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03 May 2009

Lemon, Coconut and Cardemom Cake with Passionfruit Icing

I guess that not being a huge dessert fan, I am also not one to bake a lot of cakes. But there is a cake from my childhood that I always remember. The recipe came from an old Woman's Weekly recipe book of Mum's - it was a lemon, orange and coconut cake and I loved it.
I'll have to see if Mum still has that recipe, but in the meantime I decided to experiment with a recipe of my own.

Even though I don't do it that often, there is something really relaxing about baking. I love stirring the ingredients together - mixing feel very therapeutic. And this particular cake filled the house with such a delicious aroma. I think I will have to try out a few more baking recipes.


1 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup self raising flour sifted
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
Finely grated zest of one lemon
1 cup milk
40g butter melted
2 eggs
1 cup icing sugar
80g butter at room temperature
Pulp of two passionfruit


Preheat the oven to 170 degrees. Grease and flour a cake loaf tin. Place the coconut, flour, sugar, cardamom and zest in a bowl and mix to combine. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and mix in the milk. Add the butter and then the eggs, stirring well after each new addition.

The mixture is fairly wet - this is fine. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack and then turn onto a plate.
To make the icing, beat the butter and icing sugar together until thick and creamy (use a large bowl as it will fly everywhere). Mix the passionfruit through and spread on to cooled cake.

Tomato and Chorizo Risotto

Okay, so normally I would make this recipe with chorizo. On this occasion I thought I would try using a different type of sausage. This experiment did not really work. I chose a spicy Italian sausage, which tasted overbearingly like fennel. And cooking it in a fry pan on my stove top made the biggest mess with fat splattering everywhere.

So, the moral of the story is that I will continue to use chorizo when cooking this dish. In the past I have substituted the chorizo with crispy, baked prosciutto. This works well.

I first made this recipe while I was living with my girlfriends Renee and Erica. It became a bit of a regular meal in our house. Now I make it for Mark as he loves risotto. I hope you enjoy.

Ingredients (serves 2)

3-4 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 brown onion diced
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 cup arborio rice
1 tin crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon each dried basil and oregano
2 chorizo sausages sliced thinly
Salt and pepper
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese and extra to serve
Handful fresh herbs finely chopped (I think I used parsley, basil and oregano)


Heat the chicken stock in a small saucepan until simmering. Heat the olive oil in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft. Add the arborio rice and cook until translucent. Add the tinned tomatoes. Use a soup ladle to add the chicken stock one ladle full at a time, stirring well, and adding more stock once the last ladle full has been absorbed. Stir in the dried basil and oregano with the first ladle of stock.

While the risotto is cooking, cook the chorzio in a fry pan with a little oil until crispy. Set aside.

You may not need all the chicken stock. When about 2/3 of the stock has been absorbed, taste the risotto. It should be creamy on the outside but still with a bit of a "bite" in the centre.

Once cooked, season with salt and pepper and stir through the egg yolk, parmesan, fresh herbs and chorizo. Serve topped with extra parmesan.

Crispy Spiced Buttermilk Chicken

I've seen quite a few crispy, spiced, buttermilk chicken recipes around at the moment - so I really wanted to create my own.

I actually made and photographed this recipe a few weeks ago, but I was not 100% convinced that the end result was exactly what I had envisioned - it was nice, but perhaps missing something that I cannot quite put my finger on. But I have decided to post this recipe anyway as Mark really enjoyed it. I think I will experiment with it a little more, but have a go, as you may love it. Add more or less hot paprika depending on how much heat you like.

Mark and I are in the middle of settling out first home at the moment - very exciting, but very time consuming. I have a lot of recipes on the go at the moment that I have been playing with, and hope to post quite a few soon.

Ingredients (serves 2)

2 chicken breasts trimmed
600ml buttermilk
1 bunch chives chopped
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon tumeric
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon hot paprika
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon amchur powder
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup plain flour
Oil for shallow frying


Place the chicken, buttermilk and chives in a glass bowl and mix to combine. Refrigerate for at least two hours.

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees. Combine the spices in a mortar and pestle and grind well. Mix with the flour in a bowl. Remove the chicken from the buttermilk mixture and coat well in the spiced flour mixture.

Heat the oil in a large fry pan (you need the pan filled at least 1 cm deep with oil). Cook the chicken for a few minutes on each side, then place on a rack over a roasting tray and roast for 20 minutes.

Serve with a green salad.