Some of the first recipes I learnt to perfect were from my mum’s Australian Women’s Weekly recipe card collection. It seems many Aussies have a soft spot for the Australian Women’s Weekly recipe card collection, and many of the recipes have stood the test of time. This caramel slice is always popular.
To create a gluten free version of the slice and ensure none of my guests had to miss out, I used a biscuit crumb base instead of the details prescribed in the original recipe. I blitzed a 200g packet of gluten free biscuits with 100g of softened butter in a food processor, pressed this into the bottom of the lined baking tray and put in the fridge to chill before adding the caramel and chocolate layers.
In Australia, condensed milk currently comes in 400ml cans, I’ve included the 440ml can below as specified in the original recipe, but when I make the slice I just use the readily available 400ml can. Following the current trend for salted caramel, I added a generous pinch of salt to my caramel as it was cooking. The coconut specified refers to desiccated coconut. I also added extra chocolate, increasing to 200g of dark chocolate and 2 tablespoons of cooking oil instead of vegetable shortening for the topping. If you are using cooking oil, I recommend you select a neutral flavoured oil, I used rice bran oil. If you feel so inclined, you could scatter crumbled salt fakes over the top of the chocolate topping as extra decoration.
I recommend you bring your finished slice to room temperature before slicing if you have refrigerated it, otherwise the chocolate topping will be prone to cracking as you chop. The slice is quite rich, I suggest you cut into dainty portions – you can always go back for seconds or thirds if you still have room.
What I was cooking this time last year: Choc Malt Brownies
Carmel Chocolate Slice
* This recipe is the original Caramel Chocolate Slice recipe published by The Australian Women’s Weekly recipe cards.
- 125g butter
- 1 cup coconut
- 1 cup self-raising flour
- 1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
- Sift flour into bowl, add sugar and coconut, stir until combined.
- Melt butter in pan, add to dry ingredients; mix well.
- Press into greased 28cm x 18cm (11 in x 7 in) lamington tin.
- Bake in moderate oven 10 minutes.
- Remove from oven, spread with prepared Caramel.
- Return to oven for further 10 minutes.
- When cold, spread with Topping.
- Cut into squares when set.
- 440g (14 oz) can condensed milk
- 2 tablespoons golden syrup
- 30g (1 oz) butter
- Place all ingredients into saucepan, stir over low heat until caramel has thickened, bringing slowly to boil, remove from heat.
- Place 125g (4 oz) chopped dark chocolate and 30g (1 oz) solid white vegetable shortening in saucepan over hot water, stir until melted.
What is your favourite retro recipe? Has this post inspired any new (or old) ideas?
Banana bread has become a breakfast staple in cafés. A coconut bread recipe by Bill Granger was the inspiration for my recipe this week. I’ve changed ingredients and swapped it from a loaf to muffins, to come up with the below recipe.
I’ve packed in triple coconut, with desiccated coconut, coconut milk and coconut oil. Coconut oil is sometimes referred to as coconut butter, they are the same thing. If your coconut oil becomes solid, it can easily be melted my standing the jar in some hot water from the kettle and it will return to liquid again. Coconut oil is reported to be a good oil, with lots of health benefits, and works well in baking.
If you are not a confident baker, muffins are the perfect thing to try making to build up your confidence. No fancy equipment is needed for mixing the batter. In fact, the less mixing you do, the better. It’s also a good recipe to get the kids involved with.
The salt quantity below is based on using fine salt flakes, if you are using regular table salt you will need to reduce the amount you include – adjust to taste but start off cautiously. If you need to reduce or limit your salt intake, you can of course skip the salt.
Delicious served warm straight from the oven, with a slather of butter or just as they are. Suitable for breakfast, morning or afternoon tea or a snack. Any leftovers can be frozen and zapped for a few seconds in the microwave to warm through again.
What I was cooking this time last year: Strawberry and White Chocolate Mousse
* This recipe was adapted from a Coconut Bread recipe by Bill Granger. I have modified and adapted it to come up with the below reincarnation.
Makes 12 muffins
- 2 eggs
- 300mls coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 350g self-raising flour
- 1 teaspoon mixed spice
- 100g brown sugar
- 150g shredded coconut
- 75mls coconut oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt flakes
- Cooking oil spray to grease your muffin tin
- Pre-heat the oven on to 180°C.
- Add the dry ingredients (flour, mixed spice, coconut, salt and brown sugar) to a large bowl. Stir to combine.
- Add the coconut oil, eggs and vanilla to a measuring jug and mix to combine. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients in the bowl.
- Measure out 300mls coconut milk and add to the dry ingredients in the bowl.
- Stir until the mixture is just combined, being careful not to over-mix.
- Spray a muffin or cupcake tin with cooking spray.
- Pour the batter into the muffin tray.
- Cook your muffins in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes or until cooked through (test by pressing lightly on the middle of a muffin, it should bounce back, or when you insert a skewer into the center it comes out clean without any batter stuck to it).
- Remove from the oven, and serve still warm, or allow to cool in the muffin tray. Enjoy.
What is your favourite breakfast recipe? Has this post inspired any new ideas?
Oranges are beautiful in Sydney at the moment, and I wanted to use them in a cake. I was lucky enough have some help with my baking today from my three year old niece – her favourite part was taste testing as we worked our way through the various steps. My favourite part was spending time with my niece, and playing with my sister-in-law’s purple KitchenAid mixer. I paired the citrus flavour from the orange with coconut. Instead of icing, I created a syrup to soak into the cake.
What I was cooking this time last year: Winter Punch
Coconut and Orange Cake
- 125g softened butter
- 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup self-raising flour
- 1 cup desiccated coconut
- zest from 3 oranges
- 1/2 cup sugar
- juice from 3 oranges
- Turn the oven on to 180°C.
- Beat the butter and vanilla together until pale and white.
- Add the sugar to the butter and beat until light and creamy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time beating well after each addition.
- Add the orange zest and mix until combined.
- Mix in the coconut until combined (stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed).
- Mix in the flour until combined (stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed).
- Transfer the cake batter into a cake tin.
- Cook the cake for approximately 25 minutes or until it springs back when touched in the center.
- While the cake is cooking, juice the oranges, and add the juice to a small saucepan.
- Add the sugar for the syrup to the saucepan and cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes until it reduces and thickens a little.
- Remove the cooked cake from the oven, remove from it’s tin and place on a plate with high / curved edges.
- Pour over the syrup and allow to soak into the cake.
- Serve warm or allow your cake to cool. Enjoy.
What is your favourite flavour combination? Has this post inspired any new ideas?
Anzac day is recognised on the 25th of April in Australia and New Zealand. Anzac stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, and marks one of the defining moments in the forming of Australia’s national identity. A recipe that is associated with this day of remembrance is the Anzac biscuit. Anzac biscuits are traditionally made from rolled oats, flour, desiccated coconut, sugar, butter, golden syrup and baking soda. It is claimed they gained popularity because the biscuits would last the time and distance it took for them to travel from kitchens in Australia and New Zealand to loved ones dispatched far from home.
I played with the traditional recipe and used condensed milk instead of sugar and golden syrup. If you want to stick to the traditional recipe, follow the details below but leave out the chocolate chips, and replace the condensed milk with 1 cup of sugar and 1 dessert spoon of golden syrup. Even though my recipe uses condensed milk the end result was not an overly sweet biscuit, the condensed milk having less sugar than the sugar and golden syrup that would have normally been used. I added chocolate chips, purely because I love chocolate chip biscuits. If you want chewy biscuits, leave the mixture in heaped spoonfuls on your baking tray. If you prefer a crispy biscuit, flatten out your spoonfuls of biscuit mixture.
Chocolate chip oat biscuits
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup plain flour
- 1 cup desiccated coconut
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 egg
- 100g butter
- 1 x 395g tin condensed milk
- 200g dark chocolate
- Preheat the oven to 180°C, grease 4 baking trays with a generous coating of butter or oil (or use non-stick baking trays).
- Measure out the oats, flour, coconut and baking soda into a bowl.
- Chop the dark chocolate into the size you would like your chocolate chips to be (chunky or finely chopped – it’s up to you) and add to the bowl.
- Add the butter to a saucepan and gently heat until just melted.
- Add the melted butter, egg and condensed milk to the dry ingredients in the bowl.
- Stir to combine.
- Place tablespoonfuls of your biscuit mixture onto your baking trays (I spaced 6 biscuits per tray).
- Bake your biscuits in the oven for approximately 20 minutes, or until golden brown (you may need to do this in batches depending on how much room there is in your oven).
- Remove cooked biscuits from the oven and allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes on the baking trays. You can sample one or two biscuits now for quality control purposes.
- Transfer the biscuits to a wire rack and allow to totally cool. Your biscuits are ready to serve or store in an air-tight container. Enjoy.
What is your favourite biscuit? Has this post inspired any new ideas?
This week’s post is a twist on a recipe by Madhur Jaffrey, who is well-known in the UK for her expertise in Indian cooking. Following Madhur’s recipes helped me to build up my confidence in cooking with spices.
The cooking of the curry sauce is a little different to other curry recipes, in that you don’t fry off the spices in oil and there is also no onion which is unusual.
To dry roast your whole spices, cook them without any oil over a low to medium heat – be careful to keep the spices moving so they roast evenly and only cook until lightly toasted and the aroma is released, don’t let the spices burn, then grind to get maximum flavour into your dish. Spices can be ground in a blender, coffee grinder or a with a pestle and mortar.
Feel free to experiment and add extra vegetables to this recipe, you could add some chopped zucchini or baby spinach leaves when you add the prawns to cook. If you have a coriander aversion, I would recommend leaving out the coriander root and stalks in the curry sauce ( and leaves to garnish), but still using the coriander seeds which have a different flavor to fresh coriander.
The curry can be served with some rice or rice noodles cooked according to the instructions on the packet.
Prawn and Pumpkin Curry
- 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 2 teaspoons grated ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 2 tablespoons coriander seeds, dry roasted then ground
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, dry roasted then ground
- 1 tablespoon tamarind paste
- 1 x 400ml can coconut milk
- fresh coriander, 2 roots and about 5cm worth of the stalks finely chopped, and leaves to garnish
- 500g pumpkin
- 500g peeled raw prawns
- Dry roast the coriander and cumin seeds until fragrant. Transfer to a blender and grind seeds.
- Add the garlic, ginger, turmeric, cayenne pepper, paprika, tamarind, coriander root and stalks and coconut milk to the blender. Blend until smooth.
- Pour the coconut spice mix into a saucepan.
- Peel and de-seed the pumpkin. Chop into small cubes and add to the saucepan with the coconut spice mix. You may end up with not quite enough liquid to cover the pumpkin. If this is the case, bring the sauce and pumpkin to the boil then add a little hot water until all the pumpkin is in contact with some liquid, but be careful not to dilute the sauce too much.
- Cook over a medium heat until the pumpkin is tender, approximately 15 – 20 minutes depending on how big the pumpkin pieces are. Stir occasionally to make sure the pumpkin cooks evenly.
- Add the prawns, stirring occasionally and cook for a few minutes, until just cooked through. The prawns are cooked when they change colour from a translucent grey to an opaque pink and white.
- Your curry is ready to serve. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves. Enjoy.
What is your favorite curry? Has this post inspired any new ideas?