An Aussie Lunch

My friend Kira and I have known each for quite a few years, but as is so often the case, we don’t have the opportunity to get together much anymore, due to both of us having super busy, super hectic schedules.  I know we are not alone.  This is a common tale between friends and relatives all over.  However, yesterday, we actually did get a chance to enjoy some good quality time together, catching up over a fantastic homemade lunch Kira prepared for us.  She knows I am half Aussie, so she surprised me with a very authentic Aussie lunch that was fabulous.  She made some delicious, very light and flaky traditional meat pies or “pasties” as they are called down under, as well as some wonderful carrot, pumpkin and apple soup, with ANZAC cookies and custard for dessert.  We were so busy talking and catching up though, that we completely forgot about the cookies.  That was perfect OK though.   I ate so much of everything else, and I was really very full at the end of the meal, so I would not have had room for the cookies anyway.  They will just have to wait until next time.  All she wanted me to bring was an Australian wine.  The Aussies make many varietals of delicious wines, but they are really known  for their wonderful Shiraz or Syrahs, as we call them here in the US.  We talked about this and that and everything under the sun, and in what seems like a blink of an eye, it was time to leave and call it a day.   Once again, both of us had places to go and things to do.

ANZAC is an acronym for the Australian New Zealand Army Corp, originally devised to honor all those from both Australia and New Zealand who fought and died in the Gallipoli Campaign during WWI, between 1914-1918.  Today, it honors all Australians and New Zealanders “who served and died in all wars, conflicts and peacemaking operations” and “the suffering of all those who served”.  My dad lost quite a few uncles in the Gallipoli campaign.  He himself was an enlisted man in the Australian Army, and served in North Africa during WWII.  Last time he went to Australia, many years ago, he was honored and invited to march in the ANZAC parade as well.

Kira proudly displaying both her culinary and entertaining skills.




Pasties are traditionally served with tomato sauce (pronounced toemawtoe).  Here we would use ketchup, but neither of us are big ketchup fans, so we decided to forego the sauce.IMG_5841


The fabulous soup.IMG_5847

And for dessert, the custard.IMG_5849

All of these wonderful recipes were created in Kira’s new kitchen toy, her Thermomix (I think that is the name).  These are very popular cooking machines all throughout Europe and Australia, and are just now becoming available her in the United States.


Kira, thank you for a fabulous lunch and a very long over-due and enjoyable visit.  Until next time, au revoir mon amie, aur revoir.





Send in your Bake-Off Photos

Photos Are Arriving!!

Some of you have been busy baking

We have already started to receive cake photos

Which has left us wishing it was possible to taste them

bake together 2

would love you to join in

with special judge A Jeanne in the Kitchen

The challenge is to make

a sandwich sponge cake

  • cake


  • Your cake must have at least two layers
  • Your sponge cakes can be any flavour and any colour
  • You can fill you sandwich cake with any filling you like
  • We would like you to decorate the top of your cake



Please send a photo of your cake so it can be featured in the The Great Bloggers’ Bake-Off Round-Up to:

question mark(If you have any questions at all – please feel free to post your questions in the comments of any of our posts and we will try to get back to you as quickly as possible.)

Of course you can bake at any time convenient to yourself. We include all the photos we receive early in the GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFF on Sunday 24th March 2019.

Great Blogger Bake Off

The Great Bloggers’ Bake-Off is this Sunday, March 24. It’s open to EVERYONE, no matter what your baking skills. Come one, come all. Come and jun in on the fun.

A Dad trying to cope with the loss of his Partner and becoming a single parent.

It’s the Great Bloggers Bake-Off this Sunday. Hopefully everyone will have fun. It’s open to everyone – even f####### Gordon Ramsey….

Please don’t think it’s just for the really gifted bakers. It’s for every level of ability. Even my weapons grade cooking level.

I call today’s effort the ‘maybe my chocolate swirl idea needs refining a tad’ Sponge Cake. Or as son called it “The Abominable Cake – I’m not eating that abomination”.

So even if you can’t bake – why don’t you have a go. Disasters are welcome here.

Please send a photo of your bake to the following e-mail address with the subject BAKE-OFF:

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Apple Custard Pie

Many of the traditional Irish desserts are made with fruit.  These fruits come mostly from the orchards or people’s gardens, or even those that are found in the wild.  Puddings and custards are also very popular and are widely used in Irish desserts as well.  This dessert is a delicious blending of both.  Not so long ago, most of the traditional Irish recipes were passed down from one generation to the next orally, through their stories and shared family experiences.  The same basic recipe will vary from one family to the next, since every family always adds their own special secret ingredient to make a dish really stand out.  Luckily today, many of these treasured heirlooms are found in cookbooks everywhere.  This was our St. Patrick’s Day dessert, served along with the rest of our traditional Irish fare.  An Irish Celebration


Apple Custard Pie



The Filling

4-5 apples, peeled and chopped

2/3 cup sugar

2 tsp ground cloves


The Crust

1 stick of butter, cold, cubed

2 TBSP sugar

1 1/2 cups flour

1 egg

1 tsp salt

5-6 TBSP heavy whipping cream


The Custard

1 egg

1 TBSP sugar

2/3 cup heavy whipping cream

1 tsp vanilla



Place the flour, butter, salt and sugar into the food processor and blend until it is crumbly.  Then add the egg and the cream and continue to blend until the dough forms into a ball.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before using.


Preheat the oven to 350* F


Cut the apples and mix together with the sugar and the cloves.


Roll out your dough on a lightly floured surface and fit it into a tart pan, then press it firmly into the pan.  Add the filling and spread evenly.   Cut the remaining dough into thin strips and layer it across the top of the fruit mixture in a criss-cross.  Make an egg wash with one egg and a dash of cream and brush the crust and the edges of the tart with the egg wash.  Place the tart into the oven to bake for about 30 minutes, or until the apples are almost done.  Then remove the pie and add the custard filling by pouring it into the open areas of the tart, making sure to evenly distribute the liquid to cover the whole tart.  Place the tart back into the oven and continue to bake for another 30-40 minutes, or until the dough is lightly golden and the liquid has set.



Once the pie is done, let it cool for at least 30 minutes or so before cutting it.  It is best when served warm, with a bit of ice cream on the side.







Roasted Pepper and Onion Tart

Though roasted peppers have not always played a prominent role in Irish cooking, onions certainly do and have always been a staple to the foods of Ireland.  With foods from around the world now readily available to most restaurants and locations, it is no surprise that more and more non-traditional foods are being introduced and featured along with the traditional foods everywhere.  Ireland is certainly no exception to experimenting with new foods and new taste combinations, and like chefs everywhere, new creations abound.   This roasted pepper and onion tart is one such creation that is served regularly at Lovin Catering, in Dublin.  I found this delicious recipe in one of my old Irish cookbooks while I was planning my St. Paddy’s Day feast.  An Irish Celebration  I was a bit surprised to find a recipe with roasted peppers in an Irish cookbook, but pleasantly so.

Lovin Catering, as it is now known, was formerly called The Gallic Kitchen.  It was bought out from the original owner by the former manager of the Gallic Kitchen, Kevin Doyle and his wife Natasha, in 2014.  It is a gourmet cottage that offers “sophisticated yet simple food”, located in the town of Abbeyleix, Dublin.  Their motto is that they serve “good, honest food from scratch with a diverse menu that offers something for everyone”.  Though I’ve never been to Ireland, and therefore have never been to Lovin Catering, based on this recipe alone, I know I will just love it when I do get a chance to visit.

This tart is delicious, warm comfort food.   I could eat this everyday and be a very happy camper.


Roasted Pepper and Onion Tart

IMG_5783 (2)

1 red bell pepper, roasted, with skin and seeds removed

1 yellow or orange pepper, roasted, with skin and seeds removed Roasting Peppers

2 TBSP olive oil

1 onion, sliced thick

dash of sugar

basic dough Chicken Pot Pie

1/4 fresh basil, chopped

2/3 cup heavy whipping cream

2 eggs

salt & pepper to taste

(the butter was for my dough)


Preheat the oven to 400* F


While the peppers are resting, slice and cook the onion in olive oil with the sugar, until the onions are soft and translucent.  Once the peppers have cooled, remove the skins and the seeds and slice into thick strips.  Mix the onions with the peppers.


Roll out the dough to fit your tart pan and press it firmly into the pan.  Add the pepper and onion mixture to the dough, making sure to spread it evenly overt the dough.  Combine the eggs, cream salt & pepper and basil and mix well.  Then carefully pour the egg mixture over the peppers and onions, making sure to evenly cover the vegetables.  Bake uncovered for about 30-40 minutes, or until the crust is lightly golden and the egg mixture is completely set and does not jiggle when moved.


The finished tart is a delectable treat to be enjoyed either on its own or as a compliment to your meal.





What Will You Bake?

Let the Baking Begin …… I can’t wait to see all the fabulous cakes coming our way for the Great Bloggers’ Bake-Off.

Crushed Caramel (Learner at love)

Have you decided what you will bake?

The challenge is to bake a sandwich sponge cake for…


  • Your cake must have at least two layers
  • Your sponge cakes can be any flavour and any colour
  • You can fill you sandwich cake with any filling you like
  • We would like you to decorate the top of your cake

Please send a photo of your bake to the following e-mail address with the subject BAKE-OFF:

We can’t wait to see your bakes! If you are not sure what to bake, to give you some inspiration, here are a few ideas.

The first is an amazing cake from our GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFF judge A Jeanne in the Kitchen. There is a link below to Jeanne’s post with a step by step guide as to how she made this beautiful cake “cassata alla siciliana” (italian mascarpone cake with toasted almonds).




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So Now You Know The Challenge

All bakers are welcome, from the novice to the advanced pastry chef. Show us all your baked goods and tell us your stories. It’s going to be a fun, fun day.

Crushed Caramel (Learner at love)

So once you have baked…

…what do we need you to do next?


The challenge for


is to make a sandwich sponge cake

  • Your cake must have at least two layers
  • Your sponge cakes can be any flavour and any colour
  • You can fill you sandwich cake with any filling you like
  • We would like you to decorate the top of your cake

coffee and nut cake

Please send a photo of your cake so it can be featured in the The Great Bloggers’ Bake-Off Round-Up

disasterOur special judge A Jeanne in the Kitchen would love to see your bakes. Even if they are ghastly – please send them in – we would still really love to see them. Please have fun. It’s not so much a competition but a great day of fun for bloggers to get involved in. Baking disasters will only add to the fun! It’s all up to Jeanne to…

View original post 102 more words