Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Fruit mince pie ice cream

I was starting to think my fridge and freezer would never be rid of Christmas leftovers, but by the start of this week I had managed to use everything but half a fruit cake and 6 fruit mince pies.

Inspired by K's Xmas Pudding Ice Cream from In the Mood for Noodles and figuring that mice pies are really not too dissimilar to using biscuits and a fruit mix, I turned the leftover fruit mince pies into fruit mince pie ice cream. Given that I cheated and used leftover vanilla ice cream rather than making my own ice cream base I was fully prepared for it to be a total failure in food experimentation but it worked really well.


  • 4 cups ice cream, softened
  • 1/4 cup Brandy
  • 6 fruit mince pies
  • 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice 

  1. Mix brandy into the softened ice cream
  2. Chop or crumble the fruit mince pies and mix through the ice cream
  3. Freeze
  4. Eat
  5. Realise how much better fruit mince pies are when encased in ice cream!

I'm not much of a fan of fruit mince pies but in ice cream I actually enjoyed them. Everything is better with ice cream.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Chocolate cupcakes in icecream cones with fresh strawberry icing

My best friend and one of the most awesome people in the world had his birthday at Trippy Taco today, so I made cupcakes. We had an outdoor table and it was a pretty warm day, so we really appreciated that the staff at Trippy offered to put the containers of cupcakes in the fridge for us till we were ready for them. I have to say, the staff at Trippy are lovely. I've always had great service there, no matter how busy they are, they are always friendly and the food is always incredibly good. To say thanks for letting us use their fridge space we gave them some cupcakes which I hope they enjoyed. 

I think most people like chocolate cake, and I hadn't made chocolate cupcakes for a while. So while chocolate, like vanilla, may be accused of being boring, I opted to make chocolate cake. Baked in ice-cream cones. Topped with icing made with fresh strawberries. Now you can't accuse that of being just another boring old chocolate cupcake!

The cake itself is almost a mud cake, but not quite. It's not as heavy as a mud cake but is really moist and chocolatey without being too rich. The original recipe my mum had written down on her old hand written recipe cards asked for buttermilk, but I used soy milk and vinegar as a substitute

Almost mudcake chocolate cupcakes. 
If you want a stronger chocolate taste, use dark chocolate instead of milk. The cake itself will last for 4-5 days, however if you are using ice-cream cones these start to lose their crispness after a day or 2.

  • 250 grams nuttalex or butter
  • 300 grams of milk chocolate, chopped
  • 1/3 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 cup of soy milk
  • 1 teaspoon of vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of coffee (either 2 shots from a coffee machine, or 2 tablespoons instant coffee in 1/4 cup of water)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups caster sugar
  • 3/4 cup of cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of bicarb soda (baking soda)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 2 cups of plain flour
  • Flat bottomed ice-cream cones. This mix volume will fill around 40 small cones, or 24 cupcake papers. 

  1. Set the oven to 170 degrees.
  2. Line the ice cream cones up on a baking tray, with a few centimeters space around them in case of overflow. I lined mine up inside 12 hole cupcake trays. 
  3. Put the butter and the chopped chocolate in a metal bowl and place this over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Stir till all is melted and combined then take the mix off the heat and leave to cool to room temperature. 
  4. In a mixer, beat together the eggs, oil, coffee, soy milk and vinegar till blended.
  5. Add the cooled chocolate mix to the egg mix and beat till combined.
  6. Pour in the sugar and beat for about a minute to dissolve in most of the sugar. 
  7. Sift together the flour, cocoa, bicarb soda and baking powder.
  8. Fold the sifted dry ingredients into the chocolate mixture. Mix through gently till combined.
  9. Spoon the mix into your ice-cream cones (or cupcake papers), filling each to only half way. The cakes will double in size in cooking. 
  10. Bake for 30 minutes, then check if cakes are ready. Cakes are cooked when a knife poked into the centre comes out clean. 
  11. Cook cakes on a wire rack.
  12. When cakes are cooled, top with fresh strawberry icing and decorate with chocolate flakes, cherries or ice-cream sprinkles. 

Fresh Strawberry icing
Because of the fresh strawberries in this icing it should only be kept for 2-3 days in the fridge so is best made the day you want to use it. 

  • 100 grams fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped. 
  • 50 grams nuttalex or butter, chopped and softened to room temperature
  • 500 grams pure icing sugar
  1. Puree strawberries in blender or food processor till smooth
  2. Place the nuttalex and the strawberries in a mixer and beat to break the nuttalex up and spread it through the strawberries. The mix won't combine yet so don't stress about seeing little bits of yellow floating in strawberry juice.
  3. Sift the icing sugar.
  4. Fold 1/4 of icing sugar into the strawberry mix and then blend to combine. Repeat with the remaining icing sugar 4 more times, till all icing sugar is mixed in. 
  5. Beat at high speed till the icing is smooth and creamy. 
I decorated my cupcakes with chocolate flakes and a cherry. I only got a photo of one cupcake - the one that wouldn't fit in the carrier. 

This is a cross section of the cupcake, showing that the cake goes all the way to the bottom. Previously I have made these for kid parties with half a jersey caramel in the bottom of each cone. The caramel melts and spreads over the bottom of the cone. 

Unfortunately as I learned today, these cupcakes are not entirely transport friendly. Cupcake carriers are not made to take them, and they are a little top heavy so do try to fall over any chance they get. I did manage to hold them upright by using upside down empty cones, and un-iced leftover cupcakes as spacers in between each cake, wedging them in the hope they would stay upright. It worked pretty well and we only had one cupcake casualty. 

Any cupcake recipe can be made using ice-cream cones instead of cupcake papers, but you are best off using a recipe you have already made before or one that tells you how much the recipe rises. This is because you need to know how far to fill the cone. If you over fill, the cake mix will rise up too far and flow over the edge of the cone, ruining the effect of your ice-cream cone cupcakes. The baking times using cones will be pretty much the same as it would baking your recipe in cupcake papers, but you should check the cakes a few minutes earlier just to be sure. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Chocolate and Chambord Gelato

I've got a section of shelf in my pantry now dedicated to remnants of products that I want to use up so I can declutter my cupboards and get rid of the half packets and nearly empty bottles.

From this shelf this morning I grabbed a half block of chocolate and a nearly empty bottle of Chambord and turned it into a gelato, reducing the amount of milk from a chocolate gelato recipe and making up the volume with the Chambord.

Chocolate and Chambord Gelato
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 100 grams dark chocolate
  • 1 ½ cups of cream
  • ½ cup of Chambord (Black Raspberry Liqueur)

  1. Heat the milk, cocoa, sugar and salt in a saucepan over a medium heat, stirring constantly to blend in the cocoa and dissolve the sugar. You want the milk hot but not to boil.
  2. Take the milk off the heat. While stirring the milk mix, add in the eggs and mix in quickly. The milk heat will cook the yolk and you want it all mixed in as quickly as possible.
  3. Add the chocolate to the mix and mix in as it melts.
  4. Leave the chocolate custard mix to cool to room temperature. Avoid the temptation to put the mix in the fridge to cool as if the chocolate cools too quickly you will get grainy icecream.
  5. When the chocolate mix is cooled, whip the cream in a separate bowl till it forms soft peaks.
  6. Add the Chambord to the cream and fold through.
  7. Fold the cream mix through the cooled chocolate mix.
  8. Transfer to a freezer container and freeze, or if you have an ice cream maker, follow it’s instructions.

This ice-cream freezes soft and is very rich and chocolately with the flavour from the Chambord coming through nicely. If you want a stronger liqueur flavour in the ice-cream you could add an extra 1/4 cup of Chambord to the mix. Any more than that however and you will risk the ice-cream not freezing.

Rich lemon ice cream (or what to do with yolks left over from pavlova)

When Victoria is in the middle of one of our hottest starts to a year on record, could I really have made anything other than ice-cream for my first post of 2012?

This is an incredibly rich ice-cream recipe that my mother has been making for years, initially as way of using up egg yolks left over from one of the giant 8 egg pavlovas she would make for family barbeques. Later on this ice-cream was the most requested dessert dish from visiting friends and family, so the pavlovas ended up being made as a way of using up leftover egg whites.

The recipe comes from one of the books in mum’s collection of oddly specific cookbooks – Woman’s Day All Colour Book of Cooking for Your Freezer, published in 1978. Some of the other gems in this recipe book include frozen sardine and tomato sauce sandwiches, some kind of nasty looking grey lump thing wrapped in incredibly shiny bacon and "tacky gingerbread". I found a total of 2 vegetarian dishes through the whole book, each involving cabbage and jam...

I'd like to tell you what that yellow frozen cake covered in either grapes or olives is meant to be, but the cake only exists on the cover, no recipe in the book seems to match up...

The book does have good ice-cream recipes though. Unfortunately the book is a little sketchy on method, so the method I have provided is the way my mum has always made this ice-cream and not how the book tells it.

Rich Lemon Ice Cream.

  • 1 1/4 cups caster sugar
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1 1/4 cups cream
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice

  1. Heat oven to 150 degrees.
  2. Line an oven tray with foil and spread the sugar out over the foil.
  3. Place the sugar in the oven to heat the sugar. You will need to check the sugar regularly and shake the pan to ensure the sugar doesn't burn. With my oven it took around 5 minutes till I was happy the sugar was heated through.
  4. Place egg yolks in an electric mixed bowl with the beaters running at low speed.
  5. With the beaters still running, carefully pour the sugar into the mixer while it is still as hot as possible. The sugar is going to cook your yolks for your custard.
  6. Once the sugar is all in the bowl, increase the speed to high and beat till the mix is pale and thick.
  7. In a separate bowl beat the cream till it has thickened and forms soft peaks.
  8. Mix the lemon juice and the egg mix into the cream.
  9. Pour into a 1.25 litre container and freeze (or use an ice-cream maker to freeze if you have one).

This ice-cream is very rich and is best served in small portions or as a compliment to a larger dessert. With so many egg yolks the ice-cream always comes out a beautiful golden yellow colour. The ice-cream freezes very soft, so there is no need to leave it on the bench to soften before serving.

We have also in the past used this ice cream base for different flavours and have found that it is too rich a base for anything other than tart citrus. Orange and lime have worked ok, but lemon has always worked the best.

Hope you had a great new years and a fantastic year in 2012!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Flourless pistachio cupcakes with rosewater icing

It's probably because I have time on my hands, but I've been in the middle of some kind of reorganisation craze since I started annual leave. I've been madly moving the contents of all the kitchen cupboards and shelves around, finding things I forgot I had. Just before Christmas I turned the shelving over the buffet unit into a book case which means I now have room in my book cases for the other accumulated books that have been sitting stacked on the side table!

I've also been clearing out the pantry looking for anything that needed to be used up. I found a bag of pistachios to use and went searching the net for a pistachio cupcake recipe. All the recipes I found called for flour, and a lot of them were just vanilla cupcakes with pistachios stuck on top of the icing. I had already used the last of the flour I had making fruit cakes for Christmas so I improvised an almond meal recipe.

Ingredients (makes 12 large cupcakes)

  • 1 cup whole unsalted pistachios
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon rosewater
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups almond meal

  • 125g butter or nuttalex, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups pure icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 tsp rosewater
  • Pink food colouring (optional)

  • 1/4 cup crushed pistachios for decorating


  1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees. 
  2. Using a food processor or blender, process the pistachios in small batches till finely ground.
  3. Combine the pistachios, almond meal, sugar, and salt in a food processor until finely ground. 
  4. Mix in butter, vanilla, rosewater, and eggs, until smooth. 
  5. Divide batter among cupcake liners.Bake about 30 minutes or till a knife poked into the centre of a cake comes out clean. 
  6. Leave cakes in the tin to cool.

  1. Beat butter in a large mixer till smooth and and slightly lighter in colour.
  2. Mix in the icing sugar, 1/2 a cup at a time.
  3. Add in rosewater and food colouring and mix till smooth.

  1. Ice each cupcake and decorate each with a sprinkle of crushed pistachio.

The cakes were nice and moist and for an improvised recipe at 1 in the morning they turned out quite well. While tall swirls of icing always looks nicer on cupcakes, I personally think it would be too sweet to do with this cupcake.

Apologies for the camera phone photos. My camera died a while back and I haven't decided what I'm getting as a replacement yet.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas pudding vodka and eggless eggnog

Wow, it's been a really long time since my last post! It's been an insanely busy year at work, coupled with wedding planning, unwell dogs and the general family rollercoaster having more extreme ups and downs than usual. It's nice to finally have some free time again. For a couple of weeks at least... While I am enjoying my much awaited annual leave, I'll try to put up a few posts with some recipes I've had sitting waiting till I had the time available to make them (between playing Skyrim which is awesome!).

Today's recipes should really have gone up before Christmas, but better late than never...

In Sweden it is common to have a small drink of spirit at Christmas time, usually vodka or akvavit. This year I had a go at making my own flavoured vodka for skål.

This recipe is modified from The Hairy Biker's 12 Days of Christmas, and it tastes brilliant! The original recipe called for 75grams of caster sugar which I omitted because I thought it would make the vodka too syrupy sweet. I'm glad I did because all that fruit made the vodka sweet enough as it was. I also dropped the nutmeg from the recipe because one of our guests has a nutmeg allergy.

Christmas pudding vodka


  • 300g mixed dried fruit (my mix had citrus peel, sultanas, raisins and currants)
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 teaspoons of ground mixed spice *
  • 6 cloves
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 750ml bottle decent quality vodka


  1. Mix in a large jug or other container.
  2. Cover tightly with a lid or clingwrap.
  3. Leave the mix in the fridge for 3 days, stirring once or twice daily.
  4. Strain the liquid into a jug through a fine seive lined with muslin. ** 
  5. Pour the liquid into a bottle and keep in the fridge or freezer till ready to serve.

*I used my friends home blended mixed spice that has no nutmeg but contains cinnamon, allspice, cloves and ginger.
**Since I didn't have muslin, I improvised, straining it through a coffee plunger which did the job.

The result was a beautifully deep amber coloured vodka that did actually taste like a Christmas pudding. 

Served in a whiskey glass since I couldn't find my shot glasses... 

Since the dried fruit soaked up a decent amount of vodka you don't get back a full bottle. The leftover vodka fruit is great for making fruit cakes or having with icecream. 

I also made a batch of eggless eggnog.

Eggless eggnog

  • 1 pack silken tofu. The pack I used was 300grams.
  • 4 cups milk. I used soy. 
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence.
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
  • 1/4 teaspoon mixed spice.
  • 3/4 cup of brandy.
  • 1/2 cup of dark rum.
  1. Put everything in a blender and blend till smooth.
  2. Leave the nog in the fridge to chill.
  3. Serve over ice with a dusting of spice over the top.  
Unfortunately by the time I remembered I needed a photo, all the nog had vanished... 

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. With all the pudding vodka and eggnog I know I did. 

Sunday, February 27, 2011

30 Day Vegan Easy Challenge - recipe list and questions for vegans

I signed up to do the 30 Day Vegan Easy Challenge, running from 1st to 30th March. Unfortunately I will be doing the challenge alone - the rest of my household will be trying to be supportive and eat vegan meals with me when I cook at home. Initially we had all agreed to do the challenge together, but they backed down. Ah well.
I've been going through some of my recipe books, marking out recipes I'd like to try over the 30 days. I'm going to try to be a lot more organised about my cooking during March than I usually am. Inspired by The cookbook challenge post over at Gourmet Green Giraffe, I thought it would be a good idea to start a list of recipes I like the sound of so I can refer back or add to it over the month.

I'll start with the newest addition to my cookbook collection.

The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur - Kelly Peloza ( and

  • Fiesta Margarita Cookies
  • Soy Milk's Favourite Cookies 
  • Apricot Foldovers
  • Iced Caramel Cookies

The Vegan Scoop - Wheeler Del Torro
  • So many things in this book I want to make, but my ice cream maker died and is yet to be replaced...
 Vegan Yum Yum - Lauren Ulm (
  • Stuffed Banana Berry French Toast
  • Sweet Chilli Lime Tofu
  • Seitan Black Bean Corn Burgers
  • Miniature Napoleons with Eggplant Creme
  • Pad See Ew
  • Mini Blueberry Tarts with Lemon Cream

Viva Vegan - Terry Hope Romero (
  • Drunken Beans with Seitan Chorizo
  • Seitan Saltado
  • Creamy Potato Peanut Stew
  • Creamy Corn Crusted Tempeh Pot Pie
  • Shredded Seitan and Mushroom Empanadas

How It All Vegan - Tanya Barnard & Sarah Kramer (
  • Faux Eggs Benny
  • Sarah's Delicious Chilli
  • Savoury Shepherds Pie
  • Potato "Cheese" Perogies

Vegan With A Vengance - Isa Chandra Moskowitz (
  • "Fronch" Toast
  • Asparagus and Sun-Dried Tomato Frittata
  • Lemon Corn Waffles with Blueberry Sauce (OMG, these sound awesome!!!)
  • BBQ Pomegranate Tofu
  • Seitan Portobello Stroganoff
  • Revolutionary Spanish Omelet with Saffron and Roasted Pepper-Almond Sauce
I think the meals at home will be the easiest part of the 30 day challenge. Lunches at work however, I think will be where I will encounter the most hassle. I am not organised enough to make lunches to take to work every day. I work 55-65 hour weeks which really eats into my available food prep time, and I always find that when I think I have made enough dinner to have leftovers for lunch and dinner the next day, someone in the house comes back for seconds or unexpected guests rock up... So at work I usually end up grabbing something in the food court at either QV or Melbourne Central. If I can manage a long enough lunch break I will duck in to either TOFWD or Chan House, but it is rare I will get enough time. And as much as I love the nuggets, I don't think Lord of the Fries for lunch every day is the healthiest idea...

Last week I tried asking a few of the food places at QV if they had vegan options, and got a lot of 'I don't know' responses, and 2 yes - for the veg soups at In a Rush, and for a veg salad with no dressing from the sandwich bar.
So I'm hoping for some advice on what to get for lunches in the city, what are some good options? What are usually safe bets as being vegan suitable? Are breads at sandwich bars usually safe? 

And if you have any of the above cookbooks and can recommend a particular recipe that you love and think I should try, please leave a comment below.

Finally for anyone else doing the 30 day challenge who may have come across my blog, check out this facebook group with a list of 'Ninja Vegan' products. I love that term!