Don’t be a health bully. That’s bad.

If only I ate a plant-based, whole-foods diet.

I have been wanting to write a post for the last week or so. I have oodles (actual measurement) of photos to be used and squintillions (again, actual measurement) of easy, affordable and healthy recipes to share.

I haven’t been able to. Sorry.

Physically, I’ve been better. Mentally, I’ve been much worse. However, when these two averages combine they lead to something pretty bloody ordinary.

The ever-magnificent Miss Bella

The ever-magnificent Miss Bella

I have spent the last week counting my bruises and discovering new ones – as well as some superficial cuts and scratches – been provoked to great anger and fallen into deep despair. I have helped friends climb a little further out of their respective pits and spent hours at a time thinking about my death.

I’m not suicidal, don’t worry. It’s just that at those times when it all gets too damn difficult, when you start the day by going apex over base as you step into the shower or when you are so tired and in so much pain that you can’t get your words into the right order, or both, to be dead would seem to be easier. It involves no effort on your part or those around you. It means an end. Endings matter.

When I was still working I had an A4 piece of paper printed with “This too shall pass” pinned above my desk. My colleagues took it as a commentary on our Branch Head’s micromanagement, not knowing that I was experiencing neuropathic pain almost beyond bearing in my hands and fingers…and typing with it, all day, every day.

It didn’t pass, but I learned to live with it.

I have lived with chronic illness of one type or another most of my life. I was infected with Rubella on my first day in this world and it has been all downhill from there. I chose my parents badly and ended up with predispositions to autoimmune diseases on both sides of my family tree. Lucky me.

Most autoimmune diseases are what is known as epigenetic. You are born with the genes for a particular disease but they may not be switched “on” it takes something in your environment to trigger them. We know this through studies on identical twins, one may become ill and the other won’t – the difference is usually a viral illness. In Multiple Sclerosis that virus appears to be Epstein-Barr virus, also known as glandular fever or mononucleosis. Exposure in susceptible people during the winter months in their late teenage years seems to do the trick. The virus – a member of the herpes family – gets into a certain variety of the T-calls and reprograms them to attack myelin.


Along the same lines, it is believed that Type-1 diabetes is triggered by respiratory infections and there is a large longitudinal study on this being carried out in Western Australia as I type.

The Accidental Cat

The Accidental Cat

I mention all of this for one reason: Auto-immune disease is not the fault of the person blessed with defective genes.

I have been told that I am ill because I have sinned (!), I have had others attempt faith healings on me without consent (also known as assault), I should have done more of this and less of that, that I should eat three serves of fruit while standing on my head in the light of the full moon…naked.

...and this looks like Christmas morning...

My favourite market stall.

Don’t do this to people folks. Don’t presume to know what they are going through, don’t assume that they haven’t already explored everything they could, don’t decide that they actually just enjoy being sick and have therefore thrown their hands in the air before deciding to sit on them forever, and don’t even dare to think that they need your 5 cents worth. Just don’t.

There is a woman in my social circle who has verbally attacked me on no less than five occasions now. She tells me repeatedly that, if I only ate a ‘plant-based, wholefoods diet’ I would be well. She assumes that I’m not willing to give it a go, she has clearly never read this blog and has absolutely no idea what I eat daily. It is more than evident that she does not see the things that cause so many of you lovely peeps out there to write to me about all those simple, quick, nutritious meals I’ve shown them how to prepare for themselves and their families.

My first ever canning!

She waits until I am by myself and then pounces on me, berating me and not listening to what I have to say at all.

Like all bullying, it comes from a place of fear. I get that. Like her I am well-educated, well-informed and literate about these things – and I am ill. I mustn’t be doing it right, because if I am sick then that means that she could get ill too.

Indeed she may, I don’t know what she drew in her genetic lottery.

I am struggling at the moment. I have an appointment with a new specialist next weekend and I am terrified out of my tiny little mind. I know this to be irrational, because a diagnosis does not give you the condition, but even so…

These instances of blaming the health victim for their non-preventable illness are, to quote The Boy, Bullshit.  (The Boy here: it was substantially more colourful than ‘bullshit’.)

They have led me to an even darker place than the one I had already reached. I will find my way out again, I usually do, but I write this to you dear readers so that you don’t do the same to someone less resilient than I.

If you know someone with a health concern, physical or mental, don’t even think about imposing your will on them. Listen, observe, hug – and then do it all again, and again and again. Then and only then, ask if they would like a suggestion and, if they say ‘no,’ then for the love of all you hold dear, respect that.

If they agree, then speak your piece then – and this is important – shut the hell up.

You do not have their permission to impose your will onto them. They have enough to cope with without you demanding they follow your wishes. Leave them be.

Be one of the good guys, be a safe harbour in treacherous seas.


Tweedledum and Tweedledee

Tweedledum and Tweedledee


Simple lemon air freshener (and an update)

This is a lemon.

Hello All,

I have had another brush with bad health and that is why I deserted you momentarily. One part of this latest episode involved an abscess, a Golden Staph infection and an associated inability to use my dominant arm, the other part involved having the office of a Rheumatologist calling me to make an appointment before I even knew my pathology results were back…

Oh dear.

I have made some yummy things in the interim and one post is coming soon. However, I thought I should share something quick and easy with you for now. A lemon air freshener.

I can’t tell you where this came from. It appeared as a meme in my Facebook feed a few months ago but wasn’t attributed to anyone.

We now have THREE cats. The Accidental Cat, Sara, seems to have issues with entering the litter tray properly. This means that her rear end is often not occupying the designated air space.


When shall we three meet again?

Cats. Sara is the grey one.

Consequently, there is a fair bit of unaccustomed cleaning activity being carried out in the Budget Bounty household. This is often accompanied by much giving of thanks that there will be no carpets anywhere in the New House – once it is built. Also a certain ‘pungency’ of the atmosphere tends to occur alongside such events.

This little air freshener is coming in handy. It’s also doing the job without setting off any allergies, exacerbating hayfever or triggering asthma like a lot of commercial air fresheners can do. Just saying.

This is a lemon.

This is a lemon.

Firstly, get thou a spray bottle of some kind. It will need a capacity of at least 500 ml, which is 2 cups or half a litre. If you are American, a pint will do.

Then find a nice, juicy lemon. If you want it even juicier, then roll it on a hard surface to break up some of the internal structure and release more juice.

Squeeze it into a small jug.

This citrus squeezer is one of my favourite gadgets.

This citrus squeezer is one of my favourite gadgets.

Add 2 level tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) and wait for the fizz!  Stir well.

Chemistry in action.

Chemistry in action.

Once it has settled and you can be sure there are no undissolved lumps, add 2 cups of tepid water. Stir well.

All mixed up.

All mixed up.

Now, even the best juicers can let seeds and bits of pulp through into the resulting liquid. You don’t want those in your spray bottle or the works will get clogged up. Strain it. I placed a teeny tea strainer in the mouth of my funnel and strained it as I filled my bottle.

I am a multi-tasker. (Hear me moan as I finally get to sit down…)

Bits get strained out - which is good.

Bits get strained out – which is good.

Place the nozzle on your spray bottle and give it a small shake before each spray.

The finished article.

The finished article.

You’re welcome.


  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


1 lemon

2 tbsp bicarb or baking soda

2 cups water


Juice the lemon into a bowl or jug.

Add the bicarb. The mixture will fizz up a little, this is not something to worry about. Stir well.

Add 2 cups or 500 ml of tap water. Mix well.

Strain to remove any stray lemon seeds or fruit pulp.

Use to fill a small spray bottle or atomiser.

Shake before using.

This mixture will impart a slight lemon fragrance to the air and the bicarbonate of soda will help to absorb any bad smells that may already be there.

The Accidental Cat explores a favourite bird hide of her clowder mates.

The Accidental Cat.

The ever-magnificent Miss Bella

Hello my lovelies,

As I mentioned in my last note, I have been quite unwell. The change of seasons is always fraught for anyone with an autoimmune disease or two (or, in my case, six :/). The fluctuations in temperature from the daytime to the night seem to set one’s immune system on high alert and it goes off looking for things to kill.

Which means that the autoimmune diseases all get particularly active.

I have been fatigued beyond belief, in enough pain to fell a horse and swollen beyond recognition in parts. I have been spastic – a word which probably doesn’t mean what you think it means, look it up – unco-ordinated, as well as imaged, prodded and phlebotomised.

Ladies and Gents, I am a walking study in autoimmunity. Which means that I am also an expert in frustration, disbelief, stubbornness and – on occasion – swearing. In fact, I can swear fluently in three different languages and have been doing so at length.

I get rather fed up with it all.

There has been some cooking and pictures were indeed took, but I have been incapable of typing anything or using a mouse.

So I have been away from keyboard (afk).

Hopefully, things will improve from hereonin.

I am attempting to write things up, but the going will be slow as my fingers are one of those things that are puffed up.

Bear with me … I’m worth it.

In the interim, some happy cats.

Tweedledum and Tweedledee

Tweedledum and Tweedledee

Chocolate Peanut-butter Cheesecake (gluten free)

A thing of beauty

At the start of this year, a friend requested that I make a cheesecake for her birthday in July. A chocolate and peanut butter cheesecake, to be precise.

I didn’t want to be making something from purchased Reese’s products, so I started searching for a recipe.

Let me say that there are A LOT of recipes for peanut butter and chocolate cheesecakes out there, and most of them have a Reese’s requirement.

Then – at practically the last moment – I thought of Nigella.

She saved me.

I found this recipe here. It was everything I wanted and I was even able to adapt it for the coeliacs amongst the diners.

It didn’t use a water bath either, which made it much less fuss to make. As Nigella explains in her notes, a water bath would give it a silky texture, however baking it without one gives a texture that brings to mind the peanut butter itself.

Seconds were requested.

Seconds were requested.

I replaced the digestive biscuits in the crust with the same weight of almond meal, but did pretty much everything else according to her recipe.

I broke out my trusty food processor for this one, but it could be done with just electric beaters or by hand. Make sure that the cream cheese is at room temperature or you could hurt something.

First line the base of a 23 cm/9 inch springform tin. I give detailed instructions on how to do that here.

Then place the almond meal, some salted peanuts, soft unsalted butter and dark chocolate chips into the food processor bowl. I measure mine into a separate bowl first.

These will form the crust

These will form the crust.

Then process them until well-combined.

Almost there.

Almost there.

If you don’t have a food processor, use chopped nuts and melt the butter and chocolate together before mixing thoroughly.

You want it to come together into a clump. Once you’ve got a satisfying-looking blob, turn it into the base of the springform tin and press it into the bottom and up the sides.

Press the mix across the base and up the sides of the cake tin.

Press the mix across the base and up the sides of the cake tin.

This will form a nice crust once baked. However, you need it to be cool to hold together long enough once in the oven. So put it in the fridge while you make the filling.

Rinse out your food processor bowl and turn on the oven. Use the metal blade and fill the processor bowl with the softened cream cheese, eggs and egg yolks, caster sugar, some sour cream and – of course ! – smooth peanut butter.

Cut the cream cheese into smaller blocks first...

Cut the cream cheese into smaller blocks first…

I broke this into steps, mixing together the cheese and the eggs before adding the other ingredients. I have actually burned out a food processor motor on too-hard cream cheese in the past and nowadays I’m nervous…

Yes, you can lick the spoon when you add the PB.

Yes, you can lick the spoon when you add the PB.

Whiz it until it becomes smooth and inviting… then pour and scrape it into the crust you prepared earlier.

That wasn't too difficult, was it?

That wasn’t too difficult, was it?

Do yourself a favour at this stage and place the springform tin on an oven tray. This will make it much easier when moving the cake to and from the oven.

Smooth out the filling.

Just do your best, it's not going to be perfectly smooth.

Just do your best, it’s not going to be perfectly smooth.

Now you can bake it for 50 mins or so.

After 50 mins.

After 50 mins.

Wash up while it cooks, but take it out of the oven once the top only is set and feels dry, because there’s more chocolate to go on.


In a small saucepan, melt together more sour cream, MOAR chocolate chips and some brown sugar.

The topping begins here.

The topping begins here.

You’ll make a wonderful ganache, which you will then lovingly spoon and very gently spread over the top of the cake. Of course, the spoon and the remnants in the saucepan then become the Cook’s Treat.

Because this is a Nigella recipe. Dur.

Add some chocolate to your peanut butter and cheese.

Add some chocolate to your peanut butter and cheese.

As you can see, I didn’t quite get the chocolate all melted. Oh well. Bake for another 10 mins, remove from the oven and let it cool in its tin.  Cover with cling film and put it in the fridge overnight.

Again you are wanting the butter in the crust to firm up and the cheese to also set. If you chill it overnight it will be much easier to get it out of the tin. Trust me.

When you do release it from its tin and slice it, be prepared for everyone asking you how you managed “to get the layer of chocolate to stay on top of the cake mix?”

Aren't you clever?

Aren’t you clever?

Then they’ll taste it and look as happy as this guy. I promise.

Happy kitten.

Happy kitten.

The birthday girl was pretty chuffed too…

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print


for the base

200 g almond meal

50 g salted peanuts

100 g dark chocolate chips

50 g softened unsalted butter

for the filling

500 g cream cheese (room temperature!)

3 large eggs

3 large egg yolks

200 g caster sugar

125 ml sour cream

250 g smooth peanut butter

for the topping

250 ml sour cream

100 g milk chocolate chips

30 g soft light brown sugar


Remove your cream cheese from the refrigerator and place somewhere warm.

Line the base of a 23 cm/ 9 inch springform cake tin. Place aside.

In a food processor, blend together the ingredients for the base. Once it has come together to form a clump, turn it into the prepared springform tin and press it firmly into the base and up the sides to form a crust. There’s no need to be delicate.

Place the tin into the refrigerator while you make the filling.

Rinse out the food processor bowl and preheat the oven to 170°C/ 325 °F.

Using the ingredients for the filling, cut the blocks of (warmed and soft!) cream cheese into chunks and place into the food processor bowl.

Add the whole eggs and egg yolks, sugar, sour cream and smooth peanut butter and pulse a few times before processing to a smooth, silky mixture.

Retrieve your cake tin and crust from the refrigerator and pour and scrape the filling into it. A silicon spatula will make this job go much more smoothly if you have one. Smooth out the top and bang the tin once or twice to knock out any air bubbles in the mixture.

Place the tin on a baking tray for ease of handling and put into the oven.

Bake for 1 hour – but set your kitchen timer for 50 mins and check the cake then. The top – and only the top – should feel set and dry.

Take the cheesecake out of the oven, temporarily, and place on a cooler rack while you prepare the topping.

In a small saucepan, and over a low heat, combine the ingredients for the topping. Stir to ensure the chocolate becomes properly blended in as it melts. Remove from the heat.

Spoon and spread the topping very gently over the surface of the cake. Try not to break that firm upper crust as this will ensure you have distinctly separate layers on your finished dessert.

(If you do break it and end up with marbling, say you liked the aesthetic.)

Put it back in the oven for a further 10 minutes.

Remove to a cooling rack and allow to cool in the tin. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Keep refrigerated until about 10-15 minutes before serving, if possible. If it gets too warm it may become too gluggy to cut cleanly. If this happens, try dipping your knife into warm water and wiping clean between slices.

Don’t expect leftovers.

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How to make evenly-sized cookies – easily.


This post uses some of the content from this one.

Anyone who has ever had to deal with judicially minded offspring or youngsters – you know the ones, “Muuuuum, it’s not fair! Her cookie is bigger than mine!” needs to be able to say “they’re all the same size”; and mean it.

Also, it’s sometimes a useful thing in the adult world to know that everything has the same amount of calories kilojoules bad stuff diet disasters  the portions are all the same size for planning purposes.

So, when I make cookies, I use a metal ice cream scoop with a 1 inch diameter to measure them out onto a paper-lined baking sheet.

A one inch ice cream scoop will save you trouble later...

A one inch ice cream scoop will save you trouble later…

This method means that they are all around the same size which helps with both portion control and arbitrating amongst the youngsters.

We’ve all been there.

It also helps if the kidlings are assisting you with your baking…

Aren't they cute?

Aren’t they cute?


It won’t ensure that each child’s portion has the same amount of choc chips if they’re included in your cookie, but the rebuttal to that is that, if they are counting instead of eating, then they aren’t hungry enough for more cookies.

I bought my ice cream scoop on eBay. It was in a set of three, with the largest 2 inches across. They cost me something like $3 including postage from China, so the fact that I really only ever regularly use the one doesn’t bother me as a waste of money.

However, I do use the larger ones for scoops of mashed potato and pumpkin if I want to prettify a dinner serving or use them to top a cottage pie.

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Jam drops (Thumb-print biscuits)

Jam drops

Jam drops are an old-fashioned biscuit that remind me of my childhood any time I see them. They were a standard addition to my lunch boxes throughout our primary school years, and I’m pretty sure they still are for a number of lucky kids today.

I remember that, when I was little, I used to have a ritual of nibbling very slowly around the edge of these biscuits until only the jam-filled centre was left –  leaving the best till last.

These are some of the easiest biscuits you will ever make. They aren’t a cookie. They should be crisp – not soft and cakey like a cookie is. This relative hardness is what makes them such a good lunch box treat as they won’t turn to crumbs during the journey to school.

You can fill them with whatever jam you have and like; strawberry jam is traditional. However, you could also use your own home-made lemon butter and I have used dulce de leche quite successfully. It’s up to you.

You can also make these quite easily with children as your apprentices. If you are in the grips of an ‘OMG it’s the school holidays and they are looking bored, help me!’ panic attack, then here you go. I’ve even included instructions for cleaning up along the way.

You’re welcome.

The first thing to do is to decide which jam you are going to use.

Home made jams

Home made jams

This recipe is ideal for using up the last few teaspoons of a jar that has been lurking unloved in the refrigerator for a while – because no one ever  wants to use that last little bit, do they?

I didn’t have anything that was opened and so I decided to use one of the jars I had put up earlier this year.

The Boy prefers things that aren’t marmalade, so that narrowed it down to the crabapple jam. Easy.

Begin by creaming together the room-temperature butter and the sugar.

Cream butter and sugar.

Cream butter and sugar.

Then add a pinch of salt, a splash of vanilla extract and two eggs. Beat again.

Add eggs and flavourings.

Add eggs and flavourings.

In a medium size bowl, sift together some plain flour and baking powder.

Sift together the flour and baking powder.

Sift together the flour and baking powder.

Add the flour to the butter mixture and stir well to combine.

To help keep your kitchen under control, fill the bowl you sifted the flour into with warm water and washing-up liquid/dish soap. Now is the time to put any electric mixer away. Wipe it down (if necessary) and place the beaters in the bowl of water along with any measuring cups and spoons you have used.

Turn your oven on to 180°C/350°F and line a baking tray with paper.

Take small spoonfuls of batter and roll into small balls the size of walnuts…or use a 1″ ice cream scoop, like I do.  Don’t overcrowd the tray as the batter contains butter and will spread as the butter melts…

Using a (well-washed) thumb of a nearby child or the end of a wooden spoon handle, make an indentation in the top of each ball. Don’t go all the way through to the tray.

Make little cups for your jam.

Make little cups for your jam.

Now, carefully spoon a little bit of jam into each dent.  If you are the adult, you may wish to do this or risk having most of the jam licked off fingertips instead of going into your biscuit!

Fill your cups.

Fill your cups.

Bake for 15 to 20 mins until golden brown – check after 10 minutes.

While your first tray is in the oven, prepare your second batch of biscuits and then do the washing up that has been soaking in the bowl of warm sudsy water. You’ll have plenty of time.

Baked jam drops.

Baked jam drops.

Allow to cool on a rack. Remember hot jam can BURN. Do not eat the biscuits until they are properly cool.

If you are the responsible adult, the best answer to the question, “When can we try them can I have one?” is after the last batch is baked. You’ll get at least three trays of eight from this mixture.

The jam when I started...

The jam when I started…

As you put the last batch into the oven, add the bowl and jam spoon to the sink and wash them up. All the washing up is now done. Wipe down the benches while the last tray of biscuits is in the oven.

You probably won’t need to wash the trays if you have been using baking paper. Just let them cool and put them away later. Unless, of course, you are an Outstandingly Conscientious Domestic engineer – in which case, go ahead. Ahem.

Serve with milk or a nice cuppa. Store in an airtight container for as long as you have any left.

This is my mother’s recipe.

Jam Drop Biscuits

  • Servings: makes 24
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print


125 g butter, room temperature

¾ cup (165 g) sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

pinch salt

1 cups (300 g) plain flour

2 tsps baking powder

1/3 cup (100 g) jam or jelly of your choice


Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Line two baking trays with paper.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together.

Add the salt, vanilla extract and eggs and beat well.

Into a medium-sized bowl sift together the flour and baking powder.

Add the sifted flour to the butter mixture and stir until well combined.

Roll tablespoons of the mixture between your palms to make small balls about the size of a walnut.

Place balls onto prepared baking trays, leaving room for them to spread as they bake.

Use your thumb, or the end of a wooden spoon handle, to make small indentations in the top of each ball.

With a teaspoon, spoon a little jam into each dent – Don’t overfill.

Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, checking after the first 10 mins. They are done when golden brown.

Allow to cool thoroughly before eating.

Store in an airtight container.

...and the jam left when I was finished.

…and the jam left when I was finished.

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Howdy do,

Today was very productive as far as the kitchen goes.

Yesterday, saw a lot accomplished elsewhere: lawns mowed, lawns fed, loads of laundry, etc. Oh and the Accidental Cat decided that I was okay and we were going to be friends after all. Naw!

Jam drops

Jam drops

Today, I harvested some silver-beet from our ‘allotment’, went out to take my first steps on our land – now the big, water-filled barriers to the development have been removed (and did a private little ‘happy dance’ in the rain) – then came home and baked biscuits and put dinner in the slow cooker, before The Boy reappeared from his travels.

So, dinner tonight was some slow-cooker Mongolian Beef that I jazzed up a bit – because that’s how I roll.

Do you remember the red basmati rice that I purchased way back here?

Red Basmati Rice.

Red Basmati Rice.

Yeah. I’d forgotten about it too until I came upon it during a small (very small)  tidying frenzy yesterday. So tonight I cooked it up with some regular basmati. Then, during that last five minutes off the heat, I put the smallest of the silver-beet leaves that I harvested today into the pot and replaced the lid. That way they wilted a little without cooking too much.

Red and White Rice and Silver-beet.

Red and White Rice and Silver-beet.

It all looked very pretty in the bowl. Then I topped it with the beef, and it tasted pretty darn good. The recipe is a keeper, I think.

Slow-cooker Mongolian Beef

Slow-cooker Mongolian Beef

So now, I’m going to sit down and write a post about those biscuits for all of you in the Land of Oz with kids on school holidays and the weather snapping cold again.

See how I think about you?


Today started with an introduction to what – I think –  could be called vertigo. I’ve never really had it before. I bent down to get my slippers and the world spun around my head. This continued any time I was actually in motion.

I should have considered this before I headed off to a new local farmers market that is being held at our showgrounds. The Jiggety Jig market looked so interesting too! I left my walking stick in the car so my hands would be free for photography and then wobbled in unaided….

That was a mistake. Every time I turned my head to look at something the world spun, every step I took the world got spinnier. I left unsteadily, vowing to return at its next iteration.

*shakes fist at sky, shouts “Coises! Foiled again!”*

Thankfully, it wasn’t a problem when I was behind the wheel. Phew.

Anyway after much dilly-dallying, which included the regular cat-claw-trimming and fish-feeding ritual, The Boy finally left for his camping trip sometime around 15:30. Ahem.

When shall we three meet again?

When shall we three meet again?

So I got to do some food prep.

I sat perfectly still and cubed one of those packages of chuck steak that I showed you all yesterday. It was then divided into zip lock bags, introduced to spices and sauces and popped into the freezer for ‘slow-cooker meals without thinking’ in the future.

Dinners of the future.

Dinners of the future.

All to the accompaniment of the Accidental Cat, who woke up from her fish coma, discovered that The Boy was gone, and started calling for him.


Kill me now. Please.

The Accidental Cat wants chicken

The Accidental Cat

I then made up some dough for pizza bases, got it portioned up and in bags for freezing.

Future pizza bases.

Future pizza bases.

I freeze it before it rises/proves. I find that, if I get it out of the freezer the day before I want to use it, it thaws and starts to rise in the refrigerator. Then all I need to do is ask The Boy to roll it out and get it in the pizza tray for me. See what I did there? Very good.

The evening was upon me by this stage so Pasta à la Sharon was made with enough leftover for dinner tomorrow too.

Pasta a la Sharon.

Pasta a la Sharon.

Tomorrow, I shall process that rather large package of bacon, hopefully bake some biscuits/cookies and get to our plot at the Community Garden.

Assuming I get any sleep tonight – which assumes that Sara, The Accidental Cat, stops calling out for The Boy anytime soon.


At least the world has stopped spinning.



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How to line the base of a springform tin.

I often feel that the hardest parts of making a cheesecake are:

  1. lining the tin, and
  2. getting the cake out of the base.

Strangely these two things are intimately linked. Whodathunkit?

This used to frustrate me terribly until a chef friend casually mentioned the workaround.

(Hi Kath! *waves frantically*) I intend to share it with you here.

This is a springform tin.

A springform tin

A springform tin

If you have a look at the base of a spring form tin it will look something like this.

See the lip?

See the lip?

That there raised edge is the reason you have such trouble getting the cake off the base and onto your serving platter.

Try turning it over.

See the difference?

See the difference?

See how it’s all opposite to the other side? (She asked, stating the bleeding obvious…)

This is the side you want to be putting your cake onto to bake, that way it can just slide right off without getting caught on the lip.

To make this even easier, it helps to cover the base with baking paper.

Tear off a piece that’s a fair bit larger than the base. This will give you room for tearing bits off in the ensuing struggle…

Take a piece of baking paper

Take a piece of baking paper.

Now place your base on it with the raised surface downwards. Fold the edges of the paper over.

Wrap your base up.

Wrap your base up.

It doesn’t have to be perfect. Now turn it over and place it into the ring of the cake tin. It’s tempting to simply place the ring over the base and tighten it – but this will not work.

Trust me on this.  Save yourself the heart-wrenching sobs and just lower it into the tin, okay?

Lower the base into the tin.

It’s okay. Just take deep breaths.

Push it down as far as it will go and tighten the ring. You will think you have failed miserably because it will look a bit like this.

Turn the whole thing over.

It will look something like this.

It will look something like this.

Now tug on the edges of the paper to pull the sheet as flat as you can. Take it slowly, but don’t be afraid to tug firmly. The base will begin to straighten out. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but you don’t want lots of loose paper and folds across the base either.

See the difference?

See the difference?

Push the base firmly down in the ring to ensure it is locked in place. Leave the paper folded under the tin, this will make it easier to remove once cooked. Remember your tin is now raised slightly because the lip of the base is pointing downwards, this will give you a space for the paper to gather without affecting how level the tin sits in the oven.

Now start baking your cake.

If you are using a bain marie (dish of water) to make your cake, then simply create a shell out of one piece of aluminium foil to protect the paper and guard against leaks.

If you are not using a bain marie, then place the cake tin on another baking tray to make it easier to handle.

Most recipes call for the cake to be chilled for a period of time. Leave the cake in the tin while it is first chilling in the refrigerator.

When it is time to remove it from the tin fold out the paper from under it until it is as flat as possible. Now release the spring on the ring and lift it away.

The paper that extends from around the cake will give you the means to simply slide it off the base with complete ease.

Tug on the paper to remove from the base.

Tug on the paper to remove from the base.

Then place it close to the edge of a cooling rack. Pull the paper straight down at a right angle until the side of the cake is over the edge of the rack and the paper is clear.

You should be able to insert a long spatula between the paper and the cake and lift it free. Place on platter, decorate if you wish and serve.

Now you can take it to someone else’s place and know that you will have the base of your springform tin the next time you use it…

You’re welcome.

Serve and enjoy.

Serve and enjoy.

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