‘ Halloween Graveyard Cake With Built in Tombstones ‘

Halloween is here again and here is a really spooky graveyard cake, enjoyyyyy!

Halloween Graveyard Cake with built in Tombstones '

‘ Halloween Graveyard Cake with built in Tombstones ‘


For the cake
For the ginger biscuit tombstones
For the decoration

Preparation method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
  2. Grease and line a 20x30cm/8x12in rectangular cake tin with baking parchment.
  3. Beat together the butter and sugar with a hand-held mixer until the mixture is pale and fluffy. Add the eggs a little at a time, beating well between each addition, adding the vanilla extract with the last of the egg.
  4. Sift together the flour and the cocoa powder into a bowl. Fold the flour mixture into the butter mixture until fully incorporated.
  5. Spoon the cake batter into the prepared tin and smooth the surface with the back of a spoon.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes until firm to the touch (a wooden skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean).
  7. Leave to cool for 10 minutes in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. For the ginger biscuit tombstones, place the flour, ginger and bicarbonate of soda into a mixing bowl. Rub the butter in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  9. Add the sugar, syrup and egg and mix together until it forms a soft dough. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  10. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4.
  11. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and cut out your shapes – you will only need a few for the cake so cut out some other Halloween shapes for extra biscuits.
  12. Place the shapes on to greased baking sheets and bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the sheets with a palette knife and place onto a wire rack to cool completely before decorating with white icing.
  13. For the buttercream, beat the butter in a large bowl with a hand held mixer until creamy then add the icing sugar a spoonful at a time beating well between each addition. Add the cocoa powder and milk and beat again for a further five minutes until light and fluffy.
  14. Blend the Oreo or bourbon biscuits to fine crumbs in a food processor.
  15. Spread the buttercream over the cooled cake, covering the top and sides – don’t worry if it’s not smooth – a few lumps and bumps will make it more mud-like.
  16. Break the chocolate sticks in half unevenly, then stick around the sides of the cake to form the fence.
  17. Sprinkle the biscuit soil over the surface before sticking in the tombstones and decorating with spooky sweets.

‘ Halloween Treat – Yummy Pumpkin Cheese Cake ‘

Here is really nice Halloween Treat – ‘ Pumpkin Cheesecake’

'Pumpkin Cheesecake '

‘Pumpkin Cheesecake ‘


Preparation method

  1. Heat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3.
  2. Bash the digestive biscuits into crumbs. Melt the butter over a low heat and mix in the biscuit crumbs and lemon zest. Lightly grease a 25cm/10in loose-bottomed cake tin and press the crumbs into the base and up the sides slightly.
  3. Mix together the cream cheese, pumpkin flesh, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg until smooth. Beat the eggs and fold into the pumpkin mixture. Turn into the tin and bake in the oven for 90 minutes until the surface is set but the underneath still slightly squidgy.
  4. Take the cheesecake out of the oven and let it cool in the tin. When cool, turn it on to a serving plate, cover with foodwrap and chill overnight.
  5. Whip the double cream until thick and fold in the yoghurt and the lemon juice. Spread over the top of the cheesecake and serve at room temperature.

Roast chicken with fennel and orange

#AceFoodNews – Italy on my Mind Another Way to Cook Chicken #ChefsTip

italy on my mind

Spring has well and truly arrived in Melbourne. Farmers markets have a bounty of broad beans, golden beets, asparagus and baby artichokes, and tomato seedlings are ready for planting, hinting that summer is not too far away.


Spring also means farewell to winter greats – oranges and fennel – which have brightened many colder winter days, and go so well together. I am sad to say farewell to oranges in particular (though I know we can buy imported ones all year round). I just love pairing these two ingredients together – fennel and orange salad has been a staple through winter, though I seldom cook fennel. A couple of weeks ago I paired them in a roast chicken dish. I love cooking whole chickens – they feel like a celebration of spring. I was inspired by Alastair Little’s “Pollo alla Orvietana” – which has 40 cloves of garlic and 40…

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‘ Perma Cooking Says Delicious Ways to Reduce Food Waste ‘

October 25, 2014
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10 drivers for sustainability in global food production and consumption

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‘ Quick & Easy Balsamic Chicken with Wilted Spinach ‘

Try this simple and tasty twist on Chicken using Balsamic Vinegar and Baby Spinach.

' Balsamic Chicken with Baby Spinach '

‘ Balsamic Chicken with Baby Spinach ‘

  • Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 (8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved
8 ounces baby spinach
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup low-sodium canned chopped tomatoes with juice
2 cups whole wheat couscous, cooked


Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat.

Add the olive oil and heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Add the chicken and cook about 4 minutes per side, or until cooked through and juices run clear.

Remove the chicken and set aside.

To the same pan, add the spinach and cook just until wilted, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Remove from the pan and set aside.

Lower the heat to medium and add the balsamic vinegar and chicken broth to the pan and stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to remove any browned bits.

Add the tomatoes, bring to a simmer and cook 3 to 5 minutes.

Place the couscous in a serving bowl.

Top with the spinach, chicken and balsamic-tomato sauce.

Recipe courtesy Ellie Krieger:  



Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ellie-krieger/balsamic-chicken-with-baby-spinach-recipe.html?oc=linkback

‘ Classic British Mid-Week Supper Dish Boiled Beef and Carrots with Parsley Dumplings ‘

Gordon Ramsay revives a British stalwart, boiled beef and dumplings, with a few modern twists’

Gordon Ramsay revives a British stalwart, boiled beef and dumplings, with a few modern twists

Gordon Ramsay revives a British stalwart, boiled beef and dumplings, with a few modern twists


  • 1-1¼kg joint silverside beef
  • 2l good quality stock (chicken, beef or vegetable)

Vegetables for the stock

  • 2 carrots
  • 1 leek
  • 1 onion
  • 2-3 turnip
  • ½ small celeriac
  • few sprigs of fresh thyme and 2-3 bay leaves

For the spice bag

  • 4-5 star anise
  • 4-5 cardamom pods
  • 4-5 cloves
  • 1 tsp coriander seed
  • ½ tsp peppercorns

For the baby vegetables

  • ½ small celeriac
  • 12 baby turnips
  • 18 baby carrots
  • 12 baby leeks

For the dumplings

  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 125g shredded suet
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 3 rounded tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4-5 star anise, peppercorns and thyme sprigs
  • Method

    1. Cut the beef into three or four chunky pieces, put in a large pan and just cover with cold water. Bring it quickly to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and, using a ladle, skim off any scum on the top. As you are doing this, you will also be removing some of the water. Pour in the stock, return it to the boil, then turn to a simmer.
    2. Meanwhile, roughly chop the vegetables and add them to the pan with the sprigs of thyme and bay leaves. Season lightly.
    3. Take a large square of muslin (or use a clean J-cloth), lay the spices in the middle and then tie up with kitchen string, like a money bag. Drop the bag into the pan and tie the bag to the handle. Simmer the beef (don’t let it boil) for about 2 hrs, until the meat feels tender when pierced with a sharp knife. If the stock reduces down too much, top it up with more water so the meat remains submerged.
    4. While the beef is cooking, peel celeriac and cut into small sticks about 1cm thick. Halve turnips. Trim tops off the other vegetables, but don’t peel – there’s no need. Bring a pan of lightly salted water to the boil and blanch vegetables for about 3 mins. Have ready a large bowl of ice-cold water and when the vegetables are just tender, drain them and tip immediately into the water. Leave for 2-3 mins, drain again and set aside. Also, while the beef is cooking, mix together the flour, suet, salt, a grinding of pepper and the parsley for the dumplings.
    5. When the beef is cooked, remove the pan from the heat, then strain off and reserve the stock for cooking the dumplings and reheating the baby vegetables (you won’t use it all). Discard the vegetables and tip the beef into a baking dish. Cover loosely with foil to keep warm.
    6. Mix just enough cold water (about 200ml) into the flour and suet mix to make a soft dough. If the dough is too wet, it will be difficult to shape. Roll gently into 10-12 balls. Bring a shallow pan of water to the boil and add a couple of ladles of the stock plus the olive oil, the star anise, peppercorns and thyme sprigs. Using a slotted spoon, lower in the dumplings. Cover and simmer for about 12-15 mins, until risen and fluffy. Remove the dumplings with a slotted spoon.
    7. Spoon about three ladles of stock into another pan, bring to a simmer and reheat the veg briefly. Remove with a slotted spoon. Strain the stock from the veg for serving.
    8. Cut each beef chunk into slices and season lightly. Arrange in warmed serving dishes with the baby vegetables, celeriac and dumplings. Pour some stock over and serve.

‘ Light Fluffy and Yummy Lemon Pud ‘

About this recipe: This is a family favourite. The top is light and fluffy, almost like a soufflé, while the bottom is a delectable lemony sauce. I like it served chilled.

' Lemon Pudding Cake '

‘ Lemon Pudding Cake ‘


Serves: 12 

  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 5 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 30g (1 oz) butter, softened
  • 300g (11 oz) caster sugar
  • 4 tablespoons plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 350ml (12 fl oz) semi skimmed milk


Prep:20min  ›  Cook:40min  ›  Ready in:1hr 

  1. Beat together egg yolks, lemon juice, lemon zest and butter until thick. Combine sugar, flour and salt; add alternately with milk to the yolk mixture, beating well after each addition.
  2. Beat egg whites until stiff. Gently fold egg whites into milk mixture. Pour into 20cm square baking dish.
  3. Place a pan of hot water in the oven, and set the baking dish into the pan. Bake at 180 C / Gas mark 4 for 45 minutes.



‘ Alternative for a Sunday Roast My 20 Diners Loved This Recipe ‘

In the mood for a Moroccan dish this week? If so, you can’t get more authentic than lamb tagine, which originates with the country’s first inhabitants, the Berbers.

Alternative to Sunday Roast - Lamb Tagine '

Alternative to Sunday Roast – Lamb Tagine ‘

Today’s lamb tagine recipes show the influence of later inhabitants of the land, including spices and dried fruit from the Arab culture, and olives and olive oils from the Moors. For a completely authentic twist, serve this large, hearty meal at lunch instead of dinner, which is the biggest meal in most Moroccan households.

Lamb Tagine Ingredients:

1 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. cinnamon
1.5 tbsp. paprika
1.5 tbsp. ground ginger
1 tbsp. tumeric
1 shoulder of lamb, trimmed into 2 inch chunks
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp argan oil
2 large onions, grated
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 pint tomato juice
2 – 14 oz cans of chopped tomatoes
4 oz dried apricots, cut in half
2 oz dates, cut in half
2 oz sultanas or raisins
3 oz flaked almonds
1 tsp saffron stamens, soaked in cold water
1 pint lamb stock
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp coriander, chopped
2 tbsp parsley, chopped

Lamb Tagine Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 F
  2. Combine the cayenne, black pepper, paprika, ginger, turmeric and cinnamon into a small bowl. Place the lamb in a large bowl and toss together with half of the spice mix. Cover, place in fridge, and leave overnight.

  3. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp argan oil in a large casserole dish. Add the grated onion and the remaining spice mix and cook over low heat for 10 minutes, or until the the onions are soft but not coloured. Add the crushed garlic for the last three minutes.

  4. In a separate frying pan, heat the remaining oil and brown the lamb chunks on all sides. Add the browned meat to the casserole dish. De-glaze the frying pan with ¼ pint of tomato juice, and add juices to the casserole dish.

  5. Add the remaining tomato juice, chopped tomatoes, apricots, dates, raisins or sultanas, flaked almonds, saffron, lamb stock and honey. Bring to a boil, cover with a fitted lid, place in the oven and cook for 2-2½ hours or until the meat is tender.

  6. Place lamb in a tagine or large serving dish and sprinkle with the chopped herbs.



‘ Tried and Tested Classic Pork Pie Recipe ‘

Classic pork pie – made with pork shoulder, bacon and lard. Flavoured with herbs and baked until deep golden brown.

Classic Pork Pie
Classic Pork Pie


For the filling
For the pastry

Preparation method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
  2. For the filling, place half of the pork shoulder and bacon into a food processor and pulse to a coarse mince.
  3. Combine with the rest of the pork, bacon, sage, rosemary, nutmeg, allspice and anchovy essence (or 1-2 fresh salted anchovies, finely chopped, or two teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce), and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  4. For the pastry, sift the flour and salt and freshly ground black pepper into a bowl and set aside.
  5. In a pan, heat the milk, water and lard together and gradually bring to a simmer, or until all the lard has melted.
  6. Bring the milk mixture up the boil and then pour this onto the flour mixture. Mix well with a wooden spoon to create a firm dough.
  7. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead the dough quickly for a few minutes.
  8. Roll the dough out flat, then press the dough into a pork pie tin, saving a quarter of the dough for the lid.
  9. Spoon the meat mixture into the pastry-lined pork pie tin.
  10. Roll out the remaining quarter of pastry so that it’s slightly larger than the tin all round.
  11. Brush the beaten egg yolk all over the pastry lid, then place the pastry on top of the meat mixture and press down the edges to seal.
  12. Cut a small hole in the top of the pastry and transfer into the oven for 45 minutes to one hour, or until the pastry is golden-brown and the meat is completely cooked through.
  13. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin.
  14. To serve, turn the pie out of the tin and slice.


RESTAURANT REVIEW: ‘ When Eating Out of Can Is the Height of Luxury in London’s Soho ‘

In the heart of London’s Soho sits a gleaming new restaurant — Tincan. The premise is simple: No kitchen, very few staff, and the menu all comes out of a can. Specifically, canned fish.

Tincan sells gourmet canned fish from around the world, though many of the items come from Portugal and Spain, where tinned delicacies have long been appreciated as culinary luxuries.

Tincan sells gourmet canned fish from around the world, though many of the items come from Portugal and Spain, where tinned delicacies have long been appreciated as culinary luxuries.

To many people, canned food conjures up images of stocking up for winter, emergency rations, or — for Brits — the deprivations of World War II.

“The big challenge we had was how to change the perception of tinned food in the U.K.,” says Max Arrocet, one of the directors of AL_A, the architecture firm behind Tincan. He and his team, he says, wanted to “elevate the tin to an object of desire.”

Indeed, there’s a strong element of buying with your eyes at Tincan. Rows of gourmet-quality tins, beautifully packaged in collectible-worthy cans, are displayed at eye level.

“This combines our two passions: design and food,” Arrocet tells me when I meet him for lunch at Tincan.

The products are carefully chosen not just for taste, but for presentation. “If we have two products that are very close in terms of taste, we will definitely go for the tin that looks better,” he says.

Most products on the menu come from Portugal and Spain, Arrocet’s native country, where tinned delicacies have long been appreciated as culinary luxuries. On the day I visit, there are over 20 different varieties of tinned delicacies on display. The shelves in the shop behind the counter boast even more options.

The writer's meal included anchovies and baby squid in their own ink, served with sides of bread and small bowls of salad greens, chopped onions and peppers.

The writer’s meal included anchovies and baby squid in their own ink, served with sides of bread and small bowls of salad greens, chopped onions and peppers.

We order the baby squid served in its own ink, some anchovies and cod liver. The food arrives quickly, unsurprising given that no preparation is needed.

Arrocet recommends the cod with a  drop of oil and some sea salt. The squid is my favorite, and goes well with the plate of bread that comes as a standard side dish at Tincan, along with a very small bowl of salad greens. The anchovies taste nothing like what I was expecting: Instead of sharp, salty, “pizza anchovies,” these are fleshy, smooth-textured.

Sourcing is a big deal for Tincan, Arrocet says. “Family-run  businesses make better products,” he comments. His team, he says, scrutinizes the credentials of all of their suppliers. When they first opened Tincan, the owners faced criticism over one of their bluefin tuna products — so they stopped stocking it.

Arrocet thinks canned food is one of  the greenest options around: Tinned fish has a long shelf life, there’s no refrigeration required in the transportation phase, and even in the restaurant itself, the products don’t need to be cooled. Only the anchovies are kept at a low temperature. “But in reality, you don’t really need to — we’re doing it because that’s what they suggest you do,” Max says. “So if you think about it in terms of energy efficiency, this is really energy efficient.”

Some popular canned fish species, like sardines, can also be a relatively more sustainable option, as well as a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which is why celebrity chefs like England’s Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall have been advocating their use in recent years. In Paris, Alain Ducasse has said he plans to use “humbler” fish in his newly reopened, three-Michelin-starred restaurant.