Orange Poppy Seed Cake with Passionfruit Curd & Glaze

This weekend I went to visit my friend today who until recently has been in hospital recovering from quite a large surgery. I didn’t want to go empty handed so I decided to make cake! Because well, you know, these situations need cake…

So to the internet I went, searching for something to make out of the ingredients I already had in the pantry. The star of the show had to be the passionfruit as I had a big tin just sitting there waiting to be eaten. I found a few recipes that I thought looked easy enough and would combine well to make something pretty special, so here it is, my Orange Poppy Seed Cake with Passionfruit Curd and Glaze.

Prep time – 20 mins, Cooking time – 30 mins, Cooling time – 2 hrs, Serves 12

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Poppy Seed Cake with Passionfruit Curd & Glaze

Cake

2 ½ cups plain flour plus more for dusting tins

2tsp baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 ½ cup caster sugar

Zest of 1 orange

225g unsalted butter room temperature, plus more greasing tins

2 large eggs lightly beaten, room temperature

1tsp vanilla extract

1 cup milk, room temperature

2 tbs poppy seeds

Curd

Check out this link for our yummy Passionfruit curd!

Note: This recipe will make much more curd than needed for the cake so make sure to store and use for other goodies coming up on the blog 🙂

Glaze

1 cup icing sugar

3 tablespoons passionfruit pulp

1 tablespoon orange juice, freshly squeezed

Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C; place oven rack in middle position. Prepare two 20cm round cake tins; grease and line with baking paper then grease and flour baking paper and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a medium bowl combine orange zest with the sugar and mix through, it should resemble semi-wet sand when completely mixed.
  3. Add soft butter to sugar mixture and using an electric beater mix until smooth, drizzle in eggs slowly, all the while beating the mixture through. Add vanilla last and combine.
  4. Into your flour pour your sugar mixture and stir with a wooden spoon to combine slightly, then return the electric beater and mix thoroughly.
  5. Fold poppy seeds into cake batter until evenly distributed.
  6. Divide batter between the cake tins and bake for 20mins, then check and rotate pans from front to back, then cook for a further 10mins or until a skewer comes cleanly out of the centre of the cake.
  7. When baked transfer cakes to a wire rack to cool. When cool to touch turn out cakes, and set on racks top-side up. Cool completely.

Glaze

  1. In a medium bowl sift the sugar, add the passionfruit pulp and orange juice and whisk well to combine. The mixture should be just thick.

Assembling your cake

  1. Remove any remaining baking paper from the cakes. If your cakes are slightly rounded at the tops you will need to slice the rounded top off the bottom layer so your cakes stack well.
  2. Place bottom layer of the cake on your chosen serving platter and spread about ¼ cup of curd over the top. Carefully place the top cake over the curd layer and press lightly down to make some of the curd just start to ooze out the sides.  If you wish to have multiple layers feel free to repeat this process until your cake is the desired height.
  3. Once layering is complete chill your cake in the fridge for 1 hour. This will help later when you add the glaze.
  4. When cool, pour the glaze over the top of the cake and allow it to run down the sides. Allow glaze to set before serving – about ½ an hour.
  5. Find some friends to share with and enjoy!

~A

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Lemon Basil Pesto

I love this pesto on hot toast with sliced tomato and loads of freshly cracked pepper, and I plan on using it with some freshly made pasta in the near future too. Its a wonderful addition to a cheese, crackers and wine evening and it is such a good way to use your basil if it suddenly grows like crazy!

We had a single lemon basil plant that I picked up at the local markets quite some time ago. It just plodded along, not growing overly well, but not dying either so we let it stay. Then when it go so hot over summer the poor thing just gave up, went to seed and died. 6 weeks later and with the help of a heap of rain we suddenly have a garden bed full of young basil plants. When you have about a square meter of basil to work with pesto seems like the logical choice. Having said that we still have about 1/2 a square meter left after today’s cull! I will have to think about what to make next 🙂

Prep time – 15 mins, Cooking time – 5 mins, Makes about 500ml

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Saki modelling for scale, the basil can be seen behind her!

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Lemon Basil Pesto

4 packed cups lemon basil (regular basil is fine too!)

1 ½ cups grated parmesan

1 ¾ cups extra virgin olive oil

1 cup pine nuts, roasted

6 cloves garlic

Salt and Pepper to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C, line a baking tray with foil or baking paper.
  2. Place pine nuts evenly over the tray and roast for 3-5 mins or until golden brown.
  3. Once pine nuts have been roasted, place all ingredients into a food processor and blend for around a minute.
  4. Remove pesto from processor and place in your favourite jar, and enjoy!

~A

P.S. Props to Sweet Phi Blog for the inspiration behind this recipe, I altered her ratios just a wee bit to make the pesto more to my tastes – that’s the great thing about cooking, you do you!

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Smoked Salmon Fillet with Parsley Potatoes & Cream Cheese Spread

I love when my Husband decides to cook, and I love how he always knows he can ask me for help! Today, he came up with this meal all on his own, I couldn’t be more proud.

Smoking meat has become a regular thing in our household. Bacon, steaks, chicken, fish, you name it, we smoke it! Today however was the first time we smoked salmon fillets in our Nipper Kipper smoking box. Now I am asking myself “Why didn’t we do this sooner?!”.

This meal is easy and delicious, even if you can’t smoke it, the salmon would be just as delicious pan fried in some butter, or even baked in the oven.

Next time you are out to impress, why not try this?

Prep time – 10 mins, Cooking time 30 mins, Serves 4

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Smoked Salmon Fillet with Parsley Potatoes & Cream Cheese Spread

4 fillets salmon, skin on

8 baby chat potatoes

1tbs butter

Small bunch fresh parsley – chopped finely

1/3 small red onion – chopped finely

225g tub cream cheese

½ cup dark brown sugar

2 cups balsamic vinegar

Small bag rocket

4 tbs grated parmesan cheese

Salt and Pepper to taste

  1. Place your potatoes on to boil.
  2. If you have a smoking box, or small BBQ that will allow you to smoke meat, do so to the salmon according to your smoker’s instructions. Place salmon skin down, and smoke for about 25mins. If you do not have a smoker, feel free to pan fry or oven bake (covered).
  3. While salmon is smoking, heat the balsamic vinegar and sugar in a shallow frying pan or saucepan over a medium heat, stirring every few minutes. Keep at a simmer for 20mins, or until the glaze is reduced by half and will coat the back of a spoon.
  4. While glaze is reducing, prepare your cream cheese spread by combining the cream cheese, chopped onion and half the parsley and mix well, set aside.
  5. When potatoes are cooked, drain and add remaining parsley and butter, stir until the potatoes are coated.
  6. On your serving plates take a small amount of rocket as a side salad and sprinkle each with about a tablespoon of parmesan.
  7. When the salmon is cooked, assemble your meal with salmon skin side up, salad, cream cheese and potatoes, and drizzle everything lightly with the balsamic glaze.
  8. Enjoy!

~A

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Thai Peanut Noodles with Chicken and Broccoli

There is nothing better than stumbling upon food inspiration and then thinking about making that meal for a few weeks, and then finally being able to make it and it being better than your wildest expectations! That’s exactly what happened to me a few weeks ago, and tonight I finally had a chance to create this delicious, protein packed dinner.

My inspiration came in the form of another food blog called Show Me The Yummy, their Thai Peanut Noodles made my mouth water just looking at them. I knew I had to make them because a) noodles and b) Asian flavours. That’s like totally my thing! I knew I would never get away with just noodles and egg for dinner, the hubby would never allow it (the man needs his meat!), so I chucked in some chicken and broccoli (because I’ve eaten really badly this week – stress eating as Saki-pup was in vet hospital for a few nights – I thought I should add something green).

This dish was a hit, hubby loved it, Saki (now home) loved it when I dropped some chicken and I super duper loved it!

Why not give it a try yourself 🙂

Prep time – 15 mins, Cooking time – 15 mins, Serves 6-8

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Thai Peanut Noodles with Chicken & Brocolli

180g packet of ramen noodles

1 heaped tbs minced garlic

¼ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

¼ cup soy sauce

¼ cup rice wine vinegar

2 tbs dark brown sugar

1 tbs sesame oil

1 tps fish sauce

¼ cup smooth peanut butter

Sides

2 skinless chicken breasts – diced

1 large head of broccoli

Topping

Fried eggs (as many as you need per dish)

1 bunch spring onion – finely sliced

Fried spring onion

Sesame seeds

Chilli flakes (optional)

  1. Put noodles on to boil as per packet instructions and mix all sauce ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Stir fry the chicken in a small amount of oil and when no longer pink add broccoli and stir fry until just soft. Set aside and keep warm once cooked.
  3. When cooked, drain the noodles and mix sauce through while hot.
  4. Fry eggs in a lightly oiled non stick pan. Keep sunny side up and cover with a lid to cook the top, you want these slightly runny as the yolk mixes amazingly with the peanut noodles.
  5. Place noodles in a bowl and top with chicken, broccoli and egg, and garnish with spring onion, sesame seeds and chilli flakes.
  6. Enjoy!

~A

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Creamy Chicken and Spinach Pasta

This is one of the easiest and yummiest pasta recipes I know how to make. It’s at the point now that I don’t even use a recipe , I usually just go by feel, but tonight I decided to actually work out how much of everything I use and here it is just for you! This does make quite a lot, so feel free to dial back the amounts if you don’t want left overs.

Prep time – 10 mins, Cooking time – 20 mins, Serves 8

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Creamy Chicken and Spinach Pasta

2 skinless chicken breasts – diced

1 large brown onion – finely sliced

1 tbs minced garlic

1tbs chicken stock powder

250g frozen chopped spinach

600ml cream

½ cup water

500g pasta (I used large spirals)

3 heaped tbs wholegrain mustard

½ tbs honey

Salt and pepper to taste

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  1. Put a large pot on to boil for the pasta while preparing the ingredients.
  2. Put pasta in to cook. In a large frying pan/wok on a medium heat cook onion and garlic in some olive oil until onion is soft then add the diced chicken. Sprinkle chicken with stock and cook until chicken is slightly golden and no longer pink.
  3. Add water, spinach, cream, mustard and honey and stir through.
  4. Once pasta is just cooked add to chicken mixture and cook for a further 10 minutes on a low heat.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Enjoy!

~A

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Cornbread

Cornbread is a staple of Southern style cooking and is just generally yummy and can be eaten whenever you want! (That’s the rule in our house anyway!) This recipe is relatively simple and a great addition to any Southern style meal (like this Slow Cooker Honey Parmesan Pork Roast!).

Why not try it the next time you make something saucy as it’s perfect for mopping up your plate after a meal.

Prep time – 20 mins, Cooking time – 30-40 mins, Serves 12

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Cornbread

1 ¾ cups Cornmeal*

¾ cup plain flour

4 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp bi carbonate of soda

1 tsp salt

¼ cup sugar

2 cups buttermilk

¼ cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

2 cups corn kernels (canned is fine, make sure it is drained)

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  1. Pre-heat your oven to 220 degree Celsius and place a heavy based cast iron pan inside to heat up.
  2. In a bowl mix the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, bi carb, salt and sugar.
  3. In a separate bowl mix the buttermilk, eggs, oil and corn kernels.
  4. Make a hole in the dry ingredients mix and gently pour in the wet ingredients and mix well. Your batter should be wet. Don’t worry!
  5. Take your cast iron pan out of the oven and pour in some oil/butter/bacon fat (all of these will work, you just need enough to coat the bottom of the pan). If you don’t have a cast iron pan a baking dish that has been well buttered will also work.
  6. Into your hot pan gently pour the batter, you should hear a sizzle as the batter starts cooking. Place immediately into the oven and cook for 30-40minutes or until golden and a skewer comes out clean.
  7. When cooked removed from oven and let sit for 10mins. Turn out onto a rack and allow to cool further.
  8. Enjoy with your favourite meal or just on its own, this cornbread will be super yummy either way!
  9. Enjoy!

~A

*If you can’t source cornmeal, polenta will also work, it’s basically the same thing, just not milled as finely as cornmeal.

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Slow Cooker Honey Parmesan Pork Roast

My Hubby is obsessed with anything southern, slow cooked or smoked. I don’t blame him really, so am I!

Slow cooking is one of my favourite things to do. Most nights in our household are full of extra curricular activities, be that indoor soccer, agility training with Saki-pup or Japanese sword training, so there isn’t much time left to prepare a proper meal. That’s where the slow cooker comes in! Quick prep the morning of, or night before then chucked in the slow cooker to cook all day, and come home to the house smelling amazing with a delicious meal ready at our fingertips. Who wouldn’t like that!?

Prep time – 10 mins, Cooking time – 6 hrs, Serves 6

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This roast recipe is one my husband found while perusing the internet and insisted that we make it for a big family dinner this weekend. Coupled with corn bread, coleslaw and potato bake, this roast is just perfect.

The principle of this roast is really very simple, and you can change up your marinade and sauce as you see fit. So why not give it a go next time you don’t feel like slaving away in the kitchen. Let your slow cooker do the hard work for you!

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Slow Cooker Honey Parmesan Pork Roast

2kg boneless pork loin roast

2/3 cup grated parmesan

½ cup honey

3tbs soy sauce

1tbs dried basil

1tbs dried oregano

3tbs chopped garlic

2tbs olive oil

½ tsp salt

2tbs corn flour

¼ cup chicken stock

1tsp sugar

  1. Turn slow cooker to high and place roast and any juices from roast into the slow cooker.
  2. In a bowl combine parmesan, honey, soy sauce, basil, oregano, garlic, oil and salt.
  3. Pour mixture over roast and cook on high for the first 2 hrs, reducing to low for the remaining 4 hours or as long as it takes for a meat thermometer to read 160 degrees.
  4. Once cooked remove the meat and set aside.
  5. Strain remaining juices from the slow cooker and place liquid into a small sauce pan over a low/medium heat.
  6. Mix the corn flour and chicken stock together (make sure there are no lumps).
  7. Add corn flour mixture to the slow cooker juices and simmer until thickened, stirring well. A teaspoon of sugar or more honey can be added if you feel the sauce needs to be sweeter.
  8. Pull roast apart with a fork into rough chunks and serve with glaze and your favourite sides.*
  9. Enjoy!

~A

*for a delicious side option why not try this delicious Cornbread recipe. It goes perfectly with this dish to soak up all those yummy juices!

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