sweet corn fritters with avocado salsa

30 Sept 2013

Now you know how much I love Bill Granger, don't you? I regularly eat at bill's in Surry Hills and even though I only own one of his books, Bill's Open Kitchen, I've made quite a few of Bill Granger's recipes. Bill writes a column for Delicious magazine and generally his recipes are simple and don't require exotic, hard to source ingredients.

Going out for breakfast is really popular in Sydney and I've eaten these tasty little fritters a few times at bill's. As avocados and sweet corn are in season I decided to make sweet corn fritters with avocado salsa from Bill's Open Kitchen.

Apart from the avocado and sweet corn, all the other ingredients were already in the fridge and the pantry.

The best thing about these fritters apart from the taste? They're quick and easy to make and you can make the salsa while the fritters are in the oven. They're so yummy, they don't last long.

Here's the recipe for you.
Sweet corn fritters with avocado salsa
For the sweet corn cakes:
2 2/3 cup/525 g sweet corn (from 3 cobs of corn)
1 small red onion, chopped
2 eggs
15 g coriander leaves, chopped
1 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
vegetable oil, for frying

Preheat the oven to 120°C.  Put 2 cups/450g of the sweet corn, the onion, eggs, coriander, flour, baking powder, salt and pepper in a food processor and process until combined. Place the mixture into a bowl. Add the remaining sweetcorn and stir. 

Heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, drop 2 heaped tablespoons of mixture per sweetcorn cake into the pan and cook in batches of 3 for 1 minute on each side. Drain on paper towels and keep warm in the oven while you are making the rest of the cakes

For the avocado salsa:
2 ripe medium avocado, stones removed, flesh diced
15 g coriander leaves
2 tbsp lime or lemon juice
2 tbsp finely chopped spring onions
dash tabasco, optional
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put all the ingredients in a bowl and stir very gently to combine. Serve with the warm sweetcorn cakes.

Did I tell you I'm going to Tasmania in 3 weeks? Unfortunately I'll only be there for a week so I'm going to Launceston, Freycinet National Park and Hobart, then back to Launceston. I've been to Tassie before but it was a long time ago. I have a pretty good idea of places to see, markets to visit and where to eat but I'd love some shopping suggestions, gardens to see and food producers to visit while I'm there.

Looking forward to all your suggestions,

Bye for now,


little chocolate pecan pies

23 Sept 2013

I've been making some sort of version of this recipe for 20 years now and I haven't stopped tweaking it yet. Here's the latest version made with my favourite chocolate pastry recipe from Isidora Popovic's book, Popina Book of Baking. 

I had a little light corn syrup in the pantry but not quite enough and I could only find dark corn syrup at the shops so that's what I used. I've often made the filling with a combination of sugars but I've never used dark corn syrup before. I was curious to find out how it would affect the finished product.

Pecans are one of my favourite nuts and to bring out the flavour I always toast them in a moderate oven for about 10 minutes.

Now I don't normally blind bake pastry cases when making pecan pie but 2 of the pies suffered badly from soggy bottoms so I might think about doing so next time I make these.

Normally I glaze the pies with a kind of ganache but this time I just used melted chocolate. I'd love to claim it as my own idea, but I saw it in the Delicious Magazine 2013 Diary and thought what a good idea.

I met a friend for dinner last weekend and took along a few of the little pecan pies. I shared a few with my neighbours and took the rest into work.

Here's the recipe for you.

Chocolate Shortcrust Pastry
225 g (8 oz) plain flour
25 gm (¼ cup) cocoa
125 g (4½ oz) unsalted butter chilled and cubed
85 g (3 oz) caster sugar
1 egg, beaten

Place the flour, cocoa, butter and sugar in a food processor and process until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Gradually add the beaten egg until the dough starts to gather around the blade of the processor. Remove the dough and bring together into a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes. 

Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface until 3-4mm thick. Line 8 tart tins with the chocolate short crust pastry and trim the excess dough neatly around the edges. You won’t need all the pastry so freeze the leftovers for later use. Refrigerate the lined tins for another 20 minutes. 

If you want to blind bake the tart shells first to prevent them getting soggy bottoms, preheat the oven to 180˚C (350˚F) then prick the pastry with a fork to prevent rising. I line the tins with paper cup cake liners before filling each tin with baking weights.  Place the tart tins onto a baking tray and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the edges of the pastry are browned. Carefully remove the lining paper and baking weights and allow the tart shells to cool before filling.  

If you don't pre-bake the pastry, just follow the instructions below.   
2 eggs 
⅔ cup sugar (I used a combination of light brown sugar and caster sugar)
1 tablespooncorn flour (optional) 
2 tablespoons melted butter 
1 teaspoon vanilla 
 cup corn syrup (I used a combination of light and dark) 
1¼ cups toasted pecans, roughly chopped   

Preheat the oven to 180˚C (350˚F). Place the pecans over the base of the tart shells. Lightly beat the eggs with the sugars until combined. Add the melted butter, vanilla, the corn syrup and corn flour (if using) and mix until the mixture is well combined. Gently pour the filling over the pecans. The pecans will rise to the top.

Place the tins on a baking tray and place in the preheated oven. Bake the little pies for 45-55 minutes at 180˚C (350˚F ) until the tops are well browned and the filling is set. Remove the pies from the oven and cool on a wire rack.   


55 g (2 oz) dark chocolate, roughly chopped

Place the chocolate in a small bowl over barely simmering water. Mix well until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove the basin from the heat and drizzle the chocolate decoratively over the tops of the pies. You can use a teaspoon to do this or you can fill a small plastic bag with the chocolate and snip the corner off to make a piping bag. Allow the chocolate to set before serving.

The verdict? Absolutely scrumptious and when I was asked for the recipe, I knew I was on a winner.

I hope you enjoy them,


upside down apple cake

16 Sept 2013

It's taken me a while but I finally made an upside down version of this cake. I decided to use whole meal flour for no other reason than I had a bag sitting on my kitchen ledge looking unloved. It's a pretty chunky cake so I thought no-one would notice a bit of extra fibre.

I haven't used my loaf tin for a while so I pulled it out from the pot drawer. I used a combination of apples in the cake - a thinly sliced pink lady apple for the topping and nice tart granny smith apples in the cake batter.

I just guessed the proportions of butter and brown sugar for the topping and they seemed to work out okay.

I added some sultanas as well as pecans to the cake mixture so the cake was moist, spicy and crunchy all at the same time.

I cut myself a generous slice and topped the slice with a dollop of double cream. This cake is best served the day it's made as the apples lose their sheen the next day.

Here's the recipe for you to try at home -
Upside Down Apple Cake (makes one 8 cm x 21.5 cm loaf)
20g (¾ oz) unsalted butter, melted
2-3 tbs light brown sugar
1 small apple, peeled cored and thinly sliced

1½ cups coarsely chopped, peeled cooking apples
1 (20 ml) tablespoon lemon juice
1¼ cups plain wholemeal flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
100 g (3½ oz) melted, unsalted butter
⅓ cup brown sugar
⅓ cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1 - 2 tbs milk
¼ cup pecan pieces
¼ cup sultanas (golden raisins)

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Line a small loaf tin (8cm x 21.5 cm) with baking paper.

Combine the coarsely chopped apple and the lemon juice in a small bowl. Set to one side for 20 minutes.

Spoon the melted butter over the base of the tin and top with the brown sugar. Place the sliced apples decoratively over the brown sugar. Place the tin to one side whilst making the cake.

Sift the dry ingredients into a small bowl. Set to one side. In a medium size bowl combine the melted butter, the sugars and vanilla. Add the egg and beat until well combined. Add the flour and gently fold in the chopped apple and juice, the nuts and the sultanas. Add sufficient milk to make a soft batter.

Spoon the mixture carefully over the apple slices in the prepared cake tin and smooth the top. Place the cake tin on a baking sheet to catch any drips and place on the middle shelf in the oven and bake for 50 - 60 minutes at 180°C/350°F or until the cake is cooked when tested. 

If the cake is browning too quickly you may have to cover the top with a piece of greaseproof paper. Place the tin on a wire rack and allow the cake to cool. If you turn the cake out while it’s still warm it does tend to disintegrate so you’ve been warned!

When the cake is cool, remove it from the tin and carefully invert the cake discarding the lining paper. Serve the cake with a dollop of thick cream and a nice cup of tea.

I hope you get the chance to make this one. It was a real hit when I took it into work. I'm thinking of other fruit combinations so you'll be seeing another version of this cake on the blog some time soon.

Bye for now,


daffodils at rydal

9 Sept 2013

Have you heard about Rydal? It's a tiny little village about 12 kiometres from Lithgow and for the past 7 years Rydal has hosted Daffodils at Rydal.

I heard about it a few weeks ago on a gardening programme and pencilled the dates into my diary. Daffodils at Rydal runs over 2 weekends but as the weather has been unseasonably hot, I wasn't sure the daffodils would survive 'til the second week. Rydal is a 2 1/2 hour drive from Sydney and Saturday September 8 was election day, so I cleared my day and voted early.

I'm an early bird so I left Sydney at 7.30 a.m. and I arrived just on opening time. The village was a charming as I'd hoped to find it.

I paid my entry fee at the Railway Station, took a copy of the map and made my way through the suggested route.

I started at the old police station before making my way to Rydal Cottage. Daffodils weren't the only flowers in bloom. There was plenty of wattle on display and spring blossoms.

I found the contrast between the stark countryside and the cheery well mannered daffodils quite interesting.

From Rydal Cottage I walked past St. Matthew's Church and on to Rose Cottage.

Rose Cottage is a bed and breakfast set amongst beautiful gardens.  

I found lots of pretty little corners to explore.

The garden was beautifully scented.

There were plants for sale and a pretty potager garden.

After Rose Cottage I walked through Pioneer Park back to the main street.

A burst of pink in the main street.

I decided to visit one more garden, Solitary Creek, before driving back to Sydney.

Solitary Creek was a much more Australian garden featuring lots of purple flowers and foliage. Leann, the owner, has the sweetest little puppy who was receiving lots of puppy cuddles from the garden visitors.

I came home via Blackheath, where I stocked up on sour dough bread at the Blackheath Bakery, before the long drive home.

Rydal was a charming as I'd hoped it would be so I'm planning to return in 2014.

No baking for me this week so if you need a recipe fix, here's my latest Delicious Bites column for decor8. Holly from decor8 loves it when readers comment, so if you could pen a few words I'd be grateful.

See you all again next week,



passion fruit bundt cake

2 Sept 2013

My name is Jillian and I have a confession to make. I am addicted to passion fruit. I just love the stuff and when I looked back through my recipe archives I found passion fruit ice cream, passion fruit tart, passion fruit short bread hearts, passion fruit fingers, lemon cake with passion fruit syrup and the list goes on. Well just when you thought I couldn't possibly come up with another passion fruit cake, I have! I was looking for a fine textured cake that was buttery, lemony and passion fruity all at the same time. This may be it.

A few weeks ago the local passion fruit vine was in flower so I snaffled a few to photograph.

It's a pretty simple butter cake recipe but I ramped up the passion fruit content.You can patiently sieve the passion fruit pulp but I blitz it in the food processor first to loosen the pulp from the seeds before sieving. It really speeds up the process.

I decided to use my little bundt tin but you could use a regular tin or make cup cakes.

The finished product.

Here's the recipe for you - this makes a small bundt cake/ a 17 cm round cake or 6 cupcakes. To make a large bundt cake or a 20 cm cake, double all the ingredients including the icing. You may need to increase the baking time a little.

Passion fruit Bundt Cake 
150 grams self raising flour
½ level teaspoon baking powder
125 grams unsalted butter
100 grams caster sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 large egg
⅓ cup strained passion fruit juice
2 tablespoons buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°FGrease and flour a small bundt tin.
Sift the flour and baking powder together into a small bowl. In a medium size bowl cream the butter, sugar and grated lemon rind until light and creamy. Add the egg and beat until the mixture is smooth. Add the sifted flour in thirds, alternating with the passion fruit juice and buttermilk until a soft batter forms. If the mixture looks a bit too thick add a little extra buttermilk. 
Spoon or pipe the mixture into the prepared tin and bake at 180°C/350°F for 20-25 minutes or until the cake is risen and golden. The cake should spring back when gently pressed with your finger.
Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before turning out onto a rack.When the cake has cooled, ice with the passion fruit icing

Passion fruit Glace Icing
½ cup sifted icing sugar
The pulp of one passionfruit
15 gm softened unsalted butter

In a small bowl combine the icing sugar with the passion fruit pulp and softened butter and beat until smooth. 
Place the bowl over a pan of hot water (or you can microwave on high for ~ 10 seconds) and beat until glossy.

I took the cake into work with me on Monday and by lunch time it was all gone - always a good sign. I do hope you get the chance to make this some time.

Bye for now,

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