Veal and Chorizo Sausage Roll

Veal and Chorizo Sausage Rolls

A long time ago, in (what feels like) a galaxy far, far away, I was a designer for a hospitality group in Sydney. My favourite venue was Gazebo Wine Garden in Elizabeth Bay. I loved the vibe and almost everything on the menu was phenomenal. There were a few dishes that I have always wanted to try my hand at recreating, even now more than 10 years later. One of them is this Veal and Chorizo sausage roll. It was the perfect little snack to nibble while you caught up with your girlfriends over a glass of wine or a jug of fancy sangria in the wine garden… and Foxy the Fox perched on the ceiling (if you know, you know.)

It’s probably not Sydney’s most famous sausage roll – I think Bourke Street Bakery still holds that honour – but it was my personal favourite. And this is coming from a girl who spent her entire childhood iffy about sausage rolls. Until I tried these two elevated sausage rolls, I would always avoid them at birthday parties or bakeries. I never ordered from the school canteen and avoided them at football matches. As with most things in life, homemade is sooo much better than low-quality frozen supermarket versions!

Veal and Chorizo Sausage Rolls

So, what makes a great sausage roll?

  • The meat (obviously): Questionable sausage mince and low quality ingredients are a hard ‘no’ from me. But when you make your own sausage roll, you can use pure mince – beef, veal, pork, chicken, turkey or a combination of the above (veal and pork is awesome). You can even make a plant based meat-free or veggie version! You can also add other delicious additions flavour bombs like bacon or chorizo as I have. 
  • The flavourings: Here is where you can get really creative. You have a whole world of herbs, spices, pastes, sauces and more at your fingertips. I used some finely chopped onion that I cooked until caramelised and then cooled before adding to the mince. The mixture was also flavoured with thyme, garam masala, paprika, Worcestershire sauce and mustard. I love the flavours all together but feel free to experiment with your favourite flavours. Maybe fennel seeds, harissa paste or quince jam?

    Also, don’t forget to season generously with salt and pepper. And a little Tip: Take a teaspoon of the mixture and cook for a few minutes in a frypan. This allows you to test for flavour and seasoning before you roll them up to make sure you’re happy with the flavour!
Veal and Chorizo Sausage Rolls
  • The binding ingredients: My recipe uses an egg and some breadcrumbs to ensure that the mince mixture holds together well and isn’t crumbly inside the pastry casing. I’ve also seen recipes using cornflake crumbs or grated carrot, which could be delicious additions! Another tip: take your mince out of the fridge 15-30 minutes before you start, as cold meat will have a harder time binding together. And yes, you will need to get your hands dirty. Mixing with clean, wet hands is definitely the easiest way to combine all the filling ingredients!
  • The pastry: Puff pastry is the star here, giving you a golden, crispy and flaky exterior. This is not the time and place for any other kind of pastry! If you wanted to get really fancy, you could even make your own puff pastry! But honestly it’s very time consuming. Even though I love making things from scratch, I do keep frozen puff pastry on hand at all times. An all butter puff pastry will give you a more delicious result, but isn’t always available at my local supermarket.
  • The sauce: Tomato sauce or ketchup is usually the accompaniment of choice with a sausage roll. But I’m elevating that too and serving it with my delicious homemade Tomato and Chilli Jam. Honestly this combination is so good. The sweet and slightly spiced jam is the perfect match for a fancy sausage roll. You could also try a caramelised onion relish or a quality store-bought or homemade chutney too. 
Veal and Chorizo Sausage Rolls

I just loved how these Veal and Chorizo Sausage Rolls came out! They reminded me so much of the original Gazebo dish and all the memories that went with it. I love that they make a yummy lunch served with a salad, or you could cut them up into bite-size pieces to take to your next get together with friends. They are always a crowd pleaser, I promise.

The filling was so meaty and delicious and I loved the little bursts of smoky flavour that the chorizo gave. The tomato and chilli jam was the perfect sauce to serve alongside them. Honestly, this jam has become one of the most popular recipes ever in my 14 years of blogging! In fact I am almost out and will need to make another batch very soon! As always, I love a versatile recipe so feel free to adapt it to your liking and add different spices and flavourings!

Related Post: Ottolenghi’s Herb Pie

Veal and Chorizo Sausage Rolls

Veal and Chorizo Sausage Roll

This Veal and Chorizo Sausage Roll is a delicious lunch or finger food for your next party. It's easy to make and so much more delicious than store-bought!

Course Dinner, lunch, Snack
Keyword Australian, Pies & Tarts, Simple Dinners, Snack
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 20 bite-size sausage rolls

Ingredients

  • 500 g veal mince
  • 1-2 chorizo sausages, cut into 0.5cm squares
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme, fresh or dried
  • 3/4 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 sheets puff pastry
  • 1 egg, extra, whisked
  • Sesame seeds or poppyseeds, to garnish
  • Homemade Tomato & Chilli Jam, to serve

Instructions

  1. Remove the mince and chorizo from the fridge about 30 minutes before you plan to make the filling mixture.
  2. Cook the onion on a low heat in 1 tablespoon of olive oil or butter until browned and then set aside to cool.
  3. Place the mince and diced chorizo into a large bowl. Add the cooled onion, thyme, garam masala, paprika, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and egg. Mix to combine with clean, damp hands. When the mixture has come together, add in breadcrumbs and mix again until fully combined. Divide the mixture into 4.
  4. Cut each sheet of puff pastry in half and prepare 2 baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) if baking these straight away. Place a quarter of the veal and chorizo mixture onto the long side of the pastry and pat or roll into a sausage shape the length of the pastry. Roll to enclose and gently press the two sides of the pastry together. Place seam side down onto the baking tray. Repeat 3 more times to make 4 sausage rolls in total.
  5. You can store these, covered with plastic wrap in the fridge until you’re ready to bake. When ready, brush each sausage roll with some beaten egg and scatter with your choice of topping. I like sesame seeds and poppy seeds. You could also use fennel seeds or black sesame seeds.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the puff pastry is crispy and golden. Cut each sausage roll into 5 smaller rolls if desired and serve hot with homemade tomato and chilli jam.

Banana Biscoff Cheesecake Muffins

Banana Biscoff Cheesecake Muffins

After a little break from baking, I’m back today with these delicious Banana and Biscoff Cheesecake Muffins. Because is it even lockdown if you don’t make banana bread or something like it? I don’t think so. These muffins are so delicious! The banana muffin itself is pretty classic, but I’ve taken it up several notches with Biscoff Cheesecake filling AND icing. The whole family will love them and they’re easy to make too!

We are now into our 9th week of lockdown here in Sydney and it’s a weird time all round. The news gets more depressing every day with record cases and more restrictions. But at least we can get our hands on sugar and flour this time – unlike early last year – and for that I am so grateful.

Banana Biscoff Cheesecake Muffins

In fact, I think it is my daily gratitude practice that has really helped my mindset in lockdown and if you’re struggling, I strongly encourage you to try it. There are loads of studies and articles that show gratitude has very positive impacts on mental health and happiness. I have been journalling somewhat regularly for the last 3 years but I have put in 60+ consistent days in a row.

Whether you write down 3 things or 3 pages, there is always something to appreciate, no matter how crappy things seem. Whether it’s a warm sunny day, your pet asleep next to you, technology to video call your friends. Or even as simple as having a safe home during this lockdown. I still have tough days of course, but this little morning routine helps immensely.

Banana Biscoff Cheesecake Muffins

But back to the Banana Biscoff Cheesecake Muffins…

These are perfect if you…

  • Have a couple of spotty ripe bananas in the fruit bowl
  • Are missing grabbing a little treat at your local cafe while in lockdown
  • Love your banana bread on the decadent side – like with chocolate or sweetened ricotta and honey
  • Have some bored kids who need a baking project
  • Are newly obsessed with Biscoff, like where have you been my whole dang life?!

If you haven’t tried Biscoff yet, RUN do not walk. Or alternately, add it to your next click and collect grocery order (ahh lockdown life.) Biscoff is basically cookie butter, two words that sound magical together. Think spreadable speculoos cookies, which are deliciously spiced and remind me of Christmas. In the last few years, the brand has gained a huge mainstream following as the new trendy ingredient. Biscoff has popped up in fancy cafe desserts, and even inside limited edition Kit Kats and Krispy Kreme doughnuts, to name a few. The original Lotus cookies also make the best cheesecake crumb base ever.

Banana Biscoff Cheesecake Muffins

You probably have most of the ingredients for these muffins in your pantry already. You can use the Biscoff cheesecake as a filling, or as an icing, or as both as I have done. If you don’t have cream cheese or Biscoff on hand, you could honestly leave the icing off altogether and they would still be super delicious. I would also reduce the baking time slightly if leaving out the cheesecake filling. The banana muffins stand alone perfectly, or you could use this as a base recipe to add in other delicious ingredients. I recommend chocolate chunks, crushed walnuts or blueberries.

The muffin recipe is super simple and easy to make, even for kids who want to get involved. I went heavier on the cinnamon to mirror the spices in the Biscoff and it worked perfectly. The use of half caster sugar and half brown sugar creates a slightly lighter texture in my muffins, but also has that distinctive molasses taste that brown sugar gives. Brown sugar and banana which goes so well with banana. 

Banana Biscoff Cheesecake Muffins

I used 4 smaller very ripe bananas, however if yours are large I would use 3, or they will take longer to bake. This muffin recipe doesn’t need any special equipment or mixer. However I do find it easier to make the cheesecake filling using a hand mixer.

Another thing I loved about these Banana Biscoff Cheesecake Muffins was that they lasted really well. I stored them in an air-tight container and they were still fresh several days after I baked them. They really were the perfect little homemade treat with a cup of tea in the afternoon. Honestly, I’ll take these over something from the local cafe any day of the week. 

Related Post: Almost No Bake Cheesecake with Biscoff Crust

Banana Biscoff Cheesecake Muffins

Banana Biscoff Cheesecake Muffins

These Banana Biscoff Cheesecake Muffins take the banana muffin up several notches to something like you might find at your local cafe, but are still so easy to make at home!

Course Breakfast, Cake, Muffins & Cupcakes, Snack
Keyword Brunch, Cake, Cupcake, Snack
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3-4 ripe bananas mashed
  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour, or whole wheat, or a mixture of both
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 85 g butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoons milk or buttermilk

Biscoff Cheesecake Filling and Icing

  • 250 g cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup Biscoff, or more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Fresh banana, cut into slices, to serve

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F). Line a standard muffin pan with 10-12 cupcake liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk or sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, caster sugar and and cinnamon so that there are no lumps.
  3. In a Pyrex or glass jug or smaller bowl, mash the ripe bananas with a fork or potato masher. Add the melted butter, egg and milk or buttermilk and whisk to combine. Pour over the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  4. To make the Biscoff Cheesecake Filling and Icing, add the softened cream cheese and icing sugar to a bowl and whisk together with a hand mixer until combined. Add the Biscoff, cinnamon and vanilla and whisk until fully combined.
  5. Fill 10-12 cupcake liners about 1/2 full with the banana mixture, reserving about 1/4 of the mixture to top the filling. Add 1 teaspoon of the Biscoff Cheesecake filling to each, and then top with a little more muffin mixture, smoothing out to cover the cheesecake.
  6. Bake for about 30-40 minutes, rotating at the halfway point. The tops may sink in a little bit because of the filling. The tops should be evenly golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre of the muffin comes out clean.
  7. Cool in the muffin tin for about 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. When cooled, spoon or pipe the remainder of the Biscoff Cheesecake mixture evenly between the muffins and top with a slice or two of fresh banana.

Apple Miso Crumble with No Churn Salted Caramel Ice Cream

Apple Miso Crumble

Hello friends! Today we have a super classic winter dessert, with a little twist that just takes everything to a whole new level. I’m talking about the Miso in my Apple Miso Crumble, served with a (no churn) salted caramel ice cream. In this post, I was going to tell you about our apple picking adventure a few weeks back, which feels like years ago at this point. You see, Sydney is back in lockdown and time has lost any and all meaning. What day is it again?

It’s so strange to me that I have been living in my “new” house for a year this week! I moved from the Eastern suburbs with lovely harbour views to Western Sydney, practically the foot of the Blue Mountains. We spontaneously drove about 40 minutes to Bilpin for a quick Saturday morning apple picking adventure. I loved the winding mountain road and really feeling like being “in the country”. We saw trees with bright orange leaves, quaint houses and felt a chill in the air on a glorious winter day. This type of wholesome weekend activity just speaks to my soul. We also ate apple pie for lunch – highly recommended.

Apple Miso Crumble

Of course my brain went wild with recipe ideas for my apple haul. I barely have any apple recipes on my blog, which is a massive oversight on my part. They are a delicious and versatile ingredient for autumn and winter cooking, I guess I just get distracted by pears, quince and other winter fruit! But you can’t get more classic than an Apple Crumble.

I like to cook the apples in a saucepan until they are just softened prior to baking them with the crumble topping. This step isn’t necessary for soft fruits like berries but I really want perfectly cooked apples in my crumble, not crunchy undercooked ones. I like to add apple cider, brown sugar, lots of vanilla and the star ingredient, miso.

Apple Miso Crumble

You would be forgiven for thinking miso is more at home in a soup or marinade. Why on earth am I using it in a dessert? It’s actually the umami-ness that brings things into perfect balance. All miso is made with fermented soy beans, but different kinds (red, yellow, white, black) are fermented with different ratios of ingredients like barley and rice. White miso is the mildest and sweetest, as its fermented with a larger ratio of rice. It’s that flavour profile that I think can pair best in desserts. You should be able to find it in your local supermarket, Asian grocery or Harris Farm.

For me, it’s absolutely delicious with apples and caramel so that’s why I have used it in both the cooked apple AND the ice cream. You could definitely make just the Apple Miso Crumble and serve it with a quality store bought ice cream if you’re short on time. But for me, eating both together is just incredible. I will also say that the ice cream is absolutely magical with a homemade sticky date pudding too.

The crumble topping is my favourite one that I use all the time on everything from galette tarts to fruit mince pies. I doubled the quantity on this because you can’t have too much crumble. Again, it’s just a few standard pantry ingredients coming together, simply rubbed between your fingers to form those buttery clumps of deliciousness. It bakes up beautifully crunchy and golden with the apple miso mixture bubbling up from underneath. 

Apple Miso Crumble

If you’ve been reading for a while you’ll know how much I love No Churn ice cream. I can’t believe I ever used to make ice cream the hard way, separating eggs, making a custard, and remembering to freeze my ice cream maker bowl. If I’m being honest, my ice cream maker is sitting in the back of the cupboard collecting dust. My No Churn method is so simple and requires no special equipment and only 2 main ingredients + your flavour of choice. This time its miso and salted caramel sauce, stirred into the base mixture AND swirled in too. So good.

This Apple Miso Crumble was very special to me because we picked the apples ourselves and it was such a crowd pleaser. Y’know, before lockdown, when you could have people over. I can’t think of a more perfect dessert on a cozy evening at home, or any chilly winter night. I don’t know about you, but I could absolutely use some comfort food right now! 

Related Post: Mini Chai Poached Pear Cakes with Chai Creme Anglaise

Apple Miso Crumble

Apple Miso Crumble with No Churn Salted Caramel Ice Cream

This Apple Miso Crumble is such a great winter comfort food dessert and pairs perfectly with the homemade No Churn Salted Caramel Ice Cream.

Course Dessert
Keyword Apples, Autumn, Dessert, Winter
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 50 minutes
Freezing Time 12 hours
Total Time 13 hours 50 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

Salted Caramel Sauce

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 60 g salted butter
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon or whisky, optional

No Churn Salted Caramel Ice Cream

  • 600 ml thickened cream
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 40 g white miso

Miso Apples

  • 6 Pink Lady apples, peeled and sliced into 2cm slices
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 40 g white miso

Crumble

  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup plain flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 110 g butter

Instructions

  1. To make the salted caramel sauce, place the brown sugar, butter and cream into a medium saucepan and stir until combined and the butter has melted. Cook over a medium heat for 10-15 minutes until slightly thickened. Stir through salt and bourbon if using, and allow to cool to room temperature.
  2. To make the ice cream, whisk the thickened cream to soft peaks in a large bowl. In another medium bowl, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, white miso and half of the cooled caramel sauce.

  3. Fold 1/4 of the cream into the condensed milk mixture with a spatula until combined, and then add this mixture back into the bowl with whipped cream. Gently fold all together until fully incorporated.
  4. Place 1/3 of the mixture into a freezer safe container or loaf tin. Swirl in 1/3 of the remaining salted caramel sauce with a chopstick. Top with another layer of ice cream and swirled caramel and then repeat with one final layer of each. Freeze overnight.

  5. Preheat the oven to 180° (350°F).
  6. To make the miso apples, place the sliced apples into a saucepan with the brown sugar, apple cider, vanilla and white miso and stir to combine. Bring to a boil over medium heat and then reduce the heat to low. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until apples are softened and the liquid reduces. Place into a heatproof baking dish.

  7. To make the crumble, combine the sugar, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and butter. Rub butter into the mixture with your fingertips. Spread evenly over top of the apples.
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the crumble is golden and the apples are bubbling. Serve warm with Salted Caramel Ice Cream.

Creamy Calamansi Bars

Creamy Calamansi Bars

These Creamy Calamansi Bars are a burst of sweet and creamy citrus flavour on a melt-in-your-mouth buttery shortbread base. These bars are delicious as an afternoon treat or dessert, and would also be perfect for packing in your picnic basket. If you know me, you’ll know that this dessert is so up my alley. I love anything citrus flavoured and if there’s a lemon dessert on the menu, you bet I am ordering it.

But have you ever heard of Calamansi? 

They are a small citrus fruit that is most widely used in Filipino cooking, and can be found all over South East Asia. You’ll see it commonly used in marinades, fresh juices, and as a condiment or garnish. I think it’s probably the most delicious of all the citrus fruits – a little tart, a little sweet, and it has this incredible floral citrus scent that I wish I could wear as a perfume.

Creamy Calamansi Bars

I loved drinking glasses of refreshing calamansi and sour plum juice on steamy evenings at the hawker markets in Malaysia. In Manila, I squeezed fresh calamansi over grilled meats the way you’d squeeze lemon over fish and chips. My boyfriend’s mum made me a warm calamansi and honey drink when I had bronchitis – delicious and super high in Vitamin C. I also highly recommend a calamansi margarita! And you just wait until I finally share my calamansi and soy glazed Christmas ham later this year. I promise, it is epic.

When we moved house last year and I started my garden, I knew I must get a calamansi tree. In the last several months, it was magical to see my tree covered in flowers, and then so many tiny fruit. Their skin went from green to orange as they ripened. You often see them picked green when they have a more tart flavour. ho I let mine fully ripen and the taste was sweeter. The skin is so thin and delicate that zesting these little fruits was slightly challenging, but worth it for the amazing flavour it gives these bars. 

Creamy Calamansi Bars

I should have counted exactly how many fruits were needed to get 1 cup of fresh juice for this recipe but my guess is between 25-30. They are very small but absolutely packed with flavour! If you don’t have access to a calamansi tree (or a friendly Filipino neighbour who has one) try a blend of freshly squeezed orange or mandarin and lime juice (equal to 1 cup) to get a similar flavour. You could also try looking in your local Asian grocery, as I have occasionally seen them in the fresh produce section.

As a newbie gardener, it is so satisfying cooking with fruits and vegetables that I have grown in the garden. These Calamansi Bars are one of the most delicious things I’ve come up with so far. I also love that this recipe is versatile! I think any citrus juice and zest would work in place of the calamansi here. So when I have an abundance of Meyer lemons or limes from my trees (or if they are in season at the market) I could use them instead! 

Creamy Calamansi Bars

These Creamy Calamansi Bars have a crumbly shortbread base, from the famous Tartine Bakery lemon bars. It has just the right amount of buttery sweetness and the texture is sublime. A lot of other recipes use rice flour or cornflour to get that light crisp texture for the base. This one uses only plain flour and somehow manages stay light and crisp for several days after it was baked. The secret is to bake it just a tiny bit darker, which improves both the flavour and the texture. It also stands up structurally against the creamy topping.

The filling is a mixture of sweetened condensed milk, calamansi juice and zest, an egg and egg yolks and vanilla. I also added a little calamansi liqueur that was gifted to me from friends in Manila. If you don’t have this, you could leave it out or use Cointreau or another citrus infused liqueur instead. All the ingredients are simply whisked together and poured over the prepared shortbread crust. It is baked until just set in the oven and then refrigerated. Make sure the bars are completely cooled and set before you cut them up. 

Creamy Calamansi Bars

If you wanted to get fancy, you could make or buy mini meringue kisses or crumble on top. Candied or dehydrated calamansi slices would also be lovely to garnish. Even a simple dusting of icing sugar takes these to the next level. I made this in a square tin and served it in bars. For a different presentation, you could also make this in a fluted tart tin and serve it in slices. I think this would make it look really pretty and more like a fancy dessert.

One final note on these before I get to what you’re all waiting for – the recipe, of course! Every single one of my friends and family who tried these Calamansi Bars absolutely loved them, whether they were familiar with the flavour of calamansi or not. I hope that if you come across these delicious citrus fruits that you’ll try this delicious recipe!

Related Post: Blueberry Loaf Cake with Lemon and Thyme Glaze

Creamy Calamansi Bars

Creamy Calamansi Bars

These Creamy Calamansi Bars are a burst of sweet and creamy citrus flavour on a melt-in-your-mouth buttery shortbread base. These bars are delicious as an afternoon treat or dessert, and would also be perfect for packing in your picnic basket.

Course Dessert
Keyword Bars, Dessert, Slices, Spring, Summer
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Chill in fridge 3 hours
Total Time 4 hours 25 minutes

Ingredients

Shortbread Base

  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 170 g unsalted butter, at room temperature

Creamy Calamansi Filling

  • 1 large egg, plus 2 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons calamansi zest
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed calamansi juice
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon Calamansi liqueur or Cointreau
  • Big pinch of salt
  • Icing sugar, mini meringue kisses, fresh, candied or dehydrated calamansi slices, to serve

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°F (350°F) and line a 21 x 21cm (8 inch) square baking tin with non-stick baking paper.
  2. To make the shortbread crust, sift the icing sugar and flour into a bowl and beat in butter on a low speed with a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer until a smooth dough forms. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking tin.
  3. Press evenly into the bottom and sides of the pan. Use the back of a spoon or the flat bottom of a jar to press down firmly and evenly. Line the crust with a sheet of non-stick baking paper and fill with pie weights. Bake for 25-35 minutes until it is an even deep golden brown, making sure to rotate the pan after about 15 minutes to ensure it bakes evenly.

  4. While the crust is baking, make the filling. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and egg yolks together. Add the calamansi zest and juice, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, liqueur if using and salt and whisk until fully combined.
  5. Pour the mixture over the cooked shortbread crust and return to the oven for 15-20 minutes or until just set. Allow to cool in the pan for at least 30 minutes and then place in the fridge to cool completely, for at least 2 hours but preferably overnight.
  6. Cut evenly into bars and serve with a generous dusting of icing sugar, or mini meringue kisses, fresh, candied or dehydrated calamansi slices. Keep refrigerated to up to 4 days but garnish just before serving.

Apple Crumble Cider Punch

Apple Crumble Cider Punch

Happy weekend folks! I’m popping in on this sunny Sunday to share your new favourite drink – Apple Crumble Cider Punch. Yes, it is definitely as delicious as it sounds. I really wanted to make a pitcher cocktail with autumn vibes – think cider, spices and seasonal fruit. However because it’s served icy cold, you can enjoy this with friends at any time of year. It has the flavours of one of my favourite winter desserts – the classic apple crumble – but in boozy liquid form. Yes please!

The thing I love the most about pitcher cocktails is that they are so nice to share with friends. In fact, it was a favourite activity to catch up with the girls over several jugs of Rosé Sangria or Pimm’s at The Winery back in the day. There is really nothing better on a sunny afternoon.

If you’re entertaining at home, shared style pitcher or punch bowl drinks are so much easier than having to play bartender all night! Your guests can help themselves, and can be mostly put together in advance, which actually allows the flavours to meld together before you serve it and taste even more delicious. 

Apple Crumble Cider Punch

This recipe is also super adaptable with ingredients and even the quantities. I really just winged the amounts of everything the first time I made this and it was perfect. You really can’t go wrong if you use flavours that you like and adjust everything to taste. Do you love bourbon? Double it, why not! If you like a sweeter drink, add a tablespoon of coconut sugar. Not a drinker? You could easily make this booze free with non-alcoholic cider. I’ve listed all the ingredients I used in my version, and also some ideas for substitutions below. 

Here is what you’ll need to make Apple Crumble Cider Punch

Cider: The star of the show is the Apple Crumble Infused Cider from New Zealand brewer Zeffer. They sustainably produce delicious cider showcasing the best New Zealand ingredients. It tastes exactly like the name suggests – warming and semi-sweet made with locally grown apples, real vanilla beans and cinnamon sticks. I cannot wait to use this in a dessert, but in the meantime it’s absolutely perfect in this sangria. I found it at Dan Murphy’s but if it’s not available where you live, substitute your favourite alcoholic apple cider. If you’re more of a pear cider fan, that would be super delicious too. Definitely feel free to make a mocktail version with non-alcoholic cider if you don’t drink – I think it would also be phenomenal. 

Apple Crumble Cider Punch

Spirits: I also added a little bourbon for a warming boozy kick. We all know that bourbon is delicious with apples. I think spiced rum, apple brandy or whiskey or even Pimm’s could also be fantastic. This recipe is really adaptable and forgiving, so you can add as much or as little of your chosen spirit as you like, or leave it out completely.

Spices: This punch has cinnamon sticks and star anise – the same kind of warming spices that you’d typically add to a hot mulled cider. If I have the time, I like to let it sit in the fridge for an hour or two before I add the ice and ginger beer to really get the flavour from these spices into the drink. I also added a couple of leaves from my pineapple sage plant. Have you ever smelled this delicious herb? It’s incredible and we love adding it to iced tea. If you don’t have this, you can certainly substitute with fresh mint or lemon balm leaves, or a sprig of rosemary or thyme. 

Fruit: You’ve got to have apples, of course! I used a thinly sliced Pink Lady apple from our apple picking adventure in Bilpin (more on that soon!) I also chose pomegranate arils because they are in season right now and they look so beautiful in the drink. You could also use fresh or frozen cranberries, or maybe even raspberries or blackberries. Anything that will give you a nice colour contrast and goes well with apples should work. Some orange or lemon slices would be lovely as well.

Ginger Beer: I love topping up cocktails with Bundaberg ginger beer because I love the flavour and slight fizz. To me, it mellows out the strong flavour of the cider and bourbon perfectly. Other options you could try are ginger ale, soda water, kombucha, sparkling apple juice or prosecco. 

And there you have it, my Apple Crumble Cider Punch is the perfect drink for your next get together with friends. I also made a little Reel on Instagram with the process of making this drink. As you can see, it’s really as simple as adding everything to a large jug and giving it a stir! We all absolutely loved sipping this around our first backyard bonfire of the season and I’m sure I’ll be making it again soon. 

Related Post: Apple Pie Pimm’s

Apple Crumble Cider Punch

Apple Crumble Cider Punch

This Apple Crumble Cider Punch has the flavours of the classic apple crumble, but in cocktail form! This Pitcher cocktail has winter vibes – think cider, spices and seasonal fruit. However because it’s served icy cold, you can enjoy this with friends at any time of year.

Course Cocktails, Drinks
Keyword Autumn, Cocktails, Drinks, Winter
Prep Time 10 minutes
Resting time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1 apple, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate arils
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 30-60 ml bourbon (I used Maker’s Mark)
  • 2 x 330ml cans Zeffer Apple Crumble Infused Cider (or your favourite alcoholic cider)
  • Ice cubes
  • 4-8 leaves fresh pineapple sage or mint
  • 750 ml Ginger beer, to top up (I used Bundaberg)

Instructions

  1. Add the sliced apple, pomegranate, star anise, cinnamon sticks, bourbon and apple cider to a large pitcher and stir to combine. If you have time, you can place in the fridge for up to 2 hours to allow the flavours to meld together.
  2. When ready to serve, add the ice, herbs if using and then top up with the bottle of ginger beer. Stir once more and taste. You can add a little more bourbon if you like it stronger or stir in a tablespoon of brown or coconut sugar if you want a little more sweetness.

One Pot Chunky Chicken Risoni Soup

Chunky Chicken Risoni Soup

During last year’s first lockdown when there were grocery shortages aplenty, I was really surprised that there was always Orzo in stock. Here in Australia, it’s usually called Risoni, but it’s the same short cut pasta, the size and shape of a large grain of rice. The entire pasta aisle was wiped bare except for boxes and packets of risoni on the top shelf. It honestly made me a little sad to see that this little pasta shape seemed to be so unloved! I find it to be a really versatile ingredient to always have on hand in the pantry. This Chunky Chicken Risoni Soup is one a one pot wonder, and one of my absolute favourite things to make with it.

It blows my mind that Spicyicecream is turning 14 this year – and this recipe was originally shared all the way back in December 2007. I actually remember the day I made this very clearly. It was a humid summer day that ended with a spectacularly dramatic thunderstorm. I could smell the rain in the air as I looked out the window of our tiny old kitchen (pre-renovation!) and carefully chopped vegetables. The dish turned out even more delicious than we expected and I’ve been making it ever since!

Chunky Chicken Vegetable Orzo Soup

Since I probably only had 3 blog readers back then and the photos were definitely terrible, I wanted to re-shoot and re-share it again. I actually love re-sharing my very early blog recipes (like this Creamy Chicken Pesto Pasta) because you just know that if I still cook it and genuinely love it after 10 or more years, it’s a winner. By this point I have also most likely made every substitution and taken every shortcut under the sun! These are the recipes that my family request all the time. Or that I pull out of the repertoire when I need a recipe I know by heart and am 1000% confident will work.

If we’re being honest, it’s a bit of a stretch to call this soup. It’s more like the love child of minestrone and risotto. Picture a more ‘juicy’ risotto with orzo/risoni instead of aborio rice. You can literally eat it with a fork! But nonetheless, this Chicken Risoni Soup has become a family favourite and one of my most-loved comfort food dishes. Everyone I have ever made it for has absolutely loved it. This soup is chunky, hearty and filling but still feels fresh with lots of vegetables that bring colour and texture. It is somehow perfect any time of year.

Chunky Chicken Risoni Orzo Soup

My best tips for Chunky Chicken Risoni Soup…

  • Prep all of your ingredients first. I’m usually a bit impatient and start cooking and chopping simultaneously but it really helps to be organised with this one and prep everything first. The chopping is the most hands-on time consuming part of this recipe and once that is out of the way, the rest comes together really easily.
  • There are loads of substitution options! If you want to change it up from chicken and bacon, you could also try chorizo or another kind of spicy sausage. Prawns or scallops could also be a delicious addition. If you’re making this vegetarian, double down on the beans and vegetables! Leeks, mushrooms or cherry tomatoes would be awesome and even frozen veg in a pinch, which I always have on hand.
Chunky Chicken Risoni Soup
  • This recipe serves 6, which is great for a family, however if you don’t want to eat leftovers for days, I would recommend halving the recipe or just making it until step 4, then cooling and freezing it. When you defrost it another day, just continue with the recipe as written, adding the risoni, beans and zucchini. This way, you have a quick dinner for next time as the most time consuming part of finely dicing your vegetables is already done!
  • To make this more like a traditional ‘soup’ you can use half the amount of risoni, substitute with another small soup pasta, or leave it out entirely. 
  • This is a one pot wonder! I love this recipe because even though there is a fair bit of vegetable chopping, there is barely any washing up because it all comes together in a one pot. You will need to use a large pot with a lid. My 3.7L dutch oven works perfectly.
  • I love to use homemade chicken stock that I make in big batches every few months and keep in the freezer. I also save the carrot tops/peels, onion and garlic skins, celery leaves and other vegetable scraps and chicken off cuts in a bag in the freezer. When the bag is full, I make another bag of chicken stock. It’s the circleeee of liiiiiifeeeee…
Chunky Chicken Orzo Soup

A note on leftovers.

What I like even more about this Chicken Risoni Soup is the leftovers. The next day, the pasta has soaked up the rest of the liquid and the texture is more like a risotto. I actually love a dish with built in leftovers, so to speak, and I don’t mind that the dish ‘changes’ by the next day. It reheats and transports really well, if you’re taking lunch to work. Don’t forget to add some parmesan, fresh herbs and a crack of black pepper on top. But if you don’t love the new texture, you could reheat it in a small pot and add a little extra chicken stock and that should get you roughly back to where you started last night.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do. If you try it, please give it a rating below or share a photo on Instagram and tag me @spicyicecream. It really makes my day to see you guys trying out my recipes!

Related Post: One Pot Moroccan Chicken

Chunky Chicken Vegetable Orzo Soup

One Pot Chunky Chicken Risoni Soup

This Chunky Chicken Risoni Soup is like the love child of a minestrone and a risotto. It's hearty, chunky, delicious and perfect for any time of year. Even better it all comes together in one pot for minimal washing up!

Course Dinner, Soup
Keyword Autumn, Chicken, Simple Dinners, Soup, Winter
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 6 people

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 slices shortcut bacon, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 3 chicken breasts, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup small pasta such as risoni
  • 1 large zucchini, diced
  • 1 x 400g can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 50 g baby spinach leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsely finely chopped
  • Finely grated parmesan and fresh crusty bread, to serve

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium-high heat, add bacon and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally
  2. Add onion, carrot and celery and cook until slightly softened.
  3. Add chicken and garlic and continue to stir until chicken becomes opaque.
  4. Add wine, tomato and chicken stock, and season to taste with salt and cracked black pepper. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Add the risoni, zucchini and cannellini beans and stir to combine. Increase the heat again to medium high and cook for 10-12 minutes, or until the risoni is al dente.
  6. Remove from the heat and stir in spinach and fresh parsley
  7. Ladle into bowls and serve immediately with parmesan cheese, more cracked black pepper and crusty bread.

Mini Chai Poached Pear Cakes with Chai Creme Anglaise

Chai Poached Pear Cakes with Chai Creme Anglaise

Autumn and the transition of the seasons always makes me want to get into the kitchen to cook and bake. I don’t even mind washing up if it means I can warm up my perpetually cold hands! There’s absolutely nothing better than the warming spices in a cup of chai on a cold afternoon. I seem to have a habit of posting Chai recipes in Autumn, like this Chai, Fig & Almond Biscotti from last year. This time around I have created cute Mini Chai Poached Pear Cakes with Chai Creme Anglaise.

I was thrilled that Chai Walli recently gifted me some beautiful products to experiment with in a recipe. This was music to my ears as there is almost nothing I love more than using tea in cooking. I find it to be one of the most delicious and versatile ingredients that can be used in many ways (as you will see in today’s delicious recipe).

Chai Walli Chai Tea ingredients + packaging

Chai Walli is an award-winning Australian tea company who sell the most authentic chai on the market! I love that their blends are derived from Ayurvedic recipes and made using whole spices. I was immediately drawn to the 11 Spice Chai, which smells and tastes incredible. It is complex in flavour and so beautifully balanced. I’m not surprised to learn it is a best seller!

In addition to organic black tea from the Assam Valley in India, it includes fennel, mace, aniseed, rose, rooibos and ajwain. Plus the usual suspects of green cardamon, Ceylon cinnamon, clove, star anise and ginger. Yes, I did have to google Ajwain, an ingredient I had never heard of before. I learned that it’s a spice and traditional Ayurvedic ingredient that has a flavour profile similar to anise and oregano, and has many medicinal benefits. The addition of the rose petals and fennel makes this one of the prettiest teas I’ve ever seen!

Chai Poached Pear Cakes with Chai Creme Anglaise

Today’s recipe is a beautiful autumn dessert that sees tender tea-poached pears enveloped in a generously spiced cake batter. The final flourish is lashings of a creamy chai-infused creme anglaise. There’s chai in every element, used in three different ways. I really wanted to show how versatile an ingredient it is and the variety of ways it can be used to add a delicious flavour to your desserts.

Firstly, in the liquid for the Chai Poached Pears. Essentially the pears are poached in a sweet tea, which gives them such a beautiful flavour. I’m always a fan of cooked pears over raw and poached is one of my favourite ways to enjoy them. The pears are so delicious that you can eat them on their own and not even bother with the rest of the components of this dessert! Poached pears make a fantastic simple and classic dessert, however I also love eating them for breakfast on my porridge in winter!

Chai Poached Pear Cakes with Chai Creme Anglaise

Next up, I ground some tea in my Nutribullet to use in the cakes. I have done this before with Earl Grey to add to desserts but had not tried it with chai before. This chai blend is so flavoursome that no other spices are needed! I decided to make mini cakes because I thought they would look so cute with the pear stem sticking out of the top. I used 10 cm (4 inch) springform pans and this batter made 3 small cakes. If I was making this again I would add a make 4 slightly smaller cakes as I had 4 chai poached pears and these cakes were a little large for a single-serve dessert.

Chai Poached Pear Cakes with Chai Creme Anglaise

Lastly, I infused more chai into the milk/cream mixture for my creme anglaise. This smooth and creamy custard is the perfect accompaniment for this beautiful dessert. In fact I can think of a dozen other recipes it would be perfect with, from apple crumble to sticky date pudding. The 11 Spice Chai blend has so much flavour, I actually needed to use less than I expected to achieve the perfect flavour in each element. This creme anglaise can be served warm or chilled and you can also make this element ahead of time and refrigerate for up to 3 days. 

Thank you again to Chai Walli for gifting me your beautiful product. We all loved this dessert and also brewing up a warm cup of chai with soy milk in the afternoon. I followed the directions on the back of the packet to make the perfect cup of tea! Full disclosure, I was sent this product for free but I was not paid to share my thoughts, and all opinions are my own. I really truly loved using it in this recipe and look forward to using it in more recipes in the future!

Chai Poached Pear Cakes with Chai Creme Anglaise

Mini Chai Poached Pear Cakes with Chai Creme Anglaise

These beautiful Mini Chai Poached Pear Cakes with Chai Creme Anglaise use Chai Walli 11 Spice Chai in every element and are perfect for this lovely autumn weather!

Course Dessert
Keyword Autumn, Cake, Winter
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 4 mini cakes

Ingredients

Chai Creme Anglaise

  • 2 tablespoons Chai Walli 11 Spice Chai, or your favourite loose leaf Chai
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 250 ml milk
  • 250 ml pouring cream
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 60 g caster sugar

Chai Poached Pears

  • 4 small pears, peeled
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 heaped tablespoon Chai Walli 11 Spice Chai, or your favourite loose leaf Chai
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste

Mini Chai Cakes

  • 2 tablespoons Chai Walli 11 Spice Chai, or your favourite loose leaf Chai
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/3 cups plain flour
  • 75 g butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/3 cup milk

Instructions

  1. First, make the poached pears. Add the water, sugar, chai and vanilla to a small saucepan and bring to a the boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the pears. Cook, partially covered for about 20-30 minutes, turning them occasionally to cook evenly. The pears should be just tender and may take a little longer if they are larger. Allow the pears to cool in the syrup and scoop them out with a slotted spoon.
  2. To make the Creme Anglaise, place the milk, cream, chai and vanilla in a saucepan and bring almost to the boil. Remove from the heat and allow to infuse for 30 minutes. Strain the tea so just the liquid remains and return to the saucepan and rewarm. Lightly whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl. Whisk the chai hot milk mixture into the egg mixture, and return to the saucepan.
  3. Using a wooden spoon, stir constantly until the custard thickens and coats the back of the spoon. Do not let it boil. Strain again through a fine sieve, allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until cold. Crème anglaise will keep refrigerated for up to 3 days. To serve warm, gently reheat in a saucepan over low heat.
  4. To make the Mini Chai Cakes, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and lightly grease 4 x 10 cm (4 inch) springform cake tins with some butter or non-stick spray. In a Nutribullet with the milling blade or a spice grinder, grind the chai to a fine powder and set aside. We will use about 3 teaspoons for this recipe.
  5. In a medium bowl, with a hand-mixer (or in the bowl of a stand mixer) beat the eggs and brown sugar together in a bowl until pale and thick. Sift the baking powder, flour and 2-4 teaspoons of ground chai. I started with 2 teaspoons but added a little more to taste. Beat until just combined. Add the melted butter and milk and gently combine all ingredients.
  6. Divide evenly between 4 prepared mini cake tins and gently push a cooled poached pear into the middle of each. Place the mini cake tins onto a baking tray and cook for 40-45 minutes or until a skewer inserted near the centre comes out clean. Remove cake pans from the oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before removing from the cake tins.
  7. Serve the mini cakes warm or at room temperature with the Chai Creme Anglaise.

No Knead Hot Cross Buns

No Knead Hot Cross Buns

I love baking, but I don’t often make my own Hot Cross Buns at Easter time. I honestly prefer making Cinnamon Rolls or even this Hot Cross Bun Pull Apart Bread… but I think that is all about to change because I’ve stumbled across the holy grail of recipes – No Knead Hot Cross Buns

This is exactly as the name suggests – a recipe that requires no stand mixer, hand mixer, special equipment or any kneading at all!

This recipe makes a traditional hot cross bun that is just like you’d get at a bakery. Fluffy, golden and generously spiced and studded with lots of sultanas. Plus it’s really easy, with very little hands on time. As with most No Knead recipes, it has a long, slow proofing time. In the past I was always unsure whether I was under-kneading or over-kneading and the results were not as light and fluffy as this batch.

No Knead Hot Cross Buns

The best part about making your own hot cross buns, is that you can choose whatever flavours you like! I love a traditional version but this recipe is quite adaptable.

  • Sultanas – my personal favourite and a must-have in a traditional hot cross bun. I have increased the amount from the original recipe. You could also try a version with your favourite dried fruit – cranberries, chopped dates, figs, dried apples or peaches. 
  • Mixed Peel – usually a combination of orange and lemon peel from a packet, which can sometimes be a little bitter and has a very distinctive taste. I think you either love it or hate it…
  • Fresh Citrus Zest – I’d much rather use a little fresh orange zest in my cooking, however lemon or mandarin zest would also be delicious!
  • Mixed Spice – a store-bought Mixed Spice usually contains cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg. Sometimes I use a Chinese Five Spice instead (like in my Fruit Mince Pies) as I think the addition of ginger, star anise, clove and black pepper can give a lovely complex flavour.
  • Earl Grey – It might sound strange but bear with me here. The first time I made these hot cross buns I infused the milk with 2 teaspoons of earl grey tea and added an additional 3 teaspoons of powdered tea to the dough. It was very nice but had quite a subtle flavour. Perhaps next year I will try and perfect the recipe! I used my Nutribullet with the milling blade attached to grind the tea.
  • Chocolate Chips – lots of modern recipes replace the fruit with chocolate chips! Super tasty if you’re eating them fresh, but I really hate chocolate melting and burning in the toaster!
No Knead Hot Cross Buns

The day before you want to serve your No Knead Hot Cross Buns, make the dough. It’s really a matter of mixing the ingredients together to form a sticky, shaggy dough. Cover and leave it for an hour and them give it a few folds. To do this, you’ll use your wet hands or a spatula to scoop the dough and fold it to the other side of the bowl. Then turn the bowl 90 degrees and do it again so you’ve done four folds. Repeat this again after another hour. Then the bowl will go into the fridge (or room temperature if it’s cool where you live) overnight or for up to 24 hours. 

The following day, add the sultanas. This can be a little tricky, so I like to bring the dough out of the fridge about an hour beforehand. I had to very gently knead the dough to evenly incorporate the fruit. Next time I might try adding sultanas in when mixing the dough and seeing if there is any difference as this step is a bit annoying! The dough is shaped into round balls, and allowed to prove again until the buns have doubled in size. This recipe uses an egg wash pre-baking, instead of a glaze brushed onto the warm buns.

No Knead Hot Cross Buns

Another thing that is a little different to recipes I’ve tried in the past is that the crosses are made with a mixture of flour and milk, instead of flour and water. I had to play around with the consistency to get it perfect to pipe. And even then, I am not so good at making perfect crosses on my buns! But I think when you are making them from scratch, it’s nice when they look a little rustic.

I decided to bake mine in a round cast iron pan but you can definitely use a square or rectangular cake dish. They smell so incredibly good as they’re baking but try not to tuck into them straight out of the oven. They continue cooking as they cool, so for the best texture it’s important to wait, or they might seem doughy inside. Be patient, it’s totally worth it!

No Knead Hot Cross Buns

I was super happy with how these No Knead Hot Cross Buns turned out and I’m looking forward to experimenting more with this recipe (which I originally found in Olive Magazine) in future years. I’m making one more batch this weekend to share with my parents. I love that I can make the dough the day before and then pop them in the oven in the morning for a delicious Easter breakfast. 

I loved how light and fluffy they were, with a good hit of spice and a generous amount of fruit. They tasted best fresh on the day they were made, but they are also delicious toasted and slathered with lots of butter. If you have any leftover, you could also try making my Baked French Toast using them! It would be soooo delicious!

No Knead Hot Cross Buns
No Knead Hot Cross Buns
5 from 1 vote
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No Knead Hot Cross Buns

No Knead Hot Cross Buns – a delicious fluffy Easter bun full of fruit and spices, that requires no stand mixer, hand mixer, special equipment or any kneading at all!

Course Brunch, Dessert
Keyword Bread & Yeast, Breakfast, Brunch, Easter
Prep Time 1 day
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 12

Ingredients

Hot Cross Bun Dough

  • 525 g plain flour, plus extra for shaping
  • 75 g brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons mixed spice
  • 7 g instant dried yeast
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 150 g butter, melted and cooled
  • 200 ml milk, room temperature or slightly warmed
  • 3 eggs
  • 200 g sultanas
  • 1 egg, extra for egg wash, whisked lightly

Crosses

  • 3 tablespoons plain flour
  • 3 tablespoons milk

Instructions

  1. The day before you want to bake your Hot Cross Buns, place the flour, brown sugar, mixed spice, salt and yeast into a large bowl and stir until combined.
  2. Whisk the milk, butter and eggs together into a jug. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the mixture. Using a wooden spoon, mix together to form a shaggy dough, ensuring that all ingredients are mixed and there are no pockets of dry ingredients. Cover with a clean tea towel or plastic wrap and set aside for 1 hour.
  3. Use a wet hand or a large spatula to scoop up the dough from the side of the bowl, lifting and folding it over to the opposite side of the bowl. Rotate the bowl 90 degrees and repeat, doing this for all four sides of the bowl. Cover again and let rest for another hour. Repeat this 1-2 more times and then cover and chill overnight or for up to 24 hours.
  4. The next day, take the dough out of the fridge around an hour before you want to start. Scoop the dough out onto a floured bench top or work surface. Press flat and scatter over the sultanas, pressing gently into the dough and giving it a gentle knead for a minute or two. I like to fold it over a few times to secure the fruit and ensure it’s evenly distributed through the dough. Divide into 12 equal portions and form into round balls.
  5. Line a tray, or a round/square/rectangular cake pan with baking paper and place dough balls seam side down, around 2cm apart. Cover with a clean tea towel or plastic wrap and allow to rise for 1-2 hours until almost doubled in size. To test if they are ready to bake, gently press and if the dough springs back quickly and fully they need a little longer. If they spring back slowly, they’re ready to be baked.
  6. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F). Brush the tops of the buns with the beaten egg. To make the crosses, combine the milk and flour to form a thick paste. It should be a nice pipe-able consistency and not too runny or too thick. Scoop into a piping bag (or a zip lock with the tip cut off) and pipe each bun with a cross shape.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating half way, until the buns are golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool fully before serving. Serve fresh or toasted, slathered in lots of butter!

Crumbed Feta with Roasted Grapes and Honey

Crumbed Feta with Roasted Grapes and Honey

I had to dig out a cardigan the other night, so autumn must be on the way here in Sydney. This is actually my favourite time of year. I love going out for a walk when the morning air is crisp and cool, but warms up into a beautiful sunny day. Plus, I loooove cardigans. The change of seasons always brings me cooking inspiration and I’ve been happily brainstorming cool-weather comfort food dishes. I was very excited about one particular idea and couldn’t help but try it straight away – Crumbed Feta with Roasted Grapes and Honey.

I’ve made a lot of cheeseboards in my time. I love the process of putting them together and styling everything beautifully. Cheese, grapes and honey are staples and a delicious combination of flavours together, but this is a unique and totally delicious way to serve them. With this dish, I wanted to elevate your standard cheeseboard and give it a seasonal autumn twist. Just add a glass of wine!

Crumbed Feta with Roasted Grapes and Honey

Have you ever tried roasted grapes? 

Just like roasted strawberries, a little time in the oven turns red grapes into an even more delicious version of themselves. The flavour and sweetness gets super concentrated. Grapes are in season right now and super affordable so it’s the perfect time to give this recipe a try! I kept the grapes on the stalks for my photos (#aesthetics) but honestly it would be much easier to eat if they were removed before cooking!

Crumbed Feta with Roasted Grapes and Honey

Feta is such a versatile cheese to use in a wide variety of dishes. The whole internet has gone feta mad thanks to the viral TikTok pasta recipe! I love it crumbled over roasted carrots or in salads, but I had never tried crumbing and frying it before! The pan-fried crumb coating becomes golden and crisp, adding a lovely textural contrast. The cheese inside doesn’t melt, but becomes creamy and crumbly and is so delicious served warm.

The grapes and honey add sweetness that offsets the salty crumbed feta beautifully. The fresh thyme and oregano add a pop of contrasting colour and lovely flavour.

Crumbed Feta with Roasted Grapes and Honey

I served the feta as one big block, crumbed and fried until golden. You could also cut into smaller pieces. This will help to get a better crumb to cheese ratio and individual pieces might be better for a larger group. Just make sure to serve with crusty toasted bread or crackers! 

This Crumbed Feta is so quick and easy to prepare – like 20 minutes, tops – but really takes your cheeseboard to a whole new level. It’s also a great little vegetarian appetiser that can be adapted through the seasons all year. Think fresh cherry tomatoes or sliced peaches in summer with scattered basil and mint leaves. I’d also love to try a wintery version with roast pumpkin, sage and toasted pine nuts. You can also try it with olives, figs and pomegranate or any other flavour combination you dream up!

Related Post: Slow Cooked Lamb with Homemade Hummus

Crumbed Feta with Roasted Grapes and Honey

Crumbed Feta with Roasted Grapes and Honey

This Crumbed Feta is so easy and takes your autumn cheeseboard to a whole new level. The salty, crispy cheese goes perfectly with the sweet grapes and honey!

Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Keyword Autumn, Side Dish, Simple Dinners, Vegetarian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

Roasted Grapes

  • 1/2 bunch grapes, picked off the stalks
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • A few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 block Danish fetta
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs (panko or regular)
  • Big pinch flaky salt
  • 4-5 tablespoons olive oil
  • Honey, to serve
  • Fresh oregano and thyme, optional, to serve
  • Crusty bread, toasted to serve

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Place grapes in an even layer on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Scatter with salt, pepper and thyme leaves. Roast for 15-20 minutes until the grapes are softened and have released some juice.
  2. In the meantime, make the crumbed feta.
  3. Place the egg into a flat-bottomed bowl and whisk lightly. Add the breadcrumbs and a big pinch of salt to a second bowl. Dip the feta into the egg and then transfer to the second bowl. Press gently into the bread crumbs on all sides to evenly coat.
  4. Heat olive oil in a fry pan over medium heat. Cook the feta for about 3 minutes each front and back and then carefully turn to cook the other sides until golden brown.
  5. Transfer to a plate to serve. Place roasted grapes around and on top of the feta, spooning over the grape juices. Scatter with fresh oregano and thyme. Serve immediately with a good drizzling of honey and toasted bread.

Spiced Nectarine Chilli Chutney

Spiced Nectarine Chilli Chutney

I’m here today with a recipe that should definitely be the newest addition to all your future cheese boards – Spiced Nectarine Chilli Chutney! Jam is my jam, but I also love trying other kinds of preserving.

This recipe was born out of an abundance of homegrown chillies and my well-established love of summer stone fruit. I’ve been wanting to make chutney for a while now, and nectarine and chilli sounded like the perfect flavour combination to try. I love that sweet-tart chutney can take a boring sandwich or simple ham and cheese toastie to a whole other level.

So, what’s the difference between a jam and a chutney?

Honestly it gets a little tricky here and I’ve spent the last 30 minutes trying to work it out. 

Very basically, jam is a sweet preserve and chutney is more savoury. It’s sometimes spicy, and often (but not always) contains vegetables, plus vinegar and spices. I’ve seen chutney made with so many different ingredients – from mint, coriander, dates, coconut, onion and chillies to things like tart apple, rhubarb, quince, mango, eggplant, tomato, dried fruit and so many more. 

Spiced Nectarine Chilli Chutney

Chutney originated in India but soon spread around the world. It is a condiment used to complement a meal like a little flavour bomb. Some chutneys are traditionally made to pair with curries, but others go perfectly on sandwiches, or with cheese and cold meats.

This may be controversial, but when I think about the flavour profiles of a jam vs a fruit or vegetable based chutney, the difference is white sugar vs brown sugar. If I was making a nectarine jam vs a nectarine chutney, I would approach them quite differently. Even thought the base ingredient is the same, the supporting players would change and the end result would be very different. 

Even though my Tomato and Chilli Jam contains vinegar, the white sugar gives it an overall sweeter flavour profile. This nectarine chilli chutney has sweetness from the brown sugar, but to me feels more savoury with cider vinegar, onion and a lot of spices. Luckily, I don’t think there is such thing as the Chutney Police, and both are great with cheese! 

Spiced Nectarine Chilli Chutney

I like making small batches of jams and chutneys, using roughly a kilo of fruit at a time. This gives me around 2-3 jars of finished jam. To me this is much more manageable than having to spend a whole day canning and then sterilising and storing dozens of jars! And even better, each batch takes under an hour to cook! Making small batches also means I can try different flavour combinations more often. In-season fruit is usually very affordable, and lately I have been preserving the vegetables I am growing in my small backyard garden.

This chutney recipe is really easy to make and perfect for beginners. All the ingredients go into a saucepan and are stirred occasionally while they cook and thicken. That’s it! As always, I love a versatile recipe and this is definitely one of those. You can play around with the spices used, or add more or less chilli to your own personal taste. Just a quick note that the chilli was definitely more pronounced and spicy when it was hot and I was tasting for flavour than a few days later after it had been chilled. 

I think this Nectarine Chilli Chutney is absolutely perfect with a crumbly sharp cheddar and some fancy crackers. I’ve bought plenty of chutney in the past but now that I’ve tried home-made, I’m never going back! It’s going to be my new cheese board staple going into autumn, a delicious way to preserve one of my favourite summer fruits. 

Related Post: Roasted Spiced Plum Jam

Spiced Nectarine Chilli Chutney

Spiced Nectarine Chilli Chutney

I think this Spiced Nectarine Chilli Chutney is absolutely perfect with a crumbly sharp cheddar and some fancy crackers. It's going to be my new cheese board staple going into autumn, a delicious way to preserve one of my favourite summer fruits. 

Course Jams & Preserves
Keyword Chutney, Jam
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 900 g nectarines, stone removed and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 onion, finely sliced
  • 2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 6 kaffir lime leaves, very finely sliced
  • 2 hot chillies, finely sliced (add more or less to your taste)
  • Salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer for around 40-50 minutes, stirring occasionally. When it’s ready, the mixture will be thickened. Set aside for 10-15 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, sterilise 2-3 glass jars by washing the jars and lids in boiling water and then placing in a low oven (120°C/250°F) until completely dry. Place the warm jam into the jars and seal. Cool to room temperature and then store in the fridge.