Lemon Blueberry Cake

Yes, it’s an unusual combination in a cake – a moist lemon sponge with a special centre layer of juicy blueberries and topped with tart lemon icing. Perfect for afternoon tea. Don’t ask me about storage – I’ve never had one of these last long enough!

The image here is distorted in colour, if I can get one of these cakes to sit still long enough I’ll replace it!

Note: I use 20ml tablespoons, 5ml teaspoons and 250ml cups in all of my recipies.

Ingredients (serves 6)

125g butter
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
3 teaspoons grated lemon rind
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup lemon juice
100g blueberries
icing sugar plus extra lemon juice for glace icing

Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a 20cm ring pan and line the base with non-stick baking paper.

Use an electric beater to beat 125g butter and 3/4 cup caster sugar until pale and creamy.

Beat in 2 eggs and 3 tsp grated lemon rind. Fold in 1 1/2 cup self-raising flour, 1/2 cup milk and 1/4 cup lemon juice until well combined.

Spoon half the mixture into the pan. Scatter over 100g blueberries. Spoon over the remaining cake batter.

Bake for 45-50 minutes. Set aside for 5-10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.

Serve with glace icing.


Lemon Slice

This easy to make no-bake slice is perfect for afternoon tea on a bright spring day.

Please note: I use a 20ml tablespoon and 250ml measuring cup for all of my recipes. If you are using a 15ml tablespoon, you will need to use 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of lemon juice in the base and 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons of lemon juice in the icing.

Makes about 18 pieces (each about 4.5cm by 6cm).

80g butter
250g (3/4 cup) sweetened condensed milk
250g Nice biscuits (I use Arnott’s brand when I can get hold of them)
85g (1 cup) desiccated coconut
1 tablespoon (20ml) fresh lemon juice

Lemon Icing
3 cups icing sugar
3 tablespoons (60ml) fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons desiccated coconut, for sprinkling on top of slice

Line an 18cm by 28cm slice pan with baking paper, plastic wrap or foil.

Melt the butter and condensed milk together.

Crush biscuits. I use a mortar and pestle so that the pieces are slightly uneven but overall are fine. You could use a blender or food processor.

Mix with coconut together in a large bowl until well combined. Sprinkle with lemon juice.

Add the butter and condensed milk mix and stir until well combined. The mixture will appear quite wet at this stage.

Press mixture into the prepared pan. Scrape over with a fork so that you get ridges, this will help the icing to stick.

Refrigerate while preparing icing (see instructions below).

Spread lemon icing over slice and sprinkle with extra coconut.

Refrigerate slice until cold and firm then remove from the pan and cut into pieces.

Store slice in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.

Lemon Icing
Combine icing sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl. If the mixture is too dry to spread, add a teaspoon of hot water from the kettle. You can keep adding icing sugar, lemon juice and hot water until you get a suitable amount/consistency.

Recipes, Travel


On a recent trip to Munich I sampled this traditional Bavarian dish. It’s essentially a smashed up pancake served with stewed apple and it’s very quick and easy to make.

The name isn’t really translatable – Kaiser we know as Emperor, but Schmarrn means something like nonsense, or mishmash or rubbish. The story goes that the Empress Elisabeth of Bavaria (Sisi) was concerned about her waistline and had instructed the chef to only make desserts that were low in fat. The Emperor wasn’t impressed by this as he preferred the usual heavy desserts. Sisi found this dessert too rich for her and so refused it. Emperor Francis Joseph quipped, “Now let me see what “Schmarrn” our chef has cooked up”. He liked it so much that he finished his and even his wife’s serving.

If you’d like something a little heavier you can add rum-soaked raisins to the batter, but since I think raisins are horrible I naturally leave them out.

3 Egg
1 pinch Salt
2 tablespoons Flour (plain), heaped
100ml Milk
25ml sparkling mineral water
2 drop vanilla essence
2 teaspoons caster sugar
3 tablespoons butter for frying
Icing sugar for dusting
Ground cinnamon for dusting
Stewed apple for serving

Whisk the eggs and salt together. Add the flour, essence and sugar, whisk until all lumps are gone. Add the water and milk.
Heat the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat until it starts to bubble.
Add the mixture to the pan, leave to cook until the base is formed and starting to brown.
Flip the pancake and break into chunks, don’t worry about being pretty. Cook for a few seconds until the pancake is cooked through.
Serve with apple and dusted with icing sugar and cinnamon.


Pork & Garlic Chives Dumplings

I can across this delicious sounding recipe for Pork and Garlic Chive Dumplings on the food blog A Table For Two and I’ve putting into my must do list! Just thought I’d share….

Ingredients (makes 30 dumplings)
500 gram pork mince
1 bunch garlic chives (chopped)
3 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 packet of dumpling skin (30 skins)
1 tbsp corn flour
Soy Sauce
Sesame Oil
2 tbsp rice wine
Salt & Pepper to taste


  1. Add all ingredients into a large bowl (except the dumpling skins) and mix well together.
  2. Fill a small bowl with water and set aside.
  3. Scoop a tablespoon-ful of the mixture and lay it in the center of a dumpling skin.
  4. Dip your index finger in the water, then run it around the edge of the dumpling skin.
  5. Fold the skin in half from bottom to top, press the skin together and seal the mixture inside.
  6. From the center, overlapping the skin inwards from both sides until it reaches the pointy edges.
  7. Run the edges and press tightly with 2 fingers to make sure the dumpling is properly sealed.

Steamed Dumplings

  1. Inside bamboo steamer baskets, lay some iceberg lettuce and make sure is flat enough to put dumplings on top without falling over.
  2. Arrange 6 to 8 dumplings inside basket without touching each other so they don’t stick together when cooked.
  3. Use a wok and pour 2 cups of water and let it boil in medium heat. Place the steamer basket inside the wok and cover it with a lid. Let it simmer for 10 – 15 mins or until the dumpling skins looks translucent then it is ready.

Fried Dumplings

  1. Heat up a frying pan with a little bit of vegetable oil.
  2. Put some dumplings in the pan and lay flat on one side. Make sure they don’t touch each other to avoid sticking together.
  3. Pour 2 tablespoon of water in the pan, and quickly cover it with a lid.
  4. Few minutes later, flip the dumplings and fry the other side. Again, pour 2 tablespoon of water and cover it with a lid.
  5. Fry the dumplings until crisp and golden brown then it is ready.

The original is here –
Pork & Garlic Chives Dumplings 韭菜饺子.


Baking Buttons

I love these biscuits, they’re cute as a button and so easy too! Perfect to take to your next craft group get-together or guild meeting. They look great dipped in chocolate too 🙂 To make it easier for you I’ve taken photos of every step and given my tips as well.

125g butter
125g caster or icing sugar
1 egg
125g self raising flour
125g plain flour
3 tsp ground cinnamon

Screw top from a bottle of coke or water (washed)
Drinking straw


Cream the butter and sugar together. Make sure there’s no lumps of butter. You can sit the mixing bowl in a dish of hot water to help the butter soften but make sure it doesn’t melt.

Add egg and cinnamon and mix thoroughly. No need to pre whip the egg, just drop them straight in.

Add flours and mix to a smooth dough. No need to sift the flour if you’ve brought it from your supermarket – it should be sifted well enough and you’ll be mixing thoroughly enough that you’ll work out any lumps. The one tip here is to add the flour gradually, it gets quite hard to mix towards the end there.

Scoop out enough that a ball will fit into a bottle top. I found this was 2 teaspoons worth of dough. Press the bottle top into the ball of dough to make a depression.

Use a straw to punch out the thread holes – you will probably have to wiggle a bit but the dough should go up into the straw and come out cleanly. If the straw gets too full just push out the collected dough.

Bake for 12-15 mins at 180C in the middle of the oven. You may have to separate into batches. When they’re done place onto an oven tray to cool. Serve with tea on your best china – complete with doilies 🙂


Red Berry Gin

Red Berry Gin
Red Berry Gin

OMG! This stuff is just gorgeous, better than I expected and so easy to do.

I took a large screw-topped jar, filled it with mixed berries and currants and scraped the seeds from a vanilla bean in there, added the bean itself and then filled with some high-quality gin.

Left it for 2 weeks in the fridge and then strained through a large cotton tea-bag that I have. You could use an unused stocking or a coffee filter.

The colour is exactly what you see here – there was a lot more of it too, but it’s just too yummy to last!

I’m on to my second run of this one and have just picked up some passionfruits to try next.