Easter – Hot Cross Buns


Hot Cross Buns Ready for the taste test

I’m not a huge fan of hot cross buns, but others in the family quite like them. Making your own allows you to decide what ingredients you include in the recipe. We found a recipe in Bread: A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes. Not being lovers of bought mixed peel we decided to go with glacé citrus peel and currants as a nice combination with the spices.

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Vegetable Spaghetti


Spaghetti Squash With Tomato Sauce

I can remember a long time ago when the children were young cooking a squash which resembled spaghetti. It was something I really enjoyed and so did the rest of the family. At a fruit and veg shop I recently visited they had quite a few of these squash and I had to buy one. It wasn’t cheap, I think it cost me around $5.50 as it was quite heavy.

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Rhubarb And Orange Cake With Flaked Almonds



I really enjoy rhubarb particularly when it is in a cake. I used to make one which had custard in the cake as well, but was a little fiddly to put together. May be I might share it with you at a later date.

This is the first time I have started to grow rhubarb, and my husband kept “on at me” to pick it and do something with it. I did a little research about growing rhubarb and found that it was not recommended to pick it during the first year of growth. 

Having already geared up to make a cake using rhubarb I had to go and purchase some rather than use what I was growing.

Rhubarb Prepared For Cake    Some Of The Ingredients

I had found a really nice sounding recipe for rhubarb and orange cake with flaked almonds on the Waitrose website. Apart from the rhubarb I had everything else in my cupboard, so it was easy to put together.

Butter And Sugar Mixture     Mixture Ready For Rhubarb

Whilst the rhubarb was marinating in the sugar, I creamed the butter and sugar and added the eggs. Then folded in the flour, baking powder, ground almonds and orange juice and zest.

Cake Mixture In The Tin    Cake With Almond Sprinkles

I decided to cover the cake with the flaked almonds ready for baking, but I guess you can leave them off if you wanted.

Finished Baked Cake

My cake certainly didn’t take the time listed on the recipe, it was in for only about 15 minutes first off and then 15 minutes the second time. I would suggest that you keep a check on it when you bake it, as all ovens vary.

Cake Ready To Serve

Everyone could not wait for the cake to cool before taking a slice to try. Believe me you need to let it cool as it is really soft otherwise.

Serving Cake With Ice Cream

Great served with ice cream.

Slice Of Cake

Really good served with cream, the choice is yours.

The recipe states that any remaining cake (if there is any) can be stored for 3-4 days. The small piece we had left was extremely soft the next day, still nice but very soft. My recommendation would be to eat it on the day you make it for the best results.


Rhubarb and Orange Cake with Flaked Almonds
  1. 400g English rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 2cm pieces **
  2. 200g golden caster sugar
  3. 150g butter, softened
  4. 2 medium eggs, lightly beaten
  5. 75g self-raising flour
  6. 1/2 tsp baking powder
  7. 100g ground almonds
  8. Grated zest of 1 small orange, plus 2 tblsp juice
  9. 25g flaked almonds
  1. Preheat oven to 190˚C, gas mark 5.
  2. Grease a round 23cm spring-form cake tin and line the base with parchment.
  3. Place the rhubarb in a bowl and cover with 50g sugar. Leave for 30 minutes while you prepare the cake.
  4. Beat together with electric whisk or hand, the remaining sugar and the butter.
  5. Whisk in the eggs.
  6. Using a metal spoon gently fold in the flour, baking powder, and ground almonds.
  7. Stir in the orange zest and juice.
  8. Stir the rhubarb and its sugary juices into the cake mixture and spoon into the tin.
  9. Sprinkle over the flaked almonds.
  10. Bake for 25 minutes.
  11. Reduce temperature of the oven to 180˚C, gas mark 4 and cook for a further 20-25 minutes, or until firm.
  12. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes.
  13. Serve warm or cold, with whipped cream or custard.
  1. Any remaining cake can be stored for 3-4 days in an airtight container.
  2. You can also use canned rhubarb if fresh is not available.
  3. ** I would suggest that you cut the rhubarb smaller than this, it makes it easier to cut the cake into pieces.
Sweet Saffron Spice http://www.sweetsaffronspice.com/
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Lego Birthday Cake – Best Butter Cake Recipe Ever


Cake with lego figures

It was my grandson’s 9th birthday on Friday and he wanted a Lego Cake for his party and it had to be a red Lego block.  

My son intended to make this cake on Friday in time for the party celebrations on Saturday. As “murphy’s law” would have it, he had an overseas friend to catch up with and work appointments he could not get out of. 

Although my son was a chef he asked if I could make the cakes for him knowing as he put it “you are better at cakes than I am” which is a really nice compliment. I searched the internet for a Butter Cake recipe and came across one made by Mrs NgSK.

Lego Butter Cake

Although the recipe suggests these cakes go into 8″ square pans we used rectangular pans so that we could get the shape we required.  We also cut out the 6 round shapes for the top of the Lego block from one of the rectangle cakes. The only change I made to the original ingredients was that I reduced the sugar from 150g to 140g, however this is entirely up to you.

Best Butter Cake

This cake is one of the best butter cakes I have tasted, and the left-over pieces kept really well (although it was hard to stop my husband eating them all).

We found the consistency of the cake easy to manage and apply icing to, we did brush the cake with a little syrup before putting the red icing on. My grandson also wanted salted caramel as the filling in between the cakes. 

As you can see my son did a great job with the icing and decorations even though it meant going to bed after 1am. My grandson was thrilled with the result and the taste was fantastic. 

Lego Cake

Just in case you missed the link further up this post here it is again The Best Ever Butter Cake Recipe.

This is a cake recipe that will be made over and over again in this house.

Hope you enjoy this butter cake as much as we did!

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Homemade Gluten Free Lasagne With Spinach And Ricotta


Lasagne Plated Ready To Eat

Whilst sorting through some of my recipes that I have collected over time I found this vegetarian lasagne which I thought looked wonderful.

My husband is not a huge vegetarian fan, but I decided to make it just the same.

Ingredients For Pasta      Pasta Sheets

I wanted to use gluten free pasta as my son prefers this option. I found a recipe using gluten free plain flour and decided to give it a go. Although the recipe states that the dough needs to be very wet, I found it just a little too wet to deal with. I will certainly try this again but with a little less liquid.

I do have a pasta machine which made the rolling out much easier, although being quite wet it took a lot of rolling through the machine until it was the right consistency. This can also be done without a machine.

 Ricotta Mixture      Tomato Base In Dish

The mixture of ricotta cheese and spinach are a great combination. I think next time I might also add a little grated parmesan to the mix. Also with the tomato base I added a little of my homemade spicy tomato sauce, and I think I will add a little more next time also.

Layered Lasagne       Lasagne ready for baking

Once you have layered the pasta sheets and ricotta/spinach mixture you cover the top with the remaining tomato and then the grated mozzarella cheese. Again I added a little of my homemade tomato sauce on top of the pasta sheets before topping with the rest of the tomatoes. 

Lasagne Plated Ready To Eat

I was really surprised how this cut evenly with the gluten free lasagne sheets and it tasted lovely. Even my husband was happy with the result, although he did add a little more of my homemade tomato sauce. 

I think the one thing that was missing from the recipe was salt. I would definitely add this the next time around as well as a little parmesan cheese to the mixture. 

Otherwise the combination was great, and I definitely enjoyed the gluten free pasta. 

Whilst writing this post I have just consumed the left-over piece of lasagne which I heated up in the microwave – Yum Yum!



Homemade Gluten Free Lasagne With Spinach And Ricotta
Lasagne Sheets
  1. 1-1/2 cups gluten-free plain flour (I used Orgran)
  2. 1 extra-large egg plus 1 egg yolk (at room temperature)
  3. 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  4. 95ml water - may need more
  1. 1 x 250g pack frozen spinach
  2. 400g ricotta cheese
  3. 1 egg
  4. 1 egg white (I used the one from making the lasagne)
  5. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  6. 2-3 crushed garlic cloves
  7. 1/2 teaspoon dried basil (I used fresh as I didn't have dried)
  8. 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  9. 2 cups mozzarella cheese grated
  10. 1 can tomatoes diced (or tomato passata)
  11. Homemade gluten free lasagne sheets
  12. Optional: Homemade tomato sauce and some parmesan cheese grated
  1. Put flour in a large bowl and create a well in the centre.
  2. Add the eggs and oil and mix to combine.
  3. Add the water and mix until the dough comes together. The dough should be wet but not sticky.
  4. If not add more water by the tablespoon and mix.
  5. It is important that the mix is wet so you can add flour as you go.
  6. Get the dough together and add a tablespoon of flour on top and knead this into the dough until you can handle a ball of dough without getting sticky.
  7. Cut off a piece (about the size of a mandarin) and dust with flour, and roll to approximately 1/4" thick in a rectangle.
  8. Dust both sides with flour and pass through pasta machine set at "0".
  9. When dough comes out of the machine, dust again with flour and pass through once again.
  10. If the dough sticks together or has holes in it, dust with flour and fold in half, dust again with flour and pass through machine once again.
  11. Dust with flour on both sides and pass through pasta machine set at "1".
  12. Cut dough into two pieces and set one piece aside.
  13. Dust with flour on both sides of one piece of dough and pass through machine set at "2".
  14. Dust with flour on both sides and pass through machine set at "3" to "4" until thickness you like.
  15. Repeat with other piece of dough.
  16. Continue this way with remainder of mix until all dough has been used.
Spinach/Ricotta Mix
  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F 160˚C and coat a 20cm square (8" x 8") tin or baking dish with oil.
  2. Cook spinach (as per pack instructions) and drain well (I squeeze this out), set aside.
  3. In a large bowl combine ricotta cheese, egg, egg white, pepper, garlic, basil and oregano.
  4. Add spinach and mix thoroughly.
  5. Cover bottom of dish with 1/4 of diced tomato (or can use tomato passata in a jar).
  6. Cover with gluten free lasagne sheets.
  7. Top with half of the spinach/ricotta mix.
  8. Another layer of gluten free lasagne sheets.
  9. Put on remaining spinach/ricotta mixture.
  10. Another layer of gluten free lasagne sheets.
  11. Top with remaining tomatoes.
  12. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over tomato.
  13. Bake for about 30 - 40 minutes.
  1. If you don't own a pasta machine you can still make this dough but roll out by hand.
  2. You can dry the pasta sheets for later use (leave it on towels) or use straight away.
  3. You can cut this into linguini or any other shape you like.
Spinach/Ricotta Mix
  1. I would suggest adding some salt to the mixture.
  2. I also think a little grated parmesan would be nice.
Adapted from Lasagne - glutenfreeonashoestring.com Spinach/Ricotta -joybauer.com
Adapted from Lasagne - glutenfreeonashoestring.com Spinach/Ricotta -joybauer.com
Sweet Saffron Spice http://www.sweetsaffronspice.com/

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European Travel – Milan


Monument In The Square

After our enjoyable time in Zurich with our friends it was time to continue with our adventures in Europe.

Our next destination was Milan our stop over before travelling onto Venice.


Waterfall from Melting Snow

Leaving Zurich you could see the melting snow from the Alps forming cascades of water down the heavily treed mountains and into the rivers. 

Alps On Side Of Freeway        Tunnels On Freeway

I was intrigued with the tunnels that we drove through, not knowing that this was only one of a great many more to come on our journey.

Milan is the second most populous city in Italy and the capital of Lombardy. The city has a population of about 1.3 million, with its urban area being the 5th largest in the EU with an estimated population of about 5,248,000.

 Shopping Square

It is the main industrial, commercial and financial centre of Italy. It houses Italy’s main stock exchange and the headquarters of the largest national banks and companies. It is also a major world fashion and design capital. 

Wedding In The Square

One of the landmarks is the Milan Cathedral, the fifth largest in the world. With the many important museums, theatres and landmarks including the Santa Maria delle Grazie decorated with Leonardo da Vinci paintings, Milan attracts more than two million visitors each year. 

Cathedral from the square

Cathedral Side view

We experienced our first real traffic congestion coming into Milan and trying to find our hotel. Once we had the car parked in The Crowne Plaza Milan City where we were staying we left it there.  We decided to use public transport to go sightseeing and shopping which was much easier than driving and probably safer. The underground train stations were only a few meters away from the hotel making for easy access.

 Shops And monument

Walking around the shops was great until I saw some Birkenstock sandals in a shop window. I wear them non-stop even through winter, and absolutely love them. I had to go and check out the range of footwear to see if they had different styles to those at home.

I ended up buying a pair in a style that I have worn before as they were really great, but I also tried on some designs in Scholl.We have Scholl at home but not like these designs, I decided to purchase a lovely comfortable suede pair. My husband was also convinced by the very helpful sales team to try on some leather sandals, something he didn’t own. He purchased two pairs as he also found them really comfortable and cool, in fact he wore them for most of the holiday.   

As we were driving to Venice the next day, we headed back for an early dinner and a good nights sleep. We decided to take a couple of shots from our balcony showing the mixture of architecture and age in the buildings around us.

View from hotel

View From Balcony

 After a lovely breakfast we packed the car and began the next leg of our journey. It was a very eventful start to our trip when a very large car transporter truck managed to sideswipe the rental car whilst we were stationery at traffic lights. 

Being unable to get out of the car we followed the truck as best we could. After a period of time he pulled over and we parked behind.  My husband got out to talk to the driver but as he approached the drivers door the truck took off, this time we didn’t follow. We had taken down the details from the number plate, time etc. and would wait until we could get to a police station. All I can say is thank goodness for taking out travel insurance prior to leaving home.

Thankfully the rest of our drive to Venice was uneventful.Cathedral and shops I will continue with more of our trip shortly.


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Valentine’s Day – Chocolate-Rosemary Torte


Main Cake To Serve

I don’t usually make lots of cakes for Valentine’s Day, but when I saw this recipe at Mother Earth Living for a very different kind of chocolate cake I knew I had to give it a go. As mentioned in earlier posts we have a huge rosemary bush and we all love the taste of this herb, so when I saw it combined with chocolate I knew I had to make it.


As rosemary is also the herb of remembrance, I thought it very fitting for Valentine’s Day.

  Beaten Sugar And Butter With Eggs Added      Cake Mix Ready For Baking

Although you had to beat the brown sugar and butter together until light and pale in colour, I had to add the eggs to make the creaming easier.  Pouring the boiling water over the mix reminded me of self-saucing puddings, but it worked fine, you did have to stir quite a bit to get everything to mix well together. 

Baked Cake Ready For Mousse

Once baked the cake looked really great. Although the recipe called for two 8″ cakes I decided to only make one as I didn’t want an enormous torte.

   Infusing Rosemary In The Cream    Chocolate Rosemary Mousse Ready

Infusing the rosemary in the cream was great and you could just taste a hint of the herb. Once all the ingredients were mixed together for the mousse, it was time to cover and put it into the fridge to set.

Cake Filled And Covered With Mousse

As you can see from the cake pictured above my mousse was still a little soft, but I was able to handle it ok.   Although the recipe calls for covering the whole cake in a rosemary buttercream, I decided not to bother.  Because I had quite a lot of the mousse I decided to put this on the top of the cake as well as in the middle.  I really enjoyed the taste of the cake this way, and because my mousse was a little softer than it should perhaps have been it didn’t really matter.

Slice Ready To Eat

I did find that there were quite a few steps to this cake, but the end result was really nice, and it has given me “food for thought” regarding using rosemary in more than just savoury dishes.

I hope you enjoy this “twist” on a chocolate cake, and perhaps enjoy it even when Valentine’s Day has passed.  ENJOY!!

Valentine's Day Chocolate Rosemary Torte
  1. 1-1/8 cups sifted cake flour ***
  2. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  3. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  4. 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) 56.7g unsalted butter, soft
  5. 1-1/8 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  6. 1-1/2 large eggs, at room temperature (I used 2 small eggs)
  7. 1-1/2 oz unsweetened chocolate coarsely chopped and melted (40g)
  8. 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  9. 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
  10. 1/2 cup boiling water
  11. 1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  12. Chocolate-rosemary mousse
  13. 1/8 cup loosely packed rosemary leaves, stems removed
  14. 1 cup heavy cream - divided
  15. 3 large egg yolks
  16. 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  17. 1/8 cup water
  18. 6 oz semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped and melted (168g)
  19. 1-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (22g)
  20. 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
To Make The Cake
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350˚ (180˚C).
  2. Grease an 8" round cake pan and line with baking paper, grease and flour.
  3. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl. Set aside.
  4. Cream butter and brown sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.
  6. (I found that I had to add the eggs to really get this creamy and light.)
  7. Add melted chocolate and vanilla extract mixing well and scraping down the sides.
  8. Add reserved flour mix alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour.
  9. Mix on low just enough to incorporate as over-mixing will make a tough cake.
  10. Pour boiling water into a cup and add espresso powder to dissolve.
  11. Add to cake batter and stir by hand until smooth.
  12. Batter will be very loose.
  13. Put into prepared tin and bake for about 30 minutes, checking with a skewer to make sure the center comes out clean.
  14. Cool for about 10 minutes, then invert onto cooling racks.
To make the mousse
  1. Put rosemary and 1/2 cup cream into saucepan and bring to scalding over medium heat.
  2. Turn off stove and leave to steep for about 30 minutes.
  3. Whip egg yolks on high until light and fluffy.
  4. Bring sugar and water to boil in a separate saucepan over medium-high heat.
  5. Boil 1 - 2 minutes until thick and syrupy.
  6. With beater on medium, gradually pour sugar syrup into egg mixture working quickly so heat does not cook yolks.
  7. Continue beating at high speed until thick and fluffy, about 5 - 10 minutes.
  8. Add melted chocolate, butter and vanilla whisking until combined.
  9. Strain rosemary cream mixture into chocolate base, pressing out excess fluid from rosemary.
  10. Whisk until smooth.
  11. Place remaining 1/2 cup of cream into a clean bowl and whip until soft peaks form.
  12. Fold into chocolate-rosemary base until well combined.
  13. Cover with plastic and refrigerate several hours, until mousse is extremely firm.
  14. Note: A firmer mousse will make for much easer cake assembly.
Assemble Cake
  1. Split the cake into two halves.
  2. Cover one half with most of the mousse and place top cake layer on top.
  3. Cover the top of the cake with the remaining mousse if desired.
  4. Serve.
  1. ***
  2. We do not have cake flour in Australia. Use 2 tablespoons of cornflour in a cup measure and top the rest up with plain four.
  3. You can see the complete torte with 3 layers of cake and covered in rosemary buttercream if you go to the link in the post.
Adapted from Mother Earth Living
Adapted from Mother Earth Living
Sweet Saffron Spice http://www.sweetsaffronspice.com/
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Valentine’s Day Celebration Cakes


 Individually Decorated Hearts

I think it is always nice to know how a celebration originated, and Valentines Day is no exception. 

The Web definition from Princeton states:   Valentine Day: a day for the exchange of tokens of affection.

An excerpt from Wikipedia states:      Saint Valentine’s Day, also known as Valentine’s Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine, is observed on February 14 each year. It is celebrated in many countries around the world, although it remains a working day in most of them.

The day was first associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. In 18th-century England, it evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as “valentines“). 

Valentine’s Day symbols that are used today include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards.

Ingredients      Chocolate Mixture

I decided that the best way was to make little cakes, and what better than chocolate.

The ingredients were fairly straight forward, making sure that you had chocolate with at least 65%, I went 70%.  The chocolate and hot water step made me re-read the instructions again, but as you can see from above it worked fine.

Creamed Mixture      Chocolate Mixture With Sour Cream

                                        Mixture Ready For Baking

The creamed mixture with the eggs. The chocolate mixture with the addition of the sour cream. The final mix ready to put in your chosen baking tin.

Flower Shape Cake

I chose a heart-shape and a special silicone flower-shape I had purchased in Europe some time ago but you can get one from Amazon here.

Melted Chocolate And Coconut      Melted Chocolate And Almonds

You can either decorate your cakes or leave them plain it is entirely up to you. I decided to cover these two in melted chocolate, and cover one in coconut and the other in flaked almonds.

Decorated With Walnuts      Coloured Icing Sugar

I then decided to do a chocolate iced version with walnut pieces and one with plain red icing.

Heart Cake With Orange Cream      Served With Orange Cream

To keep things more simple, I dusted both shapes with icing sugar and served them with whipped cream and orange zest.

Yum Heart Cake


Yum Flower Shape Cake

I just had to taste test both shapes with the cream and orange zest. As above YUM… YUM… YUM.  By far my most favourite way to serve these little morsels of deliciousness.

Hope your Valentine enjoys them as much as I did.


Valentine's Day Celebration Cakes
  1. 4 ozs (112g) coarsely chopped dark (at least 64%) chocolate (( used 70%)
  2. 1/2 cup very hot (simmering) water
  3. 1/2 cup Dutch cocoa powder
  4. 2 teaspoons espresso powder
  5. 1/2 cup sour cream
  6. 1 cup cake flour ***
  7. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  8. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  9. 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  10. 10 Tbsp (1-1/4 sticks) butter softened (141.8g)
  11. 1 cup tightly packed brown sugar
  12. 2 large eggs
  13. 1 large egg yolk
  14. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350˚F (160˚C).
  2. Grease whatever tins you have decided to use.
  3. Place chocolate in a medium bowl. Pour simmering water on top and let stand for 3 minutes.
  4. Add cocoa and espresso powders, whisk together until smooth. Stand 15 minutes.
  5. Stir in sour cream until blended.
  6. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and set aside.
  7. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until smooth and creamy.
  8. Scrape down the bowl and add the eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated.
  9. Add vanilla and beat for 5 seconds.
  10. Turn mixer to low, and add flour mixture in 3 parts to the butter/egg mix, alternating with the chocolate mixture in 2 parts.
  11. Scrape down the bowl, then mix at low speed for a few more seconds.
  12. Fill the tins about halfway and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  13. Baking time for my heart shape was 18 minutes.
  14. Baking time for the flower shape was 20 minutes.
  15. If using a 1 cup bundt pan baking time around 25 minutes.
  16. Remove from oven and cool pans on racks for about 5 minutes.
  17. Turn out onto cooling racks. (You may need to loosen cakes from edges of pan with a small heatproof spatula. (Mine came out ok without).
  18. Decorate as you wish.
  1. ***
  2. In Australia we do not have cake flour. Doing research on the net I found most people would put 2 tablespoons of cornflour (maize) in a cup measurement and then top up with plain flour. This was the method which I used.
Sweet Saffron Spice http://www.sweetsaffronspice.com/
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Almond Friands – Healthy Option


Dressed Ready To Go

Sorting out some of my many magazines I came across this recipe for an Almond Angel Friand With Raspberries in the Healthy Food Guide.  My first thought when reading the ingredients was that it wasn’t like most friands that I have made before as there were whole eggs and not egg whites used.  Although the recipe called for reduced fat spread I did use butter as I prefer the taste.


As you can see from my ingredients I also swapped the raspberries for blueberries as that was all I had in the freezer.

Mixture Ready To Bake

It was very easy to mix all the ingredients, although I did find that the frozen berries did make the batter go a little more stiff, which made it a little harder to put into the tins.


Mine did take a little longer to bake than what the recipe called for, and I kept an eye on it towards the end. Even though I had sprayed the cooking tin with oil, I still had to use a small spatula to help them come out easier.

Ready to sample       Lovely Texture With Fruit   

The verdict – the consistency with the fruit was really good.  If you are expecting a nice sweet friand this is not for you. I believe the amount of sugar and fat were reduced in this recipe in an effort to make it more healthy. My husband had two before he decided they were not sweet enough for him. 

Dressed Ready To Go

I decided to dust them with a little icing sugar to give a little more sweetness, and they were better.  I would make them again as they were so easy, but I think I would add just a little more sugar next time.

I hope you enjoy them!

Almond Friand - Healthy Option
  1. 120g caster sugar
  2. 100g reduced fat spread (I used butter)
  3. 2 eggs
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  5. 1 cup self raising flour
  6. 1/2 cup almond meal
  7. 1 punnet raspberries or 1 cup frozen (I used blueberries)
  1. Pre-heat oven to 170˚C.
  2. Spray a 12-hole friand tin or muffin tin with cooking spray.
  3. Cream sugar and fat till pale and creamy.
  4. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition.
  5. Add vanilla essence.
  6. Fold in sifted flour and almond meal with a spatula and carefully fold in the fruit of your choice.
  7. Spoon into prepared tins and bake for 15-18 minutes till golden brown and firm to touch. (Mine took about 22 minutes).
  1. If using frozen berries, do not defrost, add them from the freezer.
Sweet Saffron Spice http://www.sweetsaffronspice.com/

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Nut Free Muesli Bars


Muesli Bars Ready To Eat

Already holidays are over and it’s back to school for most boys and girls, my grandson included. With the increased awareness of children with allergies it is more difficult to provide snacks for our children that love to eat nuts. 

When I came across this recipe for a muesli bar that did not contain nuts but still had good ingredients in (apart from the sugars) I decided to give it a go.

Ingredients     Dry Ingredients

I had all the ingredients that were required to make these in my pantry and decided to give it a go. I did not follow the recipe per-say but added a couple of items that I wanted to be included.  After making this bar, I believe it lends itself to really play around with and add whatever you like.  The only difference would be to perhaps add a little more of the toffee to act as glue.

Sugars In Pan     Mixture Pressed Into The Tin

My toffee mix reached softball much quicker than the time in the recipe, and once ready you need to pour it into the dry mixture and stir as quickly as possible. It begins to set fairly quickly and I didn’t try to take a picture or I would have had it all set in the bowl. 

Turn the mixture out into your lined tin and press down to make it flat as quickly as you can. I had a little left in the bowl stuck to the sides, but it was nice to scrape off and eat (perhaps I shouldn’t have, but someone has to taste test?).

Once the mixture is set in the tin and quite cool, slice into whatever sizes you wish. Because I added slightly different ingredients than those originally intended I think a little more of the syrup/toffee mix would have been better.  Still it was really nice and my grandson gave it the tick of approval.  I guess it will be a nice addition to his lunchbox, even if it isn’t every day.

Yummy Bars 

I hope you have fun playing with the recipe to personalise it. We will definitely do it again with some slight additions, e.g. dried apple.

Let me know how you went?


Nut Free Muesli Bars
  1. 1-1/4 cups rolled oats
  2. 1 cup desiccated coconut
  3. 1/2 cup rice bubbles*
  4. 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  5. 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  6. 1 tsp cinnamon**
  7. 75g unsalted butter
  8. 1/4 cup honey
  9. 1/4 cup liquid glucose
  10. 1/2 cup brown sugar
  11. Optional: 1/8 cup dried cranberries
  1. Line a 27cm x 18cm slice tin with baking paper.
  2. Combine oats, coconut, rice bubbles, seeds, cranberries and spice in a large bowl.
  3. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, then add the honey, glucose and sugar.
  4. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes, (mine took 5), until a drop of the caramel forms a soft ball when poured into cold water. ( I put an ice cube into the water to make it colder).
  5. Pour immediately over the oat mixture and beat until smooth. (Mine was a little drier so I just stirred.
  6. Working quickly, press into the prepared tin, and press to flatten.
  7. Put aside to cool completely before slicing to whatever size you like with an oiled knife.
  8. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks. (that is if they last that long!!)
  1. * Original recipe called for unprocessed bran
  2. ** Can use mixed spice.
Adapted from Ed Halmagyi
Adapted from Ed Halmagyi
Sweet Saffron Spice http://www.sweetsaffronspice.com/
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