Classic Buttercream

Sometimes it’s the simple basic’s that are the often the best.

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Every baker should have a go-to Buttercream recipe that is simple, quick & easy to whip up that tastes as good as it looks!

So this is my TWO ingredient Classic Buttercream.

First beat 250g of room temperature butter (I use Lurpak) until it’s very pale. Then add 2 & 1/4 cups of pure icing sugar (not the mixture stuff!) but add it only 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue to beat until it’s nice & fluffy!

Then you can tint it with all sorts of food colours to create anything your wee heart desires.

Baked Cinnamon Pears

Are there many things more comforting on a bleak Melbourne day than fabuliciouzly hot Baked Cinnamon Pears?!?!

I think not!

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I wasn’t even aware that Mini Me had any knowledge of this nostalgic classic of the kitchen until she quite suddenly asked me, “Mum, do you know how to make cinnamon pears?”! Now I don’t know who is responsible, but my prime suspect would be Peppa Pig! Anyways, she was absolutely delighted when I replied in the affirmative & whipped up this easy treat for her afternoon tea.

Start by lining a roasting dish with baking paper & set aside.

Peel 4 juicy pears then cut into quarters, removing the core of each. Bung those into the roasting dish before spraying them with some extra virgin olive spray oil.

Combine 1 tablespoon of caster sugar with 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, then sprinkle over the pears. Give that lot a jolly good shake up to coat them thoroughly.

Whack into a 180c oven for 20 minutes or until they’re gloriously tender & golden.

A scoop of ice-cream is a nice contrast plopped on top.

Pumpkin Soup

It takes just THREE humble ingredients to whip up this absolutely fabuliciouz soup!

Yep, you read that right! 

Only 3 Ingredients!

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  1. Butternut Pumpkin
  2. Thickened Cream
  3. Cayenne Pepper

After a fairly intensive weekend of dancing action for Mini-Me with her first competition, I needed to whip something up in a hurry that was both tasty & able to fill our tired tummy’s! This Pumpkin Soup has always been our fam-bam go to staple for just such occasions.

Start by peeling & chopping up 1/2 of a butternut pumpkin before bunging the chunks into a saucepan with a wee bit of water. Pop a lid on & allow that to simmer away slowly over a gentle heat to reduce. Just keep an eye on the liquid so that the pumpkin doesn’t stick or burn as every single one of them will be different in the amount of water they let out during cooking.

When the pumpkin is mushy soft, remove from the heat & mash it all up then grab good old Mr Buzzy (aka stick blender) to blitz to a gloriously smooth consistency.

Pour in 300ml of thickened cream, stir to combine & whack back on the heat to gently warm through.

Finally, season with cayenne pepper to however much floats your boat.

Then It’s Chompin Time!

Hasselback Potatoes

Gorgeously crunchy exterior meets lusciously soft interior,

creating what could possibly be described as the best ever roast tatties!

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To make these wee pillows of chippy awesomeness you will first need to crank your oven to a stonking hot 200c so that it gets ready whilst you crack on!

Peel 4 good sized potatoes before cutting them in half lengthways. Bung them, cut side down, on a chopping board before ever so carefully slicing very thin slits the length of each tattie making sure not to cut all the way through, so stop about 2/3 of the way down.

Next, gently melt a couple of tablespoons of butter over low heat. Brush the melted butter onto a baking tray then pop your sliced tatties carefully onto it. Smother the tops of the tatties in more of the melted butter by brushing on with abandonment! Don’t use it all though!

Whack into the oven for 30 minutes to bake, ensuring to brush with the reserved melted butter roughly every 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, into a mixing bowl goes 1/3 cup of grated parmesan cheese along with 2 tablespoons of whatever crumb floats your boat. Give it a jolly good mix & when the half hour on the tatties is up, evenly sprinkle the mix across them, shake a nice amount of paprika on & whack back in the oven for another 15 minutes to turn golden brown.

Fish Bites

The secret to great food is to not do a lot to it!

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We’ve just returned from holidays & had the most amazing time away! We are relaxed, revived & refreshed as only a break at the beach can provide!

Whilst we were there, we were so fortunate to find ourselves alongside some extremely accomplished fishermen. Mini-Me delighted in seeing their catch each day with the incredible variety of different species they hauled in.

One day, they snagged themselves two very impressive Kingfish! Then the most beautifully generous thing happened, they handed us a bag of their freshly caught Kingfish! I mean, WOW, right?!?!?! Unless you’re a fisher person yourself, you just don’t get fish that fresh!

Now something that I’ve always done, no matter what the produce & is my Top Tanz Tip for you all today is  –

Always ask the Farmer/Hunter/Fisherman/Gatherer HOW they cook it!

You will be absolutely blown away with the culinary knowledge that will be so freely given to you.

Our lovely fishermen advised that with this particular fish, the best course of action was to simply season some flour with salt & pepper, toss the fish through it & then pan fry in some hot oil quickly until they’re cooked through.

Seafood is the most convenient of all the foods to cook as they have a built in timer to tell you when they’re ready! When seafood changes colour from see through translucent to a lovely opaque white, It’s Chompin Time!

Perfect Pork Crackling

It’s the holy grail of roasting, how to get that perfectly crunchy pork crackling!

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With just these few simple tips, you too will create the most fabuliciouz Pork Crackling in your very own kitchen to impress your friends. Just imagine the glory, Chef, when you whack down these beauties in a bowl instead of packet crisps to enjoy with drinks!

First of all you need to dry your pork skin, that’s just an easy dab over with some paper towel.

Next, pop it onto your baking tray & just give it a sweet kiss of oil, I’m talking just a wee sheen on there, so it’s just enough to stick the salt too.

Then, use a good quality salt. I use a Himalayan Pink Rock Salt to grind over. Make sure you cover all of that luscious skin now!

Finally, bung it in a 220c oven for half an hour. When it comes out simply let it cool & snap away with either your hands or a knife to break into bite sized chips of porky goodness.

Curried Egg Filling

Aussies of my generation will well remember the good old Curried Egg Sanga in the school lunchbox!

Nostalgic love or Dear Lord let it go?!

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Nothing could be simpler than this classic filling! Use it in sandwiches, rolls, wraps or even sushi!

Use a fork to smash up a hard boiled egg before adding in a tablespoon of whole egg mayonnaise, a teaspoon of curry powder (naturally, I use the good old Keens!) then season well with salt & pepper.

Mix it all together & voila! You’re ready to spread!

I’d love to hear your memories on this one in the comments below!

Sweet & Sour Sauce

An absolutely classic Asian sauce that’s easier than you may think to whip up at home!

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This is another one of those master sauces to keep firmly stashed in your culinary arsenal. The versatility of these perfectly balanced flavours mean you can team it up with just about anything! From rice to fish to chicken to pork & anything else your creative mind can conjure up!

Grab a saucepan & whack in 1/2 cup of white vinegar, 1 cup of pineapple juice, 3 teaspoons of tomato sauce, 1 teaspoon of soy sauce, 1/2 cup of raw sugar & a good pinch of salt. Cook over a low heat to dissolve the sugar then you can start to thicken the sauce by blending 2 tablespoons of corn flour in 2 tablespoons of water ( so equal quantities guys) & adding to the sauce. Just keep that reducing down over low heat until you get it to the right thickness for you.

How revolutionary easy is that?!?!?

Old Fashioned Butter Biscuits

Light as air first bite gives way to melt to the roof of your mouth buttery smoothness,

Sometimes you just gotta go old school!

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Baking bikkies with my Mini Me is just one of those simple pleasures in life that are what memories are made of, you know?! I just adore it when we’ve donned our aprons, are covered in flour & her delicious wee giggle is filling the kitchen with joyous bliss.

Bung into the bowl of your mixer 125g of softened butter, 1/2 cup of caster sugar & 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla paste. Mix until it’s pale & creamy before cracking in an egg & continuing to mix until it’s well combined.

Next, throw in 2 cups of plain flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder & 1 tablespoon of milk. Mix until it forms a nice soft dough.

Pinch bits of the dough out with your fingers & roll into wee balls before placing on a baking paper lined tray. When all the balls are done, very gently press a fork to just flatten each top.

Whack those into a 180c oven for 15 minutes.

Allow the biscuits to cool on the trays, then dust them in icing sugar before devouring greedily!

White Sauce

This versatile Master Sauce is definitely a recipe everyone should keep in their culinary arsenal!

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Far from being a difficult dark art of accomplished chefs, this sauce is easy peasy & you can turn it into so many other flavours using it as a base!

Grab yourself a saucepan & gently melt 1 tablespoon of butter over the lowest heat setting possible. Once fully melted, remove the pan from the heat & stir in 1 tablespoon of flour along with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Let it form a paste before returning to the lowest heat setting & stirring for a minute or so. This cooks the flour taste off & you’ll know when it’s done as the butter melts again to be a nice liquid base. Then all you have to do is slowly stir in 1 & 1/4 cups of milk. Stir constantly to avoid lumps. Turn up the heat to thicken & there you have it, White Sauce!

Now you can use this master sauce as is in lasagne, pour it over steamed asparagus or smother corned beef in it, or you can mix it up with some of these variations below –

  • Create a curry sauce simply by adding in some curry powder
  • Create a mornay sauce by adding in some mustard & a handful of grated cheddar cheese
  • Create a cheese sauce by melting in loads of whatever grated cheeses float your boat

It’s also seriously easy to simply double the quantity to form into a full family meal base by using 2 tablespoons of butter, 2 tablespoons of flour, 1 teaspoon of salt & 2 & 1/2 cups of milk.

In the kitchen, you can never know too many sauces!