Two wings lift a person up from earthy concerns: simplicity and purity. Simplicity should be in intention, purity in feelings. Simplicity reaches out after God, purity catches hold and tastes. ~ Thomas A’Kempis

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Gemma's sticky Gingerbread

One night just before falling asleep, I had such a strong desire for gingerbreand !!!to the point that I had to get out of bed and hunt out an old recipe. I havn't made this for years...but remembered it was lovely and light, moist and a little sticky. The day before I baked it, I had spent an afternoon visiting some friends, and my young friend 'Gemma' (5yrs) was busying herself in her sandpit, making me all sorts of creations..such as chicken, banana and chocloate cupcakes lol..her desciption (really sand of course with a flower on top). I dutifully pretended to eat them all..but the joy she had in her creations and mixing sand and water made me smile and reminded me of my own fun making mud pies as a child..(the beginnings of my foodyism I think). When I was mixing this large bowl of gingerbread all its gloopiness, I decided to rename it Gemmas gingerbread.. : 0)
I like to serve it buttered. It could have a simple glace icing I suppose, but simple and rustic suits me.

(Makes 2 cakes 250g butter - melted
1 Cup golden syrup (or 1/2 treacle/1/2 golden surup) - darker cake

1/2 Cup brown sugar
1 rounded Tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons mixed spice
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 Cup rolled oats
4 Cups flour ( I used 2 Cups wholemeal/2 plain)
4 eggs - large
2 Cups of warm milk


1. Line 2 pans with baking paper.

2. In a large bowl sift all the dry ingredients together. Add the oats and mix through.

3. Warm the syrup. Pour milk,syrup, butter and eggs into the dry ingredients.
4. Mix all with a strong whisk, until well combined.

5. The consistency should be like pancake batter. Pour into the prepared pans.
6. Bake at 170 Celcius for 25 minutes (in middle shelf), or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
7. Cool on racks. I think this gingerbread is better the next day. I wrap it in cling film, keep the baking paper on it and stor in an airtight container.

Friday, 26 November 2010

My Easy & Light Sushi

Makes 3 long rolls of sushi (about 16 slices all up)
I like to keep sushi making simple, but there are many fillings which can be used, such as omeltte egg roll, salmon, avocao, toasted sesame seeds etc..


1/2 Cup short grain white rice
1 Cup water
1/2 teaspoon of salt

Bring the water to the boil, add salt and rice and reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes.

Microwave 2 T white vinegar and 1 dessertspoon of sugar until dissolved.

1 can of tuna in oil
Cucumber and radish - sliced into strips

When the rice is cooked, add the vinegar mixture and stir through until its all absorbed.
Cool the rice mixture.
Place a nori sheet shiny-side-down on your rolling mat.  Cover with rice from side to side, but leave a 1-inch spacer on the top and bottom

Place your “fillers” (tuna, cucumber & radish) on the edge of the nori sheet closest to you. Make sure the fillers are in front of the rice.

Using you rolling mat, nudge the roll forward. Squeeze the roll tight to ensure the edge is sealed.

Remove your roll to a cutting board, and cut into 6-8 pieces.
Enjoy by dipping into soy sauce . I put a little wasabi (pea size) in the base of the dipping bowl and add the soy on top, mix with a spoon. I also serve some pickled ginger on the side. Enjoy

Hokey Pokey Biscuits

These biscuits were a childhood favoutite of mine. Nearly every weekend we would go to visit my nana and she baked all week to prepare for the onslaught of grandchildren. The table was always groaning under the weight of pikelets with jam and cream, a white & chocolate cream filled sponge, scones...biscuits and on and on. After everyone ate their fill, us children would go crazy and run all round the neighbourhood, coming back and hour or so later to refuel. In Nan's old pantry she had all thses biscuit tins stacked up (about 7) and she would say 'you can have one of each) !!! lol..we all would beam huge smiles and pile the biscuits up in our hands. These hokey pokey biscuits, well my nana's ones were huge, lovely and chewy. Whenever I bake them, a wave of nostalgia fills my mind and heart 'the sweet memory of my lovely Nana)..She was a true homemaker :0)

125g butter, softened
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 tablespoon golden syrup (May be sold in the speciality foods section in USA supermarkets. Its not the same as corn or maple syrup - has quite a unique (golden) flaour)
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 1/2 cups plain flour


Preheat oven to 180°C. Line 2 large baking trays with baking paper.

Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and creamy. Place golden syrup and milk into a heatproof microwave-safe jug. Microwave for 20 to 30 seconds on HIGH (100%) power or until hot. Stir in bicarbonate of soda (mixture will bubble up). Add warm milk mixture to butter mixture. Stir until well combined. Sift flour over batter. Mix well.

Roll 2 teaspoonfuls of mixture at a time into balls. Place onto prepared baking trays, allowing a little room for spreading. Gently press biscuits down with a floured fork.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden and firm to the touch. Stand on trays for 3 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Friday, 12 November 2010

..... ~ NOVEMBER ~ ....

Hello.... I didn't think I was going to ever get this blog written because I've been so busy in the garden - tackling some major projects. and before I forget, I wanted to add this link to a wondeful New Zealand cooking show. Its set in the South Island of New Zealand (Central Otago), the area I grew up in and would spend holidays etc. Annabel is fabulous, a woman after my own heart and totally connected to the earth and her garden ..:0) a video of last nights show at the AMP show :0)
Check it out, you'll love it !
Here;s a cool NZ cookbook review site and talks about Annabels latest cookbooks.
Other stuff: Already people are talking about Christmas, and on at least 2 seperate occasions people have asked me if my Christmas shopping is all done !!!!. I don't really start getting into preparations till at least December. There's not so much need now that the children have all grown. I'm looking forward to going to my daughter Katies for Christmas day. It'll be fun to plan and cook with her and get to see my little grandaughter Lily too.

Little Lily on the dairy farm, in the cow shed (4 1/2 months old). Isn't she the cutest :0) She certainly won't be hard to shop for !!!

Now as for the garden, I have quite a few invasive plants that if I don't keep on top of, could literally take over and spread throughout the whole property. I'm talking about Ivy, Blackberry, Convovulus..and another creeper kind of thing, which I suspect is Old Mans Beard. It winds itself around trees and attaches itself with what looks like hariry tentacles. They seem to be glued on like cement !!! :0(. Over time, it takes over the host tree, suffocating it, & is impossible to remove....and eventually the tree needs to be removed. We don't get snow here in Central Hawkes Bay, so these creepers have opportunity to flourish all year round. Hence I've been gradually (over 3 years) hacking, weeding and pruning my way around the property and now a once dark, over grown garden, is finally starting to see the light. Hallelujah !

The Making of Raised Beds:

Where it all began in the vegetable garden. Each of the treated timber boxes are 1.5 metre square. Weed matting was laid at the base of each box and around the sides. 

Black polythene plastic was stapled gunned inside to prevent any chemicals from the treated timber leaching into the organic compost, and also to preserve the wood longer. 

The raised bed vegetable garden and my amazing 3 wheeler wheelbarrow over yonder ..makes moving plants and weeds around a whole lot easier. I've planted beans, carrots, silverbeet (chard), various lettuces, some baby leeks, spring onions, celery and radishes. Over by the shed are some tomato plants (heirloom seed varieties and a black cherry tomato plant and some zucchini seeds have just sprouted in my propogator. At the garden centre, zucchini plants were $5.00 per plant, & their was no way I was paying that, when a whole pkt of seeds only cost $3.50, so much more economical. So far 3 plants are underway !!! already (after only 10 days).

Little orange tree now..

Strawberry plants beginning to ripen. I covered them over with netting, because the birds already were enjoying them before I could pick one !!

Pretty Alstrameria flowering out in the front garden.

tall long stemmed red roses..just peek above my living room window :0)

 I've included a couple of recipes from some baking I've been doing latley...enjoy :0)



Pink & White marshmallows
1/2 Can Condensed milk
2 Cups biscuit crumbs
1 dessetspoon cocoa
1 teaspoon vailla essence
100 grams melted butter
dessicated coconut

1. Mix the melted butter, condensed milk and vanilla together with a wire whick, until all combined.

2. Add cocoa to crumbs and mix through, Pour buttery mixture in and mix well until it forms a dough

3. Take a large teaspoon of thie mixture and shape it round a marshmallow.
 Roll into a ball shape and then into the coocnut, until coated.
4. Chill the marshmallow treats in the refrigerator in a covered container..enjoy :0)


 A new summer dress and bottle of perfume, got  me in the summery mood....and lemon for some reason seems like a summer flavour. Maybe because of hmemade lemonade?.  Ayway the other day I had such a craving for this cake, that I went in search of the recipe. I used to make it  a long time ago when my children were small and as it makes a large cake,  I decided to halve itand it turned out great.  I hope someone will try it & let me know how it turns out.


100g butter - softened
1 Lemon - freshly picked - or an organic unsprayed, unwaxed Lemon
1/2 Cup full cream milk
1 1/2 Cups Self Raising Flour
3/4 Cups White Sugar


1. Wash the lemon and thinly peel the rind. Cut the rind into thin strips, remove the white pith from the lemon
    and discard. Segment the lemon and set aside.
2. Using a food processor (I use a small one, it works best with this quantity), place the sugar, and lemon
    rind in and pulse until finely chopped. Add the softened butter and and blend until the mixture is creamed.

3. Add the eggs one at a time, pulsing well, then add the lemon segments. Pulse untill chopped fine.  Add the
    milk, blend gently and then pour the mixture into a bowl. Gently fold in the flour - half a cup at a time.

7. Spoon the ,mixture into a smallish round cake tin. I line mine with aluminum foil and then spray with
    cooking spray...or use a non stick pan.
8. Bake at 170 C for about 40 minutes.
9. Cool on a rack and ice with desired icing. I used Betty Crockers Vanilla icing (because I love it), but a
   cream cheese lemon or vanilla icing would also be lovely.


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