  The job allocated to my sister and I was the sifting – something I have tried to carry on with my 19 month old with limited success!

30 years later this is still my one of my favourite recipes when I need to make a quick cake.  Nowadays I try to make it a bit healthier – swapping butter for light spread and using skinny milk. Whilst this is still a winner, there is nothing like the original recipe ingredients. All  ingredient amounts are in imperial measurements (I’ve added conversions in brackets).

3oz (85g) butter

2 tablespoons of cocoa

6oz (175g) castor sugar

6oz (175g) self raising Ffour

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoons vanilla essence

1/2 cup of milk

  • Preheat oven to 170 degrees (fan forced oven)
  • Melt Butter and leave to cool slightly
  • Sift Flour and Cocoa into large mixing bowl
  • Add all other ingredients and beat together in mixer (Approx 5 minutes)
  • Grease tin (can use slice tin, loaf tin, 20cm round tin or ring tin)
  • Bake for 25 – 40 minutes, depending on tin used (I baked the cake pictured for 35 minutes in a 20cm round tin).

Chocolate Icing

2 Tablespoons of Cocoa

1/2 Cup of Icing Mixture

1 Teaspoon of Butter/marg

3 – 4 Table spoons of boiling water

  • Place Cocoa, Icing Mixture and Butter/Marg into a small bowl
  • Start by adding 2 tablespoons of boiling water to bowl and mixing together using a spoon
  • Continue to add water until desired consistency is achieved – icing should still be thick enough to easily spread over cake without running everywhere

** This cake can be frozen, I’ve even frozen it before when iced and it has defrosted well.

Yummy Chocolate Cake

Yummy Chocolate Cake