Monday, December 23, 2013

Sweet Summer 5: Sophie's super easy frangourou Christmas Log cake

Super easy, super delicious frangourou Christmas Log cake(requires no baking, can be made Christmas Eve).
This was my mother's invention, we had it every Christmas when we were kids, and I still make it every Christmas.
1 packet sponge finger biscuits
200 g unsalted butter, melted
1 or 2 eggs(depending on how much mixture you have)
half to 3/4 cup hot strong sweet coffee(a good instant coffee works fine)
Cooking chocolate, melted with a little cream.
Crush all the biscuits, add the hot sweet coffee, the melted butter, and mix well. Add the slightly beaten egg(or two). You need to obtain a good stiff mix that you can easily shape into a log. That's what you do then--shape it into a log, and then put it in fridge till it is set. Meanwhile melt the chocolate over a low heat with a little cream, stir till all melted and glossy. Spread over the cake, on the top and sides. Put in fridge to set overnight. You can also decorate the top with angelica leaves, almonds, rose petals, sugar holly, whatever you feel like!
To everyone I wish a wonderful Christmas, Hanukkah, and every other seasonal festivity, and a happy New Year! A bientôt!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Sweet Summer 4: Sue Bursztynski's Fruit Ice

In general, I'm not a great dessert eater. I might experiment with something fancy for a guest, usually involving chocolate, but for myself I mostly keep it simple, fresh fruit and such, with sometimes a bit of ice cream. I admit, when I tried Sophie's ice cream recipe from this web site, I made an elaborate version with melted chocolate, glacé cherries and Cointreau, delicious, but next time I went back to vanilla. Properly done, vanilla is best of all.

However, here's a refreshing and basic fruit ice I make with egg whites. I call it a sorbet, because that's what it tastes like, though I believe those involve water; a vegan couldn't eat mine.

I got the recipe from my mother, who got it from my sister, and I have no idea where she got it from, never asked. But it's not only yummy, it's a great way to use up over-ripe fruit, and I've found that bananas make it taste like ice cream, not sure why. You can use any soft fruit - over-ripe bananas, berries, whatever. I once tried orange, but couldn't get the pieces blended in. Still, experiment. This summer I'm going to try mango and various berry mixes.

The basic version is strawberry - you can't beat that flavour! (But the illustration is of a pear and banana version)


Punnet of strawberries
2 egg whites( you can surely find a use for the yolks elsewhere!)
2 tblsp sugar


1.Wash and chop up the strawberries - you'll need to blend them into the egg white, so the finer the better.

2. Using electric beater, mix the egg whites and sugar till soft peaks form.

3. Throw in the strawberries and mix it all up till it's pink and the fruit is well mixed in.

4. Put it into a plastic container and into the freezer till frozen.

Eat and enjoy!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Sweet Summer 3: Maribel Steel's Summer Pudding, Rhubarb Fool

Recipe from My Mother’s Harvest: a collection of family recipes & short stories by Maribel Steel

You can’t go wrong with this summer pudding using stewed fruit and creamy chilled custard. Originally known as ‘Raspberry Fool’ in England, this recipe was handed down through my family using rhubarb from our garden.

Chop up 2 cups of rhubarb, sweeten to taste with a little raw sugar and place in a saucepan.
Add half a cup of water. Simmer gently until soft.
Allow to cool and chill in fridge.

Make the custard using 2 cups of milk (500mls)
Place 3 tablespoons of custard powder in a small bowl.
Add a few tablespoons of milk and stir into a smooth paste.
Place in a clean saucepan and gently add the custard mix with remaining milk, stirring continually until the custard is thick and creamy.

Add chilled stewed rhubarb to custard and mix well.
Pour into individual parfait dishes or a decorative serving bowl and refrigerate.
Once chilled and custard has become firm – you are ready to dish up this yummy summer delight!

“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relatives.”
Oscar Wilde

About the Author:
Maribel Steel is a freelance and travel writer, inspirational speaker, mother and vocalist. She lives in Melbourne, Australia. Her first book, My Mother’s Harvest, was written as a surprise gift for her family and was published in December 2012.

Good Reads -  - Review by Hazel Edwards
My Mother’s Harvest (book/ebook)
“a usable collection of recipes linked by well written family stories with a Spanish influence. Great gift for a family cook offering realistic tastes you could use, based on fresh garden produce. Has a vitality in the writing blending three generations. Loved the TARKA APPLE AND RHUBARB JAM for the world premiere in Melbourne in 2010 of her partner Harry's Tarka music (his father wrote 'Tarka the Otter' ) which connects the music, food and creativity.

For more details visit Maribel’s website:

Friday, December 6, 2013

Sweet Summer 2: Bite Into Jack's Banana Cake, by Susanne Gervay

125g soft butter
½ cup castor sugar
2 large eggs, whisked
2 large, ripe bananas or 3 small bananas, mashed
1 ½ cups self-raising flour
½ teaspoon bi-carb soda
pinch salt
½ cup milk
2 tablespoons of mango yoghurt (or your favourite yoghurt)
1.     Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celsius
2.     Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy
3.     Beat eggs a bit at a time into the creamed butter and sugar
4.     Stir in half the flour, bi-carb soda and all the salt and mashed bananas
5.     Fold in the rest of the flour and bi-carb soda, adding milk to make a smooth mixture
6.     Stir in the yoghurt
7.     Spoon mixture into a greased 20cm X 10cm loaf tin or a 20cm round cake tin
Cook Banana Cake
Bake cake for about 40 minutes, or until cooked.
Cook cake in tin for 5 minutes before turning out.

Postscript: Jack’s banana cake is from ‘Always Jack’ by Susanne Gervay (from the I AM JACK series) endorsing The Cancer Council for The BIGGEST MORNING TEA.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Sweet Summer 1: Vashti Farrer's 'Stripes'

Vashti Farrer is a versatile and popular writer who writes for both adults and children. Her latest book, Ellen Thomson: Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, is published by Halstead Press. Vashti's also a keen cook, and here she shares a beautifully simple dessert to kick of the Sweet Summer series.


500g ricotta

500g full-cream yoghourt

500 g thickened cream

Vanilla essence

Sugar optional – to taste.

Fruit eg. Peaches, Strawberries, Raspberries (or similar)

Beat ricotta, yoghourt, cream and vanilla until smooth. Scrape into
a colander lined with a piece of muslin and set over a bowl. Leave
for 24 hours in ‘fridge.

Next day cut peaches in bite-sized pieces, a layer in a dish and sprinkle with sugar. Set aside for about an hour. Halve or quarter strawberries in a separate dish and sprinkle with sugar. In another dish sprinkle raspberries with sugar.

To assemble alternate layers of cream, then peaches, more cream, then strawberries, cream and finally raspberries on top.

Tips: You don’t really sugar in creamy mixture because vanilla is sweet and sugar on the fruit adds sweetness. Also the slightly tart contrast balances with the fruit. Don’t leave fruit macerating for much more than an hour because it disintegrates. Any stone fruit or berries can be used, but probably with mangoes, omit the sugar.