Saturday, 3 March 2012

Russian Fudge

Fudge has to be one of may favorite things to make , not only because its so cool to watch it all come together like a science experiment & check if it has reached the soft ball stage but because its tastes so dam fine ! 
I have never meet anyone that doesn't like this fudge. If you grew up in New Zealand it was thing that childhood sweet dreams were made of, always at birthday parties and if you were good you got to lick the beaters and scrape the pot !

I am not usually one to boast but I reckon I make the best Russian Fudge but Russian fudge is well not entirely Russian, its a pretty uniquely kiwi thing and the name for this fudge, which from a search round on the net seems to come from a Polish recipe which is very similar to our recipe - Its fudge but not as you know it. I love the fact that its creamy , smooth , crumbly and not overly sweet . 
So perfect cut into chunks and wrapped up with a ribbon , it will always leave people wanting more ! This  comes from Chelsea Sugars website and is a Jo Segar Recipe, enjoy.

Russian Fudge


3 1/2 Cups white sugar
125 g Butter
3 Tbsp Golden Syrup
1/2 Cup milk ( full fat )
1/2 tsp salt
200 g sweetened condensed milk ( half a standard tin )
2 tsp vanilla essence

Place all ingredients except the vanilla, into a large saucepan.
Warm over gentle heat till nearly all the sugar has dissolved stir it gently every now & then
Bring to a gentle boil and cook for around 10 mins , starring gently to avoid it catching .
You will start to see the color changing to a rich caramel & it thickening up.
Keep boiling until it reaches soft ball stage (drop a small amount into a glass of cold tap water-  if you can roll the mixture into a ball you're good to go, to be sure do it twice ! )

Remove from heat and add the Vanilla. 
Beat with an electric beater till very thick and no longer glossy , the longer you can beat it the better , I keep mine going till its really really thick .
Pour into a lightly greased 20cm glass dish .
Cut pieces when soft & leave till cold to break up .

Caution : very addictive !

This post is part of Sweet New Zealand with thanks to my darling lemon thyme for hosting this months event ! Ps- check out my darling lemon thyme for the most delicious gluten free / vegan / amazing eats !

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Home made Bagels

So if the title of that doesn't get you drooling, what will ? Bagels are one of my long standing favorite things to consume , toasted with a smear of cream cheese, fantastic. So when a friend passed me along this recipe I was a little hesitant , are'nt bagels hard to make , almost a little mysterious , one of those foods that you never really cared how it came to arrive on your plate ? Well master 6 LOVES bagels & his appetite was becoming expensive for them  ( around$ 4.50 in NZ for 4 and not great quality )so when  I mentiond that we could make some he spent the next 3 days asking 'when are we making bagels ' ..... So with my trusty iPad ( honestly makes life so easy when using an online recipe ) we truged up to the kitchen & begun .... I actually really enjoy making bread so I had a blast , yes there are a few steps but its not hard in the least & the kids had a ball rolling them & creating the holes , flour was also flung far & wide but heck when your a kid thats half the fun right?  The end result AMAZING , fresh , delicious bagels which master 6 ate four of in a row .... I will most defiantly be making these again ! This is the original recipe here , instructions & pictures are pretty good !


2 Teaspoons active dried yeast
1 1/2 TB sugar
1 1/4 C warm water ( I used all this your may need more or less )
3 1/2 C Flour ( high grade or bread )plus a little extra for kneading
1 1/2 tsp salt ( I only ever use Himalayan salt , much better for you & taste )
couscous to coat bottom of bagels ( optional )

 I kept my bagels plain but you can experiment with toppings check link to original recipe here


In 1/2 C warm water pour in sugar & yeast. Do not stir . Let sit for 5 mins then stir yeast & sugar together until it dissolves in water
Mix flour & salt in large bowl. Make a well in middle and our in the yeast & sugar mixture
Pour half the remaining warm water into well. Mix and stir in rest of water as needed , I knew straight away I would need more & plunked it all in . You want a moist firm dough .
On a floured surface knead the dough for around 7 - 10 mins until its smooth & elastic , Just knead & knead , it will reward you in the end !

Coat a large bowl with some oil & turn the dough in it to coat , cover dish with a moist tea towel
Let it rise for around an hour in a warm place , it should double in size. Punch the dough down ( my kids loved this bit ) and let it rest for another 10 mins

Divide the dough into around  8-10 pieces for big bagels or smaller bits for little ones , we had a whole lot of sizes going on , the kids enjoyed the mini ones !

Shape each piece into a round by pulling dough around on itself & sort of winding end pieces underneath - if all else fails end up with a round shape ! Press it against bench and move you hand in circular motion while spinning dough inside you finger circle until a perfect little ball emerges ( this part is easy & enjoyable ) repeat with all your balls of dough.

Coat a finger in flour and press into center of dough balls , stretch the ring out to get a decent sized whole

( around 1/3 diameter of bagel )

place them all on a oiled surface & cover with a damp tea towel again. Preheat oven to 220c

Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Reduce heat . Use a slotted spoon to lower bagels into water . Boil around 2-3 ( depending on size ) at a time , boil for 1 min each side or 2 mins if you prefer a chewier bagel.
I dipped the bottom of my bagels in couscous for a crunchy bottom like the store bought ones ( totally optional ) as the are build & dipped place them on a oiled baking tray

Bake for 15- 20 mins till golden brown

Eat & enjoy & never buy another bagel again !

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Perfect Pikelets

Pikelets are a funny thing, say the word & my mind conjures up images of my youth eating them on a cold wet afternoon piled high with butter & jam. 
They are according to wikipedia a type of pancake eaten in Australia & New Zealand, I guess if you were going to describe them!
 I would say they are a dense little american style pancake, but not really like a pancake at all !
 Most at home beside a pot of hot tea & rather more sophisticated piled with jam & whipped cream.
Children love them, adults adore them...but not all pikelets are created equal !
I have tasted & made some stodgy uncooked versions. 
There are numerous recipes & if you are lucky enough to be handed one down, or found one that works lucky you !
This one comes again from Alexia Johnstones - Ladies a plate  its simple & turns out perfect every time. Pikelets are the fall back staple for unexpected visitors, after school munchies. 
Eat them hot, straight of the girdle or pair them up & pop them in your lunchbox ...... simple goodness


  • 1 egg
  • 30 g caster sugar
  • 170 ml milk
  • 125 g flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 15 g melted butter
  • 25 g golden syrup*
* optional - I think makes them better !

1. Heat a heavy based frying pan or if you have one an electric frying pan on med high

2. Put egg and sugar in bowl and beat until pale & fluffy

3. tip in the milk and sifted flour & baking powder and lastly the melted butter ( if using golden

    syrup melt this with the butter ) , mix to a light spongy batter - don't over mix

4. Grease the surface of your pan with butter and using a big spoon hold vertically and pour

     the mixture from the tip to make circles ( make about 5- 6 at a time )

5. Wait until bubbles appear on the top of pikelets and burst, then you know they are ready to

     be flipped,flip them carefully and cook for a minute more till nicely golden brown

6. Pile them between a clean tea towel till you are finished cooking them all, then spread with

     butter and jam or if your feeling fancy whipped cream & jam !


Thursday, 21 July 2011

Baked Berry Cheesecake

I have to admit I have never made a cheesecake before and was always slightly afraid of them ! Not to mention the eating of one but the baking !
So when I was asked by a friend to make a surprise cheesecake for her husbands birthday, I trembled ! 
She insisted and sent me this recipe here and I trembled a little more, I sent her this 'no bake' Nigella Lawson cheesecake but still insisted on the baked variety ! 
She really wanted cherries for him but I had no luck as we are totally in the wrong season & I couldn't even find them frozen. 
I picked raspberries instead as I always enjoy raspberries tartness in sweet creamy foods like this. 
I put my baking hat on and went to work, it turned out fab and looked pretty darn spectacular, I never tasted it but was assured it was delicious !
It was rather easy to make all in all, the trickiest part was most probaly  getting the cream cheese to a blend-able texture and as my dear old mixer wasn't going I had to use a hand beater. Many swear words later & voila it was ready to be put into the pan - even though mine did get a small crack in the top I use a fan forced oven & only put a small dish of hot water with it to cook to keep it moist, I would recommend this.

 Next time it will be perfect and oh yes there WILL be a next time !

1 Packet of super wine biscuits or any sweet biscuit around 200 g 
80 grams butter melted
1 tsp cinnamon

750 cream cheese, at room temperature chopped ( 3 cartons of philly cream cheese ) 
 ¾ cup caster sugar 
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs, at room temperature 
1 tbs lemon juice 
1 tsp finely grated lemon rind   
2 tbs plain flour    
300g frozen berries ( I used raspberries )  + extra thawed for the top if you like
Icing sugar for dusting            

  1. Preheat oven to 160c Grease a 22cm spring-form cake pan and line the base and side with baking paper or tin foil
  2. To make the base, break the biscuits and place in a food processor.  Process until finely crushed.  Add cinnamon and melted butter.  Process until well combined.  Evenly press mixture into the base of pan.  Refrigerate while you make the filling
  3. To make the filling, its best to use a mixer but hand beaters work if you use your wooden spoon for help & beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until thoroughly combined. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.  Add lemon juice, zest and sour cream and sift over the flour.  Mix on low speed until smooth.  Swirl through frozen cherries.  Pour mixture over biscuit base.  Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes until just firm but the centre trembles slightly when the side of the pan is gently tapped.  Turn oven off and cool in oven with the door ajar until cool.  Remove from oven, leave to completely cool in pan, then refrigerate for 4 hours (or overnight) until chilled
 To serve, remove from fridge 30 minutes before serving.  Remove from pan and place on a serving plate ( I did this by using a plate on top & flipping then placing serving plate under and flipping again)  Dust with icing sugar and top with extra just-defrosted berries

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Baked Lemon Sponge Pudding

More lemon recipes you say, why yes ! I guess I am including this as it is an absolute delight, one of the most delicious puddings you will ever taste. 

As the weather gets colder the oven gets warmer round at my house and puddings are made 2-3 times a week, a great way to use the heat in your oven after cooking a meal and heat the house with deliciousness!
If you like lemons & sponge pudding then you have got to make it, honestly if you just want a real popular pudding whip this bad boy up & serve it with some greek yoghurt and as we say in NZ Bobs your uncle ! A lemon sauce forms under the sponge that is similar to a lemon curd!
This recipe comes form the grandmother of home cooking in New Zealand, the one, the only Alison Holst  She is amazing, any recipe I have tried of hers is so tasty and easy. She does domestic goddess at its best. 
This beauty is from The Ultimate Collection , hands down the only cookbook you could ever need. But somehow cookbooks are like shoes one more is never enough ....

Baked Lemon Sponge Pudding

50 g butter
1/4 Cup plain flour
2 eggs separated
3/4 sugar
grated rind of 2 lemons
1/4 Cup ( 60 ml ) lemon juice
3/4 Cup ( 185 ml ) milk

1. Turn the oven to 190 c, melt the butter in a small pot, add the flour and stir
2. Put the egg whites into an ovenproof dish that you can make the pudding in ( 1 litre capacity) add the yolks into the butter mixture
3. Beat the whites until they form soft peaks, add 1/4 cup of the sugar and beat again until the tips of the peaks turn over when the beater is lifted from them
4. Add the reaming 1/2 cup sugar to the butter mixture with the lemon rind and juice.
5. Beat with the unwashed beater then add milk and beat again
6. Pour the lemon mix over the egg whites and fold gently to combine
7. Stand the dish in a larger bowl of hot water ( like a roasting dish ) , bake at 190c for about 40 mins until the centre is firm and golden brown - serve hot with ice cream or yoghurt & get ready to lick the dish.

 Serves 4 if your lucky !

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Crunchy Topped Lemon Loaf

Its been a while , I have been a slack little blogger , in between the winter blues & children's ills time has simply crept away on me. Good intentions turn into tomorrows never achieved !
Alas I have been baking tho ' As the saying goes when life gives you lemons - BAKE ! Hear hear .
A bag of home grown lemons make me soooo happy my mind is alive of things to do & bake , so as we here in NZ are right in the middle of winter , natures lil bag of sunshine has to be the citrus tree .
In fact I have just guzzled down a glass of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice made from fruit from my papa's tree - honestly this stuff is better than coffee , energy , HELLO !
I really think Lemons go the best in cakes , muffins & slices because of that tangy contrast they bring to the sweet . This recipe was a first for me but looked so divine !
It comes from Alexa Johnston's magical book ' A second helping ' which I use so often & never lets me down .
If you are after a little bit of sunshine on a winters day whip this baby up & sit down with a cup of tea for some lemony goodness - its quite moreish , don't say I didn't tell you so !

Crunchy Topped Lemon Loaf

For the cake -

115g butter
3/4 caster sugar
2 tsp lemon zest ( finally grated )
2 Eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk

For the topping -

1/3 cup caster sugar
2 TBsp lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 180 c . Lightly grease a medium sized loaf tin

2. Cream soft butter and sugar until light & fluffy, beat in Lemon zest then add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

3. Use a metal spoon to gently fold in sifted dry ingredients a third at a time, alternating with the milk.

4. Pour the mixture into tin, smooth the top & bake for about 40 mins, rotating halfway through for a nice even bake. The cake will be a golden colour with a crack running along the top and should be just pulling away from the sides of the tin. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack still in tin.

5. For the topping, combine the sugar and lemon juice in a small jug then slowly pour over the top of the still hot cake. It will soak in a little and run down the sides, leaving a thin crust of sugar on the top. Cool in tin the turn out carefully - slice and enjoy !

Monday, 20 June 2011

Lemon Sour Cream Cake

As the days are getting shorter and colder here in NZ its always nice to have the bright flavour of lemons to lift the spirits . This yummy moist cake is defiantly a favourite !
I love lemons and still remember when I first tasted this gem , it was like a velvet , lemon curd that wasn't to sweet or to tart in fact - PERFECT !
I had to have the recipe ... Apparently it is Julie Le Clerc recipe , I have never seen original copy or what book it is from , as it was handwritten out my a dear friend who had made it and passed on & quickly stuck into my ' little black book ' of recipes .
Every great cook or baker has one of these , if you dont I suggest making one for all those hand down , found , cut out , scribbled down recipes .... such a great tapastry which I hope to pass down to my boys one day.
 Any way before I get all sentimental over my recipe book , the lemon cake ! I always use natural yoghurt instead of sour cream . Totally up to you here , I prefer yoghurt and have made with sourcream but think yoghurt offers a nicer texture . Never forget the lemon syrup at the end this is what give the cake a moist tangy sweet yumminess . I also omit the lemon essence from the original - cant see why you would need it . I hope you have a lovely friend like I do that has a unlimited supply of lemons from her tree for me ! Anytime I make this I am asked for the recipe ... such a wonderful dessert

Lemon Sour Cream Cake

125 grams Butter
3/4 Cup Sugar
Finley Grated zest of one lemon
1/2 Cup sour cream or natural unsweetend yoghurt
3 Eggs
1 Cup plain Flour
1 tsp Baking powder

Lemon Sugar

juice of 3 lemons
1/2 Cup caster sugar

1. Preheat oven to 160 c , grease and flour a smallish cake tine
2. Cream soft butter , sugar until pale , Beat in zest , eggs and sour cream or yoghurt
3. Fold in sifted ingredients till just mixed pour into tin , bake for 30 - 40 mins until top is golden and a skewer come's out clean ( while its cooking , mix lemon juice & sugar in a small jug )
4. Remove from oven , stab cake all over with skewer and pour over lemon sugar
5. Leave in tin till cool and turn out onto plate , pile high with fresh whipped cream or Greek yogurt