Chocolate soft serve ice-cream.

I spent yesterday in various parts of Melbourne, so there was very little done in the Budget Bounty kitchen. Although I did pop into one company to price containers for some food-based products I’m thinking of selling in the future. Maybe. Perhaps.

Anyway, leftovers were the order of the day when we got home and we were very happy to have those porcupine meatballs to warm up and serve with a quick mashed potato. This is a picture from the night before, when we dished them up onto a bed of sweet potato that we had cooked in the slow cooker.

Porcupine meatballs, cooked in the pressure cooker.

Porcupine meatballs, cooked in the pressure cooker.

Both times they were yummy!

Today I kept myself a little busier. I have been given more lemons, so more lemon butter was made (natch!).

Lemon butter anyone?

Lemon butter, anyone?

I made a double batch, because I wanted to give some away and I wanted to make these. Hidden Treasure Muffins, but made using the lemon butter instead of Dulce de Leche this time. The Boy was keen to take some into the office tomorrow.

I wanted something low fuss for dinner, so I filled my small crock pot with my Lentil and Barley Hot Pot.

That’s smelling luscious and I’m looking forward to tucking in soonish. I also decided to do something with a bag of frozen, over-ripe bananas that are taking up space in my freezer and annoying me.

And don't they look attractive?

And don’t they look attractive?

So I turned them into chocolate ice-cream. The Boy came in as I was finishing and decided it was his duty as The Man of The House to lick the bowl.

Chocolate soft serve ice-cream.

Chocolate soft serve ice-cream.

He declared it to be “good.”

Yes. I will be posting instructions for this very soon. I’m going to have my dinner first though.

See you all soon!


Caraway and Lemon Biscotti

Grind the caraway seeds in a pestle and mortar.

These are among my personal favourite biscotti. (If you would like a primer on biscotti, then please click here: Biscotti 101)

I created these by adapting a recipe I found in a book compellingly entitled Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favourites, which I believe I bought in a Barnes and Noble store in Baltimore, Maryland, sometime in 2006.

It was originally a recipe for Anise and Lemon Biscotti, but I didn’t have any Aniseeds, and didn’t want to go buy some, so I substituted caraway seeds instead.

I also found the dough was too dry at the end of mixing it. However I’d had to zest a lemon for the recipe, so I juiced that and mixed the juice into the dough.

It was a triumph. A little piece of citrusy heaven. Trust me. If you like lemon-flavoured anything, then you’ll love these.

They are among the most requested in my Christmas Collection and now I share them with you.

They are the perfect thing to enjoy a quiet moment with a cuppa before going back to being an adult.

Start by sifting the plain flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together into a bowl.

Sift the dry ingredients together.

Sift the dry ingredients together.

Then add the zest of a lemon or two. You’ll need around 2 tablespoonfuls.

Now you’ll need to grind your caraway seeds the best that you can. Use either a pestle and mortar or a small electric coffee grinder you use solely for this purpose.

Grind the caraway seeds in a pestle and mortar.

Grind the caraway seeds in a pestle and mortar.

Add them to your flour mix, stir through and set aside.

Add your zest and seeds and stir together.

Add your zest and seeds and stir together.

In a separate bowl, lightly beat together 2 whole eggs and 1 egg white.



Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir to achieve a smooth dough.

If you manage to do that with just the eggs, then you have my congratulations.

If not, then juice the lemons that you have zested and add the strained juice to your dough – little by little – until it all comes together.

Be careful not to make it too wet...

Be careful not to make it too wet…

Line an oven tray with baking paper. Using a spatula and floured hands, scoop half the dough out of the bowl and onto one side of the baking sheet. Repeat on the other side.

Shape as best you can into logs. Remember that they will spread as they bake, so try to keep the inner edges at least 6 inches apart.

It's a messy job, but someone has to do it.

It’s a messy job, but someone has to do it.

Bake at 180°C/350°F for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the top of each log is firm.

(This is the perfect time to wash your mixing bowl and other utensils.)

Remove to a wire rack until cool enough to handle – around 15 mins. Reduce your oven to 150°C/325°F.

The lovely lemon tinge from the juice sets these biscotti apart.

The lovely lemon tinge from the juice sets these biscotti apart.

Now is the time to cut them into 1.5 cm/½ inch thick slices with a serrated knife.

Then, place them back onto the baking sheet, cut side down.

Traditionally biscotti are cut on the diagonal.

Traditionally biscotti are cut on the diagonal.

Bake for a further 15 minutes. Remove to cool on racks.

They will firm up on standing, so don’t be concerned if they still seem soft in the middle.

Ah. Bliss.

Caraway and Lemon Biscotti

  • Servings: approx 36 biscotti
  • Difficulty: easy
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2 cups plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

1 cup sugar

2 whole eggs

1 egg white

1 tbsp caraway seeds, ground

1 tbsp freshly grated lemon peel (zest)

Strained juice of lemon (reserved)


Preheat the oven to 180°C/ 350°F. Line a baking sheet with paper and set aside.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.

Add the lemon zest and ground caraway seeds.

In a small bowl, lightly beat together the whole eggs and egg white.

Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir to form a smooth dough. Add lemon juice as required to achieve the correct consistency.

Using floured hands and a spatula, scoop half the dough into a log shape on one side of the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the dough on the other side – spacing the logs at least 6 inches apart.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the top of each log is firm.

Remove with a long spatula to a wire rack and cool for 10 to 15 mins.

Reduce the heat of the oven to 150°C/325°F.

Using a serrated knife, cut each log on the diagonal into ½ inch slices.

Place slices back onto the lined baking trays, cut side down and bake for a further 15 minutes.

Remove and cool on racks.

These biscotti will continue to harden as they cool.

Will keep for several weeks, stored in an airtight container.

Flourless Orange Almond Cake

Ok. So I wasn’t intending to post this today, but someone asked me to get this up here post haste.

So imagunna.

This is not a budget dish. The nuts can cost quite a bit and the whole cake cost me around AUD$12.

It is incredibly easy to make, tastes gorgeous and ticks the gluten-free box (which is what I was after when I made it). However, for a special occasion treat that needs to be coeliac-friendly without too much fiddling around, it is fabulous.

Fabulous, I say!


Flourless Orange and Almond Cake

Flourless Orange and Almond Cake

I was wanting a birthday cake for a friend who does an awful lot of work for a group I’m involved with – she’d allowed her birthday to pass under the radar, so to speak, and this simply was not on.  I’ve also always wanted to try to make a flourless cake and, as one of our number is coeliac, this seemed to be the time to do it.  I thought about all the decadent flourless chocolate cake recipes that I have pinned, but she is a Japanese lady and I’ve noted her preference for lighter flavours and textures.

Then I remembered this thing called an orange and almond cake and went searching.

I found this recipe here.

It’s incredibly simple. In fact this post is going to be rather picture-heavy because there really isn’t much to describe.

You start by simmering two oranges in water for 2 hours.

Simmer your oranges.

Simmer your oranges.

Let them cool, then blitz them to smithereens in a food processor. They will be incredibly soft after their extended time in hot water.

Heat your oven to 190°C/375°F.

Blitz the oranges- seeds, skin and all.

Blitz the oranges- seeds, skin and all.

Meanwhile, mix caster sugar and 6 eggs until the sugar is dissolved.

Yes. That is a lot of eggs.

Yes. That is a lot of eggs.

It will look light and fluffy. Like this:

Well-mixed eggs and sugar...

Well-mixed eggs and sugar…

Add your orange pulp to the mixer bowl with the eggs and sugar and give it a further whisking.

Add the orange puree to the eggs.

Add the orange puree to the eggs.

Now add your almond meal and baking powder. You can attempt to sift this but it may drive you mad. It may work better to simply knock as many lumps out as you can manage. Also, if you are making this for coeliacs, please, please, please check that your baking powder is gluten free too. Thank you.

Mix well.

Mix in the almond meal.

Mix in the almond meal.

Now, line a springform pan. Mine are non-stick, so I simply covered the base with baking paper for ease of serving, and left it at that. The size of the pan is not something that really matters.

Fill a lined springform tin with your cake batter.

Fill a lined springform tin with your cake batter.

Scatter a couple of handfuls of flaked almonds over the top.

Scatter some flaked almonds over the top.

Scatter some flaked almonds over the top.

Then pop it into the oven for an hour or so, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. The almonds on the top will be nicely toasted. To make things a little easier for you, place the cake tin on a flat baking tray like a cookie sheet.

A beautifully tanned result.

A beautifully tanned result.

Allow to cool in the tin. Run a blade around the tin before you release the spring. Sprinkle the top with some icing (confectioner’s or powdered) sugar before serving. I didn’t, as I didn’t have any that was gluten-free. The cake still tasted wonderful.

Well, this bloke thought so anyway.

Three year olds are the toughest critics, like, *ever*.

Three year olds are, like, the toughest critics *ever*

Just don’t forget to take a picture of it before you serve it up, like I may have….

Better late than never.

Better late than never.

Flourless Orange and Almond Cake

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


2 medium size oranges
6 eggs
250g superfine sugar
250g almond meal (almond flour or ground almonds)
1 tsp baking powder
2 handfuls of flaked almonds
Icing sugar, for dusting


Wash the oranges well. Place them in a medium saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil. 
Turn the heat down and simmer for two hours.  Remove from the water and allow to cool.
Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F.  Line a 20 to 28cm springform cake tin with paper.
Place the whole oranges into a food processor and blend until smooth.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs and the sugar until the sugar has dissolved.
Add the oranges to the mix and whisk again.
Add the almond meal and baking powder and mix until well combined.
Pour the mixture into the lined tin, smooth out with a spatula and then scatter the almond flakes over the top.
Bake for 1 hour, then test with a skewer. If it comes out clean, it’s done. If not put it back until it does. The cake should be golden on top.
Allow the cake to cool on a wire rack, then dust with icing sugar.  Serve with a dollop of double cream.
2015-04-30 12.41.32

The Easiest Fruit Cake. Ever. (Last minute Xmas Cake)

The pieces of ginger are clearly seen in the clices.
The easiest fruit cake ever.

The easiest fruit cake ever.

Yes, yes, I know, you don’t like fruit cake. Nothing personal, but…it’s just not your thing.

You’re aware that it’s a tradition, but you really just think you’ll pass this time — Okay?


Not happening.

You have to try this cake.  If I had a dollar for every time someone who detested fruit cake then told me how much they ♥LURVED♥ this one, I’d have enough to make many more of them.

This group of people includes The Boy, who was *adamant* that I do a post on it!



I must confess that I don’t like your regular, traditional dark fruit cake either. It does nothing for me at all.

In fact, when my 19 year old self was copying the original handwritten recipe from my grandmother’s notes sometime last century, I wondered if I was going nuts. I mean, seriously… why would I want to make a fruit cake? However, in the interest of preserving things for posterity, and thinking my mother might like one sometime, I kept on with it.

Many years later, I decided to update it a bit. I find sultanas travel best in small quantities, but whole cakes full of them are rather uninteresting.

Note: I know this recipe doesn’t exactly fit the profile of a budget dish, the fruit is not inexpensive (about $10), but we should all have at least one special occasion card up our sleeves and this is a special occasion dish.

Master Cake decorator, I am not.

Master Cake decorator, I am not.

I changed the dried fruit in the recipe to a fruit medley product I found in the supermarket that contained dried apples, peaches, pears and apricots – alongside a small quantity of sultanas.

Angas Park Fruit Medley rocks.

Angas Park Fruit Medley rocks.

The weight (375g) wasn’t quite up to the 500g that was called for, so I decided to make it up with something a little bit special.

I am a ginger fiend. I love the stuff. So, when I saw 125g packs of glacé ginger from our friends at Buderim, I knew that had to go in as well.

Glace ginger

Glace ginger

It did and it was a triumph.

I’ve even served this up to our Governor-General and his wife, and can proudly boast it has Vice-Regal approval. So there.

If you don’t like ginger (wha..?) feel free to substitute glacé cherries instead. If you must.

Also, there is no alcohol in this recipe. If you absolutely must have booze, you may wish to use it to soak your dried fruit, I give no guarantees as to the results having never tried it this way.

This is the easiest, simplest cake to make. It takes about 10 mins of preparation – total.

It will disappear in about the same amount of time (once you get past all the “but I don’t like fruit cake…” stuff).

Don’t bother getting your electric beaters out for it, they’ll struggle. Instead, arm the nearest, largest child with a wooden spoon and get them to mix it. Say it’s a tradition. Invoke Santa and good and bad lists if you must.

Do this even if it’s August and you’re serving it that evening.

You will need a large bowl and a mug. The mug is important.

The mug.

The mug.

This is the mug I have always used for this recipe. It doesn’t matter which mug you use (you can’t have mine, sorry), but try to use the same one throughout. It’s a matter of proportions, you see.

Empty your 500g of dried fruit into a large bowl and then add a mug of hot, black tea. Leave overnight. Only soak your dried fruit, any glacé fruit will be added later.

Soak your fruit overnight

Soak your fruit overnight

It will plump up and start looking luscious. My fridge was rather full when I did this part, so I used a smaller bowl for it.

The next day, cut your glacé fruit into quite large chunks (or leave whole) and mix through the soaked fruit.

Add your glaced fruit to your soaked

Add your glaced fruit to your soaked

I’ve discovered over the years that small pieces just disappear into the background and that – strangely! – some people don’t like ginger.

Leaving the pieces on the large side means that you get a definite zing from them and it’s easy to pick them out if they aren’t wanted.

The pieces of ginger are clearly seen in the clices.

The pieces of ginger are clearly seen in the slices.

Now, lightly beat your egg and mix it through the fruit. It’s much easier to do this now than after adding the dry ingredients, trust me on this.

Working in your large bowl now, sift in two mugs of self-raising flour and then add one mug of brown sugar. Stir.

Add your fruit to your dry ingredients.

Add your fruit to your dry ingredients.

This will be a stiff mix, there may be enough liquid left in your fruit to make a batter, or there may not. It depends on ambient humidity and the relative positions of the stars…

Should your mix be too dry, simply add splashes of plain old water until it all comes together. It will look something like this.

The mixed batter.

The mixed batter.

Using a spatula, scrape into a lined cake tin of whatever shape you fancy. I usually bake this cake in a silicon, Christmas tree-shaped cake mould, simply because I have one.

Deck the halls...

Deck the halls…

Bake at 160ºC or 325ºF for 2 hours, turning the pan at the halfway point.

Allow to cool in the tin for 30 minutes, before turning out to finish cooling on a rack.

I cut off the “muffin top” to create a flat base. The removed piece then becomes the Cook’s treat. Ahem. It’s the only bit I let myself eat of this or I would be in deep trouble, both calorically and blood sugar-wise. The cake then gets turned over for presentation.

Slice off the muffin top for easy preparation. Use a serrated knife.

Slice off the muffin top for easy preparation. Use a serrated knife.

It’s the underside of this ‘crusty bit’ that you’ve seen in the pictures of slices above.

Decorate and serve.

Brace yourself for all the “I don’t like fruitcake” claims.

You have been warned.

Easy Fruit Cake

  • Servings: 15
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


500g dried fruit (or a mix of dried fruit and glacé fruit). Use whatever mix of soft, dried fruit you like, just make sure that the pieces are all around the same size.

1 mug hot black tea

1 large egg

2 mugs self raising flour

1 packed mug brown sugar


Soak dried fruit in hot tea overnight.

Heat oven to 160ºC or 325ºF.

Cut glacé fruit into large chunks and mix through soaked fruit.

Beat the egg with a fork and mix through the fruit.

In a large bowl sift Self Raising Flour and add in brown sugar, breaking up any lumps.

Add the fruit, stirring with a wooden spoon or large spatula until a stiff batter forms. If the mix is too dry and flour remains unincorporated, add splashes of cold water until it is all mixed in.

Place batter in a prepared tin (a regular loaf or square pan will work well) and bake for 2 hours in the top third of the oven.

Turn the tin at the 1 hour mark.

Cake is baked when a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 30 mins before turning out.

Allow to cool completely before serving.

This cake freezes well, either whole or in slices for a lunch box treat.

All gone...

All gone…