Monday, 27 August 2018

Honey Tea Cake

Makes one cake in a Tube Pan

Batter Ingredients: 

1 cup white sugar (or a little less)
3 large eggs
1 cup of honey (Papa Jim's Wildflower)
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla

Dry Ingredients: 

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Plus:  1 cup of warm, strong tea (Orange Pekoe)


Preheat oven to 325F.

Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl small bowl.

Beat the batter ingredients together in a large bowl.
Add about 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the batter and mix well.
Follow with 1/2 cup of the warm tea.
Mix another 1/3 of the dry ingredients, followed by the rest of the tea.
Then end by adding the remaining dry ingredients.

Pour into a greased tube pan. Bake at 325F for 50-60 minutes till firm on top and golden brown.

Cool and remove from pan.

Sunday, 19 August 2018


Makes 1 drink


1 1/2 oz white Rum
5 oz club soda
3 oz simple syrup

Place 2 lime wedges and fresh mint leaves into a serving glass and muddle.
Add 3 oz of simple syrup, muddle again.
Add ice, rum and soda and a slice of cucumber.

To make the simple syrup:
Mix 1 cup of sugar with 1 cup of water and bring to a boil till everything is dissolved.
Cool. You can keep this in a jar in the fridge to use later.

Lemon Drop Martini

Makes 1 drink

Add the following ingredients into a cocktail shaker and shake till mixed. Rub a lemon around the rim of the martini glass and dip it in a plate of fine sugar to coat the rim.
Pour into a tall martini glass.


1 1/2 oz Vodka
1/2 oz Triple Sec or Cointreau
3/4 oz lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
1 tsp super fine sugar
4 - 5 ice cubes

Pina Colada

Makes 2 drinks

In a blender or vitamix, combine the following and process till smooth.
Pour into a tall glass and garnish with pineapple and a cherry.

1 cup of ice
1 cup diced frozen pineapple (or fresh)
2 oz (1/4 cup) coconut cream
5 oz pineapple juice
3 oz Rum (white/dark)

Friday, 27 July 2018

Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cake

When we lived in Sydney in the early 90's, I took a cooking class from Gretta Anna. This is my favorite cake recipe and I make it every Christmas and for special birthdays. 

Mix well, and reserve:
¾ cup macadamia nuts (chopped - unsalted) (80g)
½ cup chopped Belgian or Callebaut bittersweet chocolate, or Bakers semi-sweet (100g)
1 Tbs sugar

½ cup unsalted butter  (125g)
1 cup sugar – less 2 Tbs.  (200g)
3 large eggs
¾ cup ground blanched almonds (can be ground in food processor) (100g)
   (also known as “almond meal” already ground)
¾ cup + 2 Tbs. flour (100g)
½ cup milk (125ml)
1 tsp vanilla
1 ½  tsp baking powder

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and process 25-30 seconds.  
Or, if preparing by hand, cream the butter and add the sugar.  Add eggs and beat well.  Mix almonds, flour and baking powder together.  Add to egg mixture, alternating with the milk.  Add vanilla.  
Grease & flour, line with parchment paper - an 8 ½ “ cake pan or cheesecake pan with removable ring.  Add ½ of the above batter.  Then sprinkle with the nut/chocolate sugar mixture.

To the remaining ½ batter, add:
2 Tbs cocoa
1 Tbs milk
1 small peeled and grated granny smith apple

Place this mixture over the chocolate/nut/sugar mixture and spread evenly.  Bake in 375F oven for 35-40 minutes or until slightly firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and cool 10-15 minutes before removing from pan to cool completely.  
This cake should be kept a room temperature.  When cool, dust with powdered sugar and serve with whipped cream or icecream.  Garnish with fresh raspberries or strawberries.
Serves 8-10.  

Original recipe is from the Gretta Anna (School of Cooking)
Sydney Australia

Monday, 16 July 2018

Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Soup

Serves 4 


4 TBS olive oil
4 red peppers, seeded and cut in half
8 plum / roma tomatoes, cut in half
6 cloves of fresh garlic
1 white onion, quartered
salt & pepper
1 tsp fresh oregano
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 tsp fresh basil
1 tsp fresh parsley
or 2 tsp of dried Italian seasoning
2-4 cups of chicken or vegetable broth (for vegan option)


Preheat the oven to 350F.

Drizzle some olive oil in a baking pan. Slice the tomatoes in half and place them in the pan. Slice the red peppers in half and remove the seeds and center core. Place them in the same pan and spread them out.

Add the garlic, quartered onion, salt & pepper, and herbs. Drizzle with a bit more oil.

Bake for about 45 minutes to one hour until peppers and tomatoes are soft.  Cover, and cool slightly.
Removed the skins from the tomatoes. They should peel off easily. To remove the skins from the red peppers, put the peppers in a plastic bag for about 15 minutes. Then remove them and using a paring knife, lift the skin and peel it off the pepper. The 'sweating' in the bag makes this very easy to do.

Put all the ingredients and juices from the pan in a food processor or vitamix/blender and blend till smooth. Add about 2 cups of broth to make the soup the consistency you like. Some people like it a bit thick, so add less liquid as you blend it. For a thinner soup, add more broth.  Salt & pepper to taste.

This is a great winter soup and you can substitute different roasted vegetables like sweet potatoes or cauliflower. Make it the same way.

Janette's Caesar Dressing

If you buy a whole romaine salad, cut the end off and separate the leaves. Lay the romaine leaves on top of each other whole,
 largest to smallest.
You can wash them or using a wet paper towel, wipe any sand or dirt off.
Run your knife down the center stem, then cut along each side. Then cut across as shown to make bite-sized pieces.
Cut gently so you do not bruise the leaves.

You can also serve the romaine leaves whole with the dressing drizzled on top.

Serves 4 -6

Janette's home-grown romaine

2 whole eggs
3 tsp Dijon mustard
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp salt
Juice of one lemon
3 drops of tabasco sauce
1/8 cup of red wine vinegar
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

1 cup of croutons
8-10 anchovy fillets, chopped (optional)
bacon bits or pan fried pancetta, chopped
Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top


Add all the ingredients except the olive oil, cheese, croutons and anchovies to a blender or vitamix. Process till smooth.  Then slowly drizzle the olive oil into the mixer and process till creamy.  Add the parmesan cheese and process till mixed.  If you do not have a vitamix, use a large bowl. Whisk the eggs, mustard, garlic, Worcestershire, salt & pepper, lemon, tabasco and vinegar together.  Then very slowly drizzle the olive oil while continuing to whisk. This will give you a creamy dressing.  Add the parmesan and whisk again. If you're making the dressing ahead, store it in a jar in the fridge. Use in a day or two.

Sprinkle the croutons on the salad, just before tossing it with the dressing. Add a bit of dressing at a time. Toss and serve immediately. Salad will get very soft and soggy if left with the dressing on it too long. I like to serve the chopped or whole anchovies on the side, as not everyone loves these little fish. Top with freshly grated cheese, or put some in a bowl to pass around.

If you want to add bacon bits or pancetta, chop the bacon/pancetta and fry in a dry pan till crisp. Cool and set aside. Add on top of the salad.

If you're having a party, prepare the romaine in advance. Chop it up and put it into a plastic bag in the fridge. Always cut the ends off if you buy it pre-washed as it tends to go a little brown.

Homemade Croutons

Focaccia bread will give you light croutons which are not too dense. Chop the bread into 3/4" cubes.
Heat a non-stick pan on medium and add 2 TBS olive oil. Add the bread cubes and toss in the oil till covered. Stir, tossing them in the pan to brown on all sides. Sprinkle with salt and Italian seasoning.
Remove when done and cool. Set aside in a dish, covered with tin foil so they stay crispy.