Monthly Archives: October 2015


A recipe from The Australian Women’s Weekly “Cakes biscuits and slices”, this PASSIONFRUIT AND LEMON SYRUP CAKE is delicious and very easy to make.

2/3 cup (160ml) passionfruit pulp
250g butter, softened
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind
1 cup (220g) caster sugar
3 eggs
1 cup (250ml) buttermilk
2 cups (300g) self-raising flour

1/3 cup (80ml) lemon juice
1/4 cup (60ml) water
3/4 cup (165g) caster sugar


    1. Preheat oven to moderate (180°C/160°C fan -forced). Grease deep 19cm-square cake pan well; line base and sides with baking paper.
    2. Strain passionfruit over medium jug; reserve both juice and seeds.
    3. Beat butter, rind and sugar in small bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined between additions; transfer to large bowl.
    4. Fold in combined passionfruit juice and buttermilk, add sifted flour, in two batches. Spread mixture into pan; bake about 1 hour.
    5. Meanwhile, make lemon syrup: combine juice, the water, sugar and half the reserved passionfruit seeds (discard remaining seeds or freeze for future use) in small saucepan; stir over heat, without boiling, until sugar dissolves. Simmer, uncovered, without stirring, 5 minutes.
    6. Stand cake 5 minutes; turn, top-side up, onto wire rack set over tray. Pour hot syrup over hot cake; serve warm.
    7. Eat!

I made the cake in a large bowl, saved me transferring halfway through and doing more washing!
I cooked the cake in a 23-cm square cake tin. It took about 1h15 in my oven.
I made the syrup 10 minutes before the cake was due to be done cooking.
And I ate the cake cold.

My year without buying books.

Although it was my challenge this year not to buy any books (I have so many I haven’t read yet!), I have sometimes “slipped” for extraordinary circumstances. Like when I’m on holidays (which happens a lot!), or when it’s my birthday (shame, only once a year!), or when I need to make a gift (and in this case I use white cotton gloves to read the book before I give it away so as not to leave any marks on it – only kidding!) or when there is a book sale and money goes to charity (it’s for a good cause says the little voice in my head…).
So last Saturday, there was one of those in which I picked:
– cookbooks (how funny is that?),
– a couple of detective novels ( Agatha Christie, always a favourite),
– and a travel book (yep, I’m on my way!).
The funniest of them all was a children’s book , ” Gruesome Grub and Disgusting Dishes” by Susan Martineau.
Perfect recipes include Sick on Toast, Disgusting Dips (Yuckamole and Cement), Munch a Monster, Snot Surfers, Dead Man’s Hand, Cowpat Pudding and Axeman’s Snacks.
I love books, and it will be nice when my self-imposed ban is lifted on Christmas Eve (only 8 weeks away!). I will be on holidays by then…
As for making progress in reading my pile of unread books, I’m working on it, slowly but surely. And the fact that I still go to the library and that people have given me books doesn’t help!


My sister reminded me of this cookbook, “New Curries” from The Australian Women’s Weekly collection. It’s full of yummy recipes and with some coolish weather last week, I made this XACUTTI (pronounced sha-koo-tee)
“It’s a Goan curry, perhaps not as well known as the vindaloo, another specialty of the formerly Portuguese, now Indian, state. Traditionally made with mutton or chicken and a dry curry paste containing fried coconut, it has lime juice added just before serving.”
As always with a curry, the list of ingredients is big but the end result is very flavoursome. And it’s very easy to make!

1 cup (80g) dessicated coconut
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 whole cloves
8 dried long red chillies
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 teaspoons blck peppercorns
2 star anise
6 cloves, garlic, quartered
2 tablespoons ghee
1 large brown onion (200g), chopped finely
1 kg diced rump
2 cups (500ml) water
2 cups (500ml) beef stock
2 tablespoons lime juice


    1. Dry-fry coconut in large frying pan over medium heat, stirring, until browned lightly; remove coconut from pan. Dry-fry cinnamon, cloves, chillies, turmeric, seeds, peppercorns and star anise in same pan, stirring, about 1 minute or until fragrant.
    2. Blend or process coconut, spice mixture and garlic until fine.
    3. Heat ghee in large saucepan; cook onion, stirring, until onion softens. Add coconut spice mixture; cook, stirring, until fragrant. Add beef; cook, stirring, about 2 minutes or until beef is coated with coconut spice mixture.
    4. Add the water and stock; simmer, covered, 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover; cook 30 minutes or until beef is tender and sauce thickened slightly. Stir juice into curry off the heat; sprinkle with fresh sliced chilli if you like.
    5. Eat!

I used chuck steak instead of rump.
Make sure you GRIND the spices with the coconut as opposed to “blend or process”. I got quite a few pieces of cloves, star anise and chillies left in the curry, which is not really nice.
I also cooked the curry in the oven in a large casserole dish. I started the oven at 170°C for an hour and then I cooked it for 2 more hours at 150°C. There was a lot of liquid left. So I waited until the next day when it was cold (and it’s always better to eat a curry the next day anyway) to skim the fat of the top and then put it in the fridge. The meat and liquid then thickened.
I added vegetables when I reheated the curry and cooked it a bit until the curry was quite dry, and then I added the lime juice.