Chocolate Ripple Cake

This cake doesn’t need any cooking. It’s quick and easy to make and has very few ingredients. You need to make it the day before so the biscuits soften. It’s been popular in some parts for at least 30 years and I’m surprised at how many people have never heard of it.

Thanks to the Arnotts website for the recipe and picture – the photos I took of mine didn’t work out.

Yummy, easy chocolate ripple cake

Yummy, easy chocolate ripple cake

Ingredients

300ml cream
1 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract or essence
1 x 250g packet Arnott’s Choc Ripple Biscuits
grated chocolate, cocoa powder
raspberries or seasonal berries to decorate

Method

  • In a bowl add cream, sugar and a drop of vanilla essence and whip until stiff.
  • Join biscuits together by standing a biscuit on its side and sandwich with the next biscuit using a generous spread of cream. Continue until all the biscuits have been used and resembles a log.
  • Cover the log thickly, and entirely, with the remaining cream. Place in refrigerator for at least 6 hours, or overnight to set.
  • Before serving, decorate log with grated chocolate, if desired. To serve, cut cake at a slight angle to ensure alternate layers of chocolate biscuit and cream are in each slice. Garnish with grated chocolate, or sprinkle with cocoa powder, and serve with raspberries, if desired.
To add some tempting twists to the cake:
  • Brush the biscuits with your favourite liqueur, or strong coffee, before sandwiching together.
  • Stir in finely grated dark chocolate into the whipped cream before sandwiching together.
  • Decorate the cake with chocolate curls.
  • Replace vanilla with 1 tsp of espresso or strong coffee. Replace rasperries with sliced banana.
  • Replace vanilla with your favourite liqueur such as hazelnut or citrus liqueur.

Tomato and Lentil Soup

Tomato and lentil soup
1 brown onion
1 carrot
a sprig thyme (optional)
1 cup lentils
a little olive oil
3 cups vegetable stock
4 tbsp chopped parsley
400g tin tomatoes
a few leaves marjoram
freshly ground black pepper
a small glass sherry (optional)
2 tbsp grated low-fat cheese (optional)

Peel and dice the onion and carrot, wash and chop thyme and was lentils. Brush a large saucepan with oil and gently fry onion, carrot and thyme for a few minutes. Add vegetable stock or water, lentils, parsley, tomato and marjoram. Season with black pepper, cover and simmer for 40 mins. Add a little sherry or grated cheese just before eating.

Creamy Lemon Puy Lentils

Tiny green Puy lentils keep their shape and firm texture when cooked. They have a good flavour and, combined with lemon juice – and crème fraiche (or sour cream), make a delicious, slightly tangy base for poached eggs.
In Australia you can buy imported Puy lentils in specialty stores or you can now buy McKenzies French Style (Australian grown) lentils in most supermarkets.

Delicious Creamy Lemon Puy Lentils

Delicious Creamy Lemon Puy Lentils


Ingredients:
generous 1 cup Puy lentils
1 bay leaf
4 eggs
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 scallions, sliced
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
rind, finely grated and juice of 1 large lemon
4 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
4 tablespoons crème fraiche (I use sour cream)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped to garnish

Serves 4

Method:
1. Put the lentils and bay leaf in a saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 25 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Stir the lentils occasionally and add more water if necessary. Drain.
2. When the lentils are almost ready poach the eggs in a saucepan of barely simmering, salted water.
3. Heat the oil and fry the scallions and garlic for 1 minute or until softened. Add the Dijon mustard, lemon rind and juice, and mix well. Stir in the tomatoes and seasoning then cook gently for 1-2 minutes until the tomatoes are heated through but still retain their shape. Add a little water if the mixture becomes too dry.
4. Stir in the lentils and crème fraiche, remove the bay leaf, and heat through for 1 minute. Top each portion with a poached egg and sprinkle with parsley.

Health Benefits:
Studies have shown that lentils may help prevent heart disease and cancer, and lower cholesterol levels.

Cheesy Vegetable Lasagne

This is a really yummy, cheesy veggie lasagne, popular with kids and adults, alike. Use whichever veggies you like, any combination that takes your fancy.

Cheesy Veggie Lasagne

Cheesy Veggie Lasagne

Ingredients

• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 small onion, finely chopped
• 3 medium potatoes, chopped
• Small piece of pumpkin, chopped
• 2 large carrots, finely sliced
• Small bunch of broccoli, cut into florets
• ½ – 1 cup frozen peas
• ½ – 1 cup frozen corn
• 400g can beans (eg cannelini, red kidney), drained and rinsed
• 200g fresh mushrooms, chopped (I like to use swiss browns for flavour)
• 535g tin vegetable soup
• 2 heaped cups of grated tasty cheese
• 1 tbsp cornflour
• 2 1/4 cups of milk
• 1 packet of instant lasagne sheets
• 1 slice of bread, crumbled finely

I like to cut my veggies so they are quite chunky, but you can cut them as small as you like. If the kids don't like veggies you could even grate them.

I like to cut my veggies so they are quite chunky, but you can cut them as small as you like. If the kids don't like veggies you could even grate them.


Method

1. Chop potatoes and pumpkin into small cubes. Finely slice carrots. Cut broccoli into florets. Chop onion finely. Set aside.
2. Chop mushrooms into quarters (depending on size). Set aside.
3. In a large frypan, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, broccoli and mushrooms,.
4. Cook, stirring until the vegetables have just softened. Don’t overcook, you still want nice texture (not mush) when the lasagne has finished cooking. Add the tin of vegetable soup and the peas, corn and beans. Stir to combine. Set aside.
5. In a saucepan heat milk. Dissolve 1 tbsp of cornflour in a cup with a little milk, add to heated milk and stir on a medium temperature. When thickened add heaped cup of grated cheese and stir. Set aside.
6. In a rectangular dish, cover the base with the vegetable mixture, top this with 1/3 of the cheese sauce, followed by a layer of lasagne sheets. Repeat, layering the vegie mix, cheese sauce and lasagne sheets alternately, finishing with the cheese sauce.
7. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top with the crumbled bread (the bread mixed with the cheese gives the lasagne a crunchy texture that the kids and grown-ups love)
8. Bake uncovered in a moderate oven for about 40-50 minutes or until browned lightly and heated through.

Boiled Fruit Cake

Boiled fruit cake is an old-fashioned cake that's delicious and easy to make.

Boiled fruit cake is an old-fashioned cake that's delicious and easy to make.


Ingredients
• 640g mixed fruit
• 3/4 cup soft brown sugar
• 1 teaspoon mixed spice
• 1 cup water
• 190g butter
• 2 eggs, lightly beaten
• 1 cup plain flour
• 1 cup self raising flour
• 1 teaspoon baking soda

Preparation method
1. Combine the water, mixed fruit, sugar, spice and butter in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for 10 minutes, then remove and allow to cool.
2. Add the eggs. Fold in the sifted flours and soda, mixing well.
3. Place mixture in a greased and lined 20cm round cake pan.
4. Bake in slow oven (130-150C) for 1-1¼ hours or until cooked when tested – a skewer inserted into the centre comes out slightly moist. (NB Cover loosely with a sheet of foil or brown paper if top of cake is over-browning during cooking).
5. Allow to cool for a few minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Cake will continue to cook a bit and may dry out if left it tin for too long.

Spinach (or Silverbeet) Pie

Freshly picked silverbeet

Freshly picked silverbeet


This recipe is supposed to be made with English Spinach but I love to make it with freshly picked, young silverbeet (chard) from the garden. It’s even nicer when you have Rainbow Chard, which many people think is milder and sweeter.

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
Serves: 4-6

The red and yellow of the Rainbow Chard adds some nice colour

The red and yellow of the Rainbow Chard adds some nice colour


10 sheets Filo pastry, thawed
1 large bunch English spinach, washed and roughly chopped (I like to use silverbeet (chard) freshly picked from the garden)
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1 tbsp pine nuts
2 tbsp chopped mint
2 tbsp chopped parsley
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
2 eggs
125g feta cheese
125g ricotta cheese
60g parmesan cheese, grated
black pepper
olive oil spray
Make this spinach or silverbeet pie in a loaf pan

Make this spinach or silverbeet pie in a loaf pan


1. Cook spinach and drain well. Add onions, herbs, nutmeg, pine nuts, eggs, feta, ricotta, parmesan and pepper. Mix well.
2. Lightly oil a 12cm x 22cm loaf pan. Cut filo pastry in half. Spray the first 10 sheets lightly with oil and make a stack. Use this stack to cover the base and sides of the loaf pan.
3. Spoon the filling into the pastry. Spray and layer the remaining pastry and lay on top of the filling, folding the edges in to give a ruffled finish along the top.
4. Bake in a pre-heated oven (170C fan forced/190C conventional) for 40 minutes or until golden.
5. Allow spinach pie to stand for 15 minutes before cutting. This recipe can also be made in a 20cm square cake tin.
A delicious meal!

A delicious meal!

Anzac Biscuits

Anzac Biscuits

Anzac Biscuits

125g butter chopped
2 tbs. Golden Syrup
1/2tsp. Bicarb. Soda
2 tbs. Boiling water
90g Rolled Oats
150g Plain Flour
220g Caster Sugar
385g Coconut

Combine butter and golden syrup in medium pan,stir over heat until butter is melted.Stir in combined soda and water then the remaining ingredients and mix well. Drop rounded teaspoons of mixture about 4cm. apart on greased trays and flatten slightly.Bake in a slow oven about twenty minutes or until lightly brown. Cool on trays or rack. Makes about 40.