Citrus Semolina Syrup Cake

This cake is oh so simple. It  is definitely a  special occasion large cake that packs a punch. Serve it warm with ice cream and or cream.

                                                                                          syrup cake 1



  • 5 seedless mandarins
  • Rind of 2 lemons, finely grated
  • 125g unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup Greek yoghurt
  • 1 ½ cups caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 cups semolina
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 200g almond meal


  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • ½ cup orange juice (can use ¼ cup orange juice, ¼ cup Grand Marnier/Cointreau )


  • Preheat oven to 170°C.
  • Grease a 2 litre-capacity, 26cm ring or bundt pan.
  • Blitz mandarins in a food processor until they are pulped.
  • Add eggs, vanilla essence, caster sugar, lemon rind, butter and yoghurt and blitz until blended.
  • In a large bowl add semolina, almond meal and baking powder, stir well.
  • Add the wet mix from the food processor to the dry mix in the large bowl and stir gently to combine.
  • Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan.
  • Bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  • Add lemon juice, 1 cup sugar and orange juice and Grand Marnier/Cointreau (if used) in a saucepan over low heat.
  • Stir until the syrup comes to the boil. Reduce heat. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Using a skewer, pierce holes in the surface of the warm cake. Pour three-quarters of the syrup over cake. Stand cake in pan for 15 minutes before turning onto a plate.
  • Spoon over remaining syrup and serve.

suryp cake 2


Bottle Wall

We needed some privacy on the veranda of our man cave, A bottle wall seemed like a good idea. We a spend of around $200 and 125 recycled bottles, a great feature wall has been added.
  • bottle wall, outdoor living
The finished bottle wall providing shade and privacy.
  • bottle wall, outdoor living
We needed some privacy and shade on the side of our man cave.
  • bottle wall, outdoor living
Materials required included a 3/4″ inch diamond tipped drill bit and rubber washers… and lots of empty wine bottles.
  • bottle wall, outdoor living
Remove the metal collar from the neck of the bottle using tin snips. The each wine bottle was placed in a bucket of sand and the bottom was drilled out. Bottles with a dimple in the bottom were easier to drill. The dimple was filled with water before drilling to stop the drill bit from overheating. Best to wear safety glasses when drilling the bottles.
  • bottle wall, outdoor living
Immediately after drilling the holes the bottles need to be rinsed in water to make sure the glass powder residue does not stick inside the bottle.
  • bottle wall, outdoor living
The most time consuming part of the job was removing the labels. We found soaking the bottles in hot soapy water with a dash of eucalyptus oil for about 15 minutes and then using a paint scraper was the most effective way to get the labels off.
  • bottle wall, outdoor living
We used some light weight metal tubing for the bottom and top bars to hold the bottles in. These bars were attached to the side and front pole of the veranda with metal plates. We used shower curtain fittings which were drilled to the top and bottom rail.
  • bottle wall, outdoor living
Powder coated curtain rods were cut to size (alternatively reo bar can be use). The top fitting was then unscrewed. The rod was placed in the bottom fitting. Bottles were threaded onto the rod and a rubber washer was placed between each bottle. when the rod was full the top fitting was placed over the top of the rod and re-screwed onto the bar. An alternative pattern was used and a variety of bottle colours. This is up to individual taste and availability of bottles.
  • bottle wall, outdoor living
A side view of the wall.
  • bottle wall, outdoor living
A close up of the wall.

Individual Potato Topped Quiches

This quiche dish is prepared with sour cream. It is super easy to prepare and so delicious. I decided to ramp up the recipe by including a potato topping. It is a delicious combination. I served these for lunch today with a side salad for a friend. It made a lovely light lunch. You could easily prepare this quiche as a larger single dish.

quiche 1




  • 2 cups mashed potatoes prepared with cream, butter and salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 sheets puff pastry
  • 4 eggs
  • 300 mls sour cream
  • 4 spring onions finely chopped
  • 4 mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 4 bacon rashers, chopped and fried until lightly brown
  • 1/2 cups cheese, grated
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried chives or parsley


  • Preheat oven to 180C.
  • Grease 4 small pie tins and cut pastry to fit, then line the tins with pastry.
  • Place the eggs in a bowl and whisk.
  • Add sour cream and mix together.
  • Add bacon, onion, mushroom and cheese. Stir together then season with salt and pepper.
  • Pour into pie tins.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, allow to cool slightly.
  • Place potato in a piping bag and pipe on top of the quiches or spoon on.
  • Sprinkle chives/parsley on top of quiches and heat in oven until potato browns slightly.



adapted from:


Banana, Pear and Pecan Bread

They say necessity is the mother of invention… that was definitely the case today. I had a couple of ripe bananas to use up; not quite enough for a banana cake or banana bread. I did notice a ripe pear lurking in the fruit bowl as well. Then it was just a matter of adapting an old recipe by juggling ingredients to come up with a moist fruity bread. The pecans on top were crying out for a glaze and maple syrup came to the rescue. It’s a yummy bread that is perfect with a cuppa or popped into a lunch box. 

banana pear bread slice



  • 125g butter, melted
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup (60g) diced pecans
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 ripe pear, mashed
  • ¼ cup maple syrup




  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
  • Grease a 24 x 12cm loaf tin.
  • In a large bowl stir together the melted butter and sugar.
  • Add the eggs and vanilla; mix well.
  • Combine the flour, bicarbonate soda, cinnamon and salt.
  • Stir into the butter mixture until smooth.
  • Fold in the sour cream, pear and bananas.
  • Spread evenly into the prepared tin.
  • Place pecans on tip of the batter, very lightly push down into the batter.
  • Bake at 180 degrees C for 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the bread comes out clean.
  • Brush maple syrup over the hot cake
  • Cool bread in the tin for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Slice and serve plain or with butter.

banana pear bread

Asian Baked Salmon

Salmon was on special for $18 a kilo today. Bargain? It looked lovely and fresh as well. This salmon dish is so easy and packed with flavour. You can easily decrease the ingredients and make it a single serve or a meal for two. try this recipe… you won’t be disappointed. I adapted this from a recipe I found on the Epicurious website. It is always a good source of inspiration. Their recipe used skinless fillets. I prefer to use skin on as I think it protects the fish and keeps it very moist.



  •  3 cups of cooked rice
  • 4 teaspoons unsalted butter
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons cornflour
  • 4 salmon fillets (skin on)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 bunch baby bok choy
  • 1 finely sliced spring onion
  • ½ carrot shredded


  • Heat oven to 200°C.
  • Melt the butter in a small saucepan over a medium heat.
  • Add the garlic and chilli flakes and cook until the garlic is lightly golden.
  • Add syrup, juice and soy sauce and cook until bubbling, about 3 minutes.
  • In a bowl, combine the cornflour and water and add to the garlic glaze. Cook until slightly thick.
  • Arrange the fish on a foil-lined baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking oil , skin side down.
  • Spread 2 teaspoons of the glaze over each fillet.
  • Roast until just cooked through, about 12 minutes.
  • In a medium fry pan, warm the oil over a medium heat. Add the bok choy and sauté until just wilted.
  • Divide the rice between 4 plates.
  • Place bok choy on top of the rice and then a salmon fillet.
  • Drizzle the remaining glaze over the fish.
  • Garnish with shredded carrot and spring onions.

Creamy Curried Baked Chicken

This is an easy recipe two step recipe that is full of flavour. It’s an interesting combination of ingredients. I have also made it using chicken tenderloins which I pan fried instead of baking. Just as delicious. Try serving with steamed rice or vegetables. I am sure you will make this recipe over and over.  Next time I make this recipe I am going to brine the chicken fillets first.


creamy chick

Serves 6


  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried onions
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive or coconut oil
  • 6 chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 300mls light cooking cream
  • 200 grams finely sliced mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley


  • Preheat oven to 200°C.
  •  Place oil, sugar, paprika, cumin, salt, pepper, onion flakes, curry powder, turmeric and garlic in a bowl and stir to combine.
  •  Coat each chicken breast with the mix and cover and place in the fridge for  30 minutes or leave overnight. If you are pressed or time you can use immediately.
  •  Place chicken in a baking dish.
  •  Place in the oven and bake for 20-22 minutes until cooked through.
  • Remove the chicken from the baking dish and place on a plate.
  • Heat the butter in a large fry pan over a medium heat.
  • Add the mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes or the mushrooms have softened.
  • Add the cream and heat through.
  • Stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add the chicken and any juices on the plate to the fry pan and stir through.
  • Serve with steamed rice or vegetables.

creamy chick veg