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Apple sago

This pudding takes me back to my childhood where I remember my mum serving us a bowl full of fragrant lemony apples stewed with sago and finished with pouring cream. It is simple to make, cheap to buy and will surely satisfy you on these cold nights.

Serves 4

500g apples (2-4) granny smiths or a variety that is tart and mushy when cooked.

½ -3/4 cup sugar

1 ¼ cup water

1 lemon, zest and juice to taste

¾ cup sago

Cream or vanilla ice-cream to finish


Peel, core and cut the apples into bite sized pieces. Add to a heavy based saucepan and add sugar, water and zest. Cook over moderate heat until the apples are tender.

Add the sago and stir well to combine. Lower the temperature and cook gently for a further 20 minutes, stirring frequently until the sago becomes tender and translucent.

Spoon into bowls and serve with pouring cream or vanilla ice-cream.

Nb – it works beautifully with pears, rhubarb, quince and plums.


Copy of apple cake

Apples are always a great staple for time of the year and this cake with the addition of aromatic honey adds a wonderful mystery note to this cake.

Serves 8-10

4 medium sized apples, peeled, halved and cored

1 tsp lemon zest, set aside

1 Tbsp lemon juice

125g butter, softened

¼ cup sugar

¼ good quality honey

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 large eggs

¾ cup flour

2 tsp baking powder


¼ cup honey

1 Tbsp lemon juice


Preheat the oven to 170C

Grease a 18-20 cm cake tin with butter and line with baking paper.

Prepare the apples first by peeling, halving and removing the core. I then scored the top of the apples for decorative purposes.

Toss the apples through the first measure of lemon juice and set aside.

To make the cake begin by creaming the butter, sugar and honey together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time ensuring that you beat well between each egg.

Fold through the sifted flour and baking powder until evenly mixed.

Pour into prepared baking tin and even the surface.

Place the apple halves, scored side up evenly over the cake surface.

Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Remove from oven and cool in cake tin for 5 minutes and then remove from tin and cool on wire rack.



Stewing apples is simple, easy on the pocket and you can use it for so many things.

If I’m not spooning this over my cereal or filling a tart, then I like to make an impromptu dessert for the kids.

Serves 5

500g cooking apples, peeled, cored and roughly diced

50g sugar

300g greek yoghurt

150 ml cream , lightly whipped.

1-2 Tbsp icing sugar


100g rolled oats

2 Tbsp brown sugar

Pinch cinnamon


Begin by stewing the apples: add the apples, sugar and 1 Tbsp water to a suitable sized pot. Cook over a gentle heat until the apples soften and pulpy (10-15 minutes). Cool until required.

To make the topping: place a sheet of baking paper over a baking tray. Mix the rolled oats with the sugar and cinnamon and spread evenly over the paper. Place in oven and bake until the oats go golden and the sugar caramelises (3-5 minutes). Cool completely.

To assemble: Gently fold together the yoghurt, icing sugar and cream.

Place the apple in the bottom of the glass or serving dish, add a generous spoonful of cream mixture, repeat with apple and cream and finish with the crunchy toasted oats.

Chill until required. This simple dessert can be made with any type of fruit all year round.


Apple shortcake

I always remember my mother’s shortcake with its light and airy pastry and juicy, tart filling. I simple added some rhubarb to this classic and it married together perfectly.

Makes 12-16 squares


2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

125g butter

¼ cup sugar, plus 1 Tbsp for sprinkling

1 egg, lightly beaten

1-2 Tbsp milk, extra for glazing


1 Tbsp butter

4 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, sliced

¼ cup sugar

1 Tbsp water

1 orange, juice and zest

6 sticks rhubarb, sliced into 1 cm pieces


Begin by making the pastry – Add the dry ingredients into a large bowl, rub in the cold butter until coarse breadcrumbs appears.

Add the egg and mix through, if too dry add 1 tablespoon of milk at a time and mix until dough comes together. Do not over mix as this will toughen up your dough. Cover in plastic wrap and chill.

To make the filling add the apples, sugar, water, butter and orange juice and zest. Cook gently for 10 minutes, add the rhubarb and continue to cook until the apples and rhubarb are soft and pulpy. If you mixture is extra juicy drain it off as this will make your shortcake to wet.

Preheat oven to 180C fanbake or bake.

Line a 20×20 or so cake tin, I use a square fruit cake tin for mine.

Roll the pastry out so it will fit your tin twice in length and it should be about 1/2cm thick. Cut the pastry in half and line the base of the tin.

Spread evenly with the apple and rhubarb filling.

Place the other half of the pastry on top. Brush with milk and sprinkle remaining sugar on top.

Bake in preheated oven for 20-30 minutes or until the pastry is golden and firm.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little before cutting. This shortcake works beautifully warm or cold.



Apple pies are always a crowd pleaser as they bring back memories and who doesn’t like apple?

And don’t worry if you haven’t the time to whip up your own pastry I won’t tell!!

Serves 5-6


For the pastry

1 x 250g sweet pastry, rolled 4mm thick


250g plain flour

50g icing sugar

125g cold butter, cut into cubes

1 egg

Splash water

Egg yolk for glazing and sprinkle of sugar


600g apples, granny smiths, braeburn, peas not so good etc

3 Tbsp raw cane sugar

¼ cup sultanas or raisins

½ tsp ground cinnamon or ginger

25g butter

1 Tbsp water

1 lemon, zest


Begin by making the pastry if using this method.

I add the dry ingredients into a food processor or into a large bowl, add the butter and processor until just combined enough to resemble fine breadcrumbs.

Add the egg and mix until the dough comes together, if looking dry add the water and this should hold together. Bring the dough together so it forms a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 20-30 minutes.

While the pastry is chilling, make the filling.

Preheat oven 170C

Place all the ingredients for the filling together into a saucepan and cook gently for about 5 minutes so that the apples cook half way through and this will get the juices going.

Place the apples into a 20cm pie dish. Set aside.

Roll the pastry so that is will cover the pie dish and about 1 cm overlap.

Brush the rim of the pie dish with a little of the egg yolk. Place the pastry loosely over the apples and press down around the edge. Trim off any excess. Brush with egg yolk and sprinkle with a little sugar. Cut a few slits in the pastry and if feeling decorative you can make a few leaves to place on the top.

Bake for 30 -40 minutes or until the pastry is golden and the apples are tender and juicy.

Serve warm with plenty of cream and icecream.


egg custard tart2

Some combinations work better than others and this one is made in heaven. This recipe has a few more steps than usual but I feel the need for a little something special, perhaps it’s the weather?

Serves 12


225g flour, plus extra for dusting

Pinch of salt

150g cold butter, grated

75g sugar

1 egg

1 egg yolk

Blind baking beans or rice – cooking base


750ml cream

12 egg yolks

100g sugar

2 nutmegs, grated finely

¼ cup rhubarb jam *


Begin by making pastry – Put the flour and salt into a medium sized bowl and add the cold grated butter, rub in quickly with your fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg and yolk and mix to combine. Squelch together with your finger tips and turn out onto board, mold together to form a round, cover in cling film and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Using a 25cm removable bottom flan tin, roll the pastry out on lightly floured bench until 2mm thick all over. Carefully lift into your tin, allowing it to fall into the edges. Gently press the dough into the edges and sides and ensuring you have no cracks or holes. If you do then fill the gaps and cracks with a little more dough. Chill again in fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven 170C

Remove from the fridge and place onto a baking tray, line with baking paper and fill at least 2/3 full with blind baking beans or rice. Make sure you get right into the edges as this will result in an even and tidy tart shell.

Bake for 15 minutes, check if the pastry is firming up and has started to colour up a little, if not continue cooking for a further 5-10 minutes. Remove the paper and blind baking beans/rice. Brush all over the base and sides with the egg yolk as this will ensure the filling doesn’t run out. Return back to oven for a further 5 minutes.

Turn the oven down to 130C

Bring the cream the boil and remove from the heat.

In a heat proof bowl whisk the egg yolks with the sugar and slowly pour in the cream, whisking all the time. Strain through fine sieve and pour into a jug.

Spoon over the rhubarb jam and place the tart back into the oven, carefully and slowly pour in the egg custard.

Sieve over the grated nutmeg and bake gently for 25-35 minutes or until the custard has set around the outside and slightly wobble in the centre.

Remove from the oven and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before cutting.


*my rhubarb jam recipe was in the ODT 15 April 2015
























A simple marriage of summer flavours with the cooling ricotta and tangy citrus makes this simple dessert one of my summer favourites.

Serves 4


4 peaches (ripe but firm), cut in half and stone removed

250g fresh raspberries

250g ricotta

1 lemon, zest

1 orange. Zest

4 Tbsp raw cane or coconut sugar


Heat up the barbecue or griddle pan to hot.

Finely grate the zest from the lemon and orange and mix with the sugar and allow to sit for 10 minutes to infuse.

When the barbecue is hot place the cut side of the peaches directly onto the griddle bars and allow to char (blacken) slightly and soften, about 5 minutes.

Remove the peaches and place onto a dish, sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of the infused sugar over the peaches, cover with plastic wrap and let so the juices seep out of the peaches, (10-20minutes).

To assemble: place the peaches onto a large platter, scatter over the raspberries and a little of the sugar. Spoon over the ricotta using a dessert spoon so that you get good dollops placed over the fruit.

Spoon over any juices from the peaches and finish by scattering over the infused sugar.

Best eaten at room temperature.



IMG_2856 (2)

Strawberries and cream are a match made in heaven and this easy recipe is a great way to simply bring them together. I love these for brunch, afternoon tea or simply to add to the lunch box.

Makes 12 large or 15 medium muffins


6 cups self raising flour

2 ½ cup sugar

250g fresh strawberries cut into bite size pieces

3 eggs

1 ½ cup milk

¾ cup unsweetened natural yoghurt

1 tsp vanilla extract

100g mascarpone or cream cheese

1 orange, zest only


Preheat oven 190C

Grease the muffin tins with butter or spray oil

Put the flour and sugar together in a large bowl and mix to combine, add the strawberries and combine.

In another bowl whisk together the wet ingredients, eggs, milk, yoghurt and vanilla.

Finally combine the mascarpone and orange zest and mix to combine, set aside.

Add the wet ingredients into the dry and mix gently together until just combined.

Spoon enough of the muffin batter neatly into the tins so it’s half full. Add a teaspoon of the mascarpone mixture onto the centre of the mixture and cover with enough muffin mixture to cover. The mixture should fill the muffin tin ¾ full.

Bake in preheated oven for approximately 20 minutes or until the muffin centre springs back when lightly touched.

Cool in tin for 5 minutes before removing. Dust with icing sugar and enjoy.



cherry brownie

This densely decadent brownie with the added delight of fresh drunken cherries (best soaked overnight) will be a memorable addition to the festive season.

Makes 20 squares


2 cup (300g) cherries, stones removed

200ml port

250g butter, cut into pieces

300g dark chocolate, roughly chopped

1 cup Brown sugar

5 eggs

1 tsp Vanilla essence

1 ¾ cups gluten free flour or plain flour

1/3 cup dutch cocoa, more for dusting


Preheat oven 180C

Soak cherries in port for at least 6 hours if possible overnight.

Line deep sided 25-30cm by 18cm tin with greaseproof paper.

Melt butter, sugar and chocolate together over a double boiler.

Lightly whisk eggs in separate bowl and add to the brownie mixture, mix until well combined.

Then add dry ingredients and mix lightly until just combined. Fold through plums and port.

Pour mixture into prepared tin and bake for 20 minutes or until just set. It is important to slightly undercook this as it is meant to be dense rather than cakey.

Cool, and cut into desirable sized pieces and finish with a dusting of cocoa.


rhubarb cake

This simple cake recipe is a great one to save for impromptu parties or unexpected guests as it is simple to prepare and versatile with the oncoming summer fruits.

Serves 8-10

125g butter, softened

2 cups plain flour

¼ tsp salt

½ tsp baking soda

1 cup buttermilk or 2/3 cup milk and ¼ cup plain yoghurt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 orange, zest

1 cup sugar

2 eggs (medium)

2 cups rhubarb, sliced into thinnish bite sized pieces

¼ tsp ground ginger mixed with ¼ cup sugar


Preheat oven to 180C

Butter 18-by 25 cm baking dish; set aside.

Sieve together the flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.

Put the buttermilk, orange zest and vanilla together and mix to combine.

In a medium bowl cream together the softened butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.

Add the eggs one at a time and then lightly fold through the flour and buttermilk mixtures, ending with flour.

Stir in the rhubarb and lightly combine.

Pour into the prepared tin, sprinkle with the ginger sugar mixture and bake for about 30-35 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Cool on wire rack and enjoy!